Shapiro in­tro­duces Pres­i­dent Obama for DNC call

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

If you needed any more ev­i­dence that newly-elected Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Josh Shapiro is a ris­ing star in the Demo­cratic Party, be­ing asked by Pres­i­dent Obama to in­tro­duce him on a na­tional phone call with Democrats Mon­day should go a long way to­ward con­vinc­ing you.

Cur­rently still serv­ing as chair­man of the Mont­gomery County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, Shapiro was se­lected by Obama to make the in­tro­duc­tion and he quoted from Obama’s sec­ond in­au­gu­ral ad­dress to set the tone.

Shapiro re­called that four years ago, Obama said the work of the coun­try is never re­ally fin­ished, and in­com­plete even in vic­tory.

And to con­tinue that work, the coun­try must evoke “the time­less spirit once con­ferred to us in a spare Philadel­phia hall,” Shapiro said, quot­ing from that sec­ond in­au­gu­ral.

Not­ing that he was him­self just blocks away from Independence Hall as he spoke to Democrats across the coun­try, Shapiro said he could not help but be “aware of the anx­i­ety” that grips parts of the na­tion — and the party — as a re­sult of the Nov. 8 elec­tion re­sults.

“We must each do our part to strengthen our union,” Shapiro said. “We can’t rely on oth­ers to make the change for us.”

Shapiro cited his own suc­cess on Nov. 8 as a sym­bol for hope, not­ing that “a pro­gres­sive won in a state that went red” in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. He said Democrats should “take so­lace from the fact that Hil­lary Clin­ton won the pop­u­lar vote.”

And he praised Obama for “lay­ing the ground work and ac­com­plish­ing so much” say­ing the pres­i­dent’s “vi­sion has been a north star for us” and adding that Obama “will al­ways bet on the Amer­i­can peo­ple and never against them.”

Com­ing off a na­tional

news con­fer­ence, Obama called Shapiro’s in­tro­duc­tion “amaz­ing” and, for his part was acted as both con­soler-in-chief and cheer­leader for party of­fi­cials still reel­ing from Don­ald Trump’s stun­ning elec­tion as the na­tion’s 45th pres­i­dent.

“An ex­pected loss is hard, but an un­ex­pected loss is worse,” Obama told those on the call, which in­cluded jour­nal­ists whose phones were muted so they would not ask ques­tions. “I told my folks they’re al­lowed to mope, for a weekand-a-half, maybe two, but then we’ve got to brush our­selves off and get back to work.”

That work, for now, is to as­sure a smooth tran­si­tion with Pres­i­dent-elect Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, but also to “be con­sis­tent with who we are as Democrats. We must ask dif­fi­cult ques­tions, but be re­spect­ful of dif­fer­ent points of view and base our poli­cies on facts,” Obama said.

Democrats must “as­sess where we have fallen short. I’ve said it be­fore. We have bet­ter ideas, but they have to be heard so we can trans­late those ideas into votes,” said Obama.

“There are big chunks of the coun­try who are not hear­ing us and they won’t hear us if we don’t show up,” he said. “It’s not some­thing we can do just ev­ery four years,” he said ar­gu­ing for more ac­tiv­ity at the lo­cal and state lev­els. “We need to build trust, build re­la­tion­ships.”

Democrats not only lost the White House, but were un­able to win back con­trol of ei­ther the House or Se­nate, giv­ing Repub­li­cans con­trol of Congress when Trump takes of­fice on Jan. 20.

Obama thanked all those who had worked so hard dur­ing the elec­tion, par­tic­u­larly Hil­lary Clin­ton who he said, “ran a his­tory mak­ing race and shat­tered a bar­rier that will help lit­tle girls and lit­tle boys around the coun­try know that any­thing is pos­si­ble.”

“Hil­lary Clin­ton and Bernie San­ders did un­be­liev­able work,” he said.

Say­ing that it is “in­dis­putable that the coun­try is bet­ter off than it was eight years ago,” Obama said nev­er­the­less “we’ve run our stage of the race” in that never-end­ing ef­fort to move the coun­try for­ward.

He promised to stay in­volved and ob­served that it will be harder than some think to roll-back the mea­sures he en­acted while in of­fice.

In the case of Oba­macare, for ex­am­ple, Obama said many of the as­pects of the na­tional health in­sur­ance pro­gram — such as no penalty for a pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tion and be­ing al­lowed to carry chil­dren on a fam­ily plan un­til they are 26 — are ex­ceed­ingly pop­u­lar with the 12 mil­lion peo­ple who are mak­ing use of it.

“Even if they roll back 15 or 20 per­cent, that still leaves us 80 per­cent ahead,” said Obama.

“For the next two months, our main job is to fin­ish strong,” Obama con­cluded, adding that things looked dark for Democrats the same year he was elected to the Se­nate.

“And two years later, I was pres­i­dent of the United States,” he said.

Af­ter Mon­day evening’s call, Shapiro said he was mak­ing banana-chocolate chip muffins with his wife and 5-year-old when in­terim Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­woman Donna Brazile called about the in­tro­duc­tion.

“The phone rang and my wife gave me that look that said you haven’t been home in 11 months and I let Donna Brazile go to voice mail,” Shapiro said with a chuckle.

When he called her back Brazile told Shapiro that when she asked Obama who he wanted to in­tro­duce him on the call, he sug­gested Shapiro.

“I first met the pres­i­dent in 2006 and I’ve met him many times. We have worked closely with his ad­min­is­tra­tion on things like pub­lic health, la­bor and work­force de­vel­op­ment, crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form, in­fra­struc­ture and things of im­por­tance to the Amer­i­can-Jewish com­mu­nity,” Shapiro told Dig­i­tal First Me­dia.

He also noted that his can­di­dacy was the only en­dorse­ment Obama is­sued for any at­tor­ney gen­eral race in the coun­try this year.

And al­though he has in­tro­duced the pres­i­dent of­ten “at ral­lies” and other events, Shapiro said he was par­tic­u­larly hon­ored to be asked to in­tro­duce him on this call be­cause “this is an im­por­tant mo­ment for Democrats. It’s when the pres­i­dent says thank you for your sup­port.”

“And I am very thank­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to have been asked to of­fer my voice of sup­port,” Shapiro said of Obama’s re­quest. “I’m truly grate­ful.”

Josh Shapiro

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