Obama implores UNC crowd to vote to effect change

Posted November 2, 2016

— President Barack Obama urged thousands of people at a Wednesday rally in Chapel Hill for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to vote in the coming days to affect the arc of their future.

In a fiery speech that matched the afternoon heat the crowd of more than 16,000 endured on the athletic practice fields outside Carmichael Arena at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Obama blasted North Carolina's nullified voter ID law along with people more concerned about the score of a game than taking time to cast a ballot.

"It's not often that you know your voice will have an impact. Don't let it slip away," he said. "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."

Without mentioning Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by name, Obama ridiculed his candidacy, calling him "ill-equipped to be president," and criticized his stances on immigrants, women and the military, among others.

"He's been able to convince some people he's going to be their voice," Obama said. "That is not the voice of America. That's not the better angels of our nature. We have a choice."

Obama praised Clinton for her experience and for the detailed plans she has laid out to continue building the U.S. economy, make college more affordable, expand renewable energy and maintain the nation's position on the global stage.

"Here's somebody who has dedicated her life to making this country better," he said. "She's an outstanding public servant, and she knows her stuff. She understands the challenges we face, and she is tough. 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."

Obama said GOP officials and supporters should stop trying to justify Trump's brash behavior.

"What is crazy gets normalized," he said. "We need to stop thinking his behavior is normal."

The president also took aim at Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, who was caught on tape last weekend suggesting that a photo of Clinton in a gun magazine should have a target on it. He has since apologized for the remark.

"You don't talk about violence against public officials, even in a joke," Obama said, adding that Burr is "mimicking Trump."

Burr has remained steadfast in his support for Trump, even as other Republican members of Congress have distanced themselves from the candidate in recent weeks. This week, he said he would try to block any appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court if Clinton wins the election.

"The problem is, this (rhetoric) is becoming normal. This is sort of the red meat they're throwing to their audiences," Obama said. "It's not normal, and it's not who North Carolina is.

"Let me be clear, there is something more at stake in this election than just plans or policies. This is about the character of our nation," he continued. "All of you are uniquely qualified to make sure this guy who is uniquely unqualified does not become president. You've just got to vote. You've just got to vote."

Many of those at the rally said they have already voted, but first-year UNC student Zeke Parsons said he thinks Obama's message will reach his friends who haven't.

"It's motivation," Parsons said. "Arguably the most important man in the world is telling you, 'This is your public duty.' This is like, think about the options and how much could go wrong if you don't vote, especially in such a battleground state as North Carolina."

Both Clinton and Trump plan to campaign in North Carolina on Thursday. Obama plans a return visit on Friday, and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence also will be in the state on Friday.


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  • Charlie Watkins Nov 5, 2016
    user avatar

    Pres Obama promised to change the way things worked in Washington.

    I don't think so.

  • William James Nov 3, 2016
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    For those of you who are die hard Democrats, just remember this, it was Bill and Hillary Clinton who got NAFTA signed into law which resulted in 90% of our manufacturing and textile jobs relocating overseas! The Clintons are responsible for killing more jobs and the transfer of more wealth overseas than any other president, dictator, or king in the history of the world, yet educated people still believe she is the answer to rebuilding our economy. Common Sense, you don't elect the people who destroyed the economy to later fix it! Don't get me wrong I agree with the ideology of the Democratic party, I just think that sometimes they loose a firm grip on common sense and allow their theoretical ideology get in the way of making real life decisions. Like Bill and Hillary both fully expected factory workers to be retrained to to enter high tech and medical occupations and even a child can see the error in this line of reasoning.

  • Karen Orndorff Nov 3, 2016
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    Been crying change for the last 8 years, we only have gotten worse.

  • Vince DiSena Nov 3, 2016
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    If you want change vote Trump. Otherwise expect more, even worse, of the same. HRC is a socialist, if you don't know that much, you are clearly uninformed, socialism is communism. If that's your desire, then go ahead and vote for her. Things will get worse.

  • Rick Edwards Nov 3, 2016
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    Forcing people to buy insurance with ridiculously high premiums and such a high deductible to be worthless. Great plan.
    If someone pays $12000 in premiums, and then still has to pay to go to the doctor, how is he better off?
    The average person wouldn't pay that in a year if he had no insurance at all.

  • Barney Gravel Nov 3, 2016
    user avatar

    His verbal ministrations are false, that is what he campaigned on in 2008, and look where this country is now because of his "change." The establishment is now more powerful while the citizenry has been shown disrespect and discounted. it is time to take back our country by electing the last non-establishment candidate in this race: Trump 2016.

  • Pam Snyder Nov 3, 2016
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    Politicians are soooooo scared that Trump has it in the bag they are letting her get away with everything from the emails to allowing soldiers to die..... must be nice to have people ALWAYS have your back but really how many things are we willing to overlook? I don't trust her at all........ she's really really scared or she wouldn't be running such a smear campaign against TRUMP. One thing I feel about him is he's the average everyday person. He's blunt, rude, racist (?) , narcissistic, loud, says exactly what he thinks....I get how people are offended. I don't agree with all he's said but the fact that he speaks without a teleprompter and in the moment says a lot to me. Hopefully people have just been too afraid to say they want Trump and vote his way quietly. TRUMP 2016

  • Charlie Watkins Nov 3, 2016
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    Pres Obama promised to change the way things worked in Washington. So he is giving us 8 more years of Bill, Hillary and the Clinton Foundation.

  • Bill Huntington Nov 3, 2016
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    Will do, mr Obama! Trump it is for 2017! Change we can believe in!

  • Richard Tepper Nov 2, 2016
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    The President again preaches about change. I remember Donald Trump in an interview from about maybe 3 yrs ago. When asked what he thought the Presidents greatest accomplishment has been since being in office, he replied "He got elected"....When asked to confirm the statement he went on to say that the President sold everyone and he got elected. That there are not great accomplishments aside from that. I voted for our President at his first run for office. I too was sold. I did not vote for him at his 2nd run. Hope and change....Now he again preaches for hope and change after 8 yrs. I dont think anyone knew is idea for change would for one involve disaterous health care that has literally killed people and contributes to doing so every day. George Bush didnt create it. So as I know of people and see people experience death and failing health as a direct result of the affordable health care act, I wonder how much hope and change was intended then at its inception.....2017. God help us