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  • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

  • Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own

  • destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. (Cheers, applause.)

  • It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit

  • that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country 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 rise or fall

  • together as one nation and as one people. (Cheers, 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.

  • (Cheers, applause.) I want to thank every American who participated in this election.

  • (Cheers, applause.) Whether you voted for the very first time — (cheers) — or waited

  • in line for a very long time — (cheers) — by the way, we have to fix that. (Cheers,

  • applause.) Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone — (cheers, applause)

  • whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made

  • a difference. (Cheers, applause.)

  • I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.

  • (Cheers, applause.) We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country

  • deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the

  • Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service. And that is a legacy

  • that we honor and applaud tonight. (Cheers, applause.) In the weeks ahead, I also look

  • forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to

  • move this country forward.

  • (Cheers, applause.)

  • I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America's happy warrior,

  • the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden. (Cheers, applause.)

  • And I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years

  • ago. (Cheers, applause.) Let me say this publicly. Michelle, I have never loved you more. (Cheers,

  • applause.) I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you,

  • too, as our nation's first lady. (Cheers, applause.)

  • Sasha and Malia — (cheers, applause) — before our very eyes, you're growing up to become

  • two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom. (Cheers, applause.) And

  • I am so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now, one dog's probably enough. (Laughter.)

  • To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics — (cheers, applause)

  • the bestthe best ever — (cheers, applause) — some of you were new this time

  • around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.

  • (Cheers, applause.) 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. (Cheers, applause.) And

  • you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing

  • all the way — (cheers, applause) — to every hill, to every valley. (Cheers, applause.)

  • You lifted me up the whole day, and I will always be grateful for everything that you've

  • done and all the incredible work that you've put in. (Cheers, applause.)

  • I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides

  • plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is 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 a rope line in a high school gym or

  • or saw folks working late at a campaign office in 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 every child has that same opportunity. (Cheers,

  • applause.) You'll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who's going door to door because

  • her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. (Cheers, applause.)

  • 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, applause.)

  • 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, 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 — (cheers, applause) — the chance to cast their ballots

  • like we did today.

  • 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 have access to the best schools and the

  • best teachers — (cheers, applause) — a country that lives up to its legacy as the

  • global leader in technology and discovery and innovation — (scattered cheers, applause)

  • with all of the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

  • We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened

  • up by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.

  • (Cheers, applause.)

  • We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a

  • nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops thisthis

  • world has ever known — (cheers, applause) — but also a country that moves with confidence

  • beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of 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 an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag — (cheers,

  • applause) — to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the

  • nearest street corner — (cheers, applause) — to the furniture worker's child in North

  • Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur,

  • a diplomat or even a president.

  • That's the — (cheers, applause) — that's the future we hope for.

  • (Cheers, applause.) That's the vision we share. That's where we need to goforward. (Cheers,

  • applause.) That's where we need to go. (Cheers, applause.)

  • Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about 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 that we have common hopes

  • and dreams won't end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking

  • work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this

  • country forward.

  • But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war

  • is ending. (Cheers, applause.) A long campaign is now over. (Cheers, applause.) 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 than ever about the work there is to do and

  • the future that lies ahead. (Cheers, applause.)

  • Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. (Cheers, applause.) 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 togetherreducing our deficit,

  • reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil.

  • We've got more work to do. (Cheers, applause.)

  • But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not

  • end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us; it's about what can

  • be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.

  • (Cheers, applause.) That's 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 not 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 — (cheers, applause) — that

  • this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations,

  • so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities

  • as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's

  • what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)

  • I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I've 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 re-enlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who

  • charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind

  • them watching their back. (Cheers, applause.) 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. 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.

  • (Cheers, applause.)

  • I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics

  • suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits 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. (Cheers, applause.)