Obama in for Kennedy with call to service: The Swamp
 
The Swamp
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Posted May 25, 2008 12:44 PM
The Swamp

by Mike Dorning

MIDDLETOWN. Conn--Barack Obama sounded a call to public service in the tradition of the Kennedy family as he took the place of Sen. Edward Kennedy today to deliver a commencement address at Wesleyan University.

The speech, given to an audience that included the Massachusetts senator's wife and stepdaughter, who is a graduating senior at Wesleyan, deepened the barrier-breaking presidential candidate's connection to the Kennedy mystique.

Senator Kennedy, who anointed Obama a worthy heir to his brothers John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy early in the presidential campaign, now is diagnosed with a possibly fatal brain tumor and asked Obama to substitute for him at the ceremony.

Obama paid tribute to the Kennedy family, particularly the youngest brother whose place he took on the podium, and seized the opportunity to promote the call to service that has thematically connected his presidential campaign to the spirit of Camelot.

"Our individual salvation depends on collective salvation," Obama told the graduating seniors.

"Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition," he continued. "Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you'll play in writing the next great chapter in America's story."

A candidate whose campaign has been animated by his life story as the child of a mixed-race marriage and an Ivy League graduate who chose a first job as a poorly paid community organizer, Obama also offered a biographical link to Edward Kennedy's family.

"I was born the year that his brother called a generation of Americans to ask their country what they could do, and I came of age at a time when they did it," said Obama, who was born in 1961, the year John Kennedy was inaugurated.

The speech, delivered on a picture-perfect day under a clear blue sky, came at a dramatic moment for both the Kennedy family and Obama's presidential campaign. Kennedy's cancer inevitably raises the question of political succession while Obama is on the verge of clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, a turning point in his campaign at which he is again enveloped in the Kennedy legacy.

At the same time, Obama rival Hillary Clinton is trying to move past an awkward and ill-timed remark on Friday that connected her determination to press on with her long-shot presidential campaign to the traumatic June 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

She cited Robert Kennedy's assassination at a celebration of Kennedy's victory in the California primary as an example of the kind of unforeseen external event that can change the outcome even late in a political campaign, a reference that immediately provoked an uproar and for which she apologized within hours.

Obama's address, which was full of references to members of the Kennedy family, included mention of a Robert Kennedy quote.

"All it takes is one act of service - one blow against injustice - to send forth that tiny ripple of hope that Robert Kennedy spoke of," Obama said.

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Comments

Way to go, Senator Obama !! America first, on this Memorial Day week-end, is a great topic to speak to a graduating class !!
In the days and week ahead, I hope you will present the nation with an option to the present deployment of our troops to Iraq. I think a reasonable alternative, and fairer, would be the re-institution of the Draft. A draft that will not allow the rich, the famous, or the well-connected from avoiding, serving our country, militarily !! I think that is one of the reasons America is in the sink-hole it is in, because our present leaders were able to avoid their duty, avoiding their serving in our Armed Forces. I really believe that if they had, we wouldn't have sent our troops into Iraq, ill-equipped, compound tours, to the point of exhaustion, and of course, the abominable treatment that our troops have received at the hands of a privatized Veterans Affairs agency !! Just to name a few of the shortcomings of this incompetent administration that has been led by men who had shown a disdain for serving in our military !!
That is why the theme that Senator Obama spoke to at the University, today, is so important, to our nation and to our fantastic youth. Keep up the good work, Senator Obama !! We need you, today.
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, BRING THEM HOME, ALIVE. NOW.


Barak Obama is the first politician since RFK to give me hope and a desire to help him become the next president. His call for service just reinforced that. We have become a self-centered society whose logo is WIFM. This will be our downfall if we do not reach out for others and our whole society.


Bleech! I thought this was supposed to be for the graduates, and not for pandering and politicking.

Is there nothing he won't stoop to?


His grass roots movement is going nation wide now, there is not stopping it. Time for Americans to stand up and take America back! We can do it if we act together! Obama can't do it alone, it is going to take all of us.

Obama in 08!


I am a dyed in the wool republican though lately I am not sure why. I am scared for the nation's children, of what kind of America we will leave for them. It seems like our nation's leaders are pushing us harder and harder, draining those last drops of blood from our wallets and our book of hopes and dreams. It pushes the sheep to make choices, Submission or Revolution. It is time my fellow brothers and sisters for a change. Mr. Obama may end up like the politicians of our past but then again he may bring some sort of real change and healing to this nation in need. I am ready to take that risk and put some faith in politics again. I want my children to know no boundaries, of race, religion, or financial upbringing. I want them to be able to recapture the American dream and with work be able to climb that ladder. You have my middle class white vote Mr. Obama, even if my class is being pushed towards extinction.


This is all very powerful, and very moving. Senator Obama has incredible elegance, rhetorical distinction, and high mindedness; and everything he has said and done epitomize one thing: he refuses to be dragged down into sleaze. Indeed, in so many ways he is strongly reminiscent of RFK, my hero! Nothing in history happens without a purpose, and it isn't accidental that he's filling in for Senator Edward Kennedy at this particular historical moment. More power to you, Senator Obama!


Isn't it hilarious that after saying on the stump for more than a year that government is the answer to all our country's problems (Obama has advocated higher taxes, more government programs and more regulation) that Obama is shamelessly now trying to embrace John F. Kennedy's "ask not what your country can do for you" message. The only people who have been saying ask what you can do for your country for the past 20 years have been republicans!
This is a particularly offensive form of pandering since Obama is in fact invoking the power of the collective over the power of the individual in the exact same speech! You hear that worker bees? Your individual work means nothing. Only the collective can truly effect change. Howard Roark and every other rugged individualist be damned. How socialist!
I know it's nigh impossible for Obama supporters to take off the blinders, but get past the preacher voice he uses and try and listen to the substance of his words and you'll realize that it not only makes no sense, but it's highly hypocritical.


Mary Jo Kopechne ....


Raisman is right. "What's in irt for me" (WIFM) describes Hillary well. Barack is a breath of fresh air.


This is ridiculous.
Now I WILL vote for McCain if he's the top of the ticket.


Anointed: "To anoint is to grease with perfumed oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances, a process employed ritually by many religions and races. Because of its "smeared on" root, the word is also used for the unique practice by hedgehogs of coating their quills with a froth when encountering new smells or tastes in their environment." Now, Ted Kennedy is God and Obama the Messiah. What a bunch of hedge-hogwash.


I haven't prayed in a very long time indeed but I am about to start. We should all pray that this good man achieves his full potential and that we do it along with him.


Words are a powerful weapon, but you need more than words to lead. You need Leadership. Obama is strong on words, but lacking on Leadership.

He is that fresh face with powerful words that move people. But he is moving them in the wrong direction. They want "CHANGE" but change is a "WORD" just like "PEACE". It takes Real Leadership to bring peace.

That is why we need to elect John McCain "Real Leadership that you can Trust" When he speaks World leaders listen.

VJ Machiavelli


A very simple and powerfull message from a wise young politician. He is not thinking about himself like the others but the all America. He deserves everybody's support to realise all the promises he is making. I want to believe the majority of Americans would love to live happily in a diverse country were all races are represented and be able to look at each other as fellow american. Obama seems to be the right person to make it possible but only if you decide to support him. I believe barriers will be broken in worldwide if Obama clinch this nomination and go all the way to become the president of America and this not because he is black (mixte race) but because he seems to be the right choice. God bless America and the all world.


And in the other corner we have SHRILLERY, who has now publicly wished for and RFK end to Obama so she can take "what is owed her" because she feels entitled for "sticking with Bill". Obama wants to give and Hillary wants to take! It's that simple.

ABC (Anybody But clinton)


It was a perfect commencement address.

We have been in the ME, ME, ME mode for a while now. We need to return to the good moral attitude of serving our communities and our country.
We can flourish again!


As a Kenyan who has beenfited from the fruits of service that many Americans have given to, I want to thank you Obama for reminding America to go back to where they have longed to be, to serve others, thank for this redemptive message that is awakening Ameking America at a time when many have lost hope. Keep on going, I am praying for you.


I just read the full speech. The more I learn about Barack Obama, the more I share Ted and Caroline Kennedy’s conviction that he is the right person to lead our country at this time. Given the state of our union and the many challenges we face at home and abroad, we desperately need a leader who has the intelligence, wisdom, character, and moral compass to lead us at this critical time in our history. I can hardly wait for November to cast my vote for Senator Obama.


In response to:
"Bleech! I thought this was supposed to be for the graduates, and not for pandering and politicking. Is there nothing he won't stoop to?"

News commentators have exactly the opposite opinion. Perhaps you need to start a movement to tell them they're wrong, they don't know what they're talking about.

It's unfortunate that people are filled with such hate that they can't listen to what's said.


Each year thousands of college graduates become officers in the armed forces as a result of ROTC. Many more college grads join and serve as enlisted personnel. The coment that only the poor serve and the rich do not is false. Today's armed forces requires skills not found among the poor and undeducated that make up a large part of the Democrat party. As far as formulating a good Iraq policy, Obama has not met one on one with the American commanders in Iraq. He hasn't been there since 2006. The media is afraid to report the good news coming from Iraq. If the war continues to improve, Obama is not going to pull the troops out only to see the country retreat to chaos. If that happened, he would be blamed, and rightly so.


Hey Julie Elizabeth, his remarks were perfectly suited and I can't imagine a more inspiring charge for those graduating from college, or didn't you bother to read about what he said? Boy, the grapes are getting more sour every minute...


Hey Julie Elizabeth, his remarks were perfectly suited and I can't imagine a more inspiring charge for those graduating from college, or didn't you bother to read about what he said? Boy, the grapes are getting more sour every minute...


In response to:
"Bleech! I thought this was supposed to be for the graduates, and not for pandering and politicking. Is there nothing he won't stoop to?"

News commentators have exactly the opposite opinion. Perhaps you need to start a movement to tell them they're wrong, they don't know what they're talking about.

It's unfortunate that people are filled with such hate that they can't listen to what's said.


John McCain would do well to know the very important Military Uniform is not the Only Uniform that we Americans can wear. Public Service as some without 20/20 vision view as Liberalism, which is Liberty in action, mentioned in our Founding Documents. Education is learning Truth. Education and Training are two different things. John McCain didn't do much with his educational opportunities provided by his Father and Grand Father's good name, graduating nearly dead last in his class at Annapolis. Confrontational and belligerent bad habits have held McCain back from obtaining Excellence. Being tough is not being insulting and not caring about your behavior because you think you are right. John McCain owes the American People better behavior for the opportunities he was granted. He would do well to answerer Obama's call (challenge) to service. In true McCain fashion he answers Obama's Veterans Benefit increase by stating because Obama was not in the Military he can't tell him about Veterans Benefits. Veteran Benefits are traceable back to 1636 Pilgrim / Pequot Indian War. Later Congress enacted the VA. No mention of those who established or maintain Veterans Benefits wore Military Uniform; however, they were members of Congress (Law Makers). McCain would do well to answered the call to service by enacting the best laws to insure that our Veterans are dealt with fairly, with dignity and in a timely manner, and keep the cheap talk to himself.


An oddity at the start of Obama's speech: he said at the start that he was glad to be at Wellsleyan University. That is, he combined
the name of Hillary's College, Wellesley, and the place he was giving the commencement address, Wesleyan. I heard this on C-Span, which every year offers a selection of the season's commencement speeches. This error may have been on the typed copy of his speech,from which he was reading.CWA



I am so fired up about Obama. I was a college student in the 60s and I haven't felt this hopeful about our country since--until Barack Obama came on the scene. Every time he speaks, I'm surer and surer that he's the right man at the right time for our country. I'm a middle-class white female voter, and my vote is going to Obama.


Let's see once and for all IF the Obama kool aid drinkers, not only talk the talk, BUT walk the walk!

Can they give up their beemers, their spa outings, shopping sprees, and "me me me" attitudes?


John Kennedy was President just long enough to start a war that killed 12 times more Americans then have died in Iraq. While Vietnam divided us, JFK allowed Castro and communism to flourish 90 miles off the Florida coast.

Other than his partisan opposition to Iraq I'd like to know what's so peaceful about Obama. Maybe his nuke Pakistan policy reminds the Left of earlier war mongering libs like FDR, HST, JFK and LBJ.


Wellesleyan? Did you see last week when he called Sunrise, Fla., "Sunshine, Florida" at a rally there. The man is a walking gaffe machine.


Stop Kenneth, you know that's not true. As much as I can't stand Obama's sheep supporters I'm sure he's not a muslim.


Fareed, John McCain clearly owes nothing to people like you and Obama. The pandering/dividing bill that Obama supports would gut our military and every expert knows it (an analysis shows active duty forces would be reduced by 16% under the Webb bill in its first year). That's why the Pentagon opposes it. The bill McCain supports would give the same level of benefits to our troops while rewarding soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who choose to make a career in the military. McCain IS for enacting the best benefits for soldiers. Obama is the one who isn't, he's simply pandering for votes and endangering our military readiness at the same time. So please, keep the cheap talk to yourself.


I thought this was supposed to be for the graduates, and not for pandering and politicking.

Is there nothing he won't stoop to?

Posted by: Julie Elizabeth | May 25, 2008 1:41 PM

Julie Obama has been speaking at graduations long before he ran for president. I think his call to service is fantastic!!! Obama 2008


"Barack Obama sounded a call to public service in the tradition of the Kennedy family as he took the place of Sen. Edward Kennedy today to deliver a commencement address at Wesleyan University.

The speech, given to an audience that included the Massachusetts senator's wife and stepdaughter, who is a graduating senior at Wesleyan, deepened the barrier-breaking presidential candidate's connection to the Kennedy mystique.

Senator Kennedy, who anointed Obama a worthy heir to his brothers .......... "

BARF !!!
Who wrote this drivel, a 4TH grader ?

Yesterday , all the news shows were saying that Senator Chris Dodd was going to fill in for Chappa-Teddy. Gee, they must have thrown him on the last minute scrap heap, so Obama could get another photo-op chance to pander for votes. How genuine.


Once the election is over in November Jeff you can take your blinders off. Obama is a very good man. Something that can't be said of McCain.


You just have to love it. A done nothing senator from the most corrupt state in the union asking for people to serve. What a laugh. And what service has Obama done - let me think now, still thinking hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm Darn it can't think one thing that this man has done for his country. Not one darn thing. Now that is leadership for you. NOT


Wellesleyan? Did you see last week when he called Sunrise, Fla., "Sunshine, Florida" at a rally there. The man is a walking gaffe machine.

Posted by: Jeff | May 25, 2008 5:48 PM

This from the guy who supports McBush who can't tell you sunni from shia..Iran from Irag. Get a real argument.


The bill McCain supports would give the same level of benefits to our troops while rewarding soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who choose to make a career in the military.
Posted by: Jeff | May 25, 2008 5:55 PM

Key word would be career. Not only do they now make your tour longer...they don't want to give you benefits unless your a lifer.


Kenneth,
1) Your statement that one is foolish if they "support a person named barack hussien mohamed obama" for president is ridiculous. In essence, you're saying if people don't like a person names, then they should NOT be allowed to run. It doesn't matter what the person can accomplished for the good of our country.
2) Barack Obama's middle name is NOT Mohammed. Double shame on you for not researching facts.
3) Barack's was not dressed in muslim garb. Barack was fitted as a Somali Elder, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya; i.e., just in case you need further clarification, it's a Kenya outfit. Duh!


Can they give up their beemers, their spa outings, shopping sprees, and "me me me" attitudes?

Posted by: Justice | May 25, 2008 4:47 PM


Oh yes grasshopper. May we achieve the level of oneness that you have. Now I know why they call justice blind.


In the post authored by Don Fitzgerald, he states that" I think that is one of the reasons America is in the sink-hole it is in, because our present leaders were able to avoid their duty, avoiding their serving in our Armed Forces. I really believe that if they had, we wouldn't have sent our troops into Iraq, ill-equipped, compound tours, to the point of exhaustion, and of course, the abominable treatment that our troops".
Don, take note that Obama also has not served in the military, so what makes anyone think he will address these serious issues any differently?


Kurt needs to read his history book. Eisenhower was the first president to send U.S. soldiers to Vietnam.

As for Kenneth, Obama didn't name himself since he was only a few seconds old!!!!!! Most people's parents name them.

Why are some people so anxious to pin something negative on Obama? I don't like Hillary or McCain, but I don't tell lies about them. Some people are real haters.


Obama's idea of public service is an under qualified person getting a position or a promotion through affirmative action, at the expense of you know who. Notice that he doesn't include the military as public service. Obama is this country's newest "mistake by the lake."


Voted for Obama once but will not again. According to Ted, Caroline, Oprah, Patrick, et al he has been against the war from the beginning. Yet, his earliest senate vote was to confirm Condi "Lies". Next and consistently since he has agreed with the Bush admin troop strategy. Recently, he has become as adept as Bush also in controlling media coverage of the campaign. Finally, I wonder what he's talking about with his "change in D.C." when he is so latched to the oldest relic in Congress, Teddy. He looks good, sounds good, yes hasn't done anything except prove he can't be trusted.


Come, he voluntered, he called Ted K as soon as he found out Ted wouldn't be able to make it, he was not asked. And the only reason he voluntered was to get more free press. He has not other reason.


The Pentagon estimate of the effect of the Webb bill is a 16% decline in readiness. Not what our military needs right now.
Bill, what's Irag? Is it near Iraq? Get a real argument or watch your spelling the next time you criticize a slip of the tongue.
Breath of fresh air, eh? Change, huh? You sheep astound me.
Excerpted: When Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison wanted state lawmakers to back a hefty rate hike two years ago, it took a creative lobbying approach, concocting a new outfit that seemed devoted to the public interest: Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, or CORE. CORE ran TV ads warning of a "California-style energy crisis" if the rate increase wasn't approved—but without disclosing the commercials were funded by Commonwealth Edison. The ad campaign provoked a brief uproar when its ties to the utility, which is owned by Exelon Corp., became known. "It's corporate money trying to hoodwink the public," the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. What got scant notice then—but may soon get more scrutiny—is that CORE was the brainchild of ASK Public Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior partner is David Axelrod, now chief strategist for Barack Obama.

Last week, Obama hit John McCain for hiring "some of the biggest lobbyists in Washington" to run his campaign; Obama's aides say their candidate, as a foe of "special interests," has refused to take money from lobbyists or employ them. Neither Axelrod nor his partners at ASK ever registered as lobbyists for Commonwealth Edison—and under Illinois's loose disclosure laws, they were not required to. "I've never lobbied anybody in my life," Axelrod tells NEWSWEEK. "I've never talked to any public official on behalf of a corporate client." (He also says "no one ever denied" that Edison was the "principal funder" of his firm's ad campaign.)

But the activities of ASK (located in the same office as Axelrod's political firm) illustrate the difficulties in defining exactly who a lobbyist is. In 2004, Cablevision hired ASK to set up a group similar to CORE to block a new stadium for the New York Jets in Manhattan. Unlike Illinois, New York disclosure laws do cover such work, and ASK's $1.1 million fee was listed as the "largest lobbying contract" of the year in the annual report of the state's lobbying commission. ASK last year proposed a similar "political campaign style approach" to help Illinois hospitals block a state proposal that would have forced them to provide more medical care to the indigent. One part of its plan: create a "grassroots" group of medical experts "capable of contacting policymakers to advocate for our position," according to a copy of the proposal. (ASK didn't get the contract.) Public-interest watchdogs say these grassroots campaigns are state of the art in the lobbying world. "There's no way with a straight face to say that's not lobbying," says Ellen Miller, director of the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes government transparency.

Axelrod says there are still huge differences between him and top McCain advisers, including the fact that he doesn't work in D.C. But his corporate clients do have business in the capital. One of them, Exelon, lobbied Obama two years ago on a nuclear bill; the firm's executives and employees have also been a top source of cash for Obama's campaign, contributing $236,211.


how in the world is a military person whose on active duty suppose to go to college classes? I've been the military and there is no time to attend college classes. So let's get real. McCain the the military are full of it. When a person is on active duty there is no time what so ever to attend college. Perhaps that's why Obama supports the New GI bill. They also need to pay these soldiers a real salary as well.


Vote McBush 2008!


Obama stands in for the ailing Kennedy, challenging students to dream higher. Clinton has not yet truly apologised for her outrageous and unchristian remarks. She is now deploying the ideology of FAITH. What does Clinton mean by "faith"? Does she mean the Christian "Faith"? She must check the New Testament carefully. The Christian faith is not an ideology a politician can simply exploit for political purposes. The Republicans have forgotten this, and Clinton follows suit. The Christian faith is a living and redemptive faith of grace, whose central message is agape, love -- even loving your enemies. The Christian faith does not allow any Christian to wish evil thoughts, more less death, for an opponent. The Jesus Christ of the Christian will reject, totally reject any one who even entertain the idea of obliterating a whole nation. The holocaust is a creation of a pagan godless German. American Christian culture has a big house-cleaning exercise to do.


Bill, what's Irag? Is it near Iraq?
Posted by: Jeff | May 26, 2008 1:35 AM

That's the best you got? How is that an answer to his mistake? Talk about gaffe?


Jeff, Our country has rewarded veterans with a college education since WWII. The latest bill to improve these benefits passed the House with a veto-proof majority, receiving broad bipartisan support.
Yes, the Congressional Budget Office, in its cost analysis, estimated that the benefits would result in a 16 percent drop in re-enlistments. However, the office also predicted a 16 percent INCREASE in recruitment because of the new benefits.
IMO, McCain is wrong to want improve benefits to be given only to those veterans that make a career out of the service. Likewise, President Bush is wrong in threatening to veto a bill that would pay tuition and other expenses at a four-year PUBLIC university for anyone who has served in the military for at least three years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Did you know that the Veterans Affairs Department is trying to address the problem of high suicide rates of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. There are 1,000 attempts of suicide by veterans under the care of the VA each and every month.
After serving three years since 9/11, our veterans deserve improved benefits.


It'd take months to train the new people that are replacing combat-ready troops. That's why it's a readiness issue! The real question is do you want a professional military with career servicemen and women - like Senator McCain- who are rewarded for making the military their career or do you want a revolving door? Give me the pros any day. And don't be so disingenuous to believe that Webb and Pelosi haven't introduced this bill to help their friend Obama and to help in their ultimate objective of abandoning Iraq to Al Qaeda. Their political agenda is to cut the funding out from under our troops. Just look at how Obama has voted against supplemental bills that would have paid for existing healthcare and tuition benefits for our troops. He has ZERO legs to stand on.


I wonder what the US would be like today if the Kennedy's were given a chance to live. Would it be a place that I could be proud to be from? I do believe so. But, I feel America is greedy. Selfish. Blind. I hate this forced patriotism they put on us just to justify those things. I don't understand why so many Americans are against growing spiritually or putting others first. They just want to believe that if your poor your lazy. That life is fair. It is not in land where politics are run by corporations that can only see dollar signs. Where CEOs make 500x the amount of the hourly worker. I'm praying for Obama to win. I want to be proud of my country.


May if Obama had served in the military (and considered it worthy service) he could read a map and know the position of Illinois, Arkansas and Kentucky in relationship to each other as well as the number of states in America!! The problem with Obama is unless he is tightly scripted and has a teleprompter he puts his foot in his mouth. McCain has more time in America's service than Obama can thin about.


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