Barack Obama is a black man.

I haven’t lived on the street for a long time. I lived on the street for a long time. I had it hard, for a white kid. I was hungry and mean. I was smart and ambitious. On the street, you know who’s got a shot and who never has a chance. I had dreams, attitude, and abilities. If I’d been born black, with the same dreams, attitude, and abilities, I’d have been imprisoned or killed.

Look, we just had a rich white president who knew where he came from. A lot of us didn’t like him before he arrived, and most didn’t after he’d been around a while. But he had this trait that earned real respect: he did what he believed in and wanted to do. He did it despite conscience, country, and Constitution. He won the presidency and he shoveled the rewards to the people who helped him.

Most of America lives pretty close to the street. Barack Obama got elected because we all saw, wow, the United States can elect a black president. We wanted to be part of that. But the man’s got to earn his own respect. He won the presidency. Then he did this for the people who helped him: he told them to pull up their pants.

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