You don't have to look far to find Hillary Clinton haters — just revisit the RNC speeches last week that spawned chants of "lock her up." By many accounts, President Obama was once one of these haters when he battled Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primaries. But on Wednesday night at the DNC, Obama made it a point to defend his former rival.
Over the course of his speech, the president made a case for why Hillary's the best person for the job, recounting stories of her tenacity during her time as secretary of state, but it was this particular moment when he rallied against her detractors.
"She knows she's made mistakes, just like I have; just like we all do. That's what happens when we try. That's what happens when you're the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described — not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone 'who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly, who errs, but who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.'"
By presenting her faults as consequences of her good intentions — of actually trying to make a difference throughout the course of her life — Obama painted her in a favorable light that might hold more weight coming from a respected president. He also implied that he used to criticize her too, but he saw her work ethic first-hand and changed his mind about her. Obama continued, taking a subtle jab at her rival Donald Trump and making it clear that not voting for her because you don't always agree with her would be a danger to our country.
"Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She's been there for us — even if we haven't always noticed. And if you're serious about our democracy, you can't afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You've got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn't a spectator sport. America isn't about 'yes, he will.' It's about 'yes, we can.' And we're going to carry Hillary to victory this Fall, because that's what the moment demands."
Her husband Bill Clinton raised a similar point during his speech on Monday night, implying her work ethic should be more important than the perception that she has a stiff personality or that she's part of the government establishment.
"If you believe in making change from the bottom up, if you believe the measure of change is how many people's lives are better, you know it's hard and some people think it's boring. Speeches like this are fun."
"Actually doing the work is hard. So people say, well, we need to change. She's been around a long time, she sure has, and she's sure been worth every single year she's put into making people's lives better."
No matter how much these remarks could help her, Hillary Clinton — the first female nominee for the presidency — doesn't need two men to defend her. She'll likely do it herself when she accepts the nomination on Thursday.