29 aug. 2008

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:


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Thank you.

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Thank you.

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Thank you very much. What an amazing crowd. Thank you for this warm welcome. Thank you so much.
One of the greatest gifts of our democracy is the opportunity it offers us every four years to change course. It's not a guarantee. It's only an opportunity.
The question facing us simply put, is will we seize this opportunity for a change? That's why I came here tonight to tell you why I feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

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Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn't really matter who became president. Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity and some assumed we would continue with both no matter the outcome. But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn't matter.
Take it from me. If it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq. We would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him.

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We wouldn't be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis. We'd be fighting for middle-income families. We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution. We'd be protecting the rights of every American, regardless of race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

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And we would not be denying the climate crisis. We'd be solving the climate crisis.
Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now. Because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them.
The same policies? Those policies all over again? Hey, I believe in recycling but that's ridiculous.

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With John McCain's support, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have led our nation into one calamity after another because of their indifference to facts, their readiness to sacrifice the long term to the short term, subordinate the general good to the benefit of the few, and short circuit the rule of law.
If you like the Bush-Cheney approach, John McCain is your man. If you believe it's time for a change, then vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

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What a great speech Joe Biden gave last night. Barack Obama is telling us exactly what he will do. Launch a bold new economic plan to restore America's greatness. Fight for smarter government that trusts the market but protects us against its excesses. Enact policies that are pro-choice, pro-education and pro-family. Establish a foreign policy that is smart as well as strong. Provide health care for all and solutions for the climate crisis.
So why is this election so close? Well, I know something about close elections so let me offer you my opinion.
I believe this election is close today mainly because the forces of the status quo are desperately afraid of the change Barack Obama represents.

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There is no better example than the climate crisis. As I have said throughout this land for many years, we're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in waste that destroy the future of human civilization. Every bit of that has to change.

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Oil company profits, as you know, have soared to record levels and gasoline prices have gone through the roof, and we are more dependent than ever on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.
Many scientists predict shockingly that the entire north polar ice cap may be completely gone during summer months during the first term of the next president. Sea levels are rising. Fires are raging. Storms are stronger.
Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive waves of climate refugees, destabilizing countries around the world. And scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented extinctions.
We are facing a planetary emergency, which if not solved, would exceed anything we've ever experienced in the history of humankind.
In spite of John McCain's past record of open-mindedness and leadership on the climate crisis, he has now apparently allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution.
And it just so happens that the climate crisis is intertwined with the other two great challenges facing our nation -- reviving our economy and strengthening our national security. The solutions to all three require us to end our dependence on carbon-based fuels.

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Instead of letting lobbyists and polluters control our destiny, we need to invest in American innovation. Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison, our most famous inventor, said, "I would put my money on the sun and solar energy." "What a source of power," he continued. I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
Well, now, in 2008, we have everything we need to start using the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation and efficiency to solve the climate crisis. Everything, that is, except a president in the White House who inspires us to believe, yes, we can.

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Now we know how to fix that. So how did this no-brainer become a brain twister?
Because the carbon fuels industry, big oil and coal have a 50- year lease on the Republican Party and they're drilling it for everything it's worth. And this same industry has spent $0.5 billion this year alone trying to convince the public that they're actually solving the problem when they're, in fact, making it worse every single day.
This administration and the special interests who control that lock, stock and barrel after barrel, have performed this same sleight of hand on issue after issue. Some of the best marketers have the worst products, and this is certainly true of today's Republican Party.
The party itself has on its rolls men and women of great quality. But the last eight years demonstrate that the special interests who have come to control the Republican Party are so powerful that serving them and serving the national well-being are now irreconcilable choices.
So what can we do about it? We can carry Barack Obama's message of hope and change to every family in America and pledge that we'll be there for him. Not only in the heat of this election but in the aftermath as we put his agenda to work for our country.
We can tell Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, exactly why our nation so badly needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain. After they wrecked our economy, it's time for a change. After they abandoned the search for the terrorist who attacked us and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us, it's time for a change.

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After they abandoned the principle first laid down by General George Washington when he prohibited the torture of captives because it would bring in his words, shame, disgrace and ruin to our nation, it's time for a change. When as many as three Supreme Court justices could be appointed in the first term of the next president, and John McCain promises to appoint more Scalias and Thomases, and end a woman's right to choose, it is time for a change.

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Many people have been waiting for some sign that our country is ready for such a change. How will we know when it's beginning to take hold?
I think we might recognize it as a sign of such change if we saw millions of young people getting involved for the first time in the political process.

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This election is actually not close at all among younger voters. You are responding in unprecedented numbers to Barack Obama's message of change and hope. You recognize that he represents a clean break from the politics of partisanship and bitter division. You understand that the politics of the past are exhausted.
And you're tired. We're all tired of appeals based on fear.
You know that America is capable of better than what we have seen in recent years, and you're hungry for a new politics based on bipartisan respect for the ageless principles embodied in the United States Constitution.

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There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon awakening to the challenge of a present danger, checking off complacency and rising clear eyed and alert to the necessity of embracing change.
A century and a half ago, when America faced our greatest triumph, the end of one era gave way to the birth of another. The candidate who emerged victorious in that election is now regarded by most historians as our greatest president.
Before he entered the White House, Abraham Lincoln's experience in elective office consisted of eight years in his state legislature in Springfield, Illinois, and one term in Congress. During which, he showed courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another country in a war that was popular when it was started but later condemned by history.
The experience that Lincoln supporters valued most in that race was his powerful ability to inspire hope in the future at a time of impasse. He was known chiefly as a clear thinker, and a great orator with a passion for justice and a determination to heal the deep divisions of our land. He insisted on reaching past partisan and regional divides to exult our humanity.
In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a mandate from history to launch another new beginning. And once again, we have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition.
Barack Obama had the experience and wisdom to oppose a popular war based on faulty premises. His leadership experience has given him a unique capacity to inspire hope in the promise of the American dream of a boundless future. His experience has also given him genuine respect for different views and humility in the face of complex realities that cannot be squeezed into the narrow compartments of ideology.
His experience has taught him something that career politicians often overlook. That inconvenient truths must be acknowledged if we were to have wise governance.

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And the extraordinary strength of his personal character and that of his wonderful wife, Michelle, who gave such a magnificent address and will be such a wonderful first lady for our country, their strength of character is grounded in the strengths of the American community.
Barack Obama's vision and his voice represent the best of America. His life experience embodies the essence of our motto, "E pluribus unum," out of many, one. That is the linking identity at the other end of all the hyphens that pervade our modern political culture.
It is that common American identity which Barack Obama exemplifies heart and soul. That enables us, as Americans, to speak with moral authority to all of the peoples of the world to inspire hope that we, as human beings, can transcend our limitations to redeem the promise of human freedom.
Late this evening, our convention will end with a benediction. As we bow in reverence, remember the words of the old proverb, "When you pray, move your feet." And then let us leave here tonight and take that message of hope from Denver to every corner of our land and do everything we can to serve our nation, our world, and our children and their future by electing Barack Obama, president of the United States of America.

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Transcript from CNN:
BLITZER: It's not every day where you have the granddaughter of the late president of the United States, a Republican -- there she is -- a Republican president and a war hero, obviously. She's decided that she's going to come here and deliver this speech in support of Barack Obama.

And I think it's going to be interesting. It's not going to be a long speech. But I think it's going to be interesting to hear what she has to say.

COOPER: And we'll bring that speech to you live, as well.

KING: To Paul's point, I think this is what you would have heard -- at least from some of the people in New York -- is that he has started a grassroots movement. Look around. It's just -- the evidence is right in front of your face.

The question is, can it get him to the finish line?

And to Paul's point about the point he has to make tonight, there are a number of Americans out there -- just read our polling data, visit certain places in the country -- who have what they believe to be profound and legitimate questions about is he ready to be commander-in-chief, does he share my values.

That's part of the challenge tonight.

He has built something, but is it enough to get him to the finish line is the big question.

(AUDIO GAP)

BORGER: ...has been doing.

BLITZER: All right.

BORGER: They say they are appealing to those people.

BLITZER: And here she is. She's going to be speaking.

And let's listen in.

SUSAN EISENHOWER, PRESIDENT EISENHOWER'S GRANDDAUGHTER: I stand before you tonight not as a Republican or a Democrat, but as an American. The Eisenhowers came to this great country in the 18th century, settling first amid the hills of Pennsylvania and later on the plains of Kansas.

Like many of your ancestors, they built our nation and served it in times of national crisis and war.

I grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where my parents and grandparents, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, chose to live after Ike's retirement as Supreme Commander Europe and as president -- after president of the United States.

It was also in Gettysburg where Abraham Lincoln gave his historic address.

On the killing fields of Pickett's charge, our country came of age and assured that our nation would survive as one.

Yet today, the divisions in our are deep and wide. Our cohesiveness as a nation is strained by multiple crises in finance and credit, energy and health care. And we have knowingly saddled our children and grandchildren with a staggering debt. This is a moral failing, not just a financial one.

Overseas, our credibility is at an all-time low. We must restore our international leadership position and the leverage that goes with it. But rather than focus on the strategic issue, our nation's discourse has turned into a petty squabble. Too many people in power failed us. Belligerence has become a substitute for stubbornness, stubbornness has been a substitute for leadership and impulsive action has been -- has replaced measured and thoughtful response.

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EISENHOWER: Once during the Eisenhower administration, Ike was under fire from his critics for moving too slowly in responding to political pressure. After a visit to the Oval Office by Robert Frost, the famous American poet sent the president a note of support. "The strong," he wrote, "are saying nothing until they see."

I believe that Barack Obama has the energy, but more importantly, the temperament to run this country and to provide the leadership we need.

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EISENHOWER: He knows that we can either advance on the distant hills of hope or retreat to the garrisons of fear. He can mobilize and inspire us all to show up for duty.

The task before our next president will be overwhelming, but no undertaking can be more critical than bringing about a sense of national unity and purpose built on mutual respect and bipartisanship. Unless we squarely face our challenges as Americans together, we risk losing the priceless heritage bestowed on us by the sweat and sacrifice of our forbearers.

If we do not pull together, we could lose the America that has been an inspiration to the world.

On December 1, 1862, in his annual message to Congress, Abraham Lincoln immortalized this thought when he said: "We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth."

Let us respond this November to President Lincoln's challenge. Let us restore the hope and bring the change that our nation so desperately needs.

Yes, we can!

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BLITZER: All right. It's interesting, an Eisenhower speaking at a Democratic convention. It's almost as if at the Republican convention next week they get a Kennedy to speak at the Republican convention, Anderson. It's pretty unusual.

COOPER: We'll see if they're able to, huh?

BLITZER: Yes. That would be -- that would be something. I suspect they won't be able to.

Let me get some insight from David Gergen right now. Susan Eisenhower speaking at this convention.

What do you make of it, David?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, I must say, Wolf, that as much as all of us enjoy the music, I'm really glad that we've had Al Gore and Mrs. Eisenhower out here speaking so we have some substance to this, too on an evening.

And what was -- I think the Gore speech, he -- while it was way too rushed in delivery, had an awful lot to offer and was one of the first times anybody in this campaign has spoken seriously to the nation about the potential catastrophe coming from global warming.

I don't think any -- either one

one of these candidates has really seriously addressed what has to be done, how much sacrifice is going to be required, how rapidly this is moving in on us.

But it was also interesting to me to hear both Gore and Susie Eisenhower tonight -- and Susie is a long-time friend -- go back on a night when we're all talking about Martin Luther King and remembering that Martin Luther King stood that historic day at the feet of Abraham Lincoln. Both of them tonight have gone back to Lincoln in their speeches and to -- and have evoked memories of what Lincoln faced -- his brief time in politics before he became president, only eight years in the state legislature in Illinois, just one two year term in the Congress. That's all the experience he had before he got to the White House and yet became one our, you know, perhaps our most historic president.

It was interesting that both went back to Lincoln through -- on a night we honor King, went back through King to Lincoln, and helped us to frame these choices tonight.

So I thought both speeches were memorable and I think it's really was worth a lot of people going back and actually reading the text of Al Gore's speech, because a lot of it went by so quickly.

BLITZER: Yes. He did rush through that speech.

Ed Rollins, let me tell our viewers what we're seeing right now. There are 24 retired U.S. generals up on the stage. Each one of them is going to be speaking very briefly to endorse Barack Obama, to underscore that, I guess, the point they want to make, the nation's military, at least these retired military officers, want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, there's a -- Ed had to take a -- I think he was drafted, actually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Identify yourself.

CASTELLANOS: But Alex Castellanos is here.

BLITZER: All right. Never mind. Let me ask Alex -- Alex Castellanos is a Republican strategist.

Talk about this -- this is a symbolically important step that these Democrats are doing to try to show that the military is behind Barack Obama and that, when it comes to national security, he won't take anyone's backseat.

CASTELLANOS: You know, this is -- this is the brand new product on the shelf that you've never tried. And you're wondering whether to buy it or not.

And so what do you want?

You want endorsements. You want other people who have seen the show to tell you how good it was. And so he's surrounding himself as much as possible with credibility.

You know, the danger, I think, tonight, for the Democrats -- and I think Republicans are looking for is are the Democrats gift wrapping air here?

Is this a great sight, a great spectacle, great colors, but is there enough substance to it?

You know, Barack Obama still has the challenge of just a few years ago, he was a state legislator. He was a community activist. He was voting present a few hundred days in the Senate. And the next thing you know, he's running for the president of the United -- the presidency of the United States, when, you know, a four year job when he's never held a job that long in his life.

So, he's trying to surround himself with as much credibility and with as much popularity as he can.

COOPER: Certainly, the same kind of arguments that were made against John F. Kennedy, who is the other Democratic presidential candidate who decided to take his acceptance speech outside the convention hall in Los Angeles to the coliseum.

BEGALA: Just days before Kennedy's election, Susan Eisenhower's grandfather went out and spoke to enormous rallies. And he said that. He said Kennedy was too young and untested. He said, who is this young genius who thinks he can do so well? That's how he described JFK. It's a very close parallel.

And I think the credibility that these generals -- that Ms. Eisenhower provides -- she looks the part of the Republicans. She does not look like she stepped out of a Black Eyed Peas video, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

Typical Republican response on YouTube:
You nigger filth, if I had my way I would put you back in chains! You blacks are responsible for most of the crime in this country!

McCain 08!!!!