Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Morning Of...

Note: I will be traveling this morning and therefore the first news update will come toward the afternoon. By this point Senator Obama's speech on race and how it plays out in the campaign will have concluded, and you will be able to come here for a compilation of all the immediate media coverage.

The speech will begin at 10:15 AM Eastern Time. For those without cable, I believe CNN.com will carry the speech live.

I have 30 minutes before I leave for the airport, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my thoughts on this matter.

It's now clear that the issue concerning Rev. Wright's rhetoric, first pushed by conservative media outlets like FOX News, has come to the forefront of the democratic campaign. Those of us who are familiar with Senator Obama can easily understand that he does not share these views and that his character and patriotism is not to be judged by the words of this surrogate.

We cannot make the mistake, however, of assuming that the majority of the American people know Senator Obama as well as we do. In deciding to address this issue through a major speech (against the will of some of his advisers), Obama has correctly assessed the huge risk of staying silent: that those who do not yet know him will have their first impression shaped by the media coverage of someone else's words.

Today's speech has the potential to shape the way the democratic nomination process plays out - for better or worse. In order to succeed he must not only reject Rev. Wright's comments - he must convince the American people that we, as a nation, must move on. He must remind us that his life story is in many ways the opposite of those "fiery words." He must address the issue of race (and gender) in this campaign directly, but in a way that disarms those who are using these topics against us. He must inspire us to see beyond the divisive narrative painted by pundits and radio talkshow hosts. He must re-paint our vision of a United States of America.

None of this is mind-blowing analysis, of course, and I don't have any specific suggestions as to what to say, but my hope is that people come away from this speech with the same feeling that was evident after his 2004 address at the convention - that they were listening to the next President of the United States.

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Janet J said...

Thanks for the morning news!

Barbara said...


someone did a lot of work on this attack ad on HRC, what will be thrown at her if she is the nominee. yikes.

Anonymous said...

that's about as good as any analysis i think we're likely to get from the pundits.

and where you leaving from to get to the airport at 2:30am man? i didn't know they still did red eye flights these days...

Anonymous said...

HI Cris,

Thanks for your good energy.

I feel the urgency of this speech and the importance of turning a swelling tide of negative attacks on Barack Obama. This is simply because he is winning and looks as if he will take the nomination. There are those behind the smear campaigns that will stop at nothing to see him come down.

I pray for us, him and his campaign.

Anonymous said...

3/18/08 Declared A More Perfect Union National Call to Action Day

Today we witnessed something we have seen time and again during this
campaign: Barack Obama leading, Barack Obama uniting, Barack Obama
inspiring. Our inspiration is to view Senator Obama's speech today as
a call to action, a wake-up call that one act no matter how seemingly
insignificant can lead to change. We also believe that a speech of
this magnitude can not be dismissed as mere words, and must
immediately result in action.

For these reasons, we have launched the A More Perfect Union National
Call to Action Day petition:

To: Senator Hillary Clinton, US Congress

Inspired by Senator Barack Obama's A More Perfect Union speech,
delivered at the Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008, we hereby pledge to undertake one act
today, no matter how small, that will improve our country, the world,
or the life of another.

In pledging to join the A More Perfect Union National Call to Action
Day this 18th day of March in the year 2008, we also seek to dispel
the myth that speeches are simply words once and for all.

Please take the pledge to act today, and sign our petition here:

Jena said...

Hi Chris, I'm not sure if you'll read all the replies on the Obama page so I wanted to post this here too.
One thing I'd like to raise awareness of is this dreadful impact that Limbaugh and the other conservative talk show hosts are having on primaries.
More than 10% of republicans as commanded voting for Clinton in Mississippi had a huge impact and this was purely, and I'm quoting Limbaugh here, `in order to cause chaos in the Democratic race`.
They could end up doing incalculable harm to this campaign. 4.2% voted in Texas which swung the primary result to Clinton. That had a disastrous impact on the sense of momentum.
I believe the Party needs to close the remaining primaries; otherwise mischievous Republicans will have a profound impact - could swing the overall result so that Clinton gets a lead in the primary vote.
What to do?

Jena said...

Further on this issue of Republicans voting for Clinton in the democratic primaries `in order to create chaos`, could we organise for Obama supporters to email the DNC, leaders who are sympathetic to the Obama campaign, his declared superdelegates etc to urge them to try to get the future primaries closed?