Obama's Historic Speech Accepting
the Democratic Nomination for President
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 082808)
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Obama Speech: More Than 84,000 Attend
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Barack Obama Democratic Convention Speech
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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.
Tonight, I say to the American people, to Dem-
ocrats 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
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."
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 "men-
tal recession," and that we've become, and
I quote, "a nation of whiners."
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 ben-
efits, or an education plan that would do noth-
ing to help families pay for college, or a plan
that would privatize Social Security and gam-
ble 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 every-
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
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 econo-
mic strength are whether we are living up to
that fundamental promise that has made this
country great - a promise that is the only rea-
son I am standing here tonight.
[provides details on some people impacting
his life, his grandfather, who signed up after
Pearl Harbor, his mother, who once was on
food stamps but was able to send Barack to
college with the help of student loans and
scholarships, men and women he worked
with on the south side of Chicago after the
local steel plant closed, his grandmother,
who worked her way up to middle manage-
ment despite being passed over for promo-
tions because she was a woman.]
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
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 can-
not 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 technol-
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
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
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 work-
ing families. Because in an economy like this,
the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the
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
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.
Individual responsibility and mutual responsi-
bility - 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 tem-
perament, and judgment, to serve as the next
Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready
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 "mud-
dle 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.
We need a President who can face the threats
of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of
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.
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
So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all
put our country first.
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
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 mar-
riage, 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 pro-
mise of a democracy where we can find the
strength and grace to bridge divides and unite
in common effort.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candi-
date for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree,
and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Wash-
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 leader-
ship, a new politics for a new time.
America, this is one of those moments.
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