Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security will stop deportations and grant work permits for students who meet certain requirements. The policy change will apply to those who arrived in the U.S. before turning 16, who have been in the country for at least five years, and are under the age of 30. During his remarks, Obama suddenly addressed a person in the crowd, telling him that he was not yet taking questions. "Excuse me, sir, it's not time for questions, sir," Obama said. "Not while I'm speaking."
Mr Obama comes close to agreeing with those who backed the invasion in the first place. That for all the fantasy about weapons of mass destruction, all the mistakes and lack of preparation, the world is a better place for the war. But it is not politically awkward. Few will notice; few are talking about it. It looks more like fair-minded generosity than hypocrisy. But he is papering over the cracks between what he has always thought and what he has to say to the country.
Mark Anthony said: "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." US President Barack Obama's speech at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was trickier. He had to praise the troops but bury a war he had once called "dumb".
Here, finally, is the Barack Obama many of us thought we had elected in 2008. Since then we’ve had a president who has only reluctantly stood up to the moneyed interests Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin stood up to.
The President’s speech yesterday in Osawatomie, Kansas — where Teddy Roosevelt gave his “New Nationalism” speech in 1910 — is the most important economic speech of his presidency in terms of connecting the dots, laying out the reasons behind our economic and political crises, and asserting a willingness to take on the powerful and the privileged that have gamed the system to their advantage.
Jon Favreau, 27, is, as Obama himself puts it, the president's mind reader. He is one of the youngest chief speechwriters on record in the White House, and, despite such youth, was at the centre of discussions of the content of today's speech, one which has so much riding on it. For a politician whose rise to prominence was largely built upon his powers as an orator, Obama is well versed in the arts of speech-making. But today's effort will tower over all previous ones.
"That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act. It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship. And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away. Now, both parties wrote this legislation. And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it. It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it. The bill hasn’t really changed. The need hasn’t changed. It’s still the right thing to do. The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics."
"Now, nine years ago, American troops were preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf and the possibility that they would be sent to war. Many of you were in grade school. I was a state senator. Many of the leaders now governing Iraq -- including the Prime Minister -- were living in exile. And since then, our efforts in Iraq have taken many twists and turns. It was a source of great controversy here at home, with patriots on both sides of the debate. But there was one constant -- there was one constant: your patriotism, your commitment to fulfill your mission, your abiding commitment to one another. That was constant. That did not change. That did not waiver."
"For most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments -- wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t -- and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up."
"My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you've bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition. Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents."