Political Headlines June 29, 2012: Justice Department Won’t Prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder for Contempt





Justice Department Won’t Prosecute Holder for Contempt

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

After Congress found the nation’s top law enforcement officer in contempt Thursday, the Department of Justice quickly wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner informing him that it will not prosecute U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for withholding documents in a congressional investigation of the Fast and Furious gun walking operation.

“The longstanding position of the Department of Justice has been and remains that we will not prosecute an Executive Branch official under the contempt of Congress statute for withholding subpoenaed documents pursuant to a presidential assertion of executive privilege,” James M. Cole, the deputy attorney general, wrote in a letter dated June 28 and addressed to the Speaker.

The House voted Thursday to pass a resolution which, for the first time in U.S. history, found a sitting U.S. attorney general in criminal contempt of Congress….READ MORE

Political Headlines June 29, 2012: House Passes Student Loan Interest Rates Extension & Transportation Jobs Bill with a Vote of 373-52






House passes student loans, highway jobs bill: The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed legislation to salvage 2.8 million jobs, mostly in construction, and forestall a sharp increase in interest rates on college loans.

The measure cleared the House on a 373-52 vote and Senate approval was expected shortly…. – AP, 6-29-12

  • Congress sends student loan and transportation package to Obama: Congress ended months of partisan bickering on Friday by passing and sending to President Barack Obama a comprehensive extension of highway and infrastructure projects, along with a one-year extension of low student loan interest rates…. – msnbc.com, 6-29-12
  • Congress moves toward passage of highway bill, takes action on student loans: The burst of legislating comes just four months before the November elections, giving lawmakers achievements to show off to voters who have increasingly held Congress in low esteem…. – CS Monitor, 6-29-12
451 29-Jun H R 4348 On Agreeing to the Conference Report P To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund pending enactment of a multiyear law reauthorizing such programs, and for other purposes
450 29-Jun H R 5972 On Passage P Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes
449 29-Jun H R 5972 On Motion to Recommit with Instructions F Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes
448 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment A Denham of California Amendment No. 9
447 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment A Lankford of Oklahoma Amendment
446 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment A McClintock of California Amendment No. 13
445 29-Jun H R 5972 On Agreeing to the Amendment F Blackburn of Tennessee Amendment
444 29-Jun H RES 717 On Agreeing to the Resolution P Providing for consideration of H.R. 5856, Defense Appropriations for FY 2013; consideration of H.R. 6020, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations for FY 2013; consideration of the conference report to accompany H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II
443 29-Jun H RES 718 On Motion to Table P Raising a question of the privileges of the House

Political Headlines June 28, 2012: House of Representatives Holds Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt Over Operation Fast & Furious in 255-67 Vote





House holds Attorney General Holder in contempt

Source: WaPo, 6-28-12
The House of Representatives voted 255 to 67 to make Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. the first sitting attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress for withholding documents requested as part of a congressional investigation into Operation “Fast and Furious.”…READ MORE

Holder Found in Contempt of Congress Over Gun Inquiry

Source: NYT, 6-28-12

The House voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 28, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech in Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Health Care the Affordable Care Act — Vows to Repeal Obamacare




TRANSCRIPT: Romney remarks on high court ruling upholding Obama health care law

Source: Fox News, 6-28-12

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made the following statement Thursday following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care law. 

“As you might imagine, I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision and I agree with the dissent. What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal ObamaCare.

Let’s make clear that we understand what the court did and did not do. What the court did today was say that ObamaCare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that ObamaCare is good law or that it’s good policy. ObamaCare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. ObamaCare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today.

Let me tell you why I say that. ObamaCare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. ObamaCare cuts Medicare — cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts and tax increases, ObamaCare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations on to coming generations. ObamaCare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep.

ObamaCare is a job-killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of ObamaCare.  Three-quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said ObamaCare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, ObamaCare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.

For all those reasons, it’s important for us to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

What are some of the things that we’ll keep in place and must be in place in a reform, a real reform of our health care system? One, we have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so.  Having 20 million people –
up to that number of people lose the insurance they want is simply unacceptable.

No. 2, got to make sure that those people who have preexisting conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance.

We also have to assure that we do our very best to help each state in their effort to assure that every American has access to
affordable health care.

And something that ObamaCare does not do that must be done in real reform is helping lower the cost of health care and health insurance. It’s becoming prohibitively expensive.

And so this is now a time for the American people to make a choice. You can choose whether you want to have a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life, separating you and your doctor, whether you’re comfortable with more deficits, higher debt that we pass on to the coming generations, whether you’re willing to have the government put in place a plan that potentially causes you to lose the insurance that you like, or whether instead you want to return to a time when the American people will have their own choice in health care, where consumers will be able to make their choices as to what kind of health insurance they want.

This is a time of choice for the American people. Our mission is clear:  If we want to get rid of ObamaCare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that:  that we return to the American people the privilege they’ve always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate, where we don’t pass on to coming generations massive deficits and debt, where we don’t have a setting where jobs are lost.

If we want good jobs and a bright economic future for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace ObamaCare. That is my mission, that is our work, and I’m asking the people of America to join me.  If you don’t want the course that President Obama has put us on, if you want, instead, a course that the founders envisioned, then join me in this effort. Help us. Help us defeat ObamaCare. Help us defeat the liberal agenda that makes government too big, too intrusive, and that’s killing jobs across this great country.

Thank you so much.”

Full Text Obama Presidency June 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech in Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Health Care the Affordable Care Act



Remarks by the President on Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Source: WH, 6-28-12

East Room

12:15 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America — in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.

I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost. That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.

And because this law has a direct impact on so many Americans, I want to take this opportunity to talk about exactly what it means for you.

First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable. Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive. They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions. They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms — a provision that’s already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance. And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.

There’s more. Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent’s health care plans — a provision that’s already helped 6 million young Americans. And because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs — a discount that’s already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about $600 each.

All of this is happening because of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions provide common-sense protections for middle class families, and they enjoy broad popular support. And thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue for Americans who already have health insurance.

Now, if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from. Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options, and if states can come up with even better ways of covering more people at the same quality and cost, this law allows them to do that, too. And I’ve asked Congress to help speed up that process, and give states this flexibility in year one.

Once states set up these health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a preexisting health condition. They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman. They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy. If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to get quality, affordable health care as everyone else. And if you can’t afford the premiums, you’ll receive a credit that helps pay for it.

Today, the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance. This is important for two reasons.

First, when uninsured people who can afford coverage get sick, and show up at the emergency room for care, the rest of us end up paying for their care in the form of higher premiums.

And second, if you ask insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions, but don’t require people who can afford it to buy their own insurance, some folks might wait until they’re sick to buy the care they need — which would also drive up everybody else’s premiums.

That’s why, even though I knew it wouldn’t be politically popular, and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so. In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for President.

Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive. I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared. And I know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically.

Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.

There’s a framed letter that hangs in my office right now. It was sent to me during the health care debate by a woman named Natoma Canfield. For years and years, Natoma did everything right. She bought health insurance. She paid her premiums on time. But 18 years ago, Natoma was diagnosed with cancer. And even though she’d been cancer-free for more than a decade, her insurance company kept jacking up her rates, year after year. And despite her desire to keep her coverage — despite her fears that she would get sick again — she had to surrender her health insurance, and was forced to hang her fortunes on chance.

I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law. It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well.

Natoma is well today. And because of this law, there are other Americans — other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers — who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance. These are the Americans for whom we passed this law.

The highest Court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do — what the country can’t afford to do — is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.

With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward — to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law. And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.

But today, I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.

12:23 P.M. EDT

Legal Buzz June 28, 2012: Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act Mandate as Tax in 5-4 Vote — Health Care Law Largely Stands, Victory for President Obama





National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius — Full Text Opinion — SCOTUS, 6-28-12

Supreme Court Lets Health Law Largely Stand, in Victory for Obama

Source: NYT, 6-28-12
The Supreme Court left standing the basic provisions of the health care overhaul, ruling that the government may use its taxation powers to push people to buy insurance….READ MORE

  • Romney, GOP Pledge to Repeal Health Law: Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans on Thursday pledged a renewed effort to repeal the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul, undeterred by the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the law’s central tenet…. – WSJ, 6-28-12
  • Mitt Romney Can Use Healthcare Against Barack Obama: President Barack Obama’s White House staffers can take pride—his signature legislative achievement passed constitutional muster and they can begin to implement its most controversial provisions…. – US News, World Report, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court upholds Obama health care mandate: The historic 5-4 decision will affect the way Americans receive and pay for their medical care…. – USA Today, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court Health Care Ruling: The Mandate Can Stay: The Supreme Court has announced its long-awaited decision on President Obama’s health care law…. – ABC News, 6-28-12
  • Summary of Supreme Court health care decision: The following is an edited text of the Supreme Court health-care decision…. – MarketWatch, 6-28-12
  • Following Supreme Court health-care ruling, House GOP will again try to repeal law: Now that the health-care law has been largely upheld by the Supreme Court, the GOP-controlled House plans to vote to repeal it–again…. – WaPo, 6-28-12
  • What Supreme Court’s health-care ruling means for you: The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday to uphold the bulk of the health-care law means that some popular provisions — such as requiring insurers to accept people regardless of preexisting conditions and to accept children up to age 26 on parents’ plans…. – MarketWatch, 6-28-12
  • Lawmakers react to Supreme Court decision upholding Obama health care law: The nation’s highest court on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of President Obama’s sweeping health care law, which was celebrated as victory among Democrats, while blasted by Republicans who vowed a repeal…. – Fox News, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court health care decision: 10 top tweets on SCOTUS confusion: What was not helpful sorting through the Supreme Court’s health care decision on Thursday morning? Twitter. Politicos tweeted about their growing frustration at the varying accounts coming through their feeds in the minutes after the ruling was issued:1…. – Politico, 6-28-12
  • The Supreme Court will uphold Obamacare. Here’s why: The Supreme Court can’t let the public’s already shaky opinion of it get any worse. If Obamacare isn’t upheld, it’s further evidence that the court decides according to partisan politics, rather than legal principle…. – CS Monitor, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court set to rule on health care reform: The stakes could hardly be higher as the Supreme Court is set to rule on President Obama’s health care law Thursday. The legal challenge highlights two fundamentally different views of the role of government…. – CBS News, 6-28-12
  • Either way Supreme Court rules on ‘Obamacare,’ insurers win: The Supreme Court is shaking up the political chessboard today by ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – aka “Obamacare” – and there is one player who will win no matter what the decision may be: the insurance industry…. – LAT, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court to rule Thursday on health-care law: The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care legislation Thursday morning, a potentially game-changing decision that would define the power of the national government in a presidential election year…. – WaPo, 6-28-12
  • Supreme Court health care decision has Washington awaiting history: The Supreme Court’s decision on the health-care law is the one thing nearly everyone has an opinion on…. – WaPo, 6-27-12
  • Supreme Court health care ruling expected Thursday: The Supreme Court is due to make a ruling on President Obama’s health care law that could affect the political landscape, the economy and the lives of millions of Americans…. – WaPo, 6-25-12

Legal Buzz June 28, 2012: Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act in United States v. Alvarez





United States v. Alvarez — Full Text Opinion — SCOTUS, 6-28-12

Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-28-12

The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act on Thursday, saying that the First Amendment defends a person’s right to lie — even if that person is lying about awards and medals won through military service.

The case started in 2007 when California man Xavier Alvarez was convicted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2006, the federal legislation that made it illegal for people to claim to have won or to wear military medals or ribbons they did not earn.  Alvarez had publicly claimed to have won the country’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, but was later revealed to have never served in the military at all.

Alvarez was sentenced to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service, but he and his lawyer appealed the decision, saying that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional — essentially that it violates a person’s right to lie….READ MORE

Lying About Earning War Medals Is Protected Speech, Justices Rule

Source: NYT, 6-28-12

The justices said that a federal law making it a crime to lie about having earned a military decoration was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines June 27, 2012: Quinnipiac Poll: Barack Obama Leads Mitt Romney in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania





Quinnipiac Poll: Obama Leads Romney in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-27-12

A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows President Obama with slight leads over Mitt Romney in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In Florida, Obama has a 4 point lead.

  • Obama – 45 percent
  • Romney – 41 percent

In Ohio, Obama has a 9 point lead.

  • Obama – 47 percent
  • Romney – 38 percent

In Pennsylvania, Obama has a 6 point lead.

  • Obama – 45 percent
  • Romney – 39 percent

“Voters generally like the president’s plan to suspend deportation of some younger illegal immigrants,” Peter Brown, assistant polling director at Quinnipiac University, told ABC News Radio. “There’s strong support, double-digit leads on that question in all these states.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 27, 2012: President Barack Obama Hosts Members of Congress for Bipartisan White House Picnic — Speech Transcript




Obama hosts lawmakers at White House picnic

Source: AP, 6-27-12

President Barack Obama told lawmakers at an annual White House congressional picnic Wednesday that despite their differences they should keep in mind that they are first Americans working toward a better future for the country….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Picnic for Members of Congress

Source: WH, 6-27-12

South Lawn

7:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!


THE PRESIDENT:  Now, you don’t have to worry, I will not be singing.  We have professionals for that.  (Laughter.)  But on behalf of Michelle and myself, I just want to say welcome.  We have a perfect day for a picnic.  It is spectacular.

We want to thank, as usual, our outstanding Marine Band.  (Applause.)  They can play anything at any time.  And we’re so grateful for their service to our country.  Obviously, that goes to all our men and women in uniform, and today is a great day for us to acknowledge everything they do to provide our liberty and way of life.

I want to say a special welcome not only to the members of Congress, but most importantly to their families — (applause) — because Michelle reminds me every day how difficult it is to be married to a politician.  (Laughter.)  And the sacrifices that all of you make — the birthday parties that get missed, or the soccer games that you’re late to, the travel that keeps you away from your loved ones — all of that obviously is in service of our country, and you guys are serving alongside those of us who hold elective office.  So we’re thrilled that you have at least one day where you got a chance to be together in Washington and nobody is arguing.

So that also just reminds me that for all the political differences that are sometimes expressed in this town, we are first and foremost Americans — not Democrats or Republicans.  (Applause.)  And I think all of us want to make sure that during extraordinarily challenging times for this country that we constantly keep that in mind.  That’s what the people who sent us here are expecting.  And I know that each of us in our own way are hopeful that because of the work that we do here we pass on something a little better and a little brighter to our kids and our grandkids.

And so, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you.  I’m glad I see some folks here in shorts — (laughter) — and some Hawaiian shirts.  And so everybody is dressed appropriately for a picnic.  If you still have your tie on, take it off.  (Laughter.)  Make sure to enjoy the barbecue, enjoy the music.

MRS. OBAMA:  Go see the garden.

THE PRESIDENT:  Go see the garden if you want.  And we are going to be coming down on this rope line and I want to be able to shake everybody’s hands.  I warn you in advance that because the line is long, it’s going to be hard for us to pose for individual pictures for everybody.  The exceptions that we make are kids who are 12 and under.  How about that?  That’s going to be our cutoff.  (Applause.)  So little kids, if you want a picture, I don’t mind.  I can’t say no to little kids.  You bigger folks, you’re just going to get a handshake and maybe a kiss if — (laughter) — unless you haven’t shaved, in which case — anyway, everybody have a wonderful time.

God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

7:16 P.M. EDT

Campaign Buzz June 26, 2012: Senatorial & Congressional Primary Night Results: Senator Orrin Hatch, Rep. Charlie Rangel Survive Primary Challenges





Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rep. Charlie Rangel Survive Primary Challenges

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-26-12

Two Capitol Hill stalwarts — a conservative senator and a liberal congressman — easily won their respective primaries on Tuesday, fending off what were viewed as the toughest challenges of their careers.

In Utah, Republican Orrin Hatch, a U.S. senator for six terms, defeated the Tea Party-supported Dan Liljenquist by a two-to-one margin.

There were questions earlier this year about whether Hatch would win the GOP nomination, as the Tea Party seemed intent on replacing him with a candidate to the far right even though Hatch’s conservative credentials were impeccable.

However, Hatch’s base rallied for him and the senator’s war chest of $7 million was no match for Liljenquist, who had less than $1 million to spend.  Hatch is expected to cruise to re-election in November.

Meanwhile in New York City, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel had no problem beating state Sen. Adriano Espaillat even as his 15th District in Harlem was melded into the mostly Latino 13th District.

Rangel, seeking his 22nd term in the House, is normally considered a lock to win the Democratic primary but this redistricting, along with ethics issues, posed a threat to his long tenure….READ MORE

Hatch Overcomes Challenge in Republican Primary in Utah

Source: NYT, 6-26-12

The six-term Republican fended off a primary challenge from a Tea Party-backed insurgent candidate on Tuesday….READ MORE

Rangel Fends Off Challengers to Win a Congressional Primary

Source: NYT, 6-26-12

Representative Charles B. Rangel’s victory capped a gripping campaign and preserved a career that had been threatened by ethics troubles and changing demographics….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Reaction to the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Arizona vs. United States Upholding Centerpiece of Arizona Immigration Law




Obama Has Failed To Provide Any Leadership On Immigration

Source: Mitt Romney, 6-25-12


Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration.This represents yet another broken promise by this President.

I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities.

As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office.  But 4 years later, we are still waiting.

Legal Buzz June 25, 2012: Supreme Court of the United States Rules in Arizona vs. United States — Upholds Centerpiece of Arizona Immigration Law & President Barack Obama’s Reaction Statement


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.



Arizona v. United StatesSupreme Court of the United States, 6-25-12

Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Part of Arizona Immigration Law: Police officers in Arizona are allowed to check the immigration status of every person who is stopped or arrested, the Supreme Court ruled Monday morning. But the court struck down other key parts of the law.
The controversial immigration law passed in Arizona two years ago and has been opposed by President Obama.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the policy could interfere with federal immigration law, but that the court couldn’t assume that it would.
The law — known as SB 1070 — was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in April 2010, but immediately challenged by the Obama administration. A lower court sided with the administration and agreed to prevent four of the most controversial provisions from going into effect…. – ABC News Radio, 6-25-12


  • Blocking Parts of Arizona Law, Justices Allow Its Centerpiece: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected much of Arizona’s immigration law but permitted the state’s instruction to its police to check the immigration status of people they detain…. – NYT, 6-25-12
  • Obama and Romney React to Court’s Immigration Decision: President Obama and Mitt Romney reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down parts of a tough Arizona immigration law…. – NYT, 6-25-12
  • Romney Silent on Court’s Immigration Ruling: Mitt Romney is ready to talk about health care, but not the Supreme Court’s split decision on Arizona’s immigration law…. – NYT, 6-25-12
  • Court mostly rejects Arizona immigration law: The US Supreme Court on Monday struck down key parts of an Arizona law that…. – CNN, 6-25-12
  • Praise, concern and uncertainty as Mass. reacts to Supreme Court decision on Arizona immigration law: The Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s immigration law today generated praise, concern and a measure of uncertainty in Massachusetts, one of many states where controversy erupted after Arizona passed the law in 2010…. – Boston.com, 6-25-12
  • Dan Stein: Immigration Decision a Victory for Arizona – But it Has its Pitfalls: The Supreme Court today handed the State of Arizona a hard fought victory in upholding the most contentious part of the state’s immigration enforcement bill, section 2(b) of SB 1070. That section requires state and local enforcement officials to verify…. – Fox News, 6-25-12
  • High court rejects part of Arizona immigration law: The Supreme Court threw out key provisions of Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants Monday but said a much-debated portion could go forward — that police must check the status of people stopped for … Businessweek, AP, 6-25-12
  • Both Parties Claim Victory in Arizona Ruling: The Supreme Court upheld a key part of Arizona’s tough immigration law, ruled against life sentences for juveniles and rejected corporate campaign spending limits…. – WSJ, 6-25-12
  • Chief Justice Roberts crucial in Arizona immigration ruling: Helping drive (albeit from the back seat) the Supreme Court toward what amounted to a victory for the Obama administration in the Arizona immigration case was a man often seen as one of Obama’s chief antagonists at the court…. – LAT, 6-25-12
  • Arizona immigration ruling boosts Obama in battle for Hispanic vote: The Supreme Court handed a political victory to President Obama on Monday by vindicating his decision to challenge Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law and, in turn, put Mitt Romney and other Republicans who had endorsed the law in bind as both…. – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • Obama pleased parts of Arizona’s immigration law struck down, concerned about what’s left: Pressing his immigration agenda, President Barack Obama said he is pleased the Supreme Court struck down key parts of Arizona’s immigration law Monday but voiced concern about what the high court left intact. The court allowed a provision … – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • President Barack Obama’s response to ruling on the Arizona immigration law: President Barack Obama’s statement reacting to the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration law: “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes…. – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • Most of Arizona immigration law cannot stand, Supreme Court rules: But the Supreme Court upheld a provision requiring police to check the immigration status of people they have reason to suspect are illegal immigrants – the most controversial part of the Arizona immigration law. By Warren Richey, Staff writer / June … CS Monitor, 6-25-12
  • President Barack Obama’s response to ruling on the Arizona Immigration Law: President Barack Obama’s statement reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration law…. – WaPo, 6-25-12
  • Obama ‘pleased’ and ‘concerned’ on Arizona: Obama ‘pleased’ and ‘concerned’ on Arizona … This is an issue where Obama’s desire to win the debate on immigration nationally…. – Politico, 6-25-12
  • Obama ‘pleased’ with Supreme Court ruling on Arizona immigration law: President Obama said he’s “pleased” with the US Supreme Court decision knocking down parts of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and he quickly used the decision to call for comprehensive immigration reform and to tout his own recent…. – Chicago Tribune, 6-25-12

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States

I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.

At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.

Full Text Obama Presidency June 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Act on Transportation Bill and Student Loans




Obama’s Weekly Address: Demanding Action On The Transportation Bill and Student Loans

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-23-12

The White House / Pete Souza

President Obama is urging lawmakers to put politics aside ad pass legislation to fund transportation projects and extend low-rate student loans, saying there is “no excuse for inaction.”

“We are seven days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off the job because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill.  We are eight days away from nearly seven and a half million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted to stop it,” the president says in his weekly address. “This makes no sense.”

“This is a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward,” he adds….READ MORE

President Obama discusses the urgent need for Congress to act now on two common sense measures to help middle class families: preventing interest rates on federal student loans from going up and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Sonya N. Hebert, 6/21/12

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act on Transportation Bill and Student Loans

Source: WH, 6-23-12
President Obama discusses the urgent need for Congress to act now on two common sense measures to help middle class families: preventing interest rates on federal student loans from going up and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Congress Must Act on Transportation Bill and Student Loans

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, President Obama spoke about the urgent need for Congress to act now on two common sense measures to help hardworking middle class families.  Unless Congress takes action in the next week, thousands of workers will be sent home from their jobs and millions of students will see their interest rates double. At a time when hundreds of thousands of construction workers are eager to get back on the job, it makes no sense to let transportation funding run out. And at a time when a college education has never been more important to finding a good job, it makes no sense to hit 7.4 million students with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax. It’s not too late, but time is running out for Republicans and Democrats to come together on these common sense measures to help our nation recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Washington, DC
June 23, 2012

Over the past three years, we’ve been clawing our way back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.  And we know it will take longer than any of us would like to fully recover all the jobs and savings that have been lost.  But there are things we can do – right now – to help put people back to work and make life a little easier for middle-class families.

For months, I’ve been pushing Congress to help us along by passing common-sense policies that would make a difference.  Democrats and Republicans have already done some important work together – like passing a tax cut that’s allowing working Americans to keep more of their paycheck every week.   But Congress has refused to act on most of the other ideas in my jobs plan that economists say could put a million more Americans back to work.

There’s no excuse for inaction.  Right now, we are seven days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off the job because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill.  We are eight days away from nearly seven and a half million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted to stop it.

This makes no sense.  We know that one of the most important things we can do for our economy is to make sure that all Americans get the best education possible.  Right now, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  Their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  So, if we know that a higher education is the clearest path to the middle class, why would we make it harder to achieve?

So much of America needs to be repaired right now.  Bridges are deteriorating after years of neglect. Highways are choked with congestion. Transportation delays cost Americans and businesses billions of dollars every year. And there are hundreds of thousands of construction workers who have never been more eager to get back on the job.  So why would we let our transportation funding run out?  This is a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward.

My Administration is doing its part.  On Friday, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced $500 million in competitive grants for states and communities that will create construction jobs on projects like road repair and port renovation.  And that’s an important step, but we can’t do it all on our own.

The Senate did their part.  They passed a bipartisan transportation bill back in March.  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.

It’s not lost on any of us that this is an election year.  But we’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election.  We answer to the American people, and they are demanding action.  Let’s make it easier for students to stay in college.  Let’s keep construction workers rebuilding our roads and bridges.  And let’s tell Congress to do their job.   Tell them it’s time to take steps that we know will create jobs now and help sustain our economy for years to come.

Political Headlines June 23, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. on Jobs & Repealing ObamaCare




GOP Address: Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. on Jobs & Repealing ObamaCare

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-23-12

In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) describes the Republicans’ goals on fully repealing the president’s health care law, ObamaCare.

Cassidy says, “Unless the court throws out the entire law, we should repeal what is left and implement common-sense, step-by-step reforms that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at the lowest cost.”

“In this tough economy, the top health care concern of families and small businesses is out-of-control costs. Health care coverage has become too expensive for too many people,” he adds.

Ultimately, Cassidy feels a completely different law needs to be in place “to lower the cost of health care for families and small businesses.”

Full Text Obama Presidency June 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Immigration to Latino Leaders at the NALEO Annual Conference in Orlando





Obama Swipes at Romney in Address to Latino Officials

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-22-12


It was billed as an “official” presidential speech on policy, but President Obama thrust election year politics front and center at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference today – including direct attacks on GOP rival Mitt Romney.

“Yesterday your featured speaker came here and said that the election in November isn’t about two people; it’s not about being a Republican or Democrat or an independent; it is about the future of America. And while we’ve got a lot of differences, he and I, on this point, I could not agree more,” Obama said at the top of his remarks.

But then the president framed the 2012 race as a stark choice, with high economic stakes for Latinos and the middle class….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at the NALEO Annual Conference

Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida

1:43 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Gracias!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Everybody please have a seat.  Ah, it is good to be back at NALEO.  Qué placer estar aquí con tantos amigos.  (Applause.)  It is wonderful to see a lot of good friends from all across the country.  It is nice to be at Disney World.  This is now the second time I’ve come to Disney World without my daughters.  They are not happy with me.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank Secretary Solis for the introduction, and for her hard work.  She is one of the best Labor Secretaries we have ever had and she is thinking about you each and every day.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Sylvia and Arturo for their outstanding leadership.  Arturo, happy early birthday.  (Applause.)  I will not sing — don’t worry.  (Laughter.)  Welcome to the other side of the hill.  (Laughter.)

And it is especially good to have Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte here with us.  We are very proud of her.  (Applause.)  When the Senate refused to confirm Mari, I sent her to El Salvador anyway — (laughter) — because I knew she was going to do an outstanding job.  And she has.  And I’m glad to see the Senate finally confirmed her last week.  So she’s now official.  (Applause.)

Last but not least, I want to thank all of you.  It’s always nice to get out of Washington.  It’s nice to get a little Florida sunshine.  But it’s especially nice to see folks who have devoted themselves to serving their communities and their country — who’ve dedicated themselves to making people’s lives just a little bit better each and every day, at every level — school board, state legislatures, county boards.  You guys are where the rubber hits the road.  And I’ve had a chance to see many of you in your local communities and hear the stories of all your efforts and all your hopes and all your dreams — and also some of your frustrations and the hardships that are taking place.

Yesterday, your featured speaker came here and said that the election in November isn’t about two people.  It’s not about being a Republican or a Democrat or an independent.  It is about the future of America.  And while we’ve got a lot of differences, he and I, on this point I could not agree more.  This is about America’s future.  The defining issue of our time is whether we carry forward the promise that has drawn generations of immigrants to our shores, from every corner of the globe, sometimes at great risk — men and women drawn by the promise that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name, this is a place where you can make it if you try.  This is a place where you can make it if you try.

And whether our ancestors arrived on the Mayflower or were brought here on slave ships, whether they signed in at Ellis Island or they crossed the Rio Grande, their diversity has not only enriched this country, it helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.

Hungry people, striving people, dreamers, risk-takers.  People don’t come here looking for handouts.  We are a nation of strivers and climbers and entrepreneurs — the hardest-working people on Earth.  And nobody personifies these American values, these American traits, more than the Latino community.  That’s the essence of who you are.  (Applause.)

All we ask for is that hard work pays off, that responsibility is rewarded, so that if these men and women put in enough effort, they can find a good job, own their own home, send their kids to college — let their kids dream even bigger  — put away a little bit for retirement, not go bankrupt when you get sick.

And I ran for this office because for more than a decade, that dream had been slipping away from too many Americans.  Before I even took office, the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes pushed it even further from reach — particularly for a lot of Latino communities, which had already faced higher unemployment and higher poverty rates.

So the question is not whether we need to do better.  Of course the economy isn’t where it needs to be.  Of course there’s still too many who struggle.  We’ve got so much more work to do.  But the question is:  How do we make the economy grow faster?  How do we create more jobs?  How do we create more opportunity?  The question is:  What vision are we going to stand up for?  Who are we going to fight for?

That’s what we have to decide right now.  That’s what this election is about.  Who are we fighting for?  What vision of America do we believe in?

If America is about anything, it’s about passing on even greater opportunity to our children.  It’s about education.  And that’s why I expanded Pell Grants — which will give an additional 150,000 children in the Latino community a chance to go to college.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’ve invested in our community colleges, which are a gateway to a good job for so many Hispanic Americans — Americans of every stripe.  (Applause.)

That’s why schools in almost every state — some in the toughest neighborhoods around — have answered our challenge to raise their standards for teaching and learning — not by teaching to a test, but by expanding creativity, and improving curriculums, and focusing more on kids who are hardest to reach so that we give every child a fighting chance.  That’s part of the vision of America that we believe in.

In this country, we believe that if you want to take a risk on a new idea, you should have the chance to succeed.  And you shouldn’t have to have wealthy parents in order to be successful.  Latino-owned businesses have been the fastest-growing small businesses, and we’ve cut their taxes 18 times.  (Applause.)  We’ve expanded new loans and new credit so they can grow and they can hire.  That’s the vision we believe in.

In America, we believe you shouldn’t go broke because you get sick.  Hardworking people out there — sometimes two jobs, three jobs — still don’t have health insurance.  If you did have health insurance, insurance companies were able to discriminate against certain patients.  That was wrong.  It was wrong to let insurance companies just jack up premiums for no reason, and to have millions of working Americans uninsured —  with the Latino community having the highest rate of uninsured of any community in the country.

So after a century of trying, we finally passed reform that will make health care affordable and available for every American.  (Applause.)  That was the right thing to do.  That was the right thing to do.  That was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

Now, we’re not done yet.  We’ve got more to do.  We need to put more good teachers in our classrooms.  (Applause.)  We need to get colleges and universities to bring down the cost of tuition to make it more affordable for more young people.  (Applause.)

We need to invest in new research and innovation — especially new sources of energy and high-tech manufacturing.  We need to put people back to work rebuilding our roads and our highways and our runways.  Construction jobs can have a huge ripple effect in communities all across the country.  And nobody knows it better than state and local officials.  You know the difference it makes.  And with the housing bubble bursting, we’ve got tens of thousands of construction workers just ready and eager to get to work.

We need to give families in hard-hit housing markets like Florida and Nevada the chance to refinance and save $3,000 a year on their mortgage.  That’s good for those families.  It’s good for the housing market.  It’s good for the surrounding community.  There’s no reason why Congress hasn’t already done it.  (Applause.)

Instead of just talking a big game about “job creators,” we should give small business owners a tax break for hiring more workers or for paying higher wages.  Instead of rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas, we should take that money and use it to cover moving expenses for companies who are bringing jobs back to America.  (Applause.)

On almost every issue of concern to your community, to every community, what’s holding us back isn’t a lack of big ideas.  It’s not a lack of technical solutions.  By now, just about every policy and proposal has been laid out on the table.  What’s holding us back is a stalemate — a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction we should go.

The Republicans who run Congress, the man at the top of their ticket, they don’t agree with any of the proposals I just talked about.  They believe the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.  So they want to roll back regulations, and give insurance companies and credit card companies and mortgage lenders even more power to do as they please.  They want to spend $5 trillion on new tax cuts — including a 25-percent tax cut for every millionaire in the country.  And they want to pay for it by raising middle-class taxes and gutting middle-class priorities like education and training and health care and medical research.

And that’s it.  That’s it.  That’s their economic plan.  When they tell you they can do better, that’s their idea of doing better.  When they tell you they know how to fix the economy, that’s exactly how they plan to do it.  And I think they’re wrong.  I think they’re wrong.  (Applause.)

In this country, prosperity has never come from the top down — it comes from a strong and growing middle class, and creating ladders of opportunity for all those who are striving to get into the middle class.  It comes from successful, thriving small businesses that over time grow into medium-size and then large businesses.

We don’t need more top-down economics.  What we need is a better plan for education and training, and energy independence, and innovation, and infrastructure that can rebuild America.  What we need is a tax code that encourages companies to create jobs and manufacturing here in the United States, and, yes, asks the wealthiest Americans to help pay down the deficit.  (Applause.)  That’s what’s needed.  (Applause.)

And what’s also needed is immigration reform that finally lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants, and continues the American story of renewal and energy and dynamism that’s made us who we are.  (Applause.)

I mean, think about it.  You and I both know one of America’s greatest strengths has always been our ability to attract talented, hardworking people who believe in this country, who want to help make it stronger.  That’s what keeps us young.  That’s what keeps us dynamic and energized.  That’s what makes us who we are.

But our current immigration system doesn’t reflect those values.  It allows the best and brightest to study here, but then tells them to leave, start companies somewhere else.  It punishes immigrants and businesses who play by the rules, and fails to address the fact that there are too many who don’t.  It separates families and it denies innocent young people the chance to earn an education or serve in the uniform of the country they love.

Now, once again, the problem is not the lack of technical solutions.  We know what the solutions are to this challenge.  Just six years ago, an unlikely trio — John McCain, Ted Kennedy, President Bush — came together to champion comprehensive immigration reform.  (Applause.)  I, along with a lot of Democrats, were proud to join 23 Senate Republicans in voting for it.  Today, those same Republicans have been driven away from the table by a small faction of their own party.  It’s created the same kind of stalemate on immigration reform that we’re seeing on a whole range of other economic issues.  And it has given rise to a patchwork of state laws that cause more problems than they solve and are often doing more harm than good.  (Applause.)

Now, this makes no sense.  It’s not good for America.  And as long as I am President of the United States, I will not give up the fight to change it.

In the face of a Congress that refuses to do anything on immigration, I’ve said that I’ll take action wherever I can.  So my administration has been doing what we can, without the help in Congress, for more than three years now.  And last week, we took another step.  On Friday, we announced that we’re lifting the shadow of deportation from deserving young people who were brought to this country as children.  (Applause.)

We should have passed the DREAM Act a long time ago.  It was written by members of both parties.  When it came up for a vote a year and a half ago, Republicans in Congress blocked it.  The bill hadn’t changed.  The need hadn’t changed.  The only thing that had changed was politics.  (Applause.)  The need had not changed.  The bill hadn’t changed — written with Republicans.  The only thing that had changed was politics.  And I refused to keep looking young people in the eye, deserving young people in the eye, and tell them, tough luck, the politics is too hard.

I’ve met these young people all across the country.  They’re studying in our schools.  They’re playing with our children, pledging allegiance to our flag, hoping to serve our country.  They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds. They are Americans through and through — in every single way but on paper.  And all they want is to go to college and give back to the country they love.  (Applause.)  So lifting the shadow of deportation and giving them a reason to hope — that was the right thing to do.  It was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

It’s not amnesty.  It falls short of where we need to be –a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix.  This is a temporary measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while offering some justice to these young people.  But it’s precisely because it’s temporary, Congress still needs to come up with a long-term immigration solution — rather than argue that we did this the wrong way or for the wrong reasons.

So to those who are saying Congress should be the one to fix this — absolutely.  For those who say we should do this in a bipartisan fashion — absolutely.  My door has been open for three and a half years.  They know where to find me.  (Laughter.)

I’ve said time and again:  Send me the DREAM Act; I will sign it right away.  (Applause.)  And I’m still willing to work with anyone from either party who is committed to real reform.  But in the meantime, the question we should consider is this:  Was providing these young people with the opportunity for a temporary measure of relief the right thing to do?


THE PRESIDENT:  I think it was.  It’s long past time that we gave them a sense of hope.

Your speaker from yesterday has a different view.  In his speech, he said that when he makes a promise to you, he’ll keep it.  Well, he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word.  (Applause.)  I’m just saying.  (Laughter and applause.)

And I believe that would be a tragic mistake.  You do, too.

On all these issues — on the investments we need to grow the middle class and leave a better future for our kids, on deficit reduction that’s fair and balanced, on immigration reform, on consumer financial protection so that people aren’t exploited, whether at a payday loan shop or if they’re sending remittances back to their families — on all these issues, Washington has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the country.

The whole idea behind the DREAM Act, after all, was inspired by a music teacher in Illinois.  She decided to call her Senator, Dick Durbin, when she discovered that one of her own students was forced to live in the shadows.  But even as that idea fell prey to gridlock and game-playing in Washington, it gained momentum in the rest of the country:  From every student who marched and organized to keep their classmates from being deported; from every parent who discovered the truth about the child down the street and chose to stand up for them — because these are all our kids; from every American who stood up and spoke out across the country because they saw a wrong and wanted it to be righted; who put their shoulder to the wheel and moved us a little closer towards justice.

That’s what has always moved us forward.  It doesn’t start in Washington.  It starts with a million quiet heroes who love their country and believe they can change it.

We all have different backgrounds.  We all have different political beliefs.  The Latino community is not monolithic; the African American community is not all of one mind.  This is a big country.  And sometimes, in tough times, in a country this big and busy, especially during a political year, those differences are cast in a bright spotlight.

But I ran for this office because I am absolutely convinced that what binds us together has always proven stronger than what drives us apart.  We are one people.  We need one another.  (Applause.)  Our patriotism is rooted not in race, not in ethnicity, not in creed; it is based on a shared belief in the enduring and permanent promise of America.

That’s the promise that draws so many talented, driven people to these shores.  That’s the promise that drew my own father here.  That’s the promise that drew your parents or grandparents or great grandparents — generations of people who dreamed of a place where knowledge and opportunity were available to anybody who was willing to work for it, anybody who was willing to seize it.  A place where there was no limit to how far you could go, how high you could climb.

They took a chance.  And America embraced their drive and embraced their courage — said, “Come, you’re welcome.”  This is who we are.

Every single day I walk into the Oval Office, every day that I have this extraordinary privilege of being your President, I will always remember that in no other nation on Earth could my story even be possible.  (Applause.)  That’s something I celebrate.

That’s what drives me, in every decision I make, to try and widen the circle of opportunity, to fight for that big and generous and optimistic country we inherited, to carry that dream forward for generations to come.  Because when I meet these young people, all throughout communities, I see myself.  Who knows what they might achieve.  I see my daughters and my nieces and my nephews.  Who knows what they might achieve if we just give them a chance?

That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s what I stand for.

This fight will not always be easy.  It hasn’t always been easy.  It will not happen overnight.  Our history has been one where that march towards justice and freedom and equality has taken time.  There will always be plenty of stubborn opposition in the way that says: “No, you can’t.” “No, you shouldn’t.”  “Don’t even try.”

But America was built by people who said something different — who said:  “Yes, we can.”  Who said, “Sí, se puede.”  (Applause.)  And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I will be alongside you, fighting for the country that we together dream of.  (Applause.)

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

2:11 P.M. EDT

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