Tuesday, November 15, 2016

President Obama on Josh Shapiro: 'Love that guy!'

Current Montgomery County Commissioner and Pennsylvania Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro was in the national spotlight Monday evening as he participated in a conference call with Democratic National Committee (DNC) members and stakeholders, to discuss the election and what’s next for the party. Shapiro was selected to introduce President Barack Obama to the national audience of Democrats.

It was a one-way call and members of the media were invited to listen in, although we did not have the opportunity to ask questions.

The president called in as Donna Brazile, interim chair of the DNC, was addressing the party faithful, applauding Obama’s “extraordinary leadership.”

“Mr. President, I was trying to tell the world how much we love you and how much you’ve done for all of us and I have with me Josh Shapiro, who just won a fantastic race in Pennsylvania and I want to turn it over to Josh to give you a proper introduction,” Brazile said.

At the mention of Shapiro’s name, Obama uttered warmly, “Love that guy!”

Josh Shapiro/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.
Shapiro, 43, of Abington, got right to it, quoting Obama’s second inaugural address of Jan. 21, 2013.

“In the president’s second inaugural address he said, “We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, in 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.’”

Speaking just blocks from that hall, Shapiro said he wanted to “offer a little bit of solace.”

“Secretary (Hillary) Clinton won the popular vote. But you should also know that even in this battleground state, where we lost the big race, here in Pennsylvania, folks voted for an attorney general who will protect people’s rights, defend working people against a rip-off economy and secure the gains we’ve made under President Obama. And that message won more votes than any other on the ballot,” Shapiro said as Obama listened in. “In other words, this progressive voice in a competitive race in what ended up being a red state, still won.”

In Nov. 8 balloting, Shapiro had a strong showing, statewide. He received more votes than Clinton and Republican President-elect Donald J. Trump, according to unofficial results.
Shapiro told party faithful they have a voice and that it makes a difference.

“It will be heard and I encourage you to use it and to run for office and not to let our future be shaped by others, that we all must do our part,” Shapiro said. “I am keenly aware of the anxiety that many Americans feel right now and I’m determined to be a champion for Pennsylvanians. As the incoming chief law enforcement officer here in the commonwealth, I will do my part to protect people’s rights, stand up for the values that make our country strong and bring fairness to our justice system.

“But now it’s up to you to do the same for your constituents…If we hear the president’s words and each do our part to strengthen our union in our own ways and in our own communities at a grassroots level, our reach, our power and our effect will be endless,” Shapiro added.

“And so perhaps the lesson that we must draw from Tuesday is that we can’t rely on others to do this work for us. We must be the change and do our part. Scripture teaches us that no one is required to complete the task but neither are we free to refrain from it,” Shapiro added.

“This president has laid the groundwork, he has accomplished so much and his vision continues to be a North Star for many of us. I know I will be guided by it and generations of public servants will be too. We understood when the president came on the scene and we need to remember now that we are required for change to happen,” Shapiro continued.

“We knew it would take us, our work, our efforts, our voices – it wouldn’t be just done by elected leaders, it would fall to each of us. And the leader of that effort, who has shown us time and time again, the strength of the American people, of people he will always bet on and never bet against, is our President Barack Obama. And it is my huge honor to introduce him at this time to this important group at this momentous moment to say a few words to all of us. Mr. President, the line is yours. Thank you for this honor,” Shapiro concluded.

Obama replied, “Josh, thank you for the amazing introduction.”

One can assume that was an extremely proud moment for Shapiro, one I’m sure he will never forget.
Obama went on to thank his supporters, praised Clinton’s historic nomination and candidacy for taking a step toward shattering the so-called “glass ceiling” and urged the party faithful not to lose faith.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t hurt for what was an unexpected loss,” Obama said. “I was telling my team you’re allowed to mope for a week and a half, maybe two if you really need it, but after that we gotta brush ourselves off and get back to work. We gotta come together and focus on a way ahead…It means that we’re listening to each other, we’re reflecting, we’re asking tough questions, we’re respectful of different points of view.”

As a private citizen, Obama said he won’t stop “working on behalf of the things that I care about.”

“The bottom line is that, I don’t know about you all, but I’m still fired up and I’m still ready to go,” Obama concluded.

Brazile ended the call by thanking Shapiro for his “tremendous leadership.”
“I know you have a lot of work ahead, your service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Thank you so much and I hope you’re with us as we begin our work in focusing on the future. Thank you for your great leadership as well,” Brazile said.

“Thank you, you can count on it,” Shapiro responded.

Sounds like Shapiro is “fired up and ready to go” as the state’s next attorney general. We’ll be watching.

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