Obama: 'Presidency Is Bigger Than Any of Us'

President speaks on the election, Clinton, Trump, and the nation's future
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2016 12:00 PM CST
Obama: 'Presidency Is Bigger Than Any of Us'
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks on the election on Wednesday in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama called Donald Trump in the early morning hours after the president-elect claimed victory in Election 2016, extending an invite to visit the White House on Thursday to talk about the power transition. After Hillary Clinton delivered her concession speech Wednesday morning from Manhattan's New Yorker Hotel, Obama took to the podium at the White House, VP Joe Biden at his side, to offer his own words about the election, his former secretary of state, and our shared future. Lines of note, per the AP, Bloomberg, and CNN:

  • On waking up to a President-elect Trump: "Yesterday, before votes were tallied, I shot a video that some of you may have seen in which I said to the American people, regardless of which side you were on in the election … the sun would come up in the morning. And that is one bit of prognosticating that actually came true. The sun is up."

  • On handling the transition: "It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. … [But] one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency and the vice presidency is bigger than any of us. So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set eight years ago … because we are now all rooting for [Trump's] success in uniting and leading the country. … The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy, and over the next few months we are going to show that to the world."
  • On Clinton: "I could not be prouder of her. She has lived an extraordinary life of public service. She was a great first lady, she was an outstanding senator for the state of New York, and she could not have been a better secretary of state. …. A lot of Americans look up to her [and] her candidacy and nomination [were] historic and sends a message to our daughters all across the country that they can achieve at the highest levels of politics."
  • On moving forward as Americans: "We're actually all on one team. ... We're not Democrats first, we're not Republicans first: We are Americans first; we're patriots first. We all want what's best for this country. … That's what the country needs: a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and a respect for each other."
  • For young Americans in particular: "This was a long and hard-fought campaign. A lot of our fellow Americans are exulted today; a lot of Americans are less so. But that's the nature of … democracy; it is … sometimes contentious and noisy, and it's not always inspiring. But to the young people who got into politics for the first time … you have to stay encouraged. Don't get cynical. Don't ever think you can't make a difference."
(More Election 2016 stories.)

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