Nothing could keep him away from the special gathering. “My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here.”
Ted Kennedy gave the Democratic National Convention in Denver an emotional boost with an appearance on Monday night. And then Michelle Obama took over.
The Senator from Massachusetts, who underwent radical surgery for a brain tumour in June and is now undergoing chemotherapy, was expected only to send a video message. He chose to be at the Pepsi Centre in person.
He was greeted with loud applause.
“I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States,” said Kennedy, an early and staunch supporter of Obama. “And I pledge to you — I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.”
Afterwards, Michelle Obama set out to reassure Americans that her husband’s values were typically American despite his strange name.
“Barack doesn’t care where you’re from, or what your background is, or what party — if any — you belong to. That’s not how he sees the world,” she said. “He knows that thread that connects us — our belief in America’s promise, our commitment to our children’s future — is strong enough to hold us together as one nation.”
She narrated her story and his: “He was raised by grandparents who were working-class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. And like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves.
“And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.”
For the sake of party unity, she also paid tribute to Hillary Clinton, “who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling.”