"You are so much better than I was."
November 9, 2012 8:31 AM   Subscribe

In June 2008, as the presumptive Democractic nominee for US President, Barack Obama told his campaign staffers, "we are going to have to work twice as hard....We don't have a choice. Because now, if we screw this up, all those people that I have met who really need help, they are not going to get help." (previously) Fast forward to this week, when Obama spoke to his campaign staffers to thank them for their work, and to share his perspective from his experience as a community organizer. Transcript after the jump.

November 8th, 2012.
So... You guys. I, uh....


You know, I try to picture myself when I was your age. And I first moved to Chicago at the age of 25, and I had this vague inkling about making a difference. I didn't really know how to do it. I didn't have a structure. And there wasn't a presidential campaign at the time that I could attach myself to. Well, Reagan had just been reelected.


And was incredibly popular. And so I, I came to Chicago knowing that somehow, I wanted to make sure that my life attached itself to helping kids get a great education, or helping people living in, in poverty to get decent jobs and be able to work and have dignity. To make sure that people didn't have to go to the emergency room to get healthcare.

And, you know, I ended up being a community organizer out in the South Side of Chicago with some, a group of churches who were willing to hire me.

And I didn't know at all what I was doing.

And, you know, the work that I did in those communities changed me much more than I changed the communities. Because it, it taught me the hopes and aspirations and the grit and the resilience of ordinary people. And it taught me the fact that under the surface differences, we all have common hopes and we all have common dreams. And it taught me something about how I handled disappointment, and what it meant to work hard on a common endeavor.

And I grew up. I became a man during that process.

And so when I come here and I look at all of you, what comes to mind is: it's not that you guys actually remind me of myself. It's the fact that you are so much better than I was.

[scattered laughter]

In so many ways! You're, you're smarter and you're better organized. And, you, uh, you're more effective.

And so I'm absolutely confident that all of you are gonna do just amazing things in your lives. And you'll be what Bobby Kennedy called the ripples of hope that come out when you throw a stone in a lake. That's gonna be you!

You know, I'm just looking around the room and I'm thinking: wherever you guys end up, in whatever states, in whatever capacities, whether you're in the private sector or the not-for-profit, or some of you decide to go into public service, you're just gonna do great things!

And, and that's why even before last night's results, I felt that the work that I had done, um, in running for office, had come full circle.

[Obama's voice chokes with emotion]

Because what you guys have done means that the work that I'm doing is important. And I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud of all of you.

[Obama tears up; applause and cheers]

What you guys accomplished, it will go on in the annals of history, and people will read about it and they'll marvel about it, but the most important thing you need to know is that, uh, um, your journey's just beginning. You're just starting.

And, uh, whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to come. And, uh, that's been my source of hope. That's why during, over the last four years, when people ask me, about, you know, how do you put up with this or that, or the frustrations of Washington, you know, I just think about you. I think about what you guys are, are gonna do.

And that's the source of my hope. That's the source of, of my strength and my inspiration.

And, uh, and I know that, uh, and I know that you guys won't disappoint me because I've already seen who you guys are. And you all are, are just remarkable people. And you lifted me up each and every step of the way.

All right? Thank you guys.
posted by brainwane (1 comment total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This is a great video and it was a really nice speech but you've copy/pasted the text here and then linked to something you've made which, while it's cool that you did the work, makes this less okay for MetaFilter. -- jessamyn

Subtitled version of the video (I made the transcription; I tried to leave in stutters that seemed significant and give a good sense of how Obama speaks).
posted by brainwane at 8:33 AM on November 9, 2012

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