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Obama to Staff: You Represent 'Our Deepest Hopes for America'

8:12 AM, Jan 23, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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THE PRESIDENT:  And, more importantly, we've got a couple of people who are pretty good musicians named Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett in the house.  (Applause.)  This is like my -- Michelle is like doing interpretive dance of everything I say.  It's been a long weekend -- she's getting a little silly now.  (Laughter.) 

But my main job here tonight is real simple, and it's just to say thank you.  (Applause.)  You know, some of you were involved the very first time I ran, back in 2007, 2008.  (Applause.)  Some of you were 14 at the time, and so just got involved this time out.  (Applause.)  You know who you are.  (Applause.)


MRS. OBAMA:  That’s right.  


THE PRESIDENT:  But regardless of whether you got involved six years ago or you got involved six months ago, what is true is that all of you have come to represent for me and Michelle our deepest hopes for America. 


The average age here is probably around 20-something -- (applause) -- and that’s only because I'm here, which brings the average age up quite a bit.  But when I think about traveling around the country during the course of the campaign and getting to know some of you and meeting some of you and seeing the work you do in the White House or the work that you did during the convention, and I meet young people who are so much smarter and more thoughtful and more caring about the future than I ever was at your age, so much more capable, so much more serious, so much more poised, it makes me know that America’s future is in good hands.  (Applause.)


As long as all of you understand the immense and incredible power that you possess when you work together, when you join voices, when you extend yourselves not just on behalf of your own ambitions but on behalf of a larger cause, you cannot be stopped. And part of the reason I know that America will succeed is when I look at how you work together, what I saw in offices from Vegas  -- (applause) -- to Richmond -- (applause) -- to Colorado Springs -- (applause) -- to Manchester, New Hampshire -- (applause) -- to Orlando, Florida -- it didn’t matter -- (applause) -- it didn’t matter where I was, I'd walk into a volunteer office and what you saw was people from every walk of life -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, gay, straight -- it didn’t matter where you came from, you came together with a mission in mind and a vision in mind.  And you were willing to set aside whatever surface differences you had because you understood you were working on behalf of an America that was a little more just and a little more fair and a little more compassionate, and better stewards for our environment.  (Applause.)


And seeing that kind of spirit operate day in, day out, no matter how hard the work, no matter how little you got paid, no matter how bad your candidate screwed up, it didn’t matter, you just kept on going.  And there were times during the course of this year where I might have gotten down, but you picked me back up.  (Applause.)  You lifted me up on your shoulders.  And you said, yeah, we know he’s gotten kind of old and gray-haired, and we know sometimes he stumbles.  But we are going to carry him across the finish line.  (Applause.)  Because this is not about him; this is about us.  This is about America.  This is about what we believe.  This is about what our values are.  (Applause.) This is what our ideals are all about.  We are going to go out there and change America.  (Applause.)


That's what you did every single day.  And so this weekend belonged to you.  (Applause.)  To you.  (Applause.)


So my final message -- because I'm already breaking my promise; I said I wasn’t going to talk long -- is to say that you can't stop now.  I know some of you have got to go back to school.  I know some of your parents are all like, okay, you did your little thing, but now you’ve got to go back and get your degree.  I know some of you’ve got some rent to pay, so you’ve got to --


     MRS. OBAMA:  Some loans.


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