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President Obama Stumps for Hillary Clinton in North Carolina. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired November 2, 2016 - 16:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you disrespect women before you are elected president, you will disrespect women when you are in office.


OBAMA: If you accept the support of Klan sympathizers, the Klan, and hesitate when asked about that support, then you will tolerate that support when you are in office.

If you disrespect the Constitution before you are elected president, and you threaten to shut down the press when it writes stories about you, you don't like, or you threaten to throw your opponent in jail without any due process, or you discriminate against people of different faiths, then imagine what you will do when you actually have the power to violate the Constitution along those lines.

And I want to speak not just to Democrats. I want to speak to Republicans here in North Carolina as well. You know, look, I am obviously a partisan Democrat. I understand that. But we are not Democrats or Republicans first. We are Americans first.


OBAMA: And there are certain standards of behavior that we should expect out of our leaders.

I have got Republican friends who don't think or act the way Donald Trump does. This is somebody who is uniquely unqualified. I ran against John McCain. I ran against Mitt Romney. I thought I would be a better president.

But I never thought that the republic was at risk if they were elected. And guess what, North Carolina? The good news is, all of you are uniquely qualified to make sure this guy, who is uniquely unqualified, does not become president. You have just got to vote.


OBAMA: You have just got to vote.

And the nice thing is, you don't just have to vote against that guy, because you have a candidate who is actually worthy of your vote, who is smart and who is steady and who is tested, is probably the most qualified person ever to run for this office.


OBAMA: And that is the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton!


OBAMA: Here is somebody who has dedicated her life to making this country better. Think about how she got her start. While Donald Trump and his dad were being sued by the Department of Justice for denying housing to African-American families -- no, I'm not making this up. I'm just stating facts.

At the same time, Hillary was going undercover from school to school to make sure disadvantaged kids were getting an equal shot at a good education.


OBAMA: That tells you something about their respective values. And Hillary has not stopped fighting for justice, hasn't stopped fighting for equality ever since.

Her heart has always been in the right place, and she works hard every single day. I know. She worked for me. First of all, she ran against me, and she worked really hard. And then she worked for me, and she worked really hard.

And she was there in the Situation Room, and she was there in the Oval Office and when we were making big decisions about going after bin Laden, even when it was risky. When it was time for us to figure out how to win back world opinion in the wake of the Iraq War, she circled the globe tirelessly as secretary of state, earned the respect of world leaders.

And you know what? She is not flashy. She is not going around spending all the time giving big stem-winders. And so, as a consequence, sometimes, she is underappreciated here at home. But she made me a better president. And she is an outstanding public servant.


OBAMA: And she knows her stuff. And she understands the challenges we face.

And she is tough. And when things don't go her way, she doesn't whine. And she doesn't complain. She doesn't blame others, suggesting everything is rigged.

You know, I had a chance to meet the Tar Heels basketball teams, the men and the women.


OBAMA: And here's one thing I know. If in the middle of a game, you are spending all your time arguing with the refs and starting to make excuses about how you are going to lose because the refs are not doing the right thing, then you are a loser. And you shouldn't win.




OBAMA: And Hillary, she just works through whatever is in front of her.

She has got grit, and she has got resilience. And if she gets knocked down, she just comes back up and she goes back at it. And she knows, most importantly, what the decisions that a president makes means to you. This is not abstract stuff we are talking about here.

If you are a student, whether you get a Pell Grant or were able to make sure that you don't have a mountain of debt when you get out of school, that depends on decisions that are made in part by the president.

If you are a soldier, whether you get deployed to some far-off land, that is up to the commander in chief.

If you are a young person who was brought to this country as a child, has grown up as an American, but maybe doesn't have the papers, and now you are trying to figure out how you contribute to this country you call home, that is something the president has influence over.

Veterans, seniors, a single mom who needs some help with child care, that's what these decisions are about. And Hillary understands that, and she knows those folks need a champion. And she has actually got plans to help. She has actually got plans.


OBAMA: The other guy is not a big plan guy. She has got plans.

She can show you how she is going to make sure more people have early childhood education. She is going to show how young people can have more affordable college educations.


OBAMA: And while she is executing the plans, she is also going to respect working Americans and the values we care about.

She will be a commander in chief who finishes the job defeating ISIL. She will be smart and she will be steady. And, by the way, she is going to need help. And that's why I want all of you to also focus on making sure Deborah Ross is going to be a senator right alongside her when Hillary gets elected, because Deborah has heard your stories.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: She has been out there fighting for working families, making sure they get a fair shot and a great education and that seniors are secure with the retirement that they have earned. And, unlike her opponent, she doesn't support Donald Trump.

I want to take a minute just to talk about Senator Burr. He and I came in together when we were in the Senate. And, personally, he is a decent guy. I have got nothing wrong -- nothing against Richard Burr.

But when I hear him say, "There is not a separation between me and Donald Trump," that's troubling. Either he actually means it, in which case he agrees with everything Donald Trump says -- that's what it says -- that's what you mean when you say there is not a separation -- or he doesn't mean it, and he is just saying it to get elected. That's not good either way.

You don't want a senator who spends all his time saying, yes, sir, Mr. Trump. What do you want me to do, Mr. Trump?

And, lately, he has been mimicking Donald Trump. Last week, he actually joked about violence against Hillary. That's not something we do. That's not something -- I tell you, if I heard a Democrat saying that, I would condemn them in a hot second.

You don't talk about violence against public officials even in a joke.


OBAMA: And I want to acknowledge he apologized, but the problem is, this is becoming normal.

This is sort of the red meat they are throwing their audiences. And it's not normal. And it's not who North Carolina is. North Carolina is full of good and decent people and courteous people and people who are willing to cooperate with each other to try to make things better.

And that's what America is about. So, let me be clear, North Carolina. Business. Let me be clear.


OBAMA: There is something more at stake in this election than just plans or policies. This is about the character of our nation.

When Hillary was young, her mom taught her the Methodist creed: Do all the good you can for all the people you can in all the ways you can as long as you ever can. That's her North Star. That is what guides her. She believes in that.

She believes we can summon what's best in each of us and make this country better for all of us. That's what America is about. We are a country like no other, not because of the size of our skyscrapers or the power of our armies, but because we are a place founded for the sake of an idea.


We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. We don't have to be born into wealth or privilege in this country. We don't have to practice a certain faith. We don't have to have a certain last name.

We just have to be willing to contribute. We just have to be willing to put our shoulder to the wheel of history. And we can be a part of this community that we call America.

That's what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny. That's what led G.I.s to liberate a continent. That's what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot.


OBAMA: That's what gave marchers the courage to cross a bridge in Selma.


OBAMA: That's what allowed workers to organize for collective bargaining and better wages. That's what made America exceptional. That's what makes America great.


OBAMA: In other words, America depends on you, you, all of you.

America has never been about what one person says he will do for us. I didn't say, yes, I can. I said, yes, we can.


OBAMA: It's about what can be achieved by us, each of us together, through that hard, slow, and, yes, sometimes frustrating work of self- government. That means all of us.

Justice Louis Brandeis once said the most important office of the democracy is the office of citizen, not president, not senator, not mayor, congressman. Citizen.

That's you. And that is what Hillary is counting on, because she understands that, in a big democracy like this, a diverse country like this, it all comes down to what the people say. And she understands it doesn't work, our democracy doesn't work if we demonize each other, if we just make stuff up, if we spend all of our time just trying to tear the other person down just for the sake of seeing if we can get a little more power.

She understands that issues are not black and white. And, yes, progress requires compromise, even when you are right. And she knows that none of us are perfect, not even our presidents, but that we should try to conduct ourselves with basic honesty and decency and big-heartedness, because that's what our moms and dads taught us. And they were on to something. They understood that, sometimes, what

life is about is pretty simple. It's like, how do you treat people? Are you useful? Are you kind? Are you generous? Do you treat people with respect?

She understands that. And Hillary will continue the progress that we have made. And she will need allies like Deborah Ross, because it's not enough just to stick Hillary with a Republican Congress, the way they are behaving right now.

I wish they were behaving differently. I have tried. I have reached out to them. They didn't work with me when I took office, even when we were trying to save folks' jobs and prevent a depression.

Even when they control the Senate and the House, they have trouble passing their own stuff. And so they just resort constantly to gridlock and obstruction and threats to shut down the government and wreck the economy if they don't get their way. That's not how democracy works.

That's not what your parents taught you. We teach even our little kids in the sandbox, well, share and cooperate and don't hit each other.

And, right now, because a lot of them think that Trump will lose, they are already promising even more unprecedented dysfunction in Washington, which is pretty hard to do.


OBAMA: They are promising years of investigations, years of hearings, more shutdowns, more obstruction. I am not making this up. It is all -- take a look. This is what they are saying, more repeal votes.

Some are saying they won't appoint a ninth Supreme Court justice at all. Deborah's opponent, Senator Burr, just said, just said that if Hillary wins, he will do everything he can to block all Supreme Court nominations.

Now, keep in mind that the reason they said they would not have a hearing or vote for my Supreme Court nomination, bucking all of American history, was because

[16:15:00] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, keep in mind, the reason they said they would not have a hearing or vote for my Supreme Court nomination, bucking all of American history was because we thought the American people should decide the next Supreme Court justice. Now, they're saying, well, if they don't decide the way we want them decide, maybe we won't even do that.

Eleven years ago, Richard Burr said, a Supreme Court without nine justices would not work. Well, what changed? Only Republican presidents get to nominate judges? Is that in the Constitution? I used to teach constitutional law. I've never seen that provision.

You've got some Republicans in Congress who are already suggesting they will impeach Hillary. She hasn't even been elected yet. And it doesn't matter what evidence they just -- they'll find something. That's what they're saying already. How can -- how does our democracy function like that?

Look, nobody likes gridlock, but I want to be clear about something, gridlock is not some mysterious fog that just kind of descends on Washington. It's not like some, you know, apparition that shows up. You know, it's not like a monster moving. Gridlock's coming. That's not how it works.

Gridlock is not happening because both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are being equally unreasonable. I mean, I know it's hard to view me as objective here, but I'm about to leave. So, I'm just letting you know the truth.

Wait. Wait. Hold on. Still got some business to do. Gridlock is what happens -- gridlock is what happens when Republican politicians, like Richard Burr, decide not based on the merits, not based on what's good for the constituents, but based on political calculation that they are going to oppose anything good for the country just because a Democrat proposes it. That's how gridlock happens and that's essentially Richard Burr's campaign platform at this point.

And as I said before, I know Richard Burr. I used to work out with him in the gym in the Senate. He's a perfectly nice guy. But what's happened is that they have built up this new normal in their party where he's got to say anything in order to get elected.

So if you think "vote for gridlock" is good slogan, then you should vote for the Republican. But if you believe like I believe, that America can do better, if you believe that we should be out there not trying to block each other from doing stuff but creating jobs for families, lifting wages, child care, if you care about equal pay for women and raising the minimum wage, then I need you to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket. I need you to vote for Hillary Clinton. I need you to vote for Deborah Ross.

They are ready to roll-up their sleeves and move this country forward! They don't want to look backwards. They want to go forward.


Look, I know it's easy to get cynical. There's a lot in this election season that can give you reason to be cynical. But right now, I just want you to know, all of you, it's in your power to reject the divisive, mean-spirited politics that would take us backwards.

That's not how it has to be. That's not how it's always been but it's going to depend on you. You can elect a leader who has spent her entire life trying to move this country forward, our first female president who will be an example for our daughters and our sons, that everybody has a chance to contribute and serve.

You have a chance to shape history. What an amazing thing that is. If Hillary wins North Carolina, she wins.

And that means that when I said the fate of the republic rests on you, I wasn't joking. But that shouldn't make you fearful. That should make you excited. It's not often that you can move the arc of history. Don't let that chance slip away.

Young people here, it's not often that you know your voice will have an impact. Don't let it slip away. Don't give away your power.

[16:20:01] Don't fall for the easy cynicism that says my vote doesn't matter or all politicians are the same. It does matter and they're not all the same. That's what Hillary's opponent wants you to think because they don't want you to vote. And I've got to say, he has been getting help from Republican politicians in this state who have been trying to keep you from voting.

I -- we're the only advanced democracy on earth that purposefully tries to make it harder for people to vote but even within sometimes unfortunate traditions in America, what's been going on lately here in the state has been troubling. A few years ago in North Carolina, Republicans passed a law to make it harder for African-Americans to vote. That is not my opinion.

Earlier this year, a federal judge said that, based on the evidence, those who voted for these laws targeted black voters with, and I'm quoting, "surgical precision". It was one of the worst voter suppression laws in the country here in North Carolina. Not back in the 1960s. Now.

Already, right now, Donald Trump is calling on his supporters to monitor certain areas. Where are those certain areas he's talking about?

There are groups that are not even making secret plans. They are just out in public saying we're going to try and suppress the African- American on Election Day, or the youth vote on Election Day. If you think that is accidental, then I want you to think about a woman named Grace Bell Hardison.

Grace Bell lived in Bell Haven, North Carolina, her entire life, all 100 years of her life. Just a few weeks ago, Republicans challenged her voter registration status and tried to remove her from the voter rolls. And she heard about it and she said, I can't vote -- 100 years old. Now, Grace got her voter registration reinstated and you better believe she's going to vote.

But this100-year-old woman wasn't alone in being targeted. The list of voters Republicans tried to purge was two-thirds black and Democratic. That doesn't happen by accident. It's happening in counties across this straight.

There was a time when systematically denying black folks to vote was considered normal as well. So, young people, I want you to listen up. Parents, I want you to talk about this. It was not that long ago that folks had to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap or recite the Constitution in Chinese in order to vote. It wasn't that long ago when folks were beaten trying to register

voters in Mississippi. It wasn't that long ago that a man named Henry Frye in Greensboro, the first African-American chief justice of North Carolina Supreme Court, was denied the right to register to vote because he had failed the so-called literacy test after he had graduated from college. It wasn't that long ago.

Grace Bell Hardison, 100 years old, imagine what she has seen in the arc of her life. Born in a time when there were barely cars on the road, no planes in the sky. Think about everything that she's seen. A great-grandmother, probably a great-great-grandmother.

How you -- how are we going to let -- after all she's been through, folks disrespect her like that? How are we going to betray all those who worked so hard, risked everything for the vote, so that we could pull the lever, and we're not going to vote? What's our excuse?

Now, those who wanted to suppress the vote, they are going to fail. The law was struck down. Your rights have been restored.

Right now, there are more than one-stop early vote stops in North Carolina than ever before. You can register and vote at any site in your county as long as you do it by Saturday. It's easier to vote than ever in North Carolina.

But if you don't vote, then you've done the work of those who would suppress your vote without them having to lift a finger. Come on.

Back in 2008, I won North Carolina by 14,000 votes. That's about two votes per precincts. It's just two votes per precinct have gone the other way, I would have lost North Carolina. How can you say your vote doesn't count?

Each of you could swing a entire precinct for Hillary if you vote. Or you could swing it for her if you don't vote. Your vote matters. Young people, especially, your vote matters!


If you've been marching for criminal justice reform, that's great. But you know what, you better vote for a president and Congress that actually car about disrupting the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails. Protests aren't enough if you're not voting. If you've been marching for the environment and to do something about climate change, I've heard you, but you better vote for the next president and Congress believing in science and who will protect the progress we made so we can leave behind a world that we are proud of for our children.

You want more good jobs, you want to have a higher minimum wage, you want help with respect to student loans? Don't just sit there and complain. Don't just sit there in the barber shop and beauty shop and watching the Tar Heels and say, politics is all messed up, but what's the score? No. No. No. You can watch the game after you vote.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) And the good news is, you've got a proof point. You know it works. You know it works because so many of you voted in '08.

And it's because millions of people that have health care today that didn't have it before. It's because of you that millions of young people are going to college that couldn't afford it before. It's because of you that a marine can serve his country without hiding the husband he loves. It's because of you that more young immigrants came out of the shadows and are serving our country.


North Carolina, I'm asking you today what I asked of you eight years ago. I'm just asking you to believe not in my ability to change, not even just in Hillary's ability to bring about positive change. I'm asking you to believe in your ability to bring about change.

I am not on the ballot, but I tell you what, fairness is on the ballot. Decency is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Progress is on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot right now.

And Hillary gives you a chance to advance our democracy, but you've got to do everything you can to make sure everybody votes. Your friends, your family, your cousins, your uncle, your neighbors, your co-workers, tell them this is the moment where America stands up for our best selves, stand up and reject cynicisms. Stand up and reject fear.

Choose hope. Choose hope. Choose hope. Choose hope. Choose hope. Vote.

And if you do, we will elect Hillary Clinton, the next president of the United States. We will elect Deborah Ross as the next senator from the great state of North Carolina.

We'll continue this amazing journey and finish what we started and remind the world why this is the greatest country on earth. God bless you, North Carolina! God bless the United States of America!


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

President Obama wrapping up a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in the beautiful city of Chapel Hill in battleground North Carolina. This is the ninth time he has hit the stump to speak for her. He's expected to campaign for Clinton at least five more times between now and Election Day in this very contentious, contested election.

Michelle Kosinski is traveling with President Obama.

And, Michelle, North Carolina, it could be key to Clinton clinching the White House. It's a state President Obama won in 2008, as he pointed out by 14,000 votes but he lost it last time around.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Mitt Romney won in 2012. Not by very much either.

So, this is a state that can go either way. The polls recently have shown that. Originally, Hillary had a pretty decent lead, but most recently that has shrunk considerably and you hear it in the president's voice. This just now was the most energetic we've heard him and how we've been characterizing his tone and how that shifted over his appearances, it's not just bleeding with voters to get out there and exercise their right to vote at this point. It is nearly begging them to do so.

I mean, to listen to some of the things he said out here, yelled and repeated, that "I need you to vote. You can change history. If Hillary wins North Carolina, she wins. Believe in your ability to effect change."