Obama's speech in Chicago, November 4, 2008 Hello Chicago!

(APPLAUSE) If anyone still doubts that America is a place where n othing is impossible, who still wonders if the dream of our founding fathers is still alive in our time, who still doubt the power of our democracy, this night had the answers he sought. (APPLAUSE) The answer lines that stretched around sch ools and churches in numbers that the nation had never seen before. The answer i s people, many of whom voted for the first time, who waited three or four hours in a row because they believed that this time things were done differently, and that their voice could make a difference. The answer is the voice of young and o ld, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans, blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, gay, straight, disabled or not disabled Americans who sent th e message to the world we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue St ates We are and always will be the United States of America. (APPLAUSE) The answ er is what led to those who come forward for so long has been said by so many pe ople to be cynical, fearful, doubtful of what could be obtained in person by put ting his hand to history, to bend towards the hope of a better day. It took a lo ng time, but tonight, after what we did today, with this election, at this defin ing moment, the change has come to America. (Applause.) Earlier this evening I r eceived a very gracious call from Senator McCain. (APPLAUSE) Senator McCain has fought long and hard in this campaign, and fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He endured sacrifices for America that most of us can not imagine, and we're much b etter off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratu late him and Governor Palin for everything they got, and I look forward to worki ng with them in the coming months to renew the promise of this nation. (Applause .) I want to thank my partner in this adventure, a man who campaigned from his h eart, speaking for women and men who grew up in the streets of Scranton ... (APP LAUSE) ... with whom he traveled commute every day to return home in Delaware, t he vice-president-elect of the United States Joe Biden. (APPLAUSE) I would not b e here tonight without the support of my best friend for the last sixteen years ... (APPLAUSE) ... the rock of my family, love of my life, the next first lady o f the nation ... (APPLAUSE) ... Michelle Obama. (APPLAUSE) Sasha and Malia ... ( APPLAUSE) ... I love you both very much ... and you have earned the puppy (LAUGH TER) ... that will be with us in the White House ... (Applause.) And while we're here and she is no longer with us, I know my grandmo ther is watching, along with the whole family that made me who I am. On this eve ning so I miss them, and I know that my debt to them is beyond measure. My siste r Maya, my sister Alma, all my brothers and my sisters, I want to say thanks for the support you gave me. There are really very grateful. (APPLAUSE) In my campa ign manager David Plouffe ... (APPLAUSE) ... the faceless protagonist of this ca mpaign has put together the best campaign - I think - in the History of the Unit ed States of America. (APPLAUSE) to my chief strategist David Axelrod ... (APPLA USE) ... that was my partner in every phase of this long journey ... just the be st team ever put together a campaign in the history of politics ... (APPLAUSE) . .. you have made this possible, and I will be eternally grateful for the sacrifi ces which you have to do that. But more than anything else, never forget who own s this victory truly belongs to you. I've never been a candidate for this office . We have not taken the first steps with much money or many endorsements. Our ca mpaign was not planned in the halls of Washington, but in the courtyards of Des Moines, the living rooms of Concord and the porches of Charleston. It was built by men and women who work, who have dug into what little savings they had to giv e five dollars, ten dollars, twenty dollars to this cause. The movement has take n hold and has been strengthened thanks to the young, who rejected the myth of t heir generation ...€(APPLAUSE) ... who have left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and surely a few hours of sleep, the not so yo ung who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of strangers , the millions of Americans who worked as volunteers,

are organized, and have demonstrated that after more than two centuries, a gover nment of the people, by the people and for the people has not disappeared from t he face of this Earth. This is your victory ... (APPLAUSE) I know what you did n ot just win an election and I know you've done for me. You did it because you un derstand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. Because even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that the future will bring are the most difficul t of our lives: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a cen tury or so. Although we are here tonight to celebrate, we know there are at this very moment brave Americans are waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mounta ins of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will stay awake after their sons will fall asleep and wondering how they'll mak e to pay the mortgage or the account of the doctor or put aside enough money to pay for college. There is new energy, create jobs, build new schools. Must cope with new challenges and put together alliances. The road opens before us will be long. The climb will be steep. May not get there in a year or even one term, bu t America! I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight with you. I promise you that we as a people will get there! (APPLAUSE) AUDIENCE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! OBAMA: There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who will disagree with every decision or policy which make as President, and we know that government can not solve every problem. But I'll always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen, especially when we disagree. A bove all, ask you to join in rebuilding this nation the way in which it is made in America for two years, or brick by brick, piece by piece, calloused hand by c alloused hand. What began twenty months ago in the depths of winter, must not en d this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we wanted, but it is o nly an opportunity for us to make that change. And that can not happen if we go back to the same modus operandi. Change can not happen without y ou. And therefore we put together a new spirit of patriotism, duty and responsib ility, in which each of us decides to crank it up, work hard and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Remember that if this financial crisis teaches u s anything, is that we can have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers in this country we rise or fall as one nation, one people. Let us resist the te mptation to fall into the same positions in the same pettiness, the same immatur ity that for so long has poisoned our politics. Remember that there was a man fr om this state that has led for the first time the banner of the Republican Party the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual fre edom, national unity. These are the values we share, and while the Democratic Pa rty has won a great victory tonight, we must be humble and determination to heal the wounds that have held our nation to move forward. (APPLAUSE) As Lincoln sai d to a nation more divided than ours, "We are not enemies but friends, and altho ugh 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. (APPLAUSE ) To those watching tonight from afar, from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, those in the forgotten corners of the Earth have found themselves l istening to the radio side, tell our stories are different but our destiny is sh ared and a new dawn for American leadership is at hand.€(APPLAUSE) To those who would tear this world we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and we suppor t you. And for those who wonder if the lantern is still on American say tonight we proved once again that the true strength of our nation comes not from the pow er of our weapons or of our wealth, but by the enduring power of our ideals: dem ocracy, freedom, opportunity and tenacious hope. (APPLAUSE) Because this is the true genius of America can change. Our union can be achieved. 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 to be tol d for generations to come. But in my mind is more present than others, about a w oman who voted in Atlanta. Like many other millions of voters she was in line to

make his voice heard in this election, but there is something that distinguishe s it from others: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years. (Applause.) She was born in one generation away from the end of slavery in an era when there were no cars on th e roads or planes in the skies. In those days people like you could not vote for two fundamental reasons why a woman and the color of his skin. Tonight, I think about everything she must have seen during his life in this century in America, suffering and hope, the struggle and the progress, when we were told we could n ot vote and those who instead that American creed: Yes we can. At a time when wo men's voices were silenced and their hopes, she lived to see them stand up and s peak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can. Where there was despair in the Du st Bowl (the southern center of the United States has become desert due to frequ ent wind storms of the thirties, NDT) and depression in the fields, she saw a na tion overcome its fears with a New Deal new jobs, a new sense of shared ideals. Yes we can. AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: When the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, an d tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to gr eatness and save democracy. Yes we can. AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bri dge in Selma and a preacher from Atlanta who told the people: "We Shall Overcome ." Yes we can. AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: A man has set foot on the Moon, a wa ll came down in Berlin, the whole world was connected by our science and inventi on. And this year, in this election, she pointed the finger at a screen and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through good times and the darkes t of hours, you know that America can change. Yes we can. AUDIENCE: Yes we can. OBAMA: America, America: we have come so far. We saw so many things. But there i s much to be done. So tonight, let us ask ourselves if our children will have th e good fortune to live until the next century, if my daughters should live so lo ng as Ann Nixon Cooper, what changes they see? What progress we have made? We ha ve the opportunity to answer these questions. This is our moment. This is our ti me we put all the work, open the doors of opportunity for our children, restore health and promote the cause of peace, claiming the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth: we are many but we are one people. We live, we hope, and when we cynicism, and doubt, and who says that we can not do that, we will resp ond with that timeless and immutable belief that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, We Can. (APPLAUSE) Thank you. God bless you and may God Bless the USA. Tra nslated by Anna Bissanti