Full Text Campaign Buzz August 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, Nevada — Shifts Aim to Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Education Plan

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event – Reno, NV

Source: WH, 8-21-12

Truckee Meadows Community College
Reno, Nevada

4:44 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Reno! (Applause.) Hello, hello! It is good to be back in Nevada! (Applause.)

Well, listen, first of all, can everybody give Alejandra a huge round of applause? (Applause.) She did a great job. We’re very proud of her. She was outstanding.

I also want to acknowledge a dear friend, a great friend of working people not just here Nevada but all across the country, your Senator, Harry Reid, is in the house. (Applause.) Where is Harry? There he is.

It’s good to see all of you. (Applause.) And let me just point out, every time I come here the weather is really good. (Applause.) I mean, you guys have a pretty good deal here. It is beautiful. And as we were flying in, we flew over Tahoe — (applause) — I’d like to pretend that there is a big campaign event there — (laughter) — but I can’t really pretend that that’s the case.

But it is wonderful to be in the state. It is great to be at Truckee Meadows Community College. (Applause.) And I came here today to talk about what students are doing here every single day. Your education is the single most important investment you can make in your future. That’s true for Alejandra; it is true for every single student here. It’s true whether you are talking about a community college or whether you’re talking about a four-year college or university.

And I’m proud of all of you who are doing what it takes to make that investment — not just the money, but also the long hours in the library — at least I hope you’re spending some long hours in the library — (laughter) — and in the lab, and in the classroom. Because it’s never been more important.

But the degree students earn from this college is the surest path you will have to a good job and to higher earnings. (Applause.) It’s the best tool that you’ve got to achieve that basic American promise, that simple idea that if you work hard in this country, you will be rewarded. The basic bargain that says if you work hard, if you’re willing to put in the effort, then you can do well enough to raise a family, you can own your home, you can put a little away for retirement, you won’t have to worry about being bankrupt if you get sick; maybe you can take a vacation once in a while. And most importantly, you know that you’ll be able to pass on to your kids more opportunity and the possibility that they can do things that you couldn’t even dream of. (Applause.)

That’s what America is all about — making sure those doors of opportunity are open to everybody. That’s the reason I ran for President. That’s what my presidency has been about. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: Now, here is the thing, though — your education is not just important to you, it’s important to America’s success. When we invest in your future, we’re investing in America’s future. The fact is that countries that out-educate us today, they’ll out-compete us tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose that race to make sure we’ve got the most highly educated, most-skilled workforce in the world. (Applause.) And when companies and businesses are looking to locate, that’s what they’re looking for. And I don’t want them looking any farther than Reno, Nevada; the state of Nevada; the United States of America. (Applause.) We’ve got the best workers in the world, and I want to keep it that way. (Applause.)

And your education is just getting more important. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. More than half of the new jobs over the next decade will require some form of higher education. And I don’t think it’s also any news to you that higher education is getting harder and harder to afford. It is tough for a lot of folks.

Over the past couple of decades, over the last 20 years, tuition and fees at America’s colleges and universities have more than doubled. The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $26,000 in student loan debt. And living with that kind of debt means you’ve got to make tough choices, especially when you’re first starting out. It may mean putting off starting a family or buying a home. It may mean you don’t have enough savings to try to start that new business idea that you’ve got.

When a big chunk of each paycheck goes just towards servicing your loan debt, that’s not just tough for middle-class families that are trying to make it, it’s also not good for the economy, because it means you’re not spending that money with local businesses.

And I want you to understand I speak from experience here. (Applause.) Michelle and I know about this firsthand. We didn’t come from wealthy families. My mom was a single mom. Michelle’s dad was a blue-collar worker. Her mom was a secretary. Michelle’s parents never went to college. Both of us graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt. So when we got married, we pooled our liabilities, not our assets. (Laughter.) We got poorer together, not richer. In fact, we paid more for our student loans than we paid on our mortgage each month when we finally were able to afford to buy a condo. And then, once we had Malia and Sasha, now we’re supposed to be saving for their college education, but we’re still paying off for our college educations.

And, look, we were luckier than most. We had landed good jobs with steady incomes. Even with that, though, we only but finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago. Now, think about that — I became President three and a half years ago. (Applause.) I was a U.S. senator about seven years ago. So I had been working and Michelle had been working for over a decade before we got all our loans paid off.

But here’s the thing. I’m only standing here before you today because of the chance that that education gave me. So I think I can speak with some experience and say, making higher education more affordable for our young people is something I’ve got a personal stake in. It’s not something I believe in abstractly. It’s something Michelle has a personal stake in. We believe in it because we’ve been in your shoes. We know what it’s like. (Applause.) We understand that unless you provide those rungs on the ladder of opportunity, then young people — many of whom are more talented than Michelle and I — may not get a shot.

And that’s why I’ve made this one of the top priorities of my presidency. It’s part of what’s at stake in this election. When all of you walk in to that voting booth in November, you’re going to have a choice. And part of it is the choice of how we treat education in this country. And I say this because putting a college education within reach for working families does not seem to be a priority that my opponent shares.

Look, a few months ago, Governor Romney told a crowd of young people, just like you, that if you want to be successful, if you want to go to college or you want to start a business, then you can just — and I’m quoting here — “borrow money if you have to from your parents.”

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: Harry, did your parents have a whole bunch of money to lend you?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: My parents didn’t have a lot of money to lend me. I bet a bunch of your parents don’t have a lot of money to lend. It’s not because they don’t want to — they don’t have it.

When a high school student asked Governor Romney what he would do to make college more affordable for families, Governor Romney didn’t say anything about grants or loan programs that have helped millions of students earn a college education. He didn’t say anything about work-study programs, or rising college tuition. He did not say a single word about community colleges, or how important higher education is to America’s economic future. Here’s what he said: “The best thing I can do for you is to tell you to shop around.” (Laughter.) To shop around.

So this is his plan. That’s his answer to a young person hoping to go to college — shop around and borrow money from your parents if you have to.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: Now, that’s not an answer. That’s not even — not only is not a good answer, it’s not even an answer. There is nothing a parent wants to do more than to give their kids opportunities that we never had. (Applause.) There are very few things more painful than a parent not being able to do it.

But we’re still fighting back from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. There are a lot of parents out there who are working really hard but still struggling to make ends meet. And I do not accept the notion that we should deny their children the opportunity of a higher education and a brighter future just because their families were hard hit by a recession. (Applause.)

Think about all the discoveries, all the businesses, all the breakthroughs that we wouldn’t have had if we had told every American that wanted to go to college, “tough luck, too bad, you’re on your own.”

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Shop around!

THE PRESIDENT: Shop around. This country has always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of all who are willing to work for it. That’s part of what made us an economic superpower. (Applause.) That’s what kept us at the forefront of business and science, and technology and medicine.

And this is not just a new commitment we’ve made. My grandfather had the chance to go to college because after fighting on behalf of America in World War II, he came back to a country that decided, you know what, we’re going to make sure every veteran should be able to afford college. (Applause.)

My mother was able to raise me and my sister by herself and go to college because she was able to get grants and work her way through school. Michelle and I would not be here without the help of scholarships and student loans. (Applause.) We are only here because the chance our education gave us, and I want every young person to have that chance.

And listen, government can’t help folks who won’t help themselves. Parents have to parent, and young people have to stay disciplined and focused. But if you’re willing to work hard, a college education in the 21st century should be available to everybody, not just the wealthy few. (Applause.) That’s what I believe. Whether it’s a 4-year education, a 2-year program, higher education is not a luxury, it is a necessity. (Applause.) And every American family should be able to afford it.

That’s what’s at stake in this election, Nevada. It’s one of the reasons I’m running for President.

And listen, I want you to understand — I’m not just talking the talk. I’m not just making promises. Since I took office, we’ve helped over 3 million more students afford a college education with grants that go farther than they did before. (Applause.) Now, unfortunately, the economic plan of Governor Romney could cut our investments in education by about 20 percent. So the grants that we’ve used that Alejandro may be taking advantage of, many of you may be taking advantage of — those grants could be cut so deeply that 1 million of the students who would have been helped would no longer get scholarships. It would cut financial aid for nearly 10 million students a year.

Now — and here’s the worst part. They’re not making these cuts to create reduce the deficit. They’re not making these cuts so they can create more jobs. They’re doing it to pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut weighted towards the wealthiest Americans.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: Does that sound like a plan for a better future for you?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a plan that says we can’t afford to help the next generation, but we can afford massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. We can’t offer our young people student loans because we’ve got to protect corporate tax loopholes. It’s a vision that says we can’t help young people who are trying to make it because we’ve got to protect the folks who already have made it. That’s not a vision we have to accept.

Governor Romney likes to talk about his time as an investor as one of the bases for his candidacy, but his economic plan makes clear he doesn’t think your future is worth investing in. And I do. That’s what’s at stake in this election. That’s the choice this November. (Applause.)

We are going to make sure that America once again leads the world in educating our kids and training our workers. (Applause.) There are business owners across the country who say they can’t fill the skilled positions they have open, and you’ve got millions of people who are out there looking for work. So I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges just like this one to learn the skills that local businesses are hiring for right now. (Applause.)

Community colleges like Truckee Meadows educate the backbone of our workforce. (Applause.) This is where young people and some not-so-young people can come and get trained as nurses and firefighters and computer programmers and folks who manufacture clean-energy components. And these are the vital pathways to the middle class, and we shouldn’t weaken them; we should strengthen them. (Applause.)

Earlier this summer, Harry Reid and I, we fought to make sure the interest rate on federal student loans didn’t go up. (Applause.) We won that fight. (Applause.) The Republican plan in Congress would have allowed those rates to double, costing more than 7 million students an extra thousand dollars a year. With the help of Harry Reid we set up a college tax credit so that more middle-class families can save up to $10,000 on their tuition over four years. (Applause.) Governor Romney wants to repeal it.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: In 2008, I promised we would reform a student loan system that was giving tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to big banks and lobbyists instead of giving it to students. So they were taking a cut out of the student loan program even though they had no risk, because the federal government was guaranteeing the loans — $60 billion worth. So we said, no, let’s cut them out; let’s give this money directly to students. (Applause.) We won that fight. That’s what we used to double the grants for students who are in need.

My opponent is running to return the system back to the way it was. He wants to go backwards to policies where banks were taking out billions of dollars out of the student loan program. He wants to go back to policies that got us into this mess in the first place. That is the choice in this election. I want to move forward; he wants to go backwards. We are not going to let him. That’s what’s at stake in this election. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: Four years ago, I promised we’d end the war in Iraq. (Applause.) And we promised we’d go after al Qaeda and bin Laden. (Applause.) We promised to blunt the momentum of the Taliban and then start turning over security responsibilities to the Afghans so we can start bringing our troops home. We are keeping these promises because of the tremendous sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. (Applause.)

So, today, all of our troops are out of Iraq, and we are winding down the war in Afghanistan. But we’ve got to make sure that we keep faith with those folks who fought for us. (Applause.) So we’ve made sure to keep the Post-9/11 GI Bill strong. Everybody who has served this country should have a chance to get their degree, and as long as I am Commander-in-Chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve them as well as they have served us. (Applause.) Nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or fight for a college education, or fight for a roof over their heads when they come home. (Applause.) That’s part of what’s at stake in this election.

Now, I have to tell you, over the course of the next two and a half months, the other side will not talk much about education because they don’t really have a plan. They won’t be talking about much, but they will spend more money than we’ve ever seen on ads that just try to repeat the same thing over and over again: The economy is not doing as well as it should, and it’s all Obama’s fault. (Laughter.) It’s like going to a concert and they just keep on playing the same song over and over again. (Laughter.) And the reason they’ve got to try to just repeat that over and over again is because they know their economic plan is not popular. They know that the American people are not going to buy another $5 trillion tax cut, most of which goes to wealthy Americans and that will be paid for by you.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: They know gutting education to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires is not going to sell. So since they can’t advertise their plan, they’re going to bet on the fact that you get discouraged, that you get cynical, that you decide your vote doesn’t matter. They’re betting that each $10 million check from some wealthy donor drowns out millions of voices. They don’t see that as a problem; that’s their strategy.

I’m counting on something different. I’m counting on you. (Applause.) See, part of what you taught me in 2008 is that when the American people join together, they can’t be stopped. (Applause.) When we remember our parents and our grandparents and great-grandparents and all the sacrifices they made, and we’re reminded that this country has always risen and fallen together; when we remember that what makes us special is the idea that everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share and everybody is playing by the same set of rules — when that’s our focus, you can’t be stopped. (Applause.)

So here’s what I’m going to need from everybody: First of all, you’ve got no excuse not to register to vote. We’ve got staff and volunteers who are here. They will grab you at the door. You won’t be able to escape. This young lady right here, she’s ready to register some voters. (Applause.) And if somehow we miss you, or if you decide you want to help your friends and your neighbors and fellow students to get registered, you can do it online at GottaRegister.com. Now, I want — I know this is an educated place, but “gotta” is spelled g-o-t-t-a. (Laughter.) This is GottaRegister.com. So you’ve got to — you’ve “gotta” not just register; you gotta grab some friends. You gotta grab some neighbors. You gotta take them to the polls. You gotta vote. (Applause.)

Let’s prove the cynics wrong one more time. Let’s show them your vote counts. Let’s prove your voice is more powerful than lobbyists and special interests. Let’s keep the promise of this country alive — that no matter what you look like or where you come from, you can make it if you try. (Applause.) We’ve come too far to turn back now. We’ve got more students to educate, more teachers to hire, more troops to bring home, more schools to rebuild, more jobs to create, more homegrown energy to generate, more doors of opportunity to open for everybody who’s willing to work hard. (Applause.)

And if you’ll stand with me like you did in 2008, if you’re willing to do some work and knock on doors and make phone calls, we will win Washoe County. We will win Nevada. We will win this election. We’ll finish what we started, and remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you. God bless America.

END
5:10 P.M. PDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio — Shifts Aim to Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Education Plan

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Shifts Aim to Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Education Plan

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-21-12

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama kicked off a two-day campaign swing through Ohio and Nevada Tuesday by shifting the focus of his attacks from Medicare and taxes to education, slamming the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan plan to cut student aid.
“Whether it’s a four-year college [or] a two-year program, higher education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity that every family in America should be able to afford. And that’s what’s at stake in this election,” the president told supporters.

Obama’s education pitch, which he is outlining in visits to two colleges and a high school in critical battleground states, is part of a broader effort to show how the Romney-Ryan budget cuts would negatively impact Americans….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Columbus, OH

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

Capital University
Columbus, Ohio

1:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Ohio!  (Applause.)  Hello, Crusaders!  (Applause.)  Oh, it is good to be back in Columbus!  (Applause.)  The sun came out for us.  (Applause.)  It’s a good sign.

It is fun to be back in Ohio, and it is great to be here.  I just want to acknowledge a few people.  First of all, give Steven a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  He was explaining to me what it’s like being a BMX driver — rider.  And he said that — he said, well — I asked him, because I’d seen those guys in the Olympics, and I said, it seems like you guys fall a lot.  (Laughter.)  And he says, “No, no, I learned how to fall on my shoulder.”  I said, well, is that good?  He said, “Well, I broke my shoulder four times.”  (Laughter.)  But he looks okay to me.  He’s doing great.

A couple other people I want to acknowledge — your outstanding Mayor, Michael Coleman is in the house.  (Applause.) There he is.  And we’ve got congressional candidate — Joyce Beatty is here.  (Applause.)  And all of you are here.  (Applause.)

How many students do we have here?  (Applause.)  You guys are excited about school starting up?  (Applause.)  Everybody was saying yes except this one guy over here.  (Laughter.)  He was shaking his head.  Come on, man, it’s going to be great.  (Applause.)

Well, I am glad we’ve got some students here because I came to Columbus today to talk about what most of the students here are doing every day.  Your education is the single most important investment that you can make in your future.  And I’m proud of all the students who are here doing what it takes to make that investment — the long hours in the library — except for this guy.  (Laughter.)  Working in the lab, being in the classroom — even when your classes start a little earlier than you had planned — because your education has never been more important.

The degree that you earn from this university is the surest path that you will have to a good job and to higher earnings.  It’s the best tool you’ll have to achieve what is the core promise of this country — the idea that if you work hard, your work will be rewarded.  The basic bargain that says if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can do well enough to raise a family and have a home that you call your own, have some security, put a little away for retirement, and most importantly, make sure that your children, your grandchildren can do even better and dream even bigger than you did.  (Applause.)  That’s the hope that your parents had for you.  That’s the hope I have for Malia and Sasha.  That’s the hope that you’ll someday have for your own kids.

But here’s the thing.  This is about more than just your own success.  Now, more than ever, your success is America’s success, because when we invest in your future we’re investing in America’s future.  The fact is that countries that out-educate us today, they’ll be able to out-compete us tomorrow.  Businesses are mobile in the 21st century economy; they can locate anywhere. So they’re going to create jobs and they’re going to hire wherever they find the best educated, most highly skilled workers.  And I don’t want them to have to look any further than right here in Columbus, right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And because the economy has changed, over the coming decade more than half of new jobs will require some form of higher education.  It may not be a four-year college degree, but you’re going to need to have gone to a community college or a technical school to get the skills you need to get hired — and this is not breaking news to any of you.  What’s also not breaking news is the fact that higher education has gotten a lot harder to afford; it’s gotten more expensive.  Over the past two years — excuse me, over the past two decades, tuition and fees at America’s colleges have more than doubled.

The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $26,000 worth of student loan debt.  (Laughter.)  What, that sounds low to you?  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  I just said the average.  (Laughter.)  For a lot of young people it’s a lot higher, and that kind of debt means pretty tough choices when you’re first starting out.  It might mean putting off starting a family or buying a home, or putting off chasing that great idea that you’ve got for a small business.  When a big chunk of each paycheck goes towards paying off your loan debt, that’s not just tough for middle-class families that are trying to make it and young people who are trying to get started; it’s also painful for the entire economy because that means that money you might be spending on buying a new home or doing something else with it, it’s going to that check that you’re writing every single month.  It’s not going to the local business.

And I have to say, this is something Michelle and I know firsthand about.  I’m not speculating on this, because we’ve been in your shoes.  Neither of us came from wealthy families.  Both of us graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt.  When we married, we got poor together.  (Laughter.)  We combined our liabilities into one big liability.  (Laughter.)  We paid more for our student loans than we paid on our mortgage each month, and that went on for years.  And then, once we had Malia and Sasha, we needed to start saving for their college educations but we were still paying off our college educations.

Now, keep in mind we were lucky enough to land good jobs, we had steady incomes, but we did not finish paying off our student loans until about eight years ago.  Think about that.  I’m not —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You got an education.

THE PRESIDENT:  I got an education and it worked out pretty good.  (Laughter and applause.)  But the point I’m making is, I’m only standing before you because of the chance that my education gave me.  So I can tell you, with some experience, that making higher education more affordable for our young people — it’s something I’ve got a personal stake in; it’s something that Michelle has a personal stake in.  We believe in it because we’ve been there and we know that unless you provide those rungs on the ladder of opportunity, young people who are more talented than we are may not get a shot.  That’s why I’ve made it a top priority of my presidency.  And, Ohio, that is something that is at stake in this election.  That’s part of the reason why November is so important.  (Applause.)

And I say this because putting a college education within reach for working families just doesn’t seem to be a big priority for my opponent.  A few months ago, just up the road, in Westerville, Governor Romney said, if you want to be successful, if you want to go to college or start a business, you can just — and I’m quoting here — “borrow money if you have to from your parents.”

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  When a high school student in Youngstown asked him what he would do to make college more affordable for families like his, Governor Romney didn’t say anything about grants or loan programs that are critical to millions of students to get a college education.  He said nothing about work-study programs or rising college tuition.  He didn’t say a word about community colleges or how important higher education is to America’s future.  He said, the best thing you can do is shop around.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  The best thing I can do for you is to tell you to shop around.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s it!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s it.  That’s his plan.  That’s his answer to young people who are trying to figure out how to go to college and make sure that they don’t have a mountain of debt — shop around and borrow more money from your parents.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  What are we going to do?  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’ve just got to — I want to make sure everybody understands. Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend.  (Applause.)  That may be news to some folks, but it’s the truth.  (Laughter.)

So what Governor Romney is offering is not an answer.  There’s nothing a parent wants more than to give opportunities to their kids that they never had.  And it’s pretty painful for a lot of parents if they can’t do that.  But as we’re fighting back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, you’ve got a lot of parents who are out there struggling just to make ends meet.  And I don’t accept the notion that we should deny any child the opportunity to get a higher education.  If they’ve been working hard, if they’ve got the grades, if they’ve got the determination to get a better future for themselves, I don’t want them to be prevented just because their families were hit hard by a recession.  (Applause.)

That’s not who we are.  That’s not what America is about.  We give everybody a fair shot.  Think about all the discoveries, all the businesses, all the breakthroughs that we would not have made if we told every young person who has got the drive and the will and the grades to go to college, “tough luck, too bad, you’re on your own.”  We’ve always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of everybody who is willing to work for it.  That’s part of what makes us special.  That’s what keeps us at the forefront of business and science and technology and medicine.

And this dates back for decades.  Some of you know my grandfather fought in World War II.  When he came back, he had a chance to go to college because this country decided every returning veteran of World War II should be able to afford it.  (Applause.)  My mother was able to raise me and my sister because she was able to get grants and work her way through school.  Michelle and I would not be here today without the help of scholarships and student loans.  And I know Steve wouldn’t be here either and neither would a lot of you.  (Applause.)

So in a 21st century economy, a college education should be available for everybody — not just the wealthy few.  Whether it’s a four-year college, a two-year program, higher education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity that every family in America should be able to afford.  And that’s what’s at stake in this election.  It’s one of the reasons I’m running for President of the United States for a second term.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I want you to know that I have not just talked the talk; we have walked the walk.  (Applause.)  Since I took office, we have helped more than 3 million additional students afford a college education with grants that go farther than they did before.  The economic plan my opponent has would cut our investment in education by nearly 20 percent.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  It would cut those grants so deeply that 1 million of those students who we have helped would no longer get a scholarship at all.  It would cut financial aid for nearly 10 million students a year.

And keep in mind they’re not making these cuts to create jobs.  They’re not proposing these cuts to pay down the deficit. Governor Romney is proposing these cuts to pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut that’s weighted towards the wealthiest Americans.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Does that sound like a better plan for America?  Does that sound like a better plan for you?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  A plan that says that we can’t afford to help the next generation earn an education, but we can afford massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires?  A plan that says we can’t afford our young people — to offer our young people student loans because we’ve got to protect corporate loopholes?  It’s a vision that says we can’t help young people who are trying to make it because we’ve got to protect the folks who already have made it.

Michelle and I are going to be able to send Malia and Sasha to college.  We don’t need an extra tax break.  You do.  (Applause.)  Their vision is wrong for moving America forward.  It’s not a vision you’ve got to accept.  That’s why November is important, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney makes his time as an investor in the private sector the basis of his candidacy.  That’s how he says he’s going to fix the economy – “I was in the private sector.”  And his economic plan makes one thing clear:  He does not think investing in your future is worth it.  He doesn’t think that’s a good investment.  I do.  That’s what’s at stake in this election.  That’s the choice in November.  That’s why we fought to make sure the interest rate on federal student loans didn’t go up over the summer.  We won that fight.  (Applause.)

Some of these Republican members of Congress would have allowed those rates to double, costing more than 7 million students an extra thousand dollars a year.  I’ve said I want to extend the college tax credit that my administration created so more families can save up to $10,000 on their tuition over four years.  (Applause.)  They want to end that tax credit.  That’s the choice in this election.

In 2008, I promised we would reform a student loan system that was giving tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to big banks and lobbyists instead of students.  There are plenty of folks in Washington who fought tooth and nail to keep that system as it was.  We kept at it, we won that fight, we used it to double grant aid for students.  (Applause.)

My opponent now wants to go back to the way things were.  He wants to go backwards to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.  We’re moving forward.  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, part of our job is also to make sure you don’t need a Ph.D. to apply for financial aid in the first place. So we’ve put in place this new consumer protection watchdog, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, put in place — and it’s working with the Department of Education to develop a simple new factsheet on student loans and financial aid, so you can have all the information you need to make your own best choices about how to pay for college.  We call it “Know Before You Owe.”  Know before you owe.  (Applause.)  That’s a good idea.  But my opponent wants to get rid of this new consumer protection agency, and let for-profit colleges keep preying on veterans and working families.  That’s one of the choices in this election.

I’m want to make sure that America once again leads the world in educating our kids, training our workers.  I want to make sure more of our students are prepared for college by helping our secondary and elementary schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community college and learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now.

I’ve put colleges and universities on notice — if they can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding they get from taxpayers will go down.  We want to give them some incentive to start lowering tuition.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s what you’re going to be having to think about when you go to that voting booth in November.

Four years ago, I promised that we would end the war in Iraq.  (Applause.)  Thanks to the service and the sacrifice of our incredible men and women in uniform, that’s what we’ve done.  (Applause.)  Today, all our troops are out of Iraq.  We are beginning to bring our troops homes from Afghanistan.  But the key is making sure that they are getting the same good deal that my grandfather got when he came home from the war.  So we’ve made sure to keep the Post-9/11 GI Bill strong so that everybody who has served our country has the chance to earn a degree.

As long as I am Commander-in-Chief, I promise you we will care for our veterans and serve them as well as they’ve served us.  (Applause.)  If you fought for this country, you shouldn’t have to fight for a college education or for a job or for a roof over your heads when you come home.  (Applause.)  So that’s what we’re fighting for, Columbus.  That’s just one example, in the education arena, of what’s at stake.

Now, over the next two and a half months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen — ever.  I mean, they got folks writing $10 million checks, $20 million checks.  They should be contributing that to a scholarship fund to send kids to college.  (Applause.)  But instead, they are going to spend more money than we’ve ever seen on ads.  And the ads all say the same thing, which is, the economy is not where it needs to be and it’s all Obama’s fault.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  See, look — no, no, listen, they know their economic plan isn’t popular.  They know that gutting investments in education and science and infrastructure, and voucherizing Medicare, they know that doesn’t really sell well.  They know that it especially doesn’t sell well when you’re doing all those things not to reduce the deficit but to pay for massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  They know that’s not going to poll well.  So they’re betting on the fact that you get so discouraged that you decide your vote doesn’t matter.

They’re betting every single $10 million check from a wealthy donor drowns out millions of voices at the ballot box.  They’re counting on young people sitting this one out.  They say well, you know what — Obama, he’s grayer now, he’s not as new and as fresh as he was in 2008, so young people aren’t going to turn out the same way.  They’re counting on you sitting on the sidelines and letting others make the choice for you.  See, they don’t have a plan to create jobs or strengthen the middle class, but this is their plan to win the election.

But I’m counting on something different.  I’m counting on you.  (Applause.)  I’m counting on the fact that when the American people focus and push aside all the noise and all the nonsense, and they remember the fact that all of us, whatever success we’ve achieved, we’ve achieved because we worked together, because we made sure everybody has a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  I’m counting on the fact that when the American people focus on what’s at stake, you can’t be stopped.  And all the money the other side is spending doesn’t matter.

So I’m going to need your help — young people especially — I’m going to need your help.  (Applause.)  I need to make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address.  We’ve got staff and volunteers who are here who can help you do that before you leave today.  And when you leave, I’m asking you to grab 10 friends — make sure they’re registered, too.  And if you need more information, you can go visit the website GottaRegister.com.  That’s not Got-To, it’s Gotta.  (Laughter.)  G-o-t-t-a-register.com.

Let’s prove the cynics wrong.  Let’s show them your votes count.  Let’s show them your voice makes a difference.  Let’s show them America better start listening to the voice of the next generation of Americans.  (Applause.)

I need your help to keep this American Dream alive, this incredible experiment we have in democracy; this idea that no matter where you’re born, or who your parents are, or how much money you got, or no matter what you look like or what you believe in, you can go as far as your talents take you.  (Applause.)  That dream that we can still, together, achieve great things; that you can pursue the happiness that you hope for and your parents hope for; that here in America you can make it if you try.

Ohio, we’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)  We’ve got more students who dream to afford college.  We’ve got more good teachers to hire.  We’ve got more schools to rebuild.  We’ve got more good jobs to create.  We’ve got more homegrown energy to generate.  We’ve got more troops we’ve got to come home.  We’ve got more doors of opportunity to open for everybody who is willing to walk through them.  That’s why I’m asking for a second term as President.

And if you’re willing to stand with me, and vote for me, and organize with me, and knock on doors and make phone calls with me, we will finish what we started.  We will win Ohio.  We will win this election.  And we will remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END
1:27 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency August 22, 2012: President Obama Holds a Press Conference During the White House Daily Press Briefing — Defends His Campaign’s Tone

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Holds a Press Conference

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

President Barack Obama holds a press conference (August 20, 2012)

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Aug. 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama Defends His Campaign’s Tone

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-21-12

President Obama today defended his campaign’s persistent demand that Mitt Romney release more than two years of his tax returns, saying it’s standard procedure and the American people want to know that “everybody’s been playing by the same rules.”

“The American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life’s an open book when it comes to things like your finances,” he told reporters in an impromptu press conference at the White House today.

“This isn’t sort of overly personal here, guys. This is pretty standard stuff. I don’t think we’re being mean by asking you to do what every other presidential candidate’s done, right? It’s what the American people expect,” he said….READ MORE

Remarks by the President to the White House Press Corps

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.

MR. CARNEY:  Looks like there’s a surprise guest here.

THE PRESIDENT:  Jay tells me that you guys have been missing me.  (Laughter.)  So I thought I’d come by and just say hello.

Before I take some questions, let me just mention, since Medicare has been a little bit in the news lately, I thought it would be useful to start with some actual facts and news about the program.

Today, HHS announced that thanks to the health care law that we passed, nearly 5.4 million seniors with Medicare have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs.  That’s an average savings of more than $700 per person.  This year alone, 18 million seniors with Medicare have taken advantage of new preventive care benefits like a mammogram or other cancer screening at no extra cost.

These are big deals for a lot of Americans, and it represents two important ways that the improvements we made as part of the Affordable Care Act has strengthened Medicare and helped seniors everywhere get better care at less cost.  That’s been our goal from the very beginning, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can to make sure that we keep our seniors healthy and the American people healthy.

So with that, let me start off with Jim Kuhnhenn.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Thank you for being here.  You’re no doubt aware of the comments that the Missouri Senate candidate, Republican Todd Akin, made on rape and abortion.  I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican Party in general.  They’ve been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans.  Are they an outlier or are they representative?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me, first of all, say the views expressed were offensive.  Rape is rape.  And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.

So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.

And so, although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions — or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape — I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.

But I don’t think that they would agree with the Senator from Missouri in terms of his statement, which was way out there.

Q    Should he drop out of the race?

THE PRESIDENT:  He was nominated by the Republicans in Missouri.  I’ll let them sort that out.

Nancy Cordes.

Q    Yes, Mr. President, thank you.  As you know, your opponent recently accused you of waging a campaign filled with “anger and hate.”   And you told Entertainment Tonight that anyone who attends your rallies can see that they’re not angry- or hate-filled affairs.  But in recent weeks, your campaign has suggested repeatedly, without proof, that Mr. Romney might be hiding something in his tax returns.  They have suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital.  And your campaign and the White House have declined to condemn an ad by one of your top supporters that links Mr. Romney to a woman’s death from cancer.  Are you comfortable with the tone that’s being set by your campaign?  Have you asked them to change their tone when it comes to defining Mr. Romney?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I’m not sure all those characterizations that you laid out there were accurate.  For example, nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.

And I think that what is absolutely true is, if you watch me on the campaign trail, here’s what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about how we put Americans back to work.  And there are sharp differences between myself and Mr. Romney in terms of how we would do that.  He thinks that if we roll back Wall Street reform, roll back the Affordable Care Act — otherwise known affectionately as Obamacare — that somehow people are going to be better off.

I think that if we are putting teachers back to work and rebuilding America and reducing our deficit in a balanced way, that’s how you put people back to work.  That is a substantive difference.  That’s what I talk about on the campaign.

When it comes to taxes, Governor Romney thinks that we should be cutting taxes by another $5 trillion, and folks like me would benefit disproportionately from that.  I think that it makes a lot more sense and have put out a detailed plan for a balanced approach that combines tough spending cuts with asking people like me — millionaires and billionaires — to do a little bit more.  That’s a substantive difference in this campaign.

Whether it’s on wind energy, or how we would approach funding education, those are the topics that we’re spending a lot of time talking about in the campaign.

Now, if you look at the overall trajectory of our campaign and the ads that I’ve approved and are produced by my campaign, you’ll see that we point out sharp differences between the candidates, but we don’t go out of bounds.  And when it comes to releasing taxes, that’s a precedent that was set decades ago, including by Governor Romney’s father.  And for us to say that it makes sense to release your tax returns, as I did, as John McCain did, as Bill Clinton did, as the two President Bushes did, I don’t think is in any way out of bounds.

I think that is what the American people would rightly expect — is a sense that, particularly when we’re going to be having a huge debate about how we reform our tax code and how we pay for the government that we need, I think people want to know that everybody has been playing by the same rules, including people who are seeking the highest office in the land.  This is not an entitlement, being President of the United States.  This is a privilege.  And we’ve got to put ourselves before the American people to make our case.

Q    Well, why not send a message to the top super PAC that’s supporting you and say, I think an ad like that is out of bounds?  We shouldn’t be suggesting that —

THE PRESIDENT:  So let’s take that particular issue, as opposed to — because you lumped in a whole bunch of other stuff that I think was entirely legitimate.  I don’t think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad.  But keep in mind this is an ad that I didn’t approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell, has barely run.  I think it ran once.

Now, in contrast, you’ve got Governor Romney creating as a centerpiece of his campaign this notion that we’re taking the work requirement out of welfare, which every single person here who’s looked at it says is patently false.  What he’s arguing is somehow we have changed the welfare requirement — the work requirement in our welfare laws.  And, in fact, what’s happened was that my administration, responding to the requests of five governors, including two Republican governors, agreed to approve giving them, those states, some flexibility in how they manage their welfare rolls as long as it produced 20 percent increases in the number of people who are getting work.

So, in other words, we would potentially give states more flexibility to put more people back to work, not to take them off the work requirement under welfare.  Everybody who has looked at this says what Governor Romney is saying is absolutely wrong.  Not only are his super PACs running millions of dollars’ worth of ads making this claim; Governor Romney himself is approving this and saying it on the stump.

So the contrast I think is pretty stark.  They can run the campaign that they want, but the truth of the matter is you can’t just make stuff up.  That’s one thing you learn as President of the United States.  You get called into account.

And I feel very comfortable with the fact that when you look at the campaign we’re running, we are focused on the issues and the differences that matter to working families all across America.  And that’s exactly the kind of debate the American people deserve.

Jake Tapper.

Q    Mr. President, a couple questions.  One, I’m wondering if you could comment on the recent spate of green-on-blue incidents in Afghanistan, what is being done about it, why your commanders tell you they think that there has been an uptick in this kind of violence; and second, with the economy and unemployment still the focus of so many Americans, what they can expect in the next couple months out of Washington, if anything, when it comes to any attempt to bring some more economic growth to the country.

THE PRESIDENT:  On Afghanistan, obviously we’ve been watching with deep concern these so-called green-on-blue attacks, where you have Afghan individuals, some of whom are actually enrolled in the Afghan military, some in some cases dressing up as Afghan military or police, attacking coalition forces, including our own troops.

I just spoke today to Marty Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who happens to be in Afghanistan.  He is having intensive consultations not only with our commander, John Allen, on the ground, but also with Afghan counterparts.  And I’ll be reaching out to President Karzai as well — because we’ve got to make sure that we’re on top of this.

We are already doing a range of things, and we’re seeing some success when it comes to better counterintelligence, making sure that the vetting process for Afghan troops is stronger.  And we’ve got what’s called the Guardian Angel program, to make sure that our troops aren’t in isolated situations that might make them more vulnerable.  But obviously we’re going to have to do more, because there has been an uptick over the last 12 months on this.

Part of what’s taking place is we are transitioning to Afghan security, and for us to train them effectively, we are in much closer contact — our troops are in much closer contact with Afghan troops on an ongoing basis.  And part of what we’ve got to do is to make sure that this model works but it doesn’t make our guys more vulnerable.

In the long term, we will see fewer U.S. casualties and coalition casualties by sticking to our transition plan and making sure that we’ve got the most effective Afghan security force possible.  But we’ve got to do it in a way that doesn’t leave our guys vulnerable.

So we are deeply concerned about this from top to bottom.  And hopefully, over the next several weeks, we’ll start seeing better progress on this front.

In terms of the economy, I would love to say that when Congress comes back — they’ve got a week or 10 days before they go out and start campaigning again — that we’re going to see a flurry of action.  I can’t guarantee that.  I do think that there’s some specific things they could do that would make a big difference.  I’ll give you a couple of examples.

First of all, just making sure that we’ve got what’s called a continuing resolution so that we don’t have any disruptions and government shutdowns over the next couple months, that’s important.  It appears that there’s an agreement on that, but we want to make sure that that gets done.

Number two, we have put forward an idea that I think a lot of Americans think makes sense, which is we’ve got historically low interest rates now, and the housing market is beginning to tick back up but it’s still not at all where it needs to be.  There are a lot of families out there whose homes are underwater. They owe more than the house is worth because housing values dropped so precipitously, and they’re having trouble refinancing.

We’re going to be pushing Congress to see if they can pass a refinancing bill that puts $3,000 into the pockets of the average family who hasn’t yet refinanced their mortgage.  That’s a big deal.  That $3,00 can be used to strengthen the equity in that person’s home, which would raise home values.  Alternatively, that’s $3,000 in people’s pockets that they can spend on a new computer for their kid going back to school, or new school clothes for their kids, and so that would strengthen the economy as well.

Obviously, the biggest thing that Congress could do would be to come up with a sensible approach to reducing our deficit in ways that we had agreed to and talked about last year.  And I continue to be open to seeing Congress approach this with a balanced plan that has tough spending cuts, building on the trillion dollars’ worth of spending cuts that we’ve already made, but also asks for additional revenue from folks like me, from folks in the top 1 or 2 percent, to make sure that folks who can least afford it aren’t suddenly bearing the burden, and we’re providing some additional certainty to small businesses and families going forward.

Alternatively, they could go ahead and vote for a bill that we’ve said would definitely strengthen the economy, and that is giving everybody who’s making $250,000 a year or less certainty that their taxes aren’t going to go down [sic] next year.  That would make a big difference.

Now, obviously the Republicans have voted that down already once.  It’s not likely, realistically, that they’re going to bring it back up again before Election Day.  But my hope is after the election, people will step back and recognize that that’s a sensible way to bring down our deficit and allow us to still invest in things like education that are going to help the economy grow.

Chuck Todd.

Q    Mr. President, could you update us on your latest thinking of where you think things are in Syria, and in particular, whether you envision using U.S. military, if simply for nothing else, the safe keeping of the chemical weapons, and if you’re confident that the chemical weapons are safe?

I also want to follow up on an answer you just gave to Nancy.  You said that one of the reasons you wanted to see Mitt Romney’s tax returns was you want to see if everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  That actually goes to the question she asked, which is this implication, do you think there’s something Mitt Romney is not telling us in his tax returns that indicates he’s not playing by the same set of rules?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  There’s a difference between playing by the same sets of rules and doing something illegal.  And in no way have we suggested the latter.  But the first disclosure, the one year of tax returns that he disclosed indicated that he used Swiss bank accounts, for example.  Well, that may be perfectly legal, but I suspect if you ask the average American, do you have one and is that part of how you manage your tax obligations, they would say no.  They would find that relevant information, particularly when we’re going into a time where we know we’re going to have to make tough choices both about spending and about taxes.

So I think the idea that this is somehow exceptional, that there should be a rationale or a justification for doing more than the very bare minimum has it backwards.  I mean, the assumption should be you do what previous presidential candidates did, dating back for decades.  And Governor Romney’s own dad says, well, the reason I put out 10 or 12 years is because any single year might not tell you the whole story.  And everybody has, I think, followed that custom ever since.

The American people have assumed that if you want to be President of the United States, that your life is an open book   when it comes to things like your finances.  I’m not asking him to disclose every detail of his medical records — although we normally do that as well — (laughter.)  You know?  I mean, this isn’t sort of overly personal here, guys.  This is pretty standard stuff.  I don’t think we’re being mean by asking him to do what every other presidential candidate has done — right?  It’s what the American people expect.

On Syria, obviously this is a very tough issue.  I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down.  So far, he hasn’t gotten the message, and instead has double downed in violence on his own people.  The international community has sent a clear message that rather than drag his country into civil war he should move in the direction of a political transition.  But at this point, the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant.

What we’ve said is, number one, we want to make sure we’re providing humanitarian assistance, and we’ve done that to the tune of $82 million, I believe, so far.  And we’ll probably end up doing a little more because we want to make sure that the hundreds of thousands of refugees that are fleeing the mayhem, that they don’t end up creating — or being in a terrible situation, or also destabilizing some of Syria’s neighbors.

The second thing we’ve done is we said that we would provide, in consultation with the international community, some assistance to the opposition in thinking about how would a political transition take place, and what are the principles that should be upheld in terms of looking out for minority rights and human rights.  And that consultation is taking place.

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation.  But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical.  That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel.  It concerns us.  We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change my equation.

Q    So you’re confident it’s somehow under — it’s safe?

THE PRESIDENT:  In a situation this volatile, I wouldn’t say that I am absolutely confident.  What I’m saying is we’re monitoring that situation very carefully.  We have put together a range of contingency plans.  We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons.  That would change my calculations significantly.

All right, thank you, everybody.

END
1:49 P.M. EDT

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