Friday, August 29, 2008

"Now is the time for change" says Obama

Barack Obama was welcomed to a rapturous applause as he took to the rostrum to give his speech at the Democratic convention in Denver on Thursday. After thanking the crowd and introducing his running mate Joe Biden as the next Vice-President he launched into a wide ranging address.

He blamed the problems in America as a “failure to respond and the failed policies of George W Bush”.
“Enough, this moment, this moment this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive...we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look liker the last eight. On November 4th we must stand up and say ‘eight is enough’”. The crowd responded by joining in a chant of “8 is enough”.

Obama then launched into criticism of his main opponent. “Let there be no doubt that Republican nominee John McCain has worn the American uniform with distinction and served the country well. But he has voted with George W Bush 90% of the time. Where is your judgement when you vote with George W Bush 90% of the time? I don’t know about you but I’m not ready to take a 10 % chance on change”.

He praised Americans in the military and on the factory floor for their perseverance despite risks of the battle field and the threat of unemployment hanging over them. He accused McCain of being out of touch with the average American’s plight. In Washington, he said, they have an attitude of ignoring the poor and disaffected. “If you’re out of work, you’re on your own. If you’ve no health care, you’re on your own. If you’re born into poverty they tell you to pull up your own boot straps even if you‘ve no boots” he said. “It’s time for us to change America, and that’s why I’m running for president of the United States”.

He said the Democrats measured progress by how many were able to make ends meet and not by the amount of millionaires existing in the country. And he promised to reform the tax system in the country. Unlike McCain he said he would give tax breaks to companies that stay in the USA and not to those that relocated abroad. This was a clear swipe at those firms who have moved many of their operations to China.

Energy was also an important issue raised and Barrack Obama said he would end dependence on oil from Middle East. “Drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a solution” he insisted. The presidential hopeful said he would develop new initiatives to make use of natural gas reserves, make use of clean coal technology and safe nuclear power. Additionally Obama said he would invest $150 billion in renewable energy and bio-fuels over the next decade.

Moving onto education Obama said he wanted to provide affordable schooling for all with better opportunities for those seeking a college education. “Now is time to meet our moral obligation and provide good education for all” he said.

Barrack Obama then set out other pledges for changes in health care and social reform. “Now is the time to provide affordable accessible health care. Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws and protect social security and protect equal pay”. But he conceded that “Many of these planes will cost money” but said he would, “go through the federal budget, line by line and eliminate redundant policies and spending” and by this seek to stop the 20th century bureaucracy in the 21st century.

“We need a president that faces the threat of the future not grasping at the threats of the past” and he accused Bush and McCain of “Tough talk and bad strategy”.

“We are the party of Roosevelt and Kennedy so don’t tell me we can’t keep this country safe” Obama insisted. “As commander in chief I will never hesitate to send our troops into battle to defend our country”. But he said these actions must be taken responsibly.

“Common purpose” had been lost in the US and Obama said this should be restored. Besides differences of opinion on many issues from abortion to same sex marriage, Obama said it was time to “Bridge divides”.

As he approached the end of his 45 minute address he admitted he was different from previous candidates. “I don’t fit the typical category, but I’m standing before you tonight because something is stirring. This election is not about me it’s about you” he told the crowd of some 75,000. “For 18 months you have said no to the politics of the past” he said.

“You have shown what history teaches us. Change doesn’t come from Washington; it comes to Washington”

And as he ended he spoke of a “new politics for a new time”.
“The change is coming; I’ve seen it” Obama told the enthusiastic crowd of supporters, “Together our dreams can be won. America, we can not turn back”.

The speech came 45 years after the infamous “I have a dream speech” and many news broadcasts made links between the two. CNN said ‘History was made” at the Democratic convention. Key phrases were also grasped upon by the political pundits. Many of the supporters continued to chant “Yes we can” throughout the address, but Obama’s use of the word “Change” became the key word for hundreds of newspapers around the world. But one thing doesn’t appear to be changing and that is the polls. The gap between the two main contenders is extremely tight. And with a little over two months to go until election day, anything might happen that will swing voters from one side to the other.

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