We learned about honesty and integrity — that the truth matters. That you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules. and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square.
We learned about gratitude and humility — that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean. And we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect.
Those are the values Barack and I — and so many of you — are trying to pass on to our own children. That's who we are.
And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I didn't want any of that to change if Barack became president.
Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are — it reveals who you are.
You see, I've gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like.
And I've seen how the issues that come across a president's desk are always the hard ones — the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer. The judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.
And as president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.
So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.
He's thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day's work. That's why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work. That's why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet.
That's how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again — jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.
When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.
He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically — that's not how he was raised — he cared that it was the right thing to do.
He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine. Our kids should be able to see a doctor when they're sick, and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.
He believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care. That's what my husband stands for. When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserve, Barack knows that like me and like so many of you, he never could've attended college without financial aid.
And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.
We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.
That's why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid and keep interest rates down, because he wants every young person to fulfill their promise and be able to attend college without a mountain of debt.
So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren't political — they're personal. Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles. He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids.
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