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1/20/09 update: The full text of President Obama’s inaugural address can be found here on my other blog.

The following is a transcript of Senator Barack Obama’s victory speech in Chicago, as provided by Federal News Service.


SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: (Cheers, applause.) Hello, Chicago. (Cheers, applause.)

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. (Cheers, applause.)

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled — (cheers) — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states; we are and always will be the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

It’s the answer that — that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America. (Cheers, applause.)

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Sarah Palin supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it.

Click to enlarge. Sarah Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention was her opportunity to introduce herself and let us learn more about her. To let us hear from her own lips, even if someone else wrote the words, what she might do as vice president, how a GOP victory could help this country at a troubled time and why she is quaified to be vice president.

We got none of that. I didn’t expect her to explain her own Troopergate or why she wanted to ban books at her local library or how she reconciles being glad her pregnant teenager made “the choice” to marry the father while opposing choice for American women as a whole. In this respect, she did not disappoint.

But the speech was flash, not substance. Red meat for a bloodthirsty base looking to be fed. She achieved that with a smug, divisive, sarcastic and often-belittling speech that was reminiscent of Spiro Agnew, the combative vice president who resigned in disgrace a few years before his boss, Richard Nixon, resigned in even greater disgrace.

And it was a speech of half-truths and distortions. I did some fact checking with the help of Politifact and the Associated Press.

The pork-barrel money for the now-infamous bridge to nowhere
She said
– “I told the Congress ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ on that Bridge to Nowhere.”
In fact – She supported it as a candidate and opposed it only as governor and the project was nearly dead. For more on her earmarks in general and this one in particular, see Flip-flop Award – McCain Again.

She said – Barack Obama supports plans to raise “income taxes … payroll taxes.”
In fact – He supports higher taxes only for those making more than a quarter-million dollars a year.

That state jet
She said – “That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.”
In fact – Yes, she did. But it got no bids at all. It was sold offline.

She said – “There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate.”
In fact – I will quote the AP here: “Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.”

A real whopper
This was on her behalf when former Arkansas governor and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Palin “got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.”
In fact – Palin ran for mayor twice. She got 616 votes in 1996 and, up for re-election, 909 votes in 1999. That’s a total of 1,525. Even though Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses in January, he remained on the primary ballots in 23 states and the District of Columbia. He got 76,165 votes.

What I took away from this speech is that Sarah Palin showed she can be a good vice-presidential candidate in the long tradition of VP candidates serving as pit bulls. She did not show she can be a good vice president.

With or without lipstick.

There were so many distasteful and divisive elements in Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech last night — to say nothing of half-truths and distortions (reality check to follow is here)  — but one of her least classy moments was her mocking of community organizers: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” Take on Obama or Biden by name, fine. That’s politics. But the cultural warfare the Republicans have returned to does no one any good.

It was refreshing, then, to hear and see the honest reaction of CNN analyst Roland Martin, whose parents were community organizers.

Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last night in Denver at the Democratic National Convention was electrifying, thought-provoking, historic and unique, delivered not in a convention hall but in a football stadium before 80,000 people. “This campaign is about you,” he said, meaning all of us.

If you missed the speech, here it is in its entirety.

What a fabulous photo by Jim Mone of the Associated Press, of Obama’s speech last night in St. Paul, in which he claimed the nomination of the Democratic Party.

Photo by Jim Mone Associated Press June 3 2008 Obama speech in St Paul Minnesota


Barack Obama sailed to a primary win in Oregon last night, with 58% of the vote, and with a majority of elected delegates. In a victory speech in Iowa, where the victories began, Obama declared the nomination is “within reach.”

As expected, he got clobbered in Kentucky where 65% of the blue-collar, aging electorate went for never-say-die Hillary Clinton. Proving why he’s a politician and I’m not, he had nothing but kind words about her.

This Iowa clip has no reporter, no voice-over or talking heads to tell you what to think. It’s just the candidate in his own words.


“Wow, wow, wow,” Barack Obama said as he took in the sight of the crowd. “We have had a lot of rallies. This is the most spectacular setting, the most spectacular crowd we have had this entire campaign.”

Yesterday’s rally in Portland, OR was the largest of his campaign. Fire officials estimated 65,000 packed into the park along the Willamette River, with another 15,000 outside and more on the river in pleasurecraft. (The New York Times estimates the crowd at 75,000.) Obama’s previous record was at a Philadephia rally, attended by 35,000.

 The Oregon primary is tomorrow.

Photos from the Obama photostream on Flickr. See the Flickr widget in the sidebar for more.

This is the clip from today’s news conference (see Obama Denounces Wright). There is a heavy load on this video right now, so some buffering might occur.

Barack Obama has just denounced his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who yesterday asserted, among other things, that an attack on his inflammatory sermons is an attack on the black church itself.

“At a certain point if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally and then he questions whether or not you believe it then that’s enough.”

At a North Carolina news conference Obama said, “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago,” adding that he was outraged by Wright’s remarks and saddened by the spectacle surrounding them.

Obama saved his strongest language for Wright’s other assertions:

“I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he’s done enormous good. … But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS. … There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced.”


See it and hear it: Video – Obama Denounces Wright

Obama speaks frankly about race in America in Philadelphia, March 18 2008. Photo courtesy Barack ObamaSenator Barack Obama told a Philadelphia audience of supporters today, “Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.”

Right now being key words. The extraordinary, candid speech was a vehicle for Obama’s further repudiation of racially-tinged sermons by his former Chicago pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose words have become fodder for Obama’s critics.

But while distancing himself from Wright’s words, Obama also spoke about his personal relationship with the minister, saying, “He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.  I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”

Obama went on to say, “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”

He also spoke of what he called the “racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years” as a nation, and acknowledged the presidential campaign could easily become about race by both parties. But this time, he urged, let’s talk instead about the problems Americans face daily, from inadequate schools for their children to affordable health care.

The full text and video are here.

Barack Obama has elaborated on last week’s statement that he is not running for vice president. He told voters in Columbus, Mississippi today, “I don’t want anybody here thinking that somehow, ‘Well, you know, maybe I can get both.’ Don’t think that way. You have to make a choice in this election.”

The statement follows Bill and Hillary Clinton’s trial balloon — and let’s be honest, that’s what it is; I lived in Washington a long time — about Obama going on the ticket as Hillary’s VP candidate. Bill thinks it would be an unstoppable ticket. The New York Daily News thinks it’s chutzpah, like selling a house you don’t own.

Obama today reiterated an opinion expressed yesterday by his campaign co-chair, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, saying, “I don’t know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to someone who is first place.”

Mississippi’s primary is tomorrow and he’s heavily favored.

Update: The Obama campaign has made available video from that appearance, with all the pertinent points. While the campaign chose where to begin and end the video, there does not appear to be any internal editing. (We get to learn what “the okie doke” is.)

FROM FOODPLUSPOLITICS.COM: Hillary Clinton’s taken to saying she and John McCain have experience they would bring to the White House while adding, “And Senator Obama has a speech from 2002.” If you’ve never read that anti-war speech, delivered two weeks before she voted to authorize the war in Iraq, the full text is at That Speech.


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