Political Headlines October 21, 2012: Former Sen. George McGovern, 1972 Democratic Nominee, Dies at 90

POLITICAL HEADLINES

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

THE HEADLINES….

Former Sen. George McGovern, 1972 Democratic Nominee, Dies at 90

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-21-12

The McGovern family

ABC News has confirmed that former Democratic Sen. George McGovern, of South Dakota, has died. He was 90 years old.

McGovern, who lost the 1972 presidential bid to Richard Nixon, worked as a U.S. Senator from 1963 to 1981. He also served as the director of the Food for Peace Program, the chairman for the Select Committee on Unmet Basic Needs and the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Agencies and the United Nations Global Ambassador on World Hunger….READ MORE

History Buzz October 16, 2012: Michael Beschloss: How to Debate: Lessons From History

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

How to Debate: Lessons From History

Source: NYT, 10-16-12

The historian Michael Beschloss, in interviews, commented on debate tactics of President Obama and Mitt Romney, noting how they were inherited from earlier candidates. Choices can be pivotal: “For most Americans, a debate is only one or two moments,” he said….Related Article »

Campaign Headlines October 4, 2012: Chris Ellis & David J. Lanoue: Debate influence may be overrated

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Debate influence may be overrated

Source: UPI, 10-4-12

President Barack Obama (L) and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney participate in the Denver Debate at the University of Denver’s Ritchie Center on October 3, 2012 in Denver. UPI/Michael Reynolds/Pool

Chris Ellis, assistant professor of political science at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.:

“The presidential debates always provide one or two memorable moments: The ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago,” or the “You’re no Jack Kennedy,’” Ellis said in a statement. “But by the time we get to the debates, unless one of the candidates really outperforms the other, most of the voters have more or less made up their minds.”

David J. Lanoue of Columbus State University in Georgia and co-author of “The Joint Press Conference: The History, Impact, and Prospects of American Presidential Debates”: 

“Debates can sometimes provide candidates with a measurable bump that can change the complexion of a close race, at least in the short term,” Lanoue said. “Debates likely played a meaningful role in the outcomes of the 1980 and 2000 elections, and may also have helped to shape the results in 1960, 1976 and 2004 — although the big debate winner in 2004 was Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat, who fell short in November against Republican George W. Bush.”

Campaign Headlines October 3, 2012: Richard Norton Smith & Michael Beschloss: In Denver, Stakes for First Debate Are a Mile High

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

In Denver, Stakes for First Debate Are a Mile High

Source: PBS Newshour, 10-3-12
DEBATING OUR DESTINY

Gwen Ifill talked about moderating:

Presidential historian and NewsHour regular Richard Norton Smith noted that the style and delivery of the candidates could be more important than any of the policy details that are discussed:

And presidential historian Michael Beschloss, also a NewsHour regular, pointed out that it should be worrisome that some voters rely heavily on the debates for information about the candidates and their ideas:

The comments from Gwen, Smith and Beschloss come from Banville’s newly released e-book, “Debating Our Destiny: Presidential Debate Moments That Shaped History.” The book is published by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, which also produces the NewsHour.

The NewsHour also looked at how the debates can be used in the classroom.

Here is your guide to our coverage.

Campaign Headlines October 2, 2012: Julian Zelizer: The mistakes candidates make in debates

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

The mistakes candidates make in debates

Source: Julian Zelizer, CNN, 10-2-12

Watch this video

Best moments from presidential debates

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Julian Zelizer: Top priority for candidates in debates is to avoid mistakes
    • He says gaffes have the potential to change how voters view a candidate
    • Candidates are viewed not only for what they say but for their body language, he says
    • Zelizer: Obama, Romney will be under a microscope Wednesday night when the debates begin

Editor’s note: 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.”

(CNN) — Commentators usually make too much of presidential debates. Social science data consistently show that there are very few presidential debates that make a huge difference in the dynamics of a campaign — other than a few exceptions where the race was incredibly narrow, as in 1960 or 2000, and the performance of candidates had some impact.

Regardless of whether they are game-changers, the presidential debates are still an important part of the broader narrative about each candidate that voters evaluate when they step into the voting booth in November.

More important than doing well is avoiding mistakes. Particularly in the current age of YouTube and nightly political news comedy, any slip-up can become fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. The last thing that a candidate wants to do is provide material for the “Saturday Night Live” comedy writers who are eagerly preparing for the next show.

The mistakes the presidential candidates have made over the years are numerous. Poor body language has been a common blunder. As much as candidates focus on perfecting the substance of what they say before the cameras, a large number of Americans are really most interested to see how they say it….READ MORE

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 Obama Presidency August 22, 2012: President Obama Holds a Press Conference During the White House Daily Press Briefing — Defends His Campaign’s Tone

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Holds a Press Conference

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

President Barack Obama holds a press conference (August 20, 2012)

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Aug. 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama Defends His Campaign’s Tone

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-21-12

President Obama today defended his campaign’s persistent demand that Mitt Romney release more than two years of his tax returns, saying it’s standard procedure and the American people want to know that “everybody’s been playing by the same rules.”

“The American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life’s an open book when it comes to things like your finances,” he told reporters in an impromptu press conference at the White House today.

“This isn’t sort of overly personal here, guys. This is pretty standard stuff. I don’t think we’re being mean by asking you to do what every other presidential candidate’s done, right? It’s what the American people expect,” he said….READ MORE

Remarks by the President to the White House Press Corps

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.

MR. CARNEY:  Looks like there’s a surprise guest here.

THE PRESIDENT:  Jay tells me that you guys have been missing me.  (Laughter.)  So I thought I’d come by and just say hello.

Before I take some questions, let me just mention, since Medicare has been a little bit in the news lately, I thought it would be useful to start with some actual facts and news about the program.

Today, HHS announced that thanks to the health care law that we passed, nearly 5.4 million seniors with Medicare have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs.  That’s an average savings of more than $700 per person.  This year alone, 18 million seniors with Medicare have taken advantage of new preventive care benefits like a mammogram or other cancer screening at no extra cost.

These are big deals for a lot of Americans, and it represents two important ways that the improvements we made as part of the Affordable Care Act has strengthened Medicare and helped seniors everywhere get better care at less cost.  That’s been our goal from the very beginning, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can to make sure that we keep our seniors healthy and the American people healthy.

So with that, let me start off with Jim Kuhnhenn.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Thank you for being here.  You’re no doubt aware of the comments that the Missouri Senate candidate, Republican Todd Akin, made on rape and abortion.  I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican Party in general.  They’ve been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans.  Are they an outlier or are they representative?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me, first of all, say the views expressed were offensive.  Rape is rape.  And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.

So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.

And so, although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions — or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape — I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.

But I don’t think that they would agree with the Senator from Missouri in terms of his statement, which was way out there.

Q    Should he drop out of the race?

THE PRESIDENT:  He was nominated by the Republicans in Missouri.  I’ll let them sort that out.

Nancy Cordes.

Q    Yes, Mr. President, thank you.  As you know, your opponent recently accused you of waging a campaign filled with “anger and hate.”   And you told Entertainment Tonight that anyone who attends your rallies can see that they’re not angry- or hate-filled affairs.  But in recent weeks, your campaign has suggested repeatedly, without proof, that Mr. Romney might be hiding something in his tax returns.  They have suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital.  And your campaign and the White House have declined to condemn an ad by one of your top supporters that links Mr. Romney to a woman’s death from cancer.  Are you comfortable with the tone that’s being set by your campaign?  Have you asked them to change their tone when it comes to defining Mr. Romney?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I’m not sure all those characterizations that you laid out there were accurate.  For example, nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.

And I think that what is absolutely true is, if you watch me on the campaign trail, here’s what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about how we put Americans back to work.  And there are sharp differences between myself and Mr. Romney in terms of how we would do that.  He thinks that if we roll back Wall Street reform, roll back the Affordable Care Act — otherwise known affectionately as Obamacare — that somehow people are going to be better off.

I think that if we are putting teachers back to work and rebuilding America and reducing our deficit in a balanced way, that’s how you put people back to work.  That is a substantive difference.  That’s what I talk about on the campaign.

When it comes to taxes, Governor Romney thinks that we should be cutting taxes by another $5 trillion, and folks like me would benefit disproportionately from that.  I think that it makes a lot more sense and have put out a detailed plan for a balanced approach that combines tough spending cuts with asking people like me — millionaires and billionaires — to do a little bit more.  That’s a substantive difference in this campaign.

Whether it’s on wind energy, or how we would approach funding education, those are the topics that we’re spending a lot of time talking about in the campaign.

Now, if you look at the overall trajectory of our campaign and the ads that I’ve approved and are produced by my campaign, you’ll see that we point out sharp differences between the candidates, but we don’t go out of bounds.  And when it comes to releasing taxes, that’s a precedent that was set decades ago, including by Governor Romney’s father.  And for us to say that it makes sense to release your tax returns, as I did, as John McCain did, as Bill Clinton did, as the two President Bushes did, I don’t think is in any way out of bounds.

I think that is what the American people would rightly expect — is a sense that, particularly when we’re going to be having a huge debate about how we reform our tax code and how we pay for the government that we need, I think people want to know that everybody has been playing by the same rules, including people who are seeking the highest office in the land.  This is not an entitlement, being President of the United States.  This is a privilege.  And we’ve got to put ourselves before the American people to make our case.

Q    Well, why not send a message to the top super PAC that’s supporting you and say, I think an ad like that is out of bounds?  We shouldn’t be suggesting that –

THE PRESIDENT:  So let’s take that particular issue, as opposed to — because you lumped in a whole bunch of other stuff that I think was entirely legitimate.  I don’t think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad.  But keep in mind this is an ad that I didn’t approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell, has barely run.  I think it ran once.

Now, in contrast, you’ve got Governor Romney creating as a centerpiece of his campaign this notion that we’re taking the work requirement out of welfare, which every single person here who’s looked at it says is patently false.  What he’s arguing is somehow we have changed the welfare requirement — the work requirement in our welfare laws.  And, in fact, what’s happened was that my administration, responding to the requests of five governors, including two Republican governors, agreed to approve giving them, those states, some flexibility in how they manage their welfare rolls as long as it produced 20 percent increases in the number of people who are getting work.

So, in other words, we would potentially give states more flexibility to put more people back to work, not to take them off the work requirement under welfare.  Everybody who has looked at this says what Governor Romney is saying is absolutely wrong.  Not only are his super PACs running millions of dollars’ worth of ads making this claim; Governor Romney himself is approving this and saying it on the stump.

So the contrast I think is pretty stark.  They can run the campaign that they want, but the truth of the matter is you can’t just make stuff up.  That’s one thing you learn as President of the United States.  You get called into account.

And I feel very comfortable with the fact that when you look at the campaign we’re running, we are focused on the issues and the differences that matter to working families all across America.  And that’s exactly the kind of debate the American people deserve.

Jake Tapper.

Q    Mr. President, a couple questions.  One, I’m wondering if you could comment on the recent spate of green-on-blue incidents in Afghanistan, what is being done about it, why your commanders tell you they think that there has been an uptick in this kind of violence; and second, with the economy and unemployment still the focus of so many Americans, what they can expect in the next couple months out of Washington, if anything, when it comes to any attempt to bring some more economic growth to the country.

THE PRESIDENT:  On Afghanistan, obviously we’ve been watching with deep concern these so-called green-on-blue attacks, where you have Afghan individuals, some of whom are actually enrolled in the Afghan military, some in some cases dressing up as Afghan military or police, attacking coalition forces, including our own troops.

I just spoke today to Marty Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who happens to be in Afghanistan.  He is having intensive consultations not only with our commander, John Allen, on the ground, but also with Afghan counterparts.  And I’ll be reaching out to President Karzai as well — because we’ve got to make sure that we’re on top of this.

We are already doing a range of things, and we’re seeing some success when it comes to better counterintelligence, making sure that the vetting process for Afghan troops is stronger.  And we’ve got what’s called the Guardian Angel program, to make sure that our troops aren’t in isolated situations that might make them more vulnerable.  But obviously we’re going to have to do more, because there has been an uptick over the last 12 months on this.

Part of what’s taking place is we are transitioning to Afghan security, and for us to train them effectively, we are in much closer contact — our troops are in much closer contact with Afghan troops on an ongoing basis.  And part of what we’ve got to do is to make sure that this model works but it doesn’t make our guys more vulnerable.

In the long term, we will see fewer U.S. casualties and coalition casualties by sticking to our transition plan and making sure that we’ve got the most effective Afghan security force possible.  But we’ve got to do it in a way that doesn’t leave our guys vulnerable.

So we are deeply concerned about this from top to bottom.  And hopefully, over the next several weeks, we’ll start seeing better progress on this front.

In terms of the economy, I would love to say that when Congress comes back — they’ve got a week or 10 days before they go out and start campaigning again — that we’re going to see a flurry of action.  I can’t guarantee that.  I do think that there’s some specific things they could do that would make a big difference.  I’ll give you a couple of examples.

First of all, just making sure that we’ve got what’s called a continuing resolution so that we don’t have any disruptions and government shutdowns over the next couple months, that’s important.  It appears that there’s an agreement on that, but we want to make sure that that gets done.

Number two, we have put forward an idea that I think a lot of Americans think makes sense, which is we’ve got historically low interest rates now, and the housing market is beginning to tick back up but it’s still not at all where it needs to be.  There are a lot of families out there whose homes are underwater. They owe more than the house is worth because housing values dropped so precipitously, and they’re having trouble refinancing.

We’re going to be pushing Congress to see if they can pass a refinancing bill that puts $3,000 into the pockets of the average family who hasn’t yet refinanced their mortgage.  That’s a big deal.  That $3,00 can be used to strengthen the equity in that person’s home, which would raise home values.  Alternatively, that’s $3,000 in people’s pockets that they can spend on a new computer for their kid going back to school, or new school clothes for their kids, and so that would strengthen the economy as well.

Obviously, the biggest thing that Congress could do would be to come up with a sensible approach to reducing our deficit in ways that we had agreed to and talked about last year.  And I continue to be open to seeing Congress approach this with a balanced plan that has tough spending cuts, building on the trillion dollars’ worth of spending cuts that we’ve already made, but also asks for additional revenue from folks like me, from folks in the top 1 or 2 percent, to make sure that folks who can least afford it aren’t suddenly bearing the burden, and we’re providing some additional certainty to small businesses and families going forward.

Alternatively, they could go ahead and vote for a bill that we’ve said would definitely strengthen the economy, and that is giving everybody who’s making $250,000 a year or less certainty that their taxes aren’t going to go down [sic] next year.  That would make a big difference.

Now, obviously the Republicans have voted that down already once.  It’s not likely, realistically, that they’re going to bring it back up again before Election Day.  But my hope is after the election, people will step back and recognize that that’s a sensible way to bring down our deficit and allow us to still invest in things like education that are going to help the economy grow.

Chuck Todd.

Q    Mr. President, could you update us on your latest thinking of where you think things are in Syria, and in particular, whether you envision using U.S. military, if simply for nothing else, the safe keeping of the chemical weapons, and if you’re confident that the chemical weapons are safe?

I also want to follow up on an answer you just gave to Nancy.  You said that one of the reasons you wanted to see Mitt Romney’s tax returns was you want to see if everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  That actually goes to the question she asked, which is this implication, do you think there’s something Mitt Romney is not telling us in his tax returns that indicates he’s not playing by the same set of rules?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  There’s a difference between playing by the same sets of rules and doing something illegal.  And in no way have we suggested the latter.  But the first disclosure, the one year of tax returns that he disclosed indicated that he used Swiss bank accounts, for example.  Well, that may be perfectly legal, but I suspect if you ask the average American, do you have one and is that part of how you manage your tax obligations, they would say no.  They would find that relevant information, particularly when we’re going into a time where we know we’re going to have to make tough choices both about spending and about taxes.

So I think the idea that this is somehow exceptional, that there should be a rationale or a justification for doing more than the very bare minimum has it backwards.  I mean, the assumption should be you do what previous presidential candidates did, dating back for decades.  And Governor Romney’s own dad says, well, the reason I put out 10 or 12 years is because any single year might not tell you the whole story.  And everybody has, I think, followed that custom ever since.

The American people have assumed that if you want to be President of the United States, that your life is an open book   when it comes to things like your finances.  I’m not asking him to disclose every detail of his medical records — although we normally do that as well — (laughter.)  You know?  I mean, this isn’t sort of overly personal here, guys.  This is pretty standard stuff.  I don’t think we’re being mean by asking him to do what every other presidential candidate has done — right?  It’s what the American people expect.

On Syria, obviously this is a very tough issue.  I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down.  So far, he hasn’t gotten the message, and instead has double downed in violence on his own people.  The international community has sent a clear message that rather than drag his country into civil war he should move in the direction of a political transition.  But at this point, the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant.

What we’ve said is, number one, we want to make sure we’re providing humanitarian assistance, and we’ve done that to the tune of $82 million, I believe, so far.  And we’ll probably end up doing a little more because we want to make sure that the hundreds of thousands of refugees that are fleeing the mayhem, that they don’t end up creating — or being in a terrible situation, or also destabilizing some of Syria’s neighbors.

The second thing we’ve done is we said that we would provide, in consultation with the international community, some assistance to the opposition in thinking about how would a political transition take place, and what are the principles that should be upheld in terms of looking out for minority rights and human rights.  And that consultation is taking place.

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation.  But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical.  That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel.  It concerns us.  We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change my equation.

Q    So you’re confident it’s somehow under — it’s safe?

THE PRESIDENT:  In a situation this volatile, I wouldn’t say that I am absolutely confident.  What I’m saying is we’re monitoring that situation very carefully.  We have put together a range of contingency plans.  We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons.  That would change my calculations significantly.

All right, thank you, everybody.

END
1:49 P.M. EDT

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

History Buzz August 11, 2012: Julian Zelizer: How Ryan Could Help Romney

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Julian Zelizer: How Ryan could help Romney

Source: CNN, 8-11-12

Mitt Romney has taken many people by surprise by announcing that his vice presidential running mate will be Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan. The decision excites many conservatives who have been calling on Romney to go big. They believe Ryan will inject some juice into a campaign they feel has been lackluster and put the focus on the policy differences between Romney and President Obama.

The primary risk with Ryan, from what we currently know about him, is that his controversial budget plan and tough line on Medicare could energize liberals and alienate elderly voters in key states like Florida. He also lacks foreign policy expertise and has spent most of his career in the city that conservatives hate, Washington. In recent decades, the record of vice presidential running mates who have come right out of the House is not very good….READ MORE

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