When we first began this improbable journey, nobody thought we had a chance. People said: "He can't win, he's got no money, no organization, and no one can pronounce his name." But you told them loud enough so that the whole state could hear: Yes, We Can!
And now, tonight, nearly two years later, you've made me the next United States Senator from Illinois, and all I can say is thank you!
Thank you for believing that government can help people find jobs that pay a living wage. Thank you for believing that government can make a difference in making sure that people don't go bankrupt when they get sick. Thank you for believing that there are better days ahead, and that together we can, and will, make a difference.
It is your abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation that make America a beacon of hope and freedom around the world - the same faith that gave my father the courage to leave Kenya to come study in America. And it is this same faith that I saw in a woman I met the other day named Marguerite Lewis.
Marguerite and I spoke at a rally on the South Side. She said that she wanted to thank me for running a positive race, and wanted me to know that she had voted for me. Ordinarily this wouldn't be unusual, except that Marguerite is 104 years old.
Since we met, I haven't been able to stop thinking about what she has lived through. Marguerite was born in a time when she couldn't vote not only because she was African American, but also because she was a woman. She lived through World War I, World War II, the Great Depression; she saw FDR lift up our nation with the New Deal, and she saw folks marching to eliminate the scourge of segregation.
And I thought to myself, if Marguerite Lewis, after 104 years, still believes she can make a difference, and if she isn't too tired to come to a rally, then we aren't too tired to fight to make sure that our kids have health care! If Marguerite Lewis, after 104 years, can exercise her right to vote, then we aren't too tired to fight to create jobs here in Illinois! If Marguerite Lewis can stand up for what she believes in for 104 years, then Yes, We Can too!
It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.
Thank you again for your support.