Obama: Mandela Lived for an Ideal and Made it Real

The president reflects on "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings."
3:00 | 12/05/13

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Transcript for Obama: Mandela Lived for an Ideal and Made it Real
There -- trial. And 1964. Nelson Mandela -- statement from the -- Saying. I have fought against white domination. And I -- against black domination. Have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons. Live together in harmony and would equal opportunities. -- an ideal which I hope to -- for. Him to achieve. But if needs -- It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. Nelson Mandela lived for that I deal. And he made it real. To achieve more than could be expected. Of any man. Today is gone home. We've lost one of the most influential. Courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us -- -- time -- -- on this -- He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages. Through his -- dignity and unbending -- sacrifices on freedom for the freedom of others. What -- transform South Africa and moved. All of us. His journey from prisoner. To -- president. Embodied the promise that human beings and countries. Can change for the better. Its commitment to transfer power. And reconcile what those who jailed him. It's an example that. All humanity should aspire to weather in the lives of nations world personal lives. The fact that he did it all with grace. And good humor. In the building technology is own imperfections only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he wants certain. I'm not a saint. Unless you think I was saying as a senator who keeps on trying. I'm one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action. The first thing I ever -- Get involved. An issue or policy or politics. Was protest against department. I would study his words and his writings. The day he was released from prison. Gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their -- -- fears. And like so many around the globe I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela -- And so long. As I live older what I can learn from him. Two. -- Michelle and his family. Michelle and I. Extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with -- us. His lawyers work -- long days away from those who love the most. And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks -- peace and comfort to this -- To -- people South Africa. We draw strength from the example of renewal and reconciliation. And resilience. You made real. A free South Africa that peace. -- itself. That's an example -- the world. And that's -- -- legacy to the nation that he -- We will not -- receive the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So falls to us. As best we can before. The example that he set. To make decisions guided not by hate but. But by -- Never discount the difference that one person can make. The strive for future that is -- -- this sacrifice. For now let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela -- A man who took history. In his hands and then they are -- more universe. Towards justice. It got what's his memory and keep him in peace.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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