Passing the Baton to the Next Democratic President

Arriving in my Inbox last night was an email from David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager from the 2008 election.

But it didn’t come from this time … it came from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign!

Friend —

During the most intense days of the 2008 primary, while I was serving as the Obama campaign manager, I would never have imagined writing this email.

But eight years later, I believe Hillary Clinton should — and will — be our next president. She will make an outstanding and worthy successor to President Obama. She will do big and important things — and we will all look back and be proud of whatever we did to help elect her.

Here’s what I (and so many fellow Obama campaign veterans) have learned about Hillary Clinton:

She doesn’t quit — and there were times I wish she had! But you have to deeply admire that strength and persistence. From her job at the Children’s Defense Fund to her work as First Lady of the United States, as a U.S. Senator for New York, and as the Secretary of State, she’s been working everyday to make people’s lives better.

You won’t find anyone in this race more determined than Hillary to make sure every single American has a fair shot to live up to their potential. There is no one more prepared, more diligent, or more ready with detailed plans for how to make it happen.

Hillary will protect President Obama’s legacy — and like President Obama before her, she will make history. I look forward to the day my daughter, who was born a little more than 48 hours after the glorious scene in Grant Park in 2008, will know just as well as my son that she can grow up to be anything she wants, even president of the United States.

The stakes in this election are enormous. The difference between Hillary and a Trump, Carson, or Rubio could not be more profound. Once again, we need a president who understands the challenges we face — someone who can and will do something about it.

Hillary Clinton is that leader. And if we step up to fight alongside her, she’ll be the next president of the United States.

Go win this thing, Madam Secretary.


David Plouffe

David Plouffe also posted his thoughts on Medium: Why I’m for Hillary Clinton.

In that post, he referenced Candidate Barack Obama’s speech at the 2007 Iowa Jefferson-Jackson dinner, a speech that set the tone for his campaign … and really his presidency.

This year’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner was held last night and Hillary Clinton spoke at this one as well but not as a challenger to Barack Obama but as a candidate glad to take the baton from President Obama and continue his legacy and further advance Democratic Party principles.

Transcript snippets:





I echo David Plouffe: “Go win this thing, Madam Secretary.”

The Obama Coalition – Obama Democrats – are those for whom these words resonated and who don’t want to see the progress we made halted. Sadly, the Republican Party still wants to divide us and still tries to gain electoral victories via hatred of the other and the now quaint “swift-boating” … replaced with full-on race baiting, birth-truthers, and secessionists.

Barack Obama at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in 2007

Transcript: Barack Obama, Speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner delivered 10 November 2007, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Des Moines, Iowa

… the question you’re going to have to ask yourself when you caucus in January and you vote in November is, “What’s next for America?” We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels as if it’s slowly slipping away. We are working harder for less. We’ve never paid more for health care or for college. It’s harder to save and it’s harder to retire. And most of all we’ve lost faith that our leaders can or will do anything about it.

We were promised compassionate conservatism and all we got was Katrina and wiretaps. We were promised a uniter, and we got a President who could not even lead the half of the country that voted for him. We were promised a more ethical and more efficient government, and instead we have a town called Washington that is more corrupt and more wasteful than it was before. And the only mission that was ever accomplished is to use fear and falsehood to take this country to a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged.

It is because of these failures that America is listening, intently, to what we say here today — not just Democrats, but Republicans and Independents who’ve lost trust in their government, but want to believe again. And it is because of these failures that we not only have a moment of great challenge, but also a moment of great opportunity. We have a chance to bring the country together in a new majority — to finally tackle problems that George Bush made far worse, but that had festered long before George Bush ever took office — problems that we’ve talked about year after year after year after year. […]

I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not get a job in my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am President.

I’m in this race to take those tax breaks away from companies that are moving jobs overseas and put them in the pockets of hard working Americans who deserve it. And I won’t raise the minimum wage every ten years — I will raise it to keep pace so that workers don’t’ fall behind.

That is why I am in it. To protect the American worker. To fight for the American worker.

I’m in this race because I want to stop talking about the outrage of 47 million Americans without health care and start actually doing something about it. I expanded health care in Illinois by bringing Democrats and Republicans together. By taking on the insurance industry. And that is how I will make certain that every single American in this country has health care they can count on and I won’t do it twenty years from now, I won’t do it ten years from now, I will do it by the end of my first term as President of the United States of America.

I run for president to make sure that every American child has the best education that we have to offer — from the day they are born to the day they graduate from college. And I won’t just talk about how great teachers are — as President I will reward them for their greatness — by raising salaries and giving them more support. That’s why I’m in this race.[…]

And I will lead the world to combat the common threats of the 21st century — nuclear weapons and terrorism; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. And I will send once more a message to those yearning faces beyond our shores that says, “You matter to us. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.” […]

I never expected to be here, I always knew this journey was improbable. I’ve never been on a journey that wasn’t. I am running in this race because of what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” Because I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost upon us.

I don’t want to wake up four years from now and find out that millions of Americans still lack health care because we couldn’t take on the insurance industry.

I don’t want to see that the oceans have risen a few more inches. The planet has reached a point of no return because we couldn’t find a way to stop buying oil from dictators.

I don’t want to see more American lives put at risk because no one had the judgment or the courage to stand up against a misguided war before we sent our troops in to fight.

I don’t want to see homeless veterans on the streets. I don’t want to send another generation of American children to failing schools. I don’t want that future for my daughters. I don’t want that future for your sons. I do not want that future for America.

I’m in this race for the same reason that I fought for jobs for the jobless and hope for the hopeless on the streets of Chicago; for the same reason I fought for justice and equality as a civil rights lawyer; for the same reason that I fought for Illinois families for over a decade.

Because I will never forget that the only reason that I’m standing here today is because somebody, somewhere stood up for me when it was risky. Stood up when it was hard. Stood up when it wasn’t popular. And because that somebody stood up, a few more stood up. And then a few thousand stood up. And then a few million stood up. And standing up, with courage and clear purpose, they somehow managed to change the world.

That’s why I’m running, Iowa — to give our children and grandchildren the same chances somebody gave me.

That’s why I’m running, Democrats — to keep the American Dream alive for those who still hunger for opportunity, who still thirst for equality.

That’s why I’m asking you to stand with me, that’s why I’m asking you to caucus for me, that’s why I am asking you to stop settling for what the cynics say we have to accept.

In this election — in this moment — let us reach for what we know is possible. A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.

That is the Obama legacy … worthy of being preserved and expanded on.



  1. More Plouffe:

    Back in 2007 at that long-ago JJ dinner, Senator Obama said:

    “We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels as if it’s slowly slipping away. We are working harder for less. We’ve never paid more for health care or for college. It’s harder to save and it’s harder to retire. And most of all we’ve lost faith that our leaders can or will do anything about it.”

    The stakes in this election are enormous, too. The difference between Hillary Clinton and a President Trump, Carson, or Rubio could not be more profound. Once again, we need a leader who understands the challenges we face — and someone who can and will do something about it.

    Hillary is that leader, for this time.

  2. Wow! Thanks for posting this, Jan! I couldn’t be more pleased by the week’s events and I hope Madam Secretary gets a chance to rest from her exertions. Imagine being grilled by a bunch of louts.

    • She had a good week. Along with the grilling that actually turned up the heat on the Republicans in Congress (if you look at the photos of Trey Gowdy!!), she received the endorsement of AFSCME membership:

      In a boost to her candidacy, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton won the endorsement of the powerful labor union AFSCME, it was announced Friday.

      The nod from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees marks a significant breakthrough in Clinton’s efforts to woo the labor movement as she seeks to build a coalition within her party and solidify her bid for the White House.

      AFSCME’s 1.6 million members include public service employees in a range of jobs, including nurses and sanitation workers. […]

      Earlier this month an AFSCME official told Al Jazeera the union was still deliberating over which Democratic candidate to endorse, but that membership was seeking someone who “will definitely win in November.” […]

      AFSCME said in a Friday statement that its endorsement of Clinton was in line with what the majority of its members desired.

      “What we heard throughout our endorsement process is that AFSCME members want a candidate who is committed to fixing our out-of-balance economy and raising incomes for hardworking people who are still struggling to make ends meet,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “Members want a candidate who will make it easier instead of harder to join together in strong unions and stand together for wages and benefits that can sustain our families.”

      AFSCME said its International Executive Board made the decision to endorse Clinton after polling its membership over the course of six months.

    • You might enjoy this article, Diana: Why Hillary Makes Right-Wingers So Crazy

      In the right-wing mind, there is nothing so ruinous to America as the liberation of women. The right’s entire ideological structure is built on worship of the Great White Father and veneration of the stern, Caucasian, disciplinarian dad. It’s a worldview centered on a jealous, blue-eyed Father God, a military dispatched to teach the world a lesson, and a president who serves as the national patriarch.

      A President Hillary Rodham Clinton poses the gravest threat to that worldview yet—perhaps even graver than the threat to it posed by the nation’s first black president, given that more than half of Americans are women. […]

      If you think the right’s rabid response to her first presidential candidacy, or to the presidency of Barack Obama, was over the top, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Because there’s nothing so threatening to patriarchy than a smart woman—especially one who is playing to win.

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