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America, our moment is now. Now is our chance to turn the page. Now is our chance to write a new chapter.

I am in this race because I don’t want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America, I want to lead a United States of America. I don’t want this election to be about the past, because if it’s about the future, we all win. If this election is about whether or not to end this war, or pass universal health care, or make more college affordable, it won’t just be a Democratic victory; it will be an American victory.

That’s the victory this country needs right now. This election and this moment are too important to settle for what we already know. The time has come to reach for what we know is possible.

I am not running for this office to fulfill any long-held plans or because I believe it is somehow owed to me. I never expected to be here, and I always knew the journey would be improbable. I’ve never been on one that wasn’t.

I am running because of what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” I am running because I do believe there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost here.

I’m running because I don’t want to wake up one morning four years from now, and turn on one of those cable talk shows, and see that Washington is still stuck in the same food fight it’s been in for over a decade. I don’t want to see that more Americans lost their health care and fell into bankruptcy because we let the insurance industry spend millions to stop us for yet another year. I don’t want to see that.

I don’t want to see that the oceans rose another few inches and the planet has reached the point of no return because we couldn’t find a way to stop ourselves from buying oil from dictators. I don’t want to see that.

I don’t want to see that we risked more American lives in another misguided war because no one had the judgment to ask the tough questions before we sent our troops to fight. I don’t want to see that.

I don’t want to see homeless veterans on the street. I don’t want to send another generation of children through corridors of shame. I don’t want this future for my daughters and I do not accept this future for America. It is time to turn the page.

I run for the presidency for the same reason I drove halfway across the country over two decades ago to bring jobs to the jobless and hope to the hopeless on the streets of Chicago; for the same reason I stood up for justice and equality as a civil rights lawyer; for the same reason I’ve fought for Illinois families for over a decade. Because I will never forget that the only reason I am standing here today is because someone, somewhere stood up when it wasn’t popular, when it was risky; when it was hard. And because that someone stood up, a few more did. And then a few thousand. And then a few million. And together, they changed the world.

That’s why I run in this election. I run to give my children and their children the same chances that someone, somewhere gave me. I run so that a year from today, there is a chance that the world will look at America differently, and that America will look at itself differently. And I run to keep the promise of the United States of America alive for all those who still hunger for opportunity and thirst for equality and long to believe again.

That is the change that’s possible in this election. That is the moment I want to seize as President. And I ask you all to join me in this journey. Thank you.

Senator Barack Obama, November 3, 2007, Spartanburg, S.C.
(partial text of speech. Full text here)

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