Obama’s closing argument

OBAMA’S CLOSING ARGUMENT…. Barack Obama just wrapped up a “closing argument” speech in Canton, Ohio, summarizing his vision, and highlighting the campaign’s message for the final eight days.

Halperin has the full text of the 4,000-word speech, but the bulk of the message was, not surprisingly, about the economy.

“Now, I don’t believe that government can or should try to solve all our problems. I know you don’t either. But I do believe that government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves — protect us from harm and provide a decent education for our children; invest in new roads and new science and technology. It should reward drive and innovation and growth in the free market, but it should also make sure businesses live up to their responsibility to create American jobs, and look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road. It should ensure a shot at success not only for those with money and power and influence, but for every single American who’s willing to work. That’s how we create not just more millionaires, but more middle-class families. That’s how we make sure businesses have customers that can afford their products and services. That’s how we’ve always grown the American economy — from the bottom-up. John McCain calls this socialism. I call it opportunity, and there is nothing more American than that.”

It’s funny to think McCain carefully positioned himself as an opponent of middle-class tax breaks. I’m still not sure why, but the vaunted McCain Communications Team must know something I don’t.

Obama’s closing argument is notable in that it’s almost a “greatest hits” package, drawing a bit from Obama’s 2004 convention speech and his 2008 convention speech.

“In this election, we cannot afford the same political games and tactics that are being used to pit us against one another and make us afraid of one another. The stakes are too high to divide us by class and region and background; by who we are or what we believe.

“Because despite what our opponents may claim, there are no real or fake parts of this country. There is no city or town that is more pro-America than anywhere else — we are one nation, all of us proud, all of us patriots. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.”

For what it’s worth, the McCain campaign announced this morning that McCain does not plan to offer a closing argument of his own, preferring instead to stick with the same old attacks for the campaign’s closing week.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.