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Barack Obama's victory speech

Barack Obama
Barack Obama's victory speech

"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

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 voice could be that difference.  

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and
Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight,
disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we
have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always
will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to
be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of 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.

'Unyielding support'

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain.  He fought
long and hard in this campaign, and hes fought even longer and harder for the
country he loves.  He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us
cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this
brave and selfless leader.  I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all
they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this
nation's promise in the months ahead.

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 Scranton
and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the
United States, Joe Biden. 

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my
best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of
my life, our nations next First Lady, Michelle Obama.  Sasha and Malia, I
love you both so much, 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 is watching, along with the family that made me who I am.  I
miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and
the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this
happen, and I am forever grateful for what youve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it
belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office.  We didnt start
with much money or many endorsements.  Our campaign was not hatched in the
halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living
rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. 

'Task ahead'

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they
had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. 
It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their
generation's apathy, who left their homes and their families for jobs that
offered little pay and less sleep, from the not-so-young people who braved the
bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers, from
the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more
than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the
people has not perished from this Earth.  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 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 Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. 
There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall
asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or
save enough for college.  There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be
created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

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. 

There will be setbacks and false starts.  There are many who wont agree
with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government
cant 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 join in the work of remaking this nation the
only way it's been done in America for 221 years block by block, brick by
brick, calloused hand by calloused hand. 

'Spirit of patriotism'

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this
autumn night. 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 cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and 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, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main
Street suffers in this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and
pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.  Let
us 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, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values 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.  As Lincoln said to a nation
far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends ... though passion
may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection."  And to those
Americans whose support I have yet to earn I may not have won your vote, 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
our world our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn
of American leadership is at hand.

'Peace and security'

To those who would tear this world down we will defeat you.  To those
who seek peace and security we support you.  And to all those who have
wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright tonight we proved once more
that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or
the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy,
liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.  

For that is the true genius of America that America can change.  Our
union can be perfected.  And what we have already achieved gives us hope
for what we can and must achieve tomorrow. 

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for
generations.  But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast
her ballot in Atlanta.  Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood
in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing Ann
Nixon Cooper is 106 years old. 

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 couldnt 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
America the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times
we were told that we cant, and the people who pressed on with that American
creed:  Yes we can. 

'Common purpose'

At a time when womens voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she
lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot.  Yes we

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 and 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 buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge
in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall
Overcome.  Yes we can. 

'Fundamental truth'

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was
connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast
her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the
darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.  Yes we can. 

America, we have come so far.  We have seen so much.  But there is
so much more to do.  So tonight, let us ask ourselves if our children
should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live
as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see?  What progress will
we have made? 

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.  Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United
States of America."

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