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[PHILADELPHIA] US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Democrats to carry onetime rival Hillary Clinton to victory in November as America's first woman president, while savaging her Republican opponent Donald Trump for fueling hate and division.
The two-term president rallied his party's faithful at their national convention, offering a comprehensive endorsement of his first secretary of state as the one person uniquely qualified to succeed him.
At the end of his powerful 45-minute speech, Mrs Clinton joined him on stage, prompting deafening cheers from the thousands of convention delegates and guests packed into a Philadelphia sports arena to hear the president's address.
To the strains of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Mr Obama shared a warm embrace with his would-be successor, capping an all-star night that included appearances by Vice-President Joe Biden, Mr Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine and independent Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.
"I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman - not me, not Bill (Clinton), nobody - more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America," Mr Obama said.
The convention formally anointed Mrs Clinton on Tuesday as the Democratic nominee, who will now go up against Trump in the November 8 election.
Mr Obama also proclaimed his evergreen optimism about the future of America, while denouncing deep Republican pessimism which he warned was fanning resentment and hate during the 2016 election cycle.
"I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before," Mr Obama told the audience.
At the Republican convention last week that nominated Mr Trump, "there were no serious solutions to pressing problems - just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger and hate," he said.
Mr Obama belittled the Republican flagbearer as having no economic or foreign policy plans.
"Not really a facts guy either," he sneered.
"Does anyone really believe that a guy who's spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? If so, you should vote for him," Mr Obama said.
"But if you're someone who's truly concerned about paying your bills, and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn't even close," he added.
"Our strength, our greatness does not depend on Donald Trump. In fact, it doesn't depend on any one person, and that in the end may be the biggest difference in this election - the meaning of our democracy."
The president also turned to Republican icons of yesteryear as comparison to highlight how Trump was unprepared for the most important job in the world.
"Ronald Reagan called America a shining city on a hill," Mr Obama recalled. "Donald Trump calls it a divided crime scene that only he can fix." "We're going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that's what the moment demands," Mr Obama said to loud cheers and applause.
"The Democratic Party is in good hands."