Barack Obama announces presidential campaign in Springfield, Ill., speech: Full text

On Feb. 10, 2007, then Senator Barack Obama of Illinois announced he would seek the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.

Ten years later, the country reflects on two successful presidential campaigns and two White House terms served terms by President Obama. From Obamacare, to economic upheaval, to the death of Osama Bin Laden, the nation evolved a great deal under the 45th president -- and it all started with a now decade-old speech in Springfield, Ill.

This is the full text of that historic speech:

Let me begin by saying thanks to all you who've traveled, from far and wide, to brave the cold today.

We all made this journey for a reason. It's humbling, but in my heart I know you didn't come here just for me, you came here because you believe in what this country can be. In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that's shut you out, that's told you to settle, that's divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, building that more perfect union.

That's the journey we're on today. But let me tell you how I came to be here. As most of you know, I am not a native of this great state. I moved to Illinois over two decades ago. I was a young man then, just a year out of college; I knew no one in Chicago, was without money or family connections. But a group of churches had offered me a job as a community organizer for $13,000 a year. And I accepted the job, sight unseen, motivated then by a single, simple, powerful idea -- that I might play a small part in building a better America.

My work took me to some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. I joined with pastors and lay-people to deal with communities that had been ravaged by plant closings. I saw that the problems people faced weren't simply local in nature -- that the decision to close a steel mill was made by distant executives; that the lack of textbooks and computers in schools could be traced to the skewed priorities of politicians a thousand miles away; and that when a child turns to violence, there's a hole in his heart no government could ever fill.

It was in these neighborhoods that I received the best education I ever had, and where I learned the true meaning of my Christian faith.

After three years of this work, I went to law school, because I wanted to understand how the law should work for those in need. I became a civil rights lawyer, and taught constitutional law, and after a time, I came to understand that our cherished rights of liberty and equality depend on the active participation of an awakened electorate. It was with these ideas in mind that I arrived in this capital city as a state Senator.

It was here, in Springfield, where I saw all that is America converge -- farmers and teachers, businessmen and laborers, all of them with a story to tell, all of them seeking a seat at the table, all of them clamoring to be heard. I made lasting friendships here -- friends that I see in the audience today.

It was here we learned to disagree without being disagreeable -- that it's possible to compromise so long as you know those principles that can never be compromised; and that so long as we're willing to listen to each other, we can assume the best in people instead of the worst.

That's why we were able to reform a death penalty system that was broken. That's why we were able to give health insurance to children in need. That's why we made the tax system more fair and just for working families, and that's why we passed ethics reforms that the cynics said could never, ever be passed.

It was here, in Springfield, where North, South, East and West come together that I was reminded of the essential decency of the American people -- where I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America.

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U.S. President Barack Obama wipes away tears as he delivers his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. President Barack Obama is joined onstage by Vice President Joe Biden after his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. President Barack Obama hugs his wife Michelle as Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill look on after the President delivered a farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/John Gress)

US President Barack Obama gestures before speaking during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

US first lady Michelle Obama holds her daughter Malia as US President Barack Obama speaks during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama arrives for his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017.

(Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd as he arrives to deliver his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/John Gress)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L-R), his wife Jill Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and her daughter Malia Obama stand for the national anthem before President Barack Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Supporters listen as US President Barack Obama speaks during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

US First Lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia, and US President Barack Obama hug after the President delivered his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Supporters attend President Barack Obama's farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election. / AFP / Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden points at a photographer before a farewell address by President Barack Obama, not pictured, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Obama blasted 'zero-sum' politics as he drew a sharp contrast with his successor in his farewell address Tuesday night, acknowledging that despite his historic election eight years ago his vision for the country will exit the White House with him.

(Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Supporters attend President Barack Obama's farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama is joined by Michelle and Malia after his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017.

(Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Music artist Eddie Vedder preforms before US President Barack Obama gives his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

US First Lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden wait for President Barack Obama to deliver his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 10: President Barack Obama delivers a farewell speech to the nation on January 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in the as the 45th president on January 20. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

US First Lady Michelle Obama hugs daughter Malia after US President Barack Obama delivered his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters attend President Barack Obama's farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and her daughter Malia embrace as President Barack Obama praises them during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Guests listens as President Barack Obama delivers a farewell speech to the nation on January 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in the as the 45th president on January 20.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Reverend Jesse Jackson, US civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and politician waits for US President Barack Obama to give his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

The Chicago Children's Choir perform before the start of the farewell address by U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Obama will draw an implicit contrast with his successor in his farewell address, acknowledging that despite his historic election eight years ago his vision for the country will exit the White House with him.

(Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, their daughter Malia, Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill acknowledge the crowd after President Obama delivered a farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/John Gress)

US President Barack Obama speaks during his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 2017. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump's shock election.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama is joined onstage by first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, after his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd as he arrives to deliver his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/John Gress)

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And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States.

I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness -- a certain audacity -- to this announcement. I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.

The genius of our founders is that they designed a system of government that can be changed. And we should take heart, because we've changed this country before. In the face of tyranny, a band of patriots brought an Empire to its knees. In the face of secession, we unified a nation and set the captives free. In the face of Depression, we put people back to work and lifted millions out of poverty. We welcomed immigrants to our shores, we opened railroads to the west, we landed a man on the moon, and we heard a King's call to let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more -- and it is time for our generation to answer that call.

For that is our unyielding faith -- that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.

That's what Abraham Lincoln understood. He had his doubts. He had his defeats. He had his setbacks. But through his will and his words, he moved a nation and helped free a people. It is because of the millions who rallied to his cause that we are no longer divided, North and South, slave and free. It is because men and women of every race, from every walk of life, continued to march for freedom long after Lincoln was laid to rest, that today we have the chance to face the challenges of this millennium together, as one people -- as Americans.

All of us know what those challenges are today -- a war with no end, a dependence on oil that threatens our future, schools where too many children aren't learning, and families struggling paycheck to paycheck despite working as hard as they can. We know the challenges. We've heard them. We've talked about them for years.

What's stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What's stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics -- the ease with which we're distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.

For the last six years we've been told that our mounting debts don't matter, we've been told that the anxiety Americans feel about rising health care costs and stagnant wages are an illusion, we've been told that climate change is a hoax, and that tough talk and an ill-conceived war can replace diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight. And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we've been told that our crises are somebody else's fault. We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants.

And as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what's filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. The time for that politics is over. It's time to turn the page.

We've made some progress already. I was proud to help lead the fight in Congress that led to the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.

But Washington has a long way to go. And it won't be easy. That's why we'll have to set priorities. We'll have to make hard choices. And although government will play a crucial role in bringing about the changes we need, more money and programs alone will not get us where we need to go. Each of us, in our own lives, will have to accept responsibility -- for instilling an ethic of achievement in our children, for adapting to a more competitive economy, for strengthening our communities, and sharing some measure of sacrifice. So let us begin. Let us begin this hard work together. Let us transform this nation.

Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.

And as our economy changes, let's be the generation that ensures our nation's workers are sharing in our prosperity. Let's protect the hard-earned benefits their companies have promised. Let's make it possible for hardworking Americans to save for retirement. And let's allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country's middle class again.

Let's be the generation that ends poverty in America. Every single person willing to work should be able to get job training that leads to a job, and earn a living wage that can pay the bills, and afford child care so their kids have a safe place to go when they work. Let's do this.

Let's be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let's be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president's first term.

Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. We can harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol and spur the production of more fuel-efficient cars. We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let's be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here.

Most of all, let's be the generation that never forgets what happened on that September day and confront the terrorists with everything we've got. Politics doesn't have to divide us on this anymore -- we can work together to keep our country safe. I've worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law that will secure and destroy some of the world's deadliest, unguarded weapons. We can work together to track terrorists down with a stronger military, we can tighten the net around their finances, and we can improve our intelligence capabilities. But let us also understand that ultimate victory against our enemies will come only by rebuilding our alliances and exporting those ideals that bring hope and opportunity to millions around the globe.

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The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, takes the oath given by US. Supreme Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. (lower R) during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009. Michelle Obama holds a Bible used by President Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration in 1861. Daughter Malia (R) looks on.

(REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

U.S President Barack Obama (C) addresses the crowd after taking the Oath of Office as the 44th President of the United States during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Vice President elect Joe Biden and President elect Barack Obama wave to the crowd gathered at the Edgewood, Md., train station as their train heads from Philadelphia to Washington on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, for the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.

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Buttons of Michelle Obama are for sale with US President-elect Barack Obama inauguration memorabilia at the Presidential Inaugural Committee store January 12, 2009, in Washington, DC.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Lakisha Smith cries as she watches the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States on a large screen in the neighborhood of Harlem January 20, 2009 in New York City. Obama was inaugurated as the first African-American president of the U.S.

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Sasha Obama, center, yawns during President Barack Obama's speech, as her sister, Malia, left, and mother/First Lady, Michell Obama, right, watch during the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday afternoon.

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Work continues on the inaugural platform at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 16, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, 2009.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A man walks on the inaugural stand at the west front of the U.S. Capitol January 15, 2009 in Washington, DC. Preparations for the presidential inauguration are under way for incoming U.S. President Barack Obama.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former U.S. President George W. Bush embraces President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, after Obama's inaugural address at the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

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Crowds fill the National Mall before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States at his inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A spectator waits on the National Mall on the morning of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States at his inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

U.S President Barack Obama (C) addresses the crowd after taking the Oath of Office as the 44th President of the United States during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the inaugural parade from the reviewing stand in from of the White House in Washington, DC, January 20, 2009.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2009. Michelle Obama watches at right. The Bible Obama uses is the same one that President Abraham Lincoln used at his Inauguration in 1861.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

President Barack Obama walks in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US.

(Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as 44th US president at the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2009.

(TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Malia (L) and Sasha Obama arrive at the inauguration ceremony of their father, President-elect Barack Obama, as the 44th President of the United States in Washington January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Brent Smith (L), 3, watches the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States on a large screen in the neighborhood of Harlem January 20, 2009 in New York City. Obama was inaugurated as the first African-American president of the U.S.

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A woman looks through binoculars at the Capitol building during the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

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Michael and Laurie McRobbie of Indiana attend the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

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Joe Biden, with his wife Jill at his side, is sworn-in as Vice President of the U.S. by Justice Stevens during the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

(REUTERS/Jim Young)

A man stands wearing a hat in support of U.S. President Barack Obama on the National Mall in Washington January 20, 2013. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden took the oath of office for his second term on Sunday at a small ceremony at his official residence, using a bible with a Celtic cross on the cover that has been in his family since 1893. The U.S. Constitution requires the president and vice president to be sworn in on January 20. 

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Aretha Franklin sings during the inauguration ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, January 20, 2009.

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U.S. President Barack Obama is applauded by members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) in the President's Room after signing his first act as president, a proclamation, moments after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States during the inaugural ceremony in Washington January 20, 2009. From left: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Vice President Joe Biden, JCCIC Chairman Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) To the right of Senator Reid is Lisa Brown, White House Clerk.

(REUTERS/Molly Riley)

An attendee prays during the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States in Washington, January 20, 2009.

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First lady Michelle Obama (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama escort former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura (R) down the steps of the U.S. Capitol after inauguration ceremony in Washington January 20, 2009.

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Vice President Joe Biden (L) recite the Pledge of Allegiance during the inauguration ceremony in Washington January 20, 2009.

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U.S President Barack Obama and his wife First Lady Michelle Obama dance on stage during MTV & ServiceNation: Live From The Youth Inaugural Ball at the Hilton Washington on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States today, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US.

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Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden attend the Southern Inaugural Ball celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama will be attending 10 Inaugural Balls. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to be elected President.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia wave to supporters lining Pennsylvania Avenue during the inaugural parade after he was sworn in as the 44th U.S. President in Washington January 20, 2009.

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U.S President Barack Obama (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as first lady Michelle Obama holds the bible and their daughters Malia and Sasha (L-R) look on in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, January 20, 2013.

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The U.S. Capitol is pictured at sunrise before the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, January 21, 2013.

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Recording artist Jay-Z arrives ahead swearing-in ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.

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Malia (L) and Sasha Obama arrive during the second presidential inauguration of their father, President Barack Obama, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington. Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States.

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U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (2nd from R, front) administers the oath of office to U.S. President Barack Obama as first lady Michelle Obama (C, front) and daughters Malia and Sasha (R, front) look on during ceremonies on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.

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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 21, 2013.

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A boy listens on the National Mall during the 57th inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington January 21, 2013.

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A woman listens on the National Mall during the 57th inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington January 21, 2013.

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A spectator watches U.S. President Barack Obama go by during the inaugural parade in Washington, January 21, 2013.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk and wave after emerging from the presidential limousine during the inaugural parade from the Capitol to the White House in Washington, January 21, 2013.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Inaugural Ball in Washington, January 21, 2013.

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But all of this cannot come to pass until we bring an end to this war in Iraq. Most of you know I opposed this war from the start. I thought it was a tragic mistake. Today we grieve for the families who have lost loved ones, the hearts that have been broken, and the young lives that could have been. America, it's time to start bringing our troops home. It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war. That's why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008. Letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Sunni and Shia to come to the table and find peace.

Finally, there is one other thing that is not too late to get right about this war -- and that is the homecoming of the men and women - our veterans -- who have sacrificed the most. Let us honor their valor by providing the care they need and rebuilding the military they love. Let us be the generation that begins this work.

I know there are those who don't believe we can do all these things. I understand the skepticism. After all, every four years, candidates from both parties make similar promises, and I expect this year will be no different. All of us running for president will travel around the country offering ten-point plans and making grand speeches; all of us will trumpet those qualities we believe make us uniquely qualified to lead the country. But too many times, after the election is over, and the confetti is swept away, all those promises fade from memory, and the lobbyists and the special interests move in, and people turn away, disappointed as before, left to struggle on their own.

That is why this campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us -- it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice -- to push us forward when we're doing right, and to let us know when we're not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

By ourselves, this change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail.

But the life of a tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible.

He tells us that there is power in words.

He tells us that there is power in conviction.

That beneath all the differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people.

He tells us that there is power in hope.

As Lincoln organized the forces arrayed against slavery, he was heard to say: "Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought to battle through."

That is our purpose here today.

That's why I'm in this race.

Not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation.

I want to win that next battle -- for justice and opportunity.

I want to win that next battle -- for better schools, and better jobs, and health care for all.

I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America.

And if you will join me in this improbable quest, if you feel destiny calling, and see as I see, a future of endless possibility stretching before us; if you sense, as I sense, that the time is now to shake off our slumber, and slough off our fear, and make good on the debt we owe past and future generations, then I'm ready to take up the cause, and march with you, and work with you. Together, starting today, let us finish the work that needs to be done, and usher in a new birth of freedom on this Earth.

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Barack Obama takes a moment to reflect before walking on stage to take the oath of office.

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama and the First Lady share a tender moment during the Inaugural Ball on Jan. 20, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama enters the Oval Office on the first day of his presidency. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama reads a letter left in his desk by George W. Bush, a White House tradition welcoming the new President. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama tours the grounds of his new home for the next 8 years. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in his third week as president.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama settles in for his first flight aboard Air Force One. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The 44th President of the United States gives his first State of the Union address on February 24, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Mr. & Mrs. Obama walk hand in hand towards the helicopter that will take them on their first trip to Camp David. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Michelle Obama shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham palace during their trip for the G20 summit.

Photo Credit: The White House

POTUS shows some love for his troops while visiting Camp Victory in Iraq on April 7, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obamas share a laugh while eating a snack after an event. 

Photo Credit: The White House 

Obama and Biden take in some fresh air with some golf on the White House green.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama explores the Pyramids of Giza during a trip to Egypt on June 4, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

POTUS walks through his first G8 Summit in Italy. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama takes in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama enjoys himself during an interview with David Letterman on Sept 21, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama's welcome children to enjoy Halloween fun at the White House. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama and the First Lady take their first portrait in front of the official White House Christmas tree. 

Obama sits in his personalized chair during a meeting. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama's bust a move during the Governors' Ball. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama takes a moment to catch up on some important documents while on the go. 

Photo credit: The White House

The President takes calls at all hours leading up to the vote on healthcare reform.

Photo credit: The White House

Obama and Biden applaud the passing of the Affordable Care Act.

Photo Credit: The White House

White House Photographer Pete Souza had this to say about capturing this photo: "The sun was setting as the Presidential motorcade arrived back at Miami International Airport. I ran to get in front of Air Force One so I could use the beautiful sky as the background when the President boarded the plane."

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obamas lip-sync to a group of a cappella singers during a holiday visit. 

Photo Credit: The White House

A rare moment in the Situation Room of the White House.

Photo Credit: The White House

The President greets soldiers after a surprise all night flight to Afghanistan. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama family admires Rio's infamous Christ the Redeemer statue while In Brazil on March 20, 2011. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama approaches the Marine One helicopter. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama watches the screen like a hawk during the real time mission to capture Osama bin Laden.

Photo Credit: The White House

The White House photographer Pete Souza writes "The President was ready to announce the news about the mission against Osama bin Laden and was putting the finishing touches on his statement in the Outer Oval Office. As he did so, the networks broke in with bulletins confirming that bin Laden had been killed and a photograph of him appeared on the television screen in the background near the Vice President and Press Secretary Jay Carney."

Photo Credit: The White House

Souza says "One of the most memorable moments of the year was when the President hugged Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as he walked onto the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol to deliver his annual State of the Union address."

Photo Credit: The White House

Pete Souza reveals an interesting fact about this photo: "The President hugs the First Lady after she had introduced him at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. The campaign tweeted a similar photo from the campaign photographer on election night and a lot of people thought it was taken on election day."

Photo Credit: The White House

Basketball fans cheer for the Obamas as they kiss for the kiss cam. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama serenades Michelle on her birthday. 

Photo Credit: Pete Souza

President Obama sits for a 3D portrait at the Smithsonian.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama takes a detour after the NATO summit to visit Stonehenge. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama can't keep a straight face while recording a Holiday video at the White House. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Mr. President speaks at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil-rights marches.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba shake hands during the Summit of the Americas at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama on  April 11, 2015.

Photo Credit: The White House

U.S. President Barack Obama collects the folio holding the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 after signing it into law in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, November 2, 2015.

Phto credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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