Cleaver's rousing DNC speech brings entire crowd to its feet - KCTV5 News

Cleaver's rousing DNC speech brings entire crowd to its feet

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The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus says the divisiveness on Capitol Hill has weakened the country and given neither political party an advantage over the other.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri made a plea for unity over division during a speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention. Republicans and Democrats can't be enemies, Cleaver said, and expect political progress.

"Tonight, I cannot speak to you without acknowledging that the bickering and brinkmanship that we see too often in our politics is advantaging no political party. It weakens our nation," Cleaver said.

But Cleaver made a pitch for his party, too. The Democrats have protected Medicare and Medicaid, he said, and embraced diversity by repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy about gays.

"As long as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sits on the throne of grace, Mr. President, hope on! Hope on! Hope on! We are people of hope! Mr. President, hope on! Hope on! When all else is gone, hope on," he said.

And those two words, "hope on," are still being echoed Thursday morning.

The 5th District Congressman's focus was clear by saying it is time politicians from both sides of the aisle work together.

"Just as bees cannot sting and make honey at the same time, members of Congress cannot simultaneously make passionate enemies and expect political progress," he said.

In 2005, Cleaver and Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, co-founded the Civility Caucus. The goal is to create and maintain a culture of respect and courtesy among members of Congress.

Cleaver said people living in Missouri's 5th District want to see "more warm hearts and fewer hot heads in Washington."  He also said they want more facts and fewer falsehoods.

"I want to encourage our president and all of us to hope for America that remembers and recognizes, protects its greatness. Yes, Mr. President. Hope on," he said.

During his speech, Cleaver tried to rally the Democrats by telling them they are the ones who protected Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

"It is our hope and faith that reminds us to pray and also affirms that we must move our feet. It is our hope that tells us a lot of days will be better than our former," he said.

Democrats also fought for fair wages, Cleaver said.

"If being liberal and progressive means I care for children and whether they go hungry, color me liberal. Color me Democrat," he said.

Rep. Karen Bass of California, also a member of the Black Caucus, spoke before Cleaver and said voting rights are under attack because of new laws that make it harder for people to cast their ballots.

"It is this time we elect Barack Obama as president of these United States," Cleaver said.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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