CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016
Sarah Palin Donald Trump Interview on One America News Network OANN
Source: Politics and More, 8-28-15
Source: Politics and More, 8-28-15
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 29, 2015
Source: Bush Center, 8-28-15
New Orleans, Louisiana
(August 28, 2015) —
Thank you all. As has been mentioned, in 2006 Laura and I came here to Warren Easton Charter High School a year after Katrina hit, and we are honored and pleased to be back on the tenth anniversary of that devastating storm. I can’t think of a better place to come here in New Orleans, except for some of the restaurants. (Laughter.) The slogan that guided the school when we first visited is true today: “We believe in success.” And because of the success that schools like this have achieved, you have given all Americans reason to believe that New Orleans is back and better than ever.
Mr. Mayor, thank you for your hospitality. You and the First Lady have been so gracious to us, and we want to thank you for your leadership. If enthusiasm and a good strategy count, New Orleans is in good hands. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
By the way, I do bring greetings from one of the co-chairmen of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund: 41. (Laughter.) He had one of the great lines of all time. He said, “Who would have thought that getting out of bed at age 91 would be more dangerous than jumping out of an airplane at age 90?” (Laughter.)
I want to thank David Garland, President of the Warren Easton Charter Foundation Board. I want to thank all the folks who have shown up. As Laura said, we had a roundtable discussion. Many of our friends were there, people who we worked with. I think of Norman Francis for example, one of the great leaders of New Orleans, one of the great minds of New Orleans. (Applause.)
In spite of the devastation, we have many fond memories. I remember sitting with [General Russel] Honore on top one of those big ships, strategizing. I think you were drinking; I wasn’t of course. (Laughter.) It is great to see you. We’re honored that you took time to come.
Members of Congress, Members of the State House, Superintendent White, on and on: thank you for coming.
I really want to thank the leadership of the school. I’m going to talk about them here in a minute, although I must confess, the Principal is always a teacher. So she tried to teach me how to Second Line with the band here at Warren Easton. (Laughter.) I know she didn’t say it, but she was thinking, this boy needs a lot of work. (Laughter.) So we’re thrilled we’re here. Thanks for your hospitality.
In a cruel twist, Hurricane Katrina brought despair during what should have been a season of hope – the start of a new school year. Students who had recently gone back to school suddenly had no school to go back to. Many had nowhere to live. The floodwaters, as you all know better than most, claimed schools and homes alike. As Laura mentioned, the ground we’re on today was underwater. All of us who are old enough to remember will never forget the images of our fellow Americans amid a sea of misery and ruin. We will always remember the lives lost across the Gulf Coast. Their memories are in our hearts – and I hope you pray for their families.
Hurricane Katrina is a story of loss beyond measure; it is also a story of commitment and compassion. I hope you remember what I remember, and that is 30,000 people were saved in the immediate aftermath of the storm by U.S. military personnel, by Louisiana law enforcement, and by citizens who volunteered. I hope you remember what I remember, and that is the thousands who came here on a volunteer basis to provide food for the hungry and to help find shelter for those who had no home to live in. There are people all around our country who prayed for you, many of whom showed up so they could say they helped a fellow citizen who was hurting.
One of the groups that stepped forward to serve were the educators of New Orleans. At a time when it would have been easy to walk away from the wreckage, the educators here today thought of the children who would be left behind. You understood that bringing New Orleans back to life required getting students back to school. And even though some of the educators had lost almost everything you owned, you let nothing stand in your way. Today, we celebrate the resurgence of New Orleans schools – and we honor the resilience of a great American city whose levees gave out but whose people never gave up.
Out of the devastation of Katrina, you vowed to do more than just open the schools. You vowed to challenge the status quo. Long before the great flood, too many students in this city drifted from grade to grade without ever learning the skills needed for success. Parents lacked choices and the power to intervene. Principals and teachers lacked the authority to chart a more hopeful course. It was a system that stranded more than sixty percent of students failing in schools. It was what I called the soft bigotry of low expectations.
The decisions you made in the dark hours after Katrina sparked a decade of reform. Rather than just reopen the schools, you reorganized many into charter schools that are independently operated but publicly accountable for achieving high standards. More than nine in ten public school students in this city now call a charter school home. Administrators at these schools have the freedom to slice through red tape and the freedom to innovate. Parents at these schools have choices if dissatisfied. And the results at these schools have been extraordinary. The reason we know is because we measure, and any attempt to undermine accountability our school system is a huge disservice to the students who go to the schools in New Orleans. (Applause.)
According to a new report by the Cowen Institute, the percentage of New Orleans’ students graduating on time has soared since Katrina. The percentage of students who attend schools that score better than the state average almost doubled. And so has the percentage of students meeting basic standards. You’ve got to ask, why? It just didn’t happen. A lot of it’s structural, and a lot of it requires strong leadership – people who stared into the eye of a storm and who refused to back down. And so Laura and I are here in New Orleans to remind our country about what strong leadership means, and we’re here to salute the leaders.
I think of Jenny Rious here at Warren Easton. After Katrina, Jenny was forced to leave New Orleans; she started Warren Easton in Exile. The site reunited students scattered across the country around a vision for returning to New Orleans, and reopening this school. When Jenny returned to New Orleans, the first place she went was not her house. It was this school. And as she put it, “I would rather see my own house burn down than this school.” Jenny would give anything for Easton – and today, we give teachers like her our sincere thanks. (Applause.)
It’s amazing what happened in this city after a storm wiped out the school system. Educational entrepreneurs decided to do something about the devastation, and the failure. I met a lot of them when I was President, and subsequently. Neerav Kingsland is one such person. After Katrina, Neerav took a leadership role at an organization called New Schools for New Orleans, where he worked with others to help launch dozens of new schools and to turn ideas for reform into reality. In other words, this isn’t just a theoretical exercise. It’s important for people for our country to look at New Orleans and realize this is an exercise in implementing a plan which works.
Neerav was so encouraged by what he saw here, he was talking up the reforms that worked in New Orleans to other cities across the country. Isn’t that amazing – the storm nearly destroys New Orleans, now New Orleans is a beacon for school reform. (Applause.) Neerav represents the virtues that Bill Clinton and I had in mind when we announced the new Presidential Leadership Scholars program – and we are honored that Neerav was among the first class of scholars.
Achieving these results took librarians who salvaged their collections from the watery wreckage. Listen, I know something about librarians. (Laughter.) I married one. (Laughter.) I’m really proud of the Laura Bush Foundation. She talked about the grants; she talked about Pam and Marshall. These are citizens who supported this Foundation who, like many around the country, they care deeply about the future of this city. I hope the students here – and I’m really thrilled you’re here by the way, thank you for staying awake (laughter) – I hope you realize the compassion of others in helping you realize a good education.
It turns out that every good school that’s succeeding – and we know it’s succeeding, because we measure against other standards – requires strong principals. And there’s no doubt that Lexi Medley is a strong leader. (Applause.) I love when she says, “If you fail, we fail. The student is our product. We don’t believe in putting out anything but the best.” In order to succeed, in order to lead properly, you’ve got to set high goals and high expectations. And that’s what Lexi and this school have done. As you heard, this school has graduated 100 percent of its seniors for the past five years. (Applause.) Lexi, you’ve earned our admiration and our gratitude, along with our best wishes for a happy birthday tomorrow. (Laughter and Applause.)
In the stories of schools like yours, we see a determination to rebuild better than before. It’s a spirit much stronger than any storm. It’s a spirit that has lifted communities laid low by tornadoes or terrorist attacks. It’s a spirit that I saw in New Orleans ten years ago, and that is very evident today.
We see that spirit in a population that has ticked back up as families settle back down. We see it in tourists who are drawn not only by this city’s rich heritage but by the new hotel rooms and restaurants. And we see that spirit in Lauren LeDuff. As Lauren mentioned, Laura and I first met her in 2006 when she was a senior at Easton. She was happy to be back at the school she loved at the time – and you know what she told me? She said, “I want to be a teacher.” And here she is as a member of this faculty, teaching English. I probably needed her when I was in high school. (Laughter.) When asked how students have overcome adversity, Lauren says, “We teach our kids to be resilient. That’s in the culture of the city.”
Lauren is right. The resilience you teach at Warren Easton is the same resilience that this city showed the world in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. On this anniversary, the work of making a stronger and more hopeful New Orleans goes on. We have achieved a lot over the past ten years. And with belief in success and a faith in God, New Orleans will achieve even more. The darkness from a decade ago has lifted. The Crescent City has risen again. And its best days lie ahead. Thank you for having me. (Applause.)
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 28, 2015
Source: WH, 8-27-15
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE KATRINA
Andrew Sanchez Community Center
New Orleans, Louisiana
4:00 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody, have a seat. Hello, everybody! Where y’at? It is good to be back in the Big Easy. And this is the weather in August all the time, right? (Laughter.) As soon as I land in New Orleans, the first thing I do is get hungry. When I was here with the family a few years ago, I had a shrimp po-boy at Parkway Bakery and Tavern. I still remember it — that’s how good it was. And one day, after I leave office, maybe I’ll finally hear Rebirth at the Maple Leaf on Tuesday night. (Applause.) I’ll get a chance to “see the Mardi Gras,” and somebody will tell me what’s Carnival for. (Laughter.) But right now, I just go to meetings.
I want to thank Michelle for the introduction and, more importantly, for the great work she’s doing, what she symbolizes, and what she represents in terms of the city bouncing back. I want to acknowledge a great friend and somebody who has been working tirelessly on behalf of this city, and he’s following a family legacy of service — your mayor, Mitch Landrieu. (Applause.) Proud of him. And his beautiful wife, Cheryl. Senator Bill Cassidy is here. Where did Senator Cassidy go? There he is. (Applause.) Congressman Cedric Richmond. (Applause.) Where’s the Congressman? There he is over there. We’ve got a lifelong champion of Louisiana in your former senator, Mary Landrieu in the house. Mary! (Applause.) I want to acknowledge a great supporter to the efforts to recover and rebuild, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries from New York, who has traveled down here with us. (Applause.)
To all the elected officials from Louisiana and Mississippi who are here today, thank you so much for your reception.
I’m here to talk about a specific recovery. But before I begin to talk just about New Orleans, I want to talk about America’s recovery, take a little moment of presidential privilege to talk about what’s been happening in our economy. This morning, we learned that our economy grew at a stronger and more robust clip back in the spring than anybody knew at the time. The data always lags. We already knew that over the past five and a half years, our businesses have created 13 million new jobs. (Applause.) These new numbers that came out, showing that the economy was growing at a 3.7 percent clip, means that the United States of America remains an anchor of global strength and stability in the world — that we have recovered faster, more steadily, stronger than just about any economy after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
And it’s important for us to remember that strength. It’s been a volatile few weeks around the world. And there’s been a lot of reports in the news, and the stock market swinging, and worries about China and about Europe. But the United States of America, for all the challenges that we still have, continue to have the best cards. We just got to play them right.
Our economy has been moving, and continues to grow. And unemployment continues to come down. And our work is not yet done, but we have to have that sense of steadiness and vision and purpose in order to sustain this recovery so that it reaches everybody and not just some. It’s why we need to do everything we can in government to make sure our economy keeps growing. That requires Congress to protect our momentum — not kill it. Congress is about to come back from a six-week recess. The deadline to fund the government is, as always, the end of September. And so I want everybody just to understand that Congress has about a month to pass a budget that helps our economy grow. Otherwise, we risk shutting down the government and services that we all count on for the second time in two years. That would not be responsible. It does not have to happen.
Congress needs to fund America in a way that invests in our growth and our security, and not cuts us off at the knees by locking in mindless austerity or shortsighted sequester cuts to our economy or our military. I’ve said I will veto a budget like that. I think most Americans agree we’ve got to invest in, rather than cut, things like military readiness, infrastructure, schools, public health, the research and development that keeps our companies on the cutting edge.
That’s what great nations do. (Applause.) That’s what great nations do. And you know, eventually, we’re going to do it anyway, so let’s just do it without too much drama. (Laughter.) Let’s do it without another round of threats to shut down the government. (Applause.) Let’s not introduce unrelated partisan issues. Nobody gets to hold the American economy hostage over their own ideological demands. You, the people who send us to Washington, expect better. Am I correct? (Applause.)
So my message to Congress is: Pass a budget. Prevent a shutdown. Don’t wait until the last minute. Don’t worry our businesses or our workers by contributing unnecessarily to global uncertainty. Get it done, and keep the United States of America the anchor of global strength that we are and always should be.
Now, that’s a process of national recovery that from coast to coast we’ve been going through. But there’s been a specific process of recovery that is perhaps unique in my lifetime, right here in the state of Louisiana, right here in New Orleans. (Applause.)
Not long ago, our gathering here in the Lower 9 probably would have seemed unlikely. As I was flying here today with a homegirl from Louisiana, Donna Brazile, she was — she saved all the magazines, and she was whipping them out, and one of them was a picture of the Lower 9th right after the storm had happened. And the notion that there would be anything left seemed unimaginable at the time.
Today, this new community center stands as a symbol of the extraordinary resilience of this city, the extraordinary resilience of its people, the extraordinary resilience of the entire Gulf Coast and of the United States of America. You are an example of what is possible when, in the face of tragedy and in the face of hardship, good people come together to lend a hand, and, brick by brick, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, you build a better future.
And that, more than any other reason, is why I’ve come back here today — plus, Mitch Landrieu asked me to. (Laughter.) It’s been 10 years since Katrina hit, devastating communities in Louisiana and Mississippi, across the Gulf Coast. In the days following its landfall, more than 1,800 of our fellow citizens — men, women and children — lost their lives. Some folks in this room may have lost a loved one in that storm.
Thousands of people saw their homes destroyed, livelihoods wiped out, hopes and dreams shattered. Many scattered in exodus to cities across the country, and too many still haven’t returned. Those who stayed and lived through that epic struggle still feel the trauma sometimes of what happened. As one woman from Gentilly recently wrote me, “A deep part of the whole story is the grief.” So there’s grief then and there’s still some grief in our hearts.
Here in New Orleans, a city that embodies a celebration of life, suddenly seemed devoid of life. A place once defined by color and sound — the second line down the street, the crawfish boils in backyards, the music always in the air — suddenly it was dark and silent. And the world watched in horror. We saw those rising waters drown the iconic streets of New Orleans. Families stranded on rooftops. Bodies in the streets. Children crying, crowded in the Superdome. An American city dark and under water.
And this was something that was supposed to never happen here — maybe somewhere else. But not here, not in America. And we came to realize that what started out as a natural disaster became a manmade disaster — a failure of government to look out for its own citizens. And the storm laid bare a deeper tragedy that had been brewing for decades because we came to understand that New Orleans, like so many cities and communities across the country, had for too long been plagued by structural inequalities that left too many people, especially poor people, especially people of color, without good jobs or affordable health care or decent housing. Too many kids grew up surrounded by violent crime, cycling through substandard schools where few had a shot to break out of poverty. And so like a body weakened already, undernourished already, when the storm hit, there was no resources to fall back on.
Shortly after I visited — shortly after the storm, I visited with folks not here because we couldn’t distract local recover efforts. Instead, I visited folks in a shelter in Houston — many who had been displaced. And one woman told me, “We had nothing before the hurricane. And now we have less than nothing.” We had nothing before the hurricane — now we had less than nothing.
And we acknowledge this loss, and this pain, not to dwell on the past, not to wallow in grief; we do it to fortify our commitment and to bolster our hope, to understand what it is that we’ve learned, and how far we’ve come.
Because this is a city that slowly, unmistakably, together, is moving forward. Because the project of rebuilding here wasn’t just to restore the city as it had been. It was to build a city as it should be — a city where everyone, no matter what they look like, how much money they’ve got, where they come from, where they’re born has a chance to make it. (Applause.)
And I’m here to say that on that larger project of a better, stronger, more just New Orleans, the progress that you have made is remarkable. The progress you’ve made is remarkable. (Applause.)
That’s not to say things are perfect. Mitch would be the first one to say that. We know that African Americans and folks in hard-hit parishes like Plaquemines and St. Bernard are less likely to feel like they’ve recovered. Certainly we know violence still scars the lives of too many youth in this city. As hard as rebuilding levees are, as hard as —
PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) mental health.
THE PRESIDENT: I agree with that. But I’ll get to that. Thank you, ma’am.
As hard as rebuilding levees is, as hard as rebuilding housing is, real change — real lasting, structural change — that’s even harder. And it takes courage to experiment with new ideas and change the old ways of doing things. That’s hard. Getting it right, and making sure that everybody is included and everybody has a fair shot at success — that takes time. That’s not unique to New Orleans. We’ve got those challenges all across the country.
But I’m here to say, I’m here to hold up a mirror and say because of you, the people of New Orleans, working together, this city is moving in the right direction. And I have never been more confident that together we will get to where we need to go. You inspire me. (Applause.)
Your efforts inspire me. And no matter how hard it’s been and how hard and how long the road ahead might seem, you’re working and building and striving for a better tomorrow. I see evidence of it all across this city. And, by the way, along the way, the people of New Orleans didn’t just inspire me, you inspired all of America. Folks have been watching what’s happened here, and they’ve seen a reflection of the very best of the American spirit.
As President, I’ve been proud to be your partner. Across the board, I’ve made the recovery and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast a priority. I made promises when I was a senator that I’d help. And I’ve kept those promises. (Applause.)
We’re cutting red tape to help you build back even stronger. We’re taking the lessons we’ve learned here, we’ve applied them across the country, including places like New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.
If Katrina was initially an example of what happens when government fails, the recovery has been an example of what’s possible when government works together — (applause) — state and local, community — everybody working together as true partners.
Together, we’ve delivered resources to help Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida rebuild schools and hospitals, roads, police and fire stations, restore historic buildings and museums. And we’re building smarter, doing everything from elevating homes to retrofitting buildings to improving drainage, so that our communities are better prepared for the next storm.
Working together, we’ve transformed education in this city. Before the storm, New Orleans public schools were largely broken, leaving generations of low-income kids without a decent education. Today, thanks to parents and educators, school leaders, nonprofits, we’re seeing real gains in achievement, with new schools, more resources to retain and develop and support great teachers and principals. We have data that shows before the storm, the high school graduation rate was 54 percent. Today, it’s up to 73 percent. (Applause.) Before the storm, college enrollment was 37 percent. Today, it’s almost 60 percent. (Applause.) We still have a long way to go, but that is real progress. New Orleans is coming back better and stronger.
Working together, we’re providing housing assistance to more families today than before the storm, with new apartments and housing vouchers. And we will keep working until everybody who wants to come home can come home. (Applause.)
Together, we’re building a New Orleans that is as entrepreneurial as any place in the country, with a focus on expanding job opportunities and making sure that more people benefit from a growing economy here. We’re creating jobs to rebuild the city’s transportation infrastructure, expanding training programs for industries like high-tech manufacturing, but also water management, because we’ve been building some good water management around here and we want to make sure everybody has access to those good, well-paying jobs. Small businesses like Michelle’s are growing. It’s small businesses like hers that are helping to fuel 65 straight months of private sector job growth in America. That’s the longest streak in American history. (Applause.)
Together, we’re doing more to make sure that everyone in this city has access to great health care. More folks have access to primary care at neighborhood clinics so that they can get the preventive care that they need. We’re building a brand new VA Medical Center downtown, alongside a thriving biosciences corridor that’s attracting new jobs and investment. We are working to make sure that we have additional mental health facilities across the city and across the country, and more people have access to quality, affordable health care –- some of the more than 16 million Americans who have gained health insurance over the past few years. (Applause.)
All of this progress is the result of the commitment and drive of the people of this region. I saw that spirit today. Mitch and I started walking around a little bit. Such a nice day outside. And we went to Faubourg Lafitte, we were in Tremé, and we saw returning residents living in brand new homes, mixed income — new homes near schools and clinics and parks, child care centers; more opportunities for working families.
We saw that spirit today at Willie Mae’s Scotch House. After Katrina had destroyed that legendary restaurant, some of the best chefs from the country decided America could not afford to lose such an important place. So they came down here to help — helped rebuild. And I just sampled some of her fried chicken. (Laughter.) It was really good. (Laughter.) Although I did get a grease spot on my suit. (Laughter.) But that’s okay. If you come to New Orleans and you don’t have a grease spot somewhere — (applause) — then you didn’t enjoy the city. Just glad I didn’t get it on my tie. (Laughter.)
We all just heard that spirit of New Orleans in the remarkable young people from Roots of Music. (Applause.) When the storm washed away a lot of middle school music programs, Roots of Music helped fill that gap. And today, it’s building the next generation of musical talent — the next Irma Thomas, or the next Trombone Shorty, or the next Dr. John. (Applause.) There’s a Marsalis kid in here somewhere. How you doing?
And I saw it in the wonderful young men I met earlier who are part of “NOLA for Life,” which is focused on reducing the number of murders in the city of New Orleans. (Applause.) This is a program that works with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative to make sure that all young people, and particularly our boys and young men of color who so disproportionately are impacted by crime and violence, have the opportunity to fulfill their full potential.
In fact, after the storm, this city became a laboratory for urban innovation across the board. And we’ve been tackling with you, as a partner, all sorts of major challenges — fighting poverty, supporting our homeless veterans. And as a result, New Orleans has become a model for the nation as the first city, the first major city to end veterans’ homelessness — (applause) — which is a remarkable achievement.
You’re also becoming a model for the nation when it comes to disaster response and resilience. We learned lessons from Katrina. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed stricter standards, more advanced techniques for levees. Here in Louisiana, we built a $14 billion system of improved levees and pump stations and gates — a system that stood the test of Hurricane Isaac.
We’ve revamped FEMA — and I just have to say, by the way, there’s a man named Craig Fugate who runs FEMA — (applause) — and has been doing extraordinary work, and his team, all across the country, every time there’s a disaster. I love me some Craig Fugate. (Laughter.) Although it’s a little disturbing — he gets excited when there are disasters — (laughter) — because he gets restless if everything is just quiet. But under his leadership, we’ve revamped FEMA into a stronger, more efficient agency. In fact, the whole federal government has gotten smarter at preventing and recovering from disasters, and serving as a better partner to local and state governments.
And as I’ll talk about next week, when I visit Alaska, making our communities more resilient is going to be increasingly important, because we’re going to see more extreme weather events as the result of climate change — deeper droughts, deadlier wildfires, stronger storms. That’s why, in addition to things like new and better levees, we’ve also been investing in restoring wetlands and other natural systems that are just as critical for storm protection.
So we’ve made a lot of progress over the past 10 years. You’ve made a lot of progress. That gives us hope. But it doesn’t allow for complacency. It doesn’t mean we can rest. Our work here won’t be done when almost 40 percent of children still live in poverty in this city. That’s not a finished job. That’s not a full recovery. Our work won’t be done when a typical black household earns half the income of white households in this city. The work is not done yet. (Applause.)
Our work is not done when there’s still too many people who have yet to find good, affordable housing, and too many people — especially African American men — who can’t find a job. Not when there are still too many people who haven’t been able to come back home; folks who, around the country, every day, live the words sung by Louis Armstrong, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”
But the thing is, the people of New Orleans, there’s something in you guys that is just irrepressible. You guys have a way of making a way out of no way. (Applause.) You know the sun comes out after every storm. You’ve got hope — especially your young people reflect hope — young people like Victor York-Carter. Where’s Victor? Victor York-Carter. Stand up, Victor. I was just talking to Victor. I had some lunch with him. He’s this fine young man that I just met with. (Applause.) Stand up — everybody. See, these are the guys who I ate chicken with. (Applause.) Really impressive — have overcome more than their fair share of challenges, but are still focused on the future. Yes, sit down. I don’t want you to start getting embarrassed. (Laughter.)
So I’ll just give you one example. Victor grew up in the 8th Ward. Gifted art student, loved math. He was 13 when Katrina hit. And he remembers waking up to what looked like something out of a disaster movie. He and his family waded across the city, towing his younger brother in a trash can to keep him afloat.
They were eventually evacuated to Texas. Six months later, they returned, and the city was almost unrecognizable. Victor saw his peers struggling to cope, many of them still traumatized, their lives still disordered. So he joined an organization called Rethink to help young people get more involved in rebuilding New Orleans. And recently, he finished a coding bootcamp at Operation Spark; today, he’s studying to earn a high-tech job. He wants to introduce more young people to science and technology and civics so that they have the tools to change the world.
And so Victor and these young men that I just met with, they’ve overcome extraordinary odds. They’ve lived through more than most of us will ever have to endure. (Applause.) They’ve made some mistakes along the way. But for all that they’ve been through, they have been just as determined to improve their own lives, to take responsibility for themselves, but also to try to see if they can help others along the way.
So when I talk to young men like that, that gives me hope. It’s still hard. I told them they can’t get down on themselves. Tough stuff will happen along the way. But if they’ve come this far, they can keep on going. (Applause.)
And Americans like you — the people of New Orleans, young men like this — you’re what recovery has been all about. You’re why I’m confident that we can recover from crisis and start to move forward. You’ve helped this country recover from a crisis and helped it move forward. You’re the reason 13 million new jobs have been created. You’re the reason the unemployment rate fell from 10 percent to 5.3. You’re the reason that layoffs are near an all-time low. You’re the reason the uninsured rate is at an all-time low and the high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, and the deficit has been cut by two-thirds, and two wars are over. (Applause.) And nearly 180,000 American troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have now gone down to 15,000. And a clean energy revolution is helping to save this planet.
You’re the reason why justice has expanded and now we’re focused on making sure that everybody is treated fairly under the law, and why people have the freedom to marry whoever they love from sea to shining sea. (Applause.)
I tell you, we’re moving into the next presidential cycle and the next political season, and you will hear a lot of people telling you everything that’s wrong with America. And that’s okay. That’s a proper part of our democracy. One of the things about America is we’re never satisfied. We keep pushing forward. We keep asking questions. We keep challenging our government. We keep challenging our leaders. We keep looking for the next set of challenges to tackle. We find what’s wrong because we have confidence that we can fix it.
But it’s important that we remember what’s right, and what’s good, and what’s hopeful about this country. It’s worth remembering that for all the tragedy, for the all images of Katrina in those first few days, in those first few months, look at what’s happened here. It’s worth remembering the thousands of Americans like Michelle, and Victor, and Mrs. Willie Mae and the folks who rallied around her — Americans all across this country who when they saw neighbors and friends or strangers in need came to help. And people who today still spend their time every day helping others — rolling up their sleeves, doing the hard work of changing this country without the need for credit or the need for glory; don’t get their name in the papers, don’t see their day in the sun, do it because it’s right.
These Americans live the basic values that define this country — the value we’ve been reminded of in these past 10 years as we’ve come back from a crisis that changed this city, and an economic crisis that spread throughout the nation — the basic notion that I am my brother’s keeper, and I am my sister’s keeper, and that we look out for each other and that we’re all in this together.
That’s the story of New Orleans — but that’s also the story of America — a city that, for almost 300 years, has been the gateway to America’s soul. Where the jazz makes you cry, the funerals make you dance — (laughter) — the bayou makes you believe all kinds of things. (Laughter.) A place that has always brought together people of all races and religions and languages. And everybody adds their culture and their flavor into this city’s gumbo. You remind our nation that for all of our differences, in the end, what matters is we’re all in the same boat. We all share a similar destiny.
If we stay focused on that common purpose, if we remember our responsibility to ourselves but also our responsibilities and obligations to one another, we will not just rebuild this city, we will rebuild this country. We’ll make sure not just these young men, but every child in America has a structure and support and love and the kind of nurturing that they need to succeed. We’ll leave behind a city and a nation that’s worthy of generations to come.
That’s what you’ve gotten started. Now we got to finish the job.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
4:36 P.M. CDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 27, 2015
Source: Time, 8-6-15
Seven Republican presidential candidates met for an undercard debate on Fox News Thursday night.
The candidates who did not make the main debate due to low poll numbers hit each other, Donald Trump and President Obama during an hour-long debate that began at 5 p.m., nicknamed the “happy hour debate.”
At the debate: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore and former New York Gov. George Pataki.
The moderators were Fox News anchors Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.
Here is a complete transcript of the debate.
HEMMER: This is first official event in the campaign for the Republican nomination for president. Welcome to Cleveland Ohio. It is debate night.
HEMMER: I’m Bill Hemmer.
MACCALLUM: And I’m Martha MacCallum.
It all starts here. We are ready, the candidates are ready. We’re live at the Quicken Loans Arena, where we have partnered with Facebook to bring you, the voter, into today’s debate.
HEMMER: So you will hear from all 17 candidates tonight, and you’ll meet seven of them right now, starting with three-time governor in the state of Texas, Rick Perry.
MACCALLUM: Also, two-time senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.
HEMMER: Two-time. Two-time governor of the State of Louisiana, Acting Governor Bobby Jindal.
HEMMER: So you will hear from all 17 candidates tonight, and you’ll meet seven of them right now, starting with three-time governor in the state of Texas, Rick Perry.
MACCALLUM: Also, two-time senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.
HEMMER: Two-time. Two-time governor of the State of Louisiana, Acting Governor Bobby Jindal.
MACCALLUM: Businesswoman and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina.
HEMMER: The senior senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham.
MACCALLUM: Former three-term governor of New York, George Pataki.
HEMMER: And former Virginia governor, Jim Gilmore.
MACCALLUM: Now, this debate will last one hour. We’re going to have four commercial breaks.
MACCALLUM: Each candidate will have one minute to anwer each question and 30 seconds for rebuttal. If you run out of time, you’re going to hear this.
MACCALLUM: Everybody got the bell?
HEMMER: Wait til you hear what the others are going to get later, huh?
HEMMER: One year from now, a Republican nominee will be standing on this stage in this very same arena. That person is in Cleveland today.
So let’s get started. First topic, electability.
First question to Governor Perry from Texas.
PERRY: It’s good to be with you.
HEMMER: You were in charge of the 12th largest economy in the world, and you recently said that four years ago, you weren’t ready for this job.
HEMMER: Why should someone vote for you now?
PERRY: After those four years of looking back and being prepared, the preparation to be the most powerful individual in the world requires an extraordinary amount of work: not just having been the governor of the 12th largest economy in the world, which I might add, we added 1.5 million jobs during that period of time over that 2007 through 2014 period, a period when America was going through the most deep recession it had been through since the Great Depression.
I think Americans want someone to have a track record of showing them how to get this country back on record, someone who will stand up and every day project that best days of America are in front of us.
And I will assure you, as the governor of the state of Texas, and as those last four years have shown me, the preparation to be ready to stand on this stage and talk about those monetary policies, those domestic policies, and those foreign policies, Americans are going to see that I am ready to be that individual.
HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.
MACCALLUM: Now we go to Carly Fiorina.
Carly, you were CEO of Hewlett-Packard. You ran for Senate and lost in California in 2010. This week, you said “Margaret Thatcher was not content to manage a great nation in decline, and neither am I.”
Given your current standings in the polls, is the Iron Lady comparison a stretch?
FIORINA: Well, I would begin by reminding people that at this point in previous presidential elections, Jimmy Carter couldn’t win, Ronald Reagan couldn’t win, Bill Clinton couldn’t win, and neither could’ve Barack Obama.
I started as a secretary and became ultimately the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world, almost $90 billion in over 150 countries. I know personally how extraordinary and unique this nation is.
I think to be commander in chief in the 21st century requires someone who understands how the economy works, someone who understands how the world works and who’s in it; I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton; understands bureaucracies, how to cut them down to size and hold them accountable; and understands technology, which is a tool, but it’s also a weapon that’s being used against us.
Most importantly, I think I understand leadership, which sometimes requires a tough call in a tough time. But mostly, the highest calling of leadership is to challenge the status-quo and unlock the potential of others. We need a leader who will lead the resurgence of this great nation and unlock its potential once again.
HEMMER: Senator Santorum, you won the Iowa caucus four years ago and 10 other states. But you failed to beat Mitt Romney for the nomination. And no one here tonight is going to question your conviction or your love for country. But has your moment passed, Senator?
SANTORUM: You know, we didn’t start out four years ago at the top of the heap. We were behind where we were today. But we stuck to our message. We stuck to the fact that Americans are tired of Washington corporate interests and Democrats who are interested in just politics and power and they’re looking for someone who’s going to fight for them; looking for someone who’s going to grow manufacturing sector of our economy, so those 74 percent of Americans who don’t have a college degree have a chance to rise again. Someone who’s going to stand up, and be very clear with our enemies as to the lines their going to draw and stand with them.
I’ve got a track record. The reason I did so well last time is not just because of the vision, it’s because I have a track record in Washington, D.C. of getting things done. Iran sanctions — the Iran sanctions that brought them to the table, those are sanctions that we put in place when I was in the United States Senate, and a whole host of other things that put me in a position of saying, I not only have a great vision, but I can govern effectively in Washington.
HEMMER: Thank you, Senator.
MACCALLUM: Governor Jindal, you’re one of two sitting governors on the stage tonight. But your approval numbers at home are in the mid 30s at this point. In a recent poll that showed you in a head-to- head against Hillary Clinton in Louisiana, she beat you by several points.
So if the people of Louisiana are not satisfied, what makes you think that the people of this nation would be?
JINDAL: Well, first of all, thank you all for having us.
You know, I won two record elections. Last time I was elected governor, won a record margin in my state. Martha, we got a lot of politicians that will kiss babies, cut ribbons, do whatever it takes to be popular. That’s not why I ran for office.
I ran for office to make the generational changes in Louisiana. We’ve cut 26 percent of our budget. We have 30,000 fewer state bureaucrats than the day I took office. I don’t think anybody has cut that much government anywhere, at any time. As a result, eight credit upgrades; as a result, a top ten state for private sector job creation. And we fought for statewide school choice, where the dollars follow the child, instead of the child following the dollars. We’ve been the most pro-life state six years in a row. My point is this: I won two landslide elections, I made big changes. I think our country is tired of the politicians who simply read the polls and fail to lead. Both Democrats and Republicans have gotten us in the mess we’re in — $18 trillion of debt, a bad deal with Iran, we’re not staying with Israel.
I think the American people are look for real leadership. That’s what I’ve done in Louisiana, that’s what I’ll do in America.
HEMMER: Senator Lindsey Graham, you worked with Democrats and President Obama when it came to climate change, something you know is extremely unpopular with conservative Republicans.
How can they trust you based on that record?
GRAHAM: You can trust me to do the following: that when I get on change with Hillary Clinton, we won’t be debating about the science, we’ll be debating about the solutions. In her world, cap- and-trade would dominate, that we will destroy the economy in the name of helping the environment. In my world, we’ll focus on energy independence and a clean environment.
When it comes to fossil fuels, we’re going to find more here and use less. Over time, we’re going to become energy independent. I am tired of sending $300 billion overseas to buy oil from people who hate our guts. The choice between a weak economy and a strong environment is a false choice, that is not the choice I’ll offer America.
A healthy environment, a strong economy and energy independent America — that would be the purpose of my presidency, is break the strangle hold that people enjoy on fossil fuels who hate our guts.
HEMMER: Thank you, Senator.
MACCALLUM: Governor Pataki, four years ago this month, you called it quits in a race for the presidency in 2012, but now you’re back. Mitt Romney declined to run this time, because he believed that the party needed new blood.
Does he have a point?
PATAKI: I think he means somebody who hasn’t been a career politician, and who’s been out of office for awhile. I think the last eight years in the private sector have allowed me to see government from the outside, and I think that is a positive thing. Yes, I thought about running four years ago. I was ready to lead, but I wasn’t ready to run.
But I look at this country today, and I look at how divided we are, I look at how politicians are always posturing and issuing sound bites but never solving problems. What I did in New York was bring people together, an overwhelmingly Democratic state. But I was able to get Democrats to support the most conservative sweeping policy changes in any state in America.
And when I look at Washington today, we need to bring us together. We need to solve problems, we need to rebuild our military so we can stand up to radical Islam, we need to get our economy growing much faster by throwing out the corrupt tax code and lowering the rates. We have to end crony capitalism in Washington, where the lobbyists and the powerful can get tax breaks and tax credits, and the American people don’t get laws in their interest.
I can do that. And I can do it regardless of what the makeup of Congress is because I did it in New York state. So we need new leadership — yes. I will be that new leader.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Governor.
From one side of the stage, the other — the other, Governor Jim Gilmore.
You were the last person on stage to declare your candidacy. You ran for the White House once and lost. You ran for the Senate one time and lost. You haven’t held public office in 13 years.
Similar question, is it time for new blood?
GILMORE: I think the times are different now. I think the times are much more serious.
Because Obama and Clinton policies, the United States is moving further and further into a decline. I want to reverse that decline. That’s why I’ve entered this race, and I think I have the experience to do it.
Former elected prosecutor, attorney general, governor, I was elected to all of those offices.
A person who, in fact, has a long experience in foreign-policy issues, which is different from many of the other governors and prospective governors who are running. I was an Army intelligence agent and a veteran during the Cold War, assigned to West Germany.
I was the chairman of the National Commission on Homeland Security and Terrorism for the United States for five years. I was a person who has dealt extensively with these homeland security issues. I was a governor during the 9/11 attack.
I understand both of these issues, how to build the economy and doing that as a governor who’d built jobs, had cut taxes and also a governor who understands foreign-policy, and that’s why I entered this race.
HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.
MACCALLUM: Alright, everybody. Now to the elephant that is not in the room tonight, Donald Trump.
Let’s take a look at this graphic that shows the huge amount of political chatter that he is driving on Facebook right now, some of it good, probably, some of it bad. But he is dominating this conversation. Governor Perry, you two have been going at it. But given the large disparity in your poll numbers, he seems to be getting the better of you.
PERRY: Well, when you look at the celebrity of Donald Trump, then I think that says a lot about it.
One thing I like to remind people is, back in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was leading the polls for almost a year. I’ll suggest a part of that was his celebrity. Fred Thompson was the other one, a man who had spent a lot of time on that screen.
I’ve had my issues with Donald Trump. I talked about Donald Trump from the standpoint of being an individual who was using his celebrity rather than his conservatism.
How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single- payer health care? I mean, I ask that with all due respect. And nobody, nobody on either one of these stages has done more than I’ve done and the people of the State of Texas to deal with securing that border.
We sent our Texas ranger recon teams. We sent our parks and wildlife wardens. I deployed the National Guard after I stood on the ramp in Dallas, Texas and looked the president of the United States in the eye and said, “Mr. President, if you won’t secure the border, Texas will,” and that’s exactly what we did.
We need a president that doesn’t just talk a game, but a president that’s got real results.
MACCALLUM: Alright, I want to ask that same question, because it’s true, really, of all of you on this stage that, like it or not, Donald Trump is — there’s a huge disparity between the poll numbers that you have and the poll numbers that he has, given also the fact that Rudy Giuliani said he thought that there may be some Reagan qualities to Donald Trump.
So Carly Fiorina, is he getting the better of you?
FIORINA: Well, I don’t know. I didn’t get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn’t. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t given money to the foundation or donated to his wife’s Senate campaign.
Here’s the thing that I would ask Donald Trump in all seriousness. He is the party’s frontrunner right now, and good for him.
I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel. They’re sick of politics as usual. You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would resolved, the political class has failed you. That’s just a fact, and that’s what Donald Trump taps into.
I would also just say this. Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion, I would just ask, what are the principles by which he will govern?
MACCALLUM: Thank you.
HEMMER: This Saturday, August 8th, two days from now marks one year since the strikes began against ISIS in Iraq and followed in Syria one month later. This week, a leading general in the U.S. Marine Corps says, “One year later, that fight is at a stalemate.”
Governor Jindal, give me one example how your fight against ISIS would be different over there?
JINDAL: Well, to start with, unlike President Obama, I’ll actually name the enemy that we confront. We’ve got a president who cannot bring himself to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Now, Bill, he loves to criticize America, apologize for us, criticize medieval Christians. How can we beat an enemy if our commander-in-chief doesn’t have the moral honesty and clarity to say that Islam has a problem, and that problem is radical Islam, to say they’ve got to condemn not generic acts of violence, but the individual murderers who are committing these acts of violence.
We’ve got a president who instead says, we’re going to change hearts and minds. Well, you know what? Sometimes you win a war by killing murderous, evil terrorists. We’re going to take the political handcuffs off the military. We will arm and train the Kurds. We will work with our Sunni allies. They know we will be committed to victory.
We had this failed red line with Assad and it discouraged folks that want to help us on the ground. Finally, we’ll take off the political handcuffs. We’ll go to the Congress. This president has gone to Congress and said give me a three-year deadline, give me a ban on ground troops. I’m going to go to the commanders and say give me a plan to win. You can’t send your troops into harm’s way unless you give them every opportunity to be successful.
HEMMER: And the senator to your right has called for 20,000 American troops in Syria and Iraq so far today, Senator Graham, and I’ll give this question to you. Why should the American people after two wars in Iraq sacrifice yet again on a third war?
GRAHAM: If we don’t stop them over there, they are coming here just as sure as I stand here in front of you.
One thing I want to be clear about tonight. If you’re running for president of the United States and you don’t understand that we need more American ground forces in Iraq and that America has to be part of a regional ground force that will go into Syria and destroy ISIL in Syria, then you’re not ready to be commander in chief. And you’re not serious about destroying ISIL.
According to the generals that I know and trust, this air campaign will not destroy ISIL. We need a ground force in Iraq and Syria, and America has to be part of that ground force. According to the FBI and the director of national intelligence, Syria’s becoming a perfect platform to strike our nation. I’ve got a very simple strategy as your president against ISIL. Whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat them.
HEMMER: Senator, thank you.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let’s get to our first commercial break. There is plenty more to discuss tonight. Coming up, immigration, more on ISIS and homeland security as well as we continue live tonight from Cleveland, Ohio.
HEMMER: It is debate night, and welcome back to Cleveland, Ohio. Let’s get back to the questions right now with Martha.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let’s talk about ISIS and the threat to the homeland that we have seen growing in recent months. This goes to Governor Pataki.
Sixty-nine ISIS-inspired terrorists have been arrested in this country, in homeland plots, and the FBI assures us that there are likely many more to come.
The president is reluctant to label these terrorists Islamic extremists, but you’ve said that you have no problem with that label. Then comes the hard part.
So here’s the question. How far are you willing to go to root out this problem here at home? Would you put mosques, for example, potentially, under surveillance? And keep in mind that conservatives are increasingly concerned in this country with religious liberty.
PATAKI: Martha, religious liberty doesn’t include encouraging a fellow American to engage in violent jihad and kill an American here. That is not protected free speech. That is not protected religious belief.
That is like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, and that is illegal, and I would do everything in our power not just to go after those who are here who we know who are here, before they can radicalize other Americans to carry out attacks, and it’s not just the ones they’ve arrested.
Think back to Garland, Texas. But for that Texas police officer, we could have had a mass murder. We have to shut down their internet capability. We have to shut down, whether or not they’re in prisons preaching or on — in mosques preaching. No radical Islam that is allowed to engage in encouraging violence against Americans, that is not protected speech.
Let me just add one thing about ISIS over there. We have got to destroy their training camps and recruiting centers.
I was governor of New York on September 11. I know that we are at greater risk today than at any time since then of another attack. We have got to destroy their training camps over there before they can attack us here.
I don’t agree that we’re going to occupy and spend another decade or a trillion dollars. What we need to do is destroy their ability to attack us here over there, and then get out.
You know, I have two sons. Both served. One as a marine officer in Iraq, one as an army officer in Afghanistan. I do not see — want to see one parent or loved one worrying about getting a call in the middle of the night.
I would not place one American life at risk unless it was absolutely necessary. But to destroy ISIS, it is necessary.
MACCALLUM: All right. This question to Carly Fiorina. The FBI director Comey says that terrorists can thrive here at home because they go dark and they recruit behind the cyber walls that are built by American companies like Google and Apple.
Comey says this is a big problem. Rand Paul says that the government forcing these companies to bring down those walls would be a big privacy issue and a dangerous way to go on this. You’ve been a tech leader in this country. Which side are you on?
FIORINA: Let me say first that it is disturbing that every time one of these home-grown terrorist attacks occurs, and, as your question points out, they are occurring with far too great frequency, it turns out we had warning signals.
It turns out we knew something was wrong. It turns out some dot wasn’t connected, and so the first thing we have to do is make sure that everyone and every responsible agency is attuned to all of these possibilities and symptoms.
We even had warnings about the Boston Marathon bombers, and yet the dots weren’t connected. So we need to get on a different mindset.
Secondly, I certainly support that we need to tear down cyber walls, not on a mass basis, but on a targeted basis. But let me just say that we also need down — to tear down the cyber walls that China is erecting, that Russia is erecting.
FIORINA: We need to be very well aware of the fact that China and Russia are using technology to attack us, just as ISIS is using technology to recruit those who would murder American citizens. I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen’s privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are — are already a problem. But yes, there is more collaboration required between private sector companies and the public sector. And specifically, we know that we could have detected and repelled some of these cyber attacks if that collaboration had been permitted. A law has been sitting — languishing, sadly, on Capitol Hill and has not yet been passed, and it would help.
MACCALLUM: So, would you tonight call for Google and Apple to cooperate in these Investigations and let the FBI, in where they need to go?
FIORINA: I absolutely would call on them to collaborate and cooperate, yes.
HEMMER: Excuse me, Martha. I have not heard the bell just yet, so you’re all very well behaved so far.
Governor Gilmore, 30 seconds.
GILMORE: Well, yes, indeed. I chaired the National Commission on Homeland Security Committee for United States. We warned about the 9/11 attack before the 9/11 attack occurred. I was the governor during the 9/11 attack when the Pentagon was struck.
And I’m going to tell you this, we need to use the benefit of our law enforcement people across this country, combined with our intelligence people across this country. We need to use our technological advantages, because what we’ve warned of is an international guerrilla movement that threatens this country. It’s going to happen in this country, there are going to be further attacks.
We have to be prepared to defend the American people, prepare them for a long war, stand up for the defense of this country, and stand up for the values of this country…
HEMMER: Thank you, Governor. I’ve got to move on to immigration here.
Senator Santorum, you would argue you have one of the tougher positions on illegal immigration in the entire 17 candidate field at the moment. We often talk about this issue on the abstract level in Washington, D.C., but you know how it’s being talked about in states like Iowa and New Hampshire among illegals in our country today — 11 million plus.
And some are asking, what would you say to a child, born and raised in America, who could see their family broken apart by your policy?
SANTORUM: My father was born in Italy, and shortly after he was born my grandfather immigrated to this country. And under the laws of this country, he wasn’t allowed to be with his father for seven years. Spent the first seven years of his life in Fascist Italy, under Benito Mussolini. Not a very pleasant place to be.
I asked my dad after — obviously, when I found out about this. And I said, “Didn’t you resent America for not letting you be with your father in those formative and very threatening years?” You know what he said to me? “America was worth the wait.”
We’re a country of laws, Bill. We’re a country of laws, not of men, not of people who do whatever they want to do. I know we have a president who wants to do whatever he wants to do, and take his pen and his phone and just tell everybody what he thinks is best. But the reason America is a great country, the reason is because our compassion is in our laws. And when we live by those laws and we treat everybody equally under the law, that’s when people feel good about being Americans.
And I put forth an immigration policy that is as strong in favor of the folks who are struggling in America the most than anybody else. It’s the strongest pro-worker immigration plan. It says that after 35 million people have come here over the last 20 years, almost all of whom are unskilled workers, flattening wages, creating horrible opportunity — a lack of opportunities for unskilled workers, we’re going to do something about reducing the level of immigration by 25 percent.
We’re going to be tough at the border, we’re going to be tough on all of the illegal immigrants that everybody else in this field — we’re going to be different. We’re going to be actually out there trying to create a better life for hard-working Americans.
HEMMER: Governor Perry, try and answer this question again.
What do you say to the family of illegals? Are you going to break them apart?
PERRY: Bill, here’s the interesting position on this. Americans are tired of hearing this debate — want to go to, what are you going to do about illegal immigration? For 30 years this country has been baited with that. All the way back to when Ronald Reagan signed a piece of legislation that basically allowed for amnesty for over 4 million people, and the border is still not secure.
The American people are never going to trust Washington, D.C., and for good reason. We hear all this discussion about well, I would do this, or I would do that, when the fact is, the border is still porous. Until we have a president of the United States that gets up every day and goes to the Oval Office with the intent purpose of securing that border, and there’s not anybody on either one of these stages that has the experience of dealing with this as I have for over 14 years with that 1200-mile border.
PERRY: We have to put the personnel on that border in the right places; you have to put the strategic fencing in place; and you have to have aviation assets that fly all the way from Tijuana to El Paso to Brownsville, Texas — 1,933 miles looking down 24/7, with the technology to be able to identify what individuals are doing, and ID when they are in obviously illegal activities or suspicious activities, and quick response teams come.
At that particular point in time, then Americans will believe that Washington is up to a conversation to deal with the millions of people that are here illegally, but not until.
If you elect me president of the United States, I will secure that southern border.
HEMMER: Governor, thank you.
MACCALLUM: On that note, next, the candidates take on the future of the U.S. economy when we come back after this quick break.
MACCALLUM: Welcome back, everybody. It is the bottom of the hour, and we are back, live from Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, kicking off the first 2016 Republican primary debate.
HEMMER: And so right now, we’re 30 minutes in. Going to jump back into the topics and continue our discussion of national issues on the domestic level.
The issue that is really number one on the minds of many voters, that’s the economy and jobs.
MACCALLUM: So let’s start here with Senator Graham.
Senator Graham, 82 million Americans over the age of 20 are out of the workforce.
MACCALLUM: Forty-five million people in this country are on food stamps. Nine million are on disability.
All of these numbers have been rising sharply in recent years.
There is an increasing willingness in this country to accept assistance. How do you get Americans who are able to take the job instead of a handout?
GRHAAM: I think America is dying to work, you just need to give them a chance. To all the Americans who want a better life, don’t vote for Hillary Clinton. You’re not going to get it. She’s not going to repeal “Obamacare” and replace it. I will. She’s not going to build the Keystone Pipeline. I will. She’s not going to change Dodd-Frank. I will.
Until you change the policies of Barack Obama, we’re never going to grow this economy. Until you change the policies of Barack Obama, we’re never going to be safe. She represents a third term of a failed presidency.
I’m fluent in Clinton-speak; I’ve been dealing with this crowd for 20 years. You know, when Bill Clinton says it depends on what the meaning of is is, that means is is whatever Bill wants it to mean. When Hillary Clinton tells you I’ve given you all the emails you need, that means she hasn’t. So to the people who are dying for a better America, you better change course, and she doesn’t represent the change that we need.
Do we all agree that ISIL is not the JV team? If I have to monitor a mosque, I’ll monitor a mosque. If I have to take down a cyber wall, I’ll take it. If I have to send more American troops to protect us here, I will do it. She will not. She has empowered a failed agenda. She is going to empower a failed solution to an American economy dying to grow.
Elect me, I know the difference between being flat broke. Apparently, she doesn’t. In Hillary Clinton’s world, after two terms in the White House where her husband was president, she said she was flat broke. Hillary, I’ll show you flat broke. That’s not it.
MACCALLUM: All right. Senator Santorum, let’s get back to the question at hand, which is whether or not Americans have become too reliant on assistance or too willing to take assistance. Do you believe that we need to change the culture in this country in terms of whether or not we should be encouraging people to get off of it and take the job when it’s available? Some are able and not doing that.
SANTORUM: I think it’s — yeah, I think it’s a one-two punch. Number one, we have to create better paying jobs. I mean, that’s just the bottom line. We haven’t. And that’s the reason that I’ve said under my presidency, we’ll create jobs and make American the number one manufacturing country in the world.
If we want to create jobs for the folks that you’re talking about, who are having trouble getting off government benefits, primarily because of their low skill level, there is no better way — it’s worked for 100 years in America — putting people back to work in manufacturing is it.
I’m going to be introducing a plan which I call the 2020 Perfect Vision for America. It’s a 20 percent flat rate tax, it’ll take a blowtorch to the — to the IRS. It will create a manufacturing juggernaut in this country. And you combine that with reforms of our welfare system.
You’re looking at the — at the man who introduced and fought on the floor as a freshman senator and passed the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 over two President Clinton vetoes. Got 70 votes in the United States Senate. Bipartisan issue. And I ended a federal entitlement. Never been done before, never been done since.
What we need to do is take the rest of the federal entitlements, not just welfare, but food stamps and Medicaid and housing programs and do the same thing we did with welfare. Work requirements and time limits. That will change everything.
MACCALLUM: All right. New question, same topic, goes to Governor Gilmore. You know, based on your record and what we’re discussing here, which is potentially cutting back some entitlement, cutting back benefits, it’s tricky business as we all know because people will argue that that’s their means to escape poverty. So they’re going to look at you when you want to do that and they will call you heartless. What will you tell them?
GILMORE: I’ll tell them that we’re going to grow the economy so that we can give people better opportunities so they don’t have to rely exclusively on benefit types of programs. Some do, but many Americans are dying to have an opportunity to grow and to create something inside this economy. And I’m glad that I have a chance to answer this question.
I’ve had the growth code (ph) there for about five years, and it’s this specific program. We’re going to do a tax cut for all Americans. We’re going to have a three-bracket tax code, 10, 15 and 25 percent. We’re going to combine all commercial activity in business into one place in the tax code and charge it 15 percent, which is going to suddenly make us competitive with the rest of the world. And we’re going to eliminate the death tax.
GILMORE: With a couple of additional tweaks, we know what this will do. It will cause the economy to grow, to explode, to create more jobs. And first of all, we’ve got to recognize that there is problem that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have caused. And that problem is too big regulations like the EPA, too much new taxes on business that we have seen and “Obamacare.” These are drags on the economy, it’s a deliberate drag. I propose to reverse that and get this economy moving again.
HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.
Your last topic brings us to the state of Ohio.
You know, the saying, right? No Republican wins the White House unless you win here in the Buckeye state. Well, here in the Buckeye state, the Governor John Kasich took the federal money for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
And Governor Jindal of Louisiana, you passed on those tax dollars. Why do you think Governor Kasich got it wrong here?
JINDAL: Well, this goes to the question you were just asking. Look, under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, they’re working hard to change the American dream into the European nightmare. They do celebrate more dependence on the government.
Give Bernie Sanders credit. At least he’s honest enough to call himself a socialist. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, they’re no better. If we were to expand Medicaid, for every uninsured person we would cover, we’d kick more than one person out of private insurance or remove their opportunity to get private insurance.
We’re going to have too many people in the cart rather than pulling the cart. This isn’t free money. I know some people like to say, “well, this is free money.” We pay federal taxes. We are borrowing money from China today.
Yesterday, the president stunningly admitted this. He said, “we don’t have leverage with China to get a better deal on Iran because we need them to lend us money to continue operating our government.”
The president of the United States admitting that he’s weakening our government’s position, our foreign policy standing, because he can’t control spending in D.C..
There is a better way to provide health care. The Oregon study showed this. Simply expanding Medicaid does not improve health care outcomes. In Louisiana, instead we’re helping people getting better paying jobs so they can provide for their own health care.
HEMMER: So Governor Kasich was wrong, just to be clear.
JINDAL: I don’t — look, I don’t think anybody should be expanding Medicaid. I think it’s a mistake to create new and more expensive entitlement programs when we can’t afford the ones we’ve got today. We’ve got to stop this culture of government dependence.
HEMMER: I didn’t hear an answer regarding Governor Kasich, but for now I’ll go to Governor Pataki. Yes or no?
JINDAL: I’ll say this. I don’t think anybody should expand Medicaid. I think it was a mistake to expand Medicaid everywhere in Ohio and across the country.
HEMMER: Governor Pataki, three term governor of New York. Is he right, Governor Jindal from Louisiana?
PATAKI: I think he is right. I don’t think you expand entitlements when so many people are dependent on government and when the money the federal government is offering is going to be taken away from you after just a couple of years.
But getting back to Martha’s question about how we end dependency, do we have to have a cultural change? The answer is no. And I know this, because when I ran for governor of New York, one in 11 of every man, woman, and child in the state of New York was on welfare. On welfare. Think about that.
And people said “you can’t win, you can’t change the culture.” But I knew that good people who wanted to be a part of the American dream have become trapped in dependency because the federal government and the state government had made it in their economic interest not to take a job because the benefits that they didn’t work were better.
I changed that. We put in place mandatory work fair (ph). But we allowed people to keep health care. We put in place child care support.
HEMMER: Yes or no, would you have expanded Obamacare in the state of New York, had you been governor at that time?
PATAKI: No, it should be repealed. And by the way, when I left, there were over 1 million fewer people on welfare in New York state than when I took office…
PATAKI: … replacing dependency with opportunity.
HEMMER: Thank you, Governor Pataki.
In a moment here, we’ll talk to the candidates about an issue today on Planned Parenthood, and also the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s all next here in Cleveland.
HEMMER: Welcome back to Cleveland, Ohio. Want to get back to the questions and the issues in this debate now, with my co-anchor, Martha.
MACCALLUM: All right.
Well, there’s been a lot of discussion on Facebook, as you would imagine, about the Iran nuclear deal. Let’s just take a look, as an opener, at this one question that comes from Logan Christopher Boyer of St. Louis, Missouri.
He says, “How will you disarm Iran and keep the Middle East from becoming nuclearized?
So let’s open this discussion about Iran with this question that comes to Governor Perry. Governor Perry, here’s the question for you:
Critics of the Iran deal say that it puts America on the same side as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, of Hamas, of Hezbollah, of the backers of those groups of people who chant ‘Death to America,’ in the street, that this deal puts on that side of the equation.
But our traditional Middle East allies, led by Saudi Arabia, have also funneled support to Islamic radical groups who want to kill Americans.
So which side do you believe we should be on?
PERRY: We need to be on the side that keeps Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. That’s the side we need to be on, and that’s the side of the bulk of the — of the Middle East.
We need to have some coalitions in that part of the world to go after ISIS, but we also need to send a clear message. And hopefully — you know, Senator Graham, I — I know where he’s going to be on this, but we use Congress, and we use Congress to cut this funding.
One of the great challenges that we have, $150 billion is fixing to go to a country that killed our Marines in Lebanon, that used their weapons to kill our young men in Iran. And the idea that this negotiation — I will tell you one thing. I would a whole lot rather had Carly Fiorina over there doing our negotiation than John Kerry. Maybe we would’ve gotten a deal where we didn’t give everything away.
But the issue for us is to have a Congress that stands up and says not only no, but “Hell no” to this money going to a regime that is going to use it for terror, Susan Rice has said that, and we need to stand up and strongly and clearly tell the ayatollah that — whoever the next president of the United States is going to be, and I’ll promise you, if it’s me, the first thing that I will do is tear up that agreement with Iran.
MACCALLUM: Alright. I want to go to Carly Fiorina on this, but I want to ask you some of what I just asked to Governor Perry.
The issue is that the allies that we are with sometimes have groups within them that funnel money to terrorists as well. This is a complicated situation. Are you OK with us being on their side?
FIORINA: Yeah. Sometimes it’s a complicated situation, but some things are black and white.
On day one in the Oval Office, I would make two phone calls. The first one would be to my good friend, Bibi Netanyahu, to reassure him we will stand with the State of Israel.
The second will be to the supreme leader of Iran. He might not take my phone call, but he would get the message, and the message is this: Until you open every nuclear and every military facility to full, open, anytime/anywhere, for real, inspections, we are going to make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system.
FIORINA: I hope Congress says no to this deal. But realistically, even if they do, the money is flowing.
China and Russia have never been on our side of the table. The Europeans have moved on. We have to stop the money flow. And by the way, as important as those two phone calls are, they are also very important because they say this. America is back in the leadership business. And when America does not lead, the world is a dangerous and a tragic place.
This is a bad deal. Obama broke every rule of negotiation. Yes, our allies are not perfect. But Iran is at the heart of most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East through their proxies.
MACCALLUM: Very, very briefly, would you help our allies in that region to get nuclear weapons if Iran has them?
FIORINA: Let me tell you what I would do immediately, day two in the Oval Office. I would hold a Camp David summit with our Arab allies, not to talk them into this lousy deal with Iran, but to say to them, “what is it that you need to defeat ISIL?”
You know, Obama has presented the American people with a false choice every time. It’s what I’ve done or not done, or it’s war. It is a false choice.
King Abdullah of Jordan, a man I’ve known for a long time, has been asking for bombs and materiel. We have not provided them. He has gone to China.
The Kurds have been asking us to arm them for three years. We haven’t done so.
The Egyptians have asked us to share intelligence. We’re not doing it. We have Arab allies.
They are not perfect. I know every one. But they need to see leadership, support and resolve from the United States of America, and we can help them defeat ISIS.
HEMMER: Next question on the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s been 42 years, Senator Santorum, since Roe v. Wade, and many consider, in this country, to be a case of settled law.
Recently the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage. Is that now settled law in America today? SANTORUM: It is not any more than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln, who, in his first inaugural address, said “it won’t stand.” And they went ahead and passed laws in direct contravention to a rogue Supreme Court.
This is a rogue Supreme Court decision, just like Justice Roberts said. There is no constitutional basis for the Supreme Court’s decision, and I know something about this.
The — one of the times the Supreme Court spoke that I thought they were acting outside of their authority was in a partial-birth abortion case. You know, these Planned Parenthood tapes, what they’re showing are partial-birth abortions.
Abortions being done where the baby’s being delivered first, to preserve those organs, and then they crush the skull. Well, the Supreme Court found a bill that I was the author of unconstitutional.
What did I do? I didn’t stop. I didn’t say “oh, well we lost. It’s the law of the land.” We worked together. The House and Senate, under my leadership, and we passed a bill, and we said, “Supreme Court, you’re wrong.”
We’re a coequal branch of the government. We have every right to be able to stand up and say what is constitutional. We passed a bill, bipartisan support, and the Supreme Court, they — they sided with us.
Sometimes it just takes someone to lead and stand up to the court.
HEMMER: Alright, Senator, thank you.
To Governor Gilmore. For years, presidential candidates have not said they would have a litmus test for justices nominated to the Supreme Court.
Recently, Hillary Clinton broke that precedent. She said she would apply that on the case of Citizens United, which deals with campaign finance laws in America today.
Is it time for conservatives to impose a litmus test on abortion?
GILMORE: Well, as you know, I’m a former elected prosecutor, a former elected attorney general, trained at the University of Virginia in constitutional law, and I don’t believe in litmus tests except this.
I believe we should be appointing Supreme Court justices who will follow the law and not try to make the law. Now, the challenge we’re seeing today is that the Supreme Court is being converted into some type of political body.
They have to have some legal basis and precedence for being able to follow the law instead of making the law up, and my goal is — in appointing Supreme Court justices, would be to point — to appoint justices who would follow the law. Bill, I want to say one more thing about…
HEMMER: So, no litmus test?
GILMORE: Not — not on that, no. But let me say one more thing. I want to — before my time runs out I want to get back to this issue of ISIS versus Iran. It is Iran that’s the expansionist power. ISIL is trying to create themselves into a new state.
Our job has to be to recognize the conflict between the two. I have proposed there be a Middle East NATO so that we can combine our allies there to stand up to Iranian expansion, and at the same time join together to begin to stop and this ISIL thing before it becomes an actual state.
HEMMER: Thank you, governor.
MACCALLUM: All right. With that, we are going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back with much more from Cleveland. Stay with us.
HEMMER: As the first debate of the nomination season continues, welcome back to Cleveland. Let’s get back to the questions right now, and the issues here in the U.S.
MACCALLUM: We want to get back to Planned Parenthood. And this question goes to Governor Pataki.
Governor Pataki, you’re the only pro-choice candidate running. A Republican holding that position has not won a single primary in 35 years. With the recent Planned Parenthood videos that we have all seen, shedding new light on abortion practices, I know that you have said that you would defund Planned Parenthood.
MACCALLUM: But has this story changed your heart when it comes to abortion?
PATAKI: My heart has not changed, because I’ve always been appalled by abortion. I’m a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception. But as Bill said earlier, Roe v. Wade, it’s has been the law for 42 years, and I don’t think we should continue to try to change it.
But we can do is defund Planned Parenthood, and by the way, put in place an absolute permanent ban on any taxpayer dollars ever being used to fund abortions. Also, when you look at these videos, they are horrific and show just a hideous disrespect for life. What else we can do is that we should believe in science.
PATAKI: You know, Hillary Clinton’s always saying how Republicans don’t follow science? Well, they’re the ones not listening to the scientists today, because doctors say that at 20 weeks that is a viable life inside the womb. And at that point, it’s a life that we have the right to protect, and I think we should protect.
So, I would pass legislation outlawing abortion after 20 weeks. It is Hillary, it is Biden, it is the others who insist on allowing abortion well into viable (inaudible) wrong, and that should be stopped.
MACCALLUM: All right.
On the same topic, let’s go to Governor Jindal.
Carly Fiorina, also on the stage, said that she would go so far as to shut down the government over the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. Would you do that? Would you be willing to shut down the government when it comes to defunding this group?
JINDAL: Well, a couple of things. Planned Parenthood had better hope that Hillary Clinton wins this election, because I guarantee under President Jindal, January 2017, the Department of Justice and the IRS and everybody else that we can send from the federal government will be going in to Planned Parenthood.
This is absolutely disgusting, and revolts the conscience of the nation. Absolutely, we need to defund Planned Parenthood. In my own state, for example, we launched an investigation, asked the FBI to cooperate. We just, earlier this week, kicked them out of Medicaid in Louisiana as well, canceled their provider contract. They don’t provide any abortions in Louisiana.
But in terms of shutting down the government, I don’t think President Obama should choose to shut down the government simply to send taxpayer dollars to this group that has been caught, I believe, breaking the law, but also offending our values and our ethics.
It is time for Republicans in D.C. to fight. Too often, they give up, they negotiate with themselves. They said they would get rid of the unconstitutional amnesty. They didn’t do that. They said they would repeal Obamacare if we gave them the majority. They didn’t do that either. They said they’d shrink and balance the budget. They haven’t done that. Absolutely, they should fight to fund — defund Planned Parenthood, and I don’t think the president should shut down the government simply to send our taxpayer dollars to this group.
MACCALLUM: All right.
Lindsey Graham, this conversation will no doubt go to the war on women, and that cutting funding to this group could be a very broad brush against all of you or anybody who will hold this nomination as being against women’s health, against these organizations that people will say provide positive things for many women.
GRAHAM: I don’t think it’s a war on women for all of us as Americans to stand up and stop harvesting organs from little babies. Let’s take the money that we would give to Planned Parenthood and put it in women’s health care without having to harvest the organs of the unborn. The only way we’re going to defund Planned Parenthood is have a pro-life president.
You want to see a war on women? Come with me to Iraq and Afghanistan, folks. I’ve been there 35 times. I will show you what they do to women. These mythical Arab armies that my friends talk about that are going to protect us don’t exist. If I am president of the United States, we’re going to send soldiers back to Iraq, back to Syria, to keep us from being attacked here and keep soldiers in Afghanistan because we must.
I cannot tell you how much our nation is threatened and how we need a commander in chief who understands the threats to this nation.
If you’re running for president of the United States and you do not understand that we cannot defend this nation without more of our soldiers over there, you are not ready for this job.
HEMMER: Thank you, Senator.
Executive power. It appears that you all have a little bit of an issue with it at the moment. I want to move through this as quickly as I can, from stage left to stage right.
On the second day of his presidency, January 22nd 2009, President Obama signed one of his first executive orders. That was close Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Still open today. What would be your first executive order?
Governor Gilmore, start.
GILMORE: Well, it’s not a matter of what the first executive order would be, Bill. The matter is what orders exist now that shouldn’t exist?
The president has done an executive order with respect to illegal immigration that is illegal. Illegal. And it creates a — a contempt for the law, for the rule of law. If i were the president of the United States, I would go and look at every executive order that exists right now and determine which ones want to be voided, because the president shouldn’t be legislating: not through that vehicle or any other. We should be relying upon the leadership of the Congress to pass the laws.
HEMMER: Senator Graham.
GRAHAM: Change the Mexico City policy, not take one dime of taxpayer money to fund abortion organizations overseas, and restore the NSA that’s been gutted. We’re going dark when it comes to detecting the next attack. We have gutted our ability to detect the next attack. And I would not stand for that as president of the United States. I would take the fight to these guys, whatever it took, as long as it took.
HEMMER: Governor Jindal, your first executive order would be in the White House would be what?
JINDAL: To repeal these unconstitutional illegal orders, whether it’s amnesty or whether it’s this president going around the Congress, whether it’s in Obamacare, to restore the rule of law. I’d also go after these sanctuary cities, do everything we can to make sure that we are not — that we are actually prosecuting and cutting off funding for cities that are harboring illegal aliens, and then finally making sure the IRS is not going after conservative or religious groups.
I would sign an executive order protecting religious liberty, our first amendment rights, so Christian business owners and individuals don’t face discrimination for having a traditional view of marriage.
HEMMER: Governor Perry.
PERRY: It’ll be a pretty busy day, but that Iran negotiation is going to be torn up on day one. We’re going to start the process of securing that border. I’m also going to take a bottle of White-Out with me to get started on all those executive orders that Mr. Obama has put his name to.
HEMMER: That will be a long day.
PERRY: It will be a long day.
HEMMER: Senator Santorum?
SANTORUM: Just ditto to that.
We’re going to suspend — I’ve — I’ve said this for four years. We’re going to suspend and repeal every executive order, every regulation that cost American jobs and is — is — is impacting our freedom.
And second, the First Amendment Defense Act, which is protecting religious liberty, if it’s not passed by then, which I suspect it won’t, because the president will veto it, I will institute an executive order to make sure that people of faith are not being — not being harassed and persecuted by the federal government for standing up for the religious beliefs.
HEMMER: First order, Carly Fiorina?
FIORINA: I agree with my colleagues. We need to begin by undoing — I would begin by undoing a whole set of things that President Obama has done, whether it’s illegal amnesty or this latest round of EPA regulations. But let me go back to something that’s very important. We have been debating right here the core difference between conservatism and progressivism.
Conservatives, I am a conservative because I believe no one of us is any better than any other one of us. Every one of us is gifted by God, whether it is those poor babies being picked over or it’s someone whose life is tangled up in a web of dependence.
Progressives don’t believe that. They believe some are smarter than others, some are better than others, so some are going to need to take care of others.
That is the fight we have to have, and we have to undo a whole set of things that President Obama has done that get at the heart of his disrespect and disregard for too many Americans.
HEMMER: Governor Pataki?
PATAKI: Bill, I defeated Mario Cuomo. In the first day in office, my first executive order, I revoked every one of the executive orders that he had — he had enacted over the prior 12 years. I would do that to Barack Obama’s executive orders.
But I’d sign a second one, as I did in New York, as well, having a hard hiring freeze on adding new employees except for the military or defense-related positions. I’d sign that executive order.
When I left the workforce, New York State had been reduced by over 15 percent. We can do that in Washington. I will do that in Washington.
HEMMER: Thank you all.
MCCALLUM: Moving on to the next question, President Obama promised hope and change for the country, yet 60 percent of Americans are not satisfied with the shape that the country is in right now. Many think that America has lost its “can do” spirit and that it’s not the nation that it once was.
Ronald Reagan was confronted with a similar atmosphere, and he said that it could be morning in America again. JFK said it was a new frontier. FDR said that we had nothing to fear but fear itself.
On this level, Carly Fiorina, can you inspire this nation?
FIORINA: This is a great nation. It is a unique nation in all of human history and on the face of the planet, because here, our founders believed that everyone has a right to fulfill their potential and that that right –they called it life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness — comes from God and cannot be taken away by government.
We have arrived at a point in our nation’s history where the potential of this nation and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government, and only someone who will challenge the status quo of Washington, D.C. can lead the resurgence of this great nation.
I will do that.
MCCALLUM: We’re talking about tapping into historic levels of leadership and lifting the nation in this kind of way that we’re discussing.
So Senator Santorum, how would you do it?
SANTORUM: I came to Washington, D.C. in 1990. That sounds like a long time ago. It was. It was 25 years ago, and I came by defeating the Democratic incumbent. I came as a reformer.
I started the Gang of Seven, and it led to the overtaking of the 40-year Democratic rule of Congress, because I didn’t — I stood up to the old-boy network in Washington, D.C. because I believed that Washington was not the solution, that Washington was the problem, just like Ronald Reagan said. I was a child of Ronald Reagan.
And I went there, and for 16 years, I fought the insiders and was able to get things done. That’s the difference. We need to elect someone who will stand with the American people, who understands its greatness, who understands what an open economy and freedom is all about, but at the same time, has a record of being able to get things done in Washington like we’ve never seen before.
Reforms, everything from moral and cultural issues to economic issues. Those of you health savings accounts. Health savings accounts are something that we introduced. It’s a private-sector solution that believes in freedom, not Obamacare that believes in government control.
SANTORUM: Those are the things we brought, and we were able to get things done. If you want someone who’s not going to divide Washington, but gets things done, then you should make me your president.
HEMMER: Thank you, senator.
MACCALLUM: (inaudible) Lindsey Graham?
GRAHAM: Thank you.
First thing I’d tell the American people, whatever it takes to defend our nation, I would do.
To the 1 percent who have been fighting this war for over a decade, I’d try my best to be a commander-in-chief worthy of your sacrifice.
We’re going to lose Social Security and Medicare if Republicans and Democrats do not come together and find a solution like Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. I will be the Ronald Reagan if I can find a Tip O’Neill.
When I was 21, my mom died. When I was 22, my dad died. We owned a liquor store, restaurant, bar and we lived in the back. Every penny we needed from — every penny we got from Social Security, because my sister was a minor, we needed. Today, I’m 60, I’m not married, I don’t have any kids. I would give up some Social Security to save a system that Americans are going to depend on now and in the future.
Half of American seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check. If you make your president, I’m going to put the country ahead of the party. I’m going to do what it takes to defend this nation. This nation has been great to me, and that’s the only way I know to pay you back.
MACCALLUM: Thank you.
HEMMER: Thank you, Senator. I need a two-word answer to the following query. In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama described Hillary Clinton as, quote, “likable enough,” end quote. What two words would you use to describe the Democratic frontrunner? Governor Pataki to start.
PATAKI: Divisive and with no vision. No vision at all. HEMMER: Wow. Carly Fiorina.
FIORINA: Not trustworthy. No accomplishment.
UNKNOWN: Secretive and untrustworthy.
PERRY: Well, let’s go with three. Good at email.
HEMMER: Governor Jindal?
JINDAL: Socialist and government dependent.
GRAHAM: Not the change we need at a time we need it.
GILMORE: Professional politician that can’t be trusted.
HEMMER: Not a lot of compliments. To be continued.
MACCALLUM: So every candidate will have the opportunity to make a closing statement tonight. Each candidate will have 30 second for that. And we start with Governor Perry.
PERRY: Well, this is going to be a show me, don’t tell me election. I think America is just a few good decisions and a leadership change at the top away from the best years we’ve ever had. And I think that the record of the governor of the last 14 years of the 12th largest economy in the world is just the medicine America is looking for.
1.5 million jobs created during the worst economic time this country has had since the Great Depression while the rest of the country lost 400,000 jobs. We’re talking about a state that moved graduation rates forward from 27th in the nation to second-highest. As a matter of fact, if you’re Hispanic or African-American in Texas, you have the number one high school graduation rates in America.
Americans are looking for somebody that’s going to give them, and there is a place in this country over the last eight years in particular that talked about hope every day, and they didn’t just talk about it, they delivered it. And that was the state of Texas. And if we can do that in Texas, that 12th largest economy in the world, we can do it in America.
Our best days are in front of us. We can reform those entitlements, we can change that corporate tax code and lower it. We can put America back on track on a growth level and a growth rate that we’ve never seen in the history of this country. Manufacturing will flow back into this country. It just needs a corporate executive type at the top that’s done it before. And I will suggest to you nobody’s done it like Rick Perry has done it over the last eight years. And if you elect me president, we will bring incredible growth back to this country. And as someone who’s worn the uniform of the country, that’s how we build our military back up.
HEMMER: Thank you Governor. Senator Santorum?
SANTORUM: I’ll tell you how optimistic I am about America. Karen and I have seven children. You don’t have seven children and bring them into this world if you’re not optimistic about the future of this country.
I am, but people are upset, and they’re upset for a reason about the future of this country. Donald Trump actually seized on it when he talked about immigration. And I think the reason he did is because immigration is sort of an example of what’s broken and what’s wrong in Washington, D..C.
You see, you have one side, the Democrats, and with immigration, all they care about is votes. They don’t care about American workers, they just care about bringing as many people in so they can get as many votes as they can. ON the other side, you have so many Republicans, and what do they care about? Helping business make profits. There’s nobody out there looking out for the American worker.
I’m looking out for the American worker. I’m the only one on this stage who has a plan that’s actually reduced — actually going to reduce immigration. Actually going to do something to help the American worker. And you combine that with a plan to make manufacturing — this country number one in manufacturing, you’ve got someone who’s going to help revitalize and give hope to America, the place — the place is that is the most hopeless today.
That’s why I ask for your support for president.
HEMMER: All right. Senator thank you.
MACCALLUM: Governor Jindal?
JINDAL: You know, we’ve got a lot of great talkers running for president. We’ve already got a great talker in the White House. We cannot afford four more years of on the job training. We need a doer, not a talker. We also need a nominee, a candidate who will endorse our own principles.
Jeb Bush says we’ve got to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general. Let me translate that for you. That’s the establishment telling us to hide our conservative principles to get the left and the media to like us. That never works. If we do that again, we will lose again, we will deserve to lose again.
One principle, for example, we’ve got to embrace is on immigration. We must insist on assimilation — immigration without assimilation is an invasion. We need to tell folks who want to come here, they need to come here legally. They need to learn English, adopt our values, roll up their sleeves and get to work.
I’m tired of the hyphenated Americans and the division. I’ve got the backbone, I’ve got the band width, I’ve got the experience to get us through this. I’m asking folks not just to join my campaign, but join a cause. It is time to believe in America again. MACCALLUM: Thank you, Governor.
HEMMER: Carly Fiorina, closing statement.
FIORINA: Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi, she lies about e- mails. She is still defending Planned Parenthood, and she is still her party’s frontrunner. 2016 is going to be a fight between conservatism, and a Democrat party that is undermining the very character of this nation. We need a nominee who is going to throw every punch, not pull punches, and someone who cannot stumble before he even gets into the ring.
I am not a member of the political class. I am a conservative; I can win this job, I can do this job, I need your help, I need your support. I will, with your help and support, lead the resurgence of this great nation.
HEMMER: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Senator Graham.
GRAHAM: We need somebody ready to be commander-in-chief on day one, who understands there are no moderates in Iran, they’ve been killed a long time ago. That the Ayatollah is a radical jihadist who really means it when he chants, “Death to America, death to Israel.” And this deal is giving him a pathway to a bomb, a missile to deliver it, and money to pay for it all.
We need a president who can solve our problems, bring us together. We’re becoming Greece if we don’t work together. At the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, our best days are ahead of us only if we work together, and I intend to put this country on a path of success by working together and doing the hard things that should have been done a very long time ago.
HEMMER: And to Governor Pataki, closing statement now.
PATAKI: With all the candidates, why me?
My background is different. I look at Washington, and I hear the talk, and I see the promises and it seems nothing ever changes. Washington gets bigger, taxes get higher, and the American people feel more distance from our government. I have the opportunity not just to run, but to win in the deep blue state of New York three times. And not only did I win, but I then worked with a Democratic legislature to put in place the most sweeping conservative reforms of any state in America, taking us from the most dangerous state in America to the fourth safest; reducing our welfare rolls by over 1 million, and replacing over 700,000 private sector jobs.
I can govern by bringing people together. And also, I’ve been tested in a way no one else has. I was governor on September 11th, and I’m proud of my leadership in bringing New York through that time. And when I left, we were stronger, we were safer, and we were more united than at any time in my lifetime.
We need to bring people together in Washington. The talk has got to stop, the action has got to begin. People can promise you something, I delivered in the blue state of New York. I will deliver for the American people if I have the privilege of leading this country.
HEMMER: Thank you, Governor.
MACCALLUM: Governor Gilmore.
GILMORE: Well, I was a conservative governor of Virginia, I governed that way, and that’s my track record. But the key thing that we’re seeing now is serious challenges to this country that must change, the direction of this nation must change. And that’s why I’ve offered a specific program to the people of America tonight to address the fundamental problem of getting our country growing again, getting our economy growing, wages up, opportunities for people.
And second, the international crisis we are facing is most dreadful and most dangerous. I have the experience as a prosecutor, attorney general, governor, United States Army intelligence veteran, governor during the 9/11 attack, chairman of the Terrorism Commission for this country. It’s time for real substance and real experience.
And that’s what I’ll offer to the people of the United States in this candidacy for the presidency.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Governor.
HEMMER: That concludes the first debate of the 2016 Republican primary. We would like to thank all seven of you for being here today.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 6, 2015
Ten Republican presidential candidates met in Cleveland for a primetime debate on Fox News.
At the debate, real estate mogul Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The moderators were Fox News anchors Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.
Here is a running transcript of what they said.
KELLY: It is nine p.m. on the East Coast, and the moment of truth has arrived.
KELLY: Welcome to the first debate night of the 2016 presidential campaign, live from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
I’m Megyn Kelly…
… along with my co-moderators, Brett Baier and Chris Wallace.
Tonight, thousands of people here in the Q, along with millions of voters at home will get their very first chance to see the candidates face off in a debate, answering the questions you want answered.
BAIER: Less than a year from now, in this very arena, one of these 10 candidates or one of the seven on the previous debate tonight will accept the Republican party’s nomination.
Tonight’s candidates were selected based on an average of five national polls. Just a few hours ago, you heard from the candidates ranked 11th through 17. And now, the prime-time event, the top 10.
WALLACE: Also of note, Fox News is partnering for tonight’s debate with Facebook. For the past several weeks, we’ve been asking you for questions for the candidates on Facebook. Nearly 6 million of you, 6 million, viewed the debate videos on our site, and more than 40,000 of you submitted questions: some of which you will hear us asking the candidates tonight.
KELLY: As for the candidates who will be answering those questions? Here they are.
Positioned on the stage by how they stand in the polls, in the center of the stage tonight, businessman Donald Trump.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
BAIER: Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
WALLACE: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
(APPLAUSE) And your very own governor of Ohio…
… John Kasich.
WALLACE: Brett — Brett, I think you would call that a home field advantage.
BAIER: It might be. It might be. We’ll see.
(UNKNOWN): Is this in the rules? An objection’s coming.
BAIER: It might be. The rules for tonight are simple. One minute for answers, 30 seconds for follow-ups. And if a candidate runs over, you’ll hear this.
We also have a big crowd here with us tonight in the home of the Cavaliers, as I mentioned.
And while we expect them…
… we expect them to be enthusiastic, as you heard, we don’t want to take anything away from the valuable time for the candidate. So, we’re looking for somewhere between a reaction to a LeBron James dunk and the Cleveland Public Library across the street.
Somewhere there, we’ll find a balance tonight.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
BAIER: Gentlemen, we know how much you love hand-raising questions. So we promise, this is the only one tonight: the only one. Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person.
Again, we’re looking for you to raise your hand now — raise your hand now if you won’t make that pledge tonight.
Mr. Trump to be clear, you’re standing on a Republican primary debate stage.
TRUMP: I fully understand.
BAIER: The place where the RNC will give the nominee the nod.
TRUMP: I fully understand.
BAIER: And that experts say an independent run would almost certainly hand the race over to Democrats and likely another Clinton.
You can’t say tonight that you can make that pledge?
TRUMP: I cannot say. I have to respect the person that, if it’s not me, the person that wins, if I do win, and I’m leading by quite a bit, that’s what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge. If I’m the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. But — and I am discussing it with everybody, but I’m, you know, talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.
BAIER: So tonight, you can’t say if another one of these…
PAUL: This is what’s wrong!
PAUL: I mean, this is what’s wrong. He buys and sells politicians of all stripes, he’s already…
BAIER: Dr. Paul.
PAUL: Hey, look, look! He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent…
PAUL: …but I’d say that he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.
TRUMP: Well, I’ve given him plenty of money.
BAIER: Just to be clear, you can’t make a — we’re gonna — we’re going to move on.
You’re not gonna make the pledge tonight?
TRUMP: I will not make the pledge at this time.
BAIER: OK. Alright.
KELLY: Gentlemen, our first round of questions is on the subject of electability in the general election, and we start tonight with you, Dr. Carson.
You are a successful neurosurgeon, but you admit that you have had to study up on foreign policy, saying there’s a lot to learn.
Your critics say that your inexperience shows. You’ve suggested that the Baltic States are not a part of NATO, just months ago you were unfamiliar with the major political parties and government in Israel, and domestically, you thought Alan Greenspan had been treasury secretary instead of federal reserve chair.
Aren’t these basic mistakes, and don’t they raise legitimate questions about whether you are ready to be president?
CARSON: Well, I could take issue with — with all of those things, but we don’t have time.
But I will say, we have a debate here tonight, and we will have an opportunity to explore those areas, and I’m looking very much forward to demonstrating that, in fact, the thing that is probably most important is having a brain, and to be able to figure things out and learn things very rapidly.
So, you know, experience comes from a large number of different arenas, and America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, creativity, innovation, and that’s what will get us on the right track now, as well.
WALLACE: Senator Rubio, when Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for presidency, he said this: “There’s no passing off responsibility when you’re a governor, no blending into the legislative crowd.”
Could you please address Governor Bush across the stage here, and explain to him why you, someone who has never held executive office, are better prepared to be president than he is, a man who you say did a great job running your state of Florida for eight years.
RUBIO: Well, thank you for the question, Chris, and it’s great to be here tonight. Let me begin by saying this: I’m not new to the political process; I was making a contribution as the speaker of the third largest and most diverse state in the country well before I even got into the Senate.
I would add to that that this election cannot be a resume competition. It’s important to be qualified, but if this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton’s gonna be the next president, because she’s been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight.
Here’s what this election better be about: This election better be about the future, not the past. It better be about the issues our nation and the world is facing today, not simply the issues we once faced.
This country is facing an economy that has been radically transformed. You know, the largest retailer in the country and the world today, Amazon, doesn’t even own a single store? And these changes have been disruptive. They have changed people’s lives. The jobs that once sustained our middle class, they either don’t pay enough or they are gone, and we need someone that understands that as our nominee.
If I’m our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton gonna lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she — how is she gonna lecture me — how is she gonna lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago.
If I’m our nominee, we will be the party of the future.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 6, 2015
Source: WH, 8-5-15
11:58 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you very much. I apologize for the slight delay. Even Presidents have problems with toner. (Laughter.)
It is a great honor to be back at American University, which has prepared generations of young people for service in public life. I want to thank President Kerwin and the American University family for hosting us here today.
Fifty-two years ago, President Kennedy, at the height of the Cold War, addressed this same university on the subject of peace. The Berlin Wall had just been built. The Soviet Union had tested the most powerful weapons ever developed. China was on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb. Less than 20 years after the end of World War II, the prospect of nuclear war was all too real. With all of the threats that we face today, it’s hard to appreciate how much more dangerous the world was at that time.
In light of these mounting threats, a number of strategists here in the United States argued that we had to take military action against the Soviets, to hasten what they saw as inevitable confrontation. But the young President offered a different vision. Strength, in his view, included powerful armed forces and a willingness to stand up for our values around the world. But he rejected the prevailing attitude among some foreign policy circles that equated security with a perpetual war footing. Instead, he promised strong, principled American leadership on behalf of what he called a “practical” and “attainable peace” — a peace “based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions — on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements.”
Such wisdom would help guide our ship of state through some of the most perilous moments in human history. With Kennedy at the helm, the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved peacefully. Under Democratic and Republican Presidents, new agreements were forged — a Non-Proliferation Treaty that prohibited nations from acquiring nuclear weapons, while allowing them to access peaceful nuclear energy; the SALT and START Treaties which bound the United States and Soviet Union to cooperation on arms control. Not every conflict was averted, but the world avoided nuclear catastrophe, and we created the time and the space to win the Cold War without firing a shot at the Soviets.
The agreement now reached between the international community and the Islamic Republic of Iran builds on this tradition of strong, principled diplomacy. After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb. It contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. As was true in previous treaties, it does not resolve all problems; it certainly doesn’t resolve all our problems with Iran. It does not ensure a warming between our two countries. But it achieves one of our most critical security objectives. As such, it is a very good deal.
Today, I want to speak to you about this deal, and the most consequential foreign policy debate that our country has had since the invasion of Iraq, as Congress decides whether to support this historic diplomatic breakthrough, or instead blocks it over the objection of the vast majority of the world. Between now and the congressional vote in September, you’re going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal, backed by tens of millions of dollars in advertising. And if the rhetoric in these ads, and the accompanying commentary, sounds familiar, it should — for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.
Now, when I ran for President eight years ago as a candidate who had opposed the decision to go to war in Iraq, I said that America didn’t just have to end that war — we had to end the mindset that got us there in the first place. It was a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy; a mindset that put a premium on unilateral U.S. action over the painstaking work of building international consensus; a mindset that exaggerated threats beyond what the intelligence supported. Leaders did not level with the American people about the costs of war, insisting that we could easily impose our will on a part of the world with a profoundly different culture and history. And, of course, those calling for war labeled themselves strong and decisive, while dismissing those who disagreed as weak — even appeasers of a malevolent adversary.
More than a decade later, we still live with the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq. Our troops achieved every mission they were given. But thousands of lives were lost, tens of thousands wounded. That doesn’t count the lives lost among Iraqis. Nearly a trillion dollars was spent. Today, Iraq remains gripped by sectarian conflict, and the emergence of al Qaeda in Iraq has now evolved into ISIL. And ironically, the single greatest beneficiary in the region of that war was the Islamic Republic of Iran, which saw its strategic position strengthened by the removal of its long-standing enemy, Saddam Hussein.
I raise this recent history because now more than ever we need clear thinking in our foreign policy. And I raise this history because it bears directly on how we respond to the Iranian nuclear program.
That program has been around for decades, dating back to the Shah’s efforts — with U.S. support — in the 1960s and ‘70s to develop nuclear power. The theocracy that overthrew the Shah accelerated the program after the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, a war in which Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons to brutal effect, and Iran’s nuclear program advanced steadily through the 1990s, despite unilateral U.S. sanctions. When the Bush administration took office, Iran had no centrifuges — the machines necessary to produce material for a bomb — that were spinning to enrich uranium. But despite repeated warnings from the United States government, by the time I took office, Iran had installed several thousand centrifuges, and showed no inclination to slow — much less halt — its program.
Among U.S. policymakers, there’s never been disagreement on the danger posed by an Iranian nuclear bomb. Democrats and Republicans alike have recognized that it would spark an arms race in the world’s most unstable region, and turn every crisis into a potential nuclear showdown. It would embolden terrorist groups, like Hezbollah, and pose an unacceptable risk to Israel, which Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to destroy. More broadly, it could unravel the global commitment to non-proliferation that the world has done so much to defend.
The question, then, is not whether to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but how. Even before taking office, I made clear that Iran would not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon on my watch, and it’s been my policy throughout my presidency to keep all options — including possible military options — on the table to achieve that objective. But I have also made clear my preference for a peaceful, diplomatic resolution of the issue — not just because of the costs of war, but also because a negotiated agreement offered a more effective, verifiable and durable resolution.
And so, in 2009, we let the Iranians know that a diplomatic path was available. Iran failed to take that path, and our intelligence community exposed the existence of a covert nuclear facility at Fordow.
Now, some have argued that Iran’s intransigence showed the futility of negotiations. In fact, it was our very willingness to negotiate that helped America rally the world to our cause, and secured international participation in an unprecedented framework of commercial and financial sanctions. Keep in mind unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran had been in place for decades, but had failed to pressure Iran to the negotiating table. What made our new approach more effective was our ability to draw upon new U.N. Security Council resolutions, combining strong enforcement with voluntary agreements from nations like China and India, Japan and South Korea to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil, as well as the imposition by our European allies of a total oil embargo.
Winning this global buy-in was not easy — I know. I was there. In some cases, our partners lost billions of dollars in trade because of their decision to cooperate. But we were able to convince them that absent a diplomatic resolution, the result could be war, with major disruptions to the global economy, and even greater instability in the Middle East. In other words, it was diplomacy — hard, painstaking diplomacy — not saber-rattling, not tough talk that ratcheted up the pressure on Iran.
With the world now unified beside us, Iran’s economy contracted severely, and remains about 20 percent smaller today than it would have otherwise been. No doubt this hardship played a role in Iran’s 2013 elections, when the Iranian people elected a new government that promised to improve the economy through engagement with the world. A window had cracked open. Iran came back to the nuclear talks. And after a series of negotiations, Iran agreed with the international community to an interim deal — a deal that rolled back Iran’s stockpile of near 20 percent enriched uranium, and froze the progress of its program so that the P5+1 — the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the European Union — could negotiate a comprehensive deal without the fear that Iran might be stalling for time.
Now, let me pause here just to remind everybody that when the interim deal was announced, critics — the same critics we’re hearing from now — called it “a historic mistake.” They insisted Iran would ignore its obligations. They warned that sanctions would unravel. They warned that Iran would receive a windfall to support terrorism.
The critics were wrong. The progress of Iran’s nuclear program was halted for the first time in a decade. Its stockpile of dangerous materials was reduced. The deployment of its advanced centrifuges was stopped. Inspections did increase. There was no flood of money into Iran, and the architecture of the international sanctions remained in place. In fact, the interim deal worked so well that the same people who criticized it so fiercely now cite it as an excuse not to support the broader accord. Think about that. What was once proclaimed as a historic mistake is now held up as a success and a reason to not sign the comprehensive deal. So keep that in mind when you assess the credibility of the arguments being made against diplomacy today.
Despite the criticism, we moved ahead to negotiate a more lasting, comprehensive deal. Our diplomats, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, kept our coalition united. Our nuclear experts — including one of the best in the world, Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz — worked tirelessly on the technical details. In July, we reached a comprehensive plan of action that meets our objectives. Under its terms, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon. And while Iran, like any party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is allowed to access peaceful nuclear energy, the agreement strictly defines the manner in which its nuclear program can proceed, ensuring that all pathways to a bomb are cut off.
Here’s how. Under this deal, Iran cannot acquire the plutonium needed for a bomb. The core of its heavy-water reactor at Arak will be pulled out, filled with concrete, and replaced with one that will not produce plutonium for a weapon. The spent fuel from that reactor will be shipped out of the country, and Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors for at least 15 years.
Iran will also not be able to acquire the enriched uranium that could be used for a bomb. As soon as this deal is implemented, Iran will remove two-thirds of its centrifuges. For the next decade, Iran will not enrich uranium with its more advanced centrifuges. Iran will not enrich uranium at the previously undisclosed Fordow facility, which is buried deep underground, for at least 15 years. Iran will get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium, which is currently enough for up to 10 nuclear bombs, for the next 15 years. Even after those 15 years have passed, Iran will never have the right to use a peaceful program as cover to pursue a weapon.
And, in fact, this deal shuts off the type of covert path Iran pursued in the past. There will be 24/7 monitoring of Iran’s key nuclear facilities. For decades, inspectors will have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain — from the uranium mines and mills where they get raw materials, to the centrifuge production facilities where they make machines to enrich it. And understand why this is so important: For Iran to cheat, it has to build a lot more than just one building or a covert facility like Fordow. It would need a secret source for every single aspect of its program. No nation in history has been able to pull off such subterfuge when subjected to such rigorous inspections. And under the terms of the deal, inspectors will have the permanent ability to inspect any suspicious sites in Iran.
And finally, Iran has powerful incentives to keep its commitments. Before getting sanctions relief, Iran has to take significant, concrete steps like removing centrifuges and getting rid of its stockpile. If Iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions can snap back into place. We won’t need the support of other members of the U.N. Security Council; America can trigger snapback on our own. On the other hand, if Iran abides by the deal and its economy begins to reintegrate with the world, the incentive to avoid snapback will only grow.
So this deal is not just the best choice among alternatives -– this is the strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated. And because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and non-proliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors — who served under Republican and Democratic Presidents — support it. I’ve had to make a lot of tough calls as President, but whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls. It’s not even close.
Unfortunately, we’re living through a time in American politics where every foreign policy decision is viewed through a partisan prism, evaluated by headline-grabbing sound bites. And so before the ink was even dry on this deal — before Congress even read it — a majority of Republicans declared their virulent opposition. Lobbyists and pundits were suddenly transformed into arm-chair nuclear scientists, disputing the assessments of experts like Secretary Moniz, challenging his findings, offering multiple — and sometimes contradictory — arguments about why Congress should reject this deal. But if you repeat these arguments long enough, they can get some traction. So let me address just a few of the arguments that have been made so far in opposition to this deal.
First, there are those who say the inspections are not strong enough because inspectors can’t go anywhere in Iran at any time with no notice.
Well, here’s the truth: Inspectors will be allowed daily access to Iran’s key nuclear sites. If there is a reason for inspecting a suspicious, undeclared site anywhere in Iran, inspectors will get that access, even if Iran objects. This access can be with as little as 24 hours’ notice. And while the process for resolving a dispute about access can take up to 24 days, once we’ve identified a site that raises suspicion, we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in. And by the way, nuclear material isn’t something you hide in the closet. It can leave a trace for years. The bottom line is, if Iran cheats, we can catch them — and we will.
Second, there are those who argue that the deal isn’t strong enough because some of the limitations on Iran’s civilian nuclear program expire in 15 years. Let me repeat: The prohibition on Iran having a nuclear weapon is permanent. The ban on weapons-related research is permanent. Inspections are permanent. It is true that some of the limitations regarding Iran’s peaceful program last only 15 years. But that’s how arms control agreements work. The first SALT Treaty with the Soviet Union lasted five years. The first START Treaty lasted 15 years. And in our current situation, if 15 or 20 years from now, Iran tries to build a bomb, this deal ensures that the United States will have better tools to detect it, a stronger basis under international law to respond, and the same options available to stop a weapons program as we have today, including — if necessary — military options.
On the other hand, without this deal, the scenarios that critics warn about happening in 15 years could happen six months from now. By killing this deal, Congress would not merely pave Iran’s pathway to a bomb, it would accelerate it.
Third, a number of critics say the deal isn’t worth it because Iran will get billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Now, let’s be clear: The international sanctions were put in place precisely to get Iran to agree to constraints on its program. That’s the point of sanctions. Any negotiated agreement with Iran would involve sanctions relief. So an argument against sanctions relief is effectively an argument against any diplomatic resolution of this issue.
It is true that if Iran lives up to its commitments, it will gain access to roughly $56 billion of its own money — revenue frozen overseas by other countries. But the notion that this will be a game-changer, with all this money funneled into Iran’s pernicious activities, misses the reality of Iran’s current situation. Partly because of our sanctions, the Iranian government has over half a trillion dollars in urgent requirements — from funding pensions and salaries, to paying for crumbling infrastructure. Iran’s leaders have raised the expectations of their people that sanctions relief will improve their lives. Even a repressive regime like Iran’s cannot completely ignore those expectations. And that’s why our best analysts expect the bulk of this revenue to go into spending that improves the economy and benefits the lives of the Iranian people.
Now, this is not to say that sanctions relief will provide no benefit to Iran’s military. Let’s stipulate that some of that money will flow to activities that we object to. We have no illusions about the Iranian government, or the significance of the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force. Iran supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies — including proxy groups who killed our troops in Iraq. They try to destabilize our Gulf partners. But Iran has been engaged in these activities for decades. They engaged in them before sanctions and while sanctions were in place. In fact, Iran even engaged in these activities in the middle of the Iran-Iraq War — a war that cost them nearly a million lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.
The truth is that Iran has always found a way to fund these efforts, and whatever benefit Iran may claim from sanctions relief pales in comparison to the danger it could pose with a nuclear weapon.
Moreover, there’s no scenario where sanctions relief turns Iran into the region’s dominant power. Iran’s defense budget is eight times smaller than the combined budget of our Gulf allies. Their conventional capabilities will never compare with Israel’s, and our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge helps guarantee that. Over the last several years, Iran has had to spend billions of dollars to support its only ally in the Arab World — Bashar al-Assad — even as he’s lost control of huge chunks of his country. And Hezbollah has suffered significant blows on the same battlefield. And Iran, like the rest of the region, is being forced to respond to the threat of ISIL in Iraq.
So contrary to the alarmists who claim that Iran is on the brink of taking over the Middle East, or even the world, Iran will remain a regional power with its own set of challenges. The ruling regime is dangerous and it is repressive. We will continue to have sanctions in place on Iran’s support for terrorism and violation of human rights. We will continue to insist upon the release of Americans detained unjustly. We will have a lot of differences with the Iranian regime.
But if we’re serious about confronting Iran’s destabilizing activities, it is hard to imagine a worse approach than blocking this deal. Instead, we need to check the behavior that we’re concerned about directly: By helping our allies in the region strengthen their own capabilities to counter a cyber-attack or a ballistic missile; by improving the interdiction of weapons shipments that go to groups like Hezbollah; by training our allies’ special forces so that they can more effectively respond to situations like Yemen. All these capabilities will make a difference. We will be in a stronger position to implement them with this deal. And, by the way, such a strategy also helps us effectively confront the immediate and lethal threat posed by ISIL.
Now, the final criticism — this sort of a catch-all that you may hear — is the notion that there’s a better deal to be had. “We should get a better deal” — that’s repeated over and over again. “It’s a bad deal, need a better deal” — (laughter) — one that relies on vague promises of toughness, and, more recently, the argument that we can apply a broader and indefinite set of sanctions to squeeze the Iranian regime harder.
Those making this argument are either ignorant of Iranian society, or they’re just not being straight with the American people. Sanctions alone are not going to force Iran to completely dismantle all vestiges of its nuclear infrastructure — even those aspects that are consistent with peaceful programs. That oftentimes is what the critics are calling “a better deal.” Neither the Iranian government, or the Iranian opposition, or the Iranian people would agree to what they would view as a total surrender of their sovereignty.
Moreover, our closest allies in Europe, or in Asia — much less China or Russia — certainly are not going to agree to enforce existing sanctions for another 5, 10, 15 years according to the dictates of the U.S. Congress. Because their willingness to support sanctions in the first place was based on Iran ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It was not based on the belief that Iran cannot have peaceful nuclear power. And it certainly wasn’t based on a desire for regime change in Iran.
As a result, those who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy. Instead of strengthening our position as some have suggested, Congress’s rejection would almost certainly result in multilateral sanctions unraveling. If, as has also been suggested, we tried to maintain unilateral sanctions, beefen them up, we would be standing alone. We cannot dictate the foreign, economic and energy policies of every major power in the world.
In order to even try to do that, we would have to sanction, for example, some of the world’s largest banks. We’d have to cut off countries like China from the American financial system. And since they happen to be major purchasers of or our debt, such actions could trigger severe disruptions in our own economy and, by the way, raise questions internationally about the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency.
That’s part of the reason why many of the previous unilateral sanctions were waived. What’s more likely to happen, should Congress reject this deal, is that Iran would end up with some form of sanctions relief without having to accept any of the constraints or inspections required by this deal. So in that sense, the critics are right: Walk away from this agreement and you will get a better deal — for Iran. (Applause.)
Now, because more sanctions won’t produce the results that the critics want, we have to be honest. Congressional rejection of this deal leaves any U.S. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option — another war in the Middle East.
I say this not to be provocative. I am stating a fact. Without this deal, Iran will be in a position — however tough our rhetoric may be –- to steadily advance its capabilities. Its breakout time, which is already fairly small, could shrink to near zero. Does anyone really doubt that the same voices now raised against this deal will be demanding that whoever is President bomb those nuclear facilities?
And as someone who does firmly believes that Iran must not get a nuclear weapon, and who has wrestled with this issue since the beginning of my presidency, I can tell you that alternatives to military action will have been exhausted once we reject a hard-won diplomatic solution that the world almost unanimously supports.
So let’s not mince words. The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon. And here’s the irony. As I said before, military action would be far less effective than this deal in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That’s not just my supposition. Every estimate, including those from Israeli analysts, suggest military action would only set back Iran’s program by a few years at best, which is a fraction of the limitations imposed by this deal. It would likely guarantee that inspectors are kicked out of Iran. It is probable that it would drive Iran’s program deeper underground. It would certainly destroy the international unity that we’ve spent so many years building.
Now, there are some opponents — I have to give them credit; there are opponents of this deal who accept the choice of war. In fact, they argue that surgical strikes against Iran’s facilities will be quick and painless. But if we’ve learned anything from the last decade, it’s that wars in general and wars in the Middle East in particular are anything but simple. (Applause.) The only certainty in war is human suffering, uncertain costs, unintended consequences. We can also be sure that the Americans who bear the heaviest burden are the less than 1 percent of us, the outstanding men and women who serve in uniform, and not those of us who send them to war.
As Commander-in-Chief, I have not shied from using force when necessary. I have ordered tens of thousands of young Americans into combat. I have sat by their bedside sometimes when they come home. I’ve ordered military action in seven countries. There are times when force is necessary, and if Iran does not abide by this deal, it’s possible that we don’t have an alternative.
But how can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives; that has been agreed to by Iran; that is supported by the rest of the world; and that preserves our options if the deal falls short? How could we justify that to our troops? How could we justify that to the world or to future generations?
In the end, that should be a lesson that we’ve learned from over a decade of war. On the front end, ask tough questions. Subject our own assumptions to evidence and analysis. Resist the conventional wisdom and the drumbeat of war. Worry less about being labeled weak; worry more about getting it right.
I recognize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of Iran. It is offensive. It is incendiary. We do take it seriously. But superpowers should not act impulsively in response to taunts, or even provocations that can be addressed short of war. Just because Iranian hardliners chant “Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. (Applause.)
In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting “Death to America” who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus. (Laughter and applause.)
The majority of the Iranian people have powerful incentives to urge their government to move in a different, less provocative direction — incentives that are strengthened by this deal. We should offer them that chance. We should give them that opportunity. It’s not guaranteed to succeed. But if they take it, that would be good for Iran, it would be good for the United States. It would be good for a region that has known too much conflict. It would be good for the world.
And if Iran does not move in that direction, if Iran violates this deal, we will have ample ability to respond. The agreements pursued by Kennedy and Reagan with the Soviet Union, those agreements, those treaties involved America accepting significant constraints on our arsenal. As such, they were riskier. This agreement involves no such constraints. The defense budget of the United States is more than $600 billion. To repeat, Iran’s is about $15 billion. Our military remains the ultimate backstop to any security agreement that we make. I have stated that Iran will never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. I have done what is necessary to make sure our military options are real. And I have no doubt that any President who follows me will take the same position.
So let me sum up here. When we carefully examine the arguments against this deal, none of them stand up to scrutiny. That may be why the rhetoric on the other side is so strident. I suppose some of it can be ascribed to knee-jerk partisanship that has become all too familiar; rhetoric that renders every decision that’s made a disaster, a surrender — “you’re aiding terrorists; you’re endangering freedom.”
On the other hand, I do think it’s important to acknowledge another, more understandable motivation behind the opposition to this deal, or at least skepticism to this deal, and that is a sincere affinity for our friend and ally, Israel — an affinity that, as someone who has been a stalwart friend to Israel throughout my career, I deeply share.
When the Israeli government is opposed to something, people in the United States take notice. And they should. No one can blame Israelis for having a deep skepticism about any dealings with a government like Iran’s — which includes leaders who have denied the Holocaust, embrace an ideology of anti-Semitism, facilitate the flow of rockets that are arrayed on Israel’s borders, are pointed at Tel Aviv. In such a dangerous neighborhood, Israel has to be vigilant, and it rightly insists that it cannot depend on any other country — even its great friend the United States — for its own security. So we have to take seriously concerns in Israel.
But the fact is, partly due to American military and intelligence assistance, which my administration has provided at unprecedented levels, Israel can defend itself against any conventional danger — whether from Iran directly or from its proxies. On the other hand, a nuclear-armed Iran changes that equation.
And that’s why this deal ultimately must be judged by what it achieves on the central goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This deal does exactly that. I say this as someone who has done more than any other President to strengthen Israel’s security. And I have made clear to the Israeli government that we are prepared to discuss how we can deepen that cooperation even further. Already we’ve held talks with Israel on concluding another 10-year plan for U.S. security assistance to Israel. We can enhance support for areas like missile defense, information sharing, interdiction — all to help meet Israel’s pressing security needs, and to provide a hedge against any additional activities that Iran may engage in as a consequence of sanctions relief.
But I have also listened to the Israeli security establishment, which warned of the danger posed by a nuclear-armed Iran for decades. In fact, they helped develop many of the ideas that ultimately led to this deal.
So to friends of Israel, and to the Israeli people, I say this: A nuclear-armed Iran is far more dangerous to Israel, to America, and to the world than an Iran that benefits from sanctions relief.
I recognize that Prime Minister Netanyahu disagrees — disagrees strongly. I do not doubt his sincerity. But I believe he is wrong. I believe the facts support this deal. I believe they are in America’s interest and Israel’s interest. And as President of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally. I do not believe that would be the right thing to do for the United States. I do not believe it would be the right thing to do for Israel. (Applause.)
Over the last couple weeks, I have repeatedly challenged anyone opposed to this deal to put forward a better, plausible alternative. I have yet to hear one. What I’ve heard instead are the same types of arguments that we heard in the run-up to the Iraq War: Iran cannot be dealt with diplomatically; we can take military strikes without significant consequences; we shouldn’t worry about what the rest of the world thinks, because once we act, everyone will fall in line; tougher talk, more military threats will force Iran into submission; we can get a better deal.
I know it’s easy to play on people’s fears, to magnify threats, to compare any attempt at diplomacy to Munich. But none of these arguments hold up. They didn’t back in 2002 and 2003; they shouldn’t now. (Applause.) The same mindset, in many cases offered by the same people who seem to have no compunction with being repeatedly wrong, led to a war that did more to strengthen Iran, more to isolate the United States than anything we have done in the decades before or since. It’s a mindset out of step with the traditions of American foreign policy, where we exhaust diplomacy before war, and debate matters of war and peace in the cold light of truth.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict,” President Reagan once said. It is “the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means.” President Kennedy warned Americans, “not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more than the exchange of threats.” It is time to apply such wisdom. The deal before us doesn’t bet on Iran changing, it doesn’t require trust; it verifies and requires Iran to forsake a nuclear weapon, just as we struck agreements with the Soviet Union at a time when they were threatening our allies, arming proxies against us, proclaiming their commitment to destroy our way of life, and had nuclear weapons pointed at all of our major cities — a genuine existential threat.
We live in a complicated world — a world in which the forces unleashed by human innovation are creating opportunities for our children that were unimaginable for most of human history. It is also a world of persistent threats, a world in which mass violence and cruelty is all too common, and human innovation risks the destruction of all that we hold dear. In this world, the United States of America remains the most powerful nation on Earth, and I believe that we will remain such for decades to come. But we are one nation among many.
And what separates us from the empires of old, what has made us exceptional, is not the mere fact of our military might. Since World War II, the deadliest war in human history, we have used our power to try to bind nations together in a system of international law. We have led an evolution of those human institutions President Kennedy spoke about — to prevent the spread of deadly weapons, to uphold peace and security, and promote human progress.
We now have the opportunity to build on that progress. We built a coalition and held it together through sanctions and negotiations, and now we have before us a solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, without resorting to war. As Americans, we should be proud of this achievement. And as members of Congress reflect on their pending decision, I urge them to set aside political concerns, shut out the noise, consider the stakes involved with the vote that you will cast.
If Congress kills this deal, we will lose more than just constraints on Iran’s nuclear program, or the sanctions we have painstakingly built. We will have lost something more precious: America’s credibility as a leader of diplomacy; America’s credibility as the anchor of the international system.
John F. Kennedy cautioned here, more than 50 years ago, at this university, that “the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war.” But it’s so very important. It is surely the pursuit of peace that is most needed in this world so full of strife.
My fellow Americans, contact your representatives in Congress. Remind them of who we are. Remind them of what is best in us and what we stand for, so that we can leave behind a world that is more secure and more peaceful for our children.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
12:54 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 5, 2015
Follow along for highlights from the President’s trip.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 26, 2015
Source: Time, 7-21-15
Ohio Gov. John Kasich launched his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a speech at The Ohio State University.
Here is a transcript of the full remarks.
KASICH: Wow. Huh? Wow.
Well, listen, standing here with me, of course, are the people who I’ve dedicated my life to: My sweet daughters, Emma and Reese Kasich.
You know, I remember when they were born — remember that, sweetie?
I kept saying to the doctor, “How’s it going,” you know, and he’s trying to deliver two, and finally, he looks at me square in the eye, and he said, “Can you shut up? I’m a little busy right now.”
And they came out, and I could hold them in the palm of my hand. It was so sweet.
And so I, along with Karen, have dedicated our lives to giving them a better life than we were able to ever get from our parents. And you know what? They’re doing fantastic. Emma and Reese Kasich.
And my wife, pray for her. She’s married to me, OK?
KASICH: From the very tips of my toes to the top of my head, I just love my wife so much. Such a greater partner…
… and such a great lady.
So I want to tell you that it’s this whole business of the American Dream, isn’t it, that we can all work to make sure that next generation is going to be in a position of greater strength than what we received. And I get my inspiration from the people who came before me. And I want to tell you about a few of the ones that inspire me.
I’d like to start with my uncle Steve. Uncle Steve was a tough guy — you know, the son of a coal miner. Rough and gruff and tell it like it is. And he found himself at Iwo Jima, and he looked around during that battle and he saw a lot of people dying. Uncle Steve was not a church-going man, but in the middle of all the violence and the blood and the death, he said to God, if you will take me off this island, I will go to church every day for the rest of my life.
And he did. And he did. And Uncle Steve…
When Uncle Steve came home from the war, the brothers all slept in the same room; they didn’t have a lot. And Uncle George told me that he would have nightmares and he would speak in Japanese. And he told his brothers never wake me, never wake me from that nightmare because I don’t what will happen. Let me sleep and wake up on my own.
And Uncle George — he’s here today, he’s right over here. He’s 89 years old.
I so love my Uncle George. He’s the patriarch of our family. Well, Uncle George was in the infantry, and he was scheduled to take a boat from England to Belgium. But the division he was in couldn’t all fit in the boat, so they asked Uncle George to wait until the next day. Well that boat left England on its way to Belgium, and a submarine launched a torpedo and sunk that boat and everyone on it perished.
The next day, Uncle George took another boat and he landed in France. And he fought with great honor and he returned home and became a guidance counselor and guided young people for the next 38 years of his life. What a man.
You know, when my father-in-law — we call him Popsy, grandfather — joined the Marines at the age of 17; wanted to serve his country. But I guess most important, my mom and dad. You know, Mom was — well, she was a visionary. Didn’t get the education; you know, her mother could barely speak English, but boy, was she smart. And if you think I have opinions, you never met my mom.
And my father was the mailman. They called him John the Mailman. And when we laid my mother and father to rest, there were countless numbers of people who came and said John the Mailman, he watched out for all of us. And they gave up so much, didn’t take — I wished they’d have spent more on themselves, but they just — no matter what you told them, they weren’t doing to do it because it was all about the next generation. And they are the ones that have inspired me.
And all of you that are here today, you’re the same way, aren’t you? You’ve got those people who did so much for you who are your heroes. And they don’t have to be famous, they’re just people you love and that you admire. That American Dream that is pivotal for the future for our country, but I have to tell you there are a lot of people in America today who are not sure that that American Dream is possible, that that American Dream is alive. And I can understand their concerns.
KASICH: You know, when I was a kid, you went out and you got a job and you worked at that job your entire lifetime. You got your health care, you got your retirement and everything was good.
Today, you could be a 51-year-old man and one day after serving and doing everything the right way, somebody walks into your office and says, I’m sorry, but we don’t need you anymore.
Can you imagine that conversation?
Could you imagine that dad when he is driving home or that mom when she is driving home?
They lose confidence. They wonder what their future is.
Can they get another job?
Can they support their family?
Will anybody be there to help them?
Or how about moms and dads today?
They send their kids to college, many of these young people ringing up massive amounts of debt trying to get an education and they are living in the attic and Mom and Dad are wondering, will they get a job?
Will they pay their bills?
What kind of a future are they going to have?
Or, at the same time, we can also think about what all of us fear greatly and that is the problems of bad health.
Can I afford those expensive drugs that I need to survive?
What is it going to cost me to get treatment, just not for myself but for one of the loved ones in my family?
Will I be bankrupted and lose everything I have, everything I’ve worked for?
It’s a real fear.
Or the fear of the tsunami of drugs — it’s everywhere, isn’t it? The kids that are here and there are many of them, don’t do drugs, don’t put that big 1,000-pound pack on your back and keep you from your God-given purpose. But all moms and dads worry that those drugs are going to wash away our own neighborhoods and maybe wash away our children.
And how about those that struggle to make ends meet?
There are some people just say, oh, well, just work harder or pull yourself up by your bootstraps. I believe in all that. Some people just don’t have the fortune that many of us have. And they struggle. They struggle for a whole lifetime and they worry, that can they rise?
Can they — can they pull the rest of their family members up the ladder, the promise of America? And they worry about it.
Or how about if you are a member of the minority community, an African American?
You wonder. The system, I think, sometimes doesn’t just work for me but sometimes I feel like that system works against me. And you think about the troubles that many of our African Americans still face today in a world where we have worked to provide equal rights and opportunities. Sometimes they are not so sure and I don’t blame them.
Or how about all of us? We pick up the paper. It’s Chattanooga, it’s Fort Hood, it’s ISIS.
Are we safe?
Are we going to be safe to go to the mall?
Are we safe to leave our homes?
These are the worries that many Americans have.
But I have to tell you, as serious as these are — and they are very serious — we have had a lot worse, much worse in this country.
Think about it, the civil war.
You remember reading about it? I mean, it’s not just neighbors fighting against neighbors, but it was even family members, kin fighting against one another and killing one another on a battlefield right in America.
How about the racial violence that we experienced in this country?
The early days of television when they put the dogs and the gas and the batons on people of another color. Or the world wars, where many in our families never came home, leaving widows and children without a dad. Or the Depression, the Depression. Ask your grandfather, ask your mom and dad about that depression.
KASICH: My father used to say that he would go down to the store and get some food for the family and the guy would say, “We’ll put it on your bill.” There was no bill. That’s what it took for America to get through the Depression.
And you all remember that crystal clear morning and the horror we felt on 9/11.
But guess what? We’ve always got through it, because the testing is what makes you stronger. It’s the challenges that make you better. I have lived through them, and I have become stronger for them, and America has become stronger for them.
And here’s how we’ve done it: by staying together. Not by dividing each other but by staying together with our eyes on the horizon, with our eyes on the horizon, about the future.
We have a little town in Ohio called Wilmington. They followed that formula.
Let me tell you about these folks. They played by the rules — worked every day, highly productive, teamwork — and one day, an employer said, “We’re leaving. We’re out of here.”
And thousands of people, thousands of hardworking, God-fearing people like your neighbors, went from getting a paycheck on a Friday afternoon to visiting a food pantry so they could feed their kids.
I was down there in 2010 after this earthquake — economic earthquake hit Wilmington. We had a campaign bus. My wife was with me.
We walked through that food pantry. We looked at the people and preachers and civil servants and leaders and caregivers. They were at the food pantry, but they hadn’t lost any hope, because they had their eyes on the horizon.
We got back on the bus — I will never forget it as long as I live — we got back on — on the bus, and I said, “Folks, do you understand” — some of them had been with me for a long time, so they got it. But some of the others were rookies.
I said, “Do you understand what we are doing here? This isn’t a political campaign.” And by the way, either will this be. “This is not a political campaign.
“Did you see those people? Did you see the tears in their eyes? Did you see them hugging their children? Did you see them not hopeless? We’re going to join in, and we’re going to help them, because it is our job and our mission as human beings, as children of God, to work with them, to lift them.”
And guess what? And guess what?
And in Wilmington today, the sun’s coming up. I told them that the sun would come up again. It hasn’t reached its zenith, but the sun is rising, and the sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again. I promise you, it will happen.
Listen, you know — you know — you know who does this? See, it’s you and me. See, it’s teachers and preachers and moms and dads, doctors, construction workers, like that sweet man in Brown County that saw his family washed away over the weekend — keep him in your prayers — police and firemen and people like my dad, the mailman, John the mailman, because we are the glue, we are the glue that holds our country together.
How about — as for me, as for me, look, I’m just trying to do my best, OK?
I came here to Ohio State. I found myself on the 19th floor of one of the towers. You could hit it with a stone from here.
I had 15 roommates. The place was 23 floors high. The tower next door, the same size.
KASICH: Ohio State can be a pretty intimidating place, OK. It’s big. It is a big place. And I left my dorm room, went down to the first floor and I walked just right down the path to Ohio Stadium. And it was a time when you could actually walk in that stadium, they didn’t have that one end closed in. And I walked into that stadium — I swear this happened — and I walked right to the 50 yard line.
There was no one in the stadium that day, and I looked around. All of those seats, those big structures that were there and I thought to myself either this place is going to take me down or I’m going to take it down.
One way or the other, it was going to be — you know, either it was going to be me or it was going to be a place, kids — because you’ll face it someday — to help me move forward.
You know, it’s amazing, I’m back here today. You could throw a stone and hit that stadium or you could hit that dormitory so many years later, and guess what? I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support, for your efforts because I have decided to run for president of the United States.
You know, they — they ask you all the time like it’s a trick question or something, you know, well why do you want to do this. I mean, it’s like they’re going to catch you, right?
I mean — I mean, if you can’t answer that question, you ought to be back at the 50 yard line at Ohio Stadium wondering about your future.
I do this because — well, first of all, we’re not born to serve others. Think about this, I want you to think about this. If we’re not born to serve others, what were we born to do? I do this for my family, of course, for my sweet family, for my neighbors, Molly, for my friends of many, many, many years, many of whom are working with me today 30, 40 years later. I really do it for everyone. And I have to humbly tell you — and I mean humbly tell you — that I believe I do have the skills and I have the experience…
I have the experience and the testing, the testing which shapes you and prepares you for the most important job in the world. And I believe I know how to work and help restore this great United States. And I have to tell you, it’s a daunting challenge.
I was just at Wendy’s on Saturday up here on Hudson Avenue, and the two wonderful African-American fellows were there. And I walked in, I was standing behind them, and one said to the other one, I don’t know what I believe what I’m seeing, but I think that’s Governor Kasich standing behind me.
And he said you better run. Do you know what meant to me? Two African-American guys, one with a knee — a brace on his knee and another one with a cane. And I said well, you know, people are going to have a lot more money than I am, and they looked at me and they said but you’ve got statistics, you’ve got statistics.
KASICH: So some are going to ask, as they always have, why do you think you can do this. You know, all of my life, people have told me you can’t do something, OK? And I’ll tell you why. It’s because I do believe in the power of very big idea, big bold ideas.
In 1976, I went out to the convention in Kansas City and not only worked for Ronald Reagan, but I worked with Ronald Reagan and I got to travel with Ronald Reagan.
Yes, I actually knew the guy, OK, the real guy, not from the history book. He lost at that convention. I had been managing, I think, five states for him at that convention. I mean, you talk about lightning striking me. I was 24 years old. I walked in; they were one man short and said, could you manage five states for the governor? I had no idea what they were saying.
I said, of course I could. OK? I had no idea about it.
Well, he lost, as you know. And I was there when he met with his closest advisers. And he said we’ve lost the battle. We hadn’t lost any war because we will all be back. And I’m going to fix America with all of your help.
And of course, he did and it further cemented my notion that big ideas — big ideas change the world. Big ideas change the world.
So I came back — I came back here to Ohio and I was all charged up and I was working as an aide. And I came back and I remember meeting with one of my buddies. And I said, you know, I think I’m going to just run for the state senate and beat that guy we had been watching. And I remember he was drinking something and it fell on the floor when I told him that.
People, look, I was 24.5 years old. I had no relatives that lived in the state. I didn’t really know anybody, but I had a big idea.
And you know what we did? We went out and we got moms and dads, a lot of moms who went door to door and rang doorbells. And the weekend before the election one of the local newspapers said, he is a fine young man but he has no chance to win.
Well, I won that election with the help of the army of volunteers. I went on to chair the health committee, where I learned to work across the aisle because the House was run by Democrats and that is where I learned that policy is far more important than politics, ideology or any of the other nonsense we see.
You know, they said it couldn’t be done. We proved them wrong.
And then at the ripe old age of 30 I decided I’m going to run for Congress.
My mother and father are like, Johnny, what are you doing now? OK?
Well, they said I couldn’t win. I was too young. And by the way, I was — I was going to run against an incumbent in 1982; it’s like the worst year. We lost 26 Republican seats that year. I was going to run against a guy — a guy who got one of his degrees from Harvard.
That’s when I knew I had an edge. Clearly he couldn’t have gotten into Ohio State. And I knew I had an edge.
And in 1982 I was the only Republican in America to defeat an incumbent Democrat all across this country. And…
… guess what? Here is the irony. I got to go to Washington and work with President Ronald Reagan.
They said — they said it couldn’t be done and we proved them wrong again.
And then I got down to Washington and got on a — the Armed Services Committee, where I served for 18 years on national security. And I was there just the blink of an eye and I discovered that these hammers and screwdrivers had cost thousands of dollars. And it was taking the resources from the people that needed it who were serving in the military. We were wasting money.
And I said we need to clean this up. And they’re like, “No, come on. It’s the Pentagon. You can’t — you — forget about it. It can’t happen.”
KASICH: Well, we passed some legislation and we made things right. We saved money. We improved the system. And we helped the military. They said it couldn’t be done and we proved them wrong again.
Let me be clear. Our military must be improved. We need to — we need to…
We need to cut the bureaucracy, and we need to strengthen our services.
Now, I’m a person — I’m person that doesn’t like to spend a lot of money. But in this case, national security climbs to the very top of the heap, because we must be strong, and we must assume our role as leaders of the world.
So six years after I got to Congress, I got on the budget committee. And I remember going to those first few meetings, Bob. I mean, it was, like, terrible, and I was complaining. I was up right here at a gas station in Westerville, and I’m saying, “These people don’t want to do anything.”
And some guy walked around the pump, and he looked me square in the eye. He said, “Things are so bad, what are you going to do about them”?
So I flew down to Washington, I met with my staff, about six of them, and I said, “You know, I think — I think we should just write a budget for the United States of America.” And they said, “Well, there’s, like, 100 people at the White House working on a budget and probably 50 up here, and we only have six.”
And I said, “I know, we’re overstaffed, but we stay out of our way, we’ll be able to get this done.”
And we wrote a budget for the United States of America.
And why? Everybody knows me as a budget guy. It’s not about numbers; it’s about vision, it’s about values, and we do not have the right as grownups to ring up debts to suit ourselves and pass them onto the next generation. We don’t have that right.
10 years of my life I worked at this.
My first budget was 405 to 30. I had the 30. My staff was depressed. I thought we were doing pretty well. That’s how I was.
Well, we just kept at it and kept at it and kept at it.
And you heard my great friend, John Sununu, by the way, one of the smart — he’s a wonderful, wonderful man. If John Sununu had not come to me and told me he was going to help me in New Hampshire, I wouldn’t have done this. I — I’ve just got to tell you. He is remarkable, and we did it together.
And the politicians didn’t care about — they — they didn’t care about anything, about being reelected; they cared about fixing America, Pat. They cared about getting the budget balanced and getting the economy going.
You know what? They said it couldn’t be done. They said it was too big, too hard, too much politics, and we proved them wrong again, and we balanced that federal budget. We balanced it.
You want job creation, you balance the books. Am I right? You balance the books.
And if I’m president — or maybe I should say when I am president…
… I will promise you — I will promise you that my top priority will get this country on a path to fiscal independence, strength, and we will rebuild the economy of this country, because creating jobs is our highest moral purpose, and we will move to get that done.
And by the way — by the way, how about a little balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution so Congress will start doing its job?
So I left. You know, I — I — I left Washington and had a great time. You — you know, I was — worked at Lehman Brothers and learned about businesses, and I went to Fox News, where, as you know, I was a giant television star.
And I had a great time.
But you know, I — I had a calling. It was like — here’s kind of how it went. Didn’t hear anything, but it was clear to me.
“You’ve had an amazing life. You got a lot of skills. You’re going back. You’re going back.”
And I sensed it when I was on a trip and I came back and called my friends together and said, “I guess we got to do this,” and they — you know, a lot of people, the doubters, they said, “Well, you know, you haven’t been in politics for 10 years, in a decade. You have never run state-wide, and we haven’t defeated an incumbent in 36 years in Ohio. Incumbents don’t lose.”
KASICH: So we put together a vision, we put together a team. They said it couldn’t be done and we proved them wrong again.
And then we took over the reins. But, you know, we didn’t go unprepared. We knew what we wanted to do, because I’m going to tell you, if I’m president, I know what we need to do, OK? There’s no confusion about that. I know what needs to be done. I have been there at all levels, OK.
When we came in here, $8 billion in the hole, a loss of 350,000 jobs, $0.89 in the rainy day fund. One guy said that he game them a dollar just to double the rainy day fund. A lot of hopelessness here, particularly among the poor and minorities.
People said maybe Ohio’s best days are behind them. I thought that was just a bunch of baloney. And I said not only will we get this budget balanced, but we’ll cut taxes, and they were like, are you kidding me? There’s no way we can do that. So we went to work. And we didn’t have to slash — we didn’t have to really slash things, we just had to use a 21st century formula.
Improve things, innovate them, make a better product at a lower price. You know, let Mom and Dad stay in their home rather than being forced in a nursing home, let them stay in their own home where they’ll be healthier and happier. And if we have to knock down the special interests to get it done, so be it. And that’s what we did.
Now today, four-and-a-half years later, $8 billion in the hole, $2 billion surplus. A loss of 350,000 jobs, a gain of 350,000 jobs. And tax cuts, tax cuts of $5 billion, the largest in the country.
And as I hope you all know, economic growth is not an end unto itself. If you’re drug addicted, we’re going to try to rehab you and get you on your feet. If you’re mentally ill, prison is no place for you. Some treatment and some help is where you need to be. If you’re the working poor, we’re going to give you an opportunity to take a pay raise and not bang you over the head because you’re trying to get ahead. Well, we’re changing that system. If you have an autistic son or daughter, for most of them, they can get insurance, and we’ll work to make sure all of them have it. For the developmentally disabled, they’re made in God’s image. They have a right to rise, they have to be successful.
And with all this — with all this, they said it couldn’t be done. And guess what? We proved them wrong again. And I’m going to take what we’ve learned here in the heartland, that band of brothers and sisters that I work with every day, and we are going to take the lessons of the heartland and straighten out Washington, D.C. and fix our country.
Well, and you know, now they’re going to say — got a lot of them back here — they’re going to say well, you know, nice guy or good guy or whatever they — or not a good guy, whatever they’re going to say, OK.
I don’t know if he can win. But with you, and you, sweetheart, OK; can you paint signs?
And with — and with all of you, together, we’ll prove them wrong again, won’t we? We’ll prove them wrong again.
AUDIENCE: Go John go! Go John go!
KASICH: Thank you.
So our team — you know, we’ll tame the bureaucracy, we’ll restore some common sense. Mary Taylor has the Common Sense Initiative; get rid of all those stupid rules. Well, we’ll do that in Washington.
KASICH: How about putting some people in the government that understand job creators and respect them rather than beating them down? How — how about that for an idea?
How about some common sense and make America stronger militarily?
But folks, here’s the thing that I want to say to you, and I said this at my inaugural. Some people think they just don’t matter in this. Do you know how wrong that is?
You know, we got this Holocaust Memorial, and there’s a line etched that says, “If you save one life, you’ve changed the world.”
Do you believe that? Do you believe that?
If you save one life, you changed the world. And the Lord will record what you’ve done for another in the Book of Life.
Now, we’ve got some values that we need to think about that can bring us together. Because folks, we’re a divided country, but we can fix it.
I’ll tell you what I think some of them are: personal responsibility. God ate — or, “The dog ate my homework,” went out in the fifth grade, OK?
Here’s the thing. We own our lives. I mean, if you’re hurting, we’ll help you.
You know, my mother used to say — my mother used to say that it is a sin not to help somebody who needs help but it’s equally a sin to continue to help somebody who needs to learn how to help themselves. Personal responsibility needs to be restored in our country.
Teach our children. Resilience. Everybody doesn’t get a trophy just for showing up, folks.
(LAUGHTER) You know what resilience is? It’s getting knocked down, and I have been knocked down so many times.
But getting knocked down’s not the problem. It’s refusing to get up. We need to teach our kids, teach our children about resilience and remind ourselves that you’re 51 years old, and you lost your job. You’re going to come back stronger and better, and we’ll help you.
Empathy, this one is so important. I just would ask you to think. Put yourself in the shoes of another person. We’re so quick to make judgments today in our country. Don’t walk so — so — so fast.
You know, yesterday, I was coming downtown, and — and there was a lady, and she was older, and she had a cane, and she was barely walking. She was putting one foot in front of another. I wanted to stop and just hug her, encourage her.
People who have not been dealt — dealt the best hand in life, yeah, we want to hold them accountable, but the Lord wants our hearts to reach out to those that don’t have what we have. I mean, that shouldn’t be hard for America. That’s who we are.
When people have studied our country, they have talked about our compassion, and we need to bring it back. Empathy, don’t be so quick to judge. Me, too, OK? Me, too.
And then teamwork. I know Tom Moe is up here. You know, one time, he — you know, he used to run the veterans. I call it the great arc of life.
The man goes in the military, he sits in the Hanoi Hilton, beaten all the time in a tiny little cell, he comes home, and I put him in charge of the veterans. I mean, this was the arc, the beautiful arc of what’s right.
Tom had a little code. I don’t know where he is right now. Here he is right here. He tapped out a code that kept them all together, and it was team that carried them through the most difficult times.
Uncle George, it was team that helped you to be successful, wasn’t it? The Vietnam veterans and Iraqi veterans and the Afghanistan veterans, we do best. Or the Depression, when we all hung together. Teamwork, team, they’re not the enemy; they’re part of our team. We can disagree. They’re our team.
And then family, huh? Look at these families here. It’s the building block of America. It’s the building block of our culture. Let’s recognize it.
KASICH: And of course, faith. And faith is real simple for me. It’s about the dos, not about the don’ts. And what it’s really about is God didn’t put us on this Earth just to take of ourselves, He put us on this Earth to make things a little bit better because we live here.
And so there are some that are going to try to divide us; we see about it all the time. You know (inaudible) forget it. I don’t pay any attention to that kind of nonsense. At the end of the day, it’s about being together. Because, you know, it says We the People.
And by the way, if you think that I or anybody who becomes president or a big shot, we don’t — we don’t move America. Oh, we do our part if we have courage and intelligence, but it’s all of us in the neighborhoods, in the families across the country. We’re the strength and the glue. Don’t — please, please, please don’t lose sight of it. As for me, I’m just a flawed man, a flawed man trying to honor God’s blessings in my life.
I just — I don’t even understand it. He’s been very good to me. And I want you to know that I will do my very best to serve you because you are in my mind’s eye. Who are you? Get up every day, go to work, work hard, follow the rules, come home, spend time with your family and at night, you go to bed and say your prayers for your family, for your neighbors and for our nation.
And folks, as it has been said many times, the light of a city on a hill cannot be hidden. The light of a city on a hill cannot be hidden. America is that city and you are that light.
God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all very much.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 21, 2015
Source: WH, 7-15-15
Durant High School
6:07 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Oklahoma! (Applause.) Halito!
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat. It’s good to see you. How is everybody doing? (Applause.)
First of all, Michelle says hi. (Laughter.) And I want to thank all of you for helping to build the terrific partnership that we share with the Choctaw Nation.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. (Laughter.) So I want to first of all thank Chief Gary Batton and the many tribal leaders who are here today. (Applause.) I want to thank the extraordinary young people that I just had a chance to meet with. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) They were just exceptional, and gave me all kinds of interesting thoughts and ideas about how young people can lead and thrive, and reshape America. And I could not be prouder of them.
As many of you know, we’ve held a Tribal Nations Conference each year that I’ve been President. And just last week, as part of what we call our Generation Indigenous initiative, focused on young people, we hosted our first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering with over 1,000 young leaders from 230 tribes -– including several Choctaw youth. (Applause.) You spend time with these young people from all across the country and they will blow you away. They are smart, and they’re passionate, and they are ready to seize the future.
And Michelle and I believe we’ve got a special obligation to make sure that tribal youth have every opportunity to achieve their potential not just for the benefit of themselves and their communities, but for our entire nation; that all of you young people have a chance to succeed not by leaving your communities, but by coming back and investing in your communities, and that you have a whole range of options that can lift us all up. And so we are really excited about what you’re doing, and we’re really excited about some of the work that’s going to be done not just here but all across the country. That’s why I’m here today.
When you step back and look at everything that we’ve done in the past six and a half years to rebuild our economy on a new foundation –- from retooling our industries to rethinking our schools, reforming our health care system –- all of it’s been in pursuit of one goal, and that’s creating opportunity for all people — not just some, but everybody. (Applause.)
And thanks to the hard work and the resilience of the American people, the work we’ve done is paying off. So our businesses have created 2.8 12.8 million new jobs over the past 64 months in a row. That’s the longest streak of private sector job growth on record. (Applause.) The housing market is stronger. The stock market recovered, so people’s 401(k)s and retirement accounts got replenished. More than 16 million Americans now have the financial security of having health insurance. (Applause.) We’ve invested in clean energy. We’ve made ourselves more independent of foreign oil. We’ve seen jumps in high school enrollment and college graduation rates.
So across the board, there’s really no economic measure where we’re not doing better than we were when I came into office. That’s the good news. But I also made it clear when I came into office that even as we’re trying to make sure the entire economy recovers, we also have to pay attention to those communities that all too often have been neglected and fallen behind. And as part of that, I said we’re going to do better by our First Americans. We’re going to do better. (Applause.)
Now, we can’t reverse centuries of history — broken treaties, broken promises. But I did believe that we could come together as partners and forge a new path based on trust and respect. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. So we strengthened the sovereignty of tribal nations. We gave more power to tribal courts and police. We restored hundreds of thousands of acres of tribal trust lands. We expanded opportunity by permanently reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, and helping businesses, and building roads, and moving forward on renewable energy projects in Indian Country. We untied tribal hands when it came to dealing with domestic violence, which was really important. (Applause.)
Here in Oklahoma, we designated the Choctaw Nation as one of America’s first Promise Zones -– areas where the federal government is partnering with local communities and businesses to jumpstart economic development and job creation, expand educational opportunities, and increase affordable housing, and improve public safety. And as a result, you’ve already received federal investments in Early Head Start, to make sure our young people are getting the best possible beginning in life; child care, job training, support for young entrepreneurs. And I’ve called on Congress to pass a Promise Zone tax credit to encourage employment and private sector investment in places like this. (Applause.)
So we’ve made a lot of progress not just in Indian Country but in America as a whole. But we’ve got more work to do. We’ve got more work to do, especially because the economy around the globe is changing so fast.
So today, I want to focus on one way we can prepare our kids and our workers for an increasingly competitive world, a way that we can help our entrepreneurs sell more goods here at home and overseas, a way where we can get every American ready to seize the opportunities of a 21st century economy.
Today, we’re going to take another step to close the digital divide in America, and make sure everybody in America has access to high-speed broadband Internet. (Applause.) We’re taking some initiatives today to make that happen.
Now, I don’t really have to tell you why this is important. Even old folks like me know it’s important. In this digital age, when you can apply for a job, take a course, pay your bills, order a pizza, even find a date — (laughter) — by tapping your phone, the Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. You cannot connect with today’s economy without having access to the Internet. Now, that doesn’t mean I want folks on the Internet all the time. I always tell young people when I meet them, sometimes they just have the phone up, I’m standing right in front of them — (laughter) — and I got to tell them, young man, put down that phone. Shake the hand of your President. (Laughter.) And then after you shake my hand and look me in the eye, and told me your name, then you can maybe go back to taking pictures. (Laughter.) So there’s nothing wrong with every once in a while putting the technology aside and actually having a conversation. This is something I talk to Malia and Sasha about. We don’t let tose phones at the dinner — but that’s a whole other story. I went off track.
But if you’re not connected today, then it’s very hard for you to understand what’s happening in our economy. Now, here’s the problem. While high-speed Internet access is a given, it’s assumed for millions of Americans, it’s still out of reach for too many people — especially in low-income and rural communities. More than 90 percent of households headed by a college graduate use the Internet. Fewer than half of households with less than a high school education are plugged into the Internet. So, in other words, the people who could benefit the most from the latest technology are the least likely to have it.
So if you’re a student and you don’t have Internet access at home, that means you could be struggling to type papers or do online homework assignments, or learn basic computer skills, or try to get help from your teacher. You may have to wait in long lines at public libraries or even in parking lots at the local McDonald’s just to try to get digital access. And what that means is you’re not learning the critical tech skills required to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.
And this has consequences. A lot of you have heard about the achievement gap, how some kids in certain groups consistently lag behind, and the opportunity gap, where certain groups have a tougher time getting attached to the labor market. Well, this starts with a “homework gap” for a lot of young people, and an “access to learning” gap, which then can translate into a science gap or a math gap, and eventually becomes an economic gap for our country. And that’s not what America is about. America doesn’t guarantee you success. That’s never been the promise. But what America does stand for — has to stand for — is if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility, then you can succeed — (applause) — no matter where you start off.
That’s the essential American story. That’s why we admire stories like Abraham Lincoln’s. Starts off in a log cabin, teaches himself to read and write, and becomes our greatest President. That’s what America is supposed to be about.
And in an increasingly competitive global economy, our whole country will fall behind unless we’re got everybody on the field playing. Obviously, as President, you travel around a lot, and you go to countries like South Korea where a higher percentage of the population has high-speed broadband — and, by the way, they pay their teachers the way they pay their doctors — (applause) — and they consider education to be at the highest rung of the professions. Well, we will start falling behind those countries — which is unthinkable when we invented the stuff. It’s American ingenuity that created the Internet, that created all these technologies. And the notion that now we’d leave some Americans behind in being able to use that, while other countries are raising ahead, that’s a recipe for disaster, and it offends our most deeply held values.
A child’s ability to succeed should not be based on where she lives, how much money her parents make. That’s not who we are as a country. We’ve got a different standard. We’re a people who believe we should be able to go as far as our talents and hard work will take us. And just because you don’t have money in your household to buy fancy technology, that should not be an obstacle.
We’ve been doing a lot to encourage coding and STEM education — math and science and technology education. And unfortunately, for too many of our kids, that’s something that’s viewed as out of reach. Listen, people are not born coders. It’s not as if suddenly if you’re born in Silicon Valley you can figure out how to code a computer. That’s not — what happens is kids get exposed to this stuff early, and they learn, they soak it up like sponges.
And somewhere among the millions of young people who don’t have access to the digital world could be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the next Bill Gates. Some of them might be right here in the Choctaw Nation. (Applause.) But only if we make sure you have access and exposure. If we don’t give these young people the access to what they need to achieve their potential, then it’s our loss, it’s not just their loss.
So that’s why my administration has made it a priority to connect more Americans to the Internet, and close that digital divide that people have been talking about for 20 years now. We’ve invested so far in more than 100,000 miles of network infrastructure; that’s enough to circle the globe four times. We’ve laid a lot of line. We’ve supported community broadband. We’ve championed net neutrality rules to make sure that the Internet providers treat all web traffic equally. And then we launched something called ConnectEd, and this was targeted at making sure that every school was connected and classrooms were connected. And we’re now well on our way to connecting 99 percent of students to high-speed broadband in their classrooms by 2018, and that includes here in Durant. (Applause.)
So far, 29 million more students in 55,000 schools are on track to have access to high-speed broadband, and 20 million more have Wi-Fi in their classrooms. And last year, when I visited Standing Rock Nation in North Dakota, I announced that Verizon would connect 10 Native student dorms, Microsoft would donate more tablets to more Native students, including students right here in Oklahoma. So we’ve been making progress. We’re chipping away this thing.
But today, we’re going to go further. I’m announcing a new initiative called ConnectHome. Now, ConnectEd, the idea was making sure the schools were connected and that you didn’t have a situation where in a classroom, even if it was connected to the Internet, you could only have one student at a time or a couple of computers at a time. So we had to make sure that the classroom was state of the art. ConnectHome is designed to make high-speed Internet more affordable to residents in low-income housing units across the country — because young people today, they’re not just learning in the classroom, they’re learning outside the classroom as well. So my Department of Housing and Urban Development is going to work with 28 communities, from Boston to Durham, from Seattle to Durant. About 200,000 of our most vulnerable children and their families will soon be able to access affordable Internet in their home. (Applause.)
Now, I want to give credit where credit is due. This is not something government does by itself. I’m proud to say that folks around the country are stepping up to do their part. So businesses like Cox are providing low-cost Internet and devices. Best Buy is committing free computer education and technical support so that folks learn how to make the most of the Internet. Organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs will teach digital literacy so that kids in this community can be just as savvy as kids growing up in Silicon Valley. You’ve got non-profits like EveryoneOn and U.S. Ignite who are going to help make this work on the ground. So we’ve got some great businesses and some great non-for-profits who are partnering with us on this.
But most importantly, it really requires all of us to be involved — parents, principals, teachers, neighbors — because we have to demand the best in our schools and for our kids.
These investments are the right thing to do for our communities. They’re the smart thing to do for the national economy. And we can’t allow shortsighted cuts to the programs that are going to keep us competitive.
So this is a smart investment. These are the kinds of investments we need to make. Sometimes there’s a debate going on in Washington about the size of government and what we should be spending on. And look, I’ve said before, there are programs in Washington that don’t work, and we don’t want taxpayer money wasted. But there are some investments that we make in future generations, there are investments we make in things that help all of us that we can’t do by ourselves. We’re not going to build a road by ourselves; we’ve got to do that together. We’re not going to invest in basic research to solve Alzheimer’s by ourselves. At least I don’t have enough money to do that. We’ve got to do that together. I’ll pay some tax dollars, we’ll pool our money, and then we all invest in the research because we all stand to benefit at some point. We don’t know when we might get sick, and it’s good for us to keep that cutting edge of science.
Well, the same thing is true when it comes to schools and investing in our young people, making sure that they’ve got the tools they need to succeed. So this idea of ConnectHome, just like ConnectEd, this is going to make the difference for a dad who can now — because it’s not just for the kids — now he can learn a new skill and apply for a better job after work, because he’s working a tough shift to pay the rent, but he knows he wants to advance. He may be able to take an online course because he’s got access to the Internet — and that could make all the difference in his family and his future. This will make a difference for the young entrepreneur — got a great idea, wants to start a business. Can start it from her home. This will make a difference for the student who can now download the resources he needs to study for that exam that’s coming up, and then maybe come up with a new theory that’s going to make a difference in our understanding of the world.
This will make a difference for young people like Kelsey Janway. Where’s Kelsey? There’s Kelsey, right here. (Applause.) Stand up, Kelsey, so everybody can see you. All right, Kelsey, I know this is embarrassing, so you can sit down for a second. (Laughter.)
Kelsey is 16 years old, a proud member of the Choctaw Nation. This might be a game-changer for her. When she was younger, her family only got phone reception if they stood on a particular rock in their yard, or on the top window sill in their bathroom. Is that right?
MS. JANWAY: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: You remember the rock.
MS. JANWAY: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: It was this particular rock. So today she has spotty, slow Internet service at home. And at school, service is just as bad — which makes it tough for students like Kelsey to learn the skills they need for success. Meanwhile, a high school nearby has much better technology; it gives those kids an advantage that she doesn’t have.
Now, even though she’s seen many of her peers get caught up in trouble or lose motivation and maybe drop out of school, Kelsey is keeping on pushing. She works two jobs, belongs to 11 organizations. Now, we’re going to need to talk about that. That’s a lot of organizations. I don’t know where you’re finding that time. (Applause.) She’s leading a youth council where she helps guide some of her peers. And she says that even the slow Internet that she’s got — probably that buffer and things coming up all the time is getting on her nerves. Nevertheless, that’s opened her mind and introduced her to views outside of her own. “I have a sense of a bigger world out there.” That’s what Kelsey says.
And that glimpse of what’s possible, that can change everything. So last week, Kelsey represented Choctaw Nation at the White House Tribal Youth Gathering. Had a chance to hear from Michelle, right? And she plans to return to the White House one day — as President. So I’m just keeping the seat warm for her until she gets there. (Laughter.) But I wanted to point out Kelsey having to stand on a rock trying to get phone service as an example of what we’re talking about here.
There are amazing young people like Kelsey all across the country. I meet them every day. Talented, smart, capable; of every race, of every ethnicity, every faith, every background. They’ve got big dreams. They’re just poised to succeed, and they’re willing to work through all kinds of obstacles to make great things happen. But they’ve got big dreams — we’ve got to have an interest in making sure that they can achieve those dreams. Kelsey, these young people, young people all across the country — they deserve a country that believes in those dreams, and that invests in those dreams, and that loves them for their dreams. (Applause.)
And ultimately, that’s what America is about. You know, I know sometimes folks get discouraged about Washington — I know I do — because the arguments between the parties are just so stark, and all the differences are exaggerated, and what attracts attention and gets on the news on TV is conflict and shouting and hollering. And as a consequence, everybody kind of goes into their corners and nobody agrees to anything, and nothing gets done, and everybody gets cynical and everybody gets frustrated.
But the thing is that for all our disagreements, for all our debates, we are one family. And we may squabble just like families do, but we’re one family — from the First Americans to the newest Americans. We’re one family. We’re in this together. We’re bound by a shared commitment to leave a better world for our children. We’re bound together by a commitment to make sure that that next generation has inherited all the blessings that we inherited from the previous generation.
And that requires work on our part. It requires sacrifice. It requires compromise. And it requires that we invest in that future generation; that we’re thinking not just about taking care of our own kids — because I know Malia and Sasha will be fine — but I want to make sure Kelsey is fine. I want to make sure every one of these young people are fine. I want to make sure that some kid stuck in the inner city somewhere, that they’ve got a shot. I can’t do it for them, but I want to make sure at least that they’ve got a shot. I want to make sure that somebody down in some little border town in Texas, whose parents maybe never went to college, that they’ve got a dream and they’ve got a shot.
And I’m willing to do something about that. And we all have to be. When we make those commitments to all of our children, the great thing about it is the blessings are returned back to us — because you end up having a workforce that is better educated, which means suddenly companies want to locate, which means businesses start booming, which means businesses start hiring, which means everybody does better.
So not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. That’s our tradition. It’s not Democratic or Republican; it is the American tradition. And we forget that sometimes because we’re so caught up in our day-to-day politics, and we listen to a bunch of hooey on TV or talk radio — (laughter) — that doesn’t really tell the truth about what’s going on. (Applause.)
So I’m proud of Kelsey. I’m proud of these young people. I’m proud of Choctaw Nation. And I surely am proud of these United States of America. Let’s get to work and make sure we’re leaving the kind of country we want for our kids.
God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)
6:37 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 15, 2015
Transcription of exchange between CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett and President Obama over Iranian hostages.
Major Garrett: As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran – three held on trumped up charges according to your administration, one, whereabouts unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all of the fanfare around this [nuclear] deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for, in relation to these four Americans?
And last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said under no circumstances should there be any relief for Iran in terms of ballistic missiles or conventional weapons. It was perceived that that was a last-minute capitulation in these negotiations, making the Pentagon feel you’ve left the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hung out to dry. Could you comment?
President Obama: I’ve got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions. The notion that I am content, as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails – Major, that’s nonsense. And you should know better. I’ve met with the families of some of those folks. Nobody’s content, and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out.
Now, if the question is why we did not tie the negotiations to their release, think about the logic that that creates. Suddenly, Iran realizes, you know what, maybe we can get additional concessions out of the Americans by holding these individuals – makes it much more difficult for us to walk away if Iran somehow thinks that a nuclear deal is dependent in some fashion on the nuclear deal. And by the way, if we had walked away from the nuclear deal, we’d still be pushing just as hard to get these folks out. That’s why those issues are not connected, but we are working every single day to try to get them out and won’t stop until they’re out and rejoined with their families.
With respect to the Chairman’s testimony, to some degree I already answered this with Carol. We are not taking the pressure off Iran with respect to arms and with respect to ballistic missiles. As I just explained, not only do we keep in place for five years the arms embargo this particular new UN resolution, not only do we maintain the eight years on the ballistic missiles under this particular UN resolution, but we have a host of other multilateral and unilateral authorities that allow us to take action where we see Iran engaged in those activities – whether it’s six years from now or 10 years from now.
So, we have not lost those legal authorities, and in fact part of my pitch to the GCC countries, as well as to Prime Minister Netanyahu, is we should do a better job making sure that Iran’s not engaged in sending arms to organizations like Hezbollah, and as I just indicated, that means improving our intelligence capacity and our interdiction capacity with our partners.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 15, 2015
Source: WH, 7-15-15
1:25 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Yesterday was a historic day. The comprehensive, long-term deal that we achieved with our allies and partners to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon represents a powerful display of American leadership and diplomacy. It shows what we can accomplish when we lead from a position of strength and a position of principle, when we unite the international community around a shared vision, and we resolve to solve problems peacefully.
As I said yesterday, it’s important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal. That process is now underway. I’ve already reached out to leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle. My national security team has begun offering extensive briefings. I expect the debate to be robust — and that’s how it should be. This is an important issue. Our national security policies are stronger and more effective when they are subject to the scrutiny and transparency that democracy demands.
And as I said yesterday, the details of this deal matter very much. That’s why our team worked so hard for so long to get the details right. At the same time, as this debate unfolds, I hope we don’t lose sight of the larger picture — the opportunity that this agreement represents. As we go forward, it’s important for everybody to remember the alternative and the fundamental choice that this moment represents.
With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear program — a nuclear weapons program, and Iran’s nuclear program will be under severe limits for many years. Without a deal, those pathways remain open; there would be no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran could move closer to a nuclear bomb.
With this deal, we gain unprecedented, around-the-clock monitoring of Iran’s key nuclear facilities and the most comprehensive and intrusive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated. Without a deal, those inspections go away, and we lose the ability to closely monitor Iran’s program and detect any covert nuclear weapons program.
With this deal, if Iran violates its commitments, there will be real consequences. Nuclear-related sanctions that have helped to cripple the Iranian economy will snap back into place. Without a deal, the international sanctions regime will unravel, with little ability to re-impose them.
With this deal, we have the possibility of peacefully resolving a major threat to regional and international security. Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East, and other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.
As I said yesterday, even with this deal, we will continue to have profound differences with Iran — its support for terrorism and its use of proxies to destabilize parts of the Middle East. Therefore, the multilateral arms embargo on Iran will remain in place for an additional five years, and restrictions on ballistic missile technology will remain for eight years. In addition, the United States will maintain our own sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, and its human rights violations. And we’ll continue our unprecedented security cooperation with Israel and continue to deepen our partnerships with the Gulf States.
But the bottom line is this: This nuclear deal meets the national security interests of the United States and our allies. It prevents the most serious threat — Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, which would only make the other problems that Iran may cause even worse. That’s why this deal makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure. It’s why the alternative — no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, no inspections, an Iran that’s closer to a nuclear weapon, the risk of a regional nuclear arms race and a greater risk of war — all that would endanger our security. That’s the choice that we face. If we don’t choose wisely, I believe future generations will judge us harshly for letting this moment slip away.
And no one suggests that this deal resolves all the threats that Iran poses to its neighbors or the world. Moreover, realizing the promise of this deal will require many years of implementation and hard work. It will require vigilance and execution. But this deal is our best means of assuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon. And, from the start, that has been my number-one priority, our number-one priority. We’ve got a historic chance to pursue a safer and more secure world — an opportunity that may not come again in our lifetimes. As President and as Commander-in-Chief, I am determined to seize that opportunity.
So with that, I’m going to take some questions. And let me see who I’m starting off with. Here you go. I got it. (Laughter.)
Andrew Beatty, AFP.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday, you said the deal offered a chance at a new direction in relations with Iran. What steps will you take to enable a more moderate Iran? And does this deal allow you to more forcefully counter Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region quite aside from the nuclear question? Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Andrew, if you don’t mind, just because I suspect that there’s going to be a common set of questions that are touched on — I promise I will get to your question, but I want to start off just by stepping back and reminding folks of what is at stake here. And I already did in my opening statement, but I just want to reiterate it because I’ve heard already some of the objections to the deal.
The starting premise of our strategy with respect to Iran has been that it would be a grave threat to the United States and to our allies if they obtained a nuclear weapon. And so everything that we’ve done over the last six and a half years has been designed to make sure that we address that number-one priority. That’s what the sanctions regime was all about. That’s how we were able to mobilize the international community, including some folks that we are not particularly close to, to abide by these sanctions. That’s how these crippling sanctions came about, was because we were able to gain global consensus that Iran having a nuclear weapon would be a problem for everybody.
That’s the reason that Iran’s accounts got frozen and they were not able to get money for the oil sales that they’ve made. That’s the reason that they had problems operating with respect to international commerce — because we built that international consensus around this very specific, narrow, but profound issue — the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon.
And, by the way, that was not simply my priority. If you look back at all the debates that have taken place over the last five, six years, this has been a Democratic priority, this has been a Republican priority, this has been Prime Minister Netanyahu’s priority. It’s been our Gulf allies’ priority — is making sure Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.
The deal negotiated by John Kerry, Wendy Sherman, Ernie Moniz, our allies, our partners, the P5+1 achieves that goal. It achieves our top priority — making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon. But we have always recognized that even if Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, Iran still poses challenges to our interests and our values, both in the region and around the world.
So when this deal gets implemented, we know that we will have dismantled the immediate concerns around Iran’s nuclear program. We will have brought their stockpiles down to 98 percent. We will have significantly reduced the number of centrifuges that they operate. We will have installed an unprecedented inspections regime, and that will remain in place not just for 10 years but, for example, on the stockpiles, will continue to 15 years.
Iran will have pledged to the international community that it will not develop a nuclear weapon and now will be subject to an Additional Protocol, a more vigorous inspection and monitoring regime that lasts in perpetuity. We will have disabled a facility like Arak, the Arak facility, from allowing Iran to develop plutonium that could be used for a bomb. We will have greatly reduced the stockpile of uranium that’s enriched. And we will have put in place inspections along the entire supply chain so that if uranium was diverted into a covert program we would catch it.
So I can say with confidence but, more importantly, nuclear experts can say with confidence that Iran will not be in a position to develop a nuclear bomb. We will have met our number-one priority.
Now, we’ll still have problems with Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism; its funding of proxies like Hezbollah that threaten Israel and threaten the region; the destabilizing activities that they’re engaging in, including in places like Yemen. And my hope is that building on this deal we can continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more cooperative, to operate the way we expect nations in the international community to behave. But we’re not counting on it. So this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior. It’s not contingent on Iran suddenly operating like a liberal democracy.
It solves one particular problem, which is making sure they don’t have a bomb. And the point I’ve repeatedly made — and is, I believe, hard to dispute — is that it will be a lot easier for us to check Iran’s nefarious activities, to push back against the other areas where they operate contrary to our interests or our allies’ interests, if they don’t have a bomb.
And so will they change their behavior? Will we seek to gain more cooperation from them in resolving issues like Syria, or what’s happening in Iraq, to stop encouraging Houthis in Yemen? We’ll continue to engage with them. Although, keep in mind that unlike the Cuba situation, we’re not normalizing diplomatic relations here. So the contacts will continue to be limited. But will we try to encourage them to take a more constructive path? Of course. But we’re not betting on it.
And in fact, having resolved the nuclear issue, we will be in a stronger position to work with Israel, work with the Gulf countries, work with our other partners, work with the Europeans to bring additional pressure to bear on Iran around those issues that remain of concern.
But the argument that I’ve been already hearing — and this was foreshadowed even before the deal was announced — that because this deal does not solve all those other problems, that that’s an argument for rejecting this deal, defies logic. It makes no sense. And it loses sight of what was our original number-one priority, which is making sure that they don’t have a bomb.
Q Mr. President, does it give you any pause to see this deal praised by Syrian dictator Assad as a “great victory for Iran,” or praised by those in Tehran who still shout “death to America,” and yet our closest ally in the Middle East calls it “a mistake of historic proportions”? And here in Congress, it looks like a large majority will vote to reject this deal. I know you can veto that rejection, but do you have any concerns about seeing a majority of the people’s representatives in Congress saying that this is a bad deal?
And if I can just ask you quick political question, a very quick one.
THE PRESIDENT: Jon, I think —
Q Donald —
THE PRESIDENT: Let me answer the question that you asked. It does not give me pause that Mr. Assad or others in Tehran may be trying to spin the deal in a way that they think is favorable to what their constituencies want to hear. That’s what politicians do. And that’s been the case throughout. I mean, you’ll recall that during the course of these negotiations over the last couple of months every time the Supreme Leader or somebody tweeted something out, for some reason we all bought into the notion, well, the Obama administration must be giving this or capitulating to that. Well, now we have a document so you can see what the deal is.
We don’t have to speculate, we don’t have to engage in spin, you can just read what it says and what is required. And nobody has disputed that as a consequence of this agreement Iran has to drastically reduce its stockpiles of uranium, is cut off from plutonium; the Fordow facility that is underground is converted; that we have an unprecedented inspections regime; that we have snap-back provisions if they cheat. The facts are the facts. And I’m not concerned about what others say about it.
Now, with respect to Congress, my hope — I won’t prejudge this — my hope is, is that everyone in Congress also evaluates this agreement based on the facts — not on politics, not on posturing, not on the fact that this is a deal I bring to Congress as opposed to a Republican President, not based on lobbying, but based on what’s in the national interest of the United States of America.
And I think that if Congress does that, then, in fact, based on the facts, the majority of Congress should approve of this deal. But we live in Washington and politics do intrude. And as I said in an interview yesterday, I am not betting on the Republican Party rallying behind this agreement. I do expect the debate to be based on facts and not speculation or misinformation. And that I welcome — in part because, look, there are legitimate real concerns here. We’ve already talked about it. We have huge differences with Iran. Israel has legitimate concerns about its security relative to Iran. You have a large country with a significant military that has proclaimed that Israel shouldn’t exist, that has denied the Holocaust, that has financed Hezbollah, and as a consequence there are missiles that are pointed towards Tel Aviv.
And so I think there are very good reasons why Israelis are nervous about Iran’s position in the world generally. And I’ve said this to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I’ve said it directly to the Israeli people. But what I’ve also said is that all those threats are compounded if Iran gets a nuclear weapon. And for all the objections of Prime Minister Netanyahu, or, for that matter, some of the Republican leadership that’s already spoken, none of them have presented to me, or the American people, a better alternative.
I’m hearing a lot of talking points being repeated about “this is a bad deal” — “this is a historically bad deal,” “this will threaten Israel and threaten the world and threaten the United States.” I mean, there’s been a lot of that.
What I haven’t heard is, what is your preferred alternative? If 99 percent of the world community and the majority of nuclear experts look at this thing and they say, this will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, and you are arguing either that it does not, or that even if it does it’s temporary, or that because they’re going to get a windfall of their accounts being unfrozen that they’ll cause more problems, then you should have some alternative to present. And I haven’t heard that. And the reason is because there really are only two alternatives here: Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war. Those are the options.
Now, you’ll hear some critics say, well, we could have negotiated a better deal. Okay. What does that mean? I think the suggestion among a lot of the critics has been that a better deal, an acceptable deal would be one in which Iran has no nuclear capacity at all, peaceful or otherwise. The problem with that position is that there is nobody who thinks that Iran would or could ever accept that, and the international community does not take the view that Iran can’t have a peaceful nuclear program. They agree with us that Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon.
And so we don’t have diplomatic leverage to eliminate every vestige of a peaceful nuclear program in Iran. What we do have the leverage to do is to make sure they don’t have a weapon. That’s exactly what we’ve done.
So to go back to Congress, I challenge those who are objecting to this agreement, number one, to read the agreement before they comment on it; number two, to explain specifically where it is that they think this agreement does not prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and why they’re right and people like Ernie Moniz, who is an MIT nuclear physicist and an expert in these issues, is wrong, why the rest of the world is wrong, and then present an alternative.
And if the alternative is that we should bring Iran to heel through military force, then those critics should say so. And that will be an honest debate.
Q Mr. President, if I can —
THE PRESIDENT: No, no —
Q Prime Minister Netanyahu said that you have a situation where Iran can delay 24 days before giving access to military facilities —
THE PRESIDENT: I’m happy to — that’s a good example. So let’s take the issue of 24 days. This has been I think swirling today, the notion that this is insufficient in terms of inspections.
Now, keep in mind, first of all, that we’ll have 24/7 inspections of declared nuclear facilities — Fordow, Natanz, Arak, their uranium mines; facilities that are known to produce centrifuges, parts. That entire infrastructure that we know about we will have sophisticated, 24/7 monitoring of those facilities.
So then the issue is, what if they try to develop a covert program? Now, one of the advantages of having inspections across the entire production chain is that it makes it very difficult to set up a covert program. There are only so many uranium mines in Iran. And if, in fact, we’re counting the amount of uranium that’s being mined and suddenly some is missing on the back end, they got some explaining to do.
So we’re able to track what’s happening along the existing facilities to make sure that there is not diversion into a covert program. But let’s say that Iran is so determined that it now wants to operate covertly. The IAEA, the international organization charged with implementing the non-proliferation treaty and monitoring nuclear activities in countries around the world — the IAEA will have the ability to say, that undeclared site we’re concerned about, we see something suspicious. And they will be able to say to Iran, we want to go inspect that.
Now, if Iran objects, we can override it. In the agreement, we’ve set it up so we can override Iran’s objection. And we don’t need Russia or China in order for us to get that override. And if they continue to object, we’re in a position to snap back sanctions and declare that Iran is in violation and is cheating.
As for the fact that it may take 24 days to finally get access to the site, the nature of nuclear programs and facilities is such, this is not something you hide in a closet. This is not something you put on a dolly and kind of wheel off somewhere. And, by the way, if we identify an undeclared site that we’re suspicious about, we’re going to be keeping eyes on it. So we’re going to be monitoring what the activity is, and that’s going to be something that will be evidence if we think that some funny business was going on there that we can then present to the international community.
So we’ll be monitoring that that entire time. And, by the way, if there is nuclear material on that site, high school physics will remind us that that leaves a trace. And so we’ll know that, in fact, there was a violation of the agreement.
So the point is, Jonathan, that this is the most vigorous inspection and verification regime by far that has ever been negotiated. Is it possible that Iran decides to try to cheat despite having this entire inspection verification mechanism? It’s possible. But if it does, first of all, we’ve built in a one-year breakout time, which gives us a year to respond forcefully. And we’ve built in a snap-back provision so we don’t have to go through lengthy negotiations at the U.N. to put the sanctions right back in place.
And so really the only argument you can make against the verification and inspection mechanism that we’ve put forward is that Iran is so intent on obtaining a nuclear weapon that no inspection regime and no verification mechanism would be sufficient because they’d find some way to get around it because they’re untrustworthy.
And if that’s your view, then we go back to the choice that you have to make earlier. That means, presumably, that you can’t negotiate. And what you’re really saying is, is that you’ve got to apply military force to guarantee that they don’t have a nuclear program. And if somebody wants to make that debate — whether it’s the Republican leadership, or Prime Minister Netanyahu, or the Israeli Ambassador or others, they’re free to make it. But it’s not persuasive.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I want to ask you about the arms and ballistic missile embargo. Why did you decide — agree to lift those even with the five- and eight-year durations? It’s obviously emerging as a sticking point on the Hill. And are you concerned that arms to Iran will go to Hezbollah or Hamas? And is there anything that you or a future President can do to stop that?
And if you don’t mind, I wanted to see if you could step back a little bit, and when you look at this Iran deal and all the other issues and unrest that’s happening in the Middle East, what kind of Middle East do you want to leave when you leave the White House in a year and a half?
THE PRESIDENT: So the issue of the arms embargo and ballistic missiles is of real concern to us — has been of real concern to us. And it is in the national security interest of the United States to prevent Iran from sending weapons to Hezbollah, for example, or sending weapons to the Houthis in Yemen that accelerate a civil war there.
We have a number of mechanisms under international law that give us authority to interdict arms shipments by Iran. One of those mechanisms is the U.N. security resolution related to Iran’s nuclear program. Essentially, Iran was sanctioned because of what had happened at Fordow, its unwillingness to comply with previous U.N. security resolutions about their nuclear program. And as part of the package of sanctions that was slapped on them, the issue of arms and ballistic missiles were included.
Now, under the terms of the original U.N. resolution, the fact is that once an agreement was arrived at that gave the international community assurance Iran didn’t have a nuclear weapon, you could argue just looking at the text that those arms and ballistic missile prohibitions should immediately go away.
But what I said to our negotiators was given that Iran has breached trust, and the uncertainty of our allies in the region about Iran’s activities, let’s press for a longer extension of the arms embargo and the ballistic missile prohibitions. And we got that. We got five years in which, under this new agreement, arms coming in and out of Iran are prohibited. And we got eight years with respect to ballistic missiles.
But part of the reason why we were willing to extend it only for five, let’s say, as opposed to a longer period of time, is because we have other U.N. resolutions that prohibit arms sales by Iran to organizations like Hezbollah. We have other U.N. resolutions and multilateral agreements that give us authority to interdict arms shipments from Iran throughout the region. And so we’ve had belts and suspenders and buttons, a whole bunch of different legal authorities. These legal authorities under the nuclear program may lapse after five or eight years, but we’ll still be in possession of other legal authorities that allow us to interdict those arms.
And truthfully, these prohibitions are not self-enforcing. It’s not like the U.N. has the capacity to police what Iran is doing.
What it does is it gives us authority under international law to prevent arms shipments from happening in concert with our allies and our partners. And the real problem, if you look at how, for example, Hezbollah got a lot of missiles that are a grave threat to Israel and many of our friends in the region, it’s not because they were legal. It’s not because somehow that was authorized under international law. It was because there was insufficient intelligence, or capacity, to stop those shipments.
So the bottom line is, Carol, I share the concerns of Israel, Saudis, Gulf partners about Iran shipping arms and causing conflict and chaos in the region. And that’s why I’ve said to them, let’s double down and partner much more effectively to improve our intelligence capacity and our interdiction capacity so that fewer of those arms shipments are getting through the net.
But the legal authorities, we’ll still possess. And obviously, we’ve got our own unilateral prohibitions and sanctions in place around non-nuclear issues, like support for Hezbollah. And those remain in place.
Now, in terms of the larger issues of the Middle East, obviously that’s a longer discussion. I think my key goal when I turn over the keys to the President — the next President — is that we are on track to defeat ISIL; that they are much more contained and we’re moving in the right direction there. That we have jumpstarted a process to resolve the civil war in Syria, which is like an open sore in the region and is giving refuge to terrorist organizations who are taking advantage of that chaos. To make sure that in Iraq not only have we pushed back ISIL, but we’ve also created an environment in which Sunni, Shia and Kurd are starting to operate and function more effectively together. And to be in a conversation with all our partners in the region about how we have strengthened our security partnerships so that they feel they can address any potential threats that may come, including threats from Iran. And that includes providing additional security assurances and cooperation to Israel, building on the unprecedented cooperation that we have already put in place and support that we’ve already put in place. It includes the work that we’ve done with the GCC up at Camp David, making sure that we execute that.
If we’ve done those things, then the problems in the Middle East will not be solved. And ultimately, it’s not the job of the President of the United States to solve every problem in the Middle East. The people of the Middle East are going to have to solve some of these problems themselves. But I think we can provide that next President at least a foundation for continued progress in these various areas.
The last thing I would say — and this is a longer-term issue — is we have to address the youth in the region with jobs and opportunity and a better vision for the future so that they are not tempted by the nihilistic, violent dead-end that organizations like ISIL offer. Again, we can’t do that entirely by ourselves, but we can partner with well-intentioned organizations, states, NGOs, religious leaders in the region. We have to do a better job of that than we’ve been doing so far.
Q Thank you. You alluded earlier to Iran’s role in Syria, just to focus on that for a moment. Many analysts and some former members of your administration believe that the kind of negotiated political settlement that you say is necessary in Syria will require working directly with Iran and giving Iran an important role. Do you agree? And is that a dialogue you’ll be actively seeking?
And what about the fight against ISIS? What would it take for there to be explicit cooperation between the U.S. and Iran?
THE PRESIDENT: I do agree that we’re not going to solve the problems in Syria unless there’s buy-in from the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, our Gulf partners. It’s too chaotic. There are too many factions. There’s too much money and too many arms flooding into the zone. It’s gotten caught up in both sectarian conflict and geopolitical jockeying. And in order for us to resolve it, there’s going to have to be agreement among the major powers that are interested in Syria that this is not going to be won on the battlefield. So Iran is one of those players, and I think that it’s important for them to be part of that conversation.
I want to repeat what I said earlier. We have not — and I don’t anticipate any time in the near future — restored normal diplomatic relations with Iran. And so I do not foresee a formal set of agreements with Iran in terms of how we’re conducting our counter-ISIL campaign.
But clearly, Iran has influence in Iraq. Iraq has a majority Shia population. They have relationships to Iran. Some are natural. We expect somebody like Prime Minister Abadi to meet with and negotiate and work with Iran as its neighbor. Some are less legitimate, where you see Iran financing Shia militias that in the past have killed American soldiers and in the future may carry out atrocities when they move into Sunni areas.
And so we’re working with our diplomats on the ground, as well as our military teams on the ground to asses where can we appropriately at least de-conflict, and where can we work with Prime Minister Abadi around an overall strategy for Iraq to regain its sovereignty, and where do we tell Abadi, you know what, what Iran is doing there is a problem, and we can’t cooperate in that area, for example, unless you get those folks out of there because we’re not going to have our troops, even in an advisory or training role, looking over their shoulders because they’re not sure of what might happen to them. And those conversations have been ongoing. I think they will continue.
The one thing you can count on is that any work that the U.S. government does, or the U.S. military does in Iraq with other partners on the ground is premised on the idea that they are reporting to — under the chain of command of the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces. If we don’t have confidence that ultimately Abadi is directing those soldiers, then it’s tough for us to have any kind of direct relationship.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran — three held on trumped-up charges, according to your administration; one, whereabouts unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscience of this nation and the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?
And last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, under no circumstances should there be any relief for Iran in terms of ballistic missiles or conventional weapons. It is perceived that that was a last-minute capitulation in these negotiations. Many in the Pentagon feel you’ve left the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hung out to dry. Could you comment?
THE PRESIDENT: I got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions. The notion that I am content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails — Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better.
I’ve met with the families of some of those folks. Nobody is content. And our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out.
Now, if the question is why we did not tie the negotiations to their release, think about the logic that that creates. Suddenly, Iran realizes, you know what, maybe we can get additional concessions out of the Americans by holding these individuals. It makes it much more difficult for us to walk away if Iran somehow thinks that a nuclear deal is dependent in some fashion on the nuclear deal. And, by the way, if we had walked away from the nuclear deal, we’d still be pushing them just as hard to get these folks out. That’s why those issues are not connected. But we are working every single day to try to get them out, and won’t stop until they’re out and rejoined with their families.
With respect to the Chairman’s testimony, to some degree I already answered this with Carol. We are not taking the pressure off Iran with respect to arms and with respect to ballistic missiles. As I just explained, not only do we keep in place for five years the arms embargo under this particular new U.N. resolution, not only do we maintain the eight years on the ballistic missiles under this particular U.N. resolution, but we have a host of other multilateral and unilateral authorities that allow us to take action where we see Iran engaged in those activities whether it’s six years from now or 10 years from now.
So we have not lost those legal authorities. And in fact, part of my pitch to the GCC countries, as well as to Prime Minister Netanyahu, is we should do a better job making sure that Iran is not engaged in sending arms to organizations like Hezbollah. And as I just indicated, that means improving our intelligence capacity and our interdiction capacity with our partners.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I want to change the subject a bit. Earlier this year, on the flight to Selma, you said, on matters of race, as President your job is to close the remaining gaps that are left in state and federal government. Now, how does criminal justice reform fit into that equation? And what gaps remain for you towards the end of your presidency? And also, what does it mean to travel to Kenya, your father’s homeland, in the next couple of weeks as President to the United States? And lastly, would you revoke the Medal of Freedom from Bill Cosby?
THE PRESIDENT: You stuffed a lot in there, April. (Laughter.)
Q I learned from my colleagues.
THE PRESIDENT: Say, who did you learn from? Jonathan Karl? Is that what you said? (Laughter.)
Q On criminal justice reform, obviously I gave a lengthy speech yesterday, but this is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot; been working first with Eric Holder, now with Loretta Lynch about — we’ve been working on along with other prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It’s an outgrowth of the task force that we put together, post-Ferguson and the Garner case in New York.
And I don’t think that the criminal justice system is obviously the sole source of racial tension in this country, or the key institution to resolving the opportunity gap. But I think it is a part of the broader set of challenges that we face in creating a more perfect union.
And the good news is, is that this is one of those rare issues where we’ve got some Republican and Democratic interest, as well as federal, state, and local interest in solving the problem. I think people recognize that there are violent criminals out there and they’ve got to be locked up. We’ve got to have tough prosecutors, we have to support our law enforcement officials. Police are in a tough job and they are helping to keep us safe, and we are grateful and thankful to them.
But what we also know is this huge spike in incarcerations is also driven by non-violent drug offenses where the sentencing is completely out of proportion with the crime. And that costs taxpayers enormous amounts of money. It is debilitating communities who are seeing huge proportions of the young men in their communities finding themselves with a criminal record, rendering them oftentimes unemployable. So it compounds problems that these communities already have.
And so I am very appreciative of folks like Dick Durbin and Cory Booker, alongside Mike Lee and Rand Paul and other folks in the House who are working together to see if we can both reduce some of these mandatory minimums around non-violent drug offenses. Because again, I tend not to have a lot of sympathy when it comes to violent crime. But when it comes to non-violent drug offenses, is there work that we can do to reduce mandatory minimums, create more diversion programs like drug courts? Then, can we do a better job on the rehabilitation side inside of prisons so that we are preparing these folks who are eventually going to be released to reenter the workforce? On the back end, are we doing more to link them up with reentry programs that are effective?
And this may be an area where we could have some really significant bipartisan legislation that doesn’t eliminate all the other challenges we’ve got. Because the most important goal is keeping folks from getting in the criminal justice system in the first place, which means early childhood education and good jobs, and making sure that we’re not segregating folks in impoverished communities that have no contact with opportunity.
But this can make a difference. I met these four ex-offenders, as I said, yesterday, and what was remarkable was how they had turned their lives around. And these were some folks who had been some pretty tough criminals. One of them had served 10 years; another was a repeat offender that had served a lot of time. And in each instance, somebody intervened at some point in their lives — once they had already been in the criminal justice system, once they had already gotten in trouble — and said, you know what, I think you can live a different way, and I’m willing to help you.
And that one person, an art teacher, or a GED teacher, or somebody who was willing to offer a guy a job — I want to give a shout-out to Five Guys, because one of the guys there was an ex-felon, and Five Guys gave him a job. And he ended up becoming a manager at the store and was able to completely turn his life around. But the point was, somebody reached out to that person and gave him a chance.
And so part of our question should be, how about somebody reaching out to these guys when they’re 10, or 11, or 12, or eight, as opposed to waiting until they’ve already gone through a criminal justice program. That’s part of why we’re doing My Brother’s Keeper. But this is an area where I feel modestly optimistic.
I think in the meantime we’ve got to stay on top of keeping the crime rate down, because part of the reason I think there’s a conversation taking place is violent crime has significantly dropped. Last year, we saw both incarcerations and the crime rate drop, and this can always turn if we start seeing renewed problems in terms of violent crime. And there’s parts of the country where violent crime is still a real problem, including my hometown of Chicago, and in Baltimore.
And part of what I’ve asked Attorney General Lynch to do is to figure out how can we refocus attention. If we’re going to do a package of criminal justice reforms, part of it would be actually having a greater police presence and more law enforcement in the communities that are really getting hit hard and haven’t seen some of the drops in violent crime that we’ve seen in places like Manhattan, for example.
With respect to the visit to Kenya, it’s obviously something I’m looking forward to. I’ll be honest with you, visiting Kenya as a private citizen is probably more meaningful to me than visiting as President because I can actually get outside of a hotel room or a conference center. And just the logistics of visiting a place are always tough as President, but it’s obviously symbolically important. And my hope is, is that we can deliver a message that the U.S. is a strong partner not just for Kenya, but for Sub-Saharan Africa generally; build on the progress that’s been made around issues of health and education; focus on counterterrorism issues that are important in East Africa because of al-Shabaab and some of the tragedies that have happened inside of Kenya; and continue to encourage democracy and the reduction of corruption inside that country that sometimes has held back this incredibly gifted and blessed country.
And with respect to the Medal of Freedom, there’s no precedent for revoking a medal. We don’t have that mechanism. And as you know, I tend to make it a policy not to comment on the specifics of cases where there might still be, if not criminal, then civil issues involved.
I’ll say this: If you give a woman — or a man, for that matter — without his or her knowledge, a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape. And I think this country — any civilized country — should have no tolerance for rape.
All right. Have we exhausted Iran questions here? I think there’s a helicopter that’s coming. But I really am enjoying this Iran debate. Topics that may not have been touched upon, criticisms that you’ve heard that I did not answer? Go ahead. I know Josh is getting a little stressed here — (laughter) — but I just want to make sure that we’re not leaving any stones unturned here. Go ahead.
Q Thanks, Mr. President. I’ll be brief. The argument has been made that Iran now has a cash windfall, billions to spend. Your people seem confident they’re going to spend it at home. Why are you confident they’re not going to spend it on arming Hezbollah, arming Bashar al-Assad, et cetera?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that’s a great question and I’m glad you brought it up. I think it is a mistake to characterize our belief that they will just spend it on daycare centers, and roads, and paying down debt. We think that they have to do some of that, because Rouhani was elected specifically on the premise of improving the economic situation inside of Iran. That economy has tanked since we imposed sanctions.
So the notion that they’re just immediately going to turn over $100 billion to the IRGC or the Quds Force I think runs contrary to all the intelligence that we’ve seen and the commitments that the Iranian government has made.
Do we think that with the sanctions coming down, that Iran will have some additional resources for its military and for some of the activities in the region that are a threat to us and a threat to our allies? I think that is a likelihood that they’ve got some additional resources. Do I think it’s a game-changer for them? No.
They are currently supporting Hezbollah, and there is a ceiling — a pace at which they could support Hezbollah even more, particularly in the chaos that’s taking place in Syria. So can they potentially try to get more assistance there? Yes. Should we put more resources into blocking them from getting that assistance to Hezbollah? Yes. Is the incremental additional money that they’ve got to try to destabilize the region or send to their proxies, is that more important than preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon? No. So I think — again, this is a matter of us making a determination of what is our priority.
The other problem with the argument that folks have been making about, oh, this is a windfall and suddenly Iran is flushed with cash, and they’re going to take over the world. And I say that not tongue-in-cheek, because if you look at some of the statements by some of our critics, you would think that Iran is, in fact, going to take over the world as a consequence of this deal — which I think would be news to the Iranians.
That argument is also premised on the notion that if there is no deal, if Congress votes down this deal, that we’re able to keep sanctions in place with the same vigor and effectiveness as we have right now. And that, I can promise you, is not true. That is absolutely not true. I want to repeat: We’re not writing Iran a check. This is Iran’s money that we were able to block from them having access to. That required the cooperation of countries all around the world, many of whom really want to purchase oil from Iran. The imposition of sanctions — their cooperation with us — has cost them billions of dollars, made it harder for them. They’ve been willing to do that because they’ve believed we were sincere about trying to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully, and they considered that a priority — a high enough priority that they were willing to cooperate with us on sanctions.
If they saw us walking away, or more specifically, if they saw the U.S. Congress effectively vetoing the judgment of 99 percent of the world community that this is a deal that resolves the Iranian weapons program — nuclear weapons program in an equitable way, the sanctions system unravels. And so we could still maintain some of our unilateral sanctions, but it would be far less effective — as it was before we were able to put together these multilateral sanctions.
So maybe they don’t get $100 billion; maybe they get $60 billion or $70 billion instead. The price for that that we’ve paid is that now Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. We have no inspectors on the ground. We don’t know what’s going on. They’re still getting some cash windfall. We’ve lost credibility in the eyes of the world. We will have effectively united Iran and divided ourselves from our allies. A terrible position to be in.
I’m just going to look — I made some notes about any of the arguments — the other arguments that I’ve heard here.
Q What about — (off-mic) — the end of the deal?
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, yes, that’s a good one. The notion —
Q At the end of the deal they could go back —
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Well, so let’s address this issue of — because that’s the other big argument that’s been made. All right, let’s assume that the deal holds for 10 years, Iran doesn’t cheat. Now, at the end of 10 years, some of the restrictions have been lifted — although, remember, others stay in place for 15 years. So for example, they’ve still got to keep their stockpiles at a minimal level for 15 years. The inspections don’t go away; those are still in place 15, 20 years from now. Their commitment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty does not go away; that’s still in place. The additional protocol that they have to sign up for under this deal, which requires a more extensive inspection and verification mechanism — that stays in place.
So there’s no scenario in which a U.S. President is not in a stronger position 12, 13, 15 years from now if, in fact, Iran decided at that point they still wanted to get a nuclear weapon. Keep in mind, we will have maintained a one-year breakout time, we will have rolled back their program, frozen their facilities, kept them under severe restrictions, had observers. They will have made international commitments supported by countries around the world.
And — hold on a second — and if at that point they finally decided, you know what, we’re going to cheat, or not even cheat — at that point, they decide openly we’re now pursuing a nuclear weapon — they’re still in violation of this deal and the commitments they’ve made internationally.
And so we are still in a position to mobilize the world community to say, no, you can’t have a nuclear weapon. And they’re not in a stronger position to get a nuclear weapon at that point; they’re in a weaker position than they are today. And, by the way, we haven’t given away any of our military capabilities. We’re not in a weaker position to respond.
So even if everything the critics were saying was true — that at the end of 10 years, or 12 years, or 15 years, Iran now is in a position to decide it wants a nuclear weapon, that they’re at a breakout point — they won’t be at a breakout point that is more dangerous than the breakout point they’re in right now. They won’t be at a breakout point that is shorter than the one that exists today. And so why wouldn’t we at least make sure that for the next 10, 15, years they are not getting a nuclear weapon and we can verify it; and afterwards, if they decide if they’ve changed their mind, we are then much more knowledgeable about what their capabilities are, much more knowledgeable about what their program is, and still in a position to take whatever actions we would take today?
Q So none of this is holding out hope that they’ll change their behavior?
THE PRESIDENT: No.
Q Nothing different —
THE PRESIDENT: No. Look, I’m always hopeful that behavior may change for the sake of the Iranian people as well as people in the region. There are young people there who are not getting the opportunities they deserve because of conflict, because of sectarianism, because of poor governance, because of repression, because of terrorism. And I remain eternally hopeful that we can do something about that, and it should be part of U.S. foreign policy to do something about that. But I’m not banking on that to say that this deal is the right thing to do.
Again, it is incumbent on the critics of this deal to explain how an American President is in a worse position 12, 13, 14, 15 years from now if, in fact, at that point Iran says we’re going to pull out of the NPT, kick out inspectors and go for a nuclear bomb. If that happens, that President will be in a better position than what happened if Iran, as a consequence of Congress rejecting this deal, decides that’s it, we’re done negotiating, we’re going after a bomb right now.
The choices would be tougher today than they would be for that President 15 years from now. And I have not yet heard logic that refutes that.
All right. I really have to go now. I think we’ve hit the big themes. But I promise you, I will address this again. All right? I suspect this is not the last that we’ve heard of this debate.
2:33 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 15, 2015
Source: WH, 7-14-15
Pennsylvania Convention Center
4:54 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, NAACP! (Applause.) Ah, it’s good to be back. (Applause.) How you all doing today? (Applause.) You doing fine?
THE PRESIDENT: You look fine. (Applause.) All right, everybody have a seat. I got some stuff to say. (Applause.) I’ve got some stuff to say.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. You know that. (Applause.)
So, see, now, whenever people have, like, little signs, you all got to write it bigger, because I’m getting old now. (Laughter.) And I like that picture of me. That’s very nice. Thank you. (Applause.)
Let’s get something out of the way up front. I am not singing today.
AUDIENCE: Awww —
THE PRESIDENT: Not singing. Although I will say your board sang to me as I came in for the photograph. (Laughter.) So I know there’s some good voices in the auditorium.
Let me also say what everybody knows but doesn’t always want to say out loud — you all would rather have Michelle here. (Laughter.) I understand. I don’t blame you. But I will do my best to fill her shoes. (Laughter.) And she sends everybody her love. And Malia and Sasha say hi, as well. (Applause.)
I want to thank your chair, Roslyn Brock. I want to thank your president, Cornell Brooks. I want to thank your Governor, Tom Wolf, who’s doing outstanding work and was here. (Applause.) The Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who’s been a great friend and ally. (Applause.) Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut, who’s here today. (Applause.) And some outstanding members of Congress who are here. I want to just say thank you to all of you for your love, for your support, but most importantly, for the work that you are doing in your communities all across the country every single day. (Applause.)
It’s not always received with a lot of fanfare. Sometimes it’s lonely work; sometimes it’s hard work; sometimes it’s frustrating work. But it’s necessary work. And it builds on a tradition of this organization that reshaped the nation.
For 106 years, the NAACP has worked to close the gaps between the words of our founding that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights — those words try to match those with the realities that we live each and every day.
In your first century, this organization stood up to lynching and Jim Crow and segregation; helped to shepherd a Civil Rights Act and a Voting Rights Act. I would not be here, and so many others would not be here, without the NAACP. (Applause.)
In your second century, we’ve worked together to give more of our children a shot at a quality education; to help more families rise up out of poverty; to protect future generations from environmental damage; to create fair housing; to help more workers find the purpose of a good job. And together, we’ve made real progress — including a My Brother’s Keeper initiative to give more young people a fair shot in life; including the passage of a law that declares health care is not a privilege for the few, but a right for all of us. (Applause.)
We made progress, but our work is not done. By just about every measure, the life chances for black and Hispanic youth still lag far behind those of their white peers. Our kids, America’s children, so often are isolated, without hope, less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to earn a college degree, less likely to be employed, less likely to have health insurance, less likely to own a home.
Part of this is a legacy of hundreds of years of slavery and segregation, and structural inequalities that compounded over generations. (Applause.) It did not happen by accident. (Applause.) Partly it’s a result of continuing, if sometimes more subtle, bigotry — whether in who gets called back for a job interview, or who gets suspended from school, or what neighborhood you are able to rent an apartment in — which, by the way, is why our recent initiative to strengthen the awareness and effectiveness of fair housing laws is so important. (Applause.) So we can’t be satisfied or not satisfied until the opportunity gap is closed for everybody in America. Everybody.
But today, I want to focus on one aspect of American life that remains particularly skewed by race and by wealth, a source of inequity that has ripple effects on families and on communities and ultimately on our nation — and that is our criminal justice system. (Applause.)
Now, this is not a new topic. I know sometimes folks discover these things like they just happened. There’s a long history of inequity in the criminal justice system in America. When I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked to make sure that we had videotaping of interrogations because there were some problems there. We set up racial profiling laws to prevent the kind of bias in traffic stops that too many people experience. Since my first campaign, I’ve talked about how, in too many cases, our criminal justice system ends up being a pipeline from underfunded, inadequate schools to overcrowded jails. (Applause.)
What has changed, though, is that, in recent years the eyes of more Americans have been opened to this truth. Partly because of cameras, partly because of tragedy, partly because the statistics cannot be ignored, we can’t close our eyes anymore. And the good news — and this is truly good news — is that good people of all political persuasions are starting to think we need to do something about this.
So let’s look at the statistics. The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s. We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined. And it hasn’t always been the case — this huge explosion in incarceration rates. In 1980, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America — half a million people in 1980. I was in college in 1980. Many of you were not born in 1980 — that’s okay. (Laughter.) I remember 1980 — 500,000. Today there are 2.2 million. It has quadrupled since 1980. Our prison population has doubled in the last two decades alone.
Now, we need to be honest. There are a lot of folks who belong in prison. (Applause.) If we’re going to deal with this problem and the inequities involved then we also have to speak honestly. There are some folks who need to be in jail. They may have had terrible things happen to them in their lives. We hold out the hope for redemption, but they’ve done some bad things.
Murderers, predators, rapists, gang leaders, drug kingpins — we need some of those folks behind bars. Our communities are safer, thanks to brave police officers and hardworking prosecutors who put those violent criminals in jail. (Applause.)
And the studies show that up to a certain point, tougher prosecutors and stiffer sentences for these violent offenders contributed to the decline in violent crime over the last few decades. Although the science also indicates that you get a point of diminishing returns. But it is important for us to recognize that violence in our communities is serious and that historically, in fact, the African American community oftentimes was under-policed rather than over-policed. Folks were very interested in containing the African American community so it couldn’t leave segregated areas, but within those areas there wasn’t enough police presence.
But here’s the thing: Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. (Applause.) And that is the real reason our prison population is so high. In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime. (Applause.) If you’re a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society. You have to be held accountable and make amends. But you don’t owe 20 years. You don’t owe a life sentence. (Applause.) That’s disproportionate to the price that should be paid.
And by the way, the taxpayers are picking up the tab for that price. (Applause.) Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated — $80 billion. Now, just to put that in perspective, for $80 billion, we could have universal preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America. (Applause.) That’s what $80 billion buys. (Applause.) For $80 billion, we could double the salary of every high school teacher in America. (Applause.) For $80 billion, we could finance new roads and new bridges and new airports, job training programs, research and development. (Applause.) We’re about to get in a big budget debate in Washington — what I couldn’t do with $80 billion. (Laughter.) It’s a lot of money. For what we spend to keep everyone locked up for one year, we could eliminate tuition at every single one of our public colleges and universities. (Applause.)
As Republican Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul has said — (laughter) — no, and to his credit, he’s been consistent on this issue — imprisoning large numbers of nonviolent drug offenders for long periods of time, “costs the taxpayers money, without making them any safer.”
Roughly one-third of the Justice Department’s budget now goes toward incarceration — one-third. And there are outstanding public servants at our Justice Department, starting with our outstanding Attorney General, Loretta Lynch — (applause) — and we’ve got some great prosecutors here today — and they do outstanding work — so many of them. But every dollar they have to spend keeping nonviolent drug offenders in prison is a dollar they can’t spend going after drug kingpins, or tracking down terrorists, or hiring more police and giving them the resources that would allow them to do a more effective job community policing.
And then, of course, there are costs that can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Because the statistics on who gets incarcerated show that by a wide margin, it disproportionately impacts communities of color. African Americans and Latinos make up 30 percent of our population; they make up 60 percent of our inmates. About one in every 35 African American men, one in every 88 Latino men is serving time right now. Among white men, that number is one in 214.
The bottom line is that in too many places, black boys and black men, Latino boys and Latino men experience being treated differently under the law. (Applause.)
And I want to be clear — this is not just anecdote. This is not just barbershop talk. A growing body of research shows that people of color are more likely to be stopped, frisked, questioned, charged, detained. African Americans are more likely to be arrested. They are more likely to be sentenced to more time for the same crime. (Applause.) And one of the consequences of this is, around one million fathers are behind bars. Around one in nine African American kids has a parent in prison.
What is that doing to our communities? What’s that doing to those children? Our nation is being robbed of men and women who could be workers and taxpayers, could be more actively involved in their children’s lives, could be role models, could be community leaders, and right now they’re locked up for a non-violent offense.
So our criminal justice system isn’t as smart as it should be. It’s not keeping us as safe as it should be. It is not as fair as it should be. Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we need to do something about it. (Applause.)
But here’s the good news.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: All right, good news.
THE PRESIDENT: Good news. Don’t get me preaching now. (Laughter.) I am feeling more hopeful today because even now, when, let’s face it, it seems like Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on anything — (laughter) — a lot of them agree on this. In fact, today, back in Washington, Republican senators from Utah and Texas are joining Democratic senators from New Jersey and Rhode Island to talk about how Congress can pass meaningful criminal justice reform this year. (Applause.) That’s good news. That is good news. Good news.
That doesn’t happen very often. And it’s not just senators. This is a cause that’s bringing people in both houses of Congress together. It’s created some unlikely bedfellows. You’ve got Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. (Laughter.) You’ve got Americans for Tax Reform and the ACLU. You’ve got the NAACP and the Koch brothers. (Laughter.) No, you’ve got to give them credit. You’ve got to call it like you see it. (Laughter.) There are states from Texas and South Carolina to California and Connecticut who have acted to reduce their prison populations over the last five years and seen their crime rates fall. (Applause.) That’s good news.
My administration has taken steps on our own to reduce our federal prison population. So I signed a bill reducing the 100-1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. (Applause.) I’ve commuted the sentences of dozens of people sentenced under old drug laws that we now recognize were unfair, and yesterday I announced that I’m commuting dozens more. (Applause.)
Under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder — now continued by Loretta Lynch — federal prosecutors got what he called “Smart on Crime,” which is refocusing efforts on the worst offenders, pursuing mandatory minimum sentences 20 percent less often than they did the year before. The idea is you don’t always have to charge the max. To be a good prosecutor, you need to be proportionate. And it turns out that we’re solving just as many cases and there are just as many plea bargains, and it’s working. It’s just that we’ve eliminated some of the excess.
And recently, something extraordinary happened. For the first time in 40 years, America’s crime rate and incarceration rate both went down at the same time. That happened last year. (Applause.)
So there’s some momentum building for reform. There’s evidence mounting for why we need reform. Now I want to spend the rest of my time just laying out some basic principles, some simple ideas for what reform should look like, because we’re just at the beginning of this process and we need to make sure that we stay with it. And I’m going to focus on what happens in three places — in the community, in the courtroom, and in the cell block.
So I want to begin with the community because I believe crime is like any other epidemic –- the best time to stop it is before it even starts. (Applause.) And I’m going to go ahead and say what I’ve said a hundred times before or a thousand times before, and what you’ve heard me say before, if we make investments early in our children, we will reduce the need to incarcerate those kids. (Applause.)
So one study found that for every dollar we invest in pre-K, we save at least twice that down the road in reduced crime. Getting a teenager a job for the summer costs a fraction of what it costs to lock him up for 15 years. (Applause.) Investing in our communities makes sense. It saves taxpayer money if we are consistent about it, and if we recognize that every child deserve opportunity — not just some, not just our own. (Applause.)
What doesn’t make sense is treating entire neighborhoods as little more than danger zones where we just surround them. We ask police to go in there and do the tough job of trying to contain the hopelessness when we are not willing to make the investments to help lift those communities out of hopelessness. (Applause.) That’s not just a police problem; that’s a societal problem. (Applause.)
Places like West Philly, or West Baltimore, or Ferguson, Missouri — they’re part of America, too. They’re not separate. (Applause.) They’re part of America like anywhere else. The kids there are American kids, just like your kids and my kids. So we’ve got to make sure boys and girls in those communities are loved and cherished and supported and nurtured and invested in. (Applause.) And we have to have the same standards for those children as we have for our own children.
If you are a parent, you know that there are times where boys and girls are going to act out in school. And the question is, are we letting principals and parents deal with one set of kids and we call the police on another set of kids. That’s not the right thing to do. (Applause.)
We’ve got to make sure our juvenile justice system remembers that kids are different. Don’t just tag them as future criminals. Reach out to them as future citizens. (Applause.)
And even as we recognize that police officers do one of the toughest, bravest jobs around — (applause) — and as we do everything in our power to keep those police officers safe on the job — I’ve talked about this — we have to restore trust between our police and some of the communities where they serve. (Applause.) And a good place to start is making sure communities around the country adopt the recommendations from the task force I set up — that included law enforcement, but also included young people from New York and from Ferguson, and they were able to arrive at a consensus around things like better training, better data collection — to make sure that policing is more effective and more accountable, but is also more unbiased. (Applause.)
So these are steps in the community that will lead to fewer folks being arrested in the first place. Now, they won’t eliminate crime entirely. There’s going to be crime. That’s why the second place we need to change is in the courtroom. (Applause.)
For nonviolent drug crimes, we need to lower long mandatory minimum sentences — or get rid of them entirely. (Applause.) Give judges some discretion around nonviolent crimes so that, potentially, we can steer a young person who has made a mistake in a better direction.
We should pass a sentencing reform bill through Congress this year. (Applause.) We need to ask prosecutors to use their discretion to seek the best punishment, the one that’s going to be most effective, instead of just the longest punishment. We should invest in alternatives to prison, like drug courts and treatment and probation programs — (applause) — which ultimately can save taxpayers thousands of dollars per defendant each year.
Now, even if we’re locking up fewer people, even if we are reforming sentencing guidelines, as I’ve said before, some criminals still deserve to go to jail. And as Republican Senator John Cornyn has reminded us, “virtually all of the people incarcerated in our prisons will eventually someday be released.” And that’s why the third place we need to reform is in the cell block.
So on Thursday, I will be the first sitting President to visit a federal prison. (Applause.) And I’m going to shine a spotlight on this issue, because while the people in our prisons have made some mistakes — and sometimes big mistakes — they are also Americans, and we have to make sure that as they do their time and pay back their debt to society that we are increasing the possibility that they can turn their lives around. (Applause.)
That doesn’t mean that we will turn everybody’s life around. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some hard cases. But it does mean that we want to be in a position in which if somebody in the midst of imprisonment recognizes the error of their ways, is in the process of reflecting about where they’ve been and where they should be going, we’ve got to make sure that they’re in a position to make the turn.
And that’s why we should not tolerate conditions in prison that have no place in any civilized country. (Applause.) We should not be tolerating overcrowding in prison. We should not be tolerating gang activity in prison. We should not be tolerating rape in prison. And we shouldn’t be making jokes about it in our popular culture. That’s no joke. These things are unacceptable. (Applause.)
What’s more, I’ve asked my Attorney General to start a review of the overuse of solitary confinement across American prisons. (Applause.) The social science shows that an environment like that is often more likely to make inmates more alienated, more hostile, potentially more violent. Do we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for 23 hours a day, sometimes for months or even years at a time? That is not going to make us safer. That’s not going to make us stronger. And if those individuals are ultimately released, how are they ever going to adapt? It’s not smart.
Our prisons should be a place where we can train people for skills that can help them find a job, not train them to become more hardened criminals. (Applause.)
Look, I don’t want to pretend like this is all easy. But some places are doing better than others. Montgomery County, Maryland put a job training center inside the prison walls — (applause) — to give folks a head start in thinking about what might you do otherwise than committing crime. That’s a good idea.
Here’s another good idea — one with bipartisan support in Congress: Let’s reward prisoners with reduced sentences if they complete programs that make them less likely to commit a repeat offense. (Applause.) Let’s invest in innovative new approaches to link former prisoners with employers and help them stay on track. Let’s follow the growing number of our states and cities and private companies who have decided to “Ban the Box” on job applications — (applause) — so that former prisoners who have done their time and are now trying to get straight with society have a decent shot in a job interview. (Applause.) And if folks have served their time, and they’ve reentered society, they should be able to vote. (Applause.)
Communities that give our young people every shot at success; courts that are tough but fair; prisons that recognize eventually the majority will be released and so seek to prepare these returning citizens to grab that second chance — that’s where we need to build.
But I want to add this. We can’t ask our police, or our prosecutors, or our prison guards, or our judges to bear the entire burden of containing and controlling problems that the rest of us are not facing up to and willing to do something about. (Applause.)
So, yes, we have to stand up to those who are determined to slash investments in our communities at any cost — cutting preschool programs, cutting job-training programs, cutting affordable housing programs, cutting community policing programs. That’s shortsighted. Those investments make this country strong. (Applause.) We’ve got to invest in opportunity more than ever.
An African American man born roughly 25 years ago has just a one-in-two chance of being employed today. More than one in three African American children are growing up in poverty. When America’s unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, when I first came into office, as it was going up, we properly recognized this is a crisis. Right now, the unemployment rate among African Americans is 9.5 percent. What should we call that? It is a crisis. And we have to be just as concerned about continuing to lift up job opportunities for these young people. (Applause.)
So today, I’ve been talking about the criminal justice system, but we have to recognize that it’s not something we can view in isolation. Any system that allows us to turn a blind eye to hopelessness and despair, that’s not a justice system, it is an injustice system. (Applause.) But that is an extension and a reflection of some broader decisions that we’re making as a society. And that has to change. That has to change.
What the marchers on Washington knew, what the marchers in Selma knew, what folks like Julian Bond knew, what the marchers in this room still know, is that justice is not only the absence of oppression, it is the presence of opportunity. (Applause.)
Justice is giving every child a shot at a great education no matter what zip code they’re born into. Justice is giving everyone willing to work hard the chance at a good job with good wages, no matter what their name is, what their skin color is, where they live.
Fifty years after the Voting Rights Act, justice is protecting that right for every American. (Applause.) Justice is living up to the common creed that says, I am my brother’s keeper and my sister’s keeper. Justice is making sure every young person knows they are special and they are important and that their lives matter — not because they heard it in a hashtag, but because of the love they feel every single day — (applause) — not just love from their parents, not just love from their neighborhood, but love from police, love from politicians. (Applause.) Love from somebody who lives on the other side of the country, but says, that young person is still important to me. (Applause.) That’s what justice is. (Applause.)
And in the American tradition and in the immigrant tradition of remaking ourselves, in the Christian tradition that says none of us is without sin and all of us need redemption, justice and redemption go hand in hand. (Applause.)
Right before I came out here, I met with four former prisoners, four ex-offenders. Two of them were African American, one of them was Latino, one of them was white. All of them had amazing stories. One of them dropped out of school when he was a young kid. Now he’s making film about his experience in the prison system.
One of them served 10 years in prison, then got a job at Five Guys — which is a tasty burger — (laughter) — and they gave him an opportunity, and he rose up and became a general manager there, and now is doing anti-violence work here in the community. (Applause.)
One of them, the young Latino man, he came out of prison and was given an opportunity to get trained on green jobs that are helping the environment but also gave him a marketable skill. And he talked about how the way he’s staying out of trouble is he just keeps on thinking about his two daughters. And I could relate to that, because you don’t want to disappoint your daughters. (Applause.) You don’t want to disappoint those baby girls. And so he says, I go to work and I come home, and I grab that little baby and get a kiss, and that’s keeping me focused.
And then one of them, Jeff Copeland, was arrested six times before his 38th birthday. He was drinking, using drugs, racked up DUI after DUI, sentence after sentence. And he admits that the sentences he was getting for DUI weren’t reflective of all the trouble he was causing, could have been worse. And Jeff spent so much time jogging in place in his cell that inmates nicknamed him “The Running Man.” And he was literally going nowhere, running in place.
And then, somehow, Jeff started examining his life. And he said, “This isn’t me.” So he decided to hold himself accountable. He quit drinking. He went to AA. Met a recruiter from the re-entry program at the Community College of Philadelphia, enrolled in classes once he was released — made sure to show up every day. Graduated summa cum laude — (applause) — with a 3.95 GPA. And this fall he’ll graduate from Temple University with a major in criminal justice and a minor in social work. (Applause.) And he volunteers helping former inmates get their lives back on track.
And “it’s sort of a cliché,” he says, “but we can do anything.” (Applause.) And just two years ago, “The Running Man” ran his first marathon — because he’s going somewhere now. (Applause.) “You never look at crossing the finishing line,” he says of his journey, “you attack it by putting one mile after the other. It takes steps.” It takes steps. That’s true for individuals. It’s true for our nation.
Sometimes I get in debates about how to think about progress or the lack of progress when it comes to issues of race and inequality in America. And there are times where people say, “Oh, the President, he’s too optimistic.” Or “he’s not talking enough about how bad things are.” Oh, let me tell you something, I see what happens. My heart breaks when I see families who are impacted. I spend time with those families and feel their grief. I see those young men on street corners and eventually in prisons, and I think to myself, they could be me; that the main difference between me and them is I had a more forgiving environment so that when I slipped up, when I made a mistake, I had a second chance. And they’ve got no margin for error. (Applause.)
I know — I know — how hard things are for a lot of folks. But I also know that it takes steps. And if we have the courage to take that first step, then we take a second step. And if we have the courage to take the second step then suddenly we’ve taken 10 steps. The next thing you know, you’ve taken 100 steps. And that’s true not just for us as individuals, but that is true for us as a nation.
We are not perfect, but we have the capacity to be more perfect. Mile after mile; step after step. And they pile up one after the other and pretty soon that finish line starts getting into sight, and we are not where we were. We’re in a better place because we had the courage to move forward. (Applause.) So we cannot ignore the problems that we have, but we can’t stop running the race. (Applause.) That’s how you win the race. That’s how you fix a broken system. That’s how you change a country.
The NAACP understands that. (Applause.) Think about the race that you have run. Think about the race ahead. If we keep taking steps toward a more perfect union, and close the gaps between who we are and who we want to be, America will move forward. There’s nothing we can’t do.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
4:40 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 14, 2015
Source: EEAS, 7-14-15
Today is an historic day.
It is a great honour for us to announce that we have reached an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue.
With courage, political will, mutual respect and leadership, we delivered on what the world was hoping for: a shared commitment to peace and to join hands in order to make our world safer. This is an historic day also because we are creating the conditions for building trust and opening a new chapter in our relationship.
This achievement is the result of a collective effort.
No one ever thought it would be easy. Historic decisions never are. But despite all twists and turns of the talks, and the number of extensions, hope and determination enabled us to overcome all the difficult moments. We have always been aware we had a responsibility to our generation and the future ones.
Thanks to the constructive engagement of all parties, and the dedication and ability of our teams, we have successfully concluded negotiations and resolved a dispute that lasted more than 10 years.
Many people brought these difficult negotiations forward during the last decade and we would like to thank all of them – as we would like to thank the International Atomic Energy Agency for its critical contribution and close cooperation as well as the Austrian government for the support and hospitality.
We, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security policy and the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, together with the Foreign Ministers of the People´s Republic of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America met here in Vienna, following several months of intensive work, at various levels and in different formats, to negotiate the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), based on the key parameters agreed in Lausanne on 2 April.
We have today agreed on the final text of this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
The E3/EU+3 and the Islamic Republic of Iran welcome this historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which will ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful, and mark a fundamental shift in their approach to this issue. They anticipate that full implementation of this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will positively contribute to regional and international peace and security. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action includes Iran’s own long-term plan with agreed limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, and will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action comprises of a main text, and five technical annexes – on nuclear, sanctions, civil nuclear energy cooperation, a joint commission, and implementation. These documents are detailed and specific: that is important because all sides wanted clarity so as to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a balanced deal that respects the interests of all sides. It is also complex, detailed and technical: we cannot fully summarise the agreement now. But the full main text and all its annexes will be made public still today and will be presented within the next few days by the E3+3 to the Security Council for endorsement.
We know that this agreement will be subject to intense scrutiny. But what we are announcing today is not only a deal but a good deal. And a good deal for all sides – and the wider international community.
This agreement opens new possibilities and a way forward to end a crisis that has lasted for more than 10 years. We are committed to make sure this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is fully implemented, counting also on the contribution of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
We call on the world community to support the implementation of this historic effort.
This is the conclusion of our negotiations, but this is not the end of our common work. We will keep doing this important task together.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 14, 2015
“At the outset of these talks, the Obama administration said it would secure an agreement that affirmed Iran does not have a right to enrich and permanently dismantles the infrastructure of its nuclear programs. It said that sanctions would not be lifted until Iran met concrete, verifiable standards. And if these terms were not met, the president promised he would walk away.
“The American people and our allies were counting on President Obama to keep his word. Instead, the president has abandoned his own goals. His ‘deal’ will hand Iran billions in sanctions relief while giving it time and space to reach a break-out threshold to produce a nuclear bomb – all without cheating. Instead of making the world less dangerous, this ‘deal’ will only embolden Iran – the world’s largest sponsor of terror – by helping stabilize and legitimize its regime as it spreads even more violence and instability in the region. Instead of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, this deal is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world.
“The House of Representatives will review every detail of this agreement very closely, but I won’t support any agreement that jeopardizes the safety of the American people and all who value freedom and security. This isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats. It’s about right and wrong. And we will fight a bad deal that is wrong for our national security and wrong for our country.”
– See more at: http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/speaker-boehner-statement-iran-nuclear-agreement#sthash.JkHQYhtS.dpuf
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 14, 2015
The accord will end decades of economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program…READ MORE
Source: CNN, 7-14-15
The following is the full text of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers:
Joint Plan of Action
The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iranˈs nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons. This comprehensive solution would build on these initial measures and result in a final step for a period to be agreed upon and the resolution of concerns. This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein. This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program. This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This comprehensive solution would involve a reciprocal, step-by step process, and would produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iranˈs nuclear program.
There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step, including, among other things, addressing the UN Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Councilˈs consideration of this matter. The E3+3 and Iran will be responsible for conclusion and implementation of mutual near-term measures and the comprehensive solution in good faith. A Joint Commission of E3/EU+3 and Iran will be established to monitor the implementation of the near-term measures and address issues that may arise, with the IAEA responsible for verification of nuclear-related measures. The Joint Commission will work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern.
Elements of a first step
The first step would be time-bound, with a duration of 6 months, and renewable by mutual consent, during which all parties will work to maintain a constructive atmosphere for negotiations in good faith.
Iran would undertake the following voluntary measures:
* From the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line.
* Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.
* Iran announces that it will not make any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (1), Fordow (2), or the Arak reactor (3), designated by the IAEA as IR-40.
* Beginning when the line for conversion of UF6 enriched up to 5% to UO2 is ready, Iran has decided to convert to oxide UF6 newly enriched up to 5% during the 6 month period, as provided in the operational schedule of the conversion plant declared to the IAEA.
* No new locations for the enrichment.
* Iran will continue its safeguarded R&D practices, including its current enrichment R&D practices, which are not designed for accumulation of the enriched uranium.
* No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.
* Enhanced monitoring:
– Provision of specified information to the IAEA, including information on Iranˈs plans for nuclear facilities, a description of each building on each nuclear site, a description of the scale of operations for each location engaged in specified nuclear activities, information on uranium mines and mills, and information on source material. This information would be provided within three months of the adoption of these measures.
– Submission of an updated DIQ for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40, to the IAEA.
– Steps to agree with the IAEA on conclusion of the Safeguards Approach for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40.
– Daily IAEA inspector access when inspectors are not present for the purpose of Design Information Verification, Interim Inventory Verification, Physical Inventory Verification, and unannounced inspections, for the purpose of access to offline surveillance records, at Fordow and Natanz.
– IAEA inspector managed access to:
. centrifuge assembly workshops4;
. centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities; and,
. uranium mines and mills.
In return, the E3/EU+3 would undertake the following voluntary measures:
– Pause efforts to further reduce Iranˈs crude oil sales, enabling Iranˈs current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil. Enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of revenue held abroad. For such oil sales, suspend the EU and U.S. sanctions on associated insurance and transportation services.
– Suspend U.S. and EU sanctions on:
. Iranˈs petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services. (5)
. Gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions on associated services.
• Suspend U.S. sanctions on Iranˈs auto industry, as well as sanctions on associated services.
• License the supply and installation in Iran of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services. License safety related inspections and repairs in Iran as well as associated services. (6)
• No new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions.
• No new EU nuclear-related sanctions.
• The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.
• Establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iranˈs domestic needs using Iranian oil revenues held abroad. Humanitarian trade would be defined as transactions involving food and agricultural products, medicine, medical devices, and medical expenses incurred abroad. This channel would involve specified foreign banks and non-designated Iranian banks to be defined when establishing the channel.
* This channel could also enable:
a- transactions required to pay Iranˈs UN obligations; and,
b- direct tuition payments to universities and colleges for Iranian students studying abroad, up to an agreed amount for the six month period.
• Increase the EU authorisation thresholds for transactions for non-sanctioned trade to an agreed amount.
Elements of the final step of a comprehensive solution*
The final step of a comprehensive solution, which the parties aim to conclude negotiating and commence implementing no more than one year after the adoption of this document, would:
• Have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon.
• Reflect the rights and obligations of parties to the NPT and IAEA Safeguards Agreements.
• Comprehensively lift UN Security Council, multilateral and national nuclear-related sanctions, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy, on a schedule to be agreed upon.
• Involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on scope and level of enrichment activities, capacity, where it is carried out, and stocks of enriched uranium, for a period to be agreed upon.
• Fully resolve concerns related to the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40. No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.
• Fully implement the agreed transparency measures and enhanced monitoring. Ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Majlis (Iranian parliament).
• Include international civil nuclear cooperation, including among others, on acquiring modern light water power and research reactors and associated equipment, and the supply of modern nuclear fuel as well as agreed R&D practices.
Following successful implementation of the final step of the comprehensive solution for its full duration, the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT.
(1) Namely, during the 6 months, Iran will not feed UF6 into the centrifuges installed but not enriching uranium. Not install additional centrifuges. Iran announces that during the first 6 months, it will replace existing centrifuges with centrifuges of the same type.
(2) At Fordow, no further enrichment over 5% at 4 cascades now enriching uranium, and not increase enrichment capacity. Not feed UF6 into the other 12 cascades, which would remain in a non-operative state. No interconnections between cascades. Iran announces that during the first 6 months, it will replace existing centrifuges with centrifuges of the same type.
(3) Iran announces on concerns related to the construction of the reactor at Arak that for 6 months it will not commission the reactor or transfer fuel or heavy water to the reactor site and will not test additional fuel or produce more fuel for the reactor or install remaining components.
(4) Consistent with its plans, Iranˈs centrifuge production during the 6 months will be dedicated to replace damaged machines.
(5) ˈSanctions on associated servicesˈ means any service, such as insurance, transportation, or financial, subject to the underlying U.S. or EU sanctions applicable, insofar as each service is related to the underlying sanction and required to facilitate the desired transactions. These services could involve any non-designated Iranian entities.
(6) Sanctions relief could involve any non-designated Iranian airlines as well as Iran Air.
* With respect to the final step and any steps in between, the standard principle that ˈnothing is agreed until everything is agreedˈ applies.ˈ
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 14, 2015
Source: WH, 7-14-15
**Please see below for a correction, marked with an asterisk.
7:02 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not — a comprehensive, long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change — change that makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure. This deal is also in line with a tradition of American leadership. It’s now more than 50 years since President Kennedy stood before the American people and said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” He was speaking then about the need for discussions between the United States and the Soviet Union, which led to efforts to restrict the spread of nuclear weapons.
In those days, the risk was a catastrophic nuclear war between two super powers. In our time, the risk is that nuclear weapons will spread to more and more countries, particularly in the Middle East, the most volatile region in our world.
Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region. Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.
This deal meets every single one of the bottom lines that we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring. Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off. And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place. Because of this deal, Iran will not produce the highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium that form the raw materials necessary for a nuclear bomb.
Because of this deal, Iran will remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges — the machines necessary to produce highly enriched uranium for a bomb — and store them under constant international supervision. Iran will not use its advanced centrifuges to produce enriched uranium for the next decade. Iran will also get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium.
To put that in perspective, Iran currently has a stockpile that could produce up to 10 nuclear weapons. Because of this deal, that stockpile will be reduced to a fraction of what would be required for a single weapon. This stockpile limitation will last for 15 years.
Because of this deal, Iran will modify the core of its reactor in Arak so that it will not produce weapons-grade plutonium. And it has agreed to ship the spent fuel from the reactor out of the country for the lifetime of the reactor. For at least the next 15 years, Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors.
Because of this deal, we will, for the first time, be in a position to verify all of these commitments. That means this deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification. Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear facilities.
*Iran [Inspectors] will have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain — its uranium mines and mills, its conversion facility, and its centrifuge manufacturing and storage facilities. This ensures that Iran will not be able to divert materials from known facilities to covert ones. Some of these transparency measures will be in place for 25 years.
Because of this deal, inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location. Put simply, the organization responsible for the inspections, the IAEA, will have access where necessary, when necessary. That arrangement is permanent. And the IAEA has also reached an agreement with Iran to get access that it needs to complete its investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear research.
Finally, Iran is permanently prohibited from pursuing a nuclear weapon under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which provided the basis for the international community’s efforts to apply pressure on Iran.
As Iran takes steps to implement this deal, it will receive relief from the sanctions that we put in place because of Iran’s nuclear program — both America’s own sanctions and sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. This relief will be phased in. Iran must complete key nuclear steps before it begins to receive new sanctions relief. And over the course of the next decade, Iran must abide by the deal before additional sanctions are lifted, including five years for restrictions related to arms, and eight years for restrictions related to ballistic missiles.
All of this will be memorialized and endorsed in a new United Nations Security Council resolution. And if Iran violates the deal, all of these sanctions will snap back into place. So there’s a very clear incentive for Iran to follow through, and there are very real consequences for a violation.
That’s the deal. It has the full backing of the international community. Congress will now have an opportunity to review the details, and my administration stands ready to provide extensive briefings on how this will move forward.
As the American people and Congress review the deal, it will be important to consider the alternative. Consider what happens in a world without this deal. Without this deal, there is no scenario where the world joins us in sanctioning Iran until it completely dismantles its nuclear program. Nothing we know about the Iranian government suggests that it would simply capitulate under that kind of pressure. And the world would not support an effort to permanently sanction Iran into submission. We put sanctions in place to get a diplomatic resolution, and that is what we have done.
Without this deal, there would be no agreed-upon limitations for the Iranian nuclear program. Iran could produce, operate and test more and more centrifuges. Iran could fuel a reactor capable of producing plutonium for a bomb. And we would not have any of the inspections that allow us to detect a covert nuclear weapons program. In other words, no deal means no lasting constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.
Such a scenario would make it more likely that other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world. It would also present the United States with fewer and less effective options to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
I’ve been President and Commander-in-Chief for over six years now. Time and again, I have faced decisions about whether or not to use military force. It’s the gravest decision that any President has to make. Many times, in multiple countries, I have decided to use force. And I will never hesitate to do so when it is in our national security interest. I strongly believe that our national security interest now depends upon preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — which means that without a diplomatic resolution, either I or a future U.S. President would face a decision about whether or not to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon or whether to use our military to stop it.
Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East. Moreover, we give nothing up by testing whether or not this problem can be solved peacefully. If, in a worst-case scenario, Iran violates the deal, the same options that are available to me today will be available to any U.S. President in the future. And I have no doubt that 10 or 15 years from now, the person who holds this office will be in a far stronger position with Iran further away from a weapon and with the inspections and transparency that allow us to monitor the Iranian program.
For this reason, I believe it would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal. But on such a tough issue, it is important that the American people and their representatives in Congress get a full opportunity to review the deal. After all, the details matter. And we’ve had some of the finest nuclear scientists in the world working through those details. And we’re dealing with a country — Iran — that has been a sworn adversary of the United States for over 35 years. So I welcome a robust debate in Congress on this issue, and I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement.
But I will remind Congress that you don’t make deals like this with your friends. We negotiated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union when that nation was committed to our destruction. And those agreements ultimately made us safer.
I am confident that this deal will meet the national security interest of the United States and our allies. So I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.
We do not have to accept an inevitable spiral into conflict. And we certainly shouldn’t seek it. And precisely because the stakes are so high, this is not the time for politics or posturing. Tough talk from Washington does not solve problems. Hard-nosed diplomacy, leadership that has united the world’s major powers offers a more effective way to verify that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.
Now, that doesn’t mean that this deal will resolve all of our differences with Iran. We share the concerns expressed by many of our friends in the Middle East, including Israel and the Gulf States, about Iran’s support for terrorism and its use of proxies to destabilize the region. But that is precisely why we are taking this step — because an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon would be far more destabilizing and far more dangerous to our friends and to the world.
Meanwhile, we will maintain our own sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, and its human rights violations. We will continue our unprecedented efforts to strengthen Israel’s security — efforts that go beyond what any American administration has done before. And we will continue the work we began at Camp David to elevate our partnership with the Gulf States to strengthen their capabilities to counter threats from Iran or terrorist groups like ISIL.
However, I believe that we must continue to test whether or not this region, which has known so much suffering, so much bloodshed, can move in a different direction.
Time and again, I have made clear to the Iranian people that we will always be open to engagement on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect. Our differences are real and the difficult history between our nations cannot be ignored. But it is possible to change. The path of violence and rigid ideology, a foreign policy based on threats to attack your neighbors or eradicate Israel — that’s a dead end. A different path, one of tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict, leads to more integration into the global economy, more engagement with the international community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive.
This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it.
We have come a long way to reach this point — decades of an Iranian nuclear program, many years of sanctions, and many months of intense negotiation. Today, I want to thank the members of Congress from both parties who helped us put in place the sanctions that have proven so effective, as well as the other countries who joined us in that effort.
I want to thank our negotiating partners — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, as well as the European Union — for our unity in this effort, which showed that the world can do remarkable things when we share a vision of peacefully addressing conflicts. We showed what we can do when we do not split apart.
And finally, I want to thank the American negotiating team. We had a team of experts working for several weeks straight on this, including our Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz. And I want to particularly thank John Kerry, our Secretary of State, who began his service to this country more than four decades ago when he put on our uniform and went off to war. He’s now making this country safer through his commitment to strong, principled American diplomacy.
History shows that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles. It shows we are stronger not when we are alone, but when we bring the world together. Today’s announcement marks one more chapter in this pursuit of a safer and more helpful and more hopeful world.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
7:17 A.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 14, 2015
Source: Time, 7-13-15
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker launched his presidential campaign Monday with a speech in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Here is a transcript for the full remarks.
I love America.
As kids, my brother David and I enjoyed going over to the home of a neighbor by the name of Claire Congdon. In our small town, Mr. Congdon was something of a legend. He served our country in both World War I and World War II.
Then, like so many other veterans, he returned home and continued to serve his community. Mr. Congdon helped out with the concession stand at Legion baseball, he was active in our church and he was one of the leaders of my Boy Scout troop.
Each year before Memorial Day, he would organize all of us Scouts as we put flags on the graves of the fallen. He loved America. It was impossible to be around him and not share his love for God and Country.
Thirty years ago, Mr. Congdon’s American Legion Post in our small town of Delavan, Wisconsin, helped me attend Badger Boys State. This is where I learned about state and local government. It was then my honor to be chosen to represent Wisconsin at a program called Boys Nation.
There I met a Vietnam veteran from Georgia by the name of Bob Turner. Bob and the other veterans who helped run the program did more than teach us about the federal government and national elections, they shared their love for our country, and instilled within me the importance of public service as we seek to protect our freedom.
These veterans remind me that America is a can-do kind of country. We just have a government in Washington that can’t seem to get the job done. Washington, or as I call it, 68 square miles surrounded by reality.
The good news is that there is still time left to turn things around.
To do this, we need new, fresh leadership; leadership with big, bold ideas from outside of Washington; the kind of leadership that can actually get things done – like we have here in Wisconsin.
Since I’ve been Governor, we took on the unions and won.
We reduced taxes by $2 billion and lowered taxes on individuals, employers and property. In fact, property taxes are lower today than they were in 2010. How many Governors can say that?
Since I’ve been Governor, we passed lawsuit reform and regulatory reform. We defunded Planned Parenthood and enacted pro-life legislation. We passed Castle Doctrine and concealed carry. And we now require a photo ID to vote in the State of Wisconsin.
If our reforms can work in a blue state like Wisconsin, they can work anywhere in America.
Traveling the country, I’ve heard people say that they are tired of politicians who only tell them what they’re against and why they should vote against someone.
Americans want to vote FOR something and FOR someone.
So let me tell you what I’m for: I’m for Reform. Growth. Safety.
I’m for transferring power from Washington to the hard-working taxpayers in states all across the country. That’s real reform.
I’m for building a better economy where everyone can live their piece of the American Dream. That’s pro-growth.
I’m for protecting our children and grandchildren from radical Islamic terrorism and other threats in the world. That’s true safety.
My record shows that I know how to fight and win. Now, more than ever, we need a President who will fight and win for America.
First, we need to be for real reform in Washington.
Our big, bold reforms in Wisconsin took the power from the big government special interests and put it firmly into the hands of the hard-working taxpayers.
Today, people elected by local taxpayers actually get to run the schools. Our reforms ended seniority and tenure. Now we can hire and fire based on merit and pay based on performance. We can put the best and the brightest in the classroom.
Four years later: our graduation rates are up, third grade reading scores are higher and Wisconsin’s ACT scores are now second best in the country.
Government that is closest to the people is usually the best. This is why we should move power and money out of Washington and send it back to our states and communities in key areas like Medicaid, transportation, workforce development and education.
Sadly though, Washington seems to measure success by how many people are dependent on the government. Instead, we should measure it by just the opposite: by how many people are no longer dependent on the government.
We understand that true freedom and prosperity don’t come from the mighty hand of the government, they come from empowering people to live their own lives and control their own destinies through the dignity that comes from work.
You see, my first job was washing dishes at the Countryside Restaurant. Then, I moved up to the big times and started flipping hamburgers in high school at McDonald’s to save up for college.
My dad was a small-town pastor and my mom worked as a part-time secretary and bookkeeper. My grandparents were farmers who didn’t have indoor plumbing until my mom went off to junior high school. My dad’s dad – my Grandpa Walker – was a machinist for 42 years at Barber-Coleman.
Looking back, I realize my brother David and I didn’t inherit fame and fortune from our family. What we got was the belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can do and be anything you want. That’s the American Dream. And that is worth fighting for.
Helping adults who are able to work transition from government dependence to true independence will help more people live that dream.
In Wisconsin, we enacted a program that says that adults who are able to work must be enrolled in one of our job training programs before they can get a welfare check. Now, as of the budget I just signed, we are also making sure they can take a drug test.
When I proposed this, the status quo defenders cried that we were making it harder to get government assistance. My response? No, we’re making it easier to get a job.
Strong families help too. We know that children who are raised in a household where both parents are involved are more likely to finish school, find a good job and live a life free of government dependence.
The federal government needs to support strong families by ending the marriage penalty and by reforming welfare programs that discourage fathers from being involved in the lives of their children.
I know how important both my parents were to my brother David and I when we were growing up.
That’s why Tonette and I try to be good role models for Matt and Alex and we are proud of the leaders that each have become today.
We want to ensure that they – and every other son and daughter – have the opportunity to grow up in a more free and prosperous country.
To ensure that prosperity, we need to be for a pro-growth economic plan that helps individuals and families earn, save and achieve their piece of the American Dream.
Instead of the top-down, government-knows-best approach we hear from politicians in Washington, we need to build the economy from the ground up in a way that is new and fresh, organic and dynamic.
As long as you don’t violate the health and safety of your neighbors – go out and start your own career, build your own business, live your own life.
That’s freedom – the freedom that serves as the cornerstone of the American Dream.
To help live that dream, we have a plan to help the people of this country create more jobs and higher wages.
First, we must repeal ObamaCare. That’s right, repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act entirely and put patients and families back in charge of their health care decisions – not the federal government.
As Governor, I approved Wisconsin joining the lawsuit against ObamaCare on my first day in office. We need a President who – on the first day in office – will call on Congress to pass a full repeal of ObamaCare.
Next, we need to rein in the federal government’s out-of-control regulations that are like a wet blanket on the economy. Yes, enforce common sense rules – but don’t add more bureaucratic red tape.
In Wisconsin, I called for an overhaul of Wisconsin’s regulatory process on my first day as Governor. We can do the same in Washington, then we can act to repeal Obama’s bad regulations.
Then, put into place an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that uses the abundance of what God has given us here in America and on this continent. We are now an energy-rich country and we can literally fuel our economic recovery.
We need a President who will approve the Keystone pipeline on the very first day in office and then seek to level the playing field for all sources of energy.
Next, we need to help people get the education and the skills they need to succeed. This will help people find careers that pay far more than the minimum wage.
In Wisconsin, we reformed our public schools and gave families as many quality choices as possible because I trust parents to make the right decision for their children. I believe that every child deserves access to a great education – be it in a traditional public, charter, choice, private, virtual or home school environment.
We want high standards, but we want them set at the local level. No Common Core. No nation-wide school board.
I will push to take the power and money out of Washington and send it to our states and our schools, where it is more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the people of America. Think about it: where would you rather spend your dollar – in Washington or at your child’s school?
And then, we need to lower the burden on hard-working taxpayers to improve take-home pay. And we need tax levels that are competitive for job creators to bring jobs back from overseas to put more of our fellow Americans back to work.
We can do it. We did it in Wisconsin and we can do it in Washington, too.
So, why do I focus so much attention on tax relief? Well, some of you know that Tonette and I like to shop at Kohl’s. Over the years, I’ve learned that if I’m going to buy a new shirt, I go to the rack that says that the shirt was $29.99 but now is $19.99. Then, I take the coupon from the Sunday paper up to the cashier or I take out the flyer that we get in the mail that gives us 15 or 20% off – or even 30% if we are really lucky.
Then, Tonette reaches into her purse and pulls out some Kohl’s cash. Next thing you know, they’re paying us to buy that shirt.
Well, not really. So how does a company like Kohl’s make money?
Volume. They make it off of volume.
You see, they could charge you $29.99 and a few of you could afford it or they can lower the price and broaden the base and make more money off of volume.
That’s what I think about your money – the taxpayers’ money. The government could charge the higher rates and a few of you could afford it. Or, we can lower the rates and broaden the base and increase the volume of people participating in our economy.
Years ago, we saw this kind of plan work well under President Ronald Reagan. Back then, it was called the Laffer Curve. Today, I call it the Kohl’s Curve because I believe that you can spend your own money far better than the government – and that will help grow the economy.
To prosper, however, we need a safe and stable world. Let me tell you why I’m for true safety. To me, the commander in chief has a sacred duty to keep the people of America safe.
During my lifetime, the best president on national security and foreign policy was a Governor from California. Under his leadership, we rebuilt our military, stood up for our friends, stood up to our enemies and – without apology – stood for American values: this led to one of the most peaceful times in modern American history.
Today sadly, under the Obama/Clinton doctrine, America is leading from behind and we’re headed toward a disaster.
We have a President who drew a line in the sand and allowed it to be crossed. A President who called ISIS the JV squad, Yemen a success story and Iran a place we can do business with. Iran…think about that.
My brother David and I used to tie ribbons around the tree in front of our house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage. One of them was Kevin Hermening who grew up down the road in Oak Creek. He was the youngest hostage – a Marine working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Kevin Hermening is here today. He knows that Iran is not a place we should be doing business with. Iran hasn’t changed much since he and the other hostages were released on President Reagan’s first day in office.
Looking ahead, we need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day One, put in place crippling economic sanctions and convince our allies to do the same.
Earlier this year, the President proclaimed that climate change is the greatest threat to future generations. Well Mr. President, I respectfully disagree. The greatest threat to future generations is radical Islamic terrorism and we need to do something about it.
That means lifting the political restrictions on our military personnel in Iraq so they can help our Kurd and Sunni allies reclaim land taken by ISIS. On behalf of your children and mine, I’d rather take the fight to them than wait for them to bring the fight to us.
We need to acknowledge that Israel is our ally and start treating Israel like an ally. There should be absolutely no daylight between our two countries. That’s why I went to Israel earlier this year and met with both the Prime Minister and the opposition leader to express my wholehearted support for the unshakeable bonds between our two countries.
We need to stop the aggression of Russia into sovereign nations. Putin bases his policies on Lenin’s old principle: probe with bayonets, if you encounter mush, push; if you encounter steel, stop.
With Obama and Clinton, Putin has encountered years of mush. The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in front of our enemies.
We need to stop China’s cyber attacks, stop their territorial expansion into international waters and speak out about their abysmal human rights record.
We need to have the capacity to protect our national security interests – here and abroad – and those of our allies. That begins with rebuilding the Defense budget at least to the levels recommended by Secretary Gates.
We need to honor our men and women in uniform by giving them the resources they need to keep us safe – and then give them the quality and timely healthcare they deserve when they return home.
But I believe that the best way we can honor them is by fighting to win. This is important because our goal is peace, but there will be times when America must fight.
And if we must, Americans fight to win.
The world needs to know that there is no better friend and no worse enemy than the United States of America.
America is a great country. We just need to lead again.
It’s not too late. We can do it because we’ve done it before.
Veterans like Claire Congdon and Bob Turner remind me that what makes America great, what makes us exceptional, what makes us the greatest country in the world, is that all throughout our history during times of crisis – be it economic or fiscal, spiritual or military – what makes America amazing, is that there have been men and women of courage who thought more about future generations than they did about their own political futures.
This is one of those times in American history.
After a great deal of thought and a whole lot of prayer, we are proud to announce that I am officially running to serve as your President of the United States of America.
Tonette and I want our sons Matt and Alex – and all of the other sons and daughters like them – to grow up in a country that is at least as great as the one we inherited.
Americans deserve a President who will fight and win for them.
Someone who will stand up for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Someone who will stand up for our religious rights and all of our other Constitutional rights. Someone who will stand up for America.
You see, It doesn’t matter if you’re from a big city, a suburb or a small town, I will fight and win for you.
Healthy or sick, born or unborn, I will fight and win for you.
Young or old – or somewhere in between – I will fight and win for you.
Over the years, I’ve met some amazing people who came here from other places around the world. The people I’ve met tell me that they didn’t come here to become dependent on the government.
No, the reason they came was because America is one of the few places left in the world where it doesn’t matter what class you were born into or what your parents did for a living. In America, you can do and be anything you want.
Here, the opportunity is equal for all, but the outcome is up to each and every one of us.
You see, there is a reason we just took a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not April 15th. Because in America, we celebrate our independence from the government and not our dependence on it.
That’s why I love America. That’s why we love America. That’s why – working together – we can fight and win for America.
God bless you. God bless our troops. And may God bless the United States of America.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 13, 2015
You know, over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Americans’ concerns about an economy that still isn’t delivering for them. It’s not delivering the way it should – it still seems to most Americans that I have spoken with that it is stacked for those at the top.
But I’ve also heard their hopes for the future: going to college without drowning in debt… starting that small business they’ve always dreamed about… getting a job that pays well enough to support a family and provide for a secure retirement.
Previous generations of Americans built the greatest economy and strongest middle class the world has ever known on the promise of a basic bargain:
If you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead. And when you get ahead, America gets ahead.
But over several decades, that bargain has eroded. Our job is to make it strong again.
For 35 years, Republicans have argued that if we give more wealth to those at the top – by cutting their taxes and letting big corporations write their own rules – it will trickle down, it will trickle down to everyone else.
Yet every time they have a chance to try that approach, it explodes the national debt, concentrates wealth even more, and does practically nothing to help hard-working Americans.
Twice now in the past 20 years, a Democratic president has had to come in and clean up the mess. I think the results speak for themselves.
Under President Clinton – I like the sound of that – America saw the longest peacetime expansion in history … nearly 23 million jobs… a balanced budget and a surplus for the future. And most importantly, incomes rose across the board, not just for those already at the top.
Eight years later, President Obama and the American people’s hard work pulled us back from the brink of Depression. President Obama saved the auto industry, imposed new rules on Wall Street, and provided health care to 16 million Americans.
Now today, today as the shadow of crisis recedes and longer-term challenges come into focus, I believe we have to build a “growth and fairness” economy. You can’t have one without the other.
We can’t create enough jobs and new businesses without more growth, and we can’t build strong families and support our consumer economy without more fairness.
We need both, because while America is standing again, we’re not yet running the way we should.
Corporate profits are at near-record highs and Americans are working as hard as ever – but paychecks have barely budged in real terms.
Families today are stretched in so many directions, and so are their budgets. Out-of-pocket costs of health care, childcare, caring for aging parents are rising a lot faster than wages.
I hear this everywhere I go.
The single mom who talked to me about juggling a job and classes at community college, while raising three kids. She doesn’t expect anything to come easy, but if she got a raise, everything wouldn’t be quite so hard.
The grandmother who works around the clock providing childcare to other people’s kids. She’s proud of her work but the pay is barely enough to live on, especially with the soaring price of her prescription drugs.
The young entrepreneur whose dream of buying the bowling alley where he worked as a teenager was nearly derailed by his student debt. If he can grow his business, he’ll be able to pay off his debt and pay his employees, including himself, more too.
Millions of hard-working Americans tell similar stories.
Wages need to rise to keep up with costs.
Paychecks need to grow.
Families who work hard and do their part deserve to get ahead and stay ahead.
The defining economic challenge of our time is clear:
We must raise incomes for hard-working Americans so they can afford a middle-class life. We must drive strong and steady income growth that lifts up families and lifts up our country.
And that will be my mission from the first day I’m President to the last. I will get up everyday thinking about the families of America, like the family that I came from with a hard working dad who started a small business and scrimped and saved and gave us a good middle class life. I’ll be thinking about all the people that I represented here in New York and the stories that they told me and that I worked with them to improve. And I will as your President take on this challenge against the backdrop of major changes in our economy and the global economy that didn’t start with the recession and won’t end with the recovery.
You know advances in technology and expanding global trade have created whole new areas of commercial activity and opened new markets for our exports, but too often they’re also polarizing our economy – benefiting high-skilled workers but displacing or downgrading blue collar jobs and other midlevel jobs that used to provide solid incomes for millions of Americans.
Today’s marketplace focuses too much on the short term – like second-to-second financial trading and quarterly earnings reports – and too little on long-term investments.
Meanwhile, many Americans are making extra money renting out a spare room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home, or even driving their own car. This “on demand” or so-called “gig economy” is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.
So all of these trends are real, and none, none is going away. But they don’t determine our destiny. The choices we make as a nation matter. And the choices we make in the years ahead will set the stage for what American life in the middle class in our economy will be like in this century.
As President, I will work with every possible partner to turn the tide. To make these currents of change start working for us more than against us. To strengthen –not hollow out – the American middle class.
Because I think at our best, that’s what Americans do. We’re problem solvers, not deniers. We don’t hide from change – we harness it.
The measure of our success must be how much incomes rise for hard-working families, not just for successful CEOs and money managers. And not just some arbitrary growth target untethered to people’s lives and livelihoods.
I want to see our economy work for the struggling, the striving, and the successful.
We’re not going to find all the answers we need today in the playbooks of the past. We can’t go back to the old policies that failed us before. Nor can we just replay previous successes. Today is not 1993 or 2009. We need solutions for the big challenges we face now.
So today I am proposing an agenda to raise incomes for hard-working Americans. An agenda for strong growth, fair growth, and long-term growth.
Let me begin with strong growth.
More growth means more jobs and more new businesses. More jobs give people choices about where to work. And employers have to offer higher wages and better benefits in order to compete with each other to hire new workers and keep the productive ones. That’s why economists tell us that getting closer to full employment is crucial for raising incomes.
Small businesses create more than 60 percent of new American jobs on net. So they have to be a top priority. I’ve said I want to be the small business President, and I mean it. And throughout this campaign I’m going to be talking about how we empower entrepreneurs with less red tape, easier access to capital, tax relief and simplification.
I’ll also push for broader business tax reform to spur investment in America, closing those loopholes that reward companies for sending jobs and profits overseas.
And I know it’s not always how we think about this, but another engine of strong growth should be comprehensive immigration reform.
I want you to hear this: Bringing millions of hard-working people into the formal economy would increase our gross domestic product by an estimated $700 billion over 10 years.
Then there are the new public investments that will help established businesses and entrepreneurs create the next generation of high-paying jobs.
You know when we get Americans moving, we get our country moving.
So let’s establish an infrastructure bank that can channel more public and private funds, channel those funds to finance world-class airports, railways, roads, bridges and ports.
And let’s build those faster broadband networks – and make sure there’s a greater diversity of providers so consumers have more choice.
And really there’s no excuse not to make greater investments in cleaner, renewable energy right now. Our economy obviously runs on energy. And the time has come to make America the world’s clean energy superpower. I advocate that because these investments will create millions of jobs, save us money in the long run, and help us meet the threats of climate change.
And let’s fund the scientific and medical research that spawns innovative companies and creates entire new industries, just as the project to sequence the human genome did in the 1990s, and President Obama’s initiatives on precision medicine and brain research will do in the coming years.
I will set ambitious goals in all of these areas in the months ahead.
But today let me emphasize another key ingredient of strong growth that often goes overlooked and undervalued: breaking down barriers so more Americans participate more fully in the workforce – especially women.
We are in a global competition, as I’m sure you have noticed, and we can’t afford to leave talent on the sidelines, but that’s exactly what we’re doing today. When we leave people out, or write them off, we not only shortchange them and their dreams — we shortchange our country and our future.
The movement of women into the workforce over the past forty years was responsible for more than three and a half trillion dollars in economic growth.
But that progress has stalled. The United States used to rank 7th out of 24 advanced countries in women’s labor force participation. By 2013, we had dropped to 19th. That represents a lot of unused potential for our economy and for American families.
Studies show that nearly a third of this decline relative to other countries is because they’re expanding family-friendly policies like paid leave and we are not.
We should be making it easier for Americans to be both good workers and good parents and caregivers. Women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying every day about how they’re going to take care of their children or what will happen if a family member gets sick.
You know last year while I was at the hospital here in Manhattan waiting for little Charlotte to make her grand entrance, one of the nurses said, “Thank you for fighting for paid leave.” And we began to talk about it. She sees first-hand what it means for herself and her colleagues as well as for the working parents that she helps take care of.
It’s time to recognize that quality, affordable childcare is not a luxury – it’s a growth strategy. And it’s way past time to end the outrage of so many women still earning less than men on the job — and women of color making even less.
All this lost money adds up and for some women, it’s thousands of dollars every year.
Now I am well aware that for far too long, these challenges have been dismissed by some as “women’s issues.”
Well those days are over.
Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, child care are essential to our competitiveness and growth.
And we can do this in a way that doesn’t impose unfair burdens on businesses – especially small businesses.
As President, I’ll fight to put families first – just like I have my entire career.
Now, beyond strong growth, we also need fair growth. And that will be the second key driver of rising incomes.
The evidence is in: Inequality is a drag on our entire economy, so this is the problem we need to tackle.
You may have heard Governor Bush say last week that Americans just need to work longer hours. Well, he must not have met very many American workers.
“Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don’t need a lecture – they need a raise.
The truth is, the current rules for our economy reward some work – like financial trading – much more than other work, like actually building and selling things the work that’s always been the backbone of our economy.
To get all incomes rising again, we need to strike a better balance. If you work hard, you ought to be paid fairly. So we have to raise the minimum wage and implement President Obama’s new rules on overtime. And then we have to go further.
I’ll crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even steal their wages.
To make paychecks stretch, we need to take on the major strains on family budgets. I’ll protect the Affordable Care Act – and build on it to lower out-of-pocket health care costs and to make prescription drugs more affordable.
We’ll help families look forward to retirement by defending and enhancing Social Security and making it easier to save for the future.
Now many of these proposals are time-tested and more than a little battle-scarred. We need new ideas as well. And one that I believe in and will fight for is profit sharing.
Hard working Americans deserve to benefit from the record corporate earnings they help produce. So I will propose ways to encourage companies to share profits with their employees.
That’s good for workers and good for business.
Studies show profit-sharing that gives everyone a stake in a company’s success can boost productivity and put money directly into employees’ pockets. It’s a win-win.
Later this week in New Hampshire, I’ll have more to say about how we do this.
Another priority must be reforming our tax code.
Now we hear Republican candidates talk a lot about tax reform. But take a good look at their plans. Senator Rubio’s would cut taxes for households making around $3 million a year by almost $240,000 – which is way more than three times the earnings of a typical family. Well that’s a sure budget-busting give-away to the super-wealthy. And that’s the kind of bad economics you’re likely to get from any of the candidates on the other side.
I have a different take, guided by some simple principles.
First, hard-working families need and deserve tax relief and simplification.
Second, those at the top have to pay their fair share. That’s why I support the Buffett Rule, which makes sure that millionaires don’t pay lower rates than their secretaries.
I have also called for closing the carried interest loophole, which lets wealthy financiers pay an artificially low rate.
And let’s agree that hugely successful companies that benefit from everything America has to offer should not be able to game the system and avoid paying their fair share… especially while companies who can’t afford high-price lawyers and lobbyists end up paying more.
Alongside tax reform, it’s time to stand up to efforts across our country to undermine worker bargaining power, which has been proven again and again to drive up wages.
Republicans governors like Scott Walker have made their names stomping on workers’ rights. And practically all the Republican candidates hope to do the same as President.
I will fight back against these mean-spirited, misguided attacks.
Evidence shows that the decline of unions may be responsible for a third of the increase of inequality among men. So if we want to get serious about raising incomes, we have to get serious about supporting workers.
And let me just say a word here about trade. The Greek crisis as well as the Chinese stock market have reminded us that growth here at home and growth an ocean away are linked in a common global economy. Trade has been a major driver of the economy over recent decades but it has also contributed to hollowing out our manufacturing base and many hard-working communities. So we do need to set a high bar for trade agreements.
We should support them if they create jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security. And we should be prepared to walk away if they don’t.
To create fair growth, we need to create opportunity for more Americans.
I love the saying by Abraham Lincoln, who in many ways was not only the President who saved our union, but the president who understood profoundly the importance of the middle class, and the importance of the government playing its role in providing opportunities. He talked about giving Americans a fair chance in the race of life. I believe that with all my heart. But I also believe it has to start really early at birth. High quality early learning, especially in the first five years, can set children on the course for future success and raise lifetime incomes by 25 percent.
I’m committed to seeing every 4-year old in America have access to high-quality preschool in the next ten years. But I want to do more. I want to call for a great outpouring of support from our faith community, our business community, our academic institutions, from philanthropy and civic groups and concerned citizens to really help parents, particularly parents who are facing a lot of obstacles. To really help prepare their own children in that zero to four age group.
80% of your brain is physically formed by age of three. That’s why families like mine read, talk, and sing endlessly to our granddaughter. I’ve said that her first words are going to be enough with the reading, and the talking, and the singing. But we do it not only because we love doing it, even though I’ll admit it’s a little embarrassing to be reading a book to a two-week old, or a six-week old, a ten-week old. But we do it because we understand that it’s building her capacity for learning. And the research shows that by the time she enters kindergarten she will have heard 30 million more words than I child from a less privileged background.
Think of what we are losing because we are not doing everything we can to reach out to those families and we know again from so much research here in the United States and around the world that the early help, that mentoring, that intervention to help those often-stressed out young moms understand more about what they can do and avoid the difficulties that stand in the way of their being able to get their child off to the best start.
We also have to invest in our students and teachers at every level.
And in the coming weeks and months, I’ll lay out specific steps to improve our schools, make college truly affordable, and help Americans refinance their student debt.
Let’s embrace the idea of lifelong learning. In an age of technological change, we need to provide pathways to get skills and credentials for new occupations, and create online platforms to connect workers to jobs. There are exciting efforts underway and I want to support and scale the ones that show results.
As we pursue all these policies, we can’t forget our fellow Americans hit so hard and left behind by this changing economy— from the inner cities to coal country to Indian country. Talent is universal – you find it everywhere – but opportunity is not.
There are nearly 6 million young people aged 16 to 24 in America today who are not in school or at work. The numbers for young people of color are particularly staggering. A quarter of young black men and nearly 15 percent of all Latino youth cannot find a job.
We’ve got to do a better way of coming up to match the growing middle class incomes we want to generate with more pathways into the middle class. I firmly believe that the best anti-poverty program is a job, but that’s hard to say if there are not enough jobs for people that we are trying to help lift themselves out of poverty.
That’s why I’ve called for reviving the New Markets Tax Credit and Empowerment Zones to create greater incentives to invest in poor and remote areas.
When all Americans have the chance to study hard, work hard, and share in our country’s prosperity – that’s fair growth. It’s what I’ve always believed in and it’s what I will fight for as President.
Now, the third key driver of income alongside strong growth and fair growth must be long-term growth.
Too many pressures in our economy today push us toward short-termism. Many business leaders see this. They’ve talked to me about. One has called it the problem of “quarterly capitalism.” They say everything’s focused on the next earnings report or the short-term share price. The result is too little attention on the sources of long-term growth: research and development, physical capital, and talent.
Net business investment – which includes things like factories, machines, and research labs – has declined as a share of the economy. In recent years, some of our biggest companies have spent more than half their earnings to buy back their own stock, and another third or more to pay dividends. That doesn’t leave a lot left to raise pay or invest in the workers who made those profits possible or to make the new investments necessary to insure a company’s future success. These trends need to change. And I believe that many business leaders are eager to embrace their responsibilities, not just to today’s share price but also to workers, communities, and ultimately to our country and indeed our planet.
I’m not talking about charity – I’m talking about clear-eyed capitalism. Many companies have prospered by improving wages and training their workers that then yield higher productivity, better service, and larger profits.
Now it’s easy to try to cut costs by holding down or decreasing pay and other investments to inflate quarterly stock prices, but I would argue that’s bad for business in the long run.
And, it’s really bad for our country.
Workers are assets. Investing in them pays off. Higher wages pay off. And training pays off.
To help more companies do that, I’ve proposed a new $1,500 apprenticeship tax credit for every worker they train and hire.
And I will soon be proposing a new plan to reform capital gains taxes to reward longer-term investments that create jobs more than just quick trades.
I will also propose reforms to help CEOs and shareholders alike focus on the next decade rather than just the next day. Making sure stock buybacks aren’t being used only for an immediate boost in share prices. Empowering outside investors who want to build companies but discouraging “cut and run” shareholders who act more like old-school corporate raiders. And nowhere will the shift from short-term to long-term be more important than on Wall Street.
As a former Senator from New York, I know first-hand the role that Wall Street can and should play in our economy – helping Main Street grow and prosper and boosting new companies that make America more competitive globally.
But, as we all know, in the years before the crash, financial firms piled risk upon risk. And regulators in Washington either couldn’t or wouldn’t keep up.
I was alarmed by this gathering storm, and called for addressing the risks of derivatives, cracking down on subprime mortgages, and improving financial oversight.
Under President Obama’s leadership, we’ve imposed tough new rules that deal with some of the challenges on Wall Street. But those rules have been under assault by Republicans in Congress and those running for President.
I will fight back against these attacks and protect the reforms we’ve made. We can do that and still ease burdens on community banks to encourage responsible loans to local people and businesses they know and trust.
We also have to go beyond Dodd-Frank.
Too many of our major financial institutions are still too complex and too risky. And the problems are not limited to the big banks that get all the headlines. Serious risks are emerging from institutions in the so-called “shadow banking” system – including hedge funds, high frequency traders, non-bank finance companies – so many new kinds of entities which receive little oversight at all.
Stories of misconduct by individuals and institutions in the financial industry are shocking. HSBC allowing drug cartels to launder money. Five major banks pleading guilty to felony charges for conspiring to manipulate currency exchange and interest rates. There can be no justification or tolerance for this kind of criminal behavior.
And while institutions have paid large fines and in some cases admitted guilt, too often it has seemed that the human beings responsible get off with limited consequences – or none at all, even when they’ve already pocketed the gains.
This is wrong and, on my watch, it will change.
Over the course of this campaign, I will offer plans to rein in excessive risks on Wall Street and ensure that stock markets work for everyday investors, not just high frequency traders and those with the best – or fastest – connections.
I will appoint and empower regulators who understand that Too Big To Fail is still too big a problem.
We’ll ensure that no firm is too complex to manage or oversee.
And we will prosecute individuals as well as firms when they commit fraud or other criminal wrongdoing.
And when the government recovers money from corporations or individuals for harming the public, it should go into a separate trust fund to benefit the public. It, could for example, help modernize infrastructure or even be returned directly to taxpayers.
Now reform is never easy. But we have done it before in our country. But we have to get this right. And we need leadership from the financial industry and across the private sector to join with us.
Two years ago, the head of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Terry Duffy, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that really caught my attention. He wrote, and I quote: “I’m concerned that those of us in financial services have forgotten who we serve—and that the public knows it… Some Wall Streeters can too easily slip into regarding their work as a kind of money-making game divorced from the concerns of Main Street.”
I think we should listen to Terry Duffy.
Of course, long-term growth is only possible if the public sector steps up as well.
So it’s time to end the era of budget brinksmanship and stop careening from one self-inflicted crisis to another. It’s time to stop having debates over the small stuff and focus on how we’re going to tackle the big stuff together:
How do we respond to technological change in a way that creates more good jobs than it displaces or destroys?
Can we sustain a boom in advanced manufacturing?
What are the best ways to nurture start-ups outside the successful corridors like Silicon Valley?
Questions like these demand thoughtful and mature debate from our policy makers in government, from our leaders in the private sector, and our economists, our academics, and others who can come to the table on behalf of America and perform their patriotic duty to ensure that our economy keeps working and our middle class keeps growing.
So government has to be smarter, simpler, more focused itself on long-term investments than short-term politics – and be a better partner to cities, states, and the private sector. Washington has to be a better steward of America’ tax-dollars and Americans’ trust. And please let’s get back to making decisions that rely on evidence more than ideology.
That’s what I’ll do as President. I will seek out and welcome any good idea that is actually based on reality. I want to have principled and pragmatic and progressive policies that really move us forward together and I will propose ways to ensure that our fiscal outlook is sustainable — including by continuing to restrain healthcare costs, which remain one of the key drivers of long-term deficits. I will make sure Washington learns from how well local governments, business, and non-profits are working together in successful cities and towns across America.
You know passing legislation is not the only way to drive progress. As President, I’ll use the power to convene, connect, and collaborate to build partnerships that actually get things done.
Because above all, we have to break out of the poisonous partisan gridlock and focus on the long-term needs of our country.
I confess maybe it’s the grandmother in me, but I believe that part of public service is planting trees under whose shade you’ll never sit.
And the vision I’ve laid our here today – for strong growth, fair growth, and long term growth, all working together — will get incomes rising again, will help working families get ahead and stay ahead.
That is the test of our time. And I’m inviting everyone to please join me, to do your part, that’s what great countries do. That’s what our country always has done. We rise to challenges.
It’s not about left, right, or center – it’s about the future versus the past.
I’m running for President to build an America for tomorrow, not yesterday.
An America built on growth and fairness.
An America where if you do your part, you will reap the rewards.
Where we don’t leave anyone out, or anyone behind.
Thank you all. Thank you. I just want to leave you with one more thought.
I want every child, every child in our country, not just the granddaughter of a former President or a former secretary of state, but every child to have the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.
Please join me in that mission. Let’s do it all together.
Thank you so much.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 13, 2015
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 12, 2015
Source: WH, 7-10-15
2:02 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: As many of you know, one of the great legacies of this incredible country of ours is our national parks and national monuments. It is something that we pass on from generation to generation, preserving the incredible beauty of this nation, but also reminding us of the richness of its history. And I am especially pleased to be able to announce three new designations that are going to be taking place in varied landscapes, but all of them speak to some incredible history.
The first, we are going to be designating the Waco Mammoth National Monument. This is one of the most incredible collections of mammoth fossils anywhere in the country. And for us to be able to preserve this space is going to be important not only to scientists but also to many people who are able to take a look at this incredible landscape down in Texas.
We’re also designating the Basin and Range area of southeastern Nevada — the Basin and Range National Monument. This is one of the most undisturbed corners of the Great Basin region, and its topography is unique. It is a place that attracts already a large number of visitors because of some of its unique geological aspects. And we’re going to be able to make sure that even more visitors are aware and take advantage of this incredible landscape.
And finally, we’re going to be designating the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in California’s wild Inner Coast Range. Once covered by ocean waters, it’s a landscape that is shaped by geological forces that are unique, and it has been a refuge for Native American inhabitants for 11,000 years — so that gives you a sense of the time scales that we’re working off of with some of these national monuments.
Teddy Roosevelt, it’s been said, had America’s best idea when he talked about preserving the incredible national heritage. And for me to be able to add to that heritage is greatly appreciated.
I want to thank our outstanding Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and everybody in the Park Service who does such a great job.
One of the wonderful things about our use of the Antiquities Act is we’ve had the opportunity to engage local communities consistently throughout this process — businesses, residents, people who are profoundly attached to the land. And as a consequence, the local communities have huge buy-in to these things and are absolutely confident that not only is it going to be a real economic spur in these areas but it’s also going to be able to preserve everything that they love about the places where they live.
So you guys have done a great job. I’m very proud.
And with that, I’m going to start signing these things.
(The designations are signed.)
2:07 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 10, 2015
Source: WH, 7-10-15
State Dining Room
11:56 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: I see tears. (Laughter.) I do. Wow, Abby, amazing. We’re so proud of you. Man, good stuff! Very good stuff.
You guys, welcome to the White House. Let’s say that again — welcome to the White House! (Applause.)
This is the whole house’s favorite event — the Kids’ State Dinner. Look at this place. Do you know how many people put time and effort into making this as amazing as it can be for you? So let’s give everyone who helped put this event together a wonderful round of applause. (Applause.)
And I want to again thank Abby for her amazing introduction, but more importantly, for listening to what I said about paying it forward. I thank you. (Laughter.) I need you to talk to my children. (Laughter.) Listen to me. (Laughter.) Abby, great job. So proud of you, babe, really.
I also want to thank PBS and WGBH Boston for their tremendous generosity in sponsoring our Kids’ State Dinner and our Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. So I want to give them another round of applause. (Applause.)
And, of course, to Tanya. Tanya, this is just a great partnership. You are amazing. There you are. The work you do is amazing. And it’s always so much fun seeing you here at this event. Thank you for everything that you do year after year.
I also want to acknowledge all the folks from the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture. They make a fabulous set of partners on so much of the work that we do. And I know we have representatives from those departments here, so I want to thank you all for the great work that you do. Well done.
And how about we give a shout-out to the parents and siblings and grandparents who — yes — (laughter) — who got you all here today. Let’s give them a round of applause. (Applause.) We want to say officially thank you, families, for encouraging these young people — even when they made a mess in the kitchen. But I’m sure they cleaned up, too. Right? (Laughter.) Thank you all. Thank you for raising and being part of raising such wonderful young men and women. And it’s wonderful to have you all here. They couldn’t do it without you and without that support. So we are celebrating you all as well.
And finally, most of all, congratulations to all of this year’s 55 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners! (Applause.) That’s you! And you, and you! Yes! Just so that our press understands — welcome press — (laughter) — all our young press people. This is the only time we let kids in the press pool. You guys do your jobs. Do your jobs over there. Don’t let the grown-ups push you out of the way. (Laughter.)
Nearly 1,000 kids entered this contest — 1,000! Right? This was a real competition. But after countless hours of prepping and taste-testing your recipes, our panel of distinguished judges — some of whom are here today, including Deb — she ate every bite — (laughter) — decided that your meals were the healthiest, tastiest, and most fun dishes to cook and to eat!
So you had many hurdles to overcome. It had to be healthy, tasty, and good to eat, and you did it! Yes! (Applause.) Fabulous! And you look so good! (Laughter.) You all are so handsome and gorgeous. So you can cook and your smart and you look great, and you’re here at the White House. It’s just wonderful.
You blew the judges away with your talent and creativity. You included fruits and veggies from every color of the rainbow in your recipes. You used all kinds of ingredients — flax seed — do any of the adults even know what flax seed is? (Laughter.) Cumin, and we have yellow miso paste that was included in one of the recipes — pretty sophisticated.
And you came up with some of the catchiest recipe names imaginable — one of my favorites, Mango-Cango Chicken. Who is our Mango — where is our Mango-Cango young man? There you are. Mango-Cango. (Applause.) We had Fizzle Sizzle Stir Fry. Who created Fizzle Sizzle Stir Fry? Where is our — there you go! And then, Sam’s Southern Savoring Salmon Supreme — or S to the 5th power. (Laughter.) Sam, was that you? (Applause.) And so many more. You guys have the menus. We’re tasting just a few of them. One is the Mic-Kale Obama Slaw — what is that? I love that one.
And your reasons for creating these dishes were as varied as the ingredients, as Tanya said. Some of you play sports and you realize that you need good nutrition to be able to compete. As Hannah Betts — where’s Hannah? Hannah, where are you? Hannah! This is what Hannah Betts, our winner from Connecticut, said — this is her quote — she said, “I do gymnastics and swimming, so I need food that is going to fill me up and give me lots of energy.” Outstanding.
For some of you, cooking is a way to bond with your families and relive happy memories from when you were little. And that’s why Felix Gonzalez — Felix, where are you? There you go, there you go. You told me this story in the photo line. He’s from Puerto Rico. He created his “Wrap it Up” chicken wrap — and this is his quote — he said, “I decided to make this dish as a wrap because I was thinking about the fun times when my dad wrapped me up as a burrito –(laughter)– with a blanket when I was a small child.” Yeah, cool, dude. Cool. (Laughter.)
Some of you became interested in cooking because you were worried about your friends’ unhealthy eating habits. Something that I try to work with my friends on all the time. Now, Izzy Washburn from Kentucky actually did — this is Izzy — raise your hand. Izzy right there. She did a science experiment comparing school lunches to the lunches her friends brought from home, and the school lunches turned out to be healthier, according to your experiment.
And that wasn’t always the case. We all know that we’ve seen some tremendous improvements in our school lunches over these years. And it actually took a whole lot of work by people in your school cafeterias to actually accomplish this goal.
Back in 2010, based on some advice that we got from doctors and nutritionists and scientists in this country, we realized that we needed to improve the quality of school meals by adding fruits and veggies and whole grains. And it required a lot — a little energy to make that happen, a little pushing back. But right now, today, 95 percent of schools in this country are now meeting those new standards. And that’s a wonderful achievement. (Applause.)
So now tens of millions of kids are now getting better nutrition every single day. Just like Abby pointed out, there are many kids who go to school and they don’t have breakfast, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So you imagine, now the schools all over this country are providing that kind of nutrition so kids who might not get that nutrition at home are getting it at school. This is an important step forward. And I know you guys all agree because you understand the importance of healthy eating.
So I know that Izzy certainly believes so. This is her quote — she said, “It’s important to teach my friends what good choices look like and how what fuel they choose for their bodies affects how they perform throughout their day.” Very wise for such a little-bitty person. (Laughter.)
And that’s why we created Let’s Move and started hosting these Kids’ State Dinners — because, as Abby said in her remarks, we want you guys to be ambassadors and to talk about healthy eating in your schools and in your communities.
So that’s really one of the things — one of the things you will do to pay for this opportunity is that you’re going to pay it forward, and hopefully when you go back, you’ll not only share this experience with your friends and family, but you’ll also talk about why we’re doing this. Because a lot of kids don’t understand that food is fuel in a very fundamental way. And sometimes they don’t listen to grown-ups, and they don’t listen to the First Lady. But many of them will listen to you because you’re living proof of that reality.
So I want you to kind of think about how you can move this issue forward in your communities. What more can you do when you get back home to continue this conversation and to engage more young people in the work that you all do. That’s the only thing that I ask of you — and just to keep being the amazing, wonderful human beings that you are.
We developed this really cool — we worked with a PR firm to develop this really cool campaign for fruits and vegetables called FNV. And it’s being piloted in certain parts of the country. The idea behind the campaign is very simple: If unhealthy foods can have all kinds of advertisements and celebrity endorsements, then why can’t we do that for fruits and vegetables? Right?
So we’ve got Jessica Alba involved, and Colin Kaepernick, and Nick Jonas, and Steph Curry. I just saw a full-page ad in a paper with Steph in a suit and a basketball, talking about the importance of veggies. And so many other athletes and celebrities have signed up to show their support for fruits and vegetables.
And now we need you guys to sign up. You can get involved in this campaign. It involves T-shirts and fans and sweat bands, and there are things that you can do to be engaged — lot of fun. All you have to do is go to FNV.com to check it out and figure out how you can join the FNV Team. And you guys will be among the first ambassadors through FNV. So, soon as you get out of here — don’t pull out any phones right now. (Laughter.) Go to FNV and check it out. And then tell us what you think — because we want your feedback.
So really, there’s so many ways that you guys can be leaders in your communities and help us build a healthier country for generations to come.
And with your award-winning recipes, you’re already well on your way. And I’m so proud of everything you all are doing. The President is so proud of everything you all are doing. And I just want you all to keep going, have fun.
And now we get to eat. (Laughter.) We get to try some of the — yes, we get to eat. (Laughter.) So bon appétit, everyone. (Laughter.) Let’s get going! Let’s eat! (Applause.)
Oh, wait! Wait! (The President enters.) We have one more thing — (applause.) I’m sorry. I know you’re hungry, but I’d like to introduce to you guys the President of the United States. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good to see you! Hello, everybody! How are you? (Applause.) So, everybody can have a seat. Have a seat.
I’m sorry to crash your little party here. (Laughter.) But I just wanted to say hi to everybody. And I wanted to let you know that, first of all, I’m very proud of everything that my outstanding wife has done — (applause) — when it comes to healthy eating and Let’s Move. And we’re celebrating the fifth anniversary of Let’s Move. So, you guys move?
THE PRESIDENT: You guys are movers? Okay. You guys look pretty healthy, I got to admit. This is a good-looking group. (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: A good-looking group.
THE PRESIDENT: And so I also just wanted to let you know that although I can’t stay and eat right now, that I’ve looked over the menu and the food looks outstanding. I particularly am impressed with the Barackamole. (Laughter.) So I’m expecting people to save me a little sampling of the Barackamole.
I also noticed that there are a lot of good vegetables on the menu, including my favorite vegetable — broccoli. (Laughter.) Did somebody raise their hand?
MRS. OBAMA: Well, I told these two that was your favorite vegetable.
THE PRESIDENT: You didn’t believe me? (Laughter.) It’s true, I love broccoli. I eat it all the time. Anybody else love broccoli?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s what I’m talking about. (Laughter.)
So I know that all your parents are so proud of you for having come up with these outstanding recipes. And the reason it’s so important for you guys to be here and to be doing what you’re doing is because the truth is, is that parents, it turns out, don’t always have the most influence — (laughter) — in terms of encouraging young people to eat healthy.
What really helps is when their friends at school are all, like, oh, you’re having chips? I’m sorry, I’m having the Barackamole. (Laughter.) And then, because you’re a cool kid, suddenly the other kids are all, like, well, if that cool kid is eating broccoli, maybe I should try that broccoli out. So you guys are setting a great example for all your friends in school and in the neighborhoods, and we’re really proud of you for that.
All right? So I’m proud of you. And I hope you guys have a wonderful dinner. And I’m going to come around and shake hands with people, but I can’t take selfies with everybody because I’ve actually got just a few other things to do. (Laughter.) So that would end up taking too long. All right? But you can take pictures while I’m shaking hands. I just can’t, like, pose and — (laughter) — all that stuff.
Oops — that’s okay, I get nervous, too. (Laughter.) Whenever I’m at state dinners I’m always spilling stuff. (Laughter.) Usually on my tie.
Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)
MRS. OBAMA: Let’s eat!
THE PRESIDENT: Let’s eat! (Applause.)
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 10, 2015
Source: WH, 7-6-15
4:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend — especially our men and women in uniform. This Fourth of July we were honored to once again welcome some of our incredible troops and their families to share Fourth of July and fireworks at the White House. It was another chance for us, on behalf of the American people, to express our gratitude for their extraordinary service around the world every day.
And that includes the work that brings me here today — our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL. This is a cause, a coalition, that’s united countries across the globe — some 60 nations, including Arab partners. Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power, across our government — military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, development and perhaps most importantly, the power of our values.
Last month, I ordered additional actions in support of our strategy. I just met with my national security team as part of our regular effort to assess our efforts — what’s working and what we can do better. Secretary Carter, Chairman Dempsey, I want to thank you and your team for welcoming us and for your leadership, including General Austin who’s leading the military campaign. And I want to summarize briefly where we stand.
I want to start by repeating what I’ve said since the beginning. This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it’s dug in among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out — and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition.
As with any military effort, there will be periods of progress, but there are also going to be some setbacks — as we’ve seen with ISIL’s gains in Ramadi in Iraq and central and southern Syria. But today, it’s also important for us to recognize the progress that’s been made.
Our coalition has now hit ISIL with more than 5,000 airstrikes. We’ve taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps. We’ve eliminated thousands of fighters, including senior ISIL commanders. And over the past year, we’ve seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can be pushed back.
In Iraq, ISIL lost at the Mosul Dam. ISIL lost at Mount Sinjar. ISIL has lost repeatedly across Kirkuk Province. ISIL lost at Tikrit. Altogether, ISIL has lost more than a quarter of the populated areas that it had seized in Iraq. In Syria, ISIL lost at Kobani. It’s recently endured losses across northern Syria, including the key city of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a vital supply route to Raqqa, its base of operations in Syria.
So these are reminders that ISIL’s strategic weaknesses are real. ISIL is surrounded by countries and communities committed to its destruction. It has no air force; our coalition owns the skies. ISIL is backed by no nation. It relies on fear, sometimes executing its own disillusioned fighters. Its unrestrained brutality often alienates those under its rule, creating new enemies. In short, ISIL’s recent losses in both Syria and Iraq prove that ISIL can and will be defeated.
Indeed, we’re intensifying our efforts against ISIL’s base in Syria. Our airstrikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations. We’re going after the ISIL leadership and infrastructure in Syria — the heart of ISIL that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world. Partnering with other countries — sharing more information, strengthening laws and border security — allows us to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria as well as Iraq, and to stem, obviously, the flow of those fighters back into our own countries. This continues to be a challenge, and, working together, all our nations are going to need to do more, but we’re starting to see some progress.
We’ll continue cracking down on ISIL’s illicit finance around the world. By the way, if Congress really wants to help in this effort, they can confirm Mr. Adam Szubin, our nominee for Treasury Under Secretary to lead this effort. This is a vital position to our counterterrorism efforts. Nobody suggests Mr. Szubin is not qualified. He’s highly qualified. Unfortunately, his nomination has been languishing up on the Hill, and we need the Senate to confirm him as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, we continue to ramp up our training and support of local forces that are fighting ISIL on the ground. As I’ve said before, this aspect of our strategy was moving too slowly. But the fall of Ramadi has galvanized the Iraqi government. So, with the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL [Iraqi] forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province.
More Sunni volunteers are coming forward. Some are already being trained, and they can be a new force against ISIL. We continue to accelerate the delivery of critical equipment, including anti-tank weapons, to Iraqi security forces, including the Peshmerga and tribal fighters. And I made it clear to my team that we will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria.
Now, all this said, our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it’s matched by a broader effort — political and economic — that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction. They have filled a void, and we have to make sure that as we push them out that void is filled. So, as Iraqi cities and towns are liberated from ISIL, we’re working with Iraq and the United Nations to help communities rebuild the security, services and governance that they need. We continue to support the efforts of Prime Minister Abadi to forge an inclusive and effective Iraqi government that unites all the people of Iraq — Shia, Sunnis, Kurds and all minority communities.
In Syria, the only way that the civil war will end — and in a way so that the Syrian people can unite against ISIL — is an inclusive political transition to a new government, without Bashar Assad — a government that serves all Syrians. I discussed this with our Gulf Cooperation Council partners at Camp David and during my recent call with President Putin. I made it clear the United States will continue to work for such a transition.
And a glimmer of good news is I think an increasing recognition on the part of all the players in the region that given the extraordinary threat that ISIL poses it is important for us to work together, as opposed to at cross-purposes, to make sure that an inclusive Syrian government exists.
While the focus of our discussions today was on Iraq and Syria, ISIL and its ideology also obviously pose a grave threat beyond the region. In recent weeks we’ve seen deadly attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. We see a growing ISIL presence in Libya and attempts to establish footholds across North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Southeast Asia. We’ve seen attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, France and Copenhagen.
So I’ve called on the international community to unite against this scourge of violent extremism. In this fight, the United States continues to lead. When necessary to prevent attacks against our nation, we’ll take direct action against terrorists. We’ll continue to also partner with nations from Afghanistan to Nigeria to build up their security forces. We’re going to work day and night with allies and partners to disrupt terrorist networks and thwart attacks, and to smother nascent ISIL cells that may be trying to develop in other parts of the world.
This also includes remaining vigilant in protecting against attacks here in the homeland. Now, I think it’s important for us to recognize the threat of violent extremism is not restricted to any one community. Here in the United States, we’ve seen all kinds of homegrown terrorism. And tragically, recent history reminds us how even a single individual motivated by a hateful ideology with access to dangerous weapons can inflict horrendous harm on Americans. So our efforts to counter violent extremism must not target any one community because of their faith or background, including patriotic Muslim Americans who are our partners in keeping our country safe.
That said, we also have to acknowledge that ISIL has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting vulnerable people around the world, including here in the United States. And they are targeting Muslim communities around the world. Numerous individuals have been arrested across the country for plotting attacks or attempting to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Two men apparently inspired by ISIL opened fire in Garland, Texas. And because of our success over the years in improving our homeland security, we’ve made it harder for terrorists to carry out large-scale attacks like 9/11 here at home.
But the threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex — it’s harder to detect and harder to prevent. It’s one of the most difficult challenges that we face. And preventing these kinds of attacks on American soil is going to require sustained effort.
So I just want to repeat, the good news is that because of extraordinary efforts from law enforcement as well as our military intelligence, we are doing a better job at preventing any large-scale attacks on the homeland. On the other hand, the small, individual lone wolf attacks or small cells become harder to detect and they become more sophisticated, using new technologies. And that means that we’re going to have to pick up our game to prevent these attacks.
It’s also true why, ultimately, in order for us to defeat terrorist groups like ISIL and al Qaeda it’s going to also require us to discredit their ideology — the twisted thinking that draws vulnerable people into their ranks. As I’ve said before — and I know our military leaders agree — this broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated with guns; they’re defeated by better ideas — a more attractive and more compelling vision.
So the United States will continue to do our part, by working with partners to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online. We’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We’re fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims. But around the world, we’re also going to insist on partnering with Muslim communities as they seek security, prosperity and the dignity that they deserve. And we’re going to expect those communities to step up in terms of pushing back as hard as they can, in conjunction with other people of goodwill, against these hateful ideologies in order to discredit them more effectively, particularly when it comes to what we’re teaching young people.
And this larger battle for hearts and minds is going to be a generational struggle. It’s ultimately not going to be won or lost by the United States alone. It will be decided by the countries and the communities that terrorists like ISIL target. It’s going to be up to Muslim communities, including scholars and clerics, to keep rejecting warped interpretations of Islam, and to protect their sons and daughters from recruitment. It will be up to all people — leaders and citizens — to reject the sectarianism that so often fuels the resentments and conflicts upon which terrorists are currently thriving. It will be up to governments to address the political and economic grievances that terrorists exploit.
Nations that empower citizens to decide their own destiny, that uphold human rights for all their people, that invest in education and create opportunities for their young people — those can be powerful antidotes to extremist ideologies. Those are the countries that will find a true partner in the United States.
In closing, let me note that this Fourth of July we celebrated 239 years of American independence. Across more than two centuries, we’ve faced much bigger, much more formidable challenges than this — Civil War, a Great Depression, fascism, communism, terrible natural disasters, 9/11. And every time, every generation, our nation has risen to the moment. We don’t simply endure; we emerge stronger than before. And that will be the case here.
Our mission to destroy ISIL and to keep our country safe will be difficult. It will take time. There will be setbacks as well as progress. But as President and Commander-in-Chief, I want to say to all our men and women in uniform who are serving in this operation — our pilots, the crews on the ground, our personnel not only on the ground but at sea, our intelligence teams and our diplomatic teams — I want to thank you. We are proud of you, and you have my total confidence that you’re going to succeed.
To the American people, I want to say we will continue to be vigilant. We will persevere. And just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail.
Thank you very much, everybody. And thanks to the team up on the stage here with me — they’re doing an outstanding job.
Q Take a question?
THE PRESIDENT: You know what, I will take a question. Go ahead.
Q Every servicemember who is listening to you today, Mr. President, is wondering, are you going to veto the defense bills that are going to pay me? What is your latest thinking on that? Because we’ve heard secondhand through statements of policy that your advisors would threaten a veto. What’s your take, sir? Would you veto the appropriations bills?
THE PRESIDENT: Our men and women are going to get paid. And if you’ll note that I’ve now been President for six and a half years and we’ve had some wrangling with Congress in the past — our servicemembers haven’t missed a paycheck.
But what is also important in terms of our budget is making sure that we are not short-changing all the elements of American power that allow us to secure the nation and to project our power around the world. So what we’re not going to do is to accept a budget that short-changes our long-term requirements for new technologies, for readiness. We’re not going to eat our seed corn by devoting too much money on things we don’t need now and robbing ourselves of the capacity to make sure that we’re prepared for future threats.
I’ve worked very closely with the Chairman and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a budget that is realistic and that looks out into the future and says this is how we’re going to handle any possible contingency. And we can’t do that if we’ve got a budget that short-changes vital operations and continues to fund things that are not necessary.
We also have to remind ourselves that the reason we have the best military in the world is, first and foremost, because we’ve got the best troops in history. But it’s also because we’ve got a strong economy, and we’ve got a well-educated population. And we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities that allow us to create new products that then can be translated into our military superiority around the world. We short-change those, we’re going to be less secure.
So the way we have to look at this budget is to recognize that, A, we can’t think short term, we’ve got to think long term; and B, part of our national security is making sure that we continue to have a strong economy and that we continue to make the investments that we need in things like education and research that are going to be vital for us to be successful long term.
Q As an Army reservist, I’m curious to know if you have any plans to send any more American troops overseas right now, any additional forces.
THE PRESIDENT: There are no current plans to do so. That’s not something that we currently discussed. I’ve always said that I’m going to do what’s necessary to protect the homeland.
One of the principles that we all agree on, though, and I pressed folks pretty hard because in these conversations with my military advisors I want to make sure I’m getting blunt and unadultered [sic] uncensored advice. But in every one of the conversations that we’ve had, the strong consensus is that in order for us to succeed long-term in this fight against ISIL we have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress.
It is not enough for us to simply send in American troops to temporarily set back organizations like ISIL, but to then, as soon as we leave, see that void filled once again with extremists. It is going to be vital for us to make sure that we are preparing the kinds of local ground forces and security forces with our partners that can not only succeed against ISIL, but then sustain in terms of security and in terms of governance.
Because if we try to do everything ourselves all across the Middle East, all across North Africa, we’ll be playing Whack-a-Mole and there will be a whole lot of unintended consequences that ultimately make us less secure.
All right? Thank you. I didn’t even plan to do this. (Laughter.) You guys got two bonus questions.
4:28 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 6, 2015
Source: WH, 7-4-15
8:56 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody having a good time? (Applause.) Give it up for Bruno Mars! (Applause.) And the band! (Applause.)
Michelle and I just want to say to everybody here, we love you. (Applause.) On this day, we thank everyone who does so much each and every day to defend our country, to defend our freedom. (Applause.) We are grateful to our armed services. (Applause.) We are grateful to our military families. (Applause.) We are grateful to our veterans. (Applause.)
Without you, we could not enjoy the incredible blessings that we do in this greatest country on Earth. (Applause.) And we are so appreciative to all of you. We hope you are having a good time. The weather is cooperating. (Applause.) And Michelle and I, Malia, Sasha — we could not be more privileged to have gotten to know so many of you, and to know all the sacrifices that you make on our behalf each and every day.
So we just want to wish you the happiest 4th of July and remind ourselves that freedom is not free — it’s paid by all the folks who are here today and all the folks who are around the world. We want to thank those who aren’t with their families on this holiday season because they’re posted overseas. (Applause.) We want to especially remember them. (Applause.)
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
8:58 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 4, 2015
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 1, 2015
Source: WH, 7-3-15
Taylor Stratton Elementary School
1:36 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Everybody, have a seat. Have a seat. Well, it’s good to be back in Nashville. (Applause.) I like Nashville. I don’t know if you noticed, I come back here quite a bit. (Laughter.)
First of all, can everybody please give Kelly a big round of applause? (Applause.) In addition to being wonderful and somewhat feisty spirit, as I have learned, she also has the distinction of possibly being the first person ever to be picked up at her house by a presidential motorcade. (Laughter.) Which I thought was pretty cool. Well, it turned out it was so close to the school, so we said, well, we might as well just swing by and get her. (Laughter.)
I want to thank the school for hosting us here today, because I know it’s a lot of work when we come into town. Very much appreciate everybody who was involved in that. You have a great Mayor, Karl Dean, who’s here, so please give Karl a big round of applause. (Applause.) There he is with his beautiful family right there. Family, stand up. Family, come on. There’s his family — yay! (Applause.) You can’t imagine what a family has to put up with when you’re in public service. So we really appreciate all of them.
Kelly already mentioned him, but he is somebody who is what you want out of a member of Congress. He works hard. He calls it like he sees them. He’s willing to do courageous stuff even when it’s not popular. He is a gentleman, one of my favorite people — Jim Cooper. (Applause.)
Also here is somebody who knows health care well, was a health care professional, a doctor and executive, and knows a little bit about politics because he used to be the former Majority Leader. When I first came in, in fact, he and I had a chance to work together on a number of things, and he’s been a terrific advocate on behalf of health care for a lot of people — Mr. Bill Frist. (Applause.)
So, with that, I think I’m going to take off my jacket, get a little more relaxed here. Part of the reason we came to Tennessee — in addition to me just liking Nashville and liking the state, generally, is that Tennessee has a history of innovation when it comes to health care, doing some very creative stuff — health care professionals, doctors, nurses, hospitals and executives working alongside nonprofits and the public sector to make sure that people are getting the very best health care they can, and also being able to control costs in a sensible way.
And thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the efforts of people like Jim who took some very tough votes, we now have about 166,000 Tennesseans who have health care who didn’t have it before. Folks like Kelly. (Applause.)
In addition to the people who are able to buy health insurance through the exchanges, through the marketplaces that were set up through the Affordable Care Act, I think it’s important to remember that everybody who has health insurance benefitted and continues to benefit from this law — even though a lot of folks don’t know it.
So if you have health insurance through the job, you’re able to keep your child on health insurance up until they’re 26 years old because of this law. (Applause.) And that’s provided millions of young people across the country with health insurance who may not have had it before. And that’s especially important as young people are transitioning, getting their first job — they may not always get a job that has full benefits, and this way they’re able to make sure that they stay healthy.
In addition, if you’re a senior citizen, or somebody who’s disabled, it turns out that you are getting discounts on your prescription drugs that you may not have noticed but are saving you potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And there are millions of people across the country who are benefitting. That is because of this law.
If you don’t fall under those categories and you’re just somebody who’s got health insurance on the job, you now are protected, so that if you, let’s say, lost that job, or decided to move to a job or just start your own business, you can’t be prohibited from getting health insurance because of a preexisting condition. That’s a protection that everybody is benefitting from as a consequence of this law. (Applause.)
If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged just for being a woman as a consequence of this law. (Applause.) Last I checked, that’s about over half of the population, so that’s a pretty large constituency. You’re able to get free preventive care, including mammograms, as a consequence of this law, on your insurance.
So there are a whole host of things that fall under the Affordable Care Act that are benefitting 100 million, 150 million people. They just may not be aware of it. But what it’s done is it’s made health care stronger, more secure, and more reliable in America. You don’t always notice that until you need it — the way Kelly needed it. And that peace of mind, that understanding that if you get sick you’re not going to lose your job — or you’re not going to lose your house, you’re not going to lose all your savings, that you’re going to be able to get quality care — that is extraordinarily important.
I’ve said before, the scariest day of my life was when Sasha was three months old — my daughter — and she got meningitis. And the only reason we knew was because we had a great primary care physician and we were able to rush to an emergency room and the doctors and nurses did extraordinary work. And I was feeling helpless in that situation, but I thought, what would happen if I was in the same situation and I didn’t have health care, and I didn’t have a primary care physician to call in the middle of the night because we noticed she wasn’t crying the same way she usually cried? Because of the law we passed, there are parents who just aren’t going to have to face that. And that’s priceless.
Now, the good news is that, contrary to some of the expectations, not only has the law worked better than we expected, not only are 16 million people now getting health insurance that didn’t have it before, not only do we now have the lowest uninsured rate since we started tracking people and how much health insurance they had, but it’s actually ended up costing less than people expected. And health care costs have been held — the inflation on health care costs have actually proved to be the lowest — since the Affordable Care Act passed — in the last 50 years. So we’re actually seeing less health care inflation.
And part of the reason is because the law also encouraged health care providers and doctors, nurses, hospitals to start thinking more creatively about how can we get a better bang for our health care dollar. How can we make sure that rather than spending a lot of money on unnecessary tests or readmissions, we’re encouraging really high-quality care that’s good for the patient but also good for health care spending.
And this is another area where Tennessee actually has been really innovative. In fact, it won a $65 million grant for state innovation, where you’ve got hospitals and doctors and nurses and not-for-profits and other groups working together to figure out how can we, for example, identify potential diabetes patients early, make sure that they’re getting healthy quicker, preventing some of the worst elements of it. And even though it might involve a little extra spending on the front end, it turns out it saves hundreds of thousands of dollars on the back end; improves quality of life, improves quality of care, cuts costs, which is good for our economy, good for patients, and good for America.
So I’m feeling pretty good about how health care is going. (Applause.) And the thing I’ve never lost sight of, though, is that this is about people. This is not about politics, it’s not about Washington. It’s about families and loved ones, and the struggle and the fear that comes about when you have a serious illness and knowing that you’ve got not just your own family, but also a community that has your back.
And you heard Kelly talk about her story. Sitting right next to Kelly is a wonderful woman named Natoma Canfield, who came down with me today. She’s from Ohio, and she wrote a letter to me, pretty similar to Kelly’s, back in — five years ago, so back in 2010, when we were still in the middle of this fight to try to get health care that’s affordable for everybody. And Natoma had been diagnosed with cancer, had beat it back, then was buying health insurance on the individual market and it turned out that the costs were just skyrocketing so high that she just couldn’t afford it anymore.
And she wrote to me a passionate letter about why we needed to get this done. And I would always refer back to her letter whenever things got a little bleak and Congress wasn’t behaving as sensibly as Jim Cooper behaves. (Laughter.) And when we finally signed that bill, I had Natoma’s letter framed with the pen that I signed the bill with — one of the pen’s that I signed the bill with — just to remind me that this wasn’t about politics, this was about people.
And so I’m so glad Natoma is here, but I’m also glad that all of you are here. And part of what I’m hoping is that with the Supreme Court case now behind us, what we can do is — (applause) — I’m hoping that what we can do is now focus on how we can make it even better. Because it’s not as if we’ve solved all the problems in our health care system. America still spends more on health care than any other advanced nation and our outcomes aren’t particularly better.
And so we know there’s still a lot of waste in the system. We know that the quality of care isn’t always where it needs to be. And so my hope is, is that on a bipartisan basis, in places like Tennessee, but all across the country, we can now focus on what have we learned. What’s working? What’s not working? Are there further improvements we can make to improve quality? Are there more ways we can encourage people to get preventive care so that they don’t get sick in the first place, so that we have a actual health care system instead of a disease care system? Are there ways that we can do better to provide the support we need for outstanding primary care physicians and nurses, who oftentimes are coming out of school loaded up with debt and aren’t always getting the support that they need and aren’t always able to practice the way they want to practice?
There are huge areas of improvement and, frankly, there’s still a lot of people who aren’t insured. Part of the design of the Affordable Care Act was that some people were going to buy health care on the marketplace; in some cases, we were going to allow states to expand their coverage through individualized programs in their states. I think because of politics, not all states have taken advantage of the options that are out there. Our hope is, is that more of them do.
We still have to sign a bunch of people up. We’ve covered now about a third of the people who weren’t covered before this law passed, but that means there’s still two-thirds out there who still need some help and they’re still going to the emergency room at the last minute when something goes wrong.
And so we want to educate people. We want to listen to folks. We want to hear good ideas from all sources. We want to think about this in a practical, American way instead of a partisan, political way. And if we do that, then I think there’s still great strides to be made.
So I want to thank all of you for being here. And with that, I’m just going to open it up for a bunch of questions. And you can ask me about anything, but probably you should ask me a couple of questions about health care. (Laughter.) I’m also willing to talk about the women’s soccer team and how we’re going to beat whoever it is we’re playing up in Canada. (Applause.) I can talk about the NBA free agency. (Laughter.) I can talk about the Predators and hockey. (Applause.) And I can talk about other things other than sports. (Laughter.)
But the way we’re going to do this is we’re just going to — this is very casual. I’m just going to call on folks. The only rules I’m going to lay down are when you raise your hand, if you can wait — are there microphones in the audience? So wait for a microphone so we can all hear you. And I’d like you to introduce yourself. And I’m going to try to make sure that we go boy, girl, boy, girl, so that it’s even. (Laughter.) Okay? All right.
We’re going to start with this young lady right here in front. You’ve got a microphone right here. So remember to introduce yourself. Go ahead and hand her the mic. Sometimes we tell our folks to hang onto the mic because people keep it for too long. (Laughter.) But this looks like a pretty well-behaved group, so go ahead and hand them the mic.
Q I am a Tennessee volunteer enrolling people in the Affordable Care Act.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Q Thank you. (Applause.) We live in a city with a lot of health care companies and a lot of great medical facilities who can take advantage of some of the things you mentioned. What do you think ordinary people — people who are volunteers, or ordinary citizens can do to help make our health care system and our health insurance system better?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I want to thank you for volunteering, because so much of our challenge these first couple of years as we’ve gotten this started was just getting people information, because there was so much misinformation out there.
So, for example, a lot of people don’t know that through the exchange, through the Affordable Care Act exchange plan, there is enormous choice of plans. And Tennessee actually has benefitted from some of the widest range of choices of just about any state. I think there are 70 options to choose from for people throughout the state. And about 80 percent of people who are purchasing health insurance through these exchanges because they’re getting federal subsidies, they’re spending less than 100 bucks a month for good, quality care. And that’s true nationwide.
So part of our goal here is just to give people good information. And in fairness to folks, look, before I started tackling this whole health care thing, when I got a job I didn’t really pay attention to health care benefits. You go to the job, and somebody from HR hands you a form and says, here, fill this out, and they tell you, well, you need to choose from two or three plans, and you kind of ask them, all right, well, what do you think? (Laughter.) They tell you, well, that one is pretty good, and you sign up for it. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about health insurance until we get sick, unfortunately.
So getting people information, I think that’s something that is really helpful when it comes from neighbors, friends, coworkers, your church — because you have more trust. Sometimes people don’t always trust what they see on television, especially on something that became sort of a political football.
I think the other thing is for citizens to share their stories of how it’s helped them not only with their friends, neighbors, coworkers, but also with their state legislators and with their governor, and writing letters and letting them know that this is helping people, it makes a difference — so that they then recognize that this is an important need and it’s worthy of support.
And then you’ve also got to take care of yourself. But you look really good, so you’re obviously — (laughter) — getting exercise and eating right, and getting regular checkups and all that good stuff. Because that’s helpful, as well. That’s part of how we keep costs down, is making sure people are well-informed about what it takes to live a healthy life.
Great question, though.
All right, it’s a gentleman’s turn. This guy right down here. You’ve got a good-looking beard. All right, hold on a second. Let’s get the mic — like I said, you can just pass it down to him.
Q It is an honor and a privilege to be here, Mr. President. I live in Pikeville, Tennessee. It’s about 50 miles north of Chattanooga. And I’m here representing the 280,000 people that is uninsurable in the state of Tennessee with the Insure Tennessee Act. And what we need is — we got no insurance. We can’t get no insurance. We don’t make enough to pay for insurance, but still yet we make too much to get a subsidy insurance. And I would like to know if you are aware of this, or is there anything that — movements or acts that you can make on the part of our problem here?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I appreciate your comments. There is something that can be done, but it’s going to be at the state level. And I think that it’s important for state legislators to get together and find a uniquely Tennessee solution to the problem.
But understand, the way the law was set up was that states would have the option of expanding existing programs like Medicaid, and then you’d also have people who were buying health insurance on the marketplace and getting subsidies. And the point you’re making is that if the state hasn’t taken action on one part of the program, then even with the good work that’s being done for people who are getting subsidies and purchasing insurance, you’re still leaving a bunch of folks out. And here in Tennessee, that’s probably a couple hundred thousand people who could benefit if we really focused on how to fix it.
Now, as I said before, Tennessee has a history of bipartisan, smart, state-specific efforts to expand health insurance. And I don’t expect that what’s good for Tennessee is automatically going to be the same as what’s good for California or what’s good for my home state of Illinois. But given the strong history of innovation in health care in Tennessee and given the high quality of doctors and hospitals and nurses and networks that are here, you all should be able to find a solution. And the federal government is there to help and to work with those states that are ready to get going.
I will tell you the states that have taken full advantage of all the federal options available, they have an even lower uninsured rate, and a healthier population, and more people signing up for the options that are available than those states that have not taken full advantage of those options. And that’s just a fact. And it is unfortunate that getting this done got so political. Washington is kind of a crazy place. But that doesn’t mean every place has got to be crazy. (Laughter and applause.) So I’d like to see some good sense spring forth from the great state of Tennessee, see if we can get this thing done. (Applause.)
All right. Yes, right there. Go ahead.
Q Thank you so much for being here today and sharing with us. I’m from St. Thomas Health and one of the administrators. So the work that’s already been done, the exchange, we know we have work to do with expansion. What would you envision are the next steps that we need to take in health care in general for our country?
THE PRESIDENT: The areas where I think we can still make the biggest difference, in addition to making sure everybody is signed up for the options that they have, is to really think more about the delivery system of health care. And this can get real complicated because we got a complicated health care system. But I can boil it down maybe into layman’s terms.
Right now we spend too much money on the wrong things and not enough money on the right things. So health care generally is very expensive in this country. But if you look at how that money is spent, we don’t give enough incentives to health care providers to really focus just on the patient and the quality of care. First of all, there’s way too much bureaucracy. There’s way too much paperwork. That wears out the patient. It wears out the doctor. It wears out the nurses. They don’t like it.
The second problem is that because of the way that we’ve designed the payment system in health care, historically what happened was that, let’s say, a hospital or a doctor had a patient come in, says, I’ve got diabetes or I have I think maybe diabetes. The hospital or the doctor would get paid to amputate the leg of a patient, but they wouldn’t get reimbursed if they just hired somebody to monitor whether that individual was taking their medicines on a regular basis and monitoring their eating habits, right? So what ends up happening is, is that you don’t end up helping the patient who might have kept their leg if they were keeping up a regular regiment of looking after themselves.
The doctors don’t feel good about that. The nurses don’t feel good about it. But they just don’t have time because of the economics of the health care system. So one of the things that we’re trying to do across the board — and Tennessee is actually doing some good innovation on this — is let’s reimburse people for the outcomes and the quality of care that people are getting.
So instead of — when that patient comes in, instead of worrying about just, okay, I’m going to bill for this test and I’m going to bill for this surgery, let’s tell them, if that person ends up having a good outcome, then you’re going to get reimbursed. And the better the outcome, maybe the bigger the reimbursement.
And now it may turn out that it’s a good deal for the doctor to spend an extra half an hour with the patient very carefully going over the medicine they should be getting. Or the hospital may say, you know what, we’re going to sign you up for a health club and make sure that you’re getting some regular exercise, or we’re going to reimburse you for a smoking-cessation program — and suddenly all that produces a better result.
But we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got a payment system that follows that logic of patient-centered care. And as I said before, we’re already seeing that happening. Part of the reason that we’ve actually seen health care costs slow — the inflation of health care slow is because folks are starting to get reimbursed in different ways, and health care groups are starting to organize themselves to focus on the quality of care as opposed to the amount of care.
If we can do that, see, what that does is it — first of all, it frees up resources. It’s not good for anybody when health care costs go up because not only does the federal government have to pay more, the state of Tennessee has to pay more. That means there’s less money left over for doctors, nurses, for health education. It means higher premiums for the patients. But it also means that if we’re saying — if we just cut 2 percent or 3 percent on the cost of health care, that’s hundreds of billions of dollars that we can now spend on something else. We can spend that on education. We can spend that on job training programs. We can spend that on fixing some potholes. And it can improve everybody’s quality of life.
So that I think is the area that we’re going to be spending a lot of focus and a lot time, in addition to making sure that people are able to sign up for the care that they need. Because I want to emphasize, there are still too many people out there who haven’t signed up or can’t sign up for the health care that’s available to them. And if we can clear away some of the politics, that will help, as well.
Good. Gentleman, right here.
Q Good afternoon, Mr. President. My name is Eric Brown from Nashville, Tennessee. I work for the Children’s Defense Fund and a small, local congregation here. My question is more for veterans when it comes to health care. I have a family member who’s a veteran. She would like to have a female doctor. She’s been rejected about two or three times. So I just wanted to hear more of your thoughts on that — how to help her to get the health care that she needs, but also have the safety that she needs for it as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Well, as most of you know, the VA system is an entirely separate health care system from the private sector health care systems that most of us use.
Here’s the basic principle: If somebody is wearing our — the uniform of the armed services of this country and sacrificing and putting themselves in harm’s way to protect us, we’ve got to give them good health care when they come home. (Applause.) We’ve got to make sure that they get the very best.
Now, the good news is that the overwhelming majority of veterans are very satisfied with the health care they receive once they get into the system. The bad news is that because a lot of the processing and systems in the VA system are outdated, sometimes it’s taking a long time for folks to get into the system, to get an appointment, to make sure that they’ve got a doctor that they’re comfortable with. There are areas where there are still shortages — for example, in mental health, with a lot of folks coming back with PTSD — there haven’t been, historically, enough mental health services provided for our veterans.
So my Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald, who is a former — who’s a veteran himself, but also a former CEO of Procter & Gamble, so knows about big companies and big operations — he’s really been doing a good job in revamping how the VA system is organized generally. It’s going to take some time. It’s still not where it needs to be.
With respect to your — was it your sister, in particular?
THE PRESIDENT: Your mother-in-law, in particular — we’ll get your name and your mother-in-law’s name, and we’ll find out what exactly the issue is. But generally speaking, we’ve actually made an investment in women’s health care in the VA system, reflecting the fact that we now have extraordinary women who are serving in the armed services, and the health care needs of women are not always going to be the same as the health care needs of men. And so we’ve actually been trying to boost the kinds of specialties and training that are needed to provide health care to women — our women veterans, and we’ve been expanding that.
And that’s something I’m very proud of. We’ve made a significant inroad in that area. Tell her thanks for her service.
All right, it’s a young lady’s turn. Go ahead. I’ll go here, and — don’t worry, I think I’ll be able to catch everybody. Go ahead. But she does have an Obama pin on, so I thought I’d — (laughter) — I figured I had to give her a little props for that.
Q Thank you. And thank you, Mr. President, for coming to Tennessee. And my name is Brenda Gilmore. I’m a member of the Tennessee General Assembly in the House. And there are a number of members that are here, so I just wanted you to know that we support you. We believe that health care is the right thing for everybody, and especially for Tennesseans.
And I wanted to ask you, with your background also being a state senator —
THE PRESIDENT: State legislator.
Q — do you have some strategies that you could share with us — (laughter) — that we could encourage our Governor to stay on the journey and to continue to find solutions to present Insure Tennessee, and to bring some of our colleagues over on the other side so that we can take the politics out of it and help them to understand how important this is to the quality of life for Tennesseans? (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t presume to know as much as you do about Tennessee politics, so I will leave the expert advice to folks like Jim Cooper maybe.
But here’s the one thing I do know, is that elected officials respond to public opinion. I think one of the challenges that we’ve had throughout this fight has been that there’s been a lot of misinformation out there. And so if you stopped the average Tennessean on the street and you asked them, do you support making sure that insurance companies can’t bar you from getting health insurance because of a preexisting condition, eight out of 10 of them would say, absolutely, I support that. Overwhelming majority of Republicans would support it just as much as Democrats did.
Now, if you asked them, did you know the Affordable Care Act is what is guaranteeing you don’t get blocked from getting health insurance with a preexisting condition, you’d get an argument with at least half those folks — “no, that’s not what it’s doing.” So part of it is just providing people good information. That’s really important. And if ordinary folks feel it’s important, then usually elected officials start responding.
I think the other thing to emphasize, which I know you’re already doing, is recognizing that not every state is the same, and that the truth is, is that there are a lot of different ways that states are approaching this problem. And if everybody will just acknowledge that people should get health insurance, that they should be able to get affordable care when they need it — if that much is acknowledged, that base principle, then you can say to them, okay, here’s our ideas for how to do it, what are your ideas? And people can come up with good ideas of their own.
I will say this. People tend to forget that the Affordable Care Act model, with health care exchanges and buying on the — in the marketplace, and getting subsidies from the federal government — that was originally a model that was embraced by Republicans before I embraced it. It’s the model that Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It’s the model that conservative organizations like Heritage Foundation thought were a good idea.
So my hope is that maybe now we can return to a constructive conversation about — if folks have better ideas, you should accept them. My general rule is I have no pride of authorship here. I just want to make sure Kelly has got health insurance and I want to make sure that Thelma has got health insurance, and I want to make sure this gentleman gets health insurance. And if there’s a better way of doing it, let me know.
But it turns out that it’s hard. (Laughter.) So it’s got to be an idea that actually works. It can’t be an idea that sounds good, but then doesn’t work. That’s the only danger. So if somebody tells you that, well, we’re going to prohibit insurance companies from barring you from getting health insurance if you’ve got a preexisting condition — which is popular — but we’re going to allow people not to get health insurance if they don’t feel like it, then the truth is that doesn’t work. And the reason it doesn’t work is, if you think about it, if you knew that the insurance company couldn’t prevent you from getting health insurance once you were sick, you wouldn’t pay all those premiums until you got sick. And then you’d go to your health insurance company and say, there’s a law you got to sell me health insurance — and you’d save a whole lot of money, but, of course, the whole insurance system would collapse. It wouldn’t work.
So there are just some basic things that — basic realities about the health care system that have to be taken into account. But I think you should be open to other ideas. Like I said, look, I didn’t mind stealing ideas from Mitt Romney. (Laughter.) But the bottom line is: What works? What works? And if Republican legislators have better ideas, they should present them. But they have to be realistic. They have to be meaningful. (Applause.)
Okay. The gentleman right here in the glasses. Right here. Yes.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I work with Family and Children Service. I am versed in the health care system and I help people enroll in the marketplace. And I want to thank you so much on behalf of the many people I’ve been helping, especially the most vulnerable immigrant people, to get affordable health insurance. We really thank you very much.
Also, I just want to ask you if you have any plans to expand the Affordable Care Act for sick migrant people, especially the people who don’t have enough documents in this country but they still live and work here for a long time. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we were very clear that the Affordable Care Act did not apply to people who are not here legally. And that’s the law. So that’s another example of — there’s a lot of misinformation about this. The law says that if you are undocumented, if you’re not here legally, you can’t benefit from subsidies and the program that we’ve set up.
The real answer to your question is why don’t we have immigration reform so that people who’ve been here a long time who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, who oftentimes have children who are U.S. citizens, who are contributing to the society and are willing to pay their dues, pay taxes, get a background check — why don’t we give them a pathway so they can be legal. (Applause.) If we do that — if we reform the immigration system, which is all broken, then this problem that you just mentioned takes care of itself.
I mean, look, we should not be encouraging illegal immigration. What we should be doing is setting up a smart, legal immigration system that doesn’t separate families, but does focus on making sure that people who are dangerous, people who are gang-bangers or criminals — that we’re deporting them as quickly as possible, that we’re focusing our resources there; that we’re focusing on a strong border. We’ve made improvements on all those fronts, but we could be doing even more if we had immigration reform.
And we almost got that done. We had a bipartisan bill come through the Senate that was very smart and was well-crafted. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was a good compromise among a lot of different ideas. The House of Representatives declined to call it to a vote, even though I think we had a majority of members of the House of Representatives who would be willing to vote for it.
I’ve taken some administrative actions to try to improve the system. For example, us not deporting some young person who grew up here and been here since they were three or four or five years old, brought here by their parents, hasn’t done anything wrong, are going to school with our kids, or friends with our kids, and suddenly — in some cases, they didn’t even know that they weren’t citizens — and then they’re 18 years old and suddenly they can’t get a college scholarship because it turns out they don’t have the legal documents.
And I said, administratively, that’s not who we are to just send those kids back. In some cases, they’ve never been to the country that their parents are from, don’t speak the language. What do you mean we’re going to send them back? Some of them serving in our military.
So we’ve done a lot administratively. Ultimately, though, to really find a full solution to the problem we’re going to have to get congressional action. And I suspect this will be a topic of conversation during the upcoming presidential campaign.
I should note by the way that Michelle is very happy that I cannot run. (Laughter.) That is good for the health care of our family. (Laughter.)
Yes, go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Marian Hurst from Mount Juliet, Tennessee. And thanks to the ACA, I was able to retire and still get health insurance. My question is, what are your thoughts on how to now manage the premiums? I don’t know if you’re aware that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has announced a significant increase after the one that they gave from 2014 to 2015.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, keep in mind that the Affordable Care Act was designed so that there’s competition. And folks in Tennessee benefitted over these last two years not only of a lot of healthy competition — more insurers came in offering plans than just about any other place — it was really impressive — but Tennessee’s premiums were also substantially lower than a lot of other states, and have been over the last couple of years. The insurance companies now have come in requesting higher premiums.
The good news for people of Tennessee is this has to be reviewed and approved by the insurance commission. And if — last year is a good example. Last year there were a number of states where the insurance companies came in requesting significant spikes in premiums. And there were a lot stories in the newspaper, just like there are this year, about, oh, premiums are skyrocketing and this is going to be terrible and all that. When all the dust settled and the commissioners who were empowered to review these rates forced insurance companies to justify what they were seeking, what you discovered was, is that the rates actually didn’t go up as much as people thought.
So I think the key for Tennessee is just making sure that the insurance commissioner does their job in not just passively reviewing the rates, but really asking, okay, what is it that you are looking for here? Why would you need very high premiums? And my expectation is, is that they’ll come in significantly lower than what’s being requested.
But I think that this emphasizes the need for us to not let our foot off the gas when it comes to the delivery system reforms that I talked about earlier. Because part of what’s happening in terms of health care costs is that as technology changes, and there are more cures for more diseases, people utilize them more. And if we aren’t smart about how we spend our health care dollars, if we want everything right away even if it’s not shown to be particularly effective, then that shoots up health care costs and ultimately premiums are going to keep on going up.
So we’ve got to think more carefully about this. The best example of this, by the way, is prescription drugs. The biggest spike in health care costs is around prescription drugs. Now, some of this is just because drugs have gotten better and people are able to now deal with cholesterol or deal with other chronic problems through a drug regimen. And that’s a good thing. We should be happy about that. But when you’ve got a situation where the brand-name drug costs 100 bucks a pill and the generic drug costs 10 bucks a pill, and the generic has been shown to be just as effective as the brand name, it’s good for all of us as consumers to make sure that we’re generally using the generic drug when we can.
And a lot of times — sometimes we’re very insistent because we’ve seen some fancy ad on TV — people are running around looking happy. (Laughter.) Until they read that thing about: “This may cause serious side effects.” (Laughter.) Diarrhea, migraines. (Laughter.) I always laugh at those ads. (Laughter.)
But a lot of times, because of the advertising, you’ll have somebody come into their doctor and say, well, I want X because I saw a TV ad, and if the doctor says, well, actually Y works just as well and is a lot cheaper — a lot of times, people’s attitude is no, no, no, I want X. And if the system is set up where you’re getting X, then that means your premiums are going to go up. If you want your premiums to stay low, then you have got to base your decisions on your doctor — you want your doctors and your nurses basing decisions on science and what’s proven as opposed to what’s being advertised.
And that’s just one example of how we’ve got to make sure that we continue to save money in the system. Because if costs keep on going up and everybody wants everything and is not smart about how we’re spending out health care dollars, then, yes, premiums are going to end up going up too high. But stay on your insurance commissioner, pay attention to what they’re doing.
Okay. I got time for one more — but I’m going to take two. (Laughter.) Yes, sir, this gentlemen right here.
Q I’m Walter Davis, and I’m a director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, which does both enrollment and advocating for Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee. It’s wonderful to hear the success stories here. But here in the South, we need help from the government and from supportive institutions to talk about the people being left behind. And I want to make sure you meet Davy Crockett before you leave today.
THE PRESIDENT: Is this Davy right here?
Q Right there.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
Q Over there with the Tennessee Justice Center. There are important stories about the people who are left out because of decisions by legislators. And we love the legislators that are with us, both parties, but the other legislators need to meet people in the gap.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Well, you know what, I think this is like a handoff to Davy here. (Laughter.) So we’ll get you the mic here, Davy. Hold on one second. Is your name really Davy Crockett?
THE PRESIDENT: That’s a cool name. (Laughter.) But you don’t have that beaver cap. (Laughter.)
Q I’ve got one at the house.
THE PRESIDENT: You do? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. All right.
Q My name is James Davy Crockett. And I live in Bulls Gap, Tennessee. And I want to know — I’ve been turned down four times for Social Security. Is there anything that you can do to maybe push it through or something? (Laughter.) I mean, I have been turned down and I’d like to be able to get some help.
THE PRESIDENT: All right. Well, here, I’ll tell you what. Here’s the thing, Davy, I don’t run the Social Security Administration. It’s the law. But here’s one thing that does happen. If I ask a question, I tend to get an answer pretty quick. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to get your information, Davy, and I’ll make sure the Social Security Administrator takes a look at it and expedites it. All right? (Applause.)
Q Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, thank you.
Davy Crockett! (Applause.) You all remember that TV show? Actually, a lot of people are too young here. (Starts to sing) Davy, Davy Crockett. (Laughter.) I loved that.
Right here. This young lady is going to get the last question, because she wrote me a letter, and when people tell their stories that reminds me of why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Q Thank you Mr. President. My name is Margaret Mackatee (ph) and I’m a retired teacher and school administrator for 38 years in the great state of Ohio. And I moved to Tennessee to be with my son and my grandchildren. And my grandson, Patrick, said to say hi to you.
THE PRESIDENT: Tell Patrick I said hey. (Laughter.)
Q Yes, sir. The letter I wrote was after watching you make a speech to college students. And at the time, it was after the fact of the death of my son. And being off of health care immediately after he graduated from Wright State University, and through the process of his illness and his death, how it affected me economically, and paying COBRA and shots.
And in the context of being a school administrator, as hard as that might have been to me, it was worse for my kids at school, going through much the same thing or worse, with no support system like I had, especially as we went through the economic downturn in the country. And being a high school principal and watching my kids be homeless and transient and mobile, and much harder to grab ahold of. And they would be into crime or stealing or whatever for survival on the streets. And they would show up at school, or they’d get off the bus and come down and say, “Doctor Mackatee (ph), I need to go to the clinic because I’m sick.”
And so our little school clinics became their health care. And sometimes even their parents would come and say, hey, can your nurse check us out. And at one time, we had one nurse for seven schools.
And so, in terms of people that are lost in the shuffle — especially at the secondary level — transient, homeless children — we had a huge population of homeless children and they kept my head on straight through the grief I felt in our family because they’re so compelling. They don’t let — teenagers don’t let you sit around and whine. They pull you forward into life.
And my concern for the school systems in this country is for the massive health care issues that walk in the doors of school systems who don’t have nursing care, who don’t have clinics that are staffed, who don’t have the resources. And many of the teachers in America take care of the kids out of their pocket. School cooks feed children — slip them a little bit. I know for a fact that many of my kids only ate with confidence at school. That’s one of the reasons I love Mrs. Obama and her notion of — (applause) — of decent school lunch.
I can remember walking into a school system and the lunch they served was a little piece of cheese, a little short pasty breadstick and a tiny little tomato sauce cup. And that was lunch until Mrs. Obama brought focus to what was being served to our children.
So the kids in the country who are homeless and deprived and transient — as soon as a kid gets 15 or 16, it’s hard to — they come and they show up once in a while, or they go off and they bounce from home to home, or buddy to buddy, or situation to situation. They’re the ones that I’m worried about falling through the cracks.
And I’m worried about our school system and the focus that we spend more time and effort trying to get what we used to call in Ohio “butts in seats to take tests,” instead of seeing to their health care needs and their mental health care needs and support needs, so that we can wholly educate a child in the United States of America. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s a great comment. Well, first of all, Margaret, we’re so grateful for you sharing your personal story, because it reminds us of the goodness and generosity of the American people, when somebody like Margaret is going through her own pain but she’s thinking about people other than herself and her family. That kind of spirit is to be found all across the country. It’s not unique to one party. It’s not unique to one region. There are good people like Margaret everywhere.
A couple of points I’d just pick up on that you’ve mentioned. Number one — when we talk about the health care system, we have to just remind ourselves of the economic impact of the health care system on families. It’s not just feeling bad. Obviously, when you’re sick, your most important concern is getting well. But what is also true is, is that when you get sick and you don’t have health insurance, then that is draining your resources for other things.
Bankruptcy because of medical expenses is a huge portion of the bankruptcies in America. When families lose their house, or a parent has to stop working because of an untreated illness, or they miss too many days at work because they can never go to a doctor and then lose their job or lose incomes from those days they don’t work — that can send a household into a spiral. And then, once a household starts breaking down because they lose a home, or they lose a car, or they lose a job, now, suddenly, you start having people in shelters, and people on the streets. And that then affects kids and then their capacity to learn. And you then create cycles of problems that are much harder for people to pull out of.
So part of the reason that it’s important for us to get this health care issue right is so that people have at least a stable base from which to then focus on all the other issues that they’ve got to focus on in their lives. And if we can, as I said before, continue to do a better job of providing high-quality care to everybody, but in a more efficient way, then that will free up resources so that, for example, we can address the underfunding of schools, and we can make sure that we are having additional resources inside the schools for things like mental health.
The number of under-diagnosed young people who end up getting in trouble or dropping out of school just because they didn’t get the same health care services that better-off families get, it’s substantial. And once they’ve dropped out, you lose them. And then they end up in the criminal justice system. And we then end up paying for their incarceration instead of them paying taxes because they’re able to get a good job and support a family. And those cycles can build.
One of the most challenging things as President for me is to try to get folks to recognize that investments in people oftentimes save us money over the long term, even if it looks like it costs money in the short term. And we make this mistake over and over again.
You mentioned school lunches, for example. We know that children’s grades and test scores tend to go down at the end of the month, on average, in low-income communities. All right, well, why is that? It’s because food stamps start running out at the end of the month and kids are hungry and they’re not focused.
Now, it may look smart for us to restrict those benefits, except if even half of those kids end up doing better in school, and didn’t drop out, and were able to get a job, the society would be much wealthier. If we are focused on mental health services, then we could cut down on the crime rate. If we invest in early childhood education, we know there are improved outcomes that save the society money as a whole.
And let’s face it, part of what prevents us from making those investments in the short term is, is that we’ve gone through some tough times. The middle class feels strapped. People’s incomes and wages haven’t gone up — even after the recovery where we dug ourselves out of the crisis. We still have growing inequality where a huge amount of the increase in income is still going to folks at the very top. And so if you’re a middle-class person, and you’re already struggling and things are tight, then sometimes you feel like, well, why am I going to pay more taxes to help folks at the bottom? Right? That’s, I think, the mentality that a lot of folks have. And it’s understandable.
But part of what I’ve been trying to argue — and I know Jim tries to do it, as well — is to recognize that we don’t have to choose between middle-class families working hard and trying to get ahead and low-income families who are working hard and trying to get ahead — if those of us who’ve been extremely blessed are just a little more open-hearted about how we can help everybody. (Applause.)
And I would like us to just reflect the generosity of spirit that Margaret expresses, because if we all had that generosity of spirit, if we all look at every child as a member of our family, if we think of everybody as part of a single community, then we can solve a lot of these problems. And it won’t end up costing us more money, we won’t necessarily have to pay more taxes, we’ll just be spending it in different ways.
In some ways, health care is a good metaphor for a lot of the problems we have. We spend things on stuff we don’t need and we neglect the things we do, and we don’t end up healthier as a result.
Well, that’s not just true for the health care system; that’s true for our economy. We waste a lot of money on stuff we don’t need. And we under-invest in those things that will make sure that we have a healthy society. And politics oftentimes gets in the way. And part of what I’ve tried to encourage my own Democratic Party to do is to recognize that not all the money that we spend at the federal level is smart, and some of it — some programs don’t work and we should end those when they don’t work, and be honest about what’s working and what’s not.
But part of what I’ve also tried to do is to say to the Republican Party: Open your hearts and think about the people here in Tennessee who are working hard, are struggling, and just need a little bit of help. And if we give them that help, it’s going to pay off over the long term. This will be a stronger state. Employment will be higher. Folks will be paying taxes. Everybody is going to prosper.
We’re all in this together. That’s what I believe. When America is together and we have a certain generosity of spirit, even if we’re hard-headed about making sure stuff works right and we’re not wasting money, but we’re doing what is needed to give everybody a shot in life, that’s when America grows. That’s when we prosper.
I know that’s what you believe, too, Margaret. You showed it in your own life. We appreciate you very much.
Thank you. God bless you. Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)
2:44 P.M. CDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 1, 2015