Four years ago, a bright-eyed and optimistic Barack Obama accepted his selection as the president of the United States with a promise for hope and change.
Tuesday night (November 6), the same man took the stage at Chicago's McCormick Place — his wife and daughters at his side — to Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed Delivered," the same song he used In much of his 2008 campaign. But this time, the 44th president — a little more wise and a bit more gray-haired — addressed a "nation divided," one composed of citizens a bit less doe-eyed and some even jaded. And while he pledged to instill that same hope and change in the next four years, he acknowledged the risks of "blind optimism" or "wishful idealism."
In fact, he said, "hope" is really just a fancy word for stubbornness.
"I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing that exists when something better awaits us," Obama told a boisterous crowd hours after he was deemed the night's victor (and confirmed it with a record-breaking tweet). "For the United States of America, the best is yet to come."
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After thanking his supporters, the "love of his life," Michelle, and Vice President Joe "The Happy Warrior" Biden for their support, Obama emphasized how important it is for both parties to come together to get the country back on track during his second time around. While he acknowledged that politics can be "noisy and messy and complicated," the president said this time around, working together can clean the country up.
"When we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passion and stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight and shouldn't. Arguments are a mark of our liberty," the POTUS told the crowd, still cheering well after 1 a.m. "In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to working with both parties to solve problems that we can only solve together."
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He pointed to the government's response to Hurricane Sandy as a prime example of what can be done when elected officials put party politics aside and work together.
"I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states," he said as the crowd reached deafening levels. "We are and forever will be the United States of America."
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