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"President-Elect Victory Speech"
If there is anyone out
there who still doubts that
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voices could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America!
It's the answer that -- that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time
coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at
this defining moment, change has come to America.
A little bit earlier this
evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain.
Senator McCain fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even
longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of
And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next First Lady: Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and I know that my debt to them is beyond measure. To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters -- thank you so much for the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.
And to my campaign
manager, David Plouffe -- the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best
-- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the
But above all, I will
never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to
you. I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with
much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of
And 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 enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we
celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the
greatest of our lifetime: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial
crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave
Americans waking up in the deserts of
The road ahead will be
long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one
There will be setbacks and
false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I
make as President. And we know the government can't solve every problem. But I
will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to
you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the
work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in
This victory alone is not
the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that
cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can't happen without you,
without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a
new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch
in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other. Let us
remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot
have a thriving Wall Street while
Let's remember that it was
a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to
the White House, a Party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual
liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the
Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of
humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.
And to those Americans who
-- whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I
hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your President, too.
And to all those watching
tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are
huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are
singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at
To those -- To those who
would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and
security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon
still burns as bright: Tonight we've proved once more that the true strength of
our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but
from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and
That's the true genius of
This election had many
firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my
mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in
She was born just a
generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in
the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons: because she was a
woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about
all that she's seen throughout her century in
At a time when women's
voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up
and speak out and reach for the ballot: Yes we can.
When there was despair in
the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear
itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose: Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our
harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation
rise to greatness and a democracy was saved: Yes we can.
She was there for the
A man touched down on the
moon, a wall came down in
And this year, in this
election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after
106 years in
This is our chance to
answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back
to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and
promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that
fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we
hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us that we
can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a
people: Yes, we can.
God bless you.
And may God bless the
delivered 4 November 2008
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