Soaring speech from Obama, plus some specifics
The Democratic nominee delivers strongest case yet against McCain campaign, prods Americans to change the direction of the country.
Denver – In a stadium packed to the brim with more than 80,000 Americans waving red, white, and blue flags, Barack Obama formally accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, becoming the first African-American candidate for that office from a major party.Skip to next paragraph
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“With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States,” he said as the crowd roared, stamped their feet, and flashed their cameras throughout Denver’s Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium.
Senator Obama then made an emphatic appeal to the working and middle classes, blaming their economic struggles on eight years of the “failed policies of George W. Bush.” While he pledged not use the “same partisan playbook” to attack GOP rival John McCain, Obama made the strongest case yet against the Arizona senator, assailing him for holding onto the “old, discredited Republican philosophy” and “standing alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.”
He also challenged Senator McCain on his own turf, saying he was more than ready to “have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander-in-chief.”
On point after point, from energy policy to gun control to abortion to gay marriage, Obama outlined his “post-partisan” vision, managing to interweave his argument for his own candidacy with attacks on McCain’s positions.
Into that mix, Obama prodded Americans themselves to step up to change the country’s direction. He called for “a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what [President] John Kennedy called our intellectual and moral strength.”
The speech mixed Obama’s usual eloquence with a delineation of his specific plans and policy proposals.
"I do think it was one of the best ever,” says Larry Sabato, a political analyst at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “He wove the positive case for himself and the negative case against McCain into a functioning whole – and the remarkable thing was he also did all the heavy lifting in making the case against McCain.”
Even some Republican analysts seemed surprised by the fierceness of the speech, particularly in the way it portrayed McCain.
The McCain campaign, in a statement, shot back that it was a “misleading speech” that was “fundamentally at odds” with Obama’s record.
"When the temple comes down, the fireworks end, and the words are over, the facts remain,” the campaign said. “Senator Obama still has no record of bipartisanship, still opposes offshore drilling, still voted to raise taxes on those making just $42,000 per year… Barack Obama is still not ready to be president."
Obama began his speech recalling his parents’ belief in the American promise that, “through hard work and sacrifice,” their son could “do whatever he set his mind to.”
That promise, “that has always set this country apart,” is now threatened by eight years of the “failed presidency” of President Bush, he said.