There’s a criticism today that the economy is not where we want it to be; I make that criticism every day. But let’s not forget for one second, let’s never forget, where this country was when Obama came into office. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. A month! We were running up a $1.4 trillion deficit, and the world’s financial system was fairly close to collapse. Other than that, things were pretty good when Bush left office. [Pause] That was a joke. In other words, the man came into office inheriting economic hardship, the worst since the Great Depression.Like everyone else Sanders finds Obama's self-discipline to be his salient characteristic. Interesting that so many people said the same thing about Jackie Robinson.
Now, you and I can acknowledge that this country is very, very far away from where we want it to be. But compared to where we were eight years ago, it is day and night. And to some degree, Obama’s intelligence and strength have made that happen. We are living in difficult times, but the stock market hasn’t collapsed, employment is not at 14 percent. So you ask me a major accomplishment? That’s a pretty good accomplishment.
On a personal level, I am always impressed by his discipline, his incredible focus, and his intelligence. When you are president of the United States and exposed to media 24 hours a day, it is so easy to say stupid things to get yourself in trouble. He has done that very, very rarely. No president I can recall has had the kind of discipline and focus that he has, and that is no small thing.
And he had this to say to young progressives disenchanted by the choice between Clinton and Trump:
I would ask people to take a look at history and to understand that change never, ever, ever comes about in a short period of time. To take a look at the struggles of the civil rights movement, of the women’s movement, of the union movement, of the gay movement, of the environmental movement, and to understand that all of those movements took years and years and are still in play today.
In the campaign, what we did is show the American people that the ideas the establishment had thought were fringe were really not fringe—that millions of people want to transform this country. It’s not gonna happen overnight. The fight has got to continue. And if you are serious about politics, then you gotta put your shoulder to the wheel and keep going. Sometimes the choices that are in front of you are not great choices, but you do the best you can. And the day after the election, you continue the effort.
That’s how the world works. We don’t have the luxury to give up, OK?