History was made at the Xcel Energy Center on June 3rd, 2008 as Senator Barack Obama secured the Democratic nomination for President and all but kicked off the general election campaign with a rousing speech in the same arena the Republican Party will be holding it's national convention.
An excerpt from a leaked copy of the speech:
The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon -- that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.
Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I've sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.
In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.
So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.
So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.
So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.
So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.
And so it must be for us.
Good luck responding to that, bumbles.
UPDATE: Incertus, sums it up pretty good, imo:
McCain was comatose. Clinton's speech was fine, even though lots of people online are freaking about it, and the CNN talking heads are all in a tizzy because she didn't concede tonight.
But Obama's speech was in another world, and it was about halfway through that it finally hit me why his speech was so much better than Clinton's. Clinton's speech was in a "rally the troops" mode, with a lot of focus on what she fought for and why she'd run and what her vision for the future of the country was. Obama's caught some of that last bit--which is good, since that's what presidential nominees are supposed to do--but the rest of his speech was about people other than himself. He spent a good bit of time praising Clinton, and popping McCain right in the mouth, and then concluded with a turn to the plural. He was inclusive--what we need to do, what the road ahead of us is. And if Obama keeps that up, McCain is dogmeat.