Beltway Confidential

In remarks at Nelson Mandela's funeral, Obama makes it personal

Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering,Barack Obama,Nelson Mandela,Africa,South Africa

President Obama added a personal touch to his remarks at Nelson Mandela's funeral in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Obama explained that Mandela's death should prompt everyone to reflect on his legacy.

"With honesty, regardless of our station or circumstance, we must ask: How well have I applied his lessons in my own life?" Obama said. "It is a question I ask myself — as a man and as a president."

Obama pointed out that both South Africa and the United States "had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation" which should not be forgotten even though there had been progress on the issue.

"Michelle and I are the beneficiaries of that struggle. But in America and South Africa, and countries around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not done," he added, reminding the crowd that people still suffered under oppression.

"Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land. It stirred something in me," Obama said. "It woke me up to my responsibilities - to others, and to myself - and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today. "And while I will always fall short of Madiba's example, he makes me want to be a better man."

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