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The article of today’s (August 27) Washington Post titled, “Obama offers 2012 election supporters change they can believe in — next term” begins with the following sentence:

Three years after storming the White House with the “fierce urgency of now,” President Obama has a new message for his reelection campaign: Be patient, democracy is big and tough and messy. “When I said, Change we can believe in,’ I didn’t say, ‘Change we can believe in tomorrow,’ ” Obama told a crowd of 2,400 during a birthday celebration in Chicago this month.

For a foreign English student, it’s difficult to comprehend and discern the difference between “Change we can believe in” and “Change we can believe in tomorrow.’” What was wrong with President Obama for Americans to make change they can believe in tomorrow,”? I think most people want to believe in tomorrow, not only living today.

Can somebody elaborate the difference of meaning of “believe in,” and “believe in tomorrow”?

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It's exactly the same difference that there is between "we will go," and "we will go tomorrow." –  kiamlaluno Aug 28 '11 at 18:24
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5 Answers 5

I think the meaning of “When I said, Change we can believe in,’ I didn’t say, ‘Change we can believe in tomorrow’ ” has been lost when taken out of context. Here's the full quote:

So it's been a long, tough journey. But we have made some incredible strides together. Yes, we have. But the thing that we all have to remember is that as much as good as we have done, precisely because the challenges were so daunting, precisely because we were inheriting so many challenges, that we're not even halfway there yet. When I said 'change we can believe in' I didn't say 'change we can believe in tomorrow.' Not change we can believe in next week. We knew this was going to take time because we've got this big, messy, tough democracy.

Obama is emphasizing that his message wasn't that the change (or belief in the need for change) should not be put on hold until tomorrow, or next week, just because the change requires time. He is saying that “Change” is an ongoing, tough, and long process, rooted in the present time; not tied to a future date.

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Actually, I agree that this is unclear. "I believe in change, not in change tomorrow" would be both clear and inspiring. But because Obama used "change we can believe in" as an election slogan, his re-election slogan is both confusing and unconvincing. Does anyone else see an analogy?

[Disclaimer: I have no idea what his actual policies may be, and know that discussion of them is out of place].

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This is not a discussion of his new election slogan. This is a discussion of part of a speech where Obama was trying to emphasize that change is not an immediately realized process that can be done in a week or less. –  ghoppe Dec 2 '11 at 0:34
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I think what Obama is saying is pretty clear from his own words:

“When I said, Change we can believe in,’ I didn’t say, ‘Change we can believe in tomorrow,’

He is saying, "It's not going to happen in one day." Basically, it's going to take time to change.

The point of this article is to point out Obama's change in policy over his three years in presidency. At first, when he was first president, he supported "fierce urgency of now". Now, after three years, his policy has changed to "It takes time folks."

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Haha, nah it was just for understand-ability without getting to technical. That "like" adds so much meaning without having me to write as much. –  Thursagen Aug 27 '11 at 11:32
    
I think Im' getting clearer idea. But it sounds like just a play of rhetoric, though I have no intention to get into political subject. –  Yoichi Oishi Aug 27 '11 at 11:58
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As background, when Obama ran for president in 2008, he used a platform of "Change". Now, he is urging his supporters to be patient. In his speech, he told listeners that "change we can believe in" isn't instantaneous--that is, it isn't "change we can believe in tomorrow".

The difference between the two really hinges on the rhetoric of his speech. He is thinking about long-term change (thus his message about democracy taking time) rather than short-term change (which would be fully realized 'tomorrow').

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The difference stays in the add of "tomorrow".

The first message talked about a change that the American people could believe in. When Obama added that "tomorrow", he meant that the change was not meant to happen in a single day (indeed, from today to tomorrow), but rather that it required some more time.

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