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Wed Nov 7, 2012, 05:50 PM

This is the Man We Elected Last Night

Obama claims victory for his "United States"

Listening live to Obama's acceptance speech last night, I felt we hit the heart of it, of Obama's core political message, at the end -- when, after telling the tale of a couple whose daughter's leukemia would have cost them everything had Obamacare not kicked in, he said, of a crowd listening to the father tell his story:

every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own.

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. Thatís who we are. Thatís the country Iím so proud to lead as your president.

That little girl could be our own. That's the link between asserting national unity and insisting that change comes from the bottom up.

Obama's whole career has been a bid to move the center left to correct its rightward lurch since 1980. His pitch is based on an historical argument that the country has thrived because it has continually committed itself to shared prosperity, investment in the common good, in human capital and the closest we can get to equal opportunity and general security. "Continually committed" means periodically re-committed, in ever-widening circles (which conservatives would call ever-expanding government). That's what "a more perfect union" means to him:. That's why, after four years of unrelenting partisan combat that he tried all too long and too hard to short-circuit, he was able, last night, to come full circle at the close:

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