Speakers at the closing night of the convention stuck to the merging themes of this convention, stressing the historic nature of the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama, calling for new reform to Washington and giving special voice to Democratic leaders from emerging battleground states.
“It’s fitting that the change we need in Washington starts here in the Rocky Mountain West,” Mark Udall, a Senate candidate from Colorado told the ever-growing crowd.
“In the spirit of the West,” Udall added, “we can move forward, but it’s going to take leaders who are strong enough to stand up for what’s right, bold enough to bring new ideas and sweep away the worst of Washington’s old ways. Leaders like Barack Obama.”
Udall was joined by an array of speakers ranging from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to campaign manger David Plouffe. But clear messages accompanied many of the speakers as well.
Luis Gutierrez, Congressman from Illinois, cited the fact that Thursday marked the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech to urge Latino voters, who are seen as a critical voting bloc, to rally to the cause of Obama.
“When Martin Luther King saw people facing injustice, he did not wait for others to act — he changed the way we treat each other,” Gutierrez told the thousands of participants. “If you want change, it is time for Latinos, and for immigrants to rally behind the next president of the United States, Barack Obama.”
Another of the themes the Democrats carefully struck in a closely coordinated program — aimed at culminating with Obama’s acceptance speech — was that of faith.
Looking to cut into a serious problem Democrats have had with religious voters, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine made a special note of his and his nominee’s belief.
“For Barack Obama, for Joe Biden, for me, for all of us, the principles of faith call us to service,” Kaine, who had at one-time been rumored to be on Obama’s shortlist for a possible running mate, said. “With faith in the American dream, we strive to for better schools, economic justice and smarter foreign policies because we believe in the God-given principles of equality, freedom and opportunity.”
As these early speakers rolled on, the line outside the Invesco Field continued to snake for hundreds of yards and the crowd inside continued to build, all eyes and camera lenses pointed at the center podium where Obama will give his acceptance speech later in the night.