Wednesday, November 05, 2008


In a stirring address to a crowd at once jubilant and tearful in Chicago’s Grant Park, US president-elect Barack Obama led followers in chants of “Yes we can” as he spoke of the hope of a better day and called for unity and sacrifice in facing the hard challenges ahead.
Obama was speaking soon after provisional results had shown a decisive victory for him and after John McCain had conceded defeat.
Those who had been told by so many for so long to be cynical would know that there was a hope of a better day, Obama said.
“ Change has come to America,” he said, to tumultuous applause.
In tribute to his defeated opponent, Obama said that McCain had fought long and hard in his campaign, and even longer and harder had served America. Of McCain and defeated vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Obama said that he looked forward to working with them to “renew this nation” in the months ahead.
Obama told the crowd, and by extension his wider audience: “I will never forget who this victory belongs to – it belongs to you”.
“I was never the likeliest candidate,” said Obama, saying that he had started out with not much money nor endorsements and that the idea of his presidential bid had not been launched in the corridors of Washington.
“This is your victory,” he said.
In a sober message, unquestionably mindful of the high expectations attendant on his victory, Obama said that the US was involved in two wars and a dire financial crisis. He cautioned that it would take “more than one year and more than one term” to address the challenges.
“But we will get there – we as a people will get there.”
There would be setbacks and false starts, Obama said. “I will always be honest about the challenges…I will listen, especially when we disagree”.
The task would be done as it always had in America, “block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand”.
“This victory alone is not the change we seek,” he said, calling for a new spirit of sacrifice and a new spirit of service.
In a message to those “beyond our shores” Obama said that a new dawn of American leadership was at hand. He reaffirmed the values of freedom and justice and said that his message to those who wanted to tear down the world was “we will defeat you”.
Read the full speech in tomorrow's blog.

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