Obama talks about his loss of anonymity and the value of public service at town hall meeting in Strasbourg

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I just watched the last half of Obama's town hall meeting in Strasbourg from yesterday, and I particularly liked the last question and his answer to it. Luckily the full transcript to the town hall meeting is available on a number of sites (like this one) so I don't have to type it up.

Q ...we wanted to know if you -- did you ever regret to have run for presidency till now? I mean, well, did you ever ask yourself, am I sure to manage -- yes.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, it's a good question. (Applause.) Michelle definitely asked that question. (Laughter.) You know, there are -- there have been times, certainly, during the campaign, and there have been times over the last several months where you feel a lot of weight on your shoulders. There's no doubt about it.

During the campaign, the biggest sacrifice -- the thing that was most difficult was that I was away from my family all the time. In addition to missing -- in addition to being jealous about high-speed rail and the nice trains here, I'm also jealous of the fact that campaigns here only last a few months, whereas in the United States we were running for two years. So I was away from home all the time, and that was very difficult because not only do I have a wonderful wife, but I have two perfect daughters. And so, you know, I missed them a lot. (Applause.)

But the nice thing is now that I'm President, it turns out I have this really nice office in my house called the Oval Office, and so it only takes me a few seconds to get upstairs, and I'm home for dinner every night.

You also lose privacy and autonomy -- or anonymity. You know, it's very frustrating now -- it used to be when I came to Europe, that I could just wander down to a café and sit and have some wine and watch people go by, and go into a little shop, and watch the sun go down. Now I'm in hotel rooms all the time and I have security around me all the time. And so just -- you know, losing that ability to just take a walk, that is something that is frustrating.

But having said all that, I truly believe that there's nothing more noble than public service. Now, that doesn't mean that you have to run for President. (Applause.) You know, you might work for Doctors Without Borders, or you might volunteer for an -- or you might be somebody working for the United Nations, or you might be the mayor of Strasbourg. Right? (Applause.) I mean, they're all -- you might volunteer in your own community.

But the point is that what I found at a very young age was that if you only think about yourself -- how much money can I make, what can I buy, how nice is my house, what kind of fancy car do I have -- that over the long term I think you get bored. (Applause.)

I think your life becomes -- I think if you're only thinking about yourself, your life becomes diminished; and that the way to live a full life is to think about, what can I do for others? How can I be a part of this larger project of making a better world?

Now, that could be something as simple as making -- as the joy of taking care of your family and watching your children grow and succeed. But I think especially for the young people here, I hope you also consider other ways that you can serve, because the world has so many challenges right now, there's so many opportunities to make a difference, and it would be a tragedy if all of you who are so talented and energetic, if you let that go to waste; if you just stood back and watched the world pass you by.

Better to jump in, get involved. And it does mean that sometimes you'll get criticized and sometimes you'll fail and sometimes you'll be disappointed, but you'll have a great adventure, and at the end of your life hopefully you'll be able to look back and say, I made a difference.

She started out the question by mentioning that his name means peach in Hungarian, but didn't mention whether this was Barack or Obama. Let's check...

looks like it's Barack.
Az őszibarack botanikai neve . A magyar nyelvben „őszibarack” néven említjük a termesztett és magról kelt összes változatát, de a külföldi kényesebb, általában késői fajták „francia barack” néven is ismertek. Voltaképpen mindkét elnevezés helytelen, mert nem „őszi”, hiszen a fajtától függően, nyár közepétől megtalálhatók a piaci kínálatban, és nem is „francia”, mert a jelenleg is termesztett fajták nagyon sok országból származnak: Olaszországból, Oroszországból, Kínából, az USA tagállamaiból (Illinois, Texas) és Kanadából) származnak. Helyes elnevezése csak a barack lenne, ami azért okoz némi bonyodalmat, mert a kajszibarackot is értjük rajta. Így hát nincs megegyezés az elnevezést illetően. Mivel az őszibarack elnevezés a magyar nyelvben általános, a továbbiakban is ezen a néven említjük.
And with a stroke of luck I've found a video with this last question alone by doing a search on YouTube for Obama Strasbourg peach. Now you can watch it yourself:


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP