Political Buzz March 15, 2012: President Barack Obama Hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron at Press Conference, NCAA Basketball Game in Ohio & UK State Dinner


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.


President Obama, the First Lady, Prime Minister Cameron, and Samantha Cameron pose for an official State Dinner photo (March 14, 2012)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Mrs. Samantha Cameron for an official State Dinner photo in the Grand Foyer of the White House, March 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)


When Barack Met David: A Trans-Atlantic Love Story: This is intended as a quick catch-up for American readers who may have inexplicably missed the top news story of the week: you just had a visit from the British prime minister. And, by the way, his name is David Cameron.
Foreign leaders turn up in Washington with the same regularity that pro-consuls and minor princelings once took the road to ancient Rome. So, if you missed it, you’re forgiven. In the British media, however, this particular three-day meet-and-greet was followed as if it were the second coming.
British officials were spinning like nuclear centrifuges to stress the importance of this latest manifestation of the “special relationship” and of the depth and warmth of the personal ties between “Barack” and “David.”… – IHT, NYT, 3-16-12

  • Cameron visits 9/11 memorial in NYC: British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, visited the memorial at the World Trade Center on Thursday after touring businesses in Newark, N.J…. – AP, 3-15-12
  • British state dinner and red carpet arrivals: President Obama and first lady welcome British prime minister David Cameron and wife for a state dinner at the White House. President Barack Obama proposes a toast as he and first lady Michelle Obama host a state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron… – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Obamas host British Prime Minister David Cameron at state dinner: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted the sixth state dinner of their tenure Wednesday evening, honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron in a celebration of spring in a tent on the White House’s South … – LAT, 3-14-12
  • White House state dinner for British PM mixes election-year celebrity power: Wednesday’s giant state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife — the biggest ever thrown by Barack and Michelle Obama — dished up a potent mix of celebrity glam, corporate heft and political money under an enormous … – WaPo, 3-16-12
  • Obama hails ‘indispensable’ US alliance with Britain: A “chuffed to bits” President Barack Obama gushed over British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, but deepening world crises conspired to darken a warm welcome for a special ally.
    Obama went out of his way to hail America’s “indispensable” relationship with Britain, even offering to learn the rules of cricket, gifting his guest a top of the range American grill, and laying on a sumptuous state dinner…. – AFP, 3-14-12
  • President Obama, David Cameron stress trust, admiration: President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron spent Wednesday evening pouring praise on each other in front of a state dinner crowd of celebrities, politicians, business leaders, journalists and major campaign donors of the president.
    “In good times and in bad, he’s just the kind of partner that you want at your side. I trust him. He says what he does and he does what he says,” Obama said at the White House event.
    The president spoke of his admiration of Cameron’s “character,” especially in light of the death of his young son Ivan in 2009. “All of us have seen how you as a parent, along with Samantha, have shown a measure of strength that few of us will ever know,” he said.
    Obama showed a note of familiarity with the prime minister, calling Cameron by his first name throughout his warm words. Cameron reciprocated.
    “There are three things about Barack that really stand out for me: Strength, moral authority and wisdom,” Cameron said, citing the killing of Osama bin Laden and the international action in Libya, among other efforts…. – Politico, 3-14-12
  • The White House state dinner: Sweet nothings across the pond: The British arrived. Brilliant! For the British, we roll out our most glorious specimen. For the British, we bring out The Clooney. The purpose of a state dinner is always to cement relationships, celebrate ties, create photo-ops…. – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Michelle Obama wears Marchesa gown to state dinner _ and designer is on the guest list: Michelle Obama chose an off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown for her duties Wednesday night as hostess at a White House state dinner honoring the British prime minister and his wife, David and Samantha Cameron. It was a deep shade of teal in a … – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Michelle Obama Wears Marchesa to the White House State Dinner: It was a win for Marchesa last night when Michelle Obama chose to wear the label’s draped teal column dress to the White House state dinner. The first lady accessorized with a “Pearls in Peril” necklace by Tom Binns…. – WSJ, 3-15-12
  • Obama, Cameron warn Iran: They warn that new military action might be near…. – Politico, 3-14-12
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom hold a press conference (March 14, 2012)

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Cameron and Obama Show Unity on Afghanistan: Seeking to project a united front on Afghanistan after a spate of bloody setbacks on the battlefield, President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain pledged on Wednesday that their countries would stick to the timetable for … – NYT, 3-14-12
  • Obama, Cameron outline shift to support role in Afghanistan next year: Determined to show momentum in a war marred by setbacks, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minster David Cameron said for the first time Wednesday that NATO forces would hand over the lead combat role to Afghanistan forces next year … – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Obama, Cameron affirm commitment to Afghan mission: Seeking strength and persuasion in numbers, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron together laid out a case for continuing their policy in Afghanistan, an increasingly unstable war-front with fading support in both countries.
    Appearing together Wednesday in the Rose Garden for Cameron’s first official visit to the United States, the leaders sought to project a unified front against calls to speed up the pace of withdrawal of forces in the face growing violence and a weary electorate.
    Cameron declared firmly that “we will not give up on this mission,” while Obama emphasized his commitment to a “steady, responsible transition process.”
    “I don’t anticipate at this stage that we’re going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have,” Obama said…. – LAT, 3-14-12
  • First lady brings Olympics to pupils: Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron lead a group of fifth-graders through a mini-Olympics…. – Politico, 3-14-12
  • President Obama takes British leader to NCAA basketball game in Ohio: The casual start to Prime Minister David Cameron’s state visit showcases the nations’ close relationship at a crucial time for the president.
    British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama headed to Ohio to take in one of the “First Four” games of the NCAA basketball tournament Tuesday, a lighthearted start to a visit that will turn to more difficult subjects Wednesday.
    The leaders left their wives in Washington for the man date in the swing state, an outing billed by the White House as important cross-cultural bonding time…. – LAT, 3-13-12
  • Obama, Cameron take in ‘Heartland’: The president said Cameron would get to see both basketball and “the great state of Ohio.”…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • British prime minister gets a taste of American life: Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife come to the United States for a two-day visit that includes, among other activities, attending the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. US President Barack Obama talks to British Prime Minister David Cameron … – WaPo, 3-13-12

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron watch basketball
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron watch Mississippi Valley State play Western Kentucky in a first-round NCAA tournament game in Dayton, Ohio. (Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press / March 13, 2012)

Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Policy at Prince George’s Community College



Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back at Presidential Candidates

Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Obama giving a speech on his energy policies at the Prince Georges Community College in Largo, Md.

Source: NYT, 3-15-12

In what has become a weekly ritual, President Obama on Thursday defended his administration’s energy policy, in the face of relentlessly rising gasoline prices, to an American public that believes he can do more to ease the pain at the pump.

Mr. Obama cycled through now-familiar themes, promoting his record of increased domestic oil and gas production; stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks; and investments in alternative sources of energy, like biofuels, wind and solar power. The administration’s energy policy has been the focus of many speeches the president has given in recent weeks.

But on Thursday he delivered a notably sarcastic rebuttal to his Republican presidential challengers, particularly Newt Gingrich, who has promised, if elected, to bring down gas prices to $2.50 a gallon, and has ridiculed the president’s talk of making fuel from algaeREAD MORE


Remarks by the President on Energy

Prince George’s Community College
Largo, Maryland

11:05 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Well, I am so — what a wonderful reception.  (Applause.)  That is so nice.  Thank you.  You’re all just cheering because I know Michelle.  (Laughter.)  Well, it is wonderful to be here.  Folks who have a seat, feel free to take a seat.

I want to thank Roy for that introduction.  He talks pretty smooth, right?  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s great to be back in Maryland.  It’s great to be here at Prince George’s Community College.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  Now, but before I start, I want to thank your other president, Dr. Charlene Dukes.  (Applause.)  Your Governor, Martin O’Malley, is in the house.  (Applause.)  Lieutenant Governor Brown is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got one of the finest members of the United States Senate that you could hope to have in Ben Cardin.  (Applause.)  Congresswoman Donna Edwards is here.  (Applause.) And County Executive Rushern Baker is here.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of you for coming out here today.  (Applause.)

Now, I just finished learning about some of the work that you’re doing here at this community college to make sure that homes are using less energy, and helping folks save money on their heating and their air-conditioning bills.  And I was very impressed.  I’m even more impressed because I know this program is giving a lot of people a chance to make a decent living — everyone from veterans to folks with disabilities to folks who’ve just been down on their luck but want to work.  So I want you to know how proud I am of this program, of this institution, of all of you.  (Applause.)

The skills that you gain here at this community college will be the surest path to success in this economy.  Because if there’s one thing that we’re thinking about a lot these days, is, first of all, how do we make sure that American workers have the skills and education they need to be able to succeed in this competitive global economy?  And community colleges all across the country and all across Maryland are doing an outstanding job providing young people that first opportunity after high school but also helping older workers retrain for the jobs of the future because the economy is constantly adapting.  (Applause.)

So community colleges are big.  Community colleges are critical to our long-term success.  What’s also critical to our long-term success is the question of energy:  How do we use less energy?  How do we produce more energy right here in the United States of America?

And I know this is an especially important topic for everybody right now because you guys have to fill up at the gas station.


THE PRESIDENT:  And it’s rough.  Gas prices and the world oil markets right now are putting a lot of pressure on families right now.  And one of the things that is important to remember is for a lot of folks, just doing what you have to do to get your kids to school, to get to the job, to do grocery shopping
— you don’t have an option.  You’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank.  And when prices spike on the world market, it’s like a tax, it’s like somebody is going into your pocket.

We passed the payroll tax at the beginning of this year to make sure that everybody had an extra $40 in their paycheck, on average — (applause) — in part because we anticipated that gas prices might be going up like they did last year, given tight world oil supplies.

But that doesn’t make it easier for a lot of families out there that are just struggling to get by.  This is tough.  Now, the question is, how do we meet this challenge?  Because right now we’re starting to see a lot of politicians talking a lot but not doing much.  (Applause.)  And we’ve seen this movie before.  (Applause.)  Gas prices went up around this time last year.  Gas prices shot up in the spring and summer of 2008 — I remember, I was running for President at the time.  This has been going on for years now.

And every time prices start to go up — especially in an election year — politicians dust off their 3-point plans for $2.00 gas.  (Laughter.)  I guess this year they decided, we’re going to make it $2.50.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know where — why not $2.40?  (Laughter.)  Why not $2.10?  (Laughter.)  But they tell the same story.  They head down to the gas station; they make sure a few cameras are following them — (laughter) — and then they start acting like we’ve got a magic wand and we will give you cheap gas forever if you just elect us.  (Laughter.)  Every time.  Been the same script for 30 years.  It’s like a bad rerun.  (Laughter.)

Now, here’s the thing — because we’ve seen it all before, we know better.  You know better.  There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to high gas prices.  There’s no silver bullet.  Anybody who tells you otherwise isn’t really looking for a solution — they’re trying to ride the political wave of the moment.

Usually, the most common thing, when you actually ask them — all right, how is it that you’re going to get back to $2.00 a gallon gas, how are you going to do it, specifically, what is your plan — then typically what you’ll hear from them is, well, if we just drilled more for oil then gas prices would immediately come down and all our problems would go away.  That’s usually the response.

Now, Maryland, there are two problems with that answer.  First of all, we are drilling.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  Any time.  That’s a fact.  That’s a fact.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  I want everybody to listen to that — we have more oil rigs operating now than ever.  That’s a fact.  We’ve approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil across the country.  We announced our support for a new one in Oklahoma that will help get more oil down to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Over the last three years, my administration has opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration.  (Applause.)  Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources.  That includes an area in the Gulf of Mexico we opened up a few months ago that could produce more than 400 million barrels of oil.

So do not tell me that we’re not drilling.  (Applause.)  We’re drilling all over this country.  (Applause.)  I guess there are a few spots where we’re not drilling.  We’re not drilling in the National Mall.  (Laughter.)  We’re not drilling at your house.  (Laughter.)  I guess we could try to have, like, 200 oil rigs in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.


THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s the question.  We are drilling at a record pace but we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety and the natural resources of the American people.  (Applause.)

So that’s point number one.  If you start hearing this “drill, baby, drill; drill, drill, drill” — if you start hearing that again, just remember you’ve got the facts — we’re doing that.  Tell me something new.  (Applause.)  That’s problem number one.

Here’s the second problem with what some of these politicians are talking about.  There’s a problem with a strategy that only relies on drilling and that is, America uses more than 20 percent of the world’s oil.  If we drilled every square inch of this country — so we went to your house and we went to the National Mall and we put up those rigs everywhere — we’d still have only 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  Let’s say we miss something — maybe it’s 3 percent instead of 2.  We’re using 20; we have 2.

Now, you don’t need to be getting an excellent education at Prince George’s Community College to know that we’ve got a math problem here.  (Laughter and applause.)  I help out Sasha occasionally with her math homework and I know that if you’ve got 2 and you’ve got 20, there’s a gap.  (Laughter.)  There’s a gap, right?


THE PRESIDENT:  Do we have anybody who’s good at math here?  Am I right?  (Applause.)  Okay.

So if we don’t develop other sources of energy, if we don’t develop the technology to use less energy to make our economy more energy-efficient, then we will always be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs.  (Applause.)

And that means every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main thing that’s driving oil prices up right now — it’s the same thing that was driving oil prices up last year — every time that happens, every time that there’s unrest, any time that there’s concern about a conflict, suddenly, oil futures shoot up, you’re going to feel it at the pump.  It will happen every single time.

We will not fully be in control of our energy future if our strategy is only to drill for the 2 percent but we still have to buy the 20 percent.  And there’s another wrinkle to this — other countries use oil, too.  We’re not the only ones.  So you’ve got rapidly-growing nations like China and India, and they’re all starting to buy cars.  They’re getting wealthier.  They want cars, too.  And that means the price of gas will rise.

Just to give you an example — in 2010, China alone added 10 million new cars.  That’s just in one year.  And there are about a billion Chinese.  So they’ve got a lot more people who are going to want cars in the future, which means they are going to want to get some of that oil and that will drive prices up.  So we can’t just drill our way out of the problem.  We are drilling, but it’s not going to solve our problem.

That’s not the future I want for the United States of America.  We can’t allow ourselves to be held hostage to events on the other side of the globe.  That’s not who we are.  (Applause.)  America controls its own destiny.  We’re not dependent on somebody else.  (Applause.)

So we can’t have an energy strategy for the last century that traps us in the past.  We need an energy strategy for the future — an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy.  Yes, develop as much oil and gas as we can, but also develop wind power and solar power and biofuels.  (Applause.)  Make our buildings more fuel-efficient.  Make our homes more fuel-efficient.  Make our cars and trucks more fuel-efficient so they get more miles for the gallon.  (Applause.)  That’s where I want to take this country.  (Applause.)

And here’s — the best part of it is thousands of Americans have jobs right now because we’ve doubled the use of clean energy in this country since I came into office.  And I want to keep on making those investments.  (Applause.)  I don’t want to see wind turbines and solar panels and high-tech batteries made in other countries by other workers.  I want to make them here.  (Applause.)  I want to make them here in Maryland.  I want to make them here in the United States of America, with American workers.  That’s what I want.  (Applause.)

So when I came into office, we said, all right, how are we going to start moving America in that direction?  It’s not a thing you get done in one year, but how do we start moving in that direction?  So after 30 years of not doing anything, we raised fuel economy standards on cars and trucks so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon — that’s double what we get today — 55 miles per gallon.  (Applause.)  Fifty-five miles a gallon.

So the young people here who were driving those beaters that — (laughter) — getting 5 miles per gallon — (laughter) — we’re going to get you to 55.  And that will save the average family more than $8,000 over the life of a car — $8,000.  (Applause.)  That will help pay some bills.  That means you’ll be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  (Applause.)  And those are the cars we need to keep building here in the United States.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we can do that.  (Applause.)

All right, so now, to fuel these cars and trucks, obviously if they’re using less gas, that’s great.  That saves us; we’re using less oil.  But we also want to invest in clean advanced biofuels that can replace some of the oil that we’re currently using.  That’s important.  (Applause.)

Already, we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks to Navy ships.  I want to see more of these fuels in American cars — homegrown fuels — because that means we’re buying less oil from foreign countries and we’re creating jobs here in the United States — (applause) — including big parts of rural America, big parts of rural Maryland, where the economy oftentimes is struggling and you have a real opportunity to create entire new industries and put people to work.  And it’s happening all across the country.

So all of these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence.  Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember next time you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  (Laughter.)  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  (Applause.)  In 2010, our oil dependence, the amount that we’re bringing in, the percentage we’re bringing in, was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to do better than that, and we can do better than that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  But in order to do better than that, we’ve got to tell the folks who are stuck in the past that our future depends on this all-of-the-above energy strategy.  That’s our job.  That it can’t just be — it can’t just be drilling for more oil.  We’re drilling for more oil, but that can’t be all the solution; that’s just part of the solution.

Now, here’s the sad thing.  Lately, we’ve heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who are running for a certain office — (laughter) — who shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they’ve been talking down new sources of energy.  They dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas-guzzlers.  They think that’s good for our future.  We’re trying to move towards the future; they want to be stuck in the past.

We’ve heard this kind of thinking before.  Let me tell you something.  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail — (laughter) — they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter.)  They would not have believed that the world was round.  (Applause.)  We’ve heard these folks in the past.  They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said, “Television won’t last.  It’s a flash in the pan.”  (Laughter.)  One of Henry Ford’s advisors was quoted as saying, “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a fad.”  (Laughter.)

There have always been folks like that.  There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don’t believe in the future, and don’t believe in trying to do things differently.  One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, “It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?”  (Laughter.)  That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore — (laughter and applause) — because he’s looking backwards.  He’s not looking forwards.  (Applause.)  He’s explaining why we can’t do something, instead of why we can do something.

The point is, there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing things the same way that we’ve always done them.  They want to double down on the same ideas that got us into some of the mess that we’ve been in.  But that’s not who we are as Americans.  See, America has always succeeded because we refuse to stand still.  We put faith in the future.  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 who we are.  (Applause.)

That’s who we need to be right now.  That’s who we need to be right now.  I don’t understand when I hear folks who are in elected office, or aspiring to elected office, who ignore the facts and seem to just want to get a cute bumper sticker line, instead of actually trying to solve our problems.  (Applause.)

What I just said about energy, by the way, is not disputed by any energy expert.  Everybody agrees with this.  So why is it that somebody who wants to help lead the country would be ignoring the facts?  (Applause.)

If you want an example of what I’m talking about, consider an important issue that’s before Congress right now.

I think somebody may have fainted.  All right.  Remember next time if you’re going to stand for a long time, you got to eat.  (Laughter.)  I’m — no, no, it’s true.  You got to get something to eat.  You got to get some juice.  I’m just saying.  It’s true.  They’ll be okay, just make sure to give them space.

The question — there’s a question before Congress I want everybody to know about.  The question is whether or not we should keep giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry.


THE PRESIDENT:  The oil industry has been subsidized by you, the taxpayer, for about a hundred years — 100 years.  One hundred years, a century.  So some of the same folks who are complaining about biofuels getting subsidies, or wind or solar energy getting subsidies, or electric cars and advanced batteries getting subsidies to help get them off the ground, these same folks — when you say, why are we still giving subsidies to the oil industry –- “well, no, we need those.”

Oil companies are making more money right now than they’ve ever made.  On top of the money they’re getting from you at the gas station every time you fill up, they want some of your tax dollars as well.

That doesn’t make any sense.  Does it make sense?


THE PRESIDENT:  It’s inexcusable.  It is time for this oil industry giveaway to end.  (Applause.)  So in the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies.  And when they do, they’ll put every single member of Congress on record.  I guess you can stand up for the oil companies who really don’t need much help, or they can stand up for the American people, because we can take that $4 billion — we could be investing it in clean energy in a good energy future, in fuel efficiency.  (Applause.)  We could actually be trying to solve a vital problem.

They can bet — they can place their bets on the energy of the past, or they can place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American ingenuity, American technology, American science, American-made energy, American efficiency, American productivity.  (Applause.)  We can bet on America and our own capacity to solve this problem.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

Maryland, we know what direction we have to go in.


THE PRESIDENT:  And every American out there, as frustrated as they are about gas prices right now, when you actually ask people, they’ll tell you, yes, we’ve got to find new sources of energy.  We got to find new ways of doing things.  People understand that.  We just got to get Washington to understand it.  We got to get politicians to understand it.

We’ve got to invest in a serious, sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy that develops every resource available for the 21st century.  We’ve got to choose between the past and the future.  And that’s a choice we shouldn’t be afraid to make because we’ve always bet on the future, and we’re good at it.  America is good at the future.  We are good at being ahead of the curve.  We’re good at being on the cutting edge.  (Applause.)

Ending these subsidies won’t bring down gas prices 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, and being caught in this position, where what happens in the Middle East ends up taking money out of your pocket, if we want to stabilize energy prices for the long term and the medium term, if we want America to grow, we’re going to have look past what we’ve been doing and put ourselves on the path to a real, sustainable energy future.

That’s the future you deserve.  So I need all of you to make your voices heard.  (Applause.)  Get on the phone, write an email, send a letter, let your member of Congress know where you stand.  Tell them to do the right thing.  Tell them we can win this fight.  Tell them we’re going to combine our creativity and our optimism, our brainpower, our manpower, our womanpower.  Tell them:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)

Tell them we are going to build an economy that lasts.  Tell them we’re going to make this the American century just like the last century.

Thank you, Prince George’s County.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Prince George’s Community College.  Thank you, Maryland.  (Applause.)  Let’s get to work.  God bless you.  God bless America.

11:37 A.M. EDT

Campaign Headlines March 15, 2012: Final Republican Presidential debate in Oregon canceled after Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum drop out



Final Republican debate canceled after Romney, Santorum drop out

Source: Washington Times, 3-15-12

Organizers on Thursday canceled the final debate of the Republican presidential campaign season, slated for Monday, after two of the GOP’s four candidates declined to participate.

The affair, which was sponsored by The Washington Times, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Oregon Republican Party, was to have taken place on Monday in Portland — and would have been the 21st debate of the primary.

But Mitt Romney, the field’s front-runner, said earlier this week he wouldn’t participate, and Rick Santorum, his chief opponent, couldn’t commit to the debate eitther…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2012: Vice President Joe Biden Kick-off’s Obama 2012 Campaign — Speech on the Automotive Industry — Rips GOP Candidates, Mocks Romney



In Toledo, Biden Makes a Working-Class Appeal

Source: NYT, 3-15-12

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. reacted to cheers before speaking on Thursday at the United Auto Workers Local 12 hall in Toledo, Ohio.

Madalyn Ruggiero/Associated Press

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. reacted to cheers before speaking on Thursday at the United Auto Workers Local 12 hall in Toledo, Ohio.

The vice president criticized the Republican presidential candidates by name – repeatedly – accusing them of being “about protecting the privileged sector.”…READ MORE

Biden rips GOP field, mocks Romney

Source: Politico, 3-15-12

Joe Biden descended on an Ohio union hall to deliver his first bona fide campaign speech of the 2012 cycle, ripping into the GOP field for opposing the auto bailout — and mocking Mitt Romney’s connections to Bain Capital…READ MORE


Remarks by the Vice President on the Automotive Industry

Source: WH, 3-15-12
UAW Local 12, Main Hall
Toledo, Ohio

11:18 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hey, folks, how are you?  Hello, Toledo.  Good to see you all.  Please excuse my back.  I apologize.

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.

Well, I want to tell you — let’s start off by congratulating Marcy Kaptur for two more years.  (Applause.)  And, Shelley, when the Secret Service used to let me drive — they don’t let Presidents or Vice Presidents drive.  When I used to drive, I drove those Jeeps you built.  My daughter still drives a Jeep.  (Applause.)

And, Marcy, I wish my dad had owned a dealership.  He didn’t, he managed it.  If he owned it, I would have been able to own those new cars I took my girlfriends to the prom in.  (Laughter.)  Instead, I had to borrow them but I still got them.  (Laughter.)  It’s good having a dad in the automobile business, man.  (Laughter.)

Hey, I’m back, you’re back, and the industry is back.  (Applause.)  The President and I made a bet, a simple bet.  We bet on you.  We bet on American ingenuity.  We bet on you and we won.  (Applause.)  Chrysler, fastest growing car company in America, General Motors has seen the largest profits in its history — (applause) — 200,000 auto jobs lost since the rescue plan — 400,000 lost before we took office; 200,000 new jobs since the rescue plan was in place.  (Applause.)  That’s 200,000 people who had their dignity returned to them, reinstated, and a paycheck they can raise their family on.  (Applause.)

My dad knew something and taught us that all of you know, that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about your dignity.  It’s about respect.  It’s about your place in the community.  It’s about being able to turn to your kids and say, it’s going to be okay.  That’s what a job is about.

I don’t know if these other guys understand that.  And, folks, that’s how Barack and I measure economic success, whether the middle class is growing or not, that’s the measure of success.  (Applause.)  A growing, vibrant middle class where moms and dads, mothers and fathers, can look at their kids and say, Honey, it’s going to be okay.  Look, that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

This is the first of four speeches I’ll be making on behalf of the President and me in the coming weeks, laying out what we believe are clear, stark differences between us and our opponents and what’s at stake for the middle class, because it is the middle class that’s at stake in this election.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich — these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do.  Our philosophy, ours is one that values the workers in the success of a business.  It values the middle class and the success of our economy.

Simply stated, we’re about promoting the private sector, they’re about protecting the privileged sector.  (Applause.)  We are for a fair shot and a fair shake.  They’re about no rules, no risks, and no accountability.

Look, there’s no clearer example of these two different views of the economy than how we reacted to the crisis in the automobile industry.  It’s sort of a cautionary tale of how they would run the government again and the economy again if given a chance.

Remember, and you do remember — and Shelley, you captured it all.  Remember what the headlines were saying when you woke up a couple of years ago.  “It’s bankruptcy time for GM.”  Another headline — “Crunch time looms for Chrysler.”  Another headline — “Government must act quickly to prevent the collapse of suppliers.”  You guys know for every one of you on the line, there’s four people in another job supplying those parts.

Folks, a million jobs at stake — a million good jobs were at stake on the assembly line, at the parts factories, at the automobile dealerships, right down to the diners outside each of those facilities.  Our friends on the other side, our Republican friends, had started a mantra.  They started the mantra that said, we would make auto companies “wards of the state” was their phrase.  Governor Romney was more direct — let Detroit go bankrupt.


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  He said that.  He said that what we proposed, and I quote, “is even worse than bankruptcy.”  He said it would make GM “the living dead.”  Newt Gingrich said, “a mistake.”

But the guy I work with every day, the President, he didn’t flinch.  This is a man with steel in his spine.  He knew that resurrecting the industry wasn’t going to be popular.  It was absolutely clear in every bit of polling data.  And he knew he was taking a chance, but he believed.  He wasn’t going to give up on a million jobs and on the iconic industry America invented.  At least, he wasn’t going to give it up without a real fight.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  That’s right.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s the kind of President, in my view, we all want, a President with the courage of his convictions — (applause) — a President willing to take risks on behalf of American workers and the American people.  And, folks, that’s exactly what we have, a President with the courage of his convictions.  He made the tough call and the verdict is in.  President Obama was right and they were dead wrong.  (Applause.)

And I say — I say to Governor Romney, his prediction — Governor Romney’s prediction of the “living dead,” we have now living proof, a million jobs saved, 200,000 new jobs created, the Toledo powertrain plant adding 250 good paying jobs over the next two years — GM investing $200 million to build an efficient eight-speed transmission that the world will see; the Toledo Chrysler Assembly Complex preparing to bring on a new shift, 1,100 new jobs building the best cars in the world, Jeeps — (applause) — building Jeeps not only to sell in the United States, but to export abroad.  All told, right here in Ohio just since reorganization, 15,000 good paying, union, autoworker jobs, jobs you can raise a family on and live in a decent neighborhood on.  (Applause.)

American-made cars that are once again cars we want to drive and the world wants to buy.  And one more thing, the President’s historic fuel economy efficiency standards that nearly doubled the efficiency of cars, saving the American families $1.7 trillion at the pump, helping free us from foreign oil dependence.  (Applause.)  And they were against that too.

But you know, even though the verdict is in, Marcy, our Republican opponents, they just won’t give up.  They can’t deny the automobile industry is back.  They can’t deny we’re creating good jobs, good paying jobs again.  So now, they’re trotting out a new argument — it’s kind of old and new.  They say, not only should we not have done it, but had we not done it the private sector would have done it.

They say the private markets would have stepped in to save the industry.  Governor Romney says the market, Wall Street, “will help lift them out.”  Wrong.  Any honest expert will tell you in 2009, no one was lining up to lend General Motors or Chrysler any money or for that matter to lend money to anybody.  That includes Bain Capital.  They weren’t lining up to lend anybody any money either.  (Laughter and applause.)

So now, when that argument doesn’t have legs, they’ve now gone to another one, the new argument.  They argue that our plan to save the industry was just a giveaway to union bosses and the unions.  Senator Santorum said it was, “a payoff to special interests.”  You know it’s kind of amazing Gingrich and Romney and Santorum, they don’t let the facts get in their way.  (Laughter.)

Nobody knows better than you and your families the real price you paid to allow this reorganization to take place — plant closures, wage freezes, lower wages.  They know, everybody knows, these companies would not be in existence today without the sacrifices of all of you in the UAW that you made.  (Applause.)

Then they trot out another argument.  They argue that if GM and Chrysler had gone under that’s okay, because Ford and other auto companies would have stepped in and filled the void — absolutely zero evidence for that.  In fact, Alan Mulally said  — of Ford Motor Company, the CEO — said that if GM and Chrysler went down, and I quote here, “they would have taken the industry down, plus maybe turn the U.S. recession into a depression.”  Ford would have taken up the slack.  Ford says, hey, no, had you not done what you did the whole thing would have collapsed.

Look, I want to tell you what’s real bankruptcy, the economic theories of Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney — they are bankrupt.  (Applause.)  If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class again.  (Applause.)

Look, the President and I have a fundamental commitment to dealing the middle class back into the American economy that they’ve been dealt out of for so long.  And, ultimately, that’s what this election is all about.  It’s a choice, a clear choice, a choice between a system that’s rigged and a system that’s fair — a system that says everyone will be held accountable for their actions, not just the middle class, a system that trusts the workers on the line instead of listening to the folks up in the suites.  Folks, that’s the choice.  It’s a stark choice and in my mind it’s not even a close call.

Look, a lot of you and your friends and family understand what I understand.  As a kid, I saw my dad trapped in the city where all the good jobs were gone after World War II in the early ‘50s and middle ‘50s.  I remember him walking up to my bedroom in my grandpop’s house and saying, Joey, dad is going to have to move away for a year.  I’m going to move to Wilmington, Delaware.  Uncle Frank is down there.  It’s only 156 miles away.  And I’ll try to come home every weekend.  Joey, there are good jobs down there.  And when I get one and I’m settled, I’m going to bring you, mom, Val, and Jimmy.  It’s going to be good.

A lot of you — a lot of you and a lot of your friends made that long walk to your kid’s bedroom.  But because of the actions of the President, things are changing.  Today, hundreds of thousands of workers are replacing the longest walks with a different journey.  It’s a journey that ends with workers who are able to go home and say, I’ve got a job.  I’m building cars again.  These are amazing cars that people in America and all over the world are going to want to buy.

It’s not just the automobile industry is coming back, folks.  Manufacturing is coming back.  The middle class is coming back.  America is coming back — (applause) — worker by worker, home by home, community by community, this country is coming back because of you.  (Applause.)

God bless you all and may God protect our troops.  Go build those cars.  (Applause.)

11:33 A.M. EDT

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