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Going on This Journey Together

For his first campaign appearance, President Obama traveled home to Chicago yesterday. Addressing a packed room of supporters at Navy Pier, the President talked about how far we’ve come together and the journey ahead.

One of the things that I’ve seen again and again over the last couple of years is the conversation in Washington is very different from the conversation around kitchen tables and office coolers. And I wanted to make sure that our campaign was rooted in your hopes and rooted in your dreams. I want to make sure we’re putting the campaign in your hands—in the same hands, the same organizers, the same volunteers who proved the last time that together ordinary folks can do extraordinary things. That’s what this campaign is about.
If you hadn’t knocked on all those doors, if you hadn’t called up all your friends back in 2008, I wouldn’t be here. But you know what, we didn’t come here tonight just to go down Memory Lane. We didn’t come here tonight just to pat ourselves on the back. We came here tonight because we know that for all the progress we’ve made we’ve still got business to do. We are not finished. And the only way we’re going to finish is the same way we began this journey, and that is together.
We’ve got a big vision for America, of a compassionate America and a caring America and an ambitious America, not a small America. It’s a vision where we’re living within our means but we’re still investing in our future. Where everyone makes sacrifices; no one bears all the burden. Where we live up to the idea that no matter who we are or what we look like, no matter whether our ancestors landed on Ellis Island or came here on slave ships or across the Rio Grande, we are connected to one another. That I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. In this country, we rise and fall together.
This is not my campaign. This is your campaign. And I’ve got to tell you, there’s going to come a time when I’ll fully engage in this race. When the time comes, I will be campaigning. I’ll be ready to go. But I’ve got to tell you, right now, I still have this day job—and that’s why I’m going to need your help now more than ever. This campaign is still in its early stages, but now is the time when you can help shape it to make sure it gets out of the gate strong.
Gen44 Rally Chicago, April 2011
So whenever you hear people say our problems are too big to solve or we can’t bring about the changes we seek, I want you to think about all the progress we’ve already made. I think—I want you to think about all the unfinished business that lies ahead. I want you to be excited about the future that lies before us. And I want to remind you, and I want you to remind everybody else, of those simple words that summed up what we believe as a people: Yes, we can.
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