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Change

From President Obama's remarks yesterday:

"We knew it wouldn't come easy, we knew it wasn't going to come quickly, but three years later, because of what you did in 2008, we've already started to see what change looks like.

"Let me give you some examples. Change is the first bill I signed into law—a law that says an equal day's work should mean an equal day's pay, because our daughters should—deserve the same opportunities as our sons do. That's what change looks like.

"Change is the decision we made—not a popular one at the time—to save the auto industry from collapse. There were a lot of folks who said, let Detroit go bankrupt. But we decided to not only save thousands of jobs, get hundreds of local businesses thriving again, but we are now seeing fuel-efficient cars rolling off the assembly lines, stamped with three proud words: Made in America. And those are going to be exported all around the world. That's because of you. Because of the change that you brought.

"Change is the decision we made to stop waiting for Congress to do something about our oil addiction and finally raise our fuel-efficiency standards on our cars and on our trucks. And now, by the next decade, we'll be driving cars that get 56 miles per gallon. And that means that we are not only saving consumers money, but we're also taking carbon out of the atmosphere, and it is going to make a huge difference in terms of our environment, and that's because of you and the campaign that you helped run in 2008.

"Change is the fight that we won to stop sending $60 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the banks that were giving out student loans, and today that money is going directly to students. And as a consequence, there are millions of young people all across the country who have less of a debt burden and are better able to afford college. That's because of you, because of the work that you did.

"Change is health care reform. After a century of trying, a reform that will finally make sure that nobody goes bankrupt in America just because they get sick. And by the way, change is the 1 million young Americans who are already receiving insurance that weren't getting it before, because they can now stay on their parent's health insurance until they're 26 years old. That's a change that you made. At the same time, it provides everybody protection, so that if you get sick, if you have a preexisting condition, you can still afford to get health insurance—you'll still have access to quality care. That's the kind of changes that you brought about because of the work you did in 2008.

"Change is the fact that, for the first time in history, it doesn't matter who you love if you want to serve this country that we all love. We ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because of the change that you made.

"And change is keeping one of the first promises I made in my campaign in 2008—we are bringing the war in Iraq to a close. By the end of this year all our troops will be home for the holidays.

"And we've been working smarter and more effectively on national security, and that is why we have decimated al Qaeda—it's weaker than it's ever been before. And Osama bin Laden will never walk this Earth again. But we've been able to do it while sticking to our values. …

"Now, many of these changes weren't easy. Some of them were risky. Many of them came in the face of tough opposition and powerful lobbyists and special interests that were pouring millions of dollars into television ads to try to keep things just as they were. And it's no secret that the steps that we took weren't always politically popular. But this progress has been possible because of you—because you stood up and made your voices heard; because you knocked on doors, and you made phone calls, and you got in arguments with family members at Thanksgiving. You kept up the fight for change long after the election was over. And that should make you proud. It should make you hopeful. But it can't make us satisfied. It can't make us complacent, because we've got so much more work to do."