|44th President of the United States|
January 20, 2009
|Vice President||Joe Biden|
|Preceded by||George W. Bush|
|United States Senator
January 3, 2005 â€“ November 16, 2008
|Preceded by||Peter Fitzgerald|
|Succeeded by||Roland Burris|
|Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 13th district
January 8, 1997 â€“ November 4, 2004
|Preceded by||Alice Palmer|
|Succeeded by||Kwame Raoul|
|Born||Barack Hussein Obama II
August 4, 1961
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Michelle Robinson (m. 1992)|
|Parents||Barack Obama Sr.
|Relatives||Maya Soetoro (half-sister)|
|Awards||Nobel Peace Prize (2009)|
And I will do everything that I can as long as I am President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation.
When BP was not moving fast enough on claims, we told BP to set aside $20 billion in a fund – managed by an independent third party – to help all those whose lives have been turned upside down by the spill.
As I said last week in the wake of the grand jury decision, I think Ferguson laid bare a problem that is not unique to St. Louis or that area, and is not unique to our time, and that is a simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color.
Now we're in the midst of not just advocating for change, not just calling for change – we're doing the grinding, sometimes frustrating work of delivering change – inch by inch, day by day.
There's not a liberal America and a conservative America – there's the United States of America.
Here at this site, Solyndra expects to make enough solar panels each year to generate 500 megawatts of electricity. And over the lifetime of this expanded facility, that could be like replacing as many as eight coal-fired power plants.
I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman – not me, not Bill, nobody – more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.
What I worry about would be that you essentially have two chambers, the House and the Senate, but you have simply, majoritarian, absolute power on either side. And that's just not what the founders intended.
In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri – where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions.
Now, anybody who thinks that we can move this economy forward with just a few folks at the top doing well, hoping that it's going to trickle down to working people who are running faster and faster just to keep up, you'll never see it.
The thing about hip-hop today is it's smart, it's insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable.
What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.
I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.
Are we a nation that educates the world's best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs, businesses, and industries right here in America?
It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
I think that there's no doubt that as I see friends, families, children of gay couples who are thriving, you know, that has an impact on how I think about these issues.
My task over the last two years hasn't just been to stop the bleeding. My task has also been to try to figure out how do we address some of the structural problems in the economy that have prevented more Googles from being created.
I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office.
I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.
I've got a pen and I've got a phone – and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.
But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That's what I strive to do, that's what I pray to do every day.
No other country in the world does what we do. On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might – but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them.
The shift to a cleaner energy economy wont happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.
I'm the president of the United States. I'm not the emperor of the United States.
The immigration issue is, I recognize, one that generates a lot of passion, but it does not make sense for us to want to push talent out.
We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn't a matter of political correctness. It's a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.
Our higher education system is one of the things that makes America exceptional. There's no place else that has the assets we do when it comes to higher education. People from all over the world aspire to come here and study here. And that is a good thing.
Americans… still believe in an America where anything's possible – they just don't think their leaders do.
Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America. That's why we restored diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, and positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people.
Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terrorism have reduced the pace of military transformation and have revealed our lack of preparation for defensive and stability operations. This Administration has overextended our military.
I want to be very clear: I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits over the next decade.
With the changing economy, no one has lifetime employment. But community colleges provide lifetime employability.
Those who oppose reform will also tell you that under our plan, you won't get to choose your doctor – that some bureaucrat will choose for you. That's also not true.
Let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel's. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under a McCain administration. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under an Obama administration. So that policy is not going to change.
I just want to go through Central Park and watch folks passing by. Spend the whole day watching people. I miss that.
We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.
We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times… and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen.
In a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy.
No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I'm President, I never will.
Our priority is to go after ISIL. And so what we have said is that we are not engaging in a military action against the Syrian regime. We are going after ISIL facilities and personnel who are using Syria as a safe haven, in service of our strategy in Iraq.
I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV. If you're headed for a cliff, you have to change direction. That's what the American people called for in November, and that's what we intend to deliver.
We're not a fragile people. We're not a frightful people. Our power doesn't come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don't look to be ruled.
All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.
And we have done more in the two and a half years that I've been in here than the previous 43 Presidents to uphold that principle, whether it's ending 'don't ask, don't tell,' making sure that gay and lesbian partners can visit each other in hospitals, making sure that federal benefits can be provided to same-sex couples.
In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear. Through initiatives like My Brother's Keeper, I'm personally committed to changing both perception and reality.
The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old – and that's the criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges.
It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.
We all knew this. We all knew that it would take more time than any of us want to dig ourselves out of this hole created by this economic crisis.
When states like Alabama and Arizona passed some of the harshest immigration laws in history, my Attorney General took them on in court and we won.
The future rewards those who press on. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I'm going to press on.
It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.
I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.
So long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you've served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.
Even when folks are hitting you over the head, you can't stop marching. Even when they're turning the hoses on you, you can't stop.
Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they call us.
One of the great strengths of the United States is… we have a very large Christian population – we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.
We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender.
For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant – Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world – including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.
And we can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra. Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot. But through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations. This new factory is the result of those loans.
Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get attention. Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn't matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest.
I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.
First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy? Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us – especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change? Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?
But do I think that our actions in anyway violate the War Powers Resolution, the answer is no.
I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned.
I am the commander in chief of the United States armed forces, and Iraq is gonna have to ultimately provide for its own security.
And so our goal on health care is, if we can get, instead of health care costs going up 6 percent a year, it's going up at the level of inflation, maybe just slightly above inflation, we've made huge progress. And by the way, that is the single most important thing we could do in terms of reducing our deficit. That's why we did it.
Where the stakes are the highest, in the war on terror, we cannot possibly succeed without extraordinary international cooperation. Effective international police actions require the highest degree of intelligence sharing, planning and collaborative enforcement.
A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.'
We need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation. The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color. Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country.
There are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams.
We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated.
Through every victory and every setback, I've insisted that change is never easy and never quick; that we wouldn't meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.
And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.
America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free. We sent a generation to college. We cultivated the most educated workforce in the world.
Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hardwired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country's scared.
Our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn't have much to say about how they'd make it right. They want your vote, but they don't want you to know their plan.
Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.
We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don't want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.
Michelle and I don't want anyone telling us who our family's doctor should be – and no one should decide that for you either. Under our proposals, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period, end of story.
Unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.
The Bush Administration's failure to be consistently involved in helping Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians has been both wrong for our friendship with Israel, as well as badly damaging to our standing in the Arab world.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.
I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.
In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed an interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.
We also can't try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis. That's not leadership; that's a recipe for quagmire, spilling American blood and treasure that ultimately weakens us. It's the lesson of Vietnam, of Iraq – and we should have learned it by now.
Whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic or the Pacific or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship.
In the absence of sound oversight, responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment, or take advantage of middle-class families, or threaten to bring down the entire financial system.
We can't get to the $4 trillion in savings that we need by just cutting the 12 percent of the budget that pays for things like medical research and education funding and food inspectors and the weather service. And we can't just do it by making seniors pay more for Medicare.
As president, I'm committed to making Washington work better and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here.
Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.
After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future.
We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we're getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best: We're making things again.
We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer – our homeland more secure, our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation.
America is the student who defies the odds to become the first in a family to go to college – the citizen who defies the cynics and goes out there and votes – the young person who comes out of the shadows to demand the right to dream. That's what America is about.
I think it is important for Europe to understand that even though I am president and George Bush is not president, Al Qaeda is still a threat.
Eight years ago, you may remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year and a half. Let me tell you, it was tough, because Hillary was tough. I was worn out. She was doing everything I was doing, but just like Ginger Rogers, it was backwards in heels.
We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States.
Since I'm the president and Democrats have controlled the House and the Senate, it's understandable that people are saying, you know, 'What have you done?'
I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the President. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn't return. I've shared the pain of families who've lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who've lost their jobs.
Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction.
That is America. That is America. Those bonds of affection; that common creed. We don't fear the future; we shape it. We embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help… Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business – you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.
Community colleges play an important role in helping people transition between careers by providing the retooling they need to take on a new career.
I can make a firm pledge, under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.
I said that America's role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya; that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation, and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners.
If everybody that voted in 2008 shows up in 2010, we will win this election. We will win this election.
My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.
Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may make you feel like you're flying high at first, but it won't take long before you feel the impact.
We've protected thousands of people in Libya; we have not seen a single U.S. casualty; there's no risks of additional escalation. This operation is limited in time and in scope.
Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don't like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
We didn't become the most prosperous country in the world just by rewarding greed and recklessness. We didn't come this far by letting the special interests run wild. We didn't do it just by gambling and chasing paper profits on Wall Street. We built this country by making things, by producing goods we could sell.
I've been fighting with Acorn, alongside Acorn, on issues you care about, my entire career.
It's one of the few regrets of my presidency – that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. There's no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I'll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.
We need earmark reform, and when I'm President, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.
If you're looking for the safe choice, you shouldn't be supporting a black guy named Barack Obama to be the next leader of the free world.
I think one of the great things about the United States has been our ability to maintain a distinction between our military and domestic law enforcement.
I don't think marriage is a civil right, but I think that being able to transfer property is a civil right.
What do you think a stimulus is? It's spending – that's the whole point! Seriously.
Now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America.
America isn't Congress. America isn't Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business, or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kid a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger.
What I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.
Immigrants aren't the reason wages haven't gone up enough; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns.
Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,' he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. 'Shake it off. Stop complainin'. Stop grumblin'. Stop cryin'. We are going to press on. We have work to do.
Food Stamp recipients didn't cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.
Building new roads and bridges creates jobs. Growing our exports creates jobs. Reforming our outdated tax system and our broken immigration system creates jobs.
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that's not what America's about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don't contract them.
But if you – if what – the reports are true, what they're saying is, is that as a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs, we knew that.
I think what you're seeing is a profound recognition on the part of the American people that gays and lesbians and transgender persons are our brothers, our sisters, our children, our cousins, our friends, our co-workers, and that they've got to be treated like every other American. And I think that principle will win out.
We proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges.
After a century of striving, after a year of debate, after a historic vote, health care reform is no longer an unmet promise. It is the law of the land.
We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
What is a danger is that we stay stuck in a new normal where unemployment rates stay high, people who have jobs see their incomes go up, businesses make big profits. But they're learned to do more with less, and so they don't hire.
We welcome the scrutiny of the world – because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems and make our union more perfect.
My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington.
I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president – with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR, and Lincoln – just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we've got a lot more work to do. And we're gonna keep on at it.
While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos.
That's what the Affordable Care Act is all about. It's about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we'll still have coverage.
I miss Saturday morning, rolling out of bed, not shaving, getting into my car with my girls, driving to the supermarket, squeezing the fruit, getting my car washed, taking walks.
You have young men of color in many communities who are more likely to end up in jail or in the criminal justice system than they are in a good job or in college. And, you know, part of my job, that I can do, I think, without any potential conflicts, is to get at those root causes.
A lot has happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war, and it's been tested by recession and all manner of challenges – I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before.
This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many.
There is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America – there's the United States of America.
Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They've got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law.
There is probably a perverse pride in my administration… that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who's occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can't be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.
Now, as a nation, we don't promise equal outcomes, but we were founded on the idea everybody should have an equal opportunity to succeed. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That's an essential promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up.
If people continue to feel like Democrats are looking after poor folks and Republicans are looking after rich folks and nobody is looking after me, then we don't get a lot of stuff done. And the trend lines evidence the fact that folks have gotten squeezed. And obviously, 2007, 2008 really ripped open for people how vulnerable they were.
Of course, violence will not end with our combat mission. Extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack Iraqi civilians and try to spark sectarian strife. But ultimately, these terrorists will fail to achieve their goals.
My family, frankly, they weren't folks who went to church every week. My mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew but she didn't raise me in the church, so I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead.
The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country – I know, because I am one of them.
In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world.
So while an incredible amount of progress has been made, on this fifth anniversary, I wanted to come here and tell the people of this city directly: My administration is going to stand with you – and fight alongside you – until the job is done. Until New Orleans is all the way back, all the way.
Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.
I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you're sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I.
To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.
As a nuclear power – as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon – the United States has a moral responsibility to act.
We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party.
Our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to Iraq's future is not.
Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation – not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago.
As we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.
If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.
It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was al-Qaeda. We will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust.
We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
Let me even say before I even get inaugurated, during the transition we are going to be having meetings all across the country with community organizations so that you have input into the agenda for the next presidency of the United States of America.
What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman, but what I also believe is that we have an obligation to make sure that gays and lesbians have the rights of citizenship that afford them visitations to hospitals, that allow them to be, to transfer property between partners, to make certain that they're not discriminated on the job.
I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together: black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance under the same proud flag to this big, bold country that we love. That's what I see. That's the America I know!
Of course, there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.
We've persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people – a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it's time to turn the page.
The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of the recession because that would just suck up and take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole.
In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?
When we think of the major threats to our national security, the first to come to mind are nuclear proliferation, rogue states and global terrorism. But another kind of threat lurks beyond our shores, one from nature, not humans – an avian flu pandemic.
Al Qaeda is still a threat. We cannot pretend somehow that because Barack Hussein Obama got elected as president, suddenly everything is going to be OK.
What I'm asking for is hard. It's easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn't possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don't matter. But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.
If the critics are right that I've made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them.
A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a 'Mad Men' episode.
It's time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent.
I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage – they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor.
Our brand of democracy is hard. But I can promise that a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I'll be right there with you as a citizen – inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped America travel so far.
We want everybody to act like adults, quit playing games, realize that it's not just my way or the highway.
I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.
On every front there are clear answers out there that can make this country stronger, but we're going to break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling. Our job is to make sure that even as we make progress, that we are also giving people a sense of hope and vision for the future.
Issues are never simple. One thing I'm proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues.
In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can't afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.
We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.
If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we've got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship.
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I, therefore, intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt.
Contrary to the claims of some of my critics and some of the editorial pages, I am an ardent believer in the free market.
Ours is a nation of laws: of citizens who live under them and for the citizens who enforce them. So, to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let's seek to heal rather than to wound each other.
I think there are a whole host of things that are civil rights, and then there are other things – such as traditional marriage – that, I think, express a community's concern and regard for a particular institution.
With patient and firm determination, I am going to press on for jobs. I'm going to press on for equality. I'm going to press on for the sake of our children. I'm going to press on for the sake of all those families who are struggling right now. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I am going to press on.
People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.
The fact that my 15 minutes of fame has extended a little longer than 15 minutes is somewhat surprising to me and completely baffling to my wife.
We can't have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.
It's not enough to train today's workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow's workforce by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.
Nobody wants to put the creditworthiness of the United States in jeopardy. Nobody wants to see the United States default. So we've got to seize this moment, and we have to seize it soon.
Yes, we've still got more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years.
America's promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. We bear our burdens. That's one of the reasons why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago when I took office.
I've said very clearly, including in a State of the Union address, that I'm against 'don't ask, don't tell' and that we're going to end this policy.
Let's be honest – tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn't realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn't being straight with you. It's also not who we are as Americans.
If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination – and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – are real and must be addressed.
So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.
Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest.
My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or blessed, believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.
After a century of trying, we declared that healthcare in America is not a privilege for a few, it is a right for everybody. After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil. We doubled our production of clean energy. We brought more of our troops home to their families, and we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.
As I've said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hopes for Iraqis' future.
We have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their healthcare.
I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.
What I think is fair to say is that, coming out of the Republican camp, there have been efforts to suggest that perhaps I'm not who I say I am when it comes to my faith – something which I find deeply offensive, and that has been going on for a pretty long time.
I want to reform the tax code so that it's simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.
We will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.
You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.
But let me perfectly clear, because I know you'll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people: if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.
The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries.
You know, one of the things I think you understand as president is you're held responsible for everything, but you don't always have control of everything, right?