Full Text September 28, 2011: President Barack Obama Gives his Third Annual Back-to-School Speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Washington, D.C.

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama delivers his third annual Back-to-School speech
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 9/28/11

President Obama on Back-to-School: “Set Your Sights High”

Source: WH, 9-28-11
President Barack Obama with students after delivering his third annual Back-to-School Speech

President Barack Obama shakes hands with students after delivering his third annual Back-to-School speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. Sept. 28, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This afternoon, students from across the country tuned in as President Obama addressed them directly in his third annual Back-to-School speech. The President encouraged America’s students to use their time in school to try new things, discover new passions and hone their skills to prepare themselves for the kind of profession they want in the future:

It starts, obviously, with being the best student that you can be. Now, that doesn’t always mean that you have to have a perfect score on every assignment.  It doesn’t mean that you’ve got to get straight As all the time — although that’s not a bad goal to have.  It means that you have to stay at it.  You have to be determined and you have to persevere.  It means you’ve got to work as hard as you know how to work.  And it means that you’ve got to take some risks once in a while.  You can’t avoid the class that you think might be hard because you’re worried about getting the best grade if that’s a subject that you think you need to prepare you for your future…

And that’s why when you’re still a student you can explore a wide range of possibilities.  One hour you can be an artist; the next, an author; the next, a scientist, or a historian, or a carpenter.  This is the time where you can try out new interests and test new ideas.  And the more you do, the sooner you’ll figure out what makes you come alive, what stirs you, what makes you excited — the career that you want to pursue.

The President explained that being engaged in school is not just for the students themselves, but for the country as a whole. He acknowledged that young people today are growing up fast and students have a lot of responsibility to take on, “because you’re not just kids.  You’re this country’s future.  You’re young leaders.  And whether we fall behind or race ahead as a nation is going to depend in large part on you.”

That’s why President Obama called on America’s students to set a goal to continue their education after they graduate from High School. “The fact of the matter is, is that more than 60 percent of the jobs in the next decade will require more than a high school diploma — more than 60 percent.  That’s the world you’re walking into.”

The President also spoke about the tireless work America’s teachers do on behalf of our students:

Teachers are the men and women who might be working harder than just about anybody these days.  Whether you go to a big school or a small one, whether you attend a public or a private or charter school –- your teachers are giving up their weekends; they’re waking up at dawn; they’re cramming their days full of classes and extra-curricular activities.   And then they’re going home, eating some dinner, and then they’ve got to stay up sometimes past midnight, grading your papers and correcting your grammar, and making sure you got that algebra formula properly.

And they don’t do it for a fancy office.  They don’t — they sure don’t do it for the big salary.  They do it for you.  They do it because nothing gives them more satisfaction than seeing you learn.  They live for those moments when something clicks; when you amaze them with your intellect or your vocabulary, or they see what kind of person you’re becoming.  And they’re proud of you.  And they say, I had something to do with that, that wonderful young person who is going to succeed.  They have confidence in you that you will be citizens and leaders who take us into tomorrow.  They know you’re our future.  So your teachers are pouring everything they got into you, and they’re not alone.

Watch the video of the President’s Back-to-School address:

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (212MB) | mp3 (20MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President in Back-to-School Speech

Benjamin Banneker High School
Washington, D.C.

1:48 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Well, Madam President, that was an outstanding introduction.  (Laughter.)  We are so proud of Donae for representing this school so well.

And in addition, I also want to acknowledge your outstanding principal, who has been here for 20 years — first as a teacher, now as an outstanding principal — Anita Berger.  Please give her a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  I want to acknowledge, as well, Mayor Gray is here — the mayor of Washington, D.C. is here.  Please give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  And I also want to thank somebody who is going to go down in history as one of the finest Secretaries of Education that we’ve ever had — Arne Duncan is here.  (Applause.)

Now, it is great to be here at Benjamin Banneker High School, one of the best high schools not only in Washington, D.C., but one of the best high schools in the country.  (Applause.)  But we’ve also got students tuning in from all across America.  And so I want to welcome you all to the new school year, although I know that many of you already have been in school for a while.  I know that here at Banneker, you’ve been back at school for a few weeks now.  So everything is starting to settle in, just like for all your peers all across the country.  The fall sports season is underway.  Musicals and marching band routines are starting to shape up, I believe.  And your first big tests and projects are probably just around the corner.

I know that you’ve also got a great deal going on outside of school.  Your circle of friends might be changing a little bit.  Issues that used to stay confined to hallways or locker rooms are now finding their way onto Facebook and Twitter.  (Laughter.)  Some of your families might also be feeling the strain of the economy.  As many of you know, we’re going through one of the toughest economic times that we’ve gone through in our lifetime — in my lifetime.  Your lifetime hasn’t been that long.  And so, as a consequence, you might have to pick up an after-school job to help out your family, or maybe you’re babysitting for a younger sibling because mom or dad is working an extra shift.

So all of you have a lot on your plates.  You guys are growing up faster and interacting with a wider world in a way that old folks like me, frankly, just didn’t have to.  So today, I don’t want to be just another adult who stands up and lectures you like you’re just kids — because you’re not just kids.  You’re this country’s future.  You’re young leaders.  And whether we fall behind or race ahead as a nation is going to depend in large part on you.  So I want to talk to you a little bit about meeting that responsibility.

It starts, obviously, with being the best student that you can be.  Now, that doesn’t always mean that you have to have a perfect score on every assignment.  It doesn’t mean that you’ve got to get straight As all the time — although that’s not a bad goal to have.  It means that you have to stay at it.  You have to be determined and you have to persevere.  It means you’ve got to work as hard as you know how to work.  And it means that you’ve got to take some risks once in a while.  You can’t avoid the class that you think might be hard because you’re worried about getting the best grade if that’s a subject that you think you need to prepare you for your future.  You’ve got to wonder.  You’ve got to question.  You’ve got to explore.  And every once in a while, you need to color outside of the lines.

That’s what school is for:  discovering new passions, acquiring new skills, making use of this incredible time that you have to prepare yourself and give yourself the skills that you’re going to need to pursue the kind of careers that you want.  And that’s why when you’re still a student you can explore a wide range of possibilities.  One hour you can be an artist; the next, an author; the next, a scientist, or a historian, or a carpenter.  This is the time where you can try out new interests and test new ideas.  And the more you do, the sooner you’ll figure out what makes you come alive, what stirs you, what makes you excited — the career that you want to pursue.

Now, if you promise not to tell anybody, I will let you in on a little secret:  I was not always the very best student that I could be when I was in high school, and certainly not when I was in middle school.  I did not love every class I took.  I wasn’t always paying attention the way I should have.  I remember when I was in 8th grade I had to take a class called ethics.  Now, ethics is about right and wrong, but if you’d ask me what my favorite subject was back in 8th grade, it was basketball.  I don’t think ethics would have made it on the list.

But here’s the interesting thing.  I still remember that ethics class, all these years later.  I remember the way it made me think.  I remember being asked questions like:  What matters in life?  Or, what does it mean to treat other people with dignity and respect?  What does it mean to live in a diverse nation, where not everybody looks like you do, or thinks like you do, or comes from the same neighborhood as you do?  How do we figure out how to get along?

Each of these questions led to new questions.  And I didn’t always know the right answers, but those discussions and that process of discovery — those things have lasted.  Those things are still with me today.  Every day, I’m thinking about those same issues as I try to lead this nation.  I’m asking the same kinds of questions about, how do we as a diverse nation come together to achieve what we need to achieve?  How do we make sure that every single person is treated with dignity and respect?  What responsibilities do we have to people who are less fortunate than we are?  How do we make sure that everybody is included in this family of Americans?

Those are all questions that date back to this class that I took back in 8th grade.  And here’s the thing:  I still don’t always know the answers to all these questions.  But if I’d have just tuned out because the class sounded boring, I might have missed out on something that not only did I turn out enjoying, but has ended up serving me in good stead for the rest of my life.

So that’s a big part of your responsibility, is to test things out.  Take risks.  Try new things.  Work hard.  Don’t be embarrassed if you’re not good at something right away.  You’re not supposed to be good at everything right away.  That’s why you’re in school.  The idea, though, is, is that you keep on expanding your horizons and your sense of possibility.  Now is the time for you to do that.  And those are also, by the way, the things that will make school more fun.

Down the road, those will be the traits that will help you succeed, as well — the traits that will lead you to invent a device that makes an iPad look like a stone tablet.  Or what will help you figure out a way to use the sun and the wind to power a city and give us new energy sources that are less polluting.  Or maybe you’ll write the next great American novel.

Now, to do almost any of those things, you have to not only graduate from high school, — and I know I’m just — I’m in the “amen” corner with Principal Berger here — not only do you have to graduate from high school, but you’re going to have to continue education after you leave.  You have to not only graduate, but you’ve got to keep going after you graduate.

That might mean, for many of you, a four-year university.  I was just talking to Donae, and she wants to be an architect, and she’s interning with a architectural firm, and she’s already got her sights set on what school she wants to go to.  But it might, for some other folks, be a community college, or professional credentialing or training.  But the fact of the matter is, is that more than 60 percent of the jobs in the next decade will require more than a high school diploma — more than 60 percent.  That’s the world you’re walking into.

So I want all of you to set a goal to continue your education after you graduate.  And if that means college for you, just getting into college is not enough.  You also have to graduate.  One of the biggest challenges we have right now is that too many of our young people enroll in college but don’t actually end up getting their degree, and as a consequence — our country used to have the world’s highest proportion of young people with a college degree; we now rank 16th.  I don’t like being 16th.  I like being number one.  That’s not good enough.  So we’ve got to use — we’ve got to make sure your generation gets us back to the top of having the most college graduates relative to the population of any country on Earth.

If we do that, you guys will have a brighter future.  And so will America.  We’ll be able to make sure the newest inventions and the latest breakthroughs happen right here in the United States of America.  It will mean better jobs, and more fulfilling lives, and greater opportunities not only for you, but also for your kids.

So I don’t want anybody who’s listening here today to think that you’re done once you finish high school.  You are not done learning.  In fact, what’s happening in today’s economy is — it’s all about lifelong learning.  You have to constantly upgrade your skills and find new ways of doing things.  Even if college isn’t for you, even if a four-year college isn’t for you, you’re still going to have to get more education after you get out of high school.  You’ve got to start expecting big things from yourself right now.

I know that may sound a little intimidating.  And some of you may be wondering how you can pay for college, or you might not know what you want to do with your life yet.  And that’s okay.  Nobody expects you to have your entire future mapped out at this point.  And we don’t expect you to have to make it on your own.  First of all, you’ve got wonderful parents who love you to death and want you to have a lot more opportunity than they ever had — which, by the way, means don’t give them a hard time when they ask you to turn off the video games, turn off the TV and do some homework.  You need to be listening to them.  I speak from experience because that’s what I’ve been telling Malia and Sasha.  Don’t be mad about it, because we’re thinking about your future.

You’ve also got people all across this country — including myself and Arne and people at every level of government — who are working on your behalf.  We’re taking every step we can to ensure that you’re getting an educational system that is worthy of your potential.  We’re working to make sure that you have the most up-to-date schools with the latest tools of learning.  We’re making sure that this country’s colleges and universities are affordable and accessible to you.  We’re working to get the best class — teachers into the classroom as well, so they can help you prepare for college and a future career.

Let me say something about teachers, by the way.  Teachers are the men and women who might be working harder than just about anybody these days.  (Applause.)  Whether you go to a big school or a small one, whether you attend a public or a private or charter school –- your teachers are giving up their weekends; they’re waking up at dawn; they’re cramming their days full of classes and extra-curricular activities.   And then they’re going home, eating some dinner, and then they’ve got to stay up sometimes past midnight, grading your papers and correcting your grammar, and making sure you got that algebra formula properly.

And they don’t do it for a fancy office.  They don’t — they sure don’t do it for the big salary.  They do it for you.  They do it because nothing gives them more satisfaction than seeing you learn.  They live for those moments when something clicks; when you amaze them with your intellect or your vocabulary, or they see what kind of person you’re becoming.  And they’re proud of you.  And they say, I had something to do with that, that wonderful young person who is going to succeed.  They have confidence in you that you will be citizens and leaders who take us into tomorrow.  They know you’re our future.  So your teachers are pouring everything they got into you, and they’re not alone.

But I also want to emphasize this:  With all the challenges that our country is facing right now, we don’t just need you for the future; we actually need you now.  America needs young people’s passion and their ideas.  We need your energy right now.  I know you’re up to it because I’ve seen it.  Nothing inspires me more than knowing that young people all across the country are already making their marks.  They’re not waiting.  They’re making a difference now.

There are students like Will Kim from Fremont, California, who launched a nonprofit that gives loans to students from low-income schools who want to start their own business.  Think about that.  So he’s giving loans to other students.  He set up a non-for-profit.  He’s raising the money doing what he loves — through dodgeball tournaments and capture-the-flag games.  But he’s creative.  He took initiative.  And now he’s helping other young people be able to afford the schooling that they need.

There is a young man, Jake Bernstein, 17 years old, from a military family in St. Louis, worked with his sister to launch a website devoted to community service for young people.  And they’ve held volunteer fairs and put up an online database, and helped thousands of families to find volunteer opportunities ranging from maintaining nature trails to serving at local hospitals.

And then last year, I met a young woman named Amy Chyao from Richardson, Texas.  She’s 16 years old, so she’s the age of some of you here.  During the summer, I think because somebody in her family had an illness, she decided that she was interested in cancer research.  She hadn’t taken chemistry yet, so she taught herself chemistry during the summer.  And then she applied what she had learned and discovered a breakthrough process that uses light to kill cancer cells.  Sixteen years old.  It’s incredible.  And she’s been approached by some doctors and researchers who want to work with her to help her with her discovery.

The point is you don’t have to wait to make a difference.  You’re first obligation is to do well in school.  You’re first obligation is to make sure that you’re preparing yourself for college and career.  But you can also start making your mark right now.  A lot of times young people may have better ideas than us old people do anyway.  We just need those ideas out in the open, in and out of the classroom.

When I meet young people like yourselves, when I sat and talk to Donae, I have no doubt that America’s best days are still ahead of us, because I know the potential that lies in each of you.  Soon enough, you will be the ones leading our businesses and leading our government.  You will be the one who are making sure that the next generation gets what they need to succeed.  You will be the ones that are charting the course of our unwritten history.  And all that starts right now — starts this year.

So I want all of you who are listening, as well as everybody here at Banneker, I want you to make the most of the year that’s ahead of you.  I want you to think of this time as one in which you are just loading up with information and skills, and you’re trying new things and you’re practicing, and you’re honing — all those things that you’re going to need to do great things when you get out of school.

Your country is depending on you.  So set your sights high.  Have a great school year.  Let’s get to work.

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
2:06 P.M. EDT

History Buzz September 28, 2011: Cornell History Dept. Creates Minor to Engage Students

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

UNIVERSITY NEWS

Source: Cornell Daily Sun, 9-28-11

Following a noticeable decline in the number of students enrolled in history courses, the University’s Department of History has taken measures to boost its enrollment and attract students from a variety of disciplines.

This fall, the department added a history minor — one of 38 offered in the College of Arts and Sciences — and has recently added several new 1000- and 2000-level courses intended to appeal specifically to freshman and sophomores.

Though administrators said enrollment data was unavailable, many said they noticed a decline in the number of students enrolled in history classes.

The department has seen “its enrollment decline somewhat in the past few years,” said Barry Strauss ’74, chair of the history department.

Jon Parmenter, Director of Undergraduate Students for the history department, said the department is “certainly concerned about enrollments.”

According to Strauss and Parmenter, the new history minor — which can be fulfilled by taking five courses, including one seminar class — is aimed at increasing enrollment by targeting students who may be reluctant to take history classes without getting credit toward a degree.

“We’ve noticed a lot of undergraduates are interested in having as diverse an experience as possible to document on their diploma,” Parmenter said. “It seems as if minors are increasingly important in showing that students have a broad array of interests.”

Strauss added that the College of Arts and Sciences also encouraged all department chairs to consider adding minors to their departments as a way to reduce the pressure on undergraduates both inside and outside of the college.

“We wanted to make it possible for all undergraduates to explore this subject without wearing themselves out by trying to pursue a double major,” Strauss said. “It’s a different way of reaching out to students who are still interested in history.”…READ MORE

Full Text September 27, 2011: NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s Speech at the Ronald Reagan Library — Monumental Takedown of Obama

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Christie Delivers Monumental Takedown of Obama at Reagan Library

http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/0930-chris-christie-electability/10779835-1-eng-US/0930-Chris-Christie-electability_full_600.jpg

Source: Fox News, 9-27-11

Via Weekly Standard: New Jersey governor Chris Christie delivered the following address this evening at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California:

Mrs. Reagan, distinguished guests.  It is an honor for me to be here at the Reagan Library to speak to you today.  I want to thank Mrs. Reagan for her gracious invitation.  I am thrilled to be here.

Ronald Reagan believed in this country.  He embodied the strength, perseverance and faith that has propelled immigrants for centuries to embark on dangerous journeys to come here, to give up all that was familiar for all that was possible.

He judged that as good as things were and had been for many Americans, they could and would be better for more Americans in the future.

It is this vision for our country that guided his administration over the course of eight years.  His commitment to making America stronger, better and more resilient is what allowed him the freedom to challenge conventional wisdom, reach across party lines and dare to put results ahead of political opportunism.

Everybody in this room and in countless other rooms across this great country has his or her favorite Reagan story.  For me, that story happened thirty years ago, in August 1981.  The air traffic controllers, in violation of their contracts, went on strike.  President Reagan ordered them back to work, making clear that those who refused would be fired.   In the end, thousands refused, and thousands were fired.

I cite this incident not as a parable of labor relations but as a parable of principle.  Ronald Reagan was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said.    Those who thought he was bluffing were sadly mistaken.  Reagan’s demand was not an empty political play; it was leadership, pure and simple.

Reagan said it best himself, “I think it convinced people who might have thought otherwise that I meant what I said.  Incidentally, I would have been just as forceful if I thought management had been wrong in the dispute.”

I recall this pivotal moment for another reason as well.  Most Americans at the time and since no doubt viewed Reagan’s firm handling of the PATCO strike as a domestic matter, a confrontation between the president and a public sector union.  But this misses a critical point.

To quote a phrase from another American moment, the whole world was watching.   Thanks to newspapers and television – and increasingly the Internet and social media – what happens here doesn’t stay here.

Another way of saying what I have just described is that Americans do not have the luxury of thinking that what we have long viewed as purely domestic matters have no consequences beyond our borders.  To the contrary.   What we say and what we do here at home affects how others see us and in turn affects what it is they say and do.

America’s role and significance in the world is defined, first and foremost, by who we are at home.  It is defined by how we conduct ourselves with each other.  It is defined by how we deal with our own problems.  It is determined in large measure by how we set an example for the world.

We tend to still understand foreign policy as something designed by officials in the State Department and carried out by ambassadors and others overseas.  And to some extent it is.  But one of the most powerful forms of foreign policy is the example we set.

This is where it is instructive to harken back to Ronald Reagan and the PATCO affair.  President Reagan’s willingness to articulate a determined stand and then carry it out at home sent the signal that the occupant of the Oval Office was someone who could be predicted to stand by his friends and stand up to his adversaries.

If President Reagan would do that at home, leaders around the world realized that he would do it abroad as well.  Principle would not stop at the water’s edge.    The Reagan who challenged Soviet aggression, or who attacked a Libya that supported terror was the same Reagan who stood up years before to PATCO at home for what he believed was right.

All this should and does have meaning for us today.  The image of the United States around the world is not what it was, it is not what it can be and it is not what it needs to be.  This country pays a price whenever our economy fails to deliver rising living standards to our citizens–which is exactly what has been the case for years now.

We pay a price when our political system cannot come together and agree on the difficult but necessary steps to rein in entitlement spending or reform our tax system.

We pay a price when special interests win out over the collective national interest.  We are seeing just this in the partisan divide that has so far made it impossible to reduce our staggering deficits and to create an environment in which there is more job creation than job destruction.

This is where the contrast between what has happened in New Jersey and what is happening in Washington, DC is the most clear.

In New Jersey over the last 20 months, you have actually seen divided government that is working.  To be clear, it does not mean that we have no argument or acrimony.  There are serious disagreements, sometimes expressed loudly—Jersey style.

Here is what we did.  We identified the problems.  We proposed specific means to fix them.  We educated the public on the dire consequences of inaction.  And we compromised, on a bi-partisan basis, to get results.  We took action.

How so you ask?  Leadership and compromise.

Leadership and compromise is the only way you can balance two budgets with over $13 billion in deficits without raising taxes while protecting core services.

Leadership and compromise is the only way you reform New Jersey’s pension and health benefits system that was collectively $121 billion underfunded.

Leadership and compromise is the only way you cap the highest property taxes in the nation and cap the interest arbitration awards of some of the most powerful public sector unions in the nation at no greater than a 2% increase.

In New Jersey we have done this, and more, because the Executive Branch has not sat by and waited for others to go first to suggest solutions to our state’s most difficult problems.

Being a mayor, being a governor, being a president means leading by taking risk on the most important issues of the day.  It has happened in Trenton.

In New Jersey we have done this with a legislative branch, held by the opposite party, because it is led by two people who have more often put the interests of our state above the partisan politics of their caucuses.

Our bi-partisan accomplishments in New Jersey have helped to set a tone that has taken hold across many other states.  It is a simple but powerful message–lead on the tough issues by telling your citizens the truth about the depth of our challenges.  Tell them the truth about the difficulty of the solutions.  This is the only effective way to lead in America during these times.

In Washington, on the other hand, we have watched as we drift from conflict to conflict, with little or no resolution.

We watch a president who once talked about the courage of his convictions, but still has yet to find the courage to lead.

We watch a Congress at war with itself because they are unwilling to leave campaign style politics at the Capitol’s door.  The result is a debt ceiling limitation debate that made our democracy appear as if we could no longer effectively govern ourselves.

And still we continue to wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office. We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things that are obvious to all Americans and to a watching and anxious world community.

Yes, we hope. Because each and every time the president lets a moment to act pass him by, his failure is our failure too. The failure to stand up for the bipartisan debt solutions of the Simpson Bowles Commission, a report the president asked for himself…the failure to act on the country’s crushing unemployment…the failure to act on ever expanding and rapidly eroding entitlement programs…the failure to discern pork barrel spending from real infrastructure investment.

The rule for effective governance is simple. It is one Ronald Reagan knew by heart. And one that he successfully employed with Social Security and the Cold War. When there is a problem, you fix it. That is the job you have been sent to do and you cannot wait for someone else to do it for you.

We pay for this failure of leadership many times over.  The domestic price is obvious:  growth slows, high levels of unemployment persist, and we make ourselves even more vulnerable to the unpredictable behavior of skittish markets or the political decisions of lenders.

But, there is also a foreign policy price to pay.  To begin with, we diminish our ability to influence the thinking and ultimately the behavior of others.  There is no better way to persuade other societies around the world to become more democratic and more market-oriented than to show that our democracy and markets work better than any other system.

Why should we care?

We should care because we believe, as President Reagan did, that democracy is the best protector of human dignity and freedom.  And we know this because history shows that mature democracies are less likely to resort to force against their own people or their neighbors.

We should care because we believe in free and open trade, as exports are the best creators of high-paying jobs here and imports are a means to increase consumer choice and keep prices down.

Around the world– in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa and Latin America—people are debating their own political and economic futures–right now.

We have a stake in the outcome of their debates.  For example, a Middle East that is largely democratic and at peace will be a Middle East that accepts Israel, rejects terrorism, and is a dependable source of energy.

There is no better way to reinforce the likelihood that others in the world will opt for more open societies and economies than to demonstrate that our own system is working.

A lot is being said in this election season about American exceptionalism.   Implicit in such statements is that we are different and, yes, better, in the sense that our democracy, our economy and our people have delivered.  But for American exceptionalism to truly deliver hope and a sterling example to the rest of the world, it must be demonstrated, not just asserted.  If it is demonstrated, it will be seen and appreciated and ultimately emulated by others.  They will then be more likely to follow our example and our lead.

At one time in our history, our greatness was a reflection of our country’s innovation, our determination, our ingenuity and the strength of our democratic institutions.  When there was a crisis in the world, America found a way to come together to help our allies and fight our enemies.  When there was a crisis at home, we put aside parochialism and put the greater public interest first.  And in our system, we did it through strong presidential leadership.  We did it through Reagan-like leadership.

Unfortunately, through our own domestic political conduct of late, we have failed to live up to our own tradition of exceptionalism.  Today, our role and ability to affect change has been diminished because of our own problems and our inability to effectively deal with them.

To understand this clearly, one need only look at comments from the recent meeting of the European finance ministers in Poland.  Here is what the Finance Minister of Austria had to say:

“I found it peculiar that, even though the Americans have significantly worse fundamental data than the euro zone, that they tell us what we should do.  I had expected that, when [Secretary Geithner] tells us how he sees the world, that he would listen to what we have to say.”

You see, without strong leadership at home—without our domestic house in order—we are taking ourselves out of the equation.  Over and over, we are allowing the rest of the world to set the tone without American influence.

I understand full well that succeeding at home, setting an example, is not enough.  The United States must be prepared to act.  We must be prepared to lead.  This takes resources—resources for defense, for intelligence, for homeland security, for diplomacy.  The United States will only be able to sustain a leadership position around the world if the resources are there—but the necessary resources will only be there if the foundations of the American economy are healthy.  So our economic health is a national security issue as well.

Without the authority that comes from that exceptionalism—earned American exceptionalism—we cannot do good for other countries, we cannot continue to be a beacon of hope for the world to aspire to for their future generations.

If Ronald Reagan faced today’s challenges we know what he would do.  He would face our domestic problems directly, with leadership and without political calculation.

We would take an honest and tough approach to solving our long-term debt and deficit problem through reforming our entitlement programs and our tax code.

We would confront our unemployment crisis by giving certainty to business about our tax and regulatory future.

We would unleash American entrepreneurship through long-term tax reform, not short-term tax gimmickry.

And we would reform our K-12 education system by applying free market reform principles to education—rewarding outstanding teachers; demanding accountability from everyone in the system; increasing competition through choice and charters; and making the American free public education system once again the envy of the world.

The guiding principle should be simple and powerful—the educational interests of children must always be put ahead of the comfort of the status quo for adults.

The United States must also become more discriminating in what we try to accomplish abroad. We certainly cannot force others to adopt our principles through coercion.  Local realities count; we cannot have forced makeovers of other societies in our image.  We need to limit ourselves overseas to what is in our national interest so that we can rebuild the foundations of American power here at home – foundations that need to be rebuilt in part so that we can sustain a leadership role in the world for decades to come.

The argument for getting our own house in order is not an argument for turning our back on the world.

We cannot and should not do that.  First of all, our economy is dependent on what we export and import.  And as we learned the hard way a decade ago, we as a country and a people are vulnerable to terrorists armed with box cutters, bombs, and viruses, be they computer generated or man-made.  We need to remain vigilant, and be prepared to act with our friends and allies, to discourage, deter or defend against traditional aggression; to stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons and the means to deliver them; and to continue to deprive terrorists of the ways, means and opportunity to succeed.

I realize that what I am calling for requires a lot of our elected officials and a lot of our people.  I plead guilty.  But I also plead guilty to optimism.

Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in what this country and its citizens can accomplish if they understand what is being asked of them and how we all will benefit if they meet the challenge.

There is no doubt in my mind that we, as a country and as a people, are up for the challenge.  Our democracy is strong; our economy is the world’s largest.  Innovation and risk-taking is in our collective DNA.  There is no better place for investment.  Above all, we have a demonstrated record as a people and a nation of rising up to meet challenges.

Today, the biggest challenge we must meet is the one we present to ourselves.  To not become a nation that places entitlement ahead of accomplishment.  To not become a country that places comfortable lies ahead of difficult truths.  To not become a people that thinks so little of ourselves that we demand no sacrifice from each other.  We are a better people than that; and we must demand a better nation than that.

The America I speak of is the America Ronald Reagan challenged us to be every day.  Frankly, it is the America his leadership helped us to be.  Through our conduct, our deeds, our demonstrated principles and our sacrifice for each other and for the greater good of the nation, we became a country emulated throughout the world.  Not just because of what we said, but because of what we did both at home and abroad.

If we are to reach real American exceptionalism, American exceptionalism that can set an example for freedom around the world, we must lead with purpose and unity.

In 2004, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama gave us a window into his vision for American leadership.  He said, “Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us — the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of ‘anything goes.’ Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.”

Now, seven years later, President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve re-election.  This is not a leadership style, this is a re-election strategy.  Telling those who are scared and struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others.  Trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard.  Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American Dream.  That may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but is a demoralizing message for America.  What happened to State Senator Obama?  When did he decide to become one of the “dividers” he spoke of so eloquently in 2004?  There is, of course, a different choice.

That choice is the way Ronald Reagan led America in the 1980’s.  That approach to leadership is best embodied in the words he spoke to the nation during his farewell address in 1989.  He made clear he was not there just marking time.  That he was there to make a difference.  Then he spoke of the city on the hill and how he had made it stronger.  He said, “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.”

That is American exceptionalism.  Not a punch line in a political speech, but a vision followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world.  Not a re-election strategy, but an American revitalization strategy.

We will be that again, but not until we demand that our leaders stand tall by telling the truth, confronting our shortcomings, celebrating our successes and, once again leading the world because of what we have been able to actually accomplish.

Only when we do that will we finally ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a second American century.  We owe them, as well as ourselves and those who came before us, nothing less.

Thank you again for inviting me—God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America.

History Buzz September 27, 2011: Julian Bond: Students’ Knowledge of Civil Rights History Has Deteriorated, Study Finds

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

HISTORY EDUCATION

Source: NYT 9-27-11

When Julian Bond, the former Georgia lawmaker and civil rights activist, turned to teaching two decades ago, he often quizzed his college students to gauge their awareness of the civil rights movement. He did not want to underestimate their grasp of the topic or talk down to them, he said.

“My fears were misplaced,” Mr. Bond said. No student had heard of George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama, he said. One student guessed that Mr. Wallace might have been a CBS newsman.

That ignorance by American students of the basic history of the civil rights movement has not changed — in fact, it has worsened, according to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, on whose board Mr. Bond sits. The report says that states’ academic standards for public schools are one major cause of the problem.

“Across the country, state educational standards virtually ignore our civil rights history,” concludes the report, which is to be released on Wednesday….

Many states have turned Dr. King’s life into a fable, said Mr. Bond, who now teaches at American University and the University of Virginia. He said his students knew that “there used to be segregation until Martin Luther King came along, that he marched and protested, that he was killed, and that then everything was all right.”… READ MORE

Campaign Recap September 26, 2011: Herman Cain & Mitt Romney Beat Rick Perry in Florida & Michigan Straw Polls — GOP Candidates Debate in the Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Chip Litherland for The New York Times

STATS & POLLS

Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

Democratic Nominee 2012: President Barack Obama’s Official Reelection Campaign Website — BarackObama.com

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

  • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
  • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
  • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
  • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
  • Perry present favorite among Florida Republicans: A poll released early Thursday indicates Florida Republicans slightly prefer Perry over Romney in their party’s battle to find a nominee to face President Barack Obama next year. Perry was favored by 28 percent of the 374 registered Republican voters…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Romney dominates NH poll, well ahead of Perry: Mitt Romney may be tightening his grip on New Hampshire voters, despite tremendous buzz surrounding Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the nation’s first presidential primary state and elsewhere.
    The former Massachusetts governor now leads his nearest rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, by 27 points among likely New Hampshire voters, according to a Suffolk University-7News poll released Wednesday night. Perry finished far back, earning 8 percent compared with Romney’s 41 percent. Paul took 14 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman received 10 percent to round out the top four finishers…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign cratering?: A new poll shows Michele Bachmann falling back in the Republican field – and that her problems extend beyond front-runner Rick Perry siphoning off her supporters…. – CS Monitor, 9-20-11
  • Poll: Perry, Romney far ahead of field as SC looms: The Winthrop Poll shows Perry as the first choice among 30 percent of Republican voters; Romney is close behind at 27 percent. That’s within the 4 percentage-point margin of sampling error for the 596 GOP or Republican-leaning voters called between Sept. 11 and Sept. 18.
    Businessman Herman Cain had 7 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin 6 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 5 percent.
    Reps. Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul, both tea party favorites, were at 4 percent…. AP, 9-20-11

POLLS: MITT ROMNEY WINS MICHIGAN STRAW POLL OVER RICK PERRY

Romney Wins Michigan Straw Poll: Mr. Romney won 51 percent of the vote in the straw poll, far surpassing Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who finished second with 17 percent. Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, was third…. – NYT, 9-25-11

  • Romney bests Perry in Michigan straw poll: Michigan native Mitt Romney rolled over Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the rest of his Republican presidential rivals in a Michigan straw poll on Sunday, reinforcing a favorite son status that could make it tough for anyone else to win the state’s GOP primary.
    It was the second day of bad news for Perry, who lost to businessman Herman Cain in a Florida straw poll Saturday before heading to the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan.
    Perry’s second-place finish in Florida came just days after he faltered in a debate in Orlando, Fla. Romney came in third there, although he isn’t officially competing in straw polls.
    More than 1,600 elected officials and party regulars attended Michigan’s three-day conference, and state Republican Chairman Bobby Schostak said it’s no surprise that the former Massachusetts governor did so well in Sunday’s poll…. – CBS News, 9-25-11
  • On Home Turf, Romney Prevails in Straw Poll: Mitt Romney didn’t disappoint on his home turf this weekend, receiving 51 percent of the votes at the Michigan Straw Poll, a wide victory over Texas Gov. Rick Perry who garnered just 17 percent. Third place in the straw poll went to Herman Cain…. – ABC News, 9-25-11
  • Mitt Romney wins Michigan straw poll, Rick Perry a distant second: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he isn’t competing in any straw polls — not even the one this weekend on the island where he spent summers as a boy, where pictures of his father adorn the Grand Hotel and where George Romney’s legacy as a popular governor hung over the proceedings.
    To say Romney was the heavy favorite at the biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference would be an understatement. And he did not disappoint, winning the straw poll with 51 percent of the 681 votes cast. His top rival for the nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, finished second with 17 percent.
    For Romney, the victory was especially sweet considering that Perry flew here — a remote island on Lake Huron, accessible only by ferry and where visitors ride bicycles or horse-drawn carriages because automobiles are banned — to deliver a luncheon speech Saturday to conference attendees. Romney was here, too, and gave his speech during Saturday night’s dinner program.
    Former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive Herman Cain, who won the Florida straw poll Saturday, finished third in Michigan with 9 percent, according to the results announced Sunday morning. He was followed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) with 8 percent; Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), 4 percent; former House speaker Newt Gingrich, 4 percent; former senator Rick Santorum, 3 percent; and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr., 2 percent.
    The straw poll, organized and sponsored by National Journal Hotline and the National Association of Home Builders, surveyed the party leaders, donors and activists who attended this weekend’s conference.
    The poll also surveyed voters’ favorites to be the GOP vice presidential nominee. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) easily won, with 23 percent of the 481 votes cast in that category. Cain finished second with 14 percent, followed by Gingrich with 13 percent and Bachmann with 12 percent…. – WaPo, 9-25-11

PRESIDENCY 5: HERMAN CAIN WINS FLORIDA STRAW POLL OVER RICK PERRY

Herman Cain Wins Florida Straw Poll: Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, won the Florida straw poll today, defeating second-place Rick Perry…. – NYT, 9-24-121

FLORIDA STRAW POLL RESULTS:
In a stunning upset Saturday, Herman Cain won Florida’s Presidency 5 straw poll, a vote of 2,657 Republican activists that in past years has predicted the party nominee. Here are the results:

Herman Cain: 37 percent
Rick Perry: 15 percent
Mitt Romney: 14 percent
Rick Santorum: 10.9 percent
Ron Paul: 10.4 percent
Newt Gingrich: 8 percent
Jon Huntsman: 2.3 percent
Michelle Bachmann: 1.5 percent

“Folks, this is what you call momentum. The Herman Cain train is picking up steam.” — Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza

“Floridians and voters nationally want a candidate who is clear on the issues and talks honestly about the future. Not someone who takes multiple sides of an issue and changes views every election season. Today’s vote demonstrates that Floridians are energized and ready to help get America working again.” — Rick Perry

“Cain won, we still have work to do. It’s his day. The conservative message won today. We’ve been in this race for five weeks. We’re going to continue campaigning hard….
It’s more of what happened to Mitt Romney. He’s not going to be crowned president of the United States. He’s going to have to work for it. And after five and a half years he once again got rejected in a key state in the Republican primary process.” — Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner

  • Cain upsets Perry in Florida Republican straw poll: Former pizza executive Herman Cain surprised rival Rick Perry with an upset victory on Saturday in a nonbinding Republican presidential straw poll in Florida, dealing a disappointing loss to the Texas governor two days after a shaky debate performance.
    Perry, leading in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, had needed a victory in the key test of strength in a crucial state to salve the wounds left over from a debate with his rivals on Thursday in which he struggled.
    Instead, former Godfather’s Pizza executive Cain, who is far behind the two top-tier candidates Perry and Mitt Romney, won with 37 percent of 2,657 votes cast.
    Perry was a distant second at 15 percent, just ahead of Romney, who won 14 percent despite not participating in the poll. Further back were Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann.
    Florida’s straw poll is a nonbinding popularity poll and is significant only in terms of showing a candidate’s strength in the state. The state contests to determine the Republican nominee do not start until early next year.
    The Perry camp shrugged off the results…. – Reuters, 9-24-11
  • Cain’s Moment in the Sunshine State: The former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza has hit his rhetorical stride in the Republican contest, whipping up crowds of true-believers everywhere he goes. And he was rewarded on Saturday with a decisive win in the straw poll…. – NYT, 9-25-11
  • Herman Cain upsets Rick Perry in Florida straw poll: Rick Perry in a straw ballot of Florida Republican activists Saturday. The vote has no bearing on the choice of a 2012 nominee but, along with recent campaign events, is likely to increase the chances that the Republican presidential contest will … – LAT, 9-24-11
  • Cain wins Florida straw poll, finishing far ahead of Perry: Businessman Herman Cain won the Florida GOP presidential straw poll in a major surprise on Saturday, finishing well ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry…. – WaPo, 9-24-11
  • Perry on Straw Poll: “I have all my hopes on Florida”: In an effort to regain momentum after Thursday’s debate performance that left many Republicans here disappointed, GOP front-runner Governor Rick Perry lashed out at his rivals who have decided to skip Florida’s P5 presidential straw poll– a forum which has now become a significant test for Perry’s campaign for the White House.
    “There are a number of candidates who have spurned Florida’s straw poll and I think that’s a big mistake,” Perry said to a group of several hundred GOP delegates who had gathered to hear him speak at an Orlando breakfast event.
    “I have all my hopes on Florida,” Perry added.
    The poll is voted on by a convention of over 3,500 GOP delegates from across the battleground state…. – Fox News, 9-24-11
  • Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll in stunning victory; Perry in deep trouble: From the bottom of the polls to the top of the pack, businessman Herman Cain won the Republican Party of Florida’s nationally watched presidential straw poll Saturday in a sign that frontrunner Rick Perry is in deep trouble.
    Cain’s victory with 37 percent of the vote was a major defeat for Perry, the frontrunner in Florida and national polls, who garnered only 15 percent after wooing the nearly 3,000 party faithful with a free breakfast and mailers.
    The vote also showed how soft Republican support is for Mitt Romney, who came in third with 14 percent. Unlike Perry, though, he avoided schmoozing the GOP voters, called delegates. Miami Herald, 9-24-11
  • Can Herman Cain keep up the momentum after his Florida straw poll win?: Herman Cain is basking in the Sunday glow of his surprise win Saturday in the Florida straw poll. But he lags in national polls, and his Florida win may draw sharper scrutiny of his positions…. – CS Monitor, 9-25-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts mittromney.com

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts rickperry.org

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ronpaul2012.com

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts hermancain.com

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts michelebachmann.com

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts newt.org

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts jon2012.com

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ricksantorum.com

  • Fox News-Google Republican Presidential Debate: The following is a transcript of the Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Fla…. – NYT, 9-23-11

IN FOCUS: FOX NEWS / GOOGLE GOP REPUBLICAN DEBATE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

GOP DEBATE EXCERPTS — QUOTES

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Rick Perry Under Attack Goes on the Offensive — Especially Against Chief Rival Mitt Romney — Social Security, Healthcare Main Issues Fox News, 9-22-11

Small business: Gov. Rick Perry: “What we’ve done in Texas over the course of the last decade is to lower that tax burden on small-business men and women, have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable and a sweeping tort reform system that we passed in 2003. … That’s the way you get the government off the back of small businesses, and that’s the way you free up those small-business entrepreneurs when they know they can risk their capital and have a chance to get a return on their investments.
“If it will work in the state of Texas, it will work in Washington, D.C. And that’s exactly what I’m going to bring when I go there in November, excuse me, in January of 2013.”

States’ rights: Rep. Ron Paul: “The responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th Amendment. That would be the solution.
“Government is too big in Washington, D.C. It has run away, we have no controls on spending, taxes, regulations. … If we want government, whether it’s medical care or whatever, it’s proper to do it at the local level.”

Perry vs. Bush: Perry disputed any notion of a rift between him and former President George W. Bush. Perry said they have “a great rapport” and talk “on a relatively regular basis.”
“I highly respect the president and his public service,” Perry said.

Education: Paul: “If you care about your children, you will get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids,” he said.

HEADLINES FROM THE DEBATE….

    • Live Blogging the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Nine candidates will take the debate stage tonight in Orlando, Fla., in what is likely to feature the continuing slugfest between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry…. – NYUT, 9-22-11
    • Fact Checking the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Examining statements on Social Security, education, foreign policy and more…. – NYT, 9-23-11

Romney, Perry go after each other in GOP debate: Side by side in confrontational debate, Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry sarcastically accused each other Thursday night of flip-flopping on Social Security and health care, flashpoints in their intense struggle for the party nomination.
In a debate that focused on character and credibility as much as other issues, Perry insisted he had backed off “not one inch, Sir” from what he had written in a campaign-season book published a few months ago.
Romney vouched for his own steadfastness moments later. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me,” he said. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect other people on this stage. … But one reason to elect me is I know what I stand for. I’ve written it down. Words have meaning.”
The two men assailed one another in the third debate in as many weeks in a race for the Republican presidential nomination growing testier by the day. AP, 9-22-11

  • Under Attack, Perry Hits Back at Rivals in GOP Debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP presidential front-runner, fended off fierce attacks during Thursday night’s debate from his rivals over his criticism of Social Security and his record on immigration…. – Fox News, 9-22-11
  • GOP presidential debate: Who won the wrangle in Orlando?: The critics were brutal about Rick Perry’s performance. But voters react to the images that candidates project in a presidential debate over time, as snippets are worked into news reports and political ads…. – CS Monitor, 9-23-11
  • GOP debate: Winners and losers: The six Republican presidential debate this year, which took place Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, left some candidates more prepared than others and gave some candidates some key standout moments. Here’s our breakdown of the winners and losers: … Winners: Mitt Romney — Rick Santorum — Herman Cain…
    Losers: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, YouTube Questions…. – CBS News, 9-22-11
  • Perry and Romney Come Out Swinging at Each Other in G.O.P. Debate: In their third debate in as many weeks, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas engaged in a sometimes heated back and forth over immigration, health care and entitlements, their rivalry dominating a stage that included seven other candidates struggling to catch up in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
    Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry arrived here with a strategic imperative to challenge the other’s consistency and conservative credentials. The tensions only grew as the night wore on, to the point where Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, joked that Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry were at risk of bludgeoning each other to death.
    Still, after two hours of dueling it was unclear whether Mr. Perry had achieved his goal of knocking Mr. Romney off his fairly unruffled stride. It was similarly not certain that Mr. Romney had made headway in knocking Mr. Perry down a few pegs in what has been a relatively strong opening to his young campaign…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs: If you believe pollster Frank Luntz’s focus group in the post-game analysis on Fox News, Mitt Romney did himself a lot of good in Thursday’s two-hour Fox News/Google GOP Debate, held in Orlando, Fla. Nine candidates faced questions from FNC anchors … – LAT, 9-22-11
  • The GOP debate: 6 takeaways: It’s official — the frontrunners aren’t a mutual fan club. With three debates in the books featuring Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the animosity between the Texas governor and the former Massachusetts governor is palpable.
    Here are POLITICO’s six takeaways from Thursday’s slugfest in Orlando…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate Health Care,Retirement: The top two contenders for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination fended off accusations of changing their positions on everything from health care to Social Security during a nationally televised debate Thursday in Florida. … – Voice of America, 9-23-11
  • Orlando GOP debate: A strong night for Santorum as Perry fades: When the Republican presidential contenders debated in Orlando tonight, it was really two debates. In the first third of the evening, a series of disjointed questions without follow-ups, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seemed strong and well-prepared. But he faded over the rest of the debate, appearing to lose his steam just as he was trying to paint Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper.
    The big winner of the night, however, was Rick Santorum…. – WaPo, 9-22-11
  • Thursday’s ‘high-stakes’ GOP debate: 4 key questions: The Republican presidential hopefuls are preparing to clash in yet another debate. What can we expect?
    The Republican presidential candidates repeatedly bashed each other’s records this week, ahead of Thursday night’s debate in Florida, a crucial swing state. Indeed, there will be “high stakes” for frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — and for rivals struggling to keep their hopes alive — as the showdown in Orlando sets the table for a Saturday straw poll that leading Sunshine State Republicans say will predict the party’s 2012 nominee. What should viewers watch for when the candidates square off on stage Thursday? Here, four key questions:

    1. Can Romney take down Perry over Social Security?
    2. Which Rick Perry will take the stage?
    3. Can Gary Johnson make a difference?
    4. Will second-tier candidates break through?

    The Week, 9-22-11

THE HEADLINES: WEEKLY RECAP

    • Lady Gaga shows at Obama fundraiser: Pop singer Lady Gaga was among the guests at a Silicon Valley fundraiser for President Barack Obama. The intimate gathering was held under a tent in the yard of Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Sunday night…. – AP, 9-25-11
    • Obama takes shots at Perry, GOP debates: President Barack Obama is swiping at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, criticizing him as “a governor whose state is on fire, denying climate change.”… – AP, 9-25-11
    • NYC’s Bloomberg says Obama could be re-elected: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he thinks President Barack Obama could win re-election next year in spite of the country’s high unemployment rate. Bloomberg cites the power of incumbency as one of Obama’s advantage. … – AP, 9-25-11
    • Obama adviser: GOP will target middle class: A top White House adviser is laying out the theme of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, saying the Republicans running for president would “take dead aim” at middle class Americans. Obama’s 2008 campaign manager…. – AP, 9-25-11
    • Romney using wife’s story to connect with voters: …Ann Romney, his wife of 42 years, stood with him, spatula in hand, wearing the same white apron and the comfortable smile of a woman who spent countless mornings flipping flapjacks for five hungry sons.
      Her presence on that day, like so many others during the long campaign, is an acknowledged blessing for a 2012 White House contender who struggles to shake a robotic image. Friends and foes alike say she makes him seem more genuine…. – AP, 9-25-11

“I see anybody that gets in the race that believes in America and is a small government but efficient government individual, I would welcome into the race. It just strengthens the point that the Republican Party’s all about getting our country working again. Whoever that is. And I’m also a big believer in these governors being freed up to be able to compete against each other. Chris Christie is a great competitor — and I’ll be up there, you know, in Jersey, looking for some businesses to move to Texas.” — Gov. Rick Perry

  • Perry works to show he’s strongest GOP contender: Texas Gov. Rick Perry worked to convince Florida Republicans Saturday that he is the strongest contender for the GOP nomination despite a shaky debate performance earlier this week that has sparked jitters about his bid…. – AP, 9-25-11
  • Perry, Romney look beyond early-voting states: Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are the only two Republican presidential candidates who can afford to spend their time and money in states that aren’t first on the primary calendar.
    That helps explain their appearances Saturday in Michigan, where GOP voters will have their say in 2012, but only after Iowa, New Hampshire and several other states that second-tier contenders must win to survive…. – AP, 9-24-11
  • Obama’s likability is keeping him afloat: This is a factor any Republican challenger must consider: Public opinion polls routinely show that Americans like the president personally even though they don’t agree with his policies, even if hurt by them.
    People who have lost their jobs or homes during Obama’s presidency nonetheless say they want him to succeed and, what’s more, they’re working to help re-elect him because of the affinity they feel for him…. – AP, 9-24-11
  • As Perry sags, Christie in spotlight: With the party’s frontrunner sagging, Chris Christie is reconsidering pleas from Republican elites and donors to run for president in 2012. Two Republican sources told POLITICO, says the governor will make a decision in roughly a week…. – Politico, 9-24-11
  • Can Rick Perry make a comeback?: Rick Perry’s debate performance this week was universally panned, even by conservatives. Now, he’s pushing his “authenticity” versus the “slickness” of his main Republican rival Mitt Romney…. – CS Monitor, 9-24-11
  • Tampering With the Electoral College: Pennsylvania Republicans propose changing the state’s voting system for partisan advantage…. – NYT, 9-24-11
  • Small Donors Are Slow to Return to the Obama Fold: The frustration and disillusionment that have dragged down President Obama’s approval ratings have crept into the ranks of his vaunted small-donor army…. – NYT, 9-24-11
  • Texas May Be Solid Red at the Ballot Box, but Big Money Makes It Bipartisan: Red state or blue doesn’t really matter when it comes to where politicians go to raise money, and Texas, a major supplier of campaign cash, is proof of that. NYT, 9-24-11
  • Perry and Romney Set Clear Lines of Attack: The animosity between Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney has deepened as they compete for contributors and endorsements…. – NYT, 9-24-11
  • Perry on shaky ground? Doubts among some in GOP: The findings underscore Romney’s effort to present himself as an economic conservative capable of drawing independent voters in a head-to-head campaign with Obama. Regardless of the polling, some voters in Florida are grimacing. … – AP, 9-24-11
  • Democrats working to undercut Perry, Romney: To hear Democrats tell it, Gov. Rick Perry’s economic record in Texas is nothing more than a mirage and his views on Social Security make him “America’s Most Dangerous Cowboy.” In Massachusetts, President Barack Obama’s allies say job creation lagged under Mitt Romney, whose policies would undermine the middle class.
    Republicans won’t pick a candidate to challenge Obama for months but Democrats already are working to poke holes in the two who, according to polls, are mostly likely to win the GOP nomination…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • Tea Party Group to Form Super PAC: Unlike similar organizations, the FreedomWorks Super PAC plans to raise $20 million from small donors to spend in Republican primaries…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Romney Leads Endorsement Race: Endorsements can be a good predictor of electoral success, something that bodes well for Mitt Romney…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • GOP presidential debate: Who won the wrangle in Orlando?: The critics were brutal about Rick Perry’s performance. But voters react to the images that candidates project in a presidential debate over time, as snippets are worked into news reports and political ads…. – CS Monitor, 9-23-11
  • Caucus Video: Five Key Moments from the Debate: Reporters look at the debate’s importance going forward in the Republican race…. – The Caucus, 9-23-11
  • Rick Perry’s Stance on Immigration May Hurt His Chances: For Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, the issue of immigration could be treacherous in early-nominating states that have few Hispanics…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Obama’s Los Angeles campaign office smashed up: Police said Friday they are investigating what appears to be a politically motivated attack on a campaign office for President Barack Obama in Los Angeles, only days before he’s scheduled to arrive in Southern California. … – AP, 9-23-11
  • Only Palms Are Swaying: Outside supermarkets and restaurants, inside bookstores and candy shops, Jewish voters in this affluent yet diverse Jewish community in north Miami said they planned to mostly stay the course…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Fears Gnaw at Liberalism: Local Jewish leaders say most of the more than 200,000 Jews who live in greater Philadelphia remain Democrats and are almost sure to support Mr. Obama in 2012…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • An Enthusiasm Cools Down: At a small gathering Thursday morning in a rabbi’s office to chat about the president, those in attendance said they would vote for Mr. Obama again, regardless of their disappointment…. – NYT, 9-23-11
  • Romney, Bachmann challenge Perry on immigration: Keeping the heat on Rick Perry, rivals Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann on Friday challenged his suggestion that people are heartless if they don’t support his Texas law that gives some illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates at universities.
    “If you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart,” Romney told a gathering of conservatives in Florida, which has a sizable immigrant population. “It means that you have a heart and a brain.”
    In her speech, Bachmann said: “We will not have taxpayer-subsidized benefits for illegal immigrants or their children.” She pledged to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, a move that Perry opposes…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • Web verdict on Perry: Brutal: There was no election-ending gaffe or singularly disqualifying remark. But his second consecutive weak outing set off alarm bells on the right, where too many cringeworthy moments raised questions about Perry’s durability, his seriousness and ability to compete on a stage with Barack Obama…. – Politico, 9-23-11
  • Texas toast? Perry worries GOP: The first line of Rick Perry’s campaign obituary may have been drafted Thursday night: He got in too late…. – Politico, 9-23-11
  • The GOP debate: 6 takeaways: With three debates in the books featuring Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the animosity between the Texas governor and the former Massachusetts governor is palpable…. – Politico, 9-23-11
  • GOP debate shows Michele Bachmann’s star continues to fizzle: Bachmann barely merited a mention in the post-debate analysis, from a post-debate focus group on Fox News to the ever-roiling debate-about-the-debate on Twitter. At one point mid-debate, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin tweeted, “Is Michele Bachmann still there?”… – Politico, 9-23-11
  • Analysis: Perry, Romney defend records in forum: The candidate who best figures out how to appeal to that audience without abandoning his own record is likely to win the nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. As governors of Texas and Massachusetts, respectively, Perry and Romney … – AP, 9-23-11
  • Romney, Perry spar on Social Security at Florida GOP debate: Under fire from Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann on the same issue, Perry said he didn’t believe in punishing children who entered the country illegally through no fault of their own….
    Rick Perry and Mitt Romney traded charges of flip-flopping and political opportunism at the GOP debate in Orlando on Thursday night, with both men again turning to each others’ books for harsh, personal criticism…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • FACT CHECK: Slippery assertions in GOP debate: Mitt Romney denied supporting an Obama administration education program that he had praised. But the most consequential exchange may have been over Social Security, and Perry’s changing thoughts about it…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • GOP candidates parry over Afghanistan withdrawal: Two Republican presidential hopefuls are divided over President Barack Obama’s plan to bring home troops from Afghanistan. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says “this country has given its all” and the US is ready to bring home troops…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Romney says US-Israel policy must be in step: Romney and other GOP candidates on Thursday criticized President Barack Obama’s administration and posture toward Israel. He says that Obama has disrespected its closest friend in the Middle East and has been unclear in its broader policy in the region…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Romney says he wants all Americans to be rich: The Republican presidential contender said during a debate on Thursday that he wants all Americans to have the same opportunities to build wealth while President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party wants to raise taxes on wealthy workers…. – AP, 9-22-11
  • Candidates in Debate Trip Over Foreign Policy: The candidates gave some head-scratching remarks when quizzed about foreign policy and other topics on Thursday…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • Republican Presidential Candidates Debate: With Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Mitt Romney well out in front, the other candidates sought to break through in the Republicans’ third presidential debate in 15 days…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • 5 things to watch in Thursday debate: Which Rick Perry will show up? And does Romney pin Perry down on Social Security and illegal immigration?… – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Perry Calls Prayer Vital to His Life: Rick Perry tells religious conservatives that he has “been driven to my knees on many occasions.”… – NYT, 9-22-11
  • McCotter Ends Long-Shot Presidential Bid: Representative Thad McCotter ends his presidential campaign as he faces a primary challenge for his House seat in Michigan…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • Thaddeus McCotter drops 2012 bid for president, endorses Mitt Romney: Several candidates had already begun to make moves to run for McCotter’s seat in a redrawn Michigan district, making clear that they were not waiting to give deference to him. McCotter’s announcement, first reported by the Detroit News, comes days before state senator Mike Kowall’s campaign kickoff this weekend at the biennial Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island.
    The Michigan lawmaker, whose presidential campaign was a longshot, “will likely run again” for his seat…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Is Rick Perry winning the ‘Donald Trump primary’?: Rick Perry met with Donald Trump last week. Mitt Romney is set to meet with him next week. Michele Bachmann met him in July. Why are all the Republican presidential candidates lining up?… – CS Monitor, 9-21-11
  • Perry rivals work to undercut his character: United on the economic issues that most worry voters, the Republican presidential candidates have turned to subjects like vaccines, immigration and the future of Social Security. And while there are some policy differences, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and others are raising those topics partly to make character arguments against GOP front-runner Rick Perry…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • RNC surpasses DNC in August fundraising: The Republican National Committee raised about $8.2 million in August, far outpacing its Democratic rival in a typically slow fundraising month.
    The Democratic National Committee reported that it raised $5.4 million last month, including $1.4 million for the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account by the DNC and Obama’s campaign…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • FACT CHECK: GOP candidates overreach on Israel: The Palestinian bid to win UN recognition is focusing attention on the Obama administration’s Mideast policy, which Republican presidential candidates say is all wrong. Presenting themselves as stronger advocates for Israel…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • Perry Opens Record of Financial Investments: The Texas governor, now a Republican candidate for president, revoked his blind trust and must report his holdings to the Federal Election Commission…. – AP, 9-20-11
  • Dodd-Frank Act Is a Target on G.O.P. Campaign Trail: The Dodd-Frank Act, the sprawling law to address the causes of the financial crisis, is a job killer that should be repealed, Republican presidential candidates say…. – NYT, 9-20-11
  • Stuart Stevens, Redefining Romney’s Presidential Run: A laid-back yet competitive strategist has given the Romney campaign a very different feel this time around…. – NYT, 9-20-11
  • Obama says ‘better ideas’ will win him re-election: President Barack Obama says he intends to win the 2012 election because he’s got “better ideas.” Speaking at a fundraiser Tuesday night for his re-election campaign, Obama said his ideas are based on the notion that Americans should … – AP, 9-20-11
  • Republican candidates assail Obama over Israel: Republican presidential candidates slammed President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies Tuesday while emphatically declaring their own support for Israel as the United Nations considered a bid for Palestinian statehood. … – AP, 9-20-11
  • Obama warns of ‘perilous path’ for US: President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States is headed down a “perilous path” if its leaders cannot move quickly and responsibly to help people get back to work. Obama, speaking at an exclusive Park Avenue fundraiser … – AP, 9-19-11
  • Mitch Daniels Calls for a More Honest Campaign Debate: The governor of Indiana says his party’s presidential candidates should “campaign to govern, not just win.”… – NYT, 9-19-11
  • Rivals ask: Is Perry weak on the right, or left?: Rick Perry’s Republican rivals are struggling to find a coherent, easy-to-grasp argument against the Texas governor, who tops GOP presidential polls despite attacks from all sides.
    In fact, it’s the “all sides” nature that complicates the opposition’s message. Republican voters who watched last week’s presidential debate and its aftermath might wonder: Should I see Perry as too conservative or too moderate?… – AP, 9-19-11

HOUSE — SENATE — GOVERNORSHIPS CAMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS

  • Warren’s TARP panel under scrutiny: Elizabeth Warren, who is seeking the Democratic Senate nomination in Massachusetts to take on Republican Scott Brown, has yet to break down exactly how her congressional panel spent more than $10 million on travel expenses, meals and consultants, nor has Warren revealed the total amount she was paid while serving as chairman…. – Politico, 9-22-11

CAMPAIGN 2012: ANALYSTS &S HISTORIANS COMMENTS

  • Politico Arena: Daily Debate with Policymakers, Opinionshapers & Academics Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: Should GOP go for inspiration or victory?: With all the talk about the ideological and strategic divisions within the GOP, the real choice that primary voters will have to make next year is a simple one.
    Republicans have to decide whether to pick a candidate who appeals to their hearts or to their minds. The field is still fluid, but so far Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to be the candidate who appeals most strongly to the ideological passion of conservatives, even though he stumbled in last week’s debate.
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who doesn’t inspire that passion seems to be the right man at the right time to defeat a struggling incumbent president. In recent weeks, at least based on the polls, logic seems to be a stronger pull.
    Traditionally, voters tend to go for the candidate who appeals to their hearts, even if the choice may be less likely to win. The primary process favors candidates who play to the base of the party and voters want someone they can believe in…. – CNN, 9-26-11

Full Text September 26, 2011: President Barack Obama Answers Questions at Linkedin Townhall Transcript

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama at a Town Hall sponsored by LinkedIn
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 9/26/11

President Obama’s Town Hall with LinkedIn: “We are in this thing Together”

Source: WH, 9-26-11
Today, President Obama was at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California for a discussion on putting America back to work with members of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 120 million users worldwide. LinkedIn members from Gainesville, Florida to Phoenix, Arizona submitted their questions on the economy and jobs for the President to answer during the live Town Hall.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner kicked off the Town Hall, noting the role of passing the American Jobs Act in putting the country back to work:

There’s one number you may be less familiar with, and that’s 3.2 million, the number of available jobs in this country — 3.2 million.  We have everything we need to begin to put this country back to work — the raw materials, the basic building blocks and, perhaps most importantly, the will of a nation.  What we need is the way.  With the American Jobs Act, our President is leading the way.

Then he turned it over to President Obama to say a few words before diving into questions:

As you mentioned, I put forward a proposal, the American Jobs Act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who have been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets; that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure — taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who have been laid off when the housing bubbles went bust and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools, and laying broadband lines — all the things that help us make a success; and also make sure that we’re providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed.

During the discussion, the President addressed topics ranging from Social Security and Medicare to strengthening our education system and ways to jumpstart the economy. He also addressed the need to invest in our future and pay for those investments in part by making sure everyone, including the wealthiest among us, is contributing a fair share:

If we don’t prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we’re going to have problems.  If we don’t make sure that we continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we’re going to have problems.  If we’re not continuing to invest in basic research, we’re going to have challenges.  If we don’t get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their family but also the country that’s given them so much opportunity, we’re going to have problems.

And so I am extraordinarily confident about America’s long-term future.  But we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward.  And what’s striking to me is, when we’re out of Washington and I’m just talking to ordinary folks, I don’t care whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, people are just looking for common sense.  The majority of people agree with the prescriptions I just offered.  The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure.  The majority of folks by a wide margin think that we should be investing in education.  The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be investing in science and technology.  And the majority of people think by a wide margin that we should be maintaining programs like Social Security and Medicare to provide a basic safety net.

The majority of people by a significant margin think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don’t need, but also making sure that we’ve got a tax code that’s fair and everybody is paying their fair share.

President Obama concluded by saying, “that’s why your voices are going to be so important.” The President called on those who had joined the conversation to keep making their voices heard:

I want to hear from you directly, but I also want your voices heard in the halls of Congress.  I need everybody here to be speaking out on behalf of the things that you care about, and the values that made this country great, and to say to folks who you’ve elected — say to them, we expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interest.  Act in terms of what’s going to be good for all of us over the long term.

Watch the full video from the Town Hall or use the  links below to jump to the questions you’re interested in:

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (577MB) | mp3 (55MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President in Town Hall with Linkedin

 

President Barack Obama answers a question during a Town Hall sponsored by LinkedIn

President Barack Obama answers an audience member’s question during a Town Hall meeting sponsored by LinkedIn at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, Sept. 26, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

 

Computer History Museum
Mountain View, California

10:58 A.M. PDT

MR. WEINER: Good morning, everyone.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!

MR. WEINER: Oh, very nice. (Laughter.) Thank you so much for joining us here today for a very special town hall discussion on a subject we all know to be truly important, and that’s putting America back to work. In just a moment, I’m going to be introducing a very special guest, but before I do, just a few brief introductory remarks.

I think today’s venue, the Computer History Museum, here in Silicon Valley, is a very fitting one for our discussion. There’s a number of folks who’ve come to Silicon Valley not just for a job, or even a career path, but because they’re interested in changing the world. And that’s possible here because of the amazing technologies and companies that have been born in this area.

You think back to the semiconductor revolution, the age of computing, and of course, the Internet — and most recently, with regard to the Internet, the rise of social networks connecting hundreds of millions of people around the world in milliseconds. Perhaps more importantly are the behavioral changes taking place as a result. The way in which we go online, represent our identities; stay connected to friends, family and colleagues; and of course, share information, knowledge, ideas and opinions is fundamentally transforming the world — the way we live, the way we play, and the way we work.

And it’s that last dynamic, changing the way we work, which is where LinkedIn is focused. We connect hundreds of millions of people ultimately around the world by connecting talent with opportunity — today, 120 million members on a global basis, and that’s growing north of two members per second, the fastest rate of growth in our history.

When we talk about connecting talent with opportunity we’re not just referring to enabling people to find a job or their dream jobs. We’re also talking about enabling people to be great at the jobs that they’re already in. This is what we do, day in and day out. But our dream is even bigger than that. There are 153 million people in the American workforce; there are 3.3 billion people in the global workforce. Ultimately, our vision is to create economic opportunity for every one of them.

What’s somewhat unusual about this vision is it won’t simply be manifested by the employees of our company but by our members as well, because every individual that joins the LinkedIn network is in a position to, in turn, create economic opportunity for others. We’re very fortunate today to be joined by several of our members and we’re going to be hearing from them shortly.

Lastly, on the subject of economic opportunity, there seems to be one number on everybody’s minds these days — 9.1 percent, the unemployment rate in this country. Over 14 million Americans are unemployed, and that number grows to north of 25 million when you factor in those that are underemployed and marginally attached to the workforce.

There’s one number you may be less familiar with, and that’s 3.2 million, the number of available jobs in this country — 3.2 million. We have everything we need to begin to put this country back to work — the raw materials, the basic building blocks and, perhaps most importantly, the will of a nation. What we need is the way. With the American Jobs Act, our President is leading the way.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor and privilege to introduce the President of the United States. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. It’s a nice crowd. (Laughter.) And I have to say, Jeff, you warmed them up very well.

MR. WEINER: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much for your hospitality. And let me begin by just saying how excited I am to be here. Every time I come to Silicon Valley, every time that I come to this region, I am excited about America’s future. And no part of the country better represents, I think, the essence of America than here, because what you see is entrepreneurship and dynamism, a forward-orientation, an optimism, a belief that if you got a good idea and you’re willing to put in the sweat and blood and tears to make it happen, that not only can you succeed for yourself but you can grow the economy for everybody. And it’s that driving spirit that has made America an economic superpower.

But obviously we’re in a period of time right now where the economy is struggling, and a lot of folks all across the country are struggling. And so part of what I hope to do is to have a conversation with all of you about, how can we continue to spark the innovation that is going to ensure our economic success in the 21st century? How can we prepare our workforce to be able to plug in to this new economy? How do we recognize that, in this competitive environment, there are all kinds of opportunities that LinkedIn presents for interconnectedness and people being able to work together and spread ideas around the world and create value, but at the same time, understanding that there are some perils as well?

If our kids aren’t properly educated, if we don’t have an infrastructure that is world-class, if we are not investing in basic research in science — if we’re not doing all the things that made us great in the past, then we’re going to fall behind.

And we’ve got a short-term challenge, which is how do we put people back to work right now. And so, as you mentioned, I put forward a proposal, the American Jobs Act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who have been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets; that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure — taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who have been laid off when the housing bubbles went bust and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools, and laying broadband lines — all the things that help us make a success; and also make sure that we’re providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed.

And I have said to Congress, I understand that there’s an election 14 months away and it’s tempting to say that we’re not going to do anything until November of 2012, but the American people cannot afford to wait. The American people need help right now. And all the proposals we’ve put forward in the American Jobs Act will not only help us now, but will also help us in the future — will lay the foundation for our long-term success.

Last point I’ll make — and then I want to get to questions — it’s all paid for. And it’s paid for in part by building on some very tough cuts in our budget to eliminate waste and things we don’t need — that we’ve already made a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. We’ve proposed an additional half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years of spending cuts and adjustments on programs that we want to keep intact but haven’t been reformed in too long.

But what I’ve also said is in order to pay for it and bring down the deficit at the same time, we’re going to have to reform our tax code in a way that’s fair and makes sure that everybody is doing their fair share. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t be paying a lower tax rate than Warren Buffett. Somebody who’s making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn’t be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or Jeff, who’ve been incredibly blessed — I don’t know what you make Jeff, but I’m just guessing (laughter) — who’ve been blessed by the incredible opportunities of this country.

And I say that because whenever America has moved forward, it’s because we’ve moved forward together. And we’re going to have to make sure that we are laying the foundation for the success of future generations, and that means that each of us are doing our part to make sure that we’re investing in our future.

So, with that, thank you so much for the terrific venue. I look forward to a bunch of great questions, both live and through whatever other linkages that we’ve got here. (Laughter.)

MR. WEINER: You’ve got it. So we’re going to be going back and forth between folks in the audience members and some previously generated questions from the LinkedIn group. So we’re going to start.

Our first question is from LinkedIn member Chuck Painter. And, Chuck we’re going to get you a mic –

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.

Q I’m from Austin, Texas. I’ve been in sales in the plastics industry for 20 years. I lost my job in 2009 and fortunate enough to have found another position, become reemployed. My question is what can we do as American citizens to unite ourselves and help the economy?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, are you a native of Austin? Because that’s one of my favorite cities in the country.

Q Actually, I’m a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, but just relocated to Austin, and I love it there.

THE PRESIDENT: Austin is great. Charlotte is not bad. (Laughter.)

Q Thank you, thank you, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s the reason why I’m having my convention in Charlotte, because I love North Carolina as well. But how long did it take you to find a new job after you had gotten laid off?

Q It took nine months.

THE PRESIDENT: It took nine months?

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: And that’s one of the challenges that a lot of folks are seeing out there. You’ve got skilled people with experience in an industry. That industry changes, and you were fortunate enough to be able to move. Some folks, because of the decline in the housing industry, are having trouble with mobility in finding new jobs and relocating in pursuit of opportunity.

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: The most important thing that we can do right now is to help jumpstart the economy, which has stalled, by putting people back to work. And so, not surprisingly, I think the most important thing we can do right now is pass this jobs bill.

Think about it. Independent economists have estimated that, if we pass the entire package, the American Jobs Act, we would increase GDP by close to 2 percent; we would increase employment by 1.9 million persons. And that is the kind of big, significant move in the economy that can have ripple effects and help a recovery take off.

There’s been a lot of dispute about the kind of impact that we had right after the financial crisis hit. But the fact is, the vast majority of economists who looked at it have said that the Recovery Act, by starting infrastructure projects around the country, by making sure that states had help on their budgets so they didn’t have to lay off teachers and firefighters and others, by providing tax cuts to small businesses — and by the way, we’ve cut taxes about 16 times since I’ve been in office for small businesses to give them more capital to work with and more incentives to hire — all those things made a big difference.

The American Jobs Act is specifically tailored to putting more of those folks back to work. It’s not going to solve all our problems. We’ve still got a housing situation in which too many homes are underwater. And one of the things that we’ve proposed as part of the American Jobs Act is, is that we’re going to help reduce the barriers to refinancing so that folks can get record-low rates. That will put more money into people’s pockets. It will provide tax cuts to not only small businesses, but almost every middle-class family. That means they’ve got more money in their pockets, and that means that they’re going to be able to spend it on products and services, which provide additional incentives for business to hire folks like you.

So it’s the right step to take right now. Long term, we’re going to have to pull together around making sure our education system is the best in the world, making sure our infrastructure is the best in the world, continuing to invest in science and technology. We’ve got to stabilize our finances, and we’ve got to continue to drive down health care costs, which are a drag on our whole economy. And we’ve got to continue to promote trade, but make sure that that trade is fair and that intellectual property protection, for example, is available when we’re doing business in other countries, like China.

So there are a lot of long-term agendas that we’ve got to pursue. Right now, though, the most important thing I can do for you, even if you already have a job, is to make sure that your neighbors and your friends also have jobs, because those are ultimately the customers for your products.

Q Yes, sir. Yes, thank you Mr. President.

MR. WEINER: All right. Thank you, Chuck.

We’d now like to take a question from the audience. So anyone interested?

THE PRESIDENT: This young lady right here.

MR. WEINER: Okay. Could we get a mic over there, please? Thank you.

Q Hi. I have a question actually from my mother, who is going to be 65 next March. And she lives in Ohio, which has a very high unemployment rate. She has a GED, and she’s always worked in food service. She’s currently unemployed, just got approved for Section 8 housing, gets Social Security and food stamps. And she wants to know, when can she get a job, and what’s going to happen to Social Security and Medicare?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, where does you mom live in Ohio?

Q Mentor.

THE PRESIDENT: Mentor — what part of Ohio is that?

Q It’s east side of Cleveland.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Well, tell mom hi. (Laughter.) You get points for being such a good daughter and using your question to tell me what’s on her mind.

Q Oh, you have no idea. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: My mother-in-law lives at home, and so I — in the White House — so I’ve got some idea. (Laughter.)

First of all, let me talk about Social Security and Medicare, because this has obviously been an issue that has been discussed a lot in the press lately as we think about our long-term finances. You can tell your mom that Medicare and Social Security will be there for her — guaranteed. There are no proposals out there that would affect folks that are about to get Social Security and Medicare, and she’ll be qualifying — she already is starting to qualify for Medicare, and she’ll be qualifying for Social Security fairly soon.

Social Security and Medicare, together, have lifted entire generations of seniors out of poverty. Our most important social safety net, and they have to be preserved. Now, both of them have some long-term challenges that we’ve got to deal with, but they’re different challenges.

Social Security is actually the easier one; it’s just a pure, simple math problem, and that is that right now the population is getting older, so more people are going on Social Security; you’ve got fewer workers supporting more retirees. And so if we don’t do anything, Social Security won’t go broke, but in a few years what will happen is that more money will be going out than coming in. And over time, people who are on Social Security would only be getting about 75 cents on every dollar that they thought they’d be getting.

And so the Social Security system is not the big driver of our deficits, but if we don’t want — if we want to make sure that Social Security is there for future generations then we’ve got to make some modest adjustments. And when I say modest, I mean, for example, right now Social Security contributions are capped at a little over $100,000 of earnings, and that means the vast majority of people pay Social Security taxes on everything they earn. But if you’re earning a million dollars, only one-tenth of your income is taxed for Social Security. We could make that modification; that would solve a big chunk of the problem.

Medicare is a bigger issue because not only is the population getting older and more people are using it, but health care costs have been going up way too fast. And that’s why part of my health care reform bill two years ago was let’s start changing how our health care system works to make it more efficient. For example, if your mom goes in for a test, she shouldn’t have to then, if she goes to another specialist, take the same test all over again and have Medicare pay for two tests. That first test should be emailed to the doctor who’s the specialist. But right now that’s not happening. So what we’ve said is let’s incentivize providers to do a more efficient job and, over time, we can start reducing those costs.

I’ve made some suggestions about how we can reform Medicare, but what I’m not going to do is what, frankly, the House Republicans proposed, which was to voucherize the Medicare system, which would mean your mom might pay an extra $6,000 every year for her Medicare.

Q Which she doesn’t have.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m assuming she doesn’t have it.

Q No.

THE PRESIDENT: So we are going to be pushing back against that kind of proposal. And that raises the point I made earlier. If people like myself aren’t paying a little more in taxes, then the only way you balance the budget is on the backs of folks like your mom, who end up paying a lot more in Medicare and they can’t afford it, whereas I can afford to pay a little more in taxes.

So that’s on Medicare and Social Security. In terms of her finding a job, the most important thing we can do right now is to pass the American Jobs Act, get people back to work. Because, think about it, if she’s been in the food service industry, that industry is dependent on people spending money on food, whether it’s at a restaurant, or a cafeteria, or buying more groceries. And if a construction worker and a teacher or a veteran have a job because of the programs that we proposed in the American Jobs Act, they’re going to be spending more money in food services, and that means that those businesses are going to have to hire more, and your mom is going to be more likely to be hired. All right?

Q Yes. And one of the other issues, though, is just a matter that there’s a big age gap between her and the other folks who are willing to come in and work for less money. They’ve got less experience.

THE PRESIDENT: That is a challenge. It is tough being unemployed if you’re in your 50s or early 60s, before retirement. That’s the toughest period of time to lose your job. Obviously, it’s never fun to lose your job, and it’s always hard in this kind of really deep recession, but it’s scariest for folks who are nearing retirement and may also be worrying about whether they’ve got enough saved up to ever retire.

So that’s part of the reason why one of the things that we’re also proposing, separate and apart from the jobs bill, is we’ve got to do a better job of retraining workers so that they, in their second or third or fourth careers, are able to go back to a community college, maybe take a short six-month course or a one-year course that trains them on the kinds of skills that are going to be needed for jobs that are actually hiring, or businesses that are actually hiring right now.

We’ve done some great work working with community colleges to try to make sure that businesses help design the training programs so that somebody who enrolls — like your mom, if she goes back to school, she knows that after six months she will be trained for the particular job that this business is looking for.
All right? Thanks so much.

Q Great.

THE PRESIDENT: Tell her I said hi.

Q Thank you. Okay.

MR. WEINER: We’re going to go to the group, the LinkedIn group. We had thousands of questions submitted, and here’s one of them from LinkedIn member Marla Hughes. Marla is from Gainesville, Florida. She is the owner of Meticulously Clean, home and apartment cleaning service, and her question is: As a small business owner, regulation and high taxes are my worst enemies when it comes to growing my business. What are you going to do to lessen the onerous regulations and taxation on small businesses?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s hard to say exactly what regulations or taxes she may be referring to, because obviously it differs in different businesses. But as I said, we’ve actually cut taxes for small business 16 times since I’ve been in office. So taxes for small businesses are lower now than they were when I came into office.

Small businesses are able to get tax breaks for hiring; they’re able to get tax breaks for investment in capital investments; they are able to get tax breaks for hiring veterans. They’re able to get tax breaks for a whole host of areas, including, by the way, a proposal we put forward that says there should be no capital gains tax on a start-up, to encourage more small businesses to go out there and create a business.

In terms of regulations, most of the regulations that we have been focused on are ones that affect large businesses, like utilities, for example. In terms of how they deal with safety issues, environmental issues, we have been putting forward some tough regulations with respect to the financial sector, because we can’t have a repeat of what happened in 2007.

And the fact of the matter is, is that if what happened on Wall Street ends up having a spillover effect to all of Main Street, it is our responsibility to make sure that we have a dynamic economy, we have a dynamic financial sector, but we don’t have a mortgage brokerage operation that ends up providing people loans that can never be repaid and end up having ramifications throughout the system.

So you’re going to hear from, I think, Republicans over the next year and a half that somehow if we just eliminated pollution controls, or if we just eliminated basic consumer protections, that somehow that, in and of itself, would be a spur to growth. I disagree with that. What I do agree with is that there’s some regulations that have outlived their usefulness. And so what I’ve done is I’ve said to all the agencies in the federal government, number one, you have to always take cost as well as benefits into account when you’re proposing new regulations. Number two, don’t just be satisfied with applying that analysis to new regulations, look back at the old regulations to see if there are some that we can start weeding out.

And we initiated the most aggressive — what we call look-back provisions — when it comes to regulations, where we say to every agency, go through all the regulations that you have on your books that flow through your agencies and see if some of them are still necessary. And it turns out that a lot of them are no longer necessary. Well, let’s get rid of them if they’ve outlived their usefulness.

I think that there were some regulations that had to do with the transportation sector, for example, that didn’t take into account that everybody operates on GPS now. Well, you’ve got to adjust and adapt to how the economy is changing and how technology has changed. And we’ve already identified about $10 billion worth of savings just in the initial review, and we anticipate that that’s only going to be a fraction of some of the paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape that we’re going to be able to eliminate.

But I will never apologize for making sure that we have regulations in place to ensure that your water is clean, that your food is safe to eat — that the peanut butter you feed your kids is not going to be contaminated; making sure that if you take out a credit card there’s some clarity about what it exactly is going to do and you’re not seeing a whole bunch of hidden fees and hidden charges that you didn’t anticipate. That’s always been part of what makes the marketplace work, is if you have smart regulations in place, that means the people who are providing good value, good products, good services, those businesses are going to succeed. We don’t want to be rewarding folks who are gaming the system or cheating consumers.

And I think that’s how most Americans feel about regulations as well. They don’t want more than is necessary, but they know that there’s some things that we’ve got to do to protect ourselves and our environment and our children.

MR. WEINER: Thank you for your question, Marla.

Now we’re going to take a question from LinkedIn member Esther Abeyja (phonetic). Esther is an IT analyst from Chicago, Illinois –

THE PRESIDENT: There you go. Chicago is all right, too. (Laughter.)

MR. WEINER: Esther, what is your question for the President?

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.

Q As Jeff said, I’m from Chicago, recently unemployed, and my fear is that the longer I’m unemployed the harder it is going to be for me to get employed. It seems that nowadays employers are hiring people who are currently employed because they’re in touch with their skill set. What programs do you think should be in place for individuals such as myself to keep in touch with our skills, be in demand, marketable and eventually get hired?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, you obviously are thinking ahead about how to keep your skills up. And the most important thing you can do is to make sure that, whether it’s through classes or online training, or what have you, that you’re keeping your skill sets sharp.

We, as part of the American Jobs Act, are actually supporting legislation in Congress that says employers can’t discriminate against somebody just because they’re currently unemployed — because that doesn’t seem fair. That doesn’t make any sense. But the most important thing probably we can do for you is just make sure that the unemployment rate generally goes down, the labor market gets a little tighter so that employers start looking beyond just the people who are currently employed to folks who have terrific skills and just have been out of the market for a while.

So passing the American Jobs Act is going to be important. There’s legislation in there that says you can’t be discriminated against just because you don’t have a job. The one other thing that we can do is, during this interim, as you’re looking for a job, making it easier for you to be able to go back to school if you think there’s some skill sets that you need — making it economical for you to do it.

One of the things that we did during the last two and a half years — it used to be the student loan program was run through the banks. And even though the federal government guaranteed all these loans, so the banks weren’t taking any risks, they were taking about $60 billion out of the entire program, which meant that there was less money to actually go directly to students. We ended that. We cut out the middleman and we said let’s use that money to expand the availability of Pell Grants, to increase the amount that Pell Grants — each Pell Grant a student could get. And through that process, you’ve got millions of people all across the country who are able to actually go back to school without incurring the huge debt loads that they had in the past — although, obviously, the cost of a college education is still really high.

But if we can do more to make it easier for you to keep your skills up even when you’re not already hired, hopefully that will enhance your marketability to employers in the future. All right? Just looking at you I can tell you’re going to do great.

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

MR. WEINER: Thanks, Esther.

Our next question is from LinkedIn member Wayne Kulich (phonetic). Wayne is from Phoenix, Arizona. He spent 25 years flying aircraft for the U.S. Navy and is now program director for American Express. Wayne.

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, sir.

Q I’m from Phoenix, Arizona, where I’m a program director, as Jeff had said. I retired in 2007. When I retired, networking was essentially how I got all my jobs after retirement. How do you envision the government’s role in integrating networking tools that aid veterans that are leaving the service and getting jobs?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a great question. And first of all, let me thank you for your service to this country.

Q My honor.

THE PRESIDENT: We are very grateful to you for that. (Applause.) Thank you. But you were extraordinarily skilled, and even then it sounds like you had to rely on informal networks rather than a formal set of processes for veterans in order for you to find a job that used all your skills. We have not done as good of a job in the past in helping veterans transition out of the armed services as we should have.

I’ll give you an example. I actually had lunch with a group of veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars up in Minnesota. And a young man I was talking to had just gone back to school. He was getting his nursing degree. He had worked in emergency medicine in Iraq, multiple deployments; had probably dealt with the most incredible kinds of medical challenges under the most extreme circumstances; had received years of training to do this. But when he went back to nursing school, he had to start as if he had never been involved in medicine at all. And so he had to take all the same classes and take the same debt burdens from taking those classes as if I had just walked in and could barely put a Band-Aid on myself. But he had to go through the same processes.
Well, that’s an example of a failure on the part of both DOD and the VA — the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration — to think proactively, how can we help him make the transition?

So what we’ve started to say is let’s have a sort of a reverse boot camp. As folks are thinking about retiring, as folks are thinking about being discharged, let’s work with them while they’re still in the military to say is there a way to credential them so that they can go directly into the job and work with state and local governments and employers, so that if they’ve got a skill set that we know is applicable to the private sector, let’s give them a certification, let’s give them a credential that helps them do that right away.

We’ve also then started to put together a network of business, and I actually asked for a pledge from the private sector, and we’ve got a commitment that 100,000 veterans will be hired over the next several years. And that creates a network — and maybe they’ll end up using Linkedin, I don’t know. But what we want to do is to make sure that, whether it’s the certification process, whether it’s the job search process, whether it’s resume preparation, whether it’s using electronic networking, that we’re using the huge capacity of the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense, and all the federal agencies, to link up together more effectively.

Because not only is the federal government obviously a big employer itself — and we’ve significantly increased the hiring of veterans within the federal government, including, by the way, disabled veterans and wounded warriors — but the federal government is also a big customer of a lot of businesses. And there’s nothing wrong with a big customer saying to a business, you know what, we’re not going to tell you who to hire, but here’s a list of extremely skilled veterans who are prepared to do a great job and have shown incredible leadership skills. Now, you think of these — you’ve got 23, 24, 25-year-olds who are leading men into battle, who are handling multimillion-dollar pieces of equipment, and they do so flawlessly. Those leadership skills, those technical skills should be able to translate directly into jobs.

The last thing I’ll say is, obviously, the American Jobs Act also would be helpful because it provides additional tax incentives for companies to hire our veterans.

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. WEINER: Thank you, Wayne. And thank you again for your service.

Let’s turn to the audience now. A lot of hands going up. Mr. President, want to pick someone?

THE PRESIDENT: Well — (laughter) — you kind of put me on the spot here. That guy — the guy in the glasses right back in the — right in the back there. Why not?

Q Thank you, Mr. President. I don’t have a job, but that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small startup down the street here that did quite well. So I’m unemployed by choice. My question is would you please raise my taxes? (Laughter and applause.) I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am. And it kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long. I think that needs to change, and I hope that you will stay strong in doing that.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I appreciate it. What was the startup, by the way? You want to give me a little hint?

Q It’s a search engine. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Worked out pretty well, huh?

Q Yes. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, let me just talk about taxes for a second. I’ve made this point before, but I want to reiterate this. So often the tax debate gets framed as “class warfare.” And, look, as I said at the outset, America’s success is premised on individuals, entrepreneurs having a great idea, going out there and pursuing their dreams and making a whole lot of money in the process. And that’s great. That’s part of what makes America so successful.

But as you just pointed out, we’re successful because somebody invested in our education, somebody built schools, somebody created incredible universities. I went to school on scholarship. Michelle — her dad was what’s called a stationary engineer at the water reclamation district; never owned his own home, but he always paid his bills; had multiple sclerosis, struggled to get to work every day, but never missed a day on the job; never went to college, but he was able to send his daughter to Princeton and on to Harvard Law School. We benefited from somebody, somewhere making an investment in us. And I don’t care who you are, that’s true of all of us.

Look at this room. I mean, look at the diversity of the people here. A lot of us are — parents came from someplace else, or grandparents came from someplace else. They benefited from a public school system, or an incredible university network, or the infrastructure that allows us to move products and services around the globe, or the scientific research that — Silicon Valley is built on research that no individual company would have made on their own because you couldn’t necessarily capture the value of the nascent Internet.

So the question becomes: If we’re going to make those investments, how do we pay for it? Now, the income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially over the last couple of decades, whereas the incomes and wages of the middle class have flat-lined over the last 15 years. So this young lady’s mom, who’s been working in food services, she doesn’t have a lot of room to spare. Those of us who have been fortunate, we do. And we’re not talking about going to punitive rates that would somehow inhibit you from wanting to be part of a startup or work hard to be successful. We’re talking about going back to the rates that existed as recently as in the ‘90s, when, as I recall, Silicon Valley was doing pretty good, and well-to-do people were going pretty well. And it turns out, in fact, during that period, the rich got richer. The middle class expanded. People rose out of poverty, because everybody was doing well.

So this is not an issue of do we somehow try to punish those who have done well. That’s the last thing we want to do. It’s a question of how can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel American forward.

If we don’t improve our education system, for example, we will all fall behind. We will all fall behind. That’s just — that’s a fact. And the truth is, is that on every indicator — from college graduation rates to math and science scores — we are slipping behind other developed countries. And that’s going to have an impact in terms of, if you’re a startup, are you going to be able to find enough engineers? It’s going to have an impact in terms of, is the infrastructure here good enough that you can move products to market? It’s going to have an impact on your ability to recruit top talent from around the world. And so we all have an investment in improving our education system.

Now, money is not going to solve the entire problem. That’s why we’ve initiated reforms like Race to the Top that says we’re going to have higher standards for everybody. We’re going to not just have kids taught to the test, but we’re going to make sure that we empower teachers, but we’re also going to hold them accountable, and improve how we train our principals and our teachers. So we’re willing to make a whole bunch of reforms, but, at some point, money makes a difference. If we don’t have enough science teachers in the classroom, we’re going to have problems. Somebody has got to pay for it.

And, right now, we’ve got the lowest tax rates we’ve had since the 1950s. And some of the Republican proposals would take it back — as a percentage of GDP — back to where we were back in the 1920s. You can’t have a modern industrial economy like that.

So I appreciate your sentiment. I appreciate the fact that you recognize we’re in this thing together. We’re not on our own. And those of us who’ve been successful, we’ve always got to remember that.

Q I know a lot of people in that same situation, and every one of them has said that they would support an increase in their taxes — so, please. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re going to get to work. Thank you.

MR. WEINER: Thank you. Thank you for your question.

Next question was submitted to the Linkedin group — it actually comes from a Linkedin employee named Theresa Sullivan. It’s a two-part question.

First, do you think our public education system and our unemployment rates are related? And second, what, if any, overhaul in education is necessary to get Americans ready for the jobs of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of 20 years ago?

THE PRESIDENT: There is no doubt that there is a connection, long term, between our economic success, our productivity, and our education system. That’s indisputable. When we were at our peak in terms of growth, back in the ’60s and the ’70s, in large part it was because we were doing a better job of training our workforce than anybody else in the world.

Now the rest of the world has caught up — or is catching up. They’re hungry. And as I said before, we are slipping behind a lot of developed countries. So our proportion of college graduates has not gone up, while everybody else’s has gone up. Our proportion of high school graduates has not gone up, while everybody else’s has gone up. And if you’ve got a billion Chinese and Indians and Eastern Europeans, all who are entering into a labor force and are becoming more skilled, and we are just sitting on the status quo, we’re going to have problems.

Now, what can we do? This is a decade-long project; it’s not a one-year project. And we’ve been pushing since we came into office to look at the evidence, to base reforms on what actually works. The single-most important ingredient in improving our schools is making sure we’ve got great teachers in front of the — in front of every classroom.

And so what we’ve said is let’s make sure that we’ve hired enough teachers; let’s train them effectively; lets pay them a good wage; let’s make sure that we’re putting a special emphasis on recruiting more math and science teachers — STEM education is an area where we’ve fallen significantly behind. Let’s make sure they’re accountable, but lets also give them flexibility in the classroom so that they don’t have to do a cookie-cutter, teach-to-the-test approach that squashes their creativity and prevents them from engaging students. But at the end of the year, let’s make sure that they’re doing a good job. And if there are teachers out there who are not doing a good job, let’s work to retrain them. And if they’re not able to be retrained, then we should probably find them a different line of work. We’ve got to have top-flight principals and leadership inside the schools. That makes a big difference.

We’ve also got to focus on — there are some schools that are just dropout factories where less than half of the kids end up graduating — a lot of them, the students are black and brown, but that’s also the demographic that’s growing the fastest in this country. So if we don’t fix those schools we’re going to have problems. So we’ve said to every state, you know what, focus on the lowest-performing schools and tell us what your game plan is to improve those schools’ performance.

And it may be that we’ve got to also, in some cases, rethink how we get students interested in learning. IBM is engaged in a really interesting experience in New York where they’re essentially setting up schools — similar to the concept I was talking about with community colleges — where they’re saying to kids pretty early on — I think as early as 8th grade — we’re going to design a program — IBM worked with the New York public schools to design a program — and this is not for the kids who are in the top 1 percent, this is for ordinary public school kids. You follow this program, you work hard, IBM will hire you at the end of this process. And it suddenly gives kids an incentive. They say, oh, the reason I’m studying math and science is there’s a practical outcome here. I will have a job. And there are practical applications to what I’m doing in the classroom.

And that’s true at high-end jobs, but it’s also true — we want to do more to train skilled workers even if they don’t have a four-year degree. It may be that the more the concept of apprenticeship and the concept of a rigorous vocational approach is incorporated in the high schools so the kids can actually see a direct connection to what they’re learning and a potential career, they’re less likely to drop out and we’re going to see more success.

So one last point I’ll make about this is George Bush actually was sincere I think in trying to improve the education system across the country through something called No Child Left Behind, that said we’re going to impose standards, there’s going to be accountability; if schools don’t meet those standards we’re going to label them as failures and they’re going to have to make significant changes. The intent was good. It wasn’t designed as well as it could have been. In some cases, states actually lowered their own standards to make sure that they weren’t labeled as failures. There wasn’t enough assistance given to these schools to meet the ambitious goals that had been set.

So what we’ve said is, look, we’ll provide states some waivers to get out from under No Child Left Behind if you can provide us with a plan to make sure that children are going to be college and career ready. And we’ll give you more flexibility but we’re still going to hold you accountable and we will provide you the tools and best practices that allow you to succeed.

So, last point I’ll make on this — there is also a cultural component to this, though. We, as a country, have to recognize that all of us are going to have to up our game and we, as parents, have to instill in our kids a sense of educational excellence. We’ve got to turn off the TV set. I know it’s dangerous to say in Silicon Valley, but put away the video games sometimes, and all the electronics, unless it’s school-related. And we’ve just got to get our kids more motivated and internalizing that sense of the importance of learning.

And if we don’t do that, we’re going to continue to slip behind, even if some of these school reform approaches that we’re taking are successful.

MR. WEINGER: Thank you, Theresa.

Our next question comes from LinkedIn member Robert Holly (phonetic) who is joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina. After a promising career in financial services, Robert was, unfortunately, recently laid off. Robert, what is your question?

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.

Q As Jeff mentioned, I have a 22-year, very successful career in IT management, but I find myself displaced. And not only that, I look at the statistics of unemployment — 16.7 percent for African Americans. My question would be — and not just for the African Americans, but also for other groups that are also suffering — what would you be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today?

THE PRESIDENT: What I would say is just, given your track record, given your history, seeing you stand here before this group, you’re going to be successful. You’ve got a leg up on a lot of folks. You’ve got skills, you’ve got experience, you’ve got a track record of success. Right now your challenge is not you, it’s the economy as a whole. And by the way, this is not just an American challenge; this is happening worldwide.

I hope everybody understands our biggest problem right now, part of the reason that this year, where at the beginning of the year, economists had estimated, and financial analysts had estimated that the economy was going to be growing at about 3.5 percent, and that has not happened, in part has to do with what happened in the Middle East and the Arab Spring, which disrupted energy prices and caused consumers to have to pull back because gas was getting so high; what’s happening in Europe, which they have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges their banking system faced. It’s now being compounded by what’s happening in Greece. So they’re going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world. And they’re trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven’t been quite as quick as they need to be.

So the point is, is that economies all around the world are not growing as fast as they need to. And since the world is really interconnected, that affects us as well. The encouraging thing for you is that when the economy gets back on track in the ways that it should, you are going to be prepared to be successful. The challenge is making sure that you hang in between now and then.

That’s why things like unemployment insurance, for example, are important. And part of our jobs act is to maintain unemployment insurance. It’s not a end all, be all, but it helps folks meet their basic challenges. And by the way, it also means that they’re spending that money and they’re re-circulating that into the economy so it’s good for businesses generally.

Some of the emergency measures that we’ve been taking and we’ve proposed to take help to bridge the gap to where the economy is more fully healed. And historically, after financial crises, recessions are deeper and they last longer than after the usual business cycle recessions.

So I guess the main message I have for you is the problem is not you; the problem is the economy as a whole. You are going to be well equipped to succeed and compete in this global economy once it’s growing again. My job is to work with everybody I can — from the business community to Congress, to not-for-profits, you name it — to see if we can speed up this process of healing and this process of recovery.

And in the meantime, we will make sure that things like unemployment insurance that are there to help people during tough times like this are going to continue to be available. And if there are — since you’re in IT, if there are areas where you need to be sharpening your skills, as the young lady here mentioned, we are going to make sure that the resource is available for you to be able to go back to school and do that.

Thank you.

MR. WEINER: Thank you. That was our last question. We’re going to begin to wrap it up, and before I turn it over to you for some concluding remarks, I just wanted to say thank you, and let you know how much we appreciate the work that you’re doing. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I can’t think of anything more important than creating economic opportunity when it comes to profoundly and sustain-ably improving the quality of an individual’s life, the lives of their family members, the lives of the people that they in turn can create jobs for.

And in hard-hit American cities and developing countries around the world, these folks are creating role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals that didn’t know it was possible.

So on behalf of myself, on behalf of our visionary founder, Reid Hoffman, without whom none of this would have been possible, on behalf of our employees, of course our members, on behalf of our country, thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, let me just say these have been terrific questions and I so appreciate all of you taking the time to do this. I appreciate LinkedIn helping to host this. And for those of you who are viewing, not in this circle but around the country, maybe around the world, I appreciate the chance to share these ideas with you.

Look, we’re going through a very tough time. But the one thing I want to remind everybody is that we’ve gone through tougher times before. And the trajectory, the trend of not just this country but also the world economy is one that’s more open, one that’s more linked, one that offers greater opportunity, but also one that has some hazards. If we don’t prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we’re going to have problems. If we don’t make sure that we continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we’re going to have problems. If we’re not continuing to invest in basic research, we’re going to have challenges. If we don’t get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their family but also the country that’s given them so much opportunity, we’re going to have problems.

And so I am extraordinarily confident about America’s long-term future. But we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward. And what’s striking to me is, when we’re out of Washington and I’m just talking to ordinary folks, I don’t care whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, people are just looking for common sense. The majority of people agree with the prescriptions I just offered. The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure. The majority of folks by a wide margin think that we should be investing in education. The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be investing in science and technology. And the majority of people think by a wide margin that we should be maintaining programs like Social Security and Medicare to provide a basic safety net.

The majority of people by a significant margin think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don’t need, but also making sure that we’ve got a tax code that’s fair and everybody is paying their fair share.

So the problem is not outside of Washington. The problem is, is that things have gotten so ideologically driven and everybody is so focused on the next election and putting party ahead of country that we’re not able to solve our problems. And that’s got to change. And that’s why your voices are going to be so important.

The reason I do these kinds of events is I want you to hear from me directly. I want to hear from you directly, but I also want your voices heard in the halls of Congress. I need everybody here to be speaking out on behalf of the things that you care about, and the values that made this country great, and to say to folks who you’ve elected — say to them, we expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interest. Act in terms of what’s going to be good for all of us over the long term.

If that spirit, which all of you represent, starts asserting itself all across the country, then I’m absolutely confident the 21st century is going to be the American century just like the 20th century way.

So thank you very much everybody. God bless you.

MR. WEINER: Thank you, everybody.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

END
11:58 A.M. PDT

Full Text September 24, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address on the Standards of the American Education System — Reforming the No Child Left Behind Act

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 9/23/11

Weekly Address: Strengthening the American Education System

Source: WH, 9-24-11

President Obama explains that states will have greater flexibility to find innovative ways of improving the education system, so that we can raise standards in our classrooms and prepare the next generation to succeed in the global economy.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Strengthening the American Education System

In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that it is time to raise the standards of our education system so that every classroom is a place of high expectations and high performance.  On Friday, the President announced that states will have greater flexibility to find innovative ways of improving the quality of learning and teaching, so that we can strengthen performance in our classrooms and ensure that teachers are helping students learn rather than teaching to the test.  By modernizing our schools and improving the education system, the United States can continue building an economy that lasts into the future and prepare the next generation to succeed in the global economy.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
September 24, 2011

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been making the case that we need to act now on the American Jobs Act, so we can put folks back to work and start building an economy that lasts into the future.

Education is an essential part of this economic agenda.  It is an undeniable fact that countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.  Businesses will hire wherever the highly-skilled, highly-trained workers are located.

But today, our students are sliding against their peers around the globe.  Today, our kids trail too many other countries in math, science, and reading.  As many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school.  And we’ve fallen to 16th in the proportion of our young people with a college degree, even though we know that sixty percent of new jobs in the coming decade will require more than a high school diploma.

What this means is that if we’re serious about building an economy that lasts – an economy in which hard work pays off with the opportunity for solid middle class jobs – we had better be serious about education.  We have to pick up our game and raise our standards.

As a nation, we have an obligation to make sure that all children have the resources they need to learn – quality schools, good teachers, the latest textbooks and the right technology.  That’s why the jobs bill I sent to Congress would put tens of thousands of teachers back to work across the country, and modernize at least 35,000 schools.  And Congress should pass that bill right now.

But money alone won’t solve our education problems.  We also need reform.  We need to make sure that every classroom is a place of high expectations and high performance.

That’s been our vision since taking office.  And that’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top.  To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, Race to the Top has led states across the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country.  And since then, we have seen what’s possible when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.

That’s why in my State of the Union address this year, I said that Congress should reform the No Child Left Behind law based on the same principles that have guided Race to the Top.

While the goals behind No Child Left Behind were admirable, experience has taught us that the law has some serious flaws that are hurting our children instead of helping them.  Teachers are being forced to teach to a test, while subjects like history and science are being squeezed out.  And in order to avoid having their schools labeled as failures, some states lowered their standards in a race to the bottom.

These problems have been obvious to parents and educators all over this country for years.  But for years, Congress has failed to fix them.  So now, I will.  Our kids only get one shot at a decent education.  And they can’t afford to wait any longer.

Yesterday, I announced that we’ll be giving states more flexibility to meet high standards for teaching and learning.  It’s time for us to let states, schools and teachers come up with innovative ways to give our children the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future.

This will make a huge difference in the lives of students all across the country.  Yesterday, I was with Ricky Hall, the principal of a school in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Every single student who graduated from Ricci’s school in the last three years went on to college.  But because they didn’t meet the standards of No Child Left Behind, Ricci’s school was labeled as failing last year.

That will change because of what we did yesterday.  From now on, we’ll be able to encourage the progress at schools like Ricci’s.  From now on, people like John Becker, who teaches at one of the highest-performing middle schools in D.C., will be able to focus on teaching his 4th graders math in a way that improves their performance instead of just teaching to a test.  Superintendents like David Estrop from Ohio will be able to focus on improving teaching and learning in his district instead of spending all his time on bureaucratic mandates from Washington that don’t get results.

This isn’t just the right thing to do for our kids – it’s the right thing to do for our country, and our future.  It is time to put our teachers back on the job.  It is time to rebuild and modernize our schools.  And it is time to raise our standards, up our game, and do everything it takes to prepare our children succeed in the global economy.  Now is the time to once again make our education system the envy of the world.

Thanks for listening.

White House Recap September 17-24, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Addresses 66th Session United Nations General Assembly — Selling the American Jobs Act and Revising America’s Education System

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: SEPTEMBER 17-24, 2011

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: Rebuilding America

Source: WH, 9-23-11

We the People: President Obama released the U.S.’s Open Government National Action Plan, and a highlight of that plan is We the People, a new platform that gives all Americans a way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. In the first days following the launch, numerous Americans have created petitions and are currently collecting signatures.

Promoting World Peace: The President spent two days in New York City for the 66th session of United Nations General Assembly. While there, he held numerous meetings with world leaders and addressed the General Assembly speaking about the remarkable year we have had around the world and also the many challenges that stand in the way of a lasting peace. He also attended the Clinton Global Initiative, where he talked about the positive impact the American Jobs Act will have on the global economy.

Rebuilding America: President Obama visited the Ohio River’s Brent Spence Bridge, a functionally obsolete crossing on one of North America’s busiest trucking routes that connects Cincinnati, Ohio with Kentucky. The President spoke about the pressing need to improve our national infrastructure, and detailed the provisions in the American Jobs Act that will rebuild our country and put ironworkers, construction workers and carpenters back to work.

Creating a Fair Tax System: The President laid out a balanced plan to get our fiscal house in order, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.  The President is calling on Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform to simplify the system, make it more fair and efficient, and lay a stronger foundation for economic growth.  The plan details how to pay for the American Jobs Act, while also paying down our debt over time.

Improving our Education System: President Obama and representatives from the education community gathered at the White House to announce that it’s time to take action and build a world class education system. In exchange for a real commitment to undertake education reform, the Administration will enable states to request flexibility from specific mandates under No Child Left Behind.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The country marked an important milestone this week when the era of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” officially came to an end. The law that was signed in December 2010 by President Obama allows people of the LGBT community to serve openly in the military.

Political Headlines September 23, 2011: House Passes Stopgap Spending Bill 219-203 Then Senate Defeats Bill 59-36 — Goverment Shutdown Possibility Looms for October 1

POLITICAL HEADLINES

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES: HOUSE PASSES STOPGAP SPENDING BILL — SENATE DEMOCRATS DEFEATS BILL

Americans in hard-hit communities are counting on federal disaster relief, and disaster funds will run out as soon as Monday. The House last night passed a responsible measure to prevent this from happening. It is critical that the Senate now pass the bill and send it to the president. — John Boehner

“The bill the House will vote on tonight is not an honest effort at compromise. It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

House passes temporary spending measure: A day after defeating a virtually identical bill, the U.S. House has passed a temporary spending measure to fund the government through Nov. 18 by a vote of 219 to 203 after Republican leaders included a new spending cut to lure conservative votes. The measure is now on a collision course with the Democratic-led Senate, which believes the bill does not do enough for disaster victims, raising a new specter of a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Senate defeats short-term measure to fund government: Early Friday afternoon, the Senate defeated, 59 to 36, a spending bill to fund the government through Nov. 18.
With both chambers scheduled to begin a week-long recess later Friday, the next step on the funding resolution remains unclear. The Federal Emergency Management Agency could run out of funding as early as Monday, and the resolution currently keeping the federal government open is set to expire on Sept. 30.
The House had passed the bill, 219 to 203, in the early hours on Friday morning after an earlier failure.

 

  • House passes measure to avoid government shutdown, but Senate won’t: The House of Representatives early Friday morning passed in a vote of 219-203 a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a looming shutdown after the first attempt to pass a resolution failed. But Senate Democrats are strongly opposed to the new measure.
    Democrats argue the new resolution includes inadequate disaster funds for FEMA, and they oppose spending cuts to programs they say are necessary to stimulate the economy.
    The Senate voted to table the resolution 59-36. Reid has scheduled a vote for Monday evening…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • House approves spending measure opposed by Senate; shutdown possible: Washington lurched toward another potential government shutdown crisis Friday, as the House approved a Republican-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep government running through Nov. 18…. – WaPo, 9-23-11
  • House approves funding bill; Senate passage in doubt: The measure would avert a government shutdown by funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency and drawing money away from a green vehicle program championed by Democrats…. – LAT, 9-23-11
  • House passes funding bill but conflict looms: Working past midnight, the Republican House narrowly approved a stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating past Sept. 30 but inviting new conflict with the Democratic Senate over emergency disaster aid and proposed cuts from alternative … – Politico, 9-23-11
  • Boehner works to rally House conservatives: GOP leaders in the House were working feverishly Thursday afternoon to persuade conservatives in their own party to reverse their opposition to a short-term funding measure identical or nearly identical to one they rejected…. – WaPo, 9-23-11
  • Senate Blocks House Spending Bill to Set Up Showdown: The Senate voted Friday morning to reject the House’s stopgap spending bill, less than twelve hours after the House’s Republican leaders had forced it through on their second try.
    The Senate vote was 59 to 36 to table the House bill, effectively killing it. Some conservative Republicans joined in rejecting the measure.
    The House, in the wee hours of Friday morning, had passed its latest version of a stopgap spending bill after rejecting on Wednesday a nearly identical version of the legislation, which is needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30 and to provide assistance to victims of natural disasters. The House vote was 219 to 203. NYT, 9-23-11
  • Senate rejects the House stop-gap spending bill. Is a government shutdown avoidable?: With near permanent brinksmanship the new normal, Congress headed into votes Friday to try to avert a government shutdown that is slated to occur on Oct. 1 if a continuing resolution bill is not passed…. – CS Monitor, 9-23-11
  • Senate blocks House disaster aid bill: The Democratic-led Senate blocked a House-passed bill on Friday that would provide disaster aid and keep government agencies open, escalating the parties’ latest showdown over spending and highlighting the raw partisan rift…. – USA Today, 9-23-11
  • Senate Delays Spending Bill, Leaving FEMA at Risk: The Senate voted to put aside a short-term spending bill that ties disaster-relief funding to cuts in Democratic-backed programs aiding the auto industry, leaving government funding unsettled…. – WSJ, 9-23-11
  • Spending bill fails: The Senate on Friday, 59 to 36, defeated a GOP-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep the government running through mid-November, ratcheting up the pressure on party leaders…. – WaPo, 9-23-11

Oscar Handlin: Historian was considered the father of immigration study

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Source: WaPo, 9-23-11

Oscar Handlin, a Harvard professor whose classic writings on American immigration made him a leading intellectual force behind legislation that eliminated the immigration quota system in the United States, died Sept. 20 at his home in Cambridge, Mass., after a heart attack. He was 95.

His death was confirmed by his son, David Handlin.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Dr. Handlin was considered the father of modern immigration studies. In his panoramic books, he chronicled the stories of Europeans, Jews, Puerto Ricans and African Americans and other populations that shaped the United States. His sweeping work “The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the American People” won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize in history.

“Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America,” he wrote in perhaps the most noted passage of that book. “Then, I discovered that the immigrants were American history.”

Dr. Handlin’s credentials as a historian, the Harvard imprimatur and his frequent writings — in publications including the Atlantic Monthly and Commentary — made him an influential public intellectual in his time. Historians cite him as a crucial behind-the-scenes player in the landmark 1965 legislation that abolished the country-based quota systems that had regulated immigration since the 1920s.

He was “absolutely central to it,” said Hasia Diner, a professor of immigration history at New York University.

Dr. Handlin found the quota systems, which favored Northern and Western European immigrants, racially discriminatory.

He considered it “something that not only discriminated against prospective immigrants,” said Columbia University professor Mae Ngai, but also “a kind of stigma against those ethnic groups in the United States.”

In his writings, Dr. Handlin never treated American immigration in dry, statistical terms. Critics described “The Uprooted,” his most noted work, as a riveting and moving account of the entire immigration experience.

“The Uprooted concerns the personal human side of the flood of immigration,” wrote a New York Herald Tribune reviewer. “Mr. Handlin wrote of the European settlements from which the immigrants came, then followed through the hardships of their crossing, in steerage, and life that followed in the United States.”

Oscar Handlin was born Sept. 29, 1915, in Brooklyn in a household where education was highly valued. When Dr. Handlin’s son was born, his father, a Russian immigrant, suggested the name “Plato.” Dr. Handlin and his wife decided against it.

Dr. Handlin grew up working as a delivery boy in his family’s grocery store and often rested a book on top of his pushcart, reading as his made his way through the streets of Brooklyn.

He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934 and then studied at Harvard, where he earned a master’s degree in 1935 and a doctorate in history in 1940.

Among his mentors was Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr., who suggested the topic of his dissertation: 18th- and early 19th-century immigrants to Boston. The work was subsequently published under the title “Boston’s Immigrants.”

Dr. Handlin was himself the target of discrimination while at Harvard. His classmate John Hope Franklin, who became a revered scholar of African American history, wrote in a memoir that Dr. Handlin was turned away as an officer in the Henry Adams Club because he was Jewish.

Dr. Handlin began teaching at Harvard while pursuing his graduate degrees and would remain with the university for more than four decades.

His first wife, Mary Flug Handlin, with whom he often collaborated, died in 1976.

Survivors include his second wife, of 34 years, Lilian Bombach Handlin of Cambridge, also a co-author; three children from his first marriage, David Handlin of Lexington, Mass., Joanna Handlin Smith of Cambridge and Ruth Manley of Guilford, Conn.; one brother; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

 

Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Mitt Romney Winner of Debate Attacks Offensive Rick Perry — Social Security, Healthcare & Immigration Main Issues

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Chip Litherland for The New York Times

IN FOCUS: FOX NEWS / GOOGLE GOP REPUBLICAN DEBATE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

GOP DEBATE EXCERPTS — QUOTES

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Rick Perry Under Attack Goes on the Offensive — Especially Against Chief Rival Mitt Romney — Social Security, Healthcare Main IssuesFox News, 9-22-11

Small business: Gov. Rick Perry: “What we’ve done in Texas over the course of the last decade is to lower that tax burden on small-business men and women, have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable and a sweeping tort reform system that we passed in 2003. … That’s the way you get the government off the back of small businesses, and that’s the way you free up those small-business entrepreneurs when they know they can risk their capital and have a chance to get a return on their investments.
“If it will work in the state of Texas, it will work in Washington, D.C. And that’s exactly what I’m going to bring when I go there in November, excuse me, in January of 2013.”

States’ rights: Rep. Ron Paul: “The responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th Amendment. That would be the solution.
“Government is too big in Washington, D.C. It has run away, we have no controls on spending, taxes, regulations. … If we want government, whether it’s medical care or whatever, it’s proper to do it at the local level.”

Perry vs. Bush: Perry disputed any notion of a rift between him and former President George W. Bush. Perry said they have “a great rapport” and talk “on a relatively regular basis.”
“I highly respect the president and his public service,” Perry said.

Education: Paul: “If you care about your children, you will get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids,” he said.

HEADLINES FROM THE DEBATE….

  • Live Blogging the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Nine candidates will take the debate stage tonight in Orlando, Fla., in what is likely to feature the continuing slugfest between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry…. – NYUT, 9-22-11
  • Fact Checking the G.O.P. Debate in Orlando: Examining statements on Social Security, education, foreign policy and more…. – NYT, 9-23-11Romney, Perry go after each other in GOP debate: Side by side in confrontational debate, Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry sarcastically accused each other Thursday night of flip-flopping on Social Security and health care, flashpoints in their intense struggle for the party nomination.
    In a debate that focused on character and credibility as much as other issues, Perry insisted he had backed off “not one inch, Sir” from what he had written in a campaign-season book published a few months ago.
    Romney vouched for his own steadfastness moments later. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me,” he said. “There are a lot of reasons not to elect other people on this stage. … But one reason to elect me is I know what I stand for. I’ve written it down. Words have meaning.”
    The two men assailed one another in the third debate in as many weeks in a race for the Republican presidential nomination growing testier by the day. AP, 9-22-11
  • Under Attack, Perry Hits Back at Rivals in GOP Debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP presidential front-runner, fended off fierce attacks during Thursday night’s debate from his rivals over his criticism of Social Security and his record on immigration…. – Fox News, 9-22-11
  • GOP debate: Winners and losers: The six Republican presidential debate this year, which took place Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, left some candidates more prepared than others and gave some candidates some key standout moments. Here’s our breakdown of the winners and losers: … Winners: Mitt Romney — Rick Santorum — Herman Cain…
    Losers: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, YouTube Questions…. – CBS News, 9-22-11
  • Perry and Romney Come Out Swinging at Each Other in G.O.P. Debate: In their third debate in as many weeks, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas engaged in a sometimes heated back and forth over immigration, health care and entitlements, their rivalry dominating a stage that included seven other candidates struggling to catch up in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
    Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry arrived here with a strategic imperative to challenge the other’s consistency and conservative credentials. The tensions only grew as the night wore on, to the point where Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, joked that Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry were at risk of bludgeoning each other to death.
    Still, after two hours of dueling it was unclear whether Mr. Perry had achieved his goal of knocking Mr. Romney off his fairly unruffled stride. It was similarly not certain that Mr. Romney had made headway in knocking Mr. Perry down a few pegs in what has been a relatively strong opening to his young campaign…. – NYT, 9-22-11
  • GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs: If you believe pollster Frank Luntz’s focus group in the post-game analysis on Fox News, Mitt Romney did himself a lot of good in Thursday’s two-hour Fox News/Google GOP Debate, held in Orlando, Fla. Nine candidates faced questions from FNC anchors … – LAT, 9-22-11
  • The GOP debate: 6 takeaways: It’s official — the frontrunners aren’t a mutual fan club. With three debates in the books featuring Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the animosity between the Texas governor and the former Massachusetts governor is palpable.
    Here are POLITICO’s six takeaways from Thursday’s slugfest in Orlando…. – Politico, 9-22-11
  • Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate Health Care,Retirement: The top two contenders for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination fended off accusations of changing their positions on everything from health care to Social Security during a nationally televised debate Thursday in Florida. … – Voice of America, 9-23-11
  • Orlando GOP debate: A strong night for Santorum as Perry fades: When the Republican presidential contenders debated in Orlando tonight, it was really two debates. In the first third of the evening, a series of disjointed questions without follow-ups, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seemed strong and well-prepared. But he faded over the rest of the debate, appearing to lose his steam just as he was trying to paint Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper.
    The big winner of the night, however, was Rick Santorum…. – WaPo, 9-22-11
  • Thursday’s ‘high-stakes’ GOP debate: 4 key questions: The Republican presidential hopefuls are preparing to clash in yet another debate. What can we expect?
    The Republican presidential candidates repeatedly bashed each other’s records this week, ahead of Thursday night’s debate in Florida, a crucial swing state. Indeed, there will be “high stakes” for frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — and for rivals struggling to keep their hopes alive — as the showdown in Orlando sets the table for a Saturday straw poll that leading Sunshine State Republicans say will predict the party’s 2012 nominee. What should viewers watch for when the candidates square off on stage Thursday? Here, four key questions:

    1. Can Romney take down Perry over Social Security?
    2. Which Rick Perry will take the stage?
    3. Can Gary Johnson make a difference?
    4. Will second-tier candidates break through?

    The Week, 9-22-11

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2011: Fox News / Google GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Rick Perry Under Attack Goes on the Offensive — Especially Against Chief Rival Mitt Romney — Social Security, Healthcare Main Issues

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Under Attack, Perry Hits Back at Rivals in GOP Debate

AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP presidential front-runner, fended off fierce attacks during Thursday night’s debate from his rivals over his criticism of Social Security and his record on immigration.

TRANSCRIPT: Fox News-Google GOP Debate

 

This is a rush transcript from the Fox News-Google GOP Presidential debate on September 22, 2011 at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Welcome to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, the site of our Republican presidential debate. It is being sponsored by Fox News and Google in conjunction with the Florida Republican Party.

Besides watching us on Fox News Channel, we are being streamed on YouTube.com/Fox News and heard on Fox News Radio.

Now let’s meet the candidates.

Texas Governor Rick Perry.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congressman Ron Paul.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Businessman Herman Cain.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Senator Rick Santorum.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: And former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Joining me at the big desk tonight, my Fox News colleagues Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: With our partner Google, we have some new features we’d like to quickly tell you about.

Throughout the night we’ll be playing some questions from viewers who posted their video and text questions on YouTube. We will also be polling viewers on key issues while the debate is under way. We will have updates from our own Shannon Bream.

Our rules are similar to previous Fox debates, one minute for answers, 30 seconds for follow-ups. And after an outpouring of e-mails from dog owners who said the last bell sounded like their doorbell, we have a new sound for the candidates if they run too long.

Thank you to Google for that sound. We hope after a string of debates we don’t have to use that too much.

Now, we received thousands and thousands of questions from around the world on different topics. Each one of these pins on the map is another question from health care and immigration, to foreign policy and social issues. But the highest percentage of questions dealt with jobs, the economy, debt, and government spending. And that was even before today’s major market slide.

What makes this debate unique is that not only did you submit the questions, you voted on them, letting everyone know which questions you think the candidates should be asked tonight.

We received questions from all 50 states, but our first question comes from Dave Meldeau, right here in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: As a small business owner, one of the obstacles I have in growing my business in today’s economy is having the confidence and incentive to go out and hire new employees. I’m wondering what each one of our candidates would propose to do as president to help incent small businesses like mine to hire new employees and to confidently grow our business in this troublesome economic environment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Governor Perry, I’ll put that question to you.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: Yes, sir.

Well, Rick Scott is sitting right over there, and he and I compete every day with trying to get jobs into our states. And what we have done in the state of Texas over the course of the last decade is to lower that tax burden on the small businessmen and women, have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable, and sweeping tort reform that we passed in 2003 that told personal injury trial lawyers, don’t come to Texas, because you are not going to be suing our doctors frivolously.

(APPLAUSE)

PERRY: That’s the way you get the government off of the back of small businessmen and women. And that’s the way you free up those small business entrepreneurs, where they know that they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on investment.

If it will work in the state of Texas, it will work in Washington, D.C. And that’s exactly what I’m going bring to Washington when I go there in November — or, excuse me, in January of 2013.

BAIER: Governor Perry, the thing we’ve heard from most people who submitted questions is they wanted specifics, they wanted details. Most of the people on the stage, opponents, have a specific jobs plan on paper that people can read.

Where is your jobs plan?

PERRY: Well, you will see a more extensive jobs plan. But the fact of the matter is, you look at the state of Texas and see what we’ve done there from the standpoint of lowering that tax burden, the regulatory climate in the state of Texas. We’ve taken those types of regulation off the throat of small business operators.

People understand that the state of Texas, during the last decade, something special happened there. It was the number one state for relocation for five years in a row. And we plan on keeping it that way, Rick.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Governor Romney — Governor Romney, you have a specific plan. In recent days, actually, the top rising search of your name on Google actually dealt with people searching for specifics of that plan.

But a Wall Street Journal editorial recently called your 59-point economic plan, quote, “surprisingly timid and tactical considering our economic predicament.” Specifically, the editorial board had a problem with you picking the $200,000 income threshold for eliminating interest, dividends, and capital gains taxes, writing that you were afraid of President Obama’s, quote, “class warfare rhetoric.”

How do you response to that criticism?

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: Well, let’s go back — let’s go back and talk — microphone on? Can we get the mike on? There we go.

BAIER: There we go.

ROMNEY: Let’s go back and talk about the question that Dave asked, which is how to get small business a break. And President Obama has done everything wrong.

I happen to believe that to create jobs it helps to have had a job, and I have (ph). And having had a job in small business and in big business, I know what you have to do is make America the most attractive place in the world for business, and that means our corporate tax rates, our employer tax rates have to be competitive. Small business pays at the highest rate. We need to get those rates down to globally competitive levels.

Number two, government and regulators have to be allies of business, not foes.

Number three, we’ve got to become energy secure in this country.

Number four, we have to have trade policies that work for us, not just for the other guys, and crack down on cheaters like China.

And my list goes on in my 59 points. But finally, let me tell you this…

(APPLAUSE)

I — I know there are some that say, look, we should lower taxes for the very highest-income people. Other folks have different plans. My view is very simple: The people that have been hurt most by the president’s economy, the Obama economy, has been the middle class.

That’s why I cut taxes for the middle class.

BAIER: So, sir, what…

(APPLAUSE)

… what do you consider rich? Is half-a-million dollars, a million dollars rich? At what income does someone reach your definition of rich?

ROMNEY: I don’t try and define who’s — who’s rich and who’s not rich. I want everybody in America to be rich. I want people in this country to have opportunity.

(APPLAUSE)

And I want everybody to have the kind of opportunities that we on this stage have had. I want people in America to recognize that the future will be brighter for their kids than it was for them.

I know that the — the president’s party wants to try and take from some people and give to the others. That isn’t the way to lift America. The way to lift America is to give people opportunity and to let them enjoy the freedoms that have made us the envy of the world.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor, thank you very much. Occasionally, through the debate, we will ask the same questions we ask the candidates to you at home. The first one, what is your definition of rich? You can vote on that answer at youtube.com/foxnews. We’ll bring some of those results throughout the show with Shannon Bream.

Now to my colleague, Megyn Kelly.

KELLY: Thanks, Bret.

Congresswoman Bachmann, after the last debate, a young member of the California Tea Party said he didn’t feel he had had his question fully answered. And it’s a question that received the most votes on Google and YouTube on the list, as well. The answer his question is a number. And the question was, quote, “Out of every dollar I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?”

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: And after the debate, I talked to that young man, and I said I wish I could have answered that question, because I want to tell you what my answer is: I think you earned every dollar. You should get to keep every dollar that you earn. That’s your money; that’s not the government’s money.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s the whole point. Barack Obama seems to think that when we earn money, it belongs to him and we’re lucky just to keep a little bit of it. I don’t think that at all. I think when people make money, it’s their money.

Obviously, we have to give money back to the government so that we can run the government, but we have to have a completely different mindset. And that mindset is, the American people are the genius of this economy. It certainly isn’t government that’s the genius. And that’s the two views.

President Obama has embraced a view of government-directed temporary fixes and gimmicks. They don’t work. He’s destroyed the economy. What does work is private solutions that are permanent in the private sector. That gives certainty; that will grow our economy.

(APPLAUSE)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Senator Santorum, next question is for you. This map from Google depicts 22 states in the U.S. are right-to-work states. In the other 28, if a business is a union shop, you have to join the union if you want to work there. Now, this next question is one of the top-voted questions online, and it comes to us via YouTube from Yates Wilburn of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: With unemployment numbers remaining above 9 percent, union issues, such as the National Labor Relations Board lawsuit against Boeing and several union battles in state legislatures across the country have become incredibly relevant to the national discussion. For all the candidates, would you support some form of a federal right-to-work law, allowing all workers to choose whether or not to join a union?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: That’s for you, Senator Santorum.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.: I — I think the most important area that we have to focus in on when it comes to unions is public employee unions. That’s the area of unionization that’s growing the fastest and it’s costing us the most money.

We’ve seen these battles on the state level, where unions have — have really bankrupted states from pension plans to here on the federal level, for example, 30 percent to 40 percent union — union employees make above their private-sector equivalents.

I do not believe that — that state, federal or local workers, unions, should be involved in unions. And I would actually support a bill that says that we should not have public employee unions for the purposes of wages and benefits to be negotiated.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Speaker Gingrich, this next one’s for you. You criticized extending unemployment benefits, saying that you were, quote, “opposed to giving people money for doing nothing.” Benefits have already been extended to 99 weeks, and they are set to expire soon. If you were president today, would you extend unemployment benefits? And if not, how do you justify that to the millions of unemployed Americans who are looking in earnest and whose families are depending on those checks?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, what I’ve said is that I think unemployment compensation should be tied directly to a training program. And if you have to — if you don’t have a job and you need help, then in order for us to give you the help, you should sign up for a business-led training program so that that 99 weeks becomes an investment in human capital, giving us the best-trained workforce in the world so you can get a job.

But I believe it is fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing. That’s why we had welfare reform.

(APPLAUSE)

And, frankly, the easiest thing for Congress to do, if the president sends up a proposed extension, is to allow all 50 states to experiment at the state level with developing a mandatory training component of unemployment compensation, so you’d have 50 parallel experiments, and not pretend that Washington knows best or that Washington can solve the problem by itself. But I believe deeply, people should not get money for doing nothing.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Now I turn to my colleague, Chris Wallace.

Chris?

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Bret, thank you. Good evening, candidates.

Governor Huntsman, in Utah, you offered millions of dollars in tax credits to promote clean energy. In June you said that as president you would subsidize natural gas companies. How is that different from the Obama administration, which gave the solar panel company Solyndra a half-a-billion dollars in federal loan guarantees, and as we all know, that company ended up bankrupt, and we taxpayers ended up on the hook?

FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN, R-UTAH: Chris, first of all, it’s an honor to be here in Orlando, home of my wife, the greatest human being I’ve known in 28 years.

We’ve learned some important lessons as this economy has spun out of control. We have some hard decisions to make. And we’re not going to fix the problem. We’re not going to be able to bring our people together in America until we fix the economy.

I’m convinced that part of the divide that we’re experiencing in the United States, which is unprecedented, it’s unnatural, and it’s un-American, is because we’re divided economically, too few jobs, too few opportunities.

We have learned that subsidies don’t work and that we can no longer afford them. I believe that we can move toward renewable energy, but we’re going to have to have a bridge product. Everybody wants to draw from the sun and draw from the wind, and I’m here to tell you that eventually that will make sense, but today the economics don’t work.

We need something like natural gas. I’ve put forward an energy independence program, along with tax reform and regulatory reform. Just by drawing from natural gas, for example, you’re looking at 500,000 to 1 million jobs over the next five years. It is ours, it’s affordable, it has important national security implications, and we should begin the conversion process.

WALLACE: But just a 30-second follow-up, sir. In June, you told the New Hampshire Union Leader as president you would subsidies the natural gas industry.

HUNTSMAN: I would be willing to begin an effort, so long as there was a rapid phase-out. I do not like subsidies. I do not like long-term subsidies. But if there was some sort of way to get the ball rolling with a — with a — with a quick phase-out, I would be in favor of that.

WALLACE: Mr. Cain, I want to follow up on your 999 plan for economic growth. That’s a 9 percent…

(APPLAUSE)

Well, they seem to already know what it is. But for the few who don’t, it’s a 9 percent flat corporate tax, a 9 percent flat income tax, and a new 9 percent national sales tax.

Now, conservatives usually say repeal the income tax before you impose a new tax. Isn’t there a danger with your 999 plan, with these three taxes, that some government down the road after President Cain is going to increase three forms of taxation on Americans?

HERMAN CAIN, FORMER CEO OF GODFATHER’S PIZZA: No, there’s no danger in that. And first, let me answer Dave’s question with the 9, 9, 9 plan. Unfortunately, nobody up here answered his question. He wanted to know as a small businessman what are we going to do to help him as a small business person? I have walked in Dave’s shoes.

This economy is on life support, that’s why my 9, 9, 9 plan is a bold solution. It starts with throw out the current tax code and pass 9 percent business flat tax, 9 percent personal income tax, and the 9% national sales tax. This is the most important part, it eliminates, or replaces corporate income tax, personal income tax, capital gains tax as well as the estate tax.

Then it treats all businesses the same. And the people who are paying only payroll tax, 15.3, that 15.4 they don’t have to pay, now they only have to pay that 9 percent.

And unlike Governor Romney’s plan my plan throws out the old one.

He’s still hooked to the current tax code. That dog won’t hunt.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: The rule is if your name is mentioned in an answer you get 30 seconds to respond — Governor Romney.

ROMNEY: That’s fine. I put my plan out, I want to make it clear my intent is to help the people who have been most hurt by President Obama’s economy. And the people who have been most hurt are the middle income families of America. And that’s why my plan says that if middle income families want to save their money, anybody earning under $200,000 and not pay any taxes on interest, dividends or capital gains, zero tax on their savings, that’s the plan I’m for. And I will get that done in my first year. Thank you.

WALLACE: Congressman Paul I want to show the video that got the most votes of all the video questions submitted to YouTube. And this one comes, as you can see, from Brandy and Michael in Spencer, Indiana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: There’s growing concern among Americans about the size and the scope of the federal government and its infringement upon state and individual rights.

QUESTION: If you’re elected president how do you plan to restore the 10th amendment, hold the federal government only to those enumerated powers in the Constitution and allow states to govern themselves?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Congressman what is your answer for Brandy and Michael?

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS: Well obviously, it would take more than one individual, but the responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th amendment. That would be the solution.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Anything else? You have a little time left.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Well, I’ll tell you what, that is the subject that is crucial because government is too big in Washington, D.C. It’s run away. We have no controls of spending, taxes, regulations, no control in the Federal Reserve printing money. So if we want government, whether it is medical care or whatever, it is proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools. But there’s no authority in the constitution to do so much what we’re doing. There’s no authority for them to run our schools, no authority to control our economy, and no authority to control us as individuals on what we do with our personal lives!

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: OK, we got to the full answer there at the end. Governor Johnson, same question to you about the 10th amendment. With this added, you are an outspoken libertarian. What makes you a better choice for libertarian Republicans than Congressman Paul?

FORMER GOV. GARY JOHNSON, R-N.M.: I’m not going to presume to make that assumption, but I would like to say that I do bring a unique perspective to this stage. I started a one-man handyman business in Albuquerque in 1974 and grew it to over 1,000 employees. I have run for two political offices in my life: governor of New Mexico and reelection. I promise to submit a balanced budget to congress in the year 2013. I promise to veto legislation where expenditures exceed revenue.

And if anybody doubts my willingness to veto bills, I think I vetoed more bills than any governor in the history of the United States. I think I vetoed more bills than all the other governors in the country combined.

Add to that, throwing out the entire federal tax system and replacing it with a consumption tax, the fair tax, which would absolutely reboot the American economy because it does away with the corporate tax to create tens of millions of jobs in this country.

BAIER: Governor Johnson, thank you.

We’ll be coming back to the issue of the economy throughout this debate tonight. As I mentioned at the top of the show, we’ll also be checking in with our own Shannon Bream throughout the night to get real-time updates from people watching — Shannon.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS: Hi Bret.

Well, this is the most interactive debate ever, and it’s thanks to our partner Google. You can go to YouTube.com/Fox News. What happens there, folks can see the debate streaming live. But also, to the right of the screen, all night long, we are sending out questions so we can get your answers at home. And you can participate and weigh in.

Bret, a little bit earlier, asked Governor Romney how he defines rich. It’s a question we put to folks out on the Internet as well, and we’ve got the results.

Here’s the question: “I define rich as someone having an annual income higher than.” A hundred thousand dollars, 13 percent of you weighed in there; $250,000, 22 percent; $500,000, 22 percent; and the majority went with $1 million annual income, that defines you as rich,
44 percent of those who voted.

We’ll be going through all kinds of polls and data on the commercials. Join us at YouTube.com/Fox News.

Bret, back to you.

BAIER: Thanks, Shannon.

After the break, we will be tackling foreign policy, government spending. Shannon will have more on that, too. And also the issue of immigration.

Now, here for a preview of what’s to come, let’s take a look at what’s called a word cloud. It shows the words that were used most often in all of the questions you asked about immigration. The bigger the word, the more often it was used.

The biggest word in this cloud, as you see, is “illegal.”

Back after a short break.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: Good evening. I’m Florida Governor Rick Scott. Because of Florida’s size and diversity, our state represents the very pulse of our great nation. Not only will Florida be a must win for a Republican to be our party’s nominee, Florida is a must win on the road to the White House.

It is my belief that the next president will be the candidate who both articulates a plan for getting America’s economy back on the right track and inspires confidence in the hearts and minds of all Americans.

Good luck to all the candidates.

This debate is a partnership with Fox News and Google. I thank the men and women of Fox News and Google for choosing Florida, and thank all of you for being part of this exciting event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Thank you Governor Scott.

And welcome back to Orlando, Florida, and the Republican presidential debate.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: My colleague Megyn Kelly will take us through the next round of questions on government spending and debt.

KELLY: Thanks, Bret.

Governor Perry, Governor Romney has been hammering you on your idea of turning Social Security back to the states, repeatedly. Can you explain specifically how 50 separate Social Security systems are supposed to work?

PERRY: Well, let me just say first, for those people that are on Social Security today, for those people that are approaching Social Security, they don’t have anything in the world to worry about. We have made a solemn oath to the people of this country that that Social Security program in place today will be there for them.

Now, it’s not the first time that Mitt has been wrong on some issues before. And the bottom line is, is we never said that we were going to move this back to the states. What we said was, we ought to have as one of the options the state employees and the state retirees, they being able to go off of the current system, on to one that the states would operate themselves.

As a matter of fact, in Massachusetts, his home state, almost 96 percent of the people who are on that program, retirees and state people, are off of the Social Security program. So having that option out there to have the states — Louisiana does it, almost every state has their state employees and the retirees that are options to go off of Social Security.

That makes sense. It’s an option that we should have.

KELLY: Governor Romney, you’re satisfied with that?

ROMNEY: Well, it’s different than what the governor put in his book just, what, six months, and what you said in your interviews following the book. So I don’t know. There’s a Rick Perry out there that is saying — and almost to quote, it says that the federal government shouldn’t be in the pension business, that it’s unconstitutional.

Unconstitutional and it should be returned to the states.

So you better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: Now, my own view is, that we have to make it very, very clear that Social Security is a responsibility of the federal government, not the state governments, that we’re going to have one plan, and we’re going to make sure that it’s fiscally sound and stable.

And I’m absolutely committed to keeping Social Security working. I put in my book that I wrote a couple of years ago a plan for how we can do that and to make sure Social Security stable not just for the next 25 years, but for the next 75.

Thank you.

PERRY: And I would like to respond to that.

KELLY: Go ahead, Governor Perry.

PERRY: Speaking of books and talking about being able to have things in your books, back and forth, your economic adviser talked about Romneycare and how that was an absolute bust. And it was exactly what Obamacare was all about.

As a matter of fact, between books, your hard copy book, you said it was exactly what the American people needed, to have that Romneycare given to them as you had in Massachusetts. Then in your paperback, you took that line out. So, speaking of not getting it straight in your book sir, that would be a –

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Governor Perry, we were talking about Social Security, but if you want to talk about health care, I’m happy to do that.

BAIER: We are going to have a round on that.

ROMNEY: I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. What I said, actually — when I put my health care plan together
— and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post. He said, “Is this is a plan that if you were president you would put on the whole nation, have a whole nation adopt it?”

I said, “Absolutely not.” I said, “This is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan.”

And it’s fine for to you retreat from your own words in your own book, but please don’t try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book. I stand by what I wrote. I believe in what I did.

And I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what it is.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: We’ve got plenty of questions for all the other candidates up here tonight, but I want to stick with you on this one, Governor Romney.
Congresswoman Bachmann has said that President Obama has “ushered in socialism” during his first term. Governor Perry says that this administration is “hell bent” toward taking America toward a socialist country” When Speaker Gingrich was asked if he believes President Obama is a socialist, he responded, quote, “Sure, of course he is.”

(LAUGHTER)

Do you, Governor Romney…

(APPLAUSE)

Do you, Governor Romney, believe that President Obama is a socialist?

ROMNEY: Let me tell you the title that I want to hear said about President Obama, and that is: former President Barack Obama. That’s the title I want to hear.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me tell you this. What President — what President Obama is, is a big-spending liberal. And he takes his political inspiration from Europe and from the socialist democrats in Europe. Guess what? Europe isn’t working in Europe. It’s not going to work here.

I believe in America. I believe in the opportunity and in the freedom that is American opportunity and freedom. I believe in free enterprise and capitalism. I believe government is too big. It’s gone from 27 percent of our economy in the years of JFK to 37 percent of our economy. We have to rein in the scale of government or we’re not going to be — continue to be a free economy.

I love this country. I spent my life in the private sector, not in government. I only spent four years as a governor. I didn’t inhale.

(LAUGHTER)

I’m a business guy. I’m going to get America working again, because I believe in the principles that make America the hope of the Earth.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Governor Huntsman, this next one’s for you. This week, President Obama proposed a tax hike on millionaires, saying that they need to pay their, quote, “fair share.” According to an August Gallup poll, 66 percent of American adults actually believe that a tax hike on the wealthy is a good idea to help tackle our mounting debt. Is there any scenario under which you could side with the 66 percent of people who believe that it is a good idea to raise taxes on millionaires?
FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN, R-UTAH: We’re not going to raise taxes. This is the worst time to be raising taxes, and everybody knows that.
(APPLAUSE)

We need to grow. We need to be reminded of what Ronald Reagan told us so beautifully, that which is great about America, freedom. We need to re-establish freedom in the marketplace.

We need to address our underlying structural problems that we have.

And in order to do that, we’re going to have to fix our taxes. And we put forward a program endorsed by the Wall Street Journal that phases out for individuals all the loopholes, all the deductions, and creates three rates, 8, 14, 23.

On the corporate side, it phases out all of the corporate welfare, all of the subsidies, and it gets it from 35 percent to 25 percent.

This is exactly where we need to be. We need to grow; we need to create jobs. This is not a point in time where we should be raising taxes.

We need to fix the underlying structural problems in this economy.

And until such time as we do, we’re not going to provide the confidence to businesses who are looking to deploy capital in the marketplace and hire people. And that would be serious tax reform, like I proposed, and like I did in the stay of Utah, and that would be — that would be structural reform, as well, dealing with Dodd-Frank, and repealing Obamacare, because they are presenting tremendous uncertainty to the marketplace right now.

KELLY: Thank you, Governor.

Mr. Cain, this question was one of the top 10 video questions voted on by people online, and it comes to us from Lee Doren of Arlington, Virginia, via YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: My question is, if you were forced to eliminate one department from the federal government, which one would you eliminate and why? Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

HERMAN CAIN, BUSINESSMAN: The first — the first department, if I were forced to eliminate a department, I would start with the EPA and start all over.

It’s out of control.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, I know that makes some people nervous, but the EPA has gone wild. The fact that they have a regulation that goes into effect January 1, 2012, to regulate dust says that they’ve gone too far.

(LAUGHTER)

So rather than try to fix it, eliminate all of the things that they have right now and then start rebuilding a responsible EPA.

Now, with the rest of my time, may I offer a solution for Social Security, rather than continuing to talk about what to call it? I have proposed the Chilean model. It’s been around 30 years, and it works.

It’s a personal retirement account. And in the last 30 years, not only has Chile succeeded with that model, but 30 other countries have done so. I don’t think we’re doing a service to the American people to keep bantering about what you call it and what you don’t call it. The solution is: Fix it.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Speaker Gingrich, every day the federal government takes in about $6 billion, but spends about $10 billion. So we borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend. Now, I understand that you believe that if we modernize the federal government that it’ll help a lot, it’ll save billions. But given the resistance that we’ve seen in Washington — the seeming intractable resistance we’ve seen in Washington to spending cuts, how can you possibly slash spending by 40 percent? How can you do it?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSR: Well, the way you described the question, you can’t.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: Well, that’s it. Stick a fork in us.

GINGRICH: If — if you assume Washington remains the way Washington is right now, it’s all hopeless. We might as well buy Greek bonds and go down together.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: How do you get us out of that?

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Well, next Thursday in Des Moines, I’m going to outline a 21st century Contract with America. And it’s going to be far bolder, far deeper, far more profound than what we did in 1994 or what I helped Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan do in 1980.

It’s important to remember, this month, in the Reagan administration, September 1983, we created 1,100,000 new jobs. Obama’s socialist policies, class warfare, and bureaucratic socialism, we created zero in August.

I believe with leadership we can balance the budget. I did it for four consecutive years. We went from $2.2 trillion projected deficit over a decade to $2.7 trillion projected surplus when I left. I think it is doable, but it takes real leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Thank you, Megyn.
The next question is for all of the candidates. It comes to us from Atlanta, Georgia, on the topic of education.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Stella Lohmann from Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve taught in both public and private schools, and now as a substitute teacher I see administrators more focused on satisfying federal mandates, retaining funding, trying not to get sued, while the teachers are jumping through hoops trying to serve up a one-size-fits-all education for their students. What as president would you seriously do about what I consider a massive overreach of big government into the classroom? Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: That topic is for all candidates. And to get everyone to weigh in, 30 seconds each, please.

Governor Johnson?

FORMER GOV. GARY JOHNSON, R-N.M.: I’m promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013. That’s a 43 percent reduction in federal spending.

I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.

(APPLAUSE)

The federal Department of Education gives each state 11 cents out of every dollar that every state spends, but it comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. So what America does not understand is that it’s a negative to take federal money. Give it to 50 laboratories of innovation, the states, to improve on, and that’s what we’ll see:
dramatic improvement.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Santorum?

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA.: Yeah, 20 years ago, the federal contribution to education was 3 percent. It’s now at 11 percent, and our schools are doing worse, and it’s exactly what Gary Johnson just said. It’s because the federal government’s meddling.

The bottom-line problem with education is that the education system doesn’t serve the customer of the education system. And who’s the customer? The parents, because it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate the children.

It’s been that responsibility — from the moment they were born, they began the education of their children. And at some point, we have
— the government has convinced parents that at some point it’s no longer their responsibility. And in fact, they force them, in many respects, to turn their children over to the public education system and wrest control from them and block them out of participation of that.

That has to change or education will not improve in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: I think you need very profound reform of education at the state level. You need to dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education, get rid of virtually all of its regulations.

And the truth is, I believe we’d be far better off if most states adopted a program of the equivalent of Pell Grants for K-through-12, so that parents could choose where their child went to school, whether it was public, or private, or home-schooling, and parents could be involved. Florida has a virtual school program that is worth the entire country studying as an example.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congressman Paul?

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS: If you care about your children, you’ll get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids.

(APPLAUSE)

In 1980, when the Republican Party ran, part of the platform was to get rid of the Department of Education. By the year 2000, it was eliminated, and we fed on to it. Then (inaudible) Republicans added No Child Left Behind.

So the first thing a president should do is — the goal should be set to get the government out completely, but don’t enforce this law of No Child Left Behind. It’s not going to do any good, and nobody likes it. And there’s no value to it. The teachers don’t like it, and the students don’t like it.

But there are other things that the federal government can do, and that is give tax credits for the people who will opt out. We ought to have a right to opt out of the public system if you want.

BAIER: Governor Perry.

GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: There are a lot of good ideas here on the side and whether it is cutting back on the Department of Education, making those types of reductions.

I happen to believe we ought to be promoting school choice all across this country. I think school — the voucher system, charter schools all across this country. But there is one person on this stage that is for Obama’s Race to the Top and that is Governor Romney. He said so just this last week. And I think that is an important difference between the rest of the people on this stage and one person that wants to run for the presidency.

Being in favor of the Obama Race to the Top and that is not conservative.

BAIER: Governor Romney?

FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.: Nice try.

Let me tell you what I think I would do.

One, education has to be held at the local and state level, not at the federal level. We need get the federal government out of education. And secondly, all the talk about we need smaller classroom size, look that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers. We looked at what drives good education in our state, what we found is the best thing for education is great teachers, hire the very best and brightest to be teachers, pay them properly, make sure that you have school choice, test your kids to see if they are meeting the standards that need to be met, and make sure that you put the parents in charge.

And as president I will stand up to the National Teachers Unions.

BAIER: Governor Romney, I want give you more time. Did Governor Perry say something that wasn’t true?

ROMNEY: I’m not sure exactly what he’s saying. I don’t support any particular program that he’s describing. I think that the president — I think the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is doing a good thing by saying, you know what, we should insist that teachers get evaluated and that schools have the opportunity to see which teachers exceeding and which ones are failing and that teachers that are not successful are removed from the classroom. Those ideas by Secretary Duncan, that is a lot better than what the president did which is cutting off school choice in the Washington, D.C. schools. So let’s give us a full chance to talk about it.

BAIER: Congresswoman Bachmann?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: We need that to do with education what has always worked historically, and that’s local control with parents. What doesn’t work is what we see happen right now.

I’m a mom five biological kids. We’ve raised 23 foster children in our home. The reason why I got involved in politics was because of the concern I had about our foster children and the education they were getting. What I would do as president of the United States is pass the mother of all repeal bills on education. I would take the entire federal education law, repeal it. Then I would go over to the Department of Education, I’d turn off the lights, I would lock the door and I would send all the money back to the states and localities.

BAIER: Mr. Cain?

CAIN: A lot of good ideas, I won’t repeat them.

All of the programs at the federal level where there’s strings attached, cut all the strings. We have got to encourage parents to take advantage of choices, but provide those choices and we must find ways to empower the students. This is how we are going to improve education, but primarily get the federal government out of trying to educate our kids at the local level.

BAIER: Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: This is a key question, because it has so much to do with our nation’s competitiveness. I feel like I’ve run my own clinical trial in my home, raising seven kids. We’ve seen every option. We’ve experienced everything out there. But as governor I learned some important things. I signed the first — or the second voucher bill in the United States, Carson-Smith. I’ve actually done something about this.

We actually worked on early childhood literacy. If you can lock in the pillars of cognitive development around reading and math before age six, you are giving those kids the best gift possible as they then proceed through education.

Finally, you’ve got to say no to unfunded mandates coming out of Washington. They are totally unacceptable. No one loves their schools more than parents and local school boards, and local elected officials.

Localize, localize, localize.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Huntsman thank you.

And by the way, everyone likes the new sound, it’s far more pleasing instead of the bell? OK, I guess they do.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: …round of questions on immigration.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Congresswoman Bachmann, as you well know, a number of states are trying to crack down on illegal immigration. We got a bunch of questions on immigration like this one from Tim Emerson, this is a text question so you don’t need to look up there. Tim Emerson of California.

He wrote this, “would you support each state enforcing the immigration laws since the federal government is not?”

Congresswoman, could you answer Tim’s question? And if your answer is yes, how do you square that with the constitution which says that congress has the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization?

BACHMANN: Well, the reason why he’s asking this question is because the federal government has failed the American people and has failed the states. It’s reprehensible that President Obama has sued the state of Arizona and the governor of Arizona for trying to protect the people in Arizona. That’s wrong.

(APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: As president of the United States, I would do what my job would demand of me. That’s to uphold the sovereignty of the United States of America.

To do that, I would build a fence on America’s southern border on every mile, on every yard, on every foot, on every inch of the southern border. I think that’s what we have to do, not only build it, but then also have sufficient border security and enforce the laws that are on the books with the ICE agents, with our border security.

And here’s the other thing I would do. I would not allow taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal aliens or for their children.

(APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: That’s a madness. End the madness for illegal aliens to come into the United States of America.

WALLACE: Congresswoman, thank you.

And we’re going to get back to that issue in a moment.

But first, Speaker Gingrich, as you well know, there’s a debate going on in Congress right now about whether or not to make all employers, all businesses use E-Verify, a government database, to check whether or not new hires are illegal. Now, some Tea Partiers object to that idea because they say it would turn small businessmen into immigration agents.

But Kristen Williamson of the Federation for American Immigration Reform sent this question. Please look at it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Kristen Williamson, the Federal for American Immigration Reform.

Struggling U.S. workers continue to compete with millions of illegal aliens. Do you support legislation to require all employers to use E-Verify in order to ensure that the people that they hire are actually legally authorized to work in the U.S.? And will you impose penalties against employers who continue to hire illegal workers?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The question, Mr. Speaker, is, should employers be required to use E-Verify?

GINGRICH: Well, let me say, first of all, I think we would be better off to outsource E-Verify to American Express, MasterCard or Visa, because they actually know how to run a program like that without massive fraud.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Second, the program should be as easy as swiping your credit card when you buy gasoline. And so I would ask of employers, what is it you would object to in helping the United States of America in dealing with the problem involving illegal immigration?

But, in addition, I want to reinforce what Congresswoman Bachmann said. I strongly favor 100 percent control of the border, and I strongly favor English as the official language of government.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: And I favor modernizing the legal visa system to make it far more convenient, far easier and far more practical. Here in Orlando, where we have a huge interest in people being able to visit easily for tourism, we have a terribly antiquated legal system while our border is too open for people who are illegal.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, thank you.

Governor Romney, I want to continue a conversation that you had with Governor Perry in the last debate.

In Massachusetts, you vetoed legislation to provide interstate tuition rates to the children of illegals. Governor Perry of course signed the Texas Dream Act to do exactly that. But what about Governor Perry’s argument that it’s better to get these kids an education and to get them jobs than to consign them just to being a burden on the state?

ROMNEY: It’s an argument I just can’t follow. I’ve got be honest with you, I don’t see how it is that a state like Texas — to go to the University of Texas, if you’re an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is? That’s $22,000 a year.

Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn’t make sense to me. And that kind of magnet –

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: That kind of magnet draws people into this country to get that education, to get the $100,000 break. It makes no sense. We have to have — just as Speaker Gingrich said, and as Michele Bachmann said as well, Congresswoman Bachmann, and that is we have to have a fence, we have to have enough Border Patrol agents to secure the fence, we have to have a system like E-Verify that employers can use to identify who is here legally and illegally.

We have to crackdown on employers that hire people that are here illegally. And we have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits like a $100,000 tax credit — or, excuse me, discount for going to the University of Texas. That shouldn’t be allowed. It makes no sense at all.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Perry, I’m going to ask you a question, so you don’t need to respond to him, because you’re going to get a full minute to answer your question, which is on directly this point. You’re the candidate whose name, by a wide margin, came up most often in the questions being submitted to all of you candidates about immigration.

Dave Hollenback (ph) of Arizona sent this “To date, it appears that you have not tried to stop the illegals from coming. We have high unemployment and a considerable amount of jobs going to illegals. Are you going to exert an effort to stop the abuse of U.S. citizens by illegals?”

Now, last year, more than 16,000 children of illegals, young people in Texas, took advantage of your in-state tuition rate. Speak to that issue. And just, generally, how do you feel being criticized by a number of these other candidates on the stage for being too soft on immigration, sir?

PERRY: Well, I feel pretty normal getting criticized by these folks, but the fact of the matter is this: there is nobody on this stage who has spent more time working on border security than I have.

For a decade, I’ve been the governor of a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. We put $400 million of our taxpayer money into securing that border. We’ve got our Texas Ranger recon teams there now.

I supported Arizona’s immigration law by joining in that lawsuit to defend it. Every day I have Texans on that border that are doing their job.

But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.

I think that’s what Texans wanted to do. Out of 181 members of the Texas legislature, when this issue came up, only four dissenting votes.

This was a state issue. Texans voted on it. And I still support it greatly.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Senator Santorum –

(BOOING)

SANTORUM: Chris, no one here is suggesting –

WALLACE: Senator Santorum, you don’t need to butt in because I was about to ask you a question on this exact issue.

You say that Governor Perry’s opposition to building a border along the entire fence shows that he is a “big government moderate.”

Question: Is he soft on illegal immigration?

SANTORUM: Governor Perry, no one is suggesting up here that the students that are illegal in this country shouldn’t be able to go to a college and university. I think you are sort of making this leap that, unless we subsidize this, the taxpayers subsidize it, they won’t be able to go.

Well, most folks who want go to the state of Texas or any other state out of state have to pay the full boat (ph). The point is, why are we subsidizing?

Not that they can’t go. They can go. They just have to borrow money, find other sources to be able to go.

And why should they be given preferential treatment as an illegal in this country? That’s what we’re saying.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: And so, yes, I would say that he is soft on illegal immigration. I think the fact that he doesn’t want to build a fence — he gave a speech in 2001 where he talked about, buy national health insurance between Mexico and Texas. I mean, I don’t even think Barack Obama would be for buy national health insurance.

So I think he’s very weak on this issue of American sovereignty and protecting our borders and not being a magnet for illegal immigration, yes.

WALLACE: Governor Perry, 30 seconds to respond, sir.

PERRY: I’ve got one question for him.

Have you ever even been to the border with Mexico?

SANTORUM: Yes.

PERRY: I’m surprised if you have, but you weren’t paying attention, because the idea that you –

SANTORUM: Well, the answer is, yes, I have.

PERRY: — are going to build a wall, a fence for 1,200 miles, and then go 800 miles more to Tijuana, does not make sense. You put the boots on the ground.

We know how to make this work. You put the boots on the ground.

You put the aviation assets –

SANTORUM: But it’s not working, Governor.

PERRY: — in the ground. No, it’s not working because the federal government has not –

SANTORUM: But you said we know how it works. Is it working in Texas?

PERRY: The federal government has not engaged in this at all. When I’m the president of the United States, I’ll promise you one thing –

SANTORUM: But you’re saying you put the assets there. Has it worked in Texas?

PERRY: — we will put the assets on the ground –

SANTORUM: You said you have.

PERRY: — the boots on the ground –

BAIER: Senator Santorum, let him finish, please.

PERRY: — the aviation assets on the ground, and we will stop illegal immigration, we will stop the drug cartels, and we will make America secure.

SANTORUM: Can you answer the question? Is it working?

WALLACE: Well, you know, you asked your question, he gave his answer, sir.

SANTORUM: OK.

WALLACE: Sometimes we are frustrated with all of you answering questions.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: Congressman Paul, I want to ask you a question about a comment you made a couple of weeks ago about a border fence with Mexico. Here’s what you said, sir. I want to quote it: “There’s capital controls and there’s people control. So every time you think of a fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us, keeping us in.”

Question, Congressman, do you know a lot of Americans who want to take their money and flee the United States of America?

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: There are — there are some. All the candidates up here talk about repatriation of dollars. They’ve already taken them overseas.

We’re talking about trying to bring in $1.5 trillion because they leave our country, because we make it uncomfortable, too many regulations, too much taxation. They can’t start business; they’ve lost confidence.

Yes, when countries destroy a currency, they do lead to capital controls and they lead to people control. So I think it is a real concern.

(APPLAUSE)

And, also, once you have these data banks, the data banks means that everybody is going to be in the data bank. You say, oh, no, the data bank’s there for the illegals. But everybody’s in the data bank.

That’s national ID card. If you care about your personal liberty, you’ll be cautious when you feel comfortable, blame all the illegal immigrants for everything. What you need to do is attack their
benefits: no free education, no free subsidies, no citizenship, no birth-right citizenship.

(APPLAUSE)

And that would get to the bottom of it a lot sooner. But economically, you should not ignore the fact that, in tough economic times, money and people want to leave the country. That’s unfortunate.

WALLACE: Congressman Paul, thank you very much, sir.

BAIER: Chris, thank you. Let’s check in now with Shannon Bream.

Shannon?

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS: Well, Bret, one of the really interesting and valuable pieces of information we get from our partner, Google, is looking at search trends. We want to take you through some of those.

They’ve looked online for people within the U.S. who have been searching for coupons. We’ve talked about the economy a lot. If you look at the trend, it has been going up, up, up very steadily since 2004 to right now.

Another search compares home loan searches for foreclosure searches. Those have slipped over time. And now more people searching for information about foreclosures than home loans.

And another look, this compares folks searching for the best SUV miles per gallon and also gas prices, and those go together. When people are worried about their pocketbooks, worried about finding a bargain, they’re also looking at how they can save on gas and how they can conserve.

We’ve also been tracking questions that you’ve been putting to the candidates. We’ve put them to the folks at home, as well, and we’ve got some results. This question the same one we asked the candidates. If you had to cut a government department, what would you cut?

This is what the folks at home told us: the Labor Department, 8 percent; the EPA, 12 percent; Housing and Urban Development, 12 percent; Education,
47 percent, easily the majority there; and none, 20 percent.

(APPLAUSE)

Check it all out, YouTube.com/foxnews. Bret, back to you.

BAIER: Thanks, Shannon. We’ll check back with you a little later.

Up next, foreign policy, social issues, and health care, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to Orlando and the Republican presidential debate. We’re parting — partner — partnering — easy for me to say — with Google and the Florida Republican Party.

Now to the topic of foreign policy. And all night we’ve been showing you these word clouds. Take a look at this one. All the searches on foreign policy, Israel is the biggest word. These are actually the words used in questions.

And that brings us to our first question. This week, with the Palestinian efforts at the United Nations, the issue of the future of Israel is a big concern to questioners. In fact, Governor Romney, the next question was a top question voted in the foreign policy section from Yigal Marcus in Teaneck, New Jersey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: As president, how would you approach the new reality in the Middle East, specifically with regards to our ally, Israel, and the existential threats it faces from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and now the Palestinian Authority?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Very simple. You start off by saying that you don’t allow an inch of space to exist between you and your friends and your allies.

(APPLAUSE)

The president went about this all wrong. He went around the world and apologized for America. He — he addressed the United Nations in his inaugural address and chastised our friend, Israel, for building settlements and said nothing about Hamas launching thousands of rockets into Israel.

Just before Bibi Netanyahu came to the United States, he threw Israel under the bus, tried to negotiate for Israel.

The right course — if you disagree with an ally, you talk about it privately. But in public, you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your allies. The right course for us…

(APPLAUSE)

The right course for us is not to try and negotiate for Israel. The right course is to stand behind our friends, to listen to them, and to let the entire world know that we will stay with them and that we will support them and defend them.

And with regards to Iran, which perhaps represents the greatest existential threat to Israel, we have to make it abundantly clear: It is unacceptable — and I take those — that word carefully — it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Thank you, Governor Romney.

Mr. Cain, this week, the Palestinian Authority brought their bid for statehood to the United Nations. How would you respond to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state?

CAIN: It starts with an extension of the Reagan philosophy of peace through strength. My philosophy would extend that to peace through strength and clarity. This administration has not made it clear how it stands with Israel.

When I was in Israel last month, I met with the deputy prime minister. And he made it shockingly, chillingly clear that, given everything that’s going on, number one, Israel will defend itself, with all of the tensions going on in the Middle East.

And he also made it real clear that he wasn’t sure how this administration stood when it came to Israel. I made it clear, which — and I would also make it clear to all of — our — the other people in the world, that if you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the United States of America. We will stand solidly behind Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

CAIN: If in fact it was clear to the Palestinians, where the United States stood, they might have had second thoughts about trying to pull such a move without negotiating with Israel.

BAIER: Mr. Cain, thank you.

Here’s a comparison of searches on Google for Israel, Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past few years. You can see the lines, Israel dominates the searches except for a few critical moments in time for Pakistan.

Which brings us to this, Governor Perry, if you were president, and you go a call at 3 am telling you that Pakistan had lost control of is nuclear weapons, at the hands of the Taliban, what would be your first move?

PERRY: Well obviously, before you ever get to that point you have to build a relationship in that region. That’s one of the things that this administration has not done. Yesterday, we found out through Admiral Mullen that Haqqani has been involved with — and that’s the terrorist group directly associated with the Pakistani country. So to have a relationship with India, to make sure that India knows that they are an ally of the United States.

For instance, when we had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded F-16’s, we chose not to do that. We did the same with Taiwan. The point is, our allies need to understand clearly that we are their friends, we will be standing by there with them.

Today, we don’t have those allies in that region that can assist us if that situation that you talked about were to become a reality.

BAIER: Senator Santorum if the security situation were to fall apart in Iraq in 2012 would you support sending U.S. troops back to the region to stabilize the gains made?

SANTORUM: I’m not for taking them out of the region. I believe we need to listen to our generals, and our generals are being very, very clear that we need to continue to stabilize Iraq, the Iraqi government wants and needs our intelligence in particular, needs force protection.

We need to have anywhere — I’m hearing numbers of 20,000, 30,000 troops potentially to remain in Iraq, not indefinitely, but to continue to make sure that this is a stable transition.

This is the difference between Congressman Paul, Governor Huntsman, Governor Perry and myself when it comes to this issue. I stand up and say that when we engage in Iraq and Afghanistan, we engage because we want to be successful. We want victory. We want to have accomplished a national security objective for this country to make sure that we are safer.

We are not on a political agenda to withdraw troops. So the first thing is to make sure that we secure success.

To answer the question on Pakistan, which I’m not too sure was answered. The bottom line is, that we should be establishing relationships in Pakistan with allies of ours, folks like relationships with President Musharraf who we had in the past with others in that country so if in fact something like that would occur we could work in concert to make sure that that coup could be overturned and make sure those nuclear weapon do not fall in those hands.

But working with allies at that point is the last thing we want to do. We want to work in that country to make sure the problem is defused.

BAIER: Speaker Gingrich, many of the foreign policy questions we received had directly to do with the U.S. economy as well when it came to the topic of foreign aid.

Butch Russell (ph) had the top voted video question in the section of foreign policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: When are we gonna get someone in the White House that can stand up to these other countries and say you are not getting any more of our money. This is stupid. We send billions of dollars overseas to countries that hate us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Speaker Gingrich.

GINGRICH: I think — I actually there’s a lot to that. And I’ve been a strong supporter of international assistance, but I think there are a couple of good reasons to review the whole program.

First of all, I would replace virtually all government to government aid with some kind of investment approach that encouraged American companies to create jobs that made both the United States and the other country wealthier. Our bureaucrats giving their bureaucrats money is a guaranteed step towards corruption.

Second, I think when you have countries that vote against you in the United Nations consistently you really have to ask yourself why are you giving them anything? I mean, if they are not your ally why are…

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: We came out of World War II with the generosity that made perfect sense when we had 50 percent of the world economy. And it was a different world. And we need to understand how different it is.

But I want to go back to your question on Pakistan, because I think people need to understand how real this is. This world is in danger of becoming dramatically more dangerous in the not-too-distant future.

People talk about an Iranian weapon? There may be well over 100 nuclear weapons in Pakistan. And the example you used is not too far-fetched to worry about.

BAIER: Speaker Gingrich, thank you.

Governor Johnson, here in Florida, charter flights from Ft.

Lauderdale to Havana, Cuba, have resumed. Is there a problem with that? And what are your thoughts on U.S.-Cuba policy?

JOHNSON: I think the biggest threat to our national security is the fact that we’re bankrupt, so I am promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013, and included in that is a 43 percent reduction in military spending.

I think it’s crazy that we have foreign aid to company — to countries when we’re borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar to do that.

(APPLAUSE)

Military alliances — military alliances are really key to other countries taking up the slack.

With regard to flights to Cuba? You know, I’m — I’m in favor, I think, of the whole notion that trade promotes friendship, as opposed to not. So I would be inclined to looking at establishing or supporting those kinds of flights.

BACHMANN: Bret? Bret?

BAIER: Governor Johnson, thank you.

Now…

BACHMANN: Excuse me, Bret? Could I weigh in on this?

BAIER: Congresswoman Bachmann?

BACHMANN: I’d like to weigh on this, because according to the State Department’s website, there are four nations that are state sponsors of terror. Cuba is one of those nations. We would never have flights between the United States and Cuba. It’s a state sponsor of terror.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Thank you, Congresswoman.

Now to my colleague, Megyn Kelly, on the topic of social issues.

KELLY: Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: Just one issue. I just want to respond to my friend, Rick Santorum, here. Is the microphone working?

BAIER: It is.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you. We do have a difference of opinion here in terms of overall foreign policy. And I think, you know, as the only one on stage with any hands-on foreign policy experience, having served — having lived overseas four different times, we’re at a critical juncture in our country. We don’t have a foreign policy, and we don’t project the goodness of this country in terms of liberty, democracy, open markets, and human rights, with a weak core.

And right now in this country, our core, our economy, is broken.

And we don’t shine that light today. We’re 25 percent of the world’s GDP. The world is a better place when the United States is strong. So guiding anything that we talk about from a foreign policy standpoint needs to be fixing our core.

But, second of all, I believe that, you know, after 10 years of fighting the war on terror, people are ready to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, Rick.

(APPLAUSE)

They’re ready to bring our troops home. This country — this country has given its all.

KELLY: Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: What remains behind, some element to collect intelligence, special forces capability, and we’re going to have to do that in every corner of the world. But we need to fix this core and get serious about what the rest of the 21st century holds for this country.

BAIER: Senator Santorum, very quickly?

SANTORUM: Just because our economy is sick does not mean our country is sick, and it doesn’t mean our values are sick. And we’re going to stand up for those values every opportunity…

(APPLAUSE)

… and to do so to make sure that our country is safe. The bottom line is — that you just mentioned is — is — is we should be fighting wars to win, not fighting wars for politics.

(APPLAUSE)

And this president is fighting a war in Afghanistan — in Afghanistan with one hand tied behind our generals, not giving the troops they need, not giving the authority, the rules of engagement to allow us to be successful. And unless we change those rules of engagement and make sure that our folks can win, then we are going to play politics with our military.

(APPLAUSE)

HUNTSMAN: This — this may — this may not come as a huge revelation. We’ve been talking about Pakistan here. But at the end of the day, folks, only Pakistan can save Pakistan. Only Afghanistan can save Afghanistan.

(APPLAUSE)

All that I want right now at this point in history is for America to save America. We’ve got to fix our core and…

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Thank you very much. Now, as I originally said, Megyn Kelly on social issues.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: And now I’m moving on from you, Governor Huntsman, to you, Congresswoman Bachmann. In 2006, you said that public schools are, quote, “teaching children that there is separation of church and state,”
and said, quote, “I am here to tell you that’s a myth.”

Do you believe that there is a limit…

(APPLAUSE)

… on government’s ability to inject religion into the public square? And if so, what is that limit?

BACHMANN: Well, I think that Thomas Jefferson stated it best. He was the author of the — the religious liberty that he valued so much, and that’s the — the United States government should not be a state church. That’s really what the fundamental was of separation of church and state.

And when Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptists, the Danbury Baptists wanted to know, will you have a national church in the United States? He said no, because we believe in freedom of conscience, we believe in freedom of religious liberty, and expression, and speech.

That’s a foundational principle in the United States. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t people of faith and that people of faith shouldn’t be allowed to exercise religious liberty in the public square. Of course we should be able to…

(APPLAUSE)

… (inaudible) exercise our faith. And — and whether that expression occurs in a public school or occurs — occurs in a public building, we should be able to allow — to have freedom for all people to express our belief in God.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Senator Santorum, this question stirred up a whole lot of controversy online, and it comes from Stephen Hill, who is a soldier serving in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq, I had to lie about who I was, because I’m a gay soldier, and I didn’t want to lose my job.

My question is, under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that’s been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BOOING)

SANTORUM: Yeah, I — I would say, any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. And the fact that they’re making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to — to — and removing “don’t ask/don’t tell” I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country.

We need to give the military, which is all-volunteer, the ability to do so in a way that is most efficient at protecting our men and women in uniform.

(APPLAUSE)

And I believe this undermines that ability.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: So what — what — what would you do with soldiers like Stephen Hill? I mean, he’s — now he’s out. He’s — you know, you saw his face on camera. When he first submitted this video to us, it was without his face on camera. Now he’s out. So what would you do as president?

SANTORUM: I think it’s — it’s — it’s — look, what we’re doing is playing social experimentation with — with our military right now. And that’s tragic.

I would — I would just say that, going forward, we would — we would reinstitute that policy, if Rick Santorum was president, period.

That policy would be reinstituted. And as far as people who are in — in — I would not throw them out, because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration, but we would move forward in — in conformity with what was happening in the past, which was, sex is not an issue. It is — it should not be an issue. Leave it alone, keep it — keep it to yourself, whether you’re a heterosexual or a homosexual.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Congressman Paul, you have said that you believe that life begins at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life. If you believe that, how can you support a rape exception to abortion bans, and how can you support the morning-after pill? Aren’t those lives just as innocent?

PAUL: They may be, but the way this is taken care of in our country, it is not a national issue. This is a state issue. And there are circumstances…

(APPLAUSE)

There are circumstances where doctors in the past have used certain day-after pills for somebody with rape. And, quite frankly, if somebody is treated, you don’t even know if a person is pregnant, you don’t even know if there’s a disease, but if it’s 24 hours after rape, I don’t know where — how you’re going to police it.

So I don’t think you should create — we have too many laws already. Now, how are you going to police the day-after pill? It doesn’t make any sense to me in a practical matter.

So I would say that nobody can out-do me on respect for life. I’ve spent a lifetime dealing with life. But I still think there is a time where the law doesn’t solve the problems. Only the moral character of the people will eventually solve this problem, not the law.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Perry, you and our former president, George W.

Bush, have a lot in common. You’re both Republicans from Texas. You both ran on the same ticket for the statehouse. You both share a deep religious faith.

Now, you’ve made a point of saying, well, we went to different colleges, Texas A&M and Yale, and point out that you have a different approach from President Bush when it comes to government spending. But what are the other differences that you can cite between you and President Bush? And what say you about these reports that there is some bad blood between the two of you?

PERRY: Well, let me address the first — or the last issue first.

And we got a great rapport. I talk to the president from time to time, call him on his birthday, wish him happy birthday, talk to him on a relatively regular basis. I highly respect the president and his public service.

What we have in — in — in difference is probably as much as in style as in substance on various issues. For instance, you know, I was very vocal in my disagreement with him on Medicaid Part D that the federal government should be involved in that very expensive program.

And I was also vocal against No Child Left Behind.

It gets back to the federal government has no business telling the states how to educate our children.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Thank you, Meagan (ph).

We’ve been showing you these word clouds throughout the night. Take a look at this one, all of the questions on health care. You can see the big word there, Obamacare.

Chris has the questions on health care.

WALLACE: And we’ll get right to that question of Obamacare.

Mr. Cain, you are a survivor of stage 4 colon and liver cancer. And you say, if Obamacare had been…

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: …and we all share in the happiness about your situation. But, you say if Obamacare had been in effect when you were first being treated, you would dead now. Why?

CAIN: The reason I said that I would be dead under Obamacare is because my cancer was detected in March of 2006. From March 2006 all the way to the end of 2006, for that number of months, I was able to get the necessary CAT scan tests, go to the necessary doctors, get a second opinion, get chemotherapy, go — get surgery, recuperate from surgery, get more chemotherapy in a span of nine months. If we had been under Obamacare and a bureaucrat was trying to tell me when I could get that CAT scan that would have delayed by treatment.

My surgeons and doctors have told me that because I was able get the treatment as fast as I could, based upon my timetable and not the government’s timetable that’s what saved my life, because I only had a 30 percent chance of survival. And now I’m here five years cancer free, because I could do it on my timetable and not a bureaucrat’s timetable.

This is one of the reasons I believe a lot of people are objecting to Obamacare, because we need get bureaucrats out of the business of trying to micromanage health care in this nation.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Huntsman, you say President Obama’s health care plan is a trillion dollar bomb dropping — dropped on taxpayers and job creation. But I want to show you the top voted question on YouTube that was submitted on health care. And it comes from Ian McDonald of Michigan who says he has a health problem. Watch it, sir.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Hi, I’m a student. And I have a chronic heart condition. So for me, and those like me, the Democrats’ health care reform, allowing us to stay on our parents’ insurance longer was a godsend.

If were you elected, would you work as is the stated position of your party to repeal this reform? And if so, are we supposed to pray really hard that our ailments don’t prevent us from going to class?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Governor, what about provisions that Ian talks about? For instance, the one that allows kids to stay on their parents’ policies until they were 26, or not limiting coverage for preexisting conditions. President Obama says the only way that insurance companies can afford to provide those kinds of reforms is with the individual mandate where they get a lot of new customers.

HUNTSMAN: When I hear this discussion, I think of my daughter Elizabeth who is sitting on the front row who suffers from juvenile diabetes. And I also am reminded that we are fundamentally approaching health care reform the wrong way.

This one trillion dollar bomb that Obamacare means to this country over 10 years is creating such uncertainty in the marketplace that businesses aren’t willing to hire, they’re not willing to deploy capital into the marketplace. It everyone it has gummed up our system.

So you say what do we do? I say we go out to the states and let the states experiment and find breakthroughs in how we address health care reform. Health care reform, it’s is a three trillion dollar industry.

It’s the size of the GDP of France. It’s large. It’s complicated. All I want to do is do the kind of thing we did in the state of Utah.

In direct response, we need affordable insurance policies. We don’t have affordable insurance policies today. We got one in Utah a stripped down bare bones catastrophic coverage policy that young people can finally afford.And then you can start whittling down the high percentage of the people who are uninsured in this country because they have an affordable policy. That’s number one.

Number two, we have to deal with cost containment measures like harmonizing medical records. We were the first state to do that. So let’s forget federal fixes in solutions and turn to the states where we’re going to find real breakthroughs and real answers to this terribly difficult and complicated problem.

WALLACE: Thank you, governor.

Congresswoman Bachmann, in the last debate you criticized Governor Perry for his executive order mandating that 6th graders get the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Then afterward, you suggested that the vaccine was linked to mental retardation and you said that it could be, quote, “potentially be a very dangerous drug.”

But the American Academy of Pediatrics has looked at it and says that the HPV vaccine has an excellent safety record. So my question to you is, do you stand by your statement that the HPV vaccine is potentially dangerous? And if not, should you be more careful when you’re talking about public health issue?

BACHMANN: Well, first I didn’t make that claim nor did I make that statement. Immediately after the debate, a mother came up to me and she was visibly shaken and heart broken because of what her daughter had gone through. I so I only related what her story was.

But here’s the real issue, Governor Perry mandated a health care decision on all 12-year-old little girls in the state of Texas. And by that mandate, those girls had to have a shot for a sexually transmitted disease. That is not appropriate to be a decision that a governor makes.

It is appropriate that parents make that decision in consultation with their doctor.

But here’s the even more important point, because Governor Perry made a decision where he gave parental rights to a big drug company.

That big drug company gave him campaign contributions and hired his former chief of staff to lobby him to benefit the big drug company.

That’s what was wrong with that picture.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Perry, obviously 30 seconds to respond.

PERRY: Thank you.

I got lobbied on this issue. I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage 4 cervical cancer. I spent a lot of time with her.

She came by my office talked to me about in program.

I readily admitted we should have had an opt-in, in this program.

But, I don’t know what part of opt-out most parents don’t get. And the fact is, I erred on the side of life and I will always err on the side of life as a governor as the president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Perry, I now have a question for you. Texas has the most uninsured residents of any state in the country, 25 percent.

In the last debate, you blamed it on restrictions imposed by the federal government. But we checked about that, sir, in fact the feds treat Texas like they do all the other big states. On its own, on its own, Texas has imposed some of the toughest eligibility rules for Medicaid of any state in the country. In fact, you rank 49th in Medicaid coverage of low income residents.

So the question is, isn’t Texas’ uninsured problem because of decisions made by Texas?

PERRY: Well, I disagree with your analysis there, because we’ve had a request in for the federal government so that we could have a Medicaid waiver for years. And the federal government has stopped us from having that Medicaid waiver. Allowing the state of Texas, or for that matter the other states that we’re making reference to here, that have waivers give them more options to be able to give the options, there’s a menu of options that we could have, just like Jon Huntsman talked about. That is how we go forward with our health care.

Each state deciding how they’re going to deliver that health care.

Not one size fits all. And I think this whole concept of not allowing the states to come up with the best ideas about how to deliver health care in their state. And the fact is, people continue to move to the state of Texas. Some of the highest rates in the country, because we’ve created a state where opportunity is very much the word of the day there, if you will, for finding work and what have you.

And our health care is part of that. Our education is part of that. And we are proud of what we put together in the state of Texas.

WALLACE: Governor Romney, the other day Governor Perry called Romneycare socialized medicine. He said it has failed in western Europe and in Massachusetts. And he warns that Republicans should not nominate his words, Obama-lite.

How do you respond to Governor Perry?

ROMNEY: I don’t think he knows what he was talking about in that — in that regard.

Let me tell you this about our system in Massachusetts: 92 percent of our people were insured before we put our plan in place. Nothing’s changed for them. The system is the same. They have private market-based insurance.

We had 8 percent of our people that weren’t insured. And so what we did is we said let’s find a way to get them insurance, again, market-based private insurance. We didn’t come up with some new government insurance plan.

Our plan in Massachusetts has some good parts, some bad parts, some things I’d change, some things I like about it. It’s different than Obamacare.

And what you — what you heard from Herman Cain is one absolutely key point, which is Obamacare intends to put someone between you and your physician. It must be repealed. And if I’m president of the United States, on my first day in office, I will issue an executive order which directs the secretary of health and human services to provide a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. That law is bad; it’s unconstitutional; it shall not stand.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor — Governor Perry, 30 seconds to respond.PERRY: I think Americans just don’t know sometimes which Mitt Romney they’re dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment?

Was it — was before he was before the social programs, from the standpoint of he was for standing up for Roe v. Wade before he was against Roe v. Wade? He was for Race to the Top, he’s for Obamacare, and now he’s against it. I mean, we’ll wait until tomorrow and –

and

– and see which Mitt Romney we’re really talking to tonight.

WALLACE: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: I’ll use the same term again: Nice try.

(LAUGHTER)

Governor, I’m — I wrote a book two years ago, and I laid out in that book what my views are on a wide range of issues.

I’m a conservative businessman. I haven’t spent my life in politics. I spent my life in business. I know how jobs come, how jobs go. My positions are laid out in that book. I stand by them.

Governor Perry, you wrote a book six months ago. You’re already retreating from the positions that were in that book.

PERRY: Not an — not an — not an inch, sir.

ROMNEY: Yeah, well, in that book, it says that Social Security was forced upon the American people. It says that, by any measure, Social Security is a failure. Not to 75 million people. And you also said that — that Social Security should be returned to the states.

Now, those are the positions in your book. And simply, in my view, I’m stand by my positions. I’m proud of them.

There are a lot of reasons not to elect me, a lot of reasons not to elect other people on this stage, but one reason to elect me is that I know what I stand for, I’ve written it down. Words have meaning, and I have the experience to get this country going again.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Gentlemen, thank you both.

Bret?

BAIER: Coming up, we return to issue number one: jobs.

Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to the Orange County Convention Center here in Orlando, Florida, and the Republican presidential debate.

Now a question for all of the candidates. Independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently fretted over the possibility of the unemployed rioting in the streets. Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich recently said, quote, “For the first time in my life, I’m worried about this country.” And recently, a liberal columnist wrote this, quote, “We’ve lost our mojo.”

You know, President Obama promised hope and change. And according to many polls, fewer and fewer Americans believe he’s delivered.

Now, I’m not asking for your jobs plan here. What I’m asking for is, how are you going to turn this country around? We’ll go down the row, 30 seconds each.
Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: First of all, let me say that this is a human tragedy playing out, with 15 million unemployed, so many million beyond who are so dispirited, they’ve absolutely given up.

Sheriff Hardy, who’s a great sheriff in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, talks about foreclosures, that his folks are now handing out first time ever to the middle class.

I would drop three things on the doorstep of Congress to change and turn the situation around: one, my tax reform package, endorsed by the Wall Street Journal; two, serious regulatory reform, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare repealed; three, energy independence. Boone Pickens had some great ideas in terms of converting to natural gas. It’s a 500,000 job creator over five years. It would get the engines of growth going like nothing else I can think of.

BAIER: Mr. Cain?

CAIN: Obviously starts with economic growth. And, yes, I’ve already laid out how I would do that with my 999 plan. But what Americans are looking for in order to build their confidence is leadership. There is a severe deficiency of leadership in Washington, D.C. And once we fill that void, I believe the American people will begin to develop some confidence again.

In terms of believing in this nation, Ronald Reagan was the one who said that we are a shining city on a hill. We’ve slid down the side of that hill.

(LAUGHTER)

Americans want somebody who’s going to lead them back up to the top of that hill. That’s how we turn this country around.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congresswoman Bachmann?

BACHMANN: I agree. It’s time to reach for the brass ring of liberty once again. And we can. The signature issue of Barack Obama and his presidency has been the passage of Obamacare. This week, a study came out from UBS that said the number-one reason why employers aren’t hiring is because of Obamacare.

That’s why I introduced the bill to repeal Obamacare. And as president of the United States, that’s the very first thing I would do, is repeal Obamacare.

BAIER: Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: All across America, you’ve got families sitting across from their — sitting in their living rooms and their kitchens, sitting at that kitchen table, with a calculator and a checkbook, seeing if they have enough money to make ends meet for the month or the week.
You’ve got people who are sitting at that same table filling out job application forms, knowing that there are hundreds of other people that are doing the same thing for the same job.

These are tough times for a lot of people in this country, but we are a patriotic people. We place our hand over our heart during the playing of the national anthem. No other people on Earth do that. And if we’re led by a leader who draws on that patriotism, who tells the truth, who lives with integrity, and who knows how to lead, America will remain the hope of the Earth and the strongest nation in the world.
I’ll do it.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Perry?

PERRY: Americans — Americans want a leader who’s got a proven record of job creation. Number one, we get rid of Obamacare. Secondly, we pull back all of those regulations that are job-killing today, whether it’s Dodd-Frank or whether it’s the EPA.

And then we sit with Congress and we lower those corporate tax rates, we lower those personal tax rates, and then we put our plan to make America energy independent, and that is the way you get America working again.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: Government destroys jobs; the market creates jobs. So the government isn’t going to be expected to create the jobs; they have to change the environment. But you can’t do that unless you understand where the depression, recessions come from, and you can’t understand that unless you know where the bubbles come from.

I’ve been arguing this case for 20 years and warning about bubbles and housing bubbles and Nasdaq bubbles. And a lot of other economists have been doing the same thing.

Until we understand that, you can’t solve the problem. You have to deal with the Federal Reserve system. You have to deal with free markets. And you have to deal with the tax program and the regulatory system.

(APPLAUSE)

Then you can get your jobs, because the people will create the jobs, not the government.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Waiting for the applause.

Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: Thirty-two years ago, we were in the same place. We had a failing president. He gave a speech on malaise. People wrote about the presidency being too big, nobody could do it. The Soviet Union was on offense.

And a leader came along. He said, when your brother-in-law is unemployed, it’s a recession. When you’re unemployed, it’s a depression. When Jimmy Carter’s unemployed, it’s a recovery.

(APPLAUSE)

Nothing — nothing will turn America around more than Election Night, when Barack Obama loses decisively.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: The last words Ronald Reagan said as president of the United States in his farewell address, he was concerned about the future of our country because we were forgetting who we were, didn’t remember what America was really all about.

I think that’s what’s the problem right now, is we have a president who doesn’t understand what America is all about.

America is a great country because we are a country that believes in God-given rights to every single man, woman and child in America…

(APPLAUSE)

… and that we built this country from the bottom up, believing in free people, to have that responsibility to live their lives in service to themselves, their family, their community, and their god, and in so doing, we transformed the world.

We had a leader in Reagan who believed in you. President Obama is the new King George III, who believes in things being dictated from on high. We need to replace him with someone who believes in the American people again.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Johnson?

JOHNSON: My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Balance the federal budget now, not 15 years from now, not 20 years from now, but now. And throw out the entire federal tax system, replace it with a fair tax, a consumption tax, that by all measurements is just that. It’s fair. It does away with corporate income tax. If that doesn’t create tens of millions of jobs in this country, I don’t know what does.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: You just made your neighbor’s dog very famous.

(LAUGHTER)

When we come back in just one minute — one minute — the final round. We’ll be talking about the Republican ticket. We’re back from Orlando, Florida.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to Orlando for our final round, our final question from YouTube. Our wildcard question comes from Darrell Owens in Richmond, Virginia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: If you had to choose one of your opponents on the stage tonight to be your running mate in the 2012 election, who would you choose, and why? And why would this person help you make the country better?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Again, if you had to choose a running mate, one of the people on the stage with you, who would you choose and why? Thirty seconds down the row.
Governor Johnson?

JOHNSON: Well, that would be the guy three down, Congressman Paul.

And that would be…

(APPLAUSE)

And that would be the notion that this country is about liberty and freedom and that right now we are facing an extraordinary crisis that, if we do not address it now, we’re going to find ourselves in a monetary crisis that is going to leave us all with nothing. And if we want to look at an example of that, that would be Russia that experienced a monetary collapse, that in our lifetimes may never acquire (ph). We need to avoid that now.

BAIER: Senator Santorum, who would you choose?

SANTORUM: I would pick someone who would do what I have articulated I would do as president of the United States. That’s what you — that’s what a vice president should be, someone who would follow through on what you promise the American public to do.

BAIER: You have eight to choose.

SANTORUM: And — and I — and I would say that, you know, right now that, you know, the guy that I’m agreeing with most up on stage is probably the guy to my left. So I would say that Newt Gingrich would be the guy that I would — I would pick as someone who — who would follow through with what I’m saying.

BAIER: Speaker Gingrich?

GINGRICH: Yeah, I’m going to disappoint those in the audience who want this to be a Hollywood game. I don’t have any idea who I would pick as the vice presidential nominee. What I do know is, it would have to be a person capable of being president of the United States, and that would be the first criteria. These are all good friends of mine. I couldn’t imagine hurting any of their feelings by choosing one tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: Congressman Paul, hurt away.

PAUL: I don’t plan to make a choice at the moment, because I am on national polls. It seems like I’m in third place now. I think it would be inappropriate.

(APPLAUSE

As soon as — as soon as I’m one of the two top tier, then I will start thinking along that line. But right now, I’m going to defer, and just work very hard, and make sure that I stay in the top tier and then eventually be one of the top two contenders.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Perry, how do you answer Darrell Jones?

PERRY: Well, staying with the game show idea here, I don’t know how you would do this, but if you could take Herman Cain and mate him up with Newt Gingrich, I think you would have a couple of really interesting guys to work with.

(LAUGHTER)

I don’t know how you’d do it.

BAIER: Governor Romney, Darrell Owens would like an answer.

ROMNEY: There are a couple of images I’m going to have a hard time getting out of my mind.

(LAUGHTER)

That’s one, and Gary Johnson’s dogs are the other, I’ll tell you.

(LAUGHTER)

I’m — I’m going to go with Newt on this, meaning I’m going to subscribe to his same view. I know I’m going to disappoint.

But my view is, if you pick a vice president, if you’re lucky enough to become the nominee of this party, picking a vice president would be something you give a lot of thought to, a lot of evaluation to, and you want someone who without question could become the president of the United States.

These people could all fill that — that position. Any one of them would be a better president than what we have now.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Governor Romney, I hate to follow up here, but you called Governor Perry unelectable based on his Social Security…

ROMNEY: Actually, I — actually, I didn’t use that term, but the newspaper did. That happens now and then. But the point is still, I think, that there are some problems that exist in each of our backgrounds that make it harder for us to get elected. I hope we get elected. I hope one of us gets to that White House. I think we will, because I think this president has failed miserably.

But I’ll tell you one thing. I — look, Governor Perry and I disagree on some issues. I think I probably disagree with everybody — we all have differing views on different issues. But one thing’s for
sure: We all agree that President Obama needs to be former President Obama, and we’re going to make that happen.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Congresswoman Bachmann, back to the original question?

BACHMANN: Obviously, we need to have a strong constitutional conservative, and that’s what I would look for in a vice president.

But I want to say this, as well. Every four years, conservatives are told that we have to settle, and it’s anybody but Obama. That’s what we’re hearing this year.

I don’t think that’s true. I think if there’s any year — President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of any president in modern times. He hasn’t gone to the basement yet. It’ll be a lot lower than what it is now. That’s why we need to choose a candidate who represents conservatives and constitutional conservative positions.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Cain?

CAIN: This is a game, and it is hypothetical. I’ll play the game.

(LAUGHTER)

If — if Governor Romney would throw out his jobs growth plan and replace it with 999, he has a shot.

(LAUGHTER)

If he does not, I would probably go with Speaker Gingrich, who I have the greatest admiration for, in all seriousness, because of his history and because of his depth of knowledge. I could go on because I have respect for everybody up here. But it’s a game.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: It is a YouTube question.

Governor Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: You know, I’m tempted to say that, when all is said and done, the two guys standing in the middle here, Romney and Perry, aren’t going to be around, because they’re going to bludgeon each other to death.

(LAUGHTER)

But — but I’m also reminded of about four years ago, we had two frontrunners in similar situations, one by the name of Rudy Giuliani, I think, and the other by the name of Fred Thompson. They seemed to disappear altogether; I can’t remember where they went.

But I would have — I would have to say, since Chris Wallace doesn’t qualify as somebody on the stage, so I can’t — I can’t pick one of you, that Herman Cain, because of his selection of ties, the fact that — the fact that we both — we both apparently agree with the gold standard, wearing the yellow ties here tonight. And because of the good neighbor policy, 999, mixed with my tax policy, would be the most competitive thing this nation could ever achieve. I’d have to say Herman’s my man.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Candidates, thank you very much. That is it for our debate tonight. Our thanks to the candidates and their staffs. A big thank you to our debate partner, Google, and the Florida Republican Party, to all the great people here in the Orange County Convention Center and, of course, the state of Florida. They could not have been more hospitable.

Stay with Fox News Channel, America’s election headquarters, all the way to the general election and the inauguration.

Political Buzz September 21, 2011: House Defeats Stopgap Spending Bill 230-195 — 4 Dozen Republicans Join Democrats Defecting from Leadership — Government Shutdown Possible

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner addresses reporters during a press conference. | Jay Westcott/POLITICO

THE HEADLINES: HOUSE DEFEATS STOPGAP SPENDING 230-195 — FOUR DOZEN REPUBLICANS JOIN DEMOCRATS DEFECTING FROM LEADERSHIP

News Alert: House rejects resolution to fund government after Sept. 30: The House rejected a resolution Wednesday to fund the government through Nov. 18, as GOP leaders were unable to overcome opposition from Democrats who wanted more disaster relief and conservatives who wanted to cut more deeply. President Obama must sign a continuing resolution by Sept. 30 or risk a government shutdown.

House kills stopgap spending bill: The House has rejected a measure providing $3.7 billion for disaster relief as part of a bill to keep the government running through mid-November. The surprise 230-195 defeat for GOP leaders came at the hands of Democrats and tea party Republicans.
Democrats were opposed because the measure contains cuts to a government loan program to help car companies build fuel efficient vehicles.
For their part, many GOP conservatives feel the underlying bill permits spending at too high a rate. — AP, 9-21-11

  • Republican Defections Defeat Bill Containing Disaster Relief Aid: The U.S. House, in a surprise setback to Republican leaders, defeated a spending bill providing $3.65 billion in aid to victims of recent natural disasters and needed to prevent a government shutdown.
    Republicans unhappy with the measure’s overall cost joined Democrats opposed to a proposed cut in an auto industry-loan program to derail the measure yesterday, 230-195. Opposing the legislation were 48 Republicans and 182 Democrats; backing it were 189 Republicans and six Democrats.
    The defeat raises the prospect of a government shutdown because the bill would fund the government until Nov. 18. The current fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and Congress is in recess next week…. – BusinessWeek, 9-21-11
  • US House unexpectedly defeats spending bill: A bill that would fund the US government past Sept. 30 unexpectedly failed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday as dozens of Republicans broke with party leaders to push for deeper spending cuts…. – Reuters, 9-21-11
  • House Rebukes G.O.P. Leaders Over Spending: House Republicans suffered a surprising setback when the House rejected their version of a stopgap spending bill, leaving unclear how Congress will keep the government open and aid natural disaster victims…. – NYT, 9-21-11
  • House rejects temporary funding measure, raising shutdown risk: The threat of a government shutdown intensified as the GOP-led House failed to muster a majority to approve legislation to fund the government after Republicans insisted that federal disaster aid be paid for with spending cuts elsewhere…. – LAT, 9-21-11
  • House conservatives revolt on spending bill: A stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded past Sept. 30 collapsed in the House late Wednesday in a return of the same brinkmanship politics that so soured voters on Congress in the debt fight over the summer.
    Republicans lost 48 of their own members on the 230-195 vote, even as Democrats took advantage of the GOP’s vulnerability by pulling back their support in protest of spending cuts affecting the auto industry…. – Politico, 9-21-11
  • Vote on House spending bill reveals John Boehner’s lack of control: House Republicans tried a fresh strategy Wednesday night: Go it alone on a spending bill. The result was an embarrassing setback.
    Wednesday night’s rank-and-file rebuke of GOP leadership — with 48 Republicans bolting on a temporary spending bill — underscored the fact that the House Republican majority is still struggling to find unity on major spending bills. It also showed they still need Democratic votes to help them govern.
    The pressure from an angry Speaker John Boehner didn’t work — he even threatened to strip committee assignments. Four dozen Republicans —mostly conservatives — wanted more cuts, and they just said no, creating an uncomfortable scene on the House floor as the funding bill failed on a 195-230 vote. Democrats showed a rare moment of unity in overwhelmingly opposing the continuing resolution, which would keep the government funded through Nov. 18.
    Now, to prevent a government shutdown, Republicans will have to rewrite the bill and figure out how to get the votes…. – Politico, 9-21-11
  • House Democratic leaders urge members to vote ‘no’ on stopgap funding bill: A partisan dispute over disaster relief funds escalated Wednesday as Democratic leaders in the House urged rank-and-file members to oppose a resolution to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30…. – WaPo, 9-21-11
  • House GOP regroups after loss on spending bill: House GOP leaders are regrouping after a surprise loss on a measure to provide $3.7 billion for disaster relief and prevent a government shutdown at the end of next week.
    Wednesday’s 230-195 defeat came at the hands of Democrats and tea party Republicans.
    Now the question confronting GOP leaders including Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is whether to push the legislation to the left or the right in hopes of passing it through the House and reaching agreement with the Democratic Senate before disaster aid runs out for victims of Hurricane Irene and other disasters early next week…. – AP, 9-21-11
  • More Budget Dysfunction: Conservative House Republicans delivered a stinging rebuke to Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, as four dozen GOP lawmakers joined with almost every Democrat to defeat a six-week stop gap budget bill that also included extra disaster relief money for FEMA.
    Those four dozen Republicans wanted deeper budget cuts in this temporary budget, while the over 200 Democrats wanted less in budget cuts and more money for FEMA…. – Atlanta Journal Constitution, 9-21-11
  • Republican Defections Defeat Bill With Disaster Relief Aid: The US House defeated a spending bill that included $3.65 billion in aid to victims of recent natural disasters and would keep the government operating past this month…. – San Francisco Chronicle, 9-22-11
  • GOP House leaders rebuked on spending: The surprise defeat in the House Wednesday of a special funding measure to keep the federal government functioning past Sept. 30 was a sharp rebuke of the GOP leadership that controls the chamber and a testament to the fragility of the majority itself.
    The rejection of the measure resurrected the specter of a government shutdown at the end of the month and suggested that the heated confrontations that dominated Washington in the spring and early summer are likely to return this fall.
    While it is widely expected that the parties will eventually reach a compromise to avoid a shutdown, Wednesday’s 230-to-195 vote showed what can happen when the GOP majority operates with no more than minimal Democratic support.
    The failure of the bill was the result of a new solidarity among Democrats on funding issues and old divisions among Republicans on spending reductions…. – WaPo, 9-22-11

 

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES: FROM THE HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE — 9-21-11

Page: H6304
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up…
H. Res. 405
Mr. WOODALL. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
GENERAL LEAVE
Mr. WOODALL. I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative…
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 405 provides for a closed rule for…
Page: H6305
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I thank my colleague for yielding me the customary 30 minutes,…
Page: H6306
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to yield 5 minutes to a gentleman who has…
Mr. DREIER. I thank my friend for yielding and congratulate him on his stellar…
Page: H6307
Mr. WOODALL. I yield the gentleman an additional 5 minutes.
Mr. DREIER. I thank my friend for yielding.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from…
Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, today the Republican majority has made a…
Mr. WOODALL. I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman…
Mr. LEVIN. We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric the first 10 minutes, or whatever, on…
Mr. WOODALL. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. LEVIN. I yield to the gentleman from Georgia.
Mr. WOODALL. I appreciate the gentleman yielding.
Mr. LEVIN. You’ve been misinformed. There are millions and millions of dollars…
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to speak to…
Page: H6308
Mr. LEVIN. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WOODALL. I would be happy to yield to my friend.
Mr. LEVIN. There is nothing in that decision, nothing in that action that paid…
Mr. WOODALL. Reclaiming my time from my friend, you’re absolutely right that…
Mr. LEVIN. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WOODALL. I would be happy to yield to my friend.
Mr. LEVIN. So now you’re saying we’re paying for it by taking away jobs from…
Mr. WOODALL. Reclaiming my time, as I’m not the chairman of the committee, I…
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I want to yield myself 10 seconds to say that I…
Mr. PASCRELL. Look, we’re all Americans. We’re not Democrats, Republicans.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I yield the gentleman another 10 seconds.
Mr. PASCRELL. This coalition is going to stay strong because America is more…
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, to correct what may be a misunderstanding about the…
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New York, a …
Page: H6309
Mr. HINCHEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the rule and more broadly to…
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. HINCHEY. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WOODALL. I yield to the gentleman from New York.
Mr. HINCHEY. Thank you very much. I deeply appreciate it.
Mr. WOODALL. Reclaiming my time.
Mr. WOODALL. I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Let me just reiterate.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I’m going to give myself another second here just to say I keep…
Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, America has had an economic disaster and a natural…
Mr. WOODALL. I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Vermont…
Mr. WELCH. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. [Page:…
Page: H6310
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds just to say that we have…
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from North…
Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the President signed the patent reform…
Mr. WOODALL. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman…
Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, this bill is brought to us by people who know the…
Page: H6311
Mr. WOODALL. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr….
Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, there is a not-so-thin line between being frugal and…
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ELLISON. No, I will not yield, and I won’t cede any of my time, so you…
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I am proud that we have been able to have a…
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Thank you for yielding.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan…
Mr. PETERS. Mr. Speaker, I come from the Greater Detroit area, which has been…
Mr. WOODALL. I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson…
Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, it would seem that we would come to the…
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I yield the gentlewoman 1 additional minute.
Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Rather than declaring disasters what they are,…
Mr. WOODALL. I yield 1 minute to the chairman of the committee, the gentleman…
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. I thank the gentleman for yielding again. I’ll be very…
Page: H6312
Mr. WOODALL. I say to my friend to from New York, I have no more speakers and…
Ms. SLAUGHTER. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I want to urge my colleagues to vote “no,” defeat…
Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
An Amendment to H. Res. 405 Offered by Mrs. Slaughter of New York
The Vote on the Previous Question: What It Really Means
Page: H6313
Mr. WOODALL. I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous…
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
Mrs. MYRICK changed her vote from “nay” to “yea.”
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
Page: H6314
Mr. ROKITA changed his vote from “nay” to “yea.”

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Obama’s Speeches with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron & France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy & Japan’s PM Yoshihiko Noda

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Luncheon Toasts

U.N. Secretary General's Luncheon
September 21, 2011 8:18 PM

U.N. Secretary General’s Luncheon

United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

1:54 P.M. EDT

SECRETARY GENERAL BAN:  President Obama, Excellencies, distinguished heads of state and government, Your Highnesses, Your Majesties, distinguished ministers, ladies and gentlemen: Welcome to the United Nations. Welcome to our common house.

We are off to a flying start today, I must say. Thank you, President Obama, for your inspiring oratory, and more, for its vital importance.

As ever, we thank the United States and its generous people for hosting United Nations during last 66 years. This is the 66th session. Let me offer a special word of thanks to New Yorkers. In the last month, they have faced an earthquake, then a hurricane, now a perfect storm of the world’s leaders, creating a lot of traffic jams. And we are very much grateful for their patience.

Let me say straight off, this is my fifth lunch with the distinguished leaders of the world, and I’m very much grateful for your strong support.  In that regard, I am very glad that it is not my last lunch, and we will have five more lunches in the coming five years. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Taking this opportunity, I would like to really sincerely express my appreciation and thanks to all of the heads of state and government for your strong support. You can count on me. And it’s a great and extraordinary honor to serve this great organization.

Mr. President, 50 years ago this week, your predecessor, President John F. Kennedy, addressed the General Assembly. He came, he said to join with other world leaders — and I quote, “to look across this world of threats to a world of peace.” Looking out upon the world we see no shortages of threats.  And closer to home, wherever we might live, we see the familiar struggles of political life — left versus right, rich versus poor, and up versus down.  Seldom, however, has the debate been more emotional or strident; yet, seldom has the need for unity been greater.

We know the challenges. I won’t reprise my speech except to say that we do, indeed, have a rare and generational opportunity to make a lasting difference in people’s lives. If there is a theme in all that has been said today by the leaders, it would be the imperative of unity, solidarity, in realizing that opportunity. We must act together. There is no opt-out clause for global problem-solving.  Every country has something to give in and to gain.

Excellencies, let me close with a question. By any chance, do you ever feel that you have become a slave, you have become a slave to this machine?  (Laughter.) Somehow, I sense that I’m not alone.  I have seen so many leaders having, and speaking over the phone, even while at the summit meetings. Thanks to device like this, the world has been more connected. But let us not misunderstand that with being united and being connected depends on technology. Being united depends on us — on leaders, on institutions, and on the decisions you make.

We have come a long way since last year. Outside this building, the new flags of Southern Sudan and Libya proudly wave in the September breeze. And today I am very pleased to recognize the President of Southern Sudan — his Excellency Salva Kiir — who came to New York for the first time after their independence; and President of National Transitional Council of Libya, his Excellency Abdul Jalil — who received very strong support yesterday.  And they will continue to receive such support. Let us give them a big applause.  (Applause.)

We can be proud of the firm stand we took for freedom and democracy in Côte d’Ivoire, North Africa, and elsewhere. We can be proud of the many lives we saved, the hungry people we fed, the children we helped to grow up healthy and strong. And we can do more to make the Arab Spring a season of hope for all, to put the sustainable back into development, to prevent the crises before they explode.

And so, distinguished heads of state and government, Excellencies, Your Majesties, let us raise a glass to clarity of vision, to unity of purpose, to a common resolve for action, to the United Nations, and to continued success of each and every heads of state and government present here.

Thank you very much. Cheers. (Applause.) Cheers. Thank you. Cheers. (Applause.)

(A toast is offered.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone. These lunches come right after my remarks to the General Assembly, so I’ve already spoken too long.  (Laughter.)  As the host of the United Nations, I want to welcome all of you. In particular, though, I want to cite Secretary General Ban for his extraordinary leadership. As you begin your second term, I want to take this opportunity to thank you — not just for your leadership, but also for your lessons in life.

As we all know, the Secretary General is a very modest man, but he’s led a remarkable life. Born into World War II, as a young boy in the middle of the Korean War, having to flee the fighting with his family — just as his home country has risen, so he has risen to leadership on the world stage.

A lot of us are envious of him, because, in running for a second term, he ran unopposed — (laughter) — and he won, unanimously. (Laughter.) I’m still trying to learn what his trick is.  (Laughter.)

But, Secretary General, that fact reflects the high esteem with which all of us hold you and your leadership.  And I want to quote something that you said when you began your new term: “We live in a new era where no country can solve all challenges and where every country could be part of the solution.”  I could not agree more. Today, we see the difference you’ve made in Cote d’Ivoire, in Sudan, in Libya, in confronting climate change and nuclear safety, in peacekeeping missions that save lives every single day.

So we want to salute you. We want to salute those who serve in U.N. missions around the world, at times at great risk to themselves.  We give them their mandate, but it is they who risk their lives — and give their lives — so people can live in peace and dignity.

So I want to propose a toast. To the leader who, every day, has to work hard to try to unite nations, and to all the men and women who sustain it, especially those brave humanitarians in blue helmets. In an era of great tumult and great change, let all of us be part of the solution. Cheers. (Applause.)

(A toast is offered.)

END                                                 2:03 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at Clinton Global Initiative

President Obama at Clinton Global Initiative
September 22, 2011 9:02 AM

President Obama at Clinton Global Initiative

Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers

New York, New York

2:43 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  For three years, now, and every year he has been in the White House, President Obama has come to CGI.  He believes in what we’re trying to do.  In his former life, he was a walking NGO.  (Laughter.)  He also is one of those Americans who believes climate change is real and deserves a real response. (Applause.)

And he recently proposed to Congress a plan that even the Republican analysts who looked at the evidence, as opposed to the rhetoric, say will add between 1.5 and 2 percent to our GDP and help us to get out of this mess we’re in and enable America to help the world again.

So I’m gratified that he found the time to come here.  I appreciate the work that he’s involved with at the United Nations.  I think he has a brilliant Secretary of State.  (Laughter and applause.)  And I am profoundly gratified that he is here with us today.

Ladies and gentlemen, President Obama.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.) It is wonderful to be here today.  It is wonderful to see so many do-gooders all in one room.  (Laughter.)  And our do-gooder-in-chief, Bill Clinton, thank you for not only the gracious introduction, but the extraordinary work that he has been doing each and every day.  You are tireless, and we are proud of what you’ve been doing.  (Applause.)

I want to thank the outstanding team here at CGI:  CEO Bob Harrison, Deputy Director Ed Hughes, all the dedicated staff.  And although she is not part of CGI, she’s certainly part of what makes Bill so successful — someone who he does not get to see enough because of me — (laughter) — but I’m grateful that he’s not bitter about it.  (Laughter.)  She’s one of the best Secretaries of State that we’ve ever had — Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.)

Now, this is the third time that I’ve been here.  Last year, I was the warm-up act for Michelle.  (Laughter.)  I just gave a big speech at the U.N. this morning, and so I will not subject you to another one.  I wanted to stop by for two reasons.

First, I want to express my appreciation for the extraordinary work that has been done by CGI.  It’s been said that “no power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come.” And as you know, when Bill Clinton sees an idea out there, there’s no stopping him.  CGI was an idea whose time had come.  And thanks to his relentless determination — but also, I think he’d agree, thanks to, most importantly, your commitments — you’ve created new hope and opportunity for hundreds of millions of people in nearly 200 countries.  Think about that — hundreds of millions of people have been touched by what you’ve done.  That doesn’t happen very often.

That’s the other thing I want to talk about.  Around the world, people are still reeling from the financial crisis that unfolded three years ago and the economic pain that followed.  And this morning at the United Nations, I talked about the concerted action that the world needs to take right now to right our economic ship.

But we have to remember America is still the biggest economy in the world.  So the single most important thing we could do for the global economy is to get our own economy moving again.  When America is growing the world is more likely to grow.  And obviously that’s the number-one issue on the minds of every American that I meet.  If they haven’t been out of work since the recession began, odds are they know somebody who has.  They feel as if the decks have been stacked against them.  They don’t feel as if hard work and responsibility pay off anymore, and they don’t see that hard work and responsibility reflected either in Washington or, all too often, on Wall Street.  They just want to know that their leaders are willing to step up and do something about it.

So, as President Clinton mentioned, that’s why I put forward the American Jobs Act.  Not as a silver bullet that will solve all our problems, but it will put more people back to work.  It will put more money into the pockets of working people.  And that’s what our economy needs right now.

It hires teachers, and puts them back in the classroom.  It hires construction workers, puts them out rebuilding an infrastructure that has deteriorated, and we know that that’s part of our economic success historically.  It puts our veterans back to work — after having served overseas, then coming home and not being able to find a job, when they sacrificed immeasurably on behalf of our security?

That’s what we need right now — we need more good teachers in front of our kids.  I was just having lunch over at the General Assembly with the President of South Korea.  And I still remember the first time I met him, in South Korea, and I asked him, “Well, what are your biggest challenges right now?”  He says, “Education — it’s a big challenge.”  I said, “Well, I understand.  We’ve got a big challenge in the United States, as well.”  He said, “No, you have to understand, my big challenge is, the parents are too demanding.”  (Laughter.)  “They’re coming into my office, they’re saying, our children have to learn English in first grade.  So we’re having to import teachers from other countries and pay them a premium to meet the educational demands that parents are placing on us, because they know that if their children are to succeed in the 21st century economy, they’d better know some foreign languages.”  Well, think about that.  That’s what’s happening in South Korea.  Here, we’re laying off teachers in droves?

Now is the time to upgrade our roads and our bridges and our schools.  We used to have the best airports, the best roads, the best bridges, the best ports.  I’ve been asking people recently  — I’ve taken a poll in New York — how do you find LaGuardia compared to the Beijing airport?  (Laughter.)  We laugh, but that says something.  That’s not inevitable; that’s a choice that we’re making.

We talk about climate change — something that, obviously, people here are deeply concerned about.  Talking to the CEO of Southwest Airlines, they estimate that if we put in the new generation of GPS air traffic control, we would save 15 percent in fuel costs.  “Reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent, Mr. President.”  And think about what that would do, not only to potentially lower the cost of a ticket — maybe they could start giving out peanuts again.  (Laughter .)  But think what it would do in terms of taking those pollutants out of our air.

So we know what to do.  We know that an American should — who puts his life on the line, her life on the line, should never have to fight for a job when they come home.  We know that.  We know what our values are.

So this jobs bill addresses the terrible toll that unemployment inflicts on people.  It helps long-term unemployed keep their skills sharp.  It says to young people who are underprivileged, we’re going to give you a chance at a summer job that helps to establish the kind of work habits that carry on for generations.  Because part of what happens in this kind of recession environment — the disadvantage of this generation coming in and not being able to get fully employed, that lingers for a lifetime.  It affects their lifetime earnings.  That’s contrary to our values.

This jobs bill cuts taxes for every working family and every small business owner in America to boost demand and to boost hiring.  And if you’re a small business owner who hires a new worker or raises workers’ wages, you get an extra tax cut.

So this bill answers the urgent need to create jobs right away.  And I appreciate President Clinton’s strong support of this plan over the weekend.  And the reason that that’s important is because he knows a good jobs plan when he sees it.  He created more jobs in his tenure than just about anybody.  And I’m fighting hard to make sure that we get this bill passed through Congress.

As President Clinton said, every idea in there has been supported in the past by both parties, and everything is paid for.  There’s no reason why we shouldn’t pass it right away.  And for those of you who are concerned about the international economy and development, keep this in mind:  If the economy is not growing, if Americans aren’t getting back to work, it becomes that much harder for us to sustain the critical development assistance and the partnerships that help to undergird development strategies that you care dearly about all across the world.

So this is important, again, not just to the United States; this is important to the world.  It will help determine how well we can support what you are doing in the non-for-profit sector.  I’m going to be doing everything I can, everything in my power, to get this economy moving again that requires congressional support but also those things that don’t require congressional support.

Consider one of the ideas that we’re working on together.  Earlier this year, I announced a Better Buildings Initiative to rehire construction workers to make our buildings more energy-efficient.  And I asked President Clinton and my Jobs Council to challenge private companies to join us.  In June, at CGI America, we announced a commitment to upgrade 300 million square feet of space, from military housing to college campuses.  Some of these projects are breaking ground this month, putting people to work right now.  Later this year, we’ll announce more commitments that will create jobs, while saving billions for businesses on energy bills and cutting down on our pollution.

And it’s a good example of what CGI is all about:  Everybody working together — government, business, the non-for-profit sector — to create opportunities today, while ensuring those opportunities for the future.  We just need that kind of cooperation in Washington.

I have to say that I do envy President Clinton because when you’re out of Washington, it turns out that you’re just dealing with people who are reasonable all the time.  (Laughter and applause.)  Nobody is looking to score points.  Nobody is looking at the polls on any particular issue.  You’re just trying to solve problems.  And that’s the ethic that people are looking for in Washington.

We’ve got enough challenges.  It is technically difficult to figure out how we are going to deal with climate change — not impossible, but difficult.  There are technical challenges to making sure that we’re providing enough safe drinking water around the world, or making sure that preventable diseases are eradicated in countries that don’t yet have a public health infrastructure.  These things are all tough stuff.  But they’re solvable, if everybody’s attitude is that we’re working together, as opposed to trying to work at odds with each other.

And our future depends on fighting this downturn with everything that we’ve got right now.  And it demands that we invest in ourselves, even as we’re making commitments in investments around the world.  It demands we invest in research and technology, so the great ideas of tomorrow are born in our labs and our classrooms.  It demands we invest in faster transportation and communications networks, so that our businesses can compete.  It demands that we give every child the skills and education they need to succeed.

And I thank you for the commitment that you’ve made to recruit and train tens of thousands of new science, technology, engineering and math teachers.  Nothing could be more important.

We can do all this.  We can create jobs now and invest in our future, and still tackle our long-term debt problems.  Don’t tell Bill Clinton it can’t be done.  He did it.  When he was President, he did not cut our way out of prosperity; he grew our way to prosperity.  We didn’t shortchange essential investments, or balance the budget on the backs of the middle class or the poor.  We were able to live within our means, invest in our future, and ask everyone to pay their fair share.

And what happened?  The private sector thrived.  The rich got richer.  The middle class grew.  Millions rose out of poverty.  America ran a surplus that was on track to be debt-free by next year.  We were a nation firing on all cylinders.

That’s the kind of nation that we’ve got to work to build again.  It will take time after the kind of crisis that we’ve endured.  And this is a once-in-a-generation crisis.  But we can get through it.  But our politics right now is not doing us any favors.

Nevertheless, I believe we can and we will get there, by remembering what made us great — by building an economy where innovation is encouraged, education is a national mission, new jobs and businesses choose to take root right here in the United States.  And that’s what CGI reflects.  It reflects the American spirit, which is big and bold and generous, and doesn’t shy away from challenges, and says that we’re all in it together.

And when I think about the contributions that all of you have made, that makes me confident.  Those of us who have been most blessed by this nation, we are ready to give back.  But we’ve got to be asked.  And that’s what I’m hoping members of Congress recognize.  I don’t want a small, cramped vision of what America can be.  We want a big and generous vision of what America can be.  And the world is inspired when we have that vision.

And, by the way, that vision is not a Democratic vision or a Republican idea.  These are not ideas that belong to one political party or another.  They are the things a rising nation does, and the thing that retreating nations don’t do.  And we are not a retreating nation.

So despite the many challenges we face right now, I believe America must continue to be a rising nation, with rising fortunes.  And that makes — that means making sure that everybody is participating and everybody is getting a shot, because when all of our people do well, America does well.  And when America does well, that’s good for the rest of the world.  That’s what President Clinton has always understood.

So, Mr. President, thank you for all the opportunities that you help to create every day.  Thank you to all of you who are participating in CGI.  You are doing the Lord’s work.  And I can assure you that you will continue to have a partner in the Obama administration for what I expect to be years to come.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
2:57 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom
September 21, 2011 8:45 PM

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York
3:55 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Let me welcome Prime Minister Cameron to the United States and New York.  Obviously, there is an extraordinary special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, and I am very fortunate that over the last year or two, David and I have been able to, I think, establish an excellent friendship as well.

And that’s part of what makes the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom so important, is that it’s grounded not only in shared values and broad-based agreement on policy, but it’s also based on the individual relationships that we have and the friendships and joint traditions that we have.

We’ve got a lot to talk about.  We have worked closely together to help bring about freedom and peace in Libya.  We are coordinating closely in managing a very difficult time for the global economy.  We are keenly interested in finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  On all these issues, I’ve always found Prime Minister Cameron to be an outstanding partner.

And so I’m very grateful for his friendship, his hard work, and his dedication and his leadership on the global stage, and I look forward to a very productive discussion today.

Welcome.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON:  Thank you.  If I may say thank you, Barack, for that warm welcome.  It’s great to be back — great to be back in New York, and particularly on this, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a reminder of how our countries always work together in defeating terror and trying to make our world a safer place.

As you say, we worked very closely together on Libya, and I think we’re getting to a good conclusion there, with a real chance of freedom and democracy for those people.  We’re working closely together on Afghanistan; also the Middle East peace process, where we’re desperate to get that moving again.  And I’m looking forward to discussions on the world economy, which we will follow up in Cannes at the G20, where we’ve got to get the world economy moving.

So these are very important times.  I think the relationship is as strong as it’s ever been, and it’s been a pleasure working with you these last 16 months.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Excellent.  Thank you very much, everybody.

Q: Can you give us your reaction to the hikers being released?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We are thrilled that the hikers were released, and we are thrilled for the families.  It was the right thing to do.  They shouldn’t have been held in the first place, but we’re glad they’re now home.

END
3:58 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by President Obama and President Sarkozy of France

 

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with President Sarkozy of France
September 21, 2011 9:07 PM

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Sarkozy of France

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

4:53 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  On the anniversary of September 11th, President Sarkozy gave a speech at our embassy in Paris, and he reminded the people of France, but also the world, of the extraordinary friendship that had developed, in part, because of the great sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made over the decades to preserve freedom and democracy.  And so, not only am I grateful for the expression of deep friendship that President Sarkozy expressed, but I want to affirm the mutuality of feeling that we have towards the French people.

That partnership has been evidenced by the extraordinary work that we’ve done together in Libya.  And I want to thank President Sarkozy for his leadership, as a coalition helped the Libyan people achieve the kind of freedom and opportunity that they’re looking for.  That partnership is evidenced in the work we did together in Côte d’Ivoire to ensure that the rightfully elected leader of that country was put in place.  And our partnership and our mutual leadership will be required to deal with a range of international issues that have been discussed here at the United Nations and are going to be critical in the months and years to come, including trying to find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also trying to find a coordinated world strategy, global strategy, to deal with a economy that is still far too fragile.

And, of course, we still have the joint project to bring stability and transition to Afghan governance.  And we are extraordinarily grateful for the sacrifices that the men and women in uniform from France have made in that effort.

On a personal note, I consider Nicolas a friend as well as a colleague.  Thank you for your leadership.  Welcome.  And I look forward to a very productive discussion.

PRESIDENT SARKOZY:  (As translated.)  I should like to say just how delighted we are to be here in the United States, in New York, alongside Barack Obama.

Now, for we, the people of France, I must say, it’s actually easy to work with Barack Obama.  Whatever the crises we’ve had to face together, whatever the initiatives we have taken jointly, on every single occasion we have found a listening, open-minded attitude on the part of our friend, Barack Obama.  In particular, when tackling the crisis, which is still upon us today, the leadership that President Obama has shown, and showed at the time, have been of a special value to us all.

There is still much to do, in particular in paving the way to the G20 summit in Cannes.  This is our priority; our number-one priority — let me make this very clear — is to find the path to growth worldwide.

Lastly, I wish to say to what extent I am sensitive to the boldness, the courage, the intelligence, and the sensitivity of President Obama, my friend.  I liked him before his election; I liked him once he was elected; and I especially appreciate him now, when the tough times are upon us.

And there’s one thing I want to say, perhaps on a more personal note, and that I really mean from the bottom of my heart.  When things are as tough as they are right now, when the going gets as tough as it is right now, it is especially precious and important to be able to speak to what is the world’s number-one power — to someone who listens; someone who is sensitive to others; someone who is respectful and aware of other people’s redlines and prepared to take them into account, especially at a time when, as I said, we are facing fresh difficulties, and we really need, together, to go forward.

(Speaking in English.)  She speaks like me.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much.

END
5:02 P.M. EDT

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Noda of Japan before Bilateral Meeting

United Nations
New York, New York

12:20 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I want to welcome Prime Minister Noda and his delegation to New York City and to the United States.  As all of you are aware, we have an extraordinary alliance with Japan.  They are one of our closest friends, our closest allies.  We have worked cooperatively on a range of issues related to security, related to economics, and the bonds of friendship between our peoples is equally strong.

Prime Minister Noda and I have had the opportunity to speak by phone, although this is the first time that we’ve had a meeting face to face.  I know that he, like all of us, has some extraordinary challenges that we have to address.  And I know that at the top of his list is rebuilding Japan in the aftermath of the horrific tsunami that occurred.  I’ve repeatedly stressed that America will do everything that we can to make sure that that rebuilding is a success.

At the same time, obviously, we have other important work to do together.  As the two largest economies in the world, we have to continue to promote growth that can help put our people to work and improve standards of living.  We have to modernize our alliance to meet the needs of the 21st century.  And so I’m looking forward to a very productive discussion, and what I’m sure will be an excellent working relationship with the Prime Minister, as well as his team.

PRIME MINISTER NODA:  (As translated.)  The biggest priority and the immediate challenge for the Japan government is the recovery from the great East Japan earthquake and the situation with the economy.  But, at the same time, even from before the earthquake took place, we had a lot of challenges both domestically and in foreign policy areas.  And those must be dealt with one by one, thereby creating a stable (inaudible.)  That’s the challenge for my government.

Our top priority is the reconstruction from the disaster of the earthquake in Japan, the great East Japan earthquake.  The United States has provided enormous amount of support, including Operation Tomodachi and a lot of efforts made by Ambassador Roos. And on behalf of all Japanese nationals, I thank you.  And thank you for your support.

I have a firm belief that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the key pillar of our foreign policy.  Through the assistance that we received after the earthquake this has become an even more unwavering one.  And the Japanese public also were assured, and we recognize the significance and importance of our alliance.

It was reported that the meeting between our Foreign Minister Gemba and Secretary of State Clinton was a very fruitful one, and we would like to further deepen and enhance the bilateral alliance between our two countries in the three major fields of security, economy, and also the cultural and the people-to–people exchange.

One worry that I’ve have is that there is a emerging concern that once recovering the economy we might be drawn back into another recession, and Japan and the United States must work on the economic growth and the fiscal situation at the same time.  And you have the presence of Secretary Geithner here, and we have to work together at the forums — the G20 and other market forum — to coordinate with each other.  And I’m looking forward to having such discussions with you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

END
12:29 P.M. EDT

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama Meets with World Leaders on Day Two at the (UN) United Nations General Assembly

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Meets with World Leaders on Day Two at the U.N General Assembly

Source: WH, 9-21-11
UNGA: potus shakes hands with Clinton at Global Initiative

President Barack Obama shakes hands with former President Bill Clinton after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York, N.Y., Sept. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton) September 21, 2011.

President Obama marked the 19th anniversary of the International Day of Peace with a series of meetings and events as he participated in the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The President began his day with an address to the General Assembly, where he spoke about the remarkable changes that have occurred throughout the world since the last gathering of this group:

This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.

Following the address, President Obama met with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and pledged America’s commitment to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. The Prime Minister agreed with President Obama’s assertion that direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine are the only way to achieve that goal:

I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state through the international community, but they’re not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return.  And my hope is that there will be other leaders in the world, responsible leaders, who will heed your call, Mr. President, and oppose this effort to shortcut peace negotiations — in fact, to avoid them. Because I think that avoiding these negotiations is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians, and bad for peace.

The President had his first face to face meeting with Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda. The two leaders discussed the ongoing recovery from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated that country earlier this year, and the importance of the strong Japan-U.S. relationship. The Prime Minister echoed the President’s desire to maintain this vital partnership:

I have a firm belief that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the key pillar of our foreign policy. Through the assistance that we received after the earthquake this has become an even more unwavering one.  And the Japanese public also were assured, and we recognize the significance and importance of our alliance.

The President also spoke at the annual luncheon hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for world leaders, where he saluted the work of those who served in U.N. missions all over the world,  “who risk their lives– and give their lives — so people can live in peace and dignity.”

UNGA: potus toasts with Ban Ki-Moon

President Barack Obama delivers a toast during the luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations Building in New York, N.Y., Sept. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton) September 21, 2011.

During a stop at the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama discussed the the international implications of our onging economic woes. “The single most important thing we could do for the global economy is to get our own economy moving again. When America is growing the world is more likely to grow.”

Late in the day, the President and his senior foreign policy advisors met with some of our closest European allies. In a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, both men stressed the importance of the U.S.-U.K. relationship. The two countries have  worked closely together on the fight for freedom in Libya, the war in Afghanistan and the ongoing Middle East peace process.

In his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Obama said he would be relying on France to help deal with numerous pressing international issues, ” including trying to find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also trying to find a coordinated world strategy, global strategy, to deal with a economy that is still far too fragile.”

President Barack Obama greets President Nicolas Sarkozy of France

President Barack Obama greets President Nicolas Sarkozy of France during a bilateral meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y., Sept. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

%d bloggers like this: