Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Tale of Three Speeches

I'll admit that the political geek in me overcame the need for sleep last night to witness what promised to be an historic evening in American politics as it happened. Yes folk yesterday while South Dakota and Montana marked the end of the 2008 Presidential Primary season all eyes and cameras were focused on New Orleans, New York and St. Paul, for it was here that John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama were making their speeches.

McCain was first up to the plate and took his chance to try and reach out the the Clinton supporters who claim they would would not back Obama in November. He praised her and what she had brought to the campaign. He then tired to distance himself from President Bush, attacking his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and environmental policy. Then it was time to lay into the Democratic nominee designate.

"You've known me longer than yesterday," he said, "which was when you started to get to know Senator Obama." The same old attack once more, while trying to advocate that he is actually the hand of change.

Next up was the Democratic winner in South Dakota from New York. She was introduced by her campaign manager Terry McAuliffe as the next president of the USA, was this a sign of what was hinted during the day about what she wouldn't say.

She started out thanking Obama, being grateful and honoured to fight in this race with him, asking her supporters to recognise what he had achieved. But then back on familiar sound bites she asked who was best and ready to take back the White House and govern from day one. Mention was made that she had won more Primary votes than any other candidate in history (this count does not include the caucuses), that she had won the swing states required to secure the 270 electoral college votes in the General Election. You could feel what was coming.

She wanted everyone of the 18m votes that were cast for her to be heard, honoured, recognised and counted. Still looking like she was looking for justice for the voters of Florida and Michigan. Then the big question. Where do we go from here? She said it was a question not to be taken lightly and that no decision would be made tonight. She encouraged supporters to tell her through her website what they thought she should do.

Then it was the turn of the first African American to win the nomination of a major party. He also thanked all the most talented, qualified field of candidates fielded against him. Noted that they are true leaders of the party and that Hillary has made history not just because she's a women but as a leader who inspired millions of Americans. He said that when universal health care came about she would be central to that victory.

Then his attack against McCain. This in not just an election about the change of party in Washington but about change in Washington. He acknowledged McCain accomplishment, then took a snipe at McCain, even he doesn't acknowledge mine. Then pointed out that 95% of the time he has been Bush's man so the distancing himself hasn't happened during the campaign. He said of the attacks on him not visiting Iraq if he'd made a few more trips to the hardest hit cities and towns by the economic recession he'd be more in tune with what change was really needed in America.

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