President Barack Obama had a lot to live up to at the Democratic National Convention after the First Lady stole the show on Monday night. As it turns out, he did just fine, delivering an optimistic and uplifting speech that made one thing very clear: "America is already great."
Obama had everyone on their feet and cheering before the speech even began. As he greeted the convention, the crowd waved signs with his name on them.
The president began his remarks by summing up what has changed since he first addressed the convention twelve years ago, from lowering unemployment and creating new jobs to bringing troops home and legalizing same-sex marriage.
In contrast to the bleak image of the country Republican nominee Donald Trump portrayed in his convention speech last week, Obama's outlook on America was a positive one:
A lot's happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and it's been tested by recession and all manner of challenges, I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before.
Obama referred to Trump's rhetoric several times in his speech, either directly or indirectly. "There were no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate," he said of Trump's RNC speech.
In contrast, he added, "The America I know is full of courage and optimism and ingenuity."
At one point, upon merely hearing Trump's name, the crowd began booing. That's when Obama uttered one simple, spontaneous call to action:
"Don't boo. Vote."
It's a message he and many others have been emphasizing throughout this election, and it bears repeating. Much like "thoughts and prayers" alone won't end gun violence, it takes real action at the polls to make our voices heard.
Social media began quoting the line left and right, even suggesting it should be a new T-shirt slogan.
But Obama didn't just argue against a Donald Trump presidency — he also argued for a Hillary Clinton one.
He shared his admiration for Clinton as a rival in the 2008 election, quipping, "She was doing everything I was doing, but just like Ginger Rogers, it was backwards in heels."
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. Yes we can. Not yes she can, not yes I can, yes we can.
As his speech drew to a close, Obama expressed his pride in the American people and all that they've helped him accomplish during his presidency: "Time and again, you've picked me up. And I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too."