On This Day in History… August 28, 1968: Police and Protesters clash at the DNC

Documentary on the Chicago ’68 Riots – by Bonnie K. Goodman

On This Day in History… August 28, 1968: Police and anti-Vietnam War demonstrators
clash at Chicago’s Democratic National Convention…

Sources and Further Reading:

James E. Campbell, The American Campaign: U.S. Presidential Campaigns and the National Vote, (Texas A&M University Press, 2000)

Maurice Isserman, Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s,
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

Frank Kusch, Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention, (Westport, CT. Praeger, 2004).

Mark Kurlansky, 1968: The Year That Rocked the World, (Random House, Inc., 2005).

Jon Wiener, Tom Hayden, Jules Feiffer, Conspiracy in the Streets: The Extraordinary Trial of the Chicago Eight, (New Press, 2006).

Democratic Convention Day 3: August 27, 2008

Day 3 Schedule

    Wednesday, August 27: Securing America’s Future

    Barack Obama offers a new, tough foreign policy that is neither Republican nor Democratic, but is a strong, smart American foreign policy to make our country more secure and advance our interests in the world. Wednesday night’s Convention program will feature the voices of Americans who share Barack’s vision of making America stronger and safer.

    The headline prime-time speaker on Wednesday was Vice Presidential Nominee Senator Joe Biden.

    Barack Obama and Joe Biden (NYT)

    The 2008 Democratic Ticket: Barack Obama and Joe Biden (NYT)

    Featured speakers included: Former President Bill Clinton; former Senator Tom Daschle; Governor Bill Richardson and Senators Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Jay Rockefeller. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Convention home state Senator Ken Salazar, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, and Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) along with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth will lead a tribute honoring those who give so much to secure our nation’s future – veterans, active duty military and their families.

Highlights:

  • August 27, 2008: Obama and Biden plan post-convention bus tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan … GOP ‘war room’ revs up as high-profile figures hit airwaves to slam Obama … Democrats plan heavy presence at GOP convention, will greet delegates with Bush billboard – AP, 8-27-08
  • Freudian Slip: Mr. Biden’s Freudian slip gets a big laugh — when he says “George” when he means “John.” That’s the subtext of his speech, which hasn’t come yet — that Mr. McCain is Mr. Bush. – NYT, The Caucus Blog, 8-27-08

Stats

  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08
  • August 27, 2008: Obama had received 1549.5 votes to Clinton’s 341.5 when Clinton called for the roll call to be suspended. – Detroit Free Press, 8-27-08
  • Q: Had the wives of presidential candidates given full-length, prime-time speeches before Michelle Obama?
    A: Yes. Elizabeth Dole, wife of GOP nominee Bob Dole, stole the show at the 1996 Republican National Convention when she took a roving microphone and spoke to delegates on the floor. Her “Oprah turn” drew cheers, even from network correspondents.
    Both Laura Bush and Tipper Gore also gave full-length, prime-time speeches at their husbands’ nominating conventions in 2000.
    In 1988, Barbara Bush spoke, but her remarks were not aired in prime time. Nancy Reagan had a prime-time slot at her husband’s second Republican convention in 1984. Pat Nixon spoke briefly at the 1972 GOP convention after her husband, Richard M. Nixon, was nominated for a second term.
    In 1940, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented third term, he asked his wife, Eleanor, to go to the Democratic convention in Chicago on his behalf and unify delegates to back his vice presidential pick. She was home knitting when she got the call, according to Carl Anthony, a historian with the National First Ladies Library. – AP, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Bill Clinton had key moment”: I sure do, Jim. This was a great, big night for the Democrats and a huge help to this ticket. Bill Clinton gave one of his best speeches, including the seven words that Hillary Clinton did not quite speak last night. He said, “Barack Obama is ready to be president.” That’s going to be a great help to those who are going to cite Hillary’s words from earlier in the primary campaign against her. You also saw one of the reasons why Joe Biden is on this ticket. You know, vice presidents, like Hubert Humphrey in 1964, that convention, went after Barry Goldwater. Fritz Mondale, whom you interviewed earlier this evening, Jim, in 1976, brought the house down at the Carter convention by saying, “We’ve had the worst scandal in our history, Watergate, and this nominee, Gerald Ford, pardoned the guy who did it.”And, of course, Al Gore in 1992, “What time is it? It’s time for them to go.” And the interesting thing, finally, Jim, is that Joe Biden showed sort of an ironic and interesting sense of history, because when he kept on saying, “Do you want change or more of the same?”, who’s slogan was that? It was Bill Clinton’s in 1992. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on Joe Biden: Well, it’s funny. Like Michael, I saw the ghost of Hubert Humphrey in this hall tonight, you know? We’ve heard this week from Kennedy Democrats, and Clinton Democrats, and Obama Democrats, and tonight was Hubert’s night. I mean, this was one-part classic populism and one-part the politics of joy. But it was also something else. It was very interesting. This was a values speech. This was a character speech. And it does indicate that this is a party that is going to go after values voters, with which they have not always been terribly successful in some recent elections. That, in itself, it seems to me makes it significant. And it also really, I think, ups the ante for Senator McCain who has, I guess, about two days in which to decide who he wants to pit in that vice presidential debate against the man we heard tonight. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Oh, gosh. Bill Clinton’s legacy — earlier we heard Walter Mondale, a very honorable, very decent spokesperson for a different kind of Democratic Party, a kind of a New Deal liberalism. It was Bill Clinton who said the era of big government is over. It was Bill Clinton who in many ways anticipated Barack Obama by seeking a third way, almost a post-ideological presidency. And so welfare reform, and a balanced budget, and surpluses, things that people didn’t associate with Democrats. So he redefined the Democratic Party, certainly in economic terms, and to some degree, I would say, in foreign policy, as well. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. It’s really a paradoxical legacy. On the one hand, Clinton is the first Democrat to have two terms since, really, Roosevelt. On the other, his third way or neoliberalism actually really transforms the party in a way that his critics say was really negative, because, on the one hand, he says he wants a leaner, not meaner government in 1992, and really tries to split the difference between old-school New Deal liberalism and the conservative austerity of the 1980s. Now, that third way was progressive on some fronts, but on other fronts it left people wondering whether the Democratic Party really cared about working people, poor people, and minorities. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Yes, actually, I don’t agree too much with some of what both Peniel and Richard said, as much as I love you both. And the reason is that eight years of peace and prosperity, admirable, I think to historians, in the future. Legacy is what a president does that affects later generations. Bill Clinton had to basically try to retard the movement of a Republican period. That period is ebbing right now. He also tried to make the Democratic Party as strong as the Republicans on military things. So both of those things are a little bit out of date. This seems to be this year a Democratic time, a growing Democratic Congress. Not too many lessons for Barack Obama to use either as candidate or president. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • Michael Beschloss, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) at breakfast discussion hosted by Politico, The Denver Post and Yahoo News: Beschloss agreed with Emanuel that race often played a role in presidential elections, “sometimes in subtler ways.”…. Answering a question about the most important qualities a president should possess, Beschloss mentioned the ability to “get things through Congress,” noting that Obama’s short experience in Washington could make that a challenge. But he added, gesturing toward Daschle, “That’s a talent that a president can hire.”… Beschloss added that a president should be willing to dump any advisers who end up being less helpful — or more troublesome — than expected. “Sometimes you will appoint someone,” Beschloss said, “and sometimes it is not working, and you have to cut the friend adrift. It is excruciatingly painful.”… And Beschloss, the historian, suggested the migration from Daschle’s staff to Obama’s was an early sign of the Illinois senator’s national political potential. – Politico, 8-27-08
  • Milton C. Sernett on “Did Harriet Tubman Really Say That?”: Milton C. Sernett, a retired professor of history at Syracuse University, and an authority on African-American history, said he found it “a bit odd” when he heard Mrs. Clinton’s Tubman citation in her speech. “If she meant it as a paraphrase of something that has been attributed to Harriet Tubman, that might be understandable,” he said. “But if she was meaning to quote Harriet Tubman directly, that puzzled me.”
    Dr. Sernett is the author of “Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History” (Duke University Press, 2007), which examined the ways Tubman has been represented in American writing and culture. The thesis of the book, he said in a phone interview, is that “by the time Harriet Tubman enters fully into the American consciousness as an American icon, her historical person has been so mixed up with ideas that cannot be historically substantiated that what passed into memory was the mythologized symbol, not the historical person.” He added, “Because she was illiterate, we have mediated histories of her — stories always told by others — that leave it open to a great deal of interpretation and reinterpretation by each generation as they search for a usable Harriet Tubman.”
    As part of the book, Dr. Sernett investigated a four-line quatrain that has often been attributed to Tubman and resembles what Senator Clinton cited:

    If you are tired, keep going.
    If you are scared, keep going.
    If you are hungry, keep going.
    If you want to taste freedom, keep going.

    Dr. Sernett said, “While this is frequently attributed to her, and you find it in many books written for children, I was unable to find it in any of the primary documents that date from Harriet Tubman’s life — or something that she might have recounted to someone else who then took it down firsthand.”
    He believes the lines originated in “semifictional accounts of her life in the 1950s or even later, in the 1960s, when there was an explosion of interest in writers, at a time when there was a great-felt need for remedying the neglect of African-American history.”
    Dr. Sernett said he nonetheless appreciated the senator’s words:

    Senator Clinton was not on the podium there as a historian. She was there as a symbol in her own right. I thought there was a refrain throughout her speech that was more feminist than some of her other speeches. Given the audience and the moment, it was an appropriate citation.

    In fact, Dr. Sernett said, Tubman did receive such compensation during her lifetime — though some of that compensation came late — and it is a “historically inaccurate notion that she had something coming to her.” – NYT, The Caucus log, 8-27-08

  • Kate Clifford Larson on “Did Harriet Tubman Really Say That?”:: Kate Clifford Larson, who teaches history at Simmons College and Wheelock College in Boston and is author of “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero” (Ballantine, 2003), told The Caucus in an e-mail message:

    This quote, and variations of it, have been attributed to Tubman since the mid 20th century. I researched this years ago and determined it came from a juvenile account of Tubman’s life sometime in the 1950s. The roots of it, however, are obvious. Tubman, indeed, never did give up, and spent her life encouraging people to keep fighting for freedom, equality, justice, and self determination. Even on her death bed, it was reported that she encouraged black and white women to “stick together” to win the battle for the right to vote (many white women activists were willing to sacrifice giving the vote to black women in order to attract southern white women to the cause). How poignant that Hillary asked the same of her supporters on the anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, giving all women the right to vote. While Clinton used a commonly attributed quote of Tubman’s that is not known to be original, she did capture Tubman’s spirit. And, in all fairness to Senator Clinton and others who use that quote, few outside of the small circle of Tubman scholars know that the quote is not actually attributable to Tubman.

    Dr. Larson said she appreciated Senator Clinton’s citation of Tubman, saying it would assist efforts by scholars who are working with the National Park Service to create a national park in Tubman’s honor. – NYT, The Caucus log, 8-27-08

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”: Well, for decades, the Democratic Party has suffered from the perception that it is the party of special interests. For the second straight night, we see a party that’s trying to create a perception that it’s actually the party of universal interest, but universal interest in Technicolor. So I think that it’s been very effective in trying to embrace themes of patriotism and, really, small-d American democracy….
    I thought it was a remarkable speech. I think in a way some critics will say that she should have talked about Obama even more. But given the fact that she got 18 million votes, I think the self-referential nature of the speech was justified to an extent. At the same time, she tried to pass the torch to Obama and really tell her supporters that, if they want a different kind of America for themselves and their children, they should support Senator Obama’s candidacy…. PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think, in a curious sort of war, she may have just saved the McCain campaign some ad dollars, because it’s awfully difficult to imagine them continuing as of tomorrow morning to run those ads that suggest that Senator Clinton is, in fact, a latent McCain supporter….
    You know, I think that’s, frankly, implicit. You know, we’ve all been caught up in this media melodrama for weeks. You know, basically, will she or won’t she? And tonight she answered that question I think pretty emphatically, with some poignancy and, I suspect, considerable persuasiveness. But, remember, there are still a lot of raw feelings among many of those delegates on the floor tonight. There’s a credibility test that this speech had to pass among some of her most dedicated followers. And I think, if she’d spent much of that speech, in effect, taking back some of the things she’d said rather than arguing the broad case — I agree with Michael, it was a broad, somewhat generic case — but that case certainly more than passed the threshold that had been raised over these last few weeks. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think it’s probably the best written and best delivered speech I’ve heard her give. But I think you can criticize it on one ground, an Obama supporter might, and that is this is a dead-close election right now. Barack Obama, for Democrats who want to see him elected, is going to need all the help he can. She said some pretty brutal things about Barack Obama and his equipment to be — his experience to be president that are being aired in those McCain commercials. And so what she said for Obama tonight — you know, he’ll bring health care, he’ll do all these wonderful things — it was great, but it was pretty generic. She could have said those things about Chris Dodd, if he had been nominated. I think what it really needed more, if it was going to be really a huge help to Obama, would be, “I did say certain things early in the campaign, but because of what Obama has done in this campaign, I’ve seen him grow. I’ve come to question what I said against him. I have a new view that’s a lot more positive. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download

The Speeches….

  • Joseph R. Biden’s Convention Speech:
    Joe Biden (CSMonitor)

    Joe Biden (CSMonitor)

    BIDEN: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, John Kerry.
    Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. Thank you, thank you. Thanks. Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

    You know, folks, my dad used to have an expression. He’d say, “A father knows he’s a success when he turns and looks at his son or daughter and know that they turned out better than he did.” I’m a success; I’m a hell of a success. Beau, I love you. I’m so proud of you.

    I’m so proud of the son you’ve become; I’m so proud of the father you are. And I’m also so proud of my son, Hunter, and my daughter, Ashley.

    And my wife, Jill, the only one who leaves me both breathless and speechless at the same time.

    It’s an honor to share the stage tonight with President Clinton, a man who I think brought this country so far along that I only pray we do it again.

    And last night — and last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of our great leaders, a great leader of this party, a woman who has made history and will continue to make history…
    … a colleague, my friend, Senator Hillary Clinton.

    And I am truly honored — I am truly honored to live in a country with the bravest warriors in the world.

    And I’m honored to represent the first state, my state, the state of Delaware.

    Sen. Joe Biden emphasized his working class roots in a speech at the Democratic convention Wednesday. (CNN)

    Sen. Joe Biden emphasized his working class roots in a speech at the Democratic convention Wednesday. (CNN)

    Since I’ve never been called a man of few words, let me say this simply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve with Barack Obama, the next president of the United States of America.

    Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring the pledge to uphold the law and honor the Constitution, no longer will you hear the eight most-dreaded words in the English language, “The vice president’s office is on the phone.”….

    You know, my mom taught her children — all the children who flocked to our house — that you’re defined by your sense of honor and you’re redeemed by your loyalty. She believes that bravery lives in every heart, and her expectation is that it will be summoned. Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.

    As a child, I stuttered, and she lovingly would look at me and tell me, “Joey, it’s because you’re so bright you can’t get the thoughts out quickly enough.”

    When I was not as well-dressed as the other kids, she’d look at me and say, “Joey, oh, you’re so handsome, honey, you’re so handsome.”

    And when I got knocked down by guys bigger than me — and this is the God’s truth — she sent me back out and said, “Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day.” And that’s what I did.

    You know — and after the accident, she told me, she said, “Joey, God sends no cross that you cannot bear.” And when I triumphed, my mother was quick to remind me it was because of others.

    My mother’s creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you.

    My parents taught us to live our faith and to treasure our families. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough. That was America’s promise.

    Like millions of Americans, they’re asking questions as ordinary as they are profound, questions they never, ever thought they’d have to ask themselves.

    Should Mom move in with us now that Dad’s gone? Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars just to fill up the gas tank? How in God’s name, with winter coming, how are we going to heat the home? Another year, no raise. Did you hear they may be cutting our health care at the company? Now we owe more money on our home than our home is worth. How in God’s name are we going to send the kids to college? How are we going to retire, Joe?

    You know, folks, that’s the America that George Bush has left us. And that’s the America we’ll continue to get if George — excuse me, if John McCain is elected president of the United States of America. Freudian slip. Freudian slip.

    And, folks, these are not isolated discussions among families down on their luck. These are common stories among middle-class people who worked hard their whole life, played by the rules, on the promise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays.

    That promise is the promise of America. It defines who we are as a people. And now it’s in jeopardy. I know it. You know it.

    But John McCain doesn’t seem to get it. Barack Obama gets it, though. Like many of us in this room, like many of us in this hall, Barack Obama has worked his way up. He is the great American story, you know?

    I believe the measure of a man is not the road he travels but the choices he makes along that road.

    And, ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama could have done anything after he graduated from college. With all his talent and promise, he could have written his own ticket to Wall Street. But what did he choose to do?

    He chose to go to Chicago, the South Side of Chicago. There, there, in the South Side, he met women and men who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams had to be deferred; their self-esteem was gone. And, ladies and gentlemen, he made their lives the work of his life.

    That’s what you do when you’re raised by a single mom who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own. That’s how you come to believe to the very core of your being that work is more than a paycheck. It’s dignity. It’s respect….

    You know, you can learn a lot about a man campaigning with him, debating him, seeing how he reacts under pressure. You learn about the strength of his mind. But even more importantly, you learn about the quality of his heart.

    I watched how Barack touched people, how he inspired them. And I realized he had tapped into the oldest belief in America: We don’t have to accept the situation we cannot bear; we have the power to change it.

    And change it — and changing it is exactly what Barack Obama will do. That’s what he’ll do for this country.

    You know, John McCain is my friend. And I know you hear that phrase used all the time in politics. I mean it. John McCain is my friend.

    We’ve traveled the world together. It’s a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism demonstrated by John still amazes me.

    But I profoundly disagree with the direction John wants to take this country, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Amtrak to veterans.

    You know, John thinks that, during the Bush years, quote, “We’ve made great economic progress.” I think it’s been abysmal. And in the Senate, John has voted with President Bush 95 percent. And that is very hard to believe.

    And when John McCain proposes $200 million in new taxes for corporate America, $1 billion alone for the largest companies in the nation — but no, none, no relief for 100 million American families, that’s not change. That’s more of the same.

    Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history, nearly $500 billion in the last five years, John wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. That’s not change. That’s the same.

    And during the same time, John voted again and again against renewable energy, solar, wind, biofuels. That’s not change. That’s more of the same.

    Millions of Americans have seen their jobs go offshore, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That’s not change. That’s more of the same.

    He voted 19 times against the minimum wage for people who are struggling just to make it to the next day. That’s not change. That’s more of the same.

    And when he says he’ll continue to spend $10 billion a month, when the Iraqis have a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that’s not change. That’s more of the same.

    The choice in the election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader. A leader who can change — the change that everybody knows we need….

    Barack Obama’s going to deliver that change, because, I want to tell you, Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He will cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. That’s the change we need.

    Barack Obama will transform the economy by making alternative energy a national priority and in the process creating 5 million new jobs and finally, finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. That’s the change we need.

    Barack Obama knows that any country that out-teaches us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That’s why he’ll invest in the next generation of teachers and why he’ll make college more affordable. That’s the change we need.

    Barack Obama will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the average family and, at long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care for every American.

    That’s the change we need….

    America cannot afford four more years of this failure. And now, now, despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack Obama is not ready to protect our national security. Now, let me ask you this: Whose judgment do you trust?

    Should you trust the judgment of John McCain, when he said only three years ago, “Afghanistan, we don’t read about it anymore in papers because it succeeded”?

    Or should you believe Barack Obama who said a year ago, “We need to send two more combat battalions to Afghanistan”?

    The fact of the matter is, al Qaeda and the Taliban, the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, they’ve regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and they are plotting new attacks. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack’s call for more troops.

    John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right….

    Again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama has been proven right.

    Folks, remember when the world used to trust us, when they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, they’ll look at us again, they’ll trust us again, and we’ll be able to lead again.

    Folks, Jill and I are truly honored to join Michelle and Barack on this journey. When I look at their young children, when I look at my grandchildren, I know why I’m here.

    I’m here for their future. I’m here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I’m here for the cops and the firefighters, the teachers and the assembly line workers, the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures.

    Our greatest presidents, from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy, they all challenged us to embrace change. Now it is our responsibility to meet that challenge.

    Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans together we get back up, back up together.

    Joe Biden after accepting the Democratic Vice-Presidential Nomination (PBS)

    Joe Biden after accepting the Democratic Vice-Presidential Nomination (PBS)

    Our debt to our parents and our grandparents is too great. Our obligation to our children is too sacred. These are extraordinary times; this is an extraordinary election.

    The American people are ready. I am ready. Barack is ready. This is his time; this is our time; this is America’s time.

    God bless America, and may God protect our troops. Thank you very much. Thank you.

  • John Kerry Whips Up Support for Barack Obama at DNC:

    Thank you so much. Four years ago, you gave me the honor of fighting our fight. I was proud to stand with you then, and I am proud to stand with you now, to help elect Barack Obama as President of the United States.

    In 2004, we came so close to victory. We are even closer now, and let me tell you, this time we’re going to win. Today, the call for change is more powerful than ever, and with more seats in Congress, with more people with more passion engaged in our politics, and with a President Obama, we stand on the brink of the greatest opportunity of our generation to move this country forward.

    The stakes could not be higher, because we do know what a McCain administration would look like: just like the past, just like George Bush. And this country can’t afford a third Bush term. Just think: John McCain voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Ninety percent of George Bush is just more than we can take.

    Never in modern history has an administration squandered American power so recklessly. Never has strategy been so replaced by ideology. Never has extremism so crowded out common sense and fundamental American values. Never has short-term partisan politics so depleted the strength of America’s bipartisan foreign policy.

    George Bush, with John McCain at his side, promised to spread freedom but delivered the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. They misread the threat and misled the country. Instead of freedom, it’s Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and dictators everywhere that are on the march. North Korea has more bombs, and Iran is defiantly chasing one.

    Our mission is to restore America’s influence and position in the world. We must use all the weapons in our arsenal, above all, our values. President Obama and Vice President Biden will shut down Guantanamo, respect the Constitution, and make clear once and for all, the United States of America does not torture, not now, not ever….

    I have known and been friends with John McCain for almost 22 years. But every day now I learn something new about candidate McCain. To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician, I say, let’s compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain.

    Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain’s own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you’re against it.

    Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself. And what’s more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same “Rove” tactics and the same “Rove” staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear. Well, not this year, not this time. The Rove-McCain tactics are old and outworn, and America will reject them in 2008.

    So remember, when we choose a commander-in-chief this November, we are electing judgment and character, not years in the Senate or years on this earth. Time and again, Barack Obama has seen farther, thought harder, and listened better. And time and again, Barack Obama has been proven right….

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? When Barack Obama promised to honor the best traditions of both parties and talk to our enemies, John McCain scoffed. George Bush called it “the soft comfort of appeasement.” But today, Bush’s diplomats are doing exactly what Obama said: talking with Iran.

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? When democracy rolled out of Russia, and the tanks rolled into Georgia, we saw John McCain respond immediately with the outdated thinking of the Cold War. Barack Obama responded like a statesman of the 21st century.

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? When we called for a timetable to make Iraqis stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home, John McCain called it “cut and run.” But today, even President Bush has seen the light. He and Prime Minister Maliki agree on “guess what?” a timetable.

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? The McCain-Bush Republicans have been wrong again and again and again. And they know they will lose on the issues. So, the candidate who once promised a “contest of ideas,” now has nothing left but personal attacks. How insulting to suggest that those who question the mission, question the troops. How pathetic to suggest that those who question a failed policy doubt America itself. How desperate to tell the son of a single mother who chose community service over money and privilege that he doesn’t put America first.

    No one can question Barack Obama’s patriotism. Like all of us, he was taught what it means to be an American by his family: his grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line in World War II, his grandfather who marched in Patton’s army, and his great uncle who enlisted in the army right out of high school at the height of the war. And on a spring day in 1945, he helped liberate one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald….

    This election is a chance for America to tell the merchants of fear and division: you don’t decide who loves this country; you don’t decide who is a patriot; you don’t decide whose service counts and whose doesn’t.

    Four years ago I said, and I say it again tonight, that the flag doesn’t belong to any ideology. It doesn’t belong to any political party. It is an enduring symbol of our nation, and it belongs to all the American people. After all, patriotism is not love of power or some cheap trick to win votes; patriotism is love of country.

    Years ago when we protested a war, people would weigh in against us saying, “My country right or wrong.” Our answer? Absolutely, my country right or wrong. When right, keep it right. When wrong, make it right. Sometimes loving your country demands you must tell the truth to power.

    This is one of those times, and Barack Obama is telling those truths.

    In closing, let me say, I will always remember how we stood together in 2004, not just in a campaign, but for a cause. Now again we stand together in the ranks, ready to fight. The choice is clear; our cause is just; and now is our time to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

  • Bill Clinton’s Convention Speech:

    You know, I — I love this, and I thank you, but we have important work to do tonight. I am here first to support Barack Obama. And, second — and, second, I’m here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden… … though, as you will soon see, he doesn’t need any help from me. I love Joe Biden, and America will, too.

    President Clinton urges his wifes supporters to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. (CNN)

    President Clinton urges his wife's supporters to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. (CNN)

    What a year we Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star line up. And it came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard-fought contest right to the very end. That campaign generated so much heat, it increased global warming. Now, in the end, my candidate didn’t win. But I’m really proud of the campaign she ran. I am proud that she never quit on the people she stood up for, on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wanted for all our children. And I’m grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to go all over America to tell people about the person we know and love. Now, I am not so grateful for the chance to speak in the wake of Hillary’s magnificent speech last night. But I’ll do the best I can.

    Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually, that makes 18 million of us… … because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.

    And here’s why. And I have the privilege of speaking here, thanks to you, from a perspective that no other American Democrat, except President Carter, can offer. Our — our nation is in trouble on two fronts. The American dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline. And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation… … by a perilous dependence on imported oil, by a refusal to lead on global warming, by a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders, by a severely burdened military, by a backsliding on global nonproliferation and arms control agreements, and by a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.

    Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world. And here’s what I have to say about that. Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.

    Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful president needs. His policies on the economy, on taxes, on health care, on energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown — he has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy and national security challenges and a firm commitment to rebuild our badly strained military.

    His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world.

    The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.

    With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama’s proven understanding, instincts, and insight, America will have the national security leadership we need.

    And so, my fellow Democrats, I say to you: Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world. Barack Obama is ready to honor the oath, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States….

    Most important of all, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are first strong at home.

    People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

    Look… Look at the example the Republicans have set.

    In this decade, American workers have consistently given us rising productivity. That means, year after year, they work harder and produce more. Now, what did they get in return? Declining wages, less than one-fourth as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty, and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s.

    American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage….

    My fellow Democrats, America can do better than that. And Barack Obama will do better than that.

    Wait a minute. But first…

    AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

    CLINTON: Yes, he can, but, first, we have to elect him….

    The choice is clear. The Republicans in a few days will nominate a good man who has served our country heroically and who suffered terribly in a Vietnamese prison camp. He loves his country every bit as much as we do. As a senator, he has shown his independence of right-wing orthodoxy on some very important issues.

    But on the two great questions of this election — how to rebuild the American dream and how to restore America’s leadership in the world — he still embraces the extreme philosophy that has defined his party for more than 25 years.

    And it is, to be fair to all the Americans who aren’t as hard- core Democrats as we, it’s a philosophy the American people never actually had a chance to see in action fully until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and the Congress.

    Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades actually were implemented. And look what happened….

    They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.

    AUDIENCE: No!

    CLINTON: Now, let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks.

    In this case… In this case, the third time is not the charm.

    My fellow Democrats, 16 years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.

    Together, we prevailed in a hard campaign in which Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief.

    Sound familiar?
    AUDIENCE: Yes!

    CLINTON: It didn’t work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it will not work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.

    Now, Senator Obama’s life is a 21st-century incarnation of the old-fashioned American dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity, which have given him his historic chance, will drive him as president to give all Americans — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability — their chance to build a decent life and to show our humanity, as well as our strengths, to the world.

    We see that humanity, that strength, and our nation’s future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children.

    We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his fabulous wife, Jill, a wonderful teacher, and their family.

    Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.

    So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

    Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you.

  • Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., calls for the nomination of Sen. Barack Obama by acclamation at the Democratic National Convention in Denver tonight. At right is New York Gov. David Paterson and at left is Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (DFREEP)

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., calls for the nomination of Sen. Barack Obama by acclamation at the Democratic National Convention in Denver tonight. At right is New York Gov. David Paterson and at left is Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (DFREEP)

  • At 4:48 p.m. local time, Mrs. Clinton called on the Democratic National Convention to end the roll call and nominate him by acclamation: “With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president. I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
    The crowd in the Pepsi Center roared as one and then began to chant, “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.” – Download
  • Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates: “I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” Clinton told a group of more than 1,000 supporters in a ballroom at the downtown convention center here, a few blocks from the Pepsi Center where she spoke to all the delegates on Tuesday. “I have spoken to many of you who have expressed your questions about what you should do,” she said. “Now many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in the states that you came from. And others of you after this long journey we’ve been on want the chance to vote for what’s in your heart. Now still others will be voting for Senator Obama, because they want to demonstrate their personal commitment to the unity of this party behind our nominee.” “I am not telling you what to do,” she said to loud applause, but added, “I signed my ballot this morning for Senator Obama.” “It is traditional that we have nominations, that we have a roll call,” Clinton said. “We’ve got win in November.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
  • Howard Wolfson: Clinton Ally Blasts MSNBC Pundits: “I’m not going to take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who have spent the last two years attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Wolfson said, and then specifically named Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. “I think it’s unfortunate that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), right, speaks as vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) laughs during on the third night of the Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center, August 27, 2008 in Denver. Obama will be officially nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate on Thursday. (WaPo)

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), right, speaks as vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) laughs during on the third night of the Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center, August 27, 2008 in Denver. Obama will be officially nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate on Thursday. (WaPo)

Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 27, 2008

The day that was….

  • August 27, 2008: Obama and Biden plan post-convention bus tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan … GOP ‘war room’ revs up as high-profile figures hit airwaves to slam Obama … Democrats plan heavy presence at GOP convention, will greet delegates with Bush billboard – AP, 8-27-08
  • Senator Barack Obama arriving at the Denver International Airport on Wednesday.

    Senator Barack Obama arriving at the Denver International Airport on Wednesday.

  • August 26, 2008: Democrats bicker over how hard to hit McCain as Clintons take center stage next 2 days … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Obama sounds economic themes on way to Denver … Republicans debate platform shaped by conservative base, McCain … Former president warns of global warming, trying to float above convention fray…. Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq. AP, 8-26-08
    Democrats rip into McCain at national convention; Clinton salutes Obama … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Former president’s odd moment in Denver: in the spotlight but on the sidelines … In crafting a platform, GOP takes a hard line on abortion, moderate stand on climate change … Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq – AP, 8-26-08

The Stats

  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08
  • August 27, 2008: Obama had received 1549.5 votes to Clinton’s 341.5 when Clinton called for the roll call to be suspended. – Detroit Free Press, 8-27-08
  • FactCheck: Claims omit details on McCain record – AP, 8-26-08
  • August 26, 2008: A new Gallup Polls shows John McCain besting Barack Obama by a 46% to 44% margin — the first time McCain has led since June. Christian Science Monitor, 8-26-08

Candidate Bloopers

  • Freudian Slip: Mr. Biden’s Freudian slip gets a big laugh — when he says “George” when he means “John.” That’s the subtext of his speech, which hasn’t come yet — that Mr. McCain is Mr. Bush. – NYT, The Caucus Blog, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Richard Fulton on “Obama names V.P.; McCain’s still mystery”: History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science Professor Richard Fulton said Biden’s experience will add to Obama’s campaign. “He’s (Biden) got experience, he’s very down to Earth, he complements Obama, I think quite well with maturity and experience, especially in foreign affairs,” Fulton said. He also noticed Biden seems to be popular with Democrats and Independents in his home state, Delaware. “I think from the very beginning, once he clinched the nomination, he was what I thought would be the better choice for vice president,” Fulton said. – NW Missouri News, 8-28-08
  • Allan Lichtman, Professor of History at American University on “Can Biden rebuild broken Democratic bridges?”: “On the minus side, Biden has bombed out twice as a presidential candidate. The first time he ran there were accusations of plagiarism. He can be gaffe prone. But he does bring what Obama needs on this ticket; experience, gravitas and tremendous knowledge in the area of foreign policy….. Joe and I have been friends for many, many, years and we know each other very well, and so I think he’s made a very wise selection.” – EuroNews, 8-27-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Barack Obama Does Not Have to Be Another Jimmy Carter – Huffington Post, 8-27-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) at breakfast discussion hosted by Politico, The Denver Post and Yahoo News: Beschloss agreed with Emanuel that race often played a role in presidential elections, “sometimes in subtler ways.”…. Answering a question about the most important qualities a president should possess, Beschloss mentioned the ability to “get things through Congress,” noting that Obama’s short experience in Washington could make that a challenge. But he added, gesturing toward Daschle, “That’s a talent that a president can hire.”… Beschloss added that a president should be willing to dump any advisers who end up being less helpful — or more troublesome — than expected. “Sometimes you will appoint someone,” Beschloss said, “and sometimes it is not working, and you have to cut the friend adrift. It is excruciatingly painful.”… And Beschloss, the historian, suggested the migration from Daschle’s staff to Obama’s was an early sign of the Illinois senator’s national political potential. – Politico, 8-27-08
  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. – Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Fred Siegal: The Facebook Candidate Meets the Real World – Huffington Post, 8-26-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. – PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • Gil Troy on “Are We at War, Senator Obama? A gentle reminder for the Democrats: This is not a peacetime election for Al Qaeda.”: “When you think about Obama’s vulnerabilities, and his need to capture wavering Democrats and swing voters, questions about whether he is strong enough and patriotic enough are definitely on the table,” says Gil Troy, a historian at McGill University and a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist Washington think tank. “The challenge is showing the American people on a deep, deep level that terrorism is a core issue, and you’re really passionate about this. Obama has to show, and the Democrats have to show, that they are passionately opposed to and disgusted by terrorism.” Troy, the author of a new book, Leading From the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, argues that Obama should give a detailed speech “about all the things Bush did right in the war on terrorism. After I had explained where I agree with him, then I would talk about where I disagree.” – National Journal, 8-23-08

On the Campaign Trail….

    Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alongside other Republicans, says Obama is not qualified to be president. (CNN)

    Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alongside other Republicans, says Obama is not qualified to be president. (CNN)

  • GOP cheers Obama’s historic stride, but doubts his experience – CNN, 8-27-08
  • At 4:48 p.m. local time, Mrs. Clinton called on the Democratic National Convention to end the roll call and nominate him by acclamation: “With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president. I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
    The crowd in the Pepsi Center roared as one and then began to chant, “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.” – Download
  • Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer of the New York delegation on Wednesday.

    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer of the New York delegation on Wednesday.

  • Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates: “I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” Clinton told a group of more than 1,000 supporters in a ballroom at the downtown convention center here, a few blocks from the Pepsi Center where she spoke to all the delegates on Tuesday. “I have spoken to many of you who have expressed your questions about what you should do,” she said. “Now many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in the states that you came from. And others of you after this long journey we’ve been on want the chance to vote for what’s in your heart. Now still others will be voting for Senator Obama, because they want to demonstrate their personal commitment to the unity of this party behind our nominee.” “I am not telling you what to do,” she said to loud applause, but added, “I signed my ballot this morning for Senator Obama.” “It is traditional that we have nominations, that we have a roll call,” Clinton said. “We’ve got win in November.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
  • Howard Wolfson: Clinton Ally Blasts MSNBC Pundits: “I’m not going to take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who have spent the last two years attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Wolfson said, and then specifically named Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. “I think it’s unfortunate that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics.”
  • Mitt Romney Speaking to Fox News, 8-26-08: You know, Neil, I got nothing for you on the V.P. front… I can only tell you that I have — I have confidence in — in John McCain. And his instincts — his instincts have been proven right time and again. I trust him to pick a good person to be on his ticket and somebody who views the country and the economy the way he does. And I think he’s going to strengthen his ticket with that pick…. You know, it’s been a little while since we have chatted. But, again, I’m not going to — I’m not going to open the door to this big secret that you’re talking about. I got nothing for you on that front… You know, I’m not a political strategist, even though I have run for office a couple of times, once successfully. You know, I think — I think John McCain is going to do what he thinks is best for — for his chances of getting his message across. I — I think there will be a bounce from the Democratic Convention. I thought it got off to a good start last night. I think Ted Kennedy did a fine thing of coming to the convention and speaking. He — he’s proven once again he’s a lion, and I respect him for that. But I think, in the final analysis, that, despite these bounces and all of the confetti and the — and the glitz associated with a convention, people are going to focus on the issues. And, on the issue of the economy they’re going to see that Barack Obama, who wants to raise taxes, cut back on trade, and prevent drilling for oil offshore and no new nuclear power plants, is simply wrong for the economy….. – Fox News, 8-26-08

Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 26, 2008

The day that was….

  • August 26, 2008: Democrats bicker over how hard to hit McCain as Clintons take center stage next 2 days … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Obama sounds economic themes on way to Denver … Republicans debate platform shaped by conservative base, McCain … Former president warns of global warming, trying to float above convention fray … Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq — AP, 8-26-08
Mitt Romney in Colorado Leads G.O.P. Attack on Obama-Biden on Tuesday

Mitt Romney in Colorado Leads G.O.P. Attack on Obama-Biden on Tuesday

  • August 25, 2008: Hillary Rodham Clinton implores supporters to back the man who defeated her … In convention’s first major speech, Michelle Obama tries to connect with families … Voice firm, ailing Kennedy tells Democratic convention ‘the dream lives on’. – AP, 8-26-08 Ailing Ted Kennedy to be at convention’s opening, may speak … Obama ad ties McCain to Bush … Obama’s life story, tribute to Sen. Kennedy top convention’s opening night … Biden stops to wish Amtrak “family” well before leaving for Denver … Obama’s choice of Biden as running mate raises stakes for McCain’s vice presidential pick — AP, 8-25-08

The Stats

  • FactCheck: Claims omit details on McCain record – AP, 8-26-08
  • August 26, 2008: A new Gallup Polls shows John McCain besting Barack Obama by a 46% to 44% margin — the first time McCain has led since June. Christian Science Monitor, 8-26-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. - PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s almost as if — imagine the two parties swapping identities. First of all, this is the oldest political party in the world. It was for 100 years the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party that said the best government is the least government. That began to change dramatically with William Jennings Bryan 100 years ago, here in Denver, who brought the populist strain, who became a champion of the dispossessed. And then, of course, Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, transforming the role of government in the economy, and critically bringing African-Americans into this party after being part of the party of Lincoln… Well, no, absolutely. And, I mean, the last 40 years, frankly, since Richard Nixon’s election in 1968, broadly speaking, have been a period, a conservative period in American politics. We’ve had two Democratic presidents, both southerners, relatively speaking conservatives. This has also been a party torn apart more than once regarding American foreign policy. You know, there’s the Woodrow Wilson messianic quality — America, in effect, preaching to the world — and then, of course, Vietnam, which tore this party apart, brought us George McGovern and a host of reforms, which, in many ways, lead to the diversity that we see in this hall tonight…. Well, that’s fascinating, because this party looks much more diverse than it might have 40 years ago…. Ideologically, I think you could make a very strong case that it’s far less. And by the same token, the same thing applies to the Republican Party. For years there were people in this country who said, “We need a liberal party and a conservative party.” Well, guess what? You’ve got it. And it has led to all sorts of unintended consequences. So I think there is a much less degree of ideological diversity in this hall, which, as Michael says, leds to sort of head-scratching about the intensity of the Clinton-Obama fight. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: He was…because Roosevelt was liberal in all sorts of ways, but he sure wasn’t on civil rights. Roosevelt would not even support an anti-lynching bill; 1936, when Roosevelt was re-nominated, there was an African-American preacher who gave a prayer at the convention. Southern senators walked out. They thought this was outrageous that you would have an African-American on the podium. That all changed with John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, civil rights and voting rights, mainly Johnson. In 1965, Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. He hoped that African-Americans would come into the mainstream in a big way. On that floor, 24 percent of the delegates are African-American…. And that’s the irony, because there should be no conflict here this week. You know, they’re not arguing over big issues. They agree on economics, Iraq, foreign affairs, all sorts of stuff. Yet we’re hearing about this roll call vote, and angry delegates, and factions, and all sorts of stuff. That’s so amazing that this long conflict between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has ended this way…. The people who voted for Hillary Clinton this spring are very different for the most part from the people who voted for Barack Obama. So the great irony is that, while ideologically Democrats think pretty much the same, those voters are in different enough groups that it’s a hard time getting them together. That’s what’s sad about that. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Lyndon Johnson transforms the Democratic Party, especially in terms of racial diversity. 1964, at that Atlantic City convention, Fanny Lou Hamer and the African-Americans who came to represent the true interracial Mississippi, were actually disallowed from being seated. By 1984, Jesse Jackson delivers his very famous rainbow address, telling the party that diversity is actually its strength rather than a weakness…. Democracy is messy. So when we think back to 1948, when Truman supports a civil rights plank, the Southern Dixiecrats actually leave, and Strom Thurmond has a third-party run. 1968, the whole world is watching, according to the new left, and Mayor Daley actually calls in troops to basically harass and assault new left demonstrators. 1980, the very fractious convention between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy. But, again, by 1984 and ‘88, you have Jesse Jackson, who was the consummate outsider finally on the inside of the Democratic Party, and he’s actually invoking people like Fanny Lou Hamer and different civil rights activists…. Well, the liberal wing of the party reaches its heyday in the early ’70s, with people like George McGovern and people like Walter Mondale. So that liberal wing has really been — I don’t want to say beaten into submission, but certainly they’ve seen better days. In a way, Obama has written himself that people see him as a Rorschach, and they read whatever they want into him. So people who are liberals see Obama as a liberal in the party. Conservatives in the party actually say, “Obama’s on my side.” People who are moderates or centrists actually say, “Obama’s my guy.” So Obama actually has united, I think, a three-part party. It’s a tri-headed party of liberals, centrists, and conservatives who see in Obama a person who they can all appropriate. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • Sean Wilentz on “Obama Hope of Audacity Means Race Isn’t About Losing Liberals”: Obama has shown an “enormous ability to arouse the intense admiration and affection of his base,” says Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton University. “Exactly what he means by change, hope and transformation — all the sort of big-payoff words that appear in his speeches — he has yet to clearly define.” – Bloomberg, 8-25-08
  • Fred Siegel on “Obama’s ideological elusiveness”: Some critics voice skepticism. They see an ambitious fellow who remains intentionally undefined. “His philosophy is ambition,” said Fred Siegel, a historian at the Cooper Union in New York. “I see him as having a rhetoric rather than a philosophy.” Senator, what is your view of the Supreme Court decision barring the execution of child rapists? The question was standard fare for a politician who has questioned the equity of the death penalty. But Obama’s answer set reporters to typing furiously. “I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes,” he said. “I think the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime.” – International Herald Tribune, 8-25-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • McCain campaign regional communications director Tom Kise on “Angry Clinton supporters toast McCain, roast Obama”, August 25, 2008: Four years ago, if you said we’d be at a Hillary happy hour at the DNC, I would have called you crazy. But today is a great opportunity for people who … agree that Sen. Barack Obama doesn’t have the experience to be president of the United States. - CNN
  • Rudy Giuliani speaking with CNN

    Rudy Giuliani speaking with CNN

    Rudolph Giuliani discusses Obama-Biden ticket, CNN, 8-26-08: The normal political thing to do, in terms of the best decision to make to win, would’ve been to pick Hillary Clinton. It is a no-brainer. She got 18 million votes, Joe got 9,000 votes. She commands about 45, 48 percent of this convention. That’s what the choice for a president comes down to. It doesn’t come down to a choice between the abstract and the abstract; it comes down to a choice between two people. You can’t avoid that comparison. You’ve got one [candidate] with a lot of experience and one with virtually no experience.

  • Mitt Romney discusses Obama-Biden ticket, CNN, 8-26-08: He’s a charming guy, he’s a celebrity, but does he have the judgment and experience that comes from a life-long service in one sector or another? Joe Biden is an impenetrable thicket of words. I can’t imagine anybody who is ready to debate Joe Biden. I’m not sure when John McCain will make his vice president announcement or who it’ll be. I have confidence in his instincts. He’s proven time and time again that those instincts serve him well, and I think he’ll make a wise choice.

Democratic Convention Day 1: August 25, 2008

Day 1 Schedule

    Barack Obama’s story is an American story that reflects a life of struggle, opportunity and responsibility like those faced by Americans everyday. The opening night of the Convention will highlight Barack’s life story, his commitment to change, and the voices of Americans who are calling for a new direction for this country.

    Monday’s headline prime-time speaker was Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

    Other Monday night speakers include: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri; Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetero-Ng and Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s older brother; Jerry Kellman, mentor and long-time friend of Barack Obama; Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr.; former Indiana Representative Lee Hamilton; Tom Balanoff, President of Illinois SEIU; Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America; NEA President Reg Weaver; AFT President Randi Weingarten; Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan; State Comptroller Dan Hynes; Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulis; Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle; and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Monday night also featured a tribute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and a speech by the senator. – DemConvention.com

Historians’ Comments

  • PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer: Historical Perspective A panel of historians, including NewsHour regulars Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith, offers a historical perspective on this week’s Democratic event. – Mp3, RealAudio
  • Richard Reeves on “Kennedy passes the torch to Obama”: Others were wary of making too much the Kennedy-Obama link. The Kennedy magic was unique to its time, said Richard Reeves, author of a book on John Kennedy. The family legacy was in keeping with the spirit of the New Deal and grounded in the common generational experiences of the Great Depression and World War II. “Obama’s totally a new phenomenon,” Reeves said. “He represents totally different things.” – McClatchy Newspapers, 8-25-08
  • Thomas Whalen on “Ailing Kennedy refuses to miss big event”: “This may be Ted Kennedy’s final gift to the party,” said Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political historian who has written on the Kennedys. “This says that he feels this is the Democrats’ year and the party is not as unified as he’d like it to be. His appearance takes the headlines away from the Clinton faction.” “The greatest legacy Kennedy would want would be an Obama victory in November,” Whalen said. – USA Today, 8-26-08
  • Paula Giddings on “Michelle Obama as First Lady”: “People are trying to fit her somewhere in their minds and in this array of images we have in our culture about African-American women, as the vixen, or the mammy or the angry black woman,” said Paula Giddings, a black studies professor at Smith College. “But she doesn’t fit any of the molds so she is kind of unsettling to a lot of people. She is something new.” “Imagine seeing her in the White House. Just the picture of her on the lawn with her two girls,” Giddings said. “In deep ways and superficial ways, it would be a dramatic shift.” – Newsday, 8-25-08<
  • Myra Gutin on “Michelle Obama as First Lady”: “For some people she is supposed to represent a woman who is more traditional in her approach to the office of first lady and be somebody to do the requisite entertaining and look after her husband,” said Myra Gutin, a historian of first ladies. “But some feel like the first lady should be more of an activist in the model of Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton.” But Monday night, Gutin said, Michelle Obama must first address some of the negative feelings she has generated, and show that she will be a good first lady. – Newsday, 8-25-08<
  • Jim Lorence on “UWMC History Professor Says Biden a Good Pick for Obama’s Running Mate”: Monday NewsChannel 7 spoke to Professor Jim Lorence of the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County about the importance of picking the right running mate for a presidential campaign. He gave us some insight past vice presidential candidates have influenced elections. “The campaign in which the vice presidency did make a difference was in 1960 when Lyndon Johnson was on the Kennedy ticket, and Johnson brought Texas into the democratic column.” Presidential candidate Barack Obama has already chosen his running mate, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, who has six terms in the Senate and 35 years of political experience. “He [Biden] may make people feel more comfortable with Obama because he brings that foreign policy expertise to the ticket.” Presidential hopeful John McCain is expected to announce his running mate by the end of this week. Rumors are circulating that it will most likely be a McCain-Romney ticket. “I think that Romney’s expertise in the area of foreign policy, or at least his background in the private sector and in business and on economic issues is going to be an important factor in the selection of a vice president,” says Professor Lorence. – WSAW, WI, 8-25-08
  • Sean Wilentz on “Obama Hope of Audacity Means Race Isn’t About Losing Liberals”: Obama has shown an “enormous ability to arouse the intense admiration and affection of his base,” says Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton University. “Exactly what he means by change, hope and transformation — all the sort of big-payoff words that appear in his speeches — he has yet to clearly define.” – Bloomberg, 8-25-08
  • Fred Siegel on “Obama’s ideological elusiveness”: Some critics voice skepticism. They see an ambitious fellow who remains intentionally undefined. “His philosophy is ambition,” said Fred Siegel, a historian at the Cooper Union in New York. “I see him as having a rhetoric rather than a philosophy.” Senator, what is your view of the Supreme Court decision barring the execution of child rapists? The question was standard fare for a politician who has questioned the equity of the death penalty. But Obama’s answer set reporters to typing furiously. “I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes,” he said. “I think the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime.” – International Herald Tribune, 8-25-08
  • Vermont Gov. Madeline Kunin: Former governor and historian to speak at the Democratic National Convention – PolitickerVT, 8-25-08
  • Julian E. Zelizer on “Conventions now even timed for strategy”: Political conventions are no longer the venues where presidential candidates are selected and introduced to the nation’s voters, said Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. That now happens during each party’s primary race, which begins early in the election year. “Basically conventions are now made for the media — carefully choreographed, staged events intended to promote the candidate and the party on the national stage as the real election season kicks off,” Zelizer said. “With their new function, it makes more sense to have them as close as possible to the general election.” – Daily Record, 8-24-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Obama’s Pick Taking The Measure Of Joe Biden, The Longtime Senator And Democrats’ Choice For VP”: “The role of the attack dog is something he is quite comfortable with,” said Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. – CBS News, 8-24-08

The Speeches…

  • Barack Obama on the Campaign Trail in Iowa: “I can’t wait to hear Michelle’s speech, I will tell you that I did get a little preview of the video they did of her, and she was extraordinary.”
  • Nancy Pelosi:
    This week is the culmination of an historic race that has brought millions of voters to the polls–many voting for the first time. All Democrats salute Senator Hillary Clinton for her excellent campaign. Our party and our country are strengthened by her candidacy.

    Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives addressing the Democratic National Convention (CNN)

    Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives addressing the Democratic National Convention (CNN)

    We meet today at a defining moment in our history. America stands at a crossroads, with an historic choice between two paths for our country. One is a path of renewing opportunity and promoting innovation here at home, and of greater security and respect around the world. It is the path that renews our democracy by bringing us together as one nation under God. But there is another path–it leads us to the same broken promises and failed policies that have diminished the American dream and weakened the security of our nation.

    We call this convention to order tonight to put America on the path begun by our founders–a path that renews America’s promise for a new century. We call this convention to order to nominate a new leader for our time– Barack Obama–the next President of the United States. Two years ago, the American people set our nation in a new direction–electing a new Democratic majority in Congress committed to real change….

    Barack Obama’s dream is the American dream. He gives us renewed faith in a vision of the future that is free of the constraints of the tired policies of the past–a vision that is new and bold and calls forth the best in the American people.

    Barack Obama’s change is the change America needs. Whether in Illinois or in Washington, Barack Obama has bridged partisanship to bring about significant reform. Barack Obama knew that to change policy in Washington you had to change how Washington works.

    That means restoring integrity to government by reducing the influence of special interests. I saw firsthand his strong leadership on one of the toughest issues: enacting the toughest ethics reform legislation in the history of Congress. This was only possible with Barack Obama’s leadership…..

    One hundred and fifteen years ago, a young woman named Katharine Lee Bates visited Denver. From the top of Pike’s Peak, she looked across Colorado–to the bountiful golden prairies to the east and to the majestic mountains to the west. That night she returned to her hotel room, opened her notebook, and the words of “America the Beautiful” spilled from her pen. My favorite verse is the fourth: O beautiful, for patriot dream, that sees beyond the years…

    Today, Barack Obama is a 21st century patriot who sees beyond the years. As president, Barack Obama will renew the American dream; Barack Obama is the leader for America’s future.

    Inspired by that same vision of “America the Beautiful,” Democrats will leave this Denver convention, unified, organized, and stronger than ever to take America in a new direction with Barack Obama and Joe Biden as President and Vice President of the United States! – Download, PBS

  • Caroline Kennedy:I am here tonight to pay tribute to two men who have changed my life and the life of this country: Barack Obama and Edward M. Kennedy. Their stories are very different, but they share a commitment to the timeless American ideals of justice and fairness, service and sacrifice, faith and family.Leaders like them come along rarely. But once or twice in a lifetime, they come along just when we need them the most. This is one of those moments. As our nation faces a fundamental choice between moving forward or falling further behind, Senator Obama offers the change we need….I have never had someone inspire me the way people tell me my father inspired them, but I do now, Barack Obama. And I know someone else who’s been inspired all over again by Senator Obama. In our family, he’s known as Uncle Teddy. More than any senator of his generation, or perhaps any generation, Teddy has made life better for people in this country and around the world.For 46 years, he has been so much more than just a senator for the people of Massachusetts. He’s been a senator for all who believe in a dream that’s never died. If you’re no longer being denied a job because of your race, gender or disability, or if you’ve seen a rise in the minimum wage you’re being paid, Teddy is your senator too….

    He is a man who always insists that America live up to her highest ideals, who always fights for what he knows is right and who is always there for others. I’ve seen it in my own life. No matter how busy he is, he never fails to find time for those in pain, those in grief or those who just need a hug. In our family, he has never missed a first communion, a graduation, or a chance to walk one of his nieces down the aisle.

    He has a special relationship with each of us. And his 60 great nieces and nephews all know that the best cookies and the best laughs are always found at Uncle Teddy’s. Whether he is teaching us about sailing, about the Senate or about life, he has shown us how to chart our course, take the helm and sail against the wind. And this summer, as he faced yet another challenge, he and Vicki have taught us all about dignity, courage and the power of love.

                                                  In this campaign, Barack Obama has no greater champion. When he is president, he will have no stronger partner in the United States Senate. Now, it is my honor to introduce a tribute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. – Download, PBS

  • Senator Edward Kennedy: My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here.And nothing — nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight.I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.As I look ahead, I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me in the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat.
    Senator Edward Kennedy addressing the Democration National Convention after a tribute given by his niece Caroline Kennedy

    Senator Edward Kennedy addressing the Democratic National Convention after a tribute given by his niece Caroline Kennedy

    But we have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world. And I pledge to you — I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.

    For me this is a season of hope — new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few — new hope.

    And this is the cause of my life — new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east, west, young, old — will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.

    We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama. Yes, we can, and finally, yes, we will.

    Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race and gender and group against group and straight against gay.

    And Barack Obama will be a commander in chief who understands that young Americans in uniform must never be committed to a mistake, but always for a mission worthy of their bravery.

    We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn’t say it’s too far to get there. We shouldn’t even try.

    Our people answered his call and rose to the challenge, and today an American flag still marks the surface of the moon.

    Yes, we are all Americans. This is what we do. We reach the moon. We scale the heights. I know it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. And we can do it again.

    There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination — not merely victory for our party, but renewal for our nation.

  • And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.
  • Michelle Obama: … every step of the way since that clear day, February, 19 months ago, when, with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change, we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that has led us to this moment. But each of us comes here also by way of our own improbable journey.
    Michelle Obama rehersing her speech with younger daughter Sacha holding the convention gravel

    Michelle Obama rehersing her speech with younger daughter Sacha holding the convention gravel

    I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector, and my lifelong friend. And I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.

    And I come here as a mom, as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world. They’re the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to bed at night. Their future — and all our children’s future — is my stake in this election.

    And I come here as a daughter, raised on the South Side of Chicago…

    And, you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that, even though he had this funny name, and even though he had grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine.

    He was raised by grandparents who were working-class folks just like my parents and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. And like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities that they never had for themselves.

    And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond; that you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them.

    And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them…. And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “the world as it is” and “the world as it should be.” And he said that, all too often, we accept the distance between the two and we settle for the world as it is, even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations.
    But he reminded us that we also know what our world should like — look like. He said we know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves, to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn’t that the great American story?…

    … and the 45th anniversary — and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.

    And I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history, knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me, all of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work, the same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country.

    People who work the day shift, they kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift, without disappointment, without regret, see, that goodnight kiss is a reminder of everything they’re working for.

    The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table.

    The servicemen…

    The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.

    The young people across America serving our communities, teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.

    People like Hillary Clinton…

    … who put those 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling so that our daughters and our sons can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

    People like Joe Biden…

    … who has never forgotten where he came from and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

    All of us driven by the simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do, that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

    And that is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack’s journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.

    And, you see, that is why I love this country….

    It’s what he’s done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure that the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs, and benefits, and health care, including mental health care.

    See, that’s why Barack’s running: to end the war in Iraq responsibly…

    … to build an economy that lifts every family, to make sure health care is available for every American, and to make sure that every single child in this nation has a world-class education all the way from preschool to college.

    That’s what Barack Obama will do as president of the United States of America….

    … millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams, millions of Americans who know that Barack will fight for people like them, and that Barack will bring finally the change that we need.

    And in the end, and in the end, after all that’s happened these past 19 months, see, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago.

    He’s the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital 10 years ago this summer, inching along at a snail’s pace, peering at us anxiously at — through the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he’d struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her something he never had, the affirming embrace of a father’s love….

    … how this time — how this time we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming…

    … how this time, in this great country, where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House…

    … that we committed ourselves…

    … we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

    So tonight, in honor of my father’s memory and my daughters’ future, out of gratitude for those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment, let us devote ourselves to finishing their work, let us work together to fulfill their hopes, and let’s stand together to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

    Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.

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