The “Team Clinton” convention speech barn burners on each of the two previous nights have raised the bar a few notches for Obama’s acceptance speech tonight. But the bar was already so high, the incremental change may not be meaningful. With Obama’s extraordinary skill as an orator, expectations were already in the stratosphere. The odd decision to deliver the speech in the grandiose setting of an arena, on a stage befitting a Caesar or a rock star amplifies the expectation. Oh yeah – and this is the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. Just a little more expectation icing on the cake.
Perhaps the staging is not so odd. It has been frequently noted in the media and blogosphere that Obama has modeled elements of his campaign on the 1960 John F. Kennedy campaign. JFK accepted his 1960 nomination in the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. So, why not Mile High Stadium for Obama? With Ted and Caroline passing him the “Camelot” torch, Barack obviously relishes and encourages the comparison to JFK.
Of course, as Political Realm pointed out, some think Obama more closely resembles another Democratic President. The Obama campaign is so concerned about this comparison, that they did not give this ex-president a speaking role at the convention. They gave Democratic Vice President and failed presidential candidate Al Gore a prime speaking role. They gave failed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry a prime-time speaking role. But ex-president Jimmy Carter? One of only two living Democratic Ex-Presidents? Nobel Peace Prize winner? Bupkus.
But I digress. The anticipation of and expectations for this speech could not be higher. Yet I know Barack Obama will not disappoint. I know this for a fact. I know he will not disappoint, because I have read the speech.
Being a responsible blogger, I cannot reveal my sources, but I have obtained a partial transcript of the Barack Obama acceptance speech to be delivered at Invesco Field on Thursday and I can report that it is truly great. Actually, I only have an excerpt. Well, actually, I have two excerpts. Apparently, two versions of Obama’s acceptance speech were crafted, and my source did not know which version he will deliver on Thursday.
I was only able to secure these excerpts by promising to not reveal this material before the speech. But how can I sit on a scoop like this? Screw it. A Donklephant semi-exclusive! The speech is after the fold:
One caveat – these are apparently excerpts from draft versions, as there are some optional word choices indicated in the text. It is likely that his final speech will actually be a variation of one (or both) these two excerpts.
EXCERPT VERSION 1
“[This] …will not be a year of politics as usual. It can be a year of inspiration and hope, and it will be a year of concern, of quiet and sober reassessment of our nationâ€™s character and purpose. It has already been a year when voters have confounded the experts. And I guarantee you that it will be the year when we give the government of this country back to the people of this country.
There is a new mood in America. We have been shaken by a tragic war abroad and by scandals and broken promises at home. Our people are searching for new voices and new ideas and new leaders.
Although government has its limits and cannot solve all our problems, we Americans reject the view that we must be reconciled to failures and mediocrity, or to an inferior quality of life. For I believe that we can come through this time of trouble stronger than ever. Like troops who have been in combat, we have been tempered in the fire; we have been disciplined, and we have been educated.
Guided by lasting and simple moral values, we have emerged idealists without illusions, realists who still know the old dreams of justice and liberty, of country and of community…
My vision of this nation and its future has been deepened and matured during the nineteen months that I have campaigned among you for President. I have never had more faith in America than I do today. We have an America that, in Bob Dylanâ€™s phrase, is busy being born, not busy dying.
We can have an America that has reconciled its economic needs with its desire for an environment that we can pass on with pride to the next generation. We can have an America that provides excellence in education to my child and your child and every child. We can have an America that encourages and takes pride in our ethnic diversity, our religious diversity, our cultural diversityâ€”knowing that out of this pluralistic heritage has come the strength and the vitality and the creativity that has made us great and will keep us great. We can have an American government that does not oppress or spy on its own people but respects our dignity and our privacy and our right to be let alone. We can have an America where freedom, on the one hand, and equality, on the other hand, are mutually supportive and not in conflict, and where the dreams of our nationâ€™s first leaders are fully realized in our own day and age. And we can have an America which harnesses the idealism of the student, the compassion of a nurse or the social worker, the determination of a farmer, the wisdom of a teacher, the practicality of the business leader, the experience of the senior citizen, and the hope of a laborer to build a better life for us all. And we can have it, and weâ€™re going to have it!
As Iâ€™ve said many times before, we can have an American President who does not govern with negativism and fear of the future, but with vigor and vision and aggressive leadershipâ€”a President whoâ€™s not isolated from the people, but who feels your pain and shares your dreams and takes his strength and his wisdom and his courage from you.
I see an America on the move again, united, a diverse and vital and tolerant nation, entering our third century with pride and confidence, an America that lives up to the majesty of our Constitution and the simple decency of our people. This is the America we want. This is the America that we will have. We will go forward from this convention with some differences of opinion perhaps, but nevertheless united in a calm determination to make our country large and driving and generous in spirit once again, ready to embark on great national deeds. And once again, as brothers and sisters, our hearts will swell with pride to call ourselves Americans.”
EXCERPT VERSION 2
“Let me say first that I accept the nomination of the Democratic Party. I accept it without reservation and with only one obligation, the obligation to devote every effort of my mind and spirit to lead our Party back to victory and our Nation to greatness…
I am fully aware of the fact that the Democratic Party, by nominating someone of my [background or race], has taken on what many regard as a new and hazardous risk… The Democratic Party has once again placed its confidence in the American people, and in their ability to render a free and fair judgment and in my ability to render a free and fair judgment.
To uphold the Constitution and my oath of office, to reject any kind of pressure or obligation that might directly or indirectly interfere with my conduct of the Presidency in the national interest… I hope that no American — I hope that no American, considering the really critical issues facing this country, will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me because of my [background or race]. It is not relevant.
Our task is not merely one of itemizing Republican failures. Nor is that wholly necessary. For the families forced from the farm do not need to tell us of their plight. The unemployed miners and textile workers know that the decision is before them in November. The old people without medical care, the families without a decent home, the parents of children without a decent school: They all know that it’s time for a change.
We are not here to curse the darkness; we are here to light a candle. As Winston Churchill said on taking office… “If we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future”. Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do. Abroad, the balance of power is shifting…”
My call is to the young in heart, regardless of age– to the stout in spirit, regardless of Party, to all who respond to the scriptural call: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be [thou] dismayed.” For courage , not complacency, is our need today; leadership, not salesmanship. And the only valid test of leadership is the ability to lead, and lead vigorously.
A tired nation, said David Lloyd George, is a Tory nation. And the United States today cannot afford to be either tired or Tory. There may be those who wish to hear more — more promises to this group or that, more harsh rhetoric about [our enemies] as a substitute for policy, more assurances of a golden future, where taxes are always low and the subsidies are always high. But my promises are in the platform that you have adopted. Our ends will not be won by rhetoric, and we can have faith in the future only if we have faith in ourselves….
That is the choice our nation must make — a choice that lies not merely between two men or two parties, but between the public interest and private comfort, between national greatness and national decline, between the fresh air of progress and the stale, dank atmosphere of “normalcy,” between dedication or mediocrity. All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we shall do. And we cannot fail that trust. And we cannot fail to try.
It has been a long road from the first snowy day in New Hampshire many months ago to this crowded convention city. Now begins another long journey, taking me into your cities and homes across the United States. Give me your help and your hand and your voice. Recall with me the words of Isaiah that, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary.” As we face the coming great challenge, we too, shall wait upon the Lord, and ask that He renew our strength. Then shall we be equal to the test. Then we shall not be weary. Then we shall prevail. Thank you.”
I cannot tell you which of these will be the basis for the speech Barack Obama will give tonight. Probably it will be a variation of one of these drafts, or possibly it will be a mix of both.
Oh what the heck. Since I have already burned my sources, I might as well reveal them now. To keep it out of the feed, I’ll put it in the comments. But before you look – decide which excerpt you think will be closer to Obama’s actual address tonight. We can compare notes later.
x-posted at Divided We Stand United We Fall