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Obama: Clinton a cool, capable confidante who ‘never, ever quits’

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year. | Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA — President Barack Obama gave Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a powerful boost Wednesday night, saying there’s never been a man or woman “more qualified” to serve as president — including himself and her husband.

In a speech capped by Clinton striding on stage to offer a hug of gratitude, a nostalgic Obama spoke as much about his former Democratic primary rival as his own legacy. And he sought to remind Americans about her years of civil service and experience, saying she’s “been in the room.”

“Nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. You can read about it. You can study it, but until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis or send young people to war. But Hillary’s been in the room. She’s been part of those decisions,” Obama said of the woman he appointed secretary of state. “She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes.”

He described Clinton, a one-time competitor turned friend and confidante, as “cool” in times of crisis.

“Even in the midst of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and she treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.

President Barack Obama addresses Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama addresses Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

“That’s the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody —more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

“I hope you don’t mind, Bill, but I’m just telling the truth, man,” Obama said to an applauding former President Bill Clinton.

Obama also had a message for Trump: “America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”

“Thank you for this incredible journey,” a misty-eyed Obama said to cheers as he took it all in.

Then, Clinton herself appeared, and the two hugged, amid roars of cheers.

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embrace on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embrace on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

But it was also Tim Kaine’s night: “I never expected to be here,” Clinton’s pick for vice-president said earlier while introducing himself to America.

The Virginia senator spoke of his upbringing in Kansas City, where he helped his family with shifts at his dad’s ironworking shop. And he told of his year-long missionary trip in which he said he learned what it was like to see a dictatorship put a few at the top and the rest left out.

Then he stole the show by mimicking Trump’s voice, declaring ‘Believe me’: “It’s gonna be great – believe me! We’re gonna build a wall and make Mexico pay for it – believe me! We’re gonna destroy ISIS so fast – believe me! There’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns – believe me!”

“Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising self promoting one man wrecking crew,” Kaine said.

Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., waves after speaking to delegates during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. | Carolyn Kaster/AP
Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., waves after speaking to delegates during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. | Carolyn Kaster/AP

Vice President Joe Biden delivered an emotional farewell address to the convention, speaking of an America that’s not full of fear, but of optimism and promise.

“We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line. Don’t forget,” Biden said.

The popular vice president talked about what he called Trump’s inability to lead: “He has no clue about what makes the American Dream. Actually he has no clue, period,” Biden said as the crowd chanted “No Clue!”

“He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break. That’s a bunch of malarkey,” Biden said.

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Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg — who left the Democratic Party in 2000 — had a strong message for independent voters, while harshly criticizing Trump: “ Your vote matters now. Your vote will determine the future of your job, your business and our future together as a country.

“Now I know Hillary Clinton is not flawless. No candidate is. But she is the right choice, and the responsible choice, in this election,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg urged others to join him in supporting Clinton “not out of party loyalty, but out of love for country.

“And together let’s elect Hillary — a sane, competent person with international experience, a unifier who is mature enough to reach out to get advice, to build consensus and to recognize that we all have something to contribute,” Bloomberg said.

On a day Trump urged Russia to hack Americans, Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, called Trump a dangerous pick for president.

“As someone who was responsible for protecting our nation from cyberattacks, it’s inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible,” Panetta said. “I say this out of a firm concern, for the future of our children and my grandchildren, Donald Trump cannot become our commander in chief,” Panetta said to a roar of cheers and “No More Wars” chants.

Earlier speakers discussed how gun violence has affected the lives of Americans.

Former Arizona representative Gabby Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, join hands after addressing delegates on Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Robyn Beck/AF
Former Arizona representative Gabby Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, join hands after addressing delegates on Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head during a public appearance in 2011, delivered a powerful message in support of Clinton’s stance on gun legislation, and received a standing ovation as she walked, without assistance, to the podium.

“Hillary is tough. Hillary is courageous. She will fight to make our families safer. In the White House, she will stand up to the gun lobby. That’s why I’m voting for Hillary,” Giffords said. “Speaking is difficult for me. But come January, I want to say these two words: Madame President.”

A Twitter List by Suntimes