It was only a small section of Obama's speech last night, but it provided a window into the argument that Barack Obama will present against Hillary Clinton in the next few weeks. If she and John McCain are going to continue to use the same lines against Obama, the same attacks, the same dismissive rhetoric that ignores a movement of millions - then she will be John McCain in this election. If she stands in the way of millions of Americans hungering for change, if she tries to tear down this movement - we have to remember that those attacks are just words. They cannot hurt us.
John McCain and Senator Clinton echo each other in dismissing this call for change. They say it is eloquent but empty; speeches and not solutions. And yet, they should know that it's a call that did not begin with my words. It began with words that were spoken on the floors of factories in Ohio and across the deep plains of Texas; words that came from classrooms in South Carolina and living rooms in the state of Iowa; from first-time voters and life-long cynics; from Democrats and Republicans alike.
They should know that there's nothing empty about the call for affordable health care that came from the young student who told me she gets three hours of sleep because she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't pay her sister's medical bills.
There's nothing empty about the call for help that came from the mother in San Antonio who saw her mortgage double in two weeks and didn't know where her two-year olds would sleep at night when they were kicked out of their home.
There's nothing empty about the call for change that came from the elderly woman who wants it so badly that she sent me an envelope with a money order for $3.01 and a simple verse of scripture tucked inside.
For the first time, explicitly, Barack Obama tied Hillary Clinton and John McCain together. Now, he pivots to the familiar argument he first laid out in his 2004 convention speech. Hope isn't something false or delusional. It's not empty. It's about the American Dream.
These Americans know that government cannot solve all of our problems, and they don't expect it to. Americans know that we have to work harder and study more to compete in a global economy. We know that we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our children – that we need to spend more time with them, and teach them well, and put a book in their hands instead of a video game once in awhile. We know this.
But we also believe that there is a larger responsibility we have to one another as Americans.
We believe that we rise or fall as one nation – as one people. That we are our brother's keeper. That we are our sister's keeper.
We believe that a child born tonight should have the same chances whether she arrives in the barrios of San Antonio or the suburbs of St. Louis; on the streets of Chicago or the hills of Appalachia.
We believe that when she goes to school for the first time, it should be in a place where the rats don't outnumber the computers; that when she applies to college, cost is no barrier to a degree that will allow her to compete with children in China or India for the jobs of the twenty-first century.
We believe that these jobs should provide wages that can raise her family, health care for when she gets sick and a pension for when she retires.
We believe that when she tucks her own children into bed, she should feel safe knowing that they are protected from the threats we face by the bravest, best-equipped, military in the world, led by a Commander-in-Chief who has the judgment to know when to send them into battle and which battlefield to fight on.
And if that child should ever get the chance to travel the world, and someone should ask her where she is from, we believe that she should always be able to hold her head high with pride in her voice when she answers "I am an American."
That is the course we seek. That is the change we are calling for. You can call it many things, but you cannot call it empty.
We are the ones we've been waiting for. And while this fight drags on for the nomination for months, as long as we don't give in, as long as we don't give up hope, as long as we don't listen to the cynics who would have us ignore the rules and the will of the people, we will succeed. Barack Obama will win this nomination, the Presidency of the United States, and we will restore faith in the American Dream.