President Obama's Full Acceptance Speech

PHOTO: President Barack Obama appears on stage at the election night event at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 7, 2012.
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Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny to perfect our union moves forward. (Applause) It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that triumphs over war an depression. The spirit that has lifted the spirit 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 will rise and fall as one nation, and as one people. (Applause)

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

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  • President Obama's Acceptance Speech

I just spoke Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Congressman Ryan on a hard fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it is only because we love this country deeply and we care so much about its future. From George and Lenore, to their son Mitt – the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through their public service and that is a legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.

In the weeks ahead I also look forward to sitting down with governor Romney to figure out where we can work together to move this country forward. I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, Americas "happy warrior" the best Vice President you could hope for; Joe Biden. (Applause)

And I wouldn't be the man today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago; let me say this publicly Michelle I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too as our nation's first lady. Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you're growing up to become two smart, beautiful young women just like your mom. (Applause) And I am so proud of you guys; but I will say for now one dog is probably enough.

Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes, you're growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women just like your mom *cheers* and I'm so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog Is probably enough *laughs*. To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics *cheers* the best, the best ever. Some of you were new this time around and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning *cheers* 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 and you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president.

Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley, you lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you have done and all the incredible work that you've put in *cheers*. I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly, and that provides plenty of fodder of the cynics who tell us that politics are 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 the rope line at a high school gym, or saw folks working late at a campaign office at some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something else.

You'll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who's working his way through college and wants to make sure that every child has that same opportunity *cheers*. You'll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who is going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift *cheers*. 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*.

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, it 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, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today *cheers*

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 access to the best schools and the best teachers. (Applause) A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation. With all the new jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality. That isn't weakened by the destructive power of a warming planet. (Applause) We want to pass on a country that is safe, and respected, and admired around the world. A nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this world has ever known. (Applause) But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war that will shape a peace that is built on 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 a immigrants daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. (applause)

To the young boy from the South Side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the street corner. (Cheers) TO the furniture workers child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, and engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president. That's the future we hope for, the vision we share. That is where we need to go. Forward. (Cheers) That's where we need to go.

Now we will disagree, sometimes fiercely 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 we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock, or solve all our problems or substitute for all the painstaking work for building our consensus or making the difficult compromises to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. 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 about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead. (Applause)

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. 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!

But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America has never been about what can be done for us it's about what can be done by us by the hard, frustrating but necessary work of self government. That is 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 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, that this country only works when we except certain obligations to one another and the future generations so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights and among those are love, and charity, and duty, and patriotism. That's what makes America great. *cheers*

I am hopeful tonight because I've seen the spirit at work in America. I have seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, 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 reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALS that charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back *cheers*.

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 8-year-old daughter whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care 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. 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 (ph). 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. I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We are not as cynical as the pendants 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 and together with your help and Gods grace we will continue to journey forward and remind the world what it is to live in the greatest nation on earth. Thank you America. God bless us. God bless these United States. (Applause)

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