Remarks by the President at Hillary for America Rally - Durham, NH
University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
4:57 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, New Hampshire! (Applause.) Oh, it is good to be back in Durham! (Applause.) And it's a good day to be a Wildcat! (Applause.) Every day is a good day to be a Wildcat. (Applause.)
Can everybody please give it up for our outstanding public servants -- your Senator, Jeanne Shaheen. (Applause.) Representative Annie McLane Kuster. (Applause.) And two women you can send to join them in Washington -- your Governor and next United States senator, Maggie Hassan. (Applause.) And your next congresswoman, Carol Shea Porter. (Applause.) Your next governor, Colin Van Ostern. (Applause.) And give it up for two great friends of mine -- former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords -- (applause) -- and her husband and former astronaut, Mark Kelly! (Applause.)
I've got to say -- because this is, I think, going to be my last big event --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes! I mean, we've got one in Philly. But Michelle is talking there, so I won't get any attention. (Laughter.) So I want to take some time just to thank some very special people who have put everything they’ve got into this campaign, not just here in New Hampshire, but across America -- and that is all the grassroots organizers who have worked so hard every single day. (Applause.) They don’t get a lot of attention. Some of them started on my first campaign. They picked up the phones, they hit the streets. They just live and breathe the hard work of change. I could not be prouder of them. They're the best organizers on the planet, and I could not be more proud of you. So thank you, organizers, for the great work you do. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. I do. (Applause.)
So, one more day, New Hampshire. One more day. One more day and you --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: Okay! I can't hear you, but I appreciate you.
AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Mr. President!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. I do. (Applause.)
So we got one more day. And we can choose a politics of blame and divisiveness and resentment. Or you can choose a politics that says, we're stronger together. (Applause.) Tomorrow you can choose whether we continue the journey of progress or whether it all goes out the window.
Think about where we were eight years ago. Now, I realize some of you were 10. (Laughter.) And you were watching Nickelodeon. And I was trying to think back -- you had "Josh and Drake." You had "iCarly." Although, in our household, "Sponge Bob" ruled. (Applause.) So not only all of you were paying attention, so let me just reprise for you what was going on eight years ago.
We were living through two long wars, the worst economic crisis in 80 years. But because of the American people, and because we made some good decisions about what might help working families, we turned the page. Our businesses have turned job losses into 15.5 million new jobs. (Applause.) Incomes and wages are up, and poverty is down by more than any time in last 30 years. (Applause.) Twenty million Americans have health insurance that didn’t have it before. (Applause.) We’ve doubled our production of clean energy. We became the world leader in fighting climate change. (Applause.) We brought home more of our men and women in uniform. We took out Osama bin Laden. (Applause.) Marriage equality is a reality from coast to coast. (Applause.) High school graduation is at an all-time high. College enrollment at an all-time high.
And over these eight years, across all 50 states, I’ve seen what always has made America great. I’ve seen you -- the American people. Not just Democrats, but people of every party, people of every faith who know that we're stronger together. (Applause.) Young people and old; black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; people with disabilities; gay, straight -- all pledging allegiance to the red, white, and blue. That's the America I know. (Applause.) That's the America I love. And there's one candidate in this race who has devoted her life to that better America -- the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton! (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
THE PRESIDENT: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
THE PRESIDENT: But make no mistake -- all that progress goes down the drain if we don’t win tomorrow. And New Hampshire, it's a small state, but it's an important state. There are some scenarios where Hillary doesn’t win if she doesn’t win New Hampshire. So it depends on you. I know this has been a long campaign, and I know it's been full of negative ads and distractions and noise. I want you to tune all that out. I want you to focus. Because the choice you face when you step into that voting booth could not be clearer.
Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.) This is not just my opinion. This is the opinion of a lot of Republicans. Think about it -- over the weekend, his campaign took his Twitter account away from him. (Laughter.) If your closest advisors don’t trust you to tweet, how can you trust him with the nuclear codes? You can't do it. (Applause.)
He is uniquely unqualified to be America’s chief executive. He says he’s a business guy. But we’ve got a lot of great businessmen and women, including right here in New Hampshire, who don’t try to succeed by stiffing small businesses who did work for him, or stiffing workers what they owe him. This is the first candidate in decades to hide his tax returns, partly because he hasn't paid any federal income taxes. He thinks that’s smart, but that means he's not making a dime's worth of contribution to caring for our veterans, to supporting our troops, to rebuilding our roads, to building up our public colleges and universities.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo --
He's got nothing serious to offer on jobs. There hasn’t been enough talk about this economy in this election. And you know why? Because we’ve created jobs for 73 months in a row now. (Applause.) Wages are rising. Just last week, the unemployment rate was at 4.9 percent -- that’s near the lowest levels in nearly nine years. (Applause.)
So Donald Trump generally avoids facts or he just denies them. So he said this is a “disaster.” A disaster? (Laughter.) Listen, I just came from Michigan. (Applause.) You want to know what a real disaster looks like, think back to that state and what we were dealing with eight years ago. The American auto industry was flat on its back. Unemployment was soaring. Today's plants across that state and across the region that were shut down -- they're now doing double shifts. (Applause.) And you know what Donald Trump’s idea -- Donald Trump's idea for the auto industry? He actually suggested that Michigan should send its auto jobs to states that pay their workers less. And by making Michigan workers suffer, they’d have no choice but to accept less pay if they wanted to get their jobs back.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo. What are you supposed to do?
THE PRESIDENT: Vote!
Does that sound like somebody who actually cares about working people?
THE PRESIDENT: New England has lost mill jobs over the years. Would that be a good way to bring them back? Just send them down to places where they pay them less?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, we got manufacturing growing again over these last eight years -- first time since the 1990s. And Hillary’s going to keep that going. (Applause.) She’s put forward the biggest investment in new jobs since World War II. She’s got plans to grow manufacturing, boost people’s wages, help students with college debt. That’s why she should be the next President of the United States. (Applause.)
And New Hampshire, let me tell you something I’ve learned about this job. Who you are, what you are -- that doesn’t change once you get into the Oval Office. It magnifies who you are. It shines a spotlight on who you are. But if you denigrate minorities when you're running for office; if you call immigrants criminals and rapists when you're running for office; if you mock people with disabilities and treat women as objects, calling them pigs and dogs and scoring them on a 1 through 10 test -- if you do that when you're running for office, that’s how you’ll conduct yourself in office.
If you insult POWs and talk our troops down, if you say you know more than our generals when you can't tell the difference between a Shia and a Sunni -- (applause) -- that's how you'll conduct yourself as Commander-in-Chief. You know, it's bad enough being arrogant -- it's bad being arrogant and not knowing anything. (Applause.)
If you accept the support of Klan sympathizers, saying, well, I don't know what they're about, then that's how you'll be thinking when you take office. If you disrespect the Constitution, threaten to shut down reporters that write things you don't like, threatening to throw your opponent in jail in the middle of a presidential debate -- (laughter) -- if you do discriminate against people of different faiths -- that happens in other countries, but not this one. This is the United States of America. We've got a Constitution. (Applause.)
You know, his buddy, Putin, may think that's okay. I don't think it's okay. The American people don't think it's okay. (Applause.) Come on!
Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to hold this job. And the good news is, New Hampshire, you are uniquely qualified to make sure he does not get this job. (Applause.) But you’ve got to vote. You've got to vote tomorrow. (Applause.) And the good news is, you don't just have to vote against someone -- you've got a candidate who is actually worthy of your vote, who is smart, and tested, and probably the most qualified person ever to run for this office -- and that is Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)
You know, I've got to say, since my name is not on the ballot, there are times where I've been just kind of trying to bite my tongue. But there is a lot about this election that has not been on the level. But I'm going to level with you right now.
The way campaigns have gotten, we’ve come to accept crazy stuff as normal. And you see the strategy of just repeating attacks and outright lies over and over again. But it gets churned in social media and Facebook, and no matter how false they are, they just create this cloud of dust.
And so I've had to bite my lip and just listen to some of the nonsense that's been said about Hillary. I know Hillary. I ran against Hillary. She worked for me. (Laughter.) This is somebody who has dedicated her life to making this country better. (Applause.) This is somebody who cares about working families because she comes from a working family. (Applause.) Think about how she got her start.
As a young woman, not much older than most of the folks here, while Donald Trump and his developer dad were being sued by the Justice Department for denying housing to African American families, Hillary was going undercover from school to school to make sure minority kids were getting an equal shot at a good education. (Applause.) And she has not stopped fighting. She has not stopped fighting for justice. She has not stopped fighting for equality. She has not stopped fighting for kids ever since.
She will be a smart and steady President. And unlike her opponent, she actually respects working Americans. (Applause.) She will work her heart out to create jobs that families can live on and child care you can afford. She'll fight for equal pay for equal work. (Applause.) She'll make sure that we've got a higher minimum wage and family leave that's paid so people can afford to use it, and make sure that this economy works for everybody.
And unlike her opponent, she actually knows what's going on in the world. (Applause.) She's traveled around the world. She's respected around the world. She'll work her heart out to keep America respected and strong and safe. And she will not turn people against each other just to win an election. She'll be a leader for all of us, even those who don't vote for her, because she knows we are stronger together. (Applause.)
But, New Hampshire, if you want Hillary to continue the progress we've made, she's going to need allies in the Senate. Allies like Maggie Hassan. (Applause.) You cannot just stick her with Republicans in Congress who are already promising even more unprecedented dysfunction in Washington. More shutdowns. More obstruction. More repeal votes. “Years” of hearings, “years” of investigations. Some are saying they’ll block all Supreme Court nominations --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo.
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, apparently they think only Republican Presidents should nominate judges. If you think "Voting for Endless Gridlock" is a good slogan, you should vote for the Republicans. And by the way, Maggie's opponent -- I gather she is kind of running like maybe she's a Democrat all of a sudden. (Laughter.) But in Washington, she supports Mitch McConnell. In Washington, she supports a majority that has consistently been about saying no to everything. She supports eliminating health care for 20 million Americans who already have it. So don't buy that okie-doke. There's a clear choice involved here. (Applause.)
Maggie Hassan will make sure we've got a Democratic majority to work for the things you care about. (Applause.) Her opponent will not. It's a clear choice. American can do better than gridlock. If you care about creating jobs, if you care about childcare they can afford, if you care about equal pay for women and a higher wages for workers, then you’ve got to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.
People like Hillary. People like Maggie. People who will put you ahead of politics -- (applause) -- who will involve all of us in the work of moving this country forward.
And that's ultimately what this comes down to, New Hampshire. The most important office in a democracy is not president, it's not senator, it's not governor or mayor -- it's citizen. That's the most important office. (Applause.) That's why we don't talk about “I,” we talk about “we.” We, the people. We shall overcome. Yes, we can. (Applause.) I didn’t say, “Yes, I can.” I said, “Yes, we can.” (Applause.) America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us; it’s about what we do together, through the slow, and, yes, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.
This is where you come in. You hold the most important office in a democracy. It depends on you. Even when the odds are steep. Even when the road is long. It's been ordinary people who made the difference. That’s how patriots chose revolution over tyranny. The GIs that defeated fascism around the world -- they were your age. Women finding the courage to reach for the ballot; marchers crossing a bridge in Selma for their dignity; workers organizing collective bargaining and better wages. You make these things happen. (Applause.)
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.” In this country, you don’t have to be born of wealth or privilege to make a difference. You don’t have to practice a certain faith or look a certain way to bend the arc of history. And that’s what makes America exceptional. That’s what’s always made America great.
So with whatever credibility I’ve got after eight years as your President, I am asking you to trust me on this one. (Applause.) I already voted for Hillary. We got early vote in Illinois. I already voted for her. I'm absolutely confident that when she’s President, this country will be in good hands. (Applause.)
And I’m asking you to do the same -- especially the young people who are here today. (Applause.) It isn’t that often -- it isn't that often in life you’ll discover where you just know you can make a difference. It’s not that often when you have a chance to shape history. The world is watching us right now. This is one of those moments. Don’t let it slip away. Don't give away your power. You have a chance to send a clear signal -- we are not divisive; we are not mean-spirited. That's not what America is about. We're not going to go backwards. (Applause.)
You can elect a leader who’s spent her life trying to move this country forward. Our first female President. (Applause.) A President who will be an example for our daughters and for our sons, and send a signal, there is no glass ceiling -- anybody who works hard and cares enough can achieve.
And now, after months of campaigning, after all the rallies, after all the ads, it all comes down to you. This is out of Hillary’s hands now. It’s out of my hands. It's out of Michelle’s hands. It's out of Maggie’s hands or Jeanne’s hands. It’s in your hands. The fate of our democracy depends on what you do when you step into that voting booth tomorrow. It depends on whether you're telling your friends and your neighbors and your relatives that they have to go and exercise this power, this legacy.
Don’t dare fall for the easy cynicism that says my vote doesn’t matter, or politicians are all the same -- because they’re not. Hillary’s opponent wants you to think that. Folks -- Mitch McConnell wants you to think that. They don't want you to vote. In some states they’ve made it harder for you to vote. But your vote does matter. I won some states by two votes a precinct. Your voice makes a difference.
And if you don’t believe that, I want to leave you with one last story. I want to leave you with one last story, and this is for the young people here. This is for the young people here, so I want you to pay attention. (Applause.)
A lot of you won't remember this, but when I ran for the presidency in ’08, the truth is, is that not a lot of people gave me a chance. I was a skinny guy with a funny name. And when I look back at the pictures of me speaking back then, I look really young. (Laughter.)
So, initially, when we started the campaign the odds weren’t for us. And we had a lot of states to cover, and I had never run a national campaign. And so we had to try to get any support we could, any endorsements we could. So I fly down to North Carolina -- South Carolina -- South Carolina. I go down to South Carolina for some state legislature’s banquet or something. And I'm sitting next to this state legislator, and she hasn’t made an endorsement yet. And I ask her for the endorsement. That's what you do when you're kind of trying to get support.
And she says, you know what, Obama, I like you. You're a little young, a little green behind the ears, but I like you. I will endorse you if you come to my hometown of Greenwood, South Carolina.
So I must have had a little too much wine because I just said okay on the spot. (Laughter.) I was feeling a little desperate, didn’t have a lot of endorsements, a lot of support back then. So fast-forward about a month and a half later. I'd been working in Iowa, I'd been coming up to New Hampshire, I'd been calling people and trying to raise money. And I'm exhausted, haven't seen my family. I'm a little grouchy. And I fly down to South Carolina, down to Greenville, and I get in about midnight. And I'm exhausted. I'm dragging my bags through the little airport terminal and get it to the hotel. And all I want to do is sleep.
And suddenly, right as I get to the door, I get this tap on my shoulder. And I turn around and it's one of my staffers. Said, “Senator” -- because back then I was just a senator. He said, “Senator, you do know that you got to wake up at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, right?” I said, what do you mean? He said, well, remember that state legislator you met, you promised you’d go out to Greenwood? Well, that's tomorrow. (Laughter.)
So I'm muttering under my breath. I'm not happy. I go in, just fall out. Alarm goes off, and I feel terrible. I'm exhausted. Think I'm coming down with a cold. I open up the curtains -- it's pouring down rain outside! Pouring down rain. Horrible day. I make myself some coffee and I get the newspaper outside my door, and open it up -- there’s a bad story about me in The New York Times. (Laughter.)
I get dressed, shaved, walk out, just kind of still groggy, still staggering. My umbrella blows open. That ever happen to you? (Laughter.) As I'm walking out. And I get soaked! Soaked! I'm just soaked. I get in the car. I say, all right, how long is it going to take to Greenwood? An hour and a half. (Laughter.) An hour and a half.
So we're driving and we're driving and we're driving. It doesn’t seem like we're going anywhere. Sheets of rain are pouring down. And finally, we get to Greenwood -- although you can't tell because there’s really no buildings in Greenwood that are more than like two stories high. (Laughter.) And there are just a couple little stores, and there’s like one stop light.
And we pull up to this little park fieldhouse. And I get out and I'm sloshing around in the rain, and my socks are wet. And I walk in -- and I've driven an hour and a half -- and there are like 15, 20 people there -- 15 or 20 people. And I will tell you, they didn’t look any happier to see me than I did to see them. (Laughter.) They were wet and damp and they weren’t really excited. They didn’t know why they were there. And so I go around the room, and I say, how do you do, and talk to everybody. But they’re not really feeling it right now.
And so I'm about to make my pitch. I'm trying to muster myself up -- let me make the best of this. I'm going to do it quick and then I'm going to get out of there. And suddenly I hear this voice from the back, this shout “Fired up!”
AUDIENCE: Ready to go!
THE PRESIDENT: And everybody in the room says, “Fired up!” and I say -- and then I hear the voice say, “Ready to go!” And everybody in the room says, “Ready to go!” And I don't know what’s going on. (Laughter.) I think these people are crazy. (Laughter.) Maybe I shouldn’t have come here.
And then I look in the back of the room. And there’s this middle-aged woman, and she’s dressed like she just came from church. She’s got a big church hat. And she got I think a gold tooth. (Laughter.) Turns out she is -- holds a position in the local NAACP office, and also -- I’m not kidding you -- is a private detective. This is a true story. (Laughter.) She’s like a private eye -- although it’s hard to think that you wouldn’t see her coming. (Laughter.) She’s very colorful.
And she’s grinning at me. And apparently she is known wherever she goes by saying, this chant, “Fired up!” And everybody knows her, so they know that when she says, “Fired up!” they've got to say “Fired up!” And when she says, “Ready to go!” everybody has got to say, “Ready to go!”
And this is what she does. Every meeting she goes to she does this thing, which is kind of strange. (Laughter.) So the thing is, though, she keeps on doing it. And everybody keeps on -- she says, “Fired up!” and they say, “Fired up!” And, “Ready to go!” “Ready to go!”
But the interesting things is after a while, I’m starting to get kind of fired up. (Laughter and applause.) I’m starting to feel like I’m ready to go. And all those negative thoughts and all those bad memories start kind of drifting away. And we have a great meeting with these 20 people. And they all say, we're going to support you, and we're going to go out there and work.
And even after we left Greenwood, the rest of the day, all the campaigning, when I saw my staff, I said, “Are you fired up?” They said, “I’m fired up, boss.” (Laughter.) “Are you ready to go?” “I’m ready to go.”
And it just goes to show you how one voice can change a room. (Applause.) And if it can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. (Applause.) And if it can change a state, it can change a nation. (Applause.) And if it can change a nation, it can change the world! (Applause.)
So I just have one question for you, New Hampshire: Are you fired up?
AUDIENCE: Fired up!
THE PRESIDENT: Ready to go?
AUDIENCE: Ready to go!
THE PRESIDENT: Fired up!
AUDIENCE: Fired up!
THE PRESIDENT: Ready to go!
AUDIENCE: Ready to go!
THE PRESIDENT: Fired up!
AUDIENCE: Fired up!
THE PRESIDENT: Ready to go!
AUDIENCE: Ready to go!
THE PRESIDENT: Let’s go finish what we started. Let’s elect Hillary Clinton! (Applause.) Let’s elect Maggie Hassan! (Applause.)
I love you, New Hampshire. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
5:29 P.M. EST