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Former President Barack Obama on Thursday eulogized the late Rep. John Lewis as "a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America" that lies in the nation's future.

The state of play: Obama also called out President Trump — though not by name — by repeatedly referencing Trump's actions to discourage mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Obama said he's talking about it today because Lewis "devoted his time on this Earth fighting the very attacks on democracy ... we're seeing circulate right now."

  • "The fate of this democracy depends on how we use it. It isn't automatic. It has to be nurtured, it has to be tended to. We have to work at it. It's hard," he added.
  • He called for the passage of a new federal voting rights act, renamed in Lewis' honor by Congress, as the proper way to honor the late congressman.
  • The former president referred to the filibuster as "another Jim Crow relic." He also specifically said that all Americans should be automatically registered to vote and called for Election Day to become a national holiday.

The big picture: Obama wove Lewis' lifetime of achievements in the civil rights movement throughout his eulogy, highlighting how "his example could challenge centuries of convention and generations of brutal violence and countless daily indignities suffered by African Americans."

  • "You know, sometimes, we read about this and we kind of take it for granted. Or at least we act as if it was inevitable. Imagine the courage of two people Malia's age — younger than my oldest daughter. On their own. To challenge an entire infrastructure of oppression."

The bottom line: Obama summarized Lewis as someone who "brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals."

  • "And someday when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union — whether it's years from now or decades or even if it takes another two centuries — John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America."

"What a gift John Lewis was. We are all so lucky to have had him walk with us for a while — and show us the way," Obama concluded.

Go deeper

Trump's stock market performance falls short of Obama's

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump has presided over a stock market surge since taking office in 2017, but he's been outpaced by three of his four predecessors.

By the numbers: The S&P 500 grew by 44.5% since Trump's inauguration through the end of October 2020. This comes up short of former President Obama's 66.1% through the comparable time period, but well above the -15.8% for former President George W. Bush.

$1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill clears major procedural vote in Senate

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Senate voted 67-32 on Wednesday to advance the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Why it matters: After weeks of negotiating, portions of the bill remain unwritten, but the Senate can now start debating the legislation to resolve outstanding issues.

Fed chair says he isn't concerned by Delta surge

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at the G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Venice last month. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

One of the country's most influential economic officials doesn't anticipate that surging coronavirus cases will knock the reopening recovery off course.

What he's saying: "There has tended to be less economic implications from each [coronavirus] wave. We'll see if that's the case for the Delta variety," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters today.

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