Most Penn students were in middle school when President Barack Obama was inaugurated. As he nears the end of his second term in office, a stop in Philadelphia to campaign for Hillary Clinton marked one of his final opportunities to argue for his legacy.
He has clearly embraced these few returns to the campaign trail on Clinton's behalf, and on Tuesday afternoon at Eakins Oval in Center City, he strode to the stage after a series of introductions from Philadelphia organizers, Democratic senatorial candidate Katie McGinty and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.), to fight for his choice of successor.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the leader who will take my place,” Obama said. “I will do everything in my power to get her reelected.”
As if his point were not already emphasized, he added, "I really, really, really want to elect Hillary Clinton."
For Obama, a Clinton presidency is the key for his work to be preserved, he said. After endorsing Clinton on June 9, he praised her as his natural successor at a July 5 rally in North Carolina and, only a few weeks ago, spoke on her behalf at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
As he listed his many policies, such as the Iran nuclear deal, the Affordable Care Act and the Paris Climate Agreement, the crowd was jumping up and down, screaming his name.
And, if his approval rating is any clue, those cheering fans aren't just an echo chamber of Obama's support.
The 2016 election is a continuation of change and progress, the president said.
“Progress is possible, but change doesn’t happen in one presidency," he said to chants of "Yes We Can," from his supporters, a reprise of his 2008 campaign slogan.
At the end of the speech, Obama slowly walked around the stage, waving at the roaring crowd and soaking in the last couple of months before he will have to leave the Oval Office behind.
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