This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC Learning English Launch BBC Media Player
  • Help
  • Text only
You are in: Learning English > News English > Words in the News
Learning English - Words in the News
29 August, 2008 - Published 12:30 GMT
Obama accepts nomination for US presidency
Barack Obama before his speech in Denver, 28th August 2008

In the US, Barack Obama has accepted the Democratic nomination for the presidency, making him the first black candidate to run for office. He was speaking in a packed stadium in the centre of Denver, from where our correspondent Kevin Connolly reports:

Listen to the story

I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.

The night on which a major American party acclaimed a black presidential candidate for the first time called for something unique by way of theatre and Barack Obama obliged. In the rock star setting of a cavernous football stadium, on a stage decorated with columns that looked suspiciously like those of the White House itself, he delivered a speech that touched on everything - from motherhood to mortgage debt.

It was strong on patriotism and the readiness to use force as a last resort, but longer on talk of rebuilding areas of American life, which he said, had been fractured in the era of George W Bush:

In Washington they call this the Ownership Society. But what it really means is that you are on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you are on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own boot straps. Even if you don't have boots you are on your own.

Topped off with red, white and blue fireworks and confetti fired from stage side cannons, it produced rapturous applause inside the stadium. Its real political test though is how it will play in the uncommitted America that lies beyond.

Kevin Connolly, BBC News, Denver

Listen to the words

publicly recognized and praised

called for something unique by way of theatre
encouraged a performance that would be like nothing else in the past

didn't fail to meet expectations

as a last resort
only when all other measures don't work

here, seriously damaged (literally, if you fracture a bone, you break it)

Tough luck
this expression is used colloquially to say, 'your situation is unfortunate but it can't be helped and is none of my concern'

Pull yourself up by your own boot straps
improve your situation by your own efforts (colloquial)

Topped off with
finished spectacularly with

rapturous applause
when people clap their hands with great enthusiasm because they are impressed and delighted

the uncommitted America that lies beyond
Americans outside of the stadium who may have not yet decided who to vote for in the election

To take away:
Lesson planDownload or print (22 K)
Latest stories
27 May, 2011
Destruction of smallpox virus delayed
25 May, 2011
Micro-finance 'misused and abused'
20 May, 2011
Lonely planets
18 May, 2011
Germany to invest in more electric cars
16 May, 2011
Argentina builds a tower of books
Other Stories