Nearly 150 years ago, in one of the darkest years of our nation's history, President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. America was split by Civil War. But Lincoln said in his first Thanksgiving decree that difficult times made it even more appropriate for our blessings to be -- and I quote -- "gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people."
This week, the American people came together with family and friends to carry on this distinctly American tradition. We gave thanks for loved ones and for our lasting pride in our communities and our country. We took comfort in good memories while looking forward to the promise of change.
But this Thanksgiving also takes place at a time of great trial for our people.
Across the country, there were empty seats at the table, as brave Americans continue to serve in harm’s way from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq. We honor and give thanks for their sacrifice, and stand by the families who endure their absence with such dignity and resolve.
At home, we face an economic crisis of historic proportions. More and more Americans are worried about losing a job or making their mortgage payment. Workers are wondering if next month's paycheck will pay next month's bills. Retirees are watching their savings disappear, and students are struggling with the cost of tuition.
It's going to take bold and immediate action to confront this crisis. That's why I'm committed to forging a new beginning from the moment I take office as President of the United States. Earlier this week, I announced my economic team. This talented and dedicated group is already hard at work crafting an Economic Recovery Plan that will create or save 2.5 million new jobs, while making the investments we need to fuel long-term economic growth and stability.
But this Thanksgiving, we are reminded that the renewal of our economy won't come from policies and plans alone -- it will take the hard work, innovation, service, and strength of the American people.
I have seen this strength firsthand over many months -- in workers who are ready to power new industries, and farmers and scientists who can tap new sources of energy; in teachers who stay late after school, and parents who put in that extra hour reading to their kids; in young Americans enlisting in a time of war, seniors who volunteer their time, and service programs that bring hope to the hopeless.
It is a testament to our national character that so many Americans took time out this Thanksgiving to help feed the hungry and care for the needy. On Wednesday, I visited a food bank at Saint Columbanus Parish in Chicago. There -- as in so many communities across America -- folks pitched in time and resources to give a lift to their neighbors in need. It is this spirit that binds us together as one American family -- the belief that we rise and fall as one people; that we want that American Dream not just for ourselves, but for each other.
That's the spirit we must summon as we make a new beginning for our nation. Times are tough. There are difficult months ahead. But we can renew our nation the same way that we have in the many years since Lincoln's first Thanksgiving: by coming together to overcome adversity; by reaching for -- and working for -- new horizons of opportunity for all Americans.
So this weekend -- with one heart, and one voice, the American people can give thanks that a new and brighter day is yet to come.
Courtesy of Change.gov
President George W. Bush is on his way out the door. So his final pardon is coming. Bush has just spared the national Thanksgiving turkey on Wednesday, honoring a tradition that dates to Harry Truman's presidency.
A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it. It is granted by a sovereign power, such as a monarch or chief of state or a competent church authority.
shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the
Pardons are supposed to be offered to persons who, it is claimed, have been wrongfully convicted.
As Kathleen Dean Moore, who teaches philosophy at
Nonetheless, it seems to me that many pardons are not about a wrongfully conviction but clearing some one for political or even personal reasons. Just look at the famous Lewis "Scooter" Libby case, a former chief aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, who had received a prison sentence last August after he was convicted in connection with leaking the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame. He was pardoned by President Bush although Libby had never applied through the formal Justice Department process. Wasn’t that a political act?
Now the question remains, is President Bush going to use his power to issue blanket pardons which cover groups of unnamed? This blanket pardons were suggested by one of the country's best known conservative legal scholars, Steven G. Calabresi for "all officials involved in making decisions bearing on the war on terror."
If President Bush would issue blanket pardons, wouldn’t he not only mark the presidential pardon power but also give the idiocy of terrorist groups more fuel for their recruitment? How would such presidential pardon further blemish the moral standing of the United States of America?
Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Economic Recovery Advisory Board
November 26, 2008
It has become increasingly clear in recent months that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. At this defining moment for our nation, the old ways of thinking and acting just won't do. We are called to seek fresh thinking and bold new ideas from the leading minds across America. And as we chart a course to economic recovery, we must ensure that our government -- your government -- is held accountable for delivering results.
Today, I'm pleased to announce the formation of a new institution to help our economic team accomplish these goals: the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. This Board is modeled on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board created by President Eisenhower to provide rigorous analysis and vigorous oversight of our intelligence community by individuals outside of government -- individuals who would be candid and unsparing in their assessment. This new board will perform a similar function for my Administration as we formulate our economic policy.
The Board will be composed of distinguished individuals from diverse backgrounds outside of government -- from business, labor, academia and other areas – who will bring to bear their wisdom and expertise on the formulation, implementation and evaluation of my Administration's economic recovery plan. The Board will report regularly to me, Vice President-Elect Biden and our economic team as we seek to jump-start economic growth, create jobs, raise wages, address our housing crisis and stabilize our financial markets.
The reality is that sometimes policymaking in Washington can become too insular. The walls of the echo chamber can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking -- and those who serve in Washington don't always have a ground-level sense of which programs and policies are working for people, and which aren't. This board will provide that perspective to me and my Administration, with an infusion of ideas from across the country and from all sectors of our economy -- input that will be informed by members' first-hand observations of how our efforts are impacting the daily lives of our families.
I'm pleased to announce that this Board will be chaired by one of the world's foremost economic policy experts, a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and one of my most trusted advisors, Paul Volcker.
Paul has been by my side throughout this campaign, providing a deep understanding of financial markets, extensive experience managing economic crises, and keen insight into the global nature of this particular crisis. Paul has served under both Republicans and Democrats and is held in the highest esteem for his sound and independent judgment. He has a long and distinguished record of service to our nation, and I am pleased that he has answered the call to serve once again.
I am also happy to announce that Austan Goolsbee, another one of my key economic advisors, has agreed to serve as Staff Director and Chief Economist of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board and act as the primary liaison between the Board and the Administration. I also plan to nominate Austan to serve as one of the three members of my Council of Economic Advisers.
Austan is one of America's most promising economic minds, known for his path-breaking work on tax policy and industrial organization. He is one of the economic thinkers who has most shaped my own thinking on economic matters, and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration in the White House.
I plan to announce the remaining members of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board in the coming weeks, and I look forward to their contributions to our urgent work to rebuild our economy and restore prosperity across America.
Thank you, and I'm now happy to take questions.
Courtesy of Change.gov
As its clock runs out for the Bush administration, President George Walker Bush and his team under the leadership of Richard Bruce Cheney continue to dictate their ideological ideas onto the American people and the world.
As one of their last acts the Bush administration allowed the Bureau of Land Management to announce a last-minute plan to lease huge swaths of majestic wilderness in eastern
The plan is to open-up drilling all over the Rockies and
Even in as the clock winds down to the last 54 days before the new President Barack Obama takes office, the Bush administration continues secretly to undermine Environmental Protections Laws so that they can secure the profit of the oil companies and their own interests.
Don’t forget that Richard Bruce Cheney was once the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, a Fortune 500 company and market leader in the energy sector. Cheney's net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million.
George W. Bush served on the board of directors for Harken. Harken Energy Corporation is an American oil and gas company, headquartered in
Now looking at this history, one should not wonder about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s intentions. However, we should wonder about the environmental impact this has on one of
The news this past week, including this morning's news about Citigroup, has made it even more clear that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. Our financial markets are under stress. New home purchases in October were the lowest in half a century. Recently, more than half a million jobless claims were filed, the highest in eighteen years -- and if we do not act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year.
While we can't underestimate the challenges we face, we also can&'t underestimate our capacity to overcome them -- to summon that spirit of determination and optimism that has always defined us, and move forward in a new direction to create new jobs, reform our financial system, and fuel long-term economic growth.
We know this won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight. We'll need to bring together the best minds in America to guide us -- and that is what I've sought to do in assembling my economic team. I've sought leaders who could offer both sound judgment and fresh thinking, both a depth of experience and a wealth of bold new ideas -- and most of all, who share my fundamental belief that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers; that in this country, we rise and fall as one nation, as one people.
Today, Vice President-elect Biden and I are pleased to announce the nomination of four individuals who meet these criteria to lead our economic team: Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury; Lawrence Summers as the Director of our National Economic Council; Christina Romer as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors; and Melody Barnes as Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Having served in senior roles at Treasury, the IMF and the New York Fed, Tim Geithner offers not just extensive experience shaping economic policy and managing financial markets, but an unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency. Tim will waste no time getting up to speed. He will start his first day on the job with a unique insight into the failures of today's markets -- and a clear vision of the steps we must take to revive them.
The reality is that the economic crisis we face is no longer just an American crisis, it is a global crisis -- and we will need to reach out to countries around the world to craft a global response. Tim's extensive international experience makes him uniquely suited for this work. Growing up partly in Africa and having lived and worked throughout Asia; having served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs -- one of many roles in the international arena; and having studied both Chinese and Japanese, Tim understands the language of today’s international markets in more ways than one.
Tim has served with distinction under both Democrats and Republicans and has a long history of working comfortably, and as an honest broker, on both sides of the aisle. With stellar performances and outstanding results at every stage of his career, Tim has earned the confidence and respect of business, financial and community leaders; members of Congress; and political leaders around the world -- and I know he will do so once again as America's next Treasury Secretary, the chief economic spokesman for my Administration.
Like Tim, Larry Summers also brings a singular combination of skill, intellect, and experience to the role he will play in our Administration.
As Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and then Secretary of the Treasury, Larry helped guide us through several major international financial crises -- and was a central architect of the policies that led to the longest economic expansion in American history, with record surpluses, rising family incomes and more than 20 million new jobs. He also championed a range of measures -- from tax credits to enhanced lending programs to consumer financial protections -- that greatly benefitted middle income families.
As a thought leader, Larry has urged us to confront the problems of income inequality and the middle class squeeze, consistently arguing that the key to a strong economy is a strong and growing middle class. This idea is the core of my own economic philosophy and will be the foundation for all of my economic policies.
And as one of the great economic minds of our time, Larry has earned a global reputation for being able to cut to the heart of the most complex and novel policy challenges. With respect to both our current financial crisis, and other pressing economic issues of our time, his thinking, writing and speaking have set the terms of the debate. I am glad he will be by my side, playing the critical role of coordinating my Administration's economic policy in the White House -- and I will rely heavily on his advice as we navigate the uncharted waters of this economic crisis.
As one of the foremost experts on economic crises -- and how to solve them -- my next nominee, Christina Romer, will bring a critically needed perspective to her work as Chair of my Council of Economic Advisors.
Christina is both a leading macroeconomist and a leading economic historian, perhaps best known for her work on America's recovery from the Great Depression and the robust economic expansion that followed. Since 2003, she has been co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research Monetary Economics program. She is also a member of the Bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee -- the body charged with officially determining when a recession has started and ended -- experience which will serve her well as she advises me on our current economic challenges.
Christina has also done groundbreaking research on many of the topics our Administration will confront -- from tax policy to fighting recessions. And her clear-eyed, independent analyses have received praise from both conservative and liberal thinkers alike. I look forward to her wise counsel in the White House.
Finally, we know that rebuilding our economy will require action on a wide array of policy matters -- from education and health care to energy and Social Security. Without sound policies in these areas, we can neither enjoy sustained economic growth nor realize our full potential as a people.
So I am pleased that Melody Barnes, one of the most respected policy experts in America, will be serving as Director of my Domestic Policy Council -- and that she will be working hand-in-hand with my economic policy team to chart a course to economic recovery. An integral part of that course will be health care reform -- and she will work closely with my Secretary of Health and Human Services on that issue.
As Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, Melody directed a network of policy experts dedicated to finding solutions for struggling middle class families. She also served as Chief Counsel to the great Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, working on issues ranging from crime to immigration to bankruptcy, and fighting tirelessly to protect civil rights, women's rights and religious freedom.
Melody's brilliant legal mind -- and her long experience working to secure the liberties on which this nation was founded and secure opportunity for those left behind -- make her a perfect fit for DPC Director.
I am grateful that Tim, Larry, Christina, and Melody have accepted my nomination, and I look forward to working closely with them in the months ahead. And that work starts today, because the truth is, we don't have a minute to waste.
Right now, our economy is trapped in a vicious cycle: the turmoil on Wall Street means a new round of belt-tightening for families and businesses on Main Street -- and as folks produce less and consume less, that just deepens the problems in our financial markets. These extraordinary stresses on our financial system require extraordinary policy responses. And my Administration will honor the public commitments made by the current Administration to address this crisis.
Further, beyond any immediate actions we may take, we need a recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street -- a plan that stabilizes our financial system and gets credit flowing again, while at the same time addressing our growing foreclosure crisis, helping our struggling auto industry, and creating and saving 2.5 million jobs -- jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing our schools, and creating the clean energy infrastructure of the twenty-first century. Because at this moment, we must both restore confidence in our markets -- and restore the confidence of middle-class families, who find themselves working harder, earning less, and falling further and further behind.
I have asked my economic team to develop recommendations for this plan, and to consult with Congress, the current Administration and the Federal Reserve on immediate economic developments over the next two months. I have requested that they brief me on these matters on a daily basis, and in the coming weeks, I will provide the American people and the incoming Congress with an overview of their initial recommendations. It is my hope that the new Congress will begin work on an aggressive economic recovery plan when they convene in early January so that our Administration can hit the ground running.
With our economy in distress, we cannot hesitate or delay. Our families cannot afford to keep on waiting and hoping for a solution. They cannot afford to watch another month of unpaid bills pile up, another semester of tuition slip out of reach, another month where instead of saving for retirement, they're dipping into their savings just to get by.
Again, this won't be easy. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making -- and the economy is likely to get worse before it gets better. Full recovery won't happen immediately. And to make the investments we need, we'll have to scour our federal budget, line-by-line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices as well -- something I'll be discussing further tomorrow.
Despite all of this, I am hopeful about the future. I have full confidence in the wisdom and ingenuity of my economic team -- and in the hard work, courage and sacrifice of the American people. And most of all, I believe deeply in the resilient spirit of this nation. I know we can work our way out of this crisis because we've done it before. And I know we will succeed once again if we put aside partisanship and politics and work together, and that is exactly what I intend to do as President.
Thank you, and I'm now happy to take questions.
Courtesy of Change.gov
- Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
- Lawrence H. Summers, Director of the National Economic Council
- Christina D. Romer, Director of the Council of Economic Advisors
- Melody C. Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council
- Heather A. Higginbottom, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
Timothy Geithner currently serves as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he has played a key role in formulating the nation's monetary policy. He joined the Department of the Treasury in 1988 and has served three presidents. From 1999 to 2001, he served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Following that post he served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund until 2003. Geithner is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Lawrence H. Summers, Director of the National Economic Council
Lawrence Summers is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. Summers served as 71st Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and as president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006. Before being appointed Secretary, Summers served as Deputy and Under Secretary of the Treasury and as the World Bank's top economist. Summers has taught economics at Harvard and MIT, and is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the American economist under 40 judged to have made the most significant contribution to economics. Summers played a key advisory role during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Christina D. Romer, Director of the Council of Economic Advisors
Christina Romer is the Class of 1957 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has taught and researched since 1988. Prior to joining the faculty at Berkeley, Romer was an assistant professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Romer is co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has been a visiting scholar at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Melody C. Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Melody Barnes is co-director of the Agency Review Working Group for the Obama-Biden Transition Team, and served as the Senior Domestic Policy Advisor to Obama for America. Barnes previously served as Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress and as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee from December 1995 until March 2003.
Heather A. Higginbottom, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Heather Higginbottom served as Policy Director for Obama for America, overseeing all aspects of policy development. From 1999 to 2007, Higginbottom served as Senator John Kerry's Legislative Director. She also served as the Deputy National Policy Director for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign for the primary and general elections. After the 2004 election, Higginbottom founded and served as Executive Director of the American Security Project, a national security think tank. She started her career as an advocate at the national non-profit organization Communities in Schools.
ZAKARIA: We've all talked endlessly about the historic nature of Barack Obama's election. But there was another historic election not so long ago -- the year 2000, the election in which Vice President Al Gore was declared the president-elect, at least for a while.
There are many who wish that Al Gore's temporary victory had lasted longer. But as we all know, the story ended differently, and for the former vice president, perhaps happily. He got busy saving the planet, making an Academy Award-winning movie, and then winning a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.
And he's not done yet.
Al Gore, welcome.
AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER: Well, thank you, Fareed.
Winston Churchill once said, early in his career after he lost an election, someone said that was a blessing in disguise. He said, "Damned good disguise."
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about this election. Do you think -- you're a student of American politics, obviously -- is this a great realignment? Do you think that historians will look back on this election as the moment that the era of Republican supremacy ended?
GORE: Well, I think it is a realignment. But I'm not sure that it falls neatly into the categories that we call Democratic and Republican.
I think it's partly a generational realignment. This was never a close election among voters who were under 30. It was a landslide among the younger voters.
And I can barely contain my excitement about his election. I just think that it's a fabulous new development.
And you know, for those in your international audience, which is quite large, I want them to know that right after the election, Republicans who had campaigned strongly against Barack Obama were interviewed everywhere in the United States right after the election, saying, "I'm so proud of my country."
You know, regardless of the differences over issues and politics, this was a watershed election that really just gave every American a feeling of great pride in our nation's ability to transcend our past and redeem the revolutionary promise of our Declaration of Independence that every human being is created equal. And it's electrifying to redeem that declaration.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that Biden should maintain the vice presidential structure that Dick Cheney has put in place? You know, a lot of people feel Cheney has effectively changed the nature of the vice presidency forever, that these institutional aggrandizations of power never shrink.
How should Joe Biden think about the vice presidency? GORE: Well, the -- I mean, I don't think that's going to happen, because that's really a function of what the president wants.
And I hesitate to comment on Bush and Cheney, because I've recently begun to fear that I'm losing my objectivity on them.
But actually, if you look at the history of the vice presidency -- it's a very arcane field of history -- it was Walter Mondale who really elevated the office to what it is now. And I learned a lot from him in designing a partnership with President Clinton.
And I think Dick -- I think it's good to have an active, powerful vice president who can help the president carry a lot of the burden.
ZAKARIA: You just don't think that person should be Dick Cheney.
GORE: Well, not only that. I think that the nature of the delegations in this present administration were unhealthy for the country.
But there's a way to do it right that will give Joe Biden a huge amount of power and influence, which I think he should have. And one of the many things that I admire about President-elect Obama is that he is comfortable and confident in sharing the limelight, sharing responsibility.
And I'm certain that you'll see Joe Biden playing a very active and productive role. He's a terrific guy. He has an enormous capacity, as you know, and I think -- not only in foreign policy, which is one of his specialty areas along with law enforcement and justice and so forth -- I think he's going to have a lot of influence across the board.
ZAKARIA: You worked with Hillary Clinton for eight years.
ZAKARIA: Do you think she'd be a good secretary of state?
GORE: I think she'd be very good at it. I don't know what the current status of that is, but I think she would be very effective. Sure.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about what's going on in Washington right now. You're watching the auto industry ask for a massive bailout.
This must tug at different sides of you. I mean, as a Democrat, you must have some sympathy for the unions, and for the plight of people who are going to be laid off. On the other hand, as the world's foremost environmentalist, you must look at the U.S. auto industry as having been too late and insufficient in its climate -- in its efforts on energy.
Would you bail out the auto industry?
GORE: Well, I think the whole industry should be transformed. It's really tragic that General Motors, for example, allowed Toyota to get a seven-year head start on the hybrid drive train in the Prius that is now positioned to really be a dominant feature of the industry in this century.
I personally believe that the U.S. auto fleet should make a transition as quickly as possible toward plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. I think that the twin problems of the climate crisis and the economic crisis can both be addressed by investing in a transformation of our energy and transportation infrastructure to focus on renewable sources of energy.
And at the same time, our security vulnerability to a potential cutoff of the world's access to Persian Gulf, Middle East oil should be addressed, at long last, without delay. And shifting to electric vehicles instead of petroleum vehicles is the best way to do that.
ZAKARIA: If you look at the situation right now with oil prices down to $50 a barrel -- the lowest in two or three years -- are we back to a familiar cycle where once the price of oil gets back down, the impetus for these alternate energies will dissipate?
GORE: Well, I don't think we're going to fall for it this time.
And I was very impressed with the language used by President- elect Barack Obama in his "60 Minutes" interview. He used a phrase that I hadn't heard before, that I think summed it up really well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: We go from shock to trance. You know, we -- oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity.
And then the prices go back down, and suddenly we act like it's not important, and we start filling up our SUVs again. And as a consequence, we never make any progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: We cannot allow ourselves to be vulnerable to that anymore. We should learn from history.
ZAKARIA: When you look at the challenges facing the United States, particularly in foreign policy -- you've studied some of these issues for three decades. Iraq -- you warned early on that the war would be, would probably be very difficult, very expensive and were against it.
Do you think that the United States should get out as fast as President Obama had -- President-elect Obama -- has campaigned suggesting?
GORE: Well, I warned that the invasion would go smoothly, and then the aftermath would be difficult. And I like the phrasing that Barack Obama has used. We should get out as carefully and thoughtfully as we got -- as the ...
ZAKARIA: The opposite ...
GORE: ... as the opposite was true in going in.
And I think that, in his discussions with General Petraeus, when he was there -- Joe Klein had a great article in TIME Magazine that captured part of the dialogue. I'm sure you saw that. I thought it was very impressive.
And I think that people should have confidence that he is going to fulfill his pledge to get American troops out of Iraq as soon as it's feasible to do so safely -- and that he will do it in a very thoughtful and careful manner.
ZAKARIA: What about Afghanistan? A war that seems to be going badly, the Taliban seem to be regrouping. What should we do there?
GORE: Well, I think we have to play the whole keyboard. I think that, first, we need more military personnel there. And one of the concerns that I raised back when I opposed the invasion of Iraq was what it was going to do to our efforts in Afghanistan.
We should have learned from the aftermath of the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. We should have been all over that situation and make sure that transition went well.
And great nations don't go from one half-finished task, lurching to something else. We should have stayed there, and we should have done it right at the time. It's going to be more difficult now.
But one of the elements we need are more troops on the ground. But we need more than military activities. I think we have to have activities across the board. We have to open dialogues in places that might feel uncomfortable.
But we have to be clear-eyed about the nature of the government that we're dealing with there. We have to pay very careful attention to what's going on in the border areas and the tribal areas, and our relationship with Pakistan. It's an immensely complex problem.
But I do think that it's not an insoluble problem. I think that if we try to solve it only with military force, it might be insoluble. But I do think that, if we use all the tools available, this can be resolved.
ZAKARIA: And we will be right back with Al Gore.
ZAKARIA: And we're back with Al Gore.
One of the solutions to the problem of climate change and the problem of CO2 emissions has often been presented as clean coal, that what we should be doing is essentially making coal emit many fewer -- you know, much less CO2 -- through various ways of capture and sequestration.
But in a "Wall Street Journal" article, you seem doubtful. You don't think this is a good idea?
GORE: Well, I think if they can do it, it is a good idea. But what I am greatly concerned about is that they talk as if it's already here.
And as a practical matter, what many in the industry are proposing is to go forward with the construction of thousands of new coal-fired generating plants, on the assumption that they will at some point be retrofitted with this technology that does not yet exist.
There is not a single, large-scale demonstration plant anywhere in the United States. There is one in the North Sea that the Norwegians are running. There's one in the Algerian desert that BP is running. And they show some promise. But it is not anywhere near a stage that justifies building new coal-fired generating plants on the promise that it'll soon be available.
If the industry can make good on its promise, then I'm all for it. But it's beginning to resemble something that the auto companies did for years.
Every few years they would show the cars of the future that run on hydrogen, or whatever, and it's going to be magical and pollution- free. And they put them in the showroom, but then they never build them. And you just keep cranking along. And it's led to a disaster for that industry.
We cannot allow an illusion to be the basis of a strategy for human survival. We are really facing a very serious existential threat to the future of human civilization.
And I know that language sounds shrill and dire, and people instinctively say that that can't be so. But it is so.
And the scientific community, the IPCC -- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ...
ZAKARIA: Which are thousands of scientists.
GORE: Three thousand of the very best scientists in the world from 130 countries, who have studied this for 20 years, and have issued four unanimous reports, the last of which said the evidence is unequivocal -- unequivocal. We have to act.
ZAKARIA: One of the key objections that President Bush has always had to the Kyoto Protocol, and to all that kind of climate change activism, was you're leaving out China and India. And if you leave out China and India, you're not going to solve the problem.
ZAKARIA: You started to work on this issue, to try to convince the Chinas and Indias of the world that this is their problem, too.
GORE: Yes. I just came back from China two days ago. And as you know, I'm on my way to India after the holiday, and looking forward to it.
China and India, and other developing countries, all have exactly the same excuse for not moving on the climate crisis. Their common excuse is, "Wait a minute. The United States hasn't done anything. It's the wealthiest country in the world, the natural leader of the world. Why doesn't the U.S. act?"
And I think that when the U.S. acts, it will be by far the most effective way to improve the odds that China and India, and other smaller developing economies, will also act. They know that it's in their own interest to tackle this problem.
ZAKARIA: What about India? Talk about India, where you're going, and what you're going to do.
GORE: Well, I'm very excited to be hosting Live Earth India on December 7th. And all of the greatest stars of Bollywood are going to gather in your hometown, Mumbai. And a lot of the greatest Western artists are coming over to join, as well.
You know, the Indian government now subsidizes kerosene -- probably the dirtiest fuel you can use. But they need alternatives. And these solar lanterns and solar cookers are very cost-effective. And we're doing everything to raise money for it -- and to build awareness.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about this election, finally. If you had one piece of advice to Obama, to consolidate these forces of realignment, what would it be? How should he govern? From the center, from -- you know, you hear all this advice given to him.
GORE: Well, again, you know, just as with the categories that we label Democratic and Republican, I think center, left, right -- you hear this a lot. It's almost a cliche to say we need to move forward, not left or right. But in fact, that is the case. And I think he has an awfully good, innate sense of that.
I feel, you know, me offering him advice doesn't feel right, because he's doing so well. But if I did offer him advice I would say, make more of the thoughtful, long, expository speeches, because in this new media age, people are listening.
Maybe they don't get through all of the television and radio outlets. Maybe you'll still have only a little sound bite. But people are downloading these speeches now, if they're good ones.
You know, it's remarkable that the paid advertisement, the 30- minute paid advertisement that he had four or five days before the election, was one of the highest-rated programs of the year.
And I think people are now hungry for a thoughtful treatment of how we can solve the problems that we face. And I would go back to that strength. And I'm sure that he will without me advising him to do so.
ZAKARIA: And if you want a thoughtful discussion with Al Gore, you can download this one. Al Gore, thank you very much.
GORE: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: A pleasure.
“Good morning. The news this week has only reinforced the fact that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. Financial markets faced more turmoil. New home purchases in October were the lowest in half a century. 540,000 more jobless claims were filed last week, the highest in eighteen years. And we now risk falling into a deflationary spiral that could increase our massive debt even further.
“While I’m pleased that Congress passed a long-overdue extension of unemployment benefits this week, we must do more to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. We have now lost 1.2 million jobs this year, and if we don’t act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year.
“There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. But January 20th is our chance to begin anew – with a new direction, new ideas, and new reforms that will create jobs and fuel long-term economic growth.
“I have already directed my economic team to come up with an Economic Recovery Plan that will mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011 – a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face that I intend to sign soon after taking office. We’ll be working out the details in the weeks ahead, but it will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy. We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.
“These aren’t just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis; these are the long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long. And they represent an early down payment on the type of reform my Administration will bring to Washington – a government that spends wisely, focuses on what works, and puts the public interest ahead of the same special interests that have come to dominate our politics.
“I know that passing this plan won’t be easy. I will need and seek support from Republicans and Democrats, and I’ll be welcome to ideas and suggestions from both sides of the aisle. But what is not negotiable is the need for immediate action. Right now, there are millions of mothers and fathers who are lying awake at night wondering if next week’s paycheck will cover next month’s bills. There are Americans showing up to work in the morning only to have cleared out their desks by the afternoon. Retirees are watching their life savings disappear and students are seeing their college dreams deferred. These Americans need help, and they need it now.
“The survival of the American Dream for over two centuries is not only a testament to its enduring power, but to the great effort, sacrifice, and courage of the American people. It has thrived because in our darkest hours, we have risen above the smallness of our divisions to forge a path towards a new and brighter day. We have acted boldly, bravely, and above all, together. That is the chance our new beginning now offers us, and that is the challenge we must rise to in the days to come. It is time to act. As the next President of the United States, I will. Thank you.”
- Ellen Moran, Director of Communications
- Robert Gibbs, Press Secretary
- Dan Pfeiffer, Deputy Director of Communications
- Patrick Gaspard, Director of the Office of Political Affairs
- Jackie Norris, Chief of Staff to the First Lady
- Catherine (Cathy) M. Russell, Chief of Staff for Dr. Jill Biden
- Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice President
- Moises (Moe) V. Vela, Jr., Director of Administration for the Office of the Vice President
Ellen Moran, Director of Communications
Moran currently serves as executive director of EMILY's List, where she oversees the national staff and charts the overall strategic direction of the organization. This was Moran’s second tenure at EMILY's List, rejoining the organization from the AFL-CIO where she coordinated Wal-Mart corporate accountability activities and served in the Political Department. In 2004, she took a leave of absence from the AFL-CIO to direct independent expenditures for the Democratic National Committee, managing placement of presidential advertising and directed television, radio, mail, and phoning efforts in 20 states. In 2000, Moran directed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's $50 million issue advocacy campaign. Moran's political experience includes managing campaigns for governor, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House; working on the national campaign staff of Tom Harkin's 1992 presidential campaign; helping plan both Clinton inaugurals; and conducting international democracy work in Indonesia for the U.S. Agency for International Development. In 1993, Moran designed EMILY's List's campaign staff training program and served as its first director. Moran also oversaw EMILY's List's first foray into voter mobilization in 1994. A native of Amherst, Massachusetts, Moran holds a degree in political science and English literature from Wheaton College.
Robert Gibbs, Press Secretary
Gibbs, a native of Auburn, Alabama and a graduate of North Carolina State University, began working with President-Elect Obama in April 2004 serving as Communications Director for his United States Senate race and later as his Senate Communications Director. Gibbs held the position of Communications Director for Obama’s presidential campaign until becoming Senior Strategist for Communications and Message during the general election. Earlier in his career, Gibbs served as Communications Director for Senator Fritz Hollings and worked on Senator Debbie Stabenow's 2000 Senate campaign. He also served as press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and worked for Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign. Gibbs lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Mary Catherine, and their five-year-old son, Ethan.
Dan Pfeiffer, Deputy Director of Communications
Pfeiffer currently serves as the Communications Director for the Presidential Transition Team. He began on Obama's presidential campaign in January 2007 as the traveling press secretary before returning to Chicago to manage the press operation as Communications Director. Prior to the Obama campaign, Pfeiffer worked as Senator Evan Bayh's Communications Director, Senator Tom Daschle's Deputy Campaign Manager in 2004 and the Communications Director on Senator Tim Johnson's reelection in 2002. He has also worked for the Democratic Governors Association and the Gore-Lieberman campaign.
Patrick Gaspard, Director of the Office of Political Affairs
Gaspard currently serves as the Associate Director of Personnel for the Presidential Transition Team and served as National Political Director for Obama’s presidential campaign. Previously, Gaspard served as the Executive Vice President of Politics and Legislation for Local 1199 SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, the largest local union in America, where he helped coordinate political activity and government relations on behalf of 300,000 members. In 2006, Gaspard served as the acting political director for SEIU International during the national union’s successful effort to help Democrats capture majorities in the House and Senate. In 2004, Gaspard was the National Field Director for America Coming Together. Gaspard worked for Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and numerous congressional candidates, and campaigns going back to the historic Mayoral election in New York in 1989. Gaspard is a former community organizer around school reform issues. He is married with two children.
Jackie Norris, Chief of Staff to the First Lady
Norris joined Obama’s presidential campaign in January 2007 and served as the Iowa Senior Advisor during the caucus campaign, later serving as the Iowa State Director for the successful 2008 general election campaign. Originally from Ossining, New York, Norris started her career in the office of Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter. She later served as Vice President Al Gore’s scheduler and events planner and as Director of Scheduling and Advance for HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. Norris served as finance director for Governor Tom Vilsack’s 1998 gubernatorial campaign and as Gore’s political director for the Iowa caucuses during his 2000 presidential bid. In 2002, Norris became a classroom teacher for history and government at high schools in Perry, Ames, and Johnston, Iowa. Norris, a 1992 graduate of SUNY-Geneseo, obtained secondary education teacher certification in 2002 from Iowa State University and Masters in Political Science in 2008. Norris is the 2005 award recipient of the James Madison Fellowship and serves as Vice Chair of the Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa Freedom Fund Board. Norris and her husband John are residents of Des Moines, Iowa and have five-year-old twin boys, Hunter and Cole, and a two-year-old son, Sam.
Catherine (Cathy) M. Russell, Chief of Staff for Dr. Jill Biden
Cathy Russell is a long time advisor to Dr. Biden and advocate for the prevention of violence against women, both at home and abroad. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Ms. Russell served as Chief of Staff for Dr. Biden. Previously, she has been a Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on international women’s issues. In the Clinton Administration, she served as Associate Deputy Attorney General. On Capitol Hill, she was Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee and also served as senior counsel to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT). She received her J.D. from George Washington University.
Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice President
Cynthia Hogan has been a legal advisor to Vice President-elect Biden for nearly 20 years, first joining his staff in 1991 as his Counsel for Constitutional Law on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, then as Staff Director and finally as Chief Counsel, during his tenure as Chairman. During her time working for then-Chairman Biden (1991-1996), the Committee successfully passed the landmark 1994 Violence Crime and Control Act and the Violence Against Women Act. She also advised Chairman Biden during the Supreme Court nominations process for both Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Cynthia Hogan is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated in 1979 from Oberlin College and received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984, where she served as an editor on the Virginia Law Review. She clerked for the Honorable Edward Cahn on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and was an associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm Williams & Connolly. She currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband Mark Katz and their two children.
Moises (Moe) V. Vela, Jr., Director of Administration for the Office of the Vice President
Moe Vela will bring a wealth of business management skill and outreach experience to the Obama-Biden Administration. From 1996-2000, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Advisor on Hispanic Affairs for Vice President Al Gore. Most recently, Vela was the founder and a partner at The Comunidades Group, a multi-family acquisition and operations company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Vela received a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas, a J.D. from St. Mary’s Law School, and is a member of the State Bar of Texas. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a Denver Civil Service Commissioner, appointed by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Vela is a native of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and hails from a pioneer South Texas family.
For more see Change.gov
President-elect Barack Obama said, "I am pleased to announce these new additions to our team, and I'll be relying on their broad and diverse experience in the months ahead as we work to strengthen our economy, reform Washington, and meet the great challenges of our time."
President-elect Barack Obama announced the following key White House staff:Tom Daschle, Department of Health and Human Services
David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President
Greg Craig, White House Counsel
Chris Lu, Cabinet Secretary
DASCHLE, Thomas Andrew
DASCHLE, Thomas Andrew, a Representative and a Senator from South Dakota; born in Aberdeen, S. Dak. on December 9, 1947; attended private and public schools; graduated South Dakota State University 1969; served in the United States Air Force 1969-1972; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-sixth Congress in 1978 and reelected to the three succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1979-January 3, 1987); elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1986; reelected in 1992 and 1998 and served from January 3, 1987, to January 3, 2005; co-chair, Democratic Policy Committee, Democratic Conference (1989-1999); minority leader (1995-June 6, 2001; 2003-2005); majority leader (June 6, 2001-January 3, 2003); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 2004.
David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President
David Axelrod served as President-elect Obama’s Chief Strategist during the presidential campaign, and led Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign. A native of New York City, Axelrod graduated from the University of Chicago and spent eight years as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, where he covered national, state, and local politics and became the youngest political writer and columnist in the paper’s history. Leaving journalism in 1984, Axelrod managed Paul Simon’s upset victory over incumbent U.S. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois. In 1985, he founded Axelrod & Associates, a political consulting firm known today as AKP&D Message and Media. Axelrod has worked for leading Democrats across the country, including Senators Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, and Herb Kohl, as well as Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, and Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, along with mayors of big cities across the country. He is married to Susan Axelrod, president and founder of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE). They have three grown children.
Lisa Brown, Staff Secretary
Lisa Brown is the Executive Director of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. Lisa was Counsel to Vice President Gore from September 1999 through January 2001, and Deputy Counsel from April 1997 through August 1999. In addition to advising the Vice President on legal issues, Lisa served on the Executive Board of the President's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities and worked closely with the Vice President's Domestic Policy Office on a variety of legislative initiatives. Lisa was an Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice from June 1996 until April 1997. Prior to her government service, Lisa was a Partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm Shea & Gardner. Ms. Brown graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Political Economy in 1982. She received her law degree with Honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1986.
Greg Craig, White House Counsel
Gregory B. Craig served under President Bill Clinton as Assistant to the President and Special Counsel. Prior to his appointment to that post he served for two years as Director of Policy Planning under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Craig also worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy as Senior Advisor on Defense, Foreign Policy, and National Security from 1984-1988. In addition to his service in government, Craig brings to the White House a wealth of experience in civil and criminal litigation.
Chris Lu, Cabinet Secretary
Christopher P. Lu has worked for President-elect Obama in a number of roles over the past four years. He was Legislative Director and Acting Chief of Staff in Obama’s Senate office, as well as a policy advisor during the presidential campaign. Chris is now the Executive Director of the Obama-Biden Transition Project, where he manages the day-to-day operations of the transition. From 1997 to 2005, he was Deputy Chief Counsel to Rep. Henry A. Waxman on the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee (now the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee). A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Chris was a litigation attorney at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C. (1992-1997), after a clerkship with the Honorable Robert E. Cowen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1991-1992).
For more see Change.gov
Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
November 15, 2008
Today, the leaders of the G-20 countries -- a group that includes the world's largest economies -- are gathering in Washington to seek solutions to the ongoing turmoil in our financial markets. I'm glad President Bush has initiated this process -- because our global economic crisis requires a coordinated global response.
And yet, as we act in concert with other nations, we must also act immediately here at home to address America's own economic crisis. This week, amid continued volatility in our markets, we learned that unemployment insurance claims rose to their highest levels since September 11, 2001. We've lost jobs for ten straight months -- nearly 1.2 million jobs this year, many of them in our struggling auto industry. And millions of our fellow citizens lie awake each night wondering how they're going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and save for retirement.
Make no mistake: this is the greatest economic challenge of our time. And while the road ahead will be long, and the work will be hard, I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis -- because here in America we always rise to the moment, no matter how hard. And I am more hopeful than ever before that America will rise once again.
But we must act right now. Next week, Congress will meet to address the spreading impact of the economic crisis. I urge them to pass at least a down-payment on a rescue plan that will create jobs, relieve the squeeze on families, and help get the economy growing again. In particular, we cannot afford to delay providing help for the more than one million Americans who will have exhausted their unemployment insurance by the end of this year. If Congress does not pass an immediate plan that gives the economy the boost it needs, I will make it my first order of business as President.
Even as we dig ourselves out of this recession, we must also recognize that out of this economic crisis comes an opportunity to create new jobs, strengthen our middle class, and keep our economy competitive in the 21st century.
That starts with the kinds of long-term investments that we've neglected for too long. That means putting two million Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools. It means investing $150 billion to build an American green energy economy that will create five million new jobs, while freeing our nation from the tyranny of foreign oil, and saving our planet for our children. It means making health care affordable for anyone who has it, accessible for anyone who wants it, and reducing costs for small businesses. And it also means giving every child the world-class education they need to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.
Doing all this will require not just new policies, but a new spirit of service and sacrifice, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. If this financial crisis has taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers -- in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people. And that is how we will meet the challenges of our time -- together. Thank you.
Courtesy of Change.gov
Therefore I included a link to the The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration as well as to The Charters of Freedom. These links will guild you to documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, or the Bill of Rights.
I hope these documents will help you to understand the United States of America better as well as the news reported in the media.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.
We are, and always will be, the United States of America.It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.
A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain.
Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.
I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.
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 new White House.
And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.
And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.
To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.
To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.
It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.
It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.
This is your victory.
And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.
You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
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.
There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.
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.
I promise you, we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.
But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.
This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.
It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.
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.
In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.
Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.
Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.
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.
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.
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.
That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.
Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.
This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.