History Podcasts

President Obama'a Acceptance Speech to the Democratic Convention September 7th 2012 - History

President Obama'a Acceptance Speech to the Democratic Convention September 7th 2012 - History

Michelle, I love you. The other night, I think the entire country saw just how lucky I am. Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud…but don’t get any ideas, you’re still going to class tomorrow. And Joe Biden, thank you for being the best Vice President I could ever hope for.

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope – not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.

Related President Obama paints picture of ‘two different paths for America’ Transcript of Vice President Joe Biden’s speech Transcript of John Kerry’s speech

Eight years later, that hope has been tested – by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I.

But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.

On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties.

It will be a choice between two different paths for America.

A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger – a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office to the factory floor. My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story: the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. ”

“Deficit too high? Try another. ”

“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning! ”

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward.

I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way – those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:

We’re making things again.

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car. Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America – not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers – goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. And now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

And now you have a choice – we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home.

Government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work. And together, I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.

But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.

So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, I never will.

I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents. ”

You know what? That’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system – the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.

We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.

We believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the next Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States – and it’s in our power to give her that chance.

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because we understand that this democracy is ours.

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.

So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens – you were the change.

You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home. ”

If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward.

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed – and so have I.

I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go. ”

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.

I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter – she gives me hope.

The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife – he gives me hope.

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn’t lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay – because they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that business – they give me hope.

And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled.

He gives me hope.

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope. ”

And if you share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote.

If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.

If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.


President Obama'a Acceptance Speech to the Democratic Convention September 7th 2012 - History

By Joe Biden - September 6, 2012

Time Warner Cable Arena

Charlotte, North Carolina

BIDEN: Hello, my fellow Democrats!

And my favorite Democrat. Jilly, I want you to know that Beau and Hunt and Ashton and I we're so incredibly proud of you.

BIDEN: You know, we admire the way with every single solitary young person, and they're not all young, walking to your classroom. You not only to them, you give them confidence. You give me confidence. And the passion -- the passion she brings trying to ease the burden on the families of our warriors. Jilly, they know you understand them, and that makes a gigantic difference.

And folks, I tell you what. It was worth the trip to hear my wife said what I've never heard her say before. She's always loved me.

(APPLAUSE) If that's the case, why did it take five times of asking you? And that is true. Five times. I don't know what I would have done, kiddo if you on that fifth time said no. I love you. Your the love of my life and the life of my love.

We've got three incredible kids. And Beau, I want to thank you for putting my name in nomination to be vice president of the United States. I accept. I accept.

With great honor and pleasure, I accept.

Thank you, my fellow Democrats.

And I say to my fellow Americans -- my fellow Americans, four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the past, and turned to a leader who they would know what lift our nation out of the crisis. A journey -- a journey we haven't finished yet. We know we still have more to do.

BIDEN: But today, I say to my fellow citizens, in the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetime, this generation of Americans has proven itself as worthy as any generation before us.

For we posses that same grit, that same determination, that, that same courage that has always defined what it means to be an American, has always defined all of you. Together, we're on a mission -- we're on a mission to move this nation forward. From doubt and downturn to promise and prosperity. A mission I guarantee you we will complete. A mission we will complete.

Folks, but tonight, what I really want to do is tell you about my friend Barack Obama.

No one could tell it as well or as eloquently as Michelle. As you did last night -- on Monday night. But I know him. To state the obvious from a different perspective. I know him, and I want to show you -- I want to show you the character of leader that had what it took when the American people who literally stood on the brink of a new depression. A leader that has what it takes to lead us over the next four years to a future as great as our people.

I want to take you inside the White House to see the president as I see him every day. Because I don't see him in sound bites. I walk 30 paces down the hall into the Oval Office and I see him, I watch him in action.

BIDEN: Four years ago, the middle class was already losing ground. And then, the bottom fell out. The financial crisis hit like a sledgehammer. On all the people I grew up with. You remember the headlines. You saw some of them in the previews. Highlight: highest job losses in 60 years. Headlines: "Economy on the brink." "Markets, plummet worldwide."

From the very moment President Obama sat behind the desk, resolute in the Oval Office, he knew -- he knew he had not only to restore the confidence of a nation, but he had to restore the confidence of the whole world.

And he also knew --, he also knew that one -- one false move could bring a run on the banks or credit collapse, to put another several million people out of work. America and the world needed a strong president with a steady hand, and with the judgment and vision to see us through.

Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him as he made one gutsy decision after the other to stop the slide and reverse. I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stared down enormous -- enormous challenges, the consequences of which were awesome. But most of all, I got to see firsthand what drove this man. His profound concern for the average American. He knew -- he knew that no matter how tough this decisions he had to make were in that Oval Office, he knew that families all over America sitting at their kitchen tables were literally making decisions for their family that were equally as consequential.

You know, Barack and I, we have been through a lot together these four years. And we learned about one another. A lot about one another. One of the things I learned is the enormity of his heart and I think he learned about me, the depth of my loyalty to him.

And there's another thing -- another thing that bound us together the past four years. We had a pretty good idea of where all those families -- all you Americans in trouble were going through. In part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.

Barack, as a young man, they had to sit at the end of his mother's hospital bed, and watch her fight with their insurance company at the very same time that she was fighting for her life. When I was a young kid in third grade, I remember my Dad coming up the stairs in my grandpop's house where we were living, sitting on the end of my bed, and saying, "Joey, I'm going to have to leave for a while. Go down to Wilmington, Delaware with Uncle Frank, there are good jobs down there honey, and in a little while, I will be able to send for you and mom and Jimmy and Val, and everything is going to be fine."

For the rest of our lives, my sister and my brothers -- for the rest of our lives, my dad never failed to remind us that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It is about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about your place in the community.

It's about being able to look your child in the eye and say, "Honey, it's going to be OK", and mean it and know it's true.

When Barack and I -- when Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding in America. That if you took responsibility, you would get a fair shot at a better life. And the values behind that bargain, were the values that have shaped both of us and many of you. And today those same values are Barack's guiding star.

BIDEN: Folks, I've watched him. He has never wavered, he never, never backs down. He always steps up and he always asks in every one of those critical meetings the same fundamental question, "How is this going to affect the average American? How is this going to affect people's lives? That's what is inside this man. That's what makes him tick.

And folks, because of the decisions he's made, and the incredible strength of the American people, America has turned a corner. The worst job loss since the Great Depression, we've since created 4.5 million private-sector jobs in the last 29 months.

Look though, president -- President Obama and Governor Romney, they're both -- they're both loving husbands, they're both devoted fathers. But let's be straight, they bring a vastly different vision and a vastly different values set for the job.

And tonight -- tonight, although you've heard people talk about it, I'm going to talk about two things from a slightly different perspective. From my perspective. I like to focus on to crises and show you -- show you the character of leadership that each man will bring to this job. Because as I've said, I have had a ringside seat.

The first of these, A lot has been talked about and God love Jennifer Branham. Wasn't she great?

Wasn't she great? I love Jennifer.

But the first story I want to talk to you about is the rescue of the automobile industry. And let me tell you let me tell you, from this man's ringside seat, let me tell you about how Barack Obama saved more than a million American jobs. In the first -- in the first days, literally, the first days that we took office, General Motors and Chrysler were literally on the verge of liquidation. If the president didn't act -- if he didn't act immediately, there wouldn't be any industry left to save. So we sat hour after hour in the oval office. Michelle remembers how it must of -- what he must have thought when he came back upstairs. We sat, hour after hour. We listened to Senators, Congressmen, outside advisers, even some of our own adviser, we listen to them to say some of the following things. They said, well we shouldn't step up. The risks -- the risks were too high. The outcome was too uncertain.

And the president, he patiently sat there and he listened. But he didn't see it the way they did. He understood something they didn't get, and one of the reasons I love him. He understood that this wasn't just about cars, it was about the people that built and made those cars.

And about the America that those people built. In those meetings -- in those meetings -- in those meetings, I often thought about my dad. My dad was an automobile man. He would have been one of those guys all the way down the line, not on the factory floor, not along the supply chain, but one of those guys selling American cars to American people.

I thought about -- I thought about what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics and the secretaries and the salespeople who my dad managed for over 35 years. And I know for certain -- I know for certain that my dad, were here today, he'd be fighting like heck for the president, because the president fought to save the jobs of those people my dad cared so much about.

Ladies and gentlemen, my dad -- my dad respected Barack Obama -- would have respected Barack Obama had he been around, for having had the guts to stand up for the automobile industry when so many others just were prepared to walk away.

BIDEN: You know, when I look back -- when I look back now -- when I look back on the president's decision, I think of another son of another automobile man. Mitt Romney -- no, no-- Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit. My dad managed, his dad owned -- well his dad ran an entire automobile company, American Motors. Yes, what I don't understand -- and in spite of that, he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt. I don't think he's a bad guy. No -- no, no, I don't think he's a bad guy. I am sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. But what I don't understand -- what I don't think he understood -- I don't think he understood that saving the automobile worker, saving the industry, what it meant all of America, not just autoworkers.

I think he saw it the Bain way -- I mean this sincerely. I think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write offs. Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits, but it is not the way to lead our country from the highest office.

When things -- when things -- when things hung in the balance -- when things hung in the balance, I mean literally hung in the balance, the president understood this was about a lot more hope than the automobile industry. This was about restoring America's pride. He understood -- he understood in his gut what it would mean to leave a million people without hope or work if he didn't act. And he also knew -- he also knew, he intuitively understood the message that it would have sent around the world if the United States gave up on an industry that helped put America on the map in the first place.

Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama. That is what saved the automobile industry.

Conviction. Resolve. Barack Obama. Look, you heard my friend John Kerry. This president -- this president has shown the same result, the same steady hand in his role as commander in chief. Look -- which brings me to the next illustration. The next crisis he had to face.

In 2008, before he was president, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people. He said, "If I have -- if we have bin Laden in our sights, we will -- we will take him out." He went on to say -- he went on to say, "That has to be our biggest national security priority." Look, Barack understood that the search for Bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about more than that. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong. Literally, it was about healing an unbearable wound -- a nearly unbearable wound in America's heart. And he also knew -- he also knew the message we had to send around the world. If you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the end of the earth!

Look, most of all, President Obama had an unyielding faith in the capacity and the capability of our special forces. Literally, the finest warriors in the history of the world.

The finest warriors in the history of the world. So we sat -- we sat originally only five of us. We sat in the situation room beginning in the fall of the year before.

BIDEN: We listened, we talked, we heard, and he listened, to the risk and reservations about the raid.

He asked again the tough questions, he listened to the doubts that were expressed. But when Admiral Mcraven looked him in the eye and said, "sir, we can get this job done". I sit next to him and I looked at your husband. And I knew, at that moment, he had made his decision. And his response was decisive. He said, "do it", and justice was done.

Folks -- folks, Governor Romney didn't see things that way. When he was asked about Bin Laden in 2007 here's what he said, he said, "it is not worth moving heaven and Earth and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person".

BIDEN: But he was wrong. He was wrong. Because if you understood that America's heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the president dead and you would move heaven and Earth to hunt him down and to bring him to justice.

Look, four years ago -- four years ago -- only thing missing at this convention is my mom. Four years ago, my mom was still with us, sitting up in the stadium in Denver. I quoted -- I quoted her one of her favorite expressions. She used to say to all children, she said, "Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and the time will come when it must be summoned".

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you what I think you already know. I watch it up close. Bravery reside in the heart of Barack Obama. And time and time again, I witnessed him some and its. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and a spine of steel.

And because -- because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the determination of American workers, and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces, we can proudly say what you've heard me say the last six months: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. (APPLAUSE)

Folks, we know -- we know we have more work to do. We know we're not there yet. But not a day has gone by in the last four years when I haven't been grateful, as an American, that Barack Obama is our president because he has the courage to make the tough decisions.

Speaking of tough decisions -- speaking of tough calls, last week, we heard at the Republican convention, we heard our opponents, we heard them pledge that they, too, had the courage to make the tough calls. That's what they said.

(LAUGHTER) But folks, in case you didn't notice, I say to my fellow Americans, in case you didn't notice, they didn't have the courage to tell you what calls they'd make. They never mentioned any of that.

Mrs. Robinson, you -- watched from home, I guess. You heard them talk about how they cared so much about Medicare. How much they wanted to preserve it. That's what they told you.

BIDEN: Let's look at what they didn't tell you. What they didn't tell you is that the plan to have already put down on paper would immediately cut benefits for more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare. What they didn't tell you -- what they didn't tell you is the plan they are proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016 and what they really didn't tell you is, they -- if you want to know -- if you want to know, they're not for preserving Medicare at all. They're for a new plan. It's called voucher care.

BIDEN: Look folks, that's not courage. That's not even truthful. That's not even truthful. In Tampa they talked with great urgency about the nation's debt and the need to act, to act now. But not once -- not one single time did they tell you that they rejected every plan put forward by us, by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission they referenced or by any other respected group. To reduce the national debt not for any of them. Why? Because they're not prepared to do anything about the debt if it contained even one dollar -- I'm not exaggerating, even one dollar or one cent in new taxes for millionaires. Folks, that's not courage. And that's not fair.

. in a sense this can be reduced to a single notion. The two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years. As I said at the outset, fundamentally visions and got completely different values. Governor Romney believes in this global economy, it doesn't matter much where American companies invest and put their money, or where they create jobs. As a matter of fact, in his budget proposal -- in his tax proposal he calls for a new tax. It's called a territorial tax, which the experts have looked at and they acknowledged it will create 800,000 new jobs. All of them overseas. All of them.

BIDEN: And what I found -- what I found fascinating, the most fascinating thing I found last week was when Governor Romney said that as president, he would take a jobs tour. Well with his support for outsourcing, it would have to be a foreign trip.

It will. Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America, keeping jobs in America, bringing jobs back to America is what the president's job is all about. That's what presidents do, or at least supposed to do.

Folks, Governor Romney believes it's OK to raise taxes on middle- class by $2,000.00 in order to pay for another -- literally another trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. President Obama knows that there's nothing decent or fair about asking people with more to do less and with less to do more. Governor Romney believes, he believes that kids -- kids like our Dreamers, those immigrant children -- those immigrant children who were brought to America's shores through no fault of their own, he thinks they're a drag on the American economy.

President Obama believes that even those Dreamers, those kids didn't choose to come here, they have chosen to do right by America and it's right for us to do right by them.

Governor Romney -- Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay in terms of a company's bottom line. President Obama, he knows that making sure that our daughters get the same pay for the same jobs as our sons is every father's bottom line.

I kind of expected all that from him, but one thing truly perplexed me a their convention, the thing that perplexed me most was this idea they kept talking about, about the culture of dependency. They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, young, qualified kid from a working-class family, a loan to get to college. Or, when you provide a job training program in a new industry for a dad who lost his job because it was outsourced. Folks -- folks, that's not how we look at it. That's not how America's ever looked at it. What he doesn't understand is that all these men and women are looking for is a chance, just a chance to acquire the skills to be able to provide for their families so they can once again hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity. That's all they are looking for. Look.

And it literally amazes me they do not understand that. You know, I told you at the outset the choice is stark. Two different visions, two different value sets. But at its core, the difference is ably reduced to be a fundamental difference. You see, we, most Americans have incredible faith in the decency and hard work of the American people, and we know what has made this country. It's the American people. As I mentioned at the outset, four years ago we were hit hard. You saw -- you saw your retirement accounts drained, the equity in your homes vanish, jobs lost or on the line. But what did you do as Americans? What you've always done. You didn't lose faith, you fought back. You didn't give up, you got up. You're the ones. The American people -- you're the reason why we are still better positioned than any country in the world to lead the 21st century. You'd never quit on America, and you deserve a president who will never quit on you.

Folks, there is one more thing -- one more thing that our Republican opponents are just dead wrong about. America is not in decline. America is not in decline. I've got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. Gentlemen, never, ever -- it never makes sense, it's never been a good bet to bet against the American people. Never.

My fellow Americans, America is coming back, and we're not going back. And we have no intention of downsizing the American dream.

Never. Never a good bet. Ladies and gentlemen, in a moment we are going to hear from a man whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream and whose presidency is the best hope to secure that dream for our children.

For you see -- we see a future -- we really honest to god do we see a future, where everyone, rich and poor does their part and has a part. A future where we depend more on clean energy from home, and less on oil from abroad. A future where we're number one in the world again in college graduation. A future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged sector.

And a future where women once again control their own choices, their destiny, and their own health care.

Ladies and gentlemen, Barack and I see a future, it's in our DNA, where no one -- no one is forced to live in the shadows of intolerance.

Folks, we see a future where America leads not only by power of our -- the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

BIDEN: Where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan just as we proudly did from Iraq.

A future where we fulfill the only truly sacred obligation we have as a nation -- the only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare those who we send to war and care for them when they come home from war. And tonight -- tonight I want to acknowledge -- I want to acknowledge as we should every night the incredible debt we owe to the family of those 6,473 fallen angels, and those 49,746 wounded. Thousands critically. Thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives. Folks, we never -- we must never ever forget their sacrifice, and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.

My fellow Americans, we now -- we now find ourselves at the hinge of history. And the direction we turn is not figuratively, is literally in your hands. It has been a truly great honor to serve you and to serve with Barack who has always stood up with you for the past four years.

I have seen him tested and I know his strength, his commands, his faith. I also know his incredible confidence he has in all of you. I know this man. Yes, the worker recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way. The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way. And the cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on the our way. So I say to you tonight, with absolute confidence, America's best days are ahead and, yes, we are on our way.

And in light of that horizon, for the values that define us, for the ideals that inspire us, there is only one choice. That choice is to move forward -- morally forward, and finish the job and re-elect President Barack Obama.

God bless you all, and may god protect our troops. God bless you. Thank you.


Video of Full Speech: President Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech at the Democratic National Convention

President Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination for President — setting up the official launching of an election campaign pitting him against Republican Mitt Romney that Obama says presents America with the clearest choice in a generation. Here’s how CBS News’ report frames it:

President Obama formally accepted the Democratic party’s presidential nomination on Thursday night, calling the 2012 election “the clearest choice of any time in a generation.”

“On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties,” the president said on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, in front of a crowd of about 20,000 at the Time Warner Cable Arena. “It will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”

The president appealed to his supporters to keep up faith they showed during the 2008 campaign, even as his promises of “hope” and “change” are tested.

“Know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met,” he said. “The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.”

Mr. Obama noted that in the next four years, Washington would be forced to make critical decisions on all of those issues. He warned that his Republican rival Mitt Romney would revive stale policies that failed in the past and will surely fail again. And while acknowledging that voters may be second-guessing their faith in his leadership, Mr. Obama said his own policies have shown a clear path to progress.

The president made some of the sharpest contrasts between his policies and Romney’s proposals on the subject of foreign policy.

Was this a pro forma speech? One that primarily was aimed at exciting his party’s base? Or was it a speech that tried to successfully appeal to independent, moderate and other swing voters. And, if so, did it work? Here’s the video of the full speech so you can decide for yourself:


Rivers of Hope

Quotes from Obama speech to Democratic convention.

“When you pick up that ballot to vote, you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.”

“On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America.”

Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last 30 years.”

“Now I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”

“But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.”

“We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.”

“And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election you can do something about it.”

“No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done and we should get it done. But when Gov. Romney and his friends in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy. Well. What did Bill Clinton call it? You do the arithmetic. You do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m president, I never will.”

“We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think the government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems, any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.”

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together. We won’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.”


Transcript: Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

In these prepared remarks provided by the Obama campaign, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party's nomination as president "with profound gratitude and great humility." He laid out his economic, foreign and domestic policies before a roaring crowd at Invesco Field. The November election is the party's "chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive," said Obama. The speech as delivered may vary from the following text.

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

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

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

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

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

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 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.

We meet at one of those defining moments — a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for 20 years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

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

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 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 anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud 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 give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that 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 dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 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.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy — give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is — you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well, it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president — when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job — an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great — a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital-gains taxes for the small businesses and the startups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Sen. McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

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

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

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

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

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

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime — by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less — because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility — that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while 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 we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell — but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

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

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

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 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 it is not the change we need.

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

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation poverty and genocide climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what — it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

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

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been 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. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

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

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

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

And it is that promise that 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."

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.


Democratic Blog News

We invite you to get "fired up and ready to go" for the rest of the campaign Thursday evening, September 6th at a Convention Watch Celebration at Rugby House Pub, in north west Plano, to hear President Obama's acceptance speech. (map)

The Democratic National Convention is getting started, and after a week of wild Republican nonsense last week, it's going to be wonderful to hear truthful speeches from our candidates and supporters.

The pinnacle of the convention will be Thursday night, when President Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech. You'll want to be part of a cheering crowd of Democrats to share the energy and enthusiasm of what is sure to be one of the highlights of this campaign.

We invite you to get "fired up and ready to go" for the rest of the campaign Thursday evening, September 6th at a Convention Watch Celebration at The Rugby House in north west Plano, near Preston and 121. Come whenever you like, beginning as early as 6, but keep in mind that President Obama will speak sometime in the 9:00 hour, so be sure to arrive in plenty of time so you have time to greet everyone, order and eat before the President speaks. The Rugby House has a diverse menu of excellent food at reasonable prices, and Happy Hour specials are extended till closing Thursday night.

Democratic National Convention Watch Celebration

Thursday, Sept. 6,
6:00pm - 10:30pm

Thanks to Texas Democratic Women Collin County and Democratic Blog News for co-hosting this event, and individuals from Drinking Liberally in Plano and McKinney for helping to promote it. Similar events are being held at other locations, including private homes and at least one other restaurant in downtown Plano, Vickery Park. You can find details about all of the Convention Watch, phone banking and other events supporting the Obama campaign at www.BarackObama.com.

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for our next Democratic Network Forum, Saturday morning, September 22nd, when we'll have a program on Voter Empowerment and Election Protection at the John & Judy Gay Library in south central McKinney. We'll send out more information soon, but hope you'll plan to attend and bring some Democratic friends with you.

The Democratic Network offers opportunities for current and future Democratic activists to learn about the issues that affect us here in Collin County, and what we, as Democrats, can do to make things better. We invite your input on topics, speakers, format and other options - and encourage you to get involved in growing our network. If you'd like to add Democrats you know to our distribution list, please let us know.


DNC 2012: Joe Biden’s speech to the Democratic National Convention (Prepared remarks)

Jilly, I want you to know that Beau, Hunt, Ashley, and I are so proud of you. We admire the way you treat every single student who walks into your classroom. You not only teach them. You give them confidence. And the passion you bring to easing the burden on the families of our warriors. They know you understand what they're going through. It makes a difference. And I'm grateful. So grateful that you said Yes on that fifth try.

And Beau, thank you for placing my name in nomination to be Vice President of the United States. I accept.

My fellow Americans, four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the past—and turned to a leader—who they knew, could lift our nation out of crisis. Our journey isn’t finished. We still have more to do. But today, I say to you, my fellow citizens: In the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetimes-- this nation proved itself. We're as worthy as any generation that has gone before us. The same grit, the same determination, the same courage, that has always defined what it’s meant to be an American—is in you.

We're on a mission to move this nation forward—from doubt and downturn, to promise and prosperity. A mission we will continue and a mission we will complete.

Folks, tonight, I want to tell you about Barack Obama. The Barack Obama I’ve come to know. I want to show you the character of a leader—who had what it took, when the American people stood at the brink of a new Depression. A leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years--to a future as great as our people.

I want to take you inside the White House to see the President, as I see him every day. Because I don’t see him in sound bites. I walk down the hall, 30 steps to the Oval Office, and I see him in action.

Four years ago, middle class incomes were already falling. Then the bottom fell out. The financial crisis hit. You remember the headlines: “Markets Plummet Worldwide”, “Highest Job Losses in 60 Years”, and “Economy on the Brink”

From the moment President Obama sat behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, he knew he had to restore the confidence not only of the nation-- but the whole world. He knew, that one false move could bring a run on the banks, or a credit collapse, that could throw millions out of work. America and the world needed a strong president with a steady hand, with the judgment and vision to see us through.

Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him, as he made one gutsy decision after another--to stop the slide and reverse it. I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down choices of enormous consequence. Most of all, I saw what drove him: His profound concern for the American people.

He knew, that no matter how tough the decisions he had to make in the Oval Office were, families all over America had to make decisions every bit as tough for them—as they sat around their kitchen tables. Barack and I have been through a lot together. And we’ve learned a lot about each other. I learned of the enormity of his heart. And he learned of the depth of my loyalty. And there was another thing that bound us. We both had a pretty good idea what these families were going through--in part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.

Barack had to sit at the end of his mom's hospital bed and watch her fight cancer and fight her insurance companies at the same time. I was a kid, but I can remember the day that my dad sat at the end of my bed, and said, things are going to be tough for a while. I have to go to Delaware to get a new job. But it's going to be better for us. The rest of my life, my dad never failed to remind me--that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your children in the eye—and say honey, it’s going to be okay, and believe it was going to be okay. When Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding. If you took responsibility, you’d get a fair shot at a better deal. The values behind that deal--were the values that shaped us both. And today, they are Barack’s guiding star.

Folks, I’ve watched him. He never wavers. He steps up. He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them? And because of the decisions he’s made, and the strength the American people have demonstrated every day, America has turned the corner. After the worst job loss since the Great Depression, we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 29 months.

President Obama and Governor Romney are both loving husbands and devoted fathers. But they bring vastly different values and visions to the job. Tonight I’d like to focus on two crises--that show the character of the leadership each man will bring to the job. The first is the rescue of the automobile industry.

Let me tell you about how Barack saved more than 1 million American jobs. In our first days in office, General Motors and Chrysler were on the verge of liquidation. If the President didn’t act immediately, there wouldn’t be an industry left to save.

We listened to Senators, Congressmen, outside advisors, even some of our own advisors say--we shouldn’t step in, the risks were too high, the outcome too uncertain. The President patiently listened. But he didn’t see it their way. He understood something they didn’t. He understood that this wasn’t just about cars. It was about the Americans who built those cars and the America they built.

In those meetings, I often thought about my dad. My dad was an automobile man. He would have been one of those guys—all the way down the line—not in the factory—not along the supply chain—but one of those guys selling American cars to the American people. I thought about what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics, the secretaries, the sales people who he managed. And I know for certain, that if my dad were here today, he would be fighting for this President, who fought to save all those jobs, his job, and the jobs of all the people he cared about. He would respect Barack Obama for having the guts to stand up for the automobile industry, when others walked away.

When I look back now on the President’s decision, I also think of another son of an automobile man--Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit. His father ran American Motors. Yet he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did. I just don’t think he understood—I just don’t think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant-to all of America. I think he saw it the Bain way. Balance sheets. Write-offs.

Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profit. But it’s not the way to lead your country from its highest office.

When things hung in the balance, the President understood it was about a lot more than the automobile industry. It was about restoring America’s pride. He knew what it would mean to leave 1 million people without hope or work if we didn’t act. He knew the message it would have sent to the rest of the world if the United States of America gave up on the industry that helped put America on the map. Conviction. Resolve.

Barack Obama. This President has shown that same resolve, that same steady hand, in his role as Commander in Chief. Which brings me to the second crisis.

In 2008, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people. He said, “If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights, we will take him out. That has to be our biggest national security priority.” Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield. It was about righting an unspeakable wrong, healing a nearly unbearable wound in America’s heart. He also knew the message we had to send to terrorists around the world—if you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the ends of the earth. Most of all, the President had faith in our special forces--the finest warriors the world has ever known.

We sat for days in the Situation Room. He listened to the risks and reservations about the raid. And he asked the tough questions. But when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said-- “Sir, we can get this done,” I knew at that moment Barack had made his decision. His response was decisive. He said do it. And justice was done.

But Governor Romney didn’t see things that way. When he was asked about bin Laden in 2007, he said, and I quote, “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth, and spending billions of dollars, just trying to catch one person.”

He was wrong. If you understood that America’s heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the President did. And you too would have moved heaven and earth--to hunt down bin Laden, and bring him to justice.

Four years ago, when my mom was still with us, sitting in the stadium in Denver, I quoted one of her favorite expressions. She used to say, Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and the time will come, when it must be summoned.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m here to tell you, bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama. And time and time again, I witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and steel in his spine. And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made--and because of the grit and determination of American workers--and the unparalled bravery of our special forces--we can now proudly say—

Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.

Folks, we know we have more work to do. We know we’re not there yet. But not a day has gone by, in the last four years when I haven’t been grateful that Barack Obama is our President. Because he has always had the courage to make the tough calls.

Speaking of tough calls, last week at their convention, our opponents pledged that they too had the courage to make tough calls. But in case you didn’t notice, they didn’t have the courage to tell you what calls they would make. They talked about how much they cared about Medicare. How much they wanted to preserve it. That’s what they told you.

But what they didn’t tell you, is that their plan would immediately cut benefits to more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare. What they didn’t tell you is what they’re proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016. And what they really didn’t tell you is, they’re not for preserving Medicare. They’re for a whole new plan. They’re for Vouchercare. That’s not courage. That’s not even truthful.

In Tampa, they talked with great urgency about the national debt. The need to act, to act now. But not once, not once, did they tell you they’ve rejected every plan put forward by us--by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission—by other respected outside groups—to reduce our national debt if it contained even one dollar—one cent—in new taxes for millionaires. That’s not courage. And that’s not fair.

Let’s just say it straight: The two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years have fundamentally different visions, and a completely different value set.

Governor Romney believes that in the global economy, it doesn’t much matter where American companies put their money or where they create jobs. As a matter of fact, he has a new tax proposal -- the territorial tax -- that experts say will create 800,000 jobs, all of them overseas.

I found it fascinating last week--when Governor Romney said, that as President, he’d take a jobs tour. Well with all his support for outsourcing, it’s going to have to be a foreign trip. Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America--keeping jobs in America--and bringing jobs back to America--is what being President is all about. That’s the President's job.

Governor Romney believes that it’s okay to raise taxes on the middle class by $2,000 in order to pay for over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for the very wealthy. President Obama knows that there is nothing decent or fair about asking more of those with less--and less--of those with more.

Governor Romney believes that kids-the kids we call DREAMers—those immigrant children who were brought to America at a very young age, through no fault of their own—he thinks they’re a drag on America.

President Obama believes that even though these DREAMERs—these kids—didn’t choose to come to America-they’ve chosen to do right by America and we should do right by them. Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay for equal work in terms of a company’s bottom line.

President Obama knows--that making sure our daughters are paid the same as our sons for the same job must be every father’s bottom line. But I must tell you--one thing that perplexed me the most at their convention was this idea of a culture of dependency. They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, qualified child from a working family a loan to get to college, or when you provide job training in a new industry, for a dad who lost his job, because it was outsourced.

Folks, that’s not how we look at it. Americans have never looked at it that way. These men and women aren’t looking for a handout. They’re just looking for a chance to acquire the tools and the skills to provide for their families—so they can hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity. I told you the choice is stark. Two different visions. Two different value sets. And at its core, the difference is, we have incredible faith in the decency, and the hard work of the American people. And we know what has made this country great--its people.

As I mentioned at the outset folks--four years ago, Americans we were hit hard. You saw your retirement accounts drained, the equity in your homes vanish, and your jobs lost or on the line. But you did what Americans have always done. You didn’t lose faith. You fought back. You didn’t give up. You got up. You’re the ones bringing America back. You’re the reason why we’re still better positioned-- than any country in the world--to lead the 21st century.
You never quit on America. And you deserve a President who will never quit on you. And one more thing that our opponents are dead wrong about: America is NOT in decline.

I’ve got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, it has never, never, ever, been a good bet to bet against the American people.

My fellow Americans, America is coming back and we’re not going back! And we have no intention of downsizing the American Dream.

In a moment you’re going to hear from a man, whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream. And whose Presidency is the best hope to secure that dream, for our children.

We see a future where everyone rich or poor does their part and has a part.

A future where we depend more on clean energy from home and less on oil from abroad.

A future where we’re #1 in the world again in college graduation.

A future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged sector.

And a future where women control their own choices, health, and destiny.

A future where no one—no one—is forced to live in the shadows of intolerance.

We see a future where America leads not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. Where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan, just as we brought them home from Iraq.

And a future where we fulfill the only truly, sacred obligation we have as a nation--to equip those we send to war and care for them when they come home from war.

Where we acknowledge the incredible debt we owe to the families of the 6,473 fallen angels and the 49,746 wounded. Thousands, critically wounded.
We must never forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and our prayers.

My fellow Americans, we now find ourselves at the hinge of history. And the direction we turn is in your hands. It has been an honor to serve you, and to serve with a President who has always stood up for you.

As I’ve said, I’ve seen him tested. I know his strength, his command, his faith.

I also know, the incredible confidence he has in all of you. I know this man. Yes, the work of recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way.

The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way. The cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way. So I say to you tonight, with absolute confidence,

America’s best days are ahead of us, and, yes, we are on our way.

In the light of that horizon, for the values that define us, for the ideas that inspire us, there is only one choice.

The choice is to move forward, boldly forward. Finish the job we started and re-elect President Barack Obama.


Obama Camp Offers Tips on Access to Convention Speech

By Alexis Simendinger - August 9, 2012

Those eager to trek to Charlotte, N.C., to see President Obama as he accepts the Democratic nomination on Sept. 6 were invited by his campaign Thursday to sign up for pointers on how to get tickets.

The tease posted on the campaign website repeats a technique used earlier to vacuum up data about potential supporters. That effort will allow new names and phone numbers from around the country to be contacted by campaign volunteers before November.

&ldquoLet us know if you want to join the president at the convention -- we&rsquoll be in touch with more information about getting your credential,&rdquo the campaign promised.

Those who express interest are not guaranteed to receive credentials, however. And if they do, they have to transport themselves to Charlotte and foot the bill for their accommodations, if any are available. (Even humble -- and scarce -- Motel 6 lodgings far from downtown cost $250 or more per night during convention week.)

&ldquoYou can be there to witness Barack Obama&rsquos last convention speech as a candidate for president,&rdquo wrote Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles and 2012 Democratic National Convention chairman. &ldquoFour years ago he gave a historic acceptance speech in front of thousands of Americans. Now, it&rsquos your chance to make history at the convention in Charlotte.&rdquo

The Republican National Convention will take place Aug. 27-30 in Tampa.

The Democrats&rsquo slimmed-down, three-day itinerary is designed to energize delegates and attract media coverage beginning Sept. 4, just after Labor Day, inside the Time Warner Cable Arena in downtown Charlotte. President Clinton will speak in prime time Sept. 5 to officially place Obama&rsquos name in nomination.

On the third night, Obama will accept his party&rsquos nomination following a speech by Vice President Biden, and the duo will kick off the final phase of their campaign against Mitt Romney and his running mate. Obama and Biden will deliver their remarks in 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers.

The vice president is expected to use his address to remind Americans about the challenges and conditions Obama faced during his term and the decisions he made along the way. The president will once again lay out the choice he wants voters to see between his policies and plans for a second term, and the agenda offered by Romney and the GOP.

Democrats originally selected Charlotte hoping the location could lend the ticket some leverage with voters in the South, including in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida -- all states captured by Obama in 2008. Repeating victories in those three this year will be a challenge, and polls show the race remains close in all of them.

At the Denver convention in 2008, the president headlined an extravaganza memorable for his optimistic speech, fireworks and the exultant crowds watching in the 76,000-seat Broncos&rsquo stadium and the millions more witnessing the event on television. Until that time, no nominee since John F. Kennedy in Los Angeles in 1960 had delivered an acceptance speech in such a large arena.


By JOSH GERSTEIN and BYRON TAU

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Democratic National Convention got off to a rousing, carefully scripted start — then hit its first big bump Wednesday when officials scuttled plans for President Barack Obama to deliver his acceptance speech in a large, open-air stadium.

The decision to move the speech from Bank of America Stadium to the smaller indoor arena where the first two days of the convention is taking place immediately sparked a round of second-guessing about why the campaign selected the large, outdoor venue in the first place. The last-minute reshuffle also gave the Republicans fresh ammunition to claim that voters have lost enthusiasm for their president.

It’s hard to see how the abrupt change in venue will have a dramatic impact on the broad arc of the presidential campaign. But voiding the 65,000 speech tickets handed out to area residents prompted a sharply negative reaction from some prominent voices in this state, which Obama carried in 2008 and is battling to put in his column again in November.

Given that evening thunderstorms aren’t unusual for North Carolina in late summer, the decision raised questions about why Obama’s advisers were so determined to stage the convention’s closing night outdoors.

“What did organizers think the chance of rain would be on a September evening in Charlotte when they decided to put the Obama event at the stadium in the first place? Zero?” Charlotte Observer Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten wrote on the paper’s blog.

“[I]t’s a simple question. … if you had a #Panthers game, Concert or Soccer match with a 20% chance of storms would you cancel 24 hrs prior?” WCNC-TV meteorologist Brad Panovich wrote on Twitter. “Severe threat is almost zero Thursday night & chance of rain is 20%.”

Until Wednesday morning, convention officials had insisted that Obama’s speech at Bank of America Stadium would go forward “rain or shine.” But meteorologists said the forecast was actually improving when convention officials pulled the plug and shifted the event to the Time Warner Cable Arena, which holds only about 15,000 people in its convention layout.

“My only beef is it’s not like this threat has changed much in the past week. If anything, the weather situation has gotten marginally better the closer we have gotten to tomorrow night,” Panovich told POLITICO, who added he didn’t object to the decision to nix the event in the interest of safety.

”Here in NC, you just don’t mess with Ma Nature and thunderstorms. This state ranks in the top 5, each year, in lightning related deaths. So, you won’t find me suggesting the move inside was a bad one,” another meteorologist, Jeff Crum of News 14 Carolina, wrote in an email.

Republicans claimed the talk of weather was just an excuse and that waning enthusiasm for Obama meant organizers faced the possibility of thousands of empty seats.

“Enthusiasm for President Obama is so low that he’s being forced to downgrade his convention events left and right,” RNC spokesman Matt Connelly said. “First, the DNC had to cancel their opening event at Charlotte Motor Speedway due to low enthusiasm, now President Obama is being forced to move his acceptance speech to a smaller venue just to avoid the embarrassment of speaking to an empty stadium.”

Obama campaign aides flatly denied that, saying they had a 19,000-person waiting list for tickets.

Batten, whose newspaper has partnered with POLITICO to cover the convention, said GOP claims that the stadium wouldn’t have been filled were “highly unlikely,” but he wrote that the cancellation was part of Democratic organizers’ tendency to “make big plans, then scale them back.” He called the Democrats’ pledge to hold the most open and accessible convention in history “officially dead.”

“This isn’t about lack of Democratic enthusiasm. But given this treatment, it might soon be,” Batten wrote ominously.

Obama aides said public safety was their primary concern, and they rejected comparisons to a premature cancellation of a football game.

“This is not a Panthers game, as you may know. It’s a national special security event,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, referring to a federal designation for an event requiring major security assistance from federal agencies. “So, the criteria used for that is ensuring that we’re not putting the public safety or security of anybody in the audience at risk.”

Democratic strategist Peter Fenn said the organizers’ concern likely wasn’t filling the stadium under ordinary circumstances, but filling it in a driving rain that could have soaked event-goers standing in snaking security lines.

“Where the weather report is shaky, if people decide they’re not going to go sit in the rain and you’ve got a stadium two-thirds or three-quarters full, even though you’ve got a lot of people in there, hell, no one wants it to look like Michigan — Detroit with Mitt Romney’s press conference,” Fenn said of a Romney event that sparked ridicule from Democrats. “I think they decided on this one, better to play it safe.”

Fenn said the plan for an outdoor speech was a sensible one, based on the success of Obama’s 2008 stadium speech in Denver. It also dovetails with the everyman theme of the Democratic convention and the suggestions that Romney and the GOP are controlled by out-of-touch elitists.

However, visuals of guests hunkered down in ponchos in the pouring rain wouldn’t be great, particularly when compared with the celebratory atmosphere at Obama’s Invesco Field acceptance speech four years ago.

”Even if you’ve got some kind of cover over some of the people, it’s got a bad feel to it,” Fenn said. “You’re in a downpour.”

Still, the decision to head back inside gave Republicans an opening to tweak Obama for another unfulfilled promise.

“The deficit will be cut in half. Unemployment won’t exceed 8%. The speech will be delivered rain or shine,” Ari Fleischer, a press secretary to President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter.

Some prominent Democrats dismissed the entire speech-site controversy as unworthy of attention from the press.

“I just think it’s a giant nonstory,” Democratic consultant Bob Shrum said. “If there’s a reasonable prospect of thunder-storming, you can’t put 65,000, 70,000 people in the stadium. It’s the only responsible thing you can do,” he said. He added that Republicans also acted in a “very responsible” way when they canceled the first day of their convention because Tropical Storm Isaac (which later became a hurricane) was bearing down on Tampa.

Yet Shrum conceded that the weather issue should not have come as a surprise. “Well, the odds, I suppose if you’re in the South somewhere, the chances of having rain are reasonable,” he said.

While top Democrats seemed unruffled, the change seemed to generate some skepticism among rank-and-file Democrats who were set to make the trek to the stadium.

“Local Dem party calls to see if I want to donate cost of bus tickets for cancelled event in Charlotte to DNC. Maybe it was all a fundraiser!” Teresa Kopec of Spartanburg, S.C. wrote on Twitter. “No stadium AND no balloons or confetti. That will look swell on TV & in papers on Friday. Is there a GOP mole on the DNC advance team? … This is a huge fail by planners.”

Obama aides said they plan to hold a conference call where ticket-holders could hear a special message from the president. There was also talk of inviting ticket-holders to future Obama campaign events in North Carolina.

”I’m sure there will be a makeup kind of visit to North Carolina where the president will speak to a large crowd,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

The last-minute switch caused some grumbling from TV network executives, who had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up equipment at the stadium. Convention planners and the networks had already clashed over initial plans to hold events at three different sites in the city: the stadium, Time Warner Cable Arena, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. Organizers eventually scrubbed the Speedway event.

At the earliest stages of planning, top Democrats and Obama aides considered staging the convention in four different cities in different states — an idea which gave TV networks fits and was also abandoned, according to an ebook on the campaign by POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush in collaboration with Random House.

Some TV technicians will actually have an easier convention because of the change. Large amounts of camera gear and other equipment that were scheduled to be moved to the stadium late Wednesday and early Thursday will now remain in place at the arena.

For Democrats, there is one notable upside to the move: They may dodge another round of stories about the awkwardness of Obama speaking in a stadium named for a bank which took — and later repaid — $45 billion in federal bailout funds and has paid millions of dollars in fines related to its mortgage practices.

Even before the speech was canceled, convention organizers had taken to referring to the arena as “Panther Stadium,” after the Carolina Panthers football team, rather than the facility’s true name.


Barack Obama Democratic Convention Speech (VIDEO) (TEXT)

Surrounded by an enormous, adoring crowd, Barack Obama promised a clean break from the "broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush" Thursday night as he embarked on the final lap of his audacious bid to become the nation's first black president.

"America, now is not the time for small plans," the 47-year-old Illinois senator told an estimated 84,000 people packed into Invesco Field, a huge football stadium at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

He vowed to cut taxes for nearly all working-class families, end the war in Iraq and break America's dependence on Mideast oil within a decade. By contrast, he said, "John McCain has voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time," a scathing indictment of his Republican rival _ on health care, education, the economy and more.

Polls indicate a close race between Obama and McCain, the Arizona senator who stands between him and a place in history. On a night 45 years after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I have a Dream Speech," Obama made no overt mention of his own race.

"I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree" of a presidential candidate was as close as he came to the long-smoldering issue that may well determine the outcome of the election.

Fireworks lit the night sky as Obama accepted the cheers of his supporters. His wife, Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha joined him, and the country music sounds of "Only in America" filled the stadium.

Campaigning as an advocate of a new kind of politics, he suggested at least some common ground was possible on abortion, gun control, immigration and gay marriage.

Obama delivered his 44-minute nominating acceptance speech in an unrivaled convention setting, before a crowd of unrivaled size _ the filled stadium, the camera flashes in the night, the made-for-television backdrop that suggested the White House, and the thousands of convention delegates seated around the podium in an enormous semicircle.

Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden. of Delaware, leave their convention city on Friday for Pennsylvania, first stop on an eight-week sprint to Election Day.

McCain countered with a bold move of his own, hoping to steal some of the political spotlight by spreading word that he had settled on a vice presidential running mate. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty canceled all scheduled appearances for the next two days, stoking speculation that he was the one.

Rep. John Lewis of Georgia spoke from the convention stage of the anniversary of King's memorable speech.

"Tonight we are gathered here in this magnificent stadium in Denver because we still have a dream," said the Georgia lawmaker, who marched with King, supported Obama's primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then switched under pressure from younger black leaders in his home state and elsewhere.

Obama's aides were interested in a different historical parallel from King _ Obama was the first to deliver an outdoor convention acceptance speech since John F. Kennedy did so at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960.

In his speech, Obama pledged to jettison Bush's economic policy _ and replace it with his own designed to help hard-pressed families.

"I will cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class," he said.

The speech didn't mention it, but Obama has called for raising taxes on upper-income Americans to help pay for expanded health care and other domestic programs.

He did not say precisely what he meant by breaking the country's dependence on Mideast oil, only that Washington has been talking about doing it for 30 years "and John McCain has been there for 26 of them."

Criticized by the GOP for his thin foreign policy portfolio, Obama said he welcomed a national security debate with McCain.

"We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country," Obama said. "I will never hesitate to defend this nation."

He said McCain had no standing on foreign policy, not after backing the Iraq war from the start and rejecting timetables for withdrawal now accepted by Bush. "John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war," he said.

Obama's pledge to end the war in Iraq responsibly was straight from his daily campaign speeches.

"I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons," he added.

As he does so often while campaigning, Obama also paid tribute to McCain's heroism _ the 72-year-old Arizona senator was a prisoner of war in Vietnam _ then assailed him.

"Sen. McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush was right more than 90 percent of the time?

Former Vice President Al Gore picked up on the same theme. "If you like the Bush-Cheney approach, John McCain's your man. If you want change, then vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden," he declared.

The much-discussed stage built for the program was evocative of the West Wing at the White House, with 24 American flags serving as a backdrop. A blue carpeted runway jutted out toward the infield, and convention delegates ringed the podium. Thousands more sat in stands around the rim of the field.

The wrap-up to the party convention blended old-fashioned speechmaking, Hollywood-quality stagecraft and innovative, Internet age politics.

The list of entertainers ran to Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and will.i.am, whose Web video built around Obama's "Yes, we can" rallying cry quickly went viral during last winter's primaries.

In a novel bid to extend the convention's reach, Obama's campaign decided to turn tens of thousands of partisans in the stands into instant political organizers.

They were encouraged to use their cell phones to send text messages to friends as well as to call thousands of unregistered voters from lists developed by the campaign.

In all, Obama's high command said it had identified 55 million unregistered voters across the country, about 8.1 million of them black, about 8 million Hispanic and 7.5 million between the ages of 18 and 24.

Those are key target groups for Obama as he bids to break into the all-white line of U.S. presidents and at the same time restore Democrats to the White House for the first time in eight years.

The Democratic man of the hour paid a brief visit to members of his home-state Illinois delegation before the curtain went up on his show. "I came by (because) I had this speech tonight. I wanted to practice it out on you guys. See if it worked on a friendly audience," he joked.

There was no joking about the stakes in the speech, a once-in-a-campaign opportunity to speak to millions of voters who have yet to make up their minds between McCain and him. The polls show a close race nationally, with more than enough battleground states tight enough to tip the election either way.

Obama's hopes of victory rely on holding onto the large Democratic base states such as California, New York, Michigan and his own Illinois, while eating into territory that voted for George W. Bush. Ohio tops that list, and Democrats have also targeted Montana, North Dakota, Virginia and New Mexico, among others, as they try to expand their Electoral College map.

McCain was in Ohio as Obama spoke, and after a series of sharply negative convention week television commercials, his campaign aired a one-night advertisement that complimented Obama and noted the speech occurred on the anniversary of King's famous address.

"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,'" McCain says in the ad.

"How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we'll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done."

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
"The American Promise"
Democratic National Convention
August 28, 2008
Denver, Colorado

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation

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

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.

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

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

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

We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

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

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

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

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

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

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
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Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

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

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

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

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

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

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

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

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

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

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

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

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation poverty and genocide climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

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

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

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

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watch the video: Η ομιλία του Αμερικανού Προέδρου Μπαράκ Ομπάμα στο Ίδρυμα Σταύρος Νιάρχος. ΕΡΤ (January 2022).