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Michelle Obama. Democratic Convention Speech. Transcript as delivered.

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DENVER--Transcript of Michelle Obama Democratic convention speech. She was introduced by her brother, Craig Robinson. Transcript courtesy Federal News Service.


MR. ROBINSON: Good evening. I'm Craig Robinson, and Michelle Obama is my little sister.

Tonight, I want to introduce you to my sister: the girl I grew up with; the poised young woman I saw her grow into; the compassionate mother, aunt and sister-in-law she is; the passionate voice for women and children she has become; and the type of first lady she will be.

Sometimes, when I look at the -- the woman you're about to hear from, it's funny to think that this is the same person who used to wake me up early -- and I mean early -- on Christmas morning. This is the person who would play the piano to calm me down before my big games in high school. This is the person who, even though we were allowed only one hour of television a night, somehow managed to memorize every single episode of "The Brady Bunch." (Laughter.)

But when I really think back, I can also see how the person she is today was formed in the experiences we shared growing up: working hard, studying hard, having parents who wanted more for us than what they had, and always being reminded that in this country of all countries those things were possible. Now -- (interrupted by applause).

Neither of our parents went to college. My father went to work right out of high school to help pay for his brother's college tuition. He worked at the water filtration plant for 30 years.

We lost my father in 1991. And I know he's looking down on us tonight, so proud of his daughter, not because of who she married -- though he was a big fan of Barack -- but because of the hardworking, brilliant woman she is -- (applause) -- what -- what she's accomplished in her own right, the mother she's become, and the values she's instilled in her daughters.

My mother Marian is here tonight.

She remains our family's anchor. And the sole reason Michelle was willing to campaign at all was because she knows that mom was there to help take care of the girls. (Cheers, applause.)

When we were young kids, our parents divided the bedroom we shared so we could each have our own room. Many nights we would talk when we were supposed to be sleeping. My sister always talked about who was getting picked on at school or who was having a tough time at home. I didn't realize it then -- but I realize it now -- those were the people she was going to dedicate her life to: the people who were struggling with life's challenges.

She has continued to follow that passion. She gave up a big job in a law firm to work in her community with a group called Public Allies. She trained a new generation of community leaders. She developed the University of Chicago's community service center, connecting the university to the neighborhood that was blocks away but often worlds away from its gates. And when I wasn't happy doing what I was doing, she was the one who encouraged me to go back to my first love, teaching and coaching. And today I'm proud to be the coach of the Oregon State men's basketball team. Go Beavers! (Cheers, applause.)

But she did take something away from that first law firm job: a young lawyer by the name of Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, my sister had grown up hearing my father and me talk about how to judge a person's character by what type of sportsman they are, so she asked me to take him to play basketball. (Scattered laughter.) If you're looking for a political analysis based on his playing, here it is: he's confident, but not cocky; he'll take the shot if he's open; he's a team player who improves the people around him; and he won't back down from any challenge. (Cheers, applause.)

Together, I've watched Barack and Michelle strengthen each other. I've watched them create a home filled with love and grounded in faith. During challenging times, I've watched Michelle and Barack stand by each other. And I know they'll stand by you -- the -- the American people -- now and in the future. (Cheers, applause.)

So please join me in welcoming an impassioned public servant, a loving daughter, wife and mother, my little sister and our nation's next first lady, Michele Obama. (Extended cheers and applause.)

MRS. OBAMA: As -- as you might imagine, for -- for Barack, running for president is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother Craig. (Laughter.)

I -- I can't tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like -- like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I've felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.

And at six-foot-six, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me, too -- literally. (Laughter.) But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, Craig wasn't looking down on me, he was watching over me. And he has been there for me -- (cheers, applause) -- every step of the way since that clear day, February, 19 months ago, when, with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change, we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that has led us to this moment.

But each of us comes here also by way of our own improbable journey. I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend. And I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president. (Cheers, applause.)

And I come here as a mom -- as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world. They're the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to bed at night. Their future -- and all our children's future -- is my stake in this election.

And I come here as a daughter, raised on the South Side of Chicago -- (cheers, applause) -- by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, her intelligence reflected in my daughters.

My dad was our rock.

And although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 30s, he was our provider. He was our champion, our hero. But as he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing, even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier and he worked a little harder.

He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child could receive, never doubting for a single minute that you're loved and cherished and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and their hard work, we both were able to go to college. So I know firsthand, from their lives and mine, that the American Dream endures. (Cheers, applause.)

And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, and even though he had grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working-class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. And like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities that they never had for themselves.

And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values, like you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond; that you do what you say you're going to do. (Cheers, applause.) That you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them. (Cheers, applause.)

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them on to the next generation, because we want our children and all children in this nation to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them. (Cheers, applause.)

And as our friendship grew and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work that he'd done when he first moved to Chicago after college. You see, instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack went to work in neighborhoods that had been devastated by the closing of steel plants. Jobs dried up. And Barack was invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.

And the people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. See, they were parents trying to get by from paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get it together on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn't support their families after jobs just disappeared. You see, those folks weren't asking for a handout or a shortcut. See, they were ready to work. They wanted to contribute. They believed, like you and I believe, that America should be a place where you can make it if you try. (Cheers, applause.)

And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about the world as it is and the world as it should be. And he said that all too often we accept the distance between the two, and we settle for the world as it is, even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations.

But he reminded us that we also know what the world should like -- look like. He said we know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like, and he urged us to believe in ourselves, to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story? (Cheers, applause.)

It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in high school gyms, and people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had, refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals. And it's because of their will and determination that this week we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote -- (cheers, applause) -- and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation. (Cheers, applause.)

And I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history, knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard-won by those who came before me, all of them driven by same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work, the same conviction that drives the men and women I've met all across this country:

People who work the day shift, then kiss their kids good night and head out for the night shift without disappointment, without regret. See, that good-night kiss a reminder of everything they're working for.

The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. (Cheers, applause.)

The servicemen and -women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.

The young people across America serving our communities, teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us, each and every day.

People like Hillary Clinton -- (cheers, applause) -- who put those 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling so that our daughters and our sons can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

People like Joe Biden -- (cheers, applause) -- who has never forgotten where he came from and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

All of us driven by the simple belief that the world as it is just won't do; that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

And that is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope. And you see, that is why I love this country. (Cheers, applause.)

And in my own life -- (cheers, applause) -- in my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. See, that's why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities, because I believe that each of us -- no matter what our age or background or our walk of life -- each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.

And it's a belief Barack shares, a belief at the heart of his life's work. See, it's what he did all those years ago in Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and after-school programs to keep kids safe; working block by block to help people lift up their families. It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hardworking families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work. (Cheers, applause.) It's what he's done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care, including mental health care. (Cheers, applause.)

See, that's why Barack's running: to end the war in Iraq responsibly -- (cheers, applause) -- to build an economy that lifts every family, to make sure health care is available for every American -- (cheers, applause) -- and to make sure that every child in this nation has a world-class education all the way from preschool to college. (Cheers, applause.) That's what Barack will -- Obama will do as president of the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

He'll achieve these goals the same way he always has: by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn't care where you're from or what your background is or what party, if any, you belong to.

See, that's just not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us -- our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future -- he knows that that thread is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.

It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago. It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met who was worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who's unemployed and can't afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister's health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.

And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night -- (cheers, applause) -- and became the first voices in this chorus for change that has been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation -- (cheers, applause continue) -- millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; millions of Americans who know that Barack will fight for people like them and that Barack will bring finally the change that we need. (Cheers, applause.)

And in the end -- and in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months, see, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. (Cheers, applause.) He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace -- (laughter) -- peering at us anxiously at the -- through the rear-view mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her something he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love. (Cheers, applause.)

And as I tuck that little girl in -- as I tuck that little girl in and her little sister into bed at night, you see, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own and how one day, they -- and your sons and daughters -- will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. (Cheers, applause.) They'll tell them -- they'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes instead of our fears -- (cheers, applause) -- how this time -- how this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming; how this time, in this great country -- where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House -- (cheers, applause) -- that we committed ourselves -- we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future -- out of gratitude for those whose triumphs we mark this week and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment -- let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let's stand together to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)

END.

20 Comments

I think Michelle delivered a great speech that was well articulated. Thats the kind of first lady we need! I believe that that Barack Obama will make a great President with biden at his side and of course his wife. What a powerful and inspiration speech...Way to go Michelle! It was a good kickoff for the democratic convention. Its time for change we dont need another republican...Obama/Biden all the way to the White House!

GREG TANGO

Tears. Tears are running down my face after reading this speech.

I am overwhelmed with the raw emotion of hope and thankful for the change in direction for this great country of ours with Obama at the helm.

Change is gonna come...Obama 08

IF CINDY MCCAIN CAN DELIVER A SPEECH ANYWHERE
CLOSE TO THIS IT WILL BE A MIRACLE!
THIS IS HOW THE SPEECH WILL SOUND-
7 HOUSES AND 5 STATES AGO AND 3 CITIES IN AMERICA
WE STARTED WITH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, WE ARE RICH
AS YOU ALL KNOW, BUT WE HAVE TRIALS AND
TRIBULATIONS LIKE COMMON FOLKS TOO!
TRYING TO DECIDE WHICH KEY FITS WHAT LOCK CAN BE
A CHORE, AND HAVING TO RUN OUR OWN BATH WATER
CAN BE EXHAUSTING AT TIMES, BUT ANYWAY JOHN WANTS
TO BE PRESIDENT SO I SUPPORT HIM!

Good old barack he was there when our baby girl was born and ready to take us home. Unlike who?

I cannot fathom why the American people fall for this manufactured baloney. Michelle Obama was coached, prepped, made-up, "costumed," and marketed for her one-night stand at the Democratic National Convention. It was her role to tug the heartstrings -- it's part of the act. It's today's politics -- change, dontcha know!

I'm not saying she's a bad person. But, for crying out loud! She makes over $300,000 a year. She lives in a $1.6 million dollar home. She went to Princeton, with the aid of Affirmative Action (I'm not against it -- but not everyone benefits from AA if they don't have "connections"). She is NOT like you! Stop pretending that Barack and Michelle are just folks -- they are aren't. They hobnob with the elite. They complain about their student loans, when they were extremely fortunate to gain admission to the prestigious schools that accepted them. Lots of people have numbing debt when they graduate -- they suck it up and get on with their lives.

She's not exceptional.

Yes, Michelle did amazingly. Cindy mightn't be bad but Michelle would be a hard act to follow. She's a great person and a woman who's struggled her way up while balancing career, family and her husband's career. Go Obama! Visit WHYOBAMA08.ORG!

If THE USA don't elect Barack it will be because of his race. In todays business world how many people report to someone who does not know what they do ...What I am trying to say that a leader is an visionary they hire their people with the exp.

We all thought Bush had exp look where we are now.

GREAT SPEECH!!!
But to qoute the king " A little less talk a little more action".Can his J BIRD BUTT cash the check that her alligator mouth just wrote!!!
If McCain's wife had made this speech (Not Possible,Doesn't apply).I would still call BULLCRAP!!! That's the problem with how our democratic system has evolved.Total freedom of speech(good intentions accepted.)But no accountability when these promises are not completed! If you ever ordered a big Mac based on the picture on the menu and then were disapointed when you get reality in a bag, you know what I mean.
I really hope I get the picture on the menu.
Randy

"And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about the world as it is and the world as it should be. And he said that all too often we accept the distance between the two, and we settle for the world as it is"

Nice of her to quote noted communist Saul Alinsky.

Yes she really loves America. You followers of Obama are sad, sad lost people. God help us all with a nation full of people like you.

THAT'S A BALD FACE LIE ABOUT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION!
SHE COULD HAVE BEEN PURPLE WITH HER GRADES SHE
WAS QUALIFIED TO BE A STUDENT AT PRINCETON, DON'T
SAY STUPID REMARKS, I WILL CALL YOU ON SOMETHING
LIKE THAT, THIS WOMAN ATTENDED ONE OF CHICAGO'S
TOP PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
YOU CAN BE FOR WHOMEVER BUT DON'T TRY THAT AGAIN!
YOU MAY NOT LIKE HER, BUT YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH
HER, SHE IS SMART, SHE IS CONFIDENT, AND SHE HAS
WORKED VERY HARD TO BECOME THE GREAT PERSON SHE
IS, DON'T EVER FORGET SHE WAS THE ATTORNEY WHO
WORKED WITH THE GREAT LAW STUDENT FROM HARVARD,
MR. BARACK OBAMA AT A DOWNTOWN LAW FIRM!
READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!
GOD HELP ALL OF YOU WHO ARE STOOPING LOW TO THE
GROUND, YOU NEED HELP VERY MUCH!
I JUST HOPE SOME OF YOU WOULD THINK BEFORE YOU
BLOG, AND CHECK YOUR EGOS AT THE DOOR!
JUST VOTE FOR SOMEBODY AND GET IF OFF YOUR CHEST!
STOP BEING EVIL, IT'S AN ELECTION, EITHER BE
APART OF THE PROCESS OR TURN YOUR TV OFF, THIS
IS THE NONSENSE FOX NEWS STARTS, THEY CONFUSE
SOME OF YOU TO WHAT THE OBAMA'S ARE ALL ABOUT!
THEY ARE GOD FEARING AMERICANS WHO LOVE THEIR
COUNTRY, THEY JUST WANT THEIR COUNTRY TO LOVE
THEM AS MUCH AS THEY LOVE IT!

There is nothing excessive about having a sole, single 1.6 million dollar home. If you and your husband have ground yourselves through lots of schooling and pushed and pushed through, you can expect to buy a 1.6 million dollar home. Stop talking as though this elevates her above us. She worked very hard and so did Barack. It is only one home. If they owned five homes like that, you'd have a leg to stand on. As it is, you do not. A 1.6 million dollar home is in the capacity of many, many people if they are motivated and push themselves to work hard from elementary school onward.

THANK YOU TIM DORAN FOR STEPPING UP AND TELLING
THE TRUTH!
DIDN'T HILLARY DO A GREAT JOB LAST NIGHT!
DIDN'T BILL CLINTON STEP UP HUGE LAST NIGHT!
DIDN'T SENATOR KERRY TELL US THE TRUTH LAST NIGHT!
THANK YOU MICHELLE OBAMA FOR OPENING THE
CONVENTION WITH A BANG!
THANK YOU JOE BIDEN AND THE GREAT STATE OF
DELAWARE!
THANK YOU MOTHER BIDEN FOR PRODUCING A GREAT MAN
LIKE JOE BIDEN!
DENVER WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AFTER BARACK OBAMA
SPEAKS THURSDAY NIGHT!
THANK YOU DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING,JR IF IT
WEREN'T FOR YOU BARACK OBAMA WOULDN'T HAVE THE
COURAGE TO DO WHAT HE IS DOING!

"There is nothing excessive about having a sole, single 1.6 million dollar home," Tim? REALLY? Ask Barack's brother, George, about that. You remember George -- Barack's baby brother, who resides in a shack in an African ghetto and lives on $1/month. There is something excessive about it, when Barack portrays himself as a "man of the people" -- but most people couldn't even get through the gates to his subdivision. I wonder if Saul Olinsky (the author of "Rules for Radicals," who dedicated his book to LUCIFER), one of Barack's adopted mentors, would agree that 1.6 mil for a house would be "excessive." But really, TIM, the problem is NOT that the price of the house is excessive ... the problem is that Barack's supporters CAN'T SEE THAT HE IS NOT WHAT HE APPEARS TO BE -- JUST LIKE THAT LITTLE OL' SNAKE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, who offered Eve a little bit of something she thought she wanted at an ultimately EXCESSIVE price. I wonder if she thought the snake's price was "excessive" before she took a bite of that apple. I wonder if, after she got what she thought she wanted, she considered the price "excessive," then. THINK ABOUT IT. DON'T DRINK THE KOOL AID. DON'T EAT THE APPLE. Don't vote for Obama.

I am very proud and honored to be living in a day where we as people can say that positive change is happening, don't worry haters there's more to come. I am not here to force who I will be voting for on you. But as you may know whether you want to or not, Senator Barack Obama, is exactly what America needs. I have read every blog comment on this site, and it is a shame how some believe that just because you went to a great school, and worked hard to become successful that you no longer know what it is like to struggle. Why would you want to stay in the same position forever. Its all about improvement! Lets get with it everyone, African- Americans are important to the World. We are people just like everyone else, we have values and morals. You can not label all because of a few. If this was the case that would show how petty others (races)are. Which will me you really are no better than who you speak of. God Bless Us all! Obama 08! Please register to vote.

This speech touches my heart. As a 17 year old student I read this and I think leadership, I believe in what once I thought was lose. Now Obama, Kennedy, Ms. Obama, Clintons has showed that the American is possible and that we are the future of tomorrow. My mother being a single hard working woman I see the struggle and it is time that we have a President that believes in us. Like everyone chants NO MORE 4 Years we need someone for the people this speech bring tears eyes because it speaks from the heart. If only I could be there physically supporting these find qualified individual. I just want to say Thank you for remember that youth have a voice, and we need to vote. I don't just look at you as the First African American that made history. I look at the individual before me heroes but with my mother and grandma still number 1. We the people demand change and we demand it now. It not about going to countries and being bullies but it about being the LEADER offering assistance not for a price. So I say in my mind Mr. President Obama, First Lady Obama, Senator Clinton, President, Clinton, Vice President Bydon, and Senator Kennedy the words greatest Senator not only have you made this possible. Not only is the dream possible but you are allowing us to live it NOW. God Bless You All!

To Micheline and Angel-
Well, the book on disguising your station in life was written by the Bushes--wealthy patrician New England family that reinvented themselves and fooled much of America into thinking they were downhome Texas folks. The difference between them and the Obamas is that they were rich to begin with and never owned up to it. The Obamas started with little and made it through hard work. (George W. Bush started life on 3rd base and still thinks he got there by hitting a triple.) And if you think the Obamas' race helped them get where they are, you aren't paying attention to reality.

I believe that Barack Obama was positioned to be here at this time. This was pre ordained before the beginning of time. For such a time as this. I am so happy to witness this history. It is time for us to make a stand and stand up for what is right and just. I love the Obama's and I can't wait to see them in the "White House". With the blessings of our lord. It is our time. God bless America

I will be very surprise if the USA do nont elect Barrack Obama ti the white house. He is very articulate and he does not have conservative ideas. He belongs to today's politics not the politics of the consevatives. Vote Obama.

In response to Phil Smith, The miracle occurred. Cindy McCain has lived a life of service in volunteer work to save children in places where most people in the industrialized world fear to tread. It is clear that she has used her wealth to do a great deal of charitable work, saving the lives of children. She has done all this while raising three of her own children and two adopted from Mother Theresa's Orphanage. She is clearly a most decent and admirable woman. Contrasted to Michelle Obama's "look what I accomplished for myself despite this mean country" speech, It's a no-brainer figuring out who is devoted to serve others and who is out for herself.

In response to Phil Smith, Sir, Farnsworth is correct. The quotation that has become a signature slogan of the obama campaign is word for word out of chapter two os Saul Olinsky's book, "Rules for Radicals". I regret the fact upsets you, but get used to the more important fact that Obama's entire life, from age 15 on has been mentored by communists, revolutionaries, terrorists, Orthodox Muslims, anti-Semites, and Marxists. It will all surface in time. The Obamas are devout Marxists. Not socialists, but Hard Core Marxists. If elected, they will fill their administration with the very same types with whom they have been associating for years. Birds of a feather fly together.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 26, 2008 1:54 PM.

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