Full Text Obama Presidency February 29, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Honors Iraq Veterans at the White House Dinner

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

The President and Mrs. Obama hosted a dinner at the White House to honor our Iraq war veterans. It was an opportunity to thank them on behalf of the more than 300 million Americans in whose name they served.

President Barack Obama at a dinner honoring Iraq war veterans

President Barack Obama at a dinner honoring Iraq war veterans, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 2/29/12

President Obama Honors Iraq Veterans at the White House

Source: WH, 2-29-12

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a dinner to honor Iraq War Veterans

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a Department of Defense dinner in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 29, 2012. The President and Mrs. Obama hosted the dinner to honor Armed Forces who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, and to honor their families. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr Jill Biden tonight welcomed a group of true American heroes to the White House. “A Nation’s Gratitude: Honoring those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn” was a formal dinner that paid tribute to our Iraq veterans and marked the end of the war.

More than 100 service members and their guests were in attendance, and the invitees included men and women in uniform from all ranks, each U.S. state and territory, and every branch of the Armed Forces. Together, they represented the million American troops who served in Iraq, and they also represented  what Vice President Joe Biden called the finest generation of warriors in all of history.

In his remarks, the President welcomed the veterans home, praised their bravery and dedication to their mission, and thanked them on behalf of more than 300 million Americans:

Tonight, what we can do is convey what you’ve meant to the rest of us. Because through the dust and the din and the fog of war, the glory of your service always shone through. In your noble example, we see the virtues and the values that sustain America, that keep this country great.

You taught us about duty. Blessed to live in the land of the free, you could have opted for an easier path. But you know that freedom is not free. And so you volunteered and you stepped forward, and you raised your hand and you took an oath — to protect and defend; to serve a cause greater than yourself, knowing, in a time of war, you could be sent into harm’s way.

You taught us about resolve. Invasion turned to insurgency and then sectarian strife. But you persevered, tour after tour, year after year.  Indeed, we’re mindful that even as we gather here, Iraq veterans continue to risk their lives in Afghanistan, and our prayers are with them all tonight.

In one of our nation’s longest wars, you wrote one of the most extraordinary chapters in American military history. Now the Iraqi people have a chance to forge their own destiny, and every one of you who served there can take pride in knowing you gave the Iraqis this opportunity; that you succeeded in your mission.

You can watch the tributes before the dinner here

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President, the Vice President, Secretary Panetta, and General Dempsey at Dinner in Honor of the Armed Forces who Served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn and their Families

Damon Waters-Bey East Room
February 29, 2012

8:07 P.M. EST

GENERAL DEMPSEY:  You can go ahead and keep — you do whatever you got to do.  I’ll do whatever I got to do.  (Laughter.)  That’s what the chain of command is all about.

This morning, my wife, Deanie, we woke up and she said, “You know today is a special day.”  And I said, “Of course it is.  We’ve been invited to the White House to celebrate the end of mission in Iraq.”  And she said, “No, no.”  I mean, she said, “That’s pretty cool, actually.”  But she said, “It’s also Leap Year.  It’s the 29th of February.  It only comes around once every four years.”  And then she said — and so, in thinking about that, she said, “Do not sing.  Don’t even think about singing at this event tonight.”  (Laughter.)  “Because if you do, we are likely not to be invited back again for like the next four years.”  (Laughter.)  And she said –

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Sing!

GENERAL DEMPSEY:  No.  (Laughter.)  And she said, “Besides, the President has a better voice.”  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, sir, I’m your senior military advisor.  I don’t agree with that assessment, personally.  (Laughter.)  But we’ll see.

I’m particularly honored tonight to be joined by the Joint Chiefs, who are scattered through the audience — with General George Casey, with General Rick Sanchez, and General Lloyd Austin, who, honestly, have done some incredible heavy lifting for our nation over the past decade.  You all stand tall in an exceptionally long list of dedicated leaders who put their heart and soul into seeing our difficult mission in Iraq through to completion.

For more than two decades — that’s the thing to remember here — for more than two decades, Iraq was a dominant part of our lives.  In a sense, it was a family affair.  And what I mean by that is some of us sent our own sons and daughters into this conflict over the past 20 years.  All of us left our families behind.  And tour after tour, they served and supported every bit as much as we did.

The road we traveled together was very tough.  Every day required us to balance conflict and compassion, context and consequence.  Everywhere and at every level, we learned the power of relationships — relationships rooted in trust and respect within ourselves, but also with our Iraqi brothers and sisters.

And we saw just how profoundly impressive America’s fighting force, the Armed Forces of the United States — soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — and family members like all of you here tonight, and those that I’ve known through the years, proudly represent.  Because you, and those who didn’t come home with us, and those who returned forever changed, really made possible what we were able to accomplish in Iraq.

It was your courage, your resilience, and your sheer resolve to take care of each other, to defend our nation, and to provide the Iraqi people with a choice for their own future.  Even in — and maybe even, I’d say, especially in — the toughest of times, your character and those you represent here tonight shine through.  And it mattered.

Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, thank you for recognizing the service and sacrifice of the military family in this very special way.  I really appreciate — we really appreciate — the support that you and the Vice President, and Dr. Biden and your wife, and those that they have bound together in the Joining Forces initiative, and the nation provide us, as men and women in uniform and the families that we represent.  And I know that we all share a commitment to keep faith with them, and especially the thousands who have returned with wounds both seen and unseen.
There’s no one more strongly committed to their well-being than the person that I now have the opportunity and the privilege to introduce.  Ladies and gentlemen, our Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Leon Panetta.  (Applause.)

SECRETARY PANETTA:  Thank you very much, General Dempsey.  And he does have one hell of a voice.  (Laughter.)

Thank you for your duty, for your dedication, for your service to this great nation that we all represent here this evening.

Tonight, we are truly in the company of heroes.  The honor that we present to all of you is because we care about those who have fought and sacrificed in Iraq.

Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, we thank you deeply for honoring those heroes and welcoming them here into your home.

To all who fought in Iraq, we thank you for your service.  You’ve earned our nation’s everlasting gratitude.  We are indebted to you for your willingness to fight, your willingness to fight for your country.  We are indebted to your families and to your loved ones for the sacrifices that they made so that their loved ones could help defend this nation.

Again and again and again, you left the comfort of family and friends, you left the comfort of this great country, and confronted brutal realities.  Places like Baghdad, Ramadi, Fallujah, Sadr City, Najaf and elsewhere throughout Iraq.  Your unflagging commitment and uncommon dedication helped the Iraqis realize a dream of building an independent and sovereign nation that could secure and defend itself.

It is not going to be easy, but the fact is you gave them the opportunity to be a democracy — because of you.  You are part of a generation of Americans — the new, greatest generation of Americans — responding to the call of duty by your nation.  Deployment after deployment, you’ve been willing to serve this nation.  You’ve been willing to put your lives on the line and you’ve been willing to die in order to protect this country.

You have done everything this country asked you to do.  You return to a grateful nation.  And you can stand proud of all you’ve accomplished.  We owe all of you the honor that your service is deserving.  And we owe to you the assurance that we will never forget the sacrifices of those who are not with us this evening — those who gave their lives to this country.  We pledge to their memory and we pledge to all of you that we will never forget and we will never retreat from what you’ve accomplished.

Last December in Baghdad, we cased the colors of the United States Forces Iraq.  And I had the chance to be at that ceremony. And at the time I noted, this is not the end; this is truly the beginning.

For America tonight, this is not the end.  It is the beginning of a long-lasting tribute to you and to all who served in Iraq.  This country was built upon the service and sacrifice of men and women like you.  Our very democracy depends on people like you, who are willing to step forward and defend this country, to salute and, yes, to fight to give each of us a chance to pursue the American Dream, giving our children a better life.
And just as you have recognized and fulfilled your responsibility to this nation, we must do the same for you.  It is now our responsibility, the responsibility of communities at every corner of this country, to embrace your return, to welcome you back, and to ensure that you and your families have the support you deserve.

As Secretary of Defense, I can’t tell you how proud I am of you, and how proud I am of every American who serves this country in uniform.

And now it is my honor to introduce someone who believes deeply in that American Dream — we are both products of that, as the children of those who came from other countries.  And he is dedicated to defending and preserving that dream.  I’m grateful to Vice President Biden and to Dr. Jill Biden for their continued strong support for our men and women in uniform.  They have a son, Beau, who deployed to Iraq, so they know what this war is all about and the sacrifices that are required of military families.

Over the past three years, Vice President Biden has traveled to the region extensively and has played a tremendous role in steering Iraq policy.  He probably deserves a combat badge for the political battles that he’s been involved in.  And Jill has led the effort, along with Mrs. Obama, to support our military families.

On behalf of all of us at the Department of Defense, we thank the President, we thank Mrs. Obama, we thank the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden, for their leadership, for their support and for their dedication to a strong America.  Strong in mind, strong in body and strong in spirit.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  I came because I was expecting a duet tonight.  (Laughter.)  I thought maybe we were going to hear you and my Irish friend actually sing, Mr. President.  I’m betting on you.  (Laughter.)

Hey, look, let me begin by saying that — a special thanks to Generals Casey, Sanchez, Odierno and Austin.  The good news for Casey and Sanchez, they only had to see me three or four times.  Poor General O had to see me close to a dozen times, and General Austin put up with me at the end.  I want to say to all of the brass in here and the Joint Chiefs — we owe you a debt of gratitude because you have trained the finest generation of warriors — and this is not hyperbole — the finest generation of warriors in the history of this country — and I would argue, in a literal sense, the finest generation of warriors in all of history.

I get frustrated as the President does when I hear talk about Generation X and how Generation X is — they’re not ready for all the travails that previous generations have been through. Most of you in this room are made up of what I call the 9/11 Generation.  You are the most incredible generation this country has produced.  Since 9/11, over 2.8 million of your generation, men and women, have joined the military, knowing, and in many cases, hoping, that you’d be sent into harm’s way.

More than a million of you strapped on desert boots and walked across those god-awful sands of Iraq, with temperatures up to 135-140 degrees, averaging about 117 degrees in the summer.  Over a million of you.  A million of you.

This journey began nine years ago, when armored vehicles rumbled across the border of Kuwait and into one of the most challenging missions that the American military has ever undertaken.  And all of you sitting at our tables tonight, you know better than anyone, it was something — sometimes an impossible mission.  Sometimes it was impossible to determine who the enemy was — who the enemy was.

That was just a few short years ago.  A few short years ago, there were literally hundreds of bodies a day being piled up in the Baghdad morgue.  The highways became mine fields.  Irish Alley was the place that was one of the most dangerous places in the world.  Every convoy was a test of faith.  And you saddled up, every single day, after seeing some of your buddies blown up, after cleaning out the vehicles, and you saddled up the next day.

A bullet slipped in an envelope and slid under a family’s door became an unmistakable warning that they had to leave the house and the neighborhood or they would die.  And while you may have been steeped in military doctrine — and you have been — you were also made to master the vagaries of local Iraqi politics — issues ranging from electricity to unemployment, from currency exchange to tax collection.

You’re incredible.  You adapted.  You succeeded.  And you defeated.  You defeated a tyrant.  You beat back violent extremists.  And the most remarkable thing you did, because of the breadth of your capability, you enabled a country that had not been governed in any reasonable way for over four decades — you actually helped them set up institutions and train a military and a civilian corps that gives them a real fighting chance.

Today, because of you, rather than a giant vacuum in a strategically vital region, there’s a prospect of stability and prosperity.  And that wasn’t luck, it wasn’t an accident; it was your sacrifice and hard work that made it possible.  And it will never be forgotten.

Harry Truman — President Truman once described the end of a war as “a solemn but glorious honor — excuse me — “a solemn but glorious hour.”  I believe — and it’s presumptuous of me to interpret what he meant, but I believe that he meant that honoring those who fought also requires remembering those who were lost:  4,475.  And the exact number is important — 4,475 fallen angels.  More than 30,000 wounded — some of you in this room.  Others bear, as Leon said, the invisible scars of their experience.

The President obviously will speak for himself, but I can tell you we’re both awed — awed — by your sacrifice.  But not just those of you who deployed, but your brothers, your sisters, your husbands, your wives, your moms, your dads.

John Milton, the English poet, once said, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”  They also serve who only stand and wait.  We owe you, your family members, almost as much as we owe you.  Every morning I’d walk in and Jill would be getting her cup of coffee, standing over the sink, mouthing a prayer.  You wives and husbands of the deployed person, your brothers and sisters — there wasn’t an hour a day that didn’t go by that they didn’t flash across your mind — wondering, is my husband, is my wife, is my son, is my daughter — are they okay?  It’s an incredible thing to ask of so many people.

And now, in the finest American tradition, having carried out your mission, you’ve come home.  As I said when I was with General Austin and with Talabani and Barzani and a couple of you, Colonel, were there — it’s good to see you here, Colonel, instead of in Baghdad.

But like every American before you, every warrior before you, you left Iraq, taking nothing with you but your experience, your achievements, and the pride associated with knowing that you did an incredible job.  That’s an American tradition, too — taking nothing but your pride back home.

So on behalf of a grateful nation — there’s never going to be a way we can truly repay you, there’s no way to fully repay you — but let me simply say thank you.  Thank you and your families for the heroic work you’ve done.  You’ve made a difference, and I think you’ve helped chart a different course for history in the 21st century.

But, ladies and gentlemen, a man that I’ve sat with every day for the past three years or so, I’ve watched him make the decisions he had to make about war and conflict.  I’ve watched him, how he’s done it.  And I know — presumptuous of me to say  — I know — I know every one of those decisions that had to be made hang heavy in his mind and his heart.

There’s no one I’ve encountered — and I’ve been here for eight Presidents — who cares more about you, and all of you who continue to serve, than this man.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud — I am proud to introduce to you your Commander-in-Chief and my friend, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you so much, everyone.  Please, please.  Please, everyone, have a seat.

Thank you, Joe Biden, for not only outstanding remarks, but the extraordinary leadership you showed in helping to guide our policies.

To Secretary Panetta; General Dempsey to all the commanders who are here and did so much under such extraordinary circumstances to arrive at an outcome in which the Iraqi people have an opportunity to chart their own destiny — thank you for the great work that you’ve done.

I do have to say, despite Deanie’s advice, I thought Dempsey was going to burst into song.  (Laughter.)  You have not lived until you hear him belt out an Irish ballad.  His voice is better than mine.  I think you’re never a prophet in your own land, Marty, so your wives are there to cut you down a peg.  (Laughter.)

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:  This house has stood for more than two centuries, through war and peace, through hardship and through prosperity.  These rooms have hosted presidents and prime ministers, and kings and queens.  But in the history of this house, there’s never been a night quite like this.  Because this evening, we welcome, not the statesmen who decide great questions of war and peace, but citizens — men and women from every corner of our country, from every rank of our military, every branch of our service — who answer the call, who go to war, who defend the peace.

And in a culture that celebrates fame and fortune, yours are not necessarily household names.  They’re something more — the patriots who serve in our name.  And after nearly nine years of war in Iraq, tonight is an opportunity for us to express our gratitude and to say once more:  Welcome home.

This is not the first time that we’ve paid tribute to those who served courageously in Iraq.  This will not be the last.  And history reminds us of our obligations as a nation at moments like this.  This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, a time when our veterans didn’t always receive the respect and the thanks that they so richly deserved — and that’s a mistake that we must never repeat.

The good news is, already, we’ve seen Americans come together — in small towns and big cities all across the country — to honor your service in Iraq.  And tonight, on behalf of Michelle and myself, on behalf of over 300 Americans — 300 million Americans, we want to express those simple words that we can never say enough, and that’s thank you.

In your heart, each of you carries your own story — the pride of a job well done; the pain of losing a friend, a comrade. Ernie Pyle, who celebrated our GIs in World War II, said that your world can never be known to the rest of us.  Tonight, what we can do is convey what you’ve meant to the rest of us.  Because through the dust and the din and the fog of war, the glory of your service always shone through.  In your noble example, we see the virtues and the values that sustain America, that keep this country great.

You taught us about duty.  Blessed to live in the land of the free, you could have opted for an easier path.  But you know that freedom is not free.  And so you volunteered and you stepped forward, and you raised your hand and you took an oath — to protect and defend; to serve a cause greater than yourself, knowing, in a time of war, you could be sent into harm’s way.

You taught us about resolve.  Invasion turned to insurgency and then sectarian strife.  But you persevered, tour after tour, year after year.  Indeed, we’re mindful that even as we gather here, Iraq veterans continue to risk their lives in Afghanistan, and our prayers are with them all tonight.

In one of our nation’s longest wars, you wrote one of the most extraordinary chapters in American military history.  Now the Iraqi people have a chance to forge their own destiny, and every one of you who served there can take pride in knowing you gave the Iraqis this opportunity; that you succeeded in your mission.

You taught us about devotion — to country and to comrades, but most of all, to family.  Because I know that some of the hardest days of war were the moments you missed back home — the birthdays, the anniversaries, when your little girl or boy took their first wobbly steps.  And behind every one of you, was a parent, a spouse, or son or a daughter, trying to stay strong, and praying for the day that you’d come home safe.  And that’s why Michelle and Dr. Biden have made it their mission to make sure America takes care of your families, because they inspire us as much as you do.  They deserve that honor as much as you do.

That’s why I’d ask all the spouses and the partners and families to stand up and accept our gratitude for your remarkable service — especially because you look so good tonight.  (Applause.)

You taught us about sacrifice — a love of country so deep, so profound, you were willing to give your lives for it.  And tonight, we pay solemn tribute to all who did.  We remember the first, on that first day of war:  Major Jay Thomas Aubin; Captain Ryan Anthony Beaupre; Corporal Brian Matthew Kennedy; Staff Sergeant Kendall Damon Waters-Bey.  And we remember the last — Specialist David Emanuel Hickman, November 14, 2011.

Separated by nearly nine years, they are bound for all time, among the nearly 4,500 American patriots who gave all that they had to give.  To their families, including the Gold Star families here tonight, know that we will never forget their sacrifice and that your loved ones live on in the soul of our nation — now and forever.

You taught us about strength — the kind that comes from within; the kind that we see in our wounded warriors.  For you, coming home was the start of another battle — the battle to recover, to stand, to walk, to serve again.  And in your resilience we see the essence of America, because we do not give up.  No matter the hardship, we push on.  And just as the wounds of war can last a lifetime, so does America’s commitment to you and all who serve — to give you the care you earned and the opportunities you need as you begin the next proud chapter in your lives.

And finally, all of you taught us a lesson about the character of our country.  As you look across this room tonight, you look at our military — we draw strength from every part of our American family — every color, every creed, every background, every belief.  And every day, you succeed together — as one American team.

As your Commander-in-Chief, I could not be more proud of you.  As an American, as a husband and father of two daughters, I could not be more grateful for your example of the kind of country we can be, of what we can achieve when we stick together.

So I’ll leave you with a picture that captures this spirit.  It’s from that day in December, when the last convoy rolled out — five American soldiers standing beside their vehicle, marked with the words, “Last vehicle out of Iraq.”  They’re young, men and women, shoulder to shoulder, proud, heads held high, finally going home.  And they were asked what it was like to be, literally, the last troops out of Iraq.  And one of them gave a simple reply:  “We completed the mission.”  We completed the mission.  We did our jobs.

So I propose a toast.  To the country we love.  To the men and women who defend her.  And to that faith — that fundamental American faith — that says no mission is too hard, no challenge is too great; through tests and through trials, we don’t simply endure, we emerge stronger than before, knowing that America’s greatest days are still to come — and they are great because of you.

Cheers.

God bless you and your families.  And may God continue to bless those in uniform and the United States of America.

Thank you very much, everybody.  May dinner be served.  (Applause.)

END
8:40 P.M. EST

History Buzz March 1, 2012: Glyn Harper: Massey University Professor aims to keep New Zealand war record straight

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Professor aims to keep war record straight

Source: Fairfax NZ News, 3-1-12

Glyn Harper

MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ

TAKING NOTE: Massey University Professor Glyn Harper intends to see New Zealand get the mention it deserves.

A Massey University professor wants to ensure New Zealand does not get “swamped” by Australia when it comes to remembering their efforts during World War I.

Defence Studies Professor Glyn Harper has been asked to contribute to the revised second edition of a five-volume Encyclopedia of WWI. “It’s quite an honour, and I jumped at the chance. I think there weren’t too many mentions of New Zealand in the previous entries and this is an opportunity to change that.

“We tend to get swamped a little bit by Australia so I’m just going to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Prof Harper was contacted by the general editor of the publication last month, and asked to be on the editorial board. “And what that means is I will get to look at any entry that is relevant to Australia or New Zealand and check it for accuracy but also suggest areas they may want to look at … if there is anything missing in the encyclopedia pertaining to Australia or New Zealand.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 29, 2012: John Lewis Gaddis: Historian wins annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life”

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Gaddis Wins History Prize for Kennan Biography

Source: NYT, 2-29-12

The historian John Lewis Gaddis has won the annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” the New-York Historical Society announced. Roger Hertog, the chair of the society’s board of trustees, praised Mr. Gaddis for bringing to life “the story of the grand strategist who shaped foreign policy over the last 60 years.”

Mr. Gaddis, a professor at Yale University and the author of numerous books about the cold war, began researching his biography back in 1982, when Kennan, best known for outlining the containment strategy against the Soviet Union in his famous 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow, was 78. (He died in 2005, at age 101.) The book, published by the Penguin Press, received respectful attention from critics when it finally appeared last November, including a 4,400-word assessment in the New York Times Book Review by Henry Kissinger, who called the book “as close to the final word as possible on one of the most important, complex, moving, challenging and exasperating American public servants.”

The prize, which comes with a cash award of $50,000 and the official title of American Historian Laureate, will be awarded on April 13 as part of the historical society’s “Weekend With History” event in Manhattan. Past winners have included Gordon S. Wood, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Ron Chernow.

Gaddis wins national award for Kennan biography

After winning high praise among reviewers for his biography of George F. Kennan, history professor John Lewis Gaddis has won the seventh annual American History Book Prize for his work, the New York Times reported.

The prize, which has been handed out by the New-York Historical Society, is awarded for a nonfiction American history book “that is distinguished by its scholarship, its literary style and its appeal to a general as well as an academic audience,” according to the society’s website. Gaddis will receive a cash award of $50,000 and the title of American Historian Laureate.

Yale’s Cold War star began research on Kennan — the American diplomat known for articulating the United States’ “containment” strategy against the Soviet Union — back in 1982. The book finally appeared in print last November.

Gaddis is also in the running for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

Campaign Buzz February 28, 2012: Romney’s Double Wins — Mitt Romney Wins Decisive Victory in Arizona Primary — Edges Past Rick Santorum to Win Michigan Primary

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY’S DOUBLE WINS — MITT ROMNEY WINS DECISIVE VICTORY IN ARIZONA PRIMARY, EDGES PAST RICK SANTORUM TO WIN TO MICHIGAN PRIMARY

Romney Wins Michigan Primary: Mitt Romney has narrowly won the Republican presidential primary in Michigan, deflecting a powerful challenge from Rick Santorum and boosting his hopes of becoming the Republican nominee.
Only weeks ago, Mr. Romney had viewed his home state of Michigan as a firewall against his rivals, an important battleground state where his background and his message would carry the day.
That changed dramatically in the wake of victories by Mr. Santorum in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota earlier this month. Within days, Mr. Santorum surged to a double-digit lead in Michigan…. – NYT, 2-28-12

  • Romney wins second victory of night in Michigan: Mitt Romney holds off a fierce challenge from Rick Santorum in the state where Romney was raised and where his father served as governor. Santorum benefitted from strong backing from social and religious conservatives, but Romney won big among voters looking for “experience” and those who say electability is a priority…. – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Live Coverage of the Michigan and Arizona Primaries: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are locked in an intense fight in Michigan, while Arizona is looking like less of a battleground. Results, exit polls, updates and analysis from the New York Times political team…. – NYT, 2-28-12
  • Republican candidates compete in Michigan and Arizona (live primary updates): With Super Tuesday just a week away, the Republican presidential candidates are competing for delegates in the Arizona and Michigan primaries. Follow our live blog for the latest news out of Arizona and Michigan. As Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum … – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Romney wins Arizona; Michigan: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney won primaries in Michigan, the state where he was born, and in Arizona on Tuesday night. By Justin Sullivan, Getty Images Mitt Romney greets volunteers at … – USA Today, 2-28-12
  • Romney wins Michigan: Mitt Romney’s tentative hold on the status of GOP frontrunner received a significant boost with victory in Michigan, where he won his native state and fought off a spirited challenge from Rick Santorum. Combined with a resounding … – LAT, 2-28-12
  • Romney Claims Victory in Michigan and Arizona: Mitt Romney fended off a vigorous challenge from Rick Santorum in Michigan on Tuesday, narrowly carrying his native state, and won the Arizona primary on a day that revived his candidacy but did not erase the qualms conservatives … – NYT, 2-28-12
  • It’s a double victory for Romney: He edges Santorum in Michigan and wins: Mitt Romney scored a hard-won, home state triumph in Michigan and powered to victory in Arizona Tuesday night, gaining a two-state primary sweep over Rick Santorum and precious momentum in the most turbulent Republican presidential race in … – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Bidding for double victory, Romney wins Arizona Republican primary, leads: Mitt Romney swept to victory in the Arizona primary and led Rick Santorum in a close, hard-fought contest in Michigan Tuesday night, bidding for a two-state sweep and fresh momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination…. – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Many Cast Vote With November in Mind; for Others, Character Rates High: Polls of voters in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Michigan highlight the deep tension underpinning the Republican nominating contest, with Mitt Romney holding steady as the most electable candidate while Rick Santorum waged a serious challenge with a … – NYT, 2-29-12
  • Analysis: Mich. win averts disaster for Romney, but GOP sparring still gives: Mitt Romney’s come-from-behind win in his native Michigan, and his easy victory in Arizona, are obviously good news for the former Massachusetts governor. But they won’t resolve the knottiest problems vexing the Republican Party’s … – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Michigan voters reveal Romney’s strengths and weaknesses: They were politically mixed and financially battered. They cared deeply about the economy but were concerned with abortion too. And in narrowly backing Mitt Romney, the electorate that turned out Tuesday for Michigan’s Republican presidential primary … – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Romney adds to lead in race for convention delegates with wins in Arizona: Mitt Romney added to his lead in the race for convention delegates Tuesday with a win in the Arizona Republican presidential primary. Romney also won the Michigan primary, but it was unclear who would win the most delegates in that state…. – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Michigan, Arizona voters go to the polls: The Republican presidential candidates continue their campaigns as residents vote in the GOP primary elections. Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney cheer as television networks declare him the winner in the Arizona primary at a … – WaPo, 2-28-12

Campaign Buzz February 28, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins Decisive Victory in Arizona Primary — Still in a Tight Race with Rick Santorum in Michigan

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY WINS DECISIVE VICTORY IN ARIZONA PRIMARY — STILL A TIGHT RACE IN MICHIGAN

Romney wins big in Arizona, AP says: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was headed for a decisive victory in Arizona Tuesday night, where he had the support of the state’s governor, Jan Brewer (R), and a sizable contingent of Mormon voters. In Michigan, however, polls showed Rick Santorum running even with Romney…. – WaPo, 2-28-12

 

  • Romney Wins Arizona; Tight Race in Michigan: Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential primary in Arizona, based on preliminary exit polling, but is locked in a tight battle with Rick Santorum in Michigan, a crucial electoral battleground where Mr. Romney’s hometown advantage has all but evaporated.
    Mr. Romney’s victory in Arizona will earn him 29 delegates, extending the lead he already enjoys over his rivals. The win comes after his rivals largely conceded that Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, would take the border state.
    But Michigan has been a much tougher challenge for Mr. Romney, who was raised in the state and whose father served as the state’s governor. Exit polls and early returns showed Mr. Santorum mounting a fierce challenge to Mr. Romney in a state that was not expected to be close just weeks ago. … – NYT, 2-28-12
  • Live Coverage of the Michigan and Arizona Primaries: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are locked in an intense fight in Michigan, while Arizona is looking like less of a battleground. Results, exit polls, updates and analysis from the New York Times political team…. – NYT, 2-28-12
  • Republican candidates compete in Michigan and Arizona (live primary updates): With Super Tuesday just a week away, the Republican presidential candidates are competing for delegates in the Arizona and Michigan primaries. Follow our live blog for the latest news out of Arizona and Michigan. As Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum … – WaPo, 2-28-12
  • Romney wins Ariz.; locked in Mich. race with Santorum: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney won Arizona’s presidential primary Tuesday night and was locked in a close race with Rick Santorum in Michigan’s voting…. – USA Today, 2-28-12
  • AP: Romney wins Arizona; Michigan close: Seeking fresh momentum going into Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney won the Arizona primary, according to the Associated Press. He and Rick Santorum were also battling for advantage in Michigan…. – Chicago Tribune, 2-28-12
  • Mitt Romney wins Arizona primary; Michigan still undecided: Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential primary in Arizona, but remains locked in a close battle with Rick Santorum in the crucial GOP contest in Michigan. Polls in both states were closed by 9 pm Eastern time. The Associated Press has declared… – WaPo, 2-28-12

Full Text Obama Presidency February 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to UAW / United Auto Workers Conference Praises Auto Industry Bailout & Announces New Trade Enforcement Agency — Stark Contrast to GOP / Republican Candidates

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

A new trade enforcement agency announced today will ensure the playing field is level and that American products can be exported across the world

President Barack Obama speaks at the United Auto Workers Conference
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., White House Photo, Pete Souza, 2/28/12

President Obama Speaks to United Auto Workers

Source: WH, 2-28-12

President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks at the United Auto Workers Conference
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers (UAW) Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today, President Obama spoke at the United Auto Workers Annual Conference to discuss the success of the American auto industry.

After nearly collapsing three years ago, our nation’s big three automakers are turning profits and opening new factories. The industry has added more than 200,000 jobs. And those workers aren’t just building cars again–they are building better, more fuel efficient automobiles that help Americans save money at the pump every time they fill up. The cars they are building to meet new fuel efficiency standards will average 55 miles to the gallon by 2025, cutting our oil consumption by 2 million barrels a day.

When the President took office, our nation’s three largest automakers were on the brink of failure. The economy was in complete free fall and private  investors weren’t willing to take a chance on the auto industry. Doing nothing, as some proposed, would have cost more than a million Americans their jobs, and threatened the livelihood of many more in the communities that depend on the industr. As President Obama explained today:

Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under. The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.  Then even Ford could have gone down as well. Production shut down. Factories shuttered. Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps. And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

President Obama wasn’t willing to let that happen. He stepped in and offered the support automakers needed in return for some restructuring on their end:

[W]e were not going to take a knee and do nothing. We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.  So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We said to the auto industry, you’re going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you’re changing.  And thanks to outstanding leadership…we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences.

Since then, the President has taken even more steps to help our automakers and other manufacturers. Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement he signed into law last year, there will be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago. And a new Trade Enforcement Unit, introduced in the State of the Union and launched today, will help counter unfair trading practices around the world to level the playing field for American workers and manufacturers. As the President explained:

…America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built — not in Europe, not in Asia — right here in the United States of America.


Read more:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President to UAW Conference

Washington Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, D.C.

11:30 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  How’s it going, UAW?  (Applause.)  It is good to be with some autoworkers today!  (Applause.)  All right. Everybody have a seat, get comfortable.  Go ahead and get comfortable.  I’m going to talk for a little bit.  (Applause.)

First of all, I want to say thank you to one of the finest leaders that we have in labor — Bob King.  Give it up for Bob.  (Applause.)  I want to thank the International Executive Board and all of you for having me here today.  It is a great honor.  I brought along somebody who is proving to be one of the finest Secretaries of Transportation in our history — Ray LaHood is in the house.  Give Ray a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

It is always an honor to spend time with folks who represent the working men and women of America.  (Applause.)  It’s unions like yours that fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers.  It’s unions like yours that helped build the arsenal of democracy that defeated fascism and won World War II.  It’s unions like yours that forged the American middle class — that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known.

So you guys helped to write the American story.  And today, you’re busy writing a proud new chapter.  You are reminding us that no matter how tough times get, Americans are tougher.  (Applause.)  No matter how many punches we take, we don’t give up.  We get up.  We fight back.  We move forward.  We come out the other side stronger than before.  That’s what you’ve shown us.  (Applause.)  You’re showing us what’s possible in America.  So I’m here to tell you one thing today:  You make me proud.  (Applause.)  You make me proud.

Take a minute and think about what you and the workers and the families that you represent have fought through.  A few years ago, nearly one in five autoworkers were handed a pink slip — one in five.  Four hundred thousand jobs across this industry vanished the year before I took office.  And then as the financial crisis hit with its full force, America faced a hard and once unimaginable reality, that two of the Big 3 automakers  — GM and Chrysler — were on the brink of liquidation.

The heartbeat of American manufacturing was flat-lining and we had to make a choice.  With the economy in complete free fall there were no private investors or companies out there willing to take a chance on the auto industry.  Nobody was lining up to give you guys loans.  Anyone in the financial sector can tell you that.

So we could have kept giving billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to automakers without demanding the real changes or accountability in return that were needed — that was one option. But that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long term.  Sooner or later we would have run out of money.  We could have just kicked the problem down the road.  The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these companies fail.  And you will recall there were some politicians who said we should do that.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  Some even said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  You remember that?  (Applause.)  You know.  (Laughter.)  Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under.  The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.  Then even Ford could have gone down as well.  Production shut down.  Factories shuttered.  Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps.  And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

More than one million Americans across the country would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  In communities across the Midwest, it would have been another Great Depression.  And then think about all the people who depend on you.  Not just your families, but the schoolteachers, the small business owners, the server in the diner who knows your order, the bartender who’s waiting for you to get off.  (Laughter.)  That’s right.  (Applause.)  Their livelihoods were at stake as well.

And you know what was else at stake?  How many of you who’ve worked the assembly line had a father or a grandfather or a mother who worked on that same line?  (Applause.)  How many of you have sons and daughters who said, you know, Mom, Dad, I’d like to work at the plant, too?  (Applause.)

These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck.  They’re a source of pride.  They’re a ticket to a middle-class life that make it possible for you to own a home and raise kids and maybe send them — yes — to college.  (Applause.)  Give you a chance to retire with some dignity and some respect.  These companies are worth more than just the cars they build.  They’re a symbol of American innovation and know-how.  They’re the source of our manufacturing might.  If that’s not worth fighting for, what’s worth fighting for?  (Applause.)

So, no, we were not going to take a knee and do nothing.  We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.  So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We said to the auto industry, you’re going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you’re changing.  And thanks to outstanding leadership like Bob King, we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences.  (Applause.)

We got the industry to retool and restructure, and everybody involved made sacrifices.  Everybody had some skin in the game.  And it wasn’t popular.  And it wasn’t what I ran for President to do.  That wasn’t originally what I thought I was going to be doing as President.  (Laughter.)  But you know what, I did run to make the tough calls and do the right things — no matter what the politics were.  (Applause.)

And I want you to know, you know why I knew this rescue would succeed?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  How did you do it?  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  You want to know?  It wasn’t because of anything the government did.  It wasn’t just because of anything management did.  It was because I believed in you.  I placed my bet on the American worker.  (Applause.)  And I’ll make that bet any day of the week.  (Applause.)

And now, three years later — three years later, that bet is paying off — not just paying off for you, it’s paying off for America.  Three years later, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.)  GM is back on top as the number-one automaker in the world  — (applause) — highest profits in its 100-year history. Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company. (Applause.)  Ford is investing billions in American plants, American factories — plans to bring thousands of jobs back to America.  (Applause.)

All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years — 200,000 new jobs. And here’s the best part — you’re not just building cars again; you’re building better cars.  (Applause.)

After three decades of inaction, we’re gradually putting in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickups.  That means the cars you build will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade — almost double what they get today.  (Applause.)  That means folks, every time they fill up, they’re going to be saving money.  They’ll have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  That saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time. That means we’ll cut our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That means we have to import less oil while we’re selling more cars all around the world.  (Applause.)

Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement I signed into law  — with you in mind, working with you — there will soon be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago.  (Applause.)

And today — I talked about this at the State of the Union, we are doing it today — I am creating a Trade Enforcement Unit that will bring the full resources of the federal government to bear on investigations, and we’re going to counter any unfair trading practices around the world, including by countries like China.  (Applause.)  America has the best workers in the world.  When the playing field is level, nobody will beat us.  And we’re going to make sure that playing field is level.  (Applause.)

Because America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built — not in Europe, not in Asia — right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

I’ve seen it myself.  I’ve seen it myself.  I’ve seen it at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit, where a new shift of more than 1,000 workers came on two years ago, another 1,000 slated to come on next year.  I’ve seen it in my hometown at Ford’s Chicago Assembly — (applause) — where workers are building a new Explorer and selling it to dozens of countries around the world.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I’m buying one, too.

THE PRESIDENT:  There you go.  (Laughter.)

I’ve seen it at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio — (applause)  — where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit — (applause) — where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line — even though Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it.  (Laughter.) But I liked sitting in it.  (Laughter.)  It was nice.  I’ll bet it drives real good.  (Laughter.)  And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself.  (Applause.)  Yes, that’s right.

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  I know our bet was a good one because I had seen it pay off firsthand.  But here’s the thing.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  Ask the Chrysler workers near Kokomo — (applause) — who were brought on to make sure the newest high-tech transmissions and fuel-efficient engines are made in America.  Or ask the GM workers in Spring Hill, Tennessee, whose jobs were saved from being sent abroad.  (Applause.)  Ask the Ford workers in Kansas City coming on to make the F-150 — America’s best-selling truck, a more fuel-efficient truck.  (Applause.)  And you ask all the suppliers who are expanding and hiring, and the communities that rely on them, if America’s investment in you was a good bet.  They’ll tell you the right answer.

And who knows, maybe the naysayers would finally come around and say that standing by America’s workers was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  Because, I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet.  (Applause.)  The same folks who said, if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”  Now they’re saying, we were right all along.  (Laughter.)

Or you’ve got folks saying, well, the real problem is — what we really disagreed with was the workers, they all made out like bandits — that saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions.  Really?  (Laughter.)  I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you know what.  (Laughter.)

About 700,000 retirees had to make sacrifices on their health care benefits that they had earned.  A lot of you saw hours reduced, or pay or wages scaled back.  You gave up some of your rights as workers.  Promises were made to you over the years that you gave up for the sake and survival of this industry — its workers, their families.  You want to talk about sacrifice?  You made sacrifices.  (Applause.)  This wasn’t an easy thing to do.

Let me tell you, I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time.  You want to talk about values?  Hard work — that’s a value.  (Applause.)  Looking out for one another — that’s a value.  The idea that we’re all in it together, and I’m my brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper — that’s a value.  (Applause.)

They’re out there talking about you like you’re some special interest that needs to be beaten down.  Since when are hardworking men and women who are putting in a hard day’s work every day — since when are they special interests?  Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing?

I remember my old friend, Ted Kennedy — he used to say, what is it about working men and women they find so offensive?  (Laughter.)  This notion that we should have let the auto industry die, that we should pursue anti-worker policies in the hopes that unions like yours will buckle and unravel -– that’s part of that same old “you are on your own” philosophy that says we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves; let the most powerful do whatever they please.  They think the best way to boost the economy is to roll back the reforms we put into place to prevent another crisis, to let Wall Street write the rules again.

They think the best way to help families afford health care is to roll back the reforms we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans.  (Applause.)  They want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased. They think we should keep cutting taxes for those at the very top, for people like me, even though we don’t need it, just so they can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries.

Well, let me tell you something.  Not to put too fine a point on it — they’re wrong.  (Laughter.)  They are wrong.  (Applause.)  That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess.  We can’t afford to go back to it.  Not now.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.  We’ve got a long way to go before everybody who wants a good job can get a good job.  We’ve got a long way to go before middle-class Americans fully regain that sense of security that’s been slipping away since long before this recession hit.  But you know what, we’ve got something to show — all of you show what’s possible when we pull together.

Over the last two years, our businesses have added about 3.7 million new jobs.  Manufacturing is coming back for the first time since the 1990s.  Companies are bringing jobs back from overseas.  (Applause.)  The economy is getting stronger.  The recovery is speeding up.  Now is the time to keep our foot on the gas, not put on the brakes.  And I’m not going to settle
for a country where just a few do really well and everybody else is struggling to get by.  (Applause.)

We’re fighting for an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, where everybody does their fair share, where everybody plays by the same set of rules.  We’re not going to go back to an economy that’s all about outsourcing and bad debt and phony profits.  We’re fighting for an economy that’s built to last, that’s built on things like education and energy and manufacturing.  Making things, not just buying things — making things that the rest of the world wants to buy.  And restoring the values that made this country great:  hard work and fair play, the chance to make it if you really try, the responsibility to reach back and help somebody else make it, too — not just you.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we believe in.   (Applause.)

I was telling you I visited Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit about a year and a half ago.  Now, the day I visited, some of the employees had won the lottery.  Not kidding.  They had won the lottery.  Now, you might think that after that they’d all be kicking back and retiring.  (Laughter.)  And no one would fault them for that.  Building cars is tough work.  But that’s not what they did.  The guy who bought –

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  What did they do?

THE PRESIDENT:  Funny you ask.  (Laughter.)  The guy who bought the winning ticket, he was a proud UAW member who worked on the line.  So he used some of his winnings to buy his wife the car that he builds because he’s really proud of his work.  (Applause.)  Then he bought brand new American flags for his hometown because he’s proud of his country.  (Applause.)  And he and the other winners are still clocking in at that plant today, because they’re proud of the part they and their coworkers play in America’s comeback.

See, that’s what America is about.  America is not just looking out for yourself.  It’s not just about greed.  It’s not just about trying to climb to the very top and keep everybody else down.  When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together and we get them going again.  When somebody else falters, we try to give them a hand up, because we know we’re all in it together.

I got my start standing with working folks who’d lost their jobs, folks who had lost their hope because the steel plants had closed down.  I didn’t like the idea that they didn’t have anybody fighting for them.  The same reason I got into this business is the same reason I’m here today.  I’m driven by that same belief that everybody — everybody — should deserve a chance.  (Applause.)

So I promise you this:  As long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me.  (Applause.)  We’re going to keep on fighting to make our economy stronger; to put our friends and neighbors back to work faster; to give our children even more opportunity; to make sure that the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth.   (Applause.)

Thank you, UAW.  I love you.  God bless you.  God bless the work you do.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
11:55 A.M. EST

History Buzz February 28, 2012: David McCullough, Gordon Wood: Students need more uniform teaching of US Constitution, Historians say at panel “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st Century University”

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Students need more uniform teaching of Constitution, historians say

Source: The Oklahoma U Daily 2-28-12

Instructors need to teach the U.S. Constitution to all students in a stimulating way to create well-educated citizens who are aware of their responsibilities, according to seven panelists in a discussion Tuesday.

photo

Photo by Astrud Reed

Panelist Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law and Political Science Professor, responds to a question from Diane Rehm, NPR radio program host and event moderator, at Monday’s “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st Century University.”

Students, faculty and visitors crowded into Catlett Music Center to hear noted historians share perspectives on teaching America’s founding in a panel titled, “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st-century University.”

National Public Radio host Diane Rehm moderated the panel, which was part of OU’s inaugural “Teach-In: A Day with Some of the Greatest Teachers in America.”

The U.S. needs leaders and teachers who can make the Constitution relevant to students of all ages and backgrounds, Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough said.

“There is nothing wrong with the younger generation,” he said. “The younger generation is terrific, and any problems they have, any failings they have, and what they know and don’t know is not their fault — it’s our fault.”

Teachers are the most important people in the society, and they should not be blamed for these failings either, McCullough said.

“I think that history, the love of history and the understanding of history begins truly, literally at home,” McCullough said.

In today’s education system students are not trained enough to ask questions, and this is a serious issue, he said.

Some students get all the way to college and have very little knowledge about the Constitution, said Kyle Harper, director of the OU Institute for American Constitutional Heritage.

“One of the exciting things about teaching in college is that you are teaching adults, and you are teaching kids who are becoming adults,” Harper said.

Harper aims to create situations for debate in classrooms to make college students realize that the facts on a page influence their political lives, he said.

In most graduate schools Constitutional history is always there, but undergraduate schools simply neglect it, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Gordon Wood said. Even in graduate training, issues of race and women have preoccupied graduate training and the writing of history….READ MORE

History Buzz February 28, 2012: Christopher Kennedy: Francis Marion University professor shares his love of Irish history with students

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Dr. Kennedy shares his love of Irish history with students

Source: Patriot NewsOnline, 2-28-12

C. Kennedy Author Photo

Photo Credit: Photo Contributed

Associate Professor of History Dr. Christopher Kennedy came to FMU in 2006. He has a passion for Irish history in particular.

Dr. Christopher Kennedy, an associate professor of hist-ory, has recently published a book and is currently under contract. He shows his passion for history every day at Francis Marion University.

Kennedy has worked at FMU for six years and moved to South Carolina because he liked the warm weather and the hospitality of the people.

Kennedy is also the faculty adviser of the Phi Alpha Theta, the history honors society on campus, which participates in food sales and lecture series. Phi Alpha Theta has won Best Chapter award from their district for the past two years. Kennedy said that they’re hoping to win again “as a threepeat.”

Kennedy received his degree from the Providence College in Rhode Island and spent four years at the University College Cork in Ireland for his Ph.D.

Kennedy’s greatest accomplishment is his book, “Genesis of the Rising 1912-1916,” on the Easter Rising. This book is sold at Barnes and Nobles and The Patriot Bookstore.

“I’ve stirred up some controversy with my views on the Easter Rising, because I revised the accepted history of it,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s second book is also about the Easter Rising but takes a different approach. The book is going through a diary and explaining the history at a more personal level.

2016 is the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916, and Kennedy hopes to have his second book out by then. It is a continuation of his first book that covers nationalist opinion and the Rising.

“I have been told that there will be major celebrations and academic conferences in Ireland and Dublin to commemorate the Rising,”he said. “I hope to be a part of those events.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 27, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at National Governors Association Meeting Challenges Governors to Invest in Education

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Challenges Governors to Invest in Education

Source: WH, 2-27-12

President Obama meets with NGA (February 27, 2012)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama challenged state governors to make sure all students in their schools today get the education and skills they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.

A majority of states will spend less on elementary and secondary schools in 2012 than they did last year, and more than 40 states cut higher education spending in 2011 — cuts that lead to higher tuition prices in our public colleges and universities.

But when our economy is struggling, the last place to make cuts is in education. Making sure that every student in our country graduates from high school prepared for college and a successful career is central to rebuilding our economy and securing a brighter future. And when students go on to pursue higher education, we should make sure they are able to pay for it.

“Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state as the decisions you make about where to invest,” President Obama told governors. “Budgets are about choices, so today I’m calling on you to choose to invest more in teachers, invest more in education, and invest more in our children and their future.”

The President’s education blueprint for an economy built to last outlines a series of proposals to support our students and future workers, including:

Investing in K-12 education: Continue funding successful programs like Race to the Top, which makes funds available on a competitive basis to states that implement reforms to improve student success; and Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, which helps expand access to high-quality early education programs. Offer more states flexibility to implement reforms without being hampered by No Child Left Behind mandates (11 states have already applied for and received this flexibility).

Training workers for jobs in industries looking to hire: Establish training programs at community colleges that equip workers for skilled positions in high-growth industries, thereby making sure businesses have the workers they need here in the United States instead of outsourcing those jobs overseas

Helping students and their families pay for college: Prevent student loan rates from doubling, make permanent the tax credit that provides up to $10,000 to help families cover the cost of college, and double the number of work study jobs over the next five years to help students who are working their way through school.


Read more:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at National Governors Association Meeting

State Dining Room

11:30 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Please, everybody have a seat.  Have a seat.

Thank you, Joe, for the outstanding work you’re doing on behalf of the American people every day.  I want to thank all the members of my Cabinet and administration who are here today.  I want to thank Dave Heineman and Jack Markell for the outstanding leadership that they’ve shown as they’ve chaired and co-chaired the NGA.

I’m glad to see that everybody has recovered from the wild time we had last night.  (Laughter.)  It was wonderful to have all of you here.

And I always look forward to this event because governors are at the front line of America’s recovery. You see up close what’s working, what’s not working, and where we can take it.  And the thing that connects all of us — and no matter what part of the country we’re from and certainly no matter what party we belong to — is that we know what it means to govern, what it means to make tough choices during tough times, and hopefully to forge some common ground.  We’ve all felt the weight of big decisions and the impact that those decisions have on the people that we represent.

I first addressed this group three years ago and it was the moment, as Joe mentioned, when the economy was in a freefall.  Some of you were just coming into office at that time as well.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans were losing their jobs or their homes every month.  Businesses were closing their doors at a heartbreaking pace.  Our entire auto industry was on the verge of collapse and, all told, the prospects of us going into a full-blown depression were very real.

Today there’s no doubt that enormous challenges remain.  But the fact of the matter is that over the last two years American businesses have created 3.7 million new jobs.  Manufacturers are hiring for the first time since the 1990s.  The auto industry is back.  Our recovery is gaining speed and the economy is getting strong.  And we’ve got to do everything we can to make sure that we sustain this progress.

That means we’ve got to strengthen American manufacturing so that more and more good jobs and products are made here in America.  It means that we’ve got to develop new sources of American energy so that we’re less dependent on foreign oil and yearly spikes in gas prices.  And it means that we’ve got to make sure that every American is equipped with the skills, with the education that they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow as well as the jobs of today.  And that’s what I want to talk to these governors a little bit about.

No issue will have a bigger impact on the future performance of our economy than education.  In the long run it’s going to depend — determine whether businesses stay here.  It will determine whether businesses are created here, whether businesses are hiring here.  And it will determine whether there’s going to be an abundance of good middle-class jobs in America.

Today, the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average.  Their incomes are about twice as high as those who only have a high school diploma.  So this is what we should be focused on as a nation.  This is what we should be talking about and debating.  The countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.  That’s a simple fact.  And if we want America to continue to be number one and stay number one, we’ve got some work to do.

Now, in the last three years, the good news is we’ve made some important progress, working together.  We’ve broken through the traditional stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools.  And I think Arne has done an outstanding job of saying we’ve got to get past the old dogmas — whether it’s the dogmas on the liberal side or the conservative side — and figure out what works.  We’ve invested, but we’ve invested in reform.  And for less than one percent of what our nation spends on education each year, almost all of you have agreed to raise standards for teaching and learning.  And that’s the first time that’s happened in a generation.

We’ve also worked with all of you –- Democrats and Republicans –- to try to fix No Child Left Behind.  We said that if you’re willing to set higher, more honest standards then we will give you more flexibility to meet those standards.  Earlier this month I announced the first 11 states to get a waiver from No Child Left Behind, and I hope that we are going to be adding more states soon.

I believe education is an issue that is best addressed at the state level.  And governors are in the best position to have the biggest impact.  I realize that everybody is dealing with limited resources.  Trust me, I know something about trying to deal with tight budgets.  We’ve all faced some stark choices over the past several years.  But that is no excuse to lose sight of what matters most.  And the fact is that too many states are making cuts to education that I believe are simply too big.

Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state than the decisions you make about where to invest.  Budgets are about choices.  So today I’m calling on all of you:  Invest more in education.  Invest more in our children and in our future.  That does not mean you’ve got to invest in things that aren’t working.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense to break some china and move aggressively on reform.  But the fact of the matter is we don’t have to choose between resources and reform; we need resources and reform.

Now, there are two areas in education that demand our immediate focus.  First, we’ve just got to get more teachers into our classrooms.  Over the past four years, school districts across America have lost over 250,000 educators — 250,000 teachers, educators have been lost.  Think about that.  A quarter-million educators, responsible for millions of our students, all laid off when America has never needed them more.

Other countries are doubling down on education and their investment in teachers — and we should, too.  And each of us is here only because at some point in our lives a teacher changed our life trajectory.  The impact is often much bigger than even we realize.  One study found that a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  One teacher, one classroom.  And a great teacher offers potentially an escape for a child who is dreaming beyond his circumstances.  The point is, teachers matter, and all of us have to recognize that, and we’ve got to put our money behind that.

Now, we want to help you everyplace that we can.  At the federal level, we’ve already provided billions of dollars in funding to help keep hundreds of thousands of teachers in the classroom.  And a cornerstone of the jobs plan that I put forward in September — a chunk of which has gotten done, but a chunk of which remains undone — was to provide even more funding, so that you could prevent further layoffs and rehire teachers that had lost their jobs.  And I’d like to thank those of you in this room who voiced support for that effort.

Congress still is in a position to do the right thing.  They can keep more teachers in the classroom, but you’ve got to keep the pressure up on them to get this done.

The second area where we have to bring greater focus is higher education.  The jobs of the future are increasingly going to those with more than a high school degree.  And I have to make a point here.  When I speak about higher education we’re not just talking about a four-year degree.  We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job that now is requiring somebody walking through the door, handling a million-dollar piece of equipment.  And they can’t go in there unless they’ve got some basic training beyond what they received in high school.

We all want Americans getting those jobs of the future.  So we’re going to have to make sure that they’re getting the education that they need.  It starts, by the way, with just what kinds of expectation and ground rules we’re setting for kids in high school.  Right now, 21 states require students to stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18 — 21 states.  That means 29 don’t.   I believe that’s the right thing to do, for us to make sure to send a message to our young people — you graduate from high school, at a minimum.  And I urge others to follow suit of those 21 states.

Now, for students that are ready for college, we’ve got to make sure that college is affordable.  Today, graduates who take out loans leave college owing an average of $25,000.  That’s a staggering amount for young people.  Americans now owe more in student loan debt than they do in credit card debt.  There’s so many Americans out there with so much to offer who are saddled with debt before they even start out in life.  And the very idea of owing that much money puts college out of reach for far too many families.

So this is a major problem that must be fixed.  I addressed it at the State of the Union.  We have a role to play here.  My grandfather got a chance to go to college because Americans and Congress decided that every returning veteran from World War II should be able to afford it.  My mother was able to raise two kids by herself while still going to college and getting an advanced degree because she was able to get grants and work-study while she was in school.  Michelle and I are only here today because of scholarships and student loans that gave us a good shot at a great education.  And it wasn’t easy to pay off these loans, but it sure wasn’t as hard as it is for a lot of kids today.

So my administration has tried to do our part by making sure that the student loan program puts students before banks, by increasing aid like the Pell grants for millions of students and their families, and by allowing students to cap their monthly loan payments at 10 percent of their income, which means that their repayment schedule is manageable.

Congress still needs to do its part by, first of all, keeping student interest rates low.  Right now, they are scheduled to double at the end of July if Congress does not act.  And that would be a real tragedy for an awful lot of families around the country.  They also need to extend the tuition tax credit for the middle class, protect Pell grants, and expand work-study programs.

But it’s not enough to just focus on student aid.  We can’t just keep on, at the federal level, subsidizing skyrocketing tuition.  If tuition is going up faster than inflation — faster, actually, than healthcare costs — then no matter how much we subsidize it, sooner or later we are going to run out of money.  So everybody else is going to have to do their part as well.  This is not just a matter of the federal government coming up with more and more money.

That means colleges and universities are going to have to help to make their tuition more affordable.  And I’ve put them on notice — if they are not taking some concrete steps to prevent tuition from going up, then federal funding from taxpayers is going to go down.  We’ve got to incentivize better practices in terms of keeping costs under control.  And all of you have a role to play by making higher education a higher priority in your budgets.

Over two-thirds of students attend public colleges and universities where, traditionally, tuition has been affordable because of state investments.  And that’s something that every state takes pride in.  That’s the crown jewel, in fact, of our economic system — is, by far, we’ve got the best network of colleges, universities and community colleges in the world.

But more than 40 states have cut funding for higher education over the past year.  And this is just the peak of what has been a long-term trend in reduced state support for higher education.  And state budget cuts have been among the largest factor in tuition hikes at public colleges over the past decade.

So my administration can do more, Congress can do more, colleges have to do more.  But unless all of you also do more, this problem will not get solved.  It can be done, though.

Jack O’Malley — where’s Jack — Martin.  Where’s Martin?  Sorry.  I was –

GOVERNOR O’MALLEY:  I thought my son was right here.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Right, right, right.

Martin in Maryland is doing some outstanding work on this front.  He worked with the legislature to keep tuition down by controlling costs and cutting spending on college campuses, and you’re seeing a real impact — from the flagship University of Maryland all the way down.  And a lot of you are starting to experiment with this as well.

We can’t allow higher education to be a luxury in this country.  It’s an economic imperative that every family in America has to be able to afford.  And frankly, I don’t think any of this should be a partisan issue.  All of us should be about giving every American who wants a chance to succeed that chance.  (Applause.)

So let me wrap up by saying a few weeks ago I held, right here in this room and in the adjoining room, one of my favorite events and that is the White House Science Fair.  We invited students from a lot of your states and they showcased projects that covered the full range of scientific discovery.

We had a group of kids from Texas, young Latino women, who came from the poorest section of Texas and yet were winning rocket competitions.  And they were so good because they could only afford one rocket, so they couldn’t test them and they had to get it just right.  (Laughter.)  And their parents ran bake sales just so they could travel to these events.

You had a young woman who was from Long Island, had been studying mussels and wanted to be an oceanographer, and won the Intel Science Award while she was homeless.  Her family had lost their home and she was living out of a car and out of her family’s — on her family’s couch, and yet still was able to stay focused and achieve what was just remarkable.

There was a kid — the kid who actually got the most attention was a young man named Joey Hudy of Arizona.  That’s because Joey let me fire off a extreme marshmallow canon.  (Laughter.)  We did it right here in this room.  We shot it from here.  We pumped it up — it almost hit that light.  (Laughter.)  I thought it was a lot of fun.  (Laughter.)  And while the canon was impressive, Joey left a bigger impression because he had already printed out his own business cards — he was 14-years-old.  And he was handing them out to everybody, including me.  (Laughter.)  He’s on our short list for a Cabinet post.  (Laughter.)

Under his name on each card was a simple motto:  “Don’t be bored, do something.”  Don’t be bored, do something.  Don’t be bored, make something.

All across this country there are kids like Joey who are dreaming big, and are doing things and making things.  And we want them to reach those heights.  They’re willing to work hard.  They are willing to dig deep to achieve.  And we’ve got a responsibility to give them a fair shot.  If we do, then I’m absolutely convinced that our future is going to be as bright as all of us want.

So this is going to be something that I want to collaborate with all of you on.  If you’ve got ideas about how we can make our education system work better, I want to hear them today, and Arne Duncan is going to want to hear them for the rest of the time that he’s Education Secretary and the rest of the time I’m President.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
11:47 A.M. EST

History Buzz February 27, 2012: Maya Jasanoff: Harvard historian is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize

Source: Cambridge Chronicle, 2-27-12

Harvard University Prof. Maya Jasanoff is one of three finalists for the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize. Administrators of the prize at Washington College announces that Jasanoff earned the honor with “Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World,” published by Knopf.

The prize, which is co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, recognizes the past year’s best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. Three distinguished historians served as jurors for the 2012 prize — Richard Beeman, the John Welsh Centennial Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the 2010 winner of the George Washington Book Prize; Thomas Fleming, distinguished historian and author; and Marla R. Miller of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In praising Jasanoff’s “Liberty’s Exiles,” the jury applauded the book’s “impressive archival research, its sweeping conceptualization, perspectives and aims, its enviable prose style and the penetrating insights it yields into its characters’ lives.”…READ MORE

Full Text February 24, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt after a Bilateral Meeting

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

A Meeting with Danish Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt

Source: WH, 2-24-12

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark (February 24, 2012)
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Feb. 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya Hebert)

Five months after becoming the first female prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt was at the White House today for a meeting with President Obama.

The two leaders talked through a range of issues — including counterterrorism cooperation and international security. The President also took time to thank Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt  for what he called the “extraordinary contributions” of Danish troops in the Helmand area of Afghanistan.

But in comparing notes, President Obama said that he learned that — just like Americans — Danes are focused intensely on creating jobs and growing the economy.

The President said:

[We] agreed that there has been some progress in resolving the sovereign debt issues, that there has been some progress with respect to the agreements between the EU and the IMF and Greece, the new government in Italy, new governments in Spain and Portugal are all making significant progress, but that there’s a lot more work to do. And we will be consulting closely with Denmark.

President Obama will meet again with a range of leaders from Europe in Chicago in May — for a NATO summit and a meeting of the G-8.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark after a Bilateral Meeting

The Oval Office

3:41 P.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to welcome Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt to the White House and to the Oval Office.  This is the first time that we’ve had a chance to meet, but obviously we’ve been very impressed with the first five months of her prime ministership.  I shared with her how much Michelle and I appreciated the extraordinary hospitality that was shown to Michelle and I when I visited Copenhagen in the past.  And I also wanted to just say how much we appreciate the great alliance and partnership that we have with the Danish people on a whole range of international issues.

Obviously, most recently, the operations in Libya could not have been as effective had it not been for the precision and the excellence of the Danish armed forces and their pilots.  But that’s fairly typical of the way that Danes have punched above their weight in international affairs.

In Afghanistan, I thanked the Prime Minister for the extraordinary contributions of Danish troops in the Helmand area.  They operate without caveat, have taken significant casualties, for which obviously all of us extend our condolences to the families that have been affected.  But because of the outstanding work that’s been done by Danish soldiers in Afghanistan, we’re seeing great progress in the areas where they operate.

We had a chance to talk about the economy.  As we were exchanging notes, it turns out that, like folks here in the United States, everybody in Denmark wants to talk about the economy all the time, and jobs and growth.  And we agreed that there has been some progress in resolving the sovereign debt issues, that there has been some progress with respect to the agreements between the EU and the IMF and Greece, the new government in Italy, new governments in Spain and Portugal are all making significant progress, but that there’s a lot more work to do.  And we will be consulting closely with Denmark.

And we exchanged ideas on how we can ensure not only economic stability in Europe but also growth in Europe, because if Europe is growing then that benefits the U.S. economy as well.  And we emphasized other additional ways that we can encourage trade and reduce economic frictions between the two sides of the transatlantic relationship.

In preparation for our meeting in Chicago, at NATO, in my hometown, we talked about the transition that was already agreed to in Lisbon, when it comes to putting Afghans in the lead in security over the next several years.  And we are going to be consulting with not only Denmark but our other allies in making sure that that is a smooth transition and one that is sustained, where we continue to help the Afghan government to support its own sovereignty and effectively control its borders.

We also discussed the extraordinary counterterrorism cooperation that’s taking place between our two countries.  And I thanked the Prime Minister for the excellent work that her intelligence team has done.  We are in constant communication on a whole host of issues.  The Danes are very much one of the leaders when it comes to counterterrorism, and are obviously familiar with the significant threats that are posed by terrorism.  So we appreciate that very much.

And we had a chance to talk about a wide range of international issues, including the situation in Syria.  And I have to say that all of us who’ve been seeing the terrible pictures coming out of Syria and Homs recently recognize it is absolutely imperative for the international community to rally, and send a clear message to President Assad that it is time for a transition, it is time for that regime to move on, and it is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government.

And I’m encouraged by the international unity that we are developing — the meetings that took place in Tunisia that Secretary Clinton attended.  And we are going to continue to keep the pressure up, and are looking for every tool available to prevent the slaughter of innocents in Syria.  And this is an area where I think the Prime Minister and I deeply agree — it’s important that we not be bystanders during these extraordinary events.

At the same time, there are other threats in the region, including the situation in Iran.  And I thanked the Prime Minister and the Danish government for their leadership role in applying the toughest sanctions we’ve ever seen coming out of the EU.  Difficult sanctions to apply, but we both agree that we’re making progress and they are working in sending a message to Iran that it needs to take a different path if it wants to rejoin the international community, and that there is a expectation on the part of the world that they abide by their international obligations when it comes to their nuclear program.

So the final thing we talked about was the fact that we both have two daughters; they’re roughly the same ages.  (Laughter.)  We traded notes.  The Prime Minister’s daughters are slightly older than Malia and Sasha.  She assures me that they continue to behave themselves, even well into their teenage years.  So I’m encouraged by the report.

PRIME MINISTER THORNING-SCHMIDT:  Good.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  And I thank you very much.  I hope that you have a wonderful stay while you’re here, and we look forward to working with you again in the near future.

PRIME MINISTER THORNING-SCHMIDT:  Thank you, Mr. President.  And thank you so much for your kind words.  And the Danish people have a very strong sense of closeness to the United States, and we always have had that sense.  We have close economic, political ties with each other.  But not only that, we exchange tourism, students, ideas, and culture.  But perhaps most important of all, we have — we share common values.  And I think in a turbulent time, this is very, very important.

So basically, the friendship and the alliance between our two countries is in very good shape right now.  And I thank you for that.

As you said, we discussed the current situation.  Denmark holds the presidency of the EU right now, and we talk about the debt situation most of the time, in Europe.  I conveyed the message to the President that I am convinced that we will see ourselves through this crisis.  We have now put some very important measures in place.  We have fiscal conservation, we have reforms, and we have focus on growth and jobs right now.

In doing that, in this endeavor, I think a closer transatlantic relationship will be important.  We are dependent on each other and we should have closer trade with each other, and I think that would be part of creating sustainable growth in our own countries.

As you were saying, Mr. President, we also have close ties in terms of security.  It is clear — it has been for a long time — that Danish soldiers are serving alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan, and I used the opportunity today to thank you and the American people for the great effort you have put in Afghanistan.  It is greatly appreciated worldwide.  And I know that the Danish people really appreciate the global leadership that you and your people have taken also within that context.

I look forward, of course, to coming back to the States, to your hometown, Chicago, to participate in the NATO summit.  And what we will be discussing there is Afghanistan, of course.  One of the major issues there is transition to the next phase in Afghanistan, and where — what we want to see is the Afghans taking responsibility for their own security.  And we are, in Europe, with all the Danish leadership, trying to gather donors in this — in securing that the Afghans are capable of taking over their own security.

We have some great samples of our alliance.  We have worked together, again, in Libya, where we made sure that Libya came out on a path of democracy.  And I think, again, the Americans showed leadership in that context.

Another area that we discussed, as you’ve said, was Syria, which is quite the opposite situation.  It is horrendous what we see in Syria right now.  But I think it is also very, very true that we have worked together in that area.  We must continue that endeavor, and just today we have seen that, of the leadership of the League of Arab States, there has been a step forward in trying to put pressure on Syria, which is very, very important.  The same goes for Iran.

Another area in security where we work together is in terms of piracy, and I used the opportunity of thanking sincerely the President for the courageous operation that led to the freeing of two aid workers that worked for the Danish Refugee Council.  They are now safe because of the Americans.  Thank you for that.

So basically our security — our cooperation in terms of security are very great indeed.

I will finish here just by saying that I think our meeting here today has confirmed the friendship and the alliance between our two countries.  There’s a lot we can do that — you’re always welcome to come to Denmark — and I think it is very, very important that we have these kind of meetings to renew the friendship, and this is what you’ve done today.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everybody.

END
3:51 P.M. EST

Full Text February 25, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address — Energy Plan Embraces A Home-Grown All-Of-The-Above Approach to American Energy Challenges

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama talks about how important it is to embrace an all-of-the-above approach to addressing our nation’s energy challenges.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 2/24/12

Weekly Address: An All-Of-The-Above Approach to American Energy

Source: WH, 2-25-12

President Obama talks about how important it is to embrace an all-of-the-above approach to addressing our nation’s energy challenges.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: An All-Of-The-Above Approach to American Energy

In this week’s address, President Obama spoke to the American people about the importance of taking an all-of-the-above approach to addressing our nation’s energy challenges. With only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we cannot simply drill our way to lower gas prices, as some in Washington have suggested.  Americans understand that we must have a long-term strategy that uses every available source of energy—including oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels, and more.  We also cannot fail to recognize the important role that increasing the efficiency of our cars and trucks can play in both reducing our dependence on oil and saving consumers money at the pump.  Finally, at a time when oil companies are making record profits and American families are paying record prices, we must end, once and for all, the $4 billion a year in tax breaks oil companies receive.  There are no quick fixes to this problem, but together we can make a serious effort to overcome our energy challenges and help create American jobs.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hello, everybody.

In the State of the Union, I laid out three areas we need to focus on if we’re going to build an economy that lasts: new American manufacturing, new skills and education for American workers, and new sources of American-made energy.

These days, we’re getting another painful reminder why developing new energy is so important to our future.  Just like they did last year, gas prices are starting to climb.  Only this time, it’s happening earlier.  And that hurts everyone – everyone who owns a car; everyone who owns a business.  It means you have to stretch your paycheck even further.  Some folks have no choice but to drive a long way to work, and high gas prices are like a tax straight out of their paychecks.

Now, some politicians always see this as a political opportunity.  And since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas.  I’ll save you the suspense:  Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling.  We hear the same thing every year.

Well the American people aren’t stupid.  You know that’s not a plan – especially since we’re already drilling.  It’s a bumper sticker.  It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.  It’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  If we’re going to take control of our energy future and avoid these gas price spikes down the line, then we need a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels, and more.  We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks; in our buildings and plants.  That’s the strategy we’re pursuing, and that’s the only real solution to this challenge.

Now, we absolutely need safe, responsible oil production here in America.  That’s why under my Administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50% for the first time in more than a decade.  And while there are no short-term silver bullets when it comes to gas prices, I’ve directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers in the months ahead, from permitting to delivery bottlenecks to what’s going on in the oil markets.

But over the long term, an all-of-the-above energy strategy means we have to do more.  It means we have to make some choices.

Here’s one example.  Right now, four billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year.  Four billion dollars.

Imagine that.  Maybe some of you are listening to this in your car right now, pulling into a gas station to fill up.  As you watch those numbers rise, know that oil company profits have never been higher.  Yet somehow, Congress is still giving those same companies another four billion dollars of your money.  That’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  And it has to stop.

A century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough.  It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, and use that money to reduce our deficit and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.  Because of the investments we’ve already made, the use of wind and solar energy in this country has nearly doubled – and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.  And because we put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade – something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.  Now Congress needs to keep that momentum going by renewing the clean energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.

Look, we know there’s no silver bullet that will bring down gas prices or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight.  But what we can do is get our priorities straight, and make a sustained, serious effort to tackle this problem.  That’s the commitment we need right now.  And with your help, it’s a commitment we can make.  Thank you.

White House Recap February 18-24, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Sings “Sweet Home Chicago” — Speaks at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Groundbreaking Ceremony — Signs the Payroll Tax Extension into Law & Unveils Home-Grown Energy Plan

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: February 18-24, 2012

The Obama White House has had a great week — featuring BB King, the Boeing Dreamliner, a speech about American energy, a payroll tax cut extension, and special musical guest Keb Mo.

West Wing Week

West Wing Week: 2/24/12 or West Wing Week 100!

Source: WH, 2-24-12

It’s hard to believe that when West Wing Week was born, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was still around, American troops were still fighting in Iraq, the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, and nobody knew that President Obama could sing – what a difference 694 days makes. We’ve got a great week for you – featuring BB King, the Boeing Dreamliner, a speech about American energy, a payroll tax cut extension, and special musical guest Keb Mo.

Weekly Wrap Up: “Sweet Home Chicago”

Source: WH, 2-24-12

Your Voice, Your $40: On Wednesday, the President signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extends the payroll tax cut and emergency jobless benefits through the end of the year. He credits the Americans who added their voices to the debate by letting their representatives know what $40 means to them—“This got done because of you…You made it clear that you wanted to see some common sense in Washington.”

President Obama, In Performance: Some huge names in music—Mick Jagger and B.B. King, among others—joined the President and the First Lady for a night of blues on Tuesday as part of the PBS “In Performance at the White House” series. By now, we’re no strangers to the President’s impressive pipes, and he certainly held his own against the music legends as he sang a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago.”

New Museum on the Block: Tourists and locals alike appreciate Washington, D.C.’s museums. In 2015, a new one will open its doors—the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The President, who was accompanied by the First Lady at the future museum’s ground breaking on Wednesday morning, remarked that, “This museum should inspire us…It should stand as proof that the most important things rarely come quickly or easily. It should remind us that although we have yet to reach the mountaintop, we cannot stop climbing.”

CC2C: Dr. Jill Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis hit the road this week for their three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour to highlight the integral role community colleges play in developing a flexible, highly-skilled 21st century workforce.

Welcome to Miami: President Obama visited the Sunshine State on Thursday and stopped at the University of Miami to check out their Industrial Assessment Center (IAC)—a smart and important piece of the administration’s “all-of-the-above” approach to domestic energy sources. He also spoke to the Hurricanes about securing a future for America built on home-grown energy, and his blueprint to help us get there.

Full Text February 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Home-Grown Energy at the University of Miami

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Describes an All-of-the-Above Strategy for Energy

Source: WH, 2-23-12

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center (February 23, 2012)

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center in Miami, Florida, Feb. 23, 2012. The IAC is where students learn how to become industrial energy-efficiency experts as they help small to mid-sized manufacturers reduce their energy costs. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama was in Miami today to talk about securing a future for America built on home-grown energy — and his blueprint to help us get there.

Part of the conversation focused on fuel prices — and the fact that they’re increasing. It’s a real problem for people all over the country, which the President said required a real solution, not a slogan from a bumper sticker.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem. You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices. If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more.

As President Obama pointed out, that’s a vision toward which we are making progress:

In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade. We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been. In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years. That’s the good news. And because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -– and thousands of American jobs have been created as a consequence.

But there is still much more that needs to be done. The President is fighting to roll back the $4 billion in tax subsidies that the oil industry receives every year. And in the weeks and months ahead, the President will continue to finding ways to invest in clean energy technologies and innovation.

Want more details about the President’s blueprint? Here’s everything you need to know.

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (222MB) | mp3 (21MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy

University of Miami
Miami, Florida

2:26 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Miami!  (Applause.)  The U!   (Applause.)  It is good to see all of you here today.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Erica for that outstanding introduction.  She said her parents were tweeting.  (Laughter.)  We’re so proud of you, Erica.

I also want to thank your president, this country’s former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala.  (Applause.)  Senator Bill Nelson is here.  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Former astronaut — that’s too cool.  (Laughter.)  And my outstanding friend, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is in the house.  (Applause.)

It is good to be back in sunny Florida.  (Applause.)  I must say I don’t know how you guys go to class.  (Laughter.)  I’m assuming you do go to class.  (Laughter.)  It’s just too nice outside.  But in another life, I would be staying for the Knicks-Heat game tonight — (applause) — then go up to Orlando for NBA All-Star Weekend.  (Applause.)  But these days, I’ve got a few other things on my plate.  (Laughter.)  Just a few.

I just got a fascinating demonstration of the work that some of you are doing at the College of Engineering.  (Applause.)  And let me say at the outset, we need more engineers.  So I could not be prouder of those of you who are studying engineering.

It was fascinating stuff.  I understood about 10 percent of what they told me.  (Laughter.)  But it was very impressive.  (Laughter.)  And the work couldn’t be more important, because what they were doing was figuring out how our buildings, our manufacturers, our businesses can waste less energy.  And that’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to reduce our dependence on oil, and save a lot of money in the process and make our economy stronger.

So some cutting-edge stuff is being done right here at the U.  (Applause.)  Now, that’s what I’m here to talk about today.  In the State of the Union, I laid out three areas where we need to focus if we want to build an economy that lasts and is good for the next generation, all of you.  (Applause.)  We need new American manufacturing.  We’ve got to have new skills and education for America’s workers, and we need new sources of American-made energy.

Now, right now we are experiencing just another painful reminder of why developing new energy is so critical to our future.  Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country.  This time, it’s happening even earlier.  And when gas prices go up, it hurts everybody — everybody who owns a car, everybody who owns a business.  It means you’ve got to stretch a paycheck even further.  It means you’ve got to find even more room in a budget that was already really tight.  And some folks have no choice but to drive a long way to work, and high gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.

I got a letter last night — I get these letters, 10 letters every night that I read out of the 40,000 that are sent to me.  And at least two of them said, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep my job if gas prices keep on going up so high, because it’s just hard to manage the budget and fill up the tank.  A lot of folks are going through tough times as a consequence.

Now, some politicians they see this as a political opportunity.  I know you’re shocked by that.  (Laughter.)  Last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.”  (Laughter.)  That’s a quote.  That was the lead.  “Licking their chops.”  Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically.  You pay more; they’re licking their chops.

You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas.  And I’ll save you the suspense.  Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling.  (Laughter.)  We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President.  We hear the same thing every year.  We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.

Well, the American people aren’t stupid.  They know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling.  That’s a bumper sticker.  It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.  (Applause.)  That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.  You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more. (Applause.)

We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, less energy for our buildings and our plants and our factories — that’s the strategy we’re pursuing.  And that’s the only real solution to this challenge.

Now, it starts with the need for safe, responsible oil production here in America.  We’re not going to transition out of oil anytime soon.  And that’s why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  That’s why we have a record number of oilrigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.

Over the last three years my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada.  And we’ve opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration.  All told we plan to make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, we announced the next steps towards further energy exploration in the Arctic.  Earlier this week, we joined Mexico in an agreement that will make more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf available for exploration and production, which contains an estimated 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

So we’re focused on production.  That’s not the issue.  And we’ll keep on producing more homegrown energy.  But here’s the thing — it’s not enough.  The amount of oil that we drill at home doesn’t set the price of gas by itself.  The oil market is global; oil is bought and sold in a world market.  And just like last year, the single biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to spike right now is instability in the Middle East -– this time around Iran.  When uncertainty increases, speculative trading on Wall Street increases, and that drives prices up even more.

So those are the biggest short-term factors at work here.
Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will probably keep going up is growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil.  I want you to all think about this.  In five years, the number of cars on the road in China more than tripled — just in the last five years.  Nearly 10 million cars were added in China in 2010 alone — 10 million cars in one year in one country.  Think about how much oil that requires.  And as folks in China and India and Brazil, they aspire to buy a car just like Americans do, those numbers are only going to get bigger.

So what does this mean for us?  It means that anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.  (Applause.)

And young people especially understand this, because I think — it’s interesting, when I talk to Malia and Sasha — you guys are so much more aware than I was of conserving our natural resources and thinking about the planet.  The United States consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil — more than 20 percent of the world’s oil — just us.  We only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  We consume 20; we’ve got 2.

And that means we can’t just rely on fossil fuels from the last century.  We can’t just allow ourselves to be held hostage to the ups and downs of the world oil market.  We’ve got to keep developing new sources of energy.  We’ve got to develop new technology that helps us use less energy, and use energy smarter. We’ve got to rely on American know-how and young engineers right here at the U who are focused on energy.  (Applause.)  That is our future.  And that’s exactly the path that my administration has been trying to take these past three years.

And we’re making progress.  That’s the good news.  In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade.  We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been.  In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years.  That’s the good news.  And because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -– and thousands of American jobs have been created as a consequence.

We’re taking every possible action to develop, safely, a near hundred-year supply of natural gas in this country — something that experts believe will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.  Our cooperation with the private sector has positioned this country to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries that will power the next generation of American cars — that use less oil; maybe don’t use any oil at all.

And after three decades of inaction, we put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickup trucks -– and the first standards ever for heavy-duty trucks.  And because we did this, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what they get today.  (Applause.)

Now, I remember what it was like being a student.  You guys probably have one of those old beaters.  Who knows what kind of mileage you guys get.  (Laughter.)  I can tell you some stories about the cars I had.  I bought one for $500.  (Applause.)  But by the middle of the next decade, you guys are going to be buying some new cars — hopefully sooner than that.  And that means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.

And it means this country will reduce our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That’s not only good for your pocketbook, that’s good for the environment.  (Applause.)

All right, but here’s the thing — we’ve got to do more.  We’ve got to act even faster.  We have to keep investing in the development of every available source of American-made energy.  And this is a question of where our priorities are.  This is a choice that we face.

First of all, while there are no silver bullets short term when it comes to gas prices — and anybody who says otherwise isn’t telling the truth — I have directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers in the months ahead, from permitting to delivery bottlenecks to what’s going on in the oil markets.  We’re going to look at every single aspect of gas prices, because we know the burden that it’s putting on consumers.  And we will keep taking as many steps as we can in the coming weeks.

That’s short term.  But over the long term, an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires us having the right priorities.  We’ve got to have the right incentives in place.  I’ll give you an example.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year — $4 billion.  They don’t need a subsidy.  They’re making near-record profits.  These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now.  How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Preach it, Mr. President!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  (Applause.)  And every politician who’s been fighting to keep those subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money — especially at a time like this.  (Applause.)

I said this at the State of the Union — a century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough.  (Applause.)  It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that has never been more profitable; double down on clean energy industries that have never been more promising — that’s what we need to do.  (Applause.)  This Congress needs to renew the clean energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.

The potential of a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy is all around us.  Here in Miami, 2008, Miami became the first major American city to power its city hall entirely with solar and renewable energy.  Right here in Miami.  (Applause.)  The modernization of your power grid so that it wastes less energy is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country. On a typical day, the wind turbine at the Miami-Dade Museum can meet about 10 percent of the energy needs in a South Florida home, and the largest wind producer in the country is over at Juno Beach.  Right here at this university, your work is helping manufacturers save millions of dollars in energy bills by making their facilities more energy efficient.  (Applause.)

So a lot of work is already being done right here, just in this area.  And the role of the federal government isn’t to supplant this work, take over this work, direct this research.  It is to support these discoveries.  Our job is to help outstanding work that’s being done in universities, in labs, and to help businesses get new energy ideas off the ground — because it was public dollars, public research dollars, that over the years helped develop the technologies that companies are right now using to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock.

The payoff on these public investments, they don’t always come right away, and some technologies don’t pan out, and some companies will fail.  But as long as I’m President, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  Your future is too important.  I will not — (applause) — I will not cede, I will not give up, I will not cede the wind or the solar or the battery industry to China or Germany because some politicians in Washington have refused to make the same commitment here in America.

With or without this Congress, I will continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy so our future isn’t controlled by events on the other side of the world. (Applause.)

Today we’re taking a step that will make it easier for companies to save money by investing in energy solutions that have been proven here in the University of Miami — new lighting systems, advanced heating and cooling systems that can lower a company’s energy bills and make them more competitive.

We’re launching a program that will bring together the nation’s best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to figure out how more cars can be powered by natural gas, a fuel that’s cleaner and cheaper and more abundant than oil.  We’ve got more of that.  We don’t have to import it.  We may be exporting it soon.

We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline and diesel and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance — algae.  You’ve got a bunch of algae out here, right? (Laughter.)  If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing all right.

Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in the United States.  And that means greater energy security.  That means lower costs.  It means more jobs.  It means a stronger economy.

Now, none of the steps that I’ve talked about today is going to be a silver bullet.  It’s not going to bring down gas prices tomorrow.  Remember, if anybody says they got a plan for that — what?

AUDIENCE:  They’re lying.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m just saying.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to, overnight, solve the problem of world oil markets.  There is no silver bullet.  There never has been.

And part of the problem is, is when politicians pretend that there is, then we put off making the tough choices to develop new energy sources and become more energy efficient.  We got to stop doing that.  We don’t have the luxury of pretending.  We got to look at the facts, look at the science, figure out what we need to do.

We may not have a silver bullet, but we do have in this country limitless sources of energy, a boundless supply of ingenuity, huge imagination, amazing young people like you — (applause) — all of which can put — all of which we can put to work to develop this new energy source.

Now, it’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.  What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem.  (Applause.)  And it won’t be solved in one year; it won’t be solved in one term; it may not be completely solved in one decade.  But that’s the kind of commitment we need right now.  That’s what this moment requires.

So I need all of you to keep at it.  I need you guys to work hard.  I need you guys to dream big.  I need those of you who are a lot smarter than me to figure out how we’re going to be able to tap into new energy sources.  We’ve got to summon the spirit of optimism and that willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their times -– to power a nation from coast to coast, to send a man to the moon, to connect an entire world with our own science and our own imagination.

That’s what America is capable of.  That’s what this country is about.  And that history teaches us that whatever our challenges -– all of them -– whatever, whatever we face, we always have the power to solve them.

This is going to be one of the major challenges for your generation.  Solving it is going to take time; it’s going to take effort.  It’s going to require our brightest scientists, our most creative companies.  But it’s going to also require all of us as citizens — Democrats, Republicans, everybody in between –- all of us are going to have to do our part.

If we do, the solution is within our reach.  And I know we can do it.  We have done it before.  And when we do, we will remind the world once again just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth.  (Applause.)

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.   (Applause.)

END
2:49 P.M. EST

Campaign Buzz February 22, 2012: CNN Arizona Republican Debate — 20th GOP Debate — Rick Santortum Center Stage, Under Fire, on the Defensive Takes a Beating from Debate Winner Mitt Romney

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

The candidates debate in Mesa, Ariz. | Jay Westcott/POLITICO

IN FOCUS: CNN ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE — 20TH GOP DEBATE — SANTORUM CENTER STAGE & UNDER FIRE — REMAINS ON DEFENSIVE FROM ROMNEY ATTACKS

  • Live Blog: Arizona Republican Presidential Debate: Rick Santorum is taking his turn as the principal opponent for Mitt Romney during a debate in Arizona Wednesday night hosted by CNN. Stay tuned for live updates, tweets and analysis of the best moments in real time…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Live blog: GOP candidates spar in Arizona debate: We’re live blogging the GOP presidential debate broadcast from Arizona, the final meeting of the candidates before Tuesday’s pivotal primaries in Arizona and Michigan…. – USA Today, 2-22-12Liveblogging CNN’s GOP debate in Arizona with Bloomberg Businessweek, Jeff Greenfield, Yahoo News & ABC News - Yahoo, ABC News, 2-22-12
  • FACT CHECK: 20th GOP debate was a trip down memory lane, featuring familiar factual stretches: Twenty Republican presidential debates later, the head-scratching claims kept coming. Did Mitt Romney really cut taxes as Massachusetts governor, as he asserted yet again? Or did he raise them by hundreds of millions of dollars… – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Arizona Republican Debate Fact Check: New York Times reporters take a closer look at some of the statements made by the Republican presidential candidates in Wednesday night’s debate…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Winners And Losers From Final GOP Debate: Maybe it was the fact that the candidates were forced to sit in an odd, uncomfortable configuration. Or, maybe it was that after twenty of these debates, these four candidates are just really tired of the routine…. – ABC News, 2-22-12
  • Republican debate in Arizona: 6 takeaways: Romney came out on top in the possible final debate of the primary season….
    That may have been all, folks.
    The 20th Republican debate came and went on CNN Wednesday night, a painfully long and often personally biting affair — and the last debate the four remaining GOP presidential hopefuls have committed to in the primary season….

    1. Rick Santorum didn’t get it done
    2. Mitt Romney won
    3. Santorum and Romney really don’t like each other
    4. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were basically non-factors
    5. Some issues will last long after the debate
    6. The likely season finale went out with a whimper, not a bang

    - Politico, 2-22-12

  • Republican debate: Mitt Romney v. Rick Santorum get personal in Arizona: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum tore into each other’s records on government spending during Wednesday night’s GOP presidential forum, quickly turning the crucial Arizona debate into a flurry of bitter charges and counter-charges on the size of … – Politico, 2-22-12
  • 2 Seek to Claim Control of Field at GOP Debate: Mitt Romney assailed the Congressional voting record of Rick Santorum and raised pointed questions about his background as a fiscal conservative in a fiercely combative debate on Wednesday, taking urgent steps to try to regain his lead in … – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Romney, Seeking Traction, Duels With Santorum: Mitt Romney challenged Rick Santorum’s credentials as a fiscal conservative in a fiercely combative debate on Wednesday, trying to redefine Mr. Santorum as part of the problem in Washington and regain his footing in the fight for the Republican Presidential nomination…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Republican presidential candidates debate in Arizona: The debate, sponsored by CNN and held at the Mesa Arts Center, is the 20th of the GOP primary race and perhaps the final showdown. It came as Santorum has been eroding Romney’s lead in several key states, including Arizona and Michigan…. – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Takeaways: A few notable moments from Wednesday’s GOP debate in Arizona: Notable moments from the GOP presidential debate Wednesday night in Mesa, Ariz. ___ SANTORUM UNDER FIRE = Rick Santorum’s first debate since surging to the top of polls might be one he’d like to forget. The former Pennsylvania senator took fire from all sides — even from an unsympathetic audience that twice booed him during answers…. – AP, Boston.com, 2-22-12
  • Santorum at center stage in Arizona Republican debate: Rivals heaped criticism on surprise front-runner Rick Santorum in a debate among US Republican presidential candidates on Wednesday, hoping to stall his surge at a pivotal period in the 2012 campaign…. – Reuters, 2-22-12
  • Arizona Republican debate review: Trying to stop the Santorum surge: For much of the time during Wednesday night’s CNN Republican debate, the candidates did their best to try and put the surging Rick Santorum on the defensive. Ron Paul called Santorum a “fake” when it comes to “being fiscally conservative … – Entertainment Weekly, 2-22-12
  • Santorum gets hit from all sides in debate: Nineteen debates later, it was finally Rick Santorum’s turn at center stage. His prize: Fire from both sides.
    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney accused Santorum, the latest leader in national polls, of being a big spender who as a senator from Pennsylvania voted five times to raise the debt ceiling and to approve earmark spending. Texas Rep. Ron Paul called Santorum “a fake” and said he was running as a conservative after voting for big government programs like No Child Left Behind…. – USA Today, 2-22-12
  • Santorum May Be Winning By Not Losing: With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul, whose genial schtick about personal freedom seems beyond the reach, or maybe the comprehension, of his opponents, none of the Republican candidates in the CNN debate is particularly in their groove. Which may be good for Rick Santorum, who was due to take his turn as the night’s piñata in his first debate as a front-running candidate.
    Mitt Romney and CNN moderator John King have tried their best to shatter Santorum’s cool, and the former Pennsylvania senator has been roughed up on issues like earmarking and spending. But Romney looks tired, and defensive at times, and he is not giving Santorum the bruising that he gave Newt Gingrich in Florida.
    Santorum was helped by the focus, in the opening 45 minutes, on economic and fiscal issues. It allowed him to speak like a reasonable conservative, about debt and Social Security and the evil of the Wall St. bailout, without scaring independent voters with his pronounced views on faith, sex and reproductive freedom…. – National Journal, 2-22-12
  • Republican Debate: Newt Gingrich Rolls Over, Plays Dead: The three words to best capture Debate Number 20: Blah. Blah. Blah…. – Daily Beast, 2-22-12
  • Republican debate: Romney fights to win against surging Santorum: Mitt Romney used Wednesday’s Republican debate to go head-to-head with his leading challenger, Rick Santorum…. – AP, CS Monitor, 2-22-12
  • Santorum takes heavy fire in Arizona Republican debate: Rivals piled criticism on US presidential candidate Rick Santorum at a testy debate on Wednesday, attempting to blunt his surprise surge at a pivotal period in the Republican race. Looking to build on a late rise in polls…. – Reuters, 2-22-12
  • Republican candidates round on Santorum: Rick Santorum was attacked from all sides during a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, weathering the onslaught that comes with being suddenly at the front of the pack in the tumultuous nomination contest…. – Financial Times, 2-22-12
  • Gingrich is winner for 1 night: Newt Gingrich didn’t have a game-changing moment in Wednesday night’s Arizona debate. But the former House speaker’s newest approach to the Republican presidential race — staying above the fray, avoiding attacks and focusing… – Politico, 2-22-12
  • Rick Santorum on the defensive over earmarks, contraception in Arizona debate: Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), riding a surge of momentum in the polls, found himself on the defensive Wednesday night as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) slammed his record on earmarking and his conservative credentials at a Mesa, Arizona debate…. – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • GOP debate: A blow to Santorum’s appeal: Wednesday’s Republican presidential primary debate looked like something of an ordeal for Rick Santorum, the sudden but perhaps tenuous front-runner in the national polls. Mitt Romney accused Santorum (accurately) of voting to fund Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere”… – LAT, 2-22-12
  • Santorum makes zero mention of jobs in CNN debate: In total, the four GOP contenders mentioned the word “jobs” only 10 times over the span of two hours — and former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) uttered the word a grand total of zero times. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) … – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Romney quickly attacks Santorum on spending in GOP debate: Mitt Romney quickly targeted Rick Santorum’s Washington rap sheet in tonight’s CNN debate, a clear effort to blunt his momentum with conservatives in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination…. – LAT, 2-22-12
  • Debate reveals dangers of earmark bashing: Earmarks have been a favorite talking point for this crop of GOP presidential candidates, but a discussion of the topic during Wednesday night’s debate revealed none of the candidates is quite as pure as they’d like to seem…. – LAT, 2-22-12
  • Santorum fights charges he’s a “fake” conservative: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Wednesday night fought back against charges from his GOP rivals that he’s a “fake” fiscal conservative, pointing to the ratings he received as a legislator from conservative groups and his plan to … – CBS News, 2-22-12
  • GOP debate: Romney says Obama undermined religious freedom: When the issue of contraception came up in tonight’s Republican debate, it offered the frontrunners an attempt to finesse their positions on social issues to address seeming weaknesses…. – Chicago Tribune, 2-22-12
  • Romney and Santorum trade barbs over Santorum’s support of former Senate colleague Specter: Republicans Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are sparring over Santorum’s support for his former Senate colleague, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Romney and Santorum traded barbs Wednesday night in a nationally televised debate in Arizona … – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • GOP candidates debate government loans to auto companies: Republican candidates for president had a spirited debate tonight over the government rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, with all four opposing it…. – Detroit Free Press, 2-22-12
  • Newt Gingrich Lost the Arizona Republican Debate: The two have sparred in past debates and many people expected that this debate would show Gingrich at his most pugnacious and aggressive…. – PolicyMic, 2-22-12
  • Republican Cast Returns From Hiatus, With No Encore Presentations on Horizon: After 20 debates, a long-running television series appears to be wrapping up…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Tonight’s GOP debate: Why are viewers suffering fatigue? Policy vs. personality: Even with more than a month since the last GOP presidential candidate debate, after nearly 20 debates, voters (and viewers) are still feeling a sense of fatigue coming into tonight’s Republican debate in Mesa, AZ–and there’s no … – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Republican debate: What to watch for in Mesa: The Republican presidential contenders will square off in Mesa today in a high-stakes debate that promises to set the tone for a crucial stretch of the campaign through the Arizona and Michigan primaries and Super Tuesday…. – AZ Central.com, 2-21-12
  • Republican Cast Returns From Hiatus, With No Encore Presentations on Horizon: That was the position that political junkies found themselves in on Wednesday as CNN prepared to televise the 20th Republican presidential debate of the 2012 nomination race. There are no more debates on the conveyer belt – an abrupt change for a … – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Arizona Republican debate: What to watch for: It’s the last debate before Super Tuesday and perhaps the last debate of the 2012 GOP presidential race. And there’s a lot at stake…. – WaPo, 2-22-12
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