Obama gave this speech at Wake Forest University while campaigning for Hillary Clinton for president.
Well… Whoa. Well, hey there. You guys are pretty fired up, right? I like that, I like that. Wow.
Well, let me—let me start. Of course, because Hillary’s, you know, many tributes to me was—taken me off of, just kind of thrown me a little bit. It was very generous. But I just want to take this moment publicly to thank Hillary. I mean there—it takes a level of generosity of spirit to do what Hillary has done in her career in her life for our family, for this nation.
And if people wonder, yes Hillary Clinton is my friend. She has been a friend to me and Barrack and Malia and Sasha. And Bill and Chelsea have been embracing and supportive from the very day my husband took the oath of office.
So, I am grateful for Hillary for her leadership, for her courage and for what she is going to do for this country. So it’s going to be good, it’s going to be good. But I also want to take some time to recognize your former Senator, Kay Hagan, who is here. Kay, good to see you.
And again, I just want to lend my voice to your outstanding Senate candidate Deborah Ross.
Deborah. As Hillary said, she is someone who cares deeply about the people in this state. And she is always going to put your families first. So let’s make Deborah your next U.S. senator. All right?
And let’s make Roy Cooper your next governor. How about that?
Thanks also to all the members of Congress who are joining us and your mayor, Allen Joines, thank you, Mayor.
But more importantly, thank you to all of you for taking the time, waiting in lines to be here today to help us support the next president and vice president of the United States, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine!
I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up. We are going to make this happen.
Now you may have noticed that I’ve been doing some campaigning for Hillary. And I know that there is some folks out there who have commented that it’s been unprecedented for a sitting First Lady to be so actively engaged in the presidential campaign.
And that may be true. But what’s also true is that this is truly an unprecedented election. And that’s why I’m out here.
I’m out here first and foremost because we have never had a more qualified and prepared candidate for president than our friend Hillary Clinton. Never before in our lifetime.
I say this everywhere I go. I admire and respect Hillary. She has been a lawyer, a law professor, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, a U.S. senator, secretary of state.
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
OBAMA: Yeah. That’s right. Hillary doesn’t play.
She has more experience and exposure to the presidency than any candidate in our lifetime. Yes, more than Barack, more than Bill. So she is absolutely ready to be Commander in Chief on day one. And yes, she happens to be a woman.
This election is also unprecedented because I don’t think we’ve ever had two candidates with such dramatically different visions of who we are and how we move forward as a nation.
One candidate has a vision that is grounded in hopelessness and despair. A vision of a country that is weak and divided. Where our communities are in chaos. Our fellow citizens a threat. This candidate calls on us to turn against each other to build walls. To be afraid.
And then there is Hillary’s vision for this country, that you just heard. A vision of a nation that is powerful and vibrant and strong. Big enough to have a place for all of us. A nation where we each have something very special to contribute. And where we are always stronger together.
That is the choice we face. Between those who divide this country into us versus them and those who tell us to embrace our better angels and choose hope over fear.
As we look into the eyes of our children, as we send them off to school each morning and tuck them into bed at night, as Hillary said, the stakes in this election could not be more clear.
And let me tell you, this is not about Republicans versus Democrats. None of that matters this time around. No, no, no. This election is about something much bigger. It’s about who will shape our children and the country we leave for them, not just for the next four or eight years, but for the rest of their lives.
Because, as Hillary pointed out, we all know, we know the influence our president has on our children. How they turn on the TV and they see the most powerful role model in the world, someone who shows them how to treat others, how to deal with disappointment, whether to tell the truth. They’re taking it all in. And, as Hillary said, when you raise children in the White House, like Barack and Hillary and I have, you are reminded every day of the impact that you have. You start seeing the images of every child in this country in the face of your child.
So when people wonder how Hillary keeps her composure through the overwhelming pressure of not just this campaign, but of her career, or how Barack and I have dealt with the glare of the national spotlight these last eight years, that’s the answer. With every action we take, with every word we utter, we think about the millions of children who are watching us, who hand onto our every word, looking to us to show them who they can and should be. And that’s why every day we try to be the kind of people, the kind of leaders that your children deserve, whether you agree with our politics or not.
And when I think about this election, let me tell you, that is what I’m thinking about. I’m asking myself, what do my girls, what do all our children deserve in their president? What kind of a president do we want for them? Well, to start with, I think we want someone who is a unifying force in this country, someone who sees our differences not as a threat, but as a blessing.
As Hillary said, we want a president who values and honors women, who teaches our daughters and our sons that women are full and equal human beings worth, deserving of love and respect.
We want a president who understands that this nation was built by folks who came here from all corners of the globe, folks who worked their fingers to the bone to create this country and give their kids a better life. We want a president who sees the goodness in all our communities, not just the brokenness. Someone who understands that communities like the one where I was raised are filled with good, hardworking folks. Folks who take that extra shift, who work that extra job, because they want something more for their kids.
And finally, we want a President who takes this job seriously.
And has the temperament and maturity to do it well.
Someone who is steady. Someone who we can trust with the nuclear codes.
Because we want to go to sleep at night knowing that our kids and our country are safe. And I am here today because I believe with all of my heart — and I would not be here lying to you — I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that president.
See, over the years I’ve come to know Hillary. I know her. Not just her extraordinary professional accomplishments, but I know her personal values and beliefs. I know that Hillary was raised like Barack and I in a working family. Hillary’s mother was an orphan, abandoned by her parents. Her father was a small business owner who stayed up nights, pouring over the books, working hard to keep their family afloat. So believe this, Hillary knows what it means to struggle for what you have, and to want something better for your kids.
See, and that’s why since the day she launched her campaign, Hillary has been laying out concrete, detailed policies that will actually make a difference for kids and families in this country. And she said she plans to make college tuition free to help young people drowning in debt.
She’s going to handle making sure that our climate is protected.
And let me tell you this about Hillary, she is involved and engaged in every policy issue that she’s developed. You go on her website, she’s gonna raise the minimum wage, she’s gonna cut taxes for working folks, she’s gonna do her best to help women get equal pay for equal work.
And if you want to know more, just go on her website, HillaryClinton.com. Because here’s the thing about Hillary, thankfully Hillary is a policy wonk.
And let me tell you, when you are president, that is a good thing.
Because policies matter, they really matter. They determine whether our kids have good schools, whether they can see a doctor when they’re sick, whether they’re safe when they walk out the door on the way to school. Policies matter, and that’s why Hillary has fought so hard for children’s health insurance as First Lady, for affordable childcare in the Senate.
That’s why as Secretary of State she has gone toe-to-toe with world leaders to keep our kids safe, and that is why day after day, debate after debate, she has shown us such strength, such grace.
Refusing to be knocked down, refusing to be pushed around or counted out. Hillary does all of this because she is thinking of children like her mother, children like her daughter, and her grand- kids, children who deserve every chance to fulfill their God-given potential.
That is why Hillary is in this. She is in this race for us. She is in this for our families, for our kids, for our shared future. So let me tell you, that is why I am inspired by Hillary. That is why I respect Hillary, because she has lived a life grounded in service and sacrifice that has brought her to this day, that has more than prepared her to take on the hardest job on the planet. She has run an extraordinary campaign. She has built an impressive grassroots organization. She’s raised the money, she’s won all the debates.
So Hillary has done her job. Now we need to do our job, and get her elected president of the United States.
Because here’s where I want to get real. If Hillary doesn’t win this election, that will be on us. It will be because we did not stand with her. It will be because we did not vote for her, and that is exactly what her opponent is hoping will happen. That’s the strategy, to make this election so dirty and ugly that we don’t want any part of it.
So when you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy, and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined, and you shouldn’t even bother making your voice heard.
They are trying to take away your hope. And just for the record, in this country, the United States of America, the voters decide our elections, they’ve always decided, voters decided who wins and who loses, period, end of story.
And right now, thankfully folks are coming out in droves to vote early. It’s amazing to see. We are making our voices heard all across the country. Because when they go low…
AUDIENCE: We go high!
OBAMA: And we know that every vote matters. Every single vote. And if you have any doubt about that, consider this. Back in 2008, and I say this everywhere I go, Barack won North Carolina by about 14,000 votes.
Which sounds like a lot, but when you break the number down, the difference between winning and losing this state was a little over two votes per precinct.
See, I want you all to take that in. I know that there are people here who didn’t vote. Two votes. And people knew people who didn’t vote. Two votes. If just two or three folks per precinct had gone the other way, Barack would have lost that state and could have lost the election.
And let’s not forget back in 2012, Barack did actually lose this state by about 17 votes per precinct. 17. That is how presidential elections go. They are decided on a razor’s edge.
So each of you could swing. In this stadium, just think about it. Each of you could swing an entire precinct and win this election for Hillary, just by getting yourselves, your friends and your family out to vote.
Just doing what you are supposed to do, you can do this. But you could also help swing an entire precinct for Hillary’s opponent with a protest vote or by not voting at all.
So here’s what I’m asking you. Get out and vote. Get out and vote for Hillary. Vote early. Vote right now. Leave here, go vote. And don’t let anyone take that right away from you.
As Hillary mentioned, you may have seen in previous weeks that folks were trying to cut early voting places and cut the hours they were open, but that did not stop people in this state. That is beautiful.
Now I understand there are more locations that are opening, and I want you all to crowd those places. I want you to remember that folks marched and protested for our right to vote.
They endured beatings and jail time. They sacrificed their lives for this right. So I know you can get yourselves to the polls to exercise that right.
Because make no mistake about it, casting our vote is the ultimate way we go high when they go low. Voting is our high.
That is how we go high, we vote. How do we go high?
AUDIENCE: We vote!
OBAMA: How do we go high?
AUDIENCE: We vote!
OBAMA: That’s it. And after you vote, volunteer. No, no, no, no. We need you to volunteer. Roll up your sleeves, make calls, knock on doors, get people to the polls. It is turnout that is going to make the difference. We have to turn our people out.
Do not let yourself get tired or frustrated, or discouraged by the negativity of this election. As you are out there working your hearts out for my girl, here’s the thing that I just want to tell you all. Because this has been a draining election. But I urge you to please, please be encouraged. You know, I want our young people to be encouraged. Because we still live in the greatest country on earth. We do.
And I have never felt more hopeful about the future. I want — our young people deserve that. Be encouraged. I feel that way, because for the past eight years, I have had the great honor of being this country’s First Lady.
First Ladies, we rock.
But I have traveled from one end to this country to the other, and I have met people from every conceivable background and walk of life, including folks who disagree with just about everything Barack and I have ever said, but who welcome us into their communities. Remember, our neighbors are decent folks. These are — we’re all good people who are open hearted and willing to listen.
And while we might not change each other’s minds, we always walk away reminded that when it comes to what really matters, when it comes to our hopes and dreams for our children, we’re just not all that different. And I want you to remember that it’s that part of us as Americans and it’s that piece of us that is in all of us. That’s what drives folks like Hillary’s mother, who said to herself, I may not have grown up in a loving family but I will build a loving family of my own. I will give my children what I never had. I will pour my heart into raising a strong, smart, loving daughter.
That’s what drives people like my father, who kept getting up and putting in those long hours, who said I may not have gone to college, but I’m going to keep working because maybe my son, maybe my daughter will, because in this country, anything is possible.
As we walk away from this election, remember that is what makes us who we are, remember that. It’s a country where a girl like me from the south side of Chicago who’s great great grandfather was a slave, can go to the finest universities on Earth. A country where a biracial kid from Hawaii, the son of a single mother, can make it to the White House.
A country where the daughter of an orphan can break that highest and hardest glass ceiling and become President of the United States.
That is who we are. That is what’s possible here in America but only, only when we come together. Only when we work for it and fight for it, so that’s why for the next 12 days folks, we need to do everything possible to help Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine win this election.
Are you with me?
Are you with me?
I can’t hear you, are you we going to do this?
We’re going to vote. We’re going to vote early. We’re going to stand in line, we’re going to make our voices heard. No one is going to take away our hope. Let’s get this done, thank you all.