Obama Says Hillary Clinton Can Be A 'Great' President


For his fourth consecutive marquee speech at a Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama intends to make a strong case for Hillary Clinton to become leader of the U.S.

Fully aware that his legacy could be damaged by a potential Republican Donald Trump administration -- which would likely reverse many of the policies he's enacted during his eight years in the Oval Office -- Obama is expected to tell voters that a Clinton administration would work to uphold the ideals and push the policies that marked his tenure as president.

In a one-on-one interview with CNN ahead of his July 27 speech, Obama said he wanted to contrast his rhetoric with that of the GOP candidate, who said the country is headed in the wrong direction when he addressed Republican delegates at his party's convention in Cleveland earlier in July.

"I hope the headline [says] that the president of the United States is profoundly optimistic about America's future and is 100 percent convinced that Hillary Clinton can be a great president," Obama told CNN's John King hours before his scheduled speech.

For Obama, who is entering the twilight of his presidency, the Democratic National Convention brings him back to where his political career began in earnest. His 2016 speech will occur exactly 12 years to the day when he delivered a fiery 2004 keynote address that instantly transformed him from a little-known state senator from Illinois to one of the Democrats' brightest stars.

But indications are that the July 27 speech will trade at least some of the lofty and optimistic language Obama is known for in favor of sharp criticism directed at Trump.

"What I think is scary is a president who  doesn't know their stuff," Obama told King with a chuckle, "and doesn't seem to have an interest in learning what they don't know."

Pressed for specifics, the president said he believes Trump has gaps in his knowledge of the world.

"If you've listened to any press conference he's given or listen to any of those debates," Obama said, "basic knowledge about the world, or what a nuclear triad is, or where various countries are, or the difference between Sunni and Shia in the Muslim world, those are things that he doesn't know and hasn't seemed to spend a lot of time trying to find out about."

For his part, Trump leveled similar criticism at Obama during a July 27 press conference from Miami, where he stopped briefly before planned campaign appearances in key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Calling Obama "the most ignorant president in our history," the New York businessman echoed critics who say Obama hasn't done enough to discourage violent retaliatory attacks against American police officers. And despite a slate of 61 speakers who addressed Democrats on the first night of the party's convention in Philadelphia, none of the speakers mentioned ISIS or the ongoing battle against global terrorism, Trump said.

The GOP nominee said a potential Clinton administration would continue to push Obama's liberal policies.

"There's no change," Trump told reporters. "It's going to be an extension of Obama."

Sources: CNN (2), USA Today / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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