Political Headlines November 28, 2012: Susan Rice Gains Little Ground on Day 2 With Skeptical Republican Senators

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Susan Rice Gains Little Ground on Day 2 With Skeptical Senators

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-28-12

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Day two of Susan Rice’s charm offensive on Capitol Hill brought little support for the U.N. ambassador to become the next secretary of state if nominated by President Obama.

After meeting privately with Rice Wednesday morning, moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she still had questions about the embassy attack in Libya that “remain troubling” and needed to be answered before she can support Rice for secretary of state….READ MORE

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Full Text Obama Presidency November 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at First Cabinet Meeting Since Presidential Election

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Holds a Cabinet Meeting

Source: WH, 11-28-12

President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet RoomPresident Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama held his first full Cabinet meeting since the election took place.

He first thanked Cabinet members for doing “a remarkable job on behalf of the American people, across the board, on a range of issues” including growing our economy, putting people back to work, and keeping Americans safe around the world.

But there’s still much work to be done, he reminded them. In today’s meeting, President Obama said the Cabinet would discuss efforts to help communities recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, as well as something that’s on the minds of many American families across the country: making sure taxes on the middle class don’t go up.

There is no reason why taxes on middle-class families should go up. It would be bad for the economy.  It would be bad for those families. In fact, it would be bad for the world economy. And so I think it’s very important that we get that resolved, and I am very open to a fair and balanced approach to reduce our deficit and provide the kind of certainty that businesses and consumers need so that we can keep this recovery going.

Earlier in the day, President Obama called on Americans to make their voices heard about how a $2,000 tax increase in 2013 would impact their family by visiting WH.gov/My2K, using the hashtag #My2K on Twitter, or speaking out on Facebook.

Watch his full remarks at the Cabinet meeting below:

Remarks by the President at a Cabinet Meeting

The Cabinet Room

3:11 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Is that brighter than usual? (Laughter.) Yes, that’s serious.

Well, listen, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet with my full Cabinet for the first time since the election took place. The primary purpose from my perspective is to say thank you, because everybody here, in their respective agencies, has done a remarkable job on behalf of the American people, across the board on a wide range of issues. They’ve always prioritized how do we make sure that we have a strong middle class, how do we grow our economy, how do we put people back to work, and how do we keep the American people safe and continue to extend our influence and our ideals around the world. And I could not have a better collection of people, many of whom have stayed here throughout my first term. And I think we’ve had as little turnover as any President during the course of a first term, and the reason is because everybody has done such a remarkable job.

So my main purpose is to say thank you to them, but also to remind them that we’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be a few specific issues that we spend a lot of time on. One in particular that I should note is that the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy is still being felt by families all across New York and New Jersey, parts of Connecticut. We are very pleased that under the leadership initially of Janet Napolitano and FEMA, but now Shaun Donovan, who’s heading up a task force, we’re focusing not only on recovery, but now on rebuilding and making sure those communities come back stronger than ever and people get the help that they need. So that will be an important topic because it’s really going to be an interagency concern.

The second thing that we’ll be talking about, obviously, is what’s on the minds of a lot of American families across the country, and that is making sure that we’ve got this fiscal cliff dealt with and that middle-class taxes don’t go up. I already spoke extensively about that today. I’ll just repeat: There is no reason why taxes on middle-class families should go up. It would be bad for the economy. It would be bad for those families. In fact, it would be bad for the world economy. And so I think it’s very important that we get that resolved, and I am very open to a fair and balanced approach to reduce our deficit and provide the kind of certainty that businesses and consumers need so that we can keep this recovery going.

And obviously, we’ll be spending some time talking about national security issues as well.

But I just want to say thank you to this extraordinary Cabinet for a job well done. And I will take this opportunity to publicly embarrass two members of the Cabinet whose birthdays are either today or tomorrow: Ric Shinseki, who is the Department of Veterans Affairs. Happy birthday to you. And that is actually today. (Applause.) And Janet Napolitano’s birthday is tomorrow. (Applause.)

All right, guys. Thank you. We want to get back to work.

Q Mr. President, do you think the Hill is being fair to Susan Rice in its meetings?

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much guys.

Q Any thoughts on that at all?

THE PRESIDENT: Susan Rice is extraordinary. I couldn’t be prouder of the job that she’s done as the USPR. (Applause.)
END
3:15 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency November 28, 2012: Joy to All: First Lady Michelle Obama Previews the 2012 White House Christmas Holiday Decor — Remarks at Holiday Press Preview

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Joy to All: First Lady Michelle Obama Previews the 2012 White House Holiday Decor

Source: WH, 11-28-12

First Lady Michelle Obama talks with children of military families at the holiday press preview, Nov. 28, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama talks with children of military families in the Green Room of the White House during the Christmas holiday press preview, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The theme of the 2012 White House Holiday decorations is “Joy to All”.

The custom of selecting an official holiday theme began in the 1960s when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy created a nutcracker-themed Christmas for her daughter Caroline. And in welcoming a crowd of military families who were the first of more than 90,000 anticipated visitors, First Lady Michelle Obama explained that this year’s theme “celebrates the many joys of the holiday seasons: the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessings with one another; and, of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our homes over these next several weeks.”

The 2012 decorations embrace several beloved White House traditions: There are 54 decorated trees throughout the residence, and four of them on display in the Grand Foyer are trimmed with ornaments that pay tribute to the holiday legacies of former First Ladies dating back to Mrs. Kennedy, including some original ornaments from years past.

Two of the rooms pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces and their families. The walls of the East Landing are adorned with wreaths crafted with red, white, and blue yarn, and a tree decorated with red, white and blue ornaments completes the space. The official White House Christmas tree, which stands tall in the center of the Blue Room, honors the courageous service of the troops, veterans, and military families who serve our country with pride. The 18-foot-6- inch Fraser Fir from Jefferson, North Carolina is trimmed with ornaments decorated by military children living on U.S. Military Bases all over the world, and these one-of-a-kind ornaments honor their parents’ commitment to service.

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a craft project during the holiday press preview, Nov. 28, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama and children of military families participate in a craft project in the State Dining Room of the White House during the holiday press preview, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) (Official White House Photo)

Other traditions that continue include the annual representation of the White House in pastry form: This year, the White House Gingerbread House was constructed from more than 175 pounds of gingerbread and modified gingerbread, and more than 50 pounds of chocolate. The base of the House, a combination of wheat, rye, and white-flour gingerbread, mimics the color of the sandstone house prior to 1798, when the president’s residence was first painted white.

First Dog Bo Obama also makes a return. A life-size replica of the First Family’s Portuguese Water Dog –made out of 18,000 one-inch black pompoms and 2,000 white pompoms — is the centerpiece of the East Garden Room, and more than 40 handmade “Bo-flakes” ornaments hang from the trees throughout the White House. White House staff have prepared a special activity for all of the young people who visit during the holiday season: They’ll receive a bookmark with a checklist that instructs them to find the “Bo-flake” ornament hanging in eight rooms of the White House.

First Lady Michelle Obama Makes a honey tea stirrer during the holiday press preview, Nov. 28, 2012.

First Lady Michelle Obama shows her honey tea stirrer that she made with and children of military families during a craft project in the State Dining Room of the White House during the holiday press preview, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Of course, none of this would be possible if not for the volunteers who take time out of their busy lives to come from all parts of the country to help decorate the White House, and Mrs. Obama thanked them in her remarks this afternoon. This year, 85 volunteers representing 39 states worked tirelessly to transform the People’s House, undertaking tasks from stringing all 20,000 of the pompoms on the Bo topiary to covering iron arches in the Lower Cross Hall with over 6,000 repurposed White House glass ornaments.

Remarks by the First Lady at Holiday Press Preview

East Room

1:33 P.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA: Well, hi, everyone. Welcome to the White House. Pretty cool, huh? Yes.

Well, let me start by thanking Jennifer, first of all, for that very lovely introduction, and to welcome her family here as well, her father and her husband. We are just so grateful for your service and so glad you could be here. Thank you, Jennifer, for everything that your family — you and your family have done for this country and what you’ve done to help make this house as beautiful as it is.

As First Lady, I think you all know that I have had the privilege of traveling all across this country. And one of the best things I get to do is to meet with all of the wonderful, extraordinary military families like Jennifer’s family and all of your families. And it’s an honor, truly an honor to host you all here today at the White House. It’s a cool house. I like it.

I have said this many times before and I will say it again, because I can’t say it enough — our military families truly represent the very best that this country has to offer. And I’ve seen it up close. You all do so much for this country, and you do it with such amazing poise and grace.

You all are outstanding neighbors. You are just phenomenal, focused parents. You all are tremendous coworkers and community leaders in your own rights. And you all do this under such extraordinary circumstances. So many of you are doing it while moving from base to base every couple of years, enduring all of those months of long deployments with loved ones serving, oftentimes, halfway around the world.

And then, there are our military kids. You guys look gorgeous today, and handsome — (laughter) — and very clean. (Laughter.) And we’re going to try to change that, because we’re going to have sugar and glue and stuff like that. And it will be okay, moms and dads, because the photos will have been done. So they can get a little messy and get the black Bo cookies around their mouths. (Laughter.)

But you guys are very brave. You all are tremendous heroes in your own rights, because we know how hard you all work to adjust to all the changes that go on in your life. How many new schools have you guys been — how many schools have you guys been in? And give me some numbers. Have you been — you can go ahead. How many schools have you been to?

CHILD: Four.

MRS. OBAMA: And how old are you?

CHILD: Ten.

MRS. OBAMA: Ten. Four schools — 10 years old. That is typical. And then you meet these kids and they’ve been to so many schools in a few years, but they’re adjusting. They’re keeping their grades up, right? (Laughter.) I can tell you’re an A student. I can just feel it. (Laughter.)

And so many of you step up and handle your business while mom or dad is away. Right? You do what you can do. And I just want you all to know — all of you — just how proud we are. We are so proud of you. We think you’re pretty amazing individuals. I know it may not feel that way, but you’re special. And we’re just so happy to have you here. We’re grateful for your sacrifice. We’re grateful for you service.

And that’s really why we wanted to invite all of you here today — to say thank you. This is one big, huge thank you. From me to you all — thank you. We have found some wonderful ways to pay tribute to your service and sacrifice as an important part of our holiday decorating efforts here at the White House.

And it starts, as you all have seen, the minute visitors walk through the White House for their tours. The first thing they see, the very first tree they see honors our men and women in uniform for the extraordinary sacrifice they and their families have made. And thanks to several of you here today, I know that this tree is now decorated with special Gold Star ornaments bearing the names of some of America’s greatest heroes, those who gave their lives for our country. And any Gold Star family who visits the White House during this season will have the opportunity to decorate their own ornament and hang it on that very tree for the entire holiday period in honor of their loved ones.

But there’s more. Because in that area, there’s also an opportunity for visitors to fill out Operation Honor cards, and I filled out many myself. But these cards are used to pledge an individual service to their community in honor of our military families, servicemembers and veterans. And guests will also be able to write a note expressing their gratitude for the service that all of you have given to this country.

And we are also honoring our military families with some very special decorations on the official White House Christmas tree that’s in the Blue Room. It’s the biggest tree in the house. It’s huge — stands close to 19 feet tall. It is one of my favorite trees. This very special Joining Forces tree is covered with hand-decorated ornaments made by military children living in U.S. bases around the world. We have spent months and months gathering these beautiful ornaments, and guests will be able to take the time and read the messages and hear from these kids directly as they tour the White House.

In addition to these unique tributes to our military families, we also have many of the traditional holiday favorites built around our central theme. And as a little bit of a history lesson, the custom of selecting an official holiday theme began in the 1960s when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy created a nutcracker-themed Christmas for her daughter Caroline. And this year’s theme is “Joy to All.” It celebrates the many joys of the holiday seasons: the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessings with one another; and, of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our homes over these next several weeks.

We’ve also continued the tradition of decorating trees throughout the house. We have 54 trees in the White House — 54. That’s a lot of trees. Fifty-four trees that reflect the theme including four trees in the grand foyer, which is the area out here. There are four beautiful trees that are trimmed with ornaments paying tribute to the holiday legacies of former First Ladies dating back to Jacqueline Kennedy.

And this is a really wonderful treat — some of them are replicas, but there are a few on there that are original ornaments. And they’re tagged, so when you look on them you can see some of them are mine, some of them are Laura Bush’s, and they just give you a sense of what Christmas felt like in other administrations with other families and First Ladies.

And of course, keeping with past holiday traditions, we have our annual White House Gingerbread House. Have you guys seen that yet?

CHILDREN: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: It is — Bill Yosses, our executive pastry chef, and his team did a phenomenal job. This White House looks kind of real. What do you all think?

CHILDREN: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: It looks pretty — oh, we get a thumbs up there. (Laughter.) Bill is over there. We got a thumbs up. But it is beautiful.

A White House holiday staple since the 1960s, this year’s house weighs nearly 300 pounds. So it’s a pretty big house, and its walls are made to resemble granite. So he did some kind of technique to make it look like real granite. And it even includes chandeliers that light up. It glows. (Laughter.) Like Rudolph’s nose, right?

So it’s beautiful. And we have a little replica First Lady’s Garden, with all the little details in there, and a big giant Bo. Bo is kind of big, don’t you think? (Laughter.) That basically represents Bo’s standing in the house. (Laughter.) He is almost as big as the house. He is such a huge personality.

But we also have a special activity prepared for the young people who visit the White House this year. We thought it would be fun to give them a bookmark with a checklist that instructs them to find all of the hidden Bo ornaments located in eight rooms of the White House. So it’s our version of “Where’s Waldo?”, but we do it with Bo. (Laughter.) And we hope that will keep kids busy while their parents are looking at the Christmas cards and you guys are really focusing in, the kids will have something to do.

But these are just a few of this year’s highlights, and I could go on and on. But I know we have cookies to decorate and things to do. But what I have to tell you is that this would be — this would not be possible if it weren’t for the 85 fabulous volunteers like Jennifer, who took time out of their busy lives to come from all parts of the country to help us decorate this house.

And it happens overnight. I mean literally once the tree is delivered, it is a matter of days before this house is transformed into what you see. And it’s because of people like Jennifer who come in, and they build bonds, and they share stories about their grandchildren. And they’re as dedicated as Jennifer is to making this house beautiful, and we’re just so grateful to have so many people willing to take time out of their lives and invest in this house for so many to see.

So it’s going to be a great holiday for everyone, and we are just excited to have visitors come through. This is our official opening. Throughout the holiday season, more than 90,000 people will come from all around the world to see this house. And I couldn’t imagine a better way to get things kicked off by having all of you here with us.

So with that, I want to, again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and your sacrifice. And I do hope that your holiday season is truly special, that you really use this time to reflect and come together.

And so many of us in this country will use your lives as inspiration as we sit around our trees and our tables and we think about all that we have and all that all of you are sacrificing to make sure that we live in freedom and harmony. We are truly grateful to all of you, and we thank you.

And now, you guys ready to have some fun?

CHILDREN: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: So I’m going to ask all of our — ready, righteous. You guys are going to come with me. May you rise. We’ve got activities planned. Parents, do not despair. Your children will be safe. We will bring them back, maybe a little dirtier, but they’ll be happy. A little bit of a sugar high, maybe. Try not to — try not to glue and lick at the same time. Remember there’s glue. Everything is not edible. (Applause.)

You guys ready to come with me and do some decorating? All right, let’s go. We will see you all shortly. Thank you so much. Happy holidays. (Applause.)

END
1:45 P.M. EST

Political Headlines November 28, 2012: President Barack Obama Launches #My2K Fiscal Cliff Campaign

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Launches #My2K Fiscal Cliff Campaign

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-28-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Kicking off his public relations campaign to build support for his plan to avert the looming “fiscal cliff,” President Obama on Wednesday said he is doing his part and urged Americans to pressure lawmakers to do theirs.

“Middle class families, folks who are working hard to get into the middle class, they’re watching what we do right now. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, when the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold, Congress listens,” the president told a crowd of middle class Americans at the White House Wednesday….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency November 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Extending Tax Cuts for the Middle Class

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Wants Americans to Speak Out on Passing the Middle Class Tax Cuts

Source: WH, 11-28-12

President Barack Obama discusses the need for Congress to extend the middle class tax cuts (November 28, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers remarks regarding the need for Congress to extend the middle class tax cuts, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Surrounded by Americans who had written into the White House in support of his plan, President Obama today renewed his call to prevent a tax increase on the middle class.

“If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year,” the President said. “A typical middle-class family of four would see its income taxes go up by $2,200. That’s $2,200 out of people’s pockets. That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers. It means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition. And middle-class families just can’t afford that right now.”

To help find an agreement President Obama pledged to keep up the pressure — meeting with lawmakers, labor leaders, and business executives. And he called on the American people to speak up and add their own voices to the debate.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, when the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold, Congress listens,” he said.

You can share your story by visiting WH.gov/My2K, or help keep the conversation going online on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #My2K. Or, read what others are saying about what $2,000 means to them.

“I can only do it with the help of the American people,” President Obama said. “Do what it takes to communicate a sense of urgency. We don’t have a lot of time here. We’ve got a few weeks to get this thing done.”

Watch the President’s full remarks here

Remarks by the President on Extending Tax Cuts for the Middle Class

Source: WH, 11-28-12

South Court Auditorium

12:01 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.
Thank you, everybody. Please have a seat. Thank you very much. Everybody, please have a seat — except you guys. Don’t sit down. (Laughter.)

Well, good morning, everybody.

AUDIENCE: Good morning.

THE PRESIDENT: There’s been a lot of talk here in Washington about the deadlines we’re facing on taxes and deficits — these deadlines are going to be coming up very soon, in the coming weeks. But today is important because I want to make sure everybody understands this debate is not just about numbers. It’s a set of major decisions that are going to affect millions of families all across this country in very significant ways. And their voices — the voices of the American people — have to be part of this debate. And so I asked some friends of mine here to join me, some folks from here in the area.

Our ultimate goal is an agreement that gets our long-term deficit under control in a way that is fair and balanced. That kind of agreement would be good for our businesses; it would be good for our economy; it would be good for our children’s future. And I believe that both parties can agree on a framework that does that in the coming weeks. In fact, my hope is to get this done before Christmas.

But the place where we already have, in theory at least, complete agreement right now is on middle-class taxes. And as I’ve said before, we’ve got two choices. If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year. Starting January 1st, every family in America will see their taxes go up.

A typical middle-class family of four would see its income taxes go up by $2,200. That’s $2,200 out of people’s pockets. That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers. (Laughter.) It means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition. And middle-class families just can’t afford that right now.

By the way, businesses can’t afford it either. Yesterday, I sat down with some small business owners who stressed this point. Economists predict that if taxes go up on the middle class next year, consumers will spend nearly $200 billion less on things like cars and clothes and furniture — and that obviously means fewer customers. That cuts into business profits. That makes businesses less likely to invest and hire, which means fewer jobs. And that can drag our entire economy down.

Now, the good news is there’s a better option. Right now, as we speak, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. Everybody’s. And that means that 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up by a single dime. Ninety-eight percent of Americans, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up by a single dime.

Even the wealthiest Americans would still get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income. So it’s not like folks who make more than $250,000 aren’t getting a tax break, too. They’re getting a tax break on the first $250,000 just like everybody else.

Families and small businesses would, therefore, be able to enjoy some peace of mind heading into Christmas and heading into the New Year. And it would give us more time then next year to work together on a comprehensive plan to bring down our deficits, to streamline our tax system, to do it in a balanced way — including asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, so that we can still invest in things like education and training, and science and research.

Now, I know some of this may sound familiar to you because we talked a lot about this during the campaign. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. This was a major debate in the presidential campaign and in congressional campaigns all across the country. And a clear majority of Americans — not just Democrats, but also a lot of Republicans and a lot of independents — agreed we should have a balanced approach to deficit reduction that doesn’t hurt the economy and doesn’t hurt middle-class families. And I’m glad to see — if you’ve been reading the papers lately — that more and more Republicans in Congress seem to be agreeing with this idea that we should have a balanced approach.

So if both parties agree we should not raise taxes on middle-class families, let’s begin our work with where we agree. The Senate has already passed a bill that keeps income taxes from going up on middle-class families. Democrats in the House are ready to vote for that same bill today. And if we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way. I’ve got to repeat, I’ve got a pen. I’m ready to sign it. (Applause.)

So my point here today is to say let’s approach this problem with the middle class in mind — the folks who are behind me and the millions of people all across the country who they represent. The American people are watching what we do — middle-class families, folks who are working hard to get into the middle class — they’re watching what we do right now. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, when the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold, Congress listens.

Some of you may remember that a year ago, during our last big fight to protect middle-class families, tens of thousands of working Americans called and tweeted and emailed their representatives, asking them to do the right thing. And sure enough, it worked. The same thing happened earlier this year when college students across the country stood up and demanded that Congress keep rates low on their student loans. Congress got the message loud and clear and they made sure that interest rates on student loans did not go up.

So the lesson is that when enough people get involved, we have a pretty good track record of actually making Congress work. And that’s important, because this is our biggest challenge yet — and it’s one that we can only meet together.

So in the interest of making sure that everybody makes their voices heard, last week we asked people to tell us what would a $2,000 tax hike mean to them. Some families told us it would make it more difficult for them to send their kids to college. Others said it would make it tougher for them to cover the cost of prescription drugs. Some said it would make it tough for them to make their mortgage.

Lyn Lyon, who’s here, from Newport News — where’s Lyn? There she is. She just wants to see some cooperation in Washington. She wrote, “Let’s show the rest of the world that we’re adults and, living in a democracy, we can solve our problems by working together.”

So that’s what this debate is all about. And that’s why it’s so important that as many Americans as possible send a message that we need to keep moving forward. So today, I’m asking Congress to listen to the people who sent us here to serve. I’m asking Americans all across the country to make your voice heard. Tell members of Congress what a $2,000 tax hike would mean to you. Call your members of Congress, write them an email, post it on their Facebook walls. You can tweet it using the hashtag “My2K.” Not “Y2K.” (Laughter.) “My2K.” We figured that would make it a little easier to remember.

And I want to assure the American people I’m doing my part
— I’m sitting down with CEOs; I’m sitting down with labor leaders; I’m talking to leaders in Congress. I am ready and able and willing and excited to go ahead and get this issue resolved in a bipartisan fashion so that American families, American businesses have some certainty going into next year. And we can do it in a balanced and fair way, but our first job is to make sure that taxes on middle-class families don’t go up. And since we all theoretically agree on that, we should go ahead and get that done. (Applause.) If we get that done, a lot of the other stuff is going to be a lot easier.

So in light of just sort of spreading this message, I’m going to be visiting Pennsylvania on Friday to talk with folks at a small business there that are trying to make sure that they’re filling their Christmas orders. And I’ll go anywhere and I’ll do whatever it takes to get this done. It’s too important for Washington to screw this up. Now is the time for us to work on what we all agree to, which is let’s keep middle-class taxes low. That’s what our economy needs. That’s what the American people deserve.

And if we get this part of it right, then a lot of the other issues surrounding deficit reduction in a fair and balanced and responsible way are going to be a whole lot easier. And if we get this wrong, the economy is going to go south. It’s going to be much more difficult for us to balance our budgets and deal with our deficits because if the economy is not strong, that means more money is going out in things like unemployment insurance, and less money is coming in, in terms of tax receipts. And it just actually makes our deficit worse.

So we really need to get this right. I can only do it with the help of the American people. So, tweet — what was that again — “My2K” — tweet using the hashtag “My2K,” or email, post it on a member of Congress’s Facebook wall. Do what it takes to communicate a sense of urgency. We don’t have a lot of time here. We’ve got a few weeks to get this thing done. We could get it done tomorrow. Now, optimistically, I don’t think we’re going to get it done tomorrow — (laughter) — but I tell you, if everybody here goes out of their way to make their voices heard, and spread the word to your friends and your family, your coworkers, your neighbors, then I am confident we will get it done. And we will put America on the right track not just for next year but for many years to come. All right?

Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.) Appreciate it.
END
12:12 P.M. EST

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