Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2012: Vice President Joe Biden Kick-off’s Obama 2012 Campaign — Speech on the Automotive Industry — Rips GOP Candidates, Mocks Romney

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

In Toledo, Biden Makes a Working-Class Appeal

Source: NYT, 3-15-12

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. reacted to cheers before speaking on Thursday at the United Auto Workers Local 12 hall in Toledo, Ohio.

Madalyn Ruggiero/Associated Press

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. reacted to cheers before speaking on Thursday at the United Auto Workers Local 12 hall in Toledo, Ohio.

The vice president criticized the Republican presidential candidates by name – repeatedly – accusing them of being “about protecting the privileged sector.”…READ MORE

Biden rips GOP field, mocks Romney

Source: Politico, 3-15-12

Joe Biden descended on an Ohio union hall to deliver his first bona fide campaign speech of the 2012 cycle, ripping into the GOP field for opposing the auto bailout — and mocking Mitt Romney’s connections to Bain Capital…READ MORE

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the Vice President on the Automotive Industry

Source: WH, 3-15-12
UAW Local 12, Main Hall
Toledo, Ohio

11:18 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hey, folks, how are you?  Hello, Toledo.  Good to see you all.  Please excuse my back.  I apologize.

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

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.

Well, I want to tell you — let’s start off by congratulating Marcy Kaptur for two more years.  (Applause.)  And, Shelley, when the Secret Service used to let me drive — they don’t let Presidents or Vice Presidents drive.  When I used to drive, I drove those Jeeps you built.  My daughter still drives a Jeep.  (Applause.)

And, Marcy, I wish my dad had owned a dealership.  He didn’t, he managed it.  If he owned it, I would have been able to own those new cars I took my girlfriends to the prom in.  (Laughter.)  Instead, I had to borrow them but I still got them.  (Laughter.)  It’s good having a dad in the automobile business, man.  (Laughter.)

Hey, I’m back, you’re back, and the industry is back.  (Applause.)  The President and I made a bet, a simple bet.  We bet on you.  We bet on American ingenuity.  We bet on you and we won.  (Applause.)  Chrysler, fastest growing car company in America, General Motors has seen the largest profits in its history — (applause) — 200,000 auto jobs lost since the rescue plan — 400,000 lost before we took office; 200,000 new jobs since the rescue plan was in place.  (Applause.)  That’s 200,000 people who had their dignity returned to them, reinstated, and a paycheck they can raise their family on.  (Applause.)

My dad knew something and taught us that all of you know, that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about your dignity.  It’s about respect.  It’s about your place in the community.  It’s about being able to turn to your kids and say, it’s going to be okay.  That’s what a job is about.

I don’t know if these other guys understand that.  And, folks, that’s how Barack and I measure economic success, whether the middle class is growing or not, that’s the measure of success.  (Applause.)  A growing, vibrant middle class where moms and dads, mothers and fathers, can look at their kids and say, Honey, it’s going to be okay.  Look, that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

This is the first of four speeches I’ll be making on behalf of the President and me in the coming weeks, laying out what we believe are clear, stark differences between us and our opponents and what’s at stake for the middle class, because it is the middle class that’s at stake in this election.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich — these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do.  Our philosophy, ours is one that values the workers in the success of a business.  It values the middle class and the success of our economy.

Simply stated, we’re about promoting the private sector, they’re about protecting the privileged sector.  (Applause.)  We are for a fair shot and a fair shake.  They’re about no rules, no risks, and no accountability.

Look, there’s no clearer example of these two different views of the economy than how we reacted to the crisis in the automobile industry.  It’s sort of a cautionary tale of how they would run the government again and the economy again if given a chance.

Remember, and you do remember — and Shelley, you captured it all.  Remember what the headlines were saying when you woke up a couple of years ago.  “It’s bankruptcy time for GM.”  Another headline — “Crunch time looms for Chrysler.”  Another headline — “Government must act quickly to prevent the collapse of suppliers.”  You guys know for every one of you on the line, there’s four people in another job supplying those parts.

Folks, a million jobs at stake — a million good jobs were at stake on the assembly line, at the parts factories, at the automobile dealerships, right down to the diners outside each of those facilities.  Our friends on the other side, our Republican friends, had started a mantra.  They started the mantra that said, we would make auto companies “wards of the state” was their phrase.  Governor Romney was more direct — let Detroit go bankrupt.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  Booo!

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  He said that.  He said that what we proposed, and I quote, “is even worse than bankruptcy.”  He said it would make GM “the living dead.”  Newt Gingrich said, “a mistake.”

But the guy I work with every day, the President, he didn’t flinch.  This is a man with steel in his spine.  He knew that resurrecting the industry wasn’t going to be popular.  It was absolutely clear in every bit of polling data.  And he knew he was taking a chance, but he believed.  He wasn’t going to give up on a million jobs and on the iconic industry America invented.  At least, he wasn’t going to give it up without a real fight.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  That’s right.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s the kind of President, in my view, we all want, a President with the courage of his convictions — (applause) — a President willing to take risks on behalf of American workers and the American people.  And, folks, that’s exactly what we have, a President with the courage of his convictions.  He made the tough call and the verdict is in.  President Obama was right and they were dead wrong.  (Applause.)

And I say — I say to Governor Romney, his prediction — Governor Romney’s prediction of the “living dead,” we have now living proof, a million jobs saved, 200,000 new jobs created, the Toledo powertrain plant adding 250 good paying jobs over the next two years — GM investing $200 million to build an efficient eight-speed transmission that the world will see; the Toledo Chrysler Assembly Complex preparing to bring on a new shift, 1,100 new jobs building the best cars in the world, Jeeps — (applause) — building Jeeps not only to sell in the United States, but to export abroad.  All told, right here in Ohio just since reorganization, 15,000 good paying, union, autoworker jobs, jobs you can raise a family on and live in a decent neighborhood on.  (Applause.)

American-made cars that are once again cars we want to drive and the world wants to buy.  And one more thing, the President’s historic fuel economy efficiency standards that nearly doubled the efficiency of cars, saving the American families $1.7 trillion at the pump, helping free us from foreign oil dependence.  (Applause.)  And they were against that too.

But you know, even though the verdict is in, Marcy, our Republican opponents, they just won’t give up.  They can’t deny the automobile industry is back.  They can’t deny we’re creating good jobs, good paying jobs again.  So now, they’re trotting out a new argument — it’s kind of old and new.  They say, not only should we not have done it, but had we not done it the private sector would have done it.

They say the private markets would have stepped in to save the industry.  Governor Romney says the market, Wall Street, “will help lift them out.”  Wrong.  Any honest expert will tell you in 2009, no one was lining up to lend General Motors or Chrysler any money or for that matter to lend money to anybody.  That includes Bain Capital.  They weren’t lining up to lend anybody any money either.  (Laughter and applause.)

So now, when that argument doesn’t have legs, they’ve now gone to another one, the new argument.  They argue that our plan to save the industry was just a giveaway to union bosses and the unions.  Senator Santorum said it was, “a payoff to special interests.”  You know it’s kind of amazing Gingrich and Romney and Santorum, they don’t let the facts get in their way.  (Laughter.)

Nobody knows better than you and your families the real price you paid to allow this reorganization to take place — plant closures, wage freezes, lower wages.  They know, everybody knows, these companies would not be in existence today without the sacrifices of all of you in the UAW that you made.  (Applause.)

Then they trot out another argument.  They argue that if GM and Chrysler had gone under that’s okay, because Ford and other auto companies would have stepped in and filled the void — absolutely zero evidence for that.  In fact, Alan Mulally said  — of Ford Motor Company, the CEO — said that if GM and Chrysler went down, and I quote here, “they would have taken the industry down, plus maybe turn the U.S. recession into a depression.”  Ford would have taken up the slack.  Ford says, hey, no, had you not done what you did the whole thing would have collapsed.

Look, I want to tell you what’s real bankruptcy, the economic theories of Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney — they are bankrupt.  (Applause.)  If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class again.  (Applause.)

Look, the President and I have a fundamental commitment to dealing the middle class back into the American economy that they’ve been dealt out of for so long.  And, ultimately, that’s what this election is all about.  It’s a choice, a clear choice, a choice between a system that’s rigged and a system that’s fair — a system that says everyone will be held accountable for their actions, not just the middle class, a system that trusts the workers on the line instead of listening to the folks up in the suites.  Folks, that’s the choice.  It’s a stark choice and in my mind it’s not even a close call.

Look, a lot of you and your friends and family understand what I understand.  As a kid, I saw my dad trapped in the city where all the good jobs were gone after World War II in the early ‘50s and middle ‘50s.  I remember him walking up to my bedroom in my grandpop’s house and saying, Joey, dad is going to have to move away for a year.  I’m going to move to Wilmington, Delaware.  Uncle Frank is down there.  It’s only 156 miles away.  And I’ll try to come home every weekend.  Joey, there are good jobs down there.  And when I get one and I’m settled, I’m going to bring you, mom, Val, and Jimmy.  It’s going to be good.

A lot of you — a lot of you and a lot of your friends made that long walk to your kid’s bedroom.  But because of the actions of the President, things are changing.  Today, hundreds of thousands of workers are replacing the longest walks with a different journey.  It’s a journey that ends with workers who are able to go home and say, I’ve got a job.  I’m building cars again.  These are amazing cars that people in America and all over the world are going to want to buy.

It’s not just the automobile industry is coming back, folks.  Manufacturing is coming back.  The middle class is coming back.  America is coming back — (applause) — worker by worker, home by home, community by community, this country is coming back because of you.  (Applause.)

God bless you all and may God protect our troops.  Go build those cars.  (Applause.)

END
11:33 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency February 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to UAW / United Auto Workers Conference Praises Auto Industry Bailout & Announces New Trade Enforcement Agency — Stark Contrast to GOP / Republican Candidates

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

A new trade enforcement agency announced today will ensure the playing field is level and that American products can be exported across the world

President Barack Obama speaks at the United Auto Workers Conference
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., White House Photo, Pete Souza, 2/28/12

President Obama Speaks to United Auto Workers

Source: WH, 2-28-12

President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks at the United Auto Workers Conference
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers (UAW) Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today, President Obama spoke at the United Auto Workers Annual Conference to discuss the success of the American auto industry.

After nearly collapsing three years ago, our nation’s big three automakers are turning profits and opening new factories. The industry has added more than 200,000 jobs. And those workers aren’t just building cars again–they are building better, more fuel efficient automobiles that help Americans save money at the pump every time they fill up. The cars they are building to meet new fuel efficiency standards will average 55 miles to the gallon by 2025, cutting our oil consumption by 2 million barrels a day.

When the President took office, our nation’s three largest automakers were on the brink of failure. The economy was in complete free fall and private  investors weren’t willing to take a chance on the auto industry. Doing nothing, as some proposed, would have cost more than a million Americans their jobs, and threatened the livelihood of many more in the communities that depend on the industr. As President Obama explained today:

Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under. The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.  Then even Ford could have gone down as well. Production shut down. Factories shuttered. Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps. And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

President Obama wasn’t willing to let that happen. He stepped in and offered the support automakers needed in return for some restructuring on their end:

[W]e were not going to take a knee and do nothing. We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.  So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We said to the auto industry, you’re going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you’re changing.  And thanks to outstanding leadership…we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences.

Since then, the President has taken even more steps to help our automakers and other manufacturers. Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement he signed into law last year, there will be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago. And a new Trade Enforcement Unit, introduced in the State of the Union and launched today, will help counter unfair trading practices around the world to level the playing field for American workers and manufacturers. As the President explained:

…America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built — not in Europe, not in Asia — right here in the United States of America.


Read more:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President to UAW Conference

Washington Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, D.C.

11:30 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  How’s it going, UAW?  (Applause.)  It is good to be with some autoworkers today!  (Applause.)  All right. Everybody have a seat, get comfortable.  Go ahead and get comfortable.  I’m going to talk for a little bit.  (Applause.)

First of all, I want to say thank you to one of the finest leaders that we have in labor — Bob King.  Give it up for Bob.  (Applause.)  I want to thank the International Executive Board and all of you for having me here today.  It is a great honor.  I brought along somebody who is proving to be one of the finest Secretaries of Transportation in our history — Ray LaHood is in the house.  Give Ray a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

It is always an honor to spend time with folks who represent the working men and women of America.  (Applause.)  It’s unions like yours that fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers.  It’s unions like yours that helped build the arsenal of democracy that defeated fascism and won World War II.  It’s unions like yours that forged the American middle class — that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known.

So you guys helped to write the American story.  And today, you’re busy writing a proud new chapter.  You are reminding us that no matter how tough times get, Americans are tougher.  (Applause.)  No matter how many punches we take, we don’t give up.  We get up.  We fight back.  We move forward.  We come out the other side stronger than before.  That’s what you’ve shown us.  (Applause.)  You’re showing us what’s possible in America.  So I’m here to tell you one thing today:  You make me proud.  (Applause.)  You make me proud.

Take a minute and think about what you and the workers and the families that you represent have fought through.  A few years ago, nearly one in five autoworkers were handed a pink slip — one in five.  Four hundred thousand jobs across this industry vanished the year before I took office.  And then as the financial crisis hit with its full force, America faced a hard and once unimaginable reality, that two of the Big 3 automakers  — GM and Chrysler — were on the brink of liquidation.

The heartbeat of American manufacturing was flat-lining and we had to make a choice.  With the economy in complete free fall there were no private investors or companies out there willing to take a chance on the auto industry.  Nobody was lining up to give you guys loans.  Anyone in the financial sector can tell you that.

So we could have kept giving billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to automakers without demanding the real changes or accountability in return that were needed — that was one option. But that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long term.  Sooner or later we would have run out of money.  We could have just kicked the problem down the road.  The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these companies fail.  And you will recall there were some politicians who said we should do that.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Some even said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  You remember that?  (Applause.)  You know.  (Laughter.)  Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under.  The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.  Then even Ford could have gone down as well.  Production shut down.  Factories shuttered.  Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps.  And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

More than one million Americans across the country would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  In communities across the Midwest, it would have been another Great Depression.  And then think about all the people who depend on you.  Not just your families, but the schoolteachers, the small business owners, the server in the diner who knows your order, the bartender who’s waiting for you to get off.  (Laughter.)  That’s right.  (Applause.)  Their livelihoods were at stake as well.

And you know what was else at stake?  How many of you who’ve worked the assembly line had a father or a grandfather or a mother who worked on that same line?  (Applause.)  How many of you have sons and daughters who said, you know, Mom, Dad, I’d like to work at the plant, too?  (Applause.)

These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck.  They’re a source of pride.  They’re a ticket to a middle-class life that make it possible for you to own a home and raise kids and maybe send them — yes — to college.  (Applause.)  Give you a chance to retire with some dignity and some respect.  These companies are worth more than just the cars they build.  They’re a symbol of American innovation and know-how.  They’re the source of our manufacturing might.  If that’s not worth fighting for, what’s worth fighting for?  (Applause.)

So, no, we were not going to take a knee and do nothing.  We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.  So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We said to the auto industry, you’re going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you’re changing.  And thanks to outstanding leadership like Bob King, we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences.  (Applause.)

We got the industry to retool and restructure, and everybody involved made sacrifices.  Everybody had some skin in the game.  And it wasn’t popular.  And it wasn’t what I ran for President to do.  That wasn’t originally what I thought I was going to be doing as President.  (Laughter.)  But you know what, I did run to make the tough calls and do the right things — no matter what the politics were.  (Applause.)

And I want you to know, you know why I knew this rescue would succeed?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  How did you do it?  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  You want to know?  It wasn’t because of anything the government did.  It wasn’t just because of anything management did.  It was because I believed in you.  I placed my bet on the American worker.  (Applause.)  And I’ll make that bet any day of the week.  (Applause.)

And now, three years later — three years later, that bet is paying off — not just paying off for you, it’s paying off for America.  Three years later, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.)  GM is back on top as the number-one automaker in the world  — (applause) — highest profits in its 100-year history. Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company. (Applause.)  Ford is investing billions in American plants, American factories — plans to bring thousands of jobs back to America.  (Applause.)

All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years — 200,000 new jobs. And here’s the best part — you’re not just building cars again; you’re building better cars.  (Applause.)

After three decades of inaction, we’re gradually putting in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickups.  That means the cars you build will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade — almost double what they get today.  (Applause.)  That means folks, every time they fill up, they’re going to be saving money.  They’ll have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  That saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time. That means we’ll cut our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That means we have to import less oil while we’re selling more cars all around the world.  (Applause.)

Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement I signed into law  — with you in mind, working with you — there will soon be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago.  (Applause.)

And today — I talked about this at the State of the Union, we are doing it today — I am creating a Trade Enforcement Unit that will bring the full resources of the federal government to bear on investigations, and we’re going to counter any unfair trading practices around the world, including by countries like China.  (Applause.)  America has the best workers in the world.  When the playing field is level, nobody will beat us.  And we’re going to make sure that playing field is level.  (Applause.)

Because America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built — not in Europe, not in Asia — right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

I’ve seen it myself.  I’ve seen it myself.  I’ve seen it at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit, where a new shift of more than 1,000 workers came on two years ago, another 1,000 slated to come on next year.  I’ve seen it in my hometown at Ford’s Chicago Assembly — (applause) — where workers are building a new Explorer and selling it to dozens of countries around the world.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I’m buying one, too.

THE PRESIDENT:  There you go.  (Laughter.)

I’ve seen it at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio — (applause)  — where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit — (applause) — where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line — even though Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it.  (Laughter.) But I liked sitting in it.  (Laughter.)  It was nice.  I’ll bet it drives real good.  (Laughter.)  And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself.  (Applause.)  Yes, that’s right.

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

THE PRESIDENT:  I know our bet was a good one because I had seen it pay off firsthand.  But here’s the thing.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  Ask the Chrysler workers near Kokomo — (applause) — who were brought on to make sure the newest high-tech transmissions and fuel-efficient engines are made in America.  Or ask the GM workers in Spring Hill, Tennessee, whose jobs were saved from being sent abroad.  (Applause.)  Ask the Ford workers in Kansas City coming on to make the F-150 — America’s best-selling truck, a more fuel-efficient truck.  (Applause.)  And you ask all the suppliers who are expanding and hiring, and the communities that rely on them, if America’s investment in you was a good bet.  They’ll tell you the right answer.

And who knows, maybe the naysayers would finally come around and say that standing by America’s workers was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  Because, I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet.  (Applause.)  The same folks who said, if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”  Now they’re saying, we were right all along.  (Laughter.)

Or you’ve got folks saying, well, the real problem is — what we really disagreed with was the workers, they all made out like bandits — that saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions.  Really?  (Laughter.)  I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you know what.  (Laughter.)

About 700,000 retirees had to make sacrifices on their health care benefits that they had earned.  A lot of you saw hours reduced, or pay or wages scaled back.  You gave up some of your rights as workers.  Promises were made to you over the years that you gave up for the sake and survival of this industry — its workers, their families.  You want to talk about sacrifice?  You made sacrifices.  (Applause.)  This wasn’t an easy thing to do.

Let me tell you, I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time.  You want to talk about values?  Hard work — that’s a value.  (Applause.)  Looking out for one another — that’s a value.  The idea that we’re all in it together, and I’m my brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper — that’s a value.  (Applause.)

They’re out there talking about you like you’re some special interest that needs to be beaten down.  Since when are hardworking men and women who are putting in a hard day’s work every day — since when are they special interests?  Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing?

I remember my old friend, Ted Kennedy — he used to say, what is it about working men and women they find so offensive?  (Laughter.)  This notion that we should have let the auto industry die, that we should pursue anti-worker policies in the hopes that unions like yours will buckle and unravel -– that’s part of that same old “you are on your own” philosophy that says we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves; let the most powerful do whatever they please.  They think the best way to boost the economy is to roll back the reforms we put into place to prevent another crisis, to let Wall Street write the rules again.

They think the best way to help families afford health care is to roll back the reforms we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans.  (Applause.)  They want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased. They think we should keep cutting taxes for those at the very top, for people like me, even though we don’t need it, just so they can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries.

Well, let me tell you something.  Not to put too fine a point on it — they’re wrong.  (Laughter.)  They are wrong.  (Applause.)  That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess.  We can’t afford to go back to it.  Not now.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.  We’ve got a long way to go before everybody who wants a good job can get a good job.  We’ve got a long way to go before middle-class Americans fully regain that sense of security that’s been slipping away since long before this recession hit.  But you know what, we’ve got something to show — all of you show what’s possible when we pull together.

Over the last two years, our businesses have added about 3.7 million new jobs.  Manufacturing is coming back for the first time since the 1990s.  Companies are bringing jobs back from overseas.  (Applause.)  The economy is getting stronger.  The recovery is speeding up.  Now is the time to keep our foot on the gas, not put on the brakes.  And I’m not going to settle
for a country where just a few do really well and everybody else is struggling to get by.  (Applause.)

We’re fighting for an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, where everybody does their fair share, where everybody plays by the same set of rules.  We’re not going to go back to an economy that’s all about outsourcing and bad debt and phony profits.  We’re fighting for an economy that’s built to last, that’s built on things like education and energy and manufacturing.  Making things, not just buying things — making things that the rest of the world wants to buy.  And restoring the values that made this country great:  hard work and fair play, the chance to make it if you really try, the responsibility to reach back and help somebody else make it, too — not just you.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we believe in.   (Applause.)

I was telling you I visited Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit about a year and a half ago.  Now, the day I visited, some of the employees had won the lottery.  Not kidding.  They had won the lottery.  Now, you might think that after that they’d all be kicking back and retiring.  (Laughter.)  And no one would fault them for that.  Building cars is tough work.  But that’s not what they did.  The guy who bought —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  What did they do?

THE PRESIDENT:  Funny you ask.  (Laughter.)  The guy who bought the winning ticket, he was a proud UAW member who worked on the line.  So he used some of his winnings to buy his wife the car that he builds because he’s really proud of his work.  (Applause.)  Then he bought brand new American flags for his hometown because he’s proud of his country.  (Applause.)  And he and the other winners are still clocking in at that plant today, because they’re proud of the part they and their coworkers play in America’s comeback.

See, that’s what America is about.  America is not just looking out for yourself.  It’s not just about greed.  It’s not just about trying to climb to the very top and keep everybody else down.  When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together and we get them going again.  When somebody else falters, we try to give them a hand up, because we know we’re all in it together.

I got my start standing with working folks who’d lost their jobs, folks who had lost their hope because the steel plants had closed down.  I didn’t like the idea that they didn’t have anybody fighting for them.  The same reason I got into this business is the same reason I’m here today.  I’m driven by that same belief that everybody — everybody — should deserve a chance.  (Applause.)

So I promise you this:  As long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me.  (Applause.)  We’re going to keep on fighting to make our economy stronger; to put our friends and neighbors back to work faster; to give our children even more opportunity; to make sure that the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth.   (Applause.)

Thank you, UAW.  I love you.  God bless you.  God bless the work you do.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
11:55 A.M. EST

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