CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012
IN FOCUS: OBAMA ENLISTS BILL CLINTON’S HELP IN THREE NEW YORK FUNDRAISERS
- JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages
Obama, Bill Clinton Stump on ‘Growth’ vs. ‘Austerity’ Agenda:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-5-12
President Obama and former President Bill Clinton pitched a coordinated message on jobs and the economy Monday night that appeared designed to confront an electoral landscape unsettled by Friday’s dismal jobs report and an expected Republican victory in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall.
Sharing the stage at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, the two offered a robust defense of Obama’s handling of the economy and vision for the future, asserting more forcefully than they’ve done elsewhere in recent weeks that more short-term government spending is needed to boost hiring while insisting Republicans have been blockading the effort all along.
“If you do not have economic growth, no amount of austerity will balance the budget because you will always have revenues go down more than you can possibly cut spending,” Clinton told the crowd of Republican budget plans.
“So what [Obama] did was to say growth today, restraint in a big way tomorrow. … Growth and jobs today, build the economy, then take the burden of the debt off our children’s future and avoid the exploding interest rates and declining living standards that it would impose on their future,” the former president said…. READ MORE
- Clinton: Romney Would Be ‘Calamitous for Our Country’: Lending his fundraising prowess to President Obama’s re-election campaign, Bill Clinton warned top donors in New York on Monday that Mitt Romney would be “calamitous for our country and the world.”
“The politics is wrong on the Republican side, the economics are crazy,” Clinton said at a fundraiser at the Upper East Side home of billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry.
Just one week after praising Mitt Romney’s “sterling business career,” Clinton argued that Republicans’ “economics are wrong-headed and their politics are worse.”… – ABC News Radio, 6-5-12
- Obama, Bill Clinton team up to court New York elite: President Barack Obama enlisted Bill Clinton to campaign alongside him in New York on Monday, tapping the popular ex-president’s star power to rake in re-election funds from wealthy Wall Street investors…. – Reuters, 6-4-12
- Clinton Supports Obama at New York Fund-Raisers: Days after lauding Mitt Romney for a “sterling business career” as a private investor, former President Bill Clinton said on Monday that as president, Mr. Romney “would be in my opinion calamitous for our country and the world.”
And with that blunt denunciation, delivered at President Obama’s side during a fund-raiser in Manhattan at the home of a billionaire hedge-fund executive, Mr. Clinton sought to quash the chatter in the news media and from the Romney campaign that his earlier remarks amounted to an off-message endorsement of Mr. Romney’s qualifications to take Mr. Obama’s job.
Their joint appearance at three fund-raisers in New York City on Monday night was the second of three such get-togethers they plan. Separately, Mr. Clinton will in coming months be what one campaign official called “an active surrogate” in Mr. Obama’s fight for re-election…. – NYT, 6-4-12
- Obama, Clinton back together to attack Romney: President Obama and predecessor Bill Clinton are back on the same page when it comes to attacking Mitt Romney.
Less than a week after praising Romney’s “sterling” business career, Clinton told Obama backers last night in New York City that the Republican candidate’s economic policies would be “calamitous for our country and the world.”
At a trio of fundraisers in the Big Apple, Clinton said Romney and the Republicans have adopted a “European” approach to the economy…. – USA Today, 6-4-12
Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event
New York, New York
5:24 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (In progress) — and secondly, the alternative would be, in my opinion, calamitous for our country and the world. I think that he’s got the right economic policies and the right political approach, and I think their economics are wrongheaded and their politics are worse.
And if you just look at — the month he took the oath of office, we lost 800,000 jobs. In the last three and a half years, the economy has produced 4.3 million — 27 months, really, — 4.3 million private sector — for the last three-and-a-half years. It is 60 percent more jobs — listen to this — 60 percent more private sector jobs than were created in the seven years and eight months of President Bush’s administration, before the meltdown — before the meltdown. And he did it with the so-called stimulus bill, with the automobile restructuring — which I think is an amazing achievement — and with a number of other things, including a serious commitment to an independent energy future and a commitment to bringing manufacturing back to this country.
And things have slowed up a little now for two reasons — one is Europe, which is beyond our control, although he and his national security team are working hard on it. That is, the economic team is now our national security team in Europe. (Laughter.) And the other is that the Republican Congress and their nominee for President, Governor Romney, have adopted Europe’s economic policy. Who would have ever thought that the Republicans who made a living for decades deriding “old Europe” would embrace their economic policy? (Laughter.) But that’s what they’ve done.
Their economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that will explode the debt when the economy recovers so that interest rates will be so high nobody will be able to do anything. His economic policy is job growth now, and long-term budget restraint.
If you look at the budgets, their budgets, every one of them, all the congressional budgets and Governor Romney’s add $1 or $2 trillion to the trajectory of the debt that we’re on right now. His budget takes it down.
And if you look at their politics, it’s constant conflict. And the only thing in the world that’s working is cooperation. When he has a free hand, he cooperates. He got labor and management together in the auto restructuring, and we’ve got 80,000 more people working making American cars, and saved 1.5 million jobs.
I know a lot about this — I grew up in a car dealership. (Laughter.) I know a lot about this. We would never have heard the end of it if those two companies had failed and all those auto parts manufacturers had failed and all those dealerships had closed. It would have been a nightmare.
He got labor, management, the environmental groups and the government together on the auto-mileage standards — you got 150,000 new jobs out of it.
Cooperation is what works. Constant conflict is a dead-bang loser. You can see it all over the world.
So the politics is wrong on the Republican side; the economics are crazy. He’s got good policies. He’s got a good record. He’s made the best of a very challenging situation. He deserves to be reelected. And I know I don’t have to say that I think he’s done an extraordinary job with the national security responsibilities of the country, both making it safer and building a world with more partners. And he had a pretty good Secretary of State, too. (Laughter and applause.)
So I thank you for being here, and I hope you will try to find simple, direct ways to say these things to your friends and neighbors. This is what’s important. What happens and whether we can bring back the American Dream or not is riding on whether he wins this election in a clear and unambiguous way, and we make it clear that we want a politics of cooperation and an economics of growth and broadly shared prosperity.
President Obama. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you everybody. No need to — thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Please, please.
Well, first of all, to the Lasry family, to Marc and Cathy, all the kids — particularly Alex, who had been working with Valerie Jarrett for a while and now is off to business school — I just want to thank them for their extraordinary friendship. They have been great supporters and great friends for a really, really long time. And so to open up their beautiful home to us and offer such great hospitality, I can’t be more grateful.
To President Bill Clinton — as usual, he pretty much summed it up. (Laughter.) So I don’t have to add too much — don’t want to guild the lily here.
Nobody has a better grasp and understanding of the issues than this man. He spent eight years guiding this country through, initially, some difficult times, and then ushered in one of the greatest booms that we’ve seen — a recipe of stable, steady growth in which everybody participated, growth that started from the bottom up and from the middle class out.
And everybody did well, including those at the top, because — in part, because of President Clinton’s background. He understood what it takes to grow this economy, that there’s just extraordinary talent all across the country. In little places in Arkansas and little apartment buildings in Hawaii and — (laughter) — there are folks out there who are eager to live out that American Dream and create new businesses and new opportunities. And just about everybody here, somewhere in their lives they’ve known that when we work together we can’t be stopped. And that’s what’s at stake in this election, as Bill said.
I want to spend most of my time answering questions, but part of what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks is just clarifying for people the choice involved — because we have a fundamental choice. And the truth is it’s an argument that dates back to Bill Clinton’s presidency. As you will recall, you didn’t get a lot of cooperation out of those Republicans in Congress either. (Laughter.)
And the basic issue is after World War II, we arrived at a basic consensus in this country; it was a rough consensus between Republicans and Democrats, and there was a spectrum there, but everybody understood that the market was the best generator of wealth and opportunity that we had ever seen. It was understood that America’s business was business, that government is not the ultimate source of our wealth and our freedom. But what we also understood was that there were certain investments we had to make to create a platform for opportunity for everybody.
And so among Democrats and Republicans there was a belief in a basic social safety net. And there was a belief that regulations wouldn’t inhibit necessarily economic growth, they could actually advance them. Because the reason we had the best capital markets in the world was people trusted our capital markets, and they believed in disclosure, and they believed in transparency and openness and accountability. And so small investors and large investors said, you know what, let’s put our money in America.
And people from Richard Nixon to George H.W. Bush understood that if we have smart environmental regulations that can actually create opportunity. And if we have good consumer regulations, that actually helps America’s brand because people can trust our products and trust our services.
And there was an understanding we’re going to make an investment in education, whether the GI Bill or opening up more and more opportunity for a college education, and making sure that we’re investing in our — the crown jewel of America’s economy, our colleges and our universities — because we understood that that’s where innovation comes from and ultimately that’s going to create opportunity.
And we understood whether we were going to make investments in the Interstate Highway System or in DARPA that ultimately that would inure to the benefit of the marketplace.
And we understood that we had to pay for it. The notion was this stuff wasn’t going to be free. It used to be the argument between Democrats and Republicans was what’s the best way to pay for it, but we understood that ultimately these were investments worth making. And there were times where Democrats got a little excessive. We had a little too much faith in government, a little too much faith in regulation, and there was a corrective mechanism. And Bill Clinton helped to correct some of our excesses.
And we understood not every government program is going to work, and we understood that not every regulation should be command-and-control, top down; that a lot of times the market might provide — if we provide the proper incentives, the market might come up with better solutions for how we were going to solve some of these vexing problems.
But over the last 15 years, the last 20 years, that consensus has broken down. If you look at what the Republican Party today represents — we haven’t moved that much. If you’ve compared — there’s a reason why Jack Lew was the OMB Director under Bill Clinton and he was my OMB Director and now my Chief of Staff. Jack hasn’t changed that much. (Laughter.) He’s gotten a little grayer. (Laughter.) Our basic policies haven’t shifted. We’ve responded to new information and new circumstances.
What’s changed is the Republican Party. They have gone from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism when it comes to the marketplace; a belief that all regulations are bad; that government has no role to play; that we shouldn’t simply be making sure that we balance the budget, we have to drastically shrink government, and eliminate those commitments that have ensured a middle class had a chance to succeed and to thrive for several generation.
And so if you look at Paul Ryan’s budget or you look at Governor Romney’s proposals, what they’re talking about is something that is fundamentally different from our experience in growing this economy and creating jobs. And so that’s going to be the central issue in this campaign. And we’re going to do everything we can to clarify that choice.
The good news is the American people I think agree with us. The challenge is that things have been very tough for people for the last three, four, five, 10 years. And when things are tough, you’re willing to try just about anything even if you’ve seen it before. And so what we have to do is to make sure that we’re constantly getting a clear message out about how we intend to grow the middle class, how we’re going to create jobs, and how our positions are squarely in the center of America’s traditions.
We’re not the ones who changed. And the track record that Bill Clinton mentioned is one that I’m extraordinarily proud of, but as important as the work that we’ve done over the last three and a half years has been, this is actually an election that’s going to set the stage for what we do over the next 20 or the next 30. And I want the American people to understand that.
But I think precisely because we’re right on these issues, I think we’re going to win this election. We’re just going to make — we’re going to have to just make sure that we get our message out effectively. And that means help from all of you.
So I’m grateful for all of you being here and I’m looking forward to hitting the campaign trail hard. And luckily I’ll have some pretty good companions along the way.
Thank you. (Applause.)
5:38 P.M. EDT
Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York
8:40 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. I am the warm-up act for the President. (Laughter.) And I will attempt to bring him on while you’re still warm. (Laughter.)
I want to thank Eric Schneiderman for his lucid statement of the case of what’s at stake in this election, and for his exceptional service to the state of New York. Thank you, Assemblyman Keith Wright, and thank you, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, for co-chairing this dinner. And, Representative Carolyn Maloney, thank you very much for your friendship and everything you’ve done. (Applause.) And I believe on his last day as chairman of the New York State Democratic Party — thank you, Jay Jacobs, for being one of the best Democratic chairmen in the entire nation. (Applause.)
I want to thank my longtime friend, Jon Bon Jovi, for performing and for always being there for us. (Applause.)
Now, here’s what I want to say to you. Most of my life now has nothing to do with politics. You know that. I work on my foundation; I work around the world; I work in America. I work with Democrats and Republicans and independents, and half the time I don’t know who I’m working with, politically. But I do spend two hours a day still studying the economic trends around the world and studying what is going on in America. And I care about the long-term debt of the country a lot. Remember me? I’m the only guy that gave you four surplus budgets out of the eight I sent. (Applause.) So I hope what I say to you will have some weight, because I want you to say it to everybody you see between now and November.
I don’t think it’s important to reelect the President; I think it is essential to reelect the President — (applause) — if we want this country to have the kind of future that our children and grandchildren deserve. And here’s why.
When I left office, we returned to the trickle-down policies — big tax cuts, mostly for people of my income group — I love saying this because I never had any money until I got out of the White House. (Laughter.) Maybe that’s why I don’t mind paying those taxes — since I never had it before I don’t know what it was like. (Laughter.)
And we doubled our debt of the country again. And then, after totally anemic growth for seven years and eight months, on the day before the financial collapse, median family income was $2,000 lower than it was the day I left office, while the cost of health care had gone up three times the rate of inflation, college twice the rate of inflation.
Then all of a sudden, September 15th comes and goes and poof! The good news was for President Obama is that he was elected President on September 15, 2008. He’s the only person in the history of the country ever to be elected President before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. (Laughter.)
The bad news is he was elected President on September 15, 2008 — (laughter) — in the teeth of the worst recession since the Great Depression, a financial collapse of enormous proportion. In the last 500 years, such financial collapses have taken on average five to 10 years to get over — and when they’re deep and big and accompanied by mortgage collapse, almost always 10 years.
He set about to try to keep his original dream, to return broad-based prosperity, to return the reality of the American Dream to our country, and to do it in a way that made a world with more partners and fewer adversaries. And he did it under unimaginably difficult circumstances — 800,000 jobs were lost the month he was sworn in as President. And it is my opinion that he has performed extremely well under very, very difficult circumstances. (Applause.) And I want to tell you why. (Applause.)
So he set about to do what was necessary to prevent a financial collapse again, to put a floor under the recession and to begin to create jobs again, to save a million or more state and local jobs of teachers and health care workers and people who work for fire and police departments. He set about to bring American manufacturing back, to make America a leading nation in the green energy revolution — which is sweeping the globe and which only the American Republican Party seems to deny is necessary.
And he set about to reform health care, knowing it was a moral, a health, and an economic issue because we are now spending almost 18 percent of our income on health care. None of our major competitors is over 11.8 percent. That’s $1 trillion a year that could be going to pay-raises for the middle class. It could be going for small businesses to hire new people.
And he did it while trying to make college more affordable, because we had dropped from first to 15th in the world in the last decade in the percentage of our young adults graduating with degrees. And while doing that, he presented a plan to deal with the long-term debt of the country, understanding that when you have a total financial collapse — interest rates are zero, no private demand, no private investment — you can’t have austerity now.
You remember those surplus budgets? They came about for three reasons — spending control, adequate revenues and economic growth. If you do not have economic growth, no amount of austerity will balance the budget, because you will always have revenues go down more than you can possibly cut spending. (Applause.)
And so what he did was to say growth today, restraint in a big way tomorrow; here’s my 10-year budget. So growth in jobs today, build the economy, then take the burden of the debt off our children’s future, and avoid the exploding interest rates and the declining living standards that it would impose on their future.
So where are we? Oh, and by the way, he offered a politics of cooperation. He said, you Republicans start off with that individual mandate. We’ll do health care reform that way. All of a sudden, they weren’t for it anymore. He said, let’s have a bipartisan deficit reduction commission. And when it came to a vote in the Senate, all the Republicans who co-sponsored the bill were forced to vote against it by their party. It’s the first I ever saw somebody sponsor a bill and vote against it.
And I could give you lots and lots of other — he said, let’s have an infrastructure bank so we can have private and public capital like other countries do. It’s a great return on investment. It’s always been a bipartisan area. Once he was for it, they were all against it. Besides, it might put somebody to work and help him get reelected. (Laughter.)
So where are we in spite of that? In the last 27 months, this economy has produced 4.3 million private sector jobs. (Applause.) That is about what it produced on a monthly basis during my two terms, coming back. Why did the numbers show 3.7 million? Because the Congress refused to pass his bill to send money to states and localities to keep the teachers on the job, to keep the firefighters and the police officers on the job. I was in Wisconsin a couple of days ago — 73 percent of the school districts have laid teachers off.
That’s the austerity policy. It isn’t good economics. The Obama policy is. That 4.3 million private sector jobs is — listen to this — 60 percent more private jobs than came into this economy in the seven years and eight months of the previous administration before the financial meltdown. And you need to tell people that. (Applause.)
And what happened with manufacturing? It’s growing again for the first time since the ’90s. There was an article in the paper today that said, oh, we’re going to have 2 or 3 million manufacturing jobs within three more years. In seven or eight or nine areas, jobs flooding back into this country.
What happened in clean energy? Governor Romney goes out to a company that had a loan that didn’t work out and says, oh, this is a whole bust. Here’s what I know. We ranked first or second in the world in every major scientific survey in the capacity to generate electricity from the sun and the wind. During the worst of the meltdown, clean-energy jobs grew twice as fast as the rest of the economy, paid 35 percent more.
This weekend, Germany became the first country in history to generate 22 gigawatts of electricity from the sun. That doesn’t mean much to you, so I’ll tell you in plain language what it means. That’s as much as 20 big nuclear power plants. (Applause.) And they have generated over 300,000 new jobs out of it. They’re a fourth our size, and only half as capable to generate solar energy. If we did what they did, that’s a million jobs alone. Now, that’s what President Obama has done on the jobs front. (Applause.)
And where he could cooperate with people — the automakers, management and labor — they restructured the auto industry and what happened? We have 80,000 more people working making cars today than we did the day he took office, and we saved 1.5 million jobs that would have gone right down the tubes if those two companies had failed. (Applause.) America is back in the car business. (Applause.)
And then labor, management, the environmental groups and the government got together and agreed on a schedule to raise the car mileage standards, to double them, and guess what — it will create 150,000 new high-tech jobs.
In health care — just before you roll over and play dead on this issue, let me just give you two or three issues — facts here. For the last few years, for the first time in 50 years, health care inflation has been at 4 percent. Hasn’t been that low in 50 years. It’s been killing people, economically. (Applause.) Americans got $1.3 billion in refunds on their insurance policy — because you’ve got to spend 85 percent of your premium on your health care now — and that’s not counting California, they’re not reported in yet — 2.6 million young people 26 years of age or younger are on their parent’s policy now, all because of the health care bill the President signed. (Applause.)
I spend a lot of time with people in the health care business — with doctors and people who manage medical practices, with people who manage hospitals, and people who manage insurance plans. I don’t know anybody that wants to repeal Obamacare. Not anybody. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t believe that we shouldn’t start paying for performance, not for procedure in health care, and improve our quality and bring our costs in line with our competitors. And that’s what people in the health care business are doing today because that law passed. (Applause.)
And finally, never a day goes by I don’t see some article about the burden of student loans. But when President Obama’s student loan reform is fully implemented, the cost of the loans will go down and no one will ever have to drop out of college again because of the cost. Because now everybody will be able to pay their loans back as a small, fixed percentage of their income for up to 20 years. Do you understand what that means? That one bill can take us back to number one in the world in college graduates again because nobody — nobody — will ever have to drop out again. (Applause.)
And his plan to reduce the debt has extraordinary spending restraint — including in Medicare — has modest tax increases, and is phased in as we grow the economy.
Now, his opponent, who says that he’s got a better idea, was the governor of the state that was 47th in the country in job growth. He promised that if elected he would grow the economy and reduce the debt, and when he left office the debt of the state was going up. And his plan — his plan is to go back to the Bush program, except on steroids. (Laughter.) Cut out everything that helps middle-class people, cut out everything that helps poor people work their way to the middle class.
And all of the objective analyses, the non-partisan analyses, say that every Republican plan, including the nominee for the President’s plan, would add $1 trillion to $2 trillion to what the debt is going to be over the next 10 years if we don’t do anything. And all of the objective plans say that if the President’s plan were implemented, it would reduce the debt by several trillion dollars over what it’s going to be if we don’t do anything.
But he’s got the order right, President Obama does. Growth now; restraint later. The Romney/Republican plan is austerity and more unemployment now, and blow the lid off later, just at the time when we’ll be worried about high interest rates.
What’s the difference here? Shared prosperity versus continued austerity and high unemployment. A politics of cooperation versus constant conflict and divide and conquer.
Listen, this is a big, clear election. Also, for me, it’s important to say, in my opinion, he’s done an amazing job making our country more secure, more safe, more peaceful, and building a world with more partners and fewer adversaries. And that is very, very important. (Applause.)
And he’s had to get all this done while people as recently as last week were still saying he wasn’t born in America. (Laughter.) He’s had to get all this done with a House of Representatives that had one of the tea party members claim that 78 to 81 members of the Democratic caucus were members of the Communist Party. And neither the presidential nominee, nor any of the leaders rebuked him for saying that. This is not the 1950s. At least Joe McCarthy could skate on the fact that there was one or two living Communists walking around. (Laughter.) Nobody has seen a Communist in over a decade. (Laughter and applause.)
No criticism is too vicious and too fact-free. You have to take the facts out there — take the facts on the economy, the facts on health care, the facts on energy, the facts on education. And the fact is we’ve got an economic policy that has a real chance to bring America back. Why do you think long-term interest rates — remember the Republicans said, oh, that Obama, he’s such a big spender, we’re going to have a weak dollar and interest rates are going to go through the roof. You know what the 10-year Treasury note interest rate was today? One-quarter of 1 percent. We ought to all go buy one. They’re giving away the money. (Laughter.)
Now, you’re laughing. But why are they doing that? Because people believe America has a solid economic strategy for the long run. And who would have ever thought that the Republicans would embrace the austerity and jobless policies of what they used to derisively call “old Europe.” I never thought I’d live to breathe and see, here they are saying, let’s do the eurozone’s economic policy — they got 11 percent unemployment; we can get up there if we work at it. (Laughter.)
We’re laughing, folks, this is serious. Too much of politics is fact-free. Just think about the world you want your children and your grandchildren to live in. Think about what the 21st century can be. Remember there is nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed, and our inherent advantages including our diversity, our relative youth, the strength of our system are there. But you got to have the right captain of the ship. And I am depending on you to take care of future generations by making sure that that captain is President Barack Obama.
Bring him on. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I love New York! (Applause.) Thank you! Well, thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Everybody have a seat.
AUDIENCE: Four more years!
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. I plan on getting four more years — because of you. (Applause.)
Let me just say some thank-yous at the front here. First of all, you’ve got an outstanding Attorney General — please give Eric Schneiderman a big round of applause. (Applause.) He is doing the right thing on behalf of consumers and working people all across this great state and having an influence all across the country.
I want to thank my dear friend, Jon Bon Jovi, who has — (applause) — been a great supporter for a long, long time. I have to say that the only thing worse than following Jon is following Jon and Bill Clinton. (Laughter.)
I want to acknowledge — Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is here. Where is Carolyn? (Applause.) Thank you, Carolyn. Party Chair Jacobs, thanks for the great work you’ve done. I want to thank all of you who helped to make this event possible tonight.
And most of all, I want to thank the guy behind me here.
President Clinton and I had a chance to talk over dinner before we came out, and we talk about a lot of things. We talk about basketball. (Laughter.) We talk about our daughters, and agree that you can’t beat daughters. (Applause.) Sons who are out there, we love you, too — (laughter) — but I’m just saying, we bond on that front. We both agree that we have improved our gene pool because we married outstanding women. (Applause.)
But whatever the topic, whatever the subject, what I was reminded of as I was talking to President Clinton is just how incredibly passionate he is about this country and the people in it. You don’t talk to Bill without hearing at least 30 stories about extraordinary Americans who are involved in clean energy, or starting a whole new project to teach kids math, or figuring out how to build some new energy-efficient building, or you name it. And it’s that passion and connection that he has to the American people that is infectious. And it’s a curiosity and a love for people that is now transforming the world.
And so I could not be prouder to have called him President. I could not be prouded to know him as a friend. And I could not be more grateful for him taking the time to be here tonight. (Applause.) And I thank him for putting up with a very busy Secretary of State. (Laughter and applause.)
Now, the reason I’m here tonight is not just because I need your help. It’s because the country needs your help. If you think about why we came together back in 2008, it wasn’t about me. It wasn’t even necessarily just about the Democratic Party. It was about a common set of values that we held dear; a set of beliefs that we had about America — a belief that if you’re willing to work hard, in this country you should be able to make it. You should be able to find a job that pays a living wage. You should be able to own a home, send your kids to college, retire with dignity and respect, not go bankrupt when you get sick; that everybody in this country — regardless of what you look like, where you come from, whether you’re black, white, gay, straight, Hispanic, disabled, not — doesn’t matter, if you’re willing to put in the effort this is a place where you make dreams happen. And by you putting in that effort, not only do you do well for yourself but you build the country in the process.
And we had seen that those values were eroding, a sense that that bedrock compact that we make with each other was starting to diminish. We had seen a surplus, a historic surplus, wasted away on tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. Suddenly surpluses turned to deficits. We had seen two wars fought on a credit card. We had seen a recklessness of a few almost bring the entire system to collapse.
And there was a sense that, although a few of us were doing really, really well, that you had a growing number of folks who were struggling just to get by no matter how hard they worked.
So what we set out to do in 2008 was reclaim that basic American promise. And it wasn’t easy, and many of you who supported me certainly — you guys didn’t do it because it was easy. When you support a guy named Barack Hussein Obama for the presidency you know that’s not a sure thing. (Laughter.) But you did it because you sensed that the country was ready for change.
Now, we didn’t know at the time — we knew that there had been a decade of problems, that since this man had left office we had been going in the wrong direction. We didn’t realize how this would culminate in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. As Bill said, the month I was sworn in, 800,000 jobs lost. We had lost 3 million before the election had even taken place.
But we didn’t give up. We didn’t quit, because that’s not what the American people do. And so all across this country, you had folks who just dug in. They focused on what was necessary. And I do believe we implemented the right policies. When folks said that we should let Detroit go bankrupt, we said, no, we’re not going to let over a million jobs go. We’re not going to let an iconic industry waste away. (Applause.)
And so we brought workers together and management, and now GM is back on top, and we’ve seen more growth in the U.S. auto industry and more market share than we’ve seen in a very, very long time. And manufacturing is coming back. (Applause.) Even though that decision wasn’t popular, we made the right decision.
We made the right decision in starting to free up credit again so that companies could borrow and small businesses could keep their doors open. We made the right decision when it came to ensuring that all across this country states got help to keep teachers and firefighters and police officers on the job. We made the right decision in making sure that we used this opportunity to rebuild big chunks of America — our roads and our bridges and our rail lines.
So we made a lot of good policy decisions. But the reason we came back is ultimately because of the American people, because of their resilience and their strength. They made it happen. They decided, you know what, maybe I’ll retrain for school. A small business decided, I’m going to keep my doors open even though it’s very hard to make payroll right now.
One of the great privileges of being President is you go to every corner of the country and you see people from every walk of life, and it makes you optimistic about the American people. Even over these last three and a half years, as tough as things have been, it made me more optimistic about the American people, that we have all the ingredients for success.
It’s because of them that we’ve seen more than 4 million jobs created, more than 800,000 jobs just this year alone. It’s because of them that we’re seeing more manufacturing jobs coming back than any time since the 1990s.
But — and this is where you come in — all that work that we’ve done, all that effort, that stands to be reversed because we’ve had an opposition that has had a fundamentally different vision of where we should take America. They had it from the day I was sworn in. They made a determination that politics would trump what was needed to move this country forward. And they have tried to put sand in the gears in Congress ever since.
And now they’ve got a nominee who is expressing support for an agenda that would reverse the progress we’ve made and take us back to the exact same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. And the reason we’re here today is because we’re not going back. We’re going forward. (Applause.) We have worked too hard and too long to right the ship and move us in the right direction. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards. (Applause.) That’s what we’re doing, New York. And we’re going to do it with your help! (Applause.)
Now, the reason that they think they may be able to pull this off is because things are still tough. There are a lot of folks still hurting out there; too may folks still looking for work, too many people whose homes are still underwater. So we know we’ve got more to do. That’s why I’m running again, because our job isn’t finished yet. And this election in some ways is going to be even more consequential than 2008, because the choices are going to be starker this time.
Keep in mind, when I ran in 2008, I was running against a Republican who believed in climate change, believed in immigration reform, believed in campaign finance reform, had some history of working across the aisle. We had profound disagreements, but even during the midst of the financial crisis there was an agreement of the need for action — to create jobs and create growth early.
We don’t have that this time. My opponent, Governor Romney, is a patriotic American. He has seen enormous financial success, and God bless him for that. He has got a beautiful family. But his vision of how you move this country forward is what Bill Clinton said — the same agenda as the previous administration, except on steroids. So it’s not enough just to maintain tax cuts for the wealthy, we’re going to double tax cuts. We’re going to do even more of the same. It’s not enough just to roll back the regulations that we put in place to make sure that, for example, the financial system is transparent and working effectively so we don’t have taxpayer bailouts anymore, we’re going to do even more to eliminate regulations that have kept our air clean and our water clean and protected our kids for 20, 30 years.
When you look at the budget that they’ve put forward, they’re not just talking about rolling back Obamacare; they’re talking about rolling back the New Deal. (Laughter.) And that’s not an exaggeration.
And so there’s an enormous amount at stake. And we’re going to have to make sure that in this election, we are describing clearly what’s at stake. And we shouldn’t be afraid of this debate, because we’ve got the better argument. We have got the better argument.
It’s not just a matter of being able to say the change that we brought about in lifting the auto industry back, that’s something we’re proud of. It’s not just the 4.3 million jobs. It’s not just the fact that 2.5 million young people have health insurance that didn’t have it before. It’s not just the fact that, as a consequence of our policies, millions of young people are getting Pell grants and have the capacity to go to college who didn’t have it before. It’s not just the track record I’ve amassed over the last three-and-a-half years that I am proud of. But it’s also the fact that when you look at our history, America has not grown, it has not prospered, it has not succeeded with a philosophy that says, “you’re all on your own.”
That’s not how we built this country. The reason we became an economic superpower is because for all our individual initiative, all our entrepreneurship, all our belief in personal responsibility, despite all those things, what we’ve also understood is there’s certain things we do better together. Creating a public school system that works so that everybody gets educated — we understand that. (Applause.)
The first Republican President understanding we built a Transcontinental Railroad to stitch this country together — he understood that there’s certain things we do better together. Investments in the National Academy of Sciences, investment in land grant colleges. Eisenhower building the Interstate Highway System. My grandfather and his generation going to college on the GI Bill. Building the Hoover Dam, building the Golden Gate Bridge — these things we did together. And it created a platform where everybody had a chance, everybody got a fair shot, everybody did their fair share, everybody played by the same rules.
If you look at our history, the reason why we have the best capital markets in the world, the reason why Wall Street is the center of finance — because we had rules in place that made us the most transparent, where investors could trust if they put their money there they weren’t going to be cheated. You had a strong SEC. You had FDIC. You had an entire infrastructure that allowed our capital markets to thrive. That’s been a strength; not a weakness.
Throughout our history, there have been certain things that we have to do together. And what was true in the past is true now as well. So that’s what’s at stake in this election. I’m not going to go back to the days when suddenly our young people can’t afford to go to college just to pay for tax cuts for me and Bill Clinton.
We’re not going to go back to the day where 30 million people can’t get health insurance despite working two jobs; where young people can’t stay on their parent’s policies, or seniors suddenly find prescription drugs more expensive again. We’re not going to go back to the days when suddenly women don’t have preventive care, or we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. We’re not going back to those days. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as our sons. And I want our women to have the same ability to control their health care decisions as anybody else. We’re not going backwards. (Applause.)
We’re not going to go back to the days when you couldn’t serve in our military and at the same time admit who it is that you loved. (Applause.) We’re moving forward with an agenda of dignity and respect for everybody.
We’re not going to go back to the days when folks thought somehow there was a conflict between economic growth and looking after our environment and good stewardship for the next generation. We’re not going back to those days. (Applause.)
But we’re going to have to fight for it. This is not going to be an easy race. Because of the Citizens United decision we’re seeing hundreds of millions of dollars spent, unprecedented numbers. We haven’t seen this kind of spending. There’s never been this amount of negative spending before. There was a brief — a newspaper just printed somebody had evaluated negative ads — 70 percent of our ads have been positive; 70 percent of their ads have been negative. And I suspect that ratio could become even more pronounced as the weeks go by.
And as I said, folks out there are still anxious and they’re still scared about the future. And so what the other side is counting on is fear and frustration, that hat in and of itself is going to be good enough — because they’re sure not offering any new ideas. All they’re offering is the same old ideas that didn’t work then and won’t work now.
Even when it comes to their big issue of deficits and debt, as President Clinton just mentioned, the truth is, is that the two Presidents over the last 30 years, 40 years, who’ve had the lowest increases in government spending, you’re looking at them right here. (Applause.) They’re on this stage. They are on this stage. (Applause.)
And the agenda that we’ve put forward — which says let’s put people to work right now rebuilding our roads and our bridges and putting teachers back in the classroom to accelerate growth now at the same time as we couple it with long-term spending restraint — that’s a recipe that works. We’ve seen it work before. We saw it work in the ‘90s. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t work now. And that will allow us to make sure that we can still invest in our future.
As I travel around the world — and I know President Clinton does, as well — you talk to people; nothing gets me more frustrated when I hear sometimes reports in the press about America’s decline, because around the world there’s nobody who wouldn’t trade places with us. (Applause.) We’ve got the best universities, the most productive workers, the best entrepreneurs, the best scientists. We’ve got all the ingredients we need to make it work. Now we just need the best politics. Now we just need the best politics. (Applause.) And that’s what this election is going to be all about.
So the bottom line is this: All of you, you’re going to have to work not just as hard as we did in 2008, we’re going to need you to work harder. One of the things we learned in 2008 is for all the negative ads, for all the rough-and-tumble of politics, for all the distortions and just plain nonsense that you sometimes hear, when folks come together, when citizens come together and insist that it’s time for a change, guess what — change happens.
And what was true then is just as true now. And I want you guys to know that it is true that my hair is grayer — I haven’t quite caught up to Bill yet — (laughter) — but I’m getting there. Those of us who have this awesome privilege of holding this office, we end up showing a few dings and dents along the way. That’s inevitable. But I am more determined now than I was in 2008. (Applause.) I am more inspired by America now than I even was then, because I’ve seen more of this country, and I’ve seen its strength and I’ve seen its passion. I’ve seen what’s possible.
I’ve seen the changes we’ve already brought. And it shouldn’t make us complacent, but it should make us confident about the changes that we can bring about in the future. (Applause.) It means that we’re going to be able to do even more to double clean energy. It means we’re going to be able to do even more to bring back manufacturing. We’re going to be able to do more to put people back to work. We’re going to be able to make sure that we’re a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
All those things on our checklist that we haven’t yet gotten done we will get done. But we’re only going to get it done because of you. I’m only going to get it done because of you. (Applause.)
You know, I used to say that I’m not a perfect man — Michelle will tell you — and I’ll never be a perfect President. No President is. But I promised you I would always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and I’d wake up every single day just thinking about how I can make the lives of the American people a little bit better, and I’d work as hard as I knew how to make that happen. And I have kept that promise. I have kept that promise because I still believe in you. And I hope you still believe in me. (Applause.)
Because if you’re willing to join me this time out, and knock on doors, and make phone calls, and get out there and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors, I promise you we will finish what we started in 2008. (Applause.) We will not go backward. We will go forward. And we will remind the entire world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you, New York. I love you. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
9:28 P.M. EDT
Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event
New Amsterdam Theatre
New York, New York
9:54 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here to ensure the reelection of President Obama and Vice President Biden. I thank you very much. (Applause.)
You know, I was worried about getting half a step slow doing this because my whole life is my foundation now. I’m a little rusty at politics. (Laughter.) But this is my — wait, wait, wait. This is my third event tonight where I am the warm-up act for the President. (Applause.) So I am about to get my steps down and my rhythm going, you know?
Here’s what I want to say. Your presence here tonight is important. Your support is important. And perhaps, most important of all, your willingness to leave here and talk to people about this election not just in New York but all across this country is profoundly important. (Applause.) Because I’ve found there’s a lot of murkiness out there. So let me just be as simple as I can. I don’t think it’s important to reelect the President; I think it’s essential to reelect the President — if we want this country to go in the right direction. (Applause.)
And I want to explain why.
I know things are not perfect now. I know they’re a little slow now. But let me just remind you that when the President took office a little over three years ago, in the month he took the oath of office we lost 800,000 jobs. Starting on September the 15th, we entered the deepest crash since the Great Depression. If you look at history, those things take five or 10 years to get over, and if there’s a housing collapse along with it, closer to 10 years. He’s on schedule to beat that record.
And so we have to go out to people who are still hurting, who are still uncertain, and who hear the airways full of contradictory assertions, and basically give them the facts. And here they are: In the last 27 months, this economy has created 4.3 million private sector jobs. (Applause.) That is — to give you some perspective on how many that is, that’s 60 percent more private sector jobs that were created in the seven years and eight months of the previous administration before the financial meltdown — (applause) — and about the same number per month as were created during the time I had the honor of serving.
Now, second thing — they tell you how terrible his health care bill is. It’s hard for them since Governor Romney’s finest act as governor was to sign a bill with the individual mandate in it, which he has now renounced. But let me tell you a couple things about it. Number one, for the first time in 50 years we have had two years in a row where health care costs have only gone up 4 percent — first time in 50 years.
Number two, the American people this year got $1.3 billion in refunds on their health care premiums — because you’ve got to spend 85 percent of that premium on health care today, not profits or promotion. (Applause.) Number three, there are 2.6 million young people, 26 and under, who are insured today for the first time because they’re on their parent’s policy. (Applause.)
So — and look, this is a huge deal. I talk to people in this business all over America. They would be mortified if this bill were repealed because they say we’re finally making progress. We’re going to stop paying for procedures, start paying for performance. We’re going to have plans that will bring our cost down in line with our competitor and improve the quality of care. People in health care — the President and I just came from an event and there were two woman doctors who said, we are doctors for health care reform and we are here because we can see it working already, that it’s coming. (Applause.)
Now, manufacturing is coming back for the first time since the 1990s. Green tech jobs, in spite of the attacks from Governor Romney and the Republicans, grew at twice the rate of other jobs after the economic downturn, and paid 35 percent more.
The automobile industry was headed for a calamity, and two of the great auto companies in America were saved by a financial agreement that had management, labor and government restructuring the company. There are 80,000 more people making cars today than there were when Barack Obama became President. (Applause.) And 1.5 million people had their jobs saved. (Applause.)
Car mileage standards are going to be doubled because of an agreement between management and labor, and the environmental groups and government. And as we double those car mileage standards, 150,000 high-paying jobs will be created, creating the new technologies to make it possible.
And I could give you 50 more things, but you get the idea. Why aren’t things roaring along now? Because Europe is in trouble and because the Republican Congress has adopted the European economic policy. Who would have thought, after years and years, even decades, in which the Republican right attacked “old Europe,” that they would embrace the economic policies of the eurozone — austerity and unemployment now at all costs. (Laughter.) I mean after all, their unemployment rate is 11 percent, and ours is 8 — we can get right up there if we just adopt their policies. (Laughter and applause.)
You’re laughing, but you need to tell people this. That’s what they’re being asked to vote for. They’re being asked to reject a President who has tried to give us a 21st century economic policy, and said, no, no, growth and jobs now — broad-based growth, fair growth that includes all Americans. Then we’ll put the hammer down on the spending to avoid the debt exploding at the time when economic growth occurs so that we won’t have high interest rates and we won’t kill off the recovery.
The Republican policy is the reverse. Governor Romney says, no, austerity and unemployment now, and then when we — if we ever get out of this thing, then we’re going to cut taxes so much, we’ll explode the debt then and see just how high we can drive interest rates, and how we can make the economy — that is their economic policy. It was their economic policy, and it is. And it doesn’t work.
So we’re laughing, we’re having a good time tonight. The night belongs to the President and to you. But I’m telling you, I spent a lifetime in public service and now with my foundation, desperately trying to figure out how to give people a better chance — desperately trying to figure out how to create jobs. (Applause.) And he analyzed this situation properly. He did the best he could with a lousy hand. And he will do better if the American people said, no, we don’t want to go back to what got us in trouble in the first place. Give us a 21st century economy we can all be a part of. (Applause.)
That’s what President Obama will do. Let’s bring him on with a big hand! Stand up for the President! (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) It is good to be back on Broadway! (Applause.) But before I get to this unbelievable opening act — (laughter) — let me thank my producer. That’s usually what you do when you’re on Broadway. (Laughter.) Margo Lion has been such a great friend of mine for so long. (Applause.) Bill, during the campaign, Margo set up I think a couple of these.
And for all those who performed tonight, I could not be more grateful and more appreciative. Many of you have put in a lot of time and effort, not just this time out but last time out. And it is just a great joy to be with all of you. But Margo especially — I just want to give her a public acknowledgment because she has been a great friend. (Applause.)
Before we get to the some of the more serious items, I do want to just share a quick story about Margo. Shortly after I had been elected — Bill can relate to this — the Secret Service bubble shrinks and it starts really clamping down. (Laughter.) And the thing that you miss most when you’re President — extraordinary privilege, and really nice plane and all kinds of stuff — (laughter) — but suddenly, not only have you lost your anonymity, but your capacity to just wander around and go into a bookstore, or go to a coffee shop, or walk through Central Park.
So I was saying — it was a beautiful day and I had just been driving through Manhattan, and I saw Margo. And I said, you know, I just desperately want to take a walk through Central Park again, and just remember what that feels like. But the problem is, obviously, it’s hard to do now. And so my idea has been to see if I was — if I got a disguise — (laughter) — could I pull this off. (Laughter.)
And so Margo thought about it, and about a week later I got this fake moustache — (laughter) — that I guess she got from one of the makeup artists on Broadway. And I tried it on and I thought it looked pretty good. (Laughter.) But when I tested this scheme with the Secret Service, they said it didn’t look good enough. (Laughter.)
But I kept it. I have kept this moustache just in case in the second term I — (laughter and applause.) So if you — so if a couple years from now you see a guy with big ears and a moustache — (laughter) — just pretend you don’t know who it is. Just look away. (Laughter.) Eating a hotdog, you know. (Laughter.) Going through the — you know.
I want to thank Bill Clinton – (applause) — not only for the extraordinary support that he’s shown tonight and the support he’s showing throughout this campaign, not only for the fact that he is as good at breaking down what’s at stake at any given moment in our history, his inexhaustible energy and knowledge, the work that he’s doing around the world on behalf of folks in need — but I also want to thank him for his legacy. (Applause.) Because in many ways Bill Clinton helped to guide the Democratic Party out of the wilderness –- (applause) — and to lay the groundwork for a sensible, thoughtful, common-sense, progressive agenda that is important to remember at this moment.
When many of us came together in 2008, we came together not just because of me. In fact, folks weren’t sure whether I was going to win. When you support a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, the odds are always — (laughter) — a little long. But we came together because of a shared commitment we made to each other as American citizens, a basic compact that defines this country — that says if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, then there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, whether you’re black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, able, disabled — it doesn’t matter — that you’ve got a stake in this country. You’ve got a claim on this country. (Applause.) And if you’re willing to work hard, you can make it if you try in the United States of America. (Applause.)
And in 2008, we understood that that compact seemed like it was eroded. A few people were doing very well, but more and more people seemed to be struggling to get by. We had squandered a surplus on tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. (Applause.) We had paid for two wars on a credit card. Because we hadn’t enforced basic rules of the marketplace, we saw more and more of our economy built on speculation and financial schemes that were inherently unstable. And it all came crashing down in the worst crisis that we’ve seen in our lifetimes.
But part of the reason why we understood both what was possible and what had been lost was because of our memories of Bill Clinton’s tenure as President — (applause) — and our recognition that there’s no contradiction between growing an economy and making sure that everybody is taking part — in fact, that’s how you grow an economy, is because you’re giving everybody a shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.
We understood there’s no contradiction between economic growth and caring for our environment; that, in fact, if we make smart investments in clean energy, that’s an entire industry of the future that can put people back to work.
We understood that there wasn’t a contradiction between being fiscally responsible, but also making sure that kids got Head Start, kids could go to college, and we were investing in basic science and basic research. This wasn’t some fantasy of ours. This wasn’t some pie in the sky, wild imaginings. We’d seen it. We knew it was possible. And that’s what we fought for.
Of course, we didn’t know at the time that we were going to see this incredible crisis — 3 million jobs lost in the six months before the election, and 800,000 lost the month I was sworn into office.
But here’s one thing we understood. The campaign taught us this — the incredible resilience and the incredible strength of the American people. (Applause.) And so part of what allowed us to fight our way out of this hole was some tough decisions that we made — to save the auto industry even when some people said, let’s let Detroit go bankrupt — (applause) — and getting management and workers together to save over a million jobs. And now GM is back on top. The American auto industry is making better cars than ever. (Applause.)
We made tough decisions to make sure that credit was flowing again to businesses large and small, and they could keep their doors open and start hiring again and make investments again in the future. And we’ve seen over 4 million jobs created. We’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created at any time since the 1990s.
And so, in part, the reason that we have been weathering this storm was because of some tough policies, but the right policies. But a lot of it just had to do with the resilience of the American people. They don’t give up. They don’t quit. So some 55-year-old gets laid off and they decide, you know what, I’m going to back to school. I’m going to get myself retrained to find the job of the future. I’m not giving up. A small business owner, they patch together whatever money they can to keep their doors open and to make sure that they can keep their employees on, even if it means maybe they don’t get paid for a while, even if it means that the owner of that business is having to scrimp. That’s how much they care about their employees.
Folks decided, you know what, we were going to retire at 65, but maybe we’re going to have to work an extra five years because I’m going to make sure my child or my grandchild gets to go to college. All kinds of decisions like that made all across America.
And so after this incredible crisis, America is moving in the right direction. We’re not there yet; we’re not where we need to be. There are still too many people out there who are looking for work, too many homes that are still underwater, too many kids in poverty who still don’t see prospects for the future. But we started to right the ship and we’ve moving in the direction that we imagined in 2008.
And that is why this election in a lot of ways is even more important than the last one, because as hard as we’ve worked over the last four years, as much as we’ve done to start rebuilding a country that’s not built on how much we consume or some sort of Ponzi schemes, but built on what we’re producing and what we’re making, and the skills of our people, and the ingenuity of our scientists, and the risk-taking of our entrepreneurs — after all that work that we’ve done, the last thing we’re going to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. We’re not going backwards. (Applause.) We’re not going backwards, New York! We intend to go forwards! nd that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.) We’re not going back.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Not going back to a set of policies that say you’re on your own. And that’s essentially the theory of the other side. George Romney — wrong guy. (Laughter.) Governor Romney — he was a good governor. (Laughter.) Governor Romney is a — he’s a patriotic American. He’s had great success in his life, and he’s raised a beautiful family. But he has a theory of the economy that basically says, if I’m maximizing returns for my investors, for wealthy individuals like myself, then everybody is going to be better off.
He was in Iowa talking to a woman, and she was describing her financial struggles, and his response was out of an economic textbook. He said, “Productivity equals income.” (Laughter.)
Now, I guess in the aggregate, technically — right — this is a coherent argument. (Laughter.) But the implication was somehow that this woman, or others who are struggling out there, they’re not productive enough.
Well, let me tell you, actually, America has become incredibly productive. People are working harder than ever. We’ve got some of the most productive workers in the world. The problem is not that we aren’t productive enough; the problem is that productivity has not translated for far too many people into higher incomes. (Applause.) The problem is that profits haven’t translated into jobs and investment in this country.
We believe in the marketplace. We believe in entrepreneurship and rewarding risk-taking. But what we also understand is that our economy works best, America became an economic superpower, because we created a platform where everybody could succeed. And we set up rules of the road that made the market work for everybody, and gave consumers confidence that they weren’t going to be bilked, and gave investors confidence that if you’re a small investor, you’re not some insider, you still have a chance buying a stock.
And we understood that if we’re investing in things like a Hoover Dam or DARPA — the research and development arm of our military that ended up producing things like the Internet or GPS — that that, in fact, would be good for everybody.
We understand that when my grandfather’s generation came back from fighting in World War II and they had a chance to go to college on the GI Bill, that wasn’t just good for one individual, it wasn’t just good for one group. That was good for everybody. We all became richer together.
And that’s the lesson that Mr. Romney and the Republicans in Congress don’t seem to understand, they don’t seem to get. But look at our history. Ironically, the first Republican President understood it. Abraham Lincoln understood it. That’s why in the middle of a Civil War he was still building a Transcontinental Railroad and starting land grant colleges, and starting the National Academy of Sciences — because he understood that ultimately there are some things we do better on our own — not every government program works, not everybody can [be] helped who doesn’t want to be helping themselves. All of us have responsibilities.
And I learned early on that no matter how much money you pour into the schools, nothing replaces the love and attention and occasional scoldings from a parent. (Applause.) I learned as a community organizer that no government program can substitute for the caring and passion of neighbors and communities. But I also understood, and you understand and Americans understand, that when we’ve done great things in this country we’ve done them together. We’ve done them together. And that’s what’s at stake in this election.
And we’re not going back to this other theory. I’m not going to go back to a time when if you got sick, you had no recourse and you potentially could go bankrupt. I’m not going to go back to a time when 2.5 million young people can’t get health insurance or can’t stay on their parent’s plan — (applause) — or 30 million people who are working maybe two jobs can’t afford to buy health insurance and end up in an emergency room just because they can’t get sick and aren’t getting preventive care. We’re not going to go back to that.
We’re not going to go back to a time when — we’re not going to refight the battles about whether or not we need to make some basic reforms on Wall Street so that taxpayers don’t have to bail out folks after they’ve made irresponsible or reckless bets. (Applause.) That’s not good for our financial markets. We’re not going to refight that battle.
We’re not going to go back to a time when manufacturing is all moving offshore. We want to bring companies onshore. I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing in jobs investment here in the United States — (applause) — not shipping jobs overseas. We don’t need to go back to policies like that.
We’re not going to go back to a time when our military could expel somebody because of who they loved. We believe in everybody being treated fairly and equally, and respecting everybody’s rights. We’re not going to go backwards. We’re going forwards. (Applause.)
We don’t need to go back to a foreign policy that thinks the measure of our security is everything we do we do on our own. We’ve been able to restore respect and collaboration, and our alliances have never been stronger — partly because I’ve got a pretty good Secretary of State. (Applause.)
And that’s how we ended the war in Iraq. And that’s how we’re starting to transition out of Afghanistan. And that’s how we brought Osama bin Laden to justice. (Applause.) And we’re not going to go backwards on policies that make America stronger.
We’re not going to go back to the days when somehow women couldn’t get the preventive care that they need. (Applause.) We don’t need a situation where women aren’t controlling their own health care choices. We don’t need to eliminate Planned Parenthood. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as my sons. That’s part of what America is about. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re not going backwards. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And we can afford the investments we need to grow. We can afford to make sure that every kid has a chance to go to college, and they’re going to a decent school, and they’re graduating. (Applause.)
We can afford to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our airports and our broadband lines and high-speed rail, and putting people back to work. We can afford — in fact, we can’t afford not to invest in the science and research that’s going to keep us at the cutting-edge. (Applause.)
We’re not going to throw millions of people off the Medicaid rolls, folks who are disabled or poor, seniors who are relying on it. We’re not going to voucherize Medicare. We’re going to responsibly reduce this deficit. You know — two Presidents over the last 30 years that have actually reduced the pace of the growth in government spending happen to be on this stage right here. They happen to be the two Democrats. (Applause.)
So we have to get our deficit and debt under control. We’ve got to do it in a responsible way, cut out programs we don’t need. I’ve already signed a trillion dollars in cuts that have already been made, another trillion that are slated to be made. But we’re also going to ask folks who can afford it like the two of us to pay a little bit more — and some of you, too, so don’t chuckle — (laughter and applause) — to pay a little bit more so that we can afford the things that will help us grow. That’s the right recipe. That’s what made us an economic superpower. And that’s the policy that we’re going to pursue.
Now, here’s the good news. The American people, on the issues, when presented with the facts, they actually agree with us. Now, it’s hard sometimes getting the facts out. There’s a lot of bugs on the windshield. (Laughter.) Sometimes you’ve got to — (laughter) — so you got to get those wipers going pretty hard sometimes. It’s not always clear. (Laughter.)
But when folks know the facts, when they’re given a choice — and that’s what this election is about, every election is about a choice — when given a choice between a vision that says we’re going to have a balanced approach to deficit reduction, and we’re going to continue to make investments in things like clean energy and fuel efficiency and science and innovation and education and rebuilding our infrastructure, versus another $5 trillion worth of tax cuts that would give the average millionaire and billionaire an additional $250,000 a year in tax breaks — people agree with us.
On issue after issue, if you give them a fair presentation, no spin on the ball, the majority of the country — not just Manhattan — (laughter) — the majority of the country agrees with us. Which is why the other side isn’t — they’re not presenting anything new. As Bill said the other day, this is the same old stuff, just on steroids. (Laughter.) Just more of. More tax cuts for the wealthy. We’re not just going to reduce regulation, we’re going to cripple EPA. And people aren’t buying that. They don’t really think that that’s going to work.
The only reason that this is going to be a close election is because people are still hurting. The situation in Europe is slowing things down. We’ve been prevented from, for example, the plans that I’ve put forward repeatedly to Congress to say, let’s give states more help so they don’t have to lay off more teachers. Now interest rates have never been lower. Literally, the government can — basically people will pay us to lend us money — (laughter) — and there would never be a better time for us to start making investments that could put construction workers back to work all across the country. (Applause.)
But that’s not something Congress, so far, has been willing to do. Though we’re going to keep on putting pressure on them over these next few months because we don’t have time just to wait for an election to do something. (Applause.)
But folks are still hurting. And this has been a long slog for people. And sometimes when things are tough you just say, well, you know what, I’ll just keep on trying something until something works. And that’s compounded by $500 million in super PAC negative ads that are going to be run over the course of the next five months that will try to feed on those fears and those anxieties and that frustration.
That’s basically the argument the other side is making. They’re not offering anything new, they’re just saying, things are tough right now and it’s Obama’s fault. You can pretty much sum up their argument. (Laughter.) There’s no vision for the future there. There’s no imagination. I mean, somebody is going to have to explain to me how repealing Obamacare and throwing 30 million people back to a situation where they don’t have health care, somehow that’s an economic development agenda. (Laughter.) Nobody has really explained that to me.
So it’s going to be — it’s going to be a tough election. But 2008 was tough, too. And what you all taught me was that when Americans are willing to come together and make a commitment to each other, when they have a vision about what’s possible and they commit to it, and they join together and they work for it, when they decide — when you decide — that change is going to happen, guess what. Change happens. (Applause.) Change happens.
And so I may be a little grayer than I was the last time I was on Broadway. (Laughter.) Going to need to get Margo to send me something to do something — do something about that. As President Clinton will tell you, you go through some dings and dents in this job. But I tell you what. I’m more determined than I’ve ever been. (Applause.) I’m more determined than I’ve ever been to finish what we started.
I used to say back in 2008, I’m not a perfect man, and haven’t been and won’t be a perfect President. Nobody is. But what I told you was I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and I’d wake up every single morning fighting as hard as I knew how to make life better for the American people. And I have kept that promise. I have kept that promise, Broadway. (Applause.) I have kept that promise.
I still believe in you. I hope you still believe in me. I hope you still believe! If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope and it’s still about change. And if you’re willing to knock on some doors and make some phone calls, and talk to your friends and neighbors, and work just as hard as you did in 2008, we will finish what we started and remind the world why it is America is the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless America.
10:32 P.M. EDT