Mark Steyn, Jan. 28: Three weeks after New Hampshire primary, when Hill and McCain and the gang were all bragging about being "agents of change," a (non-U.S.) correspondent of mine e-mailed me his all-purpose stump speech for this primary season:
My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.
Steyn’s item was headlined "Barracking Barack," so it was meant to make fun of Sen. Obama’s "change" theme as well. But there is no hint that the author was attributing this "all-purpose stump speech" to any particular candidate, or even to Democratic candidates exclusively.
Mark Steyn, June 7: A few months back, just after the New Hampshire primary, a Canadian reader of mine – John Gross of Quebec – sent me an all-purpose stump speech for the 2008 campaign
"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it."
I thought this was so cute, I posted it on the Web at National Review. Whereupon one of those Internetty-type things happened, and three links and a Google search later the line was being attributed not to my correspondent but to Sen. Obama, and a few weeks after that I started getting e-mails from reporters from Florida to Oregon, asking if I could recall at which campaign stop the senator, in fact, uttered these words. And I’d patiently write back and explain that they’re John Gross’ words, and that not even Barack would be dumb enough to say such a thing in public.
Here’s what Obama actually said on June 3, the occasion of his victory speech:
Obama, June 3: This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
May the moon keep you centered,
May the sun keep you dancing,
And the stars shed light on your dreams.