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In Historic Move, Democrats Nominate Obama as Presidential Nominee

StoryAugust 28, 2008
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The formal nomination makes Barack Obama the first African American major party candidate in US history. The historic moment came after Senator Hillary Clinton walked onto the floor of the convention hall and asked Democratic delegates to suspend their count and approve Obama’s nomination by acclamation. [includes rush transcript]

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The Democratic Party formally nominated Senator Barack Obama as their presidential candidate on Wednesday, making him the first African American major party candidate in US history. The historic moment came after Senator Hillary Clinton walked onto the floor of the convention hall and asked Democratic delegates to suspend their count and approve Obama’s nomination by acclamation.

Hours later, Obama made a surprise appearance before the convention, immediately following vice-presidential nominee Joseph Biden’s acceptance speech. Obama strode on stage before a roaring crowd of thousands of delegates a day before he’ll formally accept the presidential nomination before more than 75,000 people on Invesco Field.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: The 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. I think we are going to have a great night tomorrow night, and I look forward to seeing you there. God bless you. God bless America.

AMY GOODMAN: Obama’s acceptance speech will fall on the forty-fifth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall in Washington.

Earlier in the evening, former President Bill Clinton embraced Obama’s candidacy, saying he’s ready to be commander-in-chief and approving his choice of Joe Biden as his running mate. Biden accepted the vice-presidential nomination with a speech that linked Republican John McCain to the foreign policies of President Bush.

    SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN: As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than it has been any time in recent history. The Bush foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out. And for the last seven years, the administration has failed to face the biggest — the biggest forces shaping this century: the emergence of Russia, China and India as great powers; the spread of lethal weapons; the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water; the challenge of climate change; and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front in the war on terror.

    Ladies and gentleman, recent years and in recent days, we’ve once again seen the consequences of the neglect, of this neglect, with Russia challenging the very freedom of the new democratic country of Georgia. Barack and I will end that neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we will help the people of Georgia rebuild.

    I’ve been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, this administration’s policy has been an abysmal failure. America cannot afford four more years of this failure.

    And now, now despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack Obama — Barack Obama is not ready to protect our national security. Now, let me ask you this: Whose judgment do you trust? Should you trust the judgment of John McCain when he said only three years ago, "Afghanistan — we don’t read about it anymore in the papers, because it’s succeeded"? Or should you believe Barack Obama, who said a year ago we need to send two more combat battalions to Afghanistan?

    The fact of the matter is, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, they’ve regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they are plotting new attacks. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack’s call for more troops. John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right.

    Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he rejected — when he rejected talking with Iran and then asked, “What is there to talk about?” or Barack Obama, who said we must talk and make clear to Iran that it must change? Now, after seven years of denial, even the Bush administration recognizes that we should talk to Iran, because that’s the best way to ensure our security. Again and again, John McCain has been wrong, and Barack Obama is right.

    Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he says — when he says we can’t have no timelines to draw down our troops from Iraq, that we must stay indefinitely? Or should we listen to Barack Obama, who says shift the responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our combat troops home? Now, after six long years, the administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home. John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right.

AMY GOODMAN: Joe Biden, accepting the vice-presidential nomination last night.

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