Obama speaks to UCI grads, encourages action on climate change

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President Barack Obama delivered a call to action for UC Irvine students at their commencement ceremony.

Backed by popular demand, President Barack Obama was asked this year to speak at UC Irvine's commencement. More than 10,000 postcards written by students were sent to the White House demanding his appearance.

"I'm here for a simple reason, you asked," he said during Saturday's speech.

President Barack Obama speaks at UC Irvine's commencement on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

It didn't hurt that his personal assistant graduated from UC Irvine either.

One postcard pleading for him to speak, called the school "super underrated."

To which, the President responded: "Sometimes you may be super underrated. But usually it's the underrated, the underdogs, the dreamers, the idealists, the fighters, the argumentative - those are the folks that do the biggest things."

President Barack Obama speaks at UC Irvine's commencement on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

President Obama spent a large portion of his time discussing the need for the graduating generation to address climate change.

"As a generation getting shortchanged by inaction on this issue (climate change), I want all of you to understand that you cannot accept that this is the way it has to be," he said.

UC Irvine graduates listen to a commencement speaker on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

He encouraged the graduates to lead the charge on the issue. "If you believe like I do that something has to be done, then you have to speak out," Obama said.

At the end, he offered one last piece of advice to graduates who may be bombarded by naysayers.

"Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice."

A graduate highlighted in President Barack Obama's commencement speech applauds on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

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