3:44 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  I think I should leave now.  (Applause.) 
Thank you, thank you, thank you. 
By the way, she was 25, and I was — I was — just so you know, I was — I was under 35.  (Laughter.)  I used to be — she used to be just — anyway, now she’s 25 years younger than I am.  I don’t know how that happened.  (Laughter.)
Folks, look, Lizanne and Barry, thank you very much for hosting us.  But more importantly, thank you for your friendship.  It’s great to see so many friends who’ve been with me for a long, long time. 
Three great members of Congress: Dan, Tom, and Adriano.  Where are — where you guys?  Did you — still — there — thanks, fellas.  (Applause.)  No way out, huh?
This is what we call in our business a busman’s holiday, having to come hear another politician speak. 
Look, another friend, Bonnie — where — where’s Bonnie?  Bonnie, I want to tell you — Bonnie Lautenberg — Frank Lautenberg, we both miss him dearly.  And one of the things I was able to do before he passed and when he passed was — honored him posthumously, bestowed the Medal of Freedom on him.  And, Bonnie — (applause) — you’ve been a great friend for a long time.
It’s great to see Howard Stern here.  Where is Howard?  How could I miss Howard?  Anyway, he was here a moment ago.  Anyway, it was great to see him, and I had a great time on his show.  And I’m actually going to take a chance in going back.  (Laughter.)
Look, I’d like to make three points today. 
First, thank you all for your support.  And I really mean it.  It’s making a real difference in building a campaign to win.  In fact, today, we announced, just since the debate, we’ve raised — just since the debate, raised $27 million, the strongest stretch — (applause) — since our campaign started.  And we’re on track for a very strong June. 
Second, but I understand the concern about the debate.  I get it.  I didn’t have a great night.  But here’s what I — not getting reported: Voters had a different reaction than the pundits.  Since the debate, polls show a little movement, and we’ve moved us up, actually.  Research on the debate shows it can — you know, all those folks on the edge, converting more undecided voters.  Well, we converted more undecided voters than Trump did, especially on January 6th and who’s fighting for the working class, the middle class. 
He — and, by the way, the Times had their editorial.  Well, guess what?  They also pointed out he lied 28 times in a matter of 90 minutes.  That’s pretty good.  That’s pretty good.  (Laughter.)
But the big takeaway were his lies.  People remembered how bad things were during his presidency, how much they disliked him.  They don’t like the chaos and extremism that he brought.  His answer to abortion and January 6th did a lot of damage to his position — a lot of damage.
He also lied about how great he was with veterans.  Well, then I told him how he had called the veterans who had given their lives in a cemetery in Italy [France] — he wouldn’t go to the cemetery, and — because he said they’re a bunch of “suckers” and “losers.”  Well, our son was one of those people — not in Italy [France] but in Iraq — and he died. 
Well, guess what?  He tried to deny it.  But let me ask you this: Are you going to believe a four-star Marine general and his own chief of staff, John Kelly, who told us that’s exactly what Trump said, or a disgraced, defeated president, liar like Trump?
It’s about the fact that — think about this — 40 of his 44 top advisors in his administration refuse to endorse him — 40 out of 44, including his vice president.  And they refuse to support him this time.  It tells you a hell of a lot about the man they worked for. 
The point is, I didn’t have a great night but neither did Trump.  We’ve long believed the more voters focus on choice and better than focusing on just what we have.  
Look, I — I get kidded for saying: Don’t compare me to the Almighty; compare me to the alternative.  Well, that’s not a hard fight.  That’s not a hard fight.
Third, I would not be running again if I didn’t believe with all my heart and soul I can do this job.  I know I don’t walk as easy I used to, I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to, I don’t debate as well as I used to.  But here’s what I also know: I know how to tell the truth.  I know right from wrong.  I know how to do this job.  And I know how to get things done.  And I know, like millions of Americans know, when you get kicked down, you get back up.  And we’re back up.  (Applause.)
I’ve got a lot more to say, but I’m not going to take a lot of your time.  Let me close with this.  Donald Trump is a genuine threat to this nation.  That is not hyperbole.  He’s a threat to our freedom.  He’s a threat to our democracy.  He is literally a threat to the America that we stand for. 
He doesn’t understand what I think all of us do, that America is unique in the world.  We’re literally the unique country in the world.  We’re the only country in the world bas- — built on an idea.  Every other country is built on ethnicity or geography or religion.  Only one based on an idea: We hold these truths to self-evident, that all men and women are created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout their lives. 
We’ve never fully lived up to it, but we’ve — damned if we’ve ever walked away from it.  And I’ll be damned if, in 2024, two years before the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, I’m going to let Donald Trump walk us away from it.  That’s not going to happen.  It’s not going to happen.  (Applause.)
You know, I was told by my docs when I had an aneurism years ago — when I was going down to the operating room for a nine-hour operation, I remember asking him — I said, “How am I going to do, doc?”  He said, “Well, you got a good 35 to 50 percent chance.”  (Laughter.)  And I said, “Well, that’s good.”
And after it was all over, he said, “You know what your problem is, Senator?”  He said, “You’re a congenital optimist.”  (Laughter.)  Well, I am.
I still believe this nation is honest and decent, and treating people with respect is important.  I still think this nation gives everyone a fair shot and leaves nobody behind.  I still — I still believe this nation gives hate no safe harbor.  We never have.
And we’re still a beacon to the world.  I can tell you, as my colleagues can, I’ve met every major world leader for the last 207 years.  (Laughter.) 
But all kidding aside, we can never give up on what America makes America — America makes America — the basic, fundamental truths that we believe in, the decency we have.  The American people are good, decent people.
And Donald Trump is motivated by revenge and retribution.  Well, revenge and retribution never built a damn thing.  But what built America is hope, optimism, a possibility.  (Applause.)  That’s what’s always built America, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do: build America today. 
The choice in this election is simple as this: Donald Trump will destroy democracy.  That’s not hyperbole.  He’ll de- — I will defend it.  
He’ll never — I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future.  We just have to remember who in the hell we are.  We are the United States of America.  There is nothing — nothing, nothing — beyond our capacity — nothing — when we do it together.  And we plan on doing that.  You’re allowing me to do that.
Folks, thank you very much.  I promise you: We’re going to win this election.  We’re going to win this election.  (Applause.)
Thank you, thank you, thank you.  In large part because of you all.  Thank you very much. 
Guys, thanks for being here.  Thank you.  (Applause.)
And, by the way, I don’t want to go home.  (Laughter.) 
Thank you, again, our host and hostess.  Tha- — this is magnificent.  (Applause.)  Thank you, thank you, thank you. 
All right.  Thanks, everybody.  Enjoy the day.  (Applause.)  
3:52 P.M. EDT

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