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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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Here’s Barack Obama’s special broadcast, if you missed it tonight. It’s the first time in 16 years a candidate has bought prime time on multiple networks for a broadcast this long.

Barack Obama drew 100,000 people to a St. Louis rally today, his biggest US crowd to date. A St. Louis Police Dept Lieutenant confirmed the figure for the Wall Street Journal.

He spoke about taxes and the economy, slamming Republicans for their positions. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-MO, introduced him with harsh words for the GOP vice presidential candidate.

Referring to comments Palin made earlier this week in North Carolina about “pro-America” states, McCaskill said “We have reached a new low in America politics when a candidate dares to say that one part of America is pro-America and another part is anti-America.”

For months, Obama lagged in the polls in Missouri, down by as much as 10 points at times. The most recent Rasmussen Poll, released yesterday, showed Obama leading by 6 points, 52% to John McCain’s 46%.

CROSSPOSTED FROM FOODPLUSPOLITICS.COM Ed Rollins, who led Republican Ronald Reagan to a 49-state re-election win in 1984, says the race is over for John McCain and predicts Barack Obama will win in a landslide.

On CNN, Rollins told Anderson Cooper the GOP’s fear and smear campaign against Obama isn’t working and that it’s too late for McCain to make up lost ground on the economy, the issue most people except the rabid Republican base want to hear about. Obama “has met the threshhold,” of leadership he said, recalling 1980 when Americans wanted to get rid of Jimmy Carter and did, once Reagan met that threshhold.

Rollins also sees the potential for enormous Republican losses in Congress, especially in the Senate, predicting the possibility of losing enough seats to give Democrats a filibuster-proof majority. He said McCain has to give his party something to run on, needs to think about his legacy.

The Obama campaign’s new ad.

So Katie Couric’s still got some Palin up her sleeve. Tonight, she asked Alaska’s Precious Snowflake and Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden about their positions on abortion. The transcript follows, but it does not do justice to the full weight of Precious Snowflake’s inability to name even one Supreme Court case other than  Roe versus Wade. Not even the ones we learn about in grade school.

The Palin video is here at CBS and prepare to be amazed — and scared. It really is as bad as we’ve heard. At least she didn’t say, “I’ll get back to ya.”

Katie Couric: Why do you think Roe v. Wade was a good decision?

Joe Biden: Because it’s as close to a consensus that can exist in a society as heterogeneous as ours. What does it say? It says in the first three months that decision should be left to the woman. And the second three months, where Roe v. Wade says, well then the state, the government has a role, along with the women’s health, they have a right to have some impact on that. And the third three months they say the weight of the government’s input is on the fetus being carried.

And so that’s sort of reflected as close as anybody is ever going to get in this heterogeneous, this multicultural society of religious people as to some sort of, not consensus, but as close it gets.

I think the liberty clause of the 14th Amendment … offers a right to privacy. Now that’s one of the big debates that I have with my conservative scholar friends, that they say, you know, unless a right is enumerated – unless it’s actually, unless [it] uses the word “privacy” in the Constitution – then no such “constitutional right” exists. Well, I think people have an inherent right.

Couric: Are there Supreme Court decisions you disagree with?

Biden: You know, I’m the guy who wrote the Violence Against Women Act. And I said that every woman in America, if they are beaten and abused by a man, should be able to take that person to court – meaning you should be able to go to federal court and sue in federal court the man who abused you if you can prove that abuse. But they said, “No, that a woman, there’s no federal jurisdiction.” And I held, they acknowledged, I held about 1,000 hours of hearings proving that there’s an effect in interstate commerce.
Women who are abused and beaten and beaten are women who are not able to be in the work force. And the Supreme Court said, “Well, there is an impact on commerce, but this is federalizing a private crime and we’re not going to allow it.” I think the Supreme Court was wrong about that decision.

Couric Why, in your view, is Roe v. Wade a bad decision?

Sarah Palin: I think it should be a states’ issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I’m, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now, foundationally, also, though, it’s no secret that I’m pro-life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that’s what I would like to see, um, further embraced by America.

Couric: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

Palin: I do. Yeah, I do.

Couric: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

Palin: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.

Couric: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

Palin: Well, let’s see. There’s, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …

Couric: Can you think of any?

Palin: Well, I could think of … any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But, you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I’m so privileged to serve, wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.

Kathleen Parker, the conservative columnist who wrote last week that Sarah Palin is out of her league and that if BS were currency, Palin could rescue Wall Street by herself, has gotten “vicious, threatening” mail because of her view.

Writing in today’s Washington Post about the reactions to that column, Parker says,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a dumpster, but since she didn’t, I should “off” myself.

To those who accused her of not being a “true” conservative, she replies,

But what is a true conservative? One who doesn’t think or question and who marches in lock step with The Party? The emotional pitch of many comments suggests an overinvestment in Palin as “one of us.”

Pointing out, correctly, that both sides are partisan and we have become a partisan nation, Parker offers this observation:

Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn’t sound American to me, but Stalin would approve.Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different from one’s own, we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk.

Everyone, she says, is to blame. I agree.

Compared with most European nations, ours is still an adolescent but that does not mean we need to remain mired in our national adolescence. It’s past time to move beyond political puberty but unfortunately for us — and the rest of the world — it won’t happen this election cycle. And we are all the losers for that.

They “report”, they decide.

Murdoch’s Fox News Channel never ceases to amaze. If anyone has any doubt about the right-wing bias of that channel — and I know there are some who insist it’s fair and balanced, but they’re probably not open to watching this and considering another opinion — just watch this clip. It’s from a stand-upper in Pennsylvania, where a Fox reporter asked for a show of hands for McCain and Barack Obama.

Listen for the fair and balanced “reporter’s” use of the word split and for chuckles, watch the lady in the back who slaps down the guy’s arm.

Hat tip to NewsHounds.

First you wince. Or cringe. Maybe you’re embarrassed for her. Then you shake your head and wonder for the umpteeenth time WTH was John McCain thinking when he picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Finally, you snicker.

All that brought about by a brief exchange during Palin’s latest major interview — her third, if you count the infomerical masquerading as an interview with Murdoch’s Sean Hannity — this one, with Katie Couric. The topic was that slippery slope: foreign policy experience.  Here’s the transcript:

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don’t know, you know? Reporters–


PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We– we do– it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

If you’d like to watch it in all its stammering, deer moose-in-the-headlights glory,  the video was is here at CBS. Now, a “content unavailable” message comes up and will probably remain until after the segment airs on tonight’s Evening News.

When the McCain handlers announced the Couric interview, my first thought was puffball questions. Then I remembered Couric’s mastery on the Today show, her skill at interviewing celebrities and the instantly-famous. And that’s all Palin has shown herself to be. She’s demonstrated no depth,  no knowledge of anything beyond her fundamentalist, faith-healing church, her brazen ability to play fast and loose with the truth and her eager willingness to take handouts in the form of federal earmarks. She has also displayed her own talent for mocking, with her smarmy acceptance speech and dismissive comment about community organizers.

She is as shallow as a puddle in the Sahara.

Every state in the northern tier of the US, including mine, borders Canada. Some in the south border Mexico. Yep, our neighbors are foreign countries. She’s right about that.  So that gives millions of us foreign policy experience and frankly, by that ludicrous standard, I have more than she does.

Alaska’s Precious Snowflake might be able to see Russia, but I’ve been there. She refueled in Ireland. I lived there. My much-renewed passport is not newly-minted like hers.

Come to think of it, I can see Vermont from my favorite pick-your-own apple orchard. I can be a governor!

Not having a good day in Cedar Rapids, are you? It’s not enough that you referred to the “Palin-McCain” ticket, possibly a slip of the tongue, but you had to go on and show how clueless you really are?

I’m talking about your self-congratulatory mention — again — of putting Alaska’s government checkbook online for all to see. And then you suggested you’d do the same in Washington. I almost hate to mention this, Sarah, so I’ll quote CNN’s Political Ticker:

There’s just one problem with proposing to put the federal checkbook online – somebody’s already done it. His name is Barack Obama.

Don’t call the moving men just yet, girlfriend.

Oh, dear. Was it a Freudian slip or is she confused about who is at the top of the ticket? Now it’s Palin-McCain? That’s how she put it during a campaign speech today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Not very diplomatic, even for someone with nearly non-existent experience in foreign affairs and diplomacy.

You can find the video at AMERICAblog and thanks to Seth at fastblogit for the revamped graphic.

Barack Obama today is releasing a two-minute television spot about the economy and what he would do to fix it if elected president. No flashy pictures or voice-overs. No McCain-style pandering or assuming we are idiots to be led — or misled — by a clever ad. It’s just Obama talking to us in plain English. Adult to adult.

Barack Obama’s campaign raised a record $66 million in August, topping the old record by $11 million. In addition, the campaign picked up 500,000 new donors.

h/t: Halperin, Time

After her dismal display of readiness for the vice presidency during her interviews with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, Sarah Palin has decided to sit down for what amounts to a do-over with a certified friendly questioner, the conservative and wildly partisan Sean Hannity of Murdoch’s Fox News Channel.

The New York Times says Hannity, a talk show host and not a journalist by any stretch of the imagination, will interview Palin next week.

Palin has been roundly criticized today in the print media and online for her  performance with Gibson,  especially her lack of knowledge about the Bush Doctrine. She seemed never to have heard of it, prompting NPR to call it “squirm-inducing” and I called it “painful” and “embarrassing.”

You can watch that excerpt on this blog at She’s Ready to be VP?

It wasn’t bad enough that when Sarah Palin finally, finally took a few questions, she explained that mysterious foreign policy expertise that she has because Alaska’s next to Russia this way:

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

But then when Charlie Gibson asked her about the Bush Doctrine, he must have felt like a schoolteacher. In addition to her painful, embarrassing ignorance, do note her “spunky” first reply, her words and tone of voice, as if she thought she had this one nailed.

Note: There’s an extremely high load on this video tonight and it might buffer a bit.


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