President Barack Obama on Wednesday endorsed his one-time political rival and former secretary of State, as a ready successor to take over as commander in chief, calling her a ready successor who is more qualified than any candidate in history to take over as commander in chief.

"Hillary Clinton is respected around the world not just by leaders, but by the people they serve," he said. "She has worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. And she has the judgment, the experience, and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism.

"Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out leaders, taking back territory," he added, referencing the Islamic State group. "I know Hillary won't relent until ISIL is destroyed. She'll finish the job, and she'll do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country."

The president’s address served as the capstone in of a long list of high-profile speeches backing the Democratic presidential nominee and disparaging Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Following a week of attacks by Republicans at their convention in Cleveland, Democratic leaders spent their convention reintroducing Clinton's her resume to the American public, and trying to characterize the upcoming November election an easy choice between professionalism and inexperience.

"Until you've sat at that [Oval Office] desk, you don't know what it's like to manage a global crisis, or send young people to war," Obama said. "But Hillary has been in the room. She has been part of those decisions. ... Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect."

In contrast to the Republican event, where a number of the party's top voices opted not to attend, the Democratic convention's third night featured not only the sitting president but Vice President Joe Biden, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and a lengthy list of the party's congressional leaders.

It also featured a long list of veterans and military spouses, all offering reasons for supporting Clinton to lead not only the military but efforts to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Obama was introduced by the mother of Lt. Col. Tom Belkofer, an Army officer killed six years ago in Afghanistan.

During his speech, the Ppresident called the Republicans' message this election cycle "a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world." He Instead, he offered an optimistic view for the country’s near future, saying Clinton will build upon the progress his administration has made in the last two terms.

"America is already great," he said. "America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump."

Instead, Obama said America's core values and unity are still intact.

"That's why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service," he said. "That's why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end."

Even before the president's speech, Republican leaders criticized that message as naive and insensitive of Americans struggling after eight years of a Democratic White House.

Clinton will offer her own remarks on that theme when she formally accepts the party’s nomination on Thursday night.

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at

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