Thank you, Iowa.
You know, they said this day would never come.
They said our sights were set too high.
They said this country was too divided; too disillusioned
to ever come together around a common purpose.
But on this January night - at this defining moment
in history - you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do.
You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days.
You have done what America can do in this New Year, 2008. In lines
that stretched around schools and churches; in small towns and big
cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents
to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and
our time for change has come.
You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness
and pettiness and anger that's consumed Washington; to end the political
strategy that's been all about division and instead make it about
addition - to build a coalition for change that stretches through
Red States and Blue States. Because that's how we'll win in November,
and that's how we'll finally meet the challenges that we face as
We are choosing hope over fear. We're choosing unity
over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming
You said the time has come to tell the lobbyists
who think their money and their influence speak louder than our
voices that they don't own this government, we do; and we are here
to take it back.
The time has come for a President who will be honest
about the choices and the challenges we face; who will listen to
you and learn from you even when we disagree; who won't just tell
you what you want to hear, but what you need to know. And in New
Hampshire, if you give me the same chance that Iowa did tonight,
I will be that president for America.
I'll be a President who finally makes health care
affordable and available to every single American the same way I
expanded health care in Illinois – by bringing Democrats and
Republicans together to get the job done.
I'll be a President who ends the tax breaks for
companies that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax
cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.
I'll be a President who harnesses the ingenuity
of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation
from the tyranny of oil once and for all.
And I'll be a President who ends this war in Iraq
and finally brings our troops home; who restores our moral standing;
who understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes, but a
challenge that should unite America and the world against the common
threats of the twenty-first century; common threats of terrorism
and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.
Tonight, we are one step closer to that vision of
America because of what you did here in Iowa. And so I'd especially
like to thank the organizers and the precinct captains; the volunteers
and the staff who made this all possible.
And while I'm at it, on "thank yous,"
I think it makes sense for me to thank the love of my life, the
rock of the Obama family, the closer on the campaign trail; give
it up for Michelle Obama.
I know you didn't do this for me. You did this-you
did this because you believed so deeply in the most American of
ideas - that in the face of impossible odds, people who love this
country can change it.
know this-I know this because while I may be standing
here tonight, I'll never forget that my journey began on the streets
of Chicago doing what so many of you have done for this campaign
and all the campaigns here in Iowa - organizing, and working, and
fighting to make people's lives just a little bit better.
I know how hard it is. It comes with little sleep,
little pay, and a lot of sacrifice. There are days of disappointment,
but sometimes, just sometimes, there are nights like this - a night-a
night that, years from now, when we've made the changes we believe
in; when more families can afford to see a doctor; when our children-when
Malia and Sasha and your children-inherit a planet that's a little
cleaner and safer; when the world sees America differently, and
America sees itself as a nation less divided and more united; you'll
be able to look back with pride and say that this was the moment
when it all began.
This was the moment when the improbable beat what
Washington always said was inevitable.
This was the moment when we tore down barriers that
have divided us for too long - when we rallied people of all parties
and ages to a common cause; when we finally gave Americans who'd
never participated in politics a reason to stand up and to do so.
This was the moment when we finally beat back the
politics of fear, and doubt, and cynicism; the politics where we
tear each other down instead of lifting this country up. This was
Years from now, you'll look back and you'll say
that this was the moment - this was the place - where America remembered
what it means to hope.
For many months, we've been teased, even derided
for talking about hope.
But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism.
It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks
that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking
from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite
all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if
we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to
fight for it.
Hope is what I saw in the eyes of the young woman
in Cedar Rapids who works the night shift after a full day of college
and still can't afford health care for a sister who's ill; a young
woman who still believes that this country will give her the chance
to live out her dreams.
Hope is what I heard in the voice of the New Hampshire
woman who told me that she hasn't been able to breathe since her
nephew left for Iraq; who still goes to bed each night praying for
his safe return.
Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up
against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free
a continent and heal a nation; what led young women and young men
to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through
Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause.
Hope-hope-is what led me here today - with a father
from Kenya; a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen
in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation;
the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us;
by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the
world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should
That is what we started here in Iowa, and that is
the message we can now carry to New Hampshire and beyond; the same
message we had when we were up and when we were down; the one that
can change this country brick by brick, block by block, calloused
hand by calloused hand - that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary
things; because we are not a collection of Red States and Blue States,
we are the United States of America; and at this moment, in this
election, we are ready to believe again. Thank you, Iowa.