DENVER, Colorado — Former Vice President Al Gore started his speech tonight by talking about how the world would be different had he ended up in the White House in 2000.
"Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn’t really matter who became president," Gore said. "Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity. Some assumed we would continue both, no matter the outcome. But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn’t matter.
"Take it from me," Gore continued," if it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq, we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him. We would not be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis; we would be fighting for middle-income families. We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution; we’d be protecting the rights of every American, regardless of race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation. And we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving it."
Gore said the choice between Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., "may be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House, and promising to actually continue them."
Said Gore incredulously, "the same policies all over again? Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous. With John McCain’s support, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have led our nation into one calamity after another because of their indifference to fact; their readiness to sacrifice the long term to the short term, subordinate the general good to the benefit of the few and short-circuit the rule of law."
Gore also compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln, saying that "before he entered the White House, Abraham Lincoln’s experience in elective office consisted of eight years in his state legislature in Springfield, Ill., and one term in Congress –- during which he showed the courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another country, that was popular when it started, but later condemned by history.
"The experience Lincoln’s supporters valued most in that race was his powerful ability to inspire hope in the future at a time of impasse," Gore said. "He was known chiefly as a clear thinker and a great orator, with a passion for justice and a determination to heal the deep divisions of our land. He insisted on reaching past partisan and regional divides, to exalt our common humanity. In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a mandate from history to launch another new beginning. And once again, we have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition."
I’m sitting in INVESCO Field right now. Tens of thousands of Obama supporters are doing the wave.