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Obama Video Clips > 2008-08-28 - DNC Barack Obama Tribute Video


2008 DNC: Barack Obama Tribute
 Biography Video

Aired August 28, 2008 - 22:00   ET

2008 DNC: Barack Obama Tribute

NARRATOR: It is a promise we make to our children, that each of us can make what we want of our lives. It is this promise that has defined so many great Americans.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

NARRATOR: And it has defined him as well.


B. OBAMA: My mother, she said to herself, you know, "My son, he's an American, and he needs to understand what that means."

NARRATOR: His childhood was like any other. But it was his search for self that defined him.

B. OBAMA: My father, I only met him once for a month when I was 10. I probably was shaped more by his absence than his presence.

NARRATOR: And what he learned was that, by discovering his own story, he would come to know what is remarkable about his country.

B. OBAMA: My grandparents, they grew up in Kansas, right in the center of the heartland. They were growing up during the Great Depression. They weren't complainers. They took life as it came. They knew they had to work hard, even when difficult things happened.

NARRATOR: His grandfather fought in Patton's Army. His grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line. But it was his mother who would see in him a promise and understood what she needed to do.

B. OBAMA: She would wake me up at 4:30 in the morning, and we would sit there and go through my lessons. And I used to complain and grumble. You can imagine a 6-, 7-, 8-year-old kid having to wake up at 4:30.

And, you know, if I grumbled, she would say, "Well, this is no picnic for me either, buster."

The only time I ever saw my mother really angry is when she saw cruelty, when she saw somebody being bullied or somebody being treated differently because of who they were. And, if she saw me doing that, she would be furious.

And she would say to me: "Imagine standing in that person's shoes,. How would that make you feel?"

That simple idea, I'm not sure I always understood when I was a kid, but it stayed with me.

NARRATOR: In Chicago, he would find a calling.

B. OBAMA: I loaded up all my belongings in this raggedy old car, and I drove out to Chicago, didn't know a soul at the time.

NARRATOR: There were factory closings, lost jobs, failing schools. And, in the people he met, he would find answers.

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Everyone was raving about this guy.

B. OBAMA: She came off as very professional. So, I wasn't sure she would have much of a sense of humor.

M. OBAMA: I thought, Barack Obama -- who names their kid Barack Obama?

B. OBAMA: It's one thing if your name was Barack Smith or Barry Obama. But, Barack Obama, that's a killer.


B. OBAMA: That's not going to work.

M. OBAMA: And, sort of a month into it, he was like, "We should go out on a date." And I thought, no.

So, he took me to this training that was going on in a church basement on the far south side of the city. Most of the folks in that basement were there because they had faced some point of hopelessness. We walk in, and he takes off his suit jacket and launches into what I think is the most eloquent discussion about the world as it is and the world as it should be.

And that was it. Really, after that day, that was it. I was in love with him.

B. OBAMA: I had a pile of student loans at the time. I had just married Michelle. She had a pile of student loans at the time.

NARRATOR: His classmates would field offers from big law firms and Wall Street, but he felt compelled to serve.

M. OBAMA: I thought he was crazy. You know, I thought, well, what did you do all this for?

B. OBAMA: You read about some injustice, and you say, that's not right. Somebody should fix that. You realize nobody else is going to fix it if you don't.

The intent of this bill is to make sure that low-wage workers are able to bring home a living wage.

NARRATOR: Tax cuts for workers, welfare to work, and health care for those without.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're unemployed, you have got no health insurance, your kid is in a lousy school, that's day-to-day stuff. That's what people live on a day-to-day basis.

LAWRENCE M. WALSH (D), ILLINOIS STATE SENATE: Pieces of legislation that he carried, he believed in. He was not carrying it for a group. He was not carrying it for a lobbyist.

B. OBAMA: I remember the first trip I took to downstate Illinois. Yes, when I got down there, people were completely familiar to me. They were all like my grandparents.

NARRATOR: And, in Washington, he would remember why he was running and who he was fighting for: energy independence, fighting nuclear proliferation, ethics reform.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I watched him stand in the middle. Where a lot of the senior members of the Senate were saying, hey, go away and leave us alone, he wouldn't.

B. OBAMA: What I want is a family that is transmitting the values I inherited, the values that Michelle inherited to the next generation: hard work, honesty, self-reliance, respect for other people, a sense of empathy, kindness, faith.

When my mom passed away was one of the toughest moments of my life. You know, we always had a small family. And she was, you know, sort of the beating heart of that family.
It was a reminder to me, boy, life sure is short, and you better seize the moment.

One of my earliest memories, going with my grandfather to see some of the astronauts being brought back after a splashdown, sitting on his shoulders, and waving a little American flag.

I remember my grandfather, who always had a big imagination. He was like a little boy himself. And my grandfather, you know, would say, "You know, boy, Americans, we can do anything when we put our minds to it."

NARRATOR: It is a promise we make to our children, that each of us can make what we want of our lives. It is a promise that his mother made to him and that he would intend to keep.

B. OBAMA: I stand before you today to announce...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) B. OBAMA: ... my candidacy for president of the United States of America!


M. OBAMA: You know, I don't think we have ever had a conversation about being a senator or being president. It was always about trying to move people.

B. OBAMA: Every generation, we have an obligation to work on behalf of the next generation. We have got to work to make their lives better.


B. OBAMA: I know what it's like not to have a father in the house, to have a mother who is trying to raise kids, work, and get her college education at the same time.

It is that fundamental belief, I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, that makes this country work.


B. OBAMA: I know what it's like to watch grandparents age, whether their fixed income is going to cover the bills.

We have got to transform the political culture, so it's responsive to you, and not the special interests, and not the fat cats, not the lobbyists, but is responsible to you and your children.

And, when I travel from town to town, I see Americans going through the same things that my family went through. And I'm reminded of what my mother always said: Imagine what it's like being in somebody else's shoes. You know, one person's struggle is all of our struggles. We recognize ourselves in each other

To make sure that opportunity is there, not just some people, but all of us, and that's the country I believe in. That is what's worth fighting for.