August 25th, 2008
08:59 PM ET
13 years ago

Schneider: We’re witnessing the passing of the torch

[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.

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Ted

    They sure do. And they'll be united on the way to the White House.
    Obama/Biden 08

    August 25, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. B. Smart

    . . . Its about time.

    Obama / Biden 08.

    August 25, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. JWC

    So just as Bush who many of you claim to be a right wing radical failed to unify us do you people expect Obama, a known left wing radical to do the job this time? Have we learned nothing?

    August 25, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. barry c

    what a tired and disorganized convention. i just heard you guys say it.
    I want to hear the speakers not the commentators....LOL...
    apparently Obama could have learned a thing or 2 from the clintons..
    is this what his presidency will look like...another week of fumbling the ball....

    August 25, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. TXBad1 Never for Obama (X-Dem)

    Thought this had nothing to do with race, another fine lie!

    August 25, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. Hayward

    Oh give me a break. Way to kiss up and also way to spit on the past which paved the way for these clowns. Sounds like a hippy convention. I don't knock unity but that almost made me puke. What's wrong with disagreeing or not being for something does that make you unAmerican or unpatriotic? If you're not for everything Barack stands for then you're condemned. Sounds Bush-like to me. Those 2 don't represent the whole of AFRO AMERICA. That's a forced opinion.

    August 25, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. Betty

    All we're witnessing is more Blitzer, Brown, and pundits !!!!!!

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    CNN isn't letting us hear a lot of the speakers – this is all about CNN.

    I think Carter's humanitarian work has been wonderful. At least he isn't just sitting around making snide remarks like the CNN air-heads – er – talking heads.

    Botox Barbie might consider helping the less fortunate in this country instead of jet-setting all over the world for photo ops. I don't want my taxes paying her security on the sight-seeing one day tours.

    August 25, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. Cynthia

    I do agree – the next generation is taking over as it should.

    August 25, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. Jim Warner

    One America? I thought there were two Americas? Oh, that was John Edwards.

    If there is one America, why is John McCain tied with Obama in the polls? Because Republicans and Democrats disagree about things, that is what they do. If not, why has he voted consistently Democratic during his 3 years in the U.S. Senate? He is so naive.

    August 25, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. Kyril

    I am a moderate republican veteran who will be voting for Barack Obama and I wish there were more people who belived in unity and compromise and less who believed in the same old divisive partisan politics.

    August 25, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. Oldschool23

    A new ad from the Republican National Committee claims Barack Obama proposes "no new solutions" for the energy and climate crises. In fact, the Illinois senator has proposed $150 billion in spending over 10 years for biofuels, plug-in hybrids, low-emission coal plants and the rapid commercialization of other new, clean energy technologies. The ad also recycles the misleading claim that Obama has said "no" to nuclear. Obama said he is open to nuclear if it is clean and safe.

    And while the ad correctly says that Obama is against lifting the gas tax and against more production "here at home" (read: lifting the federal ban on more offshore oil drilling), neither of those steps is likely to be a "solution" for the problems at hand.

    Leadership you can trust! just ask them!

    August 25, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. Chuck

    J.J. Jr wouldn't have a chance to voice his opinions if it wasn't for his daddy's coat tails.

    Yet, the Obamabots want to use ageism against McCain. Someone send me a text message when this generation does anything to better the world where they stand around holding out their hands and screaming about "change."

    August 25, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. Fabian Blache III

    Congrats to Jackson, Jr. for knowing that he is a man of his own and a man of his own time. He is not in the shadow of his father, who's shadow has long receded.

    Nice job Jesse. You should be proud.

    August 25, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  14. Mike

    This is truly a time for change. Obama brings change to the Democrats and to America. When Obama is elected President, the GOP must do some serious soul searching. For the Republicans to win back the trust of the American people, they need to return to being the party of the working man. Not just the super rich.

    August 25, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  15. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Jesse Jackson Jr.'s failure to stand with his father is unforgivable.

    I have no time and no ear for anything he has to say. His father has worked tirelessly his whole life for civil rights, the son has accomplished nothing except showing how an ungrateful child treats his father to get ahead.

    He shouldn't be allowed to speak at an Amway Convention!

    August 25, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  16. TheDude

    Oh please Kyril, Obama is a left wing radical and his unity nonsense is just that. Nonsense he is telling us to try to get himself elected.

    August 25, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. dennis from chicago

    sermon on the mount colorado football field thursday night took barack 7 ..... count them 7 hours to write it........ FACT OR FICTION or mostly fairy tale......like the ACADEMY AWARDS iTS THE MOMENT THE WORLD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR........excuse me but what hospital in HAWAII was barack born in.....THIS IS SECRET INFORMATION find out obamacrimes/com..........

    August 25, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. Gary in VA

    I agree about two much commentating. I have ben watchin on UNC TV they have just the speeches in there entireity. Good music on CNN. I love the band.

    August 25, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  19. chitowngal07

    People should give up this idea that unity is for the party. Unity is something the Obama camp came up with so that Obama can guilt people into voting for him.....

    guess what, not touched by it. Unity would have Obama reaching out to the most qualified person and asked her to be his v.p. guess unity was not enough for him to risk Hillary outshine him....huh???

    August 25, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. Ernie in LA

    All we need is another Jr. I hope The Rev. AL does not have one too. He will probably be the president in '12.

    August 25, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  21. SoundsStupid2Me

    RACISM....I see it...I see it. You can't even hide it.

    August 25, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. corin

    cnn is has done the american public a disservice. there has been plenty of good speakers that they have not shown instead cnn pundits want to discuss hillary and the imaginary division in the democratic party what a shame!!!.. i have been watching CSPAN

    of course my comment wont make it past this point..... after all this is like my 15th comment i have tried to leave.

    Jesse Jackson JR did a remarkable job!!

    August 25, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  23. KCBob

    Hey JWC, The real question is:

    Are people like you willing to let him try? If he wins will you be a partisan fool like we all have been for... well as long as I can remember?

    Sorry, I am distracted by my country being flushed down the toilet by a corrupt/inept administration. Even if Obama doesnt win I will still have the desire for unity and hope many others like me do the same.

    August 25, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  24. Rhett Hirko

    Jesse Jackson spoke from the heart but with no content, sadly... unity is fine but the words lacked inspiriation. He is not his father...

    August 25, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. One of the 33 1/3% Who Will NEVER Vote for Obama!

    The only part of the convention I intend to watch are the Clintons' speeches and the roll call for Hillary – once the DNC TRULY forces her out, I will have NOTHING to do with the Democratic Party again!

    I really don't want to see the Windbag Empty Suit deliver his speech in the stadium – I've already seen enough of Obama's speeches. I CERTAINLY don't need to see nasty racist Michelle's pre-written speech!

    I've already changed my party affiliation (after being a life-long Democrat and NEVER having voted for a Republican for ANYTHING!) from Democrat to Independent. I have already contributed to McCain's campaign and intend to contribute more. I cannot vote for Obama. He is a racist, race-card playing, disenfranchising (I live in Florida), inexperienced, flip-flopping, stuttering except when reading from a teleprompter, crooked Chicago-style politician with very shady friends and a very racist hate-filled wife.

    I am so disgusted with the DNC and the do-nothing Democratic bigwigs who forced this unelectable fool down our throats that I may NEVER vote Democratic again (unless Hillary is running). Hillary may have to kiss Obama's butt, but I don't have to, and I WON'T!

    August 25, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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