Campaign 2008 Roundup

Historians’ Take on the 2008 US Presidential Campaign Edited by Bonnie K. Goodman

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Beschloss’

September 6 & 7, 2008: Post Conventions, Let Home Stretch Begin

Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 7, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:

CONVENTION ROUNDUP

Republican Convention Roundup

Democratic Convention Roundup

The week that was….

  • September 7, 2008: Obama, McCain suggest changes in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac … Republican vice presidential hopeful’s church promotes prayer to make gays straight … Presidential candidates plan joint appearance at Ground Zero to mark Sept. 11 attacks … – AP, 9-7-08
  • September 6, 2008: Pennsylvania Republicans want Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr off presidential ballot … Lawmakers putting Troopergate investigation on fast track, issuing subpoenas … Obama, still raising money, gets help from rocker Bon Jovi … – AP, 9-6-08
  • September 5, 2008: Obama says McCain and GOP are out of touch with middle-class struggles … McCain and Palin present themselves as eager reformers … Poll finds only 4 in 10 say Palin has enough experience to be president; number is higher for Biden … Subpoenas to be issued for Troopergate probe of Palin in Alaska … – AP, 9-5-08

The Stats

  • September 7, 2008: McCain leads Obama 48 percent to 45 percent among registered voters, by Gallup’s measure. McCain has so far earned the same convention bounce as Obama, though at a more rapid pace. – Politico, 9-7-08
  • McCain Camp to Leave Convention With $200 Million, Aide Says – AP, 9-6-08
  • John McCain speech draws record TV ratings: “Nielsen Media Research said a record 38.9 million TV viewers watched McCain accept the Republican nomination on Thursday, slightly more than the 38.3 million people who tuned in for Obama’s speech last week. McCain’s tally was believed to be the biggest commercial TV audience every for a single night of a U.S. political convention, Nielsen said.” – Reuters, 9-5-08

In the News…

  • Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has agreed to sit down with ABC’s Charles Gibson later this week for her first television interview since John McCain chose her as his running mate more than a week ago. – AP, 9-7-08
  • Barack Obama isn’t John McCain’s only opponent. Sometimes McCain sounds like he’s running almost as hard against President Bush and the Republican Party as he is against Obama, his Democratic rival for the White House. – AP, 9-7-08
  • McCain-Palin becoming Palin-McCain? – AP, 9-6-08
  • Candidates Launch 60-Day Dash to White House – 9-5-08
  • John McCain, Republican top gun at last The “imperfect” war hero steered clear of George W. Bush as he took aim at Barack Obama and tried to marshal his tarnished party. – Salon.com, 9-5-08
  • Palin is catapulted into starring role – Financial Times, 9-5-08
  • McCain counts on character to clinch it – Financial Times, 9-4-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Susan Livingston on “Palin, family life: Is it really an ‘issue’?”: “I think her daughter’s pregnancy would have been an issue if Palin were running as a pro-life candidate and she had secretly sought an abortion for her daughter,” she said. “But I don’t think it’s an issue at all.” She also thinks some of the other topics that have arisen are irrelevant to the campaign, such as talk about Palin’s priorities as the mother of a special needs child. “I think that is between Palin and her husband, and they will decide about childcare,” she said. Questioning Palin’s experience isn’t sexist, Livingston said. That subject is fair game, but “some of the questions about her success as a mother are a little questionable,” she said. – Clarion Ledger, 9-5-08
  • Gil Troy “Republicans pull it off Against all odds, the GOP held one of its best conventions in decades”: McCain’s speech reinforced the message that Republicans are patriots who serve, especially in the military, and Democrats are doubters who dodge. But McCain also elegantly saluted Barack Obama and the Democrats as “fellow Americans,” saying: “that’s an association that means more to me than any other.” McCain also called for an end to the “partisan rancour” that characterizes so much of contemporary politics. He used his running mate to emphasize his maverick status as a Washington outsider – and as someone not responsible for the Bush administration’s failures. McCain’s speech offered an important balance to his running mate’s rhetoric. Underneath all Palin’s charm was an ugly, divisive call for Republicans to revive the Culture Wars of the last few decades. Her us-vs.- them message, though gift-wrapped beautifully, might help Republicans win in 2008 but is not what the United States needs. Politically, it helped compensate for George W. Bush’s historic lows in the polls, and the perception that Republicans have no fresh solutions to the problems that have appeared on their watch. But it was the equivalent of the lawyer with a guilty client pounding the table passionately to compensate for the weakness of his case…. The election remains too close to call and will inevitably be fought passionately, and at times, viciously. But perhaps, just this once, Americans can be proud that they have such talented people vying to be their leaders. Perhaps, just this once, they can follow John McCain’s cue, and appreciate the common ideals that unite these leaders and their fellow citizens, even amid the hurly-burly and hoopla of a presidential campaign. – Montreal Gazette, 9-6-08
  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss, Peniel Joseph on “Historians Examine McCain’s Message of ‘Change’”: panel of historians discuss the strengths and weaknesses of John McCain’s acceptance speech and the GOP message of “change” in Washington. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: I think so. You know, it’s interesting. Clearly, the Democrats have no monopoly on hope and change, because the biggest change that occurred this week is this party has hope. This is a party that came in to St. Paul, if not defeatist, then, quite frankly, highly skeptical of its own chances. This was a party that came here not terribly unified, not altogether thrilled about its nominee. All of that, I think, has been transformed in the course of the last three days. You could feel it last night during Governor Palin’s speech. You can feel it tonight. It’s interesting the pivot away from George Bush. Senator McCain spent more time tonight apologizing for the last eight years than he did boasting about the last eight years. And, finally, we’ve talked several times about whether this was too biographical, whether there was a lack of specifics, particularly on economic issues….

    My sense is the Republicans are very good at stagecraft. And I think the biography that we’ve heard all week long melded very nicely into the substance, if you will, of the speech. Sen. Obama is in for the fight of his life. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Three big things stand out to me about this week, Jim, first, God, guns, and country. Those are the resounding themes of this convention linked to biography and really linked to the pick of Sarah Palin. Second, Palin has successfully solidified McCain’s conservative base. And she really gave a speech last night that echoed Pat Buchanan’s 1992 culture wars speech, but she did it more elegantly. Finally, diversity, or lack thereof. This convention’s delegates are 93 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black. This party has seemingly ceded the minority vote to Barack Obama and the Democrats, which may have real clear electoral implications. In 2004, George Bush got 14 percent of the black vote in Ohio and 56 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, two key swing states that got him re-elected. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Yes, it sure is. You know, it was a great speech, Jim, easily the greatest speech that John McCain ever gave. And you can see the difference between Tuesday night and tonight. This is a party with enormous intensity, especially after a very powerful speech by Sarah Palin last night. And the interesting thing is, about 10 days ago, John McCain by all accounts was intending to choose Joe Lieberman and go in a very different direction, which would have been to — you know, cause there to be a bridge to Democrats, try to go for independents, knowing that the group in this room probably would not have been as enthusiastic as they are tonight with the choice of Sarah Palin. The interesting thing is going to be whether he can augment this kind of intensity in the hall, in this party, in his base with the kind of independents in swing states he’s going to need to win the election….

    You know, when you look at these speeches, you know, the people who write them always looked at acceptance speeches of the past. And this one had references to other acceptance speeches by earlier nominees, but the ones that I found were all Democrats. Harry Truman, 1948, both he and McCain referred to a do-nothing Congress. John Kennedy, McCain talked tonight about getting this country moving again. And of all things, Al Gore in 2000, “I will fight for you.” I think one of the things that we would have expected perhaps least would be that John McCain would be quoting Al Gore. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Obama and McCain spar over Social Security – Reuters, 9-6-08
  • Sarah Palin criticizes Biden, Obama Sarah Palin: “Senator Biden can claim many chairmanships across many, many years in Washington. He certainly has many friends in Washington’s establishment. But most of his admirers, would not call him an agent of change. Senator McCain has called us a ticket of mavericks.”

    Obama: I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she’s change, and that’s great. She’s a skillful politician. When you’ve been taking all these earmarks when it’s convenient, and then suddenly you’re the champion anti- earmark person, that’s not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something. You can’t just make stuff up.

  • John McCain and Sarah Palin speaking to more than 10,000 supporters in suburban Detroit: John McCain: Again and again, I have worked with members of both parties to fix these problems. Senator Obama never has. That is why this ticket is the ticket to shake up Washington because Senator Obama doesn’t have the strength to do it. ‘He has never bucked his party on any issue, never. If you want real reform, if you want real change, send the ones who have actually done it…send a team of mavericks who aren’t afraid to go to Washington and break some china….

    Sarah Palin: True reform really is tough to achieve, but in short order, we put the government of our state back on the side of the people. I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing, and today that ethics reform is the law and that’s what we’re going to bring to Washington.

  • McCain RNC Speech Excerpts: ‘Change is Coming’

    “I’m very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country. But I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country- second Washington crowd: change is coming….

    The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not you. Again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as president. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not….

    I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here; I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people.

    I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore, I was my country’s.

    I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

    I hate war. It’s terrible beyond imagination.

    I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal–diplomatic, economic, military, and the power of our ideals–to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

  • Palin RNC Speech Excerpts:

    From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other….

    This is America and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity….

    The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick….

    Here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion; I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country….

    We don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening. We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco….

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

    I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I don’t think our citzens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on E-bay….

  • Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Barack Obama on Fox News, Part 1

    O’Reilly: I think you were desperately wrong on the surge, and I think you should admit it to the nation that now we have defeated the terrorists in Iraq, and the Al Qaeda came there after we invaded, as you know. We defeated them.

    Obama: Right.

    O’Reilly: If we didn’t, they would have used it as a staging ground. We’ve also inhibited Iran from controlling the southern part of Iraq by the surge, which you did not support. So why won’t you say, “I was right in the beginning. I was wrong about that”?

    Obama: If you listen to what I’ve said, and I’ll repeat it right here on this show, I think that there’s no doubt that the violence is down. I believe that that is a testimony to the troops that were sent and Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated, by the way, including President Bush and the other supporters. It has gone very well, partly because of the Anbar situation and the Sunni awakening, partly because of the Shia military. Look–

    O’Reilly: But if it were up to you, there wouldn’t have been a surge.

    Obama: Look–

    O’Reilly: No, no, no, no.

    Obama: No, no, no–

    O’Reilly: If it were up to you, there wouldn’t have been a surge.

    Obama: No, no, no.

    O’Reilly: You and Joe Biden, no surge.

    Obama: Hold on a second, Bill. If you look at the debate that was taking place, we had gone through five years of mismanagement of this war that I thought was disastrous. And the president wanted to double down and continue on an open-ended policy that did not create the kinds of pressure on the Iraqis to take responsibility and reconcile.

    O’Reilly: But it worked. It worked. Come on.

    Obama: Bill, what I’ve said is–I’ve already said it succeed beyond our wildest dreams.

    O’Reilly: Why can’t you say, “I was right in the beginning, and I was wrong about the surge”?

    Obama: Because there’s an underlying problem where what have we done. We have reduced the violence.

    O’Reilly: Yes.

    Obama: But the Iraqis still haven’t taken responsibility, and we still don’t have the kind of political reconciliation. We are still spending, Bill, $10 to $12 billion a month.

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Republican National Convention Day 4: September 4, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 4, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

The Republican Ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin after McCain accepted the Republican nomination. (CNN)

The Republican Ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin after McCain accepted the Republican nomination. (CNN)

2008 Republican National Convention and Reflections Photography

Day 4 Schedule

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2008The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the full program of events for Thursday, Sept. 4. The evening’s program will feature John McCain’s speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency. Among the other speakers participating in this evening’s program are Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Mrs. Cindy McCain. The speakers’ remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,”and the theme for Thursday’s events, which is “peace.”
Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

    THURSDAY’S SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

    Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin (Okla.), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Joe Gibbs, Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.), Mrs. Cindy McCain. Presidential Nominee John McCain.
    GOP Convention 2008

John McCain waving to the audience at the GOP convention. (CNN)

John McCain waving to the audience at the GOP convention. (CNN)

Highlights:

  • PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer: Photos from the Final Day of the Republican Convention – PBS/Flickr
  • September 4, 2008: McCain preps for big TV speech at convention as workers rebuild stage … Obama strategist: Palin looks a lot like Washington politics she seeks to change … Biden says he’ll vigorously challenge Palin but refrain from personal attacks … Environmentalists say Palin’s record on wildlife as harsh as Alaska itself. – AP, 9-4-08
    McCain caps GOP convention vowing ‘change is coming’ to Washington … Obama says Republicans attack him to avoid talking about economy and housing problems … Palin keeps up criticism of Obama as she ventures out solo to campaign … Biden says he’ll vigorously challenge Palin but refrain from personal attacks. – AP, 9-4-08
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Stats & In the News…

  • Galvanized Parties Head to Homestretch – WaPo, 9-5-08
  • Gallup Inc.’s tracking polls show that McCain’s support grew among white Republican women after Palin joined the ticket on Aug. 29. – Bloomberg, 9-4-08
  • Palin Pick May Narrow The Enthusiasm Gap – WaPo, 9-4-08
  • The Party in Power, Running as if It Weren’t – NYT, 9-5-08
  • To G.O.P., McCain Issues Call for Change – NYT, 9-5-08
  • McCain Casts GOP Ticket as Force for Reform – Fox News, 9-4-08
  • Protesters interrupt McCain speech – AP, 9-4-08
  • McCain to give acceptance speech on rebuilt stage – AP, 9-4-08
  • The campaign on the Talk Show Circuit- Fox News, 9-3-08
  • Sarah Palin electrified the Republican convention Wednesday, all the while reading off a faulty teleprompter and an outdated draft – Fox News, 9-4-08
  • Sarah Palin’s speech wins TV ratings battle in landslide – NY Daily News, 9-4-08
  • Poll gives Obama edge in two of three key states – CNN 9-3-08
McCain accepting the Republican nomination for president (CNN)

McCain accepting the Republican nomination for president (CNN)

Historians’ Comments

  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss, Peniel Joseph on “Historians Examine McCain’s Message of ‘Change’”: panel of historians discuss the strengths and weaknesses of John McCain’s acceptance speech and the GOP message of “change” in Washington. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: I think so. You know, it’s interesting. Clearly, the Democrats have no monopoly on hope and change, because the biggest change that occurred this week is this party has hope. This is a party that came in to St. Paul, if not defeatist, then, quite frankly, highly skeptical of its own chances. This was a party that came here not terribly unified, not altogether thrilled about its nominee. All of that, I think, has been transformed in the course of the last three days. You could feel it last night during Governor Palin’s speech. You can feel it tonight. It’s interesting the pivot away from George Bush. Senator McCain spent more time tonight apologizing for the last eight years than he did boasting about the last eight years. And, finally, we’ve talked several times about whether this was too biographical, whether there was a lack of specifics, particularly on economic issues….My sense is the Republicans are very good at stagecraft. And I think the biography that we’ve heard all week long melded very nicely into the substance, if you will, of the speech. Sen. Obama is in for the fight of his life. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Three big things stand out to me about this week, Jim, first, God, guns, and country. Those are the resounding themes of this convention linked to biography and really linked to the pick of Sarah Palin. Second, Palin has successfully solidified McCain’s conservative base. And she really gave a speech last night that echoed Pat Buchanan’s 1992 culture wars speech, but she did it more elegantly. Finally, diversity, or lack thereof. This convention’s delegates are 93 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black. This party has seemingly ceded the minority vote to Barack Obama and the Democrats, which may have real clear electoral implications. In 2004, George Bush got 14 percent of the black vote in Ohio and 56 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, two key swing states that got him re-elected. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Yes, it sure is. You know, it was a great speech, Jim, easily the greatest speech that John McCain ever gave. And you can see the difference between Tuesday night and tonight. This is a party with enormous intensity, especially after a very powerful speech by Sarah Palin last night. And the interesting thing is, about 10 days ago, John McCain by all accounts was intending to choose Joe Lieberman and go in a very different direction, which would have been to — you know, cause there to be a bridge to Democrats, try to go for independents, knowing that the group in this room probably would not have been as enthusiastic as they are tonight with the choice of Sarah Palin. The interesting thing is going to be whether he can augment this kind of intensity in the hall, in this party, in his base with the kind of independents in swing states he’s going to need to win the election….You know, when you look at these speeches, you know, the people who write them always looked at acceptance speeches of the past. And this one had references to other acceptance speeches by earlier nominees, but the ones that I found were all Democrats. Harry Truman, 1948, both he and McCain referred to a do-nothing Congress. John Kennedy, McCain talked tonight about getting this country moving again. And of all things, Al Gore in 2000, “I will fight for you.” I think one of the things that we would have expected perhaps least would be that John McCain would be quoting Al Gore. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton-Smith and Peniel Joseph: Historians Explores Trends Within Both Parties as RNC Wraps Up Richard Norton-Smith and Peniel Joseph sat down with Ray Suarez as the Republican National Convention enters its last day. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith, Peniel Joseph: Making GOP History Analysts and historians offer perspective on the first Republican woman nominated to be vice president and the campaign road ahead. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: “Historians See Goldwater, Reagan as Top GOP Acceptance Speeches” – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith: Norton Smith chose Barry Goldwater’s 1964 address in San Francisco, where he had the choice as the nominee to reach out to moderate Republicans angry with his policies. In the end, Goldwater “ran as himself.” “He denounced the pale pastels of the opposition. He basically read the liberals and moderate in his own party out of the party. It is a militant speech. It is a principled speech. It is courageous speech. It is a speech fundamentally at odds with the political climate of 1964,” Norton Smith said. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Joseph picked Ronald Reagan’s 1980 speech in Detroit in which he criticizes the previous four years of Democratic control. “He really says and argues that the Democratic Party is claiming that America’s best days are behind us,” Joseph said. “And Reagan says, I disagree, the best days are ahead of us. And we need to do this through tax cuts; we need to do it through economic stimulus, by letting big businesses explode. We need to have a strong defense. Reagan really succeeds in tapping into a notion of optimism.” – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Stephen Haycox on “Hawaii, Alaska embrace campaign connections”: Natives of both states hope that the campaign-driven media attention will help mainlanders understand them better. But so far it hasn’t helped, said Stephen Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
    And Alaska? Haycox noted the names of Palin’s children in commenting: “I suppose the perception is that people here are a wee bit odd. . . . But with kids with names like Bristol, Willow and Piper, I think it’s going to confirm all the images about Alaska.” – Boston Globe, 9-4-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Palin Pick Shows Lost Clout of Republicans’ Old Establishment”: McCain’s surprise selection of the 44-year-old Palin was clearly aimed at firing up the Republican Party’s core of social conservatives, said Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University. “In an election where everyone was talking about the return of moderates, this is a clear move to the right,” Zelizer said. “This is not a Joe Lieberman choice.” – Bloomberg, 9-4-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention ‘08: Live From St. Paul, It’s Convention Analysis – Chronicle for Higher Education, 9-4-08
  • Allan Lichtman on CTV Newsnet: Allan Lichtman, history professor at American University, says Sarah Palin didn’t completely outline her stance on key issues – CTV Newsnet, 9-3-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, this was a beat-up-on-Barack night, which is exactly what you expect from a keynoter. I thought Mayor Giuliani performed his role to the delight of everyone in the crowd. And it turned out he only warmed them up. There’s no doubt movements conservatives have themselves a new heroine, as of this evening. This will be a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans. It will be fascinating — I’d be interested to hear from Andy — it’d be fascinating to know if this plays as well among particularly independent voters out there who are watching this convention to find out not only what this party is against — and we heard a lot about that tonight — but what they’re for, particularly in the realm of the economy. And one final thing, I do wonder whether “drill, baby, drill” will take its place in the lexicon alongside “I like Ike.” – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, I think it happened, Richard. One note on political theater. You’ll note that, when John McCain came on stage — this is a first in history — a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate hugged in public. 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, they and their handlers decided that the American people couldn’t take the sight of these candidates hugging. So all through the campaign, they very carefully sort of held hands, held hands in the air, nothing more than that until after they lost. And Geraldine Ferraro said, “Can I finally hug you?” She did, indeed. I think the one thing as far as the speech — speech was fine, well-delivered, loved in the hall. But this is a woman that Americans know extremely little about, especially for a national nominee. And this speech didn’t tell us really very much beyond what we knew already, and that’s going to make it even more important in the future when she gives speeches that are more impromptu and when she submits to interrogations by reporters and average American citizens. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, a really strong speech designed to appeal to white women voters. When we control for race and we think about the gender gap, in 2000, Al Gore received 48 percent of white female votes. In 2004, it was down to 44 percent. So, really, the overwhelming number of African-American women voters and Hispanic voters that provides Democrats with that edge. And this speech was designed to really appeal to those voters. She called herself a hockey mom. And that really translates to the Midwest when we think about suburban soccer moms….Well, she exceeded expectations. People really — building on what Michael said — didn’t know what to expect, a lot of rumors, a lot of controversy about the surprise pick. She exceeded expectations. She’s poised. She’s calm. She’s cool and collected. She looked ready for primetime tonight. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • Gil Troy on the Republican National Convention: McGill University Professor of History, Gil Troy, weighs in on the Republican National Convention in the United States. – CTV Newsnet, 9-3-08

The Speeches….

John McCain accepting the Republican nomination. (CNN)

John McCain accepting the Republican nomination. (CNN)

Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans: the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for president of the United States…

Thank you. I — and I accept it with gratitude, humility, and confidence.

In my life, no success has come without a good fight, and this nomination wasn’t any different. That’s a tribute to the candidates who opposed me and their supporters. They’re leaders of great ability who love our country and wish to lead it to better days. Their support is an honor that I won’t forget.

I’m grateful to the president of the United States for leading us in these dark days following the worst attack in American history.

The worst attack on American soil in our history and keeping us safe from another attack that many — many thought was inevitable.

And to the first lady, Laura Bush, a model of grace and kindness in public and in private.

And I’m grateful to the 41st president and his bride of 63 years for their outstanding example…

… for their outstanding example of honorable service to our country. As always, I’m indebted to my wife, Cindy, and my seven children. You know, the pleasures of family life can seem like a brief holiday from the crowded calendar of our nation’s business. But I have treasured them all the more and can’t imagine a life without the happiness that you’ve given me.

You know, Cindy said a lot of nice things about me tonight. But, in truth, she’s more my inspiration than I am hers.

Her concern for those less blessed than we are — victims of land mines, children born in poverty, with birth defects — shows the measure of her humanity. And I know that she will make a great first lady.

My friends, when I was growing up, my father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone. Roberta McCain gave us her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief that we’re all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character.

And she doesn’t want me to say this, but she’s 96 years young.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped me win this nomination and stood by me when the odds were long. I won’t let you down….

And, finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it — we’ll go at it over the next two months — you know that’s the nature of this business — and there are big differences between us.

But you have my respect and my admiration.

Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.

We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. No country — no country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

But let there be no doubt, my friends: We’re going to win this election.

And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

I know these are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about…

Please, please, please. My friends, my dear friends, please. Please don’t be diverted by the ground noise and the static.

You know, I’m going to talk about it some more. But Americans want us to stop yelling at each other, OK?…

And I’ve found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, Governor Sarah…

Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.

And I want to thank everyone here and all over America for the tremendous, wonderful, warm reception you gave her last night. Thank you so much. She deserves it. What a great beginning….

I’m very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington.

And let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd: Change is coming.

John McCain accepting the Republican Partys nomination.  (CNN)

John McCain accepting the Republican Party's nomination. (CNN)

I’m not — I’m not in the habit of breaking my promises to my country, and neither is Governor Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it.

We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment, and backbone to keep our word to you.

You well know I’ve been called a maverick, someone who…

… someone who marches to the beat of his own drum. Sometimes it’s meant as a compliment; sometimes it’s not. What it really means is I understand who I work for. I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you….

I’ve fought the big spenders in both parties, who waste your money on things you neither need nor want, and the first big-spending pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it. I will make them famous, and you will know their names. You will know their names….

I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way: In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test.

I fight for Americans. I fight for you….

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us.

We lost — we lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties — and Senator Obama — passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust when we valued our power over our principles.

We’re going to change that.

We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again to the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.

In this country, we believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential, from the boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We’re all God’s children, and we’re all Americans.

We believe — we believe in low taxes, spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk-takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.

We believe — we believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life…

… personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench.

We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods, and communities. We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open…

I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them.

I will cut government spending. He will increase it.

My tax cuts will create jobs; his tax increases will eliminate them….

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy, and it often sees that your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for the unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch.

Now, my opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away….

Education — education is the civil rights issue of this century.

Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need… We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice.

Let’s remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parent — when it fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them.

Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have the choice, and their children will have that opportunity.

Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students.

And when I’m president, they will.

My fellow Americans, when I’m president, we’re going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades.

We’re going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much, and some of that money…

We’ll attack — we’ll attack the problem on every front. We’ll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells off-shore, and we’ll drill them now. We’ll drill them now….

Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that.

We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and restore the health of our planet.

My friends…… it’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we’ve faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead….

As president, I’ll work to establish good relations with Russia so that we need not fear a return to the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.

We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them.

I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it.

I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don’t.

I know how to secure the peace….

In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home with me.

I hate war. It’s terrible beyond imagination.

I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, and the power of our ideals — to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

In America, we change things that need to be changed. Each generation makes its contribution to our greatness. The work that is ours to do is plainly before us; we don’t need to search for it.

We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children.

All these functions of government were designed before the rise of the global economy, the information technology revolution, and the end of the Cold War. We have to catch up to history, and we have to change the way we do business in Washington….

Again and again — again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as president. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again.

My friends… … I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.

Instead — instead of rejecting good ideas because we didn’t think of them first, let’s use the best ideas from both sides. Instead of fighting over who gets the credit, let’s try sharing it.

This amazing country can do anything we put our minds to. I’ll ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me. And my administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability.

We’re going to finally start getting things done for the people who are counting on us, and I won’t care who gets the credit.

My friends, I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I’ve been her servant first, last, and always. And I’ve never…

I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege….

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people.

I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need.

My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

My friends, if you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist…

Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an — an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed.

Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your president. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. And with hard work — with hard word, strong faith, and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.

Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up, and fight.

Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up.

We never quit.

We never hide from history. We make history.

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

Cindy McCain addressing the Republican National Convention before her husband, Sen. John McCain accepts the partys nomination for President. (CNN)

Cindy McCain addressing the Republican National Convention before her husband, Sen. John McCain accepts the party's nomination for President. (CNN)

…John and I are so pleased and so happy to have them here with us tonight. Nothing has made me happier or more fulfilled in my life than being a mother.

But while John and I take great joy in having been able to spend time together this week as a family, our hearts go out to the thousands of families who have had to leave their homes, once again, due to devastating weather.

It’s not — it’s not our natural instinct to rally to them, to lift them up with our prayers, to come to their aid. It’s also our duty as a country.

That duty is what brings me before you tonight, and it’s a much larger, more important than John or me or any of us. It’s the work of this great country calling us together, and there’s no greater duty than that, no more essential task for our generation right now.

That’s been very much on my mind these last few months as I’ve traveled our country. Each day, after the bands packed up, and the speeches were done, and the camera lights darkened, I always came back to how blessed and honored I was to be a part of our national conversation.

And in these times, when so many of our fellow Americans face difficult situations, what I saw moved me deeply: Families worried about losing their homes. Towns deserted by industries once at their center. Mothers with no choice but to send their children to unsafe and underperforming schools.

But I have also seen the resilience of the American people. I’ve heard stirring stories of neighbor helping neighbor, cities on one end of the country offering help to fellow citizens on the other.

Despite our challenges, our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in the individual ability to make things right, if only the federal government would get itself under control and out of our way.

And so tonight is about renewing our commitment to one another, because this campaign is not about us. It’s about our special and exceptional country. And this convention celebrates a special and exceptional Republican Party. The hand we feel on our shoulder belongs to Abraham Lincoln. Our country was born …

Our country was — our country was born amidst the struggle for freedom, and our party arose from a great battle for human rights, dignity, and equality for all people.

We give way to no one and no other party in that cause.

From its very birth, our party has been grounded in the notion of service, community, self-reliance, and it’s all tempered by a uniquely American faith in and compassion for each other’s neighbors. A helping hand and friendly support has always been our way.

It’s no surprise that Americans are the most generous people in history.

That generosity of spirit is in our national DNA. It’s our way of doing things. It’s how we view the world.

I was taught that Americans can look at the world and ask either what do other countries think of us or we can look at ourselves and ask, what would our forefathers make of us and what will our children say of us?

That’s a big challenge. In living up to it, we know the security and the prosperity of our nation is about a lot more than politics. It also depends on a personal commitment, a sense of history, and a clear view of the future. I know of no one who better defines how to do that, whose life is a better example of how to go about that than the man I love, whom I’ve shared almost 30 years of my life, my husband, John McCain.

From the beginning of time, no matter how accomplished in other fields, women have always sought a husband with an eye to what kind of father that man would be. Well, I hit a home run with John McCain. I got…

I got the most marvelous husband, and friend, and confidant, a source of strength and inspiration, and also the best father you could ever imagine.

In that most sacred role, he brought to our children his great personal character, his life-long example of honesty, and his steadfast devotion to honor. He has shown the value of self-sacrifice by daily example and, above all, John showers us with unconditional love and support every family dreams of.

I know what his children say of him. And his courageous service to America in war and peace leaves no doubt what our forefathers would make of him.

It’s these virtues of character that led him to this campaign, to this moment. John McCain is a steadfast man who will not break with our heritage, no matter how demanding or dangerous the challenges at home or abroad….

I know John. You can trust his hand at the wheel.

But you know something? What I’ve always thought, it’s a good idea to have a woman’s hand on the wheel, as well.

So how about that Gov. Sarah Palin?

John has picked — John has picked a reform-minded, hockey- momming, basketball-shooting, moose-hunting, salmon-fishing, pistol- packing mother of five for vice president.

And as a fellow hockey mom myself and a Western conservative mother, I couldn’t be prouder that John has shaken things up, as he usually does.

No one can get the job done alone. And that’s why I’m glad John will have Governor Palin by his side. We all to have work together, build consensus, the way John has done all of his life.

His leadership inspires, and empowers, and places ultimate success in all of our hands. Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “With freedom goes responsibility, a responsibility that can only be met by the individual himself.”…

I think John was a hero in Vietnam.

But you know something? John just thinks it was his turn.

Our son, Jack, will graduate from the United States Naval Academy next year, fourth generation, ready to do his service.

And our son, Jimmy, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps, served honorably in Iraq.

Jimmy served honorably in Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of other young men and women just like him are doing for America and freedom everywhere.

The stakes were never more clear to me than the morning I watched my son, Jimmy, strap on his weapons and board a bus headed for harm’s way. I was born and raised in the American West, and I will always see the world through the prism of its values.

My father was a true Western gentleman. He rose from hardscrabble roots to realize the American dream. With only a few borrowed dollars in his pocket, and a strong back and a can-do spirit, he built a great life for his family.

His handshake was his solemn oath. He looked you straight in the eye and always believed the best of you, unless you gave him good cause not to.

Modest and good-natured, he had deep roots in our American soil. He taught me life is not just about you; it’s also about nurturing the next generation, preparing a better world for all of our children and helping them find the right way up.

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Cindy McCain with her children at the convention. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

We all come to that knowledge in different ways. For me, the great moment of clarity was when I became a mother. Something changed in me. I would never see my obligations the same way again.

It was after that I was walking through the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, surrounded by terrible poverty and the devastation of a cyclone. All around me were the children and the desperate faces of their mothers. The pain was overwhelming, and I felt helpless.

But then I visited an orphanage begun by Mother Teresa, and two very sick little girls captured my heart. There was something I could do. I could take them home, and so I did.

Today, both of those little girls are healthy and happy. And one of them you just met tonight: our beautiful daughter, Bridget.

Much is expected of a country as blessed as America, and our people are at work all over the globe making it a better planet, doing their part. It was my privilege to work with the men and women of the American Voluntary Medical Teams in places like Zaire, Micronesia, Vietnam, watching as they relieved whole towns from disease and rescued countless children from sickness.

The reward for sharing in that work is truly indescribable. To see a child rescued from a life in the shadows by Operation Smile is to witness and share a joy that is life-changing.

And the challenges go on. I just returned from the Republic of Georgia, where HALO Trust, an organizing — an organization specializing in the clearing of the debris of war, are rescuing innocent victims from landmines and missiles.

Sometimes the courage of others leaves me breathless. I only need to speak the word “Rwanda,” and the images it conjures up are beyond description.

In my box tonight is Ernestine, a woman, a friend, a mother like myself, whom I met in Kigali. She suffered unimaginable horrors and was made to watch appalling havoc wreaked by her family.

Yet, as the violence in her country subsides, she doesn’t seek retribution. Instead, she offers love and seeks reconciliation for her people. She says simply, “It’s time to move on for me and my country.”…

Ernestine, your courage is humbling. Your forgiveness is healing. You are my hero.

Forgiveness is not just a personal issue. It’s why John led the efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam, to retrieve the remains of our MIAs, to bring closure to both sides. That’s leadership, national leadership. And it’s leading by example.

The presidential contest will begin in earnest when this convention closes. If Americans want straight talk and plain truth, they should take a good close look at John McCain.

A man tested and true, who never wavered in his devotion to our country, a man who served in Washington without ever becoming a Washington insider, and who always speaks the truth, no matter what the cost, a man of judgment and character, a loyal and loving and true husband, and a magnificent father.

This is a good man, a worthy man. I know. I have loved him with all my heart for almost 30 years, and I humbly recommend him to you tonight for nominee for the next president of the United States.

I am so grateful — I am so grateful to have had the chance to speak with you tonight and for the honor that you are about to grant my husband and, indeed, our entire family.

I promise you, I will work every day to help John strengthen our freedom and to serve this great country with the honor and dignity and the love it deserves from each and every generation it blesses. advertisement

May God bless all of you in America, the citizens of the Gulf Coast, and all the sons and daughters serving this great country around the world tonight.

Thank you.

How do we measure the content of a person’s character? How do we recognize their fitness to serve?

Barack Obama gives a good speech.

But the best sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived.

John McCain’s whole life is a testimony to service, duty, courage and common sense. John McCain has walked the walk, and he has always put our country first!

When he showed guts and courage as a Prisoner of War, John McCain put our country first!

When he stood up to special interests, and fought against earmarks and pork-barrel spending in Congress, John McCain put our country first!

When he saw the need to change strategy in Iraq and boldly called for the surge, John McCain put our country first!

When he responded to our energy crisis with an all-of-the-above energy plan, John McCain put our country first!

And when John McCain is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, we know he will always put our country first!

We’ve seen in this man the very best our country has to offer….

We live in a dangerous world.

With John McCain as President, there will be no misunderstanding about where America stands and what we stand for.

John McCain is tough — but he’s also compassionate. I’ve gotten to know John, and I can tell you he is a Purple Heart recipient with a heart of gold.

He understands the concerns of everyday Americans like you and me.

What I like to call “Sam’s Club Republicans.”

These voters are on a tight budget.

They’re looking for value and accountability at the store. And they’re looking for value and accountability from their government.

John McCain connects with Sam’s Club voters.

He gets it.

He will force government to live within its means, just like families do.

He knows that small businesses are the job growth engine for our country.

He knows the last thing they need is MORE taxes.

John also understands that health care costs are budget busters for too many American families.

He’ll provide help but will put consumers and their doctors in charge, not the federal government.

John also knows it’s getting tougher for us to afford to fill-up at the pump.

His energy plan is classic McCain – bold and aggressive.

In this time, we don’t need a president who can just read a poll or momentarily thrill a crowd.

We don’t need rhetoric or empty promises.

We need a president who has the integrity and courage to make the tough choices so America will be stronger and safer.

I believe the times call out great leaders.

This time, our time, calls out for John McCain.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says Barack Obama doesnt get it.  (CNN)

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says Barack Obama "doesn't get it." (CNN)

  • Lindsey Graham speaking at the Republican National ConventionBy every measure, the surge of the troops into Iraq has worked.

    It has worked. Sectarian violence and coalition casualties are at record lows. Fifteen of the 18 political benchmarks have been met by the Iraqi government.

    The Iraqis have a larger, more capable army. Oil production is dramatically increasing. This week, Anbar province, once an Al Qaeda stronghold, was turned over to the Iraqis.

    American combat brigades, who made up the surge, have returned home in victory.

    Now, we know the surge has worked. Our men and women in uniform know it has worked. And I promise you, above all others, Al Qaeda knows it has worked.

    The only people who deny it are Barack Obama and his buddies at MoveOn.org.

    Why won’t they admit it? Because Barack Obama’s campaign is built around us losing in Iraq. Without John McCain’s courageous leadership, there would never have been a surge.

    I know. I was there with John McCain and Joe Lieberman every step of the way.

    In our visits to Iraq — ladies and gentlemen, in our visits to Iraq, we saw the situation deteriorate. The troops we met, the sergeants, the captains, and the colonels had such respect and admiration for Sen. McCain, they felt comfortable giving him something he knows a lot about: straight talk.

    They said, “Sen. McCain, this ain’t working.” John heard their message and put their interests ahead of his own. He came back to Washington and told everyone, including Republicans, “We must change course.”

    For his honesty, some accused John of being disloyal, but John McCain’s loyalties, ladies and gentlemen, have always been to his country and to our men and women in uniform, not a political party.

    Calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq was one of the most unpopular things John McCain could have done. Some said it was political suicide. But you know what? It was the right thing to do… because losing in Iraq would have been a nightmare for America. Al Qaeda would have claimed victory over our nation. Sectarian violence would spread throughout the region, and Iran would fill the vacuum.

    Last summer, we came within two votes — two votes — of a congressionally mandated surrender. One Democrat, one Democrat broke with his party to support the surge. Ladies and gentlemen, thank God for Joe Lieberman.

    It was John McCain’s voice and credibility that stopped the Democratic Congress from losing this war.

    Gen. Petraeus’ plan will be a model for generations to come, and our troops will be heroes for the ages. Those who predicted failure, voted to cut off funding for our troops, and played politics with our national security will be footnotes in history.

    Let there be no — let there be no doubt about it. We are on the road to victory.

    Victory! You can say it at this convention. We are winning!

    And you know what? America is safer because we’re winning in Iraq. A Muslim nation in the heart of the Arab world that rejected Al Qaeda, a nation where the rule of law replaces the rule of gun, a place in the Mideast where a woman can finally have a say about her children’s future.

    While Barack Obama expresses appreciation for our troops’ service, he refuses to acknowledge their success. They have worked too hard, they have sacrificed too much for a patronizing pat on the back.

    Barack Obama went 2½ years between visits to Iraq and never once sat down with Gen. Petraeus. If Barack Obama cannot appreciate that our troops are winning in Iraq, he should not be their commander in chief.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Barack Obama doesn’t care. I’m just saying he doesn’t get it.

    Not once — not once was Barack Obama’s eloquent voice ever raised in support of victory in Iraq. Not once was it used to rally our troops in battle. Instead, he inspired those who supported retreat and would have accepted our defeat.

    We should all be grateful, ladies and gentlemen, that Barack Obama was unable to defeat the surge.

    The surge was a test for Barack Obama. He failed miserably.

    Our troops deserve a commander in chief who acknowledges their success, has walked in their shoes, speaks their language, shares in their suffering, and will lead them to victory in a war we cannot afford to lose.

    That person is my dear friend, John McCain.

    John often says he would rather lose a campaign than lose a war. Here’s the good news: We’re going to win this war and John McCain will be our next president of the United States.

    But wait. But wait. It gets even better, because John McCain has one of the toughest and most talented political reformers in America as his running mate….

    God bless America.

Former PA Governor Tom Ridge addressing the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

Former PA Governor Tom Ridge addressing the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

I speak to you with a grateful heart and enormous pride.

I speak to you as one friend about another.

About a proven leader, a world statesman, an untiring and effective public servant. I speak to you about a warrior who has sometimes stood alone or shown the way in fighting for the most vulnerable of our citizens for the country he so dearly loves and for the founding principles we all so deeply cherish.

I speak to you about a friend who was first pointed out to me in the same way he is proudly pointed out wherever he goes today — “That’s John McCain.”

John and I have been friends for 26 years.

Both of us got elected to Congress in 1982, and both of us are Vietnam veterans.

Some might say that is our common bond. For certainly the Vietnam experience is a uniting one. But I would also say that our friendship blossomed over many a laugh as we told jokes that only we thought were funny….

It was only a little more than a year ago, in August of 2007, that I drove to John’s office to offer an encouraging word.

You all remember that time.

It was really rough going for the campaign. Some were ready to count John out.

Some questioned his resolve.

Some wondered and waited for the white flag of surrender.

Having rehearsed my pep talk, I walked into John’s office, put my arm around him and asked, “Hey, how are you doing?”

He paused for a moment.

From his shoulders came a quick shrug.

Then he looked at me and said, “Tom, you and I both know I’ve been through worse.”

We sat down, he spread some papers across a table and said, “NOW, let me tell you how I think we can win.”

He talked strategy, a way forward, next steps.

And later I would leave my friend’s office thinking what I share with you tonight: “That’s John McCain.”

Where some people see adversity, John McCain accepts a challenge.

Where some people see a crisis, John McCain creates an opportunity.

Where some people see defeat, John McCain pursues victory.

John knows the purpose of elections is not merely to win.

You run to win, but you win to govern.

So who of our two candidates is the most qualified to govern the freest, strongest, most blessed nation on earth?

Who but John McCain understands that America’s security and prosperity will — now and forevermore — be tied to the security and prosperity of the rest of the world?

Who but John McCain has the experience, the sheer will, the steady hand and the informed judgment to advance our economic and political interests during these perilous 21st century times? And who but John McCain — and only John McCain — can negotiate from a position of strength and proven ability because he’s already earned the trust, respect and admiration of our friends and allies around the world? And I suspect he has the attention of those who would oppose us.

Now more than ever we need a leader who fits the times — not a candidate who merely thinks it’s his time to lead.

For the consideration before us is not about who can take a 3 a.m. call.

It’s about who has answered the call throughout his life.

It’s not about building a record.

It’s about having one.

It’s not about talking pretty.

It’s about talking straight.

The challenge of our times is not simply to change.

The challenge of our time is to leave nothing to chance….

Today, we have a leader — some people call him a maverick — who, for his country, has put his life on the line.

Who, for his country, leads with his conscience.

Who, for his country, has worked to preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free.

That’s John McCain.

John dares to think differently, to act boldly and to put country before self.

He dares to believe that we are all called to serve as long as we call ourselves free.

He dares to embrace the founding principle that our responsibility to one another extends from a national crisis to an individual need — from nation to nation, community to community — in this, the greatest community ever formed.

So may we rise to the occasion, to the moment, to the vision of our Founding Fathers.

May we summon ourselves to our best efforts and call this maverick forward.

Let us elect a man who has firmly and unequivocally laid out his vision of where this country can go.

Who offers a better way, a better day and a greater say for all who call this great country home.

That’s John McCain.

Let us elect a public servant who refuses to think in terms of red versus blue, but only in terms of red, white and blue.

That’s John McCain.

An artful leader, a diplomat, a tenacious legislator.

Say it with me!

That’s John McCain!

Someone who speaks truth to power, truth to the American people, and rises above politics to get things done.

That’s John McCain.

A consensus builder, a reformer, the patriot who always puts his country first.

That’s John McCain!

A Reagan conservative, an optimist.

America’s go-to guy.

That’s John McCain!

That’s John McCain.

That’s John McCain.

I am so very proud to say, ‘That is my friend, John McCain.’

The next president of the United States.

The next commander in chief.

Ready to lead.

Ready to serve.

Ready to deliver.

God bless you, John.

God bless you all.

And may God continue to bless our brave troops who serve our country so well.

Thank you.

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (NYT)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (NYT)

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Obama Appears on Fox on McCain’s Night – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Obama Brushes Back Convention Attacks when speaking to media at the Voith Siemens Hydro Power Plant in York, Penn., September 4, 2008:“I understand they don’t have much of an agenda to run on. But I think the American people deserve better than to get the same old vitriol and slash-and-burn politics that we’ve been seeing over the last couple of days. We are going to tell the American people exactly what I and Joe Biden and an Obama administration intend to do to make their lives better. And I hope at some point the Republicans decide to engage in that debate….

    They’re talking about the three years of work that I did right out of college, as if I’m making the leap from two or three years out of college into the presidency. I would argue that doing work in the community, to try to create jobs, to bring people together, to rejuvenate communities that have fallen on hard times, to set up job training programs in areas that have been hard hit when the steel plants closed, that that’s relevant only in understanding where I’m coming from. Who I believe in. Who I’m fighting for. And why I’m in this race. And the question I have for them is, why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? What are they advocating for? They think the lives of those folks who are struggling each and every day, that working with them to try to improve their lives, is somehow not relevant to the presidency? Maybe that’s the problem….

    If they want to work the refs they are free to do so. And I think the public can make their judgments about this. The notion that any questions about her work in Alaska is somehow not relevant to her potentially being vice president of the United States, doesn’t make too much sense to me. I think she’s got a compelling story. But I assume she wants to be treated the same way that guys want to be treated, which means that their records are under scrutiny. I’ve been through this for nineteen months. She’s been through it what, four days so far?…

    “John McCain’s running for president. I’m running against John McCain….That speech that she delivered was on behalf of John McCain. The central question in this campaign is, who’s got a better plan, a better agenda, to move this country forward and fundamentally change it from the economic and foreign policy failures that we’ve seen over the last eight year? I believe that the American people need change, they want change, and I’m in the best position to bring it….

    What did you guys expect? I anticipated this last Thursday in my acceptance speech. This is what they do. They don’t have an agenda to run on. They haven’t offered a single concrete idea so far in two nights. They spent the entire two nights attacking me and extolling John McCain’s biography, which is fine — they can use their convention time any way they want. But you can’t expect that I’d be surprised by attacks from Republicans. And by the way, I’ve been called worse on the basketball court.”

  • Biden vows to challenge PalinUSA Today, 9-4-08
  • Palin criticizes Obama again in solo appearance with Republican Governors: “We don’t have a ‘present’ button as governor – we are expected to lead, we are expected to take action and not just vote ‘present. So there’s a big difference, of course, between the executive and legislative branches and our experience…. a big job cut out in front of me running for vice president. I intend to give this campaign all that I have to give. And I look forward to these 60-plus days on the trail. My family looks forward to this, we’re up for it, we’re excited about it.”
  • Sarah Palin telling reporters she is looking forward to McCain’s acceptance speech: “We are all very excited about tonight. The people of this country will once again see tonight the conviction and the character that make him a great man, an honorable man and will make him a great president.”
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

The Audience at the Republican National Convention (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

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Democratic Convention Day 4: August 28, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 29, 2008

Day 4 Schedule

    Thursday, August 28: Change You Can Believe In

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

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

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

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

Highlights:

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

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

Stats & In the News…

  • Recalling the “Dream” Speech, 45 Years On – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Witnesses to Dream Speech See a New Hope – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (NYT)

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

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

Historians’ Comments

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: Well, a truly historic night, one whose symbolic power is going to reverberate around the nation. Barack Obama has really catapulted America into its 21st-century multi-cultural future, really whether Americans are ready for that or not. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: You know, I think the lack of a balloon drop wasn’t the only unconventional thing about this speech. I think it was a remarkable speech for one thing, I think, in some ways, it sacrificed eloquence of the conventional variety for electability. This was someone who, as Judy has said, was putting meat on the bones, defining what change means to people sitting around the kitchen table, but also he talked about eliminating obsolescent government programs, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Over and over, he talked about the search for common ground on issues that have been so divisive — abortion, gun control, gay rights — and implicit in all that is the search for a more civil, more workable, if you will, kind of government. It’s going to be very difficult, it seems to me, for people to pin him with the label of conventional liberal or maybe conventional Democrat. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian Yep. You know, Jim, we were talking earlier about John Kennedy’s amazing acceptance speech in 1960. I listened to Barack Obama tonight; I think this one was better. He told you exactly what he’s going to do, point by point, told you who he is, and also didn’t do the cheap thing, trying to sort of make himself into something he’s not. This line where he said, “I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office, I don’t fit the typical pedigree,” 9 out of 10 politicians wouldn’t have done — 9 out of 10 would not have done that. It gives you a sense of who this man is. I think it’s going to be a very powerful help with his campaign. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: A Historic Night Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph offer thoughts on the closing night of the DNC. – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08, Download
  • Ted Widmer on Obama’s Oratory Skills: “He is blessed with a richly resonant voice that we love to hear; he could read the telephone directory and it would sound good,” said Ted Widmer, editor of an acclaimed edition of American political speeches and a former Bill Clinton speechwriter. “He is very good at pauses and inflection, and he cuts an impressive figure on stage – all of which adds up to making an Obama speech a special event.” – Guardian UK, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss on “Panel says Chicago forged Obama’s political skill”: Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, noted that previous presidents have come on varying paths to the White House. “If you go through presidents and look what made the great ones, probably a length of time in the United States Congress doesn’t help too much; same with governorships,” he said. – Denver Post, 8-28-08
  • Gil Troy “DNC Day 3: The Clinton Catharsis was a Con – and a Historical Hijacking”: …Moreover, ultimately, despite Bill Clinton’s clever, skillful endorsement, both Clintons made Barack Obama look weak. One Fox News commentator suggested that had the Clintons been the winners, they would have imposed a deal on Obama. They would have pushed supporters to cover the defeated rival’s campaign debt on the condition that he maintain a low profile at the convention and follow their script to a tee. Instead, as always with the Clintons, too much of this convention was all about them, rather than about Barack Obama and his historic but now somewhat distracted push for the presidency. – HNN, 8-28-08
  • Andrew Bacevich: Obama’s Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich – …”Jimmy Carter, his famous ‘malaise’ speech in 1979 was enormously prescient in warning about the consequences of ever-increasing debt and dependency. Carter’s argument was that energy independence provided a vehicle for us to assert control of our destiny, and to reassess what we meant by freedom: is it something more than simply consumerism? But that speech was greeted with howls of derision. Ronald Reagan said we could have anything we wanted. There were no limits. Then we the people rejected Carter’s warning and embraced Reagan’s promise of never-ending abundance. That was a fateful choice. “That’s the language of American politics, for both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. But that idea is not really sustainable when we look at the facts.” – The Nation, 8-28-08
  • Timuel Black on “Chicago area residents clear schedules to watch”: Chicago area historian Timuel Black was in Washington DC 45 years ago when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the height of the civil rights movement. Black said the emotion was overwhelming, and the 89-year-old said he expected to be emotional again Thursday night while witnessing King’s words come true. “Forty-five years later, Barack Obama epitomizes what Dr. King was dreaming of; that one can move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder,” Black said. – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Robert Caro: Johnson’s Dream, Obama’s Speech – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Gil Troy “Obama’s lousy summer”: …This failure to embrace his centrism played into his larger mistake — he did nothing this summer to advance the narrative, to give Americans a new reason to vote for him. In the absence of a new plot dictated by Obama, the growing case of buyer’s remorse dominated the headlines, and shaped the pre-convention plot lines.
    Just as it was a mistake to count out McCain prematurely, it would be foolish to underestimate Obama’s chances. Four years ago, a self-described “skinny kid with a funny name” wowed the Democratic National Convention–and most Americans — with the greatest convention speech since William Jennings Bryan’s populist Cross of Gold speech in 1896. That 2004 speech catapulted Barack Obama into the Democratic stratosphere.
    Obama plans to accept the nomination tonight on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s now-legendary “I have a dream” speech. Obama actually has the skill to match that historic moment. The race is indeed on — but in order to win it, Barack Obama will have to use his tremendous assets, both personal and political, to overcome his disappointing summer. – National Post, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: Penial Joseph picked Bill Clinton’s 1992 address in New York when he argued that the party needed a “new covenant” with America: “What Clinton offers in 1992 in terms of rhetorical eloquence and political genius is this notion that the Democratic Party can still help poor people but it’s going to have to do this on a much smaller scale,” Joseph said. “He talks about we need a leaner government and not a meaner government.” PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: For Richard Norton Smith, Adlai Stevenson set the gold standard for Democratic convention speeches with his 1952 speech in Chicago. After delivering a well-received welcoming speech, Stevenson was selected as the party’s presidential candidate two days later. It is that acceptance speech that Norton Smith said electrified millions of Americans listening to their radios back home: “He used words in a way that no one had heard before. There was an urbanity, there was a wit, there was a sense of the ridiculous about the political process. And it was all about challenging the American people. Stevenson said, “better lose an election than mislead the American people.” Norton Smith said. “Stevenson raised the bar.” – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Douglas Brinkley on “Decades Later, John Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’ Speech Echoes”: “The Obama campaign has been purposely modeling its acceptance speech after J.F.K. in 1960,” said Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian, “and we’ll soon see whether the content on Thursday is another nod to Camelot.” – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Obama outdoor speech echoes JFK’s 1960 move – USA Today, 8-27-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Bill Clinton had key moment”: I sure do, Jim. This was a great, big night for the Democrats and a huge help to this ticket. Bill Clinton gave one of his best speeches, including the seven words that Hillary Clinton did not quite speak last night. He said, “Barack Obama is ready to be president.” That’s going to be a great help to those who are going to cite Hillary’s words from earlier in the primary campaign against her. You also saw one of the reasons why Joe Biden is on this ticket. You know, vice presidents, like Hubert Humphrey in 1964, that convention, went after Barry Goldwater. Fritz Mondale, whom you interviewed earlier this evening, Jim, in 1976, brought the house down at the Carter convention by saying, “We’ve had the worst scandal in our history, Watergate, and this nominee, Gerald Ford, pardoned the guy who did it.”And, of course, Al Gore in 1992, “What time is it? It’s time for them to go.” And the interesting thing, finally, Jim, is that Joe Biden showed sort of an ironic and interesting sense of history, because when he kept on saying, “Do you want change or more of the same?”, who’s slogan was that? It was Bill Clinton’s in 1992. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on Joe Biden: Well, it’s funny. Like Michael, I saw the ghost of Hubert Humphrey in this hall tonight, you know? We’ve heard this week from Kennedy Democrats, and Clinton Democrats, and Obama Democrats, and tonight was Hubert’s night. I mean, this was one-part classic populism and one-part the politics of joy. But it was also something else. It was very interesting. This was a values speech. This was a character speech. And it does indicate that this is a party that is going to go after values voters, with which they have not always been terribly successful in some recent elections. That, in itself, it seems to me makes it significant. And it also really, I think, ups the ante for Senator McCain who has, I guess, about two days in which to decide who he wants to pit in that vice presidential debate against the man we heard tonight. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download

The Speeches….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What is that American promise?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    America, now is not the time for small plans.

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You make a big election about small things…

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

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

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

    America, this is one of those moments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And we know how to fix that….

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I am here tonight not just as the governor of Virginia who knows the people of my state need a better partner in White House, not just as a Democrat who is tired of politics as usual, but most importantly as an American who wants to see American values guiding our country again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Say it with me-”move mountain.”

    Say it with me again-”move mountain.”

    Mountain, get out of our way!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebration after Barack Obama's acceptance speech (CNN)

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

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

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Democratic Convention Day 3: August 27, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 28, 2008

Day 3 Schedule

    Wednesday, August 27: Securing America’s Future

    Barack Obama offers a new, tough foreign policy that is neither Republican nor Democratic, but is a strong, smart American foreign policy to make our country more secure and advance our interests in the world. Wednesday night’s Convention program will feature the voices of Americans who share Barack’s vision of making America stronger and safer.

    The headline prime-time speaker on Wednesday was Vice Presidential Nominee Senator Joe Biden.

    Barack Obama and Joe Biden (NYT)

    The 2008 Democratic Ticket: Barack Obama and Joe Biden (NYT)

    Featured speakers included: Former President Bill Clinton; former Senator Tom Daschle; Governor Bill Richardson and Senators Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Jay Rockefeller. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Convention home state Senator Ken Salazar, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, and Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) along with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth will lead a tribute honoring those who give so much to secure our nation’s future – veterans, active duty military and their families.

Highlights:

  • August 27, 2008: Obama and Biden plan post-convention bus tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan … GOP ‘war room’ revs up as high-profile figures hit airwaves to slam Obama … Democrats plan heavy presence at GOP convention, will greet delegates with Bush billboard – AP, 8-27-08
  • Freudian Slip: Mr. Biden’s Freudian slip gets a big laugh — when he says “George” when he means “John.” That’s the subtext of his speech, which hasn’t come yet — that Mr. McCain is Mr. Bush. – NYT, The Caucus Blog, 8-27-08

Stats

  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08
  • August 27, 2008: Obama had received 1549.5 votes to Clinton’s 341.5 when Clinton called for the roll call to be suspended. – Detroit Free Press, 8-27-08
  • Q: Had the wives of presidential candidates given full-length, prime-time speeches before Michelle Obama?
    A: Yes. Elizabeth Dole, wife of GOP nominee Bob Dole, stole the show at the 1996 Republican National Convention when she took a roving microphone and spoke to delegates on the floor. Her “Oprah turn” drew cheers, even from network correspondents.
    Both Laura Bush and Tipper Gore also gave full-length, prime-time speeches at their husbands’ nominating conventions in 2000.
    In 1988, Barbara Bush spoke, but her remarks were not aired in prime time. Nancy Reagan had a prime-time slot at her husband’s second Republican convention in 1984. Pat Nixon spoke briefly at the 1972 GOP convention after her husband, Richard M. Nixon, was nominated for a second term.
    In 1940, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented third term, he asked his wife, Eleanor, to go to the Democratic convention in Chicago on his behalf and unify delegates to back his vice presidential pick. She was home knitting when she got the call, according to Carl Anthony, a historian with the National First Ladies Library. – AP, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Bill Clinton had key moment”: I sure do, Jim. This was a great, big night for the Democrats and a huge help to this ticket. Bill Clinton gave one of his best speeches, including the seven words that Hillary Clinton did not quite speak last night. He said, “Barack Obama is ready to be president.” That’s going to be a great help to those who are going to cite Hillary’s words from earlier in the primary campaign against her. You also saw one of the reasons why Joe Biden is on this ticket. You know, vice presidents, like Hubert Humphrey in 1964, that convention, went after Barry Goldwater. Fritz Mondale, whom you interviewed earlier this evening, Jim, in 1976, brought the house down at the Carter convention by saying, “We’ve had the worst scandal in our history, Watergate, and this nominee, Gerald Ford, pardoned the guy who did it.”And, of course, Al Gore in 1992, “What time is it? It’s time for them to go.” And the interesting thing, finally, Jim, is that Joe Biden showed sort of an ironic and interesting sense of history, because when he kept on saying, “Do you want change or more of the same?”, who’s slogan was that? It was Bill Clinton’s in 1992. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on Joe Biden: Well, it’s funny. Like Michael, I saw the ghost of Hubert Humphrey in this hall tonight, you know? We’ve heard this week from Kennedy Democrats, and Clinton Democrats, and Obama Democrats, and tonight was Hubert’s night. I mean, this was one-part classic populism and one-part the politics of joy. But it was also something else. It was very interesting. This was a values speech. This was a character speech. And it does indicate that this is a party that is going to go after values voters, with which they have not always been terribly successful in some recent elections. That, in itself, it seems to me makes it significant. And it also really, I think, ups the ante for Senator McCain who has, I guess, about two days in which to decide who he wants to pit in that vice presidential debate against the man we heard tonight. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Oh, gosh. Bill Clinton’s legacy — earlier we heard Walter Mondale, a very honorable, very decent spokesperson for a different kind of Democratic Party, a kind of a New Deal liberalism. It was Bill Clinton who said the era of big government is over. It was Bill Clinton who in many ways anticipated Barack Obama by seeking a third way, almost a post-ideological presidency. And so welfare reform, and a balanced budget, and surpluses, things that people didn’t associate with Democrats. So he redefined the Democratic Party, certainly in economic terms, and to some degree, I would say, in foreign policy, as well. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. It’s really a paradoxical legacy. On the one hand, Clinton is the first Democrat to have two terms since, really, Roosevelt. On the other, his third way or neoliberalism actually really transforms the party in a way that his critics say was really negative, because, on the one hand, he says he wants a leaner, not meaner government in 1992, and really tries to split the difference between old-school New Deal liberalism and the conservative austerity of the 1980s. Now, that third way was progressive on some fronts, but on other fronts it left people wondering whether the Democratic Party really cared about working people, poor people, and minorities. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Yes, actually, I don’t agree too much with some of what both Peniel and Richard said, as much as I love you both. And the reason is that eight years of peace and prosperity, admirable, I think to historians, in the future. Legacy is what a president does that affects later generations. Bill Clinton had to basically try to retard the movement of a Republican period. That period is ebbing right now. He also tried to make the Democratic Party as strong as the Republicans on military things. So both of those things are a little bit out of date. This seems to be this year a Democratic time, a growing Democratic Congress. Not too many lessons for Barack Obama to use either as candidate or president. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • Michael Beschloss, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) at breakfast discussion hosted by Politico, The Denver Post and Yahoo News: Beschloss agreed with Emanuel that race often played a role in presidential elections, “sometimes in subtler ways.”…. Answering a question about the most important qualities a president should possess, Beschloss mentioned the ability to “get things through Congress,” noting that Obama’s short experience in Washington could make that a challenge. But he added, gesturing toward Daschle, “That’s a talent that a president can hire.”… Beschloss added that a president should be willing to dump any advisers who end up being less helpful — or more troublesome — than expected. “Sometimes you will appoint someone,” Beschloss said, “and sometimes it is not working, and you have to cut the friend adrift. It is excruciatingly painful.”… And Beschloss, the historian, suggested the migration from Daschle’s staff to Obama’s was an early sign of the Illinois senator’s national political potential. – Politico, 8-27-08
  • Milton C. Sernett on “Did Harriet Tubman Really Say That?”: Milton C. Sernett, a retired professor of history at Syracuse University, and an authority on African-American history, said he found it “a bit odd” when he heard Mrs. Clinton’s Tubman citation in her speech. “If she meant it as a paraphrase of something that has been attributed to Harriet Tubman, that might be understandable,” he said. “But if she was meaning to quote Harriet Tubman directly, that puzzled me.”
    Dr. Sernett is the author of “Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History” (Duke University Press, 2007), which examined the ways Tubman has been represented in American writing and culture. The thesis of the book, he said in a phone interview, is that “by the time Harriet Tubman enters fully into the American consciousness as an American icon, her historical person has been so mixed up with ideas that cannot be historically substantiated that what passed into memory was the mythologized symbol, not the historical person.” He added, “Because she was illiterate, we have mediated histories of her — stories always told by others — that leave it open to a great deal of interpretation and reinterpretation by each generation as they search for a usable Harriet Tubman.”
    As part of the book, Dr. Sernett investigated a four-line quatrain that has often been attributed to Tubman and resembles what Senator Clinton cited:

    If you are tired, keep going.
    If you are scared, keep going.
    If you are hungry, keep going.
    If you want to taste freedom, keep going.

    Dr. Sernett said, “While this is frequently attributed to her, and you find it in many books written for children, I was unable to find it in any of the primary documents that date from Harriet Tubman’s life — or something that she might have recounted to someone else who then took it down firsthand.”
    He believes the lines originated in “semifictional accounts of her life in the 1950s or even later, in the 1960s, when there was an explosion of interest in writers, at a time when there was a great-felt need for remedying the neglect of African-American history.”
    Dr. Sernett said he nonetheless appreciated the senator’s words:

    Senator Clinton was not on the podium there as a historian. She was there as a symbol in her own right. I thought there was a refrain throughout her speech that was more feminist than some of her other speeches. Given the audience and the moment, it was an appropriate citation.

    In fact, Dr. Sernett said, Tubman did receive such compensation during her lifetime — though some of that compensation came late — and it is a “historically inaccurate notion that she had something coming to her.” – NYT, The Caucus log, 8-27-08

  • Kate Clifford Larson on “Did Harriet Tubman Really Say That?”:: Kate Clifford Larson, who teaches history at Simmons College and Wheelock College in Boston and is author of “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero” (Ballantine, 2003), told The Caucus in an e-mail message:

    This quote, and variations of it, have been attributed to Tubman since the mid 20th century. I researched this years ago and determined it came from a juvenile account of Tubman’s life sometime in the 1950s. The roots of it, however, are obvious. Tubman, indeed, never did give up, and spent her life encouraging people to keep fighting for freedom, equality, justice, and self determination. Even on her death bed, it was reported that she encouraged black and white women to “stick together” to win the battle for the right to vote (many white women activists were willing to sacrifice giving the vote to black women in order to attract southern white women to the cause). How poignant that Hillary asked the same of her supporters on the anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, giving all women the right to vote. While Clinton used a commonly attributed quote of Tubman’s that is not known to be original, she did capture Tubman’s spirit. And, in all fairness to Senator Clinton and others who use that quote, few outside of the small circle of Tubman scholars know that the quote is not actually attributable to Tubman.

    Dr. Larson said she appreciated Senator Clinton’s citation of Tubman, saying it would assist efforts by scholars who are working with the National Park Service to create a national park in Tubman’s honor. – NYT, The Caucus log, 8-27-08

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”: Well, for decades, the Democratic Party has suffered from the perception that it is the party of special interests. For the second straight night, we see a party that’s trying to create a perception that it’s actually the party of universal interest, but universal interest in Technicolor. So I think that it’s been very effective in trying to embrace themes of patriotism and, really, small-d American democracy….
    I thought it was a remarkable speech. I think in a way some critics will say that she should have talked about Obama even more. But given the fact that she got 18 million votes, I think the self-referential nature of the speech was justified to an extent. At the same time, she tried to pass the torch to Obama and really tell her supporters that, if they want a different kind of America for themselves and their children, they should support Senator Obama’s candidacy…. PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think, in a curious sort of war, she may have just saved the McCain campaign some ad dollars, because it’s awfully difficult to imagine them continuing as of tomorrow morning to run those ads that suggest that Senator Clinton is, in fact, a latent McCain supporter….
    You know, I think that’s, frankly, implicit. You know, we’ve all been caught up in this media melodrama for weeks. You know, basically, will she or won’t she? And tonight she answered that question I think pretty emphatically, with some poignancy and, I suspect, considerable persuasiveness. But, remember, there are still a lot of raw feelings among many of those delegates on the floor tonight. There’s a credibility test that this speech had to pass among some of her most dedicated followers. And I think, if she’d spent much of that speech, in effect, taking back some of the things she’d said rather than arguing the broad case — I agree with Michael, it was a broad, somewhat generic case — but that case certainly more than passed the threshold that had been raised over these last few weeks. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think it’s probably the best written and best delivered speech I’ve heard her give. But I think you can criticize it on one ground, an Obama supporter might, and that is this is a dead-close election right now. Barack Obama, for Democrats who want to see him elected, is going to need all the help he can. She said some pretty brutal things about Barack Obama and his equipment to be — his experience to be president that are being aired in those McCain commercials. And so what she said for Obama tonight — you know, he’ll bring health care, he’ll do all these wonderful things — it was great, but it was pretty generic. She could have said those things about Chris Dodd, if he had been nominated. I think what it really needed more, if it was going to be really a huge help to Obama, would be, “I did say certain things early in the campaign, but because of what Obama has done in this campaign, I’ve seen him grow. I’ve come to question what I said against him. I have a new view that’s a lot more positive. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download

The Speeches….

  • Joseph R. Biden’s Convention Speech:
    Joe Biden (CSMonitor)

    Joe Biden (CSMonitor)

    BIDEN: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, John Kerry.
    Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. Thank you, thank you. Thanks. Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

    You know, folks, my dad used to have an expression. He’d say, “A father knows he’s a success when he turns and looks at his son or daughter and know that they turned out better than he did.” I’m a success; I’m a hell of a success. Beau, I love you. I’m 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 also so proud of my son, Hunter, and my daughter, Ashley.

    And my wife, Jill, the only one who leaves me both breathless and speechless at the same time.

    It’s an honor to share the stage tonight with President Clinton, a man who I think brought this country so far along that I only pray we do it again.

    And last night — and last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of our great leaders, a great leader of this 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 — I am truly honored to live in a country with the bravest warriors in the world.

    And I’m honored to represent the first state, my state, the state of Delaware.

    Sen. Joe Biden emphasized his working class roots in a speech at the Democratic convention Wednesday. (CNN)

    Sen. Joe Biden emphasized his working class roots in a speech at the Democratic convention Wednesday. (CNN)

    Since I’ve never been called a man of few words, let me say this 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 the 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.”….

    You know, my mom taught her children — all the children who flocked to our house — that you’re defined by your sense of honor and you’re 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 tell 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’d look at me and say, “Joey, oh, 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 and said, “Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day.” And that’s what I did.

    You know — and after the accident, she told me, she said, “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.

    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’s gone? Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars just to fill up the gas tank? How in God’s name, with winter coming, how are we going to heat the home? Another year, no raise. Did you hear they may be cutting our health care at the company? Now we owe more money on our home than our home is worth. How in God’s name are we going to send the kids to college? How are we going to retire, Joe?

    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 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 seem to get it. Barack Obama gets it, though. Like many of us in this room, like many of us in this hall, Barack Obama has worked his way up. He is the great American story, you know?

    I believe the measure of a man is not the road he travels but the choices he makes 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, he met women and men who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams had to be deferred; their self-esteem was 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….

    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 the situation we cannot bear; we have the power to change it.

    And change it — and changing 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 disagree with the direction John wants to take this country, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Amtrak to veterans.

    You know, John thinks that, during the Bush years, quote, “We’ve made great economic progress.” I think it’s been abysmal. And in the Senate, John has voted with President Bush 95 percent. And that is very hard to believe.

    And when John McCain proposes $200 million in new taxes for corporate America, $1 billion alone for the largest companies in the nation — 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 $500 billion 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 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 tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That’s not change. That’s more of the same.

    He voted 19 times against the minimum wage for people who are struggling just to make it to the next day. That’s not change. That’s more of the same.

    And when he says he’ll continue 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 the election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader. A leader who can change — the change that everybody knows we need….

    Barack Obama’s going to deliver that change, because, I want to tell you, Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He will cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. That’s the change we need.

    Barack Obama will transform the 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.

    Barack Obama will bring down health care costs 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….

    America cannot afford four more years of this failure. And now, now, despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack 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 three years ago, “Afghanistan, we don’t read about it anymore in papers because it succeeded”?

    Or should you believe Barack Obama who said a year ago, “We need to send two more combat battalions to Afghanistan”?

    The fact of the matter is, al Qaeda and the Taliban, the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, they’ve regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and they are plotting new attacks. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack’s call for more troops.

    John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right….

    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, when I look at my grandchildren, I know why I’m here.

    I’m here for their future. I’m here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I’m here for the cops and the firefighters, the teachers and the 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 is 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.

    Joe Biden after accepting the Democratic Vice-Presidential Nomination (PBS)

    Joe Biden after accepting the Democratic Vice-Presidential Nomination (PBS)

    Our debt to our parents and our grandparents is 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 am 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 very much. Thank you.

  • John Kerry Whips Up Support for Barack Obama at DNC:

    Thank you so much. Four years ago, you gave me the honor of fighting our fight. I was proud to stand with you then, and I am proud to stand with you now, to help elect Barack Obama as President of the United States.

    In 2004, we came so close to victory. We are even closer now, and let me tell you, this time we’re going to win. Today, the call for change is more powerful than ever, and with more seats in Congress, with more people with more passion engaged in our politics, and with a President Obama, we stand on the brink of the greatest opportunity of our generation to move this country forward.

    The stakes could not be higher, because we do know what a McCain administration would look like: just like the past, just like George Bush. And this country can’t afford a third Bush term. Just think: John McCain voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Ninety percent of George Bush is just more than we can take.

    Never in modern history has an administration squandered American power so recklessly. Never has strategy been so replaced by ideology. Never has extremism so crowded out common sense and fundamental American values. Never has short-term partisan politics so depleted the strength of America’s bipartisan foreign policy.

    George Bush, with John McCain at his side, promised to spread freedom but delivered the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. They misread the threat and misled the country. Instead of freedom, it’s Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and dictators everywhere that are on the march. North Korea has more bombs, and Iran is defiantly chasing one.

    Our mission is to restore America’s influence and position in the world. We must use all the weapons in our arsenal, above all, our values. President Obama and Vice President Biden will shut down Guantanamo, respect the Constitution, and make clear once and for all, the United States of America does not torture, not now, not ever….

    I have known and been friends with John McCain for almost 22 years. But every day now I learn something new about candidate McCain. To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician, I say, let’s compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain.

    Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain’s own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you’re against it.

    Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself. And what’s more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same “Rove” tactics and the same “Rove” staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear. Well, not this year, not this time. The Rove-McCain tactics are old and outworn, and America will reject them in 2008.

    So remember, when we choose a commander-in-chief this November, we are electing judgment and character, not years in the Senate or years on this earth. Time and again, Barack Obama has seen farther, thought harder, and listened better. And time and again, Barack Obama has been proven right….

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? When Barack Obama promised to honor the best traditions of both parties and talk to our enemies, John McCain scoffed. George Bush called it “the soft comfort of appeasement.” But today, Bush’s diplomats are doing exactly what Obama said: talking with Iran.

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? When democracy rolled out of Russia, and the tanks rolled into Georgia, we saw John McCain respond immediately with the outdated thinking of the Cold War. Barack Obama responded like a statesman of the 21st century.

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? When we called for a timetable to make Iraqis stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home, John McCain called it “cut and run.” But today, even President Bush has seen the light. He and Prime Minister Maliki agree on “guess what?” a timetable.

    So who can we trust to keep America safe? The McCain-Bush Republicans have been wrong again and again and again. And they know they will lose on the issues. So, the candidate who once promised a “contest of ideas,” now has nothing left but personal attacks. How insulting to suggest that those who question the mission, question the troops. How pathetic to suggest that those who question a failed policy doubt America itself. How desperate to tell the son of a single mother who chose community service over money and privilege that he doesn’t put America first.

    No one can question Barack Obama’s patriotism. Like all of us, he was taught what it means to be an American by his family: his grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line in World War II, his grandfather who marched in Patton’s army, and his great uncle who enlisted in the army right out of high school at the height of the war. And on a spring day in 1945, he helped liberate one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald….

    This election is a chance for America to tell the merchants of fear and division: you don’t decide who loves this country; you don’t decide who is a patriot; you don’t decide whose service counts and whose doesn’t.

    Four years ago I said, and I say it again tonight, that the flag doesn’t belong to any ideology. It doesn’t belong to any political party. It is an enduring symbol of our nation, and it belongs to all the American people. After all, patriotism is not love of power or some cheap trick to win votes; patriotism is love of country.

    Years ago when we protested a war, people would weigh in against us saying, “My country right or wrong.” Our answer? Absolutely, my country right or wrong. When right, keep it right. When wrong, make it right. Sometimes loving your country demands you must tell the truth to power.

    This is one of those times, and Barack Obama is telling those truths.

    In closing, let me say, I will always remember how we stood together in 2004, not just in a campaign, but for a cause. Now again we stand together in the ranks, ready to fight. The choice is clear; our cause is just; and now is our time to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

  • Bill Clinton’s Convention Speech:

    You know, I — I love this, and I thank you, but we have important work to do tonight. I am here first to support Barack Obama. And, second — and, second, I’m here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden… … though, as you will soon see, he doesn’t need any help from me. I love Joe Biden, and America will, too.

    President Clinton urges his wifes supporters to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. (CNN)

    President Clinton urges his wife's supporters to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. (CNN)

    What a year we Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star line up. And it came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard-fought contest right to the very end. That campaign generated so much heat, it increased global warming. Now, in the end, my candidate didn’t win. But I’m really proud of the campaign she ran. I am proud that she never quit on the people she stood up for, on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wanted for all our children. And I’m grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to go all over America to tell people about the person we know and love. Now, I am not so grateful for the chance to speak in the wake of Hillary’s magnificent speech last night. But I’ll do the best I can.

    Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually, that makes 18 million of us… … because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.

    And here’s why. And I have the privilege of speaking here, thanks to you, from a perspective that no other American Democrat, except President Carter, can offer. Our — our nation is in trouble on two fronts. The American dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline. And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation… … by a perilous dependence on imported oil, by a refusal to lead on global warming, by a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders, by a severely burdened military, by a backsliding on global nonproliferation and arms control agreements, and by a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.

    Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world. And here’s what I have to say about that. Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.

    Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful president needs. His policies on the economy, on taxes, on health care, on energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown — he has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy and national security challenges and a firm commitment to rebuild our badly strained military.

    His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world.

    The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.

    With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama’s proven understanding, instincts, and insight, America will have the national security leadership we need.

    And so, my fellow Democrats, I say to you: Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world. Barack Obama is ready to honor the oath, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States….

    Most important of all, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are first strong at home.

    People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

    Look… Look at the example the Republicans have set.

    In this decade, American workers have consistently given us rising productivity. That means, year after year, they work harder and produce more. Now, what did they get in return? Declining wages, less than one-fourth as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty, and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s.

    American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage….

    My fellow Democrats, America can do better than that. And Barack Obama will do better than that.

    Wait a minute. But first…

    AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

    CLINTON: Yes, he can, but, first, we have to elect him….

    The choice is clear. The Republicans in a few days will nominate a good man who has served our country heroically and who suffered terribly in a Vietnamese prison camp. He loves his country every bit as much as we do. As a senator, he has shown his independence of right-wing orthodoxy on some very important issues.

    But on the two great questions of this election — how to rebuild the American dream and how to restore America’s leadership in the world — he still embraces the extreme philosophy that has defined his party for more than 25 years.

    And it is, to be fair to all the Americans who aren’t as hard- core Democrats as we, it’s a philosophy the American people never actually had a chance to see in action fully until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and the Congress.

    Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades actually were implemented. And look what happened….

    They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.

    AUDIENCE: No!

    CLINTON: Now, let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks.

    In this case… In this case, the third time is not the charm.

    My fellow Democrats, 16 years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.

    Together, we prevailed in a hard campaign in which Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief.

    Sound familiar?
    AUDIENCE: Yes!

    CLINTON: It didn’t work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it will not work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.

    Now, Senator Obama’s life is a 21st-century incarnation of the old-fashioned American dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity, which have given him his historic chance, will drive him as president to give all Americans — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability — their chance to build a decent life and to show our humanity, as well as our strengths, to the world.

    We see that humanity, that strength, and our nation’s future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children.

    We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his fabulous wife, Jill, a wonderful teacher, and their family.

    Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.

    So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

    Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you.

  • Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., calls for the nomination of Sen. Barack Obama by acclamation at the Democratic National Convention in Denver tonight. At right is New York Gov. David Paterson and at left is Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (DFREEP)

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., calls for the nomination of Sen. Barack Obama by acclamation at the Democratic National Convention in Denver tonight. At right is New York Gov. David Paterson and at left is Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (DFREEP)

  • At 4:48 p.m. local time, Mrs. Clinton called on the Democratic National Convention to end the roll call and nominate him by acclamation: “With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president. I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
    The crowd in the Pepsi Center roared as one and then began to chant, “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.” – Download
  • Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates: “I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” Clinton told a group of more than 1,000 supporters in a ballroom at the downtown convention center here, a few blocks from the Pepsi Center where she spoke to all the delegates on Tuesday. “I have spoken to many of you who have expressed your questions about what you should do,” she said. “Now many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in the states that you came from. And others of you after this long journey we’ve been on want the chance to vote for what’s in your heart. Now still others will be voting for Senator Obama, because they want to demonstrate their personal commitment to the unity of this party behind our nominee.” “I am not telling you what to do,” she said to loud applause, but added, “I signed my ballot this morning for Senator Obama.” “It is traditional that we have nominations, that we have a roll call,” Clinton said. “We’ve got win in November.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
  • Howard Wolfson: Clinton Ally Blasts MSNBC Pundits: “I’m not going to take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who have spent the last two years attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Wolfson said, and then specifically named Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. “I think it’s unfortunate that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.

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Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 27, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 27, 2008

The day that was….

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

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

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

The Stats

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

Candidate Bloopers

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

Historians’ Comments

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

On the Campaign Trail….

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

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

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

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

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

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Democratic Convention Day 2: August 26, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 27, 2008

Day 2 Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the Democratic National Convention

Historians’ Comments

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”: Well, for decades, the Democratic Party has suffered from the perception that it is the party of special interests. For the second straight night, we see a party that’s trying to create a perception that it’s actually the party of universal interest, but universal interest in Technicolor. So I think that it’s been very effective in trying to embrace themes of patriotism and, really, small-d American democracy….
    I thought it was a remarkable speech. I think in a way some critics will say that she should have talked about Obama even more. But given the fact that she got 18 million votes, I think the self-referential nature of the speech was justified to an extent. At the same time, she tried to pass the torch to Obama and really tell her supporters that, if they want a different kind of America for themselves and their children, they should support Senator Obama’s candidacy…. PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think, in a curious sort of war, she may have just saved the McCain campaign some ad dollars, because it’s awfully difficult to imagine them continuing as of tomorrow morning to run those ads that suggest that Senator Clinton is, in fact, a latent McCain supporter….
    You know, I think that’s, frankly, implicit. You know, we’ve all been caught up in this media melodrama for weeks. You know, basically, will she or won’t she? And tonight she answered that question I think pretty emphatically, with some poignancy and, I suspect, considerable persuasiveness. But, remember, there are still a lot of raw feelings among many of those delegates on the floor tonight. There’s a credibility test that this speech had to pass among some of her most dedicated followers. And I think, if she’d spent much of that speech, in effect, taking back some of the things she’d said rather than arguing the broad case — I agree with Michael, it was a broad, somewhat generic case — but that case certainly more than passed the threshold that had been raised over these last few weeks. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “In Speech, Clinton Tries to Unite Party Behind Obama”:: Well, I think it’s probably the best written and best delivered speech I’ve heard her give. But I think you can criticize it on one ground, an Obama supporter might, and that is this is a dead-close election right now. Barack Obama, for Democrats who want to see him elected, is going to need all the help he can. She said some pretty brutal things about Barack Obama and his equipment to be — his experience to be president that are being aired in those McCain commercials. And so what she said for Obama tonight — you know, he’ll bring health care, he’ll do all these wonderful things — it was great, but it was pretty generic. She could have said those things about Chris Dodd, if he had been nominated. I think what it really needed more, if it was going to be really a huge help to Obama, would be, “I did say certain things early in the campaign, but because of what Obama has done in this campaign, I’ve seen him grow. I’ve come to question what I said against him. I have a new view that’s a lot more positive. – PBS Newshour, 8-26-08 Download
  • Robert Rupp: Hillary’s Speech Provides a Relief – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-27-08
  • Taylor Branch: Obama, Bill Clinton Remain Distant Despite Similar Stories, a Complex Relationship Taylor Branch, a noted historian on racial politics, King biographer and longtime Clinton friend, who is writing a book detailing his private White House interviews with Clinton, said the former president was distraught by the popular interpretation that he had used code language to diminish Obama. “He was particularly upset about the race card deal,” Branch recalled. “He said, ‘I hate that phrase anyway. It makes it sound like a game — playing a card — when race is not a game and never was. It is deadly serious.’” There is, from Branch’s historical perspective, a natural progression from Clinton to Obama that in other circumstances could have created a political bond. Had Hillary not been in the race, he surmised, “I could see that Clinton might have endorsed him. Obama has a lot of attributes he values.” – WaPo, 8-27-08
  • Douglas Brinkley: DNC bits: Charlize shows, Sean slouches, Rudy tours and Rather cries: Rice University history professor and talking head Douglas Brinkley and others — sat around the table on the top floor of the downtown Denver library talking about Hurricane Katrina. – The Denver Post, 8-26-08
  • Manning Marable, professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University and director of the Center for Contemporary Black History: The Democratic Convention Key Historic Moments Set The Stage For Obama – NPR, 8-25-08
  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. – PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s almost as if — imagine the two parties swapping identities. First of all, this is the oldest political party in the world. It was for 100 years the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party that said the best government is the least government. That began to change dramatically with William Jennings Bryan 100 years ago, here in Denver, who brought the populist strain, who became a champion of the dispossessed. And then, of course, Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, transforming the role of government in the economy, and critically bringing African-Americans into this party after being part of the party of Lincoln… Well, no, absolutely. And, I mean, the last 40 years, frankly, since Richard Nixon’s election in 1968, broadly speaking, have been a period, a conservative period in American politics. We’ve had two Democratic presidents, both southerners, relatively speaking conservatives. This has also been a party torn apart more than once regarding American foreign policy. You know, there’s the Woodrow Wilson messianic quality — America, in effect, preaching to the world — and then, of course, Vietnam, which tore this party apart, brought us George McGovern and a host of reforms, which, in many ways, lead to the diversity that we see in this hall tonight…. Well, that’s fascinating, because this party looks much more diverse than it might have 40 years ago…. Ideologically, I think you could make a very strong case that it’s far less. And by the same token, the same thing applies to the Republican Party. For years there were people in this country who said, “We need a liberal party and a conservative party.” Well, guess what? You’ve got it. And it has led to all sorts of unintended consequences. So I think there is a much less degree of ideological diversity in this hall, which, as Michael says, leds to sort of head-scratching about the intensity of the Clinton-Obama fight. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: He was…because Roosevelt was liberal in all sorts of ways, but he sure wasn’t on civil rights. Roosevelt would not even support an anti-lynching bill; 1936, when Roosevelt was re-nominated, there was an African-American preacher who gave a prayer at the convention. Southern senators walked out. They thought this was outrageous that you would have an African-American on the podium. That all changed with John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, civil rights and voting rights, mainly Johnson. In 1965, Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. He hoped that African-Americans would come into the mainstream in a big way. On that floor, 24 percent of the delegates are African-American…. And that’s the irony, because there should be no conflict here this week. You know, they’re not arguing over big issues. They agree on economics, Iraq, foreign affairs, all sorts of stuff. Yet we’re hearing about this roll call vote, and angry delegates, and factions, and all sorts of stuff. That’s so amazing that this long conflict between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has ended this way…. The people who voted for Hillary Clinton this spring are very different for the most part from the people who voted for Barack Obama. So the great irony is that, while ideologically Democrats think pretty much the same, those voters are in different enough groups that it’s a hard time getting them together. That’s what’s sad about that. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Lyndon Johnson transforms the Democratic Party, especially in terms of racial diversity. 1964, at that Atlantic City convention, Fanny Lou Hamer and the African-Americans who came to represent the true interracial Mississippi, were actually disallowed from being seated. By 1984, Jesse Jackson delivers his very famous rainbow address, telling the party that diversity is actually its strength rather than a weakness…. Democracy is messy. So when we think back to 1948, when Truman supports a civil rights plank, the Southern Dixiecrats actually leave, and Strom Thurmond has a third-party run. 1968, the whole world is watching, according to the new left, and Mayor Daley actually calls in troops to basically harass and assault new left demonstrators. 1980, the very fractious convention between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy. But, again, by 1984 and ‘88, you have Jesse Jackson, who was the consummate outsider finally on the inside of the Democratic Party, and he’s actually invoking people like Fanny Lou Hamer and different civil rights activists…. Well, the liberal wing of the party reaches its heyday in the early ’70s, with people like George McGovern and people like Walter Mondale. So that liberal wing has really been — I don’t want to say beaten into submission, but certainly they’ve seen better days. In a way, Obama has written himself that people see him as a Rorschach, and they read whatever they want into him. So people who are liberals see Obama as a liberal in the party. Conservatives in the party actually say, “Obama’s on my side.” People who are moderates or centrists actually say, “Obama’s my guy.” So Obama actually has united, I think, a three-part party. It’s a tri-headed party of liberals, centrists, and conservatives who see in Obama a person who they can all appropriate. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08

The Speeches….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    … or speaking before Hillary Clinton.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No way. No how. No McCain.

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

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

    Hillary Clinton Supporters

    Hillary Clinton Supporters

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

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

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

    Putin and Georgia, Iran and Iraq.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The crowds after Hillary Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention

    The crowds after Hillary Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention

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

    Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

    He has served our country with honor and courage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How do we give this country back to them?

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

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

    If you hear the dogs, keep going.

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

    If they’re shouting after you, keep going.

    Don’t ever stop. Keep going.

    If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

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

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

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

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

    Thank you. God bless you, and Godspeed.

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

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Democratic Convention Day 1: August 25, 2008

Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 26, 2008

Day 1 Schedule

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

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

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

Michelle Obama addressing the Democratic National Convention (NYT)

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

Historians’ Comments

  • PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer: Historical Perspective A panel of historians, including NewsHour regulars Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith, offers a historical perspective on this week’s Democratic event. – Mp3, RealAudio
  • Gil Troy: DNC Day 1: Celebrating the American Dream – HNN, 8-26-08
  • Richard Reeves on “Kennedy passes the torch to Obama”: Others were wary of making too much the Kennedy-Obama link. The Kennedy magic was unique to its time, said Richard Reeves, author of a book on John Kennedy. The family legacy was in keeping with the spirit of the New Deal and grounded in the common generational experiences of the Great Depression and World War II. “Obama’s totally a new phenomenon,” Reeves said. “He represents totally different things.” – McClatchy Newspapers, 8-25-08
  • Thomas Whalen on “Ailing Kennedy refuses to miss big event”: “This may be Ted Kennedy’s final gift to the party,” said Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political historian who has written on the Kennedys. “This says that he feels this is the Democrats’ year and the party is not as unified as he’d like it to be. His appearance takes the headlines away from the Clinton faction.” “The greatest legacy Kennedy would want would be an Obama victory in November,” Whalen said. – USA Today, 8-26-08
  • Paula Giddings on “Michelle Obama as First Lady”: “People are trying to fit her somewhere in their minds and in this array of images we have in our culture about African-American women, as the vixen, or the mammy or the angry black woman,” said Paula Giddings, a black studies professor at Smith College. “But she doesn’t fit any of the molds so she is kind of unsettling to a lot of people. She is something new.” “Imagine seeing her in the White House. Just the picture of her on the lawn with her two girls,” Giddings said. “In deep ways and superficial ways, it would be a dramatic shift.” – Newsday, 8-25-08<
  • Myra Gutin on “Michelle Obama as First Lady”: “For some people she is supposed to represent a woman who is more traditional in her approach to the office of first lady and be somebody to do the requisite entertaining and look after her husband,” said Myra Gutin, a historian of first ladies. “But some feel like the first lady should be more of an activist in the model of Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton.” But Monday night, Gutin said, Michelle Obama must first address some of the negative feelings she has generated, and show that she will be a good first lady. – Newsday, 8-25-08<
  • Jim Lorence on “UWMC History Professor Says Biden a Good Pick for Obama’s Running Mate”: Monday NewsChannel 7 spoke to Professor Jim Lorence of the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County about the importance of picking the right running mate for a presidential campaign. He gave us some insight past vice presidential candidates have influenced elections. “The campaign in which the vice presidency did make a difference was in 1960 when Lyndon Johnson was on the Kennedy ticket, and Johnson brought Texas into the democratic column.” Presidential candidate Barack Obama has already chosen his running mate, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, who has six terms in the Senate and 35 years of political experience. “He [Biden] may make people feel more comfortable with Obama because he brings that foreign policy expertise to the ticket.” Presidential hopeful John McCain is expected to announce his running mate by the end of this week. Rumors are circulating that it will most likely be a McCain-Romney ticket. “I think that Romney’s expertise in the area of foreign policy, or at least his background in the private sector and in business and on economic issues is going to be an important factor in the selection of a vice president,” says Professor Lorence. – WSAW, WI, 8-25-08
  • Sean Wilentz on “Obama Hope of Audacity Means Race Isn’t About Losing Liberals”: Obama has shown an “enormous ability to arouse the intense admiration and affection of his base,” says Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton University. “Exactly what he means by change, hope and transformation — all the sort of big-payoff words that appear in his speeches — he has yet to clearly define.” – Bloomberg, 8-25-08
  • Fred Siegel on “Obama’s ideological elusiveness”: Some critics voice skepticism. They see an ambitious fellow who remains intentionally undefined. “His philosophy is ambition,” said Fred Siegel, a historian at the Cooper Union in New York. “I see him as having a rhetoric rather than a philosophy.” Senator, what is your view of the Supreme Court decision barring the execution of child rapists? The question was standard fare for a politician who has questioned the equity of the death penalty. But Obama’s answer set reporters to typing furiously. “I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes,” he said. “I think the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime.” – International Herald Tribune, 8-25-08
  • Vermont Gov. Madeline Kunin: Former governor and historian to speak at the Democratic National Convention – PolitickerVT, 8-25-08
  • Julian E. Zelizer on “Conventions now even timed for strategy”: Political conventions are no longer the venues where presidential candidates are selected and introduced to the nation’s voters, said Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. That now happens during each party’s primary race, which begins early in the election year. “Basically conventions are now made for the media — carefully choreographed, staged events intended to promote the candidate and the party on the national stage as the real election season kicks off,” Zelizer said. “With their new function, it makes more sense to have them as close as possible to the general election.” – Daily Record, 8-24-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Obama’s Pick Taking The Measure Of Joe Biden, The Longtime Senator And Democrats’ Choice For VP”: “The role of the attack dog is something he is quite comfortable with,” said Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. – CBS News, 8-24-08

The Speeches…

  • Barack Obama on the Campaign Trail in Iowa: “I can’t wait to hear Michelle’s speech, I will tell you that I did get a little preview of the video they did of her, and she was extraordinary.”
  • Nancy Pelosi:

    This week is the culmination of an historic race that has brought millions of voters to the polls–many voting for the first time. All Democrats salute Senator Hillary Clinton for her excellent campaign. Our party and our country are strengthened by her candidacy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them…. And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “the world as it is” and “the world as it should be.” And he said that, all too often, we accept the distance between the two and we settle for the world as it is, even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations.

    But he reminded us that we also know what our world should like — look like. He said we know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves, to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn’t that the great American story?…

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

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

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

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

    The servicemen…

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

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

    People like Hillary Clinton…

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

    People like Joe Biden…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    … that we committed ourselves…

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

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

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

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