Four years ago today, I joined my Uncle Teddy and thousands of excited students at American University to endorse Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
Barack Obama had stirred something in young people and the young at heart. I saw the passion in my own teenage children, and I heard it from a different generation of people who said they felt like they did when my father ran for president.
We felt strongly that we needed to elect a president who urged us to believe in ourselves, who could tie that belief to our highest ideals, and who understood that together we can do great things.
Four years later, as I think about what first inspired me to support Barack Obama, I'm proud we have a president who has fought hard for the values Teddy held dear, and stood up on issues that matter.
Will you join me by saying what first inspired you to stand with Barack Obama?
Teddy understood that the challenges of health care aren't political -- they are personal. That's why he fought for 40 years to make health care a right and not a privilege for American families.
How proud he would have been to see his candidate sign the Affordable Care Act into law as president, giving all Americans the security of knowing that their health care will be there when they need it most.
In his speech four years ago today, Teddy reminded us all of that bright light of hope and possibility that shines even in the darkest hours. He knew that with Barack Obama as president, America would shine again. I don't think he would be surprised to know that four years later, this president would have ended the war in Iraq, repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and guaranteed women the right to equal pay for equal work.
The 2012 election will be harder than the last. As you think about what role you can play this time, I want you to remember that when Teddy joined this campaign, it wasn't just Barack Obama who drew him in.
It was you.
The possibility of a campaign run by ordinary people determined to change our country for the better and willing to work as hard as necessary inspired him then, and it's what inspires me today.
Thanks for all you do.
I'll see you out there,
P.S. -- If you'd like to take some time to watch that speech, it's here.
("The Philanderer" sung to the tune of "The Wanderer")
Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.