Not that I want to get too political (because all that invites is pointless argument where each side will not bend… although I did vote for Obama 🙂 ), I was VERY pleased to hear Obama quote one of my all-time favorite writers, Thomas Paine (without whom, there might not even be an America.)
The quote he used was at the end, when he mentioned that the father of our nation (General Washington) read the following to his troops in the dead of winter:
Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it.
He was quoting the end of Paine’s “The American Crisis” (Number I), which also sports one of the all-time great opening lines (“These are the times that try men’s souls”). I still get chills reading that line…
How that paper came about was Paine (the author of Common Sense, if you didn’t know) was asked to write something to help rally the troops. He was asked to do this for two reasons:
1) He was an excellent (and prolific) writer. Perhaps one of the best who ever lived.
2) Since Paine was a bit of a loose cannon, they (meaning the founders) wanted/needed to give him something to do, and keep him somewhat occupied.
Easily one of my favorite writers, and it pleases me to no end that Obama quoted him.
Good Paine book here, if you are interested.