22 October, 2021

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Barack Obama’s Victory Speech – Full Text

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. (Cheers, applause.)

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people. (Cheers, applause.)

US President Barack Obama accompanied by (from L-R ) First Lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia appears on stage on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SamadJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.

(Cheers, applause.) I want to thank every American who participated in this election. (Cheers, applause.) Whether you voted for the very first time (cheers) or waited in line for a very long time (cheers) – by the way, we have to fix that – (cheers, applause) – whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone (cheers, applause), whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference. (Cheers, applause.)

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. (Cheers, applause.) We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service. And that is a legacy that we honour and applaud tonight. (Cheers, applause.) In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

(Cheers, applause.)

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior, the best vice-president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden. (Cheers, applause.)

And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. (Cheers, applause.) Let me say this publicly. Michelle, I have never loved you more. (Cheers, applause.) I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too as our nation’s first lady. (Cheers, applause.)

Sasha and Malia – (cheers, applause) – before our very eyes, you’re growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom. (Cheers, applause.) And I am so proud of you guys. But I will say that, for now, one dog’s probably enough. (Laughter.)

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics – (cheers, applause) – the best – the best ever – (cheers, applause) – some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.

(Cheers, applause.) But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together. (Cheers, applause.) And you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way – (cheers, applause) – to every hill, to every valley. (Cheers, applause.) You lifted me up the whole day, and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you’ve put in. (Cheers, applause.)

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym or – or saw folks working late at a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organiser who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. (Cheers, applause.) You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. (Cheers, applause.)

You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home. (Cheers, applause.)

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight. And it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter – (cheers, applause) – the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.

We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers – (cheers, applause) – a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation – (scattered cheers, applause) – with all of the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. (Cheers, applause.)

We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known – (cheers, applause) – but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag – (cheers, applause) – to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner – (cheers, applause) – to the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president.

That’s the – (cheers, applause) – that’s the future we hope for.

(Cheers, applause.) That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go – forward. (Cheers, applause.) That’s where we need to go. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward.

But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. (Cheers, applause.) A long campaign is now over. (Cheers, applause.) And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead. (Cheers, applause.)

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. (Cheers, applause.) You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.

And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together – reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do. (Cheers, applause.)

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. (Cheers, applause.) That’s the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared – (cheers, applause) – that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)

I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbours and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job. I’ve seen it in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb and in those Seals who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back. (Cheers, applause.) I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. (Cheers, applause.)

And I saw it just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his eight-year-old daughter whose long battle with leukaemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for healthcare reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care. (Cheers, applause.) I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd, listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes because we knew that little girl could be our own.

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president. (Cheers, applause.)

And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. (Cheers, applause.) I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.

[Audience member: “We got your back, Mr President!”]

I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting. (Cheers, applause.)

America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. (Cheers, applause.) You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

(Cheers, applause.)

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

And together, with your help and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you, America. (Cheers, applause.) God bless you. God bless these United States. (Cheers, applause.)

Watch the video here

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Latest comments

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    “What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most DIVERSE nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared”
    True indeed, these words of the first MINORITY President of the United States.
    How far does the Rajapakse debacle of Asia that is impeaching its first woman Chief Justice (for doing her job ans safe guarding the Constitution)- to go to acknowledge this fact: that ETHNIC AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY IS is a gift and that enriches nations…
    Full text:
    “This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most DIVERSE nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared”

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    I wish Obama was President of Sri Lanka…and maybe we could export Mahinda and his extended family to the US? :)

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      It is a blessing of the people in a country to get a honest, hardworking,patriotic President like Barak Obama.

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      USA won’t import crooks into their country.

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    Hear Hear! Well done Mr. President.

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    President Obama’s speech can teach many things to Sri Lankans and their politicians. It is a lesson in competive and not adversarial politics. It is a lesson in being gracious in victory. It is speech that spells out a vision. It is a lesson on how to embrace diversity and differences. It is a speech that provides hope. It is a speech that reaches out to the people who are in trouble

    Obama has considerably greyed since he first took office in 2008. This shows the price he has paid to shoulder the responsibility of being President. The hair of our politicians at all strata grows blacker with each year they continue to be in office!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Hair does not grey due to mental strain.
      It is a natural process and varies in different persons.
      Obama has gained knowledge by experiance and responsibility and is fitter than ever before to serve his nation.
      He beleives in unity with diversity.
      All, irrespective of colour,cast & creed are EQUAL in every sense of the word.
      That is what makes USA a great nation.

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        Justice,

        Our politicians do not grey even in their 60’s. Do they defy age? Do they resort to dyes? Are they a care free lot? Unfortunately, they are yet unable to hide the wrinkles and the shrinking!

        The result is they do not appear ‘ wise ‘ , even if not wise, in their old age!

        Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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      Obama comes from a political culture that is straightforward and positive as such he does not need to disguise his true appearance. Sri Lanka politicians are just the opposite they come from a continuing corrupt, communal,self-seeking and violent political culture. So they disguise in various forms to mislead the people. There are those who paint black their grey hair, there are those who demonstrate socialism with the red stripe in their shawls, there are those who wear the national dress but in their true practice ape western culture, etc. etc. and can go on. So our bunch of politician will never correct themselves by taking lessons from Obama or any other. If Sri Lanka’s politics is to be cleaned the whole present lot should be thrown out.

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    HYPE HYPE HYPE….more HYPE…. Srilanka is a century behind UK,not USA,the day srilanka accepts a system similar to here in UK as a solution for ethnic problem, thats when sri lanka will have tamil or muslim as a President..

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    Wow! What a guy!

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    This is what makes the US so great and Sri Lanka a banana republic. This is why we are backward, ignorant and radical in our behaviour. Our leaders should be sent to US to learn something about democracy and university.

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      @Safa
      Our leaders should be given a one way ticket to the moon. :)

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    Obama has won it without his brother spending the night in the electoral commissioners office and sending ballot boxes to the white house for tampering?
    Wheres Basil?

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    In his victory speech President Obama said he will be sitting with Governor Romney to talk about how they can work together to move the country forward. In a similar situation in Sri Lanka, the newly elected ‘His Excellency the President’, soon after the election results are announced, will be planning about the ways of harassing the opponent, prepare a transfer list of Government Officials and the victory celebration consist of murders, setting fire to houses, fights. This is Sri Lanka Democrazy

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    WELL OBAMA HAS WON!!! THE WORLD WENT “GA-GA” WHEN HE WON THE FIRST TIME.
    WITHIN TWO YEARS, HE WON THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR “THE SURGE”
    HE PROMISED TO CLOSE “GITMO” AND REACH OUT TO MUSLIMS.MADE A SPEECH IN CAIRO ARRANGED BY MUBARAK.MORE MUSLIMS HAVE DIED SINCE OBAMA TOOK OVER WITH HIS “HOBBY” OF REGULAR DRONE ATTACKS.
    HE IS LIKE ANY POLITICIAN, WINNING BY MAKING PROMISES MEANT TO BE BROKEN.
    WITH NO THIRD TERM IN THE WHITE HOUSE. HE IS GOING TO BE WORSE.
    WELL IF YOU THINK OBAMA WON YOU ARE WRONG. IT IS JEWS WHO HAVE WON.
    IT MATTERS LITTLE WHETHER IT IS REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT.IT IS ISRAEL
    THAT DECIDES HOW THE AMERICAN “VETO” IS USED IN UN.S.C.
    LET US HOPE AT LEAST THAT OBAMA CAN CLEAN THE “SHIT ON HIS DOORSTEP”
    BEFORE PREACHING TO THE WORLD.

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      Ayman, You write like a prophet but think like an idiot. President Obama do what he tells and tell what he do. He is no hypocrite. Jews do well in USA because they help each other. Not like cut throat leaders and people in….. they represent both parties but that doesn’t mean they have all animosity or authority. They don’t have extreme ideology like you. Many foreign employees work in their industry. Think google, microsoft etc.. I write with experience.Please change your attitude and thinking…and get a good education. Good luck to you… in-shalla.

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    NO COMPUTER J I L M A R T GENUINE WIN

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    Obama’s failures were haunting him during the elections and there were some doubts about him being re-elected, but what won him the elections is his straightforwardness in accepting his failures which is a symbol of honest leadership. A good lead for Sri Lankan politicians to follow.

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    No doubt Obama has won a resounding victory but can we consider the case of the original American inhabitants for a moment.
    What has happened to them?
    Shall we call them the Adivasis of America who have a greatrer claim for their land as it’s idegenious people, and why are they limited to a life in reservations even today?

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    No country or system is 100% perfect. Yet, US and India are two biggest democracies in the world today. These leaders are real statesmen, not crooked horse dealers like in our country.Our leaders are showmen and money chasers. debacle of Asia

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