Paul Begala wrote the first draft of the speech. We were trying to do a lot with itbiography, campaign rhetoric, and policy. And we were trying to appeal to three different groupshard-core Democrats, independents and Republicans dissatisfied with the President cheap nike air max heels but unsure of me, and people who didnt vote at all because they didnt think it made a difference. Paul, as always, had some great lines. And George Stephanopoulos had kept notes of the ones that had worked best on the stump during the primary campaign. Bruce Reed and Al From helped sharpen the policy section. To bring me on, my friends Harry and Linda Bloodworth Thomason produced a short film entitled The Man from Hope. It pumped the crowd up, and I walked onto the platform to tremendous applause. The speech started slowly, with a bow to Al Gore, thanks to Mario Cuomo, and a salute to my primary opponents. Then came the message: In the name of all those who do the work and pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules, in the name of the hardworking Americans who make up our forgotten middle class, I proudly accept your nomination for President of the United States. I am a product of that middle class, and when I am President,nike air force high heels you will be forgotten no more. Next, I told the story of the people who had had the greatest impact on me, beginning with my mother, from her travails as a young widow with a baby to support to her current struggle with breast cancer, saying, Always, always, always she taught me to fight. I talked about my grandfather and how he taught me to look up to people other folks looked down on. And I paid tribute to Hillary for teaching me that all children can learn and that each of us has a duty to help them do it. I wanted America to know that my fighting spirit started with my mother, my commitment to racial equality started with my grandfather, and my concern for the future of all our children started with my wife. And I wanted people to know that everybody could be part of our American family: I want to say something to every child in America tonight who is out there trying to grow up without a mother or father: I know how you feel. You are special too. You matter to America. And dont ever let anybody tell you you cant become whatever you want to be. For the next several minutes, I laid out my critique of the Bush record and my plan to do better. We have gone from first to thirteenth in the world in wages since Reagan and Bush took office. . . . Four years ago he promised 15 million new jobs by this time, and hes over 14 million short. . . . The incumbent President says unemployment always goes up a little before a recovery begins, but unemployment only has to go up one more person before a real recovery can begin. And Mr. President, you are that man. I said my New Covenant of opportunity, responsibility, and community would give us an America in which the doors of college are thrown open again to the sons and daughters of stenographers and steelworkers, an America in which middle-class incomes, not middle-class taxes, are going up, an America in which the rich are not soaked, but the middle class is not drowned either, an America where we end welfare as we know it. Then I made an appeal for national unity. To me, it was the most important part of the speech, something I had believed in since I was a little boy: Tonight every one of you knows deep in your heart that we are too divided. It is time to heal America. And so we must say to every American: Look beyond the stereotypes that blind us. We need each other. All of us, we need each other. We dont have a person to waste. And yet for too long politicians have told most of us that are doing all right cheap nike high heels that whats really wrong with America is the rest of us. Them. Them, the minorities. Them, the liberals. Them, the poor, them, the homeless, them, the people with disabilities. Them, the gays. Weve gotten to where weve nearly themed ourselves to death. Them and them and them. But this is America. There is no them; there is only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. That is our Pledge of Allegiance and thats what the New Covenant is all about. . . . As a teenager I heard John Kennedys summons to citizenship. And then, as a student at Georgetown, I heard that call clarified by a professor named Carroll Quigley, who said to us that America was the greatest nation in history because our people had always believed in two great ideas: that tomorrow can be better than today, and that every one of us has a personal, moral responsibility to make it so. That kind of future entered my life the night our daughter, Chelsea, was born. As I stood in that delivery room, I was overcome with the thought that God had given me a blessing my own father never knew: the chance to hold my child in my arms. Somewhere at this very moment, a child is being born in America. Let it be our cause to give that child a happy home, a healthy family, and a hopeful future. Let it be our cause to see that that child has a chance to live to the fullest of her God-given capacities. . . . Let it be our cause that we give this child a country that is coming together, not coming aparta country of boundless hopes and endless dreams; a country that once again lifts its people and inspires the world. Let that be our cause, our commitment, and our New Covenant. My fellow Americans, I end tonight where it all began for me: I still believe in a place called Hope. God bless you and God bless America. When my speech was over and the applause had died down, the convention ended with a song written for the occasion by Arthur Hamilton and my old friend and fellow high-school musician Randy Goodrum, Circle of Friends. It was sung by the Broadway star Jennifer Holiday, backed by the Philander Smith College Choir from Little Rock; ten-year-old Reggie Jackson, who had wowed the convention Monday night singing America the Beautiful; and my brother, Roger. Before long they had us all singing Lets join a circle of friends, one that begins and never ends. It was a perfect end to the most cheap nike heels important speech Id ever delivered. And it worked. We were widening the circle. Three different polls showed my message had strongly resonated with the voters, and we had a big lead, of twenty or more points. But I knew we couldnt hold that margin. For one thing, the Republican cultural base of white voters with a deep reluctance to vote for any Democratic presidential candidate was about 45 percent of the electorate. Also, the Republicans had not held their convention yet. It was sure to give President Bush a boost. Finally, Id just had six weeks o Chapter 28 T he next morning, July 17, Al, Tipper, Hillary, and I drove over to New Jersey to begin the first of several bus tours across America. They were designed to bring us into small towns and rural areas never visited in modern presidential campaigns, which had become dominated by rallies in major media markets. We hoped the bus tour, the brainchild of Susan Thomases and David Wilhelm, would keep the excitement and momentum of the convention going  
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