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.


Good morning.


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,

but rather

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

and dignity

that all people yearn for;

the ability to get an education

and make a decent living;

the security

that you won’t have to live in fear of disease

or violence

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.

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