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Remarks by the President at Democratic Party of Florida Grassroots Organizing Event

Friday, October 21, 2016 8:23
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(Before It's News)

Florida Memorial University
Athletic and Wellness Center

Miami Gardens, Florida

4:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Miami Gardens!  (Applause.)  How’s everybody doing today?  (Applause.)  Can everybody please give a big round of applause to Dominique?  (Applause.)  We are so proud of her.  Thank you, Florida Memorial University.  Go, Lions!  It’s good to be here.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you?

THE PRESIDENT:  Love you back.  Well, I love you back, you know that.  (Applause.)  You know who else I love?  We’ve got a bunch of elected officials here today, including some of your outstanding representatives.  Frederica Wilson is in the house.  (Applause.)  And your next United States senator, Patrick Murphy. (Applause.)

So if you have a seat, feel free to sit down.  If you don’t have a seat, don’t.  Just make yourself comfortable, because I’ve got some things to say here.  (Applause.)

So this will be probably one of my last visits to Miami as President.

AUDIENCE:  Nooo –

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, don’t worry.  Don’t worry.  I’m going to come back, but I won’t be President, so I can have more fun.  (Applause.)  But this is how things work in a democracy.  I’ll talk about that later, too — how things are supposed to work in a democracy.  Michelle and I only get an eight-year lease on the White House.  We rent, we don’t own.  And right now, we’re making sure we haven’t broken anything, that Bo and Sunny haven’t ruined any carpets.  (Laughter.)  We have been marking off how tall Malia and Sasha were getting on the wall, but now we’ve got to erase it.  (Laughter.)  Because we want our security deposit back.  But obviously it has been one of the great honors of my life — the great honor of my life — to serve the American people.  

And look, the truth is, I couldn’t have done it without Florida.  Florida has always been good to us.  I remember campaigning here in Miami in the closing days of a tough campaign eight years ago.  And we had been living through two long wars.  We were about to enter into the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.  On issues like health care, and issues like climate change, we hadn’t really been doing anything.  We had just been kicking the can down the road.  And I told you then, when I was campaigning — I told you I wasn’t a perfect man, and I wasn’t going to be a perfect President.  But I told you I would work as hard as I could every single day on your behalf; that I would fight for you to make life a little bit easier for working families all across the country.  (Applause.)

And I tell you what, eight years later, we can look back and we can say we fought our way back from a recession.   (Applause.) Our businesses have turned job losses into 15 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  We have slashed our dependence on foreign oil.  We've doubled our production of clean energy.  Incomes are rising, poverty is falling.  The uninsured rate is at an all-time low.  We've brought our brave troops home to their families.  We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.  (Applause.)  Marriage equality is a reality in all 50 states.  We've been busy these last eight years.  (Applause.)

By every measure, our country is stronger and more prosperous than when I came into office.  But all that progress is at stake if we don't do the right thing these next 19 days.

I know there are some folks who are talking about how terrible America is.  But you know what — I’ve been to all 50 states as your President, and I see how great America is right now.  (Applause.) I see folks working hard, starting their own businesses.  I see teachers reaching into their own pocket to make sure our kids are getting the education that they need.  (Applause.)  I see doctors serving the poor and coming up with new cures.  I see our men and women in uniform, our cops and first responders running towards danger, working to keep us safe.

I see the patriotism of young activists who are troubled when things don't go the way they should, and call on us to live up to our highest ideals.  I see all of you — Americans of every faith and every race and every region of the country — who know that we're stronger together.  Young and old, men and women, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, people with disabilities or not — all pledging allegiance to the Red and White and Blue.  That's what I see about America.  That's the America I know!  (Applause.)

That is the America I know.  And there is only one candidate in this race who has devoted her life to that better America — the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton!  (Applause.)

Now, hold on, hold on, hold on.  See, that's one of the things I love about Florida, this is always a rowdy crowd.  (Applause.)  Here’s the good news.  You don't have to wait until November 8th to send Hillary to the White House.  You don't need to wait until November 8th to send Patrick Murphy to the United States Senate.  (Applause.)  You can vote early starting this Monday. 

You can find out where to vote at iwillvote.com.  Starting on Monday, you can go to the polls.  And when you vote early, it’s not crowded.  When you vote early, there are no lines.  When you vote early, you can kind of do it on your lunch break.  You can do it at your own leisure.  You can take your time. 

But starting Monday, you can reject somebody who proves himself unfit to be President every single day in every single way.  (Applause.)  You can reject his dark, pessimistic, fear-mongering vision of a country, where we turn against each other and turn away from our role in the world. 

And instead, you can choose as qualified a person who has ever run to lead this country.  You can affirm the America we know, a country full of optimism and courage and generosity and hope; a country where we look out for each other and don't turn on each other.  That's the choice that you can make, starting on Monday, right here in South Florida.  (Applause.)

I’ve said this before.  There’s nothing that can completely prepare you for the job of being President of the United States. You know, that first day after you get sworn in, and they walk you in the office — then everybody leaves, and you're in the office, and you're looking around thinking, man, now what?  (Laughter.) 

But here’s the thing.  Hillary Clinton, she’s been a First Lady.  She’s been a senator.  She’s been my Secretary of State.  She’s been in the room when tough decisions were made.  She knows how those decisions can affect a veteran or a soldier, or a kid who needs a great education, or a worker who is fighting for a good job or a raise or a decent retirement.  And I will tell you even in the middle of crisis, she is calm and cool and collected. And she’s listening to people, and she’s treating everybody with respect. 

And here’s the thing about Hillary — no matter how tough the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, no matter how mean folks can be, she doesn't point fingers.  She doesn't complain.  She doesn't whine.  (Laughter.)  She just workers harder, and she gets the job done.  And she never, ever, ever quits.  And that's why I know she can be a great President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And the other thing is she actually knows what she’s talking about.  (Laughter.)  She’s actually done her homework.  So she’s got real plans to address what she’s heard from you.  Specific ideas to invest in new jobs; to help workers share in company’s profits; to reduce inequality.  Ideas to help kids have access to preschool and help students go through college without taking on a ton of debt.  (Applause.)  She was just here in Miami last week talking about what she was going to do to fight climate change.  And then she proposed a child tax credit that would help millions of families.

I mean she loves this stuff.  She’s all — she’s just reading her briefing book all time.  She’s not watching TV.  She’s not watching the reality TV.  She’s not participating in reality TV.  She’s doing the work, and that’s what you want from a President of the United States of America.  (Applause.) 

Now, she is not going to be able to do it alone.  So we also have to have outstanding members of Congress.  And Patrick Murphy, when he’s your United States senator, he’s going to be doing his work.  In fact, unlike his opponent, he actually shows up to work.  (Applause.)  Unlike his opponent, he didn’t try to defund Planned Parenthood.  He made sure that women could make their own health care decisions. 

Unlike his opponent, he didn’t walk away from Florida’s Hispanic community when the politics got tough.  He fought for comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship.  Unlike his opponent, Patrick actually believes in science and believes in the effects of climate change.  Just the other night in their debate, Marco Rubio did not accept that sea levels are rising.  And if you’re watching TV, or you are going down some of the blocks right here in Miami in the middle of a sunny day, and you see the ocean coming up through the streets, how can you deny what is right in front of you?  I thought he was from Miami.  (Applause.)

Patrick Murphy brought Democrats and Republicans together to fund Everglades restoration.  He knows how to get stuff done, not just think about what you’re going to do next.  And as your next senator, he’ll fight for this planet for future generations. 

 

The point is, you deserve leaders who show up to work, who do their homework, who care more about you than just hanging on to their job, who will have your back.  That is who Hillary Clinton is.  That’s who Patrick Murphy is.  They will always be there for you.  And that’s why you got to be there for them, starting Monday when you go early vote.  (Applause.)

And, in contrast, you’ve got Donald Trump. 

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh!  Don’t boo — vote!  (Applause.)  Vote! Booing doesn’t do any good.  Vote!  And get your friends to vote. Get Uncle Joe to vote.  Get Pookie to vote, and Javier to vote.  (Applause.)  Vote — don’t boo.  Trump can’t hear you from here. But he can hear you when you go to the ballot box and vote.  (Applause.)

I know Trump hangs around here in Florida, but I don’t think he represents the values of Florida.

AUDIENCE:  Nooo –

THE PRESIDENT:  Here’s a guy who repeatedly stiffs small business owners and workers who have done work for him — and he thinks that’s smart.  Just don’t pay them, and then let them try to sue.  This is a guy who doesn’t release his tax returns.  First presidential candidate in decades who won’t release his tax returns.  And it’s either because he’s not as rich as he says he is, or -– as he admits -– he hadn’t paid federal income taxes in years.  And he says that’s smart.  He thinks you’re suckers for doing what you’re supposed to do.  

But it’s not smart not to pay your taxes.  All that means is, unlike the rest of us, despite everything that America has given to him, he doesn’t feel obliged to give back a single dime to help our troops, or our veterans, or to make sure that young people get help going to college.  (Applause.) 

He keeps on talking about wanting to make America great.  Well, it’s people who avoid their responsibilities that create problems here in America.  He’s not part of the solution; he’s part of the problem.  (Applause.) 

And if you really believe that a guy who’s spent 70 years on this Earth, showing no regard for working people, is suddenly going to be the champion of working people, then I guess that’s your guy.  But if you want leaders who actually value hard work, respect working Americans, who want higher wages and better benefits and a fairer tax code, who want equal pay for equal work for women, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton and you should vote for Patrick Murphy.  (Applause.)

And if you want somebody who is going to actually keep your family safe in a dangerous world, then the choice is even clearer.  Hillary will see to it that our troops finish the job of defeating ISIL.  They are going after them right now as we speak.  (Applause.)  And she’ll do it without resorting to torture, or banning religions from our country.  She’s already got the temperament and the knowledge, the steady hand to be the next Commander-in-Chief.  (Applause.)

And meanwhile, you’ve got Donald Trump insulting POWs; attacking a Gold Star mom, and talking down our troops and our veterans; praising dictators; telling our allies we might not stand by them if they don’t pay up. 

I agree with the U.S. Senator — a Republican — who, a while back, said that we can’t afford to give “the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.”  (Applause.)

By the way, you know who said that?  Marco Rubio.  He also called Donald Trump a dangerous con artist who has spent a career sticking it to working people. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Say it again!

THE PRESIDENT:  You want me to say it again?  He said — (laughter) — Marco Rubio said, this was a “dangerous” “con artist” who spent a life time — “spent a career sticking it to working people.” 

Now, that begs the question, since we’re in Florida –- why does Marco Rubio still plan to vote for Donald Trump?  Why is he supporting Donald Trump? 

AUDIENCE:  Why! 

THE PRESIDENT:  I mean, we know — look, I know a lot of Republicans, voters, just ordinary folks, your neighbors, your friends — most of them don’t think the way Trump does.  And there are legitimate differences between the parties.  But there has to be a point where you stand for something more than just party, or more than just your own career.

And here’s the thing.  Trump didn’t come out of nowhere now. For years, Republican politicians and far-right media outlets had just been pumping out all kinds of toxic, crazy stuff.  First of all, there was the whole birther thing.  Then they start saying climate change is a Chinese hoax.  And according to them, I’m power enough to cause these hurricanes — (laughter) — and I’m about to steal everybody’s guns in the middle of the night and declare martial law, but somehow I still need a teleprompter to finish a sentence.  (Laughter.)

So they have been saying crazy stuff.  And there were a lot of politicians, like Marco Rubio, who know better.  But they just look the other way, because they figured, you know what, if they really — if we could stir folks up, and think that Barack or Hillary or others are doing all these terrible things we’re saying they’re doing, that’s going to help us get votes.  And so we’ll just oppose anything that they’re trying to do, and maybe we’ll end up having more power in Washington.  And so they just stood by and said nothing — even though they knew better — while their base actually started believing some of this stuff. 

I say all this because Donald Trump didn’t start all this.  Like he usually does, he just slapped his name on it, took credit for it, and promoted the heck out of it.  (Applause.)

Now, over the last couple of weeks, after those videos came out on that bus, there were a number of Republican politicians who walked away from Donald Trump.  Apparently, a tape where a presidential candidate brags about actions that, if you hear what he’s saying, qualify as sexual assault — apparently that was the deal-breaker for them.  Or at least, his poll numbers dropping after the tape came out was the deal-breaker for them.  I mean, last night, did you hear Trump trying to run away comments that are on a recording, and the audience started laughing when he said, “I really respect women.”  (Laughter.)  Did you see that?

But here is my question.  My question is, why would it take this long –

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Right!

THE PRESIDENT:  — for Republican senators and Republican congressmen and Republican governors and state republicans and state senators — why would it take you this long to figure out that Donald Trump shouldn’t be President?  (Applause.) 

If you’ve made a career of idolizing Ronald Reagan, then where were you when your party’s nominee for President was kissing up to Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer?  (Applause.)  You used to criticize me for even talking to the Russians.  Now, suddenly, you’re okay with your nominee having a bromance with Putin.  (Laughter and applause.)

If you come from a family of immigrants — like almost everybody here does unless you’re Native American — where were you when your party’s nominee for President called immigrants “criminals” and “rapists”?   

If you say you love the Constitution — in fact, you say Obama is overreaching with his executive actions, he’s violating the Constitution, should be impeached — but then you stand up and nominate and support a guy who says that he would silence reporters, jail his political opponent in the middle of a debate, deport whoever he wants.  I mean, I assume you’ve got some familiarity with the First Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment, and the 14th Amendment.  (Applause.)  Why weren’t you offering him your pocket Constitution, like Mr. Khan did?  (Applause.)

.. career of idolizing Ronald Reagan, then where were you when your party’s nominee for President was kissing up to Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer?  (Applause.) 

You used to criticize me for even talking to the Russians.  Now suddenly you're okay with your nominee having a bromance with Putin.  (Laughter and applause.)

If you come from a family of immigrants like almost everybody here does unless you're Native American, where were you when your party’s nominee for President called immigrants criminals and rapists? 

If you say you love the Constitution — in fact, you say Obama is overreaching with his executive actions.  He’s violating the Constitution, should be impeached.  But then you stand up and nominate and support a guy who says that he would silence reporters, jail his political opponent in the middle of a debate, deport whoever he wants.  I mean I assume you've got some familiarity with the First Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment, and the 14th Amendment.  Why weren’t you offering him your pocket Constitution like Mr. Khan did?  (Applause.) 

If you're a Republican official or leader out there, and you've run for office on family values — family values — why wouldn’t you walk away from him months ago when you heard your nominee for President call women pigs and dogs and slobs, and grade them not for their character or their intellect, but on a scale of one to 10?

You don't have to be a husband or father to stand up for women.  You don't have to have a disability to say it’s wrong to mock somebody with a disability.  You don't have to be a Muslim to stand up for our fellow citizens who are just as patriotic as we are.  You just have to be a decent person, and you just have to love this country.  (Applause.) 

So I don't give a lot of credit for folks who are just now trying to walk away from trouble.  Although I will say I’m even more confused by Republican politicians who still support Donald Trump.  (Applause.)  Marco Rubio is one of those people.  How does that work?  How can you call him a con artist and dangerous, and object to all the controversial things he says, and then say, but I’m still going to vote for him?  Come on, man.  Come on, man.  (Laughter and applause.)

You know what that is, though?  It is the height of cynicism.  That's a sign of somebody who will say anything, do anything, pretend to be anybody, just to get elected.  (Applause.)  And you know what?  If you're willing to be anybody just to be somebody, then you don't have the leadership that Florida needs in the United States Senate.  (Applause.)  That's not the leadership you need. That's why you got to vote for Patrick Murphy.  That's why you got to vote for Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.) 

That's why you got to start voting early on Monday, and go to iwillvote.com.  Because, let me tell you, there’s only one way we lose this election — just one — if we don't turn out to vote.  Only way. 

We got to do it big.  We got to leave no doubt.  Because you notice, the Donald is already whining that the vote is going to be rigged before the game is eve over.  We're just starting to vote now.  He’s already like, oh, the game is rigged.  (Laughter.)  Except today, he said, of course, it’s not rigged if I win.  (Laughter.) 

I mean — and by the way, I will say all the Republicans have — not all, but most, have acknowledged there’s no way to rig an election in a country this big.  I don't know if Donald Trump has ever been to an actual polling place where you have Democrats and Republicans who are in charge of taking the votes. But he doesn't even worry if what he says is true.  This is just about him worried that he’s losing, which means he really doesn't have what it takes to hold this job.

Because, I will tell you, there’s a lot of time in this job where things don't go your way.  And when you suggest — I made this point before, I want to repeat it here — this is more than just the usual standard lie.  Because when you suggest rigging or fraud, without a shred of evidence, when last night at the debate, Trump becomes the first major party nominee in American history to suggest that he will not concede, despite losing the vote, and then says today that he will accept the results if he wins, that is not a joking matter.

AUDIENCE:  Nooo –  

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, no, I want everybody to pay attention here.  That is dangerous.  Because when you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy.  Then you're doing the work of our adversaries for them.  Because our democracy depends on people knowing that their vote matters; that those who occupy the seats of power were chosen by the people.  Even when your preferred candidate loses, even when you are the one who is running and you lose, you've got to see the bigger picture and say that here in America, we believe in democracy, and we accept the will of the people.  (Applause.) 

So I’m telling you, Florida, your vote does matter.  Your votes does count.  And this whole notion of voter fraud, listen, one study shows that out of 1 billion votes cast, there were 31 proven cases of voter fraud — 31 out of 1 billion.  You are luckier — you are much likelier to get struck by lightning than to have somebody next to you commit voter fraud.  You’d win the Powerball.  (Laughter.)   

And so that's why I am glad to see Republicans coming out and saying that kind of talk is nonsense.  After all, in Florida here, you've got a Republican governor. 

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  Don't boo –

AUDIENCE:  Vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  Booing gets you nowhere. 

You got Republican governors in battleground states like Ohio and North Carolina and Georgia and Nevada and Iowa and Texas and Arizona.  Are they all in on this rigging?  They're not going to rig the election for Hillary Clinton. 

Even Marco Rubio says there’s no rigging of the vote, which I’d like to give him credit for, except he’s refusing the dangerous and unprecedented claims of a candidate he says he’s still going to vote for, which just gives you one more bit of proof that Marco seems to just care about hanging on to his job.

Patrick Murphy cares about you.  Listen, I’ve lost an election before.  It is no fun.  Winning is better.  (Applause.) But when you lose, you congratulate your opponent.  And you look inside yourself and you figure out, what did I do wrong?  And then you work harder and you try to win the next time.  That's how democracy works.  That's what real leaders do.  (Applause.)

Democracy is a challenge, and it’s supposed to be.  But you can't just look out for yourself and look out for your own best interests.  You got to look out for America’s best interests — not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. 

And that's what Patrick Murphy understands.  That's what Hillary Clinton has done her entire life.  (Applause.)  She knows that in this big, diverse country, democracy can't work if all we're about is trying to destroy somebody in the other party, if we demonize each other.  If we block Supreme Court appointments  — not because that's how it’s supposed to work, but just because we didn't win.  She knows that issues aren’t black or white, that progress requires compromise.  Even when you are 100 percent right, you still got to compromise in a country like this.  She knows that nobody is perfect.  But at least we should all try to conduct ourselves with the same decency and generosity and big heartedness that we try to teach our own kids.  (Applause.)

And you know what, that kind of steadiness, that kind of responsibility, that attitude of just doing the right thing, it doesn't always grab headlines.  Our politics can't always just be boiled down to a tweet.  (Laughter.)  And I know in this election season, sometimes politics seem cheap and trivial and frustrating.  But right now, I am here to tell you, you've got a chance to reject that kind of politics.  (Applause.)  You can reject divisive politics.  You can reject mean-spirited politics. You don't have to let this country go backwards.  You have a chance to move it forward — and elect a woman the first female President, who has spent her entire life trying to make this country better.  (Applause.)

Somebody who has worked hard even when she’s fallen short. Somebody who works hard even when she’s attacked; that's got guts; that's got courage. 

So don't fall for the easy cynicism that says your vote doesn't matter.  Don't believe that notion that all politicians are the same.  That's what Hillary’s opponent wants you to think so you lose faith, so you give up, so you stay home.  Don't do that.  Because I promise you your vote does matter.

And if you have any doubt, ask the 20 million people who have got health care today that didn't have it before you voted.  (Applause.)  Ask the Marine who can serve this country without hiding the husband that he loves.  Ask him if your vote matters. (Applause.)  Ask the autoworker who saw his factory go dark, but now is working a double shift.  Find out from him if your vote matters.  (Applause.)

I just came from Miami Dade College.  And they've got students from about a hundred different countries.  Ask all those young immigrants, those DACA kids who’ve earned an opportunity to stay and study and become doctors and lawyers — young people just like Dominique, just as talented as Malia and Sasha, who now have a chance to contribute to this country that they love just as much as anybody.  Ask them if your vote matters.  They know it does.  (Applause.)

Donald Trump has nothing to offer but anger and grievance and blame.  And so his closing argument asks:  What do you have to lose?  Well, I’m here to tell you:  Everything.  You know how much progress we've made, despite the opposition, despite the forces of discrimination, despite the politics of backlash.  And that progress doesn't stop with my presidency.  We're just getting started.  (Applause.)

So progress is on the ballot.  Civility is on the ballot.  Tolerance is on the ballot.  Justice is on the ballot.  Equality is on the ballot.  Our democracy is on the ballot.  (Applause.)

Hillary Clinton will advance those things.  Donald Trump wants to reverse progress.  Marco Rubio wants to help him.  You want to give me a good send-off, you want to give Michelle a good send-off?  (Applause.)  Join us.  Work as hard for Hillary and Patrick as you did for us.  You care about our democracy, don't stay home.  You got to get in the arena.  You got to vote.  (Applause.)

That's what this democracy is about.  It’s not a spectator sport.  You want to give me a good send-off — go knock on some doors.  Sign up as a volunteer.  Make some phone calls.  Go talk to your friends.  And if you do that, we’ll win this election.  (Applause.)  

We’ll elect Patrick Murphy your next senator.  We’ll elect Hillary Clinton the next President.  We’ll show our kids and the rest of the world why America remains the greatest nation in the world.

Thank you, Miami.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
4:49 P.M. EDT

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