Campaign Buzz October 22, 2011: Republican Bobby Jindal Reelected Governor of Louisiana in State Gubernatorial Election

Campaign Buzz October 22, 2011: Republican Bobby Jindal Reelected Governor of Louisiana in State Gubernatorial Election

CAMPAIGN BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ

Gov. Bobby Jindal re-elected

Gov. Bobby Jindal re-elected

Saturday, October 22, 2011 10:07 PM

MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal thanks supporters during his re-election victory party at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge on Saturday, October 22, 2011.

GOVERNORSHIPS CANMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS: LOUISIANA REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WINS RE-ELECTION

Louisiana Gov. Jindal declares victory in election: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, declared victory Saturday in his state’s gubernatorial election.
“You’ve chosen to give me another four years as your governor,” he told supporters less than an hour after polls closed. “We’ve got a lot more work to do over these next four years.”
Jindal had been viewed as a potential vice presidential contender in 2012 but has said he would serve out his term if re-elected…. – Reuters, 10-22-11

Gov. Bobby Jindal re-elected in landslide: Gov. Bobby Jindal rolled to easy re-election Saturday, defeating nine little-known and under-financed candidates in a record-setting landslide. Jindal’s total was hovering 68 percent on a day when turnout was considerably lighter than the 46.6 percent who voted in the 2007 statewide race, then the smallest turnout in the open gubernatorial primary era.
The outcome was so overwhelming that Jindal was able to deliver his victory speech a little more than 45 minutes after polls closed at 8 p.m…. – The Times-Picayune, 10-22-11

“Every time I run for governor the LSU Tigers win the national championship. I’m not putting any pressure on them. I’m just saying.
I am truly humbled, honored by the privilege you have bestowed on me.
Louisiana has made great strides in the last four years. Louisiana is on the move. Anything that happened wasn’t something I did. It was something we did as a state. … I mean all of us. I truly believe our best days are ahead of us. We’ve got a lot more work to do the next four years. I truly believe our best days are ahead of us. We’ve got a lot more work to do the next four years.” — Gov. Bobby Jindal

  • Jindal Wins Second Term as Governor of Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal easily coasted to a second term on Saturday, winning in a landslide after failing to attract any well-known or deep-pocketed opposition. Mr. Jindal, 40, a Republican, overwhelmed nine competitors in the race…. – AP, 10-22-11
  • Jindal poised to claim re-election win in Louisiana governor’s race: Bobby Jindal appeared poised for victory Saturday night, as early results looked promising for his re-election bid to a second term as Louisiana’s Republican governor. “You’ve chosen me to be your governor,” Jindal told supporters Saturday … – CNN, 10-22-11
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wins reelection: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) was easily reelected to a second term on Saturday avoiding a November runoff. Jindal was winning nearly 70 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press, leading teacher Tara Hollis (D) among others. … – WaPo, 10-22-11
  • Louisiana Gov. Jindal wins re-election easily: Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has easily coasted to a second term, winning in a landslide election after failing to attract any well-known or deep-pocketed opposition.
    The 40-year-old son of immigrants from India overwhelmed nine competitors in the open primary Saturday. In Louisiana, a candidate wins the race outright if he or she receives more than 50 percent of the vote…. – CBS News, 10-22-11
  • As polls open in Louisiana, Jindal seen as shoo-in: Voters headed to the polls on Saturday in Louisiana, where Republican Governor Bobby Jindal was expected to easily win reelection without having to compete in a run-off vote. Polls were due to stay open until 8 pm, when Louisiana voters … – Reuters, 10-22-11
  • Jindal likely to win second term in Louisiana: Louisiana voters head to the polls Saturday in the state’s gubernatorial primary, an election Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is widely expected to win. The state holds a nonpartisan blanket primary…. – CNN International, 10-22-11
  • Louisiana voters to wade through lengthy ballot: While Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to coast to an easy re-election, lawmakers across the state are in tight contests with term-limited folks seeking to keep themselves in office by switching jobs and others long gone from the Legislature trying to … – WWL First News, 10-22-11
  • More candidates explain why they should be Governor: The race for governor includes nine candidates who are all trying to unseat current governor Bobby Jindal. In a recent poll those candidates combined getting less than ten percent. That compared to Jindal’s near 60 percent. … – WVLA-TV, 10-21-11
  • What’s on the ballot in Saturday’s elections: Despite a low-key contest for governor, the last few days of the fall campaign have picked up, and a higher than expected number of early votes cast may mean higher turnout Saturday for state and local elections…. – WWL, 10-20-11
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White House Recap October 15-21, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama’s Bus Tour to NC & VA Supporting the American Jobs Act — Obama Addresses Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication & Announces End of Iraq War & Return of All Troops

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: OCTOBER 15-21, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Bringing Home the Troops

Source: WH, 10-21-11

This week, the President traveled to Detroit with the President of South Korea, dedicated the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, embarked on a three day American Jobs Act bus tour, bestowed the Presidential Citizens Medal.

West Wing Week
Download Video: mp4 (202MB)

Home for the Holidays Friday afternoon the President announced that the remaining  troops in Iraq will be officially coming back home, thus ending the war in Iraq. “Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.”

Road Trip President Obama embarked on a three day bus tour to spread the word about the American Jobs Act. Starting the journey in Asheville, NC and ending in North Chesterfield, VA, he also made stops in Millers Creek, NC, Jamestown, NC, Emporia, VA and Hampton, VA.The President visited schools, an airport, a military base, and a fire station along the way all of which will benefit from the American Jobs Act. On the last day of the tour, the First Lady joined the President at Joint Base Langley-Eustis announcing a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses. The jobs bill would put Americans back to work, upgrade our country’s infrastructure, and keep teachers and emergency responders on the job.

Citizens Award Tuesday in the East Room, the President honored 13 Americans with the Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. The award is given to Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” The recipients chosen to receive this year’s medal were nominated by the public, and then carefully selected by the White House. Click here to learn more about the recipients and to watch a video showing their reactions to the news that they’d been chosen.

“We Will Overcome” Tens of thousands came to the National Mall Sunday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication. President Obama, joined by the First Family, toured the memorial and then spoke at the dedication ceremony in honor of Dr. King’s work. During his speech, President Obama reminded us that the progress towards Dr. King’s vision has not come easily and there is still more to do to expand opportunity and make our nation more just:“We can’t be discouraged by what is.  We’ve got to keep pushing for what ought to be, the America we ought to leave to our children, mindful that the hardships we face are nothing compared to those Dr. King and his fellow marchers faced 50 years ago, and that if we maintain our faith, in ourselves and in the possibilities of this nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount.”

MLB support U.S. Veterans As a part of their Joining Forces Initiative, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, for Game One of the World Series to meet with military families and to recognize Major League Baseball’s support of those who serve and their families. Earlier that day, the First Lady announced at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses.

Cutting Waste As a part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, the White House recently updated the Excess Property map that uses new data to pinpoint the location and status of federal properties that agencies have targeted for closure and consolidation. Ending this waste and improving the management of the government’s real estate will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Full Text October 22, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address on Strong US World Leadership, the Death of Libyan Dictator Moammar Qaddafi & End of Iraq War

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama discusses how the death of Moammar Qadhafi in Libya and the announcement that troops from Iraq will return home by the end of the year are strong reminders that the United States has renewed its leadership in the world.

President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/21/11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Renewing America’s Global Leadership

In this week’s address, President Obama said that the death of Moammar Qadhafi in Libya and the announcement that troops from Iraq will return home by the end of the year are strong reminders that the United States has renewed its leadership in the world.  The role of our brave pilots and crews has given the Libyan people a chance to seek a democratic future for their children, and after a decade of war in Iraq, the United States is moving forward and focusing on strengthening the economy and security at home.  This is why the President is calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, give working families a tax break, and put teachers back in our classrooms and cops on the beat.  We must bring the same sense of urgency to revitalizing our economy that our troops took to their fight, which is why President Obama is urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to pass the American Jobs Act now to put the American people back to work.

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House October 22, 2011

This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we’ve renewed American leadership in the world.  I was proud to announce that—as promised—the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of this year.  And in Libya, the death of Moammar Qadhafi showed that our role in protecting the Libyan people, and helping them break free from a tyrant, was the right thing to do.

In Iraq, we’ve succeeded in our strategy to end the war.  Last year, I announced the end of our combat mission in Iraq.  We’ve already removed more than 100,000 troops, and Iraqi forces have taken full responsibility for the security of their own country.  Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the Iraqi people have the chance to forge their own future.  And now the rest of our troops will be home for the holidays.

In Libya, our brave pilots and crews helped prevent a massacre, save countless lives, and give the Libyan people the chance to prevail.  Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives.  Soon, our NATO mission will come to a successful end even as we continue to support the Libyan people, and people across the Arab world, who seek a democratic future.

These successes are part of a larger story.  After a decade of war, we’re turning the page and moving forward, with strength and confidence.  The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus on Afghanistan and achieve major victories against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.  As we remove the last of our troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

To put this in perspective, when I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in these wars.  By the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and an increasing number of our troops will continue to come home.

As we end these wars, we’re focusing on our greatest challenge as a nation—rebuilding our economy and renewing our strength at home.  Over the past decade, we spent a trillion dollars on war, borrowed heavily from overseas and invested too little in the greatest source of our national strength—our own people.  Now, the nation we need to build is our own.

We have to tackle this challenge with the same urgency and unity that our troops brought to their fight.  That’s why we have to do everything in our power to get our economy moving again.  That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, so we can rebuild our country – our schools, our roads, our bridges – and put our veterans, construction workers, teachers, cops and firefighters back to work.   And that’s why I hope all of us can draw strength from the example of our men and women in uniform.

They’ve met their responsibilities to America.  Now it’s time to meet ours.  It’s time to come together and show the world why the United States of America remains the greatest source for freedom and opportunity that the world has ever known.

Full Text October 21, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing The End of the War in Iraq & the Pullout of all American Troops by the End of the Year

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Keeping his promise to responsibly end the war in Iraq, President Obama announces that our troops will be home from Iraq by the holidays.

President Obama on ending the war in Iraq President Obama delivers remarks on ending the war in Iraq, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/21/11

President Obama Has Ended the War in Iraq

Source: WH, 10-21-11

In 2008, in the height of the presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama made a promise to give our military a new mission: ending the war in Iraq.

As the election unfolded, he reiterated this pledge again and again — but cautioned that we would be “as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in.”

Last year, the President made progress toward achieving that goal. He brought an end to the combat mission in Iraq, and through the course of the past 14 months, more than 100,000 troops have returned to their families.

Now, that promise will be wholly fulfilled. Today, President Obama announced that the rest of our troops will be home by the holidays:

Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.

But this moment represents more than an accomplishment for the President. It marks a monumental change of focus for our military and a fundamental shift in the way that the our nation will engage in the world:

The United States is moving forward, from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home. As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits, and the opportunities that they have earned.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Ending the War in Iraq

 

Remarks by the President on Ending the War in Iraq

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

CORRECTION:  “Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we’ve begun a transition to Afghan security and leadership.”
12:49 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end — for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world.  After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011.

As Commander-in-Chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities.  Last year, I announced the end to our combat mission in Iraq.  And to date, we’ve removed more than 100,000 troops.  Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country’s security.

A few hours ago I spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki.  I reaffirmed that the United States keeps its commitments.  He spoke of the determination of the Iraqi people to forge their own future.  We are in full agreement about how to move forward.

So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.  After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.

Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq — tens of thousands of them — will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.  The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.  That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.

But even as we mark this important milestone, we’re also moving into a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Iraq.  As of January 1st, and in keeping with our Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, it will be a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

In today’s conversation, Prime Minister Maliki and I agreed that a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee of the Strategic Framework Agreement will convene in the coming weeks.  And I invited the Prime Minister to come to the White House in December, as we plan for all the important work that we have to do together.  This will be a strong and enduring partnership.  With our diplomats and civilian advisors in the lead, we’ll help Iraqis strengthen institutions that are just, representative and accountable.  We’ll build new ties of trade and of commerce, culture and education, that unleash the potential of the Iraqi people.  We’ll partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, just as we insist that other nations respect Iraq’s sovereignty.

As I told Prime Minister Maliki, we will continue discussions on how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces — again, just as we offer training and assistance to countries around the world.  After all, there will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq, and the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant.  Just as Iraqis have persevered through war, I’m confident that they can build a future worthy of their history as a cradle of civilization.

Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings.  Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their families.  Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.

This December will be a time to reflect on all that we’ve been though in this war.  I’ll join the American people in paying tribute to the more than 1 million Americans who have served in Iraq.  We’ll honor our many wounded warriors and the nearly 4,500 American patriots — and their Iraqi and coalition partners — who gave their lives to this effort.

And finally, I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition.  The tide of war is receding.  The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al Qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership — including Osama bin Laden.  Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we’ve begun a transition to Afghan security and leadership.  When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars.  And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and make no mistake:  It will continue to go down.

Meanwhile, yesterday marked the definitive end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya.  And there, too, our military played a critical role in shaping a situation on the ground in which the Libyan people can build their own future.  Today, NATO is working to bring this successful mission to a close.

So to sum up, the United States is moving forward from a position of strength.  The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year.  The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home.  As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world.  And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits and the opportunities that they have earned.

This includes enlisting our veterans in the greatest challenge that we now face as a nation — creating opportunity and jobs in this country.  Because after a decade of war, the nation that we need to build — and the nation that we will build — is our own; an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we’ve restored our leadership around the globe.

Thank you very much.

END           12:55 P.M. ED

Full Text October 21, 2011: President Barack Obama Signs Trade Agreement Legislation with Korea, Colombia & Panama

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Signs Historic Legislation Signaling Progress on Trade and Jobs

Source: WH, 10-21-11
President Barack Obama signs the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

President Barack Obama signs the “United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act,” in the Oval Office, Oct. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This morning, President Obama signed legislation implementing three job-supporting trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. These trade agreements will help put Americans back to work and grow America’s economy.

At the same time, the President signed legislation renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that helps workers who have been hurt by increased global competition. He also signed legislation to renew trade preference programs that sustain the United States’ commitment to trade and economic development that lifts up some of the world’s poorest people.

With all the stories and speculation flying around the news these days, I know it’s hard to separate fact from fiction sometimes. So let me share three quick points that I hope will help you understand why this is good news for all American workers and families.

First, these agreements will increase U.S. exports and American jobs. The Korea agreement will support an estimated 70,000 U.S. jobs and increase U.S. GDP by at least $11 billion due to increased exports of goods alone. Chances are you’ll benefit from these agreements if you work for or with anyone who makes, grows, or provides goods and services to Korea, Colombia, or Panama. These agreements make it easier and more cost-effective to sell Made-in-the-USA products to consumers in each of these countries. In turn, increased exports of U.S. goods and services will support more and better jobs for farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, service providers, workers, and businesses all across the United States. And all three agreements have groundbreaking protections for labor rights, the environment, and intellectual property, so American workers and businesses will be able to compete on a level playing field.

Second, the President worked to improve these agreements when he came into office. All three faced significant opposition from Congress. But instead of surrendering to the status quo, the President told me to get to work. With Korea, he sent me back to the negotiating table to secure additional market access for U.S. automobile manufacturers. With Colombia, he stood firm on the principle that U.S. trade agreements must reflect American values, including respect for and protection of workers’ rights. And with Panama, he made sure that we addressed key concerns related to tax transparency and labor conditions. In each case, the President held out for a better, more balanced deal.

That brings me to the third and final point: President Obama also signed today legislation that strengthens and streamlines TAA, and renews key preference programs –- the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). Both TAA and our preference programs are key elements of President Obama’s balanced approach to trade. TAA helps those workers whose jobs are displaced by trade by providing job re-training programs, lower health insurance premiums, and assistance that keeps families on their feet. And GSP and ATPA uphold our commitment to support trade and economic growth that lifts up some of the world’s poorest people while helping American businesses get inputs they need and American consumers.

It’s important to note that Congress approved these trade measures with significant support in record time. In fact, the Korea agreement received more recorded votes than any free trade agreement in history. I think that’s a good indication that the President’s principled and pragmatic leadership has created a more balanced trade policy –- one that holds the promise of open markets and a level playing field with increased U.S. exports and better American jobs for many years to come. And since President Obama has prioritized enforcement of America’s trade agreements since day one, Americans can also be assured that we’ll hold our trading partners accountable for their obligations moving forward.

President Obama’s historic action today is a big step forward on trade and jobs. We look forward to working with Congress and the American people to continue pursuing a balanced trade policy that keeps American producers competitive abroad and supports jobs for more hard-working Americans here at home.

Full Text October 20, 2011: President Barack Obama Honors 2011 Citizens Medal Recipients

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Honors 2011 Citizens Medal Recipients

Source: WH, 10-20-11
citizens medal ceremony

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama recognized the 13 recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. The award is given to Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” At a ceremony in the East Room, the President praised the honorees’ commitment to service:

The 13 Americans that we honor today have all faced that … moment when you see a neighbor in need and you have to ask yourself the question. They come from different backgrounds and they’ve devoted their lives to different causes, but they are united by the choice that they’ve made. They could have made excuses for doing nothing. Instead, they chose to help.

This year’s winners truly included Americans from all walks of life. John Keaveney, a Scottish immigrant, served two tours in Vietnam before coming back to establish a home for homeless and disabled veterans with addiction and mental health problems. Janice Langbehn of Lacey, Washington went to court to fight for hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples after being denied the chance to say goodbye as her partner of 18 years lay dying in a hospital.

Dr. Michelle Martin, a Los Angeles resident, founded an organization that connects kids in underserved communities with instruments and music lessons after watching gang members stop to watch a young boy play his violin at the farmer’s market. Roberto Perez is an ordained Methodist pastor who counsels inmates and is president of a nonprofit organization that has taught more than 7 million people to read worldwide.

The 13 people chosen to receive this year’s medal were nominated by the public, and then carefully selected by the White House. Click here to learn more about the recipients and to watch a video showing their reactions to the news they’d been chosen. President Obama explained that the nomination process was not an easy one:

I’m happy to say that there was a pretty stiff competition for these medals. Citizens … submitted nearly 6,000 nominations online, and it took us four months to select the winners.  In the end, these 13 individuals were chosen not just for the work they do, but for the example that they set.

The honorees, their families, and the people who nominated them attended the ceremony this afternoon, followed by a reception in the State Dining Room.

Remarks by the President at Presentation of the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medals

Remarks by the President at Presentation of the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medals

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at Presentation of 2011 Presidential Citizens Medals

East Room

2:25 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the White House. This is one of my favorite events. We are here to recognize the winners of the Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. This is the second year the nomination process has been open to the public, and I notice that once again the women outnumber the men. (Laughter.) I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

You know, on Sunday, I helped dedicate the National Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. And this afternoon, as I’m spending time with these extraordinary people, I’m reminded of the fact that during the last speech that Dr. King ever gave, he retold the story of the Good Samaritan. And most of you know the story. We know it begins with a man lying injured on a road. And Dr. King said that the first people who saw him asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” So they made excuses for not stopping. They said the man was faking his injury, or it wasn’t their problem.

But according to Dr. King, the Good Samaritan reversed the question. “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

The 13 Americans that we honor today have all faced in their own ways the moment that Dr. King described — that Good Samaritan moment when you see a neighbor in need and you have to ask yourself the question. They come from different backgrounds and they’ve devoted their lives to different causes, but they are united by the choice that they’ve made. They could have made excuses for doing nothing. Instead, they chose to help.

For many of them, a lifelong mission began with a small act of kindness. In 1987, a single mom and her child — her children — moved in across the street from Ida Martin. Ida saw their refrigerator was empty, except for a bottle of water, so she brought them groceries. And I guess once she got started, she couldn’t stop. (Laughter.) So last year, the organization she founded answered nearly 22,000 requests for aid.

Then there’s Milly Bloomquist, from Penn Yan, New York. And for decades, she has personified the phrase, “above and beyond.” At her 90th birthday party, one speaker said that Penn Yan has its own special system for handling emergencies. “If you’re out of food, call Milly. If your heat has gone out, call Milly. If you can’t pay your electricity bill, call Milly. If you need a winter coat, call Milly.”

The right choice is rarely the easy one. And for some of those we honor here today, the choice to help was especially hard because it came in the wake of tragedy. Steve and Liz Alderman lost their son Peter on 9/11. Roger Kemp’s daughter, Ali, was murdered nearly a decade ago. Janice Langbehn was denied the right to visit her partner, Lisa, as she lay dying in the hospital.

As a father and husband, I can’t begin to imagine the grief that they must have felt in that moment — their anger and their sense that the world was not fair. But they refused to let that anger define them. They each became, in Janice’s words, an “accidental activist.” And thanks to their work, there are parents and partners who will never have to go through what they went through.

Now, I’m happy to say that there was a pretty stiff competition for these medals. Citizens from all walks of life submitted nearly 6,000 nominations online, and it took us four months to select the winners. In the end, these 13 individuals were chosen not just for the work they do, but for the example that they set.

Over the past year, we’ve been reminded time and time again that our lives can be altered by events beyond our control. A tornado or a hurricane can devastate a community. An earthquake halfway around the world can threaten businesses here at home. An economic crisis that begins in one corner of the housing market can spread to leave millions of Americans out of work.

So we don’t always get to choose the challenges that we face. But how we respond is entirely up to us. We are each on that Good Samaritan road, the road that Dr. King spoke of more than 40 years ago. We can see that there are people who need our help. And while we come from different backgrounds, we all face the same, simple question: Will we help them, or will we not?

In some ways, in these difficult times, it’s easier than ever to walk on by. We can tell ourselves: “I’ve got enough problems of my own.” “I can’t make a big enough difference.” “If my neighbors are less fortunate, maybe it’s their fault.” But as Americans, that’s not who we are. Because while, yes, we are a nation of individuals, we’re also a community. I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. That’s a creed we all share.

So this afternoon, I am proud to share the stage with these extraordinary citizens. I also know that for our government to truly honor them, we have to do more than hand out medals. We have to follow their example. And that won’t always be easy. As individuals, as communities, and as a country, we all face the temptation to find excuses not to help. In these decisive moments, then, we need to choose between doing something and doing nothing. And I hope we will remember the stories of these extraordinary men and women as we make that choice. I hope they inspire us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. And I hope that years from now, when they retell the story of our time, they will say that we, too, lent a hand to our neighbor in need.

I should just point out that a few people — like Molly — when I said we could not be prouder of what they’ve accomplished, bristled a little bit and said, “I’m not done yet.” (Laughter.) So these guys are still out there making a difference. And they’ll be right there with us if we end up doing the right thing. All right?

So congratulations to all of the winners of the Citizens Medal. I’ve got some outstanding military aides here, and one of them is going to read the citations, one at a time, and then I’ll present a medal to each of the honorees. (Applause.)

(The citations are read and the medals are presented.)

MILITARY AIDE: The Presidential Citizens Medal recipients:

Stephen and Elizabeth Alderman: When Stephen and Elizabeth Alderman lost their youngest child, Peter, on September 11, 2001, they resolved to make his legacy one of peace. They established a foundation in Peter’s name to mend the emotional wounds of terrorism and mass violence. Together they have trained health workers around the world and provided trauma treatment to the people of post-conflict nations, giving a face to American compassion. The United States honors Stephen and Elizabeth Alderman for their work to replace hatred with hope and healing. (Applause.)

Clarence Lee Alexander: A dedicated patriot and conservationist, Clarence Lee Alexander has helped lead the charge in protecting the Yukon River Watershed. In addition to working to save our waterways, he has been instrumental in saving lives through the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, which provides health care to some of the most remote villages in North America. He exemplifies the difference one person can make in preserving our natural resources and cherished traditions for the next generation of Americans. For his work to protect our precious national treasures, the United States honors Clarence Lee Alexander. (Applause.)

Camilla Bloomquist: Camilla Bloomquist’s mission to alleviate hunger in her community began more than 40 years ago, when she helped start a breakfast program at a local elementary school. Since then, she has founded Food for the Needy to provide assistance to the less fortunate, and Christmas for the Needy to supply families with food, gifts, toys, and coats during the holiday season. She has been a life-sustaining and legendary force in her community, and her efforts embody the enduring American spirit of generosity. The United States honors Milly Bloomquist for her extraordinary dedication to taking on poverty in our nation. (Applause.)

Dr. Judith Broder: After Dr. Judith Broder attended a play produced and performed by active duty Marines, she left the theatre with a new calling. Moved by the realistic portrayals of the traumas of war, she founded The Soldiers Project to help service members and their families address the overwhelming effects of service-related mental health issues. Today, Dr. Broder’s work supports the well-being of our nation’s heroes and ensures they have access to important mental health services. For answering the call to honor our troops and their families, the United States honors Dr. Judith Broder. (Applause.)

John Keaveney: After serving our country in Vietnam, John Keaveney faced setbacks that affect too many American veterans. With the help of a Department of Veterans Affairs program, he overcame addiction and homelessness, turned away from crime, and committed himself to providing a support system for others returning from war. He founded New Directions, and since 1992, has devoted himself to lifting up the lives of thousands of veterans in Los Angeles County. The United States honors John Keaveney for helping America fulfill its promise to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. (Applause.)

Roger Kemp: Roger Kemp lived every father’s worst nightmare when his daughter, Ali, was taken at a young age. Through immeasurable pain and grief, Roger devoted his energy to building a safer world for future generations. His foundation has provided women of all ages with valuable self-defense training, and his billboard campaign to post the faces of wanted criminals has led to multiple arrests, including the conviction of Ali’s killer. The United States honors Roger Kemp for his unwavering efforts to ensure the safety of his fellow citizens. (Applause.)

Janice Langbehn: Janice Langbehn transformed her own profound loss into a resounding call for compassion and equality. When the woman she loved, Lisa Pond, suddenly suffered a brain aneurysm, Janice and her children were denied the right to stand beside her in her final moments. Determined to spare others from similar injustice, Janice spoke out and helped ensure that same-sex couples can support and comfort each other through some of life’s toughest trials. The United States honors Janice Langbehn for advancing America’s promise of equality for all. (Applause.)

Ida Martin: When Ida Martin realized the needs of working families and senior citizens in her community were not being met, she took matters into her own hands. Out of her garage, she founded Bluffton Self Help to provide aid to community members in urgent need of food, clothing, and short-term assistance. Over 20 years later, she continues to be guided by her devotion to helping those who desire to help themselves, and her organization remains a vital resource for those in need. For her remarkable efforts on behalf of those less fortunate, the United States honors Ida Martin. (Applause.)

Dr. Margaret Martin: Believing in the notion that every child should have the chance to learn and grow through the power of music, Dr. Margaret Martin founded Harmony Project. For 10 years, she has provided free instruments and music lessons, and built neighborhood youth orchestras for some of the most underserved areas of Los Angeles. The United States honors Dr. Margaret Martin for shining a light on the tremendous talents and potential of young Americans and for empowering our children to reach for a brighter tomorrow. (Applause.)

Michelle McIntyre-Brewer: The wife of a soldier and mother of two, Michelle McIntyre-Brewer represents the best of our country. As an advocate for military families, she supports our men and women in uniform through numerous organizations, including Soldier’s List, which she founded in 2002 to send packages to thousands of deployed troops. Despite the many challenges she has faced in her own life, Michelle remains focused on her mission to improve the lives of others. For ensuring we uphold our obligation to those who defend our freedoms, the United States honors Michelle McIntyre-Brewer. (Applause.)

Roberto Perez: For more than four decades, Roberto Perez has dedicated his time and passion to bringing the gift of literacy to communities around the world. Through his leadership of Alfalit International, he has helped provide basic education opportunities to underserved youth and adults in 23 countries on three continents. From the barrios of Miami to the villages of Africa and the pueblos of South America, he has guided a force of more than 6,000 volunteers in delivering independence through education. For his caring spirit and dedication to serving others, the United States honors Roberto Perez. (Applause.)

Sujata and Nirmala Emani, accepting on behalf of their mother, Vijaya Emani: Breaking long-held taboos, Vijaya Emani lent her voice to protect Indian-American women from domestic violence. Taken from us far too soon, she was a trailblazer who shared her personal story to help other battered women overcome abusive relationships. With boundless energy and an insatiable drive to serve her community, she threw herself into numerous causes, from supporting single parents to honoring India’s cultural heritage. The United States honors Vijaya Emani for her many contributions to the people of Cleveland and our nation. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: What a remarkable group of Americans.

I want to thank all of you for joining us here today. All the friends and family who are here to celebrate our Citizens Medal winners, because I think that — not to speak for them, but I suspect they’d say that they couldn’t have done what they did without the incredible support of all the people who are here. The colleagues and the loved ones who submitted nominations online — I’m sure they’re appreciative. And obviously you made a pretty convincing case.

I think our honorees recognize that our work is not yet done. And so I just want to repeat, I hope that their incredible work ends up setting an example for all of us, both in public service and in our daily lives.

And I know that some folks today who are here also represent the Corporation for National and Community Service. Every day, you help Americans make their country a better place, and I want to thank all of you for your hard work.

So, with that, we’ve got, my understanding is, some pretty good food here — (laughter) — maybe even a little music — as we celebrate these extraordinary individuals. Please give them one more big round of applause. (Applause.)

END
2:37 P.M. EDT

Full Text October 20, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech, Remarks on the Death of Former Libyan Dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama speaks on the death of Muammar Qaddafi and the opportunity for the Libyan people to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya.

The President on Libya

White House Photo, Pete Souza, 10/20/11

President Obama’s Remarks on the Death of Muammar el-Qaddafi

For 42 years, Muammar el-Qaddafi ruled Libya, but today, he died a fugitive — chased from power by his own people.

Just after 2:00, President Obama delivered remarks from the Rose Garden:

[This] is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted. And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility — to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Qaddafi’s dictatorship. We look forward to the announcement of the country’s liberation, the quick formation of an interim government, and a stable transition to Libya’s first free and fair elections.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on the Death of Muammar Qaddafi

Remarks by the President on the Death of Muammar Qaddafi

Rose Garden

2:07 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Today, the government of Libya announced the death of Muammar Qaddafi. This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya.

For four decades, the Qaddafi regime ruled the Libyan people with an iron fist. Basic human rights were denied. Innocent civilians were detained, beaten and killed. And Libya’s wealth was squandered. The enormous potential of the Libyan people was held back, and terror was used as a political weapon.

Today, we can definitively say that the Qaddafi regime has come to an end. The last major regime strongholds have fallen. The new government is consolidating the control over the country. And one of the world’s longest-serving dictators is no more.

One year ago, the notion of a free Libya seemed impossible. But then the Libyan people rose up and demanded their rights. And when Qaddafi and his forces started going city to city, town by town, to brutalize men, women and children, the world refused to stand idly by.

Faced with the potential of mass atrocities — and a call for help from the Libyan people — the United States and our friends and allies stopped Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks. A coalition that included the United States, NATO and Arab nations persevered through the summer to protect Libyan civilians. And meanwhile, the courageous Libyan people fought for their own future and broke the back of the regime.

So this is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted. And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility — to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Qaddafi’s dictatorship. We look forward to the announcement of the country’s liberation, the quick formation of an interim government, and a stable transition to Libya’s first free and fair elections. And we call on our Libyan friends to continue to work with the international community to secure dangerous materials, and to respect the human rights of all Libyans –- including those who have been detained.

We’re under no illusions — Libya will travel a long and winding road to full democracy. There will be difficult days ahead. But the United States, together with the international community, is committed to the Libyan people. You have won your revolution. And now, we will be a partner as you forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity.

For the region, today’s events prove once more that the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end. Across the Arab world, citizens have stood up to claim their rights. Youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship. And those leaders who try to deny their human dignity will not succeed.

For us here in the United States, we are reminded today of all those Americans that we lost at the hands of Qaddafi’s terror. Their families and friends are in our thoughts and in our prayers. We recall their bright smiles, their extraordinary lives, and their tragic deaths. We know that nothing can close the wound of their loss, but we stand together as one nation by their side.

For nearly eight months, many Americans have provided extraordinary service in support of our efforts to protect the Libyan people, and to provide them with a chance to determine their own destiny. Our skilled diplomats have helped to lead an unprecedented global response. Our brave pilots have flown in Libya’s skies, our sailors have provided support off Libya’s shores, and our leadership at NATO has helped guide our coalition. Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives, and our NATO mission will soon come to an end.

This comes at a time when we see the strength of American leadership across the world. We’ve taken out al Qaeda leaders, and we’ve put them on the path to defeat. We’re winding down the war in Iraq and have begun a transition in Afghanistan. And now, working in Libya with friends and allies, we’ve demonstrated what collective action can achieve in the 21st century.

Of course, above all, today belongs to the people of Libya. This is a moment for them to remember all those who suffered and were lost under Qaddafi, and look forward to the promise of a new day. And I know the American people wish the people of Libya the very best in what will be a challenging but hopeful days, weeks, months and years ahead.

Thank you, very much.

END
2:12 P.M. EDT

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