He stated a lot of things during the campaign.
For example, I recall something to the effect of "We are the change that we have been waiting for".
I didn't vote for Obama because I agree with him on every issue. One of the reasons that I voted for Obama was out of pure self interest. To hopefully create some space for protest. To hopefully avoid seing myself or anybody else get their head bashed in in some free speech zone or stuck in some domestic guantanamo for trying to create change.
I voted for Obama because I'd rather face Holder than Ashcrosf or Gonzales.
There are people (I suspect that you and I can both think of one in particular) here who argued against Obama's Presidency on the grounds that it would cause us to self censor ourselves.
At the time, I rejected that reasoning quite strongly as being wrongheaded, not because I found it an implausable direction of drift, but rather because whether or not it happened was something that we had control over. The operation of that prediction depended on our own actions.
Sure, if we sit back and self censor ourselves, then that prediction will become self-fullfilling.
Only then will those who made this arguement before the election be proven correct in the end.
On the other hand, if we take advantage of the space that has opened up for protest as a result of the election (and isn't that one of the reasons why folks voted for Obama in the first place?), then some of the the change that we voted for can be brought to fruition.
I look at the Obama Presidency as a 4 or 8 year window for change, where change is a little easier, and making change a little less dangerous.
If we choose not to take advantage of that open window for change, then why did we vote for Obama (for those of us who did) in the first place?
There's no point in opening the window if we don't follow up and crawl through it.