Excerpts from Tiger Wood’s Apology
Good morning and thank you for joining me. Many of you in this room are my friends. Many of
you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me or you've worked with me or
you've supported me. Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to
each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I
I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you
down, and I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has
been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down
personally and professionally. My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business
partners. To everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors,
sponsors and most importantly, the young students we reach, our work is more important than
ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams
through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning
Center students in Southern California to the Earl Woods scholars in Washington, D.C., millions
of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.
But still, I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and
how I could have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For
all that I have done, I am so sorry.
I have a lot to atone for, but there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have
speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that
people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has
never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous
grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame. The issue involved here
was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is
not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.
I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong,
but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting.
Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple
should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked
hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled.
Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them.
I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply
to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother,
my wife's family, my friends, my foundation and kids all around the world who admired me.
I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures have made me look at myself in
a way I never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends and that starts by never
repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity.
I once heard, and I believe it's true, it's not what you achieve in life that matters; it's what you
overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and
decency are what really count. Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe
all those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.
It's hard to admit that I need help, but I do. For 45 days from the end of December to early
February, I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long
way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction.
As I proceed, I understand people have questions. I understand the press wants to ask me for the
details and the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will
remain together. Please know that as far as I'm concerned, every one of these questions and
answers is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife.
Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance-enhancing
drugs. This is completely and utterly false. Some have written things about my family. Despite
the damage I have done, I still believe it is right to shield my family from the public spotlight.
They did not do these things; I did.
I recognize I have brought this on myself, and I know above all I am the one who needs to
change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to
become a better man. That's where my focus will be.
I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path
for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it,
but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away
from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an
unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to
learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.
As I move forward, I will continue to receive help because I've learned that's how people really
do change. Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy. I would like to
thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week for understanding why I'm
making these remarks today.
In therapy, I've learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with
my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered so I can save the things that are
most important to me -- my marriage and my children.That also means relying on others for help.
I've learned to seek support from my peers in therapy, and I hope someday to return that support
to others who are seeking help. I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that
day will be.
I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more
respectful of the game. In recent weeks, I have received many thousands of e-mails, letters and
phone calls from people expressing good wishes. To everyone who has reached out to me and
my family, thank you. Your encouragement means the world to Elin and me.
I want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner Finchem and the players for their patience and
understanding while I work on my private life. I look forward to seeing my fellow players on the
course. Finally, there are many people in this room, and there are many people at home who
believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one
day believe in me again.
Obama’s Speech on Osama’s Death
Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United
States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a
terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children. It
was nearly ten years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the
American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory.
Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky, the twin towers collapsing to the
ground, black smoke billowing up from the pentagon, the wreckage of flight 93 in Shanksville,
Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world, the empty seat at
the dinner table, children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father,
parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace, nearly 3,000 citizens taken
from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. On September 11th, 2001, in our time of grief, the
American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded
our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other and our love of community and country. On that
day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were,
we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this
vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda,
an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United
States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. So we went
to war against al Qaeda, to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies. Over the last ten
years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism
professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and
strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which
had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked
with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists including several who
were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet, Osama bin Laden avoided capture. And escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan.
Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its
affiliates across the world. And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director
of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al
Qaeda. Even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network.
Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed
on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain. And it took many months to run this
thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more
information about the possibility that we could located bin Laden hiding within a compound
deep inside Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take
action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in
Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and
capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a
firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. For over two decades, bin
Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our
country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant
achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda. His death does not mark the end of
our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must
and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United
States is not and never will be at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did
shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was
a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries
including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew
where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our
counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where
he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks
against the Pakistani people. Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken
with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our
nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al
Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores. And started with the
senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly ten years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we
know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, have
to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one or look into the eyes of a service member
who’s been gravely wounded. So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we
will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been
killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true
to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families
who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror, justice has been done.
Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who
have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work nor
know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their
pursuit of justice. We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify
the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And
they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of burden since that September
day. Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, that we have never forgotten
your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another
attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at
times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the
determination of the American people. The cause of securing our country is not complete, but
tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the
story of our history. Whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people or the struggle for
equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices
to make the world a safer place. Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of
wealth or power, but because of who we are, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and
justice for all. Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
Sen. Barack Obama's speech, "What's Possible for Our Children,"
"It's an honor to be here at Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts. Just three years ago, only
half of the high school seniors who walked the halls of this building were accepted to college.
But today, thanks to the hard work of caring parents, innovative educators and some very
committed students, all 44 seniors of this year's class have been accepted to more than 70
colleges and universities across the country.
"I'm here to congratulate you on this achievement, but also to hold up this school and these
students as an example of what's possible in education if we're willing to break free from the
tired thinking and political stalemate that's dominated Washington for decades, if we're willing to
try new ideas and new reforms based not on ideology but on what works to give our children the
best possible chance in life.
"At this defining moment in our history, they've never needed that chance more. In a world
where good jobs can be located anywhere there's an Internet connection— where a child in
Denver is competing with children in Beijing and Bangalore — the most valuable skill you can
sell is your knowledge. Education is the currency of the Information Age, no longer just a
pathway to opportunity and success but a prerequisite. There simply aren't as many jobs today
that can support a family where only a high school degree is required. And if you don't have that
degree, there are even fewer jobs available that can keep you out of poverty.
"In this kind of economy, countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.
Already, China is graduating eight times as many engineers as we are. By 12th grade, our
children score lower on math and science tests than most other kids in the world. And we now
have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation in the world. In
fact, if the more than 16,000 Colorado students who dropped out of high school last year had
only finished, the economy in this state would have seen an additional $4.1 billion in wages over
these students' lifetimes.
"There is still much progress to be made here in Thornton, but the work you've done shows us
that we do not accept this future for America. We don't have to accept an America where we do
nothing about six million students who are reading below their grade level. We don't have to
accept an America where only 20 percent of our students are prepared to take college-level
classes in English, math and science. Where barely one in 10 low-income students will ever
graduate from college.
"We don't have to accept an America where we do nothing about the fact that half of all
teenagers are unable to understand basic fractions. Where nearly nine in 10 African-American
and Latino eighth-graders are not proficient in math. We don't have to accept an America where
elementary school kids are only getting an average of 25 minutes of science each day when we
know that over 80 percent of the fastest-growing jobs require a knowledge base in math and
"This kind of America is morally unacceptable for our children. It's economically untenable for
our future. And it's not who we are as a nation.
"We are the nation that has always understood that our future is inextricably linked to the
education of our children — all of them. We are the country that has always believed in Thomas
Jefferson's declaration that "talent and virtue, needed in a free society, should be educated
regardless of wealth or birth."
"That's who we are. And that's why I believe it's time to lead a new era of mutual responsibility
in education, one where we all come together for the sake of our children's success. An era where
each of us does our part to make that success a reality: parents and teachers, leaders in
Washington and citizens all across America.
"This starts with fixing the broken promises of No Child Left Behind. Now, I believe that the
goals of this law were the right ones. Making a promise to educate every child with an excellent
teacher is right. Closing the achievement gap that exists in too many cities and rural areas is
right. More accountability is right. Higher standards are right.
"But I'll tell you what's wrong with No Child Left Behind. Forcing our teachers, our principals
and our schools to accomplish all of this without the resources they need is wrong. Promising
high-quality teachers in every classroom and then leaving the support and the pay for those
teachers behind is wrong. Labeling a school and its students as failures one day and then
throwing your hands up and walking away from them the next is wrong.
"We must fix the failures of No Child Left Behind. We must provide the funding we were
promised, give our states the resources they need and finally meet our commitment to special
education. We also need to realize that we can meet high standards without forcing teachers and
students to spend most of the year preparing for a single, high-stakes test. Recently, 87 percent of
Colorado teachers said that testing was crowding out subjects like music and art. But we need to
look no further than MESA to see that accountability does not need to come at the expense of a
well-rounded education. It can help complete it — and it should.
"As president, I will work with our nation's governors and educators to create and use
assessments that can improve achievement all across America by including the kinds of research,
scientific investigation and problem-solving that our children will need to compete in a 21st
century knowledge economy. The tests our children take should support learning not just
accounting. If we really want our children to become the great inventors and problem-solvers of
tomorrow, our schools shouldn't stifle innovation, they should let it thrive. That's what MESA is
doing by using visual arts, drama and music to help students master traditional subjects like
English, science and math, and that's what we should be doing in schools all across America.
"But fixing the problems of No Child Left Behind is not an education policy on its own. It's just
a starting point.
"A truly historic commitment to education — a real commitment — will require new resources
and new reforms. It will require a willingness to move beyond the stale debates that have
paralyzed Washington for decades: Democrat versus Republican; vouchers versus the status quo;
more money versus more accountability. It will require leaders in Washington who are willing to
learn a lesson from students and teachers in Thornton or Denver about what actually works.
That's the kind of president I intend to be, and that's the kind of education plan I've proposed in
"It begins with the understanding that from the moment our children step into a classroom, the
single most important factor in determining their achievement is not the color of their skin or
where they come from. It's not who their parents are or how much money they have.
"It's who their teacher is. It's the person who stays past the last bell and spends their own money
on books and supplies. It's the men and women here at MESA who go beyond the call of duty
because you believe that's what makes the extra difference. And it does.
"And if we know how much teaching matters, then it's time we treated teaching like the
profession it is. I don't want to just talk about how great teachers are. I want to be a president
who rewards them for their greatness.
"That starts with recruiting a new generation of teachers and principals to replace the generation
that's retiring and those who are leaving. Right here in Colorado, more than 6,000 teachers won't
be returning to the schools where they taught last year. That's why as president, I'll create a new
Service Scholarship program to recruit top talent into the profession and begin by placing these
new teachers in overcrowded districts and struggling rural towns, or hard-to-staff subjects like
math and science in schools all across the nation. And I will make this pledge as president to all
who sign up: If you commit your life to teaching, America will commit to paying for your
"To prepare our teachers, I will create more Teacher Residency Programs to train 30,000 high-
quality teachers a year. We know these programs work, and they especially help attract talented
individuals who decide to become teachers midway through their careers. Right here in MESA,
you have excellent teachers like Ike Ogbuike, who became a math teacher after working as an
auto-engineer at Ford and completing a one-year, teacher-residency program.
"To support our teachers, we will expand mentoring programs that pair experienced, successful
teachers with new recruits — one of the most effective ways to retain teachers. We'll also make
sure that teachers work in conditions which help them and our children succeed. For example,
here at MESA, teachers have scheduled common planning time each week and an extra hour
every Tuesday and Thursday for mentoring and tutoring students that need additional help.
"And when our teachers do succeed in making a real difference in our children's lives, I believe
it's time we rewarded them for it. I realize that the teachers in Denver are in the middle of tough
negotiations right now, but what they've already proven is that it's possible to find new ways to
increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them.
"My plan would provide resources to try these innovative programs in school districts all across
America. Under my Career Ladder Initiative, these districts will be able to design programs that
reward accomplished educators who serve as mentors to new teachers with the salary increase
they deserve. They can reward those who teach in underserved areas or teachers who take on
added responsibilities, like you do right here at MESA. And if teachers acquire additional
knowledge and skills to serve students better — if they consistently excel in the classroom —
that work can be valued and rewarded as well.
"And when our children do succeed, when we have a graduating class like this one where every
single student has been accepted to college, we need to make sure that every single student can
afford to go. As president, I will offer a $4,000 tax credit that will cover two-thirds of the tuition
at an average public college and make community college completely free. And in return, I will
ask students to serve their country, whether it's by teaching or volunteering or joining the Peace
Corps. We'll also simplify the maze of paperwork required to apply for financial aid and make it
as easy as checking off a box on your tax returns because you shouldn't need a Ph.D. to apply for
a student loan.
"Finally, as so many of you know, there are too many children in America right now who are
slipping away from us as we speak, who will not be accepted to college and won't even graduate
high school. They are overwhelmingly black, and Latino, and poor. And when they look around
and see that no one has lifted a finger to fix their school since the 19th century, when they are
pushed out the door at the sound of the last bell — some into a virtual war zone — is it any
wonder they don't think their education is important? Is it any wonder that they are dropping out
in rates we've never seen before?
"I know these children. I know their sense of hopelessness. I began my career over two decades
ago as a community organizer on the streets of Chicago's South Side. And I worked with parents
and teachers and local leaders to fight for their future. We set up after-school programs, and we
even protested outside government offices so that we could get those who had dropped out into
alternative schools. And in time, we changed futures.
"And so while I know hopelessness, I also know hope. I know that if we bring early education
programs to these communities, if we stop waiting until high-school to address the drop-out rate
and start in earlier grades — as my Success in the Middle Act will do — if we bring in new,
qualified teachers, if we expand college outreach programs like GEAR UP and TRIO and fight to
expand summer learning opportunities for minority and disadvantaged students — like I've done
in the Senate — or if we double funding for after-school programs to serve a million more
children, as I've proposed to do as president, if we do all this, we can make a difference in the
lives of our children and the life of this country. I know we can. I've seen it happen. And so have
"Yes, it takes new resources, but we also know that there is no program and no policy that can
substitute for a parent who is involved in their child's education from day one. There is no
substitute for a parent who will make sure their children are in school on time and help them with
their homework after dinner and attend those parent-teacher conferences, like so many parents
here at MESA do. And I have no doubt that we will still be talking about these problems in the
next century if we do not have parents who are willing to turn off the TV once in awhile and put
away the video games and read to their child. Responsibility for our children's education has to
start at home. We have to set high standards for them and spend time with them and love them.
We have to hold ourselves accountable.
"This is the commitment we must make to our children. This is the chance they must have. And I
will never forget that the only reason I'm standing here today is because I was given that same
chance. And so was my wife.
"Our parents weren't wealthy by any means. My mother raised my sister and me on her own, and
she even had to use food stamps at one point. Michelle's father was a worker at a water-filtration
plant on the South Side of Chicago and provided for his family on a single salary. And yet, with
the help of scholarships and student loans and a little luck, Michelle and I both had the chance to
receive a world-class education. And my sister ended up becoming a teacher herself.
"That is the promise of education in America, that no matter what we look like or where we
come from or who our parents are, each of us should have the opportunity to fulfill our God-
given potential. Each of us should have the chance to achieve the American dream. Here at
MESA, you've shown America just how that's possible. I congratulate you, and I wish you
continued success, and I look forward to working with you and learning from you in the months
and years ahead. Thank you."
Michael Vick's statement following his guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va.,
to a dog fighting conspiracy charge:
"For most of my life, I've been a football player, not a public speaker, so, you know, I really
don't know, you know, how to say what I really want to say. You know, I understand it's -- it's
important or not important, you know, as far as what you say but how you say things. So, you
know, I take this opportunity just to speak from the heart.
First, I want to apologize, you know, for all the things that -- that I've done and that I have
allowed to happen. I want to personally apologize to commissioner Goodell, Arthur Blank, coach
Bobby Petrino, my Atlanta Falcons teammates, you know, for our -- for our previous discussions
that we had. And I was not honest and forthright in our discussions, and, you know, I was
ashamed and totally disappointed in myself to say the least.
I want to apologize to all the young kids out there for my immature acts and, you know, what I
did was, what I did was very immature so that means I need to grow up.
I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding as I move forward to bettering Michael Vick the
person, not the football player.
I take full responsibility for my actions. For one second will I sit right here -- not for one second
will I sit right here and point the finger and try to blame anybody else for my actions or what I've
I'm totally responsible, and those things just didn't have to happen. I feel like we all make
mistakes. It's just I made a mistake in using bad judgment and making bad decisions. And you
know, those things, you know, just can't happen. Dog fighting is a terrible thing, and I did reject
I'm upset with myself, and, you know, through this situation I found Jesus and asked him for
forgiveness and turned my life over to God. And I think that's the right thing to do as of right
Like I said, for this -- for this entire situation I never pointed the finger at anybody else, I
accepted responsibility for my actions of what I did and now I have to pay the consequences for
it. But in a sense, I think it will help, you know, me as a person. I got a lot to think about in the
next year or so.
I offer my deepest apologies to everybody out in there in the world who was affected by this
whole situation. And if I'm more disappointed with myself than anything it's because of all the
young people, young kids that I've let down, who look at Michael Vick as a role model. And to
have to go through this and put myself in this situation, you know, I hope that every young kid
out there in the world watching this interview right now who's been following the case will use
me as an example to using better judgment and making better decisions.
Once again, I offer my deepest apologies to everyone. And I will redeem myself. I have to. So I
got a lot of down time, a lot of time to think about my actions and what I've done and how to
make Michael Vick a better person.