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Remarks by the First Lady at the Democratic National Convention

citizen | 9/5/2012, 11:48 a.m.

But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus, arriving at work before anyone else, giving her best without complaint or regret. And she would often tell Barack, "So long as you kids do well, Bar, that's all that really matters."

Like so many American families, our families weren't asking for much. They didn't begrudge anyone else's success or care that others had much more than they did -- in fact, they admired it. (Applause.) They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don't start out with much, if you work hard and do what you're supposed to do, you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids. That's how they raised us (Applause.) That's what we learned from their example.

We learned about dignity and decency -- that how hard you work matters more than how much you make; that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself. (Applause.) We learned about honesty and integrity -- that the truth matters -- (applause) -- that you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules; and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square. (Applause.) We learned about gratitude and humility -- that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean. (Applause.) And we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values that Barack and I -- and so many of you -- are trying to pass on to our own children. That's who we are.

And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I didn't want any of that to change if Barack became President. Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being President doesn't change who you are -- no, it reveals who you are. (Applause.)

You see, I've gotten to see up close and personal what being President really looks like. And I've seen how the issues that come across a President's desk are always the hard ones -- the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer; the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error. And as President, you're going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are. (Applause.)

So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother. He's thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day's work. That's why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work. (Applause.) That's why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses, and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet. (Applause.)