"Change is coming to America," is the line of the night from Obama. His speech is an assemblage of idealism and and his biographical grounding in those ideals; a turning of the page to the general election and a challenge to John McCain.
"The skeptics predicted we wouldn’t get very far. The cynics dismissed us as a lot of hype and a little too much hope. And by the fall, the pundits in Washington had all but counted us out," he begins. "But the people of Iowa had a different idea."
From the very beginning, you knew that this journey wasn’t about me or any of the other candidates in this race. It’s about whether this country – at this defining moment – will continue down the same road that has failed us for so long, or whether we will seize this opportunity to take a different path – to forge a different future for the country we love. That is the question that sent thousands upon thousands of you to high school gyms and VFW halls; to backyards and front porches; to steak fries and JJ dinners, where you spoke about what that future would look like.
Praise for Clinton:
The road here has been long, and that is partly because we’ve traveled it with one of the most formidable candidates to ever run for this office. In her thirty-five years of public service, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has never given up on her fight for the American people, and tonight I congratulate her on her victory in Kentucky. We have had our disagreements during this campaign, but we all admire her courage, her commitment and her perseverance. No matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and yours will come of age.
And a challenge to McCain:
I will leave it up to Senator McCain to explain to the American people whether his policies and positions represent long-held convictions or Washington calculations, but the one thing they don’t represent is change.
And the ending:
My faith in the decency, and honesty, and generosity of the American people is not based on false hope or blind optimism, but on what I have lived and what I have seen in this very state.
For in the darkest days of this campaign, when we were dismissed by all the polls and all the pundits, I would come to Iowa and see that there was something happening here that the world did not yet understand.
It’s what led high school and college students to give up their vacations to stuff envelopes and knock on doors, and why grandparents have spent all their afternoons making phone calls to perfect strangers. It’s what led men and women who can barely pay the bills to dig into their savings and write five dollar checks and ten dollar checks, and why young people from all over this country have left their friends and their families for a job that offers little pay and less sleep.
Change is coming to America.
It’s the spirit that sent the first patriots to Lexington and Concord and led the defenders of freedom to light the way north on an Underground Railroad. It’s what sent my grandfather’s generation to beachheads in Normandy, and women to Seneca Falls, and workers to picket lines and factory fences. It’s what led all those young men and women who saw beatings and billy clubs on their television screens to leave their homes, and get on buses, and march through the streets of Selma and Montgomery – black and white, rich and poor.
Change is coming to America.
It’s what I saw all those years ago on the streets of Chicago when I worked as an organizer – that in the face of joblessness, and hopelessness, and despair, a better day is still possible if there are people willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it. That’s what I’ve seen here in Iowa. That’s what is happening in America – our journey may be long, our work will be great, but we know in our hearts we are ready for change, we are ready to come together, and in this election, we are ready to believe again. Thank you Iowa, and may God Bless America.