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Speeches from the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Madeline Albright
Remarks to the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Denver, Colorado
August 27, 2008

For me, this week is a homecoming. Denver is the city that welcomed my family to the United States after we were driven from our native Czechoslovakia, first by Nazi storm troopers and then by communists. Denver is where I grew up believing in the American dream and in a country that, more than any other, is associated with truth, justice and freedom.

In high school, I won the Rocky Mountain Empire Award for reciting, in alphabetical order, the 51 members of the United Nations. Back then, the task was not so hard, but the world now is more fragmented, with more countries, multiple centers of power and many sources of danger. We have learned that American foreign policy is not foreign anymore.

Overseas problems, if unaddressed, inevitably come home to America. They affect the lives of our fighting men and women; the size of our pay checks; the security of our borders; the health of our environment; and the ability of our families to work and play free from the threat of terror.

We cannot afford four more years like the past eight years—policies that embolden our enemies, undermine our economy, and place an unfair burden on the heroes of our armed forces. John McCain asks that we trust Republicans to safeguard our national security. To which we can only reply: why would we?

The Bush-Cheney decision to invade Iraq was an assault advertised as a strike against terror that distracted from the fight against terror, and a blow aimed at extremists that strengthened radicals. Senator McCain says that American troops should remain in Iraq perhaps as long as they have been stationed in Korea and Japan, as if there were no difference in history, religion or culture between our friends in Asia and those in the Middle East.

Senator McCain claims to already know everything a president needs to know, but the first qualification any leader needs to have is the ability to learn. We need a president who is not wedded to 20th century thinking, who can forge a network of power and principle that will keep America strong and safe in the 21st century.

On Inauguration Day, President Barack Obama will speak to the generation now coming of age.

He will summon all to a new era where technology is harnessed to improve people’s lives; where partnerships are forged to address global challenges; where democracy is promoted, not imposed; and where alliances are strengthened to turn back the tides of intolerance and hate.

No president can be expected to solve every problem, but Senator Obama has already shown that he has the toughness and good judgment needed to confront our enemies without alienating friends; to defeat the practitioners of terror without creating more terrorists; and to demonstrate that the American dream still has meaning for people everywhere.

Senator Obama speaks to our hopes, to our belief in ourselves, to the future and to the better angels of our nature. With his superb choice for vice president, Senator Joe Biden, he will keep our country secure while returning it to its rightful place as the world’s most respected champion of law, prosperity and peace.

This year’s election is among the most critical in our nation’s history. We cannot afford once again to make the wrong choice or to be taken in by the politics of fear. With our help, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will win in November, and so will America. Barack Obama will work hard every day as our president. So let us work hard every day to see that he has that chance.

Thank you very much, and God bless.



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