PHILADELPHIA — Joe Nolan, 28, didn't have a pass into the seats and was sitting on the floor inside the Wells Fargo Arena perimeter, watching Obama's DNC speech on TV without sound but with captions.
"I know he's left this country in a better place and I just want Hillary to continue his work," he said. "She is the answer to defeating Trump because Trump honestly scares the hell out of me," said Nolan, who voted for Obama in 2008 and said it was heartbreaking to know the two-term president and first African American in the office is leaving.
Like Obama, whose mother was white and father African, Nolan has lived between two worlds; his mother was Mexican, and he was raised by an Irish Catholic family. Like the President, he grew up both embracing his ethnic background and his adoptive family's heritage.
"To have him say that this country is just basically a melting pot, it hit me on both sides, my biological family and my adoptive family," Nolan said. "It was wonderful."
Others praised the President’s acerbic remark about not knowing if his Kansas grandparents’ ancestors — who were of white, European origin — had their birth certificates, referring to Donald Trump’s repeated statements questioning Obama’s Hawaii birthplace and birth certificate.
Noted Mexican-American author and journalist Alfredo Corchado, who has written extensively about border issues, paraphrased two lines from Obama that were extensively repeated after Thursday night's speech: that "no wall" can contain the American dream and "Don't boo, vote," when the crowd booed after his mention of Donald Trump.
Pablo Guzmán, a journalist and one of the founding member of the "Young Lords" civil rights group, noted on his tweet that the President "checked" what many hoped he would do in his speech: make the "pivot" to Hillary, slam Trump and in the end, remind Americans that they will miss him.