WASHINGTON — «You want to give me a good send off?,» outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday night. «Go vote.»
Speaking at the annual dinner of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, Obama stressed the importance of going to the polls to vote for a new president in November.
«Hope is on the ballot and fear is on the ballot, too,» the president said about voters’ choices in the upcoming election between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
Obama said there are some people «who are still trying to deny people the right to vote . . . Right now, in multiple states, Republicans are actively and openly trying to prevent people from voting . . .» He said «This should be a national scandal . . . We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that is actively discouraging people from voting. It’s a shame.»
The president noted that between 2000 and 2012, there were only 10 cases of voter impersonation nationwide.
Obama said he would be personally insulted if the African American community did not turn out to vote in the November poll. He said he thinks about the people who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement and all that they went through so «they could pull the lever» of a voting machine.
«Read up on your history,» he implored. «Get people registered to vote.»
In a more lighthearted mood, Obama said there is more pep in his step now that the validity of his birth certificate is a non-issue, following Trump’s admission Friday that Obama was born in the U.S. after years of says the president, who was born in Hawaii, was likely not born in the U.S.
Obama sarcastically said of Trump’s turnaround: «In other breaking news, the world is round, not flat.»
Clinton spoke before Obama at the dinner. She said of Obama, «Mr. President, not only do we know you are an American, you are a great American.»
Without mentioning her rival’s name, Clinton told the crowd «We need ideas not insults. Real plans to help struggling Americans in communities that have been left behind, not prejudice and paranoia. We can’t let Barack Obama’s legacy fall into the hands of someone who doesn’t understand that. Whose dangerous and divisive vision for our country will drag us backwards.»
Clinton was honored at the dinner for becoming the first woman to receive the presidential nomination of a major party.
Her last admonition to the audience was «And no matter what, remember this, love trumps hate.»