Full Text Campaign Buzz April 4, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech to the Newspaper Association of America Accuses President Barack Obama of Hiding his Agenda & of Waging Hide & Seek Campaign

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Romney Says Obama Hides His Agenda

Source: NYT, 4-4-12

Mitt Romney speaking on Wednesday to the Newspaper Association of America in Washington.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mitt Romney speaking on Wednesday to the Newspaper Association of America in Washington.

Mitt Romney said that President Obama’s recent remarks call “his candor into serious question.”…READ MORE

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks to the Newspaper Association of America

Source: Mitt Romney, 4-4-12

Location

Boston, MA

United States

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the Newspaper Association of America in Washington, D.C. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Over the last ten months, I’ve come to know a good deal about some of the journalists who write for your newspapers.

We’ve aired our dirty laundry together – sometimes literally as well as figuratively. We’ve bathed hour upon hour in the fine diesel aroma of a campaign bus. And we’ve shared more birthdays and holidays with each other than with our families.

One of the reporters covering our campaign is Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times. For Maeve’s birthday, I got her a cake and sang her a birthday song. For my birthday, she was kind enough to remind me that I’m now old enough to qualify for Medicare.

In just the few years since my last campaign, the changes in your industry are striking. Then, I looked to Drudge or FOX or CNN online to see what stories were developing. Hours after a speech, it was being dissected on the Internet. Now, it’s Twitter, and instantaneous reaction. In 2008, the coverage was about what I said in my speech. These days, it’s about what brand of jeans I am wearing and what I ate for lunch.

Most people in my position are convinced that you are biased against us. We identify with LBJ’s famous quip that if he were to walk on water, your headline would read: “President Can’t Swim.”

Some people thus welcome the tumult in your industry, heralding the new voices and the unfiltered or supposedly unbiased sources. Frankly, in some of the new media, I find myself missing the presence of editors to exercise quality control. I miss the days of two or more sources for a story – when at least one source was actually named.

How your industry will change, I cannot predict. I subscribe to Yogi Berra’s dictum: “Forecasting is very difficult, especially when it involves the future.”

But I do know this: You will continue to find ways to provide the American people with reliable information that is vital to our lives and to our nation. And I am confident that the press will remain free. But further, I salute this organization and your various institutions in your effort to make it not only free, but also responsible, accurate, relevant, and integral to the functioning of our democracy.

Given the number and scale of our nation’s current challenges, the November election will have particular consequence. It will be a defining event. President Obama and I have very different visions for America, both of what it means to be an American today and what it will mean in the future.

The voters will expect each of us to put our respective views on the table. We will each make our case, buttressed by our experience. The voters will hear the debates, be buffeted by advertising, and be informed by your coverage. And hopefully after all this, they will have an accurate understanding of the different directions we would take and the different choices we would make.

Of course, for that to happen, the candidates must be candid about their views and plans. And, in that regard, President Obama’s comments to President Medvedev are deeply troubling. That incident calls his candor into serious question. He does not want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press. By flexibility, he means that “what the American public doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” He is intent on hiding. You and I will have to do the seeking.

Barack Obama’s exchange with the Russian President raises all kinds of serious questions: What exactly does President Obama intend to do differently once he is no longer accountable to the voters? Why does “flexibility” with foreign leaders require less accountability to the American people? And, on what other issues will he state his true position only after the election is over?

But instead of answering those vital questions, President Obama came here yesterday and railed against arguments no one is making – and criticized policies no one is proposing. It’s one of his favorite strategies – setting up straw men to distract from his record.

And while I understand why the President doesn’t want to run on his record, he can’t run from his record either.

As I have said many times before, the President did not cause the economic crisis, but he made it worse. He delayed the recovery, and made it anemic.

When he took office, millions of Americans looked to him to turn around the economy and lead us back to full employment. He failed these Americans.

The first three rules of any turnaround are focus, focus, and focus. But instead of focusing his attention on the economy, he delegated the stimulus to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

The $787 billion stimulus included a grab bag of pet projects that had languished in Congress for good reason, for years. It was less a jobs plan and more the mother of all earmarks. The administration pledged that it would keep unemployment below 8%… it has been above 8% every month since.

The President’s attention was elsewhere–like a government takeover of healthcare and apologizing for America abroad.

He handed out tens of billions of dollars to green energy companies, including his friends and campaign contributors at companies like Solyndra that are now bankrupt.

President Obama’s answer to our economic crisis was more spending, more debt, and more government. By the end of his term in office, he will have added nearly as much public debt as all the prior Presidents combined. No President had ever run a trillion dollar deficit. The “New Normal” the President would have us embrace is trillion dollar deficits and eight percent unemployment.

Through it all, President Obama has failed to even pass a budget. In February, he put forward a proposal that included the largest tax increase in history, and still left our national debt spiraling out of control. The House rejected it unanimously.

Of course, no fiscal challenge is greater than the one we face with entitlements. As the President himself acknowledged three years ago, this is not a problem that we can kick down the road any further.

I’d be willing to consider the President’s plan, but he doesn’t have one. That’s right: In over three years, he has failed to enact or even propose a serious plan to solve our entitlement crisis.

Instead, he has taken a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it.

He is the only President to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare. And, as a result, more than half of doctors say they will cut back on treating seniors.

He is destroying the Medicare Advantage program, eliminating the coverage that millions of seniors depend on and reducing choice by two-thirds.

To control Medicare cost, he has created an unelected, unaccountable panel with the power to prevent Medicare from providing certain treatments. The result will be fewer treatments and services available to patients in need, and nowhere else to turn.

A couple of months ago, we saw a fascinating exchange on Capitol Hill that epitomized not only this administration’s inaction on entitlements, but also its appalling lack of leadership. The President’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, was testifying before Congress. And Congressman Paul Ryan – who, unlike this President, has had the courage to offer serious solutions to the problems we face – was pressing Geithner on the administration’s failure to lead on entitlement reform. Geithner’s response was this: “We are not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

Take a moment and think about that: We don’t have a solution. All we know is we don’t like yours. It almost makes one long for the days when the President simply led from behind.

And now, in the middle of the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, the President purports to have experienced a series of election-year conversions.

As President, he has repeatedly called for tax increases on businesses. Now, as candidate Obama, he decides that a lower corporate tax rate would be better.

As President, he’s added regulations at a staggering rate. Now, as candidate Obama, he says he wants to find ways to reduce them.

As President, he delayed the development of our oil and coal and natural gas. Now, as candidate Obama, he says he favors an energy policy that adopts an all-of-the-above approach.

Nancy Pelosi famously said that we would have to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it. President Obama has turned that advice into a campaign strategy: He wants us to re-elect him so we can find out what he will actually do.

With all the challenges the nation faces, this is not the time for President Obama’s hide and seek campaign.

President Obama has said that he wants to transform America. I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom, opportunity, and small government that have made this nation the leader it is.

It is opportunity that has always driven America and defined us as Americans.

My grandfather was in the construction business and he never really made it himself. But he convinced my dad that he could accomplish anything he set his mind to. My dad didn’t have the chance to finish college and he apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter. Based on that excellent training, he went on to turn around a great car company and later became governor of Michigan.

My father made the most of opportunities that came before him, and by the time I came along – I was the fourth of four brothers and sisters – I had the chance to get the education my dad couldn’t.

I loved cars and was tempted to stay in Michigan and go into the car business but I knew I would always wonder if any success I had was due to my dad. So when I got out of business school, I stayed in Massachusetts and got a job with the best company that would hire me. More importantly, I was married and on the way to having five sons.

Over the next 25 years, my business career had many ups and downs, great successes, definite failures, but each step of the way I learned more about the power of our great free enterprise system.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution to all of our problems – nor am I naïve enough to doubt that it is one of the greatest forces of good this world has ever known.

Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, to make our lives better, than all of the government programs put together.

If we become one of those societies that attack success, one outcome is certain – there will be a lot less success.

That’s not who we are. The promise of America has always been that if you worked hard, and took some risks, that there was the opportunity to build a better life for your family and for the next generation.

I’m offering a clear choice and a different path. Unlike the President, I have a record that I am proud to run on.

After my years in business, I used my experience to help save an Olympics and help turn around a state. When I became the governor of Massachusetts, the state budget was out of control and the legislature was 85% Democrat. We cut taxes 19 times and balanced the budget all four years. We erased a $3 billion budget shortfall and left office with a $2 billion rainy day fund. I cast over 800 vetoes and cut entire programs. If there was a program, an agency, or a department that needed cutting, we cut it. One commentator said that I didn’t just go after the sacred cows; I went after the whole herd. And I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington.

Unlike President Obama, you don’t have to wait until after the election to find out what I believe in – or what my plans are. I have a pro-growth agenda that will get our economy back on track – and get Americans back to work.

This administration thinks our economy is struggling because the stimulus was too small. The truth is we’re struggling because our government is too big. As President, I will get the government out of the way and unleash the power of American enterprise and innovation.

Seven months ago, I presented a detailed plan for jobs and economic growth, including 59 different proposals that would help strengthen the economy. I understand some people are amused that I have so many ideas. But I think the American people will prefer it to President Obama’s grand total of zero.

I will cut marginal tax rates across the board for individuals and corporations, and limit deductions and exclusions. I will repeal burdensome regulations, and prevent the bureaucracy from writing new ones. I will unleash our domestic energy resources so that we can finally get the energy we need at a price we can afford.

Instead of picking winners and losers with taxpayer dollars, I will make sure that every entrepreneur gets a fair shot and that every business plays by the same rules. I will create an environment where our businesses and workers can compete and win. I will welcome the best and the brightest to our shores, and ensure that we have labor and training policies that help American workers to be more competitive.

Instead of growing the federal government, I will shrink it. I will repeal Obamacare, and cut programs that we cannot afford. I will send to the states those programs they can implement with better results at lower cost.

I have already proposed a plan that will save and strengthen Medicare and Social Security for future generations. And, unlike President Obama, I have the courage to stand behind my plan and the leadership to enact it.

My plan preserves these programs for those at or near retirement and strengthens them for future generations – without tax increases. I will gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security, and reduce the rate of benefit growth for tomorrow’s higher income seniors. I will introduce market competition and consumer choice to Medicare, while also preserving traditional Medicare coverage as an option, so that future seniors can get higher quality care at lower cost.

This November, we will face a defining decision. Our choice will not be one of party or personality. This election will be about principle. Freedom and opportunity 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; 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 by a government check.

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

In this campaign, I will lead us toward that America. We wage this campaign as Republicans or Democrats, but we share a destiny as Americans. Together, we will ensure that America’s greatest days are yet ahead.

Thank you and God bless.

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Full Text Obama Presidency April 4, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Signing the STOCK Act Bill into Law Banning Insider Trading by Federal Lawmakers

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama Signs Bill Banning Insider Trading by Federal Lawmakers

Source: NYT, 4-4-12
 

President Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or Stock, Act in Washington on Tuesday.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times President Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act in Washington on Tuesday.

President Obama on Wednesday signed an ethics bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress and requires thousands of federal employees to disclose information about their personal finances.

The signing came 10 weeks after Mr. Obama called for such legislation in his State of the Union address….READ MORE

President Obama Signs the STOCK Act

Source: WH, 4-4-12

President Barack Obama delivers remarks prior to signing the STOCK Act (April 4, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers remarks prior to signing the STOCK Act in the South Court Auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Building (EEOB) of the White House, April 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Recently, President Obama has spent a lot of time talking about fairness.

As he says, “The powerful shouldn’t get to create one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everybody else.”

That’s why he stood before Congress during the State of the Union and asked lawmakers to pass the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.

Today, in a ceremony at the White House, he signed their bill into law:

The STOCK Act makes it clear that if members of Congress use nonpublic information to gain an unfair advantage in the market, then they are breaking the law. It creates new disclosure requirements and new measures of accountability and transparency for thousands of federal employees. That is a good and necessary thing. We were sent here to serve the American people and look out for their interests — not to look out for our own interests.

But the President also said that no one’s work is done:

There’s obviously more that we can do to close the deficit of trust and limit the corrosive influence of money in politics. We should limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries that they have the power to impact.  We should make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa. These are ideas that should garner bipartisan support. They certainly have wide support outside of Washington. And it’s my hope that we can build off today’s bipartisan effort to get them done.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at STOCK Act Bill Signing

Source: WH, 4-4-12

South Court Auditorium
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

11:56 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you, everybody.  Please, have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, good morning, and welcome to the White House.  I want to thank my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, for being here.  (Applause.)  And we are joined by members of both parties in Congress who helped to get this bill to my desk.  So I’m very grateful to them.

I want to recognize Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, and wish her a speedy recovery.  She broke her leg yesterday, so she can’t be here in person.  I think she’ll be okay.  But she first introduced the STOCK Act in 2006, and I know how proud she is to see this bill that she championed finally become law.

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about the choices facing this country.  We can settle for a country that — and an economy where a shrinking number of people do exceedingly well, while a growing number struggle to get by, or where we can build an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules.

That last part — the idea that everybody plays by the same rules — is one of our most cherished American values.  It goes hand in hand with our fundamental belief that hard work should pay off and responsibility should be rewarded.  It’s the notion that the powerful shouldn’t get to create one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everybody else.

And if we expect that to apply to our biggest corporations and to our most successful citizens, it certainly should apply to our elected officials — especially at a time when there is a deficit of trust between this city and the rest of the country.

And that’s why, in my State of the Union, I asked members of the House and the Senate to send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress, and I said that I would sign it right away.

Well, today, I am happy to say that legislators from both parties have come together to do just that.  The STOCK Act makes it clear that if members of Congress use nonpublic information to gain an unfair advantage in the market, then they are breaking the law.  It creates new disclosure requirements and new measures of accountability and transparency for thousands of federal employees.  That is a good and necessary thing.  We were sent here to serve the American people and look out for their interests — not to look out for our own interests.

So I’m very proud to sign this bill into law.  I should say that our work isn’t done.  There’s obviously more that we can do to close the deficit of trust and limit the corrosive influence of money in politics.  We should limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries that they have the power to impact.  We should make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa.  These are ideas that should garner bipartisan support.  They certainly have wide support outside of Washington.  And it’s my hope that we can build off today’s bipartisan effort to get them done.

In the months to come, we’re going to have plenty of debates over competing visions for this country that we all love:  Whether or not we invest in the things that we need to keep our country safe and to grow our economy so that’s it’s sustained and lasting.  Whether or not we’ll ask some of our wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.  How we’re going to make sure that America remains the land of opportunity and upward mobility for all people who are willing to work.  Those are all debates that I’m looking forward to having.

But today, I want to thank all the members of Congress who came together and worked to get this done.  It shows that when an idea is right that we can still accomplish something on behalf of the American people and to make our government and our country stronger.

So to the ladies and gentlemen who helped make this happen, thank you very much for your outstanding work.  And with that, let me sign this bill.  (Applause.)

END
12:00 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency April 4, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the 3rd Annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House

Source: WH, 4-4-12

President Barack Obama delivers remarks before the Easter Prayer Breakfast (April 4, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers remarks before the Easter Prayer Breakfast, in the East Room of the White House, April 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

To mark Easter, President Obama this morning hosted a prayer breakfast at the White House.

In his remarks, he talked about how the holiday is an opportunity for Christians to remember that Jesus was a human being — with doubts and fears:

In the garden of Gethsemane, with attackers closing in around him, Jesus told His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He fell to his knees, pleading with His Father, saying, “If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” And yet, in the end, He confronted His fear with words of humble surrender, saying, “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

So it is only because Jesus conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection. It’s only because He endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that He burdened — that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, “He is Risen!”

This is President Obama’s third annual Easter Prayer Breakfast.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at Easter Prayer Breakfast

East Room

9:43 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  (Applause.)  Please, have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, welcome to the White House.  It is a pleasure to be with all of you this morning.

In less than a week, this house will be overrun by thousands of kids at the Easter Egg Roll.  (Laughter.)  So I wanted to get together with you for a little prayer and reflection — some calm before the storm.  (Laughter.)

It is wonderful to see so many good friends here today.  To all the faith leaders from all across the country — from churches and congregations large and small; from different denominations and different backgrounds — thank you for coming to our third annual Easter prayer breakfast.  And I’m grateful that you’re here.

I’m even more grateful for the work that you do every day of the year — the compassion and the kindness that so many of you express through your various ministries.  I know that some of you have joined with our Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  I’ve seen firsthand some of the outstanding work that you are doing in your respective communities, and it’s an incredible expression of your faith.  And I know that all of us who have an opportunity to work with you draw inspiration from the work that you do.

Finally, I want to just express appreciation for your prayers.  Every time I travel around the country, somebody is going around saying, we’re praying for you.  (Laughter.)  We got a prayer circle going.  Don’t worry, keep the faith.  We’re praying.  (Laughter.)  Michelle gets the same stuff.  And that means a lot to us.  It especially means a lot to us when we hear from folks who we know probably didn’t vote for me — (laughter) — and yet, expressing extraordinary sincerity about their prayers.  And it’s a reminder not only of what binds us together as a nation, but also what binds us together as children of God.

Now, I have to be careful, I am not going to stand up here and give a sermon.  It’s always a bad idea to give a sermon in front of professionals.  (Laughter.)  But in a few short days, all of us will experience the wonder of Easter morning.   And we will know, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “Christ Jesus…and Him crucified.”

It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the triumph of the resurrection, and to give thanks for the all-important gift of grace.  And for me, and I’m sure for some of you, it’s also a chance to remember the tremendous sacrifice that led up to that day, and all that Christ endured — not just as a Son of God, but as a human being.

For like us, Jesus knew doubt.  Like us, Jesus knew fear.  In the garden of Gethsemane, with attackers closing in around him, Jesus told His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”  He fell to his knees, pleading with His Father, saying, “If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”  And yet, in the end, He confronted His fear with words of humble surrender, saying, “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

So it is only because Jesus conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection.  It’s only because He endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that He burdened — that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, “He is Risen!”

So the struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us.  It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face.  It puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems He was dealing with.  And it gives us courage and it gives us hope.

We all have experiences that shake our faith.  There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us — (laughter) — but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph.  Jesus told us as much in the book of John, when He said, “In this world you will have trouble.”  I heard an amen.  (Laughter.)  Let me repeat.  “In this world, you will have trouble.”

AUDIENCE:  Amen!

THE PRESIDENT:  “But take heart!”  (Laughter.)  “I have overcome the world.”  (Applause.)  We are here today to celebrate that glorious overcoming, the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live.  And I hope that our time together this morning will strengthen us individually, as believers, and as a nation.

And with that, I’d like to invite my good friend, Dr. Cynthia Hale, to deliver our opening prayer.  Dr. Hale.  (Applause.)

END
9:50 A.M. EDT

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