Sweet blog column: In South Carolina, Obama slams Clinton for being a “skilled politician.” And he’s not? Speech transcript.

SHARE Sweet blog column: In South Carolina, Obama slams Clinton for being a “skilled politician.” And he’s not? Speech transcript.
SHARE Sweet blog column: In South Carolina, Obama slams Clinton for being a “skilled politician.” And he’s not? Speech transcript.

WASHINGTON–In South Carolina on Saturday, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) delivers a one-year-from-the-general election speech. Here’s the excerpt about chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). He hands her a backdoor compliment–running a skilled campaign–and slamming her for being “calculated” and playing “to suit the politics of the moment” in that “textbook” campaign. Obama is also a skilled politician–he’s just running behind Clinton and continues to search for an effective way to gain the lead.

Excerpt….Much has been said about the exchanges between Senator Clinton and myself this week. Now, understand that Hillary Clinton is a colleague and a friend. Shes also a skilled politician, and shes run what Washington would call a textbook campaign. But the problem is the textbook itself.”

click below for speech


One Year from 2008 Election, Obama Lays Out the Choice Facing Voters

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery Provided Below

SPARTANBURG, S.C. Nearly a year before the 2008 presidential election, U.S. Senator Barack Obama delivered a speech today in Spartanburg, SC outlining how as President he would unite the country behind a sense of common purpose and turn the page on the divisive politics and broken promises that have dominated Washington in recent years.

Recognizing the moment of great challenge and great promise the country faces on Election Day 2008, Obama offered a fundamentally different choice for the American people and pledged to deliver change that is not just a slogan but change we can believe in.

As Prepared for Delivery:

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama

A Change We Can Believe In

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Spartanburg, South Carolina

One year from now, you will have the chance to walk into a voting booth, pull back the curtain, and choose the next President of the United States.

Heres the good news for the first time in a long time, the name George Bush will not appear on the ballot. The name Dick Cheney will not appear on the ballot. The era of Scooter Libby justice, and Brownie incompetence, and the Karl Rove politics of fear and cynicism will be over.

But the question you will have to ask yourselves when you pick up your ballot a year from today is, What next? How do we repair the enormous damage of these dismal years and recapture that sense of common purpose that has seen America through our toughest times?

Im running for President because I believe we find ourselves in a moment of great challenge and great promise a moment that comes along once in a generation.

Its a moment of challenge because America is less safe and less respected than at any time in recent history. We are more dependent on oil from dictators and closer to the day when climate change becomes a climate catastrophe.

In the midst of great prosperity, families all across this country feel further from the American Dream. You know this from your own lives. Most Americans are working harder for less and paying more for health care and college than ever before. Its harder to save. Harder to retire. And the policies of the last seven years have added to that unfairness.

George Bush said whatever the politics of the moment required in order to get elected in 2000. And those seven years of broken promises have left the American people with less trust in their leaders and less faith in their government than they have in years.

We were promised compassion and conservatism but we got Katrina and wiretaps.

We were promised a uniter, but we got a divider who couldnt even lead the half of the country who voted for him.

We were promised a kinder, gentler Washington but got a town thats more bitter, secretive, and corrupt than ever before. And the only mission ever accomplished was using fear and falsehoods to take us to a war that shouldve never been authorized and never been waged.

This catastrophic failure of leadership has led us to a moment where its not just Democrats who are listening to what we have to say, but Independents and Republicans who have never been more disillusioned with what the state of our leadership in Washington has done to this country.

Thats why this is also a moment of great promise. Its a chance to turn the page by offering the American people a fundamentally different choice in 2008 not just in the policies we offer, but in the kind of leadership we offer. Its a chance to come together and finally solve the challenges that were made worse by George Bush, but existed long before he took office challenges like health care and energy and education that we havent met for decades because of a political system in Washington that has failed the American people.

And thats what this debate in our party right now is all about.

Much has been said about the exchanges between Senator Clinton and myself this week. Now, understand that Hillary Clinton is a colleague and a friend. Shes also a skilled politician, and shes run what Washington would call a textbook campaign. But the problem is the textbook itself.

Its a textbook thats all about winning elections, but says nothing about how to bring the country together to solve problems. As we saw in the debate last week, it encourages vague, calculated answers to suit the politics of the moment, instead of clear, consistent principles about how you would lead America. It teaches you that you can promise progress for everyday people while striking a bargain with the very special interests who crowd them out.

Now, Senator Clinton is certainly not the only one in Washington to play this game. Its gone on for years, and I understand the reasoning behind it. Its a game that usually gets politicians where they need to go. But I dont believe it gets America where we need to go. When it comes to issues like war and diplomacy; energy and health care, I dont believe we can bring about real change if all we do is change our positions based on whats popular or politically convenient. If we are going to seize this moment of challenge and promise, the American people deserve more when they head to the voting booth in 2008.

I believe that our party has made the most difference in peoples lives and the life of this country when we have led not by polls but by principle; not by calculation but by conviction; when weve been able to summon the entire nation to a common purpose a higher purpose. Thats how Roosevelt led us through war and lifted us from depression. Its how Kennedy called on a new generation to ask what they could do for America. And I am running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States because thats the kind of leadership America needs right now.

I dont pretend to be a perfect man, and I will not be a perfect President. But I am in this race because I believe that if we want to break from the failures of the past and finally make progress as a country, we cant keep telling different people what we think they want to hear we have to tell every American what they need to know. We have to be honest about the challenges we face.

When I called for higher fuel standards so we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil, I didnt say it to some environmental group in California I said it in front of automakers in Detroit. When I called for corporate responsibility so that middle-class Americans could get a tax cut, I said it in front of CEOs on Wall Street. And when I was invited to speak out against George Bushs plan to invade Iraq as a Senate candidate five years ago, I didnt listen to those who warned me that it was politically risky position to take, I listened to my gut, and I said loud and clear that this was the wrong war at the wrong time and Congress should stand up and say so.

Thats the kind of leadership we need right now. Thats why Im this race. Because I dont think you should settle for a President whos only there for you when its easy or convenient or popular I think you deserve a President whos willing to fight for you every hour of every day for the next four years.

Thats the change we can offer in 2008 not change as a slogan, but change we can believe in.

One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race and Ive won. I dont take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they wont find a job in my White House. Because real change isnt another four years of defending lobbyists who dont represent real Americans its standing with working Americans who have seen their jobs disappear and their wages decline and their hope for the future slip further and further away. Thats the change we can offer in 2008.

When I am President, I will end the tax giveaways to companies that ship our jobs overseas, and I will put the money in the pockets of working Americans, and seniors, and homeowners who deserve a break. I wont wait ten years to raise the minimum wage Ill raise it to keep pace every single year. And if American workers are being denied their right to organize when Im in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States.

One year from now, we can stop campaigning on the outrage of 47 million uninsured Americans and finally start doing something about it. I reformed health care in Illinois, and I didnt do it alone I did it by reaching out to Democrats and Republicans. We took on the insurance industry, and we won. Thats how Ill pass a universal health care bill that allows every American to get the same kind of health care that members of Congress get for themselves and cuts every familys premiums by up to $2500. And mark my words I will sign this bill by the end of my first term as President. Thats the change we can offer in 2008.

One year from now, we can stop sending our children down corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success. When I am President, we will stop passing bills called No Child Left Behind that leave the money behind and start making real investments in education from cradle to adulthood. That means early childhood education. That means recruiting an army of new teachers, and paying them better, and supporting them more so theyre not just teaching to test, but teaching to teach. And it means finally putting a college education within reach of every American. Thats the change we can offer in 2008.

One year from now, we can stop sending hundreds of millions of dollars to dictators for their oil while we melt the polar ice caps in the bargain. I will raise our fuel standards, and put a cap on carbon emissions to reduce then 80% by 2050. Well tell polluters that they have to pay for their pollution, because they dont own the skies, the American people own the skies. And well use the money to invest in the clean, renewable fuels that are our future. Thats the change we can offer in 2008.

In this election, we have the chance to turn the page on the last six years of being told that the only way for Democrats to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush Republicans.

When Im your nominee, my opponent wont be able to say that I was for the war in Iraq before I was against it; or that I supported an extension of the Iraq war into Iran; or that I support the Bush-Cheney diplomacy of not talking to leaders we dont like. And he wont be able to say that I flip-flopped on something as fundamental as whether our nation should use torture. Because we are not a nation that makes excuses for torture, we are a nation that rejects it. Thats the change we can offer in 2008.

When I am President, I will end this war in Iraq. I will bring our troops home within sixteen months. Ill finish the fight against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And I will lead the world against the common threats of the 21st century nuclear weapons and terrorism; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. Thats what Democrats must stand for, and thats what America must stand for. And Ill be a President who finally sends a message to the black, white, and brown faces beyond our shores; from the halls of power to the huts of Africa that says, You matter to America. Your future is our future. And our moment is now.

America, our moment is now. Now is our chance to turn the page. Now is our chance to write a new chapter.

I am in this race because I dont want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I dont want to pit Blue America against Red America, I want to lead a United States of America. I dont want this election to be about the past, because if its about the future, we all win. If this election is about whether or not to end this war, or pass universal health care, or make more college affordable, it wont just be a Democratic victory; it will be an American victory.

Thats the victory this country needs right now. This election and this moment are too important to settle for what we already know. The time has come to reach for what we know is possible.

I am not running for this office to fulfill any long-held plans or because I believe it is somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here, and I always knew the journey would be improbable. Ive never been on one that wasnt.

I am running because of what Dr. King called the fierce urgency of now. I am running because I do believe theres such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost here.

Im running because I dont want to wake up one morning four years from now, and turn on one of those cable talk shows, and see that Washington is still stuck in the same food fight its been in for over a decade. I dont want to see that more Americans lost their health care and fell into bankruptcy because we let the insurance industry spend millions to stop us for yet another year. I dont want to see that.

I dont want to see that the oceans rose another few inches and the planet has reached the point of no return because we couldnt find a way to stop ourselves from buying oil from dictators. I dont want to see that.

I dont want to see that we risked more American lives in another misguided war because no one had the judgment to ask the tough questions before we sent our troops to fight. I dont want to see that.

I dont want to see homeless veterans on the street. I dont want to send another generation of children through corridors of shame. I dont want this future for my daughters and I do not accept this future for America. It is time to turn the page.

I run for the presidency for the same reason I drove halfway across the country over two decades ago to bring jobs to the jobless and hope to the hopeless on the streets of Chicago; for the same reason I stood up for justice and equality as a civil rights lawyer; for the same reason Ive fought for Illinois families for over a decade. Because I will never forget that the only reason I am standing here today is because someone, somewhere stood up when it wasnt popular, when it was risky; when it was hard. And because that someone stood up, a few more did. And then a few thousand. And then a few million. And together, they changed the world.

Thats why I run in this election. I run to give my children and their children the same chances that someone, somewhere gave me. I run so that a year from today, there is a chance that the world will look at America differently, and that America will look at itself differently. And I run to keep the promise of the United States of America alive for all those who still hunger for opportunity and thirst for equality and long to believe again.

That is the change thats possible in this election. That is the moment I want to seize as President. And I ask you all to join me in this journey. Thank you.


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