Obama's DNC Speech, Decoded

Obama's DNC Speech, Decoded

Things no one says
Things everyone supports
Empty promises
Pleading for votes

I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I neverhave. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. Youelected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take morethan a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up overdecades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and thekind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursuedduring the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way – those ofus who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not everyproblem can be remedied with another government program or dictate fromWashington.

But know this, America: Our problems can besolved. 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 thatfuture. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country -goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and thedeficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, moreopportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’swhat we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for asecond term as President of the United States.

We canchoose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs.After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’regetting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:


After a decade of decline, this country created over half a millionmanufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. And now you have achoice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobsoverseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants andtrain new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States ofAmerica. We can help big factories and small businesses double theirexports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million newmanufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen.You can choose that future.

You can choose the path wherewe control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, weraised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars andtrucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our useof renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs todaybuilding wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last yearalone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than anyadministration in recent history. And today, the United States ofAmerica is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly twodecades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy thatreverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millionsof new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, andwe’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companieswrite this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collectanother $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

We’reoffering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind andsolar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuelsto power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes andfactories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred yearsupply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose thispath, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my planwill continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet -because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods andwildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

Youcan choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain theskills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how muchmoney they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. Itwas the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gatewayto a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answeredour call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some ofthe worst schools in the country have made real gains in math andreading. Millions of students are paying less for college today becausewe finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars onbanks and lenders.

And now you have a choicewe can guteducation, or we can decide that in the United States of America, nochild should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or acrumbling school. No family should have to set aside a collegeacceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company shouldhave to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any withthe right skills here at home.

Government has a role inthis. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents mustinstill 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 anycountry on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers inthe next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help givetwo million workers the chance to learn skills at their communitycollege that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with collegesand universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over thenext ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose thatfuture for America.

In a world of new threats and newchallenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven.Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promisedto 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, ourlongest 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’sway. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has madethis country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. Andso long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongestmilitary the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, wewill serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fightsfor this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over theirhead, or the care that they need when they come home.

Aroundthe world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitionsto stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our poweracross the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. FromBurma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignityof 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 mustour pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world thatstays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic changesweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of adictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations ofordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebratetoday.

So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new toforeign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want totake us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America sodearly.

After all, you don’t call Russia our number oneenemy [Not what Romney said]- and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War timewarp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’tvisit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent saidit was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’llend the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponentwould spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’teven want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to paydown our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads andbridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost usthousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do somenation-building right here at home.

You can choose a futurewhere we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class.Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can bea force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so thatit’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 thewealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 -the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate wehad when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggestsurplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.

Now,I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of mybipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. Nodemocracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and hisallies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spendingtrillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do themath. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, Inever will.

I refuse to ask middle class families to giveup their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to payfor another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay morefor college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminatehealth insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, ordisabled – all so those with the most can pay less.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should everhave to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, wewill reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do itby reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to paythousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of SocialSecurity by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not byturning it over to Wall Street.

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes downto. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger taxcuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’tdo everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford healthinsurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxicpollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just theprice of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go tocollege, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”

You know what? That’s not who we are. That’s not whatthis country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by ourCreator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man orgovernment can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and wecelebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. Wehave to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takerswho have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system- the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has everknown.

But we also believe in something called citizenship -a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of ourdemocracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certainobligations 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.

Webelieve that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing amortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is thevalue of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.

Webelieve that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by agreat teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of thenext Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of theUnited 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.

Ifyou reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to thehighest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

Ifyou believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; thatnew energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders ofopportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a countrywhere everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, andeveryone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote thisNovember.

America, I never said this journey would be easy,and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leadsto 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, butwe keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providenceis with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of thegreatest nation on Earth.

“Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.