The Full Text of Barack Obama’s Speech this Evening

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008

Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Ad Orientem wrote:

I am not voting for the man.  But I have to admit as an example of political oratory this was an A speech if not an A+.  As Baptists are sometimes wont to say… “the man can preach.”


August 29, 12:40 am | [comment link]
2. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

He talks a good talk, and this was a solidly good but not great speech. I remain unconvinced about Mr. Obama. If he can bring about the change he keeps talking about, more power to him, but I remain skeptical.

But I think that until Mr. Obama can be honest enough to own the fact that Democrats as much as Republicans are to blame for the biting partisan atmosphere of failure that has encompassed Washington, I don’t think he is going to make much headway keeping this promise.

August 29, 1:15 am | [comment link]
3. Chris Hathaway wrote:

All style and no substance does not a great speech make. Also, take note of how many times “I” is used. Quite the ego. Couple this with his statement “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”. This makes it clear that he thinks his character is superior to McCane’s, not just his judgment, an arrogant declaration in total opposition to his disengenuous claim that this race isn’t about him. That political theater was all about him, him as the new political savior come to fix our broken system by mere fiat.

August 29, 2:14 am | [comment link]
4. azusa wrote:

“We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.”
- how does supporting partial birth abortion do that???
” 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.”
- IOW, stung by the DC decision.
“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.”
- so hospital visitation rights and rights of attorney don’t exist???

August 29, 3:36 am | [comment link]
5. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“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.”

This is populist rhetoric and would fit into the Europe and the United States of the first 35 years of the 20th Century.

If Obama’s daughters follow in their parent’s foot steps and become lawyers, does he really want his daughters, as lawyers, to receive the same pay as ‘burger flippers’ working for the same eight hour period of work?

I think not.

August 29, 8:15 am | [comment link]
6. Katherine wrote:

Okay, I’m only about halfway through the speech and already sick of the misunderstandings about issues and the Bush-bashing.  Is this the fall campaign theme?  George Bush is a Republican, Bush is bad, McCain is a Republican, therefore he’s just as bad.  Oh, and, the government can afford to give everybody everything they want or need if only those nasty Republicans would go away.  I thought he would offer his trademark “inspiring rhetoric.”  Glad I didn’t stay up.

August 29, 8:29 am | [comment link]
7. Br. Michael wrote:

It’s politics and dis-information as usual.  We’ll see the same from the Rebublicans.

August 29, 8:36 am | [comment link]
8. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Elizabeth and I watched it together last night, and I agree with #1.  It sure is nice to have a capable orator in American public life at the moment.  Sure the content matters, but give credit where credit is due, he is a very fine speaker indeed.

August 29, 8:41 am | [comment link]
9. St. Cuervo wrote:

I won’t vote for him but I thought it was one of the better speeches I’ve heard.  I disagree with the other posters, compared to some of the other speeches at the convention, Obama’s speech was tame in its attacks on Republicans.  Let’s face it: Bush is unpopular right now and his unpopularity hurts the Republican “brand.”  Obama would be a fool not to try to tie his current opponent to an unpopular President/party.  And it was ‘political theater’ but all speeches are political theater.

August 29, 8:48 am | [comment link]
10. Chris Hathaway wrote:

I can’t see the pleasure in the skilled use of oratorical skills when they are used for empty or bad purposes. Moses was a bad speaker. Hitler was brilliant. I can appreciate his mastery of the art without taking any pleasure in it. Rather, it disturbs me morer than bad oratory on a more profound level because I am both saddened by the misuse of God’s gift and worried at how that misuse will deceive others.

Myself, I am introverted and socially… inept might be a good description. I am awe struck, and a little jealous, at the extroverted skills of others, but I have no desire to emulate those conmen and seducers who use such strengths for unethical ends. When I see a slick snake-oil-salesman evangelistic preacher selling a false prosperity Gospel and reaping the benefits from it I take no pleasure in his God given gifts. I am morally outraged at his abuse of them.

Give me an honest mumbler over a smooth snake any day.

August 29, 9:24 am | [comment link]
11. Ladytenor wrote:

“We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.”
- how does supporting partial birth abortion do that???

I think he was referring to the 95-10 initiative, which was put forward by pro-life Democrats.  The goal of which is to reduce the number of abortions by 95% in 10 years, through policies that make it more likely that women will not get pregnant in the first place unless they intend to.

August 29, 9:39 am | [comment link]
12. Scott K wrote:

#11 - and that women who do get pregnant without intending to have viable economic choices that are more attractive than abortion.

I thought it was a great speech, and what I really like about Obama is the way he respects opposing points of view about abortion, gun control, etc.  He’ll certainly point out where he differs from McCain and why he thinks he’s a better choice for President, but he doesn’t insult people for being (say) anti-abortion or whatever.  I found the speech quite inspiring.

August 29, 9:44 am | [comment link]
13. Albany+ wrote:

The comments sadly reinforce the stereotype that those who hold they are orthodox line up Republican. Not. And unhelpful.

August 29, 10:07 am | [comment link]
14. Stefano wrote:

KSH wrote;
“It sure is nice to have a capable orator in American public life”

Why? Isn’t that a preference of style over substance? A used car salesman or tel-evangelist may be enjoyable to listen to, but slick selling of falsehoods is not to be admired. Really, Dr. Harmon, sometimes I just scratch my head at the things you say.

August 29, 10:12 am | [comment link]
15. Katherine wrote:

I can see that someone would find this speech inspiring if he believed that the promises were achievable.

Albany+, it’s abundantly clear that a majority of conservative Anglicans are also conservative voters.  Not all are, and that’s fine.  It seems to me that an even larger majority of liberal Episcopalians are liberal voters.  The only point where I object to this, on either side, is when somebody says that one side or the other represents God’s politics except on a very, very limited number of issues.  I would place unlimited abortion on demand among those issues.

August 29, 10:27 am | [comment link]
16. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Albany+, it’s abundantly clear that a majority of conservative Anglicans are also conservative voters.  Not all are, and that’s fine.”

Katherine, I completely agree.  I won’t be voting Republican for President, I’ll probably be voting for a Democrat on the senate level this year, and I’m an independent, not a Republican.

Show me a conservative Democrat who beats Republicans on the issues and I’m happy to vote for him or her.

So no, the comments do not “sadly reinforce the stereotype that those who hold they are orthodox line up Republican”—but as Katherine said they do very happily reinforce the stereotype that those who hold they are orthodox are often politically conservative as well.

And no offense to those who are orthodox who are politically liberal—I like you folks too—and you aren’t all Democrats either.

August 29, 10:41 am | [comment link]
17. Carolina Anglican wrote:

He can say anything well, so he says anything.  He has no regard for the verity of what he is saying.

August 29, 10:48 am | [comment link]
18. evan miller wrote:

His was an effective speech but he doesn’t hold a candle to Bill Clinton as a consumate political speaker.  However, I wouldn’t vote for either for any office in the land.  Ever.

August 29, 11:06 am | [comment link]
19. Dave B wrote:

Senator Obama is not a skilled orator, he reads a tele promter with great emotion.  With out the tele promter and staged event he looks like a sixteen year old asking the head cheer leader for a date.  There was a lot of empty rethoric, a debate I welcome, but he would not meet McCain for a debate!!  Nothing on energy from Mcain, well that also includes Joe Bidden and the two years the Democrates have sun the Senate!! Very little of substance other than promises he can deliever if congress goes along with him.  No real change from the usual democratic hand outs, $1000 for ennergy, tax rebates, college tuition (colleges will just raise thier tuition) etc, etc.

August 29, 11:08 am | [comment link]
20. libraryjim wrote:

That’s why I can’t wait for the debates.  McCain will shine and Obama will falter, hem and haw, and stumble all over himself.


August 29, 11:17 am | [comment link]
21. Clueless wrote:

I wont vote for him, but the man can preach. 

And if he gets in he may surprise us.  I think he actually does believes what he says.  He is not a Clinton.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that despair is a mortal sin. 

Perhaps a lightweight who believes in hope is what we need.

August 29, 12:07 pm | [comment link]
22. Mark Johnson wrote:

Fantastic speech, full of optimism and hope - and promise.  I’m so proud to be an American.

August 29, 12:18 pm | [comment link]
23. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

No. 23. I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I think both sides are pretty masterful both being aggressors and victims at the same time, depending on whose in power.

I will agree again that if Obama can keep his promise, more power to him. I am just skeptical that the “change” talk (from both sides) is just pandering to people by telling them exactly what they want to hear.

August 29, 1:50 pm | [comment link]
24. williamsjoe wrote:

I wondering about the speech,I can’t believe that his speech can like this.He is the coming President of America.I hope he will surely win.Any way all the best to Barak..

Wyoming Alcohol Addiction Treatment

August 30, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
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