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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:  -- get some loans to repay.  You may be making a whole range of career choices and decisions right now.  And, look, not all of you will end up staying in politics.  Not all of you will end up pursuing professionally public service.  But every single one of you, in your communities, in your neighborhoods, in your workplaces, wherever you decide to put down roots, wherever you decide to make a difference, as long as you retain that spirit that you’ve shown during the course of these campaigns -- the idea that you’re a citizen, that America only works when you make it work -- (applause) -- that you have the power to move this country and, as a consequence, the world  -- if you retain that sense and never lose it, then I tell you, not only is America going to be in good hands, but what’s going to happen is you’re going to influence your peers and your friends and the folks you live next to and your neighbors and people in your workplace.  And suddenly, like Robert Kennedy described, you’re like a stone thrown in a pool and it starts rippling out.  And you don’t know where those ripples are going to go, and that’s the future that I see for you. 

 

I know that every single person here donated $10 to a memorial on behalf of Alex Okrent Memorial.  (Applause.)  And Alex was one of you -- this incredibly thoughtful, talented, compassionate, caring young person who decided to get involved because he thought he could make a difference.  And tragically, he ended up leaving us while working in the campaign -- some of the people here were there when it happened.  And it was heartbreaking, and it reminded us of how precious our time on this Earth is. 

 

We don’t have a lot of time.  I know when you’re young it seems like it goes on forever.  It turns out things are fragile. And yet, the thing that outlives each of us is what we do for somebody else, what difference did we make.  And we know Alex made a difference.  (Applause.)  And so his impact outlives him. And that means -- that’s all right -- somebody is over there and they probably fainted because they’ve been standing too long.  Many of you have been at rallies -- there’s one over here, we’ve got EMS folks here.  People, bend your knees while you’re here.  (Laughter.)  And try to get hydrated as well.

 

MRS. OBAMA:  You know you’ve got to drink some water!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Drink water is what I mean.  (Laughter.)  Juice is okay, too.  (Laughter.)

 

But in the same way that Alex left this indelible mark on my life and Michelle’s life, and many of your lives, you will leave an indelible mark as well, as long as you decide that you’re going to spend your life giving something back. 

 

You’ve already given me an incredible gift.  You’ve given America an incredible gift.  Don’t stop.  Keep on going.  (Applause.)  Don’t stop.  Stay fired up.  (Applause.) 

 

Are you fired up?

 

AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to go?

 

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Fired up!

 

AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Ready to go?

 

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Fired up!

 

AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Ready to go!

 

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Fired up!

 

AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Ready to go.

 

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  I think Lady Gaga is fired up, too. 

 

God bless you, guys!  (Applause.)  I love you!  Thank you!  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.) 

 

                      END                 9:16 P.M. EST

 

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