Videos and transcripts of speeches by famous people, past and present, real and fictional
The following articles were authored by admin

Mitt Romney: The Secret Video: August 2012

This video made the news in mid-September 2012 with Mitt Romney, presidential candidate for the Republican party in the US for the November 2012 elections. It was filmed at an exclusive $50,000-a-plate dinner for supporters, but became controversial for his apparent dismissal of 47% of Americans as being dependent on government handouts and therefore not likely to vote for him in the forthcoming US presidential elections.

The video is from the liberal Mother Jones website. The transcript is from NBCnews.

You can find the full video there.

Mitt Romney:

we speak with– with voters across the country about their perceptions. Those people I told you, the 5%, to 6% or 7% that we have to sort of bring on– on our side? They all voted for Barack Obama four years ago.

So– and, by the way, when you– when you say to them, “Do you think Barack Obama is a failure?” they overwhelmingly say, “No.” They like him.

But when you say, “Are you disappointed that his policies haven’t worked?” they say, “Yes.” And– and because they voted for him they don’t wanna be told that they were wrong. That he’s a bad guy. That he did bad things. That he’s corrupt.

The– these– those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing but he just wasn’t up to the task. They love the phrase that he’s over his head. But if we’re– when we– but, you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us. And– and these people are people who voted for him and don’t agree with us.

And– and so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them. And the– and the best success I have in speaking with those people is saying, you know, “The president’s been a disappointment. He told you he’d keep unemployment below 8%. Hasn’t been below 8% since.

“50% of kids coming out of school can’t get a job. 50%. 50% of the kids in high school in our 50 largest cities won’t graduate from high school.

What are they gonna do?” And the– these are the kinds of things that– that I can– I can say– to– to that audience that– that they nod they head and say, “Yeah, I think you’re right.”

What he’s gonna do, by the way, is try and vilify me as someone who’s been successful. Or who’s– or who’s, you know, closed businesses or laid people off and this is an e– an evil bad guy. And that may work.

Dónal Óg Cusack: Foyle Pride Festival, August 2012

Irish sportsman Dónal Óg Cusack describes being gay in conservative rural Ireland, and being a nationally well-known player of the traditional sport of hurling in his native Cork. The speech was given at a gay pride event in Derry in Northern Ireland.

The video of this speech by Dónal Óg Cusack is from the GayDerry channel on Youtube and the transcript is from the GayCork.com, and edited.

Dónal Óg Cusack:

As I said, it’s an honour to be here this evening. I come from a small village in east Cork called Cloyne. How do I describe home? Well, if I decide to walk to the shop and back that’s pretty much the gay pride parade done for the year. So if you guys think you have come a long way, for me being here tonight is like playing Radio City Music Hall.

Growing up in Cloyne we didn’t have a gay scene. We didn’t have any scene really but we especially didn’t have a gay scene. So I’ve always been a little bit innocent in that way. I was thinking of that on the drive up here today, something that happened just a couple of years ago when I said to a straight friend of mine that I thought a man we both knew might be gay.

What makes you think that? he said.

Ah, something just used a word he used there yesterday that only gay people would know.

Really said my friend, what was that?

I looked around as if I was about to give away a state secret of the gay republic of Cork. I practically whispered it.

GAYDAR!

About twenty minutes later when he’d stopped laughing at me he explained that there were fellas running the Taliban in downtown Kabul who would be making jokes about who had the best gaydar.

What about in the DUP? I said.

Time, Dónal Óg. All in time.

It’s a long drive up here and I had plenty of time to think along the way ( that won’t necessarily be reflected in this speech which is stuff I lifted from Wikipedia).

It struck me as an odd thing to be driving all this way to open this festival knowing that when I get here most of the audience will neither know nor care about who or what I am and knowing that back home there’s a section of the world who would see me being here as the only thing that I am.

This county has given us Heaney and the Undertones and must also bear responsibility for Joe Brolly but it hasn’t given us much by way of hurling, the world’s greatest sport. So to those of few who are curious I see myself as ticking a series of boxes, most of which would have got me kneecapped in various places at various times of my life.

Dónal Óg Cusack. An Irish name and the sum total of the Irish language that my parents have ever used. If I ever break down in certain parts I pretend to be my brother, Victor.

I come from a family with names of Dónal Óg, Conor, Treasa, and Victor. In Cork I’d be kneecapped first for being a trouble-maker who has organised a series of player strikes or for my short puc out strategy which in Cork is far more controversial than who I sleep with.

And I’m an out gay man. For me that’s a small part of the deal. Half a chapter maybe in a lifetime’s story. But if out of curiosity you come to see me play and can’t pick me out because we all wear helmets I’ll be the one just in front of the loudmouth on the terrace with the megaphone. He’ll be singing “he’s gay/he’s bent/his ass is up for rent/ Dónal Óg/Dónal Óg.”

People around him will be looking embarrassed and I’ll be staring up the field.

Not giving any attention to the person.

I thought of that today as I drove from Cork as the place names started ringing different bells with me. The villages around home where I grew up, then the places with hurling clubs that I’d have played against regularly. The further I travelled the more people’s definition of me changed. Yet on every mile of the journey I remained just me. I’m sure you all know that experience. People defining you in different ways and you realising that you are you and and always you.

Onwards through places I associate with different people. Different people I’d know and then as I crossed the border all the place names suddenly seemed to remind me of the troubles and the journey got to be about my own lazy definitions.

I got to wondering if gaydar north of the border comes with more advanced settings than we have down south. If I grew up here and walked into a crowded room like this, would I be saying to myself Gay Shinner at three o clock, Orange Order tranny marching in the hallway, Free Presbyterian pansexuals serving the snacks.

And when you travel down that road the whole business of labelling people and defining them and putting them into social ghettos gets to be almost as comical as it is dangerous.

This is a city that knows all too well. I’m conscious that standing here in this place and in this company and there’s not much a person like me can tell you about rights. Whether you call it Derry, Londonderry, Foyleside or Stroke City this town will always be synonymous with civil rights. You don’t have to know a lot about history to know that in the summer of 1969, when gays and lesbians were engaged in the Stonewall riots in New York City, the Battle of the Bogside was happening here in Derry.

At first the comparisons between those two things seem remote and far fetched. As Eamonn McCann has written, when the policemen came mobhanded down Lecky Road into the Bogside they sang

Hey, hey we’re the monkees

and we’re going to monkee around

till we see your blood flowing

all along the ground.

A few thousand miles away in Greenwich Village gays were facing down their own mob of police. In New York though it was the protestors who were singing.

“We are all Stonewall girls/ we wear our hair in curls/ we wear no underwear/ we show our pubic hair/ we wear our dungarees/ above our nelly knees.”

The Bogside in 1969 wasn’t the time or the place for Eamon McCann or Bernadette Devlin to come up with a similar ditty, (though Nell McCafferty must surely have nelly knees), but the theme in both cities was the same. You colonise places and societies by getting one part of that society to think they have the right to police another section of society.

And hey presto, once the people doing the abusing have somebody to demonise or something to be scared of they don’t notice the poverty of their own lives.

That’s why I never hear what goes on in the terrace behind me. I’m in the privileged position that the people who would try to police my life have no power, the guy with the megaphone or the big mouth has paid in to see me and to embarrass himself. No matter what happens I can’t be the loser in that situation.

I live in a world which isn’t free of prejudice, far from it. But which lets me especially close to home define myself in the way I want to be defined. By the time I came out I had long ceased making a secret about my private life but what was funny was that people who were close to me never saw the wood for the trees. They just had certain assumptions.

I’ve told the story often of a team trip to Vietnam and me drifting away from a teammate in Ho Chi Minh city one night. I woke up in a strange bed in a strange city the next morning. That’s what I’d hoped to do, and it took me quite a while to get back to the team hotel. Finally around noon I wandered in and was greeted with high good humour by the lads who just assumed I’d drunk myself silly and got lost.

When I did come out to them we had lots of deep conversations. And their loyalty to me then and since then has been one of the most moving and meaningful things in my life. It’s been a great positive. So have all the encounters with young people thinking about coming out. All the meetings with people who took a bit of encouragement in taking big steps in their own lives.

I know I am lucky though. I know every journey in this room is different to mine.

I know that the journey from 1969 to here has been different in this part of the world to practically anywhere else in the world. Buried beneath a hundred other prejudices and hatreds there must be a secret history of gay men and women living out their lives in the deepest shadows.

We know only little pieces. Ian Paisley and his Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign launched at a time when things were so bad here that you’d have thought a little sodomy would have been a diversion. We know of the heroism of Jeff Dudgeon, already mentioned here tonight, whose having been questioned about his personal life by the RUC brought his case against the United Kingdom to the European Court of Human rights and won. Fifteen years after male homosexual behaviour was decriminalised in England and Wales, Jeff succeeded in having it decriminalised here. It took another eleven years for the twenty-six counties to follow suit into the modern world. When I was going to secondary school, it was illegal for me to be a gay person in the Republic.

I say ‘follow suit,’ I mean be dragged kicking and screaming by the same court citing his precedent.

It’s victories like that that we celebrate. Landmark moments like Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles going to City Hall in Belfast and becoming the first couple in the UK to legally register a same-sex partnership.

And though it seems like a small thing, we must also welcome Gavin Robinson the DUP Lord Mayor of Belfast attending a gay pride event in the city a few weeks ago. Sinn Féin in Cork have been the first to support gay marriage, the first party in the south to support gay marriage.

Engaging in debate represents massive progress for a party who still have their Save Ulster from Sodomy Days at home. It’s a huge step forward for the party of Edwin Poots or Iris Robinson.

It’s a strange thing isn’t it (although we see it through history in lots of places) that here’s a society where people are learning to live with each other with less fear and loathing, yet surveys show (as spoken about one earlier today) a hardening of attitudes against gay and lesbian people. That really surprised me when I did a bit of research before this event. To see two religious faiths coming together to oppose gay marriage strengthens the theory that fear of gays and lesbians is “the last great prejudice of our times.”

That’s why events like this are important. When I came out a few years ago I wasn’t making any big statement about myself. I was following up on a promise I made to myself when I was younger. I was at a gay club in Cork and somebody recognised me as a hurler. They came over to me, said to me “Are you Dónal Óg?” I denied it. The next day, I woke up and I said that would never ever happen to me again.

One of my best friends in playing for Cork, the legendary hurling figure Diarmuid O’Sullivan, as big and tough a man, an aggressive figure as you could ever meet. I’d often heard him talk negatively about the HLBT community

I rang him up, he said he was at home in his parents’ house. I went into his house, met his mother, and his mother said he was upstairs in his room. Went into Diarmuid’s room, he was lying on the bed, he said “Sit down beside me.”

I thought it might not be the best place to be sitting beside with what I was going to tell him, and I told him the story, told him about the other side of my life.

To this day, that man has absolutely loyal to me as all my other friends have been. I’ve never ever heard him say anything about any of the HLBT community, other than anything positive.

For me, that’s, if there’s anything I can say to the people in this room, that’s a perfect example of that.

That was my journey and as I say every journey is different but what has been important for me is demonstrating to people that who I sleep with is only a part of who I am.

I like what the late Gore Vidal said about there being no such thing as a homosexual person or a heterosexual person. The words are just adjectives describing natural sexual acts, not people. Some of us respond to our own sex, some to the opposite sex, some to both sexes, some to neither sex, some to different things at different times.

It wouldn’t be worth worrying about if it wasn’t the hysteria and prejudice of other people. I came out to be myself. To be Dónal Óg Cusack. I’m lots of things. For forty to fifty hours a week I’m an electrical engineer for a multinational company. For a couple of other hours in the week, I’m the chairperson of the Gaelic Athletic Players Association. For far fewer hours in a week, sadly, even in a good week, I’m in bed with a man. I never get invited to Electrical Engineer Pride events though.

People want to define me a certain way. I didn’t come out to play on all gay hurling team though I’d take a bullet for anybody’s right to do so if they want to and I enjoy ideas like the Ulster Titans rugby. I came out for the right to be me and to play for Cork as me and for everybody to accept that.

I say this not just because everybody’s journey is different but because I think there is nothing so important to any of us on that journey as the title we put on events like these. PRIDE.

For me that’s something more concrete to grasp than any other label we may give ourselves or any names others may give us. As campaigning groups we sometimes get so tied up with our organisations names and acronyms in an well-meaning attempt to include every possible sort of orientation that we miss the point.

What unites us at the end of the day is pride in being who we are, pride in the totality of who we are as people. Pride in the fact that we refuse to just fit the label hung on us by prejudice.

We can’t be limited in what we do in life and in law by our choice of who, if anybody, we sleep with or what God, if any, we worship. This city knows that better than anywhere else. If we narrow the definition of a person to one aspect of their life, we create a ghetto and a platform for prejudice.

It’s about pride. I’m proud to be Dónal Óg Cusack. Proud to be from Cloyne. To be a Corkman. To be the son of the parents I have. To be a hurler. To give my best. And proud of the decisions I’ve taken in my personal life.

I’m not just from Cloyne, not just from Cork, not just a hurler. Not just a gay man. Like everybody in this room I’m the sum total of many, many things and that’s how I want to be judged. That to me is what pride is about.

The only way you can be JUST one thing, the only way you can limit the definition of yourself, the only way you can make the world smaller and darker is to be a bigot. JUST a bigot. A small scared man with a big megaphone.

So when we enjoy this festival and share our pride in who we are we just have to remember that. With pride, brothers and sisters, we will always prevail.

Thank you very much.

Barack Obama: Democratic Convention speech, September 2012

President candidate for the Republican Party Barack Obama addresses the Democratic party convention, in September 2012, three months before the 2012 presidential election in the US.

The video of this Barack Obama’s speech can be downloaded from the CSPAN channel on Youtube. The transcript is from the Huffington Post website, edited slightly.

President Barack Obama:
Thank you! Thank you so much!

Michelle, I love you so much. A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am.

Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you… and, yes, you still have to go to school in the morning. And Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best Vice President I could have ever hoped for, and being a strong and loyal friend.

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

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, not 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 that 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.

But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties.

It will be a choice between two different paths for America.

A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger – a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office to the factory floor. My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their own home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story: the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

And I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; folks racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the great recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”

“Deficit too high? Try another.”

“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We have been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward, America!

Now 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. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way – those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:

We’re making things again.

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car. Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on the top of the world.

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America – not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers – goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. And now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

We’re offering a better path – where we – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. It was the gateway for most of you. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

And now you have a choice – we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers overseas because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home. That’s not our future. That is not our future.

Government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work. And together, I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth. So help me. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America.

That’s our future. You know, in a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.

But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.

So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – not al Qaeda, Russia – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said that it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. Well, I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges, and schools, and runways. Because after two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without sticking it to our middle class. Independent experts shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion. And last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 billion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done and we can get this done. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, what [did] Bill Clinton call it “you do do the arithmetic.” You do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, I never will.

I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, to eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less. I’m not going along with that.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of social security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”

You know what? That’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system – the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world has ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, a word at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.

We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.

We believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States – and it’s in our power to give her that chance.

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think government can solve all of our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours.

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That’s what we believe.

So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens – you were the change.

You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.” “Welcome home.” You did that. You did that.

If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible… well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: the lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are trying to make it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward.

You know, I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed – and so have I.

I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.

I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter – she gives me hope.

The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife – he gives me hope.

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn’t lay off a single one of their four thousand employees when the recession hit, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay – because they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that business – they give me hope.

And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, we would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled.

He gives me hope.

He gives me hope.

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.”

And if you share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote.

If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.

If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you and God bless you.

Mitt Romney: Republican Convention Speech, August 2012

2012 Presidential candidate for the Republican Party Mitt Romney addresses the Republican party convention, in August 2012, three months before the 2012 presidential election in the US.

The video of this speech by Mitt Romney can be downloaded from the CSPAN channel on Youtube. The transcript is from the Huffington Post website, edited slightly.

Mitt Romney:

Thank you. Mr. Chairman, delegates. I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you have placed in me. It is a great honor. It is an even greater responsibility.

And tonight I am asking you to join me to walk together to a better future. And by my side, I have chosen a man with a big heart from a small town. He represents the best of America, a man who will always make us very proud – my friend and America’s next Vice President, Paul Ryan.

In the days ahead, you are going to get to know Paul and Janna better. But last night America got to see what I saw in Paul Ryan – a strong and caring leader who is down to earth and confident in the challenge this moment demands.

And I love the way he lights up around his kids and how he’s not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom.

But Paul, I still like the playlist on my iPod better than yours.

Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That choice was not the choice of our party but Americans always come together after elections. We are a good and generous people and we are united by so much more than what divides us.

When that election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have – optimistic and positive and confident in the future.

That very optimism is uniquely American.

It is what brought us to America. We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in the place called America could be better.

They came not just in pursuit of the riches of this world but for the richness of this life.

Freedom.

Freedom of religion.

Freedom to speak their mind.

Freedom to build a life.

And yes, freedom to build a business. With their own hands.

This is the essence of the American experience.

We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future.

When every new wave of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty, or knelt down and kissed the shores of freedom just ninety miles from Castro’s tyranny, these new Americans surely had many questions. But none doubted that here in America they could build a better life, that in America their children would be blessed more than they.

But today, four years from the excitement of that last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future.

It is not what we were promised.

Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get a little ahead, put aside a little more for college, do more for their elderly mom that’s living alone now or give a little more to their church or their charity.

Every small business wanted these to be their best years ever, when they could hire more, do more for those who had stuck with them through the hard times, open a new store or sponsor that Little League team.

Every new college graduate thought they’d have a good job by now, a place of their own. They could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future.

This is when our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt and rolling back those massive deficits.

This was the hope and change America voted for.

It’s not just what we wanted. It’s not just what we expected.

It’s what Americans deserved.

You deserved it because during these years, you worked harder than ever before. You deserved it because when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out movie nights and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at 9 bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you’re an American and you don’t quit. You did it because it was what you had to do.

But driving home late from that second job, or standing there watching the gas pump hit 50 dollars and still going, when the realtor told you that to sell your house you’d have to take a big loss, in those moments you knew that this just wasn’t right.

But what could you do? Except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic. Hug your kids a little longer; maybe spend a little more time praying that tomorrow would be a better day.

I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. And with your help we WILL do something.

Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, “I’m an American. I make my destiny. We deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!”

So here we stand. Americans have a choice. A decision.

To make that choice, you need to know more about me and about where I will lead our country.

I was born in the middle of the century in the middle of the country, a classic baby boomer. It was a time when Americans were returning from war and eager to work. To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. When President Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon, the question wasn’t whether we’d get there, it was only when we’d get there.

The soles of Neil Armstrong’s boots on the moon made permanent impressions on OUR souls. Ann and I watched those steps together on her parents’ sofa. Like all Americans we went to bed that night knowing we lived in the greatest country in the history of the world.

God bless Neil Armstrong.

Tonight that American flag is still there on the moon. And I don’t doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong’s spirit is still with us: that unique blend of optimism, humility and the utter confidence that when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American.

That’s how I was brought up.

My dad had been born in Mexico and his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution. I grew up with stories of his family being fed by the US government as war refugees. My dad never made it through college and he apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter. And he had big dreams. He convinced my mom, a beautiful young actress, to give up Hollywood to marry him. He moved to Detroit, led a great automobile company and became Governor of the great state of Michigan.

We were Mormons and, growing up in Michigan, that might have seemed unusual or out of place but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to.

My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO.

Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family – and God’s love — this world would be a far more gentle and better place.

My Mom and Dad were married for 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist – because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table. That’s how she found out what happened on the day my father died – she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose.

My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, “Why should women have any less say than men about the great decisions facing our nation?”

Don’t you wish she could have been here at the convention and heard leaders like Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.

I grew up in Detroit in love with cars and wanted to be a car guy, like my dad. But by the time I was out of school, I realized that I had to go out on my own, that if I stayed around Michigan in the same business, I’d never really know if I was getting a break because of my dad. I wanted to go someplace new and prove myself.

Those weren’t the easiest of days – too many long hours and weekends working, five young sons who seemed to have this need to re-enact a different world war every night. But if you ask Ann and I what we’d give, to break up just one more fight between the boys, or wake up in the morning and discover a pile of kids asleep in our room. Well, every mom and dad knows the answer to that.

These were tough days, on Ann, particularly. She was heroic. Five boys, with our families a long way away. I had to travel a lot for my job then and I’d call and try to offer support. But every mom knows that doesn’t help get the homework done or the kids out the door to school.

I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. And I knew without question, that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine. And as America saw Tuesday night, Ann would have succeeded at anything she wanted to do.

Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church. When we were new to the community it was welcoming and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved into town or just joined our church. We had remarkably vibrant and diverse congregations from all walks of life and many were new to America. We prayed together, our kids played together and we always stood ready to help each other out in different ways.

And that’s how it is in America. We look to our communities, our faiths, our families for our joy, our support, in good times and bad. It is both how we live our lives and why we live our lives. The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, and our faiths.

That is the bedrock of what makes America, America. In our best days, we can feel the vibrancy of America’s communities, large and small.

It’s when we see that new business opening up downtown. It’s when we go to work in the morning and see everybody else on the block doing the same thing.

It’s when our son or daughter calls from college to talk about which job offer they should take….and you try not to choke up when you hear that the one they like best is not too far from home.

It’s that good feeling when you have more time to volunteer to coach your kid’s soccer team, or help out on school trips.

But for too many Americans, those kind of good days are harder to come by. How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?

Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I’d ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama? You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.

The President hasn’t disappointed you because he wanted to. The President has disappointed America because he hasn’t led America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to the task at hand. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.

I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience.

When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses.

So some of us had this idea that if we really believed our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and on our advice.

So we started a new business called Bain Capital. The only problem was, while WE believed in ourselves, not many other people did. We were young and had never done this before and we almost didn’t get off the ground. In those days, sometimes I wondered if I had made a really big mistake. By the way I had thought about asking my church’s pension fund to invest, but I didn’t. I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors’ money, but I didn’t want to go to hell too. Shows what I know. Another of my partners got the Episcopal Church pension fund to invest. And today there are a lot of happy retired priests who should thank him.

That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story. Some of the companies we helped start are names you know and you’ve heard from tonight. An office supply company called Staples – where I’m pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping; The Sports Authority, which of course became a favorite of my boys. We helped start an early childhood learning center called Bright Horizons that First Lady Michelle Obama rightly praised. At a time when nobody thought we’d ever see a new steel mill built in America, we took a chance and built one in a corn field in Indiana. Today Steel Dynamics is one of the largest steel producers in the United States.

These are American success stories. And yet the centerpiece of the President’s entire re-election campaign is attacking success. Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression? In America, we celebrate success, we don’t apologize for it.

Now we weren’t always successful at Bain. But no one ever is in the real world of business.

That’s what this President doesn’t seem to understand. Business and growing jobs is about taking risk, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always striving. It is about dreams. Usually, it doesn’t work out exactly as you might have imagined. Steve Jobs was fired at Apple. And then he came back and changed the world.

It’s the genius of the American free enterprise system – to harness the extraordinary creativity and talent and industry of the American people with a system that is dedicated to creating tomorrow’s prosperity, not trying to redistribute today’s.

That is why every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction: “You’re better off today than you were four years ago.”

Except Jimmy Carter. And except this president.

This president can ask us to be patient.

This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault.

This president can tell us that the next four years he’ll get it right.

But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office.

America has been patient. Americans have supported this president in good faith.

But today, the time has come to turn the page.

Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us.

To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations.

To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be.

Now is the time to restore the promise of America. Many Americans have given up on this president but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.

What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs.

What America needs is jobs.

Lots of jobs.

In the richest country in the history of the world, this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4,000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices – they’ve doubled. Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before. Nearly one out of six Americans is living in poverty. Look around you. These aren’t strangers. These are our brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans.

His policies have not helped create jobs, they have depressed them. And this I can tell you about where President Obama would take America:

His plan to raise taxes on small business won’t add jobs, it will eliminate them;

His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China;

His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk;

His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation – and jobs – in medicine.

And his trillion-dollar deficits – they slow our economy, restrain employment, and cause wages to stall.

To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: if Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right.

I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find a job. Where no senior fears for the security of their retirement. An America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads them to a good job and a bright horizon.

And unlike the President, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. Paul Ryan and I have 5 steps.

First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil, our coal, our gas, and our nuclear and renewables.

Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.

Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

And fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.

And fifth, we will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Today, women are more likely than men to start a business. They need a president who respects and understands what they do.

And let me make this very clear – unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class of America.

As president, I will protect the sanctity of life. I will honor the institution of marriage. And I will guarantee America’s first liberty: the freedom of religion.

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. MY promise…is to help you and your family.

I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began his presidency with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations. No, Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.

Every American was relieved the day President Obama gave the order, and Seal Team Six took out Osama bin Laden. On another front, every American is less secure today because he has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat.

In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We’re still talking, and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning.

President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus, even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castro’s Cuba. He abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from our missile defense commitments, but is eager to give Russia’s President Putin the flexibility he desires, after the election. Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone.

We will honor America’s democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world. This is the bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman and Reagan. And under my presidency we will return to it once again.

You might have asked yourself if these last years are really the America we want, the America that was won for us by the greatest generation.

Does the America we want borrow a trillion dollars from China? No.

Does it fail to find the jobs that are needed for 23 million people and for half the kids graduating from college? No.

Are those schools lagging behind the rest of the developed world? No.

And does the America we want succumb to resentment and division among Americans? We know the answer.

The America we all know has been a story of the many becoming one, uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.

Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the UNITED States of America.

That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother’s confidence that their children’s future is brighter even than the past.

That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.

That America, that America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our Constitution.

That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.

That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.

If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future for America tonight.

Barack Obama: Death of Osama Bin Laden: May 2011

US President Barack Obama addresses the American people following the death of Osama Bin Laden, in May 2011.

The video and transcript of this speech by Barack Obama can be downloaded from the official White House website.

President Barack Obama:

Good evening. 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.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must — and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, 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.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.