WASHINGTON -- President Obama choked up as he addressed his campaign staff, likening the team to “ripples of hope” whose accomplishments would far outlast his term in office.
Obama’s post-victory visit to his campaign headquarters in Chicago on Wednesday was closed to the media. But a new video posted on his YouTube channel shows the president’s emotional, off-the-cuff speech to the team that helped him secure another four years in the White House.
He began by recalling how he “grew up” during his time as a community organizer in Chicago, saying the work “changed me much more than I changed the communities.”
“I became a man during that process. And so when I come here and when I look at all of you, what comes to mind is not that you guys actually remind me of myself, it’s the fact that you are so much better than I was, in so many ways,” Obama said.
His voice cracked with emotion as he continued.
“I’m absolutely confident that all of you are going to do just amazing things in your lives,” he said. “What Bobby Kennedy called the ripples of hope that come out when you throw a stone in a lake -- that’s going to be all of you.
“That’s why even before last night’s results, I felt that the work that I had done in running for office had come full circle, because what you guys have done means that the work that I’m doing is important. And I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of all of you.”
As the campaign team applauded and attempted to buck up the commander in chief, he wiped tears from his eyes.
“Whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to come,” he said. “And that’s been my source of hope. That’s why when people over the last four years, when people ask me about how do you put up with this or that and the frustration of Washington, I just think about you.”
Throughout his reelection effort, Obama spoke reflectively of how this would be his final campaign. And the video released Thursday evening was the latest example of how the weight of that fact struck seemingly struck the president in the final week.
A widely circulated photograph taken during his final campaign event in Iowa appeared to show evidence of a tear that rolled down his face. And after delivering his victory speech early in the morning Wednesday, he lingered on stage for an extended time, at one point reversing course, as he was about to leave, to acknowledge longtime supporters in the crowd.
After another day out of the public eye Thursday, though, Obama is set to deliver his first official statement Friday afternoon from the White House since his victory, on the state of the economy.