Full Text Obama Presidency July 10, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Economy in Austin, Texas



Remarks by the President on the Economy — Austin, TX

Source: WH, 7-10-14 

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Paramount Theatre
Austin, Texas

12:48 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Austin!  (Applause.)  Hey!  Hello, Austin!  (Applause.)  All right, everybody have a seat, have a seat.

It’s good to be in Austin, Texas.  (Applause.)  Can everybody please give Kinsey a big round of applause for the great introduction?  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s because I love you.  (Applause.)  Everybody knows I love Austin, Texas.  (Applause.)  Every time I come here I tell you how much I love you.  I love Austin.  I love the people.  I love the barbecue — which I will get right after this.  (Laughter.)  I like the music.  (Applause.)  I’ve got good memories here, I’ve got good friends.

I was telling somebody the last time I walked a real walk where I was kind of left alone was in Austin, Texas.  (Applause.) Right before the debate here during the primary in 2007?  2008?  It must have been 2008.  And I was walking along the river and nobody noticed me, and I felt great.  (Laughter.)  And then on the way back somebody did notice me and Secret Service started coming around and — (laughter) — but that first walk was really good.  So let’s face it, I just love Austin.  (Applause.)  Love the people of Austin.

I want to thank a proud Texan, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, for being here today.  We appreciate her.  (Applause.)

It is great to play at the Paramount.  I think I finally made it.  I finally arrived.  (Applause.)  I’ve enjoyed the last couple of days, just getting out of Washington.  And we started in Colorado, in Denver, and then went to Dallas and then came down here.  And at each stop I’ve been able to just meet people and talk about people’s lives — their hopes, their dreams.

I just had some coffee, as Kinsey may have mentioned, at the Magnolia Café, which is very nice.  (Applause.)  It was fun, too, because I had a chance to — there were a bunch of folks there and some EMT folks were there on their break after the shift, and there were a group of high school kids who were getting together — they were about to go on a two-weeklong service trip to Peru  — which, by the way, reminds you, you should be optimistic whenever you meet young people because they’re full of energy and idealism.  And so they were going to do this service trip and they were going to go for two days, then, to Machu Picchu — the old Inca ruins in Peru.  And I said, I always wanted to go there. And they said, well, you can come with us if you want.  (Laughter.)  And I said, I’m really tempted, but I think there are some things I’ve got to do.  (Laughter.)

But I got them — in exchange for a selfie with them, they promised that they would send me a picture of them when they get there.  So I’m going to hold them to it.  We got their email and if I don’t get it I’ll be upset.  (Laughter.)

Anyway, so I was talking to Kinsey because she wrote me a letter and I wanted to reply in person.  Because, as some of you may know, every day, we get tens of thousands of letters or correspondence, emails at the White House.  And ever since the first day I was in office, what I’ve asked our Correspondence Office to do is to select 10 of them for me to read every night. And in these letters, people tell me their stories.  They talk about losing a job, or finding a job.  They talk about trying to finance a college education.  They talk about challenges because maybe they’re the children of immigrants and they’re worried about their status.  They talk about the hardships they’re going through, successes they’ve had, things they hope for, things that they’re afraid of when it comes to the future and their lives.

Sometimes people say thank you for something I’ve done or a position I’ve taken, and some people say, “You’re an idiot.”  (Laughter.)  And that’s how I know that I’m getting a good representative sampling because — (laughter) — half the letters are less than impressed with me.

So Kinsey wrote me to tell me about her family.  Her mom was a preschool teacher, her dad was an engineer.  Together, obviously, they worked really hard, raised a family.  They were responsible, did all the right things, were able to put their kids through college.  Then they lost their jobs.  And because they lost their jobs as mid-career persons, a lot of their resumes didn’t get answered.  And their savings started to dwindle.  And Kinsey works to pay for school, but it’s not enough.

And she told me that she’s always been passionate about politics and the issues of the day, but after last year’s government shutdown, all this stuff that’s happened with her family, it doesn’t seem like anybody in Washington is thinking about them.  She wrote, “I became a disgruntled citizen.  I felt as if my government, my beloved government that’s supposed to look out for the needs of all Americans had failed me.  My parents have always supported my siblings and me,” she wrote, “now it’s my turn to help them.  I want to be involved.  President Obama, what can I do?”

So I wanted to meet with Kinsey to let her know that I had heard her, that I listened to what was happening with her family, and I was thinking about her parents and I was thinking about her and her sisters.  And I’m here today because of Kinsey.  And I’m here today because of every American who is working their tail off and does everything right and who believes in the American Dream and just wants a chance to build a decent life for themselves and their families.

And you and folks like Kinsey are the reason I ran for President in the first place — (applause) — because your lives are the lives that I lived.  When I listen to Kinsey I think about me and Michelle trying to finance our college education.  When I think about somebody who didn’t have health care, I think about my mom when she had cancer that would ultimately end her life at about the age I am now.  When I think about equal pay, I think about my grandmother working her way up at a bank with nothing but a high school education and becoming the vice president of the bank, but always being kind of passed over for the next stage by men who were less qualified than she was.

So the stories that I hear in these letters, they’re my story, and they’re Michelle’s story, and they’re the story that we had before I became senator — worrying about child care, trying to figure out how to have a balanced life so that if Malia or Sasha got sick we could take time off, and how do you manage all that.

So that’s why these letters are so important to me.  And that’s why whenever I’m out of Washington, part of what I want to do is just to remember and to connect with your stories so that you know that what I’m trying to do every single day is based on that experience.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And when you see the trajectory of Kinsey’s family, in some ways, it’s a little bit a story of what’s happened to America.

The crisis in 2008 hurt us all badly — worse financial crisis since the Great Depression.  But you think about the progress we’ve made.  Today, our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months.  (Applause.)  Our housing is rebounding.  Our auto industry is booming.  Manufacturing is adding more jobs than any time since the 1990s. The unemployment rate is the lowest point it’s been since September of 2008.  (Applause.)  Kinsey’s dad found a new job that he loves in the field he was trained for.  (Applause.)  So a lot of this was because of the resilience and hard work of the American people.  That’s what happens — Americans bounce back.

But some of it had to do with decisions we made to build our economy on a new foundation.  And those decisions are paying off. We’re more energy independent.  For the first time in nearly 20 years, we produce more oil here at home than we buy from abroad. (Applause.)  The world’s largest oil and gas producer isn’t Russia; it’s not Saudi Arabia — it’s the United States of America.  (Applause.)

At the same time, we’ve reduced our total carbon pollution over the past eight years more than any country on Earth.  (Applause.)  We’ve tripled the amount of electricity we generate from wind.  We’ve increased the amount of solar energy we have by 10 times.  We’re creating jobs across the country in clean energy.  (Applause.)

In education, our high school graduation rate is at a record high; the Latino dropout rate has been cut in half since 2000.  (Applause.)  More young people are graduating from college than ever before.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Si se puede!

THE PRESIDENT:  Si se peude.  (Laughter.)

The Affordable Care Act has given millions more families peace of mind.  They won’t go broke just because they get sick.  (Applause.)  Our deficits have been cut by more than half.

We have come farther and recovered faster, thanks to you, than just about any other nation on Earth.  (Applause.)  And so we’ve got a lot to be encouraged by, just as the story of Kinsey’s family makes us feel more encouraged.  For the first time in a decade, business leaders around the world have said the number-one place to invest is not China, it’s the United States of America.  So we’re actually seeing companies bring jobs back. (Applause.)  So there’s no doubt that we are making progress.  By almost every measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office.  (Applause.)

But the fact is we’ve still got a long way to go.  We’ve still got a long way to go, because while we’re creating more jobs faster these first six months of this year than any time since 1999, we know there are still a lot of folks out there who are looking for work or looking for more full-time work or looking for a better-paying job.  Corporate profits are higher than ever.  CEOs make more than ever.  But you’re working harder than ever just to get by and pay the bills.

So, as a whole, the country is doing better.  But the problem is, is that so much of the improved productivity and profits have gone to the folks at the very top, and the average person, their wages and incomes haven’t really gone up at all, and in some cases, haven’t kept up with the rising cost of health care or college or all the basic necessities that people need.

And so, Austin, I’m here to say that this country is not going to succeed if just a few are doing well.  This country succeeds when everybody has got a shot.  (Applause.)  The country does better when the middle class does better, and when there are more ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  (Applause.) That’s the kind of economy that works here in America.  And that’s what’s at stake right now.

Now, that’s why we’re fighting for an opportunity agenda that creates more good jobs and creates more good wages — jobs in American manufacturing, jobs in construction.  We should be rebuilding infrastructure all across America, putting people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools, creating a smart grid to transmit clean energy across the country more efficiently.  (Applause.)

We can create good jobs in American energy — (sneezes) — bless me — and innovation.  (Laughter.)  I’m okay, just haven’t had enough sleep.  (Laughter.)

We’re fighting for an opportunity agenda that trains more workers with the skills to fill the jobs that are being created. I was talking to some folks from a community college before I came out here.  We’ve learned that if we reach out to businesses and help them design the training programs in the community colleges, then when somebody finishes that training, they know they can get a job right away.  (Applause.)

We’re fighting for an opportunity agenda that guarantees every child a world-class education from the time that they are three until the time that they graduate from college.

We’re fighting for an opportunity agenda that makes sure your hard work pays off with higher wages and equal pay for equal work, and workplace flexibility, and the overtime pay you’ve earned.  (Applause.)

We’re fighting for opportunity for all and the idea that no matter who you are and what you look like and where you come from and who you love, if you work hard in America, if you work hard in Austin, if you work hard in Texas, you can make it here.  (Applause.)  You can make it.  (Applause.)

So that’s what we’re working for.  And the good news is, is that the things that we need to do are well within our capabilities, our grasp.  We know we can — we know how to build roads.  We know how to put people back to work on infrastructure. We know that if we invest in early childhood education, every dollar we put in, we get seven dollars back, and fewer dropouts and fewer teen pregnancies, and fewer folks going into the criminal justice system.  (Applause.)

We know that if we do some basic things, if we make some basic changes, we’ll see more jobs, faster economic growth, lift more incomes, strengthen the middle class.  They are common-sense things.  They’re not that radical.  We know it’s what we should be doing.  And what drives me nuts — and I know drives you nuts — is Washington isn’t doing it.  (Applause.)

And let me be clear about why Washington is broken, because sometimes everybody says, well, you know what, all politicians are the same, he parties — the Democrats, Republicans, it doesn’t matter.  Look, Democrats are not perfect, I promise you. I know a lot of them.  (Laughter.)  And, yes, every member of Congress, they’re thinking about, I’d like to be reelected and I’d like to keep my job.  That’s human nature.  We all understand that.  But let me be clear.  On the common-sense agenda that would help middle-class families, the overwhelming number of Democrats are in favor of these things.

They’re in favor of minimum wage.  They’re in favor of equal pay.  (Applause.)  They’re in favor of extending unemployment benefits.  They’re in favor of infrastructure.  They’re in favor of investing in research and development.  They’re in favor of making college more affordable.  They’ve got specific proposals. They’re willing to compromise.  They’re prepared to go forward.

So when folks say they’re frustrated with Congress, let’s be clear about what the problem is.  (Applause.)  I’m just telling the truth now.  I don’t have to run for office again, so I can just let her rip.  (Applause.)  And I want to assure you, I’m really not that partisan of a guy.  My favorite President is the first Republican President, a guy named Abraham Lincoln.  You look at our history, and we had great Republican Presidents who  — like Teddy Roosevelt started the National Park System, and Dwight Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System, and Richard Nixon started the EPA.

The statement I’m making is not a partisan statement, it is a statement of fact.  (Applause.)  So far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.  They have said no —


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo now, because what I want you to do is vote.  (Applause.)

They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage.  They’ve said no to fair pay.  They said no to unemployment insurance for hardworking folks like Kinsey’s parents who have paid taxes all their lives and never depended on anything and just needed a little help to get over a hump.  They said no to fixing our broken immigration system that we know would strengthen our borders and our businesses and help families.  (Applause.)

Instead of investing in education that helps working families, they voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.  Instead of creating jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our ports that help every business, they’ve decided to protect tax loopholes for companies that are shifting jobs overseas and profits overseas.

The best thing you can say about this Congress — the Republicans in Congress, and particularly the House of Representatives — the best you can say for them this year is that so far they have not shut down the government — (laughter) — or threatened to have America welch on our obligations and ruin our credit rating.  That’s the best you can say.  But of course, it’s only July — (laughter) — so who knows what they may cook up in the next few months.

So even as they’re blocking policies that would help middle-class families, they keep on offering these theories of the economy that have failed over and over again.  They say, well, if we give more tax breaks to folks at the top that’s going to be good.  If we make fewer investments in things like education, everything will work out.  If we loosen the rules for big banks and credit card companies and polluters and insurers, somehow that’s going to make the economy better.  If we shrink the safety net and cut Medicaid and cut food stamps, and make sure that folks who are vulnerable and trying to get back on their suffer more hardship, somehow that’s going to improve the economy.

Now, they believe these things — sincerely, I assume — that if they — if we do these things, if we just take care of folks at the top, or at least if we don’t empower our government to be able to help anybody, that somehow jobs and prosperity will trickle down and we’ll all be better off.

And that may work just fine for folks at the top.  It worked fine for me.  I don’t need government.  (Laughter.)  Michelle and I now are in a position where we can pretty much finance Malia and Sasha’s college education.  But I remember when Michelle’s parents couldn’t, they needed help.  And I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in pulling up the ladder once I’m up.  I believe in extending it down and making sure that everybody has a chance to climb up.  (Applause.)

The status quo certainly works for the special interests in Washington who like things just as they are.  They’ll be fine whether Congress ever passes a bill again or not.  But it doesn’t help you.  It doesn’t help your neighbors.  It doesn’t help your friends.  It doesn’t help your communities.

And what it does, is it just feeds people’s cynicism about Washington.  It just makes people think, well, nothing can happen, and people start feeling hopeless.  And we have to understand, in the face of all evidence to the contrary in Washington, we can do better than we’re doing right now.  (Applause.)  We can do better than what we’re doing right now.

We know from our history, our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle up.  It grows from a rising, thriving middle class.  It grows when we got ladders of opportunity for everybody, and every young person in America is feeling hopeful and has a chance to do what they can with the God-given talents that they have.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That is what you should be fighting for.  (Applause.)

And I will always look — I’ll always look for ways to get Republicans and Democrats together in this effort.  But I’m not  — I can’t stand by with partisan gridlock that’s the result of cynical political games that threaten the hard work of millions of Americans.  I’m not just going to stand by and say, okay, that’s — I guess that’s the way it is.  Whenever and wherever I have the power, the legal authority to help families like yours, even if Congress is not doing anything, I will take that opportunity.  I will try to make something happen.  (Applause.)
And that’s the reason — that’s the reason why my administration has taken more than 40 different actions just this year to help working Americans — because Congress won’t.

Congress won’t act to make sure a woman gets equal pay for equal work.  So I made sure more women have the protections they need to fight for fair pay in the workplace — because I think when women succeed America succeeds.   So we went ahead and did that.  (Applause.)

Congress won’t act to create jobs in manufacturing or construction.  Well, I went ahead and speeded up permits for big projects.  We launched a new hub to attract more high-tech manufacturing jobs to America.  I want to make sure the next revolution in manufacturing is right here in America; it’s an American revolution, not a German or a Chinese revolution.  I want it happening right here in Austin, Texas.  (Applause.)

Congress so far hasn’t acted to help more young people manage their student loan debt.  So I acted with my lawful authority to give nearly 5 million Americans the chance to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income so they can manage it better, so that if they go into teaching, or they go into social work, or they’re doing something at a non-for-profit, that they’re not encumbered by mountains of debt.  I don’t want our future leaders saddled with debt before they start out in life.  (Applause.)

And Republicans in Congress so far have refused to raise workers’ wages with a higher minimum wage.  So I acted to require that federal contractors pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — (applause) — which would give hundreds of thousands of workers a raise.  I asked business owners and governors and mayors and state legislators — anybody I could work with — do what you can on your own, I told them.

Since the first time I asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, Congress hasn’t done anything, but 13 states have gone ahead and raised theirs.  (Applause.)  And, by the way — this is important to remember just because folks are always trying to run the okey doke on you — (laughter) — the states that have increased their minimum wages this year have seen higher job growth than the states that have not increased their minimum wage.  (Applause.)  And more and more business owners are choosing to lift the wages for their workers because they understand that it’s going to be good to have productive workers, loyal workers, invested workers.

Just yesterday, before I came down to Texas, when I was in Denver, I met with Carolyn Reed.  She owns six Silver Mine sub shops.  She started her own business.  She was working at UPS and decided she wanted to be a business owner, got her first franchise.  Her and her husband mortgaged their house.  Eventually, they got an SBA loan.  Now, she’s got six stores.  A wonderful woman.  And today, she decided to raise her hourly employees’ wages to a minimum of $10.10 an hour.  (Applause.)  She just went ahead and did it on her own, because she realized that she’ll have less turnover and she’s going to have more productive workers.

As long as Congress will not increase wages for workers, I will go and talk to every business in America if I have to.  (Applause.)  There’s no denying a simple truth:  America deserves a raise, and if you work full-time in this country, you shouldn’t live in poverty.  That’s something that we all believe. (Applause.)

Now, here’s where it gets interesting.  There are a number of Republicans, including a number in the Texas delegation, who are mad at me for taking these actions.  They actually plan to sue me.  (Laughter.)  Now, I don’t know which things they find most offensive — me helping to create jobs, or me raising wages, or me easing the student loan burdens, or me making sure women can find out whether they’re getting paid the same as men for doing the same job.  I don’t know which of these actions really bug them.  (Laughter.)

The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years.  So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.  (Applause.)  Maybe it’s just me they don’t like.  I don’t know.  Maybe there’s some principle out there that I haven’t discerned, that I haven’t figure out.  (Laughter.)  You hear some of them — “sue him,” “impeach him.”  Really?  (Laughter.)  Really?  For what?  (Applause.)  You’re going to sue me for doing my job?  Okay.  (Applause.)

I mean, think about that.  You’re going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job — (laughter) — while you don’t do your job.  (Applause.)

There’s a great movie called “The Departed” — a little violent for kids.  But there’s a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg — they’re on a stakeout and somehow the guy loses the guy that they’re tracking.   And Wahlberg is all upset and yelling at the guy.  And the guy looks up and he says, “Well, who are you?”  And Wahlberg says, “I’m the guy doing my job.  You must be the other guy.”  (Laughter and applause.)  Sometimes, I feel like saying to these guys, I’m the guy doing my job, you must be the other guy.  (Applause.)

So rather than wage another political stunt that wastes time, wastes taxpayers’ money, I’ve got a better idea:  Do something.  (Applause.)  If you’re mad at me for helping people on my own, let’s team up.  Let’s pass some bills.  Let’s help America together.  (Applause.)

It is lonely, me just doing stuff.  I’d love if the Republicans did stuff, too.  (Laughter.)  On immigration issues, we’ve got — and to their credit, there are some Republicans in the Senate who actually worked with Democrats, passed a bill, would strengthen the borders, would help make the system more fair and more just.  But the House Republicans, they haven’t even called the bill.  They won’t even take a vote on the bill.  They don’t have enough energy or organization or I don’t know what to just even vote no on the bill.  (Laughter.)  And then they’re made at me for trying to do some things to make the immigration system work better.  So it doesn’t make sense.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m sorry, what are you yelling about now?  Sit down, guys.  I’m almost done.  Come on, sit down.  I’ll talk to you afterwards, I promise.  I’ll bring you back.  I’m wrapping things up here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I understand.  See, everybody is going to start — I’m on your side, man.  Sit down, guys, we’ll talk about it later, I promise.

So, look, here’s what we could do.  We could do so much more — you don’t have to escort them out.  They’ll sit down.  I promise, I’ll talk to you afterwards.

We could do so much more if Republicans in Congress would focus less on stacking the deck for those on the top and focus more on creating opportunity for everybody.  And I want to work with them.  I don’t expect them to agree with me on everything, but at least agree with me on the things that you used to say you were for before I was for them.  (Applause.)

You used to be for building roads and infrastructure.  Nothing has changed.  Let’s go ahead and do it.  (Applause.)  Ronald Reagan passed immigration reform, and you love Ronald Reagan.  Let’s go ahead and do it.  (Applause.)

I mean, what changed?  I’m just saying.  (Laughter.)  That’s what made our country great, a sense of common purpose, a sense we’re all in it together as one nation, as one people.  We can debate the issues, we can have our differences, but let’s do something.  (Applause.)  Let’s rally around an economic patriotism that says, instead of giving more tax breaks to millionaires, let’s give tax breaks to working families to help pay for child care or college.

Instead of protecting tax loopholes that let corporations keep their profits overseas,  let’s put some of that money to work right here in the United States rebuilding America.  (Applause.)  We can rebuild our airports, create the next generation of good manufacturing jobs, make sure those are made in America.

Let’s rally around a patriotism that says we’re stronger as a nation when we cultivate the ingenuity and talent of every American, and give every 4-year-old in America access to high-quality education — good-quality preschool.  (Applause.)  Let’s redesign our high schools to make them more relevant to the 21st century economy.  Let’s make college more affordable.  Let’s  make sure every worker, if you lose your job, you can get a good job training that gives you an even better job.  (Applause.)

Let’s embrace the patriotism that says it’s a good thing when our fellow citizens have health care.  It’s not a bad thing. (Applause.)  That’s not a bad thing.  It’s a good thing when women earn what men do for the same work.  That’s an all-American principle.  (Applause.)  Everybody has got a mom out there or a wife out there or a daughter out there.  They don’t want them to not get treated fairly.  Why would you be against that?

It’s a good thing when parents can take a day off to care for a sick child without losing their job or losing pay and they can’t pay their bills at the end of the month.  It’s a good thing when nobody who works full-time is living in poverty.  That is not radical.  It’s not un-American.  It’s not socialist.  That’s how we built this country.  It’s what America is all about, us working together.  (Applause.)

So let me just wrap up by saying this:  The hardest thing to change in politics is a stubborn status quo.  Our democracy is designed where folks who have power, who have clout — they can block stuff, they can keep things as they are.  It’s hard.  It’s even harder when Washington seems focused on everything but your concerns, Kinsey’s concerns.

There are plenty of people who count on you getting cynical and count on you not getting involved so that you don’t vote, so you give up.  And you can’t give into that.  America is making progress, despite what the cynics say.  (Applause.)  Despite unyielding opposition and a Congress that can’t seem to do anything, there are workers with jobs who didn’t have them before; there are families with health insurance who didn’t have them before; there are students in college who couldn’t afford it before; there are troops who served tour after tour who are home with their families today.  (Applause.)

Cynicism is popular.  Cynicism is popular these days.  It’s what passes off as wisdom.  But cynics didn’t put a man on the moon.  Cynics never won a war.  Cynics didn’t cure a disease, or start a business, or feed a young mind.  Cynicism didn’t bring about the right for women to vote, or the right for African Americans to be full citizens.  Cynicism is a choice.

Hope is a better choice.  Hope is what gave young soldiers the courage to storm a beach.  Hope is what gave young people the strength to march for women’s rights and civil rights and voting rights and gay rights and immigrant rights.  (Applause.)

Hope is what compelled Kinsey to sit down and pick up a pen, and ask “what can I do,” and actually think maybe the President might read that story and it might make a difference.  (Applause.)  And her voice rang out here in the Paramount Theatre.  And it’s her voice and your voice that’s going to change this country.  That’s how we’re going to make sure that we remain the greatest nation on Earth — not by asking what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for each other and what we can do for our country.

And so, as President, I’m going to keep a promise that I made when I first ran:  Every day, I will keep asking the same question, and that is, how can I help you?  And I’ll keep treating your cares and your concerns as my own.  And I will keep fighting to restore the American Dream for everybody who’s willing to work for it.

And I am going to need you to be right there with me.  (Applause.)  Do not get cynical.  Hope is the better choice.

Thank you, Texas.  Thank you, Austin.  God bless you.  (Applause.)

1:28 P.M. CDT

Political Headlines May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama Finishes Trip Highlighting Innovation & Technology Industry “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours” in Austin, Texas





Obama Finishes Trip Highlighting Innovation & Technology Industry in Austin

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13


President Obama rounded out his tour of Austin, Texas, by speaking at Applied Materials, a company that provides equipment, services and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display and solar industries, as he highlighted the innovation occurring in the Austin area.

“If you watch the news sometimes you may think that it’s just doom and gloom out there, but the truth is there’s incredible stuff going on all across America and right here in Austin that I think could be good models for the rest of America to follow,” the president said….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Applied Materials on Innovation and Manufacturing During “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours” in Austin, Texas



Remarks by the President at Applied Materials, Inc. – Austin, TX

Source: WH, 5-9-13

Austin, Texas

4:57 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Austin!  How you doing?  (Applause.) Well, it is wonderful to see all of you here today.  First of all, give Nicole an outstanding round of applause for the great job that she did.  (Applause.)

It is wonderful to be here at Applied Materials.  I want to thank Mike and everybody who helped out hosting us and a wonderful tour of the facility.  It was incredible.  Rick was showing me some of your “clean rooms” where you are building the equipment that makes the chips that is basically powering everything that you guys are taking pictures with right now.  (Laughter.)  Smartphones, computers, iPads, laptops.  And it is just remarkable to see.  Every time I walk through these kinds of facilities I’m thinking, this is just magic.  I don’t know how they do it.

Somebody was explaining to me that — I guess one of the wafers was being cleaned, and he said, this would be the equivalent — it was Alex who told me this — Alex is around here somewhere — the equivalent of if you were mowing the South Lawn but every blade of grass was exactly cut at the same height within a single human hair.  That’s how precise things are.  That sounds pretty precise to me.  And if that’s, by the way, the precision that you operate on, if that’s how you define a clean room, then Sasha and Malia are going to have to step up their game at home.  (Laughter.)  Because it is not that clean.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank your Mayor, Lee Leffingwell, who’s doing a great job.  (Applause.)  Lee is doing outstanding work every day and helping to bring the Austin community together.  Congressman Lloyd Doggett is here.  (Applause.)  They’ve been great hosts.  We actually have a special guest — the Mayor of San Antonio in the house — my friend, Julian Castro is here.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve spent the day in Austin talking with folks about what we can do to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a thriving, rising middle class and a dynamic, cutting-edge economy.  That’s our priority.  That should be Washington’s top priority.  (Applause.)  And I see three things that we need to focus on to do it.

Number one, we’ve got to make America a magnet for good jobs.  Number two, we’ve got to help people earn the skills they need to do those jobs.  Number three, we’ve got to make sure people’s hard work is rewarded so that they can make a decent living doing those jobs.

And if you watch the news, sometimes you may think that there’s just doom and gloom out there.  But the truth is there’s incredible stuff going on all across America and right here in Austin that I think can be good models for the rest of America to follow.

This morning I visited Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning high-tech skills that companies like Applied are looking for right now.  They are getting excited, working with math and science and technology and engineering.  And it’s a hands-on high school where subjects are integrated, and kids are building things and conducting experiments at very early ages.  And it’s sparking their imagination in ways that may lead them to start up the next Applied, or come here and work at Applied.

And then I joined a few local families for lunch to talk about how we can make sure that hard work pays off with wages you can live on and raise a family, with health care that you can count on, and the chance to put away some money for retirement.  And we also had good barbeque — (laughter) — which is necessary for economic growth.  (Laughter.)  Some good barbeque once in a while.  And then I came to Applied Materials to talk about what we can do to make America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing.

After shedding jobs for a decade, our manufacturers have added now about 500,000 new manufacturing jobs over the past three years.  (Applause.)  That’s good news.  Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan, and Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico.  And after placing plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home.  This year, Apple started making Macs in America again.  (Applause.)

So there are some good trend lines there, but we’ve got to do everything we can to strengthen that trend.  We’ve got to do everything we can to help the kind of high-tech manufacturing that you’re doing right here at Applied.  And we want to make sure it takes root here in Austin and all across the country.  And that means, first of all, creating more centers of high-tech manufacturing.

Last year, we launched our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio, to develop new technologies and equip workers with the skills required to master 3-D printing techniques.  And in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up 15 more of these manufacturing hubs all across America, and I said that my administration was going to go ahead and move forward with three new hubs on our own, even without congressional action.

Well, today, we’re launching a competition for those hubs.  We are looking for businesses and universities that are willing to partner together to help their region — help turn their region into global centers of high-tech jobs.  Because we want the next revolution in manufacturing to be “Made in America.”  (Applause.)  We’re going to do that.

The truth is, over the past couple decades, too many communities have been hit hard when plants closed down and jobs dried up.  The economy obviously is changing all the time.  Nobody knows that better than folks here at Applied.  I was talking to somebody who’s — after showing me the wafer and some chips, and then they showed me a smartphone, they pointed to the smartphone and they said, 40 years ago, there’d be about $3 billion just trying to get this much computing power in this little thing, except it would fill up a whole room.

And so the economy is dynamic.  Technology is constantly changing.  That means we’ve got to adapt as well.  And even as we’re working to reverse the trend of communities that have been hard hit with old manufacturing leaving, we’ve got to propose partnerships with local leaders in manufacturing communities to help attract new investment in the infrastructure and the research that will attract new jobs and new businesses, so that communities that have been knocked down can get back up and get back on their feet.

And we should help our workers get the training they need to compete for the industries of tomorrow.  No job in America should go unfilled just because we don’t have anybody with the right skills.  (Applause.)  And that’s a priority.  Now, some of your colleagues that I met, some of them have advanced degrees.  Some of them came to apply basically right out of high school.  But all of you, whether it was, in some cases, through a university education, in some cases the military, in some cases just on-the-job training — all of you have specialized skills that are exactly what we need to continue to grow our economy.  But we’ve got a whole bunch of folks out there who don’t have those skills, either because the education system failed them or because their skills have been rendered obsolete.

And that’s why I want to rethink how our high school kids are prepared.  I want to make sure that we’re training two million Americans at our community colleges for skills that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  And that’s also why we’ve got to make sure that college is affordable and people aren’t burdened by a mountain of debt so that they can continue to upgrade their skills as well.

Now, if we want to manufacture the best products, we’ve also got to invest in and cultivate the best ideas.  Innovation, ingenuity — that’s the constant of the American economy.  That’s one of the constants of our character.  It’s what keeps America on the cutting-edge.

And just before I came here, I visited the Capital Factory, which, as some of you know, is a place that helps start-ups take off.  And everywhere you turn, somebody has got a new idea.  They’re all thinking big.  They’re taking risks.  It’s exciting.

There was a young woman who is in a wheelchair and physically disabled but is just incredibly inspired to make sure that she’s not in any way confined by that situation.  And she’s basically designed and is now manufacturing a car that people in wheelchairs can just drive their wheelchair right into the car and start driving.

And then you had a young man who had a 3-D camera — it was about this big — and basically from filming either a static image or in the round, can basically download that immediately and create a 3-D image, and then use that for 3-D manufacturing  — 3-D printing and manufacturing.  And what currently costs about $80,000 costs about $3,000 — the technology that he’s developed.  So they’re doing amazing stuff.

And one of the things we’re doing to fuel more inventiveness like this, to fuel more private sector innovation and discovery, is to make the vast amounts of America’s data open and easy to access for the first time in history.  So talented entrepreneurs are doing some pretty amazing things with data that’s already being collected by government.

So over at the Capital Factory, I met with folks behind the start-up called StormPulse, which uses government data on weather to help businesses anticipate disruptions in service.  And then you’ve got a Virginia company called OPower that’s used government data on trends in energy use to save its customers $200 million on their energy bills.  There’s an app called iTriage, founded by a pair of ER doctors that uses data from the Department of Health and Human Services to help users understand medical symptoms and find local doctors and health care providers.

And today I’m announcing that we’re making even more government data available, and we’re making it easier for people to find and to use.  And that’s going to help launch more start-ups.  It’s going to help launch more businesses.  Some of them undoubtedly will be using this data powered by chips that essentially started right here at Applied Materials.  (Applause.)

It’s going to help more entrepreneurs come up with products and services that we haven’t even imagined yet.

This kind of innovation and ingenuity has the potential to transform the way we do almost everything.  One-third of jobs in Austin are now supported by the tech sector.  And we should do all we can to encourage this kind of innovation economy all across America, in ways that produce new jobs and new opportunities for the middle class.

And we’re poised for a time of progress — if we’re willing to seize it.  Not even five years after the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, our jobs market, our housing market are steadily healing.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in decades.  The American auto industry has made a comeback.  It’s thriving.  American energy is booming.  But we’ve got to keep moving forward, and we’ve got to make sure that Washington is not administering self-inflicted wounds when we’re making progress.

So Mike and I were talking about the fact that if we can reform our tax system to eliminate some of these loopholes potentially we could lower some rates.  That would make our businesses more competitive.

Basic research, you’ll hear people talk about how government is not going to do anything for us.  Well, we all understand that the private sector powers and drives our economy.  On the other hand, most of the private sector right now has a lot of trouble financing basic research.  And that basic research is the foundation for everything that’s done at this company, and everything that’s done for most of your customers.  And we can’t afford to fall behind when it comes to basic research.  So there’s some key things that we can do that shouldn’t be ideological.  They’re not Democratic ideas or Republican ideas or independent ideas.  They’re just good ideas that allow the government to help create the foundation, the platform, the environment in which companies like Applied Materials can thrive. And that’s what we’ve got to constantly champion.

And when you’re talking to your members of Congress or you’re talking to elected officials, you’ve got to remind them we don’t want government to do everything for us, but it’s got a role to play on infrastructure, basic research — making sure that we’ve got a tax system that’s fair, making sure that we’ve got some basic stability in our budget so people aren’t always guessing what’s going to happen around the corner.

Think about how this company was built.  Back in 1967, when Applied Materials was just getting off the ground, there were five employees.  They worked out of this small industrial unit in California.  And I suppose they had a “clean room” in there, but I don’t know what it looked like.  (Laughter.)  But what they lacked in size, they made up with ingenuity and imagination and risk-taking.  And over the years, as you grew to become a leader in high-tech manufacturing, that ingenuity never faltered.  Whether you’ve been with this company for decades — as I know some of you have — or just for a year, you’re all focused on the future.  Every day you’re pushing the limits of technology a little bit further.

And you’re not alone, because somewhere over at the Capital Factory, there’s an entrepreneur mapping out a new product on a whiteboard that may be the next big thing.  Somewhere over at Manor New Tech High School, there’s a kid scribbling down an idea for a new invention that one day may turn into an entirely new industry.  That’s America.

And when you look out across this room, what you also notice is there’s talent drawn from every segment of our society.  We don’t care what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is.  We just want to make sure we’re all working together to create a better future for our kids.

That’s America. We innovate.  We adapt.  We move forward.  That’s what Austin is all about.  That’s what’s going on in this city.  (Applause.)  And that’s what I want to keep on promoting as your President of the United States of America.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.

END                 5:15 P.M. CDT

Political Headlines May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama Declares Economy is ‘Poised for Progress’ on “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour” in Austin, Texas





Obama Declares Economy is ‘Poised for Progress’

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13

File photo. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking before a group of high school students and teachers at Manor New Tech High School near Austin, Texas, on Thursday, President Obama said that the innovation and persistence of the American people has fostered an economy that is “poised for progress.”….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Manor New Technology High School on “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour” in Austin, Texas



Remarks by the President at Manor New Technology High School

Source: WH, 5-9-13 

Austin, Texas

1:38 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Texas!  (Applause.)  Howdy, Manor.  (Applause.)  Go Titans!  (Applause.)  I hear that there’s a rule that anyone who gives a presentation in front of the class has to dress up, so I made sure to wear a tie.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t want to lose points.

I want to thank Tevyn for the very generous introduction.  Give Tevyn a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Principal Zipkes for his great work.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Dylan and Jahman for showing me around.  Great job.  (Applause.)

We’ve got a number of other luminaries here today.  First of all, we’ve got Acting Secretaries of Commerce and Labor, Becky Blank and Seth Harris.  There they are right there.  (Applause.)  Becky is going to be leaving us to become the president of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  So if you all are interested in cold weather, you can apply.  (Laughter.)  You’ve got the hook-up right here.  And she’s going to do a great job.

We’ve got Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who’s here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Mayor Jeff Turner, who’s here.  (Applause.)  And it is Teacher Appreciation Week.  (Applause.)  So all the teachers, raise your hands.  Everybody give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We appreciate you.  Teachers work hard every single day, and they don’t do it for the money.  They do it because of the love of learning and love of their students.  And so we could not be prouder of them, and we are grateful to all of them.  And I want to thank all of you for a Texas-sized welcome.

Now, those of you who have seats, feel free to sit down.   Those of you who don’t, you’re out of luck.  (Laughter.)  You got to keep standing.

So this is the first stop that I’m making on a tour of the Austin area today.  And I chose Austin partly because I just love Austin — (applause) — but also because there are some terrific things going on in this area, in communities like Manor.  And there are terrific things going on in communities all across the country that are good models for all of America to follow.

You might not know this — because if you listen to all the doom and gloom in Washington, in politics, and you’re watching cable TV sometimes, you might get kind of thinking nothing is going right.  But the truth is there’s a lot of reasons for us to feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a country, especially after all the tough times that we’ve been through over the last several years.  And that should encourage us to roll up our sleeves and work even harder and work together to take on the challenges that are still holding back parts of our economy.

In a little over three years, our businesses have now created more than 6.5 million new jobs.  And while our unemployment rate is still too high, it’s actually the lowest that it’s been since 2008.  But that’s not good enough.  Now we’ve got to create even more good, middle-class jobs, and we’ve got to do it faster so that by the time you guys graduate from college the job market is strong.

Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs.  But that’s not good enough.  We’ve got to make sure that middle-class wages and incomes are also going up, because most families haven’t seen their take-home pay rise for years now.  Our housing market is healing, but that’s not good enough.  We still need to help a lot more families stay in their homes, or refinance to take advantage of historically low interest rates.

Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in years.  But now we’ve got to budget in a smarter way so it doesn’t hurt middle-class families or prevent us from making the critical investments that we need for your future.

So a lot of sectors of our economy are doing better.  The American auto industry is thriving.  American energy is booming.  American ingenuity and our tech sector continues to be the best in the world and has the potential to change almost everything that we do.  And thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, we’ve cleared away the rubble of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.

So we’re poised for progress.  All across America, Americans are working harder and they’re living up to their responsibilities, both to themselves and to one another and to their communities — every single day.  Part of our challenge, though, is you’ve got to try to see the same kind of seriousness of purpose in your leaders.  From Washington to Wall Street, all of us have to commit ourselves to doing better than we’re doing now.

And all of us have to rally around the single-greatest challenge that we face as a country right now, and that’s reigniting the true engine of economic growth, a rising, thriving middle class, where if you work hard — no matter what you look like, where you come from — you can succeed.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re fighting for.

Now, there are three things that we’ve got to focus on to create more jobs and opportunity for the middle class.  First of all, we’ve got to make America a magnet for good jobs.  Second, we’ve got to help people earn the education and develop the skills they need to do those jobs.  And number three, we’ve got to make sure that people who are working hard are able to achieve a decent living.  (Applause.)  All right?  That’s what we’ve got to focus on.

And I’ve sent Congress proposals on a whole range of ideas that will help in these three areas:  creating jobs, helping families stay in their homes, lifting wages, helping more young people get a good education and afford college.  But some of them have been blocked in Congress for, frankly, political reasons.  And I’m going to keep on trying.  I’m an optimistic guy, so I’m just going to keep on talking to members of Congress, because I believe that America does best when we work together.  (Applause.)  I believe that.

Every once in a while I’m going to need your help to lean on your elected representatives and say, hey, let’s do something about this; even if don’t like it politically, if it’s a good idea, let’s go ahead and support it.  So sometimes I’m going to need constituents to pressure their members of Congress to do the right thing.

But where I can, I’m just going to go ahead and take action on my own, including some executive actions that I’m taking today that I’m convinced will spur innovation and help businesses create more jobs.  Because we know what’s possible when Americans — whether they’re Republicans or Democrats or independents — are working together, and when parents and teachers and business owners and local leaders come together.

And that’s what we’re seeing here in Austin.  We’re seeing people working together — not because of politics, not because of some selfish reason, but because folks here understand that when we’re all working together everybody does better, everybody succeeds.  (Applause.)

So over the last three years in the Austin area, businesses have created 85,000 new jobs.  And companies like Apple and Visa are getting ready to open new offices.  General Motors is already hiring at its new innovation center.  According to one report, the tech sector now drives more than one-quarter of Austin’s economy.  And all of this has helped to make Austin one of the fastest-growing cities in America.  (Applause.)

So folks around here are doing something right, and I think the rest of the country can learn from what you’re doing — because I’ve always believed that the best ideas usually don’t start in Washington, they trickle up to Washington.  So I’ve come to listen and learn and highlight some of the good work that’s being done.

This afternoon, I’m going to go visit a local factory where workers are building the equipment that makes cutting-edge microchips — all those smartphones and iPads that you guys are using, a lot of this stuff is made there.  I’m going to have lunch with some local families to talk about what they’re facing, the challenges that they’re facing, and figure out how we can make sure that people’s hard work pays off.

But as you can see, my first stop was Manor New Tech.  (Applause.)  That’s my first stop.  (Applause.)  And the reason is because our economy can’t succeed unless our young people have the skills that they need to succeed.  And that’s what’s happening here, right at Manor New Tech.  There’s a reason why teachers and principals from all over the country are coming down to see what you’re up to.  Because every day, this school is proving that every child has the potential to learn the real-world skills they need to succeed in college and beyond.  (Applause.)

And you all are doing it together.  At Manor, a history teacher might get together with a math teacher and develop a project about the impact of castles on world history and the engineering behind building castles.  Or a group of students might be in charge of putting together a multimedia presentation about the moral dilemmas in literature as applied to World War II.  Internships help students get even more hands-on experience.  And while most high school students in America give a handful of speeches by the time they graduate, a student at this school might give as many as 200.  That’s a lot of speeches.  (Applause.)  I can relate.  (Laughter.)

And I just had a chance to see some of the incredible work that some of the young people here are doing — folks who used mathematical equations to build musical instruments, and tests on bungee jumping with rubber bands and weights, and robots that were being built, all kinds of great stuff.  And you’re doing things a little differently around here than a lot of high schools, and it’s working.  (Applause.)  It’s working.

And, by the way, the majority of students at Manor don’t come from wealth or privilege.  Some folks here might have come from some pretty tough backgrounds.  And yet, the vast majority of students here stay in school, they graduate.  Your test scores in most subjects have been higher than the state average.  Almost every member of the recent graduating class went on to college, and about 60 percent of them were the first in their families to do so.  (Applause.)  You should be proud of that.  (Applause.)

And you can see it when I was talking to some of your classmates on the projects they were working on.  There were a couple of your classmates who were studying how earthworms regenerate when they’re injured.  I saw solar cars.  Your championship regional “TEXplosion” robotics team — (applause) — competed in the world championships a couple of weeks ago.  And this program has only been around for five years.

So this is an impressive group.  And the teachers here you can tell are passionate about what they do and couldn’t be more impressive, although some of them look like they were in high school.  (Laughter.)  There were a couple of them I met, I said, are you sure you’re a teacher?  (Laughter.)  No, not you.  You look like you’re — (laughter) — I’m teasing.  You really are a student.  I know.  (Laughter.)

But it’s important to remember that, every year, schools like Manor New Tech hold blind lotteries to determine who gets in, because there just aren’t enough spots for all the students who want to go to a school like this one.  There are too many kids in America who are not getting the same kinds of opportunities through no fault of their own.  And we can do better than that.  We can do better than that.  (Applause.)

Every young person in America deserves a world-class education.  We’ve got an obligation to give it to them.  And, by the way, that helps the whole economy.  Every business in America we want to draw from the world’s highest-skilled and most educated workforce.  We can make that happen.  But we’re going to have to put our shoulder against the wheel and work a little harder than we’re doing right now as a nation.

So, number one, we’ve got to start educating our kids at the earliest possible age.  And that means giving every child in America access to high-quality, public preschool — something that I’m pushing for.  (Applause.)

Every dollar that we put into early childhood education can save $7 down the road because it boosts graduation rates, reduces things like teen pregnancy and violent crime, helps young people succeed not just in high school but beyond.  So let’s make that happen.  Let’s make every child’s early success a recipe for long-term success.  We can do that.

We’ve also got to make sure that we help more students at more schools get the kinds of skills they’re getting here at Manor Tech to compete in a high-tech economy.  (Applause.)  So that’s why we’re working to recruit and train 100,000 new teachers in science and technology, engineering and math; helping our most talented teachers serve as mentors for their colleagues so that they can help to push the great stuff that’s going on here out to other schools throughout the state and throughout the country.

We’ve also got to start rethinking and redesigning America’s high schools.  That’s part of what’s happening here is there’s innovation going on that equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.  There’s a lot of hands-on learning here.  People aren’t just sitting at a desk reading all the time.  Reading is important.  I’m a big reader.  But part of what makes this place special is, is that there’s all this integration of various subjects and actual projects, and young people doing and not just sitting there listening, so we’ve got to reward schools like this one that focus on the fields of the future — (applause) — schools that focus on the fields of the future, use technology effectively to help students learn, and are also developing partnerships with local colleges and businesses so that a diploma here leads directly to a good job.

And finally, we know that even with better high schools, if you want a good job and work your way into the middle class, most young people are going to need some higher education.  Unfortunately, in recent years, college costs have skyrocketed and that’s left too many students and their families saddled with a mountain of debt.  So we’ve worked to make college more affordable for millions of students already and families through tax credits, grants; more access to student loans that go farther than before.  We’ve reformed the student loan process by putting students ahead of big banks, providing options to make it easier for young people to repay these loans.

But even if we do all that, if the price of higher education keeps going up, then eventually there’s not going to be enough money to help young people.  So we’ve got to figure out how to reduce college costs.  And that’s why my administration has released what we’re calling a “College Scorecard” that gives parents and students the clear, concise information that you’ll need to find a school that best fits your needs but also gives you the best value.  (Applause.)  Gives you the best value.  It’s like a consumer report for colleges — because you don’t want a lemon, and you don’t want too much debt.

And going forward, colleges that don’t do enough to keep costs down I think should get less taxpayer support.  We want to support the schools that are doing a great job giving good value to students.  That’s what we want.  (Applause.)  And, young people and families, you shouldn’t have to subsidize skyrocketing costs if the colleges aren’t trying hard enough to keep costs down and provide a high-quality education.

So I could not be prouder of what’s happening here at Manor.  That’s why I wanted to come.  Last month, students in a digital media class made a YouTube video describing why this school was so special.  Some students talked about how they’re looking forward to being the first in their family to go to college.  Others talked about learning new skills, taking on more responsibility.  And one sophomore summed it up nicely when she said, “This school is a lot more than just a school.  It’s a family.  And it’s filled with people that are going to care about you and are going to help you.”

Manor, that’s what every school should be.  That’s what our country should be — (applause) — caring for each other, helping each another, being invested in each other’s success.  We’re not just a collection of individuals, we’re one American family.  And if we follow Manor’s example — if we give every child the chance to climb new ladders of opportunity; if we equip every American with the skills and education they need to succeed in the jobs of the future; if we make sure that hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded; and if we fight to keep America a place where you can make it if you try, then you’re not just going to be the ones who prosper, we’ll all prosper.  And together, we’ll write the next great chapter in America’s history.  (Applause.)

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

2:00 P.M. CDT

Political Headlines May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama Turns Attention to Manufacturing with New Executive Orders





Obama Turns Attention to Manufacturing with New Executive Orders

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13


While legislative battles over gun control and government spending have dominated much of the president’s agenda this year, President Obama heads to Austin, Texas, on Thursday to bring attention to job creation and manufacturing.

While in Texas, the president will announce two new executive orders during his first of a series of “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours.”  The executive actions are a fulfillment of promises made in the president’s State of the Union address this year to strengthen manufacturing….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 17, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Campaign Event, Private Residence, Austin, Texas




Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Source: WH, 7-17-12 

Private Residence
Austin, Texas

7:14 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody!  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Let me begin by just reemphasizing — in case you haven’t heard me say it before — I love Austin, Texas.  (Applause.)  Love Austin!  And some of it is the music, and some of it is all the extraordinary businesses that are being started here and UT and all that.  The main reason I love Austin is because I’ve got so many good friends in Austin.  And I am so grateful to all of you for taking the time to be here.

Now, I have to confess, I told Tom I was really interested in just seeing the bats fly out.  (Laughter.)  But apparently Secret Service has decided we got to keep all the screens down.  I may still try to take a peek later.  (Laughter.)

But there are a couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, obviously, Tom and Lynn — these guys have been there since the beginning.  (Applause.)  They were there in some of my first events in Texas, first events of my presidential campaign.  They have been stalwart friends for many years now.  And their entire family have just been wonderful.  I appreciate every single one of you.  And I can’t thank you enough, not just for opening your home up today, but also for opening up your hearts to me for so many years.  Please give them a big round of applause.  I’m grateful.  (Applause.)

A couple other people I just want to mention.  Kirk Rudy has been just as tireless.  (Applause.)  He was at the same first luncheon that I met Tom at, and has been our Deputy Finance Chair.  So we are grateful to him.  I’ve got a number of other National Finance Committee members who are here.  You know who you are, and I just want to say thank you to all of you.

And finally, you’ve got a hometown boy who has been doing great work promoting American business all around the world.  I’m a little annoyed at him because we played golf on Sunday.  He was my partner and we were up, and on the 18th hole he hit it into the sand trap and couldn’t get out.  (Laughter.)  And I lost money as a consequence.  But despite that fact, I am so grateful that Texas sent Washington Ron Kirk, because he doing a great job.  (Applause.)  He’s doing a great job.

So in a relatively intimate setting like this, I want to spend most of my time answering questions and having conversation as opposed to making a long speech.  So let me just say a few things at the top and then we’ll open it up.

First of all, when I think about some of those early events that we had here in Austin and around the country back in 2007, 2008, the reason I ran and the reason I think so many of you supported me was because we had a certain vision of what makes America great.  And it doesn’t just have to do with the height of our skyscrapers or the power of our military, but it has to do with this basic idea that here in this country, if you work hard, you can make it.  It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is, that if you apply yourself and take responsibility for not just yourself but your family and your community and your country, that you can succeed.  And we felt as if that basic bargain that built the largest middle class in history and made us an economic superpower, that that was fading away for too many people.  And this was before the financial crisis hit.

For the last three and half years, obviously, we’ve been occupied with trying to restore what had been lost during that crisis — millions of people who had lost jobs, people whose homes were underwater, businesses that had had to shut down.  And we made progress — 4.5 million jobs; 500,000 new manufacturing jobs, the most since the 1990s; the financial system.  We were able to right the ship.  But our goal wasn’t just to recover from the crisis.  Our goal was to deal with these longstanding problems that had been holding us back for too long.

We have made progress, but we still got a lot more work to do.  And what we’re seeing in this election, I think, is in some ways a culmination of a debate that’s been going on now for a decade about how this country grows and how it succeeds.  And the vision — the contrast in visions between the two candidates could not be more stark in this election; in some ways, more stark than it was in 2008.  I mean, John McCain believed in campaign finance reform.  He believed in climate change.  He believed in science.  (Laughter.)  No — I mean, when I speak about climate change, I mean, I think that’s — I pay attention to scientists.  He believed in immigration reform.

And right now, what we’ve seen is just a much more sharp division in terms of how we should move this country forward.  And so, in some ways, this election I think is more important than in 2008, and it’s going to be a very close election.

The good news is that the vision that we share for the country — one in which we’re investing in education and building our transportation networks and our infrastructure; and investing in science and research; and balancing our budget, and reducing our debt and deficits in ways that are balanced so that we are thinking about future generations and we’re asking everybody to do their fair share, including those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this nation — it turns out that that vision is one that a lot of Americans believe in.  And I have confidence that it’s the right vision for the country.

The challenge is, is that we’re still recovering from this enormous, catastrophic economic crisis, and so people feel — even if they may prefer our vision — frustrated with the fact that the economy hasn’t grown as fast and not everybody has gotten their jobs back that were lost during that recession.  And so that creates noise and it allows the other side not to present anything new, but rather to simply argue over and over again that the economy is not where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault.  And if you summarize all the negative ads that are being run, that’s essentially the message.  It’s not that there’s particular persuasive power in the other side’s arguments about how they’d fix the economy.  It’s simply they want to make this a referendum on the current state of affairs.

So we’re going to have to fight hard.  We’re going to have to work hard.  Now, I have to admit to you that Texas is not yet a battleground state.  (Laughter.)  I believe it will be.  I have confidence in that.  (Applause.)  But I think that it is going to take a little bit of time.

In the meantime, there is still an awful lot of people here in this room, and a lot of people here in Texas, who care about making sure that people don’t go bankrupt when they get sick, and care about keeping women’s health in the hands of women — (applause) — and care about having a smart foreign policy, and care about having comprehensive immigration reform.  And you can make an enormous difference in this campaign.

I note that as I was taking photos, some of you have dispatched your children to work in Pennsylvania, in Virginia, in some of the battleground states.  All of you are making enormous contributions to the campaign.  I just want you guys to know that if we stay with this and we work hard, we’re going to win this thing — because I have confidence in the American people and their core decency and their good instincts.  And if we stay on this, then we’re going to succeed not just over the next four years, but I think we’ll set the tone and the track for America’s success for the next several decades.

So thank you very much for all that you do.  (Applause.)  I appreciate it.  Thank you.

7:25 7:25 P.M. CDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 17, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at Austin Music Hall Austin, Texas




Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Source: WH, 7-17-12

Austin Music Hall
Austin, Texas

5:20 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Texas!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Austin, Texas!  (Applause.)  It’s good to be back.  Love Austin, Texas.  (Applause.)  How is everybody doing today?  (Applause.)

A couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, your fine mayor of this fine city, Lee Leffingwell is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got an out-of-town guest who is doing outstanding work in another part of Texas — the mayor of Houston, Annise Parker is here.  (Applause.)  Somebody who is fighting on behalf of working people every single day — Congressman Lloyd Doggett is here.  (Applause.)  And give it up for the outstanding entertainment provided by Jerry Jeff Walker. (Applause.)

And thanks to all of you for being here.  (Applause.)  I am excited to be back.


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

Now, Texas, let me tell you, this is my last campaign.


THE PRESIDENT:  No, it’s true.  Unless I move down here to Austin — maybe I — (applause) — run for dogcatcher down here or something.  (Laughter.)  This is most likely my last campaign, win or lose.  And it makes —


THE PRESIDENT:  And it makes you nostalgic about your first campaign, and the first few campaigns I ran back in my home state of Illinois — (audience member screams) — Illinois in the house!  (Applause.)

Now, back then, understand, I did not have Air Force One.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t have Marine One.  I didn’t have the Beast driving me around.  I drove myself around.  And Illinois is a big state, so I’d go up and down — I’d usually have one staff person with me; a lot of times I’d be the one driving.  And we didn’t even have MapQuest back then, so you had to unfold the map — (laughter) — and try to figure out how to fold it back, and we’d get lost.

But when I think back to those times, those early campaigns, we’d travel to inner-city communities and rural communities and suburban communities, and you’d meet folks from every walk of life — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, wealthy, low income.

And what was fascinating was that everywhere you went, there was a common theme, a common thread.  I’d see an elderly couple and I’d think about my grandparents — my grandfather who fought in World War II, and my grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.  And when he came back, he was able to get a college education on the GI Bill — (applause) — and they were able to buy a home with the help of an FHA loan.  And I’d think about the journey they traveled and how remarkable that was and how that represented all that the Greatest Generation had done.

And then I’d meet a single mom somewhere and I’d think about my mom, who basically raised me and my sister on her own because my father left — (applause) — and how she had to struggle to work while she was putting herself through school and still keep us on track.  And yet she was — because of the help of scholarships and grants — able to get her education and then give me and my sister the best education in the world.  And I thought about how that couldn’t happen probably in most places around the world.

And then I’d meet a working couple somewhere and I’d think about Michelle’s parents.  Michelle’s dad had MS, so by the time I met him, he could barely walk.  He had to use two canes.  And he had to wake up an hour early every morning, earlier than everybody else, to get — just to get dressed.  And he worked at a water filtration plant, a blue-collar job, and Michelle’s mom stayed at home until they were a little older and then she went to work as a secretary.  And they never had a lot, and yet because of the love and the values that were in that household, Michelle and her brother were able to get an unbelievable education and go as far as their dreams would take them.

And I’d hear these same kinds of stories everywhere I went. And it reminded me that what makes America so exceptional, what makes us so special, is this basic bargain, this basic idea that in this country, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter what setbacks you may experience, in this country if you work hard, if you are willing to take responsibility, then you can make it.  You can get ahead.  (Applause.)

That, for the overwhelming majority of Americans, that effort means that you can find a job that supports a family and it means that you could maybe get a home that you call your own, and you can send your kids to a good school and not go bankrupt when you get sick — (applause) — take a vacation once in a while — nothing fancy.  I was telling some folks up in Ohio about my favorite vacation when I was a kid was when I was 11, driving around the country and traveling around the country with my mom and my sister and my grandma.  And most of the time we took Greyhound buses and stayed at Howard Johnsons.  And if there was any kind of little swimming pool anywhere, I was happy.  (Laughter.)  And a big event was going to the vending machine and buying a soda and then filling the ice bucket and carrying it back.  (Laughter.)  That was a big deal.  But the point was you didn’t do it — it wasn’t a luxury, it was just the chance to have a little adventure with your family.

And then part of that bargain was that you could retire with dignity and respect and the end of a life, and that you knew that your kids could achieve more than you did, that their lives would offer opportunities you couldn’t even imagine.  And that bargain, that idea of who we are as a people, that’s what built this country.  That’s what made us into an economic superpower, this idea that anybody could make it.  And being middle class didn’t have anything to do necessarily with just the money in your bank account, but it had to do with a set of values and a set of beliefs about what was important.  (Applause.)

And it’s those values that propelled me to get into politics in the first place, because I saw the blessings in my life, and I wanted to make sure everybody in this country had those same blessings.  (Applause.)

And when we came together in 2008 — Democrats, but also some Republicans and independents — it was because we shared that belief, that bargain, and we had a sense that it was slipping away from us.  We had gone through a decade where hard work didn’t always translate into higher wages or higher incomes, and folks acting responsibly didn’t always get ahead.  And that was before the worst financial crisis and the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, which left millions more unemployed, and it looked like they were going to lose their homes, and struggling that much more to keep up with the rising cost of health care or a college education.

But for the last three and a half years, I have not forgotten why I got into politics, and I have not forgotten those values.  (Applause.)  And I haven’t forgotten why we came together — because we wanted to put this country back on a track where everybody had a fair shot and everybody did their fair share and everybody played by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)
And what has kept me going, for all the progress we’ve made — 4.5 million new jobs, and half a million new manufacturing jobs, and us stabilizing the financial system and averting a Great Depression, and investing in advanced manufacturing — for all the progress that we’ve made, what has kept me going every single day is remembering that thing that ties us together, that binds us as a people, and understanding that no matter what we went through, no matter how many times we get knocked down, that basic character of America does not change.  Who we are does not change.  (Applause.)  What we believe, the values we hold dear, the importance we place on hard work and that work being rewarded whether you are starting a small business or punching a clock — that idea that you can make it if you try here in America, that’s what we’ve been fighting for.

Yes, we’ve been trying to put people back to work, but our goal has not been to just get us back to where we were in 2007.  Our goal has been to rebuild an economy that lasts for everybody, for all people.  (Applause.)  And I am absolutely convinced that we are on that path.  And we are not going backwards.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Now, I have to tell you, there are some who say, well, this is part of America’s fate as it enters into the 21st century — that other countries are rising and we’re declining.  And I just don’t buy that.


THE PRESIDENT:  What’s holding us back is not — it’s not the lack of new ideas or big ideas, or policy prescriptions that could make a difference in education or housing or health care, or you name it.  What’s been holding us back is a stalemate in Washington.  And this is not just about two candidates or two political parties.  This is about two fundamentally different visions for where we take our country.  (Applause.)

My opponent, and his allies in Congress, they’ve got a particular view about how you grow the economy — top-down economics.


THE PRESIDENT:  Their basic view is that if you take the Bush tax cuts and on top of that you then layer on $5 trillion more of tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, and you eliminate regulations on polluters or the regulations we put in place to prevent another meltdown on Wall Street, or regulations to make sure that folks aren’t being taken advantage of by unscrupulous lenders — that if you just eliminate government intrusion into the market and let folks at the very top maximize their profits, that we’ll all do better, we’ll all be better off.


THE PRESIDENT:  I mean, that’s their theory — and it is a theory.  (Laughter.)  And you know, it would be okay for them to make that argument if we hadn’t just spent close to a decade trying their theory — (applause) — which resulted in the most sluggish job growth in decades, income and wages for ordinary folks going down, rising inequality, surpluses turned into deficits, culminating in the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.

Now, I don’t know about how you guys operate in your lives, but my general rule is if I do something and it just really doesn’t work out — (laughter) — then I try to do something different the next time.  (Applause.)

So I’ve got a different idea.

AUDIENCE:  We love you!

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

But let me tell you how I think about it.  See, I don’t believe in top-down economics.  I believe in middle-out economics. I believe in bottom-up economics.  I believe that when you give everybody a shot and everybody is able to work hard and look after their families, everybody does better — (applause) — including, by the way, folks at the top.  Small businesses and large businesses — suddenly they’ve got customers because those customers got some money in their pockets.  (Applause.)  The history of how we built this country was everybody having a chance to pursue their dreams and, together, us building opportunity that made us the envy of the world.

And so, I don’t believe that we should try once again something that didn’t work.  I think what we need to do is keep pursuing a strategy that says, let’s make the investments in the American people that will help us grow but will also create ladders of opportunity for everybody.  (Applause.)

So let me be specific.  When my opponent wanted to “let Detroit go bankrupt” —


THE PRESIDENT:  — I said, first of all, it’s going to cost us a million jobs.  Second of all, I believe in the American worker and I believe in American ingenuity.  (Applause.)  And so we got management and workers together, and guess what — three and a half years later G.M. is the number-one automaker again.  (Applause.)  The auto industry is roaring back and they’re building better cars and more fuel-efficient cars than ever.  That’s an example of what America can do when we work together.  (Applause.)

But it’s not just the auto industry.  Whether we’re talking about advanced manufacturing of batteries that will help us run electric cars, or wind turbines, or solar panels — I believe in making things here in America.  And I believe in inventing things here in America.  (Applause.)

And Governor Romney, his main calling card for running for office is his business experience, and so, understandably, the American people have been asking, well, let’s find out what you’ve been doing.  (Laughter.)  And if your main experience is investing in companies that are called “pioneers” of outsourcing, then that indicates that we’ve got a different vision, because I don’t want to be a pioneer of outsourcing. I want to be a pioneer of insourcing.  (Applause.)  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.  I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Austin — (applause) — investing right here in the United States of America, betting on American workers, making American products that we sell, stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States again. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  In 2008, I said I’d end the war in Iraq.  (Applause.)  Thanks to the brave men and women in uniform that serve us with such valor, I was able to keep that promise.  (Applause.)  I said we’d go after bin Laden.  (Applause.)  Thanks to our men and women in uniform, I kept that promise.  (Applause.)  We are now winding down the war in Afghanistan and starting to bring our troops home.  (Applause.)

And so, after a decade of war, what I’ve said is let’s take some of the savings, use half of it to help pay down our deficit; let’s use the other half to do some nation-building here at home. (Applause.)  Let’s rebuild our roads and our bridges.  Let’s build broadband lines into rural communities.  Let’s build high-speed rail that helps move people and services all across this country.  Let’s invest in basic research and innovation that has made places like Austin a hotbed of entrepreneurship and invention.  (Applause.)

We’ve got tens of thousands of folks who lost their jobs in the construction industry after the housing bubble went burst.  Let’s put them to work rebuilding America.  That’s what we do best.  (Applause.)  And by making those investments, we’re not just putting people back to work right now, we’re laying the foundation for economic growth for decades to come.  That’s my vision for America.  (Applause.)

Now, Mr. Romney disagrees.  He said ending the war in Iraq as I did was “tragic.”


THE PRESIDENT:  He said he wouldn’t set a timeline in Afghanistan.


THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve got a different approach.  And ultimately, you’re the ones who are going to be able to settle this dispute — with your vote.  That’s what our democracy is all about.  (Applause.)

I’m running again because we’ve done some great work reforming our education system, but we’ve got more work to do.  (Applause.)  I want to hire outstanding new teachers, especially in math and science.  We succeeded in preventing student loan rates from doubling.  (Applause.)  But we’ve got more work to do to bring down college tuition costs to make it affordable for every young person.  (Applause.)

I want to expand access to community colleges for 2 million more Americans so they get trained for the jobs that people are hiring for right now.  A higher education is no longer a luxury. It is an economic imperative in the 21st century.  It is part of what we need to succeed in this global economy.  And I’m going to fight for every young person who is willing to work hard to get an education.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

So on issue after issue, there is a fundamental difference. On housing, Mr. Romney says let’s just let foreclosures happen and the market will bottom out.  I want to make sure that every American who right now owns a home can refinance their homes at historically low rates — put $3,000 in the pocket of every American.  Not only will you spend that and create more customers for businesses, but it can also help stabilize the housing market.

And when it comes to immigration, Mr. Romney thinks that the Arizona law should be “a model for the nation.”


THE PRESIDENT:  I believe we’re a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  (Applause.)  We’ve worked hard on border security.  But I’ve also said that when you’ve got young people in this country who have been raised as Americans, who believe in America, then I want to give them a chance to succeed here in America.  (Applause.)  It’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

I don’t want to go back to the days when fighting for the country you love depended on who you love.  We ended “don’t ask, don’t tell”.  We’re not going to go back there.  (Applause.)

We’re not going to roll back Wall Street reform.  We know the costs when you’ve got lax regulation — everybody is affected, everybody pays a price.

And we are not rolling back health care reform.  (Applause.) The Supreme Court has spoken.  We are moving forward.  (Applause.)  If you’ve got health care, the only thing that now happens to you — you’re not paying a tax — the only thing that’s happening to you is that you have more security, because insurance companies can’t jerk you around.  Young people can stay on their parent’s plan until they’re 26 years old.  (Applause.)
Seniors are going to see lower prescription drug prices.  Everybody is going to get free preventive care, including women. (Applause.)

And by the way, insurance companies can’t charge women more than men now.  (Applause.)  Which reminds me, we’re not ending funding for Planned Parenthood.  I think women should have control of their own health care choices just like men.  (Applause.)  We’re not going backwards.

If you don’t have health care, then we’re going to help you get it.  And the only people who may have a problem with this law are folks who can afford health care but aren’t buying it, wait until they get sick and then going to the emergency room and expecting everybody else to pick up the tab.  That’s not responsibility.  That’s not consistent with who we are.

So we’re going to move forward on health care — (applause) — which brings me to one last issue, this whole issue of deficits and debt.  Now, the other side says this is the most important issue, we’re concerned for future generations.  Now, if you are truly concerned about deficits and debt, it’s puzzling that you would then propose a $5 trillion tax cut that would give the average millionaire a $250,000 tax break, and to pay for it you would then have to gut education, gut investments in science and research, gut our transportation spending, voucherize Medicare, oh, and in the process, eventually, you’re probably going to have to raise taxes on middle-class families.


THE PRESIDENT:  Now, we’ve already cut a trillion dollars.  And I don’t believe every government program works.  I don’t believe that government can help folks who don’t want to help themselves.  So we’ve got to continue to make government more efficient and more effective and more customer-friendly, but we’re not going to turn back the clock to the days when seniors had to fend for themselves, where poor children are on their own, where we’re not making investments in education and falling further and further behind other countries.


THE PRESIDENT:  So what I said is let’s ask folks like me, who have been incredibly blessed by this country, to do a little bit more.


THE PRESIDENT:  What I’ve said is — I told Congress last week, let’s go ahead and say everybody who’s making $250,000 a year or less, your income taxes will not go up one dime, period. (Applause.)  That includes 98 percent of Americans, 97 percent of small businesses.  (Applause.)  But for folks like me, we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure we are investing in America’s future.

And by the way, we tried that too, Austin.  A guy named Bill Clinton tried it, and we took deficits and turned them into surpluses, created 23 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  And by the way, wealthy people did really well also — because, again, if folks in the middle class are doing well, everybody does well.

It’s that basic principle.  Abraham Lincoln said that there are some things we do better together.  We are entrepreneurs, we are risk-takers, we’re rugged individualists, but there are some things we do better together.  That’s how we financed the GI Bill that created the largest middle class in history.  (Applause.)  That’s how we built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  (Applause.)  That’s how the Internet came to happen — because we recognized there are some things we do well together and we rise or fall as one nation, as one people.  (Applause.)

And so here’s the good news, is that in this election, you will have an opportunity to choose between these two visions, and that’s the way democracy should work.  Now, I will say that there’s going to be about — well, who knows how much money is going to be spent.  We’ve got folks writing $10 million checks —


THE PRESIDENT:  — running negative ads with scary voices.  (Laughter.)  And it’s basically the same message every time.  You know, they’ve got variations on a theme, but basically these folks know they can’t sell those tired economic theories that didn’t work last time.  So what they’re going to do is just to say, the economy is not where it needs to be, and it’s Obama’s fault.  That’s what they’ll say over and over again, and they’ll just keep repeating it and they hope it works.

Now, this is a plan to win an election, but it’s not a plan to create jobs.  It’s not a plan to grow the middle class.


THE PRESIDENT:  And I’ve got to say, I’d be pretty concerned about it except for what you taught me.  What you taught me in ’08, what I learned in those early campaigns traveling around the state and going to VFW halls and diners, and sitting in people’s living rooms, listening to their stories — what you taught me was that when the American people focus and recognize the stakes, and when they think back to the values that propelled their parents and their grandparents and their great-grandparents forward in the face of very difficult times — those folks, those generations who came here — some as immigrants, some not of their own accord, working in farms or ranches or factories or mills or mines — when the American people tap into what is true and good, that grit and determination and just neighborliness that built this country — you guys can’t be stopped.  It doesn’t matter how much money the other side spends — you can’t be stopped.  (Applause.)

And so the question is going to be how bad do we want it?  How bad are we willing to work for it?  How committed are we to making sure that our kids get a great education?  How committed are we to making sure that Social Security and Medicare are there for folks in the future?  How committed are we to making sure that our veterans, who have served us valiantly, that we’re serving them as well as they’ve served us?  How committed are we to bringing down our deficit in a balanced way?  (Applause.)  How committed are we to continuing to invest in science and research? How committed are we to that basic American bargain that says if you work hard, you can get ahead?

In 2008, I tried to just make promises that I could keep.  And one of those promises, I said to you I’m not a perfect man — I promised — talk to Michelle now — (laughter) — not a perfect man.  I said I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But what I said was that I would always tell you where I stood, I’d always tell you what I thought, and I would spend every single waking hour, as long as I had the privilege of being your President, fighting for you, thinking about you.  (Applause.)  Because in you, I saw me. In you, I saw my family.  In your grandparents, I saw my grandparents.  And in your kids, I see my kids.

Because of you, because of my faith in you — through all the ups and downs — I can say I have kept that promise.  (Applause.)  And if you still believe in me, if you are willing to stand up with me — (applause) — if you’re willing to knock on doors for me and make phone calls for me and talk to your friends and neighbors for me, and mobilize and organize — then we will finish what we started in 2008.  (Applause.)  And we will build this middle class and grow this economy so it works for everybody.  And we will remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

5:57 P.M. CDT

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