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Democrats claim patriotism, God and American exceptionalism at convention

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Thursday July 28, 2016 – PHILADELPHIA—Democrats are now playing offense on the three G’s that dogged them for so many years: God, gays and guns.

Republicans mercilessly accused Barack Obama of not believing in the notion of American exceptionalism over the years. Some have said he is a closeted Muslim presiding over America’s decline. His opponents have talked relentlessly about “values” and suggested that he somehow lacks them. They’ve used every opportunity to emphasize his otherness, to diminish his Americanism in ways big and small.

Donald Trump has allowed the outgoing president and his party to flip the script. It is the Republican nominee who now talks about malaise, decline and the limitations of U.S. power. His profoundly dark acceptance speech in Cleveland gave an opening for Democrats to present themselves as the hopeful,  optimistic and patriotic party that supports the troops and believes the country’s best days are ahead.

On the third night of the Democratic National Convention here, a procession of speakers wrapped themselves in red, white and blue. And the crowd chanted “U-S-A.”

— While Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama refused to say Trump’s name, Obama said it six times and offered an explicit rebuttal of the portrait he painted last week 430 miles to the west.

“America is already great. America is already strong,” the president said. “What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican, and it sure wasn’t conservative. … Ronald Reagan called America ‘a shining city on a hill.’ Donald Trump calls it ‘a divided crime scene’ that only he can fix.”

“And that is not the America I know,” Obama continued. “The America I know is full of courage, and optimism and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous.”

“Sure, we have real anxieties,” the current president said. “We get frustrated with political gridlock and worry about racial divisions. … We are challenged to do better; to be better. But as I’ve traveled this country, through all 50 states, as I’ve rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I have also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America.”

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