Democratic Convention Day 1: August 25, 2008

Day 1 Schedule

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

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

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

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

Historians’ Comments

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

The Speeches…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The servicemen…

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

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

    People like Hillary Clinton…

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

    People like Joe Biden…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    … that we committed ourselves…

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

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

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

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August 25, 2008: Obama Chooses Joe Biden as his Running-Mate

The week that was….

Barack Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joe Biden in Springfield, Ill., August 23, 2008

Barack Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joe Biden in Springfield, Ill., August 23, 2008

  • August 23, 2008: Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama confirmed that he chose six term Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. CNN scooped Obama’s announcement reporting that the Democratic candidate had chosen Biden at 12:45am on Saturday, the campaign intended to send out the text messages at 8am, but then where forced to send them out at 2:45am. CNN Biden was chosen partially to compensate for Obama’s lack of foreign policy credentials, for his ability to play hardball with the opponent, and his appeal to working class voters. The Democratic ticket formally appeared together for the first time in a rally in Springfield, Illinois.
  • August 22, 2008: Speculation mounts as to who Obama will chose as his running mate. Hoax text messages were sent out prompting the Wall Street Journal to announce that Obama had chosen Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as his running mate, which the paper had to quickly retract. The Obama campaign informed Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana that they were not chosen as Obama’s VP.
  • August 21, 2008: McCain Denver campaign offices received an envelope filled with white powder, which prompted an medical evaluation; it later proved to be a hoax and not anthrax. The Fall Presidential Candidate debates calendar was released and scheduled for Sept. 26, Oct. 7, and Oct. 15, with the Vice-Presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 2. – NYT, 8-21-08
  • August 20, 2008: GOP convention speakers announced: Rudy Giuliani will give the GOP convention Key note address; President Bush, Laura Bush and Dick Cheney to speak on first night, Sen. Joe Lieberman, a former Democratic VP candidate, will speak Monday. The speaker choices demontrates that “McCain wants showcase the GOP’s “diversity”,” McCain’s running mate will accept the nomination Wednesday, the same night Mitt Romney will speak. CNN, 8-20-08 McCain gives an interview to Politico.com, when asked about the number of homes he owns, McCain gaffes, saying he has to ask his staff. The Obama campaign jumps on this as an opportunity to show McCain is out of touch with American voters because of his family’s wealth. Senator Joe Biden emerges as the Democratic Party’s top choice for Obama running mate because of his foreign policy credential, and ability to attack the Republican opponent, two qualities Obama has been faltering with. AP, 8-20-08
  • August 19, 2008: Obama spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, and told them that he continues to support his position against the war in Iraq and the surge. Obama challenged McCain to stop questioning his “character and patriotism,” and said “Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country.”
  • August 18, 2008: McCain spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention and told them that Obama’s position on Iraq is based primarily on his political aspirations and not for the good of the country. “With less than three months to go before the election, a lot of people are still trying to square Sen. Obama’s varying positions on the surge in Iraq. First, he opposed the surge and confidently predicted that it would fail. Then he tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge,” McCain said.

The Stats

  • August 24, 2008: In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Sunday night: 47 percent are supporting Barack Obama the same number support John McCain a sharp contrast to polls in July when Obama had a 51 to 44 percent advantage. – CNN, 8-24-08
  • August 24, 2008: Washington Post-ABC News poll, showed Obama with 49 percent support and McCain with 45 percent.
  • August 24, 2008: An instant USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds for many Americans, though, the question is “Joe who?” Among those surveyed, 23% say they’ve never heard of the Delaware senator and another 28% say they don’t have an opinion of him. – USA Today, 8-24-08
  • August 20, 2008: McCain’s advantage is 50-40, a seven-point increase from Public Policy Polling’s July poll, which showed him leading by three points. Obama’s biggest issue is with white voters, who support McCain by a 56-35 margin, observers say. – St. Louis Business Journal, 8-20-08
  • August 19, 2008: A new Times/Bloomberg poll has Obama with 45% to McCain’s 43%, “a statistical dead heat.” – LA Times, 8-19-08

In the News…

  • Founding Fathers’ dirty campaign – CNN, 8-24-08
  • MIKE LITTWIN: The Obama phenomenon: a view to history in making Insights gained from 18 months on the campaign trail – Rocky Mountain News, 8-23-08
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin on 1968 chaos opened door for Obama 40 years later: “Had there been party leaders who had a major role in choosing the nominee this year it is probably much more likely it would have been a Hillary Clinton rather than a young Barack Obama,” said presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin….. “The cautionary note of that convention to the party was to avoid at all costs the kind of open warfare on a platform issue and a large dispute that could take place in prime time,” said Kearns Goodwin. – AP, 8-23-08
  • 100th birthday party will celebrate LBJ’s legacy – Houston Chronicle, 8-23-08
  • Barack Obama: Are critics targeting his race? As the presidential campaign heats up, there is an elephant in the room – the colour of Barack Obama’s skin. Reporting from Mississippi, Philip Sherwell looks at how the nation’s troubled past is affecting his chances – and the challenges he is about to face – Telegraph, UK, 8-23-08

Candidate Bloopers

  • Joe Biden as the Springfield, Illinois rally introducing him as Obama’s Vice-Presidential running mate: “Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, is drop dead gorgeous. My wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem. But all kidding aside …” – LA Times, 8-23-08
  • Barack Obama introducing his running mate Joe biden for the first time in Springfield, Ill.: “So let me introduce to you, the next president, the next vice president of the United States of America – Joe Biden.”
  • When John McCain was asked by Politico how many houses he owns in an interview he responded: “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you… It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.” – Politico, 8-20-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Gil Troy: Channeling Cheney: Did Obama Overcompensate with Biden? – HNN, 8-24-08
  • Char Miller: ‘Change’ is the face of new America – Daily Bulletin, 8-23-08
  • Randall Miller on “Son of working-class Catholics, Biden may bolster Obama’s weak spots”: Randall Miller, a professor of history at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, noted that Philadelphia TV covers Biden extensively and reaches voters not just in the city and its suburbs but into the Lehigh Valley. Baltimore TV also covers him, and reaches into central Pennsylvania. “He is a very well known quantity here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the mother lode of votes in the state,” Miller said. – Kansas City Star, 8-23-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Obama seeks to inspire US voters”: Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University, agreed Obama’s White House hopes may rest in defining himself, before Republican political shock troops do it for him. “If he doesn’t, he is going to have a big problem,” Zelizer said. “He has had a really difficult month in August, and the Republicans have done a pretty good job in framing him.” “I assume we are going to hear more contrast between what Democrats are about and what he is about versus McCain,” said Zelizer. “We are going to hear a lot of connecting between McCain and Bush.” – AFP, 8-24-08
  • Patty Limerick on “Obama prospecting for electoral gold in Old West”: Patty Limerick, a professor of history and environmental studies at the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West, said swathes of voters in the region have grown frustrated with the status quo of US politics. “There are growing numbers of voters who are scratching their heads and saying, ‘Where did my party go?’. And I’ve heard more Republicans than Democrats saying that,” Limerick told AFP. “The Republican Party has a great challenge in knitting together those people who are Republicans because they don’t want people interfering in their private lives, and the people who are Republicans because they want to interfere in other people’s private lives,” Limerick said. “Those aren’t groups that are easy to reconcile.” While national issues such as the state of the economy were certain to be at the forefront of voter concerns, the environment, energy policy and immigration were all likely to play a part in November elections, Limerick said. “There’s so much in our regional economy of construction, development, tourism, hospitality, agriculture, in which immigration labor is vital,” Limerick said. “And a lot of people realize that closing the border is going to lead to significant changes in things like food prices and food availability.” – AFP, 8-24-08
  • Jonathan Zimmerman on “Politicians OK if rich but not if seen as out of touch”: Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of education and history at New York University, sees “a curious American blend of romanticism and cynicism.” Americans, he said, “like to imagine their leaders once came from log cabins” and made good. But then they worry that the newfound wealth will affect their common touch – something not backed by the records of wealthy presidents such as the two Roosevelts and John F. Kennedy. Zimmerman said the stakes this year are heightened because “there is a sense that neither candidate is really a man of the people.” “They are both loaded compared to 95 or 97 percent of all Americans,” Zimmerman said. Yet Obama would not meet the definition of “rich” tentatively offered last week by McCain, a statement that has drawn scorn from liberal and conservative economists alike. – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Donald Richie on “Politicians OK if rich but not if seen as out of touch”: Donald Ritchie, associate historian of the U.S. Senate, said, “People want politicians to be . . . somebody who is comfortable (with) and understands situations that the average person faces.” “But the first direct election was in 1914, and every incumbent senator who was running was re-elected,” Ritchie said. “The people elected the exact same people the state legislatures did.” – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Ignacio Garcia on “Viva Obama Clubs target Latinos”: How successful those clubs will be remains to be seen, said Ignacio Garcia, a history professor at Brigham Young University and author of “Viva Kennedy: Mexican Americans in search of Camelot.” Garcia said the Kennedy clubs succeeded in speaking to the dreams and needs of Latinos. Further, they empowered a new generation of political leaders who eventually became mayors, congressman, governors and federal judges. “The question is whether Obama really inspires Latinos, and whether these groups can create a movement that will include the political majority of the community,” Garcia said. – San Diego Union Tribune, 8-23-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Conventions: a bounce for the candidates”: “Campaigns are a multistage process – but the convention is a key step,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “That speech for both candidates constitutes a very important introduction to the nation,” says Mr. Zelizer. Christian Science Monitor, 8-21-08
  • Allan Lichtman on “McCain to Keep Pressure on Obama During Dems’ Convention”: “The candidate usually keeps a low profile during the opposition convention. Certainly Bush did in 2004,” American University history professor Allan Lichtman said. That said, he added: “I don’t think you give them the spotlight entirely.” Lichtman, a Maryland Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2006, said McCain needs to be careful not to over-respond, or he’ll be seen as going too negative. “He’s taken Obama down a peg … and he doesn’t want to overplay that hand,” Lichtman said. “It’s always a tightrope walk.” – Fox News, 8-21-08

On the Campaign Trail….

Script For “Passed Over” (TV :30)ANNCR: She won millions of votes.But isn’t on his ticket.Why?For speaking the truth.On his plans: HILLARY CLINTON: “You never hear the specifics.” ANNCR: On the Rezko scandal: HILLARY CLINTON: “We still don’t have a lot of answers about Senator Obama.” ANNCR: On his attacks: HILLARY CLINTON: “Senator Obama’s campaign has become increasingly negative.” ANNCR: The truth hurt. And Obama didn’t like it. JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approved this message.

Katie Couric’s interview with John McCain on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” August 24, 2008 I think he’s a good selection. Joe and I have been friends for many, many years, and we know each other very well, and so I think he’s made a very wise selection. I know that Joe will campaign well for Senator Obama, and so I think he’s going to be very formidable. Obviously, Joe and I have been on different philosophical sides, but we have been – I consider him a good friend and good man…. Well, I’ve always respected Joe Biden, but I disagreed with him from the time he voted against the first Gulf War to his position where he said you had to break Iraq up into three different counties. I never agreed with that. But I appreciate very much his dedication to trying to solve this genocide that’s going in Darfur and other things that Joe Biden has done. But we really have different approaches to many national security issues. I look forward to whoever my running mate will be having a respectful debate with him on that as well.

Senator Biden’s Remarks in Springfield, Ill:
I’ll say straight up to you – John McCain and the press knows this, is genuinely a friend of mine. I’ve known John for 35 years. He served our country with extraordinary courage and I know he wants to do right by America. But the harsh truth is, ladies and gentlemen, you can’t change America when you boast. And these are John’s words, quote, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s what he said. You can’t change America when you supported George Bush’s policies 95% of the time. You can’t change America when you believe, and these are his own words, that in the Bush administration we’ve made great progress economically. You can’t change America and make things better for our senior citizens when you signed on to Bush’s scheme of privatizing social security. You can’t change America and give our workers a fighting chance when after 3 million manufacturing jobs disappear, you continue to support tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas. You can’t change America and end this war in Iraq when you declare and, again, these are John’s words, no one has supported President Bush in Iraq more than I have, end of quote. Ladies and gentlemen, you can’t change America, you can’t change America when you know your first four years as president will look exactly like the last eight years of George Bush’s presidency.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Vice President Announcement Springfield, IL, August 23, 2008

Nineteen months ago, on a cold February day right here on the steps of the Old State Capitol, I stood before you to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.

We started this journey with a simple belief: that the American people were better than their government in Washington – a government that has fallen prey to special interests and policies that have left working people behind. As I’ve travelled to towns and cities, farms and factories, front porches and fairgrounds in almost all fifty states – that belief has been strengthened. Because at this defining moment in our history – with our nation at war, and our economy in recession – we know that the American people cannot afford four more years of the same failed policies and the same old politics in Washington. We know that the time for change has come.

For months, I’ve searched for a leader to finish this journey alongside me, and to join in me in making Washington work for the American people. I searched for a leader who understands the rising costs confronting working people, and who will always put their dreams first. A leader who sees clearly the challenges facing America in a changing world, with our security and standing set back by eight years of a failed foreign policy. A leader who shares my vision of an open government that calls all citizens – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – to a common purpose. Above all, I searched for a leader who is ready to step in and be President.

Today, I have come back to Springfield to tell you that I’ve found that leader – a man with a distinguished record and a fundamental decency – Joe Biden.

Joe Biden is that rare mix – for decades, he has brought change to Washington, but Washington hasn’t changed him. He’s an expert on foreign policy whose heart and values are rooted firmly in the middle class. He has stared down dictators and spoken out for America’s cops and firefighters. He is uniquely suited to be my partner as we work to put our country back on track….

We know what we’re going to get from the other side. Four more years of the same out-of-touch policies that created an economic disaster at home, and a disastrous foreign policy abroad. Four more years of the same divisive politics that is all about tearing people down instead of lifting this country up.

We can’t afford more of the same. I am running for President because that’s a future that I don’t accept for my daughters and I don’t accept it for your children. It’s time for the change that the American people need.

Now, with Joe Biden at my side, I am confident that we can take this country in a new direction; that we are ready to overcome the adversity of the last eight years; that we won’t just win this election in November, we’ll restore that fair shot at your dreams that is at the core of who Joe Biden and I are as people, and what America is as a nation. So let me introduce you to the next Vice President of the United States of America…

Hillary Clinton’s formal comment on Obama’s choice of Biden as his running mate: In naming my colleague and friend Senator Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Senator Obama has continued in the best traditions for the vice presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant. Senator Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic vice president who will help Senator Obama both win the presidency and govern this great country.

Obama speaking in Chester, Va., August 21, 2008: “Somebody asked John McCain, ‘How many houses do you have?’ And he said, I’m not sure. I’ll have to check with my staff. True quote: I’m not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff. So they asked his staff and he said, at least four. At least four! … If you’re like me and you’ve got one house – or you were like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so that they don’t lose their home — you might have a different perspective. By the way, the answer is: John McCain has seven homes. So there’s just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain’s world and what people are going through every single day here in America.”

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers in response to Obama “Seven” ad, about the nuber of houses the McCain’s owns, August 21, 2008: “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people ‘cling’ to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans? The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.

Obama on His Veep Thinking a Time interview Download

Barack Obama describing his ideal running-mate, 8-19-08:
I want somebody who has integrity, who’s in politics for the right reasons, I want somebody who is independent. Somebody who is able to say to me, ‘You know what, Mr. President, I think you’re wrong on this and here’s why,’ and who will help me think through major issues and consult with me, would be a key advisor. I want somebody who is capable of being president and who I would trust to be president. That’s the first criteria for VP. And the final thing is, I want a president (SIC) who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now. I want someone who is not in it just because they want to have their name up in lights or end up being president. I want somebody who is mad right now that people are losing their jobs. And is mad right now that people have seen their incomes decline, and wants to rebuild the middle class in this country. That’s the kind of person that I want; somebody who in their gut knows where they came from and believes that we have to grow this country from the bottom up.

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