Full Text Political Headlines May 23, 2012: Sen. Marco Rubio Laments Divisive & Partisan Politics in Keynote Address at the Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit in Washington, DC — Speech Transcript

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THE HEADLINES….

Sen. Marco Rubio Laments Divisive Politics

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-23-12

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Speaking before a crowd of Latino business leaders, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., lamented the state of politics, accusing politicians of fostering a culture of partisanship and campaigning on a message of division.  Without mentioning President Obama by name, Rubio swiped at the president for failing to deliver on his promise of “hope” that both sides of the aisle craved.

“The one that’s troubled me the most is this deliberate division of the American people against each other.  Last three and a half years after our elections, irrespective of how you felt about how they turned out, we all had hope that this nation would embark at a new moment, where somehow we would rise above the petty politics of the moment and have a real honest societal wide conversation about what kind of country we want to be, what kind of role we want to play in the world, and what kind of role we want our government to play in our lives. Well any hope of that is now gone,” Rubio said during his keynote address at the Latino Coalition’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., Wednesday afternoon. “What you have today is nothing less than a wholesale effort to pit one group of Americans against each other on issue after issue.”…READ MORE

Rubio Addresses The Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit

Rubio: “It’s not fair for the story of America to end with us. On the contrary, the way I hope to render tribute to my parents and my grandparents, the way we should hope to give a lasting tribute to our parents and our grandparents is to ensure that the America they made possible and left for us does not end with us, but in fact, continues to shine for decades and even centuries to come.”

Senator Marco Rubio
Speech at The Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit
May 23, 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqQvXymOKIY&feature=youtu.beQuiero empezar brevemente en español.  Tenemos prensa aquí en español y quiero darles un poco de un mensaje que pueden llevar hacia a los televidentes y a los radioescuchas que tendrán la oportunidad de escuchar este día. Primero es un honor para mí recibir este premio, lo cual no siento que me lo merezco pero me lo tendré que ganar ahora en el tiempo que tenga aquí en los próximos cuatro años y medio en el Senado en los Estados Unidos.

Para mi siempre es especial en estos momentos que puedo venir no solamente aceptar de parte de esta comunidad, si no también a dar tributo a mis padres, a mis abuelos y a mi comunidad por los sacrificios que hicieron por todos nosotros.  Cada uno de nosotros entendemos esa realidad porque es la historia de nuestra vida.  Nos encontramos aquí en el día de hoy porque hay personas que se sacrificaron por nosotros.  Y creo que más que cualquier otra comunidad en este país tenemos una obligación especial de proteger esa parte del legado americano.  Tenemos una obligación especial de proteger esa identidad de este país de ser un lugar donde cualquiera puede lograr cualquier cosa si está dispuesto a trabajar y sacrificarse.  Eso no puede terminar con nosotros.  Ese tipo de país no puede terminar con nosotros. Y vuelvo y repito, más que cualquier otra comunidad nosotros lo hemos vivido y por eso tenemos una sagrada obligación de mantenerlo y protegerlo para nuestros hijos y para nuestros nietos. Así que muchísimas gracias.  Se los agradezco mucho.

For those that do not speak Spanish, I gave a brief synopsis of how I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance.

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m honored and I’m privileged to be here with you today and to receive this award, which I’m not sure I deserve, but now I’ll have to earn. I appreciate it so much, particularly because of what it means. Obviously, it is named after an individual who, as you saw from the short video, his story is very typical of our story. The story of a person who spent their entire lives not just accomplishing things for himself, but more importantly opening doors and pathways for their children and grandchildren.

This is a typical American story and yet it’s also one unique to each of us. And no community in this country understands that more than the community made up of Americans of Hispanic descent. I begin today by just examining the current state of affairs because we’re called to remember who we are and how we got here at a moment of great uncertainty. That’s not a remarkable observation for any of you, perhaps you’re living those moments of uncertainty.

All around us people are really concerned about the future. This downturn seems different. We’ve lived through downturns before even in recent memory, whether it was the dot-com bust or post-9/11, we have seen the downturn before. But this one feels different, and rightfully so. It feels longer and perhaps even more permanent. There are a lot of factors behind this downturn. There obviously were shocking things that happened in the financial markets and continue to happen in Europe. There is continuing bad news about the debt as it grows and creates greater uncertainty over us. There’s divisive politics where people are constantly being pitted against each other. And tragically there’s this pervasive sense that perhaps this is the beginning of a long and steady decline. That the America that our parents and grandparents found when they came here, the America you found when you came here, the America that you were raised in, and the America that allowed you to reach this point in your life is gone. That somehow that America is over and we’re entering a new era where our nation will be less special and less unique. That’s the sense that you get from some people.

What I want to do here over the next few moments is try to outline to you why that doesn’t need to be the case. And what special role I believe our community plays in ensuring that is not the case.

I begin with the economics of what we’re facing today. The modern debate about a lot of times they’re constantly trying to differentiate between the debt and jobs, as if they’re two separate issues. And yet, they’re intricately related to one another. Now certainly we need spending reforms in this country. You cannot have a government that continues to spend a lot more money than it takes in. But the single most important thing we can do to bring our debt problem under control is rapid growth in our economy. And yet, one of the things that stands in the way of rapid growth in our economy is our debt. These two issues are interrelated. And as Europe is having this debate about whether it’s time for austerity or growth, the answer is you cannot have one without the other. In this country or anywhere on this planet. The two issues are interrelated.

How does growth begin? Well I’m in a room full of people that have started businesses, so you don’t need a lecture from me on how growth begins, but let’s remind ourselves. Growth is very simple. Growth happens when someone starts a new business or when someone grows a business that now exists. That’s growth. And when you grow you create jobs. And when you create jobs people earn a paycheck, which they can use to pay things like their mortgage and their kids’ college education. Not to mention spend it in other businesses, who then go employ people themselves.

But today that growth isn’t happening. And more than anything else that’s probably what’s leading to the sense of anxiety across our country, is that we are not growing. Our economy is not growing the way we expect it to grow as Americans or the way we have seen it grow in the past. In essence those businesses are not being created and those jobs are not being churned out. What are the reasons for that? Because if you don’t understand the reasons you cannot solve it. And the reasons are pretty straightforward. I know sometimes we’re in a process where people want there to be some sort of novel new approach, but the basics of economics have not changed. And the basics that are impeding our country from moving forward are not difficult to understand.

There is significant uncertainty about the future of our tax code. We don’t know what it’s going to be on January first of this year. We know what it is today, and that is one of the most complicated and burdensome in the world. And it’s not just the tax rate that people pay, it’s what it costs to figure it out. And so the tax code is a real impediment. And the lack of any plan as to what it’s going to look like in just a few months is making things harder, not easier, to start a business or grow an existing one.

There is also extraordinary regulatory uncertainty. Now look, we need regulations. We want our water to be clean. We want our air to be breathable. We don’t want people cheating the system. But there’s a problem when those regulations go too far. When they seem to exist solely for the purpose of justifying the existence of the regulators. When these bureaucracies that enforce them somehow do not undertake any sort of cost-benefit analysis when they employ these regulations that they put in place. There’s something wrong when federal bureaucrats openly gloat about how they’re going to crucify businesses in order to make an example out of them. And there’s been no shortage of runaway regulations in the last decade, but especially in the last three years. The National Labor Relations Board alone is a source of continuous consternation for anyone who is trying to start a business or expand an existing business.

We’ve seen the energy sector, one of the most promising sectors in our country’s future, being specifically targeted. And we have seen this health care law, which is nothing but a string of rules one after the other, create extraordinary uncertainty. That is not a partisan observation. I did not make that up. I have heard that from real job creators. From people who own businesses with fifteen and twenty employees who have told me they are afraid of this law because they do not know what it means and they cannot figure out how much it’s going to cost them to comply with it. These are not bad people. These are not folks that want to deny their employees’ health care, but they can’t be in business if they can’t make money. And they have no idea how much it’s going to cost them to comply with ObamaCare. This is not a partisan observation. This is what people told me throughout my campaign and continue to tell me today. By the way, not people in Fortune 500 companies, people in companies that employ five, ten, or fifteen people.

There’s also anti-business rhetoric in American politics. Where people today are told that the reason why our economy is not doing well is because some people are making too much money. That the root cause of our decline economically is because there are corporations and individuals in the private sector who are doing too well. And that anti-business rhetoric, combined with regulations, combined with a complicated tax code, make it harder, not easier, for people to start a business or grow an existing one. Add to all of that the fact that we have missed golden opportunities and continue to miss them right now.

For example, we have an immigration system, a legal immigration system, that’s broken. A legal immigration system that makes it harder for someone who has millions of dollars to invest, to come to this country legally and invest it. A legal immigration system that educates the world’s best Ph.D.’s and Master’s degree holders and then we ask them to leave. And an immigration system in a country that has hundreds of thousands of young people that have grown up among us, who find themselves in an undocumented status through no fault of their own, and who now desire to contribute to America’s future, and yet because of partisan politics we have been unable to figure out a way to accommodate them within the confines of our heritage as a nation of laws, but also our legacy as a nation of immigrants.

There’s also our educational system. And I understand that Governor Romney spoke to you about it earlier today. The federal government has a limited role to play when it comes to education. True innovation in education happens at the state level, but I can tell you from the federal level it is very clear where our educational system is lacking. There are literally hundreds of thousands of jobs available in America today that go unfilled because not enough people in America are trained to fill them. Our children are not learning to compete and succeed in the 21st century. They’re being taught as if they are going into a world where their competition lives in Mississippi or in Alabama, when in fact it lives in China and India and all over the world. These are things that have to be confronted.

An educational system that sadly has stigmatized career education. At a time where we know that some of the fastest growing professions in America will require less than a four year education, but more than a high school diploma. Look at the unemployment rate among people that only have a high school diploma versus those who have a college degree. It’s a cliché, but it is true: education, the ability to learn a skill, in this century, is indispensable. There are going to be no jobs in the 21st century, literally there will be no new jobs in the 21st century for people that do not have advanced education in some form. We have to provide access to that, as well as affordability. And I’m glad that the nominee of my party has taken the lead in that regard in the hopes of spurring on innovation at the state level that will allow us to take this opportunity and embrace it.

Another missed opportunity, by the way, is some of the emerging industries of the 21st century. We are an energy rich country. Because of recent discoveries, we are the most rich we are the most energy rich country in the world. And yet somehow, we don’t have energy policy in America. We have energy politics. Our allies in Canada have also become energy rich and they recently gave us a choice. They are intent on building a pipeline, so they can transfer that energy wealth and allow it to be sold to the world. And they have two choices: they can run a pipeline through China or they can run a pipeline through the United States. And the government of the United States told them “No, thank you.” This is insane. These are the kind of things that historians write about 100 years from now, when they discuss the decline of a civilization and of a nation. Ridiculous decisions that were made because of politics, not because of policy. The truth is we are an energy rich nation, so much so that in addition to accomplishing energy independence we can become an exporter of energy and the creation of American jobs. This is not a theory. Ask the people of North Dakota, where today it is a fact, where unemployment hovers at under 3% because of advances they have made there in energy technologies.

These are real opportunities that we are walking away from. The tourism industry, one of the great developments of the 21st century is there’s middle class folks all over the world, millions of people, who just a decade ago were living in poor neighborhoods near open sewage, are now members of the middle class with enough money to travel overseas and they want to come here. And sometimes, they can’t even get a visa to come to Orlando and leave thousands of dollars at Disney World or anywhere else that you want them to go. It’s another emerging opportunity for us in the tourism industry, and yet our policies don’t reflect those opportunities.

These are the economic problems that we face. These are the impediments to us economically. But something deeper is happening. We are being challenged on our very identity as a nation and as a people.

Our political system is broken. You’ve heard that so many times before. It bears repeating. I ran because I was frustrated by the political process. Nothing has happened over the last year and a half to change that frustration, unfortunately. Too often times in the United States Senate especially, most of the votes we take are nothing but messaging points. Bills are brought to the floor that people know are not going to pass for one purpose alone: and that’s to give people talking points on the Sunday evening shows.

Our people deserve better. It’s not like we don’t have major issues to confront. But they are not being confronted. The only thing that’s being done in the Senate these days is creating material for television commercials in the fall. And it’s sad.

There’s a lack of urgency too. No one seems in a hurry here to solve anything. There is this notion that somehow things will just solve themselves. That we can wait one more election; we can get away with a few more months. We can’t. These issues will not solve themselves, and the longer they go unresolved the more difficult they become to solve, and the less options we have to solve them with and the more painful those options are. And yet, there is this total lack of urgency.

The exact same issues we were facing two years ago we still face today. This nation and this political process has not solved one single major issue in the last three and a half to four years. In fact, it’s been incapable of even passing a budget. The single largest organization in the world, a $3.8 trillion endeavor called the United States federal government has not had a budget in almost four years.

There’s something even more sinister that’s crept into the political process. And it’s something that actually asks us to abandon the essence of who we’ve always been as a people and as a nation. It starts with this argument that no longer, too often, in politics today do people even want to engage in debate on the issues anymore. It’s no longer about debating jobs plans or tax plans or regulatory plans. They skip straight to trying to convince you that it’s not their ideas that are bad, they are bad. That your political opponents are bad people, that you shouldn’t even listen to them because somehow they don’t care about you or any of us, all they are, are selfish people that care about themselves. And it is impossible for this republic to function if people refuse to debate ideas, and instead skip straight to the direct defamation of their political opponents. And that’s now being celebrated. That’s now being encouraged. It’s now a mark of how good you are in politics if you’re willing to do that. And the more outrageous you’re willing to be, the more attention you get for it.

Now this is not about hurting anyone’s feelings. This is about the fact that we will never solve the issues that we face if all people want to do is debate how bad the other guy is as opposed to debate whether their ideas have merit or not, and whether your ideas are better than their ideas.

But perhaps the one that has troubled me the most is the deliberate division of the American people against each other. The last three and a half years, after our elections, irrespective of how you felt about how they turned out, we all had hope that this nation would embark at a new moment. Where somehow we would rise above the petty politics of the moment, and have a real, honest society wide conversation about what kind of country we want to be, what kind of role we want to play in the world, and what kind of role we want our government to play in our lives. Well, any hope of that is now gone.

What you have today is nothing less than a wholesale effort to pit one group of Americans against each other on issue after issue, to convince people that the reason why things aren’t going well for them is because they are going too well for someone else. To convince people that somehow we can make your life better if only you give us the power to make someone else’s life a little worse. That the reason why you don’t have enough is because someone else has too much.

This un-American idea, quite frankly, that somehow the pie will always be limited, and so we must carve up the limited scope of our economy among a growing number of people. And yet, that has never been who we are. In fact, it is what has distinguished us from the rest of the world.

As a people we have never believed that. Americans have never believed that the way you climb the economic ladder is to pull other people down from it. And I think I can speak for almost anywhere and anyone in this room when I say that our parents never taught us that we could not be successful unless someone else was less successful.

Our parents and grandparents never taught us that the way for us to move up is for our boss and our employer to do worse. They never taught us that there was no way we could ever own our own business unless other people made less money. They never took us through neighborhoods of people that accomplished things and said to us, “You will never be successful as long as these people are too successful.”

On the contrary, I believe that I speak for most of the people in this room and, in fact, most of the people in this nation, when I say that our parents always pointed at people that were successful as a source of inspiration. And said to us: “One day you too can do what they did because you are blessed with the privilege and the honor of living in the single greatest nation that man has ever known.” A place where it doesn’t matter if your parents worked with their hands. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t born into a family that was wealthy or connected. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t go to the right schools or run in the right social circles. If you have a really good idea and you’re willing to work hard, you can accomplish anything you want.

This is what has made us different from the rest of the world. And now, really what we’re being asked to do is abandon that. Whether it’s for political expediency or an effort to advance their own ideological agenda, we are being asked to give up one of the distinguishing characteristics of our society and of our nation. And I for one think that’s a terrible idea. And I know of no community in this country that should reject it more than ours.

And here is why. Because as that video reminds us, the reason why you’re sitting here today has a lot more to do with the people that came here before you than it does with you necessarily. It has to do with your grandparents, who perhaps were born into very difficult circumstances, but did everything they could in the hopes and dreams that you one day would have the chances they would not. It has to do with parents, who gave up their own dreams so you could live yours, who made it the mission and the purpose of their lives for everything that was impossible for them to be possible for you.

All of us have a different story and yet, at the end, it’s the same. It’s the story of the people whose purpose in life was to ensure that we had the chance to do everything that they could not. That all they wanted was for us never to feel the limitations that they felt. Now parents all over the world feel that. That’s neither uniquely Hispanic nor uniquely American.

All over the world, people want their kids to do better than them. All over the world, people want something better for themselves than they have right now. The problem is that all over the world, and for almost all of human history, what you were going to get to do with your life was decided for you before you were even born. If your parents weren’t the right people, or if they didn’t know the right people, you were never going to do anything more than they did. And yet, we have lived a very different life.

We have lived a very different life because our parents worked hard and because they sacrificed. But we really have lived a very different life because we got to live it here. In a place that teaches us that all men and women are created equal. That our rights don’t come from government or our President or even from our laws, that we’re born with them, given to us by our Creator. That no one, no government, no power, no one, has a right to deny us those rights. In fact, anyone who does is illegitimately using power. Those principles are powerful because they created for us the free enterprise system that has made the dreams and hopes of millions of people possible.

And so, as we try to examine how we can continue to be a great nation, don’t fall into the trap of looking to our politics. Our politics are important. There is a role for our politics to play. We need roads and bridges that aren’t crumbling. We need schools that teach our children. We need tax laws that can be complied with. We need regulations that make sense. But our politics and our politicians have never been the source of our greatness.

The source of our greatness has always been our people.

And so you will find optimism about America not on the cover of newspapers or magazines, but in the everyday stories of people that surround us, even as we speak. You know their stories because they were once your stories. You’ll find America’s greatness this morning, in a single mother who dropped her child off at a bus stop to go to school, and as that child boarded that bus, onto that bus not just went her child but all the things that have gone wrong in her life that she hopes will go right for that child. All the things she herself never got a chance to do, that she will do anything to ensure her child can.

The greatness of America could be seen in the people that served you your lunch today. Who have children somewhere else in school even as we speak. And if you ask them, they’ll brag to you about how their son’s going to be a lawyer and their daughter is going to be a doctor. They are proud to work with their hands. They are proud to serve you your lunch and your dinner because they know that their sacrifice is paving the way for someone that they love.

And you’ll find America’s future greatness in the stories of the people who will make your rooms tonight. Because, you see, after they’re done working here, they’re headed to English classes or maybe even a community college. They’re working in a hotel today, but tomorrow they may run one. And they believe that that’s possible because they live here.

And so what is our goal? Our goal is to ensure that all those things are possible. Our goal is to create an economy big enough to accommodate these big dreams and these big hopes. An economy where people literally have enough money to spend at these hotels and restaurants, so these people can make a living. An economy that raises enough tax revenue for its government, so it can afford to provide that child with the economic opportunities that they deserve and need to succeed. An economy creating enough jobs and new businesses so that when she gets out of the school, the man or woman that made your bed today in the hotel, has a job to walk into.

That is what we need to be focused on. The creation of an economy that grows the way we are accustomed to America’s economy growing. And I don’t know of any community in this country that has a more special obligation to ensure that happens than ours. For literally, we are but a generation removed from a very different life. We are all but a generation removed from people who lived a very different experience.

It’s not fair for the story of America to end with us. On the contrary, while I am honored to receive this award today, the way I hope to render tribute to my parents and my grandparents, the way we should hope to give a lasting tribute to our parents and our grandparents is to ensure that the America they made possible and left for us does not end with us, but in fact, continues to shine for decades and even centuries to come. Thank you. Muchísimas gracias.

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Full Campaign Buzz May 23, 2012: Mitt Romney Unveils Education Plan to the Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit — Will Increase School Choice for Low-Income Students Through Vouchers

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IN FOCUS: ROMNEY UNVEILS HIS EDUCATION PLAN TO THE LATINO COALITION’S ANNUAL ECONOMIC SUMMIT

Romney Unveils Education Plan

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-23-12


Mario Tama/Getty Images

Mitt Romney unveiled his education plan on Wednesday, vowing to make sweeping changes to the public education system by expanding school choice by assigning federal money to low-income students who will then, in turn, be able to take that money to a school of his or her choice or use it for tutoring or digital education.

“I’ll be blunt,” Romney said during an address to The Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit. “I don’t like the direction of American education, and as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids in this great land.”

Romney, who said students in the U.S. are receiving a “third-world education” where “minority children suffer the most,” outlined Wednesday for the first time the specific steps he would take toward education reform….READ MORE

Romney, Dipping Into Education, Pushes School Choice

Source: NYT, 5-23-12

Mitt Romney seizes on a topic — education — that he has shied away from, encouraging measures to push school choice and higher standards….READ MORE

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Remarks: A Chance For Every Child

Source: Mitt Romney, 5-23-12

romney-2012-blog-picture-education-mitt-speech.jpg

Thanks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for hosting us. This year the Chamber marks 100 years of Standing Up for American Enterprise.  Few organizations have fought longer or harder for the principles of economic freedom. And these days, your voice is more important than ever.

I am grateful to the Latino Coalition for the invitation to be part of your Annual Economic Summit. In recent days we’ve heard a lot about business from the President and if you’re feeling like you deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act, I can’t blame you.

This is a time when everybody in this administration should be doing everything in their power to support you. If every one of our small businesses added just two employees, Americans could pay more mortgages and buy more groceries and fill their gas tanks.

Instead, sadly, President Obama has decided to attack success. It’s no wonder so many of his own supporters are calling on him to stop this war on job creators. Make no mistake, when I am President, you won’t wake up every day and wonder if the President is on your side.

Starting on Day One, I’ll be there to help you make it.  And if you’re successful beyond your wildest dreams, I’ll be the first to celebrate your success because I know your prosperity means greater opportunity – for you, for your families, for your employees, and for your communities.  And that’s what the American Dream is all about.

During my lifetime, I’ve seen a few of my own dreams come true.  I’ve run and started business, helped guide the Olympics, and led a great state. I learned early on that the only way to succeed in tough situations is to bring people together for a common purpose. That’s how you achieve greatness and accomplish your goals.

Dividing people and pitting one side against another produces nothing but failure and mediocrity.  Unfortunately, we’ve seen too much of that from this administration.  That’s part of why we’re facing the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.  And it’s why this President and his party have failed to address the most serious problems facing our country.

When the President took office, he faced a jobs crisis. It’s barely improved. He faced a spending crisis. It’s only gotten worse.  And he faced an education crisis.

I’d love to stand here today and join you in celebrating the end of our education crisis. Wouldn’t it be great if we could look back on the last four years with confidence that the crisis had been confronted and we’d turned the corner toward a brighter future?

But sadly, that hasn’t happened.  And the tragedy is not just a matter of test scores and international rankings. It’s the frustration of a sixth grader who wants to learn more, but is stuck in a class that’s moving too slowly. It’s the embarrassment of a 10th grader who knows he can’t read the books he’s assigned. It’s the shame of a 12th grader who’s supposed to be ready to graduate, but hasn’t mastered the skills he or she needs to succeed in life.

In this country, we believe every child has something to contribute.  No matter what circumstances they were born into, every child has a dream about where they can go or what they can become.  Whether that dream is to invent something, start something, build something, or create something, it all starts with the basic skills and confidence that only a good education can provide.

Yet, today, too many dreams are never realized because our education system is failing.

More than 150 years ago, our nation pioneered public education.  We’ve now fallen way behind.

Among developed countries, the United States comes in 14th of 34 in reading, 17th of 34 in science, and an abysmal 25th out of 34 in math.

Our public education system is supposed to ensure that every child gets a strong start in life.  Yet, one in four students fails to attain a high school degree. And in our major cities, half of our kids won’t graduate.  Imagine that.

Imagine if your enterprise had a 25% to 50% failure rate in meeting its primary goal.  You would consider that a crisis.  You would make changes, and fast.  Because if you didn’t, you’d go out of business.

But America’s public education establishment shows no sense of urgency.  Instead, there is a fierce determination to keep things the way they are.

Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And, America’s minority children suffer the most.  This is the civil-rights issue of our era.  It’s the great challenge of our time.

Last week, I spoke about the prairie fire of debt that is spreading across our country.  Today, I want to talk about our crisis in education.  With all of our economic troubles, there’s a temptation to put off the task of fixing our nations’ schools for another time.  But the jobs and housing failures of these past few years only make that task more important.

Let’s not kid ourselves – we are in the midst of a National Education Emergency. The only reason we don’t hear more about it is because our economic troubles have taken our national attention away from the classroom.  But if unemployment was where it should be and home values were going up, there is no question that the crisis in American education would be the great cause of this campaign.

Of course, the jobs and housing failures of these past few years only make the need for educational improvement all the more critical.  So I’ll be blunt: I don’t like the direction of American education, and as President, I will do everything in my power to reverse this decline.

Much as you have in your own business careers, I’ve found that you can’t expect dramatically different results unless you are open to dramatic change.  As president, I will pursue bold policy changes that will restore the promise of our nation’s education system.

First, I will expand parental choice in an unprecedented way.  Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don’t meet their needs.  And for too long, we’ve merely talked about the virtues of school choice.

As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school.  For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.  And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it.

To receive the full complement of federal education dollars, states must provide students with ample school choice.  In addition, digital learning options must not be prohibited.  And charter schools or similar education choices must be scaled up to meet student demand.

Instead of eliminating the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as President Obama has proposed, I will expand it to offer more students a chance to attend a better school.  It will be a model for parental choice programs across the nation.

Parental choice will hold schools responsible for results, but parents can only exercise that choice effectively if they have good information.  No Child Left Behind helped our nation take a giant step forward in bridging this information gap.  But the law is not without its weaknesses.  As president, I will break the political logjam that has prevented successful reform of the law.  I will reduce federal micromanagement while redoubling efforts to ensure that schools are held responsible for results.

For example, parents shouldn’t have to navigate a cryptic evaluation system to figure out how their kids’ schools are performing.  States must provide a simple-to-read and widely available public report card that evaluates each school.  These report cards will provide accurate and easy-to-understand information about student and school performance.  States will continue to design their own standards and tests, but the report cards will provide information that parents can use to make informed choices.

We will take bold steps to ensure our system welcomes and rewards the best teachers.  As president, I will make it my goal to ensure that every classroom has a quality teacher.

There are currently 82 programs in ten agencies that spend $4 billion on teacher quality.  As president, I will consolidate these programs, and block grant them to states that adopt innovative policies.  For example, states will be rewarded if they regularly evaluate teachers for their effectiveness and compensate the best teachers for their success.  Teaching is a highly valued profession that must attract and retain the best and brightest.

Dramatically expanding parental choice, making schools responsible for results by giving parents access to clear and instructive information, and attracting and rewarding our best teachers–these changes can help ensure that every parent has a choice and every child has a chance.

Finally, since we live in a twenty-first century economy that increasingly demands a college education, efforts at improvement can’t stop at high school’s end. Students must have access to a wide variety of options that will give them the skills they need for successful careers.  We must stop fueling skyrocketing tuition prices that put higher education out of reach for some and leave others with crushing debt.

These are bold initiatives that will produce better outcomes for our parents and teachers and students.  But accomplishing real change won’t be easy.  Efforts to truly reform our schools always meet strong resistance from entrenched interests.

The teachers unions are the clearest example of a group that has lost its way.  Whenever anyone dares to offer a new idea, the unions protest the loudest.

Their attitude was memorably expressed by a long-time president of the American Federation of Teachers:  He said, quote, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of children.”

The teachers unions don’t fight for our children.  That’s our job.  And our job keeps getting harder because the unions wield outsized influence in elections and campaigns.

Annually, many teachers are forced to pay almost $1,000 in union dues.  The two major teachers unions take in $600 million each year.  That’s more revenue than both of the political parties combined.

In 2008, the National Education Association spent more money on campaigns than any other organization in the country.  And 90% of those funds went to Democrats.

Education is one issue where it should be easy to find common purpose and common solutions.  And I believe the President must be troubled by the lack of progress since he took office.  Most likely, he would have liked to do more.  But the teachers unions are one of the Democrats’ biggest donors – and one of the President’s biggest campaign supporters.  So, President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses – and unwilling to stand up for kids.

The most recent example is the Opportunity Scholarship program.  Since 2004, it’s allowed thousands of children in the District of Columbia to escape one of the worst school systems in the nation and get a world-class education.  Armed with scholarships of up to $7,500, students enrolled in private schools. 99% of them were African American or Hispanic.

After three months, students could already read at levels 19 months ahead of their public-school peers.  And parents were happy; for every spot in the program, there were 4 applications.

Then, Senator Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, inserted a provision to end the program.  The White House offered no resistance.  In fact, the President has proposed ending all funding for Opportunity Scholarships.  It must have gone against his better instincts, but the unions wanted it so he went along.

In the Opportunity Scholarships, the Democrats finally found the one federal program they are willing to cut. Why?  Because success anywhere in our public schools is a rebuke to failure everywhere else.  That’s why the unions oppose even the most common sense improvements.

In Detroit, students in the city’s failing public schools were offered a lifeline by a philanthropist who offered $200 million to create 15 charter schools.  The teachers union made the state legislature turn that gift down.

In Connecticut, parents groups tried to pass “parent trigger” legislation so they could take over and transform failing schools.  A national teachers union moved fast to stop that.

Now some union leaders will tell you that their objections are misunderstood.  They’ll argue the issues are complicated.  But really it’s simple – and it comes down to this:  When your cause in life is preventing parents from having a meaningful choice or children from having a real chance, then you are on the wrong side.  You might even be in the wrong vocation, because good teachers put the interests of children first.

The same is true of a good president.  In his speeches, President Obama likes to tell us “we can’t wait.”  If only he would say that and mean it about education reform – because millions are waiting for change, and so many are missing their chance.

The President can’t have it both ways:  He can’t talk up reform, while indulging the groups that block it.  He can’t be the voice of disadvantaged public-school kids, and the protector of special interests.

President Obama has made his choice, and I have made mine: As president, I will be a champion of real education reform in America, and I won’t let any special interest get in the way.

We have to stop putting campaign cash ahead of our kids.

This is a battle we can and must win.  And while a lot needs fixing, we’re getting some of the most important things right.

We have good teachers, like the ones who are leading New York City’s Democracy Prep.  Because of them, kids from the city’s poorest community are outperforming children from the wealthiest.  Last summer, these teachers took over the worst elementary school in Harlem rather than let it shut down.  Democracy Prep is a testament to good people who refuse to give up on our kids or leave our cities without a fight.

And leadership makes a huge difference.  When Jeb Bush became governor of Florida, reading scores of Hispanic students in that state’s school system were dismal. He brought focused innovation and passionate leadership.  Today those scores have risen dramatically.

But too often, new ideas, good teachers, and dedicated parents don’t find a welcoming partner and true champion in elected officials like Governor Bush.  Instead, they are met with resistance and resentment from the establishment.

I know what it is like to be a Governor fighting to do things differently. You need every bit of help you can get.  As President, I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with these reformers and innovators.

When I became Governor, we were in the midst of instituting tough, bi-partisan education reforms.  They included the requirement that every student pass a test to graduate from high school.  The test came under attack from the unions.  But we stood our ground.

We also offered our best students a four-year, tuition-free scholarship to the state college of their choice.  I called it the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, after two Massachusetts citizens who understood the importance of education to our nation.

Every year I’d ask a school principal to invite the students who scored in the top 25% on the exam to a special assembly.  After some words about hard work, I’d ask them to reach under their chair and remove an envelope that had been taped there.  And I’d watch as each of them would open the enclosed letter.

Every year, I’d stand in front of the room and the same scene would unfold:

At first, you could hear a pin drop.  Then each student’s eyes would get big and proud smiles would creep across their faces as they found out how well they had done on the exam.  And then they would read the part of the letter where they learned they’d earned an Adams Scholarship.  The smiles turned into cheers – and the sound was deafening.

I got more hugs on Adams Scholarship day than I did at Christmas.  Kids would bring me their cell phones so I could tell their parents the exciting news.  And parents – more than once – told me that they had been worried they would not be able to afford college and that the scholarship would make a difference.

Here in America, every child deserves a chance.  It shouldn’t be reserved for the fortunate few.

If America is going to continue to lead the world in how much we build, create, and invent, then we must transform how we teach, train, and educate.  We already have good teachers, engaged parents, and big ideas.  What we need now is strong leadership and the political will.

A choice for every parent means a chance for every child.  That 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 23, 2012: President Barack Obama Says Military will Remain Strong Despite Cuts in Air Force Academy Commencement Address

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:


Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Obama greeted graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy on Wednesday.

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS MILITARY WILL REMAIN STRONG DESPITE CUTS IN AIR FORCE ACADEMY COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

Military Will Withstand Cuts, Obama Tells Cadets

Source: NYT, 5-23-12

President Obama, speaking at the Air Force Academy graduation, described keeping the armed forces strong in the wake of tight budgets and the end of two wars….READ MORE

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at the Air Force Academy Commencement

Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, Colorado

10:29 A.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Please be seated.  Good morning, everybody!  It is wonderful to be at the United States Air Force Academy on such a spectacular day.  And it is a privilege to join you in honoring the Class of 2012.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Secretary Donley for his introduction, but more importantly, for his leadership.  Generals Gould, Clark and Born; academy faculty and staff; Governor Hickenlooper; members of Congress; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.

I especially want to acknowledge a graduate of this academy who has kept our Air Force strong through a time of great challenge, a leader I’ve relied on and for whom today is his final commencement as chief of staff — General Norton Schwartz. Norty, Suzie, we could not be prouder of you and we are grateful for 39 years of extraordinary service to our nation.  (Applause.)
And although he is not with us today, I’m proud to have nominated another Academy graduate, General Mark Welsh, as the next chief of staff.  (Applause.)

This is my second visit to the Academy.  I was here in the summer of 2008, and you were getting ready to head out to Jacks Valley.  So I was proud to be here when you began this journey, and I thought I’d come back and help you celebrate at the end.  (Laughter.)

It’s great to be back at a school that has produced so many of the airmen I’ve known as President.  Every day, I rely on outstanding Academy graduates who serve at the White House.  Some of you know that photo from the Situation Room on the day we delivered justice to bin Laden — you can see right next to me a great leader of our Special Operations forces, General Brad Webb.
Last month, I was able to present the Commander-in-Chief Trophy to Coach Calhoun and the Fighting Falcons — (applause) — for the second straight year, a record 18th time.  And of course, every time I step on Air Force One, I count on Academy graduates like my pilot today — Colonel Scott Turner.  Now, I was going to tell you a joke about Scott, but he’s my ride home.  (Laughter.) So I’m going to have to keep it to myself.

Cadets, you distinguished yourselves as leaders before you ever stepped foot on the Terrazzo.  And when you arrived, I know your upper classmen gave you quite a welcome.  They let you experience the joy of the Beast.  The pleasure of Recognition.  They made you experts on filling out forms.  I only ask that you resist the temptation to rate my speech — “fast-neat-average-friendly-good-good.”  (Laughter and applause.)

But you survived.  In you we see the values of integrity and service and excellence that will define your lives.  And I know you couldn’t have made it without the love and support of your moms and dads and brothers and sisters and grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins.  So give them all a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

This Academy is one of the most demanding academic institutions in America.  And you have excelled.  I’m told you have set at least three Academy records:  The largest number of graduates ever to go directly on to graduate school; the largest number of female graduates in Academy history — (applause.)  You will follow in the footsteps of General Janet Wolfenbarger, who I was proud to nominate as the first female four-star general in Air Force history.  (Applause.)

And of course, your final and perhaps most impressive distinction — breaking the world’s record for the largest game of dodgeball — (applause) — 3,000 participants, 30 hours.  I didn’t know that was possible.  (Laughter.)  Of course, you are also the class that snuck into the Superintendent’s office and moved all the furniture into your dorm rooms — (laughter) — which does bring me to some important business.  In keeping with longstanding tradition, I hereby grant amnesty to all cadets serving restrictions and confinements for minor offenses.  (Applause.)  Of course, I leave it up to General Gould to define “minor.”  (Laughter.)

Cadets, this is the day you finally become officers in the finest Air Force in the world.  (Applause.)  Like generations before you, you’ll be charged with the responsibility of leading those under your command.  Like classes over the past 10 years, you graduate in a time of war and you may find yourselves in harm’s way.  But you will also face a new test, and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

Four years ago, you arrived here at a time of extraordinary challenge for our nation.  Our forces were engaged in two wars.  Al Qaeda, which had attacked us on 9/11, was entrenched in their safe havens.  Many of our alliances were strained and our standing in the world had suffered.  Our economy was in the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Around the world and here at home, there were those that questioned whether the United States still had the capacity for global leadership.

Today, you step forward into a different world.  You are the first class in nine years that will graduate into a world where there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  (Applause.)  For the first time in your lives — and thanks to Air Force personnel who did their part — Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to our country.  (Applause.)  We’ve put al Qaeda on the path to defeat. And you are the first graduates since 9/11 who can clearly see how we’ll end the war in Afghanistan.

So what does all this mean?  When you came here four years ago, there were some 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We’ve now cut that number by more than half.  And as more Afghans step up, more of our troops will come home -— while achieving the objective that led us to war in the first place and that is defeating al Qaeda and denying them safe haven. So we aren’t just ending these wars, we are doing so in a way that makes us safer and stronger.

Today we pay tribute to all our extraordinary men and women in uniform for their bravery, for their dedication.  Those who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to make this progress possible -— including 16 graduates of this Academy — we honor them.  We will always honor them.

For a decade, we have labored under the dark cloud of war.  And now, we can see a light — the light of a new day on the horizon.  So the end of these wars will shape your service and it will make our military stronger.  Ten years of continuous military operations have stretched our forces and strained their families.  Going forward, you’ll face fewer deployments.  You’ll have more time to train and stay ready.  That means you’ll be better prepared for the full range of missions you face.

And ending these wars will also ensure that the burden of our security no longer falls so heavily on the shoulders of our men and women in uniform.  As good as you are, you can’t be expected to do it alone.  There are many sources of American power -— diplomatic, economic and the power of our ideals.  And we’ve got to use them all.  And the good news is, today we are.

Around the world, the United States is leading once more.  From Europe to Asia, our alliances are stronger than ever.  Our ties with the Americas are deeper.  We’re setting the agenda in the region that will shape our long-term security and prosperity like no other — the Asia Pacific.

We’re leading on global security — reducing our nuclear arsenal with Russia, even as we maintain a strong nuclear deterrent; mobilizing dozens of nations to secure nuclear materials so they never fall into the hands of terrorists; rallying the world to put the strongest sanctions ever on Iran and North Korea, which cannot be allowed to threaten the world with nuclear weapons.

We are leading economically — forging trade pacts to create new markets for our goods; boosting our exports, stamped with three proud words — Made in America.  (Applause.)  We’re expanding exchanges and collaborations in areas that people often admire most about America — our innovation, our science, our technology.

We’re leading on behalf of human dignity and on behalf of freedom — standing with the people of the Middle East and North Africa as they seek their rights; preventing a massacre in Libya with an international mission in which the United States — and our Air Force — led from the front.  (Applause.)  We’re leading global efforts against hunger and disease.  And we’ve shown our compassion, as so many airmen did in delivering relief to our neighbors in Haiti when they were in need and to our Japanese allies after the earthquake and tsunami.

Because of this progress, around the world there is a new feeling about America.  I see it everywhere I go, from London and Prague, to Tokyo and Seoul, to Rio and Jakarta.  There’s a new confidence in our leadership.  And when people around the world are asked, which country do you most admire, one nation comes out on top — the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Of course, the world stage is not a popularity contest.  As a nation, we have vital interests, and we will do what is necessary always to defend this country we love — even if it’s unpopular.  But make no mistake, how we’re viewed in the world has consequences — for our national security and for your lives.

See, when other countries and people see us as partners, they’re more willing to work with us.  It’s why more countries joined us in Afghanistan and Libya.  It’s why nations like Australia are welcoming our forces who stand side by side with allies and partners in the South Pacific.  It’s why Uganda and its African neighbors have welcomed our trainers to help defeat a brutal army that slaughters its citizens.

I think of the Japanese man in the disaster zone who, upon seeing our airmen delivering relief, said, “I never imagined they could help us so much.”  I think of the Libyans who protected our airman when he ejected over their town, because they knew America was there to protect them.  And in a region where we’ve seen burning of American flags, I think of all the Libyans who were waving American flags.

Today, we can say with confidence and pride the United States is stronger and safer and more respected in the world, because even as we’ve done the work of ending these wars, we’ve laid the foundation for a new era of American leadership.  And now, cadets, we have to build it.  We have to build on it.  You have to build on it.

Let’s start by putting aside the tired notion that says our influence has waned or that America is in decline.  We’ve heard that talk before.  During the Great Depression, when millions were unemployed and some believed that other economic models offered a better way, there were those who predicted the end of American capitalism.  Guess what, they were wrong.  We fought our way back.  We created the largest middle class in history and the most prosperous economy the world has ever known.

After Pearl Harbor some said, the United States has been reduced to a third-rate power.  Well, we rallied.  We flew over The Hump and took island after island.  We stormed the beaches and liberated nations.  And we emerged from that war as the strongest power on the face of the Earth.

After Vietnam and the energy crisis of the 1970s, some said America had passed its high point.  But the very next decade, because of our fidelity to the values we stand for, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and liberty prevailed over the tyranny of the Cold War.  (Applause.)

As recently as the 1980s with the rise of Japan and the Asian tigers, there were those who said we had lost our economic edge.  But we retooled.  We invested in new technologies.  We launched an Information Revolution that changed the world.

After all this, you would think folks understand a basic truth — never bet against the United States of America.  (Applause.)  And one of the reasons is that the United States has been, and will always be, the one indispensable nation in world affairs.  It’s one of the many examples of why America is exceptional.  It’s why I firmly believe that if we rise to this moment in history, if we meet our responsibilities, then — just like the 20th century — the 21st century will be another great American Century.  That’s the future I see.  That’s the future you can build.  (Applause.)

I see an American Century because we have the resilience to make it through these tough economic times.  We’re going to put America back to work by investing in the things that keep us competitive — education and high-tech manufacturing, science and innovation.  We’ll pay down our deficits, reform our tax code and keep reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  We need to get on with nation-building here at home.  And I know we can, because we’re still the largest, most dynamic, most innovative economy in the world.  And no matter what challenges we may face, we wouldn’t trade places with any other nation on Earth.

I see an American Century because you are part of the finest, most capable military the world has ever known.  No other nation even comes close.  Yes, as today’s wars end, our military — and our Air Force — will be leaner.  But as Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow us to make the mistakes of the past.  We still face very serious threats.  As we’ve seen in recent weeks, with al Qaeda in Yemen, there are still terrorists who seek to kill our citizens.  So we need you to be ready for the full range of threats.  From the conventional to the unconventional, from nations seeking weapons of mass destruction to the cell of terrorists planning the next attack, from the old danger of piracy to the new threat of cyber, we must be vigilant.

And so, guided by our new defense strategy, we’ll keep our military — and our Air Force — fast and flexible and versatile. We will maintain our military superiority in all areas — air, land, sea, space and cyber.  And we will keep faith with our forces and our military families.

And as our newest veterans rejoin civilian life, we will never stop working to give them the benefits and opportunities that they have earned — because our veterans have the skills to help us rebuild America, and we have to serve them as well as they have served us.  (Applause.)

I see an American Century because we have the strongest alliances of any nation.  From Europe to Asia, our alliances are the foundation of global security.  In Libya, all 28 NATO allies played a role and we were joined by partners in the air from Sweden to the Gulf states.  In Afghanistan, we’re in a coalition of 50 allies and partners.  Today, Air Force personnel are serving in 135 nations — partnering, training, building their capacity.  This is how peace and security will be upheld in the 21st century — more nations bearing the costs and responsibilities of leadership.  And that’s good for America.  It’s good for the world.  And we’re at the hub of it, making it happen.

I see an American Century because no other nation seeks the role that we play in global affairs, and no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs.  That includes shaping the global institutions of the 20th century to meet the challenges of the 21st.  As President, I’ve made it clear the United States does not fear the rise of peaceful, responsible emerging powers — we welcome them.  Because when more nations step up and contribute to peace and security, that doesn’t undermine American power, it enhances it.

And when other people in other countries see that we’re rooting for their success, it builds trust and partnerships that can advance our interests for generations.  It makes it easier to meet common challenges, from preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to combating climate change.  And so we seek an international order where the rights and responsibilities of all nations and peoples are upheld, and where counties thrive by meeting their obligations and they face consequences when they don’t.

I see an American Century because more and more people are reaching toward the freedoms and values that we share.  No other nation has sacrificed more — in treasure, in the lives of our sons and daughters — so that these freedoms could take root and flourish around the world.  And no other nation has made the advancement of human rights and dignity so central to its foreign policy.  And that’s because it’s central to who we are, as Americans.  It’s also in our self-interest, because democracies become our closest allies and partners.

Sure, there will always be some governments that try to resist the tide of democracy, who claim theirs is a better way.  But around the world, people know the difference between us.  We welcome freedom —- to speak, to assemble, to worship, to choose your leaders.  They don’t.  We welcome the chance to compete for jobs and markets freely and fairly.  They don’t.  When fundamental human rights are threatened around the world, we stand up and speak out.  And they don’t.

We know that the sovereignty of nations cannot strangle the liberty of individuals.  And so we stand with the student in the street who demands a life of dignity and opportunity.  We stand with women everywhere who deserve the same rights as men.  We stand with the activists unbowed in their prison cells, and the leaders in parliament who’s moving her country towards democracy. We stand with the dissident who seeks the freedom to say what he pleases, and the entrepreneur who wants to start a business without paying a bribe, and all those who strive for justice and dignity.  For they know, as we do, that history is on the side of freedom.

And finally, I see an American Century because of the character of our country — the spirit that has always made us exceptional.  That simple yet revolutionary idea — there at our founding and in our hearts ever since — that we have it in our power to make the world anew, to make the future what we will.  It is that fundamental faith — that American optimism — which says no challenge is too great, no mission is too hard.  It’s the spirit that guides your class:  “Never falter, never fail.”  (Applause.)

That is the essence of America, and there’s nothing else like it anywhere in the world.  It’s what’s inspired the oppressed in every corner of the world to demand the same freedoms for themselves.  It’s what’s inspired generations to come to our shores, renewing us with their energy and their hopes.  And that includes a fellow cadet, a cadet graduating today, who grew up in Venezuela, got on a plane with a one-way ticket to America, and today is closer to his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot — Edward Camacho.  (Applause.)  Edward said what we all know to be true:  “I’m convinced that America is the land of opportunity.”

You’re right, Edward.  That is who we are.  That’s the America we love.  Always young, always looking ahead to that light of a new day on the horizon.  And, cadets, as I look into your eyes — as you join that Long Blue Line — I know you will carry us even farther, and even higher.  And with your proud service, I’m absolutely confident that the United States of America will meet the tests of our time.  We will remain the land of opportunity.  And we will stay strong as the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

May God bless you.  May God bless the Class of 2012.  And may God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
10:56 A.M. MDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz, May 23, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Time Magazine Interview — Defends Bain Record, Hits Obama on Economy: ‘He Just Doesn’t Have a Clue’ — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney Defends Bain Record, Hits Obama on Economy: ‘He Just Doesn’t Have a Clue’

Source: Time, 5-23-12

Image: Mark Halperin interviews Mitt Romney

Peter Hapak for TIME

Mark Halperin interviews Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney lashed President Obama’s economic stewardship in an interview with TIME’s Mark Halperin on Wednesday, deflecting attacks on his years as a private equity executive and laying out how he hopes to take control of the economy as soon as he’s sworn in, should he defeat Obama in November….READ MORE

TIME Cover: “Raising Romney”

Source: TIME, 5-23-12

This week’s magazine cover features the presumptive GOP nominee and his mother, Lenore.
http://markhalperin.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/romney-cover2.jpg?w=590&h=386&crop=1

Romney Talks

Source: Time, 5-23-12

In a 36-minute Wednesday Manhattan interview with Mark Halperin, Romney pushes back on President Obama’s Bain attack, predicts he can drive unemployment down to six percent by the end of his first term and says he wants Washington to sit still during the lame-duck session.

Romney contrasts his record at Bain Capital with President Obama’s record in office.

Romney explains how his business background makes him better qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.

Part One:

Part Two:

GOP frontrunner says he will have unemployment down to six percent by the end of his first term.

Read Romney’s complete answer on Bain Capital here.

Read the candidate on the fiscal cliff here.

The Romney Interview Transcript – Bain Capital

Source: Time, 5-23-12

Peter Hapak for TIME

Halperin: The President says that your experience at Bain Capital will be central in this election. He says it does not qualify you to be a job creator as President. I know you think that working in the private sector in and of itself gives you insight into how the economy works, but what specific skills or policies did you learn at Bain that would help you create an environment where jobs would be created?

Romney: Well that’s a bit of a question like saying, what have you learned in life that would help you lead? My whole life has been learning to lead, from my parents, to my education, to the experience I had in the private sector, to helping run the Olympics, and then of course helping guide a state. Those experiences in totality have given me an understanding of how America works and how the economy works. Twenty five years in business, including business with other nations, competing with companies across the world, has given me an understanding of what it is that makes America a good place to grow and add jobs, and why jobs leave America – why businesses decide to locate here, and why they decide to locate somewhere else. What outsourcing causes – what it’s caused by, rather. I understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet. I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for twenty five years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created – that someone who’s never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand.

Halperin: I want to ask you to be just a little bit more specific about that, because again, he said this is like the central way he’s going to run this campaign, to focus on your business career. You said you know how to read a balance sheet. There are a lot of people in America who know how to do that. What would make you qualify to be President – again, specific things you’ve learned, things you know, policies that grow out of your experience at Bain Capital that would lead toward job creation.

Romney: Well Mark, let’s be a little more specific as to the area you’d like to suggest. Trade policies? Labor policies? Energy policies? Let’s take energy, for instance. I understand that in some industries, the input cost of energy is a major factor in whether an industry is going to locate in the United States or go elsewhere. So, when at Bain Capital, we started a new steel company called Steel Dynamics in Indiana, the cost of energy was a very important factor to the success of that enterprise. When the President is making it harder to mine coal, to use coal, to take advantage of our gas resources, to make it harder to get our oil resources – all those things combined to make our cost of energy higher than it needs to be, and it drives away enterprises from this country. It sends it to places that have lower-cost energy. I understand the impact of those kinds of factors on job creation. I will have a very different policy. My policy on energy is to take advantage of coal, oil, natural gas, as well as our renewables, and nuclear – make America the largest energy producer in the world. I think we can get there, in 10 or 15 years. That will bring back manufacturing of certain high energy intensive industries. It’ll bring back jobs. It’ll create a surprising economic revitalization of this country.

Halperin: So when the President says he wants to focus a lot of the election and debate on your career at Bain Capital, do you welcome that?

Romney: Well of course, I’d like to also focus on his record. What is it that he’s done as the President of the United States over the last four years? And the American people are interested in, not so much in the history of where I was at Bain Capital, or that I have understanding of the private sector, but instead, has the President made things better for the American people? Are they better off than they were four years ago? Has he established the revitalization he promised he would bring to us? Did he hold unemployment below 8%? It’s been what, 39 months now. That hasn’t happened. He promised it would happen by virtue of his stimulus. Gasoline prices – are people happy with those? Home prices – are they happy with the home prices, the level of foreclosures? Do they think someone can do better? I think the American people want someone who understands the economy, who has a vision for getting America working again. This is a President who spends his time blaming other people for the fact that he has been unsuccessful in turning around this economy. And I think the reason you’re seeing across the country, people saying they’d like to try someone new, is because they believe this President, while he may be a nice guy, is simply not up to the task of helping guide an economy.

Halperin: But you welcome scrutiny of your business record, is that right?

Romney: Mark, what I can tell you is this. The fact is that I spent twenty five years in the private sector. And that obviously teaches you something that you don’t learn if you haven’t spent any time in the private sector. If you were to say to me, tell me what you learned from your schooling that would help you be a President, it’s like, how do I begin going through a list like that? You learn through life’s experience. The President’s experience has been exclusively in politics and as a community organizer. Both of those are fine areas of endeavor, but right now we have an economy in trouble, and someone who spent their career in the economy is more suited to help fix the economy than someone who spent his life in politics and as a community organizer.

Campaign Headlines May 22, 2012: Rep. Paul Ryan blames President Obama for Nation’s Economic Woes at Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library Speech “A Rendezvous with Reagan’s Legacy: Lessons for 2012”

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks Tuesday at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press / May 22, 2012)

Paul Ryan Says Romney Will ‘Save This Country’

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-22-12
Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the top contenders floated in GOP circles as a potential running mate to Mitt Romney, addressed a sold-out audience Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library, telling the friendly audience that he believes Romney will “save this country.”
The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican, who serves as chairman of the House Budget committee, delivered an address titled “A Rendezvous with Reagan’s Legacy: Lessons for 2012.”  In a speech where President Reagan was named at least a dozen times, Ryan contrasted the GOP’s proposals to reform entitlements and taxes with President Obama and the Democrats’ policies….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: REP. PAUL RYAN BLAMES OBAMA FOR ECONOMIC WOES IN REAGAN LIBRARY SPEECH

Possible VP pick pounds Obama on spending: Rep. Paul Ryan, a potential pick to join Mitt Romney’s presidential ticket, blamed President Barack Obama on Tuesday for anemic job growth and unchecked spending and debt that he said are pushing the nation toward decline…. – AP, 5-22-12

  • Paul Ryan coy on whether he’d join the GOP ticket: Rep. Paul Ryan, who is considered a contender to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, is predictably evasive in addressing the question during an appearance at the Reagan library in Simi Valley. Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks Tuesday at the Reagan Library…. – LAT, 5-23-12
  • Paul Ryan goes into Obama attack mode at the Reagan library: Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday was the third Republican with vice-presidential buzz to speak at the Reagan library this election season. But his speech had a different purpose…. – CS Monitor, 5-23-12

Campaign Buzz May 22, 2012: Mitt Romney Sweeps Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries — Closer to Amassing Delegates Needed for GOP / Republican Nomination & Out Performs Obama

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Romney Wins Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries, Outperforms Obama in Both States

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-22-12

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mitt Romney’s victories Tuesday night in Arkansas and Kentucky may have been foregone conclusions, but besides two more batches of delegates on his way to the 1,144 he needs to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, they also gave him something else — bragging rights over President Obama.

In Kentucky, Romney, who is expected to clinch the nomination after the Texas primary on May 29, received a higher percentage of the vote in the Republican presidential primary than Obama received in the Democratic presidential primary. With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 67 percent of the vote, while Obama had 58 percent….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY SWEEPS KENTUCKY & ARKANSAS PRIMARIES

Romney inches closer to GOP nomination with sweep: Mitt Romney is creeping ever closer to ditching the ‘presumptive’ tag in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney swept the Kentucky and Arkansas Republican presidential primaries yesterday…. – AP, 5-23-12

  • Kentucky and Arkansas: Romney romps, Obama struggles, also rans remain also rans: With the presidential nominees of both parties already decided, it is tempting to forget that some states are still holding primaries. June 5th offers contests in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico…. – Washington Times, 5-23-12
  • Ky., Ark. primaries push Romney toward inevitable nomination: Tuesday’s presidential primaries in Kentucky and Arkansas served one major function: ensuring that Mitt Romney can lock-up the delegates he needs to secure the nomination when Texas votes next week…. – USA Today, 5-22-12
  • Sweep assures his GOP nod: Mitt Romney won all 42 delegates in Kentucky and 21 of 33 in Arkansas. He spent Tuesday evening fund-raising in New York…. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 5-23-12
  • Mitt Romney inches closer to GOP nomination with sweep: Mitt Romney speaks in Lansing, Mich. Romney is looking to pad his lead in the race for convention delegates in Republican presidential primaries Tuesday in Arkansas and Kentucky as he inches closer to the nomination he’s all but certain to win…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 5-23-12
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