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Read President Obama's full campaign kickoff speech

May 05, 2012

OBAMA: "And that is why I need your help.  Ohio, this election will be even closer than the last.  Too many of our friends, too many of our neighbors are still hurting because of this crisis.  I've heard from too many people wondering why they haven't been able to get one of the jobs that have been created; why their home is still under water; why their family hasn't yet been touched by the recovery.

"The other side won't be offering these Americans a real answer to these questions.  They won't offer a better vision or a new set of ideas.  But they will be spending more money than we've ever seen before on negative ads, on TV, on radio, in the mail, on the Internet -- ads that exploit people's frustrations for my opponent's political gain.  Over and over again, they will tell you that America is down and out, and they'll tell you who to blame, and ask if you’re better off than you were before the worst crisis in our lifetime.

"We’ve seen that play before.  But you know what?  The real question -- the question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children -- is not just about how we’re doing today.  It’s about how we’ll be doing tomorrow.

"Will we better off if more Americans get a better education?  That’s the question.  Will we better off if we depend less on foreign oil and more on our own ingenuity?  That's the question. Will we better off if we start doing some nation-building right here at home?  That's the question.  Will we be better off if we bring down our deficit without gutting the very things we need to grow?  When we look back four years from now, or ten years from now, or twenty years from now, won’t we be better off if we have the courage to keep moving forward?

"That’s the question in this election.  That's the question in this election.  And the outcome is entirely up to you.  Now, sure, we’ll have to contend with even more negative ads, with even more cynicism and nastiness, and sometimes just plain foolishness.  There will be more of that than we saw in the last campaign.  

"But if there is one thing that we learned in 2008, it’s that nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. When enough of you knock on doors, when you pick up phones, when you talk to your friends, when you decide that it’s time for change to happen, guess what?  Change happens.  Change comes to America. 

"And that’s the spirit we need again.  If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope.  You tell them it’s still about change.  You tell them it’s still about ordinary people who believe that in the face of great odds, we can make a difference in the life of this country.

"Because I still believe, Ohio.  I still believe that we are not as divided as our politics suggest.  I still believe that we have more in common than the pundits tell us; that we're not Democrats or Republicans, but Americans first and foremost. I still believe in you, and I’m asking you to keep believing in me. I told you in 2008 that I wasn’t a perfect man, and I would never be a perfect President.  But I promised that I would always tell you what I thought.  I would always tell you where I stood.  And I would wake up every single day fighting for you as hard as I know how.

"And I have that kept that promise.  I have kept that promise, Ohio.  And I will keep it so long as I have the honor of being your President.  So if you’re willing to stick with me, if you're willing to fight with me, and press on with me; if you’re willing to work even harder in this election than you did in the last election, I guarantee you -- we will move this country forward.

"We will finish what we started.  We are still fired up.  We are still ready to go.  And we are going to remind the world once more just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. 

"Thank you, God bless you.  God bless the United States of America."

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