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I the it.
-- do you.
Thinking Alain -- thank you so much.
We -- are so grateful for your family service and sacrifice.
You will always have your back.
Few years this First Lady I have had the extraordinary privilege.
Of traveling all across this country and everywhere I've gone in the people I've met.
And the stories I've heard I have seen the very best of the American spirit.
I've seen it in that the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family especially our girls.
I've seen it in in teachers in the near -- school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.
I I've seen it -- people who become heroes at a moment's notice.
Diving into harm's way to save others flying across the country to put out of fire.
Driving for hours to be a lot of flooded town.
And I've seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families.
They're not just going to walk again.
They're gonna run and they're -- -- run marathons.
In the young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said simply.
I give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do.
Every day the people I need inspired me.
Every day they make me proud every day they remind me how blessed we are.
To live in the room.
Greatest nation on earth.
That's your First Lady is an honor and a privilege.
But back when we first came together for years ago I still have some concerns about this journey we've begun.
While I believed deeply in my husband's vision for this country and I was certain he would make an extraordinary president.
Like any mother.
I was worried about what it would mean for our girls if he got that chance to -- we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight.
How would they feel being uprooted from their school their friends in the only home they'd ever known.
See our life before moving to Washington.
Was it was filled with a simple -- Saturdays at soccer games Sunday that grandma's house.
And it date night for Barack and me was either dinner or movie because -- -- exhausted mom I couldn't stay awake for both of and the truth is.
I loved the life we had built for girls.
And I deeply loved the man I had built that life would.
And I didn't want that to change it he became president.
You see even back then.
When Barack was a senator in a presidential candidates need.
He was still the guy who picked me up for our days in a car.
That was so -- out.
I could actually see the pavement.
Going by -- a hole.
-- side door.
The guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he found in a dumpster.
And was only pair of decent shoes was a half size too small.
But -- when when Barack started telling me about his family.
See now and that's when I knew I had found a kindred spirit.
Someone whose values and upbringing -- so much like -- You see Barack and I were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way money or material possessions but.
Who had given us something far more valuable.
-- unflinching sacrifice.
And the chance to.
My father was a pump operator -- the city water plant.
-- -- was -- diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when my brother and I were young.
And even as a kid.
I knew there was plenty of days when he was in pain.
And I knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.
But every morning.
I watched my -- -- wake up with a smile.
-- grabbed his walker propped himself up against the bathroom sink in slowly shade and -- his uniform.
And when he returned home after a long day's work my brother and I would would stand at the top of the stairs of our little apartment.
Patiently waiting to greet him.
Watching his team reached down to lift one leg and then the other just slowly climb his way into our arms.
But despite these challenges.
My dad hardly ever missed a day of work.
She and my mom were determined to give me -- my credit.
They could only.
Finally made it to college so nearly all of our tuition came from student loans and grants.
But my dad still had to pay a tiny portion of that tuition and self.
And every semester he was determined to pay that bill right on time even taking out loans when he fell short.
He was so proud.
To be sending his kids to college and he made sure we never miss the registration deadline because his check was late.
You see for my dad that's.
What it meant to be a man.
Success in life.
Being able -- earn a decent living that allowed him to support his family.
And and as I got to know Barack I realized that even though he had grown up all the way across the country.
He'd been brought up just like me.
Brock was raised by a single mom who struggle to pay the bills and by grandparents who stepped in when she needed help.
Barack's grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank.
As she moved quickly up the ranks.
But like so many women she hit -- glass ceiling.
And for years men that no more qualified than she was -- she had actually trained -- promoted up the ladder ahead of her.
Earning more and more money while Barack's family continued to scrape -- But day after day she kept on waking up -- -- to catch the bus.
Arriving at work before anyone else.
Giving her best without complaint -- regret.
And and she would often tell Barack.
So long as you kids do well -- that's all that really matters.
-- like so many American families.
Our families weren't asking for much.
And they didn't begrudge anyone else's success or care that others had much more than they did it.
In fact they had mired in they they simply believed in the fundamental American promise.
If you don't start out.
-- much if you work hard and do what you're supposed to do.
You should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.
How they -- We learned.
From there example.
We learned about dignity and decency.
That how hard you work matters more than how much you make that helping others means more than just get ahead yourself.
Week we learned about honesty and integrity.
That the truth matters.
-- -- -- We learned about gratitude and humility and they had so many people had a hand in our success from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean.
Those are the values that Barack and I and so many of you are trying to pass -- our own children.
Who we are.
And standing and before you four years ago.
I knew that I didn't want any of that to change of Barack became president.
After so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband ways I never could have imagined.
I have seen firsthand.
That being president doesn't change who you are.
No hit it reveals who you.
And and personal what being president really looks like.
And I've seen how the issues that come across -- president's desk are always the hard ones.
You know the problems -- no amount of data out -- numbers we'll get you to the right answer.
The judgment calls with the stakes are so high and there is no margin for error and -- president you're gonna get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.
But at the end of the day when it comes time to make that decision as president.
All you have to guide you.
Are your values and your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are.
I'm still -- that building our economy.
But -- is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.
He's thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day's work.
That's why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act to help.
-- working families and small businesses.
And -- to get the auto industry back on its feet.
The brink of collapse to creating jobs again jobs even raise -- family on good jobs.
Right here in the United States of America.
When it comes to the health of our families Barack refuse to listen to all those folks who told him to -- health reform.
For another day another president.
He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically no that's not how he was raised.
He -- that it was the right thing to do.
Here in America.
Our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine our kids should be -- to see a doctor when they're sick.
And no one in this country should ever go broke.
Because of an accident or an illness.
There are more than capable of making our own choices about our body.
Giving our kids the education they deserve.
Barack knows that like me and like so many of you he never.
Could -- attended college without financial -- And believe it or not when we were first married are combined monthly student loan bill was actually higher than our mortgage.
Yeah we we were so young so in love and so in debt.
And that's why -- rockets fought so hard to increase student aid.
They keep interest rates -- So windy and it.
-- of Iraq these issues.
Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles he knows what it means to -- something more for your kids and grandkids.
Barack knows the American dream because he's lived did.
And he wants.
No matter who we are.
Where -- -- what we looked like horrible we'd love.
And it's bad when you -- -- and done well.
And and walk through that -- way of opportunity.
You do not slam it shut behind you know you reached back.
When when people ask me.
-- being in the White House has changed my husband.
I can honestly say that when it comes to his character and his convictions and his heart.
Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.
This same man.
-- -- started his career.
By turning down high paying jobs and instead working and struggling neighborhoods were steel plant it shut down fighting.
To rebuild those communities and get folks back -- work.
Because for -- Success isn't about how much money you make.
It's about the difference you make in people's lives.
-- He's saying man.
-- our girls were first born.
Would anxiously checked their cribs every few minutes to ensure that they were still breathing.
Proudly showing the -- -- every one we knew them.
You see that's the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night.
-- questions about issues in the news.
About middle school friendships.
That's the -- and I see in those quiet moments late at night.
Hunched over his desk.
Poring over the letters people let's send him.
That the letter from the father struggling to pay his bills.
-- from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won't cover her care.
-- from the young people was so much promise but so few opportunities.
And I see the concern in his eyes.
And I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me you won't believe what these folks are going through Michelle it's not right.
We got to keep working to fix this we've got so much more.
Our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams.
I see how that's what drives Barack Obama every single day.
And I didn't think that it was possible but let me tell you today I love my husband even more than I did four years ago even more than I -- 1830 years ago when we first match.
See I I -- And that he would never forgotten how he started.
I love that -- trust Barack to do what he said he's gonna do even when it's hard especially when it's hard.
Yeah I I love that for Barack.
There is no such thing as us and then he -- hear what you're Democrat or Republican.
Or none of the above.
He knows that we all love our country.
Any is always ready to listen to good idea he's always looking for the very best.
In everyone he meets.
And I I love that even.
In the toughest moments.
When we're also -- and it.
When when -- -- worried that the bill won't pass it seems like all is lost.
See Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter in the noise -- Just like his grandmother.
She just keeps getting up and moving forward with.
Patience and wisdom.
And courage and grace.
We are playing a long game here.
And that change is hard.
And changes slow and it never happens all at once but eventually.
We get there.
We always do what we we get there because the folks like my dad.
Folks like Barack's grandmother men and women who -- was said to themselves.
I may not have a chance to fulfill my dreams but maybe my children will.
Maybe my grandchildren will.
-- see so many of us stand here denied because of their sacrifice.
And longing and steadfast love.
Because time and again they swallow their fears and doubts.
And did what was hard.
-- win the challenges we face.
Start to seem overwhelming or even impossible.
Let us never forget.
-- doing the impossible is the history of this nation it is who we are America.
-- -- parents and grandparents could -- And and struggle for us.
Yeah if they could raise -- of steel to the skies and demands of the movies.
Connect the world with a touch of the button.
This then surely we can keep on sacrifice -- and building for our own kids and grandkids right.
And and -- so many brave men and women.
Could Wear our country's uniform and sacrificed.
Their lives for our most fundamental rights.
Mean surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights.
Surely we get -- -- the polls on Election Day and make our voice is tired.
And black Smiths could -- independence from an empire.
If if emigrants could leave behind everything they knew for better life on our shores if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote.
A quick generation did defeat a depression and define greatness for all time -- young preacher could lift does the mountain -- what.
They are and boldly stand -- -- who they love.
-- In this country a -- chance.
Great American dream.
In the end.
More than anything else.
That is the story of this country this story -- unwavering hope grounded -- unyielding struggle.
That is what has made my story and Barack story.
And and so many other American stories possible and let me tell you something I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady know.
Not just as a wife.
At the end of the day.
My most important title is still mom and she.
Not hard -- my heart's.
And the -- of my world.
But let me tell you today I have been none of those worries from four years ago no.
Not about whether Barack and I were doing what was best for our girls.
I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters.
And for all of our sons and daughters.
If if we wanna give me all -- art children's.
For their dreams.
And opportunities worthy of their promise.
-- -- we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility.
That belief that here in America there's always something better out there is few -- willing to more poor and.
-- must've -- like never before.
And -- Am.
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