"Think," was President Obama's call to action Tuesday afternoon at a rally in Philadelphia. "Think about what's happened to the Republican Party. Right?"
As Hillary Clinton scaled back her campaign schedule to recover from a bout with pneumonia, Obama enthusiastically embraced his role in the campaign: as attack-dog-in-chief."You think about it," Obama repeated, citing the policies or lack thereof articulated by her opponent Donald Trump, who, he argued "isn't fit in any way shape or form to represent this country abroad and be its commander in chief."
While Obama said "I really, really, really, want to elect Hillary Clinton," most of his energy was spent arguing against electing Donald Trump. Obama, who is enjoying his highest approval rating in years according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, searched for answers as to why his popularity had not trickled down to Hillary Clinton. In Pennsylvania especially, recent polls have shown that Clinton could lose the state in November because of a lack of enthusiasm for her candidacy.
"We are a young country, we are a restless country and we always love the young shiny thing," he said, acknowledging that he benefitted from that dynamic eight years ago. But how could working class people vote for Trump, he wondered aloud. "[Trump] wasn't gonna let you on his golf course, he wasn't gonna let you into his condo, and now he's going to be your champion?"
Obama claimed that this election and his speech went beyond the quadrennial red versus blue politicking. "This is not the usual choice between parties and policies," he said contending that Trump's Republican Party bore no resemblance to that of Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan.
"Reagan saw America as a shining city on a hill," he said whereas Trump sees it as "a divided crime scene." Republicans, Obama said, "used to oppose authoritarianism" and now their nominee "loves" Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Think about what's happened to the Republican Party!" he said, yet again telling the crowd to "think."
He mocked Trump's citation of Putin's 82 percent approval rating, equating it to praising Iraq's Saddam Hussein's approval rating when he ruled his country tyrannically. It's unclear if the State Department was aware Obama would be publicly comparing the Russian president to the toppled Iraqi strongman.
Obama briefly redirected his ire to the news media's "frivolous" coverage of the election. "Do you mind if I just vent for a second?," he asked the crowd and pointing to the media in the back. "This is serious business," and the media, he scolded are "grading the presidency on a curve,"
Trying to gin up enthusiasm, Obama concluded by instructing the crowd: "I need you to work as hard for Hillary as you did for me."