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Speeches from the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Claire McCaskill
Remarks to the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Denver, Colorado
August 25, 2008

It is an honor to stand before you tonight representing the great state of Missouri. Missouri is in the middle of our great country. We have a nice view. From the middle, we see America. As you look around my state, you see the best of our nation—rich land, beautiful forests, shimmering lakes, wondrous cities and, most of all, the people of Missouri, hard-working, God-loving, family-centered, blessed with an abundance of common sense and with a tough streak of Harry Truman-style independence.

We don’t call it the “Show Me State” for nothing. Missouri is a place where our country comes together. We are not a red state or a blue state. We are proud to be a part of the United States. And this November, I am confident that Missouri will help make Barack Obama the next president of this country we love.

Barack Obama knows that what unites us as Americans is a belief in the common dream that in America anyone can accomplish anything. He believes in our stories—American stories. It’s the story of a woman who grew up of modest means in a small Missouri town. Her dad’s family had the feed mill; her mom’s, the corner drug store. She worked her way through college and law school waiting tables and went into public service. She now works for families of modest means as a U.S. senator. That is my story, and it is an American story.

It’s the story of a man who was brought up by a single mom and his grandparents. He put himself through school with odd jobs, scholarships and student loans. He took a pass on big money, went to work helping families devastated by steel plant closings and dedicated his life to bringing people together through public service. Barack Obama’s story is an American story. In America, all of us come from different places, but we come together because we want that dream of opportunity for all Americans. That’s why it’s not just your dream or my dream. It’s the American dream.

For eight years we have watched our government take care of the powerful, the few and the extremely wealthy. We have seen our dream put at risk by George Bush’s Washington. John McCain is running for four more years of the same old politics and exact same failed policies that we had under George Bush. They did tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, they’re doing everything Big Oil asks for, and look where we are.

Come on, America. Let’s call on our common sense and stay focused on what’s important. We cannot choose that path again. That’s a risk the American people cannot afford to take. I have seen Barack Obama in the Senate, and I’ve been by his side on the campaign trail. I know he will bring the change we need in Washington.

I saw him take on both parties to help pass the farthest-reaching ethics reform since Watergate. That’s the change we need. I saw him run a campaign that hasn’t taken a dime from federal lobbyists and PACs. That’s the change we need. I know that this son of a single mom will stand up for the dreams of our daughters. And I know that John McCain won’t.

There is only one candidate in this race who has fought for equal pay for equal work by America’s women. That candidate is Barack Obama. There is only one candidate offering real tax relief for the middle class, health care that is affordable and accessible and protection of Social Security today, tomorrow and forever. That candidate is Barack Obama.

It all depends on how clearly you see America—how clearly you see the best of America. John McCain has been in Washington for almost 30 years. Maybe that’s why he has a campaign run by Washington lobbyists and thinks the fundamentals of the economy are strong. In Missouri we have a ringside seat to the real America, and I can assure you it looks much different.

It’s time for someone who understands the real America: the waitresses, small businessmen, single moms and truck drivers fighting to live their dreams. That’s the America that Barack Obama sees. He knows our stories, because he has lived the American dream. And from where I sit in the middle of America, I see a leader who knows that the American dream is not for a special few. It is for all of us, each and every one of us.

You know, a week ago I walked into my 80-year-old mother’s room to find my two daughters there. The three of them were huddled around the computer. My mother turned and said with a proud smile, “We are G-chatting with Obama volunteers from all over the state.” Don’t tell me this campaign is not special.

I have seen Barack Obama bring people together—Democrats, Republicans and independent, young and old. He makes us believe, once more, in the very best of America. Barack Obama is going to be one great president for one great nation—this great nation under God, with liberty and justice for all. Thank you and good night.



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