I was on a flight to London when Obama was projected to win the election and when he gave his victory speech. But I was able to see the video and read the transcript at my hotel. I thought it was a great speech. It covered most of the 6 steps that I outlined for the president to revive “Brand USA.”
Rather than basking in the glory of the victory, Obama renewed his vow for change. Rather than celebrating the excitement of the moment, he defined a vision for the future. Rather than promoting the strength of the Democratic party, he made a plea for unity. Rather than focusing on his presidency, he framed the challenges and opportunities for the American people.
Here are some of my favorite parts of his speech:
Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he’s fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.
This is your victory. And I know you didn’t do this just to win an election. And I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime — two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
To those — to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.
This post is about our next president, Barack Obama, but it would not feel right without recognizing John McCain. While I don’t agree with a number of his policies, I think McCain represents our country with honor. My family was privileged to see him in a small town hall meeting in Newport, NH early in his campaign. He exudes an honest passion and excitement for America. His concession speech showed the class and dignity of a true patriot.
The bottom line: Yes we can!