Full Text Campaign Buzz July 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech During 2 Day Virginia Tour at Centreville High School, Clifton, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event

Source: WH, 7-14-12

Centreville High School, Clifton, Virginia

4:17 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia!  (Applause.)  All right!  Hello, Wildcats!  (Applause.)

A couple people I want to just acknowledge — first of all, didn’t Stratton do a great job on the introduction?  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  You’ve got one of the finest members of Congress that we’ve got — Gerry Connolly in the house.  (Applause.)  And our candidate for the 10th Congressional District — Kristin Cabral is here.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank Martin Grimm, the principal of Centreville High.  (Applause.)

I just talked to Martin and I asked him, how long you been principal?  He said, five days.  (Laughter.)  So I said, good luck.  (Laughter.)  I’m sure he is going to do a great job.

And I had a chance to meet some of the Student Body Council here at Centreville, and they could not be more impressive.  So, parents, you should know your kids are turning out outstanding.  We are proud of them.  (Applause.)

Now, I have to say this is my last political campaign.

AUDIENCE:  Awww —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, it’s a good thing.  Michelle at least thinks it’s a good thing.  (Laughter.)  I’m term-limited.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  There she is.

So this is my last political campaign, and it got me a little nostalgic.  So I started thinking about some of my early campaigns — when I was running as a state senator, when I was running for U.S. senator back in my home state of Illinois.  (Applause.)  Some Illinoisans in the house.  (Applause.)

And Illinois is a lot like Virginia because it’s incredibly diverse.  You’ve got big cities, you’ve got small towns.  There are farming communities, there are suburban communities.  Folks from every walk of life — black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, you name it.  And as I was traveling around in those first campaigns — now, back then I was doing my own driving and there was no MapQuest, so you had to get the old maps — (laughter) — that you couldn’t figure out how to fold back, and I’d get lost all the time.  (Laughter.)  And sometimes I’d get to an event and I’d have to find a parking spot, and that would take a while and I’d be coming in late.

But what inspired me so much in that first race was the fact that no matter where I went, there was a certain common thread, a certain common theme, a certain set of stories that were consistent in every community.  And those stories reminded me of my own family story.  So I’d meet an elderly veteran, and I think back to my grandparents.  My grandfather fought in World War II, and while he was away, my grandmother, in addition to looking after my mom who had just been born, also worked on a bomber assembly line.  And when my grandfather came back, he was able to go to college because of the GI Bill — (applause) — and they were able to afford their first home through an FHA loan.

And sometimes I’d travel and I’d meet a single mom and that would remind me of my mother, who had to raise me and my sister pretty much on her own, with the help of my grandparents, because my father had left.  She didn’t have a lot of money, but she was able to work and go to school at the same time, and help other people through her work, and then ultimately give me and my sister the best education this world has to offer.  (Applause.)

And then sometimes I’d be talking to some working folks and I’d think about Michelle’s family.  Her dad was a blue-collar worker — he worked at the water filtration plant in Chicago.  And he had MS, so by the time I met him, he could barely walk.  He had to use two canes.  And he had to wake up an hour earlier than everybody else to get to the job.  It took him that long to get dressed and get ready.  But he never missed a day of work.  And Michelle’s mom, after staying at home for a while, she worked as a secretary.  And they lived in a small apartment above a house that somebody else owned.  But somehow they were able to give Michelle and her brother this incredible education so they could achieve dreams that they wouldn’t have even imagined.

And so the point is that during this campaign, during all the campaigns I’ve run, what I’ve always been moved by, what’s always inspired me is that at the center of our stories is this basic American idea, this core American Dream, that says, in this country, like no other, if you are willing to work hard, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)  If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities to not only yourself and your family, but to your community and your country, you can enjoy the security of a middle-class life.

And that’s not a matter of how much is in your bank account. It means that you can find a job that supports a family.  It means that you can get a home to call your own.  It means you’re not bankrupt when you get sick.  It means maybe you can take a vacation once in a while — nothing fancy, but you have the chance to spend time with your family and enjoy their company.  It means that you can send your kids to a good school, and if they’re willing to work hard, they can get a great education and go on as far as their dreams take them.  (Applause.)  And it means that you can retire with some dignity and some respect.  (Applause.)

It’s that basic bargain that makes this country great.  It’s that basic bargain that built the economic superpower that we are today.  It’s that basic bargain that made us the envy of the world.  And what I think we all understood back in 2008 was that for almost a decade that dream felt like it was slipping away.  For too many people, harder work didn’t result in higher incomes or higher wages.  For too many people, they saw their costs of health care or college or gas or groceries going up and up and up, while basically what they were bringing in stayed stagnant or even went down.

And so we came together — not just Democrats, but Republicans and independents, too — because we’re not Democrats of Republicans first, we’re Americans first.  (Applause.)  So we came together to fight for that American idea.  We understood that we had to bring about a change, because we understood that the economy works in this country when it works for everybody, not just for the few.  (Applause.)  But, look, we knew that turning this thing around wasn’t going to be easy.  The challenges we faced, the roadblocks, the barriers for middle-class families, they hadn’t arisen overnight, they weren’t going to be solved overnight.  We knew that it was going to take probably more than one year or one term, or maybe even one President.  But we were willing to try.  We wanted to get started.

And so what we didn’t understand, though, was some of the problems had been building up so much that we’d end up seeing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  And that crisis has resulted in millions of people losing their jobs and home values declining and folks having a tough time.  And for the last three and a half years we have fought back — to create 4.4 million new jobs, and 500,000 new manufacturing jobs.  (Applause.)  To start righting the ship so we can start moving in the right direction.

But we’ve got so much more work to do.  Here’s the good news:  For all these tough times, the American people are tougher.  People may have gotten knocked down, but they’ve gotten back up.  What has not changed since 2008 is the character of this country, the character of its people.  (Applause.)

And so our mission now is the same mission that we had in 2008.  Yes, it’s to get people back to work right away and to solve some of these housing problems right away, but it’s also, how do we build an economy that lasts and works for everybody?  How do we build an economy where hard work pays off — whether you’re starting a business or punching a clock, you know that if you put in the effort, you’ll get ahead?  (Applause.)

That’s what this campaign is about.  That’s what my presidency has been about.  We’ve got more work to do.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, let me say this.  It’s popular sometimes among some pundits to say — or commentators to say, well, maybe America’s best days are behind us.  I don’t believe that.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We remain the most powerful country on Earth by far.  We’ve got all the ingredients to make the 21st century the American Century just like the 20th century.  The problem we have is not a lack of solutions, it’s not good ideas.  The problem we have right now is we’ve got a stalemate in Washington. (Applause.)  And this stalemate is not just a difference between two candidates, or even two political parties; it is a — it represents two fundamentally different ideas about how we move this country forward.

My opponent and his congressional allies, they believe in what I call top-down economics.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Their basic view is that if we cut taxes trillions of dollars, mostly for those at the very top — even if it means cutting education funding, even if it means cutting basic research, even if it means underfunding our infrastructure, and even if it means making Medicare a voucher system — that somehow that’s going to be good for everybody.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  So that’s one big part of their idea, is you cut taxes for folks at the top.  Their second big idea is if you eliminate regulations on oil companies or insurance companies or credit card companies or polluters, that somehow that will free up the engine of growth.  So those are basically their two — those are the only two ideas they have.  Don’t take my word for it.  Go on their websites.  (Laughter.)  Look at the Republican budget in the House of Representatives.  That’s their basic approach.  They believe that somehow all these benefits are going to trickle down if we just implement their plan.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with having an idea, a theory, and testing it out.  Here’s the thing:  We tested it out for almost a decade.  We’ve tried this before.  (Applause.)  And guess what, Virginia, it did not work.  (Applause.)  We tried almost exactly what they are proposing, and here are the results: We went from surpluses to deficits.  We had the most sluggish job growth in decades.  The average income of middle-class families actually went down.  And it culminated in this mess that we are still digging ourselves out from under.

Now, normally, in your own lives, if you do something over and over again and it doesn’t work — (laughter) — at some point you decide, let’s try something new.  (Applause.)  So we don’t need more top-down economics.  I believe in a middle-out economics, a bottom-up economics.  I believe that when hardworking Americans are doing well, everybody does well.  (Applause.)  That’s been our history.  That’s been the evidence. That’s why I ran for President — to fight on behalf of the middle class and those who are striving to get in to the middle class.  And that’s why I’m running again for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  So let’s just take a few examples of the contrast between their approach and what I’m proposing.  When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse, my opponent said, let’s let Detroit go bankrupt.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  I said, let’s bet on American workers and American ingenuity.  (Applause.)  And you know what, GM is number one again.  Chrysler is selling cars again.  Ford is on the move. The U.S. auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

And what happened in the auto industry I want to see happen in manufacturing all across this country — right here in Virginia.  (Applause.)  We’ve invested in advanced manufacturing because we want to beat out countries like Germany and China.  I want the great inventions to be done here, and I want great new products created here — which is why — and this is another contrast — whereas my opponent, in his private business, was investing in companies that The Washington Post calls “pioneers” of outsourcing, I believe in insourcing.  (Applause.)  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.  Let’s give those tax breaks that are investing right here in Virginia — (applause) — right here in the United States of America, hiring American workers to make American products to sell around the world.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I’m running because, after a decade of war, I said we were going to end the war in Iraq — and we did.  (Applause.)  Thanks to the incredible efforts of our brave men and women in uniform, thanks to our veterans and their sacrifices — (applause) — we’ve been able to decimate al Qaeda’s leadership; bin Laden is no more.  (Applause.)  We’re transitioning out of Afghanistan.  And so, after a decade of war, I think it’s a good time for us to take half the money that we save, that used to be spent on war, to pay down our deficit, and let’s take the other half and rebuild America — do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

Let’s rebuild our infrastructure.  Let’s rebuild our roads and our bridges — Northern Virginia knows a little bit about traffic.  (Laughter.)  Let’s build broadband lines and high speed rail.  (Applause.)  Let’s expand our ports and improve our airports.  That’s what’s going to keep us at the cutting-edge of a 21st century economy.  And we’ve got tens of thousands of construction workers ready to be put back to work.  Why wouldn’t we do some nation-building here at home?  Now, this is a disagreement I’ve got with the guy who’s leading the other party.  That’s the choice that we’ve got to make.

I’m running to make sure that the United States has the best education system in the world.  (Applause.)  I want to hire new, outstanding teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  We’ve already done work to make college more affordable by making sure that your student loan rates didn’t double — those students who are here — (applause) — by providing tuition tax credits that have saved millions of families thousands of dollars, by expanding the Pell Grant.  But now I want to actually reduce the cost of college so young people aren’t coming out with thousands of dollars worth of debt.  (Applause.)

I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to attend community colleges and get the technical training they need to get the jobs that are being created right now here in Virginia and around America.  (Applause.)  Because in the 21st century, a higher education — I don’t care whether it’s a two-year, or a four-year, or a post-doc, or whatever it is, an advanced degree beyond high school, that’s not a luxury, that’s an economic necessity.  That’s what our young people deserve.  That’s what I intend to give them.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I’m running to continue to strengthen our housing market, which has been one of the biggest drags on our economy.  So I told Congress let’s create an opportunity where every American can refinance their homes and take advantage of historically low rates.  It would save the average family $3,000 a year.  (Applause.)  My opponent’s plan is to let the foreclosures play themselves out and let the market hit bottom.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s not a plan.  That’s not a solution.  That’s a problem.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  But that’s a difference in our approaches.  Mr. Romney thinks that I made a bad decision by repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  I think you should be able to fight for your country regardless of whom you love.  (Applause.)

My opponent wants to restrict the health care options for women.  I believe women should make their own health care choices.  (Applause.)

My opponent believes that we should have our immigrants in this country — if they were kids and were brought here through no fault of their own, and are Americans in every respect except a piece of paper — that somehow we shouldn’t show them the kind of compassion that we would show our own kids.  I disagree.  I think we should have comprehensive immigration reform — (applause) — because we’re a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, and we can have tough border security and improve our immigration system, but when I look out at what’s happening in Virginia, our immigration is a strength not a weakness.  (Applause.)  That’s a difference.

Mr. Romney wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me just say that I passed this bill because it was the right thing to do.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  (Applause.)  We are implementing this law.  If you’ve got health insurance the only thing that happens for you is that you’ve got more security because insurance companies can’t jerk you around and use fine print to somehow restrict your care.

If you’re a young person, you can stay on your parent’s plan up until you’re 26 years old.  (Applause.)  Seniors are seeing lower costs for their prescription drugs.  Women are getting free preventive care for things like cervical cancer.  (Applause.)

If you don’t have health insurance, we’re going to help you get it.  (Applause.)  And if you can afford health insurance and you don’t buy it, we’re not going to let you pass those costs on to other people.  (Applause.)

So the Affordable Care Act was the right thing to do.  Health care was the right thing to do.  We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward.  That’s a difference in this election.  (Applause.)

Now, let me talk about one more big contrast in this election, and that is how do we deal with our deficit and our debt.  The other side says this is our most important problem; we’ve got to look out for future generations.  Well, let’s look at what they’ve actually proposed.  They’re proposing, on top of continuing all the Bush tax cuts even for the wealthiest Americans, to also then have another $5 trillion in tax cuts, 80 percent of which would go to the wealthiest Americans.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I mean, this is on their website.  Their proposal is in Congress right now.  And the only way to pay for this would be to gut our investments in transportation, education, basic research in things like Alzheimer’s and cancer, voucherize the Medicare system.  And they will not ask for a single dime of additional revenue from those who can afford to pay it.  I think that’s — that’s not a recipe for economic growth.

So what I’ve said is, look, middle-class families, folks who are making $250,000 or less, 98 percent of Americans, you shouldn’t see your taxes go up one dime.  (Applause.)  You don’t need to.  Your income taxes should stay constant.  And I’ve said to Congress let’s go ahead and get that done now.  Let’s give 98 percent of folks certainty right now.  By the way, 97 percent of small businesses earn less than $250,000, so the vast majority of people would get immediate relief.

Let’s cut programs that don’t work.  I’ve already made a trillion dollars worth of cuts.  Not every government program works.  Government can’t always solve every problem.  Government can’t help folks who don’t want to help themselves.  Our education system won’t improve just because of more money.  It also involves parents instilling a love of learning in their children.  (Applause.)  But there’s no reason why we can’t make the investments — we probably had somebody who fainted.  That happens sometimes when — you guys got to stay hydrated.  We’ll get a paramedic in there.  They’ll be all right.  Just give them space.  They’ll be okay.  They’ll be okay.  Yes, they’ll be fine.

So the thing that we’ve got to make sure of, though, is that we continue to make the investments we need to grow the economy, and we can bring down our deficit, get control of our debt by asking folks like me to do a little bit more.

Now, let me just say this.  Just like we’ve tried their plan, we’ve tried what I’m talking about, too.  A guy named Bill Clinton did it.  (Applause.)  And we ended up having record surpluses, 23 million new jobs, and the folks at the top did really well also — because when the middle class and working people are doing well, everybody does well.  Small businesses do well.  Big businesses do well.  Millionaires do well.  Billionaires do well.  (Applause.)  Everybody does well when the economy is growing in a way where everybody prospers.

And so we’ve got this fundamental choice in this election, and the question is how bad are we going to work for our vision. Because this is going to be a close election, Virginia.  I want everybody to understand this.  Look, it was close the last time; it will be even closer this time.  It will be even closer this time.  And we are seeing more money spent on negative ads than ever before, folks just writing $10 million checks because of this Citizens United opinion — undisclosed donations.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  And so you are going to be inundated every single day.  You’re already seeing it.  And they’re all going to have a scary voice.  (Laughter.)  And the ads, they’ve got a very simple message, which is, you know what, the economy is not where it needs to be, and it’s Obama’s fault.  That’s their only message.  They’ll have variations on the theme, but it’s the same theme.

Now, I might be worried about that if it wasn’t for the fact that you taught me something in 2008.  What you taught me was that the American people when they get together, when they are determined, when they cut through all the nonsense, and they say, this is what matters, this is what’s right, this is what’s true
— when you tap into those stories of our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents, folks who may have come here as immigrants, maybe were brought here on slave ships, folks who came here but understood that there was something about this country where we don’t have to settle for what is today, we can dream of what might be — (applause) — we’re going to fight.  We’re going to struggle.  We’re going to push together to build the kind of perfect union that the founders talked about.  (Applause.)  When you decide that we’re going to move forward, we move forward.  (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  So, Virginia, if you believe, as I do, in an economy where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share and everybody has the same set — playing by the same set of rules, if you believe, as I believe, that we’re in this together, that for all our individual initiative and all our self-reliance, there are some things we do best together, that that’s how we educated a generation on the GI Bill, that’s how we built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge, that’s how we sent a man to the moon, that’s how we invented the Internet — if you believe that we rise or fall together as one people, then I’m confident we’re going to win.  (Applause.)  I’m confident we will be successful.

And I want to remind you, back in 2008 I tried to keep my promises to ones that I could keep.  I said I’d end the war in Iraq — I ended the war in Iraq.  (Applause.)  I said that I’d make sure middle-class families weren’t getting hit by higher taxes — your taxes have gone down an average of $3,600.  (Applause.)  But my most important promise was telling you that I wasn’t a perfect man — Michelle could have told you that — (laughter)  — that I wasn’t a perfect President, but that I’d always tell you where I stood, I’d always tell you what I thought, and I would spend every single waking moment as President fighting as hard as I knew how for you.  (Applause.)

Because I saw myself in you — (applause) — because when I see your grandparents, I see my grandparents.  (Applause.)  When I see your children, I see my children.   (Applause.)  Because I have faith and confidence in you, the American people.

I have kept that promise.  (Applause.)  I believe in you.  And if you still believe me, and you’re willing to stand up and fight for it, we’ll finish what we started in 2008, and remind the world by the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END                4:55 P.M. EDT

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Full Text Campaign Buzz July 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech During 2 Day Virginia Tour at Walkerton Tavern and Gardens Glen Allen, Virginia — Continues Attacks on Mitt Romney & Pushes for Middle-Class Tax Cuts in the Rain

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Drenched Obama Rallies Supporters in Rainy Virginia

Source: ABC News, 7-14-12

ABC News

Undeterred by the pouring rain, hundreds of enthusiastic, and soaked, supporters braved a storm on Saturday to hear President Obama make his case for a second term in the state he carried four years ago.

“I know these are some die-hard political folks here,” the president said as he took to the outdoor stage shortly after the skies opened up. “We’re not letting a little rain chase us away.”

The president, tie-less with his sleeves rolled up, was quickly drenched, resembling the soggy crowd of 900 assembled in front of the historic Walkerton Tavern….READ MORE

No Apologies: Obama Campaign Continues Attacks on Romney

Source: NYT, 7-14-12

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the rain at a campaign event at Walkerton Tavern & Gardens in Glen Allen, Va., on Saturday.

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the rain at a campaign event at Walkerton Tavern & Gardens in Glen Allen, Va., on Saturday.

President Obama and his campaign barnstormed through Virginia on Saturday, relentlessly hammering away at Mitt Romney’s business record and releasing a mocking new ad….READ MORE

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Source: WH, 7-14-12

Walkerton Tavern and Gardens
Glen Allen, Virginia

12:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: How’s it going, Virginia? (Applause.) You know, this feels kind of good. (Applause.) Don’t you think?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: I need to cool off a little bit. It’s a little warm. (Applause.) Well, I know these are some die-hard political folks here — (applause) — not letting a little rain chase us away.

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Although I know this from Michelle. Ladies, I do apologize for your hairdos getting messed up. (Applause.)

We’re going to have to treat everybody to a little salon visit after this. (Applause.)

So a couple of acknowledgements I want to make real quick. First of all, an outstanding member of Congress who’s looking out for working people every day, Bobby Scott is in the house. (Applause.) State Senator Donald McEachin is here. (Applause.) State Delegate Jennifer McClellan is here. (Applause.) And John Montgomery is here. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Now, I’m going to just cut straight to business. We don’t have time for small talk here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Four more years! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: This is my last political campaign. We’re term-limited as President. And it got me thinking about my first political campaigns. I think about the places I used to travel as a state senator when I was running for the United States Senate, all across Illinois, which is a lot like Virginia. You got big cities, but you also have small towns. You got rural, suburban, urban areas. You’d stop in VFW halls or diners. You go to churches or synagogues, and you’d meet folks black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, you name it. And wherever I went, even if on the surface folks looked different, there was a common thread that ran through their stories. And in those stories I saw my own.

So I’d meet an elderly veteran, and I think about my grandfather who fought in World War II, and my grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line while he was away, even though they’d already had my mother. And I’d think about how when my grandfather came back from Europe, he was able to get a college education on the GI Bill, and how they’d buy their first home with the help of an FHA loan.

And then I’d meet a single mom somewhere who was working hard, raising kids, and I’d think about my mom — because my dad left when I was young. And so my mother had to work and go to school at the same time, and yet, despite not having a lot of money, was still able to provide me and my sister with the best education possible, and instilled in us a sense that if we worked hard, we could go as far as our dreams would take us. (Applause.)

And then I’d think about Michelle’s parents whenever I’d meet a working family because Michelle’s dad was a blue-collar worker. He had multiple sclerosis. By the time I met him, he could barely walk, in fact, really couldn’t walk without two canes.

And he’d have to wake up an hour early — earlier than everybody else — just to get dressed. But he never missed a day on the job. (Applause.) And Michelle’s mom, she stayed at home when the kids were young and then found a job as a secretary, and that’s the work they did all their lives. They had a little second-floor apartment that Michelle and Craig lived in, and yet, despite those modest beginnings, Michelle and her brother were able to get the best possible education.

And so in these travels that I had in that first campaign, what I was reminded of was that core idea that is central to this country — what makes us exceptional, what makes us great. It’s not just how many skyscrapers we have; it’s not how powerful our military is — what makes us special is this idea that in this country, if you are willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility for your own life, then you can make it if you try. (Applause.) No matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is, no matter how modest your beginnings, you can make it in this country if you work hard. (Applause.) Because America has never been a country of handouts. We’re a nation of workers, and doers, and dreamers, and risk-takers. We work for what we get. And all we ask for, as Americans, is that our hard work pays off. All we ask is that our responsibility is rewarded — so that if we put in enough effort, we can find a job that pays the bills; we can afford a home to call our own; we won’t go bankrupt when we get sick; maybe we can take a vacation.

When I think about my favorite vacations when I was a kid, when I was 11 years old my mom, sister, and my grandmom, we traveled across the country. But we didn’t fly on jets, we took Greyhound buses. (Applause.) Took the train sometimes. I think we were in the car twice. Stayed at Howard Johnsons. And the exciting thing for me was if there was any kind of swimming pool — it didn’t matter how big it was. (Laughter.) And then after you spend the whole day swimming, then you’d go to the vending machine, get a soda and a bucket of ice. (Laughter.)

But the point was to spend time with folks you loved, and enjoy their company. So that was part of it, and then people expect, I think, that they can retire with dignity and respect after a lifetime of work. (Applause.) That’s the essence of America. That is within everybody’s grasp. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to have some ups and downs. It doesn’t mean at some point you’re not going to experience tough times. But it does mean that the trajectory of people’s lives in this country — if you work hard, you can make it. And that’s what made us special. That’s what made us the greatest nation on Earth. That’s what made us an economic superpower. (Applause.)

Now, when I ran in 2008, a lot of people, we came together — not just Democrats, but Republicans and independents — because we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, we’re Americans first. (Applause.) And we came together because we felt like that idea had been slipping away for too long. For almost a decade, people had been working harder but getting less. And then the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes hit, the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes hit, millions of people lost their jobs or lost their homes or lost their savings, and that made the dream that much harder to reach for.

But what I’ve learned over these last three and a half years is that even though the crisis put us through some very tough times, the American people are tougher. (Applause.) Folks may have gotten knocked down some, but they got back up. (Applause.) The crisis didn’t change who we are. It did not change our fundamental character as a people. It hasn’t changed our sense of purpose from 2008. Our mission right now, yes, is to put people back to work and, yes, to strengthen the housing market; but our purpose is also to rebuild our economy so that it lasts — (applause) — so that work pays off. An economy in which everybody, whether you are starting a business or punching a clock, you can have confidence that if you work hard you can get ahead. That’s our goal. That’s our central purpose. That’s what this campaign is about. That’s what I’ve been working on for the last three and a half years. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I want to say this —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Mr. President! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Because we’ve gone through tough times, I think there’s a tendency sometimes for some of the commentators to say, well, this time it’s really different, we’re losing our number-one status, and all this stuff. I don’t buy any of that. We’re still, by far, the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.) And what’s holding us back from meeting our challenges —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Congress. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: What’s holding us back from meeting our challenges is not a lack of big ideas, it’s not technical solutions. You name it, whatever it is — education, housing, the deficit — we have the solutions in front of us. What’s holding us back is we’ve got a stalemate in Washington that has more to do with — than just two candidates for President or two political parties. It’s two fundamentally different visions about how we move this country forward.

This election is about breaking that stalemate. The outcome of this election will determine not just what happens next year or the year after that, but what happens for the next 20 years.

See, my opponent and his allies in Congress, they believe in a top-down economics. They believe that if we spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts — mostly for the wealthy — even if we have to pay for it by gutting education, or gutting job training programs, or gutting investments in basic research, or turning Medicare into a voucher system, or increasing middle-class taxes — that if we do that, somehow all of you are going to benefit. That’s their idea. They also believe that if we roll back regulations on banks and insurance companies and credit card companies — regulations that are meant to protect people and our economy — that somehow everybody is going to be more secure. That’s their basic argument. They’ll spend a lot of time talking, but if you cut through all the stuff — (laughter) — what they’re really saying is tax cuts for the wealthy, roll back regulations. That’s essentially their plan.

Now, it is a plan. It’s a theory. It fits easily on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: We tried it. We tried it for a decade before I took office. It did not work. (Applause.) We tried it, and we turned a surplus into a deficit. We tried it, and we had the most sluggish job growth in decades. We tried it, and your income and wages on average went down — went down, even while the cost of health care and education and gas were all going up. And then it culminated in the worst financial crisis that we’re still cleaning up after.

So it’s not as if we haven’t tried their theory. It would be one thing if we hadn’t tried it. Then they could say, well, let’s try this. And maybe everybody would say, all right, that’s worth trying. But we did this, and it didn’t work.

We can’t afford to go back to top-down economics. (Applause.) We need somebody who believes in a middle-out economics, a bottom-up economics, somebody who will fight for you and working people all across Virginia and all across America. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)

You know, when the American auto industry was about to go under, and my opponent was saying, “let Detroit go bankrupt,” I made a bet on American workers, on American ingenuity, and we got management and workers to sit down and work things out. And right now, GM is number one again — (applause) — and the U.S. auto industry is back on top. (Applause.)

Well, let me tell you something. What can happen in the auto industry in Detroit, that can happen in manufacturing all across this country. (Applause.) In Richmond and in Raleigh, and in Pittsburgh and in Cleveland. Which is why I’ve said let’s stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, let’s give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, and investing in American workers, so we can make American products stamped with those three proud words: Made In America. (Applause.) That’s how we build an economy that lasts. (Applause.) And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President. (Applause.)

Mr. Romney has got a different idea. He invested in companies that have been called “pioneers” of outsourcing. (Laughter.) I don’t want a pioneer in outsourcing. (Laughter.) I want some insourcing. (Applause.) I want to bring companies back. (Applause.) And part of that is making sure we change our tax code. Part of it is investing in basic science and research. We’ve always been at the cutting-edge of technology. We’ve got to keep that. We’ve got to maintain that.

And you know, four years ago I said I would end the war in Iraq. (Applause.) Because of our veterans, because of our outstanding men and women in uniform, we’ve been able to keep that promise. (Applause.) We’re transitioning out of Afghanistan and starting to bring our troops home. (Applause.) So now my attitude is, after a decade of war, let’s take half of those savings on war and let’s use that to reduce our deficit. Let’s use the other half to do some nation-building here at home. (Applause.) Let’s put folks back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our railroads and our schools, and putting broadband lines into rural communities all across America. (Applause.) That’s how we build an economy that lasts. (Applause.)

That’s also, by the way, how we take care of our veterans. Now that they’re coming home they shouldn’t have to fight for a job after they fought for us. (Applause.) And they should get the benefits that they’ve earned. So we’ll be fighting any kind of cutbacks on veteran services. We’ve got to take care of folks who took care of us. (Applause.)

I’m running to make sure that our kids get the best education in the world. (Applause.) I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially math and science. I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and get trained for the jobs that folks are hiring for right now. (Applause.) I want colleges and universities to bring down tuition so young people aren’t burdened with debt. (Applause.) Higher education isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity in this 21st century. (Applause.)

I want to make sure that middle-class families can refinance their homes, save $3,000 a year. (Applause.) That’s good for you, but it’s also good for businesses, because you’ll spend that money.

I’m running because I believe we’ve got to keep going on the Affordable Care Act. It was the right thing to do to make sure that everybody has health care. (Applause.) The Supreme Court has spoken. It is the law of the land. We are going to implement it. (Applause.) And because we’re implementing it, young people can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until they’re 26 years old. (Applause.) And if you’ve got health insurance, the only thing that’s going to happen is you’ve got more security and insurance companies can’t jerk you around. (Applause.) And 30 million people, including those with preexisting conditions, can finally get health insurance. It was the right thing to do. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards. (Applause.)

I’m wrapping up. (Laughter.) Everybody is wet anyway, so it doesn’t matter. (Laughter.) It’s too late — those hairdos are all gone. (Laughter.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: Let me talk about one last thing, and that is the deficit and the debt. Because the other side, they’ll say, well, you know, this is the most important issue. And what I’ve said is, you know what, along with putting people back to work, we do need to bring down our deficit and our debt. After a decade of irresponsibility, where I inherited a trillion-dollar deficit, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. (Applause.) We’ve already cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending that we don’t need.

I’m willing to do more, because not every program works. Government can’t solve every problem. Government can’t help somebody if they don’t want to help themselves. It doesn’t matter how much money we put into schools if parents, you’re not telling your kids they need to work hard in school. (Applause.) But I’m not willing to do is what my opponent proposes, which is pretend like you’re lowering the deficit and then cut taxes for folks like me by $5 trillion on top of the Bush tax cuts, because we can’t afford it.

What I’ve said to Congress is let’s make sure that everybody who’s making $250,000 a year or less, that your taxes don’t go up. (Applause.) That’s 98 percent of Americans. But let’s ask folks like me who can afford it, the top 2 percent, to do a little bit more — (applause) — so that we can still help young people go to college, so that we don’t turn Medicare into a voucher system, so that we’re still investing in basic research, so that we can still build roads and help folks with the housing situation. (Applause.)

And by the way, we’ve tried that, too. A guy named Bill Clinton tried it, and we created 23 million new jobs. (Applause.) And we had surpluses instead of deficits. And by the way, rich people did just fine back then. (Laughter.)

Here’s the thing I think the other side doesn’t understand. When working people do well everybody does well. (Applause.) That means businesses have more customers. That is how we grow an economy — not by everybody just looking out for themselves, but by all of us coming together and working hard. (Applause.)

All these things, whether it’s bringing manufacturing back, putting construction workers back to work, protecting health care, making sure our kids get the best education, caring for our veterans — all these things that make up a middle-class life, they all tie together. They’re all central to that idea that if you work hard you can get ahead. That’s the promise that our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents made to future generations.

Some of them came here as immigrants; some came here not wanting to come. But when they got here, all of us — whether they were working on farms or whether they were working in mines or working in a factory — that idea that if I work hard now things will be better for my kids, that’s what built this country.

And over the next four months, the other side is going to spend more money than we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes on a bunch of negative ads. And they’re going to try to peddle this economic theory that everybody knows we tried and didn’t work. And since they know that’s probably not going to sell, really what these ads are going to do is just say, the economy isn’t where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault. That’s their message. They’ll use all those scary voices in the ads and — (laughter) — but that’s basically their message.

And that’s a plan for maybe winning an election, but it’s not a plan for creating jobs or helping the middle class. (Applause.) It’s not an plan for rebuilding our economy.

And so I don’t worry about the kind of money they’re spending because what you taught me in 2008 — same thing I learned in my first campaign — was that when ordinary folks come together — (applause) — when they cut through all the nonsense, and they remember what makes this country great, they tap into those core American values, and they remember what’s true about our lives — when you come together, nothing can stop you. (Applause.) When you come together, change happens. (Applause.) When you come together, people get a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules — when you decide.

And that’s the choice you have now in this election. So I have to tell you, when I ran in 2008, I tried to make sure that any promise I made I could keep. So I said I’d end the war in Iraq — we ended the war. (Applause.) I said I’d keep your taxes down — and I’ve lowered taxes for middle-class families, $3,600 on average. (Applause.) If somebody tells you I’ve raised their taxes, tell them that ain’t right. (Laughter.) It’s just not true.

But the main promise I made to you, I said I wasn’t a perfect man and I — you can ask Michelle that — (laughter) — and I told you I wouldn’t be a perfect President. But I told you that I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood — sometimes it wasn’t popular, but I’d tell you what I thought, what I believed. And I’d also wake up every single day fighting as hard as I knew how for you. (Applause.) To make your lives a little bit better. (Applause.)

And you know what, I’ve kept that promise. (Applause.) I’ve kept that promise. Because I see myself in you. When I see your grandparents, I see my grandparents. (Applause.) When I see my children, I see your children. We are in this together. We rise and fall as one nation. (Applause.) I still believe in you. And if you still believe in me, and you stand up with me, and make phone calls and knock on doors and get out there and organize with me — (applause) — we’re going to finish what we started in 2008. (Applause.) We’re going to win this election. We’re going to win Virginia. (Applause.) We’re going to put this country on the right track. And we’ll remind the world just why it is that the American way is what is the envy of the world and we are the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

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

END
12:44 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines July 14, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: Sen. Rob Portman Says There’s a Better Way to American Economic Comeback

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

GOP Address: Sen. Portman Says There’s a Better Way to American Economic Comeback

Source: ABC News Radio, 7-14-12

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

With the nation’s unemployment rate still above eight percent, Sen. Rob Portman criticizes President Obama for what he says are failed economic policies that hinder job creation.
In this week’s Republican address, Portman calls claims the president is responsible for the millions of Americans still out of work, declining manufacturing, and lower wages and home values.

He says, “instead of focusing on jobs and reigniting our economy, President Obama focused on growing government and tired to remake the United States into the image of debt-laden countries of Europe.”

Portman adds, “His approach has been more spending, more regulation and higher taxes.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency July 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Pushes Congress to Pass the Middle Class Tax Cut Extension

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama’s Address: POTUS Continues Push for ‘Middle-Class’ Tax Cut Extension

Source: ABC News Radio, 7-14-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama is continuing his push to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making less than $250,000, while simultaneously allowing breaks for those over that mark to expire. Targeting congressional Republicans and Mitt Romney, the president says their insistence in maintaining the cuts for high income earners has led to a debate over “two fundamentally different paths” for the country….READ MORE

Weekly Address

President Obama calls on Congress to act now to extend tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 7/12/12

Weekly Address: It’s Time for Congress to Pass the Middle Class Tax Cut Extension

Source: WH, 7-14-12

President Obama calls on Congress to act now to extend tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year. 

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: It’s Time for Congress to Pass the Middle Class Tax Cut Extension

In this week’s address, President Obama called on Congress to act now to extend tax cuts for the 98% of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year.  If Congress fails to act, taxes will go up on January 1st and will be a blow to millions of middle class families and to our economy.  Both parties agree on extending the tax cuts for the middle class, and the President believes it’s time for Congress to act so that we can give the middle class and our small businesses the certainty they need as we work to create an economy that is built to last.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
July 14, 2012

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been talking with folks across the country about how we’re going to rebuild an economy where if you work hard, you and your family can get ahead.

And right now, there’s a big debate going on in Washington over two fundamentally different paths we can take as a country to do that.

One path – pushed by Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President – says that the best way to create prosperity is to let it trickle down from the top.  They believe that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, it’ll somehow create jobs – even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and training and by raising middle-class taxes.

I think they’re wrong.  We already tried it that way for most of the last decade, and it didn’t work.  We’re still paying for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that benefitted the wealthiest Americans more than anyone else; tax cuts that didn’t lead to the rise in wages and middle class jobs that we were promised; and that helped take us from record surpluses to record deficits.

The last thing we need right now is more top-down economics.  What we need are policies that will grow and strengthen the middle class; that will help create jobs, make education and training more affordable, and encourage businesses to start up and stay right here in the United States.

Soon, we’ll face a choice between these two different approaches.  On January 1st, taxes are set to go up for tens of millions of Americans.  I think that would be a huge financial hit for middle-class families.  That’s why I’ve cut middle-class taxes every year that I’ve been President – by $3,600 for the typical family.  And that’s why, this week, I called on Congress to immediately stop the January 1st tax hike from hitting any American on the first $250,000 of their income.

Under my plan, 98% of American families won’t see their income taxes go up at all.  But the other 2% of Americans will have to pay a little more in taxes on anything they make over $250,000.  In other words, the wealthiest few Americans will go back to the income tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton.  And if you remember, that was when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and millionaires were doing pretty well.

The folks in Congress and on the campaign trail who oppose this plan warn that it would somehow hurt small businesses and job creators.  Well, they’re completely ignoring the facts.

Under my plan, 97% of small business owners would avoid getting hit with any income tax hike whatsoever.  In fact, I’ve cut taxes for small businesses eighteen times since I’ve been President.  And just this week, I ordered a series of new steps to help our small businesses grow and hire.

The only place we disagree is whether we keep giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  Republicans in Washington want more of those tax cuts.  With the deficit we have, I don’t think we can afford them.

But even if we disagree on the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we all agree that no American should pay more taxes on the first $250,000 of their income.  So let’s at least agree to do what we all agree on.  That’s what compromise is all about.  Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy.  Let’s skip the unnecessary drama, the needless delays and all the partisan posturing and let’s just do the right thing for the people who sent us here to serve.

And I’m going to keep fighting to make sure we rebuild an economy that rewards work, grows the middle class, and gives new opportunity to those trying to earn their way into the middle class.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 13, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech During 2 Day Virginia Tour at Roanoke Fire Station #1, Roanoke, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event in Roanoke, Virginia

Source: WH, 7-13-12

Roanoke Fire Station #1, Roanoke, Virginia

7:51 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Roanoke!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Roanoke!  Good to be back in Virginia.  (Applause.)  Back in the Star City.

There are a couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, you’ve got one of the finest senators and public servants in the country in Mark Warner.  Give it up for Mark Warner.  (Applause.)  Now, Mark was a great governor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and now he’s a great senator.  I just want to point out we’ve got another great governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia who is going to be a great senator in Tim Kaine.  (Applause.)  We are thrilled to have them both with us today.

I want to thank Mayor David Bowers who’s here.  (Applause.) City Manager, Christopher Morrill.  (Applause.)  Fire Chief, David Hoback.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got former Majority Leader of the House of Delegates, Dick Cranwell is here.  (Applause.)

And all of you are here.  (Applause.)  Couldn’t ask for a nicer setting.  It is beautiful flying in to Roanoke.

Now, let me just say, unless you have managed to break your television set — (laughter) — you’re probably aware that it is campaign season.  And I know it’s not always pretty to watch.  We’re seeing more money flooding into the system than ever before, more negative ads, more cynicism.  A lot of the reporting is just about who’s up and who’s down in the polls instead of talking about the things that matter in your day-to-day life.

So I know all this kind of makes it tempting to just turn off the TV set, and turn away from politics.  And there are some people who are betting that you lose interest.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  But the fact that you are here tells me that you’re still ready to work to make this a better country.  (Applause.)  You’re still betting on hope and you’re still betting on change — and I am still betting on you.  (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Mr. President!

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

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me just say this — if I win Virginia, I’m going to get four more years.  (Applause.)  That I can say with some confidence.

And the reason you’re here tonight is because no matter how petty and small politics seems sometimes, you recognize that the stakes could not be bigger.  In some ways, the stakes are even bigger now than they were in 2008, because what’s at stake is not just two people or two political parties.  What’s at stake is a decision between two fundamentally different views about where we take the country right now.  And the choice is up to you.

Now, this is my last political campaign.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Awww —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, it’s true.  There is a term limit for Presidents.  You get two.  (Laughter.)  So no matter what happens, this will be my last campaign.  And it makes you nostalgic sometimes, and I started thinking about some of my first campaigns.

When I was traveling across Illinois — and Illinois is a big state.  And it’s got big cities like Chicago and it’s got small towns, and it’s got rural areas and suburban areas, and you meet people from every walk of life — black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.  You stop in VFW halls, you stop in diners, you go to churches, you go to synagogues.  Wherever you go, you’re going to have a chance to meet people from different walks of life.  And when I think about that first campaign, what strikes me is no matter where I went, no matter who I was talking to, I could see my own life in the life of the people whose vote I was asking for.

So I would meet an elderly vet and I’d think about my grandfather who fought in World War II, and my grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line during the war.  And I’d think about how, when my grandfather came back home, because of this country he was able to get an education on the GI Bill and they were able to buy their first home using an FHA loan.

And then I’d meet a single mom somewhere and I’d think about my mom.  I never knew my dad.  He left when I was just barely a baby, and so — and my mother didn’t have a lot of money and she was struggling, and she had to go back to school raising a kid, later raising my sister, and she had to work while she was in school.  But despite all that, because she was in America, she was able to get grants and scholarships and her kids were able to get grants and scholarships.  (Applause.)  And they could go as far as their dreams could take them.

And then I’d talk to some working folks, and I’d think about Michelle’s family — her dad who was a blue-collar worker, worked at a water filtration plant in Chicago, and her mom was a secretary.  And yet, despite never having a lot, there was so much love and so much passion — and her dad had MS, so he had to wake up an hour earlier than everybody else just to get to work because it took him that long to get dressed, and he could barely walk.  But he never missed a day’s work — because he took pride in the idea that, you know what, I’m going to earn my way and look after my family.  (Applause.)  And I’d see that same pride in the people I was talking to.

And what this reminded me of was that, at the heart of this country, its central idea is the idea that in this country, if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)  That you can find a job that supports a family and find a home you can make your own; that you won’t go bankrupt when you get sick.  That maybe you can take a little vacation with your family once in a while — nothing fancy, but just time to spend with those you love.  Maybe see the country a little bit, maybe come down to Roanoke.  (Applause.)  That your kids can get a great education, and if they’re willing to work hard, then they can achieve things that you wouldn’t have even imagined achieving.  And then you can maybe retire with some dignity and some respect, and be part of a community and give something back.  (Applause.)

That’s the idea of America.  It doesn’t matter what you look like.  It doesn’t matter where you come from.  It doesn’t matter what your last name is.  You can live out the American Dream.  That’s what binds us all together.  (Applause.)

Now, the reason that I think so many of us came together in 2008 was because we saw that for a decade that dream was fraying, that it was slipping away; that there were too many people who were working hard but not seeing their incomes or wages go up; that we had taken a surplus and turned it into a deficit — we were running two wars on a credit card; that job growth was the most sluggish it had been in 50 years.  There was a sense that those who were in charge didn’t feel responsible.

And so we came together to say we are going to bring about the kinds of changes that allow us to get back to those basics, allow us to restore and live out those values.  What we didn’t realize was that some of that recklessness, some of that irresponsibility would lead to the worst financial crisis we’ve seen since the Great Depression.  And I don’t need to tell you what we’ve been through over the last three and a half years because you’ve lived it.  Too many folks lost jobs.  Too many people saw their homes lose value.  Too many folks saw their savings take a hit.

But you know what’s given me confidence and faith is that fact that as I’ve traveled around the country now, just like I used to travel around Illinois, that same decency, those same values — they’re still alive, at least outside Washington.  (Applause.)  Times have been tough, but America’s character hasn’t changed.  The core decency of the American people is undiminished.  (Applause.)  Our willingness to fight through and work through the tough times and come together, that’s still there.

And so, just as we came together in the last campaign — not just Democrats, by the way, but Republicans and independents, because we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, we’re Americans first.  (Applause.)  Just like we came together in 2008, we know that we’ve got to keep working, we got to keep moving forward in 2012.  And we knew back then that it wasn’t going to be easy.  These problems we’re facing, they didn’t happen overnight, and they’re not going to be solved overnight.  We understood it might take more than one year or one term or even one President.  But what we also understood was that we weren’t going to stop until we had restored that basic American bargain that makes us the greatest country on Earth.  (Applause.)

Our goal isn’t just to put people back to work — although that’s priority number one — it is to build an economy where that work pays off.  An economy where everyone, whether you are starting a business or punching a clock, can see your hard work and responsibility rewarded.  That’s what this campaign’s about, Roanoke.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, let me say this.  It’s fashionable among some pundits — and this happens every time America hits a rough patch — it’s fashionable to be saying, well, this time it’s different, this time we really are in the soup; it’s going to be hard to solve our problems.  Let me tell you something.  What’s missing is not big ideas.  What’s missing is not that we’ve got an absence of technical solutions to deal with issues like education or energy or our deficit.  The problem we’ve got right now is we’ve just got a stalemate in Washington.

And the outcome of this debate that we’re having is going to set the stage not just for the next year or five years, but for the next twenty.  On the one side you’ve got my opponent in this presidential race and his Republican allies who —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, look — I mean, we’re having a good, healthy, democratic debate.  That’s how this works.  And on their side, they’ve got a basic theory about how you grow the economy.  And the theory is very simple:  They think that the economy grows from the top down.  So their basic theory is, if wealthy investors are doing well then everybody does well.  So if we spend trillions of dollars on more tax cuts mostly for the wealthy, that that’s somehow going to create jobs, even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and gutting job-training programs and gutting transportation projects, and maybe even seeing middle-class folks have a higher tax burden.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So that’s part number one, right.  More tax cuts for those at the top.

Part number two is they believe if you tear down all the regulations that we’ve put in place — for example, on Wall Street banks or on insurance companies or on credit card companies or on polluters — that somehow the economy is going to do much, much better.  So those are their two theories.  They’ve got the tax cuts for the high end, and they’ve got rollback regulation.

Now, here’s the problem.  You may have guessed — we tried this.  We tried this in the last decade and it did not work.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, before I finish, can I say, by the way, that some of you have been standing for a while and I see a couple folks slumping down a little bit.  Make sure you’re drinking water.  Bend your knees.  Don’t stand up too straight.  The paralegals will be — the paralegals?  (Laughter.)  You don’t need lawyers.  (Laughter.)  The paramedics will be coming by, so just give folks a little bit of room, they’ll be fine.  This happens at every event.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  But I just want to point out that we tried their theory for almost 10 years, and here’s what it got us:  We got the slowest job growth in decades.  We got deficits as far as the eye can see.  Your incomes and your wages didn’t go up.  And it culminated in a crisis because there weren’t enough regulations on Wall Street and they could make reckless bets with other people’s money that resulted in this financial crisis, and you had to foot the bill.  So that’s where their theory turned out.

Now, we don’t need more top-down economics.  I’ve got a different view.  I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out.  (Applause.)  I believe that you grow the economy from the bottom up.  I believe that when working people are doing well, the country does well.  (Applause.)

I believe in fighting for the middle class because if they’re prospering, all of us will prosper.  (Applause.)  That’s what I’m fighting for, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, this is what I’ve been focused on since I’ve been in office.  In 2008, I promised to make sure that middle-class taxes didn’t go up.  And in fact, because of the recession, you needed some help, so we cut the typical family’s income taxes by $3,600.  (Applause.)  So if you hear somebody say that I’m a big tax guy, just remember $3,600 for the typical family.  That’s the tax break you’ve gotten since I’ve been in office.  (Applause.)

Four years later, I’m running to keep middle-class taxes low.  So this week, I called on Congress to immediately extend income tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income.  Now, what that means is 98 percent of Americans make less than $250,000, so 98 percent of folks would have the certainty and security that your taxes, your income taxes would not go up a dime.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, this is not a hypothetical.  This wasn’t some campaign promise.  The reason I called on Congress to act now is because if they don’t do anything, on January 1st, almost everybody here, your taxes will go up an average of $1,600.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  So we need to stop that tax hike from happening.

So you would think that this makes sense, right, because the Republicans say they’re the party of no new taxes, right?  That’s what they always say.  Except so far, they’ve refused to act.  And this might confuse you.  You might say, why would they not want to give 98 percent of Americans the certainty of this income tax cut?

Well, it turns out they don’t want you to get your tax break unless the other 2 percent, the top 2 percent, they get their tax break as well.

Now, understand, the top 2 percent, folks like me, we’re the ones who most benefited over the last decade from not only tax breaks, but also a lot of the money from increased profits and productivity went up to that top 2 percent.  So the bottom line is, the top 2 percent doesn’t need help.  They’re doing just fine.

And I understand why they wouldn’t want to pay more in taxes.  Nobody likes to pay more in taxes.  Here’s the problem:  If you continue their tax breaks, that costs a trillion dollars.  And since we’re trying to bring down our deficit and our debt, if we spend a trillion dollars on tax cuts for them, we’re going to have to find that trillion dollars someplace else.  That means we’re going to have to maybe make student loans more expensive for students.  Or we might have to cut back on the services we’re providing our brave veterans when they come home.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Or we might have to stop investing in basic science and research that keeps us as a leading-edge economy.  Or, as they suggested, maybe you would have to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t think those are good ideas.  So what I’ve said to the Republicans is, look, all right, let’s have this debate about the tax cuts for the wealthiest folks.  I don’t mind having that debate.  But in the meantime, let’s go ahead and do what we agree on, which is give 98 percent of Americans some certainty and some security.  (Applause.)  So far, they haven’t taken me up on my offer.

Now, this gives you a sense of how Congress works these days — you’ve got the possibility of your taxes going up in four months, five months, and instead of working on that, guess what they worked on this week?  They worked —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Nothing!

THE PRESIDENT:  — they voted for the 33rd time to try to repeal a health care bill we passed two years ago, after the Supreme Court said it’s constitutional and we are going to go ahead and implement that law.  (Applause.)  I don’t know about you, Virginia, but I think they’ve got a better way to use their time.  I think helping you make sure your taxes don’t go up, that would be a good use of congressional time.  (Applause.)

Now, this is just a small example of the difference between myself and Mr. Romney, between myself and some of the Republicans who are running Congress.  And look, Virginia, I want to repeat — this is a choice.  If you think their way of doing things is a recipe for economic growth and helping the middle class, then you should vote for them.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  You can send those folks to Washington.  I promise you they will carry out what they promise to do.

But that’s not why I went to Washington.  I went to Washington to fight for the middle class.  (Applause.)  I went to Washington to fight for working people who are trying to get into the middle class, and have some sense of security in their lives.  (Applause.)  People like me and Mr. Romney don’t need another tax cut.  You need some help right now to make sure your kids are living the kind of life you want for them.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

On almost every issue, you’ve got the same kind of choice.  When the auto industry was about to go under, a million jobs lost, and my opponent said, “let’s let Detroit go bankrupt,” what did I say?  I said —

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I said I’m betting on America’s workers.  (Applause.)  I’m betting on American industry.  And guess what?  Three years later, GM is number one again and the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

So I believe in American manufacturing.  I believe in making stuff here in America.  (Applause.)  My opponent, he invested in companies who are called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  I don’t believe in outsourcing — I believe in insourcing.  (Applause.)  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas; let’s give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Roanoke, right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Let’s invest in American workers so they can make products and ship them around the world with those three proud words: Made in America.  (Applause.)

I’m running because our men and women in uniform have sacrificed so much.  We could not be prouder of them and we could not be prouder of our veterans.  And because of their efforts, I was able to keep my promise and end the war in Iraq.  (Applause.)
And I now intend to transition out of Afghanistan and bring our troops home.  (Applause.)  And what I said is, because of their outstanding work, we’ve been able to decimate al Qaeda and take out bin Laden.  (Applause.)  And so now it’s time for us to take half of the money we were saving on war and pay down our deficit, and use the other half to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

Roanoke knows something about transportation — this was a railroad hub for a long time.  So you know how important that is to growing an economy.  Let’s take some of that money and rebuild our roads and our bridges and our rail systems, and let’s build wireless networks into rural communities so everybody can tap into world markets.  Let’s put construction workers back to work doing what they do best and that is rebuilding America.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  That’s the choice you face.  (Applause.)

I’m running to make sure that our kids are getting the best education in the world.  When I came into office, we passed a tuition tax credit that has saved millions of families thousands of dollars, and now I want to extend it.  But I don’t want to stop there.  We just won a fight thanks to some of the folks who are here, including students from VT that — we just won a fight to make sure that student loan interest rates would not double.

But that’s not enough.  I want to lower tuition to make it more affordable for all young people.  (Applause.)  I want to help our elementary schools and our middle schools and our high schools hire more teachers, especially in math and science.  I want 2 million more people to be able to go to community colleges to get trained in the jobs that businesses are hiring for right now — because a higher education, a good education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity.  That’s how we’re going to win the race for the future.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President — to finish the job we started in 2008.  (Applause.)

We’ve got to deal with homeownership, and the fact of the matter is that my opponent’s philosophy when it comes to dealing with homeowners is, let the market bottom out and let as many foreclosures happen as it takes.  I don’t think that’s part of a solution — that’s part of the problem.

So what I want to do is, I want to let every single person refinance their homes and save about $3,000 a year because you’ll spend that $3,000 on some of these stores right here in downtown.  You’ll help small businesses and large businesses grow because they’ll have more customers.  It will be good for you and it will be good for the economy.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President — because I want to help America’s homeowners.  (Applause.)

I am running because I still believe that you shouldn’t go bankrupt when you get sick.  We passed that health care law because it was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  And because we did, 30 million people who don’t have health insurance are going to get help getting health insurance.  (Applause.)  Six million young people who didn’t have health insurance can now stay on their parent’s plan and get health insurance.

Seniors are seeing their prescription drug costs go down.  And, by the way, if you’ve got health insurance, you’re not getting hit by a tax.  The only thing that’s happening to you is that you now have more security because insurance companies can’t drop you when you get sick.  (Applause.)  And they can’t mess around with you because of some fine print in your policy.  If you’re paying your policy, you will get the deal that you paid for.  That’s why we passed health care reform.  (Applause.)

Now, one last thing — one of the biggest differences is how we pay down our debt and our deficit.  My opponent, Mr. Romney’s plan is he wants to cut taxes another $5 trillion on top of the Bush tax cuts.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, like I said, the only way you can pay for that — if you’re actually saying you’re bringing down the deficit — is to cut transportation, cut education, cut basic research, voucherize Medicare, and you’re still going to end up having to raise taxes on middle-class families to pay for this $5 trillion tax cut.  That’s not a deficit reduction plan.  That’s a deficit expansion plan.

I’ve got a different idea.  I do believe we can cut — we’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently.  (Applause.)  Not every government program works the way it’s supposed to.  And frankly, government can’t solve every problem.  If somebody doesn’t want to be helped, government can’t always help them.  Parents — we can put more money into schools, but if your kids don’t want to learn it’s hard to teach them.  (Applause.)

But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them.  So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way.  We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, we’ve tried that before — a guy named Bill Clinton did it.  We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine.  We created a lot of millionaires.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together.  That’s how we funded the GI Bill.  That’s how we created the middle class.  That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.  That’s how we invented the Internet.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea.  You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.  (Applause.)

So all these issues go back to that first campaign that I talked about, because everything has to do with how do we help middle-class families, working people, strivers, doers — how do we help them succeed?  How do we make sure that their hard work pays off?  That’s what I’ve been thinking about the entire time I’ve been President.

Now, over the next four months, the other side is going to spend more money than we’ve even seen in history.  And they don’t really have a good argument for how they would do better, but they’re thinking they can win the election if they just remind people that a lot of people are still out of work, and the economy is not growing as fast as it needs to, and it’s all Obama’s fault.  That’s basically their pitch.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, I mean, I’m just telling you.  You’ve seen the ads, and they’re going to run more of them, and there will be all kinds of variations on the same theme.  But it will be the same basic message over and over and over and over and over again.

Now, their ads may be a plan to win an election, but it’s not a plan to put people back to work.  It’s not a plan to strengthen the middle class.  And the reason it doesn’t worry me is because we’ve been outspent before.  We’ve been counted out before.  The pundits, they didn’t think I could win Virginia the last time.  (Applause.)  The last time I came to this part of Virginia, all the political writers, they’re all like, well, he’s not serious, he’s just making a tactical move.  No, I’m serious — I’m going to get some votes down here.  (Applause.)

And so the reason that I continue to have confidence is because when I look at you, I see my grandparents.  When I see your kids, I see my kids.  And I think about all those previous generations — our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents.  Some of them came here as immigrants, some were brought here against their will.  Some of them worked on farms, and some worked in mills, and some worked in mines, and some worked on the railroad.

But no matter where they worked, no matter how times were tough, they always had faith that there was something different about this country; that in this country, you have some God-given rights:  a life in liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and a belief that all of us are equal — (applause) — and that we’re not guaranteed success, but we’re guaranteed the right to work hard for success.  (Applause.)

They understood that, and they understood that succeeding in America wasn’t about how much money was in your bank account, but it was about whether you were doing right by your people, doing right by your family, doing right by your neighborhood, doing right by your community, doing right by your country, living out our values, living out our dreams, living out our hopes.  That’s what America was about.  (Applause.)

And so when I look out at this crowd, you inspire me.  (Applause.)  And I have to tell you that the privilege of being your President is something that I thank God for every single day.  (Applause.)

I said to you back in 2008 when I was running, I’m not a perfect man — you can ask Michelle about that.  (Laughter.)  And I told you I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But what I did say to you was that I’d always tell you what I thought and I’d always tell you where I stood, and that I would wake up every single morning thinking about you and fighting as hard as I knew how to make your life a little bit better.  (Applause.)

And over these last three and a half years, I know times have been tough, and I know change hasn’t always come as fast as you’d like.  But you know what, I’ve kept that promise.  (Applause.)  I thought about you.  I fought for you.  I believe in you.  And if you still believe in me, if you’re willing to stand up with me, and campaign with me, and make phone calls for me, and knock on doors with me, I promise you we will finish what we started — (applause) — and we will restore that basic bargain that built this country, and we’ll remind the world just why it is that America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END                  8:33 P.M. EDT

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