The President speaks to a bi-partisan group of college students


Uploaded by whitehouse on 14.07.2011

Transcript:
The President: If you're only talking to people who you agree with,
then politics is always going to disappoint you.
Politics will always disappoint you.
You know, you think about some of the issues we've worked on
over the last couple of years.
You know, I think the College Republicans here would say that,
you know, I was a pretty liberal President, right?
But if you read "The Huffington Post" you'd think I was,
you know, some right wing tool of, you know,
Wall Street, right?
Both things can't be true.
But I think that what it has to do with is the sense of,
you know, we take, you know, we have a position and we can't
compromise on it.
And so one of the challenges of this generation is I think
to understand that the nature of our democracy and the nature of
our politics is to marry principle to a political
process that means you don't get 100% of what you want.
You don't get it if you're in the majority,
you don't get it if you're in the minority,
and you can, you can be honorable in politics,
understanding that you're not going to get 100% of
what you want.
And that's been our history.
I mean, you know, you think about,
you think about our greatest presidents.
I mean, Abraham Lincoln, here's a guy who didn't believe in
slavery, but his first priority was keeping the union,
and I've got the Emancipation Proclamation hanging up in my
office, and if you read through it,
it turns out that most of it, most of the document is those
states and areas where the Emancipation doesn't apply
because those folks are allied with the union,
so they can keep their slaves.
Think about that.
That's the Emancipation Proclamation. Right?
What you -- so here you've got a wartime president who's making a
compromise around probably the greatest moral issue that the
country ever faced, because he understood that right now my job
is to win the war and to keep, to maintain the union.
Well, you know, can you imagine how sort of "The Huffington
Post" would have reported on that?
(laughter)
Right?
I mean, it would have been blistering, right?
(laughter)
I mean, think about it.
Lincoln sells out slaves.
(laughter)
Right?
There would be protests and we'd run a third-party guy --
(laughter)
And so I think as you guys talk to your friends about getting
involved civically, don't set up a situation where you're
guaranteed to be disappointed.
That's part of the process of growing up, right?
You know, we all -- and that doesn't mean you're not
principled, it doesn't mean that you're not focused on driving on
a particular position or a particular issue.
It means that you're sort of pushing the boulder up the hill
and you get it a certain way and then other people are pushing,
sometimes it's going to slip back.
Right?