President Obama Trounces Romney, Wins Second Term

President Obama Trounces Romney, Wins Second Term

Barack Obama, the candidate of hope who became the first black U.S. president, won re-election today by overcoming four years of economic discontent. Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney, according to television network projections that showed the president winning the electoral votes needed for re-election. Late Thursday, the Romney campaign had no choice but to concede Florida to President.Obama. Putting Florida in Obama’s column brought the president’s final Electoral College vote total to 332 versus Romney’s 206.

Beginning more than a year ago, Obama championed middle-class opportunity against an opposition party more determined to protect preferences for the wealthy. Throughout a volatile Republican nominating contest, Obama’s political team never wavered from the view that its eventual opponent would be Romney, a former private equity executive, whom they portrayed as an out-of-touch embodiment of moneyed privilege and heartless capitalism.

Obama Wins 2012 Election: Complete Presidential Victory Speech

Music Video: Yes We Can!

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Remembering the Heroes: The Flight 93 National Memorial

Remembering the Heroes: The Flight 93 National Memorial

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, the U.S. came under attack when four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to strike targets on the ground. Three of the planes hijacked by al-Qaeda on that day hit their high-profile targets: the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Nearly 3,000 people tragically lost their lives. Because of the actions of the 40 passengers and crew aboard Flight 93, who fought back against their hijackers, an intended attack on the U.S. Capitol was thwarted.

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Vice-President Biden, state officials, bereaved relatives, artists and members of the public gathered Saturday to open a 1,500-acre national park on the outskirts of Shanksville (PA) that includes the partially completed Flight 93 National Memorial, in honor of the 40 passengers and crew members who died on United Airlines Flight 93.

The dedication of the memorial on Saturday, provided an opportunity for the two former presidents to appeal for unity. Neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton specifically mentioned the fractured state of relations in Washington. But their sharing of a stage and their comments here in the field where Flight 93 slammed into the ground stood in sharp contrast to the current state of divisive political discord.

Dedication of the New Shanksville Memorial

Former President Bill Clinton: Dedication of The Flight 93 National Memorial

The Flight 93 National Memorial in The Making

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The Big VP Debate: Palin’s Running on Fumes, Not Real Fuel

The Big Vice-Presidential Debate: Palin’s Running on Fumes, Not Real Fuel

Reactions to the Debate

CBS News reported on the debate, where vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden clashed on the financial crisis, foreign policy, energy and taxes in a nationally televised debate on Thursday night. Palin committed no major mistakes, but CBS News chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer gave the edge to Biden. “I thought Sen. Biden had a very good night,” Schieffer said. “Time and again, Gov. Palin would choose not to answer the question.” A CBS News instant poll of Americans who watched the debate also showed Biden to be the winner by a margin of 46-21 percent. About one-third thought the debate was a draw.

A CNN national poll of people who watched the vice presidential debate on Thursday night suggested that Democratic Sen. Joe Biden won. Poll respondents gave Sen. Biden the edge over Gov. Sarah Palin in the ability to express views. The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. said 51 percent of those polled thought Biden did the best job, compared to Palin’s 36 percent.

At The Atlantic Magazine, Andrew Sullivan felt that Joe Biden’s sobriety and authority and call for fundamental change is both reasonable and solid. “It will resonate, I think. As you can read, I began this debate feeling that she was steam-rolling him. She was. But it was a steam-roller coming at you on fumes, not real fuel. She doesn’t have it. Maybe one day she might. But not now. Biden’s concluding remarks were very, very strong. There is no contest here.”

And from abroad, The Guardian (UK) reported that Biden gave the far superior debate performance by any objective standard, of course; far superior to pretty much any recent debate I can call to mind. But of course that may not be the relevant point: Palin didn’t fall apart, and until discussion moved to foreign policy, at any rate, her relentless strategy of talking only about tax cuts and energy policy, peppering her lines with plenty of folksiness, seemed to serve her well. From the Iraq section onwards, she sometimes seemed to be clinging on by her fingertips.

Fred Kaplan reviewed the debate from a foreign policy perspective in Slate Magazine. His conclusion was that Palin still know nothing about foreign policy. He proposed that Palin be judged as we would a presumptively seasoned and competent political leader. By that standard, on issues of foreign policy, she was outgunned by Sen. Joe Biden at every turn.

And more than Sen. Barack Obama, who could have answered some of Sen. John McCain’s charges more forcefully in last week’s debate, Biden made no effort to muffle his fire. When Palin called Obama’s plan for a phased withdrawal from Iraq “a white flag of surrender,” Biden shot back that the plan was identical to the policy of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

When Palin repeated her charge that Obama was “beyond naive” in calling for negotiating with adversaries “without preconditions,” Biden explained what the phrase meant, then noted that it was supported not just by the five former secretaries of state who recently co-authored an endorsement of the idea but by our allies, with whom Palin had just said we needed to work together.

When Palin recited McCain’s line about applying the principles of the Iraqi surge to Afghanistan, Biden (correctly) noted that the U.S. commanding general in Afghanistan has said the surge wouldn’t work there. (By the way, it does not bother me at all that Palin referred to Gen. Dave McKiernan as “Gen. McClellan.” We all make mistakes like that now and then.)

Finally, when Biden said the Bush administration’s foreign policy has been an “abject failure,” and proceeded to list the many ways in which that was so, Palin’s only reply was to smile and say, “Enough playing the blame game.” If Obama and Biden talk so much about change, she added (as if this were really a clever point), why do they spend so much time looking backward? To which Biden replied, with uncharacteristic pith, “Past is prologue.” And so it is. At another point, he noted, “Facts matter.” And so they do.

Joe Biden gets the first laugh of the night, calling the McCain-Palin health care plan “the ultimate bridge to nowhere.” Watch:

Biden Mocks Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere

Palin’s “Cute Act” Flops Bigtime

For much of tonight’s debate, Sarah Palin avoided any spectacularly obvious stupidity and Joe Biden steered clear of any casually offensive statements. Then came “Say It Ain’t So, Joe,” an attempted cute catchphrase deployed by Palin that not only failed spectacularly but which was also followed by a cascade of other dumb attempts at adorability. The Republican vice presidential nominee then looked increasingly like the end of Tina Fey’s most recent impression. She winked! For the second time in the night! She called her own joke “lame” and tried to laugh at it. And then she said Joe Biden’s wife would be rewarded in heaven because she’s a teacher. That would be Senator Biden’s second wife, after his first wife and year-old daughter were killed in a horrific car accident and are, in fact, now in heaven. Whoops. At the conclusion of the video below, Biden becomes very emotional when he touches upon the issue of his first wife’s death.

Sarah Palin’s Failed “Cute Act”

Hockey Mom’s Across the Nation

In Palin’s 90 minutes on the stage Thursday night, she left the firm impression that she is indeed ready to lead the nation, presiding with an unnerving mixture of platitudes and cute, folksy phrases that poured from her lips even when they bore no relation to the questions asked. “Let’s commit ourselves just every day American people, Joe Six-Pack, hockey moms across the nation,” she proposed in response to a question about the mortgage crisis.

Head of Skate: Hockey Mom’s Across the Nation

Palin Disintegrated as the Debate Wound On

In The Atlantic Magazine, Marc Ambinder observed that to practiced ears, Palin memorized and repeated talking points and Biden responded to the questions and argued. Palin dodged questions and seemed vague; but then again, for those whose only impression of Palin has been the one Tina Fay performed on Saturday Night Live, she cleared the bar. Biden seemed a little unsure how tough to be at the beginning of the debate; by the beginning of the final third, he hit his stride. As the debate wound on, Palin seemed less agile when it came to constructing sentences and answers. Lots of key phrases, weird placement of conjunctions, so the gist of what she was saying was there, but it wasn’t terribly clear.

At one point late in the debate, Palin’s words seemed to flutter all over the place like mourning doves frightened at the feeder. Many of her sentences were plainly just not English; they were just collections of words strung together just to prompt a strong reaction, floating ands and prepositional phrases (“with that vote of the American people“). One of the prime examples from last night’s debate:

“A statement that he [Obama] made like that is downright dangerous because leaders like Ahmadinejad who would seek to acquire nuclear weapons and wipe off the face of the earth an ally like we have in Israel should not be met with without preconditions and diplomatic efforts being undertaken first.”

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Live-Blogging 2008 Democratic Convention: Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Barack Obama was officially named the Presidential Nominee of the Democratic Party, crowning his historic meteoric rise from a little-known Illinois state senator to becoming the first African-American ever to win a major-party’s presidential nomination.

Initially, there had been an element of dramatic suspense about just how the nomination process actually would unfold. However, before the roll call was taken Senator Clinton had released her delegates to vote for Mr. Obama and announced that she was voting for Obama and his running mate, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. The roll call proceeded alphabetically, and when New Mexico’s turn came, it yielded the floor to the state of Illinois, Obama’s home state; Illinois, in turn, ceded its position to New York.

At the urging of Senator Clinton, the New York delegation cast all of its votes for Senator Obama, and at 4:48 p.m. local time, Clinton made a motion to end the roll call and to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation. Her motion was passed unanimously by the convention delegates; Nancy Pelosi, Permanent Chair of the Democratic National Convention, then named Barack Obama the official Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

On Thursday night, the National Democratic Convention is moving to Invesco Field so that more Americans can take part in of the fourth night of the Convention, where Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President. Invesco Field’s doors will open at around 5:00 p.m. (local time), and the event will end at 9:00 p.m. (local time). A crowd that is now estimated to be larger than 80,000 people is expected to attend the final convention assembly to hear Obama’s acceptance speech.

A number of acclaimed musicians are scheduled to perform during the event. Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will be performing. Jon Bon Jovi is flying in to perform two acoustic songs before Sen. Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech, and the Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (from Chicago) will sing the National Anthem near speech time. After Obama’s acceptance speech, Bruce Springsteen will perform to close out the evening.

Al Gore is scheduled to be the first speaker of the evening. Then at 8:00 p.m. (local time) Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois will present a biographical video of Obama, directed by Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth and afterwards Durbin will introduce Senator Obama.

Obama’s acceptance speech is being held on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. It was on August 28th, 1963, that King, the most revered civil rights leader in the nation’s history, proclaimed on the steps of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ “

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Marking a Historic Day: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging: Obama Wins Presidential Nomination

Barack Obama Wins the Democratic Presidential Nomination

Music Audio: The O’Jays/Love Train

Obama Wins Historic Presidential Nomination

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Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Comments On Michelle Obama’s Speech Last Night: So That’s What Brave Looks Like….

A reader wrote to Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic Magazine:

“I am a 36 year old African American woman. I have two girls ages 10 and 8. The country does not get the full import of this moment. My daughters and I sat together along with my husband to watch Michelle Obama tonight. Mr. Sullivan, we were all in tears. This is a day that cannot be fully described. This country has systematically oppressed Black women for centuries. My ancestors were slaves and my great, great, great, grandmothers raped and treated as property. My daughters have very few Black women to look up to in popular culture as role models. They do not feel seen, they are not held up as the standards of American beauty. We shed tears tonight as a family because Michelle (with her elegance and grace) is holding all of us up with her. You don’t understand the burden that she bears.”

And Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Salon:

“I loved best about Michelle Obama’s speech tonight was that it was fearless, but in a very different way from the fearlessness modeled by Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Here is a woman with a degree from Harvard Law School, who could have talked about law and policy and poverty, and yet she talked about her kids, her husband, and her family. And she didn’t do that merely to show us that smart women are soft and cuddly on the inside. She did what everyone else in this campaign is terrified to do: She risked looking sappy and credulous and optimistic when almost everyone has abandoned “hope” and “change” for coughing up hairballs of outrage. Every Democrat in America seems to be of the view that optimism is so totally last February; that now’s the time to hunker down and panic real hard. Good for Michelle for reminding us that to “strive for the world as it should be” is still cool, and for being so passionate about that fact that she looked to be near tears. Good for her for speaking from the heart when everyone else seems to be speaking from the root cellar. And if that doesn’t persuade you the woman is a warrior, let me just add that true bravery is letting your 7-year-old turn the first night of the Democratic Convention into open-mic night with the big screen and the party frock. Think any man alive would have done that? Me neither.”

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Celebrity Music Video: Yes We Can

Live-Blogging Day-Two of the 2008 DNC: The Hillary Kerfuffle

Hillary Clinton: To Damn Obama with Faint Praise

The Clintons are masters in the dramatic art of pointing at themselves and saying “attention must be paid to us!” Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton put on a good show of supporting Obama, but it was expressed as having been left with little recourse but to convey support for him, or else having to deal with something even worse, McCain and the Republicans. Watching her gave me the freaky chills, made feel glad that I’m still free enough from any obsession with the Clintons to still be able to peek under their rocks and see what kind of bugs are creeping around underneath.

In Hillary’s speech at the Democratic Convention on Tuesday night, she gave the appearance of momentarily overcoming the narcissistic conviction of personal and political entitlement that has been a long-time congenital characteristic of both Clintons. Feigning to say the right things, Clinton made an “intellectual” case for supporting Obama. Strategically aware that her own short-term political future is inextricably bound to his, she explained in somewhat clinical terms why she supports him, and indicated to her diehard supporters that they should also do so (for the time being).

But Clinton obviously still wants to be president. Hillary’s speech hardly concealed the clear subtext that it is really she who should be giving the major convention speech on Thursday night. Clinton’s performance on the podium Tuesday evening was a calculated theatrical work that directed America to look at what has been lost by her not being the Democratic nominee.

Further, it continues to be clear that Hillary obviously doesn’t like Barack Obama, and that she’s plainly not eager about the prospect of him being elected president. After all the time that she spent during her speech tracing the course of women’s suffrage and talking about what a world-historical figure she was, she failed to make any mention about Obama being a similarly important figure of history.

As a plausible, but much less noteworthy approach, she might have attempted to say something, just anything, about a specifically admirable individual characteristic that Obama might display. Even here, Clinton’s reservations were obvious. While she had open personal praise for Joe Biden and John McCain, she could not bring herself to say anything positive about Obama as a person.

The reasons that Hillary gave for supporting Obama were all ways of saying that Obama is a Democrat. She managed to say some nice “words” about Obama in her speech (she was proud to support him), but subsequently she immediately launched into a litany of the many important issues for which she’d fought and sang out with a paean to all the people who had placed their faith in her.

In the end, it came down to being all about her.

Hillary Clinton: Well, It’s Mostly About Me

Music Audio: Josh Groban/You Lift Me Up


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The 2008 Denver National Democratic Convention: Live Blogging


Dave Stewart: American Prayer

The Democratic National Convention: Live Blogging

Michelle Obama Addresses the Democratic National Convention

Michelle Obama presented the first major address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver on Monday evening. Speaking to the delegates, Michelle described herself as a daughter, sister, wife and mother, no different from many other women. She told an exuberant crowd in the convention center that she and her husband feel an obligation to “fight for the world as it should be” to assure the promise of a better life both for their own daughters and for all children.

Michelle Obama talked about tucking her daughters Malia and Sasha into bed at night. “I think about how one day, they’ll have families of their own. And one day, they, and your own sons and daughters, will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming,” she said.

Michelle Obama: We Listen to Our Hopes and Dreams

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy: Hope Rises Again, the Dream Lives On

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, struggling with brain cancer, arrived at the Democratic National Convention on Monday night in a triumphant appearance that evoked 50 years of party history. No was sure until the very last moment whether Senator Kennedy actually would be able to make a personal appearance at the convention, given the severity of his illness. Kennedy arrived at the convention site shortly before darkness fell, accompanied by a large group of family members. He walked a few halting steps to a waiting golf cart, which drove him into the arena.

After a speech was given by his niece Caroline Kennedy and a video tribute to him was shown, Senator Kennedy walked slowly to the lectern, limping slightly, with his wife, Victoria, who kissed him and left him there. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and many people were seen wiping tears from their eyes; they cheered for almost two minutes until he settled them down.

My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here,” said Senator Kennedy, his voice booming across the hall. “And nothing–nothing–is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight.” A stool that had been slipped behind him went unused during his 10-minute speech. And while Kennedy spoke slowly and at times haltingly, his voice was firm and he was in command of this moment, gesturing and sounding very much like the man who enraptured the party’s convention 28 years ago.

There is a new wave of change all around us,” he said, “and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination–not merely victory for our party, but renewal for our nation. And this November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. So with Barack Obama, and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause.”

Invoking his parting remarks to the 1980 Democratic National Convention as he ceded the presidential nomination to Jimmy Carter, he promised that “the dream will never die. The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on.”

Sen. Edward Kennedy: Hope Rises Again, the Dream Lives On

Music Audio: We Are The World


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This is My American Dream

Dave Stewart Comments on Making American Prayer:

“Earlier this year when I was recording American Prayer, a song I originally co-wrote with Bono, the phrase, “When you get to the top of the mountain, remember me” seemed to take on a whole new resonance, given the inspirational candidacy of Barack Obama.

The song always contained one of my favorite passages from Dr. King, which was hauntingly delivered the night before he was assassinated. King says: “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

People long for a connection–whether it is to music, to their country, or to a big idea. Regardless of what happens in November, Senator Obama has reminded millions of people that they have the power to connect to bigger ideas. He is, in essence, the embodiment of a new anthem for change. He has continued King’s narrative from what was once thought of as a dream to a reality. I find it especially relevant that Barack Obama will accept the Democratic Party Nomination for President 45 years to the day of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

When we were originally writing the song, Bono was crafting the words in a way that would make people think about the fact that ‘America’ as a concept was a truly great idea, based on the bedrock of equality. I find it more pertinent than ever to release it now; to the moment America finds itself in, daring to re-imagine itself and its place in the world.

When I set out to make a video for the new version of this song, I wanted to honor all of those millions of people, especially young people, who are, for the first time, feeling empowered to voice their beliefs. I wanted to capture how Obama’s message of change has echoed across the broad fabric of what is America. To do that, we’ve cast the film with an eclectic array of personalities, including Forest Whitaker, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Cyndi Lauper, Barry Manilow, Joan Baez, Macy Gray and Joss Stone. They appear alongside veterans, teachers and everyday citizens, all of whom have been touched by this simple idea of change.

As an Englishman, I’m not an expert in all the intricate details of American politics. But as an artist, I understand how rare it is to inspire a connection to a bigger idea or purpose. This video isn’t so much an endorsement of Barack Obama as much as it is a celebration of all those who have picked up a sign, who have registered to vote and are working to make the world a better place. So as Senator Barack Obama ascends to the mountain top, let us not forget all of the others who for the past 40 years have sung anthems of change to make this moment possible.”

Dave Stewart, American Prayer

Dave Stewart: American Prayer

Guests in the Order of Their Appearances:

Dave Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Amy Keys, Macy Gray, Jason Alexander, Colbie Caillat, Whoopi Goldberg, Joss Stone, Buju Banton, Ann Marie Calhoun, Barry Manilow, Linda Perry, Cyndi Lauper, Sergio Mendes, Herbie Hancock, Mike Bradford, Margaret Cho, Cindy Gomez, Speech, Joan Baez, Daedelus, Pamela Anderson, Peter and Gordon, Sierra Swan, Nadirah X and Perez Hilton.

Barack Obama with Joe Biden: Rally in Springfield (IL)

This is My American Dream

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