[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
Alright, as I said, I'm glad -- I'm glad to be here today for this voter registration drive and -- and for Barack Obama, the next President of the United States.
I've -- I've spent 35 years writing about America, its people, and the meaning of the American Promise. That's the promise that was handed down to us, right here in this city from our Founding Fathers, with one instruction and that was: Do your best to make these things real: It was opportunity, equality, social-economic justice, a fair shake for all of our citizens -- the American idea, as a positive influence, around the world for a more just and peaceful existence. These are the things that give our lives hope, and they give our lives shape and meaning. And these are the ties that bind us together and give us faith in our contract with one another.
I've -- I've spent most of my creative life measuring -- measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality. And for many Americans, who are today losing their jobs, and their homes, they're seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no healthcare, who have been abandoned in our inner cities, the distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful for people.
Now I believe that Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his work. And I think he understands in his heart the cost of that distance in blood and in suffering, in the lives of everyday Americans. And I believe that as President -- I think he would work to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning. After the disastrous Administration of the past eight years, what we really need is we need somebody to lead us in an American reclamation project.
Now in my job -- in my job, I travel around the world and I occasionally play big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. And I've continued to find, wherever I go, that America remains a repository of people's hopes and possibilities and desires, and that despite the terrible erosion to our standing in the world, accomplished by our recent Administration, we remain for many, many people this House of Dreams.
And one thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down.
They will -- They will, however -- They will, however, be leaving office. That's the good news. The bad news is they'll be leaving office dropping the national tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis in our laps.
Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, has been looted, and it's been left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving; and it needs defending against those who'd sell it down the river for power or for a quick buck. It needs strong arms. It needs a citizenry with strong arms, hearts, and minds.
It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, his temperateness, his deliberativeness, his maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to help us rebuild our house once again.
But most importantly it needs you and me. And it needs us. It needs us to rebuild our House with the generosity that is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that's truer and big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow citizens -- because that's where our future lies. And we will rise or we will fall as a people by our ability to accomplish this task.
And now I don't know about you, but I know that I want my House back. I want my America back. And I want my country back.
So, I say now's the time to stand with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, roll up our sleeves, and come on up for the rising.
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