Obama Swoops Into Jacksonville's UNF Arena Campaigning For Hillary

Nov 3, 2016

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump rallied at Jacksonville’s Equestrian Center on Thursday.

And while Trump was speaking, thousands of people were lining up at the University of North Florida to see President Barack Obama campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

The capacity crowd of roughly 7,200 was largely made up of college-aged students, some voting for the first time, and many of them used the terms “turned off” and “scary” to describe the election.

Eighteen-year-old Hayden Cintron, a Clinton supporter, said many of her peers feel like neither candidate is ideal.

Obama spoke largely to young people during his speech. He began by “swooping,” showing UNF Osprey pride and was greeted by loud cheers and applause.

During his speech he echoed what many people in line had said but by voting for Clinton, he said they can continue to move history in the right direction.

“This will be a close race and you cannot take it for granted because all the progress we’ve made these last eight years goes out the window,” he said.

Hillary Clinton supporters fill up the University of North Florida arena, Thursday.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Obama used much of his speech to criticize  Trump, calling him “uniquely unqualified” and targeting his temper.

“Somebody who gets fired up and riled up about a Saturday Night Live skit is not somebody you want to trust with nuclear weapons,” Obama said.

Obama also told voters Trump has spent his life showing no respect for working people.

“He’s not somebody who is spending a lot of time with folks who are struggling paycheck to paycheck unless it’s somebody cleaning in one of his buildings, or somebody mowing one of his fairways,” he said.

And the president said the American people are becoming numb to Trump’s treatment of women. “It’s not normal, you can’t make an excuse for it,” he said.

He acknowledged some people might not agree with Trump’s remarks about women — bragging about sexual assault or calling them pigs, but still vote for him based on his policies. Obama urged those people to rethink their choice.

“When I ran against Mitt Romney in 2012, I disagreed with him on all kinds of things,” Obama said. “But, although I thought I was going to be a better president, I did not think that our democracy would be injured by him taking office.”

Obama urged voters that Clinton isn’t the lesser of two evils, something many college students said in the line outside, but that she “may be the most qualified person to ever run for this office,” Obama said.

Among the thousands of attendees was South Florida Congressman Patrick Murphy, who is running against incumbent Marco Rubio for the Senate.

Obama told the crowd to vote for Murphy, saying he will work with Clinton.

“Unlike his opponent Marco Rubio, Patrick actually shows up to work,” said Obama later adding, “Unlike his opponent, he actually believes in science — believes that climate change is something we should do something about.”

Obama ended his speech by telling people to “choose hope” by voting.

About 1,020 watched from an overflow area at the sold out event.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.