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August 29, 2008

Analyze and Assess Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech

Sen. Barack Obama made history Thursday night, becoming the first black presidential nominee of a major political party. But rather than dwelling on the milestone, Obama took sharp aim at his opponent, denouncing the policies of the Republican Party and Sen. John McCain.


(These are just some suggestions– you can choose your own from the transcript-please add them to the discussion in the comments section below):

“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.” – Barack Obama

“Next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”” – Barack Obama

“That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.” – Barack Obama

“And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” – Barack Obama

“We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.” – Barack Obama

“And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream. “We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”” – Barack Obama

Warm Up Questions

1. Who is Barack Obama and what do you know about him?

2. Did you watch any of the Democratic Convention – how do you think it went?

3. Barack Obama spoke to the Democratic Convention on the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream.” What is the significance of that?

Discussion Questions

1. What did you think of this speech?

2. What were the best parts, what were the worst?

3. How did it answer criticism that he is too inexperienced to be president?

4. Do you think it would change the minds of undecided voters?

5. Who watches the conventions? Do you think more people will watch this year? Why or why not?

6. Do you think people who don’t want to vote for Obama will ever see the speech? If you were an Obama adviser, what would you tell him to do to communicate with voters who did not watch the convention?

Additional Resources

Transcript of the speech

NewsHour Vote 2008 Coverage

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