Obama accepts Democratic nomination
He pledged a rethink of America’s foreign policy and said he would end the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
“America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this,” he said.
“I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again the last best hope for those who are called to the cause of peace.”
Senator Obama also reflected on the unlikely aspects of his historic White House quest.
“I get it, I realise that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office,” he said.
“I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.
“But I stand before you tonight because all across America, something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me.
“It’s about you.”
Senator Obama’s credentials as an “ordinary American” were also woven through his lengthy speech, given to a crowd that cheered wildly and waved placards reading “Change”, as he strode onto the stage.
He paid tribute to Hillary Clinton – “an inspiration to my daughters and yours” – as well as Bill Clinton, Edward Kennedy and Joe Biden – “the next vice-president of the United States” – his wife, and daughters.
A video biography of Senator Obama stressing his working class credentials and drive to serve had warmed up the crowd, which refused to be silenced at the appearance of their party’s latest hero.
Underscoring the themes of change and compassion, he pledged a tough but engaged approach to the world.
It was a speech also littered with classic American campaign references to the stories of individuals who have struggled, driving home the Democratic Party’s message that eight years of Republicanism has eroded the American dream.
He referred to a “defining moment” which required that “on November 4, we must stand up and say eight [years] is enough,” the crowd taking the cue to begin chanting “eight is enough”.
He dismissed “the same old politics”, turning the attack on his presumptive Republican opponent Senator McCain.
“Let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee John McCain has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect,” he said.
But he went on to discredit Senator McCain’s attempts to position himself as a renegade who has often stood against his own party, claiming that he had supported George W Bush 90 per cent of the time.
“I’m not ready to take a 10 per cent chance on change,” Senator Obama said.
McCain ‘doesn’t get it’
Senator McCain had been associated with the discredited conservative “trickle down” approach to the economy, Senator Obama said.
“I don’t believe Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans, I just think he doesn’t know,” he said.
“Why else would he define middle class as someone making under $US5 million a year?” he asked.
“It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care, its because John McCain doesn’t get it,” he reiterated.
The speech set the scene for the next stage of the drawn out march to the White House and threw down a gauntlet to John McCain when the Republicans hold their convention next week.
Earlier, former vice-president and environmentalist Al Gore declared his support for Senator Obama, telling the crowd that his rival would only provide four more years like the last eight.
“He’s now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them,” Mr Gore said.
“The same policies, those policies all over again? Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous.”
Yesterday, Senator Obama was nominated by acclamation by former rival Hillary Clinton, while her husband, former president Bill Clinton, strongly endorsed his presidential bid.