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Clinton Supporters Hope for Big Lift From Obama Speech

  • VOA Staff

FILE - President Barack Obama points to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a Clinton campaign event in Charlotte, N.C., July 5, 2016.

FILE - President Barack Obama points to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a Clinton campaign event in Charlotte, N.C., July 5, 2016.

Democrats are hoping that President Barack Obama will help presidential candidate Hillary Clinton energize the party to win the White House when he delivers a highly anticipated speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention.

White House officials say the president continues to work on the speech, which he began to craft weeks ago.

Obama, who remains wildly popular within the Democratic Party, will reflect on the country’s progress during his time in office and why he believes Clinton should be elected the 45th president of the United States.

For her part, Clinton has vowed to build on his accomplishments.

In his remarks in Philadelphia, Obama will tell supporters why he believes electing Republican nominee Donald Trump would put the United States on a “risky path,” according to the White House.

However, it will focus most on Clinton and uniting the country.

'Better together'

“I think the president will talk about who we are as a country and that we are better united than divided, and that we’re better together than apart,” deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said Tuesday.

FILE - In this June 3, 2007, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama participate in a debate in Manchester, N.H.

FILE - In this June 3, 2007, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama participate in a debate in Manchester, N.H.

Obama is expected to carry forward the theme into campaign events for Clinton leading up to the November presidential election.

“Not just because it is a stark contrast between the two candidates on the ballot this year,” added Schultz, “but also because it’s a principle that has animated the president’s lifetime of public service.”

Obama electrified supporters during his first campaign appearance with Clinton in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 5.

He portrayed his former secretary of state as an intelligent, highly qualified, hardworking, tough and passionate leader who will protect the nation, help working families, and promote American interests and values.

Obama must keep the focus on the Democratic Party’s goals, said Yvonne Reeves-Chong, a Clinton delegate from Missouri speaking in Philadelphia.

Progressives' mission

“His election eight years ago wasn’t about just electing Barack Obama. It was about the mission of our party, of progressives,” said Reeves-Chong. “We’re still on that mission. This is just the next leg.”

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2008, file photo, then-President-elect Barack Obama stands with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, after announcing that she was his choice as secretary of state during a news conference in Chicago.

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2008, file photo, then-President-elect Barack Obama stands with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, after announcing that she was his choice as secretary of state during a news conference in Chicago.

During his speech, the U.S. leader will also recall “what the grit, ingenuity and determination of the American people helped to achieve over the past eight years,” said Schultz.

“President Obama has to stick with the message that there has been a lot of progress. When he took office, things were so bad,” said Mary Lou Tevebaugh, a Clinton delegate from Texas.

“There is strong support all across the Democratic Party for the agenda that President Obama has pursued and the vigor with which he has pursued it,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Obama and Clinton have closely aligned visions for the future, including policies to promote job growth, make community college free, and advance affordable child care and family leave.

'Get out there and vote'

“President Obama is one of the most inspirational, transformational figures we’ve ever had in the political world. The Hillary Clinton campaign needs him out there just inspiring Democratic voters to get out there and vote,” said Andrea Dew Steele, president of Emerge America, a group that promotes women's efforts to run for public office.

Polls show that Clinton and Trump are locked in a tight race.

Obama "really can be the person to help inspire the base, but he also just inspires Democrats, period,” Steele added.

White House officials said Obama is eager to hit the campaign trail, not only to make his case for Clinton but also to emphasize why this presidential election is especially critical to the nation’s future.

VOA coverage editor Jim Fry contributed to this report.

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