Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
“The American Promise”
Thursday, August 28th, 2008
As Prepared for Delivery
Read the speech here
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 the presidency of the United States.
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 to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made 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 Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all 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 two hundred and thirty two 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.
We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.
These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he’s worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
Tonight, I say to the American people, 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 like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”
Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator 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 ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten 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 – Senator 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 advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety 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 auto workers 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 give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.
Now, I don’t believe that Senator 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 five million dollars 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 one hundred 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.
For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.
Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.
You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.
We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.
We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.
The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.
Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.
In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.
When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.
And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.
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 me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.
What is that 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, 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 new 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.
Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.
Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.
As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.
America, now is not the time for small plans.
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. 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 your 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 jobs 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 exactly the same opportunities as your sons.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.
And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.
Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s promise.
And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.
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.
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 a $79 billion surplus while we’re 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 eighty 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 it is not the change we need.
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.
As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
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 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 – our sense of higher purpose. And 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 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. Passions 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. 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 the 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.
And you know what – it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
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 nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.
For eighteen 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. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.
And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.
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 forty five 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.”
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.
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Thursday, August 28, 2008
Posted by Matt at 10:30 PM
Remarks of Joe Biden——verbatim
Democratic National Convention
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Click for the transcript
You know, folks, my dad used to have an expression. He'd say: "you know you're a success when he turns and looks at his son or daughter and knows that they turned out better than he did." I am a success. I am a hell of a success.
Beau, I love you. I am so proud of you. I'm so proud of the son you've become. I'm so proud of the father you are. And I'm so proud of my son Hunter, my daughter Ashley, and my wife Jill, the only one who leaves me both breathless and speechless at the same time.
It is an honor to share this stage tonight with President Clinton. A man I think brought this country so far along that I only pray that we can repeat it. And last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of our great leaders of our party, a woman who has made history and will continue to make history: a colleague, my friend Senator Hillary Clinton.
And I am truly honored to live in a country with the bravest warriors in the world. And I'm honored to represent our first state―my state― the state of Delaware.
Since I've never been called a man of few words, let me say this as simply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve with Barack Obama, the next President of the United States of America.
Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and honor the Constitution, no longer will you hear the eight most dreaded words in the English language: "The Vice President's office is on the phone."
Barack and I took very different journeys to this destination, but we share a common story. Mine began in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then Wilmington, Delaware. My dad, who fell on hard economic times, always told me: "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up." I was taught that by my dad, and God, I wish that my dad was here tonight, but I am so grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here tonight. Mom, I love you. You know my mom taught her children―all the children who flocked to our house―that you are defined by your sense of honor, and you are redeemed by your loyalty. She believes that bravery lives in every heart and her expectation is that it will be summoned.
Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. As a child I stuttered, and she lovingly would look at me and told me: "Joey, it's because you're so bright you can't get the thoughts out quickly enough." When I was not as well dressed as the other kids, she told me: "Joey, you're so handsome honey, you're so handsome." And when I got knocked down by guys bigger than me, and this is the God's truth, she sent me back out the street and told me: "bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day." And that's what I did.
After the accident, she told me, "Joey, God sends no cross that you cannot bear." And when I triumphed, my mother was quick to remind me it was because of others.
My mother's creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you.
My parents taught us to live our faith, and to treasure our families We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough.
That was America's promise. For those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American dream.
But today that American dream feels as if it's slowly slipping away. I don't have to tell you that. You feel it every single day in your own lives.
I've never seen a time when Washington has watched so many people get knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up. Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes very late. As I sit there in my seat and I look out my window and I see the flickering lights of the homes we pass by, I can almost hear the conversation their having at their kitchen table after they put their kids to bed. Like millions of Americans, they're asking questions as ordinary as they are profound. Questions they never ever thought they'd have to ask themselves:
* Should mom move in with us now that dad is gone?
* Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars just to fill up the gas tank?
* How in God's name with winter coming, how're we gonna heat the home?
* Another year, no raise?
* Did you hear? Did you hear they may be cutting our health care at the company?
* Now, now we owe more on the house than it's worth. How in God's name are we going to send the kids to college?
* How are we gonna retire?
You know, folks, that's the America that George Bush has left us, and that's the America we'll continue to get if George―excuse me if John McCain is elected president of the United States of America. Freudian slip! Freudian slip! And folks, these are not isolated discussions among families down on their luck. These are common stories among middle-class people who've worked hard their whole life, played by the rules on the promise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays.
That promise is the promise of America. It defines who we are as a people. And now it's in jeopardy. I know it. You know it. But John McCain doesn't get it. Barack Obama gets it though. Like many of us in this room, like many of us in this hall, Barack worked his way up. His is the great American story. You know, I believe the measure of a man is not the road he travels; it's the choices he's made along that road.
And ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama could have done anything after he graduated from college. With all his talent and promise, he could have written his own ticket to Wall Street. But what did he choose to do? He chose to go to Chicago. The South Side of Chicago. There―there in the South Side of Chicago he met men and women who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams had to be deferred. Their self-esteem gone. And ladies and gentlemen, he made their lives the work of his life. That's what you do when you're raised by a single mom, who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own. That's how you come to believe, to the very core of your being, that work is more than a paycheck. It's dignity. It's respect. It's about whether or not you can look your children in the eye and say: we're going to be all right.
Because Barack made that choice, 150 more children and parents have health care in Illinois. He fought to make that happen. And because Barack made that choice, working families in Illinois pay less taxes and more people have moved from welfare to the dignity of work. And he got it done.
And when he came to Washington, when he came to Washington, John and I watched with amazement how he hit the ground running, leading the fight to pass the most sweeping ethics reform in a generation. He reached across party lines to pass a law that helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. And then he moved Congress and the president to give our wonderful wounded veterans the care and dignity they deserve.
You know, you can learn a lot about a man campaigning with him, debating him, seeing how he reacts under pressure. You learn about the strength of his mind, but even more importantly, you learn about the quality of his heart. I watched how Barack touched people, how he inspired them, and I realized he had tapped into the oldest belief in America: We don't have to accept a situation we cannot bear. We have the power to change it. And change it―and change it is exactly what Barack Obama will do. That's what he'll do for this country.
You know, John McCain is my friend, and I know you hear that phrase used all the time in politics. I mean it. John McCain is my friend. We've traveled the world together. It's a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism demonstrated by John still amazes me.
But I profoundly―I profoundly disagree with the direction that John wants to take the country, from Afghanistan to Iraq. From Amtrak to veterans. You know, John thinks, John thinks that during the Bush years "we've made great economic progress." I think it's been abysmal. And in the Senate, John has voted with President Bush 95 percent of the time. And that is very hard to believe. And when John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no, none, no relief for 100 million American families, that's not change; that's more of the same. Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history―nearly a half trillion dollars in the last five years―John wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks.
That's not change, that's the same. And during the same time John voted again and again against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. That's not change; that's more of the same. Millions of Americans have seen their jobs go offshore, yet John continues to support corporations that send them there. That's not change. That's more of the same. he voted 19 times against raising minimum wage for people that are struggling just to make it to the next day. That's not change. That's more of the same. And when he says to continues to spend $10 billion a month when the Iraqis have a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that's not change. That's more of the same.
The choice in this election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader. A leader who can change, change the change that everybody knows we need. Barack Obama is going to deliver that change. Because I want to tell you. Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He will cut taxes for 95% of the American people who draw a pay check. That's the change we need. Barack Obama, Barack Obama will transform our economy by making alternative energy a national priority and in the process creating 5 million new jobs and finally finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. That's the change we need.
Barack Obama knows that any country that out teaches us today, will out compete us tomorrow. That's why he'll invest in the next generation of teachers and why he'll make college more affordable. That's the change we need. Barrack Obama will bring down health care cost by $2,500 for the average family and at long last deliver affordable, accessible health care for every American. That's the change we need. Barack will put more cops on the street, put security back in social security and he'll never ever ever give up until we achieve equal pay for women. That's the change we need.
As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated that it has been any time it has in recent history. The Bush foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole, with very few friends to help us climb out. And for the last seven years, the administration has failed to face the biggest the biggest forces shaping this century. The emergence of Russia, china and India's great powers, the spread of lethal weapons, the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water. The challenge of climate change and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front in the war on terror.
Ladies and gentlemen in recent years and in recent days we once again see the consequences of the neglect of this neglect of Russia challenging the very freedom of a new democratic country of Georgia. Barack and I will end that neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its action and we will help Georgia rebuild. I have been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms, this administrations policy has been an abysmal failure. America cannot afford 4 more years of this failure.
And now, now despite being complacent in the catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barrack Obama, Barrack Obama is not ready to protect our national security. Now let me ask you this. Whose judgment do you trust? Should you trust the judgment of John McCain when he said only 3 years ago, "Afghanistan-we don't read about it anymore in the papers, because it succeeded" or do you believe Barack Obama who said a year ago "we need to send 2 more combat battalions to Afghanistan."
The fact of the matter is, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban- the people who have actually attacked us on 9/11, they've regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and are plotting new attacks. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack's call for more troops and John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right. Should we trust John McCain's judgment? When he rejects- when he rejected talking with Iran and asked what is there to talk about? Or Barack Obama who said we must talk and must make clear to Iran that it must change.
Now, after 7 years of denial, even the Bush Administration recognizes that we should talk to Iran because that the best way to ensure our security. Again and again John McCain has been wrong and Barack Obama has been right. Should we trust John McCain's judgment when he says- when he says that we can't have no timelines to withdraw our troops from Iraq-that we must say indefinitely or should we listen to Barack Obama who says shift the responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our combat troops home. Now, after 6 long years, the administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home. John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right.
Again, again and again on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama has been proven right. Folks, remember when the world used to trust us, when they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, they'll look at us again. They'll trust us again and we'll be able to lead again. Folks, Jill and I are truly honored to join Michelle and Barack on this journey.
When I look at their young children―and when I look at my grandchildren―I realize why I'm here. I'm here for their future. I am here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I am here for the cops and firefighters, the teachers and assembly line workers―the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures.
Our greatest presidents―from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy―they all challenged us to embrace change. Now, it's our responsibility to meet that challenge.
Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up. Back up together. Our debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our obligation to our children is too sacred.
These are extraordinary times. This is an extraordinary election. The American people are ready. I'm ready. Barack is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is America's time.
God Bless America, and may God protect our Troops! Thank you!
Posted by Matt at 12:21 AM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Remarks of Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner — as prepared for delivery
Democratic National Convention
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My fellow Democrats. My fellow Americans. The most important contest of our generation has begun.
Read the rest of the speech...
Not the campaign for the Presidency. Not the campaign for Congress. But the race for the future. And I believe from the bottom of my heart with the right vision, the right leadership, and the energy and creativity of the American people, there is no nation that we can't out hustle or out compete. And no American need be left out or left behind.
Yes, the race for the future is on, and it won't be won if only some Americans are in the running. It won't be won with yesterday's ideas and yesterday's divisions. And it won't be won with a President who is stuck in the past.
We need a President who understands the world today, the future we seek, and the change we need. We need Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.
Now — I have a unique perspective on this race for the future. Like many of you, I was the first in my family to graduate from college. It was made possible by supportive parents, good public schools, and since my folks didn't have the resources, thank goodness for the student loan program.
After I graduated law school, it didn't take long to realize that America really wouldn't miss me as a lawyer. So I started a business. My first company failed in six weeks. My next one was much more successful. It failed in six months.
And then, a buddy of mine told me that there was this new idea. This thing called "car telephones" ... "cell phones." Friends told me: "Warner, get a real job. ... No one's going to want a phone in the car." But I saw a different future. And with luck and a lot of hard work, I got in on the ground floor of the cell phone industry.
There's only one country in the world where I could have received that education, where I could have been given not just one chance, or two, but three, and where I could have succeeded. And that's this country, the United States of America. At our best, it's not your lineage or last name that matters. It's not where you come from that counts — it's where you want to go.
In America, everyone should get a fair shot. Barack Obama understands this — because he's lived it. And Barack Obama is running to restore that fair shot for every American. When we look around today, we see that for too many Americans that fair shot is becoming more of a long shot.
How many kids have the grades to go to college, but not the money? How many families thought their home would always be their safest investment? How many of our soldiers come back from their second or third tour of duty wondering if the education and health care benefits they were promised will actually be there?
Two wars, a warming planet, an energy policy that says let's borrow money from China to buy oil from countries that don't like us. How many people look at these things and wonder what the future holds for them? Their children? Their country? How many?
In George Bush and John McCain's America, far too many.
Let's be fair, some of these challenges were inevitable. But all of them are more severe, more immediate, and more threatening because of the misguided policies and outdated thinking of this administration.
People always ask me, "What's your biggest criticism of President Bush?" I'm sure you all have your own. Here's mine: It's not just the policy differences. It's the fact that this president never tapped into our greatest resources — the character and resolve of the American people. He never asked us to step up.
Think about it: After Sept. 11, if there was a call from the president to get us off foreign oil, to stop funding the very terrorists who had just attacked us, every American would have said, "How can I do my part?" This administration failed to believe in what we can achieve as a nation, when all of us work together.
John McCain promises more of the same. A plan that would explode the deficit that will be passed on to our kids. No real plan to invest in our infrastructure. And his plan would continue spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. I don't know about you, but that's just not right. That's four more years that we can't just afford.
Barack Obama has a different vision — and a different plan. Right now, at this critical moment in our history, we have one shot to get it right. And the status quo just won't cut it. Now let me tell you, if you think there've been dramatic changes in the world and in technology over the last 10 years, you ain't seen nothing yet. The race is on, and if you watched the Olympics, you know China's going for the gold.
You know, America has never been afraid of the future, and we shouldn't start now. If we choose the right path, every one of these challenges is also an opportunity. Look at energy. If we actually got ourselves off foreign oil, we can make our country safer. We'll start to solve global warming. And with the right policies, within 24 months, we'll be building 100-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid vehicles right here — with American technology and with American workers.
Look at health care. If we bring down costs and cover everyone, not only will America be healthier, we'll be more competitive in the global economy. Just think about this: In six months, we will have an administration that actually believes in science! And then we can again lead the world in live-saving and life-changing cures.
Look at education. If we recruit an army of new teachers and actually give our schools the resources to meet our highest standards, not only will every child in America get a fair shot, the American economy will get a shot in the arm. Whether they want to be an engineer or an electrician, every kid will be trained for the jobs of the 21st century.
Or look at America's standing in the world. If we rebuild our military and rebuild our alliances, we can rally the world to defeat terrorism and restore America's leadership.
Which candidate understands these opportunities, and which candidate knows we don't have another four years to waste? Barack Obama. And Barack Obama knows this too: We need leaders who see our common ground as sacred ground. We need leaders who will appeal to us not as Republicans or Democrats, but first and foremost as Americans.
You know, I spent 20 years in business. If you ran a company whose only strategy was to tear down the competition, it wouldn't last long. So why is this wisdom so hard to find in Washington?
I know we're at the Democratic convention, but if an idea works, it really doesn't matter if it has an "R'' or "D'' next to it. Because this election isn't about liberal versus conservative. It's not about left versus right. It's about the future versus the past.
In this election, at this moment, in our history, we know what the problems are. We know that at this critical juncture, we have only one shot to get it right. And we know that these new times demand new thinking. We believe in success. We believe that everyone should have an opportunity to get ahead. And with success comes a responsibility to make sure others can follow.
I think we are blessed to be Americans. But with that blessing comes an obligation to our neighbors and our common good. So you give every child the tools they need to succeed. That means quality schools, access to health care, safe neighborhoods. Not just because it's the right thing to do — of course it is — but because if those kids do better, we all do better
You can be soft-hearted or hard-headed; both are going to lead you to the same place: We're all in this together. That's what this party believes. That's what this national believes. That's what Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe.
And we can do it. When I became governor, this is what Virginia faced: a massive budget shortfall; an economy that wasn't moving; gridlock in the capital. Sound familiar?
So what did we do? Working together — a Democratic governor with a 2-to-1 Republican legislature and a whole lot of good folks who didn't see themselves as either Democrats or Republicans, but as Virginians — we closed the budget gap, and Virginia was named the best managed state in the nation.
We made record investments in education and in job training. We got 98 percent of eligible kids enrolled in our children's health care program.
We delivered broadband to the most remote areas of our state, because if you can send a job to Bangalore, India, you sure as heck can send one to Danville, Va., and Flint, Mich., and Scranton, Pa., and Peoria, Ill. In a global economy, you should have to leave your home town to find a world-class job.
Let me tell you about a place called Lebanon — Lebanon, Va. Lebanon is in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, and everyone in that whole town could fit right here on the convention floor. Lebanon is like many small towns in America, it has seen the industries that sustained it downsized, outsourced, or shut down.
Now, some folks look at towns like Lebanon and say, "Tough luck. In the global economy, you've lost." But we believed that we shouldn't, and couldn't, give up on our small towns and expect the rest of the state to prosper. And that's what brought me, towards the end of my term, to the high school gym in Lebanon. To announce that we were going to bring over 300 high-tech jobs. Jobs that paid twice the county average.
One student told a reporter from the Washington Post that before this, he always thought he'd have to move away to get a good job and raise a family. I just heard from this young man, Michael Kisor. Today he is a junior at Virginia Tech. His older brother just moved back home to Lebanon because there was an information technology job open for him that was just too good to pass up.
That's a story worth rewriting all across America.
With the right leadership, we can, once again, achieve a standard of living that is improved, not diminished, in each generation. We can once again make America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery. Ladies and gentlemen, we know how to do it. The American people are ready. And Barack Obama and Joe Biden will get it done.
As Governor of Virginia, it was humbling to occupy a position that was once held by Thomas Jefferson. Almost as daunting as delivering the keynote speech four years after Barack Obama. ... Or speaking before Hillary Clinton.
Towards the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson — the founder of our party — wrote one of his frequent letters to his old rival, John Adams. He complained about the aches of getting old, but what was on his mind was what life would be like for the next generation of Americans. As Jefferson was ready to go to sleep, he closed his letter by writing: "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
Jefferson got it right at the dawn of the 19th century, and it's our challenge to get it right at the dawn of the 21st. This race is all about the future. That's why we must elect Barack Obama as our next president. Because the race for the future will be won when old partisanship gives way to new ideas. When we put solutions over stalemates and when hope replaces fear.
Tonight, looking out at all of you, and with a deep faith in the character and resolve of the American people, I am more confident than ever that we will win that race and make the future ours.
God bless you.
And God bless the United States of America.
Posted by Matt at 11:34 PM
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Remarks to the Democratic National Convention
August 26, 2008
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.
My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.
Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.
This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.
I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.
And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.
No way. No how. No McCain.
Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President.
Tonight we need to remember what a Presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you -- the American people, your lives, and your children's futures.
For me, it's been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America's greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people -- your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.
You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and . . . you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.
I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn't have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.
I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps t-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: "Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there ... .and then will you please help take care of me?"
I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn't know what his family was going to do.
I will always be grateful to everyone from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush Administrtation.
To my supporters, my champions -- my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits - from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.
You never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history.
Along the way, America lost two great Democratic champions who would have been here with us tonight. One of our finest young leaders, Arkansas Democratic Party Chair, Bill Gwatney, who believed with all his heart that America and the South could be and should be Democratic from top to bottom.
And Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a dear friend to many of us, a loving mother and courageous leader who never gave up her quest to make America fairer and smarter, stronger and better. Steadfast in her beliefs, a fighter of uncommon grace, she was an inspiration to me and to us all.
Our heart goes out to Stephanie's son, Mervyn, Jr, and Bill's wife, Rebecca, who traveled to Denver to join us at our convention.
Bill and Stephanie knew that after eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home, and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead.
Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation's history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.
Putin and Georgia, Iraq and Iran.
I ran for President to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.
To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs.
To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance.
To create a world class education system and make college affordable again.
To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality - from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. To help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.
To make America once again a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.
To bring fiscal sanity back to Washington and make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder.
To restore America's standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home and honor their service by caring for our veterans.
And to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.
Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.
Those are the reasons I ran for President. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.
I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?
We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.
This won't be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don't fight to put a Democrat in the White House.
We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can't compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a President who understands that we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.
We need a President who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.
Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about "We the people" not "We the favored few."
And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the
Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.
He'll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He'll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can't wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.
Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home - a first step to repairing our alliances around the world.
And he will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. Anyone who saw Michelle's speech last night knows she will be a great First Lady for America.
Americans are also fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama's side. He is a strong leader and a good man. He understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.
They will be a great team for our country.
Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.
He has served our country with honor and courage.
But we don't need four more years . . . of the last eight years.
More economic stagnation ... and less affordable health care.
More high gas prices ... and less alternative energy.
More jobs getting shipped overseas ... and fewer jobs created here.
More skyrocketing debt ...home foreclosures ... and mounting bills that are crushing our middle class families.
More war . . . less diplomacy.
More of a government where the privileged come first ... and everyone else comes last.
John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it's okay when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.
With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.
America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to the challenge of every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.
And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I'm a United States Senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women's rights in our history.
And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter - and a few sons and grandsons along the way.
These women and men looked into their daughters' eyes, imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment. To brave violence and jail.
And after so many decades - 88 years ago on this very day - the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote would be forever enshrined in our Constitution.
My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for President.
This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.
How do we give this country back to them?
By following the example of a brave New Yorker , a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.
And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.
If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If they're shouting after you, keep going.
Don't ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.
I've seen it in you. I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military - you always keep going.
We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.
But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.
We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.
Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.
I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.
We've got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.
That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great - and no ceiling too high - for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.
Thank you so much. God bless America and Godspeed to you all.
Posted by Matt at 11:33 PM
2008 Democratic National Convention: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Permanent Chair of The Democratic National Convention, Monday, August 25, 2008:
Read the rest of the speech...
Good evening, Democrats. Good evening, California. Good evening, Maryland. Welcome to the convention that will nominate Barack Obama and Joe Biden to be the next President and Vice President of the United States.
This week is the culmination of an historic race that has brought millions of voters to the polls--many voting for the first time. All Democrats salute Senator Hillary Clinton for her excellent campaign. Our party and our country are strengthened by her candidacy.
We meet today at a defining moment in our history. America stands at a crossroads, with an historic choice between two paths for our country. One is a path of renewing opportunity and promoting innovation here at home, and of greater security and respect around the world. It is the path that renews our democracy by bringing us together as one nation under God. But there is another path--it leads us to the same broken promises and failed policies that have diminished the American dream and weakened the security of our nation.
We call this convention to order tonight to put America on the path begun by our founders--a path that renews America's promise for a new century. We call this convention to order to nominate a new leader for our time--Barack Obama--the next President of the United States. Two years ago, the American people set our nation in a new direction--electing a new Democratic majority in Congress committed to real change.
I am very proud of the Democrats in Congress. Working with Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Senate, here are some of our accomplishments:
-- After years of inaction by Republicans, in our very first act, we passed the 9/11 Commission recommendations to protect the American people. That was just the beginning.
-- We helped rebuild the Gulf Coast for the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
-- We put recovery rebates into the hands of more than 130 million families.
-- We passed legislation to keep hard-working American families in their homes and to keep toxic toys out of the hands of our children.
-- We increased the minimum wage for the first time in ten years.
-- We improved fuel efficiency for the first time in 32 years.
-- We passed the largest college aid expansion since the G.I. Bill 64 years ago.
-- We passed the largest veterans' health care funding in the 77 year history of the Veterans Administration.
-- And, we enacted a new G.I. Bill to thank our veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by sending them to college.
Every chance we get, we must honor our veterans and our men and women in uniform for their courage, patriotism, and the sacrifice they and their families are willing to make. Because of them, America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The American people gave Democrats their confidence, and we have started to reclaim the American dream for all Americans. But our journey to take our nation in a new direction cannot be complete without new leadership in the White House. Democrats know we can't afford any more of the same failed Republican path. Democrats stand for the change America needs. We stand for Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Republicans say John McCain has experience. We say John McCain has the experience of being wrong. On the failed Bush policies that have weakened our economy and taken us from the Clinton surplus to reckless Bush deficits and on raising the minimum wage for millions of American workers, Barack Obama is right and John McCain is wrong. On health care for 10 million American children and on protecting Medicare--a bill so crucial that Senator Ted Kennedy left his own medical treatment to cast the decisive vote--Barack Obama is right and John McCain is wrong. On a future of American energy independence, investment in renewable clean energy, and millions of good-paying green jobs here at home, Barack Obama is right and John McCain is wrong. And on the most important foreign policy decision of our time, the war in Iraq--a catastrophic mistake that has cost thousands of lives of our men and women in uniform and trillions of dollars, as well as has weakened our standing in the world and our capability to protect the American people, Barack Obama is right and John McCain is wrong. Very, very wrong.
America needs a president who knows that health care is a right, not a privilege, and that quality education is the key to our future. America needs a president who knows our democracy depends on a strong middle class and who will create millions of good-paying jobs right here at home. America needs a president who will once and for all end our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and invest in renewable, clean energy.
To make America stronger, America needs a president who will honor our troops and responsibly end the war in Iraq. For our children and grandchildren, America needs President Barack Obama.
The night before I was sworn in as Speaker, we had a celebration dinner at the Italian Embassy. In addition to being the first woman Speaker of the House, I am proud to be the first Italian-American Speaker of the House. My little grandson Ryan, who lives in Texas and, at the time was five years old, was playing under the table. At one point, he came out from under the table, looked up, saw Senator Obama and said, "Barack Obama! I must be dreaming!"
Barack Obama's dream is the American dream. He gives us renewed faith in a vision of the future that is free of the constraints of the tired policies of the past--a vision that is new and bold and calls forth the best in the American people.
Barack Obama's change is the change America needs. Whether in Illinois or in Washington, Barack Obama has bridged partisanship to bring about significant reform. Barack Obama knew that to change policy in Washington you had to change how Washington works.
That means restoring integrity to government by reducing the influence of special interests. I saw firsthand his strong leadership on one of the toughest issues: enacting the toughest ethics reform legislation in the history of Congress. This was only possible with Barack Obama's leadership.
Barack Obama's values are enduring American values:
-- A belief in personal responsibility, community, and hard work that brought him to the struggling neighborhoods of Chicago;
-- A faith in God that gives him strength;
-- A patriotic love of America that gives him courage;
-- And his wife Michelle and his entire loving family, inspiring him every day to strengthen and renew this great country.
One hundred and fifteen years ago, a young woman named Katharine Lee Bates visited Denver. From the top of Pike's Peak, she looked across Colorado--to the bountiful golden prairies to the east and to the majestic mountains to the west. That night she returned to her hotel room, opened her notebook, and the words of "America the Beautiful" spilled from her pen. My favorite verse is the fourth: O beautiful, for patriot dream, that sees beyond the years...
Today, Barack Obama is a 21st century patriot who sees beyond the years. As president, Barack Obama will renew the American dream; Barack Obama is the leader for America's future.
Inspired by that same vision of "America the Beautiful," Democrats will leave this Denver convention, unified, organized, and stronger than ever to take America in a new direction with Barack Obama and Joe Biden as President and Vice President of the United States!
God bless you and God bless America.
Posted by Matt at 12:24 AM
At six-foot-six, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me too…literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn't looking down on me – he was watching over me. And he's been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when – with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change – we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that's brought us to this moment. But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey. I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend. I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president. I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world – they're the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future – and all our children's future – is my stake in this election. And I come here as a daughter – raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters. My Dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in his early thirties, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing – even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder. He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives – and mine – that the American Dream endures. And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them. And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he'd done when he first moved to Chicago after college. Instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack had gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he'd been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community. The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn't support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren't asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work – they wanted to contribute. They believed – like you and I believe – that America should be a place where you can make it if you try. Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is – even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves – to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story? It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms – people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had – refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals. It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation. I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history – knowing that my piece of the American Dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I've met all across this country: People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift – without disappointment, without regret – that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they're working for. The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it. The young people across America serving our communities – teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day. People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters – and sons – can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher. People like Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again. All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do – that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope. That is why I love this country. And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us – no matter what our age or background or walk of life – each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation. It's a belief Barack shares – a belief at the heart of his life's work. It's what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and afterschool programs to keep kids safe – working block by block to help people lift up their families. It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work. It's what he's done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care – including mental health care. That's why he's running – to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That's what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America. He'll achieve these goals the same way he always has – by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn't care where you're from, or what your background is, or what party – if any – you belong to. That's not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us – our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future – is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree. It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago. It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who's unemployed, but can't afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister's health care, sleeping just a few hours a day. And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that's been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation. Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need. And in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love. And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they – and your sons and daughters – will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country – where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be. So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future – out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment – let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
Remarks of Michelle Obama—as prepared for delivery
Democratic National Convention
Monday, August 25, 2008
As you might imagine, for Barack, running for President is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother Craig.
Read the rest of the speech...
I can't tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I've felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.
At six-foot-six, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me too…literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn't looking down on me – he was watching over me.
And he's been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when – with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change – we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that's brought us to this moment.
But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.
I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend.
I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.
I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world – they're the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future – and all our children's future – is my stake in this election.
And I come here as a daughter – raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.
My Dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in his early thirties, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing – even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder.
He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives – and mine – that the American Dream endures.
And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.
And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he'd done when he first moved to Chicago after college. Instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack had gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he'd been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.
The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn't support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren't asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work – they wanted to contribute. They believed – like you and I believe – that America should be a place where you can make it if you try.
Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is – even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves – to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story?
It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms – people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had – refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.
It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.
I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history – knowing that my piece of the American Dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I've met all across this country:
People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift – without disappointment, without regret – that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they're working for.
The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.
The young people across America serving our communities – teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.
People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters – and sons – can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.
People like Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.
All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do – that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.
That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.
That is why I love this country.
And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us – no matter what our age or background or walk of life – each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.
It's a belief Barack shares – a belief at the heart of his life's work.
It's what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and afterschool programs to keep kids safe – working block by block to help people lift up their families.
It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work.
It's what he's done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care – including mental health care.
That's why he's running – to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That's what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America.
He'll achieve these goals the same way he always has – by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn't care where you're from, or what your background is, or what party – if any – you belong to. That's not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us – our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future – is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.
It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago.
It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who's unemployed, but can't afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister's health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.
And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that's been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation.
Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.
And in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love.
And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they – and your sons and daughters – will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country – where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.
So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future – out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment – let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
Posted by Matt at 12:22 AM
Monday, August 25, 2008
Remarks of Craig Robinson-as prepared for delivery
Democratic National Convention
Monday, August 25, 2008
Good evening, I'm Craig Robinson and Michelle Obama is my little sister.
Read the rest of the speech here...
Tonight, I don't want to just introduce my sister, I want to introduce you to my sister. The girl I grew up with. The poised young woman I saw her grow in to. The compassionate mother, aunt and sister-in-law she is. The passionate voice for women and children she has become. And the type of first lady she will be.
Sometimes, when I look at the woman you are about to hear from, it's funny to think that this is the same person who used to wake me up early, and I mean early, on Christmas morning - because we both had to be up at the same time, in order to open our presents.
This is the person who would play the piano to calm me down before all of my big games in high school.
This is the person who - even though we were allowed only one hour of television a night - somehow managed to commit to memory every single episode of the Brady Bunch.
But when I really think back, I can also see how the person she is today, was formed in the experiences we shared growing up: working hard, studying hard, having parents who wanted more for us than what they had. And always being reminded that in this country of all countries – those things were possible.
Neither of our parents went to college.
My father went to work right out of high school to help pay for his brother’s college tuition.
He worked at the water filtration plant for 30 years.
We lost my father in 1991.
And I know he’s looking down on us tonight, so proud of his daughter, not because of who she married, though he was a big fan of Barack – but because of the hard-working, brilliant woman she is, what she’s accomplished in her own right, the mother she’s become, and the values she’s instilled in her daughters.
My mother Marian is here tonight. She remains our family's anchor, and the sole reason Michelle was willing to campaign at all was because she knows that Mom is there to help take care of the girls.
When we were young kids, our parents divided the bedroom we shared so we could each have our own room.
Many nights we would talk when we were supposed to be sleeping.
My sister always talked about who was getting picked on at school, or who was having a tough time at home.
I didn't realize it then - but I realize it now - those were the people she was going to dedicate her life to: the people who were struggling with life's challenges.
She has continued to follow that passion. She gave up a job in a big law firm to work in her community. With a group called Public Allies, she trained a new generation of community leaders.
She developed the University of Chicago's community service center - connecting the university to the neighborhood that was blocks away - but often worlds away - from its gates.
And when I wasn't happy doing what I was doing - investment banking - she was the one who encouraged me to go back to my first love - teaching and coaching.
And today I'm proud to be the coach of the Oregon State men's basketball team. Go Beavs!
But she did take something away from that first big law firm job. A young lawyer by the name of Barack Obama.
My sister had grown up hearing my father and me talk about how to judge a person’s character by what type of sportsman they are, so she asked me to take Barack to play basketball.
If you're looking for a political analysis based on his playing, here it is: he's confident but not cocky, he'll take the shot if he's open, he's a team player who improves the people around him, and he won’t back down from any challenge.
Together, I've watched Barack and Michelle strengthen each other. I've watched them create a home filled with love, and grounded in faith.
During challenging times I've watched Michelle and Barack stand by each other. And I know, they'll stand by you -- the American people -- now and in the future.
So please join me in welcoming an impassioned public servant, a loving daughter, wife and mother, my little sister and our nation's next first lady: Michele Obama.
Posted by Matt at 10:34 PM
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Remarks of Senator Joe Biden (Verbatim)
Announcement of Vice Presidential Nominee Selection
August 23, 2008
Well, it's great to be here! On the steps of the old State House in the land of Lincoln. President Lincoln once instructed us to be sure to put your feet in the right place. Then stand firm. Today, Springfield, I know my feet are in the right place. And I am proud to stand firm for the next president of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Folks, Barack and I come from very different places, but we share a common story. An American story. He was the son of a single mom, a single mom who had to struggle to support her son and her kids. But she raised him. She raised him to believe in America. to believe that in this country there is no obstacle that could keep you from your dreams. If you are willing to work hard and fight for it. I was different. I was an Irish-Catholic kid from Scranton with a father who like many of yours in tough economic times fell on hard times, but my mom and dad raised me to believe, it's a saying Barack you heard me say before, my dad repeated it and repeated it. Said champ, it's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how quickly you get up. It’s how quickly you get up. Ladies and gentlemen, that's your story. That’s America's story. It’s about if you get up, you can make it.
That’s the America Barack Obama and I believe in. That's the American dream. And ladies and gentlemen, is there no ordinary times, and this is no ordinary election. Because the truth of the matter is, and you know it, that American dream under eight years of Bush and McCain, that American dream is slipping away. I don't have to tell you that. You feel it in your lives. You see it in your shrinking wages, and the cost of everything from groceries to health care to college to filling up your car at the gas station. It keeps going up and up and up, and the future keeps receding further and further and further away as you reach for your dreams. You know, ladies and gentlemen, it is not a mere political saying. I say with every fiber of my being I believe we cannot as a nation stand for four more years of this. We cannot afford to keep giving tax cuts after tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans while the middle class America, middle class families are falling behind and their wages are actually shrinking. We can't afford four more years of a government that does nothing while they watch the housing market collapse. As you know, it's not just the millions of people facing foreclosure. It’s the tens of millions of your neighbors who are seeing the values of their homes drop off a cliff along with their dreams.
Ladies and gentlemen, your kitchen table is like mine. You sit there at night before you put the kids -- after you put the kids to bed and you talk, you talk about what you need. You talk about how much you are worried about being able to pay the bills. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's not a worry John McCain has to worry about. It’s a pretty hard experience. He’ll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at. Folks, again, it's not political sloganary when I say we literally can't afford four more years of this non-energy policy written by and for the oil companies, making us more and more dependent from hostile nations on our ability to run this country and literally, not figuratively, literally putting America's security at risk, we can't afford four more years of a foreign policy that has shredded our alliances and sacrificed our moral standing around the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, that's the bad news. But there is good news, America. We don't have to have four more years of George W. Bush. And John McCain. The next President of the United States is going to be delivered to the most significant moment in American history since Franklin Roosevelt. He will have such an incredible opportunity, incredible opportunity, not only to change the direction of America, but literally, literally to change the direction of the world. Barack Obama and I believe, we believe with every fiber in our being that our families, our communities as Americans, there's not a single solitary challenge we cannot face if we level with the American people. And I don’t say that to say it; history, history has shown it. When have Americans ever, ever, ever, let their country down when they’ve had a leader to lead them?
Ladies and gentlemen, we believe that our tomorrows will be better than our yesterdays, and we believe we’ll pass on to our children an even better life than the one we lived. That literally has been the American way, and it can be that way again. But there's a big, missing piece. The missing piece is leadership.
In all my time in the United States Senate, and I want you to know there's only four senators senior to me, but Barack, there's still 44 older than me. I want you to know that part. But all kidding aside, of all my years in the Senate, I have never in my life seen Washington so broken. I have never seen so many dreams denied and so many decisions deferred by politicians who are trying like the devil to escape their responsibility and accountability. But, ladies and gentlemen, the reckoning is now. And the reality, the reality is that we must answer the call or we will risk the harshest version and verdict of history. These times call for a total change in Washington’s worldview. These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader. A leader -- a leader who can deliver. A leader who can deliver the change we need.
I’ll say straight up to you – John McCain and the press knows this, is genuinely a friend of mine. I’ve known John for 35 years. He served our country with extraordinary courage and I know he wants to do right by America. But the harsh truth is, ladies and gentlemen, you can't change America when you boast. And these are John's words, quote, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush. Ladies and gentlemen, that's what he said. You can't change America when you supported George Bush's policies 95% of the time. You can't change America when you believe, and these are his own words, that in the Bush administration we’ve made great progress economically. You can't change America and make things better for our senior citizens when you signed on to Bush's scheme of privatizing social security. You can't change America and give our workers a fighting chance when after 3 million manufacturing jobs disappear, you continue to support tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas. You can't change America and end this war in Iraq when you declare and, again, these are John's words, no one has supported President Bush in Iraq more than I have, end of quote. Ladies and gentlemen, you can't change America, you can't change America when you know your first four years as president will look exactly like the last eight years of George Bush's presidency.
My friends -- yes, we can. My friends, I don't have to tell you, this election year the choice is clear. One man stands ready to deliver change we desperately need. A man I’m proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next president of the United States, Barack Amer –
You know, you learn a lot of things being up close with a guy. Let me tell you about Obama. You learn a lot about a man when you campaign with him. When you debate him 12 or 13 times. When you hear him speak. When you see how he thinks. And you watch how he reacts under pressure. You learn a lot about his strength of his mind, and I think even more importantly, the quality of his heart. Ladies and gentlemen, no one knows better than I do that presidential campaigns are crucibles in which you’re tested and challenged every single day. And over the past 18 months, I’ve watched Barack meet those challenges with judgment, intelligence, and steel in his spine. I’ve watched as he's inspired millions of Americans, millions of Americans to this new cause.
And during those 18 months, I must tell you, frankly, I’ve been disappointed in my friend, John McCain, who gave in to the right wing of his party and yielded to the very swiftboat politics that he so -- once so deplored. And folks, campaigns for presidents are a test of character and leadership. And in this campaign, one candidate, one candidate has passed that test.
Barack has the vision, and what you can't forget, you know his vision, but let me tell you something. He also has the courage, the courage to make this a better place, and let me tell you something else, this man is a clear eyed pragmatist who will get the job done. I watch with amazement as he came to the Senate. I watch with amazement. He made his mark literally from day one reaching across the aisle to pass legislation to secure the world's deadliest weapons, standing up to some of the most entrenched interests in Washington, risking the wrath of the old order to pass the most sweeping ethics reform in a generation. But I was proudest, I was proudest, when I watched him spontaneously focus the attention of the nation on the shameful neglect of America’s wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, I know I’m told I talk too colloquially, but there's something about this guy. There's something about this guy. There's something about Barack Obama that allows him to bring people together like no one I have worked with and seen. There’s something about Barack Obama that makes people understand if they make compromises they can make things better.
It’s been amazing to watch him. But then again, that's been the story of his whole life. I end where I began. This is a man raised by a single mother who sometimes was on food stamps as she worked to put herself through school, by grandparents from the prairies of Kansas who loved him, a grandfather, a grandfather who marched in Paton's Army and then came home and went to college on the G.I. Bill, and a grandmother, a grandmother with just a high school education, started off working in a small bank in the secretarial pool and rose to be vice president of that bank. Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, these remarkable people gave Barack Obama the determination and drive, and, yes, the values to turn down that big job on Wall Street, to come to Chicago’s south side, where he helped workers help themselves after the steel mills had been shut down and the jobs disappeared.
Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, is drop dead gorgeous. My wife Jill, who you’ll meet soon, she also has her doctorate degree, which is a problem. But all kidding aside, my Jill, my Jill, my wife Jill and I are honored to join Barack and Michelle on this journey, because that's what it is. it's a journey. We share the same values, the values that we had passed on to us by our parents and the values Jill and I are passing on to our sons Beau and Hunter and Ashley.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here for their future. I’m here for the future of your kids. I’m here for everyone I – I’m here for everyone I grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, who’s been forgotten and everybody in Claymont, Delaware, in Wilmington where I lived. I’m here for the cops and the fire fighters, the teachers and the line workers, the folks who live – the folks whose lives are the measure of whether the American dream endures.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is no ordinary time. This is no ordinary election. And this may be our last chance to reclaim the America we love, to restore America’s soul. Ladies and gentlemen, America gave Jill and me our chance. It gave Barack and Michelle their chance to stand on this stage today. It’s literally incredible. These values, this country gave us that chance. And now it's time for all of us, as Lincoln said, to put our feet in the right place and to stand firm. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to elect Barack Obama president. It’s our time. It’s America’s time. God bless America, and may he protect our troops.
Posted by Matt at 11:55 PM