In his historic acceptance speech, Sen. Barack Obama launched a sharp assault on Republican presidential rival John McCain and President Bush. Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination before a record crowd of over 84,000 at Invesco Field in Denver. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting live from Denver, where Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination last night before a crowd of over 84,000 people in the Mile High Stadium here in Denver, becoming the first major party African American presidential candidate in US history. At least another 25 million people watched Obama’s speech on television. He accepted the Democratic nomination on the forty-fifth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the 1963 March on Washington.
During his forty-five-minute address, Barack Obama launched a sharp assault on Republican presidential rival John McCain and President Bush.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. I’ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I will — listen now — I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. We will do this. Washington — Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years. And, by the way, John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. And in that time, he has said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investment in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office. Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close.
As president — as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power, and solar power and the next generation of biofuels — an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.
America, now is not the time for small plans.
And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad.
If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.
For — for while — while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. 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.
And today — today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus, while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war. That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.
You don’t defeat — you don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia, when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but that is not the change that America needs.
We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.
As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.
I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace and who yearn for a better future.
These — these are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
AMY GOODMAN: Barack Obama, giving his historic nomination acceptance speech before more than 84,000 people, making it the largest audience for a nomination acceptance address in the history of this country.