Posted tagged ‘Obama Speech’

Joe Wilson’s War

September 10, 2009

What a night it was last night! President Barack Obama’s address to Congress became more than just a speech about a piece of legislation. During the speech, the President was interrupted by a two word outburst by South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson. Because of this, the focus today has been taken off of health care, and has been put on Wilson.

But what exactly becomes of Joe Wilson’s “You Lie”? Who does it help? Who does it hurt? Should we even care?

From USA Today:

Congress is divided and its members are angry. The president and the Democrats had let the plan be defined by its most controversial parts, some of which were distorted or mischaracterized by opponents. Conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans remain opposed to Obama’s insistence that there be a government-run health insurance option. Liberals are watching how much he’ll fight for the public option and whether Obama will hold firm in his promise to “call out” anyone who distorts his ideas going forward.

From the Associated Press:

Rep. Joe Wilson is known as a mild-mannered congressman fond of making short speeches. His shortest got the most attention. “You lie!” Wilson blurted out during President Barack Obama’s health care address to a joint session Wednesday night, an outburst that made some supporters shudder even as others believed it could give Wilson a political boost in his conservative hometown.

“He’s the only one who has guts in that whole place. He’ll get re-elected in a landslide,” said John Roper, an insurance agent, as he sat among patrons at a diner near Columbia.

Still, Southern sensibilities reign in the district Wilson has represented for the past eight years. Added Roper, “He probably shouldn’t have said it in that context.”

Wilson apologized to the White House soon after the speech and again Thursday, but did not back away from the issue that prompted his outburst. “People who have come to our country and violated laws, we should not be providing full health care services,” he said.

His heckle came after Obama said extending health care to all Americans who seek it would not mean insuring illegal immigrants.

Advertisements

Full Text of President Obama’s Inauguration Speech

January 20, 2009

People thought that he had to deliver a powerful speech today, and from all accounts that I have heard, he delivered.

It was amazing to sit and watch history unfold in front of me.

Today is a day that I’ll never forget and I’m sure there are many others who feel the same way.

Here is the full text of his speech, from the Associated Press:

OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).”

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Change Has Come To America…Barack Obama Elected President

November 5, 2008

This evening, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American elected to the highest office in the land. It was a truly historic night that and I know that I will always remember where I was on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. (PT).

As I sat on my bed with my one year old son and three year old daughter, I thought about how much this country has changed over the past 50 years. I told them that someday I would explain to them exactly why this was such an important day in history, although at this time, they are far too young to understand.

I spoke with my mom who grew up for some of her life down in the South. She saw segregation, she saw racism and she saw how unfairly people were treated. She told me that she never thought that she would see this day, but it was very emotional for her as well as for so many others in this country.

A triumphant Obama vowed in his speech this evening to be a President for all America, even those who voted against him. Heasked for patience to address the nation’s problems of war and finance that he called the greatest challenges of a lifetime.

From CNN:

Barack Obama told supporters that “change has come to America” as he claimed victory in a historic presidential election.

“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America — I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you — we as a people will get there,” Obama said in Chicago, Illinois, before an estimated crowd of up to 240,000 people.

With Obama’s projected win, he will become the first African-American to win the White House.

Obama had an overwhelming victory over Sen. John McCain, who pledged Tuesday night to help Obama lead.

“Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much, and tonight, I remain her servant,” McCain said.

McCain called Obama to congratulate him, and Obama told the Arizona senator he was eager to sit down and talk about how the two of them can work together.

President Bush also called Obama to offer his congratulations.

Bush told Obama he was about to begin one of the great journeys of his life, and invited him to visit the White House as soon as it could be arranged, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Obama will be working with a heavily Democratic Congress. Democrats picked up Senate seats in New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia, among others.

From the Associated Press:

The first black president-elect cast his election as a defining moment in the country’s 232-year history and a rebuke to cynicism, fear and doubt.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” he said in his first public words after winning the election.

His victory speech was delivered before a multiracial crowd that city officials estimated at 240,000 people. Many cried and nodded their heads while he spoke, surrounded by clear bulletproof screens on his left and right.

He appeared on stage with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, poised to become the first family of color ever to occupy the White House. Every family member dressed in black and red, and Obama told his daughters during his speech that they would get the puppy he promised would come with a victory.

“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,” he said. “There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and, for us to lead, alliances to repair.”

He was already suggesting a second term to accomplish his goals, saying he expected “setbacks and false starts.”

“We may not get there in one year or even one term,” he said. “But America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you — we as a people will get there.”

To those who voted against him, he said, “I will be your president, too.”

Obama, an Illinois senator born 47 years ago of a white American mother and a black African father, sprinkled his address with references to the civil rights struggle. He paid tribute to Ann Nixon Cooper, a 106-year-old daughter of slaves born at a time when women and blacks couldn’t vote. She cast her ballot in Atlanta Tuesday, Obama said.

From MSNBC:

The election of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States overwhelmed many African-American voters, especially older ones who still vividly recall the dark days of Jim Crow.

Obama won 95 percent support from black voters nationwide, according to msnbc.com’s analysis of exit polling data. One of them was Ellora Lyons, 81, of Peoria, Ill.

Lyons recounted boarding a train to Oklahoma with her two oldest boys in 1948. Her brother had been killed in an accident, and they were going to his funeral.

“There was a sign on this train that said, ‘n—–s to the back,’” she said. “And we couldn’t drink out of the same water fountain.”

“I remember my mom and my dad talking about black folks being not able to vote,” Lyons said. “I never thought that I would see a black man [in the White House], but I was hoping that one day that a black man would run for president.”

Leon Modeste of Community Outreach Ministry in Albany, Ga., said, “Never in my wildest dream did I think that an African-American would even be considered, let alone get this close to the presidency.

“I figured maybe my grandchildren or something,” would live to see it, but not him, Modeste said.

Barack Obama Elected 44th President of the United States

November 5, 2008

For the first time in history, an African American will be sitting in the Oval Office as the President of the United States. Both CNN and MSNBC have projected Barack Obama to win the Presidency. Unbelievable!!!

From CNN:

CNN projects that Barack Obama will be the nation’s 44th president.

As polls closed on the West coast, the Illinois senator was projected to receive enough electoral votes to pass the 270-vote threshold.

Obama is projected to win California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.

He also is projected to win Virginia, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since 1964.

As Obama built up a commanding lead over Sen. John McCain, senior aides to the Arizona senator were growing pessimistic about his chances.

When asked if they saw a path to victory, two senior McCain aides said no.

CNN earlier projected that Obama will win Ohio, a key battleground state with 20 electoral votes.


Barack Obama Accepts Presidential Nomination

August 29, 2008

Barack Obama has officially accepted the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States and in his acceptance speech, declared that the “American promise has been threatened” by eight years under President Bush. He also made it clear that John McCain represented a continuation of the Bush presidency which undermined the nation’s economy and discredited our standing around the world.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

From the New York Times:

The speech by Senator Obama of Illinois — in front of an audience of nearly 80,000 people on a warm night in a football stadium refashioned into a vast political stage for television viewers — left little doubt of how he intended to press his campaign against Mr. McCain this fall. And he linked Mr. McCain to what he described as the “failed presidency of George W. Bush” in cutting language that seemed intended to reassure nervous Democrats that he had the spine to take on what has proven this summer to be a scrappy Republican opponent.

“The record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time,” Mr. Obama said. “Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush was right more than 90 percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.”

“America, we are better than these last eight years,” he said. “We are a better country than this.”

The speech by Mr. Obama loomed as arguably the most important of his campaign to date. It was an opportunity to present himself to Americans who were just now beginning to tune in on this campaign, to make the case against Mr. McCain and to offer what many Democrat said he has failed to offer to date: a idea of what Mr. Obama stood for, beyond a promise of change.

With his speech, Mr. Obama closed out his party’s convention here and prepared for a quick shift of public attention to Republicans as Mr. McCain names his running-mate on Friday and his party begins its convention in St. Paul, Minn., on Monday.