Philadelphia: Observing that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would lose his bet on "selling fear" and scaring people, US President Barack Obama Wednesday pitched for his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as his successor in the White House.
"I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America," Obama said in his address to the Democratic National Convention here in front of an electrifying audience comprising of party delegates, leaders and supporters.
"You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. 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," he said.
"She knows what's at stake in the decisions our government makes for the working family, the senior citizen, the small business owner, the soldier, and the veteran. Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and 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," he said.
Obama said the choice before Americans in the November presidential election between Clinton and Trump is not even close.
"He (Trump) is not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who've achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated," he said.
Obama said Clinton is respected around the world not just by leaders, but by the people they serve.
"She's worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. And she has the judgment, the experience, and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It's not new to her," he said.
"Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out leaders, taking back territory. I know Hillary won't relent until ISIL is destroyed. She'll finish the job - and she'll do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit to be the next Commander-in-Chief," he asserted.
"America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump. In fact, it doesn't depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election - the meaning of our democracy," he said.
"Ronald Reagan called America 'a shining city on a hill'. Donald Trump calls it 'a divided crime scene' that only he can fix. It doesn't matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they've been in decades, because he's not offering any real solutions to those issues. He's just offering slogans, and he's offering fear. He's betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election," he added.
"That is another bet that Donald Trump will lose. Because he's selling the American people short. We are not a fragile or frightful people," Obama said.
"Apparently, he doesn't know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men, women, and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom, dignity, and human rights," he said.
"He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, and tells NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection. Well, America's promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. And that's one reason why almost every country on earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago," he said.
"Our power doesn't come from some self-declared saviour promising that he alone can restore order. We don't look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that together, we, the people, can form a more perfect union," he said.
Obama said democracy doesn't work if people constantly demonise each other.
"She (Hillary) knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other, see ourselves in each other, fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground, no matter how elusive that may seem," he said.
Making a passionate plea to elect Hillary as his successor, Obama said time and again, they have elected him.
"Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me," he said.
"America, you have vindicated that hope these past eight years. And now I'm ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. This year, in this election, I'm asking you to join me - to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what's best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation," Obama said.