I watched a candidate I already knew was exceptional become a statesman today.
In his speech on America's racial divide, Barack Obama was honest, direct, personal and strong without being strident. He told unvarnished and complex truths about his own life in black and white communities he has known -- and he trusted all of us to be able to handle the lack of varnish and the complexity. He never condescends or resorts to sound bites when the issue requires more. He was at his best today.
This was more than political damage control. This was a challenge to American voters. Obama is asking us to choose whether we are going to give in -- once again -- to the forces that divide us, or work to unite our fractured national community. And he reminds us that the choice is ours -- not the pundits' or pollsters' or political insiders'. Few other national political figures have the courage to make that challenge under any circumstances, let alone in the midst of a presidential campaign. None of the remaining candidates in this election do.
We have had a handful of transformational leaders in our history, leaders who have reshaped and refocused what the American Dream means and revived our commitment to it. Barack Obama showed again today that he is that kind of leader.