Eight years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama told the crowd at the Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson dinner that he was running for president “to protect the American worker. To fight for the American worker…. To give our children and grandchildren the same chances somebody gave me.”
Since then, thanks to the efforts of President Obama and millions of Americans who have fought alongside him, 18 million Americans have gained health coverage under Obamacare and tens of millions more are enjoying new protections so they don’t go broke when they or a loved one gets sick. We’ve brought the economy back from the brink of another depression, saved an auto industry on the verge of collapse, created 11 million new private-sector jobs, and imposed tough new standards on Wall Street to make another crash that much less likely. We’ve passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, taken historic action to curb the effects of climate change, and pursued a new, more humane policy toward immigrant families, especially children. And diplomacy is firmly back in our country’s arsenal.
We’ve come a long way. Still, eight years after that historic night in Des Moines, there’s so much left to do. And Americans still need a president who will wake up every day, prepared to overcome any obstacle on their behalf.
Hillary Clinton should — and I believe will — be that president.
Now, to be honest, during the most intense days of the 2008 primary, I would never have imagined writing this piece. And I doubt Team Clinton felt any differently about me. But here’s what I, and so many of my fellow Obama campaign veterans, have learned about Hillary:
She doesn’t quit. And there were times I wish she had! But you have to deeply admire that strength and persistence. From the moment she went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund out of law school, she’s been working to make people’s lives better — as an advocate for women and kids, as First Lady of the United States, as U.S. Senator for New York, and as a truly exceptional Secretary of State — a job she showed courage and patriotism to accept after such a tough campaign. We’ve all benefited from her service to America, and I believe we will benefit most of all from the eight remaining years of service she intends to provide the country.
She will fight to further economic policies that put economic opportunity for those in the middle class and those fighting to join it. You won’t find anyone in this race more determined than Hillary to make sure every single American has a fair shot to live up to their potential. And you won’t find anyone more prepared, more diligent, with more detailed plans for exactly how to make it happen — from removing costs as a barrier to college to raising incomes and making sure all Americans have the skills they need to get a good job.
She’s the right person to protect President Obama’s legacy on health care and so much else. The woman who helped create the CHIP program, which covers 8 million kids, won’t stop until affordable health care is recognized as a basic human right in America. She’ll enhance Social Security and strengthen Medicare. She’ll continue President Obama’s reforms to make sure Wall Street works for Main Street, not the other way around. She’ll make sure America continues to lead the world in the 21st century. She’ll never back down from a challenge — as we all saw in the Benghazi Committee hearing earlier this week.
And, like President Obama before her, she will make history. I look forward to the day my daughter, who was born a little more than 48 hours after the glorious scene in Grant Park in 2008, will know just as well as my son that she can grow up to be anything she wants, even president of the United States.
The privilege of my professional lifetime was to serve as President Obama’s Senior Advisor in the White House. It is a humbling experience, but also an educational one. You reflect on all those who have occupied the Oval Office previously, and what you’d like to see in those who will in the future.
Hillary Clinton will not just make an outstanding and worthy successor to President Obama. She will be a president we should all look back on, and be proud we did whatever we could to make it so. She will do big and important things.
Back in 2007 at that long-ago JJ dinner, Senator Obama said:
“We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels as if it’s slowly slipping away. We are working harder for less. We’ve never paid more for health care or for college. It’s harder to save and it’s harder to retire. And most of all we’ve lost faith that our leaders can or will do anything about it.”
The stakes in this election are enormous, too. The difference between Hillary Clinton and a President Trump, Carson, or Rubio could not be more profound. Once again, we need a leader who understands the challenges we face — and someone who can and will do something about it.
Hillary is that leader, for this time.
Go win this thing, Madam Secretary.