DUBLIN, Ohio — Barack Obama's full-blown stump speech probably has done more than anything to rocket him to fame and to a lead over Republican John McCain in some national polls.
It starts with a brief biographical section. He then lays out the problem he sees for the nation. He says has learned that Americans are generous and hardworking, but "they recognize that over the last eight years this country has gone tragically off course." He talks about people losing their jobs, pensions and homes.
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The third section gets to the heart of his pitch.
Americans owe his opponent, John McCain, gratitude for his service, Obama says. "But we don't owe him our vote, because John McCain has a set of ideas that are identical to George Bush's."
Republicans "call it the 'ownership society,' but it really means 'you're on your own,' " he says. "Your job gets shipped overseas? Tough luck, you're on your own. ... Going into poverty? You're on your own, pick yourself up by your boot straps, even if you don't have boots."
Obama outlines his plans for middle-class tax cuts, health insurance subsidies, alternative energy investments and other proposals.
His discussion of foreign policy is shorter, starting with, "I will end this war in Iraq."
Republicans, he says as he goes into his conclusion, "are going to try to scare you. They're going to say, 'Well, Obama, he's got a funny name, and well, he hasn't been in Washington long enough.' "
"But I don't think it's going to work this time," he says. "I think Republicans, Democrats and independents, they don't want to just take a 10 percent chance on change that John McCain is offering, because he agrees with George Bush 90 percent of the time."
Then comes the big windup. "If you will stand up with me," Obama begins, and thousands of listeners rise to their feet.
"If you will knock on doors with me and make phone calls with me, if you'll talk to your neighbors and your friends with me, if you'll believe with me." Now they are screaming and jumping, and the place is in an uproar. "Then I promise you this: We ... will win this ... election, and you, and I, and Joe Biden, we will change this country and change the world."
Obama can barely be heard as he says, "Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America."