Obama praises the “American spirit” at the Summer Olympics

(CBS News) – With the official Summer Olympics kickoff this week, President Obama discussed the gathering of world-class athletes in Brazil in a new video, praising the dedication of Team USA and urging Americans to unite behind them.

In the video, out Saturday, the president pushed Americans to think beyond the short few weeks of the Olympics and to note instead the years of hard work the athletes dedicate to their sport.

“Think about the countless hours these athletes put in, knowing it could mean the difference in a split-second victory that earns them a lifetime of pride, and gives us enduring memories,” he said. “It’s about the character it takes to train your heart out, even when no one’s watching. Just hard work, focus, and a dream. That’s the Olympic spirit — and it’s the American spirit, too.”

“In our Olympians, we recognize that no one accomplishes greatness alone,” Mr. Obama said. “Even solo athletes have a coach beside them and a country behind them.”

Mr. Obama proudly spoke about the diversity of the U.S. team, giving shoutouts to the Paralympic athletes and service-member Olympians.

“Our team boasts the most women who have ever competed for any nation at any Olympic Games,” the president said. “It includes active-duty members of our military and our veterans. We’ve got basketball players who stand nearly 7 feet tall and a gymnast who’s 4-foot-8. And Team USA spans generations: a few athletes who are almost as old as I am, and one born just a year before my younger daughter.”

“Team USA reminds the world why America always sets the gold standard: We’re a nation of immigrants that finds strength in our diversity and unity in our national pride,” he said.

And as the general election race heats up, the president also asked Americans to come together despite the divisive politics ramping up to November.

“In a season of intense politics, let’s cherish this opportunity to come together around one flag,” he said. “In a time of challenge around the world, let’s appreciate the peaceful competition and sportsmanship we’ll see, the hugs and high-fives and the empathy and understanding between rivals who know we share a common humanity.”

In the Republicans’ own address, the GOP focused on politics while Congress was away on recess.

Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia discussed the GOP agenda for the House, dubbed “A Better Way,” and expanded on their goal to overturn the president’s landmark Affordable Care Act.

“The health care law we have right now is a mess,” Carter, a pharmacist, said in avideo released Saturday. “It is destroying the health care system I worked in for more than 30 years — the best health care system in the world. This law makes some people pay less by making other people pay more. It tries to give more choices to some people by taking them away from others.”

“So our plan would repeal and replace Obamacare,” he said. “We would clear out all the red tape and mandates that are taking away your choices, and let you pick a plan that works for you.”

“These are the kind of ideas we need to get America back on track,” Carter said. “And this is how we can make real change in Washington: by listening to the people who sent us there.”

Categories: US & World News

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