Full Text Obama Presidency March 31, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama Presents Nickelodeon’s Big Help Award to Taylor Swift at the Kids Choice Awards

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:


Charley Gallay/Getty Images
“To be awarded an award from the First Lady was one of the most exciting things, I was so honored and I’ve always been such a huge fan of hers. I’ve been really terrified to meet her because I’m such a fan. I never went to the White House. I never like got a chance to meet her and so to get to meet her on a night like tonight, where she’s giving me an award for something; it was just over-the-top amazing. I’m so thankful.” — Taylor Swift

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the First Lady at the Kids Choice Awards

Source: WH, 3-31-12

Galen Center
Los Angeles, California

5:50 P.M. PST

MRS. OBAMA:  Hello everyone!  (Applause.)  I am so thrilled to be here with all of you tonight.

I’m here because I have always felt an obligation to give back; to lift up others the way that my parents, my teachers and mentors lifted me.  And that’s something that our next honoree believes too.  And it’s not just something she talks about, it’s how she lives her life.

Taylor Swift may be in the news — (applause) — for the award-winning songs and multiplatinum records, but every step of the way she has always made it a point to give back.  (Applause.)  She’s supported children’s charities, she’s worked to combat bullying, and given over tens of thousands of books to schools and libraries all around the country.  (Applause.)

She’s given so much of her own money to victims of floods and natural disasters here in the U.S. and around the world.  And last year, after deadly tornadoes hit the south, Taylor knew she had to do something about it.  (Applause.)  So she opened up her last dress rehearsal before she went on tour and gave all the proceeds to tornado victims.  And here is how it happened.

MRS. OBAMA:  So tonight, it is my great privilege to present Nickelodeon’s Big Help Award to someone who has rocketed to the top of the music industry, but still keeps her feet on the ground; someone who has shattered every expectation of what a 22 year old can accomplish, and someone who is going to keep making sparks fly for all of us in the years ahead.

Let’s all give it up for the one and only Taylor Swift!

END
5:55 P.M. PST

Full Text Obama Presidency March 31, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Pass the Buffett Rule So That Everyone Pays Their Fair Share of Taxes

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Weekly Address: Passing the Buffett Rule So That Everyone Pays Their Fair Share

President Obama calls on Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, a principle that ensures that millionaires and billionaires do not pay less in taxes as a share of their income than middle class families pay — as a matter of fairness.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 3/29/12
Source: WH, 3-31-12
President Obama calls on Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, a principle that ensures that millionaires and billionaires do not pay less in taxes as a share of their income than middle class families pay — as a matter of fairness.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Passing the Buffett Rule so that Everyone Pays Their Fair Share

In this week’s address, President Obama calls on Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, a principle of fairness that ensures that millionaires and billionaires do not pay less in taxes as a share of their income than middle class families pay.  The President believes our system must ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share, while protecting 98 percent of Americans from seeing their taxes go up at all. That is why the President proposed the Buffett Rule, which will help make our system reflect our values so that all Americans get a fair shot, play by the same rules, and pay their fair share.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
March 31, 2012

Hello.

Over the last few months, I’ve been talking about a choice we face as a country.  We can either settle for an economy where a few people do really well and everyone else struggles to get by, or we can build an economy where hard work pays off again – where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.  That’s up to us.

Today, I want to talk to you about the idea that everyone in this country should do their fair share.

Now, if this were a perfect world, we’d have unlimited resources.  No one would ever have to pay any taxes, and we could spend as much as we wanted.  But we live in the real world.  We don’t have unlimited resources.  We have a deficit that needs to be paid down.  And we also have to pay for investments that will help our economy grow and keep our country safe: education, research and technology, a strong military, and retirement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

That means we have to make choices.  When it comes to paying down the deficit and investing in our future, should we ask middle-class Americans to pay even more at a time when their budgets are already stretched to the breaking point?  Or should we ask some of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share?

That’s the choice.  Over the last decade, we’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars on what was supposed to be a temporary tax cut for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.  Now we’re scheduled to spend almost a trillion more. Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years.  Warren Buffett is paying a lower rate than his secretary.  Meanwhile, over the last 30 years, the tax rates for middle class families have barely budged.

That’s not fair.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates – people who don’t need them and never asked for them?  Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure?  Because we can’t afford to do both.

Now, some people call this class warfare.  But I think asking a billionaire to pay at least the same tax rate as his secretary is just common sense.  We don’t envy success in this country.  We aspire to it.  But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few.

That’s the America I believe in.  And in the next few weeks, Members of Congress will get a chance to show you where they stand.  Congress is going to vote on what’s called the Buffett Rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class families do.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up.  You’re the ones struggling with the rising cost of everything from college tuition to groceries.  You’re the ones who deserve a break.

So every Member of Congress is going to go on record.  And if they vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me – tax breaks our country can’t afford – then they’re going to have to explain to you where that money comes from.  Either it’s going to add to our deficit, or it’s going to come out of your pocket.  Seniors will have to pay more for their Medicare benefits.  Students will see their interest rates go up at a time when they can’t afford it.  Families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less.

That’s not right.  That’s not who we are.   In America, our story has never been about what we can do by ourselves – it’s about what we can do together.  It’s about believing in our future and the future of this country.  So tell your Members of Congress to do the right thing.  Call them up, write them a letter, pay them a visit, and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to people who don’t need them and start investing in the things that will help our economy grow and put people back to work.

That’s how we’ll make this country a little fairer, a little more just, and a whole lot stronger.  Thank you.

White House Recap March 23-30, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama’s South Korea Trip & the Nuclear Security Summit

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: MARCH 23-30, 2012

This week, the President traveled to the Republic of Korea to attend a nuclear security summit. Back at home, the kitchen garden got underway with this year’s first planting.

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: “We Need to Keep at It”

Source: WH, 3-30-12

From Dartmouth to the World Bank: On Friday, the President named Dr. Jim Yong Kim – president of Dartmouth college, co-founder of Partners in Health and global health and development expert – as his choice to head the World Bank. “[Despite] its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank,” the President explained. “It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries in the planet.”

Nuclear Security Summit: Just after midnight on Saturday morning, President Obama boarded Air Force One and departed for a trip to South Korea. His three-day trip included a tour of the DMZ and a meeting with U.S. troops stationed at the border; a talk with students at Hankuk University; and a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings with foreign leaders — including President Hu Jintao of China, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.

All Right, Let’s Plant!: Students and Girl Scouts from across the country joined the First Lady on the South Lawn Monday for a sunny afternoon planting the White House Kitchen Garden.

Big Data, Big Deal: On Thursday, the Obama Administration announced the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative,” which promises to help accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, strengthen our national security, and transform teaching and learning.

Facebook Timeline: The White House’s Facebook timeline launched on Friday, now providing both the latest news and a glimpse into history. The timeline highlights special moments from our rich history, including all forty-four presidential inaugurations, FDR’s first “fireside chat,” and the launch of the first White House website.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 29, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Calls on Congress to End Oil and Gas Subsidies

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Oil and Gas Subsidies

Rose Garden

11:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)   Everybody, please have a seat.  Sorry we’re running just a little bit behind, but I figured it’s a great day to enjoy the Rose Garden.

Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make:  They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.

Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits –- profits that go up every time folks pull up into a gas station.  But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year — billions a year in taxpayer subsidies -– a subsidy that they’ve enjoyed year after year for the last century.

Think about that.  It’s like hitting the American people twice.  You’re already paying a premium at the pump right now.  And on top of that, Congress, up until this point, has thought it was a good idea to send billions of dollars more in tax dollars to the oil industry.

It’s not as if these companies can’t stand on their own.  Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profits.  Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour.  And when the price of oil goes up, prices at the pump go up, and so do these companies’ profits.  In fact, one analysis shows that every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits.  Meanwhile, these companies pay a lower tax rate than most other companies on their investments, partly because we’re giving them billions in tax giveaways every year.

Now, I want to make clear, we all know that drilling for oil has to be a key part of our overall energy strategy.  We want U.S. oil companies to be doing well.  We want them to succeed.  That’s why under my administration, we’ve opened up millions of acres of federal lands and waters to oil and gas production.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.  And just yesterday, we announced the next step for potential new oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic.

So the fact is, we’re producing more oil right now than we have in eight years, and we’re importing less of it as well.  For two years in a row, America has bought less oil from other countries than we produce here at home -– for the first time in over a decade.

So American oil is booming.  The oil industry is doing just fine.  With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies.  With high oil prices around the world, they’ve got more than enough incentive to produce even more oil.  That’s why I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank.  And I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.

Instead of taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, we should be using that money to double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising — investments in wind power and solar power and biofuels; investments in fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and energy-efficient homes and buildings.  That’s the future.  That’s the only way we’re going to break this cycle of high gas prices that happen year after year after year.  As the economy is growing, the only time you start seeing lower gas prices is when the economy is doing badly.  That’s not the kind of pattern that we want to be in.  We want the economy doing well, and people to be able to afford their energy costs.

And keep in mind, we can’t just drill our way out of this problem.  As I said, oil production here in the United States is doing very well, and it’s been doing well even as gas prices are going up.  Well, the reason is because we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  And that means we could drill every drop of American oil tomorrow but we’d still have to buy oil from other countries to make up the difference.  We’d still have to depend on other countries to meet our energy needs.  And because it’s a world market, the fact that we’re doing more here in the United States doesn’t necessarily help us because even U.S. oil companies they’re selling that oil on a worldwide market.  They’re not keeping it just for us.  And that means that if there’s rising demand around the world then the prices are going to up.

That’s not the future that I want for America.  I don’t want folks like these back here and the folks in front of me to have to pay more at the pump every time that there’s some unrest in the Middle East and oil speculators get nervous about whether there’s going to be enough supply.  I don’t want our kids to be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.

I want us to control our own destiny.  I want us to forge our own future.  And that’s why, as long as I’m President, America is going to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which means we will continue developing our oil and gas resources in a robust and responsible way.  But it also means that we’re going to keep developing more advanced homegrown biofuels, the kinds that are already powering truck fleets across America.

We’re going to keep investing in clean energy like the wind power and solar power that’s already lighting thousands of homes and creating thousands of jobs.  We’re going to keep manufacturing more cars and trucks to get more miles to the gallon so that you can fill up once every two weeks instead of every week.  We’re going to keep building more homes and businesses that waste less energy so that you’re in charge of your own energy bills.

We’re going to do all of this by harnessing our most inexhaustible resource:  American ingenuity and American imagination.  That’s what we need to keep going.  That’s what’s at stake right now.  That’s the choice that we face.  And that’s the choice that’s facing Congress today.  They can either vote to spend billions of dollars more in oil subsidies that keep us trapped in the past, or they can vote to end these taxpayer subsidies that aren’t needed to boost oil production so that we can invest in the future.  It’s that simple.

And as long as I’m President, I’m betting on the future.  And as the people I’ve talked to around the country, including the people who are behind me here today, they put their faith in the future as well.  That’s what we do as Americans.  That’s who we are.  We innovate.  We discover.  We seek new solutions to some of our biggest challenges.  And, ultimately, because we stick with it, we succeed.  And I believe that we’re going to do that again.  Today, the American people are going to be watching Congress to see if they have that same faith.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
11:08 A.M. EDT

Full Text Legal Buzz March 28, 2012: Day 3 Supreme Court Hears Arguments on the Health Care Law — National Federation of Independent Business v. Kathleen Sebelius — Argument Transcripts, Audio Mp3 Download

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Day Three: Supreme Court Hearings on Health Care

SCOTUS Day 3

This artist rendering shows Attorney Bartow Farr speaking before the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
Docket Number: 11-393
Date Argued: 03/28/12
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Full Text Obama Presidency March 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

First Lady Michelle Obama Marks the Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial

Source: WH, 3-27-12

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 27, 2012)First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., March 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

It’s been 100 years to the day since First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, planted the first of the 3,000 cherry trees presented from the city of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan.

To mark the occasion, First Lady Michelle Obama — joined by Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and William H. Taft IV, the great-grandson of President Taft — returned to the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River to plant a new sapling for future generations to enjoy.

She told the crowd:

People from both of our nations worked together for years to bring these trees here to Washington. And over the past century, people of all ages from the U.S. and Japan and so many other nations have come to this Tidal Basin each spring to marvel at their beauty. And year after year, even after the coldest, darkest, stormiest winters, these trees have continued to bloom.

So on this historic anniversary, we don’t just admire the beauty of these trees, we also admire their resilience. And in so doing, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience of the Japanese people. Over the past year, we have all witnessed their courage, unity and grace as they have come together and begun the very hard work of rebuilding their nation.

One hundred years from now, the First Lady said, she hoped, “the First Lady –- or the First Gentleman –- of 2112 will also have the privilege of joining with our friends from Japan, and planting another tree which will bloom for yet another one hundred years and beyond.”

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the First Lady at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony

Source: WH, 3-27-12

Tidal Basin
Washington, D.C.
11:22 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thank you so much, it is a true pleasure to be here on this beautiful, little chilly day.  (Laughter.)  We planned it.  This is the only cold day of the week, and we are here.  But I am pleased to be here.

I want to start by thanking Secretary Salazar for that very kind introduction, and for all of his outstanding work as Secretary of the Interior.

I want to thank and recognize Ambassador Fujisaki, as well as Mrs. Fujisaki, who are here today.  Thank you all so much, I know you’re here somewhere — oh, you’re here.  (Laughter.)  It’s good to see you both.  And I want to thank all of you for taking the time to join us for this historic event.

We have come together to celebrate these beautiful cherry blossom trees — and yes, they were blooming last week.  We were so close.  (Laughter.)  But I think the tree we’re planting will — still has a few blooms, but they are beautiful.  And we are here to honor all that they stand for.  For so many years, these trees have served as a symbol of the great friendship between the United States and Japan, and as a reminder of our shared hopes, dreams and aspirations.

People from both of our nations worked together for years to bring these trees here to Washington.  And over the past century, people of all ages from the U.S. and Japan and so many other nations have come to this Tidal Basin each spring to marvel at their beauty.  And year after year, even after the coldest, darkest, stormiest winters, these trees have continued to bloom.

So on this historic anniversary, we don’t just admire the beauty of these trees, we also admire their resilience.  And in so doing, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience of the Japanese people.  Over the past year, we have all witnessed their courage, unity and grace as they have come together and begun the very hard work of rebuilding their nation.

And I think that that more than anything else is the lesson that we can learn from these trees.  They teach us about all that we can achieve together.  And because people from both of our nations came together, this landscape was transformed.  And for one hundred years, people from every background and every walk of life have come here to experience, truly, the magic of these trees.

No matter who you are, their beauty stirs our souls.  No matter where we’re from, being here among these beautiful blossoms truly lifts our spirits.  And that is why we invited all of these wonderful children to join us — where are the children?  There they are.  (Applause.)  They are here because we want them to learn this lesson as well; we want to pass this lesson onto them.  We want to teach them about the great partnership between our nations and what that means for our shared future.  We want to teach them to appreciate and learn from the traditions and cultures of others.

And we want them to be inspired by the example of our friends in Japan who have worked so hard and who have been so brave in rebuilding their lives.  Because in the end it will be up to them, this next generation, to continue that great friendship.  It will be up to them to carry these traditions forward so that one hundred years from now, their children and grandchildren will be able to come here to this very spot and see the tree that we will plant, full grown and in full bloom.

And I hope that on that day, the First Lady –- or the First Gentleman –- of 2112 will also have the privilege of joining with our friends from Japan, and planting another tree which will bloom for yet another one hundred years and beyond.

So with that, I want to once again thank you all for joining us today, and bearing the frigid cold.  If you stick around for one more day, it will be 80 tomorrow, I guarantee you.  (Laughter.)  It’s really nice weather here.  But we are truly honored to have you here, and it’s a pleasure to be able to join in this very special occasion.

And with that, I think it is time for us to plant a tree.  (Applause.)

END
11:27 A.M. EDT

Full Text Legal Buzz March 27, 2012: Day 2 Supreme Court Hears Arguments on the Health Care Law — Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida — Argument Transcripts, Audio Mp3 Download

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Day Two: Updates on the Supreme Court Hearings on the Health Care Law

This artist rendering shows Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. speaking in front of the Supreme Court justices in Washington. | AP Photo

Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida
Docket Number: 11-398-Tuesday
Date Argued: 03/27/12
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Full Text Legal Buzz March 26, 2012: Day 1 Supreme Court Hears Arguments on the Health Care Law — Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida — Argument Transcripts, Audio Mp3 Download

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

Day One: Updates on the Supreme Court Hearings on the Health Care Law

PHOTO: This artist rendering shows attorney Robert A. Long speaks in front of the Supreme Court Justice in Washington, March 26, 2012, as the court began three days of arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama.
This artist rendering shows attorney Robert A. Long speaks in front of the Supreme Court Justice in Washington, March 26, 2012, as the court began three days of arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. (Dana Verkouteren/AP Photo)

Department of Health and Human Services. v. Florida
Docket Number: 11-398-Monday
Date Argued: 03/26/12
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Full Text Obama Presidency March 25-27, 2012: President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security Summit, Seoul, South Korea & Speech Transcripts

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama in South Korea

Source: WH, 3-25-12

Just after midnight on Saturday morning, President Obama boarded Air Force One and departed for a trip to South Korea. After crossing the International Date Line, he arrived in Seoul for a nuclear security summit.

As part of the trip, the President today got a first hand view of North Korea as he toured to the DMZ and met with U.S. troops stationed on the border. He told the servicemen and women, “Everybody back home could not be prouder of what you guys do each and every day — the dedication, the professionalism that you show.”
President Obama views the DMZ (March 25, 2012)
President Barack Obama is briefed by Lt. Col. Ed Taylor as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The President also kicked off the three days of diplomacy with a pair of bilateral meetings — with President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea and Prime Minister Erdogan or Turkey.

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak (March 25, 2012)

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak participate in a press conference at the Blue House in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Discussing the Global Economy and Nuclear Security in Seoul

Source: WH, 3-26-12

The Korean trade agreement will support an estimated 70,000 jobs

Tomorrow, President Obama will head home from South Korea — after a busy three days of diplomatic meetings and discussions of nuclear security.

At a talk today with students at Hankuk University, the President outlined the reasons why he’s made the issue such a major priority:

We’re building an international architecture that can ensure nuclear safety.  But we’re under no illusions. We know that nuclear material, enough for many weapons, is still being stored without adequate protection. And we know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it — as well as radioactive material for a dirty bomb. We know that just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — could kill hundreds of thousands and spark a global crisis. The danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security. And that’s why here in Seoul, we need to keep at it.

This is the President’s third official visit to South Korea, and as he pointed today, he’s been to Seoul more than any other capital. That fact obviously to speaks the strength of the political relationship between our two nations, but it also highlights our growing economic ties.

That’s why President Obama worked so hard to pass the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement — which will help to support an estimated 70,000 jobs in the years ahead and increase U.S. GDP by at least $11 billion due to increased exports of goods.

The economy was also a topic of discussion in a series of bilateral meetings between President Obama and foreign leaders. Today, he held talks with President Hu Jintao of China, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES









 

Full Text Obama Presidency March 26, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Hankuk University, South Korea on Nuclear Weapons & Iran

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama at Hankuk University

Source: WH, 3-26-12

Seoul, Republic of Korea

10:32 A.M. KST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Please, thank you very much.

To President Park, faculty, staff and students, thank you so much for this very warm welcome.  It is a great honor to be here at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Dr. Park for, a few moments ago, making me an honorary alumni of the university.  (Applause.)

I know that this school has one of the world’s finest foreign language programs — which means that your English is much better than my Korean.  (Laughter.)  All I can say is, kamsa hamnida.  (Applause.)

Now, this is my third visit to the Republic of Korea as President.  I’ve now been to Seoul more times than any other capital — except for Washington, D.C.,  of course.  This reflects the extraordinary bonds between our two countries and our commitment to each other.  I’m pleased that we’re joined by so many leaders here today, Koreans and Americans, who help keep us free and strong and prosperous every day.  That includes our first Korean-American ambassador to the Republic of Korea — Ambassador Sung Kim.  (Applause.)

I’ve seen the deep connections between our peoples in my own life — among friends, colleagues.  I’ve seen it so many patriotic Korean Americans, including a man born in this city of Seoul, who came to America and has dedicated his life to lifting up the poor and sick of the world.  And last week I was proud to nominate him to lead the World Bank — Dr. Jim Yong Kim.  (Applause.)

I’ve also seen the bonds in our men and women in uniform, like the American and Korean troops I visited yesterday along the DMZ — Freedom’s Frontier.  And we salute their service and are very grateful for them.  We honor all those who have given their lives in our defense, including the 46 brave souls who perished aboard the Cheonan two years ago today.  And in their memory we reaffirm the enduring promise at the core of our alliance — we stand together, and the commitment of the United States to the defense and the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver.  (Applause.)

Most of all, I see the strength of our alliance in all of you.  For decades, this school has produced leaders — public servants, diplomats, businesspeople — who’ve helped propel the modern miracle that is Korea– transforming it from crushing poverty to one of the world’s most dynamic economies; from authoritarianism to a thriving democracy; from a country focused inward to a leader for security and prosperity not only in this region but also around the world — a truly “Global Korea.”

So to all the students here today, this is the Korea your generation will inherit.  And I believe there’s no limits to what our two nations can achieve together.  For like your parents and grandparents before you, you know that the future is what we make of it.  And you know that in our digital age, we can connect and innovate across borders like never before — with your smart phones and Twitter and Me2Day and Kakao Talk.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s no wonder so many people around the world have caught the Korean Wave, Hallyu.  (Applause.)

Or consider this:  In advance of my visit, our embassy invited Koreans to send us your questions using social media.  Some of you may have sent questions.  And they called it, “Ask President Obama.”  Now, one of you — maybe it was you, maybe it was somebody else — this is true — asked this question:  “Have you posted, yourself, a supportive opinion on a website under a disguised name, pretending you are one of the supporters of President Obama?”  (Laughter.)  I hadn’t thought of this.  (Laughter.)  But the truth is I have not done this.  Maybe my daughters have.  (Laughter.)  But I haven’t done that myself.

So our shared future — and the unprecedented opportunity to meet shared challenges together — is what brings me to Seoul.  Over the next two days, under President Lee’s leadership, we’ll move ahead with the urgent work of preventing nuclear terrorism by securing the world’s nuclear materials.  This is an important part of the broader, comprehensive agenda that I want to talk with you about today — our vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

Three years ago, I traveled to Prague and I declared America’s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and to seeking a world without them.  I said I knew that this goal would not be reached quickly, perhaps not in my lifetime, but I knew we had to begin, with concrete steps.  And in your generation, I see the spirit we need in this endeavor — an optimism that beats in the hearts of so many young people around the world.  It’s that refusal to accept the world as it is, the imagination to see the world as it ought to be, and the courage to turn that vision into reality.  So today, with you, I want to take stock of our journey and chart our next steps.

Here in Seoul, more than 50 nations will mark our progress toward the goal we set at the summit I hosted two years ago in Washington — securing the world’s vulnerable nuclear materials in four years so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists.  And since then, nations — including the United States — have boosted security at nuclear facilities.

South Korea, Japan, Pakistan and others are building new centers to improve nuclear security and training.  Nations like Kazakhstan have moved nuclear materials to more secure locations.  Mexico, and just yesterday Ukraine, have joined the ranks of nations that have removed all the highly enriched uranium from their territory.  All told, thousands of pounds of nuclear material have been removed from vulnerable sites around the world.  This was deadly material that is now secure and can now never be used against a city like Seoul.

We’re also using every tool at our disposal to break up black markets and nuclear material.  Countries like Georgia and Moldova have seized highly enriched uranium from smugglers.  And countries like Jordan are building their own counter-smuggling teams, and we’re tying them together in a global network of intelligence and law enforcement.  Nearly 20 nations have now ratified the treaties and international partnerships that are at the center of our efforts.  And I should add that with the death of Osama bin Laden and the major blows that we’ve struck against al Qaeda, a terrorist organization that has actively sought nuclear weapons is now on the path to defeat.

So in short, the international community has made it harder than ever for terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons, and that has made us all safer.  We’re building an international architecture that can ensure nuclear safety.  But we’re under no illusions.  We know that nuclear material, enough for many weapons, is still being stored without adequate protection.  And we know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it — as well as radioactive material for a dirty bomb.  We know that just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — could kill hundreds of thousands and spark a global crisis.  The danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security.

And that’s why here in Seoul, we need to keep at it.  And I believe we will.  We’re expecting dozens of nations to announce over the next several days that they’ve fulfilled the promises they made two years ago.  And we’re now expecting more commitments — tangible, concrete action — to secure nuclear materials and, in some cases, remove them completely.  This is the serious, sustained global effort that we need, and it’s an example of more nations bearing the responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges.  This is how the international community should work in the 21st century.  And Korea is one of the key leaders in this process.

The United States will continue to do our part — securing our own material and helping others protect theirs.  We’re moving forward with Russia to eliminate enough plutonium for about 17,000 nuclear weapons and turn it instead into electricity.  I can announce today a new agreement by the United States and several European partners toward sustaining the supply of medical isotopes that are used to treat cancer and heart disease without the use of highly enriched uranium.  And we will work with industry and hospitals and research centers in the United States and around the world, to recover thousands of unneeded radiological materials so that they can never do us harm.

Now, American leadership has been essential to progress in a second area — taking concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.  As a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, this is our obligation, and it’s one that I take very seriously.  But I believe the United States has a unique responsibility to act — indeed, we have a moral obligation.  I say this as President of the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons.  I say it as a Commander-in-Chief who knows that our nuclear codes are never far from my side.  Most of all, I say it as a father, who wants my two young daughters to grow up in a world where everything they know and love can’t be instantly wiped out.

Over the past three years, we’ve made important progress.  With Russia, we’re now reducing our arsenal under the New START Treaty — the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly 20 years.  And when we’re done, we will have cut American and Russian deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels since the 1950s.

As President, I changed our nuclear posture to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.  I made it clear that the United States will not develop new nuclear warheads.  And we will not pursue new military missions for nuclear weapons.  We’ve narrowed the range of contingencies under which we would ever use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.  At the same time, I’ve made it clear that so long as nuclear weapons exist, we’ll work with our Congress to maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal that guarantees the defense not only of the United States but also our allies — including South Korea and Japan.

My administration’s nuclear posture recognizes that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited to today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism.  So last summer, I directed my national security team to conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces.  That study is still underway.  But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.  Even after New START, the United States will still have more than 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons, and some 5,000 warheads.

I firmly believe that we can ensure the security of the United States and our allies, maintain a strong deterrent against any threat, and still pursue further reductions in our nuclear arsenal.

Going forward, we’ll continue to seek discussions with Russia on a step we have never taken before — reducing not only our strategic nuclear warheads, but also tactical weapons and warheads in reserve.  I look forward to discussing this agenda with President Putin when we will meet in May.  Missile defense will be on the agenda, but I believe this should be an area of cooperation, not tension.  And I’m confident that, working together, we can continue to make progress and reduce our nuclear stockpiles.  Of course, we’ll consult closely with our allies every step of the way, because the security and defense of our allies, both in Europe and Asia, is not negotiable.

Here in Asia, we’ve urged China — with its growing nuclear arsenal — to join us in a dialogue on nuclear issues.  That offer remains open.  And more broadly, my administration will continue to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  And after years of delay, it’s time to find a path forward on a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons — ends it once and for all.

By working to meet our responsibilities as a nuclear power, we’ve made progress in a third area — strengthening the global regime that prevents the spread of nuclear weapons.  When I came into office, the cornerstone of the world’s effort — which is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — was fraying.  Iran had started spinning thousands of centrifuges.  North Korea conducted another nuclear test.  And the international community was largely divided on how to respond.

Over the past three years, we have begun to reverse that dynamic.  Working with others, we’ve enhanced the global partnership that prevent proliferation.  The International Atomic Energy Agency is now conducting the strongest inspections ever.  And we’ve upheld the basic bargain of the NPT:  Countries with nuclear weapons, like the United States and Russia, will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can have access to peaceful nuclear energy.

Because of these efforts, the international community is more united and nations that attempt to flout their obligations are more isolated.  Of course, that includes North Korea.

Here in Korea, I want to speak directly to the leaders in Pyongyang.  The United States has no hostile intent toward your country.  We are committed to peace.  And we are prepared to take steps to improve relations, which is why we have offered nutritional aid to North Korean mothers and children.

But by now it should be clear, your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek; they have undermined it.  Instead of the dignity you desire, you’re more isolated.  Instead of earning the respect of the world, you’ve been met with strong sanctions and condemnation.  You can continue down the road you are on, but we know where that leads.  It leads to more of the same — more broken dreams, more isolation, ever more distance between the people of North Korea and the dignity and the opportunity that they deserve.

And know this:  There will be no rewards for provocations.  Those days are over.  To the leaders of Pyongyang I say, this is the choice before you.  This is the decision that you must make.  Today we say, Pyongyang, have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea.  (Applause.)

This same principle applies with respect to Iran.  Under the NPT, Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear energy.  In fact, time and again the international community — including the United States — has offered to help Iran develop nuclear energy peacefully.  But time and again Iran has refused, instead taking the path of denial, deceit and deception.  And that is why Iran also stands alone, as the only member of the NPT unable to convince the international community that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes — the only member.  That’s why the world has imposed unprecedented sanctions, slowing Iran’s nuclear program.

The international community is now poised to enter talks with Iran’s leaders.  Once again, there is the possibility of a diplomatic resolution that gives Iran access to peaceful nuclear energy while addressing the concerns of the international community.  Today, I’ll meet with the leaders of Russia and China as we work to achieve a resolution in which Iran fulfills its obligations.

There is time to solve this diplomatically.  It is always my preference to solve these issues diplomatically.  But time is short.  Iran’s leaders must understand they, too, face a choice. Iran must act with the seriousness and sense of urgency  that this moment demands.  Iran must meet its obligations.

For the global response to Iran and North Korea’s intransigence, a new international norm is emerging:  Treaties are binding; rules will be enforced; and violations will have consequences.  We refuse to consign ourselves to a future where more and more regimes possess the world’s most deadly weapons.

And this brings me to the final area where we’ve made progress — a renewed commitment to harnessing the power of the atom not for war, but for peaceful purposes.  After the tragedy at Fukushima, it was right and appropriate that nations moved to improve the safety and security of nuclear facilities.  We’re doing so in the United States.  It’s taking place all across the world.

As we do, let’s never forget the astonishing benefits that nuclear technology has brought to our lives.  Nuclear technology helps make our food safe.  It prevents disease in the developing world.  It’s the high-tech medicine that treats cancer and finds new cures.  And, of course, it’s the energy — the clean energy that helps cut the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.  Here in South Korea, as you know, as a leader in nuclear energy, you’ve shown the progress and prosperity that can be achieved when nations embrace peaceful nuclear energy and reject the development of nuclear arms.

And with rising oil prices and a warming climate, nuclear energy will only become more important.  That’s why, in the United States, we’ve restarted our nuclear industry as part of a comprehensive strategy to develop every energy source.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.  We’re investing in innovative technologies so we can build the next generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants.  And we’re training the next generation of scientists and engineers who are going to unlock new technologies to carry us forward.

One of the great challenges they’ll face and that your generation will face is the fuel cycle itself in producing nuclear energy.  We all know the problem:  The very process that gives us nuclear energy can also put nations and terrorists within the reach of nuclear weapons.  We simply can’t go on accumulating huge amounts of the very material, like separated plutonium, that we’re trying to keep away from terrorists.

And that’s why we’re creating new fuel banks, to help countries realize the energy they seek without increasing the nuclear dangers that we fear.  That’s why I’ve called for a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation.  We need an international commitment to unlocking the fuel cycle of the future.  In the United States we’re investing in the research and development of new fuel cycles so that dangerous materials can’t be stolen or diverted.  And today I urge nations to join us in seeking a future where we harness the awesome power of the atom to build and not to destroy.

In this sense, we see how the efforts I’ve described today reinforce each other.  When we enhance nuclear security, we’re in a stronger position to harness safe, clean nuclear energy.  When we develop new, safer approaches to nuclear energy, we reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and proliferation.  When nations, including my own, fulfill our responsibilities, it strengthens our ability to ensure that other nations fulfill their responsibilities.  And step by step, we come closer to the security and peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

I know that there are those who deride our vision.  There are those who say ours is an impossible goal that will be forever out of reach.  But to anyone who doubts the great progress that is possible, I tell them, come to Korea.  Come to this country, which rose from the ashes of war — (applause) — a country that rose from the ashes of war, turning rubble into gleaming cities.  Stand where I stood yesterday, along a border that is the world’s clearest contrast between a country committed to progress, a country committed to its people, and a country that leaves its own citizens to starve.

Come to this great university, where a new generation is taking its place in the world — (applause) — helping to create opportunities that your parents and grandparents could only imagine.  Come and see some of the courageous individuals who join us today — men and women, young and old, born in the North, but who left all they knew behind and risked their lives to find freedom and opportunity here in the South.  In your life stories we see the truth — Koreans are one people.  And if just given the chance, if given their freedom, Koreans in the North are capable of great progress as well.  (Applause.)

Looking out across the DMZ yesterday, but also looking into your eyes today, I’m reminded of another country’s experience that speaks to the change that is possible in our world.  After a terrible war, a proud people was divided.  Across a fortified border, armies massed, ready for war.  For decades, it was hard to imagine a different future.  But the forces of history and hopes of man could not be denied.  And today, the people of Germany are whole again — united and free.

No two places follow the same path, but this much is true:  The currents of history cannot be held back forever.  The deep longing for freedom and dignity will not go away.  (Applause.) So, too, on this divided peninsula.  The day all Koreans yearn for will not come easily or without great sacrifice.  But make no mistake, it will come.  (Applause.)  And when it does, change will unfold that once seemed impossible.  And checkpoints will open and watchtowers will stand empty, and families long separated will finally be reunited.  And the Korean people, at long last, will be whole and free.

Like our vision of a world without nuclear weapons, our vision of a Korea that stands as one may not be reached quickly.  But from this day until then, and all the days that follow, we take comfort in knowing that the security we seek, the peace we want, is closer at hand because of the great alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea — (applause) — and because we stand for the dignity and freedom of all Koreans.  (Applause.)  And no matter the test, no matter the trial, we stand together.  We work together.  We go together.  (Applause.)
Katchi kapshida!

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
11:03 A.M. KST

Campaign Buzz March 24, 2012: Rick Santorum Wins Louisiana GOP / Republican Presidential Primary — 11th Win and 3rd Southern State Win

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Rick Santorum hands back an autographed campaign flyer at a rally in Shreveport, La. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: RICK SANTORUM WINS LOUISIANA GOP / REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY — THIRD SOUTHERN STATE WIN

Rick Santorum wins Republican primary in Louisiana: Rick Santorum has won the Republican primary in Louisiana, the latest Southern state under his belt after wins in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

But rival Mitt Romney already has a growing, if not insurmountable, delegate lead over Santorum…. – WaPo, 3-24-12

“The people of Louisiana sent a loud and clear message: This race is long, and far from over.” — Rick Santorum

“We’re very excited about the win. … This race proves that this thing has some legs. This is a momentum shift for us. I think the tide is turning.” — Rick Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley on MSNBC

  • Santorum wins Louisiana Republican primary: CNN: Rick Santorum won the Louisiana Republican primary on Saturday, CNN projected based on exit polls, adding an 11th state to his total but still trailing Mitt Romney by a wide margin in the national delegate count…. – Reuters, 3-24-12
  • Santorum beats Romney in Louisiana: Rick Santorum won the Louisiana Republican presidential primary Saturday, beating front-runner Mitt Romney in yet another conservative Southern state.

    Although the victory gives Santorum bragging rights, it does not change the overall dynamics of the race; the former Pennsylvania senator still dramatically lags behind Romney in the hunt for delegates to the GOP’s summertime nominating convention…. – AP, 3-24-12

  • Lousiana primary results: Rick Santorum wins: Rick Santorum picked up another win on Saturday in Louisiana, but the victory won’t significantly change the delegate advantage held by Mitt Romney in the GOP nominating contest.

    The Associated Press called the race for Santorum within minutes of the polls closing, after exit polls indicated he held a comfortable lead. Romney placed second and Gingrich third with a small percentage of precincts reporting.

    With the results pretty much set before voting began, the field of GOP hopefuls had already shifted its attention to future contests. Santorum and Gingrich spent Saturday in Pennsylvania, and Santorum went on to Wisconsin. Romney took a break from the trail this weekend and will resume campaigning Monday in southern California…. – Politico, 3-24-12

  • Santorum wins Louisiana GOP primary: Rick Santorum won Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary Saturday, but his victory seemed unlikely to change the trajectory of the race, in which Mitt Romney remains the prohibitive favorite.

    Louisiana was Santorum’s third Southern state win this month — he also won Alabama and Mississippi primaries March 13 — and Newt Gingrich’s third loss in the region that he had made the focus of his campaign…. – USA Today, 3-24-12

  • Santorum Projected Winner of Louisiana Primary: Rick Santorum was projected as the winner of the Louisiana Republican primary Saturday night, capturing a deeply conservative state with a hefty portion of the kind of evangelical Christian voters who have helped him claim victories in 10 other states.

    The Associated Press projected Mr. Santorum as the winner shortly after the polls closed. The victory gives Mr. Santorum a much-needed psychological boost but it will be unlikely to change the dynamics of the race. Only 20 delegates were up for grabs on Saturday, with 26 more to be allocated later. Even if Mr. Santorum were to claim most of them, he would still have only half the delegates that Mitt Romney, his chief rival, has already accumulated…. – NYT, 3-24-12

  • Rick Santorum wins Louisiana primary: Rick Santorum has won the Louisiana Republican primary, giving his campaign a boost as front-runner Mitt Romney seeks to wind down the nominating process. The Associated Press declared the former senator from Pennsylvania the … – LAT, 3-24-12
  • Santorum strong across board in LA GOP primary, dominates with conservatives: Preliminary results of an exit poll of voters in Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary show Rick Santorum winning with his most dominant performance yet this year among conservatives and blue-collar voters and getting robust support … – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Santorum adds delegates with win in Louisiana primary; haul limited by proportional rule: Rick Santorum picked up at least eight convention delegates by winning the Republican presidential primary in Louisiana. Santorum’s haul was limited by Louisiana’s rules for awarding delegates. The state has a total of 46 delegates to the … – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Santorum wins Louisiana primary, renews his campaign to catch Romney: Rick Santorum is the winner of the Louisiana Republican presidential primary, defeating GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in yet another conservative Southern state. Santorum is Romney’s chief challenger and a former Pennsylvania senator who … – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Enthusiastic backers lift Santorum in Louisiana: Early results from exit polls of Louisiana Republican voters show Rick Santorum carried the state with a broad base of enthusiastic supporters and his widest margins of the campaign over Mitt Romney among the conservatives and evangelicals who have lifted his campaign across the South…. – AP, 3-24-12
  • Louisiana votes in GOP primary Saturday: Republicans went to the polls Saturday in Louisiana to vote in a primary poised to give a boost to Rick Santorum, but also add to Mitt Romney’s growing, if not insurmountable delegate lead in the race for the GOP nomination…. – WaPo, 3-24-12
  • Exit poll of LA GOP presidential voters shows few consider Etch A Sketch flap: Few voters in Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary said they were influenced by a comment by a Mitt Romney aide likening his campaign’s tactics to an Etch A Sketch toy, even though it was one of the week’s big political stories…. – NYT, 3-24-12
  • Voter Turnout Appears Light in Louisiana Primary: As Louisiana became the 28th state to head to the polls in a drawn-out Republican presidential race, turnout appeared very light at several sites around New Orleans, a combination perhaps of campaign fatigue and the competition of a … – NYT, 3-24-12
  • GOP Campaign Could End Soon — But Not in Louisiana: Rick Santorum is likely to win the Louisiana Republican primary on Saturday. He has had a clear and fairly consistent lead of about 14 percentage points in recent polls there. Moreover, Lousiana’s demographics are favorable to Mr. Santorum…. – NYT, 3-24-12
  • Will a Santorum win in Louisiana change GOP race?: Registered Republicans voted Saturday in Louisiana’s primary while Rick Santorum, heavily favored to win there, and Newt Gingrich assailed President Barack Obama’s energy policies and Mitt Romney’s … – CNN, 3-24-12
  • Five scenarios that could finally settle the GOP race: Are we there yet? Not quite. Mitt Romney’s two steps forward, one flub back campaign continues its tantalizing progress toward a total victory that always seems just ahead…. – USA Today, 3-24-12
  • Voters head to polls in Louisiana: Despite clear blue skies and one of the most closely watched Republican primaries in Louisiana history, voting here Saturday morning was thin and sporadic…. – USA Today, 3-24-12

Political Buzz March 24, 2012: Former Vice President Dick Cheney Recovering After Heart Transplant Surgery

POLITICAL 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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

POLITICAL HEADLINE NEWS:

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Former Vice President Dick Cheney in February 2011.

IN FOCUS: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY RECOVERING AFTER HEART TRANSPLANT SURGERY

Aide: Former Vice President Dick Cheney recovering from heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering at a Virginia hospital after a heart transplant, AP reports.
Cheney was on the transplant waiting list for more than 20 months. He suffered his fifth heart attack in 2010…. – WaPo, 3-24-12

  • Cheney recovering after heart transplant: Former vice president Dick Cheney, a 71-year-old with a long history of cardiovascular problems, had a heart transplant Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital. Not even Cheney knows the donor’s identity.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was complete. She said the ex-vice president, who has suffered five heart attacks over the years, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement.
    Former president George W. Bush was in touch with the Cheney family Saturday, spokesman Freddy Ford said. “He and Mrs. Bush are thrilled that the surgery went well, and they are keeping VP Cheney in their prayers for a full and speedy recovery,” Ford said…. – USA Today, 3-24-12
  • Aide says Cheney had heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday, after five heart attacks over the past 25 years and countless medical procedures to keep him going. Cheney, 71, waited nearly two years for his new heart, the gift of an unknown donor.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was over, and said the ex-vice president was recovering at a Virginia hospital.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician’s close associates.
    Cheney was recovering Saturday night at the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after surgery earlier in the day…. – AP, 3-24-12
  • Cheney Recovering After Getting a New Heart: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday after 20 months on a waiting list, and was recovering in a Virginia hospital, a statement from his office said.
    Mr. Cheney, 71, who has suffered five heart attacks and was in end-stage heart failure, was recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” said the statement from an aide, Kara Ahern. Mr. Cheney and his family thanked doctors and staff at that hospital and at George Washington University Hospital in Washington for “their continued outstanding care,” the statement said…. – NYT, 3-25-12
  • Dick Cheney receives heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant on Saturday, his office announced. A statement from the former vice president’s office said Cheney is now recovering in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax … – CBS News, 3-24-12
  • Cheney recovering from heart transplant surgery: Former GOP Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering from heart transplant surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia, a spokeswoman said Saturday evening. In 2010, Cheney had a left ventricular assist device implanted for treatment of … – Fox News, 3-24-12
  • Dick Cheney undergoes heart transplant surgery: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering Saturday evening after undergoing heart transplant surgery, his office said. Cheney, 71, was recovering at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia…. – CNN, 3-24-12
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney has heart transplant: The 71-year-old has a long history of heart ailments and had been on a waiting list for more than 20 months. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has received a heart transplant in Virginia after more than 20 months on a waiting list…. – LAT, 3-24-12
  • Cheney gets heart transplant, in intensive care: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering on Saturday after undergoing heart transplant surgery, a once risky procedure whose survival rates have improved over the years. The 71-year-old Republican…. – Reuters, 3-24-12

Full Text Obama Presidency March 24, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges House to Pass Bipartisan Transportation Bill

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama calls on the House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that would repair crumbling roads and bridges, and support construction jobs in communities all across America

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 3/23/12

Weekly Address: President Obama Says House Must Pass Bipartisan Transportation Bill

Source: WH, 3-24-12

President Obama is calling on the House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that would repair crumbling roads and bridges and support construction jobs in communities all across America. According to a new report, 90 percent of these construction jobs are middle class jobs. The Senate passed the bill with the support of Democrats and Republicans because if the bill stalls in Congress then constructions sites will go idle, workers will have to go home, and our economy will take a hit.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Says House Must Pass Bipartisan Transportation Bill

WASHINGTON, DC—In this week’s address, President Obama called on the House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that would repair crumbling roads and bridges and support construction jobs in communities all across America.  According to a new report, 90 percent of these construction jobs are middle class jobs. The Senate passed the bill with the support of Democrats and Republicans because if the bill stalls in Congress then constructions sites will go idle, workers will have to go home, and our economy will take a hit.  The President calls on everyone to tell their elected officials to pass a long-term transportation bill that will support American construction workers and our economy.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday March 24, 2012

Hello.  This week, I traveled across the country to talk about my all-of-the-above energy strategy for America – a strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient cars; more solar power and wind power and other sources of clean, renewable energy.

Now, you wouldn’t know it by listening to some of the folks running for office today, but producing more oil at home has been, and will continue to be, a key part of my energy strategy.  Under my Administration, we’re producing more oil than at any other time in the last eight years.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  And we’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some.  Those are the facts.

But as I’ve been saying all week, even though America uses around 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have around 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  So even if we drilled everywhere, we’d still be relying on other countries for oil.

That’s why we’re pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy.  We’re producing more biofuels.  More fuel-efficient cars.  More solar power.  More wind power.  This week, I was in Boulder City, Nevada, where they’ve got the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  That’s the future.  I was at Ohio State University, where they’ve developed the fastest electric car in the world.  That’s the future.  I don’t want to cede these clean energy industries to China or Germany or any other country.  I want to see solar panels and wind turbines and fuel-efficient cars manufactured right here in America, by American workers.

Now, getting these clean energy industries to locate here requires us to maintain a national commitment to new research and development.  But it also requires us to build world-class transportation and communications networks, so that any company can move goods and sell products all around the world as quickly and efficiently as possible.
So much of America needs to be rebuilt right now.  We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges.  A power grid that wastes too much energy.  An incomplete high-speed broadband network.  And we’ve got thousands of unemployed construction workers who’ve been looking for a job ever since the housing market collapsed.

But once again, we’re waiting on Congress.  You see, in a matter of days, funding will stop for all sorts of transportation projects.  Construction sites will go idle.  Workers will have to go home.  And our economy will take a hit.

This Congress cannot let that happen.  Not at a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward.  The Senate did their part.  They passed a bipartisan transportation bill.  It had the support of 52 Democrats and 22 Republicans.  Now it’s up to the House to follow suit; to put aside partisan posturing, end the gridlock, and do what’s right for the American people.

This is common sense.  Right now, all across this country, we’ve got contractors and construction workers who have never been more eager to get back on the job.  A long term transportation bill would put them to work.  And those are good jobs.  We just released a report that shows nearly 90 percent of the construction, manufacturing and trade jobs created through investments in transportation projects are middle class jobs.  Those are exactly the jobs we need right now, and they’ll make the economy stronger for everybody.

We’ve done this before.  During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways.  Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.

So tell Congress that if we invest in new technology and new energy; in new roads and bridges and construction projects, we can keep growing our economy, put our people back to work, and remind the world why the United States is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 23, 2012: President Barack Obama Nominates Dartmouth College President Dr. Jim Yong Kim to Head World Bank

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Nominates Dartmouth College President to Lead World Bank

Source: WH, 3-23-12

President Barack Obama announces Dr. Jim Yong Kim as his nominee to head the World Bank (March 23, 2012)
President Barack Obama announces Dr. Jim Yong Kim, second from left, as his nominee to head the World Bank, during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 23, 2012. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also attended the announcement. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Herbert)

This morning, President Obama named Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a global health and development expert, as his choice to head the World Bank. Dr. Kim is the president of Dartmouth College and a co-founder of Partners In Health.

In announcing his decision, President Obama talked about the World Bank’s capacity for improving the lives of real people all over the world:

[Despite] its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries on the planet. And in a world that is growing smaller and more connected every day, that’s a critical mission -– not just for those who are struggling, but for all of us.

Dr. Kim has worked as both an anthropologist and a physician in communities from Asia to Africa to the Americas. He’s the former head of a World Health Organization team that worked to treat 3 million patients with HIV/AIDS.

The bank will select its new president before its spring meeting in April.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on the Nomination of Dr. Jim Kim for World Bank President

The Rose Garden

10:09 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.

In February, Bob Zoellick, the current President of the World Bank, announced that he would be stepping down at the end of his term in June.  Bob has been a strong and effective leader at the bank for the last five years, and when he told me about his plans, I immediately began to search for someone to fill his shoes.

Now, despite its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank.  It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living in some of the poorest countries on the planet.  And in a world that is growing smaller and more connected every day, that’s a critical mission -– not just for those who are struggling, but for all of us.

When we reduce hunger in the world, or help a farmer recover from a flood or a drought, it strengthens the entire world economy.  When we put an end to a preventable disease, all of us are safer because of it.  When an entrepreneur can start a new business, it creates jobs in their country, but also opens up new markets for our country.  And ultimately, when a nation goes from poverty to prosperity, it makes the world stronger and more secure for everybody.

That’s why the World Bank is so important.  And that’s why the leader of the World Bank should have a deep understanding of both the role that development plays in the world, and the importance of creating conditions where assistance is no longer needed.

I believe that nobody is more qualified to carry out that mission than Dr. Jim Kim.  It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.  And that’s why today, after a careful and thorough search, I am nominating Dr. Jim Kim to be the next president of the World Bank.

Jim has spent more than two decades working to improve conditions in developing countries around the world.  As a physician and an anthropologist, he co-founded Partners in Health, and led a World Health Organization campaign to treat 3 million patients with HIV/AIDS.  I have made HIV/AIDS and the fight against that dreaded disease and the promotion of public health a cornerstone of my development agenda, building on some of the outstanding work that was done by President Bush.

We pursue these efforts around the globe because it’s the right thing to do, and also because healthy populations enable growth and prosperity.  And I’m pleased that Jim brings this particular experience with him to his new job.

Jim was also the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He has earned a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.  And for the last three years, he has served as the president of Dartmouth College.

I should also mention that, after immigrating to this country from Korea at age five, Jim went on to become the president of his high school class, the quarterback of the football team, the point guard of the basketball team.  I just found out he is a five handicap in golf.  I’m a little resentful about that last item.  (Laughter.)  But he does it all.

Jim has truly global experience.  He’s worked from Asia to Africa to the Americas — from capitals to small villages.  His personal story exemplifies the great diversity of our country and the fact that anyone can make it as far as he has as long as they’re willing to work hard and look out for others.  And his experience makes him ideally suited to forge partnerships all around the world.

So I could not be more pleased to nominate Jim for this job, and I think I can speak for Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner when I say that we are looking forward to working with him.

And I also want to take a minute to thank Bob Zoellick once again for all his hard work.  Over the last five years, Bob has made the bank more transparent, he has helped shore up progress made in places like Afghanistan.  He’s raised billions of dollars to help some of the world’s poorest communities.

Jim is the right person to carry on that legacy, and I know his unique set of skills and years of experience will serve him well.  So I’m grateful to Jim for his willingness to serve.  I do not think that the World Bank could have a better leader.  So, thank you.

DR. KIM:  Mr. President, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

DR. KIM:  Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re going to do great.  Thank you.  All right?

Q    Mr. President, may I ask you about this current case in Florida, very controversial, allegations of lingering racism within our society — the so-called do not — I’m sorry — Stand Your Ground law and the justice in that?  Can you comment on the Trayvon Martin case, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m the head of the executive branch, and the Attorney General reports to me so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.

But obviously, this is a tragedy.  I can only imagine what these parents are going through.  And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.  And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.

So I’m glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what’s taking place.  I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen.  And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.

But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin.  If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.  And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

Thank you.

END
10:15 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Made Energy at Ohio State University

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY
& THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama and the Buckeye Bullet

Source: WH, 3-23-12
President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet (March 22, 2012)

President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet, a high speed electric land speed race car, during a tour of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, March 22, 2012. An earlier version of the Buckeye Bullet holds the U.S. electric land speed record at 314.958 mph. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Ohio State University in Columbus was President Obama’s final stop on this week’s energy tour. It’s home to the Center for Automotive Research, a hotbed of innovation in the fields of energy production and advanced vehicles.

There, President Obama had a chance to see the Buckeye Bullet — an electric car that has already traveled at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour. Engineers at the school told him that they’re now aiming to design the vehicle so that it’s capable of going more than 400 miles per hour.

Today, Buckeye Bullet is already the fastest electric car in the world, and at OSU, they’re aiming to make it even faster. President Obama said that kind of ingenuity is “essential to American leadership.”

He told the Columbus crowd:

[As] long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments. I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments. I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America. By American workers. That’s the future we want.

As for the Buckeye Bullet, the President also promised that his daughter Malia, who will turn16 in a couple of years, will never drive 300 miles per hour, despite the vehicle’s impressive success.


Learn more:

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

4:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Buckeyes!  (Applause.)  Yes.  It is good to be back at The Ohio State University.  (Applause.)  I want to thank —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I am thrilled to be here.  I want to thank a couple of people.  First of all, the outstanding Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is here.  (Applause.)  I want to thank OSU Provost Joe Alutto.  (Applause.)

And I just got this extraordinary tour from Giorgio Rizzoni, who’s the director of the Center for Automotive Research.  So give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, let’s face it, a presidential visit isn’t even close to being the biggest thing this weekend on campus.  (Laughter.)  And despite what Vijay said, I did have the Buckeyes heading to the Final Four.  (Applause.)  I’m just saying.  I think Selinger is going to have a big game tonight.  (Applause.)  And I promise you I didn’t do it because I knew I was coming here — because I am cold-blooded when it comes to filling out my brackets.  (Laughter.)  So I genuinely think you guys are looking good.

And by the way, I just read somewhere that one in every four teams in the Sweet 16 is from Ohio.  (Applause.)  You’ve got Ohio State, Ohio University, Xavier — (applause) — Xavier is in — Cincinnati.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not going to get in the middle of this. (Laughter.)  I do want to just say no state has ever done this before.  So it’s a testimony to Ohio basketball.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank Vijay for the outstanding introduction  — very much appreciate that.

Now, this is our last stop on a trip where we’ve been talking about an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America — a strategy where we produce more oil, produce more gas, but also produce more American biofuels and more fuel-efficient cars, more solar power, more wind power, more power from the oceans, more clean and renewable energy.  (Applause.)  More clean and renewable energy.

You know what I’m talking about here, because this school is a national leader in developing new sources of energy and advanced vehicles that use a lot less energy.

I just had a chance to take a tour of the Center for Automotive Research.  Now, I admit the best part of it was seeing the Buckeye Bullet, which has gone over 300 miles an hour and is now shooting for 400 miles an hour.  (Applause.)  And I asked the guys who were helping to design this whether mom was going to let them actually test-drive this thing, and the answer was no.  (Laughter.)  Only professional drivers are permitted.

But for anybody who’s not familiar with this, the Buckeye Bullet is the fastest electric car in the world.  (Applause.)  The fastest in the world.  I don’t know who’s going to need to go that fast.  (Laughter.)  But it is a testament to the ingenuity here at Ohio State and what is essential to American leadership when it comes to energy — our brain power.

I will say, though, when Malia gets her license in a few years, she will not be allowed to go 300 miles an hour.  (Laughter.)

Now, one of the reasons that I’ve been talking so much about fuel-efficient cars and new sources of energy is obviously because we’re seeing another spike in gas prices right now.  And that’s tough on folks.  I remember when I was a student, filling up was always tough.  And gas prices are putting pressure not just on students but on a lot of families all across Ohio, all across the country.  Whether you’re trying to get to school, go to work, go grocery shopping, dropping off your kids, you’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank.  Right now, for most people you don’t have a choice.

So when prices spike, that tax hike feels like a — or that gas spike feels like a tax hike coming right out of your pocket. That’s part of the reason that we passed a payroll tax cut at the beginning of this year –- so that the average American would get an extra $40 in every paycheck to help offset the price of gas.  (Applause.)  So that’s going to offer some relief.

But the bigger question is how do we make sure that these spikes in gas prices don’t keep on happening — because we’ve seen this movie before.  This happens just about every year.  This happened this time last year.  Gas prices were even higher in the spring and summer of 2008.  It has been going on for years, for decades.

And every time prices start to go up — especially during an election year — politicians, they start dusting off their 3-point plan for $2.00 gas.  (Laughter.)  Although this year, they decided it was going to be $2.50.  (Laughter.)  This year they decided it was going to be $2.50.  Now, I don’t know where they pick that number, $2.50.  Because it could have been $2.40, I guess.  They could have said $2.10.  They could have said 50 cents a gallon.  But they all make the same promise.  They head down to the gas station and they make sure a few cameras are following them, and then they tell you how we’re going to have cheap gas forever if you just vote for them.  And it has been the same script for 30 years — the same thing.  It has been like a bad rerun.

And when you ask them, what specifically is your — (audience interruption.)

Sir, I’m here to speak to these folks.  You can hold your own rally.  (Applause.)  You’re being rude.  Sir, we’re trying to talk to these people.  (Applause.)  I’ll be happy to read your book — if you want to give me your book, I’ll be happy to read it.  But don’t interrupt my conversation with these folks, all right?  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  I’ll be happy to take your book.  But don’t interrupt everybody else.  All right?  Okay.

Now, where was I?  (Laughter.)  Go ahead and get that book from him, guys.  He wants to give me a book.  Please feel free to grab it.  You’re touting this book — make sure that you’ve given it to us.

All right, now that we’ve gotten that settled.  (Laughter.) Now, the question is, why is it that every year we hear the same story about how we’re going to have $2 gas, or $1.50 gas, or whatever price they come up with, if we would just drill for more oil?  That’s the solution that you always here.  Prices will immediately come down and all our problems will go away — like magic.

There are two problems with that.  First of all, we have been drilling.  We’re drilling right now.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years — at any time.  (Applause.)  That’s a fact.  Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration. That’s a fact.  (Applause.)  Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of potential oil resources.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.

I just visited New Mexico.  Their big problem is they don’t have enough truck drivers to transport all the oil that they are producing.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some.  I just visited one of those new pipelines in Oklahoma, and today I directed my administration to make sure that we cut the red tape in terms of reducing some of these bottlenecks.

So the problem is not that we’re not drilling, or that we’re not producing more oil.  We are producing more oil than any time in the last eight years.  That’s not the problem.  There are probably a few spots where we’re not drilling, it’s true.  I’m not drilling in the South Lawn.  (Laughter.)  We’re not drilling next to the Washington Monument.  We’re not drilling in Ohio Stadium.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So there are some spots out there that we are not drilling.  But we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people, and protects America’s incredible bounty that God gave us — our resources.  (Applause.)

So that’s point number one.  But the second issue, which, because we got a lot of young people, you guys understand, is that a strategy that relies only on drilling defies the fact that America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  So we use 20 percent; we have 2 percent.  Who’s a math major here?  (Laughter.)  All right.  If I’m not mistaken, that leaves us about 18 percent short.  (Laughter.)

We can’t simply drill our way out of the problem.  Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’re going to be relying on other countries for oil.  (Applause.)  Does anybody here think that’s a good strategy?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Of course, it isn’t.  We shouldn’t have to pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main reason gas prices are going up right now. (Applause.)  We should not be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.  This is America.  We control our own destiny. We forge our own future.  And I will not accept an energy strategy that traps us in the past.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to do it.

So as long as I’m President, America is going to be pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  Yes, we’ll develop as much oil and gas as we can, in a safe way, but we’re also going to develop wind power, and solar power, and advanced biofuels.  (Applause.)  We can build the next-generation nuclear reactors that are smaller and safer and cleaner and cheaper, but we’ve got to also look at renewable energy as the key to our future.  And we’ve got to build cars and trucks that get more miles to the gallon.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to build homes and businesses that waste less energy, and put consumers in control of their energy bills.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And we’ll do it by harnessing the same type of American ingenuity and imagination that’s on display right here at Ohio State.  (Applause.)  Right here at Ohio State.

So already we’ve made progress.  After decades of inaction, we raised fuel-economy standards, so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what we get today.  (Applause.)  That means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week.  (Applause.)  You like that?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  That will save the average family about $8,000 at the pump over the life of a car, which is real money.  To use even less oil, we’re going to have to keep investing in clean, renewable, homegrown biofuels.  And already we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks, even to Navy ships.  And the more we rely on these homegrown fuels, the less oil we buy from other countries and the more jobs we create right here in America.  (Applause.)

We also need to keep investing in clean energy like wind power and solar power.  I just visited the biggest American solar plant of its kind, in Boulder City, Nevada.  It’s powering thousands of homes.  It put hundreds of local people at work.  There are thousands of companies like that all across America.  And today, thousands of Americans have jobs because of public investments that have nearly doubled the use of clean energy in this country.

And as long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments.  I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments.  I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America.  (Applause.)  By American workers.  That’s the future we want.

So all these steps, all these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence.   Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  (Applause.)  In 2010, our oil dependence was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  (Applause.)  Even as the economy was growing, we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of oil that we have to import because we’re being smarter; we’re doing things better.

But now we’ve got a choice.  We can keep moving in that direction — we can keep developing new energy and new technology that uses less oil — or we can listen to these folks who actually believe that the only thing we can do is drill our way out of this problem.  In fact, they make fun of clean energy.  They call the jobs produced by them “phony” jobs.  They make jokes about them at their rallies.

Lately, we’ve heard a lot of politicians, a lot of folks who are running for a certain office –- (laughter) — they shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  I guess they like gas-guzzlers because they’re against raising fuel standards.  Imagine if these guys had been around when Columbus set sail.  They’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter and applause.)  They don’t ask what we can do; they explain what we can’t do, and why we can’t do it.

And the point is there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing the same things the same way that we’ve always done them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Then we wouldn’t have a black President, but we do!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s true.  (Applause.)

They want to double down on the same ideas that got us exactly into this mess that we’ve been in and we’ve been digging our way out of.  That’s not who we are as Americans.

We’ve always succeeded because we refused to stand still.  We put faith in the future.  We are inventors.  We are builders.  We’re makers of things.  We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and Steve Jobs.  By the way, the Wright Brothers were from Ohio.  (Applause.)  Just want to point that out.  But that’s who we are.  That’s who we need to be right now.  We can’t be afraid of the future.  (Applause.)

The flat Earth crowd, they’ve got a different view.  They would rather give $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies this year than to invest in clean energy.  Four billion dollars to an industry that’s making record profits because of what you’re paying at the gas station.  Does anybody think that they need help, that they don’t have enough incentive to drill for oil?  Does anybody think that’s a wise use of your tax dollars?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We have been subsidizing oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  (Applause.)  It is time to stop a taxpayer giveaway to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and start making investments in a clean energy industry that has never been more promising.

And when Congress votes on this, you guys should put some pressure on to tell them, do the right thing.  Bet on our future, not on our past.  (Applause.)  Put them on record:  They can either stand with the oil industry, or they can stand with the American people.  They can place their bets on the energy of the past, or place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American technology, American ingenuity, American-made energy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Our children.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Our children.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

And, Ohio, we know the direction that we’ve got to go in.  Ending these oil subsidies won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow. Even if we drilled every inch of America, that won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow.  But if we’re tired of watching gas prices spike every single year, if we’re tired of being caught in this position, knowing that China and India are growing — China had 10 million cars purchased in 2010 alone.  You’ve got a billion people, two billion people out there, who are interested in buying cars — which means that unless we develop alternatives, oil prices are going to keep on going up.

I don’t want folks in the Middle East taking your money out of your pocket because we did not develop the kind of strategies that will sustain our future and our independence.  (Applause.)

So I need all of you guys to make your voices heard.  Get on the phone.  Write and email.  Send a tweet.  Let your members of Congress know where you stand.  Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them that we can win this fight.  Tell them:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  We can build an economy that lasts.  We can make this another American Century.  We can remind the entire world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
4:46 P.M. EDT

White House Recap March 16-22, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Embarked on Four State Energy Tour — Celebrated St Patrick’s Day

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: MARCH 16-22, 2012

West Wing Week: 3/22/12 or “Slainte!”

West Wing Week

Source: WH, 3-22-12

This week, the President celebrated his fourth St Patrick’s Day in the White House and hosted the Irish Prime Minister, marked Nowruz with a video address, then embarked on a four state energy tour.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Expediting Approval of the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline’s Southern End from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas in Cushing, Oklahoma

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks in Cushing

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard near Cushing, Okla., March 22, 2012. The President highlighted the Administration’s commitment to expanding domestic oil and gas production. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

Obama expediting southern Keystone oil pipeline

Source: USA Today, 3-22-12

President Obama said today he is expediting approval of the southern end of the Keystone XL oil pipeline — from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas — and he criticized Republicans for turning an energy and environmental issue into a political one.

“The southern leg of it, we’re making a priority,” Obama told workers during an 11-minute speech in Cushing, Okla., the terminus of the pipeline project.

House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans called Obama’s permit announcement meaningless because the southern end of the project is due to start construction in June anyway. And they continued to criticize Obama for blocking the northern part of Keystone, connecting the U.S. to oil supplies in Canada.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck compared Obama’s announcement to “the governor holding a press conference to renew my driver’s license — except this announcement still leaves American energy and jobs behind.”…READ MORE

Expanding Our Oil and Gas Pipeline Infrastructure

Source: WH, 3-22-12

Cushing, Oklahoma is an oil town. It’s a major hub for connecting our nation’s crude oil supply with refineries along the Gulf Coast, and the latest stop on President Obama’s cross-country tour to discuss American energy production.

Domestic oil and gas production is the highest it’s been in eight years. We’re actually producing so much that, even though we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipelines to circle the Earth in the last three years, we still don’t have enough pipeline to transport it all around the country quickly enough, particularly to our nation’s refineries.

And, as President Obama explained when he spoke there today, the fact that production is outpacing pipeline capacity is causing bottlenecks in places like Cushing, slowing our ability to further increase oil supplies when gas prices are high and we need it the most.

Modernizing pipeline infrastructure and expanding its ability to deliver oil to refineries and consumers around the country is a vital piece of a strategy to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and expand production of American-made energy. That’s why President Obama directed his Administration to expedite the permitting and construction process of a new pipeline that will help crude oil make its way to Gulf Coast refineries more quickly, and doing so while protecting natural resources and the health of local communities along the pipeline’s proposed path.

Read more about President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

Cushing Pipe Yard
Cushing, Oklahoma

10:22 A.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Oklahoma!  (Applause.)  Well, it’s good to be here.  Everybody, have a seat.  Have a seat.

AUIDENCE MEMBER:  I love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  It’s wonderful to see you.

It is good to be back in Oklahoma.  I haven’t been back here since the campaign, and everybody looks like they’re doing just fine.  (Laughter.)  Thank you so much for your hospitality.  It is wonderful to be here.

Yesterday, I visited Nevada and New Mexico to talk about what we’re calling an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  It’s a strategy that will keep us on track to further reduce our dependence on foreign oil, put more people back to work, and ultimately help to curb the spike in gas prices that we’re seeing year after year after year.

So today, I’ve come to Cushing, an oil town — (applause) — because producing more oil and gas here at home has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  (Applause.)

Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  That’s important to know.  Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states.  We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.

So we are drilling all over the place — right now.  That’s not the challenge.  That’s not the problem.  In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil and gas in places like North Dakota and Colorado that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it to where it needs to go — both to refineries, and then, eventually, all across the country and around the world.  There’s a bottleneck right here because we can’t get enough of the oil to our refineries fast enough.  And if we could, then we would be able to increase our oil supplies at a time when they’re needed as much as possible.

Now, right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast.  And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.  (Applause.)

Now, you wouldn’t know all this from listening to the television set.  (Laughter.)  This whole issue of the Keystone pipeline had generated, obviously, a lot of controversy and a lot of politics.  And that’s because the original route from Canada into the United States was planned through an area in Nebraska that supplies some drinking water for nearly 2 million Americans, and irrigation for a good portion of America’s croplands.  And Nebraskans of all political stripes — including the Republican governor there — raised some concerns about the safety and wisdom of that route.

So to be extra careful that the construction of the pipeline in an area like that wouldn’t put the health and the safety of the American people at risk, our experts said that we needed a certain amount of time to review the project.  Unfortunately, Congress decided they wanted their own timeline — not the company, not the experts, but members of Congress who decided this might be a fun political issue, decided to try to intervene and make it impossible for us to make an informed decision.

So what we’ve said to the company is, we’re happy to review future permits.  And today, we’re making this new pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf a priority.  So the southern leg of it we’re making a priority, and we’re going to go ahead and get that done. The northern portion of it we’re going to have to review properly to make sure that the health and safety of the American people are protected.  That’s common sense.

But the fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years -– including one from Canada.  And as long as I’m President, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people.  We don’t have to choose between one or the other, we can do both.  (Applause.)

So if you guys are talking to your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your aunts or uncles and they’re wondering what’s going on in terms of oil production, you just tell them anybody who suggests that somehow we’re suppressing domestic oil production isn’t paying attention.  They are not paying attention.  (Applause.)

What you also need to tell them is anybody who says that just drilling more gas and more oil by itself will bring down gas prices tomorrow or the next day or even next year, they’re also not paying attention.  They’re not playing it straight.  Because we are drilling more, we are producing more.  But the fact is, producing more oil at home isn’t enough by itself to bring gas prices down.

And the reason is we’ve got an oil market that is global, that is worldwide.  And I’ve been saying for the last few weeks, and I want everybody to understand this, we use 20 percent of the world’s oil; we only produce 2 percent of the world’s oil.  Even if we opened every inch of the country — if I put a oil rig on the South Lawn — (laughter) — if we had one right next to the Washington Monument, even if we drilled every little bit of this great country of ours, we’d still have to buy the rest of our needs from someplace else if we keep on using the same amount of energy, the same amount of oil.

The price of oil will still be set by the global market.  And that means every time there’s tensions that rise in the Middle East — which is what’s happening right now — so will the price of gas.  The main reason the gas prices are high right now is because people are worried about what’s happening with Iran.  It doesn’t have to do with domestic oil production.  It has to do with the oil markets looking and saying, you know what, if something happens there could be trouble and so we’re going to price oil higher just in case.

Now, that’s not the future that we went.  We don’t want to be vulnerable to something that’s happening on the other side of the world somehow affecting our economy, or hurting a lot of folks who have to drive to get to work.  That’s not the future I want for America.  That’s not the future I want for our kids.  I want us to control our own energy destiny.  I want us to determine our own course.

So, yes, we’re going to keep on drilling.  Yes, we’re going to keep on emphasizing production.  Yes, we’re going to make sure that we can get oil to where it’s needed.  But what we’re also going to be doing as part of an all-of-the-above strategy is looking at how we can continually improve the utilization of renewable energy sources, new clean energy sources, and how do we become more efficient in our use of energy.  (Applause.)

That means producing more biofuels, which can be great for our farmers and great for rural economies.  It means more fuel-efficient cars.  It means more solar power.  It means more wind power — which, by the way, nearly tripled here in Oklahoma over the past three years in part because of some of our policies.

We want every source of American-made energy.  I don’t want the energy jobs of tomorrow going to other countries.  I want them here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  And that’s what an all-of-the-above strategy is all about.  That’s how we break our dependence on foreign oil.  (Applause.)

Now, the good news is we’re already seeing progress.  Yesterday, I went, in Nevada, to the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  Hundreds of workers built it.  It’s powering thousands of homes, and they’re expanding to tens of thousands of homes more as they put more capacity online.

After 30 years of not doing anything, we finally increased fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks, and Americans are now designing and building cars that will go nearly twice as far on the same gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade.  And that’s going to save the average family $8,000 over the life of a car.  (Applause.)  And it’s going to save a lot of companies a lot of money because they’re hurt by rising fuel costs, as well.

All of these steps have helped put America on the path to greater energy independence.  Since I took office, our dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  Last year, we imported 1 million fewer barrels per day than the year before.  Think about that.  (Applause.)  America, at a time when we’re growing, is actually importing less oil from overseas because we’re using it smarter and more efficiently.  America is now importing less than half the oil we use for the first time in more than a decade.

So the key is to keep it going, Oklahoma.  We’ve got to make sure that we don’t go backwards, that we keep going forwards.  If we’re going to end our dependence on foreign oil, if we’re going to bring gas prices down once and for all, as opposed to just playing politics with it every single year, then what we’re going to have to do is to develop every single source of energy that we’ve got, every new technology that can help us become more efficient.

We’ve got to use our innovation.  We’ve got to use our brain power.  We’ve got to use our creativity.  We’ve got to have a vision for the future, not just constantly looking backwards at the past.  That’s where we need to go.  That’s the future we can build.

And that’s what America has always been about, is building the future.  We’ve always been at the cutting-edge.  We’re always ahead of the curve.  Whether it’s Thomas Edison or the Wright Brothers or Steve Jobs, we’re always thinking about what’s the next thing.  And that’s how we have to think about energy.  And if we do, not only are we going to see jobs and growth and success here in Cushing, Oklahoma, we’re going to see it all across the country.

All right?  Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
10:32 A.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on an All-of-the-Above Energy Policy & Solar Power in Nevada

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama Takes On Republicans Over Energy Policy

Source: NYT, 3-21-12

The president will try to counter Republican resistance to alternative energy subsidies at the expense of oil and gas….READ MORE

President Obama Discusses Solar Power in Nevada

Source: WH, 3-21-12
President Obama Delivers Remarks on Energy at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy after a tour of a Solar Panel Field at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility, the largest photovoltaic plant operating in the country with nearly one million solar panels powering 17,000 homes, in Boulder City, Nevada, March 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today, President Obama visited the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility in Boulder City, Nevada. The facility is the largest photovoltaic plant in the country, and its one million solar panels power 17,000 homes in California.

Boulder City, a small town near Las Vegas with fewer than 20,000 residents, was initially established to house the workers building the Hoover Dam. Today, the sun shines on Boulder City 320 days each year, making it an ideal place for a massive solar facility. Construction began in 2010, and hundreds of local residents now have jobs because of the plant. Things are going so well, in fact, that a second and third Copper Mountain facility are in the works, which will eventually generate enough electricity to power 45,000 and 66,000 homes, respectively.

Across the country, businesses like the one that built Copper Mountain are developing enough solar energy to power 730,000 homes.

Increasing the use of renewable energy sources like solar power is one piece of President Obama’s strategy to develop every available source of American-made energy. Since he took office, federal investment in renewable energy has helped nearly double its use across the country. And as a result, we are reducing our dependence on foreign oil and becoming more energy independent, creating jobs, and keeping our environment clean.

Read more about the other parts of the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy

Copper Mountain Solar Project
Boulder City, Nevada

1:10 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  (Applause.)  Good afternoon.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Have a seat.  It is wonderful to be here.  Thank you so much.  It is great to be in Boulder City.

A couple people I want to thank for their outstanding work. First of all, our Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, is in the house.  (Applause.)  He’s the guy in the nice-looking hat.  Not only does it look good, but it protects his head, because the hair has gotten a little thin up there.  (Laughter.)  He is a good-looking guy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  One of them.  One of them.

THE PRESIDENT:  One of them.  (Laughter.)  That’s right.  There’s the other guy.  (Laughter.)

I also want to thank your Mayor — a big supporter of solar energy — and that’s Roger Tobler, for being here.  Where’s Roger?  Here he is right there.  I just met his beautiful daughter.  It’s great to see you.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Jeffrey Martin, CEO of Sempra, and John and Kevin, who helped just give me this tour.

And Boulder City is the first stop on a tour where I’ll be talking about what we’re calling an all-of-the-above energy strategy — all of the above.  A strategy that relies on producing more oil and gas here in America, but also more biofuels, more fuel-efficient cars, more wind power and, as you can see, a whole lot more solar power.

This is the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  That’s worth applauding.  (Applause.)  Every year, you produce enough clean energy to power around 17,000 homes.  And that’s just the beginning.  Things are going so well that another plant is already under construction down the road that will eventually power another 45,000 homes.  And a third plant is in development that will be, one day, able to power around 66,000 homes.

Now, this is an area that was hit hard by the recession — and that’s true of the whole state.  You guys have been through a lot.  But you haven’t given up.  You looked around at this flat, beautiful land and all this sun — I just — I asked the question, how many days of sun do you get a year — 320 — that’s pretty good — and decided that Boulder City was the perfect place to generate solar power.

In fact, as I was talking to the folks from Sempra, they were explaining that this location is almost optimal for solar power generation, not only because it’s flat, transmission lines were already here, the sun is traveling and there’s no haze and it’s absolutely clear.  And so this is an extraordinary opportunity for the community.  And when a business showed up with plans to build a new solar plant, hundreds of local workers got jobs because of it.  Thousands of families are now powering their homes with a cleaner, renewable source of energy.

And this is not just happening here in Boulder City — it’s happening in cities and towns all across America.  According to experts, we’ve now got more than 5,600 solar companies nationwide, and many of them are small businesses.  There are solar companies in every single state in the Union.  And today, we’re producing enough solar energy to power 730,000 American homes.  And because of the investments we’ve made as a nation, the use of renewable energies has actually doubled.

So this is an industry on the rise.  It’s a source of energy that’s becoming cheaper; we all know it’s cleaner.  And more and more businesses are starting to take notice.  They’re starting to look around for more places like Boulder City to set up shop.

When I took office I said, why not give these businesses some access to public lands that aren’t otherwise being utilized? At the time, there wasn’t a single solar project in place on public lands — not one.  Today, thanks to some great work by Ken Salazar, we’ve got 16 solar projects approved.  (Applause.)  And when they’re complete, we’ll be generating enough energy to power 2 million homes.  And that’s progress.

We’re also enforcing our trade laws to make sure countries like China aren’t giving their solar companies an unfair advantage over ours.  (Applause.)  And that’s important because countries all around the world — China, Germany, you name it — they understand the potential.  They understand the fact that as countries all around the world become more interested in power generation — their population is expanding, their income level is going up, they use more electricity — and we’re going to have to make sure that we’re the guys who are selling them the technology and the know-how to make sure that they’re getting the power that they need.

In fact, just yesterday, our administration determined China wasn’t playing fair when it came to solar power.  And so we took the first step towards leveling the playing field, because my attitude is, when the playing field is level, then American workers and American businesses are always going to win.  And that’s why we’ve got to make sure that our laws are properly enforced.  (Applause.)

Now, you’d think given this extraordinary site, given the fact that this is creating jobs, generating power, helping to keep our environment clean, making us more competitive globally, you’d think that everybody would be supportive of solar power.   That’s what you’d think.  And yet, if some politicians had their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy.  There won’t be as many new jobs and new businesses.

Some of these folks want to dismiss the promise of solar power and wind power and fuel-efficient cars.  In fact, they make jokes about it.  One member of Congress who shall remain unnamed called these jobs “phony” — called them phony jobs.  I mean, think about that mindset, that attitude that says because something is new, it must not be real.  If these guys were around when Columbus set sail, they’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter.)  We were just talking about this — that a lack of imagination, a belief that you can’t do something in a new way — that’s not how we operate here in America.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not what we’re about.

These politicians need to come to Boulder City and see what I’m seeing.  (Applause.)  They should talk to the people who are involved in this industry, who have benefitted from the jobs, who benefit from ancillary businesses that are related to what’s going on right here.

Now, all of you know that when it comes to new technologies, the payoffs aren’t always going to come right away.  Sometimes, you need a jumpstart to make it happen.  That’s been true of every innovation that we’ve ever had.  And we know that some discoveries won’t pan out.  There’s the VCR and the Beta and the — all that stuff.  (Laughter.)

And each successive generation recognizes that some technologies are going to work, some won’t; some companies will fail, some companies will succeed.  Not every auto company succeeded in the early days of the auto industry.  Not every airplane manufacturer succeeded in the early days of the aviation.  But we understood as Americans that if we keep on this track, and we’re at the cutting edge, then that ultimately will make our economy stronger and it will make the United States stronger.  It will create jobs.  It will create businesses.  It will create opportunities for middle-class Americans and folks who want to get into the middle class.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we’re about.  (Applause.)

So I want everybody here to know that as long as I’m President, we will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to walk away from places like Boulder City.  I’m not going to give up on the new to cede our position to China or Germany or all the other competitors out there who are making massive investments in clean energy technology.  I refuse to see us stand by and not make the same commitment.  That’s not what we do in America.  It’s not who we are as a country.

One of the main reasons I ran for this office is I didn’t think that our leaders were doing enough to tackle the big challenges, the hard challenges, to seize the big opportunities.  And energy is one of the best examples.  We have been talking about changing our energy policies for 30 years now.  When I was the age of these guys right here, when I was 10, 11, right, in the ‘70s, and my grandparents were complaining about long gas lines, we were talking about how we were going to do things differently.  Thirty, 40 years, and we keep on doing the same stuff.  We keep on punting.  We keep on putting it off.  For decades, Washington kept kicking the can down the road.

I don’t want to do that anymore.  I want to make sure when these guys are grown up that they’re seeing solar panels all across the country.  They’re seeing American-made energy and American-made power.  They’re benefiting from a cleaner environment.  They’re seeing jobs and opportunity — that’s what I want to see.

So as long as I’m President, we’re going to develop every available source of energy.  That is a promise that I’m making to you.  (Applause.)

And, yes, that means we make investments in stuff that is new, and we stop subsidizing stuff that’s old.  The current members of the Flat Earth Society in Congress — (laughter) — they would rather see us continue to provide $4 billion — $4 billion — in tax subsidies, tax giveaways, to the oil companies — $4 billion to an industry that is making record profits.  Every time you fill up the pump, they’re making money.  They are doing just fine.  They’re not having any problems.

And yet, on top of what we’re paying at the pump, we’re also going to give them $4 billion in subsidies that could be going into making sure there were investments in clean energy for the future?  That doesn’t make any sense.  Does that make any sense?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  All right, I just wanted to make sure.  Because I didn’t think it was a wise use of your tax dollars.  (Laughter.)

We have subsidized oil companies for a century.  We want to encourage production of oil and gas, and make sure that wherever we’ve got American resources, we are tapping into them.  But they don’t need an additional incentive when gas is $3.75 a gallon, when oil is $1.20 a barrel, $1.25 a barrel.  They don’t need additional incentives.  They are doing fine.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  It is our retirement!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  A century of subsidies to oil companies is long enough.  It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double down on investments in an energy industry that has never been more promising.  (Applause.)  That’s what we need to do.

So Congress needs to pass more tax credits for projects like this one; needs to provide certainty when it comes to these tax credits.  We need to go out there and do what a lot of states are doing right now, which is saying, let’s get a certain percentage of our energy from clean energy sources.  Because when we do that, that gives a company like this one certainty that they’re going to have customers, and they can invest more and build more. (Applause.)

We need to keep Americans on the job.  We need to keep these homes powered by clean energy.  We need to support the businesses that are doing it.

And again, I just want everybody to be clear — because sometimes, when you listen to the news and you listen to some of these other politicians, they seem a little bit confused about what I’m saying.  We are going to continue producing oil and gas at a record pace.  That’s got to be part of what we do.  We need energy to grow.  That’s why we’re producing more oil right now, here in America, than at any time in the last eight years — any time in the last eight years.  We’re opening up more land for oil exploration.  We’ve got more oil rigs operating.  There are more pipelines out there that are being approved.  I’ll be visiting one of those rigs and one of those pipelines this week.

But an energy strategy that focuses only on drilling and not on an energy strategy that will free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil, that’s a losing strategy.  That’s not a strategy I’m going to pursue.  America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, and we’ve got 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Think about — I wasn’t a math major, but I just want — (laughter) — if you’re using 20, you’ve only got 2, that means you got to bring in the rest from someplace else.  Why wouldn’t we want to start finding alternatives that make us less reliant, less dependent on what’s going on in the Middle East?  (Applause.)

So we’ve got to develop new energy technologies, new energy sources.  It’s the only way forward.  And here in Boulder City, you know that better than anybody.  You know the promise that lies ahead because this city has always been about the future.  Eight decades ago, in the midst of the Great Depression, the people of Boulder City were busy working on another energy project you may have heard of.  Like today, it was a little bit ahead of its time; it was a little bit bigger than this solar plant — it was a little louder, too.  It was called the Hoover Dam.  And at the time, it was the largest dam in the world.  (Applause.)  Even today, it stands as a testimony to American ingenuity, American imagination, the power of the American spirit — a testimony to the notion we can do anything.

That was true back then; it is true today.  You know the choice we need to make when it comes to energy.  We’ve got to invest in a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of energy.  We’ve got to stay ahead of the curve.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re taking some risks.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re making the investments that are necessary.  We’ve got to support extraordinary entrepreneurs that are on the cutting-edge.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we do. And if we keep on doing it, nothing is going to stop us.

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
1:27 P.M. PDT

Campaign Buzz March 20 2012: Newt Gingrich Statement Reacting to the Results of the Illinois Republican Presidential Primary — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Gingrich statement on Illinois results

Source: WaPo, 3-20-12
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich issued the following statement via his website reacting to the results of the Illinois Primary.

“To defeat Barack Obama, Republicans can’t nominate a candidate who relies on outspending his opponents 7-1. Instead, we need a nominee who offers powerful solutions that hold the president accountable for his failures. Over the past few weeks, my $2.50 gas plan has shown how America could have cheaper gas, more jobs and greater national security while putting the White House on the defense over their anti-American energy policies. This is the type of leadership I can offer as the nominee, and this campaign will spend (the time) between now and when the delegates vote in Tampa relentlessly taking the fight to President Obama to make this case.”

Campaign Buzz March 20 2012: Rick Santorum’s Speech / Remarks after Losing Illinois Republican Presidential Primary in Second Placed Finish to Mitt Romney — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Rick Santorum: ‘Big things are adrift’ (Video, Speech transcript)

Source: WaPo, 3-20-12

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is great to be back in Pennsylvania. Thank you for joining us here.

Let me just thank all of you for being here. And I know that they’re not going to be hearing me, but I — I just feel so bad. We have about 1,000-1,500 people who couldn’t get in here. We’re just overwhelmed by the response here, and I just want to say: I feel welcomed back home to Pennsylvania, so thank you very, very much.

It is — it is — first, I just want to congratulate Governor Romney. I gave him a call a little earlier and congratulated him on winning the state of Illinois. But I also want to say — I just want to thank all of the folks in Illinois, all in the — you know, if you look at what — what’s going to happen tonight, we’re going to win downstate, we’re going to win central Illinois, we’re going to win western Illinois. We won the areas that conservatives and Republicans populate, and we’re very happy about that. We’re happy about the delegates we’re going to get, too.

We wanted to come here tonight back to Pennsylvania, back to a favorite place of mine in Pennsylvania, the city and the town of Gettysburg. It’s…

Obviously, it’s — so many memories come to mind when we walk on here in the town and across the street where Abraham Lincoln finished the Gettysburg Address at the Wills House. And you think about the great elections of our past.

And I’ve gone around this country over the past year now and said this is the most important election in our lifetimes. And, in fact, I think it’s the most important election since the election of 1860.

The election in 1860 was about whether these united states — which is what it was mostly referred to prior to the election of 1860 — would become the United States, whether it would be a union, a country bound together to build a great and prosperous nation, a — a nation based on a concept, a concept that we were birthed with, a concept birthed with our founding document of the Declaration of Independence.

I’ve said throughout the course of this campaign that while other issues are certainly important — the economy, joblessness, national security concerns, the family, the issue of life — all of these issues are important, but the foundational issue in this race, the one that is, in fact, the cause of the other maladies that we are feeling, whether it’s in the economy or whether it’s in the budget crisis that we’re dealing with, all boils down to one word, and that’s what’s at stake in this election, and it’s right behind me on that banner, and that’s the word “freedom.”

I was pleased to hear before I came out that Governor Romney is now adopting that theme as his speech tonight.

I am — I am glad we are moving the debate here in the Republican Party. But I’ve been focused on this, because I’ve actually been out talking to people across this country, doing over a thousand town hall meetings. And I know the anxiety and the concerns that people have in this country about an ever-expanding government, a government that is trying to dictate how we’re going to live our lives, trying to order us around, trample our freedoms, whether it’s our economic freedoms or our religious liberty.

But in addition to trampling that freedom, in addition to building a dependency, a dependency on government, as we see government expand and grow, now almost half the people in this country depend on some form of federal payment to help them get — make ends meet in America. And after and if Obamacare is implemented, every single American will depend upon the federal government for something that is critical, their health and their life.

That’s why this election is so important. This is an election about fundamental and foundational things. This is an election about not who’s the best person to manage Washington or manage the economy. We don’t need a manager. We need someone who’s going to pull up government by the roots and throw it out and do something to liberate the private sector in America. That’s what we need.

It’s great to have Wall Street experience. I don’t have Wall Street experience, but I have experience growing up in a small town in western Pennsylvania, growing up in a steel town, growing up in public housing in apartments and seeing how men and women of this country scraped and clawed because they had the opportunity to climb the ladder of success in America.

A lot of those folks out there today feel like nobody in Washington and no one in this debate is really talking about them. That’s why this is a wonderful movement as I travel around this country and everywhere I go. I see people, people in work clothes, folks with children who are maybe not getting the educational opportunities that they hoped for so they could climb that ladder of success, people who are looking for someone to voice their concerns about how this economy is going to turn around for them, not just for those at the top of the income ladder.

That’s why I’ve talked about a manufacturing plan, an energy plan, someone who believes that if we create opportunities by, yes, cutting taxes, but reducing the oppressive regulatory burden that this administration has put on businesspeople and people who want to drill for energy, it needs someone who’s got a strong and clear record that can appeal to voters all across this country and someone who you can trust, someone that you know when they say they’re going to do something, they’re not saying it because, well, that happens to be the popular theme of the moment, but someone who has a long track record of deep convictions, someone who’s going to go out and stand and fight, because it’s not just what the pollster tells them to say or what’s on their TelePrompTer. I don’t happen to have one here tonight.

Because — because they know in their gut from their life experiences, from living in America, that this is what America needs and America wants. They want someone who’s not going to go to Washington, D.C., because they want to be the most powerful person in the world to manage Washington. They want someone who’s going to take that power and give it back to the people of this country.

There is one candidate in this race who can go out and make that contrast with the current occupant of the White House, someone who has a track record of being for you, being for limited government, being for solutions that empower people on the biggest issues of the day, whether it’s Obamacare, Romneycare. They’re interchangeable.

We need someone who understands that the solution to the problem with almost 1/17th of the economy is not government control over that sector economy, but your control over that sector of the economy.

We need someone who understands that we need to grow our energy supplies here in this country. And we need someone you can trust who when in good times and in bad, when times were tough and people thought, well, that — all this oil and gas and coal in the ground is all a source of carbon dioxide, and we can’t take that out of the ground because, well, there’s a finite supply and it could — it could damage our environment and cause global warming…

.. when the climate — when those who — who — who profess manmade global warming and climate science convinced many, many Republicans, including two who are running for president on the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

But there was one who said: I know this isn’t climate science. This is political science.

And this was another attempt of those who want to take power away from you and control your access to energy, your utilization, whether it’s in your car or in your home of energy, because they are better to make these decisions about how you use energy than you do.

That’s what they believe. And unfortunately, just like in health care, Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich went along with the ride. And guess what? When the climate changed, they changed their position. And now they’re all for drilling and they’re all for oil and gas and coal. I was for it because it was the right thing to do then; I’ll be for it tomorrow and the next day and the next day. I’m not going to change with the climate.

Ladies and gentlemen, I grew up in this great state, and this is the first day — this is the launch we wanted to come here to Pennsylvania, to launch our campaign here in Pennsylvania. We’ve got five weeks, five weeks to a big win and a big delegate sweep in Pennsylvania.

I come as a son of Pennsylvania, someone who grew up in western Pennsylvania. Everyone knows the story, I hope, of my grandfather, my dad coming to Pennsylvania to work in those coal mines in Somerset County. I learned everything, everything about freedom and opportunity and hard work, and growing up with folks who worked in the mills and the mines in western Pennsylvania.

And so when I speak and I speak from the heart, in the back of my mind are the pictures of those men and women who worked and scraped and clawed so their children and grandchildren could, yes, have a better quality of life, yes, maybe even go to college and not have to work in tough, manual labor, but, most importantly, they fought for the things that the people in this battlefield just down the road fought for.

They fought for big things, things that America’s always stood for, that Ronald Reagan referred to as that shining city on the hill. It’s things that I’m fighting for here today, the reason Karen and I decided, in the face of having seven children ages 20 to 3 — not exactly the best time to run for president of the United States when you have children 20 to 3…

… but Karen and I felt compelled. We felt compelled, because as Ronald Reagan said in one of his great speeches, we didn’t want to have to sit down someday and look at the eyes of our children and our children’s children and describe to them an America where once men were free.

We don’t want to be that generation that lost the torch of freedom. That’s why Karen and the kids behind me, all of whom born in Pennsylvania, all of those folks who understand the — the greatness of our state and the greatness of the values of this state, all of us understand what was sacrificed, in the mills and on the battlefields.

And that’s why we must go out and fight this fight. That’s why we must go out and nominate someone who understands, not because some pollster tells them, because they know in their gut — just like you do — all across this country, you know in your gut big things are adrift and at stake in this election.

So I ask each and every one of you to join us, to saddle up, like Reagan did in the cowboy movies, to saddle up, take on that responsibility over the next five weeks. We’re going to head to Louisiana from here. We’re feeling very, very good about winning Louisiana on Saturday, I might add.

We’re heading to Louisiana for the rest of the week, and then we’re going to be back here in Pennsylvania, and we’re going to pick up a whole boatload of delegates and close this gap and on to victory.

Thank you all very much. God bless you. Thank you.

Campaign Buzz March 20 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech / Remarks after Decisive Win in Illinois Republican Presidential Primary — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks in Illinois

Mitt Romney goes on attack (Speech transcript, video)

Source: WaPo, 3-20-12
romney-2012-blog-photo-mitt-victory-speech-illinois.jpg
Thank you, Illinois! What a great night!

I’d like to congratulate my fellow candidates on a hard-fought contest. I’d like to thank our volunteers and our friends for their hard work and unwavering support. And, tonight, we thank the people of Illinois for their vote – and for this incredible victory.

Elections are about choices. And today hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters have joined millions across the country in our cause.

We began this movement on a small farm in New Hampshire on a sunny June day, surrounded by a small group of friends, family, and supporters. We shared a conviction that the America we loved was in trouble and adrift without strong leadership. Three years of Barack Obama had brought us fewer jobs and shrinking paychecks, but many of us believed we were in danger of losing something more than the value of homes and 401(k)s.

After the years of too many apologies and not enough jobs, historic drops in income and historic highs in gas prices, of a President who doesn’t hesitate to use all means necessary to force Obamacare on the American public but leads from behind in world affairs, it’s time to say, “Enough!”

We know our future is better and brighter than these troubled times. We still believe in America – and we deserve a President who believes in us.

Yesterday I gave a speech at the University of Chicago, not far from here and where Professor Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law. It was a speech on economic freedom and as I was writing it, I thought back to the lifetime of experiences I’ve had learning the unique genius of the American free enterprise system. It started when I was just a kid, and my dad, who never graduated from college, would tell me about his dad, who was a contractor and never quite made it but never gave up.

Later I helped start companies that began just as an idea and somehow made it through all the inevitable difficulties to create thousands of jobs. Those jobs helped families buy their first homes, put kids through school, live better lives, dream a little bigger.

For 25 years, I lived and breathed jobs, business, and the economy. I had successes and failures but each step of the way, I learned a little more about what it is that makes our American system so powerful.

You can’t learn that teaching Constitutional law. You can’t learn that as a community organizer. The simple truth is that this President just doesn’t understand the genius of America’s economy – or the secret of our success.

The American economy is fueled by freedom. Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in lifting people out of poverty. It is the only principle that has ever created sustained prosperity.

But, over the last three years, this administration has been engaged in an assault on our freedom.

Under President Obama, bureaucrats prevent drilling rigs from going to work in the Gulf. They keep coal from being mined. They impede the reliable supply of natural gas. They even tell farmers what their 15-year-old sons and daughters can and can’t do on the family farm.

The administration’s assault on freedom has kept this so-called recovery from meeting their projections, let alone our expectations.

And now, the President is trying to erase his record with rhetoric. Just the other day, he said, “We are inventors. We are builders. We are makers of things. We are Thomas Edison. We are the Wright Brothers. We are Bill Gates. We are Steve Jobs.”

That’s true. But the problem is: he’s still Barack Obama. And under this President, those pioneers would have faced an uphill battle to innovate, invent, and create.

Under Dodd-Frank, they would have struggled to get a loan from their community bank.

A regulator would have shut down the Wright Brothers for their “dust pollution.”

And the government would have banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Oh, that’s right. They just did.

The real cost of these misguided policies are the ideas that are never pursued and the dreams that are never realized.

For centuries, the American Dream has meant the opportunity to build something new. Some of America’s greatest success stories are people who started out with nothing but a good idea and a corner in their garage. But today, Americans who want to start a new business or launch a new venture don’t see promise and opportunity. They see government standing in their way.

We once built the interstate highway system and the Hoover Dam. Today, we can’t even build a pipeline.

We once led the world in manufacturing, exports, and infrastructure investment. Today, we lead the world in lawsuits.

When we replace a law professor with a businessman, that will end.

Every great innovation, every world-changing business breakthrough begins with a dream. And nothing is more fragile than a dream. The genius of America is that we nurture these dreams and the dreamers. We honor them, and, yes, we reward them.

That’s part of what is uniquely brilliant about America. But day by day, job-killing regulation by job-killing regulation, bureaucrat by bureaucrat, this President is crushing the dream and the dreamers.

The proof is in this weak recovery. This administration thinks our economy is struggling because the stimulus was too small. The truth is our economy is struggling because the government is too big.

You and I know what President Obama still has not learned, even after three years and hundreds of billions of dollars in spending: The government does not create prosperity; prosperity is the product of free markets and free people.

This November, we face a defining decision. Our choice will not be one of party or personality. This election will be about principle. Our economic freedom will be on the ballot.

I am offering a real choice and a new beginning. I am running for President because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess. We know what Barack Obama’s vision of America is – we’ve all lived it the last three years. Mine is very different.

I see an America where we know the prospects for our children will be better than our own; where the pursuit of success unites us, not divides us; when a government finally understands that it’s better for more to pay less in taxes than for a few to pay more; where the values we pass on to our children are greater than the debts we leave them; where poverty is defeated by opportunity, not enabled a government check.

I see an America that is humble but never humbled, that leads but is never led.

Today we took an important step toward that America. Tomorrow, we take another. Each day we move closer not just to victory but to a better America. Join us. Together, we will ensure that America’s greatest days are still ahead.

Thank you and God bless America.

Campaign Buzz March 20, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins Decisive Victory over Second Placed Rick Santorum in Illinois Republican Presidential Primary

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Damon Winter/The New York Times

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY WINS ILLINOIS PRIMARY BY A LARGE MARGIN OVER SECOND PLACED RICK SANTORUM

Romney Wins Illinois Republican Primary, Exit Polls Say: Mitt Romney won a commanding victory over Rick Santorum in Illinois on Tuesday, providing new ammunition for his argument that the Republican nomination contest should quickly give way to a focus on defeating President Obama.
Mr. Romney bested his chief rival among many types of voters, winning among voters of all ages and most income groups. Mr. Romney drew the support of more moderate voters — as he has in the past — but also won among voters who said they were supportive of the Tea Party movement.
For Mr. Santorum, the loss was a missed opportunity to blunt Mr. Romney’s momentum. Mr. Santorum’s victories have mostly come in the south and Tuesday’s primary was a moment that he could have used to demonstrate strength elsewhere…. – NYT, 3-20-12

Mitt Romney wins Republican primary in Illinois: Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential primary in Illinois by a wide margin over chief rival Rick Santorum.
The victory renews questions about Santorum’s viability as a candidate, but it is unlikely to shake up the general geometry of the race, as Santorum has vowed to soldier on in hopes of a comeback before the Republican National Convention in August…. – WaPo, 3-20-12

Live blog: Romney wins Illinois primary: At stake are 54 delegates. Romney is nearly halfway to the 1,144 needed for the GOP nod…. – USA Today, 3-20-12

Live Coverage of the Illinois Primary: Follow along for live updates, analysis, results and exit polls from the Illinois primary…. – NYT, 3-20-12

Live blog of Illinois primaryCNN, 3-20-12

  • CBS News: Romney to win Illinois primary: CBS News estimates that Mitt Romney will defeat Rick Santorum and his other rivals to take the Republican presidential primary in Illinois…. – CBS News, 3-20-12
  • Mitt Romney wins Illinois presidential primary: Mitt Romney scored a decisive victory over Rick Santorum in the Illinois primary on Tuesday, tightening his grip on the Republican front-runner’s slot and improving his chances of locking up the nomination by the end of the presidential…. – LAT, 3-20-12
  • Romney sweeps Illinois primary: Mitt Romney swept to another primary victory Tuesday night, capturing a big chunk of Illinois’ early GOP primary vote…. – USA Today, 3-20-12
  • Romney takes the lead in Illinois, looking to gain a little distance on Santorum in GOP race: Backed by a crushing television ad advantage, Mitt Romney jumped ahead of Rick Santorum in early returns from the Illinois primary Tuesday night, bidding for yet another industrial-state triumph in the race for the Republican…. – WaPo, 3-20-12
  • Exit poll shows huge Romney IL edge from GOP voters looking for candidate to beat Obama: Early exit polling in the Illinois primary is showing Mitt Romney enjoying a big edge among voters seeking a candidate to oust President Barack Obama. Romney is also taking a large lead among those worrying about the economy and federal…. – WaPo, 3-20-12
  • Illinois Votes in Rare Turn in Spotlight: The Illinois primary has largely come down to a battle between Mitt Romney, who leads in delegates, and Rick Santorum, and in recent days the two campaigned furiously across the state….. – NYT, 3-20-12
  • Illinois Republican Primary: Mitt Romney and his allies have pounded Rick Santorum on television and radio, especially in the expensive market of Chicago, where the suburban vote could prove decisive for Mr. Romney. Mr. Santorum was still hoping for a strong vote from downstate…. – NYT, 3-20-12
  • Illinois Primary: Live coverage: The Republican presidential primaries continue Tuesday in Illinois, the land of Lincoln and of President Obama — although, it should be noted, neither was born there. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hopes that Illinois will give him the kind of … – LAT, 3-20-12
  • Live blog: Romney banking on big llinois victory: We’re live blogging the results from the Illinois primary, where it’s essentially a two-man battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Romney, the GOP front-runner, is hoping for a big win in President Obama’s home state … – USA Today, 3-20-12
  • Poll: Economy a top issue as Illinois voters head to polls: The economy appears to be a top issue for Illinois voters, just as it has been in other primary states…. – USA Today, 3-20-12
  • Illinois voters: Keep the primary going!: Even as the Washington Republican political establishment grumbles about the possible ill effects of an extended primary fight for the party’s presidential nomination, voters in today’s Illinois race seem perfectly content for the race to continue for … – WaPo, 3-20-12
  • Exit poll shows few IL voters worried about prolonged fight for GOP Presidential nomination: Even more months of battling for the Republican presidential nomination? Most voters in Tuesday’s Illinois primary have little problem with that, as long as their candidate wins. An exit poll of Illinois voters shows that around two-thirds…. – WaPo, 3-20-12
  • Illinois primary: Romney aims to restore inevitability aura: Mitt Romney is seeking a win in today’s Illinois Republican primary to restore the air of inevitability that once surrounded his presidential candidacy, as his closest rival Rick Santorum fights to stay viable with a strong…. – WaPo, 3-20-12
  • Santorum to speak tonight from Gettysburg: When TV cameras tonight record Rick Santorum’s speech after votes are counted in the Illinois primary, the GOP presidential hopeful won’t be anywhere in the Land of Lincoln. Santorum will be speaking from Gettysburg, Pa…. – USA Today, 3-20-12
  • Illinois primary: For Mitt Romney, delegates less important than ‘winning’: The Illinois primary Tuesday is an opportunity for Mitt Romney to extend his delegate lead on Rick Santorum. But a big win in the popular vote might be more important…. – CS Monitor, 3-20-12
  • Long GOP nomination fight worries few IL voters: A battle for the Republican presidential nomination that slogs on for months more? If that’s what it takes for their candidate to prevail, most voters in Tuesday’s Illinois GOP primary say it’s not a problem.
    Less than a third of them want the already prolonged GOP fight to end quickly, even if their favorite loses out, according to preliminary results of an exit poll Tuesday. About two thirds say they’re happy to let the contest continue for months more, as long as their candidate comes out on top.
    Illinois voters expressed that sentiment with the nomination fight already well into its third month and appearing likely to stretch into April and beyond…. – AP, 3-20-12
  • Five things to know about the Illinois presidential primary: On a balmy first day of spring, Illinois voters may be about to play a decisive role in a Republican presidential marathon that started in the winter chill in neighboring Iowa. 1. Voting early and often. It’s a tired political cliché…. – LAT, 3-20-12
  • CBS News early Illinois exit polls: 4 in 10 Romney, Santorum voters “have reservations”: More than four in ten of the people who voted for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Illinois “have reservations” about their choice, according to early CBS News exit polls.
    Forty-seven percent of Romney voters “strongly” favor their candidate, as do 44 percent of Santorum voters. But 41 percent of Romney voters and 44 percent of Santorum voters say they have concerns about their choice. Another one in ten supporters of each candidate say they dislike the other candidates.
    The exit polls also found that two in three Illinois GOP voters would prefer that their candidate win the nomination even if the race goes on a long time. Twenty-nine percent said they would prefer that the race end soon even if it means their candidate loses…. – CBS News, 3-20-12

Full Text Obama Presidency March 20, 2012: President Barack Obama & Congress Host Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny for St. Patrick’s Day Lunch & Reception

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny

Source: WH, 3-20-12

President Barack Obama meets with Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland (March 20, 2012)
President Barack Obama meets with Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland in the Oval Office, March 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today, President Obama welcomed Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of Ireland, to the White House. While both men have had the opportunity to engage in a bit of St. Patrick’s Day revelry, there was plenty of serious business on the agenda for this morning’s meeting.

President Obama explained:

We have had a terrific discussion about a wide range of issues. Obviously for both our countries, one of the biggest priorities is getting the economy moving in the right direction and putting our people back to work. And the Taoiseach described to me the steps that they’ve taken to try to stabilize the banking system there, to get control of their budget, and to be in position to grow in the future. 

And it is important that both the people of Ireland and the American people understand the extraordinary benefits of trade, commerce, and investment between our two countries. We are, obviously, an extraordinary contributor to investment in Ireland, and that’s something of great importance to the people of Ireland. Conversely, Irish businesses invest and employ huge numbers of Americans as well.

Earlier, Vice President Biden hosted the Taoiseach for breakfast at the Naval Observatory, and all three leaders attended a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the United States Capitol.

Later on Tuesday, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a St. Patrick’s Day reception in the East Room.

The White House selected this pic, from a St. Patrick’s luncheon on Capitol Hill Tuesday, as its photo of the day.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, who have been less than cordial to each other lately, applaud as Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is introduced.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland after Bilateral Meeting

Oval Office

11:09 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it is my great pleasure to welcome once again Taoiseach, Mr. Kenny, who has done, I think, extraordinary work during a very difficult time.  Over the last several years, we’ve been able to strike up a friendship.  And you’ll notice that even though technically it is not St. Patrick’s Day, we like to prolong the party around here.  Technically, most of the Americans who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day aren’t Irish anyway — (laughter) — so we shouldn’t go on technicalities.

I want to thank the Taoiseach, his lovely wife, and all of the people of Ireland for the extraordinary hospitality they showed Michelle and I when we had the chance to travel there recently.  It was a magical day.  It was too short, so I provided assurances that we will be returning.  But the warmth and the goodwill that was expressed towards us I think was really representative of the deep bonds that exist between the United States and Ireland — bonds that are almost unique among two countries around the world.  And the impact, obviously, that Ireland and Irish American — that Irish culture has had on the United States is almost unparalleled.

We have had a terrific discussion about a wide range of issues.  Obviously for both our countries, one of the biggest priorities is getting the economy moving in the right direction and putting our people back to work.  And the Taoiseach described to me the steps that they’ve taken to try to stabilize the banking system there, to get control of their budget, and to be in position to grow in the future.

And it is important that both the people of Ireland and the American people understand the extraordinary benefits of trade, commerce, and investment between our two countries.  We are, obviously, an extraordinary contributor to investment in Ireland, and that’s something of great importance to the people of Ireland.  Conversely, Irish businesses invest and employ huge numbers of Americans as well.

And so we are continuing to identify and describe additional areas where we can strengthen those strong economic bonds.  And I expressed to the Taoiseach my confidence in not only his government’s ability to get Ireland moving again, but also we consulted on the broader issue of how Europe can begin to grow again, which obviously has an impact on our economy.

I also had an opportunity to thank him for the continued exemplary efforts by the men and women in uniform in Ireland who contribute to peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts all around the world, from Kosovo to Lebanon.  As I’ve said before, Ireland punches above its weight internationally, and has a long history rooted in its own experience of making sure that not only is peace a priority, but also that the human needs on issues like hunger are addressed.  And even in the midst of a relatively austere time, Ireland has continued to step up internationally, and we greatly appreciate that.

I’m pleased to see that progress continues to be made with respect to the agreement in Northern Ireland.  We discussed how the United States wants to continue to be supportive on that issue as well.

So, once again, Taoiseach, welcome.  We are always pleased to see you here.  And the expressions of affection that I experienced when I was in Ireland I’m sure you are experiencing in return while you are here, because the American people have just an extraordinary affinity and fondness for the Irish people. And we are looking forward to you having a very productive visit, and we look forward to going over to Capitol Hill where even when it’s not St. Patrick’s Day, everybody claims to have a little bit of Irish roots.

Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER KENNY:  Could I say, first of all, I want to thank the President and the First Lady for the accommodation that’s been given.  It’s always good to have a place to stay in Washington.  And it’s a distinct honor to be allowed to stay at Blair House, but also to come here to the Oval Office and have this conversation this morning.

I’d just like to say that I’ve given the President a rundown on the decisions taken by my government in the last 12 months to stabilize our public finances and to put our own house in order, but also to play a part, clearly, in the European Union is so important in a global sense.  And from that point of view, I gave the President a rundown on the changes in the structure of banks, the decisions taken by government in relation to the public sector numbers, the forcing down of costs and therefore the increase in competitiveness, and to report to him signs of confidence returning to the Irish economy.  But we still have a very long way to go.  Otherwise we’ve had a good, solid start but clearly there are challenges ahead.

I also reported to the President that the conversation around the table of Europe in the last 10 months has shifted from one of being just austerity to being one of good budgetary discipline, but also where clearly the agenda for growth and jobs will now be central to every European Council meeting.

I gave the President an outline of my views in respect of the fiscal compact treaty, and how we expect the Irish people, in their pragmatism and understanding of what the future holds, to vote strongly in favor of the treaty, and that this represents a real insurance policy both for the country and for the next generation of children — but also, not to allow any future government to run riot with the people’s money as has happened in the past.

We discussed the question of the development of the European economies, and how other countries are making efforts aligned with our own to have that as a central issue for the time ahead. We also discussed the trading links between the U.S. and Ireland. I pointed out to the President my interaction with the American Chamber of Commerce and the chief executives of multinationals in Ireland.  We discussed the question of the possibility of semesters, either way, for young people involved in innovation and research and education, which is so important in the context of what multinational companies are actually looking for.

As well as that, we discussed the issue of Syria, and I gave the President a rundown on the last discussions at the European Council meeting.  We also discussed the question of Iran and what the U.S. has said very clearly about this in the short time window that there is in that regard.

We referred to the possibility of an opportunity to travel again to Ireland, and the President has confirmed that in due course.  Obviously, he’s got a little matter to attend to here in America between this and that.  But I just wanted to say to you that it’s a reestablishment, if you like, and a redefining of the absolutely unique relationship that there is between Ireland and the United States.

I pointed out to President Obama since my visit here to Chicago, his home city, the extraordinary outpouring of enthusiasm and exuberance in the streets of Chicago on Saturday, and my visit to Notre Dame in South Bend, and the opportunities that we had in New York to meet with Irish American business, with American investment business, the Ireland Investment Day at the stock exchange.

And here in Washington for the past two days has been simply outstanding.  And it confirms my belief that the reputation of our country has been restored internationally, and that the unique relationship that we’ve always had with the United States for so many reasons is exceptionally strong.  And I told the President of the great work being done by Ambassador Rooney, but also that Ireland respects America for what it does, both in our own context, but also to keep the world a safer place for the hundreds of millions of people who look for real leadership in this regard.

I thank President Obama and his government and his First Lady for all they do for so many people around the world.  And as I say, it’s a privilege to be here in the Oval Office to represent our country and have this opportunity — on St. Patrick’s Week.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

END
11:19 A.M. EDT

Remarks by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland at St. Patrick’s Day Reception

Source: WH, 3-20-12

State Floor

7:04 P.M. EDT

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, welcome to the White House.  It’s great to see you all, and happy St. Patrick’s Day, or should I say, happy St. Patrick’s Week, the way it’s going.  (Applause.)

I’m lucky to be here with you all tonight.  I feel fortunate to have the honor to be able to welcome back Fionnuala Kenny and the Taoiseach.  They’ve been here before.  Some of you had a chance to meet them, and you’re going to get to see them again.

You know there’s and old Irish saying.  There’s all kinds of old Irish sayings.  (Laughter.)  At least my Grandfather Finnegan, I think he made them up, but it says, may the hinges of our friendship never go rusty.  Well, with these two folks that you’re about to meet, if you haven’t already, there’s no doubt about them staying oiled and lubricated here.  Ladies and gentlemen — (laughter) — now, for you who are not full Irish in this room, lubricating has a different meaning for us all.  (Laughter.)

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here tonight to celebrate the friendship between two great nations, Ireland and the United States.  William Butler Yeats referred to Ireland as “a worldwide nation.”  Our Irish heritage has touched many, many people, many more people than could possibly fit on the beautiful Emerald Isle.

America and Ireland are the two nations that define me the most, and I expect most of you in this room.  Our countries share a bond that goes all the way back to the beginning of our country.  Eight Irishmen signed the Declaration of Independence, fully one-seventh of the signator.  Since then, half our Presidents have claimed Irish blood, including the one I’m about to introduce.  (Applause.)

And today our countries are tied together by 40 million Americans who descended from that beautiful island just across the sea, and — but we share a lot more than blood.  And I think everyone here will understand this.  I think we share a set of values, a set of values that is sort of stamped into our DNA.

My mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, used to say — (laughter) — honey, to be Irish is about family.  It’s about faith.  But most of all, it’s about courage.  She said that — one of her sayings was, without courage — without courage, you can’t love with abandon.

And, ladies and gentlemen, for me that’s the essence of being Irish:  passion and being able to love with abandon.  That’s why my mom liked Barack, the President.  That’s why she liked him so much.  I think the President got used to my mom during the campaign, Mr. Ambassador, referring to him all the time as, honey.  (Laughter.)  She’d grab his hand and say, now, Honey.

Well, she thought that the President embodied all the things that she thought made Ireland and the Irish special, particularly his courage.  Ladies and gentlemen, this President abounds in courage.  So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you my four friends and your friends, the President of the United States and Michelle Obama, as well as the Taoiseach and Fionnuala Kenny.

Ladies and gentlemen.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hello, everybody!

AUDIENCE:  Hello!

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, welcome to the White House.  This does not sound like a shy crowd.  (Laughter.)

As you may have noticed, today is not, in fact, St. Patrick’s Day.  (Laughter.)  We just wanted to prove that America considers Ireland a dear and steadfast friend every day of the year.  (Applause.)  Some of you may have noticed we even brought the cherry blossoms out early for our Irish and Northern Irish visitors.  And we will be sure to plant these beautiful shamrocks right away.

I want to welcome back my good friend, Taoiseach Kenny, his extraordinary wife, Fionnuala.  This has been our third working visit in just over a year, and each one has been better than the last.

I’ve had the pleasure to welcome back First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Northern Ireland, as well.

And, everyone, please welcome my new friends from Moneygall, my long-lost cousin, Henry.  (Applause.)  His mother, Mary, is here as well.  And my favorite pub keeper, Ollie Hayes, is here with his beautiful wife.  (Applause.)  He was interested in hiring Michelle — (laughter) — when she was pouring a pint.  I said, she’s too busy — maybe at the end of our second term.  (Applause.)

In return, I did take them out for a pint at the Dubliner here in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.  That’s right, I saw some of you there.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t take pictures.  And I’ve asked them to please say hello to everybody back home for me.

Now, while there are too many Irish Americans to acknowledge by name here tonight, I do want to thank Martin O’Malley and his band for rocking the White House for the evening.  It’s said that the curse of the Irish, as the Governor must know, is not that they don’t know the words to a song — it’s that they know them all.  (Laughter.)

As you may know, I finally got to spend a day in Ireland with Michelle last May.  I visited my ancestral village of Moneygall, saw my great, great, great grandfather’s house.  I had the distinct honor of addressing the Irish people from College Green in Dublin.  And when it comes to their famous reputation for hospitality and good cheer, the Irish outdid themselves.  Michelle and I received absolutely the warmest of welcomes, and I’ve been trying to return the favor as best I can.

There really was something magical about the whole day — and I know that I’m not the only person who feels that way when they visit Ireland.  Even my most famously Irish American predecessor was surprised about how deeply Ireland affected him when he visited in his third year as President.  “It is strange,” President Kennedy said on his last day in Ireland, “that so many years and so many generations pass, and still some of us who come on this trip could feel ourselves among neighbors, even though we are separated by generations, by time and by thousands of miles.”

I know most of you can relate to that.  I think anyone who’s had a chance to visit can relate.  And that’s why Jackie Kennedy later visited Ireland with her children and gave one of President Kennedy’s dog tags to his cousins in Dunganstown.  And that’s why I felt so at home when I visited Moneygall.

When my great, great, great, great, grandfather arrived in New York City after a voyage that began there, the St. Patrick’s Society in Brooklyn had just held its first annual banquet.  And a toast was made to family back home enduring what were impossibly difficult years:  “Though gloomy shadows, hang o’er thee now, as darkness is densest, even just before day, so thy gloom, truest Erin, may soon pass away.”

Because for all the remarkable things the Irish have done in the course of human history, keeping alive the flame of knowledge in dark ages, outlasting a great hunger, forging a peace that once seemed impossible, the green strands they have woven into America’s heart — from their tiniest villages through our greatest cities — is something truly unique on the world stage.
And these strands of affection will never fray, nor will they come undone.  While those times and the troubles of later generations were far graver than anything we could fathom today, many of our people are still fighting to get back on solid ground after several challenging years.

But we choose to rise to these times for the same reason we rose to those tougher times:  Because we are all proud peoples who share more than sprawling family trees.  We are peoples who share an unshakeable faith, an unbending commitment to our fellow man, and a resilient and audacious hope.  And that’s why I say of Ireland tonight what I said in Dublin last May, this little country that inspires the biggest things — its best days are still ahead.

So I propose a toast to the Taoiseach and the people of Ireland.  Do I have any — where’s my drink?  (Laughter.)  Here it is, here it is.  All right, here we go.  It’s only water but  — (laughter) — obviously, somebody didn’t prepare.  (Laughter.)

To quote your first President, Douglas Hyde:  “A word is more lasting than the riches of the world.”  Tonight, grateful for our shared past and hopeful for our common future, I give my word to you, Mr. Prime Minister, and to the people of Ireland:  As long as I am President, you will have a strong friend, a steadfast ally, and a faithful partner in the United States of America.

Ladies and gentlemen, Taoiseach Kenny.  (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER KENNY:  Mr. President, Vice President Biden, Michelle, ladies and gentlemen, these have been an extraordinary few days in the relationships between Ireland and America.  Thank you for your warm invitation and for this warm welcome.

(Speaks Irish)  May the blessings of St. Patrick be with you, your families and the American people.

Ireland actually picked the best time of year for its national celebration.  (Laughter.)  It’s the time of year when the Earth turns at the Spring Equinox, and as they say, the sea spreads it far sun crop to the north.

This, indeed, is a blessed time, a time when we are thankful for our blessings, blessings of being a proud and noble Irish people; the blessings of a dazzling generosity of heart and mind, and of a glittering imagination; the blessing of our children, our families, our friends — friends like America.

As Taoiseach, a year into this new government, I’m proud, indeed, to bring good news from home.  Thanks to the courage and the resilience and the sacrifice of the Irish people, the Irish ship of state now faces in the right direction.  Our economy is stabilizing.  Our exports are thriving.  Our international reputation is being restored.  Ireland is building itself a better future.

Today, Mr. President, Ireland thanks America.  We thank you for the centuries where you gave us shelter and refuge and opportunity, and above all, where you gave us hope.  (Applause.)

In the Irish language, we have many phrases, one of them is — (Speaks Irish) — That means:  Hope cures every misery.  It was that miracle — hope that brought millions of Irish people to your shores yearning for a better life.  Not everybody survived that journey.  It is said that 80,000 Irish souls were lost in the Atlantic, victims of long hunger, of fever and of destitution.  Indeed, an ocean, a tide of lost ancestors, a bitter benediction of the waters dividing the old life and the new.

Well, tonight I remember them.  We honor them here in this White House — designed by an Irish architect — and in our national hearts.  (Applause.)  Because they were the price of a new life.  In the new country, in this new country of miraculous plenty, the survivors — among them, one Falmouth Kearney — walked straight off those ships.  But ironically, they never stopped looking back.  Because our research shows that while their fellow arrivals saw emigration as an opportunity, for the Irish it was always a tragedy.

There were the dispossessed — their hearts, their minds in Ireland; their hopes and their futures in America — the least likely of any nation ever to return home.  Which is why what makes the Irish and what they did for America all the more heroic, all the more remarkable, all the more noble.

Despite their longing for home, they gave their hands to work, their faith in God, their future to this United States of America.  They became heroes of their own stories, and, as a consequence, of America’s story.

Mr. President, today, the Irish people are heroes of our own story.  Today, persistent and determined and proud, we answer your question of belief in ourselves, because we believe that our country and our nation will succeed.

When you came last May to that small, intimate homecoming in College Green — (laughter) — just the two Obamas, half of the U.S. Secret Service — (laughter) — 100,000 enthralled Irish people — you, sir, the young President, stood in front of the old Irish House of Lords and you promised that you would stand by us.  Well, sir, you and America have kept your word.  For Ireland, your door has been and is always open.  And for that we thank you.  (Applause.)

That memorable day was also made very special by your trip, as you said, to the home of your ancestors in the village of Moneygall — Henry VIII is almost as famous as yourself.  (Laughter.)  That’s because for all people of Irish heritage, the most important part of their visit to our country is always the trip to the homeplace.

And as a prominent reminder, and on your behalf of your historic homecoming, Mr. President, it is my honor to present to you, on behalf of the Irish people and of the government, this formal certificate of Irish heritage.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Look at that!  I love it.  That’s great.

PRIME MINISTER KENNY:  These are very rare.  (Laughter.)  As rare as the man himself.  (Laughter.)

Next year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the homecoming of another one of our sons, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Next year, Ireland will gather her global family to herself in a year-long celebration of the ties of heart and hope and history that bind us and allow us to imagine together a better, brighter richer future.  We call it simply “The Gathering.”

These are our new departures of hope and confidence and success.  And these are the new departures from which there will be no going back.

This evening, Mr. President, I bring our current emigrants to the heart of these celebrations here in the (speaks Irish) of the White House.

As you see, a light burns brightly within every one of these emigrants, and that’s the light of opportunity, of ambition, and of confidence.  But it is also the light of home.  Especially in this week of St. Patrick, my message to their parents and their families is this:  My work and that of my government, with your work and your government, is aimed at ensuring that these children — Ireland’s children — can live and work at home if that is their intention and their desire.

Mr. President, the great American philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “Things do not change.  We change.”  And since your visit to us last year, Ireland has changed dramatically.  We have swapped the confines of the old fears for your audacity of hope. (Applause.)  And every day we work to create a better, more confident, more determined future.  We know our challenges are tough, but we meet those head on.

And because we know that every nation becomes what it envisions, we are forging success — this time, a more authentic success.  We take the old advice and the old adage that in the calm ahead we use the strength of purpose that we found in the storm.

Mr. President, like you, we believe that Ireland’s best days are still up ahead.  And like you, we believe that our greatest triumphs are still to come.  When you came to Ireland, like your predecessor, President Kennedy, and President Clinton, you made us dream again.  On these days of St. Patrick, we hope that you will be able to fulfill your promise to come home again in the springtime.

May God bless you, Mr. President, in the work you do for global peace and security.  May he guide you in your efforts to keep our world a safer place.

Mr. President, Michelle, and your two lovely daughters, Sasha and Malia, happy St. Patrick’s Week.  (Laughter.)  And remember, as we always do:  (Speaks Irish) — “The sun always shines after the rain.”

And now it’s my privilege, on behalf of Ireland, to present President Obama with the traditional Bowl of Shamrock.  May it bring him good luck in the time ahead.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, thank you.  First of all, this will have a special place of honor alongside my birth certificate.  (Laughter and applause.)  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  The shamrocks have brought good luck to our garden over the past few years.  And I am extraordinarily grateful to you, Taoiseach, and Fionnuala, for just being such wonderful hosts to us when we were there.  But I think that you get a sense from this crowd that you have a second home on the other side of the Atlantic, and that good cheer and warmth is probably reciprocated.  (Applause.)

So happy St. Patrick’s Week, everybody.  God bless you.  May God bless both our countries.  Have a wonderful time while you’re here.  Don’t break anything.  (Laughter and applause.)

END
7:25 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by the President at Friends of Ireland Luncheon — U.S. Capitol

Source: WH, 3-20-12

U.S. Capitol
12:58 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Please.  Well, thank you, John.  Thank you, everybody.  I know we are all glad to welcome Taoiseach Kenny and his lovely wife back to Washington.  Technically, you may be aware, it is not St. Patrick’s Day.  (Laughter.)  Of course, technically, most Americans who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are not Irish.  So it’s a wash.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank our top Irishman in the White house, Joe Biden, who is here, and Speaker Boehner, for being such a gracious host.  I want to welcome Ambassador Collins and Mrs. Collins; distinguished members of the House and the Senate; leaders from Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Britain.  Thank you all for coming.

I always think about how every Taoiseach must leave this luncheon marveling at how cheerful and bipartisan Washington is.  (Applause.)  It’s remarkable.  And that’s something worth aspiring to, even during an election year.

As John mentioned, this wonderful tradition began with Speaker Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan.  And when I was getting ready this morning, I came across some advice that Tip gave to anybody who was making a St. Patrick’s Day speech.  As the story goes, Tip was once asked to deliver a speech to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Pennsylvania.  He figured the Irishmen would arrive early, perhaps have a few drinks, relax a little bit, and by the time he stood up to speak, they would applaud anything he said as long as he kept it short.

Then, as Tip was getting dressed, one of the — his aides ran up to him, out of breath, and said he had just found out that no drinking was allowed before dinner — only afterwards.  And Tip panicked a little bit.  He realized he had to prepare.  So he grabbed a few pages from “Famous Irishmen of America,” underlined some passages, acted like he had planned it all along.  The speech went extraordinarily well, and afterwards, he was complimented on his thoroughness and studiousness in preparing for the speech.

So Tip’s lesson was:  Always know your audience, and don’t count on drinks getting you through the evening.  (Laughter.)

But Tip also taught us something else.  He taught us that even in the midst of partisanship and passion, true friendship can exist in this town.  Tip and President Reagan famously had fierce battles and genuine disagreements.  But after the work ended, the two men did their best to put partisanship aside.  According to Tip, President Reagan used to begin calls with, “Hello, Tip, is it after 6 o’clock?”  (Laughter.)  To which the Speaker would reply, “Absolutely, Mr. President.”  And then they could enjoy each other’s company.

For his part, the President said he always knew Tip was behind him, even if it was just at the State of the Union — (laughter) — whispering to the Vice President after every policy proposal, “Forget it.”  (Laughter.)  “No way.”  “Fat chance.”  (Laughter.)  I can relate.  (Laughter.)

So it is no surprise that the two proud Irishmen came together to start this luncheon — with the Speaker promising to cook some Boston corned beef, and the President offering to “polish up some new Irish jokes.”  Later, our friend Ted Kennedy and others persuaded Taoiseach to join them.  And today, the only argument we have is over who has more green in their family tree.

For once, I have some bragging rights here.  Last spring, the Taoiseach and Mrs. Kenny hosted Michelle and I for a wonderful visit to Ireland.  And one of the highlights was a trip to the small village of Moneygall, where my great-great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side lived before he set sail for America.  I met my eighth cousin, Henry — who has my ears, I might point out.  (Laughter.)  We had a pint of Guinness at the local pub.  And I got a chance to see firsthand the kind of hospitality that the bighearted people of Ireland have always been known for.

So today is about celebrating those people — as well as the tens of millions of Americans who trace their heritage across the ocean to the Emerald Isle.  Never has a nation so small had such an enormous impact on another.  Never has anyone taught us more about the value of faith and friendship; about the capacity of the human spirit; about the simple truth that it’s harder to disagree when we recognize ourselves in each other — which is easier to do when we’re all wearing green.

So to Taoiseach Kenny, I want to thank you and Fionnuala for joining us here today.  And I want to thank the people of Ireland for their friendship, now and always.  Cheers.  (Applause.)

END
1:03 P.M. EDT

History Buzz March 19, 2012: Geoffrey Parker: Ohio State University professor awarded the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for History

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

OSU professor awarded top international prize

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, 3-19-12

Ohio State University history professor Geoffrey Parker has been awarded the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for History by the 200-year old Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The prize is given biennially to recognize international scholars in five fields who exemplify the highest levels of accomplishment in their areas. Recipients will receive a $150,000 cash award at a special ceremony later this year in Amsterdam. Although several of the past Heineken History Prize winners teach at American universities, Parker is the first Ohio State historian to be selected.

The selection committee cited Parker’s “outstanding scholarship on the social, political and military history of Europe between 1500 and 1650, in particular Spain, Phillip II, and the Dutch revolt; for contributions to military history in general; and for research in the role of climate in world history.”
“This is the sort of honor that, if it comes at all, only comes once,” Parker said. “It’s a particular privilege for me to join my OSU colleague and friend earth scientist Lonnie Thompson, who won a Heineken Prize for his work in environmental sciences back in 2002”
Parker was nominated for the award by history department chairman Peter Hahn, who said Parker has published 36 books, is perhaps the world’s foremost authority on early modern European history, and has an established record of expertise in military history and world history.  “Moreover, he has shaped the minds and won the hearts of thousands of students over his 45 years in the classroom,” Hahn said….READ MORE

Campaign Buzz March 18, 2012: Mitt Romney Decisively Wins Puerto Rico’s Republican Presidential Primary — Takes all 20 Delegates

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY DECISIVELY WINS PUERTO RICO PRIMARY — TAKES ALL 20 DELEGATES

“Mitt Romney won the Puerto Rican primary by a huge margin and we are granting him the 20 delegates.” — Enrique Melendez, the Republican representative on the Puerto Rican State Electoral Commission

“This is a primary process where somebody had a huge advantage, huge money advantage, huge advantage of establishment support and he hasn’t been able to close the deal and even come close to closing the deal. That tells you that there’s a real flaw there.” — Rick Santorum

“I can’t tell you exactly how the process is going to work. But I bet I’m going to become the nominee.” — Mitt Romney

Romney wins Puerto Rico, GOP campaign continues: Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming win Sunday in Puerto Rico’s Republican presidential primary, trouncing chief rival Rick Santorum on the Caribbean island even as the two rivals looked ahead to more competitive contests this week in Illinois and Louisiana.
The victory in the U.S. territory was so convincing that Romney, the GOP front-runner, won all 20 delegates to the national convention at stake because he prevailed with more than 50 percent of the vote. That padded his comfortable lead over Santorum in the race to amass the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
Nevertheless, the GOP nomination fight is unlikely to end anytime soon, with Santorum refusing to step aside even though Romney is pulling further ahead in the delegate hunt…. – AP, 3-18-12

 

  • Mitt Romney wins GOP primary in Puerto Rico: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has won Puerto Rico’s winner-take-all Republican primary and is projected to take the state’s 20 GOP convention delegates, AP reported…. – WaPo, 3-18-12
  • Romney the Winner in Puerto Rico: Mitt Romney picked up another victory with a decisive win in Puerto Rico, according to projections…. – NYT, 3-18-12
  • Romney Wins Primary in Puerto Rico: Mitt Romney won the Puerto Rican Republican presidential primary contest on Sunday, the Associated Press quoted an election official as saying…. – WSJ, 3-18-12
  • Romney wins Puerto Rico, GOP campaign continues: Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming win Sunday in Puerto Rico’s Republican presidential primary, trouncing chief rival Rick Santorum on the Caribbean island even as the two rivals looked ahead to more competitive contests … – USA Today, 3-18-12
  • Mitt Romney cruises to victory in Puerto Rico: Mitt Romney has easily won the Puerto Rico primary, continuing his dominance in GOP contests in America’s island territories. Romney went into the vote heavily favored, and with the backing of Gov. Luis Fortuno…. – LAT, 3-18-12
  • Puerto Rico votes; Romney, Santorum campaign in next-up primary states: The GOP presidential race veered offshore to Puerto Rico, where 20 delegates were in stake in Sunday’s primary but residents cannot vote in the general election. While fighting for votes in the US territory, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum … WaPo, 3-18-12
  • Romney Projected Winner in Puerto Rico: Mitt Romney was projected Sunday as the winner of the Republican presidential primary in Puerto Rico, a winning streak he is aggressively working to repeat here in the Illinois primary on Tuesday…. – NYT, 3-18-12
  • Romney will win Puerto Rico’s GOP primary, CNN projects: Mitt Romney will win Sunday’s Republican presidential primary in Puerto Rico, CNN projects, based on vote results obtained from local party and election officials. At 7:22 pm ET, with about 18% … – CNN, 3-18-12
  • A look at Puerto Rico as it holds its primary: 75.8 percent white; 99 percent Hispanic or Latino origin; 0.2 percent Asian; 12.4 percent black; 7.8 percent other; 3.3 percent two or more races; 0.5 percent American Indian. 100000 (according to statistics from the 2000 primary…. – AP, 3-18-12
  • Newt Missed Puerto Rico Opportunity, Says His Island Chief: Why is the candidate with the strongest record on Hispanic issues poised to wash out on the island? If he had shown up, the race “would have been a lot closer,” Regis tells BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins…. – BuzzFeed, 3-18-12
  • Romney would support statehood for Puerto Rico: Mitt Romney on Saturday shopped for tropical fruit and told a small crowd he would support statehood for the island if that option wins the Nov. 6 referendum on Puerto Rico’s political status. Puerto Rico is currently a US territory…. – AP, 3-18-12
  • The day before the island’s primary, Romney says he would support statehood: Mitt Romney is courting voters in Puerto Rico ahead of the island’s primary as he looks toward voting in Illinois next week. Romney on Saturday shopped for tropical fruit and told a small crowd he would support statehood for the … – WaPo, 3-18-12
  • Romney campaigns in Puerto Rican style, says he supports statehood if they want it: In Puerto Rico on Friday the Romney campaign found that politics here comes in a distinctly local flavor. Gone were the rusty factories, introductions to campaign theme song “Born Free,” and even the “thanks you guys” … – msnbc.com, 3-18-12
  • In Puerto Rico, Romney repeats Sotomayor criticism: Campaigning in Puerto Rico ahead of Sunday’s presidential primary, Mitt Romney refused to back off criticism of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and encouraged residents to speak English…. – AP, 3-18-12
  • Romney supports Puerto Rican statehood without English condition: After his main rival ignited a firestorm over requiring Puerto Rico to adopt English as a condition of statehood, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney flew to the island … – CBS News, 3-18-12
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