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

Obama: Lincoln 'made America's story possible'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/12/art.boabe0212.gi.jpg caption="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. J in NJ

    I think we should wait and see what the great and powerful O does before we start comparing him to some of the great historical figures of the past. However if we are going to compare him to Lincoln let's first define the real Lincoln.

    Good doin Abe suspended the constitution, instituted martial law, completely trampled states rights and was directly responsible for largest loss of American lives on American soil ever. I am not saying I support slavery but circumventing the existing legal process at the time for the sake of expediting his ideology of anti-slavery is wrong no matter how you slice it.

    That is not change anyone can believe in and that is not going to unite the country but divide the country just as it did in Lincoln's day. I applaud Obama's ambition. I like the idea of clean air, renewable energy and healthcare for all. I am not willing to do it by giving up any of my rights under the constitution.

    February 12, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Gerda Edwards

    Joseph @ 3:16, "the American story for "white" Americans occurred during the revolutionary war ... It still disgust me that you let you blind ignorance make you look like an uninformed bigot."

    IMO, only a bigot would think of America in two parts - a "white" America from 1776-1860ish, and an America of 1860ish to today. Sad really.

    February 12, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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