Obama as the Anti-Bush

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, August 29, 2008; 11:49 AM

Editor's note: Dan Froomkin is taking Labor Day off. He'll return on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Democratic nominee Barack Obama last night firmly thrust President Bush and his legacy into the center of the 2008 presidential race.

Obama described the great challenges of the next presidency as restoring the values Bush has abandoned, fixing the things Bush has broken, and fundamentally changing the errant course Bush has set for our nation.

With an overwhelming eight out of ten Americans wanting the next president to set the nation in a new direction, what Obama was saying was not exactly radical.

He even noted that Republican candidate John McCain is calling attention to "those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need."

But, Obama said, "the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. . . .

"Tonight -- tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land: enough! This moment -- this moment, this election, is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive."

The heart of Obama's speech to 85,000 cheering supporters at Denver's football stadium was a look back at what Bush has wrought.

"We meet at one of those defining moments -- a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

"Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes, and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit cards -- bills you can't afford to pay and tuition that's beyond your reach.

"Now, these challenges are not all of government's making, but the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

"America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. . . .

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