Barack Obama: 'I Accept Your Nomination for the Presidency of the United States'

First African American major party candidate speaks on MLK speech anniversary.

ByABC News
December 3, 2008, 4:09 PM

DENVER, Aug. 28, 2008 — -- Obama strode on stage and into the history books becoming the first black American to be nominated by a major political party as the nation's commander-in-chief.

Tonight, 84,000 Democrats at Denver's Invesco Field were dancing and cheering as he accepted their presidential nomination.

Walking out to the podium, he appeared briefly humbled as the crowd, waved "Change" signs and American flags, and gave him an overwhelming standing ovation, chanting "Yes, we can! Yes, we can!"

"With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States," Obama told an ecstatic, cheering crowd of Democratic party elite, delegates, civil rights leaders and celebrities including Oprah Winfrey.

Adding to the poetry and symbolism of the event, Obama's accomplishment arrived on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and march on Washington.

Looking around the filled stadium at people dancing, cheering, and applauding, Texas state repesentative and delegate Mike Villarreal had tears in his eyes.

"I want to be able to tell my kids I was here when a black man and a white man got elected to lead our party," Villarreal said, "And I'm part of that for them."

Obama began with a nod to his vanquished primary rival New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and her husband former President Bill Clinton, who delivered solid speeches of endorsement at the Democratic Convention this week, despite a bitter primary battle that left lingering tensions for months.

"Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest -- a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton," Obama said.

"To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night," Obama said of his vice presidential candidate.

In a soaring speech Obama outlined economic hardships Americans face and blamed President Bush's presidency.

"Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay and tuition that is beyond your reach," Obama said.

"These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed presidency of George W. Bush," the Democratic presidential candidate said.

"America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this ... We are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: 'Eight is enough.'"

"It's time to change America, and that's why I'm running for president of the United States," Obama said to cheers.

"I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington," he said.

"But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you," Obama said.

"For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time."