Barack Obama Accepts Presidential Nomination

Democratic nominee says it is “time to change America” – Watch Barack’s historic speech.

By Michelle Austein

DENVER – On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech August 28, Barack Obama formally accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States.

As people shouted “Yes we can” and waved signs reading “Change,” Obama said, “[W]ith profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.”

In his acceptance speech, Obama said “it is time for us to change America,” and this 2008 election is the election to keep “the American promise alive.”

“We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil and the American promise has been threatened,” he said.


Obama said he would change life in the United States by cutting taxes for 95 percent of working families, providing affordable health care for every American, ensuring equal pay for women and offering affordable college education to every young American who serves his or her community.

In an election year in which high gasoline prices have been a major campaign issue, the Democratic nominee said that as president he would “set a clear goal … in 10 years we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” Obama said he would do so by safely harnessing nuclear power and investing in renewable sources of energy.

“Just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home,” Obama said, “so must we keep America’s promise abroad.” The Democratic nominee said he would end the war in Iraq and fight al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Obama said he would “build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century,” which include nuclear proliferation, poverty, genocide and climate change.

Much of Obama’s speech focused on what he viewed as “failed policies” of President Bush and problems with presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s proposed policies.

“We love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight,” Obama said. Throughout his campaign, Obama has said McCain would promote policies similar to those of the Bush administration. Obama said the Republican candidate does not understand the problems middle-class Americans face, and criticized McCain’s positions on tax relief for oil companies, health care and education.

The Democratic candidate also criticized McCain’s positions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: “We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.”

Obama, the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party, spoke of King’s famous March on Washington on August 28, 1963.

Speaking about those who participated in the march and listened to King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Obama said “they could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.”

“But what the people heard instead … is that in America our destiny is inextricably linked,” Obama said. “That together, our dreams can be one.”

Those marchers, Obama said, pledged to march ahead. In this election, “we must pledge once more to march into the future.”


Obama’s speech capped off an evening of political speeches, videos and musical performances at Invesco Field, a football stadium that seats about 76,000. Most convention events were open only to delegates and party leaders, but this speech was open to the general public – free tickets were distributed months ahead of the speech. The last candidate to give an acceptance speech outside the convention hall was John F. Kennedy in 1960.

Those who were able to get the tickets waited long hours in the Denver heat to see the Democratic nominee, but few complained. Many said they believed they would be witnessing history. Tom and Patty Ballowe came from New Mexico for the speech.

“It’s exciting to be a part of history,” Tom Ballowe said. The Ballowes, who have worked as volunteers on the Obama campaign for months, saw the event as an important recognition of their hard work.

Dale Fish of Pueblo, Colorado, drove 100 miles to see Obama. The Vietnam veteran says he supports the Democratic candidate because “we don’t need kids dying for another war.” Fish said Obama reminds him of the late President Kennedy and his “passion and ability to capture the imagination.”

In 1960 “the whole nation was jaded,” Fish said, but Kennedy and King helped that generation believe in their leaders. Fish believes that “Obama gives us new dreams, new direction, new passion.”

Watch Barack’s historic speech.

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