Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests and fellow citizens, each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names.
What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" -- (cheers, applause) -- "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
It's hard to believe but someone just topped Todd Akin in the "ridiculous rape and abortion remarks" department. During a debate tonight, Richard Mourdock, Indiana's GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, dropped the latest in a line of controversial sound bites by Republican candidates during this election cycle about abortion. During the debate, after saying the only exception for abortion he'd allow is if the mother's life is in danger, Mourdock then explained why he doesn't support abortions in the case of rape: "I've struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from god. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
In Indiana, the latest polls show U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) as holding a slim lead over Mourdock who is currently Indiana's state treasurer. Mourdock's website proudly displays an endorsement from GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Update: After the debate, Mourdock backed off his comment, saying, "Are you trying to suggest that somehow I think God ordained or pre-ordained rape? No, I don't think that anyone could suggest that. That's a sick, twisted - no, that's not even close to what I said."
Two statuettes depicting President Barack Obama, left, and Republican rival Mitt Romney are backdropped by the Stars and Stripes in a shop which sells Christmas nativity figures in Naples, Italy, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, hours ahead of their third and final presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida. (AP Photo/Salvatore Laporta)
After a whirlwind three weeks that's seen just about everything we thought we could see in an election, the two major party candidates for President of the United States - Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney - hold their final debate of the election season tonight. Going into the first debate less than three weeks ago in Denver, Obama was poised for a runaway win barring any major speed bumps. But that's what happend in Denver when Obama put forth a listless, lackluster performance by the president plus a new populist approach from Romney turned things around and put the wind at Romney's back, changing the entire course of the race. A testy, fiery Vice President Joe Biden turned up in the VP debate against GOP nominee Paul Ryan. And last week, Romney and Obama engaged in a heated, electrice debate, the candidates stalking the stage, often circling one another as they unleashed attacks on the other.
Tonight's moderator, CBS' Bob Schieffer, has experience with debates, having moderated one in each of the last two presidential election, and has already announced his list of topics for tonight's debate, centered on foreign policy:
America's role in the world
Our longest war - Afghanistan and Pakistan
Red Lines - Israel and Iran
The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism - I
The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism - II
The Rise of China and Tomorrow's World
Tonight should be a lively debate and we've got our best columnists and pundits along to provide live commentary. Below you can find both live video via YouTube of the debate and, below that, the running commentary from the Sun-Times staff. Before we go live at 7:30 p.m. and throughout the debate, take some time to check out some of our other posts about the upcoming election and check out even more coverage at our Election Page.
President Bill Clinton, despite some partisan disagreement with policy, was universally lauded Wednesday night after his nomination speech on behalf of President Obama. It was, because of the men's relative disdain for eachother, in many ways a historic moment.
He was wonky, didn't shy away from policy, was defiant of Republican claims without being mean-spirited and painted Obama as a man doing more than enough to turn around a mess that takes more than three years to clear up.
In short, many pundits say Clinton did masterfully in 45 minutes what Obama has been unable to do in his years in office - he communicated vision, goals, challenges and hard realities in his folksy, but knowledgable way. In fact, it had many journalists and political pros asking if maybe Clinton's resounding victory at the podium didn't set Obama with too high a bar in his own speech Thursday night.
And many watchers are asking if the rousing speech, heavy on hope and change, that Obama delivered in Denver in 2008 is within reach again for a president who's taken hits in nearly every pollable area of his tenure in the White House.
Imagine the metaphoric material the DNC nearly gave to the Republicans on a blue platter. Barack Obama onstage with the rain pouring down, a half-filled stadium of soggy, umbrella-less backers trying to muster up some enthusiasm while praying they don't catch pneumonia. ("Even the weatherman agrees, it's time for Barack Obama to go . . .")
So instead of the Bank of America stadium it'll be the Time Warner Cable Arena, where on Tuesday night Michelle Obama wooed the crowd by bench-pressing Rahm Emanuel 20 times in less than five minutes, and Pat Quinn talked about everything but how things are going back home.