"The way to win a debate with John McCain is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq, who agreed with him in voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran, who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don't like, and who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed," Obama said.
Turning Clinton's own campaign slogan against her, Obama said: "It's not enough to say you'll be ready from Day One — you have to be right from Day One."
Even before Obama took the stage, the Clinton campaign had already issued a response to the speech. In it, the campaign accused Obama of "misleading attacks" on Clinton's record on Iraq, Iran, diplomacy and torture, among other issues.
In bold, capital letters, a Clinton spokesman emailed reporters: "SEN. OBAMA LAMENTS THIS KIND OF POLITICS IN HIS BOOK, AUDACITY OF HOPE: 'FOR THAT IS HOW MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT, ENTER THE SENATE…THEIR WORDS DISTORTED, AND THEIR MOTIVES QUESTIONED.' [PAGE 133]"
In his speech, Obama argued against the politics of divide and conquer, without pointing the finger directly at the Clintons.
"We've faced forces that are not the fault of any one campaign — forces that open American wounds," Obama said. "The politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon. A politics that tells us what we have to think and even vote within the confines of the categories that supposedly define us."
"But," he said, "Our party — the Democratic party — has always been at its best when we rose above these divisions; when we called all Americans to a common purpose, a higher purpose."
Summing up, Obama said: "There is a moment in the life of every generation, if it is to make its mark on history, when its spirit has to come through, when it must choose the future over the past, when it must make its own change from the bottom up."