The Speech: '... It's because John McCain doesn't get it'

These are edited extracts from Barack Obama's speech...
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The Independent US

On American hardships

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 card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach. 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. America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land – enough!

On McCain

The record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 per cent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgement, but really, what does it say about your judgement when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 per cent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10 per cent chance on change...

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. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5m a year? 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 healthcare 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 privatise social security and gamble your retirement? It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

On taxes

I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow. I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95 per cent of all working families.

On oil

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... 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 re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest $150bn 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 five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

On health

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. 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. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while dying of cancer, I will make certain companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

On experience

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

On Iraq

Today, as my call for a timeframe 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 $79bn surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

On himself

I get it. I realise 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 nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

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