President Obama Speaks at the Congressional Picnic
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President Obama Speaks at the Congressional Picnic

The President: That’s
right, it’s the one with the sign on it. How is everybody
doing today? (applause) Well, I want to welcome
everybody to the South Lawn. And usually, it’s broiling
hot when we have our congressional picnic, so
this is one of those days where we actually welcome
a little cloud cover. I’m going to be very brief
because I want to shake as many hands as I can —
although I want to warn in advance, I can’t do a
selfie with everybody. (laughter) Audience Member: How
about a kiss? The President: A
kiss I can give you. (laughter) My main message, as is
always true at this wonderful event, is
just to say thank you. America faces
enormous challenges. We face the challenge of
making sure that the economy works for everybody and
everybody has opportunity. We have international
challenges from terrorism to climate change. But the thing that always
gives me confidence that we’re going to meet
these challenges is because the American people are
good and they are decent, and we’ve got a democracy
that, as frustrating and messy as it can
be sometimes, still represents the
best hope for freedom and prosperity
for any society. And we are the longest,
continuous democracy on Earth. We have set the model
and the tone for people around the world who
aspire to the values that we cherish so dearly. There’s a reason why, from
every corner of the globe, striving, hopeful,
talented people still want to come to the
United States of America. And our job, together
— mine as President, and those of you who are
serving in Congress — is to make sure that
we are true to that commitment and true
to those values. And obviously, democracy
can be contentious. There are times where
people have deep, principled disagreements. But I hope that events
like today remind us that ultimately we’re all on the
same team — and that’s the American team. (applause) I also want to say thank
you to the families, because there is enormous
burdens that are placed on the spouses and the
children of those who serve in Congress. I know — and Michelle
knows really well — the nature of
those burdens. And for you to sacrifice
in your own ways is the only way that
we are able to serve. And so we are very, very
grateful for your support and your sacrifice. And for the members of
the staffs who are here, we want to say
thank you as well, because you make
us look good. And you have all the
sacrifices but you don’t always get the attention. And we know that
you work really, really hard to make
this possible as well. So we are grateful to you. So I want everybody
to have fun. (applause) Eat up. And I do want to also
say how wildly impressed I was at the quality of
baseball when I went out to Nat Stadium
the other day. (applause) You guys actually
looked like you knew what you were doing! (laughter) Flake, I saw you,
man, at bat. You were all right. (laughter) So, enjoy. Thank you. God bless you guys. Thank you. (applause) Oh, and can everybody
please give it up for our outstanding Marine Band? (applause) They’re the best. They can play anything! (applause)

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