Obama pulled out his handkerchief and wiped his eyes when speaking about his wife of 25 years, First Lady Michelle Obama.
“Michelle – Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the Southside, for the past 25 years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend,” the president said.
Adding, “You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud.”
Just by saying the first lady’s name, the thousands gathered at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center gave a roaring response with loud applause and a standing ovation. Among those on their feet were the couple’s 18-year-old daughter Malia Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
Malia was emotional through most of her father’s speech, but most especially when he spoke directly to her. (A White House official says Sasha stayed back in Washington because it was a school night and she has an exam in the morning.)
“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad,” he said.
And when addressing the Bidens, Obama expressed his deepest gratitude.
“To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son: you were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best,” he stated. “Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother. We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life.”
Not only did Obama thank those closest to him, but he also thanked his “remarkable staff.”
“For eight years – and for some of you, a whole lot more – I’ve drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism,” he shared. “I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you. The only thing that makes me prouder than all the good we’ve done is the thought of all the remarkable things you’ll achieve from here.”
Lastly, the 44th president thanked the American people.
“And to all of you out there – every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change – you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because yes, you changed the world,” he said.
Concluding, “My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain. Yes We Can. Yes We Did. Yes We Can.”