One of the challenges Democrats face when taking on Donald Trump is choosing which of his many flaws to focus on first. The list is daunting: Do you go after the Republican nominee's inexperience? His ignorance? His brazen dishonesty? Do you target his bigotry? His private-sector failures? What about his radical ideas? And his affection for authoritarian dictators?
At the Democratic National Convention, President Obama didn't choose any of these, preferring a broader theme: Donald J. Trump just doesn't understand what make America great. In fact, the GOP candidate is so wrong about the country, that his election would threaten the American experiment itself.
Much of the speech was focused, appropriately, on the president's praise of Hillary Clinton, and by any measure, Obama made the case for his former Secretary of State better than anyone has before.
But the president's denunciation of Trump's vision and values was as complete as any you have (or will) hear.
"Ronald Reagan called America 'a shining city on a hill.' Donald Trump calls it 'a divided crime scene' that only he can fix.... He's just offering slogans, and he's offering fear. He's betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.
"And that's another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he'll lose it is because he's selling the American people short. We're not a fragile people. We're not a frightful people. Our power doesn't come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don't look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that We the People, can form a more perfect union.
"That's who we are. That's our birthright -- the capacity to shape our own destiny."
It's important to appreciate the irony: Trump has spent much of the last eight years questioning whether the president actually appreciates what it means to be an American. Last night was Obama's opportunity to not only answer the question, but also to turn the table.
Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt, Republican strategists, talk about how President Obama's address to the DNC addressed not just Donald Trump, but his political philosophy and why it is contrary to what it means to be an American today. watch
President Obama delivered a speech that was starkly different than Donald Trump's address at the RNC; it was one that painted an inspired and strong America, rather than a dark and desperate one. MSNBC's Joy Reid thinks it may have been his best speech yet. watch
Lawrence O'Donnell reacts to President Barack Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention, noting his outreach to party idealists and Bernie Sanders supporters, as well as his explanation of the slow pace of progress. watch
Steve Schmidt, Republican strategist, praises President Barack Obama's address to the Democratic National Convention. Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washing Post remarks on Obama's outreach to the center. watch
Senator Elizabeth Warren talks with Rachel Maddow about Hillary Clinton's selection of Tim Kaine as running mate, the risks to the U.S. of a potential Trump presidency, and her plans to help Democrats win a majority in the Senate. watch
Nicolle Wallace, Republican strategist, notes the muted response from Republicans to Donald Trump's invitation to Russia to hack U.S. computer systems and meddle in the election, and that the Trump campaign is happy to steal the headlines, regardless of the reason. watch
Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, discusses the quantity of material stolen from their digital accounts by hackers and the expectation that Wikileaks will release more of it as the presidential campaign continues. watch
Malcolm Nance, former U.S. intelligence officer, expresses his shock at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's invitation to Russia to hack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and share any ill-gotten intelligence it may have to help hurt... watch