Best Speeches of
Barack Obama
through his 2009 Inauguration

Most Recent Speeches are Listed First

• Barack Obama -
Election Night Victory / Presidential Acceptance Speech - Nov 4 2008

Barack Obama - Night Before the Election - the Last Rally - Manassas Virginia - Nov 3 2008

• Barack Obama - Democratic Nominee Acceptance Speech
2008 National Democratic Convention

Barack Obama - "A World that Stands as One" - Berlin Germany - July 2008

• Barack Obama - Final Primary Night:
Presumptive Nominee Speech

• Barack Obama - North Carolina Primary Night

• Barack Obama - Pennsylvania Primary Night

• Barack Obama - AP Annual Luncheon

• Barack Obama - A More Perfect Union
“The Race Speech”

• Barack Obama - Texas and Ohio Primary Night

• Barack Obama - Potomac Primary Night

• Barack Obama - Super Tuesday

Barack Obama - Iowa Caucus Night

Barack Obama - California Democratic Convention - April 28, 2007

Barack Obama - Announcement For President - Feb 10 2007

Barack Obama - Floor Statement on Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007

Barack Obama - The Time Has Come for Universal Health Care

Barack Obama - Floor Statement on President's Decision to Increase Troops in Iraq

Barack Obama - Race Against Time - World AIDS Day Speech

Barack Obama - A Way Forward in Iraq

Barack Obama - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony

Barack Obama - Military Commission Legislation

Barack Obama - Floor Statement on the Habeas Corpus Amendment

Barack Obama - Energy Independence: A Call for Leadership

Barack Obama - An Honest Government, A Hopeful Future

Barack Obama - Xavier University Commencement Address

Barack Obama - AFSCME National Convention

Barack Obama - Vote against the Gulf of Mexico Energy Bill

Barack Obama - Support of H.R. 9, the Voting Rights Act

Barack Obama - Statement of Support for Stem Cell Research

Barack Obama - Campus Progress Annual Conference

Barack Obama - “Call to Renewal” Keynote Address

Barack Obama - Iraq Debate

Barack Obama - Northwestern University Commencement Address

Barack Obama - Katrina Reconstruction

Barack Obama - Take Back America

Barack Obama - Network Neutrality

Barack Obama - Federal Marriage Amendment

Barack Obama - University of Massachusetts at Boston Commencement Address

Barack Obama - General Michael Hayden Nomination

Barack Obama - Opposition to the Amendment Requiring a Photo ID to Vote

Barack Obama - Employment Verification Amendment for the Immigration Bill

Barack Obama - Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Commencement Address

Barack Obama - Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans

Barack Obama - EMILY's List Annual Luncheon

Barack Obama - A Real Solution for High Gas Prices

Barack Obama - Immigration Rallies

Barack Obama - Amendment to Stop No-Bid Contracts for Gulf Coast Recovery and Reconstruction

Barack Obama - Updates on Darfur, Immigration, Gas Prices

Barack Obama - Immigration Reform

Barack Obama - Energy Independence and the Safety of Our Planet

Barack Obama - Immigration Reform

Barack Obama - Improving Chemical Plant Security

Barack Obama - 21st Century Schools for a 21st Century Economy

Barack Obama - Meals Amendment

Barack Obama - Debate on Lobbying and Ethics Reform

Barack Obama - Energy Security is National Security - Governor's Ethanol Coalition

Barack Obama - Floor Statement S.2271 - PATRIOT Act Reauthorization

Barack Obama - Darfur: Current Policy Not Enough

Barack Obama - Foreign Relations Committee regarding Lugar-Obama legislation S.1949

Barack Obama - Hurricane Katrina Child Assistance Amendment

Barack Obama - Supreme Court Nomination of Samuel Alito - Podcast

Barack Obama - Confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. - Speech

Barack Obama - Lobbying Reform Summit National Press Club

Barack Obama - Meeting on Iraq with President Bush

Barack Obama - Remarks: Honest Leadership and Open Government

Barack Obama - From the Road: Israel and the Palestinian territories

Barack Obama - From the Road: Speaking with American Troops in Iraq

Barack Obama - The PATRIOT Act

Barack Obama - Moving Forward in Iraq - Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

Barack Obama - Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Ceremony

Barack Obama - National Women's Law Center

Barack Obama - "Sex on TV 4" Report

Barack Obama - Non-Proliferation and Russia: The Challenges Ahead

Barack Obama - Chicago White Sox

Barack Obama - Death of Rosa Parks

Barack Obama - Teaching Our Kids in a 21st Century Economy

Barack Obama - Avian Flu

Barack Obama - Confirmation of Judge John Roberts

Barack Obama - Resources for the Future

Barack Obama - Statement on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

Barack Obama - AFL-CIO National Convention

Barack Obama - Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill and the Avian Flu

Barack Obama - American Legion Conference

Barack Obama - Literacy and Education in a 21st-Century Economy

Barack Obama - Pritzker School of Medicine Commencement

Barack Obama - Nomination of Justice Janice Rogers Brown

Barack Obama - Knox College Commencement

Barack Obama - Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

Barack Obama - America’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy Remarks

Barack Obama - Rockford Register Star Young American Awards

Barack Obama - NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner

Barack Obama - National Press Club

Barack Obama - SIUC College of Agriculture's 50th Anniversary

Barack Obama - Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Barack Obama - Amendment for Meals/Phone Service to Wounded Veterans

Barack Obama - The Nuclear Option

Barack Obama - Confirmation Hearing of John Bolton

Barack Obama - Herblock Foundation Annual Lecture

Barack Obama - American Legion Legislative Rally

Barack Obama - CURE Keynote Address

Barack Obama - Remarks of TechNet

Barack Obama - S256, the Bankruptcy Abuse & Prevention Act of 2005

Barack Obama - John Lewis's 65th Birthday Gala

Barack Obama - Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Barack Obama - 2002 Speech Against the Iraq War

  Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans - Podcast - Transcript

TOPIC: Veterans
May 18, 2006
Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans
Complete Transcript

Hello, this is Senator Barack Obama and today is Thursday, May 18th, 2006.

We've been having some big debates here in Washington; obviously Iraq and Iran are still high on the list. We've also been immersed in the immigration bill, which is actually making more progress than I had expected. I'll be frank with you - I was concerned that after negotiations broke down that we were not going to be able to get a bill out of the Senate. I think, actually, at this point that we may get a comprehensive bill out of the Senate, then the challenge is going to be making sure that we're able to negotiate with House members to reconcile differences and ensure that we've got a piece of legislation that both deals with border security, ensures that employers have to verify the employment status of their employees, and also gives a pathway to citizenship to the 11 to 12 million people who are already here but undocumented.

But I want to just shift gears today. This is an issue that is important to an awful lot of people in Illinois, its also important to a lot of people in states around the country. Some of you may recall, if you've been following the work that we've been doing, that I'm on the Veterans Affairs Committee and however you feel about the war in Iraq, however you feel about past wars, I think all of us, Republican, Democrat, urban, rural, whatever your demographic, should share in the belief that when a young man or woman goes off and serves our country in the military, that they should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect when they come home. That should especially be true for those who have suffered disabilities on the battlefield. Anybody who's ever visited Walter Reed Hospital here in Washington and has seen twenty year-olds and twenty-two year-olds who have had legs amputated or suffered severe nerve damage I think understands they have made an unbelievable sacrifice on our behalf and that we've got an obligation to make sure that just as they are fighting on our behalf that we are going to make sure that we fight for their behalf when they come home.

It turned out that a number of veterans in states including Illinois had been apparently short-changed in terms of their disability payments. Typically, veterans who've been injured receive some sort of disability payment. They are evaluated by various regional offices of Veterans Affairs, and they are awarded a certain percentage based on the kind of injury they've received and the severity of the injury.

It turns out that in Illinois, for a wide range of reasons, you had veterans who had been injured getting paid much lower disability payments than veterans in some other states - and these differences were substantial. Illinois veterans, for example, were receiving 42 percent less per year than some of the leading states. So, to give you an example, an average disability payment to Illinois veterans would be $6,961. In New Mexico, the top ranked state - same veteran, same disability - on average, was getting $12,000 a year. So, obviously this wasn't acceptable to me as a senator from Illinois, but it was unacceptable, I think, to anybody who believes that any veteran who has served our country, wherever they live, should be treated fairly and equitably. As a consequence, we've moved forward and passed legislation last year ensuring that, in fact, some of these differentials were dealt with. We asked the VA to come to Illinois and other states that had suffered some of these problems and made sure that, in fact, they started assigning and retraining some of the people who were doing the evaluations. The other thing is we insisted that the Veterans Administration do outreach to people who have received disability payments all these years and may have been short-changed. And so what happened is starting this month, you had the Department of Veterans Affairs sending out letters to disabled veterans in Illinois and several other states indicating to them that they live in a state that has received low average disability compensation and that they have the right to open new claims, appeal what a veteran may consider to be a bad decision, to get help from veterans service organizations, in terms of processing these reevaluations that have been requested.

And so today I just wanted to make sure that veterans were aware of this. I hope that we've got some veterans on the podcast who may have been disabled and are receiving benefits. If you live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut, Ohio or New Jersey, than you live in a state in which the average disability payment is substantially lower than payments to disabled veterans in other states. It doesn't mean that your individual payment is necessarily too low; it may have been that you actually were treated fairly by the VA, but there is a possibility that because you live in one of these states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut, Ohio or New Jersey) that, in fact, you were getting a lower disability payment than you should have received. The VA should have sent a letter to you to contact you, to give you an opportunity to have your claim reevaluated and if you have not received a letter but you are a disabled veteran that was awarded a disability payment in one of those states, then you can call 1-800-827-1000. That's 1-800-827-1000, or you can get on the following website: I know that's a mouthful, so what you can do is get on our website and we will post on the website, the VA website that is designed to do this outreach. I hope that all of you take a look at this if you are a disabled veteran because we want to make sure that you have been treated fairly by the VA.

And for those of you who aren't veterans, I hope that you will continue to be supportive of our veterans. Many of them have a very difficult time adjusting when they first come back home. I think any of us who can imagine being on the battlefield in a place like Baghdad, perhaps seeing one of your friends injured or killed, seeing yourself lose a leg or an arm, experiencing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, you can only imagine the difficulties in making the adjustment to civilian life.

In fact, one of the things that I'm going to be monitoring very closely is how are we treating the 100,000 plus veterans who are going to be coming home and to make sure the VA has the capacity to provide transition services for veterans who are leaving the service and reentering civilian life, particularly National Guardsmen and Reservists who perhaps did not expect to be fighting in a place like Iraq. It turns out that if you catch a veteran and provide them good services on the way out, they are much less likely to suffer Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and can make the adjustment. If some of the problems they may have as a consequence of being on the battlefield are not dealt with early, then they can have long-term problems, which is one of the reasons why veterans are seven times more likely to be homeless than non-veterans. So, that's an amazing statistic to think about. It indicates the enormous toll that war, of any sort, can take on our young men and women. It's also a reminder for those of us who are in civilian life but have the authority to authorize war do so with a great sense of responsibility and caution.

Anyway, it's great to talk to you guys as always. I will be back on this podcast next week. In the meantime, I hope everybody will continue to monitor this immigration debate. I may have something more to say about it next week. In the meantime, I hope everybody will continue to monitor this immigration debate. I may have something more to say about it next week. Bye-bye.


You can only imagine how many different ways people type the name Barack Obama. Here is a sampling for his first name: Barac, Barach, Baracks, Barak, Baraka, Barrack, Barrak, Berack, Borack, Borak, Brack, Brach, Brock even, Rocco. There are just as many for his last name: Abama, Bama, Bamma, Obma, Obamas, Obamma, Obana, Obamo, Obbama, Oboma, Obomba, Obombma, Obomha, Oblama, Omaba, Oblamma and (ready for this?) Ohama. And of course there's Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein. Here are some of the ways it comes out: Hissein, Hussain, Husein, Hussin, Hussane and Hussien.