What I want to do is take a little time to describe what I hope to have achieved at the end of my first term as president. I cannot guarantee I will have achieved these things, but I am presumptuous enough to think I would be a good president.
By January 2013, at the end of my first term as president, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won and Iraq is a functioning democracy. The threat from a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan has been greatly reduced but not eliminated and there has not been a major terrorist attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.
The United States has experienced several years of robust economic growth and Americans again have confidence in their economic future. Congress has lowered taxes and passed fundamental tax reform offering a choice in how taxes are filed. Americans, who through no fault of their own, lost jobs in the global economy they once believed were theirs for life, are assisted by reformed unemployment insurance and worker retraining programs.
Public education in the United States is much improved and test scores and graduation rates are rising everywhere in the country. Health care has become more accessible to more Americans than at any other time in history.
The United States is well on the way to independence from foreign sources of oil; progress that has not only begun to alleviate the environmental threat posed from climate change, but has greatly improved our security as well.
Scores of judges have been confirmed to the federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, who understand that they were not sent there to write our laws but to enforce them.
Voluntary national service has grown in popularity in part because of the educational benefits used as incentives, as well as frequent appeals from the bully pulpit of the White House, but mostly because the young Americans understand that true happiness is much greater than the pursuit of pleasure, and can only be found by serving causes greater than self-interest.
This is the progress I want us to achieve during my presidency. These are the changes I am running for president to make. I want to leave office knowing that America is safer, freer and wealthier than when I was elected.
There are serious issues at stake in this election, and serious differences, but it should remain an argument among friends; each of us struggling to hear our conscience, and heed its demands. Each of us, despite our differences, united in our great cause and respectful of the goodness in each other. That is how most Americans treat each other. And it is how they want the people they elect to office to treat each other.