Campaign Headlines: 2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

TV Channels – Each debate will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as all cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC among others.

Live Stream – Each debate will be streamed live online.

October 3, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)
The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.
October 11, 2012
Vice Presidential
Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan
Topic: Foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan
Moderator: Martha Raddatz (ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent)
The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.
October 16, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent)
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
October 22, 2012
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Foreign policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of Face the Nation on CBS)
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 27, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the United Nations — I Stand With Prime Minister Netanyahu

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: I Stand With Prime Minister Netanyahu

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-27-12

Mitt Romney today released the following statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations:

“I join in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call for a Middle East of progress and peace. And I join his urgent call to prevent the gravest threat to that vision—a nuclear-armed Iran.  I, like the rest of the American people, applaud the bravery of the people of Israel and stand with them in these dangerous times. The designs of the Iranian regime are a threat to America, Israel, and our friends and allies around the world.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 26, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Bowling Green, Ohio — Takes On Mitt Romney Over China and Jobs

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

In Ohio, Obama Takes On Romney Over China and Jobs

Source: NYT, 9-26-12

President Obama trumpeted his recently opened unfair-trade case against China in a bid to shore up support in Ohio before Election Day….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Bowling Green, OH

Source: WH, 9-26-12

Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio

1:25 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Falcons!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Now, let me begin by asking everybody to give Seth a big round of applause for that great introduction.  (Applause.)  I was backstage and I had trouble hearing — did he explain what was going on with his arm?  So Seth was playing, I think — ultimate Frisbee, that’s what it was.  (Laughter.)  He was playing ultimate Frisbee.  He went up — he was going to make this amazing touchdown, and he had the Frisbee and somebody cut him under his legs, cut out from under him.  It is clear replacement refs were in the game.  (Laughter and applause.)  He broke his wrist.  He was supposed to get it set yesterday but he didn’t want to miss this.  (Applause.)  So when he came up here, his wrist was not yet set, and he’s going to have to go to the hospital afterwards to get his wrist set.

Now, I just want to make the point that if Seth can come up here with a broken wrist, then there is not a student here who cannot get registered and make sure they go to vote.  (Applause.)  No excuses.  No excuses.  You got to play through injuries, Falcons.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  I’m glad to be here.  (Applause.)

Now, it’s great to be here with your next Congresswoman, Angela Zimmann.  (Applause.)  I’m thrilled to be with all of you.  And unless you live under a rock, or your cable is bust, you may have noticed that there’s an election going on here in Ohio.  By the way, those of you guys who have seats, feel free to sit down.  I’m going to be talking for a while here.  (Laughter.)  And those of you who don’t, make sure to bend your knees, because sometimes people faint, fall out — not because I’m so exciting, but just because you’ve been standing a long time.  (Laughter.)

So there’s an election going on here in Ohio, and in case you’re wondering what kind of impact that’s having, I was talking to my campaign manager; he was meeting with this couple who had this adorable four-year-old son named Sammy.  And they were very proud that Sammy knew what was going on, and there was a picture of me up on the wall, and the parents said, “Who’s that, Sammy?”  And Sammy said, “That’s Barack Obama.”  And then the parents asked, “And what does Barack Obama do?”  And Sammy thinks for a second and he says, “He approves this message.”  (Laughter and applause.)  True story.  True story.

That’s what I do.  I approve this message.  (Laughter.)  And, Ohio, that’s because, starting on October 2nd, which is just six days from now, you get to start voting.  You get to have your say.  (Applause.)  You can register to vote all the way up until October 9th, but if you’re already registered you can start voting in six days.  And this is important, because you’ve got a big choice to make.  And it’s not just a choice between two parties or two candidates.  It is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for America, two fundamentally different choices for our future.

My opponent and his running mate are big believers in top-down economics.  They basically think that if we just spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts that favor the very wealthiest, then —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, vote.  Vote.  (Applause.)  Vote.  Vote.  (Applause.)

But their theory is, these tax cuts for the folks at the top, then prosperity and jobs will rain down on everybody else.  The deficit will magically go away, and we will live happily ever after.

There’s only one problem.  We just tried this during the last decade, during the previous presidency.  It didn’t work.  Top-down economics never works.  The country doesn’t succeed when only the rich get richer.  We succeed when the middle class gets bigger — (applause) — when more people have a chance to get ahead, more people have a chance to live up to their God-given potential.

Look, I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives.  (Applause.)  And I’ve got to tell you, as I travel around Ohio and as I look out on this crowd, I don’t see a lot of victims.  I see hardworking Ohioans.  That’s what I see.  (Applause.)  We’ve got students who are trying to work their way through college.  (Applause.)  We’ve got single moms who are putting in overtime to raise their kids.

By the way, your outstanding president of this institution, Bowling Green — charming woman, really smart — (applause) — and there she is right there.  We were talking because we both were raised by single moms, and she was telling the story about how her mom worked at a resort in West Virginia, but she was doing the hard work and ended up raising one college president and one federal judge.

That’s what we believe about the economy — when you give folks a chance.  I see in this audience senior citizens who have been saving for retirement their entire lives; veterans who served this country so bravely.  (Applause.)  Soldiers who are today defending our freedom.  (Applause.)

Look, so let’s just get something straight in case anybody is confused.  We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country.  We don’t believe government should be helping people who refuse to help themselves.  But we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)  We do believe that hard work should pay off.  We do believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  We do believe in an America where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or what you’re your last name is, or who you love, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

That’s the country I believe in.  That’s what I’ve been fighting for, for four years.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’ve got to say this.  This country has gone through a very tough time, and we’ve still got a lot of folks who are hurting out there.  And I’m not somebody who is coming here offering some easy, quick solutions.  The truth is it’s going to take more than a few years to solve the challenges that were building up over decades — jobs being shipped overseas; paychecks flat, even as costs of everything from college to health care were going up.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  — in Ohio.

THE PRESIDENT:  That, too.  (Applause.)

But here is what I want everybody to be confident about:  Our problems can be solved.  Our challenges can be met.  We’ve still got the best workers in the world.  We’ve got the best businesses in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists in the world and researchers.  We definitely have the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.)

So especially for the young people out here, I want you to understand, there is not a country on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.  (Applause.)

But we’ve got work to do.  We’ve got work to do.  And the path I’m offering may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  And I’m putting forward a practical, five-point plan to create jobs and to grow the middle class, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.

So just in case you guys missed the convention and — (laughter) — I know you didn’t miss Michelle.  (Applause.)  Let me reprise what this plan consists of.

First, I want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  (Applause.)  When my opponent said we should just “let Detroit go bankrupt” —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo.

AUDIENCE:  Vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  Vote.

That would have meant walking away from an industry that supports one in eight Ohio jobs.  It supports businesses in 82 of 88 Ohio counties.  So when he said that, I said, no, I’m going to bet on America; I’m betting on American workers.  I’m betting on American industry.  (Applause.)  And today, the American auto industry has come roaring back with nearly 250,000 new jobs.  (Applause.)

And now you’ve got a choice.  We can give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers, and create new jobs right here in the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I understand my opponent has been spending some time here in Ohio lately, and he’s been talking tough on China.  Have you been hearing this?

AUDIENCE:  Yeah!

THE PRESIDENT:  He’s been talking tough on China.  He says he’s going to take the fight to them; he’s going to go after these cheaters.  And I’ve got to admit, that message is the better — is better than what he’s actually done about this thing.  (Laughter.)  It sounds better than talking about all the years he spent profiting from companies that sent our jobs to China.

So when you hear this newfound outrage, when you see these ads he’s running promising to get tough on China, it feels a lot like that fox saying, “You know, we need more secure chicken coops.”  (Laughter.)  I mean, it’s just not credible.

Now, Ohio, I’ll tell you what I’ve done, because I’m not just talking the talk.  I have woken up every single day doing everything I can to give American workers a fair shot in this global economy.  (Applause.)  So we’ve brought more trade cases against China in one term than the previous administration did in two — and, by the way, we’ve been winning those cases.  We’ve stood up for autoworkers against unfair trade practices.  When Governor Romney said stopping an unfair surge in Chinese tires would be bad for America, bad for our workers — we politely declined his advice.  We went after China on that, and we got over 1,000 American workers back to work producing American tires.  (Applause.)

So when you want — if you want to know who is going to actually fight for workers and fight for American jobs when it comes to trade, you can look at the records.  You can look at who said what before election time.  And right now, I am asking you to choose a better path than the one that my opponent is offering — one that helps big factories and small businesses double their exports; that sells more goods stamped with “Made in America” to the rest of the world.  We can create one million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years with the right policies.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)  That’s what’s going to be important to Ohio.

Second part of the plan — I want us to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable clean energy we generate from sources like wind and solar.  (Applause.)  There are thousands of Americans — including here in Ohio — who have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  Today, America is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in nearly 20 years.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice between a plan that builds on this progress, or a plan that reverses it like my opponent is suggesting.  And this is a clear plan, because — a clear difference, because I will not let oil companies write this country’s energies plan.  (Applause.)  And I want to stop oil companies collecting another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  (Applause.)

We have a better plan.  Let’s take that money we’re giving to companies that are already hugely profitable — every time you go to the pump, they’re making money; they don’t need a tax break.  Let’s use that money and invest in wind and solar and clean coal technology.  (Applause.)  Let’s help farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks.  Let’s put construction workers to work retrofitting homes and factories so they waste less energy.  Let’s develop 100-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And if we do all these things, we can cut our oil imports even more — cut them in half by 2020, and support hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process.  That’s why I’m running.  That’s what’s going to be good for Ohio.  (Applause.)

Number three — I want to give more Americans the chance to get the skills that they need to compete.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Apprenticeships!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a good idea.  Education — it was my gateway to opportunity.  That’s the only reason I’m standing here.  (Applause.)  It was Michelle’s path to opportunity.  It’s the path more than ever to a middle-class life.  Today, millions of students are paying less for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of dollars using banks and lenders and middlemen on the student loan process.  We said let’s give that money directly to students.  And as a consequence, millions of students are getting more grants, and we kept interest rates on student loans low.  All right?  That’s what we fought for.  That’s what we fought for.  We already got that done.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice, because my opponent, he would gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.  That’s one choice.  That’s door number one.  Door number two — we can decide that the United States of America should never have a child’s dreams deferred just because she’s in an overcrowded classroom or a crumbling school or has outdated textbooks.  No family should have to set aside an acceptance letter to a college like Bowling Green because they don’t have the money.  (Applause.)

No company should have to look for workers in China because they can’t find workers with the right skills here in the United States.  That’s not the future that we want.  (Applause.)

So, Ohio, I need your help because I want to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers, and I want to improve early childhood education.  (Applause.)  I want to give 2 million more workers the chance to learn skills that they need at community colleges that will directly lead to a job.  (Applause.)

And I want to work with college presidents to keep tuition costs down.  We can cut in half the growth of tuition if we’re focused on this.  (Applause.)  We can meet this goal.  You can choose that future.  That’s why I’m running, because I want to make sure that the folks coming behind me have the same opportunities I had.  That’s what America is about.  (Applause.)

Number four — I want to reduce the deficit without sticking it to the middle class.  (Applause.)  Now, I’ve already worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I put forward a very specific plan — $4 trillion in deficit reduction.  I want to simplify the tax code so that it’s fair.  But I also want to ask the wealthiest households to pay a higher rate on incomes over $250,000 — (applause) — the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, and our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, we had the biggest surplus in history and, by the way, a whole lot of millionaires did really well, too — because that’s how you grow an economy.  I want to keep taxes low for middle-class families and working families.  But if we’re going to close the deficit, we’ve got to ask folks like me to do a little bit more.

And understand what happens.  When you get a tax break, what do you do?  You spend it, because you’ve got — times are already tough.  So maybe you trade in finally that 10-year-old car, or maybe you a buy a computer for your kid who’s about to go off to college.  And that mean business now has more customers, and they make more profits, which means they hire more workers, and the whole economy does better.  That’s how you grow an economy — from the middle out, not from the top down.  (Applause.)

And that’s also how we’ll reduce our deficit.  Now, in fairness, my opponent has a plan, too.  The problem is it’s missing what President Clinton called arithmetic.  (Laughter.)

So just understand my opponent and his allies in Congress tell us somehow we can lower the deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy.  No matter how many times they promise to “reboot” their campaign, no matter how many times they start saying they’re going to explain the specifics of this thing — they can’t, they won’t.  They can’t say how they’d pay for $5 trillion in tax cuts without raising taxes on middle-class families.  They can’t explain how they’re going to pay for $2 trillion in new military spending that our military has said won’t make us safer.  They can’t explain it because the math doesn’t add up.

Now, my opponent may think it’s fair that somebody who makes $20 million a year, like he does, pays a lower rate than a teacher or an autoworker who makes $50,000 a year.  But I disagree.  I don’t think that’s fair.  I don’t think it helps grow our economy.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or looking after their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  We’re not going to do that.  We’re not going to do that.  (Applause.)

I’m not going to ask the students here to pay more for college, or kick some kids off of Head Start, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, or elderly, or disabled — just to give myself a tax cut.  We can’t afford it.  (Applause.)

And I want you guys to know, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with dignity and the respect that they’ve earned.  We’ll reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the actual cost of care — not by dumping those costs onto seniors.  And we’re going to keep the promise of Social Security.  We’ll strengthen it, but we’re not going to turn it over to Wall Street.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to do that.

Now, obviously, Governor Romney and I have a lot of differences when it comes to domestic policy, but our prosperity here at home is linked to what happens abroad.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq.  We did.  (Applause.)  I said we would responsibly wind down the war in Afghanistan, and we are.  You’ve got a new tower that’s rising over the New York skyline, and meanwhile, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)  We made that commitment.  (Applause.)

But as we saw just a few days ago, we still face some serious threats in the world.  And that’s why, as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we’re going to maintain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  And when our troops come home and they take off their uniform, we’re going to serve them as well as they’ve served us, because nobody who fights for America should have to fight for a job when they come home.  I believe that.  (Applause.)

My opponent has got a different view.  He said the way we ended the war in Iraq was “tragic.”  He still hasn’t explained what his policy in Afghanistan will be.  But I have, and I will.  And one more thing, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and to put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways — (applause) — because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building right here in Ohio, right here at home.  (Applause.)

So this is the choice that you face; it’s what this election comes down to.  And over the next 41 days, you will be seeing more money than has ever been spent, and a whole bunch of it on the other side from folks who are writing $10 million checks to these super PACs.  And they’ll tell you that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way to go.  Their basic argument is since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  Their basic theory is you’re on your own.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  (Laughter.)  If a company is releasing toxic pollution that your kids are breathing, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, just borrow more money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

Let me tell you something — that’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  We don’t think government can solve all our problems.  But we don’t think it’s the source of all our problems, either — (applause) — just like we don’t think that folks who are having a tough time are our problem, or welfare recipients are our problem, or corporations are our problem, or unions are our problem, or immigrants or gays, or all the other groups that we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because here in America, we believe we’re in this thing together.  We believe that all of us have responsibilities.  (Applause.)  We believe we’ve got responsibilities to look after ourselves and work hard and show individual initiative.  But we also believe we have responsibilities to each other and to this country and to future generations, to make sure that America continues to be the place where there’s more opportunity and possibility than any other nation on Earth.  That’s what we believe.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  (Applause.)

We understand that America is not about what can be done for us.  It’s about what can be done by us, together, as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)  And that’s what I’ve always said.  That’s why I ran for this office, because I have faith in you.

Four years ago, I told you this wasn’t about me.  It was about you, the American people.  You were the change.  You are the reason a mother in Cleveland right now doesn’t have to worry about her son being denied medical coverage because of some preexisting condition.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a factory worker who lost his job in Toledo or Lordstown is back on the line building some of the best cars in the world.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a student in Akron or Columbus or Bowling Green has some help paying for a college education.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason a veteran can go to school on the new GI Bill.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to the flag is not in danger of being deported from the only country she’s ever known.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason some outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of our military because of who they are or who they love.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why thousands of families have finally been able to welcome home their loved ones who served us so bravely, to say, “Welcome home.”

And the interesting thing is my opponent maybe doesn’t understand this concept about how change happens, because I made this point down in Florida.  I said one of the things we learned is we can’t change Washington just from the inside.  You got to change it from the outside.  You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard.

And my opponent got really excited.  He heard me say this.  He changed his speech.  (Laughter.)  He said, I’m going to get the job done from the inside.  That’s what he said — I’m going to get the job done from the inside.  And I’m thinking to myself, well, what kind of inside job is he talking about?  (Laughter and applause.)

Is he talking about the inside job to rubber-stamp the agenda of this Republican Congress?  Because if he is, we don’t want it.  If he’s talking about the inside job of letting oil companies write the energy policies, and insurance companies writing health care policies, and outsourcers rewriting our tax code — we don’t need that.  If he’s talking about the inside job where politicians in Washington are controlling the health care choices that women are perfectly capable of making for themselves, we’ll take a pass.  (Applause.)  We don’t need an inside job.  We want to change Washington.

I’ve always said change is hard; it takes more than one term or even one President.  And the way our democracy works, we’re never going to get everything that each of us individually want.  But if we’re working together, you can make things happen.  Now, you can’t make it happen if you write off half the nation before you take office.  (Applause.)

It’s interesting, in 2008, 47 percent of the country did not vote for me.  They voted for John McCain.  But on election night, in Grant Park in Chicago, I said to all those Americans who didn’t vote for me, I said, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, and I need your help.  And I will be your President, too.  That’s what I said.  (Applause.)

So I don’t know how many votes I’ll get in Ohio this time, but no matter who you are, no matter what party you belong to –and I want everybody who’s listening on television to understand — I will be fighting for you because I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs.  I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)

I’m not fighting to improve blue state schools or red state schools, I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

The values of hard work and personal responsibility, those values that we believe in don’t just belong to workers or businesses, or the rich or the poor, the 53 percent or the 47 percent, the 1 percent or the 99 percent.  Those are American values.  They belong to all of us.

So I want you guys to understand we are not as divided as our politics suggests.  I still believe, no matter how many times I’m called naïve about this, I still believe that we have more in common than divides us.  (Applause.)  I still believe in that.  I still believe in one nation and one people.

I still believe in you.  And I’m asking you to keep believing in me.  (Applause.)  And if you do, I need you to register to vote.  (Applause.)  I need you to start voting six days from now on October 2nd.  And if you’re with me and if you work with me, we’ll win Wood County again.  We’ll win Ohio again.  (Applause.)  We’ll finish what we started.  We’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END
2:00 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Remarks at an Appearance on CNN’s Situation Room — My Campaign Is About Getting The Economy Going

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: My Campaign Is About Getting The Economy Going

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

Situation Room
CNN
September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “I’m overwhelmingly committed to helping every American. That’s what this campaign is about. From the very beginning of my campaign I’ve spoken about the need to help get people out of poverty, the need to get the 23 million people that don’t have good jobs, struggling to find work, to help those people get good jobs. My whole campaign is about getting the economy going. People at the top are doing fine. They’ll probably do fine whether Barack Obama were reelected or not. It’s the people in the middle and at the bottom that are struggling in the Obama economy. That’s why I’m running, is to help them.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 26, 2012: Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan’s Speeches at a Campaign Event in Vandalia, Ohio — We Must Stand Up To China

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: We Must Stand Up To China

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12 

“I also understand that when people cheat, that kills jobs. China has cheated. I will not allow that to continue.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks

Vandalia, Ohio

September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “But I also understand that when people cheat, that kills jobs. China has cheated. I will not allow that to continue. And it’s not over. I mean, how does a nation cheat? How do you pull that off? Let me tell you how you pull it off. One way is to artificially hold down the value of your currency, to make sure it doesn’t trade openly around the world. And what does that do? Well, let me tell you what it does. It makes your products artificially less expensive. The estimates are that China has held down the value of its currency anywhere between 15 and 30 percent, and so their products will be 15 to 30 percent cheaper. Guess what that does to the American companies that are competing in those industries. They lose sales, and so they have to lay off people. And ultimately they go out of business, and that’s been happening. They’ve been manipulating, holding down the value of their currency. What else do they do? They steal intellectual property. What do I mean by that? Patents, designs, know-how, even counterfeit our goods. I was with a company in the Midwest that said that they had some products that were coming back, valves. These are industrial valves, great big heavy industrial valves — said they were getting warranty claims on these valves of theirs that were breaking. And they were their product. They had their packaging on it. They had their serial numbers on it. And then they realized they’re counterfeit; these aren’t actually our product; they’ve been sold as our product, under our brand name, with our bar codes, everything else associated with them. And these products are coming into this country, being counterfeited overseas. That kills jobs. That’s what they’ve been doing. There’s an Apple Store in China. Have you read about that one? They got a store, Apple Store, selling Apple, you know, iPads and iPhones, except it’s not an Apple Store. It’s all counterfeit. Look, this kind of practice has to stop. They even have hacked into our computers. Our government, with the F-35 they looked at designs for the F-35 — they’ve looked at computers of our corporations. This cannot be allowed. We cannot compete with people who don’t play fair, and I won’t let that go on. I will stop it in its tracks.”

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan

PAUL RYAN: “And just the other day on TV he said that he can’t change Washington from the inside. Why do we send presidents to Washington in the first place? I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Don’t we send them to fix the mess in Washington? Look, if he can’t change Washington, then we need to change presidents. And we need to elect this man, Mitt Romney, the next President of the United States. The choice before us is very clear. We are offering real reforms for a real recovery.”

Full Text Obama Presidency September 25, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the Clinton Global Initiative

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President to the Clinton Global Initiative

Source: WH, 9-25-12

Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers
New York, New York

12:34 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Appreciate it.  Please, please, everybody have a seat.

Well, good afternoon, everybody.  And, President Clinton, thank you for your very kind introduction.  Although I have to admit, I really did like the speech a few weeks ago a little bit better.  (Laughter.)  Afterwards, somebody tweeted that somebody needs to make him “Secretary of Explaining Things.”  (Laughter.) Although they didn’t use the word, “things.”  (Laughter.)

President Clinton, you are a tireless, passionate advocate on behalf of what’s best in our country.  You have helped to improve and save the lives of millions of people around the world.  I am grateful for your friendship and your extraordinary leadership.  And I think I speak for the entire country when we say that you continue to be a great treasure for all of us.  (Applause.)

As always, I also have to thank President Clinton for being so understanding with the record-breaking number of countries visited by our Secretary of State.  (Laughter and applause.)  As we’ve seen again in recent days, Hillary Clinton is a leader of grace and grit — and I believe she will go down as one of the finest Secretaries of State in American history.  So we are grateful to her.  (Applause.)

To the dedicated CGI staff and every organization that’s made commitments and touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people, thank you for being an example of what we need more of in the world, especially in Washington — working together to actually solve problems.

And that’s why I’m here.  As Bill mentioned, I’ve come to CGI every year that I’ve been President, and I’ve talked with you about how we need to sustain the economic recovery, how we need to create more jobs.  I’ve talked about the importance of development — from global health to our fight against HIV/AIDS to the growth that lifts nations to prosperity.  We’ve talked about development and how it has to include women and girls — because by every benchmark, nations that educate their women and girls end up being more successful.  (Applause.)

And today, I want to discuss an issue that relates to each of these challenges.  It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity.  It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric.  It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets.  It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.  I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.  (Applause.)

Now, I do not use that word, “slavery” lightly.  It evokes obviously one of the most painful chapters in our nation’s history.  But around the world, there’s no denying the awful reality.  When a man, desperate for work, finds himself in a factory or on a fishing boat or in a field, working, toiling, for little or no pay, and beaten if he tries to escape — that is slavery.  When a woman is locked in a sweatshop, or trapped in a home as a domestic servant, alone and abused and incapable of leaving — that’s slavery.

When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery.  When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family — girls my daughters’ age — runs away from home, or is lured by the false promises of a better life, and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists — that’s slavery.  It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.  (Applause.)

Now, as a nation, we’ve long rejected such cruelty.  Just a few days ago, we marked the 150th anniversary of a document that I have hanging in the Oval Office — the Emancipation Proclamation.  With the advance of Union forces, it brought a new day — that “all persons held as slaves” would thenceforth be forever free.  We wrote that promise into our Constitution.  We spent decades struggling to make it real.  We joined with other nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that “slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

A global movement was sparked, with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act — signed by President Clinton and carried on by President Bush.

And here at CGI, you’ve made impressive commitments in this fight.  We are especially honored to be joined today by advocates who dedicate their lives — and, at times, risk their lives — to liberate victims and help them recover.  This includes men and women of faith, who, like the great abolitionists before them, are truly doing the Lord’s work — evangelicals, the Catholic Church, International Justice Mission and World Relief, even individual congregations, like Passion City Church in Atlanta, and so many young people of faith who’ve decided that their conscience compels them to act in the face of injustice.  Groups like these are answering the Bible’s call — to “seek justice” and “rescue the oppressed.”  Some of them join us today, and we are grateful for your leadership.

Now, as President, I’ve made it clear that the United States will continue to be a leader in this global movement.  We’ve got a comprehensive strategy.  We’re shining a spotlight on the dark corners where it persists.  Under Hillary’s leadership, we’re doing more than ever — with our annual trafficking report, with new outreach and partnerships — to give countries incentives to meet their responsibilities and calling them out when they don’t.

I recently renewed sanctions on some of the worst abusers, including North Korea and Eritrea.  We’re partnering with groups that help women and children escape from the grip of their abusers.  We’re helping other countries step up their own efforts.  And we’re seeing results.  More nations have passed and more are enforcing modern anti-trafficking laws.

Last week I was proud to welcome to the Oval Office not only a great champion of democracy but a fierce advocate against the use of forced labor and child soldiers — Aung San Suu Kyi.  (Applause.)  And as part of our engagement, we’ll encourage Burma to keep taking steps to reform — because nations must speak with one voice:  Our people and our children are not for sale.

But for all the progress that we’ve made, the bitter truth is that trafficking also goes on right here, in the United States.  It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker.  The man, lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen.  The teenage girl, beaten, forced to walk the streets.  This should not be happening in the United States of America.

As President, I directed my administration to step up our efforts — and we have.  For the first time, at Hillary’s direction, our annual trafficking report now includes the United States, because we can’t ask other nations to do what we are not doing ourselves.  (Applause.)  We’ve expanded our interagency task force to include more federal partners, including the FBI.  The intelligence community is devoting more resources to identifying trafficking networks.  We’ve strengthened protections so that foreign-born workers know their rights.

And most of all, we’re going after the traffickers.  New anti-trafficking teams are dismantling their networks.  Last year, we charged a record number of these predators with human trafficking.  We’re putting them where they belong — behind bars.  (Applause.)

But with more than 20 million victims of human trafficking around the world — think about that, more than 20 million — they’ve got a lot more to do.  And that’s why, earlier this year, I directed my administration to increase our efforts.  And today, I can announce a series of additional steps that we’re going to take.

First, we’re going to do more to spot it and stop it.  We’ll prepare a new assessment of human trafficking in the United States so we better understand the scope and scale of the problem.  We’ll strengthen training, so investigators and law enforcement are even better equipped to take action — and treat victims as victims, not as criminals.  (Applause.)  We’re going to work with Amtrak, and bus and truck inspectors, so that they’re on the lookout.  We’ll help teachers and educators spot the signs as well, and better serve those who are vulnerable, especially our young people.

Second, we’re turning the tables on the traffickers.  Just as they are now using technology and the Internet to exploit their victims, we’re going to harness technology to stop them.  We’re encouraging tech companies and advocates and law enforcement — and we’re also challenging college students — to develop tools that our young people can use to stay safe online and on their smart phones.

Third, we’ll do even more to help victims recover and rebuild their lives.  We’ll develop a new action plan to improve coordination across the federal government.  We’re increasing access to services to help survivors become self-sufficient.  We’re working to simplify visa procedures for “T” visas so that innocent victims from other countries can stay here as they help us prosecute their traffickers.

This coming year, my Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships will make the fight against human trafficking a focus of its work.  (Applause.)  They’re doing great work.  And I’m also proud to announce a new partnership with Humanity United, which is a leader in anti-trafficking — a multi-million dollar challenge to local communities to find new ways to care for trafficking victims.  And I want to thank Johns Hopkins University, which will be focusing on how to best care for child victims.  (Applause.)

Now, finally, as one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the world, the United States government will lead by example.  We’ve already taken steps to make sure our contractors do not engage in forced labor.  And today we’re going to go  further.  I’ve signed a new executive order that raises the bar. It’s specific about the prohibitions.  It does more to protect workers.  It ensures stronger compliance.   In short, we’re making clear that American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings.  We will have zero tolerance.  We mean what we say.  We will enforce it.  (Applause.)

Of course, no government, no nation, can meet this challenge alone.  Everybody has a responsibility.  Every nation can take action.  Modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced and justice systems must be strengthened.  Victims must be cared for.  So here in the United States, Congress should renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, this is a no-brainer.  This is something we should all agree on.  We need to get that done.

And more broadly, as nations, let’s recommit to addressing the underlying forces that push so many into bondage in the first place.  With development and economic growth that creates legitimate jobs, there’s less likelihood of indentured servitude around the globe.  A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the cultures of every country.  A commitment to equality — as in the Equal Futures Partnership that we launched with other nations yesterday so societies empower our sisters and our daughters just as much as our brothers and sons.  (Applause.)

And every business can take action.  All the business leaders who are here and our global economy companies have a responsibility to make sure that their supply chains, stretching into the far corners of the globe, are free of forced labor.  (Applause.)  The good news is more and more responsible companies are holding themselves to higher standards.  And today, I want to salute the new commitments that are being made.  That includes the new Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking — companies that are sending a message:  Human trafficking is not a business model, it is a crime, and we are going to stop it.  We’re proud of them.  (Applause.)

Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed.  And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent.  We’ve got to be moved by compassion.  We’ve got to bind up the wounds.  Let’s come together around a simple truth — that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers.

And finally, every citizen can take action:  by learning more; by going to the website that we helped create — SlaveryFootprint.org; by speaking up and insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the products we buy are made free of forced labor; by standing up against the degradation and abuse of women.

That’s how real change happens — from the bottom up.  And if you doubt that, ask Marie Godet Niyonyota, from the Congo.  Think about Marie’s story.  She was kidnapped by rebels, turned into a slave.  She was abused — physically and sexually.  They got her pregnant five times.  In one awful battle, her children were killed — all five of them.  Miraculously, she survived and escaped.  And with care and support, she began to heal.  And she learned to read and write and sew, and today Marie is back home, working toward a new future.

Or ask Ima Matul.  She grew up in Indonesia, and at 17 was given the opportunity to work as a nanny here in the United States.  But when she arrived, it turned out to be a nightmare.  Cooking, cleaning — 18-hour days, seven days a week.  One beating was so bad it sent her to the emergency room.  And finally, she escaped.  And with the help from a group that cared, today Ima has a stable job.  She’s an advocate — she’s even testified before Congress.

Or ask Sheila White, who grew up in the Bronx.  Fleeing an abusive home, she fell in with a guy who said he’d protect her.  Instead, he sold her — just 15 years old — 15 — to men who raped her and beat her, and burned her with irons.  And finally, after years — with the help of a non-profit led by other survivors — she found the courage to break free and get the services she needed.  Sheila earned her GED.  Today she is a powerful, fierce advocate who helped to pass a new anti-trafficking law right here in New York.  (Applause.)

These women endured unspeakable horror.  But in their unbreakable will, in their courage, in their resilience, they remind us that this cycle can be broken; victims can become not only survivors, they can become leaders and advocates, and bring about change.

And I just met Ima and Sheila and several of their fellow advocates, and I have to tell you they are an incredible inspiration.  They are here — they’ve chosen to tell their stories.  I want them to stand and be recognized because they are inspiring all of us.  Please — Sheila, Ima.  (Applause.)

To Ima and Sheila, and each of you — in the darkest hours of your lives, you may have felt utterly alone, and it seemed like nobody cared.  And the important thing for us to understand is there are millions around the world who are feeling that same way at this very moment.

Right now, there is a man on a boat, casting the net with his bleeding hands, knowing he deserves a better life, a life of dignity, but doesn’t know if anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there’s a woman, hunched over a sewing machine, glancing beyond the bars on the window, knowing if just given the chance, she might some day sell her own wares, but she doesn’t think anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there’s a young boy, in a brick factory, covered in dust, hauling his heavy load under a blazing sun, thinking if he could just go to school, he might know a different future, but he doesn’t think anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there is a girl, somewhere trapped in a brothel, crying herself to sleep again, and maybe daring to imagine that some day, just maybe, she might be treated not like a piece of property, but as a human being.

And so our message today, to them, is — to the millions around the world — we see you.  We hear you.  We insist on your dignity.  And we share your belief that if just given the chance, you will forge a life equal to your talents and worthy of your dreams.  (Applause.)

Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it — in partnership with you.  The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past.  For we know that every life saved — in the words of that great Proclamation — is “an act of justice,” worthy of “the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

That’s what we believe.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  And I’m so proud to be in partnership with CGI to make this happen.

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

END
12:57 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at Education Nation — We Must Have The Best Teachers

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: We Must Have The Best Teachers

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

“Education is about teachers, great leadership and parents. And the union has a different objective. I understand, it’s fine for them to promote it. It’s not fine for us just to go along with it.”– Mitt Romney

Education Nation
New York, NY
September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Teaching is a profession. I understand the interest of the teachers union, and the teachers union has every right to represent their members in the way they think is best for their members. But we have every right to in fact say, no, this is what we want to do which is in the best interests of our children. And I believe in the best interests of our children is to recognize that teaching is a profession, like your profession, like my profession, like lawyers like doctors. And the very best are more highly compensated and rewarded and measured. We don’t just presume that because we’ve been here for a certain number of years we should get more and more pay every year. Instead, we get measured. And if teachers say, well, there’s no good measurement system, we say, well, let’s look for one. Let’s see what does work. Let’s see if we can agree on some kinds of measures and learn from those things. But I want the best teachers to be highly compensated. I want starting teachers, particularly those that have extraordinary records who have a track record in school of excellence and learning, I want them to be well compensated, to be drawn into the profession. Education is about teachers, great leadership and parents. And the union has a different objective. I understand, it’s fine for them to promote it. It’s not fine for us just to go along with it.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Paul Ryan’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Cincinnati, Ohio — If You Can’t It Right, It’s Time To Get Out

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Paul Ryan: If You Can’t It Right, It’s Time To Get Out

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

“Did you guys watch that Packer game last night? I mean — give me a break. It is time to get the real refs. And do you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out.” – Paul Ryan

Remarks

Cincinnati, Ohio

September 25, 2012

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan:

PAUL RYAN: “Did you guys watch that Packer game last night? I mean — give me a break. It is time to get the real refs. And do you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out. I half think that these refs work part-time for the Obama Administration in the budget office. They see the national debt clock staring them in the face. They see a debt crisis, and they just ignore and pretend it didn’t even happen. They’re trying to pick the winners and losers, and they don’t even do that very well.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech to the Clinton Global Initiative

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney Jokes He’s Waiting for His Clinton ‘Bounce’

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-25-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Speaking just hours before President Obama takes the same stage, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outlined his vision for foreign aid Tuesday at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

The governor and former President Bill Clinton took the stage together, after which Clinton delivered complimentary remarks praising Romney’s support for the City Year service group when he was governor….READ MORE

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks To The Clinton Global Initiative

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, New York. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. President.  I appreciate the kind words and your invitation here today.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good.  After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.

Since serving as President here in America, President Clinton has devoted himself to lifting the downtrodden around the world.  One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate.  That is how needy and neglected causes have become global initiatives. It is that work that invites us here today.

As I have watched the astounding impact of this Initiative from afar, I have been impressed by the extraordinary power you have derived by harnessing together different people of different backgrounds, and different institutions of different persuasions. You have fashioned partnerships across traditional boundaries — public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, charitable and commercial.

On a smaller scale, I have seen partnerships like this work before. In Massachusetts, two social pioneers brought corporations and government and volunteers together to form City Year, the model for Americorps. I sat with then-candidate for President Bill Clinton as he investigated the life-changing successes which occurred when young people came together for a year of service, linked in teams with corporate sponsors.  Then, as the head of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, I saw again the stunning success that comes when the disparate elements of a community join together in unity, to overcome challenges that had seemed insurmountable before.

The Clinton Global Initiative has also demonstrated the effectiveness of entrepreneurship and social enterprise.  You endeavor to not only comfort the afflicted, but to also change lives thorough freedom, free enterprise, and the incomparable dignity of work.

Free enterprise has done more to bless humanity than any other economic system not only because it is the only system that creates a prosperous middle class, but also because it is the only system where the individual enjoys the freedom to guide and build his or her own life. Free enterprise cannot only make us better off financially, it can make us better people.

Ours is a compassionate nation. We look around us and see withering suffering. Our hearts break.  While we make up just 4.5 percent of the world’s population, we donate nearly a quarter of all global foreign aid—more than twice as much as any other country.  And Americans give more than money.  Pastors like Rick Warren lead mission trips that send thousands of Americans around the world, bringing aid and comfort to the poorest places on the planet.  American troops are first on the scene of natural disasters.  An earthquake strikes Haiti and care packages from America are among the first to arrive – and not far behind are former Presidents Clinton and Bush.

But too often our passion for charity is tempered by our sense that our aid is not always effective. We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments. We wonder why years of aid and relief seem never to extinguish the hardship, why the suffering persists decade after decade.

Perhaps some of our disappointments are due to our failure to recognize just how much the developing world has changed.  Many of our foreign aid efforts were designed at a time when government development assistance accounted for roughly 70 percent of all resources flowing to developing nations.  Today, 82 percent of the resources flowing into the developing world come from the private sector. If foreign aid can leverage this massive investment by private enterprise, it may exponentially expand the ability to not only care for those who suffer, but also to change lives.

Private enterprise is having a greater and greater positive impact in the developing world. The John Deere Company embarked upon a pilot project in Africa where it developed a suite of farm tools that could be attached to a very small tractor.  John Deere has also worked to expand the availability of capital to farmers so they can maintain and develop their businesses.  The result has been a good investment for John Deere and greater opportunity for African farmers, who are now able to grow more crops, and to provide for more plentiful lives.

For American foreign aid to become more effective, it must embrace the power of partnerships, access the transformative nature of free enterprise, and leverage the abundant resources that can come from the private sector.

There are three, quite legitimate, objects of our foreign aid.

First, to address humanitarian need.  Such is the case with the PEPFAR initiative, which has given medical treatment to millions suffering from HIV and AIDS.

Second, to foster a substantial United States strategic interest, be it military, diplomatic, or economic.

And there is a third purpose, one that will receive more attention and a much higher priority in a Romney Administration. And that is aid that elevates people and brings about lasting change in communities and in nations.

Many Americans are troubled by the developments in the Middle East. Syria has witnessed the killing of tens of thousands of people. The president of Egypt is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in a terrorist attack.  And Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability. We feel that we are at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events.

I am often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate.

Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem.  But that’s not the whole story.

The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic.  In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators.  They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.

In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

He was just 26 years old.  He had provided for his family since he was a young boy.  He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, “Why are you doing this to me?  I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.”

I just want to work.

Work.  That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.

To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate “Prosperity Pacts.”  Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.

We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small- and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.

The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy–free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.

When I was in business, I traveled to many other countries.  I was often struck by the vast difference in wealth among nations.  True, some of that was due to geography.  Rich countries often had natural resources like mineral deposits or ample waterways.  But in some cases, all that separated a rich country from a poor one was a faint line on a map.  Countries that were physically right next to each other were economically worlds apart.  Just think of North and South Korea.

I became convinced that the crucial difference between these countries wasn’t geography.  I noticed the most successful countries shared something in common.  They were the freest.  They protected the rights of the individual.  They enforced the rule of law.  And they encouraged free enterprise.  They understood that economic freedom is the only force in history that has consistently lifted people out of poverty – and kept people out of poverty.

A temporary aid package can jolt an economy.  It can fund some projects.  It can pay some bills.  It can employ some people some of the time.  But it can’t sustain an economy—not for long.  It can’t pull the whole cart—because at some point, the money runs out.

But an assistance program that helps unleash free enterprise creates enduring prosperity.  Free enterprise is based on mutual exchange—or, rather, millions of exchanges—millions of people trading, buying, selling, building, investing.  Yes, it has its ups and downs.  It isn’t perfect.  But it’s more durable.  It’s more reliable.  And ultimately, as history shows, it’s more successful.

The best example of the good free enterprise can do for the developing world is the example of the developed world itself.  My friend Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out that before the year 1800, living standards in the West were appalling.  A person born in the eighteenth century lived essentially as his great-great-grandfather had.  Life was filled with disease and danger.

But starting in 1800, the West began two centuries of free enterprise and trade.  Living standards rose.  Literacy spread.  Health improved.  In our own country, between 1820 and 1998, real per capita GDP increased twenty-two-fold.

As the most prosperous nation in history, it is our duty to keep the engine of prosperity running—to open markets across the globe and to spread prosperity to all corners of the earth.  We should do it because it’s the right moral course to help others.

But it is also economically the smart thing to do. In our export industries, the typical job pays above what comparable workers make in other industries, and more than one-third of manufacturing jobs are tied to exports.  Sadly, we have lost over half a million manufacturing jobs over the last three and a half years.

As president, I will reverse this trend by ensuring we have trade that works for America.  I will negotiate new trade agreements, ask Congress to reinstate Trade Promotion Authority, complete negotiations to expand the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and create what I call a “Reagan Economic Zone,” where any nation willing to play by the rules can participate in a new community committed to fair and free trade.

I’ve laid out a new approach for a new era.  We’ll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs.

Today, we face a world with unprecedented challenges and complexities.  We should not forget—and cannot forget—that not far from here, a voice of unspeakable evil and hatred has spoken out, threatening Israel and the civilized world.  But we come together knowing that the bitterness of hate is no match for the strength of love.

In the weeks ahead, I will continue to speak to these challenges and the opportunities that this moment presents us.   I will go beyond foreign assistance and describe what I believe America’s strategy should be to secure our interests and ideals during this uncertain time.

A year from now, I hope to return to this meeting as president, having made substantial progress toward achieving the reforms I’ve outlined.  But I also hope to remind the world of the goodness and the bigness of the American heart.  I will never apologize for America.  I believe that America has been one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever known.  We can hold that knowledge in our hearts with humility and unwavering conviction.

Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you all very much.

Full Text Obama Presidency September 25, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the United Nations UN General Assembly — Urges UN to Address Causes of Crisis in the Muslim World

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama Urges UN to Address Causes of Crisis in the Muslim World

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-25-12

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Amid mounting unrest in the Middle East, President Obama urged global leaders today to confront the “deeper causes” of the crisis, saying the turmoil serves as a reminder that true democracy is “hard work.”

“We face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart, and the hopes we hold in common,” the president told the United Nations General Assembly….READ MORE

Remarks by the President to the UN General Assembly

Source: WH, 9-25-12

United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York

10:22 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman:  I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.

Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician.  As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco.  And he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life.  As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Libya.  He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked — tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile.

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship.  As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

Chris Stevens loved his work.  He took pride in the country he served, and he saw dignity in the people that he met.  And two weeks ago, he traveled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital.  That’s when America’s compound came under attack.  Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America.  Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents.  He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles — a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity.

The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America.  We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and from the Libyan people.  There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.  And I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region — including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen — have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm.  And so have religious authorities around the globe.

But understand, the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America.  They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded — the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy, or to put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass.  If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis — because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes that we hold in common.

Today, we must reaffirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens — and not by his killers.  Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.

It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring.  And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.

We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspiration of men and women who took to the streets.

We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.

We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.

We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.

And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.

We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture.  These are not simply American values or Western values — they are universal values.  And even as there will be huge challenges to come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people, and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.

So let us remember that this is a season of progress.  For the first time in decades, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive, and fair.  This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab world.  Over the past year, we’ve seen peaceful transitions of power in Malawi and Senegal, and a new President in Somalia.  In Burma, a President has freed political prisoners and opened a closed society, a courageous dissident has been elected to parliament, and people look forward to further reform.  Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future.

And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot.  Nelson Mandela once said:  “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”  (Applause.)

True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be opened without paying a bribe.  It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.

In other words, true democracy — real freedom — is hard work.  Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissidents.  In hard economic times, countries must be tempted — may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.

Moreover, there will always be those that reject human progress — dictators who cling to power, corrupt interests that depend on the status quo, and extremists who fan the flames of hate and division.  From Northern Ireland to South Asia, from Africa to the Americas, from the Balkans to the Pacific Rim, we’ve witnessed convulsions that can accompany transitions to a new political order.

At time, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of race or tribe.  And often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world.  In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they’re willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.  Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.
It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith.  We are home to Muslims who worship across our country.  We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe.  We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video.  And the answer is enshrined in our laws:  Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense.  Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs.  As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day — (laughter) — and I will always defend their right to do so.  (Applause.)

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with.  We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened.  We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.

We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech.  We recognize that.  But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete.  The question, then, is how do we respond?

And on this we must agree:  There is no speech that justifies mindless violence.  (Applause.)  There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents.  There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy.  There’s no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.

In this modern world with modern technologies, for us to respond in that way to hateful speech empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world.  We empower the worst of us if that’s how we respond.

More broadly, the events of the last two weeks also speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab world that is moving towards democracy.

Now, let me be clear:  Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not and will not seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad.  We do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue, nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks or the hateful speech by some individuals represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims, any more than the views of the people who produced this video represents those of Americans.  However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.  (Applause.)

It is time to marginalize those who — even when not directly resorting to violence — use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel, as the central organizing principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes an excuse, for those who do resort to violence.

That brand of politics — one that pits East against West, and South against North, Muslims against Christians and Hindu and Jews — can’t deliver on the promise of freedom.  To the youth, it offers only false hope.  Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education.  Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach.  Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job.  That brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we must do together:  educating our children, and creating the opportunities that they deserve; protecting human rights, and extending democracy’s promise.

Understand America will never retreat from the world.  We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends, and we will stand with our allies.  We are willing to partner with countries around the world to deepen ties of trade and investment, and science and technology, energy and development — all efforts that can spark economic growth for all our people and stabilize democratic change.

But such efforts depend on a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect.  No government or company, no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are endangered.  For partnerships to be effective our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.

A politics based only on anger — one based on dividing the world between “us” and “them” — not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it.  All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces.

Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism.  On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than 10 Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained.  The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans.  It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos.  In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence.  And extremists understand this.  Because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant.  They don’t build; they only destroy.

It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind.  On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past.  And we cannot afford to get it wrong.  We must seize this moment.  And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.

The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt — it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.”  The future must not belong to those who bully women — it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.  (Applause.)

The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources — it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people.  Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.  But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.  (Applause.)

Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims.  It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi:  “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”  (Applause.)  Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them.  That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.

Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on a prospect of peace.  Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, those who reject the right of Israel to exist.  The road is hard, but the destination is clear — a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine.  (Applause.)  Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey.

In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people.  If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings.  And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.

Together, we must stand with those Syrians who believe in a different vision — a Syria that is united and inclusive, where children don’t need to fear their own government, and all Syrians have a say in how they are governed — Sunnis and Alawites, Kurds and Christians.  That’s what America stands for.  That is the outcome that we will work for — with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute, and assistance and support for those who work for this common good.  Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and the legitimacy to lead.

In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads.  The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors.  But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government continues to prop up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad.  Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.

So let me be clear.  America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so.  But that time is not unlimited.  We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace.  And make no mistake, a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.  It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy.  It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty.  That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable.  And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.  That’s why this institution was established from the rubble of conflict.  That is why liberty triumphed over tyranny in the Cold War.  And that is the lesson of the last two decades as well.

History shows that peace and progress come to those who make the right choices.  Nations in every part of the world have traveled this difficult path.  Europe, the bloodiest battlefield of the 20th century, is united, free and at peace.  From Brazil to South Africa, from Turkey to South Korea, from India to Indonesia, people of different races, religions, and traditions have lifted millions out of poverty, while respecting the rights of their citizens and meeting their responsibilities as nations.

And it is because of the progress that I’ve witnessed in my own lifetime, the progress that I’ve witnessed after nearly four years as President, that I remain ever hopeful about the world that we live in.  The war in Iraq is over.  American troops have come home.  We’ve begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014.  Al Qaeda has been weakened, and Osama bin Laden is no more.  Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals.  We have seen hard choices made — from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan — to put more power in the hands of citizens.

At a time of economic challenge, the world has come together to broaden prosperity.  Through the G20, we have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery.  America has pursued a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks dependency, and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nations.  New partnerships have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is open and transparent, and new commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure that women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity.  And later today, I will discuss our efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

All these things give me hope.  But what gives me the most hope is not the actions of us, not the actions of leaders — it is the people that I’ve seen.  The American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away; the students in Jakarta or Seoul who are eager to use their knowledge to benefit mankind; the faces in a square in Prague or a parliament in Ghana who see democracy giving voice to their aspirations; the young people in the favelas of Rio and the schools of Mumbai whose eyes shine with promise.  These men, women, and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the world who share similar hopes and dreams.  They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity.

So much attention in our world turns to what divides us.  That’s what we see on the news.  That’s what consumes our political debates.  But when you strip it all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes with faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people  — and not the other way around.

The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people and for people all across the world.  That was our founding purpose.  That is what our history shows.  That is what Chris Stevens worked for throughout his life.

And I promise you this:  Long after the killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’s legacy will live on in the lives that he touched — in the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the signs that read, simply, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”

They should give us hope.  They should remind us that so long as we work for it, justice will be done, that history is on our side, and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
10:16 A.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 24, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Pueblo, Colorado — We Must Stand For Freedom

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: We Must Stand For Freedom

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-24-12

“The world looks at the events going on. They don’t see these events as bumps in the road. These are lives. This is humanity. This is freedom. Freedom must be on the march. We must stand for freedom.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks
Pueblo, Colorado

September 24, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Look, the world looks at the events going on. They don’t see these events as bumps in the road. These are lives. This is humanity. This is freedom. Freedom must be on the march. We must stand for freedom. I see these extraordinary aircraft here and know that behind them are men and women who’ve flown them in peace, in times of danger. They fly them to protect us. They fly to make sure the world is a safer place. American leadership is derived from a strong military, which, by the way, is derived from a strong economy, which is derived from strong values and principles. I will strengthen America by restoring the principles that made us the hope of the earth!”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 23, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Interview on ’60 Minutes’ — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Transcript of Romney on ’60 Minutes’

The following is a transcript of Mitt Romney on CBS’ “60 Minutes”

SCOTT PELLEY:  We asked Mr. Romney how his vision differs from the President’s because recently Mr. Obama said this election is
the clearest choice in a generation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMNEY:  I think the President’s right. I think this is a very clear choice for the American people as to what America’s future will look like. The President’s vision is one of a larger and larger government with trillion-dollar deficits that promises everything to everyone. That’s the course that he has laid out. His policy for the — the economy is more stimulus, more government spending. My course is very different than that. Mine says make government smaller. Don’t build these massive deficits that pass debt on to our kids, rebuild the foundation of America’s strength with great homes, great schools, with entrepreneurship and innovation. Keep government as a — if you will, facilitator of freedom in America. But don’t have government take away the rights and the freedoms of the American
people.

PELLEY (on camera):  Ten years ago, when you were running for governor of Massachusetts, you were solidly pro-choice on abortion. Now you’re against abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. When you were running for governor, you ridiculed the idea of signing a “no new taxes” pledge, and yet now you’ve signed one. Some people, Governor, have an uneasy feeling that you’re not constant, that you say whatever you have to say in a particular moment.

ROMNEY:  Well, they can look at my record. I — I understand that my opposition will do its very best to try and — and change anyway they can, the narrative to fit their — their objectives. The President has certainly changed his view on a whole host of things. He was going to close Guantanamo. It’s open. Military tribunals were going to be ended. Now military tri — tribunals continue. The President was opposed to same sex marriage, now he’s in favor of same sex marriage. So I…

PELLEY:  But what about you?

ROMNEY:  Oh, so I…

PELLEY:  People wonder, does Romney believe the things that
he says?  You say what to those people?

ROMNEY:  The principles I have are the principles I’ve had from the beginning of my — of my political life. But have I learned?  Have I found that some things I thought would be effective turned out not to be effective?  Absolutely. If you don’t learn from experience, you don’t learn from your mistakes. Why, you know, you ought to be fired.

PELLEY (voiceover):  We spoke with the former governor of Massachusetts as he pitched a plan for a different nation; a government smaller than most Americans have ever seen, reform of Medicare and Social Security, a balanced budget and cuts in tax rates.

(on camera):  What would the individual federal income tax rates be?

ROMNEY:  Well, they would be the current rates less twenty percent. So the top rate, for instance, would go from thirty-five to twenty-eight. Middle rates would come down by twenty percent as well. All the rates come down. But unless people think there’s going to be a huge reduction in the taxes they owe, that’s really not the case because we’re also going to limit deductions and exemptions, particularly for people at the high end. Because I want to keep the current progressivity in the code. There should be no tax reduction for high income people. What I would like to do is to get a tax reduction for middle-income families by eliminating the tax for middle-income families on interest, dividends, and capital gains.

PELLEY:  The tax rate for everyone in your plan would go
down.

ROMNEY:  That’s right.

PELLEY:  But because you’re going to limit exemptions and deductions, everybody’s going to essentially be paying the same taxes.

ROMNEY:  That’s right. Middle-income people will probably see a little break, because there’ll be no tax on their savings.

PELLEY:  Now, you made on your investments, personally, about twenty million dollars last year. And you paid fourteen percent in federal taxes. That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes fifty thousand dollars and paid a higher rate than you did?

ROMNEY:  It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as thirty-five percent.

PELLEY:  So you think it is fair?

ROMNEY:  Yeah, I — I think it’s — it’s the right way to encourage economic growth, to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

PELLEY:  And corporate tax rates?

ROMNEY:  Corporate tax rates, also, I’d bring down and with the same idea let’s get rid of some of the loopholes, deductions, special deals, such that we’re able to pay for the reduction. I don’t want a reduction in revenue coming into the government.

PELLEY (voiceover):  We followed the governor last week on his relentless schedule — campaigning, raising money, practicing for the debates. And in Boston we asked him exactly which tax deductions and exemptions he intended to eliminate.

ROMNEY:  Well, that’s something Congress and I will have to work out together. My — my experience as a governor…

PELLEY (on camera):  You’re asking the American people to hire you as President of the United States. They’d — they’d like to hear some specifics.

ROMNEY:  Well, I can tell them specifically what my policy looks like. I will not raise taxes on middle-income folks. I will not lower the share of taxes paid by high-income individuals. And I will make sure that we bring down rates, we limit deductions and exemptions so we can keep the progressivity in the code, and we encourage growth in jobs.

PELLEY:  And the devil’s in the details, though. I mean, what are we talking about, the mortgage deduction, the charitable deduction?

ROMNEY:  The devil’s in the details. The angel is in the policy, which is creating more jobs.

PELLEY:  You have heard the criticism, I’m sure, that your campaign can be vague about some things. And I wonder if this isn’t precisely one of those things?

ROMNEY:  It’s very much consistent with my experience as a governor which is, if you want to work together with people across the aisle, you lay out your principles and your policy, you work together with them, but you don’t hand them a complete document and say, “Here, take this or leave it.”  Look, leadership is not a take it or leave it thing. We’ve seen too much of that in Washington.

PELLEY:  You talk about balancing the budget without raising taxes. But to do that you would have to have trillions of dollars in budget cuts. So let’s be specific in this interview — what would you cut?

ROMNEY:  The first big one is I am not going to go forward with Obamacare. I will repeal Obamacare. It costs about a hundred billion dollars a year. Second big area is taking major government programs at the federal level, turning them back to the states, where they’ll grow at the rate of inflation, not at a multiple of that rate. And that saves about a hundred billion dollars a year. And finally, I’ll cut back on the size of government itself, as well as go after the fraud and abuse and inefficiency that’s always part of a large institution like our — like our government.

PELLEY:  You would move some government programs to the
states. What would they be?

ROMNEY:  Well, for instance, Medicaid is a program that’s designed to help the poor. Likewise, we have housing vouchers and food stamps, and these help the poor. I’d take the dollars for those programs, send them back to the states, and say, “You craft your programs at your state level and the way you think best to deal with those that need that kind of help in your state.”

PELLEY:  So how does moving those programs to the states bring relief to the taxpayer?

ROMNEY:  Because I grow them only at the rate of inflation or in the case of Medicaid, at inflation plus one percent, that’s a lower rate of growth than we’ve seen over the past several years, a lower rate of growth than has been forecast under federal management. And I believe on that basis you’re going to see us save about a hundred billion dollars a year.

PELLEY:  So you’re going to cap the growth on those social welfare programs?

ROMNEY:  Exactly right.

PELLEY:  Why would shrinking the federal government on the large scale that you have in mind not throw the country back into recession?

ROMNEY:  Well, the — the plan I have to — to go after the deficit and to shrink federal spending is metered out in a very careful way, such that we don’t have a huge drop off with an austerity program that puts people out of work in government. But instead, through attrition, over time, we scale back the number of federal workers so I’m — I’m very careful in the way I do this.

PELLEY (voiceover):  But lasting budget reform isn’t likely without doing something about Social Security and Medicare. They are exactly one third of the entire federal budget. That’s one reason Romney chose as a running mate Paul Ryan, the chairman of
the House Budget Committee.

(on camera):  There is a lot of rhetoric about Medicare.

What do you intend to do?

ROMNEY:  Well, I don’t want any change to Medicare for current seniors or for those that are nearing retirement. So the plan stays exactly the same. The President’s cutting seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars from current Medicare. I disagree with that. I’d put those dollars back into Medicare.

PELLEY:  Mr. Ryan has proposed something similar, almost precisely the same number of seven hundred and sixteen.

ROMNEY:  Yeah. He — he was going to use that money to reduce the — the budget deficit. I’m putting it back into Medicare and I’m the guy running for president, not him. So what I do in my Medicare plan for younger people coming along to say this, “We’re going to have higher benefits for low-income people and lower benefits for high- income people.”  We’re going to make it more means tested. I think if we do that, we’ll make sure to preserve Medicare into the indefinite future.

PELLEY:  The idea under your plan for future seniors would be that the federal government would write that senior a check, essentially, and say, “Now, you can go buy a private insurance plan or you can buy Medicare from the federal government.”  Is that essentially it?

ROMNEY:  Yeah. That’s — that’s essentially it. People would have a choice of either traditional, government-run, fee-for-service Medicare; or a private plan, which has to offer the same benefits.

PELLEY:  Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the fifty million Americans who don’t have it today?

ROMNEY:  Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we — if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and — and die. We — we pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.

PELLEY:  That’s the most expensive way to do it.

ROMNEY:  Well the…

PELLEY:  In the emergency room.

ROMNEY:  Diff — different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some — some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. But I wouldn’t take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, “You’ve got to take the Massachusetts model.”

PELLEY:  How would you change Social Security?

ROMNEY:  Well, again, no change in Social Security for — for those that are in retirement or near retirement. What I’d do with Social Security is say this:  that again, people with higher incomes won’t get the same high growth rate in their benefits as people of lower incomes. People who rely on Social Security should see the same kind of growth rate they’ve had in the past. But higher income folks would receive a little less.

PELLEY:  So that in the Romney administration, in the Romney plan, there would be means testing for Social Security and for Medicare?

ROMNEY:  That’s correct. Higher-income people won’t get as much as lower-income people. And by virtue of doing that — and again, that’s for future retirees. For — by virtue of doing that, you are able to save these programs on a permanent basis.

PELLEY:  Balancing the budget will require sacrifice. What is it, specifically, that you’re asking the American people to sacrifice?

ROMNEY:  I’m going to look at every federal program and I’ll ask this question, “Is this so — program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”  And if it doesn’t pass that test, I’m going to eliminate the program because we just can’t afford to keep spending more money than we take in that this is — this is something which is not just bad economics. I think it’s immoral.

PELLEY:  So many people at home look at Washington and think that it is completely broken. You are going to have to reach out to Democrats in order to get anything done. How do you heal that breach, especially after a fairly acrimonious campaign?

ROMNEY:  There’s no question but that Washington is broken and I happen to think that flows from the President. I think ultimately the buck stops at the President’s desk. He’d probably say the same thing. I think you have to have a President…

PELLEY:  The President would probably blame it on the Republican Congress, Governor.

ROMNEY:  His challenge with blaming it on the Republican Congress is, of course, that for his first two years right now the majority of his term, he had a Democrat Congress, a super majority in the Democrat Congress. And he had a whole series of things he said he was going to do, he didn’t do. Leadership is not just working with your own party, but working with both parties and I learned that. I was governor of a state with a legislature eighty-seven percent Democrat. Just as you — just as you said, Scott, I — I realized I was going to get nothing done unless I had a relationship — a respect, and trust with — with the members of the — of the opposition party.

PELLEY:  Governor, what do you have to do in these last six weeks?

ROMNEY:  Well, I have to go across the country, particularly, in the states that are closest, and describe how it is I’m going to get the economy going and how we’re going to restore the economic freedom that built this economy in the first place.

PELLEY:  Can you win this thing?

ROMNEY:  I’m going to win this thing.

PELLEY (voiceover):  In Florida a state with high foreclosure rates and unemployment over the national average, Romney hammered away with his economic message. That’s where he believes the campaign will be won. He does not spend much time at his rallies talking about foreign policy — a subject in which he has limited experience and no military background.

(on camera):  Governor, the President has the United States on track to get most of our combat forces out of Afghanistan by 2014. Is there anything that you would do differently?

ROMNEY:  Well, I also agree that 2014 is the timeline we should aim for. I thought that the surge troops should have been brought back in November of this year, not September. I don’t think you try and bring back troops during the fighting season. I think that was a mistake. I think it was also a mistake to announce the precise date of our withdrawal.

PELLEY:  How would you ease the anti-American sentiment that we see in the Middle East?

ROMNEY:  Communicate to nations like Egypt, and Egypt is — if you will, the major player, eighty million people, the center of the Arab world. Egypt needs to understand what the — the rules are. That to remain an ally of the United States, to receive foreign aid from the United States, to receive foreign investment from ourselves and from our friends, I believe, around the world, that they must honor their peace agreement with Israel. That they must also show respect and — and provide civil rights for minorities in their country. And they also have to protect our — our embassies. I think we also have to communicate that Israel is our ally., our close ally. The President’s decision not to meet with Bibi Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, when the prime minister is here for the United Nations session, I think, is a mistake and it sends a message throughout the — the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what’s necessary.

PELLEY:  There are a lot of unknowns in being President. I wonder how you would make a decision on whether to send U.S. forces into combat.

ROMNEY:  Well, it would be a very high hurdle. Number one, a very substantial American interest at stake. Number two, a clear definition of our mission. Number three, a clear definition of how we’ll know when our mission is complete. Number four, providing the resources to make sure that we can carry out that mission effectively, overwhelming resources. And finally, a clear understanding of what will be left after we leave. All of those would have to be in place before I were to decide to deploy American military might in any foreign place.

PELLEY (voiceover):  Governor Romney has been criticized lately for comments during a private fund raiser when he said that his job is not to worry about the forty-seven percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes and are dependent on government.

(on camera):  You’re the CEO of this campaign. A lot of Republicans would like to know, a lot of your donors would like to know, how do you turn this thing around?

ROMNEY:  Well, it doesn’t need a turnaround. We’ve got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent President to the United States.

PELLEY:  As you know, a lot of people were concerned about the video of the fund raiser in which you talked about the forty-seven percent of the American people who don’t pay taxes. Peggy Noonan, a very well-known conservative columnist, said that it was an example of this campaign being incompetent. And I wonder if any of that criticism gets through to you and — and whether you’re concerned about it at all, whether…

ROMNEY:  Well, that’s not…

PELLEY:  … the concerns of Republicans…

ROMNEY:  That’s not the camp — that’s not the campaign. That was me, right?  I — that’s not a campaign.

PELLEY:  You are the campaigner.

ROMNEY:  I got — I’ve got a very effective campaign. It’s doing a very good job. But not everything I say is elegant. And — and I want to make it very clear. I want to help a hundred percent of the American people.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PELLEY:  As we continue our conversation with the candidates, we asked them about the qualities of leadership and the lessons of history. We begin again with Governor Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PELLEY (on camera):  What are the essential qualities of a leader?

ROMNEY:  Well, a leader has to have the capacity to build trust in the people he or she works with. People have to look at that person and say, “I may disagree with them. But I know where they stand. And I can — I can trust them.”  A leader has the capacity of vision, the ability to see where things are headed before people in general see those things. That vision is typically a product, in part not just of their skill and brilliance, but even more of their experience, their life experience. And so if you’re looking for a leader to guide an economy, you hope that you have someone who didn’t just study it in school, but someone who’s actually lived in the economy.

PELLEY:  The historian, David McCullough, says that great presidents learn from the history of the office. And I wonder what you’ve learned from the history of Presidents in the White House.

ROMNEY:  You know I enjoy reading David McCullough’s writings. My favorite book is perhaps of a biographical nature, was his book on John Adams, a person who had extraordinary character, a relationship with his spouse who may have been even brighter than he. We don’t know as much about her as we do about him. But a man who had a very clear sense of direction, who helped guide the — the process of writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He wrote the Constitution of my state of Massachusetts. And — and we saw in him an individual who was less concerned about public opinion than he was about doing what he thought was right for the country. And even though he was defeated in his run for reelection, he did what he thought was right for America. And I respect that kind of character.

PELLEY:  Presidents and presidential candidates are booked down to the minute. And I wonder if you ever have a moment to be alone with your own thoughts. If so, when?  And what does that mean to you?

ROMNEY:  Well, at the end of the day, usually at about ten o’clock, things have finally wound down. And I’m able to spend a little time. I talk to Ann. She is on her own schedule. And we — we spend fifteen or twenty minutes on the phone. And then I read. And I think. I think about the coming day and think about what I want to accomplish. I pray. Prayer is a time to connect with — with the divine, but also time, I’m sure, to concentrate one’s thoughts, to meditate, and — and to imagine what might be.

PELLEY:  You pray every night before you go to bed?

ROMNEY:  I do pray every night, yeah.

PELLEY:  What do you ask for?

ROMNEY:  That’s between me and God. But mostly wisdom and — and understanding. I — I seek to understand things that I don’t understand.

PELLEY:  Presidencies are remembered for big ideas, emancipation, Social Security, man on the moon. What’s your big idea?

ROMNEY:  Freedom. I want to restore the kind of freedom that has always driven America’s economy. And that’s allowed us to be the shining city on the hill. The kind of freedom that has brought people here from all over the world. I want people to come here, legally to want to be here. I want the best and brightest to say America’s the place of opportunity because of the freedom there to pursue your dreams. So my message is restore the kind of freedom that allows America to lead the world.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Interview on ’60 Minutes’ — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Source: FoxNews.com, 9-24-12

The following is a transcript of President Obama on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

STEVE KROFT:  Four years ago, as a young senator, Barack Obama offered the country more inspiration than experience. Today, the graying president runs with all the advantages of incumbency, and all the encumbrances of a record dogged by a sluggish recovery and chronically high unemployment. For nearly two years now a Republican House has blocked almost every initiative he’s offered. His signature domestic achievements, rescuing the auto industry and reforming health care remain controversial. Yet six weeks before the election, President Obama maintains a small lead in the polls.

We spoke on September 12th in the White House Blue Room.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KROFT (on camera):  Mr. President, you were elected four years ago, promising hope and change for the better. Your opponent argues that you have achieved neither. Country has rarely been so divided politically. And people are afraid for their jobs. I — I know you know that. People are fearful about the future for the families. How do you respond to that?

OBAMA:  I think it’s important to know where we’ve been and how far we have traveled. The month I was sworn into office, we were losing eight hundred thousand jobs a month. We ultimately would lose nine million jobs during the height of that Great Recession. We came in, made some tough decisions, everything from stabilizing the financial system to making sure that the auto industry survived, to making sure that we cut taxes for middle- class families so they had more money in their pockets, to helping states avoid massive layoffs of teachers and firefighters and police officers. And because of that we’ve now had thirty months of job growth, four and a half million new jobs, half a million jobs in manufacturing alone. And the question now for the American people is, “Do we keep moving forward and continue to make progress or do we go backwards to the very policies that got us into this mess in the first place?”  We probably have not seen a clearer choice in an election in my lifetime.

KROFT:  On the campaign trail, Governor Romney has been portraying you as a — a nice guy who doesn’t have a clue…

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  … about the economy…

OBAMA:  Right.

KROFT:  … or how the country works. That private enterprises — the engine of growth in this — in this country. And that’s what create jobs, not big government.

OBAMA:  Yeah.

KROFT:  And that you’re crushing economic freedom with taxes, regulations, and high-cost health care.

OBAMA:  Yeah. Well, it’s a lot of rhetoric, but there aren’t a lot of facts supporting it. Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last fifty years. So I haven’t raised taxes. I’ve cut taxes for middle-class families by an average of thirty-six hundred dollars for a typical family. When it comes to regulations, I’ve issued fewer regulations than my predecessor, George Bush, did during that same period in office. So it’s kind of hard to argue that we’ve overregulated. Now, I don’t make any apologies for putting in place regulations to make sure banks don’t make reckless bets and then expect taxpayers to bail them out. I don’t make any apologies for regulating insurance companies, so that they can’t drop a family’s coverage, just when somebody in their family needs it most. And, you know, the problem that Governor Romney has is that he seems to only have one note:  tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling back regulations as a recipe for success. Well, we tried that vigorously between 2001 and 2008 and it didn’t work out so well.

KROFT:  Your opponent, Governor Romney, has another note.

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  That’s unemployment. Forty-three months above eight percent. Huge profits on Wall Street. You’ve got the stock market that’s doing incredibly well. And yet you’ve still got this unemployment.

OBAMA:  Oh, absolutely. Well, look, nobody’s more con — nobody’s more concerned about the employment situation than I am. The problem we have was the hole was so deep when we got in that we lost nine million jobs, we’ve created four point six. We’ve still got a long way to go. Now I’ve put forward very specific plans that we know would create jobs. And that’s not my opinion. That’s the opinion of independent economists. My JOBS Act that I presented to Congress over a year ago, we said, “Let’s help put folks back to work. Let’s make sure that we are getting construction workers on the job, rebuilding our infrastructure.”  It’s estimated that would create an additional million jobs right now. But we haven’t seen full implementation of that plan.

KROFT:  You’ve tried things that — that haven’t worked. I mean the jobs plan, the jobs bill — you haven’t been able to get it through Congress.

OBAMA:  Well, Steve…

KROFT:  I mean, isn’t that some of your responsibility?

OBAMA:  I take full responsibility for everything that we do, Steve, but you’re asking two different questions. You’re asking a question, number one, have I been able to get every plan that would work through a Republican Congress…

KROFT:  Right.

OBAMA:  … that said its number one priority was beating me as opposed to helping the American people?  And there is no doubt that I’ve been disappointed in trying to get more cooperation from those folks. And that’s something that we’re going to have to continue to do. The second question you’re asking, though, is has what we’ve done worked?  And the fact of the matter is is that what we’ve done has been effective in improving the situation in — in every area that we’re talking about. You know when I made a decision to save the auto industry that saved a million jobs. One in eight jobs in Ohio is dependent on the auto industry. So we’ve actually seen success.

KROFT:  How are you going to get the Republicans to agree to a tax increase for the top two percent?  You’ve been trying for a year. You haven’t been able to do it. And you’ve got a majority of — of — of Republicans in Congress, including Governor Romney, who has signed a pledge never to increase taxes under any circumstances.

OBAMA:  Yeah, well, we…

KROFT:  How are you going to get them to change their minds and make this deal?

OBAMA:  I — I won’t get them to make them change their minds. The American people will. I mean, ultimately, the American people agree with me that the only way we bring down our deficit is to do it in a balanced way. So, keep in mind, I’ve agreed with the Republicans. And we’ve already cut a trillion dollars of spending. And I’ve told them I’m prepared to do additional spending cuts and do some entitlement reform. But what I’ve said is, “You can’t ask me to make student loans higher for kids who need it or ask seniors to pay more for their Medicare or throw people off of health care and not ask somebody like me or Mr. Romney to do anything, not ask us to do a single dime’s worth of sacrifice.”

KROFT:  How are you going to make a deal?

OBAMA:  Well, I think…

KROFT:  Why can’t you — why haven’t you been able to make
a deal?

OBAMA:  Well, be…

KROFT:  And why do you think you will be able to make a
deal?

OBAMA:  Well, I think that when I first came into office, the head of the Senate Republicans say, “My number one priority is making sure President Obama’s a one term president.”  Now, after the election, either he will have succeeded in that goal or he will have failed at that goal. Either way, my expectation is, my hope is, that that’s no longer their number one priority. And I’m hoping that after the smoke clears and the election season’s over that that spirit of cooperation comes more to the fore.

KROFT:  You came in running as an outsider, somebody who was going to change Washington. Do you still believe after three years in this gridlock that we’ve had that — that somebody who claims to be an outsider can get things accomplished in Washington?

OBAMA:  Oh, yeah. Well, look, I mean, we — we passed historic legislation that strengthened our financial regulations. We passed legislation that will not only provide thirty million more people coverage, but also ensures that you know, kids can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans till they are twenty-six and seniors have lower prescription drugs. And so change has happened and positive change for the American people. I — I’m the first one to confess that the spirit that I brought to Washington, that I wanted to see instituted, where we weren’t constantly in — in a political slugfest, but were focused more on problem solving that, you know, I haven’t fully accomplished that, haven’t even come close in some cases. And you know if you ask me wha — what’s my biggest disappointment is that we haven’t changed the tone in Washington as much as I would have liked.

KROFT:  And you don’t bear any responsibility for that?

OBAMA:  Oh, I think that, you know, as President I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree and one of the things I’ve realized over the last two years is that that only happens if I’m enlisting the American people much more aggressively than I did the first two years.

KROFT:  The Great Recession began with the housing crisis.

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  We still have the housing crisis. The banks got bailed out. The homeowners didn’t. That was one of the decisions that you made. Very few homeowners have gotten mortgage relief. And your efforts to get the banks and the mortgage companies to renegotiate loans and modify terms have been underwhelming, to say the least. What happened?

OBAMA:  We have helped several million homeowners avoid foreclosure and make sure that the terms of their mortgage were ones that they could pay. Not everything you do right off the bat — when you’ve got emergencies here, there, and everywhere, and we’re all putting out fires — not everything’s going to work perfectly the first time. So, for example, the housing mortgage assistance program that we put in a place, we modified when we saw that there wasn’t as much take-up as we wanted. And since that time, we’ve actually seen that the rates of people utilizing it go up dramatically. We still have a long way to go. But this is in contrast to Governor Romney’s proposal. When asked about what we should do with mark — the housing market, he said, “Just let it bottom out.”  That’s a quote. So he was opposed to even the modest proposals that we put into place.

KROFT (voiceover):  While most of our White House interview involved domestic policies, the President’s day was dominated by foreign affairs. The attack on the Libyan consulate that left the U.S. ambassador and three others dead had occurred the night before…

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL:  Wait for what?

KROFT (voiceover):  … and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had inserted himself into the presidential campaign, criticizing the President and pushing him to lay out conditions for a military attack against Iran.

(on camera):  How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?

OBAMA:  Well, look, I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race.

KROFT:  You’re — you’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

OBAMA:  When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.

KROFT:  Have recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?

OBAMA:  Well, I’d said even at the time that this is going to be a rocky path. The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change. I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have — have to be able to participate in their own governance. But I — I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty — pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam. The one part of society that hasn’t been controlled completely by the government. There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiment. And, you know, can — can be tapped into by demagogues. There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements but I do think that over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with — with our interests. This is a tumultuous time that we’re in. But we can and we will meet those challenges if we stay true to who we are.

(APPLAUSE)

KROFT (voiceover):  The day after our White House interview, we followed the President to Colorado, a crucial swing state in the upcoming election, to ask him a few more questions central to the campaign.

(on camera):  Most Americans think we’re spending too much
money.

OBAMA:  Mm-hm.

KROFT:  The national debt has gone up sixty percent in — in the four years that you’ve been in office.

OBAMA:  Well, first — first of all, Steve, I think it’s important to understand the context here. When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history. And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but ninety percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about ten percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.

KROFT:  Since the Benghazi tragedy, your opponent has attacked you as being weak on national defense and weak on foreign policy. He says you need to be more aggressive in Iran, haven’t done enough to support the revolt in Syria, and that our friends don’t know where we stand, and our enemies think we’re weak.

OBAMA:  Yeah. Well, let’s see what I’ve done since I came into office. I said I’d end the war in Iraq. I did. I said that we’d go after Al Qaida. They’ve been decimated in the FATA. That we’d go after bin Laden. He’s gone. So I’ve executed on my foreign policy. And it’s one that the American people largely agree with. So, you know if — if Governor Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KROFT:  President Obama also reflected on the nature of leadership with us. We spoke following his campaign stop in Golden, Colorado.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KROFT (on camera):  What are the essential qualities of a leader, in your mind?

OBAMA:  Well, you know, I — I think that leadership more than anything is about setting a course and describing a vision for people. And you know, in the history of — of leadership in this country that vision isn’t always realized immediately. You know, Abraham Lincoln understood that we were a single union. And it took a bloody Civil War and terrible hardship and sacrifice to achieve that vision. And that vision wasn’t even fully realized until after he was — he was gone. What I try to do is to constantly present a — a — a vision of America in which everybody’s got a shot, everybody’s treated with respect and dignity in which the — the divides of — of race and faith, gender, sexual orientation, that that those are not the determining factors, in terms of whether people succeed but instead it’s how hard you work and are you trustworthy and are you responsible and you — do you look after your family and do you — do you love people and love this country?

KROFT:  David McCullough, the noted presidential historian, said all the great Presidents have had a number of common traits. And one of them is an understanding of history and an understanding of the history of — of the presidency.

OBAMA:  Yeah.

KROFT:  Is there anything that you’ve read or learned from your study of this area that has helped you?  Any examples you can give me?

OBAMA:  Well, whenever I look at the — the history of Presidents I deeply admire. The one thing that I’m always struck by is persistence. It’s a quality that’s underrated. Being able to plow through, being able to stay buoyant in the face of — of challenges. And, you know, I think that’s a characteristic of the American people. And, I think our best Presidents are able to tap into that resilience and that strength and that grit. And — and — and be inspired by it.

KROFT:  Where do you go to kind of sort things out on your own? And when do you find time to just be alone with your own thoughts?

OBAMA:  Well, I’m a night guy as it is. And so, Michelle usually goes to bed about 9:30. She’s — she’s an early bird, maybe ten o’clock. The girls go to bed around ten. And so I’ve got those hours between ten o’clock and one o’clock in the morning, let’s say, where not only do I do some work, but I do some reading, I do some writing. There are times where I sit on the Truman Balcony and it’s as good of a view as you get with the — the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Monument — Memorial set back behind that. And so those are moments of reflection that, you know, help gird you for the next challenge and the next day.

KROFT:  Many times in our history there have been big ideas like going to the moon or the Marshall Plan. This campaign, some people think, has been devoid of big ideas, not necessarily that the budget deficit and some of these things aren’t big ideas. But what would you like to see happen in your…

OBAMA:  Well…

KROFT:  … in your four years?

OBAMA:  I — I got to tell you, Steve, I think there’s no bigger purpose right now than making sure that if people work hard in this country, they can get ahead. That’s the central American idea. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. Because there was an economy that worked for everybody and that allowed us to do that. I think what Americans properly are focused on right now are just the — the bread- and-butter basics of making sure our economy works for working people. And if we can accomplish that there’s no bigger idea than that. That’s the idea that has attracted people to our shores for — for generations.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at Milwaukee Theater — Makes Rare Campaign Stop in Wisconsin

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Makes Rare Campaign Stop in Wisconsin

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-22-12

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

It’s been 220 days since President Obama last visited Wisconsin. He avoided involvement in the state’s high-stakes gubernatorial recall earlier this year, has not campaigned for re-election here, and has spent little cash on TV ads, all largely because he hasn’t had to. Until now.

Locked in a tight match-up against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Obama on Saturday makes his first 2012 campaign stop in the Badger State for an outdoor rally and pair of fundraisers all aimed at shoring up his base amid an intensifying fight for the state’s 10 electoral votes….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Milwaukee Theater

Source: WH, 9-22-12

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

AT A CAMPAIGN EVENT

Milwaukee Theater

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

3:21 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you!  (Applause.)  It is great to be here.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  All right, everybody have a seat, have a seat.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

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

It is good to be in Milwaukee.  (Applause.)  First of all, it’s just good to be this close to my house.  (Laughter.)  Take it straight down an hour and a half, and I’m home.  (Applause.)  But — although I got to say that I forgot that late September, it already starts getting a little chilly around here.  (Laughter.)  I’ve been getting a little spoiled down in D.C. — it’s still 75 degrees down there.

But it’s also great to be here because I see a lot of friends who I haven’t seen for a long time — first of all, your outstanding Mayor, Tom Barrett.  (Applause.)  And then, to have maybe the best baseball player of all time introduce you — that’s not bad either — Hank Aaron in the house.  (Applause.)  And it’s great to see all of you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Backstage is my campaign manager, Jim Messina.  He drove up from Chicago.  And he’s been telling me a story — he told me a story about he was at some event — I wasn’t at it — but he saw this young couple, and they had this adorable four-year-old boy.  And they were talking, and the parents were very proud that the four-year-old already knew me.  And there was a picture up there, and they said, “Who’s that?” And the four-year-old says, “That’s Barack Obama.”  And they said, “So what does Barack Obama do?”  And Sammy, the young boy, he thinks for a second, and he says, “He approves this message.” (Laughter.)  He approves this message.  (Applause.)

So that’s what I do.  (Laughter.)  I approve this message.  It is election season, and the message I approve is important because in the coming weeks, folks here in Wisconsin and all across the country are going to have a very big decision to make — not just between two candidates or two political parties, but two fundamentally different paths for America, two different visions for our future.

My opponent, he believes in top-down economics, thinks that if you spend another $5 trillion on a tax cut skewed towards the wealthy that prosperity will rain down on everybody else.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No hissing or booing — just voting, that’s what we need.  (Laughter.)  Voting.  (Applause.)

But the idea is you do that, maybe get rid of some regulations, deficit will disappear, we’ll all live happily ever after.  Now, the problem, of course, is we just tried this.  We tried it during the last decade.  It didn’t work then.  Top-down economics never works.  The country doesn’t succeed when just those at the very top are doing well.  We succeed when the middle class gets bigger, when it feels greater security, when everybody has got a chance to climb into that middle class and everybody has a chance to live up to their God-given potential.  (Applause.)

We can’t get very far if we’re just writing off half the country as a bunch of victims, or presume that somehow they want to be dependent on government or don’t want to take responsibility for their own lives.  Because wherever I travel, folks are working hard.  Folks understand everybody has got to take initiative.  People understand that we’re all responsible for ourselves.  But people also understand that we’ve got obligations to each other.

When I go and meet students who are trying to work through college, or single moms putting in overtime to give their child a better future, or senior citizens who, after a lifetime of labor, are looking forward to a secure retirement, or veterans who have served this country and those in uniform who are fighting to defend our freedom right now — they’re not victims.  And they sure do take a lot of responsibility.  And we don’t believe anybody is entitled to success or that government can help people who don’t want to help themselves, but we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)  We believe in this country hard work should pay off, and responsibility should be rewarded, and everybody should have a fair shot, and everybody should do their fair share, and everybody should play by the same rules.  That’s the country we believe in.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m not suggesting this is going to be easy.  We just went through the worst recession since the Great Depression.  We’ve got big challenges — and some of those challenges have built up over decades.  But wherever I travel, one of the things I try to communicate is how much confidence I have in this country, because we are Americans, and we’ve got so many things going for us.  We’ve got the best workers in the world, and the best business people in the world.  We’ve got the best universities, the best colleges, the best researchers and scientists.  We have the most diverse population, full of innovators and risk-takers.  There’s not a country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.  And that’s why people continue to travel here from all across the globe in search of opportunity.  (Applause.)

So we’ve got what it takes to succeed.  But what’s preventing us from realizing all that potential in part is the politics we’ve been seeing in Washington.  And part of what this election is about is giving the American people a voice to break the deadlock and break the gridlock, and chart a course that may be harder but leads to a better place.

What I’m offering is a practical, specific plan to create jobs and grow the middle class, rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.  And that means exporting more products and outsourcing fewer jobs.  It starts there.  (Applause.)  When there were those who said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt” I said, a million jobs are at stake; we’re not going to do that.  An iconic American industry is at stake.  (Applause.)   And three and a half years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

We’ve seen half a million new jobs in manufacturing, the fastest pace since the 1990s.  And so the choice now is, do we reverse that progress or do we move forward?

AUDIENCE:  Forward!

THE PRESIDENT:  Right answer.  (Applause.)  Instead of giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, we want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing in new plants and equipment and workers right here in Milwaukee, right here in Wisconsin, right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

We want to double exports.  We could create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years if we make the right choice in this election.

I want us to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we doubled fuel-efficiency standards on cars.  (Applause.)   We have doubled the production of clean energy.  Your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas as a consequence of the work that we’ve done.  We’ve invested in wind and solar, and thousands of jobs have been created all across America in these industries, building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  The United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than it’s been in nearly two decades.  And now you’ve got a choice:  Do you build on that progress, moving forward, or do we reverse it?  Because that’s what my opponent is proposing.

I’ve got a different vision than he does, because I’m not going to let oil companies write our energy policy.  I don’t want to keep giving them a $4 billion subsidy when they’re making record profits.  (Applause.)  I want to use that money to invest in wind and solar and clean coal technology, and a lot of farmers and scientists to harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; put construction workers back to work retrofitting homes and buildings and schools and hospitals to make them more energy-efficient; develop a nearly 100-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And if we do those things, our plan will cut in half by 2020 our oil imports and create hundreds of thousands of jobs to boot.  That’s how we move forward.  (Applause.)

I want Americans to have the best education system in the world.  (Applause.)  It was the gateway of opportunity for me and for Michelle and for many of you.  And so today, because of the work that we’ve done over the last four years, millions of students are able to go to college because we have taken billions of dollars that were being wasted in the student loan program and made sure that that money was going directly to students.  (Applause.)  We’ve seen reforms in 46 of the 50 states as a consequence of our Race to the Top initiative.  So we’re making progress.

Now we’ve got a choice, because the other side wants to gut our investment in education to pay for tax breaks for wealthy individuals.  And I’ve got a different vision, because I don’t think there’s any child that should be deferring their dreams because of an overcrowded classroom or outdated textbooks.  (Applause.)  I don’t think there should be any family who gets a college acceptance letter and has to say, no, we can’t do it because we can’t afford it.  And there shouldn’t be a company in America that ends up looking in China for the workers they need because they can’t find them right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So I’m going to need your help to hire 100,000 new math and science teachers, and improve early childhood education, and give 2 million more workers the skills they need — (applause) — to go to community colleges to train for the jobs that are out there right now, and to work with colleges and universities to cut the growth in tuition.  We can meet those goals.  We can choose that future.  But that’s what’s at stake over the next several weeks in this election.

We need to reduce our deficit, but we need to do it right.  I’ve put forward a $4 billion — a $4 trillion deficit reduction package without sticking it to the middle class.  And I’ve already worked with Republicans to cut a trillion in spending.  I’m willing to do more.  I’m willing to work with them.

We need a tax code that is fair and simple.  But we’re not just going to cut our way to prosperity.  My opponent, his basic proposal is we give a $5 trillion tax cut so that somebody making $3 million a year would get a $250,000 tax break.  And every independent analyst who’s looked at it says the only way you pay for that is to ask middle-class families to pay even more in taxes than they’re doing right now.

Now, I’ve just got a different vision.  What I’ve said is folks who can afford it — like me — can pay a little more.  We can keep taxes low for your first $250,000 worth of income, but after that we can go back to the rates that Bill Clinton had in place when he was President, when we created 23 million new jobs — (applause) — and went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  Because what happens is when middle-class families are doing well, business has more customers, they make more profits, they hire more workers, and we’re on a virtuous path.

My opponent’s plan, the math just doesn’t add up.  Bill Clinton pointed that out — you need some arithmetic to present a budget and to reduce the deficit.  (Applause.)  And you can’t reduce a deficit if you’re spending trillions of dollars more on tax cuts for folks who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  And that’s the reason they haven’t been able to explain how it adds up — because it doesn’t add up.  (Applause.)

I’ve been very clear.  One thing I’m not going to do, I am not going to slash investments in education and make young people pay more for college just to pay for a tax cut for millionaires and billionaires.  (Applause.)  I’m not going to kick them off of Head Start, I’m not going to shortchange our investment in basic research that could help us find cures for Alzheimer’s and cancer, we’re not going to turn Medicare into a voucher program in order to pay for tax cuts for the very wealthy.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to eliminate health care for millions of poor and elderly and disabled Americans.  (Applause.)

When it comes to Medicare, we need to reduce health care costs — we don’t need to shift them onto seniors, asking them to pay thousands of dollars more.  And that’s what the voucher program that Governor Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing.  Social Security we need to strengthen, but we don’t need to turn it over to Wall Street.  (Applause.)

And what we also understand is that our prosperity at home is connected to our policies abroad.  And so four years ago I promised many of you that I’d end the war in Iraq — and we did. (Applause.)  I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan — and we are.  (Applause.)  And as a new tower rises in New York, we have gone after al Qaeda and we got bin Laden.  (Applause.)

But as we were reminded this past week, this is a world still full of serious threats.  We’re going to have to work to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  We’re going to have to make sure that not only our diplomatic posts are safe, but we go after folks who threaten or try to kill Americans.  And that’s why as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  And when our troops come home, we’ll make sure we’re serving them as well as they’ve served us — because if you fought for this country you shouldn’t have to fight for a job when you come home.  (Applause.)

My opponent, he’s got a different view.  He said ending the war in Iraq the way we did was “tragic” — doesn’t have a plan to wind down the war in Afghanistan.  And I’ve just got a different perspective.  I think after a decade of war, it’s time for us to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)  Let’s put Americans back to work, using the savings that we obtain, to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our schools, and lay broadband lines into rural communities.  Let’s do some nation-building right here.

So that’s the choice we face.  That’s what the election is coming down to.  The other side, they keep on saying that tax cuts and fewer regulations is the only way.  They say that because government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  We’ve got a different view.  We don’t believe in “you’re on your own” economics, what these guys basically argue: If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If a company is polluting the air your children breathe, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to go to college, borrow some money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

That’s not who we are.  We don’t think government can solve every problem, but it’s not the source of every problem — any more than all the folks that you hear are to blame out of Washington — gays or immigrants or unions — or corporations, for that matter.  We don’t think that anybody is solely to blame for the challenges that we face, but we do believe we’re all responsible to solve those problems, that we’re all in this together — (applause) — that as citizens we accept certain responsibilities not only for ourselves but also to our communities and our nation, to make sure that the country creates more opportunity for more people.

We understand that America is not just about what can be done for us, but also what’s done by us, together, as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)

The election four years ago — I said in Charlotte when we were down there — some of you went to the convention — I said it was not about me, it was about you.  You were the change.  You’re the reason that there’s a mother in Madison or Green Bay that doesn’t have to worry about her son being denied medical coverage because of a congenital condition.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason some student at Marquette or University of Wisconsin has help paying for her college.  You’re the reason a veteran can go to school on the New GI Bill.  You did that.  You’re the reason that families here in Wisconsin have gotten a tax cut, money they use to buy groceries and put gas in the car, pay their bills.  That’s all because of you.

You’re the reason why some young immigrant who has gone to school here and played with our kids and sworn allegiance to our flag is not going to suddenly be deported from the only country she’s ever known.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason that some outstanding soldier can still serve regardless of who they love because we ended “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  (Applause.)  You’re the reason that families across America are able to say to their loved ones who served us so bravely, “Welcome home.”  (Applause.) You’re the reason.

I made this point down in Florida a couple days ago, saying that you can’t change Washington just from the inside.  You’ve got to mobilize the American people.  You change it with the help of Americans who are willing to make their voices heard.

My opponent got really excited.  He thought, oh, you know — he quickly rewrote his speech.  (Laughter.)   He said, I’ll get the job done from the inside.  What kind of inside job is he talking about?  (Laughter and applause.)  Inside job rubberstamping a top-down agenda from this Republican Congress?  We don’t want that.

We don’t want an inside job where the energy policies are written by the oil companies, and health care policies are written by insurance companies, and our tax code is written by outsourcers.  We don’t need an inside job where a politician in Washington is telling women they can’t make their own health care decisions.  (Applause.)  We don’t need that kind of inside job.

We want to bring change to Washington.  And from the day we began this campaign, but more importantly, from the day I ran for this office last year — or four years ago — (laughter.)  Seems like just last year.  (Applause.)  I’ve always said that change is going to take more than one term and one — more than one President, and it takes more than one party.  (Applause.)

It doesn’t happen if you write off half the nation before you take office.  (Applause.)  It happens because you get everybody involved, everybody included — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, able, disabled — everybody gets involved.  (Applause.)

In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me.  But on election night I said to those Americans, I may not have won your vote, but I heard your voices, and I’ll be your President, too.  (Applause.)  And I don’t know how many folks will vote for me in Wisconsin this time around, but I want everybody in Wisconsin to know that, no matter what, I’ll be fighting for you.  (Applause.)

Because I’m not fighting to create Democratic or Republican jobs; I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to improve schools in red states or blue states; I’m improving schools in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  I don’t believe in just looking out for workers or businesses, or rich or poor, or 53 percent or 47 percent; I’m going to look out for everybody.  (Applause.)

That’s why I’m running for a second term.  That’s why I need your vote.  And if I get it, and if you’re willing to work hard these next six and a half weeks, we will win Wisconsin.  (Applause.)  We will win this election.  We will finish what we started, and remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END      3:44 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency September 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Slams House GOP Over Unfinished Business — Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama’s Weekly Address: Slams House GOP Over Unfinished Business

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-22-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama is blasting lawmakers for leaving Washington for a six-week recess ahead of the November election without acting on his proposals to boost job creation and jumpstart the economy.

“Without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now,” Obama says in his weekly address. “If that frustrates you, it should — because their work isn’t finished.”

“Apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours,” he continues….READ MORE

Weekly Address

President Obama describes how the House of Representatives left town without finishing important work that would create jobs and strengthen our economy.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 9/21/12

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

Source: WH, 9-22-12

President Obama describes how the House of Representatives left town without finishing important work that would create jobs and strengthen our economy.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Weekly Address: Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

In his weekly address, President Obama told the American people that the House of Representatives left town last week without finishing important work that would create jobs and strengthen our economy. Congress left proposals sitting on the table like the veterans’ jobs corps that helps returning heroes find work as cops and firefighters, and the farm bill that helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer. Congress also could have given responsible homeowners the opportunity to save an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates, and 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners a guarantee that taxes will not go up next year. These proposals have bipartisan support, and there is no reason that they shouldn’t be passed. The President calls on Congress to take these steps when they return to work in November to grow our economy based on a strong and secure middle class and move our country forward.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
September 22, 2012

Hi, everybody. Last week, without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now.

If that frustrates you, it should – because their work isn’t finished.

See, when they skipped town, Members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table – actions that would create jobs, boost our economy, and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours.

Right now, if Congress had done the right thing, we could be on our way to having a veterans’ jobs corps that helps returning heroes find work as cops and firefighters in communities all across the country. These men and women have made incredible sacrifices for our country. They shouldn’t have to worry about finding a job when they get home. But last week, Republicans in Congress voted it down. And then they left.

Right now, if Congress had gotten its act together, we would have a farm bill to help farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer. And we’d have made necessary reforms to give our rural communities some long-term certainty. But so far, Republicans in Congress have dragged their feet. And now they’re gone.

Right now, if Congress had acted, thousands of responsible homeowners could be saving an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates. But instead, Republicans in Congress decided that working families could wait. And now they’ll have to wait a little longer.

And finally, if Congress had listened to you, they could have given 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners a guarantee that your taxes won’t go up next year by a single dime. This is something we all agree on. It should have gotten done a long time ago. But Republicans in Congress have refused to budge. They’re holding tax cuts for 98% of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. And now middle-class families and small business owners are left wondering what their tax bill will look like next year.

All of these ideas would strengthen our economy and help the middle class right now. All of them are supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents. There’s no reason to wait.

That’s why, after going home and listening to their constituents for a few weeks, Members of Congress should come back in November and do this work. They should do the right thing for veterans and farmers; for responsible homeowners and small businesses; for Americans everywhere

who are just trying to get ahead.

And if you agree with me, I need your help. Tell your Members of Congress you can’t afford to wait any longer. If you get an answering machine, leave a message. If you see them campaigning back home, tell them in person. Because there’s been enough talk. It’s time for action. That’s what you deserve, and that’s what it’s going to take to move this country forward.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Full Text Campaign Headlines September 21, 2012: Mitt Romney Releases More Tax Returns — Paid 14.1 Percent Tax Rate in 2011

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney Releases 2011 Tax Returns

Source: NYT, 9-21-12

Mitt Romney paid 14.1 percent in taxes on his 2011 investment income, his campaign said, making good Friday on Mr. Romney’s promise to release his 2011 returns….READ MORE

Mitt Romney Paid 14.1 Percent Tax Rate in 2011

Mario Tama/Getty Images

After months of criticism for not being transparent enough as a presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has filed his 2011 tax returns which the campaign says shows the presidential candidate paid a 14.1 percent tax rate.

Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes on $13.7 million in income for the year 2011.

The rate falls in line with Romney’s estimate back in August that he had paid “13.6 [percent] or something like that.”

In a surprise move, the campaign will also release a summary of 20 years of returns. Romney had previously pledged to only release the two most recent years of returns….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Woodbridge, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Woodbridge, VA

Source: WH, 9-21-12

G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium
Woodbridge, Virginia

12:14 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia!  (Applause.)  Well, it is great to be here in Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals.  I want to congratulate the Washington Nationals for bringing playoff baseball to D.C.  (Applause.)  You guys are looking good.  I am looking forward to a White Sox Nationals World Series.  (Applause.)  It’s going to happen.  White Sox are still in first place.  But I got to admit, you guys are looking a little better right now.  You guys are looking very good.

A couple of people I want to acknowledge.  I want to thank, first of all, your former outstanding governor and your current outstanding Senator, Mark Warner, for his leadership.  (Applause.)  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  I also want to thank your Congressman, Gerry Connolly, for being here with us today.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank all of you for being here, although I got to admit on a day like today, this is not a bad place to be, out on the ballpark.  (Laughter and applause.)  Got a nice little breeze going.  It feels good.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I do.  (Applause.)  Now, unless your cable has been broken for a while, you may be aware there’s an election going on.  (Laughter.)  I was told a story by my campaign manager.  He was meeting with some folks, and there was a young couple there with a young son, maybe three or four years old, and the parents were really proud that he knew who I was.  And they explained to my campaign manager — they said, listen, he loves Barack Obama.  And they turned to the little boy and they said, what does Barack Obama do?  And the little boy says, Barack Obama approves this message.  (Laughter.)  So you know it’s election season.  That’s what I do.  I approve this message.  (Laughter.)  And that’s because in the coming weeks, you’ve got a very big choice to make.  This is not a choice between two candidates or two parties. This is a choice between two different paths for America, two fundamentally different visions of our future.

My opponents are big believers in top-down economics.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, vote!  (Applause.)  Mr. Romney thinks that if we just spend another $5 trillion dollars on tax cuts that favor the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, all our problems are going to solved.  Jobs and prosperity will rain down from the sky.  Deficits will magically disappear.  We will all live happily ever after.  The end.

There’s only one problem.  We tried that scheme during the last decade.  It didn’t work.  Top-down economics don’t work.  This country doesn’t succeed when only the rich are getting richer.  We succeed when folks at the top are doing well, but also when the middle class is doing well, and folks who are fighting to get into the middle are doing well; when more people have a chance to get ahead and live up to their God-given potential.

I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims — (applause) — who think that they’re not interested in taking responsibility for their own lives.  I don’t see a lot of victims in this crowd today.  (Applause.)   I see hard-working Virginians.  (Applause.)

Some of you may be students trying to work your way through college.  (Applause.)  Some of you may be single moms like my mom — (applause) — putting in overtime to see if you can provide a better life for your kids.  Some of you may be senior citizens who have been saving your whole life for your retirement.  Some of you may be veterans who have served this country bravely — (applause) — soldiers who defend our freedom today.  (Applause.)

Nobody believes that anyone is entitled to success in this country.  We don’t believe that government should be helping people who refuse to help themselves.  But we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)  We believe in a country where hard work pays off; where responsibility is rewarded; where everyone gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules.  That’s the country we believe in.  That’s what I believe in.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I told you before and I will tell you again, the path I’m offering is not necessarily going to be quick or easy, because the truth is it’s going to take more than a few years to solve challenges that built up over decades. But I can tell you this, Virginia, this is America.  Our problems can be solved and our challenges can be met.  We’ve got the best workers in the world.  We’ve got the best businesspeople and entrepreneurs in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists and researchers in the world.  We’ve got the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.)  There’s not a country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.

So the path I’m offering may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  I’m offering a practical, five-point plan to create jobs, and grow the middle-class, and rebuild the economy on a stronger foundation.

So let me break it down in case you guys missed the convention — (applause) — just in case.  Or just in case you only saw Michelle.  (Laughter and applause.)

Number one, I want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  (Applause.)  When my opponent said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt,” we came together to reinvent a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  (Applause.)  In the last two and a half years, we’ve created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs in this country.  (Applause.)

So now you have a choice.  We can build on that progress, or we can do what the other folks want to do and give more tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We can continue to see outsourcing, or we can do some insourcing and reward companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  I want to help big factories and small businesses double their exports.  We can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  We can make that happen.  But I’m going to need your help.

Number two, I want us to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar.  Thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  Today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice.  You can do what Mr. Romney wants to do and reverse all that progress —

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  — or we can build on it.  I’m not going to let oil companies write this country’s energy plan.  I don’t want them to keep collecting another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  (Applause.)

We’ve got a better plan where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal technology, and farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks; where we’re putting more construction workers back to work retrofitting homes and factories so they waste less energy.  We can develop nearly a 100-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And my plan would cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.  (Applause.)  But I’m going to need your help to make it happen.

Number three, I want to give more Americans the chance to learn the skills they need to compete.  Governor Warner — Senator Warner said it well:  We’ve got to invest in our workforce.  And education was the gateway of opportunity for me; it was the gateway of opportunity for Michelle.  It’s the gateway of opportunity for many of you.  It’s the gateway to a middle-class life.  (Applause.)  And we’ve already been working on this, so millions of students are right now paying less for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of dollars in taxpayer money to banks and lenders.  We said, let’s give it directly to students.  (Applause.)

But now you’ve got a choice.  The other side, they want to gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.  I think that’s the wrong way to go.  I think we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dream deferred because of a overcrowded classroom.  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they didn’t have the money.  (Applause.)  No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find ones with the right skills right here in Virginia.  (Applause.)

So I’m asking you to help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next 10 years, and improve early childhood education.  (Applause.)  Let’s give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at community colleges for jobs that are hiring right now.  (Applause.)  And let’s work with colleges and universities to cut the growth of tuition costs, because we don’t want our young people loaded up with debt.  We want them to be able to get the education they need to compete in the 21st century.  That’s the path we have to choose together.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  (Applause.)

Fourth, we’ve got to reduce our deficit.  And I put forward a plan that independent experts have looked at the numbers; it cuts the deficit by $4 trillion — without sticking it to the middle class.  Now, I’ve already worked with Republicans to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I want to reform our tax code so it’s simpler and fairer, but the only way we’re going to reduce the deficit is also to ask the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 — (applause) — to go back to the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, we went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

And understand the reason why I want to do this, it’s because that’s how an economy grows.  If we keep taxes low for middle-class families, if you’ve got a little more money in your pocket, what do you do?  You spend it.  Maybe you buy that new computer for your kid.  Maybe you finally trade in that 10-year-old car you’ve got.  And that means that business now has more customers, and they’re making more profits, which means they hire more workers.  Everybody does better when we’re growing together.

Now, my opponent, he’s got a plan, too.  But as President Clinton pointed out, there’s no math in it.  (Laughter.)  It’s missing arithmetic.  (Applause.)

They say the biggest priority — we’ve got to reduce our debt, reduce our deficit.  You see their ads:  Oh, we’ve got to reduce our deficit.  And then the first thing they want to do is spend trillions of dollars on new tax breaks for the wealthy.  And when you ask them, well, how does that work, they can’t explain it.  They won’t say how they’d pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts without raising taxes on middle-class families.  They want to spend another $2 trillion on new military spending that our military says we don’t need.  The reason they can’t explain it is because the math doesn’t work.

And I tell you what, I want you to be clear, Virginia, I want to work with Republicans to reduce our deficit.  (Applause.)  I don’t want continued gridlock on Capitol Hill, but I’m not ashamed to say I will refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising kids just so millionaires get another tax cut.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college — (applause) — or kick children off of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans, including the poor and the elderly and the disabled –- just to pay for more tax cuts that we can’t afford.

And I promise you, I will refuse to turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  Americans who have worked hard shouldn’t have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the care and the dignity they have earned.  So we’ll reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care –- not by dumping those costs onto seniors.  Just like we’ll keep the promise of Social Security, but we will not be slashing benefits or turning it over to Wall Street, like some have proposed.  That’s the wrong way to go.  (Applause.)

Now, Virginia, I’ve talked about what we need to do here at home, but it’s connected to what we do abroad.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq, and I did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan, and we are.  Thirty-three thousand more troops have now left Afghanistan.  (Applause.)  Meanwhile, a new tower is rising above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

But as we saw last week, we still face serious threats in the world.  We have to make sure that not only our military, but also our diplomats overseas are protected.  We’ve got to go after anybody who harms Americans overseas.  (Applause.)  And as long as I am Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)

And when our troops come home and take off their uniform, we will serve them as well as they’ve served us -– (applause) — because nobody who has fought for us should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  (Applause.)

Now, my opponent has got a different idea.  He says it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq; still won’t tell us how he’d end the war in Afghanistan.  I have, and I will.  And I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more folks to work back here in the United States rebuilding roads and bridges, runways, broadband lines, schools.  (Applause.)  After a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)

So that’s the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we’ve been told by the other side, the opponent, that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way to go; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  Their basic attitude is, you’re on your own.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If some plant is releasing pollution into the air that your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to go to college, just borrow some money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

I’ve got a different vision.  I don’t think that’s who we are.  I don’t think that’s what this country is about. (Applause.)  We don’t think government can solve all our problems.  But we don’t think government is the source of all our problems either.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We don’t think anybody is the source of all our problems — not welfare recipients, not corporations, not unions, not immigrants, not gays.  (Applause.)  Not all the other groups that we’re told to blame for our troubles, because we believe that here in America we’re all in it together.  (Applause.)

We believe America only works when we accept responsibility for ourselves, but also certain responsibilities for each other and for our country — (applause) — to create a country that’s filled with more opportunity and possibility than any other nation on Earth.  We understand that America is not what can be done for us, but what can be done by us together, as one nation, as one people.  (Applause.)

And that’s what the campaign was about four years ago.  I’ll say it again, it was not about me.  It was about you.  (Applause.)  You were the change.  You were the reason a mother from Leesburg doesn’t have to worry about her son being denied medical coverage due to his heart condition.  You made that happen.  You’re the reason a veteran in Virginia Beach can go to college on the new GI Bill.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a middle-class family here in Virginia got a tax cut, money they’re using to buy groceries and put gas in the car, maybe pay off some hospital bills when their daughter was born.  That’s because of you.  You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and pledged allegiance to our flag is no longer going to be deported from the only country she’s ever known.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason why an outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of our military just because of who he loves.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why families all across this country can welcome home loved ones who served us so bravely, give them that hug, know they’re back and safe.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason.  That’s how change happened.

Now, yesterday, I made this same point at a town hall in Florida.  I said, one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington just from the inside.  You change it from the outside.  You change it because people are mobilized.  You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard because of the decency and the goodness and the common sense of Americans.  That’s what moves the country forward.  (Applause.)

Now, for some reason my opponent got really excited.  He rewrote his speech real quick.  (Laughter.)  He stood up at a rally, proudly declared, “I’ll get the job done from the inside.”  (Laughter.)  What kind of inside job is he talking about?  (Applause.)  Is it the job of rubberstamping the top-down, you’re-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress?  Because if it is, we don’t want it.  (Applause.)  If it’s the job of letting oil companies run our energy policy, we don’t want it.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  If it’s the job of outsources writing our tax code, we don’t want it.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  If it’s the job of letting politicians decide who you can marry, or control the health care choices that women should be able to make for themselves, we’ll take a pass.  (Applause.)

We don’t want an inside job in Washington.  We want change in Washington.  (Applause.)  And from the day we began this campaign, we’ve always said that change takes more than one term or even one President, and it certainly takes more than one party.  It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.  (Applause.)

In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me.  But on the night of the election, I said to all those Americans, “I may not have won your vote but I hear you voices, I need your help, and I will be your President.”  (Applause.)  And for everybody who is watching, or anybody here who is still undecided, I don’t know how many people are going to vote for me this time around, but — (applause) — hold on — but I’m telling the American people I will be fighting for you no matter what.  (Applause.)  I will be your President no matter what.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republicans jobs, I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)

I’m not fighting to improve red state schools or blue state schools, I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  The values we believe in don’t just belong to workers or businesses, the 53 percent or the 47 percent, the rich or the poor, the 1 percent, the 99 percent — these are American values.  They belong to all of us.  (Applause.)

Virginia, I still believe we’re not as divided as our politics suggest.  I still believe we’ve got more in common than the pundits tell us.  I believe in you.  I still believe in your capacity to help me bring about change.  And I’m asking you to keep believing in me.   (Applause.)

I’m asking for your vote.  And if you’re willing to stand with me and work with me, we’ll win Prince William County.  We will win Virginia.  We’ll finish what we’ve started, and we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States.

END
12:40 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the AARP Convention —

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Slams Romney’s Medicare Plan to AARP

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-21-12

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

Appealing to senior voters, President Obama today defended his Medicare and social security policies, while claiming his opponents would slash the popular entitlement programs to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

“There’s a lot of talk about Medicare and Social Security that hasn’t been completely on the level over the last several months,” the president told an AARP convention via satellite. “Here is what you need to know: I have strengthened Medicare as president.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President to AARP Convention via Satellite

Source: WH, 9-21-12 

G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium
Woodbridge, Virginia

11:18 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jane. (Applause.) Thank you, AARP. (Applause.) I want to thank Barry, and the entire AARP, for everything you do on behalf of America’s seniors. (Applause.)

And today is especially poignant for me I think because I can’t help to think about my grandmother, Madelyn Dunham. During World War II, she worked on a bomber assembly line, with a baby at home, while her husband was off serving his country. And in the postwar years, she worked her way from a secretary to vice president at her local bank. And later, she helped raise my mother, and then obviously helped raise me and my sister.

She was a great citizen who lived up to her responsibilities. And after a lifetime of hard work, what she hoped for in return was to be able to live out her golden years with dignity and security, and to see her grandchildren and her great grandchildren have a better life.

And she was fiercely independent, so she didn’t want a lot of help from me or anybody else. She just wanted to make sure that the work she had put in was going to pay off. And I’m thinking a lot about her these days because we lost my grandmother three days before I was elected to this office, back in 2008. But rewarding those hopes that she and so many other Americans shared — restoring the basic bargain that says if you work hard, that work will pay off — is one of the reasons I ran for this office in the first place. The values that she taught me are part of what has driven me over the last four years

Now, we’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet. And that’s why I’m asking you for a second term as President. (Applause.)

There’s been a lot of talk about Medicare and Social Security in this campaign, as there should be. And these are bedrock commitments that America makes to its seniors, and I consider those commitments unshakeable. But given the conversations that have been out there in the political arena lately, I want to emphasize Medicare and Social Security are not handouts. (Applause.) You’ve paid into these programs your whole lives. You’ve earned them. And as President, it’s my job to make sure that Medicare and Social Security remain strong for today’s seniors and for future generations.

It probably won’t surprise you, though, that there’s a lot of talk about Medicare and Social Security that hasn’t been completely on the level over the last several months. So here’s what you need to know:

I have strengthened Medicare as President. (Applause.) We’ve added years to the life of the program by getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies that weren’t making people healthier. And we used those savings to lower prescription drug costs, and to offer seniors on Medicare new preventive services like cancer screenings and wellness services.

In fact, the health reform law we passed has already saved more than 5.5 million seniors and people with disabilities nearly $4.5 billion on their prescription drugs. (Applause.) Seniors who received a discount have saved an average of more than $600 this year alone. And over the next 10 years, we expect the average Medicare beneficiary to save nearly $5,000 as a result of this law.

Now, my opponents have pledged to repeal these savings and benefits in their first day on the job, which means billions in new profits for insurance companies, but also would mean immediately increased costs for seniors and would bankrupt the Medicare trust fund in just four years. And what would they replace it with? Their plan replaces guaranteed Medicare benefits with a voucher that wouldn’t keep up with costs.

And when they tell you that their plan lets you keep your doctor, they’re leaving out one thing — and that’s the facts. A new study says that under their plan, if just 5 percent of seniors switch to private plans, 40 percent of doctors who currently take Medicare would stop accepting it. So think about that. Millions of seniors would be forced to change doctors.

I don’t consider this approach bold or particularly courageous, I just think it’s a bad idea. No American should ever spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned. (Applause.)

Now, we do have to reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’re going to do it by reducing the costs of care — not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more while we’re giving millionaires and billionaires a massive new tax cut. (Applause.)

And when it comes to Social Security, we’ve got to keep the promise of Social Security by taking responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street. (Applause.) The last time the other side was in charge, my opponent’s running mate wrote a bill that would have privatized Social Security. And after what happened on Wall Street just four years ago, does anybody actually think that’s a good idea? (Laughter.)

Most seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income. It keeps 20 million Americans out of poverty each and every year. And while it’s not the cause of today’s deficits, we do need to strengthen the program for the coming decades. And that means folks on both sides need to come together around a balanced plan. (Applause.)

My opponent claims that to pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut skewed towards the very top, he’d just close tax loopholes for the very wealthy. But independent experts say there’s no way to do that without also cutting deductions that the middle class relies on, and that includes taxing things like Social Security benefits. And this could mean higher taxes for seniors on Social Security, including taxing benefits for seniors who make less than $32,000 a year for the first time ever. Nearly 30 million seniors could see their taxes go up by hundreds of dollars.

So I want you all to know at AARP I’m not going to let that happen. (Applause.) My plan calls for both parties to come together and take responsible steps to preserve Social Security for the long run. And we’ll do it in a way that ensures a lifetime of hard work is rewarded with dignity and security for generations to come.

So you guys have a big choice in this election and these are the paths — the two paths our country can take. We can spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts targeted towards the wealthiest Americans, which could result in cuts to benefits that you’ve worked a lifetime to earn. Or we can take a balanced approach to invest in the middle class and strengthen Medicare and Social Security for you and your children and your grandchildren. That’s the choice in this election and that’s why I’m asking for your vote. (Applause.)

So thanks so much, AARP, for having me. And with that, Jane, I’m ready to take some questions. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, Jane Pauley here again. I’m back in the hall with our members, and they do have some questions for you. I’d like to explain here in the hall that — what a satellite delay is. When I ask a question, it goes up there, and then it comes down. There’s about a second and a half delay between my delivering a question and the President hearing it. Just so you know the drill and a little inside stuff on television.

Mr. President, we are so grateful that you can stay with us a few minutes longer.

Mike, from Brier, Washington, asks: “How will you reduce the federal debt and not gut Social Security and Medicare?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s a great question, Mike, and I appreciate it. We have a genuine challenge in bringing our deficit down and reducing our debt, and I think it’s important for folks to know that 90 percent of the debt and deficits that we’re seeing right now are the result of choices that were made over the course of the last decade — two wars that weren’t paid for; tax cuts skewed towards the wealthy that were not paid for. So we made some decisions, and then when the Great Recession hit, that meant more money was going out and not as much money was coming in, and that has blown up our deficit and our debt.

The key to reducing it is to do it in a balanced, responsible way. So I’ve put forward a $4 trillion, deficit-reduction plan which would bring our deficits down to a manageable level and begin the work of bringing our debt down, and it involves making some tough choices. So I’ve already signed a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts, programs that we don’t need, programs that, frankly, are not helping people get more opportunity or creating pathways for success for middle-class families or those who are striving to get into the middle class.

But after those cuts are made and some additional cuts are made, the only way to reach that $4 trillion target to also ask the wealthiest among us to do a little bit more. So what I’ve suggested is that we go back for people whose incomes are above $250,000 to go back to the tax rates that existed when Bill Clinton was President, which, by the way, was a time when we created 23 million new jobs, went from a deficit to a surplus, and created a whole lot of millionaires to boot. (Applause.)

Now, this contrasts with the plan that my opponent is putting forward for deficit reduction. And some of you may have seen President Clinton speak at the convention — (applause) — what’s missing from it is arithmetic, because what they’re proposing is not only to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, but then they want to add another $5 trillion tax cut on top of that, and $2 trillion in additional defense spending that our Joint Chiefs of Staff say doesn’t make sense at a time when we’re winding down two wars.

So before they even start digging us out of the hole that we’re in, they just added to the hole with $7 trillion in additional spending on tax cuts or on defense. Now, they haven’t explained how they would pay for that, but independent analysts who have looked at it have said the only way you pay for this is not only to gut investments in education, in basic research that could help find cures for cancer or Alzheimer’s, to not invest in our infrastructure, but it also means that you’re going to have to impose a higher tax burden on middle-class families — up to $2,000 a year for families with children.

And as I mentioned in my opening remarks, if you’re looking at figuring out how to pay for that $5 trillion tax cut, part of what you would also start looking at is taxing Social Security benefits, or turning Medicare into a voucher program. And that is not the right approach to take.

My attitude is that if we’re going to work together to bring down our deficit, everybody has got to do their fair share, everybody has got to do their part. (Applause.) And for us to have new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires to pay for cuts in Social Security or Medicare or education is just not the right way to go.

Q Mr. President, from Washington D.C, Paulette (ph) asks a question. She says, “If one makes $106 [thousand] a year or less, they pay Social Security taxes on 100 percent of their income; a millionaire pays 10 percent or less. Will you try to get the cap removed for Social Security taxes?”

THE PRESIDENT: I do think that looking at changing the cap is an important aspect of putting Social Security on a more stable footing. (Applause.) And what I’ve said is, is that I’m willing to work with Republicans and examine all their ideas, but what I’m not going to do as a matter of principle is to slash benefits or privatize Social Security and suddenly turn it over to Wall Street. Because we saw what can happen, back in 2008/2009, when the stock market crashed. And we’re still recovering from that.

Q Mr. President, James from Derry, Pennsylvania says, “I haven’t heard you say much about out-of-control prescription drug costs facing those of us retired and living on fixed incomes. What are you plans to bring down these costs?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the good news is, I’m not just talking about it, we’ve actually done something about it. (Applause.) The health care bill that we passed, Obamacare, which, by the way, I don’t mind the term because I do care, that’s why we passed the bill — (applause) — one of the things that we did was to begin closing the notorious doughnut hole that so many seniors suffer from.

So starting this year already, what we’re seeing is a 50 percent discount for seniors who are in the doughnut hole. Each year they’re going to get additional discounts until the doughnut hole is completely closed. That’s already saving millions of seniors around the country an average of $600 to $650 a year. That’s on top, by the way, of the preventive care that is now provided without additional charge, under Medicare, as a consequence of what we did with Obamacare.

And there’s more that we can do on prescription drugs. One of the things that I’ve proposed in my budget is that Medicare recipients should get some of the same deep discounts that Medicaid receives. That would save additional billions of dollars for seniors. (Applause.) And there’s work that we can also do in terms of accelerating the use of generics and making sure that the process for seniors getting access to cheaper prescription drugs is obtained.

But this is critically important because I meet too many families where they tell me a story of their parents having to cut their pills in half because they just can’t afford the prescriptions that have been given to them.

Q Mr. President, a question for you from Hawaii, from Richard: “What would you do to guarantee the future of Medicare?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, again, it turns out that contrary to what you’ve heard and what you may hear from subsequent speakers, Obamacare actually strengthened Medicare. So what we did was extend the Medicare trust fund by eight years. In addition, we dealt with prescription drugs in a way that is helping seniors now and in the future. The preventive care that we’re doing is going to ensure that seniors stay healthier, which reduces costs.

And one thing that I want to point out is, when you hear this notion of — that we somehow took $716 billion, robbed it from Medicare beneficiaries and seniors, I want you to know that is simply not true. (Applause.) What we did was we went after waste and fraud, and overcharging by insurance companies, for example. Those savings do come out to $716 [billion], and those savings are part of what allows us to close the doughnut hole, provide the preventive care, and is actually going to extend the life of Medicare over the long term. It also, by the way, helps to reduce the increase in the premiums that seniors pay under Medicare.

And that points to what we need to do with Medicare generally. What we need to do is to go after the waste, the fraud, and reduce health care costs overall. (Applause.) So part of what we’re doing through this new health care law is using the power of — the purchasing power of Medicare to say to doctors and hospitals and insurance companies, you guys need to work smarter — instead of having five different tests that you’re charging us for, do one test and then email it to everybody. (Applause.) Instead of having all kinds of administrative costs and paperwork, let’s make sure that we’re using health IT — information technologies — to do a better job. Let’s coordinate care better. Let’s engage in more preventive care. (Applause.)

Because this is not just a Medicare problem. Medicare actually is a very efficient program relative to the private insurance programs. The problem is health care costs generally are going up. So we’ve got to bring down health care costs; that’s what we’re focused on. And I just want to point out that the other side’s approach to saving Medicare — and you’ll be hearing about this, I gather, after I speak — is to turn Medicare into a voucher program and essentially transfer those costs onto seniors.

Congressman Ryan’s original plan that was put forward — independent analysis showed that, as a consequence, seniors could expect to pay over $6,000 more for their Medicare once they were under a voucher program. Now, that was his original plan. I want to be fair here. He then modified it — because obviously there was a lot of pushback from seniors on that idea — so he said, well, we’re going to have traditional Medicare stand side by side with the voucher program, and no current beneficiaries will be affected.

The problem is that insurance companies, once they’re getting vouchers, they’re really good at recruiting the healthier, younger Medicare recipients, and weeding out and leaving in traditional Medicare [to] the older, sicker recipients. And over time what happens is that, because there are older, sicker folks in the traditional Medicare plan, premiums start going up, they start going through the roof. And the entire infrastructure of traditional Medicare ends up collapsing, which means that all seniors at some point end up being at the mercy of the insurance companies through a voucher program. That’s what we’re trying to prevent. And the reason that AARP supported Obamacare and does not support this voucher approach is because they have looked at these independent experts and the analysis that they’ve put forward, and they know that a voucher program is not going to be a good deal for Medicare over the long haul. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, from Sandwich, Massachusetts. Kathy (ph) has the following question for you: “What would your administration do to make sure age discrimination laws are enforced so we have an even playing field to get a job?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is a great question, and obviously one of the challenges that we’ve seen as a consequence of this terrible recession we went through was a lot of workers in their 50s and early 60s found themselves suddenly laid off, and it’s very hard for them to get their foot in the door despite all the incredible experience that they have and the skills and training that they’ve got. So there are a couple of things that we need to do.

Number one, we just have to make sure that we’re enforcing nondiscrimination laws effectively. And the Attorney General knows that that’s always a top priority for me. In some cases, part of what we’re trying to do is to see if we legislatively can overturn some bad Supreme Court rulings that have made it harder to prove age discrimination. (Applause.)

Q Using the —

THE PRESIDENT: And that’s something that we’re really focused on.

Q Forgive me for interrupting the President of the United States. Sorry. (Laughter.)

Mr. President, you used the word “legislation” which will ring a bell with Joe from Fort Aktinson, Wisconsin, who asks: “What can you do about this gridlock between both sides of the aisle in Congress?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Jane, let me just say this — first of all, before I go to the gridlock issue, I did want to emphasize that in addition to dealing with age discrimination, the work that’s being done between the SBA and the AARP around the Encore Entrepreneur’s Program, helping thousands of seniors across the country start their own small businesses, if in fact they’re not getting hired, to provide them a source of income and use their incredible skills — I just wanted to give a shout out to AARP because that program is really doing great work. (Applause.)

But when it comes to gridlock, look, I came in in 2008 and I said, even though I got 53 percent of the vote and 47 percent of the country voted against me, that I’d be the President for everybody, and I’d listen to everybody’s voices. (Applause.)

And every idea that I put forward and all the work that we have done has been to draw on the best ideas from both parties. In fact, Obamacare now owes a debt to what was done in Massachusetts by my opponent Mr. Romney, even though sometimes he denies it. (Applause.)

So I am always going to be looking to find common ground and solve problems for the American people. The one thing I won’t do, though, is to go along with bad ideas that are not helping the middle class, not helping people who have worked hard all their lives, not helping to provide ladders of opportunity to people who are still looking to succeed in this great country of ours. And so, if I hear that the only way that Republicans in Congress are willing to move forward is to voucherize Medicare, I’ll say no. (Applause.) If the only thing that they’re willing to offer in terms of deficit reduction is to do it on the backs of seniors or our children who need to get a great education, or middle-class families who can’t afford another tax increase, I’m going to say no.

So part of what I think you want from your President is somebody who is working hard to bring people together, but is also willing to stand up to bad ideas that would end up tilting the playing field further in favor of those who have already made it instead of also thinking about folks who are trying to make it who worked hard all their lives, like my grandmother. And that’s exactly why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, on behalf of everyone here in the hall and listening online, we are so grateful that you could spend some time with us this morning. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much, Jane. Take care, everybody.

END
11:46 A.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 20, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Tampa, Florida — Obama Talks ’47 Percent’ with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Talks ’47 Percent’ with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-20-12

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

While in Florida Thursday night, President Obama spent some time hobnobbing with 85 of his wealthiest supporters, including former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and Pearl Jam star Eddie Vedder.

One of the top talking points at the $20,000-per-head event:  Mitt Romney’s recent comments on the “47 percent.”

Vedder, who performed an acoustic set ahead of Obama’s remarks, cracked a birther joke as he traded his mandolin for a ukelele from Hawaii. “It has a little birth certificate in there,” he kidded….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Tampa, FL

Source: WH, 9-20-12 

Private Residence
Tampa, Florida

6:16 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  It is so good to see all of you, and I’m going to have a chance to, I know, take some pictures and spend a little time with you.

But let me begin by thanking Eddie Vedder for that unbelievable performance — (applause) — but more importantly, for that story, which is the first time I’ve ever heard that story.  And for you to share that with us, Eddie, I think speaks volumes not just about you and who you are, but it also speaks volumes about our country, because that story I think captures better than anything what this campaign is about and what this country is about.  At any given moment, all of us may have challenges.  At any given moment, all of us may need a helping hand.  And that’s not inconsistent with individual initiative and risk-taking and pursuing the American Dream.  It’s part and parcel of it.

And so I’m so grateful for your friendship and your support, but I’m really grateful for you sharing that story with all of us.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

To Lisa and Don, thank you for opening up your extraordinary home.  (Applause.)  We are so grateful.

I want to thank Tyler Florence for all the outstanding food. (Applause.)  And I want to acknowledge your former governor, a great friend — and I can admit it now — Charlie Crist.  (Applause.)  I’m allowed to hug him as much as I want.  (Laughter.)

We are less than 50 days away from the election.  And this is my last election, so I get nostalgic sometimes thinking about all my previous races.  And my first race where Michelle and I would go door to door with these Xeroxed — we’d gone to Kinko’s and we had kind of printed up these little hand cards.  And people would look and say, what name is this?  (Laughter.)  And they couldn’t pronounce it, and people wouldn’t answer the door. And the campaign was run out of our kitchen in a small condo in Chicago.

And obviously now, things have changed.  Our budget is a little bit bigger.  Our mode of transport, as opposed to me driving around with one staff person in the passenger seat, and unfolding maps and trying to figure out where I’m supposed to go, and trying to find a parking spot, and getting there and it turns out it’s raining and I don’t have an umbrella and so I walk into people’s houses soaked — things are a little smoother for me now, I’ve got to admit.  (Laughter.)

But the motivation, the reason that I’m running now is no different from that first race, and it’s no different than the sentiment that Eddie just expressed up here on stage.  Because, like him, I’ve traveled a long way, but it’s been an unlikely journey, and the reason that I’m here is because this country, alone among any other country on Earth, is able to pluck the son of a single mom, without fame, without fortune, without resources, without connections, and give him the kind of education and doors of opportunity that allowed me, as long as I was willing to work hard and make some sacrifices, to make something of myself.  And the same is true for Michelle.  And the same is true for a number of you.

And so what’s at stake, when I think about this election, is preserving or restoring that basic bargain here in America that says if you work hard, if you meet your responsibilities and if you’ve got some big dreams, you’ve got a chance to succeed.  You may not succeed and become a rock and roll star.  (Laughter.)  But you’ve got a chance to have a home, and raise a family, and not go bankrupt when you get sick, and contribute to your community, and most importantly, give your kids an even better chance to do better and dream bigger than you did.

And for a decade or so, it felt as if that dream was slipping away.  We had seen jobs shipped overseas so that the traditional path for a lot of folks into the middle class through manufacturing jobs — that was gone.  You saw incomes flat-line or go down and the costs of everything from health care to college going up, people having to take on more and more debt just to keep up, and then eventually the house of cards collapsing in the worst recession since the Great Depression.

And I ran for President because that’s not the story I tell myself about who we are as a nation.  I still believe in that story that Eddie described, and that my own life exemplifies.  And so for the last three and a half years, everything we’ve done has been focused on how do we grow this economy so that everybody has got a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules, and we’re growing a strong middle class, not from the top down but from the middle out and from the bottom up.

And it’s because of the resilience of the American people and the policies that we’ve put in place that we’ve been able to turn around a situation where we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, and now have seen 30 consecutive months of job growth.  It’s for that reason.  (Applause.)

It’s for that reason that we’ve been able to provide millions of students greater assistance for them to go to college — not just four-year colleges, but also community colleges so that they can get trained for the jobs that are hiring right now.

It’s for that reason that we said it’s time for us to do something about health care in this country.  When we’ve got tens of millions of people who are at risk of going bankrupt just because somebody in their family gets sick, that’s something we can change.

It’s for that reason that we passed Wall Street reform, so that not only do we no longer see taxpayer-funded bailouts, but we also start seeing consumers protected from unscrupulous mortgage brokers or payday lenders, and people have a sense that they’re not going to be cheated when they go into the marketplace.

It’s for that reason that we’ve been able to double our fuel-efficiency standards on cars, and cut our imports of oil and begin to double our clean energy.

All these things are of a piece, because all these things are designed to try to make our economy strong and create a foundation so that, once again, anybody who works hard can make it here in this country.

Now, we’ve got a lot more work to do, and everybody here knows it, and certainly folks here in Florida understand that.  We’ve got a lot of people who are still looking for work, a lot of people whose homes are still underwater.  We’ve got communities that are struggling and storefronts that are still boarded up.  And that’s why this election becomes so important — not only is our work not done, but we’ve got as fundamental a choice as I’ve seen since I’ve been following politics between two different candidates, two different parties, but also, most importantly, two different visions of how we move forward.

Governor Romney and his allies in Congress think that the solution, the way we provide strong growth and opportunity, is to provide tax cuts for folks like you.  (Laughter.)  And, listen, I understand nobody likes paying taxes, but that recipe we tried.  We tried it for a decade — and it worked very well for us, but it didn’t work well for the country.  The other big idea that they’ve got is to roll back regulations that keep our air and water clean; roll back regulations that make sure that people aren’t abused in the marketplace.  We tried that, too, and it didn’t work very well.

So we’ve got a different idea, and what I tried to do at the convention — I know there was one here; we had another one in Charlotte.  Maybe you saw both of them.  (Applause.)  What we’ve said is, let’s focus on how we continue to build an economy that works for middle-class families and everybody who’s striving to get into that middle class; how do we make sure we’re providing tax breaks to companies that are investing here in Florida, here in the United States, instead of giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas; how do we make sure that every educational opportunity works for everybody, that college is accessible, that we’re hiring outstanding teachers in math and science, that we’re investing in early childhood education.

How do we make sure that we’re developing oil and gas resources, but we’re also investing in clean energy like wind and solar that can cut our carbon, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and is good for people’s pocketbooks; and how do we reduce our deficit in a balanced way, cutting out programs that don’t work.  And for those of you who are Democrats, I have to confess that not every program works in Washington, and we can trim back and streamline and make government more efficient — in fact, we have an obligation to — but even after we make those cuts, if we’re serious about deficit reduction we’re then also going to have to ask folks who’ve done very well to do a little bit more, and go back to the rates we had when Bill Clinton was President  — which is a time, by the way, when we created 23 million new jobs, a surplus instead of a deficit, and actually created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

Because it turns out that when you’ve got middle-class families doing well, guess what — they spend money.  They buy cars and computers and — I was going to say CDs, but I’m dating myself — (laughter.)  And then businesses have more profits and they hire more people, and we get into a virtuous cycle and everybody does better.

Now, at the same time as we’re focused domestically, we’ve got some stuff internationally, obviously, that’s going on.  And this past week reminded us of the challenges and the threats that are still out there.  I said I’d end the war in Iraq — and we did. (Applause.)  I said we would begin winding down our commitments in Afghanistan and make sure that Afghans are taking responsibility for their own security — and that process has begun.  I said we’d go after al Qaeda and bin Laden — and we did that.  (Applause.)

But we’re not done yet.  We’re still threatened by an Iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons and I’ve been absolutely clear that our policy is not to allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.  We can’t afford a nuclear arms race in the region.  Obviously, there are still extremists around the world who threaten us, which is why my commitment is to continue to have the strongest military in the world.  But I also want to lead with diplomacy.  I also want to lead with our values and our ideals.

And I also want to make sure that we understand that if we’re going to be strong abroad, we’ve got to do some nation-building here at home — and so take half of the money that we were spending on war to pay down the deficit, and use a whole bunch of it to rebuild America, putting people back to work with roads and bridges and schools and infrastructure.  All that can help us grow and, ultimately, will help to finance what we need to keep us safe.

So we’ve got a lot of work to do.  And the main point I guess I want to make to you is that, this being my last campaign, I’m not going to be leaving a lot on the field.  And I know we’ve got a football family here — I see an outstanding all-star — all-pro in the audience — and when you’ve got your last game you’ve got to leave it all out there.  And when the stakes are this high, we’ve got to work.  We have to work.

If you believe in the course that we’ve put out there, if you believe that it was the right thing to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” (applause) — if you believe that it’s the right thing to make sure that young people who are brought here and have gone to school here and pledge allegiance to the flag and understand themselves as Americans but just don’t have the papers, that it makes no sense for us to send them to countries that they don’t even know anything about — (applause) — if you believe that we have to have an economy that works for everybody and not just some, then I’m going to need you to work.

And some of you have been watching television and you know that the other side is not short on funds, they are not short on resources.  I was — my campaign manager was with a couple with a young son and they were very excited to meet the campaign manager of the Obama campaign, and they said their three-year-old knows Obama, and they said, “What does President Obama do?”  And the three-year-old says, “He approves this message.”  (Laughter.)  Which is a sign that things have gotten a little carried away.

But for the next little less than two months, we’re going to see more advertising, more negative messages than we’ve ever seen before.  And the only way we counteract that is through the determination and passion of folks like you.

I’m confident we can win this thing, but it’s not a sure thing.  And I’m going to need all of you to stretch a little bit. To the extent that I’m preaching to the choir, I need you guys to go out and do some evangelizing yourselves.  Get your friends, neighbors, co-workers.  It may not always be easy, but what’s more important?

I had a chance to see Lisa and Don’s young sons.  Many of you have children.  I think about Malia and Sasha.  I want them to live in a country where they believe that if they’re willing to put in the effort, they can be a platinum-selling artist, or a President of the United States, or an outstanding businessman or woman.  I don’t want their dreams constricted.  And I also don’t want our kids to think that somehow success is reserved for them, and that somehow half the country is locked out of that success.

I want everybody to be successful — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, abled or disabled.  I want everybody to have a chance to succeed.  That’s what we’re fighting for in this election.  That’s why I need you guys stepping up.

If you do, not only will we win Florida, we’ll win in November.  We’ll finish what we started, and remind the world just what it is that makes America the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you everybody.  I’ll see you inside.  God bless you.

END
6:31 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 20, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Sarasota, Florida — “I Will Change Washington”

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: “I Will Change Washington”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-20-12

“[President Obama] can’t do it. His slogan was ‘Yes, we can.’ His slogan now is ‘No, I can’t.’ This is time for a new president.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks
Sarasota, FL

September 20, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Now the country faces major challenges, you know that we face massive debt, trillion-dollar deficits. We face a Washington that’s broken – that can’t get the job done. The President today threw in the white flag of surrender again. He said he can’t change Washington from inside. He can only change it from outside. Well, we’re going to give him that chance in November. He’s going outside. I can change Washington. I will change Washington. We’ll get the job done from the inside – Republicans and Democrats will come together. He can’t do it. His slogan was ‘Yes, we can.’ His slogan now is ‘No, I can’t.’ This is time for a new president.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 20, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at Univision Town Hall with Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at Univision Town Hall with Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas

Source: WH, 9-20-12 

University of Miami
Miami, Florida

2:15 P.M. EDT

Q Please welcome the President of the United States. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

Q Welcome. Thank you for being here with us.

THE PRESIDENT: Muchas gracias.

Q Before we start, before talking about education and its future, we would like to talk about something that is happening right now in recent news. As we know, at the present time, 1,000 people are trying to get into the embassy in Pakistan, and we have seen protests, anti-American protests in thousands of countries.

We know in Libya, four Americans were killed. We know now that Ambassador Chris Stevens warned about security days before he was killed. Many people want to know whether — if you expected so much anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world. And why wasn’t your administration better prepared with more security at our embassies on September 11?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, obviously we mourn the loss of the Americans who were killed in Benghazi. But I think it’s important to understand that that’s not representative of the attitudes of the Libyan people towards America, because they understand because of the incredible work that our diplomats did as well as our men and women in uniform, we liberated that country from a dictator who had terrorized them for 40 years. And Chris Stevens, the ambassador there, was one of the leaders of that process. So when he was killed, there were vigils in Libya but also in front of the White House expressing the deep sorrow that the Libyan people felt towards them.

What we’ve seen over the last week, week and a half, is something that actually we’ve seen in the past, where there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the prophet Muhammad. And this is obviously something that then is used as an excuse by some to carry out inexcusable violent acts directed at Westerners or Americans.

And my number-one priority is always to keep our diplomats safe and to keep our embassies safe. And so when the initial events happened in Cairo and all across the region, we worked with Secretary Clinton to redouble our security and to send a message to the leaders of these countries, essentially saying, although we had nothing to do with the video, we find it offensive, it’s not representative of America’s views, how we treat each other with respect when it comes to their religious beliefs, but we will not tolerate violence.

And our goal now is not only to make sure that our embassies and our diplomats are safe, but also to make sure that we bring those who carried out these events to justice.

There is a larger issue, and that is what’s going to be happening in the Arab Spring as these countries transition from dictatorship to democracy. And we cannot replace the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of a mob. And so my message to the Presidents of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and these other countries is, we want to be a partner with you, we will work with you, and we stand on the side of democracy, but democracy is not just an election; it’s also, are you looking out for minority rights, are you respecting freedom of speech, are you treating women fairly.

All these issues are ones that the region is going to wrestle with. The one thing we can’t do is withdraw from the region, because the United States continues to be the one indispensable nation. And even countries where the United States is criticized, they still want our leadership and they still look to us to make sure that we’re providing opportunity and peace. And so we’re going to continue to work in these regions.

Q We have reports that the White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Do you have information indicating that it was Iran, or al Qaeda was behind organizing the protests?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re still doing an investigation, and there are going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests —

Q Al Qaeda?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we don’t know yet. And so we’re going to continue to investigate this. We’ve insisted on and have received so far full cooperation from countries like Egypt and Libya and Tunisia in not only protecting our diplomatic posts, but also to make sure that we discover who, in fact, is trying to take advantage of this.

But this is part of the reason why we have to remain vigilant. Look, when I came into office I said I would end the war in Iraq — and I did. I said that we would begin transitioning in Afghanistan so that over time Afghans can take responsibility for their own security. But what I also said was we’re going to have to focus narrowly and forcefully on groups like al Qaeda, the ones that carried out the 9/11 attacks and the ones that still threaten U.S. interests.

And those forces have not gone away. We’ve decimated al Qaeda’s top leadership in the border regions around Pakistan, but in Yemen, in Libya, in other of these places — increasingly in places like Syria — what you see is these elements that don’t have the same capacity that a bin Laden or core al Qaeda had, but can still cause a lot of damage, and we’ve got to make sure that we remain vigilant and are focused on preventing them from doing us any harm.

Q Mr. President, I want to ask you something that is known as the “Obama promise,” and you knew that I was going to ask you about that. On May 28th, 2008, we had a conversation in Denver, Colorado, and you told me the following — and I’m going to quote you: “But I can guarantee that we will have, in the first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support.”

I want to emphasize “the first year.” At the beginning of your governing, you had control of both chambers of Congress, and yet you did not introduce immigration reform. And before I continue, I want for you to acknowledge that you did not keep your promise.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me first of all, Jorge, make a point that when we talked about immigration reform in the first year, that’s before the economy was on the verge of collapse — Lehman Brothers had collapsed, the stock market was collapsing. And so my first priority was making sure that we prevented us from going into a Great Depression.

And I think everybody here remembers where we were four years ago. We lost 800,000 jobs the month that I took office. Small businesses and big businesses couldn’t get financing. People had seen their 401(k)s evaporate. People were losing homes left and right.

And so we had to take a whole series of emergency actions to make sure that we put people back to work, cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses so that they could stay open or pay the bills, making sure that states got assistance so they didn’t have to lay off teachers and firefighters and police officers, saving an auto industry that was on the brink of collapse.

And so that took up a huge amount of time in the first year. But even in that first year, one of my first acts was to invite every single member of Congress who had previously been supportive of comprehensive immigration reform, and to say to them, we need to get this done. This is something I believe in deeply because we are a nation of laws and we’re a nation of immigrants. And I am willing to work with anybody to strengthen our border security and to crack down on employers who are taking advantage of undocumented workers, but what we also have to do is provide a pathway for all those millions of hardworking people who are simply here looking after their families, and oftentimes they’ve put deep roots in this country.

And what I confess I did not expect — and so I’m happy to take responsibility for being naive here — is that Republicans who had previously supported comprehensive immigration reform — my opponent in 2008, who had been a champion of it and who attended these meetings — suddenly would walk away. That’s what I did not anticipate.

And as you know, Jorge, even though we controlled the House of Representatives, even though we had a majority in the Senate, the way the Senate operates was if you couldn’t get 60 votes you couldn’t get something moving. So we initiated the meetings, had a series of meetings. And what we could not get was a single Republican, including the 20 who had previously voted for comprehensive immigration reform, to step up and say, we will work with you to make this happen.

Q It was a promise, Mr. President. And I don’t want to — because this is very important, I don’t want to get you off the explanation. You promised that. And a promise is a promise. And with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, here is what I would say, Jorge, is that — and we’ve had this conversation before. There’s the thinking that the President is somebody who is all powerful and can get everything done. In our branch of — in our system of government, I am the head of the executive branch. I’m not the head of the legislature; I’m not the head of the judiciary. We have to have cooperation from all these sources in order to get something done. And so I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t get it done, but I did not make a promise that I would get everything done, 100 percent, when I was elected as President.

What I promised was that I would work every single day as hard as I can to make sure that everybody in this country, regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, that they would have a fair shot at the American Dream. And I have — that promise I’ve kept.

And what I’ve also — I think is relevant for today’s session is the fact that I have never wavered in my support of comprehensive immigration reform. We did put forward a DREAM Act that was passed in the House, got the overwhelming majority of support from Democrats in the Senate, and was blocked by the Republican Party.

We now are confronted with a choice between two candidates in which the candidate sitting here with you today is committed to comprehensive immigration reform, is committed to the DREAM Act, has taken administrative actions to prevent young people from being deported. And that stands in contrast with the other candidate who has said he would veto the DREAM Act, that he is uncertain about what his plan for immigration reform would be, and who considers the Arizona law a model for the nation and has suggested that the main solution for immigration is self-deportation.

So the issue here for voters — whose vision best represents the aspirations not just of the Latino community but of all Americans who believe that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants? And that candidate, I believe, is talking to you right now. (Applause.)

Q I’m going to ask you some questions — you promised that on Facebook — and we have received this question: If you are reelected, do you think you’ll be able to have immigration reform even though there’s a majority of Republican representatives? How can you promise the same thing if you’re not going to be able to do that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I’m not going to concede that Republicans necessarily are controlling the Congress. That’s why we have elections. (Applause.)

But let’s assume that the Republicans do retain the House, let’s say. What I can — what I’m absolutely certain of is if the Latino community and the American community that cares about this issue turns out to vote, they can send a message that this is not something to use as a political football, that people’s lives are at stake, that this is a problem that we can solve and historically has had bipartisan support.

And I actually think the mindset within the Republican Party can change — because when you think about it, not only was it fairly recently that we had some Republican support, but even now you have voices like the former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, who has said that the Republican Party has taken an extreme view, a wrong approach when it comes to immigration reform.

So my hope is, is that after the election — when the number-one goal is no longer beating me, but hopefully the number-one goal is solving the country’s problems — if they have seen that people who care about this issue have turned out in strong numbers, that they will rethink it, if not because it’s the right thing to do, at least because it’s in their political interest to do so.

Q Mr. President, you have been the President who has made the largest number of deportations in history — more than 1.5 million so far. You’ve separated many families. There are more than 5,000 children who are American citizens in foster care and in the adoption process. Would you just — since you’ve granted deferred action, would you like to do something — consider doing something similar to other groups of non-criminal illegal immigrants such as the parents of U.S.-born children?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me describe sort of how we’ve tried to approach this given that we haven’t gotten comprehensive immigration reform done yet. My instructions to the Department of Homeland Security has been that we have to focus our attention, our enforcement, on people who genuinely pose a threat to our communities, not to hardworking families who are minding their own business and oftentimes have members of their family who are U.S. citizens — because that’s a — that’s a priority in terms of limited enforcement resources. We don’t have the capacity to enforce across the board when you’re talking about millions of people. And we’ve done that.

So more than half of our enforcement now is directed at people with criminal records. Of the remaining half, about two-thirds are actually people who are typically apprehended close to the border, so these are not people who have longstanding roots in our community. And what we’ve tried to do then is focus our attention on real threats, and make sure that families of the sort that you describe are not the targets of DHS resources.

Now, what I’ve always said is, as the head of the executive branch, there’s a limit to what I can do. Part of the reason that deportations went up was Congress put a whole lot of money into it, and when you have a lot of resources and a lot more agents involved, then there are going to be higher numbers. What we’ve said is, let’s make sure that you’re not misdirecting those resources. But we’re still going to, ultimately, have to change the laws in order to avoid some of the heartbreaking stories that you see coming up occasionally. And that’s why this continues to be a top priority of mine.

The steps we’ve taken with the DREAM Act kids, one of the great things about it is to see that the country as a whole has actually agreed with us on this. There are voices in the Republican Party have been very critical, but the good news is, is that the majority of Americans have said, you know what, if somebody lives here, has gone to school here, pledges allegiance to our flag, this is the only country they’ve known, they shouldn’t be sent away. We should embrace them and say we want you to help build this country.

So we’ve got public opinion on our side on that issue. And we will continue to make sure that how we enforce is done as fairly and justly as possible. But until we have a law in place that provides a pathway for legalization and/or citizenship for the folks in question, we’re going to be — continue to be bound by the law. And that’s a challenge.

Q Mr. President, the fact that you mentioned deferred action was granted months before the election has led some of your critics to say that it was just only to win the Hispanic vote. Why didn’t you do that earlier during your presidency?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think if you take a look at the polls, I was winning the Latino vote before we took that action — partly because the other side had completely abandoned their commitment to things like comprehensive immigration reform.

But I did this because I met young people all across the country — wonderful kids who sometimes were valedictorians, would participate in the community, has aspirations to go to college, some who were serving in our military — and if you heard their stories, there’s no way that you would think it was fair or just for us to have them suffering under a cloud of deportation.

And so part of the challenge as President is constantly saying, what authorities do I have. What we wanted to do was first make sure that we were directing our enforcement resources towards criminals and we’ve done that. And after we put that system in place we said, you know what, we’re still hearing stories of young people being scared about being deported; it’s time to see if we can take even further action. And that’s what we’ve done.

Q Thank you. Mr. President, now we are going to talk about education.

Q One out of 10 Hispanics — only one out of 10 graduates from college. And you know that one out of three, not even 25 percent, finishes high school.

And this is the question: First of all, I want to say, Mr. President, it’s an honor for me to be here. I’m a candidate for a doctorate in special education studies at the university level. So I would like to know, what do you attribute the dropout rate among Hispanics in the United States — 15 percent — and what plans do you have to change that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, one of my most important plans is to make sure that people like you can continue your studies and help solve the problem. And that’s why we’ve put such a big emphasis on making sure that college is affordable.

And some of the work that we’ve done over the last four years to make sure that the student loan interest rate stays low, expanding Pell grants for millions of students, including millions of Latino students, so that we are seeing the highest college enrollment rate among Latino students in history — all that is going to help to contribute to us being able to deal with the problem of secondary and high school educations because you’re going to be inspiring a whole lot of students to say, I can do that, too; I can achieve that dream.

Now, one of the things we know is going to make a big difference is early childhood education. So we’ve put enormous effort not only in providing additional funding for early childhood education, but also to improve the quality of early childhood education — because not all programs work perfectly.

We’ve also been very proud to be able to initiate reform in 46 states around the country — almost every state has initiated reforms — because what we’ve said is we’ll give you more money if you initiate reforms that focus on dropout rates, that focus on some of the hardest-to-reach students, that focus on getting great teachers in the classroom and holding yourself to high standards and accountability.

So we’ve seen already gains in math and science in many of these schools. We’ve given additional dollars to some schools, predominantly Latino and African American, where the dropout rate is sky-high. And we’ve said, in some cases, you may just have to rework the school entirely. Get a great principal in there, hire wonderful teachers, and we will provide you additional help.

Now, for those of you who care deeply about education — because education was a gateway of opportunity for me, for Michelle, and for many of the people sitting here — this should be a vital decision that guides you in this upcoming election. Because even as we’ve done all this work to make sure that college is more affordable, that we’re reforming our schools, what you’ve seen on the other side and what’s been proposed by my opponent is a budget that would cut 20 percent of education funding, that would roll back tax credits that we’re providing middle-class families to help them send their kids to college, that would put billions of dollars back into the hands of banks as middlemen for the student loan program, which would then eliminate or reduce funding for Pell grants for millions of students around the country.

So, across the board, what you’ll hear from my opponent and from some of his allies in Congress is, we care deeply about education, but they don’t put their money where their mouth is. Their budget doesn’t reflect those values.

And I’m a firm believer that money alone can’t solve the problem. Parents, we have to make sure that we’re turning off the TV and providing a quiet space for our kids to do their homework. Teachers have to inspire. Principals have to lead. But ultimately, along with reform efforts, we also have to make sure that we don’t have overcrowded classrooms and textbooks that are outdated.

I was in Las Vegas talking to some wonderful teachers in a predominantly Latino district, and the teachers were telling me, at the start of school we’ve got 42 kids in the classroom. Some kids are sitting on the floor until they eventually get reassigned. They lose two weeks of instruction time just because the classrooms are so overcrowded. There are schools, particular in Latino communities, all across this country where kids are still studying in trailers. They don’t have regular classrooms, textbooks that are decades old.

Now, if we truly believe that education is the key not only for opportunity but also for making sure we can compete in this 21st century economy that is not a tolerable situation. And I put forward specific plans, with the budget behind it, to deal with these issues. And my opponent would actually roll back the process that we’ve already made.

Q Mr. President, we have time, but we have many more questions. We’re going to take a break and then we’ll be right back with many of those most important questions that Hispanics want to ask of the President, Barack Obama. (Applause.)

* * *

Q We’ll continue with this special program right here because the debate commission didn’t want to have any Hispanic or African American journalists. So we decided to have our own meeting.

THE PRESIDENT: We’re thrilled to be here. (Applause.)

Q We have an education question. I think that it’s something that reminded problems our country has was the recent strike of 29,000 teachers who left 350,000 students out of school, and we have a question about that. This is a Facebook question: What is your plan to solve the present education crisis? What happened in Chicago could also happen in California and other states very soon. Are you concerned about that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, obviously what happened in Chicago was of concern, and we’re glad that it finally got resolved. But you’re going to see school districts all across the country dealing with this issue because part of what has happened over the last four years is a lot of teacher layoffs.

Now, when I first came into office, one of the most important things that we had to do was to help states and local communities not lay off teachers. And that was part of what the Recovery Act was all about — was providing states with help. Because we can’t afford to be laying off teachers when other countries are hiring teachers.

Unfortunately, though, we’ve still seen a lot of school districts lay off teachers. That has an impact on the students themselves because when you have larger classes, it’s harder to provide the individualized attention on those kids, especially at the younger grades.

This is, again, why the difference between the two candidates in this election is so important. If Governor Romney’s and Congressman Ryan’s budgets were introduced, you would see even less — by a magnitude of 20 percent — even less resources from the federal government to the states, and you could see potentially even more teachers being laid off, working conditions for teachers becoming worse, potentially more strikes.

And what we say to school districts all across the country is, we will provide you more help as long as you’re being held accountable. And as far as teachers go, I think they work as hard as anybody, but we also want to make sure that they are having high standards of performance, especially in math and science. So one of the plans that I presented at the convention was I want to hire 100,000 new math and science teachers, because that’s how teachers do better, students do better, the likelihood of strikes become lower.

Q Mr. President, I had the opportunity to watch our conversation with Mitt Romney yesterday, but previously in a video he has said that he was not concerned about the 47 percent of the population in the United States. But yesterday he said that he wanted to be the President of 100 percent of Americans. For you, which is the two is the true Mitt Romney? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, here’s what I would say. First of all, I’ve been President now for almost four years. But the day I was elected, that night in Grant Park where I spoke to the country, I said, 47 percent of the people didn’t vote for me, but I’ve heard your voices and I’m going to work just as hard for you as I did for those who did vote for me. That’s how you have to operate as a President. I truly believe that. (Applause.)

I think your question, Jorge, about what’s the real Mitt Romney is better directed to Mr. Romney. But I will say this. When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven’t gotten around a lot, because I travel around the country all the time and the American people are the hardest working there are. (Applause.)

And their problem is not that they’re not working hard enough, or they don’t want to work, or they’re being taxed too little, or they just want to loaf around and gather government checks. We’ve gone through a challenging time. People want a hand up, not a handout.

Are there people who abuse the system? Yes, both at the bottom and at the top — because there are a whole bunch of millionaires who aren’t paying taxes at all either. (Applause.) But when you look — last point I’d make — when you look statistically, it turns out that even if people aren’t paying income taxes, they’re paying payroll taxes. They’re paying gas taxes. They’re paying sales taxes. They’re paying state and local taxes.

So the fact of the matter is that the few people who are not paying — the people who are not paying income taxes are either paying a lot of taxes because they’re working every day but they just don’t make enough money overall to pay income tax; or alternatively, they’re senior citizens; or they’re students who — I know these guys aren’t making a lot of money, even with some work-study program. (Laughter.) Or they’re disabled; or, in some cases, they’re veterans or soldiers who are fighting for us right now overseas — they don’t pay an income tax.

And so I just think it’s very important for us to understand Americans work hard, and if they’re not working right now, I promise you they want to get to work. And that’s what my economic plan is designed to do, to get more people back to work, and to lift up the middle class and people who want to work to get into the middle class. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, I am a student at the journalism school at UM. This is my question to you. What would you recommend to Latina women such as me in order to be successful in my search for employment in the United States?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, you’ve got great role models here in journalism, particularly Maria Elena Salinas. (Laughter.)

Q Thank you. Because I ask you the tough questions.

THE PRESIDENT: But, look, the economy has been very tough for the last four years, and so there are a lot of young people out there who’ve graduated, have a great education, but have still had trouble getting work. The good news is over the last 30 months we’ve seen job growth every single month — 4.5 million new jobs.

The most important thing you can do, the best investment you can make to make sure you have a good job is to get a college education. So what you’re doing now cuts in half the likelihood that you end up unemployed.

The most important message, I guess I would tell you, though, is what I tell my daughters, which is that America remains a country where if you work hard and you don’t give up and you are persistent, you can succeed. And the good news is that because of some of the battles that were fought before you were born and, in some cases, before I was born, opportunity is opening up for more and more people — for women, for Latinas, Latinos, for African Americans. So you can go as far as your dreams will take you.

The big concern that I have is making sure that as you’re paying for your education, you don’t get burdened with tons of debt. And that’s why we focus so much on taking billions of dollars that were going to banks and making sure that we cut out the middlemen, provide some of these loans directly to students, or grants directly to students. And now we’re working with colleges and universities to keep tuition lower in order to make sure that when you get that first job, it may not pay everything you want — my first job, by the way, I made $10,000 a year.

So there’s nothing wrong with taking a job that doesn’t pay a lot if it’s what you’re interested in, as long as you don’t have these huge debt burdens that so many young people have now. And that’s a big contrast in this election. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, we have a question that is very important for us and also our neighbors in Mexico. You have supported the President Calderón policy against drug trafficking. Now, there’s a new President who will be taking office at the same time if you were to win. So do you think that after 65,000 deaths it’s time to change the strategy? Can you consider the 65,000 a failure and the policy should change?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, obviously, there has been an extraordinary battle within Mexico to try to gain control over territories that, in some cases, have been just terrorized by these drug cartels. And I commend President Calderón for his courage in standing up to these cartels, and we have worked very closely and cooperatively with them in dealing with this issue.

Now, what I will be saying to the new President of Mexico when he takes office is that we want to continue that cooperation, and we recognize this is a threat on both sides of the border. We make a mistake if we just say this is Mexico’s problem because we obviously generate a lot of demand for drugs in this country, and guns and cash flow south at the same time as drugs flow north. That’s why —

Q How many more people have to die before this issue —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, what we need to do is to weaken the grip of these drug cartels, and there are a couple of things we can do. Number one, the United States can focus on drug treatment and prevention, and helping people deal with addiction, making sure that young people are not getting hooked on drugs. If we can reduce demand, that means less cash flowing into these drug cartels. And we have actually beefed up our investment and support of prevention, because we have to treat this as a public health problem here in the United States, not just a law enforcement problem.

The other thing that we try to do is to work much more aggressively in preventing the flow of guns and cash down into Mexico. And so interdiction has to work both ways.

But ultimately, Mexico is also going to have to come to terms with the fact that in some communities and in some cities, law enforcement has been outgunned or compromised by the strength of these drug cartels. And we want to help them, but they’re going to also have to take action to continue to keep pressure on these drugs cartels. And that includes not just police, by the way, it also means the judiciary, their prosecutors — that if they capture drug kingpins that they actually stay in jail.

There’s a whole series of issues involved in law enforcement, and we’re proving them advice, but ultimately they’re a sovereign country and they’re going to have to take some of those steps as well. But we want to be partners with them throughout this process.

Q Mr. President, you told me during an interview that you — Eric Holder or you did not authorize the Fast and Furious operation that allowed 2,000 weapons from the United States to Mexico, and they were in drug-trafficking hands. I think that up to 100 Mexicans might have died, and also American agent, Brian Terry. There’s a report that 14 agents were responsible for the operation. But shouldn’t Attorney General Eric Holder — he should have known about that. And if he didn’t, should you fire him?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration. When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned an inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued, confirming that, in fact, Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and the people who did initiate this were held accountable.

But what I think is most important is recognizing that we’ve got a challenge in terms of weapons flowing south. And the strategy that was pursued, obviously, out of Arizona, was completely wrongheaded. Those folks who were responsible have been held accountable. The question now is how do we move forward with a strategy that will actually work.

And we are going to have to work with Mexican law enforcement to accomplish this. But I will tell you that Eric Holder has my complete confidence because he has shown himself to be willing to hold accountable those who took these actions and is passionate about making sure that we’re preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands.

Q But if you have nothing to hide then why are you not releasing papers to this?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, actually, the truth is we’ve released thousands of papers —

Q But not all of them.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ve released almost all of them. The ones that we don’t release typically relate to internal communications that were not related to the actual Fast and Furious operation.

And so the challenge that we have is that at any given moment in the federal government, there may be people who do dumb things. And I’ve seen it, I promise. (Laughter.) And ultimately, I’m responsible, and my key managers, including the Attorney General, are responsible, for holding those people accountable, for making sure that they are fired if they do dumb things, and then fixing the system to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. And I’m very confident that you will not see any kind of actions like this in the future.

But what I don’t like to see is these kinds of issues becoming political circuses or ways to score political points in Congress — partly because it becomes a distraction from us doing the business that we need to do for the American people.

Q Very briefly, talking about the same question — you know we have just one minute left. Why don’t just have an independent investigation? Because at the end of the day, it was just the Justice Department investigating its boss and saying that he’s not at fault. Why don’t we have — very briefly — independent investigation that is not from the Justice Department?

THE PRESIDENT: Maria Elena, understand that not only have we had multiple hearings in Congress, but the inspector general is put in place specifically to be independent from the Attorney General. And this Attorney General’s report was not a whitewash in any way. I mean, it was tough on the Justice Department. And it indicated that potentially more supervision was needed; people should have known in some cases, even if they didn’t actually know. So it was, I think, independent, honest. It was a clear assessment of what had gone wrong in that situation.

And we are happy to continue to provide the information that is relevant to this. But one of the things that happens in Washington is, very quickly these issues become political distractions as opposed to us actually solving the problems that we need to solve. And this issue of guns flowing south is a hard issue to solve. Because this country respects the Second Amendment; we want to protect the rights of gun owners and those who are seeking to purchase firearms. But oftentimes that’s exploited as well. And so we’ve got to make sure that we’re properly balancing the rights of U.S. citizens, but making sure that we’re also interdicting those arms that would get into the hands of criminals.

Q Mr. President, thank you so much. We’re going to have a last break and then we’re going to continue with a President Barack Obama. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

* * *

Q Something different, something personal. I don’t know what you’re reading before going to sleep right now. I don’t know if you have already read the book “No Easy Day,” in which a Navy SEAL tells the story of how Osama bin Laden was killed. According to many, his death was your biggest achievement. What is your biggest failure?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Jorge, as you remind me, my biggest failure so far is we haven’t gotten comprehensive immigration reform done. (Laughter.) So we’re going to be continuing to work on that. (Applause.) But it’s not for lack of trying or desire, and I’m confident we’re going to accomplish that.

Obviously the fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington is disappointing. We know now that as soon as I came into office you already had meetings among some of our Republican colleagues saying, how do we figure out how to beat the President. And I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle-class families.

So something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward. (Applause.)

Q Yes, as you said, that’s your biggest failure and Jorge asked you do you consider that you broke your promise. So I think the answer is, yes, with many excuses, but you actually broke your promise.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, what I will say this — what I’ll say is that — that I haven’t gotten everything done that I wanted to get done. And that’s why I’m running for a second term — because we’ve still got more work to do. (Applause.)

The good news is I think that we can build on the progress that we’ve made. The actions we took in terms of deferred action give us the basis now to get something done for the DREAMers, to get comprehensive immigration reform done.

The progress that we’ve made in helping young people finance their college educations serves as a basis for us to continue to try to bring tuition down and college graduation rates up. The 4.5 million jobs that we’ve already created gives us the basis for us now doubling down on manufacturing, and making sure that community colleges are training people for the jobs that are out there right now. The opportunities that we have in implementing health care — which is going to be providing millions of Americans, including millions of Latinos, for the first time, who’ve worked so hard, the peace of mind of knowing that they have affordable health care.

All those issues are ones that we’re very proud of, but we know we’re not done yet. And that’s exactly why this election is going to be so important.

Q Mr. President, thank you so much for spending this hour with us. And as we said yesterday, we did the same with Mitt Romney, and we want to give you the opportunity for you to talk to our audience on camera. So you can talk to Hispanics to try to convince them, for them to vote for you.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is my pleasure. Thank you so much for the time that you’ve given me and for this audience. And the U of Miami, thank you. We appreciate you. (Applause.)

I truly believe this is the most important election of our lifetimes. We’ve gone through some very tough times together over these last four years. But now we’ve got a choice about how we move forward.

My opponents, they think that if we provide tax cuts to folks at the very top, that somehow that’s going to result in jobs and opportunity for everybody. I’ve got a different philosophy. What I believe is, is that our economy grows best when it grows from the middle out and the bottom up; when everybody has got a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.

And so the plan that I put forward in terms of making sure that we are creating a million manufacturing jobs, that we’re providing tax breaks to companies that are investing and hiring here in the United States as opposed to shipping jobs overseas, the plan to make sure that we continue to expand opportunities for young people, making college affordable, hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers, an energy strategy that says, yes, we’re going to increase production of oil and gas and continue to cut our oil imports but also we’re developing wind power and solar power that will create new jobs and help to clean our environment, and the plan to reduce our deficit in a way that’s balanced so that we’re not providing tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires that result in massive cuts in education or that would somehow turn Medicare into a voucher — those plans that I’ve put forward I’m confident can work, but they can only work with you.

So one thing that I saw in 2008 is that when the American people come together and decide that they are going to fight for the values and ideals that made this country great, we can’t be stopped. And I would urge everybody who is watching to look at my plan, look at Mr. Romney’s plan — compare who has got a better answer for middle-class families and everybody who is striving to get into the middle class.

And for the Latino community, I would say that the work that we’ve done on education, on immigration, on housing, on putting people back to work, on making sure that small businesses have access to financing — those are all issues that are representative of what you care about, your values. But you’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to make sure that you express that with your ballot.

So I would urge you to vote and I would ask you to vote for me and Democrats up and down the ticket. I think it will deliver for you in the future.

Thank you so much. (Applause.)

END
2:11 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 19, 2012: Mitt Romney’s 47 Percent Victim Voters Speech at May Private Fundraiser — Mother Jones Video Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Transcript

Romney’s Speech From Mother Jones Video

Source: NYT, 9-19-12

Following is the transcript of a video recorded during a private fund-raiser for Mitt Romney last May, published by Mother Jones magazine and transcribed by The New York Times.

MITT ROMNEY: The president’s foreign policy, in my opinion, is formed in part by a perception he has that his magnetism and his charm and his persuasiveness is so compelling, that he can sit down with people like Putin and Chavez and Ahmadinejad and they’ll find that we’re such wonderful people that they’ll go on with us. And they’ll stop doing bad things. It’s an extraordinarily naïve perception and it led to huge errors in North Korea, in Iraq, obviously in Iran, in Egypt, around the world.

My own view is that the centerpiece of American foreign policy has to be strength. Everything I do will be calculated to increasing America’s strength. When you stand by your allies, you increase your strength. When you attack your allies, you become weaker. When you stand by your principles, you get stronger. When you have a big military that’s bigger than anyone else’s, you’re stronger. When you have a strong economy, you build American strength. For me, everything is about strength and communicating to people what is and is not acceptable. It’s speaking softly but carrying a very, very, very big stick. And this president, instead, speaks loudly and carries a tiny stick. And that’s not the right course for foreign policy.

I saw Dr. Kissinger in New York …[Aside] You’re not eating!

CROWD MEMBER: I’m mesmerized.

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah … don’t spoil [unintelligible].

I saw Dr. Kissinger. I said to him, “How are we perceived around the world?” And he said, one word: “Weak.” We are weak. And that’s how this president is perceived, by our friends and unfortunately by our foes. And it’s no wonder that people like Kim Jong-un, the new leader of North Korea, announces a long-range missile test only a week after he said he wouldn’t. Because it’s like, what’s this president going to do about it? You know, if you can’t act, don’t threaten. Please?

CROWD MEMBER: Just to follow up on Iraq …

MR. ROMNEY: I just want to show you how it’s done, you take this in your fork [unintelligible].

CROWD MEMBER: [unintelligible] … the hostages, on his inauguration. … My question is really, how can you sort of duplicate that scenario?

MR. ROMNEY: I should ask you, how do I duplicate that scenario?

CROWD MEMBER: I think it had to do with the fact that the Iranians perceive that Reagan would do something to really get them out. In other words, he would have the strength, and that’s why I’m following on your thing about strength. That’s why I’m suggesting that something that you say over the next few months gets the Iranians to understand that their pursuit of a bomb is something that you would [unintelligible]. And I think that’s something that could possibly resonate very well with the American public.

MR. ROMNEY: I appreciate the idea.

One of the things that’s frustrating to me is that, on a typical day like this, where I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions I get are between zero and one. And the American people are not concentrated at all upon China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq. This president’s failure to put in place a status of forces agreement allowing ten to twenty thousand troops to stay in Iraq: unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we had hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean, that was the focus and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I’m afraid today if you simply got Iran to agree to stand down, they’d go, “Hold on.” If something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.

CROWD MEMBER: Tonight’s your lucky night; more foreign policy. With the first time you were in Jerusalem, we appreciate you being there. How do you think that the Palestinian problem can be solved, and what are you going to do about it?

MR. ROMNEY: I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Now why do I say that?

Some might say, well, just let the Palestinians have the West Bank and have security, and set up a separate nation for the Palestinians. And then come a couple of thorny questions. I don’t have a map here to look up geography, but the border between Israel and the West Bank is obviously right there, right next to Tel Aviv, which is the financial capital, the industrial capital of Israel, the center of Israel. It’s, what, the border would be seven miles from Tel Aviv to what would be the West Bank. Nine miles. The challenge is, the other side of the West Bank, the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point or Jordan. And of course, the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon, and what they did into Gaza. Which is the Iranians would want to bring missiles, that armament, into the West Bank and potentially threaten Israel. So Israel, of course, would have to say, “That can’t happen. We’ve got to keep Iranians from bringing weaponry into the West Bank.” Well, that means that, who, the Israelis are going to patrol the border between Jordan, Syria and this new Palestinian nation? Well, the Palestinians would say, “No way. We’re an independent country. You can’t guard our border with other Arab nations.”

And then how about the airport. How about flying into this Palestinian nation? Are we going to allow military aircraft to come in? And weaponry to come in? And if not, who’s going to keep it from coming in? Well, the Israelis. Well, the Palestinians are going to say, “We’re not an independent nation if Israel is able to come in and tell us what to land at our airport.”

These problems — they’re very hard to solve. And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes. Committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel. And these thorny issues. And I say, there’s just no way. So what you do is you move things along the best way you can, you hope for some degree of stability. But you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. We have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it imminently.

On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state — and I won’t mention which one it was — but this individual said to me, “You know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections.” I said, “Really?” And, you know, his answer was yes. I think there’s some prospect. And I didn’t delve into it, but you know, I always keep open the idea. But I have to tell you, the idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So the only answer is show strength, again. American strength, American resolve, and if the Palestinians someday reach a point where they want peace more than we’re trying to force peace on them, then it’s worth having the discussion. But until then it’s just wishful thinking.

CROWD MEMBER: Individuals in this room obviously are your supporters. I am very concerned about the average American who doesn’t know you. There is a terrible misconception and I spend numerous hours trying [unintelligible] to be your defender when you are such a deserving individual. You were saying years ago that “I called George Bush Sr., and he had helped me in my campaign in Massachusetts when I ran for Senate. I told him that there was a guy named Clinton who was [unintelligible] for the following reasons, and he laughed.” Right now, I’m very concerned. Women do not want to vote for you. Hispanics, the majority of them do not want to vote for you. College students don’t. After talking to them and explaining and rationalizing on a one-on-one basis, we are able to change their opinions, but at a mass level, what do you want us to do, this group here, as your emissaries, going out to convert these individuals to someone who’s obviously going to be such an incredible asset to this country. We want you. What do we do? Just tell us how we can help.

MR. ROMNEY: I have some good news for you. It’s not impossible. And the reason I say that is because, for instance, The New York Times had a poll last week, The New York Times and NBC, and I was leading by two points among women. Now the president came out and said: “This is an outrageous poll. They don’t know what they’re doing.” But, by the way, the polls at this stage make no difference at all. The point is, women are open to supporting me; they like the president personally, but they’re disappointed. They’re disappointed with the jobs that they’re seeing for their kids. They’re disappointed with their own economic standing right now. So we can capture women’s votes.

We’re having a much harder time with Hispanic voters. And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, well, we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.

CROWD MEMBER: Rubio!

[Crowd rumblings, unintelligible, and laughter]

MR. ROMNEY: We have some great Hispanic leaders in our party that will help communicate what our party stands for, and frankly, what I need you to do is raise millions of dollars because the president is going to have eight hundred, nine hundred million dollars. That’s by far the most important thing you can do, because you don’t have the capacity to speak to hundreds of thousands of people. I will be in those debates. There will be, I don’t know, a hundred and fifty million Americans watching. If I do well, it’ll help. If I don’t, it won’t help.

CROWD MEMBER: You will do so well. Your debates are incredible.

[Applause]

MR. ROMNEY: Thank you. But advertising makes a difference. The president will engage in a personal, character assassination campaign, and so we’ll have to fire back, one in defense and, number two, in offense. And that’ll take money. By the way, you’ll see the ads here. Florida will be one of those states that is the key state, and so all of the money will get spent in 10 states and this is one of them. So the best thing I can ask you to do is, yeah, sure, talk to people and tell them that you know me and word of mouth makes a big difference, but you know, I’m not terribly well known by the American public because …

CROWD MEMBER: You’re known as a rich boy. They say he’s a rich man.

MR. ROMNEY: Don’t worry. Given all those negative things, the fact that I’m either tied or close to the president, and the fact that he’s out there talking about the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden being captured, unemployment coming down, unleashing his campaign, we’re still sort of tied? That’s very interesting. Please.

CROWD MEMBER: I would disagree with that. I think a lot of young children coming out of college feel they were let down by the president. They feel that there’s not a job out there for them, and they thought they were going to make sixty thousand and now they’re making thirty thousand. Very similar to the U6. My question to you is, why don’t you stick up for yourself? To me, you should be so proud that you’re wealthy. That’s what we all aspire to, we kill ourselves. We don’t work 9-to-5. We’re way … [unintelligible] five days a week. I raise four girls five days a week. Why not stick up for yourself and say why is it bad to aspire to be wealthy and successful? Why is it bad to kill yourself and why is it bad to cut thirty jobs at the death of three hundred? When there’s people cutting jobs … you saved companies that were failing. So my question is, when does that [unintelligible] … worked his way up to nothing to his present success.

MR. ROMNEY: You heard in my speech tonight … oh, you weren’t here. In every stump speech I give, I speak about the fact that people who bring and achieve enormous success do not make us poorer, they make us better off. And the Republican audience that I typically speak to applauds. I said that tonight, and the media is there and they write about it, they say that Mr. Romney defends success and America and dreamers and so forth. So they write about it. But in terms of what gets through to the American consciousness, I have heard a [unintelligible] lid full of that, as to what they write about. We will have three debates, we’ll have a chance to talk about that at the debates, there will be ads which attack me, I will fire back, in a way that describes the best way we can … I mean the theme of my speech is … I wind up talking about how the thing which I find most disappointing in this president is his attack of one America against another America, the division of America based on going after those who have been successful. And then I quote Marco Rubio in my speeches, I say Marco Rubio … I don’t think I said that at the fund-raising event earlier today, but I did when I was … I just said, Senator Rubio says that when he grew up here, poor, that they looked at people who had a lot of wealth and his parents never once said, we need some of what they have, they should give us something. Instead they said, if we work hard and go to school, someday we might be able to have the same thing.

[Applause]

I will continue to do that. How much of that gets picked up … there’s so many things that don’t get picked up in a campaign because people aren’t watching and, by the way, most people don’t watch during the summer. I say we’re going to go into a season here, starting in mid-June, where almost no one pays attention. Then, after Labor Day, in September and October, that’s when it’ll get [unintelligible]

CROWD MEMBER: Over the past three years, all everybody’s been told is, don’t worry, we’ll take care of it. How are you going to do it, with two months before the election, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement and government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49 … I mean, he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax; 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. He’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center, that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon, in some cases, emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like.

When you ask those people … I find it amazing. We do all these polls and poll all these people to see where we stand in the polls. But 45 percent of the people will vote for the Republican, and 48 or 49 …

[There is missing video footage between the two clips.]

… about twice as much as China. Not 10 times as much, like this reporter said. And we have responsibility for the whole world. They’re only focused on one little area of the world — the South China Sea, the East China Sea. That’s it. And they’re building the military at a rapid rate. This idea that we’ve always spent so much money on the military. … It’s like, “Guys, don’t overthink how strong we are.” We have said, you probably know, this was a couple of years ago, but we had one of our aircraft carriers standing by Japan, and the Chinese pulled up behind us in a diesel sub, a super quiet diesel sub, pulled up behind us. We could have been torpedoed. We’re not that kind of … our Navy is smaller in number of ships in any time since 1917. And this president wants to shrink it. The list goes on. Our Air Force is older and smaller than any time since ’47, when the Air Force was formed. And he wants to shrink it. If we go the way of Europe, which is spending 1 to 2 percent of its economy on the military, we will not be able to have freedom in the world.

CROWD MEMBER: When the electorate tunes in in September, the markets are going to be looking at marginal tax rates going up and another debt ceiling fight …

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah.

CROWD MEMBER: … but sequestration under the debt ceiling deal …

MR. ROMNEY: What do they call it, tax again? Isn’t that what they call it?

[Laughter] CROWD MEMBER: Now, the Obamacare praxis on dividends and capital gains, I mean … in the markets, you are going to be speaking very lively in October on all of those issues.

MR. ROMNEY: They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I am going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president is going to win, the markets will not be terribly happy. It depends on, of course, which markets you are talking about and which types of commodities and so forth. But my own view is that if we win on Nov. 6, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see, without actually doing anything, we’ll actually get a boost to the economy. Um, if the president gets re-elected, I don’t know what’ll happen. I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get the “tax again,” as they call it, Jan. 1st with this president and with a Congress that can’t work together … it really is frightening. It’s really frightening in my view.

CROWD MEMBER: Fifty-four percent of American voters think China’s economy is bigger than the U.S. When I first met you four or five years ago, you did a data call where you went very granular and you said, “Look guys,” this is a small group, he says, “This is it. This is what it is.” Tell us like it is. How are you going to win if 54 percent of the voters think China’s economy is bigger than ours? Or if it costs 4 cents to make a penny and we keep making pennies? Canada got it right a month ago. Why isn’t someone saying, “Stop making pennies, round it to the nearest nickel?” That’s an easy thing, you know, compared to Iran. I want to see you take the gloves off and talk to the people that read the paper and read the book and care about knowing the facts and knowledge is power, as opposed to people that are swayed by what sounds good at the moment. You know, if you turned it into, like, “Eat what you kill,” it’d be a landslide, in my humble opinion.

MR. ROMNEY: [Laughs] Well, I wrote a book that lays out my view for what has to happen in the country. And people who are fascinated by policy will read the book. We have a Web site that lays out white papers and a whole series of issues that I care about. I have to tell you, I don’t think this will have a significant impact on my electability. I wish it did. I think our ads will have a much bigger impact. I think the debates will have a big impact. Um …

CROWD MEMBER: [Most of comment unintelligible] … Peterson … in trouble 20 years ago.

MR. ROMNEY: But that’s my point. Which is, being right, my dad used to say, “Being right early is not good in politics.” And, in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject or a discussion of a whole series of important topics typically doesn’t win elections. And there are, there are … I mean, for instance, this president won because of hope and change. All right? He won because of hope and change.

CROWD MEMBER: Keep the change!

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, well …

[Laughter]

MR. ROMNEY: So, I can tell you that I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants, a couple of people in particular who’ve done races around the world. I didn’t realize these guys in the U.S., the Karl Rove equivalents, they do races all over the world — in Armenia and Africa and Israel. I mean, they work for Bibi Netanyahu in his race. So they do these races and they see which ads work and which processes work best. And we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. I’d tell ’em to you, but I’d have to, you know, shoot you. Hopefully, we’ll be successful.

[Laughter]

CROWD MEMBER: I think one of the aspects about the changes that worked well for Obama four years ago was he promised to bring us more honest, transparent government to Washington. I’ve been around politics for this campaign. I worked even with Barry Goldwater in 1964, so I’ve got the oldest Republican [unintelligible] … but from what I see, particularly in the last seven months in my own personal involvement in the issue, is the government in Washington right now is permeated by cronyism, outright corruption. … Our regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect the public are protecting the people that they’re supposed to be regulating. And I think people are fed up with that. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street. People see that the government is working for the powerful interests and the people who are well connected politically and not for the common person, which threatens that whole idea that we have this great opportunity, which we should have and have had historically in the West for anybody from whatever background to become successful. One way in which that becomes compromised is when the government is no longer seen as an honest agent and when our tax dollars are not really being put to work for us but for the people who are plugged in politically. You know, you have cases like [unclear], which I talk about and am involved in. You have Eric Holder, who is probably the most corrupt attorney general we’ve had ever in American history. And I think it’s something, that if spun the right way and in simple terms, can actually resonate with the American people. Obama did not keep his promises. Nancy Pelosi, who was supposed to give us an honest Congress, has given us just the opposite as speaker. And I think that’s a campaign issue that can work well. I’m optimistic that you’ll be elected president, and my recommendation would be to clean house immediately …

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah.

[Laughter]

CROWD MEMBER: The S.E.C. and the C.F.T.C. are disaster areas..

MR. ROMNEY: I wish we weren’t unionized so we could go a lot deeper than you are actually allowed to go. [To waiter] Am I in the way here? I can say this, and I’m sure you’ll agree with this as well. We speak with voters across the country about their perceptions.  Those people I told you, the 5 to 6 or 7 percent that we have to bring to our side, they all voted for Barack Obama four years ago. And by the way, when you say to them, do you think Barack Obama is a failure, if they were women, they say no. They like him. But when you say, are you disappointed that his policies haven’t worked, they say yes. And because they voted for him, they don’t want to be told that they were wrong, that he’s a bad guy, that he does bad things, that he’s corrupt. Those people that we have to get, they want to believe that they did the right thing but he just wasn’t up to the task. They love the phrase that he’s over his head.  But you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans.  We spend our days with people who agree with us.  And these people are people who voted for him and don’t agree with us.  And so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them.  And the best success I have in speaking with those people is saying the president’s been a disappointment.  He told you he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent. It hasn’t been below 8 percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can’t get a job. Fifty percent.  Fifty percent of the kids in high school in our 15 largest cities won’t graduate from high school. What are they going to do?  These are the kinds of things that I can say to that audience that they nod their head and say, “Yeah, I think you’re right.” What he’s going to do, by the way, is try to vilify me as someone who’s been successful, or who’s closed businesses or laid people off, and isn’t he an evil, bad guy? And that may work. I actually think that right now people are saying, “I want someone who can make things better, that’s going to motivate me. Who can get jobs for my kids and get rising incomes?” And I hope to be able to be the one to poise that battle. Yeah, please.

CROWD MEMBER: I’ve seen Obama a lot of times he’s done talk shows, interviews.  I’ve never seen you on any of them, and I think a lot of women [unintelligible] … I think they would see you in a different light. I think a lot of women especially do not watch debates, do not come to these functions.  I think you have to show your face more on TV and talk like a regular … like a Smith.  I think you could maybe reach a lot of people.

MR. ROMNEY: Well, thank you.  I have been on “The View” twice now.

[Laughter]

It went very well. I’ve done the evening shows. I’ve been on Letterman a couple of times, I’ve been on Leno more than a couple of times, and now Letterman hates me because I’ve been on Leno more than him. They’re very jealous of each other, as you know. And I was asked to go on “Saturday Night Live.” I did not do that, in part because you want to show that you’re fun and you’re a good person, but you also want to be presidential. And “Saturday Night Live” has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential. But “The View” is fine, although “The View” is high risk because of the five women on it, only one is conservative and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative, Whoopi Goldberg in particular.  Although the last time I was on the show, she said to me, “You know what? I think I could vote for you.”  And I said, “I must have done something really wrong.”

[Laughter]

I’ve got to sit down and … Darlene, you get the last word.

DARLENE: I was just going to say, I think our media strategy would be sending Anne on “The View.” She is your best advocate, she connects so well, I mean, people talk so much about disconnect and someone said over there that people use the term “rich guy,” and we know that you …

MR. ROMNEY: You know I’m poor as a church mouse!

DARLENE: We know that you value [unintelligible] and hard work, but Anne really connects with women  and she can tell a story and she’s the perfect person who can go on Matt Lauer and go on Victoria … and go on “The View” and go on all of these people and really get the women connecting to you … and I think she’s a great …

MR. ROMNEY:  I think you’re right, I think you’re absolutely right.  We use Anne sparingly right now so that people don’t get tired of her or start attacking.

DARLENE: Who gets tired of Anne?

[Laughter]

MR. ROMNEY: But you will see more of her in the September-October time frame and you know, we had, what is her name, Hilary Rosen, who attacked her and that made Anne much more visible to the American people which I think is very helpful. Gave her a platform she wouldn’t have had otherwise.  And I agree with you, I think she will be extraordinarily helpful.

DARLENE: Just the people who friended her on Facebook or whatever happened after the Hilary Rosen came out … that showed you the value of social networking and how important new media can be in this election cycle.  And I just think she can be … and I know she wants you to win.

MR. ROMNEY: She’s out there. She’s in Texas tonight, she was in Louisiana last night, she’s raising money in those places. She was at Ben Crenshaw’s house for dinner tonight, isn’t that something? So there are some benefits. One of the benefits I get is eating the world’s greatest dessert, which I will. Thank you.

[Applause]

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 18, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at the 40/40 Club, New York, New York — Hosted by Jay-Z & Beyonce

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — 40/40 Club

Source: WH, 9-18-12 

40/40 Club
New York, New York

8:48 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, it is wonderful to see all of you. I’m so grateful for all your support.

Let me just begin by saying to Jay and Bey, thank you so much for your friendship. We are so grateful. Michelle and Malia and Sasha are mad at me because they are not here. (Laughter.) That doesn’t usually happen. Usually they’re like, we’re glad you’re going — we don’t need to go. But every time they get a chance to see these two they are thrilled, partly because they are just both so generous, particularly to my kids. And Malia and Sasha just love both of them.

Beyoncé couldn’t be a better role model for our daughters because she carries herself with such class and poise — (applause) — and has so much talent. And Jay-Z now knows what my life is like. (Laughter.) We both have daughters, and our wives are more popular than we are. (Laughter and applause.) So we’ve got a little bond there. (Laughter.) It’s hard, but it’s okay. It’s okay. (Laughter.)

Forty-nine days until this election. We just came out of convention season, and we had two conventions — one in Tampa, and one in Charlotte. And I don’t know that everybody here spent all their time watching conventions. I’m sure that many of you had better things to do. But you saw two very stark visions, different visions about where we need to take this country.

I think everybody recognizes that America has all the ingredients we need for success. We’ve got the best workers in the world. We’ve got the best businesses in the world. We’ve got the most entrepreneurial culture in the world. We’ve got the best universities and scientists and researchers. We’ve got this incredible diversity of talent and innovation and ingenuity, which makes us the envy of the world. People come here from every corner of the globe because of that central idea at the heart of America, which says no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, here in America you can make it if you work hard, if you try. (Applause.) All right, that’s what inspires so many people, not just in this country but around the world.

But what we also recognize is that that basic bargain has been eroding over the course of a decade. There are a lot of people who have been out there working really hard, and yet their paychecks haven’t kept up with the costs of everything from gas to groceries to sending a kid to college. There are a lot of folks out there who take responsibility for their lives and their families and their communities and their neighborhoods, and yet it seems as if security is always a little bit out of reach.

We’ve seen an economy over the last decade where jobs were being shipped overseas; an economy that was loaded up with debt; an economy where there was a lot of irresponsibility on the part of folks who should have known better. And it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

And it was in that context that I was sworn into office almost four years ago, at a time when the banking system was melting down, at a time when — the month I was sworn in, we lost 800,000 jobs, the worst crisis since the Great Depression. And we have worked tirelessly over the last four years to start turning that around, and we have made progress.

So the last 30 months, we’ve seen the private sector create jobs every single month — 4.5 million jobs altogether. We’ve seen manufacturing start coming back. (Applause.) An auto industry that was on the brink of liquidation has come roaring back, so that now GM is once again on the top of the world and Chrysler is selling more cars than they’ve seen in a very, very long time. (Applause.) We’ve been able to make sure that small businesses survived and got help through the Small Business Administration.

But what we tried to do was not just get back to where we were before the crisis. We tried to start addressing some of those issues that had been lingering for too long. That’s what health care — in a country like ours, we shouldn’t have millions of people who are at risk of going bankrupt just because somebody in their family got sick. And that’s why we passed a health care reform law that will provide millions of families the kind of security they need and also make sure that we’re starting to bring down health care costs, so that we can afford it.

That’s the reason why we made sure that we changed our student loan system and our Pell Grant system, so that young people have a chance to go to college even if they weren’t born rich, that we understand if we make an investment in young people and they succeed, then all of us are going to be better off. (Applause.)

It’s the reason why we’ve invested in alternative energy, to make sure that instead of just relying on foreign oil, we’re starting to build windmills and solar panels and putting people back to work here all across the country — and in the process also helping our national security and doing something about climate change.

It’s the reason why we ended a policy like “don’t ask, don’t tell” that somehow prevented outstanding people in our services to serve the country they love just because of who they love. It’s the reason that we ended the war in Iraq and we’re bringing the war in Afghanistan to a close. (Applause.)

So we’ve made a lot of progress, but we’ve got so much more work to do. And the other side, they’ve got a different vision. You saw it at their convention. And their basic theory is that if you give tax cuts to folks at the very top, people like us who have been incredibly blessed and fortunate and, frankly, don’t need a tax cut, that somehow the country is going to be better off.

And the good thing about so many of us here — and I know, I speak for Jay and Bey — is we remember what it’s like not having anything, and we know people who were just as talented as us that didn’t get the same break, the same chance. We remember some of our parents or grandparents who came here as immigrants and got a little bit of help along the way to go to that school or be able to start that first business. We understand that — as Michelle said as well as anybody could — those of us who have been blessed with success and been able to walk through those doors of opportunity, we don’t slam the door behind us. We prop it open. We make it easier for those who follow to succeed as well.

And by doing that, our success is that much better. It’s that much more stable and more secure, because when the whole country does well, everybody does well. When the middle class does well, and when teachers and firefighters and construction workers and receptionists and waiters and the folks who are cleaning up these big office buildings in Manhattan, if they’re getting a decent wage and they’re able to provide their kids a good education, the whole economy booms. That’s been our history. That’s who we are. And that’s what’s at stake in this election.

Now, there are other things that are at stake — who gets seated on the Supreme Court? Are we going to allow ourselves to go back to a time when politicians in Washington are telling women how to make health care decisions? Michelle tells me you guys are actually quite capable of making those decisions by yourself. (Applause.)

When it comes to issues of war and peace, my opponent says that me ending the war in Iraq was tragic. He hasn’t been able to explain what his plan would be in terms of dealing with a situation like Afghanistan. And so, how we’re perceived in the world and how we’re able to project our power not just through our extraordinary military and what our outstanding troops do, but also through our diplomacy and our culture and our ideals and our values — the message that we’re sending around the world,that is also at stake in this election.

Whether or not we continue to stay focused on ensuring that college is affordable, and making sure that our air is clean and our water is clean, the air and water that our kids play in and breathe — that’s at stake in this election.

So the stakes could not be higher. And I think most of you already understand that Otherwise you wouldn’t be here tonight. And then, so the question becomes how much are we willing to fight for this in the last seven weeks?

I think that there’s a danger sometimes among Democrats, progressives, supporters of mine, to think we must be right on the issues so I’m sure the election will be fine. But that’s not how elections work. Elections work because you put in the effort and the sweat and the passion and the energy to get out there and deliver a message to the American people.

Because the American people are busy and they’re focused on their kids and they’re focused on getting to work or finding a job. And all this politics stuff sometimes seems very distant to them. And they’re being inundated by more negative ads from the other side than we’ve ever seen in our history. We’ve got people writing $10 million checks just to see if they can beat me. And you see it, anybody who has been turning on the television — you don’t see it in New York, because this isn’t a swing state. (Laughter.) But you try going to Ohio or Virginia right now and ad after ad is distorting my record or trying to persuade people as to why we need to change course and replace the occupant of the White House.

So we can’t be complacent. If all of you genuinely believe that the decisions that I’ve made and the vision that I’m projecting about the kind of America we want not just for ourselves, but for our kids and our grandkids — if you genuinely believe that, we’re going to have to work for it. The other side is full of passion and they are working very hard to beat us. And in these next seven weeks we’re going to have to do everything that we can.

And for some of you that means financial support; for others it may mean you’re out there knocking on some doors or making some phone calls, or using your influence to persuade other people to get involved.

But understand that this will not come easy, and that we’re going to have to fight for this thing every step of the way. And that’s always been the case. It’s been interesting over the last four years, sometimes people ask me, how do you handle all the criticism and the media and the scrutiny and the pressure and this and that and the other. And I tell them there are two things that allow me to not just survive this but to thrive and enjoy it. The first is the American people. Because when you travel around the country, it turns out that they’re so much better than the kind of politics we see in Washington.

Most people are good and they’re decent and they’re trying to do the right thing. And they may not follow every issue and know exactly what is going on, but their basic instinct is let’s give everybody a fair shot and let’s make sure everybody does their fair share, and let’s make sure everybody is playing by the same set of rules. And let’s open up opportunity for everybody. That’s — you go to a small town in Iowa, you go to a big city in California — that decency and goodness of the American people shines through. And that encourages me. That makes me feel good.

Some of you saw — I was just on Letterman before I came here, and some of you saw that he showed that picture of that pizza owner who picked me up — (laughter) — and lifted me up and kind of straightened out my back — (laughter) — well, this guy, he started his own pizza company and is a Republican, but is somebody who thought that I shared with him a passion for doing the right thing. And he started his own blood drive in the community that is now the largest blood drive in Florida, and is passionate about helping folks who haven’t had a chance, and wants to make sure that they succeed.

And so when I hear people trying to label folks as, well, these are Republicans, or these are Democrats, or these are people who don’t understand the country — when I hear those divisions, I say, well, you’re not paying attention to what’s going on in the country. There’s a lot of good out there.

So that keeps me energized and inspired. And the second thing is an awareness of history and an understanding that change in this country has never been easy. It’s never been easy. Women getting the right to vote took decades of work. The civil rights movement — we had a century of work. The union movement, people having an opportunity to get a minimum wage — people were beaten and died for that.

So I’m always reminded and humbled by the fact that what we do at any given moment is just part of this bigger pattern, part of God’s plan, part of a process. And our job is just to make sure that we are pushing in the right direction — pushing the wheel of history in the right direction. And hopefully, then our kids will be equipped and have the privilege to keep pushing in the right direction in the future.

So I don’t want people to be complacent, but I also don’t want people to be discouraged. We’re on the brink of an election, but more importantly, we’re on the brink of moving America in a direction in which we’re going to be more just, more fair, the economy is going to grow in a way that includes everybody — an America that’s respected around the world because we are putting forward our best values and our best ideals.

And you’re a part of that. Being here tonight, you’re a part of that. You’re a part of us trying to make some more history. And we’ve made history in the past; we’re going to make some more history over the next seven weeks as long as you guys are ready to keep going with me. All right? (Applause.)

So thank you so much, everybody. God bless you. Appreciate you. (Applause.) Bey, Jay, thank you.

END
9:05 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 18, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, New York

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Waldorf Astoria

Source: WH, 9-18-12 

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

6:33 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Hello! (Applause.) Hello, New York! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. If you have a chair, go ahead and use it. If you don’the — don’t. (Laughter.)

It is wonderful — hey, guys, good to see you. It is wonderful to be with all of you. I just had a chance to take some pictures with you and I have to tell you they all turned out wonderfully. (Laughter.) I mean this is a good-looking group, very photogenic. Yes, you especially. (Laughter.)

It’s wonderful to be here. We’ve got some people who’ve supported me since I actually ran for Senate in this ballroom. (Applause.) And then we’ve got some folks who supported us in ’08, and then we’ve got some new friends. And to all of you, I just want to say how grateful I am and how wonderful it is to be back in New York.

Now, we just came off two conventions, one in Tampa and one in Charlotte. And Michelle Obama was pretty good, you know? (Applause.) And then you had Bill Clinton who somebody said should be secretary of explaining stuff. (Laughter and applause.) And what was striking I think coming out of those two conventions was the clarity about how important this choice is.

Seven weeks from today, we’re going to be making a decision about the future of our country. And a lot of you brought your kids here today. (Baby cries.) Yes, right on cue. (Laughter.) And that is entirely appropriate because the decisions that we’re going to make in this election are going to have an impact not just on us, it’s going to have an impact on them and their kids for decades to come. (Baby cries again.) It’s true. (Laughter.)

The fact is that on almost every issue, we have a deep difference not just between two candidates or two political parties, but a deep difference in terms of how we think about growing our economy and how we think about what ensures prosperity and security over the long term.

The other side, they have their convention, and they talked a lot about what they think is wrong with the country, but they didn’t really tell you much about how they’d make it right. They asked for your vote, but they didn’t really have a plan. And the reason they didn’t want to talk about their plan much was because the plan they’re offering is the same one they’ve offered for the last 30 years, which is if we give a lot of tax cuts, particularly skewed towards people who really don’t need tax cuts, and if we roll back regulations on clean air and we roll back regulations on consumer protection, and we roll back regulations that ensure that insurance companies treat you properly, that somehow America’s energy will be unleashed and the economy will be going gangbusters.

And what they’re counting on is an element of amnesia because that’s exactly what we tried from 2001 to 2008, during which we experienced the slowest job growth in 50 years. We went from surpluses to deficits. Ordinary families actually saw their average incomes go down, and it culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression — so not a real good track record in terms of the plan that they are presenting.

We’ve got a different vision, and our vision says that our economy grows best and our children’s futures are best secured when we recognize that we’re all in this together; that we believe in a free-market system and individual initiative and hard work, but we also believe in this basic bargain that says if you work hard, you can make it in this country. Everybody, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what last name you have, no matter who you love, here in America, you can make it you try, and that there are important ways in which we can ensure that everybody has access to opportunity.

So what I tried to do at the convention was lay out very specifically how I think we’re going to get there. Over the last three and a half years, we’ve created 4.5 million new jobs, half a million of them in manufacturing. So what I said was, let’s double down and make sure that we’re exporting more and outsourcing fewer jobs. Let’s develop exports markets all around the world, and let’s make sure that we’re investing in things like clean energy so that we’re building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries and all the cutting-edge technologies that ensure we keep at the cutting edge of this global economy.

And then I talked about education and how all the work we’ve done to reform schools is starting to bear fruit, but we’ve also got to make sure that every young person in this country can afford a college education. (Applause.) And make sure that they’re not loaded up with debt when they get out, so that they can potentially become teachers or go into the foreign service or do something that may not pay a lot of money, but is vitally important to our country.

I talked about how important it was for us to have an energy policy that ensures that we have high production of traditional fuels like oil and natural gas, but that we’re also investing in clean energy. We’ve doubled fuel efficiency on cars. We have doubled our production of clean energy. That’s creating thousands of jobs. It’s taking carbon out of our atmosphere.

And it is freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. We’ve actually reduced our dependence — our oil imports every year that I’ve been in office and we now have it below 50 percent. And we think we can cut that in half by 2020, but only if we pursue the kinds of energy sources that are good for our economy and potentially can help save the planet.

And I also talked about how, if we’re going to be serious about reducing our deficits, that we’ve got to cut out spending that we don’t need, that’s not helping us grow. But we can’t just gut our investment in education, or our investments in science and research, or our investments in making sure that young people can go to college, just to pay for tax cuts for folks like me — that we’re going to have to take a balanced approach. That means that those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this country, we can afford to do a little bit more. (Applause.)

Now, that’s a very different agenda than a $5 trillion tax cut that’s paid for by gutting education, gutting Medicaid and turning Medicare into a voucher system. It’s a different philosophy about how we grow our economy. And I believe that we grow our economy from the middle out and by providing ladders of opportunity for everybody. And when we do, everybody does better.

When Bill Clinton was President, we created 23 million new jobs, had a surplus instead of a deficit, and we produced a whole lot more millionaires than we’ve produced under this other theory, because suddenly businesses had customers and had more profits and we got a virtuous cycle that continued in the longest post-World War II boom in American history. And we can replicate that, even in this competitive environment, but we’ve got to be smart about it.

Now, a lot of you here obviously recognize that those aren’t the only choices involved. We’ve got choices about war and peace. I ended the war in Iraq, as I promised. We are transitioning out of Afghanistan. (Applause.) We have gone after the terrorists who actually attacked us 9/11 and decimated al Qaeda.

Mr. Romney thinks that we should have stayed in Iraq, indicated that it was a “tragic” mistake for us to have gotten out of Iraq; still hasn’t made clear what his plan would be for Afghanistan; wants to add $2 trillion to our defense budget for programs that our Joint Chiefs don’t want. It’s a fundamentally different view of how we project power and ensure our security around the world.

On social issues, we did the right thing ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.” (Applause.) I am absolutely certain, based on conversations with Michelle — (laughter) — that women are capable of making their own health care decisions. (Applause.) And the notion that we would have a constitutional amendment that would tell people who they could marry — across the board, there’s just a different vision of who we are as a people.

And I believe we are at our best, we are at our strongest, when we’re including everybody, when everybody gets a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules. (Applause.)

So I guess if you’re here I’m kind of preaching to the choir. (Laughter.) I don’t need to tell you that I think we’re offering the better vision for our country. So let me just wrap up by saying a key issue is going to be, do we get this thing done?

We’ve got seven weeks. Seven weeks goes by fast, especially when you’re out there campaigning. And the good news is that our ideas are better and they’re more resonant with the American people. The bad news is that these folks have super PACs that are writing $10 million checks and have the capacity to just bury us under the kind of advertising that we’ve never seen before.

And we’ve never seen something like this, so we don’t know what impact it’s going to have. And that means that we’re going to have to work a little bit harder than the other side. It means that we have to have more volunteers. We have to have a better grassroots organization. It means the people who can write $25 checks or $50 checks or $100 checks or $1,000 checks — that’s how we’re going to be able to compete.

We don’t need to match these folks dollar for dollar. We can’t. I mean, if somebody here has a $10 million check — (laughter) — I can’t solicit it from you, but feel free to use it wisely. (Laughter.) But that’s not our game. Our game is grassroots. Our game is mobilizing numbers and passion and energy and focus and hope. That’s who we are.

And so I guess what I’d ask is — look, I had a friend named Abner Mikva in Chicago. He was a congressman — former congressman, former White House counsel and wonderful man. And Abner used to say that being friends with a politician is like perpetually having a kid in college — (laughter) — because every few months, you’ve got to write this big check. (Laughter.) Well, the good news is I’m graduating. (Laughter.) So this is my last race.

But the stakes couldn’t be higher, so we’ve got to leave it all on the field. I am asking everybody here to spend these next seven weeks really focused on this election. You’re already converted. Go out there and get your friends, get your neighbors involved. To the extent that you can ask them for contributions, ask them for their time, ask them for their votes, you are going to be the best ambassadors that we can have for this election.

And if you are as determined and as energized as I am, if you believe that we’ve still got more good jobs to create, and clean energy to generate, and more troops to bring home and more vets to take care of, and more doors of opportunity to open for everybody who’s willing to work hard in this country — if you believe that we’re all in this together, then I need you to get to work. Seven weeks.

And I promise you, if you’re putting everything you’ve got into this thing, we’ll win this election and we will finish what we started. And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the envy of the world.

So thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)

END
6:47 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Headlines September 16, 2012: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on NBC’s Meet the Press Says Iran Is ’20 Yards’ From Nuclear Bomb

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

September 16: Benjamin Netanyahu, Susan Rice, Keith Ellison, Peter King, Bob Woodward, Jeffrey Goldberg, Andrea Mitchell

Source: MSNBC, 9-16-12

MR. DAVID GREGORY:  This morning, a special hour of MEET THE PRESS.  Turmoil in the Middle East creates a flashpoint on the campaign trail.  Set off by an American anti-Islamic video, rage against the U.S. sweeps the Arab world.  And an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya kills ambassador Chris Stephens and three others.

(Videotape)

HILLARY CLINTON:  The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  But in this highly-charged campaign environment new questions about how the Obama administration should respond enter the political debate.

(Videotape)

MR. MITT ROMNEY:  The administration was wrong to stand by statements sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  This morning we’ll talk to a key member of the president’s foreign policy team–the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.

Also, this morning, an exclusive network interview with a key player in the Middle East–the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.  Has relations between his country and the U.S. have at a new low over the looming nuclear threat from Iran?

(Videotape)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU:  Those in the international community that refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  Sorting out U.S. options in the Middle East, consequences for the region, and the political impact in November–our political roundtable.  Joining us, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, Democratic Representative from Minnesota Keith Ellison; the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, New York Republican congressman Peter King; Author of the new book, The Price of Politics, The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward; the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg; and NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

Announcer:  From NBC News in Washington, MEET THE PRESS with David Gregory.

GREGORY:  And good morning.  Relative calm this morning in the Middle East after several days of intense anti-American protests raged across many parts of the Islamic world.  But word this morning that the Obama administration has ordered the evacuation of all but emergency personnel from diplomatic missions in Tunisia and Sudan.  And defense secretary Leon Panetta saying this morning, the Pentagon has deployed forces to several areas in an increased effort to protect U.S. personnel and property from the potential of violent protests, the latest consequences, of course, of this troubling unrest.  Joining me now for the very latest, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.  Ambassador Rice, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

MS. SUSAN RICE (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations):  Thank you, good to be here.

GREGORY:  The images as you well know are jarring to Americans watching all of this play out this week, and we’ll share the map of all of this turmoil with our viewers to show the scale of it across not just the Arab world, but the entire Islamic world and flashpoints as well.  In Egypt, of course, the protests outside the U.S. embassy there that Egyptian officials were slow to put down.  This weekend in Pakistan, protests as well there.  More anti-American rage.  Also protests against the drone strikes.  In Yemen, you also had arrests and some deaths outside of our U.S. embassy there.  How much longer can Americans expect to see these troubling images and these protests go forward?

MS. RICE:  Well, David, we can’t predict with any certainty.  But let’s remember what has transpired over the last several days.  This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.  Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that– what has happened is condemnable, but this is a– a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.  Now, the United States has made very clear and the president has been very plain that our top priority is the protection of American personnel in our facilities and bringing to justice those who…

GREGORY:  All right.

MS. RICE:  …attacked our facility in Benghazi.

GREGORY:  Well, let’s talk– talk about– well, you talked about this as spontaneous.  Can you say definitively that the attacks on– on our consulate in Libya that killed ambassador Stevens and others there security personnel, that was spontaneous, was it a planned attack?  Was there a terrorist element to it?

MS. RICE:  Well, let us– let me tell you the– the best information we have at present.  First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing.  And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.  But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.  What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding.  They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya.  And it escalated into a much more violent episode.  Obviously, that’s– that’s our best judgment now.  We’ll await the results of the investigation.  And the president has been very clear–we’ll work with the Libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice.

GREGORY:  Was there a failure here that this administration is responsible for, whether it’s an intelligence failure, a failure to see this coming, or a failure to adequately protect U.S. embassies and installations from a spontaneous kind of reaction like this?

MS. RICE:  David, I don’t think so.  First of all we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that– that any attack on our facility in Benghazi was imminent.  In Cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some– some protests and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the Egyptian authorities to– to reinforce our facility.  What we have seen as– with respect to the security response, obviously we had security personnel in Benghazi, a– a significant number, and tragically, among those four that were killed were two of our security personnel.  But what happened, obviously, overwhelmed the security we had in place which is why the president ordered additional reinforcements to Tripoli and– and why elsewhere in the world we have been working with governments to ensure they take up their obligations to protect us and we reinforce where necessary.

GREGORY:  The president and the secretary of state have talked about a mob mentality.  That’s my words, not their words, but they talked about the– the tyranny of mobs operating in this part of the world.  Here’s the reality, if you look at foreign aid–U.S. direct foreign aid to the two countries involved here, in Libya and Egypt, this is what you’d see: two hundred million since 2011 to Libya, over a billion a year to Egypt and yet Americans are seeing these kinds of protests and attacks on our own diplomats.  Would– what do you say to members of congress who are now weighing whether to suspend our aid to these countries if this is the response that America gets?

MS. RICE:  Well, first of all, David, let’s put this in perspective.  As I said, this is a response to a– a very offensive video.  It’s not the first time that American facilities have come under attack in the Middle East, going back to 1982 in– in Beirut, going back to the Khobar Towers in– in Saudi Arabia, or even the attack on our embassy in 2008 in Yemen.

GREGORY:  Or Iran in 1979.

MS. RICE:  This has– this has happened in the past, but there– and so I don’t think that– that we should misunderstand what this is.  The reason we provide aid in Egypt and in Libya is because it serves American interests because the relationships…

GREGORY:  But– but our Americans are not being served if this is the response.

MS. RICE:  It serves our interests to have Egypt willing and able to– to maintain its peace treaty with Israel, it servers our interest for Egypt to continue to be a strong partner.  Now, let’s be clear, the government, once President Obama called President Morsi, immediately in Egypt the security forces came out and have provided very significant protection.  Same in Tunisia, same in Libya, same in Yemen.  And all of these leaders have very forcefully conveyed their condemnation of what has transpired.

GREGORY:  But there were conflicting messages from the Morsi government.  In Arabic they encourage protests, in English they said stop the protests.  This from an ally that we give over a billion dollars?

MS. RICE:  What has happened in fact is that the Egyptian government has come out and protected our facilities.  Our embassy is open today, things are calm.  And Morsi has repeatedly been clear in his condemnation of– of what has occurred.  We– we are in these partnerships, David, over the long-term.  We think that– that– despite this very bumpy path we’re on and the very disturbing images we’ve seen, it’s in the United States fundamental interest that people have the ability to choose their own governments, that the governments be democratic and free.  That’s in our long-term best interest.

GREGORY:  You know that this…

MS. RICE:  We need to reinforce that with our assistance.

GREGORY:  We are in the middle of a heated presidential campaign, there are different foreign policy visions.  That’s why we wanted to dedicate the hour to this today to really understand these different views.  Mitt Romney spoke out this week, he criticized the administration, talked about whether the United States was apologizing for some of the initial response to this.  These were his comments this week.

(Videotape; Wednesday)

MR. MITT ROMNEY:  The administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions.  I think it’s a– a– a terrible course to– for America to– to stand in apology for our values.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  Our embassies did not stand up for speech– free speech in this initial response to this violence.  And the Republican charge is that it’s weakness on the part of this administration that invites this kind of chaos, that the administration has not been tough enough on radical extremists that are beginning to take root in these countries.  How do you respond to that?

MS. RICE:  First of all, I think the American people and certainly our diplomats and– and development experts who are putting their lives on the line around the world every day expect from our leadership unity in times of challenge and strong, steady, steadfast leadership of the sort that President Obama has been providing.  With respect to this, I think, vacuous charge of weakness, let’s– lets recall, I think, the American people fully understand that this is an administration led by a president who said when he ran for office that he would take the fight to al Qaeda.  We have decimated al Qaeda.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  He said we would end the war responsibly in Iraq.  We’ve done that.  He has restored relationships around the world.  I spend every day up at the United Nations where I have to interact with 192 other countries.  I know how well the United States is viewed.  I know that our standing is much improved and it’s translated into important support for strong American positions, for example with sanctions against Iran.

GREGORY:  Was it inappropriate for Governor Romney to level the criticism he leveled?

MS. RICE:  I’m not going to get into politics, David.  That’s not my role in this job.  But I think the American people welcome and appreciate strong, steady, unified leadership, bipartisan in times of challenge.  And for those men and women in our diplomatic service, including those we tragically lost, they look to our leadership to be unified and responsible.

GREGORY:  Let’s talk about another area where the administration is on the defensive in terms of leadership in the world, and that is the nuclear threat from Iran.  Another area of tension between the United States and Israel.  In just a couple of minutes we will show our interview with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.  And our viewers will see that.  One aspect is how close Iran is getting to becoming a nuclear power.  I asked him about that.  I want to show you a piece of the interview and get your reaction to it.

(Videotape)

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU (Prime Minister of Israel):  I can tell you, David, that Iran has been placed with some clear red lines on a few matters, and they have avoided crossing them.  So I think that as they get closer and closer and closer to the achievement of the weapons-grade material, and they’re very close, they’re six months away from being about 90 percent of having the enriched uranium for an atom bomb, I think that you have to place that red line before them now, before it’s– it’s too late.

GREGORY:  As the prime minister of Israel, has Iran crossed your red line?

MR. NETANYAHU:  Well, the way I would say it, David, is they are in the red zone.  You know, they are in the last 20 yards.  And you can’t let them cross that goal line.  You can’t let them score a touchdown, because that would have unbelievable consequences, grievous consequences, for the peace and security of us all– of the world really.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  What is President Obama’s line in the sand, the point at which he says to Iran don’t cross this with your nuclear program or there’s going to be a military consequence?

MS. RICE:  David, the president has been very, very clear.  Our bottom line, if you want to call it a red line, president’s bottom line has been that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon and we will take no option off the table to ensure that it does not acquire a nuclear weapon, including the military option.

GREGORY:  The prime minister says…

MS. RICE:  But…

GREGORY:  …they are acquiring.

MS. RICE:  …he’s talking about a– a red zone which is a new concept…

GREGORY:  No, no, but he’s talking about how close they are to actually becoming a nuclear power–having to develop a capacity to become a nuclear power.

MS. RICE:  They’re not there yet.  They are not there yet.  And our assessment is, and– and we share this regularly with our Israeli counterparts in the intelligence and defense community, that there is time and space for the pressure we are mounting, which is unprecedented in terms of sanctions, to still yield results.  This is not imminent.  The window is not infinite, but let’s be clear–the sanctions that– that are now in place reached their high point in July.  The– the Iranian economy is suffering.  It’s shrinking for the first time.  Negative one percent growth.  The amount of production of Iranian oil has dropped 40 percent over the last several months.  Their currency has plummeted 40 percent over the last several months.  This pressure is even to use the Iranian’s own words crippling.

GREGORY:  But can you say…

MS. RICE:  And we think…

GREGORY:  …that President Obama’s strategy to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon almost at the end of his first term is succeeding or failing?

MS. RICE:  David, what is clear is Iran does not have a nuclear weapon.  And that Iran is more isolated than ever internationally.  The economic pressure it is facing is much greater than ever.  When President Obama came to office the international community was divided about Iran.  And Iran was internally very united.  The exact opposite is the case today.  The international community is united.  We just had another strong resolution out of the IAEA Board of Governors.  And the internal dynamics in Iran are– are fracturing and the leadership is divided.  We are committed and President Obama is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  It is not a policy of containment.  But, David, the most difficult and profound decision that any president has to make is the decision to go to war.  And this president is committed to exhausting pressure, economic pressure, and diplomacy while there is– is still time before making a decision of such consequence.

GREGORY:  Ambassador Rice, the debate continues.  Thank you very much…

MS. RICE:  Thank you.

GREGORY: …for your views this morning.

Now to this looming nuclear threat from Iran from the Israeli perspective.  There were new tensions between the Obama administration in Israel this week.  Earlier, I spoke with the prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu about where things stand and whether he is trying to influence the outcome of our presidential campaign.

Prime Minister, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Thank you.  Good to be with you, David.

GREGORY:  I want to talk specifically before we get to the questions of what’s happening more broadly in the Middle East and the turmoil there this week about the threat from Iran.  You spoke about that this week, and this question of whether Israel has to take matters into its own hands.  And you launched pretty pointed criticism at the United States.  I want to play a portion of what you said.

(Videotape; Monday)

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU:  The world tells Israel, wait.  There’s still time.  And I say, wait for what?  Wait until when?  Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  Prime Minister, I want to understand very clearly what your views are.  Is it your view that the Obama administration is either unwilling or unable to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Now first of all, President Obama and the U.S. administration have repeatedly said that Israel has the right to act by itself against any threat to defend itself.  And I think that that remains our position.  And for me, the issue is– as the prime minister of a country that is threatened with annihilation by a regime that is racing a brutal regime in Tehran that is racing to develop nuclear bombs for that and, obviously, we– we cannot delegate the job of stopping Iran if all else fails to someone else.  That was the main point that I was saying there.  It was directed at the general international community.  A lot of leaders calling me telling me don’t do it, it’s not necessary.  You know, the danger of acting is much greater than not acting.  And I always say the danger of not acting in time is much greater because Iran with nuclear weapons would mean that the kind of fanaticism that you see storming your embassies would have a nuclear weapon.  Don’t let these fanatics have nuclear weapons.

GREGORY:  But Prime Minister, let’s be clear.  You were upset with this administration.  The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said in an interview that there were no deadlines by this administration in terms of what Iran should or shouldn’t do by a date certain.  That’s what led to those remarks.  And so my question still stands.  Is it your view that this administration is either unwilling or unable to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  No.  President Obama has said that he’s determined to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and I appreciate that and I respect that.  I think implicit in that is that if you’re determined to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it means you’ll act before they get nuclear weapons.  I just think that it’s important to communicate to Iran that there is a line that they won’t cross.  I think a red line in this case works to reduce the chances of the need for military action because once the Iranians understand that there’s no– there’s a line that they can’t cross, they are not likely to cross it, you know, when President Kennedy set a red line in the Cuban missile crisis, he was criticized.  But it turned out it didn’t bring war, it actually pushed war back and probably purchased decades of peace with the Soviet Union.  Conversely, when there was no American red line set before the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and maybe that war could have been avoided.  And I can tell you David that Iran has been placed with some clear red lines on a few matters and they have avoided crossing them.  So I think that as they get closer and closer and closer to the achievement of weapons grade material, and they are very close, they are six months away from being about ninety percent of having the enriched uranium for an atom bomb, I think that you have to place that red line before them now before it’s– it’s too late.  That was the point that I was making.

GREGORY:  As a prime minister of Israel, has Iran crossed your red line?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Well, the way I would say it David is they are in the red zone.  You know, they are in the last 20 yards.  And you can’t let them cross that goal line.  You can’t let them score a touchdown because that would have unbelievable consequences, grievous consequences, for the peace and security of us all– of the world really.

GREGORY:  That seems to be a newer development from your way of thinking that they are now in a red zone.  And to use– to use the sports metaphor, you won’t let them cross the– the goal line.  Is Israel closer to taking action into its own hands?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  We always reserve the right to act.  But I think that if we are able to coordinate together a common position, we increase the chances that neither one of us will have to act.  Iran is very cognizant of the fact of its degrees of freedom and as the IAEA report says not only have they not stopped, they have actually rushed forward– they’re rushing forward with their enrichment program.  And I think it’s very important to make it clear to them that they can’t just proceed with impunity.

GREGORY:  Your criticism, your calling on President Obama to set this red line, comes in the middle of a heated presidential campaign.  You understand the American political system very well.  You’re very sophisticated in that regard.  In your view, would Governor Mitt Romney as President Romney make Israel safer?  Would he take a harder line against Iran than President Obama in your judgment?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  God, I’m– I’m not going to be drawn into the American election.  And– and what’s guiding my statements are– is not the American political calendar but the Iranian nuclear calendar.  They’re just– you know, if they stop spinning the centrifuges for– and took timeout for the American elections, I wouldn’t have to talk.  And I wouldn’t have to raise this issue.  But as the prime minister of Israel, knowing that this country committed to our destruction is getting closer to the goal of having weapons of mass destruction then I speak out.  And it’s got– it’s really not a partisan political issue.  And I think it’s important for anyone who is the president of the United States to be in that position of preventing Iran from having this nuclear weapons– nuclear weapons capability.  And I’m talking to the president.  I just talked to him the other day.  We are in close consultations.  We’re trying to prevent that.  It’s really not a partisan issue.  It’s a policy issue not a political issue.

GREGORY:  Well, but it may not be a partisan issue.  You have known Mitt Romney a long time.  The reality is– tell me if you disagree that Governor Romney just in an interview this week said that his position is very much the same as President Obama.  They are both committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  Not just as an impartial observer, as the prime minister of Israel, do you agree with that that both the president and his challenger have the same view with regard to preventing Iran from going nuclear?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  I have no doubt that they are equally committed to preventing that.  It’s a– it’s a vital American interest.  It’s a– it’s an existential interest on my case so, this isn’t the issue.  We are united on this across the board.

GREGORY:  Why can’t Iran be contained just as the Soviet Union was?  There are those in your country and in the United States who believe that a containment strategy would actually work?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  I think Iran is very different.  They put their zealotry above their survival.  They have suicide bombers all over the place.  I wouldn’t rely on their rationality, you know, you– since the advent of nuclear weapons, you had countries that had access to nuclear weapons who always made a careful calculation of cost and benefit.  But Iran is guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism.  It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today.  You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?  I mean, I’ve heard some people suggest, David, I actually I read this in the American press.  They said, well, you know, if you take action, that’s– that’s a lot worse than having Iran with nuclear weapons.  Some have even said that Iran with nuclear weapons would stabilize the Middle East– stabilize the Middle East.  I– I think the people who say this have set a new standard for human stupidity.  We have to stop them.  Don’t rely on containment.  That is not the American policy.  It would be wrong.  It would be a grave, grave mistake.  Don’t let these fanatics have nuclear weapons.  It’s terrible for Israel and it’s terrible for America.  It’s terrible for the world.

GREGORY:  Prime Minister, one more question on the American election.  You have been accused this week by pundits in this country of trying to interfere in this presidential election, siding with Governor Mitt Romney.  Now, Governor Romney for a year, and he said it in his convention speech, has said, quote, “President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus.”  Do you agree or disagree with Governor Romney’s charge?  It’s a serious charge.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Well, you’re– you’re trying to get me into the– into the American election and I’m not going to do that.  The relationship between Israel and the United States is a bond of– it’s just a very powerful bond.  It was, it is, and will be and will continue to be.  And I– I can tell you there’s no one– there’s no leader in the world who’s more appreciative than me of the strength of this alliance.  It’s very strong.  There’s no one in Israel who appreciates more than me the importance of American support for Israel.  It’s not a partisan issue.  In fact, we cherish the bipartisan support of Democrats and Republicans alike.  This is critical for us.

GREGORY:  But prime minister, with respect, if I may just interrupt you…

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  And– and I think it’s critical that we take…

GREGORY:  I think this is a very important point because you say you don’t want to interfere in the election.  There are tens of millions of Americans who are watching that speech, who hear that rhetoric, who hear that charge, who may not understand the complexities of this issue.  You are the leader of the Jewish people.  You say this is not a partisan issue.  You get billions of dollars from direct foreign investment from this country, hundreds of millions of dollars from Americans, Jews and Christians alike from this country.  It seems to me for you to remain silent on whether this administration has thrown Israel under the bus is tantamount to agreeing with the sentiment.  So where do you come down on that specific charge against President Obama?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Now, there you go again, David, you’re trying to draw me into something that– that is simply not– not the case and it’s not my position.  My position is that we– we have strong cooperation.  We’ll continue to cooperate.  We’re the best of allies.  And Israel is the one reliable ally of the United States in the Middle East…

GREGORY:  So President Obama has not thrown Israel under the bus?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  …if that wasn’t understood until yesterday.  So it’s– it’s– there’s– there’s no bus, and we’re not going to get into that discussion, except to say one thing.  We have a strong alliance and we’re going to continue to have a strong alliance.  I think the important question is where does the– the only bus that is really important is the Iranian nuclear bus.  That’s the one that we have to– to derail.  And that’s my interest.  That’s my– my only interest.

GREGORY:  Final question on the broader Middle East and what we’re seeing this week.  This anti-American and indeed anti-Israeli rage throughout the Middle East attacking our embassy, killing a United States ambassador as you well know.  What has been unleashed and what can United States and its allies specifically do to contain it?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Well, look, I– I– I think people focus on the spark.  The spark of reprehensible and irresponsible film is a– is a spark, but it’s not– it doesn’t explain anything.  I mean, it doesn’t explain 9/11.  It doesn’t explain the decades of animosity and the grievances that go back centuries.  In fact, there’s a tinderbox of hatred here from a virulent strain of Islam that takes moderate Muslims and Arabs and attacks them first but seeks to deprive all of us of the basic– the basic values that we have.  They’re against the human rights.  They’re against the rights of women.  They’re against freedom of religion.  They’re against freedom of speech and freedom of expression.  They’re against all the things that we value.  They’re against tolerance.  They’re against– they’re against pluralism, and they’re against freedom.  And they’re– they’re– they view not your policies but you, the very existence of United States and its values, and by extension Israel.  They view that as an intolerable crime.  And we have to understand that.  We have to deal with it.  And we have to be the close support because in– in this vast expanse of land, you can understand why they are so– so antagonistic to us because for them we are you and you are us.  And at least on this point they’re right.

GREGORY:  Finally, prime minister, did you feel snubbed not getting a face-to-face meeting with President Obama in New York during the upcoming U.N. meetings?  Would you like to have that face-to-face encounter?  Would it be helpful to your relationship at this point?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  You know, I’m always pleased and– and happy to have a conversation with President Obama.  He’s– I think he’s met me more than any other leader in the world and I– I appreciate that.  We’ve had our discussions.  Our– our schedules on this visit didn’t work out.  I come to New York and he leaves New York.  But we continue in close consultations.  We have urgent business, Israel and America, to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.  I think it’s important to delineate a red line for Iran so we’re not faced with a conundrum of what to do if we don’t place a red line and they just proceed to the bomb.

GREGORY:  Prime minister, thank you very much for your time.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Thank you, to all of you.

GREGORY:  Coming up next, our political roundtable on the political impact of this turmoil in the Middle East.  Is it a case of weakness on the part of this administration?  Did Governor Romney go too far in that criticism?  Our political roundtable is here and we’ll weigh in.  Democratic congressman from Minnesota, Keith Ellison; Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Peter King of New York;  The Washington Post’s, Bob Woodward; Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine; and our own Andrea Mitchell.

(Announcements)

GREGORY:  Coming up our political roundtable.  Was this week that 3:00 AM phone call moment for Romney?  What is his response to the turmoil in the Middle East say about his readiness to be president?  Our roundtable weighs in up next after this brief break.

(Announcements)

GREGORY:  And we’re back with our political roundtable.  Joining me national correspondent for The Atlantic, a journalist who’d spent his career covering the Middle East, Jeff Goldberg; NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell; associate editor for The Washington Post and author of the new groundbreaking book The Price of Politics, Bob Woodward; Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York; and the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison.  Welcome to all of you.  These are very difficult times for this country and for the Middle East.  There’s a question I think that Americans have of what is going on here.  Why is this happening?  And it’s happening, Jeff Goldberg, in a heated presidential debate.  And so you have accusations and response, and we’ve seen that play out already in the course of this hour.  Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, launched a very serious attack that indeed Governor Romney amplified on.  And she wrote in the Wall Street Journal–I want to show it to our viewers and get discussion about it here.  In too many parts of the world, she writes, America is no longer viewed as a reliable ally or an enemy to be feared… Nor do our adversaries any longer fear us.  Ask the mobs in Cairo who attacked our embassy or the Libyan mobs who killed our diplomats at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  Ask the Iranians who make unhindered daily progress towards obtaining a nuclear weapon.

MR. JEFF GOLDBERG (National Correspondent, The Atlantic):  Well, I mean, a couple of quick points.  The first is, you know, to be fair, 9/11 happened during the Bush administration, the Bush-Cheney administration.  So it’s not as if people– Muslim radicals feared the United States during that period, not when they were killing thousands of American troops in Iraq certainly.  I mean, the larger point is that– that, you know, there’s a tendency, especially seven weeks out from an election, to turn this in– turn everything that happens in the world into an election issue.  There are some very, very deep and troubling things going on in– in the Middle East that have very little to do with what a president does or doesn’t do.  I mean, let’s– let’s be fair about this.  You– you– you have a complete upheaval in the Middle East.  You don’t have American policymakers being able to shape the way Muslims think about the world, about modernity, about the United States.  So– so to blame the president for– for an attack on– on these embassies, I think, is a bit much.

GREGORY:  Congressman…

REP. PETER KING (R-NY/Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security):  Yeah.

GREGORY: …as a Republican here, supporter of Governor Romney…

REP. KING:  Yes.

GREGORY:  …is this American weakness that brought this on?  Is that the Republican view?  Is that what the view of President Romney would be?

REP. KING:  Well, my view is it was a large component of it.  There has been– this president’s policy– President Obama’s policy has been confusing.  It’s been apologetic, and it’s been misguided.  From the day he started his apology tour back in 2009 where he was, no matter what people say, apologizing for America, somehow suggesting that we’ve been anti-Islam until he became the president throughout– the fact that– even talking about Iraq, the way he took our troops out of Iraq without even getting the status of forces agreement.  He was given a glide path in Iraq.  And yet he pulled the troops out, brags about the fact that troops are out, gives a definite date for getting out in Afghanistan.  What he is doing by that is telling our allies they can’t trust us and he’s also telling unaligned that the U.S. is not a reliable ally.  And the fact that you would have the prime minister of Israel on this show explaining his relationship with the president of the United States at a time of such turmoil in the Middle East, we have never had a situation like this where there has been such a disconnect between the U.S. president and the Israeli prime minister.  And the fact that he won’t even meet with him at the U.N., while he’s going to meet with President Morsi, sends terrible signals.

GREGORY:  Well, to– to be fair, the prime minister of Israel did not describe that as a stub– snub in that interview.

REP. KING:  I’m saying it.  I’m saying, I’m saying.

GREGORY:  You’re saying, okay.  Congressman, your response?

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D-MN):  Well, it’s ridiculous.  The president has been consistent.  He’s been steady.  And he’s had progress in the policy wins in the Middle East.  I mean, this is a seriously deeply rooted phenomenon, the Arab Spring that is going to be unfolding for a long time.  And the last thing we need is to start making quick emo– emotionally-charged decisions.  We need consistent steady leadership like the president has shown.

GREGORY:  But there is a policy component, Andrea and Bob, to this.  The New York Times writes about it in an analysis piece this morning.  I want to put a portion of that on the screen because it does provide some context here.  The upheaval over an anti-Islam video has suddenly become Mr. Obama’s most serious foreign policy crisis of the election season and a range of analysts say it presents questions about central tenets of his Middle East policy:  Did he do enough during the Arab Spring to help the transition to democracy from autocracy?  Has he drawn a hard enough line against Islamic extremists?  Did his administration fail to address security concerns?

MS. ANDREA MITCHELL (Host, “ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS”):  Well, first of all, I think we have to exce– concede that George Herbert Walker Bush’s relationship with the then prime minister of Israel was arguably much worse than what we’re seeing now.  So, Republicans as well as Democrats have had difficulty, Congressman, in the past with Israel.  That..,

REP. KING:  It’s always the post-9/11 world.

MS. MITCHELL:  ..but that said…

REP. KING:  There’s never been a relationship like this.

MS. MITCHELL:  …that said.  I think there can be a legitimate criticism that this president has not handled the Israeli-Palestinian issue well, but the Arab Spring has been a much greater, much broader troubling issue that arguably not any American president could handle very effectively.  That is not the argument.  That is not the policy argument that– that Mitt Romney has made.  Mitt Romney’s– the criticism of Mitt Romney is coming largely from many Republicans whom I talked to, foreign policy experts, who say that in the middle of the crisis when the state department did not know where Ambassador Stevens was, when the body was missing, that he came out with a written statement and doubled down on it the next morning and that it was not presidential, it did not show leadership.  That is the criticism…

REP. KING:  When he put out the statement, he didn’t know that the ambassador had been shot.

MS. MITCHELL:  But then he shouldn’t have put out a statement, you know, the argue…

REP. KING:  Well, first up– that’s exactly the problem.  Entire project– I mean, if you don’t know something, how can you– I mean, it’s not (Unintelligible).

MS. MITCHELL:  But silence is often a good choice.  Peggy Noonan said that as well.

REP. ELLISON:  What about waiting until you know more?  I mean, what about Reagan?  Reagan said, you know, when we have a crisis like this, we should all come together as Americans and not sort of– divide up politically and try to seek a– a point.

REP. KING:  You know, sometimes wait…

REP. ELLISON:  That was in– that was a– that was a sad moment.

REP. KING:  President Obama waited three days after the underwear bomber before he made a statement, and then he came out and said, this was a sole individual…

GREGORY:  All right, let me get Bob to weigh in.

REP. KING:  …al Qaeda operation.

MR. BOB WOODWARD (Associate Editor, Washington Post):  There’s a way to look at this neutrally, and I– I just don’t think the charge of weakness will stick.  I mean, Obama’s been tough on these things.  Let’s be realistic.  The extremists in the Middle East who are causing all of this trouble are extremists.  And no Republican, no Democratic president is going to be able to control them.  The question is, what’s the policy and what’s the response?  And you deal in the intelligence world and you ask the experts about this and they’ll say you never know.  Ten people are going to come together and take over an embassy, shoot someone and so forth.  So the idea that government can– has the puppet strings here is- is just–

(Cross talk)

GREGORY:  But couldn’t we’ve done well with– well, but let’s get– gentleman, let’s get to the point.  Where…

MR. GOLDBERG:  Yeah.

GREGORY:  Where are the extremists who are– who are protesting about the fact that Muslims are being killed in Syria every day, as you don’t see those protests?  Is this about the United States or is it about them?

MR. GOLDBERG:  It’s about everything.  I mean, the truth is it’s about everything.  It’s unfolding.  It’ll be unfolding for a generation.  And you’re right.  I mean, you don’t see– you don’t see that level of anxiety directed at Syria.  Hundred– in the last week, hundreds of Syrian Muslims have been killed by the Syrian regime.  And you don’t see Syrian embassies being attacked.  Obviously– obviously– obviously, if you’re– you know, we talked so much about the Arab street, how the Arab street feels about America.  We– we have to start talking about the American street too, because this is going to have consequences for these governments that we support.  You know, we Americans see these countries that are– that we provide billions of dollars who’re not protecting our embassies, and they’re eventually going to say, the American people can say enough already with this.

REP. ELLISON:  This is a good time to realize that the so-called Arab street is not one monolithic thing.  You have some people in, say, Libya, for example, who are pro– holding up signs, apologizing for what happened to Chris Stevens.

GREGORY:  Right.  We have some of them.  Yeah.

REP. ELLISON:  Yeah.  And– and– and, we– we need to understand that this is not– everybody’s not on the same side.  You have some radicals who want to push back.  Some con– some of– some loyalists from the old regime, some extremists, who want to exploit the situation, and you have people who want a Democratic society.  They’re both contesting for who’s going to come out and the United States should stay on their side.

REP. KING:  But– but how do we appeal to the wrong people in the Middle East by somehow exalting this whole– this whole idea of the video being the cause of the– of the riot?

REP. ELLISON:  It’s a spark.  It’s not a cause.

REP. KING:  Okay.  But for us to be saying somehow putting that on the equivalence of the American policy or to say that our policy in this country can be determined by a fanatical Christian minister in the South or radical Islamist mobs in the Middle East, then I think, the president can do more.

MS. MITCHELL:  I– I agree with that.

REP. KING:  The president should be dealing with the–

GREGORY:  But, Congressman, is it responsible for Mitt Romney to say that a President Romney could have stopped this from happening?

REP. KING:  I think it’s responsible for him to say that he would set a policy which would not be as confusing as this one.  Why (Unintelligible) with President Morsi?  Why didn’t the next day the president even mention President Morsi?  He come out to not say a word about the fact that our supposed ally–he doesn’t even know if he’s an ally or not–was getting a billion dollars not to defend our embassy in Cairo.  The president did not mention that.

REP. ELLISON:  But when the president called– but when the president called, Morsi listened.

REP. KING:  But for the single (cross talk) said nothing about it…

REP. ELLISON:  And I– and I wouldn’t…

(Cross talk)

REP. KING:  No, everyone is being critical of Mitt Romney.

GREGORY:  Okay, good.

REP. KING:  President Obama made his statement, he did not even mention the failure of leadership in Egypt.

MS. MITCHELL:  Well, Congressman, you’re absolutely correct.  I think that it is easy for the administration to try to point to the film.  There is a much broader issue, as Jeffrey and– and Bob has– have been pointing to.  The world is changing and it is changing too rapidly for any American leadership to figure out what to do.  There is going to be a big argument over foreign aid, you know that.  And whether or not that is even a sensible argument is another question.  They have a big problem with Morsi.  Morsi needs economic aid.  He has, I’ve been told, reached out to the New York economic club.  He wants to give a speech here in 10 days.  He knows he needs the IMF.  He knows he needs the United States.  But he’s trying at the same time to placate the radical elements in the brotherhood.

GREGORY:  Let me…

MR. WOODWARD:  But– but the core problem is there’re angry people out there.  And you can’t identify them.  And the– the idea that you’re going to have a government policy to deal with angry people in a– in a way that will suppress them just is not going to happen.

GREGORY:  Let me get a break in here– let me get a break in here.  We’ll come back with the roundtable.  More on this, the political impact right in the middle of the campaign.  More with our roundtable right after this.

(Announcements)

GREGORY:  We’re back with our roundtable.  Some context here–look at this polling from CNN/ORC–better at handling foreign policy, a big advantage for President Obama as we go into these presidential debates.  Jeffrey Goldberg?

MR. GOLDBERG:  You know, I– I was troubled by something that Susan Rice said before, which is talking about how people are offended by this movie and sort of apologizing for this– this film.  I think there’s a– there’s a perpetual grievance machine working in the Middle East.  Bob– Bob points this out.  People will be angry no matter what.  And– and at a certain point, I think the administration should just say, look, we have free speech in America.  It is part of our value system.  You know, opp– opposition to blasphemy is part of your value system and we respect that as long as you do it peacefully, but we have free speech in our country and we’re going to stand up for our liberal western values.

MR. KING:  Suppose tomorrow with Salman Rushdie, we going to back down on that also, yeah.

MR. GOLDBERG:  No.  Exactly.  You want to be– you want to stand very strongly.  And you want to also support liberal thought in the Middle East and that means engaging with– you have to remember most Muslims in the Middle East aren’t attacking American embassies, many want to be– have more liberal open society.

GREGORY:  Congressman Ellison, is our only leverage in the United States money and foreign aid?

REP. ELLISON:  Absolutely not.  We have a lot of influence in terms of culture, in terms of just the way America is a democratic society.  We should use that.  They, as a matter of fact, all the protests we saw were for people reaching for a greater level of democracy.  But foreign aid is a part of it.  And I think that for us to threaten to snatch aid now is dangerous and a bad idea.

GREGORY:  Andrea Mitchell, the question of Iran as well, I want to get reaction to the prime minister.  He said something among the significant things, there– they have an equal commitment, he said, Mitt Romney and President Obama, to prevent Iran from going nuclear.  That is not the wedge that Governor Romney has been arguing.  He has said, “You re-elect President Obama they go nuclear, you elect me they do not.”

MS. MITCHELL:  And yet Mitt Romney himself misspoke apparently in another interview saying that he agrees with President Obama on what that imaginary red line is.  I thought it was very interesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu said they are in a red zone.  The football analogy, yes.  But he was trying to smooth over the differences.  But there are very real differences.  Real differences in that while President Obama has made a commitment to stop them from weaponizing, from getting a– from going nuclear, they believe somehow in this notion that they will have the intelligence, they will know when the Ayatollah makes a political decision, and they will still have the time.  And arguably in the past, we’ve learned that intelligence is not that precise.

MR. WOODWARD:  There is so much turns on the intelligence.  It was this interesting your discussion with the Israeli Prime Minister, and he said, well, at six months and they’ll have 90 percent.  And the Ambassador Rice said, well, it’s not imminent that they’re going to get the bomb.  If you study intelligence, as I have for about 40 years, and Jeffrey and I were talking about, some day we’re going to write a book called “The Unintelligence of Intelligence” because it’s just often wrong.  And people are surprised.  And we’re– you know, deep, deep uncertainty about all of this– 90 percent, six months, it’s not going to happen.  We don’t know.

GREGORY:  What about– what about this interference in our election?  You’re curious about that from both of you, because he takes on– well, I– I pressed him on that charge.

MR. GOLDBERG:  Well, there’s– there’s two issues.  One is a legitimate issue, which is this debate over red lines.  This is the debate that Obama and Netanyahu should have, a discussion, in private.  And– and that’s– that’s legitimate for– for Netanyahu to raise.  What’s illegitimate, and– and let me put this as– as bluntly as I can.  I’ve been watching the relationship between the U.S. and Israel for 20 years, more than 20 years, very seriously and I’ve never seen an Israeli prime minister mismanage the relationship with the United States or with the administration the way this prime minister has.  Obama is not blameless.  The first year, the peace process was a disaster.  But, you know, one– one person here is the– one person here is the senior partner, one is the– the junior partner, and Netanyahu has turned this into a story about himself and Obama.

REP. KING:  No, I– I disagree.  I’m– I’m not here to criticize our president.  The fact is in 2009 when he went to the Middle East and suggested a moral equivalency between the Iranians and the Israelis, when he was harping on against the Israelis, the fact is the Israeli government does not trust the American government.  And that’s really the issue.  Not when the red line is going to be or where it’s going to be.  The fact is there was not a trust between the Israeli prime minister and the American President.  And this is a President who’d come in saying he was going to restore harmony among nations, he was going to have better relationship with our overseas allies…

MS. MITCHELL:  But…

REP. KING:  …and adversaries.

GREGORY:  Are you double down on the comment that this President has thrown Israel under the bus?

REP. KING:  He has not shown– yes, I will.  In the context of politics, yes, he has, absolutely.

REP. ELLISON:  That’s– that’s absolutely wrong.

REP. KING:  He absolutely has.

REP. ELLISON:  There’s no evidence to that.

REP. KING:  The way…

GREGORY:  What does that mean in the context of politics, it’s either true or it’s not.

REP. KING:  It– it is true.

REP. ELLISON:  It’s not true.

REP. KING:  It is true.  Let me tell you why it’s true.  You had an Israeli prime minister being– when he went to the White House being put off to eat by himself, being ignored by the president.  You have the president refusing to sit down with him at the U.N.  This is an ally.

REP. ELLISON:  Well…

REP. KING:  He’s not going to treat Morsi this way.

REP. ELLISON:   According to…

REP. KING:  He’s not going to treat the Arab League this way.

REP. ELLISON:   According to…

REP. KING:  To treat an ally like that is, yeah, like putting him under the bus.

GREGORY:  All right.  Go ahead, Congressman.

REP. ELLISON:  —military leaders the security relationship is as good as it ever has been.

REP. KING:  We’re talking about diplomatic relationship.

GREGORY:  Hold on, let him…

REP. ELLISON:  And– and– no, no, no.  And so– and so the point is this is a sad reality where we are putting Israel as a political football in an election, it should not be done.

REP. KING:  The president…

REP. ELLISON:  And– and as a matter of fact, I think that the– that the president– President Netanyahu (sic) ought to be a little bit more careful (cross talk) himself.

GREGORY:  Andrea, and I really– in ten seconds, what do you look for this week as we move beyond, as this conversation moves?

MS. MITCHELL:  I think there are more security challenges.  You’ve got embassies shut down.  The marines are going to be more engaged in various places.  This is a crisis.  And it could rebound against President Obama.

GREGORY:  All right.  Before we go and take a break, I wanted to let you know that you can catch more of Bob Woodward in our take two web extra, which will be posted on our press pass blog this afternoon.  We’re going to talk in depth about his new book, The Price of Politics.  You can read an excerpt on our– of the book on our website as well, that’s meetthepressnbc.com.  We’ll be back with more in just a moment.

(Announcements)

GREGORY:  Before we go this morning, a couple of programming notes.  You can watch this week’s press pass conversation on our blog as well, a lot going on on the blog.  Some straight talk from the much talked about duo themselves.  Simpson-Bowles, Former Senator Alan Simpson, former White House chief of staff for President Clinton Erskine Bowles, that’s at meetthepressnbc.com.

Also Thursday on ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS, Ted Koppel goes toe-to-toe with the lives of Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Bill Maher for a provocative new look at the role of openly partisan media and at the role it’s playing in our society.  That’s on ROCK CENTER Thursday at 10:00 P.M. Eastern, 9:00 Central.

That is all for us today.  We’ll be back next week.  If it’s Sunday, it’s MEET THE PRESS.  And as we leave you, we remember the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans that were lost this week in the attack on our consulate in Libya.  Our thoughts and prayers of course are with their families.

%d bloggers like this: