Five Takeaways From the Last Night of the Democratic Convention
Times Have Changed, Obama Has Changed, Hope Has Changed: The Obama we saw on Thursday was a more sober and realistic man than the one we saw in 2008, or for that matter than the one we saw in 2004, when he delivered a lyrical ode to American unity.
The Obama we saw today didn’t run from the promises of hope and change central to his previous campaign. But he presented a tempered, more serious version of it, one seen through the prism of a man at the tail end of his first term as president. In fact, Obama hardly smiled. He said:
“I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed — and so have I.
“I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, ‘I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.’
“But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.
“I’m hopeful because of you.”