And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
We are the heirs and caretakers of freedom; a blessing preserved with the blood of heroes down through the ages. One cannot go to Arlington Cemetery and see name upon name, grave upon grave, row upon row, without being deeply moved by the sacrifice made by those young men and women.
And those of us who live in this time, who are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice, dare not forget what they did and why they did it, lest we lose our own love of liberty.
Well, look, I revere the American flag, and I would not be running for president if I did not revere this country. This is -- I would not be standing here if it wasn't for this country.
And I've said this -- again, there's no other country in which my story is even possible; somebody who was born to a teenage mom, raised by a single mother and grandparents from small towns in Kansas, you know, who was able to get an education and rise to the point where I can run for the highest office in the land. I could not help but love this country for all that it's given me.
And so what I've tried to do is to show my patriotism by how I treat veterans when I'm working in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; by making sure that I'm speaking forcefully about how we need to bring this war in Iraq to a close, because I think it is not serving our national security well and it's not serving our military families and our troops well; talking about how we need to restore a sense of economic fairness to this country because that's what this country has always been about, is providing upward mobility and ladders to opportunity for all Americans. That's what I love about this country. And so I will continue to fight for those issues.
MORE: Let me offer some help to Barack's wordsmiths:
Well, look, I revere the American flag [Promising start]
This is a country which has produced great men and women such as.... [insert some list here; take a chance on sneaking George Washington and Abraham Lincoln past your base, then pivot to Martin Luther King; probably a
goodgreat idea not to nominate Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers. Yeah, yeah, we all know that "Bomber Bill", as he is laughingly called around Hyde Park, courageously stood up to a corrupt, war-mongering gang of war criminals, but maybe you can get into that later. Please?]
And this is a country whose ideals of freedom and liberty have inspired mankind for generations [So sorry, but the history lesson about how we oppressed the Indians, the blacks, and everyone else will have to wait. Swallow hard.]
I honor our nations heroes; I honor our nations ideals; and I hope, as President of these United States, to be your humble servant in carrying them forward. [Try not to choke on "humble". Better practice that with, hmm, not Michelle... just practice.]
I'm just thinking out loud here - almost anything would have to be better than the current "Of course I love America, it's working great for me."
Obama's 2004 convention speech would be a useful starting place. Obama tried to sound-bite it for the Philly debate, but picked the wrong excerpt and gave it the wrong emphasis. From 2004:
I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.
That debt disappeared by the 2008 debate. Well, he did score with the book deal and pay off his student loans.
This is the part from the 2004 speech he ought to rehearse until it sounds as if he believes it and is the first thing he thinks of:
Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our Nation — not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That is the true genius of America, a faith -- a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted -- at least most of the time.
"Most of the time". Well, he was talking to Dems, so three whole paragraphs without bashing Bush must have been a strain for everyone.
Obama is capable of sounding like he thinks America was a great country even before he came along; he ought to try and get back to that.
As a general rule, a Presidential candidate should not approach "Why do you love America?" as a trick question.