February 12th, 2009
12:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama: Lincoln 'made America's story possible'

The President spoke Thursday at a congressional celebration of Lincoln's 200th birthday anniversary.
The President spoke Thursday at a congressional celebration of Lincoln's 200th birthday anniversary.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - From Capitol Hill to Springfield, Illinois, President Obama and Congress paid tribute Thursday to Abraham Lincoln on the bicentennial of his birth.

Watch: Obama honors Lincoln

"It is an honor to be here: a place where Lincoln served, was inaugurated, and where the nation he saved bid him a last farewell," Obama said at the Capitol on Thursday.

"As we mark the bicentennial of our 16th president's birth, I cannot claim to know as much about his life and works as many who are also speaking today, but I can say that I feel a special gratitude to this singular figure who in so many ways made my own story possible - and who in so many ways made America's story possible."

White House officials say Obama's speechwriter had several conversations with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in crafting the speech.

"At a moment when we are far less divided than in Lincoln's day but when we are once again debating the critical issues of our time - and debating them sometimes fiercely - let us remember that we are doing so as servants of the same flag, as representatives of the same people and as stakeholders in a common future. That is the most fitting tribute we can pay and the most lasting monument we can build to that most remarkable of men, Abraham Lincoln," Obama said.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. arithmetic is liberal

    Charles Darwin also turned 200 today (thank you Google).

    February 12, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Eleonore

    Thank god it's President Obama who is a brillant orator and a brillant scholar who delivered this speech. Could you think of what Bush would have done, mangling words and grammar.

    February 12, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Cynthia - Arkansas

    What a wonderful President and speaker. He can stir real emotion like no other.

    God Bless President Obama!

    February 12, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Jim

    More speeches and publicity events. We hired this guy to get things straightened out, and all we're hearing is more of the same. Articulate and charming, but at the end of the day, more of the same.

    February 12, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. jaye

    Lincoln be be so ashamed of what has become of the republican party. He would praise the democrats and the Independents, and be shamed by the republicans.

    February 12, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Griff

    Pacify them with their Hero's, and you have them eating out of your hand..

    February 12, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. FreeNLovIt

    I know. Wow! What a man! To unite the country under tremedous and enormous pressure is history in itself. He basically absorbed it ALL in and kept it together.

    February 12, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. FreeNLovIt

    He really DID preserve the UNION.

    February 12, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. FreeNLovIt

    Yep, God, Guts and Guns made this country.

    February 12, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Maria

    I have been watching CNN all day in order to hear the Lincoln commentaries.....how could your correspondent Soledad compare that beautiful 8 year old boy's reciting the Gettysburg address to that of a professional actor, trained on delivery etc......it was the lamest thing I have ever seen on TV.......and TV has some pretty lame stuff......

    February 12, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. arithmetic is liberal

    I am just waiting for some soidisant racist jacka$$ to come on here and start trawling for attention by making a stupid comment on this article. Knock on wood...

    February 12, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Noah

    Funny, most Obamaniacs think that Obama made America possible.

    February 12, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Griff

    Then what about General Lee! General Grant?

    February 12, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Matthew, Detroit

    Barack nees to stop comparing himself to Lincoln. Lincoln was a great man.

    Barack is just a boy. A naive boy at that.
    This spending plan is going to cause a lot of damage. We just spent money for 8 years and bush caused a lot of damage. We are going down the same road and Barack is going to drown us with debt. 2 wrongs do not make a right. Bad news folks.

    February 12, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. JD

    The highly touted "parallels" between B.O. and Lincoln are nonsensical. Did Lincoln have a hippy mother that chased abusive men all over the world? Did Lincoln get elected via the most corrupt political machine in America, the Chicago machine? Did Lincoln run on a platform of "hope" and "change" only to ramp up fearful rhetoric and appoint corrupt individuals to high office? (See Timothy Geithner, Tom Daschle, etc, etc.) The answer is No, No, and No.

    February 12, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. versaillesxiv

    No, Obama. You have this wrong, too.

    The American story was made possible by George Washington and writing of the Declaration of Independence followed by the Constitution.

    Do you think because you are now president that you can try to 1. Rewrite history to suit yourself and/or 2. Brain wash U.S. citizens to believing the way "you would want to believe?"

    Not everyone voted for you. As a matter of fact, only one half of the people in the U.S. voted for you.

    Disgusted

    February 12, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Gerda Edwards

    There's a distinct difference:
    – Pres Lincoln fought tirelessly to "preserve" America
    – Pres Obama unashamedly plans to "change" America

    February 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Griff

    You should read "The Treaty with Mexico"...
    The Treaty with Spain.. So many others...

    February 12, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Virginia

    Was Lincoln on the campaign trail with you, or what???

    February 12, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    President Lincoln realized first and foremost that life is merely a sequence of places in time and those whom we term as "Great" are merely those unwillling to stand outside the fire during their place in time. Lincoln knew he was limited as to what he could achieve therefore he achieved what he could at the time. His personablity and intelligence granted him many opportunities of which he made the most without regard to personal gain which makes him not only admirable but outstanding in our nation. He is to be admired, respected and emulated.

    February 12, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Proud American

    Wow,....OBama...again....trying to indirectly compare himself to Lincoln. It's an old sales scam; "brand association...."Obama continually spouts off about Lincoln, and then himself....trying to assimilate thoughts into people's minds that somehow he deserves the same level of popularity, and respect that Lincoln had....It's downright arrogant, and sickening at a minimum.
    One thing though, liberals are falling for it left and right....although, lately some have awoken from the koolaid binge to see that they've made a grave mistake.

    What we have today folks is a puppet, plain and simple. Someone who wouldn't dare take a risk, unless he knows the definite outcome (thereby diminishing the risk part)...So, Barack, get over yourself, and at best perhaps compare yourself to a McDonald's manager, or something like that; they too start out on the job with little or no experience...and must learn along the way.....however, you're no Lincoln.....

    February 12, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Gerda Edwards

    Eleonore @ 1:10 pm "Thank god it's President Obama who is a brillant orator and a brillant scholar who delivered this speech. Could you think of what Bush would have done, mangling words and grammar."
    ============
    And thank god it's President Obama using a teleprompter. Could you think of what he would have done, stuttering, pausing, babbling, and inserting "uhmms," "ahhhhs, " and "ehhhs" had this been a conversation or interview?

    February 12, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Ken Sawyer

    We need to talk about Obama and what he is going to do not what Lincoln did. Our problems, true or contrived ,are now.

    February 12, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. Joseph

    versaillesxiv February 12th, 2009 1:39 pm ET

    No, Obama. You have this wrong, too.

    The American story was made possible by George Washington and writing of the Declaration of Independence followed by the Constitution.

    Do you think because you are now president that you can try to 1. Rewrite history to suit yourself and/or 2. Brain wash U.S. citizens to believing the way "you would want to believe?"

    Not everyone voted for you. As a matter of fact, only one half of the people in the U.S. voted for you.

    Disgusted
    ______________________________________________________
    actually you are incorrect, the American story for "white" Americans occurred during the revolutionary war and because of the brave efforts of many not just George Washington, let's not forget that Indians and African Americans were not considered in the declaration of independence nor in the constitution. So America's story as it stands today was by and large greatly influenced by our 16th president. It still disgust me that you let you blind ignorance make you look like an uninformed bigot. Though not everyone voted for him more than enough vote for him to become president.

    February 12, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Joseph

    Matthew, Detroit February 12th, 2009 1:38 pm ET

    Barack nees to stop comparing himself to Lincoln. Lincoln was a great man.

    Barack is just a boy. A naive boy at that.
    This spending plan is going to cause a lot of damage. We just spent money for 8 years and bush caused a lot of damage. We are going down the same road and Barack is going to drown us with debt. 2 wrongs do not make a right. Bad news folks.
    _________________________________________________________
    and unless you have a solution to back up your complaining you're no better than the corrupt individuals of wall street. All talk no solution just looking for something to bicker about. Just like the people who criticized bush, all whining with no solutions

    February 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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