Republican National Convention Day 3: September 3, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

The Palin family and Senator John McCain on stage at the Republican National Convention. (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Day 3 Schedule

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)

    WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2008

    The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the full program of events for Wednesday, Sept. 3. The evening’s program will feature remarks by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s nominee for vice president. Among the other speakers participating in this evening’s program are former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The speakers remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,” and the theme for Wednesday’s events, which is “reform.”

    TONIGHT’S SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

    U.S. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Speaker: U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.), Meg Whitman, former President and CEO of EBay, Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, GOPAC Chairman Michael Steel, Speaker: Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.), Speaker: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (N.Y.), Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin – GOP Convention 2008

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Partys nomination for Vice President (CNN)

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Party's nomination for Vice President (CNN)

Highlights:

  • September 3, 2008: Palin takes slap at Obama, casts herself as Washington outsider in convention speech … McCain shares hugs with Palin family upon his arrival in Twin Cities … GOP also-rans speak at national convention …. Obama claims McCain trying to run from Republican Party’s bad economic record … Democratic ‘war room’ finds its stride after tentative start. AP, 9-3-08 …Palin prepares to speak to delegates, other Americans amid political and personal revelations … Giuliani says Sarah Palin is ready to handle Sept. 11 crisis … Late-night TV hosts tread lightly with Palin pregnancy; use it to go after John Edwards. – AP, 9-3-08

Stats & In the News…

  • Poll gives Obama edge in two of three key states – CNN 9-3-08
  • September 3, 2008: Gallop Poll: Democrat Barack Obama has a 6-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — he has 49 percent to McCain’s 43 percent — among registered voters in the presidential race. – AP, 9-3-08
  • UPDATE 2-FACTBOX-Quotes from the U.S. Republican convention – Reuters, 9-3-08
  • Palin Defies Critics and Electrifies Party – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Palin touts small-town roots, rips Obama – Reuters, 9-4-08
  • Palin Introduces Herself and Takes On Obama in Convention Speech With her address to the GOP faithful she has become the unexpected star of the Republican Party – US News, 9-3-08
  • Sarah Palin Owns the Hall, But What About the Country? – The Nation, 9-3-08
  • Palin mocks Obama; McCain claims nomination – AP, 9-3-08
  • Palin casts herself as Washington outsider – AP, 9-3-08
  • McCain takes spotlight – with Palin family – AP, 9-3-08
The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

Historians’ Comments

  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, this was a beat-up-on-Barack night, which is exactly what you expect from a keynoter. I thought Mayor Giuliani performed his role to the delight of everyone in the crowd. And it turned out he only warmed them up. There’s no doubt movements conservatives have themselves a new heroine, as of this evening. This will be a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans. It will be fascinating — I’d be interested to hear from Andy — it’d be fascinating to know if this plays as well among particularly independent voters out there who are watching this convention to find out not only what this party is against — and we heard a lot about that tonight — but what they’re for, particularly in the realm of the economy. And one final thing, I do wonder whether “drill, baby, drill” will take its place in the lexicon alongside “I like Ike.” – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, I think it happened, Richard. One note on political theater. You’ll note that, when John McCain came on stage — this is a first in history — a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate hugged in public. 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, they and their handlers decided that the American people couldn’t take the sight of these candidates hugging. So all through the campaign, they very carefully sort of held hands, held hands in the air, nothing more than that until after they lost. And Geraldine Ferraro said, “Can I finally hug you?” She did, indeed. I think the one thing as far as the speech — speech was fine, well-delivered, loved in the hall. But this is a woman that Americans know extremely little about, especially for a national nominee. And this speech didn’t tell us really very much beyond what we knew already, and that’s going to make it even more important in the future when she gives speeches that are more impromptu and when she submits to interrogations by reporters and average American citizens. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, a really strong speech designed to appeal to white women voters. When we control for race and we think about the gender gap, in 2000, Al Gore received 48 percent of white female votes. In 2004, it was down to 44 percent. So, really, the overwhelming number of African-American women voters and Hispanic voters that provides Democrats with that edge. And this speech was designed to really appeal to those voters. She called herself a hockey mom. And that really translates to the Midwest when we think about suburban soccer moms….Well, she exceeded expectations. People really — building on what Michael said — didn’t know what to expect, a lot of rumors, a lot of controversy about the surprise pick. She exceeded expectations. She’s poised. She’s calm. She’s cool and collected. She looked ready for primetime tonight. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • Gil Troy “Palin: The Kindest, Gentlest Cultural Warrior Since Reagan”: …Palin drew a line between those who serve in the army – and those who don’t, between those who live in the bicoastal bubble – and those who live in what she made clear was the real America. To appreciate her performance at its best, remember the angry harsh attacks Marilyn Quayle and Pat Buchanan launched in 1992. Palin was equally sharp but far less shrill. Lines about a candidate who has authored two memoirs about his life but authored no major law, about a small town mayor being like a community organizer – but with responsibility were zingers aimed directly at Barack Obama, delivered with a smile. In her ability to plunge the stiletto so deftly, and so delightfully, Sarah Palin channeled the great hero of depressed Republicans, Ronald Reagan…. – HNN, 9-3-08
  • Alan Brinkley: “Does McCain Need Independent and Moderate Voters?”: I guess the Democrats can’t count on Sarah Palin to torpedo McCain’s candidacy. If there is a danger, it is that her speech will overshadow his. After the really dreary and depressing session of yesterday, tonight was very successful, with two good speeches–the other by Giuliani. And I think they made the case that the Republican faithful wanted to hear, and they beat up on Obama in ways that will resonate with the GOP.
    But what I think this convention is really trying to do is to change the subject. Most Americans, it’s clear, think this election is about the economy. In all the many speeches of this week in St. Paul, virtually none of them have had much to say about the really serious economic problems that are affecting the very Americans that the GOP has tried to enlist–middle class and lower middle class families. Instead, they are falling back on old favorites–the mess in Washington (and who has made that over the last eight years?), the political establishment (likewise), and of course the reliable whipping boy–the liberal media. This convention did not, I think, set up McCain to reach out to the independents and moderates he will need to get elected. Instead, he seems on course to try to turn out the right-wing evangelical vote in the way Bush did in 2004. But he will have a much harder time bringing out the vast number of evangelicals that Bush attracted. It will be very interesting tomorrow night to see whether McCain’s speech veers away at all from the reliably conservative message of the first few days of the convention and returns to the more centrist image he was trying to project over the summer. – The New Republic, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss: For McCain, 6 keys to victory in November – USA Today, 9-4-08
  • John Baick on “‘Small-town’ Palin stands tall”: “Far more attention is being paid to the vice presidential nominee than to McCain,” said John Baick, associate professor of history at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. To appeal to independent voters, but still keep conservatives happy, McCain likely will use “key words” that resonate with both groups in different ways, Baick said. “Like ‘character,’ ” Baick said. “When they hear ‘character’ from her, that means someone who will support pro-life causes and creationism. When he says ‘character,’ that means he will take the fight to the enemy and never stop. They’ll use some of the same talking points.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9-3-08
  • Stephen Haycox on “The Unusual Challenges of Governing Alaska”: “Alaska really is a colonial place,” said Stephen Haycox, a professor of history at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. “One third of the economic base is oil; another third is federal spending. The economy is extremely narrow and highly dependent. It’s not to say that Alaska is a beggar state, but it certainly is true that Alaska is dependent on decisions made outside it, and over which Alaskans don’t have great control.” – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith: Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: For Norton Smith, the speech outlines a bold new foreign policy of engagement and a noticeably conservative domestic agenda.
    “He wanted to bring about a political realignment, a post-New Deal, broadly conservative party,” Norton Smith told the Online NewsHour. “Nixon appeals to old blue-collar workers, social conservatives who had been part of the New Deal coalition and people who are open to changing their votes, if not necessarily their party registration because they’re not necessary happy with the social upheavals going on around them.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Peniel Joseph on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: Joseph, on the other hand, sees the Nixon speech as a successful effort to rally the “silent majority” around conservative values through carefully chosen, but still loaded, “code words.”
    “What Nixon’s doing, he’s really providing language, and eloquent articulation of the way in which suburban whites are feeling as early as the early 1960s… Nixon is trying to appeal to suburban warriors who feel that blacks are encroaching in on their dream.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Beverly Gage on “Sarah Palin” Interview with NPR’s On the Point with Tom Ashbrook – NPR, 9-3-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Palin McCain’s Dan Quayle?: …In the past few days, Democrats have been focusing on one aspect of the 1988 campaign—Quayle’s many problems — while forgetting the overall story: Bush and Quayle won.
    Democrats could certainly point to the weaknesses and dangers in the Palin selection, but they should be cautious. If they allow Palin to distract them from their main target — McCain and his support for the unpopular economic and military policies of President George W. Bush — they might just find themselves like Dukakis and Bensten in 1988, on the losing end. – Washington Independent, 9-3-08
  • Steve Russell on “Republican convention off to slow start”: For Northern Essex Community College assistant professor of history Steve Russell, the choice was a risk at best. “I think McCain is doing pretty well considering Bush is not popular. He conveys he knows what he is doing and can take the reins,” Russell said. “But I think Palin is an incredibe risk. I don’t see how it could possibly help him.” – Newbury Port News, 9-3-08
  • Historians Offer Insight on RNC’s Day Two: historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph examine the strengths of the night’s speeches and the rally for the GOP party in St. Paul. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. I think Judy’s right. This crowd goes out tonight feeling probably a lot better than they did even coming in this evening. I was struck by the extent to which this night was about John McCain’s personal story. And as we all know, it is a very powerful story. But it’s interesting. Here we are, two months before the campaign, and you have — before the election, and you have the feeling this is still a candidacy driven very much by biography. And I suspect what a lot of people are eager to hear over the next two nights is a lot more about what a McCain presidency would actually mean, whether it’s the economy, or health care, or a host of other issues. One other thing I would just add as an asterisk, knowing some Republicans and having been around Republicans, I don’t think you can overestimate the emotional surge in this hall that arises from the sense as a result of the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy that the “media,” quote, unquote, is out to get them. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Certainly. I think that tonight, it was an extraordinary night. I think Joe Lieberman’s speech quoting George Washington, who was against parties, at least partisanship, and calling for a bipartisan participation in this next election, Democrats, independents to vote for McCain, really building on what Richard said, based on biography rather than specific public policy proposals. And I think the controversy over the Palin choice is energizing their base. And they really feel they’re trying to rally around Palin in a way that — when we think of 1972, George McGovern didn’t, and when we think of 1988, George Bush, in fact, did. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Maybe not a lot. And as a matter of fact, you know, you were talking a moment ago, Jim, about going after the media, which never hurts to do for a speaker at any convention, maybe particularly a Republican one. And, in 1964, probably the most powerful applause line at that convention, the Republicans in San Francisco, aside from the one given by — the speech given by Barry Goldwater, Dwight Eisenhower, of all people, who people thought of as rather mild-mannered, said, “Let us particularly scorn the sensation-seeking columnists because, my friends, I can assure you these are people who couldn’t care less about the good of our party.” And there was almost an animal roar. One lady started screaming, “Down with Walter Lippman!” It really brought down the house. The other thing you were saying, Jim, about, you know, reaching across the aisle. You know, Joe Lieberman’s speech tonight, I think it probably can be fairly said, if he had been nominated for vice president this week, we probably would have heard maybe three-quarters of the words that we heard tonight. That was probably large chunks of an acceptance speech that he never got to give. The reason he never got to give it, we are told, is that John McCain wanted to choose him, but his party said you can’t reach across the aisle, you can’t nominate a Democrat who has very differing views from many of us and from John McCain. And so there was a great irony that here he is saying, “Let’s all reach across the aisle,” to a group that essentially prevented John McCain from choosing a Democrat, Lieberman, as vice president. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • Kenya Davis-Hayes on “Black political observers look to November”: “I thought the speech was charismatic and well-crafted,” said Kenya Davis-Hayes, a 28-year-old assistant professor of history at California Baptist University who is also executive treasurer of the state’s Young Republican Federation. She watched the speech on tape the weekend after it was delivered, and acknowledged that Obama’s message appeals to a large portion of the electorate that is “stressed out and clinging to the hope that things are going to get better” in these troubled times of war and recession. “His speech covered huge ground,” she added. “If he does win the next election, people will be expecting a radical shift in energy policy and job opportunities. Even with two terms, which isn’t such a long time, that would be a huge expectation to fulfill.” – LA Wave, 9-4-08

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday.  (NYT)

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday. (NYT)

The Speeches….

Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Gov. Sarah Palin gave her first prime-time national speech Wednesday. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens, I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America. And I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country.

And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions, and met far graver challenges, and knows how tough fights are won, the next president of the United States, John S. McCain.

It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves.

With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost, there was no hope for this candidate, who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. But the pollsters…

The pollsters and the pundits, they overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off. They overlooked the caliber of the man himself, the determination, and resolve, and the sheer guts of Senator John McCain.

The voters knew better, and maybe that’s because they realized there’s a time for politics and a time for leadership, a time to campaign and a time to put our country first.

Our nominee for president is a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by. He’s a man who wore the uniform of his country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who now have brought victory within sight.

And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander-in-chief….

You know, from the inside, no family ever seems typical, and that’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.

Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love. To the families of special-needs…

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message for you: For years, you’ve sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that, if we’re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House….

My mom and dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town. And among the many things I owe them is a simple lesson that I’ve learned, that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity.

And my parents are here tonight….

Long ago, a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri, he followed an unlikely path — he followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency. And a writer observed, “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity,” and I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

I grew up with those people. They’re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food, and run our factories, and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.

I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA.

I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick….

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska…

… I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involved.

I guess — I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.

I might add that, in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes and whoever is listening John McCain is the same man.

Well, I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And…

… I’ve learned quickly these last few days that, if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.

But — now, here’s a little newsflash. Here’s a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country….

No one expects us all to agree on everything, but we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant’s heart.

And I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States.

This was the spirit that brought me to the governor’s office when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau, when I stood up to the special interests, and the lobbyists, and the Big Oil companies, and the good-old boys….

I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is a law.

While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over-the-top.

I put it on eBay.

I love to drive myself to work. And I thought we could muddle through without the governor’s personal chef, although I got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her.

I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, but by veto, if necessary.

Senator McCain also — he promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest. And as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.

Our state budget is under control. We have a surplus. And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending, nearly $500 million in vetoes.

We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that Bridge to Nowhere.

If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves.

When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged: directly to the people of Alaska.

And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists, who kind of liked things the way that they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources. As governor, I insisted on competition and basic fairness to end their control of our state and return it to the people.

I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart….

To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of the world’s energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil discoveries and its deliveries of that source, Americans, we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And…

And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We’ve got lots of both.

Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already.

But the fact that drilling, though, won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need…

We need American sources of resources. We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.

And now, I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have, too. We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,” except when he’s talking about his own campaign.

But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot…

… when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?

The answer — the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.

Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan.

And let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.

My sister, Heather, and her husband, they just built a service station that’s now open for business, like millions of others who run small businesses. How are they…

How are they going to be better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you are trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or in Ohio…

… or you’re trying — you’re trying to create jobs from clean coal, from Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

You’re trying to keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.

How are you — how are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election: In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals.

Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech- making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things, and then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things.

They’re the ones who are good for more than talk, the ones that we’ve always been able to count on to serve and to defend America….

Our nominee doesn’t run with the Washington herd. He’s a man who’s there to serve his country and not just his party, a leader who’s not looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one, either.

Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate…

… he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, “I can’t stand John McCain.”

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we’ve chosen the right man.

Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can’t stand up to John McCain and that is only…

… that’s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House.

My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.

This world of threats and dangers, it’s not just a community and it doesn’t just need an organizer. And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely: There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you.

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.

You know, in our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world, the nightmare world in which this man and others equally brave served and suffered for their country.

And it’s a long way from the fear, and pain, and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.

But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made. It’s the journey of an upright and honorable man, the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this great country, only he was among those who came home.

To the most powerful office on Earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless, the wisdom that comes even to the captives by the grace of God, the special confidence of those who have seen evil and have seen how evil is overcome. A fellow…

A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio…

… Tom Moe recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day.

And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe’s door, and he’d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.”

My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years.

For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. But for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.

If character is the measure in this election, and hope the theme, and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States.

Thank you, and God bless America. Thank you.

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Rudy Giuliani Stirs Up the Crowd in St. Paul. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Almost exactly one year ago today, during a presidential debate in Durham, New Hampshire, I said that, if I weren’t running for president, I’d be supporting John McCain.

Well, I’m not running for president, and I do support John McCain.

Every — every four years, we’re told that this presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. This year, with what’s at stake, 2008 is the most important election in our lifetime. And we’d better get it right.

This already has been the longest presidential campaign in history, and sometimes to me it felt even longer.

The American people realize this election represents a turning point. It’s the decision to follow one path or the other. We, the people, the citizens of the United States, get to decide our next president, not the left-wing media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else but the people of America.

To those Americans who still feel torn in this election, I’d like to suggest one way to think about this to help make a choice in 2008.

Think about it this way. You’re hiring someone to do a job, an important job, a job that relates to the safety of yourself and your family. Imagine that you have two job applications in your hand with the name and the party affiliations blocked out.

They’re both good and patriotic men with very different life experiences that have led them to this moment of shared history. You’ve got to make this decision, and you’ve got to make it right. And you have to desire — you’ve got to decide, who am I going to hire?

On the one hand, you’ve got a man who’s dedicated his life to the service of the United States. He’s been tested time and again by crisis. He has passed every test.

Even his adversaries acknowledge — Democrats, Republicans, everyone acknowledges that John McCain is a true American hero.

GIULIANI: He — he loves America, as we all do, but he has sacrificed for it as few do….

He has proved his commitment with his blood. He came home a national hero. He had earned a life of peace and quiet, but he was called to public service again, running for Congress, and then the United States Senate, as a proud foot soldier in the Reagan revolution.

His principled independence never wavered. He stood up to special interests. He fought for fiscal discipline and ethics reform and a strong national defense.

That’s the one choice. That’s the one man.

On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What? He worked — I said — I said, OK, OK, maybe this is the first problem on the resume.

He worked as a community organizer. He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics.

Then he ran for — then he ran for the state legislature and he got elected. And nearly 130 times, he couldn’t make a decision. He couldn’t figure out whether to vote “yes” or “no.” It was too tough.

He voted — he voted “present.”

I didn’t know about this vote “present” when I was mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin didn’t have this vote “present” when she was mayor or governor. You don’t get “present.” It doesn’t work in an executive job. For president of the United States, it’s not good enough to be present.

You have to make a decision.

A few years later — a few years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate. He spent most of his time as a celebrity senator: no leadership, no legislation to really speak of.

His rise is remarkable in its own right. It’s the kind of thing that can happen only in America.

But he’s never — he’s never run a city. He’s never run a state. He’s never run a business. He’s never run a military unit. He’s never had to lead people in crisis.

He is the least experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years.

Not a personal attack, a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada.

Nada, nothing.

The choice — the choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John McCain has been tested; Barack Obama has not.

Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training.

We agree. We agree with Joe Biden…

… one time, one time, when he said that, until he flip-flopped and changed his position. And, yes, being president means being able to answer that call at 3:00 in the morning. And that’s the one time we agree with Hillary.

But I bet you never thought Hillary would get applause at this convention. She can be right. Well, no one can look at John McCain and say that he’s not ready to be commander-in-chief. He is. He’s ready.

And we can trust him to deal with anything, anything that nature throws our way, anything that terrorists do to us. This man has been tested over and over again, and we will be safe in his hands, and our children will be safe in his hands, and our country will be safe in the hands of John McCain. No doubt.

I learned as a trial lawyer a long time ago, if you don’t have the facts, you’ve got to change them. So our opponents want to re- frame the debate.

They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same, but that’s really a false choice, because there’s good change and bad change.

Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.

John McCain — John McCain will bring about the change that will create jobs and prosperity. Let’s talk briefly about specifics….

And — and he’ll do it with an all-of-the-above approach, including nuclear power, and, yes, off-shore oil drilling.

Drill, baby, drill?

Drill, baby, drill.

GIULIANI: This — this — this is the kind of change — now, you guys are ready to break out. Whoa.

This — this — this and a lot more is the kind of change that will create growth, jobs, and prosperity, not what they want to do, tax us more, increase the size of government, increase tariffs, hurt jobs, send jobs elsewhere.

We need John McCain to save our economy and make sure it grows, but we need it for a more important purpose. There’s one purpose that John McCain understands, Republicans understand, that overrides everything else: John McCain will keep us on offense against terrorism at home and abroad.

For — for four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words “Islamic terrorism.”

I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe it will insult someone. Please tell me, who are they insulting if they say “Islamic terrorism”? They are insulting terrorists.

Of great concern to me, during those same four days in Denver, they rarely mentioned the attacks of September 11, 2001. They are in a state of denial about the biggest threat that faces this country. And if you deny it and you don’t deal with it, you can’t face it.

John McCain can face the enemy. He can win, and he can bring victory for this country….

The Democratic leader — the Democratic leader of the Senate said, and I quote, “This war is lost.”

Well, well, if America lost, who won, Al Qaida, bin Laden?

In the single biggest policy decision of this election, John McCain got it right, and Barack Obama got it wrong.

Senator McCain — Senator — Senator McCain was the candidate most associated with the surge, and it was unpopular. What do you think most other politicians would have done in a situation like this?

They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?

Obama — Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign, until he broke his promise.

Obama — Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.

When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favored. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem — don’t get too excited — for one day, until he changed his mind.

Well, I’ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I’d want to get that V.P. thing in writing.

Our hero, our candidate, John McCain said, “I’d rather lose an election than a war.” Why? Because that’s John McCain.

When Russia rolled over Georgia, John McCain immediately established a very strong, informed position that let the world know how he’ll respond as president at exactly the right time. Remember his words? Remember what John McCain said? “We are all Georgians.”

Obama’s — talk about judgment. Let’s look at what Obama did. Obama’s first instinct was to create a moral equivalency, suggesting that both sides were equally responsible, the same moral equivalency that he’s displayed in discussing the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel.

Later — later, after discussing this with his 300 foreign policy advisers, he changed his position, and he suggested the United Nations Security Council could find a solution.

Apparently, none of his 300 foreign policy security advisers told him that Russia has a veto power in the United Nations Security Council.

By the way, this was about three days later. So — so he changed his position again, and he put out a statement exactly like the statement of John McCain’s three days earlier.

I have some advice for Senator Obama: Next time, call John McCain.

He — he knows something about foreign — he knows something about foreign policy. Like Ronald Reagan, John McCain will enlarge our party, open it up to lots of new people.

In choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has chosen for the future.

The other guy looked back. John looked forward.

Governor Palin represents a new generation. She’s already one of the most successful governors in America and the most popular.

And she’s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.

She’s been a mayor. I love that (ph).

I’m sorry — I’m sorry that Barack Obama feels that her hometown isn’t cosmopolitan enough.

I’m sorry, Barack, that it’s not flashy enough. Maybe they cling to religion there.

Well — well, the first day — as far as I’m concerned, the first day she was mayor, she had more experience as an executive than — than Obama and Biden combined….

She’s been one of the most active governors — she’s been one of the most active governors in the country, and Alaska can be proud of having one of the best governors in the country.

She’s got an 80 percent approval rating. You never get that in New York City, wow.

As U.S. attorney, a former U.S. attorney, I’m very impressed the way she took on corruption in Alaska, including corruption in the Republican Party. This is a woman who has no fear. This is a woman who stands up for what’s right.

She — she — she is shaking up Alaska in a way that hasn’t happened in maybe ever. And with John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they’re going to shake up Washington?

Whew, look out. Look out.

One final point. And how — how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president. How dare they do that.

When do they ever ask a man that question? When?

Well, we’re at our best when we are expanding freedom. We’re the party that has expanded freedom from the very beginning, from ending slavery to making certain that people have freedom here and abroad.

We’re the party that believes in giving workers the right to work. We’re the party that believes that parents — parents should choose where their children go to school.

And we’re the party — and we’re the party that unapologetically believes in America’s success, a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires the world. That’s what our party is dedicated to.

So, my fellow Americans, we get a chance to elect one of our great heroes and a great American. He will be an exceptional president. He will have with him an exceptional woman who has already proven that she can reform and that she can govern.

And now the job is up to us. Let’s get John McCain and Sarah Palin elected, and let’s shake up Washington and move this country forward.

God bless America. Thank you.

…You know, for decades now, the Washington sun has been rising in the east. You see, Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the — from the coast. Yes.

If America really wants to change, it’s time to look for the sun in the west, because it’s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska.

Last week, the Democratic convention talked about change. But what do you think? Is Washington now, liberal or conservative? Let me ask you some questions.

Is a Supreme Court decision liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitutional rights? It’s liberal.

Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? It’s liberal.

Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and off-shore drilling, making us more and more dependent on Middle Eastern tyrants? It’s liberal.

Is government spending, putting aside inflation, liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? It’s liberal.

We need change all right: change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.

We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington: Throw out the big-government liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

It’s the same prescription for a stronger economy. I spent 25 years in the private sector. I’ve done business in many foreign countries. I know why jobs come and why they go away. And I know that liberals don’t have a clue.

They think that we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government. They’re wrong. America is strong because of the ingenuity, and entrepreneurship, and hard work of the American people….

America — America cannot long lead the family of nations if we fail the family here at home….

Dependency is death to initiative, to risk-taking and opportunity. It’s time to stop the spread of government dependency and fight it like the poison it is.

You know, it’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother.

Our economy is under attack. China is acting like Adam Smith on steroids, buying oil from the world’s worst and selling nuclear technology. Russia and the oil states are siphoning more than $500 billion a year from us in what could become the greatest transfer of economic wealth in the history of the world.

This is no time for timid, liberal, empty gestures.

Our economy has slowed down this year, and a lot of people are hurting. What happened? Mortgage money was handed out like candy, and speculators bought homes for free. And when this mortgage mania finally broke, it slammed the economy. And stratospheric gas prices made things even worse.

Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government, and less trade with other nations….

The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago and by John McCain and Sarah Palin today.

The right course is to rein in government spending, lower taxes, take a Weedwacker to excessive regulation and mandates, put a stop to tort windfalls, and to stand up to the Tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions.

The right course — the right course is to pursue every source of energy security, from new efficiencies to renewables, from coal to non-CO2 producing nuclear, and for the immediate drilling for more oil off our shores.

And I have — I have one more recommendation for energy conservation: Let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.

Last week, last week, did you hear any Democrats talk about the threat from radical, violent jihad? No. You see, Republicans believe that there is good and evil in the world. Ronald Reagan called out the evil empire. George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states exactly what they are: The axis of evil.

And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: Radical, violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it.

This party…

You’re hearing it here. You’re hearing it here, and they’re hearing it across the country. You see, in this party, in this room tonight, and all over America, people in our party prefer straight talk to politically correct talk.

Republicans, led by John McCain and Sarah Palin, will fight to preserve the values that have preserved the nation. We’ll strengthen our economy and keep us from being held hostage by Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.

And we will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism.

Just like you, just like you, there’s never been a day when I was not proud to be an American.

We — we Americans inherited the greatest nation in the history of the Earth. It’s our burden and our privilege to preserve it, to renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this we’re all dedicated. And I firmly believe, by the providence of the almighty, that we will succeed.

President McCain and Vice President Palin will keep America as it has always been: The hope of the Earth.

Thank you, and God bless America.

  • Gov. Mike Huckabe’s Speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention As much as I appreciate the opportunity to speak tonight, I really was originally hoping for the slot on Thursday called the acceptance speech. But I am delighted to speak on behalf of my 2nd choice for the Republican nomination for president, John McCain. John McCain is a man with the character and stubborn kind of integrity that I want in a president.But I want to begin by doing something a little unusual. I’d like to thank the elite media for doing something that, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure could be done, and that’s unifying the Republican Party and all of America in support of Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin.

    The reporting of the past few days have proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.

    I grew up at a time and in a place where the civil rights movement was fought. I witnessed first-hand the shameful evil of racism. I saw how ignorance and prejudice caused people to do the unthinkable to people of color not so many years ago.

    So, I say with sincerity that I have great respect for Sen. Obama’s historic achievement to become his party’s nominee — not because of his color, but with indifference to it. Party or politics aside, we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country.

    But the presidency is not a symbolic job, and I don’t believe his preparation or his plans will lift America up.

    Obama was right when he said this election is not about him, it’s about you.

    When gasoline costs $4 a gallon, it makes it tough if you’re a single mom to get to work each day in the used car you drive. You want something to change.

    If you’re a flight attendant or baggage handler and you’re asked to take a pay cut to keep your job, you want something to change.

    If you’re a young couple losing your house, your credit rating, and your American dream, you want something to change.

    John McCain offers specific ideas to respond to this need for change. But let me say there are some things we never want to change — freedom, security, and the opportunity to prosper.

    Barack Obama’s excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even vote or pay taxes here.

    Let me hasten to say it’s not what he took there that concerns me. It’s what he brought back. Lots of ideas from Europe he’d like to see imported here.

    Centralized governments may care for you from cradle to grave, but they also control you. Most Americans don’t want more government, they want a lot less government.

    It was in fact the founder of our party Abraham Lincoln reminded us that a government that can do everything for us can also take everything from us.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    I get a little tired of hearing how the Democrats care about the working guy as if all Republicans grew up with silk stockings and silver spoons. In my little hometown of Hope, Arkansas, the three sacred heroes were Jesus, Elvis, and FDR, not necessarily in that order.

    My own father held down two jobs, barely affording the little rented house I grew up in. My dad worked hard, lifted heavy things, and got his hands dirty. In fact, the only soap we had at my house was Lava.

    Heck, I was in college before I found out it wasn’t supposed to hurt to take a shower.

    Let me make something clear tonight: I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

    John McCain doesn’t want the kind of change that allows the government to reach deeper into your paycheck and pick your doctor, your child’s school, or even the kind of car you drive or how much you inflate the tires.

    And he doesn’t want to change the definition of marriage. And unlike the Democratic ticket, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin believe that every human life has intrinsic worth and value from the moment of conception.

    And speaking of Gov. Palin, I am so tired of hearing about her lack of experience. I want to tell you folks something. She got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.

    John McCain is by far the most prepared, experienced, and tested Presidential candidate. Thoroughly tested.

    When John McCain received his country’s call to service, he didn’t hesitate, and he didn’t choose the easy path….

    Most of us can lift our arms high in the air to signify that we want something. His arms can’t even lift to shoulder level, a constant reminder that his life is marked not by what he wants to receive, but by what he’s already given….

    Allow me to tell you about someone who understands this type of sacrifice better than anyone.

    On the first day of school in 2005, Martha Cothren, a teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, was determined that her students would not take their education or their privilege as Americans for granted. With the principal’s permission, she removed all the desks from her classroom on that first day of school in 2005. The students entered the empty room and asked, “Mrs. Cothren, where are our desks?” “You get a desk when you tell me how you earn it,” she replied….

    By lunch, the buzz was all over campus — Mrs. Cothren had flipped out; wouldn’t let her students have a desk. Kids had used their cell phones and called their parents.

    By early afternoon, all four of the local network TV affiliates had camera crews at the school to report on the teacher who wouldn’t let her students have a desk unless they could tell her how they earned it. By the final period, no one had guessed correctly.

    As the students filed in, Martha Cothren said, “Well, I didn’t think you would figure it out, so I’ll have to tell you.”

    Martha opened the door of her classroom. In walked over 20 veterans, some wearing uniforms from years gone by, but each one carrying a school desk.

    As they carefully and quietly arranged the desks in neat rows, Martha said, “You don’t have to earn your desks ’cause these guys — they already did.”

    These brave veterans went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have.

    No one charged you for your desk. But it wasn’t really free. These guys bought it for you. And I hope you never forget it.”

    I wish we all would remember that being American is not just about the freedom we have. It’s about those who gave it to us.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, John McCain is one of those people who helped buy the freedom that we enjoy and the school desks we had.

    It’s my honor to do what I can to help him have a desk that he has earned one in the Oval Office.

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

On the Campaign Trail….

  • John McCain cites Palin’s energy, mayoral experience:“This is what Americans want. They don’t want somebody who has, who is, frankly, necessarily gone to Harvard or an Ivy League school. She probably hasn’t been to a Georgetown cocktail party. But you know what, she represents everything we want to see in government and America _ change and reform and ethics and taking on the special interests.”

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

John McCain Vice-Presidential Pick…. Governor Sarah Palin

Democratic Convention Roundup

The Day That Was….

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

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

The Stats

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

In the News…

Historians’ Comments

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

On the Campaign Trail….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    My friends and fellow Americans…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    His name is Trig Paxson Van Palin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    My fellow Americans, come join our cause.

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

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

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

Democratic Convention Day 4: August 28, 2008

Day 4 Schedule

Thursday, August 28: Change You Can Believe In

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

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

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

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

Highlights:

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

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

Stats & In the News…

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

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

  • Years Later, Lewis Watches History Being Made – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Obama Readies for Historic Speech; From MLK ‘I Have a Dream’ to ‘Yes We Can’ First Black Major Party Nominee Speaks on Martin Luther King March Anniversary – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Democrats Becoming Obama’s Party – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Glenn Beck: Commentary: Keeping my distance from the Democrats – CNN, 8-28-08
  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: Well, a truly historic night, one whose symbolic power is going to reverberate around the nation. Barack Obama has really catapulted America into its 21st-century multi-cultural future, really whether Americans are ready for that or not. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: You know, I think the lack of a balloon drop wasn’t the only unconventional thing about this speech. I think it was a remarkable speech for one thing, I think, in some ways, it sacrificed eloquence of the conventional variety for electability. This was someone who, as Judy has said, was putting meat on the bones, defining what change means to people sitting around the kitchen table, but also he talked about eliminating obsolescent government programs, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Over and over, he talked about the search for common ground on issues that have been so divisive — abortion, gun control, gay rights — and implicit in all that is the search for a more civil, more workable, if you will, kind of government. It’s going to be very difficult, it seems to me, for people to pin him with the label of conventional liberal or maybe conventional Democrat. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian Yep. You know, Jim, we were talking earlier about John Kennedy’s amazing acceptance speech in 1960. I listened to Barack Obama tonight; I think this one was better. He told you exactly what he’s going to do, point by point, told you who he is, and also didn’t do the cheap thing, trying to sort of make himself into something he’s not. This line where he said, “I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office, I don’t fit the typical pedigree,” 9 out of 10 politicians wouldn’t have done — 9 out of 10 would not have done that. It gives you a sense of who this man is. I think it’s going to be a very powerful help with his campaign. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: A Historic Night Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph offer thoughts on the closing night of the DNC. – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08, Download
  • Ted Widmer on Obama’s Oratory Skills: “He is blessed with a richly resonant voice that we love to hear; he could read the telephone directory and it would sound good,” said Ted Widmer, editor of an acclaimed edition of American political speeches and a former Bill Clinton speechwriter. “He is very good at pauses and inflection, and he cuts an impressive figure on stage – all of which adds up to making an Obama speech a special event.” – Guardian UK, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss on “Panel says Chicago forged Obama’s political skill”: Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, noted that previous presidents have come on varying paths to the White House. “If you go through presidents and look what made the great ones, probably a length of time in the United States Congress doesn’t help too much; same with governorships,” he said. – Denver Post, 8-28-08
  • Andrew Bacevich: Obama’s Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich – …”Jimmy Carter, his famous ‘malaise’ speech in 1979 was enormously prescient in warning about the consequences of ever-increasing debt and dependency. Carter’s argument was that energy independence provided a vehicle for us to assert control of our destiny, and to reassess what we meant by freedom: is it something more than simply consumerism? But that speech was greeted with howls of derision. Ronald Reagan said we could have anything we wanted. There were no limits. Then we the people rejected Carter’s warning and embraced Reagan’s promise of never-ending abundance. That was a fateful choice. “That’s the language of American politics, for both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. But that idea is not really sustainable when we look at the facts.” – The Nation, 8-28-08
  • Timuel Black on “Chicago area residents clear schedules to watch”: Chicago area historian Timuel Black was in Washington DC 45 years ago when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the height of the civil rights movement. Black said the emotion was overwhelming, and the 89-year-old said he expected to be emotional again Thursday night while witnessing King’s words come true. “Forty-five years later, Barack Obama epitomizes what Dr. King was dreaming of; that one can move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder,” Black said. – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Robert Caro: Johnson’s Dream, Obama’s Speech – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: Penial Joseph picked Bill Clinton’s 1992 address in New York when he argued that the party needed a “new covenant” with America: “What Clinton offers in 1992 in terms of rhetorical eloquence and political genius is this notion that the Democratic Party can still help poor people but it’s going to have to do this on a much smaller scale,” Joseph said. “He talks about we need a leaner government and not a meaner government.” PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: For Richard Norton Smith, Adlai Stevenson set the gold standard for Democratic convention speeches with his 1952 speech in Chicago. After delivering a well-received welcoming speech, Stevenson was selected as the party’s presidential candidate two days later. It is that acceptance speech that Norton Smith said electrified millions of Americans listening to their radios back home: “He used words in a way that no one had heard before. There was an urbanity, there was a wit, there was a sense of the ridiculous about the political process. And it was all about challenging the American people. Stevenson said, “better lose an election than mislead the American people.” Norton Smith said. “Stevenson raised the bar.” – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Douglas Brinkley on “Decades Later, John Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’ Speech Echoes”: “The Obama campaign has been purposely modeling its acceptance speech after J.F.K. in 1960,” said Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian, “and we’ll soon see whether the content on Thursday is another nod to Camelot.” – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Obama outdoor speech echoes JFK’s 1960 move – USA Today, 8-27-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Bill Clinton had key moment”: I sure do, Jim. This was a great, big night for the Democrats and a huge help to this ticket. Bill Clinton gave one of his best speeches, including the seven words that Hillary Clinton did not quite speak last night. He said, “Barack Obama is ready to be president.” That’s going to be a great help to those who are going to cite Hillary’s words from earlier in the primary campaign against her. You also saw one of the reasons why Joe Biden is on this ticket. You know, vice presidents, like Hubert Humphrey in 1964, that convention, went after Barry Goldwater. Fritz Mondale, whom you interviewed earlier this evening, Jim, in 1976, brought the house down at the Carter convention by saying, “We’ve had the worst scandal in our history, Watergate, and this nominee, Gerald Ford, pardoned the guy who did it.”And, of course, Al Gore in 1992, “What time is it? It’s time for them to go.” And the interesting thing, finally, Jim, is that Joe Biden showed sort of an ironic and interesting sense of history, because when he kept on saying, “Do you want change or more of the same?”, who’s slogan was that? It was Bill Clinton’s in 1992. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on Joe Biden: Well, it’s funny. Like Michael, I saw the ghost of Hubert Humphrey in this hall tonight, you know? We’ve heard this week from Kennedy Democrats, and Clinton Democrats, and Obama Democrats, and tonight was Hubert’s night. I mean, this was one-part classic populism and one-part the politics of joy. But it was also something else. It was very interesting. This was a values speech. This was a character speech. And it does indicate that this is a party that is going to go after values voters, with which they have not always been terribly successful in some recent elections. That, in itself, it seems to me makes it significant. And it also really, I think, ups the ante for Senator McCain who has, I guess, about two days in which to decide who he wants to pit in that vice presidential debate against the man we heard tonight. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download

The Speeches….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What is that American promise?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    America, now is not the time for small plans.

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You make a big election about small things…

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

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

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

    America, this is one of those moments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And we know how to fix that….

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Say it with me-“move mountain.”

    Say it with me again-“move mountain.”

    Mountain, get out of our way!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebration after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (CNN)

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

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

Campaign 2008 Hightlights: August 28, 2008

The Day That Was….

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

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

In the News…

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

Candidate Bloopers

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

Historians’ Comments

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

On the Campaign Trail….

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

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

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

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Presidential Nomination

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

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

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

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.

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