Election Night Speechifying Open Thread (Updated!)

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So what do you think about that green background for McCain’s speech? What about his claim that Barack Obama has never taken the hard step to challenge his own party?

My read: The McCain speech was better written than it was delivered. But it also laid out the battle lines for the summer. The refrain was “That’s not change we can believe in.”

Here is the central thesis of the McCain campaign strategy:

You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term. You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly the very different directions he and I would take the country. But the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama. They know I have a long record of bipartisan problem solving. They’ve seen me put our country before any President — before any party — before any special interest — before my own interest. They might think me an imperfect servant of our country, which I surely am. But I am her servant first, last and always.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are still to come.

UPDATE: Now Clinton speaks. She has lost, but she says she is not making any decisions tonight. She is still plugging her website, still saying she wants to hear from her supporters. It’s surreal–most surreal because of her optimistic poise, which is either noble and brave or false and phony. This is a farewell, but she is pulling if off as if it is a beginning, of what exactly is not clear. Exit song is by Tina Turner, a fighter if there ever was one.

UPDATE AGAIN: Obama’s rally is Hollywood blockbuster to McCain’s grade school Christmas play. 20,000 people. Rising intonations. Masterful pacing. His refrain is “It’s not change.”

I’ll say this – there are many words to describe John McCain’s attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush’s policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

So there it is, the general election debate: Who gets to define change? Whose change matters more? Which candidate owns right change, not wrong change? In about five months, after candidates and their surrogates spend a couple hundred million dollars on the sales pitch, the American voters will get to decide.

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