From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –
Eight years after making a pivotal switch of support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic race, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is fully on the side of Clinton in 2016, using his star power to urge Democrats here to redouble their efforts in November, arguing that the party should aggressively take on key issues like gun control.
“I must tell you, I have known Hillary Clinton for many years,” Lewis told cheering delegates on Tuesday night. “She is one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for President.”
A civil rights icon in his own right, the 76 year old Lewis is a political rock star here in Philadelphia, shuttling between delegation breakfasts and other events to make the case for Democrats – and also to remind members of his party to go home and get to work.
On Monday of convention week, Lewis first went to visit the Ohio delegation – “I haven’t even been to the Georgia delegation, yet,” he said with a smile.
“You did it in ’08,” Lewis told the Ohio Democratic delegates, noting the victory of Barack Obama in the Buckeye State eight years ago.
“You must do it again,” he shouted to cheers from delegates.
“The other party has never won a national election without your state,” as Lewis rattled off places he visited in Ohio in 2012 to help get out the vote.
“We’ve got to turn out and vote like we have never ever voted before,” Lewis said flatly.
And after a few interviews, some photos with delegates and handshakes with well wishers, Lewis was whisked off to another meeting to spread his message.
Hours before he seconded the nomination of Hillary Clinton, Lewis joined former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) at an event on gun control, arguing that Democrats must be more outspoken in pushing for action on that matter in the Congress.
“Don’t give up! Don’t give in,” as Lewis invoked his struggles for civil rights.
“Keep your eyes on the prize, and let’s work and work and fight and fight, and we will have a victory,” Lewis said to cheers at an outdoor rally on gun control.