How Obama made the case that America really is great

"America is already great," President Barack Obama told the crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night. Throughout his speech, which made a case for Hillary Clinton and took a fews jabs at her Republican rival, Donald Trump, Obama had a lot to say about the country and its people the two candidates are both fighting to lead. Here are some of the best clips of Obama making the case on just how great our country really is.

"The America I know is decent and generous."

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President Obama talks about the America he knows at the DNC in Philadelphia.


Obama said the Republican National Convention "wasn't conservative," but instead offered America "a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world."

  • "That is not the America I know. The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties - about paying the bills, and protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, and worry about racial divisions; we are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities that we had.

    All of that is real. We are challenged to do better; to be better. But as I've traveled this country, through all fifty states; as I've rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I've also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America.

    I see people working hard and starting businesses; I see people teaching kids and serving our country. I see engineers inventing stuff, doctors coming up with new cures. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, not constrained by what is, ready to seize what ought to be.

    And most of all, I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together - black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight, men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance, under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love. That's what I see. That's the America I know."


"We are not a fragile people."

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President Obama said at the DNC that "America is already great."


  • "America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump. In fact, it doesn't depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election - the meaning of our democracy.

    Ronald Reagan called America "a shining city on a hill." Donald Trump calls it "a divided crime scene" that only he can fix...

    And that is another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he'll lose it is because he's selling the American people short. We are not a fragile people. We're not a frightful people. Our power doesn't come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don't look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that together, That We, the People, can form a more perfect union.

    That's who we are. That's our birthright - the capacity to shape our own destiny."


"Anyone who threatens our values ... will always fail in the end."

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President Obama talks about the current state of the country at the DNC.


  • "You know, you know, there's been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America has lost - people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control. They tell voters there's a 'real America' out there that must be restored. This isn't an idea by the way that started with Donald Trump. It's been peddled by politicians for a long time - probably from the start of our Republic...

    See my grandparents, they came from the heartland; their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago...

    Some were Democrats, but a lot of them, maybe most of them, were Republicans. Party of Lincoln. And my grandparents explained that folks in these parts, they didn't like show-offs. They didn't admire braggarts or bullies. They didn't respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, what they valued were traits like honesty and hard work. Kindness and courtesy. Humility; responsibility; helping each other out. That's what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids.

    And what my grandparents understood was that these values weren't limited to Kansas. They weren't limited to small towns. These values could travel to Hawaii; they could travel even to the other side of the world, where my mother would end up working to help poor women get a better life. My grandparents knew these values weren't reserved for one race; they could be passed down to a half-Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter; in fact, they were the same values Michelle's parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids living in a bungalow on the Southside of Chicago. They knew these values were exactly what drew immigrants here, and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat or a yarmulke; a baseball cap or a hijab.

    America has changed over the years. But these values that my grandparents taught me - they haven't gone anywhere. They're as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots, is what's in here. That's what matters. That's why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own. That's why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That's why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That's why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.


"I'll tell you what's picked me back up, every single time... the American people."

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President Obama tells stories of Americans at the DNC in Philadelphia.


  • "For all the tough lessons I've had to learn; for all the places where I've fallen short; I've told Hillary, and I'll tell you what's picked me back up, every single time. It's been you: the American people.

    It's the letter I keep on my wall from a survivor in Ohio who twice almost lost everything to cancer, but urged me to keep fighting for health care reform, even when the battle seemed lost. Do not quit. It's the painting I keep in my private office, a big-eyed, green owl, with blue wings, made by a seven year-old girl who was taken from us in Newtown, given to me by her parents so I wouldn't forget - a reminder of all the parents who have turned their grief into action.

    It's the small business owner in Colorado who cut most of his own salary so he wouldn't have to lay off any of his workers in the recession - because, he said, 'that wouldn't have been in the spirit of America.' It's the conservative in Texas who said he disagreed with me on everything, but he appreciated that, like him, I try to be a good dad. It's the courage of the young soldier from Arizona who nearly died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but who's learned to speak again and walk again - and earlier this year, stepped through the door of the Oval Office on his own power, to salute and shake my hand.

    It's every American who believed we could change this country for the better, so many of you who'd never been involved in politics, who picked up phones, and hit the streets, and used the internet in amazing new ways that I didn't really understand but made change happen. You are the best organizers on the planet, and I'm so proud of all the change you've made possible.

    Time and again, you've picked me up. And I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too."


And at the end of the speech, Clinton joined Obama on stage for a surprise appearance ahead of her scheduled speech Thursday night.

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Hillary Clinton made a surprise appearance at the end of President Obama's speech at the DNC.



Watch President Obama's Full Remarks:
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Watch President Barack Obama's full speech at the Democratic National Convention.

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