updated 8/29/2008 3:06:36 PM ET 2008-08-29T19:06:36

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D) GEORGIA: As a participant in the civil rights movement, I can tell you that the road to victory will not be easy.  Some of us were beaten, arrested, taken to jail, and some of us were even killed trying to register to vote. 

But with the nomination Senator Barack Obama tonight, the man who will lead the Democratic Party in his march toward the White House, we are making a down payment on the fulfillment of that dream.  We proved that our dream still burns in the heart of every American, that this dream was too right, it was too necessary, it was too noble to ever die. 

But I must tell you, this night is not a beginning.  It is not even the end.  It is a continuation of a struggle that began centuries ago in Lexington and Concord, in Gettysburg and Appomattox, in Farmville, Virginia, and Topeka, Kansas, in Philadelphia, Mississippi and in Selma, Alabama. 

Democracy is not a state, it is an act, it is a series of actions we must take to be what Dr. Martin Luther King called a beloved community, a society based on simple justice that values the dignity and the worth of every human being. 

Yes, we have come a long way, but we still have a distance to go.  We have come a long way, but we must march again, on November 4th, we march in every state, in every city, in every village, in every hamlet, we must march to the ballot box, we must march like we never have marched before to elect the next president of the United States, Senator Barack Obama. 

We can do it, we must do it.  But those of us who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or who, in the years that followed, may have also.  This movement, this moment is a testament to the power and the vision of Martin Luther King Jr., it is a testament to the ability of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. 

It is a testament to the promise of America, so tonight we are here to put together a tribute to the man and his message.  Let us take a moment to reflect on the dream and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on this, the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., SLAIN CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER:  I have a dream, it is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.  I have a dream that the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. 

I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  I have a dream today. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  “I Have a Dream” became the mantra for change in America.  An even stronger call to action was issued that day in a movement that had already taken the nation by storm. 

KING:  We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plain of dignity and discipline.  We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Rosa Park‘s simple act of defiance drew Martin Luther King Jr. into his life‘s work. 

KING:  You see, it doesn‘t take much courage to be violent, it doesn‘t take much courage or strength to be violent.  It is ultimately the strong man who can be nonviolent, it is the courageous man who can be nonviolent. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  King‘s philosophy, inspired by Gandhi, and his Christian faith, was the fountain for his leadership. 

KING:  We shall overcome, before the victory is won, some of us will have to get scarred up a bit, but we shall overcome. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Imprisonment and threats to his family and life sometimes forced him to question the journey. 

KING:  I do not know how long it will be, nor what the future holds for me.  But this I know, if Jesus leads me, I shall get home someday. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He was a unifying force bringing people together from all walks of life for a common cause, equal rights for all. 

KING:  How long?  Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.  How long?  Not long. 

We as a people will get to the Promised Land.  So I‘m happy tonight, I‘m not worried about anything, I‘m not fearing any man.  Mine eyes have teen the glory of the coming of the lord!  Glory hallelujah!  Glory hallelujah! 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING:  We will be able to speed up that day for all of God‘s children will be able to join hands and sing, free at last!  Free at last!  Thank God almighty, we are free at last! 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Please welcome Reverend Bernice King, daughter of Coretta Scott King and.

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  In 1961, Elston Gene Howard had already played in five baseball World Series and as many All-Star Games, and within two years, would be the most valuable player in the American League.  But during the spring training season, Elston Howard could not stay in the same hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida, as his teammates with the New York Yankees because he was black. 

In 1961, 1961.  Around August of that year, the team announced it would be moving its training camp to Fort Lauderdale to, in large part, escape the racism and the legal segregation of St. Petersburg.  August 1961, the month Barack Obama was born.  Forty-seven Augusts later, welcome to history. 

Denver, Colorado, with Ann Curry reporting from the podium, and Andrea Mitchell, Savannah Guthrie, political director Chuck Todd, and chief White House correspondent David Gregory at Invesco Field. 

With NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw, the anchor of “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS” Brian Williams, and Joe Scarborough, Norah O‘Donnell and the panel: Pat Buchanan; Rachel Maddow; Eugene Robinson; and Michelle Bernard.  Howard Fineman, and Richard Wolffe of Newsweek at the campaign “Listening Post,” and youth issues correspondent Luke Russert. 

Among our guests, governors Deval Patrick, Tim Kaine, and Janet Napolitano, Congressman John Lewis, Elijah Cummings, and Chaka Fatah, and Mayor Richard Daley.   The address by Al Gore. 

And covering another speech in a manner not forecast today in Gary Trudeau‘s “Doonesbury.” Chris says.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  “There it is again, Keith, that thrill going up my leg!” 

OLBERMANN:  And I say: “Well, as Obama approaches the podium, it‘s probably going up 75,000 legs, Chris, wait a minute, what the heck is that?” 

And Chris says.

MATTHEWS:  “It‘s a sky diver, Keith, looks like he‘s going to land right in the middle of a field.” 

OLBERMANN:  And Boopsie says: “My gosh.”

And I say: “It‘s—it‘s Bill Clinton, Chris!”

And Boopsie says: “Oh, no ignore him, Barack!” 

And Zonker says: “How?”

This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Democratic Convention and the unprecedented presidential nomination acceptance speech by Barack Obama. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Let me say this as 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! 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening and welcome. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the final day of the Democratic Convention, and more importantly, the final night.  Live from Denver, alongside Chris Matthews, I‘m Keith Olbermann. 

Well, here we are. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, and it‘s great to be an icon on the way to an iconic night.  It is an iconic night in history.  We‘ll all remember this night as long as we live.  This is the night that the first Western government, the first Western political power or party has nominated an African-American, someone of African heritage to lead the country. 

It‘s something that took look a long time to happen, almost like an old Polaroid film developing, but here it is, it happened officially last night.  And tonight, it is crowned, this achievement.  And it‘s going to happen in a football field. 

OLBERMANN:  And it happens as suddenly in some respects as the Soviet Union crumbled or Apartheid was beaten in South Africa, these seemingly invincible hurdles that could never be overcome, and within a short period in our historical time span, suddenly they‘re gone and we—almost nobody saw it coming, certainly no one at all saw it coming more than four years ago. 

MATTHEWS:  And as Joe Biden said last night, and I think many of us were brought up by our mothers and fathers to believe the way things are is not the way they have to be.  That‘s an American creed for everyone, I think especially for African-Americans and in this campaign certainly for women and their aspirations. 

That things are not the way we want them to be now, and we want them to change and they do change, they are changing and it happens.  It‘s happening tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  And just as importantly, so many times in the past, it has seemed to change for all minority groups or otherwise put-upon groups this in country, women, all minorities individually and collectively.  There have been tantalizing promises that things would change and nothing ultimately ever did.

And now concrete change as epochal as suffrage, as epochal as the end of slavery.  It‘s not as influencing as many different people, but it is as real to many different people.  That‘s an acceptable.

MATTHEWS:  Well, we know from growing up and from life that elections matter.  It mattered that George Bush won the presidency the way he did in 2001.  It matters that this is election is an open situation that we don‘t know who‘s going to win.  And it will matter who wins this November. 

There will be a different course taken for better or worse in either case.  And anyone who sits home and acts the part of the idiot in the Greek sense by not voting, and that is the idiot who doesn‘t vote, and says it doesn‘t matter is truly proving that point because there‘s no way to say this time around, as the great forgettable George Wallace once said, there‘s not a dime‘s worth of difference. 

This year there is, quite a bit of difference between the two candidates and we‘re going to see it as these as two conventions play out, as the debates play out, I hope the American people are left with a very crystalline notion of the choice confronting them and the stakes. 

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Let‘s set up our evening, the final evening, the climax of this Democratic National Convention with our senior White House correspondent, the host of “RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE,” an ever more important an apt name for a television show, David Gregory, before he heads out to Invesco Field.

All right.  Give me a sense of this night. 

DAVID GREGORY, NBC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  I have spoken recently, just in the last couple of minutes with somebody who is with Barack Obama, who describes him as being at ease and prepared for the speech, as you could predict that he might be.  But this person told me that tonight Barack Obama will speak from the heart, but will speak in concrete terms about the future. 

And what I think is important about that is that few would doubt that he‘s going to deliver tonight.  He‘s going to seize the moment and the historic nature of today.  But this speech has to be about tomorrow. 

OLBERMANN:  Right. 

GREGORY:  Because people have to leave this convention and voters who are watching all of this have to have a sense of this contrast.  One of the speeches that didn‘t get a great deal of attention because it was considered to be a little bit more workmanlike and a little bit underwhelming was Governor Mark Warner. 

But he framed this contest.  This is an election, in Barack Obama‘s view, that is about the past versus the future.  He represents change.  This is what we‘re talking about.  He‘s an African-American man who is getting the Democratic nomination to the presidency.  He represents that change, that‘s a piece of it. 

OLBERMANN:  Right.

GREGORY:  But the contrast with McCain on foreign policy, on domestic policy, on tone, civility, bipartisanship in Washington, he has got to leave this campaign, this convention, leaving people with an unmistakable sense of the choice in this campaign.  That‘s what the goal is tonight.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, it—obviously there is change represented by the fact that he will look different in the official portraits than all of the other portraits on that wall if he is elected.  But that‘s not enough. 

One of the points of achieving this for everyone who has waited for a moment like this in American politics is that it‘s not enough to be an African-American candidate, you have to be the better choice and that he obviously has to make clear and as specific as possible. 

Does he also have to at least throw a gauntlet down towards John McCain, if not to use the word of—Pat Buchanan‘s word of the week, “gut” him tonight? 

GREGORY:  I think he does.  I think if you look at this week, it‘s about putting it all together tonight.  Who is Barack Obama?  Do you have a sense of him?  Are you comfortable with him?  Do you get the idea that he‘s like you?  That was the goal. 

How about defining John McCain as being out of touch?  A guy who doesn‘t have the sense or appreciation of what‘s happening in the country economically to lead us out of economic hard times, that‘s the goal tonight. 

What about the debate about wisdom, judgment versus experience?  It‘s about defining John McCain in such a way where you say if this is about the future, who builds that bridge to the 21st Century, that‘s what Bill Clinton said in 1986.  Do you see John doing that?  Is he in step with what America needs to do there?  Or is it Barack Obama?

So I think the gutting part, I think you may want to be diplomatic about it, but he has got to be very tough on that contrast, it‘s a major goal.  And I think the concreteness—this adviser I spoke to in the last few minutes, the concreteness of what an Obama presidency means has to come through loud and clear tonight. 

People have to look at him on this stage tonight and begin to see him inching up that presidential scale. 

OLBERMANN:  We‘ll see.  And we‘ll see soon enough.  And you have to go out there now, so get lost. 

GREGORY:  OK.  All right.

OLBERMANN:  David Gregory, thank you. 

When we return, as he goes to Mile High Stadium, Invesco Field, and Andrea Mitchell reporting from the scene, will join us electronically.  You are watching MSNBC‘s live coverage of the dramatic fourth and final night of the Democratic National presidential nominating Convention.   

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The scene at Invesco Field, Denver, in the hours before

the Obama acceptance speech, we rejoin from Denver on this final night of

the Democratic National Convention.  Andrea Mitchell is among the tens of

thousands at Mile High Stadium in Denver, also known by the corporate name

Invesco Field with more on what we‘re expecting from Senator Obama tonight

Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, in the middle of 75,000 people, eventually, the main point of coming here was to organize, to organize volunteers, to recruit volunteers.  They actually even gave people lessons.  I just got a text message from the campaign saying, this is the final night of the convention, don‘t miss Barack Obama‘s speech, to get involved locally, reply “VOL” plus your first name and your town and then how to volunteer. 

So they have basically told people how to go to phone banks, how to volunteer.  You can hear a lot of audio interference here already.  I don‘t know if you can hear me clearly, but people have been moved over here and this is a massive recruitment effort with them trying to get people to sign up.

The tickets for tonight, Keith, you got a free ticket if you agreed to do six hours of volunteering.  This all, by the way, while we‘re waiting on the eve of John McCain‘s big announcement of who his running mate is going to be.  And there are more and more signs tonight, I‘m told, by Republicans in Minnesota that it could in fact be Tim Pawlenty. 

We don‘t know this hard yet.  But Tim Pawlenty scheduler has canceled his schedule, his family has gone sort of gone underground.  And friends in Minnesota think that he has been tapped—Keith.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Obviously a postscript to tonight‘s event, and anything but the main event.  But let me ask you, Andrea, about the crowd and the assumption here, and it‘s always a dangerous assumption in politics, that you have properly papered the house, that the place is actually going to be full.  Are we absolutely certain there‘s no chance that there are empty seats coming into this thing? 

MITCHELL:  Well, you can never be certain.  But they are pretty good at the organizing.  And they say that by the time these speeches happen, remember, it‘s two ours earlier here than back on the East Coast.  So we‘re not yet building towards prime time. 

But they believe that these tickets have been really hard to get.  Obviously they‘re trying to raise expectations for the deal.  But they have been here all day.  And their main goal, Keith, is to have between 35,000 and 45,000 Colorado residents who have asked for tickets and another 10,000 from adjacent Western states. 

They say that that is creating a base of organization in a key state and that because of tonight they could have 35,000 to 45,000 new volunteers, a built in organization with, you know, getting their cell phones, getting their e-mails. 

At that stage they have a ready made organization in Colorado.  If they win Colorado, they think that they have a really good shot at winning the White House in a close race—Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Given that the latest polling number, Andrea, 47 McCain, 46 Obama in Colorado, it could.

MITCHELL:  Right.

OLBERMANN:  . as that number would suggest to everybody, not be closer. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s check in right now with NBC News political director, Chuck Todd.

Chuck, let‘s really get into this, let‘s try to really educate ourselves and the people watching.  It seems to me that this is immensely Machiavellian.  What you do is you get a state like Colorado to get some skin in the game, to have people invested by coming out here tonight, by setting up a ground game that produces this turn out, put together this ability to turn the crowd out, which is so unique to Barack Obama‘s campaign. 

The ability to have a field organization in caucus states, to have a field organization in the upcoming general election battleground states.  Talk about this place tonight. 

CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, that‘s interesting.  Look, it‘s a gamble.  When you—the problem was, they couldn‘t just give another speech in an arena.  They have done that.  They have done that plenty of times.  They did it on June 3rd, if you recall, in St. Paul at the Excel Center, the place where John McCain will be accepting the Republican nomination one week from tonight. 

So they needed to do something bigger because I think they needed to draw more attention to the speech itself.  That‘s the irony to this.  A lot of people have criticized them and saying, hey, you‘re raising the stakes too high, the expectation bar is too high, you‘ll surpass it, you‘ll never be able to give a speech that somehow makes 75,000 people both motivated, excited, oh, and by the way, make it substantive too. 

I think they had to move it here, they had to make it bigger because they had already done it before.  They had already done these other speeches.  This is new, this makes it bigger.  The McCain people did a very good job at laying the groundwork on this celebrity stuff to try to lighten up this speech a little bit, try to make it seem fluffy, that somehow doing it in a football stadium was wrong, or somehow wasn‘t serious enough. 

But look, McCain tomorrow isn‘t exactly picking a small venue to unveil his running mate.  He‘s picking a venue that seats some 10,000.  So this is a case where the McCain people are playing with the cards that they have.  They can‘t get 75,000 people so they want to try to turn it into a negative. 

It‘s up to Obama tonight to not only deliver soaring rhetoric, he has also got to fill in the blanks and put some serious policy proposals, a little more substantive probably than your average acceptance speech, which usually is allowed to be a little fluffy. 

OLBERMANN:  Do we think, Chuck, that they went back and looked at the speech that I guess in the largest venue he has given a speech would have been that one in Houston.  He had about 20,000 people, if I‘m forgetting something, correct me on this, but it seemed to drag a little bit.  It seemed—he seemed in the middle to have lost that crowd. 

Have they looked back at that and just in terms of the rhetorical qualities of this, has he done a lot of analysis of himself in the third person for events like this, for a speech in this kind of setting? 

TODD:  Well, it‘s interesting, they really are looking at other acceptance speeches and look the most successful one recent on the Democratic side is Al Gore‘s in 2000.  And I remember, I was inside the arena watching it there, a lot of commentators were inside the arena.  Nobody liked it.  People that watched it on television loved it. 

He got a huge bump out of it and the trick that he did was ride the applause, talk over the applause, don‘t let the applause stop you in your rhetoric.  And that‘s what could happen sometimes in that Houston speech you‘re talking about. 

I think he had more people in Portland, Oregon by the way.  For some reason that—I think he got 75,000, 80,000 people.  Of course, we all know how many he got at the Berlin speech. 

OLBERMANN:  You‘re right.  You‘re absolutely right.

TODD:  But you do need to ride the wave, that is the trick here.  And this has to be made for television.  His speaking style has to be made for television.  He can‘t let these 75,000 people get in the way.  It may be a beautiful setting, but he can‘t let it get in the way or it could drag the way you describe. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, we‘re watching, in addition to a great rally for a speech tonight, is probably the largest get out the vote meeting in the history of world politics because that‘s what it is. 

A ground game being commenced tonight in the state of Colorado, which as Keith points out, is now within 1 point in terms of the voting right now.  Let‘s take a look—anyway, thank you very much, Chuck Todd.

Still ahead, we‘ve got MSNBC‘s Joe Scarborough, plus Norah O‘Donnell, and of course, our illustrious panel which is always exciting, and our coverage, of course, of the fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention continues after this.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic National Convention from Denver. 

OLBERMANN:  Now out to Savannah Guthrie on the field at Mile High Stadium for a look literally a look at the lay of the land, where everybody is and where everybody will be at the big event.  Savannah?

GUTHRIE:  Hey, Keith.  Well I‘m actually backstage a little bit.  You can see the band is queuing up here, Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas and John Legend are about to perform with the Agape Choir.  And as big as this venue is, in a way it‘s kind of infinite for the delegates.  If you look over here, you‘ll see this is VIP seating.  First you see the podium up there.  And then right here below it you‘ll see VIP seating.  This is where Michelle Obama‘s going to sit, where the Bidens will sit and other Democratic dignitaries. 

And then just to give you a sense of the scale of this thing.  Right here is where the delegates sit.  We‘re in Vermont‘s section right here.  They have got a prime seat tonight.  And when if you go up, you get to see what a huge venue this is -- 75,000 people can pack this stadium.  You‘ll notice though and I know you asked this earlier Keith, there are a few empty seats right now but it‘s early yet.  And then you see this large screen up there and already the Obama campaign making the most of this opportunity telling folks to send text messages to the DNC, to the Obama campaign. 

So this is a working night for the DNC and this it‘s obviously a night that delegates are very excited about.  They‘re already dancing in the aisles.  So it‘s sure to be quite a unique night, a history making night here.

OLBERMANN:  To be fair, I think Savannah if this were a ball game, there wouldn‘t be that many people in the seats two and a half hours before the first pitch.  But I think they‘re doing pretty good.  I‘m just wondering, did you get a chance at any point in the afternoon to go take a look at what this looks like from the cheap seats?

GUTHRIE:  Oh, I‘m so out of shape, I‘m not sure I could climb all those stairs.  But there are actually are a lot of - and let me actually let just go - let you see - here‘s Will.i.am and the Agape Choir. 

(MUSICAL PERFORMANCE)

OLBERMANN:  Well, Will.i.am and John Legend performing.  We thought we had a little more out of Savannah Guthrie but evidently not at Invesco Field.  And this is the one perhaps danger in this morning than anything else, I mean that danger in a political sense, you‘ve got to keep these people entertained for two hours and 20 minutes. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re joined right now to help entertain you, Joe Scarborough joins us from “MORNING JOE.”  Joe, thanks for joining us. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Thank you so much, Chris.  I just got off the phone with Barack Obama‘s top advisors.  They told me what he‘s been doing today and what he‘s going to do tonight.  But before I go there, I just have to say that I am looking up at Mile High Stadium, this really is a remarkable political event.  I can‘t think of any political rally since John Kennedy went to the coliseum in 1960, before I was born—that could come close to rivaling what I am seeing here.

And as you and Keith have both been pointing out, the fact that this is in a critical swing state, that the Obama camp learned the lessons of Howard Dean in 2003 and 2004, that they‘ve got to organize after they energize. 

I tell you what, they are hitting a home run tonight here.  This is a remarkable event and of course the people are still filing in.  The lines are going half a mile away at least. 

Now let me tell you what the Obama camp just told Mika Brzezinski and I 15 minutes ago.  Barack Obama has wisely stayed away from news coverage.  He has been staying cloistered in with his family.  He‘s been making last-minute changes to his speech that he‘s going to make tonight.  And Obama‘s top advisors say after tonight, none of us will have any questions as to what change means.  They will put the proverbial meat on the bones.  Nobody will say that this is a speech filled with fluff.  It‘s going to be a speech filled with very specific policy descriptions for what they believe is ailing this country.

Also, we also asked him about the McCain‘s campaign advertisement today where John McCain of course and came out and did a light touch congratulating Barack Obama.  They laughed and they said, yeah, great, we wish more of his commercials looked like that.  But dismissed it.  They also were dismissive of Tim Pawlenty, which seems to be the man of the hour at least on the Republican side of the aisle.  Their suggestion is if anybody has ever attacked Barack Obama because of a thin resume, those attacks will be hypocritical after John McCain taps Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota as his number two man. 

So all in all, they‘re very confident, but you‘re exactly right, tonight is about organizing.  It‘s not just about exciting this crowd.  It‘s about moving forward.  They remember, and there are a lot of Kerry veterans of this campaign who remember the big crowds in Wisconsin, the big crowds in California. 

But they remember that they got beat on four years ago by George W.  Bush on the ground.  It was about organization.  It was about exciting the base and Chris and Keith, I have got to tell you again, this is a remarkable political event.  No hyperbole there at all.  I have been to a lot of events, a lot of conventions, a lot of political rallies.  I have seen nothing like this.  These people are every bit as energized as George W. Bush‘s base in 2004. 

Will that make a big difference on a hot August night? Maybe not.  Will it make a huge difference at the end of October, at the beginning of November?  You bet your political life.  Watch for Colorado to swing Obama‘s way if they get their way tonight, Chris?

MATTHEWS:  Well in all fairness, Joe, thanks for joining us, in all fairness, Keith, we have to suspend judgment because it could be that with the possible addition to the ticket of Tim Pawlenty, that John McCain and Tim Pawlenty will be able to draw crowds much larger than the one we‘re watching tonight.  We have to keep open mind about that.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, but if we‘re going to keep that open mind, we also have to report what the “Dayton Daily News” is reporting today, which is that they‘re having trouble filling 10,000 seats tomorrow in the theater in Dayton at which Mr. McCain will be making his announcement and they‘re bussing them in from other cities.  But I‘m keeping an open mind, as you suggest.

MATTHEWS:  You have to do that.  You know, when we had the “HARDBALL” college tour at Villanova, we were able to give and we‘d like to do it again, John McCain the largest audience he‘d ever gotten.  Which I think is something, a role that we can play here at MSNBC to keep the audience sizes relatively even. 

OLBERMANN:  Not saying a thing.

MATTHEWS:  Just kidding.

OLBERMANN:  Luke Russert is with one of the performers we just heard from, Will.i.am at Mile High Stadium, Invesco Field.  Luke?

LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, I‘m here with Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.  Will, you just performed “Yes We Can” at the Democratic National Convention here on Barack Obama‘s night.  How did it feel to be up there in front of all of these people and deliver what is a really important song to you?

WILL.I.AM, SINGER:  I feel overwhelmed.  I care about America and doing my part to inspire people to activate themselves, declare themselves.  These are very serious times we‘re living in and I would bet - it‘s not something that you bet on.  You have to go with your emotions and my emotion is Obama all the way. 

RUSSERT:  Now the McCain camp has attacked Obama as a celebrity and not really a politician.  As a celebrity, how do you feel about that and do you think it‘s a fair attack?

WILL.I.AM:  When there‘s a natural disaster, an earthquake, a hurricane, you call on us and we‘re there to bring awareness and raise money.  This is—I‘m an American.  I live in the United States.  When I traveled around the world, I represent America.  America, not Hollywood.  I‘m not a celebrity today.  I‘m celebrating what Obama has done to America.  There‘s nothing wrong - celebrity is not a bad word.  If he is renowned for how he‘s brought the world together, then we should celebrate that.  Don‘t be jealous because you have not mustered the emotion of America.  To me, that‘s just—it saddens me that they choose when to be patriotic.  But what is wrong with us being patient for our country? It‘s—that‘s what saddens me. 

RUSSERT:  Now the song is a YouTube sensation -- 50 million people have seen it.  Do you feel that the awareness you‘ve created will translate into voters this fall and votes for Barack Obama?

WILL.I.AM:  First in this order, it‘s going to translate into emotion.  And that emotion is going to translate into concern.  And that concern is going to translate to people registering to vote and that‘s going to translate to people to go out and vote.  And then after Obama‘s victorious, they‘re going to stay involved in their communities.  It‘s one thing to vote and then go back with your daily activities.  It‘s one thing to always stay activated.  And I think that‘s what this song has done for the people that it‘s done it to.  It‘s activated people. 

RUSSERT:  Well that is Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.  Keith, back up to you. 

OLBERMANN:  Luke Russert at Invesco Field and our great thanks to both you and Will.i.am., who performed with John Legend earlier.  Up next, as big a legend as John Legend.  Tom Brokaw, plus Norah O‘Donnell and our panel.  You‘re watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic Convention, night number four live in Denver, Colorado.

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OLBERMANN:  Sheryl Crowe and her band performing at Mile High Stadium, Invesco Field.  Sorry to talk over you, Sheryl.  We‘re back from Denver and our live coverage of the Democratic Convention continues. 

Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago is with us now.  Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

MAYOR RICHARD DALEY (D), CHICAGO:  Oh, thank you, I‘m glad to be here.

OLBERMANN:  All right, put this in perspective.  You‘ve known this man for a long time and here he is on the verge of this historic moment.  Is it possible to lose the candidate and the man inside the historic moment?

DALEY:  No, you‘re not going to lose the candidate or the man, Barack Obama has great values.  He‘s had a tough primary and from there, tonight this acceptance speech is going to be remarkable because he‘s rebuilt America from every part of this great country.  And you can see the excitement of people right here at the convention.  Many of them don‘t have tickets.  People are coming to Denver to hear this acceptance speech and from then on, they‘re going to campaign all over this great country. 

OLBERMANN:  Mayor, give me your assessment of what this convention has or has not done for Barack Obama and the Democratic chances.  Statistically, do you have any estimate as to how much further your reach has been after these three, nearly four days?

DALEY:  I think it‘s reached quite significantly.  You take Michelle Obama just telling the story, which is really important, every family should tell the story.  Every family should tell the story about where they came from and how their parents and grandparents and what their children are doing today.  She connected with American families.  And the next night to see Hillary Clinton give an unbelievable speech.  And then from there what they did yesterday with Bill Clinton and also the idea of solidifying the Clinton delegates into this convention, into the campaign, which is very significant.

Of course, Joe Biden just told an American story and tonight be another American story told of great leadership and we could change America quickly. 

MATTHEWS:  Mr. Mayor, take us to November this year, to the general election, if you can.  You‘re a political sage.  Where do you think the fight will end up? What states are going to decide this at midnight on election night?

DALEY:  I think that‘s going to be decided on the economy and it‘s going to be decided on every state in this great country.  They‘re all going to look and wonder where they‘re going it be in the economy.  Is it a recession?  Some people will even think it‘s a depression.  They lost their job, they lost their home, children went to school.  How are they going it get a job when they graduate?  I think America‘s concerned and they want strong leadership and Barack Obama will bring this plan and execute it.  Remind you of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he‘s going to roll up his sleeves and he‘s going to get to work when he‘s sworn in. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, there‘s two states Mayor Daley that you‘re aware of that have elected African-Americans more than once.  Of course Massachusetts with Ed Brooke and Deval Patrick, senator then governor.  Your state, two U.S. senators, African-American, but they are rare experiences in national life.  What‘s the trick for Illinois? Why does it happen there?

DALEY:  Well I think we have an open society, a very diverse community.  City of immigrants and a state of immigrants and what we have, we have a political system that builds everybody in, builds coalition tickets in the primary and general election and people truly work together. 

Barack Obama is very proud of his African-American heritage, but most importantly he‘s proud that he‘s American.  And when he‘s talking to America is experience not only within his family, but what he sees throughout the primary.  How people rush to him and ask him the questions, can you change America around?  I believe, firmly believe that he can do this, he has a leadership quality and he can execute it and bring people together. 

OLBERMANN:  Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago with us here at our MSNBC headquarters.  Thank you Mr. Mayor, thank you for your time.

DALEY:  Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN:  Let‘s turn now to our MSNBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw who is with the governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano.  Tom?

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks, Keith.  And just by chance we‘re all at dinner together just the other night.  Mayor of Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley, Janet Napolitano, Bill Daley, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase.  One of the things we were talking about is that there has been a very successful convention from the standpoint, the idea that the Democratic Party has put itself back together again.  And the back half of the dinner turns to the daunting task ahead.  Financial crisis and wars and energy prices.  How much of all of that should Barack Obama talk about tonight?

GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D), ARIZONA:  Well, he needs to touch on all of this.  He needs to touch on a little bit about who he is and Michelle has already done a beautiful job with that.  He needs to lay out and I think he will, his visit for the country and how he is going to move us there.  I‘ve got to tell you, Barack Obama has given some of the best speeches I‘ve heard in my adult life and far be it from me to give him advice on this one.  I think he‘s going to hit a home run.

BROKAW:  but does it have to be a combination of as we say in politics, prose and poetry?

NAPOLITANO:  I think all good speeches are a combination of prose and poetry and I think we‘ll hear both.  And you know, this convention is just such a wonderful experience building each day, each day a little different and tonight it culminates everybody together.  This wonderful football stadium, everybody ready to go and then to leave this convention, back to all of our various states to work on this election. 

BROKAW:  75,000 people here tonight will be cheering him on.  Just outside the stadium in Colorado and your state of Arizona and other places, a lot of folks are still saying, show me what you‘ve got.  I need to know more about you.  Every poll one after another says John McCain is far more qualified to be commander in chief.  Can he address that?

NAPOLITANO:  Oh yes, I think so.  It‘s such a common perspective for someone who‘s younger, a younger candidate as Barack is.  You know, but here are the criteria.  Somebody who can lead absolutely.  Is he tough?  I think he showed that in the campaign.  Does he have judgment?  He‘s shown that through all the decisions he made before he was a senator and as a senator.  And I think that more and more people hear from him, the more they‘re going to realize he has exactly the qualities of a good commander in chief. 

BROKAW:  As the governor of Arizona, you are very familiar with the growing power of the Hispanic vote in America or the Latino vote, as well and other areas.  What about the Latino vote for Barack Obama?

NAPOLITANO:  I think the Latino vote is going it be for Barack and very strongly so because he‘s got a message that resonates with families, veterans, health care and how we take care of our elders and our children.  What a strong message. 

BROKAW:  Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona.  Democratic governor, second term in a very red state.  I guess she probably would have a hard time carrying it for Barack Obama with a native son.  Well, not a native son, but .

NAPOLITANO:  We‘re going it work for every vote.  We‘re going to give him a hard time. 

BROKAW:  Thanks very much, Janet Napolitano.  Chris and Keith, back to you guys. 

OLBERMANN:  Tom Brokaw at Invesco Field.  Thank you sir.

Coming up in the next hour, we‘ll be hearing the speeches from former vice president Al Gore.  If you want red meat, apparently you may get some of it during the Gore speech and then plus the almost VP, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.  He‘ll speak in the next hour as well.  All part of this build up to the Barack Obama acceptance speech of the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States.  And we will have, now, Sheryl Crow play us out in the waning moments here.

(MUSICAL PERFORMANCE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, CO-HOST:  Boy, was that well-received last night.  Of course, that was Bill Clinton, the former president‘s endorsement.  Boy, it couldn‘t have been more timely of Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination and, of course, for the presidency.

Welcome back to MSNBC‘s coverage of the last big day, historic day of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.  With less than two hours away now from the introduction of Senator Barack Obama and later in this hour, we‘ll be hearing from everyone, from former—and this is going to be a big moment, too—former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore, and Stevie Wonder—a double bill tonight.

I‘m Chris Matthews along with Keith Olbermann.

KEITH OLBERMANN, CO-HOST:  Tim Kaine, the governor of Virginia will speak in about nine minutes and will bring you, at least, some of that—also, Governor Bill Richardson in this hour.

t is a huge football stadium, which may be a little redundant, but if you‘re thinking of small stadium, no, this is among the biggest in the NFL and I suggested before the hour that—Savannah Guthrie who is down there at the stage itself—I asked her what the shot, what the image, whether or not you could see anything resembling a human being from the worst of the seats, from the most distance of the seats.  Savannah Guthrie, being an intrepid correspondent, has now relocated to the cheap seats in my Mile High stadium and we go to her almost a mile high off the ground—

Savannah.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Keith.  I hope my chyron there says the cheap seats, I think I burned 1,000 calories getting here.  But here we are at the top and what a view it is.  There‘s the podium.  We just saw Sheryl Crow.  It‘s a huge stadium, not every seat is filled yet, but there‘s time and people can have a pretty good view from up here.

It‘s a gorgeous night here in Denver and a lot of people have come out here.  Now, these are the folks who aren‘t necessarily the die-hard Democrats who are here, but people who have been interested in the Obama campaign.

Some of them have volunteered to get here, and we find you at the top of the world.  Go ahead and have a seat.  So what made you come out here and sit all the way up here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, but these are the best seats in the house.

GUTHRIE:  Why do you say that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Because we can see everything and take it all in.  We love it.  We‘re having a great time.

GUTHRIE:  But how do you get involved?  Are you a Democrat, are you into Obama?  How did you get a ticket here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m for people and Obama is for.  He cares

about people.  And that‘s why I care about it.  So -

GUTHRIE:  Did you sign up for the text message to find out who the vice president was?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of course I did, yes.

GUTHRIE:  And will you text message your friends, I mean, this is supposed to be an organizing event, are you onboard with that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, I am.  I just texted Nate, although he‘s already here but we‘ve been texting people out there.

GUTHRIE:  And why, what are you hoping to hear from Barack Obama tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just about more of what he‘s going to do for

people and he‘s such an inspirational speaker.  You know, every time he

gets in front of the crowd, anytime he speaks, it‘s amazing what the guy

says.  I mean, he cares so much and it comes from the heart.  It‘s an

emotional thing here.  So -

GUTHRIE:  Be honest, how long did it take you to get in here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Actually, we came so early that it only took us about 45 minutes.  I heard for other people, it took a long time.  But for us, it wasn‘t bad at all.  It took us longer actually probably to get all the way up here to the top.

GUTHRIE:  Yes, I‘m in touch with that feeling.  We did it ourselves.  And here is the view, a beautiful night in Denver.  Folks are able to see the stage down there.  There are big screens so they‘ll see that close-up image of Barack Obama but they‘re here because they feel like they‘re witnessing a little bit of history.

And I have to show you this gorgeous view we have up here of the city of Denver which has hosted this convention.  And now it‘s moved here to Invesco Field for the final night.

So, Keith, you‘ve seen it all now.  The best vantage point here according to our witness.  Back to you.

OLBERMANN:  Savannah, well done and go and have the most unhealthy piece of food you want and charge it to me because I conned you into doing this.  I appreciate it.

MATTHEWS:  What I think is a bird‘s eye, cat bird seat, anyway.

Right now, it‘s time to introduce our panels tonight led by, of course, MSNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent, Norah O‘Donnell, and featuring the heroes, the people, the people of the people—Eugene Robinson of “Washington Post,” MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, MSNBC political analyst Patrick J. Buchanan.

You guys are so popular; you are so beloved by the people and so close to you now.

(LAUGHTER)

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  I was talking to the CEO of Google, that‘s why I came running in, I did not mean to be late here for the dream team panel.

Of course, a big speech coming up of Barack Obama tonight.  We‘ve been talking about it a little here tonight.  And, you know, one of the things we have heard from his advisers that he‘s going to speak from the heart, in concrete terms about the future.

Michelle, how important is it that he leaves no question as to what change means, how specific does he need to be?

MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  This will be the most important speech that he gives this entire election cycle.  We heard it, it started off last night with Joe Biden when he said two words, “America‘s promise,” and I think that‘s what Americans want to hear from Barack Obama tonight.  What is America‘s promise, what is his view of the future, how do we get there?

We need to hear it in concrete terms but we also need to hear from the Barack Obama that the American public has fallen in love with.  People like to hear his message of change but he‘s got to find a good way to mix the two together.

O‘DONNELL:  Pat, one of the things that David Plouffe, Obama‘s

campaign manager, is saying that we‘re underreporting is the enthusiasm

gap.  There are 75,000 people in that stadium tonight.  John McCain -

BUCHANAN:  Underreport an enthusiasm -

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Seventy-five thousand people in the stadium.

O‘DONNELL:  Well, John -

BUCHANAN:  Even if we tried that would be a little hard.

O‘DONNELL:  John McCain is announcing his vice presidential pick tomorrow and they‘re giving out free tickets to try and fill a 10,000-seat stadium.  They‘re apparently having trouble doing that.  There‘s a coolness gap here, too.

BUCHANAN:  Let me tell you—there is clearly a tremendous gap in terms of charisma and ability to get crowds out.  Here‘s what Barack Obama has got to do—he‘s got to do what Jack Kennedy did in the first debate.

He‘s got to show the American people essentially, those undecided nervous folks in the middle of Pennsylvania that, “I am one of you, I have your views and your values, I come out of Middle America.  I may be black, but we are both Americans and let me tell you this, I am tough enough, hard enough, knowledgeable enough, experienced enough to be president.

And there are two different courses America can take.  They can either go down the road of Cheney, Bush, McCain, or they can go down this road and in the layout where that road is going to take us.”

He, tonight, he has the golden opportunity, the best of his campaign, to remove all the doubts and to take himself to a 10-point lead, right now, coming out of this convention.

O‘DONNELL:  Ten-point lead, is that over-hyping it?

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST:  Ten-point lead if you believe in the Gallup daily tracking poll, he‘s already got a six-point lead.  He bumped up six points overnight.

So, look, you know, we sat here the last few nights and we wondered if there was enough red meat in this convention.  I think it‘s pretty well teed up for Obama tonight.  You know, Hillary Clinton told the party to unite.  Bill Clinton came out and said Barack Obama is ready to be president from day one.  We got really—from other speakers, especially John Kerry an attack narrative on John McCain that, “You know, I do like Senator John McCain, but candidate John McCain is somebody quite different.”

And so, if all Obama has to do, I think, you know, all he has to do in front of 75,000 people is take that narrative forward and do what he does in front of big crowds.

O‘DONNELL:  We got a stem-winder from John Kerry last night.  I mean, a really tough speech on John McCain.  But what about those who say that Democrats have wasted an opportunity at this convention to not go after the president and John McCain on the issue of hurricane Katrina just when hurricane Gustav may hit next Monday when President Bush is speaking at the GOP convention?

ROBINSON:  Look, I‘m certainly one who has believed that at times, they could have been tougher.  On the other hand, this is a very purposeful campaign and it seems to me the purpose was to establish that Barack Obama could be president, to introduce him to a lot of people who hadn‘t been paying attention, and to appeal more to independents and Republicans and not to the Democratic activists in the hall.

So, I think they might have done what they set out to do and, you know, the results so far are seen to be fairly encouraging.  So, let‘s see what happens.

O‘DONNELL:  And, Gene, as we watch Governor Kaine from Virginia who is one of the—on the shortlist for the number two spot.  I‘m going to send it back up to Chris and Keith—Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Norah.  Thank you, panel.  And let‘s give, as promised, some of the speech of Governor Kaine of Virginia.

GOV. TIM KAINE, (D) VIRGINIA:  To save their grasps on the “American Dream.”  Maybe for John McCain, the “American Dream” means seven houses.  And if that‘s your America, then John McCain is your candidate.  But—but for the rest of us, the “American Dream” means one home in a safe neighborhood, with good schools, and good health care.  Folks, does that seem like too much to ask for?

John McCain will keep answering to the special interests and the Washington lobbyists, but we‘re ready for leadership that answers to us and the leader who will deliver the change we need is Barack Obama.

Now, folks, we know it not going to be easy because change is never easy.  That‘s why we‘ll need a little something extra to get this done.  The gospel of Matthew says, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, “Move, mountain.”  And it will move.

My life-long faith deepens when I travel to Honduras to work with Catholic missionaries during law school.  (SPEAKING SPANISH)

(APPLAUSE)

KAINE:  In Honduras, I learned from a great mentor there, a guy named Brother Jim O‘Leary (ph) and I learned that faith is more than words or doctrine, faith is about action.  And that led me to spend my life in public service.

While I was learning to put my faith into action in Honduras, Barack Obama was doing the same thing on the streets of South Side Chicago.  Helping people reclaim their steel neighborhood and lives after steel plants closed down.

And Joe Biden, you know that Joe Biden has also spent his life putting faith into action, overcoming unspeakable tragedy in his personal life, and as a U.S. senator making our world safer, our air cleaner and protecting women from crimes of violence.

For Barack Obama, for Joe Biden, for me, for all of us—the principals of faith call us to service with faith in the “American Dream,” we strive for better schools, economic justice, and smarter foreign policies because we believe in the God-given principles of equality, freedom, and opportunity.

With faith in each other—with faith in each other, we work for a common sense approach to politics that focuses on results, not partisan division because we know that we‘re all in this together.  Aren‘t we all tired of a Washington that doesn‘t have any faith in us?

Well, folks, now is the time to put our faith into action to elect a president who will put middle-class Americans first again.  We need to put our faith into action to elect a president who will invest in our students, our teachers, and schools, and make college affordable again for every American family.

We need to put our faith into action to elect a president who will end the war in Iraq responsibly, give our veterans and their families the support they need, and reinvigorate our military for the challenges ahead.  If we put our faith into action, we can move mountains.

Does anybody here have a little bit of faith tonight?  I know you do.  Is anybody here ready to move some mountains?  The mountains of divisions and gridlock—the mountains of hopelessness—the mountains of special interest and business as usual—because we will put our faith into action starting right here in the Mile High City.

We‘ll put our faith into action.  We‘ll reject the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain.  And we will elect Barack Obama as America‘s next president.

And, folks—and folks, in the words of that old gospel hymn, we will say, “Move Mountain.”  Why don‘t you say it with me?  Move mountain.  Now say it like you mean it.  Move mountain.  One more time—move mountain.  Mountain, get out of our way.  And the mountain will move.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

(MUSIC)

OLBERMANN:  Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia not quite William Jennings Bryan and that extent of religious imagery, but some included therein—one of the series of speakers in the now hour and 45 minute build up to the Obama speech.

Coming up: Bill Richardson, Al Gore, Susan Eisenhower, Senator Durbin, and then Obama.

Much more from Denver as we await former Vice President Al Gore. 

About 30 minutes or so.

You‘re watching MSNBC‘s live coverage of the 2008 Democratic convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you from Denver, Colorado with MSNBC‘s live coverage of the fourth and final day and night of the Democratic National Convention.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes.  Joining us right now, a U.S. congressman, ___ of Pennsylvania, serving one of the most, well, hard-fought states to be.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, thanks for joining us.  You know, everybody‘s talking to Keith on that state (ph) this year and everybody is looking at that state you represent.  And you tried to win it for your buddy, Barack Obama and couldn‘t win it.  You lost by nine, what, 9.4 percent.  Can you move the electorate of Pennsylvania in November the way you couldn‘t move it in April?

REP. CHAKA FATTAH, (D) PENNSYLVANIA:  I can‘t do it, but we can do it.  Governor Rendell is working with me, Mayor Nutter, our great new young mayor of Pittsburgh, we have the entire congressional delegation and we have great Pennsylvania, the Casey family led by Senator Casey.  All of us are working together with great union support.

Senator Obama now has a six, seven-point lead in the latest Quinnipiac Poll for Pennsylvania.  He‘s coming there immediately after accepting this nomination.  They‘re going to start a two or three-day bus tour starting out of Beaver stadium in Pennsylvania.  And we‘re going to work very hard.

The big surprise and help for us in Pennsylvania is Joe Biden.  Joe is out of Scranton, Jill, his wife, is from Willow Grove.  So, we have a stake in this and we also have in Barack Obama a great candidate. And the choices between Barack Obama and John McCain, it‘s going to be a clear, concise choice for Pennsylvania voters.  I think we will win it.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about Joe Biden because he‘s been a hit this week.  How does Joe Biden who‘s at the bottom of the ticket convince people to vote for the top of the ticket?  That‘s never been done before.  Maybe Lyndon Johnson did it with Kennedy back in ‘60, but how do you sell upward on the ticket?

FATTAH:  I think people are going to vote for president, but I think what Joe Biden does is he adds a reassurance, a comfort level because he is someone who is well-known in our state.  He‘s known as the third U.S.  senator from Pennsylvania.  He was born and raised in—his early part of his life in Scranton.  His wife is from right outside of Philadelphia in Willow Grove.

So, it gives us some reassurance, but it‘s Barack Obama, it‘s his position on equal education, his support for jobs, his desire to bring troops home in a responsible way from Iraq, his dedication to finding bin Laden and making our nation safe, that‘s going to bring the votes and I think that Governor Rendell and all of us working together.

The difference in the primary was the Democratic family was split up.  This is a state that was for Clinton twice, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, and we have a lead that we‘ve held consistently for Obama over the last 30 days.  We believe that, along with a strong voter registration effort that‘s leading the country right now, Chris, will position us to win Pennsylvania.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about tonight‘s speech and you‘re in good order, but let me ask you this question—Governor Rendell who you just mentioned said that Barack Obama is too aloof, that he talks over the heads of people.  In fact, he compared him to Adlai Stevenson who was a Democratic nominee for president twice in the 1950s.  Do you agree with that?  Do you agree he‘s too intellectually?

FATTAH:  I agree with this, that there‘s no elected official or candidate in our country that could fill this stadium other than Senator Obama.  There‘s no one who could come from obscurity in losing candidate for Congress to an election to the Senate, keynoting the Democratic convention, and then winning the primary season up against every heavyweight in the Democratic Party from the Clintons, the Governor Rendell.

So, Senator Obama knows how to get votes.  He knows that it‘s important for him to reach out further to working-class families and to those who may not be as comfortable with his record at this moment, and I think that‘s what Rendell means.  He needs to do a little better at bowling and we‘re going to work on that in Pennsylvania.  But the other thing that the governor said even when he made that statement is that he‘s never seen a politician smarter, more intellectually-gifted, and capable of leading our country.

OLBERMANN:  Congressman, at some point, did we start getting afraid of the smartest guy in the room rather than going, “You, I want you to run this thing,” whether it‘s local government, the Senate, the White House—when did this, when did this idea of intelligence become even a partial liability?

FATTAH:  Well, look, we started to talk about who you want to have a beer with, millions of people who, I guess, wanted to have a beer with George Bush—homes have been foreclosed on.  We lost 500,000 jobs, some of them who voted for George Bush because they wanted to have a beer with him.  When you need brain surgery, you want to get the smartest, most capable person.

Barack Obama, he was the head of the Harvard Law Review.  I mean, this is a guy who‘s capable and I think the American public is going to get it right, and I know one thing—we know when we don‘t get it right, we suffer the consequences.  And if we get it right, we‘ll reap the rewards.

Barack Obama is offering us an opportunity for change and you can tell, not just to people filling this stadium, but at independence hall back home in Philadelphia, thousands of people are viewing this acceptance speech tonight and all over the country.

This is a campaign that will, as Governor Kaine said—we‘re going to move this mountain and it‘s a faith that is beyond the facts.  This is an improbable journey, but is one that we‘re going to see to its conclusion.

I‘ve known Barack Obama for—since his time in the State Senate.  He‘s taken on tough issues, he‘s organized, he‘s never let a setback be anything other than a stepping stone for a comeback.

So, we‘re here tonight.  We‘re going to kick this campaign off for the fall and then we‘re going to Pennsylvania to really get on the ground and to do whatever it does to get closer to the people.  And I tell you, the next time he bowls in Pennsylvania, he‘s going to do a lot better.

MATTHEWS:  You can always tell a man who‘s married to an anchorwoman—well said, sir.  U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Congressman.

One brief update, we‘re told now from the Obama campaign that he is with his family right now as we reach about the hour and a half mark before the speech, making last-minute changes to his speech in his hotel room and also from a totally different source.  We‘re advised that at Invesco Field, Oprah Winfrey has arrived.

Up next: We‘ll hear from Stevie Wonder.  That leads up to Al Gore in about 20 minutes.  And then, at 10:00 Eastern, the big moment, the Barack Obama acceptance speech, history in the making.

And our coverage of that and the historical Democratic convention continues right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, (D) NEW MEXICO:  John McCain may pay hundreds of dollars for his shoes but we‘re the ones who will pay for his flip-flops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We join you from Denver.

Coming up: Al Gore and Stevie Wonder.  Not together.  Stevie Wonder will perform and then in 15 minutes or so, Al Gore will perform, in another sense of that word, he‘ll address the convention.

Right now, let‘s go downstairs to Chris Matthews—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  And now for a little political palate cleaner.  We‘re going to go right now to John Ferry, he has worked so many years.  He‘s a great spokesman for the Republicans in the U.S. Congress.

You‘re a Republican strategist, the weather here, I mean, the gods, the weather gods and now your Republican convention is about to be visited by a fellow named Gustav, category four fellow named hurricane.  You have a sense that there is a good karma here?  How would you read it, in the mood?

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Oh, I tell you, this is a pretty been good convention.  It started off a little slow, I thought, but I think Bill Clinton can turn them around for him.  I think Barack Obama is going to have a terrific speech tonight and they‘re going to get a bounce from this, 10 to 12 points, no doubt about it.

MATTHEWS:  We have a lot today (ph), everybody is entitled to opinions around here that‘s why we asked for a lot of opinions.  I‘ve heard it endless—endlessly and a kind of a carping way from Pat Buchanan and the others, not enough red meat, not enough Pat Buchanan.  That‘s what (ph) Pat Buchanan did for 40 years—red meat.

Do you think that was really called for in a convention which was -

to me, well, I‘ll just give you my point of view.  The purpose of this convention was to bring the Democratic Party together and you look at registration in this country.  If it didn‘t get the party united, you‘re on the road to victory.  Others say, no, the purpose of this convention is to gut the other party, kick it into whatever, get a fight going, get a brawl going and get the teeth mashing.  What do you think?

       

FEEHERY:  You got to do both.  I mean, when Pat Buchanan was in Houston, he screwed up that convention for George Bush.  You have to have both from positive for your side, and negative for the other side.  I think they had plenty of red meat from Bill Clinton the night before.

MATTHEWS:  So Pat Buchanan screwed up the Republican party back in ‘96? 

FEEHERY:  No, ‘92.  He was one of the reasons George Bush lost.  But he was a great spokesman. 

MATTHEWS:  I wanted to get those things on the record.  Back to Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Perhaps we could bring that out with Pat later on.  Now out to the field and Stevie Wonder. 

STEVIE WONDER, SINGER/SONG WRITER:  I love you.  With every song that I‘ve sang, know that I love you. 

(SINGING)

WONDER:  I got to do this.  I got to do this one.  I got to do this one.  I‘m going to do this song for the future president of the United States and his wife, because you all been messing with this song for a minute and here we go.  Let‘s hit it. 

(SINGING)

WONDER:  God bless you in here.  God bless our country, the United States of America. 

OLBERMANN:  Stevie Wonder and the MSNBC panel, dance back up band, the troupe of Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow, Norah O‘Donnell—I didn‘t see Pat Buchanan dancing.  What‘s going on out there. 

MATTHEWS:  He‘s got his shades on. 

OLBERMANN:  Pat‘s got his shades on.  OK, that‘s fine.  And the Blues Brother, Pat Buchanan. 

Stevie Wonder, one of the great live performers.  Stevie Wonder, one of the great live acts in show business.  So is Pat Buchanan, for that matter.  So is Al Gore, who is speaking next.  This is MSNBC‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention, live from Denver with sun glasses.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Former Vice President Al Gore about to take to the microphone at Invesco Field for one of the first of the barn burner speeches, the under-card, if you will, to the Barack Obama acceptance speech in a little over an hour and 15 minutes.  Here is the former vice president of the United States. 

AL GORE, FMR VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  What an amazing crowd.  Thank you for this warm welcome. Thank you so much.        One of the greatest gifts of our democracy is the opportunity it offers us every four years to change course.  It‘s not a guarantee; it‘s only an opportunity. 

The question facing us simply put is:  Will we seize this opportunity for a change? 

(APPLAUSE)

That‘s why I came here tonight to tell you why I feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America. 

(APPLAUSE)

Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn‘t really matter who became president.  Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity, and some assumed we would continue with both, no matter the outcome. 

But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn‘t matter.

Take it from me.  If it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq; we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him. 

(APPLAUSE)

We wouldn‘t be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis; we‘d be fighting for middle-income families.

We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution; we‘d be protecting the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

(APPLAUSE)

And we would not be denying the climate crisis; we‘d be solving the climate crisis.

Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them. 

The same policies, those policies, all over again?  Hey, I believe in recycling, but that‘s ridiculous.

(APPLAUSE)

With John McCain‘s support, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have led our nation into one calamity after another because of their indifference to facts, their readiness to sacrifice the long term to the short term, subordinate the general good to the benefit of the few, and short-circuit the rule of law.

If you like the Bush-Cheney approach, John McCain‘s your man.  If you believe it‘s time for a change, then vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

(APPLAUSE)

What a great speech Joe Biden gave last night.

(APPLAUSE)

Barack Obama is telling us exactly what he will do:  launch a bold, new economic plan to restore America‘s greatness; fight for smarter government that trusts the market, but protects us against its excesses; enact policies that are pro-choice, pro-education, and pro- family; establish a foreign policy that is smart, as well as strong; provide health care for all and solutions for the climate crisis.

So why is this election so close?  Well, I know something about close elections, so let me offer you my opinion. 

I believe this election is close today mainly because the forces of the status quo are desperately afraid of the change Barack Obama represents.

(APPLAUSE)

There is no better example than the climate crisis.  As I have said throughout this land for many years, we are borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization.  Every bit of that has to change. 

(APPLAUSE)

Oil company profits, as you know, have soared to record levels, and gasoline prices have gone through the roof, and we are more dependent than ever on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.

Many scientists predict shockingly that the entire north polar ice cap may be completely gone during summer months during the first term of the next president.  Sea levels are rising; fires are raging; storms are stronger. 

Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive waves of climate refugees destabilizing countries around the world.  And scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented extinctions.

We are facing a planetary emergency, which, if not solved, would exceed anything we‘ve ever experienced in the history of humankind. 

In spite of John McCain‘s past record of open-mindedness and leadership on the climate crisis, he has now apparently allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution.

And it just so happens that the climate crisis is intertwined with the other two great challenges facing our nation:  reviving our economy and strengthening our national security.  The solutions to all three require us to end our dependence on carbon-based fuels.

(APPLAUSE)

Instead of letting lobbyists and polluters control our destiny, we need to invest in American innovation.  Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison, our most famous inventor, said, quote, “I would put my money on the sun and solar energy.  What a source of power,” he continued.  “I hope we don‘t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Well, now, in 2008, we have everything we need to start using the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation, and efficiency to solve the climate crisis, everything, that is, except a president in the White House who inspires us to believe, “Yes, we can.”

And we know how to fix that.

(APPLAUSE)

So how did this no-brainer become a brain-twister?  Because the carbon fuels industry—big oil and coal—have a 50-year lease on the Republican Party and they‘re drilling it for everything it‘s worth. 

And this same industry has spent $500 million this year alone trying to convince the public that they‘re actually solving the problem, when they‘re, in fact, making it worse every single day.

This administration and the special interests who control it lock, stock and barrel after barrel have performed this same sleight- of-hand on issue after issue.  Some of the best marketers have the worst products, and this is certainly true of today‘s Republican Party. 

The party itself has on its rolls men and women of great quality. But the last eight years demonstrate that the special interests who have come to control the Republican Party are so powerful that serving them and serving the national well-being are now irreconcilable choices.

So what can we do about it?  We can carry Barack Obama‘s message of hope and change to every family in America and pledge that we‘ll be there for him, not only in the heat of this election, but in the aftermath, as we put his agenda to work for our country.

(APPLAUSE)

We can tell Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, exactly why our nation so badly needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain. 

After they wrecked our economy, it‘s time for a change.

After they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us, it‘s time for a change. 

(APPLAUSE)

After they abandoned the principle first laid down by General George Washington, when he prohibited the torture of captives because it would bring, in his words, “shame, disgrace and ruin” to our nation, it‘s time for a change.

When as many as three Supreme Court justices could be appointed in the first term of the next president, and John McCain promises to appoint more Scalias and Thomases and end a woman‘s right to choose, it is time for a change.

(APPLAUSE)

Many people have been waiting for some sign that our country is ready for such a change.  How will we know when it‘s beginning to take hold?

I think we might recognize it as a sign of such change if we saw millions of young people getting involved for the first time in the political process. 

(APPLAUSE)

This election is actually not close at all among younger voters. You are responding in unprecedented numbers to Barack Obama‘s message of change and hope.

You recognize that he represents a clean break from the politics of partisanship and bitter division.  You understand that the politics of the past are exhausted, and you‘re tired—we‘re all tired of appeals based on fear. 

You know that America is capable of better than what we have seen in recent years.  And you‘re hungry for a new politics based on bipartisan respect for the ageless principles embodied in the United States Constitution.

(APPLAUSE)

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon awakening to the challenge of a present danger, shaking off complacency, and rising, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of embracing change.

A century-and-a-half ago, when America faced our greatest trial, the end of one era gave way to the birth of another.  The candidate who emerged victorious in that election is now regarded by most historians as our greatest president. 

Before he entered the White House, Abraham Lincoln‘s experience in elective office consisted of eight years in his state legislature in Springfield, Illinois, and one term in Congress, during which he showed courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another country in war that was popular when it was started, but later condemned by history.

The experience that Lincoln‘s supporters valued most in that race was his powerful ability to inspire hope in the future at a time of impasse.  He was known chiefly as a clear thinker and a great orator, with a passion for justice and a determination to heal the deep divisions of our land.  He insisted on reaching past partisan and regional divides to exalt our common humanity. 

In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a mandate from history to launch another new beginning.  And once again, we have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition.

Barack Obama had the experience and wisdom to oppose a popular war based on faulty premises. 

His leadership experience has given him a unique capacity to inspire hope in the promise of the American dream of a boundless future. 

His experience has also given him genuine respect for different views and humility in the face of complex realities that cannot be squeezed into the narrow compartments of ideology. 

His experience has taught him something that career politicians often overlook:  that inconvenient truths must be acknowledged if we are to have wise governance.

(APPLAUSE)

And the extraordinary strength of his personal character—and that of his wonderful wife, Michelle—who gave such a magnificent address and will be such a wonderful first lady for our country—their strength of character is grounded in the strengths of the American community. 

Barack Obama‘s vision and his voice represent the best of America.  His life experience embodies the essence of our motto, “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.  That is the linking identity at the other end of all the hyphens that pervade our modern political culture. 

It is that common American identity which Barack Obama exemplifies, heart and soul, that enables us as Americans to speak with moral authority to all of the peoples of the world, to inspire hope that we as human beings can transcend our limitations to redeem the promise of human freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

Late this evening, our convention will end with a benediction. As we bow in reverence, remember the words of the old proverb, “When you pray, move your feet.”

And then let us leave here tonight and take that message of hope from Denver to every corner of our land, and do everything we can to serve our nation, our world, and our children and their future, by electing Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.  Alongside Chris Matthews, I‘m Keith Olbermann.  Al Gore, who under different circumstances, many would say under better circumstances, would be addressing this convention in the role of a retiring president, speaking tonight in advocacy of Senator Obama‘s candidacy, which will become official in about two hours.  He will speak in about one hour from now.

KEITH OLBERMANN, CO-HOST:  Speaking tonight in advocacy of Senator Obama‘s candidacy, which will become official in about two hours, he will speak in about one hour from now.

I suspect, Chris, this is the first time that the Mexican War has been brought up as a presidential campaign issue in quite a while, but it is an interesting historical parallel, if not necessarily perfectly germane to these times.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, CO-HOST:  Pointing out the fact that he did, Al Gore, Abraham Lincoln in the years before the Civil War opposed the Mexican War.  And that was not a popular position.

OLBERMANN:  Not only not a popular position, it cost him his seat in Congress which he only held for two years because it was an utterly unpopular position at that point.

MATTHEWS:  I‘d like to quote something from the speech because I think it‘s so Al Gore.  First of all, anyone who denies the importance of the Supreme Court and the power of the presidents to name members thereof must look at the face of Al Gore.  Many Democrats think he was too noble in the way he accepted the decision of the court but he had to, of course, back in the late weeks of 2000.

But it‘s clear now that the Supreme Court not only controls issues like abortion rights and civil rights and privacy and surveillance, but it controls, in many ways, the presidency—because it was able to intervene in that case.  And I think Al Gore came today to remind us of that.

Let me go right now—Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is with us alongside U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who‘s on our program often.

Gentlemen, speak to history tonight, you‘re on the—you‘re on the cutting edge right now.  You‘re about to be a witness there in the stadium to something really new in the western world.  Someone of African heritage like yourselves on the verge of perhaps leading the greatest nation in the world, perhaps the greatest nation in the history of the world.

Mr. Cummings first.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) MARYLAND:  I am very excited.  Barack Obama has shown what can happen if you combine hard work and determination, and give it everything you got, do what your parents tell you to do and stick by your family.  It‘s clear that you can become the president of the United States.  I have absolutely no doubt that Barack Obama will be on our next president, but I just—I always caution his supporters to remember that we are like on the one yard line.  We‘ve got to get past, I mean, I‘m happy about today, I‘m very excited about today.

This is one of the greatest moments of my life, but at the same time, I want to make sure we get over the goal line.  And, so, I tell my folks that after the motion, commotion, and emotion—I want to make sure we turn that into getting people out to vote, registering them, and making sure that Barack Obama is the next president of the United States of America.

MATTHEWS:  Governor Patrick, your thoughts as you sit surrounded by what approaches a crowd of 75,000 people.

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK, (D) MASSACHUSETTS:  They started the wave now, Chris.  There is a lot of energy in this space.  I hope you can hear me OK.

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE)

PATRICK:  And I will tell you that I have, I have filled up more than once in the course of this afternoon and, I‘ll tell you when I was listening to the national anthem performed earlier, I was just overcome, because those words and those ideals have a richness this evening that, as a patriot and as an American, not just a black man, just completely filled me up.  And I think there are an awful lot of people in this stadium, this evening, and all around the country, who are feeling the possibility of reclaiming the “American Dream.”  If we go to work, we will do just that.  And it starts with electing Barack Obama president of the United States.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you both, gentlemen, I guess, first, just to keep it organized.

Congressman, what do you want to hear tonight?  I mean, you represent a constituency, a mixed constituency, both of you, gentlemen.  You know America is a diverse country ethnically and people have, to some extent, similar challenges.  You might call the American people right now a struggling class of people, as a group.  How do you talk to them in small picture words that carry a big message?

CUMMINGS:  Well, first of all, I think Barack Obama has to and I expect that he will remind them that because of his struggles in life that he can identify with what they‘re going through.  And that he‘s going to use that as a passport to be sensitive to the concerns that they may have.  The other thing that I think that I want to hear from him, and I‘m sure I will, is that he is ready and prepared to address the domestic problems that—and economic problems that people are suffering from today.  I mean, there are people who literally do not have the money to put in the gas tank to get to a job, assuming they have one.

And the other thing, of course, is medical expenses.  The people in my district suffering tremendously, many of them simply do not have insurance or they cannot get the medical treatment that they need and, sadly, they‘re finding themselves in a position where they‘re suffering needlessly and sadly, very sadly dying early.

And so, I expect them to deal with and address those issues, but also

I expect him to do one other thing.  I expect him to spend a bit of time

talking about these last eight years and how our country has gone backwards

and how we can turn around.  And that‘s what I love about his saying, “Yes,

we can.”  And I expect him to inspire us to a higher level of—I call it

I think we‘ve been mired in a culture of mediocrity and now what Barack is saying is that we, not only can do better, but we will do better and I know that he‘ll inspire, as he has already inspired our nation to be the very best that it can be.

PATRICK:  Well, Chris, if I may, I would just say that the congressman has said it perfectly.  I know what he will do is beat himself, which is show that extraordinary empathy, that caring and understanding from people who are striving, and express the vision for government that is not about government trying to solve every problem and everybody‘s life, but it‘s about government helping us help ourselves and teaching us, reminding us that part of being a patriot is caring about the suffering that your neighbor is experiencing, as well as your own.

And so, I think we‘re going to get from Barack Obama, that vision of tomorrow and the inspiration to reach for it, which is the mark of his unique leadership that why I think he is exactly the right man for right now.

CUMMINGS:  You know, something that was talked about a lot -

OLBERMANN:  Gentlemen, forgive me, we have to go.  Governor Deval Patrick and Congressman Elijah Cummings, great thanks for your time, my apologies for interrupting, gentlemen.

PATRICK:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Back to Invesco Field.  David Gregory joins us with news from the arena itself—David.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, I‘m with the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

This is a special night for you, 45 years ago the march on Washington, your thoughts being here?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCATE:  It‘s a great moment to be alive.  Such a contrast, that was a war zone, protest.  This is a celebration.

The day we marched on Washington, then they call out the National Guard to be around the airport and the train station for fear of some riots, because no such numbers have ever gathered before.  Really, it was a month later, Birmingham church bombing.  It was a year before the public accommodations, a year before the right to vote, Dr. King killed four years later.  We were in a war zone.  But because, as Reagan once said, we pulled down the wall.  We pulled down the wall, and now you can have reconciliation between East and West Germany, black and white and brown Americans.  We live in another time and space, and what a great moment to be alive.

GREGORY:  John Lewis last night, Congressman Lewis, one of your brothers in the civil rights struggle, said that the nomination of Barack Obama represents a downpayment on Dr. King—the fulfillment of Dr. King‘s dream.  Do you believe that?  And you have been critical at times of parts of Barack Obama‘s message?

JACKSON:  Barack represents hope and new possibilities.  He represents

when I looked at Barack and Hillary campaigning in Mississippi, and saw men voting for Hillary and whites voting for Barack, I‘d say, a-hah, they are the conduits of which a new and more mature America is expressing themselves.  That doesn‘t mean anyone is challenge-proof.  We want the hope.  We also want the substance of a plan to put America back to work.  What he represents for me, however, is a better idea.  If Roosevelt was the New Deal, Barack is the better deal in this stage.

GREGORY:  But let me ask you the political question, you described this as a celebration tonight.  Does Barack Obama have to do more than capture that moment of celebration?  Does he not have to be concrete if he‘s going to get real traction in creating the contrast in this election?

JACKSON:  To end wars of choice is very concrete.  To the misstatement made of going into Iraq and not taking the Taliban in Afghanistan, it‘s concrete.  We‘re now too weak to fight Russia as they attack Georgia.  That‘s concrete.  His commitment to rebuild bridges and schools and roads and putting America back to work and not use debt reduction to do that is very concrete.

His commitment to reconcile opposites, people here tonight, just the most American political rally in the history of our entire country.  There‘s something special about Barack and his very special gifts.

GREGORY:  Reverend Jackson, thank you very much.  It‘s good to see you here.

JACKSON:  Thank you, sir.

GREGORY:  OK.  Back over to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  David Gregory inside the Mile High stadium, Invesco Field. 

Thank you, David.

Coming up here: Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd will be with us as we draw closer to the historic moment when Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, accepts the nomination for president of the Democratic Party.

You‘re watching MSNBC‘s live coverage of 2008 Democratic convention at Denver.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  That‘s why I came here tonight to tell you why I feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Back in Denver with MSNBC‘s live coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

OLBERMANN:  Let‘s bring in NBC News special correspondent, Tom Brokaw, and NBC News and MSNBC political director, Chuck Todd, who are inside the stadium awaiting in 45 minutes the speech from Senator Obama.

Let‘s talk about this environment, the setting that they are in.

Tom, we know this is evocative, not merely of the speech that whose anniversary is celebrated today, the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963 but also John F. Kennedy‘s acceptance of the nomination in 1960, the outdoor quality, does the comparison end with being outdoors?

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well, outdoors is one thing, but then that kind of setting was that overhead shot on a tracking camera.  It does, it strikes me, at least, of being just a little bit imperious and it certainly is something the Republicans are already beginning to talk about.  It seems to them that it‘s a little presumptuous and my guess is that we‘ll begin to hear a little bit more about that.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  And, of course, Keith, the irony, this is not the Obama‘s campaign insistence of having a skycam, but it‘s the—it‘s the technology.  It was CNN who first wanted to put the skycam in and then all the networks bought in.  So, here, we are the ones creating this imperial looking shot that could end up backfiring on Obama, even though it wasn‘t their own campaign that wanted it because when you look at the regular setting, it‘s fine.  It‘s just like any other convention setting.  Not that much different than President Bush, 2004, or what John Kerry had in 2004 or what was inside the Pepsi Center, it‘s just the way our technology has caught up.

Look, has there been skycams on the mall in Washington, D.C., 45 years ago tonight?  Martin Luther King might have looked imperial delivering that speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

OLBERMANN:  And, of course, we -

BROKAW:  (INAUDIBLE) and the speech will be to say to the American people, “I am ready to be your president and I can fill all the spaces in the Oval Office and make the hard decision,” and to outline for them, as well, how he feels about some of the specific issues that this country is confronting with whoever is the new president as they kick off on January 20th.  What they have been after in the Republican Party is to say repeatedly, this guy is not ready in one poll after another, says that John McCain is much better prepared to be the commander-in-chief.

So, how all that symbolism will come into play tonight against the backdrop of his words and his unquestionable great oratorical (INAUDIBLE) style.  We will see how that plays out.

OLBERMANN:  So, Chuck, if we‘re accepting already the idea that the setting—these columns, the classical columns evocative of the Virginia Republican convention earlier this year and the George Bush acceptance in 2004, the idea here is that the overhead shot is the sign of imperiousness.  I‘m not following the logic behind that.

TODD:  Look, Keith, it‘s not what—I understand where you‘re coming from on this—but it‘s not what we think it‘s how it‘s being presented.  It‘s how the Republicans are going to try to take advantage of it and will say, “Look, look at how he‘s regal, he‘s trying to present himself as something bigger than he is,” and plays into what they‘re trying to do.

Look, if Obama gives the right speech, puts meat on the bones, and the setting is all they have to criticize, it‘s probably going to fade quickly.  But we‘re just telling you, a lot of Republicans believe that the setting and this whole aerial shot and the fact that it‘s going to make him look larger than life figure plays into what the McCain campaign has been trying to do—which is take something that is a negative for them, the fact that Obama is more popular, Obama can fill a stadium with 80,000 people and John McCain right now in Dayton, Ohio, is struggling to get 10,000 people to see the debut of his ticket, they‘re trying to take and, you know, make that lemon and turn it into lemonade.

BROKAW:  They‘re trying to make it an extension of the Brandenburg Gate, it‘s what they‘re trying to do, which worked for them pretty well.

At the same time, I must tell you, I remember in the closing days of the 2004 campaign, I was in Madison, Wisconsin, John Kerry had 100,000 people, Bruce Springsteen performing for him, I talked to somebody in the White House at the end of the day and fear quavering in his voice, but, of course, then Osama bin Laden came out with some pretty harsh remarks on Friday and all that, in effect, went away.

So, this is, like everything else, and what we‘ve been dealing with, we‘ll have to see what the half life of all of this is.  But we‘re just telling you, this is what Republicans have looked at and said, “Aha, maybe there‘s an opportunity here.”

OLBERMANN:  Yes, I‘m not ascribing it to you, Tom, or to you, Chuck, but I‘m wondering, we‘re touching on something really subliminal in culture.  I look at this shot now, I guess, based on too many years in sports and it looks like a blimp shot.  It looks like an overhead shot at the NBA finals and if anything, it makes the player down in the middle of this case, a soon to be presidential nominee, looked smaller than life, not bigger than life.  I mean, are we seeing this from two different—the same cultural phenomenon from two different angles?

TODD:  You hit the nail on the head, you hit the nail on the head.  This is a sports phenomenon.  We haven‘t seen it used in politics and that‘s where this is coming from, as far as Republicans are concerned.  But we shouldn‘t—look, the fact is this is still a big event.  This is still a big deal for Obama.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

TODD:  And it‘s a big moment and I still believe he was smart to actually raise the expectation for his speech because if he had just given it in the Pepsi Center, it would have just been another acceptance speech.  He needed to have his speech be put on a pedestal a little bit, to attract a new audience, so that it wasn‘t just brushed aside as just a more good oratory, it brought more people in to sit there and say, “OK, let‘s see if this guy can deliver on this level.”

So, ultimately, it‘s probably a smart gamble what they‘re doing, but it is a gamble and they‘re always down sides when you gamble.

BROKAW:  This does remind me of some of those freshman philosophical courses that we all took trying to find the essential truths here, the essential truth maybe that at the end of the night, Barack Obama will have such a powerful and profound speech all of that will go away and the Republicans‘ hopes will be dashed.  We‘re just reporting to you that they‘re taking a look at this and saying, “Maybe there‘s an opportunity here,” and I know that we spend probably much time on it already.

TODD:  Way too much.  Sometimes a speech is just a speech.

MATTHEWS:  Tom, first, let me ask you about, you know how these speeches are taken apart by the networks and cable over the next 24 hours and, of course, it will be the big moment that are replayed and again and again.  Is it possible that the challenge for Barack tonight is to find an intimate moment—something in 30 seconds or whatever the byte might be—that can phase an intimate connection with the average person out there in the family struggles they face, which would take away from all this panoply of grandeur?

BROKAW:  I think, Chris, that that‘s an audience that he has reached repeatedly during this campaign.  I think the audience that he has to reach, he has to reinforce is standing with that audience—the audience he has to reach tonight are those Reagan Democrats that we‘ve been talking about here all day long and older Democrats who still have some reservations about whether he‘s up to the job.

So, the construct of the speech is to reintroduce himself to the country again, to reaffirm his bonds with his supporters, to reach across the stadium and beyond it, to those people who want to know more about who he is whether he‘s ready for the job, and then begin to take on John McCain and the Bush administration and do it in a mature and sophisticated fashion that, in its own way, reinforces what I was just talking about: “I‘m a grown up, I‘m ready for this job, I know who I am and I know what this country needs and what you don‘t need,” in his judgment, is another four years of policies like (ph) the Bush administration.

MATTHEWS:  Chuck, you know, one of the most powerful lines from Bill Clinton speech back in ‘92 accepting the nomination that year was, “George Bush, the president, if you don‘t want to use the powers of your office to get the job done and protecting the country‘s economic interest, step aside and let me do it.”  Can Barack Obama, with his background, make that kind of assertive demands?

TODD:  I think he has to.  I mean, I think this is what tonight‘s about.  To just speak there and insist that he is ready for the job and I think an “alpha male” moment which is what you described there.  I do remember that moment when he did it and sort of Bill Clinton being assertive and he had to do (ph) this at the time when the presidential race in ‘92 was melting down, watching the (INAUDIBLE), everything, that‘s why, I think, usually we‘re calling an election at this point.

BROKAW:  And we‘re sitting here with all that background noise for the vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party who lit up the hall last night and he‘s happy to be back.

SEN. JOE BIDEN, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  Thank you.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

BIDEN:  Hello, Harry Reid.

Ladies and gentlemen, I always dreamed I‘d stand in this place, but I was hoping I would be standing next to my friend Floyd Little.  You don‘t know who he is, he played for the Denver Broncos.

Ladies and gentlemen, when we talk about an open convention, this is what Democrats meant—an open convention.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

BIDEN:  Friends, we all know why we‘re here tonight.  We‘re here for the millions of Americans who‘ve been knocked down, to send the message together that we‘re going to get back up as a nation.  We‘re here for the cops and the firefighters, the teachers, the assembly-line workers, the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the ‘American Dream” endures, for the soldiers who serve with honor and courage and deserve to be treated with dignity when they return home.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

BIDEN:  We‘re here for the mothers and fathers who are raising families and struggling just to get to the next day.  For our children and our grandchildren, whose tomorrows are determined by what we do here tonight and tomorrow.  We‘re here for the next president of the United States of America—Barack Obama.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

BIDEN:  In a little bit—in a little bit we‘re going to hear from Barack, but before we do, I want you to hear from the people he has heard from as he‘s traveled across this great country.  We‘re going to hear from a teacher, a business owner, a trucker, a factory worker, a mother, who like millions of Americans, has never been actively involved in the political campaign before, but was inspired to join this campaign—because she believes—she believes that this time we can really, really change the country.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the people who are teaching our children, raising our families, caring for our loved ones.  People who love this country so much that they‘re willing to die for it.  The everyday heroism you see in this country is just incredible and these people are going to prove it tonight.

So, tonight, we will listen to them and I promise you this—that when we‘re in the White House, Barack and I, we will make sure that they are always heard.

Ladies and gentlemen, go get them.  Thank you very much.  I Love you. 

Harry -

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

OLBERMANN:  Senator Joe Biden making an unexpected brief address to the crowd about half an hour before the Obama speech accepting the nomination.  This speech has now been made public and there are excerpts we want to read for you, a quick characterization of this.  It reads as a forceful speech—forceful against, specifically, time and time again, the policies of the Republican Party of President Bush and, specifically, charging John McCain repeatedly with acts that would be against the national interest—that‘s my phrasing.

Let me read you a couple segments.  “Today is my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq, has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we‘re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.  That‘s not the judgment we need,” Senator Obama, will say.  “That won‘t keep America safe,” Senator Obama will say.

“We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.  You don‘t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq.  You don‘t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington.  You can‘t truly stand up for Georgia when you strained our oldest alliances.  If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but it is not the change we need.”

“We,” he will say, “are the party of Roosevelt.  We are the party of Kennedy, so don‘t tell me that Democrats won‘t defend this country.  Don‘t tell me that Democrats won‘t keep us safe.”

Another excerpt from the Obama speech to come, “I say to the American people, the Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land—enough.”  It is a strong and specific speech, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  And it deals with a number of vulnerabilities, as well, Keith—the concern that the Republicans will run as a party that threatens the country with a Democratic tax increase.  Pointing out here at the very point when he goes to the changes he promises that 95 percent of all working families will get a tax cut.  I think that‘s the poll data that tells the Democrats, the Republicans have an issue here.  They better confront it head on, Keith.  

OLBERMANN:  Also, we‘ve talked about whether or not there would be - and it was emphasized throughout the day that there needed to be specifics about change.  This reads - the equivalent is not an American politics, the equivalent is in British politics.  The queen‘s speech ...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

OLBERMANN:  ... the things she gives at the opening of parliament every year where she says, “My government will,” and it‘s written for her by the prime minister of whichever party is in power.  “My government will do this,” and there‘s a very specific proposal.  “My government will propose this much in tax cuts.  My government will propose this much in tax increases on the rich.  My government will extend our this and limit our that.”  It goes on and on and on with as many specifics as possible and there seem to be two or three pages of it here in this Obama speech we are going to hear at the top of the hour. 

MATTHEWS:  And very much to the point of debate on your program and mine, night after night, end the war in Iraq, but go get Bin Laden.  He mocks John McCain here by saying John McCain likes to say he‘ll follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won‘t even go to the cave where he lives.  I think that makes the point and you hear a lot of Democratic speeches that the focus was wrong for the last seven or eight years, that the focus has got to be on who attacked us, not on another item on the agenda. 

OLBERMANN:  We won‘t know, obviously.  We do it a disservice reading it in these selections.  It is his speech to give and how he delivers it will determine its impact. 

But, in trying to analyze that question that has floated through this convention, who would be the one who attacks the Republicans and says, “No, they are decidedly wrong for this country,” as there will be statements made in St. Paul next week in reverse by Republicans against Democrats. 

There was great doubt that it would be Barack Obama who paid off that hunch, who threw that last series of knockout blows, he hopes.  And yet, it looks like from what we‘re seeing in this speech, he has chosen to go that way, unless this is read in some sort of ironic or soft manner and I can‘t imagine it would be. 

MATTHEWS:  Again, he carries with him the history of tonight and it‘s important to point out, as we have not so far, Barack Obama was not given this nomination, he won it.  He was not offered a nice title like Secretary of State like Condoleezza Rice got from the Republicans.  He was not offered the title of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as Colin Powell was or Secretary of State. 

He won the nomination of the Democratic Party voting together.  He defeated all other opponents and took the prize and took the leadership.  He is the chosen leader of the Democratic Party.  He is not some popular appointment or a showcase appointment.  He is the victor here tonight, that‘s why he dictates the agenda.  That‘s why he says, personally what the Democratic Party will do if he‘s elected president. 

He is the leader of the party.  He may be the leader of the country through a democratic process.  It is so vital to understand the history being made here tonight.  This is not something cute or wonderful.  It is something compelling and powerful.  This country has changed its history. 

OLBERMANN:  The choice of the personal pronouns.  These are just a construction and not substance: “I will stop.  I will eliminate.  I will cut.  I will set a clear goal.”  It is him and he is identifying.  “I will tap our, I‘ll make it easier, I‘ll help our,” again and again, personalizing it in exactly the way you described. 

So, without spoiling any more of that speech, I think we get a tone here that is - that whets the appetite even further for what we‘re going to hear at the top of the hour.  

MATTHEWS:  It is taking command. 

OLBERMANN:  It is taking command.

MATTHEWS:  When we talk about who can be commander-in-chief and he is saying tonight, “I will be commander-in-chief.  Here is my order of battle.  This is what I think is important.  This is what I bring to the table.  These are the elements of the next administration and this is what change will look like.”  This is what he has been asked to do by the people, and he‘s doing it. 

OLBERMANN:  The preparation for this effort and what he hopes to accomplish tonight is clearly going to be carried in his hands and on that teleprompter as he steps in front of that crowd in Mile-High Stadium, Invesco Field, in about 26, 27 minutes since.  It is there for him to do it based on the pre-reading here now, from the speech released by the Obama camp in advance of the actual deliverance of it. 

The Obama speech coming within the half hour.  Chris Matthews and I return from Denver in a moment.  You‘re watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic convention and what will be a dramatic and compelling speech from Barack Obama, by all indications, at the top of the hour.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Back in Denver and our live coverage of the Democratic convention.  Within 25 minutes of the start of the introduction of Barack Obama at Invesco Field, Mile-High Stadium, and then the speech itself.  Something resembling a state of the union address.  As we await the Obama speech, let‘s send it to Norah O‘Donnell and our panel.  Norah?

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Tonight, Barack Obama‘s speech really the (INAUDIBLE) of this four-day Democratic convention.  A huge night for Barack Obama, arguably the largest audience he will ever have, maybe more than 20 million, 30 million people watching him tonight as he delivers what will be a very long speech in which he will also say and blast Bush‘s failed presidency.  Rachel, how important is this speech for him?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  This speech tells us what‘s going to happen if we (INAUDIBLE) with him.  It tells us whether or not Barack Obama himself is going to be the agent of the attacks on the McCain candidacy and the Bush legacy that we know the Democrats must be planning between now and November.  We don‘t know - we don‘t yet know whether or not Barack Obama is going to be the guy who gives those lines or whether that‘s all going to follow with Joe Biden. 

Obama has proven himself to be an inspirational, positive speaker that‘s why he has the reputation as a post-partisan.  And tonight, we‘ll find out if he‘s going to stick with that or if the rest of the campaign is going to look in.  He‘s been almost cocky in talking about the fact that he is sure he is going to win.  Tonight, we‘ll find out how.  

O‘DONNELL:  Eugene, his advisors said after this speech no question what change means.  We‘ve read through this speech.  There‘s a lot in here. 

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes, there are a lot of specifics, a lot of themes.  The speech deals with domestic policy.  It deals with foreign policy.  It deals with energy.  It deals with the economy.  It deals with issues that people care about.  It also does the other thing that we expected the speech to do, which is to reintroduce himself to the American people, to tell his story, to explain how he sees himself, who he is, according to him, and give us a sense of him as a potential leader. 

O‘DONNELL:  The substance is so important in the speech, and also there‘s so much stylistically at play going on as well because of the optics of this stadium with 80,000 people there.  Pat, you‘ve been reading through the speech, though.  It may not be the gutting that you‘ve been calling for of John McCain, but there‘s a pretty powerful indictment in here. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Look, there is this tougher stuff in here and longer than I‘ve seen in almost any other speech that‘s been delivered at this convention.  It is strong.  It is assertive.  It is high will, “I am the leader.”  It goes after McCain on foreign policy, on poor judgment.  It steeps himself in the tradition of FDR and JFK.  Don‘t tell me we don‘t know how to defend this country‘s security. 

What concerns me is it is very long and if he wants to stand and get the reaction of the crowd of 70,000, you‘ve got to pause.  You can‘t do as Al Gore did which was basically read your speech and not care whether he‘s in a room of 50 people or 70,000. 

But from what I‘ve seen of this, this looks good and I think he can hold them and it‘s the most important moment of the entire election so far, and it may be the decisive event of the election.  From what I‘ve seen and I haven‘t gone through it deeply, I think it‘s quite a speech.  

O‘DONNELL:  I‘m so struck we are hearing tonight from NBC‘s Kelly O‘Donnell

for McCain‘s (INAUDIBLE) choice of McCain‘s VP will not leak out tonight,

that they want to save that tomorrow to try to step on some of the -

BUCHANAN:  Yes. 

O‘DONNELL:  But nevertheless, the optics, again, of this event - 80,000 people and yet, we‘re hearing, Rachel, that they are having trouble filling an arena with 10,000 for John McCain to make his choice of vice president. 

MADDOW:  And on the one hand, (INAUDIBLE) Abraham Lincoln, probably our greatest American president saying - You know what?  One of the things that made Abraham Lincoln a great president was that he could move people.  People believed him and he called on the best of Americans.  And Americans (INAUDIBLE). 

O‘DONNELL:  And he did not have much experience.  

MADDOW:  He did not have much experience, but as a communicator, he was so effective.  And honestly, Pat is right in terms of sort of performative challenge that Obama has today.  That is a big room with no ceiling and 70,000 people, and it‘s a long speech and it‘s really specific.  You have to be a great speech giver to make this work.  If he does this, it would be historic, not only for the election, but for the country (ph). 

BUCHANAN:  That said, we‘re going to be focused on him.  It‘s like us, behind us, you may have to just talk right through the cheers.  You know, the cheers ignite and then go on and keep it rolling.  Because I think if you stop, it just would take the thing too long.  

O‘DONNELL:  I think he knows how to give a speech. 

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE) the real order to carry this through.

ROBINSON:  He is pretty good.  He‘s pretty good, OK?  I‘ve seen him, he‘s pretty good.  I think he can probably do it.  

O‘DONNELL:  Barack Obama wrote most of this speech.  It was said last week he was in Chicago and he left his house and went to a hotel room and wrote through the night, all alone.  This is his voice.  You can see the cadence in the sentences. 

And Eugene, also, I am struck at the beginning of this.  He talked

about a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren‘t

well-known or well-off but shared a belief in America.  These are his

parents.  He says that their son could achieve whatever he puts his mind to

meritocracy, that value that Obama, in many ways, as a person epitomizes, is the greatest American value. 

ROBINSON:  Right.  That has been the theme of the convention, that Barack Obama‘s story is a purely American story, quintessentially an American story.  (INAUDIBLE) Single mother, good schools on scholarships, achieved at every level.  You know, in reading through the speech - and I know Pat would appreciate this because he‘s written speeches, you do see that he knows his own beliefs very well. 

BUCHANAN:  He writes for the ear - editorial.  Gene and I - we write columns.  We write for the eye.  This is written for the ear.  It‘s written to be heard, not necessarily - Al Gore‘s is written to be published in “The Wall Street Journal.”

O‘DONNELL:  And yes, the great Democratic pollster, Stan Greenberg did something this weekend in the Calhoun County, Michigan and found that there are still many Reagan Democrats who don‘t yet like Barack Obama because they are not yet sure of his patriotism.  What is that?

BUCHANAN:  First, let‘s talk about (INAUDIBLE).  It‘s Rev. Wright.  It‘s

Michelle Obama, “I‘ve never been really proud.”  It‘s that crazy Bill Ayers

all those things.  It‘s the thing that these people are unhappy with. 

That‘s what‘s hurting him. 

You‘ve got to remember what Tom Brokaw said.  This is aimed not at black America.  He‘s got 94 to one there.  This is aimed at white America working class, Reagan Democrats who like Ronald Reagan, tough guys - it should be a tough man‘s speech. 

O‘DONNELL:  What did we see in this crowd, Rachel?

MADDOW:  First of all, there has been (INAUDIBLE) signage in this crowd.  You‘re not seeing people hoisting signs that say “Unity, Barack Obama onto the White House.”  You‘re seeing thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of American flags. 

O‘DONNELL:  That is a sea of American flags that they have at Mile-High Stadium.  But a campaign perfectly hands out in order to create an image on a night like tonight to the American people that this is a uniquely American event.  

ROBINSON:  Right.  You know, this is going to be difficult, I think, for the Republicans to attack at the way they plan to attack it.  75,000 people in that stadium is pretty impressive. 

BUCHANAN:  Oh, look, there‘s no doubt.  McCain shouldn‘t even try to match him in these early events (INAUDIBLE) like that.  That is where - that‘s his strength.  McCain focused his strength with Rick Warren in talking to 25 million.

ROBINSON:  McCain shouldn‘t play on that court.  This is the wrong court. 

He should play on his court.  

MADDOW:  When you say 75,000 Americans turning out with American flags and see this man give a speech full of civic pride and patriotism is a bad thing, you look back for making that criticism. 

O‘DONNELL:  Great assessment as we get ready to hear from Barack Obama and get back to our panel, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Norah.  About a 4,700 word speech.  It read nonstop, it would take somewhere around half an hour.  So with breaks for applause and all the rest, you know it‘s about an hour.  We will go back to Mile-High after our break, just about 11 minutes, 12 minutes now until the introduction of Barack Obama and the introductory video will carry it all for you live.  This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic convention and the historic nomination of Barack Obama, live from Denver. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  That is the scene at Mile-High Stadium at Invesco Field in Denver, our live coverage of the Democratic convention, literally now, less than 10 minutes until the introduction of Sen. Barack Obama at that podium at that place, at this moment in history. 

MATTHEWS:  And right now, NBC‘s David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell are in mile high stadium right now.  Let‘s get to them right now.  David?

DAVID GREGORY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  This is a great political rally both for the Republicans and the Democrats and I have to say this is right up there.  You know, it‘s a mix of Spike Lee working the video camera, taking his own amateur videos.  And people from the delegations from all the states mixing in Coloradans who made it out here to Mile-High Stadium.  It is a celebration as the Rev. Jackson told us a little while ago. 

But embedded in that is also a tremendous challenge tonight.  A big theme of this convention was about presenting Barack Obama as an average guy who connects with average families.  This doesn‘t really reinforce that message, so there‘s a bit of a competition there.  That‘s why it all comes down to this speech. 

What you hear from Obama advisors is that he‘s got to talk from the heart and he‘s got to lay out a real contrast and a real concrete look at what an Obama presidency would look like.  We know and we‘ve seen how he can motivate and inspire.  That still matters.  That‘s a huge part of this night. 

What does his presidency look like and do people beyond Mile-High Stadium, the independent voters of this state, the swing voters of places like Pennsylvania and beyond.  Are they convinced?  When they look at him do they see a president.  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  Your thoughts about tonight?

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  There‘s a lot of political conventions.  I guess my first vote in 1972.  And I think there‘s something about being outdoors that really makes this, for the people here at least, more of a magical experience because you don‘t have the heat or congestion of being on the floor in one of these arenas pushing and shoving away, except (INAUDIBLE) the fire marshal has closed the door and there‘s some logistical problems for delegates, even some big shots like members of Congress who can‘t find their way off the floor and back on and the facilities and all of the other things. 

But there is a real spirit here.  And they certainly portray it in a red, white and blue way to try to reach out across America and establish a base of additional (INAUDIBLE) support for Barack Obama, the key to this year.  And they know that they‘re going to get some criticism this is another big rally like Berlin. 

But the key is that they think they have 35,000 to 45,000 people from Colorado up in those stands, not the big shots, not the delegates, not the fat cats, but people who they now believe will volunteer to get a ticket.  Yes, they promised to volunteer for at least six hours in the last couple of days.  They‘ve got their cell phones.  They‘ve got their E-mails.  And they are building an organization in the state.  If they can do that with big rallies in other states, they think they have already a way to try to win some of these red states. 

They can win Colorado.  They think they‘ve got a real big lead toward winning in those states.  The feeling here is one of real celebration.  They pay a lot of close attention, by the way, to these speakers with individual stories and to the national security argument.  Usually, at a convention, everybody is smoothing and walking around and pushing and shoving.  But here, they don‘t have any other place to go.  And so, they seem to be really paying attention to the podium.  Chris?

OLBERMANN:  Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory on the floor of Invesco Field, Mile-High Stadium.  Thank you both as we prepare for the introduction of Sen. Obama.  There are two other factors here.  Andrea‘s point is well-taken about the effect on Colorado, Chris.  But obviously, the overall effect for the millions who will watch this worldwide is not Colorado - no offense to Colorado - it‘s the speech. 

The wonders of word documents being what they are, about 1,000 words of this speech are going to be devoted to “I will, this is what I‘m going to do.”  Anybody who tries to charge Obama after this speech with not having spelled out what he means by change is going to be hit over the head with a 1,000-word document.  It will probably hurt.  

MATTHEWS:  Right.  And of course, the foreign policy pieces of the Obama agenda will be the ones that ring across the planet. 

And clearly, this is a 180 difference from George W. Bush and from John McCain.  He is saying, “We won the war in Iraq; end it.”  He is saying, “We haven‘t even begun the war to catch Osama Bin Laden; let‘s pursue him to his cave.  We haven‘t done it.”  That‘s a 180 difference in the game in terms of our foreign policy in fighting the terrorist threat. 

And I think the world will see that and I think they will be stunned, I think, as well by the visual here.  They will see this on their televisions tomorrow morning which is coming quickly in the world and they will see the man they believe who will win the election.  I think, clearly the world believes this man is on his way to the White House and will be frustrated if he done make it.  And that‘s just the way it is right now. 

OLBERMANN:  The other factor, and you can‘t dismiss this, is that as night falls here in Denver, it‘s chillier than it has been.  It is not going to be a sweating disaffected crowd that have their minds baked in the sun for too long.  People pay attention.  This is why, the story of David Letterman and his television studio kept it at a notorious 60 degrees.  It‘s kept that way so people sit on their seats and are ready to laugh and are ready to cheer and ready to stay awake throughout it. 

He has all the elements together for a landmark speech.  And it must be an extraordinary feeling, too, if he perceives it to be a great speech to know that now he has to execute it.  It‘s like stepping onto the field with a team you know is going to win the Super Bowl.  Dick Durbin is going to introduce him, the senior senator from Illinois and one of his political stalwarts.  There‘s Sen. Durbin now.  After Durbin, the video and then the speech.  Here we go. 

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL):  Four years ago in Boston, I introduced a friend, an Illinois State senator most people had never heard of with the name most people couldn‘t pronounce.  Thirty minutes later, Barack Obama‘s keynote address had changed politics in America, touching the hearts and inspiring the dreams of a nation. 

Tonight, Barack Obama will accept our nomination to be president of the United States of America.  His journey from that moment to now has taken him to every corner of this nation.  Like another son of Illinois, he has spoken to a divided people about the better angels of our nature.  To a country weary of the politics of division and dead lock, he has brought a message of unity and change. 

We know that Americans hunger for change.  They want to believe that they still have a fighting chance in this land of opportunity.  They are the millions of new voters, Democrats, Republicans and independents, who are stepping forward to be part of this historic campaign. 

We see it in the eyes of the young people who work night and day, eat cold pizza, sleep on the floor, because they want to believe.  We see it in the faces of gray-haired volunteers who just one more time in their lives want to believe again. 

(APPLAUSE)

This man, Barack Obama, has inspired America to believe that we can come together, meet the challenges of this new century, and rise up to a better place.  I‘ve been close to Barack Obama for many years, but now, after this long campaign, so many of us know this man.  We know how he thinks.  We know his values.  We know that Barack Obama‘s journey has never been far from the pain and struggles so many Americans face today.  And that life has tested him and prepared him to lead this nation we all love. 

Barack Obama had the good judgment to know that we should not risk the lives of our brave soldiers in the wrong war.  Barack Obama has the wisdom to know that we should never, never risk our freedoms and privacy to the overreaching hand of government.  Barack Obama has the good sense to know that the future of our nation is.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS:  I have been close to Barack Obama for many years, but, now, after this long campaign, so many of us know this man. 

We know how he thinks.  We know his values.  We know that Barack Obama‘s journey has never been far from the pain and struggles so many Americans face today, and that life has tested him and prepared him to lead this nation we all love.  Barack Obama had the good judgment to know that we should not risk the lives of our brave soldiers in the wrong war. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DURBIN:  Barack Obama has the wisdom to know that we should never, never risk our freedoms and privacy to the overreaching hand of government. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DURBIN:  Barack Obama has the good sense to know that the future of our nation is in the hands of hard-working Americans, not in the selfish grasp of the politically powerful.  Barack Obama knows that America‘s best days are still to come.  Tonight, after this convention ends, and the lights of this great stadium go will come the morning light and the dawning of a new day.  We have gathered here this week to dedicate ourselves to that new day.  We should take message from this mile high city to every corner of this great land, that with this election, the greatness of America can return.  America can move beyond the failed policies and broken promises of the last eight years.  America can turn the page and welcome a new generation of leadership.  Yes, America can.  Yes, we can.  Yes, we can.  Barack Obama and Joe Biden will lead us to a better place and we will be by their side every step of the way. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR:  It is a promise we make to our children, that each of us can make what we want of our lives.  It is this promise that has defined so many great Americans. 

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible. 

NARRATOR:  And it has defined him as well. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  My mother, she said to herself, you know, “My son, he‘s an American, and he needs to understand what that means.”

NARRATOR:  His childhood was like any other.  But it was his search for self that defined him. 

B. OBAMA:  My father, I only met him once for a month when I was 10. 

I probably was shaped more by his absence than his presence. 

NARRATOR:  And what he learned was that, by discovering his own story, he would come to know what is remarkable about his country. 

B. OBAMA:  My grandparents, they grew up in Kansas, right in the center of the heartland.  They were growing up during the Great Depression.  They weren‘t complainers.  They took life as it came.  They knew they had to work hard, even when difficult things happened. 

NARRATOR:  His grandfather fought in Patton‘s Army.  His grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line.  But it was his mother who would see in him a promise and understood what she needed to do. 

B. OBAMA:  She would wake me up at 4:30 in the morning, and we would sit there and go through my lessons.  And I used to complain and grumble.  You can imagine a 6-, 7-, 8-year-old kid having to wake up at 4:30. 

And, you know, if I grumbled, she would say, “Well, this is no picnic for me either, buster.”

The only time I ever saw my mother really angry is when she saw cruelty, when she saw somebody being bullied or somebody being treated differently because of who they were.  And, if she saw me doing that, she would be furious. 

And she would say to me: “Imagine standing in that person‘s shoes,. 

How would that make you feel?”

That simple idea, I‘m not sure I always understood when I was a kid, but it stayed with me. 

NARRATOR:  In Chicago, he would find a calling. 

B. OBAMA:  I loaded up all my belongings in this raggedy old car, and I drove out to Chicago, didn‘t know a soul at the time. 

NARRATOR:  There were factory closings, lost jobs, failing schools. 

And, in the people he met, he would find answers. 

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA:  Everyone was raving about this guy. 

B. OBAMA:  She came off as very professional.  So, I wasn‘t sure she would have much of a sense of humor. 

M. OBAMA:  I thought, Barack Obama—who names their kid Barack Obama? 

B. OBAMA:  It‘s one thing if your name was Barack Smith or Barry Obama.  But, Barack Obama, that‘s a killer. 

(LAUGHTER)

B. OBAMA:  That‘s not going to work. 

M. OBAMA:  And, sort of a month into it, he was like, “We should go out on a date.”  And I thought, no. 

So, he took me to this training that was going on in a church basement on the far south side of the city.  Most of the folks in that basement were there because they had faced some point of hopelessness.  We walk in, and he takes off his suit jacket and launches into what I think is the most eloquent discussion about the world as it is and the world as it should be. 

And that was it.  Really, after that day, that was it.  I was in love with him. 

B. OBAMA:  I had a pile of student loans at the time.  I had just married Michelle.  She had a pile of student loans at the time. 

NARRATOR:  His classmates would field offers from big law firms and Wall Street, but he felt compelled to serve. 

M. OBAMA:  I thought he was crazy.  You know, I thought, well, what did you do all this for? 

B. OBAMA:  You read about some injustice, and you say, that‘s not right.  Somebody should fix that.  You realize nobody else is going to fix it if you don‘t. 

The intent of this bill is to make sure that low-wage workers are able to bring home a living wage. 

NARRATOR:  Tax cuts for workers, welfare to work, and health care for those without. 

MIGUEL DEL VALLE (D), ILLINOIS STATE SENATOR:  If you‘re unemployed, you have got no health insurance, your kid is in a lousy school, that‘s day-to-day stuff.  That‘s what people live on a day-to-day basis.

LAWRENCE M. WALSH (D), ILLINOIS STATE SENATOR:  Pieces of legislation that he carried, he believed in.  He was not carrying it for a group.  He was not carrying it for a lobbyist. 

B. OBAMA:  I remember the first trip I took to downstate Illinois.  Yes, when I got down there, people were completely familiar to me.  They were all like my grandparents. 

NARRATOR:  And, in Washington, he would remember why he was running and who he was fighting for: energy independence, fighting nuclear proliferation, ethics reform. 

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI:  I watched him stand in the middle.  Where a lot of the senior members of the Senate were saying, hey, go away and leave us alone, he wouldn‘t. 

B. OBAMA:  What I want is a family that is transmitting the values I inherited, the values that Michelle inherited to the next generation: hard work, honesty, self-reliance, respect for other people, a sense of empathy, kindness, faith. 

When my mom passed away was one of the toughest moments of my life.  You know, we always had a small family.  And she was, you know, sort of the beating heart of that family.  It was a reminder to me, boy, life sure is short, and you better seize the moment. 

One of my earliest memories, going with my grandfather to see some of the astronauts being brought back after a splashdown, sitting on his shoulders, and waving a little American flag. 

I remember my grandfather, who always had a big imagination.  He was like a little boy himself.  And my grandfather, you know, would say, “You know, boy, Americans, we can do anything when we put our minds to it.”

NARRATOR:  It is a promise we make to our children, that each of us can make what we want of our lives.  It is a promise that his mother made to him and that he would intend to keep. 

B. OBAMA:  I stand before you today to announce...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  ... my candidacy for president of the United States of America!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

M. OBAMA:  You know, I don‘t think we have ever had a conversation about being a senator or being president.  It was always about trying to move people. 

B. OBAMA:  Every generation, we have an obligation to work on behalf of the next generation.  We have got to work to make their lives better. 

(APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  I know what it‘s like not to have a father in the house, to have a mother who is trying to raise kids, work, and get her college education at the same time. 

It is that fundamental belief, I am my brother‘s keeper, I am my sister‘s keeper, that makes this country work. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  I know what it‘s like to watch grandparents age, whether their fixed income is going to cover the bills. 

We have got to transform the political culture, so it‘s responsive to you, and not the special interests, and not the fat cats, not the lobbyists, but is responsible to you and your children.

And, when I travel from town to town, I see Americans going through the same things that my family went through.  And I‘m reminded of what my mother always said:  Imagine what it‘s like being in somebody else‘s shoes. 

You know, one person‘s struggle is all of our struggles.  We recognize

ourselves in each other

To make sure that opportunity is there, not just some people, but all of us, and that‘s the country I believe in.  That is what‘s worth fighting for. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(MUSIC)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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B. OBAMA:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you so much. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you very much. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you so much, everybody.  Thank you.  Thank you so much. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  To—thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, everybody. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  To—to Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Let me—let me express—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 yours, Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  To President Clinton, to President Bill Clinton, who made, last night, the case for change as only he can make it...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  To Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  ... and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  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 of the Amtrak train he still takes home every night. 

To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  And, to Malia and Sasha, I love you so much, and I am so proud of you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas, who weren‘t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that, in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. 

It is that promise that‘s always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well. 

That‘s why I stand here tonight, because, for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women, students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors, found the courage to keep it alive. 

We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.  Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. 

More of you have lost your homes, and even more are watching your home values plummet.  More of you have cars you can‘t afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can‘t afford to pay, and tuition that‘s beyond your reach. 

Now, 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 policies of George W. Bush. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  America, we are better than these last eight years.  We are a better country than this. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  This country‘s more decent than one where a woman in Ohio on the brink of retirement finds herself one illness away from disaster, after a lifetime of hard work. 

We‘re a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment that he‘s worked on for 20 years and watch as it‘s shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news. 

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  ... that sits—that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Tonight—tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land, enough!

This moment...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  This moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive, because, next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. 

(BOOING)

B. OBAMA:  And we are here—we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  On November 4 -- on November 4, we must stand up and say, eight is enough. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

B. OBAMA:  Now—now, let me—let—let there be no doubt, the Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction.  And, for that, we owe him our gratitude and our respect. 

(APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  And, next week, we will also hear about those occasions when he‘s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need. 

But the record‘s clear.  John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. 

(BOOING)

B. OBAMA:  Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  I don‘t know about you, but I‘m not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives, on health care, and education, and the economy, Senator McCain has been anything but independent. 

He said that our economy has made great progress under this president. 

He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.  And when one of

his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about

the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just

suffering from a mental recession, and that we have become—and I quote -

“a nation of whiners.”

(BOOING)

B. OBAMA:  A nation of whiners—tell that to the proud autoworkers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. 

Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently, as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  These are not whiners.  They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. 

These are the Americans I know. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Now, I don‘t believe that Senator McCain doesn‘t care what‘s going on in the lives of Americans.  I just think he doesn‘t know. 

(LAUGHTER)

B. OBAMA:  Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? 

(LAUGHTER)

B. OBAMA:  How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? 

How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people‘s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement? 

(BOOING)

B. OBAMA:  It‘s not because John McCain doesn‘t care.  It‘s because John McCain doesn‘t get it. 

For over two decades...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  For over two decades, he‘s subscribed to that old discredited Republican philosophy, give more and more to those with the most, and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. 

In Washington, they call this the ownership society.  But what it really means is that you‘re on your own. 

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Out of work?  Tough luck.  You‘re on your own.  No health care?  The market will fix it.  You‘re on your own.  Born into poverty?  Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don‘t have boots.  You are on your own. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Well, it‘s time for them to own their failure.  It‘s time for us to change America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  And that‘s why I‘m running for president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  You see—you see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. 

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month, so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma.  We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  ... when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500, instead of go down $2,000, like it has under George Bush. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have, or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job, an economy that honors the dignity of work, the fundamentals we use to measure economic strength or whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight, because, in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton‘s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree, who once turned to food stamps, but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  When I—when I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago, after the local steel plant closed. 

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. 

She‘s the one who taught me about hard work.  She‘s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself, so that I could have a better life.  She poured everything she had into me.  And, although she can no longer travel, I know that she‘s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well. 

Now...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  Now, I don‘t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. 

These are my heroes. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Theirs are the stories that shaped my life and it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  What is that American promise?  It‘s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect. 

It‘s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers and play by the rules of the road. 

Ours, ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all of our problems but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education, keep our water clean and our toys safe, invest in new schools and new roads and science and technology. 

Our government should work for us, not against us.  It should help us, not hurt us.  It should ensure opportunity, not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who is willing to work.  That‘s the promise of America, the idea that we‘re responsible for ourselves but that we also rise or fall as one nation. 

The fundamental belief that I am my brother‘s keeper, I am my sister‘s keeper, that‘s the promise we need to keep.  That‘s the change we need right now. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I‘m president. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Change means a tax code that doesn‘t reward the lobbyists who wrote it but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  And I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)        

OBAMA:  I‘ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small business and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.  I will—listen now, I will cut taxes, cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families because in an economy like this the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president in 10 years we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  We will do this.  Washington, Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years.  And by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them.  And in that time, he has said no to higher fuel efficiency standards for cars, no to investment in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. 

And today we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office.  Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stopgap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  As president, as president I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power.  I‘ll help our auto companies retool so that the fuel efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I‘ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.  And I‘ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy, wind power and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels, an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million jobs that pay well and can‘t be outsourced. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  America, now is not the time for small plans.  Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. 

You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education.  And I will not settle for an America where some kids don‘t have that chance. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I‘ll invest in early childhood education.  I‘ll recruit an army of new teachers and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And in exchange I‘ll ask for higher standards and more accountability and we will keep our promise to every young American, if you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Now, now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable accessible health care for every single American.  If you have health care, if you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums.  If you don‘t, you‘ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain that those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent. 

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses and the time to protect Social Security for future generations. 

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day‘s work because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I‘ve laid out how I‘ll pay for every dime, by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don‘t help America grow.  But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less because we cannot meet 21st Century challenges with a 20th Century bureaucracy. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And, Democrats, Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America‘s promise will require more than just money.  It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us, to recover what John F.  Kennedy called our intellectual and moral strength. 

Yes government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient.  Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall in the lives of crime and despair. 

But we must also admit that programs alone can‘t replace parents, that government can‘t turn off the television and make a child do her homework, that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, that‘s the essence of America‘s promise.  And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America‘s promise abroad. 

If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that‘s a debate I‘m ready to have. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. 

When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we had them in our sights. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  You know, John McCain likes to say he‘ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won‘t follow him to the cave where he lives. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And today, today as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficits,  John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war. 

That‘s not the judgment we need.  That won‘t keep America safe.  We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  You don‘t defeat, you don‘t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq.  You don‘t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington.  You can‘t truly stand up for Georgia when you‘ve strained our oldest alliances. 

If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but that is not the change that America needs. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  We are the party of Roosevelt.  We are the party of Kennedy.  So don‘t tell me the Democrats won‘t defend this country.  Don‘t tell me the Democrats won‘t keep us safe.  The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, have built.  And we are here to restore that legacy. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation.  But I will only send our troops into harm‘s way with a clear mission, and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. 

I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st Century, terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.  And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace and who yearn for a better future. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  These, these are the policies I will pursue.  And in the weeks ahead I look forward to debating them with John McCain.  But what I will not do is suggest that the senator take his positions for political purposes.  Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other‘s character and each other‘s patriotism. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  The times are too serious.  The stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook.  So let us agree that patriotism has no party.  I love this country and so do you and so does John McCain. 

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. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  So I‘ve got news for you, John McCain, we all put our country first. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  America, our work will not be easy, the challenges we face require tough choices.  And Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off their worn out ideas and politics of the past. 

For part of what has been lost these past eight years can‘t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits, what has also been lost is our sense of common purpose.  And that‘s what we have to restore. 

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don‘t tell me we can‘t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I know there are differences on same sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  The passions may fly on immigration, but I don‘t know of anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.  But this too is part of America‘s promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort. 

OBAMA:  Now I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk.  They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. 

And that‘s to be expected, because if you don‘t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  If you don‘t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.  You make a big election about small things.  And you know what?  It has worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. 

When Washington doesn‘t work, all its promises seem empty.  If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it‘s best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.  I get it.  I realize that I‘m 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.  But I stand before you tonight because all across America, something is stirring. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  What the naysayers don‘t understand is that this election has never been about me.  It‘s about you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  It‘s about you.  For 18 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. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Change happens, 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. 

America, this is one of those moments.  I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming, because I‘ve seen it.  Because I‘ve lived it.  Because I‘ve seen it in Illinois when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. 

I‘ve seen it in Washington where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans, and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. 

And I‘ve seen it in this campaign, in the young people who voted for the first time, and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time, in the Republicans who never thought they would pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I‘ve seen it.  I‘ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day, even though they can‘t afford it, than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise. 

You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that‘s not what makes us rich.  We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that‘s not what makes us strong.  Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that‘s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. 

Instead, it is that American spirit, that American promise that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain, that binds us together in spite of our differences, that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen but what is unseen, that better place around the bend. 

That promise is our greatest inheritance.  It‘s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel West, a promise that led workers to picket lines and women to reach for the ballot. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And it is that promise that 45 years ago today brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington before Lincoln‘s Memorial and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  The men and women who gathered there could have heard many things.  They could have heard words of anger and discord.  They could have been told to succumb to the fear and frustrations of so many dreams deferred. 

But what the people heard instead, people of every creed and color, from every walk of life is that in America our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one. 

We cannot walk alone, the preacher cried.  And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.  We cannot turn back.  America, we cannot turn back, not with so much work to be done. 

Not with so many children to educate and so many veterans to care for.  Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save.  Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. 

America, we cannot turn back.  We cannot walk alone.  At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future.  Let us keep that promise, that American promise.  And in the words of scripture, hold firmly without wavering to the hope we confess. 

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(MUSIC PLAYING, “ONLY IN AMERICA”)

(MUSIC)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  And now, at this hour, Barack Obama is officially the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

OLBERMANN:  Vote for him or do not, but take pride that this nation can produce men and speakers such as that. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA:  For 42 minutes, not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in a way usually reserved for the creations of fiction, an extraordinary political statement, almost a fully realized, tough, crisp, insistent speech in tone and in the sense of cutting through the clutter, akin to the words that were given to fictional title character in that Aaron Sorkin film “The American President.” 

Only, this cut-the-crap moment is not the stuff of fiction.  This is the real thing out here. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  I would love to find something to criticize about it. 

You got anything? 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  No. 

You know, I have been criticized for saying he inspires me.  And to hell with my critics. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  I think what he said was about us.  And that‘s why we care about what he said. 

It was not about an ego.  It was about a country.  And, when he said it at the end, he really challenged, I think, the country to make a decision.  He said, our strength is not in our money or military or even our culture.  He said, it‘s the American spirit, the American promise that pushes us forward, even when the path is uncertain that binds us together in spite our differences, that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but in what is unseen, that better place around the bend.  That is America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  And I think—I think that is a challenge, and it‘s an open challenge to the hearts and minds of the country, what they do with that challenge.  They can choose him or the other guy.  It‘s an open choice.  It‘s a free election.

But what he was saying is, choosing the unknown is what we did when we picked Roosevelt.  It‘s what—what happened when the country chose Reagan.  It‘s what they chose when they chose Clinton.  Oftentimes, you have to take the unknowable and move away from the unacceptable.

And, in this case, he‘s saying, place your bets on the 90 percent, not the 10 percent where McCain disagrees with Bush. 

I thought it was an amazing bit—I have written speeches all my life, of course, nothing like this.  And let me tell you what was great about it. 

What he did was—and it‘s a military practice.  It‘s called attacking from a defensive position.  It‘s how Henry won at Agincourt.  It‘s how Alexander won.  It‘s how Reagan kicked the butt of Jimmy Carter. 

And what you do is this.  You take your opponent‘s best shot, and you throw it back at him.  Are we a nation of whiners? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  If this is an ownership society, you own your failure.  Was my upbringing a celebrity‘s upbringing?  If you‘re going to follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, how about going to his cave and getting him? 

And how dare you say this election is a test of patriotism, when we‘re all in this together?

It was a great way of throwing back the other side‘s best shot, and saying, it‘s full of crap. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  If there is one word from this, one word said more sharply and with more emotion than all the others, not to say the others didn‘t contain emotion, but he took the last eight years of the Bush administration and shouted at America, enough.

It was—in addition to the inspiration and the rhetoric that you have cited, it was all the specifics that were asked of him.  There were at least 29 personal specific policy pledges, nothing inspecific about the change that is he proposing, 29 of them. 

Who would take on John McCain?  He did.  There were at least 19 references to the failures, from his point of view, of the John McCain campaign. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  There were four direct punches towards George Bush and four more of them to the Republican Party in general. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  There were no stone left unturned here. 

MATTHEWS:  And one of the shots went directly into the chamber of the U.S. Senate, where John McCain has served for all these years. 

He said, let‘s talk about the temperament of John McCain.  There is going to be a topic.  That‘s going for the sore spot.  That‘s going to the issue that the Republicans in the caucus bring up about John McCain, temperament.  Let‘s watch if he follows that to its conclusion between now and November. 

OLBERMANN:  That was an extraordinary laying down of the glove after first striking Mr. McCain with it.  Do you have the judgment?  Do you have the temperament? 

Again, your observation about this as a historical military struggle in its precision is right on there.  That is taking that message back.  That is taking what the opponent thinks is his strength and saying, “Ole,” and pulling out the red cape as the bull goes past you. 

MATTHEWS:  And to demonstrate aspect of that tactic, Ronald Reagan...

OLBERMANN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  ... delivered the most lethal blow against my old boss Jimmy Carter when he said, “There you go again.”

That is the killer line, because everyone knew what he meant.  In this case, he took the litany of the entire Republican National Committee ensemble and took it point by point, and said, “I can throw that back in your face,” and he did so.

I have to tell you, I don‘t know who put this thing together. 

OLBERMANN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  I assume, in that hotel room, not far from his home, he put the final touches of this. 

But I‘m sure John McCain shares pretty much our assessment of this speech tonight as he sat and watched this.  This was a strong statement of what he has to defeat between now and November.  This is going to be one first-rate general election campaign.  This is going to be fought at the highest level of combat.

And we‘re going to see the best there is in this country, in terms of its political skill in fighting this out.  And what I thought was interesting, what he said today, let‘s not make a big election about small things. 

I think, as we watch this debate, we will all know what is important to debate and what is small, and we can all keep count. 

OLBERMANN: “Now, I don‘t believe that Senator McCain doesn‘t care what‘s going on in lives of Americans.  I just think he doesn‘t know.”

And, a paragraph later: “It‘s not because John McCain doesn‘t care. 

It‘s because John McCain doesn‘t get it.”

MATTHEWS:  And that‘s his challenge, to me, by the way, next week. 

John McCain has to prove next week that he gets it...

OLBERMANN:  That he knows and he gets it.

MATTHEWS:  ... he knows it, and he is on to it, and that he has the superior approach to facing the challenges of the coming century. 

This is a great opportunity for American debate here, a great opportunity for a great campaign to come. 

OLBERMANN:  And there were moments of absolute, the proverbial headlines, the pages ripped from the newspapers.  Drilling is a stopgap measure.  Somebody finally said that in response to this Republican meme that somehow increasing drilling will create a—a lower price at the gas pump next week.  He came back and said, that‘s not the case, and hit him again and again on those specifics of those campaign... 

MATTHEWS:  And I think it shows, whatever happens in November, that democracy remains the most dynamic form of government, because it‘s a learning experience for all those involved. 

Barack Obama could not have given this speech before he had to contest the campaign with Hillary Clinton.  It was that fight that gave him the steel to make the statement tonight.  And I tell you, this is going to get better. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  The Democratic Convention now adjourned there in the center of the screen by Speaker Pelosi. 

And we will go out to the field at Mile High. 

David Gregory with the view of the speech as a witness—David.

DAVID GREGORY, HOST, “RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE”:  Well, Keith, being with these supporters here, these Democrats—and Tom Brokaw talked about the hunger of change of these Democrats.  They want the White House back. 

I think they got what they wanted.  I think they are suitably thrilled by what they have heard.  And they are motivated, at a time when they need motivation, because that is a big part of this, enthusiasm, motivation, new voters, new energy to get out to vote, to get other people out to vote, to raise money. 

All of that is there among Democrats, who are tired of losing to Republicans.  It‘s a big part of it.  It‘s what Republicans had back in 2000 and 2004.  I think effective campaigns are reduced to clear choices.  This is a change election. 

What Barack Obama did in the early part of that speech is outline what Americans don‘t like about the way the country is going, war, joblessness, health care, all of these things that make for a feeling among Americans that the country is just off on the wrong track. 

So, the choice is, do you trust John McCain or Barack Obama to bring you change?  That‘s the threshold question.  I covered the 2004 campaign.  I think it was different.  I think the threshold question was, who is tough enough to fight and win the war on terror?  And George Bush won that argument against John Kerry, in the voters‘ minds. 

So, now, it‘s, who do you trust to bring real change?  And that‘s what Barack Obama did tonight, is, he issued a blueprint to run on for the next couple of months, the final stretch of this campaign, to say, if you don‘t like where you are, this is where you‘re going.  I‘m about the future.  John McCain is about the past.  I‘m about these specific ideas.  I represent change.  I‘m an African-American.  I‘m making history here.  Trust me to make change, or do you want to trust a guy who is aligned with George Bush in these ways?  Even if he has a history of independence, he‘s aligned in these ways. 

So, this is a blueprint of a campaign that—that he wants to run on.  And what they are banking on in the Obama campaign is that essentialized choice about future vs. past, Obama vs. McCain, and that trust question.  It‘s a threshold question. 

John McCain wants to make the threshold question, is John—is Barack Obama capable of leading?  Do you trust him?  Does he have enough experience to lead in dangerous times?

Barack Obama‘s threshold question is, do you think John McCain gets it enough to lead America into the future?

So, it‘s an essential choice.  It‘s what Barack Obama needed to do now, as he comes out of this convention, answers the questions about himself, make voters comfortable with him, and make the contrast clear. 

Now we head into debates.  Now we head into the battleground states, and—and the race is on.  If there‘s a note of post-partisanship that I think we should note here, and that is that Brooks & Dunn, the song that was played, “Only in America,” after Barack Obama finished speaking, was what George W. Bush would play after all of his rallies back in 2004. 

So, maybe that‘s an Obama campaign nod to the idea that Democrats and Republicans can get along—Guys.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, David. 

Or it expands on Chris‘ point that you are attacking from defense. 

There he is using some of the actual Bush frills, the songs in any event.

Also, David Gregory will stay with us. 

Let‘s get initial impressions from Invesco Field and Andrea Mitchell -

Andrea. 

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, one of the most startling things about this was, as exciting a speech as this was to the delegates down here on floor they really didn‘t get fired up until Barack Obama went after John McCain on exactly what you guys were talking about, his perceived strength, when he—he went right after him and said, if John McCain wants to have a debate on who has the judgment and temperament to be commander in chief, that is a debate that I will have, and then when he said, you know, John McCain likes to say that I will follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won‘t go to the cave where he lives.

So, it was those—those moments where people started jumping up and shouting, whoo-wee, whoo-wee.  I mean, they were really into it.

This was the red meat that this crowd has been wanting, they have been waiting to see.  They‘re Democrats.  They‘re rank-and-file Democrats.  Some were Hillary.  Some were Obama.  Some were still undecided.  They were waiting to see if this man is a fighter, because this is a change election.

There‘s no question that this current White House is not popular and that John McCain is identified often with this White House.  He has described himself as a maverick.  And if he can persuade people that he‘s separate from George Bush, and if he can do that successfully next week, and launch his general election campaign, then he has a really good chance of being elected president of the United States. 

But what Barack Obama accomplished here, despite the—or beyond the theatrics, I should say, is that he, I think, went a long way toward persuading rank-and-file Democrats that he will fight for them and fight for change and that he will go man-to-man against John McCain and the Republicans, that this will not be another—forgive the expression—

John Kerry election, where he could be swift-boated or attacked by Republican attacks that he can‘t defend or won‘t defend against.

This was a remarkable turning point, that moment when he said that—if John McCain has the temperament to be commander in chief.  He was going after an unspoken code that, as you discussed, has been talked about in the cloakrooms in Washington.  And he also, of course, did a lot to humanize himself today. 

So, I think, in terms of all of those components, this was a very

successful speech.  The question will be whether, as seen on a television

screen—and I‘m seeing it here from the floor, from absolute ground level

I don‘t know how it looked to the larger audience.  I don‘t know whether it was too much and too over the top.  But it seemed very, very personal here on the floor—Chris and Keith.

OLBERMANN:  I think it read the same here, Andrea.  It seemed like it worked off of the screens here.  In front of 84,000 at Invesco, or in front of millions in front of their TVs in this country and others, it was the inspirational speech that was wanted, the self-introduction that was wanted, patriotism, red meat speech, policy wonk speech, everything you could ask for. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Andrea Mitchell. 

Thank you, David Gregory. 

When we return, Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd, the political and the historic significance of this night and that speech in Denver. 

You are watching MSNBC‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention and the Democratic candidacy of its nominee, Barack Obama of Illinois. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook.  So let us agree that patriotism has no party.  I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. 

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.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that‘s a debate I‘m ready to have.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  Well, there it was, the early front-line front-runner for the quote of that speech, invoking and questioning not just his opponent‘s judgment, but his temperament.  I don‘t think that requires a lot of interpretation to figure out what was meant between the lines. 

We rejoin you from Denver with MSNBC‘s live coverage of the now concluded Democratic Convention for 2008. 

Alongside Chris Matthews, I‘m Keith Olbermann.

And we‘re joined now by Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, and Chuck Todd.

And, Brian, I will begin with you. 

It was a—it was a speech that seemed to be a collage of different kinds of speeches.  Four or five different purposes were served.  Where do you begin? 

BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS”:  Well, I agree with all

your points so far.  I agree with the analysis I heard, especially with the

the attacks on McCain, the kind of notes about where our society is.

But I have to tell you, sitting here in this arena, listening to that speech in this stadium, imagining it as it went out over television, I‘m thinking of two guys. 

I‘m thinking of Tim Russert, our brother, for obvious reasons, because of the spectacle of it, because he would love watching this, and because Mike Murphy might have been right tonight that this is going to be, in large part, perhaps a generational campaign. 

I‘m also thinking of Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter, the legendary writer and creator of “The West Wing” on NBC, but also the screenwriter behind the film “The American President.”

The line from this speech, “That is a debate I would like to have,” is a one-off direct lift from President Andrew Shepherd.  This is part of the new cadence and the new tone and the new language of American politics.  It was personal that way.  It was conversational. 

There were parallel constructions in this speech that come right out of the Sorkin playbook.  And it‘s kind of the pen and the style of Barack Obama. 

I can‘t wait to watch this fall campaign.  I can‘t wait to get to Saint Paul and see the reaction there.  This is going to be a very exciting time.

And he‘s—he‘s off now.  He‘s launched.  As I said on the network, he‘s—he‘s taking off now with a lot of people riding on his shoulders, and he‘s riding on the shoulders of a lot of people. 

OLBERMANN:  There was at least another one that was—that evoked our fictional friend Mr. Shepherd there about, it‘s not because John McCain doesn‘t care; it‘s because John McCain doesn‘t get it, which is, Bob‘s problem is that he can‘t sell it. 

It‘s the same structure.  But, as I suggested earlier, Brian, this isn‘t fiction.

Tom, it had some of the elements, some of the trappings of the best that art can provide.  As political theater, where does this rank in our—in our recent history? 

TOM BROKAW, NBC SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I think it really does rank near the top in terms of what he needed to do.  I will leave it to others over the long haul of history to make a judgment about the enduring and memorable parts of it, how long they lasted. 

But I think, as we said so often during this day and the days leading up to it, he had several assignments here tonight.  He had to reintroduce himself to the American public, especially those were not as besotted as the people who were here in this stadium.  He had to demonstrate his toughness, his toughness mentally and his toughness of character.  He did that by taking on John McCain directly. 

He also had to spell out what it was that he wanted to do for the American people, without making it sound like a laundry list.  So, I think, on all of those counts, it was a wonderfully crafted political speech. 

And the Republicans, I‘m sure, were looking in and wondering what they were going to be able to do next week to match it, to respond to it. 

I have been a little surprised by the response so far from the McCain

campaign.  It seems to me—this is the one paragraph that we have gotten

“Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama.  When the temple comes down, and the fireworks end, and the words are over, the fact remain.  He‘s still opposed to drilling offshore.  He voted to raise taxes of $42,000 a year, And he voted against funds for American troops in harm‘s way.  He is still not ready for”—end of statement.

My guess is, by tomorrow, they will have their act a little more in order and they will have a little more cohesive and probably a little more strongly worded response to what they heard tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, for their sake, let‘s hope so, Tom. 

Chuck Todd, as I counted them, 29 personal specific policy pledges, 29 definitions of the change that he has been talking about in less specific terms in the past.  As a policy document, how did this speech rank? 

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, I think he—there were a lot of Democrats, particularly Hillary Clinton Democrats and Bill Clinton Democrats, who have been waiting for him to define change, more so than anybody—these are the union Democrats or, as our late friend Tim Russert would say, Buffalo Democrats, wanting to hear specific policy proposals, to know exactly how they are going to get money in their pocket, exactly how government might even get out of their way. 

I was struck by the nods, the little nods, in here to personal responsibility.  I‘m sure that made Bill Clinton smile.  Talked about abortion in a way that, hey, that you wouldn‘t normally hear a Democrat talk about.  He admitted that not everybody agrees on guns, so he was trying to appeal to Missouri, as well as Missouri, when it comes to some of these swing states. 

But I will tell you, the other thing about this speech was how he was telling Democrats:  I‘m not going to be Michael Dukakis.  I‘m not going to be Al Gore.  I‘m not going to be John Kerry.  I‘m going to fight John McCain.  I will fight him on his turf.  I will fight him on my turf. 

So, the toughness of the speech is probably what is still going to stand out.  And that‘s why I think that Tom‘s right when he—the McCain campaign, their response seemed to be as if they might as well have been speechless.  They could have written that quote before the speech started. 

They didn‘t know how to react to this speech.  Maybe they were focus-grouping at the time, and it focus-grouped well.  Whatever the response was, they don‘t know how to react to this just yet. 

And I will tell you, one final point, the two conventions, normally, you want to go second.  But this is the first time we have had back-to-back conventions like this.  And I will tell you, I don‘t know if the Republican Party really is looking forward to having to follow this show, because, as a political show, this is going hard to top, not just next week, but even four or eight years from now. 

MATTHEWS:  Brian and then Tom, it did seem to be, although he was appealing for a higher level of combat, he was not at all trying to avoid the personal aspect of any race for the presidency. 

I don‘t know about you all, but I still am stunned, to some extent, by the—the ad hominem aspect of going after another man‘s temperament, and almost saying, OK, next week, show us your temperament. 

I was struck by the fact that, in an interview on the record, one of those Q&A format interviews today with “TIME” magazine, Jay Carney, he was prickly.  He was saying things to Jay Carney, who was—seems like a somewhat inoffensive reporter: “I‘m not going answer that.  That‘s the wrong question.  Next.  Try another one.”

It was described as a kind of—in fact, literally, as a prickly interview. 

Brian, are they trying to open up something here in terms of press inquiry? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, for every one of those—and the—the word temperament, you‘re right, appeared in the speech.  He also brought up the word celebrity to put some wood on it in reverse, as a baton to—to hit back with after the recitation of his life story. 

We all read that—that same transcript, Chris, with great interest.  We all know the journalists involved.  We know the senator involved.  And I have been told—and it didn‘t turn out to be true—that the—that temperament theme might come up, if not directly, by inference, from the podium. 

It didn‘t this week during the convention.  Came up here in this stadium in front of 80,000 people tonight, so it‘s now out there as an issue. 

MATTHEWS:  Tom?

BROKAW:  Chris, for my part, I think that—yes—I think, for my part, I think that Barack Obama was punching back tonight.  He‘s been roughed up in the last six weeks.  And the folks around him know that. 

And they were caught a little flat-footed by it.  Any number of them said to me, look, they found our soft underbelly.  We can‘t have a margin of error here.  Here‘s someone that so many people in America still don‘t know enough about.  We know how passionate his supporters are.

So, tonight, he felt a certain license, I think, to throw a punch back.  And he did just that.  So, I think it will probably help set the tone for the Republican Convention next week.  And it certainly will set the tone for what we are going to see once that convention ends, and then the race to November 4.  And it is going to be a race. 

I have seldom seen a presidential contest of this enormous consequence that is going have such a short period of time.  We‘ll have three presidential debates.  They will end the first week in September and they‘ll have the election on the first Tuesday in November.  That is, in a matter of speaking, a blink. 

OLBERMANN:  Chuck, analyze this for me.  This is—we‘ve heard the initial statement from the campaign of Senator McCain.  Senator Clinton, who was at the speech, although I don‘t think there was a shot of her at any point, attended the speech at Mile High at Invesco tonight, has issued a statement about Senator Obama‘s speech. 

“Barack Obama‘s speech tonight laid out his specific bold solutions and optimistic vision for our nation and our children‘s future.  His speech crystallized the clear choice between he and Senator McCain.  Four more years of the same failed policies or a leader who can tackle the great challenges we face, revitalizing our economy and restoring our standing in the world.  I‘m proud to support Senator Obama, our next president of the United States, and Joe Biden, our next vice president of the United States.” 

Kind of a post-script to her speech the other night. 

CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  It is.  Look, there were a lot of nods, I thought, here to Clinton.  Mark Penn, the strategist for both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, there were phrases in here that is going to make him smile. 

The mutual responsibility, that‘s new phrase we haven‘t seen.  We‘ve heard Bill Clinton talk about personal responsibility.  But individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, those are the type of words that Mark Penn and Dick Morris, back when they were running the show there for Bill Clinton in ‘96 and got him reelected, it was those type of watch words to Middle America that seemed to resonate and Barack Obama easily adopted them. 

I mean, that‘s what—look, the entire document is just a very impressively done speech.  I mean, it just has a theme that flowed very easily.  After four days of hearing all these other speeches, you realize how this guy is just a step above everybody else when it come to pure speech-writing and speech-making, no matter what you think of him and his politics. 

OLBERMANN:  So, Brian, we talked previously about the arc of a convention and whether or not you can build from day one to day last.  Having seen it all now, did the Democrats succeed?  Did they hit the crescendo at the end and not in the middle somewhere?

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR:  Well, last night I talked about the mishegas, three days of mishegas into the final night at Mile High.  And the mishegas is all over, it‘s forgotten.  Tips of the hat all over the place from the nominee, as Chuck pointed out, to the Clintons.  The line, it‘s not about you, it‘s about us. 

The notion of the collective, again the new political dynamic, the new cadence, the new structure of the argument.  So I think when the smart people who cover and analyze politics and sit down and look at this as a narrative, a four-day gathering, I think they will probably agree with the theme of your question. 

OLBERMANN:  Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd, at Invesco Field, great thanks to you all. 

When Chris Matthews and I return, reaction to this historic night from our MSNBC analyst Michelle Bernard, plus Norah O‘Donnell, Rachel Maddow, and the entire panel, our coverage of the Democratic Convention continues right after this. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  But the record is clear.  John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.  Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment.  But really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I don‘t know about you, but I‘m not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  John McCain likes to say that he‘ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won‘t even follow him to the cave where he lives. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  This, the scene in Denver, Colorado, tonight.  We rejoin you from the aftermath of the Democratic National Convention, a historic night in which the first African-American to become a presidential nominee of a major political party officially accepted that nomination. 

We may have been misled slightly.  I recall now, as we go to Chris Matthews and our political analyst Michelle Bernard, that we were told this would be a workmanlike speech from Senator Obama.  He apparently was somehow limiting himself with faint praise. 

That, Chris, was not just workmanlike. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I think that was what we call in politics a lowball. 

Michelle Bernard, thank you for joining us.  You know, I said earlier tonight, I want you to give me your feelings on that as a much younger person. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  You know, I think it‘s so important to remind ourselves that Barack Obama wasn‘t appointed the Democratic nominee for president in perhaps one of the 50-50 shots at becoming our next president, he won.  He took the prize.  He‘s commander-in-chief by force of success.  And it‘s so much bigger than appointment to a cabinet position it seems. 

Talk about what it means now, you‘re African-American, to have someone who has won the nomination of a major political party for the first time in the history of Western civilization, somebody with an African background.  Now I may be wrong on this and somebody will correct this, somebody, oh, Caesar Africanus or somebody.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Or August Africanus or something I‘ve missed here, or Cleopatra or whatever, but the fact is this is phenomenal.  Your feelings? 

MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  This is—I think the most important thing I can say is that I‘m so glad that I‘m alive and old enough in a point in history to fully absorb what was happening.  I actually went away and sat in the green room by myself so that I could just absorb it and actually weep alone. 

This is the most amazing evening of my entire life.  I kept looking at Barack Obama the entire evening and I kept thinking that one day that could be my son or my daughter.  Barack Obama, I think, in being elected as the Democratic Party‘s nominee has demonstrated to the entire world that in America anything is possible. 

Joe Biden said it last night and you kept hearing Barack Obama say it again tonight, America‘s promise, America‘s promise, America‘s promise.  And you can‘t help but look at him and say America has finally realized its promise. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that—others have said it before that we‘re not an ethnic group, America.  Britain is an island and the French are a people.  He once said that we‘re harder to utter, something harder to utter, a willingness of the heart.  Is this nomination of Barack Obama a willingness of the heart, of the mind?  Is this a real change?  Is this a hope? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, it is!

MATTHEWS:  A prospect or a reality, where are we? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BERNARD:  It is all of the above, as they are telling us. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BERNARD:  We are looking tonight behind us at a sea of beautiful black, white, Asian faces.  It tells me that the era of identity politics in the United States is over.  I will be very happy on election night if we can get to a point where we don‘t have to talk about how women are voting, how African-Americans are voting, how people in Appalachia are voting. 

Iowa did it first.  Iowa demonstrated that in this country white people will vote for a black man.  It‘s the greatest day in our nation‘s history. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Do you—let‘s talk about—let‘s be—I want to talk about the.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE), Chris.

MATTHEWS:  What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Get on the front page.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.

Develop me, develop the front paper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you.  Everybody has an attitude tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  But let me ask you this.  Hillary Clinton came close to

winning this nomination.  She had 18 million votes, cracks in the glass

ceiling.  I just kept hearing some of those cracks tonight being wielded by

wielded at by Barack Obama, ERA, equal opportunity, equal pay, fighting for the right to vote back when it had—when suffrage came. 

Talk about that because I though he really delivered.  I said the other night that Hillary Clinton had passed him the baton in kind of a relay race this time around.  It seemed like he was trying to at least deliver on that and will offer the fact that he‘s a partner of Hillary Clinton in delivering this nomination and delivering this party cause to the country. 

BERNARD:  Absolutely.  He gave her the praise that she absolutely deserved.  Hillary Clinton will go down in the history books as one of the greatest female politicians, one of the greatest politicians of all time.  She almost did it.  I agree with you that fundamentally things might have been different if Hillary Clinton had voted against the Iraq War.  I think that‘s what the issue turned on for Democrats. 

And Barack Obama aced a superior campaign, nothing that we‘ve ever seen like it.  But you know, he was very smart in talking about the world that he wants for his daughters.  And he looked at the audience and he said, I want the same opportunities for my daughters that your sons have. 

For any woman like myself that has a son and a daughter, I always say, I love my children equally and I want them to both have the same opportunities.  So Barack Obama took the sort of post-feminist—third-wave feminist baton from Hillary Clinton.  And he ran with it. 

He is a man who was saying I believe in equal opportunity for all Americans, men, women, black, white Hispanic, whatever you are, America is the greatest country in the world. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  If his campaign succeeds, or—well, we know that it‘s going to be close, if it succeeds, if it comes across as a close call but a very effective campaign, in other words, it is possible to elect an African-American president even if it doesn‘t happen this time.

BERNARD:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  I mean, we don‘t know the permutations, the possibilities.  Things happen in the world that will affect this election not just our thinking.  Will this be a new dispensation for America coming out of this year?  Will there be a different America regardless of what happens?  Or does he have to win to prove change has come? 

BERNARD:  I love the question.  Barack Obama has demonstrated to the entire world that in our country now black people can compete with white people on their own terms and it also means that we can lose on the same terms.  America is a fundamentally different country today.  It will be even more different if he wins this election.  But regardless of the outcome of the election, our country will never be the same again. 

MATTHEWS:  Well said.  Thank you, Michelle Bernard. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Back to Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Chris.  Thank you, Michelle.  I feel impelled to read something from the Associated Press, which is a service that is distributed to thousands of newspapers around the continent mostly, our continent.  This is called “convention analysis.”  I‘m not familiar with the writer.  He‘s identified as Charles Babington. 

But let me read part of this in full. “Barack Obama, whose campaign theme is ‘change we can believe in‘ promised Thursday to spell out exactly what that change would mean.  But instead of dwelling on specifics, he laced the crowning speech of his long campaign with the type of rhetorical flourishes that Republicans mock and the attacks on John McCain that Democrats cheer. 

“The country saw a candidate confident in his existing campaign formula, tie McCain tightly to President Bush and remind voters why they are unhappy with the incumbent.  Of course” he went on to write, “no candidate can outline every initiative in a 35-minute speech, especially one that must also inspire voters.” 

Mr. Babington got the length of the speech wrong by at least seven minutes.  And this is analysis that will be printed in many, many newspapers, hundreds of them around the country.  It is an analysis that strikes me as having borne no resemblance to the speech that you and I just watched.  None whatsoever. 

And for it to be distributed by the lone national news organization in terms of wire copy to newspapers around the country and Web sites is a remarkable failure of that news organization.  Charles Babington, find new work. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

Andrea Mitchell ready at Mile High Stadium out at Invesco Field, your analysis, your thoughts as we wrap the evening up—Andrea. 

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, you know, obviously, an extraordinary speech, a powerful speech.  But I have to tell you, it was a cry to arms, a call to arms for these delegates.  I talked to people at every level. 

Senator Debbie Stabenow, she is from Michigan, she‘s going to be campaigning on Sunday with Joe Biden and Barack Obama.  They‘re going to do the Detroit Labor Day rally on Monday.  She said, this is what our people needed to hear.  They were waiting to hear this kind of approach, this attack on John McCain, and the Republicans. 

And she thinks that this is an enormously successful speech from that standpoint.  And as I was saying earlier to you guys, it was at that moment when he took on John McCain‘s perceived strength, his military experience, yet honoring his service but really going after him in a very personal and a very tough way, going after his judgment, going after his temperament, that‘s when people started to jumping to their feet and shouting here on the floor. 

It was really quite a moment.  People hear say they heard what they wanted.  I talked to union guys, I talked to lawyers, people of all descriptions.  And what they want to see is a real fight.  They don‘t want another Michael Dukakis, they don‘t want another John Kerry.  This is a crowd hungry for victory.  They‘ve had it with being out of power. 

They have serious policy differences with the Republican administration, a very unpopular president.  And John McCain may be a likeable candidate and may be able to define himself as a maverick and will certainly go after Barack Obama in as tough a way as the Republicans have been all along, but the fight is engaged. 

This is going to be the toughest political campaign that I think I‘ve ever experienced in 40 years of covering American politics, and the blood is in the water now.  They are going after him. 

And the stagecraft was so phenomenal.  You guys also focused on the echo Aaron Sorkin from that great movie with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening.  And this was, you know, “The American President,” laying down the challenge to the older established, very tough, popular in New Hampshire—in fact, the senator from New Hampshire, Republican opponent.

I‘ve never witnessed anything quite like this.  Besides the fact that it was an absolutely gorgeous night, how did they get the luck?  If it had rained here tonight it would have been a disaster.  And they had this cool, breezy night, Keith.  I don‘t know how they could have done it any better. 

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Andrea.  Andrea Mitchell at Invesco Field.  If the fight is on, John McCain took 19 unanswered punches tonight, at least by the count here at ringside. 

Still ahead, reaction from Norah O‘Donnell and our panel.  You‘re watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic Convention live from Denver. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Tonight I say to the people of America, to Democrats, Republicans, and independents across this great land, enough!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  So I‘ve got news for you, John McCain, we all put our country first! 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD:  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you with MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic National Convention, now just concluded with the extraordinary speech of Senator Obama.  We are live from Denver. 

MATTHEWS:  And now for the first time since the speech, let‘s go to our panel lead by Norah O‘Donnell—Norah. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  And, Chris and Keith, thank you for that.  The panel does want to weigh in on tonight‘s speech that we all watched very closely.   

We kind of had our own focus group in some ways back here at every particular line of the speech.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

O‘DONNELL:  And so what we‘re going to try to do is we‘re going to let everybody here pick kind of what was their favorite part of the speech. 

And let‘s start with you, Rachel. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I want to go with what I think was the most interesting part of the speech for me, because I think the emotional moment, the rhetorical height... 

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  There was one thing that he did that I thought was really strategic, was when he said, we measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing a job, it is an economy that honors the dignity of work. 

He contrasted that with the old discredited Republican philosophy to give more and more to those with the most in hopes that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. 

O‘DONNELL:  Why did you like that part?

MADDOW:  It‘s important, because if you think about the battlegrounds for this election, if you think about the fact that Obama really needs to win in places where Democrats don‘t usually win. 

O‘DONNELL:  Right.

MADDOW:  You look at Ohio, the recent victory of Sherrod Brown there.  Think of Virginia, the recent victory of Jim Webb.  You think of North Carolina, Heath Shuler, who ran on anti-CAFTA platform.  Even states like Montana with Jon Tester and Brian Schwietzer, these guys are the economic populists that have shown Democrats how to win on economic issues even in the reddest of red states. 

O‘DONNELL:  And you have heard me say from here that if you ask many people, did you not know Barack Obama‘s economic message is the number one issue in this country, excellent point. 

Pat, your favorite part of the speech.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, first, let me just say generally about the speech.

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  And let me just say too that someone in Barack Obama‘s campaign e-mailed me and said, I can‘t wait to hear Pat‘s reaction. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)        

BUCHANAN:  I understand it was signed “Barack Obama.” 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  It was a genuinely outstanding speech.  It was magnificent. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BUCHANAN:  It is the finest—and I saw Cuomo‘s speech, I saw Kennedy in ‘80.  I even saw Douglas McArthur.  I saw Martin Luther King.  This is the greatest convention speech and probably the most important, because unlike Cuomo and the others, this is an acceptance speech.  This came out of the heart of America.  And he went right at the heart of America. 

This wasn‘t a liberal, this wasn‘t a liberal speech at all.  This is a deeply, deeply sensitive speech.  It had wit, it had wit, it had humor.  And when he used the needle on McCain, he stuck it into McCain.  And it was funny.  It was Kennedy‘s speech in ‘80.  I laughed with Kennedy when he was needling Ronald Reagan, that was so good. 

Let me read you the passage though, because this man is a professional orator and he is a writer of his own speeches.  But let me read it because here is where you get into the role and the cadence and how a speaker can really pound a point home. 

He says: “I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.  The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and they have bled together and they have 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.”

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  

BUCHANAN:  That is how you bring people off their feet by pulling at their heart and (INAUDIBLE) and guts.  It was beautiful.  He followed that up.  We heard Andrea say, you know, up here we don‘t know exactly how the 78,000 are—the 78,000 are not even 0.1 percent of the people heard it.  This last line, you just mentioned.

O‘DONNELL:  I‘ve got to go.  I‘ve got to send it to Keith.  We‘re going to come back and Gene and I will give our reaction to it too. 

Keith, let me send it back to you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  Norah, there you have it.  We had to stop Pat Buchanan gushing over Obama‘s speech for the sake of time.  Perhaps that will tell you the story better than anything else we could say.  Chris Matthews and I will return in a moment.  More from the panel.  Plus the reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will join us. 

You‘re watching MSNBC‘s live coverage of the Democratic Convention. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It‘s time for them to own their failure.  It‘s time for us to change America.  And that‘s why I‘m running for president of the United States.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Eight years ago, when Democrats gathered in Los Angeles, Barack Obama requested, but did not receive, a pass to get into the convention. 

Four years later, in Boston, the would-be senator addressing that gathering as the keynote speaker tonight.  Tonight, here in Denver, on the fourth and final night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Senator Obama accepting this party‘s nomination for president.  He is presumptive no more. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  Little more than one hour ago, Senator Obama taking the stage at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, and saying, enough to four more years of Republican rule, literally saying, enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Tonight—tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land, enough!

Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Senator Obama detailing at least 29 specific personally made policy pledges, including a promise to defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying—that can‘t be correct—my apologies—to restage the pursuit of Osama bin Laden. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  John McCain likes to say that he‘ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won‘t even follow him to the cave where he lives.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  The Democrat adding that the Republican he will be running against in the general election might want to do more for average Americans than he personally can comprehend. 

OBAMA:  It‘s not because John McCain doesn‘t care.  It‘s because John McCain doesn‘t get it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening again from Denver, Colorado.

Alongside Chris Matthews, I‘m Keith Olbermann.

And, as the speech settles in, it sounds even better. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Right. 

I think the—people are going to read this speech tomorrow morning in the papers and watch it again on television again and again.  And I think they are going to see parts of it.  The—I thought Pat Buchanan hit it—the nail on the head.  It was not a liberal speech. 

Of course, it was a partisan speech.  That is what it was meant to be.  It took the fight to John McCain, who is going to be a worthy adversary, in fact, a formidable one, because of his war record and because of his veteran status.

But it also had this other element that Pat talked to.  It is my hunch

and it‘s only going to be a hunch until we see the election results—that not everybody—some people do love nasty partisanship.  I think people really do hate the politics of Karl Rove.  I think they really do hate...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  ... hate it, because what it‘s based on is finding differences, finding differences in orientation, and making them into the biggest deals in the world, taking states like Ohio on the marriage issues, finding things that divide us, just for the purpose of dividing us. 

I really do think that hurts our patriotism.  And I will tell you, I -

I don‘t know who is out here with us, these 500 people out here.

They are probably...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  I will tell you this.

You think—you think...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  ... because...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  You think, because they may be on one side of the political argument, that they have a problem with America.  These people love this place.  They love it.  And they want it to get better and they want to invest more in it.  And they want to find leaders who want to invest more in this country and make it better. 

They don‘t say, this is as good as it gets.  And that is what is different.  And the people that divide know that they win when they do win on the division.  That is what wins, the division itself. 

And I do think, Pat—Pat, I salute you, brother.  I think you had it.  It wasn‘t a liberal speech, as much as it was a unifying speech, a communion, if you will.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  And I think that is important. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go to a man who knows so much about our history of the last 40 or 50 years, who has lived it and been it, the man who was at so many of the events, including at the assassination, at the side of Martin Luther King himself, when he was slain, the Reverend Martin—I‘m sorry—the Reverend Jesse Jackson himself. 

Reverend Jackson, your thoughts, because I have always said that you gave probably two of the greatest speeches in the history of either party‘s convention, 1984 and 1988.  You know how to do this, sir.  What did you make of it? 

REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION:  Well, it was not a liberal, it was a liberating speech that spoke to our time. 

When Dr. King spoke in 1963, we were at Reagan‘s stage of tear down the wall, tear down—once the wall comes down, then you can speak up of reconciliation.  When the wall came down in Berlin, then you could have East and West Berliners to reconnect.

Now that the walls are down, you can have black, white and brown to reconnect.  So, a profound sense of reconciliation is a morally centered speech.  I thought the second part, I practiced holding back tears.

When he talked about his mother dying with cancer, arguing with insurance companies, I could not hold back any longer, because that is so real.  It‘s so wrong.  It has to change. 

And, then lastly, his willingness to come right at McCain with a sense of toughness.  He has both a tough—a tender heart, a tough mind, and a will to fight.  I thought the speech was very comprehensive and very morally centered. 

MATTHEWS:  And I remember when you said, Reverend Jackson, in 1980 -- you talked about the African-American nurse, the registered nurse, the practical nurse who cleans the bedpans, empties them, who makes the bed, but, when it comes time for her to be ill, cannot afford to get in that hospital bed.  You said that. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, Barack is at a different place in time. 

He spoke to the issues of our time, whether it is the working people who do all the right things, and then the plant closes, the job leaves, insurance is gone, home foreclosed, child can‘t go to college.  That is how broken-hearted, for-real stories are happening in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in Mississippi. 

I thought Barack Obama went at America‘s heart tonight.  And he‘s going to get a bump from this.  Now is the time to move from the speech, I think, to real work. 

I thought he hit Dr. King twice.  That “Now is the time” rhythm now is the kind of Dr. King rhythm, “Now is the time,” and then, of course, at the very end, acknowledging Dr. King, laying the groundwork for tonight.  I think—he didn‘t make this a King part two speech.  He was smarter than that.  I think a lot of people were waiting for a Dr. King part two speech.  They didn‘t get Dr. King part two speech.  They got Barack part one.  And that‘s a good thing.  It was smart.

OLBERMANN:  Reverend Jackson, Chris Matthews mentioned this, Pat Buchanan mentioned this, that flavor of bipartisanship about patriotism. 

He said: “Let us agree that patriotism has no party.  I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.”  He went on to talk about the soldiers who had died and bled together.  “They have not served a red America or a blue America.  They have served the United States of America.”

The inclusiveness of this speech, is that—could that be the most lasting part of it, after this campaign is over, when this text is read in history books?  Will that be something that is touched on?  Could that be something that changes the divisive nature of our politics of this day? 

JACKSON:  Well, you know, our politics have tried to use Christianity to whip folks across—if you don‘t believe what I believe, you‘re not a Christian, which is itself un-Christian, or the idea of patriotism been similar.

The first memory I have of life in the bed with my momma, maybe 3 years old, my father coming from World War II with the flag on our porch carrying his duffel bag, and did not have the same rights on military bases as Nazi POWs did.  Who can challenge our patriotism or our Christianity?

And I think Barack Obama takes on those arguments and know, we are all patriots.  We all love our religion.  Let‘s take our politics, political debate beyond those divisive schemes.  That was a very smart, aggressive approach he took, I think. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  What is your—Reverend Jackson, I have known you a long time.  And I just wonder, do you believe America has it in its heart to open up and perhaps, if it makes the right—makes that judgment intellectually and politically to ethnicity aside enough, if that is its decision on the prospects of what—who would be the next, the best president, can we break through the color bar? 

JACKSON:  Well, that burden is up on people who are trapped and raised as their method of operating.

I will tell you what.  When I saw Barack and Hillary in Mississippi and saw whites voting for Barack, and saw men voting for Hillary in a state where Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney and (INAUDIBLE) the black had been killed, where Emmett Till had been killed, Medgar Evers had been killed, I say, wow, they are now the conduits through which a new, more mature America is expressing itself, yes, even in Mississippi, and in Wyoming, and in Montana.

America maybe be more ready than the commentators are.  And it may be happening outside of politics in the athletic world, where you—When Denver plays the Giants, it is uniform color, not skin color.  It‘s direction, not complexion. 

I think we are more mature.  Walls are coming down every day in the athletic and the entertainment world.  Barack is helping them bring it down in the political world.  And that is good for the healing of our nation.  But it takes a healer to do it.  And I think he represents that sense of hope of healing.

And Barack and Michelle, as a team, they represent the best of the American “Saturday Evening Post” family. 

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Let‘s take it out of the politics of the moment. 

Give me your, if you—as—give me your gut and your honest reaction to this—this question now.  There is—and there has been for the last hour and 15 minutes officially—an African-American nominee for the presidency of the United States...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  ... on a major party ticket for the first time. 

Did you—no matter how—how hard you strived for this and how hard you worked for this, even with all that, did you think it would happen this fast, this suddenly, or are you sitting there tonight saying, what took us so long? 

JACKSON:  Well, in some sense, I knew it can happen.  I didn‘t know who nor when.

In ‘88, when we won Vermont and Michigan and Alaska, and got 1,200 delegates with $17 million, I knew, with more resources, we could have done bigger things then, for example.

But Barack Obama brought in, at a certain time in history, the right message of reconciliation, the right vision of global peace, the right resource base, and the right charismatic personality. 

So, all this came together in Barack.  And—and, so, I knew it could happen.  I didn‘t know it would happen this year.  I knew he had the promise and the possibility.  But, thanks be to God, apparently, intervention took place. 

And, so, I know Dr. King and Medgar Evers and the mothers would rejoice.  I think that is why I really kept crying, because the people who made this thing really happen were those nameless, faceless marchers, martyrs, court protesters, Thurgood Marshall, Joe Ralve (ph), Jack Greenberg, Rosa Parks, a guy named Sunshine (INAUDIBLE), these common people have made America better and the world more secure tonight.

And, so, while I applaud Barack so much, my heart goes out to those who really made this night possible. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, lest you not forget yourself, sir, and I must say, from a position of humble commentary, which is all I have, that you have been so noble and generous these—last year or so, these last many months, in supporting this younger guy, Barack Obama, and many times, I can tell, showing restraint when you might have disagreed with him, and, on many occasions, giving him the floor just stage and stepping back, even from history, and saluting this man as something new and something even more hopeful more hopeful than yourself.

I salute you, as a commentary—as a commentator, despite what you just said about commentators. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Reverend Jackson, it is an honor to have you on tonight. 

Thank you, sir.

JACKSON:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JACKSON:  Now get ready for the Obamarama.  There‘s a new dance, the Obamarama, Obamarama.

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Reverend Jackson.

MATTHEWS:  And, all day, we have been asking you to text-message.  These are so dangerous.  And some of these are out of date when we give them to you.

But here they are.  We have been asking for your opinion on the following question.  It seems so small now.  In moving his speech to Invesco Field, really called Mile High Stadium, from the Pepsi Center, did Obama—did he make a wise move or an unwise move? 

Well, 89 percent of those who answered thought it was a wise move. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Thank God, finally, a great, smart answer for once. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Only 11 percent thought it wasn‘t.

OLBERMANN:  The 11 percent got it wrong. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  And God knows who those people are.  I can only say they voted before the event.

You are watching MSNBC‘s live coverage, in real time, of the Democratic National Convention. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  We are the party of Roosevelt.  We are the party of Kennedy.  So don‘t tell me that Democrats won‘t defend this country.  Don‘t tell me that Democrats won‘t keep us safe. 

The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I get it.  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.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring.  What the naysayers don‘t understand is that this election has never been about me.  It‘s about you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Well, we‘re back in Denver, of course, at the end of the big convention week here.  You can see the excitement of our own crowd out here. 

And, by the way, we do not require credentials, as everyone here is happy to note.

You know, in the Bible, they talked about Jesus serving the good wine last.  I think the Democrats did the same.  And here we are on the last night of the Democratic Convention, having just been served the good wine of rhetoric and what most people believe to be one of the great convention speeches of all time.  Certainly, that was Pat Buchanan‘s verdict tonight. 

Let‘s go right now to the Reverend Al Sharpton, who has been cautiously and—and patiently waiting for us tonight to give his assessment.

Reverend Sharpton, your sense of, well, your own personal feelings. 

Let‘s start with that.

AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST:  Well, I thought it was a sensational speech.  I think he did everything that needed to be done.

He raised the issues.  He laid out how he was going to do, what he was going to do, how he was going to pay for it. 

He also challenged McCain.  I think he went—and directly at him, challenged him point for point.  I think he everything that we needed to hear tonight to leave and go and make this election a success for the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Do you have a sense that, during the weeks of all the focus on the events in Georgia, the Russian invasion of Georgia, that John McCain was able to position himself as much tougher, at the expense, publicly, of his rival, Barack Obama, and that Barack Obama felt the need and delivered on that need tonight to show that he‘s ready for a mano a mano test of wills and strength this fall? 

SHARPTON:  No, I think you—I think you read that right. 

I think that McCain tried to project with the whole question of the Georgia invasion this kind of might and strength, and tried to play Obama as not having that. 

I think, in the speech tonight, when he talked about, Senator Obama talked going after bin Laden, he talked about a strong defense on America, strong defense of Israel, I think he came right where he needed to go in terms of countering that image that the McCain campaign was trying to make him something less than a stern and strong commander in chief. 

And I think he did it in a way that did not make him look reckless or irresponsible, but thoughtful, yet strong. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you think there‘s a—I think it was Pat that said he put the needle in.  And he put the needle, in a number of ways.

And the one way he did it was very personal, talking not just about a man‘s judgment, which can be something of an abstraction, but going after a man‘s temperament, which is about as close to your emotional state as anything, questioning his temperament to serve as our leader.

Does that not put John McCain in a position where there is really nothing he can do, accept calmly act as if he doesn‘t have a temperament problem, but he can‘t address it?

SHARPTON:  Well, I think even as important as that is, it raises the question to Americans, yes, what about his temperament?  Even Republicans are saying that there‘s a temperament question about McCain.

And I think, by Barack Obama addressing it tonight, and even directly saying, “I‘m prepared to have the debate on temperament and judgment,” makes it a central issue now in this election and in these coming weeks that McCain can‘t duck, because it created now an issue that Mr. McCain is going to have to answer.  And you can‘t get any slick ads that can redo your temperament. 

OLBERMANN:  And speaking of temperament, Reverend, on the reverse of it, there had been some thought that Senator Obama was too much above the fray, too—too rational, if you will, to go the exact opposite, too calm, perhaps, in the face of—of challenge. 

And, yet tonight, not only did he throw that—that challenge out back towards Senator McCain, but, after listing all the failures of the Bush administration, he added, “Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land, enough!”

And he shouted the word “enough.”  Anger or passion in a speech can be a very dangerous thing.  That was probably the only word that was said with that amount of passion.  What did you think of the level of—of strength in that? 

SHARPTON:  I thought it was the right level.  I think he—he brought it up without scaring people.  I think that he was combative, without being confrontational.

I think that what Barack Obama did tonight was, he took the gloves off, and never lost a smile on his face.  And that is a dangerous opponent for John McCain. 

OLBERMANN:  How on earth could anybody have listened to that speech, do you suppose, and gotten the impression that there were no policy specifics in it? 

The count that I had as this went along was that there were 29, at least, policy pledges, to some degree of detail, to try to answer, I suppose, that previous contention by the Republicans that change, the idea of change, was very nice, but not at all specific.

Was that specific enough for you? 

SHARPTON:  No, it was very specific. 

He went down point by point in terms of taxes.  He went point by point in terms of energy renewal.  He went point by point on foreign policy.  He went point by point even on some domestic stuff.  Then he came back and said how he could pay for it. 

He also attacked his opponent‘s positions on these points.  He went into areas of even personal choices.  He went into areas of disagreement, but then raised on how we may have thesis here, the antithesis here, but here is a synthesis that we can all agree. 

I mean, he did a methodical job.  And he did something that—and I am an orator myself—he did something amazing.  He did it without losing the audience, because he didn‘t just go to just rhetoric of hope and keep everyone mesmerized.  He went into thick policy, thick budget, and kept everybody interested and applauding.  That was a masterful job. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me talk to you, Reverend, about something you are quite familiar with and quite exceptional at, which is voter registration. 

It looks to me that, if you look at the big cities where we have highly contested state battles for electoral votes, Cleveland, of course, Philadelphia, of course, you look at those cities, will the Democratic Party be able to marshal a huge supermajority of voters, something like—

I have been told that Philadelphia, it has a quote of a 500,000 vote plurality it is expected to produce coming out of that night, election. 

Do you think the African-American community will vote in strong enough numbers to offset those other communities where there will be resistance to this candidate? 

SHARPTON:  I think that not only African-Americans, because Barack Obama is not running a black campaign.  I think black Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, young whites, old whites, working-class whites, I think you are going to see a turnout because of the need for change. 

I think, on the African-American side, one of the things we did this morning at the March on Washington breakfast, the leadership that is out here now on civil rights, Marc Morial and Martin Luther King III, myself, and others, we have talked about having a Not This Time Campaign, to not only register voters, but to also start going into mega-churches and into other places, like colleges, and having people check their registration, because what tripped us up in 2000 and 2004 is, a lot of people that thought they were still on the rolls found out they were not, found out their site had changed.

So, we‘re going to be doing some dramatic bus tours through Florida in two weeks, then through Ohio called the Not This Time Campaign.  We feel we were robbed in 2000, but not this time.  We feel we were robbed in Ohio in 2004.  Not this time. 

This kind of activism, with student activism, and the Democratic Party‘s initiative, I think, is going to create a momentum that will have an unprecedented turnout the will offset not only what the right wing tries to bring out, but will also have the scrutiny there where we won‘t see tens of thousands of voters just disappear from the rolls, and we end up on your shows the next night with a pity party, rather than the victory for the American people. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let‘s hope if you...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  For the purposes of your cause, Reverend Sharpton, that Karl Rove and Don King and the rest of them don‘t get together in Ohio again, like they did last time, and use the marriage issue to drum up a divisive vote to take that state away. 

So, you ought to keep your hands on that situation and beat them before we have the count, instead of joining in the pity thereafter. 

Thank you very much, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

SHARPTON:  That‘s correct. 

OLBERMANN:  Up next—up next, Rachel Maddow will join us. 

Our coverage of the Democratic Convention continues after this. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  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. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  With profound gratitude and great great humility, I accept your nomination for president of the United States. 

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you at the concluded Democratic convention, now concluded here in Denver, Colorado.  I want to turn to Rachel Maddow, host of the new 9:00 p.m. Eastern hour on MSNBC which will debut after next week‘s—that‘s right, the Republicans are having their convention, too. 

MADDOW:  Yes, they are. 

OLBERMANN:  Before we go back and look at the speech, it‘s impossible to believe that the political landscape switches suddenly, urgently, dramatically.  These things not supposed to happen.  There will be something to counter this tomorrow, the Republican announcement of a vice president, there‘ll be an attack ad, there‘ll be this, there‘ll be that, there‘ll be a statement, there‘ll be that.  Is that what we saw tonight?  Or was this seismic? 

MADDOW:  It feels seismic tonight, it certainly does.  And I think that what we have seen, essentially since Barack Obama won the primary campaign, is that McCain has been taking notches out of him, some weeks more effectively than others, but he has been attacking him, attacking him, attacking him, and Obama‘s sort of political stock has been—gone from a great height and it has been decling.  It has just shot back up to the rafters, tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

I will say, in his speech, I was looking for equal parts, economic security, national security and inspiration.  We talked about the economic security piece a little bit already, and national security, you know, some of these lines:  “If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief.”

OLBERMANN:  An extraordinary statement.

MADDOW:  “..,that‘s the debate I‘m willing to have.  If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but it is not the change we need.  I‘ve got news for you, John McCain, we all put our country first.” And then to turn to the inspiration though, what we heard “you,” “we,” “us,” “ourselves,” a kind of inspiration that was not exalting his first achievements as the first black candidate to win the presidential nomination of a major party, but exalting the American dream and positioning himself at the heart of it.  And it was very inspirational, it was moving. 

OLBERMANN:  And every reference to that historical importance that was so widely covered by everybody else, he muted, in some way, and made it kind of, this is why this has happened tonight, and gave credit to his parents, gave credit to the infrastructure that supported his grandfather coming back from the Second World War, put credit throughout American history and then came back and took those issues and said we‘re going to do that again. 

But one thing may have been a surprise.  We sat here last night, having listened to John Kerry‘s speech having listened to much of what Al Gore said at various points during the last year-and-a-half, two years, maybe even six years, and said there are lessons for a Democratic candidate.  Would Barack Obama be on the offensive enough?  I think Mr.  McCain and whoever is working his corner tonight probably thinks that Senator Obama was on offense enough. 

MADDOW:  Yeah, I mean, one of the lingering worries among Obama supporters and Democrats at large, about Obama is that maybe he doesn‘t have the stomach for hitting his opponent hard, maybe he doesn‘t think of American politics in a way that will draw the necessary contrast between Democrats and Republicans.  I think with that one shouted word tonight, as you said, “enough.” He put the worries the “O-Bambi” worries to rest.  I mean, it was—this was a very red-meat speech, I mean, talking to Pat about it, both—hearing him talk about it both on camera and off, he was talking about, you know, just hitting McCain right in the mouth, talking about not being willing to follow Obama bin Laden to the cave in which he lives.  OK, like maybe he didn‘t mention Cheney, but that‘s pretty strong stuff, too. 

OLBERMANN:  Yeah, the premise of, as he, Pat said, again, we sort of can use him as a touchstone in the equation.  He said somebody had to come out and gut John McCain.  I don‘t know that that was necessarily a gutting, but it certainly was an advisory that the gutting materials are all in place. 

MADDOW:  Yeah.

OLBERMANN:  And if we go in that direction, this is not a Democrat that will sort of stand behind a starched collar and go, “ouch.”

MADDOW:  Yeah.  And you know, I think that actually maybe the Republicans were believing their own spin about him.  Their initial response, at least, to the Obama speech seems to have caught them flat-footed.  Tom Brokaw mentioned, immediately, as soon as we all got it, I mean, their response was:  “Tonight Americans witnessed a misleading speech.” And then they went on to repeat this allegation about Barack Obama wanting to raise taxes on people who make $40,000 a year. 

That claim has been debunked even in a place—even on “Fox News.”

I will just say it.

(APPLAUSE)

And so, it‘s that big and obvious a lie that McCain‘s campaign called out even on “Fox News” for having lied about that, let alone all the political fact checking organizations.  I mean, that‘s been debunked in an embarrassing way, this month.  And yet that was all they had to pull out?  That was it?

OLBERMANN:  I was going to say almost anybody under these circumstances, and I‘m sure they will come back strongly and pick apart portions of this speech and come back with stuff that either realistic or has (INAUDIBLE) militude (ph) and sounds realistic enough to fly.  But the flat-footed response and the tone deaf from the McCain campaign it really kind of startling considering how well they had done in countering such impressive events as the Berlin speech and the European and the world tour. 

MADDOW:  But remember that the way that they went after him on the Berlin speech is that that was their offensive, that that was not Barack Obama having made a major accomplishment and then they decided to take it down, all of that happened before he even went there, that was them being on the offense.  They have been playing a very good offensive game.  What we might have learned tonight is that they have a not so great defense. 

OLBERMANN:  But of course, the big selection off the vice president tomorrow, for Mr.  McCain, which looks like the very well known and exciting Tim Pawlenty, will no doubt counter all that we saw, here tonight. 

MADDOW:  I spoke with the mayor of Minneapolis, tonight, R.T. Rybak, who‘s long been a political jousting partner of Tim Pawlenty, and he said: 

“I know Tim Pawlenty, Tim Pawlenty‘s not gong to step on any Obama bounce.”

OLBERMANN:  Wow.

MADDOW:  Yeah.

OLBERMANN:  We‘ll, maybe on the “Associated Press” wire, we‘ll see.

MADDOW:  Yeah, maybe.

OLBERMANN:  Rachel Maddow, great thanks, as always.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  We‘ll check in with “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman and the campaign listening post.  He has new information on how the Republicans are hoping to counter what we heard here tonight.  Plus, more from Norah O‘Donnell, Rachel and the panel, Pat Buchanan.  You‘re watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic convention, live from Denver. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I don‘t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine—these are my heroes, theirs are the stories that shaped my life and it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  To all my fellow citizens of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you from Denver after the Democratic convention has wrapped up after Barack Obama has officially and formally accepted its nomination for president in a speech that not only laid out his policy vision with specifics, but also sharpened the differences between himself and John McCain. 

“Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman is in our campaign listen post with new information on what the Republicans are planning next week in Saint Paul. 

Before we get to that, though, Howard, I want to read something that is on the “Washington Post” Web site about next week in Saint Paul, whether or not there will be a next week in Saint Paul.  The head line is “GOP Considers Delaying Convention.” “Republican officials said yesterday,” meaning Thursday, “that they are considering delaying the start of GOP convention in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, because of Tropical Storm Gustav, which on track to hit the Gulf Coast and possibly New Orleans, as a full-force hurricane next week.  The threat‘s serious enough that White House officials,” the “Post” writes, “are also debating about whether President Bush should cancel his scheduled convention appearance on Monday, the first day of the convention, according to administration officials and others familiar with the discussions.” That‘s some reaction to the Obama speech. 

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”:  Yeah, well, maybe they just decided after seeing this thing here tonight to just pack it in all together.  Before I get to that, let me just say, having watched this event, here tonight, Keith, from a spot on the 50 yard line, right below the Obama suites, so I could really see the whole thing and see it clearly.  It was an amazing spectacle and everybody made jokes about those Greek pillars, you know, the Greek temple on stage. 

Really, when Barack Obama challenged John McCain, it was almost as if this whole place had turned into a Roman amphitheater and Obama was calling down McCain and saying look, let‘s see who can be commander-in-chief, who‘s tough enough to be commander-in-chief by looking at what happens in these next three debates, but looking at the record of our judgment on Iraq and Afghanistan, and by seeing who‘s tougher in this arena, literally this area.  It was a remarkable moment, both visually and politically in which Obama called out and challenged John McCain in a way that the McCain campaign did not expect. 

And you know when you the hit the McCain campaign when the people close to them tell you that the dial groups and the focus groups said that Obama was too negative.  So, when the McCain campaign is saying that your opponent is too negative, you know that you probably scored. 

OLBERMANN:  Tell me about—tell me about this prospect that the “Washington Post” is reporting that because fear of conducting a political convention while there is some hurricane crisis—hurricane-related crisis, perhaps in the Gulf region, once again.  Is there a serious prospect?  Is this being seriously discussed and how—to what date would they postpone it? 

FINEMAN:  Well, I think it is highly unlikely.  What I can tell you is, what they are planning for sure is to have a low-key alternative to this convention.  They have to make a virtue of necessity, Keith, nothing could top this in terms of drama and spectacle and celebrity and expense.  And McCain is going to try to say look, I‘m just your humble servant.  They even had been talking about doing some of the events of the conventions in the round or in a town hall situation that John McCain likes.  They‘re going to have lots of short speeches.  You‘re going to hear very short speeches, you‘re going to see lots of videos.  Most of the speeches and most of the speeches are going to be narrated by Robert Duvall to add that sort of tough-guy, “napalm in the morning” attitude, I suppose. 

But, that‘s what they‘re planning to do.  They‘re saying, look, there‘s no way we can out-glamour what Barack Obama has done and we‘re going to try to low-key it all the way.  But, what they weren‘t expecting, I don‘t think, was this kind of calling out from Barack Obama, where he‘s basically kind of poking John McCain in his cave, there, and saying I dare you to come out here on the dirt field and do battle with me.  I think the McCain people, at least from what I could tell, are going to try to resist the temptation to double down on the combat.  They‘re going to try to be now the nice and the mild ones by comparison, but that really conflicts with what they‘d been planning to do. 

What they‘d been planning to do is to say from the moment the convention started until the moment it ended in Minneapolis, he‘s not ready, he‘s not ready, about Barack Obama.  Obama knew that.  And in politics you defend your perimeter.  Obama is not that worried about the economic issues.  He‘s got that on his side, pretty much, and he did a great job tonight of being specific.  You defend your perimeter.  The vulnerable perimeter for Obama is commander-in-chief and he walked out to that perimeter and challenged McCain face-to-face. 

MATTHEWS:  Howard, could it be that their secret weapon they have been holding under wraps for all of these weeks is Tim Pawlenty? 

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  Well, I think if they go the way I‘m saying they‘re going to go at this convention, Pawlenty plays right into it because he‘s an unassuming guy from a working class background, who worked his way through college and law school, who came to Evangelical Christianity, who‘s not a big fancy name.  It‘ll play into what the developing theme is of the McCain campaign which is that there‘s no way they‘re going to out big time Obama and they‘re going to go small.  They‘re going to go local, they‘re going to go small, they‘re going to go unassuming, they‘re going to go unpretentious.  That‘s what they‘ve got to do to play the cards that are dealt them.  Obama took a lot from them tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman at the campaign listening post.  Thank you, Howard. 

FINEMAN:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  There is one little bit of irony here to the prospect or the possibility of the GOP postponing because of weather.  You may remember the functionary of the Reverend Dr.  James Dobson, from Focus on the Family had prayed for rain tonight in Denver to wash out Obama‘s speech—a base irony, but a hoot, nonetheless. 

Up next, we‘ll wrap up with Norah O‘Donnell and the panel when we return.  This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the Democratic convention, live from Denver.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

John McCain; Republican>

MATTHEWS:  We‘re live from Denver, of course, on a big night that turned out to be a spectacular night.  Let‘s go back for one last time to Norah O‘Donnell and the panel—Norah.

O‘DONNELL:  All right, Chris and Keith, thank you so much. 

And Gene Robinson, certainly a spectacular speech by Barack Obama, tonight.  Your thoughts? 

ROBINSON:  It was a terrific speech.  You know, we‘re sitting here near Union Station at the MSNBC place for politics—with our friends.  INVESCO Field is across the South Platte River and way down that-a-way and for most of the time we could hear the cheers echoing, without the benefit of electronics, the cheers echoing across the center of the city.  It was really quite amazing. 

It was a terrific speech.  I think it did two things.  No.  1, it reassured Democrats that Barack Obama will fight.  He will go at John McCain‘s strengths (ph) and he won‘t take no stuff from him.  And that‘s what it reassured Democrats.  The other thing he did is what I think Republicans should be a bit more concerned about is, he has the ability to make people see possibility and it‘s a rare gift in an orate (ph) or two, to make people envision a better world and to appeal to their better natures.  And that‘s kind of—that‘s a trick that you saw Obama do during the campaign, he kind of did it on steroids tonight.  It was really an amazing performance. 

O‘DONNELL:  On steroids tonight, yeah. 

BUCHANAN:  This was not Adelaide Stevenson (ph).  I don‘t care what (INAUDIBLE).

(LAUGHTER)

Let me read you the line, and it goes to Gene‘s point.  And Gene and I grew up probably in the same kinds of neighborhoods.  “OK, I‘ve got news for you, John McCain, we all put our country first.”

(APPLAUSE)

And that‘s exactly what he‘s got to do.  He‘s got to be a man and what he did, he praised the POW thing, but he didn‘t overdo it.  He is not intimidated by John McCain‘s war record. 

(APPLAUSE)

O‘DONNELL:  We‘ll wrap up quickly with the news about McCain and who he will choose as vice president.  Mike Huckabee saying tonight he is not on his way to Dayton, Ohio, tomorrow.  Governor Romney saying, asked if he has any plans to travel outside of his home state saying plans, Governor Romney.  Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota, canceled his plans here in Denver and asked what he was doing, he said, “we all want to be respectful of his desire to have his chance to announce it himself.” We‘ve got an announcement coming from John McCain tomorrow which will be the story tomorrow. 

Chris and Keith, back to you guys.  Thanks so much for a great night. 

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Norah.  And I had to disagree with you, but I don‘t think if it‘s Tim Pawlenty they‘re going to manage to wipe this story off for a couple days yet, at least. 

MATTHEWS:  No I think...

OLBERMANN:  It may be the last day of the Democratic convention, but we‘re only halfway through the whole process.  Next week Chris and I will be in Saint Paul, weather permitting, for the Republican convention.  Our coverage begins from the Xcel Energy Center on Monday night.  Great thanks to everyone here in Denver.  For Chris Matthews, I‘m Keith Olbermann, goodnight. 

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

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