Tag Archives: Democratic Presidential Nomination

Obama Takes Aim at Bush and McCain With a Forceful Call to Change America

From The New York Times

DENVER — Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party presidential nomination on Thursday, declaring that the “American promise has been threatened” by eight years under President Bush and that John McCain represented a continuation of policies that undermined the nation’s economy and imperiled its standing around the world.

The speech by Senator Obama, in front of an audience of nearly 80,000 people on a warm night in a football stadium refashioned into a vast political stage for television viewers, left little doubt how he intended to press his campaign against Mr. McCain this fall.

In cutting language, and to cheers that echoed across the stadium, he linked Mr. McCain to what he described as the “failed presidency of George W. Bush” and — reflecting what has been a central theme of his campaign since he entered the race — “the broken politics in Washington.”

“America, we are better than these last eight years,” he said. “We are a better country than this.”

But Mr. Obama went beyond attacking Mr. McCain by linking him to Mr. Bush and his policies. In the course of a 42-minute speech that ended with a booming display of fireworks and a shower of confetti, he offered searing and far-reaching attacks on his presumptive Republican opponent, repeatedly portraying him as the face of the old way of politics and failed Republican policies.

He said Mr. McCain was out of touch with the problems of everyday Americans. “It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care,” he said. “It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.”

And he went so far as to attack the presumed strength of Mr. McCain’s campaign, national security. “You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives,” he said.

The speech loomed as arguably Mr. Obama’s most important of the campaign to date. It was an opportunity to present himself to Americans just now beginning to tune in on this campaign, to make the case against Mr. McCain and to offer what many Democrats say he has failed to offer to date: an idea of what he stands for, beyond a promise of change.

To that end, he emphasized what he described as concrete steps he would take to address the anxieties of working-class Americans, promising tax cuts for the middle class and pledging to wean the country from dependence on Middle East oil within 10 years to address high fuel prices.

With the speech, Mr. Obama closed out his party’s convention here and prepared for a quick shift of public attention to the Republicans as Mr. McCain moved to name his running mate and his party got ready for its convention in St. Paul on Monday.

He delivered it in a most unconventional setting, becoming the third nominee of a major party in the nation’s history to leave the site of his convention to give his acceptance speech at a stadium. In this case, it was Invesco Field, set against the Rockies and about a mile from the arena where he had been nominated the night before. His aides chose the stadium to signal a break from typical politics and to permit thousands of his supporters from across the country to hear him speak.

And it came on a night that offered — by the coincidence of scheduling — a reminder of the historic nature of the Obama candidacy: 45 years to the day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the Mall in Washington. Mr. Obama is the first African-American to be nominated for the White House by a major party, a fact that, for all its significance, has been barely mentioned over the course of this four-day gathering.

Even in invoking the anniversary of the King speech, Mr. Obama only alluded to race. But he quoted a famous phrase from Dr. King’s address to reinforce a central theme of his own speech. “America, we cannot turn back,” Mr. Obama said. “Not with so much work to be done.”

Mr. McCain marked the occasion of the speech by releasing a television advertisement in which, looking into the camera, he paid tribute to Mr. Obama and his accomplishment. “How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day,” Mr. McCain said. “Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight, Senator, job well done.

The advertisement stood in stark contrast to a summer of slashing attacks on Mr. Obama by Mr. McCain that apparently contributed to the tightening of this race. And the softer tone did not last; Mr. Obama was still on the stage, watching the fireworks, when Mr. McCain’s campaign issued a statement attacking him.

“Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama,” said Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain.

In his speech, Mr. Obama scored Mr. McCain for raising questions about his patriotism, and trying, he said, to turn a big election into a fight on small squabbles.

I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain,” Mr. Obama said, an American flag lapel affixed to his left lapel. “The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag.”

“So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first,” he said, prompting the crowd to break into a chant of “U.S.A., U.S.A.”

Mr. Obama looked completely at ease and unintimidated by his task or the huge crowd that surrounded him. And he chastised Mr. McCain for trying to portray him as a celebrity, an attack aides say has been particularly damaging, offering a list of people who he said had inspired him, from his grandmother to an unemployed factory worker he met on the campaign trail.

“I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine,” he said. “These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.”

Mr. Obama delivered his speech on a day of considerable political churn. Even as Mr. McCain was paying tribute to Mr. Obama on television, his aides disclosed that he made a choice for vice president and would announce it on Friday, timing intended to draw attention away from Mr. Obama on a day in which he and his running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., would be starting a joint campaign swing.

Mr. Obama’s audience began lining up to go through security and enter the stadium eight hours before he was to speak. As seats filled, they watched a series of musical performances, including by Stevie Wonder, who sang, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.”

But the table for Mr. Obama was also set by speeches from some of the best-known Democratic leaders. They were led by Al Gore, the former vice president who confronted a question that has, fairly or not, hovered over Mr. Obama as he struggles in his contest with Mr. McCain.

“Why is this election so close?” Mr. Gore asked. “Well I know something about close elections, so let me offer you my opinion. I believe this election is close today mainly because the forces of the status quo are desperately afraid of the change Barack Obama represents.”

Mr. Obama used much of his speech to link Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush — a line of attack that his aides view as their strongest going into the fall — and signaled that he saw next week’s Republican convention, when Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush are to appear together, albeit briefly, as a way to press that line of attack.

“Next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third,” he said. “And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: ‘Eight is enough.’ ”

Speaking in generally broad terms, Mr. Obama offered a contrast between Republican and Democratic views of the role of government.

“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500,” he said, “but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job — an economy that honors the dignity of work.”

The outdoor acceptance speech was by any measure a risky gambit by a campaign that has shown a taste for taking chances and breaking with convention, as his aides acknowledged. Bad weather could have soaked the moment. Mr. Obama’s first question to aides when they proposed this was, “Will it rain?” It did not; the day was dry, if hot.

When John F. Kennedy held his outdoor rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in June 1960, half the seats were empty, as a dispatch in The New York Times noted in dismissively describing the event as a “fresh air vaudeville.” The stadium here was packed by 5:15 mountain time, three hours before Mr. Obama was to take the stage, after a week in which Democrats and Obama supporters had been hustling for tickets.

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Al Gore at the Democratic National Convention

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It’s official: Obama and Biden

from Radio Netherlands Worldwide

by  Reinout van Wagtendonk

Barack Obama is officially the Democratic Party’s candidate for the US presidency. On the third day of the Democratic convention in Denver his defeated rival, Hillary Clinton, submitted a motion to elect Obama the winner by acclamation, and in his speech her husband Bill Clinton expressed his unconditional support for Obama. Later in the day, Joe Biden was officially elected as Barack Obama’s running mate for the vice-presidency.

Bill Clinton salutes the crowdA roll call like this, coming forward state by state to vote for the presidential candidate, is largely just a tradition. The result is known in advance. This time too Barack Obama had for months been the unofficial Democratic candidate. But the long and bitter battle with Hillary Clinton for that nomination had left wounds. That’s why the tradition had to take a dramatic turn. Orchestrated drama, of course, since it had been negotiated in advance and arranged precisely so it could be shown live in the half-hour around mealtime when the big three TV networks have their evening news.

Acclamation
Hillary Clinton interrupted the voting ritual with a motion calling for Obama to be elected by acclamation as a united party’s candidate to face the final battle against John McCain:

“I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected of this Convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States.”

With a rapid blow of her gavel, convention chairwoman Nancy Pelosi ensured that whatever opposition remained would not be heard. The convention now belonged to Barack Obama. Most of Hillary’s supporters resigned themselves to the situation.

Ovation for Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton showed no trace of disappointment or resentment whatever. The former president’s speech was received by the Democrats with a lengthy ovation. Until recently Clinton seemed inclined to undermine Obama’s campaign. But on Wednesday evening he said he was convinced that Obama has what it takes to be the leader of the United States:

“My fellow democrats, I say to you, Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world.”Clinton referred to his own presidential campaign in 1992, when the Republicans tried to write him off as an inexperienced lightweight, just as they are doing with Obama today. Clinton didn’t do too badly, as he modestly pointed out. So that should work again in 2008. The speech was the perfect launching pad for vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden and for Barack Obama’s acceptance speech which will round off the convention on Thursday evening.

Obama appears briefly
Obama appeared briefly in the convention hall on Wednesday night, following Joe Biden’s speech. He explained that he would be holding his speech in a huge stadium, before an audience of 80.000 people, because they are the people who will help him to bring about change in America:

“Change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things, and so we want to open up this Convention to make sure that everybody who wants to come can join in the party and join in the effort to take America back.”

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Sen. Joe Biden Addresses the DNC

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Obama Wants Someone Who is Mad

From The Chicago Tribune

|Chicago Tribune correspondents

RALEIGH, N.C. — During an evening event in Raleigh, Obama said he was looking for a running mate who is independent, has “integrity” and got into politics “for the right reasons.”

“I want somebody who is mad right now that people are losing their jobs and is mad right now that people are seeing their incomes decline,” Obama said. “That’s the kind of person that I want.”

Obama is scheduled to travel on a bus tour across North Carolina and Virginia on Wednesday, while the latter part of his week remains unscheduled and offers a possible window for an announcement.

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CBS: Joesph Biden Likely VP Choice

from CBS News Blogs

Posted by Brian Montopoli at CBS News

According to the New York Times, the New York Daily News and others, Barack Obama is primarily focused on three men as his search for a running mate draws to a close this week: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, and Delaware Senator Joseph Biden.

Biden is perhaps the name with the most buzz at the moment, thanks in part to his foreign policy bona fides, which were recently showcased during his high profile trip to Georgia and call for aid to the country.

“Barring a big surprise or last-minute change of heart, the choice is likely to be Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee,” Howard Fineman wrote on MSNBC today. Time’s Mark Halperin is also suggesting Biden will join Obama on the ticket. And Obama mentioned Biden in a speech today, further fueling speculation.

Now we are getting a preview of how Republicans might target the ticket should Biden get the nod. Earlier today, the Republican National Committee sent around a blog post from Politico’s Ben Smith showing a Biden ad from 1988.

It opens with an announcer saying this: “The White House isn’t the place to learn how to deal with international crisis, the balance of power, war and peace, and the economic future of the next generation. A President has got to know the territory, but that’s not enough.”

That sounds not unlike some of the criticism leveled at Obama, a relative newcomer to the political scene, both by Republicans and former rival Hillary Clinton. Should Biden join Obama on the ticket, it’s likely that Republicans will push this line of attack – particularly since they can link it to his running mate.

Biden is also taking some heat in the liberal blogosphere. In a post yesterday, Markos at Daily Kos questioned Biden’s judgment because the Delaware senator voted for the war.

“It strikes me that any pick designed to cover up a ‘flaw’ in Obama (i.e. ‘lack of foreign policy credentials’) only accentuates those flaws,” Kos writes of Biden. “Make him secretary of state.”

Kos also picks up on one purported problem with Biden – that his long tenure in Washington makes him a bad fit with Obama’s message.

“I’d love to see him pick a fresh face in politics who reinforces Obama’s message of change,” he writes. “Biden doesn’t.”

Obama is expected to announce his running mate to supporters late Friday and appear with him at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois on Saturday.

Delaware State Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove told CBSNews.com this afternoon that Biden, who is up for reelection this year, “can run for both seats” if he becomes the vice presidential nominee.

She said the state’s governor, who is sworn in on the same day as the president, would appoint a replacement for Biden should he win Senate reelection and the vice presidency. (Ruth Ann Minner, a Democrat, is presently the state’s governor.) Whomever the governor appoints would serve a two year term.

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VP Selection Buzz… Biden?

from the Christian Science Monitor

By Jimmy Orr | 08.19.08

All the talk this morning is about the upcoming VP selection. Around the Internet, hysterics ensued yesterday when a New York Times article proclaimed that Barack Obama had determined his running mate. Determined, perhaps. Announced, not yet.

There was some hysteria over on the GOP side as well when Mike Allen’s headline over at Politico screamed that August 29 would be the day John McCain announces his forthcoming saddle pal.

Since we’ve got over a week to go through the endless reasons why a Tim Pawlenty selection would signal to some pundits that McCain is obviously not concerned with conservative cross-dressing anarchists in southern North Dakota, we’ll keep focused on the Obama and his upcoming pick.

The Obama road show

The soon-to-be Democratic nominee is in Florida and North Carolina today. Virginia tomorrow. Then the week opens up for an all out love fest for the happy ticket in determined battleground states.

So who is going to be traveling with Obama? The names on the short lists have remained pretty constant.

It’s Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. Although Kansas Governor Kathy Sebelius is still a mention and former rival Senator Hillary Clinton is considered a longshot but a favorite of many. Incredibly, FOX News includes Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as a possible selection.

Then you hear from those “close” to the Senator and those “close” to the campaign and those “close” to advisers who know people in the campaign and those “close” to the guy who works at Dunkin’ Donuts who lives a block down the street from a guy whose sister used to date a lounge singer who watches Hardball a lot. And they’ll all tell you why they know who the selection will be.

Early predictors

Who got it first four years ago? An airline mechanic.

Bryan Smith, a US Airways mechanic, arrived at work on June 5, 2004, the day before Kerry gathered reporters at his wife’s estate near Pittsburgh and formally announced that Edwards was his No. 2. As Smith told NPR, he was passing through a hangar at the Pittsburgh airport to get to his work area “when I was informed by, I am assuming, Mr. Kerry’s people that I should not peek in that hangar and that it was, in fact, closed for the day.”

So he did what you would have done: Every time he passed through that hangar that day, he took a look.

“Around 6 that evening, I peeked in and saw they were putting John Edwards’ name on the airplane,” he said. “They concealed it rather quickly — they taped paper over the logos. I just happened to peek in at the right time.”

He said although he posted the information in an aviation chat room, the mainstream media didn’t pick it up. Perhaps the media will all be monitoring these forums intently over the next 36 – 48 hours.

Or you can look at more traditional clues. Who is getting mentioned by the candidate?

Delaware’s Joe Biden

Obama did mention Joe Biden this morning.

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Orlando, Obama said he was “proud to join my friend, Senator Joe Biden, in calling for an additional one billion dollars in reconstruction assistance for the people of Georgia.”

Add this, according to one pundit at CNN, to the fact that “Biden has been uncharacteristcally quiet recently” and we’ve got what the pundit calls a “counter-clue” to the more noisy Evan Bayh.

Let’s see if we can’t get something a little more solid. MSNBC’s Howard Fineman this morning said he had conversations with those who were actually vetted by the search committee:

My bottom line is this: Barring a big surprise or last-minute change of heart, the choice is likely to be Sen. Joe Biden of Deleware, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is a lively and feisty if unpredictable campaigner with working-class roots and a street-level feel for the hot spots of the globe — which he can use to go toe-to-toe with Sen. John McCain.

He goes on to say that one of the finalists for the VP slot would bet his life on the Biden pick.

Just in case Fineman is off target, we can look at last week’s Sunday shows for clues. These shows they say are auditions for the big job. And if that’s the case we’re looking at Evan Bayh, Tim Kaine and Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Assuming that Obama was unable to convince Saakashvili to join his ticket and subsequently bend the constitution to allow it, we’ll look at the first two selections.

Virginia’s Tim Kaine

Folks down in Richmond are ruling out their own Governor because of a rumor of a planned stop in Chester, Virginia. The event is closed to the public.

You wouldn’t think that a Presidential nominee would be holding closed events if he’s just announced his VP candidate, would you? You’d think the more cheering people, the more waving signs and banners, the better, as the candidates are running toward their convention in Denver next week? What good would a closed event be for publicity and momentum?

However, the TV blog that reported the Chester rumor will continue to monitor this in case it is all a smokescreen. Stay tuned.

Indiana’s Evan Bayh

As for the oft-discussed Senator from Indiana? Bloggers on the left continue not to like him. The so-called “100,000 Strong Against Evan Bayh for VP” group on Facebook (the group really only has 3,853 members – but who’s counting) received a lot of press last week.

As for news this morning, it looks like Bayh is being mentioned in an Internet hoax is making the rounds. Someone over at the conservative Free Republic posted an alleged screenshot of CNN that they claim accidentally made it up on the news network’s site announcing Senator Bayh’s selection.

Gotta love what the always-enjoyable Oliver Berkman at the Guardian’s U.S. campaign site said of the screenshot in question:

If it really is [authentic], I’ll eat my own face, but the tale it relates deserves points for being imaginative. Sadly it loses them for being full of spelling errors and ridiculously bad writing, and for using the wrong font.

Keep your blackberries handy. Obama’s text is coming soon.

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