FIRST AND FOREMOST: President Barack Obama, the first African American voted to the highest office in the nation and free world, made his last visit as Commander in Chief at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on Friday Oct. 14. The President encouraged Ohioans to vote early and support Democratic candidate Hilary R. Clinton to continue his legacy. (DANIELLE BOWMAN/ PHOTO)
On a day that began with cold crisp chill and warmed to a delightful afternoon, the first African American President Barack Obama made his final visit to Cleveland as commander in chief reminding Northeast Ohio why it is paramount to vote for Hilary Clinton.
"Since I've been in Cleveland the last time, it seems like there's an extra pep in your step," Obama said. "Did something happen here in Cleveland? Did LeBron have something to do with it? Congratulations everybody."
Ohio was instrumental both Obama’s historical run in 2008 and his repeat for victory in 2012 and he thanked the crowd of several thousand
"I told you then, eight years ago, that I wasn't a perfect person, and that I wasn't going to be a perfect president. What I guaranteed you was that I would work every single day, as hard as I could, to make sure that working families all across the country got a better deal."
He then quipped:
"Our lease was only eight years. So now we're making sure we didn't break any china," Obama said. "We want to get our security deposit back."
The diverse crowd which received speeches from Mayor Frank Jackson and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge was enthused and jovial throughout, sensing that it was witnessing something special.
Even those covering the event took no shame in taking a selfee with the President in the backdrop.
However, Obama’s visit to Cleveland was a very serious one, to remind citizens about getting out to vote early and to support Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton to continue his legacy.
“Donald Trump's closing argument is, ‘What do you have to lose?’ ” he asked the audience. “The answer is everything.”
He praised the woman he defeated in a contested campaign in ’08 and chastised her opponent for ’16.
“She doesn't quit, and she doesn't make excuses. And by the way, isn't that what you want from a president?” he asked as Clinton supporters waving “Stronger together” and “Love trumps hate” signs basked in the fall sunshine.
“You know, I notice her opponent — he seems to be in the middle of the game, making excuses all the time for why he might be losing,” Obama continued, prompting laughter. “And it's always interesting to me to see folks who talk tough but then don't act tough. Because if you're tough, you don't make excuses. You don't start complaining about the refs before the game is even done. You just play the game, right?”
“And if you want a leader who actually values hard work and respects working Americans, if you want higher wages, and better benefits, and a fair tax code, and equal pay for women, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton,” he said.
The president also questioned Trump's recent suggestion that a global elite composed of bankers and financiers is working to undermine his candidacy.
“This is a guy who spent all his time hanging around, trying to convince everybody he was a global elite,” he said, prompting laughter. “Talking about how great his buildings are, how luxurious, and how rich he is, and flying around everywhere. All he had time for was celebrities. And now suddenly he’s acting like he’s a populist out there — ‘Man, I’m going to fight for working people.’ Come on, man.”
He also too aim at Republicans who has stood by Trump.
“And a lot of Republican elected officials have just stood by,” Obama said. “A lot of House members, a lot of senators, they stood by and they didn’t say anything, because it was a way to rile up their base and it was a way to mount opposition to whatever we were trying to do. And over time, because a lot of the hardcore Republican partisan voters were just hearing this stuff over and over again, they started to believe it. And that’s what allowed Donald Trump suddenly to emerge. Donald Trump didn’t build all this crazy conspiracy stuff.”
Obama focused more of his time on detailing the policy changes he had championed — on health care, the economy, same-sex marriage and other issues — to suggest rally attendees needed to make a greater investment in electing Clinton.
“I have to tell you, all that progress goes out the window if we don't make the right choice, right now,” he said.