Campaign Headlines September 7, 2012: Best lines of Democratic convention – from Jennifer Granholm to John Kerry

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Best lines of Democratic convention – from Jennifer Granholm to John Kerry

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. John Kerry got in some good zingers. Bill Clinton was, well, Bill Clinton, and Malia and Sasha Obama still had to go to school today.

Source: CS Monitor, 9-7-12

Former governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm addresses delegates during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday.

Jason Reed/REUTERS

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Who knew that John Kerry was a stand-up comedian?

In Pictures: The Democratic National Convention 2012

When the Democratic senator from Massachusetts ran for president in 2004, he was panned as stiff and pompous. But in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday night at the Democratic convention, the man who may be the next secretary of State reeled off a string of one-liners that had the delegates roaring and reporters wide-eyed.

Other Democrats, including President Obama, also got off some good lines. Here’s a selection:

Are you more (or less) liberal than President Obama? Take our quiz!

• “Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was four years ago,” Senator Kerry said. The line was a three-fer: It mocked the now-deceased head of Al Qaeda. It reminded the audience that bin Laden is dead, a national security coup no one can take away from Mr. Obama. And it made light of the Republican charge that Americans are not better off than they were four years ago.

• “Talk about being for it before you were against it,” Kerry also said. This one’s a two-fer: He was making fun of Mitt Romney’s shifting positions on Iraq and Libya, and then mocking himself for his infamous comment from the 2004 race when he was tagged (like Mr. Romney) as a flip-flopper.

• “For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas. It wasn’t a goodwill mission – it was a blooper reel.” More Kerry, referring to Romney’s gaffe-marred foreign trip in July, when, for example, he undiplomatically told the British he was worried about security during the forthcoming Olympics.

• “Yes, you do have to go to school in the morning,” Obama said of his two girls, who were seated before him on the convention floor. Obama mentions Malia (14) and Sasha (11) regularly, an effective way to address his tendency to seem aloof.

• “If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I,” Obama said. He was referring to the line candidates are required to cite in campaign ads they pay for. It was also a dig at the Supreme Court ruling Citizens United that has opened the floodgates on campaign spending and ads.

• “As another president once said, ‘There they go again,’ ” former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday night. Paraphrasing the late Ronald Reagan, he was mocking Republican proposals to cut spending on social programs but increase spending on defense.

• “People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth.” More Clinton.

• “He loves our cars so much, they even have their own elevator,” said Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Romney’s native state of Michigan, in an arm-waving, cheerleading tour de force.

• “In Romney’s world, the cars get the elevator, and the workers get the shaft,” more ex-Governor Granholm, who spoke Thursday night. She was referring to the car elevator once proposed for Romney’s home in California. Now, safe to say, that elevator will never be built.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 6, 2012: Transcript: Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — Accepts Nomination, Says His Plan Leads to a ‘Better Place’

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Accepts Nomination, Says His Plan Leads to a ‘Better Place’

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-6-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama, greeted by tumultuous cheers of Democratic Party stalwarts, promised to lead America to a “better place” Thursday night if voters agree to follow the “harder” and “longer” path he has mapped to restore the country’s economy and the sense of hope and opportunity.

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now,” he told his party’s convention. “Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at the Democratic National Convention

Source: WH, 9-6-12

Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, North Carolina

September 6, 2012

10:24 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  I am so thrilled and so honored and so proud to introduce the love of my life, the father of our two girls, and the President of the United States of America — Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.

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

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.

Michelle, I love you so much.  A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am.  (Applause.)  Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you.  And, yes, you do have to go to school in the morning.  (Laughter.)

And, Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best Vice President I could have ever hoped for, and being a strong and loyal friend.  (Applause.)

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, the first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man, a Senate candidate from Illinois, who spoke about hope — not blind optimism, not wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great, even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested by the cost of war, by one of the worst economic crises in history, and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still even possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know campaigns can seem small, even silly sometimes.  Trivial things become big distractions.  Serious issues become sound bites.  The truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising.  If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I.  (Laughter and applause.)

But when all is said and done — when you pick up that ballot to vote — you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.  Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington on jobs, the economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace — decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and on our children’s lives for decades to come.

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties.  It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known  — (applause) — the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger — a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products. And everyone shared in that pride and success, from the corner office to the factory floor.

My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their own home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story — the promise that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, that everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C.  (Applause.)

And I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away.  I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas.  And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’the; folks racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition, put gas in the car or food on the table.  And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings — a tragedy from which we’re still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican Convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America.  But they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right.  (Applause.)  They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan.  And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last 30 years — Have a surplus?  Try a tax cut.  Deficit too high?  Try another.  Feel a cold coming on?  Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it — middle-class families, small businesses.  But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit.  I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China.  (Applause.)

After all we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.

We have been there.  We’ve tried that and we’re not going back.  We are moving forward, America.  (Applause.)

Now, I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have.  You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear.  You elected me to tell you the truth.  (Applause.)

And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.  It will require common effort and shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America — our problems can be solved.  (Applause.)  Our challenges can be met.  The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  And I’m asking you to choose that future.  (Applause.)

I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country — goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit — real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.   That’s what we can do in the next four years — and that is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:  We are making things again.  (Applause.)

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo — (applause) — who feared they’d never build another American car.  And today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on the top of the world.  (Applause.)

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America — not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products.  Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.  (Applause.)

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers — goods that are stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U.S.A!  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT:  And after a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.

And now you have a choice:  We can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  You can make that happen.  You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day — more than any administration in recent history.  And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.  (Applause.)

So now you have a choice — between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it.  We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more.  But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  We’re offering a better path.  (Applause.)
We’re offering a better path, where we — a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.  (Applause.)

And, yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet — because climate change is not a hoax.  More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke.  They are a threat to our children’s future.  And in this election, you can do something about it.  (Applause.)

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have.  Education was the gateway to opportunity for me.  It was the gateway for Michelle.  It was the gateway for most of you.  And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading.  Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.  (Applause.)

And now you have a choice — we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school.  (Applause.)  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.  No company should have to look for workers overseas because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home.  That’s not our future.  That is not our future.  (Applause.)

And government has a role in this.  But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning.  And, students, you’ve got to do the work.  (Applause.) And together, I promise you, we can out-educate and out-compete any nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

So help me.  Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early-childhood education.  Help give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.) Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years.  We can meet that goal together.  You can choose that future for America.  (Applause.)  That’s our future.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq.  We did.  (Applause.)  I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11.  And we have.  (Applause.)  We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over.  (Applause.)

A new tower rises above the New York skyline; al Qaeda is on the path to defeat; and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT:  Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way.  We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected.  We will never forget you.  And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us — because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads, or the care that they need when they come home.  (Applause.)

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers.  From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings — men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.  (Applause.)

But for all the progress that we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted.  Europe’s crisis must be contained.  Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace.  (Applause.)  The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.  The historic change sweeping across the Arab world must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate here today.  (Applause.)

So now we have a choice.  My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy — (laughter and applause) — but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.
After all, you don’t call Russia our number-one enemy — not al Qaeda — Russia — unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War mind warp.  (Applause.)  You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally.  (Applause.)

My opponent said that it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.  And he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. Well, I have — and I will.  (Applause.)

And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways.  Because after two wars that have cost us thousands of live and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class.  Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion.  And last summer I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a billion [trillion] dollars in spending — because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so that it’s leaner and more efficient and more responsive to the American people.  (Applause.)

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 — the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President; the same rate when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission.  No party has a monopoly on wisdom.  No democracy works without compromise.  I want to get this done, and we can get it done.  But when Governor Romney and his friends in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficits by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy, well, what did Bill Clinton call it — you do the arithmetic.  (Applause.)  You do the math.  (Applause.)

I refuse to go along with that and as long as I’m President, I never will.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  (Applause.)
I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled — all so those with the most can pay less.  I’m not going along with that.  (Applause.)

And I will never — 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 the care and the dignity that they have earned.  Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care — not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.  (Applause.)

And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street.  (Applause.)

This is the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we’ve been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way — that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick.  If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and borrow money from your parents.  (Laughter and applause.)

You know what, that’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country’s about.  As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain, inalienable rights — rights that no man or government can take away.  We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative.  We’re not entitled to success — we have to earn it.  We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world’s ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship.  (Applause.)  Citizenship:  a word at the very heart of our founding; a word at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.  (Applause.)  We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes and so is the entire economy.  (Applause.)  We believe the little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs or the scientist who cures cancer or the President of the United States, and it is in our power to give her that chance.  (Applause.)

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone.  We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules.  (Applause.)  We don’t think that government can solve all of our problems, but we don’t think that government is the source of all of our problems — any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.  (Applause.)

Because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only “what’s in it for me,” a freedom without commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.  (Applause.)

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government.  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

So, you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me.  It was about you.  (Applause.)  My fellow citizens, you were the change.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who will get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance.  You made that possible.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home
— (applause) — why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.”  “Welcome home.”  You did that.  You did that.  You did that.  (Applause.)

If you turn away now — if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well, change will not happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void — the lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves.  (Applause.)

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen.  Only you have the power to move us forward.  (Applause.)

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention.  The times have changed, and so have I.  I’m no longer just a candidate.  I’m the President.  (Applause.)

And that means I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return.  I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs.

If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them.  (Laughter.)  And while I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”  (Applause.)

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America.  Not because I think I have all the answers.  Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.  I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter — she gives me hope.  (Applause.)

The autoworker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town, and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife — he gives me hope.  (Applause.)

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota, that didn’t lay off a single one of their 4,000 employees when the recession hit, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owner gave up some perks and some pay because they understood that their biggest asset was the community and the workers who had helped build that business — they give me hope. (Applause.)

I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee.  Six months ago, we would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and 20 pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face, sturdy on his new leg.  And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled — he gives me hope.  He gives me hope.  (Applause.)

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to.  I don’t know if they’ll vote for me.  But I know that their spirit defines us.  They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.”

And if you share that faith with me — if you share that hope with me — I ask you tonight for your vote.  (Applause.)  If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.  If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.  (Applause.)

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape, that new energy can power our future, that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules — then I need you to vote this November.  (Applause.)

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now.  Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place.  Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.  We don’t turn back.  We leave no one behind.  We pull each other up.  We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.  God bless you.  (Applause.)  And God bless these United States.  (Applause.)

END
11:04 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 6, 2012: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Biden Emphasizes Loyalty to Obama, Reaches Out to Middle Class

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-6-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden passionately pushed out his now-famous, bumper-sticker catchphrase at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive!”

In a speech that had Democrats on the edge of their seats, wondering if the gaffe-prone vice president would make another embarrassing blunder, Biden stayed relatively close to his prepared remarks.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you what I think you already know, that, I watch it up close, bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama and, time and time again, I witnessed him summon it,” Biden said. “This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel, and because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the determination of American workers and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces, we can now proudly say what you’ve heard me say the past six months.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the Vice President at the Democratic National Convention

Source: WH, 9-6-12

Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, North Carolina

9:29 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hey, Delaware!  (Applause.)  Hello, my fellow Democrats — (applause) — and my favorite Democrat.

Jilly, I want you to know that Beau and Hunt and Ashley and I, we’re so incredibly proud of you.  We admire the way when every single, solitary young person — and they’re not all young — walks into your classroom, you not only teach them, you give them confidence.  You give me confidence.  And the passion she brings to trying to ease the burden on the families of our warriors — Jilly, they know you understand them, and that makes a gigantic difference.  (Applause.)

And, folks, I tell you what, it was worth the trip — (laughter) — to hear my wife say what I’ve never heard her say before — she’s always loved me.  (Laughter and applause.)  If that’s the case, why in the heck did it take five times of asking you?  And that’s true.  Five times.  I don’t know what I would have done, kiddo, had you, on that fifth time, said no.  (Laughter.)  I love you.  You’re the love of my life and the life of my love.  (Applause.)

We’ve got three incredible kids.  And, Beau, I want to thank you for putting my name in nomination to be Vice President of the United States.  I accept.  I accept.  (Applause.)  With great honor and pleasure, I accept.  Thank you.  Thank you, my fellow Democrats.  (Applause.)

And I say to my fellow Americans — my fellow Americans, four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the past, and turned to a leader who they knew would lift our nation out of the crisis.  A journey we haven’t finished yet.  We know we still have more to do, but today, I say to my fellow citizens, in the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetime, this generation of Americans have proven itself as worthy as any generation before us.  (Applause.)  For we possess that same grit, that same determination, that same courage that has always defined what it means to be an American, has always defined all of you.

Together, we’re on a mission.  We’re on a mission to move this nation forward from doubt and downturn, to promise and prosperity.  A mission I guarantee you we will complete — a mission we will complete.  (Applause.)

Folks, tonight what I really want to do is tell you about my friend, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)  No one could tell it as well or as eloquently as Michelle — as you did last night, Michelle
— on Monday night.  (Applause.)  But I know him, to state the obvious, from a different perspective.  I know him, and I want to show you — I want to show you the character of a leader who had what it took when the American people literally stood on the brink of a new depression.  A leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years to a future as great as our people.

I want to take you inside the White House to see the President as I see him every day — because I don’t see him in sound bites.  I walk 30 paces down the hall into the Oval Office, and I see him, I watch him in action.

Four years ago, the middle class was already losing ground. And then the bottom fell out.  The financial crisis hit like a sledgehammer on all the people I grew up with.  You remember the headlines.  You saw some of them in the previews — highlights:  “Highest Job Losses in 60 Years.”  Headlines — “Economy on the Brink.”  “Markets Plummet Worldwide.”

From the very moment President Obama sat behind the desk Resolute in the Oval Office, he knew — he knew he had not only to restore the confidence of the nation, but he had to restore the confidence of the whole world.  (Applause.)  And he also knew that one false move could bring a run on the banks, or a credit collapse, to put another several million people out of work.  America and the world needed a strong President with a steady hand and with the judgment and vision to see us through.

Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him as he made one gutsy decision after the other — to stop the slide and reverse it.  I watched him.  (Applause.)  I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down enormous challenges, the consequences of which were awesome.  But most of all, I got to see firsthand what drove this man — his profound concern for the average American.

He knew that no matter how tough the decisions he had to make were in that Oval Office, he knew that families all over America sitting at their kitchen tables were literally making decisions for their family that were equally as consequential.

Barack and I, we’ve been through a lot together in these four years.  And we learned about one another — a lot about one another.  And one of the things I learned about Barack is the enormity of his heart, and I think he learned about me the depth of my loyalty to him.  (Applause.)  And there’s another thing that has bound us together these past four years.  We had a pretty good idea what all those families, all you Americans in trouble, were going through — in part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.

Barack, as a young man, had to sit at the end of his mother’s hospital bed and watch her fight with her insurance company at the very same time she was fighting for her life.  When I was a young kid, in third grade, I remember my dad coming up the stairs in my Grandpop’s house where we were living, sitting at the end of my bed and saying, Joey, I’m going to have to leave for a while, go down to Wilmington, Delaware, with Uncle Frank.  There are good jobs down there, honey.  In a little while I’ll be able to send for you and mom and Jimmy and Val, and everything is going to be fine.

For the rest of our lives — my sister and my brothers — for the rest of our life, my dad never failed to remind us that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about your dignity.  (Applause.)  It’s about respect.  It’s about your place in the community.  (Applause.)  It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, honey, it’s going to be okay, and mean it and know it’s true.  (Applause.)

When Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding in America that if you took responsibility, you’d get a fair shot at a better life.  And the values, the values behind that bargain were the values that had shaped both of us and many, many of you.  And today, those same values are Barack’s guiding star.  Folks, I’ve watched him.  He has never wavered — he never, never backs down.  (Applause.)

He always steps up and he always asks in every one of those critical meetings the same fundamental question:  How is this going to affect the average American?  How is this going to affect people’s lives?  (Applause.)  That’s what’s inside this man.  That’s what makes him tick.  That’s who he is.  (Applause.)

And, folks, because of the decisions he’s made and the incredible strength of the American people, America has turned the corner.  The worst job loss since the Great Depression — we’ve since created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 29 months.  (Applause.)

Look, folks, President Obama and Governor Romney — they are both loving husbands, they’re both devoted fathers.  But let’s be straight — they bring a vastly different vision and a vastly different value set to the job.  (Applause.)  And tonight, although you’ve heard people talk about it, I want to talk about two things from a slightly different perspective, from my perspective.

I’d like to focus on two crises and show you the character of the leadership that each man would bring to this job, because as I’ve said, I’ve had a ringside seat.  The first of these, a lot has been talked about — and God love Jennifer Granholm, wasn’t she great?  (Applause.)  Wasn’t she great?  I love Jennifer.  (Applause.)  But the first story I want to talk to you about is the rescue of the automobile industry.

And let me tell you — from this man’s ringside seat, let me tell you about how Barack Obama saved more than a million American jobs.  In the first days, literally the first days that we took office, General Motors and Chrysler were literally on the verge of liquidation.  If the President didn’t act — if he didn’t act immediately, there wouldn’t be any industry left to save.

So we sat hour after hour in the Oval Office.  Michelle remembers how — what he must have thought when he came back upstairs.  We sat.  We sat hour after hour.  We listened to senators, congressmen, outside advisors, even some of our own advisors.  We listened to them say some of the following things. They said, well, we shouldn’t step up.  The risks were too high. The outcome was too uncertain.

And the President, he patiently sat there and he listened.  But he didn’t see it the way they did.  He understood something they didn’t get.  And one of the reasons I love him — he understood that this wasn’t just about cars.  It was about the people who built and made those cars and about the America those people built.  (Applause.)

In those meetings, I often thought about my dad.  My dad was an automobile man.  He would have been one of those guys all the way down the line — not on the factory floor, not alongside the supply chain, but one of those guys who were selling American cars to American people.  I thought what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics and the secretaries and the salespeople who my dad managed for over 35 years.  And I know for certain that my dad, were he here today, he’d be fighting like heck for the President, because the President fought to save the jobs of those people my dad cared so much about.  (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, my dad respected Barack Obama — would have respected Barack Obama had he been around for having had the guts to stand up for the automobile industry when so many others just were prepared to walk away.

When I look back now, when I look back on the President’s decision, I think of another son of another automobile man — Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit.  My dad managed; his dad owned — well, his dad ran an entire automobile company, American Motors.  Yes, but I don’t understand that in spite of that, he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt.  Look, no, I don’t think he is a bad guy.  No, no — I don’t think he is a bad guy.  I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did.  What I don’t understand — what I don’t think he understood, I don’t think he understood that saving the automobile worker, saving the industry, what it meant to all of America, not just autoworkers.
I think he saw it the Bain way.  I mean it sincerely — I think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write-offs.  Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits, but it’s not the way to lead our country from the highest office.  (Applause.)

When things hung in the balance — I mean, literally hung in the balance — the President understood this was about a lot more than the automobile industry.  This was about restoring America’s pride.  He understood — he understood in his gut what it would mean to leave a million people without hope or work if he didn’t act.  And he also knew — he also knew, he intuitively understood the message it would have sent around the world if the United States gave up on an industry that helped put America on the map in the first place.  (Applause.)

Conviction, resolve, Barack Obama — that’s what saved the automobile industry.  (Applause.)  Conviction, resolve, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

Look, you heard my friend, John Kerry — this President — this President has shown the same resolve, the same steady hand in his role as Commander-in-Chief.  Look — which brings me to the next illustration I want to tell you about, the next crisis he had to face.

In 2008 — 2008, before he was President, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people.  He said, if I have — if we have bin Laden in our sights, we will — we will take him out.  (Applause.)  He went on to say, that has to be our biggest national security priority.

Look, Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield.  It was about so much more than that.  It was about righting an unspeakable wrong.  It was about — literally, it was about healing an unbearable wound — a nearly unbearable wound in America’s heart.  And he also knew the message we had to send around the world:  If you attack innocent Americans we will follow you to the end of the Earth.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Most of all, President Obama had an unyielding faith in the capacity and the capability of our Special Forces — literally the finest warriors in the history of the world — the finest warriors in the history of the world.  (Applause.)

So we sat — we sat, originally, only five of us — we sat in the Situation Room, beginning in the fall of the year before. We listened.  We talked.  We heard.  And he listened to the risks and reservations about the raid.  He asked, again, the tough questions.  He listened to the doubts that were expressed.  But when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said, sir, we can get this job done, I was sitting next to him — I looked at your husband, and I knew at that moment he had made his decision.  And his response was decisive.  He said, do it — and justice was done.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

Folks, Governor Romney didn’t see things that way.  When he was asked about bin Laden in 2007, here’s what he said — he said, it’s not worth moving heaven and Earth, and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  But he was wrong — he was wrong.  Because if you understood that America’s heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the President did, and you would move heaven and Earth to hunt him down and to bring him to justice.  (Applause.)

Look, four years ago — the only thing missing at this convention this year is my mom — four years ago my mom was still with us, sitting up in the stadium in Denver.  I quoted her — (applause) — I quoted her, one of her favorite expressions.  She used to say to all her children, she said, Joey, bravery resides in every heart and the time will come when it must be summoned.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you what I think you already know, but I watch it up close.  Bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama, and time and time again I witnessed him summon it.  This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and a spine of steel.  (Applause.)

And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the determination of American workers and the unparalleled bravery of our Special Forces, we can now proudly say what you’ve heard me say the last six months:  Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.  (Applause.)  That’s right.  One man.  (Applause.)

Folks, we know we have more work to do.  We know we’re not there yet.  But not a day has gone by in the last four years when I haven’t been grateful as an American that Barack Obama is our President, because he always has the courage to make the tough decision.  (Applause.)

Speaking of tough decisions, speaking of tough calls, last week we heard at the Republican Convention, we heard our opponents — we heard them pledge that they, too — they, too had the courage to make the tough calls.  That’s what they said.  (Laughter.)  But, folks, in case you didn’t notice — and I say to my fellow Americans, in case you didn’t notice, they didn’t have the courage to tell you what calls they’d make.  They never mentioned any of that.  (Laughter and applause.)

Mrs. Robinson, you watched from home, I guess, from the White House, you heard them talk so much about how they cared so much about Medicare, how much they wanted to preserve it.  That’s what they told you.  But let’s look at what they didn’t tell you.

What they didn’t tell you is that the plan they have already put down on paper would immediately cut benefits for more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare.  What they didn’t tell you is the plan they’re proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016.  And what they really didn’t tell you is they — if you want to know, if you want to know — they’re not for preserving Medicare at all.

They’re for a new plan.  It’s called Vouchercare.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Look, folks, that’s not courage.  That’s not even truthful.  That’s not even truthful.

In Tampa, they talked with great urgency about the nation’s debt and the need to act, to act now.  But not once, not one single time, did they tell you that they rejected every plan put forward by us, by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission they referenced, or by any other respected group — to reduce the  national debt.  They were not for any of them.  Why?  Because they’re not prepared to do anything about the debt if it contained even one dollar — I’m not exaggerating — even one dollar, or one cent in new taxes for millionaires.

Folks, that’s not courage.  And that’s not fair.  (Applause.)

Look, in a sense, this can be reduced to a single notion.  The two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years, as I said at the outset, have fundamentally different visions and a completely different value set.

Governor Romney believes in this global economy, it doesn’t much matter where American companies invest and put their money, or where they create jobs.  As a matter of fact, in his budget proposal — in his tax proposal, he calls for a new tax — it’s called a territorial tax — which the experts have looked at and they acknowledge it will create 800,000 new jobs — all of them overseas.  All of them.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And what I found fascinating, the most fascinating I found last week was when Governor Romney said that, as President, he would take a jobs tour.  Well, with his support for outsourcing, it’s going to have to be a foreign trip.  (Laughter and applause.)  It will.

Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America, keeping jobs in America, bringing jobs back to America is what the President’s job is all about.  That’s what Presidents do — or at least supposed to do.  (Applause.)

Folks, Governor Romney believes it’s okay to raise taxes on the middle class by $2,000 in order to pay for another — literally another trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.

President Obama knows that there’s nothing decent or fair about asking people with more to do less and with less to do more.

Governor Romney believes — he believes that kids — kids like our DREAMers, those immigrant children who were brought to America’s shores through no fault of their own — he thinks they’re a drag on the American economy.  President Obama believes that even though these DREAMERs, those kids didn’t choose to come here, they have chosen to do right by America, and it’s time for us to do right by them.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay in terms of a company’s bottom line.  President Obama, he knows that making sure our daughters get the same pay for the same jobs as our son is every father’s bottom line.  (Applause.)

Look, I kind of expected all that from them, but one thing truly perplexed me at their convention — the thing that perplexed me most was this idea they kept talking about, about the culture of dependency.  They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, young, qualified kid from a working-class family a loan to get to college, or when you provide a job-training program in a new industry for a dad who lost his job because it was outsourced.

Folks, folks, that’s not how we look at it.  That’s not how America has ever looked at it.  What he doesn’t understand is all these men and women are looking for is a chance, just a chance to acquire the skills to be able to provide for their families so they can once again hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity.  That’s all they’re looking for.  (Applause.)

Look — and it literally amazes me they don’t understand that.  I told you at the outset, the choice is stark:  Two different visions, two different value sets.  But at its core, the difference is able to be reduced to a fundamental difference. You see — you, me, most Americans, have incredible faith in the decency and hard work of the American people, and we know what has made this country.  It’s the American people.  (Applause.)

As I mentioned at the outset, four years ago, we were hit hard.  You saw — you saw your retirement accounts drained, the equity in your homes vanish, jobs lost or on the line.  But what did you do as Americans?  What you’ve always done — you didn’t lose faith; you fought back.  You didn’t give up; you got up.  (Applause.)  You’re the ones, the American people.  You’re the ones!  You’re the reason why we are still better positioned than any country in the world to lead the 21st century.  (Applause.)  You never quit on America, and you deserve a President who will never quit on you!  (Applause.)

And, folks, there’s one more thing — one more thing our Republican opponents are just dead wrong about:  America is not in decline.  America is not in decline.  (Applause.)

I’ve got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan: Gentlemen, never, ever — it never makes sense, it’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people.  (Applause.)  Never.
My fellow Americans, America is coming back, and we’re not going back.  And we have no intention of downsizing the American Dream.  (Applause.)  It’s never — never a good bet.

Ladies and gentlemen, in a moment — in a moment, we’re going to hear from a man whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream, and whose presidency is the best hope to secure that dream for our children.

For, you see — you see, we see a future — we really, honest to God do — we see a future where everyone, rich and poor, does their part and has a part; a future where we depend more on clean energy from home and less on oil from abroad; a future where we’re number-one in the world again in college graduation; a future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged sector — (applause) — and a future where women once again control their own choices, their destiny, and their own health care.  (Applause.)

And, ladies and gentlemen, Barack and I see a future — it’s in our DNA — where no one — no one is forced to live in the shadows of intolerance.  (Applause.)

Folks, we see a future where America leads not only by the power — the example of power, but by the power of our example; where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan just as we proudly did from Iraq — (applause) — a future where we fulfill the only truly sacred obligation we have as a nation, the only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare those who we send to war and care for them when they come home from war.  (Applause.)

And tonight — tonight, I want to acknowledge — I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels, and those 49,746 wounded — thousands critically — thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.  Folks, we never — we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.  (Applause.)

My fellow Americans, we now find ourselves at the hinge of history.  And the direction we turn is not figuratively — is literally in your hands.  It has been a truly great honor to serve you and to serve with Barack, who has always stood up with you for the past four years.  I’ve seen him tested.  I know his strength, his command, his faith, and I also know the incredible confidence he has in all of you.  I know this man.

Yes, the work of recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way.  The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way.  And the cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way.  So I say to you tonight with absolute confidence, America’s best days are ahead, and, yes, we are on our way.  (Applause.)

And in light — in light of that horizon, for the values that define us, for the ideals that inspire us, there is only one choice.  That choice is to move forward — boldly forward — and finish the job — and reelect President Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

God bless you all and may God protect our troops.  God bless you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

END
10:10 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 6, 2012: Former President Bill Clinton’s Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — Rousing Nomination of Barack Obama

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Embraces Bill Clinton After Rousing Nomination

Source: NYT, 9-5-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama emerged from offstage to bear hug Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night moments after Clinton, giving a rousing speech nominating Obama for re-election, called the president a man who is “cool on the outside” but “burns for America on the inside.”
Once a political adversary, Bill Clinton went to bat for the president, playing the dual parts of professor and preacher, firing up the crowd and explaining just how Obama has succeeded in working to fix a flailing economy.

Clinton strode to the podium to the strains of his old presidential campaign theme song “Don’t Stop,” and a roar of applause from Democrats who remember the boom times of his two administrations.

“I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside….I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party,” Clinton told the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C….READ MORE

 Bill Clinton DNC speech transcript (text, video)

Source: Politico, 9-5-12

As delivered Sept. 5 and provided by Federal News Service with permission to re-publish:

(Also on POLITICO: Clinton’s remarks as prepared for delivery)

(Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ve got one in mind. (Cheers, applause.)

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression; a man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs that he saved or created, there’d still be millions more waiting, worried about feeding their own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside — (cheers, applause) — but who burns for America on the inside. (Cheers, applause.)

I want — I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and — yes — by cooperation. (Cheers.)

And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

You know — (cheers, applause). I — (cheers, applause).

I want — I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) And I proudly nominate him to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party.

Now, folks, in Tampa a few days ago, we heard a lot of talk — (laughter) — all about how the president and the Democrats don’t really believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everybody to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

This Republican narrative — this alternative universe — (laughter, applause) — says that every one of us in this room who amounts to anything, we’re all completely self-made. One of the greatest chairmen the Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss — (cheers, applause) — used to say that ever politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself. (Laughter, applause.) But, as Strauss then admitted, it ain’t so. (Laughter.)

We Democrats — we think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it — (cheers, applause) — with a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly share prosperity. You see, we believe that “we’re all in this together” is a far better philosophy than “you’re on your own.” (Cheers, applause.) It is.

So who’s right? (Cheers.) Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats, 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs.

So what’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 (million). (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s — (cheers, applause) — there’s a reason for this. It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. (Cheers, applause.) Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. (Cheers, applause.) When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all. (Cheers, applause.) We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s something I’ve noticed lately. You probably have too. And it’s this. Maybe just because I grew up in a different time, but though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president and a lot of other Democrats. I — (cheers, applause) — that would be impossible for me because President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High School. (Cheers, applause.) President Eisenhower built the interstate highway system.

When I was a governor, I worked with President Reagan and his White House on the first round of welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals.

(Cheers, applause.) I’m actually very grateful to — if you saw from the film what I do today, I have to be grateful, and you should be, too — that President George W. Bush supported PEPFAR. It saved the lives of millions of people in poor countries. (Cheers, applause.)

And I have been honored to work with both Presidents Bush on natural disasters in the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the horrible earthquake in Haiti. Through my foundation, both in America and around the world, I’m working all the time with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Sometimes I couldn’t tell you for the life who I’m working with because we focus on solving problems and seizing opportunities and not fighting all the time. (Cheers, applause.)

And so here’s what I want to say to you, and here’s what I want the people at home to think about. When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation. (Cheers, applause.) What works in the real world is cooperation, business and government, foundations and universities.

Ask the mayors who are here. (Cheers, applause.) Los Angeles is getting green and Chicago is getting an infrastructure bank because Republicans and Democrats are working together to get it. (Cheers, applause.) They didn’t check their brains at the door. They didn’t stop disagreeing, but their purpose was to get something done.

Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict?

Because nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. (Cheers, applause.)

And every one of us — every one of us and every one of them, we’re compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes, knowing we’re never going to be right all the time and hoping we’re right more than twice a day. (Laughter.)

Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is always the enemy, they’re always right, and compromise is weakness. (Boos.) Just in the last couple of elections, they defeated two distinguished Republican senators because they dared to cooperate with Democrats on issues important to the future of the country, even national security. (Applause.)

They beat a Republican congressman with almost a hundred percent voting record on every conservative score, because he said he realized he did not have to hate the president to disagree with him. Boy, that was a nonstarter, and they threw him out. (Laughter, applause.)

One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. Look at his record. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. He appointed Republican secretaries of defense, the Army and transportation. He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008. (Laughter, applause.) And he trusted that vice president to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. (Cheers, applause.)

And Joe Biden — Joe Biden did a great job with both. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

He — (sustained cheers, applause) — President Obama — President Obama appointed several members of his Cabinet even though they supported Hillary in the primary. (Applause.) Heck, he even appointed Hillary. (Cheers, applause.)

Wait a minute. I am — (sustained cheers, applause) — I am very proud of her. I am proud of the job she and the national security team have done for America. (Cheers, applause.) I am grateful that they have worked together to make us safer and stronger, to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have enjoyed and the signal that sends to the rest of the world, that democracy does not have a blood — have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest. (Cheers, applause.)

Now — (sustained cheers, applause) — besides the national security team, I am very grateful to the men and women who’ve served our country in uniform through these perilous times. (Cheers, applause.) And I am especially grateful to Michelle Obama and to Joe Biden for supporting those military families while their loved ones were overseas — (cheers, applause) — and for supporting our veterans when they came home, when they came home bearing the wounds of war or needing help to find education or jobs or housing.

President Obama’s whole record on national security is a tribute to his strength, to his judgment and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship. We need more if it in Washington, D.C. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, we all know that he also tried to work with congressional Republicans on health care, debt reduction and new jobs. And that didn’t work out so well. (Laughter.) But it could have been because, as the Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment of candor two full years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work; it was to put the president out of work. (Mixed cheers and boos, applause.) (Chuckles.) Well, wait a minute. Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, are you ready for that? (Cheers, applause.) Are you willing to work for it. Oh, wait a minute.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: In Tampa —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: In Tampa — in Tampa — did y’all watch their convention?

I did. (Laughter.) In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple — pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in. (Laughter, applause.)

Now — (cheers, applause) — but they did it well. They looked good; the sounded good. They convinced me that — (laughter) — they all love their families and their children and were grateful they’d been born in America and all that — (laughter, applause) — really, I’m not being — they did. (Laughter, applause.)

And this is important, they convinced me they were honorable people who believed what they said and they’re going to keep every commitment they’ve made. We just got to make sure the American people know what those commitments are — (cheers, applause) — because in order to look like an acceptable, reasonable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they just didn’t say very much about the ideas they’ve offered over the last two years.

They couldn’t because they want to the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place. They want to cut taxes for high- income Americans, even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts. They want to actually increase defense spending over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend it on. And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor children.

As another president once said, there they go again.

(Laughter, cheers, applause.)

Now, I like — I like — I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. Here it is. He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well- balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for innovators. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, are we where we want to be today? No.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Is the president satisfied? Of course not.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: But are we better off than we were when he took office? (Cheers, applause.)

And listen to this. Listen to this. Everybody — (inaudible) — when President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month.

Are we doing better than that today?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes! (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: The answer is yes.

Now, look. Here’s the challenge he faces and the challenge all of you who support him face. I get it. I know it. I’ve been there. A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated about this economy. If you look at the numbers, you know employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend again. And in a lot of places, housing prices are even beginning to pick up.

But too many people do not feel it yet.

I had the same thing happen in 1994 and early ’95. We could see that the policies were working, that the economy was growing. But most people didn’t feel it yet. Thankfully, by 1996 the economy was roaring, everybody felt it, and we were halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in the history of the United States. But — (cheers, applause) — wait, wait. The difference this time is purely in the circumstances. President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. Listen to me, now. No president — no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years. (Cheers, applause.)

Now — but — (cheers, applause) — he has — he has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it. (Cheers, applause.)

Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, why do I believe it?

I’m fixing to tell you why. I believe it because President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas and the direction America has to take to build the 21st-century version of the American Dream: a nation of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared prosperity, a shared sense of community.

So let’s get back to the story. In 2010, as the president’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around. The recovery act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes — let me say this again — cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. (Cheers, applause.) And, in the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4 1/2 million private sector jobs. (Cheers, applause.)

We could have done better, but last year the Republicans blocked the president’s job plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs.

So here’s another job score. President Obama: plus 4 1/2 million. Congressional Republicans: zero. (Cheers, applause.)

During this period — (cheers, applause) — during this period, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. That’s the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ll tell you something else. The auto industry restructuring worked. (Cheers, applause.) It saved — it saved more than a million jobs, and not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country.

That’s why even the automakers who weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save those parts suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together. (Applause.)

So what’s happened? There are now 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than on the day the companies were restructured. (Cheers, applause.)

So — now, we all know that Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. (Boos.) So here’s another job score. (Laughter.) Are you listening in Michigan and Ohio and across the country? (Cheers.) Here — (cheers, applause) — here’s another job score: Obama, 250,000; Romney, zero.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (With speaker.) Zero. (Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Now, the agreement the administration made with the management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage, that was a good deal too. It will cut your gas prices in half, your gas bill. No matter what the price is, if you double the mileage of your car, your bill will be half what it would have been. It will make us more energy independent. It will cut greenhouse gas emissions. And according to several analyses, over the next 20 years, it’ll bring us another half a million good new jobs into the American economy. (Cheers, applause.)

The president’s energy strategy, which he calls “all of the above,” is helping too. The boom in oil and gas production, combined with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near-20- year low and natural gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled.

(Cheers, applause.)

Of course, we need a lot more new jobs. But there are already more than 3 million jobs open and unfilled in America, mostly because the people who apply for them don’t yet have the required skills to do them. So even as we get Americans more jobs, we have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are actually going to be created. The old economy is not coming back. We’ve got to build a new one and educate people to do those jobs. (Cheers, applause.)

The president — the president and his education secretary have supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for jobs that are actually open in their communities — and even more important after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the dropout rate so much that the percentage of our young people with four-year college degrees has gone down so much that we have dropped to 16th in the world in the percentage of young people with college degrees.

So the president’s student loan is more important than ever. Here’s what it does — (cheers, applause) — here’s what it does. You need to tell every voter where you live about this. It lowers the cost of federal student loans. And even more important, it give students the right to repay those loans as a clear, fixed, low percentage of their income for up to 20 years. (Cheers, applause.)

Now what does this mean? What does this mean? Think of it. It means no one will ever have to drop out of college again for fear they can’t repay their debt.

And it means — (cheers, applause) — it means that if someone wants to take a job with a modest income, a teacher, a police officer, if they want to be a small-town doctor in a little rural area, they won’t have to turn those jobs down because they don’t pay enough to repay they debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary. This will change the future for young America. (Cheers, applause.)

I don’t know about you — (cheers, applause) — but on all these issues, I know we’re better off because President Obama made the decisions he did.

Now, that brings me to health care. (Cheers, applause.) And the Republicans call it, derisively, “Obamacare.” They say it’s a government takeover, a disaster, and that if we’ll just elect them, they’ll repeal it. Well, are they right?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let’s take a look at what’s actually happened so far.

First, individuals and businesses have already gotten more than a billion dollars in refunds from insurance companies because the new law requires 80 (percent) to 85 percent of your premium to go to your health care, not profits or promotion. (Cheers, applause.) And the gains are even greater than that because a bunch of insurance companies have applied to lower their rates to comply with the requirement.

Second, more than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents’ policies can cover them.

(Cheers, applause.)

Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care, all the way from breast cancer screenings to tests for heart problems and scores of other things. And younger people are getting them, too.

Fourth, soon the insurance companies — not the government, the insurance companies — will have millions of new customers, many of them middle-class people with pre-existing conditions who never could get insurance before. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, finally, listen to this. For the last two years — after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years health care costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time in 50 years. (Cheers, applause.)

So let me ask you something. Are we better off because President Obama fought for health care reform? (Cheers, applause.) You bet we are.

Now, there were two other attacks on the president in Tampa I think deserve an answer. First, both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion. That’s the same attack they leveled against the Congress in 2010, and they got a lot of votes on it. But it’s not true. (Applause.)

Look, here’s what really happened. You be the judge. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None. What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals to cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that were not making people healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide the service.

And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the savings to close the doughnut hole in the Medicare drug program — (cheers, applause) — and — you all got to listen carefully to this; this is really important — and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare trust fund so it is solvent till 2024. (Cheers, applause.)

So — (chuckles) — so President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare; they strengthened Medicare. Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as, quote, the biggest, coldest power play, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry — (laughter) — because that $716 billion is exactly, to the dollar, the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget. (Cheers, applause.) You got to get one thing — it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did. (Laughter, cheers, applause.)

So — (inaudible) — (sustained cheers, applause) — now, you’re having a good time, but this is getting serious, and I want you to listen.

(Laughter.) It’s important, because a lot of people believe this stuff.

Now, at least on this issue, on this one issue, Governor Romney has been consistent. (Laughter.) He attacked President Obama too, but he actually wants to repeal those savings and give the money back to the insurance company. (Laughter, boos.)

He wants to go back to the old system, which means we’ll reopen the doughnut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and we’ll reduce the life of the Medicare trust fund by eight full years. (Boos.)

So if he’s elected, and if he does what he promised to do, Medicare will now grow (sic/go) broke in 2016. (Boos.) Think about that. That means, after all, we won’t have to wait until their voucher program kicks in 2023 — (laughter) — to see the end of Medicare as we know it. (Applause.) They’re going to do it to us sooner than we thought. (Applause.)

Now, folks, this is serious, because it gets worse. (Laughter.) And you won’t be laughing when I finish telling you this. They also want to block-grant Medicaid, and cut it by a third over the coming 10 years.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Of course, that’s going to really hurt a lot of poor kids. But that’s not all. Lot of folks don’t know it, but nearly two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for Medicare seniors — (applause) — who are eligible for Medicaid.

(Cheers, applause.) It’s going to end Medicare as we know it. And a lot of that money is also spent to help people with disabilities, including — (cheers, applause) — a lot of middle-class families whose kids have Down’s syndrome or autism or other severe conditions. (Applause.) And honestly, let’s think about it, if that happens, I don’t know what those families are going to do.

So I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to do everything I can to see that it doesn’t happen. We can’t let it happen. (Cheers, applause.) We can’t. (Cheers, applause.) Now — wait a minute. (Cheers, applause.) Let’s look —

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

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let’s look at the other big charge the Republicans made. It’s a real doozy. (Laughter.) They actually have charged and run ads saying that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work. (Jeers.) Wait, you need to know, here’s what happened. (Laughter.) Nobody ever tells you what really happened — here’s what happened.

When some Republican governors asked if they could have waivers to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration listened because we all know it’s hard for even people with good work histories to get jobs today. So moving folks from welfare to work is a real challenge.

And the administration agreed to give waivers to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent, and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment. Now, did I make myself clear? The requirement was for more work, not less. (Cheers, applause.)

So this is personal to me. We moved millions of people off welfare. It was one of the reasons that in the eight years I was president, we had a hundred times as many people move out of poverty into the middle class than happened under the previous 12 years, a hundred times as many. (Cheers, applause.) It’s a big deal. But I am telling you the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. (Applause.)

But they keep on running the ads claiming it. You want to know why? Their campaign pollster said, we are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers. (Jeers, applause.) Now, finally I can say, that is true. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) I — (chuckles) — I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Laughter.)

And I hope you and every American within the sound of my voice remembers it every time they see one of those ads, and it turns into an ad to re-elect Barack Obama and keep the fundamental principles of personal empowerment and moving everybody who can get a job into work as soon as we can. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, let’s talk about the debt. Today, interest rates are low, lower than the rate of inflation. People are practically paying us to borrow money, to hold their money for them.

But it will become a big problem when the economy grows and interest rates start to rise. We’ve got to deal with this big long- term debt problem or it will deal with us. It will gobble up a bigger and bigger percentage of the federal budget we’d rather spend on education and health care and science and technology. It — we’ve got to deal with it.

Now, what has the president done? He has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, with 2 1/2 trillion (dollars) coming from — for every $2 1/2 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues — 2 1/2-to-1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, a bipartisan commission.

Now, I think this plan is way better than Governor Romney’s plan. First, the Romney plan failed the first test of fiscal responsibility. The numbers just don’t add up. (Laughter, applause.)

I mean, consider this. What would you do if you had this problem? Somebody says, oh, we’ve got a big debt problem. We’ve got to reduce the debt. So what’s the first thing you say we’re going to do? Well, to reduce the debt, we’re going to have another $5 trillion in tax cuts heavily weighted to upper-income people. So we’ll make the debt hole bigger before we start to get out of it.

Now, when you say, what are you going to do about this $5 trillion you just added on? They say, oh, we’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code.

So then you ask, well, which loopholes, and how much?

You know what they say? See me about that after the election. (Laughter.)

I’m not making it up. That’s their position. See me about that after the election.

Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

If — arithmetic! If — (applause) — if they stay with their $5 trillion tax cut plan — in a debt reduction plan? — the arithmetic tells us, no matter what they say, one of three things is about to happen. One, assuming they try to do what they say they’ll do, get rid of — pay — cover it by deductions, cutting those deductions, one, they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions, like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving, that middle-class families will see their tax bills go up an average of $2,000 while anybody who makes $3 million or more will see their tax bill go down $250,000. (Boos.)

Or, two, they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for the national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel. They’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education, child nutrition programs, all the programs that help to empower middle-class families and help poor kids. Oh, they’ll cut back on investments in roads and bridges and science and technology and biomedical research.

That’s what they’ll do. They’ll hurt the middle class and the poor and put the future on hold to give tax cuts to upper-income people who’ve been getting it all along.

Or three, in spite of all the rhetoric, they’ll just do what they’ve been doing for more than 30 years. They’ll go in and cut the taxes way more than they cut spending, especially with that big defense increase, and they’ll just explode the debt and weaken the economy. And they’ll destroy the federal government’s ability to help you by letting interest gobble up all your tax payments.

Don’t you ever forget when you hear them talking about this that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office — (applause) — and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic. (Laughter, applause.) It was a highly inconvenient thing for them in our debates that I was just a country boy from Arkansas, and I came from a place where people still thought two and two was four. (Laughter, applause.) It’s arithmetic.

We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down. (Cheers, applause.) Really. Think about this: President Obama — President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of our children, our families and our nation. It’s a heck of a lot better.

It passes the arithmetic test, and far more important, it passes the values test. (Cheers, applause.)

My fellow Americans, all of us in this grand hall and everybody watching at home, when we vote in this election, we’ll be deciding what kind of country we want to live in. If you want a winner-take- all, you’re-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket. But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we’re-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. (Cheers, applause.) If you — if you want —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: If you want America — if you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures — (jeers) — just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters — (jeers) — you should support Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

And if you think — if you think the president was right to open the doors of American opportunity to all those young immigrants brought here when they were young so they can serve in the military or go to college, you must vote for Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American dream is really alive and well again and where the United States maintains its leadership as a force for peace and justice and prosperity in this highly competitive world, you have to vote for Barack Obama.

(Cheers, applause.)

Look, I love our country so much. And I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come back. (Cheers.) People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth. (Laughter.) And so far, every single person that’s bet against America has lost money because we always come back. (Cheers, applause.) We come through ever fire a little stronger and a little better.

And we do it because in the end we decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — the cause of forming a more perfect union. (Cheers, applause.) My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) God bless you and God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 4, 2012: Transcript: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — Says President Obama Has Lived the American Dream

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Michelle Obama Says President Obama Has Lived the American Dream

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-4-12

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First lady Michelle Obama lit up the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, telling the nation in an emotional speech that President Obama knows what it is to struggle, and for him the economic hardships facing the country “aren’t political, they’re personal.”

The self-described mom-in-chief recalled her own father who went to work almost daily despite suffering from multiple sclerosis, but worked through his illness in order to help pay the college tuition for Mrs. Obama and her brother.

She also spoke about President Obama’s family….READ MORE

Remarks by the First Lady at the Democratic National Convention

Source: WH, 9-4-12

Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, North Carolina

September 4, 2012
10:38 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

MRS. OBAMA:  With your help.  With your help.  (Applause.)

Let me start — I want to start by thanking Elaine.  Elaine, thank you so much.  We are so grateful for your family’s service and sacrifice, and we will always have your back.  (Applause.)

Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country.  And everywhere I’ve gone, and the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.  I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

I’ve seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.  (Applause.)  I’ve seen it in people who become heroes at a moment’s notice, diving into harm’s way to save others; flying across the country to put out a fire; driving for hours to bail out a flooded town.

And I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families.  (Applause.)  In wounded warriors who tell me they’re not just going to walk again, they’re going to run, and they’re going to run marathons.  (Applause.)  In the young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said, simply, “I’d give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do.”

Every day, the people I meet inspire me.  Every day, they make me proud.  Every day, they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

Serving as your First Lady is an honor and a privilege.  But back when we first came together four years ago, I still had some concerns about this journey we’d begun.  While I believed deeply in my husband’s vision for this country, and I was certain he would make an extraordinary President, like any mother, I was worried about what it would mean for our girls if he got that chance.  How will we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight?  How would they feel being uprooted from their school, their friends, and the only home they’d ever known?

See, our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys — Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at Grandma’s house, and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both.  (Laughter.)

And the truth is, I loved the life we had built for our girls, and I deeply loved the man I had built that life with — and I didn’t want that to change if he became President.  (Applause.)  I loved Barack just the way he was.

You see, even back then, when Barack was a senator and a presidential candidate, to me, he was still the guy who picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door.  (Laughter.)  He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was a half size too small.  (Laughter.)

But, see, when Barack started telling me about his family -– see, now, that’s when I knew I had found a kindred spirit, someone whose values and upbringing were so much like mine.

You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable — their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.  (Applause.)

My father was a pump operator at the city water plant, and he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when my brother and I were young.  And even as a kid, I knew there were plenty of days when he was in pain, and I knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.

But every morning, I watched my father wake up with a smile, grab his walker, prop himself up against the bathroom sink, and slowly shave and button his uniform.  And when he returned home after a long day’s work, my brother and I would stand at the top of the stairs of our little apartment, patiently waiting to greet him, watching as he reached down to lift one leg, and then the other, to slowly climb his way into our arms.

But despite these challenges, my dad hardly ever missed a day of work.  He and my mom were determined to give me and my brother the kind of education they could only dream of.  (Applause.)

And when my brother and I finally made it to college, nearly all of our tuition came from student loans and grants.  But my dad still had to pay a tiny portion of that tuition himself.  And every semester, he was determined to pay that bill right on time, even taking out loans when he fell short.  He was so proud to be sending his kids to college, and he made sure we never missed a registration deadline because his check was late.

You see, for my dad, that’s what it meant to be a man.  (Applause.)  Like so many of us, that was the measure of his success in life — being able to earn a decent living that allowed him to support his family.

And as I got to know Barack, I realized that even though he had grown up all the way across the country, he’d been brought up just like me.  Barack was raised by a single mom who struggled to pay the bills, and by grandparents who stepped in when she needed help.  Barack’s grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank, and she moved quickly up the ranks, but like so many women, she hit a glass ceiling.  And for years, men no more qualified than she was — men she had actually trained — were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continued to scrape by.

But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus, arriving at work before anyone else, giving her best without complaint or regret.  And she would often tell Barack, “So long as you kids do well, Bar, that’s all that really matters.”

Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much.  They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did — in fact, they admired it.  (Applause.)  They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.  That’s how they raised us (Applause.)  That’s what we learned from their example.

We learned about dignity and decency — that how hard you work matters more than how much you make; that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.  (Applause.)  We learned about honesty and integrity — that the truth matters — (applause) — that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules; and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.  (Applause.)  We learned about gratitude and humility — that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean.  (Applause.)  And we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values that Barack and I — and so many of you — are trying to pass on to our own children.  That’s who we are.

And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I didn’t want any of that to change if Barack became President.  Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being President doesn’t change who you are — no, it reveals who you are.  (Applause.)

You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being President really looks like.  And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones — the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer; the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.  And as President, you’re going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.  But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.  (Applause.)

So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.  He’s thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day’s work.  That’s why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  That’s why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses, and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet.  (Applause.)

That’s how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again — jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another President.  (Applause.)  He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically — no, that’s not how he was raised.  He cared that it was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine, our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick, and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or an illness.  (Applause.)

And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care.  (Applause.)  That’s what my husband stands for.  (Applause.)

When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserve, Barack knows that, like me and like so many of you, he never could have attended college without financial aid.  And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bill was actually higher than our mortgage.  (Laughter.)  Yeah, we were so young, so in love — and so in debt.  (Laughter.)

And that’s why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid and keep interest rates down — (applause) — because he wants every young person to fulfill their promise and be able to attend college without a mountain of debt.  (Applause.)

So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political — they’re personal.  Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles.  He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids.  Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it.  (Applause.)  And he wants everyone in this country — everyone — to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.  (Applause.)

And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you.  No, you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.  (Applause.)

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.  (Applause.)  He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high-paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work — because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.  (Applause.)

He’s the same man, when our girls were first born, would anxiously check their cribs every few minutes to ensure that they were still breathing — (laughter) — proudly showing them off to everyone we knew.

You see, that’s the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night, patiently answering questions about issues in the news, strategizing about middle school friendships.  (Laughter.)

That’s the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him.  The letter from the father struggling to pay his bills, from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won’t cover her care, from the young person with so much promise but so few opportunities.

I see the concern in his eyes and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, “You won’t believe what these folks are going through, Michelle — it’s not right.  We’ve got to keep working to fix this.  We’ve got so much more to do.”  (Applause.)

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

MRS. OBAMA:  I see how those stories — our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams — I see how that’s what drives Barack Obama every single day.

And I didn’t think that it was possible, but let me tell you, today I love my husband even more than I did four years ago, even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met.  (Applause.)  Let me tell you why.  See, I love that he has never forgotten how he started.  I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he’s going to do, even when it’s hard — especially when it’s hard.  (Applause.)

I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as “us” and “them” — he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above; he knows that we all love our country.  And he is always ready to listen to good ideas, he’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.

And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we’re all sweating it — when we’re worried that the bill won’t pass, and it seems like all is lost — see, Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise.  No, just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward — with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.  (Applause.)

And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here, and that change is hard and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.  But eventually we get there.  We always do.

We get there because of folks like my dad, folks like Barack’s grandmother — men and women who said to themselves, “I may not have a chance to fulfill my dreams, but maybe my children will, maybe my grandchildren will.”

See, so many of us stand here tonight because of their sacrifice, and longing, and steadfast love — they swallowed their fears and doubts and did what was hard.  (Applause.)

So today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming — or even impossible — let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation.  It is who we are as Americans.  It is how this country was built.  (Applause.)

And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us — if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, connect the world with the touch of a button — then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids, right?  (Applause.)

And if so many brave men and women could wear our country’s uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights, then surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights.  Surely we can get to the polls on Election Day and make our voices heard.  (Applause.)

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire, if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores, if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote, if a generation could defeat a depression and define greatness for all time, if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream — (applause) — and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love — (applause) — then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.  (Applause.)

Because in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country — the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.  That is what has made my story, and Barack’s story, and so many other American stories possible.

And let me tell you something.  I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady, no, not just as a wife.  You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still “mom-in-chief.” (Applause.)  My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.

But let me tell you, today, I have none of those worries from four years ago — no, not about whether Barack and I were doing what was best for our girls.  Because today, I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters — and for all of our sons and daughters, if we want to give all of our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise, if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility — that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it — (applause) — then we must work like never before.  (Applause.)

And we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward — my husband, our President, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

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

END
September 4, 2012
11:03 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 6, 2012: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s Keynote Address Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Julián Castro’s Speech to the Democratic National Convention — FULL TEXT

Source: National Journal, 9-4-12

My fellow Democrats, my fellow Texans, my fellow Americans: I stand before you tonight as a young American, a proud American, of a generation born as the Cold War receded, shaped by the tragedy of 9/11, connected by the digital revolution and determined to re-elect the man who will make the 21st century another American century—President Barack Obama.

The unlikely journey that brought me here tonight began many miles from this podium. My brother Joaquin and I grew up with my mother Rosie and my grandmother Victoria. My grandmother was an orphan. As a young girl, she had to leave her home in Mexico and move to San Antonio, where some relatives had agreed to take her in. She never made it past the fourth grade. She had to drop out and start working to help her family. My grandmother spent her whole life working as a maid, a cook and a babysitter, barely scraping by, but still working hard to give my mother, her only child, a chance in life, so that my mother could give my brother and me an even better one.

As my grandmother got older, she begged my mother to give her grandchildren. She prayed to God for just one grandbaby before she died. You can imagine her excitement when she found out her prayers would be answered—twice over. She was so excited that the day before Joaquin and I were born she entered a menudo cook-off, and she won $300! That’s how she paid our hospital bill.

By the time my brother and I came along, this incredible woman had taught herself to read and write in both Spanish and English. I can still see her in the room that Joaquin and I shared with her, reading her Agatha Christie novels late into the night. And I can still remember her, every morning as Joaquin and I walked out the door to school, making the sign of the cross behind us, saying, “Que dios los bendiga.” “May God bless you.”

My grandmother didn’t live to see us begin our lives in public service. But she probably would have thought it extraordinary that just two generations after she arrived in San Antonio, one grandson would be the mayor and the other would be on his way—the good people of San Antonio willing—to the United States Congress.

My family’s story isn’t special. What’s special is the America that makes our story possible. Ours is a nation like no other, a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation. No matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward.

America didn’t become the land of opportunity by accident. My grandmother’s generation and generations before always saw beyond the horizons of their own lives and their own circumstances. They believed that opportunity created today would lead to prosperity tomorrow. That’s the country they envisioned, and that’s the country they helped build. The roads and bridges they built, the schools and universities they created, the rights they fought for and won—these opened the doors to a decent job, a secure retirement, the chance for your children to do better than you did.

And that’s the middle class—the engine of our economic growth. With hard work, everybody ought to be able to get there. And with hard work, everybody ought to be able to stay there—and go beyond. The dream of raising a family in a place where hard work is rewarded is not unique to Americans. It’s a human dream, one that calls across oceans and borders. The dream is universal, but America makes it possible. And our investment in opportunity makes it a reality.

Now, in Texas, we believe in the rugged individual. Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps, and we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can’t do alone. We have to come together and invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.

And it starts with education. Twenty years ago, Joaquin and I left home for college and then for law school. In those classrooms, we met some of the brightest folks in the world. But at the end of our days there, I couldn’t help but to think back to my classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. They had the same talent, the same brains, the same dreams as the folks we sat with at Stanford and Harvard. I realized the difference wasn’t one of intelligence or drive. The difference was opportunity.

In my city of San Antonio, we get that. So we’re working to ensure that more four-year-olds have access to pre-K. We opened Cafe College, where students get help with everything from test prep to financial aid paperwork. We know that you can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren’t charity. They’re a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We’re investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.

And it’s paying off. Last year the Milken Institute ranked San Antonio as the nation’s top performing local economy. And we’re only getting started. Opportunity today, prosperity tomorrow.

Now, like many of you, I watched last week’s Republican convention. They told a few stories of individual success. We all celebrate individual success. But the question is, how do we multiply that success? The answer is President Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it. A few months ago he visited a university in Ohio and gave the students there a little entrepreneurial advice. “Start a business,” he said. But how? “Borrow money if you have to from your parents,” he told them. Gee, why didn’t I think of that? Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn’t determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don’t think Governor Romney meant any harm. I think he’s a good guy. He just has no idea how good he’s had it.

We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don’t accept is the idea that some folks won’t even get a chance. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America. In fact, that’s exactly what they’re promising us.

The Romney-Ryan budget doesn’t just cut public education, cut Medicare, cut transportation and cut job training.

It doesn’t just pummel the middle class—it dismantles it. It dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class. When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to respecting women’s rights, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, “No.”

Actually, Mitt Romney said, “Yes,” and now he says, “No.” Governor Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain’t pretty. So here’s what we’re going to say to Mitt Romney. We’re going to say, “No.”

Of all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa, the one I find most troubling is this: If we all just go our own way, our nation will be stronger for it. Because if we sever the threads that connect us, the only people who will go far are those who are already ahead. We all understand that freedom isn’t free. What Romney and Ryan don’t understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.

Republicans tell us that if the most prosperous among us do even better, that somehow the rest of us will too. Folks, we’ve heard that before. First they called it “trickle-down.” Then “supply-side.” Now it’s “Romney-Ryan.” Or is it “Ryan-Romney”? Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed. The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price.

Mitt Romney just doesn’t get it. But Barack Obama gets it. He understands that when we invest in people we’re investing in our shared prosperity. And when we neglect that responsibility, we risk our promise as a nation. Just a few years ago, families that had never asked for anything found themselves at risk of losing everything. And the dream my grandmother held, that work would be rewarded, that the middle class would be there, if not for her, then for her children—that dream was being crushed.

But then President Obama took office—and he took action. When Detroit was in trouble, President Obama saved the auto industry and saved a million jobs. Seven presidents before him—Democrats and Republicans—tried to expand health care to all Americans. President Obama got it done. He made a historic investment to lift our nation’s public schools and expanded Pell grants so that more young people can afford college. And because he knows that we don’t have an ounce of talent to waste, the president took action to lift the shadow of deportation from a generation of young, law-abiding immigrants called dreamers.

I believe in you. Barack Obama believes in you. Now it’s time for Congress to enshrine in law their right to pursue their dreams in the only place they’ve ever called home: America.

Four years ago, America stood on the brink of a depression. Despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition, our president took action, and now we’ve seen 4.5 million new jobs. He knows better than anyone that there’s more hard work to do, but we’re making progress. And now we need to make a choice.

It’s a choice between a country where the middle class pays more so that millionaires can pay less—or a country where everybody pays their fair share, so we can reduce the deficit and create the jobs of the future. It’s a choice between a nation that slashes funding for our schools and guts Pell grants—or a nation that invests more in education. It’s a choice between a politician who rewards companies that ship American jobs overseas—or a leader who brings jobs back home.

This is the choice before us. And to me, to my generation and for all the generations to come, our choice is clear. Our choice is a man who’s always chosen us. A man who already is our president: Barack Obama.

In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor. My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.

And while she may be proud of me tonight, I’ve got to tell you, Mom, I’m even more proud of you. Thank you, Mom. Today, my beautiful wife Erica and I are the proud parents of a three-year-old little girl, Carina Victoria, named after my grandmother.

A couple of Mondays ago was her first day of pre-K. As we dropped her off, we walked out of the classroom, and I found myself whispering to her, as was once whispered to me, “Que dios te bendiga.” “May God bless you.” She’s still young, and her dreams are far off yet, but I hope she’ll reach them. As a dad, I’m going to do my part, and I know she’ll do hers. But our responsibility as a nation is to come together and do our part, as one community, one United States of America, to ensure opportunity for all of our children.

The days we live in are not easy ones, but we have seen days like this before, and America prevailed. With the wisdom of our founders and the values of our families, America prevailed. With each generation going further than the last, America prevailed. And with the opportunity we build today for a shared prosperity tomorrow, America will prevail.

It begins with re-electing Barack Obama. It begins with you. It begins now. Que dios los bendiga. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 28, 2012: Sen. Rick Santorum’s Speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by Rick Santorum at the Republican National Convention

Source: Politico, 8-28-12

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rick Santorum’s remarks Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention as prepared for delivery.
___

It’s an honor to be here tonight with the love of my life, Karen, my 93-year-old mother and some of our kids.

You think it’s crowded in here, good thing I didn’t bring all my kids.

I am a first-generation American.

At age seven, my dad came to Johnstown, Pennsylvania from the mountains of northern Italy, on a ship named Providence.

How providential that one day his son would announce for President just down the road from the deep mines where his father — my grandfather — mined coal ’til he was 72 years old.

When my grandfather died, I remember as a kid kneeling at his casket and not being able to take my eyes off his thick strong hands — hands that dug his path in life — and gave his family a chance — at living the American Dream.

Working the mines may not have been the dream he dreamed – I never dared to ask him – but I think his answer would have been that America gave him more than he had ever hoped.

America believed in him, that’s why he believed in America.

My grandfather, like millions of other immigrants, didn’t come here for some government guarantee of income equality or government benefits to take care of his family.

In 1923 there were no government benefits for immigrants except one: Freedom!

Under President Obama, the dream of freedom and opportunity has become a nightmare of dependency with almost half of America receiving some government benefit.

It is no surprise fewer and fewer Americans are achieving their dreams and more and more parents are concerned their children won’t realize theirs.

President Obama spent four years and borrowed five trillion dollars, trying to convince you that he could make things better for you —— to put your trust in him and the government to take care of every problem.

The result — massive debt, anemic growth and millions more unemployed. The President’s plan didn’t work for America, because that’s not how America works.

In America we believe in freedom and the responsibility that comes with it to work hard to make that dream of reaching our God-given potential come true.

We believe it because it still works.

Even today.

Graduate from high school, work hard, and get married before you have children and the chance you will ever be in poverty is just two percent.

Yet if you don’t do these three things you’re 38 times more likely to end up in poverty!

We understand many Americans don’t succeed because the family that should be there to guide them, and serve as the first rung on the ladder of success, isn’t there or is badly broken.

The fact is that marriage is disappearing in places where government dependency is highest. Most single mothers do heroic work and an amazing job raising their children, but if America is going to succeed, we must stop the assault on marriage and the family.

From lowering taxes to reforming social programs, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are dedicated to restoring the home where married moms and dads are pillars of strong communities raising good citizens.

A solid education should be the second rung on the ladder to success, but the system is failing.

President Obama’s solution has been to deny parents choice, attack private schools and nationalize curriculum and student loans.

Mitt Romney believes that parents and the local community must be put in charge — not the Department of Education.

We all know there is one key to success that has helped people overcome even the greatest of obstacles – hard work. That’s why work was the centerpiece of the bipartisan welfare reform law.

Requiring work as a condition for receiving welfare succeeded — and not just because the welfare rolls were cut in half — but because employment went way up, poverty went down and dreams were realized.

It’s a sturdy ladder to success that is built with healthy families, education and hard work.

But President Obama’s policies undermine the traditional family, weaken the education system.

And this summer he showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare.

I helped write welfare reform; we made the law crystal clear – no president can waive the work requirement. But as with his refusal to enforce our immigration laws, President Obama rules like he is above the law.

America take heed, when a president can simply give a speech or write a memo and change the law to do what the law says he can’t, we weaken our republic.

Yet as my family and I crisscrossed America, something became so obvious to us.

America is still the greatest country in the world – and with God’s help and good leadership we can restore the American Dream.

Why?

I held its hand. I shook the hand of the American Dream. And it has a strong grip.

I shook hands of farmers and ranchers who made America the bread basket of the world. Hands weathered and worn. And proud of it.

I grasped dirty hands with scars that come from years of labor in the oil and gas fields, mines and mills. Hands that power and build America and are stewards of the abundant resources that God has given us.

I gripped hands that work in restaurants and hotels, in hospitals, banks, and grocery stores. Hands that serve and care for all of us.

I clasped hands of men and women in uniform and their families. Hands that sacrifice and risk all to protect and keep us free. And hands that pray for their safe return home.

I held hands that are in want. Hands looking for the dignity of a good job, hands growing weary of not finding one but refusing to give up hope.

And finally, I cradled the little, broken hands of the disabled. Hands that struggle and bring pain, hands that ennoble us and bring great joy.

They came to see us – oh did they come — when they found out Karen and I are blessed with caring for someone very special too, our Bella.

Four and a half years ago I stood over a hospital isolette staring at the tiny hands of our newborn daughter who we hoped was perfectly healthy. But Bella’s hands were just a little different – and I knew different wasn’t good news.

The doctors later told us Bella was incompatible with life and to prepare to let go. They said, even if she did survive, her disabilities would be so severe that Bella would not have a life worth living.

We didn’t let go and today Bella is full of life and she has made our lives and countless others much more worth living.

I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God’s children – born and unborn – and says that each of us has dignity and all of us have the right to live the American Dream.

And without you America is not keeping faith with that dream.

We are stewards of a great inheritance. In November we have a chance to vote for life and liberty, not dependency. A vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will put our country back in the hands of leaders who understand what America can and, for the sake of our children, must be to keep the dream alive.

History Buzz August 20, 2012: Julian Zelizer: In convention speeches, history is made

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

In convention speeches, history is made

Source: CNN, 8-20-12

After losing the nomination to Gerald Ford, left, Ronald Reagan delivered an impromptu speech at the 1976 GOP convention.

After losing the nomination to Gerald Ford, left, Ronald Reagan delivered an impromptu speech at the 1976 GOP convention.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Speeches are the highlight of each party’s political convention, says Julian Zelizer
    • Some speeches put forth ideas that shape the next generation of candidates, he says
    • Others eviscerate the opposition, permanently defining candidates and parties, he says
    • Zelizer: Some speeches inspire, others make instant stars, and others flop resoundingly

 

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of “Jimmy Carter” and of the new book “Governing America.”

Now the party is really starting. Democrats and Republicans are preparing to gather to hold their conventions, each using this precious time to tell the nation what its presidential candidate is all about….

Without any more deal-making in smoke-filled rooms, speeches are the highlight of the convention. Even when speeches are made at conventions whose candidate winds up losing, they can offer ideas and rhetoric that become integral to the party for decades to come. A look back at history reveals that there are different types of speeches that we might see in the coming weeks, each with very different purposes and effect….READ MORE

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