Remarks by the President at Hillary for America Rally
6:00 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Orlando! (Applause.) I said, hello, Orlando! (Applause.) Hello, UCF! (Applause.) Go Knights! (Applause.)
I understand you play Houston this weekend. You guys feeling all right? (Applause.) Are you fired up? (Applause.) Are you ready to go? (Applause.) Oh, I'm fired up -- look at this crowd. (Applause.)
I think it's being broadcast outside the auditorium, everybody who couldn't get in because we ended up being a little too packed and the fire marshal had to close things off. I just wanted you to know if you're outside, I love you too! (Applause.)
Can everybody please give Devi a big round of applause for that great introduction? (Applause.) This is the kind of young lady that makes us proud. A couple other people I want to acknowledge -- your outstanding Mayor, Buddy Dyer, is in the house. (Applause.) Your wonderful senior Senator, Bill Nelson, is here. (Applause.) Your next members of Congress, former Governor Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto. (Applause.) Your next United States Senator, Patrick Murphy. (Applause.) And all of you are here. (Applause.)
And I am here to say thank you. (Applause.) I want to say thank you, because it has been --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back! I do! (Applause.)
You know, it has been --
AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: -- it has been a privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. And Michelle and I could not be more grateful for your support and your prayers over all these years. (Applause.) But hold up, hold up, but we're not done yet. (Applause.) I've got one campaign left in me. (Applause.)
Michelle and I have got a little more work to do. (Applause.) So I'm here today, Florida, to ask you to work as hard as you did for me to make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
I didn't see the band back there. (Applause.) What's going on, band? (Applause.) Sorry, but I just love marching bands so I had to acknowledge the marching band. (Applause.) Are you guys from -- you're not from the college -- you're from high school, right? Where you from?
MARCHING BAND: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: What did they say? High school?
MARCHING BAND: Ocoee!
THE PRESIDENT: Ocoee. All right, Ocoee, we're proud of you. (Applause.)
Now, where was I? Listen, hold on, hold on. You guys are just so excited. (Applause.) Now, let me say this. Florida is always a battleground state. Florida is just a big, diverse state, which means that the races in Florida are always close. I remember when I was campaigning here in the closing days of another hard-fought campaign eight years ago -- (applause) -- and some of you were only four. (Laughter.)
But if you will recall, we were going through two long wars, we were in the early days of the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. On everything from health care to climate change to criminal justice issues, we had just been kicking the can down the road for way too long. And I said at that time -- I said at that time that I wasn't a perfect man, I wouldn't be a perfect President. I said at the time that if you elected me, we wouldn't solve every problem on day one. We wouldn't solve it all in one year, or one term, or even in one presidency.
But what I told you was that I would work as hard as I could every single day to do right by you. (Applause.) That every day, when I walked into that Oval Office, I'd be thinking about the folks I met on the campaign trail. I'd be thinking about the students who were trying to get a good education without a ton of debt. (Applause.) I'd be thinking about the working families who were trying to figure out how to pay the bills, and maybe they had lost their homes or they had lost their pensions because of the economic crisis. I told you that I would be thinking about folks who didn't have health care and were worried about how they were going to make sure that somebody in their family that they loved got treated fairly.
And I will tell you this: I’ve made mistakes during these eight years, and there have been times where we’ve had ups and there’s been times where we’ve had lows. But I kept that promise to work for you as hard as I could. (Applause.)
And you kept faith with me and, working together, what we’ve seen is that an America that was at the edge of a depression battled back, and we turned job losses into 15 million new jobs. And last year, incomes went up faster than anytime that they’ve been keeping records. And poverty went down faster than any time since 1968. (Applause.) We just learned this week that the economy grew faster than any time in the last two years. (Applause.)
We’ve seen an America that went from too many people uninsured to now 20 million people with health care who didn’t have it before. And the lowest uninsured rate in our history. (Applause.)
We’ve seen an America that was hopelessly hooked on foreign oil kick that addiction and suddenly we’re producing solar energy and wind energy and fighting to protect our planet by reducing harmful carbon pollution.
We’ve seen our men and women in uniform -- the best that there is -- sign up to serve and meet every mission: To pursue the terrorist responsible for 9/11; get Osama bin Laden; make sure that justice was served. (Applause.)
We’ve seen a country where a freedom was limited in so many places to a situation now where, in every state in this Union, you can marry the person you love. (Applause.)
We’ve increased access to Pell grants. We’ve seen the highest high school graduation rate in our history. We’ve seen the biggest jump in college enrollment in our history. Across the board, by almost every measure, we are significantly better off now than we were eight years ago.
And part of it is because we got policies right, but part of it is because of you. I travel across all 50 states and I have seen what makes America great. I’ve seen folks working hard, starting their own businesses; teachers reaching into their own pockets to make sure our kids get an education. I’ve seen doctors serving the poor. I’ve seen our brave men and women in uniform, and our brave police officers and first responders running towards danger, working to keep us safe. I see the patriotism of young activists speaking out to make this country better, even if it sometimes makes us uncomfortable, calling on us to live up to our highest ideals.
I see you -– (applause) -- Americans of every party and every faith knowing we are stronger working together –- whether we are young or old, or men or women, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native Americans, folks with disabilities, gay, straight -- it doesn’t matter -- all pledging allegiance to the red, white, and blue. That’s the America I know. (Applause.) That’s the America I love.
That’s why, through all the ups and downs, I haven’t been worried about this country. Because I’ve seen the heart and soul of the American people and it is good, and it is decent, and it is strong, and it is resilient. And there is only one candidate in this race who I believe can continue the progress we’ve made. And I know that because she has devoted her life to making America better, and that is the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)
So I am going to work my heart out over these next 11 days. I don't know about you, but I'm not tired. (Applause.) I'm feeling good. (Applause.) I'm ready to work. (Applause.) And I need you to join me. (Applause.)
Florida, I need you to join me. (Applause.) Young people, I need you to join me. (Applause.) And you don't need to wait until November 8th to do the work, because here in Florida, you can vote early. (Applause.) Here in Florida, you can vote right now. And if you turn out to vote -- and I want young people to listen here -- hold on a second, I'm going to get quiet for a second. Hold on, hold on. I'm going to talk to young people here for a second.
If you vote, if you young people vote, if you vote for somebody who wants to make sure that college is more affordable, if you vote to make sure we're dealing with climate change instead of denying it, if you vote to make sure that we have somebody in the White House who cares about civil rights and cares about making sure everybody has a shot, if you vote, you will send Hillary to the White House -- you. You. You will send Patrick Murphy to the United States Senate. It's up to you. (Applause.)
And by the way, for those of you who are not young but just young at heart, don't be offended. See, I've got to speak to the young people because us old-heads, we generally vote. (Laughter.) Because we've got -- you know, because we don't have enough energy to have as much fun as the young people do, so we're not as distracted, so we go to remember to vote. The young people, they've got a lot of stuff going on.
But I need you young people to vote. And by the way, the nearest early voting location for Orange County is straight down the road at Alafaya Library. (Applause.) The nearest Seminole County early vote location is right up the road at the Oviedo Aquatic Center. (Applause.) And you can find other early voting locations just by going to IWillVote.com. (Applause.)
See, but here's the thing -- everybody is -- you guys are just being so sweet to me and I appreciate it, but understand this -- understand this -- all the progress we've made over these last eight years goes out the window if we don't win this election. (Applause.) Health care for 20 million people goes away. The progress we've made on climate change goes away. All the work that we've been doing to make college more affordable goes away. I mean, the stakes could not be higher.
And I understand that, right now, the polls show Hillary having a lead. (Applause.) No, no, no, no, hold on, hold on. Hold on a minute. Hold on. You know, sometimes when you get a lead, whether it's in sports or in politics, you start feeling good. You start celebrating too early. You start getting turnovers. You start missing some free throws. Suddenly, it gets a little closer. You start tightening up. And next thing you know, you look up, and you let it slip away.
See, I don't want ya'll feeling too good. I want you hustling all the way until the polls close on November 8th. (Applause.) I don't want you taking things for granted. I want you to run through the tape. I don't want you to do an Usain Bolt and kind of look back, all smiling. (Laughter and applause.) Because politics isn't like track and field -- you're not always as fast as Usain Bolt. You've got to stay focused and run through the tape. We cannot kick back and think that we've got this thing won, because this has been a volatile race. It's been a volatile election. Folks are in a volatile mood.
And the media stories go up and down, and there's a lot of noise, and sometimes it's hard for folks to sort out what's right and what's wrong, what's true, what's false, which is why the other guy can just say whatever he wants, right?
And so we have to work hard. And by the way, that's who Hillary is. Hillary never takes anything for granted. I have worked with Hillary -- she works hard every single day. She doesn't take a day off. She is a grinder, she just keeps on working. I've seen it. I have benefitted from it. I've seen her in the Situation Room, making the argument to go after bin Laden, even when it was risky.
I've seen her travel the globe over and over and over again, earning the respect of world leaders. It's not always flashy. People at home don't always see it. Folks like big speeches. Folks like sound bites. She doesn't always get the credit, but she does the work. (Applause.) She does the work. (Applause.) She understands the challenges we face. She knows what she's talking about.
And by the way, when things don't go her way, you don't see her whining. You don't see her complaining. You don't see her saying things were rigged. (Applause.) She just comes back and she gets up and she works harder, and she works harder, and she works harder until she gets done what she's supposed to get done. (Applause.)
And the reason she works so hard is because she cares. She knows about hardships -- seeing her mom's history as an orphan. She knows that the decisions that you make in the presidency are not abstractions. She knows that this isn't just about the game of politics. She knows that what we decide -- what I decide and what she would decide as President -- means everything to a soldier or a veteran or a military family, to a family that's trying to make ends meet, to the student who is trying to go to college for the first time, for a young person who was brought to this country as a child and wants to contribute to the only home that she's ever known. (Applause.)
Hillary knows that ordinary people need a champion. And she doesn't just talk the talk -- she walks the walk. She's got plans. And she's got details. And she's read them through. And she's thought them through, which is why, when she's in a debate with the other guy, she's talking about stuff that she actually knows something about and the other guy is just making stuff up. (Applause.)
And listen, listen. Can I just say, like, I was a good student when I was in law school and I was a good student my last two years in college. But when I was in high school, my first two years, I was one of those guys who sometimes just kind of was talking and trying to get in good with the teacher. And I was kind of charming -- (applause) -- but I wasn't always doing my work.
And that's okay for a while, but just like you want a surgeon who has actually studied surgery -- (applause) -- just like you want a pilot who did their homework when it comes to flying a plane, you don't want the slacker as your President. You want somebody who is actually going to work hard and do the job. (Applause.) You want somebody who knows what they're talking about.
And by the way, you know who is also a hard worker is Patrick Murphy. (Applause.) Patrick Murphy. Unlike his opponent, Marco Rubio, Patrick actually shows up to his job. (Applause.) He puts you ahead of politics. He didn't try to defund Planned Parenthood. (Applause.) He fought to make sure women could make their own health care decisions. (Applause.) He didn't say that he was supportive of Florida's Latino community but then, when the politics got tough, you walk away from comprehensive immigration reform. Unlike his opponent, he actually believes in science and that climate change is happening. (Applause.)
In a recent debate, Marco Rubio didn't accept that sea levels were rising. Now, he's from Miami. (Laughter.) So you can go to Miami and, on a sunny day, you can see a foot of water and if you want, you can put your finger in it -- it's salty. (Laughter.) It's in the middle of the road. It's a problem. But apparently, what 99 percent of scientists and what your own eyes tell you is not true, from Marco Rubio's perspective. Meanwhile, Patrick Murphy brought Democrats and Republicans together to fund Everglades restoration. He cares about the environment. (Applause.) And as your next senator, he'll fight alongside Hillary to protect this planet for the next generation. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Patrick! Patrick! Patrick!
THE PRESIDENT: Patrick! Patrick! Patrick!
You know what, there's one other big difference between Patrick and Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio still supports Donald Trump.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo --
THE PRESIDENT: Vote!
You know what, I always have to say this: Trump can’t hear you boo, but he’ll hear your vote. (Applause.) Rubio doesn’t care if you boo, but he’ll care if you vote. (Applause.)
You know what, now, for some voters --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: President Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: Hello! (Applause.)
For some voters, Marco Rubio will say, I think that what Donald Trump said is terrible. And then, in front of other voters, he’ll say, well, I’m still supporting Donald Trump. You know what, you can’t have it both ways here. This is as cynical as politics gets. You can’t just say anything or just pretend to be anybody in order to get elected or stay elected.
If you run for office on “family values,” then you should have been walking away from a nominee months ago who was calling women “pigs,” or “dogs,” or “slobs,” or graded them not on the content of their character, but on a scale of one to ten. You can’t, with a straight face, say you respect women and then support somebody who brags about assaulting women. (Applause.)
You don’t have to be a husband, you don’t have to be a father to stand up for women. You just have to be a decent person. (Applause.)
And I will tell you that I know everybody has been noticing Michelle has been pretty passionate lately. (Applause.) You know, it’s not only is this something Michelle has experienced herself, but this is something that, as parents, when we think about our daughters and listen to that kind of behavior, we say, that is not the kind of example we set for our children, for our boys, for our girls. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, obviously I could go on and on about why I don’t think that the Republican nominee is fit to hold this office because he does it himself every times he talks, or tweets, or gets caught on tape.
But I will say this: in my two campaigns for President, I had very strong disagreements with John McCain. I had very strong disagreements with Mitt Romney. I believed I had better ideas than them for how to lead the country. But I was never concerned about the fate of our democracy if they had won. (Applause.)
And Michelle feels the same way. Michelle doesn’t love politics. She wasn’t thrilled about me going into politics. But she is working as hard as she can because she understands there’s something more fundamental at stake than this particular election –- and that is who are we as a country; what is our character; what values do we stand for.
We cannot teach our children to treat women as objects. We want to teach our kids to treat everybody as full and equal citizens capable of doing anything. (Applause.) We can’t teach our kids to vilify immigrants, or people with disabilities, or Americans who practice a different faith. We’ve got to teach them that everybody counts, and everybody matters, and everybody is deserving of respect, and we are stronger together than we could ever be apart. (Applause.)
We shouldn’t let our kids think that politics is about pitching a new hotel, or a new golf course, or a TV contract. It’s about working on behalf of the common good and promoting opportunity and justice.
That’s what Hillary believes. (Applause.) That's why she has to win this election. It’s at the heart of the Methodist creed her mom instilled in her: Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways that you can, as long as ever you can. (Applause.)
That’s why she’s in this. She believes, like I believe, that we can summon what’s best in each of us; that we can make this country better for all of us. She believes that, together, we can do big things that we could never do on our own.
And isn’t that what America is all about? (Applause.) We’re a country like no other in the world. We're a country that was founded for the sake of an idea: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” (Applause.) “That we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.” (Applause.)
That you don’t have to be born into wealth or privilege. You don't have to look a certain way. You don't have to have a certain last name; that if you are willing to give of yourself, you can move the wheel of history. (Applause.) That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny. That's what led GIs to liberate a continent. That's what gave women the courage to reach out for that ballot. That's what led marchers to cross a bridge in Selma. That's what led workers to organize for better wages. That is what has made America exceptional. That is why America is great. (Applause.)
And all that progress, all that work hasn’t happened because some person from on high did it for us. It’s because we did it together. (Applause.) It’s because ordinary people worked hard. It’s because immigrant families, like Devi's parents, worked the night shift. They saved and scrimped. They sacrificed. They got involved. They spoke out. And even though sometimes that progress is slow in coming, sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s frustrating; ultimately, that process of self-government moved us forward.
And that's what Hillary understands. That's what she understands. (Applause.) She knows that in a democracy that's big and diverse like this, you can't be demonizing each other all the time. You can't just make stuff up about each other. You can't spend all your time calling each other names. You've got to compromise sometimes, even when you're right. She understands nobody is perfect -- not even Presidents. But we should try our best to conduct ourselves with just some basic homespun values: honesty, decency, generosity, big-heartedness, fairness -- the things we try to teach our kids, the things most of us should have learned in kindergarten. That's what we should expect. (Applause.)
Look, I am here to tell you -- and I’m just going to be honest with you -- I understand that this is a polarized country right now. I understand that everybody is just rooting for their side. I understand that so much of the news during this election cycle has been discouraging or cynical. And these days, because of the nature of the Internet and social media, sometimes it’s hard to sort out what’s true and what’s false.
I know that so many people can feel cynical sometimes about our prospects for progress and change. And sometimes it feels like Washington is very far away and very distant. But I’m urging all of you -- and I mean this -- the choice in this election is really clear. You've got one person who is really, really well-qualified, who really, really cares about doing the right thing, who is committed to sustaining the work that you and I have done together over these last eight years. I believe Hillary Clinton will be a great President. (Applause.)
I believe she will move this country forward. But she’s going to need our help. It’s not enough just to elect her, and then have a Republican Congress that is already talking about not being willing to cooperate with her on anything. When they controlled the Senate and the House -- right now they can't even pass their own stuff. And all we're going to see is more gridlock and more obstruction, and more threats to shut down the government, and more threats to wreck the economy. They’ve given up on their own nominee, but they’re promising more unprecedented dysfunction in Washington.
They didn’t work with me when I took office, even when we were in the middle of an unprecedented crisis. They sure will not work with Hillary now. Some of them are already promising “years” of investigations and hearings and obstruction and repeal votes. They’re already saying they might not appoint a ninth Supreme Court Justice at all. They boast about their refusal to compromise as if that, in and of itself, is an accomplishment. And all it does is prevent what everybody is looking for, which is fixing up our roads, and putting people to work, and cleaning up our environment, and fixing immigration, educating our kids, keeping them safe. (Applause.)
If you think that the slogan, “Vote for us because we’re going to give you gridlock” -- if you think that’s a good slogan –- then you should Republican. (Laughter.) But I’m hoping you’re not that cynical. I’m hoping you believe America can do better. (Applause.) If you care about creating jobs that families can live on; if you care about childcare they can afford; if you care about equal pay for equal work; if you care about raising the minimum wage; then I need you not just to vote for Hillary, but I need you to vote up and down the ticket. (Applause.) I need you to vote for Patrick Murphy. I need you to vote for our members of Congress -- people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and move this country forward.
So, young people, let me say this one more time. I know you may be cynical sometimes and you may be fed up with politics. I know there’s a lot of crazy stuff on TV and the even crazier stuff on the Internet. But you have the chance right now to reject a divisive, mean-spirited politics that would take us backwards. You have the chance, right now, to elect a woman –- our first female President -– (applause) -- who has spent her entire life moving this country forward. (Applause.) You have a chance to shape history, so don’t let that chance slip away.
You’ve got to vote. If you’ve been marching for criminal justice reform, that’s great –- but you’ve got to vote for a President and a Congress who cares about reducing the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. (Applause.)
If you’ve been marching for the environment, I hear you, but you’ve got to have a President and a Congress who believe in science and will protect the progress we’ve made because they care about the children.
If you’ve been marching for immigration reform, I’ve heard you, but you’ve got to vote for a President and a Congress who doesn’t consider immigrants rapists and criminals, but as people who love this country and are ready to contribute. (Applause.)
Whatever issue you care about, you’ve got to vote. This is where democracy happens. This not where it ends -- it’s where it happens, with your vote. Hillary needs your help. I need your help. America needs your help. (Applause.) Because your involvement is how progress is won. What you do is what’s ultimately going to matter.
And if you -- if you -- do everything you can, not just to vote yourselves, but to get your friends out there, your family, your cousins, your uncle, your neighbors, your coworkers -- if you tell them, this is the moment where America has to take a stand and decide what it is that we believe in and who we are, and we’ve not going to succumb to cynicism, we’re not going to believe in fear, and instead we’re going to lift up hope. (Applause.)
If you want hope instead of fear, then you will elect Hillary Clinton as President of the United States and Patrick Murphy as senator. (Applause.) And you will continue what we started eight years ago and America will continue on this amazing journey -- this amazing journey in which every single person in this country has a chance to live out their dreams.
God bless you, Florida. God bless the United States of America. Let’s get to work! (Applause.)
6:42 P.M. EDT