June 3rd, 2008
08:59 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama looks for Democratic unity against McCain in November

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Barack Obama will take up the reins of the Democratic drive for the White House on Tuesday night, calling on Democrats to come together for a "common effort to chart a new course for America."

"Tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another - a journey that will bring a new and better day to America," the Illinois senator will say, speaking in the city where Republicans will officially nominate his GOP opponent in September.

"Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States."

Obama went over the top in delegates earlier Tuesday as many of the remaining uncommitted superdelegates flocked to his side, making him the first African-American candidate in U.S. history to lead a major-party ticket.

According to the text of his speech obtained by CNN, Obama will laud his chief Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, downplaying divisions sparked within the party by the difficult campaign fight between the two and reaching out to voters who strongly supported the former first lady.

The country and the party "are better off because of her," he will say of Clinton, who he said is driven by "an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be."

"And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory," he will say. "When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen."

Obama will note millions of new voters who came to the polls in record numbers understanding "that this election isn't just about the party in charge of Washington, it's about the need to change Washington."

Obama will reserve the bulk of his speech, however, for the presumptive GOP nominee, John McCain.

"I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine," Obama will say of the Arizona senator. "My differences with him are not personal. They are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign. Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party
in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign."

Saying that McCain "decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time" as a senator last year, Obama will say "it is not change" for McCain to back Bush's current economic policies and Iraq strategy.

"So I'll say this," Obama will say. "There are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them."

Obama will call for a foreign policy that "requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy" and "an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it." He will chastise McCain for contrasting his own many trips to Iraq with Obama's single visit during his 3 1/2 years as a senator.

"Maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy - cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota - he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for," Obama will say.

Obama also will pledge that his campaign would not be "governed by fear, and innuendo, and division."

"What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon - that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize," he will say. "Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we
are Americans first. We are always Americans first."

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. sadza

    I will never ever ever vote for Obama.
    I am not ready to have Barack Obama as my president.

    June 3, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. Rick FL

    Congratulations Obama!

    McCain tried to use "change"–ROFL. Sorry, but that's pretty weak and unoriginal for someone tied so closely to the failed Bush policies of taxes, war, GI Bill, torture, and more.

    We need real change!

    Dem '08

    June 3, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. Everett

    If you want unity, form a joint Obama/Clinton ticket.

    June 3, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. California Women for Obama

    Congratulations Barack and Michelle for a job well done. For the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country as well. Enjoy the evening you should and you will be fine as those Americans who don't like you will NEVER like you because of your skin color. So be it! There are many of us who will support you regardless.

    I see HRC is still going forward, I for one am NOT surprised at all.

    June 3, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  5. Why can't we all get along.

    like Grandmother us to say.AND I quote.
    Cut off your nose to spite your face!!!
    To vote for Mc cain to hurt Obama and suffer another 4years is EVIL.
    EVIL ,EVIL..Please let's work together to get things back together.
    I am tired,I am weak and I am worn....God just know we need HELP.
    ...................................................................................May God continue to Bless.

    June 3, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  6. Jim

    What if Sen. Obama is unable to compete in Nov.? Who, then would be the one to go up against Sen. McCain??

    June 3, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. olga

    Congratulations Barak on your success, but please do not chose Hilary for V.P., You will end up lossing.

    June 3, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  8. Darryl Miller

    The sad story tonight is that Hillary Clinton will destroy the Demcratic Party.......

    June 3, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Trasa, Texas

    Although I'm an Obama supporter and excited about his win, but I still will say congradulations to Hillary's win in S.Dakota. I truly hope some if not all of Hillary supporters will give Obama a chance. Some are not choosing him because his supporters are being mean, but we are both guilty on both sides. Some may do it for race or they simply just don't like him, but I hope you will at least go for him because of the issues. I didn't like to much of Hillary's character of late, but I do know I would have voted for her because her issues were in line with mine and after how she fought in the primary definitely proved she would have fought in the White House, but Obama will do the same as well. I'm not going to say we don't need you or convince you other wise, but Hillary did run a race that kept Obama on his toes and I will at least give credit that she is a fighter because I do feel she would have fought to do something for the American people. I will welcome Hillary support towards Obama if she chooses to and hope some of you guys will join in time.

    June 3, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Did Hillary even mention Obama in her speech? Did I miss it? If she mentioned him, I don't remember it?

    June 3, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  11. steven

    In his best child day care voice –

    that was a good one Diane

    June 3, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. Marlie:

    Congratulations Obama. Congratulations Obama upporters. God Bless all of you. from Canada

    June 3, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. KE

    Hillary a lady liberty has spoken

    Healthcare for everyone.

    June 3, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. God Bless America

    United we stand, divided we fall!! Would you really rather vote for 4 more years of McBush?

    June 3, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. Florida not for Barack Obama - Ever

    Give Hillary respect or lose 18million votes

    June 3, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. Karen in Cape Cod

    Hillary Clinton has won the POPULAR VOTE! What part of that FACT do the "Super Delegates" NOT UNDERSTAND?

    June 3, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  17. Trasa, Texas


    For those who say he's not experience and not ready, I'm sure you guys have been told that sometime in your life and all you were asking for was the opportunity to prove yourself. Maybe Hillary would have been better, maybe not but she didn't have that extensive amount of experience either. Mostly it was Bill and when you get Hillary you should be voting for her on what she can do for you, not her husband. He already had his time.

    And besides, I've come to realize being so experienced HASN'T always done us well. Hell Bush was Governer of Texas and know look at what he has helped to do. But keep in mind, he wasn't by himself, he had other so called experienced people in Washington and now we have $4.00 gas, foreclosures, high food and energy cost, no healthcare for and whatever else. So Barack is right about one thing, it time to change Washington and that's with the help of every American.

    June 3, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. MW

    If Hillary is not in the race then my vote is for McCain. McCain will be the next president of the United States if Obama ends up running. If Mcain has to run against Hilary then Hilary will be our next president. McCain knows this.

    June 3, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. Ashley

    I voted for Hillary and all I can say is McCain '08
    A LEADER we can believe in!

    June 3, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. Arya

    I really doubt if obama can win. Some one who is a centrist is more likely to win. I am also doubtful if he can really live up to all this expectations and hype if infact he is the nominee.. I wonder who will be calling the shots in democrat administration led by obama..

    I dont believe he can take strong decisions. or stand. he is hoping he can talk his way to bring people together..

    Weak on Economy.. will be blackmailed by the ultra liberals and african americans to further their agenda.. which most of the country may not like

    June 3, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. Lynnette-Missouri

    Future President Obama:
    Please NEVER, EVER pick Hillary for VEEP or anything else in your cabinet. She should have conceded tonight, but wanted to rain on this historic night for you and for America. Soooooo like a Clinton. Because, it's all about them, you know.
    Another white woman from the midwest

    June 3, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. maureen

    we are lifelong Dems in this household, We are voting for Nader.
    Can't support the empty suit.

    June 3, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. Arkansas Undertaker

    All those who feel like you cant support Obama, he doesnt need you anyway. I hope all of you get what you deserve.

    Thannk God Hillary didnt win the Nomination!!!

    June 3, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  24. maureen

    HE doesn't need us?
    He'll make George McGovern look like a winner!

    June 3, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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