He doesn't do it as often as he might like, but President Obama delivered a fresh rebuke of the Republican candidates looking to succeed him Thursday night, and even turned to a staple of his previous presidential campaigns as he catalogued the myriad reasons he feels the GOP candidates would take the country backward.
"Don't boo! Vote!" Obama told the audience at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Award Gala.
Obama wondered aloud why, as he put it, the Republicans "running for my office" were "so down on America."
"I mean, they have invented this new reality where everything was terrific back in 2008, when the unemployment and uninsured rates were rising and DREAMers lived in fear of deportation and we were engaged in two wars, and Bin Laden was still at large," Obama said. "That was the golden era, apparently. The good old days. And then I came along and messed it all up!"
In fact, Obama said, Republicans would be "turning back the clock" on progress on a number of fronts -- but especially immigration. In a broader critique of the direction the party as a whole is taking, he found common ground with his predecessor to make a contrast with today's GOP.
He quoted former President George W. Bush making a plea for immigration reform: "We cannot build a unified country, he said, by inciting people to anger, or playing to anyone's fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain," Obama recalled.
"Think how much better our economy would be if the rest of his party got the message."
Obama closed by recalling another previous campaign theme of his, as he listed the work that still needed to be done by a future president.
"Change is never easy," he said. "It takes longer than one year. It takes longer than one term. It takes longer than the tenure of one president. But what we together have shown and proven is that when we stick together and put our shoulders to the wheel of history, not only is change possible -- change is inevitable. America can change."