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Barack Obama

Brief Bio: American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017

Lived: 1961-

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“The Makers of Things”

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

From the speech “2009 Inaugral Address”

— 2009

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“A Return to These Truths”

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.

From the speech “Inaugral Address”

— 2009

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“Time is no match for Toni Morrison”

Time is no match for Toni Morrison. In her writing, she sometimes toyed with it, warping and creasing it, bending it to her masterful will. In her life’s story, too, she treated time nontraditionally. A child of the Great Migration who’d lifted up new, more diverse voices in American literature as an editor, Toni’s first novel wasn’t published until she was 39 years old. From there followed an ascendant career — a Pulitzer, a Nobel, and so much more — and with it, a fusion of the African American story within the American story. Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful — a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. And so even as Michelle and I mourn her loss and send our warmest sympathies to her family and friends, we know that her stories — that our stories — will always be with us, and with those who come after, and on and on, for all time.

From the book Time is no match for Toni Morrison

— 06 Aug 2019

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“No Perfect Answer”

The higher up you go in politics – but I think this is true of any organization – the more you will be confronted with challenges, problems, issues that do not yield a perfect answer.

From the interview “Dare to Lead podcast”

— 7 Dec 2020

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“The best thing we can do is treat each other better”

But the point is, I guess, that my politics has always been premised on the notion that the differences we have on this planet are real. They’re profound. And they cause enormous tragedy as well as joy. But we’re just a bunch of humans with doubts and confusion. We do the best we can. And the best thing we can do is treat each other better because we’re all we’ve got.

From the podcast “The Ezra Klein Show”

— 1 June 2021

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“Immigration is tough, and it always has been”

Immigration is tough. It always has been because, on the one hand, I think we are naturally a people that wants to help others. And we see tragedy and hardship and families that are desperately trying to get here so that their kids are safe, and they’re in some cases fleeing violence or catastrophe. At the same time, we’re a nation state. We have borders. The idea that we can just have open borders is something that … as a practical matter, is unsustainable.

From ABC News Interview with Barack Obama on 18 Sep 2021

— 2021-09-18

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