Campaign Headlines: 2012 Presidential Debate Schedule




2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

TV Channels – Each debate will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as all cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC among others.

Live Stream – Each debate will be streamed live online.

October 3, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)
The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.
October 11, 2012
Vice Presidential
Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan
Topic: Foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan
Moderator: Martha Raddatz (ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent)
The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.
October 16, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent)
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
October 22, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Foreign policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of Face the Nation on CBS)
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 27, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the United Nations — I Stand With Prime Minister Netanyahu




Mitt Romney: I Stand With Prime Minister Netanyahu

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-27-12

Mitt Romney today released the following statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations:

“I join in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call for a Middle East of progress and peace. And I join his urgent call to prevent the gravest threat to that vision—a nuclear-armed Iran.  I, like the rest of the American people, applaud the bravery of the people of Israel and stand with them in these dangerous times. The designs of the Iranian regime are a threat to America, Israel, and our friends and allies around the world.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 26, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Bowling Green, Ohio — Takes On Mitt Romney Over China and Jobs




In Ohio, Obama Takes On Romney Over China and Jobs

Source: NYT, 9-26-12

President Obama trumpeted his recently opened unfair-trade case against China in a bid to shore up support in Ohio before Election Day….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Bowling Green, OH

Source: WH, 9-26-12

Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio

1:25 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Falcons!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Now, let me begin by asking everybody to give Seth a big round of applause for that great introduction.  (Applause.)  I was backstage and I had trouble hearing — did he explain what was going on with his arm?  So Seth was playing, I think — ultimate Frisbee, that’s what it was.  (Laughter.)  He was playing ultimate Frisbee.  He went up — he was going to make this amazing touchdown, and he had the Frisbee and somebody cut him under his legs, cut out from under him.  It is clear replacement refs were in the game.  (Laughter and applause.)  He broke his wrist.  He was supposed to get it set yesterday but he didn’t want to miss this.  (Applause.)  So when he came up here, his wrist was not yet set, and he’s going to have to go to the hospital afterwards to get his wrist set.

Now, I just want to make the point that if Seth can come up here with a broken wrist, then there is not a student here who cannot get registered and make sure they go to vote.  (Applause.)  No excuses.  No excuses.  You got to play through injuries, Falcons.  (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  I’m glad to be here.  (Applause.)

Now, it’s great to be here with your next Congresswoman, Angela Zimmann.  (Applause.)  I’m thrilled to be with all of you.  And unless you live under a rock, or your cable is bust, you may have noticed that there’s an election going on here in Ohio.  By the way, those of you guys who have seats, feel free to sit down.  I’m going to be talking for a while here.  (Laughter.)  And those of you who don’t, make sure to bend your knees, because sometimes people faint, fall out — not because I’m so exciting, but just because you’ve been standing a long time.  (Laughter.)

So there’s an election going on here in Ohio, and in case you’re wondering what kind of impact that’s having, I was talking to my campaign manager; he was meeting with this couple who had this adorable four-year-old son named Sammy.  And they were very proud that Sammy knew what was going on, and there was a picture of me up on the wall, and the parents said, “Who’s that, Sammy?”  And Sammy said, “That’s Barack Obama.”  And then the parents asked, “And what does Barack Obama do?”  And Sammy thinks for a second and he says, “He approves this message.”  (Laughter and applause.)  True story.  True story.

That’s what I do.  I approve this message.  (Laughter.)  And, Ohio, that’s because, starting on October 2nd, which is just six days from now, you get to start voting.  You get to have your say.  (Applause.)  You can register to vote all the way up until October 9th, but if you’re already registered you can start voting in six days.  And this is important, because you’ve got a big choice to make.  And it’s not just a choice between two parties or two candidates.  It is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for America, two fundamentally different choices for our future.

My opponent and his running mate are big believers in top-down economics.  They basically think that if we just spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts that favor the very wealthiest, then –


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, vote.  Vote.  (Applause.)  Vote.  Vote.  (Applause.)

But their theory is, these tax cuts for the folks at the top, then prosperity and jobs will rain down on everybody else.  The deficit will magically go away, and we will live happily ever after.

There’s only one problem.  We just tried this during the last decade, during the previous presidency.  It didn’t work.  Top-down economics never works.  The country doesn’t succeed when only the rich get richer.  We succeed when the middle class gets bigger — (applause) — when more people have a chance to get ahead, more people have a chance to live up to their God-given potential.

Look, I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives.  (Applause.)  And I’ve got to tell you, as I travel around Ohio and as I look out on this crowd, I don’t see a lot of victims.  I see hardworking Ohioans.  That’s what I see.  (Applause.)  We’ve got students who are trying to work their way through college.  (Applause.)  We’ve got single moms who are putting in overtime to raise their kids.

By the way, your outstanding president of this institution, Bowling Green — charming woman, really smart — (applause) — and there she is right there.  We were talking because we both were raised by single moms, and she was telling the story about how her mom worked at a resort in West Virginia, but she was doing the hard work and ended up raising one college president and one federal judge.

That’s what we believe about the economy — when you give folks a chance.  I see in this audience senior citizens who have been saving for retirement their entire lives; veterans who served this country so bravely.  (Applause.)  Soldiers who are today defending our freedom.  (Applause.)

Look, so let’s just get something straight in case anybody is confused.  We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country.  We don’t believe government should be helping people who refuse to help themselves.  But we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)  We do believe that hard work should pay off.  We do believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  We do believe in an America where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or what you’re your last name is, or who you love, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

That’s the country I believe in.  That’s what I’ve been fighting for, for four years.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’ve got to say this.  This country has gone through a very tough time, and we’ve still got a lot of folks who are hurting out there.  And I’m not somebody who is coming here offering some easy, quick solutions.  The truth is it’s going to take more than a few years to solve the challenges that were building up over decades — jobs being shipped overseas; paychecks flat, even as costs of everything from college to health care were going up.


THE PRESIDENT:  That, too.  (Applause.)

But here is what I want everybody to be confident about:  Our problems can be solved.  Our challenges can be met.  We’ve still got the best workers in the world.  We’ve got the best businesses in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists in the world and researchers.  We definitely have the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.)

So especially for the young people out here, I want you to understand, there is not a country on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.  (Applause.)

But we’ve got work to do.  We’ve got work to do.  And the path I’m offering may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  And I’m putting forward a practical, five-point plan to create jobs and to grow the middle class, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.

So just in case you guys missed the convention and — (laughter) — I know you didn’t miss Michelle.  (Applause.)  Let me reprise what this plan consists of.

First, I want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  (Applause.)  When my opponent said we should just “let Detroit go bankrupt” –


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo.



That would have meant walking away from an industry that supports one in eight Ohio jobs.  It supports businesses in 82 of 88 Ohio counties.  So when he said that, I said, no, I’m going to bet on America; I’m betting on American workers.  I’m betting on American industry.  (Applause.)  And today, the American auto industry has come roaring back with nearly 250,000 new jobs.  (Applause.)

And now you’ve got a choice.  We can give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers, and create new jobs right here in the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I understand my opponent has been spending some time here in Ohio lately, and he’s been talking tough on China.  Have you been hearing this?


THE PRESIDENT:  He’s been talking tough on China.  He says he’s going to take the fight to them; he’s going to go after these cheaters.  And I’ve got to admit, that message is the better — is better than what he’s actually done about this thing.  (Laughter.)  It sounds better than talking about all the years he spent profiting from companies that sent our jobs to China.

So when you hear this newfound outrage, when you see these ads he’s running promising to get tough on China, it feels a lot like that fox saying, “You know, we need more secure chicken coops.”  (Laughter.)  I mean, it’s just not credible.

Now, Ohio, I’ll tell you what I’ve done, because I’m not just talking the talk.  I have woken up every single day doing everything I can to give American workers a fair shot in this global economy.  (Applause.)  So we’ve brought more trade cases against China in one term than the previous administration did in two — and, by the way, we’ve been winning those cases.  We’ve stood up for autoworkers against unfair trade practices.  When Governor Romney said stopping an unfair surge in Chinese tires would be bad for America, bad for our workers — we politely declined his advice.  We went after China on that, and we got over 1,000 American workers back to work producing American tires.  (Applause.)

So when you want — if you want to know who is going to actually fight for workers and fight for American jobs when it comes to trade, you can look at the records.  You can look at who said what before election time.  And right now, I am asking you to choose a better path than the one that my opponent is offering — one that helps big factories and small businesses double their exports; that sells more goods stamped with “Made in America” to the rest of the world.  We can create one million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years with the right policies.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)  That’s what’s going to be important to Ohio.

Second part of the plan — I want us to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable clean energy we generate from sources like wind and solar.  (Applause.)  There are thousands of Americans — including here in Ohio — who have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  Today, America is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in nearly 20 years.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice between a plan that builds on this progress, or a plan that reverses it like my opponent is suggesting.  And this is a clear plan, because — a clear difference, because I will not let oil companies write this country’s energies plan.  (Applause.)  And I want to stop oil companies collecting another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  (Applause.)

We have a better plan.  Let’s take that money we’re giving to companies that are already hugely profitable — every time you go to the pump, they’re making money; they don’t need a tax break.  Let’s use that money and invest in wind and solar and clean coal technology.  (Applause.)  Let’s help farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks.  Let’s put construction workers to work retrofitting homes and factories so they waste less energy.  Let’s develop 100-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And if we do all these things, we can cut our oil imports even more — cut them in half by 2020, and support hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process.  That’s why I’m running.  That’s what’s going to be good for Ohio.  (Applause.)

Number three — I want to give more Americans the chance to get the skills that they need to compete.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Apprenticeships!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a good idea.  Education — it was my gateway to opportunity.  That’s the only reason I’m standing here.  (Applause.)  It was Michelle’s path to opportunity.  It’s the path more than ever to a middle-class life.  Today, millions of students are paying less for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of dollars using banks and lenders and middlemen on the student loan process.  We said let’s give that money directly to students.  And as a consequence, millions of students are getting more grants, and we kept interest rates on student loans low.  All right?  That’s what we fought for.  That’s what we fought for.  We already got that done.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice, because my opponent, he would gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.  That’s one choice.  That’s door number one.  Door number two — we can decide that the United States of America should never have a child’s dreams deferred just because she’s in an overcrowded classroom or a crumbling school or has outdated textbooks.  No family should have to set aside an acceptance letter to a college like Bowling Green because they don’t have the money.  (Applause.)

No company should have to look for workers in China because they can’t find workers with the right skills here in the United States.  That’s not the future that we want.  (Applause.)

So, Ohio, I need your help because I want to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers, and I want to improve early childhood education.  (Applause.)  I want to give 2 million more workers the chance to learn skills that they need at community colleges that will directly lead to a job.  (Applause.)

And I want to work with college presidents to keep tuition costs down.  We can cut in half the growth of tuition if we’re focused on this.  (Applause.)  We can meet this goal.  You can choose that future.  That’s why I’m running, because I want to make sure that the folks coming behind me have the same opportunities I had.  That’s what America is about.  (Applause.)

Number four — I want to reduce the deficit without sticking it to the middle class.  (Applause.)  Now, I’ve already worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I put forward a very specific plan — $4 trillion in deficit reduction.  I want to simplify the tax code so that it’s fair.  But I also want to ask the wealthiest households to pay a higher rate on incomes over $250,000 — (applause) — the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, and our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, we had the biggest surplus in history and, by the way, a whole lot of millionaires did really well, too — because that’s how you grow an economy.  I want to keep taxes low for middle-class families and working families.  But if we’re going to close the deficit, we’ve got to ask folks like me to do a little bit more.

And understand what happens.  When you get a tax break, what do you do?  You spend it, because you’ve got — times are already tough.  So maybe you trade in finally that 10-year-old car, or maybe you a buy a computer for your kid who’s about to go off to college.  And that mean business now has more customers, and they make more profits, which means they hire more workers, and the whole economy does better.  That’s how you grow an economy — from the middle out, not from the top down.  (Applause.)

And that’s also how we’ll reduce our deficit.  Now, in fairness, my opponent has a plan, too.  The problem is it’s missing what President Clinton called arithmetic.  (Laughter.)

So just understand my opponent and his allies in Congress tell us somehow we can lower the deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy.  No matter how many times they promise to “reboot” their campaign, no matter how many times they start saying they’re going to explain the specifics of this thing — they can’t, they won’t.  They can’t say how they’d pay for $5 trillion in tax cuts without raising taxes on middle-class families.  They can’t explain how they’re going to pay for $2 trillion in new military spending that our military has said won’t make us safer.  They can’t explain it because the math doesn’t add up.

Now, my opponent may think it’s fair that somebody who makes $20 million a year, like he does, pays a lower rate than a teacher or an autoworker who makes $50,000 a year.  But I disagree.  I don’t think that’s fair.  I don’t think it helps grow our economy.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or looking after their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  We’re not going to do that.  We’re not going to do that.  (Applause.)

I’m not going to ask the students here to pay more for college, or kick some kids off of Head Start, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, or elderly, or disabled — just to give myself a tax cut.  We can’t afford it.  (Applause.)

And I want you guys to know, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with dignity and the respect that they’ve earned.  We’ll reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the actual cost of care — not by dumping those costs onto seniors.  And we’re going to keep the promise of Social Security.  We’ll strengthen it, but we’re not going to turn it over to Wall Street.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to do that.

Now, obviously, Governor Romney and I have a lot of differences when it comes to domestic policy, but our prosperity here at home is linked to what happens abroad.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq.  We did.  (Applause.)  I said we would responsibly wind down the war in Afghanistan, and we are.  You’ve got a new tower that’s rising over the New York skyline, and meanwhile, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)  We made that commitment.  (Applause.)

But as we saw just a few days ago, we still face some serious threats in the world.  And that’s why, as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we’re going to maintain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  And when our troops come home and they take off their uniform, we’re going to serve them as well as they’ve served us, because nobody who fights for America should have to fight for a job when they come home.  I believe that.  (Applause.)

My opponent has got a different view.  He said the way we ended the war in Iraq was “tragic.”  He still hasn’t explained what his policy in Afghanistan will be.  But I have, and I will.  And one more thing, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and to put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways — (applause) — because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building right here in Ohio, right here at home.  (Applause.)

So this is the choice that you face; it’s what this election comes down to.  And over the next 41 days, you will be seeing more money than has ever been spent, and a whole bunch of it on the other side from folks who are writing $10 million checks to these super PACs.  And they’ll tell you that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way to go.  Their basic argument is since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  Their basic theory is you’re on your own.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  (Laughter.)  If a company is releasing toxic pollution that your kids are breathing, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, just borrow more money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

Let me tell you something — that’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  We don’t think government can solve all our problems.  But we don’t think it’s the source of all our problems, either — (applause) — just like we don’t think that folks who are having a tough time are our problem, or welfare recipients are our problem, or corporations are our problem, or unions are our problem, or immigrants or gays, or all the other groups that we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because here in America, we believe we’re in this thing together.  We believe that all of us have responsibilities.  (Applause.)  We believe we’ve got responsibilities to look after ourselves and work hard and show individual initiative.  But we also believe we have responsibilities to each other and to this country and to future generations, to make sure that America continues to be the place where there’s more opportunity and possibility than any other nation on Earth.  That’s what we believe.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  (Applause.)

We understand that America is not about what can be done for us.  It’s about what can be done by us, together, as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)  And that’s what I’ve always said.  That’s why I ran for this office, because I have faith in you.

Four years ago, I told you this wasn’t about me.  It was about you, the American people.  You were the change.  You are the reason a mother in Cleveland right now doesn’t have to worry about her son being denied medical coverage because of some preexisting condition.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a factory worker who lost his job in Toledo or Lordstown is back on the line building some of the best cars in the world.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a student in Akron or Columbus or Bowling Green has some help paying for a college education.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason a veteran can go to school on the new GI Bill.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to the flag is not in danger of being deported from the only country she’s ever known.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason some outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of our military because of who they are or who they love.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why thousands of families have finally been able to welcome home their loved ones who served us so bravely, to say, “Welcome home.”

And the interesting thing is my opponent maybe doesn’t understand this concept about how change happens, because I made this point down in Florida.  I said one of the things we learned is we can’t change Washington just from the inside.  You got to change it from the outside.  You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard.

And my opponent got really excited.  He heard me say this.  He changed his speech.  (Laughter.)  He said, I’m going to get the job done from the inside.  That’s what he said — I’m going to get the job done from the inside.  And I’m thinking to myself, well, what kind of inside job is he talking about?  (Laughter and applause.)

Is he talking about the inside job to rubber-stamp the agenda of this Republican Congress?  Because if he is, we don’t want it.  If he’s talking about the inside job of letting oil companies write the energy policies, and insurance companies writing health care policies, and outsourcers rewriting our tax code — we don’t need that.  If he’s talking about the inside job where politicians in Washington are controlling the health care choices that women are perfectly capable of making for themselves, we’ll take a pass.  (Applause.)  We don’t need an inside job.  We want to change Washington.

I’ve always said change is hard; it takes more than one term or even one President.  And the way our democracy works, we’re never going to get everything that each of us individually want.  But if we’re working together, you can make things happen.  Now, you can’t make it happen if you write off half the nation before you take office.  (Applause.)

It’s interesting, in 2008, 47 percent of the country did not vote for me.  They voted for John McCain.  But on election night, in Grant Park in Chicago, I said to all those Americans who didn’t vote for me, I said, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, and I need your help.  And I will be your President, too.  That’s what I said.  (Applause.)

So I don’t know how many votes I’ll get in Ohio this time, but no matter who you are, no matter what party you belong to –and I want everybody who’s listening on television to understand — I will be fighting for you because I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs.  I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)

I’m not fighting to improve blue state schools or red state schools, I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

The values of hard work and personal responsibility, those values that we believe in don’t just belong to workers or businesses, or the rich or the poor, the 53 percent or the 47 percent, the 1 percent or the 99 percent.  Those are American values.  They belong to all of us.

So I want you guys to understand we are not as divided as our politics suggests.  I still believe, no matter how many times I’m called naïve about this, I still believe that we have more in common than divides us.  (Applause.)  I still believe in that.  I still believe in one nation and one people.

I still believe in you.  And I’m asking you to keep believing in me.  (Applause.)  And if you do, I need you to register to vote.  (Applause.)  I need you to start voting six days from now on October 2nd.  And if you’re with me and if you work with me, we’ll win Wood County again.  We’ll win Ohio again.  (Applause.)  We’ll finish what we started.  We’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

2:00 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Remarks at an Appearance on CNN’s Situation Room — My Campaign Is About Getting The Economy Going




Mitt Romney: My Campaign Is About Getting The Economy Going

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

Situation Room
September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “I’m overwhelmingly committed to helping every American. That’s what this campaign is about. From the very beginning of my campaign I’ve spoken about the need to help get people out of poverty, the need to get the 23 million people that don’t have good jobs, struggling to find work, to help those people get good jobs. My whole campaign is about getting the economy going. People at the top are doing fine. They’ll probably do fine whether Barack Obama were reelected or not. It’s the people in the middle and at the bottom that are struggling in the Obama economy. That’s why I’m running, is to help them.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 26, 2012: Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan’s Speeches at a Campaign Event in Vandalia, Ohio — We Must Stand Up To China




Mitt Romney: We Must Stand Up To China

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12 

“I also understand that when people cheat, that kills jobs. China has cheated. I will not allow that to continue.” – Mitt Romney


Vandalia, Ohio

September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “But I also understand that when people cheat, that kills jobs. China has cheated. I will not allow that to continue. And it’s not over. I mean, how does a nation cheat? How do you pull that off? Let me tell you how you pull it off. One way is to artificially hold down the value of your currency, to make sure it doesn’t trade openly around the world. And what does that do? Well, let me tell you what it does. It makes your products artificially less expensive. The estimates are that China has held down the value of its currency anywhere between 15 and 30 percent, and so their products will be 15 to 30 percent cheaper. Guess what that does to the American companies that are competing in those industries. They lose sales, and so they have to lay off people. And ultimately they go out of business, and that’s been happening. They’ve been manipulating, holding down the value of their currency. What else do they do? They steal intellectual property. What do I mean by that? Patents, designs, know-how, even counterfeit our goods. I was with a company in the Midwest that said that they had some products that were coming back, valves. These are industrial valves, great big heavy industrial valves — said they were getting warranty claims on these valves of theirs that were breaking. And they were their product. They had their packaging on it. They had their serial numbers on it. And then they realized they’re counterfeit; these aren’t actually our product; they’ve been sold as our product, under our brand name, with our bar codes, everything else associated with them. And these products are coming into this country, being counterfeited overseas. That kills jobs. That’s what they’ve been doing. There’s an Apple Store in China. Have you read about that one? They got a store, Apple Store, selling Apple, you know, iPads and iPhones, except it’s not an Apple Store. It’s all counterfeit. Look, this kind of practice has to stop. They even have hacked into our computers. Our government, with the F-35 they looked at designs for the F-35 — they’ve looked at computers of our corporations. This cannot be allowed. We cannot compete with people who don’t play fair, and I won’t let that go on. I will stop it in its tracks.”

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan

PAUL RYAN: “And just the other day on TV he said that he can’t change Washington from the inside. Why do we send presidents to Washington in the first place? I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Don’t we send them to fix the mess in Washington? Look, if he can’t change Washington, then we need to change presidents. And we need to elect this man, Mitt Romney, the next President of the United States. The choice before us is very clear. We are offering real reforms for a real recovery.”

Full Text Obama Presidency September 25, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the Clinton Global Initiative




Remarks by the President to the Clinton Global Initiative

Source: WH, 9-25-12

Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers
New York, New York

12:34 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Appreciate it.  Please, please, everybody have a seat.

Well, good afternoon, everybody.  And, President Clinton, thank you for your very kind introduction.  Although I have to admit, I really did like the speech a few weeks ago a little bit better.  (Laughter.)  Afterwards, somebody tweeted that somebody needs to make him “Secretary of Explaining Things.”  (Laughter.) Although they didn’t use the word, “things.”  (Laughter.)

President Clinton, you are a tireless, passionate advocate on behalf of what’s best in our country.  You have helped to improve and save the lives of millions of people around the world.  I am grateful for your friendship and your extraordinary leadership.  And I think I speak for the entire country when we say that you continue to be a great treasure for all of us.  (Applause.)

As always, I also have to thank President Clinton for being so understanding with the record-breaking number of countries visited by our Secretary of State.  (Laughter and applause.)  As we’ve seen again in recent days, Hillary Clinton is a leader of grace and grit — and I believe she will go down as one of the finest Secretaries of State in American history.  So we are grateful to her.  (Applause.)

To the dedicated CGI staff and every organization that’s made commitments and touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people, thank you for being an example of what we need more of in the world, especially in Washington — working together to actually solve problems.

And that’s why I’m here.  As Bill mentioned, I’ve come to CGI every year that I’ve been President, and I’ve talked with you about how we need to sustain the economic recovery, how we need to create more jobs.  I’ve talked about the importance of development — from global health to our fight against HIV/AIDS to the growth that lifts nations to prosperity.  We’ve talked about development and how it has to include women and girls — because by every benchmark, nations that educate their women and girls end up being more successful.  (Applause.)

And today, I want to discuss an issue that relates to each of these challenges.  It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity.  It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric.  It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets.  It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.  I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.  (Applause.)

Now, I do not use that word, “slavery” lightly.  It evokes obviously one of the most painful chapters in our nation’s history.  But around the world, there’s no denying the awful reality.  When a man, desperate for work, finds himself in a factory or on a fishing boat or in a field, working, toiling, for little or no pay, and beaten if he tries to escape — that is slavery.  When a woman is locked in a sweatshop, or trapped in a home as a domestic servant, alone and abused and incapable of leaving — that’s slavery.

When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery.  When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family — girls my daughters’ age — runs away from home, or is lured by the false promises of a better life, and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists — that’s slavery.  It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.  (Applause.)

Now, as a nation, we’ve long rejected such cruelty.  Just a few days ago, we marked the 150th anniversary of a document that I have hanging in the Oval Office — the Emancipation Proclamation.  With the advance of Union forces, it brought a new day — that “all persons held as slaves” would thenceforth be forever free.  We wrote that promise into our Constitution.  We spent decades struggling to make it real.  We joined with other nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that “slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

A global movement was sparked, with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act — signed by President Clinton and carried on by President Bush.

And here at CGI, you’ve made impressive commitments in this fight.  We are especially honored to be joined today by advocates who dedicate their lives — and, at times, risk their lives — to liberate victims and help them recover.  This includes men and women of faith, who, like the great abolitionists before them, are truly doing the Lord’s work — evangelicals, the Catholic Church, International Justice Mission and World Relief, even individual congregations, like Passion City Church in Atlanta, and so many young people of faith who’ve decided that their conscience compels them to act in the face of injustice.  Groups like these are answering the Bible’s call — to “seek justice” and “rescue the oppressed.”  Some of them join us today, and we are grateful for your leadership.

Now, as President, I’ve made it clear that the United States will continue to be a leader in this global movement.  We’ve got a comprehensive strategy.  We’re shining a spotlight on the dark corners where it persists.  Under Hillary’s leadership, we’re doing more than ever — with our annual trafficking report, with new outreach and partnerships — to give countries incentives to meet their responsibilities and calling them out when they don’t.

I recently renewed sanctions on some of the worst abusers, including North Korea and Eritrea.  We’re partnering with groups that help women and children escape from the grip of their abusers.  We’re helping other countries step up their own efforts.  And we’re seeing results.  More nations have passed and more are enforcing modern anti-trafficking laws.

Last week I was proud to welcome to the Oval Office not only a great champion of democracy but a fierce advocate against the use of forced labor and child soldiers — Aung San Suu Kyi.  (Applause.)  And as part of our engagement, we’ll encourage Burma to keep taking steps to reform — because nations must speak with one voice:  Our people and our children are not for sale.

But for all the progress that we’ve made, the bitter truth is that trafficking also goes on right here, in the United States.  It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker.  The man, lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen.  The teenage girl, beaten, forced to walk the streets.  This should not be happening in the United States of America.

As President, I directed my administration to step up our efforts — and we have.  For the first time, at Hillary’s direction, our annual trafficking report now includes the United States, because we can’t ask other nations to do what we are not doing ourselves.  (Applause.)  We’ve expanded our interagency task force to include more federal partners, including the FBI.  The intelligence community is devoting more resources to identifying trafficking networks.  We’ve strengthened protections so that foreign-born workers know their rights.

And most of all, we’re going after the traffickers.  New anti-trafficking teams are dismantling their networks.  Last year, we charged a record number of these predators with human trafficking.  We’re putting them where they belong — behind bars.  (Applause.)

But with more than 20 million victims of human trafficking around the world — think about that, more than 20 million — they’ve got a lot more to do.  And that’s why, earlier this year, I directed my administration to increase our efforts.  And today, I can announce a series of additional steps that we’re going to take.

First, we’re going to do more to spot it and stop it.  We’ll prepare a new assessment of human trafficking in the United States so we better understand the scope and scale of the problem.  We’ll strengthen training, so investigators and law enforcement are even better equipped to take action — and treat victims as victims, not as criminals.  (Applause.)  We’re going to work with Amtrak, and bus and truck inspectors, so that they’re on the lookout.  We’ll help teachers and educators spot the signs as well, and better serve those who are vulnerable, especially our young people.

Second, we’re turning the tables on the traffickers.  Just as they are now using technology and the Internet to exploit their victims, we’re going to harness technology to stop them.  We’re encouraging tech companies and advocates and law enforcement — and we’re also challenging college students — to develop tools that our young people can use to stay safe online and on their smart phones.

Third, we’ll do even more to help victims recover and rebuild their lives.  We’ll develop a new action plan to improve coordination across the federal government.  We’re increasing access to services to help survivors become self-sufficient.  We’re working to simplify visa procedures for “T” visas so that innocent victims from other countries can stay here as they help us prosecute their traffickers.

This coming year, my Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships will make the fight against human trafficking a focus of its work.  (Applause.)  They’re doing great work.  And I’m also proud to announce a new partnership with Humanity United, which is a leader in anti-trafficking — a multi-million dollar challenge to local communities to find new ways to care for trafficking victims.  And I want to thank Johns Hopkins University, which will be focusing on how to best care for child victims.  (Applause.)

Now, finally, as one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the world, the United States government will lead by example.  We’ve already taken steps to make sure our contractors do not engage in forced labor.  And today we’re going to go  further.  I’ve signed a new executive order that raises the bar. It’s specific about the prohibitions.  It does more to protect workers.  It ensures stronger compliance.   In short, we’re making clear that American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings.  We will have zero tolerance.  We mean what we say.  We will enforce it.  (Applause.)

Of course, no government, no nation, can meet this challenge alone.  Everybody has a responsibility.  Every nation can take action.  Modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced and justice systems must be strengthened.  Victims must be cared for.  So here in the United States, Congress should renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, this is a no-brainer.  This is something we should all agree on.  We need to get that done.

And more broadly, as nations, let’s recommit to addressing the underlying forces that push so many into bondage in the first place.  With development and economic growth that creates legitimate jobs, there’s less likelihood of indentured servitude around the globe.  A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the cultures of every country.  A commitment to equality — as in the Equal Futures Partnership that we launched with other nations yesterday so societies empower our sisters and our daughters just as much as our brothers and sons.  (Applause.)

And every business can take action.  All the business leaders who are here and our global economy companies have a responsibility to make sure that their supply chains, stretching into the far corners of the globe, are free of forced labor.  (Applause.)  The good news is more and more responsible companies are holding themselves to higher standards.  And today, I want to salute the new commitments that are being made.  That includes the new Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking — companies that are sending a message:  Human trafficking is not a business model, it is a crime, and we are going to stop it.  We’re proud of them.  (Applause.)

Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed.  And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent.  We’ve got to be moved by compassion.  We’ve got to bind up the wounds.  Let’s come together around a simple truth — that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers.

And finally, every citizen can take action:  by learning more; by going to the website that we helped create —; by speaking up and insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the products we buy are made free of forced labor; by standing up against the degradation and abuse of women.

That’s how real change happens — from the bottom up.  And if you doubt that, ask Marie Godet Niyonyota, from the Congo.  Think about Marie’s story.  She was kidnapped by rebels, turned into a slave.  She was abused — physically and sexually.  They got her pregnant five times.  In one awful battle, her children were killed — all five of them.  Miraculously, she survived and escaped.  And with care and support, she began to heal.  And she learned to read and write and sew, and today Marie is back home, working toward a new future.

Or ask Ima Matul.  She grew up in Indonesia, and at 17 was given the opportunity to work as a nanny here in the United States.  But when she arrived, it turned out to be a nightmare.  Cooking, cleaning — 18-hour days, seven days a week.  One beating was so bad it sent her to the emergency room.  And finally, she escaped.  And with the help from a group that cared, today Ima has a stable job.  She’s an advocate — she’s even testified before Congress.

Or ask Sheila White, who grew up in the Bronx.  Fleeing an abusive home, she fell in with a guy who said he’d protect her.  Instead, he sold her — just 15 years old — 15 — to men who raped her and beat her, and burned her with irons.  And finally, after years — with the help of a non-profit led by other survivors — she found the courage to break free and get the services she needed.  Sheila earned her GED.  Today she is a powerful, fierce advocate who helped to pass a new anti-trafficking law right here in New York.  (Applause.)

These women endured unspeakable horror.  But in their unbreakable will, in their courage, in their resilience, they remind us that this cycle can be broken; victims can become not only survivors, they can become leaders and advocates, and bring about change.

And I just met Ima and Sheila and several of their fellow advocates, and I have to tell you they are an incredible inspiration.  They are here — they’ve chosen to tell their stories.  I want them to stand and be recognized because they are inspiring all of us.  Please — Sheila, Ima.  (Applause.)

To Ima and Sheila, and each of you — in the darkest hours of your lives, you may have felt utterly alone, and it seemed like nobody cared.  And the important thing for us to understand is there are millions around the world who are feeling that same way at this very moment.

Right now, there is a man on a boat, casting the net with his bleeding hands, knowing he deserves a better life, a life of dignity, but doesn’t know if anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there’s a woman, hunched over a sewing machine, glancing beyond the bars on the window, knowing if just given the chance, she might some day sell her own wares, but she doesn’t think anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there’s a young boy, in a brick factory, covered in dust, hauling his heavy load under a blazing sun, thinking if he could just go to school, he might know a different future, but he doesn’t think anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there is a girl, somewhere trapped in a brothel, crying herself to sleep again, and maybe daring to imagine that some day, just maybe, she might be treated not like a piece of property, but as a human being.

And so our message today, to them, is — to the millions around the world — we see you.  We hear you.  We insist on your dignity.  And we share your belief that if just given the chance, you will forge a life equal to your talents and worthy of your dreams.  (Applause.)

Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it — in partnership with you.  The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past.  For we know that every life saved — in the words of that great Proclamation — is “an act of justice,” worthy of “the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

That’s what we believe.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  And I’m so proud to be in partnership with CGI to make this happen.

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

12:57 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at Education Nation — We Must Have The Best Teachers




Mitt Romney: We Must Have The Best Teachers

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

“Education is about teachers, great leadership and parents. And the union has a different objective. I understand, it’s fine for them to promote it. It’s not fine for us just to go along with it.”– Mitt Romney

Education Nation
New York, NY
September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Teaching is a profession. I understand the interest of the teachers union, and the teachers union has every right to represent their members in the way they think is best for their members. But we have every right to in fact say, no, this is what we want to do which is in the best interests of our children. And I believe in the best interests of our children is to recognize that teaching is a profession, like your profession, like my profession, like lawyers like doctors. And the very best are more highly compensated and rewarded and measured. We don’t just presume that because we’ve been here for a certain number of years we should get more and more pay every year. Instead, we get measured. And if teachers say, well, there’s no good measurement system, we say, well, let’s look for one. Let’s see what does work. Let’s see if we can agree on some kinds of measures and learn from those things. But I want the best teachers to be highly compensated. I want starting teachers, particularly those that have extraordinary records who have a track record in school of excellence and learning, I want them to be well compensated, to be drawn into the profession. Education is about teachers, great leadership and parents. And the union has a different objective. I understand, it’s fine for them to promote it. It’s not fine for us just to go along with it.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Paul Ryan’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Cincinnati, Ohio — If You Can’t It Right, It’s Time To Get Out




Paul Ryan: If You Can’t It Right, It’s Time To Get Out

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

“Did you guys watch that Packer game last night? I mean — give me a break. It is time to get the real refs. And do you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out.” – Paul Ryan


Cincinnati, Ohio

September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan:

PAUL RYAN: “Did you guys watch that Packer game last night? I mean — give me a break. It is time to get the real refs. And do you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out. I half think that these refs work part-time for the Obama Administration in the budget office. They see the national debt clock staring them in the face. They see a debt crisis, and they just ignore and pretend it didn’t even happen. They’re trying to pick the winners and losers, and they don’t even do that very well.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech to the Clinton Global Initiative




Romney Jokes He’s Waiting for His Clinton ‘Bounce’

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-25-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Speaking just hours before President Obama takes the same stage, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outlined his vision for foreign aid Tuesday at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

The governor and former President Bill Clinton took the stage together, after which Clinton delivered complimentary remarks praising Romney’s support for the City Year service group when he was governor….READ MORE

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks To The Clinton Global Initiative

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, New York. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. President.  I appreciate the kind words and your invitation here today.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good.  After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.

Since serving as President here in America, President Clinton has devoted himself to lifting the downtrodden around the world.  One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate.  That is how needy and neglected causes have become global initiatives. It is that work that invites us here today.

As I have watched the astounding impact of this Initiative from afar, I have been impressed by the extraordinary power you have derived by harnessing together different people of different backgrounds, and different institutions of different persuasions. You have fashioned partnerships across traditional boundaries — public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, charitable and commercial.

On a smaller scale, I have seen partnerships like this work before. In Massachusetts, two social pioneers brought corporations and government and volunteers together to form City Year, the model for Americorps. I sat with then-candidate for President Bill Clinton as he investigated the life-changing successes which occurred when young people came together for a year of service, linked in teams with corporate sponsors.  Then, as the head of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, I saw again the stunning success that comes when the disparate elements of a community join together in unity, to overcome challenges that had seemed insurmountable before.

The Clinton Global Initiative has also demonstrated the effectiveness of entrepreneurship and social enterprise.  You endeavor to not only comfort the afflicted, but to also change lives thorough freedom, free enterprise, and the incomparable dignity of work.

Free enterprise has done more to bless humanity than any other economic system not only because it is the only system that creates a prosperous middle class, but also because it is the only system where the individual enjoys the freedom to guide and build his or her own life. Free enterprise cannot only make us better off financially, it can make us better people.

Ours is a compassionate nation. We look around us and see withering suffering. Our hearts break.  While we make up just 4.5 percent of the world’s population, we donate nearly a quarter of all global foreign aid—more than twice as much as any other country.  And Americans give more than money.  Pastors like Rick Warren lead mission trips that send thousands of Americans around the world, bringing aid and comfort to the poorest places on the planet.  American troops are first on the scene of natural disasters.  An earthquake strikes Haiti and care packages from America are among the first to arrive – and not far behind are former Presidents Clinton and Bush.

But too often our passion for charity is tempered by our sense that our aid is not always effective. We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments. We wonder why years of aid and relief seem never to extinguish the hardship, why the suffering persists decade after decade.

Perhaps some of our disappointments are due to our failure to recognize just how much the developing world has changed.  Many of our foreign aid efforts were designed at a time when government development assistance accounted for roughly 70 percent of all resources flowing to developing nations.  Today, 82 percent of the resources flowing into the developing world come from the private sector. If foreign aid can leverage this massive investment by private enterprise, it may exponentially expand the ability to not only care for those who suffer, but also to change lives.

Private enterprise is having a greater and greater positive impact in the developing world. The John Deere Company embarked upon a pilot project in Africa where it developed a suite of farm tools that could be attached to a very small tractor.  John Deere has also worked to expand the availability of capital to farmers so they can maintain and develop their businesses.  The result has been a good investment for John Deere and greater opportunity for African farmers, who are now able to grow more crops, and to provide for more plentiful lives.

For American foreign aid to become more effective, it must embrace the power of partnerships, access the transformative nature of free enterprise, and leverage the abundant resources that can come from the private sector.

There are three, quite legitimate, objects of our foreign aid.

First, to address humanitarian need.  Such is the case with the PEPFAR initiative, which has given medical treatment to millions suffering from HIV and AIDS.

Second, to foster a substantial United States strategic interest, be it military, diplomatic, or economic.

And there is a third purpose, one that will receive more attention and a much higher priority in a Romney Administration. And that is aid that elevates people and brings about lasting change in communities and in nations.

Many Americans are troubled by the developments in the Middle East. Syria has witnessed the killing of tens of thousands of people. The president of Egypt is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in a terrorist attack.  And Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability. We feel that we are at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events.

I am often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate.

Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem.  But that’s not the whole story.

The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic.  In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators.  They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.

In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

He was just 26 years old.  He had provided for his family since he was a young boy.  He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, “Why are you doing this to me?  I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.”

I just want to work.

Work.  That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.

To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate “Prosperity Pacts.”  Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.

We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small- and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.

The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy–free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.

When I was in business, I traveled to many other countries.  I was often struck by the vast difference in wealth among nations.  True, some of that was due to geography.  Rich countries often had natural resources like mineral deposits or ample waterways.  But in some cases, all that separated a rich country from a poor one was a faint line on a map.  Countries that were physically right next to each other were economically worlds apart.  Just think of North and South Korea.

I became convinced that the crucial difference between these countries wasn’t geography.  I noticed the most successful countries shared something in common.  They were the freest.  They protected the rights of the individual.  They enforced the rule of law.  And they encouraged free enterprise.  They understood that economic freedom is the only force in history that has consistently lifted people out of poverty – and kept people out of poverty.

A temporary aid package can jolt an economy.  It can fund some projects.  It can pay some bills.  It can employ some people some of the time.  But it can’t sustain an economy—not for long.  It can’t pull the whole cart—because at some point, the money runs out.

But an assistance program that helps unleash free enterprise creates enduring prosperity.  Free enterprise is based on mutual exchange—or, rather, millions of exchanges—millions of people trading, buying, selling, building, investing.  Yes, it has its ups and downs.  It isn’t perfect.  But it’s more durable.  It’s more reliable.  And ultimately, as history shows, it’s more successful.

The best example of the good free enterprise can do for the developing world is the example of the developed world itself.  My friend Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out that before the year 1800, living standards in the West were appalling.  A person born in the eighteenth century lived essentially as his great-great-grandfather had.  Life was filled with disease and danger.

But starting in 1800, the West began two centuries of free enterprise and trade.  Living standards rose.  Literacy spread.  Health improved.  In our own country, between 1820 and 1998, real per capita GDP increased twenty-two-fold.

As the most prosperous nation in history, it is our duty to keep the engine of prosperity running—to open markets across the globe and to spread prosperity to all corners of the earth.  We should do it because it’s the right moral course to help others.

But it is also economically the smart thing to do. In our export industries, the typical job pays above what comparable workers make in other industries, and more than one-third of manufacturing jobs are tied to exports.  Sadly, we have lost over half a million manufacturing jobs over the last three and a half years.

As president, I will reverse this trend by ensuring we have trade that works for America.  I will negotiate new trade agreements, ask Congress to reinstate Trade Promotion Authority, complete negotiations to expand the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and create what I call a “Reagan Economic Zone,” where any nation willing to play by the rules can participate in a new community committed to fair and free trade.

I’ve laid out a new approach for a new era.  We’ll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs.

Today, we face a world with unprecedented challenges and complexities.  We should not forget—and cannot forget—that not far from here, a voice of unspeakable evil and hatred has spoken out, threatening Israel and the civilized world.  But we come together knowing that the bitterness of hate is no match for the strength of love.

In the weeks ahead, I will continue to speak to these challenges and the opportunities that this moment presents us.   I will go beyond foreign assistance and describe what I believe America’s strategy should be to secure our interests and ideals during this uncertain time.

A year from now, I hope to return to this meeting as president, having made substantial progress toward achieving the reforms I’ve outlined.  But I also hope to remind the world of the goodness and the bigness of the American heart.  I will never apologize for America.  I believe that America has been one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever known.  We can hold that knowledge in our hearts with humility and unwavering conviction.

Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you all very much.

Full Text Obama Presidency September 25, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the United Nations UN General Assembly — Urges UN to Address Causes of Crisis in the Muslim World




Obama Urges UN to Address Causes of Crisis in the Muslim World

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-25-12


Amid mounting unrest in the Middle East, President Obama urged global leaders today to confront the “deeper causes” of the crisis, saying the turmoil serves as a reminder that true democracy is “hard work.”

“We face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart, and the hopes we hold in common,” the president told the United Nations General Assembly….READ MORE

Remarks by the President to the UN General Assembly

Source: WH, 9-25-12

United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York

10:22 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman:  I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.

Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician.  As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco.  And he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life.  As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Libya.  He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked — tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile.

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship.  As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

Chris Stevens loved his work.  He took pride in the country he served, and he saw dignity in the people that he met.  And two weeks ago, he traveled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital.  That’s when America’s compound came under attack.  Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America.  Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents.  He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles — a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity.

The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America.  We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and from the Libyan people.  There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.  And I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region — including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen — have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm.  And so have religious authorities around the globe.

But understand, the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America.  They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded — the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy, or to put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass.  If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis — because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes that we hold in common.

Today, we must reaffirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens — and not by his killers.  Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.

It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring.  And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.

We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspiration of men and women who took to the streets.

We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.

We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.

We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.

And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.

We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture.  These are not simply American values or Western values — they are universal values.  And even as there will be huge challenges to come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people, and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.

So let us remember that this is a season of progress.  For the first time in decades, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive, and fair.  This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab world.  Over the past year, we’ve seen peaceful transitions of power in Malawi and Senegal, and a new President in Somalia.  In Burma, a President has freed political prisoners and opened a closed society, a courageous dissident has been elected to parliament, and people look forward to further reform.  Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future.

And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot.  Nelson Mandela once said:  “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”  (Applause.)

True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be opened without paying a bribe.  It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.

In other words, true democracy — real freedom — is hard work.  Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissidents.  In hard economic times, countries must be tempted — may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.

Moreover, there will always be those that reject human progress — dictators who cling to power, corrupt interests that depend on the status quo, and extremists who fan the flames of hate and division.  From Northern Ireland to South Asia, from Africa to the Americas, from the Balkans to the Pacific Rim, we’ve witnessed convulsions that can accompany transitions to a new political order.

At time, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of race or tribe.  And often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world.  In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they’re willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.  Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.
It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith.  We are home to Muslims who worship across our country.  We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe.  We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video.  And the answer is enshrined in our laws:  Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense.  Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs.  As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day — (laughter) — and I will always defend their right to do so.  (Applause.)

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with.  We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened.  We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.

We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech.  We recognize that.  But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete.  The question, then, is how do we respond?

And on this we must agree:  There is no speech that justifies mindless violence.  (Applause.)  There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents.  There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy.  There’s no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.

In this modern world with modern technologies, for us to respond in that way to hateful speech empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world.  We empower the worst of us if that’s how we respond.

More broadly, the events of the last two weeks also speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab world that is moving towards democracy.

Now, let me be clear:  Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not and will not seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad.  We do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue, nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks or the hateful speech by some individuals represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims, any more than the views of the people who produced this video represents those of Americans.  However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.  (Applause.)

It is time to marginalize those who — even when not directly resorting to violence — use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel, as the central organizing principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes an excuse, for those who do resort to violence.

That brand of politics — one that pits East against West, and South against North, Muslims against Christians and Hindu and Jews — can’t deliver on the promise of freedom.  To the youth, it offers only false hope.  Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education.  Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach.  Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job.  That brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we must do together:  educating our children, and creating the opportunities that they deserve; protecting human rights, and extending democracy’s promise.

Understand America will never retreat from the world.  We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends, and we will stand with our allies.  We are willing to partner with countries around the world to deepen ties of trade and investment, and science and technology, energy and development — all efforts that can spark economic growth for all our people and stabilize democratic change.

But such efforts depend on a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect.  No government or company, no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are endangered.  For partnerships to be effective our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.

A politics based only on anger — one based on dividing the world between “us” and “them” — not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it.  All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces.

Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism.  On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than 10 Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained.  The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans.  It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos.  In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence.  And extremists understand this.  Because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant.  They don’t build; they only destroy.

It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind.  On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past.  And we cannot afford to get it wrong.  We must seize this moment.  And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.

The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt — it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.”  The future must not belong to those who bully women — it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.  (Applause.)

The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources — it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people.  Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.  But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.  (Applause.)

Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims.  It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi:  “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”  (Applause.)  Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them.  That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.

Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on a prospect of peace.  Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, those who reject the right of Israel to exist.  The road is hard, but the destination is clear — a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine.  (Applause.)  Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey.

In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people.  If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings.  And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.

Together, we must stand with those Syrians who believe in a different vision — a Syria that is united and inclusive, where children don’t need to fear their own government, and all Syrians have a say in how they are governed — Sunnis and Alawites, Kurds and Christians.  That’s what America stands for.  That is the outcome that we will work for — with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute, and assistance and support for those who work for this common good.  Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and the legitimacy to lead.

In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads.  The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors.  But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government continues to prop up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad.  Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.

So let me be clear.  America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so.  But that time is not unlimited.  We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace.  And make no mistake, a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.  It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy.  It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty.  That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable.  And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.  That’s why this institution was established from the rubble of conflict.  That is why liberty triumphed over tyranny in the Cold War.  And that is the lesson of the last two decades as well.

History shows that peace and progress come to those who make the right choices.  Nations in every part of the world have traveled this difficult path.  Europe, the bloodiest battlefield of the 20th century, is united, free and at peace.  From Brazil to South Africa, from Turkey to South Korea, from India to Indonesia, people of different races, religions, and traditions have lifted millions out of poverty, while respecting the rights of their citizens and meeting their responsibilities as nations.

And it is because of the progress that I’ve witnessed in my own lifetime, the progress that I’ve witnessed after nearly four years as President, that I remain ever hopeful about the world that we live in.  The war in Iraq is over.  American troops have come home.  We’ve begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014.  Al Qaeda has been weakened, and Osama bin Laden is no more.  Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals.  We have seen hard choices made — from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan — to put more power in the hands of citizens.

At a time of economic challenge, the world has come together to broaden prosperity.  Through the G20, we have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery.  America has pursued a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks dependency, and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nations.  New partnerships have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is open and transparent, and new commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure that women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity.  And later today, I will discuss our efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

All these things give me hope.  But what gives me the most hope is not the actions of us, not the actions of leaders — it is the people that I’ve seen.  The American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away; the students in Jakarta or Seoul who are eager to use their knowledge to benefit mankind; the faces in a square in Prague or a parliament in Ghana who see democracy giving voice to their aspirations; the young people in the favelas of Rio and the schools of Mumbai whose eyes shine with promise.  These men, women, and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the world who share similar hopes and dreams.  They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity.

So much attention in our world turns to what divides us.  That’s what we see on the news.  That’s what consumes our political debates.  But when you strip it all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes with faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people  — and not the other way around.

The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people and for people all across the world.  That was our founding purpose.  That is what our history shows.  That is what Chris Stevens worked for throughout his life.

And I promise you this:  Long after the killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’s legacy will live on in the lives that he touched — in the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the signs that read, simply, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”

They should give us hope.  They should remind us that so long as we work for it, justice will be done, that history is on our side, and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

10:16 A.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 24, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Pueblo, Colorado — We Must Stand For Freedom




Mitt Romney: We Must Stand For Freedom

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-24-12

“The world looks at the events going on. They don’t see these events as bumps in the road. These are lives. This is humanity. This is freedom. Freedom must be on the march. We must stand for freedom.” – Mitt Romney

Pueblo, Colorado

September 24, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Look, the world looks at the events going on. They don’t see these events as bumps in the road. These are lives. This is humanity. This is freedom. Freedom must be on the march. We must stand for freedom. I see these extraordinary aircraft here and know that behind them are men and women who’ve flown them in peace, in times of danger. They fly them to protect us. They fly to make sure the world is a safer place. American leadership is derived from a strong military, which, by the way, is derived from a strong economy, which is derived from strong values and principles. I will strengthen America by restoring the principles that made us the hope of the earth!”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 23, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Interview on ’60 Minutes’ — Transcript




Transcript of Romney on ’60 Minutes’

The following is a transcript of Mitt Romney on CBS’ “60 Minutes”

SCOTT PELLEY:  We asked Mr. Romney how his vision differs from the President’s because recently Mr. Obama said this election is
the clearest choice in a generation.


ROMNEY:  I think the President’s right. I think this is a very clear choice for the American people as to what America’s future will look like. The President’s vision is one of a larger and larger government with trillion-dollar deficits that promises everything to everyone. That’s the course that he has laid out. His policy for the — the economy is more stimulus, more government spending. My course is very different than that. Mine says make government smaller. Don’t build these massive deficits that pass debt on to our kids, rebuild the foundation of America’s strength with great homes, great schools, with entrepreneurship and innovation. Keep government as a — if you will, facilitator of freedom in America. But don’t have government take away the rights and the freedoms of the American

PELLEY (on camera):  Ten years ago, when you were running for governor of Massachusetts, you were solidly pro-choice on abortion. Now you’re against abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. When you were running for governor, you ridiculed the idea of signing a “no new taxes” pledge, and yet now you’ve signed one. Some people, Governor, have an uneasy feeling that you’re not constant, that you say whatever you have to say in a particular moment.

ROMNEY:  Well, they can look at my record. I — I understand that my opposition will do its very best to try and — and change anyway they can, the narrative to fit their — their objectives. The President has certainly changed his view on a whole host of things. He was going to close Guantanamo. It’s open. Military tribunals were going to be ended. Now military tri — tribunals continue. The President was opposed to same sex marriage, now he’s in favor of same sex marriage. So I…

PELLEY:  But what about you?

ROMNEY:  Oh, so I…

PELLEY:  People wonder, does Romney believe the things that
he says?  You say what to those people?

ROMNEY:  The principles I have are the principles I’ve had from the beginning of my — of my political life. But have I learned?  Have I found that some things I thought would be effective turned out not to be effective?  Absolutely. If you don’t learn from experience, you don’t learn from your mistakes. Why, you know, you ought to be fired.

PELLEY (voiceover):  We spoke with the former governor of Massachusetts as he pitched a plan for a different nation; a government smaller than most Americans have ever seen, reform of Medicare and Social Security, a balanced budget and cuts in tax rates.

(on camera):  What would the individual federal income tax rates be?

ROMNEY:  Well, they would be the current rates less twenty percent. So the top rate, for instance, would go from thirty-five to twenty-eight. Middle rates would come down by twenty percent as well. All the rates come down. But unless people think there’s going to be a huge reduction in the taxes they owe, that’s really not the case because we’re also going to limit deductions and exemptions, particularly for people at the high end. Because I want to keep the current progressivity in the code. There should be no tax reduction for high income people. What I would like to do is to get a tax reduction for middle-income families by eliminating the tax for middle-income families on interest, dividends, and capital gains.

PELLEY:  The tax rate for everyone in your plan would go

ROMNEY:  That’s right.

PELLEY:  But because you’re going to limit exemptions and deductions, everybody’s going to essentially be paying the same taxes.

ROMNEY:  That’s right. Middle-income people will probably see a little break, because there’ll be no tax on their savings.

PELLEY:  Now, you made on your investments, personally, about twenty million dollars last year. And you paid fourteen percent in federal taxes. That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes fifty thousand dollars and paid a higher rate than you did?

ROMNEY:  It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as thirty-five percent.

PELLEY:  So you think it is fair?

ROMNEY:  Yeah, I — I think it’s — it’s the right way to encourage economic growth, to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

PELLEY:  And corporate tax rates?

ROMNEY:  Corporate tax rates, also, I’d bring down and with the same idea let’s get rid of some of the loopholes, deductions, special deals, such that we’re able to pay for the reduction. I don’t want a reduction in revenue coming into the government.

PELLEY (voiceover):  We followed the governor last week on his relentless schedule — campaigning, raising money, practicing for the debates. And in Boston we asked him exactly which tax deductions and exemptions he intended to eliminate.

ROMNEY:  Well, that’s something Congress and I will have to work out together. My — my experience as a governor…

PELLEY (on camera):  You’re asking the American people to hire you as President of the United States. They’d — they’d like to hear some specifics.

ROMNEY:  Well, I can tell them specifically what my policy looks like. I will not raise taxes on middle-income folks. I will not lower the share of taxes paid by high-income individuals. And I will make sure that we bring down rates, we limit deductions and exemptions so we can keep the progressivity in the code, and we encourage growth in jobs.

PELLEY:  And the devil’s in the details, though. I mean, what are we talking about, the mortgage deduction, the charitable deduction?

ROMNEY:  The devil’s in the details. The angel is in the policy, which is creating more jobs.

PELLEY:  You have heard the criticism, I’m sure, that your campaign can be vague about some things. And I wonder if this isn’t precisely one of those things?

ROMNEY:  It’s very much consistent with my experience as a governor which is, if you want to work together with people across the aisle, you lay out your principles and your policy, you work together with them, but you don’t hand them a complete document and say, “Here, take this or leave it.”  Look, leadership is not a take it or leave it thing. We’ve seen too much of that in Washington.

PELLEY:  You talk about balancing the budget without raising taxes. But to do that you would have to have trillions of dollars in budget cuts. So let’s be specific in this interview — what would you cut?

ROMNEY:  The first big one is I am not going to go forward with Obamacare. I will repeal Obamacare. It costs about a hundred billion dollars a year. Second big area is taking major government programs at the federal level, turning them back to the states, where they’ll grow at the rate of inflation, not at a multiple of that rate. And that saves about a hundred billion dollars a year. And finally, I’ll cut back on the size of government itself, as well as go after the fraud and abuse and inefficiency that’s always part of a large institution like our — like our government.

PELLEY:  You would move some government programs to the
states. What would they be?

ROMNEY:  Well, for instance, Medicaid is a program that’s designed to help the poor. Likewise, we have housing vouchers and food stamps, and these help the poor. I’d take the dollars for those programs, send them back to the states, and say, “You craft your programs at your state level and the way you think best to deal with those that need that kind of help in your state.”

PELLEY:  So how does moving those programs to the states bring relief to the taxpayer?

ROMNEY:  Because I grow them only at the rate of inflation or in the case of Medicaid, at inflation plus one percent, that’s a lower rate of growth than we’ve seen over the past several years, a lower rate of growth than has been forecast under federal management. And I believe on that basis you’re going to see us save about a hundred billion dollars a year.

PELLEY:  So you’re going to cap the growth on those social welfare programs?

ROMNEY:  Exactly right.

PELLEY:  Why would shrinking the federal government on the large scale that you have in mind not throw the country back into recession?

ROMNEY:  Well, the — the plan I have to — to go after the deficit and to shrink federal spending is metered out in a very careful way, such that we don’t have a huge drop off with an austerity program that puts people out of work in government. But instead, through attrition, over time, we scale back the number of federal workers so I’m — I’m very careful in the way I do this.

PELLEY (voiceover):  But lasting budget reform isn’t likely without doing something about Social Security and Medicare. They are exactly one third of the entire federal budget. That’s one reason Romney chose as a running mate Paul Ryan, the chairman of
the House Budget Committee.

(on camera):  There is a lot of rhetoric about Medicare.

What do you intend to do?

ROMNEY:  Well, I don’t want any change to Medicare for current seniors or for those that are nearing retirement. So the plan stays exactly the same. The President’s cutting seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars from current Medicare. I disagree with that. I’d put those dollars back into Medicare.

PELLEY:  Mr. Ryan has proposed something similar, almost precisely the same number of seven hundred and sixteen.

ROMNEY:  Yeah. He — he was going to use that money to reduce the — the budget deficit. I’m putting it back into Medicare and I’m the guy running for president, not him. So what I do in my Medicare plan for younger people coming along to say this, “We’re going to have higher benefits for low-income people and lower benefits for high- income people.”  We’re going to make it more means tested. I think if we do that, we’ll make sure to preserve Medicare into the indefinite future.

PELLEY:  The idea under your plan for future seniors would be that the federal government would write that senior a check, essentially, and say, “Now, you can go buy a private insurance plan or you can buy Medicare from the federal government.”  Is that essentially it?

ROMNEY:  Yeah. That’s — that’s essentially it. People would have a choice of either traditional, government-run, fee-for-service Medicare; or a private plan, which has to offer the same benefits.

PELLEY:  Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the fifty million Americans who don’t have it today?

ROMNEY:  Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we — if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and — and die. We — we pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.

PELLEY:  That’s the most expensive way to do it.

ROMNEY:  Well the…

PELLEY:  In the emergency room.

ROMNEY:  Diff — different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some — some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. But I wouldn’t take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, “You’ve got to take the Massachusetts model.”

PELLEY:  How would you change Social Security?

ROMNEY:  Well, again, no change in Social Security for — for those that are in retirement or near retirement. What I’d do with Social Security is say this:  that again, people with higher incomes won’t get the same high growth rate in their benefits as people of lower incomes. People who rely on Social Security should see the same kind of growth rate they’ve had in the past. But higher income folks would receive a little less.

PELLEY:  So that in the Romney administration, in the Romney plan, there would be means testing for Social Security and for Medicare?

ROMNEY:  That’s correct. Higher-income people won’t get as much as lower-income people. And by virtue of doing that — and again, that’s for future retirees. For — by virtue of doing that, you are able to save these programs on a permanent basis.

PELLEY:  Balancing the budget will require sacrifice. What is it, specifically, that you’re asking the American people to sacrifice?

ROMNEY:  I’m going to look at every federal program and I’ll ask this question, “Is this so — program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”  And if it doesn’t pass that test, I’m going to eliminate the program because we just can’t afford to keep spending more money than we take in that this is — this is something which is not just bad economics. I think it’s immoral.

PELLEY:  So many people at home look at Washington and think that it is completely broken. You are going to have to reach out to Democrats in order to get anything done. How do you heal that breach, especially after a fairly acrimonious campaign?

ROMNEY:  There’s no question but that Washington is broken and I happen to think that flows from the President. I think ultimately the buck stops at the President’s desk. He’d probably say the same thing. I think you have to have a President…

PELLEY:  The President would probably blame it on the Republican Congress, Governor.

ROMNEY:  His challenge with blaming it on the Republican Congress is, of course, that for his first two years right now the majority of his term, he had a Democrat Congress, a super majority in the Democrat Congress. And he had a whole series of things he said he was going to do, he didn’t do. Leadership is not just working with your own party, but working with both parties and I learned that. I was governor of a state with a legislature eighty-seven percent Democrat. Just as you — just as you said, Scott, I — I realized I was going to get nothing done unless I had a relationship — a respect, and trust with — with the members of the — of the opposition party.

PELLEY:  Governor, what do you have to do in these last six weeks?

ROMNEY:  Well, I have to go across the country, particularly, in the states that are closest, and describe how it is I’m going to get the economy going and how we’re going to restore the economic freedom that built this economy in the first place.

PELLEY:  Can you win this thing?

ROMNEY:  I’m going to win this thing.

PELLEY (voiceover):  In Florida a state with high foreclosure rates and unemployment over the national average, Romney hammered away with his economic message. That’s where he believes the campaign will be won. He does not spend much time at his rallies talking about foreign policy — a subject in which he has limited experience and no military background.

(on camera):  Governor, the President has the United States on track to get most of our combat forces out of Afghanistan by 2014. Is there anything that you would do differently?

ROMNEY:  Well, I also agree that 2014 is the timeline we should aim for. I thought that the surge troops should have been brought back in November of this year, not September. I don’t think you try and bring back troops during the fighting season. I think that was a mistake. I think it was also a mistake to announce the precise date of our withdrawal.

PELLEY:  How would you ease the anti-American sentiment that we see in the Middle East?

ROMNEY:  Communicate to nations like Egypt, and Egypt is — if you will, the major player, eighty million people, the center of the Arab world. Egypt needs to understand what the — the rules are. That to remain an ally of the United States, to receive foreign aid from the United States, to receive foreign investment from ourselves and from our friends, I believe, around the world, that they must honor their peace agreement with Israel. That they must also show respect and — and provide civil rights for minorities in their country. And they also have to protect our — our embassies. I think we also have to communicate that Israel is our ally., our close ally. The President’s decision not to meet with Bibi Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, when the prime minister is here for the United Nations session, I think, is a mistake and it sends a message throughout the — the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what’s necessary.

PELLEY:  There are a lot of unknowns in being President. I wonder how you would make a decision on whether to send U.S. forces into combat.

ROMNEY:  Well, it would be a very high hurdle. Number one, a very substantial American interest at stake. Number two, a clear definition of our mission. Number three, a clear definition of how we’ll know when our mission is complete. Number four, providing the resources to make sure that we can carry out that mission effectively, overwhelming resources. And finally, a clear understanding of what will be left after we leave. All of those would have to be in place before I were to decide to deploy American military might in any foreign place.

PELLEY (voiceover):  Governor Romney has been criticized lately for comments during a private fund raiser when he said that his job is not to worry about the forty-seven percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes and are dependent on government.

(on camera):  You’re the CEO of this campaign. A lot of Republicans would like to know, a lot of your donors would like to know, how do you turn this thing around?

ROMNEY:  Well, it doesn’t need a turnaround. We’ve got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent President to the United States.

PELLEY:  As you know, a lot of people were concerned about the video of the fund raiser in which you talked about the forty-seven percent of the American people who don’t pay taxes. Peggy Noonan, a very well-known conservative columnist, said that it was an example of this campaign being incompetent. And I wonder if any of that criticism gets through to you and — and whether you’re concerned about it at all, whether…

ROMNEY:  Well, that’s not…

PELLEY:  … the concerns of Republicans…

ROMNEY:  That’s not the camp — that’s not the campaign. That was me, right?  I — that’s not a campaign.

PELLEY:  You are the campaigner.

ROMNEY:  I got — I’ve got a very effective campaign. It’s doing a very good job. But not everything I say is elegant. And — and I want to make it very clear. I want to help a hundred percent of the American people.



PELLEY:  As we continue our conversation with the candidates, we asked them about the qualities of leadership and the lessons of history. We begin again with Governor Romney.


PELLEY (on camera):  What are the essential qualities of a leader?

ROMNEY:  Well, a leader has to have the capacity to build trust in the people he or she works with. People have to look at that person and say, “I may disagree with them. But I know where they stand. And I can — I can trust them.”  A leader has the capacity of vision, the ability to see where things are headed before people in general see those things. That vision is typically a product, in part not just of their skill and brilliance, but even more of their experience, their life experience. And so if you’re looking for a leader to guide an economy, you hope that you have someone who didn’t just study it in school, but someone who’s actually lived in the economy.

PELLEY:  The historian, David McCullough, says that great presidents learn from the history of the office. And I wonder what you’ve learned from the history of Presidents in the White House.

ROMNEY:  You know I enjoy reading David McCullough’s writings. My favorite book is perhaps of a biographical nature, was his book on John Adams, a person who had extraordinary character, a relationship with his spouse who may have been even brighter than he. We don’t know as much about her as we do about him. But a man who had a very clear sense of direction, who helped guide the — the process of writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He wrote the Constitution of my state of Massachusetts. And — and we saw in him an individual who was less concerned about public opinion than he was about doing what he thought was right for the country. And even though he was defeated in his run for reelection, he did what he thought was right for America. And I respect that kind of character.

PELLEY:  Presidents and presidential candidates are booked down to the minute. And I wonder if you ever have a moment to be alone with your own thoughts. If so, when?  And what does that mean to you?

ROMNEY:  Well, at the end of the day, usually at about ten o’clock, things have finally wound down. And I’m able to spend a little time. I talk to Ann. She is on her own schedule. And we — we spend fifteen or twenty minutes on the phone. And then I read. And I think. I think about the coming day and think about what I want to accomplish. I pray. Prayer is a time to connect with — with the divine, but also time, I’m sure, to concentrate one’s thoughts, to meditate, and — and to imagine what might be.

PELLEY:  You pray every night before you go to bed?

ROMNEY:  I do pray every night, yeah.

PELLEY:  What do you ask for?

ROMNEY:  That’s between me and God. But mostly wisdom and — and understanding. I — I seek to understand things that I don’t understand.

PELLEY:  Presidencies are remembered for big ideas, emancipation, Social Security, man on the moon. What’s your big idea?

ROMNEY:  Freedom. I want to restore the kind of freedom that has always driven America’s economy. And that’s allowed us to be the shining city on the hill. The kind of freedom that has brought people here from all over the world. I want people to come here, legally to want to be here. I want the best and brightest to say America’s the place of opportunity because of the freedom there to pursue your dreams. So my message is restore the kind of freedom that allows America to lead the world.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Interview on ’60 Minutes’ — Transcript




Source:, 9-24-12

The following is a transcript of President Obama on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

STEVE KROFT:  Four years ago, as a young senator, Barack Obama offered the country more inspiration than experience. Today, the graying president runs with all the advantages of incumbency, and all the encumbrances of a record dogged by a sluggish recovery and chronically high unemployment. For nearly two years now a Republican House has blocked almost every initiative he’s offered. His signature domestic achievements, rescuing the auto industry and reforming health care remain controversial. Yet six weeks before the election, President Obama maintains a small lead in the polls.

We spoke on September 12th in the White House Blue Room.


KROFT (on camera):  Mr. President, you were elected four years ago, promising hope and change for the better. Your opponent argues that you have achieved neither. Country has rarely been so divided politically. And people are afraid for their jobs. I — I know you know that. People are fearful about the future for the families. How do you respond to that?

OBAMA:  I think it’s important to know where we’ve been and how far we have traveled. The month I was sworn into office, we were losing eight hundred thousand jobs a month. We ultimately would lose nine million jobs during the height of that Great Recession. We came in, made some tough decisions, everything from stabilizing the financial system to making sure that the auto industry survived, to making sure that we cut taxes for middle- class families so they had more money in their pockets, to helping states avoid massive layoffs of teachers and firefighters and police officers. And because of that we’ve now had thirty months of job growth, four and a half million new jobs, half a million jobs in manufacturing alone. And the question now for the American people is, “Do we keep moving forward and continue to make progress or do we go backwards to the very policies that got us into this mess in the first place?”  We probably have not seen a clearer choice in an election in my lifetime.

KROFT:  On the campaign trail, Governor Romney has been portraying you as a — a nice guy who doesn’t have a clue…

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  … about the economy…

OBAMA:  Right.

KROFT:  … or how the country works. That private enterprises — the engine of growth in this — in this country. And that’s what create jobs, not big government.

OBAMA:  Yeah.

KROFT:  And that you’re crushing economic freedom with taxes, regulations, and high-cost health care.

OBAMA:  Yeah. Well, it’s a lot of rhetoric, but there aren’t a lot of facts supporting it. Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last fifty years. So I haven’t raised taxes. I’ve cut taxes for middle-class families by an average of thirty-six hundred dollars for a typical family. When it comes to regulations, I’ve issued fewer regulations than my predecessor, George Bush, did during that same period in office. So it’s kind of hard to argue that we’ve overregulated. Now, I don’t make any apologies for putting in place regulations to make sure banks don’t make reckless bets and then expect taxpayers to bail them out. I don’t make any apologies for regulating insurance companies, so that they can’t drop a family’s coverage, just when somebody in their family needs it most. And, you know, the problem that Governor Romney has is that he seems to only have one note:  tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling back regulations as a recipe for success. Well, we tried that vigorously between 2001 and 2008 and it didn’t work out so well.

KROFT:  Your opponent, Governor Romney, has another note.

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  That’s unemployment. Forty-three months above eight percent. Huge profits on Wall Street. You’ve got the stock market that’s doing incredibly well. And yet you’ve still got this unemployment.

OBAMA:  Oh, absolutely. Well, look, nobody’s more con — nobody’s more concerned about the employment situation than I am. The problem we have was the hole was so deep when we got in that we lost nine million jobs, we’ve created four point six. We’ve still got a long way to go. Now I’ve put forward very specific plans that we know would create jobs. And that’s not my opinion. That’s the opinion of independent economists. My JOBS Act that I presented to Congress over a year ago, we said, “Let’s help put folks back to work. Let’s make sure that we are getting construction workers on the job, rebuilding our infrastructure.”  It’s estimated that would create an additional million jobs right now. But we haven’t seen full implementation of that plan.

KROFT:  You’ve tried things that — that haven’t worked. I mean the jobs plan, the jobs bill — you haven’t been able to get it through Congress.

OBAMA:  Well, Steve…

KROFT:  I mean, isn’t that some of your responsibility?

OBAMA:  I take full responsibility for everything that we do, Steve, but you’re asking two different questions. You’re asking a question, number one, have I been able to get every plan that would work through a Republican Congress…

KROFT:  Right.

OBAMA:  … that said its number one priority was beating me as opposed to helping the American people?  And there is no doubt that I’ve been disappointed in trying to get more cooperation from those folks. And that’s something that we’re going to have to continue to do. The second question you’re asking, though, is has what we’ve done worked?  And the fact of the matter is is that what we’ve done has been effective in improving the situation in — in every area that we’re talking about. You know when I made a decision to save the auto industry that saved a million jobs. One in eight jobs in Ohio is dependent on the auto industry. So we’ve actually seen success.

KROFT:  How are you going to get the Republicans to agree to a tax increase for the top two percent?  You’ve been trying for a year. You haven’t been able to do it. And you’ve got a majority of — of — of Republicans in Congress, including Governor Romney, who has signed a pledge never to increase taxes under any circumstances.

OBAMA:  Yeah, well, we…

KROFT:  How are you going to get them to change their minds and make this deal?

OBAMA:  I — I won’t get them to make them change their minds. The American people will. I mean, ultimately, the American people agree with me that the only way we bring down our deficit is to do it in a balanced way. So, keep in mind, I’ve agreed with the Republicans. And we’ve already cut a trillion dollars of spending. And I’ve told them I’m prepared to do additional spending cuts and do some entitlement reform. But what I’ve said is, “You can’t ask me to make student loans higher for kids who need it or ask seniors to pay more for their Medicare or throw people off of health care and not ask somebody like me or Mr. Romney to do anything, not ask us to do a single dime’s worth of sacrifice.”

KROFT:  How are you going to make a deal?

OBAMA:  Well, I think…

KROFT:  Why can’t you — why haven’t you been able to make
a deal?

OBAMA:  Well, be…

KROFT:  And why do you think you will be able to make a

OBAMA:  Well, I think that when I first came into office, the head of the Senate Republicans say, “My number one priority is making sure President Obama’s a one term president.”  Now, after the election, either he will have succeeded in that goal or he will have failed at that goal. Either way, my expectation is, my hope is, that that’s no longer their number one priority. And I’m hoping that after the smoke clears and the election season’s over that that spirit of cooperation comes more to the fore.

KROFT:  You came in running as an outsider, somebody who was going to change Washington. Do you still believe after three years in this gridlock that we’ve had that — that somebody who claims to be an outsider can get things accomplished in Washington?

OBAMA:  Oh, yeah. Well, look, I mean, we — we passed historic legislation that strengthened our financial regulations. We passed legislation that will not only provide thirty million more people coverage, but also ensures that you know, kids can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans till they are twenty-six and seniors have lower prescription drugs. And so change has happened and positive change for the American people. I — I’m the first one to confess that the spirit that I brought to Washington, that I wanted to see instituted, where we weren’t constantly in — in a political slugfest, but were focused more on problem solving that, you know, I haven’t fully accomplished that, haven’t even come close in some cases. And you know if you ask me wha — what’s my biggest disappointment is that we haven’t changed the tone in Washington as much as I would have liked.

KROFT:  And you don’t bear any responsibility for that?

OBAMA:  Oh, I think that, you know, as President I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree and one of the things I’ve realized over the last two years is that that only happens if I’m enlisting the American people much more aggressively than I did the first two years.

KROFT:  The Great Recession began with the housing crisis.

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  We still have the housing crisis. The banks got bailed out. The homeowners didn’t. That was one of the decisions that you made. Very few homeowners have gotten mortgage relief. And your efforts to get the banks and the mortgage companies to renegotiate loans and modify terms have been underwhelming, to say the least. What happened?

OBAMA:  We have helped several million homeowners avoid foreclosure and make sure that the terms of their mortgage were ones that they could pay. Not everything you do right off the bat — when you’ve got emergencies here, there, and everywhere, and we’re all putting out fires — not everything’s going to work perfectly the first time. So, for example, the housing mortgage assistance program that we put in a place, we modified when we saw that there wasn’t as much take-up as we wanted. And since that time, we’ve actually seen that the rates of people utilizing it go up dramatically. We still have a long way to go. But this is in contrast to Governor Romney’s proposal. When asked about what we should do with mark — the housing market, he said, “Just let it bottom out.”  That’s a quote. So he was opposed to even the modest proposals that we put into place.

KROFT (voiceover):  While most of our White House interview involved domestic policies, the President’s day was dominated by foreign affairs. The attack on the Libyan consulate that left the U.S. ambassador and three others dead had occurred the night before…


KROFT (voiceover):  … and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had inserted himself into the presidential campaign, criticizing the President and pushing him to lay out conditions for a military attack against Iran.

(on camera):  How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?

OBAMA:  Well, look, I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race.

KROFT:  You’re — you’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

OBAMA:  When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.

KROFT:  Have recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?

OBAMA:  Well, I’d said even at the time that this is going to be a rocky path. The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change. I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have — have to be able to participate in their own governance. But I — I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty — pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam. The one part of society that hasn’t been controlled completely by the government. There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiment. And, you know, can — can be tapped into by demagogues. There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements but I do think that over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with — with our interests. This is a tumultuous time that we’re in. But we can and we will meet those challenges if we stay true to who we are.


KROFT (voiceover):  The day after our White House interview, we followed the President to Colorado, a crucial swing state in the upcoming election, to ask him a few more questions central to the campaign.

(on camera):  Most Americans think we’re spending too much

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  The national debt has gone up sixty percent in — in the four years that you’ve been in office.

OBAMA:  Well, first — first of all, Steve, I think it’s important to understand the context here. When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history. And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but ninety percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about ten percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.

KROFT:  Since the Benghazi tragedy, your opponent has attacked you as being weak on national defense and weak on foreign policy. He says you need to be more aggressive in Iran, haven’t done enough to support the revolt in Syria, and that our friends don’t know where we stand, and our enemies think we’re weak.

OBAMA:  Yeah. Well, let’s see what I’ve done since I came into office. I said I’d end the war in Iraq. I did. I said that we’d go after Al Qaida. They’ve been decimated in the FATA. That we’d go after bin Laden. He’s gone. So I’ve executed on my foreign policy. And it’s one that the American people largely agree with. So, you know if — if Governor Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.



KROFT:  President Obama also reflected on the nature of leadership with us. We spoke following his campaign stop in Golden, Colorado.


KROFT (on camera):  What are the essential qualities of a leader, in your mind?

OBAMA:  Well, you know, I — I think that leadership more than anything is about setting a course and describing a vision for people. And you know, in the history of — of leadership in this country that vision isn’t always realized immediately. You know, Abraham Lincoln understood that we were a single union. And it took a bloody Civil War and terrible hardship and sacrifice to achieve that vision. And that vision wasn’t even fully realized until after he was — he was gone. What I try to do is to constantly present a — a — a vision of America in which everybody’s got a shot, everybody’s treated with respect and dignity in which the — the divides of — of race and faith, gender, sexual orientation, that that those are not the determining factors, in terms of whether people succeed but instead it’s how hard you work and are you trustworthy and are you responsible and you — do you look after your family and do you — do you love people and love this country?

KROFT:  David McCullough, the noted presidential historian, said all the great Presidents have had a number of common traits. And one of them is an understanding of history and an understanding of the history of — of the presidency.

OBAMA:  Yeah.

KROFT:  Is there anything that you’ve read or learned from your study of this area that has helped you?  Any examples you can give me?

OBAMA:  Well, whenever I look at the — the history of Presidents I deeply admire. The one thing that I’m always struck by is persistence. It’s a quality that’s underrated. Being able to plow through, being able to stay buoyant in the face of — of challenges. And, you know, I think that’s a characteristic of the American people. And, I think our best Presidents are able to tap into that resilience and that strength and that grit. And — and — and be inspired by it.

KROFT:  Where do you go to kind of sort things out on your own? And when do you find time to just be alone with your own thoughts?

OBAMA:  Well, I’m a night guy as it is. And so, Michelle usually goes to bed about 9:30. She’s — she’s an early bird, maybe ten o’clock. The girls go to bed around ten. And so I’ve got those hours between ten o’clock and one o’clock in the morning, let’s say, where not only do I do some work, but I do some reading, I do some writing. There are times where I sit on the Truman Balcony and it’s as good of a view as you get with the — the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Monument — Memorial set back behind that. And so those are moments of reflection that, you know, help gird you for the next challenge and the next day.

KROFT:  Many times in our history there have been big ideas like going to the moon or the Marshall Plan. This campaign, some people think, has been devoid of big ideas, not necessarily that the budget deficit and some of these things aren’t big ideas. But what would you like to see happen in your…

OBAMA:  Well…

KROFT:  … in your four years?

OBAMA:  I — I got to tell you, Steve, I think there’s no bigger purpose right now than making sure that if people work hard in this country, they can get ahead. That’s the central American idea. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. Because there was an economy that worked for everybody and that allowed us to do that. I think what Americans properly are focused on right now are just the — the bread- and-butter basics of making sure our economy works for working people. And if we can accomplish that there’s no bigger idea than that. That’s the idea that has attracted people to our shores for — for generations.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at Milwaukee Theater — Makes Rare Campaign Stop in Wisconsin




Obama Makes Rare Campaign Stop in Wisconsin

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-22-12


It’s been 220 days since President Obama last visited Wisconsin. He avoided involvement in the state’s high-stakes gubernatorial recall earlier this year, has not campaigned for re-election here, and has spent little cash on TV ads, all largely because he hasn’t had to. Until now.

Locked in a tight match-up against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Obama on Saturday makes his first 2012 campaign stop in the Badger State for an outdoor rally and pair of fundraisers all aimed at shoring up his base amid an intensifying fight for the state’s 10 electoral votes….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Milwaukee Theater

Source: WH, 9-22-12



Milwaukee Theater

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

3:21 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you!  (Applause.)  It is great to be here.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  All right, everybody have a seat, have a seat.


THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)

It is good to be in Milwaukee.  (Applause.)  First of all, it’s just good to be this close to my house.  (Laughter.)  Take it straight down an hour and a half, and I’m home.  (Applause.)  But — although I got to say that I forgot that late September, it already starts getting a little chilly around here.  (Laughter.)  I’ve been getting a little spoiled down in D.C. — it’s still 75 degrees down there.

But it’s also great to be here because I see a lot of friends who I haven’t seen for a long time — first of all, your outstanding Mayor, Tom Barrett.  (Applause.)  And then, to have maybe the best baseball player of all time introduce you — that’s not bad either — Hank Aaron in the house.  (Applause.)  And it’s great to see all of you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Backstage is my campaign manager, Jim Messina.  He drove up from Chicago.  And he’s been telling me a story — he told me a story about he was at some event — I wasn’t at it — but he saw this young couple, and they had this adorable four-year-old boy.  And they were talking, and the parents were very proud that the four-year-old already knew me.  And there was a picture up there, and they said, “Who’s that?” And the four-year-old says, “That’s Barack Obama.”  And they said, “So what does Barack Obama do?”  And Sammy, the young boy, he thinks for a second, and he says, “He approves this message.” (Laughter.)  He approves this message.  (Applause.)

So that’s what I do.  (Laughter.)  I approve this message.  It is election season, and the message I approve is important because in the coming weeks, folks here in Wisconsin and all across the country are going to have a very big decision to make — not just between two candidates or two political parties, but two fundamentally different paths for America, two different visions for our future.

My opponent, he believes in top-down economics, thinks that if you spend another $5 trillion on a tax cut skewed towards the wealthy that prosperity will rain down on everybody else.


THE PRESIDENT:  No hissing or booing — just voting, that’s what we need.  (Laughter.)  Voting.  (Applause.)

But the idea is you do that, maybe get rid of some regulations, deficit will disappear, we’ll all live happily ever after.  Now, the problem, of course, is we just tried this.  We tried it during the last decade.  It didn’t work then.  Top-down economics never works.  The country doesn’t succeed when just those at the very top are doing well.  We succeed when the middle class gets bigger, when it feels greater security, when everybody has got a chance to climb into that middle class and everybody has a chance to live up to their God-given potential.  (Applause.)

We can’t get very far if we’re just writing off half the country as a bunch of victims, or presume that somehow they want to be dependent on government or don’t want to take responsibility for their own lives.  Because wherever I travel, folks are working hard.  Folks understand everybody has got to take initiative.  People understand that we’re all responsible for ourselves.  But people also understand that we’ve got obligations to each other.

When I go and meet students who are trying to work through college, or single moms putting in overtime to give their child a better future, or senior citizens who, after a lifetime of labor, are looking forward to a secure retirement, or veterans who have served this country and those in uniform who are fighting to defend our freedom right now — they’re not victims.  And they sure do take a lot of responsibility.  And we don’t believe anybody is entitled to success or that government can help people who don’t want to help themselves, but we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)  We believe in this country hard work should pay off, and responsibility should be rewarded, and everybody should have a fair shot, and everybody should do their fair share, and everybody should play by the same rules.  That’s the country we believe in.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m not suggesting this is going to be easy.  We just went through the worst recession since the Great Depression.  We’ve got big challenges — and some of those challenges have built up over decades.  But wherever I travel, one of the things I try to communicate is how much confidence I have in this country, because we are Americans, and we’ve got so many things going for us.  We’ve got the best workers in the world, and the best business people in the world.  We’ve got the best universities, the best colleges, the best researchers and scientists.  We have the most diverse population, full of innovators and risk-takers.  There’s not a country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.  And that’s why people continue to travel here from all across the globe in search of opportunity.  (Applause.)

So we’ve got what it takes to succeed.  But what’s preventing us from realizing all that potential in part is the politics we’ve been seeing in Washington.  And part of what this election is about is giving the American people a voice to break the deadlock and break the gridlock, and chart a course that may be harder but leads to a better place.

What I’m offering is a practical, specific plan to create jobs and grow the middle class, rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.  And that means exporting more products and outsourcing fewer jobs.  It starts there.  (Applause.)  When there were those who said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt” I said, a million jobs are at stake; we’re not going to do that.  An iconic American industry is at stake.  (Applause.)   And three and a half years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

We’ve seen half a million new jobs in manufacturing, the fastest pace since the 1990s.  And so the choice now is, do we reverse that progress or do we move forward?

AUDIENCE:  Forward!

THE PRESIDENT:  Right answer.  (Applause.)  Instead of giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, we want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing in new plants and equipment and workers right here in Milwaukee, right here in Wisconsin, right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

We want to double exports.  We could create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years if we make the right choice in this election.

I want us to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we doubled fuel-efficiency standards on cars.  (Applause.)   We have doubled the production of clean energy.  Your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas as a consequence of the work that we’ve done.  We’ve invested in wind and solar, and thousands of jobs have been created all across America in these industries, building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  The United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than it’s been in nearly two decades.  And now you’ve got a choice:  Do you build on that progress, moving forward, or do we reverse it?  Because that’s what my opponent is proposing.

I’ve got a different vision than he does, because I’m not going to let oil companies write our energy policy.  I don’t want to keep giving them a $4 billion subsidy when they’re making record profits.  (Applause.)  I want to use that money to invest in wind and solar and clean coal technology, and a lot of farmers and scientists to harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; put construction workers back to work retrofitting homes and buildings and schools and hospitals to make them more energy-efficient; develop a nearly 100-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And if we do those things, our plan will cut in half by 2020 our oil imports and create hundreds of thousands of jobs to boot.  That’s how we move forward.  (Applause.)

I want Americans to have the best education system in the world.  (Applause.)  It was the gateway of opportunity for me and for Michelle and for many of you.  And so today, because of the work that we’ve done over the last four years, millions of students are able to go to college because we have taken billions of dollars that were being wasted in the student loan program and made sure that that money was going directly to students.  (Applause.)  We’ve seen reforms in 46 of the 50 states as a consequence of our Race to the Top initiative.  So we’re making progress.

Now we’ve got a choice, because the other side wants to gut our investment in education to pay for tax breaks for wealthy individuals.  And I’ve got a different vision, because I don’t think there’s any child that should be deferring their dreams because of an overcrowded classroom or outdated textbooks.  (Applause.)  I don’t think there should be any family who gets a college acceptance letter and has to say, no, we can’t do it because we can’t afford it.  And there shouldn’t be a company in America that ends up looking in China for the workers they need because they can’t find them right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So I’m going to need your help to hire 100,000 new math and science teachers, and improve early childhood education, and give 2 million more workers the skills they need — (applause) — to go to community colleges to train for the jobs that are out there right now, and to work with colleges and universities to cut the growth in tuition.  We can meet those goals.  We can choose that future.  But that’s what’s at stake over the next several weeks in this election.

We need to reduce our deficit, but we need to do it right.  I’ve put forward a $4 billion — a $4 trillion deficit reduction package without sticking it to the middle class.  And I’ve already worked with Republicans to cut a trillion in spending.  I’m willing to do more.  I’m willing to work with them.

We need a tax code that is fair and simple.  But we’re not just going to cut our way to prosperity.  My opponent, his basic proposal is we give a $5 trillion tax cut so that somebody making $3 million a year would get a $250,000 tax break.  And every independent analyst who’s looked at it says the only way you pay for that is to ask middle-class families to pay even more in taxes than they’re doing right now.

Now, I’ve just got a different vision.  What I’ve said is folks who can afford it — like me — can pay a little more.  We can keep taxes low for your first $250,000 worth of income, but after that we can go back to the rates that Bill Clinton had in place when he was President, when we created 23 million new jobs — (applause) — and went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  Because what happens is when middle-class families are doing well, business has more customers, they make more profits, they hire more workers, and we’re on a virtuous path.

My opponent’s plan, the math just doesn’t add up.  Bill Clinton pointed that out — you need some arithmetic to present a budget and to reduce the deficit.  (Applause.)  And you can’t reduce a deficit if you’re spending trillions of dollars more on tax cuts for folks who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  And that’s the reason they haven’t been able to explain how it adds up — because it doesn’t add up.  (Applause.)

I’ve been very clear.  One thing I’m not going to do, I am not going to slash investments in education and make young people pay more for college just to pay for a tax cut for millionaires and billionaires.  (Applause.)  I’m not going to kick them off of Head Start, I’m not going to shortchange our investment in basic research that could help us find cures for Alzheimer’s and cancer, we’re not going to turn Medicare into a voucher program in order to pay for tax cuts for the very wealthy.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to eliminate health care for millions of poor and elderly and disabled Americans.  (Applause.)

When it comes to Medicare, we need to reduce health care costs — we don’t need to shift them onto seniors, asking them to pay thousands of dollars more.  And that’s what the voucher program that Governor Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing.  Social Security we need to strengthen, but we don’t need to turn it over to Wall Street.  (Applause.)

And what we also understand is that our prosperity at home is connected to our policies abroad.  And so four years ago I promised many of you that I’d end the war in Iraq — and we did. (Applause.)  I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan — and we are.  (Applause.)  And as a new tower rises in New York, we have gone after al Qaeda and we got bin Laden.  (Applause.)

But as we were reminded this past week, this is a world still full of serious threats.  We’re going to have to work to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  We’re going to have to make sure that not only our diplomatic posts are safe, but we go after folks who threaten or try to kill Americans.  And that’s why as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  And when our troops come home, we’ll make sure we’re serving them as well as they’ve served us — because if you fought for this country you shouldn’t have to fight for a job when you come home.  (Applause.)

My opponent, he’s got a different view.  He said ending the war in Iraq the way we did was “tragic” — doesn’t have a plan to wind down the war in Afghanistan.  And I’ve just got a different perspective.  I think after a decade of war, it’s time for us to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)  Let’s put Americans back to work, using the savings that we obtain, to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our schools, and lay broadband lines into rural communities.  Let’s do some nation-building right here.

So that’s the choice we face.  That’s what the election is coming down to.  The other side, they keep on saying that tax cuts and fewer regulations is the only way.  They say that because government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  We’ve got a different view.  We don’t believe in “you’re on your own” economics, what these guys basically argue: If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If a company is polluting the air your children breathe, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to go to college, borrow some money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

That’s not who we are.  We don’t think government can solve every problem, but it’s not the source of every problem — any more than all the folks that you hear are to blame out of Washington — gays or immigrants or unions — or corporations, for that matter.  We don’t think that anybody is solely to blame for the challenges that we face, but we do believe we’re all responsible to solve those problems, that we’re all in this together — (applause) — that as citizens we accept certain responsibilities not only for ourselves but also to our communities and our nation, to make sure that the country creates more opportunity for more people.

We understand that America is not just about what can be done for us, but also what’s done by us, together, as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)

The election four years ago — I said in Charlotte when we were down there — some of you went to the convention — I said it was not about me, it was about you.  You were the change.  You’re the reason that there’s a mother in Madison or Green Bay that doesn’t have to worry about her son being denied medical coverage because of a congenital condition.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason some student at Marquette or University of Wisconsin has help paying for her college.  You’re the reason a veteran can go to school on the New GI Bill.  You did that.  You’re the reason that families here in Wisconsin have gotten a tax cut, money they use to buy groceries and put gas in the car, pay their bills.  That’s all because of you.

You’re the reason why some young immigrant who has gone to school here and played with our kids and sworn allegiance to our flag is not going to suddenly be deported from the only country she’s ever known.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason that some outstanding soldier can still serve regardless of who they love because we ended “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  (Applause.)  You’re the reason that families across America are able to say to their loved ones who served us so bravely, “Welcome home.”  (Applause.) You’re the reason.

I made this point down in Florida a couple days ago, saying that you can’t change Washington just from the inside.  You’ve got to mobilize the American people.  You change it with the help of Americans who are willing to make their voices heard.

My opponent got really excited.  He thought, oh, you know — he quickly rewrote his speech.  (Laughter.)   He said, I’ll get the job done from the inside.  What kind of inside job is he talking about?  (Laughter and applause.)  Inside job rubberstamping a top-down agenda from this Republican Congress?  We don’t want that.

We don’t want an inside job where the energy policies are written by the oil companies, and health care policies are written by insurance companies, and our tax code is written by outsourcers.  We don’t need an inside job where a politician in Washington is telling women they can’t make their own health care decisions.  (Applause.)  We don’t need that kind of inside job.

We want to bring change to Washington.  And from the day we began this campaign, but more importantly, from the day I ran for this office last year — or four years ago — (laughter.)  Seems like just last year.  (Applause.)  I’ve always said that change is going to take more than one term and one — more than one President, and it takes more than one party.  (Applause.)

It doesn’t happen if you write off half the nation before you take office.  (Applause.)  It happens because you get everybody involved, everybody included — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, able, disabled — everybody gets involved.  (Applause.)

In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me.  But on election night I said to those Americans, I may not have won your vote, but I heard your voices, and I’ll be your President, too.  (Applause.)  And I don’t know how many folks will vote for me in Wisconsin this time around, but I want everybody in Wisconsin to know that, no matter what, I’ll be fighting for you.  (Applause.)

Because I’m not fighting to create Democratic or Republican jobs; I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to improve schools in red states or blue states; I’m improving schools in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  I don’t believe in just looking out for workers or businesses, or rich or poor, or 53 percent or 47 percent; I’m going to look out for everybody.  (Applause.)

That’s why I’m running for a second term.  That’s why I need your vote.  And if I get it, and if you’re willing to work hard these next six and a half weeks, we will win Wisconsin.  (Applause.)  We will win this election.  We will finish what we started, and remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END      3:44 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency September 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Slams House GOP Over Unfinished Business — Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy




Obama’s Weekly Address: Slams House GOP Over Unfinished Business

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-22-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama is blasting lawmakers for leaving Washington for a six-week recess ahead of the November election without acting on his proposals to boost job creation and jumpstart the economy.

“Without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now,” Obama says in his weekly address. “If that frustrates you, it should — because their work isn’t finished.”

“Apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours,” he continues….READ MORE

Weekly Address

President Obama describes how the House of Representatives left town without finishing important work that would create jobs and strengthen our economy.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 9/21/12

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

Source: WH, 9-22-12

President Obama describes how the House of Representatives left town without finishing important work that would create jobs and strengthen our economy.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

In his weekly address, President Obama told the American people that the House of Representatives left town last week without finishing important work that would create jobs and strengthen our economy. Congress left proposals sitting on the table like the veterans’ jobs corps that helps returning heroes find work as cops and firefighters, and the farm bill that helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer. Congress also could have given responsible homeowners the opportunity to save an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates, and 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners a guarantee that taxes will not go up next year. These proposals have bipartisan support, and there is no reason that they shouldn’t be passed. The President calls on Congress to take these steps when they return to work in November to grow our economy based on a strong and secure middle class and move our country forward.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
September 22, 2012

Hi, everybody. Last week, without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now.

If that frustrates you, it should – because their work isn’t finished.

See, when they skipped town, Members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table – actions that would create jobs, boost our economy, and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours.

Right now, if Congress had done the right thing, we could be on our way to having a veterans’ jobs corps that helps returning heroes find work as cops and firefighters in communities all across the country. These men and women have made incredible sacrifices for our country. They shouldn’t have to worry about finding a job when they get home. But last week, Republicans in Congress voted it down. And then they left.

Right now, if Congress had gotten its act together, we would have a farm bill to help farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer. And we’d have made necessary reforms to give our rural communities some long-term certainty. But so far, Republicans in Congress have dragged their feet. And now they’re gone.

Right now, if Congress had acted, thousands of responsible homeowners could be saving an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates. But instead, Republicans in Congress decided that working families could wait. And now they’ll have to wait a little longer.

And finally, if Congress had listened to you, they could have given 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners a guarantee that your taxes won’t go up next year by a single dime. This is something we all agree on. It should have gotten done a long time ago. But Republicans in Congress have refused to budge. They’re holding tax cuts for 98% of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. And now middle-class families and small business owners are left wondering what their tax bill will look like next year.

All of these ideas would strengthen our economy and help the middle class right now. All of them are supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents. There’s no reason to wait.

That’s why, after going home and listening to their constituents for a few weeks, Members of Congress should come back in November and do this work. They should do the right thing for veterans and farmers; for responsible homeowners and small businesses; for Americans everywhere

who are just trying to get ahead.

And if you agree with me, I need your help. Tell your Members of Congress you can’t afford to wait any longer. If you get an answering machine, leave a message. If you see them campaigning back home, tell them in person. Because there’s been enough talk. It’s time for action. That’s what you deserve, and that’s what it’s going to take to move this country forward.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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