A young rising star. A keynote speech on the Democratic Party's biggest stage. Is it 2004 again?
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gave the most significant speech of his political career on Tuesday night when he became the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
"My grandmother didn't live to see us begin our lives in public service. But she probably would've thought it extraordinary that just two generations after she arrived in San Antonio, one grandson would be the mayor and the other would be on his way -- the good people of San Antonio willing -- to the United States Congress," Castro said in his speech, referring to his twin brother, Joaquin.
"My family's story isn't special. What's special is the America that makes our story possible. "Ours is a nation like no other -- a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation ... no matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward."
Comparisons to the 2004 Barack Obama are inevitable. The then-Illinois state Sen. Obama gave the same address in Boston, launching him onto the fast track for the presidential nomination four years later.
Castro, 37, shrugs off the similarities and talk that he could eventually become the first Hispanic president.
"Oh, I would be lying if I said that's not flattering. Of course it's flattering to anybody," he said last week from San Antonio. "But the biggest mistake I can make in this situation is to believe the press, to believe the hype."
That humble response can be attributed to his modest upbringing.
Castro's grandmother immigrated to Texas from Mexico as an orphan at the age of six. She taught herself to read and write in Spanish, eventually finding work in San Antonio as a maid and a cook.
Castro's mother, Rosie Castro, learned a tough lesson at a young age while in school in San Antonio, where her teachers discouraged speaking Spanish.
"They would charge us a quarter if you were caught speaking Spanish, and incidentally that's how much lunch cost," Rosie Castro said. "We were put down so often that the message was clear -- Spanish was a bad language that shouldn't be spoken."
As a result, Julian Castro and his brother, Joaquin, grew up in a home where Spanish was rarely spoken. Neither speaks the language fluently.
"I understand Spanish better than I speak it," Julian Castro admits.
It was Rosie Castro who inspired Julian's political future. While in college she became president of the Young Democrats at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Out of college, she joined the Chicano movement, working with the "La Raza Unida Party" to fight for reforms beneficial to the Mexican-American community.
In 1971, Rosie ran for San Antonio City Council and lost the race. Along the way, though, she took her sons to various community and political events where they witnessed battles for voting rights and an end to discrimination on city services.
"I dragged them to every meeting, rally and voting booth," Rosie Castro said. "They helped me on different campaigns and handed out literature. I wanted them to realize it is your duty to be involved."
Now, less than two weeks shy of his 38th birthday, Julian Castro, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard's Law School, is the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city. At age 26, he was the youngest councilman ever elected in San Antonio. Joaquin Castro, who introduced his twin Tuesday night, is a politician in his own right -- currently running for the House of Representatives in a contest Democratic leaders expect him to win.
"Since they were young, I imagined they would do great things," Rosie Castro said of her sons.
A source familiar with Julian Castro's speech set the bar high for the San Antonio mayor, saying it was akin to Obama's career-making 2004 address.
Castro himself says he'll focus on his own story of achieving the American dream.
Who is the next Obama?
He drew a link for those working to write their own success story, addressing what he said in an interview was the "clear choice that voters have in this election, and why the policies that President Obama has put forth make more sense to creating opportunity, bringing the middle class back, and assuring prosperity in the future."
"We need to make a choice. It's a choice ... between a country where the middle class pays more, so that millionaires can pay less ... or a country where everybody pays their fair share. It's a choice between a nation that slashes funding for our schools and guts Pell grants ... or a nation that invests more in education. It's a choice between a politician who rewards companies that ship American jobs overseas ... or a leader who brings jobs back home," Castro said.
"This is the choice before us. And to me, to my generation, and for all the generations that will come after us, our choice is clear. Our choice is a man who's always chosen us. A man who already is our president -- Barack Obama."
The choice of Castro for the convention's keynote address is strategic in an election where the Latino vote will be key.