Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 27, 2008

The day that was….

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

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

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

The Stats

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

Candidate Bloopers

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

Historians’ Comments

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

On the Campaign Trail….

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

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

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

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

  • Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates: “I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” Clinton told a group of more than 1,000 supporters in a ballroom at the downtown convention center here, a few blocks from the Pepsi Center where she spoke to all the delegates on Tuesday. “I have spoken to many of you who have expressed your questions about what you should do,” she said. “Now many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in the states that you came from. And others of you after this long journey we’ve been on want the chance to vote for what’s in your heart. Now still others will be voting for Senator Obama, because they want to demonstrate their personal commitment to the unity of this party behind our nominee.” “I am not telling you what to do,” she said to loud applause, but added, “I signed my ballot this morning for Senator Obama.” “It is traditional that we have nominations, that we have a roll call,” Clinton said. “We’ve got win in November.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
  • Howard Wolfson: Clinton Ally Blasts MSNBC Pundits: “I’m not going to take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who have spent the last two years attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Wolfson said, and then specifically named Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. “I think it’s unfortunate that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics.”
  • Mitt Romney Speaking to Fox News, 8-26-08: You know, Neil, I got nothing for you on the V.P. front… I can only tell you that I have — I have confidence in — in John McCain. And his instincts — his instincts have been proven right time and again. I trust him to pick a good person to be on his ticket and somebody who views the country and the economy the way he does. And I think he’s going to strengthen his ticket with that pick…. You know, it’s been a little while since we have chatted. But, again, I’m not going to — I’m not going to open the door to this big secret that you’re talking about. I got nothing for you on that front… You know, I’m not a political strategist, even though I have run for office a couple of times, once successfully. You know, I think — I think John McCain is going to do what he thinks is best for — for his chances of getting his message across. I — I think there will be a bounce from the Democratic Convention. I thought it got off to a good start last night. I think Ted Kennedy did a fine thing of coming to the convention and speaking. He — he’s proven once again he’s a lion, and I respect him for that. But I think, in the final analysis, that, despite these bounces and all of the confetti and the — and the glitz associated with a convention, people are going to focus on the issues. And, on the issue of the economy they’re going to see that Barack Obama, who wants to raise taxes, cut back on trade, and prevent drilling for oil offshore and no new nuclear power plants, is simply wrong for the economy….. – Fox News, 8-26-08
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Democratic Convention Day 2: August 26, 2008

Day 2 Schedule

    Millions of Americans are struggling to get by. The failed policies of the last eight years have betrayed the country’s values and left an economy out of balance. Barack Obama believes a strong economy is unattainable with a weak middle class. Tuesday’s Convention program will feature the voices of Americans who share Barack’s concerns and strongly support his detailed economic plan to grow the economy, create jobs, restore fairness, and expand opportunity.

    Senator Hillary Clinton was the headline prime-time speaker and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner delivered the keynote address on Tuesday night. Pay Equity pioneer Lilly Ledbetter also addressed the Convention on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton, shown here with her daughter, Chelsea, on Tuesday is set to praise her former rival Barack Obama tonight in Denver.

Hillary Clinton, shown here with her daughter, Chelsea, on Tuesday is set to praise her former rival Barack Obama tonight in Denver.

    Other Tuesday speakers included: Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana; Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts; Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona; Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia; Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin; Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania; Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio; Governor David Paterson of New York; Governor Chet Culver of Iowa; Senator Bob Casey, Jr., of Pennsylvania; Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont; former Secretary of Energy and Transportation Federico Peña; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; House Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel; Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Assistant to the Speaker of the House; and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chair Chris Van Hollen, who will use his time to showcase his top candidates for change. Representatives Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mike Honda (D-CA), California Controller John Chiang, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, Change To Win’s Anna Burger, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney also spoke. – DemConvention.com
Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the Democratic National Convention

Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the Democratic National Convention

Historians’ Comments

  • 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
  • Robert Rupp: Hillary’s Speech Provides a Relief – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-27-08
  • Taylor Branch: Obama, Bill Clinton Remain Distant Despite Similar Stories, a Complex Relationship Taylor Branch, a noted historian on racial politics, King biographer and longtime Clinton friend, who is writing a book detailing his private White House interviews with Clinton, said the former president was distraught by the popular interpretation that he had used code language to diminish Obama. “He was particularly upset about the race card deal,” Branch recalled. “He said, ‘I hate that phrase anyway. It makes it sound like a game — playing a card — when race is not a game and never was. It is deadly serious.'” There is, from Branch’s historical perspective, a natural progression from Clinton to Obama that in other circumstances could have created a political bond. Had Hillary not been in the race, he surmised, “I could see that Clinton might have endorsed him. Obama has a lot of attributes he values.” – WaPo, 8-27-08
  • Douglas Brinkley: DNC bits: Charlize shows, Sean slouches, Rudy tours and Rather cries: Rice University history professor and talking head Douglas Brinkley and others — sat around the table on the top floor of the downtown Denver library talking about Hurricane Katrina. – The Denver Post, 8-26-08
  • Manning Marable, professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University and director of the Center for Contemporary Black History: The Democratic Convention Key Historic Moments Set The Stage For Obama – NPR, 8-25-08
  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. – PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s almost as if — imagine the two parties swapping identities. First of all, this is the oldest political party in the world. It was for 100 years the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party that said the best government is the least government. That began to change dramatically with William Jennings Bryan 100 years ago, here in Denver, who brought the populist strain, who became a champion of the dispossessed. And then, of course, Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, transforming the role of government in the economy, and critically bringing African-Americans into this party after being part of the party of Lincoln… Well, no, absolutely. And, I mean, the last 40 years, frankly, since Richard Nixon’s election in 1968, broadly speaking, have been a period, a conservative period in American politics. We’ve had two Democratic presidents, both southerners, relatively speaking conservatives. This has also been a party torn apart more than once regarding American foreign policy. You know, there’s the Woodrow Wilson messianic quality — America, in effect, preaching to the world — and then, of course, Vietnam, which tore this party apart, brought us George McGovern and a host of reforms, which, in many ways, lead to the diversity that we see in this hall tonight…. Well, that’s fascinating, because this party looks much more diverse than it might have 40 years ago…. Ideologically, I think you could make a very strong case that it’s far less. And by the same token, the same thing applies to the Republican Party. For years there were people in this country who said, “We need a liberal party and a conservative party.” Well, guess what? You’ve got it. And it has led to all sorts of unintended consequences. So I think there is a much less degree of ideological diversity in this hall, which, as Michael says, leds to sort of head-scratching about the intensity of the Clinton-Obama fight. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: He was…because Roosevelt was liberal in all sorts of ways, but he sure wasn’t on civil rights. Roosevelt would not even support an anti-lynching bill; 1936, when Roosevelt was re-nominated, there was an African-American preacher who gave a prayer at the convention. Southern senators walked out. They thought this was outrageous that you would have an African-American on the podium. That all changed with John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, civil rights and voting rights, mainly Johnson. In 1965, Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. He hoped that African-Americans would come into the mainstream in a big way. On that floor, 24 percent of the delegates are African-American…. And that’s the irony, because there should be no conflict here this week. You know, they’re not arguing over big issues. They agree on economics, Iraq, foreign affairs, all sorts of stuff. Yet we’re hearing about this roll call vote, and angry delegates, and factions, and all sorts of stuff. That’s so amazing that this long conflict between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has ended this way…. The people who voted for Hillary Clinton this spring are very different for the most part from the people who voted for Barack Obama. So the great irony is that, while ideologically Democrats think pretty much the same, those voters are in different enough groups that it’s a hard time getting them together. That’s what’s sad about that. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Lyndon Johnson transforms the Democratic Party, especially in terms of racial diversity. 1964, at that Atlantic City convention, Fanny Lou Hamer and the African-Americans who came to represent the true interracial Mississippi, were actually disallowed from being seated. By 1984, Jesse Jackson delivers his very famous rainbow address, telling the party that diversity is actually its strength rather than a weakness…. Democracy is messy. So when we think back to 1948, when Truman supports a civil rights plank, the Southern Dixiecrats actually leave, and Strom Thurmond has a third-party run. 1968, the whole world is watching, according to the new left, and Mayor Daley actually calls in troops to basically harass and assault new left demonstrators. 1980, the very fractious convention between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy. But, again, by 1984 and ‘88, you have Jesse Jackson, who was the consummate outsider finally on the inside of the Democratic Party, and he’s actually invoking people like Fanny Lou Hamer and different civil rights activists…. Well, the liberal wing of the party reaches its heyday in the early ’70s, with people like George McGovern and people like Walter Mondale. So that liberal wing has really been — I don’t want to say beaten into submission, but certainly they’ve seen better days. In a way, Obama has written himself that people see him as a Rorschach, and they read whatever they want into him. So people who are liberals see Obama as a liberal in the party. Conservatives in the party actually say, “Obama’s on my side.” People who are moderates or centrists actually say, “Obama’s my guy.” So Obama actually has united, I think, a three-part party. It’s a tri-headed party of liberals, centrists, and conservatives who see in Obama a person who they can all appropriate. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08

The Speeches….

  • Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich:It’s Election Day 2008. We Democrats are giving America a wake-up call. Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil and twice what we paid for health care.
    Rep. Dennis Kucinich gives a fiery speech at the start of Tuesdays program. (CNN)

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich gives a fiery speech at the start of Tuesday's program. (CNN)

    Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health care, their pensions. Trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war paid with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air, at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the president’s oilmen are maneuvering to grab Iraq’s oil.

    Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Money to start a hot war with Iran. Now we have another cold war with Russia, while the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.

    If there was an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold. World records for violations of national and international laws. They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children’s inheritance and hollow out our economy.

    We can’t afford another Republican administration. Wake up, America. The insurance companies took over health care. Wake up, America. The pharmaceutical companies took over drug pricing.

    Wake up, America. The speculators took over Wall Street. Wake up, America. They want to take your Social Security. Wake up, America. Multinational corporations took over our trade policies, factories are closing, good paying jobs lost.

    Wake up, America. We went into Iraq for oil. The oil companies want more. War against Iran will mean $10-a-gallon gasoline. The oil administration wants to drill more, into your wallet. Wake up, America. Weapons contractors want more. An Iran war will cost 5 to 10 trillion dollars.

    This administration can tap our phones. They can’t tap our creative spirit. They can open our mail. They can’t open economic opportunities. They can track our every move. They lost track of the economy while the cost of food, gasoline and electricity skyrockets. They skillfully played our post-9/11 fears and allowed the few to profit at the expense of the many. Every day we get the color orange, while the oil companies, the insurance companies, the speculators, the war contractors get the color green.

    Wake up, America. This is not a call for you to take a new direction from right to left. This is call for you to go from down to up. Up with the rights of workers. Up with wages. Up with fair trade. Up with creating millions of good paying jobs, rebuilding our bridges, ports and water systems. Up with creating millions of sustainable energy jobs to lower the cost of energy, lower carbon emissions and protect the environment.

    Up with health care for all. Up with education for all. Up with home ownership. Up with guaranteed retirement benefits. Up with peace. Up with prosperity. Up with the Democratic Party. Up with Obama-Biden.

    Wake up, America. Wake up, America. Wake up, America.

  • Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana :
    I’m a rancher who has made my living raising cattle and growing wheat, barley and alfalfa in Montana, a beautiful place with soaring peaks, pristine rivers and endless prairies. I’m probably a little biased, but I think it’s the best place in the world to raise a family, to start and grow a business, and to build a community.

    When I ran for governor of Montana, I had never before held elected office. I chose a Republican, John Bohlinger, to be my lieutenant governor, with the simple proposition that we could get more done working together than we could fighting. Because Montana really isn’t a red state or a blue state. As Senator Obama might put it, we’re a united state.

    And so in three-and-a-half years, working together-Republicans and Democrats in Montana-we have cut more taxes for more Montanans than any time in history, increased energy production at the fastest rate in the history of Montana, invested more new money in education than ever before and we created the largest budget surplus in the history of Montana. That’s the kind of change we brought to Montana, and that’s the kind of change President Barack Obama is going to bring to America.

    Like Senator Obama, my family has roots in the Great Plains. My grandparents were immigrants who came to Montana with nothing more than the clothes on their back, high hopes and faith in God. My family didn’t have much in our little house. But a few things stand out in my memory: a crucifix and, on our kitchen wall, a framed picture of President Kennedy. My parents never even graduated from high school, but President Kennedy’s idealism and spirit of possibility inspired them to send all six of us children to college. And when he said, “we’re going to the moon,” he showed us that no challenge was insurmountable.

    A generation later, we face a great new challenge, a world energy crisis that threatens our economy, our security, our climate and our way of life. And until we address that energy crisis, our problems will only get worse. For eight long years, the White House has led us in the wrong direction. And now Senator McCain wants four more years of the same.

    Can we afford four more years? Is it time for a change? When do we need it? And who do we need as the next President of the United States of America? That’s right. Barack Obama is the change we need!

    Right now, the United States imports about 70 percent of its oil from overseas. At the same time, billions of dollars that we spend on all that foreign oil seems to end up in the bank accounts of those around the world who are openly hostile to American values and our way of life. This costly reliance on fossil fuels threatens America and the world in other ways, too. CO2 emissions are increasing global temperatures, sea levels are rising and storms are getting worse.

    We need to break America’s addiction to foreign oil. We need a new energy system that is clean, green and American-made. And we need a president who can marshal our nation’s resources, get the job done and deliver the change we need.

    That leader is Barack Obama. Barack Obama knows there’s no single platform for energy independence. It’s not a question of either wind or clean coal, solar or hydrogen, oil or geothermal. We need them all to create a strong American energy system, a system built on American innovation.

    After eight years of a White House waiting hand and foot on big oil, John McCain offers more of the same. At a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, when American families are struggling to keep their gas tanks full, John McCain voted 25 times against renewable and alternative energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind energy.

    This not only hurts America’s energy independence, it could cost American families more than a hundred thousand jobs. At a time when America should be working harder than ever to develop new, clean sources, John McCain wants more of the same and has taken more than a million dollars in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. Now he wants to give the oil companies another 4 billion dollars in tax breaks. Four billion in tax breaks for big oil?

    That’s a lot of change, but it’s not the change we need.

    In Montana, we’re investing in wind farms and we’re drilling in the Bakken formation, one of the most promising oil fields in America. We’re pursuing coal gasification with carbon sequestration and we’re promoting greater energy efficiency in homes and offices.

    Even leaders in the oil industry know that Senator McCain has it wrong. We simply can’t drill our way to energy independence, even if you drilled in all of John McCain’s backyards, including the ones he can’t even remember.

    That single-answer proposition is a dry well, and here’s why. America consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, but has less than 3 percent of the reserves. You don’t need a $2 calculator to figure that one out. There just isn’t enough oil in America, on land or offshore, to meet America’s full energy needs.

    Barack Obama understands the most important barrel of oil is the one you don’t use. Barack Obama’s energy strategy taps all sources and all possibilities. It will give you a tax credit if you buy a fuel-efficient car or truck, increase fuel-efficiency standards and put a million plug-in hybrids on the road.

    Invest $150 billion over the next 10 years in clean, renewable energy technology. This will create up to 5 million new, green jobs and fuel long- term growth and prosperity. Senator Obama’s plan will also invest in a modern transmission grid to deliver this new, clean electricity from wind turbines and solar panels to homes, offices and the batteries in America’s new plug-in hybrid cars.

  • Former Gov. Warner Addresses the Democratic National Convention in Denver: My fellow Democrats — my fellow Democrats — my fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, the most important contest of our generation has begun, not the campaign for the presidency, not the campaign for Congress, but the race for the future.And I believe from the bottom of my heart, with the right vision and the right leadership, and the energy and creativity of the American people, there is no nation that we can’t out-hustle and out- compete. And no American need be left out or left behind…We need a president who understands the world today, the future we seek, and the change we need. We need Barack Obama as the next president of the United States….

    But when we look around, we see that, for far too many Americans, that fair shot is becoming more of a long shot. How many kids have the grades to go to college, but not the money? How many families always thought their home would be their safest investment? How many of our soldiers come back from their second or third tour of duty wondering if the education and health care benefits they were promised would actually be there?

    Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner delivers the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. (WaPo, AP)

    Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner delivers the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. (WaPo, AP)

    Two wars, a warming — a warming planet, an energy policy that basically says, “Let’s go borrow money from China so we can buy oil from countries that don’t like us,” how many people look at these things and wonder, what’s the future hold for them, their children, their family, their country? How many?

    In George Bush and John McCain’s America, far too many….

    You know, folks always ask me, “What’s my biggest criticism of President Bush?” Now, I’m sure you’ve got your own, but here’s mine.

    It’s not just the policy differences. It’s the fact that this president never tapped into our greatest resource: the character and resolve of the American people….

    This administration — this administration failed to believe in what we can achieve as a nation when all of us work together. John McCain promises more of the same, a plan that would explode the deficit and leave that to our kids, no real strategy to invest in our crumbling infrastructure, and he would continue spending $10 billion a month in Iraq.

    I don’t know about you, but that’s just not right. That’s four more years that we just can’t afford….

    Barack Obama — Barack Obama — Barack Obama has a different vision and a different plan. Right now, at this critical moment in our history, we have one shot to get it right. And the status quo just won’t cut it….

    I know we’re at the Democratic convention, but if an idea works, it really doesn’t matter whether it’s got a “D” or an “R” next to it, because this election…

    … this election is not about liberal versus conservative. It’s not about left versus right. It’s about the future versus the past.

    In this election, at this moment, at this moment in our history, we know what the problems are. We know at this critical juncture we only have one shot to get it right. And we know that these new times demand new thinking….

    You know, as governor of Virginia, as governor of Virginia, it was humbling to occupy a position that was once held by Thomas Jefferson, almost as daunting as delivering the keynote address four years after Barack Obama…

    … or speaking before Hillary Clinton.

    Towards the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson, the founder of our party, wrote one of his frequent letters to his old rival, John Adams. He complained about the aches of getting old, but what was on his mind was, what would life be like for the next generation of Americans?

    As Jefferson was ready to go to sleep, he closed his letter by writing, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

    Jefferson got it right at the dawn of the 19th century, and it’s our challenge to get it right at the dawn of the 21st.

    This race is all about the future. And that’s why we must elect Barack Obama as our next president…

    … because the race for the future — the race for the future will be won when old partisanship gives way to new ideas, when we put solutions over stalemate, and when hope replaces fear.

    Tonight, looking out at all of you, and with a deep faith in the character and resolve of the American people, I am more confident than ever that we will win that race and make that future ours.

    Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Democratic Convention Speech
    Sen. Hillary Clinton calls for her party to fight for the future, and its a fight we must win together. (CNN)

    Sen. Hillary Clinton calls for her party to fight for the future, "and it's a fight we must win together." (CNN)

    I am honored to be here tonight. I’m here tonight as a proud mother. As a proud Democrat. As a proud senator from New York. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

    My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

    And whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines.

    This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win together.

    I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family and fighting for women’s rights here at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander our promise of a country that really fulfills the hopes of our people.

    And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

    No way. No how. No McCain.

    Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president….

    I will always be grateful to everyone from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush administration.

    Hillary Clinton Supporters

    Hillary Clinton Supporters

    To my supporters, to my champions — to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits — from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

    Thank you because you never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history….

    Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation’s history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.

    Putin and Georgia, Iran and Iraq.

    I ran for president to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to those who were willing to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.

    To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green-collar jobs.

    To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that every single parent knows their children will be taken care of. .

    We want to create a world class education system and make college affordable again.

    To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality — from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. And to help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.

    To make America once again a nation of immigrants and of laws….

    Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years. Those are the reasons I ran for president, and those are the reasons I support Barack Obama for president.

    I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that young boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?…

    We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a president who understands that America can’t compete in the global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can’t solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in the new technologies that will build a green economy.

    We need a president who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.

    Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. And he knows government must be about “We the people” not “We the favored few.”

    The crowds after Hillary Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention

    The crowds after Hillary Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention

    And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he’ll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, we did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats. And if we do our part, we’ll do it again with President Obama and the Democrats….

    Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

    He has served our country with honor and courage.

    But we don’t need four more years of the last eight years….

    Well, John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn’t think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it’s OK when women don’t earn equal pay for equal work.

    Now, with an agenda like that, it makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart….

    These women and men looked into their daughters’ eyes and imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment and brave violence and jail.

    And after so many decades — 88 years ago on this very day — the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote became enshrined in our Constitution.

    My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for president.

    This is the story of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

    How do we give this country back to them?

    By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to bring slaves along the Underground Railroad.

    On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice.

    If you hear the dogs, keep going.

    If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

    If they’re shouting after you, keep going.

    Don’t ever stop. Keep going.

    If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

    And even in the darkest of moments, that is what Americans have done. We have found the faith to keep going….

    We’ve got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

    That is our duty, to build that bright future, to teach our children that, in America, there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great, no ceiling too high for all who work hard, who keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and each other.

    That is our mission, Democrats. Let’s elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden for that future worthy of our great country.

    Thank you. God bless you, and Godspeed.

  • Obama Praises Clinton’s Speech “That was excellent, that was a strong speech,” Mr. Obama said as he watched the speech from Billings, Mt. “She made the case for why we’re going to be unified in November and why we’re going to win this election. I thought she was outstanding.”

Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 26, 2008

The day that was….

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

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

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

The Stats

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

Historians’ Comments

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

On the Campaign Trail….

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

    Rudy Giuliani speaking with CNN

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

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

Democratic Convention Day 1: August 25, 2008

Day 1 Schedule

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

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

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

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

Historians’ Comments

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

The Speeches…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The servicemen…

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

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

    People like Hillary Clinton…

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

    People like Joe Biden…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    … that we committed ourselves…

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

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

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

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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