Well, we are in the middle of a very close race right now in Texas,
and we may not even know the final results until morning. We do
know that Senator Clinton has won Rhode Island, and while there
are a lot of votes to be counted in Ohio, it looks like she did
well there too, and so we congratulate her on those states. We also
know that we have won the state of Vermont. And we know this - no
matter what happens tonight, we have nearly the same delegate lead
as we did this morning, and we are on our way to winning this nomination.
You know, decades
ago, as a community organizer, I learned that the real work of democracy
begins far from the closed doors and marbled halls of Washington.
It begins on
street corners and front porches; in living rooms and meeting halls
with ordinary Americans who see the world as it is and realize that
we have it within our power to remake the world as it should be.
It is with that
hope that we began this unlikely journey - the hope that if we could
go block by block, city by city, state by state and build a movement
that spanned race and region; party and gender; if we could give
young people a reason to vote and the young at heart a reason to
believe again; if we could inspire a nation to come together again,
then we could turn the page on the politics that's shut us out,
let us down, and told us to settle. We could write a new chapter
in the American story.
We were told
this wasn't possible. We were told the climb was too steep. We were
told our country was too cynical - that we were just being naïve;
that we couldn't really change the world as it is.
But then a few
people in Iowa stood up to say, "Yes we can." And then
a few more of you stood up from the hills of New Hampshire to the
coast of South Carolina. And then a few million of you stood up
from Savannah to Seattle; from Boise to Baton Rouge. And tonight,
because of you - because of a movement you built that stretches
from Vermont's Green Mountains to the streets of San Antonio, we
can stand up with confidence and clarity to say that we are turning
the page, and we are ready to write the next great chapter in America's
In the coming
weeks, we will begin a great debate about the future of this country
with a man who has served it bravely and loves it dearly. And tonight,
I called John McCain and congratulated him on winning the Republican
But in this
election, we will offer two very different visions of the America
we see in the twenty-first century. Because John McCain may claim
long history of straight talk and independent-thinking, and I respect
that. But in this campaign, he's fallen in line behind the very
same policies that have ill-served America. He has seen where George
Bush has taken our country, and he promises to keep us on the very
It's the same
course that threatens a century of war in Iraq - a third and fourth
and fifth tour of duty for brave troops who've done all we've asked
them to, even while we ask little and expect nothing of the Iraqi
government whose job it is to put their country back together. A
course where we spend billions of dollars a week that could be used
to rebuild our roads and our schools; to care for our veterans and
send our children to college.
It's the same
course that continues to divide and isolate America from the world
by substituting bluster and bullying for direct diplomacy - by ignoring
our allies and refusing to talk to our enemies even though Presidents
from Kennedy to Reagan have done just that; because strong countries
and strong leaders aren't afraid to tell hard truths to petty dictators.
And it's the
same course that offers the same tired answer to workers without
health care and families without homes; to students in debt and
children who go to bed hungry in the richest nation on Earth - four
more years of tax breaks for the biggest corporations and the wealthiest
few who don't need them and aren't even asking for them. It's a
course that further divides Wall Street from Main Street; where
struggling families are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps
because there's nothing government can do or should do - and so
we should give more to those with the most and let the chips fall
where they may.
Well we are
here tonight to say that this is not the America we believe in and
this is not the future we want. We want a new course for this country.
We want new leadership in Washington. We want change in America.
and Senator Clinton echo each other in dismissing this call for
change. They say it is eloquent but empty; speeches and not solutions.
And yet, they should know that it's a call that did not begin with
my words. It began with words that were spoken on the floors of
factories in Ohio and across the deep plains of Texas; words that
came from classrooms in South Carolina and living rooms in the state
of Iowa; from first-time voters and life-long cynics; from Democrats
and Republicans alike.
know that there's nothing empty about the call for affordable health
care that came from the young student who told me she gets three
hours of sleep because she works the night shift after a full day
of college and still can't pay her sister's medical bills.
empty about the call for help that came from the mother in San Antonio
who saw her mortgage double in two weeks and didn't know where her
two-year olds would sleep at night when they were kicked out of
empty about the call for change that came from the elderly woman
who wants it so badly that she sent me an envelope with a money
order for $3.01 and a simple verse of scripture tucked inside.
know that government cannot solve all of our problems, and they
don't expect it to. Americans know that we have to work harder and
study more to compete in a global economy. We know that we need
to take responsibility for ourselves and our children - that we
need to spend more time with them, and teach them well, and put
a book in their hands instead of a video game once in awhile. We
But we also
believe that there is a larger responsibility we have to one another
We believe that
we rise or fall as one nation - as one people. That we are our brother's
keeper. That we are our sister's keeper.
We believe that
a child born tonight should have the same chances whether she arrives
in the barrios of San Antonio or the suburbs of St. Louis; on the
streets of Chicago or the hills of Appalachia.
We believe that
when she goes to school for the first time, it should be in a place
where the rats don't outnumber the computers; that when she applies
to college, cost is no barrier to a degree that will allow her to
compete with children in China or India for the jobs of the twenty-first
We believe that
these jobs should provide wages that can raise her family, health
care for when she gets sick and a pension for when she retires.
We believe that
when she tucks her own children into bed, she should feel safe knowing
that they are protected from the threats we face by the bravest,
best-equipped, military in the world, led by a Commander-in-Chief
who has the judgment to know when to send them into battle and which
battlefield to fight on.
And if that
child should ever get the chance to travel the world, and someone
should ask her where she is from, we believe that she should always
be able to hold her head high with pride in her voice when she answers
"I am an American."
That is the
course we seek. That is the change we are calling for. You can call
it many things, but you cannot call it empty.
If I am the
nominee of this party, I will not allow us to be distracted by the
same politics that seeks to divide us with false charges and meaningless
labels. In this campaign, we will not stand for the politics that
uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon.
I owe what I
am to this country I love, and I will never forget it. Where else
could a young man who grew up herding goats in Kenya get the chance
to fulfill his dream of a college education? Where else could he
marry a white girl from Kansas whose parents survived war and depression
to find opportunity out west? Where else could they have a child
who would one day have the chance to run for the highest office
in the greatest nation the world has ever known? Where else, but
in the United States of America?
It is now my
hope and our task to set this country on a course that will keep
this promise alive in the twenty-first century. And the eyes of
the world are watching to see if we can.
There is a young
man on my campaign whose grandfather lives in Uganda. He is 81 years
old and has never experienced true democracy in his lifetime. During
the reign of Idi Amin, he was literally hunted and the only reason
he escaped was thanks to the kindness of others and a few good-sized
trunks. And on the night of the Iowa caucuses, that 81-year-old
man stayed up until five in the morning, huddled by his television,
waiting for the results.
The world is
watching what we do here. The world is paying attention to how we
conduct ourselves. What will we they see? What will we tell them?
What will we show them?
Can we come
together across party and region; race and religion to restore prosperity
and opportunity as the birthright of every American?
Can we lead
the community of nations in taking on the common threats of the
21st century - terrorism and climate change; genocide and disease?
Can we send
a message to all those weary travelers beyond our shores who long
to be free from fear and want that the United States of America
is, and always will be, ‘the last best, hope of Earth?
We say; we hope;
we believe - yes we can.