15 Years Later: A Look Back On The Day I Announced My Candidacy For President

This campaign can’t only be about me. It must be about us. It must be about what we can do together.

It’s hard to believe that 15 years have passed since I stood in front of the Old Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, and announced my candidacy for President.

It’s easy to look back on that morning, and the nearly two year campaign that followed, and think that our efforts were destined for success. But at the time, our campaign was viewed as a longshot — historic perhaps, but unlikely to end in the White House.

What gave me the confidence to move forward in spite of the odds were the people I met, including the people who came out to see us in Springfield. They didn’t stand in the cold for hours just for me. They did it because they believed in what this country could be, and that we could change it for the better.

I would go on to see that same spirit in the faces of young organizers, staff, and thousands of volunteers across the country who organized their own communities. They’re the reason our campaign succeeded, and I carried their stories — about a loved one who lost their health care, or a parent whose retirement account had been wiped out by the financial crisis, or a family struggling to pay their bills — with me to the White House.

Today, our challenges are as great as any we faced 15 years ago — from disinformation that is undermining faith in our democratic institutions, to the growing effects of climate change, to a lingering pandemic. But my faith in what we can achieve when we work together is as strong as ever.

Put simply, I believe we can meet our challenges because I still believe in the American people. And it has given me even more hope watching so many of the people who got involved in politics for the first time in our 2008 campaign continue to find ways to serve — volunteering in their communities; starting non-profits; serving as teachers, public defenders and social workers; or running for office themselves.

Those stories continue to inspire me today, and they are the driving force behind the mission of the Obama Foundation — proof that, in the face of impossible odds, people who believe in a better future can create it together.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store