What Makes Us Exceptional

Illustration by Tony Millionaire

4/4/09: Barack Obama: I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I’m enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world.

8/20/10: Mike Huckabee: His worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we’ve had … To deny American exceptionalism is in ­essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.

9/20/11: Obama: Michelle and I, we’re only here because somebody passed on this incredible notion, this exceptional American idea that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter who you’re born to.

10/8/11: Rick Perry: Those in the White House today don’t believe—they don’t believe in American exceptionalism.

11/12/11: Mitt Romney: We have a president right now who thinks America’s just ­another nation. America is an exceptional nation.

11/30/11: Obama: America is great not just because we’re powerful, but also because we have a set of values that the world ­admires … We don’t just think about what’s good for us, but we’re also thinking about what’s good for the world … That’s what makes us exceptional.

1/26/12: Newt Gingrich: If you are for ­American exceptionalism, you’re us. If you’re for European socialism and Saul Alinsky radicalism, you’re with Barack Obama.

3/8/12: Sarah Palin: Our president is not in this to unify America and to solidify our place as the exceptional nation in the world. He is trying to divide us.

3/31/12: Romney: Our president doesn’t have the same feelings about American ­exceptionalism that we do.

4/2/12: Obama: My entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism.

4/30/12: John Sununu: It goes with ego. The man doesn’t understand that other ­presidents have made equally difficult decisions … He’s trying to make himself exceptional.
Lou Dobbs: In embracing, if you will, ­American exceptionalism.
Sununu: That is exactly right. That’s the last and only place he acknowledges it.

5/23/12: Obama: The United States has been, and will always be, the one indispensable nation in world affairs. It’s one of the many examples of why America is exceptional.

5/27/12: John McCain: This has to do with a foreign policy led by a president who does not believe in American exceptionalism.

6/7/12: Obama: There are a set of values that make this country extraordinary, that make this country exceptional.

6/26/12: Condoleezza Rice: I’m pretty certain I don’t see that same level of willingness to assert this, that the United States is indeed exceptional.

7/14/12: Obama: What makes us exceptional—it’s not just how many skyscrapers we have; it’s not how powerful our military is. What makes us special is this idea that in this country, if you are willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility for your own life, then you can make it if you try.

7/17/12: Romney: I’m convinced he wants Americans to be ashamed of success. I want Americans to welcome and to celebrate success and to encourage people to reach as high as they can … It’s the people of America that make America the unique nation, the exceptional nation it is.

What Makes Us Exceptional