Full speech here.
This moment is McCain at his unifying best:
“To Americans who have yet to decide who to vote for, thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to win your trust. I intend to earn it.
“Finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it over the next two months. That’s the nature of these contests, and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.”
Hecklers keep interrupting his speech. As they are dragged out by security — to more chants of “USA” — McCain quips that Americans want people to stop yelling at each other.
Deafening roars as he talks about Sarah Palin.
“And I’ve found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. She has executive experience and a real record of accomplishment. She’s tackled tough problems like energy independence and corruption. She’s balanced a budget, cut taxes, and taken on the special interests. She’s reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and Independents to serve in her administration. She’s the wonderful mother of five children. She’s helped run a small business, worked with her hands and knows what it’s like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries.”
“She knows where she comes from and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what’s right, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her to sit down.”
“I’m very proud to have introduced our next Vice President to the country. But I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big spending, do nothing, me first, country second Washington crowd: change is coming.”
Now he’s talking about fighting corruption, lobbyists, special interests, and union bosses.
[Now he’ talking about the surge — which, incidentally, Obama today conceded “had succeeded in ways nobody anticipated.”]
“I fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq, when it wasn’t a popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.”
Here is a little spanking for his own party (and people are standing up to applaud it):
“I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties and Senator Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles.
“We’re going to change that. We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again for the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.”
Now he’s talking about Latina daughters of migrant workers being God’s children. (Et tu, Lou Dobbs?)
He’s accusing Obama of wanting a “government run health care system” where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor. He accuses him of wanting to raise taxes and raise spending.
Sounding kind of Clintonian [version Bill that is]:
“I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy and it often seems your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch. My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back, find a new one that won’t go away.”
“We will prepare them for the jobs of today. We will use our community colleges to help train people for new opportunities in their communities. For workers in industries that have been hard hit, we’ll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage.”
After talking about school choice, he moves to energy:
“My fellow Americans, when I’m President, we’re going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades.
“We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. [huge applause]
“We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we’ll drill them now. We will build more nuclear power plants. We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.”
“Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that. We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet.
“It’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we have faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead.”
As President, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.
Makes the commander-in-chief pitch:
“We face many threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it should not do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don’t. I know how to secure the peace.”
McCain talks about hating war:
“I hate war. It is terrible beyond imagination.”
“I’m running for President to keep the country I love safe, and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals – to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.
Condemns partisan rancour — and appeals to independents:
“Again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as President. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.”
[That is true.]
“Instead of rejecting good ideas because we didn’t think of them first, let’s use the best ideas from both sides. Instead of fighting over who gets the credit, let’s try sharing it. This amazing country can do anything we put our minds to. I will ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me.”
[I guess Joe Lieberman can count on a cabinet seat.]
After years of Bush adminsitration secrecy, he pledges to “set a new standard for transparency and accountability.”
He’s talking about his POW experience:
“…Then I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I was dumped in a dark cell, and left to die. I didn’t feel so tough anymore. When they discovered my father was an admiral, they took me to a hospital. They couldn’t set my bones properly, so they just slapped a cast on me. When I didn’t get better, and was down to about a hundred pounds, they put me in a cell with two other Americans. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even feed myself. They did it for me. I was beginning to learn the limits of my selfish independence. Those men saved my life….”
Now take that Obama:
“I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.”
Hard to argue with this:
“If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.”
[“Community organizer” didn’t make the list.]
His concluding refrain: “Fight with me! Fight with me!”