Campaign Buzz May 15, 2012: Former President George W. Bush Endorses Mitt Romney… As Elevator Door Closed — Speaking at Launch of Presidential Center’s “Freedom Collection”


By Bonnie K. Goodman

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


Former President George W. Bush is pictured.
Bush spoke Tuesday in Washington at an event for his presidential institute. | AP Photo


George W. Bush offers quick support to Mitt Romney: George W. Bush is backing presumptive Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney.
The former president offered a four-word endorsement of Romney as the doors of his elevator were closing after a speech Tuesday in Washington. Bush said:
“I’m for Mitt Romney.”
ABC News caught Bush after the speech, prompting his unscripted, but not surprising, endorsement.
Bush’s parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, endorsed Romney in March. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush also publicly backed Romney.
Since leaving office in January 2009, George W. Bush has tried to avoid politics…. – AP, 5-16-12

  • Bush Dips a Toe Back Into Washington: After keeping a low profile since leaving office, former President George W. Bush is starting to speak out again on issues he hopes will define his legacy…. – NYT, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney: ABC News caught up with former president George W. Bush in an elevator in downtown Washington on Tuesday and asked the question that elicited the sound bite. “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush said, just as the doors slid shut…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush, elevators, and the art of the tepid Romney endorsement: “I’m for Mitt Romney,” said George W. Bush, as the elevator doors closed on him. It’s amazing how much air you can take out of any announcement by inserting “as the elevator doors closed.” “Give me liberty or give me…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush voices support for Romney: Former President George W. Bush voiced his support for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign for the first time today, ABC News reports.
    In a decidedly underwhelming fashion, the former president said to a reporter, “I’m for Mitt Romney,” as the doors of an elevator closed on him. Mr. Bush was in Washington to deliver a speech on freedom and democracy at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
    Andrea Saul, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said of the latest unofficial endorsement, “We welcome the president’s support, as we welcomed his father’s.”
    She added that Romney does not have any scheduled appearances with Mr. Bush, noting that the former president made clear when he left office that he was not going to engage in political campaigns…. – CBS News, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush: ‘I’m for Mitt Romney’: Former President George W. Bush speaks during the “Celebration of Human Freedom” event in Washington on Tuesday. President George W. Bush offered up his endorsement of Mitt Romney. It was in an elevator — as the doors were closing…. – WSJ, 5-15-12
  • What’s Behind George W. Bush’s Odd Romney Endorsement?: The former president blurted out his support for his party’s nominee — only to be greeted with silence in return.
    George W. Bush’s endorsement of Mitt Romney on Tuesday appears to have been unplanned. The former president had just given a speech on human rights in Washington, and afterward, Matt Negrin, a reporter for ABC News, followed him to the elevator and asked who he’s supporting in the election in November.
    “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush said, as the elevator doors inched closed.
    Well, sure he is. What else was he supposed to say? But it was beyond strange to see a former two-term Republican president slide his support for his party’s presumptive nominee under — or, rather, through — the door in this manner. And Romney’s response was even stranger: silence. The Romney campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Bush endorsement, and Romney didn’t mention it in his post-endorsement speech Tuesday in Iowa. (A campaign spokeswoman told the New York Observer that Romney was “proud” to have Bush’s support, but did not expect to campaign with him.)…. – The Atlantic, 5-15-12
  • Can George W. Bush’s tepid Romney endorsement finally unseat Daniels?: In what may be the final face-off in the Ticket’s Romney tepid endorsement playoffs, we’re pitting former President George W. Bush against three-time champion Mitch Daniels for the title. Bush, asked for his position on the election by ABC News after a speech in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, merely stated that “I’m for Mitt Romney.” In a poetic touch, he said so just as the door of the elevator he was riding closed…. – ABC News, 5-15-12

Bush touts Arab spring, says US can’t fear freedom: Former President George W. Bush on Tuesday praised the Arab spring movement and said the U.S. shouldn’t fear the spread of freedom, even if it doesn’t know what policies newly liberated countries will pursue.
“America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere,” Bush said. “It only gets to choose what side it is on.”
And the U.S., Bush said, should always be on the side of freedom.
The former president remarks came at event marking the launch of his presidential institute’s “Freedom Collection.” The event also featured brief remarks by his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, and a question-and-answer session by video with Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi…. – AP, 5-15-12

  • George W. Bush touts Arab spring, says U.S. can’t fear freedom: President George W. Bush had plenty to say about freedom during a rare public speech Tuesday — he uttered the word about two dozen times — but noticeably absent was a single mention of Afghanistan or Iraq, or of President Barack Obama….- Politico, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush: US must stand with dissidents: Former president George W. Bush said Tuesday that the United States must stand with dissidents and democracy activists around the world even if the change they sow makes things more difficult in the short run…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Bush Celebrates Democracy Activists, Sides With Syrian Resistance: As President George W. Bush quietly returned to Washington today, he brought along a slew of global democracy activists known mostly for never being quiet. Today’s line-up at the George W. Bush Presidential Center sponsored event…. – ABC News, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush praises Arab spring: Former President George W. Bush praised the Arab spring movement on Tuesday and said the US shouldn’t fear the spread of freedom, even if it doesn’t know what policies newly liberated countries will pursue…. – Fort Worth Star Telegram, 5-15-12

Aung San Suu Kyi Joins President and Mrs. Bush via Video at Human Freedom Event in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Source: George W. Bush Presidential Center, 5-25-12

President George W. Bush today praised the courage of dissidents around the world and called on America to stand with them by choosing the side of freedom. Joined by leading voices of liberty, President Bush delivered his remarks at the Celebration of Freedom, a special event in Washington, D.C., to showcase the Freedom Collection, a collection of inspiring interviews of global freedom activists compiled by the George W. Bush Institute.

“These are extraordinary times in the history of freedom,” said President George W. Bush. “In the Arab Spring, we have seen the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. Great change has come to a region where many thought it impossible. The idea that Arab people are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever. Yet we have also seen instability, uncertainty, and the revenge of brutal rulers. The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle. But there is a reason for the momentum of liberty across the centuries:  human beings were not designed for servitude. They were created for better things. And the human soul is forever restless until it rests in freedom.

Freedom advocates from around the world whose stories are part of the Freedom Collection were in attendance at the standing-room only event, including: Ammar Abdulhamid, Syria; Rodrigo Diamanti, Venezuela; Bob Fu, China; Marcel Granier, Venezuela; Normando Hernandez, Cuba; Wei Jingsheng, China; Cristal-Montanez Baylor, Venezuela; Ahmed Samih, Egypt; Mohsen Sazegara, Iran; Doan Viet Hoat, Vietnam; and Cheery Zahau, Burma.

“Today we are pleased to recognize Facebook as a social media partner on the Freedom Collection,” said James K. Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute. “Through Facebook, we are extending the reach of the Freedom Collection and the Bush Center’s efforts to promote liberty by documenting and sharing the global struggle for human freedom. Having a strong presence on Facebook will enable us to promote openness, invite conversation, and foster greater debate and understanding.”

Following President Bush’s speech, Mrs. Laura Bush was introduced by ChinaAid Association founder Xiqiu “Bob” Fu. Mrs. Bush introduced Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who joined via video conference, saying, “Her example shows people everywhere that political isolation and prison cannot silence the call for liberty.”

Aung San Suu Kyi, who responded to questions the Bush Center had collected via Facebook, said, “There should be no political prisoners in Burma if we are really headed for democratization.” In response to a request for a message to the people of Syria, she said, “We are with you in your desire for freedom and in your struggle for freedom.”

During Tuesday’s event, the Bush Center also received key artifacts for inclusion in the Freedom Collection from Martin Palous, Director of the Vaclav Havel Library. The items include an original carbon copy of the Declaration of Charter 77, the 1977 independent initiative calling for the communist government of Czechoslovakia to respect fundamental human rights, Havel’s letter nominating three Cuban dissidents for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a volume of texts and speeches signed by Havel.

Available online at, the Freedom Collection uses video interviews to document the personal stories of brave men and women who have led or participated in freedom movements from the 20th century to the present day. It also includes a physical archive containing documents and artifacts from major freedom movements, including an early draft of the Tibetan Constitution given to President Bush by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The addition of these items from the Vaclav Havel Library will provide further inspiration and insight for the current generation of freedom advocates. As part of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative, the Freedom Collection helps to combat the feeling of isolation that can be common among dissidents by sharing the stories of those who have gone before in the struggle for freedom. It also expands moral and practical support from the United States and other free societies for those still seeking liberty.


Remarks by President Bush: The Arab Spring and American Ideals

Source: George W. Bush Presidential Center, 5-22-12

The below article by President George W. Bush was published in the Wall Street Journal on May 18, 2012 and was adapted from a speech he delivered May 15, 2012 at the Bush Institute’s Celebration of Human Freedom. The event celebrated the brave efforts of dissidents and activists around the world in their fight to be free. The Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative seeks to extend the reach of freedom around the world by fostering democracy and supporting today’s freedom advocates through programs such as the Freedom Collection, unveiled earlier this spring.

The op-ed can be found on the Wall Street Journal online here.

George W. Bush: The Arab Spring and American Ideals

We do not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. We only get to choose what side we are on.

These are extraordinary times in the history of freedom. In the Arab Spring, we have seen the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. The idea that Arab peoples are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever.

Yet we have also seen instability, uncertainty and the revenge of brutal rulers. The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle.

Some in both parties in Washington look at the risks inherent in democratic change—particularly in the Middle East and North Africa—and find the dangers too great. America, they argue, should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability.

But in the long run, this foreign policy approach is not realistic. It is not within the power of America to indefinitely preserve the old order, which is inherently unstable. Oppressive governments distrust the diffusion of choice and power, choking off the best source of national prosperity and success.

This is the inbuilt crisis of tyranny. It fears and fights the very human attributes that make a nation great: creativity, enterprise and responsibility. Dictators can maintain power for a time by feeding resentments toward enemies—internal or external, real or imagined. But eventually, in societies of scarcity and mediocrity, their failure becomes evident.

America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on.

The day when a dictator falls or yields to a democratic movement is glorious. The years of transition that follow can be difficult. People forget that this was true in Central Europe, where democratic institutions and attitudes did not spring up overnight. From time to time, there has been corruption, backsliding and nostalgia for the communist past. Essential economic reforms have sometimes proved painful and unpopular.

It takes courage to ignite a freedom revolution. But it also takes courage to secure a freedom revolution through structural reform. And both types of bravery deserve our support.

This is now the challenge in parts of North Africa and the Middle East. After the euphoria, nations must deal with questions of tremendous complexity: What effect will majority rule have on the rights of women and religious minorities? How can militias be incorporated into a national army? What should be the relationship between a central government and regional authorities?

Problems once kept submerged by force must now be resolved by politics and consensus. But political institutions and traditions are often weak.

We know the problems. But there is a source of hope. The people of North Africa and the Middle East now realize that their leaders are not invincible. Citizens of the region have developed habits of dissent and expectations of economic performance. Future rulers who ignore those expectations—who try returning to oppression and blame shifting—may find an accountability of their own.

As Americans, our goal should be to help reformers turn the end of tyranny into durable, accountable civic structures. Emerging democracies need strong constitutions, political parties committed to pluralism, and free elections. Free societies depend upon the rule of law and property rights, and they require hopeful economies, drawn into open world markets.

This work will require patience, creativity and active American leadership. It will involve the strengthening of civil society—with a particular emphasis on the role of women. It will require a consistent defense of religious liberty. It will mean the encouragement of development, education and health, as well as trade and foreign investment. There will certainly be setbacks. But if America does not support the advance of democratic institutions and values, who will?

In promoting freedom, our methods should be flexible. Change comes at different paces in different places. Yet flexibility does not mean ambiguity. The same principles must apply to all nations. As a country embraces freedom, it finds economic and social progress. Only when a government treats its people with dignity does a nation fulfill its greatness. And when a government violates the rights of a citizen, it dishonors an entire nation.

There is nothing easy about the achievement of freedom. In America, we know something about the difficulty of protecting minorities, of building a national army, of defining the relationship between the central government and regional authorities—because we faced all of those challenges on the day of our independence. And they nearly tore us apart. It took many decades of struggle to live up to our own ideals. But we never ceased believing in the power of those ideals—and we should not today.

Full Text May 15, 2012: Speaker John Boehner Promises Election Year Debt Ceiling Limit Fight Unless there are Spending Cuts & Reforms in a Speech on the Economy at Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit


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 2011.



“When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.” — Speaker John Boehner

“The Ways & Means Committee will work out the details, but the bottom line is: if we do this right, this will be the last time we ever have to confront the uncertainty of expiring tax rates. We’ll have replaced the broken status quo with a tax code that maintains progressivity, taxes income once, and creates a fairer, simpler code.” — Speaker John Boehner

Republicans Pledge New Standoff on Debt Limit: Speaker John A. Boehner set the stage for a bruising election-year showdown on fiscal policy while Mitt Romney hit President Obama hard on his fiscal stewardship in a speech in Des Moines…. – NYT, 5-15-12

  • Boehner: Spending cuts must offset debt limit hike: House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that when Congress raises the nation’s borrowing cap he will again insist on spending cuts and budget reforms to offset the increase. In remarks prepared for a budget address Tuesday afternoo…. – BusinessWeek, 5-15-12
  • Boehner draws line in sand on debt ceiling: The Speaker of the House says any raise in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by steep cuts…. – CS Monitor, 5-15-12
  • Boehner threatens another debt-ceiling fight: Washington braced Tuesday for a replay of last summer’s tense battle over the burgeoning national debt as House Speaker John A. Boehner threatened again to block an increase in the federal debt ceiling without significant new cuts in spending…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • Boehner: No debt ceiling increase without cuts: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will not allow an increase in the debt ceiling to move through the House unless the amount of the increase includes an equal or greater amount of spending cuts…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Speaker Boehner vows showdown on taxes, spending: House Speaker John Boehner set the stage Tuesday for another tense, partisan showdown over tax and spending policy later this year, as he vowed to insist on big spending cuts before he will agree to a new debt ceiling…. – San Francisco Chronicle, 5-15-12
  • John Boehner’s hard line on raising debt cap: Speaker John Boehner is once again promising that any increase in the nation’s borrowing limit will have to be accompanied by a greater amount of spending cuts.
    The Ohio Republican’s position, which will be announced at the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Summit Tuesday in D.C., seems to mirror his stance during last year’s all-consuming debt ceiling standoff….
    Boehner will also announce a plan on taxes. During the fall, the House will vote on a bill to extend the current, lower income tax rates…. – Politico, 5-15-12
  • Democrats return fire after John Boehner’s opening debt-ceiling salvo: Democrats charge that John Boehner’s renewed call for spending cuts as a condition to raise the debt ceiling is ‘dangerous,’ recalling the standoff last summer that drove consumer confidence – and Congress’s approval rating – sharply down…. – CS Monitor, 5-16-12

FULL TEXT: Speaker Boehner’s Address on the Economy, Debt Limit, and American Jobs

Source: Speaker Boehner Press Office, 5-15-12

Following is the full text, as prepared for delivery, of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) address to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit on efforts to put our nation back on a path to prosperity and economic growth by cutting government spending, preventing job-crushing tax hikes, and making long-term changes to entitlement programs.  In the address, Boehner renews his commitment to the principle that any increase in the nation’s debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms larger than the amount of the debt limit hike.  Failing to again meet this standard – dubbed the “Boehner principle” by Stanford economist John B. Taylor – in conjunction with the next debt limit increase means pushing American prosperity and job growth farther away. 

It’s truly an honor to be with you in the historic Mellon Auditorium.  It was here in the spring of 1949 that the United States and our closest allies gathered to sign the North Atlantic Treaty, giving birth to NATO.

On that occasion, President Truman declared that people ‘with courage and vision can still determine their own destiny.  They can choose freedom or slavery.’

In our time, all of these great nations face a grave threat to freedom, one from within, and that is debt.  It is shackling our economies and smothering the opportunities that have blessed us with so much.   

Once again the world looks to the United States for what it always has: an example.  It is the example of a free people whose hard work and sacrifice make up the sum total of thriving towns and a vibrant economy.  It’s a humble government that lives within its means and unleashes the potential of first-rate ideas and world-class products.  It’s a nation never content with the status quo and always on the make. 

I got a glimpse of this example growing up working at my dad’s tavern just outside Cincinnati, and then lived a piece of it running my own small business. 

Instead of this shining example, what does the world now see?

A president on whose watch the United States lost its gold-plated triple-A rating for the first time in our history;

A Senate, controlled by the president’s party, that has not passed a budget in more than three years;

And, earlier this month, another unemployment report showing that the world’s greatest economy remains unable to generate enough jobs to spur strong and lasting growth.

If you should know one thing about me, it’s that I’m an optimist.

Yes, times are tough, but our future doesn’t need to be dark.   We don’t have to accept a new normal where the workplace looks more like a battlefield and families have to endure flat incomes, weak job prospects, and higher prices in their daily lives. 

We have every reason to believe we can come out of this freer and more prosperous than ever.   And we will, if we confront our challenges now while we still have the ability to do so.

For the solution to what ails our economy is not government – it’s the American people.  

The failure of ‘stimulus’ – a word people in Washington won’t even use anymore – has sparked a rebellion against overspending, overtaxation, and overregulation.

Americans, who take pride in living on a budget, recognize we can’t go on spending money we don’t have, and that our economy is stuck in large part because it’s stuck with debt. 

Nationwide, we’re seeing a groundswell of support for bold ideas that reject small politics, cast off big government, and return us to common sense and first principles – the kind of ideas that will restore prosperity and substantially improve the trajectory of our economy.

In March, as part of our Plan for America’s Job Creators, the House passed an honest budget with real spending cuts, pro-growth tax reform, and serious entitlement reform.   It’s a far-reaching effort to control government’s worst habits and capitalize on the American people’s best.  This budget gets our fiscal house in order AND promotes long-term growth.  Far from settling for stability, it offers a true path to prosperity. 

Various bipartisan commissions and coalitions have devised ambitious plans as well.  The math and the mix are different, but the goals are mainly the same. 

And of course, there are summits like these that bring together people who just get it.   Of course, while I’m happy to be here and I’m sure we all enjoy each other’s company, we can also agree that we’ve talked this problem to death. 

It’s about time we roll up our sleeves and get to work.

For all the focus on Election Day, another date looms large for every household and every business, and that’s January 1, 2013.

On that day, without action by Congress, a sudden and massive tax increase will be imposed on every American – by an average of $3,000 per household.  Rates go up, the child tax credit is cut in half, the AMT patches end, the estate tax returns to 2001 levels, and so on.

Now, it gets a little more complicated than that.  What will expire on January 1 is cause for concern – as is what will take effect.   That includes:

Indiscriminate spending cuts of $1.2 trillion – half of which would devastate our men and women in uniform and send a signal of weakness; 

Several tax increases from the health care law that is making it harder to hire new workers;

As well as a slate of energy and banking rules and regulations that will also increase the strain on the private sector.  

But … it gets even more complicated than that.

Sometime after the election, the federal government will near the statutory debt limit.

This end-of-the-year pileup, commonly called the ‘fiscal cliff,’ is a chance for us to bid farewell – permanently – to the era of so-called ‘timely, temporary, and targeted’ short-term government intervention. 

For years, Washington has force-fed our economy with a constant diet of meddling, micromanagement, and manipulation.  None of it has been a substitute for long-term economic investment, private initiative, and freedom

Previous Congresses have encountered lesser precipices with lower stakes, and made a beeline for the closest lame-duck escape hatch. 

Let me put your mind at ease.  This Congress will not follow that path, not if I have anything to do with it. 

Having run a business, I know that failing to plan is planning to fail.  The real pain comes from doing nothing … ‘austerity’ is what will become necessary if we do nothing now.   We’ll wake up one day without a choice in the matter. 

There’s also no salvation to be found in doing anything just to get by, just to get through this year. 

‘Nothing’ is not an option, and ‘anything’ is not a plan.  To get on the path to prosperity, we have to avoid the fiscal cliff, but we need to start today.  

To show my intentions are sincere, I’ll start with the stickiest issue, and that of course is the debt limit.

On several occasions in the past, the debt limit has been the catalyst for budget agreements.  Last year, however, the president requested a quote-unquote ‘clean’ debt limit increase – business as usual.  

Well I’ve run a business, and that’s no way to do it.  It’s certainly no way to run a government either, especially one that has run up a debt bigger than the entire economy.  Business as usual will no longer do. 

So last year around this time, I accepted an invitation to address the Economic Club of New York.   I went up there and said that in my view, the debt limit exists in statute precisely so that government is forced to address its fiscal issues. 

Yes, allowing America to default would be irresponsible. But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.

We shouldn’t dread the debt limit.  We should welcome it.  It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction. 

That night in New York City, I put forth the principle that we should not raise the debt ceiling without real spending cuts and reforms that exceed the amount of the debt limit increase.  

From all the way up in Midtown Manhattan, I could hear a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Over the next couple of months, I was asked again and again if I would yield on my ‘position,’ what it would take, if I would budge…

Each and every time, I said ‘no’ … because it isn’t a ‘position’ – it’s a principle.   Not just that – it’s the right thing to do.

When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase.  This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance.

If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal.  Let’s start solving the problem.  We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.

Just so we’re clear, I’m talking about REAL cuts and reforms – not these tricks and gimmicks that have given Washington a pass on grappling with its spending problem.

Last year, in our negotiations with the White House, the president and his team put a number of gimmicks on the table.  Plenty of thought and creativity went into them – things like counting money that was never going to be spent as savings.

Maybe in another time, with another Speaker, gimmicks like these would be acceptable.

But, as a matter of simple arithmetic, they won’t work. 

They won’t work, and as I told the president, we’re not doing things that way anymore.

What also doesn’t count as ‘cuts and reforms’ are tax increases.  Tax hikes destroy jobs – especially an increase on the magnitude set for January 1st.   Small businesses need to plan.  We shouldn’t wait until New Year’s Eve to give American job creators the confidence that they aren’t going to get hit with a tax hike on New Year’s Day. 

Any sudden tax hike would hurt our economy, so this fall – before the election – the House of Representatives will vote to stop the largest tax increase in American history. 

This will give Congress time to work on broad-based tax reform that lowers rates for individuals and businesses while closing deductions, credits, and special carveouts.  

Eyebrows go up all over town whenever I talk about this, but when I say ‘broad-based’ tax reform, I mean it.  We need to do it all … deal with the whole code, personal and corporate it’s fairer and more productive for everyone.

That’s why our bill to stop the New Year’s Day tax increase will also establish an expedited process by which Congress would enact real tax reform in 2013.  This process would look something like how we handle Trade Promotion Authority, where you put in place a timeline for both houses to act.

The Ways & Means Committee will work out the details, but the bottom line is: if we do this right, we will never again have to deal with the uncertainty of expiring tax rates.

We’ll have replaced the broken status quo with a tax code that maintains progressivity, taxes income once, and creates a fairer, simpler code. 

And if we do THAT right, we will see increased revenue from more economic growth.

Again, change doesn’t need to be sudden or painful. 

Last fall, when I addressed the Economic Club of Washington, I said that making relatively small changes now can lead to huge dividends down the road in terms of debt reduction.  As we approach the issue of the debt limit again, we need to continue to bear this in mind.

As you know, we could eliminate all of the unfunded liabilities in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid tomorrow, and the effect within the Congressional Budget Office 10-year window could be minimal.

That’s because changes to these programs take time and are phased-in slowly. 

For example, when Congress last increased the retirement age for Social Security, the increase – a mere two years – was scheduled to fully take effect 40 years after the law was enacted.

Another example: take the House Budget Resolution and its assumptions for Medicare reform.  Those would not even begin until after 2022.

Smart and modest changes today mean huge dividends down the line.

Now, I can already hear the grumbles … partisans getting all worked up or people saying, eh, let’s wait until after the election.

We can’t wait.  Employers large and small are already bracing for the coming tax hikes and regulations, which freeze their plans.  The markets aren’t going to wait forever; eventually they’re going to start reacting.

We now know that we ignore these warnings at our own peril.

That’s why the House will do its part to ease the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff.  And I hope the president will step up, bring his party’s Senate leaders along, and work with us.

Because if there’s one action-forcing event that trumps all the rest – even the debt limit – it’s presidential leadership. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe President Obama cares about this country and knows what the right thing to do is.  But knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are different things.  

The difference between knowing what’s right and doing what’s right is courage, and the president, I’m sorry to say, lost his.

He was willing to talk about the tough choices needed to preserve and strengthen our entitlement programs, but he wasn’t ready to take action.

As it turned out, he wouldn’t agree to even the most basic entitlement reform unless it was accompanied by tax increases on small business job creators.

We were on the verge of an agreement that would have reduced the deficit by trillions, by strengthening entitlement programs and reforming the tax code with permanently lower rates for all, laying the foundation for lasting growth.

But when the president saw his former colleagues in the Senate getting ready to press for tax hikes, he lost his nerve.  The political temptation was too great.  He moved the goalposts, changed his stance, and demanded tax hikes. 

We ended up enacting a package with cuts and reforms larger than the hike.  But it could have been so much more. 

The letdown was considerable.  And, in turn, our nation’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time.

Well it should also be the last time that happens, which is why I came here today. 

If the president continues to put politics before principle – or party before country, as he often accuses others of doing – our economy will suffer and we may well miss our last chance to solve this crisis on our own terms.

But if we have leaders who will lead … if we have leaders with the courage to make tough choices and the vision to pursue a future paved with growth, then we can heal our economy and again be the example for all to follow.

I’m ready, and I’ve been ready.  I’m not angling for higher office.  This is the last position in government I will hold.  I haven’t come this far to walk away. 

All my life, I’ve operated by a simple code: if you do the right thing for the reasons, good things will happen.  

Well, NOW is the time to do the right thing. 

Let’s do it for the right reasons – we don’t need to be dragged kicking and screaming.   That’s not the American way.  Let’s summon the courage and vision to choose freedom, to choose prosperity, and to determine our destiny.

Then we’ll not only have succeeded in solving this crisis – we’ll be worthy of that success.   

Thank you all.

Full Text Campaign Buzz May 15, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Iowa Speech Defends Economic Record Blames Obama for ‘Prairie fire of Debt’ — Day After Obama Campaign Ad Attacked Bain Years as Job Killing


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  2011.



On Spending, President Obama Hasn’t Kept His Promises To Iowa: “President Obama has spent the last four years trying to convince Iowans he will stop passing our financial burdens to the next generation. But his liberal policies of skyrocketing debt and deficits just haven’t lived up to the promises he’s made. As president, Mitt Romney will finally deliver the change Washington needs by reining in wasteful spending and getting our economy moving again.” –- Amanda Henneberg, Romney Campaign Spokesperson, 5-15-12

In Iowa, Romney tags Obama for debt ‘prairie fire’: Republican Mitt Romney said Tuesday President Barack Obama’s support for increased federal debt has put the economy on a disastrous course, portraying himself in a speech in battleground Iowa as the defender of fiscal responsibility and his opponent as reckless…. – AP, 5-15-12

  • In Iowa, Romney Tests Economic Message: Iowa is an interesting laboratory for Mr. Romney’s campaign – and how he does in the state could dramatically impact the outcome of the presidential election in November…. – NYT, 5-15-12
  • Romney, GOP try to shift focus to deficit: Mitt Romney will continue his blitz against President Barack Obama over the federal deficit on Tuesday, signaling a GOP shift away from social issues and back to what Republicans consider the president’s Achilles’ heel…. – CNN, 5-15-12
  • How Romney is fighting harsh charge he’s a heartless job-killer: Two new pro-Obama ads are hammering Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, for the demise of a Missouri steel company. The counter-ad from the Romney camp focuses on a firm that Bain bolstered… – CS Monitor, 5-15-12
  • Romney vows to douse ‘prairie fire of debt’: Mitt Romney will say today he can extinguish the “prairie fire of debt” that’s sweeping across the nation. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee will speak this afternoon in Des Moines, in his first campaign appearance…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Rob Portman defends Romney over Bain attacks: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman defended Mitt Romney against Democratic charges that he was a “job destroyer” during his tenure at Bain Capital, insisting the presumptive Republican nominee has a “pretty good” record of creating jobs…. – ABC News, 5-14-12 Obama targets Mitt Romney’s Bain years: President Obama’s reelection campaign rolled out a broad attack Monday against Republican Mitt Romney’s business experience at Bain Capital, trying to undermine Romney’s core argument for why he should be president. The Obama campaign began airing a…. – WaPo, 5-14-12
  • Obama ad depicts Mitt Romney as job-killing ‘vampire.’ Over the top?: Obama’s new ‘Steel’ ad picks up themes of vanquished Romney GOP rivals – that Mitt Romney is not a job creator but a job killer. But Romney was no longer with Bain Capital when the Kansas City steel mill went under…. CS Monitor, 5-14-12
  • Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, and the One Percent Economy: Last week, the Obama reelection campaign told Mark Halperin that it believes Mitt Romney’s one chance of winning the election would be to establish himself as a credible economic fix-it figure, and that it intended to focus its attacks on destroying that reputation. Today the campaign launches a missile straight at its target with an unusually long two-minute campaign ad assailing Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, along with a website ( reinforcing the message that Romney’s record is all about extracting profit for the very rich, at the expense of the middle class. The name of the website, of course, implies that Romney’s record at Bain defines his economic philosophy…. – New York Magazine, 5-14-12

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks In Des Moines, Iowa

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 5-15-12

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks in Des Moines, Iowa. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you all very much.

It’s good to be back in Iowa. So many friends here hold a special place in my heart.

I’ve come here today to talk to you about an issue that affects the very heart of America.

Of course, Iowa is much more than a collection of beautiful farms and small towns and cities bounded by two of America’s great rivers. Iowa is a collection of the values that built America and that have sustained us through good times and bad. You know them well: hard work, taking care of our neighbors, family, faith in God and country. Common sense, kitchen table values. Not fancy, but enduring.

These aren’t the values that lead to out-of-control spending sprees, or to piling up massive amounts of debt you know your children – and grandchildren – will have to work all their lives to pay off. These aren’t the values of putting off difficult decisions with the hope that maybe someone else will solve them.

Today America faces a financial crisis of debt and spending that threatens what it means to be an American. Here in the heartland you know in your hearts that it’s wrong.

We can’t spend another four years talking about solving a problem that we know we are making worse every single day.

When the men and women who settled the Iowa prairie saw a fire in the distance, they didn’t look around for someone else to save them or go back to sleep hoping the wind might blow another direction. They knew that their survival was up to them.

A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love.

This is not solely a Democrat or a Republican problem. The issue isn’t who deserves the most blame, it’s who is going to do what it takes to put out the fire.

The people of Iowa and America have watched President Obama for nearly four years, much of that time with Congress controlled by his own party. And rather than put out the spending fire, he has fed the fire. He has spent more and borrowed more.

The time has come for a president, a leader, who will lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can’t even imagine, from foreign countries we’ll never even visit. I will bring us together to put out the fire!

A lot of people think this is a problem we can’t solve. I reject that kind of “can’t do” defeatist talk. It’s wrong.

What’s happened here isn’t complicated. Washington has been spending too much money and our new President made things much worse. His policies have taken us backwards.

Almost a generation ago, Bill Clinton announced that the Era of Big Government was over.

Even a former McGovern campaign worker like President Clinton was signaling to his own Party that Democrats should no longer try to govern by proposing a new program for every problem.

President Obama tucked away the Clinton doctrine in his large drawer of discarded ideas, along with transparency and bipartisanship. It’s enough to make you wonder if maybe it was a personal beef with the Clintons….but really it runs much deeper.

President Obama is an old school liberal whose first instinct is to see free enterprise as the villain and government as the hero. America counted on President Obama to rescue the economy, tame the deficit and help create jobs.  Instead, he bailed out the public-sector, gave billions of dollars to the companies of his friends, and added almost as much debt as all the prior presidents combined.

The consequence is that we are enduring the most tepid recovery in modern history.

The consequence is that half of the kids graduating from college can’t find a job that uses their skills. Half.

The consequence is that retirees can no longer get by on savings and Social Security.

The consequence is that the length of time it takes an unemployed worker to find a job is the longest on record.

This is why even those who voted for Barack Obama are disappointed in him.

Disappointment is the key in which the President’s re-election is being played. Americans will not settle for four more years of the same melancholy song. We can and we must do better.

President Obama started out with a near trillion-dollar stimulus package – the biggest, most careless one-time expenditure by the federal government in history.  And remember this: the stimulus wasn’t just wasted – it was borrowed and wasted.  We still owe the money, we’re still paying interest on it, and it’ll be that way long after this presidency ends.

Then there was Obamacare.  Even now nobody knows what it will actually cost.  And that uncertainty has slowed our economy.  Employers delay hiring and entrepreneurs put the brakes on starting new businesses, because of a massive, European-style entitlement that Americans didn’t want and can’t afford.

When you add up his policies, this President has increased the national debt by five trillion dollars.

Let me put that in a way we can understand. Your household’s share of government debt and unfunded liabilities has reached more than $520,000 under this president. Think about what that means. Your household will be taxed year after year with the interest cost of that debt and with the principal payments for those liabilities. Of course, it won’t be paid off by the adults in your household.  It will be passed along to your children. They will struggle throughout their lives with the interest on our debts–and President Obama is adding to them every single day.

And that’s the best case scenario. The interest rate on that debt is bound to go up, like an adjustable mortgage. And there’s a good chance this debt could cause us to hit a Greece-like wall.

Subprime mortgages came close to bringing the economy to its knees. This debt is America’s Nightmare Mortgage. It is adjustable, no-money down, and assigned to our children. Politicians have been trying to hide the truth about this Nightmare Mortgage for years–just like liar-loans.

This is not just bad economics; it is immoral.

During my time in business and in state government, I came to see the economy as having three big players – the private sector, the states and localities, and the federal government.

Of these three, the private sector is by far the most efficient and cost effective. That’s because scores of businesses and thousands of entrepreneurs are competing every day to find a way to deliver a product or a service that is better than anyone else’s. Think about smart phones. Blackberry got things going. Then Apple introduced the iPhone. Now the Android platform leads the market. In the world of free enterprise, competition brings us better and better products at lower and lower cost. Innovate and change or you go out of business. And the customer–us–benefits.

Government doesn’t begin to compare when it comes to change and improvements that provide better and less expensive services and products. But among governments, the states and localities are more responsive than the federal government, probably because there is a degree of competition between them.

The slowest, least responsive sector is the federal government.  Nobody hears “Washington, D.C.” and thinks “efficiency.”

Imagine if the federal government was the sole legal supplier of cell phones. First, they’d still be under review, with hearings in Congress. When finally approved, the contract to make them would go to an Obama donor. They’d be the size of a shoe, with a collapsible solar panel.  And campaign donors would be competing to become the all-powerful App Czar.

My point is this:  as President Obama and old-school liberals absorb more and more of our economy into government, they make what we do more expensive, less efficient, and less useful. They make America less competitive. They make government more expensive.

What President Obama is doing is not bold; it’s old.

As president, I will make the federal government simpler, smaller, smarter – and, by the way, more in keeping with the vision of the Framers of our Constitution.

This is why I do not, for one moment, share my opponent’s belief that our spending problems can be solved with more taxes.  You do not owe Washington a bigger share of your paycheck.

Instead of putting more limits on your earnings and your options, we need to place clear and firm limits on government spending.  As a start, I will lower federal spending to 20 percent of GDP within four years’ time – down from the 24.3 percent today.

The President’s plan assumes an endless expansion of government, with costs rising and rising with the spread of Obamacare. I will halt the expansion of government, and repeal Obamacare.

Working together, we can save Social Security without making any changes in the system for people in or nearing retirement.  We have two basic options for future retirees: a tax increase for high-income retirees, or a decrease in the benefit growth rate for high-income retirees.  I favor the second option; it protects everyone in the system and it avoids higher taxes that will drag down the economy.

I have proposed a Medicare plan that improves the program, keeps it solvent, and slows the rate of growth in health care costs.

Both of these reforms are relatively simple, compared to the far more difficult choices we’ll face if we do nothing.  Of course, Medicare and Social Security are also easy to demagogue, and I expect the President to continue doing that in this campaign.  But Americans are on to that game, and I’m not going to insult voters by pretending that we can just keep putting off entitlement reform.  I will continue to speak honestly, and, if elected, I will do what is right for the people of America.

The President has made little effort to rein in redundancy and waste.

In 2011, the Government Accountability Office found 34 areas where agencies, offices, or initiatives in the federal government had overlapping objectives or were providing similar services.  The GAO estimated that fixing this redundancy could save over $100 billion.  Yet, one year later, only three of these 34 areas had been fully addressed.  Only one program was actually defunded.

In 2010, 17 federal government agencies gave $7.7 billion to more than 25 United Nations programs, billions of it voluntarily.

Another example:  There are 94 federal programs in 11 agencies that encourage “green” building.  A report found that the results of their initiatives and investments are, quote, “unknown.”

We see the same bureaucracy and overhead in our anti-poverty programs.  Last year, the federal government spent more than $600 billion on more than 100 different programs that aim to help the poor.

My approach to federal programs and bureaucracy is entirely different. Move programs to states or to the private sector where they can be run more efficiently and where we can do a better job helping the people who need our help. Shut down programs that aren’t working. And streamline everything that’s left. It’s time for the people of America to take back the government of America.

Entitlement reform, doing away with redundancy and waste, and shifting services and programs to the economic player who can deliver them best – these are all serious steps toward getting our debt and spending under control.

But above all, we need to shake off the static big-government mindset of these past few years, and all the limits and regulations that go with it.  We need a big turnaround here, and it requires a focused, unrelenting, long-term agenda for economic growth.

Instead of leading the world in how much we borrow, America must continue to lead the world in how much we build, create, and invent.

With all that we’ve been through these past few years, the challenges can seem awfully big, and some might look at America and wonder if we have lost our confidence.  But confidence is not what is missing.  All that’s lacking now is direction and leadership.

These have been years of disappointment and decline, and soon we can put them behind us.  We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we’ve all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren.

All of this can be more than our hope – it can be our future.  It can begin this year, in the choice you make, so I ask for your help, your support, and your vote on the sixth of November.

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Full Text Obama Presidency May 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Congratulating the 2011 Major League Soccer Cup Championship the LA Galaxy at the White House — President Obama Teases Star Player David Beckham



President Obama Congratulates the LA Galaxy

Source: WH, 5-15-12
President Barack Obama Welcomes Major League Soccer Champions, the LA Galaxy
President Barack Obama welcomes Major League Soccer champions, the LA Galaxy, to honor their 2011 season and their MLS Cup victory, to the East Room of the White House, May 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama welcomed the LA Galaxy to the White House this afternoon to congratulate the team on its 2011 Major League Soccer Cup Championship.

The team, which has three of soccer’s biggest stars on its roster– David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane–won a tough championship match after going undefeated at home all season long.

“So everyone who’s a part of this club — the staff, the players, the fans back in L.A. — together you pulled off one of the toughest feats in team sports:  You lived up to the hype.  You combined star power, hard work; it paid off,” President Obama said.

After the ceremony in the East Room, the team took questions from young soccer players as part of a Let’s Move! event encouraging kids to take up sports as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.


Remarks by the President Honoring the 2011 MLS Cup Champion L.A. Galaxy

East Room

2:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Everybody, please have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, welcome to the White House, everybody.  And congratulations to the L.A. Galaxy on your third MLS Cup.  (Applause.)  Number three.

Before we start, I want to acknowledge an L.A. native and my outstanding Secretary of Labor — I don’t know how her game is, but she’s a fan.  Hilda Solis is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got some proud members of the California delegation, the House of Representatives who are here.  We’re thrilled to have them.

I’m not going to flatter myself by assuming these cameras are for me.  (Laughter.)  I want to thank the Galaxy for letting me share in the spotlight.  (Laughter.)  The truth is, in America, most professional soccer players have the luxury of being able to walk around without being recognized.  But not these guys.  This is the Miami Heat of soccer.  (Laughter.)  And together, they represent one of the most talented lineups that MLS has ever seen.

You’ve got Robbie Keane, all-time leading scorer of the Irish national team.  (Applause.)  Cousin of mine.  (Laughter.)  Robbie arrived halfway through last season, scored his first goal in the first 21 minutes of his first game.  His teammates were so happy to have him that they filled his locker with what they called the “pleasures of Ireland” — Guinness, Bailey’s, and Irish Spring.  (Laughter.)  Hopefully Robbie has broadened their horizons a little bit since then.

We also have a young up-and-comer on the team, a guy named David Beckham.  (Laughter.)  I have to say I gave David a hard time — I said half his teammates could be his kids.  (Laughter.) We’re getting old, David.  Although you’re holding up better than me.  (Laughter.)

Last year, at the age of 36, David had his best year in MLS, leading the team with 15 assists.  He did it despite fracturing his spine halfway through the season, injuring his hamstring the week before the championship game.  He is tough.  In fact, it is a rare man who can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear.  (Laughter.)  David Beckham is that man.  (Laughter.)

And then there’s the captain, Landon Donovan — (applause)  — who has done more for American soccer than just about anybody. Landon’s eye for the net, his will to win are legendary, and once again, he stepped up when his teammates needed him most.

After going undefeated at home last season, the Galaxy was struggling in the cold and rainy championship match.  But then, in the 72nd minute, David headed the ball to Robbie, who made a perfect pass to Landon, who chipped in the game-winner.  And that set off an all-night celebration in L.A. — although my understanding is that David had to get up for carpool duty at 8 a.m. — (laughter) — so his day was ending a little early.

So the big names came through in the clutch, but they didn’t do it alone.  For a group with so much firepower, this team shone on defense, recording 17 shutouts.  They were led by two local guys — Omar Gonzalez — give it up — (applause) — and      A.J. DeLaGarza — (applause) — who won a national championship at Maryland.  Now they’ve got another title to their resumes.

And of course a lot of credit goes to Coach Bruce Arena.  He took this team from worst to first in just four years.  And I want to take this opportunity to apologize to Bruce.  When I called to congratulate him on winning the Cup, the team was in Indonesia; it was in the middle of the night.  Thank you for taking my call and acting like you actually wanted to talk to me. (Laughter.)

So everyone who’s a part of this club — the staff, the players, the fans back in L.A. — together you pulled off one of the toughest feats in team sports:  You lived up to the hype.  You combined star power, hard work; it paid off.  And I also want to thank you for doing a little Q&A with some of the younger players after we’re done.  As a soccer dad, I know you’ve inspired a lot of kids.  And today you’re giving them an experience that they will never forget.

So, again, give a big round of applause to the L.A. Galaxy.  (Applause.)  Congratulations.  Best of luck this season.  (Applause.)

2:20 P.M. EDT

Remarks by the First Lady at a Let’s Move! Event with MLS Cup Champion L.A. Galaxy

State Dining Room

3:12 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Hey, again, guys.  I got to hang out with the kids earlier.  We got quick pictures, but we are excited to have you guys here at the White House.  We’re in the State Room.  The State Dining Room is where we greet special official guests, and you guys count as our special official guests.  We’re excited to have you here.

I want to start by thanking all of you kids for joining us here at the White House today.  Tell me — yell out — tell me the organizations you’re representing — somebody?  See, you guys are from all over the place — some here, some from all over the country, right?

Well, thanks for coming and visiting us.  I also want to thank the members of the L.A. Galaxy soccer team for taking the time to come and answer some questions, and share some wisdom and some advice for all of you.  So let’s give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

So as soccer players, you know who these guys are, don’t you?


MRS. OBAMA:  They’re pretty cool, right?  They are some of the best soccer players in the entire country and the entire world.  Amazing, huh?  And they’re here!  They’re right there, they’re right there.

And I want to congratulate them — join in with my husband in congratulating them on winning the third MLS Cup.  Very cool, very cool.

But one of the things I want you guys to remember — all the kids here to remember, is that these stars were not born superstar athletes.  They weren’t superstar soccer players from the beginning.  In fact, many of them started out just like many of you — playing on a team at school, or just kicking a ball around on the playground with their friends.  But they stuck with it.  And I tell this to my girls all the time.  I mean, you get to the point when there are things that you enjoy, they get to the point where they start getting hard — that’s when you know you’re getting good, and you have to stick through it even when it starts getting hard.

For some of you, soccer has always been fun, will always be fun, but sometimes, when you start growing, you get to the point where you really have to work hard.  Well, they all hit that wall, and they stuck with it.  They practice for hours every day doing all their drills and scrimmages, doing everything that their coaches and mentors told them to do.  And that’s how they got to be national champions.  But remember, they didn’t do all of this just because they wanted to win their games.  Winning is great, right?  We all know how to win.  Winning is the easiest thing in the world to do.  But what is the toughest thing?  Is learning how to lose, right?

So they didn’t do it just to win.  They didn’t do it because they wanted to grow up to be famous.  They played soccer because they love the sport.  And they played because it was challenging and fun, and because it made they feel strong and healthy.  And that’s what sports like soccer are all about.  And they’re learning about new skills.  They’re learning how to compete.  They’re learning how to lose gracefully, how to win with dignity.  All of that stuff is important with sports.

And that’s one of the reasons why when the weather is nice — because it was raining; we were supposed to be outside, but they said there were would be thunderstorms.  We’re usually outside.  We’ve been hosting all kinds of fitness activities and clinics on the South Lawn.  Have some of you guys participated in those?  Nobody has had — I thought — we’ve had — (laughter) — yes, we’ve had some fun on the South Lawn.  We were supposed out there today, but because they projected thunderstorms, we thought we wouldn’t have you out there getting struck by lightning.  That wouldn’t look good.  (Laughter.)  So we brought you inside.

But we’ve been hosting these clinics on the South Lawn, which is our backyard here at the White House, because we want to show kids just like you that there are all kinds of ways to be active, and that being active is also a whole lot of fun.  So a lot of what we do while there are soccer drills and things like that going on, we’re doing a lot of playing around and laughing, and realizing that that’s what being healthy is about.  It’s not always work; most of the time it’s a lot of fun.

And that’s also why in connection with the Olympic and Paralympic Games that are coming up — you guys know about that?  You know that we’re going to be in London competing with teams all across the world.  You know that?  And I’m going to be leading the delegation.  I’m not playing a sport or anything — (laughter) — I am not an Olympian.  But I get to lead the delegation that represents the United States.

But as part of the Olympic Games, the U.S. Soccer Federation has made a really important commitment that I got to announce yesterday.  They’re going to be working to help increase opportunities for kids to get involved in a whole variety of sports, especially soccer.  Soccer has really stepped up.

They’re going to be hosting more clinics and more after-school programs in cities all across the country so that more kids like you get exposure to opportunities that maybe normally you wouldn’t, or it gives you even a little more excitement to get even more committed into your sport.

Because the Federation also knows and these guys up here know that being active and learning new skills doesn’t just help you become a better soccer player or a better athlete.  It gives you the energy that you need to keep you from getting sick, to do well in school, to be able to focus on your bigger dreams — because there is life after soccer.  There is something more important than sports, and that’s becoming a well-rounded person.

And being healthy and eating the right foods, and staying active is a part of that.  And that’s what everybody here is trying to promote.  And that’s why I’m so pleased with our U.S. Olympic Federation and all the teams that have made a commitment to invest in kids like you across the country.

So that’s one of the reasons why we’re here.  But we’re also here because this team, these guys, they wanted to talk to you.  They’re here because they were getting congratulations from the President, but they also said they wanted to talk to kids just like you.  And I’m really pleased that you guys are so interested in taking the time not just to play the game but to spend time with young people, talking to them about a whole range of things.  So they are here for you.

And I’m going to leave and let them step up.  But feel free to ask them any kind of questions.  And I’ve already talked to you all — you all are not shy.  None of them are.  Right?  So speak up, ask questions.  Ask about anything you have on your mind.  Don’t be nervous.  You’re at home.  And have fun, okay?  And keep playing hard, working hard, doing well in school, and eat your vegetables.  (Laughter.)  All right?

All right, I’m going to get out of here and let these guys take over.  Thanks so much.  (Applause.)

3:19 P.M. EDT

Campaign Buzz May 15, 2012: New New York Times – CBS News has Mitt Romney Leading President Obama 46 – 43% & Leading Among Women Voters — Obama Campaign Claims Bias


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. late 2011.



New York Times/CBS News poll — Full poll report

67% In Survey Believe Politics Is Why Obama Backed Gay Marriage The CBS-New York Times Poll makes unpleasant reading for Team Obama:
The talk of the day in political circles in the United States was the New York Times CBS poll. The poll showed that President Barack Obama’s statement in support of gay marriage may have cost him doubly with the public.
The poll confirmed the Gallup findings that among those affected by the statement there were more whom it affected negatively, making them less likely to support Obama in November.
What the Obama campaign team should find even more disturbing is that 67% of those polled believe that Obama delivered his statement due to political considerations rather than out of moral conviction.
One of the pluses that Obama had going for him was that even when people disagreed with him, they still found him likable and a cut above the average politician. This rejection of the president’s sincerity is a bad sign for him.
Another sign in the wind is the weakening of the routinized halo effect. To appropriate Max Weber, in 2008 Obama was genuinely charismatic to the American voter. Now, that charisma has attenuated and Obama’s allies in the press are trying to provide a routinized charisma by heaping constant praise on him to substitute for the genuine article…. – Israel National News, 5-16-12

  • Obama campaign complains about poll that shows Romney leading: The Obama campaign is not happy with a new poll that suggests Mitt Romney has closed the gender gap. The poll published last night by CBS/New York Times shows Obama trailing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 46%-43%…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Romney leads Obama 46 – 43 in new NYTCBS poll: Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a slight edge over President Obama in the race for the White House in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll. According to the survey, conducted May 11-13…. – Politico, 5-14-12
  • New CBS/NY Times poll shows Romney leading Obama among women voters: A new CBS News/New York Times national poll of registered voters shows presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney edging President Obama, 46% to 43%.
    Last month, CBS/NYTimes showed Obama and Romney tied at 46%, with other polls echoing the same outcome.
    However, the most telling result of this new survey was that the key-voting block of women now favors Romney over Obama, 46% to 44%. Obama resoundingly won women in 2008, garnering 56% of the vote to then-Republican nominee John McCain’s 43%…. – Washington Times, 5-15-12
  • Obama’s popularity contest: This week, a New York Times/CBS News poll shows women tilting toward Mitt and voters overall favoring him by 46 percent to 43 percent. But you know how girls are. A month ago, according to a CNN/ORC poll, women loved Obama 55 percent to 39 percent…. – Washington Post, 5-15-12
  • Alarm Grows Among Dems About Obama’s Chances: It has taken months of bad news, but Democrats increasingly believe that President Obama might just lose his re-election bid. The latest wake-up call comes in the form of a New York Times/CBS poll showing Republican Mitt Romney in the lead not just…. – Fox News, 5-15-12
  • The New York Times CBS News poll: 5 takeaways: The New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday shows a highly competitive race, with Mitt Romney leading President Barack Obama 46 percent to 43 percent – a result that’s within the poll’s 4-percentage-point margin of error…. – Politico, 5-15-12
  • Obama campaign: NYT/CBS poll ‘biased’: The Obama campaign is criticizing today’s New York Times/CBS News poll, which suggests that Mitt Romney is leading among female voters and that two-thirds of voters think Obama supported same-sex marriage “for political reasons.”
    Forty-six percent of the 615 surveyed said the would vote for Mitt Romney, against 43 percent for the president. 46 percent of women also said they would vote for Romney, versus 44 for the president.
    But the principle issue for the Obama campaign is the motivation behind his support for same-sex marriage: 67 percent of those polled said he made his decision “for political reasons,” against just 24 percent who said he did so because he thinks it is right.
    “The methodology was significantly biased,” Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, said on MSNBC this morning. “It is a biased sample.”… – Politico, 5-15-12
  • Countering Obama, NY Times stands by poll: The New York Times has sent in its response to the Obama campaign’s heavy criticism of today’s NYT/CBS News poll (see previous post), which the campaign objected to, in part, because it surveyed the same group of people surveyed for a poll last month.
    That now controversial poll has Mitt Romney leading Obama among those surveyed — including women — and shows two-thirds believe the president supported same-sex marriage “for political reasons.”
    “We stand by our latest poll with CBS News on same-sex marriage and its use of a call-back survey of respondents from our most recent poll in mid-April,” Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy explained, via email. “While The Times and CBS regularly conduct fresh random sample surveys on a variety of issues, we occasionally employ a short-term callback method of previous respondents when we are interested in analyzing changes in public opinion on timely subjects, as we did, for example, upon the death of Osama bin Laden. As we pointed out when we published the article, results on subgroups from call back surveys have a larger sampling error.”…. – Poltico, 5-15-12

History Buzz May 15, 2012: T. Mills Kelly: How the History Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit


History Buzz


How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit

T. Mills Kelly encourages his students to deceive thousands of people on the Web. This has angered many, but the experiment helps reveal the shifting nature of the truth on the Internet. 

Source: Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic, 5-15-12


…These stories have two things in common. They are all tailor-made for viral success on the internet. And they are all lies.

Each tale was carefully fabricated by undergraduates at George Mason University who were enrolled in T. Mills Kelly’s course, Lying About the Past. Their escapades not only went unpunished, they were actually encouraged by their professor. Four years ago, students created a Wikipedia page detailing the exploits of Edward Owens, successfully fooling Wikipedia’s community of editors. This year, though, one group of students made the mistake of launching their hoax on Reddit. What they learned in the process provides a valuable lesson for anyone who turns to the Internet for information.

The first time Kelly taught the course, in 2008, his students confected the life of Edward Owens, mixing together actual lives and events with brazen fabrications. They created YouTube videos, interviewed experts, scanned and transcribed primary documents, and built a Wikipedia page to honor Owens’ memory. The romantic tale of a pirate plying his trade in the Chesapeake struck a chord, and quickly landed on USA Today’s pop culture blog. When Kelly announced the hoax at the end of the semester, some were amused, applauding his pedagogical innovations. Many others were livid….

Last January, as he prepared to offer the class again, Kelly put the Internet on notice. He posted his syllabus and announced that his new, larger class was likely to create two separate hoaxes. He told members of the public to “consider yourself warned–twice.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service




Remarks by the President at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service

U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C.

11:25 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you, Chuck, for that very kind introduction.  Chuck is a proud police officer, he’s the proud parent of a police officer, and he has dedicated his life to law enforcement and their families.  So I want to thank him for his extraordinary service.

I want to recognize the entire Fraternal Order of Police and its leadership, including Jim Pasco, for all your work on behalf of those who wear the badge.  I’d like to recognize FOP Auxiliary President Linda Hennie, all the members of the FOP Auxiliary, members of Congress including Speaker Boehner, Congressman Hoyer, and Senator Leahy, as well as members of my administration.  And most of all, I want to acknowledge and thank the families of those who have fallen.

As Scripture tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Our country’s law enforcement officers use force when they have to.  They are well armed and they are well trained.  But they never forget that theirs is a mission of peace.  Their job is to keep the peace, to allow all of us to enjoy peace in our neighborhoods and for our families.  And today, with heavy hearts, we honor those who gave their lives in the service of that mission.  Their families are in our thoughts and prayers, as we remember the quiet courage of the men and women we have lost.

These are officers like Detective John Falcone, of Poughkeepsie, New York.  In February, Detective Falcone responded to a shot fired call on Main Street.  And when he arrived on the scene, he saw a man holding a gun with one hand, and a small child with the other.

In a situation like that, every instinct pushes us towards self-preservation.  But when the suspect fled, still holding the child, Detective Falcone didn’t think twice.  He took off in pursuit, and tragically, in the struggle that followed, he was shot and killed.  He is survived by his parents.

But there’s another survivor as well:  A three-year old child who might not be alive today had it not been for the sacrifice of a hero who gave his life for another.

This willingness to risk everything for a complete stranger is extraordinary.  And yet, among our nation’s law enforcement officers, it is also commonplace.  Last summer, the North Platte River was running high near Douglas, Wyoming.  When a teenage girl got caught in the current, Deputy Bryan Gross, of the Converse County Sheriff’s Office, jumped in after her.

The girl was eventually pulled from the water, but Deputy Gross was swept away.  And he is survived by his wife, Amy.  Today, we remember a man who swore to protect his neighbors, and who kept that promise no matter what the cost.

I suspect that at that moment, Deputy Gross wasn’t trying to be a hero; he was just doing his job.  You can find that bravery, the courage to do your duty, day in and day out, in so many officers across our country.

One of those officers was Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper, from Clark County, Ohio.  Deputy Hopper was known as the “go-to person” in her department; no task was too large or too small.

And on New Year’s Day, 2011, Deputy Hopper arrived at a crime scene and began a preliminary investigation, just as she had done many times during her 12 years of service.  But as she was photographing evidence, a man opened the door of his trailer and fired at her with his shotgun, killing her.  And today, we remember not just a fine officer, but a wife, a mother, and a stepmother.

Like all those we honor today, Deputy Hopper is also survived by the fellow officers who she meant so much to, and who meant so much to her.  Last week, her childhood friend, Sergeant Kris Shultz, posted her flag at a memorial in Ohio.  He made a promise in her memory.  He said, “To honor her, we will keep going, and continue to do what we’ve done, no matter how hard it is at times.”

We will keep going.  There is no pledge that better honors the memory of those we have lost.  And there are no memories — there are no words that better capture the unbreakable spirit of those who wear the badge.

Because even in the face of tragedy, I know that so many of you will return home and continue to do what you have always done.  Some of you will kiss your husbands or wives goodbye each morning, and send them out the door not knowing what might happen that day.  Some of you are children and parents, sisters and brothers, whose pride is mixed with worry.

And of course, there are the officers themselves.  Every American who wears the badge knows the burdens that come with it — the long hours and the stress; the knowledge that just about any moment could be a matter of life or death.  You carry these burdens so the rest of us don’t have to.

And this shared sense of purpose brings you together, and it brings you to our nation’s capital today.  You come from different states and different backgrounds and different walks of life, but I know that you come here as a community:  one family, united by a quiet strength and a willingness to sacrifice on behalf of others.

The rest of us can never fully understand what you go through.  But please know that we hold you in our hearts — not just today, but always.  We are forever in your debt.  And it is on behalf of all of us, the entire American people, that I offer my thoughts, my prayers, and my thanks.

May God shine a light upon the fallen and comfort the mourning.  May he protect the peacemakers who protect us every day.  And may he bless, now and forever, the United States of America.  (Applause.)

11:33 A.M. EDT

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