When I hear the news a few minutes after 11pm, I break out in tears. Thom raises his glass to cheer the new president, but I can't get my arms to work in response. I'm afraid if I move, or even breathe too deeply, this beautiful moment will wash away like a dream, so unbelievable does it seem. Months of campaigning, hundreds of polls, and even John Stewart's jubilant voice can't quite convince me the moment is actually happening.
Finally, after what seems like eternity, I raise my glass to Thom's and we help ring in a new era.
These are two of my favorite moments from what was truly a remarkable victory speech:
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
...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.
For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.