June 3rd, 2008
08:59 PM ET
12 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. Mark

    Jay its SOUTH DAKOTA< and he has not lost it yet, the population centers have not been counted yet...

    This is History in the making!....

    Obama 08'
    Obama/Clinton 08'

    We welcome Clinton Supporters with Open arms, now lets take down McSame!

    June 3, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. Carrie Harris

    Run together we want
    Obamas Hope and Hillarys Stability

    June 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. Janet, 60+White Female American via Canada

    The Truth Has Arrive, and we are changing for ourselves! Too many hard days are coming to an end. The New Era and Positive Future for All Americans, beyond the eyes of Race and Beliefs!

    Rev., Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Mrs. Parks, and all those who started and gave their lives – White, Jewish, Blacks, Hispanic, Asians, etc.,,,,,,," A Giant Steps for Us!"

    June 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  4. David Peter

    Obama, you inspire us all. McBush doesnt have a prayer.

    June 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |


    June 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. DAN

    Oh ya after you told her she was likable enough and swept your shoulders gave her the finger and called her husband a racist. I guess 20 years at trinity has pay off for now. Well the democrats just lost the elections.

    June 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. Never Obama

    The move has already started....

    Hillary supporters will not be supporting Obama in November if he is the nominee. This is a sincere movement that has already started through emails, websites, phone calls, and rallies throughout the country. Currently our projections have reached 54% of Hillary supporters who have pledged their efforts for John McCain in November.

    Sorry Obots. We wanted experience. Don't take it personal. It is what it is.

    June 3, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. PJ

    I, for one, think this is a great moment, and celebrate it. He has worked long and hard, and is working for the people who do and do not support him. I see beyond wanting to protect my privilege, and realize so many of us in the US do not have what it takes to survive daily life. They are who I'm fighting for, and thats why I AM VOTING FOR OBAMA IN 08!!

    Congratulations to all of the Democrats who are backing McCain. I doubt I would be able to change your minds, because my voice is already represented on nights like tonight. So, BE HAPPY with your decision, and please stop beating us over the head with it!

    June 3, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. L Anderson

    I am a democrat. I do not see Obama winning unless Hillary is on the ticket this is the only way I see him winning.

    June 3, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Lynn

    She just won South Dakota. He can't even win. He might pull off Montana. I think it is funny. He was way ahead in South Dakota two weeks ago. Over 17 million people does not want him.

    June 3, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. Paul

    This could be one of the speeches for the ages.

    The contrasts he will draw will be MAGNIFICANT.......

    FINALLY, a robust liberal who is an elegant orator and a champion of unity and understanding, a doer who develops and will implement policy of economic incentive, social cohesion and diplomatic poise and understanding.

    This 'my friends' (refeence to mcain for those who missed it).... THIS my friends is leadership.........

    Hooray Hooray.

    June 3, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. Cindy

    Congratulations, Senator Obama! This.. is your night!

    June 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  13. Okela King


    The moment that Black people have been waiting for, dreaming of and dying for has arrived. The never before seen but always dreamt of story is about to become reality. There is just one thing I regret about this moment and that is the ancestors are not here to experience the joy and pride we feel as a race and as a Nation but I know that they are here in spirit. The old girl Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Claude Mc. Kay, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B Dubois, and so many others have shed their blood and made so many sacrifices for this moment. Cheers to Obama, and much respect to his wife for having the strength to be his rock. Walk this mile Obama because it is your destiny.

    May the Ancestors continue to watch over us. Ase

    June 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. lee

    unity? no way. . .i can't support obama and i'm a democrat.

    i will write senator clinton's name in when i cast my ballot in november. . .she is the only one to beat mccain

    June 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. Admit the Obvious

    It's definitely Hello President McCain if Obama doesn't pick Clinton as his running mate. Even I won't vote for him. I'd abstain. He hasn't got what it takes. He's just in the right place ten years too soon.

    June 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  16. patricia

    I hate the fact that I now have to vote for Mcain have voted dem all my life but I can not vote for Obama even if Hillary is on the ticket .I have spoken to a lot of people I work in an airport and they all feel the same so I guess it will be Mcain in 08

    June 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  17. Jackie

    God Bless America !!

    June 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  18. God Help Us

    NO Way will I vote for Obama.
    He does not have the experience and I do no wish to go through the next 4 years listening to racial allegations everytime someone speaks agains him.

    June 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  19. MD

    If Obama is after party unity, he MUST NOT pick Hillary for veep.

    June 3, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  20. Diane

    That will be a cinch. Did you hear McCain tonight.

    In his best child day care voice –

    "Now gather round me girls and boys and I'm going to tell you a fairy tale, and you make a lot of noise. Okay? Here we go! Once upon a time..."

    Then he proceeded in that same tone, batting his eyes (liar) and waiting for the prompter to change entertaining an audience of desperation, frustration, and despair–I'm sorry Republicans.

    Quite frankly, I felt sorry for him. Senator Obama, go forward and present your proposed programs for real change to this nation, and God go with you. Be blessed.

    June 3, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  21. bill

    congrats Obama. Clinton deserves Condo Rice's Position. Not Cheney's.

    June 3, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  22. No McWar

    McCain says "I am blessed with such personal greatness..." blah, blah, blah.

    A leader we can believe in? I don't think so. He's barely able to get through his speech using his teleprompter without stumbling on the words in his monotone monologue. EW.

    Whatever his service to his country during the Vietnam war, it doesn't make him somehow "Presidential" or qualified to be President. It feels more like he's stuck in that war – which is why he says stuff like "I will NEVER surrender" as if getting out of Iraq has to equate to surrender.

    I think he's still pissed we left Vietnam.

    I look forward to a new age of American politics with President Obama. While I don't support HRC as VP, I think she'd be an awesome Supreme Court Justice.

    Obama/Hagel '08

    June 3, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  23. Don

    Hahaha, the Republicans who claim to be democrats have gone into

    overdrive mode, hahahahaha

    June 3, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  24. Tailor, FL

    I am a VERY proud Hilary supporter!! Have been from day one..
    I feel strongly that Hilary would have made a better president!

    But i am FURIOUS at fellow clinton supporters who say they will vote John McCain!!

    They are dishonouring the one person they've been supporting!! They are Traitors..by all means, write Hilarys' name on the Ballot! but PLEASE dont contribute to another 4 years of HELL in America! I can hardly afford to feed my 3 young daughters thanks to the republican party..

    CLINTON SUPPORTER FOR OBAMA!! (but you obama supporters have got to stop knocking hilary supporters, could cost you)

    June 3, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. Ron

    You don't need Hillary on the ticket to win in November. Leave all of the negative campaigning in the primary.

    Congratulations Obama

    Obama / Edwards 08

    June 3, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
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