Full Text Campaign Buzz May 24, 2012: President Barack Obama Accuses Mitt Romney of ‘Cow-Pie Distortion’ on Debt, Deficits in Campaign Speech at the Iowa State Fairgrounds




President Obama Accuses Mitt Romney of ‘Cow-Pie Distortion’ on Debt, Deficits

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-12


On his first visit back to the Iowa state fairgrounds since the 2008 campaign, President Obama Thursday night used a grassroots rally to launch sharp new attacks against rival Mitt Romney over the debt and deficit and vigorously defend his own handling of the same.

The venue holds symbolic value for Democrats because it was here in August that Romney made his now-famous declaration that “corporations are people, my friend.”

Obama thrust the Republican candidate’s unflattering moment front and center early on….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center
Iowa State Fairgrounds
Des Moines, Iowa

7:10 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Iowa!  (Applause.)  I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling fired up!  (Applause.)  I am definitely ready to go!  Definitely ready to go.  We just had a chance to talk to the folks in the overflow, and before that we were in Newton.  And I was just telling my team, there’s something about coming to Iowa — (applause) — it just gets me going!  (Applause.)  It’s my home away from home.  (Applause.)  Just love this place!  Even just all those long drives.  (Laughter.)  Seeing all that corn — makes me feel good.  (Applause.)

So, listen, I want to thank a couple of Iowa friends of mine — first of all, your outstanding former governor and now outstanding Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack is in the house.  (Applause.)  Your Mayor, Frank Cownie is here.  (Applause.)  Your Congressman, Leonard Boswell.  (Applause.)  Your Attorney General and one of my campaign co-chairs, Tom Miller.  (Applause.)  Your State Treasurer and one of my earliest supporters, Mike Fitzgerald.  (Applause.)

And I also want to thank some folks who’ve been keeping us fired up from the very beginning — the Isiserettes who are in the house.  (Applause.)  We were talking about when we had the J.J. dinner, we were all going in together, and the Isiserettes were at the front.  And Michelle and I were dancing — she was dancing, I was trying to dance.  (Laughter.)

So it’s good to be back.  It’s good to be back among friends.  It’s good to be seeing all of you.  (Applause.)  Four or five years ago, it was you who kept us going when a lot of pundits in Washington had written us off.  You remember that.  It was on your front porches, it was in your backyards where our movement for change began.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  You know, it was here where we came together to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth.  We believe that in America success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth.  If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job.  (Applause.)  If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business.  You should be able to give your children a better chance than you had — no matter where you came from, no matter what you look like, no matter who you love.  (Applause.)  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

And we came together in 2008 because you could tell that our country — or at least the leadership in Washington — had strayed away from these basic values.  We had a record surplus that had been squandered on tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  Two wars had been waged on a credit card.  Wall Street speculators were reaching huge profits, making bets with other people’s money, but it was destabilizing our financial system.  Manufacturing was moving offshore.  A shrinking number of Americans were doing fantastically well, but a whole lot of people were struggling with falling incomes and rising costs and the slowest job growth in half a century.

And it was a house of cards, and we sensed that.  And then right in the middle of the campaign we saw the most destructive crisis since the Great Depression.  In the last six months of 2008, while we were still campaigning, nearly 3 million of our neighbors lost their jobs; 800,000 lost their jobs the month I was sworn in — hadn’t seen anything like it since the Great Depression.

And so it was tough.  But it turned out Americans were tougher.  Folks in Iowa were tougher.  (Applause.)  We don’t quit.  We keep going.  And together, we’re fighting our way back. (Applause.)

So when some said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt, we put our money on American workers and the ingenuity of American companies.  (Applause.)  And today, plants are adding new workers and new shifts, and the American auto industry is firing on all cylinders.  Our manufacturers started investing in America again — first time we consistently added manufacturing jobs since the 1990s.

Businesses started getting back to the basics, creating over 4 million new jobs in the last 26 months — more than 1 million in the last six months alone.  (Applause.)  Here in Iowa, farmers, food producers, manufacturers, renewable energy producers — they’re all driving new job growth, showing the resilience and strength of our rural economies.

Now, are we satisfied?  Of course not.   We’ve still got friends out there, and family who are looking for work.  All across America there are homes that are still underwater, too many small businesses still struggling to get financing.  States are still laying off teachers and first responders.

This was a deep crisis; it didn’t happen overnight.  And we never thought it was going to be solved overnight.  We know we have more work to do.  But we also know that the last thing we can afford to do is to return to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.  (Applause.)  Not now.  Not with so much at stake.  We have come too far to abandon the change that we fought for over these past few years.  We’ve got to move forward.  We can’t go backward.  We’ve got to move forward.  (Applause.)

That’s the choice in this election.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States — to move this country forward.  (Applause.)

Now, my opponent in this election, Governor Romney —


THE PRESIDENT:  Governor Romney is a patriotic American.  He’s raised a wonderful family.  He should be proud of the great personal success he’s had as a CEO of a large financial firm.  There are plenty of good and honest people in that industry, and there’s an important, creative role for it in the free market.  But —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  But Governor Romney has made his experience as a financial CEO the entire rationale of his candidacy for president.  Now, he doesn’t really talk about what he did in Massachusetts.  But he does talk about being a business — business guy.  Right?  He says this gives him a special understanding of what it takes to create jobs and grow the economy — even if he’s unable to offer a single new idea about how to do that, no matter how many times he’s asked about it, he says he knows how to do it.  So I think it’s a good idea to look at the way he sees the economy.

Now, the main goal of a financial firm like Governor Romney’s is not to create jobs.  And by the way, the people who work at these firms will tell you that’s not their goal.  Their main goal is to create wealth for themselves and their investors. (Applause.)  That’s part of the American way.  That’s fine.

Sometimes, jobs are created in that process.  But when maximizing short-term gains for your investors rather than building companies that last is your goal, then sometimes it goes the other way.  Workers get laid off.  Benefits disappear.  Pensions are cut.  Factories go dark.  In some cases, companies are loaded up with debt — not to make the companies more productive, not to buy new equipment to keep them at the cutting-edge, but just to pay investors.  Companies may go bankrupt as a result.  Taxpayers may be on the hook to help out on those pensions.  Investors walk off with big returns, and working folks get stuck holding the bag.

Now, that may be the job of somebody who’s engaged in corporate buyouts.  That’s fine.  But that’s not the job of a President.  (Applause.)  That’s not the President’s job.  There may be value for that kind of experience, but it’s not in the White House.  (Applause.)

See, the job of a President is to lay the foundation for strong and sustainable broad-based growth — not one where a small group of speculators are cashing in on short-term gains.  It’s to make sure that everybody in this country gets a fair shake — (applause) — everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)

When you’re the President, your job is to look out for the investor and the worker; for the big companies and the small companies; for the health of farmers and small businesspeople and the nurse and the teacher.  (Applause.)  You’re supposed to be thinking about everybody — and the health of the middle class, and what the future is going to hold for our kids.  That’s how I see the economy.

Of course, the worldview that Governor Romney gained from his experience as a financial CEO explains something.  It explains why the last time he visited these very same fairgrounds, he famously declared that corporations are people.


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Corporations aren’t people!

THE PRESIDENT:  “Human beings, my friends.”  That’s what he said.  That’s what he called you.  “Human beings, my friends.”

It also explains why, when a woman right here in Iowa shared the story of her financial struggles, he gave her an answer out of an economics textbook.  He said, “Our productivity equals our income.”  Well, as if she’d have an easier time making it if she would just work harder.

Now, let me tell you something.  We believe in the profit motive.  We believe that risk-takers and investors should be rewarded.  That’s what makes our economy so dynamic.  But we also believe everybody should have opportunity.  (Applause.)  We believe — we think everybody who makes the economy more productive or a company more productive should benefit.

And the problem with our economy isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’re working harder than ever.  Productivity is through the roof.  It’s been going up consistently over the last decade.  The challenge we face right now — the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade — is that harder work hasn’t led to higher incomes.  Bigger profits haven’t led to better jobs.  And you can’t solve that problem if you can’t even see that it’s a problem.  (Applause.)

And he doesn’t see it’s a problem.  And so this experience explains why he is proposing the exact same policies that we already tried in the last decade, the very policies that got us into this mess.  He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors are getting rich, then the wealth is going to trickle down and the rest of us are going to do well, too.  And he is wrong.

You don’t build a strong economy by proposing more tax cuts for corporations that ship jobs and profits overseas.  But that’s his plan.  (Applause.)  You don’t build a strong economy by repealing the rules that are designed to prevent another taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks.  But that’s what he pledges to do, roll those things back.  You don’t build a strong economy by offering another budget-busting tax cut skewed to the wealthiest Americans, while raising taxes on 18 million working families.  But that’s what he’s proposing.  (Applause.)

And then, he and his folks, they’ve got the nerve to go around saying they’re somehow going to bring down the deficit.  Economists who have looked at his plan say it would swell our deficits by trillions of dollars, even with the drastic cuts he’s called for in things like education and agriculture and Medicare; even with the drastic cuts to the basic research and technology that have always been the strength of the American economy.

He promises to do that on day one.  We don’t need that.


THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a vision that’s going backwards.  We’re going forwards.  (Applause.)

We’re going forward.  We’re not going to double down on the same bad ideas that we’ve tried over the last decade.  It’s not as if we haven’t tried these things.  We tried them.  They didn’t work.  We’re not going to listen to folks who argue that somehow this time it’s going to be different.  I’m here to tell you we were there when we tried them.  We remember.  We’re not going back.  We’re moving this country forward.  (Applause.)

And I want to make clear here, it’s not like Democrats don’t have work to do.  We’ve got work to do.  Government — we have to acknowledge government can’t solve all our problems and it shouldn’t try.  I learned from my mom no education policy can take the place of a parent’s love and attention — and sometimes a scolding when you didn’t do your homework.  (Applause.)  As a young man, when I was working as a community organizer with Catholic churches, they taught me no poverty program can make as much of a difference as neighbors coming together and working together with kindness and commitment.  (Applause.)

Not every regulation is smart, not every tax dollar is spent wisely, not every person can be helped who refuses to help themselves.  But that’s not an excuse to tell the vast majority of hardworking, responsible Americans they’re on their own; that unless you’re lucky to have parents who can lend you the money, you may not be able to go to college; that even if you pay your premiums every month, you may be out of luck if an insurance company decides to drop your coverage just when you need it most. (Applause.)

That’s not who we are.  That’s not how we built America.  We built this country together.  The Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, GI Bill, the moon landing, the Internet — we did those things together.  Not to make some small group rich, not to help any single individual, but because we knew that if we made those investments it would provide a framework, a platform for everybody to do well, for everybody to succeed.  That’s the true lesson of our past.  (Applause.)  That’s the right vision for our future.  And that’s why I’m running for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I’m running to make sure that by the end of this decade, more of our citizens hold a college degree than any other nation on Earth.  (Applause.)  I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn skills that local businesses are looking for right now.  (Applause.)  Higher education can’t be a luxury — it is a necessity, and I want everybody to be able to afford it.  (Applause.)

That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for President.

I’m running to make sure the next generation of high-tech innovation and manufacturing takes root in places like Des Moines and Newton and Waterloo.  (Applause.)  I want to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs and profits overseas.  I want to reward companies that are creating jobs and bringing jobs back here to the United States of America.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice in this election.

I’m running so we can keep moving forward to a future where we control our own energy.  Our dependence on foreign oil is at the lowest point it’s been in 16 years.  (Applause.)  By the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon.  (Applause.)  Thousands of Americans have jobs — including here in Iowa — because the production of renewable energy has nearly doubled in just three years in this country.  (Applause.)

Now is not the time to cut these investments just to keep giving billions in tax giveaways to oil companies.  They’ve never been more profitable.  Now is the time to double down on biofuels and solar and wind, clean energy that’s never been more promising for our economy and our security and for the safety of the planet.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice in this election, Iowa.
Now, for the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  (Applause.)  Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country.  (Applause.)  Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and by 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over. (Applause.)

And all this was made possible because of the courage and selflessness of our men and women in uniform — (applause) — which is why, on Memorial Day, we’re going to remember them.  And I’m going to actually be talking especially about our Vietnam vets.  They weren’t honored the way they were supposed to when they came home.  (Applause.)  And we’re not going to make that mistake again.  So as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve them as well as they’ve served us.  (Applause.)  Because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads when they come home.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’m running for President.

My opponent has got a different view.  He said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.  He won’t set a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan.  And I have, and I intend to keep it.  (Applause.)  Because after a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own.  (Applause.)  So I want to use — so we’re going to use half of what we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our deficit, and the rest to invest in education and research, to repair our roads and bridges, our runways, our wireless networks.  (Applause.)

That’s the choice in this election, Iowa.

I’m running to pay down our debt in a way that’s balanced and responsible.  Now, I know Governor Romney came to Des Moines last week; warned about a “prairie fire of debt.”  That’s what he said.  (Laughter.)  But he left out some facts.  His speech was more like a cow pie of distortion.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know whose record he twisted the most — mine or his.  (Laughter.)

Now, listen, the debt and the deficit are serious problems and it is true that the depth of the recession added to the debt. A lot more folks were looking for unemployment insurance.  A lot fewer folks were paying taxes because they weren’t making money, so that added to the debt.  Our efforts to prevent it from becoming a depression — helping the auto industry, making sure that not as many teachers were laid off — all those things added to the debt.

But what my opponent didn’t tell you was that federal spending since I took office has risen at the slowest pace of any President in almost 60 years.  (Applause.)  By the way, what generally happens — what happens is, the Republicans run up the tab, and then we’re sitting there and they’ve left the restaurant, and then they point and — “Why did you order all those steaks and martinis?”  (Laughter.)  What he did not also tell you was that after inheriting a $1 trillion deficit, I signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law.

So now I want to finish the job –- yes, by streamlining government — we’ve got more work to do; yes, by cutting more waste; but also by reforming our tax code so that it is simpler and fairer, and so that it asks the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more.  (Applause.)

Oh, by the way, something else he didn’t mention, something else he didn’t tell you — he hasn’t told you how he’d paid for a new $5 trillion tax cut which includes a 25 percent tax cut for nearly every millionaire in the country.


THE PRESIDENT:  Five trillion dollars in new tax cuts — that is like trying to put a fire out — a prairie fire with some gasoline.  (Applause.)

So we’re not going to do that.  I refuse to let that happen to our country.  We’re not going to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut by eliminating medical research that’s helping people with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  We’re not going to pay for it by shortchanging farmers in rural America.  We’re not going to pay for it by kicking some kids out of Head Start, or asking students to pay more for college, or eliminating health insurance for millions of poor and elderly, and Americans on disabilities who are all on Medicaid.  (Applause.)

And as long as I’m President, we’re not going to allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it.  (Applause.)  We’re going to reform Medicare not by shifting the cost of care to seniors — that’s easy to do, but it’s wrong.  We’re going to reform it by reducing the actual costs of health care, reducing the spending that doesn’t make people healthier.  (Applause.)  That’s the right thing to do.

That’s what at stake, Iowa.  That’s why I’m running for reelection.  (Applause.)

On issue after issue, we can’t afford to spend the next four years just going backwards.  We don’t need to re-fight the battle we just had over Wall Street reform.  That was the right thing to do.  We’ve seen how important it is.  We don’t need to re-fight the battle we just had over health care reform — having 2.5 million young people stay on their parent’s health insurance — that was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  Cutting prescription drug costs for seniors — right thing to do.  We’re not going to go back to the days when insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policies, or deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men.  We’re not going back to that. (Applause.)

We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood — (applause) — or taking away affordable birth control.  We don’t need that.  (Applause.)  I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same economic opportunities as my sons.  We’re not turning back the clock.  (Applause.)  We’re not going back there.

We’re not going back to the days when you could be kicked out of the military just because of who you are and who you love. We’re moving forward as a country, where everybody is treated with dignity and respect.  Moving forward.  (Applause.)

We’re not going to just stand back while $10 million checks are speaking louder than the voices of ordinary citizens in our elections.  We recognize that’s a problem.

And it’s time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they’re the children of undocumented immigrants.  (Applause.)  Look, you know what, this country is at its best when we harness the God-given talents of every individual, when we hear every voice, when we come together as one American family all striving for the same American Dream.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s why I’m running for a second term.  That’s why I need your help.  (Applause.)

You know, let me say this — this election is going to be even closer than the last one.  And by the way, the last one was close.  People don’t remember — it was close.  Everybody remembers Grant Park — it was close.  We’re going to have to contend with even more negative ads.  We’ve got these super PACs and shadowy special interests, like the ones you’ve been bombarded with.  You guys just got hit here in Iowa.  We’ll have to overcome more cynicism and nastiness and just some plain foolishness even more than we did the last time.

But the outcome of this election, it’s entirely up to you.  I’m going to be working hard.  Michelle is out there working hard.  (Applause.)  But there’s one thing we learned — there’s nothing more powerful than millions of voices calling for change.

Michelle and I, we were talking the other night over dinner, and I told her we were coming back to Iowa, and she said something — it’s absolutely true — she said, I remember back in the first campaign that we would be reading all these news reports and watching the news, and everything looked terrible and everybody was counting us out.  And then I’d come to Iowa, and I’d see what was going on, on the ground and I’d be meeting people and talking to people.  It wasn’t necessarily that it was a sure thing that we were going to win.  But what was being reflected out there, that wasn’t what was happening here.  That wasn’t what ordinary folks were thinking.

So she just stopped watching TV — or at least the news part of it.  She still watches HDTV and some other things — “Dancing with the Stars.”  (Laughter.)  But this place taught us that not that we’re always right, not that we don’t make mistakes, but that there’s just a core decency and strength and resilience to the American people, and that, ultimately, the conversations that are going on around kitchen tables and at the VFW hall and in churches, those conversations aren’t what’s reflected in the cable news.

And so, when I look out at this crowd, all these different faces — different ages, different races, different faiths — I’m reminded of that.  And when enough of you knock on enough doors and pick up enough phones, and talk to your friends or your neighbors and your coworkers — and you’re doing it respectfully and you’re talking to folks who don’t agree with you, you’re talking to people who are good people, but maybe they don’t have all the information — when you make that happen, when you decide it’s time for change to happen, you know what, change happens.  Change comes to America.  (Applause.)

It’s always easier to be cynical.  It’s always easier to say nothing can change, especially after we’ve gone through such a tough time.  And despite all the changes we’ve made, despite all the good things we’ve done, things are still tough.  And so, the other side, they are going to try and play on that sense that, well, things aren’t perfect, Congress is still arguing, the politics is still polarized.  But you’re the antidote to that.

And that’s the spirit we need again.  So if people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them, yes, it’s still about hope.  It is still about change.  It’s still about ordinary folks who believe that in the face of great odds, we can make a difference in the life of this country.  (Applause.)  Don’t let them tell you different.  (Applause.)

You proved it in 2008.  Without you — I look around this place, I see folks who were out there knocking on doors and making things happen — I would not have had the privilege of being your President.  You were the first ones to make this country believe we could still come together around a common purpose.  (Applause.)

And I still believe that today.  I still believe that we’re not as divided as our politics suggest.  I still believe we have more in common than the experts tell us.  I still believe we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, we are Americans first.  (Applause.)

I still believe in you.  And I want you to keep believing in me.  (Applause.)  Some of you remember — because I’ve spent a lot of time here, I used to go around and I would tell you — I warned you and if you weren’t listening, Michelle would tell you — I warned you I’m not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But what I told you was I promised you I would always tell you what I thought and I’d always tell you where I stood, even when it politically wasn’t convenient.  And I would wake up every single day, fighting as hard as I know how for you and your families and your children’s future.

And, Iowa, I have kept that promise.  I have kept that promise.  (Applause.)  And I will keep it as long as I have the honor of being your President.  So if you’re willing to stick with me and fight with me and press on with me, and if you’re willing to work even harder than you did the last time, we’ll move this country forward and we’ll finish what we started.  And we’ll remind the world just why it is America is the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you.  God bless America.

7:50 P.M. CDT

Political Headlines May 24, 2012: Senates Rejects Both Democratic & Republican Versions of the Bill to Keep Student Loan Rates Low — Dems 51-43 & GOP 34-62




Dueling Student Loan Bills Rejected in Senate


The Senate made one last gesture this month to work on the Student Loan bill, but Democratic and Republican versions both failed in a last-minute, and half-hearted, attempt Thursday before lawmakers leave for a week-long Memorial Day holiday.

The Democratic bill failed by a 51-43 vote. The Republican alternative failed by a 34-62 vote. Both bills needed 60 votes for passage.

Both Republicans and Democrats believe the subsidized Stafford loan rates should not be doubled from the current 3.4 percent to 7.6 percent. Leaders of both parties say the current rates should be extended for at least another year.

But they cannot agree to how to pay for the $6 billion bill….READ MORE

Vote Date Question Result Description
00113 24-May On Passage of the Bill Rejected S. 2343; A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the reduced interest rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans, and for other purposes.
00112 24-May On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2153 Rejected Alexander Amdt. No. 2153; In the nature of a substitute.


Statement by the Press Secretary on Student Loan Interest Rate Votes in the Senate

With only 37 days left to stop student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1, Senate Republicans still have not proven that they’re serious about resolving this problem.  For the second time this month, they voted to ask millions of students to pay an average of $1,000 each rather than close a loophole that allows the very wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.  Now is not the time to refight old political battles, and certainly not the time to cut preventive health care measures.  With only a few days left until student loan interest rates double, it’s time to get this done so hard working students get a fair shot at an affordable education.

Full Text Obama Presidency May 24, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Discusses Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa




President Obama Touts Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-12

Visiting the critical battleground state of Iowa Thursday, President Obama touted his election-year energy agenda and urged Republican lawmakers to put politics aside and back his proposals to boost the economy.

“Too many of my Republican friends in Congress are standing in the way.  They either want to do nothing at all or they want to double down on the same failed policies that got us into this mess,” the president told workers in the blue-collar town of Newton, Iowa.

Obama has been publicly pushing lawmakers to act on his “honey-do” list for Congress, five items that he has been promoting for months, but that have gained little traction on Capitol Hill….READ MORE

President Obama Talks Clean Energy in Iowa

Source: WH, 5-24-12

President Barack Obama at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility (May 24, 2012)
cPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks urging Congress to act on the “To Do List” and highlighting the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation, at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility in Newton, Iowa, May 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In Iowa this afternoon, President Obama continued to press lawmakers to take action on his To-Do List for Congress.

He traveled to Newton to push for the renewal of a tax credit for companies that produce clean energy. The credit currently supports as many as 37,000 jobs.

His host for the visit was TPI Composites — a company that makes blades for wind turbines and employs more 700 people.

“If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit,” he said. “Jobs will be lost. That’s not a guess, that’s a fact. We can’t let that happen.”

Currently, 20 percent of all the electricity used in the Iowa is generated by wind power, and there are currently more wind power jobs in the state than in any other in America.

Overall, the United States generates enough electricity from wind to power 10 million homes. And there are 500 production facilities in 43 states putting people to work in that industry.

Later, he answered questions about the To-Do List on Twitter.


Remarks by the President on Energy in Newton, Iowa

TPI Composites
Newton, Iowa

4:30 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Iowa!  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to be back in Newton!  (Applause.)  It’s been a while.  It’s good to be back in Iowa.  It’s brought back memories — of a lot of driving.  (Laughter.)  And I just had a great tour of this facility.  By the way, if people have chairs, feel free to sit down.  (Laughter.)  Some of you may not have seats, but I want to make everybody comfortable.  But don’t worry, I’m not going to talk that long.  I didn’t want to give that impression.

I just had a wonderful tour of this facility.  And I was telling some of the folks we couldn’t take the helicopters in because the winds were too strong, so you are definitely in the right business.  (Laughter.)  Obviously there’s some wind power here in Iowa that we want to tap.

I want to thank Quinten for the terrific introduction and for sharing his story.  Give Quinten a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Quinten was telling my team this is the first time he’s ever spoken in public.  But he looked like a pro to me.  (Applause.)

I want to thank your mayor, Mayor Allen, for welcoming us here today.  (Applause.)  I also want to thank Representative Dave Loebsack for being here.  Give Dave a big round of applause. (Applause.)  And I know he had to leave early, but I just want to acknowledge somebody you know well — our outstanding Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  (Applause.)  Tom was instrumental in helping transform Newton and he’s still got your back.  He is still fighting every single day for every single person in this town, but all across rural America.  And so we’re very proud of him.

Now, we all know how difficult these past few years have been for the country.  Iowa has actually done a little better than some other states, but it’s still been tough.  And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, it’s going to take some time for the economy to fully recover — more time than a lot of us would like.  And we’re still facing some headwinds, like the situation in Europe right now, which is having an impact on our economy.

But while there’s certain economic developments we can’t control, there are a bunch of things that we can control.  There are plenty of steps that we can take right now — steps that we must take right now — to speed up this recovery and to create jobs, and to restore some of the financial security that a lot of families have lost.  It’s within our control to do all of that right now.  But here’s the thing — (applause.)  It’s true, we can make that difference.

The challenge we’ve got is that too many folks aren’t on the same page.  We’ve got too many of my dear Republican friends in Congress that have been standing in the way of some steps that we could take that would make a difference at the moment.  Either they say they don’t want to do anything at all, or they don’t want to do it before the election, or they want to double down on some of the policies that didn’t work and helped to get us into this mess in the first place.

And Newton knows something about that — because Newton lost manufacturing.  Newton lost Maytag.  A lot of the trends that we had seen even before the financial crisis hit, hit Newton first. And so when you hear somebody say we should cut more taxes, especially for the wealthiest Americans, well, Newton, you’ve been there and you’ve done that.  We did that — 2000, 2001, 2003.  When you hear people say that we should cut back more on the rules we put in place for banks and financial institutions to avoid another taxpayer bailout — well, we tried that.  When people say that we should just wait until the housing market hits bottom and hope that it comes back, hope for the best — well, that’s not an answer for people.  That doesn’t make sense.

We’ve tried at lot of these ideas for nearly a decade.  It did not work.  We saw manufacturing moving offshore.  We saw a few people do very well, but too many families struggling just to get by — all before the financial crisis hit.  And the financial crisis made it worse.  So we can’t go backwards.  We’ve got to move forward.  We’ve got to build an economy where hard work and responsibility pay off, where you can find a good job and own your own home, maybe start your own businesses and give your kids a chance for a better future.  (Applause.)  That’s the American way.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

So I’ve been pushing Congress to help us get there by passing a few common-sense policies that would strengthen the economy and put more folks to work right now.  We even made a handy “To-Do” list that they can check off.  It’s just like the to-do list Michelle gives me, a “honey-do” list.  (Laughter.)  There are only five things on it, on this “To-Do” list, but these are all things we could get done before the election.  We don’t have to wait until then.  There are some things that we should put ahead of politics, and one of them is making sure that the economy is moving forward and the recovery is moving forward.  (Applause.)

And like I said, I kept it simple.  There are just five things.  I didn’t want to overload Congress with too much at once.  (Laughter.)  But these are all ideas that will make a difference right now and we shouldn’t wait for an election to get them done.

So first up on the list, it makes no sense that we’re actually still giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs and factories overseas.  That doesn’t make sense at all.  That doesn’t make any sense.  (Applause.)  So what I’ve asked Congress to do is end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas, use that money to cover the moving expenses for companies that are bringing jobs back to the United States of America.  That’s a common-sense approach.  (Applause.)

Second, we’ve asked Congress to give every responsible homeowner — folks who have been making their mortgage payments  — the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates.  The problem is a lot of folks are having trouble refinancing if their home is underwater, if it’s worth less than their mortgage, and sometimes banks have been pulling back a little bit.  We want to make it easier for people to refinance.  So that’s the second thing because that will create  — that will put more money in the economy for everybody.  And if you’ve got an extra $3,000 in your pocket, then you’ll go shopping, you’ll go out to a restaurant — suddenly there’s a lot more money circulating and the economy gets stronger.  So that’s the second thing.

Two weeks ago I was in Reno, Nevada, with a family — they got a chance to refinance because of some steps that we had already taken administratively, and it’s making a huge difference in their lives.  And we want all families to have that same opportunity.

Third thing, instead of just talking about job creators — you always hear — every member of Congress has said, we’ve got to help the job creators.  Okay, let’s help them.  Congress should help small business owners who create most of the new jobs in America — small business owners — (Applause.)  So what we want to do is give them a tax break for hiring more workers and for paying them higher wages.  Give them an incentive to say, you know what, if on the margins maybe I’m thinking about hiring that extra person, if I get a tax break it makes that person a little bit cheaper to hire, and that can put more of our neighbors and friends back to work.  So that’s a common-sense idea.  (Applause.)

Fourth thing, we have done a whole lot to make sure that those men and women who have served us in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we are serving them as well as they’ve served us — (applause) — treating them with the honor and respect that they have earned when they come home.  (Applause.)  So we put together the Post-9/11 GI Bill so they’re able to go back and get some training and skills.  We mobilized the private sector to hire more veterans and give them the private sector incentives to hire more veterans.

But there’s another thing we can do.  Congress should create what we’re calling a Veterans Jobs Corps, so that we can help communities across America put our returning heroes back to work as police officers and firefighters and park rangers.  Nobody who fought for our country overseas should have to fight for a job when they come back home.  We’ve still got too much unemployment among our veterans.  (Applause.)

So those are four simple things.  And the fifth thing is the reason why I’m here today.  The fifth item on my “To-Do” list — I’m calling on Congress to extend tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year for clean-energy companies like TPI.  (Applause.)  Let’s not wait.  Let’s do it now.  (Applause.)

Many of you know the story of what’s happening here better than I do, but I just want to remind you how far we’ve come.  Shortly after I took office, I came to Newton — some of you remember — and we unveiled an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America.  We said let’s produce more oil and gas, but let’s also produce more biofuels; let’s produce more fuel-efficient cars; let’s produce more solar and wind powerand other sources of clean, renewable energy.  And I came to Newton because Newton is helping to lead the way when it comes to building wind turbines.

And since then, our dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year that I’ve been in office — every single year. (Applause.)  America is now producing more domestic oil than any time in the last eight years.  But we’re also producing more natural gas, and we’re producing more biofuels than any time in our history.  And that’s good for the Iowa economy.  (Applause.) We’re laying the foundation for some of our nation’s first offshore wind farms.  And since I became President, America has nearly doubled the use of renewable energy, like solar power and wind power — we’ve nearly doubled it.  (Applause.)

So this country is on the path towards more energy independence.  And that’s good for everybody.  It’s good for people’s pocketbooks; it’s good for the environment; it’s good for our national security.  We don’t want our economy dependent on something that happens on the other side of the world.  We don’t want every time there’s a scare about war or some regime change in the Middle East that suddenly everybody here is getting socked and the whole economy is going down.

And the best thing is, in the process, we’re also putting thousands of Americans back to work — because the more we rely on American-made energy, the less oil we buy from other countries, the more jobs we create here at home, the more jobs we create here in Iowa.

So let’s look at the wind industry.  It’s so important to Iowa.  This industry, thanks in large part to some very important tax credits, has now taken off.  The state of Iowa now gets nearly 20 percent of all your electricity from wind — 20 percent.  Overall, America now has enough wind capacity to power 10 million homes.  So this is an industry on the rise.  And as you know, it’s an industry that’s putting people to work.  You know this firsthand.  There are more wind power jobs in Iowa than any other state.  That’s a big deal.  (Applause.)

And one of these modern windmills has more than 8,000 different parts — everything from the towers and the blades to the gears, to the electrical switches.  And it used to be that almost all these parts were imported.  Today, more and more of these parts are being made here in America — right here.  (Applause.)  We used to have just a few dozen manufacturing facilities attached to the wind industry.  Today we have nearly 500 facilities in 43 states employing tens of thousands of American workers — tens of thousands.

So we’re making progress.  And you know it better than anybody.  I mean, when I was talking to Quinten and Mark and a whole bunch of the other folks who are working here, they reminded me of the experience at working at Maytag and putting your heart and soul into a company and making a great product, and then, suddenly having that company leave, and how hard that was for families and how hard it was for the community.  But folks made the transition.

And now, when you look at what’s happening here — 700 to 800 jobs, over $30 million being put back into the community — this gives folks hope.  It gives people opportunity.  I met some folks who have been in manufacturing for 30 years, but I also met a couple of young folks who were just getting started.  And that’s what we’re looking for.  Nobody wants a handout.  Nobody wants to get something for nothing.  But if we’ve got a chance to create energy and create value and put people back to work, why wouldn’t we do that?

So I’m here today because, as much progress as we’ve made, that progress is in jeopardy.  If Congress doesn’t act, those tax credits that I mentioned — the ones that helped build up the wind industry, the ones that helped to bring all these jobs to Newton, those tax credits will expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t do anything.

If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit.  Jobs will be lost.  That’s not a guess, that’s a fact.  We can’t let that happen.  And keep in mind that — and this is something Congress needs to understand — Dave Loebsack understands it, but I want every member of Congress to understand it.  These companies that are putting in orders for these amazing blades, they’re making plans now.  They’re making decisions now. So if they’re cutting back on their orders, if they’re not confident that the industry is going to be moving at a fast clip and they start reducing orders here, that affects you.  You can’t wait for six months.  You can’t wait for eight months.  You can’t wait for a year to get this done.  It’s got to be done now.  (Applause.)

So this is a simple thing on Congress’s “To-Do” list — extend these tax credits.  Do it now.  Every day they don’t act business grows more concerned that they will not be renewed.  They’re worried demand for their products is going down, so they start thinking twice about expanding, more cautious about making new investments.  They start looking overseas.  I was talking to your CEO.  We got an opportunity to branch out, but we want to branch out by making the stuff here and then sending it there.  We don’t want to branch out by sending the jobs and the investments over there, and then shipping it back to America.  That doesn’t make sense.  (Applause.)  One company that had plans to invest $100 million to build a wind manufacturing plant in Arkansas — and create hundreds of jobs –- put those plans on hold.

And by the way, this should not be a partisan issue.  There are several Republican governors –- including the governor of this state -– who are calling on Congress to act.  There are members of Congress in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle –- including your two senators –- who support these tax credits.  And that doesn’t happen much in Washington where Democrats and Republicans say they agree on something.  So if you agree, why haven’t we gotten it done yet?

This is not just an issue, by the way, for the wind industry.   Some of America’s most prominent companies -– from Starbucks to Campbell’s Soup –- they’re calling on Congress to act because they use renewable energy.

Sometimes when I think about Washington and Congress — and I know some of you think the same way — I don’t get it.  I understand why we wouldn’t get something if we really disagree on something.  And there are some big disagreements:  They want to make big cuts to pay for more big tax cuts for the wealthy.  I disagree with that.  I think we should have a balanced approach  — cut waste, but make sure that everybody is paying their fair share.  (Applause.)  An issue like that, maybe it can’t get settled before an election because they just have a different approach.  I understand that.  But this, everybody says they agree to or at least a lot of people agree to it.

So I’m going to need your help.  I need you to get involved. I need you to help get this done.  I need everybody here in Newton — and I mean everybody — I don’t just mean folks who work at TPI — anybody who’s watching, everybody here in Iowa, pick up the phone, send an email, send a tweet, tell Congress, let’s do the right thing.  Tell Congress the story of Newton.  Tell folks why it’s so important to this community.  Tell them we’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)

It used to be Newton was known for building washers and dryers, used to be Newton was known for Maytag.  And obviously they were a big employer — thousands of people working in the area.  But back in 2007 when they closed down the operations here, that was a major blow.  And everybody here, if you don’t — if you weren’t affected personally by it, you were affected indirectly.  Your friends, your neighbors, friends like Quinten were forced to start all over again.  And he didn’t give up.  You didn’t give up.  You kept pushing ahead.  Some of you had to retrain.  Pretty soon after one industry had left, another showed up.  Some of the facilities that Maytag closed were reopened.  So a lot of folks who used to build washers and dryers, now they’re part of the future, building an industry that’s going to make America stronger.  That’s the story of Newton.  That’s the story of America.

So, yes, we’re facing tough times, but we’re getting through them.  We’re getting through them together — because in this country, just like in Newton, we don’t give up.  We keep moving. We keep moving forward.  And if we work together with a common purpose, we will get this economy back on track — and remind everybody why America is the greatest country on Earth.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

4:55 P.M. CDT

Campaign Headlines May 24, 2012: NBC News/Marist Poll: Obama has Close Lead over Romney in Key Battleground States Ohio, Florida & Virginia




Polls: Obama leads in key states of Ohio, Fla. and Va.


President Obama and Mitt Romney

Source: USA Today 5-24-12

New polls give President Obama narrow leads in three states that may well decide the 2012 election: Ohio, Florida and Virginia.

Obama leads Mitt Romney in Ohio by 48%-42%, according to the NBC News/Marist Poll; no Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio.

In Florida, Obama has a 48%-44% lead over Romney, says the Marist poll. Florida is another classic swing state, and decided the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

(Remember, polls are polls, however: A recent survey by Quinnipiac University gave Romney a six-point lead in Florida; the Republican/Democratic makeup of the polling sample accounts for many of the differences.)…READ MORE

NBC/Marist polls: Obama leads close swing-state races

Source: Politico, 5-24-12
New battleground polling out this morning from NBC News and Marist College:

President Barack Obama holds a narrow advantage over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in three of the most pivotal presidential battleground states — Florida, Ohio and Virginia — according to new NBC-Marist polls.

But in each of these states, Obama’s share of the vote is below the 50 percent threshold usually considered safe haven for an incumbent president, and Romney has narrowed the margin in these three battlegrounds since earlier this year.

In Florida and Virginia, Obama leads Romney by identical 4-point margins, 48 percent to 44 percent … In Ohio, the president is ahead by 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines May 24, 2012: Obama Campaign Stays on Attack Releases New Ad on Romney’s Iowa State Corporation Comment — Romney Goes Positive with New Day One Ad




Obama Hits Rewind, Romney Looks Forward in New Ads

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-12

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Obama campaign wants to turn back the clock.  The Romney campaign wants to hit fast forward.

All week long the difference in messages coming from the two teams has been striking.  President Obama’s ad makers have kept a laser-like focus on Mitt Romney’s business dealings at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded nearly three decades ago.

On Thursday, the Obama team is out with a new video looking back at Romney’s memorable appearance last year at the Iowa State Fair when he declared, “corporations are people, my friend.”…

And to underscore that strategy, the Romney campaign unveiled a new campaign ad Thursday morning — part of their “Day One” series — that attempts to answer, “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”…READ MORE

Romney For President Releases Television Ad, “Day One, Part Two”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 5-24-12

Today, Romney for President released a new television advertisement titled “Day One, Part Two.” On day one of his presidency, Mitt Romney will reverse President Obama’s failed policies by ending the era of big government, standing up to China, and repealing job-killing regulations.

To View “Day One, Part Two” Please See: http://mi.tt/MppsXX

AD FACTS: Script For “Day One, Part Two”

VIDEO TEXT: “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”

VOICEOVER: “What would a Romney Presidency be like?”

VIDEO TEXT: “Day 01”

VOICEOVER: “Day one, President Romney announces deficit reductions, ending the Obama era of big government, helping secure our kids’ futures.”

VIDEO TEXT: “End Obama era of Big Government”

VOICEOVER: “President Romney stands up to China on trade and demands they play by the rules.”

VIDEO TEXT: “Make China Play By The Rules”

VOICEOVER: “President Romney begins repealing job-killing regulations that are costing the economy billions.”

VIDEO TEXT: “Repeal Job-killing Regulations”

VOICEOVER: “That’s what a Romney Presidency will be like.”

MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.”

A Better America: Day One, Part Two


Romney at the Iowa State Fairgrounds “corporations are people”

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