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Complete Text (and video) of Barack Obama campaign infomercial

October 29, 2008 |  5:55 pm
Barack Obama's infomercial

Here is the complete spoken text of the nationally-broadcast campaign infomercial by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama on Oct. 29, 2008.

If you'd rather watch the video, click on the Read more line below and scroll to the bottom. We have the entire infomercial there. And click here for The Ticket's take on the first political program of that kind since Ross Perot's chart-flipper in 1992.

[Sen. Obama off-camera narration]

With each passing month, our country has faced increasingly difficult times.

But everywhere I go, despite the economic crisis …

and war … and uncertainty about tomorrow … I still see optimism.  And hope.  And strength.

[fade up on Sen. Obama on-camera]

We’ve seen over the last eight years how decisions by a president can have a profound effect on the course of history … and on American lives.

But much that’s wrong in our country goes back even farther than that.  We’ve been talking about the same problems for decades … and nothing is ever done to solve them.

This election is a defining moment.  The chance for our leaders to meet the demands of these challenging times and keep faith with our people.

For the past twenty months, I’ve traveled the length of this country.  And Michelle and I have met so many Americans who are looking for real and lasting change that makes a difference in their lives. 

Their stories are American stories. Stories that reflect the state of our union. I’d like to introduce you to....

...some of those people tonight.

I will also lay out in specific detail what I’ll do as president to restore the long-term health of our economy and our middle class … and how I’ll make the decisions to get us there.

What struck me most about these stories you will see tonight, is not just the challenges these Americans face … but also their resolve to change this country.   

[ REAL STORY #1]

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

Rebecca Johnston is all about her family.

[Rebecca]

“Brian, me, Nathan, Marley, Ethan, Gabriella, Tulula and Jake.”

“The thing I love about being a mom is just that how amazing it is that everything that you do shapes who they are. It’s like molding putty in your hands. You just want to make sure you do the right thing everyday...”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

Ten years ago, she bought a house outside the city so she could send her children to good schools.

Now, with rising costs, it’s getting tight. 

Her husband Brian works at a tire re-tread plant, and needs to stand all day. 

[Rebecca]

“He has a torn ACL and meniscus that he walks around with everyday. He was going to have the surgery in June, but we couldn’t really afford for him to get the disability pay.”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

And so they put off the operation, to take care of other things.

[Rebecca]

“This is where our snacks would go… Gabriela, and then Nathan and then my husband and I, and my daughter, and Ethan my son. If they know this is it for them, for the whole week, then they will make it last longer. I think everybody feels the same way, they would like to see an end in sight to all the worry and the chaos of everyday living. Trying to make ends meet. Ok, How much are we bringing in this week?”

[Rebecca]

“How much is the car payment? When roughly can we pay this bill?”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

All across the country, I’ve met families just like Rebecca’s getting the kids to school, meeting their mortgage payments, fighting for their families.

[Rebecca]

“It just keeps going up and up and up, and I can remember a time when I didn’t have to worry about this stuff.”

________________________________________

[Sen. Obama – 2008 Democratic Convention Speech]

“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.”

[Sen. Obama to camera]

Earlier this year, we already knew our country was

in trouble.  Home foreclosures, lost jobs, high gas prices … we were running a record deficit and our national debt had never been higher.

But then a little over a month ago, the bottom fell out. 

What happened in the financial markets was the final verdict on eight years of failed policies.  And we’re now going through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

A few weeks ago, we passed a financial rescue plan.  It’s a step in the right direction … and as president, I’ll ensure that you, the taxpayers, are paid back first.

But we also need a rescue plan for the middle class … starting with what we can do right now that will have an immediate effect. 

As president, here’s what I’ll do:

Cut taxes for every working family making less than $200,000 a year.

Give businesses a tax credit for every new employee that they hire right here in the U.S. over the next two years … and eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Help homeowners who are making a good faith effort to pay their mortgages,  by freezing foreclosures for 90 days.

And just like after 9-11, we’ll provide low-cost loans to help small businesses pay their workers and keep their doors open.

None of that grows government.  It grows the economy and keeps people on the job.

This is what we can do right now … to restore fairness to the American economy and fulfill our commitments to the American people.   

[Town hall meeting exchange with “Dave”]

Dave:

“The company I worked for went broke.  Before they went down, they used $19 million dollars of the retirement.  And when they closed up, I should have gotten about $1,500 dollars a month from retirement.  I only ended-up with $379 dollars a month.”

Sen. Obama:

“You earned your pension.  You earned it.  It wasn’t a gift. You gave up wages so that money could be set aside for your retirement.  Time and time again, what we’re seeing is companies who owe their workers retirements, pensions shedding those obligations.  When you make a commitment to workers at a company, those aren’t idle promises.  Those are promises that should have the force of law.”

[Sen. Obama Interview]

“Americans – they don’t expect government to solve all their problems.  They’re not looking for a handout.  If they’re able and willing to work, they should be able to find a job that pays a living wage.  They should be able to retire with some dignity and some respect.”

[Governor Ted Strickland, Ohio]

“Think of this – Barack Obama is going to be a Democrat in the presidency who actually cuts taxes.  But he’s going to cut taxes for the people who really need a tax cut.  He’s going to cut taxes for the struggling families, and he’s going to do that while holding accountable those companies that take advantage of tax breaks in order to send jobs offshore and to other countries.”

[Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas]

“I don’t know if it’s that common sense, Mid-Western way of getting things done, but Barack Obama has Kansas roots and he really has a plan to put us back on track and help us move forward.”

[Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts]

“The challenges before us now are big. What we need are big solutions and big thinking.  Barack Obama is a problem solver who thinks big. It’s a once in a generation kind of leadership and that’s what Barack Obama is offering us.”

________________________________________

[ REAL STORY #2 ]

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

After 30 years working on the B& O Railroad, Larry Stuart and his wife Juanita, hoped to reap the rewards from their working years.  Six grown children, seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren. And a home that they own themselves

[Juanita Stuart]

“We’ve lived in this home for ten years.”

[Larry Stuart]

“A lot of work on this house, I did it myself. That floor down there. I put this floor in this house.”

[Juanita Stuart]

“We had our home paid for so we just knew that retirement would be great.”

[Sen. Obama off camera]

But with her rheumatoid arthritis, and other ailments, her medical bills have been rising.

[Juanita Stuart]

“I take twelve different medications per day. When Larry was working all of that was covered. When he retired, I did not have medical insurance. And each year, it just got worse, worse, worse.”

[Sen. Obama off camera]

To meet their payments, they’ve had to take a loan on their house. And they’re losing equity.

[Juanita Stuart]

“Larry is retired a total of ten years. But five of those years, he had to go back to work.”

[Larry Stuart]

“Associate salesman, in other words, I just sell stuff. That’s all. I’m 72 years old, and things are changing.”

[Juanita Stuart]

“You just wonder, you know, where am I going from here?”

________________________________________

[Sen. Obama to camera]

I spoke earlier about some of the immediate actions I’ll take to address the economic crisis.

We also have to take a longer view.  We have to stop just talking about health care reform and lost jobs and energy independence and finally do something about it. 

All across America, I’ve seen entrepreneurs and innovators who point the way to a better future.

Starting with energy independence. 

Recently, I visited the McKinstry company in Seattle.  They’re retrofitting schools and office buildings to make them energy efficient – creating jobs, saving their customers money, reducing carbon emissions and helping end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden website

As president, I’ll use companies like McKinstry as a model for the nation.  I’ll invest $15 billion dollars a year in energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy – like wind, solar and bio-fuels – creating five million clean energy jobs over the next decade – jobs that pay well and can never be outsourced.

And I’ll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.  I’ll also make it easier for you to afford these new cars with a tax credit … so we can get as many on the road as possible.

And to further reduce our demand for foreign oil,

I’ll tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology and expand domestic production of oil.

But we know government can’t do it all.  That’s why I’ll call on every American to join in conservation efforts.

I believe we need to usher in a new era of responsibility.  Across the country, families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington.

That’s why, for my energy plan, my economic plan and the other proposals you’ll hear tonight, I’ve offered spending cuts above and beyond their cost.

I’ll also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that don’t work … and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.

And one of the biggest savings we can make is to change our policy in Iraq. 

[Sen. Obama in 1st Debate]

“We are currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, when they have a $79 billion dollar surplus.  It seems to me that if we’re going to be strong at home as well as strong abroad, that we’ve got to look at bringing that war to a close.”

[Sen. Obama in town hall meeting] 

“We are actually spending more in Iraq now then we were spending when the war first started.  How many schools would that build?  How many hospitals?  How many people could get health care?  How many college scholarships could we give our youth?  It’s time for us to invest some of that money right here in America.”

[Eric Schmidt,  CEO, Google]

“When I read his economic plan, and I saw the people endorsing it and all the new ideas – Warren Buffett and others – I thought ‘this is the right plan for America.’”

[Governor Tim Kaine, Virginia]

“Barack has looked at the small business side of the American economy and says look, that’s where most innovation and entrepreneurship is.  Let’s give them the rocket fuel to really accelerate, rather than giving tax cuts to, you know, the Exxon Mobiles or big oil companies that need not one ounce of help from government to be very, very successful.”

[Sen. Obama in town hall meeting] 

“So I’m not worried about CEO’s, I’m not worried about corporate lobbyists, I’m not worried about the drug companies or the oil companies or the insurance companies.  They’ll be fine, they’re going to look out for themselves.  I’m worried about the couple that’s trying to figure out how they’re going to retire.  I’m worried about the family that’s trying to figure out how they can save for their child’s college education. I’m worried about the single mom that doesn’t have health insurance.  I’m worried about the guy who has worked in a plant for 20 years and suddenly sees his job shipped overseas.  That’s who I’m worried about and that’s who I’m going to be fighting for and that’s who I will be thinking about every single day that I’m in the White House.”

______________________________________

[REAL STORY #3]

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

Juliana Sanchez is a widow with two children and a mortgage.  Her parents, Richard, and Francis, were both educators.  Like her family, Juliana has devoted her life to giving her daughter, Jessica, and son, Adam, a good education.  Every morning, she’s up before the sun.

[Juliana Sanchez V/O]

“I work at a school for at risk kids.” 

[Juliana Sanchez welcoming students]

“Good morning how are you?”

[Juliana Sanchez]

“A lot of the families here go through extreme financial hardships.”

[Juliana Sanchez at school entrance]

“It’s about time we see you. Are you going to stay?”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

At the end of the school day, her work is only half done.

[Juliana speaking to little girl, Shelly]

“Come on baby, jump in.”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

She works for a health care company, taking care of Shelly, a 7-year-old with special needs.

[Juliana Sanchez]
“Most of us that are educators, we all have second jobs.”

[Another teacher teaching Juliana]

“The answer lies in your hands, effective teaching starts here.”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

And to advance herself and develop her skills, she takes teacher training classes.

[Juliana Sanchez]

“Financially, the pressure is just to keep your head above water. So, you don’t feel like you’re drowning all the time. Health care, food, electric, gas - it takes out so much out of my pay check. You go buy a gallon of milk and you’re like going ok – is it a gallon or half gallon? What can I

afford? You feel like you can’t breathe even though you need to breathe.”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

Every parent in America wants the same thing. A good education for their child.

________________________________________

[Sen. Obama in Dayton speech 9/9/08]

“Responsibility for our children’s’ success doesn't start in Washington. It starts in our homes. No education policy can replace a parent who's involved in their child's education from day one, who makes sure their children are in school on time, helps them with their homework, and attends those parent-teacher conferences.

No government program can turn off the TV set, or put

away the video games, or read to your children.”

[pause]

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

“My father … I only met him once, for a month.  When I was ten.  … I probably was shaped more by his absence than his presence.”

[pause]

“My mother she said to herself, you know, my son he’s an American and he needs to understand what that means.

[pause]

And she was working, full time, so she’d wake me up at 4:30 in the morning. And we’d sit there and go through my lessons.

[pause]

And I used to complain and grumble, you can imagine, an eight year old kid ...

[Sen. Obama on-camera]

Having to wake up at 4:30 and you know if I grumbled she’d say ‘well this is no picnic for me either, buster.’”

[Sen. Obama – 2008 Democratic Convention Speech]

Democrat Barack Obama political button

"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. 

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. And in exchange I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability.”

[Sen. Obama to-camera]

We can create schools that work, because I’ve seen them.  Three years ago, only half the high school seniors at the Mapleton School in Thornton, Colorado were accepted into college.  But after a rigorous school reform program, this year all 44 seniors were accepted.

And under my education plan those students could get a tax credit to cover their tuition at public colleges and universities in exchange for serving their community or their country.

Just as I believe every American should have access to an affordable college education … I also believe every American has a right to affordable health care.

In the last year, I’ve visited many hospitals that are computerizing records and implementing technology that improves patient care and dramatically reduces costs. 

That’s why my health care plan includes improving information technology, requires coverage for preventive care and pre-existing conditions … and lowers health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 dollars a year.  And you can keep your same coverage and your same doctor.

[Sen. Obama Interview]

“My mom passing away was one of the toughest moments of my life.  For her to die of cancer so quickly was a shock and it felt arbitrary.  And anybody who’s gone through that kind of process knows how difficult it is and how heartbreaking it is to see somebody you love go on that path and it’s a lonely path.  It was a reminder to me that, boy, life sure is short and you better seize the moment.”

[Sen. Obama at announcement]

“I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.”

[Sen. Obama in campaign speech]

“I’m in this race because I’m tired of talking about the outrage of 47 million people without health insurance. I want to start doing something about it.  My mother never saw her grandchildren.

That breaks my heart but you know what also breaks my heart, but you know what also breaks my heart is that in the last months of her life, she wasn’t just thinking about trying to get well…she was spending time reading insurance forms because she had just gotten a new job and the insurance companies were saying maybe there was a pre-existing condition and we don’t have to pay your medical bills.

So I know what it’s like to see a loved one suffer not just because they’re sick, but because of a broken health care system. And it’s wrong.”

[Michelle Obama Interview]

“He’s a lot like his mom.  His girls are the only thing that can break him down.  He tries to make it a point to have that thing he does with each of them.  And for Malia it was reading through every single Harry Potter book.  And they got through all of them. 

That is just so fun to watch and it’s amazing that he doesn’t forget anything.  And he calls to them every night—and he talks for as long as they need to talk.  He just always has time for them.”

[Sen. Obama – 2004 Convention speech]

“It is that fundamental belief – I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper – that makes this country work.”

[Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois]

“Starting at that speech at the Democratic Convention in Boston and ever since, people have noticed that there’s a quality in Barack Obama that they just don’t see in other candidates.”

[Sen. Obama – 2004 Convention speech]

“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there’s the United States of America.”

[Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois]

“Here’s a person who as a state legislator was a clear leader in Springfield on so many important issues that really made a difference. Came to Washington, had an impact as soon as he arrived.”

[Senator Claire McCaskill, Missouri]

“He’s changed the rules in Washington.  Gone are the free gifts from lobbyist, gone are the fancy airplane rides for nothing. He did that.  Now, it wasn’t easy.  He had to work across party lines. More importantly, he had to fight senior members of the Senate who liked it just fine the way it was.”

[Senator Joe Biden, Delaware]

“He came in, not only reached out, but reached across the aisle to Dick Lugar, one of the leading guys in America for the past 20 years on arms control, to keep loose nukes out of the hands of terrorists.

I was amazed. I watched him incisively question the Secretary of State in a nomination process. I remember literally turning to Chris Dodd saying, “Woah. This guy’s good.”

[Sen. Obama speaking in third debate]

Joe Biden, I think, is one of the finest public servants in this country. It's not just that he has some of the best foreign policy credentials of anybody.

Barack Obama family photo

But it's also that his entire life he has never forgotten where he came from, coming from Scranton, fighting on behalf of working families, remembering what it's like to see his father lose his job and go through a downward spiral economically.

He shares my core values and my sense of where the country needs to go.”

[REAL STORY #4 ]

[Mark Dowell to daughter]

“Thanks for the moon and the stars up above but most of all, thanks for the family I love…Look, that little girl is a ballerina. That’s what you want to do, ain’t it?”

[Mark Dowell]

“I work for Ford motor company at the Kentucky truck plant. I’m a third generation Ford employee.”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

When manufacturing spread to towns across America, it brought jobs and a way of life.  Working-class families could buy their first home and a piece of the American dream.   

[Mark Dowell playing with daughter]

“Here we go.”

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

Mark Dowell, and his wife Melinda, have worked at the local plant for most of their adult lives.  Recently, the plant cut back Mark’s work to every other week.  Now they are struggling to make ends meet. 

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

His grandfather Harold and father, Carl, each worked over thirty years and received full retirement benefits

[Mark Dowell]

“It was a lot better time back then.  People thought that they had security in their jobs.” 

[Sen. Obama off-camera]

In July, Melinda was laid off after 8 years on the job.

[Mark Dowell]

“From the day I was born, I’ve been tied into Ford. So, this is all I know.”

[Mark Dowell at union hall on phone]

“Is Jane in? Jane, this is Mark Dowell down at the union, how are you?”

[Mark Dowell]

“If a plant shut down here in Louisville, it would just be

devastating. People would lose their homes. Restaurants and retail stores would lose business because people wouldn’t have the money to shop. I feel like we’re all in the same boat. We got to pull together. If we don’t, we’re going to lose America as we once known it.”

[Sen. Obama – Fairless Hills Speech]

“As challenging as these times are, we’ve seen harder times before.  My grandfather fought in Patton’s army in Europe.  My grandmother stayed home working on a bomber assembly line even though she had a kid to look after.  Not only did they defeat facism, but they lifted themselves up out of a Great Depression.  That was their generation’s moment.  And this is our moment.”

[Sen. Obama to-camera]

I learned at an early age from my grandparents how vital it is to defend liberty … and as commander in chief, I will never hesitate to protect our country. 

As president, I will rebuild our military to meet 21st century challenges.

I will renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.

And I will refocus our efforts on finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

But I will also never forget that when I send our armed forces into battle, I’m sending sons and daughters, and fathers and mothers. 

I still remember a woman I met in Iowa … her son had shipped out to Iraq two weeks earlier … and I had a close friend who was on his way, too.   

[Sen. Obama with ropeline woman in Mt. Pleasant, IA]

“I’ll be praying for you.”

[Woman]

“Thank you very much.”

[Sen. Obama]

“I appreciate you. Thank you.”

[Brig. Gen. John Adams, U.S. Army (Ret.)]

“As a retired general officer from the U.S. Army, it makes a difference to me how a potential commander-in-chief thinks about war and peace. That’s what we’re looking for in a president. Somebody that understands the stakes and has the courage and the judgment to approach them rationally and with a sense of duty to the constitution and people of the United States. And that’s why I think he’s going to be a great president.”

[Sen. Obama Speech]

“Everybody here has got a story.  Somewhere, you’ve got parents who said ‘you know what, maybe I won’t go to college, but I know if I work hard, my child will go to college.’  Everybody here has got a story of somebody who came from another country.  They said

‘maybe my grandchild or my great grandchild, they’ll have opportunity, they’ll have freedom.’  Everybody here has got a story about a grandparent or a great-grandparent who worked in a coal mine, who worked in a tough factory, maybe got injured somewhere, but they said ‘you know what, I may not have a home, but if I work hard enough, someday my child, my grand-child they’ll have a home they can call their own.’  That’s the story of America.”

[Governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico]

“This guy is special, because I think he can bring people together, because he’s a good, decent man that understands the world through his background.  That he’s a man that can heal this country, that can bring bipartisanship.  That there’s very unusual, good, positive sides to this man that we need at this juncture in our history.”

[Sen. Obama in NH speech – off-camera with black & white stills]

“I’m reminded every single day that I am not a perfect man.  I will not be a perfect president.  But I can promise you this – I will always tell you what I think and where I stand.  I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face.  I will listen to you when we disagree. And most importantly I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again.”

[fade to black]. 

Final Two Minutes from Sunrise Rally

America, the time for change has come.  And now, to all of those who’ve joined us from across this country, I say that in six days, we can choose an economy that rewards work and creates new jobs and fuels our prosperity, starting with the middle class.

In six days, we can choose to invest in health care for our families, and education for our kids, and renewable energy for our future.

In six days, we can choose hope over fear, unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo.

In six days, we can come together as one nation, and one people, and once more choose our better history.

That’s what’s at stake.  That’s what we’re fighting for – for the small business owner in Denver to keep his doors open; for the hardworking couple in Cincinnati to retire in comfort; for the young student in Ft. Lauderdale to afford her tuition; for men and women in every city and town across this nation to achieve the American Dream. 

And if in this last week, you will knock on some doors for me, and make some calls for me, and go to barackobama.com and find out where to vote; if you will stand with me, and fight by my side, and cast your ballot for me, then I promise you this – we will not just win Florida, we will not just win this election, but together, we will change this country and we will change the world. 

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.

###

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Photo credits: BarackObama.com (top two); CafePress.com (button); BarackObama.com (family).

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