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Top 10 speeches of Barack Obama

Last updated on: November 7, 2012 12:20 IST

Top 10 speeches of Barack Obama

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Re-elected for a second term, US President Barack Obama is dubbed as one of the greatest presidential orators in the modern era. Rediff.com takes you through some of his best speeches.

The excerpts...

Obama's speech at 2012 Democratic National Convention Sept 6 2012

Now, the first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope, not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested, by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that's left us wondering whether it's still even possible to tackle the challenges of our time.
I know campaigns can seem small, and even silly sometimes. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. The truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you're sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I.

... I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear.

You elected me to tell you the truth.

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Image: US President Barack Obama celebrates with his daughter Malia after accepting the 2012 USDemocratic presidential nomination in North Carolina
Photographs: Jim Young/Reuters

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Obama's speech after Tucson tragedy: Jan 12, 2012

To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.

There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through.

As Scripture tells us: There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

..... Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. Our hearts are broken -- and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness.

Our hearts are full of hope and thanks for the 13 Americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman many of them went to see on Saturday. I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. And I can tell you this -- she knows we're here and she knows we love her and she


Image: Obama speaks at the event 'Together We Thrive: Tucson and America' honouring the January 8 shooting victims at McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona. The memorial service is in honour of victims of the mass shooting at a Safeway grocery store that killed six and injured at least 13 others, including US Rep Gabrielle Giffords
Photographs: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Obama speech after Osama bin Laden's death: May 1, 2011

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

---- we must also reaffirm that the United States is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam. I've made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.


Image: Obama addresses the nation from the White House in Washington after Osama's death
Photographs: Reuters

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Memorial Service at Fort Hood: November 10, 2009

It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy.  But this much we do know - no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice - in this world, and the next.

These are trying times for our country. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same extremists who killed nearly 3,000 Americans continue to endanger America, our allies, and innocent Afghans and Pakistanis. In Iraq, we are working to bring a war to a successful end, as there are still those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that Americans and Iraqis have sacrificed so much for.

As we face these challenges, the stories of those at Fort Hood reaffirm the core values that we are fighting for, and the strength that we must draw upon. Theirs are tales of American men and women answering an extraordinary call - the call to serve their comrades, their communities, and their country. In an age of selfishness, they embody responsibility. In an era of division, they call upon us to come together. In a time of cynicism, they remind us of who we are as Americans.



Image: Obama speaks during the III Corps and Fort Hood Memorial Ceremony November 10, 2009 held to honor the victims of the shootings on the Fort Hood Army post in Fort Hood, Texas
Photographs: Jessica Rinald/Reuters

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Cairo address, delivered at Egypt's Cairo University on June 4, 2009

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

Let there be no doubt: Islam is part of America...All of us share common aspirations -- to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God.


Image: bama waves before he delivering a speech in the Grand Hall of Cairo University in Cairo June 4, 2009
Photographs: Larry Downing/Reuters

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Obama's victory speech: 5, November 2008

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.

... 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 colour 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.

 


Image: Obama gives his victory speech during his election night rally in Chicago November 4, 2008
Photographs: Reuters

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Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado August 28, 2008

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.



Image: Obama during the DNC at Colorado
Photographs: Mark Wilson/Getty Image

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"A More Perfect Union," delivered at Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA, on March 18, 2008

.... Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

.... For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life.



Image: Obama speaks during a campaign event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Photographs: Tim Shaffer/Reuters

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"A politics of Conscience", delivered at XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 23, 2007

...We also understand is that our values should express themselves not just through our churches or synagogues, temples or mosques; they should express themselves through our government. Because whether it's poverty or racism, the uninsured or the unemployed, war or peace, the challenges we face today are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten-point plan. They are moral problems, rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness - in the imperfections of man.

And so long as we're not doing everything in our personal and collective power to solve them, we know the conscience of our nation cannot rest.

Our conscience can't rest so long as 37 million Americans are poor and forgotten by their leaders in Washington and by the media elites. We need to heed the biblical call to care for "the least of these" and lift the poor out of despair. That's why I've been fighting to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and the minimum wage. If you're working forty hours a week, you shouldn't be living in poverty. But we also know that government initiatives are not enough. Each of us in our own lives needs to do what we can to help the poor. And until we do, our conscience cannot rest.

Our conscience cannot rest so long as nearly 45 million Americans don't have health insurance and the millions more who do are going bankrupt trying to pay for it. I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premiums by up to $2500 a year. That's not simply a matter of policy or ideology - it's a moral commitment.


Photographs: Getty Images

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Key address to the Democratic National Convention: July 27, 2004

On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.

... there's not a liberal America and a conservative America there's the United States of America.

Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?


Image: Obama addresses delegates at the 2004 Democratic National Conventio at the FleetCenter in Boston
Photographs: Gary Hershorn/Reuters

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