Obama’s Victory Speeches 2008 and 2012

October/20/2012 16:17PM
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Following his victory in the United States presidential election, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech[1] at Grant Park in his home city of Chicago, Illinois,[2] on November 4, 2008, before an estimated crowd of 240,000.[3][4] Viewed on television and the Internet by millions of people around the globe, Obama’s speech focused on the major issues facing the United States and the world, all echoed through his campaign slogan of change.[5] He also mentioned his grandmother, who had died two nights earlier.

[edit] References in the speech

The speech heavily referenced the inaugural addresses of former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, and also referred to speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Echoing Martin Luther King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address, he declared, “But tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America” and “The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year, or even in one term — but America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.”[1] At another point in the speech he again referenced King when referring to the “arc of history”, a phrase King used regularly, most notably after the Selma to Montgomery marches saying “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.

Obama directly quoted Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, by saying “As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”

Obama also referred to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address by saying “…that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth”

Obama proclaimed, “It’s been a long time coming, but…change has come to America,” an allusion to the Sam Cooke song “A Change Is Gonna Come.”[6][7]

Obama also made a reference to a prospective presidential pet for his daughters.[8][9]

Sasha and Malia … I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us … to the White House.

[edit] Issues

Obama spoke of the core issues facing the United States at the time, among them the economy, the Iraq War and the onset of global warming.[10]

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage or pay their doctors’ bills or save enough for their child’s college education.[1]

On the economic crisis:

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

A message to America’s enemies and friends:

To those — to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.




Now we turn to 2012. There is no election victory party, just the soon- to- be ex-president and the lovely Michelle sitting together discussing what went wrong. Michelle turns to Barack, and gives him that look, and says:




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