President Barack Obama painted an optimistic picture of America's future in a rousing speech on Wednesday that offered full-hearted support to Hillary Clinton in her campaign to become the first woman elected U.S. president.
"There has never been a man or woman, not me, not Bill [Clinton] – nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States," Obama said to cheers at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Speaking of the former secretary of state's diplomatic credentials, the president noted that "Hillary 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 added.
"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," Obama said, referring to Islamic State.
The president added, "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."
After Obama's speech, Clinton joined him on stage where they hugged, clasped hands and waved to the crowd.
Obama and Clinton were rivals in the hard-fought campaign for the 2008 Democratic nomination. After winning that election to become America's first black president, he appointed her his secretary of state.
Speaking to delegates, Obama offered an alternative to businessman Trump's vision of the United States as being under siege from illegal immigrants, crime and terrorism and losing its way in the world.
"I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before," Obama said at the Wells Fargo Center.
Blasting the Republican presidential candidate's foreign policy, Obama said that Trump "cozies up to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, and tells the 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.
Clinton made history on Tuesday when she became the first woman to secure the presidential nomination from a major party.
When she formally accepts it on Thursday, she will become the Democratic standard-bearer against Republican nominee Trump in the November 8 election.
Obama took aim at Trump's campaign slogan and promise to "Make America Great Again."
"America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump," he said.
"Preach!" members of the crowd shouted. "Best president ever," someone screamed.
Obama listed what he described as a series of advances during his two terms in office, such as recovery from economic recession, the Obamacare healthcare reform and the 2011 killing of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Nodding to voters' concerns, Obama said he understood frustrations "with political gridlock, worry about racial divisions" and the slow pace of economic growth.
"There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures, men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten," Obama said.
Democrats have buttressed Clinton with a star gathering of current and past party notables at this week's convention.
By contrast, many prominent Republicans were absent from the party convention that nominated Trump for the White House last week.
But Trump got a boost in opinion polls from his convention. He had a 2-point lead over Clinton in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday, the first time he has been ahead since early May.
At the convention on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, described billionaire Trump as "a one-man wrecking crew" who cannot be trusted in the Oval Office.
In an earlier speech in Philadelphia, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Trump was an opportunist who has no clue about how to make America great or help working families.
Drawing chants of "Not a clue" from the floor of the convention, Biden took Trump to task for his trademark reality TV slogan, "You're fired."
"He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That's a bunch of malarkey!" Biden shouted to cheers in the Wells Fargo Center.
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