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July 28, 2016

Obama passes baton to Clinton at DNC

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Essential question

What role have political speeches played in history?


The Democratic National Convention wrapped up its third day on Wednesday in Philadelphia with speeches by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Hillary Clinton made history on Tuesday night becoming the first female candidate in history to receive a major political party’s nomination for president of the United States.

President Obama’s speech, which included a strong endorsement for Clinton, was met with standing ovations and harkened back to his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

Obama encouraged people to get involved and vote. “Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. America isn’t about ‘Yes, he will.’ It’s about ‘Yes, we can,'” Obama said on Wednesday.

Vice President Joe Biden’s heralded the achievements of every day middle-class Americans–“ordinary people like us who do extraordinary things”–to instill optimism and hope in the electorate.

Biden warned against the cynicism of Republican nominee Donald Trump. “Think about everything you learned as a child no matter where you were raised. How can there be pleasure in saying, ‘You’re fired,'” Biden asked in reference to Trump’s time as reality TV show host of The Apprentice.

As an independent, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg worked to garner support among independent and undecided voters. “Now I know Hillary Clinton is not flawless. No candidate is. But she is the right choice and the responsible choice in this election,” said Bloomberg.

The multi-billionaire businessman warned against Trump’s business platform and called the Republican candidate a “risky, reckless and radical choice.”

First Lady Michelle Obama gained significant attention after delivering a speech on Monday night that many political analysts judged as one of the finest of the convention.

“Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States,” said Obama, who was met with thunderous applause from the crowd.

The First Lady’s speech came the first night of the convention when tensions were high after an email scandal revealed hacked DNC emails which criticized and mocked Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke on Tuesday night about his wife’s commitment to health care reform.

After universal health care legislation that Hillary Clinton had worked on as First Lady had failed, the President said she didn’t give up. Instead she worked on solving the problems the bill failed to address, including working with Republicans to pass significant children’s health care legislation.


Key terms

national conventiona convention held by each of the major political parties every four years to nominate a presidential candidate

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. Who are the 2016 Republican and Democratic candidates for president of the United States?
  2. Who were some of the speakers at the Democratic National Convention?
  3. What are some groups of people generally affiliated with the Democratic Party?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. How important was it for President Obama to have given Hillary Clinton such a strong endorsement?
  2. Why do you think First Lady Michelle Obama’s comments about waking up each morning in a house that was built by slaves had such a significant impact on people?
  3. Do you think the speeches given by these speakers will help Clinton in the general election? Explain.
  4. What do you think Trump’s reactions will be to the speakers at the DNC? Explain.
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