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CNN ELECTION CENTER

Joe Biden Addresses Democratic National Convention

Aired August 27, 2008 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: But, again, the big speech tonight that we are waiting for is Joseph Biden again on this theme of -- of national security, foreign policy, and the Democrats' plan to keep America safe.
And, again, we're waiting for this video produced and directed by Steven Spielberg.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: This video, by the way, I have been told it's -- it's an amazing piece of video. It's Steven Spielberg. Who could do it better than Steven Spielberg? But he's worked really hard on this. It's, we're told, only maybe seven minutes, or six or seven minutes. But it tells a story that only Steven Spielberg, maybe the preeminent filmmaker of our time, could put together.

COOPER: It's also important to point out the timing of this. It is now in the 10:00 hour on the East Coast. A lot of the broadcast networks are beginning their paltry one hour of coverage.

And a lot of what the Obama campaign is trying to do is time this, so that it gets maximum attention.

BLITZER: All right, I think this video is about to begin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: They come from every corner of the country with everything to look forward to, school, career, love, family. They're at the height of their youth and promise. Yet, they choose to answer the timeless call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I started thinking about, what was I going to do with my life, I knew part of it was going to be to be part of the military.

MELISSA EPSTEIN MILLS, FORMER U.S. MARINE: I wanted to participate in all the training. I wanted to know what it meant to be a Marine.

J.D. HENDERSON, FORMER U.S. ARMY VETERAN: I enlisted because I felt that's something that -- that would make me a better citizen.

BALDWIN YEN, FORMER U.S. ARMY VETERAN: Valentine's Day, they told us our unit was being alerted and that we were deploying to Iraq. So, I called my girlfriend. She was at work. She broke down crying.

JEREMY BENNETT, FORMER U.S. MARINE: They kind of built it up like it was going to be a really simple peacekeeping mission to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. You know, we're going to build schools. We're going to help out at the hospitals.

And, when you got there, it turned into a fight.

M. MILLS: Any time you went outside the wire, there was always a chance something could happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were getting hit by ambushes, car bombs, suicide bombers. We lost 34 Marines over there, guys that you were working with every day. You were reading their letters from home, sharing their mom's cookies and stuff. It hurts to see those guys go.

YEN: Eight soldiers had been killed by IED. There's a standardized ceremony. You have the rifles stood up front with the boots and the helmet. There's just a connection, because, especially in the field, you're wearing -- you're wearing -- you're wearing the exact same gear.

HENDERSON: Some of those guys do it for 18 months, come home for less than a year, and go do it again, and then come home, and then they go do it again.

HANKS: Today's soldiers walk in the footsteps of all those who went before, from Iraq and Afghanistan. The line stretches back over history's horizon, to the jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Korea, the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima.

CHARLES A. GRAVES, FORMER U.S. ARMY VETERAN: I had 38 men that I had to account for. We became the same as brothers, you know, or even closer than brothers.

YEN: When I tell people I'm an Iraq vet, they are like, were you afraid? I'm like, I remember there were two times that I was afraid. But I kept a diary. And I go back through the diary. And, like, every entry is, like: "Today, I was afraid. I hate being afraid. I can't wait to go home and stop being afraid."

TERRON SIMS, FORMER U.S. ARMY VETERAN: My dad told me once when I was at West Point, he said, there's nothing wrong for a man to fear, but there is something wrong with a man allowing fear to control his actions.

HANKS: Today's troops face any fear with a kind of strength that only a true diverse military can marshal, one that embraces heroes from every quarter.

JOHN RAMOS, FORMER U.S. ARMY VETERAN: It was a relief when I -- when I wore a uniform that, guess what, I was a soldier for the United States Army. And it didn't matter what color I was.

JANINE DAVIDSON, FORMER U.S. AIR FORCE PILOT: When I was in the Air Force, when not a lot of women flew airplanes, people would say, oh, what do you do here? And I would say, I fly airplanes. And they would go, you fly them? And I would say, yes. And they would say, like, you actually fly them? HENDERSON: As an infantry officer, I was responsible for the lives of American soldiers. I wasn't given millions of dollars worth of equipment. I was given Americans. And it was my responsibility to make sure they all got home.

HANKS: After traveling so far and enduring so much, what is it like to feel a mother's hug, a husband's kiss, a child's cheek again?

M. MILLS: I think, back, in the old days, you would travel on a ship, and you would have some time to decompress on your way transitioning out of a combat zone back into civilian life. Here, you're -- one day, you're in Iraq. The next day, you're in Kuwait. And, the next day, you're in California.

JASON S. MILLS, FORMER U.S. MARINE: I remember going into a really big bookstore. Everything looked so colorful, all these books. And everybody there shopping for the books looked so calm. And I remember thinking, you guys have no idea what is going on, on the other side of the planet right now.

BENNETT: It's good to be home, but it's hard, you know? It's hard to transition. Every loud noise, for a second, is an explosion. It's hard to talk to people about it, because you're used to being so damn tough. And, all of the sudden, you have got all this stuff on your mind, and you want to let it out, but you just can't.

ARTIE GUERRERO, U.S. ARMY VETERAN: I came back from Vietnam as a disabled vet. Families have to take care of us in wheelchairs. They have to help us get from the wheelchair to the bed, all the things that the public, general public, don't see, our families have to help us, our wives, our mothers, and our fathers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have got friends that lost their eyes, lost hands, lost legs. The fight doesn't stop over there. They're here, and they're -- and they're fighting to get healthy.

J. MILLS: If we determine that whatever is happening in Iraq is so important that we need to send our troops there to fight and die on our behalves, then we need to make sure that, when they come back, we do everything within our power to take care of them.

STEPHANIE STONE, U.S. NAVY VETERAN: Their families have a heck of a lot at risk as well. When I see the blue stars or the gold stars, that signifies a mother or a father who has a child in the war. Gold stars signify -- the gold stars signify a loss, so a death of a child.

HANKS: We ask these men and women to turn themselves from civilians into soldiers. Then we ask them to go from warriors overnight to being colleagues, friends and parents again, two monumental challenges.

And, yet, generation after generation, they do it. They lay down their lives for the land and the dream that is America, a dream that is lifted high on their shoulders and one that lifts all of us, that, no matter how different we appear from one another, we are there for one another, one nation, one people living in freedom, freedom that is won and protected by these ordinary, extraordinary Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome to the podium Iraq war veteran Major Tammy Duckworth.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: There he is. There he is, Steven Spielberg himself. He put this video together, a truly remarkable video, Steven Spielberg, here at the Democratic National Convention.

Anderson, that -- that was a really moving tribute. You and I have been to Iraq, and we have -- we have seen these young men and women in action. And words -- even this video can't really underscore the sacrifice that they make, the heroes that they are.

COOPER: Iraq, Afghanistan, all the places where U.S. troops are serving, for them and all their families, the sacrifice they make as well.

We are awaiting Joseph Biden's speech, which will be taking place very shortly, within this hour.

Want to take a short break, so that we can bring it to you live in its entirety.

Our coverage continues in a moment here on CNNPolitics.com.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're about to get to the major event of this night, the formal nomination of Joe Biden, the senator from Delaware, as the vice presidential nominee.

His big speech and the process leading up to it, which will be rather brief -- the process, that is -- that's coming up very, very shortly.

But even as we get ready to see the nomination of the Democratic vice presidential candidate, there's word that John McCain, the Republican candidate, may be getting close, may in fact already have made up his mind about his running mate.

Let's go to Dana Bash. She's been covering the McCain campaign for -- for months now.

What are you hearing, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're now hearing from multiple Republican sources that John McCain has in fact made up his mind as to who he wants to put on the ticket with him, the Republican ticket with him.

And, as we did expect, he will, we're told, appear with that person at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday.

Now, we are also told that we could probably expect to get word, official word -- or at least word to us reporters -- about who this person is tomorrow night, late tomorrow night, possibly, and probably, after Barack Obama's speech, even in and around midnight. So, that's what we know right now.

The big question I'm sure you're going to ask, well, who is it? That is something we do not know now. Some of our sources are leading us closer to the Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty, but also say that Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-independent, who is a very close associate of -- and friend, a good friend, of John McCain, is also there.

And I was also told one other thing to keep in mind, that -- somebody who could be a dark horse here, and that is Meg Whitman -- Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay -- somebody who has become a very close adviser to John McCain. She is somebody who I was told not to rule out.

But, again, the -- the important point is, we don't know who the -- John McCain has decided on, but we do know, from several Republican sources, that he has made up his mind -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, that -- Meg Whitman certainly would be intriguing, given the fact that women could be decisive in this campaign, especially some of those disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters who might be attracted to a Republican ticket, a McCain ticket, that included a woman only a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Anderson...

COOPER: Yes.

BLITZER: ... Meg Whitman was one of those three people that John McCain mentioned in that faith forum...

COOPER: Right.

BLITZER: ... with Rick Warren, Pastor Rick Warren, that he would rely on for -- for good advice. I don't know if that's how serious he is about that, but that would be an intriguing selection.

COOPER: One of the interesting things about doing live television is watching great reporters check in with their sources while they're still on the podium, on live television.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: They are -- John King has two BlackBerrys in his hands. Gloria Borger is furiously working hers.

John King, what are you hearing on this?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, like Dana, I can report from sources that we have been sharing and comparing information that the decision has been made.

The great mystery is who. And we're going to see in just a few minutes what John McCain knows he's up against. He knows Joe Biden from the Senate. He knows people pick a president based on the person on the top of the ticket, but a vice presidential candidate can have some impact.

Democrats certainly hope Joe Biden helps. John McCain needs to pick a good debater. As to where he's going with the decision, you know, Mitt Romney was the favorite for a long time. In recent days, you have heard some talk toward Tim Pawlenty. But let's be very clear about this.

Much like the Obama process, the McCain process has been very tightly disciplined, very tightly controlled. John McCain and two or three people, perhaps, know who his decision is. And the plan, we are told, is to notify that person tomorrow, and then make the announcement, as Dana noted, at a big rally in Dayton, Ohio, on Florida.

So, it's buried treasure out there, and now we have got to go hunt it.

COOPER: People leak information for -- for various reasons. The fact that they are letting this leak out tonight, and then will let out something more tomorrow night, allegedly, or reportedly, according to some, Dana Bash saying, late tomorrow night, perhaps after Barack Obama's speech, is it timed -- is it a coincidence?

KING: No.

Now, we don't know for sure they are going to do that. But that has always been their plan. Their plan, much like the Obama plan was to have that text message out, and then have the joint appearance in Springfield, the McCain plan, for some time, has been the big rally in Dayton, Ohio, and, most likely, have word get out slightly before that to build up the excitement and everything.

These things, as we learned in Obama land, can change at the last minute, depending on whether we cooperate, in part.

COOPER: The idea of that is to have the media talk -- be talking about some of this -- or at least talking a little less about some of what the Democrats are doing?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. But you also have to assume that John McCain has made his decision. I mean, this is something that they have been discussing for months. And we just don't know whether he's told the person or not.

BLITZER: All right, guys, hold on a second.

Here's the formal nomination of Joe Biden to be the vice presidential candidate.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUINCY LUCAS, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VOLUNTEER: Sadly, in 2003, she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Violence against women often happens in the shadows, out of public view. Since that time, I have devoted my life to bringing it into the light.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LUCAS: But I realize that, sometimes, to change lives, you have to change the law.

Joe Biden understands.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LUCAS: In 1994, he wrote the Violence Against Women Act, so every woman would have a place to turn for support.

He's constantly making sure it has the funding it needs. And, today, countless women get a second chance at life because of Joe Biden.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LUCAS: So, in memory of my sister, and in the name of women of -- all across this country, I am proud to place into nomination the name of Joe Biden to be our next vice president.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LUCAS: Yes! Yes! Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome permanent chair of the 2008 convention, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The name of Joe Biden of Delaware has been placed in nomination as the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate. Is there a second?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

(LAUGHTER)

PELOSI: The chair will entertain a motion to suspend the rules and to nominate by acclamation Joe Biden as the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PELOSI: Is there a second?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

PELOSI: All those in favor to suspend the rules and nominate Joe Biden by acclamation, please say, aye.

AUDIENCE: Aye.

PELOSI: Opposed no.

The ayes have it. Joe Biden has been selected by nomination...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PELOSI: ... to be the Democratic nominee for the United States of America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PELOSI: Pursuant to Rule C-11 of the convention's rules of procedure, Senator Biden has been invited to make an acceptance speech.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PELOSI: I have been asked to inform you that Senator Biden has accepted the nomination.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: My dad used to have an expression. You don't measure success on whether or not you have been knocked down. It's how quickly you get back up, because everybody gets knocked down. The measure is getting back up. That's the story of this country. It has never failed to get back up.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe is the salt of the earth. He's somebody who hasn't forgotten the people in those communities where he grew up.

JOSEPH BIDEN: People in my neighborhood don't like the phrase working-class. The guys I grew up with, their mothers mostly didn't work back in those days, and their fathers didn't go to college, but they were proud. And, if you asked them what they were, they were middle-class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad tells it like it is. From the time he was a kid in Scranton who people made fun of because he stuttered, to a young man who gets elected to the United States Senate when he was 29 years old, starts a campaign no one thought they could win. JOSEPH BIDEN: The thing that I'm proudest of is the fact that the people in the state of Delaware have elected me six times in a row because I think they believe I haven't lost their voice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad experienced great triumph, along with my family, but also great tragedy. Losing my mom and my sister in an automobile accident, and my brother and I survived. What my dad did then was, he came to my bedside and my brother's. And he's never left it.

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN: When Joe was just elected, he made the commitment to take the train every single day to be home with the children. And, no matter where he is or what he's doing, if one of the children call, he stops and takes the call.

JOSEPH BIDEN: I had four children. I lost one. But I have three lovely children. They're each other's best friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a wonderful father. He's an exceptional grandfather. And that's really what it's about for him.

OBAMA: There are very few people who have the depth of experience of Joe Biden, not only as the head of the Judiciary Committee, as the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he's also been at the forefront on critical legislation.

JOSEPH BIDEN: The things I'm most proud of, of my career are writing and passing the Violence Against Women Act. We brought down violent crime with the crime bill that I drafted.

OBAMA: Joe has unequaled foreign policy credentials. He's consulted with presidents, has personal relationships with many world leaders. He's somebody who, on the Iraq war, was willing to speak out when he saw that the Bush administration wasn't using that authority properly.

JOSEPH BIDEN: When you see the abuse of power, you have got to speak, whether it's a parent slapping around a child or a president taking a nation to war that cost lives that was not a necessary war. That's abuse of power.

JILL BIDEN: Joe is truly a leader. And I think he has such strength of character. I think people know that they can believe in him. They know that he wants change. And I think they know that the country will change with Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

OBAMA: The most important thing that -- that Joe offers is his honesty. And I can't imagine a more effective advocate in the vice presidency to bring about the changes that we need here in America.

JOSEPH BIDEN: The middle class of this country has never been as unsure of their future, and we have never been as isolated. And, if we don't change that in the next four years, we're locked in for a decade. And Barack Obama has been very explicit about how he's going to level the playing field for the firemen and the cops and the linemen and the salespersons and the nurses to improve their circumstance, so their next generation is better off than they were.

I think Barack and I will work as a team great. I can hardly wait to help him turn this country around.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Delaware Attorney General Captain Beau Biden.

BEAU BIDEN, DELAWARE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good evening.

I'm Beau Biden. And Joe Biden is my dad.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: Many of you know him as a distinguished and accomplished senator. I know him as an incredible father and a loving grandfather, a man who hustled home to Delaware after the last vote, so he wouldn't miss me and my brother's games, who, after returning from some war-torn region of the world, would tiptoe literally into our rooms and kiss us good night, who turns down some fancy cocktail party in Washington, so he won't miss my daughter Natalie's birthday.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: The truth is, he almost wasn't a senator at all.

In 1972, shortly after his improbable victory, but before he took the oath of office, my father went to Washington to look at his new office space. My mom took us to go buy a Christmas tree. On the way home, we were in an automobile accident.

My mom, Neilia, and my sister, Naomi, were killed. My brother, Hunter, and I were seriously injured and hospitalized for weeks. I was just short of 4 years old. One of my earliest memories was being in that hospital, my dad always at our side.

We, my brother and I, not the Senate, were all that he cared about. He decided not to take the oath of office. He said then, Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can't get another father.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: However -- however, great men -- great men, like Ted Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, Hubert Humphrey, men who have been tested in their own right...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: convinced him to share -- to serve. He was sworn in, in the hospital at my bedside.

As a single parent, he decided to be there, to put us to bed when we -- to be there when we woke up from a bad dream, to make us breakfast. So, he traveled to and from Washington four hours a day.

Five years later, we, my brother, dad and I, married my mom, Jill.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: And they, together, rebuilt our family. And, 36 years later, he still makes that trip.

So, even though dad worked in Washington, he's never been part of Washington. He always sounded like the kid from Scranton, Pennsylvania, that he is. And even that is a story of overcoming.

Now, some people poke fun at my dad talking too much.

(LAUGHTER)

B. BIDEN: What a lot of people don't know, though, is that, when he was a young man -- young boy, he had a severe stutter. The kids called him "Dash," not because he was fast on the football field, which he was, but like a dash at the end of a sentence you can't finish.

But now he speaks with a clear -- a clear and strong voice.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: He says -- he says -- he says what needs to be said and he does what needs to be done.

When domestic violence was often a dark secret, dad wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which gave countless women...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: ... which gave countless women the protection -- and support and protection and a new chance at life.

When crime was spiking in our communities, dad wrote the crime bill that put 100,000 cops on our streets, and led...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: ... to an eight-year drop in the crime across America.

And when Serbian thugs were committing genocide in the Balkans, dad didn't hesitate to call Slobodan Milosevic a war criminal to his face...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: ... and to convince Congress and our allies to act.

He's willing to speak truth to power, to the White House, and to world leaders.

I know my father will be a great vice president.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: As I mentioned, my dad has always been there for me, my brother, and my sister every day. But, because of other duties, it won't be possible for me to be here this fall to stand by him, the way he stood by me.

So, I have something to ask of you. Be there for my dad, like he was for me.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: Be there for Barack Obama, because our country needs him.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. BIDEN: Be there for both of them, because millions of families need to know that their best days aren't behind them, but are ahead of them.

Be there for both of them, because millions of people are trying to overcome, just like my dad overcame. Be there. Be there, because Barack Obama and Joe Biden will deliver America the change we so desperately need.

Please join me in welcoming my friend, my father, my hero, the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(MUSIC)

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE) Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. Thank you, thank you. Thanks. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

You know, folks, my dad used to have an expression. He'd say, "A father knows he's a success when he turns and looks at his son or daughter and know that they turned out better than he did." I'm a success; I'm a hell of a success.

(APPLAUSE)

Beau, I love you. I'm so proud of you. I'm so proud of the son you've become; I'm so proud of the father you are.

And I'm also so proud of my son, Hunter, and my daughter, Ashley. And my wife, Jill, the only one who leaves me both breathless and speechless at the same time.

(APPLAUSE)

It's an honor to share the stage tonight with President Clinton, a man who I think brought this country so far along that I only pray we do it again.

(APPLAUSE)

And last night -- and last night, it was moving to watch Hillary, one of our great leaders, a great leader of this party, a woman who has made history and will continue to make history...

(APPLAUSE)

... a colleague, my friend, Senator Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

And I am truly honored -- I am truly honored to live in a country with the bravest warriors in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

And I'm honored to represent the first state, my state, the state of Delaware.

(APPLAUSE)

Since I've never been called a man of few words, let me say this simply as I can: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve with Barack Obama, the next president of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE) Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring the pledge to uphold the law and honor the Constitution, no longer will you hear the eight most-dreaded words in the English language, "The vice president's office is on the phone."

(LAUGHTER)

Barack and I took very different journeys to this destination, but we share a common story. Mine began in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then Wilmington, Delaware.

My dad -- my dad, who fell on hard times, always told me, though, "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up." I was taught -- I was taught that by my dad. And, God, I wish my dad was here tonight.

But I thank God and I'm grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden is here tonight.

Mom, I love you.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, my mom taught her children -- all the children who flocked to our house -- that you're defined by your sense of honor and you're redeemed by your loyalty. She believes that bravery lives in every heart, and her expectation is that it will be summoned. Failure -- failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.

As a child -- as a child, I stuttered, and she lovingly would look at me and tell me, "Joey, it's because you're so bright you can't get the thoughts out quickly enough."

(LAUGHTER)

When I was not as well-dressed as the other kids, she'd look at me and say, "Joey, oh, you're so handsome, honey, you're so handsome."

(LAUGHTER)

And when I got -- when I got knocked down by guys bigger than me -- and this is the God's truth -- she sent me back out and said, "Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day." And that's what I did.

(APPLAUSE)

You know -- and after the accident, she told me, she said, "Joey, God sends no cross that you cannot bear." And when I triumphed, my mother was quick to remind me it was because of others.

My mother's creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you.

(APPLAUSE)

My parents taught us...

(APPLAUSE)

My parents taught us to live our faith and to treasure our families. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough. That was America's promise.

And for those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American dream.

Ladies and gentlemen, but today, today that American dream feels like it's slowly slipping away. I don't have to tell you that. You feel it every single day in your own lives. I've never seen a time when Washington has watched so many people get knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up.

(APPLAUSE) Almost every single night -- almost every single night, I take the train home to Wilmington, Delaware, sometimes very late. As I sit there in my seat and I look out that window, I see those flickering lights of the homes that pass by, I can almost hear the conversation they're having at their kitchen tables after they put their kids to bed.

Like millions of Americans, they're asking questions as -- as ordinary as they are profound, questions they never, ever thought they'd have to ask themselves.

Should Mom move in with us now that -- now that Dad's gone? Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars just to fill up the gas tank, how in God's name, with winter coming, how are we going to heat the home? Another year, no raise. Did you hear -- did you hear they may be cutting our health care at the company?

Now -- now we owe more money on our home than our home is worth. How in God's name are we going to send the kids to college? How are we going to retire, Joe?

You know, folks, that's the America that George Bush has left us. And that's the America we'll continue to get if George -- excuse me, if John McCain is elected president of the United States of America. Freudian slip. Freudian slip.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

And, folks, these are not isolated discussions among families down on their luck. These are common stories among middle-class people who worked hard their whole life, played by the rules, on the promise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays. That promise is the promise of America. It defines who we are as a people. And now -- and now it's in jeopardy. I know it. You know it.

BIDEN: But John McCain doesn't seem to get it. Barack Obama gets it, though. Like many of us in this room...

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... like many of us in this hall, Barack Obama has worked his way up. He is the great American story, you know?

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I believe the measure of a man is not the road he travels, but the choices he makes along that road.

And, ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama could have done anything after he graduated from college. With all his talent and promise, he could have written his own ticket to Wall Street. But what did he choose to do? He chose to go to Chicago, the South Side of Chicago. There, there, in the South Side, he met women and men who had lost their jobs. Their neighborhood was devastated when the local steel plant closed. Their dreams had to be deferred; their self-esteem was gone. And, ladies and gentlemen, he made their lives the work of his life.

That's what you do when you're raised by a single mom who worked, went to school, and raised two kids on her own. That's how you come to believe to the very core of your being that work is more than a paycheck. It's dignity. It's respect.

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It's about whether or not you can look your child in the eye and say, "We're going to be all right."

Because Barack Obama -- because Barack Obama made that choice, 150 more children and parents have health care in Illinois. He fought to make that happen.

And because Barack Obama made that choice, working families in Illinois pay less taxes and more people have moved from welfare to the dignity of work. And he got it done.

And when he came to Washington, when he came to Washington, John and I watched with amazement how he hit the ground running, leading the fight to pass the most sweeping ethics reform in a generation.

He reached across party lines to pass a law that helped keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

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And then he moved Congress and the president to give our wonderful wounded warriors the care and dignity they deserve.

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You know, you can learn a lot about a man campaigning with him, debating him, seeing how he reacts under pressure. You learn about the strength of his mind. But even more importantly, you learn about the quality of his heart.

I watched how Barack touched people, how he inspired them. And I realized he had tapped into the oldest belief in America: We don't have to accept the situation we cannot bear; we have the power to change it.

And change it -- and changing it is exactly what Barack Obama will do. That's what he'll do for this country.

You know, John McCain is my friend. And I know you hear that phrase used all the time in politics. I mean it. John McCain is my friend.

We've traveled the world together. It's a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism demonstrated by John still amazes me.

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But I profoundly -- I profoundly disagree with the direction John wants to take this country, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Amtrak to veterans.

You know, John thinks -- John thinks that, during the Bush years, quote, "We've made great economic progress." I think it's been abysmal. And in the Senate, John has voted with President Bush 95 percent. And that is very hard to believe.

And when John McCain proposes $200 million in new taxes for corporate America, $1 billion alone for the largest companies in the nation -- but no, none, no relief for 100 million American families, that's not change. That's more of the same.

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Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history, nearly $500 billion in the last five years, John wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. That's not change. That's the same.

And during the same time, John voted again and again against renewable energy, solar, wind, biofuels. That's not change. That's more of the same. Millions of Americans have seen their jobs go off-shore, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That's not change. That's more of the same.

He voted 19 times against the minimum wage for people who are struggling just to make it to the next day. That's not change. That's more of the same.

And when he says he'll continue to spend $10 billion a month, when the Iraqis have a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that's not change. That's more of the same.

The choice in the election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier. They require a wise leader. A leader who can change, change -- the change that everybody knows we need.

Barack Obama's going to deliver that change, because, I want to tell you, Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He will cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. That's the change we need.

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Barack Obama -- Barack Obama will transform the economy by making alternative energy a national priority and in the process creating 5 million new jobs and finally, finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. That's the change we need.

(APPLAUSE) Barack Obama knows that any country that out-teaches us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That's why he'll invest in the next generation of teachers and why he'll make college more affordable. That's the change we need.

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Barack Obama -- Barack Obama will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the average family and, at long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care for every American.

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That's the change we need.

Barack will put more cops on the street, put security back in Social Security, and he'll never, ever, ever give up until we achieve equal pay for women.

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That's the change we need.

And as we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than it has been at any time in recent history. The Bush foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole, with very few friends to help us climb out.

And for the last seven years, the administration has failed to face the biggest -- the biggest forces shaping this century: the emergence of Russia, China, and India as great powers; the spread of lethal weapons; the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water; the challenge of climate change; and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front in the war on terror.

Ladies and gentlemen, in recent years and in recent days, we've once again seen the consequences of the neglect -- of this neglect with Russia challenging the very freedom of a new democratic country of Georgia. Barack and I will end that neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we will help the people of Georgia rebuild.

I've been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms: This administration's policy has been an abysmal failure.

America cannot afford four more years of this failure. And now, now, despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack Obama -- Barack Obama is not ready to protect our national security.

Now, let me ask you this: Whose judgment do you trust?

Should you trust the judgment of John McCain, when he said only three years ago, "Afghanistan, we don't read about it anymore in papers because it succeeded"?

Or should you believe Barack Obama who said a year ago, "We need to send two more combat battalions to Afghanistan"?

The fact of the matter is, Al Qaida and the Taliban, the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, they've regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan and they are plotting new attacks. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack's call for more troops.

John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right.

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Should we trust John McCain's judgment when he rejected -- when he rejected talking with Iran and then asked, "What is there to talk about?" Or Barack Obama, who said, "We must talk and make clear to Iran that it must change"?

Now, after seven years of denial, even the Bush administration recognizes that we should talk to Iran because that's the best way to ensure our security.

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Again and again, John McCain has been wrong, and Barack Obama is right.

Should we trust John McCain's judgment when he says -- when he says we can't have no timelines to draw down our troops from Iraq, that we must stay indefinitely? Or should we listen to Barack Obama, who says shift the responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our combat troops home?

Now, after six long years, the administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home. John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right.

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Again -- again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama has been proven right.

Folks, remember when the world used to trust us, when they looked to us for leadership? With Barack Obama as our president, they'll look at us again, they'll trust us again, and we'll be able to lead again.

Folks, Jill and I are truly honored to join Michelle and Barack on this journey. When I look at their young children, when I look at my grandchildren, I know why I'm here.

I'm here for their future. I'm here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington. I'm here for the cops and the firefighters, the teachers and the assembly line workers, the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures.

Our greatest presidents, from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy, they all challenged us to embrace change. Now it is our responsibility to meet that challenge.

Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans together we get back up, back up together.

Our debt -- our debt to our parents and our grandparents is too great. Our obligation to our children is too sacred. These are extraordinary times; this is an extraordinary election.

The American people are ready. I am ready. Barack is ready. This is his time; this is our time; this is America's time.

God bless America, and may God protect our troops. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(MUSIC)

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: And, honey, tonight, we have a very special surprise guest.

JOSEPH BIDEN: Who?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hello, Democrats. I just wanted to come out here for a little -- little something to say. I want everybody to now understand why I am so proud to have Joe Biden and Jill Biden and Beau Biden and Momma Biden and the whole Biden family with me on this journey to take America back.

I think the convention's gone pretty well so far. What do you think? I think Michelle Obama kicked it off pretty well, don't you think? If I'm not mistaken, Hillary Clinton rocked the house last night.

And just in case you were wondering, I think President Bill Clinton reminded us of what it's like when you've got a president who actually puts people first. Thank you, President Clinton.

Now, we are going to be moving to Mile High Stadium tomorrow. And I want to let you know why. At the start of this campaign we had a very simple idea, which is change in America doesn't start from the top up -- or the top down. It starts from the bottom up. That change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.

And so we want to open up this convention to make sure that everybody who wants to come can join in the party and join in the effort to take America back. I think we are going to have a great night tomorrow night. And I look forward to seeing you there. God bless you. God bless America.

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