"We can't afford to act as if there's some equivalence here."

During a campaign event in Philly today, President Obama let loose on the press, telling them to do their jobs—and defending his friend Hillary Clinton in the process—and it was a thing of beauty:

We cannot afford to take this election for granted. We gotta fight for this thing. There are serious issues at stake in this election—behind all the frivolous stuff that gets covered every day.

And let me just make a comment about that. Because I— Look, I'm not running this time. But I sure do get frustrated with the way this campaign is covered. I'm just telling the truth. Guys in the back [gestures at media], I'm just telling you the truth about how I feel about this.

Let me— Do you mind if I just vent for a second? [the crowd cheers] You know, you know, the—you don't, you don't grade the presidency on a curve. This is serious business.

And when we see folks talking about transparency— You wanna debate transparency? You've got one candidate in this race who's released decades worth of her tax returns. The other candidate is the first in decades who refuses to release any at all.

You wanna debate foundations and charities? One candidate's family foundation has saved countless lives around the world. The other candidate's foundation took money other people gave to his charity and then bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself. I mean, you know, he had the taste to not go for the ten-foot version, but.

You wanna debate who's more fit to be our president? One candidate who's traveled to more countries than any Secretary of State ever has, has more qualifications than pretty much anyone who's ever run for this job, and the other who isn't fit in any way, shape, or form to represent this country abroad and be its commander-in-chief.

So, somehow, as things go on, because we've become so partisan, our standards for what's normal have changed. And Donald Trump says stuff every day that used to be considered as disqualifying for being president.

And yet, because he says it over and over and over again, the press just gives up. And they just say, "Well, yeah, you know, okay." They just stop— "I was opposed to the war in Iraq!" Well, actually, he wasn't! But they just accept it!

So, so the bottom line is—is that we cannot afford suddenly to treat this like a reality show. We can't afford to act as if there's some equivalence here.

To be president, you have to do your homework. And you have to know what you're talking about. And you've gotta apply steady judgment, even when things don't go your way. And you've gotta make the tough calls, even when they're not popular.

UPDATE: My colleague Peter Daou has more at Shareblue, including this amazing bit, which followed directly after the excerpt I shared above: "You have to be able to handle criticism without taking it personally. Just brush it off, done. And that's something I learned, and that's what Hillary learned as a Senator and Secretary of State and as a First Lady. Yes, she's got her share of critics like I do, and she's been caricatured by the right and the left. She's been accused of everything you can imagine and has been subjected to more scrutiny and what I believe is more unfair criticism than anybody out here. And she doesn't complain about it. And you know what, that's what happens when you're under the microscope for 40 years. But what sets Hillary apart is that through it all, she just keeps going. And she doesn't stop caring and she doesn't stop trying. And she never stops fighting for us." Blub.

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