[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/25/art.ap.jesse.jackson.jr.jpg caption="Jesse Jackson Jr. spoke opening night of the Denver convention."]
DENVER (CNN) - The theme for this evening is One Nation. The first theme. That’s very important because that is the signature image of the Obama campaign, and the basis, really, of his appeal.
When Bush in November 1999 declared himself a candidate for president, he said he intended to be a uniter, not a divider. That was a promise that I think the American people feel he failed to fulfill. Obama first became noticed on the national stage with his 2004 convention speech - the theme of which was unity: black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, Republican and Democrat. Remember his refrain: There’s no red America, there’s no blue America, there’s the United States of America.
And I think that, even more than the theme of change, is the theme that underlies his political success. Because Americans are looking for someone to deliver what George Bush tried and failed to do.
It’s interesting — this is Jesse Jackson Jr., who famously split with his father over Obama. Jesse Jackson Jr., like Obama, represents a new generation of African-American politicians. In many ways, this is his national debut. We are witnessing the passage of leadership to a new generation of American-Americans. This is a turning point in black politics.
He is stressing the theme of unity. This new generation — represented by Obama and Jesse Jackson Jr. — they don’t speak the language of racial grievances like Jesse Jackson Sr. and Al Sharpton. They speak a language of unity.