Obama's DNC Speech, Decoded
Things no one says
Things everyone supports
Pleading for votes
I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never
have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You
elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more
than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over
decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the
kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued
during the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way – those of
us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every
problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from
But know this, America: Our problems can be
solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder,
but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that
future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country –
goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the
deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more
opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s
what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a
second term as President of the United States.
choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs.
After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re
getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:
After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million
manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. And now you have a
choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs
overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and
train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of
America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their
exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new
manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen.
You can choose that future.
"You can choose the path where
we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we
raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and
trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use
of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today
building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year
alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any
administration in recent history. And today, the United States of
America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two
Now you have a choice – between a strategy that
reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions
of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and
we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies
write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect
another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.
offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and
solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels
to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and
factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year
supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this
path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than
600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.
And yes, my plan
will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet –
because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and
wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future.
And in this election, you can do something about it.
can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the
skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much
money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It
was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway
to a middle-class life.
For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered
our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of
the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and
reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because
we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on
banks and lenders.
And now you have a choice – we can gut
education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no
child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a
crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college
acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should
have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with
the right skills here at home.
Government has a role in
this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must
instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work.
And together, I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any
country on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in
the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give
two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community
college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges
and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the
next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that
future for America.
In a world of new threats and new
challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven.
Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised
to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have.
We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our
longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline,
al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead. Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s
way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made
this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And
so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest
military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we
will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights
for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their
head, or the care that they need when they come home.
the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions
to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power
across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From
Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity
of all human beings – men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.
But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain.
Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained.
Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must
our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that
stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change
sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a
dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of
ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate
So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to
foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to
take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so
After all, you don’t call Russia our number one
enemy [Not what Romney said]– and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time
warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t
visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said
it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll
end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent
would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t
even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay
down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and
bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us
thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some
nation-building right here at home.
You can choose a future
where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class.
Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4
trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1
trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be
a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that
it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.
I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the
wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 –
the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we
had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest
surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.
I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my
bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No
democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his
allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending
trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do the
math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, I
I refuse to ask middle class families to give
up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay
for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more
for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate
health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or
disabled – all so those with the most can pay less.
And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever
have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.
They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we
will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it
by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay
thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social
Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by
turning it over to Wall Street.
This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down
to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax
cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t
do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health
insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic
pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the
price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to
college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”
You know what? That’s not who we are. That’s not what
this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our
Creator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man or
government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we
celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We
have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers
who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system
– the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever
But we also believe in something called citizenship –
a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our
democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain
obligations to one another, and to future generations.
We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.
believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a
mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the
value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.
believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a
great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the
next Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the
United States – and it’s in our power to give her that chance.
We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.
Because we understand that this democracy is ours.
We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
As citizens, we understand that America is not 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.
If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.
you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the
highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.
you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that
new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of
opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country
where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and
everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this
America, I never said this journey would be easy,
and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leads
to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together.
We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up.
We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but
we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence
is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the
greatest nation on Earth.
"Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.