Obama Rebuts Clinton’s Argument by Using Historical Speeches

Feb 17, 2008 7:02am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Summoning up famous quotes within historical speeches from the Declaration of Independence, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King – Sen. Barack Obama made the case that speeches, and words matter in politics.

Obama was rebutting a direct criticism from Democratic presidential rival, Sen Hillary Clinton, who said that it’s solutions, not speeches, that change America.

"Don’t tell me words don’t matter! ‘I have a dream’, just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self evident that all me are created equal’ – just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself?’ – just words. Just speeches." Obama preached, using the famous phrases to question the notion that words and speeches do not make a difference.

"It’s true that speeches don’t solve all problems, but what is also true is if we cannot inspire the country to believe again then it doesn’t matter how many policies and plans we have," Obama said in front of the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson dinner, "That is why we just won eight elections straight, because the American people want to believe in change again. Don’t tell me words don’t matter!"

Obama has been pushing back against Clinton’s criticism of his speechifying strongly while campaigning in Wisconsin this week. He recently admitted to a crowd in OshKosh, "I give a good speech. What can I do?"

The Senator caused a dust up on the campaign trail once before when using Martin Luther King’s name when rebutting another Clinton argument against his hope message – that he needs a reality check. Obama fired back questioning if Martin Luther King told crowds gathered on the Lincoln Memorial to just go home, instead of hoping for change.

The line also made a resurgence at Wisconsin dinner Saturday night.

"Martin Luther King didn’t stand on the steps of the Lincoln and say ‘go home, ya’ll need a reality check.’" Obama argued once again.

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