Minges Coliseum, Greenville NC
April 17, 2008
Filmed by Dr. John A. Tucker
This document was created with automated software and may contain errors.
Mildred A. Council:
So the White House runs through America's hometown, that's a quote from American Cities, 08', National League of Cities. Good evening, everyone. [inaudible] I am Mayor Pro-Tem Mildred A. Council, district number one champion, having served this community for nearly 20 and a half years. [BREAK]
[cheering] Good evening. Is everybody excited? My name is Nathan Lee, I'm the ECU students for Barack Obama coordinator. I would kindly ask at this time that you please, I would kindly ask that you please stand and join me as we honor our country by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. [cheering]
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you so much. At this time, I'd like to introduce you to Obama for America staff members Adam Gibbs and Ivy Simmons, Please give them a round of applause. Hello Greenville! Alright!
Hey guys, my name is Adam Gibbs. I'm from Cullowhee, North Carolina. Does anyone know where Cullowhee is? [BREAK]
[inaudible] Franklin Gregous. [cheering] How's everybody doing tonight? Is everybody ready to see Barack? [cheering] But first, my name is Franklin Gregous and I appreciate the opportunity to speak to everybody. As a reformed Republican. I'm here to express my support for Senator Obama on his campaign, to be President of the United States of America. I'm just an average guy from Goldsboro, but I sensed the need for change, and I know this country needs to feel the need for change on so many levels. Two years ago, I was 29 and I witnessed the final death throes of my family's textile mill. Due to the effects of [inaudible] the hardship of that collapse and the lack of other local jobs left me in a bad situation after [BREAK]
President Barack Obama:
Thank you so much. Well listen, what an unbelievable crowd. I am fired up to be in Greenville! Thank you! A number of thank yous I have gotta say, please everybody feel free to have a seat if you got a chair. If you got a chair, feel free to have a seat. A couple of thank yous, first of all. Can everybody please give Frank Gregous a big round of applause for the great introduction. [cheering] I want to thank, the students, the faculty and staff of East Carolina University. [cheering]
Your Chancellor Steve Ballard. I'm not sure if he's here yet, I know his, his wife was here. Thank you so much. I want to thank Mayor Pro-Tem Mildred Council, give her a big round of applause. I want to thank three of the finest members of Congress that we have you got a great delegation. First of all, your own Congressman, Congressman, Congressman G.K. Butterfield. Give it up for G.K.! [cheering] Next, I want everybody to give a big round of applause to a great legal thinker and a great [inaudible] of congressman, Mel Watt, [cheering] and finally, the Dean of the Democratic North Carolina delegation, a scholar and a great Congressman, somebody who I'm proud to have the support of, along with the other two. These guys are going to help us carry North Carolina. Please give congressman David Price a big round of applause. [cheering]
One last order of business before before we dive in here. Today, I think everybody knows is the first day of early vote, in North Carolina. Early vote, now I want every single person who was here if you have not yet voted, I want you to early vote tomorrow. If you're not registered to vote, you've got one stop shopping here in North Carolina. You can go and register and vote at the same time. How much easier can we make it for you? You know once a simple so to find the locations and the hours of one stop early vote near you. You can call my hotline, which is 1-888-ncearly, ncearly, N C E A R L Y. I almost pulled a Dan Quayle there for a second. NCearly, or visit my website at ncbarackobama.com, ncbarackobama.com.
All right. How many people have already early voted? [cheering] Pretty good, how many people are going to early vote this week? [cheering] You've got until May 3, to early vote. If you don't early vote by May 3, then you got to wait until May 6, if you haven't already registered, then you can't vote on election day on May 6, so take advantage of this early vote thing. It's a good deal. Alright, I have been running for president [cheering] you can still feel free to sit down if you want. I won't be insulted. I've been running for president for about 15 months now. [cheering]
Which, which means that there are babies who have been born and are now walking and talking, since I started running for president. It's been a long race. There's one right there. That one wasn't even conceived I think when I announced, when I decided to run, there were some people who said, Barack why are you running so soon? You're relatively young man, why are you running this time? You can afford to wait, and I had to explain that, I'm not running because of some long held ambition, or because I think it's somehow owed to me because I think it's my turn. I'm running because of what Dr. King called the fierce urgency of now, [cheering] the fierce urgency of now.
Because I believe there's such a thing as being too late. That hour is almost upon us. I met a couple of outstanding young Marines on the way in, and, we are so proud of their service, but it reminds us we are fighting two wars right now. One war, that we have to win in Afghanistan going after Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden. One war that I believe should never have ever been authorized and should have never been raised. [cheering]
Our troops have performed magnificently in both, but that war in Iraq has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives, and there's no end in sight. We are the defining moment in our history. Here at home, our economy is in a shambles. Now, I know George Bush just figured this out, and Wall Street may have just figured it out, but ordinary people on Main Street, they've understood for a long time that things aren't working the way they're supposed to work. [cheering]
This is the first economic expansion, in, since we've been keeping records, where family incomes were actually lower as a percentage, when you adjust for inflation, than when the economic expansion started, it's never happened before, and so because people are working harder and harder just to get by, because they're also having to pay higher prices for gas and higher prices for groceries, and higher prices for healthcare and higher prices for college. At the end of the month, those bills, they start piling up, and people were borrowing from their homes using home equity loans, but now suddenly, the housing market collapsed, because of predatory lending and the lack of regulation and oversight, and people are having trouble making their payments, and suddenly banks on Wall Street are getting shaky, which goes to show you that under George Bush pain has trickled up.
Meanwhile, 47 million people don't have health insurance. If you've got health insurance, what's happened you've seen your co-payments and deductibles your premiums going up, and up, and up, and our education system despite the slogans, leaves millions of children behind unable to compete in a global economy. [cheering] In such circumstances, we can't afford to wait. We can't wait to fix our schools. We can't wait to fix our healthcare system. We can't wait to bring good jobs, and good wages, right here to Greenville North Carolina. We cannot wait, to end the global warming, we cannot wait to free ourselves from energy dependence. We cannot wait to bring this war in Iraq to a close. We cannot wait and that is why I am running for President of the United States of America. [cheering]
We can't wait.
So part of the reason I decided to run was because I believe that the scope of our challenges had outstripped the capacity of a broken politics to solve it, but I was also, we may have somebody there who might need EMT? They are probably just feeling a little faint people getting overheated. Trying to drink some water. If you've been standing for a while.
I love you Barack!
President Barack Obama:
I love you too. [cheering]
I know it is a little warm in here.
So part of the reason that I decided to run was because I thought that the size of our challenges and outstripped the capacity of broken politics to solve, but also because I was betting on you, the American people, because I believe, that the American people were hungry, for a different kind of politics, a politics that's not about tearing each other down, but rather about lifting the country up. [cheering]
They want politics in which there's straight talk, and an honest conversation with the American people not spin and PR and double talk, and I was also betting on the fact that change in America doesn't happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up. It happens because, because ordinary people decide, we want something different. We're going to unify it, I learned this as a community organizer, working with steel workers who had been laid off when I wasn't much older than most of the students here, that when ordinary people come together, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, when we come together, where we are unified, to challenge those special interests that have come to dominate Washington to come to dominate our government, and when we challenge ourselves to be better, better neighbors, better parents and better students, better citizens. There's no challenge we can't, we can't beat, there's no destiny we cannot fulfill. That was my belief. That was the bet I was making on the American people, and I am here to report Greenville, that after 15 months after traveling to 47 states, after speaking to 100,000s of people after shaking 100,000s of hands, after kissing hundreds of babies. I am here to report that my bet has paid off, [cheering] my faith in the American people has been vindicated, because everywhere I go people are saying we are ready for change. We want to try something new. We are ready to turn the page and write a new chapter in American History.
It is going to start right here, in North Carolina [cheering]
So I propose the $4,000 tuition credit, every student every year, pay about two thirds of a public college education, at least tuition, but you know what young people you're gonna have to give something back in return. It won't be for free. You gotta put some time and community service or national service, work in a homeless shelter, work in a [inaudible], join the Peace Corp. We are going to invest in you and you will invest in America. Together we will make this country whole. [cheering]
[end of video]
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