The President’s Speech

 Hi guys,

I could hardly sleep last night. I have so much to say, so many emotions running inside me, not showing any sign of letting up. I’ll just say this – and I know its going to sound over the top – but here’s what i feel this morning:

When god is dreaming about the perfectly-imperfect human being, when god is looking for one man to be his messenger of love and hope and empathy and forgiveness and clear eyes and full heart, when god is painting a beautiful man – he’s looking at a picture of Barack Obama.

Here’s the speech (like you didn’t watch it twice already…), but I recommend that you’ll watch the second and long clip for the wonderful standing ovations, for the gorgeous love of Michelle – for the wonder of one of the most beautiful events in many many years.


 The Guardian: Barack Obama’s Tucson speech rose to the moment and transcended it

….For the address he gave at last night’s memorial service for the victims of the Arizona shootings was elegiac, heartfelt and deeply moving. It both rose to the moment and transcended it: after days of noise and rancour, he carved out a moment of calm.


Obama looks the bigger man, calling for a discourse that heals not wounds. That puts him in the place all presidents covet: above the fray, beyond mere Democrat or Republican. The challenge will be to maintain that position into the re-election year of 2012.

But such thoughts are for later. What will be remembered today are moments like those when he told his audience that Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time – moments when only the most cold-hearted would not have felt a tear. What we saw from Obama in Tucson will be a defining, even cherished moment in his presidency.


Chicago Tribune: Obama’s speech shows why he was elected

We all know that Barack Obama could have had a pretty good career as a law professor, a writer or a state legislator. What had never occurred to me before is that he might have made a good pastor.

His remarks at the memorial service in Tucson — steeped in emotion, infused with wisdom, animated by a generous spirit — were exactly what his shocked, grieving countrymen needed to hear. They were consoling, they were cathartic and they were inspiring. 

// more 


Andrew Sullivan:

To rate this address on any political meter would be to demean it. The president wrested free of politics tonight and spoke of greater things. I pledge myself to try and follow his advice and debate with vigor and spirit and candor and bluntness, but with more civility, more empathy, and, yes, more love.



 I know how easy it is to be cynical, and look back at 2008 and the use of the word “hope” as a shallow exercise, but listening to the president last night, I felt like this captured some of the magic of the more memorable Obama speeches. It was as uplifting as it was cathartic.

I suppose it’s only natural to consider what the lasting effects might be, if any, in the wake of remarks like these. And as nice as it is to think Americans who heard the president’s words will take his guidance to heart, I don’t seriously expect the country to turn over a new, more thoughtful leaf.

But that almost certainly wasn’t the point. Obama was there to honor the victims of a tragedy, bring some comfort to their families and their community, and to urge the country to strive for better. He did just that, delivering a graceful message when his country needed to hear one.


Gail Collins: Obama Brings It Home

Maybe President Obama was saving the magic for a time when we really needed it.

We’ve been complaining for two years about the lack of music and passion in his big speeches. But if he’d moved the country when he was talking about health care or bailing out the auto industry, perhaps his words wouldn’t have been as powerful as they were when he was trying to lift the country up after the tragedy in Tucson.



NYT: One of his most powerful and uplifting speeches

It is a president’s responsibility to salve a national wound. President Obama did that on Wednesday evening at the memorial service in Tucson for the six people who died in last weekend’s terrible shooting. It was one of his most powerful and uplifting speeches.


The president’s words were an important contrast to the ugliness that continues to swirl in some parts of the country. The accusation by Sarah Palin that “journalists and pundits” had committed a “blood libel” when they raised questions about overheated rhetoric was especially disturbing, given the grave meaning of that phrase in the history of the Jewish people.

Mr. Obama said that it must be possible for Americans to question each other’s ideas without questioning their love of country. We hope all of America’s leaders, and all Americans, will take that to heart.


Joe Klien:

It was a remarkably personal speech, effortlessly sweeping away any notion of pomposity, over-intellectuality or distance. It was written and delivered in plain English. It summoned images, and emotions, that every American–even those who cannot countenance his legitimacy–could relate to and be moved by. His description of the victims was at the heart of it: Judge Roll went to mass every day. George and Dot Morris had a 50-year honeymoon. Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard lost their teenaged love and then regained it many years later. Phyllis Schneck sat quilting under her favorite tree. We all know them–and we know people like Daniel Hernandez, big and loyal and kindly, who would have stopped a bullet to save his boss, but saved her instead by tending to her wounds and begging her to hold on. Their ordinary decency, simply evoked, made the tragedy our own. Their simple nobility beggared the absurd screech of the debate surrounding this terrible event. His appreciation of their humanity was an appeciation of our own.

And in summoning the community and the nation and the Congresswoman that Christine Taylor Green imagined we are, he summoned for us the country that we should be. On this night. certainly, he was the President she–and we–imagined he might be. On this night, finally, he became President of all the people. It was a privilege to behold.


Joan Walsh: One nation, as good as it gets

President Obama, Daniel Hernandez and a Tucson crowd remind us that e pluribus unum still makes sense.



166 thoughts on “The President’s Speech

  1. I care not to hear the negative, i look to make this world what my children and all children imagine it to be. I watched the children when i dropped off mine for school this morning. I saw happy faces blacks, latino, asian, whites laughing throwing snowballs and yelling come on we are going to be late. little girls with ribbons and boys tagging them and running. I thought about christina and said the least i can do is to make this a better world for those who like the rain puddles.

  2. I had trouble sleeping, too. Always do when so many emotions are cascading through my mind at the same time.

  3. I watched the repeat last night and was in tears. It’s funny I had a thought, that he sounded like a very inspirational minister too! Like he was providing a nurturing speech to a very hurt nation.

    Now that I look again at the photos and see him tearing up, his eyes seemed red, like he was holding in his emotions unselfishly so that he could be strong for us!!!

    It makes me admire him that much more. As a single person, I can only be envious of The President & First Ladies real and loving marriage. Theirs clearly reflects all the hard work, dedication, and strength that comes from enduring good and bad times TOGETHER !

    God Bless the President and his family. I hope and continue to pray for their safety. I also pray that the scales will eventually fall off to those in the extreme who hate the President.

  4. Looking at that last picture of President Obama, his facial expression.
    I just wanted to hold him tight in my arms and cry with him.
    I love him so.

  5. Well you started my day with tears bwd 😉 I don’t think there are words in my vocabulary to express how the President’s memorial touched me. I’m just grateful that the country was listening.. I hope we’ll remind one another from time to time (including our media & govt officials)”to talk to each other to heal and not to wound” (para-phrasing). There is so much to listen to from Barack Obama- he has been attempting to teach us since he wrote his books.. since he spoke at the 04 convention. Wisdom and humanity is what I hear when he speaks. I thank him mostly last night for telling us about the people we all lost, about who they were.. he connected all of us to one another as family, as loved ones, it was truly amazing.

  6. The pause before speaking about Christina was so powerful. I absolutely lost it when he said she was jumping in rain puddles. I just can’t get that image out of my mind.

  7. thanks Ladyhawke, listening now.. however initially irritated by the ‘journalist’ in the front row questioning the President’s new found empathy. Good grief, who is that? Where do these folks get their thinking? this guy actually suggested that President Obama has had less empathy than his predecessors.. toward folks of different ‘political beliefs’. Empathy is Barack Obama. What on earth do they want? Methinks they want him to be a Republican 😉

  8. Thank you BWD for your comments and those who really heard the president to write about it. I hope that this is not a one-day or one-month turn of events. I am listening to some on the left who want to change how they talk about the other side. I hope someone on the other side does the same or those that watch those shows and listen to those radio stations choose to turn them off. I am so proud of our president and our many citizens who want better for our country and our children, the future of this country.

  9. Gibbs discussing the differences between having “differences in our politics and how we have that discourse”.. explaining to media how HOW we have our discourse about our differences- I find it rather amazing that he must explain this to people of their profession.

    Now they’re bringing up gun control.. I figure this is a another way of seeing if they can start some drama.

  10. Gibbs should ask for examples. There was never calls for compromise during the Bush years. And the only reason these clowns can make the claim is because the GOP made the politicial decision to vote against everything so then they can saw “see look, he’s so partisan”. Bush got votes from Nelson, Landrieu, Lieberman and others I guess so that means he was more compromising – that’s their proof.

    I have zero doubt that the HCR bill would have had at least five Republican votes if they were honest rather than being locked down to a “no” vote by their party.

    The meme created is that President Obama is naming out of mainstream radicals to political positions as reason why the GOP is blocking so many of them – and since Dems by in large let Bush choose his own appointees with minimal pushback then it becomes “Bush picked mainsteam appointees obviously because the Dems didn’t block them”.

    It’s all a trick – “Vote no on everything knowing that the blue dogs will pull it far enough to the center that it will be something we can live with, but we can still attack him for being a far left ideologue an the braindead press will lap it up”.

  11. I know Sherijr, it really is astonishing. President Obama has been talking about empathy from day one. It was one of the most important lessons his mother instilled in him.

    What breaks my heart this morning is that I wish his mother and his grand parents were alive to see this amazing human being that they gave to us and the world.

  12. Needless to say, I agree with all accolades which have come in from all corners. And I agree with your assessment, bwd. I have felt, almost from the beginning, that this is someone very special, a gift. And I think we can divide us up into 2 groups—those who already know this, and those who will.

  13. Last night I wrote to a friend: “I really am overwhelmed. The man has such depth, courage and honesty
    as his core values. How anyone can have open eyes and ears and not
    see the soul that shines through is beyond me. It is not the power
    trip – it is being in a position to help others. All enriched by a
    loving compassionate family.”

    This morning as I awoke, I thought I must pray for the woman from Alaska – that her heart be thawed by the love and grace of a loving God who surrounds us all.

  14. A journalist questioned the President’ “new found” empathy? I have a feeling the journalist has been viewing the President as he wanted to view him. He decided long ago who the President is, so he’s never opened his eyes and ears to see the empathy the President has for others. Why else would the President have moved forward with health insurance reform when all around him told him it was going nowhere?

  15. I don’t think he really wanted to bring politics into it… now they (media) want to know why people were so ‘celebratory’ last night.. and why didn’t they have this ‘service’ in a church. Good grief. This was called a “unity rally” by the University.. who set it all up. My understanding is that they made the tshirts, they named it the ‘unity rally’ and it was not billed as a ‘memorial’. I think folks in Tucson had every right and reason to clap, laugh, celebrate and grieve anyway they wanted.. and no one ought to be judging that.

    this group of media are searching about as down low as they can this morning to create something to dramatize, to complain, and criticize about. Now they’re comparing his speech last night to Clinton’s Oklahoma bombing speech. I wish they would really do some introspection on how terribly inappropriate they are- how out of tune with average listeners.

  16. Thanks again BWD, for compiling all these beautiful comments about the fabulous speech last night from our President. I look forward every day to your posts.

  17. I feel so blessed to have a leader of his intelligence, compassion and positive energy!!! I don’t know that any human being has moved me sooooo much by words!!!

    In his two years he has done more for America than most people do in a life time. Thank you Barack Obama.

  18. I hear you Ladyhawke,
    I was so moved last night that I felt like I needed to change my own language of how I speak to the other side.

  19. I too found myself incredulous yet again that the President’s sincerity and compassion could cause us to reflect on the true challenges that face us all, to treat each other as we would be treated, to love, to act in a way that honors our parents and our children. He always shows us how to value our relationships, other members of our community, service, engaged participation in our democracy. What amazes me is that another layer of people started listening that weren’t hearing him before. I have been intertwined with that message coming from him since very early in his candidacy. I have heard it over and over again, in press conferences, town halls, speaking to thousands or answering the concerns of Republican leadership. Why it takes some people longer to understand and to trust that it is sincere is beyond my ability to explain.

  20. It’s the “take a poll” lady. This morning I stopped by electablog and found this delightful piece of news.

    “Much to my surprise and delight, I am in the running for Daily Kos Diarist of the Year. If you’re so inclined, you can vote for me HERE.

    While you’re at it, I’d like to commend your attention to my friends LaughingPlanet who is in the running for Best Teaching Diary and BlackWaterDog who is in the running for Diary of the Year.

    You do not need to be a Daily Kos member (a “Kossack”) to vote.

    I’m just sayin’…”

    So…. let’s go vote for our friends. I know I know – we have to go to the evil orange place, but wouldn’t it be cool if BWD won at a place that was mean and poopy to one of their own?

  21. I often think of his mom, being a mom- I think how pleased with him she’d be in his leadership- in his true unconcealed empathy- as you say- something she instilled in him. And from all we’ve learned about his mom, she was just a good soul. If anyone is able to round us all up and appeal to our differences in a way that can unite us – I believe it to be this man.

    As we all know – he did write his words last night.

    Listening to these media people right now.. everything they say is so backhanded.. that attitude of .. why don’t we see the guy that we saw more often?? Good grief, is he supposed to cry for us everyday in public for us to know who he is? For us to believe in his humanity? What is seriously wrong with this country lies very much in our MEDIA. Their questions this morning so very much reflect how clearly biased and dishonest they are.

    Now they want Gibbs to comment on things Democrats has done and said last week- in comparison to the President’s request for civility. As if they want the president to run out and publicly spank those misbehaving dems.. no mention of Boehner’s party last night, or tea party fundraising.

    Gibbs is handling this silliness with such class- he is a tribute to his boss, imo.

  22. You got it starshine.. they view this President through their own manufactured lense from day one.. they’ve always tried to pin him into their own little pidgeon holes- without success.

  23. BWD…we are that transparent, aren’t we? Yes, I’ve already seen the speech twice and will watch it again when I can carve out some time to sob. Just reading the reviews made me cry, so the speech…well…I didn’t sleep last night either.

    Show me, just show me a Democrat who watched that speech who isn’t ready to strap on the boots and get to work making sure we get this brilliant and inspirational man re-elected.

    I’m so glad that there are a few people in the world who now see what we’ve been seeing all along in this man. Sheer genius of spirit.

  24. DK doesn’t matter. Voting there makes them believe that they still matter. I’d rather see BWD get zero votes because it would mean a lot of folks have long since left that cesspool.

  25. I agree with everything you said BWD.

    The pictures of our president tearing up is 😦 I have seen this man cry on several occasions and it guts me every time. I don’t know what people are talking about when they say he emotionless, detached, etc…

  26. This happens over and over and over again. Some members of the press paint President Obama as someone and something which he is not; President Obama gets an opportunity to present himself directly to the people and as per usual, comes across as simply a stellar human being amongst other terrific qualities, of course at odds with the false media portrait. Those members of the press which had engaged in false narratives then scramble to reconcile their previous memes with reality, by pretending that the qualities which average Americans can see for ourselves are new, or evidence of a comeback.

    President Obama’s empathy has been on display from the time he hit the national scene. No one who was willing to risk his entire presidency on reforming the health care system to help average Americans lacks empathy. For one example of too many to count.

  27. BWD, thanks for starting the morning like this. Mine got off to a rough start because I mentioned to a very, very good friend (in a phone conversation) that I was up until 2:00am reading the blogs after the President’s speech. I provided the perfect, unthinking opening for him to go off on a tirade about what the Prez has done inappropiately in his majority governing – with ‘facts’ from the ‘intelligent media’. While this friend can probably be forgiven because he isn’t an American, you have NO idea how angry he made me, and I could barely get a word in edgewise! I had to come online earlier than normal to cleanse my head, so of course I headed to your site first. 🙂

    [Big apologies to everyone here for sullying the mood. However, I really needed to rid myself of this, and I have faith in the combined positive energy here to dissipate it very quickly. Truth is I(selfishly)needed to be ‘wrapped in a hug’ by people who get the President. Please forgive me this once.]

  28. I honestly feel that our president is leading us all to a higher plane of thinking. He is obviously striving to help rather than hurt. He is obviously striving to raise the discourse in this country. The difference between the left and right couldn’t be more stark. The left wants civility, the right wants to fight. It’s up vs. down, right vs. wrong. Hope vs. horror. Stark.

    I’m going with the guy who wants to make things better. I find it so confusing that anyone would want the ones who want to make things worse.


  30. So many people take this President for granted. His vision, his gifts, his accomplishments, dismissed because he hasn’t been able to transform the country in an instant, or has had to make concessions to reality when crafting reforms.

    In light of the deep, deep contrast between this man and his ability to appeal to a wide spectrum of Americans, versus the demagoguery displayed by those who choose to politic via slogan, hyperbole, and fact-free ranting—-I vow to never take this POTUS for granted. Agree or disagree with any of his choices, I will never take for granted that we have one of the finest Americans this country has produced in the WH.

  31. Yes, jumping in rain puddles is without a doubt the most beautiful set of words I have heard since this tragedy. With those words he evoked such a stunning melancholy, yet happy perfect image in my mind, I don’t know how I can have these different emotions but I do and I feel a bit better for it.

  32. I love talking about President Obama. He is such an inspiration to me every day. And yet today, I almost have no words. I’m just a ball of raw emotion. I think I am realizing how wounded I am, how wounded we all have been, by the demeaning and relentless rhetoric of American politics. How this great man – and, by extension, all of us who admire and love him so – have been so vilified and dismissed and insulted and taunted so inhumanely and inappropriately and undeservedly day in and day out. His speech was so beautiful. It was both calming and stirring, modest and expansive. I’m just so incredibly grateful for him, for Michelle and for the love they so deeply share for each other.

  33. You certainly didn’t sully the mood. It’s reality that there is a very vocal contingent which utterly takes this President for granted, and takes his accomplishments for granted. The reality of a country which features a very substantial majority which voted for McCain and Palin is simply imagined away. The reality of the handicap which liberals and progressives face because our ideas are at odds with some of the most powerful institutions in the country is simply dismissed with instructions that we will prevail if POTUS “fights” or stops being a “corporatist.”

    People will come to reality, or they will not. I’m very sorry to hear about your friend, but IMO there is an anti-POTUS cohort who are simply impervious to fact and reason at the moment. Hopefully your friend will come around!

  34. I agree with the above statements, but now we, the people, must work to change the American mindset which is the backdrop to our government. War, poverty and ignorance are not acceptable and until we demand they are addressed by our representatives in government, they will continue to take a backseat to the corporate and military structure. A President can do no more than what his citizenry allows him or her to do. President Obama is far more graceful in his person than any President in my lifetime, and has accomplished an amazing amount in the short time he has been in office considering the forces opposed against him, but it is up to us to lessen the strength of those forces so he can accomplish even more.

  35. You know what Starshine, even if it were indeed “‘new found’ empathy”, it should not draw such a response from any journalist. For, to anyone with sense or common human feeling, the horror of the Tucson killings would have touched a chord. Maybe, I shouldn’t refer to it as ‘common’ human feelings because some of these journalists’ questions and viewpoints on this issue make me wonder. My prayer today is that like the caller whose eyes were opened to the President last night, enough of the country will continue to have its eyes opened in the days, months, years ahead. Everyone won’t get it, that might be too much to ask, but hopefully many others will. Without a doubt, there are many more Americans this morning who are resolving to make a greater effort to ‘disagree without being disagreeable’.

  36. not to worry like minded friend i feel your pain, accept this beautiful group hug from everybody on this pretty blog, that is one of the many things i learnt last night look out for one another cause that is all we’ve got, you know what the president will say, go out and show others what we already know, that obama is a great leader like he said, we are the change we have being waiting for, we are the change that we seek, belive me your voice can change a room just like our voice is being heard now, peace

  37. ###In a very different context, Greg Sargent noted several weeks ago that the president, in the wake of the midterms, may very well “cast himself” as “Washington’s resident adult in a town full of bickering children.” ###

    It appears BWD was a leader in declaring the President as the “only adult in the room” !!!

    Sorry can attach as link as I am commenting via I-phone 😦

  38. I love the story President Obama tells about his mother being so determined that he succeed that she woke him up at 4 a.m. in the morning to give him private lessons before school. When he complained, she would say this is no picnic for me either, buster. I plan to buy her book to learn more about her.

    Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia

    by S. Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro-Ng

  39. It was an honor to vote for both you and BWD (especially since I didn’t have to go to that place to cast my vote) 🙂

  40. I so utterly agree with you on this. I understand the impulse to see some really terrific people like eclectablog and BWD gain recognition, but a space which is too far gone to tolerate enthusiastic, optimistic, and joyful witnesses to one of the best presidencies in modern memory, is just not a space worth supporting in any way shape or form. People have every right to run their sites as they so wish, and have whatever editorial views they so wish.

    My vote is with my (virtual) feet.

    BWD is an amazing aggregator, which is why so many of us are here. Here’s to a 2011 of continued growth, and never again trusting one person or small set of people to speak for the Democratic base, or submitting to an editorial orthodoxy which derides any views save the most cynical, negative, and ungenerous as “cultish.” Good riddance to that place, despite the presence of such wonderful people as LaughingPlanet and several others.

  41. *unconcealed empathy*

    Yes, agree what you and everyone else has written. As a mom of a son who’s a little younger but has the same good heart, I’m proud of President Obama – every day.

    And, BWD, thank you for this. I referred a friend to your blog this morning, saying you are simpatico with how I feel about President Obama and I with you. I’m hoping she feels some joy from the joy here, since sometimes she feels like giving up.

  42. What I find amazing is that careful students of POTUS’ remarks might have been able to write that speech for him. Because POTUS is so utterly consistent, because he indeed wears his heart on his sleeve, and because his speeches almost always appeal to better angels, unification, the priority of children, and disagreeing without being disagreeable. He is almost boring in his constistency, lol! People get surprised because they buy into the nonstop character attacks on this POTUS coming from every direction in the media (evil socialist with secret plans to harm America; sellout corporatist with secret deals and plans to harm America), but which are just so at odds with who he is.

  43. “Empathy” is the thread that runs through everything that President Obama does.

    It really makes you wonder if the White House Press Corps reporters ever took the time to read the two books that President Obama wrote. Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Or if they listened carefully to the speech he gave at the Democratic Convention in 2004:

    John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it’s not enough for just some of us to prosper — for alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we’re all connected as one people. If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there is a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription drugs, and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

    It is that fundamental belief — It is that fundamental belief: I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

    E pluribus unum: “Out of many, one.”

  44. GN- you absolutely nailed it all imo with your first paragraph:

    This happens over and over and over again. Some members of the press paint President Obama as someone and something which he is not; President Obama gets an opportunity to present himself directly to the people and as per usual, comes across as simply a stellar human being amongst other terrific qualities, of course at odds with the false media portrait. Those members of the press which had engaged in false narratives then scramble to reconcile their previous memes with reality, by pretending that the qualities which average Americans can see for ourselves are new, or evidence of a comeback.

    GN- that is exactly what they do.. over and over and over. And they think we don’t know.

  45. I went to sleep last night crying. And I woke up this morning and started crying again.

    But I have to admit I feel better today than yesterday. It was a lovely speech and I hope that those that missed it will read it or listen to it later.

  46. I’ve gone to BWD’s links to read more deeply. This from Andrew Sullivan’s live blog during the President’s remarks last night:

    “8.50 pm. I haven’t written anything so far because it, well, seems inappropriate. This speaks for itself. All I can say is that hearing governor Jan Brewer being so graceful to the president in her introduction was uplifting. That such a courtesy should be uplifting is a terrible sign of where we now find ourselves.”

    I, too, give Gov. Brewer credit. I’ll leave it at that.

  47. I really agree with this, Sheila. Too many people buy into the short-sighted thinking that it’s fine to spend unlimited amounts of money on war, yet infrastructure of all types (education, health care, roads and bridges, high speed rail) can be underfunded. Appealing to the citizenry to revise this thinking necessitates all of us.

  48. I’ve made it down the thread; thanks for responding GN. With a cleansed palate, I won’t let my friend intrude any more on my day, only to say he is a supporter, but he thinks the president needs to be more of a ‘fighter’ – of course using his definition of fight. Since I far prefer the President’s way of fighting and its results, and since I feel aeons better already, I’ve put my friend back in his box and in future will avoid mentioning my exploits with Prez O and his online supporters. Thanks again.

  49. ‘A President can do no more than what his citizenry allows him or her to do.’

    This is exactly what he said in his campaign – Be the change you want to see, or the bit about we are the change… can’t remember his exact words and have to run out for an appointment. Will look upon my return.

  50. This person is shallow. I am not an American and I love PBO; he is a world leader that happens our way once in a lifetime.

  51. Yes, sherijr, and these shallow remarks from Joe Klein:
    “On this night, finally, he became President of all the people. It was a privilege to behold.” Finally? Where has Klein been? (rhetorical question!)

    Or this from the Collins excerpt:
    “Maybe President Obama was saving the magic for a time when we really needed it.” They do not listen!

    “We’ve been complaining for two years about the lack of music and passion in his big speeches.” “We” who? She’s admitting that the pundit class talks to itself and thinks they’re hearing “the people.”

  52. LOL, sheri, it is so transparent. Today, in the NYT, the otherwise fantastic Gail Collins writes: Maybe President Obama was saving the magic for a time when we really needed it…We’ve been complaining for two years about the lack of music and passion in his big speeches.

    To which I scratched my head, and wondered, “who’s we?” President Obama was just as eloquent and passionate on any number of occasions, the media coverage has simply been uneven. This is nothing but a rush to reconcile what we as average Americans see with our lying eyes when POTUS appears unfiltered, versus the memes and narratives which we are fed, some of which are just utterly untrue.

  53. because I’m at work, I can’t see what you linked – but I watched it all on CSPAN. Did you all watch the after speech activities? So many just wanted to shake his hand, have a picture with Michelle, get a hug (!!!) from the President… which he seemed to be freely giving. 🙂 He spent so much time talking to those that waited eagerly, walking along the line, shaking hands, taking time to engage. You could see the Secret Service getting nervous as he pushed himself INTO the crowd, simply to make sure someone’s hand got shook.

    I’ve been scolding you don’t know HOW many people at work for NOT watching!! I said it’s just not really the same watching it in re-run. When you watch it live, you feel this spiritual connection with ALL watching it live – even if they are thousands of miles away.

  54. I wish I’d read your comment before writing mine. We’re absolutely on the same page with this. Amazing how people will contort facts, IMO in order to save face when reality doesn’t match the reporting we’ve been getting. I’ve been told that my President is: emotionally detached; Spock-like; weak; unwilling to confront tough political realities or take stands; naive; it goes on and on. Yet when I see him unfiltered, the reality never seems to match these opinions.

  55. Thanks for the hugs Starm. I felt like I was holding hands with all of the kindred spirits who post and/or lurk at this site. BWD has created a haven from a hostile world for us. It is such a warm and welcoming place. A tremendous source of comfort and support.

  56. It’s pretty difficult to assess the President when there are so many narratives and memes at odds with the reality of the person and his performance. I also think that some people simply take him for granted and have very short memories in terms of the type of less successful leadership which this country is demonstrably capable of seating in the Oval Office. (also correcting a typo in my above comment: a substantial *minority* voted for McCain/Palin).

    Great idea to focus on your friend’s positive attributes and to just patiently avoid opening the door to diatribes!

  57. Listening to the speech last night, more than once I thought of the poem by John Donne, No Man is an Island. That is basically what the President was telling us last night and in the past. We are all in this together folks, what happens to one of us happens to all of us, so let’s get out sh*t together. Of course, he said much better.

  58. I noticed the eyes last night and felt exactly the same, Pinkbunny, and it worked: I know the President is there for me and for all of us. And I think the unique love he and Michelle have makes this possible, like an ever-flowing river of love. Their love is theirs, but it has also brought out and heightened the best aspects of their character and personality that strengthens them and allows them to provide the same unshakable love for us.

  59. That last picture. So real, it really cuts through the anesthesia, doesn’t it? I love this President…I am so glad I gave and worked so hard to get him elected. Thank you BWD.

  60. I want to help cheer every one up.

    I want to share with you one of my videos.

    It is called
    Thanks for the Dance and more to come…

    let me know what you think.

  61. Somebody said that one caller on C-SPan, a Republican, said, after the speech that the “scales had fallen from her eys, and she could finally see Obama.” I agree with the sentiment, “Where have they been?” But even if they just see him now, this is a kind of miracle, isn’t it?

  62. I took away two important political points away from this speech (the non-political ones were great – and there was much rejoicing).

    This is the first one:

    Gabby, her staff and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech. (Applause.) They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders –- representatives of the people answering questions to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns back to our nation’s capital. Gabby called it “Congress on Your Corner” -– just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.

    Indeed – and note how the First Amendment prohibits the government from interfering with it.

    The only challenge remaining is to prevent individuals from interfering with this basic right in a representative democracy.

  63. I thought I Tivoed the speech but watched it live anyway. That was so lucky that I watched it live as when I went back to see the Tivoed speech I found I set it for the wrong day somehow. I was so moved by our wonderful President’s speech. He perfectly consoled the families, Tuscon and the Country, praised and thanked the heroes, and set an inspirational tone of hope for rising above the bickering ways of politics to be the type of Country Christina and all children believe in. Thank you, President Obama for your inspiration.

  64. I loved the words that the President shared last night. I listened to his words again before lunch. Right as I was getting ready for lunch my good friend called and invited me to today’s MLK luncheon. The keynote speaker was Rev Otis Moss III from the President’s previous church (Trinity United Church of Christ in chicago). The theme of the program was “Illuminate The Dream ~ Enlighten The World”. He was absolutely amazing. My heart is completely full.

  65. I took away two important political points from this speech (the non-political ones were great – and there was much rejoicing).

    This is the second one:

    And in Gabby — in Gabby, we see a reflection of our public-spiritedness; that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union. (Applause.)

    I always felt uneasy about that “forming the more perfect union” – but I didn’t realize why until he said:

    I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. (Applause.)

    Why ?

    Because the last quote sets a goal, not merely a direction.

  66. When you spoke of someone saying they finally saw Prez Obama (scales fell off their eyes) yesterday on C-Span. I witnessed a similar event when listening to my Progressive radio show yesterday before the Memorial even happened. The woman caller said that she was at a family gathering and several children inserted into the Conservative political discussion why are they so mean? She said that had been in the back of her mind when Sarah Palin gave her speech yesterday morning. She said that convinced her to change her registration from Republican to Democrat.

  67. I clicked on there. Would you believe just seeing many of those names made me ill.

    I will stop there, out of POTUS’s plea for civility. But I will THINK quite differently. I do believe in disagreeing agreeably. But i some cases it is more complicated than that.

    The best I can do is ignore blogs like DKOS, and offline, do my best to maintain high standards of decency and integrity. It is easier for me, (sub teacher), I think. Being in the classroom, you are perceived as a role model, which does lead to behaving with care.

  68. I enjoyed the introduction of PBO by the University President. It reflects your description too. He simply called him an intelligent man, with energy, and heart. I thought about all of the positive things you could say about President Obama and those three words fit him so nicely.

  69. Little Lulu- Are you the same Lulu that was on the Obama for America blog a lot prior to the 2008 election?

  70. The juxtaposition between the two reminds me of the McCain green backdrop and “bottled hot water to dehydrated babies” speech that was supposed to trump then candiate Obama declaring primary victory.

    I’m one who don’t believe Sarah Palin is going to run, she’ll tease it and might really think about it, but it’s too hard work for her to really take on to campaign for almost two years – and the pay isn’t near what she’s getting now. She’s just trying to stay relevant, because I think she realizes her star is fading.

  71. Feeling pretty fired up after last nights speech I was reading over some of President Obama’s comments

    “As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

    We need to “sharpen our empathy” and increase understanding on the issue of mental illness. .

    Today, for the first time I created an original blog post, (usually I feature an article written by someone else). With quite a bit of nervousness, I invite you to read the article on Health Care Reform and Mental Illness, and offer a comment.

  72. “When god is dreaming about the perfectly-imperfct human being, when god is looking for one man to be his messenger of love and hope and empathy and forgiveness and clear eyes and full heart, when god is painting a beautiful man – he’s looking at a picture of Barack Obama.”

    That is exactly the way I feel about him and I will go one step further. I had a very strong feeling when he was going to visit Gabby Giffords in the hospital that she would improve drastically. Call me crazy, but I seriously believe this great man has healing powers.

  73. I wonder if anyone has posted this yet?

    User GlowNZ (dKos) says “Just got these tweets

    “Gabby is opening both eyes, moving both legs, responding to questions, sitting up, will try to move her to a wheel chair tomorrow

    “The doctors for Rep. Giffords, they are telling the press about all the progress, she is sitting up, lifting legs, & much more”

    by GlowNZ on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:34:05 AM PST

    This was such stupendous news, I’m going to see if I can back it up with another source. I’m nearly disbelieving. I read somewhere that it was said by the medical team that she’ll be walking in a couple of weeks. Oh, I do hope so!

  74. Hi – I’m not medical, just on the social work end, but from what I read about the location of her lesions, the report sounds likely. It is the best damned news – thank you glow and Joan for reporting it here!

  75. BWD, your words describing our President encapsulate my feelings for this great, great man. In his speech, Pres. Obama put the spotlight on the victims of the tragedy. He made them family. He made all of us family. That is the best I can do to explain the impact Pres. Obama’s words had on me. We are truly blessed to have this man leading our nation.

  76. My favorite remark about God and Christina:


    Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:
    January 12, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    I think God is busy right now creating, and then jumping in mud puddles with Christina. We are perfectly capable of delivering ourselves while God is otherwhere.


    That’s from the great state of Alaska’s blog

    [ Wonder why it isn’t in BWD’s list – it’s the first
    thing I got attracted to after John McCain’s choice
    for running mate ]

  77. The future belongs to the positive, the unafraid, to those who actually believe in their bones that we, as a people, know no limits. Others may wish to provoke and find blame. For me there simply is no time for such games. Be a part of the solution without delay.

  78. I had given up, So many at Kos & other sites had begun turning on our wonderful POTUS, I had turned off cable news, stopped reading the daily editorials, in general, totally turned off politics. I could not stand one more day of Palin, she was everywhere,the discourse was becoming worse each & every day, seemed as if far too many were buying into Fox & everything they were spewing.The sites I had always enjoyed seemed to be helping by criticizing everything BO was doing. I had always gotten sollace from Blackwaterdog on kos, but could no longer find the posts, imagine how thrilled I was when I found this website. It is the best of the best. Thank you, thank you!

  79. He’s right. I was a bit fearful of how Gov. Brewer would handle things and it does speak volumes about how poisonous our political climate has become. I actually thought she did quite well yesterday and was pleasantly surprised.

    The President didn’t surprise me. He pleased me and moved me but none of that surprised me. He is always compassionate, caring and trying for unity and respect in all of his dealings. It’s been his theme since he hit the national stage in 2004. That some people only saw it for the first time last night, is a sad commentary on our media, our pundits and our unwillingness as a nation to listen to each other without partisan glasses.

  80. I believe I read in the Gillibrand and DWS account of their visit yesterday that one of her eyes was covered because it was damaged from the shot.

    I really have set low expectations though, I just hope she has memory and can be physically independent ie doesn’t need a rest-of-life caregiver.

    It’s so tragic, she was my favorite for taking on Sen. Kyl in 2012 and along with Gillibrand were Presidential Contenders – Gabby more than Kirsten even because of her purple disctict politics and coming from a southern red state.

  81. I go there only on rare occasion. GN, I thought I had guessed your username from the other place, but I think I’m wrong. I’ve never been very good at solving “mysteries”, even though I loved reading Agatha Christie when I was younger! 🙂

  82. I have often called President Obama “My President” – a term that I had not used for several years. Now I know that I can truly say “Our President” for he spoke to the hearts of all Americans. There will be some who will deny this, but they are wrong and their hearts must be made of stone. Thank god for Barack Obama.

  83. The most powerful moment for me was when he said that he personally wanted to live up to Christina Green’s expectations. For our country to be as good as she imagined it.

    Think about it. He wants our nation to be as awesomely good and well-meaning as the mind of 9-year-old child imagines it. That’s such a powerful notion.

  84. Well said and I couldn’t agree more. I wrote this comment at the above-linked piece contrasting POTUS’ remarks with those of Palin:

    President Obama, as is his wont, reached out and appealed to human nature’s better angels of community and united purpose, using the voice of a slain child to give a compelling moral rationale for that appeal.

    By contrast, Sarah Palin’s remarks, as is her wont, reached out and appealed to human nature’s lower angels: she attempted to create a picture of a movement under siege and a persecution, with false victimization thematics, utter negativity, and a controversial (at best) choice of words (“blood libel”).

    Hope and unity versus a siege mentality and fear.

    Speaking through Christina’s eyes and optimism created a very compelling and persuasive call for a review of the national political discourse. Really brilliant.

  85. Hi starshine! I won’t ruin the mystery for you, but let’s just say that my username here is not very different from what it was elsewhere. 😉

  86. Dear japa21, you comments made me think of the beautiful song that I sang in college: “No Man Is An Island.” it has a lovely melody also:
    Here are the words: “No Man is an Island, no man stands alone
    Each man’s joy is joy to me
    Each man’s grief is my own
    We need one another, so I will defend
    Each man as my brother/sister
    Each man as my friend.

    No man is an island far out in the blue We all look to One above Who our strength doth renew When I help my brother Then I know that I plant the seeds of friends that will never die

    I saw the people gather
    I heard the music start
    The song that they were singing
    Is ringing in my heart
    No man is an island, no man stands alone
    Each man’s joy is joy to me
    Each man’s grief is my own
    We need one another, so I will defend
    Each man as my brother
    Each man as my friend.”

    I thought of what you were saying and I found the version of this beautiful song, and I hope we will carry it around in our heart on this site.
    So thanks you japa21 for your thoughts. I am still crying and my candles are still burning for those we are praying for last Sat., but I know we will carry the wonderful words spoken from our President’s heart with us to make this a better place that Christina had in her mind. Let us do it! We can.

  87. My sister just called and asked me if I’d found OWN (Oprah’s network), not something I’d even remembered had started up.

    I looked for it, and Gayle King is on now … saying how moved she was about the President’s remarks last evening. She’s talking all about “the tender moments.”

    Gayle said she was ill in bed last night, but all by herself she sat up afterward and applauded.

  88. Thank you LadyHawke for your insightful comments. This is why I find this site to be such a comfort and a treasure of information that feeds the soul and the inner spirit of wanting to come in a refresh the sould.

    I just wanted to say that I was listening to C-SPAN’s Book Review a few weeks ago, and the authors of the books “Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama’s Speeches from the State House to the White House.” I am waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail now. Maybe some of you will find it a good read also. We must be able to understand our President a little more to understand where is is coming from when he speaks to us, and when he chooses to keep silent for good reasons. We can trust him because we saw again last night how carefully he chooses his words to be inclusive and to bring us together with love, harmony, and sensibility in situations. I like a leader like that. I am grafetul for our President of the United States. Thank you for your observations. And a BIG thanks to BWD!!!!!!

  89. WTF, got to see the press conference. “the President’s new found empathy”…man, if I was Gibbs, I will remove that mothaF out of the room. They got some nerve.

  90. One more quick note about Gayle King: She tries really hard to use the full “President Barack Obama,” every time she mentions him – as a tone of respect.

  91. Love, caring, grace and being hopeful wins people. Hate does not. It is nice to know these things because they speak volume. Thank you for recapping the story.

  92. I actually had not had the chance to watch/listen to the speech (had read transcript) until I got to sit down this afternoon, from your link.

    I am consistently in awe that this country mustered the wisdom and intelligence to elect this man as President.

    It’s strange to read all the pundits going on about “where has this Obama been for the last two years?” He has been right under your noses, and his message and his wisdom and his compassion have never changed or flagged. So many succubi who cannot seem to generate the wisdom and compassion on their own that this President so freely shares when he has time between the duties of actual governance. It’s sad to see how many people cannot seem to hold onto his words and put them into effect in their day to day lives. Yet like the all of our greatest spiritual leaders, Obama never loses patience. He will keep repeating his message over and over again until he no longer has the ability to do so. It is that simple.

  93. Hey Rhoda,

    I jut logged back on.
    Yes, I did. You will see my name and my logo in the end credits.

  94. …convinced her to change her registration from Republican to Democrat…

    OG, alright, we need more of this…Yes We Do!!! 😉

  95. I want to recommend the PBS version of the “event” (at 1 hour an 24 minutes) to all here.

    If you have the time – it’s much better than the 33 variant of the President’s speech.

    1. It shows the context of the (sometimes) raucous
    atmosphere in the audience – this wasn’t caused by
    PBO, but what happened before his speech.

    2. The PBS registration portrays him from the side
    “en profile” (as the French would say). Somehow,
    this makes his emotions much more visible.

    Please, give it a try.

  96. Thanks, Anita. If it is a “check” in the Obama supporters column, that’s a good thing. It may also get more attention for me and BWD and draw more folks to our blogs and that’s a Good Thing.

  97. Well, GN, you know I love you. You’re probably my biggest fan. You also know that you and I have a slightly different view on this. I just really believe that there are more folks that agree with us with regard to the President than is immediately apparent. The large number of Recs I get on my pro-Obama diaries at dKos tells me this is true. Those folks are quieter, less confrontational and much more civil so they don’t rise about the negative noise level.

    But they are there. And they enjoy my diaries and it gives them courage and motivation to keep fighting for our beliefs and our President’s goals and agenda.

    So, rather than shunning them, I will keep pushing forward there, letting folks know there’s an alternative view that reasonable and intelligent (assuming I’m seen that way) people can hold and promote.

    dKos has degenerated in the past and come back to being more reasonable afterwards and I think this will happen again.

    I am a bit dubious about DK4, I must say. My fear is that people will retreat to their own little cliques and, rather than promoting more conversation, it will result in small “camps” of folks that don’t venture outside their own sphere of folks they agree with. I hope I’m wrong.

    Cheers and hugs to you, my friend. If you’re ever in the Ann Arbor, MI area, I’m buying you a beer or a Coke 😉

  98. That’s what I was thinking, but the person I thought you were still posts there. But you don’t post there anymore, so, yes, I’m lost.

    But it’s ok, I’m accustomed to being lost! 🙂

  99. I so agree with you, I love President OBAMA, I thank GOD every day for giving HIM, his intelligence, his sincerity,his sense of love for this country and its people to us, we don’t deserve him but, i’m so very,very happy we have him…….. THANK YOU GOD.

  100. I’m the biggest fan of each and every one of the intrepid pragmatic progressive/liberal bloggers seeking to create new spaces of rationality and give voice to the Democratic base, without question!

  101. Thank you, God for giving us your gift to humanity. Your glory shines through him.
    I simply love him…

  102. I loved it. Thanks for sharing it with us. I especially liked the exchange of looks between PBO, Sarkozy and someone to his left. I had never seen that look before, and I follow all the pix and videos very closely. Good work.

  103. Can you tell those of us who are pressed for time what happened that resulted in the “raucous” atmosphere. It didn’t bother me, FWIW. It seemed “different” for a memorial, but coming from the right place.

  104. This is Inspiration past down from beyond (MARTAL), and for those who has ears let them
    discern what the spirit (SPEAKS). Mose- Christ
    to The President of the Great Kingdon of this earth. We are near Omega.

  105. Last night the President delivered a GREAT speech. I am so thankful for the people of Tucson to have had this opportunity to hear his words. He kept his focus on the victims and their families, and that was the right thing to do. The stories were moving and left lasting images of the ones who are no longer with us. I will save this video to watch over and over again, it makes me feel good.

  106. HZ, thanks so much for the kind words. I will definitely checkout the Power of Words book.

  107. After having watched and experienced the memorial at Tucson on tv, I was really disappointed by the coverage in the Philadelphia Inquirer. It was as if the were reporting on the last Eagles game – they lost.

    I was really happy to see the postings from other editorial writers from lots of news sources that verified what I witnessed.

    What has stayed with me is the challenge of keeping and meeting the expectations of Christina Taylor Green.

    It’s a great thing to have a challenge such as this. It brings out the best in all of us.

  108. I can’t believe that some people did not watch this, and that so few people at work talked about the tragedy – I think this is a symptom of the toxicity of the political climate. A national tragedy is now viewed with political lenses, and people are even afraid to discuss the horrors of the tragedy for fear that the person they’re speaking with is from the opposite aisle. I think the President and First Lady venturing into Tucson, meeting with families, and grieving as humans, as Americans, was wonderful. It broke through some of that wall of silence and partisan craziness that has made this whole week a real mystery of humanity’s ways.

  109. What is working, I linked to this same article downthread, forgetting that I found it via your link here. Forgive me, I’m exhausted, but that’s a terrific article.

  110. As BWD noted above,
    Steve Chapman, from the Chicago Tribune:

    What had never occurred to me before is that he might have made a good pastor.

    As I was listening to President Obama delivering the eulogy last night, it occurred to me that my pastor has used the same language over the past two years.

    I think people who see the President as being detached or emotionless….. he’s not. He has a certain calmness, centered-ness, that many mistake for detachment. And, my pastor has the same way about him. The emotion is seen in the eyes, and there is always a certain calmness, what I like to call being truly Christ-centered.

    Well, just my 2 on Chapman’s words.

  111. This event/memorial was so much more than a time to reflecton those who lost their lives. I truly emphathize with the loved ones of those who are dealing with all of the great sadness. This was a time for the Nation to stand up and live out the true meaning of it’s creed ;o) It was not lost on me the inclusiveness of everyone involved from the President, to the Daniel Hernandez, to the Korean? doctor. The world is big and we all can fit and live out the lives promised to us if we believe and have the faith to do what is right. Wonderful speech that evokes raw emotions by a wonderful man who takes the time to nurture the good that is in us all.

    Also, selfishly speaking, I love how the President loves his woman. We all deserve that type of affection ;o)

  112. Exactly!!!
    Thank you for this wonderful place BWD-

    Thank God for this most splendid President and his wonderful wife!!! Shalom.

  113. I am one those previously politically apathetic Americans who got involved because of this man Barack Obama; It was his empathy and decency and of course his brilliance that not only intrigued me, but completely transformed me!!!

  114. How to protect our representatives:

    Firstly, there should be a security detail along with them when they are outside of D.C., and I believe they already have the chaice and right to bare arms themselves outside of D.C. Secondly, nobody within 1000 ft. of any representative (already being proposed) should be allowed to carry firearms at any given event to which a representative is addressing constituents. Thirdly, camres should be set up at every representative office.

    Fourthly, security in D.C. should be tightened, whether by security detail for each representative, or by allowing each representative to carry firearms in D.C. Fifthly, when a representative is using public transit, then that representaive should be protected by either security detail or by being allowed to carry firearms. I prefer options, since perhaps one representative may not wish to carry firearms and would rather opt for security detail, whereas another represntative may not wish to incur the accompanied cost of a security detail, and is willing and knowing of the self-cost of carrying firearms.

    Finally, it is time to limit things in regards to overbearing of arms. I will not define that, and I will leave that to others to define. However, I recommend not going overboard in this manner.

    What I am truely afraid of, is a response that limits our 1st and 2nd amendment rights that would make them virtually obsolete, and I am also afraid of some self-appointed person or tiny group who would target one of our representatives.

    I reserve the right to get angry at what our government, our political parties, and/or our people does or does not do, and express that anger, without being labelled a loon and thereby discarded from political activity. That is the nature of political debate and discourse, anger as well as glorification because without these things, Democracy fails. I also reserve the right to peaceably assemble in protest, or in the worst case scenario, for we the people to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government gone awry. As of now, our government is properly functioning, and so I condemn the act of this lone person who committed an atrocity which was egged on by the fascists within the Tea Party.

    With all of that said, in the next few months which follow this tragedy, I will do my best to monitor my tone of discussion, and to bring forth a certain civility which explains why our Founding Fathers designed the nation the way that they did. Civility and education is what is needed at this juncture in time.

    I hereby withdraw this username for good and my future commentary for some time. I cannot explain in words how truly troubled I am at this past weekend’s events as well as events which lead up to it.

    Remember always, I love you. God rest the souls of the innocent who were injured or killed in this tragedy, and I am still praying for a full recovery for Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords.

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