Political Headlines June 16, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: Gov. Scott Walker Wants US ‘Fiscal House on Track’ — Job Creation in the Private Sector

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

GOP Address: Gov. Scott Walker Wants US ‘Fiscal House on Track’

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-16-12

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In this week’s Republican address, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, fresh off of his recent victory over the effort to recall him as governor, calls for Washington lawmakers to get America’s “fiscal house on track and … our economy back in order.”

Walker says that while “Republicans define success … by how many people we can free from government dependence by growing the private sector,” to him, “the President and many of his allies seem to measure success by how many people are dependent on government programs.”

“Those policies have failed,” he adds.

But Walker says that doesn’t mean people should be thrown off of unemployment.  Instead, he says, created jobs for people in the private sector will free people from government dependence….READ MORE

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Full Text Obama Presidency June 16, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address on Ending the Stalemate in Washington — Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Bill for the Middle Class

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama’s Weekly Address: Ending the Stalemate in Washington

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-16-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama is blaming Republicans in Congress for the flailing economic recovery, saying “every problem we face is within our power to solve.  What’s lacking is our politics.”

“We have the answers to these problems.  We have plenty of big ideas and technical solutions from both sides of the aisle.  That’s not what’s holding us back.  What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington,” the president said in his weekly address….READ MORE

President Obama tells the American people that the stalemate in Washington is holding our economy back during this make-or-break moment for the middle class.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address., White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 6/15/12

Weekly Address: Ending the Stalemate in Washington

Source: WH, 6-16-12
President Obama tells the American people that the stalemate in Washington is holding our economy back during this make-or-break moment for the middle class.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Ending the Stalemate in Washington

In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that the stalemate in Washington is holding our economy back during this make-or-break moment for the middle class.  The President’s jobs bill could create more than one million additional jobs if Congress were to drop its opposition to common sense ideas like giving small businesses tax cuts for hiring more workers, helping states keep thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers on the job, and putting thousands of construction workers back to work. It’s time for Congress to end this partisan gridlock and work with the President on behalf of the American people to help grow the economy and support new jobs.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 16, 2012

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been talking a lot about America’s economic future.  I’ve told you how I believe we should go about creating strong, sustained growth; how we should pay down our long-term debt in a balanced way; and most of all, what we should do right now to create good, middle-class jobs, so people who work hard can get ahead.

This isn’t some abstract debate or trivial argument.  I’ve said that this is the defining issue of our time, and I mean it.  I’ve said that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I believe it.  The decisions we make over the next few years will have an enormous impact on the country we live in, and the one we pass on to our children.

Right now, we’re still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  The economy is growing again, but it’s not growing fast enough.  Our businesses have created 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but we’re not creating them fast enough.  And we’re facing some pretty serious headwinds – from the effects of the recent spike in gas prices, to the financial crisis in Europe.

But here’s the thing.  We have the answers to these problems.  We have plenty of big ideas and technical solutions from both sides of the aisle.  That’s not what’s holding us back.  What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington.

Last September, I sent Congress a jobs bill full of the kinds of bipartisan ideas that could have put over a million Americans back to work and helped bolster our economy against outside shocks.  I sent them a plan that would have reduced our deficit by $4 trillion in a balanced way that pays for the investments we need by cutting unnecessary spending and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more in taxes.

Since then, Congress has passed a few parts of that jobs bill, like a tax cut that’s allowing working Americans to keep more of your paycheck every week.  But on most of the ideas that would create jobs and grow our economy, Republicans in Congress haven’t lifted a finger.  They’d rather wait until after the election in November.  Just this past week, one of them said, “Why not wait for the reinforcements?”  That’s a quote.  And you can bet plenty of his colleagues are thinking the same thing.

I think that’s wrong.  This isn’t about who wins or loses in Washington.  This is about your jobs, your paychecks, your children’s future.  There’s no excuse for Congress to stand by and do nothing while so many families are struggling.  None.

Right now, Congress should pass a bill to help states put thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers back on the job.  They should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and runways.  And instead of just talking about job creators, they should give small-business owners a tax break for hiring more workers and paying them higher wages.

Right now, Congress should give every responsible homeowner the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage.  They should extend tax credits for clean energy manufacturers so we don’t walk away from 40,000 good jobs.  And instead of giving tax breaks to companies who ship jobs overseas, Congress should take that money and use it to cover moving expenses for companies that are bringing jobs back to America.  There’s no reason to wait.

Every problem we face is within our power to solve.  What’s lacking is our politics.  Remind your Members of Congress why you sent them to Washington in the first place.  Tell them to stop worrying about the next election and start worrying about the next generation.  I’m ready to work with anyone – Republican, Democrat, or Independent – who is serious about moving this country forward.  And I hope Members of Congress will join me.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Full Text Political Buzz June 15, 2012: President Barack Obama Announces US Will Stop Deporting Young Immigrants in Rose Garden Speech — GOP Candidate Mitt Romney Reacts

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House (June 15, 2012)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES US WILL STOP DEPORTING YOUNG ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS — ROMNEY REACTS

U.S. will stop deporting some younger illegal immigrants: The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and have since led law-abiding lives, the AP reports. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of a growing Latino electorate that has opposed administration deportation policies. The administration’s decision will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants…. – WaPo, 6-15-12

Transcript of Obama’s Speech on Immigration Policy: The full text of the president’s remarks on changes to immigration policy. – NYT, 6-15-12

  • US to Stop Deporting Some Illegal Immigrants: Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration…. – NYT, 6-15-12
  • Obama spares many young illegal immigrants deportation: Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children will be able to avoid deportation and get work permits under an order on Friday by President Barack Obama… Reuters, 6-16-12
  • Obama policy to spare many youths from deportation: President Barack Obama eased enforcement of immigration laws Friday, offering a chance for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the country and work. Immediately embraced by Hispanics, the extraordinary step touched off…. – Fox News, 6-15-12
  • Mexicans hail Obama’s call for a freeze on deporting young illegal immigrants: Today, President Obama ordered his administration to stop deporting young immigrants who came to the US illegally as kids and don’t pose a security threat…. – CS Monitor, 6-15-12
  • Obama Says Changes to Deportation Rules Make Policy More Fair: President Barack Obama said the US will immediately stop deporting some illegal immigrants brought to the US as children and make them eligible for work permits, in an election-year effort with appeal to Latino voters…. – Bloomberg, San Francisco Chronicle, 6-15-12
  • President Obama limits deportations for some immigrants: Using his executive powers to go where Congress would not, President Obama delivered on a promise Friday and ordered his administration to stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to the US as children…. – LAT, 6-15-12
  • Obama tells young illegal immigrants they can stay: Order doesn’t offer citizenship but reprieve from deportation. Critics call it an overreach of executive power. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants will get a chance to stay in the United States and work under a new policy announced Friday…. – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6-15-12
  • DREAM ACT: We educated these children, shouldn’t they give back to our economy?: “This is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope…. – Washington Times, 6-15-12
  • THE POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION: President Barack Obama announces that his administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the US as children and have since led law-abiding lives, during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 6-15-12
  • Obama’s Immigration Shift Puts Pressure on Romney: President Obama’s unilateral shift on immigration policy is a signal to Hispanic voters that he is on their side, and a move that places Mitt Romney in a tough spot…. – NYT, 6-15-12
  • Romney says Obama’s immigration decision will complicate efforts to solve immmigration policy issue: Softening his rhetoric on immigration, likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Friday that the status of younger illegal immigrants was important and should be addressed with legislation. He would not say if he would…. – WaPo, 6-15-12
  • Mitt Romney says Obama’s playing politics on immigration: Hours after the Obama administration announced that it would stop deporting some young illegal immigrants who came to the US as children, Mitt Romney suggested that the president was merely seeking a political advantage to secure a second term…. – LAT, 6-15-12
  • Young illegal immigrants’ amnesty could tighten competition for jobs, college: President Obama has just opened a floodgate of opportunity for young illegal immigrants in the United States, but could it squeeze the aspirations of legal Americans in the process?… – WaPo, 6-15-12

Obama Defends Immigrant Deportation Rules, Criticized as Political

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-15-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama flashed anger today as a reporter interrupted his speech on immigration in the Rose Garden.

Neil Munro of The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, shouted at Obama in the middle of his speech formally announcing looser deportation rules, “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?”

Irritated, Obama glared at Munro and told him not to interrupt, said he “didn’t ask for an argument” and said the new order is “the right thing to do.”…READ MORE

President Obama Delivers Remarks on Immigration

Source: WH, 6-15-12

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama addressed a new policy from the Department of Homeland Security aimed at making the nation’s immigration policy more fair and more efficient — by removing the threat of deportation for young people who are low enforcement priorities.
He said:

Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.

Remarks by the President on Immigration

Rose Garden

2:09 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”

These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.  They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one:  on paper.  They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.

Put yourself in their shoes.  Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life — studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class — only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.

That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act.  It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship.  And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.

Now, both parties wrote this legislation.  And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it.  It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it.  The bill hasn’t really changed.  The need hasn’t changed.  It’s still the right thing to do.  The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.

As I said in my speech on the economy yesterday, it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans — they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country — to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents — or because of the inaction of politicians.

In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places.  So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history — today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years.  We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education.  And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent.  We’ve improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully.  Well, today, we’re improving it again.

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.  Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix.  This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.  It is —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  — the right thing to do.

Q    — foreigners over American workers.

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, sir.  It’s not time for questions, sir.

Q    No, you have to take questions.

THE PRESIDENT:  Not while I’m speaking.

Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act.  There is still time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act this year, because these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments.  And we still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st century economic and security needs — reform that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty about the workers that they’ll have.  Reform that gives our science and technology sectors certainty that the young people who come here to earn their PhDs won’t be forced to leave and start new businesses in other countries.  Reform that continues to improve our border security, and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Just six years ago, the unlikely trio of John McCain, Ted Kennedy and President Bush came together to champion this kind of reform.  And I was proud to join 23 Republicans in voting for it.  So there’s no reason that we can’t come together and get this done.

And as long as I’m President, I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy — and CEOs agree with me — not just because it’s the right thing to do for our security, but because it’s the right thing to do, period.  And I believe that, eventually, enough Republicans in Congress will come around to that view as well.

And I believe that it’s the right thing to do because I’ve been with groups of young people who work so hard and speak with so much heart about what’s best in America, even though I knew some of them must have lived under the fear of deportation.  I know some have come forward, at great risks to themselves and their futures, in hopes it would spur the rest of us to live up to our own most cherished values.  And I’ve seen the stories of Americans in schools and churches and communities across the country who stood up for them and rallied behind them, and pushed us to give them a better path and freedom from fear –because we are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.

And the answer to your question, sir — and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question — is this is the right thing to do for the American people —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t ask for an argument.  I’m answering your question.

Q    I’d like to —

THE PRESIDENT:  It is the right thing to do —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  — for the American people.  And here’s why —

Q    — unemployment —

THE PRESIDENT:  Here’s the reason:  because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions, and are already making contributions to our society.

I’ve got a young person who is serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom.  The notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense.  If there is a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that’s the right thing to do.  Giving certainty to our farmers and our ranchers; making sure that in addition to border security, we’re creating a comprehensive framework for legal immigration — these are all the right things to do.

We have always drawn strength from being a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws, and that’s going to continue.  And my hope is that Congress recognizes that and gets behind this effort.

All right.  Thank you very much.

Q    What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?

END
2:17 P.M. EDT

 

Adviser Suggests Romney Will Focus on Economy, Not Immigration

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-15-12

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

President Obama’s announcement that he will ease deportation for the children of some illegal immigrants underscores an area where Mitt Romney was to the right of most of his primary opponents.

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both endorsed pathways to legal residency for some illegal immigrants, Romney never did.

Romney has not yet reacted to the news Friday from President Obama that he will no longer pursue the deportation of many young undocumented citizens that came to this country as children by their parents….READ MORE

But campaign adviser Kevin Madden suggested he won’t be distracted by this issue and will instead remain “focus(ed) very intently on the issue of the economy.”

“I think the message that he has to Latino voters, Hispanic voters, is going to be related to what he can do to put the country on the right track and how it’s going to help, how it’s going to help folks who want more opportunity in this country,” Madden said on MSNBC Friday just before the president made the announcement in the Rose Garden….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 15, 2012: Mitt Romney Kicks Off 5-Day Bus Tour with New Hampshire Speech on President Barack Obama’s Economic Policy & the Middle Class

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY KICKS OFF 5-DAY BUS TOUR WITH NEW HAMPSHIRE SPEECH ON OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES

Romney Kicks Off Bus Tour, Says Obama Fails Middle Class

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-15-12

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mitt Romney officially kicked off his five-day, six-state bus tour in New Hampshire Friday, on the very farm where he launched his presidential bid last June, telling supporters that there has been no president who has failed middle-class Americans more than President Obama and that if elected, he will “hear” the voices of the American people.

“Let us make today the beginning of the end of disappointments of the Obama years,” Romney said to a crowd of hundreds, standing on the back of a flat-bed trailer parked in a field on Scamman Farm. “Let us make today the start of a new and better chapter that we’re going to write together.”

“If there has ever been a president who has failed to give the middle class of America a fair shot, it is Barack Obama,” Romney said….READ MORE

Romney’s Bus Tour of New Hampshire Lets In a Bit of the Outside World

Source: NYT, 6-15-12

Mitt Romney was supposed to depart from his usual campaign approach on Friday, and he did — though not the way his strategists had envisioned.

The candidate kicked off a five-day bus tour, an ambitious barnstormer through small-town America that was billed as an effort to introduce Mr. Romney to a new set of voters. And the first two events, including an ice cream social on the village green here, kept him solidly in his comfort zone….READ MORE

 

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks In New Hampshire

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 6-15-12
Mitt Romney today delivered remarks in Stratham, New Hampshire. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you for that warm welcome.  It’s great to be back in Stratham.  And I’d like to thank Doug and Stella for welcoming us once again to their beautiful farm.

Ann and I visited this farm a year ago when we launched our campaign for the Republican nomination.  It was a beautiful day, and the start of a remarkable journey.

Over the past year, it’s become clear that good things begin here, so today we’re back, with a few more friends and closer to the goal.  Every day our campaign grows as more and more Americans realize that we don’t have to settle for these years of disappointment and decline.

America can do better – and with your help, we will.  Together, we’re going to take this campaign all way to the White House.

Since last June, we’ve been to towns, big and small.  We’ve visited businesses – some generations old, others quite new, every one of them trying to make the best of a bad economy.  Across the country, people have welcomed us into their homes.  We’ve enjoyed long talks about family and country in break rooms and backyards, in diners and on factory floors.

Everywhere I go, I meet people who represent the best of America.  They are hopeful, hard-working, determined and proud.  But they are also worried and anxious.  They are tired of being tired.

And they are tired of a detached and distant President who never seems to hear their voices.

When Americans rose up and demanded, “Stop borrowing money and sticking our kids with the bill,” the President wasn’t listening.  He was on the line with China, taking out another loan.

When Americans went to town halls and said, “We don’t want Obamacare,” the President ignored us, and spent fifteen months ramming his health-care bill through Congress on a party-line vote.

And when we asked, “Where is the recovery we were promised?” this President lectured us saying “The private sector is doing fine.”

For so many Americans the distance between their town and the city of Washington has never seemed so far.  The federal establishment has never seemed so hostile or remote – so disconnected from economic reality, and yet so willing to use restrictions and regulations, taxes and fines, commissions and czars to direct our daily lives.

The President’s plans have Americans wondering whether our future can be as bright as our past.  But that lack of faith in our future is a bridge to despair that we cannot cross.

That’s why, from now until November, our campaign will carry a simple message: America’s greatest days are ahead!

Washington’s big government agenda should not smother small-town dreams. In the America we love, every town counts. Every job counts. And every American counts!

We’re here today to launch a campaign bus tour that will take us from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania, then to Ohio and on to Iowa, Wisconsin and, finally, Michigan.

In the days ahead, we’ll be traveling on what are often called the “backroads of America.” But I think our tour takes us along much of the “backbone of America.”

This is the America known for thriving farms and factories. For prosperous towns and cities and great colleges and universities.  For solid communities and churches.  All of them born out of American optimism; nourished and sustained by hard work and a belief that the American future is one of limitless possibilities and that opportunity is an American birthright.

We will travel through the industrial heartland of America. This was once a model to the world for mining, manufacturing, and innovation.  Many of the greatest commercial enterprises in the history of the world were born here. They gave birth to an extraordinary middle class which never questioned their ability to build a better life for their children.

But in these past few years, too many of these Americans have been struggling and in distress.

But even where factories have closed and jobs are too few, the spirit of enterprise — the spirit that powered the engines of America’s remarkable economic growth and prosperity — that spirit still lives strong.  And it is the goal of this campaign — and will be the mission of my presidency — to nurture that spirit and to see it flourish once again.

The world knows the names of great cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. These were the arsenals of democracy, the forges of freedom, the melting pots of America. Their resilience and indomitable energy are a cornerstone of America’s future.

But we should never forget that some of America’s biggest dreams were also born in our smallest communities.  Our small towns have given us great writers, great thinkers, and great leaders.

Before they were literary giants who dazzled the world, great American writers like Mark Twain and John Steinbeck were kids playing in wide-open spaces, dreaming up the stories they would tell.

Before they were pioneers, Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers looked out into the dark night and up at the clear blue sky, imagining great inventions that would someday change the world. And, no, Mr. President, they were not dreaming of a government loan.

And small towns gave us Lincoln and Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan – and so many sons and daughters who have sacrificed to defend our freedom on battlefields far away.

The vision and the values, the character and the can-do spirit that you find in our small towns have made America great.  In these places, you also find a special sense of community and a deep commitment to our country.

These Americans are quiet heroes. They raise strong families, run our factories, and grow our food.  They coach Little League and soccer.  They serve on the PTA.  They volunteer to help their neighbors.  And they dream big dreams – sometimes for themselves, but mostly for their kids.

Every town counts because the families who have lost a job, faced a foreclosure, or been forced to spend the money they were saving for college just to make ends meet are not statistics – they are our fellow Americans.

In recent years, they have shown great determination and real bravery. These men and women do the hard things that others say aren’t worth trying.  They keep pressing on, even when government bureaucrats and regulations keep getting in their way.  They have talent and creativity – and they aren’t about to let their family or our country down by letting their dreams go. They are the backbone of America.

Yesterday the President gave a speech. A Very. Long. Speech.

You might have thought that it would be a moment when he would acknowledge his policy mistakes and suggest a new course. But no. He promised four more years, of more of the same. Four. More. Very. Long. Years.

That’s really the divide in this race. The President thinks we’re on the right track and his policies are working.

And I…I believe with all my heart that we can — that we must — do better!

So let me ask where you stand. Do you believe America can do better? Do you believe that with new leadership and a new president our greatest days are still ahead? Do you believe we can take back the White House and reclaim the greatness of America?

Somewhere in that long speech, President Obama spoke of giving people a “fair shot.” I couldn’t agree more.

President Obama isn’t giving our students a fair shot when they graduate and only half of them can find jobs or work that matches their skills.

And he isn’t giving the middle class a fair shot when wages keep going down and prices keep going up. Under Barack Obama, more Americans are living in poverty than under any President in history. That’s a tragedy, not a fair shot!

He didn’t give the children of Washington, DC a fair shot when he proposed to end their scholarships to go to better schools.

And when he bows to the demands of the teacher’s unions, he isn’t giving a fair shot to kids across America.

He isn’t giving entrepreneurs and job creators a fair shot when he picks winners and losers, rewarding campaign donors with tax dollars in scandals like Solyndra.

Barack Obama isn’t giving a fair shot to our children and grandchildren when he saddles them with trillions of dollars of debts.

If there has ever been a president who has failed to give the middle class of America a fair shot, it is Barack Obama.

I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. And I know what we must do to truly give our fellow Americans a fair shot…and a better chance.

I see an America where free enterprise is nurtured and celebrated, not attacked, because freedom and free enterprise is what creates jobs, not government.  I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents — some successful beyond their wildest dreams — and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it. We must not allow the desperation of a failing Presidency to divide this great country.

I see an America that is fundamentally fair, that cares for those who cannot care for themselves, that never wavers from our commitment to our seniors, and that gives our veterans the respect and care they richly deserve.

In the America I see, character and choices matter.  And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded.  And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.

This is the America that was won for us by the nation’s Founders, and earned for us by the Greatest Generation. It is the America that has produced the most innovative, most productive, and most powerful economy in the world.

As I look around at the millions of Americans without work, the graduates who can’t get a job, the soldiers who return home to an unemployment line, it breaks my heart. This does not have to be. It is the result of failed leadership and of a faulty vision.

I am running for President because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess. I am offering a real choice and a new beginning.

We can’t afford four more years of failed policies and weak leadership.

Starting on Day One, I will do what it takes to get America back to work.

Obamacare will end.

We’ll open markets around the world, and make sure that countries like China finally play by the rules.

We’ll get the Keystone Pipeline built and we’ll send a message to the world that a new era of energy independence has begun right here on our continent.

We’ll replace the Obama job killing tax policies with sweeping tax reform to jumpstart job creation.

The government regulators who are strangling small business will finally learn that job creators are our friends, not our enemies.

And once again, the Era of Big Government will be over!

No wonder Bill Clinton and so many other mainstream Democrats are revolting against the backward direction President Obama is taking his Party and our country!

Let us make today the beginning of the end of the disappointments of the Obama years.

Let us make today the start of a new and better chapter that we will write together.

For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for every grandparent who can’t afford the gas to visit the grandkids… for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month…

To all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer.  A better America begins today!

Today the hill before us is a little steep but we have always been a nation of big steppers.

Many Americans have given up on this President but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.

In the days ahead, join me in the next step toward that destination of November 6th, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the Promise of America has been kept. The dreamers can dream a little bigger, the help wanted signs can be dusted off, and we can start again.

And this time we’ll get it right. We’ll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad.

There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.

Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny. Join me. Let’s walk together, every day until November 6th.

We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Full Text Obama Presidency June 14, 2012: President Barack Obama Celebrates Father’s Day Early with 4 Fathers at Kenny’s Barbeque Smokehouse in Northeast Washington, DC — Remarks Transcript

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Honoring Fathers

Source: WH, 6-14-12

Yesterday, President Obama celebrated Father’s Day a little early with four dads at Kenny’s Barbeque Smokehouse in Northeast Washington, DC.  The four fathers, two active duty members of the military and two long-time local barbers from Mason’s Barbershop, talked about the rewards and challenges of fatherhood as well as the joy and anxiety fathers experience watching their children grow up.

President Barack Obama talks about the"Fatherhood Buzz" campaign at Kenny’s BBQ Smokehouse in Washington, D.C., June 13, 2012
President Barack Obama talks with four fathers participating in the the new HHS “Fatherhood Buzz” campaign, as they wait for their lunch at Kenny’s BBQ Smokehouse in Washington, D.C., June 13, 2012. Joining the President, from left, are: Nurney Mason; 1st Lieutenant William Edwards of the U.S. Army; Otis Gamble; and CPT Joubert Paulino of the U.S Army. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President talked about his support for military families along with the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden through Joining Forces. The President also discussed “Fatherhood Buzz,” a new initiative in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designed to reach out to dads with positive information through their barbers and barber shops, as part of the Administration’s longstanding Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative.  Each quarter will feature a different “buzz” topic – the topic for the first quarter is financial literacy and job training. The initiative is taking place across the country this weekend, including at Mason’s Barber Shop on H Street Northeast in Washington, DC. Nurney Mason, who joined the President for lunch today, has operated Mason’s Barber shop for over 51 years.

Meet the four dads who had lunch with President Obama yesterday to discuss fatherhood

1st Lieutenant William (Bill) Edwards of the U.S. Army  is currently based at Fort Jackson in South Carolina where he lives with his wife of 13 years, Esther, and their four children. Lt. Edwards was recently honored by the National Fatherhood Initiative with the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award. He was deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division Band in 2007-2008 for 14 months in Iraq.  While he was deployed, he sent a flag that had flown over Camp Victory headquarters in Iraq to his daughter’s preschool as a reminder of how much he cared about his family.

Captain Joubert Paulino of the U.S. Army is currently based at Fort Meade in Maryland along with his wife of 16 years, Ginamarie, and their two children Jonah, age 6, and Julia, age 4. CPT Paulino uses his will for adventure to stay connected with his children. For example, he involves his children in the selection process of states or countries where they would like to start an adventure or experience of a lifetime. CPT. Paulino continuously travels for his specialized emergency response team, and serves his country through biological and nuclear defense; however, CPT Paulino remains very involved in his son Jonah’s Tiger Scout troop.

Nurney Mason operated Mason’s Barber Shop on H Street Northeast in Washington, D.C. for over 51 years and is one of the longest-standing business owners in the city.  Nurney also cuts hair at the U.S. House of Representatives when he’s not managing his shop on H Street.  Nurney has been married for over 30 years and has 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  He co-owns Mason’s Barber Shop with his son, Robbie.  Mason’s Barber Shop is a participant in the “Fatherhood Buzz” campaign.

Otis “Big O” Gamble is still an active barber at Mason’s Barber Shop, a participant in the “Fatherhood Buzz” imitative through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Nurney Mason, the barbershop owner, hired Gamble 45 years ago, and they’ve been cutting hair together for decades.  Mr. Gamble had a successful career in the U.S. Army and as a barber. He  raised three wonderful children, including a son who is retired from the Army and a daughter who is currently a Major in the Army.

Later in the day, the White House  Office of Public Engagement and Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships honored 10 individuals who are doing tremendous work in the field of fatherhood.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder delivered  remarks at the event where they discussed the importance of fatherhood and healthy families to build stronger communities. The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s vision to recognize ordinary Americans who do extraordinary work to serve and strengthen communities around the country. Click HERE to see the full list of Fatherhood Champions of Change.

Joshua DuBois is Special Assistant to President Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Related Topics: Family, Maryland, South Carolina

Remarks by the President at Kenny’s BBQ Smokehouse

Kenny’s BBQ Smokehouse
Washington, D.C.

12:26 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  (In progress) — these guys are also young fathers, and they’re doing a great — he’s got four kids.  He’s got two.  And Michelle and I have been working a lot with military families, trying to support them.  When these guys are deployed sometimes, they’re leaving the family behind.  I just want to make sure they get support.

And then the reason the two older gentlemen are here is, as I was mentioning, barbershops are where a lot of men go — and we want to work with them — we want to work with barbershops to figure out how we can get better information to fathers about resources that are available to them so they can find job training programs; they can find support groups for fathers.  Because the more information we’re getting out there to folks about how they could take responsibility for their kids, make sure that they’re in their child’s lives, help support their mother even if they’re not living with the mother, makes a huge difference.

It turns out that with the father being involved, the kids are less likely to do drugs, they’re less likely to — girls are less likely to get pregnant.  And so that message is something that we want to make sure gets out there.  And barbershops are a good place to do it, so that’s where everybody hangs out — right?

Although I was teasing these guys, cutting their hair wouldn’t be that complicated.  (Laughter.)  You just take a — (Laughter.)  I was just saying you got to give these guys a discount if they come into your barbershop because they’ll only take five minutes.

All right, guys, thank you.  We’re going to eat in peace now.  (Laughter.)

END
12:28 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 14, 2012: Ohio Showdown Over the Economy: President Barack Obama & Mitt Romney Give Opposing Speeches on the Country’s Economic Choice & Path — Transcripts

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

President Obama, left, and Mitt Romney both spoke at events in Ohio on Thursday.
Doug Mills/The New York Times; Kirk Irwin for The New York Times

President Obama, left, and Mitt Romney both spoke at events in Ohio on Thursday.

IN FOCUS: OHIO SHOWDOWN OVER THE ECONOMY: OBAMA & ROMNEY GIVE OPPOSING SPEECHES ON THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC CHOICE & PATH

Ohio Showdown: Obama, Romney Offer Economic Choice: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney gave economic speeches at almost the same time in Ohio today. But their arguments could not have been more different.
Set in one of the swing states that will decide the November election, the speeches laid out the stark contrast Americans face in November between the president’s economic policies and those of his challenger…. – ABC News Radio, 6-14-12

  • Obama Says Election Offers a Clear Choice on the Economy’s Long-Term Path: President Obama laid out his re-election bid as a stark choice between strong government action to lift the middle class and Republican policies he said had led to a deep recession…. – NYT, 6-14-12
  • Obama, Romney to give dueling speeches on economy: President Barack Obama seeks to re-energize his economic message Thursday with a campaign speech in the electoral battleground of Ohio, while certain Republican rival Mitt Romney will offer his take on the economy at the same time in the same…. – CNN, 6-14-12 Romney, Obama square off with Ohio speeches: The Democratic and Republican candidates took aim at each other and the economy in back to back speeches lobbed across the state of Ohio…. – CS Monitor, 6-14-12
  • Obama Says Election Offers a Clear Choice on the Economy’s Long-Term Path: Framing his re-election bid as a stark choice between government action to lift the middle class and a return to Republican economic policies that he said had caused a deep recession, President Obama on Thursday called the presidential…. – NYT, 6-14-12
  • Obama vs. Romney in Ohio: what dueling speeches were all about (+video): In back-to-back speeches in different parts of battleground Ohio, Mitt Romney sought to cast President Obama as hurting business, and Obama sought to move past two tough weeks…. – CS Monitor, 6-14-12
  • Obama and Romney stump in Ohio: In a set of dueling speeches Thursday in Ohio, President Obama and Mitt Romney highlighted the state’s ongoing role as a political kingmakerand center of this year’s election fight over the condition of the economy. Romney opened up in Cincinnati…. – USA Today, 6-14-12
  • Obama and Romney face off across Ohio: President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney dueled Thursday from opposite ends of a state vital to their November chances, framing the election as a choice between failure and economic progress — and differing sharply on who was…. – LAT, 6-14-12

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMY SPEECH IN OHIO


    Doug Mills/The New York Times
    President Obama delivered a speech on the economy on Thursday in Cleveland.

  • Obama says election will determine course of economy: President Barack Obama cast his re-election battle with Mitt Romney as a clash between starkly different economic visions on Thursday…. – Reuters, 6-14-12
  • President Obama rips Mitt Romney in economy reset speech: President Barack Obama delivered an extensive rebuke of Mitt Romney’s proposed agenda as he sought to reset his stumbling re-election…. – Politico, 6-14-12
  • Obama: Election is chance for voters to break stalemate about where country is headed: President Barack Obama says November’s election will give voters the chance to break a stalemate about America’s direction. Obama said at a campaign speech in battleground Ohio that his race against Republican Mitt Romney will present…. – WaPo, 6-14-12
  • Obama’s economic speech: What’s he trying to accomplish? (+video): Reelection bids often play out as a referendum on the incumbent’s first term. Romney is trying to make that the case. But Obama wants the focus to be on competing economic visions for the future…. – CS Monitor, 6-14-12
  • Obama: Election is chance for voters to break stalemate about where country is headed: President Barack Obama says November’s election will give voters the chance to break a stalemate about America’s direction. Obama said at a campaign speech in battleground Ohio that his race against Republican Mitt Romney will present…. – WaPo, 6-14-12

Remarks by the President on the Economy — Cleveland, OH

Cuyahoga Community College
Cleveland, Ohio

2:02 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Good afternoon, everybody.  (Applause.)  It is great to be back in Cleveland.  (Applause.)  It is great to be back here at Cuyahoga Community College.  (Applause.)

I want to, first of all, thank Angela for her introduction and sharing her story.  I know her daughter is very proud of her — I know her daughter is here today.  So give her a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  I want to thank your president, Dr. Jerry-Sue Thornton.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank some members of Congress who made the trip today — Representative Marcia Fudge, Representative Betty Sutton, and Representative Marcy Kaptur.  (Applause.)

Now, those of you who have a seat, feel free to sit down.  (Laughter and applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

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

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

So, Ohio, over the next five months, this election will take many twists and many turns.  Polls will go up and polls will go down.  There will be no shortage of gaffes and controversies that keep both campaigns busy and give the press something to write about.  You may have heard I recently made my own unique contribution to that process.  (Laughter.)  It wasn’t the first time; it won’t be the last.  (Laughter.)

And in the coming weeks, Governor Romney and I will spend time debating our records and our experience — as we should.  But though we will have many differences over the course of this campaign, there’s one place where I stand in complete agreement with my opponent:  This election is about our economic future.  (Applause.)

Yes, foreign policy matters.  Social issues matter.  But more than anything else, this election presents a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how to create strong, sustained growth; how to pay down our long-term debt; and most of all, how to generate good, middle-class jobs so people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.  (Applause.)

Now, this isn’t some abstract debate.  This is not another trivial Washington argument.  I have said that this is the defining issue of our time — and I mean it.  I said that this is a make-or-break moment for America’s middle class — and I believe it.  The decisions we make in the next few years on everything from debt and taxes to energy and education will have an enormous impact on this country and on the country we pass on to our children.

Now, these challenges are not new.  We’ve been wrestling with these issues for a long time.  The problems we’re facing right now have been more than a decade in the making.  And what is holding us back is not a lack of big ideas.  It isn’t a matter of finding the right technical solution.  Both parties have laid out their policies on the table for all to see.  What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction America should take.

And this election is your chance to break that stalemate.  (Applause.)

At stake is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two paths for our country.  And while there are many things to discuss in this campaign, nothing is more important than an honest debate about where these two paths would lead us.

Now, that debate starts with an understanding of where we are and how we got here.

Long before the economic crisis of 2008, the basic bargain at the heart of this country had begun to erode.  For more than a decade, it had become harder to find a job that paid the bills — harder to save, harder to retire; harder to keep up with rising costs of gas and health care and college tuitions.  You know that; you lived it.  (Applause.)

During that decade, there was a specific theory in Washington about how to meet this challenge.  We were told that huge tax cuts — especially for the wealthiest Americans — would lead to faster job growth.  We were told that fewer regulations — especially for big financial institutions and corporations — would bring about widespread prosperity.  We were told that it was okay to put two wars on the nation’s credit card; that tax cuts would create enough growth to pay for themselves.  That’s what we were told.  So how did this economic theory work out?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Terrible.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  For the wealthiest Americans, it worked out pretty well.  Over the last few decades, the income of the top 1 percent grew by more than 275 percent — to an average of $1.3 million a year.  Big financial institutions, corporations saw their profits soar.  But prosperity never trickled down to the middle class.

From 2001 to 2008, we had the slowest job growth in half a century.  The typical family saw their incomes fall.  The failure to pay for the tax cuts and the wars took us from record surpluses under President Bill Clinton to record deficits.  And it left us unprepared to deal with the retirement of an aging population that’s placing a greater strain on programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Without strong enough regulations, families were enticed, and sometimes tricked, into buying homes they couldn’t afford.  Banks and investors were allowed to package and sell risky mortgages.  Huge, reckless bets were made with other people’s money on the line.  And too many from Wall Street to Washington simply looked the other way.

For a while, credit cards and home equity loans papered over the reality of this new economy — people borrowed money to keep up.  But the growth that took place during this time period turned out to be a house of cards.  And in the fall of 2008, it all came tumbling down — with a financial crisis that plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Here in America, families’ wealth declined at a rate nearly seven times faster than when the market crashed in 1929.  Millions of homes were foreclosed.  Our deficit soared.  And nine million of our citizens lost their jobs — 9 million hardworking Americans who had met their responsibilities, but were forced to pay for the irresponsibility of others.

In other words, this was not your normal recession.  Throughout history, it has typically taken countries up to 10 years to recover from financial crises of this magnitude.  Today, the economies of many European countries still aren’t growing.  And their unemployment rate averages around 11 percent.

But here in the United States, Americans showed their grit and showed their determination.  We acted fast.  Our economy started growing again six months after I took office and it has continued to grow for the last three years.  (Applause.)

Our businesses have gone back to basics and created over 4 million jobs in the last 27 months — (applause) — more private sector jobs than were created during the entire seven years before this crisis — in a little over two years.  (Applause.)

Manufacturers have started investing in America again — including right here in Ohio.  (Applause.)  And across America, we’ve seen them create almost 500,000 jobs in the last 27 months — the strongest period of manufacturing job growth since 1995.  (Applause.)

And when my opponent and others were arguing that we should let Detroit go bankrupt, we made a bet on American workers and the ingenuity of American companies — and today our auto industry is back on top of the world.  (Applause.)

But let’s be clear:  Not only are we digging out of a hole that is 9 million jobs deep, we’re digging out from an entire decade where 6 million manufacturing jobs left our shores; where costs rose but incomes and wages didn’t; and where the middle class fell further and further behind.

So recovering from the crisis of 2008 has always been the first and most urgent order of business — but it’s not enough.  Our economy won’t be truly healthy until we reverse that much longer and profound erosion of middle-class jobs and middle-class incomes.

So the debate in this election is not about whether we need to grow faster, or whether we need to create more jobs, or whether we need to pay down our debt.  Of course the economy isn’t where it needs to be.  Of course we have a lot more work to do.  Everybody knows that.  The debate in this election is about how we grow faster, and how we create more jobs, and how we pay down our debt.  (Applause.)  That’s the question facing the American voter.  And in this election, you have two very different visions to choose from.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  No, we don’t! (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Obama!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Governor Romney and his allies in Congress believe deeply in the theory that we tried during the last decade — the theory that the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.  So they maintain that if we eliminate most regulations, if we cut taxes by trillions of dollars, if we strip down government to national security and a few other basic functions, then the power of businesses to create jobs and prosperity will be unleashed, and that will automatically benefit us all.

That’s what they believe.  This is their economic plan.  It has been placed before Congress.  Governor Romney has given speeches about it, and it’s on his website.  So if they win the election, their agenda will be simple and straightforward.  They have spelled it out:  They promise to roll back regulations on banks and polluters, on insurance companies and oil companies.  They’ll roll back regulations designed to protect consumers and workers.  They promise to not only keep all of the Bush tax cuts in place, but add another $5 trillion in tax cuts on top of that.

Now, an independent study says that about 70 percent of this new, $5 trillion tax cut would go to folks making over $200,000 a year.  And folks making over a million dollars a year would get an average tax cut of about 25 percent.

Now, this is not my opinion.  This is not political spin.  This is precisely what they have proposed.

Now, your next question may be, how do you spend $5 trillion on a tax cut and still bring down the deficit?  Well, they tell us they’ll start by cutting nearly a trillion dollars from the part of our budget that includes everything from education and job training to medical research and clean energy.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I want to be very fair here.  I want to be clear.  They haven’t specified exactly where the knife would fall.  But here’s some of what would happen if that cut that they’ve proposed was spread evenly across the budget:  10 million college students would lose an average of $1,000 each in financial aid; 200,000 children would lose the chance to get an early education in the Head Start program.  There would be 1,600 fewer medical research grants for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS; 4,000 fewer scientific research grants, eliminating support for 48,000 researchers, students and teachers.

Now, again, they have not specified which of these cuts they choose from.  But if they want to make smaller cuts to areas like science or medical research, then they’d have to cut things like financial aid or education even further.  But either way, the cuts to this part of the budget would be deeper than anything we’ve ever seen in modern times.

Not only does their plan eliminate health insurance for 33 million Americans by repealing the Affordable Care Act —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  — according to the independent Kaiser Family Foundation, it would also take away coverage from another 19 million Americans who rely on Medicaid — including millions of nursing home patients, and families who have children with autism and other disabilities.  And they proposed turning Medicare into a voucher program, which will shift more costs to seniors and eventually end the program as we know it.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Even if you make all the cuts that they’ve proposed, the math still doesn’t allow you to pay for a new, $5 trillion tax cut and bring down the deficit at the same time.  So Mr. Romney and his allies have told us we can get the rest of the way there by reforming the tax code and taking away certain tax breaks and deductions that, again, they haven’t specified.  They haven’t named them, but they said we can do it.

But here’s the problem:  The only tax breaks and deductions that get you anywhere close to $5 trillion are those that help middle-class families afford health care and college and retirement and homeownership.  Without those tax benefits, tens of millions of middle-class families will end up paying higher taxes.  Many of you would end up paying higher taxes to pay for this other tax cut.

And keep in mind that all of this is just to pay for their new $5 trillion tax cut.  If you want to close the deficit left by the Bush tax cuts, we’d have to make deeper cuts or raise middle-class taxes even more.

This is not spin.  This is not my opinion.  These are facts.  This is what they’re presenting as their plan.  This is their vision.  There is nothing new — just what Bill Clinton has called the same ideas they’ve tried before, except on steroids.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, I understand I’ve got a lot of supporters here, but I want to speak to everybody who’s watching who may not be a supporter — may be undecided, or thinking about voting the other way.  If you agree with the approach I just described, if you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, like I said, I know I’ve got supporters here.   No, no, you should vote for his allies in Congress.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  You should take them at their word, and they will take America down this path.  And Mr. Romney is qualified to deliver on that plan.  (Laughter and applause.)  No, he is.  (Applause.)  I’m giving you an honest presentation of what he’s proposing.

Now, I’m looking forward to the press following up and making sure that you know I’m not exaggerating.  (Applause.)

I believe their approach is wrong.  And I’m not alone.  I have not seen a single independent analysis that says my opponent’s economic plan would actually reduce the deficit.  Not one.  Even analysts who may agree with parts of his economic theory don’t believe that his plan would create more jobs in the short term.  They don’t claim his plan would help folks looking for work right now.

In fact, just the other week, one economist from Moody’s said the following about Mr. Romney’s plan — and I’m quoting here — “On net, all of these policies would do more harm in the short term.  If we implemented all of his policies, it would push us deeper into recession and make the recovery slower.”

That’s not my spin.  That’s not my opinion.  That’s what independent economic analysis says.

As for the long term, remember that the economic vision of Mr. Romney and his allies in Congress was tested just a few years ago.  We tried this.  Their policies did not grow the economy.  They did not grow the middle class.  They did not reduce our debt.  Why would we think that they would work better this time?  (Applause.)

We can’t afford to jeopardize our future by repeating the mistakes of the past — not now, not when there’s so much at stake.  (Applause.)

I’ve got a different vision for America.  (Applause.)  I believe that you can’t bring down the debt without a strong and growing economy.  And I believe you can’t have a strong and growing economy without a strong and growing middle class.  (Applause.)

This has to be our North Star — an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class, that provides ladders of opportunity for folks who aren’t yet in the middle class.

You see, we’ll never be able to compete with some countries when it comes to paying workers lower wages or letting companies do more polluting.  That’s a race to the bottom that we should not want to win.  (Applause.)  Because those countries don’t have a strong middle class; they don’t have our standard of living.  (Applause.)

The race I want us to win — the race I know we can win — is a race to the top.  I see an America with the best-educated, best-trained workers in the world; an America with a commitment to research and development that is second to none, especially when it comes to new sources of energy and high-tech manufacturing.  I see a country that offers businesses the fastest, most reliable transportation and communication systems of anywhere on Earth.  (Applause.)

I see a future where we pay down our deficit in a way that is balanced — not by placing the entire burden on the middle class and the poor, but by cutting out programs we can’t afford, and asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute their fair share.  (Applause.)

That’s my vision for America:  Education.  Energy.  Innovation.  Infrastructure.  And a tax code focused on American job creation and balanced deficit reduction.  (Applause.)

This is the vision behind the jobs plan I sent Congress back in September — a bill filled with bipartisan ideas that, according to independent economists, would create up to 1 million additional jobs if passed today.

This is the vision behind the deficit plan I sent to Congress back in September — a detailed proposal that would reduce our deficit by $4 trillion through shared sacrifice and shared responsibility.

This is the vision I intend to pursue in my second term as President — (applause) — because I believe if we do these things — if we do these things, more companies will start here, and stay here, and hire here; and more Americans will be able to find jobs that support a middle-class lifestyle.

Understand, despite what you hear from my opponent, this has never been a vision about how government creates jobs or has the answers to all our problems.  Over the last three years, I’ve cut taxes for the typical working family by $3,600.  (Applause.)  I’ve cut taxes for small businesses 18 times.  (Applause.)  I have approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.  And I’m implementing over 500 reforms to fix regulations that were costing folks too much for no reason.

I’ve asked Congress for the authority to reorganize the federal government that was built for the last century — I want to make it work for the 21st century.  (Applause.)  A federal government that is leaner and more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.

I’ve signed a law that cuts spending and reduces our deficit by $2 trillion.  My own deficit plan would strengthen Medicare and Medicaid for the long haul by slowing the growth of health care costs — not shifting them to seniors and vulnerable families.  (Applause.)  And my plan would reduce our yearly domestic spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy in nearly 60 years.

So, no, I don’t believe the government is the answer to all our problems.  I don’t believe every regulation is smart, or that every tax dollar is spent wisely.  I don’t believe that we should be in the business of helping people who refuse to help themselves.  (Applause.)  But I do share the belief of our first Republican President, from my home state — Abraham Lincoln — that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.  (Applause.)

That’s how we built this country — together.  We constructed railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  We did those things together.  We sent my grandfather’s generation to college on the GI Bill — together.  (Applause.)  We instituted a minimum wage and rules that protected people’s bank deposits — together.  (Applause.)

Together, we touched the surface of the moon, unlocked the mystery of the atom, connected the world through our own science and imagination.

We haven’t done these things as Democrats or Republicans.  We’ve done them as Americans.  (Applause.)

As much as we might associate the GI Bill with Franklin Roosevelt, or Medicare with Lyndon Johnson, it was a Republican — Lincoln — who launched the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Academy of Sciences, land-grant colleges.  It was a Republican — Eisenhower — who launched the Interstate Highway System and a new era of scientific research.  It was Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency; Reagan who worked with Democrats to save Social Security, — and who, by the way, raised taxes to help pay down an exploding deficit.  (Applause.)

Yes, there have been fierce arguments throughout our history between both parties about the exact size and role of government — some honest disagreements.  But in the decades after World War II, there was a general consensus that the market couldn’t solve all of our problems on its own; that we needed certain investments to give hardworking Americans skills they needed to get a good job, and entrepreneurs the platforms they needed to create good jobs; that we needed consumer protections that made American products safe and American markets sound.

In the last century, this consensus — this shared vision  — led to the strongest economic growth and the largest middle class that the world has ever known.  It led to a shared prosperity.

It is this vision that has guided all my economic policies during my first term as President — whether in the design of a health care law that relies on private insurance, or an approach to Wall Street reform that encourages financial innovation but guards against reckless risk-taking.  It’s this vision that Democrats and Republicans used to share that Mr. Romney and the current Republican Congress have rejected — in favor of a “no holds barred,” “government is the enemy,” “market is everything” approach.

And it is this shared vision that I intend to carry forward in this century as President — because it is a vision that has worked for the American middle class and everybody who’s striving to get into the middle class.  (Applause.)

Let me be more specific.  Think about it.  In an age where we know good jobs depend on high skills, now is not the time to scale back our commitment to education.  (Applause.)  Now is the time to move forward and make sure we have the best-educated, best-trained workers in the world.  (Applause.)

My plan for education doesn’t just rely on more money, or more dictates from Washington.  We’re challenging every state and school district to come up with their own innovative plans to raise student achievement.  And they’re doing just that.  I want to give schools more flexibility so that they don’t have to teach to the test, and so they can remove teachers who just aren’t helping our kids learn.  (Applause.)

But, look, if we want our country to be a magnet for middle-class jobs in the 21st century, we also have to invest more in education and training.  I want to recruit an army of new teachers, and pay teachers better — (applause) — and train more of them in areas like math and science.  (Applause.)

I have a plan to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges just like this one and learn the skills that businesses are looking for right now.  (Applause.)  I have a plan to make it easier for people to afford a higher education that’s essential in today’s economy.

And if we truly want to make this country a destination for talent and ingenuity from all over the world, we won’t deport hardworking, responsible young immigrants who have grown up here or received advanced degrees here.  (Applause.)  We’ll let them earn the chance to become American citizens so they can grow our economy and start new businesses right here instead of someplace else.  (Applause.)

Now is not the time to go back to a greater reliance on fossil fuels from foreign countries.  Now is the time to invest more in the clean energy that we can make right here in America.  (Applause.)

My plan for energy doesn’t ignore the vast resources we already have in this country.  We’re producing more oil than we have in over a decade.  But if we truly want to gain control of our energy future, we’ve got to recognize that pumping more oil isn’t enough.

We have to encourage the unprecedented boom in American natural gas.  We have to provide safe nuclear energy and the technology to help coal burn cleaner than before.  We have to become the global leader in renewable energy — wind and solar, and the next generation of biofuels, in electric cars and energy-efficient buildings.  (Applause.)

So my plan would end the government subsidies to oil companies that have rarely been more profitable — let’s double down on a clean energy industry that has never been more promising.  (Applause.)

And I want to put in place a new clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation — an approach that would make clean energy the profitable kind of energy for every business in America.

With growing competition from countries like China and India, now is not the time for America to walk away from research and development.  Now is the time to invest even more  — (applause) — so that the great innovations of this century take place in the United States of America.  So that the next Thomas Edison, the next Wright Brothers is happening here, in Ohio, or Michigan, or California.  (Applause.)

My plan to encourage innovation isn’t about throwing money at just any project or new idea.  It’s about supporting the work of our most promising scientists, our most promising researchers and entrepreneurs.

My plan would make the R&D tax credit permanent.  But the private sector can’t do it alone, especially when it comes to basic research.  It’s not always profitable in the short term.  And in the last century, research that we funded together through our tax dollars helped lay the foundation for the Internet and GPS and Google, and the countless companies and jobs that followed.  The private sector came in and created these incredible companies, but we, together, made the initial investment to make it possible.

It’s given rise to miraculous cures that have reduced suffering and saved lives.  This has always been America’s biggest economic advantage — our science and our innovation.  Why would we reverse that commitment right now when it’s never been more important?

At a time when we have so much deferred maintenance on our nation’s infrastructure — schools that are crumbling, roads that are broken, bridges that are buckling — now is not the time to saddle American businesses with crumbling roads and bridges.  Now is the time to rebuild America.  (Applause.)

So my plan would take half the money we’re no longer spending on war — let’s use it to do some nation-building here at home.  Let’s put some folks to work right here at home.  (Applause.)

My plan would get rid of pet projects and government boondoggles and bridges to nowhere.  (Laughter.)  But if we want businesses to come here and to hire here, we have to provide the highways and the runways and the ports and the broadband access, all of which move goods and products and information across the globe.

My plan sets up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans for new construction projects based on two criteria:  how badly are they needed, and how much good will they do for the economy.  (Applause.)

And finally, I think it’s time we took on our fiscal problems in an honest, balanced, responsible way.  Everybody agrees that our deficits and debt are an issue that we’ve got to tackle.  My plan to reform the tax code recognizes that government can’t bring back every job that’s been outsourced or every factory that’s closed its doors.  But we sure can stop giving tax breaks to businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America — in Ohio, in Cleveland, in Pennsylvania.  (Applause.)

And if we want to get the deficit under control — really, not just pretending to during election time — (laughter) — not just saying you really care about it when somebody else is in charge, and then you don’t care where you’re in charge.  (Applause.)  If you want to really do something about it, if you really want to get the deficit under control without sacrificing all the investments that I’ve talked about, our tax code has to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more — (applause) — just like they did when Bill Clinton was President; just like they did when our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

And here’s the good news:  There are plenty of patriotic, very successful Americans who’d be willing to make this contribution again.  (Applause.)

Look, we have no choice about whether we pay down our deficit.  But we do have a choice about how we pay down our deficit.  We do have a choice about what we can do without, and where our priorities lie.

I don’t believe that giving someone like me a $250,000 tax cut is more valuable to our future than hiring transformative teachers, or providing financial aid to the children of a middle-class family.  (Applause.)

I don’t believe that tax cut is more likely to create jobs than providing loans to new entrepreneurs or tax credits to small business owners who hire veterans.  I don’t believe it’s more likely to spur economic growth than investments in clean energy technology and medical research, or in new roads and bridges and runways.

I don’t believe that giving someone like Mr. Romney another huge tax cut is worth ending the guarantee of basic security we’ve always provided the elderly, and the sick, and those who are actively looking for work.  (Applause.)

Those things don’t make our economy weak.  What makes our economy weak is when fewer and fewer people can afford to buy the goods and services our businesses sell.  (Applause.) Businesses don’t have customers if folks are having such a hard time.

What drags us all down is an economy in which there’s an ever-widening gap between a few folks who are doing extraordinarily well and a growing number of people who, no matter how hard they work, can barely make ends meet.  (Applause.)

So, Governor Romney disagrees with my vision.  His allies in Congress disagree with my vision.  Neither of them will endorse any policy that asks the wealthiest Americans to pay even a nickel more in taxes.  It’s the reason we haven’t reached a grand bargain to bring down our deficit — not with my plan, not with the Bowles-Simpson plan, not with the so-called Gang of Six plan.

Despite the fact that taxes are lower than they’ve been in decades, they won’t work with us on any plan that would increase taxes on our wealthiest Americans.  It’s the reason a jobs bill that would put 1 million people back to work has been voted down time and time again.  It’s the biggest source of gridlock in Washington today.

And the only thing that can break the stalemate is you.  (Applause.)  You see, in our democracy, this remarkable system of government, you, the people, have the final say.  (Applause.)

This November is your chance to render a verdict on the debate over how to grow the economy, how to create good jobs, how to pay down our deficit.  Your vote will finally determine the path that we take as a nation — not just tomorrow, but for years to come.  (Applause.)

When you strip everything else away, that’s really what this election is about.  That’s what is at stake right now.  Everything else is just noise.  Everything else is just a distraction.  (Applause.)

From now until then, both sides will spend tons of money on TV ads.  The other side will spend over a billion dollars on ads that tell you the economy is bad, that it’s all my fault — (applause) — that I can’t fix it because I think government is always the answer, or because I didn’t make a lot of money in the private sector and don’t understand it, or because I’m in over my head, or because I think everything and everybody is doing just fine.  (Laughter.)  That’s what the scary voice in the ads will say.  (Laughter.)  That’s what Mr. Romney will say.  That’s what the Republicans in Congress will say.

Well, that may be their plan to win the election, but it’s not a plan to create jobs.  (Applause.)  It’s not a plan to grow the economy.  It’s not a plan to pay down the debt.  And it’s sure not a plan to revive the middle class and secure our future.

I think you deserve better than that.  (Applause.)

At a moment this big — a moment when so many people are still struggling — I think you deserve a real debate about the economic plans we’re proposing.

Governor Romney and the Republicans who run Congress believe that if you simply take away regulations and cut taxes by trillions of dollars, the market will solve all of our problems on its own.  If you agree with that, you should vote for them.  And I promise you they will take us in that direction.

I believe we need a plan for better education and training — (applause) — and for energy independence, and for new research and innovation; for rebuilding our infrastructure; for a tax code that creates jobs in America and pays down our debt in a way that’s balanced.  I have that plan.  They don’t.  (Applause.)

And if you agree with me — if you believe this economy grows best when everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules  — then I ask you to stand with me for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

In fact, I’ll take it a step further.  I ask, you vote for anyone else — whether they’re Democrats, independents, or Republicans — who share your view about how America should grow.  (Applause.)

I will work with anyone of any party who believes that we’re in this together — who believes that we rise or fall as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)  Because I’m convinced that there are actually a lot of Republicans out there who may not agree with every one of my policies, but who still believe in a balanced, responsible approach to economic growth, and who remember the lessons of our history, and who don’t like the direction their leaders are taking them.  (Applause.)

And let me leave you with one last thought.  As you consider your choice in November — (applause) — don’t let anybody tell you that the challenges we face right now are beyond our ability to solve.

It’s hard not to get cynical when times are tough.  And I’m reminded every day of just how tough things are for too many Americans.  Every day I hear from folks who are out of work or have lost their home.  Across this country, I meet people who are struggling to pay their bills, or older workers worried about retirement, or young people who are underemployed and burdened with debt.  I hear their voices when I wake up in the morning, and those voices ring in my head when I lay down to sleep.  And in those voices, I hear the echo of my own family’s struggles as I was growing up, and Michelle’s family’s struggles when she was growing up, and the fears and the dashed hopes that our parents and grandparents had to confront.

But you know what, in those voices I also hear a stubborn hope, and a fierce pride, and a determination to overcome whatever challenges we face.  (Applause.)  And in you, the American people, I’m reminded of all the things that tilt the future in our favor.

We remain the wealthiest nation on Earth.  We have the best workers and entrepreneurs, the best scientists and researchers, the best colleges and universities.  We are a young country with the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity drawn from every corner of the globe.  So, yes, reforming our schools, rebuilding our infrastructure will take time.  Yes, paying down our debt will require some tough choices and shared sacrifice.  But it can be done.  And we’ll be stronger for it.  (Applause.)

And what’s lacking is not the capacity to meet our challenges.  What is lacking is our politics.  And that’s something entirely within your power to solve.  So this November, you can remind the world how a strong economy is built — not from the top down, but from a growing, thriving middle class.  (Applause.)

This November, you can remind the world how it is that we’ve traveled this far as a country — not by telling everybody to fend for themselves, but by coming together as one American family, all of us pitching in, all of us pulling our own weight.  (Applause.)

This November, you can provide a mandate for the change we need right now.  You can move this nation forward.  And you can remind the world once again why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
2:55 P.M. EDT

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY’S ECONOMY SPEECH IN OHIO

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at Seilkop Industries in Cincinnati, Ohio. | AP Photo
Romney takes a new, and sunnier, tack in Ohio. | AP Photo

  • Mitt Romney: President Obama driving U.S. ‘forward over a cliff’: As Mitt Romney campaigned in Ohio with President Barack Obama just 200 miles away, the former Massachusetts governor and presumptive Republican nominee framed November’s presidential election as a choice between economic prosperity or certain failure…. – Politico, 6-14-12
  • Romney Assails Obama for Favoring Words Over Action: Speaking at a family-owned factory in Cincinnati, Mitt Romney tried to take the steam out of President Obama’s economic speech…. – NYT, 6-14-12
  • Romney slams Obama as bad for business as candidates give dueling addresses: Battling toe-to-toe for the first time, Mitt Romney leap-frogged President Obama in dueling economic speeches Thursday to Ohio voters, and ripped his opponent’s record on jobs growth and an American economy stuck in neutral…. – Fox News, 6-14-12
  • Romney delivers prebuttal to Obama speech: Ten minutes early and in a tie with rolled up shirt sleeves, Mitt Romney turned his speech in Cincinnati into a full-throated prebuttal of President Obama’s economic address as the presidential contenders took their … USA Today, 6-14-12
  • Romney says Obama’s talk on economy is ‘cheap’ but his actions ‘speak very loud’: Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama is “long on words and short on action” when it comes to fixing the economy. In a speech Thursday, the likely Republican presidential nominee assailed his Democratic rival’s policies before the…. – WaPo, 6-14-12
  • THE RACE: Romney steps up campaigning in Rust Belt: Mitt Romney is nipping at President Barack Obama’s heels in Rust Belt states that Obama won in 2008 but which polls show are becoming more competitive in a slowing economy. The big event Thursday was a set of dueling and overlapping Ohio economic…. – CBS News, 6-14-12
  • Romney delivers prebuttal to Obama speech: Ten minutes early and in a tie with rolled up shirt sleeves, Mitt Romney turned his speech in Cincinnati into a full-throated prebuttal of President Obama’s economic address as the presidential contenders took their…. – USA Today, 6-14-12
  • Romney says Obama’s talk on economy is ‘cheap’ but his actions ‘speak very loud’: Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama is “long on words and short on action” when it comes to fixing the economy. In a speech Thursday, the likely Republican presidential nominee assailed his Democratic rival’s policies…. – WaPo, 6-14-12
  • Newly confident Romney entering aggressive phase: A space of only five minutes revealed a lot about the aggressive new phase an increasingly confident Mitt Romney is entering. In a poke at President Barack Obama, the Republican challenger timed a speech in Ohio…. – Reuters, 6-14-12

Mitt Romney: “President Obama Hasn’t Kept His Promise To Turn Around The Economy”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 6-14-12

“Now when he was recently elected he went on ‘The Today Show’ and he was asked about what he’d do, how he’d measure his success, and he said: ‘Look, if I can’t turn the economy around in three years, I will be looking at a one-term proposition.’ And he’s right; he is looking at a one-term proposition. He’s going to be saying today that he wants four more years. He may have forgotten he talked about a one-term proposition if he couldn’t get the economy turned around in three years, but we’re going to hold him to his word.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks

Cincinnati, OH

June 14, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney Discuss President Obama’s Failure To Keep His Promise And Turn The Economy Around

MITT ROMNEY: “Now, you may have heard that President Obama is on the other side of the state.  And he’s going to be delivering a speech on the economy. He’s doing that because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy. And he’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better, but don’t forget, he’s been President for 3 1/2 years. And talk is cheap, action speaks very loud. And if you want to see the results of his economic policies, look around Ohio, look around the country, and you’ll see that a lot of people are hurting. A lot of people have had some real tough times and the policies the President put in place did not make America create more jobs.  As a matter of fact, he made it harder for America to create more jobs. Now when he was recently elected he went on ‘The Today Show’ and he was asked about what he’d do, how he’d measure his success, and he said: ‘Look, if I can’t turn the economy around in three years, I’ll be looking at a one-term proposition.’ And he’s right; he is looking at a one-term proposition. He’s going to be saying today that he wants four more years. He may have forgotten he talked about a one-term proposition if he couldn’t get the economy turned around in three years, but we’re going to hold him to his word. Now I know that he will have all sorts of excuses and he’ll have all sorts of ideas he’ll describe about how he will make things better, but what he says and what he does are not always the exact same thing. And so if people want to know how his economic policies have worked and how they performed, why they can talk to their neighbor and ask whether things are better.  They can talk to the 50 percent of college kids graduating from college this year that can’t find a job. They can talk to the people who represent the unemployed. The President said that if we let him borrow $787 billion for a stimulus, he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent, nationally. We have now gone 40 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent. But then he’ll say, well, but the things he’s been doing have been good and helped to create growth and put people back to work. Oh, really? Go check on that.”

President Obama Hasn’t Kept His Promise To Turn Around The Economy

Source: Mitt Romney, 6-14-12

Now, you may have heard that President Obama is on the other side of the state.  And he’s going to be delivering a speech on the economy.

He’s doing that because he hasn’t delivered a recovery for the economy. And he’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better, but don’t forget, he’s been President for 3 1/2 years. And talk is cheap, action speaks very loud. And if you want to see the results of his economic policies, look around Ohio, look around the country, and you’ll see that a lot of people are hurting.

A lot of people have had some real tough times and the policies the President put in place did not make America create more jobs.  As a matter of fact, he made it harder for America to create more jobs. Now when he was recently elected he went on ‘The Today Show’ and he was asked about what he’d do, how he’d measure his success, and he said: ‘Look, if I can’t turn the economy around in three years, I’ll be looking at a one-term proposition.’ And he’s right; he is looking at a one-term proposition. He’s going to be saying today that he wants four more years.

He may have forgotten he talked about a one-term proposition if he couldn’t get the economy turned around in three years, but we’re going to hold him to his word. Now I know that he will have all sorts of excuses and he’ll have all sorts of ideas he’ll describe about how he will make things better, but what he says and what he does are not always the exact same thing. And so if people want to know how his economic policies have worked and how they performed, why they can talk to their neighbor and ask whether things are better.

They can talk to the 50 percent of college kids graduating from college this year that can’t find a job.

They can talk to the people who represent the unemployed. The President said that if we let him borrow $787 billion for a stimulus, he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent, nationally. We have now gone 40 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent. But then he’ll say, well, but the things he’s been doing have been good and helped to create growth and put people back to work. Oh, really? Go check on that.

Full Text Obama Presidency June 13, 2012: President Barack Obama Honors Israeli President Shimon Peres with US Presidential Medal of Freedom — Speech Transcript

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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


U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Israeli President Shimon Peres in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 13, 2012.

IN FOCUS: US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA HONORS ISRAELI PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES WITH US PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM

Obama: Peres is a True Founding Father:
President Obama gives the Medal of Freedom to President Shimon Peres, says Peres “is nothing short of extraordinary.”
U.S. President Barack Obama gave the Medal of Freedom to Israeli President Shimon Peres in a special ceremony at the White House on Wednesday evening (Washington time).
In remarks he made prior to handing Peres the medal, Obama described Israel as “one of our strongest allies and one of our closest friends.” He said that Peres “is nothing short of extraordinary.”
Obama noted that Peres joined the Haganah Jewish defense organization in 1947, when he was in his 20s, and that he ran for President at the age of 83.
“Tonight we have the rare privilege to be in the presence of a true founding father,” said Obama, who noted that Peres “teaches us to never settle for the world as it is. We have a vision for the world as it ought to be and we have to strive for it.”
He stressed that “the security of the State of Israel is non-negotiable and the bonds between us are unbreakable” and added that it is a high honor to bestow the Medal of Freedom on Peres, the “fighter for peace.”
After Obama handed Peres the medal, Peres himself spoke, telling Obama, “I was profoundly moved by your decision to award me the Presidential Medal of Freedom. To receive it from you is a privilege that I will cherish for the rest of life. It’s a testament to the historic friendship between our two nations.”
He added, “I receive this honor on behalf of the people of Israel. They are the true recipients of this honor.”… – Israel National News, 6-13-12

  • Peres calls for renewed peace talks in medal ceremony: Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, Israeli President Shimon Peres called for a renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians.
    “Israel and the Palestinians are ripe today to restart” peace talks, Peres said at the White House ceremony on Wednesday. “A firm basis already exists. A solution of two national states: A Jewish state – Israel. An Arab state – Palestine. The Palestinians are our closest neighbors. I believe they may become our closest friends.”
    Peace talks have been stalled since 2010, with the Palestinians demanding a freeze of settlement building in the West Bank, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisting on no preconditions.
    Peres, addressing about 140 dignitaries in the White House East Room, also thanked Obama for pressuring Iran to end its suspected nuclear weapons program…. – JTA, 6-13-12
  • Israeli President Peres to Obama: ‘We support you’ on Iran: President Barack Obama formally bestowed the nation’s highest civilian honor – the Presidential Medal of Freedom — on visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres…. – ABC News, 6-13-12
  • Obama Awards Peres Medal of Freedom: The White House – It was the latest of many visits Shimon Peres has made to the White House over the decades, but a highly symbolic one for a veteran Israeli leader whose career spans seven decades and whose views about the Middle East have been…. – Voice of America, 6-13-12
  • Obama hails Shimon Peres while giving Medal of Freedom to longtime Israeli leader: President Barack Obama presented Israeli President Shimon Peres with the Medal of Freedom on Wednesday, calling him the essence of Israel itself and a man who earned his place in history long ago. Obama said Peres, who served twice as…. – WaPo, 6-13-12
  • Why is Israeli President Shimon Peres getting the US Medal of Freedom?: While it doesn’t happen every year, it’s not exactly rare for a foreign head of state or of government to be awarded the US Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award…. – CS Monitor, 6-3-12
  • Obama holds talks with Israel’s Shimon Peres, presents longtime leader with Presidential Medal of Freedom: President Barack Obama is set to hold talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres before presenting the longtime Mideast leader with the Medal of Freedom at a White House dinner. Peres was elected Israeli’s ninth president in 2007…. – WaPo, 6-12-12
  • Peres accepts US Presidential Medal of Freedom: “I receive this honor today on behalf of the people of Israel. They are the true recipients of this honor.” The White House decided to award President Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom…. – JPost, 6-13-12
  • Peres advisor: Door not slammed on Pollard release: Nadav Tamir tells Army Radio “it was not a decisive no” from the US on the possibility of freeing the Israeli agent. US President Barack Obama has not slammed the door on the possibility of releasing imprisoned Israeli…. – JPost, 6-13-12
  • White House ahead of Obama-Peres meeting: US position on Pollard has not changed: Peres to receive Medal of Freedom from Obama at White House ceremony on Wednesday; family of late PM Yitzhak Rabin will be in attendance…. – Haaretz, 6-12-12
  • Israeli president’s Medal of Freedom may revive Pollard spy case: Pollard was a civilian intelligence analyst with the US Navy found guilty in the 1980s of passing classified information to Israel and sentenced to life in prison. For several years, Israel did not acknowledge that Pollard had spied, but in 1995…. – LAT, 6-11-12
  • Shimon Peres has journeyed from ‘loser’ to Israel’s most popular public figure: For decades, the joke in Israel went: How do you know when Shimon Peres is headed for defeat? Peres — today Israel’s extremely popular president and on Wednesday a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom… JTA, 6-12-12
  • Peres in meeting with Panetta: Iran must not be permitted to fulfill its imperialistic ambitions: President hails US military ‘whose mission is not to conquer and occupy’; US Defense Secretary reiterates US ‘rock solid’ support of Israel…. – Haaretz, 6-11-12

President Obama Honors Israeli President Shimon Peres

Source: WH, 6-14-12

In a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to Shimon Peres, the President of Israel.

“The man, the life that we honor tonight is nothing short of extraordinary,” President Obama said.

Peres began his career in 1947, serving in the Haganah, the predecessor to the Israel Defense Force. He was elected to the Knesset at age 36. Through the course of the next half century, he twice served as Prime Minister and once as Acting Prime Minister. In 1994, he won the Nobel Peace Price with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (another honoree of the Medal of Freedom in 2012), and Elie Wiesel (another winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) were among those in attendance for the presentation.

The Medal of Freedom was established by President Kennedy and is presented to those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

President Peres joins an illustrious group of world leaders — including Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, and Vaclav Havel — who previously been presented with the medal.

Remarks by President Obama and President Peres of Israel at Presentation of the Medal of Freedom

East Room

7:12 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good evening, everybody.  Please have a seat.  On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House on this beautiful summer evening.

The United States is fortunate to have many allies and partners around the world.  Of course, one of our strongest allies, and one of our closest friends, is the State of Israel.  And no individual has done so much over so many years to build our alliance and to bring our two nations closer as the leader that we honor tonight — our friend, Shimon Peres.  (Applause.)

Among many special guests this evening we are especially grateful for the presence of Shimon’s children — Tzvia, Yoni and Chemi, and their families.  Please rise so we can give you a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

We have here someone representing a family that has given so much for peace, a voice for peace that carries on with the legacy of her father, Yitzhak Rabin — and that’s Dalia.  We are grateful to have you here.  (Applause.)  Leaders who’ve helped ensure that the United States is a partner for peace — and in particular, I’m so pleased to see Secretary Madeleine Albright, who is here this evening.  (Applause.)  And one of the great moral voices of our time and an inspiration to us all — Professor Elie Wiesel.  (Applause.)

The man, the life that we honor tonight is nothing short of extraordinary.  Shimon took on his first assignment in
Ben-Gurion’s Haganah, during the struggle for Israeli independence in 1947, when he was still in his early 20s.  He ran for President of Israel — and won — when he was 83.   (Laughter.)

By the way, I should mention that I just learned that his son-in-law is also his doctor.  And I asked for all his tips.  (Laughter.)

Shimon has been serving his nation — and strengthening the bonds between our two nations — for some 65 years, the entire life of the State of Israel.  Ben-Gurion and Meir, Begin and Rabin — these giants of Israel’s founding generation now belong to the ages.  But tonight, we have the rare privilege in history — and that’s to be in the presence of a true Founding Father.

Shimon, you have never stopped serving.  And in two months we’ll join our Israeli friends in marking another milestone — your 89th birthday.  (Applause.)

Now, I think Shimon would be the first to tell you that in the ups and downs of Israeli politics, he has been counted out more than once.  But in him we see the essence of Israel itself  — an indomitable spirit that will not be denied.  He’s persevered, serving in virtually every position — in dozens of cabinets, some two dozen ministerial posts, defense minister, finance minister, foreign minister three times.  Try that, Madeleine.  (Laughter.)  And now, the 9th President of Israel.  And I think President Clinton would agree with me on this — Shimon Peres is the ultimate “Comeback Kid.”  (Laughter.)

And he’s still going — on Facebook, on You Tube — (laughter) — connecting with young people; looking to new technologies, always “facing tomorrow.”  Recently, he was asked, “What do you want your legacy to be?”  And Shimon replied, “Well, it’s too early for me to think about it.”  (Laughter.)

Shimon, you earned your place in history long ago.  And I know your work is far from done.  But tonight is another example of how it’s never too early for the rest of us to celebrate your legendary life.

Shimon teaches us to never settle for the world as it is.  We have a vision for the world as it ought to be, and we have to strive for it.  Perhaps Shimon’s spirit comes from what he calls the Jewish “dissatisfaction gene.”  (Laughter.)  “A good Jew,” he says, “can never be satisfied.”  There is a constant impulse to question, to do even better.  So, too, with nations — we must keep challenging ourselves, keep striving for our ideals, for the future that we know is possible.

Shimon knows the necessity of strength.  As Ben-Gurion said, “An Israel capable of defending herself, which cannot be destroyed, can bring peace nearer.”  And so he’s worked with every American President since John F. Kennedy.  That’s why I’ve worked with Prime Minister Netanyahu to ensure that the security cooperation between the United States and Israel is closer and stronger than it has ever been — because the security of the State of Israel is non-negotiable, and the bonds between us are unbreakable.  (Applause.)

Of course, Shimon also knows that a nation’s security depends not just on the strength of its arms, but upon the righteousness of its deeds — its moral compass.  He knows, as Scripture teaches, that we must not only seek peace, but we must pursue peace.  And so it has been the cause of his life — peace, security and dignity, for Israelis and Palestinians and all Israel’s Arab neighbors.  And even in the darkest moments, he’s never lost hope in — as he puts it — “a Middle East that is not a killing field but a field of creativity and growth.”

At times, some have seen his hope and called Shimon Peres a dreamer.  And they are right.  Just look at his life.  The dream of generations, after 2,000 years, to return to Israel, the historic homeland of the Jewish people — Shimon lived it.  The dream of independence, a Jewish State of Israel — he helped win it.  The dream of an Israel strong enough to defend itself, by itself, against any threat, backed by an ironclad alliance with the United States of America — he helped build it.

The dream of making the desert bloom — he and his wife Sonya were part of the generation that achieved it.  The dream of the high-tech Israel we see today — he helped spark it.  That historic handshake on the White House lawn — he helped to create it.  That awful night in Tel Aviv, when he and Yitzhak sang a Song for Peace, and the grief that followed — he guided his people through it.  The dream of democracy in the Middle East and the hopes of a new generation, including so many young Arabs — he knows we must welcome it and nurture it.

So, yes, Shimon Peres — born in a shtetl in what was then Poland, who rose to become President of Israel — he is a dreamer.  And rightly so.  For he knows what we must never forget:  With faith in ourselves and courage in our hearts, no dream is too big, no vision is beyond our reach.

And so it falls on each of us — to all of us — to keep searching, to keep striving for that future that we know is possible, for the peace our children deserve.

And so it is a high honor for me to bestow this statesman, this warrior for peace, America’s highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  And I’d ask you to please join me in welcoming President Peres to the presentation.  (Applause.)

(The citation is read.)

MILITARY AIDE:  The President of the United States of America awards this Presidential Medal of Freedom to Shimon Peres.  An ardent advocate for Israel’s security and the cause of lasting peace, Shimon Peres has devoted his life to public service.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the profound role he played in Middle East peace talks that led to the Oslo Accords, and he continues to serve the Israeli people with courage and dignity.  Through his unwavering devotion to his country and the cooperation of nations, he has strengthened the unbreakable bonds between Israel and the United States.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Before inviting remarks from President Peres, I’d like to conclude by inviting you all to join me in a toast, with the words that Shimon spoke when he accepted the Peace Prize in Oslo:

“From my earliest youth, I have known that while one is obliged to plan with care the stages of one’s journey, one is entitled to dream, and keep dreaming, of its destination.  A man may feel as old as his years, yet as young as his dreams.”

Shimon, to all our friends here tonight, and to our fellow citizens across America and Israel — may we never lose sight of our destination.  Shalom, and may we always be as young as our dreams.

L’chaim.  Cheers.

I have one last order of business to attend to.  Before I ask our recipient to come to the stage — while I began my remarks I was not yet sure whether one more — or two more guests of honor had arrived.  I think it would be entirely appropriate at this point for us also to acknowledge two people who have constantly sought to achieve peace, not only in the Middle East but all around the world — one of them happens to be traveling a lot these days on my behalf — (laughter) — and I am extraordinarily grateful to them.  Shimon, I know that you’re pleased to have two very dear friends to help celebrate this evening.  President Bill Clinton.  (Applause.)  And our outstanding Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, President Shimon Peres.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT PERES:  Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, it’s so hard to speak after you, my God.  (Laughter.)  You are so moving.  But thank you.  (Laughter.)

I really was profoundly moved by your decision to award me the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  To receive it is an honor.  To receive it from you, Mr. President, in the presence of my dear family, is a privilege that I shall cherish for the rest of my life.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)

It is a testament to the historic friendship between our two nations.  When I was really young — not like now — (laughter)  — the founder of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, called me to work with him.  For 65 years, inspired by his leadership, I tried to gather strength for my country, pursue peace for my people.  I learned that public service is a privilege that must be based on moral foundations.

I receive this honor today on behalf of the people of Israel.  They are the true recipients of this honor.  With this moving gesture, you are paying, Mr. President, tribute to generations upon generations of Jews who dreamed of, fought for a state of their own — a state that would give them a shelter; a state that they could really defend by themselves.

So, Mr. President, you are honoring the pioneers who built homes on bombed mountains, on shifting land; fighters who sacrificed their life for their country.  On their behalf, I thank you.  I thank America for days of concern, for sleepless nights, caring for our safety, caring for our future.

Tonight, Mr. President, you kindly invited outstanding personalities whose commitment to Israel is nothing less than heroic.  I offer them the eternal gratitude of my people.  Present here, for me is a very moving presence is Dalia Rabin, the daughter of my partner, the unforgettable Yitzhak Rabin, who gave his life for peace.

Mr. President, you have pledged a lasting friendship for Israel.  You stated that Israel’s security is sacrosanct for you. So you pledged; so you act.  So you are acting as a great leader, as a champion for peace.  Thank you again.  (Applause.)

Dear friends, Israel sincerely admires the United States for being a land of the free, a home of the brave, a nation of generosity.  A world without the United States, without the values of the United States, would have been chaotic.  Moses began his journey to freedom by demanding, “let my people go.”  The prophet Isaiah promised nations will take up swords against nations.  A biblical promise became a grand American reality, first and foremost in human annals.

When the Liberty Bell rang in Philadelphia, it resonated throughout the world.  A tired world was surprised to witness, contrary to its experience, a great nation becoming greater by giving, not by taking; by making generosity the wisdom of policy, and freedom as its heart — freedom from oppression, from persecution, freedom from violence and evil, freedom from discrimination and ignorance; liberty that does not fear liberty, liberty that doesn’t interfere with the liberty of others.  You introduced a constitution based on balance, not on force.

Liberty is also the soul of the Jewish heritage.  We didn’t give up our values, even when we were facing furnaces and gas chambers.  We lived as Jews.  We died as Jews.  And we rose again as free Jewish people.  We didn’t survive merely to be a passing shadow in history, but as a new genesis, a startup nation again.
We are faced with the worst of humanity, but also experience the best of humanity.  We shouldn’t forget either of the two.  When we discovered that we were short of land and water, we realized that we had the priceless resource — the courageous, undefeatable human spirit.

We invested in knowledge and turned our attention to the ever-growing promise of science.  Unlike land and water, science cannot be conquered by armies or won by wars.  In fact, science can make wars unnecessary.  Science provided Israel with the unexpected economic goals — it enabled us to absorb millions of immigrants.  Science enabled us to build an agriculture that is ten times the normal yield.  It enables us to build an effective defense against armies ten times greater than us.  Brave soldiers and sophisticated tools brought us victory in life.

But we remain the people of the book.  Yes, my friends, Israel is the living proof that democracy means progress, science means growth, literature and knowledge means enrichment.  Israel today is an innovating, pluralistic society where Jews, Christians and Muslims live together in peace.  It is not perfect, but it is an example of what may happen in the future.

My friends, we live now in and are now witnessing the departure of one age and the arrival of a new age.  The agricultural age lasted for 10,000 years; the scientific age is still fresh.  Yet in 50 years, the scientific age has achieved more than the 10,000 years of agriculture.  This new age has brought new challenges, new dangers.  It generated a global economy but not a global government.  It gave birth to horrors of global terrorism without global control.

The danger is today concentrated in Iran.  The Iranian people are not our enemies.  It is the present leadership that became a threat.  It turned Iran into a danger to world peace.  It is a leadership that aims to rule the Middle East, spreading terror all over the world.  They are trying to build a nuclear bomb.  They bring darkness to a world longing for light.

It is our responsibility to our own people, to our friends throughout the world, to posterity, that the Iranian threat must be stopped, and it cannot be delayed.

Mr. President, you worked so hard to build a world coalition to meet this immediate threat.  You started, rightly, with economic sanctions.  You made it clear — rightly, again — that all options are on the table.  Clearly, we support you and your policy.  (Applause.)

Friends, extremists are using the conflict of the Palestinians to cover their true ambitions.  The majority of the people in the Middle East, in my judgment, are tired of war.  In many homes, families still mourn the loss of their loved one.  I believe that peace with the Palestinians is most urgent — urgent than ever before.  It is necessary.  It is crucial.  It is possible.  A delay may worsen its chances.

I remember that 19 years ago, on the lawn outside this house, President Clinton — dear, Bill — initiated the peace process.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Since then, the Israelis and Palestinians have come a long way together.  But still, hard work remains ahead.  Israel and the Palestinians are, in my judgment, ripe today to restart the peace process.  (Applause.)

A firm basis already exists.  A solution of two national states — a Jewish state — Israel; an Arab state — Palestine.  The Palestinians are our closest neighbors.  I believe they may become our closest friends.  (Applause.)  Peace with the Palestinians will open ports of peace all around the Mediterranean.  The duty of leaders is to pursue freedom ceaselessly, even in the face of hostility, in the face of doubt and disappointment.  Just imagine what could be.

Now, a young Arab generation has opened its eyes and stood up against oppression, poverty and corruption.  They seek freedom.  They need freedom.  They understand that freedom begins at home.  I pray for their success.  I believe that their success may become the success of all of us.

So, President, my vision is an Israel living in full, genuine peace, joining with all the people in the Middle East — former enemies, new friends alike; Jerusalem becoming the capital of peace; an Israel that is a scientific center open to all, serving all without discrimination; a green Israel, an increasingly green Middle East.

My vision is an Israel whose moral code is old as the Ten Commandments tablets, and whose imagination as new as the digital tablets as well.  (Applause.)  Together, our old and modern vision can help bring tikkun olam.  Mr. President, that’s a better world.  It will take a long time before we shall achieve it and become satisfied, as you have said.  I believe that in the coming decade, Israel will be a center of the latest development in brain research.  As the secrets of the human brain are being revealed, people may improve their capacity to choose between right and wrong.

By the way, I am also extremely optimistic about the United States of America.  You are going to be the real greatest source of energy in our time.  You are introducing a new industry, which is not mass production but individual production.  It’s a new revolution.  And you put again science on top of your agenda.

I believe in the coming decade, Israel will be also a center of the latest developments in brain research.  As the secret of the human brain are revealed, people may improve their capacity to choose between right and wrong.  And absent of a global government — government can contribute to world peace.

Dear friends, my greatest hope is that a dawn will arise when every man and women — Israeli or Palestinian, Syrian or Lebanese, young people wherever they are — will wake up in the morning and be able to say to themselves, I am free to be free.  Amen.  (Applause.)

END
7:43 P.M. EDT

Campaign Buzz June 13, 2012: Former Gabrielle Giffords Aide Democrat Ron Barber Wins Arizona Special Election to Finish her Congressional Term

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Ron Barber, second from left, gets a hug from former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, left, as Giffords husband Mark Kelly, right, looks on as Barber celebrates a victory before speaking to supporters at a post election event, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. | AP Photo

Barber ran as a moderate, never identifying himself as a Democrat in his ads. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: FORMER GABBY GIFFORDS AIDE DEMOCRAT RON BARBER WINS ARIZONA SPECIAL ELECTION TO FINISH HER CONGRESSIONAL TERM

Former Giffords Aide Ron Barber Wins Arizona Special Election: Ron Barber, the former district director for Gabrielle Giffords, has won the special election for his old bosses’ seat.
For Barber, 66, victory is bittersweet. The top aide to Giffords was also injured in the grocery store shooting on January, 2011 — he was shot in the leg and the cheek….. – ABC News Radio, 6-13-12

  • Arizona Race to Succeed Giffords Won by Democrat: Ron Barber, whom former Representative Gabrielle Giffords picked as her successor, defeated his Republican rival on Tuesday in a closely followed special election…. – NYT, 6-13-12
  • Former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber wins election to finish her term: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ hand-picked Democratic candidate won a special election Tuesday in southern Arizona to finish her term, defeating a Republican who narrowly lost to Giffords in 2010…. – AP, 6-13-12
  • Ron Barber wins Arizona special election: Ron Barber gave Democrats a much-needed boost Tuesday by winning an Arizona special election that came just one week after the party suffered a demoralizing loss in Wisconsin.
    In a House contest to finish the term of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Barber defeated Republican  to win a southern Arizona-based seat that has been vacant since Giffords announced her resignation in January to focus on her recovery following a January 2011 assassination attempt.
    The special election ranked as the highest-profile contest on a day when six other states cast ballots in House primaries…. – Politico, 6-13-12
  • Democrat Ron Barber Retains Gabby Giffords’s Arizona Congressional Seat: Former Giffords aide Ron Barber beat his Tea Party opponent in an election that was far less close than predicted. Democrats said the victory is a good omen for Obama, but Republicans attributed it to…. Daily Beast, 6-13-12
  • Arizona Voters Pick Former Aide to Fill Giffords’ Seat: Democrat Ron Barber, an aide to former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, won a special election to fill the remaining term of the congresswoman who resigned after being shot in the head … BusinessWeek, 6-13-12What to Draw from Gabby Giffords Special Election: Voters in southeastern Arizona are at the polls Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Gabby Giffords’ retirement.
    The Democratic nominee, Ron Barber, has a very personal connection to Giffords. Not only is he Giffords’ former district director, but he was also shot in the leg and cheek in the assassination attempt on Giffords in January 2011.
    Tea Party supporter and former Marine Jesse Kelly is the Republican nominee. Kelly narrowly lost his 2010 race against Giffords by 4,000 votes.
    While a new poll out Monday showed Barber ahead of Kelly by 12 points, insiders on both sides say their polling shows the race much tighter. Many of those closest to the contest give Barber a narrow advantage…. – ABC News Radio, 6-12-12
  • Arizona voters go to polls to fill Gabrielle Giffords’s seat in Congress: Voters in Arizona were set to select a replacement for former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D) in a competitive special election on Tuesday, but late poll closings left the winner undetermined late Tuesday night…. – WaPo, 6-12-12
  • Special election to replace Gabrielle Giffords set for Tuesday in Arizona: Voters in southeastern Arizona will decide Tuesday whether to continue the legacy of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D) by electing a former aide who was among those injured with her in a tragic 2011 shooting or to punish President Obama…. – WaPo, 6-11-12
  • Gabrielle Giffords’ House seat: Final scramble underway: Democrat Ron Barber and Republican Jesse Kelly made a last-ditch plea for votes ahead of Tuesday’s special election to succeed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as an independent poll showed Barber poised to win.
    With momentum apparently in his favor, Barber spent the day trying to mobilize his get-out-the-vote operation and avoid complacency. The tea party-backed Kelly went on a popular conservative talk radio show and pressed his case that Barber would be a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama…. – Politico, 6-12-12

Political Headlines June 12, 2012: John McCain Introduces Senate Resolution Calling for Special Counsel to Investigate National Security Leaks

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

McCain Introduces Senate Resolution Calling for Special Counsel to Investigate Leaks

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-12-12

ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/GettyImages

Keeping the drumbeat up, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced a resolution in the Senate Tuesday calling for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the string of recent national security and intelligence leaks.

“I can’t think of any time that I have seen such breaches of ongoing national security programs as has been the case here,” McCain said from the Senate floor Tuesday. “The damage to our national security has been articulated by many both in and outside of the administration, including the most damaging that we have seen, including our director of national intelligence saying that it’s the worst that he’s seen in his 30 years of service.”

The non-binding resolution expresses the Sense of the Senate that Attorney General Eric Holder should appoint an outside special counsel to investigate the unauthorized disclosure of classified and sensitive information by administration officials….READ MORE

Political Headlines June 9, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Erik Paulsen Urges Full Repeal of Affordable Care Act

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

GOP Address: Rep. Paulsen Urges Full Repeal of Affordable Care Act

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-9-12

House of Representatives

In this week’s Republican address, Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen underscores the House’s focus on job creation, and says President Obama’s policies are only making things worse.

With the U.S. unemployment rate at 8.2 percent, and small businesses finding it more difficult to create jobs, Rep. Paulsen says President Obama’s health care law may be the worst of what is “standing in the way of a stronger economy.”

“His health care law well may be the worst offender, driving up costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers,” Paulsen says in the address. “It’s making things worse in our economy, and it needs to be fully repealed.”

But Republicans in Congress, Paulsen contends, are working at “removing government barriers to job creation.”

“One of those initiatives, passed just this week, repeals a massive job killing tax increase on medical device manufacturers that is in the president’s health care law,” he says.

Paulsen claims this particular tax is just another “vivid demonstration of why we need to fully repeal this health care law.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 9, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Bill to Keep Teachers on the Job

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama’s Weekly Address: Keeping Teachers on the Job

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-9-12

President Obama is urging lawmakers to help financially strapped states put teachers back to work, arguing that “when states struggle, it’s up to Congress to step in and help out.”
 
“Nationwide, over the past three years, school districts have lost over 250,000 educators.  Think about what that means for our country,” Obama asks in his weekly address. “When there are fewer teachers in our schools, class sizes start climbing up.  Our students start falling behind.  And our economy takes a hit.”
 
When it comes to growing the economy, “teachers matter,” Obama says. “One study found that a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can change the course of a child’s life.  So the last thing our country needs is to have fewer teachers in our schools.”…
 
Just as he did at his Friday press conference, Obama calls on lawmakers to act on his jobs bill to help states prevent more layoffs and rehire more teachers….READ MORE

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama urges Congress to take action now to put our teachers back to work in classrooms, because the best predictor of individual and American success in this economy is a good education.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address., White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 6/8/12

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act to Keep Our Teachers on the Job

Source: WH, 6-9-12

President Obama urges Congress to take action now to put our teachers back to work in classrooms, because the best predictor of individual and American success in this economy is a good education.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Congress Must Act to Keep our Teachers on the Job

In this week’s address, President Obama urged Congress to take action now to put our teachers back to work in classrooms, because the best predictor of individual and American success in this economy is a good education. In 2009 and 2010, we helped keep hundreds of thousands of teachers on the job, but we must do more, which is why the President sent Congress his jobs bill in September that helps states prevent more layoffs and rehire more teachers.  It’s time for our elected leaders to come together and take action on the President’s bill to help our students and economy, and put our teachers back to work.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, June 9, 2012.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 9, 2012

This week, I spent some time talking with college students about how we can make higher education more affordable.  And one of the things I told them was how proud I was that they were making that investment in themselves – because in today’s economy, the best predictor of success is a good education.

That’s not just true for our individual success; it’s also true for America’s success.  New jobs and new businesses will take root wherever they can find the most highly-educated, highly-skilled workers.  And I want those workers to be American workers.  I want those good-paying, middle-class jobs to take root right here.

So it should concern everyone that right now – all across America – tens of thousands of teachers are getting laid off.  In Pennsylvania alone, there are 9,000 fewer educators in our schools today than just a year ago.  In Ohio, the number is close to 7,000.  And nationwide, over the past three years, school districts have lost over 250,000 educators.  Think about what that means for our country.  When there are fewer teachers in our schools, class sizes start climbing up.  Our students start falling behind.  And our economy takes a hit.

The point is: teachers matter.  One study found that a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can change the course of a child’s life.  So the last thing our country needs is to have fewer teachers in our schools.

Now, I know states are still going through some tough times.  I realize that every Governor is dealing with limited resources and many face stark choices when it comes to their budgets.

But that doesn’t mean we should just stand by and do nothing.  When states struggle, it’s up to Congress to step in and help out.  In 2009 and in 2010, we provided aid to states to help keep hundreds of thousands of teachers in the classroom.  But we need to do more.  That’s why a critical part of the jobs bill that I sent to Congress back in September was to help states prevent even more layoffs and rehire even more teachers who had lost their jobs.

But months later, we’re still waiting on Congress to act.

When it comes to this recovery, we can’t fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world.  But there are plenty of things we can control.  There are plenty of steps we can take, right now, to strengthen our economy.  Putting teachers back in our kids’ classrooms is one of those steps.  And there’s no excuse for inaction.  You work hard.  Your leaders should, too.  Especially at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.

I know this is an election year.  But some things are bigger than an election.  Some things are bigger than politics.  So I hope you’ll join me in telling Congress to do the right thing; to get to work and to help get our teachers back in the classroom.  We can’t afford to wait any longer.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

Political Headlines June 8, 2012: Attorney General Eric Holder Appoints 2 to Lead National Security Leaks Investigation

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: AG HOLDER APPOINTS 2 US ATTORNEYS TO LEAD NATIONAL SECURITY LEAKS INVESTIGATION

“They’re intentionally leaking information to enhance President Obama’s image as a tough guy for the elections. That is unconscionable.” — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“These two highly-respected and experienced prosecutors will be directing separate investigations currently being conducted by the FBI. I have every confidence in their abilities to doggedly follow the facts and the evidence in the pursuit of justice wherever it leads…. They are fully authorized to prosecute criminal violations discovered as a result of their investigations and matters related to those violations, consult with members of the Intelligence Community and follow all appropriate investigative leads within the Executive and Legislative branches of government.” — Attorney General Eric Holder

Holder Appoints 2 US Attorneys to Lead Leaks Probe: Two US attorneys are taking over separate FBI investigations into leaks of national security information that critics have accused the White House of orchestrating to improve President Barack Obama’s re-election chances, a claim Obama calls “offensive” … AP, ABC News, 6-9-12

  • Holder Directs US Attorneys to See if Leaks Broke the Law: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday assigned two United States attorneys to lead separate criminal investigations into recent disclosures to the news media of national security secrets, saying they were authorized to “follow all…. – NYT, 6-8-12
  • Attorney General Eric Holder names attorneys to investigate leaks: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has appointed two US attorneys to lead investigations into the possible White House leak of classified information, even as President Obama challenged suggestions that his administration was involved in such…. WaPo, 6-9-12
  • Eric Holder names Ronald Machen and Rod Rosenstein to probe leaks: Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday named two federal prosecutors to oversee investigations into leaks of classified information that have roiled Congress and led to calls for a special prosecutor…. – Politico, 6-8-12
  • Holder appoints 2 prosecutors to lead leak probes: Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday appointed two US attorneys to lead a pair of criminal investigations into possible unauthorized disclosures of classified information, authorizing the two prosecutors to follow all appropriate investigative leads … LAT, 6-8-12
  • Holder taps two US prosecutors to investigate leaks: Attorney General Eric Holder late Friday afternoon appointed two US attorneys to lead separate investigations into unauthorized leaks of classified information, giving the two prosecutors full latitude to follow all potential leads…. – Washington Times, 6-8-12

Campaign Buzz June 8, 2012: President Barack Obama Press Conference Backlash: Mitt Romney, GOP Jump on Obama’s Statement that the Private Sector is Doing Fine — Shows He is Really Out of Touch — Obama Backtracks

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESS CONFERENCE BACKLASH: ROMNEY, GOP JUMP ON OBAMA’S STATEMENT THAT THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS DOING FINE — SHOWS HE IS REALLY THAT OUT OF TOUCH — OBAMA BACKTRACKS

Romney: Obama’s ‘Private Sector’ Comment Will Go Down in History: Mitt Romney wasted no time Friday seizing on remarks by President Obama in which he said that the “the private sector is doing fine,” saying that the remark will “go down in history” as an “extraordinary miscalculation.”
“[Obama] said a number of things and one of the most interesting things he said was this,” said Romney, standing in a park in Western Iowa. “He said the private sector is doing fine.”
“He said the private sector is doing fine,” Romney repeated, slower, putting an emphasis on every word of the phrase. “Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people.”
“Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work or have stopped for work, or can only find part time jobs, and need full time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent?” said Romney.
“For the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a president who’s out of touch,” said Romney. “And we’re gonna take back this country and get America working again.”…. – ABC News Radio, 6-8-12

  • Romney: Is Obama “really that out of touch?”: Mitt Romney jumped Friday on President Obama’s statement that “the private sector is doing fine,” calling the comment an “extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch…. – CBS News, 6-8-12
  • Obama backtracks on comments that private sector is doing “fine”: Just hours after President Obama said the “the private sector is doing fine” and Republican challenger Mitt Romney criticized him for being “out of touch,” the president insisted that more work needs to be done to jump-start the economy…. – CBS News, 6-8-12
  • Obama gets grief for saying private sector ‘fine’: President Barack Obama made Mitt Romney’s day by declaring “the private sector is doing fine” and opening himself to the accusation that he — not the rich Republican — is the one who is out of touch…. – AP, 6-8-12
  • Obama Dials Back Optimism After Romney Criticism: President Barack Obama sought to contain political damage by clarifying optimistic comments about the state of the US private sector, saying it is “absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.”… – BusinessWeek, 6-8-12
  • Obama walks back remark about private sector ‘doing fine’: President Obama this afternoon tried to clarify earlier remarks about the state of the economy that set off a round of criticism from Republicans, including the party’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Obama told reporters that he didn’t mean to … LAT, 6-8-12
  • ‘Private sector is doing fine’? Obama retracts as GOP mocks: President Obama’s remark that the sagging economy is due to cuts in public-sector jobs riled Republicans in Congress, who pledge to extend the Bush tax cuts and repeal health-care reform…. – CS Monitor, 6-8-12
  • Obama seeks to clarify private sector remarks, says it’s ‘absolutely clear economy not fine’: President Barack Obama, seeking to clarify comments about the strength of the US economy, said later Friday it is “absolutely clear” that the US economy is “not doing fine.” Obama spoke hours after saying in a White House news conference…. – WaPo, 6-8-12
  • Romney: Obama comments on economy will ‘go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation: President Barack Obama declared Friday that “the private sector is doing fine,” drawing instant criticism from Republicans who said it showed a lack of understanding of the nation’s economic woes. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney…. – WaPo, 6-8-12

Full Text Campaign Headlines June 8, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Comments in Reaction to Obama Press Conference on the Economy “President Obama’s Comments Show He Is Out Of Touch”

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: President Obama’s Comments Show He Is Out Of Touch

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 6-8-12

“For the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history. It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks
Council Bluffs, IA
June 8, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney Discuss President Obama’s Comments On The Economy

MITT ROMNEY: “Now this morning, the President had a press conference. I don’t know if you heard it, but he called a press conference and pulled people in and said a number of things, and one of the most interesting things he said was this: he said the private sector is doing fine. He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people. Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or can only find part-time jobs and need full-time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent, where the median income in America has dropped by 10% over the last four years, where there have been record number of home foreclosures, for the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history. It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.”

President Obama’s Comments Show He Is Out Of Touch

Now this morning, the President had a press conference. I don’t know if you heard it, but he called a press conference and pulled people in and said a number of things, and one of the most interesting things he said was this: he said the private sector is doing fine. He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people.

Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or can only find part-time jobs and need full-time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent, where the median income in America has dropped by 10% over the last four years, where there have been record number of home foreclosures, for the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history.

It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.

Political Buzz June 8, 2012: President Barack Obama Press Conference: Obama Presses Congress to Pass his Jobs Proposal — Urges European Leaders to Fix Economic Crisis

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington, June 8, 2012. | Reuters

The bully pulpit is really the only source of leverage the president has. | Reuters

 IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESS CONFERENCE: OBAMA PRESSES CONGRESS TO PASS HIS JOBS PROPOSAL — URGES EUROPEAN LEADERS TO FIX ECONOMIC CRISIS

Obama Calls for Aid to States, Says ‘Private Sector Doing Fine’: Amid fresh concerns about the durability of the U.S. economic recovery and the threat of financial shocks from Europe’s debt crisis, President Obama today urged lawmakers to send more federal aid to states and localities to boost hiring, asserting “the private sector is doing fine.”
“We’ve created 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,00 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine,” Obama said during a morning news conference in the White House briefing room.
“Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy has to do with state and local government. Often times, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they had in the past from the federal government. And they don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government does in dealing with fewer revenues coming in,” he said…. – ABC News Radio, 6-8-12

  • President Obama prods European leaders to work on economy: Europe’s economic crisis could send shock waves roaring across the Atlantic that would drag down the fragile US economy and threaten President Barack Obama’s hopes for a second term. The president demonstrated Friday just how deeply he’s…. – San Jose Mercury News, 6-8-12
  • Obama news conference signals rising concern about economy: President Obama on Friday prodded European leaders to take further steps to stabilize their financial system while urging Congress to act on his jobs proposals at home, twin moves that signaled rising concern in his administration about…. – LAT, 6-8-12
  • Obama hits Republicans for lack of action on jobs: President Obama urged Congress to take steps to boost the economy and called on Republican lawmakers to explain why they are not taking action if they don’t…. – CBS News, 6-8-12
  • Obama tells Congress, European leaders to improve the economy, avert a crisis: President Obama on Friday put the country’s economic problems on the shoulders of Republicans in Congress, saying their failure to pass his entire jobs bill is keeps Americans out of work. “If Republicans want to be helpful … they should be asking…. – Fox News, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Congress has ‘no excuse’ not to pass jobs agenda: Facing a slowdown in the US economy, President Obama on Friday tried to inject new momentum behind his jobs agenda, declaring that Congress has “no excuse” not to support his proposals aimed at putting more Americans back to work…. – WaPo, 6-8-12
  • Romney: Obama’s private sector remark ‘out of touch’: Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney seized on President Obama’s comments today about the state of the private sector during a speech in Iowa calling the president’s remarks “out of touch.” “He said the private sector is doing fine.”… – USA Today, 6-8-12
  • Mitt Romney pounces on Obama saying private sector ‘doing fine’: Mitt Romney hit back at President Obama’s comments Friday morning that the private sector was “doing fine,” with the GOP nominee saying it was evidence that the president does not understand the economy nor the financial struggles facing Americans…. – LAT, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Congress, Europe must stem economic crisis: The economy at risk, President Barack Obama accused Republicans on Friday of pursuing policies that would weaken the US recovery. He simultaneously urged Europe’s leaders…. – AP, 6-8-12
  • Obama uses bully pulpit to talk economy: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts talks to Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, about President Barack Obama’s remarks about the economy and Congress’ not approving his entire jobs plan…. – msnbc.com, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Europe Must Act as Crisis Puts Drag on Recovery: Play Obama: Congress Must Act on Economic Growth President Barack Obama pressed Europe’s leaders to take “decisive” action to stimulate growth while dealing with debt, saying the euro-zone crisis is putting a serious drag on the US economy…. – Bloomberg, 6-8-12
  • Obama Urges Europe to Act Decisively: President Barack Obama on Friday said the euro zone needs to take decisive steps to inject capital into its weak banks and deepen collaboration on its financial system and budgets to stem the financial crisis…. – WSJ, 6-8-12
  • Obama to speak on state of US economy, Europe’s woes as re-election campaign: President Barack Obama will address the state of the economy, including the debt crisis in Europe that’s become a drag on the US, in remarks at the White House Friday. The president will also call on Congress to pass proposals that he says…. – WaPo, 6-8-12

Full Text Obama Presidency June 8, 2012: President Obama’s Press Conference Discusses the State of the Economy — Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Proposal — Transcript

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Discusses the State of the Economy

Source: WH, 6-8-12
President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the economy (June 8, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the economy in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, June 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama today took to the podium in the White House Briefing Room to discuss the state of the economy and answer a few questions from reporters.

He began by addressing the ongoing crisis in Europe — America’s largest trading partner — and why it’s an area of focus for his administration.

“If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid,” he said, “It could mean less businesses…for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.”

The President told reporters that, while there are reasons for concern, European leaders have the capacity to solve their problems — and they’ll have the support of the United States in that effort.

The President also said that the continued instability of the international economy is another reason why lawmakers need to do more to create jobs here at home:

[Since] the housing bubble burst, we’ve got more than a million construction workers out of work. There’s nothing fiscally responsible about waiting to fix your roof until it caves in. We’ve got a lot of deferred maintenance in this country. We could be putting a lot of people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, some of our schools. There’s work to be done; there are workers to do it.  Let’s put them back to work right now.

The housing market is stabilizing and beginning to come back in many parts of the country. But there are still millions of responsible homeowners who’ve done everything right but still struggle to make ends meet. So, as I talked about just a few weeks ago, let’s pass a bill that gives them a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates.  That’s something we can do right now. It would make a difference.

Instead of just talking a good game about job creators, Congress should give the small business owners that actually create most of the new jobs in America a tax break for hiring more workers.

These are ideas that, again, have gotten strong validation from independent, nonpartisan economists. It would make a difference in our economy. And there’s no excuse for not passing these ideas. We know they can work.

Read the full remarks from the press conference, including President Obama’s answers to reporters, here.

Remarks by the President

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

10:40 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  I just want to say a few words about the economy, and then I will take some of your questions.

Today, we’re fighting back from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.  After losing jobs for 25 months in a row, our businesses have now created jobs for 27 months in a row — 4.3 million new jobs in all.  The fact is job growth in this recovery has been stronger than in the one following the last recession a decade ago.  But the hole we have to fill is much deeper and the global aftershocks are much greater.  That’s why we’ve got to keep on pressing with actions that further strengthen the economy.

Right now, one concern is Europe, which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis.  Obviously this matters to us because Europe is our largest economic trading partner.  If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid it could mean less businesses — or less business for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.

The good news is there is a path out of this challenge.  These decisions are fundamentally in the hands of Europe’s leaders, and fortunately, they understand the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need to act.  I’ve been in frequent contact with them over the past several weeks, and we know that there are specific steps they can take right now to prevent the situation there from getting worse.

In the short term, they’ve got to stabilize their financial system.  And part of that is taking clear action as soon as possible to inject capital into weak banks.  Just as important, leaders can lay out a framework and a vision for a stronger eurozone, including deeper collaboration on budgets and banking policy.  Getting there is going to take some time, but showing the political commitment to share the benefits and responsibilities of a integrated Europe will be a strong step.

With respect to Greece, which has important elections next weekend, we’ve said that it is in everybody’s interest for Greece to remain in the eurozone while respecting its commitments to reform.  We recognize the sacrifices that the Greek people have made, and European leaders understand the need to provide support if the Greek people choose to remain in the eurozone.  But the Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the eurozone.

Over the longer term, even as European countries with large debt burdens carry out necessary fiscal reforms, they’ve also got to promote economic growth and job creation.  As some countries have discovered, it’s a lot harder to rein in deficits and debt if your economy isn’t growing.  So it’s a positive thing that the conversation has moved in that direction, and leaders like Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are working to put in place a growth agenda alongside responsible fiscal plans.

The bottom line is the solutions to these problems are hard, but there are solutions.  The decisions required are tough, but Europe has the capacity to make them.  And they have America’s support.  Their success is good for us.  And the sooner that they act, and the more decisive and concrete their actions, the sooner people and markets will regain some confidence and the cheaper the costs of cleanup will be down the road.

In the meantime, given the signs of weakness in the world economy, not just in Europe but also some softening in Asia, it’s critical that we take the actions we can to strengthen the American economy right now.

Last September, I sent Congress a detailed jobs plan full of the kind of bipartisan ideas that would have put more Americans back to work.  It had broad support from the American people.    It was fully paid for.  If Congress had passed it in full, we’d be on track to have a million more Americans working this year.  The unemployment rate would be lower.  Our economy would be stronger.

Of course, Congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full. They did act on a few parts of the bill — most significantly the payroll tax cut that’s putting more money in every working person’s paycheck right now.  And I appreciate them taking that action.  But they left most of the jobs plan just sitting there. And in light of the headwinds that we’re facing right now, I urge them to reconsider.  Because there’s steps we can take right now to put more people back to work.  They’re not just my ideas; they’re not just Democratic ideas — they’re ideas that independent, nonpartisan economists believe would make a real difference in our economy.

Keep in mind that the private sector has been hiring at a solid pace over the last 27 months.  But one of the biggest weaknesses has been state and local governments, which have laid off 450,000 Americans.  These are teachers and cops and firefighters.  Congress should pass a bill putting them back to work right now, giving help to the states so that those layoffs are not occurring.

In addition, since the housing bubble burst, we’ve got more than a million construction workers out of work.  There’s nothing fiscally responsible about waiting to fix your roof until it caves in.  We’ve got a lot of deferred maintenance in this country.  We could be putting a lot of people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, some of our schools.  There’s work to be done; there are workers to do it.  Let’s put them back to work right now.

The housing market is stabilizing and beginning to come back in many parts of the country.  But there are still millions of responsible homeowners who’ve done everything right but still struggle to make ends meet.  So, as I talked about just a few weeks ago, let’s pass a bill that gives them a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates.  That’s something we can do right now.  It would make a difference.

Instead of just talking a good game about job creators, Congress should give the small business owners that actually create most of the new jobs in America a tax break for hiring more workers.

These are ideas that, again, have gotten strong validation from independent, nonpartisan economists.  It would make a difference in our economy.  And there’s no excuse for not passing these ideas.  We know they can work.

Now, if Congress decides, despite all that, that they aren’t going to do anything about this simply because it’s an election year, then they should explain to the American people why.  There’s going to be plenty of time to debate our respective plans for the future.  That’s a debate I’m eager to have.  But right now, people in this town should be focused on doing everything we can to keep our recovery going and keeping our country strong.  And that requires some action on the part of Congress.  So I would urge them to take another look at some of the ideas that have already been put forward.

And with that, I’m going to take a couple of questions.  And I’m going to start with Caren Bohan — who is with Reuters, but as we all know, is about to go get a fancy job with National Journal.  (Laughter.)  And we’re very proud of her.  So congratulations to you, Caren.  You get the first crack at me.

Q    Thank you very much, Mr. President.  Could you tell the American people what role the United States is playing in the European debt crisis?  And also, do you think European leaders have a handle on what’s needed to stem the crisis?  And finally, you talked about a number of ideas that you’ve already put forth to shield the American economy.  Do you plan to give a speech or lay out additional ideas now that the crisis is really escalating?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, a couple of things.  First of all, the situation in Europe is not simply a debt crisis.  You’ve got some countries like Greece that genuinely have spent more than they’re bringing in, and they’ve got problems.  There are other countries that actually were running a surplus and had fairly responsible fiscal policies but had weaknesses similar to what happened here with respect to their housing market or the real estate markets, and that has weakened their financial system.  So there are a bunch of different issues going on in Europe.  It’s not simply a debt crisis.

What is true is, is that the markets getting nervous have started making it much more expensive for them to borrow, and that then gets them on a downward spiral.

We have been in constant contact with Europe over the last  — European leaders over the last two years, and we have consulted with them both at the head of government and head of state level.  I frequently speak to the leaders not only at formal settings like the G8 but also on the telephone or via videoconference.  And our economic teams have gone over there to consult.

As I said in my opening remarks, the challenges they face are solvable.  Right now, their focus has to be on strengthening their overall banking system — much in the same way that we did back in 2009 and 2010 — making a series of decisive actions that give people confidence that the banking system is solid, that capital requirements are being met, that various stresses that may be out there can be absorbed by the system.  And I think that European leaders are in discussions about that and they’re moving in the right direction.

In addition, they’re going to have to look at how do they achieve growth at the same time as they’re carrying out structural reforms that may take two or three or five years to fully accomplish.  So countries like Spain and Italy, for example, have embarked on some smart structural reforms that everybody thinks are necessary — everything from tax collection to labor markets to a whole host of different issues.  But they’ve got to have the time and the space for those steps to succeed.  And if they are just cutting and cutting and cutting, and their unemployment rate is going up and up and up, and people are pulling back further from spending money because they’re feeling a lot of pressure — ironically, that can actually make it harder for them to carry out some of these reforms over the long term.

So I think there’s discussion now about, in addition to sensible ways to deal with debt and government finances, there’s a parallel discussion that’s taking place among European leaders to figure out how do we also encourage growth and show some flexibility to allow some of these reforms to really take root.

Now, keep in mind that this obviously can have a potential impact on us because Europe is our largest trading partner.  The good news is, is that a lot of the work we did back in 2009 and 2010 have put our financial system on a much more solid footing. Our insistence of increasing capital requirements for banks means that they can absorb some of the shocks that might come from across the Atlantic.  Folks in the financial sector have been monitoring this carefully and I think are prepared for a range of contingencies.

But even if we weren’t directly hit in the sense that our financial system still stayed solid, if Europe goes into a recession that means we’re selling fewer goods, fewer services, and that is going to have some impact on the pace of our recovery.  So we want to do everything we can to make sure that we are supportive of what European leaders are talking about.  Ultimately, it is a decision that they’ve got to make in terms of how they move forward towards more integration, how they move forward in terms of accommodating the needs for both reform and growth.

And the most important thing I think we can do is make sure that we continue to have a strong, robust recovery.  So the steps that I’ve outlined are the ones that are needed.  We’ve got a couple of sectors in our economy that are still weak.  Overall, the private sector has been doing a good job creating jobs.  We’ve seen record profits in the corporate sector.

The big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction.  You’ve seen teacher layoffs, police officers, cops, firefighters being laid off.  And the other sector that’s still weak has been the construction industry.  Those two areas we’ve directly addressed with our jobs plan.  The problem is that it requires Congress to take action, and we’re going to keep pushing them to see if they can move in that direction.

Jackie Calmes.  Where did Jackie go?  There she is.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I’d like to ask you a couple — about what a couple of other people have said about Europe.  And one is that I’d like to know if you agree with former President Bill Clinton, who said in the past week that the European’s policies that you’ve described here today are much like those of the Republicans in this country — politics of austerity that would take us in the same direction as Europe — if you agree with that.  The Republicans, for their part, have said that you’re simply blaming the Europeans for problems that have been caused by your own policies.  So I’d like you to respond to both of those.  And also, tell us precisely how much time you personally spend on the European situation.

THE PRESIDENT:  Any other aspects to the question?  (Laughter.)

Q    I do have more questions.  (Laughter.)

Q    Is she going to National Journal?  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, in terms of the amount of time I spend — look, I think it’s fair to say that over the last two years I’m in consistent discussions with European leadership and consistent discussions with my economic team.

This is one of the things that’s changed in the world economy over the last two or three decades, is that this is a global economy now, and what happens anywhere in the world can have an impact here in the United States.  Certainly that’s true after the kind of trauma that we saw in 2008 and 2009.

And if you think about the situation in Europe, they’re going through a lot of the things that we went through back in 2009, 2010, where we took some very decisive action.  The challenge they have is they’ve got 17 governments that have to coordinate — 27 if you count the entire European Union, not just the eurozone.  So imagine dealing with 17 Congresses instead of just one.  That makes things more challenging.

But what we’ve tried to do is to be constructive, to not frame this as us scolding them or telling them what to do, but to give them advice, in part based on our experiences here in having stabilized a financial situation effectively.  And ultimately, though, they’re going to have to make a lot of these decisions, and so what we can do is to prod, advise, suggest.  But ultimately, they’re going to have to make these decisions.

Now, in terms of characterizing the situation over there, what is absolutely true — this is true in Europe and it’s true here in the United States — is that we’ve got short-term problems and long-term problems.  And the short-term problems are:  How do we put people back to work?  How do we make the economy grow as rapidly as possible?  How do we ensure that the recovery gains momentum?

Because if we do those things, not only is it good for the people who find work, not only is it good for families who are able to pay the bills, but it actually is one of the most important things we can do to reduce deficits and debt.  It’s a lot easier to deal with deficits and debt if you’re growing, because you’re bringing in more revenue and you’re not spending as much because people don’t need unemployment insurance as much; they don’t need other programs that are providing support to people in need because things are going pretty good.

Now, that’s true here in the United States, and that’s true in Europe.  So the problem I think President Clinton identified is that if, when an economy is still weak and a recovery is still fragile, that you resort to a strategy of “let’s cut more” — so that you’re seeing government layoffs, reductions in government spending, severe cutbacks in major investments that help the economy grow over the long term — if you’re doing all those things at the same time as consumers are pulling back because they’re still trying to pay off credit card debt, and there’s generally weak demand in the economy as a whole, then you can get on a downward spiral where everybody is pulling back at the same time.  That weakens demand and that further crimps the desire of companies to hire more people.  And that’s the pattern that Europe is in danger of getting into.

Some countries in Europe right now have an unemployment rate of 15, 20 percent.  If you are engaging in too much austerity too quickly, and that unemployment rate goes up to 20 or 25 percent, then that actually makes it harder to then pay off your debts.  And the markets, by the way, respond in — when they see this kind of downward spiral happening, they start making a calculation, well, if you’re not growing at all, if you’re contracting, you may end up having more trouble paying us off, so we’re going to charge you even more.  Your interest rates will go up.  And it makes it that much tougher.

So I think that — what we want both for ourselves, but what we’ve advised in Europe as well is a strategy that says let’s do everything can to grow now, even as we lock in a long-term plan to stabilize our debt and our deficits, and start bringing them down in a steady, sensible way.

And by the way, that’s what we proposed last year; that’s what’s proposed in my budget.  What I’ve said is, let’s make long-term spending cuts; let’s initiate long-term reforms; let’s reduce our health care spending; let’s make sure that we’ve got a pathway, a glide-path to fiscal responsibility, but at the same time, let’s not underinvest in the things that we need to do right now to grow.  And that recipe of short-term investments in growth and jobs with a long-term path of fiscal responsibility is the right approach to take for, I think, not only the United States but also for Europe.

Q    What about the Republicans saying that you’re blaming the Europeans for the failures of your own policies?

THE PRESIDENT:  The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.  The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.

And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry.  Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more.

All right.  David Jackson.

Q    Thank you, sir.  There are a couple of books out with, essentially, details about national security issues.  There are reports of terrorist kill lists that you supervise and there are reports of cyber-attacks on the Iranian nuclear program that you ordered.  Two things.  First of all, what’s your reaction of this information getting out in public?  And secondly, what’s your reaction to lawmakers who accuse your team of leaking these details in order to promote your reelection bid?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I’m not going to comment on the details of what are supposed to be classified items.  Second, as Commander-in-Chief, the issues that you have mentioned touch on our national security, touch on critical issues of war and peace, and they’re classified for a reason — because they’re sensitive and because the people involved may, in some cases, be in danger if they’re carrying out some of these missions.  And when this information, or reports, whether true or false, surface on the front page of newspapers, that makes the job of folks on the front lines tougher and it makes my job tougher — which is why since I’ve been in office, my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation.

Now, we have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences.  In some cases, it’s criminal — these are criminal acts when they release information like this.  And we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past.

The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive.  It’s wrong.  And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.

We’re dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the American people, our families, or our military personnel, or our allies.  And so we don’t play with that.  And it is a source of consistent frustration, not just for my administration but for previous administrations, when this stuff happens.  And we will continue to let everybody know in government, or after they leave government, that they have certain obligations that they should carry out.

But as I think has been indicated from these articles, whether or not the information they’ve received is true, the writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally that they didn’t come from this White House.  And that’s not how we operate.

Q    Are there leak investigations going on now — is that what you’re saying?

THE PRESIDENT:  What I’m saying is, is that we consistently, whenever there is classified information that is put out into the public, we try to find out where that came from.

Okay?  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.

END
11:09 A.M. EDT

Political Buzz June 8, 2012: Congressional Leaders Press for Inquiry to Investigate National Security Leaks Used in New York Times Feature on President Obama’s ‘Kill List”

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS PRESS FOR INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE NATIONAL SECURITY LEAKS

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Congress Warns Intel Leaks Put ‘Lives at Risk’:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-12
Top Democrats and Republicans Thursday demanded an end to leaks of classified intelligence because, they said, the leaks are putting lives at risk and jeopardizing future operations.
Thursday afternoon, the senior Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees joined together with Republicans to denounce a recent flood of national security leaks about U.S. covert actions in counterterrorism and espionage, and to announce their collective effort to investigate the recurring issue of classified information being disclosed in the media.
Earlier this week, the FBI has opened a leak investigation into the disclosures in the New York Times last week that President Obama ordered the intelligence community to speed up cyber attacks against Iran with the Stuxnet worm, according to federal law enforcement officials. In recent weeks, there have also been stories about the president’s “kill list” of al Qaeda drone targets and another about the double agent who helped the U.S. foil the latest attempted al Qaeda attack on a U.S. airline.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called recent leaks “one of the most serious of breaches” that he has seen in 10 years sitting on the committee…. READ MORE

  • Pressing for Leak Inquiry by a Special Counsel: Calls for a special counsel to investigate leaks of classified information by Obama administration officials gathered momentum on Thursday after the Justice Department’s national security division partly recused itself from the inquiry…. – NYT, 6-7-12
  • Top lawmakers declare war on intelligence leaks: Leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Thursday they were drafting legislation to further limit who can access highly classified information and possibly impose new penalties for revealing it…. – AP, 6-7-12
  • Obama administration playing dangerous game with intelligence leaks: Senator McCain and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney traded insults this week over intelligence leaks – McCain called the Obama White House “grossly irresponsible” to leak classified information for political gain, while Carney called McCain…. – Fox News, 6-7-12
  • Intelligence committees vow to stop leaks of secrets: The House and Senate intelligence committees announced plans Wednesday to draft new laws against leaks of classified information, adding to an uproar on Capitol Hill over a series of recent stories that revealed details of terrorism threats and CIA … WaPo, 6-7-12
  • Bipartisan congressional group calls for legislative action on leaks: A bipartisan group of congressional members called for an investigation into the source of security leaks that led to stories published by the New York Times, but stopped short of claiming the leaks were made for political purposes…. – LAT, 6-7-12
  • CIA Declines Lawmakers’ Request for Information on Leaks: The CIA won’t respond to a US House Intelligence Committee request for information about leaks of classified data, said Representative Mike Rogers, the panel’s chairman. The committee had asked about last month’s … BusinessWeek, 6-7-12
  • Calls grow for outside probe of US national security leaks: * McCain accuses White House of leaking for election-year gain * Committee chiefs have called for urgent probe of leaks * Leaks have involved cyber-warfare, drone strikes…. – Reuters, 6-7-12
  • Congressional leaders to meet with intelligence chief on leaks: Congressional leaders on intelligence issues will meet Thursday with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on apparent leaks of classified information involving a cyberwarfare program against Iran…. – CNN, 6-7-12
  • Analysis: Despite outrage, security leaks may go unplugged: Democratic and Republican intelligence experts in Congress are joining forces to condemn a series of jaw-dropping intelligence leaks which some Republicans charge are timed to boost President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign…. – Reuters, 6-6-12
  • Senate Will Investigate National Security Leaks About Terrorism ‘Kill List’: Senators John McCain and Saxby Chambliss called for the appointment for a special counsel to investigate leaks in wake of recent articles in The New York Times…. – NYT, 6-5-12
  • FBI Probes Leaks on Iran Cyberattack: The FBI has opened an investigation into who disclosed information about a classified US cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to two people familiar with the probe…. – WSJ, 6-5-12
  • McCain Calls on White House to Plug Intelligence Leaks: Describing the string of recent intelligence leaks to news outlets as “disturbing” and “simply unacceptable,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accused the White House of putting the president’s ambitions for another term in the Oval Office ahead of national security.
    “A really disturbing aspect of this is that one could draw the conclusion from reading these articles that it is an attempt to further the president’s political ambitions for the sake of his re-election at the expense of our national security,” McCain said on the Senate floor late Tuesday…. – ABC News Radio, 6-5-12
  • Axelrod Denies Participating in Anti-Terror Discussions: The communications director of President Obama’s reelection campaign today denied a report in the New York Times that he had sat in on weekly White House meetings on terrorism.
    On Tuesday the paper said that after the failed 2009 Christmas Day “underwear bombing,” David Axelrod started attending the discussions with Obama and top national security advisers…. – ABC News Radio, 6-4-12

Campaign Headlines June 8, 2012: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush Says Mitt Romney Should Pick Sen. Marco Rubio for Vice President, Running Mate in Interview

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Jeb Bush Says Romney Should Pick Marco Rubio as Running Mate

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-8-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Jeb Bush gave an impassioned endorsement of fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, advising Mitt Romney to pick the U.S. senator as his running mate and describing Rubio as “the most articulate conservative elected official on the scene today.”

“Marco Rubio is my favorite [choice], because we have a close relationship,” the former Florida governor told Charlie Rose in an interview that aired on his PBS show Thursday evening.  “I admire him greatly … He speaks with great passion about American exceptionalism.  I think he would lift the spirits of the campaign and provide some energy.  Governor Romney is running a very good campaign right now and closed the gap and leading in some polls, but I think this would be an added bonus.”

In the wide ranging, hour-long interview that aired in parts Thursday morning on CBS’ This Morning and then in its entirety Thursday evening on PBS, Bush said Rubio has had enough preparation to be “one heartbeat away from the presidency” despite being a first term senator…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 7, 2012: President Barack Obama Criticizes Congress for Not Extending Student Loan Rates in Speech at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA CRITICIZES CONGRESS FOR NOT EXTENDING STUDENT LOAN RATES IN SPEECH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS

Obama Slams Congress for Failing to Act on Student Loans:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-12
Touting his efforts to make college more affordable, President Obama Thursday blasted lawmakers for failing to extend low-rate student loans.
“This is a no-brainer,” the president told students at a campaign-style rally at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “I’ve just said to Congress: Get this done. Get it done…this is not complicated.”
Thursday’s event was the latest in the president’s push to boost support among young voters and contrast his education policies with those of congressional Republicans and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney…. READ MORE

  • Obama Criticizes Republicans Over Student Loan Rates: Before an audience of students, President Obama urged passage of legislation that would keep student loan interest rates low…. – NYT, 6-7-12

President Obama Talks Income Based Repayment at UNLV

Source: WH, 6-7-12

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on college affordability at UNLV (June 7, 2012)
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on college affordability at Cox Pavilion at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Speaking today at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, President Obama talked about students loans — a subject he’s personally had quite a bit of experience navigating.

Through the course of their educations — including a graduate degree for each — both the President and the First Lady took on debt to pay for school.

“When we got married, we got poorer together,” he said. “We sort of added our liabilities together.”

In fact, President Obama was serving in the U.S. Senate before they paid off the last of their student loans.

That’s not the future he wants for today’s college students. And in Las Vegas, he talked about one big step he’s taking to help make it easier for everyone to afford a great education:

This is a program that more people need to know about. And we’re going to start doing more advertising about this because this is really important. For those of you who are still in school, you’re about to graduate, as long as you make your monthly payments on time — all right, so pay your bills on time — we will cap the payments you have to make on your student loans at 10 percent of your discretionary income once you graduate 10 percent.

It’s called the Income Based Repayment program. Have questions? Here’s everything you need to know. As part of today’s event, the President issued a memorandum to streamline the IBR process and improve information available to responsible borrowers about student loan repayment options.

Remarks by the President on College Affordability

 

Cox Pavilion
University of Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada

12:53 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Las Vegas!  (Applause.)  Well, how’s it going, Rebels?  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  If you’ve got a chair, go ahead and sit down.  You can make yourself comfortable.  (Laughter.)  If you don’t, you’re out of luck, just stay there. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You look great!

THE PRESIDENT:  It is great to be back in Nevada.  I want everybody to give George a big round of applause for that introduction.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all the students for coming out here — (applause) — on a nice summer afternoon, some of you might be at Capriotti’s or some place — (laughter) — but instead you’re here with us. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You look great!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  I’ll tell Michelle you said so.  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love her too!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I love you back.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  So I’m here today at UNLV — (applause) — home of the Runnin’ Rebels, to talk about what a lot of you folks are thinking about every day.  Now, keep in mind we’re in Vegas.  So in Vegas, you can bet on just about anything.  (Laughter.)  But what the students here have bet on is themselves.  (Applause.)  They’ve bet on themselves.  By earning your degree, you’ve decided to make the best possible investment in your future and in the future of America.  And I’m proud of all of you for making that investment, because it’s never been more important. 

In today’s economy, the single best predictor of success, by far, is a good education.  (Applause.)  And the statistics prove it.  The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  Their incomes are twice as high as those with only a high school diploma.  A higher education is the clearest path to the middle class.

And rebuilding the middle class is what we’ve been all about.  (Applause.)  I don’t have to tell folks in Nevada that we’re recovering from a crisis that cost millions of middle-class jobs.  When that housing bubble burst, it hit people really hard. 
But we’re also fighting back from a long-term trend that has cost working families all across the country that sense of security.  So our job is not just to get people back to work.  Our job is to build an economy where hard work pays off.  (Applause.)

So I want more people to be able to make the investment you’re making.  I want to make it easier for more students like you to earn a degree without shouldering a mountain of debt — (applause) — because even though education, a college education is still a great investment, the burden of debt is serious and it’s hard on folks just as they’re starting off in life.  I don’t want to be a country where a shrinking number of people are doing really, really well and then, a growing number are barely able to get by. 

I want everybody in America to get a fair shot.  (Applause.)  I want everybody to do their fair share.  (Applause.)  I want everyone to play by the same rules.  (Applause.)  That’s the America I know.  That’s the America I believe in.  That’s the America we’re trying to build for you, for my children, for future generations.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you, President Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re welcome.  (Applause.)  Now, look, the fact is, again, I don’t have to tell folks in Nevada we’re still going through this process of recovery from that crisis.  And we’ve taken some tough steps together.  And the good news is our economy is growing again, but we need it to grow faster.  Businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months.  (Applause.)  But to recover all the jobs that were lost in that recession, we’ve got to have them come back faster.  
The truth is the recovery has seen stronger job growth than what happened during the last recession a decade ago.  But the problem is the hole we have to fill is a lot deeper.  The global aftershocks are much greater.  We’re already seeing it.  Just like last year around this time, our economy has been facing some serious headwinds.  You’ve got the lingering effects of the spring spike in gas prices.  You remember that.  It’s still tough on a lot of folks’ wallets.  You’ve got the situation in Europe.

But from the moment we first took action when I came into office to make sure that we did not go into a freefall depression, we knew that all — recovering all the jobs that were lost during the recession was going to take some time.  And we knew there would be ups and downs along the way.  What we also knew though was if we acted wisely and we acted together, if we didn’t quit, we’d come back stronger.  We would do more than just get back to where we were, we would build an economy that would last for the long term.

And, Las Vegas, I still believe that.  I believe we will come back stronger.  We have better days ahead, and it’s because of people like you, because of folks like you.  (Applause.)  I’m inspired when I hear folks like George putting in long hours working and taking summer classes.  Some older students who are retaining — there you go.  I don’t know, you don’t look that old to me.  (Laughter.)  But folks deciding to go back to school — retrain yourself for a new job, the jobs of the future. 

  So you’re working hard.  You’re playing by the rules.  You deserve to have leaders who are going to do the same, leaders who will take action — (applause) — leaders who will do whatever it requires to fight for the middle-class and grow the economy faster.  We may not fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world, but there are plenty of things we can do right here in the United States to strengthen the economy further.  There are plenty of steps we can take right now to help create jobs and grow this economy faster. 

So let me just give you some examples.  Last September, I sent to Congress a jobs bill full of the kinds of ideas that, historically, Republicans and Democrats have supported.  If they had taken all the steps I was pushing for back in September, we could have put even more Americans back to work.  We could have sliced through these headwinds more easily. 

Now, since then, in fairness, Congress has passed a few parts of that jobs bill.  They passed a payroll tax cut that’s put more money in every working person’s paycheck right now.  That’s good news.  We thank them for it.  (Applause.)  But they haven’t acted fast enough on the other ideas that economists, independent economists — not me, but folks who study this stuff for a living — say could have put over a million more people to work.  Now, there’s no excuse for that.  When so many people are still out there pounding the pavement and sending out resumes, so many families are doing whatever it takes to pay the bills — Congress can’t just sit on their hands.  (Applause.)   

So my message to Congress is let’s get to work.  Let’s get to work.  (Applause.)  I know this is an election year.  That’s not lost on me.  (Laughter.)  But at this make-or-break moment for America’s middle class, we can’t afford to have Congress take five months off.  You’ve got to keep working.  You’re not suddenly just sitting around not doing anything.  You should expect the same thing from your representatives in Washington, right.  (Applause.) 

So there are a bunch of things that Congress can do right now.  Let me tick a few off.  At a time when our businesses have created more than 4 million new jobs, unfortunately, state and local governments have lost 450,000 jobs.  That’s been one of the biggest problems in our economy is all the layoffs happening at the state and local level — cops, teachers, firefighters all being laid off. 

Now, those folks provide vital services.  They protect us.  They’re teaching our kids.  Congress should pass a bill — (applause) — Congress should pass a bill like I’ve asked them to do to help states like Nevada put Americans — those Americans who are doing outstanding service on behalf of our communities, put those folks back on the job right now.  That’s something we can do.  (Applause.)

Number two, we know that the housing bubble burst.  Here in Nevada, the construction industry got killed, right?  So I told Congress months ago, let’s pass a bill to put hundreds of thousands of construction workers and contractors back to work rebuilding America — rebuilding roads and bridges and new schools for rising populations and — (applause) — that’s good for the economy now; it’s good for the economy later.  There’s no excuse for Congress to just shrug its shoulders.  Let’s get it done.  (Applause.)

The housing bubble that burst and helped cause this whole mess is still a major drag on the economy.  Right now, Congress should pass the changes necessary to give every responsible homeowner the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage at today’s historically low interest rates.  (Applause.)

I mean, think about it.  If you’re a homeowner and you live here in this state, your house very well may be underwater and so it’s hard for you to refinance.  We did, through an executive order, a plan that allows those of you whose mortgages are guaranteed by FHA to refinance, but we’ve got to have Congress to take additional steps to reach everybody, to reach even more homeowners. 

These are folks who are paying their mortgage every month, but can’t refinance because your home is underwater.  And let me tell you, I was up in Reno last month, met a family.  They had refinanced through the program that we set up and they’re getting an extra $250,000 [sic] a month.  And that makes a difference.  How many people here could use an extra $250 a month?  (Applause.)  And that’s good for everybody — that’s good for everybody’s economy, because if you’ve got that extra money in your pocket, you might help — that might help rebuild some equity in your home or you might go spend it on textbooks or a new computer, and the entire economy gets stronger.  So let’s give every responsible family that chance.  (Applause.)  

Instead of — all right, here’s another thing.  Instead of just talking about job creators, Congress should put their money where their mouth is.  Give small business owners a tax break for hiring more workers and for paying higher wages.  (Applause.)

And then, with all the veterans that are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, let’s make some special efforts there.  We should create what we’re calling a Veterans Job Corps — because no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)

Right now, Congress needs to extend the tax credits for clean energy manufacturers.  Those tax credits are set to expire at the end of the year.  Nearly 40,000 good jobs are at stake — making solar panels and wind turbines and lowering our dependence on foreign oil.  So instead of giving tax breaks — billions of tax breaks — to oil companies that are making a whole lot of money and don’t need help, let’s double down on a clean energy industry that’s rarely been more promising.  And you’re seeing it right here in Nevada.  There’s a lot of sunshine out here.  (Laughter.)  We can turn that into electricity and put people back to work in the process.  Let’s make that happen.  (Applause.)

And while we’re at it, it’s past time for Congress to stop giving tax breaks that ship jobs overseas.  Give tax breaks to companies that are bringing jobs back to the United States of America, that are investing right here.  (Applause.)

All right, so these are all things we’re pushing Congress to do before they go on vacation — (laughter) — but the number one thing Congress should do for you, UNLV, right now, is to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling at the end of the month.  (Applause.)

The clock is running out.  You know, in today’s economy, higher education can’t be a luxury.  It’s an economic necessity.  Everybody should be able to afford it.  But over the last 20 years, the cost of college has more than doubled.  It’s gone up faster than everything else — even faster than health care costs.  We’re at a point where the average student who borrows to pay for college graduates with $26,000 in student loan debt. And let’s face it, some folks graduate with more than that — (laughter) — $50 [thousand], $75 [thousand], even $100 [thousand].  Together, Americans owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards. 

And all that debt, that means folks making really tough choices.  It may mean waiting longer to buy a house or starting a family or taking that job that you really want, because it doesn’t pay enough.  And by the way, Michelle and I know something about this.  We did not come from wealthy families.  We graduated from college and law school, and we had a whole lot of debt.  And when we got married, we got poorer together.  (Laughter.)  We sort of added our liabilities together.  (Laughter.) 

Of course — you know, look, we were lucky enough to land good jobs.  But even with those great jobs that we had, we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago.  Now, think about that.  I’m the President of the United States — (laughter) — it was only about eight years ago that I finished paying off my student loans.  (Applause.)  So I know what a lot of you are going through.  I’ve been there.  I have done that.  When the girls were first born and we were starting to save up for their college education, we were still paying for our own college educations.  (Laughter.)

And we can do better than that.  I don’t want that future for young people.  So that’s why my administration has already taken a bunch of steps.  We fixed a broken student loan system that was giving tens of billions of dollars to big banks, and said, let’s give that money directly to students — use that money to afford college.  (Applause.)  That’s why we strengthened aid, like Pell grants for low-income students.  (Applause.)  That’s why we set up a new consumer watchdog agency called the Consumer Finance Protection bureau, and it’s now working with the Department of Education to give students and their parents access to a simple factsheet on student loans and financial aid — because everybody has got to be well informed.  We call it “Know Before You Owe” — know before you owe.  (Laughter.)  Don’t be surprised — two weeks from graduation you look up, and whap! You just got hit upside the head.  Know before you owe. 

On Tuesday, college presidents from across the country came together.  They agreed to provide clear information about costs, financial aid, and loan repayments to all incoming students starting next year.  So that’s good news all right.  (Applause.)

But we’ve got more to do.  So today, I’ve directed my Education Secretary and my Treasury Secretary to make it easier for millions of students with federal loans to afford their loan payments.  And that includes some of you.  (Applause.)  This is a program that more people need to know about.  And we’re going to start doing more advertising about this because this is really important.  For those of you who are still in school, you’re about to graduate, as long as you make your monthly payments on time — all right, so pay your bills on time — we will cap the payments you have to make on your student loans at 10 percent of your discretionary income once you graduate 10 percent.  (Applause.) 

And this is a big deal, because no matter what career you choose — if you decide you’re going to be a teacher or you’re going to be a social worker or you’re going to go into public service or the nonprofit sector — you’ll still be able to stay current on your loans.  (Applause.) 

So these are all the things we’ve already done.  But understand this isn’t going to make much of a difference if the costs, underlying costs of college keep going up faster than everything else.  So everybody has got to do their part.  Colleges and universities, they need to do their part.  I’ve told Congress, let’s steer federal aid to schools that are doing a good job keeping tuition affordable and provide good value and serve their students well.  If you’re getting federal student loans — colleges and universities — you shouldn’t just be loading up a whole bunch of debt on your students.  You’ve got to figure out how are you working to make sure that they can afford their education. 

States have a role to play.  I see some of my buddies from the state legislature here.  Right now, the amount of money that state and local governments invest in their college students is at a 25-year low — spending a lot of money on prisons, spending a lot of money on other stuff, but we’re not spending enough to make sure that tuition stays affordable.  That’s one of the reasons that tuition has gone up so fast.  (Applause.)

If states can find smart new ways to keep costs down and make it easier for more students to graduate, then we’re going to help them do it.  So everybody has got to do their part — colleges, universities, the states, my administration and, yes, Congress.  Congress has got to do their part. 

I warned over a month ago — I even went on Jimmy Fallon to say this — if Congress doesn’t act by the end of this month, by July 1st, interest rates on federal student loans will double overnight.  That means the average student with those loans — including 8,000 students right here at UNLV — will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt.  That’s like a $1,000 tax hike for more than 7 million students.  How many people can afford to pay an extra $1,000 if you’re a student just because Congress can’t get its act together?  That makes no sense.  This is a no-brainer. 

So I just said to Congress, get this done.  Get it done.  Get it done.  This is not complicated.  Last month, Democrats in the Senate put forward a plan that would have kept these low rates in place, wouldn’t have added a dime to the deficit.  The Senate Republicans got together, they blocked it.  They said, no.  House Republicans voted to keep your rates down only if we agreed to cut things like preventive health care for women.  So that’s not a smart thing to do.  

There are folks on the other side who are coming up with all sorts of reasons why we should just go ahead and let these rates double.  One of them compared these student loans to a “stage three cancer of socialism.”  I don’t know what that means exactly.  (Laughter.)  My grandfather went to school on the G.I. Bill.  There’s a long tradition of us helping people get a good education, because they know — we know that it makes everybody richer.  It makes our entire country more competitive and stronger. 

Some of these folks in Congress, they were saying we’re just talking about student loans to distract from the economy.  I guess they don’t get this is the economy.  (Applause.)  Helping you get the skills that businesses are looking for, that’s one of the best things we can do for the economy.  (Applause.)  Making college affordable, that’s one of the best things we can do for the economy.  (Applause.)  Putting opportunity within the reach of everybody, no matter what you look like or where you come from, that’s what America is about.  But these guys say that students like you should pay more, so we can bring down the deficit they say. 

Now, keep in mind they ran up this deficit for over a decade.  Now, they want to cut loans to students while giving tax breaks to oil companies and folks like me who don’t need tax breaks.  They voted to let millionaires and billionaires keep paying lower taxes than middle-class workers.  They voted to give an average tax cut of at least $150,000 to every millionaire in America, but they want you to pay an extra $1,000 a year for college.  It doesn’t make any sense.  It’s wrong.  It’s wrong. 

Look, here in America, we admire success.  That’s why a lot of you are going to school.  We work and study for it.  And if folks aren’t willing to help themselves, we can’t help them.  But America is about more than just protecting folks who have already done well, it’s about giving everybody a chance to do well.  It’s about hard work and responsibility being rewarded.  (Applause.)  It’s about everybody having the chance to get ahead and then, reach back and help somebody behind you so that everybody has a chance.  That’s what makes us strong.  (Applause.)  That’s what makes us strong.

So if you agree with me, I need your help.  Some of these folks in Congress are a little stubborn.  So, I need your help.  You’ve got to tell Congress, don’t double my rate.  Call them up, email them, post on their Facebook wall, tweet them.  (Laughter.)  We’ve got a hashtag — #dontdoublemyrate.  (Applause.)  

Never forget that your voice matters.  I know sometimes it seems like Washington isn’t listening.  And, frankly, Congress sometimes isn’t.  But we’re talking about issues that have a real impact on your lives, real impact on your futures.  Making education more affordable, that’s real.  Making homes more affordable, making it a little easier for you to make your mortgage payments — that’s real.  Building an economy that works for everybody — that’s real. 

So I need you all to stand up.  I need you to be heard.  Tell Congress now is not the time to double the interest rates on your student loans.  Now is the time to double down on the middle class.  Now is the time to build an America that lasts.  Now is the time to work together, to put people back to work and strengthen our housing market and help our veterans.  Let’s get this done.  (Applause.) 

Let’s remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth.  Thank you, Las Vegas.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END  
1:21 P.M. PDT

Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Mitt Romney Outraises Barack Obama for 1st Time in May — Romney Campaign Raises 16.8 Million More than the Obama Campaign, $76.8 Million to $60 Million

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY CAMPAIGN RAISES 16.8 MILLION MORE THAN THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN — $76.8 MILLION TO 60 MILLION

Romney Campaign Outraises Obama by $16.8 Million in May:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-12

For the first time this year, Mitt Romney’s campaign has bested President Obama’s re-election effort in a one-month fundraising period.
The Romney campaign, along with the Republican National Committee and a joint fundraising committee set up between the two entities called Romney Victory, raised $76.8 million last month, the campaign announced on Thursday. The campaign and the RNC also reported ending the month with $107 million cash on hand.
That massive haul tops what the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised in May by more than $16 million, according to their figures announced Thursday morning.
“It is clear that people aren’t willing to buy into ‘hope & change’ again,” Romney’s national finance chairman, Spencer Zwick, said in a statement. “Voters are making an investment because they believe that it will benefit the country.”… – READ MORE

  • Romney Raised More Than Obama in May: Mitt Romney raised nearly $17 million more than President Obama as the Republican challenger’s campaign was able to link up with the party’s fund-raising operation…. – NYT, 6-7-12
  • Obama campaign, Democrats raise $60m in May: President Barack Obama and his party together raised $60 million last month, his campaign reported Thursday. Obama was mixing more fundraising with official business Thursday as he wrapped up a two-day West Coast trip, beginning his day…. – BusinessWeek, 6-7-12
  • Romney tops Obama’s May fundraising: Mitt Romney outraised President Barack Obama in May, the first time the Republican presidential challenger has jumped ahead of Obama and his prodigious fundraising apparatus. The numbers illustrate how Romney and the Republican…. – AP, Herald Times Reporter. 6-7-12
  • Romney, RNC raise more cash than Democrats in May: Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised a combined $76.8 million last month, outpacing President Obama and his Democratic allies. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee and the RNC said they have $107…. – USA Today, 6-7-12
  • Romney raises $76 million to Obama’s $60 million: This is the first time the Republican candidate has beaten his opponent in fundraising…. – CS Monitor, 6-7-12

Political Headlines June 7, 2012: House Passes Homeland Security Budget Bill 234-182 Under President Obama’s Veto Threat

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

House passes homeland security budget bill

The bill passed on partisan lines, unusual for homeland security questions.

Source: CS Monitor, 6-7-12

The GOP-controlled House passed a $46 billion measure Thursday funding the Homeland Security Department, including more than $5 billion in disaster relief spending that complies with a budget agreement last summer opposed by tea party conservatives.

The 234-182 vote was unusually partisan. Homeland security programs traditionally have enjoyed widespread support, but the Obama administration issued a veto threat against the bill in a protest over unrelated budget cuts proposed by Republicans in excess of last summer’s budget and debt deal….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech on the Economy in St Louis, Missouri — Says Fixing the Economy is Moral Imperative & Obama Failed

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY GIVES SPEECH ON ECONOMY IN MISSOURI — SAYS FIXING ECONOMY IS MORAL IMPERATIVE & OBAMA FAILED

Romney: Fixing US economy a moral imperative: Accusing his rival of a failure of “tragic proportion,” Republican Mitt Romney charged Thursday that the nation under President Barack Obama has failed to keep its “moral commitment to help every American help himself.”
Casting the need to fix the U.S. economy as a moral imperative — but without offering any new proposals — Romney said free enterprise ideas and less government intrusion would help spur a rebound…. – AP, 6-7-12

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks In Missouri: “A Champion For Free Enterprise”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 6-7-12
Mitt Romney today delivered remarks on free enterprise in St. Louis, Missouri. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you. It is great to be here.

We launched this campaign a little over a year ago.  It’s been a remarkable journey. I’ve traveled across this great country and had the privilege to visit with Americans from every walk of life. As those of the traveling press corps can attest, we’ve brought our campaign to every kind of business imaginable, from factory floors to lumber yards to warehouses of every shape and size.

But whatever the business, everywhere I go, I hear frustration and disappointment in the lack of economic progress of the past three and a half years.  Americans are tired of being tired. They’re tired of working harder for less and now for the first time, more Americans are starting to think our future might not be as bright as our past. That lack of faith in the future is a bridge to despair that we cannot cross.

An America that does not believe that tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow will be better is not the America we know and love.

I’ve spoken often of the President’s failures of policy. From the stimulus bill that gave us Solyndra but left us with record unemployment, to the job-crushing over-regulation of the EPA, to the smothering economic effects of Obamacare, this President’s misguided policies have been muddled, confused and simply ineffective. When you look around at America’s economy, three and half years into this presidency, it’s painfully obvious that this inexperienced President was simply not up to the task of solving a great economic crisis.

But today I want to speak to the road ahead and why I believe the disappointments of the past years have been a breach of faith with the American people.

America is rightly heralded as the greatest experiment in self-governance in world history. We are all here today because of a startling conviction that free individuals could join together to decide their fate and that more freedom made us all stronger.

Our example – and commitment – to freedom has changed the world. But along with the genius of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, is the equal genius of our economic system. Our Founding Fathers endeavored to create a moral and just society like no other in history, and out of that grew a moral and just economic system the likes of which the world had never seen. Our freedom, what it means to be an American, has been defined and sustained by the liberating power of the free enterprise system.

That same system has helped lift more people out of poverty across the globe than any government program or competing economic system. The success of America’s free enterprise system has been a bright beacon of freedom for the world. It has signaled to oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors, and given hope to the once hopeless.

It is called the Free Enterprise System because we are both free to engage in enterprises and through those enterprises we ensure our freedom.

But sadly, it has become clear that this President simply doesn’t understand or appreciate these fundamental truths of our system. Over the last three and a half years, record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or simply disappeared from the work force. Record numbers of Americans are living in poverty today – over 46 million of our fellow Americans are living below the poverty line.

This is not just a failure of policy; it is a moral failure of tragic proportions. Our government has an absolute moral commitment to help every American help themselves and today, that fundamental commitment has been broken.

I do not believe this has been done with evil intent or ill will. But for a family watching their house being sold at foreclosure, or the family that is forced to spend their kid’s college savings just to make ends meet, the results are just as devastating.

These are not statistics, these are our fellow Americans. As your President, starting on Day One, I will do everything in my power to end these days of drift and disappointment.  There is something fundamentally wrong when there are over 23 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or have stopped looking for work, and yet the President tells us he’s doing a great job.

I will not be that President of deception and doubt. I will lead us to a better place.

For three and a half years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper into debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. And he has attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity: our economic freedom.

Today, government at all levels consumes 37 percent of the total economy or G.D.P. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, government will reach half of the American economy. And through the increasing controls government has imposed on industries like energy, financial services and automobiles, it will soon effectively control the majority of our economic activity.

One must ask whether we will still be a free enterprise nation and whether we will still have economic freedom. America is on the cusp of having a government-run economy. President Obama is transforming America into something very different than the land of the free and the land of opportunity.

We know where that transformation leads. There are other nations that have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.

I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom.

So for every government-spending proposal, I will ask the following question: “Is this program so important that it is worth borrowing more money from China to pay for it?”  With our nation facing 16 trillion dollars in debt, most times the answer will be an easy and unqualified “no.”  We’ve seen how fast our debt can grow.  It’s time to see how fast our economy can grow, and the first step is spending discipline.

Instead of throwing more borrowed money at bad ideas, I will lower tax rates, simplify the tax code, and get the American economy running at full strength.

Under President Obama, a single, massive law has spread so much uncertainty across the economy, especially to the small companies that employ about half of America’s workers and create most of our new jobs. They have no idea how many more taxes and regulations are coming.  And they sense from Washington an outright hostility toward what they do and what they hope to achieve.

So, as president, I will begin with an equally big dose of certainty across our economy: By granting waivers to all fifty states, I will start the process of repealing Obamacare on Day One.

In a free-enterprise system, we don’t measure our success in equal outcomes, but instead in how well we preserve and promote the equality of opportunity.  And this system has resulted in unrivaled prosperity and made America the greatest nation in history.

President Obama’s vision is very different – and deeply flawed.  There is nothing fair about a government that favors political connections over honest competition and takes away your right to earn your own success. And there is nothing morally right about trying to turn government dependence into a substitute for the dignity of work.

Where my vision believes in the ingenuity of the American people, his vision trusts the wisdom of political appointees and boards, commissions and czars. It’s one in which ordinary Americans must get permission from people in Washington before they can buy, build, invest or hire.

It’s a world of federal mandates and waivers, tax credits and subsidies, federal grants and loan guarantees.  It’s an economy where a company’s lobbyists will be more important than its engineers, and federal compliance lawyers will outnumber patent lawyers.

Business models based on building a better mousetrap will give way to those that seek the right mix of government subsidies, waivers and loan guarantees. And Chief Government Officers will join the ranks of Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operating Officers in corporate America’s executive ranks.

President Obama trusts in the wisdom of government. I put my trust in the ingenuity and creativity and commitment to hard work of the American people.

Looking at the sorry economic record of this administration, it’s easy to lose heart, and even to give up – as so many have in their search for a job.  The President and his team would like us to believe that somehow it’s the fault of the free market that things haven’t gone right.  That’s just another way of saying that it’s your fault, and not theirs, that the real recovery hasn’t yet arrived.

We have waited, and waited, and waited for recovery.  And enough time has passed to pronounce judgment on the economic policies of this administration.  They have not worked.  And you, the entrepreneurs and workers of America, have not failed these past three and a half years – your government has failed you.

Never before has federal policy run so contrary to the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the American entrepreneur.  And with all that we’ve been through these past few years, the challenges can seem awfully big.  Some might wonder if we have lost our confidence.  But confidence is not what is missing – all that’s lacking is direction and leadership.

This President believes in an America of limits, where it is more important to focus on allocating the rewards of success than helping everyone succeed. That is an America of diminished opportunity and increased disappointment, of long unemployment lines and small dreams.

I believe in a very different America. If we embrace the future with leadership that does everything possible to unlock the potential of our economic might, we can enter a new era of prosperity the likes of which we have never seen. We cannot shy away from greatness for fear that some might succeed more than others. Just as every American who can’t find work makes our light shine a little less bright, success breeds success. It’s not just our economy that is hurting — it is our American spirit.

It doesn’t have to be this way. These have been years of disappointment and decline, and soon we can put them behind us. We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we have all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren.

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

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Bill Clinton Differs with Obama on Bush-Era Tax Cuts Extension then After Backlash Backtracks Position & Apologizes

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: BILL CLINTON DIFFERS WITH OBAMA ON BUSH-ERA TAX CUTS EXTENSION THEN AFTER BACKLASH BACKTRACKS POSITION

MARIA BARTIROMO: So what about this upcoming fiscal cliff? Because a lot of people are worried and the markets certainly have been reacting to the– to the idea that these Bush tax cuts will expire at year end along with the spending programs that will expire. Should those programs and those tax cuts be extended?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: What I think they should do is find a way to keep the expansion going. And I think the– as weak as it is here, you know, unemployment in the euro zone I think is 11%. And– Germany’s doing well but the– and a lot of the smaller countries are doing extremely well, many of which are not in the euro.
But they’re trying to figure out a way to promote growth. And what I think we need to do is to– find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election.

MARIA BARTIROMO: So does that mean extending the tax cuts?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: Well, I think what it means is they will have extend– they will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people.
And I don’t think the president should do that. That’s going to– that’s what they’re fighting about. I don’t have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level. They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession. So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth. And the spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people are Medicaid.
But– the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few months. The real issue is whether the price the Republican House will put on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which I think is an error.

  • In Clinton, a Surrogate From the World of Romneys: Bill Clinton is trying to help President Obama, by raising money for his reelection and giving interviews about him — even if those interviews sometimes contradict Obama’s message…. – ABC News, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton ‘very sorry’ about tax remarks, agrees with Obama: Bill Clinton said Thursday that he’s “very sorry” for comments he made days earlier that appeared to undermine President Obama’s position on extending certain tax rates, chalking it up to a misunderstanding over when lawmakers needed to…. – LAT, 6-7-12
  • Democrats’ Comments Spark Tax Cut Debate: Congressional Republicans pounced Wednesday on disputed comments from Bill Clinton and a former senior Obama economic adviser as support for the push to extend Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Summers Comment Adds to Confusion on Tax Cuts: Confusing economic comments – first by Bill Clinton, then by Lawrence Summers – have emboldened Republicans to say they have bipartisan backing for the extension of Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • GOP once tried to bury Clinton, now it praises him: Republicans who tried to strip Bill Clinton of his presidency have eagerly embraced the Democrat, taking his words on taxes and decisions on Bosnia and using them to pound another Democratic president, Barack Obama…. – Boston.com, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton becomes Romney’s favorite surrogate for Obama: One of the top unanswered questions of the 2008 presidential campaign has come roaring back: What’s Bill Clinton thinking? The former president has increased his profile in recent days, speaking out on behalf of…. – Reuters, 6-7-12
  • Barack Obama needs Bill Clinton, even if he can’t control him: The current president is learning that there is both an upside and a downside to having a former one — particularly one with whom he has tangled in the past — as the most prominent surrogate for his reelection bid. On the one hand, Bill Clinton brings…. – WaPo, 6-6-12
  • Clinton Remarks Test Uneasy AllianceWSJ, 6-6-12
  • Obama still opposes extending Bush-era tax cuts for rich: President Barack Obama continues to oppose extending Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans, the White House said on Wednesday, shrugging off calls for a temporary extension to allow more time for a deal on….. – Reuters, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • Obama and Bill Clinton: On same team but not always reading same playbook: How things change. In 2008, after a bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton, then-Sen. Barack Obama was on the outs with former President Bill Clinton. This election cycle, Clinton is one of Obama’s most visible surrogates…. – CNN, 6-4-12
  • Clinton’s Tax-Cut Position Undercuts Obama Stance: Former Democratic President Bill Clinton suggested Tuesday that Congress temporarily extend all the Bush-era tax cuts, undercutting President Barack Obama’s position that the rates on upper-income Americans should rise at year’s end…. – WSJ, 6-5-12
  • US Is Already in ‘Recession,’ Extend Tax Cuts: Bill Clinton: Former President Bill Clinton told CNBC Tuesday that the US economy already is in a recession and urged Congress to extend all the tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year. In a taped interview aired on “Closing Bell”… CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC’S MARIA BARTIROMO SITS DOWN WITH FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: WHEN: TODAY, TUESDAY, JUNE 5TH AT 4PM ET WHERE: CNBC’S “CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO” Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with former President Bill Clinton today on CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo.”… – CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • Bill Clinton says renew all expiring tax cuts temporarily, long-term cuts: Former President Bill Clinton says broad tax cuts that expire in January should be temporarily extended, including for the wealthiest Americans, to give lawmakers time to reach a deal on long-term tax reductions that he says should exclude…. – WaPo, 6-5-12

Full Text Obama Presidency June 6, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Comments on Novelist Ray Bradbury’s Death

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama on Ray Bradbury

Source: WH, 6-6-12

Ray Bradbury, the legendary novelist whose writing career stretched out over the course of 70 years, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. The author, whose works included “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles,” was 91.

“His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world,” said President Obama. Here’s the full statement:

For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age.  His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world.  But Ray also understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values.  There is no doubt that Ray will continue to inspire many more generations with his writing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

History Buzz June 6, 2012: The National Trust for Historic Preservation Announced its 25th anniversary List of the Most Endangered Historic Places — Added 11 More to the List

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

IN FOCUS: THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION ANNOUNCED ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY LIST OF THE MOST ENDANGERED PLACES — ADDED 11 MORE TO THEIR LIST

Explore America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic PlacesNational Trust for Historic PreservationAbout the List

  1. Ellis Island Hospital Complex, New York Harbor, NY and NJ
  2. Historic Post Office Buildings, Nationwide
  3. Joe Frazier’s Gym, Philadelphia, PA
  4. Bridges of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, CA
  5. Princeton Battlefield, Princeton, NJ
  6. Malcolm X – Ella Little-Collins House, Boston, MA
  7. Terminal Island, Port of Los Angeles, CA
  8. Sweet Auburn Historic District, Atlanta, GA
  9. Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, Billings County, ND
  10. Texas Courthouses, State of Texas
  11. The Village of Zoar, Zoar, OH

Post offices, Ellis Island join endangered list: The National Trust for Historic Preservation announces its 2012 list of the 11 most endangered historic places. This year’s list includes historic U.S. Post Office buildings nationwide, the historic Atlanta district where Martin Luther King Jr. was born, the boyhood home of Malcolm X in Boston, the hospital complex at Ellis Island in New York Harbor, and the courthouses of Texas, among others….
Hundreds of historic U.S. post offices nationwide face uncertain futures as the U.S. Postal Service downsizes, so preservationists on Wednesday added these American institutions to the list of the country’s most endangered historic places.
Post offices will join the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places as a group for the first time…. – AP, 6-6-12

  • America’s 11 most endangered historic places: As the saying goes, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stay U.S. postal carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. But according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, many of the historic structures that once employed (or still employ) those carriers are facing uncertain futures.
    “Due to the U.S. Postal Services haphazard disposition process, developers and others interested in purchasing and rehabbing these buildings end up walking away after failing to get timely or clear answers from the Postal Service,” notes the organization, which included historic U.S. post offices on its 2012 list of the country’s most endangered places.
    This year marks the 25th anniversary for the list, which has spotlighted 242 locations threatened by neglect, insufficient funding, nearby development or poor public policy. The group’s successes range from JFK International Airport’s TWA terminal (listed in 2003, Eero Saarinen’s architectural masterpiece is now being restored) to the oldest surviving McDonald’s in Downey, Calif. Built in 1953, the fast-food landmark was listed in 1994 after weak sales and minor damage from that year’s Northridge earthquake nearly forced its closure, but “widespread public outcry” prompted McDonald’s to revamp and renovate the building.
    Not all the trust’s endangered places have had happy endings, however. According to the trust’s president, Stephanie Meeks, 10 sites have been lost over the past quarter century – including such high-profile venues as Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (abandoned in 2006 and then demolished) and Detroit’s Tiger Stadium (demolished in 2009)…. – USA Today, 6-6-12
  • Ellis Island, post offices, other national sites join National Trust for Historic Preservation: Hundreds of historic US post offices nationwide face uncertain futures as the US Postal Service downsizes, so preservationists on Wednesday added these American institutions to the list of the country’s most endangered historic places…. – NY Daily News, 6-6-12
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