President Obama Addresses the UN General Assembly

President Obama:
Good morning. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates,ladies and gentlemen, it is my
honor to address you for thefirst time as the 44th
President of the United States. I come before you humbled by the
responsibility that the Americanpeople have placed upon me,
mindful of the enormouschallenges of our
moment in history,and determined to act boldly
and collectively on behalf ofjustice and prosperity
at home and abroad. I have been in office for just
nine months — though some daysit seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the
expectations that accompany mypresidency around the world. These expectations
are not about me. Rather, they are
rooted, I believe,in a discontent with a status
quo that has allowed us to beincreasingly defined
by our differences,and outpaced by our problems. But they are also rooted in hope
— the hope that real change ispossible, and the hope that
America will be a leader inbringing about such change. I took office at a time when
many around the world had cometo view America with
skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due
to misperceptions andmisinformation about my country. Part of this was due to
opposition to specific policies,and a belief that on
certain critical issues,America has acted
unilaterally, without regardfor the interests of others. And this has fed an almost
reflexive anti-Americanism,which too often has served as an
excuse for collective inaction. Now, like all of you, my
responsibility is to act in theinterest of my
nation and my people,and I will never apologize for
defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief
that in the year 2009 — morethan at any point in human
history — the interests ofnations and peoples are shared. The religious convictions that
we hold in our hearts can forgenew bonds among people,
or they can tear us apart. The technology we harness
can light the path to peace,or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain
our planet, or destroy it. What happens to the hope of a
single child — anywhere — canenrich our world,
or impoverish it. In this hall, we come
from many places,but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury
of indulging our differences tothe exclusion of the work
that we must do together. I have carried this message
from London to Ankara;from Port of Spain to
Moscow; from Accra to Cairo;and it is what I will speak
about today — because the timehas come for the world to
move in a new direction. We must embrace a new era of
engagement based on mutualinterest and mutual respect,
and our work must begin now. We know the future
will be forged by deedsand not simply words. Speeches alone will not
solve our problems — itwill take persistent action. For those who question the
character and cause of mynation, I ask you to look at the
concrete actions we have takenin just nine months. On my first day in office, I
prohibited — without exceptionor equivocation — the use of
torture by theUnited States of America. I ordered the prison at
Guantanamo Bay closed,and we are doing the hard work
of forging a framework to combatextremism within
the rule of law. Every nation must know:
America will live its values,and we will lead by example. We have set a clear and focused
goal: to work with all membersof this body to
disrupt, dismantle,and defeat al Qaeda and its
extremist allies — a networkthat has killed thousands of
people of many faiths andnations, and that plotted to
blow up this very building. In Afghanistan and Pakistan,
we and many nations here arehelping these governments
develop the capacity to take thelead in this effort, while
working to advance opportunityand security for their people. In Iraq, we are
responsibly ending a war. We have removed American combat
brigades from Iraqi cities,and set a deadline of next
August to remove all our combatbrigades from Iraqi territory. And I have made clear that we
will help Iraqis transition tofull responsibility
for their future,and keep our commitment to
remove all American troopsby the end of 2011. I have outlined a comprehensive
agenda to seek the goal of aworld without nuclear weapons. In Moscow, the United States and
Russia announced that we wouldpursue substantial
reductions in our strategicwarheads and launchers. At the Conference
on Disarmament,we agreed on a work plan
to negotiate an end to theproduction of fissile
materials for nuclear weapons. And this week, my Secretary of
State will become the firstsenior American representative
to the annual Members Conferenceof the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty. Upon taking office, I appointed
a Special Envoy for Middle EastPeace, and America has worked
steadily and aggressively toadvance the cause of two states
— Israel and Palestine — inwhich peace and
security take root,and the rights of both Israelis
and Palestinians are respected. To confront climate
change, we have invested$80 billion in clean energy. We have substantially increased
our fuel-efficiency standards. We have provided new
incentives for conservation,launched an energy partnership
across the Americas,and moved from a bystander
to a leader in internationalclimate negotiations. To overcome an economic crisis
that touches every corner of theworld, we worked with the G20
nations to forge a coordinatedinternational response of over
$2 trillion in stimulus to bringthe global economy
back from the brink. We mobilized resources that
helped prevent the crisis fromspreading further to
developing countries. And we joined with others to
launch a $20 billion global foodsecurity initiative that will
lend a hand to those who need itmost, and help them
build their own capacity. We’ve also re-engaged
the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the
Human Rights Council. We have signed the
Convention of the Rightsof Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the
Millennium Development Goals. And we address our
priorities here,in this institution
— for instance,through the Security Council
meeting that I will chairtomorrow on nuclear
non-proliferation anddisarmament, and
through the issues thatI will discuss today. This is what we
have already done. But this is just a beginning. Some of our actions
have yielded progress. Some have laid the groundwork
for progress in the future. But make no mistake: This cannot
solely be America’s endeavor. Those who used to chastise
America for acting alone in theworld cannot now stand by and
wait for America to solve theworld’s problems alone. We have sought — in word and
deed — a new era of engagementwith the world. And now is the time for all
of us to take our share ofresponsibility for a global
response to global challenges. Now, if we are honest
with ourselves,we need to admit
that we are not livingup to that responsibility. Consider the course that we’re
on if we fail to confront thestatus quo: Extremists sowing
terror in pockets of the world;protracted conflicts that
grind on and on; genocide;mass atrocities; more nations
with nuclear weapons;melting ice caps and
ravaged populations;persistent poverty
and pandemic disease. I say this not to sow fear, but
to state a fact: The magnitudeof our challenges has
yet to be met by themeasure of our actions. This body was founded on the
belief that the nations of theworld could solve their
problems together. Franklin Roosevelt, who died
before he could see his visionfor this institution
become a reality,put it this way — and I quote:
“The structure of world peacecannot be the work of one man,
or one party, or one nation. It cannot be a peace of large
nations — or of small nations. It must be a peace which
rests on the cooperativeeffort of the whole world. “The cooperative effort
of the whole world. Those words ring
even more true today,when it is not simply peace, but
our very health and prosperitythat we hold in common. Yet we also know that this body
is made up of sovereign states. And sadly, but not surprisingly,
this body has often become aforum for sowing discord instead
of forging common ground;a venue for playing politics and
exploiting grievances ratherthan solving problems. After all, it is easy to walk up
to this podium and point figures– point fingers
and stoke divisions. Nothing is easier than blaming
others for our troubles,and absolving ourselves
of responsibility forour choices and our actions. Anybody can do that. Responsibility and leadership in
the 21st century demand more. In an era when our
destiny is shared,power is no longer
a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try
to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one
nation or group of people overanother will succeed. No balance of power
among nations will hold. The traditional divisions
between nations of the South andthe North make no sense in
an interconnected world;nor do alignments of nations
rooted in the cleavages of along-gone Cold War. The time has come to realize
that the old habits,the old arguments, are
irrelevant to the challengesfaced by our people. They lead nations to act in
opposition to the very goalsthat they claim to pursue — and
to vote, often in this body,against the interests
of their own people. They build up walls between us
and the future that our peopleseek, and the time has come
for those walls to come down. Together, we must build new
coalitions that bridge olddivides — coalitions of
different faiths and creeds;of north and south, east,
west, black, white, and brown. The choice is ours. We can be remembered as a
generation that chose to dragthe arguments of the 20th
century into the 21st;that put off hard choices,
refused to look ahead,failed to keep pace because we
defined ourselves by what wewere against instead
of what we were for. Or we can be a generation that
chooses to see the shorelinebeyond the rough waters ahead;
that comes together to serve thecommon interests
of human beings,and finally gives meaning to the
promise embedded in the namegiven to this institution:
the United Nations. That is the future America
wants — a future of peace andprosperity that we can only
reach if we recognize that allnations have rights,
but all nations haveresponsibilities as well. That is the bargain
that makes this work. That must be the
guiding principleof international cooperation. Today, let me put forward four
pillars that I believe arefundamental to the future that
we want for our children:non-proliferation
and disarmament;the promotion of
peace and security;the preservation of our planet;
and a global economy thatadvances opportunity
for all people. First, we must stop the
spread of nuclear weapons,and seek the goal of
a world without them. This institution was founded
at the dawn of the atomic age,in part because man’s capacity
to kill had to be contained. For decades, we
averted disaster,even under the shadow of
a superpower stand-off. But today, the threat of
proliferation is growingin scope and complexity. If we fail to act, we will
invite nuclear arms races inevery region, and the prospect
of wars and acts of terror on ascale that we can
hardly imagine. A fragile consensus stands in
the way of this frighteningoutcome, and that is the basic
bargain that shapes the NuclearNon-Proliferation Treaty. It says that all nations have
the right to peaceful nuclearenergy; that nations with
nuclear weapons have aresponsibility to move
toward disarmament;and those without them have the
responsibility to forsake them. The next 12 months could be
pivotal in determining whetherthis compact will
be strengthened orwill slowly dissolve. America intends to keep
our end of the bargain. We will pursue a new agreement
with Russia to substantiallyreduce our strategic
warheads and launchers. We will move forward with
ratification of the Test BanTreaty, and work with others to
bring the treaty into force sothat nuclear testing is
permanently prohibited. We will complete a Nuclear
Posture Review that opens thedoor to deeper cuts and reduces
the role of nuclear weapons. And we will call upon countries
to begin negotiations in Januaryon a treaty to end the
production of fissilematerial for weapons. I will also host a summit next
April that reaffirms eachnation’s responsibility to
secure nuclear material on itsterritory, and to help those who
can’t — because we must neverallow a single nuclear
device to fall into thehands of a violent extremist. And we will work to strengthen
the institutions and initiativesthat combat nuclear
smuggling and theft. All of this must support
efforts to strengthen the NPT. Those nations that refuse to
live up to their obligationsmust face consequences. Let me be clear, this is not
about singling out individualnations — it is about standing
up for the rights of all nationsthat do live up to
their responsibilities. Because a world in which IAEA
inspections are avoided and theUnited Nation’s demands are
ignored will leave all peopleless safe, and all
nations less secure. In their actions to date, the
governments of North Korea andIran threaten to take us
down this dangerous slope. We respect their
rights as members ofthe community of nations. I’ve said before
and I will repeat,I am committed to diplomacy
that opens a path to greaterprosperity and more secure peace
for both nations if they live upto their obligations. But if the governments of Iran
and North Korea choose to ignoreinternational standards; if
they put the pursuit of nuclearweapons ahead of regional
stability and the security andopportunity of their own people;
if they are oblivious to thedangers of escalating nuclear
arms races in both East Asia andthe Middle East — then they
must be held accountable. The world must stand together to
demonstrate that internationallaw is not an empty promise, and
that treaties will be enforced. We must insist that the future
does not belong to fear. That brings me to the second
pillar for our future:the pursuit of peace. The United Nations was born of
the belief that the people ofthe world can live their
lives, raise their families,and resolve their
differences peacefully. And yet we know that in too
many parts of the world,this ideal remains an
abstraction — a distant dream. We can either accept that
outcome as inevitable,and tolerate constant
and crippling conflict,or we can recognize that the
yearning for peace is universal,and reassert our resolve to end
conflicts around the world. That effort must begin with an
unshakeable determination thatthe murder of innocent
men, women and childrenwill never be tolerated. On this, no one can be —
there can be no dispute. The violent extremists who
promote conflict by distortingfaith have discredited
and isolated themselves. They offer nothing but
hatred and destruction. In confronting them, America
will forge lasting partnershipsto target terrorists,
share intelligence,and coordinate law enforcement
and protect our people. We will permit no safe haven for
al Qaeda to launch attacks fromAfghanistan or any other nation. We will stand by our
friends on the front lines,as we and many nations will do
in pledging support for thePakistani people tomorrow. And we will pursue positive
engagement that builds bridgesamong faiths, and new
partnerships for opportunity. Our efforts to promote
peace, however,cannot be limited to
defeating violent extremists. For the most powerful weapon in
our arsenal is the hope of humanbeings — the belief that the
future belongs to those whowould build and not destroy; the
confidence that conflicts canend and a new day can begin. And that is why we will support
— we will strengthen oursupport for effective
peacekeeping,while energizing our
efforts to prevent conflictsbefore they take hold. We will pursue a lasting peace
in Sudan through support for thepeople of Darfur and the
implementation of theComprehensive Peace Agreement,
so that we secure the peace thatthe Sudanese people deserve. And in countries ravaged by
violence — from Haiti to Congoto East Timor — we
will work with the U. N. and other partners to
support an enduring peace. I will also continue to seek a
just and lasting peace betweenIsrael, Palestine,
and the Arab world. We will continue to
work on that issue. Yesterday, I had a constructive
meeting with Prime MinisterNetanyahu and President Abbas. We have made some progress. Palestinians have strengthened
their efforts on security. Israelis have facilitated
greater freedom of movementfor the Palestinians. As a result of these
efforts on both sides,the economy in the West
Bank has begun to grow. But more progress is needed. We continue to call on
Palestinians to end incitementagainst Israel, and we continue
to emphasize that America doesnot accept the legitimacy of
continued Israeli settlements. The time has come — the
time has come to re-launchnegotiations without
preconditions that address thepermanent status issues:
security for Israelis andPalestinians, borders,
refugees, and Jerusalem. And the goal is clear: Two
states living side by side inpeace and security — a
Jewish state of Israel,with true security for all
Israelis; and a viable,independent Palestinian state
with contiguous territory thatends the occupation
that began in 1967,and realizes the potential
of the Palestinian people. As we pursue this goal, we will
also pursue peace between Israeland Lebanon, Israel and Syria,
and a broader peace betweenIsrael and its many neighbors. In pursuit of that goal, we will
develop regional initiativeswith multilateral
participation, alongsidebilateral negotiations. Now, I am not naïve. I know this will be difficult. But all of us — not just the
Israelis and the Palestinians,but all of us — must decide
whether we are serious aboutpeace, or whether we will
only lend it lip service. To break the old patterns, to
break the cycle of insecurityand despair, all of us must
say publicly what we wouldacknowledge in private. The United States does Israel no
favors when we fail to couple anunwavering commitment to its
security with an insistence thatIsrael respect the
legitimate claims andrights of the Palestinians. And — and nations within this
body do the Palestinians nofavors when they choose
vitriolic attacks against Israelover constructive willingness to
recognize Israel’s legitimacyand its right to exist
in peace and security. We must remember that the
greatest price of this conflictis not paid by us. It’s not paid by politicians. It’s paid by the Israeli girl in
Sderot who closes her eyes infear that a rocket will take her
life in the middle of the night. It’s paid for by the Palestinian
boy in Gaza who has no cleanwater and no country
to call his own. These are all God’s children. And after all the politics
and all the posturing,this is about the right of
every human being to livewith dignity and security. That is a lesson embedded in the
three great faiths that call onesmall slice of
Earth the Holy Land. And that is why, even though
there will be setbacks and falsestarts and tough days,
I will not waver inmy pursuit of peace. Third, we must recognize
that in the 21st century,there will be no peace unless
we take responsibility for thepreservation of our planet. And I thank the Secretary
General for hosting the subjectof climate change yesterday. The danger posed by climate
change cannot be denied. Our responsibility to meet
it must not be deferred. If we continue down
our current course,every member of this Assembly
will see irreversible changeswithin their borders. Our efforts to end conflicts
will be eclipsed by wars overrefugees and resources. Development will be devastated
by drought and famine. Land that human
beings have lived onfor millennia will disappear. Future generations will look
back and wonder why we refusedto act; why we failed to pass on
— why we failed to pass on anenvironment that was
worthy of our inheritance. And that is why the days when
America dragged its feeton this issue are over. We will move forward with
investments to transform ourenergy economy, while providing
incentives to make clean energythe profitable kind of energy. We will press ahead with deep
cuts in emissions to reach thegoals that we set for
2020, and eventually 2050. We will continue to promote
renewable energy and efficiency,and share new technologies with
countries around the world. And we will seize every
opportunity for progress toaddress this threat
in a cooperative effortwith the entire world. And those wealthy nations that
did so much damage to theenvironment in the 20th
century must acceptour obligation to lead. But responsibility
does not end there. While we must acknowledge
the need for differentiatedresponses, any effort to curb
carbon emissions must includethe fast-growing carbon emitters
who can do more to reduce theirair pollution without
inhibiting growth. And any effort that fails to
help the poorest nations bothadapt to the problems that
climate change have alreadywrought and help them travel
a path of clean developmentsimply will not work. It’s hard to change
something as fundamentalas how we use energy. I know that. It’s even harder to do so in the
midst of a global recession. Certainly, it will be
tempting to sit back andwait for others to move first. But we cannot make
this journey unless weall move forward together. As we head into Copenhagen, let
us resolve to focus on what eachof us can do for the sake
of our common future. And this leads me to the final
pillar that must fortify ourfuture: a global
economy that advancesopportunity for all people. The world is still recovering
from the worst economic crisissince the Great Depression. In America, we see the engine
of growth beginning to churn,and yet many still struggle to
find a job or pay their bills. Across the globe, we
find promising signs,but little certainty
about what lies ahead. And far too many people in far
too many places live through thedaily crises that challenge our
humanity — the despair of anempty stomach; the thirst
brought on by dwindling watersupplies; the injustice of a
child dying from a treatabledisease; or a mother losing
her life as she gives birth. In Pittsburgh, we will work with
the world’s largest economies tochart a course for growth that
is balanced and sustained. That means vigilance to ensure
that we do not let up until ourpeople are back to work. That means taking steps to
rekindle demand so that globalrecovery can be sustained. And that means setting new rules
of the road and strengtheningregulation for all
financial centers,so that we put an end to the
greed and the excess and theabuse that led us
into this disaster,and prevent a crisis like this
from ever happening again. At a time of such
interdependence,we have a moral and
pragmatic interest, however,in broader questions of
development — the questions ofdevelopment that existed even
before this crisis happened. And so America will continue
our historic effort tohelp people feed themselves. We have set aside $63 billion to
carry forward the fight againstHIV/AIDS, to end deaths from
tuberculosis and malaria,to eradicate polio,
and to strengthenpublic health systems. We are joining with other
countries to contribute H1N1vaccines to the World
Health Organization. We will integrate more economies
into a system of global trade. We will support the
Millennium Development Goals,and approach next year’s
summit with a global planto make them a reality. And we will set our sights on
the eradication of extremepoverty in our time. Now is the time for all
of us to do our part. Growth will not be sustained
or shared unless all nationsembrace their responsibilities. And that means that wealthy
nations must open their marketsto more goods and extend
a hand to those with less,while reforming international
institutions to give morenations a greater voice. And developing nations must root
out the corruption that is anobstacle to progress — for
opportunity cannot thrive whereindividuals are oppressed and
business have to pay bribes. That is why we support honest
police and independent judges;civil society and a
vibrant private sector. Our goal is simple: a global
economy in which growth issustained, and opportunity
is available to all. Now, the changes that I’ve
spoken about today willnot be easy to make. And they will not be realized
simply by leaders like us comingtogether in forums like this,
as useful as that may be. For as in any
assembly of members,real change can only come
through the people we represent. That is why we must do the hard
work to lay the groundwork forprogress in our own capitals. That’s where we will build the
consensus to end conflicts andto harness technology
for peaceful purposes,to change the way we use energy,
and to promote growth that canbe sustained and shared. I believe that the people
of the world want thisfuture for their children. And that is why we must champion
those principles which ensurethat governments reflect
the will of the people. These principles cannot be
afterthoughts — democracy andhuman rights are essential to
achieving each of the goals thatI’ve discussed today, because
governments of the people and bythe people are more likely to
act in the broader interests oftheir own people,
rather than narrowinterests of those in power. The test of our leadership will
not be the degree to which wefeed the fears and old
hatreds of our people. True leadership will not be
measured by the ability tomuzzle dissent, or to
intimidate and harasspolitical opponents at home. The people of the
world want change. They will not long tolerate
those who are on thewrong side of history. This Assembly’s Charter commits
each of us — and I quote — “toreaffirm faith in
fundamental human rights,in the dignity and worth
of the human person,in the equal rights
of men and women. “Among those rights is the
freedom to speak your mind andworship as you please; the
promise of equality of theraces, and the opportunity for
women and girls to pursue theirown potential; the ability of
citizens to have a say in howyou are governed, and to
have confidence in theadministration of justice. For just as no nation should be
forced to accept the tyranny ofanother nation, no individual
should be forced to accept thetyranny of their own people. As an African American, I will
never forget that I would not behere today without the steady
pursuit of a more perfectunion in my country. And that guides my belief that
no matter how dark the day mayseem, transformative change
can be forged by those whochoose to side with justice. And I pledge that America will
always stand with those whostand up for their dignity and
their rights — for the studentwho seeks to learn; the voter
who demands to be heard;the innocent who
longs to be free;the oppressed who
yearns to be equal. Democracy cannot be imposed on
any nation from the outside. Each society must
search for its own path,and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path
rooted in the culture of itspeople and in its
past traditions. And I admit that America has
too often been selective in itspromotion of democracy. But that does not
weaken our commitment;it only reinforces it. There are basic principles
that are universal;there are certain truths which
are self-evident — and theUnited States of America will
never waver in our efforts tostand up for the right
of people everywhere todetermine their own destiny. Sixty-five years ago, a weary
Franklin Roosevelt spoke to theAmerican people in his fourth
and final inaugural address. After years of war, he sought to
sum up the lessons that could bedrawn from the
terrible suffering,the enormous sacrifice
that had taken place. “We have learned,” he said,
“to be citizens of the world,members of the human community. “The United Nations was built
by men and women like Rooseveltfrom every corner of the world
— from Africa and Asia,from Europe to the Americas. These architects of
international cooperation had anidealism that was anything but
naïve — it was rooted in thehard-earned lessons of war;
rooted in the wisdom thatnations could advance their
interests by acting togetherinstead of splitting apart. Now it falls to us — for
this institution will bewhat we make of it. The United Nations does
extraordinary good around theworld — feeding the hungry,
caring for the sick,mending places that
have been broken. But it also struggles
to enforce its will,and to live up to the
ideals of its founding. I believe that those
imperfections are not a reasonto walk away from this
institution — they are acalling to redouble our efforts. The United Nations can either be
a place where we bicker aboutoutdated grievances,
or forge common ground;a place where we focus
on what drives us apart,or what brings us together; a
place where we indulge tyranny,or a source of moral authority. In short, the United Nations
can be an institution that isdisconnected from what matters
in the lives of our citizens,or it can be an indispensable
factor in advancing theinterests of the
people we serve. We have reached
a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready
to begin a new chapter ofinternational cooperation — one
that recognizes the rights andresponsibilities of all nations. And so, with confidence
in our cause,and with a commitment
to our values,we call on all nations to join
us in building the future thatour people so richly deserve. Thank you very much, everybody.

President Obama on Death of Osama bin Laden

The President:
Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the
American people and to the worldthat the United States has
conducted an operation thatkilled Osama bin Laden,
the leader of al Qaeda,and a terrorist who’s
responsible for the murder ofthousands of innocent
men, women, and children. It was nearly 10 years ago that
a bright September day wasdarkened by the worst attack on
the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared
into our national memory –hijacked planes cutting through
a cloudless September sky;the Twin Towers
collapsing to the ground;black smoke billowing
up from the Pentagon;the wreckage of Flight 93 in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania,where the actions of heroic
citizens saved even moreheartbreak and destruction. And yet we know that the worst
images are those that wereunseen to the world. The empty seat at
the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up
without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the
feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens
taken from us,leaving a gaping
hole in our hearts. On September 11, 2001,
in our time of grief,the American people
came together. We offered our neighbors a hand,
and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our
ties to each other,and our love of
community and country. On that day, no matter
where we came from,what God we prayed to, or what
race or ethnicity we were,we were united as
one American family. We were also united in our
resolve to protect our nationand to bring those who committed
this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the
9/11 attacks were carried out byal Qaeda — an organization
headed by Osama bin Laden,which had openly declared war
on the United States and wascommitted to killing innocents in
our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al
Qaeda to protect our citizens,our friends, and our allies. Over the last 10 years, thanks
to the tireless and heroic workof our military and our
counterterrorism professionals,we’ve made great
strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist
attacks and strengthened ourhomeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed
the Taliban government,which had given bin Laden and
al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked
with our friends and allies tocapture or kill scores
of al Qaeda terrorists,including several who were
a part of the 9/11 plot. Yet Osama bin Laden avoided
capture and escaped across theAfghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to
operate from along that borderand operate through its
affiliates across the world. And so shortly after taking
office, I directed Leon Panetta,the director of the CIA, to make
the killing or capture of binLaden the top priority of
our war against al Qaeda,even as we continued our broader
efforts to disrupt, dismantle,and defeat his network. Then, last August, after years
of painstaking work by ourintelligence community, I was
briefed on a possible lead tobin Laden. It was far from certain, and
it took many months to run thisthread to ground. I met repeatedly with my
national security team as wedeveloped more information about
the possibility that we hadlocated bin Laden hiding within
a compound deep inside Pakistan. And finally, last week, I
determined that we had enoughintelligence to take action, and
authorized an operation to getOsama bin Laden and
bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the
United States launched atargeted operation against that
compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans
carried out the operation withextraordinary courage
and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid
civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed
Osama bin Laden and took custodyof his body. For over two decades, bin Laden
has been al Qaeda’s leader andsymbol, and has continued to
plot attacks against our countryand our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the
most significant achievement todate in our nation’s
effort to defeat al Qaeda. Yet his death does not
mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda
will continue to pursue attacksagainst us. We must — and we will — remain
vigilant at home and abroad. As we do, we must also reaffirm
that the United States is not –and never will be —
at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as
President Bush did shortly after9/11, that our war
is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not
a Muslim leader;he was a mass
murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered
scores of Muslims in manycountries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed
by all who believe in peace andhuman dignity. Over the years, I’ve repeatedly
made clear that we would takeaction within Pakistan if we
knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that
our counterterrorism cooperationwith Pakistan helped lead us to
bin Laden and the compound wherehe was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared
war against Pakistan as well,and ordered attacks against
the Pakistani people. Tonight, I called
President Zardari,and my team has also spoken with
their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and
historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is
essential that Pakistan continueto join us in the fight against
al Qaeda and its affiliates. The American people did
not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and
started with the senselessslaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years
of service, struggle,and sacrifice, we know
well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every
time I, as Commander-in-Chief,have to sign a letter to a
family that has lost a lovedone, or look into the eyes of
a service member who’s beengravely wounded. So Americans understand
the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never
tolerate our security beingthreatened, nor stand idly by
when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense
of our citizens and our friendsand allies. We will be true to the values
that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we
can say to those families whohave lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s
terror: Justice has been done. Tonight, we give thanks to the
countless intelligence andcounterterrorism professionals
who’ve worked tirelessly toachieve this outcome. The American people
do not see their work,nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the
satisfaction of their work andthe result of their
pursuit of justice. We give thanks for the men who
carried out this operation,for they exemplify the
professionalism, patriotism,and unparalleled courage of
those who serve our country. And they are part of a
generation that has borne theheaviest share of the burden
since that September day. Finally, let me say to the
families who lost loved ones on9/11 that we have never
forgotten your loss,nor wavered in our commitment to
see that we do whatever it takesto prevent another
attack on our shores. And tonight, let us think back
to the sense of unity thatprevailed on 9/11. I know that it has,
at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a
testament to the greatness ofour country and the determination
of the American people. The cause of securing our
country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again
reminded that America can dowhatever we set our mind to. That is the story
of our history,whether it’s the pursuit of
prosperity for our people,or the struggle for equality
for all our citizens;our commitment to stand
up for our values abroad,and our sacrifices to make
the world a safer place. Let us remember that we can do
these things not just because ofwealth or power, but because
of who we are: one nation,under God, indivisible, with
liberty and justice for all. Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the
United States of America.

President Obama and Jimmy Had an Awkward First Meeting

We have a lot of guests
on our show,and they always have stories
about meeting youand fumbling
and getting nervous. I don’t know
if you remember,the first time I met you
and the First Lady,I was doing stand-up comedy at a
barbecue for military families. That was great.
We so appreciated it. Yeah. Thank you.
I loved it, as well. And I was opening up
for the Foo Fighters. It was Fourth of July
in the White House. And I get there.
I was so nervous to meet you. I was Googling how to say hello
to the First Lady. Like, do I say, “Hello,
First Lady, Mrs. Obama. Mrs. Obama, First Lady. “I didn’t know
how to say it. I think you actually said
all of them. I think I actually did. Well, I wore a three-piece suit
that daybecause I was very —
I just wanted to impress you. But it was an outdoor event
on the Fourth of July,and I remember I got there,and Dave Grohl was there
in board shirts and a T-shirt. He goes, “You look hot. “I go, “I really am.
It’s really boiling. This is crazy. “I go, “Aren’t you
meeting the president?”He goes — Basically saying,
“We’re the Foo Fighters. We dress –“
I go, “Yeah. “And then we wait in line,because we’re going to get
our picture taken with you guys. I was so nervous
to meet you. And I went up
and I was practicing,like, “Hello, First Lady,
Mrs. First Lady. “And I walk over,and the First Lady starts
laughing and looking at me. She goes, “Oh, honey,
oh, my gosh, you’re so sweaty,”and took my tie –This is a true story.
Loosened my tie. And I looked at you,and you had a short-sleeved
shirt and khakis on. I go, “Hello,
Mr. President, sir. “And you go,
“Didn’t you get the memo?It’s a barbecue. ” They took the picture
and they escorted me out. And then I hadn’t
seen you since. I was just wondering,
do people get –do you have any stories
like that,where people are just
so embarrassing like thatand you tried
to make them feel better?Um. . .
nothing that embarrassing. I think that was actually
the peak of awkwardness. Yeah, perfect.
Thank you. Can I just ask you
just straight up,what is the first thing
you’re going to dowhen you leave office,
do you know?I’m going to get some sleep,
that’s for sure. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it’s actually
a moving thing. You’re talking about
sentimentality. But I remember
from my inaugurationseeing President Bush –You get on Marine One,and that’s the last time
you get on Marine One. They fly you
to Andrews Air Force Base. And then you
get on Air Force One,and it’s your last flight. And they’ll take you
anywhere you want. And I think it’s fair to say
that it will be someplace warm. Because it’s going to
be January,and every inauguration
has been freezing. Yeah. And then, you know,
I think Michelle and Iwill take a break somewhere
for a couple weeksand, you know, let the girls
manage for themselves. Yeah. Hopefully they’ll be okay
when we get back. Well, if you need
to stay warm,I have a three-piece suit
for you.

Michelle Obama Describes Malia’s Heavily Guarded Prom Send-Off

You mentioned me only once and– So I don’t understand–I wasn’t counting. Yeah. But I mentioned you, Ellen. Once, once. And you say in here, you
won the pushup contest. So I can sue for libel. Now you put it in
writing, you know. We have the clips
of me defeating you. Yeah, I know. Look how high up she is. Look how low down I went. Look how long my arms are. Yeah, doesn’t matter. All right. All right, I want
to read something,because you really
do– you talk about–Are you going to
read the right text?Yes. OK. Yeah, this is not–You’re not going to
make something upthat’s not in the book?No, this is in the book. OK, I’ll let you know. Because this is about
your first kiss. You talk about your first kiss. Oh, OK, with who? Well, you tell me. All right. I arranged my first kiss,
in fact, over the phone. It was with a boy named Ronnell. Ronald?Ronnell. Ronnell. That’s a black Ronald. All right. Ronnell. Say it like that. Say, Ronnell. Ronnell. I don’t remember which
one of us proposedthat we meet outside
my house one afternoonto give kissing a try. But there was no nuance
to it, no shy euphemismsneeded to be applied. We weren’t going to
hang out or take a walk. We were going to make out. And we were both all for it. How old were you there?Eighth grade. Eighth grade. Duh-nuh. Now, do you know
where he is now?I’m sure someone
will find him now. Ronnell. No, we don’t know where he is. Ronnell. I mean–I tried not to use last names,
so people wouldn’t be harassedfor the rest of their lives. I told this story very early on
about my very, very first kiss,which was Teddy
in nursery school. And the press hunted
that poor guy down. And I vowed never to mention
anybody else’s last name. Well, because you talk–
you’ve been with a lot of men. There’s a lot of– That is not true. Oh, yeah, there’s– That’s not in the book. I mean, yeah, you read it. A lot of men so– So in the book, you talk
about Malia going to prom. Oh, yeah. Which is– I just
can’t even imagine. Let’s set the stage. Yeah, go ahead. You know, their whole
lives were spenttrying to have a normal life, go
to soccer matches and birthdayparties and sleepovers
and have kids come over,with a security detail. So then prom comes. And Malia asked, can I please
ride with my date in his car,because, at that
point, they had neverdriven in another person’s
car for security reasons. Kids could ride in their car,
but they couldn’t accept a ridefrom someone else. So everything in their
lives is now a discussion. We have to pull in security. We have to talk to
the Chief of Staff,talk to the
Communications Director. And we decide–
my thing was she’sgot to ride in the car with
her prom date, you know. I mean, come on people. So she gets to ride. So he comes to pick her up. Poor kid. And he’s got to come through
the official drivewaythat dignitaries come when state
visits happen, around the SouthLawn, that long driveway up
to the front door of our home,which is like the dip room. We’re coming down the
elevator, because, you know,we’re in the elevator,
me and Barack and Malia. And she’s like, just
be cool, you know. It’s like, please,
don’t embarrass me. She looked beautiful. I mean, oh, she just was
a vision, is a vision. And Barack’s trying not to cry. And he’s trying to act cool. And we greet the young
man in a nice tux. And, you know, god
knows what happenedto him getting in, because I
tried to make security knowhe’s coming, don’t hassle him. I told Malia, make
sure his car is clean,if you know what I mean,
because dogs sniff the car. I said, I don’t want
him to be embarrassed. So I said, I don’t know the kid. But, you know, he’s picking
up at a different house. I had met him, but I
didn’t know-him know him. So he comes in. And you can tell he’s
a little nervous. And we shake his
hand, take a picture. And they get in the car. And they go off. And then like,
three cars follow. It’s like them and then three
cars with men with guns. And Barack was like, this makes
running for a second term allworthwhile. My daughter is being followed
by men with guns to prom. He’s like, I’m good.

The Daily Show – Exclusive – Barack Obama Extended Interview

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK. WE’RE HERE WITH PRESIDENT BARACK
OBAMA — SO THAT WAS GOOD. WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT THIS
IRAN DEAL. YOU’RE FEELING VERY GOOD ABOUT
THAT. I WANNA TALK TO YOU NOW — YOU
SPOKE WITH THE VFW TODAY FOROUR VETERAN’S. BOY, ROUGH RIDE FOR THE
VETERAN’S RECENTLY. THIS TERRIBLE ATTACK IN
TENNESSEE. >> HEARTBREAKING. >> Jon: AND ALSO THOUGH A
SYSTEMIC ISSUE, AND I KNOW YOURAISE IT WITH THE VA AND
HEALTHCARE. >> WELL YOU KNOW THE SITUATION
WITH THE V. A. HAS ALWAYS BEEN,WE MAKE A PROMISE BUT TOO OFTEN
UNDER RESOURCED. SO IT IS MY FIRM BELIEF WE HAVE
A SACRED DUTY TO THESE GUYS ANDGALS THAT WHEN THEY HAVE SERVED
US AS BRAVELY AS THEY HAVE,WHEN THEY COME HOME, WE’RE
SUPPOSED TO BE THERE FOR THEM. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE BUDGET
HISTORICALLY, IT’S BEENSHORT-CHANGED, WORSE IN THE
VIETNAM ERA WHEN THEY CAME BACK. WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO
SYSTEMATICALLY ADD RESOURCES TOTHE VA BUT YOU STILL HAVE THIS
MASSIVE STRUCTURE WITH MILLIONSOF PEOPLE BEING SERVED. AND WHAT WE’RE HAVING TO DO IS
SYSTEMATICALLY WORK THROUGHSOME OF THE CHALLENGES OF A BIG,
FREAKY BUREAUCRACY. WHEN WE HAVE THAT PROBLEM WITH
WAITING LISTS. . . FOLKS ARE STILL TAKING
APPOINTMENTS DOWN ON PAPER. AND WHEN YOU’VE GOT MILLIONS OF
PEOPLE WHO ARE NEEDING SERVICES,IT JUST DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE. SO WE’VE NOW BEEN ABLE TO CUT
DOWN ON WAITING TIMES, REDUCETHE BACKLOG FOR DISABILITY
CLAIMS BY ABOUT 80%. BUT WE ALSO HAVE MORE AND MORE
PEOPLE COMING IN. WE ALLOWED FOLKS WHO HAD
SYMPTOMS OF AGENT ORANGE FOR THEFIRST TIME TO BE ABLE TO MAKE
CLAIMS. THAT ADDED A COUPLE HUNDRED
THOUSAND PEOPLE. AS WE END TWO WARS, FOLKS COME
BACK. SO WE ACTUALLY HAVE 2. 7 MILLION
MORE VETERANS SPEAKING SERVICES. IF THE AMOUNT OF RESOURCES
DOESN’T CHANGE, THEN THEY GETSHORT-CHANGED. SO WE’VE GOT TO DO EFFICIENCY
WORK ON THE VA BUT WE ALSO ASKEDCONGRESS TO GET OUT FROM UNDER
THE SEQUESTER, THIS IDEA WE JUSTMAKE BLANKET BUDGET CUTS THAT
SOMEHOW THAT’S GOING TO IMPROVEOUR ECONOMY. AND THE VERY SAME FOLKS WHO ARE
GOING TO CUT SERVICES ARE THEFIRST ONES THEN TO SAY WHY ARE
THE FOLKS HAVING WAITING TIMESSO LONG. >> Jon: IT’S A WAITING TIME
ISSUE, TO BE FAIR, HAPPENED FARBEFORE THE SEQUESTER. IT BRINGS UP SORT OF A LARGER
ISSUE WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, GIVEN,OKAY, THERE IS A PARTY THAT
BELIEVES THAT GOVERNMENT DOESNOT HAVE AS LARGE A ROLE TO PLAY
IN OUR LIVES AS THE PARTY THATYOU ARE WITH. WHICH MEANS INSTANCES INCUMBENT
MAY BE UPON THAT PARTY, THE ONETHAT YOU ARE WITH, TO
DEMONSTRATE HOW THAT WILLWORK IN THE 21st CENTURY. HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT BE AGILE,
AND WITH THE V. A. SEEMS TO BE ALARGER ISSUE, YOU CAME INTO
OFFICE IN 2009 EXPLICITLY SAYINGYOU SPEND A BILLION DOLLARS
PRYING TO GET OPERABILITYBETWEEN THE D. O. D AND V. A. COULDN’T DO IT AFTER. . . FIVE
YEARS?WENT BACK AND SAID LET’S DO IT
SEPARATELY. MORE MONEY. THAT DIDN’T WORK. NOW THEY’RE BACK, THE V. A. ‘S GOT
A PRETTY GOOD SYSTEM WAITING FORTHE D. O. D. THEY’VE NOT EVEN GONE OUT YET
WITH A $11 BILLION CONTRACT. YOU’RE RUNNING FOR OFFICE, YOU
KNOW WHERE EVERYBODY IS –>> SO THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. A COUPLE THINGS I’LL SAY. NUMBER ONE, GOVERNMENT WORKS
BETTER NOW THAN IT PROBABLY EVERHAS GIVEN WHAT WE ASK IT TO DO. AND ACROSS AGENCIES, THERE HAVE
BEEN ALL KINDS OF REFORMS ANDIMPROVEMENTS AND PEOPLE THERE
WORK HARD AND THEY CARE ABOUTTHIS STUFF DEEPLY. BUT WHAT IS TRUE IS IF YOU HAVE
A GOVERNMENT THAT WAS BUILT ON1930 MODELS AND IT’S NOT
UPDATED, THEN THERE’S GOING TOBE A GAP IN TERMS OF WHAT
THEY’RE DOING NOW RELATIVE TOWHAT SOME OTHER FOLKS DO. AND I. T. IS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST
EXAMPLE OF THAT. WE’RE HAVING TO COMPLETELY
REDESIGN HOW THE GOVERNMENTPURCHASES I. T. SERVICES, HOW IT
DOES DIGITAL, FROM SOUP TO NUTS. AND PART OF IT IS THE WAY IT’S
BEEN SET UP IS THAT YOU HAVE THESPECIFICATIONS THAT ARE THIS
THICK. WHEN ON A CHAIN AND SETTING UP
MY OPERATIONS I HAVE GUYS INT-SHIRTS IN A ROOM FIGURING OUT
HOW TO DO THIS THING. THAT’S NOT HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS
SET UP. IT’S SLOW AND IT DOESN’T
FUNCTION PROPERLY. YOU ASKED ME WHAT I WANT TO DO
OVER THE NEXT 18 MONTHS. A LOT OF THIS STUFF DOESN’T
REQUIRE CONGRESS, BUT HOW IT ISWE CAN REVAMP THE SYSTEMS AND
WE’VE DONE IT SUCCESSFULLY INCERTAIN AREAS. BUT WHEN YOU’VE GOT TWO MILLION
EMPLOYEES THEN THERE ARE GOINGTO BE PLACES WHERE THIS SLIPS. >> Jon: TO SOME EXTENT THAT’S
THE POINT. YOU GOT TWO MILLION EMPLOYEES
AND YOU WANT THIS TO BE AGILE. THE V. A. SYSTEM. YOU CAN’T FIND A BETTER ISSUE
POLITICALLY. YOU CAN’T — YOU’LL FIND BUT
YOU’LL FIND ALMOST ANONYMOUSAGREEMENT BUT WE HAVE FAILED
THESE VETERANS AND UNANIMOUSAGREEMENT THAT WE NEED TO DO
BETTER YET SEVEN YEARS INTO IT,WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO
DEMONSTRATE –>> WAIT WAIT — THE REASON IT’S
BACK UP IS YOU GOT 2. 7 MILLIONNEW FOLKS COMING BACK IN. >> Jon: WELL WHEN YOU START A
LOT OF WARS — IT’S GOTTA END. >> HOLD ON A SECOND. HERE’S THE
GENERAL POINT. WE ASK OUR GOVERNMENT TO DO
THINGS THAT OTHER FOLKS DON’TWANT TO DO BECAUSE YOU CAN’T
MAKE MONEY AT IT. BECAUSE IT’S NOT PROFITABLE. AND SO WE WANT GOVERNMENT TO
HELP MAKE SURE THAT KIDS GETOPPORTUNITY. AND THEY HAVE TO REACH THE
TOUGHEST TO REACH KIDS. THE KIDS AT THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS
GENERALLY SCREEN OUT. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE
SERVING OUR VETERANS INCLUDINGTHE OLDEST, POOREST VETERANS. THERE’S NOT A LOT OF MONEY IN
DOING THAT. AND SO A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE
WILL SAY WELL WHY ISN’T THISHAPPENING AS QUICK, AS FAST. IF WE’RE UNDER RESOURCING OUR
GOVERNMENT AND NOT STAFFING ITTHE WAY IT NEEDS TO BE TO DO
EVERYTHING TO BE DONE, THENWE SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED THAT
THERE ARE GOING TO BE GAPS. WHEN I CAME INTO OFFICE CAN WE
MAKE STUFF A LOT BETTER THAN ITHAS BEEN. >> Jon: THE ENEMY OF GOOD. >> PART OF THE PROBLEM IS I
THINK WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO,I’LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. WHEN THERE WAS THAT PROBLEM WITH
THE IRS. EVERYBODY JUMPED INCLUDING YOU. >> Jon: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE
IRS?>> LOOK YOU GOT THIS BACK OFFICE
AND THEY’RE GOING AFTER THE TEAPARTY. IT TURNED OUT NO, CONGRESS HAS A
CRUMMY LAW THAT DIDN’T GIVEPEOPLE GUIDANCE IN TERMS OF WHAT
THEY ARE TRYING TO DO. THEY DID IT POORLY AND STUPIDLY. BUT THAT BECOMES –>> Jon: YOU REALLY ONLY DO HAVE
A YEAR LEFT. >> NO — BUT HOLD ON, JON. THIS IS IMPORTANT. BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS
THAT THERE WAS NOT SOME BIGCONSPIRACY THERE. THEY WERE TRYING TO SORT OUT
THESE CONFLICTING DEMANDS. YOU DON’T WANT ALL THIS MONEY
POURING THROUGH NOT-FOR-PROFITSBUT YOU ALSO WANT TO MAKE SURE
EVERYBODY IS BEING TREATEDFAIRLY. THE REAL SCANDAL AROUND THE IRS
IS THAT IT HAS BEEN SO POORLYFUNDED THAT THEY CAN’T GO AFTER
THESE, WE CANNOT GO AFTER THESEFOLKS WHO ARE DELIBERATELY
DELETING TAX PAYMENTS. AND THE REAL SCANDAL IS TAX
CODES WHERE MULTINATIONALS CANPAY ZERO TAXES MAKING MASSIVE
PROFITS. SO WE TEND TO GET DISTRACTED BY
THE FACT THAT THERE ARE GOING TOBE ELEMENTS, BECAUSE GOVERNMENT
IS A HUMAN ENTERPRISE WHERE,SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE IS SCREWING
UP AT ANY GIVEN TIME. BECAUSE IT’S A HUGE SYSTEM. OVERALL, IT WORKS REALLY WELL TO
HELP A LOT OF PEOPLE. WHAT THE SCANDALOUS IS THE FACT
THAT WE ARE NOT MAKING AS MUCHPROGRESS AS WE SHOULD ON THE
BASIC THINGS THAT WE KNOW OURGOVERNMENT SHOULD BE DOING. REBUILDING OUR
INFRASTRUCTURE, REBUILDING OURROADS, REBUILDING OUR PORTS,
SETTING UP A SYSTEM FORDISTRIBUTING ENERGY, MAKING SURE
WE HAVE EARLY CHILDHOODEDUCATION. YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT THAT
PART OF MY JOB FOR THE LASTSEVEN YEARS AND PART OF MY JOB
OVER THESE LAST, THIS LAST YEARCOMING UP IS TO CONTINUALLY
IMPROVE AND MAKE SURE THEGOVERNMENT IS FUNCTIONING AS
WELL AS IT COULD. BUT YOU CAN’T USE THAT AS AN
EXCUSE FOR THE BIG STRUCTURALPROBLEMS THAT WE’RE FACING RIGHT
NOW THAT ARE NOT BEING ADDRESSEDADDRESSED, TYPICALLY THAT HAS TO
BE –>> Jon: THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO
GET TO IS THAT VISION OF WHAT21ST CENTURY GOVERNMENT LOOKS
LIKE OUTSIDE OF THEPOLITICALIZATION OF IT. HOW DO YOU GOVERN AND DO THE
SERVICES YOU’RE TALKING ABOUTWHILE BEING IN THAT SITUATION. AND IF IT’S FOUR GUYS IN A
T-SHIRT, ISN’T THERE ANEXECUTIVE OPTION THAT CAN, THAT
CAN CUT THROUGH. >> HERE’S WHAT WE DO. >> Jon: YES, YOU’RE THE
COMMANDER IN CHIEF. >> AFTER THE HEALTHCARE. GOV
FIASCO, WE BROUGHT IN A TEAMOF GUYS BASICALLY VOLUNTEERING
THEIR OWN TIME FROM GOOGLE,FACEBOOK, GUYS IN T-SHIRTS. THEY’RE NOT WEARING T-SHIRTS
NOW. THEY’VE DRESSED UP A LITTLE BIT,
ALTHOUGH NOT THAT WELL. AND WE HAVE CREATED WHAT
WE’RE CALLING THE U. S. DIGITALSERVICES AND WE’RE
BASICALLY GETTING THEM IN FOR AYEAR OR TWO YEARS AND WE’RE JUST
PUTTING THEM ON A WHOLE BUNCH OFTHESE PROBLEMS. WHETHER IT’S HOW DO WE MAKE AN
S. B. A. LOAN EASIER TO GET. HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT THIS
AGENCY IS MORE CUSTOMERFRIENDLY. HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE
CAN GO TO ONE WEBSITE INSTEAD OF16 TO FIND OUT THE INFORMATION
THEY NEED. SO THESE GUYS ARE SPREADING OUT
THROUGHOUT THE GOVERNMENT ANDTHEY ARE IN FACT SYSTEMATICALLY
CHIPPING AWAY AT A LOT OF THESEPROBLEMS. AND I THINK WE WILL, BY THE TIME
I LEAVE HERE, WE’RE GOING TO BEABLE TO SAY THAT GOVERNMENT IS
WORKING MUCH BETTER, MUCH MOREEFFICIENTLY, MUCH MORE CUSTOMER
FRIENDLY THAN WHEN I CAME INTOOFFICE. >> Jon: IT FRUSTRATES YOU
BECAUSE I CAN TELL WE’RE TALKINGHAVING A NICE TIME TALKING ABOUT
THE IRAN DEAL, I THINK IT’SFRUSTRATING TO YOU. >> OF COURSE. >> Jon: BECAUSE YOU FEEL LIKE
WE’RE AMPLIFYING THINGS OUT OFPROPORTION. I MIGHT AGREE WITH THAT ON
CERTAIN ISSUES. >> THAT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. >> Jon: THE V. A. THOUGH, I WOULD
TAKE ISSUES –>> NO, NO. THE ISSUES WITH THE V. A. IS —
IF THERE’S ONE VETERNA NOTGETTING THE SERVICES THEY NEED,
THEN WE’RE FAILING THATVERTERAN, AND THAT’S ABSOLUTELY
CRITICAL. LET’S TALK ABOUT
HOMLESSNESS AMONG VETERANS. WE’VE CUT THAT BY A THIRD. WE’VE GOT TWO THIRDS OF THESE
FOLKS WE’VE GOT TO MAKE SUREHAVE PROPER HOUSING BECAUSE IF
THEY FOUGHT FOR US THEY SHOULDBE ABLE TO FIND A HOME HERE IN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. >> Jon: SURE. >> BUT THIS GOES FOR THE
LARGER POINT. YOU ASKED ME HOW AM I DOING AND
AM I FEELING PRETTY GOOD RIGHTNOW. ONE OF THE THINGS I’M PROUD OF,
AND THIS IS NOT JUST ME, IS WEHAVE LOOKED AT A WHOLE SLEW OF
PROBLEMS WHEN WE CAME INTOOFFICE. AND WE SAID WHERE CAN WE ADVANCE
THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD EACH ANDEVERY TIME ACROSS THE BOARD. AND WE DON’T SCORE A TOUCH DOWN
EVERY TIME, BUT WE MOVE THE BALLFORWARD. >> Jon: DO YOU FEEL LIKE
YOU’VE HIT THE METRICS THAT YOUWANTED TO HIT. >> YOU’RE ALWAYS GOING TO FALL
SHORT BECAUSE IF YOU’RE HITTINGYOUR MARK THAT MEANS YOU DIDN’T
SET THEM HIGH ENOUGH, RIGHT. SO IN HEALTHCARE –>> Jon: AM I BEING UNREASONABLE
TO YOU, AM I BEING UNFAIRSUGGESTING IN THIS ONE INSTANCE,
GOVERNMENT FAILED TO ADDRESS APROBLEM IN AN APPROPRIATE TIME
FRAME, FAILED TO DO IT –>> I THINK YOU’RE BEING ENTIRELY
FAIR THAT THE VA HAS NOT DONEWHAT IT NEEDS TO DO IN TERMS OF
OUR VETERANS, OKAY. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT’S BUILT
UP OVER 50 YEARS. AND THE QUESTION THEN BECOMES –>> Jon: WHOSE FAULT IS IT. >> Jon: NO, NO, NO. >> THE QUESTION IS, HOW DO WE
SET THE RIGHT BENCHMARKS SO THATWE KNOW WE’RE MAKING PROGRESS
AND WE’RE MOVING IN THE RIGHTDIRECTION. AND THAT’S TRUE ON ALL THIS
STUFF. WHEN WE PASSED HEALTHCARE, THERE
WAS A LOT OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT ASINGLE PAYER PLAN WOULD BE
BETTER. WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION OR THE
WHOLE RANGE OF POSSIBILITIES. AND A LOT OF THOSE SUGGESTIONS I
AGREED WITH. BUT WHAT I KNEW WAS, GIVEN THE
LEGACY SYSTEM WE’VE INHERITED,GIVEN THE POLITICS OF THIS
COUNTRY, GIVEN PEOPLE ARE ALWAYSAFRAID OF SOMETHING NEW, GIVEN
OBSTRUCTION AND RESISTANCE FROMTHE OTHER SIDE. FOR US TO GET THIS DONE AND
SUDDENLY HAVE 16 MILLION PEOPLEWHO HAVE HEALTHCARE WHO DIDN’T
HAVE IT BEFORE AND A HUNDREDPLUS MILLION PEOPLE WHO KNOW
THAT IF THEY LOSE THEIR JOBTOMORROW, THEY CAN STILL GET
HEALTHCARE EVEN IF THEY GOTPREEXISTING CONDITION. KNOWING THAT A WHOLE BUNCH OFIAN
PEOPLE SUDDENLY ARE ABLE TO GETHEALTHCARE UNDER THEIR PARENTS
PLAN? I’LL TAKE THAT. AND GOING BACK TO THE IRAN
DEAL — THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO SAY WELL
ON IRAN, WHY DIDN’T YOU JUSTCOMPLETELY ELIMINATE ALL
VEST VESTIGES OF ANYNUCLEAR PROGRAM PROGRAMS. HERE’S THE REASON. A, THERE’S NO REASON THEY WOULD
EVER DO THAT. B, THE REASON WE GOT THEM TO THE
TABLE IS BECAUSE WE HAVECOUNTRIES LIKE CHINA AND RUSSIA
EVEN WITH ALL THE DISAGREEMENTSWE HAVE, WE’RE ABLE TO ORGANIZE
THEM TO FOCUS, MAKING SURE THEYDIDN’T HAVE A BOMB. AND TO KEEP THAT INTERNATIONAL
COALITION TOGETHER AND SANCTIONSTOGETHER, WHAT THAT MEANT WAS WE
HAD TO TAKE SOME CONSIDERATIONINTO IRAN’S SAVING FACE AS THEY
MOVE FORWARD ON THIS DEAL. AS LONG AS WE KNEW THEY WEREN’T
GOING TO GET A BOMB. I GUESS WHAT I’M SAYING JON IS
THAT IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO FOCUSON WHAT THREE QUARTERS OF WHAT
YOU GET YOUR JOB IS TO POINTEDOUT WHAT WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN. THAT’S WHY OUR DEMOCRACY WORKS
IS BECAUSE WE KEEP ON MAKINGIMPROVEMENTS. >> Jon: YOU’RE GOING TO GO
WITH THIS WHOLESANDWICH ANALOGY. >> BUT WHAT WE CAN’T LOSE
SIGHT OF, I GUESS WHAT I DOFIGHT AGAINST –>> Jon: I FEEL IT. >> NO, NO. >> Jon: I FELT THE MOOD CHAN
GE. I FELT IT. >> HERE’S WHAT I FIGHT AGAINST. WHAT I FIGHT AGAINST IS THAT
CYNICISM, I’M NOT SAYING — THECYNICISM THAT IS FED BY THIS
NOTION THAT GOVERNMENT DOESN’TGET STUFF DONE. AND THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS
THAT WHETHER IT’S OUR MILITARYOR ALL KINDS OF PUBLIC SERVANTS
IN THE VA OR IN AG OR IN ALL OFTHE AGENCIES THAT WORK AT IT,
EVERY SINGLE DAY THERE’S A BUNCHOF STUFF THAT IS GETTING DONE
THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT ANDHELPS A LOT OF PEOPLE. AND IF THOSE OF US WHO BELIEVE
THE GOVERNMENT HAS SOME, IN THEINTEREST OF FAIRNESS OR
OBJECTIVITY OR WHAT HAVE YOU,DON’T ACKNOWLEDGE AND FOCUS ON
THE ENORMOUS SUCCESSES BUT ALSOTHE FACT THAT YES THERE’S A
HUMAN ENTERPRISE, THERE’S GOINGTO BE SOME TRADE OFFS. THERE’S GOING TO BE SOMEBODY
SOMEWHERE SCREWING OFF. WHEN PROBLEMS COME UP THEY
SHOULD BE FIXED. SOMETIMES NOT AS FAST AS THEY
SHOULD. WHEN WE LOSE SIGHT OF THAT WE
ARE LEADING INTO THIS NARRATIVETHAT BASICALLY SAYS THERE’S
NOTHING WE CAN DO. THEN WHAT WE GET ARE THE PROTEST
MOVEMENTS ON THE LEFT OR THERIGHT. TO SOME DEGREE THE TEA PARTY IS
AN EXPRESSION OF FRUSTRATION. THEY SEE A BUNCH OF STUFF GOING
ON THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND. THEY FEEL THREATENED BY AND THEY
REACT. INCLUDING ME. >> Jon: YOU MAKE THEM SOUND
LIKE BUNNIES. >> SO I JUST, I MEAN THE
ONE THING THAT I FEEL DEEPLYABOUT, AND THIS IS SOMETHING I
FEEL DEEPLY ABOUT WHEN I LEAVEGOVERNMENT IS STUFF GETS
BETTER IF WE WORK AT IT AND WESTAY FOCUSED ON WHERE WE’RE
GOING. IT DOESN’T IMMEDIATELY GET ALL
SOLVED. AND I WARNED AGAINST THIS WHEN I
WAS RUNNING FOR OFFICE BECAUSEEVERYBODY HAD HOPE POSTERS AND
THIS AND THAT AND EVERYBODY WASFEELING –>> Jon: HEY WE DIDN’T
MAKE THOSE, YOU MADE THOSE. >> NO, NO. >> Jon: I’M PRETTY SURE THAT
CAME FROM YOU. >> WHAT I’M SAYING IS THAT IF
YOU LOOK AT WHAT I SAID AT THETIME, I SAID THIS IS GOING TO
BE AN ONGOING PROJECT. AND IT’S A PROJECT OF CITIZENS. IT’S NOT JUST FIX THIS. IT’S HOW DO WE WORK TOGETHER TO
GET THINGS DONE. AND IT ISN’T PERFECT BUT OVER
TIME IT GETS BETTER. AND HERE’S THE THING I CAN SAY,
JON. I CAN SAY THIS UNEQUIVOCALLY. THE V. A. IS BETTER NOW THAN WHEN
I CAME INTO OFFICE. IT IS BETTER NOW THAN WHEN I
CAME INTO OFFICE. GOVERNMENT WORKS BETTER THAN
WHEN I CAME INTO OFFICE. THE ECONOMY BY EVERY METRIC IS
BETTER THAN WHEN I CAME INTOOFFICE. AND SO THE REASON I CAN SLEEP AT
NIGHT IS I SAID TO MYSELF DO YOUKNOW WHAT, IT’S BETTER. NOW, AM I SATISFIED WITH IT? NO. AND SHOULD VOTERS BE SATISFIED
WITH IT?ABSOLUTELY NOT BECAUSE OTHERWISE
IF WE GET COMPLACENT AND LAZY,THEN STUFF DOESN’T HAPPEN. >> Jon: NO, THAT’S TOTALLY WHAT
I WAS SAYING. >> YOU AND ME, WE’RE RIGHT
THERE. >> Jon: CAN I TELL YOU
SOMETHING. >> YOU CAN. >> Jon: I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE
WE ARE COMMERCIAL WISE. I’M GOING TO, I’M GOING TO JUST
THROW TO COMMERCIAL. HERE’S WHAT WE’LL DO. WE’LL GO TO A COMMERCIAL. WE’LL COME BACK AND TALK MORE. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT
NEXT. I’LL LEAVE IT UP TO YOU,
WHATEVER THE SUBJECT MATTER IS. WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH MORE
FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA.

President Barack Obama’s Farewell Address (Full Speech) | NBC News

. >> THIS IS AN NBC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT. PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FAREWELL ADDRESS, FROM CHICAGO, HERE’S LESTER HOLT. >> AND GOOD EVENING FROM McCORMICK PLACE CONVENTION CENTER IN CHICAGO, FROM IN JUST A MOMENT, PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL GIVE HIS FAREWELL ADDRESS TO AN AUDIENCE OF 20,000 HERE AND MILLIONS MORE WATCHING AT HOME. TONIGHT, WHICH WILL HEAR FROM THE PRESIDENT IN HIS ADOPTED HOME TOWN, REFLECTING ON HIS EIGHT YEARS IN THE OVAL OFFICE. JUST A SHORT TIME AGO, I CONCLUDED BY INTERVIEW WITH THE PRESIDENT ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE. LATER WE SPOKE IN ONE OF HIS DINERS IN HYDE PARG. HE TOLD ME HE HOPES TO FACE HIS CHALLENGESERS FROM HIS SUCCESSOR, POLITIC DONALD TRUMP WHO TAKES OVER THE OFFICE IN JUST TEN DAYS TIME. I AM JOINED HERE BY NBC’S KRISTEN WELKER. KRISTEN, ON THE AIRPLANE COMING HERE TODAY, THERE WAS A SENSE OFNOSTALGIA AMONG HIS SENIOR STAFF. >> HIS SENIOR ADVISERS TOLL ME THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY EMOTIONAL NIGHT. SO MANY PEOPLE IN THIS CROWD HAVE SUPPORTED HIM FROM THE VERYBEGINNING. THIS IS THE PLACE WHERE HE CALM BACK TO CELEBRATE HIS RE-ELECTION FOUR YEARS AGO. IN EXCERPTS RELEASED EARLIER TONIGHT, YOU KNOW HE WILL PRAISETHE AMERICAN VALUES EMBODIED IN THIS CITY. HE WILL SAY THIS IS WHERE HE LEARNED ORDINARY PEOPLE CAN GET INVOLVED AND REALLY MAKE A CHANGE. THIS WILL NOT BE A REBUKE OF DONALD TRUMP. UT GOING TO BE A LOOK ‘BACK AT EIGHT YEARS, A CALL TO ACTION. >> WE KNOW MICHELLE OBAMA IS HERE. THEY’VE JUST MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT. THERE WAS AN ACT ONLY INm THERE WERE A LOT OF LOYAL SUPPORTERS OF THE PRESIDENT HERE AND THAT THERE WOULD BE THESE KIND OF MOMENTS AS THE PRESIDENT WALKED OUT. CHUCK TODD IS WATCHING ALONG WITH US IN NEW YORK. CHUCK SPEAKING TO THE PREDECESSOR TODAY, HE IS STILL WRESTLING WITH THE ISSUE OF HIS LEGACY AND IN VIEW OF THE TRUMP VICTORY. >> WELL, LESTER, I THINK IT’S UNDERSTANDABLE WHY HE IS A LITTLE BIT. BECAUSE SOME STUFF COULD GET UNDONE WITH THE STROKE OF A PEN WITHIN AN HOUR THAT HE TAKES THEOATH. >> HERE IS THE PRESIDENT. >> IT’S GREAT TO BE HOME. THANK YOU. THANK YOU, EVERYBODY. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU, SO MUCH. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. WE’RE ON LIVE TV HERE. I GOT TO MOVE. YOU CAN TELL THAT I’M — YOU CANTELL THAT, YOU THE TELL THAT I’MA LAME DUCK BECAUSE NOBODY IS FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS. EVERYBODY HAVE A SEAT. MY FELLOW AMERICANS, MICHELLE AND I HAVE BEEN SO TOUCHED BY ALL THE WELL WISHES THAT WE’VE RECEIVED OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS, BUT TONIGHT, TONIGHT IT’SMY TURN TO SAY THANKS,. WHETHER WE HAVE SEEN EYE TO EYE OR RARELY AGREED AT ALL, MY CONVERSATIONS WITH YOU, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, IN LIVING ROOMSAND IN SCHOOLS, AT FAMS. ON FACTORY FLOORS, DINERS AND ONDISTANT MILITARY OUTPOSTS, THOSECONVERSATIONS ARE WHAT HAVE KEPTME HONEST AND KEPT ME INSPIRED AND KEPT ME GOING. AND EVERY DAY I HAVE LEARNED FROM YOU. YOU MADE ME A BETTER PRESIDENT. AND YOU MADE ME A BETTER MAN. SO I FIRST CAME TO CHICAGO WHEN I WAS IN MY EARLY 20s AND I WAS STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHO IWAS, STILL SEARCHING FOR A PURPOSE IN MY LIFE AND IT WAS A NEIGHBORHOOD NOT FAR FROM HERE WHERE I BEGAN WORKING WITH CHURCH GROUPS IN THE SHADOWS OF CLOSED STEEL MILLS. IT WAS ON THESE STREETS WHERE I WITNESSED THE POWER OF FATE AND THE QUIET DIGNITARY OF WORKING PEOPLE IN THE FACE OF STRUGGLE AND LAWS. I CAN’T DO THAT. NOW THIS IS WHERE I LEARNED THATCHANGE ONLY HAPPENS WHEN ORDINARY PEOPLE GET INVOLVED ANDTHEY GET ENGAGED. AND THEY COME TOGETHER TO DEMANDIT. AFTER EIGHT YEARS AS YOUR PRESIDENT, I STILL BELIEVE THAT. AND IT’S NOT JUST MY BELIEF. IT’S THE BEATING HEART OF OUR AMERICAN IDEA, OUR BOLD EXPERIMENT IN SELF GOVERNMENT. IT’S THE CONVICTION THAT WE ARE ALL CREATED EQUAL ENDOWED BY OURCREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLERIGHTS AMONG THEM LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. IT’S THE INSISTENCE THAT THESE RIGHTS, WHILE SELF-EVIDENT, HAVENEVER BEEN SELF EXECUTED. >> THAT WE, THE PEOPLE, THROUGH THE INSTRUMENT OF OUR DEMOCRACY CAN FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION. WHAT A RADICAL IDEA. THE GREAT GIFT THAT OUR FOUNDERSGAVE TO US. THE FREEDOM TO CHASE OUR INDIVIDUAL DREAMS THROUGH OUR SWEAT AND TOIL AND IMAGINATION AND THE IMPERATIVE TO STRIVE TOWING AS WELL, TO ACHIEVE A COMMON GOOD, A GREATER GOOD. FOR240 YEARS, OUR NATION’S CALL TO CITIZENSHIP HAS GIVEN WORK AND PURPOSE TO EACH NEW GENERATION. IT’S WHAT LED PATRIOTS TO CHOOSEREPUBLIC OF TYRANNY, PIONEERS TOTREK WEST, SLAVES TO BRAVE THAT MAKE SHIFT RAILROAD TO CLEVELAND. IT’S WHAT PULLED IMMIGRANTS AND RNLSREFUGEES ACROSS OCEANS AND THE RIO GRANDE AND PUSHED WOMEN TO REACH FOR THE BATTLE, WHAT POWERED WORKERS TO ORGANIZE, IT’S WHY GIs GAVE THEIR LIVES ATOMAHA BEACH AND IWOJIMA AND IRAQAND MEN AND WOMEN FROM SELMA ANDSTONEWALL WERE PREPARED TO GIVE THEIRS AS WELL. SO, SO THAT’S WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY AMERICAN DECEPTION. NOT THAT OUR NATION HAS BEEN FLAWFROM THE START BUT THAT WE HAVE SHOWN THE CAPACITY TO CHANGE AND MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW. YES, OUR PROGRESS HAS BEEN UNEVEN. THE WORK OF DEMOCRACY HAS ALWAYSBEEN HARD. IT’S ALWAYS BEEN CONTENTIOUS. SOMETIMES IT’S BEEN BLOODY. FOR EVERY TWO STEPS FORWARD, IT OFTEN FEELS WE TAKE ONE STEP BACK. BUT THE LONG SWEEP OF AMERICA HAS BEEN DEFINED BY FORWARD MOTION. A CONSTANT WIDENING OF OUR FOUNDING CREED TO EMBRACE ALL AND NOT JUST SOME. . IF I HAD TOLD YOU EIGHT YEARS AGO, THAT AMERICA WOULD REVERSE LATE IN THE RECESSION, REBOOT OUR AUTO INDUSTRY, AND UNLEASH THE LONGEST PLEDGE OF JOB CREATION IN OUR HISTORY. IF I HAD TOLD YOU THAT WE WOULD OPEN UP A NEW CHAPTER WITH THE CUBAN PEOPLE, SHUT DOWN IRAN’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT, TAKE OUT THE MASTERMIND OF 9/11. IF I HAD TOLD YOU THAT WE WOULD WIN MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND SECURETHE LIFE TO HAVE CONCERN FOR ANOTHER 20 MILLION OF OUR FELLOWCITIZENS IF I HAD TOLD YOU ALL THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE SAID OUR SIGHTS WERE SET A LITTLE TOO HIGH, BUT THAT’S WHAT WE DID. THAT’S WHAT YOU DID. YOU WERE THE CHANGE. THE ANSWER TO PEOPLE’S HOPES ANDBECAUSE OF YOU, BY ALMOST EVERY MEASURE, AMERICA’S A BETTER, STRONGER PLACE THAN IT WAS WHEN WE STARTED. IN TEN DAYS, THE WORLD WILL WITNESS A HALLMARK OF OUR DEMOCRACY. NO, NO, NO, NO THE PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER FROM ONE FREELY ELECTED PRESIDENT TO THE NEXT. I COMMITTED TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP THAT MY ADMINISTRATION WOULD ENSURE THE SMOOTHEST POSSIBLE TRANSITION JUST AS PRESIDENT BUSH DID FOR ME. BECAUSE IT’S UP TO ALL OF US TO MAKE SURE OUR GOVERNMENT CAN HELP US MEET THE MANY CHALLENGESWE STILL FACE. WE HAVE WHAT WE NEED TO DO SO. WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED TO MEET THOSE CHALLENGES. AFTER ALL, WE WERE MADE OF THE WEALTHIEST, MOST POWERFUL AND MOST RESPECTED NATION ON EARTH. OUR YOUTH, OUR DRIVE, OUR DIVERSITY AND OPENNESS, OUR BOUNDLESS CAPACITY FOR RISK AND REINVENTION MEANS THAT THE FUTURE SHOULD BE OURS. BUT THAT POTENTIAL WILL ONLY BE REALIZED IF OUR DEMOCRACY WORKS. ONLY IF OUR POLITICS BETTER REFLECTS THE DECENCY OF OUR PEOPLE ONLY IF ALL OF US, REGARDLESS OFPARTY AFFILIATION OR PARTICULAR INTERESTS HELP RESTORE THE SENSEOF COMMON PURPOSE THAT WE SO BADLY NEED RIGHT NOW. THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO FOCUS ON TONIGHT. THE STATE OF OUR DEMOCRACY. UNDERSTAND DEMOCRACY DOES NOT REQUIRE UNIFORMITY. OUR FOUNDERS ARGUED, THEY QUARRELLED, EVENTUALLY, THEY COMPROMISED. THEY EXPECTED US TO DO THE SAME. BUT THEY KNEW THAT DEMOCRACY DOES REQUIRE A BASIC SENSE OF SOLIDARITY. THE IDEA THAT FOR ALL OUR OUTWARD DIFFERENCES, WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. >> THAT WE RISE OR FALL AS ONE. THERE HAVE BEEN MOMENTS THROUGHOUT OUR HISTORY THAT THREATENS THAT SOLIDARITY. IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS CENTURYHAS BEEN ONE OF THOSE TIMES. A SHRISKING WORLD, GROWING INEQUALITY, DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE IN THE SPECTRE OF TERRORISM. THESE FORCES HAVEN’T JUST TESTEDOUR SECURITY AND OUR PROSPERITY,BUT ARE TESTING OUR DEMOCRACY ASWELL. AND HOW WE MEET THESE CHALLENGESTO OUR DEMOCRACY WILL DETERMINE OUR ABILITY TO EDUCATE OUR KIDS AND CREATE GOOD JOBS AND PROTECTOUR HOMELAND. IN OTHER WORDS, IT WILL DETERMINE OUR FUTURE. TO BEGIN WITH, OUR DEMOCRACY WON’T WORK WITHOUT A SENSE THAT EVERYONE HAS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES. AND THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT, TODAYTHE ECONOMY IS GROWING AGAIN, WAGES, INCOMES, HOME VALUE, AND RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS ARE ALL RISING AGAIN. POVERTY IS FALLING AGAIN. THE WEALTHY ARE PAYING A FAIRER SHARE OF TAX, EVEN AS THE STOCKMARKET SHATTERS RECORDS, THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS NEAR A TEN-YEAR LOW. THE UNINSURED RATE HAS NEVER EVER BEEN LOWER. HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE ARRIVING AT THE SLOWEST RATE IN 50 YEARS AND I’VE SAID AND I MOON IT, IF ANYONE CAN PUT TOGETHER A PLAN THAT IS DEMONSTRABLY BETTER THANTHE IMPROVEMENTS WE’VE NEED OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM THAT COVERS AS MANY PEOPLE AT LESS COST, I WILL COVER IT AND SUPPORT IT. BECAUSE THAT, AFTER ALL, IS WHY WE SERVE. NOT TO SCORE POINTS OR TAKE CREDIT BUT TO MAKE PEOPLE’S LIVES BETTER. BUT FOR ALL REAL PROGRESS THAT WE’VE MADE, WE KNOW IT’S NOT ENOUGH. OUR ECONOMY DOESN’T WORK AS WELLOR GROW AS FAST WHEN A FEW PROSPER AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GROWING MIDDLE CLASS AND LATTERSFOR THOSE WHO WANT TO GET INTO THE MIDDLE CLASS. THAT’S THE ECONOMIC ARGUMENT, BUT START INEQUALITY IS CORROSIVE TO OUR DEMOCRATIC IDEA. WHILE THE TOP 1% HAS AMASSED A BIGGER INCOME. TOO MANY OF OUR FAMILIES IN INNER CITIES AND IN RURAL COUNTIES HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND. THE LAID OFF FACTORY WORKER, THEWAITRESS OR HEALTH CARE WORKER WHO’S JUST BARELY GETTING BY ANDSTRUGGLING TO PAY THE BILLS. CONVINCED THAT THE GAME IS FIXEDAGAINST THEM. >> THAT THEIR GOVERNMENT ONLY SERVES THE INTERESTS OF THE POWERFUL. THAT’S A RECIPE FOR MORE CYNICISM AND POLARIZATION IN OURPOLITICS. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXS TO THIS LONG-TERM TREND. I AGREE, OUR TRADE SHOULD BE FAIR AND NOT JUST FREE. BUT THE NEXT WAVE OF ECONOMIC DISLOCATIONS WON’T COME FROM OVERSEAS, IT WILL COME FROM THE RELENTLESS PACE OF AUTOMATION THAT MAKES A LOT OF GOOD MIDDLE CLASS JOBS OBSOLETE. AND SO WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO FORGE A NEW SOCIAL EXACT TO GUARANTEE ALL OUR KIDS THE EDUCATION THEY NEED. TO GIVE WORKERS THE POWER TO UNIONIZE FOR BETTER WAGES, TO UPDATE THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET TO REFLECT WAY WE LIVE NOW. AND MAKE MORE REFORMS TO THE TAXCODE SO CORPORATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO REAP THE MOST FROM THIS NEW ECONOMY DON’T AVOID THEIR OBLIGATIONS TO THE COUNTRY THAT’S MADE THEIR VERY SUCCESS POSSIBLE. WE CAN ARGUE ABOUT HOW TO BEST ACHIEVE THESE GOALS. BUT WE CAN’T BE COMPLACENT ABOUTTHE GOALS, THEMSELVES. FOR IF WE DON’T CREATE OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL PEOPLE THAT THIS AFFECTION AND THE VISION THAT HAS STALLED OUR PROGRESS WILL ONLY SHARPEN IN YEARS TO COME. THERE’S A SECOND THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY AND THIS ONE IS AS OLDAS OUR NATION, ITSELF. AFTER MY ELECTION, THERE WAS TALK OF A POST-RACIAL AMERICA AND SUCH A VISION HOWEVER WELL INTENDED WAS NEVER REALISTIC. RACE REMAINS A POTENT AND OFFERING DIVISIVE COURSE IN OUR SOCIETY. NOW I’VE LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT RACE RELATIONS ARE BETTER THAN THEY WERE TEN OR 20 OR 30 YEARS AGO, NO MATTER WHAT SOME FOLKS SAY. YOU CAN SEE IT, NOT JUST IN STATISTICS, YOU SEE IT IN THE ATTITUDES OF YOUNG AMERICANS ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM. BUT WE’RE NOT WHERE WE NEED TO BE. AND ALL OF US HAVE MORE WORK TO DO. IF EVERY ECONOMIC ISSUE IS FRAMED AS A STRUGGLE BETWEEN A HARD WORKING WHITE MIDDLE CLASS AND AN UNDESERVING MINORITY, THEN WORKERS OF ALL SHADES ARE GOING TO BE LEFT FIGHTING FOR SCRAPS WHILE THE THE WEALTHY WITHDRAW FURTHER INTO THEIR PRIVATE ENCLAVE. IF WE’RE UNWILLING TO INVEST IN THE CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS JUST BECAUSE THEY DON’T LOOK LIKE US,WE WILL DIMINISH THE PROSPECTS OF OUR OWN CHILDREN BECAUSE THOSE BROWN KIDS WILL REPRESENT A LARGER AND LARGER SHARE OF AMERICA’S WORK FORCE. AND WE HAVE SHOWN THAT OUR ECONOMY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A ZERO SUM GAME. LAST YEAR INCOMES ROSE FOR ALL RACES, ALL AGE GROUPS, FOR MEN AND FOR WOMEN. SO WE’RE GOING TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT RACE GOING FORWARD, WE NEED TO UPHOLD LAWS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN HIRING AND IN HOUSING AND IN EDUCATION AND IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. >> THAT IS WHAT OUR CONSTITUTIONAND OUR HIGHEST IDEALS REQUIRE. THE LAWS ALONE WON’T BE ENOUGH. HEARTS MUST CHANGE. THEY WON’T CHANGE OVERNIGHT. SOCIAL ATTITUDES OFTENTIMES TAKEGENERATIONS TO CHANGE, BUT IF OUR DEMOCRACY IS TO WORK THE WAYIT SHOULD IN THIS INCREASINGLY DIVERSE NATION, THEN EACH ONE OFUS NEEDS TO TRY TO HEED THE ADVICE OF A GREAT CHARACTER IN AMERICAN FICTION, ATTICUS FINCH,WHO SAID, YOU NEVER REALLY UNDERSTAND A PERSON UNTIL YOU CONSIDER THINGS FROM HIS POINT OF VIEW, UNTIL YOU CLIMB INTO HIS SKIN AND WALK AROUND IN IT. FOR BLACKS AND OTHER MINORITY GROUPS, THAT MEANS TYING OUR OWNVERY REAL STRUGGLES FOR JUSTICE TO THE CHALLENGES THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY FACE. NOT ONLY THE REASONABLE OR THE IMMIGRANT OR THE REAL POOR OR THE TRANSGENDER AMERICAN, BUT ALSO THE MIDDLE AGED WHITE GUY WHO FROM THE OUTSIDE MAY SEEM LIKE HE’S GOT ADVANTAGES, BUT HAS SEEN HIS WORLD UPENDED BY ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE. WE HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION AND LISTEN. FOR WHITE AMERICANS, IT MEANSINGA ONLY INNING THE EFFECTS OF SLAVERY AND JIM CROWE DIDN’T SUDDENLY VANISH IN THE ’60s, THAT WHEN MINORITY GROUPS VOICE DISCONTENT, THEY’RE NOT JUST ENGAGING IN REVERSE RACISM OR PRACTICING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, WHEN THEY WAGE PEACEFUL PROTESTS, THEY’RE NOT DEMANDING SPECIAL TREATMENT, BUTTHE EQUAL TREATMENT THAT OUR FOUNDERS PROMISED. FOR MANLY BORN AMERICANS, IT MEANS REMINDING OURSELVES ABOUT THE STORYIO TYPES OF IMMIGRANTSSTODAY WERE SAID ALMOST WORD-FOR-WORD ABOUT THE IRISH. AND ITALIANS, AND POLs, WHO IT WAS SAID WERE GOING TO DESTROY THE FUNDAMENTAL CHARACTER OF MARC. AS IT TURNS OUT, THE AMERICANS WEREN’T WEAKENED BY THE PRESENCEOF THESE NEWCOMERS. THESE NEWCOMERS EMBRACED THIS NATION’S CREED AND THIS NATION WAS STRENGTHENED. SO REGARDLESS OF THE STATION THAT WE OCCUPY, WE ALL HAVE TO TRY HARDER. WE ALL HAVE TO START WITH THE PREMISE THAT EACH OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS LOVES THIS COUNTRY JUSTAS MUCH AS WE DO, THAT THEY VALUE HARD WORK AND FAMILY JUST LIKE WE DO, THAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE JUST AS CURIOUS AND HOPEFUL AND WORTHY OF LOVE AS OUR OWN. AND THAT’S NOT EASY TO DO. FOR TOO MANY OF US, IT’S BECOME SAFE TORE RETREAT INTO OUR OWN BUBBLES, WHETHER IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS OR ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES OR PLACES OF WORSHIP, OR ESPECIALLY OUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS. SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE US AND SHARE THE SAME POLITICAL OUTLOOK AND NEVER CHALLENGE OUR ASSUMPTIONS. IN THE RISE OF NAKED PARTISANSHIP, INCREASING ECONOMIC AND REGIONAL STRATIFICATION THE SPLINTERING OF OUR MEDIA INTO A CHANNEL FOR EVERY TASTE, ALL THIS MAKES THISGREAT SORTING SEEM NATURAL. EVEN INEVITABLE. AND INCREASINGLY, WE BECOME SO SECURE IN OUR BUBBLES THAT WE START ACCEPTING ONLY INFORMATION, WHETHER IT’S TRUE OR NOT THAT FITS OUR OPINIONS. INSTEAD OF BASING OUR OPINIONS ON THE THAT EVIDENCE IS OUT THERE. AND THIS TREND REPRESENTS A THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY. POLITICS IS A BATTLE OF IDEAS. THAT’S HOW OUR DEMOCRACY WAS DESIGNED IN THE COURSE OF A HEALTHY DEBATE, WE PRIORITIZE DIFFERENT GOALS AND THE DIFFERENT MEANS OF REACHING THEM. BUT WITHOUT SOME COMMON BASELINEOF FACTS, WITHOUT A WILLINGNESS TO ADMIT NEW INFORMATION AND CONCEDE THAT YOUR OPPONENT MIGHTBE MAKING A FAIR POINT AND THAT SCIENCE AND REASON MATTER, THEN WE’RE GOING TO KEEP TALKING PASTEACH OTHER AND WE’LL MAKE COMMONGROUND AND COMPROMISEIMPOSSIBLE. AND ISN’T THAT PART OF WHAT SO OFTEN MAKES POLITICS DESPIRITED?HOW CAN ELECTION OFFICIALS RAGE ABOUT DEFICITS WHEN WE PROPOSE TO SPEND MONEY ON PRE SCHOOL FORKIDS BUT NOT WHEN WE’RE CARRYINGTAXES FOR CORPORATIONS. HOW DO WE EXCUSE ETHICAL LAMBSS IN OUR OWN PARTY BUT COUNTS WHENTHE OTHER PARTY DOES THE SAME THING?IT’S NOT JUST DISHONEST, THIS SELECTED SORTING OF THE FACE, IT’S SELF DEFEATING. BECAUSE AS MY MOM USED TO TELL ME, REALITY HAS A WAY OF CATCHING UP WITH YOU. TAKE THE CHALLENGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, IN JUST EIGHT YEARS, WE HAVE OUR DEPENDENTS ON FOREIGN OIL. WE’VE DOUBLED OUR RENEWABLE ENERGY, WE’VE LED TO WORLD TO ANAGREEMENT THAT HAS THE PROMISE TO SAVE THIS PLANET. BUT WITHOUT BOLDER ACTION, OUR CHILDREN WON’T HAVE TIME TO DEBATE THE EXISTENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE. THEY’LL BE BUSY DEALING WITH ITSEFFECTS, MORE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS, MORE ECONOMIC DISRUPTIONS. WAVES OF CLIMATE REFUGEES SEEKING SANCTUARY. NOW WE CAN AND SHOULD ARGUE ABOUT THE BEST APPROACH TO SOLVETHE PROBLEM. BUT TO SIMPLY DESIGN THE PROBLEM, NOT ONLY DETRAYS FUTUREGENERATIONS, IT BETRAYS THE ESSENTIAL SPIRIT OF THIS COUNTRY. THE ESSENTIAL SPIRIT OF INNOVATION AND PRACTICAL PROBLEMSOLVING THAT GUIDED OUR FOUND ERS IT IS THAT SPIRIT BORN OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT THAT MADE US AN ECONOMIC POWER HOUSE. THE SPIRIT THAT TOOK FLIGHT AT KITTY HAWK AND CAPE CANAVERAL. THE SPIRIT THAT CURES DISEASE AND PUT A COMPUTER IN EVERY POCKET. IT’S THAT SPIRIT A. FAITH IN REASON AND ENTERPRISE AND THE PRIVACY OF RIGHT OVER MIGHT THATALLOWED US TO RESIST THE LURE OFFASCISM AND TYRANNY DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION. >> THAT ALLOWED US TO BUILD A POST-WORLD WAR II ORDER WITH OTHER DEMOCRACY, AN ORDER BASED NOT JUST ON MILITARY POWER OR NATIONAL AFFILIATIONLES, BUT BUILT ON PRINCIPLES, THE RULE OFLAW. HUMAN RIGHTS, FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND SPEECH AND ASSEMBLYAND AN INDEPENDENT PRESS. THAT ORDER IS NOW BEING CHALLENGED. FIRST BY VIOLENT FANATICS WHO CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR ISLAM, MORE RECENTLY BY AUTOCRATS AND FOREIGN CAPITALS, WHO SEEK FREE MARKETS AND OPEN DEMOCRACIES ANDCIVIL SOCIETY, ITSELF, AS A THREAT TO THEIR POWER. THE PERIL EACH POSES TO OUR DEMOCRACY IS MORE FAR REACHING THAN A CAR BOMB OR A MISSILE. THEY REPRESENT THE FEAR OF CHANGE, THE FEAR OF PEOPLE WHO LOOK OR SPEAK OR PLAY DIFFERENTLY. A CONTEMPT FOR RULE OF LAW THAT HOLDS LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE, AN INTOLERANCE OF THE SENATE AND FREE THOUGHT. A BELIEF THAT THE SWORD OR THE GUN OR THE BOMB OR THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE IS THE ULTIMATE ARBITER OF WHAT’S TRUE AND WHAT’S RIGHT. BECAUSE OF THE EXTRAORDINARY COURAGE OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN YOUTHFUL, BECAUSE OF OUR INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AND DIPLOMATS WHO SUPPORT OUR TROOPS NO FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION THAT SUCCESSFULLY PLANNED AND EXECUTED AN ATTACK ON OUR HOMELAND THESE PAST EIGHT YEARS. AND ALTHOUGH BOSTON AND ORLANDO AND SAN BERNARDINO AND FT. HOOD REMIND US OF HOW DANGEROUS RADICALIZATION CAN BE. OUR LAW ENFORCEm AGENCIES ARE MORE EFFECTIVE AND VIGIL THAN EVER. WE HAVE TAKEN OUT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF TERRORISTS, INCLUDING BIN LADIN. THE COALITION WE ARE LEADING AGAINST ISIL HAS TAKEN OUT THEIRLEADERS AND TAKEN AWAY ABOUT HALF THEIR TERRITORY. ISIL WILL BE DESTROYED AND NO ONE WHO THREATENS AMERICA WILL EVER BE SAFE. AND ALL WHO SERVE OR HAVE SERVED, IT HAS BEEN THE HONOR OFMY LIFETIME TO BE YOUR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. WHEN WE ALL OWE YOU A DEEP DEBT OF GRATITUDE. BUT PROTECTING OUR WAY OF LIFE, THAT’S NOT JUST THE JOB OF OUR MILITARY. DEMOCRACY CAN BUCKLE WHEN IT GIVES INTO FEAR. SO JUST AS WE AS CITIZENS MUST REMAIN VIGILANT AGAINST EXTERNALAGGRESSION, WE MUST GUARD AGAINST A WEAKENING OF THE VALUES THAT MAKE US WHO WE ARE AND THAT’S WHY FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, I’VE WORKED TO PUT THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM ON AFIRMER LEGAL FOOTING. THAT’S WHY WE’VE END THE TORTURE, WORK TO CLOSE GITMO, REFORMED OUR LAWS TO PROTECT PRIVACIES AND CIVIL LIBERTIES. THAT’S WHY I REJECT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MUSLIM AMERICANS, WHO ARE JUST AS PATRIOTIC AS YOU ARE. THAT’S WHY WE CANNOT WITHDRAW. THAT’S WHY WE CANNOT WITHDRAW FROM BIG GLOBAL FIGHTS TO EXPANDDEMOCRACY AS HUMAN RIGHTS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND LBGT RIGHTS, NO MATTER HOW IMPERFECT OUR EFFORTS, NO MATTER HOW EXPEDIENTIGNORING SUCH VALUES MAY SEEM, THAT’S PART OF DEFENDING AMERICA. FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST EXTREMISM AND INTOLERANCE AND SECTARIANISMAND CHAUVINISM, ARE THE PEACE WITH THE FIGHT AGAINST AUTHORITARIANISM AND NATIONALISTAGGRESSION. IF THE SCOPE OF FREEDOM AND RESPECT FOR THE RULE OF LAW SHRINKS AROUND THE WORLD, THE LIKELIHOOD OF WAR WITHIN AND BETWEEN NATIONS INCREASES. AND OUR OWN FREEDOMS WILL EVENTUALLY BE THREATENED. SO LET’S BE JINL ILL BUT NOT AFRAID. ISIL WILL TRY TO KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE. BUT THEY CANNOT DEFEAT AMERICA UNLESS WE BETRAY OUR CONSTITUTION AND OUR PRINCIPLES IN THE FIGHT RIVALS LIKE RUSSIA OR CHINA CANNOT MATCH OUR INFLUENCE AROUND THE WORLD UNLESS WE GIVE UP WHAT WE STAND FOR AND TURN OURSELVES INTO JUSTANOTHER BIG COUNTRY THAT BULLIESSMALLER NEIGHBORS. WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY FINAL POINT, OUR DEMOCRACY, OUR DEMOCRACY IS THREATENED WHENEVERWE TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. ALL OF US REGARDLESS OF PARTY SHOULD BE THROWING OURSELVES INTO THE TASK OF REBUILDING OUR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS. WHEN VOTING RATES IN AMERICA ARESOME OF THE LOWEST AMONG ADVANCED DEMOCRACIES, WE SHOULD BE MAKING IT EASIER, NOT HARDER,TO VOTE. WHEN, WHEN TRUST IN OUR INSTITUTIONS IS LOW, WE SHOULD REDUCE THE GROSS INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN OUR POLITICS AND INSISTON THE PRINCIPLES OF TRANSPARENCY AND ETHICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE, WHEN CONGRESS ISDYSFUNCTIONAL, WE SHOULD DRAW OUR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS TO ENCOURAGE POLITICIANS TO CATER TO COMMON SENSE AND NOT RIDGE IDRIGID EXTREMES. BUT REMEMBER, NONE OF THIS HAPPENS ON ITS OWN. ALL OF THIS DEPENDS ON OUR PARTICIPATION, ON EACH OF US ACCEPTING THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CITIZENSHIP. , REGARDLESS OF WHICH WAY THE PENDULUM OF POWER HAPPENS TO BE SWINGING . OUR CONSTITUTION IS AREMARKABLE, BEAUTIFUL GIFT. BUT IT’S REALLY JUST A PIECE OF PARTCHMENT. IT HAS NO POWER ON ITS OWN. WE THE PEOPLE, GIVE IT POWER. WE, THE PEOPLE, GIVE IT MEANING WITH OUR PARTICIPATION AND WITH THE CHOICES THAT WE MAKE AND THEALLIANCES THAT WE FORGE, WHETHEROR NOT WE STAND UP FOR OUR FREEDOMS. WHETHER OR NOT WE RESPECT AND ENFORCE THE RULE OF LAW. THAT’S UP TO US. AMERICA IS NO FRAGILE THING, BUTTHE GAINS OF OUR LONG JOURNEY TOFREEDOM ARE NOT ASSURED. IN HIS OWN FAREWELL ADDRESS, GEORGE WASHINGTON WROTE THAT SELF GOVERNMENT IS THE UNDERPINNING OF OUR SAFETY, PROSPERITY AND LIBERTY. BUT FROM DIFFERENT CAUSES AND FROM DIFFERENT QUARTERS, MUCH PAINS WILL BE TAKEN TO WEAKEN INYOUR MINDS THE CONVICTION OF THIS TRUTH. AND SO, WE HAVE TO PRESERVE THISTRUTH WITH JEALOUS ANXIETY, THATWE SHOULD REJECT THE FIRST DONNING OF EVERY ATTEMPT TO ALIENATE ANY PORTION OF OUR COUNTRY FROM THE REST. OR TO FEEBLE THE SACRED TIES THAT MAKE US ONE. >> AMERICA, WE WEAKEN THOSE TIE,WHEN WE ALLOW OUR POLITICAL DIALOGUE TO BECOME SO CORROSIVE THAT PEOPLE OF GOOD CHARTINGER ARE EACH WILLING TO ENTER INTO PUBLIC SERVICE. SO COARSE WITH RANCOR THE AMERICANS WITH WHO WE DISAGREE ARE SEEN AS MISGUIDED BUT MAIL MALEVOLENT. WE WEAKEN THOSE TIES WHEN WE WRITE OFF THE WHOLE SYSTEM AS INEVITABLY CORRUPT AND WHEN WE SIT BACK AND BLAME THE LEADERS WE ELECT WITHOUT EXAMINING OUR OWN ROLE IN ELECTING THEM. IT FALLS TO EACH OF US TO BE THOSE ANXIOUS, JEALOUS GUARDIANSOF OUR DEMOCRACY, TO EMBRACE THEJOYOUS TASK WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN, TO CONTINUALLY TRY TO IMPROVE THIS GREAT NATION OF OURS BECAUSE FOR ALL OUR OUTWARD DIFFERENCES, WE, IN FACT, ALL SHARE THE SAME PROUD TITLE. THE MOST IMPORTANT OFFICE IN A DEMOCRACY CITIZEN. CITIZEN. SO YOU SEE, THAT’S WHAT OUR DEMOCRACY DEMANDS. IT NEED YOU. NOT JUST WHEN THERE’S AN ELECTION, NOT JUST WHEN YOUR OWNNARROW INTEREST IS AT STAKE. BUT OVER THE FULL SPAN OF A LIFETIME. IF YOU’RE TIRED OF ARGUING WITH STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET TRY TALKING WITH ONE OF THEM IN REALLIFE. IF SOMETHING NEEDS FIXING, THEN LACE UP YOUR SHOES AND DO SOME ORGANIZING. IF YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED BY YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, GRAB A CLIPBOARD, GET SOME SIGNATURES AND RUN FOR OFFICE, YOURSELF. SHOW UP. DIVE IN. STAY AT IT. SOMETIMES YOU’LL WIN. SOMETIMES YOU’LL LOSE. PRESUMING A RESERVOIR OF GOODNESS IN OTHER PEOPLE, THAT CAN BE A RISK AND THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN THE PROCESS WILL DISAPPOINT YOU, BUT FOR THOSE OFUS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE BEENA PART OF THIS WORK AND TO SEE IT UP CLOSE, LET ME TELL YOU, ITCAN ENERGIZE AND INSPIRE. AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, YOUR FAITH IN AMERICA AND IN AMERICANS WILL BE CONFIRMED. MINE SURE HAS BEEN. OVER THE COURSE OF THESE EIGHT YEARS, I HAVE SEEN THE HOPEFUL FACES OF YOUNG GRADUATES AND OURNEWEST MILITARY OFFICERS. I HAVE MOURNED WITH GRIEVING FAMILIES SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS AND FOUND GRACE IN A CHARLESTON CHURCH. I’VE SEEN OUR SCIENTISTS HELP A PARALYZED MAN REGAIN HIS SENSE OF TOUCH. I’VE SEEN WOUNDED WARRIORS WHO AT POINTS WERE GIVEN UP FOR DEADWALK AGAIN. I’VE SEEN OUR DOCTORS AND VOLUNTEERS REBUILD AFTER EARTHQUAKES AND STOP PANDEMICS IN THEIR TRACKS. I’VE SEEN THE YOUNGEST OF CHILDREN REMIND US THROUGH THEIRACTIONS AND THROUGH THEIR GENEROSITY OF OUR OBLIGATIONS TOCARE FOR REFUGEES OR WORK FOR PEACE AND ABOVE ALL TO LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER. SO THAT FAITH THAT I’VE PLACED ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, NOT FAR FROM HERE, IN THE POWER OF ORDINARY AMERICANS TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE, THAT FAITH HAS BEEN REWARDED IN WAYS I COULD NOT HAVE POSSIBLY IMAGINED. AND I HOPE YOUR FAITH HAS TOO. SOME OF YOU WATCHING TONIGHT OR WATCHING AT HOME, YOU WERE THEREWITH US IN 2004 AND 2008, 2012. MAYBE YOU STILL CAN’T BELIEVE WEPULLED THIS WHOLE THING OFF. LET ME TALK TO YOU, YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONES. MICHELLE. MICHELLE LEVON ROBINSON, GIRL OFTHE SOUTH SIDE, FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS, YOU HAVE NOT ONLY BEEN MYWIFE AND MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN, YOU HAVE BEEN MY BEST FRIEND. YOU TOOK ON A ROLE YOU DIDN’T ASK FOR AND YOU MADE IT YOUR OWN, WITH GRACE AND WITH GRIT AND WITH STYLE AND WITH HUMOR. YOU MADE THE WHITE HOUSE A PLACETHAT BELONGS TO EVERYBODY. AND A NEW GENERATION SETS ITS SIGHTS HIGHER BECAUSE IT HAS YOUAS A ROLE MODEL. SO YOU HAVE MADE ME PROUD AND YOU HAVE MADE THE COUNTRY PROUD. MALIA AND SASHA, UNDER THE STRANGEST OF CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU HAVE BECOME TWO AMAZING YOUNG WOMEN. ARE YOU SMART AND YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, ARE YOU KIND AND YOU ARE THOUGHTFUL AND YOU ARE FULL OF PASSION AND YOU ARE THE BURDEN OF YEARS IN THE SPOTLIGHT SO EASILY. OF ALL THAT I HAVE DONE IN MY LIFE, I AM MOST PROUD TO BE YOURDAD. TO JOE BIDEN, THE SCRAPPY KID FROM SCRANTON, WHO BECAME THE FAVORITE SON, YOUWERE THE FIRST DECISION I MADE AS A NOMINEE AND IT WAS THE BEST. NOT JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN AGREAT VICE PRESIDENT, BUT BECAUSE I GAVE TO BROTHER, WE LOVE YOU AND JILL LIKE FAMILY AND YOUR FRIENDSHIP HAS BEEN ONEOF THE GREAT JOYS OF OUR LIFETIMES. SO MY REMARKABLE FAMILY, FOR EIGHT YEARS, FOR SOME OF YOU A WHOLE LOT MORE, I HAVE DRAWN FROM YOUR ENERGY AND EVERY DAY ITRY TO REFLECT BACK WHAT YOU’VE DISPLAYED, HEART, AND CHARACTER AND IDEALISM AND I WATCHED YOU GROW UP, GET MARRIED, HAVE KIDS,START INCREDIBLE NEW JOURNEYS OFYOUR OWN. EVEN WHEN TIMES GOT TOUGH AND FRUSTRATED, YOU NEVER LET WASHINGTON GET THE BETTER OF I. YOU GUARDED AGAINST CYNICISM. THE ONLY THING THAT MAKE MISEPROUDER THAN ALL THE GOOD THAT WE’VE DONE IS THE THOUGHT OF ALL THE AMAZING THINGS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO ACHIEVE FROM HERE. AND ALL OF YOU OUT THERE, EVERY ORGANIZER WHO MOVED TO AN UNFAMILIAR TOWN?EVERY CRIME FAMILY WHO WELCOMED THEM IN, EVERY VOLUNTEER WHO KNOCKED ON DOORS, EVERY YOUNG PERSON WHO CAST A BALLOT FOR THEFIRST TIME, EVERY AMERICAN WHO LIVED AND BREATHED THE HARD WORKOF CHANGE, YOU ARE THE BEST SUPPORTERS AND ORGANIZERS ANYBODY COULD EVER HOPE FOR AND I WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL. BECAUSE YOU DID CHANGE THE WORLD. YOU DID. AND THAT’S WHY I LOO EVERYBODY THIS STAGE TONIGHT, EVEN MORE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THIS COUNTRY THAN WHEN WE STARTED. BECAUSE I KNOW OUR WORK HAS NOT ONLY HELPED SO MANY AMERICANS, IT HAS INSPIRED SO MANY AMERICANS, ESPECIALLY SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE OUT THERE TO BELIEVE THAT CAN YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE, TO HITCH YOUR WAGON TO SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOURSELVES. LET ME TELL YOU, THIS GENERATIONCOMING UP, UNSELFISH, ALTRUISTIC, CREATIVE, PATRIOTIC. I’VE SEEN YOU IN EVERY CORNER OFTHE COUNTRY. YOU BELIEVE IN A FAIR AND JUST AND INCLUSIVE AMERICAN. YOU KNOW THE CONSTANT CHANGE HASBEEN AMERICA’S HALLMARK. THAT IT’S NOT SOMETHING TO FEAR,BUT SOMETHING TO EMBRACE. YOU ARE WILLING TO CARRY THIS HARD WORK OF DEMOCRACY FORWARD. YOU’LL SOON OUTNUMBER ALL OF US AND I BELIEVE AS THE RESULT, THEFUTURE IS IN GOOD HANDS. MY FELLOW AMERICANS, IT HAS BEENTHE HONOR OF MY LIFE TO SERVE YOU. I WON’T STOP. IN FACT, I WILL BE RIGHT THERE WITH YOU AS A CITIZEN FOR ALL MYREMAINING DAYS. BUT FOR NOW, WHETHER YOU ARE YOUNG OR WHETHER YOU ARE YOUNG AT HEART, I DO HAVE ONE FINAL ASK OF YOU AS YOUR PRESIDENT. THE SAME THING I ASKED WHEN YOU TOOK A CHANCE ON ME EIGHT YEARS AGO, I AM ASKING YOU TO BELIEVE NOT IN MY ABILITY TO BRING ABOUTCHANGE BUT IN YOURS. I AM ASKING YOU TO HOLD FAST TO THAT FAITH WRITTEN INTO OUR FINAL DOCUMENTS, THAT IDEAL WHISPER ABOUT SLAVES AND ABOLITIONISTS, THAT SPIRIT SUNG BY IMMIGRANTS AND HOMESTEADERS AND THOSE WHO MARCH FOR JUSTICE,THAT CREED, REAFFIRMED BY THOSE WHO PLANTED FLAGS FROM FOREIGN BATTLEFIELDS TO THE SURFACE OF THE MOON. CREATED DECOR OF EVERY AMERICAN WHOSE STORY IS NOT YET WRITTEN. YES, WE CAN. IF WE DID, IF WE CAN, THANK YOU,GOD BLESS YOU. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THANK YOU. >> Reporter: PRESIDENT OBAMA ENDING ON THE MANTRA THAT CARRIED HIM INTO OFFICE EIGHT YEARS AGO, YES, WE CAN, SPEAKINGTO A PACKED CROWD, HERE AT McCORMICK PLACE CONVENTION CENTER IN CHICAGO. HIS OFFICIAL FAREWELL SPEECH. LOOKING ON. THE FIRST LADY, MICHELLE OBAMA, WHO BOUGHT THE THE BIGGEST APPLAUSE OF THE NIGHT. ALSO VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND DR. JILL BIDEN. WHO HE SINGLED OUT AS DEEP AND CLOSE AND PERSONAL FRIENDS AND PARTNER CALLING VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN A BROTHER. HERE’S THE FIRST LADY AND MALIA OBAMA NOW JOINING THE PRESIDENT ON STAGE. DR. BIDEN. AND VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN. COMING UP TO THANK THE PRESIDENT. KRISTEN WELKER IS WITH ME. HE HAS BEEN WATCHING THIS SPEECH. KRISTEN, THIS WAS A, IT SEEMED LIKE A SPEECH LAYING THE SEED FOR A PRESIDENT WHO IS GOING TO BECOME, CONTINUE TO BE VERY ACTIVE IN TRYING TO SUPPORTED HIS PORT AND THESE IDEALS. >> I THINK ARE YOU RIGHT, LESTER, HE ENDED ON THAT NOTE, YES, WE K. THIS WAS AS YOU WOULDEXPECT A DEFENSE OF HIS LEGACY, BUT IT WAS ALSO A CALL TO ACTIONTO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND I THINK TO HIS SUCCESSOR, TO DEFEND THIS DEMOCRACY. HE TALKED ABOUT HOW FRAGILE THE NATION’S DEMOCRACY IS. I THOUGHT ONE OF THE MOST POIGNANT MOMENTS WAS WITH PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP. HE SAID NO THE KEY TO OUR DEMOCRACY IS A PEACEFUL TRANSITION. >> CHUCK TODD IS WATCHING ALONG IN NEW YORK. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HERE?YOU HEAR THE PRESIDENT THANKING HIS STAFF, THANKING AMERICA. >> I THINK WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THE CONTENT. IT’S A REMARKABLE MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY. IT UNDERSCORES THE TUMULTUOUS TIMES WE LIVE IN, THE PRESIDENT THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT, FELT THENEED TO USE HIS FAREWELL ADDRESSTO NOT JUST MAKE THE CASE ARE FOR DEMOCRACY TO HEAR, BUT TO REMAKE THE CASE FOR DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICANS TO HEAR. I THINK THAT WAS, IN PART, OBVIOUSLY A RESPONSE TO WHAT WE ARE SEEING RIGHT NOW IN OUR POLITICS BUT ALSO AN ATTEMPT TO SEEFB AS SERVE AS A BEACON FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY GOING FORWARD AND HIS SUPPORTERS GOINGFORWARD. THAT’S WHY HE ENDED UP ON THIS NOTE. LET’S NOT FORGET THE MEAT OF THIS SPEECH. THIS WAS IN MANY CASES THE PRESIDENT LAMENTING THE STATE OFOUR DEMOCRACY RIGHT NOW IN HIS FAREWELL ADDRESS. >> PRESIDENT OBAMA KNEW THAT JANUARY 20th, 2017, WOULD COME. HE DIDN’T KNOW TWO HE WOULD BE HANDING THE KEYS OVER TO, OF COURSE, UNTIL THE LAST ELECTION. I SAT DOWN WITH THE PRESIDENT HERE IN CHICAGO JUST ABOUT AN HOUR-AND-A-HALF AGO. AND I ASKED HIM ABOUT THE RESULTS OF THAT ELECTION AND HISREACTION. HERE’S PART OF OUR EXCHANGE. >> TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT WATCHING THOSE RESULTS WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT DONALD TRUMP IS GOING TO WIN. WAS THERE AN UNVARNISHED BARACK OBAMA AT THAT MOMENT?>> YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, THERE WASJUST SURPRISE. YOU KNOW, GENERALLY SPEAKING, NOT JUST ME BUT MY TEAM HAD BEENPRETTY GOOD AT SEEING SOMETHING COMING. AND PARTLY BECAUSE JUST THE POLLING WAS SO OFF. THE DATA WAS OFF. THAT WAS A SURPRISE. YOU THOUGH, I THINK THE PRESIDENT-ELECT WOULD BE THE FIRST TO ACKNOWLEDGE HE DIDN’T RUN A CONVENTION ALE CAMPAIGN. AND IT’S NOT CLEAR THAT HE OR HIS TEAM THOUGHT THEY WERE GOINGTO WIN. AND SO, SO I THINK MORE THAN ANYTHING, IT WAS JUST ADVISE. >> — SURPRISE. >> HE TALKED THE NEXT DAY HE HADTO GO IN AND TALK TO HIS STAFF. AND HE HAS TRY ID TO TAKE THE HIGH ROAD IN THIS. BUT HE’S CLEARLY HURTING. >> HE IS. YOU COULD SEE HIM FEEL THAT AND EXPRESS THAT IN HIS RESPONSE TO YOU THERE, LESTER, WHICH IS REALLY STRIKING. HE HAS TALKED ABOUT THE DAY AFTER ELECTION, A PEACEFUL TRANSITION. HE HAS INSTRUCTED HIS WHITE HOUSE TEAM TO MAKE SURE THAT, INFACT, HAPPENS. WE KNOW THIS THE A CHALLENGE FORHIM. AND THAT WAS PRESENT IN HIS REMARKS THIS EVENING WHEN HE CALLED ON NOT ONLY THIS CROWD BUT THE NATION’S SUCCESSOR TO REJECT HYPER PARTISANSHIP. TO REJECT DISCRIMINATION IN ALL OF ITS FORMS. HE REFERENCED MUSLIMS. >> THAT IS A CLEAR COUNTER TO SOME OF THE RHETORIC WE WE HEARDON THE CANE TRAIL. YOU CAN BET, THOUGH, HE WILL REMAIN ENGAGED. >> CHUCK TODD WHEN WE WERE ON THE SET ON ELECTION NIGHT, WHEN IT WAS CLEAR THAT HILLARY CLINTON WAS GOING DOWN TO DEFEAT. I THINK YOU POSED THE QUESTION TO THE PANEL, WHO NOW BECOMES THE LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?WATCHING PRESIDENT OBAMA, HOW STRONG WILL HE COME TO REBUILD THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN. >> LOOK, HE IS THE ANIMATING FORCE INSIDE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. HE IS THE GUY THAT CAN CONVENE FOLKS AND ORGANIZE THE PARTY. I THINK HE, I THINK HE IS RELUCTANT TO HAVE TO BE THE LEADER GOING FORWARD, BUT IT’S MY UNDERSTANDING HE REALIZES THAT THERE IS REALLY NOBODY ELSERIGHT NOW THAT IT’S A PLACE HOLDER, BUT THAT HE HAS GOT TO FILL THIS VACUUM. YOU GOT TO BE CAREFUL HERE. YOU DON’T WANT TO OVER — YOU DON’T WANT TO GET TOO INVOLVED THERE THERE IS A FINE LINE YOU WALK AS A FORMER PRESIDENT DOINGTHAT. I THINK HE IS ACCEPTING. I THINK TONIGHT’S SPEECH IS A PART OF THAT. SHE ACCEPTING THIS IDEA THAT HE IS NOW AND STILL HAS TO REMAIN THE LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. >> HE, OF COURSE, NOTED THE PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER THAT IS ABOUT TO TAKE PLACE IN THIS COUNTRY. WE WILL HEAR FROM PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP AND HIS VISION PERHAPS A BIT MORE TOMORROW IN HIS FIRST NEWS CONFERENCE SINCE HIS ELECTION. >>> A PROGRAMING NOTE, WE HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US FRIDAY INTO THEAT 10:00/9:00 CENTRAL, WITH MY EXTENDED INTERVIEW. YOU SAW SOME OF IT THOUGH AND TOMORROW MORNING FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP’S FIRST NEWS CONFERENCE SINCE WINNING

Yes We Can: People Share Their Most Memorable Moments from the Obama Presidency

Female Speaker: 2009,Inauguration Day. Female Speaker:
Inaugural Ball. They walked out, she had
on that gorgeouswhite dress. Male Speaker: What’s
the guy’s name? Luther. Jerry Seinfeld: Knocking
on the Oval Office window,I would say. That was probably the peak
of my entire existence. Female Speaker: The
moment when he picked me. I was so happy, I have to
like — I have to bethe last question. The President: Before I
answer your question, whydon’t you give
me a little rap. Let’s see what you got. Female Speaker: I was so
emotional, I was crying. Thank you, President Obama, for coming to Vietnam. Female Speaker: It’s the
first time in my life Ifelt like the White House
belonged to everybody. Kerry Washington: And you
really felt — you feltthose first three words ofthe Constitution, “We the People. “It was one of those first
times in my life that Ifelt like I was really
part of that “We. “Female Speaker: My Obama
moment was when I receivedthis letter from President
Obama last year welcomingme to become a U. S. citizen. Tom Hanks: When he just
changed all the rules onthe table in
regards to Cuba. With the most succinct
motivation imaginable,which is, “What we’ve been
doing hasn’t worked. “Which made all the
sense in the world. Male Speaker: My Obama
moment was the signing ofthe Paris Agreement, and
making the United States aleader in the fight
against global warming. Leonardo DiCaprio:
When I was at the U. N. and I, you know, I heard
our President say thatclimate change is the most
important issue facing notonly this generation, but
all future generations. It was inspiring. Melinda Gates: For me, it
was traveling with thePresident to
schools in Boston. And the way he engaged the
students was just one ofthose moments to see him
connect like that, that Ithink you see throughout
his Presidency. Female Speaker: My
favorite President Obamamoment was when he was
elected President in 2008,because in 2008 was
when I was born. John Legend: I never cried
before from electionresults . Female Speaker: I don’t
know, just the magicof that moment. Of that man who we’d all
been on that journey withtake that stage
with his family. I was sitting at home in
my living room and I feltlike I was a part of
that crowd in that park. Male Speaker: I didn’t
think I would live to seea African American emerge
as President, but he did. Female Speaker: Third
grade, when we had thisproject to write a letter
to the White House. It was really strange when
he actually replied backbecause it was like,
“Woah, I’m a third graderand I can actually geta response from the President. I can actually
make a difference. “Male Speaker: In the
aftermath of the schoolshootings in Connecticut. I don’t know
how he did it. Male Speaker: At one
point, at the lectern, hestarted to sing “Amazing
Grace,” and the entirecongregation stood
up and did the same. And to me, it was just
a powerful moment. One that the nation needed
and one that hewas able to provide. Chance the Rapper: His
battle towards the end topardon a lot of convicted
felons who had been givenheavy sentences for small,
drug-related crimes. Female Speaker: One
portion I remember mostabout the visit was how
excited everybodyin my house was. And especially all the
young people who werehelping us, and I think
the way they got soexcited and happy about it
was something that I willalways remember. Male Speaker: When the
President of the UnitedStates lit the first ever
Dia in theWhite House as a symbolof the Hindu Festival of Lights. Female Speaker: President
Obama put sexual violenceon the map as an issue. Survivors can now speak
about their experienceswithout shame. It’s been amazing to be
a part of that movement. Samuel L. Jackson: The moment that, you know, we got theAffordable Care
Act passed. Because I have relatives
that, you know, can’tafford health insurance,
so it was really a greatthing to know thatsomething happened to them. They’d get cared for. Male Speaker: The
excitement we had when theAffordable Care
Act became a law. My particular case, I have
a pre-existing conditionwhich was finally able to
be cared for medically. Male Speaker: When Obama
came out and spoke forsame-sex marriage. Female Speaker: Him
showing support towardstrans, separately from
LGBT from sexuality. Just, like, “Go, Obama!”Female Speaker: The most
memorable Obama moment forme is when he said,
“Eat your peas. “The President:
Eat our peas. Female Speaker: Which
means, just do it or getthe most important
things done first. Ellen DeGeneres: The CVS
experience with Michellewas pretty cool. And dancing with Barack at
his birthday party, andhe’s a good
dancer, you know. He should not get
any flack for that. You’re a good dancer. Female Speaker: He’s my
role model, my idol,because I want
to be President. Female Speaker: When he
wished Happy New Year toall the Iranian Americans
and he said live on
CNN, perfectly. Michael Jordan: I often do
remember Jackie Robinson,everybody does. To me, he would be the
Jackie Robinson ofpolitics from
my standpoint. Male Speaker: He told
everybody to clear out ofthe way, and the kid
went and pressurized themarshmallow gun and
they launched it. The President: Oh!Male Speaker:
So, Obama out. Kobe Bryant: Dropped the
mic on them,blew the kiss. And when I saw that, it
absolutely blew me away.

President Obama’s best speeches

BARACK OBAMA: I’m
so in love with you. This is your victory. I know you didn’t do this
just to win an election. And I know you
didn’t do it for me. You did it because you
understand the enormityof the task that lies ahead. But my main message is to the
parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d
look like Trayvon. They had their
entire lives aheadof them, birthdays, graduations,
weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also
teachers, men and womenwho devoted their lives
to helping our childrenfulfill their dreams. So our hearts are broken today. It’s the idea held by
generations of citizens, whobelieve that America is a
constant work in progress, whobelieve that loving
this country requiresmore than singing its praises or
avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the
occasional disruption,the willingness to speak
out for what is right,to shake up the status quo. That’s AmericaAmazing grace, how sweet the
sound that saved a wretchlike me. Facts, evidence, reason, logic,
an understanding of science,these are good things. These are qualities you want
in people making policy. Black, white, Latino, Asian,
Native American, young, old,gay, straight, men, women,
folks with disabilitiesall pledging allegiance under
the same proud flag to thisbig, bold country that we love. That’s what I see. That’s the America I know. Obama out.

President Obama Explains His Old-School Blackberry

There was one quote
that I really enjoyedthat you said, “Democracy
requires compromiseeven when you’re
100% right. “Yeah. Did you get that
from Michelle?Because I think —
I’ve been married a few years. That was a marital tip,
as well as –as well as a tip
about democracy. You know, it’s true. The point I was making —
I made a couple points. One is despite the news,
despite all the rancor,the truth is,
if you had to be bornat any time
in human historyand you didn’t know who you
were going to be ahead of time,you didn’t know you were
going to be Jimmy Fallon,you would choose now,because the world is actually
healthier, wealthier,better educated,
more tolerant,less violent
than it has ever been. I was in Hiroshimaand thinking about the fact that
during a five-, six-year span,60 million people were killed
around the world. I mean,
it was just devastation. And for all the problems
we’ve got now,what I wanted to communicate
to folks was,there’s a reason
to be hopeful. We’ve got challenges,
but we can deal with them. What we also have to do, though,if we’re going to
deal with them,is we have to recognizethat democracy means you don’t
get everything you wantwhen you want it
all the time. And, you know, this is something
you’re teaching your 3-year-old,but somehow Congress
sometimes doesn’t get it. Sometimes in our politics,
we expect to get everything. And this is a big, complicated,
diverse country. And we’ve got to be able
to talk to each other and listenand occasionally compromise
and stay principledbut recognize that it’s
a long march towards progress. Speaking of compromise,
when you leave the White House,you’re going to have to kind of
compromise a little bit. Like, do you remember
how to do stuff? Do you take money
out of the ATM?The ATM thing
I remember. Pressing buttons on elevators
I’m worried about. It’s gonna blow your mind.
It’s really fun. It lights up.
It’s really fun. You know, look,I was this cool high-tech guy
when I got there, right. And I was the first President
to have a BlackBerry. And so years pass. And no one else
has BlackBerrys. And, you know, I’ve still got
the clip on the belt. Oh, my goodness. Right, and then, finally,
this year,they said, “Good news,
Mr. President. We’re going to give you
a smartphoneinstead of a BlackBerry. “I thought,
“All right, this is cool. “I’ve been seeing Malia and Sasha
doin’ all this. Michelle’s got three of them. She’s texting
and all this. So I’m excited. I get the thing, and they’re
like, “Well, Mr. President,for security reasons –It’s a great phone,
state-of-the-art,but it doesn’t take pictures,
you can’t text,the phone doesn’t work,you know, you can’t
play your music on it. “So basically it’s like –Does your 3-year-old have
one of those play phones? That’s what they gave
the president of –It’s got, like,
the stickers on it. So you’re all like. . . I’m going to call
Minnie Mouse. Hi!Hello, Minnie Mouse.
Are you there?Your imaginary friend. That’s basically
the phone I’ve got.

A Mother’s Day Surprise from President Obama

♪♪ ♪♪The President: Hi Stephanie. Female Speaker: Yes. The President: Hi,
this is Barack Obama. You’re President. The President: Hi Patti. Female Speaker: Hi, yes. The President: Hi
is Barack Obama. Female Speaker: No. The President: Yeah, it is. Female Speaker: No way. The President: Way. I decided on Mother’s Day, I
should call up some letterwriters mom’s and say thank
you for being great moms. Female Speaker:
That is amazing. The President:
It’s kind of cool. And you’re one of the mom’s
I wanted to say thankyou to. Female Speaker: Are
you serious ?The President: You
still don’t believe me. Female Speaker:
Female Speaker: The President: No, it’s me. Female Speaker: The President: Okay,
give me a test. What can we do?Ask me about anything. I was so proud of everything
you’ve done, raising fourkids and serving our country
and those boys are going toturn out good
because of you. Female Speaker: It’s our
President, Barack Obama onthe phone. You want to say hello?The President: We decided on
mother’s day that we neededto call some moms. We’re out there-Child Speaker: Hi. The President: How are you?I know how tough it is, you
know, to raise kids and doright by them and, you know. If it hadn’t have been for
my mother, I wouldn’t havebeen here. The most important
work there is. Female Speaker: I sure
appreciate to hear yousay that. The President: So are you
guys going to spoil mom onMother’s Day?Male Speaker:
Most definitely. Female Speaker: It sure
means to world to get aphone call from you. The President: Well, it’s
wonderful to talk toyou guys. And Dawn, congratulations
on being a great mom. Female Speaker:
Alright, thank you. The President:
Alright, bye-bye.