COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — President Barack Obama is telling graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy that they are the first class in nearly a decade to graduate into a world that has no Osama bin Laden, no war in Iraq and no questions about when the war in Afghanistan will end.
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The president declared that there is a “new feeling about America.” He said the work of ending one war and setting the path to end the Afghan war has set a foundation for what he called “a new era of American leadership.”
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Obama’s commencement speech carried clear themes of his re-election bid.
He asserted that America is exceptional and more respected now. And he reiterated his economic vision of cutting the debt but putting more money into education, science, manufacturing and innovation.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
President Barack Obama is delivering his final commencement speech of the season, addressing graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy before pivoting to political fundraising out West.
Obama is keeping up a presidential tradition of speaking to one of the service academies every year at graduation time.
His speech comes after a diplomatic flurry in which he hosted the NATO summit in Chicago, where allies cemented an exit strategy for the Afghanistan star, and an economically focused G-8 summit at the Camp David retreat in Maryland.
Obama has used service academy addresses in the past to discuss the role of the military in protecting American interests in an age of war and terrorism. Since 2009, Obama has delivered commencement addresses at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.
The president this year also spoke to graduating classes at Barnard College in New York, and at Joplin High School in Joplin, Mo., where a massive tornado killed 161 people last year and injured hundreds more.
Following his speech, the president was headed to fundraisers in Denver and California’s Silicon Valley.