Full Text Obama Presidency March 31, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama Presents Nickelodeon’s Big Help Award to Taylor Swift at the Kids Choice Awards

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:


Charley Gallay/Getty Images
“To be awarded an award from the First Lady was one of the most exciting things, I was so honored and I’ve always been such a huge fan of hers. I’ve been really terrified to meet her because I’m such a fan. I never went to the White House. I never like got a chance to meet her and so to get to meet her on a night like tonight, where she’s giving me an award for something; it was just over-the-top amazing. I’m so thankful.” — Taylor Swift

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the First Lady at the Kids Choice Awards

Source: WH, 3-31-12

Galen Center
Los Angeles, California

5:50 P.M. PST

MRS. OBAMA:  Hello everyone!  (Applause.)  I am so thrilled to be here with all of you tonight.

I’m here because I have always felt an obligation to give back; to lift up others the way that my parents, my teachers and mentors lifted me.  And that’s something that our next honoree believes too.  And it’s not just something she talks about, it’s how she lives her life.

Taylor Swift may be in the news — (applause) — for the award-winning songs and multiplatinum records, but every step of the way she has always made it a point to give back.  (Applause.)  She’s supported children’s charities, she’s worked to combat bullying, and given over tens of thousands of books to schools and libraries all around the country.  (Applause.)

She’s given so much of her own money to victims of floods and natural disasters here in the U.S. and around the world.  And last year, after deadly tornadoes hit the south, Taylor knew she had to do something about it.  (Applause.)  So she opened up her last dress rehearsal before she went on tour and gave all the proceeds to tornado victims.  And here is how it happened.

MRS. OBAMA:  So tonight, it is my great privilege to present Nickelodeon’s Big Help Award to someone who has rocketed to the top of the music industry, but still keeps her feet on the ground; someone who has shattered every expectation of what a 22 year old can accomplish, and someone who is going to keep making sparks fly for all of us in the years ahead.

Let’s all give it up for the one and only Taylor Swift!

END
5:55 P.M. PST

Full Text Obama Presidency March 31, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Pass the Buffett Rule So That Everyone Pays Their Fair Share of Taxes

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Weekly Address: Passing the Buffett Rule So That Everyone Pays Their Fair Share

President Obama calls on Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, a principle that ensures that millionaires and billionaires do not pay less in taxes as a share of their income than middle class families pay — as a matter of fairness.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 3/29/12
Source: WH, 3-31-12
President Obama calls on Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, a principle that ensures that millionaires and billionaires do not pay less in taxes as a share of their income than middle class families pay — as a matter of fairness.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Passing the Buffett Rule so that Everyone Pays Their Fair Share

In this week’s address, President Obama calls on Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, a principle of fairness that ensures that millionaires and billionaires do not pay less in taxes as a share of their income than middle class families pay.  The President believes our system must ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share, while protecting 98 percent of Americans from seeing their taxes go up at all. That is why the President proposed the Buffett Rule, which will help make our system reflect our values so that all Americans get a fair shot, play by the same rules, and pay their fair share.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
March 31, 2012

Hello.

Over the last few months, I’ve been talking about a choice we face as a country.  We can either settle for an economy where a few people do really well and everyone else struggles to get by, or we can build an economy where hard work pays off again – where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.  That’s up to us.

Today, I want to talk to you about the idea that everyone in this country should do their fair share.

Now, if this were a perfect world, we’d have unlimited resources.  No one would ever have to pay any taxes, and we could spend as much as we wanted.  But we live in the real world.  We don’t have unlimited resources.  We have a deficit that needs to be paid down.  And we also have to pay for investments that will help our economy grow and keep our country safe: education, research and technology, a strong military, and retirement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

That means we have to make choices.  When it comes to paying down the deficit and investing in our future, should we ask middle-class Americans to pay even more at a time when their budgets are already stretched to the breaking point?  Or should we ask some of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share?

That’s the choice.  Over the last decade, we’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars on what was supposed to be a temporary tax cut for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.  Now we’re scheduled to spend almost a trillion more. Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years.  Warren Buffett is paying a lower rate than his secretary.  Meanwhile, over the last 30 years, the tax rates for middle class families have barely budged.

That’s not fair.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates – people who don’t need them and never asked for them?  Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure?  Because we can’t afford to do both.

Now, some people call this class warfare.  But I think asking a billionaire to pay at least the same tax rate as his secretary is just common sense.  We don’t envy success in this country.  We aspire to it.  But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few.

That’s the America I believe in.  And in the next few weeks, Members of Congress will get a chance to show you where they stand.  Congress is going to vote on what’s called the Buffett Rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class families do.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up.  You’re the ones struggling with the rising cost of everything from college tuition to groceries.  You’re the ones who deserve a break.

So every Member of Congress is going to go on record.  And if they vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me – tax breaks our country can’t afford – then they’re going to have to explain to you where that money comes from.  Either it’s going to add to our deficit, or it’s going to come out of your pocket.  Seniors will have to pay more for their Medicare benefits.  Students will see their interest rates go up at a time when they can’t afford it.  Families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less.

That’s not right.  That’s not who we are.   In America, our story has never been about what we can do by ourselves – it’s about what we can do together.  It’s about believing in our future and the future of this country.  So tell your Members of Congress to do the right thing.  Call them up, write them a letter, pay them a visit, and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to people who don’t need them and start investing in the things that will help our economy grow and put people back to work.

That’s how we’ll make this country a little fairer, a little more just, and a whole lot stronger.  Thank you.

White House Recap March 23-30, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama’s South Korea Trip & the Nuclear Security Summit

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: MARCH 23-30, 2012

This week, the President traveled to the Republic of Korea to attend a nuclear security summit. Back at home, the kitchen garden got underway with this year’s first planting.

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: “We Need to Keep at It”

Source: WH, 3-30-12

From Dartmouth to the World Bank: On Friday, the President named Dr. Jim Yong Kim – president of Dartmouth college, co-founder of Partners in Health and global health and development expert – as his choice to head the World Bank. “[Despite] its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank,” the President explained. “It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries in the planet.”

Nuclear Security Summit: Just after midnight on Saturday morning, President Obama boarded Air Force One and departed for a trip to South Korea. His three-day trip included a tour of the DMZ and a meeting with U.S. troops stationed at the border; a talk with students at Hankuk University; and a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings with foreign leaders – including President Hu Jintao of China, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.

All Right, Let’s Plant!: Students and Girl Scouts from across the country joined the First Lady on the South Lawn Monday for a sunny afternoon planting the White House Kitchen Garden.

Big Data, Big Deal: On Thursday, the Obama Administration announced the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative,” which promises to help accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, strengthen our national security, and transform teaching and learning.

Facebook Timeline: The White House’s Facebook timeline launched on Friday, now providing both the latest news and a glimpse into history. The timeline highlights special moments from our rich history, including all forty-four presidential inaugurations, FDR’s first “fireside chat,” and the launch of the first White House website.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 29, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Calls on Congress to End Oil and Gas Subsidies

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Oil and Gas Subsidies

Rose Garden

11:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)   Everybody, please have a seat.  Sorry we’re running just a little bit behind, but I figured it’s a great day to enjoy the Rose Garden.

Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make:  They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.

Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits –- profits that go up every time folks pull up into a gas station.  But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year — billions a year in taxpayer subsidies -– a subsidy that they’ve enjoyed year after year for the last century.

Think about that.  It’s like hitting the American people twice.  You’re already paying a premium at the pump right now.  And on top of that, Congress, up until this point, has thought it was a good idea to send billions of dollars more in tax dollars to the oil industry.

It’s not as if these companies can’t stand on their own.  Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profits.  Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour.  And when the price of oil goes up, prices at the pump go up, and so do these companies’ profits.  In fact, one analysis shows that every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits.  Meanwhile, these companies pay a lower tax rate than most other companies on their investments, partly because we’re giving them billions in tax giveaways every year.

Now, I want to make clear, we all know that drilling for oil has to be a key part of our overall energy strategy.  We want U.S. oil companies to be doing well.  We want them to succeed.  That’s why under my administration, we’ve opened up millions of acres of federal lands and waters to oil and gas production.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.  And just yesterday, we announced the next step for potential new oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic.

So the fact is, we’re producing more oil right now than we have in eight years, and we’re importing less of it as well.  For two years in a row, America has bought less oil from other countries than we produce here at home -– for the first time in over a decade.

So American oil is booming.  The oil industry is doing just fine.  With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies.  With high oil prices around the world, they’ve got more than enough incentive to produce even more oil.  That’s why I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank.  And I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.

Instead of taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, we should be using that money to double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising — investments in wind power and solar power and biofuels; investments in fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and energy-efficient homes and buildings.  That’s the future.  That’s the only way we’re going to break this cycle of high gas prices that happen year after year after year.  As the economy is growing, the only time you start seeing lower gas prices is when the economy is doing badly.  That’s not the kind of pattern that we want to be in.  We want the economy doing well, and people to be able to afford their energy costs.

And keep in mind, we can’t just drill our way out of this problem.  As I said, oil production here in the United States is doing very well, and it’s been doing well even as gas prices are going up.  Well, the reason is because we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  And that means we could drill every drop of American oil tomorrow but we’d still have to buy oil from other countries to make up the difference.  We’d still have to depend on other countries to meet our energy needs.  And because it’s a world market, the fact that we’re doing more here in the United States doesn’t necessarily help us because even U.S. oil companies they’re selling that oil on a worldwide market.  They’re not keeping it just for us.  And that means that if there’s rising demand around the world then the prices are going to up.

That’s not the future that I want for America.  I don’t want folks like these back here and the folks in front of me to have to pay more at the pump every time that there’s some unrest in the Middle East and oil speculators get nervous about whether there’s going to be enough supply.  I don’t want our kids to be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.

I want us to control our own destiny.  I want us to forge our own future.  And that’s why, as long as I’m President, America is going to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which means we will continue developing our oil and gas resources in a robust and responsible way.  But it also means that we’re going to keep developing more advanced homegrown biofuels, the kinds that are already powering truck fleets across America.

We’re going to keep investing in clean energy like the wind power and solar power that’s already lighting thousands of homes and creating thousands of jobs.  We’re going to keep manufacturing more cars and trucks to get more miles to the gallon so that you can fill up once every two weeks instead of every week.  We’re going to keep building more homes and businesses that waste less energy so that you’re in charge of your own energy bills.

We’re going to do all of this by harnessing our most inexhaustible resource:  American ingenuity and American imagination.  That’s what we need to keep going.  That’s what’s at stake right now.  That’s the choice that we face.  And that’s the choice that’s facing Congress today.  They can either vote to spend billions of dollars more in oil subsidies that keep us trapped in the past, or they can vote to end these taxpayer subsidies that aren’t needed to boost oil production so that we can invest in the future.  It’s that simple.

And as long as I’m President, I’m betting on the future.  And as the people I’ve talked to around the country, including the people who are behind me here today, they put their faith in the future as well.  That’s what we do as Americans.  That’s who we are.  We innovate.  We discover.  We seek new solutions to some of our biggest challenges.  And, ultimately, because we stick with it, we succeed.  And I believe that we’re going to do that again.  Today, the American people are going to be watching Congress to see if they have that same faith.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
11:08 A.M. EDT

Full Text Legal Buzz March 28, 2012: Day 3 Supreme Court Hears Arguments on the Health Care Law — National Federation of Independent Business v. Kathleen Sebelius — Argument Transcripts, Audio Mp3 Download

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Day Three: Supreme Court Hearings on Health Care

SCOTUS Day 3

This artist rendering shows Attorney Bartow Farr speaking before the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
Docket Number: 11-393
Date Argued: 03/28/12
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Full Text Obama Presidency March 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

First Lady Michelle Obama Marks the Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial

Source: WH, 3-27-12

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 27, 2012)First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., March 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

It’s been 100 years to the day since First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, planted the first of the 3,000 cherry trees presented from the city of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan.

To mark the occasion, First Lady Michelle Obama — joined by Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and William H. Taft IV, the great-grandson of President Taft — returned to the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River to plant a new sapling for future generations to enjoy.

She told the crowd:

People from both of our nations worked together for years to bring these trees here to Washington. And over the past century, people of all ages from the U.S. and Japan and so many other nations have come to this Tidal Basin each spring to marvel at their beauty. And year after year, even after the coldest, darkest, stormiest winters, these trees have continued to bloom.

So on this historic anniversary, we don’t just admire the beauty of these trees, we also admire their resilience. And in so doing, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience of the Japanese people. Over the past year, we have all witnessed their courage, unity and grace as they have come together and begun the very hard work of rebuilding their nation.

One hundred years from now, the First Lady said, she hoped, “the First Lady –- or the First Gentleman –- of 2112 will also have the privilege of joining with our friends from Japan, and planting another tree which will bloom for yet another one hundred years and beyond.”

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the First Lady at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony

Source: WH, 3-27-12

Tidal Basin
Washington, D.C.
11:22 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thank you so much, it is a true pleasure to be here on this beautiful, little chilly day.  (Laughter.)  We planned it.  This is the only cold day of the week, and we are here.  But I am pleased to be here.

I want to start by thanking Secretary Salazar for that very kind introduction, and for all of his outstanding work as Secretary of the Interior.

I want to thank and recognize Ambassador Fujisaki, as well as Mrs. Fujisaki, who are here today.  Thank you all so much, I know you’re here somewhere — oh, you’re here.  (Laughter.)  It’s good to see you both.  And I want to thank all of you for taking the time to join us for this historic event.

We have come together to celebrate these beautiful cherry blossom trees — and yes, they were blooming last week.  We were so close.  (Laughter.)  But I think the tree we’re planting will — still has a few blooms, but they are beautiful.  And we are here to honor all that they stand for.  For so many years, these trees have served as a symbol of the great friendship between the United States and Japan, and as a reminder of our shared hopes, dreams and aspirations.

People from both of our nations worked together for years to bring these trees here to Washington.  And over the past century, people of all ages from the U.S. and Japan and so many other nations have come to this Tidal Basin each spring to marvel at their beauty.  And year after year, even after the coldest, darkest, stormiest winters, these trees have continued to bloom.

So on this historic anniversary, we don’t just admire the beauty of these trees, we also admire their resilience.  And in so doing, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience of the Japanese people.  Over the past year, we have all witnessed their courage, unity and grace as they have come together and begun the very hard work of rebuilding their nation.

And I think that that more than anything else is the lesson that we can learn from these trees.  They teach us about all that we can achieve together.  And because people from both of our nations came together, this landscape was transformed.  And for one hundred years, people from every background and every walk of life have come here to experience, truly, the magic of these trees.

No matter who you are, their beauty stirs our souls.  No matter where we’re from, being here among these beautiful blossoms truly lifts our spirits.  And that is why we invited all of these wonderful children to join us — where are the children?  There they are.  (Applause.)  They are here because we want them to learn this lesson as well; we want to pass this lesson onto them.  We want to teach them about the great partnership between our nations and what that means for our shared future.  We want to teach them to appreciate and learn from the traditions and cultures of others.

And we want them to be inspired by the example of our friends in Japan who have worked so hard and who have been so brave in rebuilding their lives.  Because in the end it will be up to them, this next generation, to continue that great friendship.  It will be up to them to carry these traditions forward so that one hundred years from now, their children and grandchildren will be able to come here to this very spot and see the tree that we will plant, full grown and in full bloom.

And I hope that on that day, the First Lady –- or the First Gentleman –- of 2112 will also have the privilege of joining with our friends from Japan, and planting another tree which will bloom for yet another one hundred years and beyond.

So with that, I want to once again thank you all for joining us today, and bearing the frigid cold.  If you stick around for one more day, it will be 80 tomorrow, I guarantee you.  (Laughter.)  It’s really nice weather here.  But we are truly honored to have you here, and it’s a pleasure to be able to join in this very special occasion.

And with that, I think it is time for us to plant a tree.  (Applause.)

END
11:27 A.M. EDT

Full Text Legal Buzz March 27, 2012: Day 2 Supreme Court Hears Arguments on the Health Care Law — Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida — Argument Transcripts, Audio Mp3 Download

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Day Two: Updates on the Supreme Court Hearings on the Health Care Law

This artist rendering shows Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. speaking in front of the Supreme Court justices in Washington. | AP Photo

Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida
Docket Number: 11-398-Tuesday
Date Argued: 03/27/12
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Full Text Legal Buzz March 26, 2012: Day 1 Supreme Court Hears Arguments on the Health Care Law — Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida — Argument Transcripts, Audio Mp3 Download

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Day One: Updates on the Supreme Court Hearings on the Health Care Law

PHOTO: This artist rendering shows attorney Robert A. Long speaks in front of the Supreme Court Justice in Washington, March 26, 2012, as the court began three days of arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama.
This artist rendering shows attorney Robert A. Long speaks in front of the Supreme Court Justice in Washington, March 26, 2012, as the court began three days of arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. (Dana Verkouteren/AP Photo)

Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida
Docket Number: 11-398-Monday
Date Argued: 03/26/12
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Full Text Obama Presidency March 25-27, 2012: President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit, Seoul, South Korea & Speech Transcripts

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama in South Korea

Source: WH, 3-25-12

Just after midnight on Saturday morning, President Obama boarded Air Force One and departed for a trip to South Korea. After crossing the International Date Line, he arrived in Seoul for a nuclear security summit.

As part of the trip, the President today got a first hand view of North Korea as he toured to the DMZ and met with U.S. troops stationed on the border. He told the servicemen and women, “Everybody back home could not be prouder of what you guys do each and every day — the dedication, the professionalism that you show.”
President Obama views the DMZ (March 25, 2012)
President Barack Obama is briefed by Lt. Col. Ed Taylor as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The President also kicked off the three days of diplomacy with a pair of bilateral meetings — with President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea and Prime Minister Erdogan or Turkey.

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak (March 25, 2012)

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak participate in a press conference at the Blue House in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Discussing the Global Economy and Nuclear Security in Seoul

Source: WH, 3-26-12

The Korean trade agreement will support an estimated 70,000 jobs

Tomorrow, President Obama will head home from South Korea — after a busy three days of diplomatic meetings and discussions of nuclear security.

At a talk today with students at Hankuk University, the President outlined the reasons why he’s made the issue such a major priority:

We’re building an international architecture that can ensure nuclear safety.  But we’re under no illusions. We know that nuclear material, enough for many weapons, is still being stored without adequate protection. And we know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it — as well as radioactive material for a dirty bomb. We know that just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — could kill hundreds of thousands and spark a global crisis. The danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security. And that’s why here in Seoul, we need to keep at it.

This is the President’s third official visit to South Korea, and as he pointed today, he’s been to Seoul more than any other capital. That fact obviously to speaks the strength of the political relationship between our two nations, but it also highlights our growing economic ties.

That’s why President Obama worked so hard to pass the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement — which will help to support an estimated 70,000 jobs in the years ahead and increase U.S. GDP by at least $11 billion due to increased exports of goods.

The economy was also a topic of discussion in a series of bilateral meetings between President Obama and foreign leaders. Today, he held talks with President Hu Jintao of China, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES









 

Full Text Obama Presidency March 26, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Hankuk University, South Korea on Nuclear Weapons & Iran

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama at Hankuk University

Source: WH, 3-26-12

Seoul, Republic of Korea

10:32 A.M. KST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Please, thank you very much.

To President Park, faculty, staff and students, thank you so much for this very warm welcome.  It is a great honor to be here at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Dr. Park for, a few moments ago, making me an honorary alumni of the university.  (Applause.)

I know that this school has one of the world’s finest foreign language programs — which means that your English is much better than my Korean.  (Laughter.)  All I can say is, kamsa hamnida.  (Applause.)

Now, this is my third visit to the Republic of Korea as President.  I’ve now been to Seoul more times than any other capital — except for Washington, D.C.,  of course.  This reflects the extraordinary bonds between our two countries and our commitment to each other.  I’m pleased that we’re joined by so many leaders here today, Koreans and Americans, who help keep us free and strong and prosperous every day.  That includes our first Korean-American ambassador to the Republic of Korea — Ambassador Sung Kim.  (Applause.)

I’ve seen the deep connections between our peoples in my own life — among friends, colleagues.  I’ve seen it so many patriotic Korean Americans, including a man born in this city of Seoul, who came to America and has dedicated his life to lifting up the poor and sick of the world.  And last week I was proud to nominate him to lead the World Bank — Dr. Jim Yong Kim.  (Applause.)

I’ve also seen the bonds in our men and women in uniform, like the American and Korean troops I visited yesterday along the DMZ — Freedom’s Frontier.  And we salute their service and are very grateful for them.  We honor all those who have given their lives in our defense, including the 46 brave souls who perished aboard the Cheonan two years ago today.  And in their memory we reaffirm the enduring promise at the core of our alliance — we stand together, and the commitment of the United States to the defense and the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver.  (Applause.)

Most of all, I see the strength of our alliance in all of you.  For decades, this school has produced leaders — public servants, diplomats, businesspeople — who’ve helped propel the modern miracle that is Korea– transforming it from crushing poverty to one of the world’s most dynamic economies; from authoritarianism to a thriving democracy; from a country focused inward to a leader for security and prosperity not only in this region but also around the world — a truly “Global Korea.”

So to all the students here today, this is the Korea your generation will inherit.  And I believe there’s no limits to what our two nations can achieve together.  For like your parents and grandparents before you, you know that the future is what we make of it.  And you know that in our digital age, we can connect and innovate across borders like never before — with your smart phones and Twitter and Me2Day and Kakao Talk.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s no wonder so many people around the world have caught the Korean Wave, Hallyu.  (Applause.)

Or consider this:  In advance of my visit, our embassy invited Koreans to send us your questions using social media.  Some of you may have sent questions.  And they called it, “Ask President Obama.”  Now, one of you — maybe it was you, maybe it was somebody else — this is true — asked this question:  “Have you posted, yourself, a supportive opinion on a website under a disguised name, pretending you are one of the supporters of President Obama?”  (Laughter.)  I hadn’t thought of this.  (Laughter.)  But the truth is I have not done this.  Maybe my daughters have.  (Laughter.)  But I haven’t done that myself.

So our shared future — and the unprecedented opportunity to meet shared challenges together — is what brings me to Seoul.  Over the next two days, under President Lee’s leadership, we’ll move ahead with the urgent work of preventing nuclear terrorism by securing the world’s nuclear materials.  This is an important part of the broader, comprehensive agenda that I want to talk with you about today — our vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

Three years ago, I traveled to Prague and I declared America’s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and to seeking a world without them.  I said I knew that this goal would not be reached quickly, perhaps not in my lifetime, but I knew we had to begin, with concrete steps.  And in your generation, I see the spirit we need in this endeavor — an optimism that beats in the hearts of so many young people around the world.  It’s that refusal to accept the world as it is, the imagination to see the world as it ought to be, and the courage to turn that vision into reality.  So today, with you, I want to take stock of our journey and chart our next steps.

Here in Seoul, more than 50 nations will mark our progress toward the goal we set at the summit I hosted two years ago in Washington — securing the world’s vulnerable nuclear materials in four years so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists.  And since then, nations — including the United States — have boosted security at nuclear facilities.

South Korea, Japan, Pakistan and others are building new centers to improve nuclear security and training.  Nations like Kazakhstan have moved nuclear materials to more secure locations.  Mexico, and just yesterday Ukraine, have joined the ranks of nations that have removed all the highly enriched uranium from their territory.  All told, thousands of pounds of nuclear material have been removed from vulnerable sites around the world.  This was deadly material that is now secure and can now never be used against a city like Seoul.

We’re also using every tool at our disposal to break up black markets and nuclear material.  Countries like Georgia and Moldova have seized highly enriched uranium from smugglers.  And countries like Jordan are building their own counter-smuggling teams, and we’re tying them together in a global network of intelligence and law enforcement.  Nearly 20 nations have now ratified the treaties and international partnerships that are at the center of our efforts.  And I should add that with the death of Osama bin Laden and the major blows that we’ve struck against al Qaeda, a terrorist organization that has actively sought nuclear weapons is now on the path to defeat.

So in short, the international community has made it harder than ever for terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons, and that has made us all safer.  We’re building an international architecture that can ensure nuclear safety.  But we’re under no illusions.  We know that nuclear material, enough for many weapons, is still being stored without adequate protection.  And we know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it — as well as radioactive material for a dirty bomb.  We know that just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — could kill hundreds of thousands and spark a global crisis.  The danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security.

And that’s why here in Seoul, we need to keep at it.  And I believe we will.  We’re expecting dozens of nations to announce over the next several days that they’ve fulfilled the promises they made two years ago.  And we’re now expecting more commitments — tangible, concrete action — to secure nuclear materials and, in some cases, remove them completely.  This is the serious, sustained global effort that we need, and it’s an example of more nations bearing the responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges.  This is how the international community should work in the 21st century.  And Korea is one of the key leaders in this process.

The United States will continue to do our part — securing our own material and helping others protect theirs.  We’re moving forward with Russia to eliminate enough plutonium for about 17,000 nuclear weapons and turn it instead into electricity.  I can announce today a new agreement by the United States and several European partners toward sustaining the supply of medical isotopes that are used to treat cancer and heart disease without the use of highly enriched uranium.  And we will work with industry and hospitals and research centers in the United States and around the world, to recover thousands of unneeded radiological materials so that they can never do us harm.

Now, American leadership has been essential to progress in a second area — taking concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.  As a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, this is our obligation, and it’s one that I take very seriously.  But I believe the United States has a unique responsibility to act — indeed, we have a moral obligation.  I say this as President of the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons.  I say it as a Commander-in-Chief who knows that our nuclear codes are never far from my side.  Most of all, I say it as a father, who wants my two young daughters to grow up in a world where everything they know and love can’t be instantly wiped out.

Over the past three years, we’ve made important progress.  With Russia, we’re now reducing our arsenal under the New START Treaty — the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly 20 years.  And when we’re done, we will have cut American and Russian deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels since the 1950s.

As President, I changed our nuclear posture to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.  I made it clear that the United States will not develop new nuclear warheads.  And we will not pursue new military missions for nuclear weapons.  We’ve narrowed the range of contingencies under which we would ever use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.  At the same time, I’ve made it clear that so long as nuclear weapons exist, we’ll work with our Congress to maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal that guarantees the defense not only of the United States but also our allies — including South Korea and Japan.

My administration’s nuclear posture recognizes that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited to today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism.  So last summer, I directed my national security team to conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces.  That study is still underway.  But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.  Even after New START, the United States will still have more than 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons, and some 5,000 warheads.

I firmly believe that we can ensure the security of the United States and our allies, maintain a strong deterrent against any threat, and still pursue further reductions in our nuclear arsenal.

Going forward, we’ll continue to seek discussions with Russia on a step we have never taken before — reducing not only our strategic nuclear warheads, but also tactical weapons and warheads in reserve.  I look forward to discussing this agenda with President Putin when we will meet in May.  Missile defense will be on the agenda, but I believe this should be an area of cooperation, not tension.  And I’m confident that, working together, we can continue to make progress and reduce our nuclear stockpiles.  Of course, we’ll consult closely with our allies every step of the way, because the security and defense of our allies, both in Europe and Asia, is not negotiable.

Here in Asia, we’ve urged China — with its growing nuclear arsenal — to join us in a dialogue on nuclear issues.  That offer remains open.  And more broadly, my administration will continue to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  And after years of delay, it’s time to find a path forward on a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons — ends it once and for all.

By working to meet our responsibilities as a nuclear power, we’ve made progress in a third area — strengthening the global regime that prevents the spread of nuclear weapons.  When I came into office, the cornerstone of the world’s effort — which is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — was fraying.  Iran had started spinning thousands of centrifuges.  North Korea conducted another nuclear test.  And the international community was largely divided on how to respond.

Over the past three years, we have begun to reverse that dynamic.  Working with others, we’ve enhanced the global partnership that prevent proliferation.  The International Atomic Energy Agency is now conducting the strongest inspections ever.  And we’ve upheld the basic bargain of the NPT:  Countries with nuclear weapons, like the United States and Russia, will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can have access to peaceful nuclear energy.

Because of these efforts, the international community is more united and nations that attempt to flout their obligations are more isolated.  Of course, that includes North Korea.

Here in Korea, I want to speak directly to the leaders in Pyongyang.  The United States has no hostile intent toward your country.  We are committed to peace.  And we are prepared to take steps to improve relations, which is why we have offered nutritional aid to North Korean mothers and children.

But by now it should be clear, your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek; they have undermined it.  Instead of the dignity you desire, you’re more isolated.  Instead of earning the respect of the world, you’ve been met with strong sanctions and condemnation.  You can continue down the road you are on, but we know where that leads.  It leads to more of the same — more broken dreams, more isolation, ever more distance between the people of North Korea and the dignity and the opportunity that they deserve.

And know this:  There will be no rewards for provocations.  Those days are over.  To the leaders of Pyongyang I say, this is the choice before you.  This is the decision that you must make.  Today we say, Pyongyang, have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea.  (Applause.)

This same principle applies with respect to Iran.  Under the NPT, Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear energy.  In fact, time and again the international community — including the United States — has offered to help Iran develop nuclear energy peacefully.  But time and again Iran has refused, instead taking the path of denial, deceit and deception.  And that is why Iran also stands alone, as the only member of the NPT unable to convince the international community that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes — the only member.  That’s why the world has imposed unprecedented sanctions, slowing Iran’s nuclear program.

The international community is now poised to enter talks with Iran’s leaders.  Once again, there is the possibility of a diplomatic resolution that gives Iran access to peaceful nuclear energy while addressing the concerns of the international community.  Today, I’ll meet with the leaders of Russia and China as we work to achieve a resolution in which Iran fulfills its obligations.

There is time to solve this diplomatically.  It is always my preference to solve these issues diplomatically.  But time is short.  Iran’s leaders must understand they, too, face a choice. Iran must act with the seriousness and sense of urgency  that this moment demands.  Iran must meet its obligations.

For the global response to Iran and North Korea’s intransigence, a new international norm is emerging:  Treaties are binding; rules will be enforced; and violations will have consequences.  We refuse to consign ourselves to a future where more and more regimes possess the world’s most deadly weapons.

And this brings me to the final area where we’ve made progress — a renewed commitment to harnessing the power of the atom not for war, but for peaceful purposes.  After the tragedy at Fukushima, it was right and appropriate that nations moved to improve the safety and security of nuclear facilities.  We’re doing so in the United States.  It’s taking place all across the world.

As we do, let’s never forget the astonishing benefits that nuclear technology has brought to our lives.  Nuclear technology helps make our food safe.  It prevents disease in the developing world.  It’s the high-tech medicine that treats cancer and finds new cures.  And, of course, it’s the energy — the clean energy that helps cut the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.  Here in South Korea, as you know, as a leader in nuclear energy, you’ve shown the progress and prosperity that can be achieved when nations embrace peaceful nuclear energy and reject the development of nuclear arms.

And with rising oil prices and a warming climate, nuclear energy will only become more important.  That’s why, in the United States, we’ve restarted our nuclear industry as part of a comprehensive strategy to develop every energy source.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.  We’re investing in innovative technologies so we can build the next generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants.  And we’re training the next generation of scientists and engineers who are going to unlock new technologies to carry us forward.

One of the great challenges they’ll face and that your generation will face is the fuel cycle itself in producing nuclear energy.  We all know the problem:  The very process that gives us nuclear energy can also put nations and terrorists within the reach of nuclear weapons.  We simply can’t go on accumulating huge amounts of the very material, like separated plutonium, that we’re trying to keep away from terrorists.

And that’s why we’re creating new fuel banks, to help countries realize the energy they seek without increasing the nuclear dangers that we fear.  That’s why I’ve called for a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation.  We need an international commitment to unlocking the fuel cycle of the future.  In the United States we’re investing in the research and development of new fuel cycles so that dangerous materials can’t be stolen or diverted.  And today I urge nations to join us in seeking a future where we harness the awesome power of the atom to build and not to destroy.

In this sense, we see how the efforts I’ve described today reinforce each other.  When we enhance nuclear security, we’re in a stronger position to harness safe, clean nuclear energy.  When we develop new, safer approaches to nuclear energy, we reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and proliferation.  When nations, including my own, fulfill our responsibilities, it strengthens our ability to ensure that other nations fulfill their responsibilities.  And step by step, we come closer to the security and peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

I know that there are those who deride our vision.  There are those who say ours is an impossible goal that will be forever out of reach.  But to anyone who doubts the great progress that is possible, I tell them, come to Korea.  Come to this country, which rose from the ashes of war — (applause) — a country that rose from the ashes of war, turning rubble into gleaming cities.  Stand where I stood yesterday, along a border that is the world’s clearest contrast between a country committed to progress, a country committed to its people, and a country that leaves its own citizens to starve.

Come to this great university, where a new generation is taking its place in the world — (applause) — helping to create opportunities that your parents and grandparents could only imagine.  Come and see some of the courageous individuals who join us today — men and women, young and old, born in the North, but who left all they knew behind and risked their lives to find freedom and opportunity here in the South.  In your life stories we see the truth — Koreans are one people.  And if just given the chance, if given their freedom, Koreans in the North are capable of great progress as well.  (Applause.)

Looking out across the DMZ yesterday, but also looking into your eyes today, I’m reminded of another country’s experience that speaks to the change that is possible in our world.  After a terrible war, a proud people was divided.  Across a fortified border, armies massed, ready for war.  For decades, it was hard to imagine a different future.  But the forces of history and hopes of man could not be denied.  And today, the people of Germany are whole again — united and free.

No two places follow the same path, but this much is true:  The currents of history cannot be held back forever.  The deep longing for freedom and dignity will not go away.  (Applause.) So, too, on this divided peninsula.  The day all Koreans yearn for will not come easily or without great sacrifice.  But make no mistake, it will come.  (Applause.)  And when it does, change will unfold that once seemed impossible.  And checkpoints will open and watchtowers will stand empty, and families long separated will finally be reunited.  And the Korean people, at long last, will be whole and free.

Like our vision of a world without nuclear weapons, our vision of a Korea that stands as one may not be reached quickly.  But from this day until then, and all the days that follow, we take comfort in knowing that the security we seek, the peace we want, is closer at hand because of the great alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea — (applause) — and because we stand for the dignity and freedom of all Koreans.  (Applause.)  And no matter the test, no matter the trial, we stand together.  We work together.  We go together.  (Applause.)
Katchi kapshida!

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
11:03 A.M. KST

Campaign Buzz March 24, 2012: Rick Santorum Wins Louisiana GOP / Republican Presidential Primary — 11th Win and 3rd Southern State Win

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

Rick Santorum hands back an autographed campaign flyer at a rally in Shreveport, La. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: RICK SANTORUM WINS LOUISIANA GOP / REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY — THIRD SOUTHERN STATE WIN

Rick Santorum wins Republican primary in Louisiana: Rick Santorum has won the Republican primary in Louisiana, the latest Southern state under his belt after wins in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

But rival Mitt Romney already has a growing, if not insurmountable, delegate lead over Santorum…. – WaPo, 3-24-12

“The people of Louisiana sent a loud and clear message: This race is long, and far from over.” — Rick Santorum

“We’re very excited about the win. … This race proves that this thing has some legs. This is a momentum shift for us. I think the tide is turning.” — Rick Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley on MSNBC

  • Santorum wins Louisiana Republican primary: CNN: Rick Santorum won the Louisiana Republican primary on Saturday, CNN projected based on exit polls, adding an 11th state to his total but still trailing Mitt Romney by a wide margin in the national delegate count…. – Reuters, 3-24-12
  • Santorum beats Romney in Louisiana: Rick Santorum won the Louisiana Republican presidential primary Saturday, beating front-runner Mitt Romney in yet another conservative Southern state.

    Although the victory gives Santorum bragging rights, it does not change the overall dynamics of the race; the former Pennsylvania senator still dramatically lags behind Romney in the hunt for delegates to the GOP’s summertime nominating convention…. – AP, 3-24-12

  • Lousiana primary results: Rick Santorum wins: Rick Santorum picked up another win on Saturday in Louisiana, but the victory won’t significantly change the delegate advantage held by Mitt Romney in the GOP nominating contest.

    The Associated Press called the race for Santorum within minutes of the polls closing, after exit polls indicated he held a comfortable lead. Romney placed second and Gingrich third with a small percentage of precincts reporting.

    With the results pretty much set before voting began, the field of GOP hopefuls had already shifted its attention to future contests. Santorum and Gingrich spent Saturday in Pennsylvania, and Santorum went on to Wisconsin. Romney took a break from the trail this weekend and will resume campaigning Monday in southern California…. – Politico, 3-24-12

  • Santorum wins Louisiana GOP primary: Rick Santorum won Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary Saturday, but his victory seemed unlikely to change the trajectory of the race, in which Mitt Romney remains the prohibitive favorite.

    Louisiana was Santorum’s third Southern state win this month — he also won Alabama and Mississippi primaries March 13 — and Newt Gingrich’s third loss in the region that he had made the focus of his campaign…. – USA Today, 3-24-12

  • Santorum Projected Winner of Louisiana Primary: Rick Santorum was projected as the winner of the Louisiana Republican primary Saturday night, capturing a deeply conservative state with a hefty portion of the kind of evangelical Christian voters who have helped him claim victories in 10 other states.

    The Associated Press projected Mr. Santorum as the winner shortly after the polls closed. The victory gives Mr. Santorum a much-needed psychological boost but it will be unlikely to change the dynamics of the race. Only 20 delegates were up for grabs on Saturday, with 26 more to be allocated later. Even if Mr. Santorum were to claim most of them, he would still have only half the delegates that Mitt Romney, his chief rival, has already accumulated…. – NYT, 3-24-12

  • Rick Santorum wins Louisiana primary: Rick Santorum has won the Louisiana Republican primary, giving his campaign a boost as front-runner Mitt Romney seeks to wind down the nominating process. The Associated Press declared the former senator from Pennsylvania the … – LAT, 3-24-12
  • Santorum strong across board in LA GOP primary, dominates with conservatives: Preliminary results of an exit poll of voters in Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary show Rick Santorum winning with his most dominant performance yet this year among conservatives and blue-collar voters and getting robust support … – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Santorum adds delegates with win in Louisiana primary; haul limited by proportional rule: Rick Santorum picked up at least eight convention delegates by winning the Republican presidential primary in Louisiana. Santorum’s haul was limited by Louisiana’s rules for awarding delegates. The state has a total of 46 delegates to the … – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Santorum wins Louisiana primary, renews his campaign to catch Romney: Rick Santorum is the winner of the Louisiana Republican presidential primary, defeating GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in yet another conservative Southern state. Santorum is Romney’s chief challenger and a former Pennsylvania senator who … – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Enthusiastic backers lift Santorum in Louisiana: Early results from exit polls of Louisiana Republican voters show Rick Santorum carried the state with a broad base of enthusiastic supporters and his widest margins of the campaign over Mitt Romney among the conservatives and evangelicals who have lifted his campaign across the South…. – AP, 3-24-12
  • Louisiana votes in GOP primary Saturday: Republicans went to the polls Saturday in Louisiana to vote in a primary poised to give a boost to Rick Santorum, but also add to Mitt Romney’s growing, if not insurmountable delegate lead in the race for the GOP nomination…. – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Exit poll of LA GOP presidential voters shows few consider Etch A Sketch flap: Few voters in Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary said they were influenced by a comment by a Mitt Romney aide likening his campaign’s tactics to an Etch A Sketch toy, even though it was one of the week’s big political stories…. – NYT, 3-24-12
  • Voter Turnout Appears Light in Louisiana Primary: As Louisiana became the 28th state to head to the polls in a drawn-out Republican presidential race, turnout appeared very light at several sites around New Orleans, a combination perhaps of campaign fatigue and the competition of a … – NYT, 3-24-12
  • GOP Campaign Could End Soon — But Not in Louisiana: Rick Santorum is likely to win the Louisiana Republican primary on Saturday. He has had a clear and fairly consistent lead of about 14 percentage points in recent polls there. Moreover, Lousiana’s demographics are favorable to Mr. Santorum…. – NYT, 3-24-12
  • Will a Santorum win in Louisiana change GOP race?: Registered Republicans voted Saturday in Louisiana’s primary while Rick Santorum, heavily favored to win there, and Newt Gingrich assailed President Barack Obama’s energy policies and Mitt Romney’s … – CNN, 3-24-12
  • Five scenarios that could finally settle the GOP race: Are we there yet? Not quite. Mitt Romney’s two steps forward, one flub back campaign continues its tantalizing progress toward a total victory that always seems just ahead…. – USA Today, 3-24-12
  • Voters head to polls in Louisiana: Despite clear blue skies and one of the most closely watched Republican primaries in Louisiana history, voting here Saturday morning was thin and sporadic…. – USA Today, 3-24-12

Political Buzz March 24, 2012: Former Vice President Dick Cheney Recovering After Heart Transplant Surgery

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

POLITICAL HEADLINE NEWS:

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Former Vice President Dick Cheney in February 2011.

IN FOCUS: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY RECOVERING AFTER HEART TRANSPLANT SURGERY

Aide: Former Vice President Dick Cheney recovering from heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering at a Virginia hospital after a heart transplant, AP reports.
Cheney was on the transplant waiting list for more than 20 months. He suffered his fifth heart attack in 2010…. – WaPo, 3-24-12

  • Cheney recovering after heart transplant: Former vice president Dick Cheney, a 71-year-old with a long history of cardiovascular problems, had a heart transplant Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital. Not even Cheney knows the donor’s identity.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was complete. She said the ex-vice president, who has suffered five heart attacks over the years, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement.
    Former president George W. Bush was in touch with the Cheney family Saturday, spokesman Freddy Ford said. “He and Mrs. Bush are thrilled that the surgery went well, and they are keeping VP Cheney in their prayers for a full and speedy recovery,” Ford said…. – USA Today, 3-24-12
  • Aide says Cheney had heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday, after five heart attacks over the past 25 years and countless medical procedures to keep him going. Cheney, 71, waited nearly two years for his new heart, the gift of an unknown donor.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was over, and said the ex-vice president was recovering at a Virginia hospital.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician’s close associates.
    Cheney was recovering Saturday night at the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after surgery earlier in the day…. – AP, 3-24-12
  • Cheney Recovering After Getting a New Heart: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday after 20 months on a waiting list, and was recovering in a Virginia hospital, a statement from his office said.
    Mr. Cheney, 71, who has suffered five heart attacks and was in end-stage heart failure, was recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” said the statement from an aide, Kara Ahern. Mr. Cheney and his family thanked doctors and staff at that hospital and at George Washington University Hospital in Washington for “their continued outstanding care,” the statement said…. – NYT, 3-25-12
  • Dick Cheney receives heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant on Saturday, his office announced. A statement from the former vice president’s office said Cheney is now recovering in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax … – CBS News, 3-24-12
  • Cheney recovering from heart transplant surgery: Former GOP Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering from heart transplant surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia, a spokeswoman said Saturday evening. In 2010, Cheney had a left ventricular assist device implanted for treatment of … – Fox News, 3-24-12
  • Dick Cheney undergoes heart transplant surgery: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering Saturday evening after undergoing heart transplant surgery, his office said. Cheney, 71, was recovering at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia…. – CNN, 3-24-12
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney has heart transplant: The 71-year-old has a long history of heart ailments and had been on a waiting list for more than 20 months. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has received a heart transplant in Virginia after more than 20 months on a waiting list…. – LAT, 3-24-12
  • Cheney gets heart transplant, in intensive care: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering on Saturday after undergoing heart transplant surgery, a once risky procedure whose survival rates have improved over the years. The 71-year-old Republican…. – Reuters, 3-24-12

Full Text Obama Presidency March 24, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges House to Pass Bipartisan Transportation Bill

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama calls on the House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that would repair crumbling roads and bridges, and support construction jobs in communities all across America

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 3/23/12

Weekly Address: President Obama Says House Must Pass Bipartisan Transportation Bill

Source: WH, 3-24-12

President Obama is calling on the House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that would repair crumbling roads and bridges and support construction jobs in communities all across America. According to a new report, 90 percent of these construction jobs are middle class jobs. The Senate passed the bill with the support of Democrats and Republicans because if the bill stalls in Congress then constructions sites will go idle, workers will have to go home, and our economy will take a hit.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Says House Must Pass Bipartisan Transportation Bill

WASHINGTON, DC—In this week’s address, President Obama called on the House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that would repair crumbling roads and bridges and support construction jobs in communities all across America.  According to a new report, 90 percent of these construction jobs are middle class jobs. The Senate passed the bill with the support of Democrats and Republicans because if the bill stalls in Congress then constructions sites will go idle, workers will have to go home, and our economy will take a hit.  The President calls on everyone to tell their elected officials to pass a long-term transportation bill that will support American construction workers and our economy.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday March 24, 2012

Hello.  This week, I traveled across the country to talk about my all-of-the-above energy strategy for America – a strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient cars; more solar power and wind power and other sources of clean, renewable energy.

Now, you wouldn’t know it by listening to some of the folks running for office today, but producing more oil at home has been, and will continue to be, a key part of my energy strategy.  Under my Administration, we’re producing more oil than at any other time in the last eight years.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  And we’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some.  Those are the facts.

But as I’ve been saying all week, even though America uses around 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have around 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  So even if we drilled everywhere, we’d still be relying on other countries for oil.

That’s why we’re pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy.  We’re producing more biofuels.  More fuel-efficient cars.  More solar power.  More wind power.  This week, I was in Boulder City, Nevada, where they’ve got the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  That’s the future.  I was at Ohio State University, where they’ve developed the fastest electric car in the world.  That’s the future.  I don’t want to cede these clean energy industries to China or Germany or any other country.  I want to see solar panels and wind turbines and fuel-efficient cars manufactured right here in America, by American workers.

Now, getting these clean energy industries to locate here requires us to maintain a national commitment to new research and development.  But it also requires us to build world-class transportation and communications networks, so that any company can move goods and sell products all around the world as quickly and efficiently as possible.
So much of America needs to be rebuilt right now.  We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges.  A power grid that wastes too much energy.  An incomplete high-speed broadband network.  And we’ve got thousands of unemployed construction workers who’ve been looking for a job ever since the housing market collapsed.

But once again, we’re waiting on Congress.  You see, in a matter of days, funding will stop for all sorts of transportation projects.  Construction sites will go idle.  Workers will have to go home.  And our economy will take a hit.

This Congress cannot let that happen.  Not at a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward.  The Senate did their part.  They passed a bipartisan transportation bill.  It had the support of 52 Democrats and 22 Republicans.  Now it’s up to the House to follow suit; to put aside partisan posturing, end the gridlock, and do what’s right for the American people.

This is common sense.  Right now, all across this country, we’ve got contractors and construction workers who have never been more eager to get back on the job.  A long term transportation bill would put them to work.  And those are good jobs.  We just released a report that shows nearly 90 percent of the construction, manufacturing and trade jobs created through investments in transportation projects are middle class jobs.  Those are exactly the jobs we need right now, and they’ll make the economy stronger for everybody.

We’ve done this before.  During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways.  Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.

So tell Congress that if we invest in new technology and new energy; in new roads and bridges and construction projects, we can keep growing our economy, put our people back to work, and remind the world why the United States is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 23, 2012: President Barack Obama Nominates Dartmouth College President Dr. Jim Yong Kim to Head World Bank

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Nominates Dartmouth College President to Lead World Bank

Source: WH, 3-23-12

President Barack Obama announces Dr. Jim Yong Kim as his nominee to head the World Bank (March 23, 2012)
President Barack Obama announces Dr. Jim Yong Kim, second from left, as his nominee to head the World Bank, during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 23, 2012. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also attended the announcement. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Herbert)

This morning, President Obama named Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a global health and development expert, as his choice to head the World Bank. Dr. Kim is the president of Dartmouth College and a co-founder of Partners In Health.

In announcing his decision, President Obama talked about the World Bank’s capacity for improving the lives of real people all over the world:

[Despite] its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries on the planet. And in a world that is growing smaller and more connected every day, that’s a critical mission -– not just for those who are struggling, but for all of us.

Dr. Kim has worked as both an anthropologist and a physician in communities from Asia to Africa to the Americas. He’s the former head of a World Health Organization team that worked to treat 3 million patients with HIV/AIDS.

The bank will select its new president before its spring meeting in April.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on the Nomination of Dr. Jim Kim for World Bank President

The Rose Garden

10:09 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.

In February, Bob Zoellick, the current President of the World Bank, announced that he would be stepping down at the end of his term in June.  Bob has been a strong and effective leader at the bank for the last five years, and when he told me about his plans, I immediately began to search for someone to fill his shoes.

Now, despite its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank.  It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries on the planet.  And in a world that is growing smaller and more connected every day, that’s a critical mission -– not just for those who are struggling, but for all of us.

When we reduce hunger in the world, or help a farmer recover from a flood or a drought, it strengthens the entire world economy.  When we put an end to a preventable disease, all of us are safer because of it.  When an entrepreneur can start a new business, it creates jobs in their country, but also opens up new markets for our country.  And ultimately, when a nation goes from poverty to prosperity, it makes the world stronger and more secure for everybody.

That’s why the World Bank is so important.  And that’s why the leader of the World Bank should have a deep understanding of both the role that development plays in the world, and the importance of creating conditions where assistance is no longer needed.

I believe that nobody is more qualified to carry out that mission than Dr. Jim Kim.  It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.  And that’s why today, after a careful and thorough search, I am nominating Dr. Jim Kim to be the next president of the World Bank.

Jim has spent more than two decades working to improve conditions in developing countries around the world.  As a physician and an anthropologist, he co-founded Partners in Health, and led a World Health Organization campaign to treat 3 million patients with HIV/AIDS.  I have made HIV/AIDS and the fight against that dreaded disease and the promotion of public health a cornerstone of my development agenda, building on some of the outstanding work that was done by President Bush.

We pursue these efforts around the globe because it’s the right thing to do, and also because healthy populations enable growth and prosperity.  And I’m pleased that Jim brings this particular experience with him to his new job.

Jim was also the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He has earned a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.  And for the last three years, he has served as the president of Dartmouth College.

I should also mention that, after immigrating to this country from Korea at age five, Jim went on to become the president of his high school class, the quarterback of the football team, the point guard of the basketball team.  I just found out he is a five handicap in golf.  I’m a little resentful about that last item.  (Laughter.)  But he does it all.

Jim has truly global experience.  He’s worked from Asia to Africa to the Americas — from capitals to small villages.  His personal story exemplifies the great diversity of our country and the fact that anyone can make it as far as he has as long as they’re willing to work hard and look out for others.  And his experience makes him ideally suited to forge partnerships all around the world.

So I could not be more pleased to nominate Jim for this job, and I think I can speak for Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner when I say that we are looking forward to working with him.

And I also want to take a minute to thank Bob Zoellick once again for all his hard work.  Over the last five years, Bob has made the bank more transparent, he has helped shore up progress made in places like Afghanistan.  He’s raised billions of dollars to help some of the world’s poorest communities.

Jim is the right person to carry on that legacy, and I know his unique set of skills and years of experience will serve him well.  So I’m grateful to Jim for his willingness to serve.  I do not think that the World Bank could have a better leader.  So, thank you.

DR. KIM:  Mr. President, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

DR. KIM:  Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re going to do great.  Thank you.  All right?

Q    Mr. President, may I ask you about this current case in Florida, very controversial, allegations of lingering racism within our society — the so-called do not — I’m sorry — Stand Your Ground law and the justice in that?  Can you comment on the Trayvon Martin case, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m the head of the executive branch, and the Attorney General reports to me so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.

But obviously, this is a tragedy.  I can only imagine what these parents are going through.  And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.  And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.

So I’m glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what’s taking place.  I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen.  And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.

But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin.  If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.  And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

Thank you.

END
10:15 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Made Energy at Ohio State University

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY
& THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama and the Buckeye Bullet

Source: WH, 3-23-12
President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet (March 22, 2012)

President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet, a high speed electric land speed race car, during a tour of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, March 22, 2012. An earlier version of the Buckeye Bullet holds the U.S. electric land speed record at 314.958 mph. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Ohio State University in Columbus was President Obama’s final stop on this week’s energy tour. It’s home to the Center for Automotive Research, a hotbed of innovation in the fields of energy production and advanced vehicles.

There, President Obama had a chance to see the Buckeye Bullet — an electric car that has already traveled at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour. Engineers at the school told him that they’re now aiming to design the vehicle so that it’s capable of going more than 400 miles per hour.

Today, Buckeye Bullet is already the fastest electric car in the world, and at OSU, they’re aiming to make it even faster. President Obama said that kind of ingenuity is “essential to American leadership.”

He told the Columbus crowd:

[As] long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments. I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments. I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America. By American workers. That’s the future we want.

As for the Buckeye Bullet, the President also promised that his daughter Malia, who will turn16 in a couple of years, will never drive 300 miles per hour, despite the vehicle’s impressive success.


Learn more:

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

4:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Buckeyes!  (Applause.)  Yes.  It is good to be back at The Ohio State University.  (Applause.)  I want to thank –

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I am thrilled to be here.  I want to thank a couple of people.  First of all, the outstanding Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is here.  (Applause.)  I want to thank OSU Provost Joe Alutto.  (Applause.)

And I just got this extraordinary tour from Giorgio Rizzoni, who’s the director of the Center for Automotive Research.  So give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, let’s face it, a presidential visit isn’t even close to being the biggest thing this weekend on campus.  (Laughter.)  And despite what Vijay said, I did have the Buckeyes heading to the Final Four.  (Applause.)  I’m just saying.  I think Selinger is going to have a big game tonight.  (Applause.)  And I promise you I didn’t do it because I knew I was coming here — because I am cold-blooded when it comes to filling out my brackets.  (Laughter.)  So I genuinely think you guys are looking good.

And by the way, I just read somewhere that one in every four teams in the Sweet 16 is from Ohio.  (Applause.)  You’ve got Ohio State, Ohio University, Xavier — (applause) — Xavier is in — Cincinnati.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not going to get in the middle of this. (Laughter.)  I do want to just say no state has ever done this before.  So it’s a testimony to Ohio basketball.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank Vijay for the outstanding introduction  — very much appreciate that.

Now, this is our last stop on a trip where we’ve been talking about an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America — a strategy where we produce more oil, produce more gas, but also produce more American biofuels and more fuel-efficient cars, more solar power, more wind power, more power from the oceans, more clean and renewable energy.  (Applause.)  More clean and renewable energy.

You know what I’m talking about here, because this school is a national leader in developing new sources of energy and advanced vehicles that use a lot less energy.

I just had a chance to take a tour of the Center for Automotive Research.  Now, I admit the best part of it was seeing the Buckeye Bullet, which has gone over 300 miles an hour and is now shooting for 400 miles an hour.  (Applause.)  And I asked the guys who were helping to design this whether mom was going to let them actually test-drive this thing, and the answer was no.  (Laughter.)  Only professional drivers are permitted.

But for anybody who’s not familiar with this, the Buckeye Bullet is the fastest electric car in the world.  (Applause.)  The fastest in the world.  I don’t know who’s going to need to go that fast.  (Laughter.)  But it is a testament to the ingenuity here at Ohio State and what is essential to American leadership when it comes to energy — our brain power.

I will say, though, when Malia gets her license in a few years, she will not be allowed to go 300 miles an hour.  (Laughter.)

Now, one of the reasons that I’ve been talking so much about fuel-efficient cars and new sources of energy is obviously because we’re seeing another spike in gas prices right now.  And that’s tough on folks.  I remember when I was a student, filling up was always tough.  And gas prices are putting pressure not just on students but on a lot of families all across Ohio, all across the country.  Whether you’re trying to get to school, go to work, go grocery shopping, dropping off your kids, you’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank.  Right now, for most people you don’t have a choice.

So when prices spike, that tax hike feels like a — or that gas spike feels like a tax hike coming right out of your pocket. That’s part of the reason that we passed a payroll tax cut at the beginning of this year –- so that the average American would get an extra $40 in every paycheck to help offset the price of gas.  (Applause.)  So that’s going to offer some relief.

But the bigger question is how do we make sure that these spikes in gas prices don’t keep on happening — because we’ve seen this movie before.  This happens just about every year.  This happened this time last year.  Gas prices were even higher in the spring and summer of 2008.  It has been going on for years, for decades.

And every time prices start to go up — especially during an election year — politicians, they start dusting off their 3-point plan for $2.00 gas.  (Laughter.)  Although this year, they decided it was going to be $2.50.  (Laughter.)  This year they decided it was going to be $2.50.  Now, I don’t know where they pick that number, $2.50.  Because it could have been $2.40, I guess.  They could have said $2.10.  They could have said 50 cents a gallon.  But they all make the same promise.  They head down to the gas station and they make sure a few cameras are following them, and then they tell you how we’re going to have cheap gas forever if you just vote for them.  And it has been the same script for 30 years — the same thing.  It has been like a bad rerun.

And when you ask them, what specifically is your — (audience interruption.)

Sir, I’m here to speak to these folks.  You can hold your own rally.  (Applause.)  You’re being rude.  Sir, we’re trying to talk to these people.  (Applause.)  I’ll be happy to read your book — if you want to give me your book, I’ll be happy to read it.  But don’t interrupt my conversation with these folks, all right?  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  I’ll be happy to take your book.  But don’t interrupt everybody else.  All right?  Okay.

Now, where was I?  (Laughter.)  Go ahead and get that book from him, guys.  He wants to give me a book.  Please feel free to grab it.  You’re touting this book — make sure that you’ve given it to us.

All right, now that we’ve gotten that settled.  (Laughter.) Now, the question is, why is it that every year we hear the same story about how we’re going to have $2 gas, or $1.50 gas, or whatever price they come up with, if we would just drill for more oil?  That’s the solution that you always here.  Prices will immediately come down and all our problems will go away — like magic.

There are two problems with that.  First of all, we have been drilling.  We’re drilling right now.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years — at any time.  (Applause.)  That’s a fact.  Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration. That’s a fact.  (Applause.)  Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of potential oil resources.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.

I just visited New Mexico.  Their big problem is they don’t have enough truck drivers to transport all the oil that they are producing.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some.  I just visited one of those new pipelines in Oklahoma, and today I directed my administration to make sure that we cut the red tape in terms of reducing some of these bottlenecks.

So the problem is not that we’re not drilling, or that we’re not producing more oil.  We are producing more oil than any time in the last eight years.  That’s not the problem.  There are probably a few spots where we’re not drilling, it’s true.  I’m not drilling in the South Lawn.  (Laughter.)  We’re not drilling next to the Washington Monument.  We’re not drilling in Ohio Stadium.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So there are some spots out there that we are not drilling.  But we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people, and protects America’s incredible bounty that God gave us — our resources.  (Applause.)

So that’s point number one.  But the second issue, which, because we got a lot of young people, you guys understand, is that a strategy that relies only on drilling defies the fact that America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  So we use 20 percent; we have 2 percent.  Who’s a math major here?  (Laughter.)  All right.  If I’m not mistaken, that leaves us about 18 percent short.  (Laughter.)

We can’t simply drill our way out of the problem.  Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’re going to be relying on other countries for oil.  (Applause.)  Does anybody here think that’s a good strategy?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Of course, it isn’t.  We shouldn’t have to pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main reason gas prices are going up right now. (Applause.)  We should not be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.  This is America.  We control our own destiny. We forge our own future.  And I will not accept an energy strategy that traps us in the past.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to do it.

So as long as I’m President, America is going to be pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  Yes, we’ll develop as much oil and gas as we can, in a safe way, but we’re also going to develop wind power, and solar power, and advanced biofuels.  (Applause.)  We can build the next-generation nuclear reactors that are smaller and safer and cleaner and cheaper, but we’ve got to also look at renewable energy as the key to our future.  And we’ve got to build cars and trucks that get more miles to the gallon.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to build homes and businesses that waste less energy, and put consumers in control of their energy bills.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And we’ll do it by harnessing the same type of American ingenuity and imagination that’s on display right here at Ohio State.  (Applause.)  Right here at Ohio State.

So already we’ve made progress.  After decades of inaction, we raised fuel-economy standards, so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what we get today.  (Applause.)  That means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week.  (Applause.)  You like that?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  That will save the average family about $8,000 at the pump over the life of a car, which is real money.  To use even less oil, we’re going to have to keep investing in clean, renewable, homegrown biofuels.  And already we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks, even to Navy ships.  And the more we rely on these homegrown fuels, the less oil we buy from other countries and the more jobs we create right here in America.  (Applause.)

We also need to keep investing in clean energy like wind power and solar power.  I just visited the biggest American solar plant of its kind, in Boulder City, Nevada.  It’s powering thousands of homes.  It put hundreds of local people at work.  There are thousands of companies like that all across America.  And today, thousands of Americans have jobs because of public investments that have nearly doubled the use of clean energy in this country.

And as long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments.  I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments.  I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America.  (Applause.)  By American workers.  That’s the future we want.

So all these steps, all these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence.   Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  (Applause.)  In 2010, our oil dependence was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  (Applause.)  Even as the economy was growing, we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of oil that we have to import because we’re being smarter; we’re doing things better.

But now we’ve got a choice.  We can keep moving in that direction — we can keep developing new energy and new technology that uses less oil — or we can listen to these folks who actually believe that the only thing we can do is drill our way out of this problem.  In fact, they make fun of clean energy.  They call the jobs produced by them “phony” jobs.  They make jokes about them at their rallies.

Lately, we’ve heard a lot of politicians, a lot of folks who are running for a certain office –- (laughter) — they shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  I guess they like gas-guzzlers because they’re against raising fuel standards.  Imagine if these guys had been around when Columbus set sail.  They’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter and applause.)  They don’t ask what we can do; they explain what we can’t do, and why we can’t do it.

And the point is there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing the same things the same way that we’ve always done them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Then we wouldn’t have a black President, but we do!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s true.  (Applause.)

They want to double down on the same ideas that got us exactly into this mess that we’ve been in and we’ve been digging our way out of.  That’s not who we are as Americans.

We’ve always succeeded because we refused to stand still.  We put faith in the future.  We are inventors.  We are builders.  We’re makers of things.  We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and Steve Jobs.  By the way, the Wright Brothers were from Ohio.  (Applause.)  Just want to point that out.  But that’s who we are.  That’s who we need to be right now.  We can’t be afraid of the future.  (Applause.)

The flat Earth crowd, they’ve got a different view.  They would rather give $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies this year than to invest in clean energy.  Four billion dollars to an industry that’s making record profits because of what you’re paying at the gas station.  Does anybody think that they need help, that they don’t have enough incentive to drill for oil?  Does anybody think that’s a wise use of your tax dollars?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We have been subsidizing oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  (Applause.)  It is time to stop a taxpayer giveaway to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and start making investments in a clean energy industry that has never been more promising.

And when Congress votes on this, you guys should put some pressure on to tell them, do the right thing.  Bet on our future, not on our past.  (Applause.)  Put them on record:  They can either stand with the oil industry, or they can stand with the American people.  They can place their bets on the energy of the past, or place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American technology, American ingenuity, American-made energy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Our children.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Our children.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

And, Ohio, we know the direction that we’ve got to go in.  Ending these oil subsidies won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow. Even if we drilled every inch of America, that won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow.  But if we’re tired of watching gas prices spike every single year, if we’re tired of being caught in this position, knowing that China and India are growing — China had 10 million cars purchased in 2010 alone.  You’ve got a billion people, two billion people out there, who are interested in buying cars — which means that unless we develop alternatives, oil prices are going to keep on going up.

I don’t want folks in the Middle East taking your money out of your pocket because we did not develop the kind of strategies that will sustain our future and our independence.  (Applause.)

So I need all of you guys to make your voices heard.  Get on the phone.  Write and email.  Send a tweet.  Let your members of Congress know where you stand.  Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them that we can win this fight.  Tell them:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  We can build an economy that lasts.  We can make this another American Century.  We can remind the entire world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
4:46 P.M. EDT

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