Full Text Obama Presidency June 4, 2013: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at DNC Fundraising Event — Confronts Protester Heckler



Michelle Obama Heckled by Gay Rights Advocate, Threatens to Leave Event

Source: ABC News (blog), 6-5-13

First lady Michelle Obama was heckled by a gay rights advocate at a fundraiser tonight and responded by threatening to leave the event, telling the protester only one of them could speak….READ MORE

Remarks by the First Lady at DNC Event

Private Residence
Washington, D.C.

6:07 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, my goodness!  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

MRS. OBAMA:  Love you too!  And yes, I’m here because I love you.  (Laughter.)  And I’m here because I love my husband — it’s true.  (Applause.)  But I’m also here because I love my country, more importantly.  I do.  (Applause.)

But I want to start by thanking Karen for that very powerful and very important introduction that she just delivered.  I think she made some outstanding points that hopefully I will further emphasize.  And I want to thank both Karen and Nan for generously hosting us here in their beautiful home tonight, and for always having our backs, and always mazing out in so many ways.  I’m proud to have you as supporters, but more importantly, as friends.  So let’s give them another round of applause.  (Applause.)

I also want to thanks Congresswoman Sinema, as well as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for their service and for being here, and for their undying support — encourage, and all that good stuff.  Debbie has been a phenomenal DNC Chairwoman, so let’s give her a round of applause.  (Applause.)  We’re thrilled they could be here, but we’re also glad that they are off voting, like they’re supposed to.

But most of all, I want to thank all of you for being here.  I want to thank you not just for being here tonight, but for being there for my husband not once, but twice.  Thank you.  Thank you for working so hard.  Thanks for making the calls and knocking on doors and writing checks and getting everyone you know to the polls.

And I just want us to understand what we accomplished because of all of you.  We didn’t just win two elections, we made real and meaningful change in this country — we did.  Because of you, we’re now in an economy that continues to strengthen with 38 straight months of job growth.  That’s more than three straight years — that’s happened because of you.

Because of you, we have passed health reform.  We are taking on climate change, gun violence, and fortunately, comprehensive immigration reform because of you.  Because of you, we have a President who stands up for our most fundamental rights –- whether that’s fighting for equal pay for women — amen — ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” — amen — or supporting our right to marry the person we love.  That’s the President we have.

And all of that, and so much more, has happened because of you.  And that’s what elections are all about.

It’s like my Barack said in his 2008 election night speech –- he said, “This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change.”  It was a chance.  That’s what — elections give you the chance.  And that was true back then, and it is even more true today.  Because while we’ve made a lot of important change these past four years, we still have so much more to do.

Although our economy is improving, too many middle-class families are still struggling in this country.  And that fundamental American promise that so many of us hopefully grew up with –- that no matter where you start out, with hard work you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids –- see, that promise is no longer within reach for too many families.  In fact, it probably wouldn’t be in reach for the family I grew up in if we were trying to make it today.

As many of you know my story, neither of my parents had a college degree.  My father’s job at the city water plant paid him a decent wage.  It paid him enough to put food on our table.  And with the help of student loans, he was able to send both me and my brother to an excellent college.

That job, that little job he had also gave him health insurance, it gave us health insurance, and a pension that my mother still lives on today.  We were not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we had stability.  We had peace of mind.  Because when I was growing up, a family of four living on a single blue-collar salary could build a solid life without debt and without relying on any form of public assistance.  That was how I grew up.

But today, for so many families, that’s no longer possible.  Folks are working harder than ever before, doing everything right, and it’s still not enough.  And while there’s so much talk and noise and back and forth going on in Washington, hardly any of it seems about the struggles of these folks.

So yes, it’s easy to get frustrated — and I know there are plenty of people here frustrated — and it’s easy to be cynical — and I know there are plenty of cynical people here.  And now that the excitement that comes with a presidential campaign has faded, it is so tempting to just turn off the TV and wait for another four years to reengage.

But here’s the thing.  As Karen pointed out, make no mistake about it, while we are tuning out with our frustration and our cynicism and our disappointment, others are tuning in, believe me.  Others are doing everything they can to make their voices heard in whatever way they can.  And we are seeing the effects of that kind of imbalance every single day in Washington.

Just a couple of months ago, we saw the failure — do you hear me — the failure of common-sense legislation to protect our children from gun violence — legislation, by the way, that 90 percent of the American people supported failed.

We are seeing a budget stalemate and a sequester, resulting in children across this country being turned away from Head Start.  So many seniors losing their Meals on Wheels.  And now there’s even talk about cutting food stamps, which could mean hundreds of thousands of kids going to bed hungry each night, here in the wealthiest nation on earth.

And that is not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  We are so much better than that.  We are so much more compassionate and fair, so much more decent.  And I know this because I see it and we see it every day — that decency in communities across this country, where people are waking up every day, working hard at their jobs, every day sacrificing for their kids.  I see it.  It is there for us to see — doing everything they can to help their neighbors.

We especially see it in times of tragedy and crisis — in the teachers who rushed children to safety in Newtown, teachers who risked their lives to save students in Oklahoma — teachers.  We saw it in all those folks in Boston who ran toward the explosions and spent hours tending to perfect strangers.

And none of these folks asked the people they were helping whether they were Democrats or Republicans.  They didn’t ask whether they were Christians or Muslims or Jews.  They didn’t care whether they were gay or straight.  It was simply enough that they were fellow Americans who were suffering and needed aid.

And shouldn’t that be enough for all of us?  And that was a question that I was asking myself during a recent visit to my hometown of Chicago when I had the privilege —


MRS. OBAMA:  Chi-town!  (Laughter.)  South Side!  (Laughter.)  So you have to understand, that’s call and response, you say, “South Side.”

AUDIENCE:  South Side!  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Just pardon us for a moment.  (Laughter.)  We are crazy like that on South Side.

But I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with a wonderful group of students at a school called Harper High.  In fact, these kids are coming to spend a day — two days with us — one at the White House; they’re going to be in Washington, these kids.  They’re coming.

Now, Harper is located in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city, Englewood.  You all know Englewood, right?  A community that has been torn apart by poverty and hopelessness; by gangs, drugs, and guns.

And that afternoon, I sat down with these 25 students — and these kids were the best and the brightest at that school.  The valedictorian, the football star, kids in ROTC.  But let me tell you something about the kids at Harper.  Every day, they face impossible odds — jobless parents addicted to drugs; friends and loved ones shot before their very eyes.

In fact, when the school counselor asked these young men and women whether they had ever known any who had been shot, every single one of those students raised their hand.  So she then asked them, “What do you think when the weather forecast says ’85 and sunny?’”  Now, you would assume that nice weather like that, a beautiful day like today, would be a good thing.  Not for these kids.  They replied that a weather report like that puts fear in their hearts, because in their neighborhood, when the weather is nice, that’s when gangs come out and the shootings start.

So, see, for these wonderful kids, instead of reveling in the joys of their youth — college applications and getting ready for prom and getting that driver’s license — these young people are consumed with staying alive.  And there are so many kids in this country just like them -– kids with so much promise, but so few opportunities; good kids who are doing everything they can to break the cycle and beat the odds.  And they are the reason we are here tonight.  We cannot forget that.  I don’t care what we — they, those kids, they are the reason we’re here.

And today, we need to be better for them.  Not for us — for them.  We need to be better for all of our children, our kids in this country.  Because they are counting on us to give them the chances they need for the futures they deserve.  (Applause.)

So here’s the thing — we cannot wait for the next presidential election to get fired up and ready to go.  We cannot wait.  Right now, today, we have an obligation to stand up for those kids.  And I don’t care what you believe in, we don’t —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Wait, wait, wait.  One of the things —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA:  One of the things that I don’t do well is this.  (Applause.)  Do you understand?  (Applause.)  One of the things — now —

(Inaudible audience interruption.)

MRS. OBAMA:  So let me make the point that I was making before:  We are here for our kids.  (Applause.)  So we must recapture that passion, that same urgency and energy that we felt back in 2008 and 2012.  Understand this.  This is what I want you all to understand, this is not about us — no one back here.  It’s not about you or you, or your issue or your thing.  This is about our children.  (Applause.)

And we must keep on working together to build a country worthy of all of our children’s promise.  Let’s ensure that every child has access to quality pre-K — because right now that’s not happening — to excellent schools — every child — to affordable college.  Because we need all of our kids to fulfill their boundless — they are our future.

Let’s finally pass some commonsense gun safety laws — (applause) — because no one in this country should ever worry about dropping their child off at a movie or a mall or at school.  Not in America.  And then, when these precious little young people, they grow up, let’s make sure they have some jobs that pay a decent wage.  Because we know that it is wrong for anyone in this country to work 40 or 50 hours a week and still be stuck in poverty.

And let us make sure that they have the health care they need, because no one in this country should get their primary care from an emergency room.  We know better than that.  And when it comes to women’s health, let’s keep fighting for our most fundamental, personal rights, because we as women, we know we are more than capable of making our own decisions about our bodies and our health care.  (Applause.)

Now, I know we can do this.  It’s all within our reach.  But make no mistake about it — and this is the key point I want to make here — Barack Obama cannot do this alone.  And he cannot do this with a fractured party.  Do you understand me?  We need folks in Congress to help him every step of the way, like Karen said.

That is why it is simply not enough to just elect a President every four years.  We need you to be engaged in every election — every election — because special elections matter.  Midterm elections really matter.  It matters who we send to Congress.  It matters.  And if you don’t believe me, just look at the record.  Look at the difference just a few votes in Congress can make when it comes to the issues that we say we care about.

For example, legislation on equal pay for women failed by two votes in the Senate — two votes in the Senate.  The DREAM Act, the act that gives immigrant kids in this country a fair shot?  That act failed twice, once by just five votes and once by four.  So what did the President have to do?  He had to sign an executive order to finally get it done.  That’s the only reason it got done.  And that common-sense bill I talked about earlier, that gun bill?  That bill failed by how many votes?  Six.  Six votes.

So like I said, it matters who we send to Congress.  This other stuff, between us, doesn’t matter.  We need all of you engaged in every special election and in every mid-term election all across this country.  We need you to keep on writing those checks.  And here’s another part — if you’re not maxed out, max out.  That’s what being maxed out is all about.  Max out in every way, shape or form with a check, with engagement.  You got friends?  Get them to max out.  Maxing out is a big term.  It’s not just about a check, it’s about passion.  It’s about feeling.  It’s about commitment.

And while raising money is important, as I said, money alone is not enough.  We need you all out there, working, making phone calls, getting everyone you know to the polls just like we did before.  And I know it won’t be easy.  It never is.  And I know that plenty of special interests will be pouring all sorts of resources into these elections.  They always do.  So we need you to be engaged and bring everyone you know with you.

And if anyone tries to tell you that they’re too busy, that it’s too much of a hassle, or that special elections just don’t matter, I’m going to share a story that I shared in New York that I’m sharing everywhere I go that Barack actually talked about at his State of the Union speech.

I want you to tell them about a woman named Desiline Victor.  (Applause.)  Some of you heard about Desiline.  Well, Desiline lives down in Florida, and she waited for hours in line to cast her vote last November.  Now, you might think, well, that’s not so unusual because a lot of people had to wait in long lines this past election, right?

But see here’s the thing:  Desiline is 102 years old.  (Applause.)  She was born before women had the right to vote, and she’s been a citizen of this country for less than 10 years.  And even though she was tired — I’m sure she was — even though her feet probably ached — and I’m sure they did — she was determined to cast her vote and make her voice heard in the country she loves.

So here’s what we have to tell ourselves when we get frustrated, or you’re tired, or we’re disappointed.  (Laughter.)  If Desiline Victor can summon that kind of passion and energy, then we don’t have any excuse.  If Desiline Victor can summon that kind of patriotism and determination, then so must we.

So if we keep on working, and organizing, and engaging, I know that we can keep on making that change we all believe in, and together we can build a future worthy of all our children.

Can we do this?  (Applause.)  Are we a little more fired up?  (Applause.)  Are we a little less frustrated right now?  (Applause.)  We ready to roll up our sleeves, figure out how to get engaged, how we’re going to max out in our own individual ways?  Can we do this?  (Applause.)  Because we need you.  Barack Obama needs you and I need you, quite frankly.  So let’s get it done.

Thank you all.  God bless.

6:27 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines May 13, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Democratic National Committee Event in New York — Blame Game: During Fundraiser, Says “Other Party” Behind Political Gridlock



Blame Game: During Fundraiser, Obama Says “Other Party” Behind Political Gridlock

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-13-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama blamed part of the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., on “hyper-partisanship” while speaking at a fundraiser attended by Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in New York City Monday afternoon.

“What’s blocking us right now is sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington that, frankly, I was hoping to overcome in 2008.  And in the midst of crisis, I think the other party reacted, rather than saying now is the time for us all to join together, decided to take a different path,” Obama said at the Democratic National Committee fundraiser. “My thinking was after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever, and it’s not quite broken yet.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a DNC Event — New York, NY

Source: WH, 5-13-13

Private Residence
New York, New York

4:24 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Well, first of all, I have to thank Harvey and Georgina for once again extending incredible hospitality to us.  We are so grateful for their friendship and support, and for the amazing movies that they’ve made.  And it is wonderful to see all of you.  I see old friends, new friends and people who when I have time to watch movies or TV, I very much appreciate.  So thank you for the great work that you guys do.

I’m going to spend most of this time in a conversation with everybody, so I’m not going to give a long speech at the front end.  Over the last three weeks, month, the country has gone through some tough times.  Obviously, we had the Boston bombing and the incredible tragedy that marred what is one of the greatest sporting events in the world, and an iconic event here in America.  We went out to West, Texas to a tiny town that had been devastated by an explosion there.

And I remember, I was with Deval Patrick, a wonderful governor — the Governor of Massachusetts — as we were driving to a memorial in Boston shortly after the attack.  And we talked about that in the midst of tragedy, the incredible strength and courage and resolve of the American people just comes out, and the neighborliness, and the sense of willing to support strangers and neighbors and friends during tough times.  And that same spirit, which I would later see when I visited West, Texas — you can’t get two places more different than Boston and West, Texas.  So it’s a pretty good representative sampling of America.

And part of what Deval and I talked about was what do we need to do to make sure that that same spirit is reflected in our politics and our government — because it’s there every day for people to see.  It doesn’t matter whether people are Democrats or Republicans or independents.  If you go into schools, you go to Little League games, you talk to people at the workplace — everybody has the same sense that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we’ve gone through some tough times, but we’re resilient and we can overcome whatever challenges are thrown at us.  And there’s a desire to get outside of the constant squabbling and bickering and positioning and gamesmanship, and get to the business of figuring out how do we make sure that the next generation does better than this generation.

And as I think about my second term, and people have asked me, what’s different about your second term — well, other than me being grayer — (laughter) — and my girls being taller, the main thing about a second term is, A, I don’t have to run for office again; but, B, you also start just thinking about history, and you start thinking about — in longer sweeps of time, and you start saying to yourself that the three and a half years that I’ve got is not a lot, and so I’ve got to make sure that I use everything I’ve got to make as much of a difference as I can.

And more than anything, what I will be striving for over the next three and a half years is to see if that spirit that I saw in Boston and West, Texas, if we can institutionalize that, if we can create a framework where everybody is working together and moving this country forward.

Now, the good news is that if we do that, we’ve got the best cards of any country on Earth — and that’s the truth.  Look, there’s no American politician, much less American President, who’s not going to say that we’re not the greatest country on Earth.  So that’s a cliché.  On the other hand, objectively, when you look at where we are right now, we are poised for a 21st century that is as much the American century as the 20th century was.

We have recovered from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and yet, the economy is growing; millions of jobs have been created; the stock market has hit record highs; the housing market has begun to recover.  When you look at our companies, innovation, dynamism, inventiveness still take root here in the United States more than anyplace else on Earth.

When it comes to energy, not only have we been able to double our production of clean energy, but even in terms of traditional energy, we will probably be a net exporter of natural gas in somewhere between five and ten years.  And so the idea of the United States being energy independent — which seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago — now is actually a possibility.

When you travel around the world, people still look to the United States for leadership.  I went down to Mexico and then Costa Rica and I met with Central American leaders down there, and each and every one of them, including Daniel Ortega, who was at one of the meetings — and some of you are too young to remember I guess Daniel Ortega, and I’m not — (laughter) — all of them talked about how can we trade, how can we work more effectively together.  And so the possibilities for us to shape a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous, more innovative, more environmentally conscious, more tolerant, more open — that opportunity exists, but there are just a few things that we’re going to have to do to make sure that we realize those opportunities, that potential.

We’ve got to continue to revamp our education system so it’s meeting the demands of the 21st century.  We’ve got to rebuild our infrastructure so we don’t have the worst airports in the world.  We’ve got to make sure — and ports and roads and bridges and broadband lines.  We’ve got to make sure that we continue to focus on putting people back to work, because jobs are not just a matter of income, they’re a matter of dignity and stitching the fabric of a community together.

We’ve got to deal with climate change in an honest, realistic way.  We’re not going to reverse the trends overnight, but we have to start now for the sake of our kids and, in fact, the tools are available to us to make huge strides in the coming years if we make the smart investments.  We’ve got to keep on investing in research and development.  And we’ve got to get our fiscal house in order in a way that is sensible so that everybody is paying their fair share; everybody understands that we have to — if we want a first-class education system, for example, then we’ve got to pay for it.  If we want first-class infrastructure, we’ve got to pay for it.  But we also want a government that is lean and effective and efficient, and not bloated.

And these are all things that we can accomplish.  What’s blocking us right now is sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington that, frankly, I was hoping to overcome in 2008.  And in the midst of crisis, I think the other party reacted; rather than saying now is the time for us all to join together, decided to take a different path.

My thinking was after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever — (laughter) — and it’s not quite broken yet.  (Laughter.)  But I am persistent.  And I am staying at it.  And I genuinely believe that there are actually Republicans out there who would like to work with us but they’re fearful of their base and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them, and as a consequence, we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government and inhibits our progress.

So the bottom line is this — everybody is here to support the DNC, and I very much appreciate that.  But I want everybody to understand that my intentions over the next three and a half years are to govern, because I don’t have another race left.  If we’ve got folks on the other side who are prepared to cooperate, that is great and we are ready to go.  On the other hand, if there are folks who are more interested in winning elections than they are thinking about the next generation, then I want to make sure that there are consequences to that.

And what you all are here today to facilitate is our ability to make sure that the values and concerns that we all have for Dash and all the other babies that are out there — Steve has got a new one, and I’m starting to feel like the old man around here because mine are this tall and everybody else has these little babies.  But I want to make sure that that generation is getting everything and more that we can give them.  And that’s going to require us to work hard.  It’s going to require persistence.  There are going to be ups and downs in this whole process.

But one of the benefits of a second term is you start taking the long view.  And what I know is, is that as long as we are pointing towards that true North, that eventually we’ll get there.  That’s what this country has always done.  That’s what I expect will happen this time as well.

So with that, I’m going to stop and I’m just going to open it up for questions.  (Applause.)

4:35 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency April 4, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speeches at DCCC Events in San Francisco, California



Remarks by the President at a DCCC Event — San Francisco, CA

Source: WH, 4-4-13

Private Residence
San Francisco, California

8:24 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Well, first of all, let me thank Ann and Gordon for once again extending such gracious hospitality to all of us. I was reminded that I was first here in 2008, when I was running the first time, and I had much less gray hair. (Laughter.) But they were kind to me then and have been kind to me since, and I appreciate very much their friendship and support.

I want to acknowledge Steve Israel, who is here and has an often thankless, extraordinarily difficult but critically important job, and he’s done so with good humor and boundless energy. And so please give Congressman Steve Israel a big round of applause. (Applause.)

And of course I’m here because your neighbor told me I needed to be here. (Laughter.) And I am here because there are very few people in public office who I am more fond of and respectful than the person who just introduced me, Nancy Pelosi. She is thoughtful, she’s visionary, she’s as tough as nails. (Laughter.) She is practical. She never lets ideology cloud her judgment. She’s constantly motivated by how do we create a country that is more just, more fair, more dynamic. She knows why she’s in public life. It’s connected to her values — the values that she grew up with, the values that she’s raised her kids, and now spoils her grandkids with. (Laughter.) And I’m just so proud to call her a friend.

And I am here because I won my last election, but I’m here because my job is not simply to occupy the Oval Office. My job is to make sure we move the country forward, and I think we can best do that if Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House once again. (Applause.)

Nancy used a word that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these days. And that’s the word “citizenship.” I talked about it at the inauguration speech. I talked about it at the State of the Union speech. I actually talked about it at the convention, my acceptance speech. And the reason I care about the word so much is because there are times in today’s busy world, the media chatter, where there’s a government over here somewhere, and then there’s people and ordinary life and the private sector, and all that stuff is over there. And somehow the notion is that these two things are separate.

And some of the folks who most adamantly insist that government is something alien and distant are the same folks who claim the mantle of the Founders and believe that their views best represent the original intentions of those who fought for and formed this country.

And yet, when I read the Declaration of Independence, when I read the Constitution, when I look at all the great documents and laws that have been passed that built this country up, what I see is this central idea that citizenship means we are the government — the government of and by and for the people — which means we have responsibilities that extend beyond voting or even writing a check.

It speaks to rights, but it also speaks to responsibilities and obligations. It suggests that we are responsible for ourselves, and our families, and our neighborhoods, and our cities, and our farmlands, and our neighbors, and our nation, and future generations. And so we don’t just think about “us,” we think about “we, the people.” That’s the idea that motivated me to get into public service in the first place. That’s what I think has always been at the heart of America.

And the reason that we’ve been able to make significant progress over the last four years and couple months is because a lot of you have believed it, too. That’s how I got elected in 2008. That’s how Nancy Pelosi became Speaker in 2006. That’s the reason that we were able to yank an economy on the verge of depression and get it back on track to growth and job creation. That’s the reason that we were able to pass a health care law that is already helping millions of people, and will help millions more when it is fully implemented next year. (Applause.)
That’s the reason we’ve been able to put people back to work building roads and bridges and water systems and new park trails all across this country. That’s the reason that we were able to double fuel efficiency standards on cars, begin the process of reducing carbons and making our economy more energy-efficient, and doubling the amount of clean energy that we’re producing through wind and solar and other renewables.
It’s the reason that we’ve been able slowly to nurse the housing market back to health. That is the reason that we’ve been able to keep this country safe while still being true to our values and principles of rule of law.

That is the reason why we’ve been able to help millions of kids all across this country go to college who couldn’t otherwise afford it. We’ve started to reform schools at the K-12 level.

We were able to do all this because you believed in citizenship. And the reason I ran for another term was because I think we’ve got more work to do. And the reason that Nancy wants to be Speaker again is because she thinks we have more work to do. (Applause.) I assure you that she does not like being away from her grandkids. (Laughter.) She could be doing a lot of other stuff. Steve makes enormous sacrifices. He’s got to travel all across the country raising money constantly and recruiting candidates. He’d love to be home. But we think we’ve got more work to do.

Now, this year, we have a window. Just completed one election. We would like to see some governing done in Washington before the next election starts. (Laughter.) And so we’ve got this opportunity that we need to seize to initiate serious gun safety legislation, reduce gun violence — (applause) — to make sure that we finally get a comprehensive immigration reform done, because we are a nation of laws but we are also a nation of immigrants, and those two things are not incompatible. (Applause.)

We have more work to do to make sure that we stabilize our finances in a way that still allows us to make investments in critical infrastructure and basic research. Somebody mentioned to me they heard my speech about the new BRAIN Initiative that we’ve put forward; just an entire sweeping horizon of possibilities when it comes to — (applause) — curing Alzheimer’s, and curing Parkinson’s, and so many diseases, but also just allowing us to do things that we couldn’t even imagine a year ago, two years ago. Now we’re on the threshold of cracking a code that could open up endless possibilities.

Now, in order to do that, we’ve got to be able to pass laws. There are some things I can do administratively, a lot of stuff that we can do administratively, but a lot of stuff we’ve got to do legislatively. Right now we’re constrained by what we get done. And I have said publicly and I will say it to this room once again that I believe that Republicans love their kids and their country as much as we do, and there are a whole bunch of folks out there who I believe actually want to cooperate with us but feel constrained right now because of their own politics.

I’m looking and probing for every crack and possible opportunity to join in a bipartisan fashion to solve these problems, because I think most of the problems out there are ones that, at least historically, have garnered support from Democrats and Republicans, and that’s — there is nothing inherently Democratic about building roads or funding research or looking out for the environment. It used to be a great bipartisan set of ideas.

And so my hope is, is that we can get some governing done this year, and I know that Nancy feels the same way. By the way, she’s already worked with her caucus to deliver votes on things that aren’t necessarily politically advantageous but are the right thing to do. She did it as Speaker, and she’s done it as Democratic Leader in the House. So we want to get this — we just want to get stuff done.

And I won’t say — I won’t speak for Nancy here, I will speak for myself. I would love nothing better than an effective, loyal opposition that is willing to meet us halfway and move the country forward — because that’s what the American people are looking for. The economy is growing but there is still a lot of folks out there who are struggling; still way too many people who are unemployed; people who haven’t seen a raise in a decade; people whose homes are still underwater; people who when they see $4-a-gallon gas know that that is money that’s coming straight out of their pockets or their retirement funds and is going to be very hard to make up. And they’re hoping that we can do some governing. And that’s what I intend to do this year, and the year after that and the year after that.

But I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that it would be a whole lot easier to govern if I had Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. (Laughter and applause.) Because here are the stakes — I actually think we’ve got a great chance of getting immigration reform done. I think we have a good chance of getting serious gun safety legislation done. But if we’re going to move forward on some of the other things I talked about in the State of the Union — making sure that we’ve got early childhood education for every child in America so that they can (inaudible.) (Applause.)

If we’re going to deal with the $2 trillion of deferred maintenance we’ve got in terms of infrastructure — not just roads and bridges, but a smart grid that can connect up clean energy to our cities and make sure that we continue to reduce not only existing loads of renewable energy, but also discovering those breakthroughs that are going to make all the difference down the future, then I’m going to need some more help in Congress.

If we’re going to deal with climate change in a serious way, then we’ve got to have folks in Congress — even when it’s not politically convenient — to talk about it and advocate for it, and break out of this notion that somehow there’s a contradiction between us being good stewards of the environment and us growing this economy. They are not a contradiction. We can grow this economy fast and faster if we are seizing the opportunities of the future and not just looking at the energy sources of the past. We’re going to need some help.

I’m going to need some help if we are going to continue to make progress in assuring that every young person in this country has a chance to go to college and that they can afford it. I’m going to need some help if we’re going to make sure that simple stuff — what should be simple — that everybody in America right now can refinance their homes. We could put $3,000 a year into the pockets of every single American just by passing a law in Congress that, by the way, Mitt Romney’s key economic advisor, chief economic advisor says was a good idea. For some reason, we still can’t get it through the Congress — 3,000 bucks. It’s like free money for families who right now are struggling. Think about what they could do with it, and what that will do in terms of boosting our growth. I need some help.

And my hope is, is that we’re going to see more and more Republicans who say, you know what, I didn’t come here just to fight the President or demonize Nancy Pelosi, I came here to get some stuff done. And they will be greeted with great enthusiasm by me and I think by Nancy, if we could get some more stuff done right now. But, realistically, I could get a whole lot more done if Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House. (Applause.)

So let me just close by saying this. And I know that Nancy’s people will have a chance to answer some more specific questions about their game plan, all the great candidates they’ve recruited, the significant financial burden that will have to be bent in order to help elect these candidates.

But let me close by saying this, go back to where I started this notion of citizenship. People ask me, does it feel different now in your second term than it did in your first? It does. Look, I would hope I’m better at my job now than I was when I first came in. I’ve got some nicks, bruises to prove that I’ve been to this rodeo before. Hopefully, I’m making better decisions and our team is better organized, and we know what works and what doesn’t, what some of the pitfalls are.

But the main difference really is a sense of perspective and realization that nothing worthwhile happens in six months or a year. It happens over decades. It happens over generations, that the story of America has been us steadily, through fits and starts, expanding opportunity, creating a more perfect union, seizing the promise of the future, fighting off some of our own worst impulses. And that any one of us, our job is not to do it by ourselves or get it all done in one year or one term or even necessarily in our lifetimes, but our job is to make sure that we’re pressing and pushing so that the whole country, over time, is moving in the right direction.

We did a screening of the Jackie — there’s a new movie about Jackie Robinson called “42,” which I usually don’t plug movies, but I strongly recommend people take their kids and their grandkids to see this. A lot of people don’t necessarily remember the story of Jackie Robinson or if they it’s sort of vague. His widow, Rachel Robinson was there. She’s 90 years old and gorgeous. And in the theater at the White House, I thanked her. I thanked the people who made the film, just for reminding me in very visceral terms that in her lifetime, she saw her husband being the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, and now she’s sitting there with me, in the White House. That’s a long time — 70 years. On the other hand, that’s a blink of an eye in terms of human history. And that required Branch Rickey, it required Jackie Robinson, and then it required —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Chandler. The commissioner, Happy Chandler.

THE PRESIDENT: — and it just — it required a succession of people making tough choices, but the right choice. And then slowly things changed. A culture transformed itself.

I was just in another house here in, very close by. A wonderful young woman, singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile was performing. And she was with her wife — just got married I guess the day that I announced that I supported same-sex marriage. And she’s a young woman, and I’m assuming she’s thinking about all the people who were fighting the good fight not just in Stonewall, but well before that.

And so generation after generation, we just plug away, and sometimes we make progress and sometimes it feels like we’re not making progress. We just stay at it and stay at it. And then suddenly there’s a breakthrough, and the entire culture shifts.

And that’s what citizenship means. That’s why it’s so important, because it’s not going to happen all at once. And all of us have to carry the burden of moving things forward.

So I hope that when you hear from Nancy and Steve, I hope that all of you understand this is not just a one-off, this is not just checking this off the list. You’ve got to stay with them. And it’ll be frustrating, it’ll be slow, and there will be times where you lose hope, and there will be times where you won’t be mad at Nancy, but there will certainly be times where you’re mad at me. (Laughter.)

But if you stay with it, if you and your neighbors and your friends and your children and your grandchildren, if they maintain that sense that this is our government not somebody else’s, and we can change it, then I’ve got great optimism for the future of this country and for the future of citizens in America.

Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)

8:48 P.M. PDT


Remarks by the President at a DCCC Event — San Francisco, CA

Source: WH, 4-4-13

Private Residence
San Francisco, California

6:53 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Well, first of all, I want to thank Tom and Kat for opening up this spectacular home. They were bragging about the view — (laughter) — but Secret Service wasn’t going to let me look at the view. But I’m now in my second term, so I can — (laughter) — so I called an audible, and I went out there, and it is spectacular. And they were all apologetic. They said, well, you can’t see the bridge. (Laughter.) I said, it’s okay, I can see the Pacific Ocean; that’s pretty good. (Laughter.) So I was perfectly satisfied with the view, and I could not be more grateful and thankful to them for hosting us here tonight. So give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

I want to thank Brandi Carlile for singing the — (applause) — there she is. Now, I just — the reason I know Brandi is because the White House photographer, Pete Souza, was a fan of Brandi’s before the rest of the world knew Brandi, and followed her around everywhere. He didn’t stalk her, he was just — (laughter) — he was a fan. And so Pete Souza gets credit, before Jimmy Fallon or anybody else, for Brandi Carlile being discovered, at least by me. (Laughter.) But we’re so grateful for her participating here tonight.

The main reason we’re here is actually not me. The main reason we’re here is because we have got a fearless leader who happens to be your neighbor, who day in, day out is fighting the good fight on every single issue that matters in terms of making this a more equitable, more prosperous, more generous, more competitive nation. And she has been an extraordinary friend of mine, but more importantly, she’s a friend to working families all across the country each and every day. I could not be prouder of her, and I expect that she is going to be once again the Speaker of the House — Nancy Pelosi. Love Nancy. (Applause.)

And Nancy wouldn’t be — I think would be the first to say that she could not do what she does if it weren’t for her extraordinary members. Right now, her chief rebounder, assist person, handyman — (laughter) — the guy who is making this enormous effort work is Steve Israel. So we want to thank Congressman Steve Israel. (Applause.) And we’ve got three other members here today. Mike Honda — where’s Mike? There he is in the back. (Applause.) Jared Huffman. Jared is right there. (Applause.) And Eric Swalwell. There he is. (Applause.)

All right, now, first of all, Tom used that analogy I think two days after I went two for twenty at — (laughter) — at the Easter Egg Roll, guarded by a number of 6-year-olds. (Laughter.) So clearly I have not been playing enough basketball for anybody to want to use that analogy. But what I think is absolutely true is that the way I have always thought about politics, I know the way Nancy thinks about politics, is that we are a team. And when I say “we,” I’m not simply referring to the people in Washington.

If you noticed, during my inauguration address and my State of the Union, I talked about citizenship; I talked about what it means to be a citizen. And the notion of citizenship is not simply a matter of voting, it’s not simply a matter of writing a check to a candidate who you like. The notion of citizenship is that all of us have obligations to this nation, to our fellow citizens, and to future generations, and that each and every day we are tested and asked to participate in ways large and small to push that boulder up the hill a little bit, and to make sure that when our time here has passed, we can say, America is stronger, it’s more prosperous, and opportunity is available to every single American.

That’s not just my job, it’s not just Nancy’s job — it’s your job, as well. And the fact that all of you are here is an indicator that you take this notion of citizenship seriously. And because you do, Nancy and I, and Steve and others, we’ve had an opportunity over these last four years and a couple of months to make some extraordinary changes in this country.

We were able to yank an economy that was on the verge of a depression out of depression. And although we’re not all the way back, the economy has stabilized, our financial markets have stabilized, housing is beginning to come back, and families are starting to feel a little more hopeful about their prospects for the future.

Because of you, because of our team, we have been able to assure that people who already have health insurance have better health insurance; that they’ve got preventive care, they’ve got contraceptive care; that insurance companies can’t drop them for no good reason; that young people can stay on their parent’s plan until they’re 26. And by next year, we’ll know that 35 million people, most of whom work, are never again going to have to say to themselves that because of a preexisting condition or simply a lack of money, that they end up bankrupt or end up in an emergency room when they or their family members get sick. That happened because of all of you. (Applause.)

Because of you, we were able to make sure that serving your country didn’t depend on who you loved, and as a consequence of some of those changes, we’re now starting to see a extraordinary transformation in our culture that assures that the LGBT community has full and equal citizenship in this country. (Applause.) That happened because of you.

Because of you, roads have been built that needed repair, and people were put back to work. Because of you, research has happened that is looking to cure everything from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to juvenile diabetes. Because of you, we’re actually seeing genuine improvement in our schools, and states all across the country — including very red states — have embarked on a reform agenda that makes certain that our kids can compete in this new global economy.

Because of you, millions of young people have health insurance — they have health insurance but are also able to afford college, and couldn’t afford it before. And because of you, despite a very aggressive agenda on the other side to block action, we’ve been able to double fuel efficiency standards on cars. We’ve been able to take mercury out of our air. We have been able to reduce carbon emissions in this country and have made not only this a healthier place to live, but have also begun to address in a serious way one of the biggest challenges of our time, and that is the challenge of climate change. That all happened because of you. (Applause.)

But here is the thing: We’ve got a lot more work to do. That’s why I ran for a second term. The plane is nice — (laughter) — but the truth is, is that being in the bubble drives me crazy. So if I didn’t think I was actually going to get something done, I wouldn’t have run.

Nancy has gorgeous grandchildren. And if it weren’t for the fact that we have more work to do, I’m sure that she wouldn’t be going after the speakership again. The reason we do so, and the reason you’re here, is because we know we can do so much more to make this country what it can be.

Now, over the next couple of months, we’ve got a couple of issues: gun control. (Applause.) I just came from Denver, where the issue of gun violence is something that has haunted families for way too long, and it is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country and hunters and sportsmen, but also make sure that we don’t have another 20 children in a classroom gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon — by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly.

Immigration reform is something that I believe that we can get done over the next couple of months. It’s interesting how clarifying to the mind Democrats getting 70 percent of the Latino vote was in suggesting that maybe we needed to get — finally fix a broken immigration system, and making sure that we’re both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

But even if we’re able to get those two things done — and I’m hopeful that we do over the next couple of months — we’re going to have some big challenges. We still have to rebuild this country. We’ve got about $2 trillion worth of deferred maintenance. We could be putting back to work Americans all across this country not just rebuilding roads and bridges, but building state-of-the-art schools and a smart grid that would make sure that we’re wasting less energy, and link cities that are using energy with wind farms in the Dakotas and in the plains of Colorado.

We’ve got still more work to do to make college more affordable. We’re going to have a lot more work to do to make sure that hard work pays off, which is why passing a minimum wage increase is so important — because there are a lot of families out there, even who have jobs, who are having a tough time each and every day.

And something that I know is near and dear to Tom and Kat’s hearts, and to Nancy’s — we’ve got more work to do in terms of dealing with climate change and making sure that we’ve got an economy that is energy-efficient, that is productive, that is cutting-edge, and thinks about not just the energy sources of the past, but also the energy promise of the future.

And the thing that I’m going to have to try to work to persuade the American people a little more convincingly on is this notion that there’s a contradiction between our economy and our environment is just a false choice — that if we invest now, we will create jobs, we will create entire new industries; other countries will be looking to catch up, they will be looking to import what we do. We will set the standard, and everybody else will have to adapt.

But — and I mentioned this to Tom and Kat and a few folks right before I came out here — the politics of this are tough. Because if you haven’t seen a raise in a decade; if your house is still $25,000, $30,000 underwater; if you’re just happy that you’ve still got that factor job that is powered by cheap energy; if every time you go to fill up your old car because you can’t afford to buy a new one, and you certainly can’t afford to buy a Prius, you’re spending 40 bucks that you don’t have, which means that you may not be able to save for retirement — you may be concerned about the temperature of the planet, but it’s probably not rising to your number-one concern. And if people think, well, that’s shortsighted, that’s what happens when you’re struggling to get by. You’re thinking about what’s right in front of you, which is how do I fill up my gas tank and how do I feed my family.

And so part of what we’re going to have to do is to marry a genuine, passionate concern about middle-class families and everybody who is trying to get into the middle class to show them that we’re working just as hard for them as we are for our environmental agenda, and that we can bridge these things in a way that advances the causes of both. And that’s going to take some work.

But the most important thing that it’s going to take is people in Washington who are willing to speak truth to power, are willing to take some risks politically, are willing to get a little bit out ahead of the curve — not two miles ahead of the curve, but just a little bit ahead of it. And that’s why your presence here is so important.

Look, my intention here is to try to get as much done with the Republican Party over the next two years as I can, because we can’t have perpetual campaigns. And so I mean what I say. I am looking to find areas of common ground with Republicans every single day. I want to make sure that we’re working together to stabilize our finances. And I think actually that we can come up with a fiscal deal that instead of lurching from crisis to crisis every three months, we lay the groundwork for long-term growth — controlling our deficits, controlling our debt, but also making sure we can invest in our future. I want to get an immigration deal done. I want to find some common-sense gun safety legislation that we can get done. And I do believe that there are well-meaning Republicans out there who care about their kids just as passionately as we do.

Despite all the rhetoric on television, I actually believe that Americans have a lot more in common than our political rhetoric would give us credit for. But having said all that, I know Nancy Pelosi. I’ve seen her courage. I know that she is willing to do the right thing, even when it’s not politically popular. And I want her once again as a fully empowered partner for us to be able to move our agenda forward.

And so I’m going to expect that you guys are fighting for issues, helping to move public opinion; engaging in organizing and engaging in advocacy and public policy work — all the stuff that — and I’m looking around this room, it’s full of do-gooders here — all the stuff you do. But I also want to make sure that you are paying attention to what can we do to support the prospect of Nancy Pelosi being Speaker once again.

If we do that, then I’m confident that not only can we deliver on this profound issue of climate change, not only can we make sure that clean energy is the norm here in America, but I also think that we can give America that sense of confidence and forward movement that’s always been our hallmark that characterizes who we are. To do that, I’m going to need you and Nancy is going to need you.

And so I hope that this is not the end of your involvement. I hope it is the beginning. If, in fact, all the energy that’s represented in this room is fully deployed, then I feel pretty good about Malia and Sasha, I feel pretty good about these young people right here. They’re smarter than we are. If we hand off the kind of America that we should be handing off to them, I promise you they will take it to ever greater heights.

All right, thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)

7:12 P.M. PDT

Political Headlines April 4, 2013: President Barack Obama at California Fundraiser: Enacting Gun Laws Is ‘Tougher’ Than Immigration Reform





Obama: Enacting Gun Laws Is ‘Tougher’ Than Immigration Reform

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-4-13


Rounding out his two-day fundraising swing in California on Thursday, President Obama told donors that passing new gun measures will be a “tougher” process than achieving immigration reform.

“I am very optimistic that we get immigration reform done in the next few months.  And the reason I’m optimistic is because people spoke out through the ballot box, and that’s breaking gridlock,” Obama told about 30 donors gathered at a fundraiser in Atherton, Calif., Thursday. “It’s going to be tougher to get better gun legislation to reduce gun violence through the Senate and the House that so many of us I think want to see, particularly after the tragedy in Newtown.  But I still think it can get done if people are activated and involved.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines April 4, 2013: President Barack Obama Calls Californian Kamala Harris ‘Best-Looking’ Attorney General





Obama Calls Californian Kamala Harris ‘Best-Looking’ Attorney General

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-4-13 

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for TheWrap

President Obama assessed the beauty of California’s attorney general Kamala Harris, calling her “the best-looking attorney general,” during remarks at a fundraiser in Atherton, Calif.

“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake.  She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country — Kamala Harris is here.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 4, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speeches at DNC Events in Atherton, California — Calls Kamala Harris ‘Best-Looking’ Attorney General



Remarks by the President at a DNC Event — Atherton, CA

Source: WH, 4-4-13

Private Residence
Atherton, California

12:12 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) It is good to be back in California.

AUDIENCE: It’s good to have you! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Somebody said — somebody told me, they were in the photo line, they said, we’re glad you could join our state. (Laughter.) They made it sound like a health club or something. (Laughter.) But I appreciate that you allowed me to join — (laughter) — because it is obviously a spectacular place and we’ve got so many good friends here, and some of you I see out there worked tirelessly dating back to when people could not pronounce my name. (Laughter.) And so I’m grateful to all of you.

First of all, though, I want to give a special acknowledgement to John and Marcia for the incredible job they’ve done and their great hospitality. Thank you so much. (Applause.) And I must say that if you had a cute baby competition, their granddaughter would have to be an entry. (Laughter.) And I got to say, I might have to pick her, because she is adorable and did not drool on my suit when I grabbed her. (Laughter.) So I’m grateful. I’m grateful to her for that.

We’ve got some elected officials who are doing incredible work — great friends. First of all, somebody who works tirelessly on behalf of California every day, but also works on behalf of working people and makes sure that we’ve got a more inclusive America — a good friend of mine, somebody who you guys should be very proud of, Congressman Mike Honda is here. Where is Mike? (Applause.) He is around here somewhere. There he is. Yes, I mean, he’s not like a real tall guy, but he’s a great guy. (Laughter.)

Second of all, you have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake. She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country — Kamala Harris is here. (Applause.) It’s true. Come on. (Laughter.) And she is a great friend and has just been a great supporter for many, many years.

And, finally, somebody who is not yet probably as well known on the national scene but is certainly well known in all of us who worked on my campaign this last time out. He did incredible work, could not have been more effective, and has now taken on what can sometimes be a thankless job of being the DNC finance chair — Henry Muñoz is here. Can everybody please give Henry Muñoz a big round of applause. (Applause.)

So my election is over and you thought you wouldn’t have to see me again at these fundraisers. (Laughter.) And a close friend of mine, Abner Mikva, who was White House counsel — he was a long-time congressman from the Chicago area — he used to say that being friends with a politician is like perpetually having a child in college. (Laughter.) It’s like every few months you have to write this check and you’re thinking when is it going to be over. With elected officials, it’s never over.

But the reason I’m here is not for me. The reason I’m here is because the country still needs you. We have, as John indicated, done some work that I’m very, very proud of over the last four years. We took an economy that was about to go into a great depression and we were able to yank it out and put us back on a path towards growth and putting people back to work. We were able to make sure that in the process we rebuilt roads and bridges and a smarter infrastructure all across the country; and invested in clean energy; and made sure that schools got the kinds of Internet connections that they needed; and invested in basic science and research — all of which will pay dividends for years and years to come.

We said that in a country as wealthy as ours, nobody should go bankrupt just because they got sick. And, already, millions of people are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. And, by next year, we will know that millions of people all across the country who previously did not have health insurance will have it, including folks with preexisting conditions, which will make everybody a little bit more secure. (Applause.)

We expanded access to college by expanding our student loan programs. We are in the process of reforming our schools to make sure that every child gets a fair shot in life. We ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” — laying the groundwork to make sure that this was a country where you were treated fairly and equally no matter who you love. (Applause.)

We expanded national service. We doubled fuel efficiency on cars. We doubled the production of wind and solar energy. We made sure that the Violence Against Women Act was resigned and that it provided even greater protection for women all across this country. (Applause.) We ended one war, as promised. We’re in the process of ending another, and at the same time have been able to keep the American people safe.
And so I’m very proud of the work that we’ve done. But we’ve got a lot more work to do. We all know that. This country is the greatest nation on Earth, but it can be even greater. And my main message here today is that America’s greatness will not result simply from who you elect to office; it’s going to depend on you, as citizens, and how badly you want it.

During the State of the Union speech, as well as my inauguration speech, I talked about citizenship. And this is a word that I spend a lot of time thinking about these days, partly because my background, my orientation, I came into politics believing that politics works best when people are involved. I’ve never believed that more than I do now, in my second term as President, that the idea of citizenship is not just that you vote, it’s not just that you write a check where you can to support a candidate. It’s this notion, fundamental to who we are, that we have responsibilities to ourselves and our families, but we also have obligations to our neighborhood, our community, our cities, our states, and ultimately the nation and the next generation.

And the only way that this country moves forward is when we, the people, collectively, make it our business to meet the challenges of our time. And we know what those challenges are. And we know we’ve got to do better.

Now, in the next couple of months, we’ve got the opportunity to make some very significant changes. Number one, I believe that we can get comprehensive immigration reform passed — (applause) — and that is going to mean that America can continue to be a nation of laws, but also a nation of immigrants, and attract the best and the brightest from all around the world. And if we push hard and we stay focused, we’ve got the opportunity to get this done over the next couple of months.

I believe that we have a chance to, after 30 years, frankly, of doing almost nothing, to reduce gun violence in our society. (Applause.) And it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough, but I think we’ve got a chance to get some stuff done on that.

Now, one of the things that I want to be very clear on is that this year, next year, and for the next four years that I’m in office, I am always going to be seeking, wherever I can, bipartisan solutions. And I intend to continue to reach out to Republicans because I genuinely believe that the politics that you see in Washington isn’t representative of America; that most people actually have common sense, and most folks think cooperation and occasional compromise is part of life. And I also think that we have to govern, not simply politick.

And so, whether it’s on immigration reform or the budget or any of these issues, I will continue to do everything I can to reach out to my friends on the other side of the aisle. And look, I believe that they love their kids and this country just as much as we do, and although we may have some very fundamental disagreements about how to get there, I don’t think we’ve got a disagreement about what we need to be as a nation.

Having said that, though, there are still some really big arguments that we’re having in Washington, and I believe that Democrats represent those values that will best advance the interests of middle-class families and everybody who is willing to work hard to get into the middle class; that will grow this economy in a broad-based way, and that will lay the foundation for prosperity for generations to come.

And you believe that, too. That’s why you’re here. In order for us to do that, you’re going to have to stay involved. Think about some of the things I spoke about during the State of the Union address: making sure that every child in America has outstanding, high-quality, early childhood education. We know that there’s nothing more important to a child’s success than those early years. And if we do that right, not only are we going to see better performance in our schools, we’re going to see better performance in our economy. And we can do it. We can afford to do it.

But in order for us to make that happen, we’re going to have to have an active, motivated, Democratic national party. People here in this area care deeply about issues of energy and climate change. And I think that the science is indisputable, and this is an obligation we owe to future generations. And as I said, we’ve already done a lot to reduce our carbon footprint and to make our economy more energy efficient. But if we’re going to do more, then we’ve got to make sure that we’re active and involved, and helping to educate our friends and our neighbors and our coworkers about why this is important and why there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth; that, in fact, if we do this right, the energy sources of the future, the clean energy sources of the future can be an engine for economic growth for decades and decades to come.

When it comes to our economy — making sure that we’re investing in basic research and science. This is the epicenter of innovation in this nation. Some of you saw, a couple of days ago, I announced a new BRAIN Initiative that will allow us to crack the code and map — (applause) — what this incredible gray matter between our ears, one of the greatest mysteries there is, what’s causing things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and to not just provide cures but also to help generate entire new industries that can put people to work in this region and around the country.

In order for us to make sure that we’re investing sufficiently in basic science and research, you’re going to have to be involved. You have to push. You can’t just wait for it to happen, because there are going to be competing interests and folks who want to spend those resources in a different way.

When it comes to our budget, I actually think that we can stabilize our finances, reduce our debt, reduce our deficit in a prudent, balanced way. But we’ve got the other side insisting that somehow we can cut our way to prosperity. I disagree with that. I will take that case to the American people. But for me to be successful in resolving that argument in a way that allows us to keep growing and keep investing, I’m going to need your help.

Making sure that we’re providing ladders of opportunity in communities all across the country that have been left behind — and, in some cases, have been behind for decades — so that we’re not just investing in education, but also making sure that we’re providing transportation assistance and tax credits so that impoverished communities can be part of this global economy. That will make us all stronger. I can’t do that unless I have your help.

And for us to continue to make progress so that this is a society that is more just and more equal and more inclusive — we’ve made remarkable progress over these last few years, but that’s not because of what started in Washington, it’s because of what happened in communities all across the country.

I was mentioning to people I had a chance to see an early screening of this new movie called “42”; it’s about Jackie Robinson. And I look around the room — young people — (laughter) — kind of vaguely know, yes, Jackie Robinson — (laughter) — first African American baseball player. His widow was there, Rachel Robinson, who’s gorgeous and 90, but looks better than I do — (laughter) — and could not be more gracious.

And to sit there in a movie theater watching what happened in her lifetime, and to know that because of the decisions and courage of Jackie Robison and Branch Rickey, and all the other path breakers, that we now have a country that is fairer and better for it is a reminder of how change happens in this country. It doesn’t happen all at once. It doesn’t happen in one fell swoop. It doesn’t happen because a President gives a speech. It happens because a whole bunch of people out there, day in and day out, are making choices and decisions about whether we’re going to be fair or less fair; whether we’re going to be generous or less generous; whether we are going to be inclusive or less inclusive. And that changing of our hearts and our minds ultimately translates itself into politics, but it begins with citizens. It begins with you.

And if the Democratic Party stands for anything, then it has to stand for that basic proposition that not only do we want an economy where if you work hard, you can make it if you try — no matter where you come from, what you look like, who you love — but also that the way to get there is by giving everybody a voice and making sure everybody is involved and everybody is included. If we stand for anything as Democrats, that’s got to be what we stand for.

And so the DNC is an important part of that overall process. And the fact that you are here, the fact that John and Marcia were willing to open up their home like this gives me confidence that, in fact, we will be able to sustain these efforts. And it has to be sustained beyond elections. You can’t just wait until a presidential election to do this. It’s all those days in between that are going to determine whether or not we bring about the changes that we so desperately believe in.

So to all of you, I want to say thank you. But understand this is just a beginning, it’s not an end. You are going to be called on to do more work. You are going to be called on to get more engaged and more involved. And if you ever have any doubts as to why you’re doing it, then you have to look at John and Marcia’s grandbaby, or that young man who’s falling asleep because I’ve been talking too long. (Laughter.) And you will remember that, ultimately, the only thing that matters is whether or not we’re leaving behind a country that’s a little bit better than the one we founded for them. That’s why we do what we do. That’s why I do what I do — for Malia and Sasha, and all the Malias and Sashas out there, I want to make sure we’re doing right by them.

All right, thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.) God bless you. Thank you.

12:31 P.M. PDT


Remarks by the President at a DNC Event — Atherton, CA

Source: WH, 4-4-13

Private Residence
Atherton, California

10:28 A.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Well, it is wonderful to see all of you. This is an intimate group. What I want to do is mostly have a conversation. But, first of all, obviously I want to thank Liz and Mark for their incredible hospitality. We couldn’t be more appreciative. And I want to thank all of you for being here today.

A lot of you — in fact, almost everybody here I’ve known, have supported me. Some of you were involved in my first campaign when nobody could pronounce my name. (Laughter.) And you stuck with me through thick and thin, and I just want to say how much I appreciate all of you for taking the time.

Some people have been asking me — well, what’s different about the second term? And I say, well, for one thing, I’m not raising money for myself, and that’s good. (Laughter.) For another thing, the girls are getting old enough now where they don’t want to spend time with us on the weekends. (Laughter.) They have sleepovers and parties and sports, and all that stuff. I don’t know if you guys are doing the same thing to your parents, but it’s starting to happen.

But I think the most important thing is that when you don’t have another race to run, all you’re really thinking about it is how do I leave a legacy, not simply for the next President, but for the next generation that makes America stronger; that helps assure our children can compete with an ever-changing world; that we are solving what I think is one of the core challenges we face as a generation, and that is making sure that we have a strong, growing middle class and ladders of opportunity for everybody who is willing to work to get into that middle class; that we continue to be innovative; that we address some of our core environmental challenges, particularly climate change, to make sure that the planet we leave behind is one that our children can thrive in.

So you end up taking the long view on things. And you also feel a great urgency because you know you don’t have a lot of time. And so the main message I want to deliver here today is that I could not be prouder of the track record that we’ve put together over the last four years and two months, whether it was saving an economy from a great depression; doubling fuel efficiency standards on cars; expanding access to college for the millions of young people; making sure that nobody in this country has to go bankrupt because they get sick; re-upping the law preventing violence against women; making sure that we have the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which I think has laid the groundwork for further progress when it comes to LGBT rights.

On so many issues, we’ve made progress. But we’ve got so much more work to do. And I laid out what that vision might look like during both the inauguration speech and in the State of the Union. I want to make sure that we’ve got the best education system in the world and that starts young. And so we’ve given all the research that we have. Expanding our investment in childhood education can make all the difference in the world, and will pay enormous dividends for a very, very long time.

I want to make sure that we’re rebuilding this country, our infrastructure. We’ve got $2 trillion in deferred maintenance. We could be putting people back to work right now, and not only improving our current economic growth, but laying the foundation for economic growth for many years to come. Many of you are aware that I am a big proponent of investments in science and research, and obviously, this entire region has thrived precisely because it has been the epicenter of innovation. And that requires us putting money into research in biomedicine, in nanoscience. Our recent initiative around the brain and being able to map that and crack the code potentially not only can help us cure things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but can generate entire new industries and put people back to work and be the next great challenge for the American economy.

And I believe that we’ve got to get a handle on our energy policy so that we are growing and we are productive, but we are not simply investing in the energy sources of the past; we’re also investing in the energy sources of the future. We’ve doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars, but we’ve also had a chance to double our production in solar and wind and biofuels. We can continue to make progress on that front. We can continue to make sure that electric cars and other new technologies for transportation are built here in the United States of America and not someplace else.

We can make sure that our buildings, our schools, our hospitals are more efficient. If we were able to achieve the same efficiencies that Japan already has achieved using existing technologies, we’d cut our power utilization by 15, 20 percent — which would have enormous ramifications in bringing down our carbon footprint.

And we can do all this without spending massive amounts of money. The truth is, is that our fiscal situation has improved significantly since I first came into office, but we still have a long way to go. The way for us to do it intelligently is the kind of balanced approach I’ve talked about in the past: making sure that everybody is doing their fair share; making sure that those of us in this room and, frankly, in this whole town probably — (laughter) — recognizes the incredible blessings that we’ve been given and make sure that we’re willing to invest back in the next generation, and also making sure that our money is wisely spent.

We still waste money in all kinds of things that don’t work, and we have the capacity to shift those dollars into things that do work and that will grow our economy. And we can reduce our deficit, stabilize our debt, and do so without sacrificing the kinds of investments that are going to be required to grow.

Now, the last point I’ll make is just politics. Our policies, the ones that we prevented — or the ones that we’ve presented, traditionally, would be considered pretty bipartisan. There’s nothing particularly Democratic about road building or basic science or environmental protection. Teddy Roosevelt started the conservation movement. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, was pretty big on building infrastructure and investing in things like science and research.

Unfortunately, we continue to still have some of that gridlock in Washington. Part of it is fed by changes in information and communications that amplify conflict and extremes as opposed to trying to bring people together. I know it’s a great source of frustration for the American people. I assure you it’s a source of frustration for me as well. (Laughter.)

But what I believed when I was running for this office back in 2007-2008, what I believed when I was running for a second term is what I still believe now — and that is this country is not as divided as our politics would suggest. And the only way we break through this gridlock is when people’s voices are heard and people are engaged and involved. I am very optimistic that we get immigration reform done in the next few months. And the reason I’m optimistic is because people spoke out through the ballot box, and that’s breaking gridlock.

It’s going to be tougher to get better gun legislation to reduce gun violence through the Senate and the House that so many of us I think want to see, particularly after the tragedy in Newtown. But I still think it can get done if people are activated and involved.

And so, on every front, on every issue that all of you care about, making sure that we can provide good information to the American people, engage them, inform them; make sure that they are embracing a form of citizenship that goes beyond just voting, but involves understanding what’s at stake and talking to their neighbors, talking to their coworkers, talking to their friends, writing to their members of Congress, getting organized, getting mobilized — all that ends up being really the critical ingredient and the constant dynamic change and improvement that has characterized this country for so long.

And your involvement with the DNC helps us do that. It will help us register voters. It will help us make sure that they understand what’s at stake in all of these issues. It’s hugely important. It’s not always glamorous. It’s not always sexy. But it’s really what ends up driving our ability to make policy and to deliver for the young people who are here today.

So, again, I want to thank Liz and Mark for making this spectacular home available to us. And I want to thank all of you for not only what you’ve done in the past on my behalf, but more importantly what you’re continuing to do on behalf of this country as a whole.

Thank you, so much. I appreciate it. (Applause.)

10:39 A.M. PDT

State of the Union 2013 February 13, 2013: Super PAC Offering ‘Marco Rubio Water Bottle’





Rubio PAC Offering ‘Marco Rubio Water Bottle’

Source: ABC News, 2-13-13

Sen. Marco Rubio is turning his unfortunate mid-speech water swigging from Tuesday night’s State of the Union Republican response into a fundraising tactic.

Rubio’s PAC, Reclaim America, is now offering a “Marco Rubio Water Bottle” that people can obtain by donating $25 or more to his PAC online.

“Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you…he hydrates you too,” the donation request read. READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 21, 2012: Mitt Romney Attends Final Fundraiser of Campaign in Palm Beach, Florida




Romney Attends Final Fundraiser of Campaign

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-21-12

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After more than a year of attending finance events across the country, from California to Texas to New York, Saturday night marked Mitt Romney’s final campaign fundraiser.

The final event came on the same day that the candidate’s FEC filings were made public for October, showing that Romney raised $77.7 million in September and has more than $63 million in cash on hand.

To date, Romney has raised more than $361 million for his campaign compared with the President’s $567 million, according to Bloomberg News….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 15, 2012: Mitt Romney Raises $170.4 Million in September, But Is Again Outpaced by Barack Obama




Romney Raises $170.4M in September, But Is Again Outpaced by Obama

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-15-12


Mitt Romney’s campaign announced Monday that it raised more than $170.4 million in September, marking the best fundraising month to date for the Republican nominee.
But Romney’s fundraising loot still came in under that of President Obama and the Democrats, who reported raising $181 million in September, the most an incumbent president has ever raised in a single month before his re-election. The Obama campaign has not released how much they have in cash on hand.

Romney, along with the Republican National Committee and the Romney Victory Fund, reports having $191 million in cash on hand….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 8, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speeches at Campaign Events in Los Angeles, California




Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Source: WH, 10-8-12 

Nokia Theater

Los Angeles, California

6:20 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, L.A.!  (Applause.)  Are you fired up?

AUDIENCE:  Fired up!

THE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to go?

AUDIENCE:  Ready to go!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  Thank you, L.A.!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much, everybody.  Everybody, thank you.  (Applause.) Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Thank you, everybody.  Everybody, have a seat.  Have a seat.  Now, first of all, I’ve got some thank-yous to make.  I am so grateful to George Clooney. Give it up for George.  (Applause.)  Jennifer Hudson.  (Applause.)  Old school — Earth, Wind and Fire.  (Applause.)  Jon Bon Jovi.  (Applause.)  New school — Katy Perry.  (Applause.)  Stevie Wonder.  (Applause.)  And I understand Katy had some choirs out, so give it up for the choirs.  (Applause.)

I want to thank the members of Congress who came today, and I also want to thank two of our country’s outstanding mayors — Julian Castro, and your very own Antonio Villaraigosa.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve got to admit that even though my staff all came over early to get the show, I got left behind.  (Laughter.)  But my understanding is it was an incredible show.  (Applause.)  These guys — and everybody here are just incredible professionals.  They’re such great friends, and they just perform flawlessly night after night.  I can’t always say the same.  (Laughter and applause.)  But here’s the good news, is we’ve got a better vision for our country.  We have a better plan for the next four years.  (Applause.)  And that’s why we’re here tonight.


THE PRESIDENT:  Love you back.  (Applause.)

We’ve got some work to do.  We’ve got an election to win.  Everything we fought for in 2008 is on the line here in 2012.  And I need your help to finish what we started.  I need your help.  (Applause.)

Four years ago, I told you I’d end the war in Iraq, and we did.  (Applause.)  I said I’d end the war in Afghanistan — we are.  (Applause.)  I said we’d focus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, and today Osama bin Laden is no more.  (Applause.)

Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families, and we have, by $3,600.  (Applause.)  I promised to cut taxes for small business owners, and we have, 18 times.  (Applause.)

We got every dime back that was used to rescue the banks.  We passed a law to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts for good.  We passed health care reform — also known as Obamacare — because I do care about the American people.  (Applause.)  So your insurance companies can’t jerk you around anymore, or tell you that being a women is somehow a preexisting condition.  (Applause.)

We repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” so no outstanding soldier is ever kicked out of the military because of who they love.  (Applause.)

When Governor Romney tried to give us his business advice about the economy and said that we should “let Detroit go bankrupt,” we said, no, thanks, we’re not going to take that advice.  We reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  (Applause.)

So three years ago, four years after that campaign that you were watching on that video, after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, our businesses have now created more than 5 million jobs.

(Applause.)  On Friday, we found out the unemployment rate has fallen from the height of 10 percent down to 7.8 percent — (applause) — the lowest since I took office.  Manufacturing is coming back to America.  Home values are on the rise.

Now, we’re not there yet.  We’ve still got too many Americans looking for work, too many families who can’t pay the bills, too many homes underwater, too many young people graduating with too much debt.  (Applause.)  But if there’s one thing I know, we’ve come a long way and we’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)

The last thing we can afford right now is four years of the very same policies that led us to this crisis in the first place. I cannot allow that to happen.  I will not let it happen.  That’s why I am running for a second term for President of the United States, and that’s why I need your help.  (Applause.)

I have seen too much pain and too much struggle to let this country go through another round of top-down economics.  One of the main reasons we had this crisis in the first place is because we had big banks on Wall Street that were allowed to make big bets with other people’s money on the line.  And now, Governor Romney wants to roll back the rules so we go back to that behavior?  Not if I have anything to say about it.

One of the main reasons we went from record surpluses under Bill Clinton to record deficits under George Bush is because we put two wars and two tax cuts on a credit card.  And now, Governor Romney wants another $5 trillion in tax cuts that he can’t pay for?  Not if I’ve got anything to say about it.  (Applause.)

Obviously, the Governor knows his $5 trillion isn’t too popular, so a few weeks before this election he’s trying to pretend it doesn’t exist, because that’s a lot easier than trying to explain how he’d pay for it without asking middle-class families to pick up the tab.  The other night he ruled out asking millionaires and billionaires to pay even a dime more in taxes to help us bring down our deficit.  Not a dime.  When he was asked what he’d actually do to cut spending, he said he’d go after public television.  So for all you moms and kids out there, don’t worry, somebody is finally cracking down on Big Bird — cracking down on him.  (Laughter.)  Elmo has made a run for the border.

Governor Romney plans to let Wall Street run wild again, but he’s bringing the hammer down on Sesame Street.  (Laughter.)

L.A., we can’t afford another round of tax cuts for folks who don’t need them.  We can’t afford to gut our investments in education or clean energy or research and technology.  We can’t afford to roll back regulations not just on Wall Street, but on oil companies and insurance companies.  That’s not a jobs plan.  That’s not a plan to grow our economy.  That’s not change.  It’s a relapse.  We’ve been there.  We have tried that.  We’re not going back.  (Applause.)  We are moving forward.  That’s why I’m running again.  That’s why I need your help.  (Applause.)

See, we’ve got a different view about how we create jobs and prosperity in America.  This country doesn’t succeed when only the top are doing well.  We succeed when the middle class is getting bigger, and people have ladders of opportunity to live out their dreams.  Our economy doesn’t grow from the top down.  It grows from the middle out and the bottom up.  We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country.  But we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)

We believe in a country where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, and everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules.  That’s the country that I believe in.  That’s the country you believe in.  (Applause.)  That’s what I’ve been fighting for, for the last four years.  That’s why I’m running for a second term.  We’ve got a lot more work to do to make sure that everybody is taking part.  (Applause.)

So here’s what we need to do.  We’ve got a lot more to do.  I think it’s time to change our tax code so we’re not rewarding jobs — companies that are shipping jobs overseas.  (Applause.)

I want to reward small businesses and manufacturers who make products that are stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  (Applause.)

I want us to control our own energy here in America.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas — and that means something here in Los Angeles. (Applause.)

Today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last two decades.  (Applause.)  So now it’s time to move forward.  My plan would cut our oil import in half, by investing in the clean energy that’s creating thousands of jobs all across America right now — not just oil and natural gas, but wind power and solar and fuel-efficient cars and long-lasting batteries.  And unlike my opponent, I’m not going to allow oil companies to collect another $4 billion in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to let China win the race for clean energy technology.  I want that technology developed right here in the United States, creating jobs right here in the United States, helping our environment right here in the United States.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  (Applause.)

I want us to have the best education system in the world, make sure that Americans from every walk of life are getting the chance they need to get the skills they need to succeed.  I would not be standing here if it weren’t for an education that I couldn’t necessarily afford on my own.  (Applause.)  It was the gateway of opportunity for me, for Michelle, for so many of you. And now you’ve got a choice.  We could gut education to pay for Governor Romney’ $5 trillion tax break.


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

Or we can recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers; improve our early-childhood education system; provide job training for 2 million workers at our community colleges; work with colleges and universities to cut the growth of tuition costs.  We can meet those goals.  We can make sure that every young person here in Los Angeles, here in California, here in the United States of America, no matter what they look like, no matter where they come from, if they’re willing to work hard, they can succeed, too.  That’s our goal.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  (Applause.)

We’d use the money we’re saving from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay down our deficit, but also to put people back to work — rebuilding roads and bridges and schools all across America.  And every brave American who wears the uniform of this country should know that as long as I am Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  And when our troops take off their uniform, we will serve them as well as they’ve served us — because nobody who has fought for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  Let’s not just talk about honoring our veterans; let’s put our money where our mouth is.  That’s why I’m running for a second term.  (Applause.)

Fifth, we need to cut the deficit, but we’ve got to do it in an intelligent way.  I’ve proposed cutting it by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and I’ve already worked with Republicans to cut a trillion dollars of spending.  But we can’t get this done unless we also look at the other side of the ledger.  We don’t cut our way to prosperity.  We’ve got to ask the wealthiest among us to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000, which is the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President — our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires did well, too — because when we give tax breaks to middle-income folks, to lower-income folks, they spend it.  They need to, to pay the bills, which means businesses end up with more customers, they make more profits, and that means they hire more workers.

Governor Romney said it’s fair that he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher or an auto worker that makes $50,000.  I think he’s wrong.


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

I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor or elderly or disabled just to pay for tax cuts we can’t afford.  And that’s the choice that we face in this election.  That’s what this election comes down to.

Over and over again, we’re told that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If a company releases pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, just borrow money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

That’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  Here in America, we believe in individual initiative and self-reliance, but we also believe there are some things we do together.  We understand America is not just about what can be done for us.  It’s about what can be done by us, together, as one nation, as one people.  (Applause.)  You understood that in 2008. It’s true even more so now in 2012.

Because of you, we’ve made progress.  You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who gets the surgery she needs because insurance companies can’t limit her coverage.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason a factory worker who lost his job in Toledo is back on the line building the best cars in the world.  You’re the reason a student here in L.A. has help paying for her college.  (Applause.)  The reason a veteran can go to college on the New G.I. bill.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home. (Applause.)  You’re the reason that an outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love.  You’re the reason why thousands of families have finally been able to say to loved ones who served us so bravely:  “Welcome home.”  (Applause.)  You’re the reason.

And if you turn back now, if you buy into the cynicism that everything that we fought for somehow isn’t possible, then of course change won’t happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void — the lobbyists and the special interests, and the folks who are writing $10 million checks to beat me, and folks who are trying to keep making it harder for you to vote, the politicians in Washington who want to control the health care choices that women are perfectly capable of making themselves.  (Applause.)

You’ve got to make sure that your voice is heard.  Only you can make sure that those things don’t happen.  Only you’ve got the power to move us forward.

I’ve always said — I said this back in 2008 — that change, real change, takes time.  It takes more than one term or one President.  It takes more than one party.  (Applause.)  It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even take office.  (Applause.)

Back in 2008 — everybody always remembers the victory, but they don’t always remember the bumps in the road.  Things always look good in retrospect.  But in the middle of it, we were — we made all kinds of mistakes.  We goofed up.  I goofed up.  But the American people carried us forward.  (Applause.)  And even with all the things we had going for us — all the way that things just kind of converged, 47 percent of the country still didn’t vote for me.  (Laughter.)  I just want to point that out.  (Laughter.)

But on the night of the election, I said to all those Americans, I may not have your vote, but I hear your voices.  I need your help.  I’ll be your President, too.  (Applause.)  And I don’t know how many will vote for me this time, but I want you to know I’ll be there for you no matter what.  (Applause.)  I’ll be fighting just as hard for you as I am for somebody who did vote for me — because I’m not fighting to create Republican jobs or Democratic jobs; I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to improve schools in red states or blue states; I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States.

The values we believe in don’t belong to any one group or one party — they’re not black or white, or Asian or Latino or Native American, gay, straight, abled, disabled — they are American values; they belong to all of us.  (Applause.)

And I still believe we’re not as divided as our politics suggest.  (Applause.)  I still believe we’ve got more in common than the pundits tell us.  And most of all, I still believe in you.  (Applause.)  I still believe in you, and I am asking you to keep on believing in me.  (Applause.)  I am asking you for your vote.  I am asking you to get out there and work.

If you are willing to stand with me, if you’re willing to work with me, if you’re willing to knock on some doors with me and make some phone calls with me — (applause) — if you’re willing to email and tweet, and call your friends and call your neighbors, talk to your cousins, talk to grandma and grandpa — if you will do that, we will finish what we started in 2008.  (Applause.)  We will win this election.  And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END     6:42 P.M. PDT

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Source: WH, 10-8-12 

Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

8:26 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Everybody, please have a seat.  First of all, you just heard from the future of the Democratic Party — the great Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro.  (Applause.)  We’re so proud of him.

There are so many people I could thank tonight, so I’m just going to focus on three individuals.  First of all, my unbelievable Southern California co-chairs — John Emerson and Ken Solomon.  Please give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  They have been tireless in their efforts.  They have been unbelievable.

The other person that I want to acknowledge in particular — because I said this to them privately, I’ve got to say it publicly — Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg have been — (applause) — they have been tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad since my first presidential race, back when a lot of people still couldn’t pronounce my name. (Laughter.)  And I will always be grateful to them for just the incredible support that they’ve given.  So thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thanks, both of you.

Some of you are aware that — well, all of you are aware that Michelle and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary.  (Applause.)  And the actual anniversary date was not that romantic.  (Laughter.)  There was some speculation as to whether this had an impact on my performance.  (Laughter.)  But I did make it up to her on Saturday.  We went out to dinner, a date night.  And it was a wonderful evening.  It was a private room, because people kind of lean over and start listening if we’re in the booth next to them.  (Laughter.)  And Secret Service gets nervous.  (Laughter.)

And we had this wonderful young waiter, and he brought us all our stuff, and he was patient with us as we were dawdling over the menu.  And we were milking it for all it was worth because we don’t get out that often.  But at the end of the dinner — it was very professional, very unobtrusive — but at the end of the dinner he just said, I wanted to just say how much I appreciate you because you saved my mother’s life — because my mother had a stroke, she wasn’t yet qualifying for Medicare, and because of the Affordable Care Act, we were able to get her coverage that allows her to take her medicines and is keeping her alive.

And it reminded me of why we do this.  I am a fairly competitive guy.  Clooney has played basketball with me.  (Laughter.)  And I don’t like to lose — especially not to actors.  (Laughter.)

MR. CLOONEY:  We were on the same team.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  We were on the same team.  I put him on the team — and we did win.

MR. CLOONEY:  That’s right, we did.

THE PRESIDENT:  And so sometimes during the course of campaigns, we get caught up in the sport of politics, and the ups and the downs, and doing the this and the that, and how much money did we raise and how many doors have we knocked on.  And all that’s important, but it is in service of that waiter, Anthony’s mom.  Or some young girl in Phoenix who’s going to be able to get the surgery that she needs because the insurance company can’t impose a lifetime limit.

Or the auto worker in Toledo who was laid off his job and couldn’t figure out how he was going to support his family, and had to have that conversation with his kids explaining how dad is out of work right now and so we’re going to have to tighten our belts, and we’re not sure we’re going to make the mortgage payments.  And then suddenly the plant reopens and people come back to work.  And it’s not just about a paycheck but it’s about that sense of being part of a community and building something that’s worthwhile, and holding your head high and knowing your kid looks up to you because you’re looking after him and building for his future.

That’s why we do what we do.  That’s why I got into this business.  And there are times during the course of a presidency when you are so focused on policy and Congress and data and analysis, and yet one of the wonderful things about the presidency is that at least once a day, you’re reminded that’s why you do it.  That’s why you fight.  That’s why whatever controversies or press or all that stuff that comes up, it all, in the end, is worthwhile because you know that you’re in some small way helping a whole bunch of people realize their dreams.

And that’s what’s at stake over the next 30 days.  It’s not clinging onto an office.  It’s not about power.  It’s not about perks.  It’s not about winning.  It’s about, can we sustain — over the next 30 days, and then over the next four years, and then over the next decade, and then over the next two decades — that sense that there’s something about this country that allows everybody to get a fair shot, and allows everybody who is willing to work hard and take responsibility to chase their dreams.

It doesn’t guarantee people success.  It doesn’t guarantee that they’re not going to hit bumps in the road and there are not going to be tragedies in their lives.  But the idea that in this country everybody counts, and that for all our individual initiative and self-reliance, we also do some things together as one people and one nation — that’s what the next 30 days is about.  And that’s why I intend to win.  That’s why we’re going to be working so hard to win.  (Applause.)

Most of you guys are pretty familiar with policy, so I won’t bore you with too many details.  But I can’t recall an election in my lifetime in which the contrasts are sharper or the stakes are higher.  We are going through this incredible transformation, not just here in the United States, but globally.  The world has shrunk.  It’s more competitive.  There are huge opportunities to create peace and security and prosperity, but there are also enormous possibilities of the American Dream shrinking and the world becoming more dangerous.  And on each and every issue that we’re talking about, my opponent and I just have very different ideas about where we need to go.

I believe that we’re going to have to have the kind of economic policies that reward investment here in the United States and create more opportunities for businesses to thrive.  My opponent, his basic view is that the status quo of doing as little as possible, unimpeded as possible for folks who are moving jobs overseas, or not providing their workers health care, or you name it, that that kind of status quo is acceptable.  I disagree.

When it comes to education, he is prepared to gut our investments in education and college in order to provide tax cuts to people in this room who don’t need them and weren’t asking for them.  I think that us making investments in early childhood education, and making sure that our high schools are graduating kids that are capable of learning, and making sure our community colleges are there to train our workers for the jobs that are out there right now, and maintaining tuition that’s affordable for young people — I think that’s absolutely vital.  That’s how we win the race to the future.

On energy, I’m big on oil and gas, and developing clean coal technology, but I also believe that if we’re ever going to have control of our energy future, then we’ve got to invest in solar and wind and biofuels, and that it does make sense for us to double our fuel-efficiency standards on cars.  And that’s not a socialist plot — (laughter) — for us to reduce our energy usage.  It’s the smart thing to do.  It’s right for our national energy.  It’s right for our economy.  It’s right for the environment.  He disagrees.

I think that it’s going to be important for us to make sure that as we reduce this deficit, we do it in a way that’s balanced and fair.  And I have to tell you, after four years of having a pretty good front row seat on the federal government, there’s no doubt that there are things that we can do smarter.  There are aspects to the federal government that were designed in the 1930s and need to be redesigned and there are savings to be had.  And we’ve gone after waste and fraud and regulations that aren’t working, and we’re going to continue to be as aggressive as possible on that.

But the bottom line is, is that there are certain things we need to pay for.  And when my opponent proposes $5 trillion worth of tax cuts, $2 trillion of additional military spending that our military is not asking for, and doesn’t provide a single detail on how to pay for it, what that means is either we’re going to be blowing up the deficit or we’re going to be sticking it to folks who can’t afford it.  Somebody is going to pick up the tab.

And I don’t want it to be middle-class families who are just barely making ends meet.  I don’t want it to be kids on Head Start who get kicked off and potentially foreclose a future — their future.  I don’t want it to be students who suddenly have to pay $1,000 more in tuition costs because they’re not getting the same level of Pell grants.  I don’t want it to be some family that’s got an autistic kid who needs help from Medicaid, or a senior in a nursing home whose family depends on that support.  I don’t want it to be a senior who is relying on Medicare and just barely getting by.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not what we’re about.  And it’s not a smart way to grow the economy.

So on every issue domestically we’ve got differences, and I haven’t even — we haven’t talked about the fact that my opponent feels comfortable with Washington making decisions about women’s health care that women, Michelle tells me, are perfectly capable of making themselves.  (Laughter and applause.)

We haven’t talked about what’s at stake with respect to the Supreme Court.  We haven’t talked about what’s at stake with respect to civil liberties.  And obviously there’s a lot at stake internationally.  And an opponent who calls me ending the war in Iraq “tragic,” or suggests that somehow we should stay longer in Afghanistan has a very different world view, different perspective.

And so the question now is, how hard are we willing to fight for the vision that we profess?  How hard am I willing to fight for it, but it’s not just me in this thing — how hard are you guys willing to fight for it?

There are times sometimes when — like in 2008 where politics has just been trendy.  It’s kind of cool to be an Obama supporter in ’08.  (Laughter.)   And there are some folks who got in early, and they can go around saying, I told you so.  (Laughter.)  We knew this guy was going to make it.  And then there are times where you just have to grind it out, because it’s hard.  It’s hard work bringing about change.

But as we go into these last 30 days, I just constantly want you to think about what’s at stake among your friends and your family, but also the stories in your own past about maybe an immigrant parent who came here and was able to succeed because they got a student loan, or somebody in your family — or maybe you — who had a door open to him because you were willing to work hard, but you didn’t come from wealth or privilege.  And the question is, is that what we’re going to sustain for our children’s future as well?

As a practical matter, nothing that my opponent offers will create more jobs, reduce our deficit, grow our middle class, improve our education system, improve our environment or make us safer around the world.  And I’m not just offering prospective plans.  Over the last four years, I’ve shown you that we have created jobs, improved our education system, made us safer in the world, helped to clean up our environment.  I haven’t just talked about it, I’ve done it.  And I intend to continue to do it.

So to all of you here tonight, I want to say how grateful I am.  But I also want to tell you we’re not finished yet and I’m a big believer in closing the deal.  (Laughter and applause.)  So you will see me working as hard as I have ever worked for the next three years — or for the next 30 days.  (Laughter.)  It will seem like three years, but it will be 30 days.  (Laughter.) And then, you’ll see me working as hard as I ever have over the next four years.

But I’m going to need you guys alongside me, and even after the election — because the election is just a means to an end.  Even after the election, I’m going to be continuing to call on you.  It won’t be for political donations, but it’s going to be for your time and your energy and your ideas and your effort, because we’ve got a lot of work to do.

The one thing that I remain extraordinarily confident about is in the American people and in our future if we make good decisions.  And I travel around the world a lot, and I’m not somebody who expects that other people love their country any less than we love ours, but I will tell you there is something exceptional and special about this country.  And there are very few people around the world who wouldn’t do everything they could to be citizens of the United States or have the same opportunities that we have.

And we’ve just got to make sure that that’s there for that waiter who served Michelle and I the other night, for his kids, for my kids, for your kids, our grandkids.  If we work hard these next 30 days, we’ll be able to deliver that.

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

8:44 P.M. PDT

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





Romney’s Speech From Mother Jones Video

Source: NYT, 9-19-12

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

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

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

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

CROWD MEMBER: I’m mesmerized.

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

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

CROWD MEMBER: Just to follow up on Iraq …

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

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

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

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

MR. ROMNEY: I appreciate the idea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


[Crowd rumblings, unintelligible, and laughter]

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CROWD MEMBER: Keep the change!

MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, well …


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


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



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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

DARLENE: Who gets tired of Anne?


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

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

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


Full Text Campaign Buzz September 18, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, New York




Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Waldorf Astoria

Source: WH, 9-18-12 

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

6:33 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Hello! (Applause.) Hello, New York! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. If you have a chair, go ahead and use it. If you don’the — don’t. (Laughter.)

It is wonderful — hey, guys, good to see you. It is wonderful to be with all of you. I just had a chance to take some pictures with you and I have to tell you they all turned out wonderfully. (Laughter.) I mean this is a good-looking group, very photogenic. Yes, you especially. (Laughter.)

It’s wonderful to be here. We’ve got some people who’ve supported me since I actually ran for Senate in this ballroom. (Applause.) And then we’ve got some folks who supported us in ’08, and then we’ve got some new friends. And to all of you, I just want to say how grateful I am and how wonderful it is to be back in New York.

Now, we just came off two conventions, one in Tampa and one in Charlotte. And Michelle Obama was pretty good, you know? (Applause.) And then you had Bill Clinton who somebody said should be secretary of explaining stuff. (Laughter and applause.) And what was striking I think coming out of those two conventions was the clarity about how important this choice is.

Seven weeks from today, we’re going to be making a decision about the future of our country. And a lot of you brought your kids here today. (Baby cries.) Yes, right on cue. (Laughter.) And that is entirely appropriate because the decisions that we’re going to make in this election are going to have an impact not just on us, it’s going to have an impact on them and their kids for decades to come. (Baby cries again.) It’s true. (Laughter.)

The fact is that on almost every issue, we have a deep difference not just between two candidates or two political parties, but a deep difference in terms of how we think about growing our economy and how we think about what ensures prosperity and security over the long term.

The other side, they have their convention, and they talked a lot about what they think is wrong with the country, but they didn’t really tell you much about how they’d make it right. They asked for your vote, but they didn’t really have a plan. And the reason they didn’t want to talk about their plan much was because the plan they’re offering is the same one they’ve offered for the last 30 years, which is if we give a lot of tax cuts, particularly skewed towards people who really don’t need tax cuts, and if we roll back regulations on clean air and we roll back regulations on consumer protection, and we roll back regulations that ensure that insurance companies treat you properly, that somehow America’s energy will be unleashed and the economy will be going gangbusters.

And what they’re counting on is an element of amnesia because that’s exactly what we tried from 2001 to 2008, during which we experienced the slowest job growth in 50 years. We went from surpluses to deficits. Ordinary families actually saw their average incomes go down, and it culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression — so not a real good track record in terms of the plan that they are presenting.

We’ve got a different vision, and our vision says that our economy grows best and our children’s futures are best secured when we recognize that we’re all in this together; that we believe in a free-market system and individual initiative and hard work, but we also believe in this basic bargain that says if you work hard, you can make it in this country. Everybody, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what last name you have, no matter who you love, here in America, you can make it you try, and that there are important ways in which we can ensure that everybody has access to opportunity.

So what I tried to do at the convention was lay out very specifically how I think we’re going to get there. Over the last three and a half years, we’ve created 4.5 million new jobs, half a million of them in manufacturing. So what I said was, let’s double down and make sure that we’re exporting more and outsourcing fewer jobs. Let’s develop exports markets all around the world, and let’s make sure that we’re investing in things like clean energy so that we’re building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries and all the cutting-edge technologies that ensure we keep at the cutting edge of this global economy.

And then I talked about education and how all the work we’ve done to reform schools is starting to bear fruit, but we’ve also got to make sure that every young person in this country can afford a college education. (Applause.) And make sure that they’re not loaded up with debt when they get out, so that they can potentially become teachers or go into the foreign service or do something that may not pay a lot of money, but is vitally important to our country.

I talked about how important it was for us to have an energy policy that ensures that we have high production of traditional fuels like oil and natural gas, but that we’re also investing in clean energy. We’ve doubled fuel efficiency on cars. We have doubled our production of clean energy. That’s creating thousands of jobs. It’s taking carbon out of our atmosphere.

And it is freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. We’ve actually reduced our dependence — our oil imports every year that I’ve been in office and we now have it below 50 percent. And we think we can cut that in half by 2020, but only if we pursue the kinds of energy sources that are good for our economy and potentially can help save the planet.

And I also talked about how, if we’re going to be serious about reducing our deficits, that we’ve got to cut out spending that we don’t need, that’s not helping us grow. But we can’t just gut our investment in education, or our investments in science and research, or our investments in making sure that young people can go to college, just to pay for tax cuts for folks like me — that we’re going to have to take a balanced approach. That means that those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this country, we can afford to do a little bit more. (Applause.)

Now, that’s a very different agenda than a $5 trillion tax cut that’s paid for by gutting education, gutting Medicaid and turning Medicare into a voucher system. It’s a different philosophy about how we grow our economy. And I believe that we grow our economy from the middle out and by providing ladders of opportunity for everybody. And when we do, everybody does better.

When Bill Clinton was President, we created 23 million new jobs, had a surplus instead of a deficit, and we produced a whole lot more millionaires than we’ve produced under this other theory, because suddenly businesses had customers and had more profits and we got a virtuous cycle that continued in the longest post-World War II boom in American history. And we can replicate that, even in this competitive environment, but we’ve got to be smart about it.

Now, a lot of you here obviously recognize that those aren’t the only choices involved. We’ve got choices about war and peace. I ended the war in Iraq, as I promised. We are transitioning out of Afghanistan. (Applause.) We have gone after the terrorists who actually attacked us 9/11 and decimated al Qaeda.

Mr. Romney thinks that we should have stayed in Iraq, indicated that it was a “tragic” mistake for us to have gotten out of Iraq; still hasn’t made clear what his plan would be for Afghanistan; wants to add $2 trillion to our defense budget for programs that our Joint Chiefs don’t want. It’s a fundamentally different view of how we project power and ensure our security around the world.

On social issues, we did the right thing ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.” (Applause.) I am absolutely certain, based on conversations with Michelle — (laughter) — that women are capable of making their own health care decisions. (Applause.) And the notion that we would have a constitutional amendment that would tell people who they could marry — across the board, there’s just a different vision of who we are as a people.

And I believe we are at our best, we are at our strongest, when we’re including everybody, when everybody gets a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules. (Applause.)

So I guess if you’re here I’m kind of preaching to the choir. (Laughter.) I don’t need to tell you that I think we’re offering the better vision for our country. So let me just wrap up by saying a key issue is going to be, do we get this thing done?

We’ve got seven weeks. Seven weeks goes by fast, especially when you’re out there campaigning. And the good news is that our ideas are better and they’re more resonant with the American people. The bad news is that these folks have super PACs that are writing $10 million checks and have the capacity to just bury us under the kind of advertising that we’ve never seen before.

And we’ve never seen something like this, so we don’t know what impact it’s going to have. And that means that we’re going to have to work a little bit harder than the other side. It means that we have to have more volunteers. We have to have a better grassroots organization. It means the people who can write $25 checks or $50 checks or $100 checks or $1,000 checks — that’s how we’re going to be able to compete.

We don’t need to match these folks dollar for dollar. We can’t. I mean, if somebody here has a $10 million check — (laughter) — I can’t solicit it from you, but feel free to use it wisely. (Laughter.) But that’s not our game. Our game is grassroots. Our game is mobilizing numbers and passion and energy and focus and hope. That’s who we are.

And so I guess what I’d ask is — look, I had a friend named Abner Mikva in Chicago. He was a congressman — former congressman, former White House counsel and wonderful man. And Abner used to say that being friends with a politician is like perpetually having a kid in college — (laughter) — because every few months, you’ve got to write this big check. (Laughter.) Well, the good news is I’m graduating. (Laughter.) So this is my last race.

But the stakes couldn’t be higher, so we’ve got to leave it all on the field. I am asking everybody here to spend these next seven weeks really focused on this election. You’re already converted. Go out there and get your friends, get your neighbors involved. To the extent that you can ask them for contributions, ask them for their time, ask them for their votes, you are going to be the best ambassadors that we can have for this election.

And if you are as determined and as energized as I am, if you believe that we’ve still got more good jobs to create, and clean energy to generate, and more troops to bring home and more vets to take care of, and more doors of opportunity to open for everybody who’s willing to work hard in this country — if you believe that we’re all in this together, then I need you to get to work. Seven weeks.

And I promise you, if you’re putting everything you’ve got into this thing, we’ll win this election and we will finish what we started. And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the envy of the world.

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

6:47 P.M. EDT

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