Barack Obama has told Americans their “dreams can be one” if they unite in a stirring new crusade for change, in a riotous finale to the historic Democratic National Convention.
Obama accepted the party's presidential nomination before 75,000 delirious supporters, becoming the first-ever black major-party White House pick, exactly 45 years after Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” anthem to racial harmony.
VIDEO: Crowd goes wild as Obama accepts nomination
IN-DEPTH: Race for White House
RELATED: Excerpts of Obama's speech
Evoking King's 1963 march on Washington, Obama said what “people of every creed and color, from every walk of life” heard “is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one.”
“'We cannot walk alone,'” the preacher cried. “'And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.'
“America, we cannot turn back,” Obama said in remarks released by his campaign before his speech.
'Failed Bush presidency'
The 47-year-old Illinois senator vowed to turn back the turmoil of the past eight years of the “failed presidency of George W. Bush.”
And he tore into his Republican rival John McCain, saying he did not understand the struggles of normal Americans, and should stop questioning his patriotism.
“It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it,” Obama said.
And he said to the crowd, waving thousands of tiny American flags whipped into a patriotic frenzy by a pageant of patriotic songs, “I've got news for you, John McCain, we all put our country first.”
Obama also reflected on the unlikely aspects of his historic White House quest.
“I get it, I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office,” he said.
“I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.
“But I stand before you tonight because all across America, something is stirring. What the nay sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me, its been about you.”
“America, we are better than these eight years,” Obama said. “We are a better country than this,” he said.
“We meet at one of those defining moments — a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.”
“We are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight,” Obama said.
“On November 4, we must stand up and say “Eight is Enough.'”
Commander in Chief
The Illinois senator, who just four years ago electrified the convention as a mere state lawmaker, also savaged Republican claims that he is not ready to be US commander-in-chief.
“Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe,” Obama said.
“The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans, have built, and we are to restore that legacy.
“I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home,” Obama vowed.
Obama said if John McCain wants to have a debate about hwo has the temperament and judgement to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate he's ready to have.
Earlier Nobel laureate Gore directly likened Obama to Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest US president, and aimed several stinging blows at his own old adversary, Bush.
He noted that Lincoln, like Obama was once a state lawmaker from Illinois who was accused by rivals of having too little experience.
'End dependence on Middle East oil'
During his 44-minute speech, Obama promised to end the war in Iraq and to end America's dependence on Middle East oil within 10 years if elected president.
He said clean coal technology and other non-fossil energy sources would be part of his strategy.
He also spoke about equal gender pay and pouring more resources into education.
John McCain's White House campaign has dismissed Democrat Barack Obama's convention speech as “misleading” and said he was not ready to be president.