Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama Delivers Historic Speech

Before a rapt audience of 84,000 at Invesco Field in Denver, Barack Obama put to rest any doubts this evening that he might not be able to live up to his own hype by delivering an acceptance speech that is already being hailed as a turning point in American politics. With soaring rhetoric and hard-hitting criticism, Obama laid out the case for why Americans should trust him with their future.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

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.

David Gergen called it a "political masterpiece".
As I had a chance to say on CNN a few moments ago, it was in many ways less a speech than a symphony. I also sensed that we saw tonight an Obama who is growing into a new, more mature leader — stronger, tougher, harder-hitting than he had appeared only a few weeks ago.
After the speech, one Democrat watching it remarked, "Can you imagine how the McCain team must feel watching this?"

Anticipating the praise, McCain plans to throw cold water on the Obama convention afterglow by announcing his running mate tomorrow.

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