The New South Arises: Obama Speaks at The College of Charleston

The New South Arises: Obama Speaks at The College of Charleston

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the White House.   Quoting a Black American hero in endorsing the man who hopes to be the first African-American president, Kerry told a cheering crowd, “Martin Luther King said the time is always right to do what is right.”  Now is the time, Kerry said, to declare “that Barack Obama can be, will be and should be the next president of the United States.”

Kerry’s appearance provided a surprise twist to Obama’s packed rally at the College of Charleston, which drew thousands of people, making it the largest political rally in Charleston in recent memory.   Hundreds also stood outside along the iron fence.

Obama thanked Kerry, describing him as “a man of courage, a man of conviction and a man whose life story gives him an understanding of the kind of change we need right now.”

Obama spoke about the need to look out for seniors who have lost their pensions while company presidents pocketed a bonus and for parents who are competing with their teen-agers for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart.   He said he would work to end the Iraq war responsibly, adding, “Our troops have done a magnificent job.  They have been brilliant.”

We want everybody on the change bandwagon.   To me, change isn’t just the rhetoric of the campaign, it’s been the cause of my life,” he said.  “We’ve been told by a chorus of cynics who will only grow more louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come.   They say, ‘Oh, Barack may get people excited but he’s not been in Washington long enough.  We need to season and stew him, boil all the hope out of him.”

He said: “In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.   Generations of Americans have responded by a simple creed that sums up the spirit of people: Yes we can.   It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.    Yes we can.”

Obama Speaks at The College of Charleston

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