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Remarks by the President and the First Lady at Get Out the Vote Rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 8:57
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(Before It's News)

Independence Mall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

8:42 P.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, my goodness!  Wow!  (Applause.)  Well, thank you so much.  Oh, my goodness.  (Applause.)  First of all, I want to thank Bill for that generous introduction.  And thank you, Philadelphia!  Look at you!  Wow!  (Applause.)  What an amazing crowd, what an amazing night.

This is truly an emotional moment for me for so many reasons.  First, we are one day away from once again making history.  (Applause.)  Tomorrow, we have the chance to elect someone who is singularly qualified to be our President, our friend, Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.) 

She is a phenomenal woman who has devoted her life to helping others — kids in crumbling schools, families struggling to get by, women who need a voice.  And let me tell you, when the going gets tough, Hillary is the person we want on our side, because she never gives up.  She never quits.  She refuses to ever be knocked down, pushed around, or counted out. 

And on top of all that, she is an outstanding mother, a loving and loyal wife, a bold and brilliant woman who is an inspiration to me and to millions across this country.  And in just a few hours, we have the power to make her our next President.  (Applause.)  Now, how amazing is that? 

So I am honored to be here on this stage on the eve of this historic moment.  I’m also emotional because, in many ways, speaking here tonight is perhaps the last and most important thing that I can do for my country as First Lady.  (Applause.)  And let me just take a moment to thank you, to thank the people of this country for giving our family the extraordinary honor of serving as your First Family.  (Applause.) 

Thank you for your love.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for welcoming us into your communities with open hearts, for giving us a chance, whether you agreed with our politics or not. Every day, you have inspired us with your courage and your decency.  And every day, we have tried to make you proud and live up to the standard of citizenship that you set.  (Applause.)  Because we know that our words and actions are a reflection to the world of who we are as a nation, and, more importantly, our actions are a reflection of what behavior we hope our children will emulate. 

And we believe that our responsibility to you and to this country does not end when we leave the White House.  That’s why Barack and I have been working so hard in this election, because we believe that we have a duty to ensure that this country is handed over to a leader that we all can trust — a leader who takes this job seriously, someone who is truly ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one.  (Applause.)  We deserve a leader who will ensure that our daughters are safe and respected — (applause) — and that our sons understand that truly strong men are compassionate and kind.  (Applause.)

We deserve a leader who sees the dignity and humanity in all of us, and who will encourage us to see the better angels in one another.  We deserve a leader who sees our diversity not as a threat, but as a blessing.  (Applause.)  A leader who sees us not as rich or poor, but as hardworking folks doing the best we can with what we’ve got.  (Applause.)  A leader who sees us not as Democrats and Republicans, but as neighbors and friends who all love this country, who sees us not just as black or white, immigrants or native-born, but as brothers and sisters who are infinitely worthy, all an important part of this great American story.  (Applause.)

And I am here tonight because I believe with all my heart and soul that Hillary Clinton is that leader.  (Applause.)  And we need to do everything we can to get her elected President of the United States.  (Applause.)  And here’s the beauty of it all:  This election is on us.  It is in our hands.  If we get out and vote tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will win.  (Applause.) 

But if we stay home, or we play around with a protest vote, then Hillary’s opponent will win.  Period, end of story.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

MRS. OBAMA:  Look, it is important to understand that presidential elections are breathtakingly close.  They are decided by just five, 10, 15 votes per precinct.  So by just taking a few minutes out of your day tomorrow to cast your vote, and bringing your friends and family with you, each of you has the power to swing an entire precinct for Hillary.  And if we swing enough precincts we will win this state.  We will win this election.  And we will continue the progress that we have all made together these past eight years.  We will do this.  (Applause.)  That is the power that you have.

Tomorrow, with your vote, you can stand up to those who seek to divide us and make us afraid.  You can declare with one voice that we are always stronger together.  Tomorrow, with your vote, you can say that this country has always been great, that it is the greatest nation on Earth.  A country where a girl like me from the South Side of Chicago whose great-great grandfather was a slave can go to some of the finest universities on Earth.  (Applause.)  A country where the biracial son of a single mother form Hawaii and the son of a single mother from Hope, Arkansas, can both make it to the White House.  (Applause.)  A country where a passionate, outspoken young women, determined to do all the good she can, can go on to break the highest, hardest glass ceiling and become our President.  (Applause.)  That is the power you have and the history you could make tomorrow.  But only if we get out and vote for Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.)

So can we count on you?  (Applause.)  Can Hillary count on you?  (Applause.)  We've got to get this done.  You've got to get out and vote.  We can make this happen.  (Applause.)

So I now have the honor of introducing my husband to the stage.  (Applause.)  It's my chance, perhaps the last chance I have, to introduce him as President of the United States.  So I just want to take a moment to publically say how proud I am of all that he has done for this country.  (Applause.)

I am proud not just of what he has done, but how he has done it.  (Applause.)  Getting the job done in the face of unimaginable challenges.  Always going high when they go low.  (Applause.)  Showing us all what intelligence, dignity and grace really look like, and never ever compromising his values or beliefs. 

Ladies and gentleman, I introduce to you the love of my life, the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Philadelphia!  (Applause.)  Are you fired up?  (Applause.)  Are you ready to go?  (Applause.)

Thank you, Michelle Obama — (applause) — for being my partner, my love, my rock, and an amazing First Lady.  (Applause.) 

Eight years ago, I asked all of you to join me on an unlikely journey.  We set out not just to change programs or policies, but to rebuild an economy where everyone had a chance to succeed; to reform Washington so that your voices would be more powerful than entrenched lobbyists.  We set out to keep America safe and strong — not just with the might of our arms and the extraordinary valor of our troops, but with the power of our ideas.  To shape a changing America so that everybody belongs and everybody has a part, everybody has a responsibility. 

And we didn't know when we began that America would fall into the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.  But in the face of great challenges, in the face of entrenched interests, in the face of — in some cases — unprecedented obstruction and a cynical Washington, we stayed with it.  The American people stayed with it.  And because of your resilience, because of your strength, because of your faith, we turned “Yes, we can” into yes, we did.  (Applause.) 

Look at the road we've traveled.  We've seen America turn recession into recovery.  Our businesses create 15.5 million new jobs.  Putting more people back to work than all the other advanced economies combined.  A resurgent auto industry has led the fastest manufacturing growth since another Clinton was President.  (Applause.)  Incomes are rising.  Poverty is falling. Twenty million more Americans have health insurance.  (Applause.)

We've doubled production of renewable energy; become the world leader in fighting climate change.  Marriage equality is finally a reality from coast to coast.  (Applause.)  We brought home more of our men and women in uniform.  Took out Osama bin Laden.  (Applause.)  And almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.  (Applause.)

In fact, because Bill Clinton is here, I did some math — a little arithmetic.  (Laughter.)  Under the last two Republican Presidents, job growth was basically flat.  Deficits went up.  Over our two Democratic presidencies, jobs went up by more than 30 million — (applause) — deficits went down, millions more Americans gained health insurance.  So, yes, with Democrats in charge, America is stronger.  (Applause.)

Those are just the facts.  And with just one more day to go, we now have the chance to elect a 45th President who will build on our progress.  (Applause.)  Who will finish the job.  Who already has the respect of leaders around the world and the people they serve.  Who is smart and who is steady and who is tested.  Someone who comes to this office as well-prepared as anyone who has ever run — more than me, more than Bill.  The next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.)

Now, I know it's been a long campaign.  There's been a lot of noise and a lot of distraction.  At times, it's felt more like a reality show or even a parody.  (Laughter.)  But tomorrow — tomorrow, Philadelphia, the choice you face when you step into that voting booth could not be clearer and could not be more serious. 

On the economy, Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be our Chief Executive — that's why most CEOs and economists don't support him.  He would trigger a reckless trade war that costs jobs.  He'd strip 20 million Americans of their health insurance, roll back the new rules designed to check Wall Street recklessness and protect consumers, and would roll back the regulations we put in place to preserve this planet for our kids. 

On foreign policy, Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.  Don’t just take my word for it; listen to the Republicans who’ve refused to support him.  He lacks a basic understanding of the world; justifies torture; suggests abandoning our allies.  Over the weekend, his campaign took away his Twitter account — (laughter) — because he’s erratic.  If his closest advisors don’t trust him to tweet, why would any of us trust him with the nuclear codes?  (Applause.) 

More than his policies or his plans, though, throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has shown utter contempt for the values that make this nation great.  Anyone who sees women as objects, minorities and immigrants as inferior, other faiths as presumptively un-American cannot lead this diverse, dynamic, big-hearted country that we love.

And so all of this should give you reason enough to vote tomorrow.  But you don't just have to vote against someone, you have somebody extraordinary to vote for.  (Applause.)  Philadelphia, you’ve got someone outstanding to vote for in Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.) 

I’ll be honest, I have had to bite my tongue after a lot of the nonsense I’ve heard people say about Hillary in this election.  I can only imagine what Bill and Chelsea have been going through.  The vicious, crazy attacks; the double standards applied to her — they’re like nothing we’ve ever seen before.  And what makes it worse is that most of the people saying this stuff, they don’t really believe it.  They know better.  Don’t forget – when Hillary was a senator, when she was my Secretary of State, she was really popular.  People saw how effective she was, how she crossed party lines to get things done.  Before she announced her candidacy for President, Republican leaders described her — and I'm quoting now — as “very impressive,” someone who does “a magnificent job,” “one of the most effective Secretaries of State.”

Well, they were right then.  I agreed with Republicans then. Hillary did a great job for America.  (Applause.)  She’s a big reason why we’re more respected around the world.  But then, when it was politically expedient, those same Republicans began tearing her down.  And look, when you’re subjected to unrelenting negative fire, it takes a toll.  But here’s the thing about Hillary.  She doesn’t complain.  She doesn’t buckle.  She brushes it off.  Like the American people, she is strong and tough.  And she knows that government service is not about her — it’s about you.  Your struggles.  Your dreams. 

Throughout her career, Hillary has followed that Methodist creed her mom taught her:  “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can.” And she doesn’t plan on stopping now.  (Applause.)  And that's how I know she will work her heart out for you – for everybody still in need of a good job or a raise; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty; for every student who needs relief from student debt; every immigrant who wants to contribute to this country they love; for every American who has not yet felt the progress of these past eight years.  She will work.  And she will deliver.  She won’t just tweet.  (Laughter.)

But she will need your help, and she’ll need help in Washington.  If you want Hillary to continue the progress we’ve made, you need to give her allies in the Senate like Katie McGinty.  (Applause.)  You cannot — there she is right there.  You cannot just stick Hillary with Republicans in Congress who are already promising even more unprecedented dysfunction in Washington.  That would be hard to do, but they’re promising it. (Laughter.)  More shutdowns.  More obstruction.  “Years” of hearings and investigations.

You know, gridlock is not mysterious; it’s not something that happens because both sides are being equally unreasonable.  It has been a stated Republican strategy since I took office.  And the only way to break it is to make those who engage in it pay a price, by electing more Democrats tomorrow.  (Applause.) 

Look at Katie McGinty’s opponent, Pat Toomey.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  Don't boo –

AUDIENCE:  Vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  — vote.

I’ve given him credit for working with us on background checks that 90 percent of Americans supported.  But that position rings hollow when he supports a Republican leader who blocked that bill.  And it doesn’t come close to making up for his repeated votes to give tax cuts to the wealthy just like Donald Trump would, to block a higher minimum wage just like Donald Trump would, to repeal the Affordable Care Act just like Donald Trump would.  We do not need a Trump-Toomey economy.  We need someone who’s never forgotten her working-class roots; the daughter of a restaurant hostess and a Philadelphia beat cop; somebody who went to college with the help of scholarships and student loans.  Katie McGinty won’t just be with you part of the way, she’ll be with you all of the way.  And that's why you’ve got to vote for her.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Katie!  Katie!

THE PRESIDENT:  Katie!  Katie!

AUDIENCE:  Katie!  Katie!  Katie!

THE PRESIDENT:  Pennsylvania, if you think endless gridlock will help your family, you should vote Republican.  But if you believe America can do better than that, if you care about creating jobs that families can live on and child care they can afford, if you care about equal pay for women and a higher minimum wage for workers, you need to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.  (Applause.)  People like Hillary.  People like Katie McGinty.  People who will roll up their sleeves and move America forward.  (Applause.) 

Listen, I know we live in a cynical time.  And I know elections and all the negative ads tend to heighten that cynicism.  Just last week, a journalist asked me if I still believed the optimism I expressed that night back in Boston 12 years ago — that we were more than a collection of red and blue states; that there wasn’t a liberal America or a conservative America, a black America or a white America, there was just the United States of America.  He asked me if I still held on to the hope of 2008; if I still believed in change.  After all, he said, the country is so divided, Hillary is in such a close race with someone who stands in total opposition for all that you’ve ever stood for.  Maybe your vision was misguided, he suggested, or at least, very naïve. 

And it was a fair question.  I had to acknowledge that I hadn’t fully counted on the obstruction we’d see when I first came into office and was to save the economy.  I didn’t anticipate the way social media would magnify our divisions and muddy up facts.  None of us knew then how deep the Great Recession would cut, and how many people would suffer and how it would make so many people anxious about their futures and their kids’ futures, even after the economy recovered. 

But despite all that, I told him, the answer is, yes — I still believe in hope.  (Applause.)  I’m still as optimistic as ever about our future.  And that’s because of you — the American people.  In my visits to schools and factories, war theaters, national parks, in the letters you’ve written me, in the tears you’ve shed over a lost loved one, I have seen again and again your goodness, and your strength, and your heart.

In 2008, you gave me a chance — a skinny guy with a funny name.  (Laughter.)  And for these past eight years, I saw how hard you worked in the face of impossible odds.  I saw the values you teach your children.  I saw the way you treat strangers in need.  I’ve seen the young men and women in uniform who meet every mission, and the military families who serve and sacrifice just as well, and the wounded warriors who never, ever quit.

You bet on me all those years ago, and I will always be grateful for the privilege you gave me to serve.  But I’ll be honest with you — I’ve always had the better odds because I’ve always bet on you. 

And, America, I’m betting on you one more time.  I’m betting that tomorrow, most moms and dads across America won’t cast their vote for someone who denigrates their daughters from the highest office in the land.  (Applause.) 

I’m betting that most Americans won’t vote for someone who considers minorities and immigrants and people with disabilities as inferior; who considers people who practice different faiths as objects of suspicion.  I’m betting that tomorrow, true conservatives won’t cast their vote for someone with no regard for the Constitution.  (Applause.) 

I’m betting that young people turn out to vote because your future is at stake.  (Applause.)  I'm betting that men across this country will have no problem voting for the more qualified candidate who happens to be a woman.  (Applause.)  I'm betting that African-Americans will vote in big numbers because this journey we’ve been on was never about the color of a President, but the content of his or her character.  (Applause.) 

I’m betting that America will reject a politics of resentment and a politics of blame, and choose a politics that says we are stronger together.  (Applause.)  I am betting that tomorrow, you will reject fear and you’ll choose hope.  I’m betting that the wisdom and decency and generosity of the American people will once again win the day.  And that is a bet I have never, ever lost.  (Applause.)  

Philadelphia, in this place where our Founders forged the documents of freedom, in this place where they gave us the tools to perfect our union, if you share my faith, then I ask you to vote.  If you want a President who shares our faith in America, who’s lived that faith in America, who will finally shatter a glass ceiling and be a President for each and every one of us, then I’m asking you to work as hard as you can, this one last day, to elect, my fellow Americans, this fighter, this stateswoman, this mother, this grandmother, this patriot — our next President of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)

END
9:11 P.M. EST

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