President Barack Obama on Election Day, November 4, 2008
Today is a special day for me, for my family, and for the United States. One year ago this evening, I was in Grant Park in Chicago along with hundreds of thousands of others to celebrate Barack Obama’s election as the 44th President of the United States.
The campaign was not always celebrations and huge crowds. The first meeting I went to in the Obama Campaign offices was attended by four people. We were in a tiny office with two desks and two chairs. Two of us sat on the floor. My biggest contribution that day was that I managed to lose the campaign’s only key to the men’s room down the hall. Somehow — we were able to recover from that setback.
I was fortunate enough to watch history unfold before me over the course of two years. In the snow covered fields of Iowa and New Hampshire. In the inner cities of Cleveland and Pittsburg. On the farms in South Carolina and Minnesota. And in so many other places.
When people ask me what it was like to be a part of the campaign I am always at a loss for words. Rarely do you get to participate in something like this. It was a campaign that became a movement. I was swept up by that movement and carried forward by it. When I later heard about all the Canadians who had spent their vacations or school holidays in the U.S. volunteering with the same movement, I was truly touched, just as I was when I heard about the many Canadians who traveled to Washington last January to personally witness the President’s truly historic inauguration.
Ambassador Jacobson on the Campaign Trail in 2008
On that night one year ago in Grant Park the President said it best – as he always does:
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer….
“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America….
“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there….
“To all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.”
The President finished with three words which are an American Creed: “YES WE CAN!”