John McCain Vice-Presidential Pick…. Governor Sarah Palin

Democratic Convention Roundup

The Day That Was….

  • August 29, 2008: John McCain Chooses Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as his running-mate, making her the first woman on the Republican ticket. – NYT, 8-30-08
  • August 28, 2008: Obama accepts historic nomination; first black nominee says he’d cut taxes, end oil dependence … Ohio woman seeks to debunk Internet rumors in convention speech … McCain makes decision on his vice presidential pick … – AP, 8-29-08
Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday. (NYT)

Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday. (NYT)

The Stats

  • Sarah Palin, Profile in the New York Times – NYT
  • FactChecking Obama: He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them. – Newsweek, 8-29-08

In the News…

Historians’ Comments

  • Edward “Ted” Frantz, associate professor of history at U of Indianapolis on “Historian: McCain’s choice adds surprise element to historic race”: “It’s certainly historic for the Republican Party,” says Edward “Ted” Frantz, associate professor of history at UIndy. “This is a landmark election that will be studied throughout American history.”… “Except for the extreme insiders, I don’t think anybody anticipated this,” Frantz said. Palin’s youth may appeal to voters who otherwise have been attracted to Barack Obama’s youth-oriented campaign, Frantz said. And her gender might inspire support from Democrats who have not yet warmed up to Obama. “I think it’s designed for those disaffected Hillary voters,” Frantz said. – University of Indianapolis, 8-29-08
  • Professor Tom Baldino of Wilkes University, Pennsylvania on “McCain’s surprise VP pick is little-known woman governor”: “It clearly makes it more difficult for McCain to criticize Obama’s experience.” – AFP, 8-29-08
  • U.S. to make election history one way or another – Reuters, 8-29-08
  • Waldo Martin, Jr. on “Obama’s Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate’s Nomination at Yesterday’s Democratic Convention”: “I was thrilled,” Martin said. “The whole idea of his nomination is thrilling. In my lifetime, I would not have predicted this could happen.” Yesterday also marked the first session of the class that Martin is co-teaching with Mark Brilliant, an assistant professor in history and American studies, titled “Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History: Struggles for Racial Equality in Comparative Perspective, World War II-Present.” Martin said he wants to examine how Obama has built a multifaceted coalition that includes young voters, African Americans and Democrats. “One thing that Obama talks a lot about is hope,” Martin said. “How do you sustain hope, possibility? How do you create change? These are the kinds of issues we talk about in class.” – Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Mark Peterson on “Obama’s Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate’s Nomination at Yesterday’s Democratic Convention”: Obama’s rise to national prominence also carries significance for UC Berkeley scholars of early American history. One such individual is associate professor Mark Peterson, whose History 7A class will largely focus on slavery. “(Obama) is an African American who is somewhat statistically or historically in the minority in that the vast majority of African Americans in the U.S. have ancestors who were brought to the New World as slaves,” he said. “It gives him an interesting perspective on the variety of the American historical experience.” Peterson said he has known about the senator since before his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention-all the way back to the mid-1980s, when he saw a “tall, striking-looking” figure walking around the Harvard Law School campus. “I never met him,” Peterson said. “There are common people on campus that you just sort of recognize.” – Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Robert Allen, an adjunct professor of African American studies and ethnic studies on “Obama’s Significance in History Felt By Professors Faculty Members Reflect on the Meaning of Presidential Candidate’s Nomination at Yesterday’s Democratic Convention”: For Robert Allen, an adjunct professor of African American studies and ethnic studies, the changes between 1963 and 2008 seem astonishing. “While I thought we were making great progress with the March on Washington, I thought we were also generations away from the possibility of electing a black president,” said Allen, who grew up in racially segregated Georgia. “For me, history has been speeded up.” The syllabus for Allen’s fall seminar, “Men of Color in the United States,” includes for the first time Obama’s memoir “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” Allen said he plans to use it to study the politician’s background as a community organizer. Daily Californian, CA, 8-29-08
  • Sean Wilentz: Barack Obama vs. Jimmy Carter: More Similar Than You’d Think?: There are many ways, several ways in which Barack Obama’s candidacy, his rhetoric is more like Jimmy Carter’s than any other Democratic president in recent memory. He has talked about rejecting the old politics, attacking special interests and lobbyists, wearing his Christian ideals on his sleeve. All of that is very much Carteresque in many ways…
    He came across that way in his speech tonight in some ways. He tried to in terms of squaring the circle, and saying you can have this and you can have that. The difference is, I think, President Clinton did something of a better idea, gave you a better idea how he was going to do, which is what you were saying before, how he was going to do the things that he said he was going to do it…
    It is hard to judge judgment when you do not have a long record. Look, I am a Democratic liberal and I am all for him and I want to see him do well, and I think he is started to show something of that in the speech tonight. There was more meat on the bones, if you will, about not simply his judgment but about where he wants to take the country. But you do have to see how a person reacts under fire. Now, in some ways, you only find that out after a person is in the Oval Office; that is one of the gambles we take. You have to take a measured — make your own measured judgment really about what the person is saying to you, is the person going to deliver on what you want, and does that show the kind of thought, the kind of appreciation of the fix that we’re in as a country as well as what is good for us as a country to lead us forward. It is harder to do without a record, there’s no question about it, but you can tell something — that’s what a presidential campaign all about — you can tell something about that from speeches like tonight…
    For Barack Obama, I think just to build on what he started on tonight and to tell us more, particularly on foreign policy, actually. I think that that was not one of the strongest parts of the speech tonight. Not just to say that he can be commander in chief, but to show that he knows something about the international situation, that he an overall idea of the international situation and he’s going to act on it. – Fox News, 8-29-08
  • Gil Troy: Historical immortality Obama has made his mark by seizing leadership of the party that was once the bastion of racists – The Montreal Gazette, 8-29-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Senator John McCain of Arizona speaking in Dayton, Ohio:…I’m very happy — I’m very happy today to spend my birthday with you and to make a historic announcement in Dayton, a city built on hard, honest work of good people.Like the entire industrial Midwest, Dayton has contributed much to the prosperity and progress of America, and now, in these tough, changing times, after all you’ve done for our country, you want your government to understand what you’re going through, to stand on your side and fight for you. And that’s what I intend to do.That’s why I’m running for president: to fight for you, to make government stand on your side, not in your way.Friends, I’ve spent the last few months… … looking for a running mate that will who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people that are counting on us.

    As I’m sure you know, I had many good people to choose from, all of them dedicated to this country and to getting us back on the road to prosperity and peace. And I am very grateful to all of them, and honored by their willingness to serve with me.

    And I’m going to continue to rely on their support and counsel during this campaign, and after we win this election, when the real work begins.

    But I could only choose one. And it’s with great pride and gratitude that I tell you I have found the right partner to help me stand up to those who value their privileges over their responsibilities, who put power over principle, and put their interests before your needs.

    I found someone with an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies; someone who has fought against corruption and the failed policies of the past; someone who’s stopped government from wasting taxpayers’ money… … on things they don’t want or need and put it back to work for the people; someone with executive experience, who has shown great tenacity and skill in tackling tough problems, especially our dangerous dependence on foreign oil; someone who reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and independents to serve in government; someone with strong principles of fighting spirit and deep compassion…

    … someone who grew up in a decent, hardworking, middle-class family, whose father was an elementary school teacher and mother was the school secretary.

    They taught their children to care about others, to work hard and to stand up with courage for the things you believe in.

    Both of them were coaches, too, and raised their children to excel at sports.

    And I’m sure they taught them skills that will surely come in handy over the next two months.

    The person I’m about to introduce to you was a union member and is married to a union member and understands the problems, the hopes and the values of working people, knows what it’s like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries; a standout high school point guard; a concerned citizen who became a member of the PTA, then a city council member, and then a mayor, and now a governor…

    … who beat the long odds to win a tough election on a message of reform and public integrity. And I am especially proud to say in the week we celebrate the anniversary of women’s suffrage, a devoted… … a devoted wife and a mother of five.

    She’s not — she’s not from these parts and she’s not from Washington. But when you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am.

    She’s got the grit, integrity, and good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today.

    She knows where she comes from, and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what’s right, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her to sit down.

    She’s fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve.

    She’s exactly who I need. She’s exactly who this country needs to help me fight…

    … to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second.

    My friends and fellow Americans…

    I am very pleased and very privileged to introduce to you the next vice president of the United States… … Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.

  • Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska speaking in Dayton, Ohio:And I thank you, Senator McCain and Mrs. McCain, for the confidence that you have placed in me. Senator, I am honored to be chosen as your running mate.I will be honored to serve next to the next president of the United States.I know that when Senator McCain gave me this opportunity, he had a short list of highly qualified men and women. And to have made that list at all, it was a privilege. And to have been chosen brings a great challenge.I know that it will demand the best that I have to give, and I promise nothing less.

    First — first, there are a few people whom I would like you to meet. I want to start with my husband, Todd.

    And Todd and I are actually celebrating our 20th anniversary today. And I promised him…

    I had promised Todd a little surprise for the anniversary present, and hopefully he knows that I did deliver.

    And then we have as — after my husband, who is a lifelong commercial fisherman, lifetime Alaskan. He’s a production operator.

    Todd is a production operator in the oil fields up on Alaska’s North Slope. And he’s a proud member of the United Steelworkers union. And he’s a world-champion snow machine racer.

    Todd and I met way back in high school. And I can tell you that he is still the man that I admire most in this world.

    Along the way, Todd and I have shared many blessings. And four out of five of them are here with us today.

    Our oldest son, Track, though, he’ll be following the presidential campaign from afar. On September 11th of last year, our son enlisted in the United States Army.

    Track now serves in an infantry brigade. And on September 11th, Track will deploy to Iraq in the service of his country. And Todd and I are so proud of him and of all the fine men and women serving this country

    Next to Todd is our daughter, Bristol, another daughter, Willow, our youngest daughter, Piper, and over in their arms is our son, Trig, a beautiful baby boy. He was born just in April.

    His name is Trig Paxson Van Palin.

    Some of life’s greatest opportunities come unexpectedly. And this is certainly the case today.

    I never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for this office. My mom and dad both worked at the local elementary school. And my husband and I, we both grew up working with our hands. I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska, raising…

    We’re busy raising our kids. I was serving as the team mom and coaching some basketball on the side. I got involved in the PTA and then was elected to the city council, and then elected mayor of my hometown, where my agenda was to stop wasteful spending, and cut property taxes, and put the people first.

    I was then appointed ethics commissioner and chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. And when I found corruption there, I fought it hard, and I held the offenders to account.

    Along with fellow reformers in the great state of Alaska, as governor, I’ve stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the big oil companies, and the good-old- boy network.

    When oil and gas prices went up so dramatically and the state revenues followed with that increase, I sent a large share of that revenue directly back to the people of Alaska. And we are now — we’re now embarking on a $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

    I signed major ethics reform. And I appointed both Democrats and independents to serve in my administration. And I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that bridge to nowhere.

    If our state wanted a bridge, I said we’d build it ourselves. Well, it’s always, though, safer in politics to avoid risk, to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn’t get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built.

    Politics isn’t just a game of competing interests and clashing parties. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons.

    And the right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good.

    Now, no one expects us to agree on everything, whether in Juneau or in Washington. But we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant’s heart.

    Now, no leader in America has shown these qualities so clearly or present so clear a threat to business as usual in Washington as Senator John S. McCain.

    This — this is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line. And this is a man who has always been there to serve his country, not just his party.

    And this is a moment that requires resolve and toughness, and strength of heart in the American president. And my running mate is a man who has shown those qualities in the darkest of places, and in the service of his country.

    A colleague once said about Senator McCain, “That man did things for this country that few people could go through. Never forget that.” And that speaker was former Senator John Glenn of Ohio.

    And John Glenn knows something about heroism. And I’m going to make sure nobody does forget that in this campaign. There is only one candidate who has truly fought for America, and that man is John McCain.

    This is a moment — this is a moment when great causes can be won and great threats overcome, depending on the judgment of our next president.

    In a dangerous world, it is John McCain who will lead America’s friends and allies in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    It was John McCain who cautioned long ago about the harm that Russian aggression could do to Georgia and to other small democratic neighbors and to the world oil markets.

    It was Senator McCain who refused to hedge his support for our troops in Iraq, regardless of the political costs.

    And you know what? As the mother of one of those troops, and as the commander of Alaska’s National Guard, that’s the kind of man I want as our commander in chief.

    Profiles in courage: They can be hard to come by these days. You know, so often we just find them in books. But next week when we nominate John McCain for president, we’re putting one on the ballot.

    To serve as vice president beside such a man would be the privilege of a lifetime. And it’s fitting that this trust has been given to me 88 years almost to the day after the women of America first gained the right to vote.

    I think — I think as well today of two other women who came before me in national elections.

    I can’t begin this great effort without honoring the achievements of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984…

    … and of course Senator Hillary Clinton, who showed such determination and grace in her presidential campaign.

    It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America…

    … but it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.

    So for my part, the mission is clear: The next 67 days I’m going to take our campaign to every part of our country and our message of reform to every voter of every background in every political party, or no party at all.

    If you want change in Washington, if you hope for a better America, then we’re asking for your vote on the 4th of November.

    My fellow Americans, come join our cause.

    Join our cause and help our country to elect a great man the next president of the United States.

    And I thank you, and I — God bless you, I say, and God bless America. Thank you.

  • President George W. Bush said in a statement after calling Palin to wish her luck: “By selecting a working mother with a track record of getting things done, Senator McCain has once again demonstrated his commitment to reforming Washington.” – AFP, 8-29-08
  • Mrs. Clinton issued a statement acknowledging the historic moment that John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running-mate: “We should all be proud of Gov. Sarah Palin’s historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”
  • Senator Barbara Boxer sent a strongly worded statement calling Mr. McCain’s VP choice “dangerous”: The Vice President is a heartbeat away from becoming President, so to choose someone with not one hour’s worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice.If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken. The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women. On the issues, they could not be further apart.Senator McCain had so many other options if he wanted to put a women on his ticket, such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Senator Olympia Snowe – they would have been an appropriate choice compared to this dangerous choice. In addition, Sarah Palin is under investigation by the Alaska state legislature which makes this more incomprehensible.
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Democratic Convention Day 4: August 28, 2008

Day 4 Schedule

Thursday, August 28: Change You Can Believe In

On Thursday night, the DNCC will throw open the doors of the Convention and move to INVESCO Field at Mile High so that more Americans can be a part of the fourth night of the Convention as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination. Obama will communicate the urgency of the moment, highlight the struggles Americans are facing and call on Americans to come together to change the course of our nation.

Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. will address the Convention on Thursday night. – DemConvention.com

Highlights:

  • August 28, 2008: Barack Obama to woo nation 45 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech … Biden tells Democratic convention needs more than a good soldier, reference to McCain … Clinton delivers strong endorsement for Obama while passing torch. – AP, 8-28-08Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in Denver to help provide counterattacks against the Democratic Party convention, canceled participation in a news conference and other appearances, a Republican official said. – Reuters, 8-28-08
The Bidens and Obamas receive the crowds cheers Thursday at the end of the Democratic National Convention. (USA Today)

The Bidens and Obamas receive the crowd’s cheers Thursday at the end of the Democratic National Convention. (USA Today)

Stats & In the News…

Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (NYT)

Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (NYT)

  • Years Later, Lewis Watches History Being Made – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Obama Readies for Historic Speech; From MLK ‘I Have a Dream’ to ‘Yes We Can’ First Black Major Party Nominee Speaks on Martin Luther King March Anniversary – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Democrats Becoming Obama’s Party – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Glenn Beck: Commentary: Keeping my distance from the Democrats – CNN, 8-28-08
  • 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

Historians’ Comments

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: Well, a truly historic night, one whose symbolic power is going to reverberate around the nation. Barack Obama has really catapulted America into its 21st-century multi-cultural future, really whether Americans are ready for that or not. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: You know, I think the lack of a balloon drop wasn’t the only unconventional thing about this speech. I think it was a remarkable speech for one thing, I think, in some ways, it sacrificed eloquence of the conventional variety for electability. This was someone who, as Judy has said, was putting meat on the bones, defining what change means to people sitting around the kitchen table, but also he talked about eliminating obsolescent government programs, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Over and over, he talked about the search for common ground on issues that have been so divisive — abortion, gun control, gay rights — and implicit in all that is the search for a more civil, more workable, if you will, kind of government. It’s going to be very difficult, it seems to me, for people to pin him with the label of conventional liberal or maybe conventional Democrat. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian Yep. You know, Jim, we were talking earlier about John Kennedy’s amazing acceptance speech in 1960. I listened to Barack Obama tonight; I think this one was better. He told you exactly what he’s going to do, point by point, told you who he is, and also didn’t do the cheap thing, trying to sort of make himself into something he’s not. This line where he said, “I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office, I don’t fit the typical pedigree,” 9 out of 10 politicians wouldn’t have done — 9 out of 10 would not have done that. It gives you a sense of who this man is. I think it’s going to be a very powerful help with his campaign. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: A Historic Night Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph offer thoughts on the closing night of the DNC. – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08, Download
  • Ted Widmer on Obama’s Oratory Skills: “He is blessed with a richly resonant voice that we love to hear; he could read the telephone directory and it would sound good,” said Ted Widmer, editor of an acclaimed edition of American political speeches and a former Bill Clinton speechwriter. “He is very good at pauses and inflection, and he cuts an impressive figure on stage – all of which adds up to making an Obama speech a special event.” – Guardian UK, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss on “Panel says Chicago forged Obama’s political skill”: Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, noted that previous presidents have come on varying paths to the White House. “If you go through presidents and look what made the great ones, probably a length of time in the United States Congress doesn’t help too much; same with governorships,” he said. – Denver Post, 8-28-08
  • Andrew Bacevich: Obama’s Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich – …”Jimmy Carter, his famous ‘malaise’ speech in 1979 was enormously prescient in warning about the consequences of ever-increasing debt and dependency. Carter’s argument was that energy independence provided a vehicle for us to assert control of our destiny, and to reassess what we meant by freedom: is it something more than simply consumerism? But that speech was greeted with howls of derision. Ronald Reagan said we could have anything we wanted. There were no limits. Then we the people rejected Carter’s warning and embraced Reagan’s promise of never-ending abundance. That was a fateful choice. “That’s the language of American politics, for both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. But that idea is not really sustainable when we look at the facts.” – The Nation, 8-28-08
  • Timuel Black on “Chicago area residents clear schedules to watch”: Chicago area historian Timuel Black was in Washington DC 45 years ago when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the height of the civil rights movement. Black said the emotion was overwhelming, and the 89-year-old said he expected to be emotional again Thursday night while witnessing King’s words come true. “Forty-five years later, Barack Obama epitomizes what Dr. King was dreaming of; that one can move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder,” Black said. – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Robert Caro: Johnson’s Dream, Obama’s Speech – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: Penial Joseph picked Bill Clinton’s 1992 address in New York when he argued that the party needed a “new covenant” with America: “What Clinton offers in 1992 in terms of rhetorical eloquence and political genius is this notion that the Democratic Party can still help poor people but it’s going to have to do this on a much smaller scale,” Joseph said. “He talks about we need a leaner government and not a meaner government.” PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: For Richard Norton Smith, Adlai Stevenson set the gold standard for Democratic convention speeches with his 1952 speech in Chicago. After delivering a well-received welcoming speech, Stevenson was selected as the party’s presidential candidate two days later. It is that acceptance speech that Norton Smith said electrified millions of Americans listening to their radios back home: “He used words in a way that no one had heard before. There was an urbanity, there was a wit, there was a sense of the ridiculous about the political process. And it was all about challenging the American people. Stevenson said, “better lose an election than mislead the American people.” Norton Smith said. “Stevenson raised the bar.” – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Douglas Brinkley on “Decades Later, John Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’ Speech Echoes”: “The Obama campaign has been purposely modeling its acceptance speech after J.F.K. in 1960,” said Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian, “and we’ll soon see whether the content on Thursday is another nod to Camelot.” – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Obama outdoor speech echoes JFK’s 1960 move – USA Today, 8-27-08
  • 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

The Speeches….

  • Hillary Clinton’s Statement: Barack Obama’s speech tonight laid out his specific, bold solutions and optimistic vision for our nation and our children’s future.His speech crystallized the clear choice between he and Senator McCain. Four more years of the same failed policies or a leader who can tackle the great challenges we face: revitalizing our economy and restoring our standing in the world. I am proud to support Senator Obama, our next President of the United States and Joe Biden, our next Vice President of the United States.
  • Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech:To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation.With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.
    Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

    Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest — a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

    To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Malia and Sasha — I love you so much, and I’m so proud of you.

    Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story — of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

    It is that promise that has always set this country apart — that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

    That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women — students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive….

    Barack Obama greets the crowd at the Democratic National Convention. (CNN)

    Barack Obama greets the crowd at the Democratic National Convention. (CNN)

    Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land — enough! This moment — this election — is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”…

    But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Sen. McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives — on health care and education and the economy — Sen. McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers — the man who wrote his economic plan — was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

    A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud autoworkers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and they give back and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

    Now, I don’t believe that Sen. McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

    It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it….

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Partys nomination for President (CNN)

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for President (CNN)

    Now, I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

    What is that American promise?

    It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

    It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

    Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves — protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and science and technology.

    Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

    That’s the promise of America — the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

    That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

    Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

    America, now is not the time for small plans.

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

    Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

    Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

    Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

    And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons….

    For while Sen. McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell — but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

    And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

    That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

    You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice — but that is not the change that America needs.

    We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy….

    But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.

    The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America — they have served the United States of America.

    So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

    America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose. That’s what we have to restore.

    We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America’s promise — the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

    I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

    You make a big election about small things…

    I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

    But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s about you. It’s about you.

    For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us — that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it — because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

    America, this is one of those moments.

    I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it….

    You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

    Instead, it is that American spirit — that American promise — that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

    That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours — a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

    And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

    The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

    But what the people heard instead — people of every creed and color, from every walk of life — is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

    “We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination on Thursday night in Denver.  (NYT)

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination on Thursday night in Denver. (NYT)

    America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise — that American promise — and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

    Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

  • McCain to extend his congratulations to Obama in special ad“Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day.” McCain also says in reference to the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘ I Have a Dream’ speech. “Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done.”
  • Al Gore’s Convention Speech :The question facing us simply put is: Will we seize this opportunity for a change?That’s why I came here tonight to tell you why I feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.
    Al Gore invoked his failed bid for the White House Thursday as he encouraged voters to choose Obama.  (CNN)

    Al Gore invoked his failed bid for the White House Thursday as he encouraged voters to choose Obama. (CNN)

    Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn’t really matter who became president. Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity, and some assumed we would continue with both, no matter the outcome.

    But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn’t matter.

    Take it from me. If it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq; we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him.

    We wouldn’t be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis; we’d be fighting for middle-income families.
    We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution; we’d be protecting the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

    And we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving the climate crisis.

    Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them.

    The same policies, those policies, all over again? Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous….

    Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive waves of climate refugees destabilizing countries around the world. And scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented extinctions.

    We are facing a planetary emergency, which, if not solved, would exceed anything we’ve ever experienced in the history of humankind.

    Former Vice President Al Gore acknowledges the crowds applause before his speech at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field on Wednesday evening.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Former Vice President Al Gore acknowledges the crowd’s applause before his speech at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field on Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    In spite of John McCain’s past record of open-mindedness and leadership on the climate crisis, he has now apparently allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution. And it just so happens that the climate crisis is intertwined with the other two great challenges facing our nation: reviving our economy and strengthening our national security. The solutions to all three require us to end our dependence on carbon-based fuels.

    Instead of letting lobbyists and polluters control our destiny, we need to invest in American innovation. Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison, our most famous inventor, said, quote, “I would put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power,” he continued. “I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

    Well, now, in 2008, we have everything we need to start using the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation, and efficiency to solve the climate crisis, everything, that is, except a president in the White House who inspires us to believe, “Yes, we can.”

    And we know how to fix that….

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

     

    So what can we do about it? We can carry Barack Obama’s message of hope and change to every family in America and pledge that we’ll be there for him, not only in the heat of this election, but in the aftermath, as we put his agenda to work for our country.

    We can tell Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, exactly why our nation so badly needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain.

    After they wrecked our economy, it’s time for a change. After they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us, it’s time for a change.

    After they abandoned the principle first laid down by General George Washington, when he prohibited the torture of captives because it would bring, in his words, “shame, disgrace and ruin” to our nation, it’s time for a change.

    When as many as three Supreme Court justices could be appointed in the first term of the next president, and John McCain promises to appoint more Scalias and Thomases and end a woman’s right to choose, it is time for a change….

    In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a mandate from history to launch another new beginning. And once again, we have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition.

    Barack Obama had the experience and wisdom to oppose a popular war based on faulty premises.

    His leadership experience has given him a unique capacity to inspire hope in the promise of the American dream of a boundless future.

    His experience has also given him genuine respect for different views and humility in the face of complex realities that cannot be squeezed into the narrow compartments of ideology.

    His experience has taught him something that career politicians often overlook: that inconvenient truths must be acknowledged if we are to have wise governance.

    And the extraordinary strength of his personal character — and that of his wonderful wife, Michelle — who gave such a magnificent address and will be such a wonderful first lady for our country — their strength of character is grounded in the strengths of the American community.

    Barack Obama’s vision and his voice represent the best of America. His life experience embodies the essence of our motto, “E pluribus unum (NYSE:UNM),” out of many, one. That is the linking identity at the other end of all the hyphens that pervade our modern political culture.

    It is that common American identity which Barack Obama exemplifies, heart and soul, that enables us as Americans to speak with moral authority to all of the peoples of the world, to inspire hope that we as human beings can transcend our limitations to redeem the promise of human freedom.

    Late this evening, our convention will end with a benediction. As we bow in reverence, remember the words of the old proverb, “When you pray, move your feet.” And then let us leave here tonight and take that message of hope from Denver to every corner of our land, and do everything we can to serve our nation, our world, and our children and their future, by electing Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson:Is anyone here going to miss Dick Cheney? … John McCain is the first candidate in history who thinks he can win by telling voters they are not thinking for themselves….Fellow citizens, I am not known as a quiet man. But I hope you will allow me, for a moment, to bring quiet to this great hall. Because at a time when young men and women are dying for our country overseas, America faces a question worthy of silent reflection. And the American people are watching to see how we answer it. What is the best measure of a person’s capacity to protect this country? There are often moments of great importance that go unnoticed in the unruly course of history….
    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ran for Democratic presidential candidate before endorsing Obama. (CNN)

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ran for Democratic presidential candidate before endorsing Obama. (CNN)

    And ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe it’s time to finish the job and get bin Laden. We don’t need another four years of more of the same. It’s time for the change America needs. This is the judgment and vision of Barack Obama. This is the preparation he has to be President of the United States. And this is the man we need to return our country into the goodwill of other nations and the grace of history.

  • DNC Chairman Howard Dean:But we had hope. A plan: “Show up.” We knew if we knocked on doors and told people what we believe, they would respect us and vote for us. That’s exactly what you did. And because you did, today, our party competes in all 50 states. Today, we are a party that took back Congressional seats in Louisiana and Mississippi, and we’re gonna win in Virginia and Alaska. Today, ours is a party that had 35 million Americans vote in our primaries. Today, our party knows that power grows from the grassroots up….I know exactly how many houses I own. … John McCain is a yes man.
  • Virginia Gov. Tim KaineWhat an honor to be here on this powerful night! What an honor to speak not just to those gathered here in Denver but to homes across America-and not just those owned by John McCain.Looking out at this crowd and feeling the energy, I can tell you this: We are making history.I am here tonight not just as the governor of Virginia who knows the people of my state need a better partner in White House, not just as a Democrat who is tired of politics as usual, but most importantly as an American who wants to see American values guiding our country again.

    For eight years we’ve seen what happens when a president lets Washington values become more important than American values. Gas prices skyrocket when the White House lets oil companies call the shots. Our children are left behind when an administration cares more about sound bites than sound schools. And middle-class families are left to fend for themselves to save their jobs, their homes, and their grasp on the American dream.

    Maybe for John McCain the American dream means seven houses-and if that’s your America, John McCain is your candidate. But for the rest of us, the American dream means one home-in a safe neighborhood, with good schools and good health care and a little money left over every month to go out for dinner and save for the future.

    Does that seem like too much to ask? John McCain thinks it is.

    He’ll keep answering to the special interests and Washington lobbyists-we’re ready for leadership that answers to us. And the leader who will deliver the change we need is Barack Obama….

    If we put our faith into action, we can move mountains.

    We can move the mountains of negativity and division and gridlock.

    We can move the mountains of special interests and business as usual.

    We can move the mountains of hopelessness that surround too many of our people and communities.

    Does anybody here have a little faith tonight? Is anybody here ready to move those mountains?

    Starting right here in the Mile High City, we will put our faith into action; we will reject the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain; we will elect Barack Obama our next president.

    In the words of the gospel hymn-“move mountain.”

    Say it with me-“move mountain.”

    Say it with me again-“move mountain.”

    Mountain, get out of our way!

  • Luis Gutierrez, Congressman from Illinois:When Martin Luther King saw people facing injustice, he did not wait for others to act — he changed the way we treat each other. If you want change, it is time for Latinos, and for immigrants to rally behind the next president of the United States, Barack Obama.
  • Mark Udall, a Senate candidate from ColoradoIt’s fitting that the change we need in Washington starts here in the Rocky Mountain West. In the spirit of the West, we can move forward, but it’s going to take leaders who are strong enough to stand up for what’s right, bold enough to bring new ideas and sweep away the worst of Washington’s old ways. Leaders like Barack Obama.
  • Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.:I was there that day when Dr. King delivered his historic speech before an audience of more than 250,000. I am the last remaining speaker from the March on Washington, and I was there
    Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said Obamas nomination was a down payment on Martin Luther King Jr.s dream. (CNN)

    Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said Obama’s nomination was a “down payment” on Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. (CNN)

    when Dr. King urged this nation to lay down the burden of discrimination and segregation and move toward the creation of a more perfect union….We’ve come a long way, but we still have a distance to go. We’ve come a long way, but we must march again. On November 4th, we must march in every state, in every city, in every village, in every hamlet; we must march to the ballot box. We must march like we have never marched before to elect the next President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama.

    For those of us who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or who in the years that followed may have lost hope, this moment is a testament to the power and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. It is a testament to the ability of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. It is a testament to the promise of America.

    Tonight, we have put together a tribute to the man and his message. Let us take a moment to reflect on the legacy and the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. on this 45th anniversary of the historic march on Washington.

  • Martin Luther King’s son, Martin Luther King III, echoed those sentiments and described “the majesty” of his father’s dream:On this day, exactly 45 years ago, my father stood on the National Mall in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed, ‘I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ Let us give our nation a leader who has heard this clarion call and will help us achieve the change.
Celebration after Barack Obamas acceptance speech (CNN)

Celebration after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (CNN)

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, with Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, faced a crowd of nearly 80,000 people on Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver.  (NYT)

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, with Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, faced a crowd of nearly 80,000 people on Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

Campaign 2008 Hightlights: August 28, 2008

The Day That Was….

  • August 28, 2008: Barack Obama to woo nation 45 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech … Biden tells Democratic convention needs more than a good soldier, reference to McCain … Clinton delivers strong endorsement for Obama while passing torch. – AP, 8-28-08
The crowd gathers for Barack Obamas acceptance speech (CNN)

The crowd gathers for Barack Obama's acceptance speech (CNN)

In the News…

  • McCain Veep Watchers on High Alert – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in Denver to help provide counterattacks against the Democratic Party convention, canceled participation in a news conference and other appearances, a Republican official said. – Reuters, 8-28-08

Candidate Bloopers

  • Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine also took a few jabs at McCain, one of the first speakers of the night to do so. Referencing McCain’s inability to remember how many houses he owned, Kaine joked: “Maybe for John McCain the American Dream means seven houses and, if that’s your America, than John McCain is your candidate.” – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • DNC Chairman Howard Dean took over after the Rocky Mountain state lawmakers spoke, introducing himself to the crowd and immediately criticizing McCain for his gaffe about the number of house he owned and tying him to President Bush: “I know exactly how many houses I own. … John McCain is a yes man,” Dean said. WaPo, 8-28-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: A Historic Night Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph offer thoughts on the closing night of the DNC. – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08, Download
  • Ted Widmer on Obama’s Oratory Skills: “He is blessed with a richly resonant voice that we love to hear; he could read the telephone directory and it would sound good,” said Ted Widmer, editor of an acclaimed edition of American political speeches and a former Bill Clinton speechwriter. “He is very good at pauses and inflection, and he cuts an impressive figure on stage – all of which adds up to making an Obama speech a special event.” – Guardian UK, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss on “Panel says Chicago forged Obama’s political skill”: Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, noted that previous presidents have come on varying paths to the White House. “If you go through presidents and look what made the great ones, probably a length of time in the United States Congress doesn’t help too much; same with governorships,” he said. – Denver Post, 8-28-08
  • Andrew Bacevich: Obama’s Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich – …”Jimmy Carter, his famous ‘malaise’ speech in 1979 was enormously prescient in warning about the consequences of ever-increasing debt and dependency. Carter’s argument was that energy independence provided a vehicle for us to assert control of our destiny, and to reassess what we meant by freedom: is it something more than simply consumerism? But that speech was greeted with howls of derision. Ronald Reagan said we could have anything we wanted. There were no limits. Then we the people rejected Carter’s warning and embraced Reagan’s promise of never-ending abundance. That was a fateful choice. “That’s the language of American politics, for both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. But that idea is not really sustainable when we look at the facts.” – The Nation, 8-28-08
  • Timuel Black on “Chicago area residents clear schedules to watch”: Chicago area historian Timuel Black was in Washington DC 45 years ago when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the height of the civil rights movement. Black said the emotion was overwhelming, and the 89-year-old said he expected to be emotional again Thursday night while witnessing King’s words come true. “Forty-five years later, Barack Obama epitomizes what Dr. King was dreaming of; that one can move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder,” Black said. – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Robert Caro: Johnson’s Dream, Obama’s Speech – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Gil Troy “Obama’s lousy summer”: …This failure to embrace his centrism played into his larger mistake — he did nothing this summer to advance the narrative, to give Americans a new reason to vote for him. In the absence of a new plot dictated by Obama, the growing case of buyer’s remorse dominated the headlines, and shaped the pre-convention plot lines.
    Just as it was a mistake to count out McCain prematurely, it would be foolish to underestimate Obama’s chances. Four years ago, a self-described “skinny kid with a funny name” wowed the Democratic National Convention–and most Americans — with the greatest convention speech since William Jennings Bryan’s populist Cross of Gold speech in 1896. That 2004 speech catapulted Barack Obama into the Democratic stratosphere.
    Obama plans to accept the nomination tonight on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s now-legendary “I have a dream” speech. Obama actually has the skill to match that historic moment. The race is indeed on — but in order to win it, Barack Obama will have to use his tremendous assets, both personal and political, to overcome his disappointing summer. – National Post, 8-28-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Hillary Clinton’s Statement: Barack Obama’s speech tonight laid out his specific, bold solutions and optimistic vision for our nation and our children’s future.

    His speech crystallized the clear choice between he and Senator McCain. Four more years of the same failed policies or a leader who can tackle the great challenges we face: revitalizing our economy and restoring our standing in the world. I am proud to support Senator Obama, our next President of the United States and Joe Biden, our next Vice President of the United States.

  • Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech:
    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Presidential Nomination

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Presidential Nomination

    For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives….

  • McCain to extend his congratulations to Obama in special ad“Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day.” McCain also says in reference to the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘ I Have a Dream’ speech. “Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done.”

  • Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota the ABC program “Good Morning America.”: “I just can’t address it, but we’ll all know soon. I’ve certainly heard it through news accounts he’s having a rally in Ohio tomorrow. Speculation is he’ll unveil his running mate there. Beyond that I don’t have much to add or say about the vice presidential issue.”

On This Day in History…August 28, 1963

On this day in history… August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr gives “I have a dream speech” at the Lincoln Memorial….

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his I have a dream speech

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his "I have a dream" speech

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)

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