James Whitmore Speech for Barack Obama

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The venerable actor James Whitmore gave a speech in support of Barack Obama yesterday in downtown Los Angeles.

Cay and I had the pleasure of being there for his impassioned plea for change.

The following is a very rough transcript as best worked out by myself and Cay:


I’ve admitted before that hope is on the horizon. It depends on how we handle it.

There’s a political magic going on right now. I can’t explain it. I don’t know what it is.

I’m 86 years old and the last one I remember that was magical was when FDR, during the height of the Depression, when it looked like the experiment of America was gonna fail, and he said - you all know - “The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.”

I’ve been waiting a long time, ladies and gentlemen. For the American people to say “I’m mad as hell... and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

All the years I’ve been around, and I said there are 86 of ‘em, some of them I actually, you know, made full sentences and stuff.

And I’ve also, who you know, once voted for some awful good presidents. Awful good presidents. Really.

I missed Washington and Lincoln. By a few years.

Then I got an opportunity to play a couple. One of them is Teddy Roosevelt. A Republican. And Harry Truman. Played Harry. And he was the one, you know, they said “Give ‘em hell, Harry.” And he said “No, I’m not gonna give ‘em hell, I’m just gonna tell the truth now and that’s their reality.” Yeah. And now we had some other good ones, too.

I wanna say this about, after researching those gentlemen, trying to get to know them the right way - they were good men. No question about it. Well educated, you know. Teddy Roosevelt was a Harvard man. I was a Yale man. So we could get along.

But I’ve got to say this to you in a considered and quiet way today: None of them had the education experience that Barack Obama has. Folks, it’s staggering. Harvard law. (We forgive him.) And then on to teaching constitutional law. You know that’s, that’s the roof over us, folks.

That’s what we’re supposed to live by.

And they spit on it.

And he taught at one of the best, toughest schools in the world - the University of Chicago.

And then he could have gone, of course as you know, could make business at the <....? > ... many of the large corporations. He chose to go on the street. On that street. Not that one, but the one in Chicago where politics is a life and death game.

He tried to get people to take their lives into their own hands.

So we meet today, as I say, with some strange thing going on right now - at least in Iowa... Continuing. Continuing.

I don’t want to be the ants at the picnic. But. Now somebody said the other day to me “Well, boy, Republicans are just a dead man walking.”

And I said “Hold it right there.” No. They’re very shrewd. Bright. And I wouldn’t so long and so forth.

Men talking. They’re gonna talk. They’re gonna get everything in their arsenal to take the magic out of what’s happening to all of us right now.

And I will now say before you leave here I don’t see enough buttons. You know folks we’re walking billboards. We are. And you gotta a button. Get a button. No, I’m serious. I really mean it.

You go to the grocery store. You go to the drug store. You go to get gas. And someone says, “Oh, you’re for the young kid.”

Well the young kid happens to be five years older than Jack Fitzgerald Kennedy was when he was elected president of the United States. That’s how young he is.

And he’s more than that. Beyond his education.

I met him twice, read both of his books, 'cause my wife insisted on it. No, really, I thought he was flavor of the week. I thought he was another Pet Rock or what.

I read his books. And he’s got something, ladies and gentlemen, that I certainly do not possess.

It’s called wisdom. And what that means is that he understands the complexity of life. Not only in America, and on the streets. But in the world. And it’s the most valuable thing a man or woman can have. And we don’t have too many of them.

The only other fellow, or woman, whatever, I know on this earth today would be Nelson Mandela. But it took him 27 years of losing one <..?job...> 27 years ago he came out the other side he was no longer a boxed boy. No. And he was no longer in a boxed career in terms of his motivation.

He’s the guy who simply said we’ve got to get together.

And in a political campaign that word is so misused.

What do they mean? They mean <...?boxed?....>

We’ve got to get everybody together.

And when you leave here tonight please get a button. Walk around. Talk about him. Earn some votes.

Get his name noticed. <...Okay for sure...?>

See my previous entry for a video excerpt from his speech that I shot with my GL-1. I'm working on posting a video of the entire speech on YouTube. Stay tuned here for details.

BTW Cay bought us buttons and I got a T.

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This page contains a single entry by Nigel published on January 5, 2008 7:36 PM.

James Whitmore Gets Mad as Hell for Barack Obama was the previous entry in this blog.

Okay Enough with the Political Blog Posts - It's Time For Some Real Shiznit Thanks to David Lynch is the next entry in this blog.

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