The following is a transcript of President Obama’s remarks about being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. He made the comments at a press conference at the White House on 9 October, 2009.
We have divided the sentences into phrases, line-by-line, based on standard phrasing patterns.
You can print this out, listen to the video and mark the places where he actually stops between phrases.
This will give you a better understanding of his speaking style and you will see how effective phrasing can make it much easier for us to understand.
this is not how I expected to wake up this morning.
After I received the news,
Malia walked in and said,
“Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize,
and it is Bo’s birthday!”
And then Sasha added,
we have a three-day weekend coming up.”
So it’s good to have kids
to keep things in perspective.
I am both surprised and deeply humbled
by the decision of the Nobel Committee.
Let me be clear:
I do not view it as a recognition
of my own accomplishments,
as an affirmation
of American leadership
on behalf of aspirations
held by people in all nations.
To be honest,
I do not feel
that I deserve to be in the company
of so many of the transformative figures
who’ve been honored by this prize —
men and women
who’ve inspired me
and inspired the entire world
through their courageous pursuit of peace.
But I also know that this prize
reflects the kind of world
that those men and women,
and all Americans,
want to build —
a world that gives life
to the promise of our founding documents.
And I know that throughout history,
the Nobel Peace Prize
has not just been used
to honor specific achievement;
it’s also been used as a means
to give momentum to a set of causes.
And that is why I will accept this award
as a call to action —
a call for all nations
to confront the common challenges
of the 21st century.
These challenges can’t be met
by any one leader
or any one nation.
And that’s why my administration
has worked to establish
a new era of engagement
in which all nations must take responsibility
for the world we seek.
We cannot tolerate a world
in which nuclear weapons
spread to more nations
and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust
endangers more people.
And that’s why
we’ve begun to take concrete steps
to pursue a world without nuclear weapons,
because all nations have the right
to pursue peaceful nuclear power,
but all nations have the responsibility
to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.
We cannot accept the growing threat
posed by climate change,
which could forever damage the world
that we pass on to our children —
sowing conflict and famine;
destroying coastlines and emptying cities.
And that’s why all nations
must now accept their share of responsibility
for transforming the way that we use energy.
We can’t allow
the differences between peoples
to define the way that we see one another,
and that’s why we must pursue a new beginning
among people of different faiths
and races and religions;
one based upon mutual interest
and mutual respect.
And we must all do our part
to resolve those conflicts
that have caused so much pain and hardship
over so many years,
and that effort must include
an unwavering commitment
that finally realizes that
the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians
to live in peace and security
in nations of their own.
We can’t accept a world
in which more people
are denied opportunity
that all people yearn for;
the ability to get an education
and make a decent living;
that you won’t have to live in fear of disease
without hope for the future.
And even as we strive to seek a world
in which conflicts are resolved peacefully
and prosperity is widely shared,
we have to confront the world
as we know it today.
I am the Commander-in-Chief
of a country that’s responsible
for ending a war
and working in another theater
to confront a ruthless adversary
that directly threatens the American people
and our allies.
I’m also aware that
we are dealing with the impact
of a global economic crisis
that has left millions of Americans
looking for work.
These are concerns that I confront every day
on behalf of the American people.
Some of the work confronting us
will not be completed during my presidency.
Some, like the elimination of nuclear weapons,
may not be completed in my lifetime.
But I know these challenges can be met
so long as it’s recognized
that they will not be met
by one person or one nation alone.
This award is not simply about
the efforts of my administration —
it’s about the courageous efforts
of people around the world.
And that’s why this award
must be shared with everyone
who strives for justice and dignity —
for the young woman
who marches silently in the streets
on behalf of her right to be heard
even in the face of beatings and bullets;
for the leader imprisoned in her own home
because she refuses to abandon
her commitment to democracy;
for the soldier who sacrificed
through tour after tour of duty
on behalf of someone half a world away;
and for all those men and women
across the world
who sacrifice their safety and their freedom
and sometime their lives
for the cause of peace.
That has always been the cause of America.
That’s why the world
has always looked to America.
And that’s why I believe America
will continue to lead.