Full Text Political Transcripts March 19, 2015: Monica Lewinsky’s speech at TED 2015 Conference about Bill Clinton Scandal and Cyber-Bullying Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Monica Lewinsky’s speech at TED 2015 Conference about Bill Clinton Scandal and Cyber-Bullying Transcript

Monica Lewinsky speaks at TED2015 - Truth and Dare, March 19 2015, Vancouver Convention Center. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Monica Lewinsky

You are looking at a woman who was publicly silent for a decade. Obviously that has changed, but only recently.

It was several months ago that I gave my very first, major public talk at the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit.

1500 brilliant people, all under the age of 30. That meant that in 1998 the oldest among the group were only 14 and the youngest just 4.

I joked with them that some might only have heard of me from rap songs. Yes, I am in rap songs. Almost 40 rap songs.

But the night of my speech, a surprising thing happened. At the age of 41, I was hit on by a 27-year-old guy. I know, right? He was charming and I was flattered and I declined. Do you know what his unsuccessful pickup line was? He could make me feel 22 again.

I realized later that night I am probably the only person over 40 who does not want to be 22 again.

At the age of 22 I fell in love with my boss. And at the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.

Can I see a show of hands of anyone here who  didn’t make a mistake or do something they regretted at 22? Yep, that’s what I thought. So like me, at 22, a few of you may have taken wrong turns and fallen in love with the wrong person. Maybe even your boss.

Unlike me, your boss probably wasn’t the President of the United States of America.

Of course, life is full of surprises.

Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake. And I regret that mistake deeply.

In 1998, after having been swept up into an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal and media maelstrom like we had never seen before. Remember, just a few years earlier, news was consumed in just three places: reading a newspaper or magazine, listening to a radio, or watching television. That was it.

But that wasn’t my fate. Instead, this scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution. That meant we could access all the information we wanted, when we wanted it, anytime, anywhere. And when the story broke in January, 1998, it broke online. It was the first time the traditional news was usurped by the internet for a major news story. A click that reverberated around the world.

What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly-humiliated one worldwide. I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on the global scale almost instantaneously.

This rush to judgement enabled by technology led to mobs of virtual stone-throwers. Granted, it was before social media, but people could still comment online, email stories and of course, email cruel jokes. News sources plastered photos of me all over to sell newspapers, banner ads online, and to keep people tuned to the TV.

Do you recall a particular image of me, say, wearing a beret? Now, I admit I made mistakes, especially wearing that beret. But the attention an judgement I received, not the story, but that I personally received, was unprecedented.

I was branded as a tramp. Tart. Slut. Whore. Bimbo. And, of course, “That Woman”. I was seen by many, but actually known by few. And I get it. It was easy to forget that “that woman” was dimensional, had a soul, and was once unbroken.

When this happened to me 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyber-bulling and online harassment.

Today I want to share some of my experiences, and talk about how those experiences helped shape my cultural observations, and how my past experiences can lead to a change that can lead to less suffering for others.

In 1998 I lost my reputation and my dignity. I lost almost everything. And I almost lost my life.

Let me paint a picture for you. It is September of 1998. I am sitting in a windowless office room inside the Office of the Independent Counsel, underneath humming flourscent lights. I am listening to the sound of my voice. My voice on surreptitiously taped phone calls that a supposed friend had made the year before. I am here because I’ve been legally required to authenticate all 20 hours of taped conversation. For the past eight months, the mysterious content of these conversations has hung like the Sword of Damocles over my head.

I mean, who can remember what they said a year ago?

Scared and mortified, I listened. Listened as I prattled on about the flotsam and jetsam of the day. Listen as I confess my love for the president. And of course, my heartbreak. Listened to my sometimes catty, sometimes churlish, sometimes silly self being cruel, unforgiving, uncouth. Listened deeply, deeply ashamed of the worst version of myself. A self I don’t even recognize.

A few days later, the Starr Report is released to Congress and all of those tapes and transcripts, those stolen words, form a part of it. That people can read the transcripts is horrific enough. But a few weeks later the audio tapes are aired on TV, and significant portions are made available online.

The public humiliation was excruciating. Life was almost unbearable.

This was not something happened with regularity back in 1998. And by this, I mean the stealing of people’s private words, actions, conversations or photos, and then making them public. Public without consent, public without context, and pubic without compassion.

Fast forward 12 years to 2010 and now social media has been born. The landscape has sadly become much more populated with instances like mine, whether or not someone actually made a mistake. And now it is for both public and private people. The consequences for some have become dire. Very dire.

I was on the phone with my mom in September, 2010 and we were talking about the news of a young college freshman from Rutgers University named Tyler Clementi.

Sweet, sensitive, creative Tyler was secretly webcammed by his room mate while being intimate with another man. When the online world learned of this incident, the ridicule and cyber-bullying ignited. A few days later, Tyler jumped from the George Washington Bridge to his death. He was 18.

My mom was beside herself about what happened to Tyler and his family and she was gutted with pain in a way I just couldn’t understand.

And then eventually, she was reliving 1998. Reliving a time when she sat beside my bed every night. Reliving a time when she made me shower with the bathroom door opened. And reliving a time when both of my parents feared I would be humiliated to death. Literally.

Today too many parents haven’t had the chance to step in and rescue their loved ones. Too many have learned have of their child’s humiliation and suffering after it was too late.

Tyler’s tragic, senseless death was a turning point for me. It served to recontextualize my experiences and I then began to look at the world of humiliation and bullying around me and see something different.

In 1998 we had no way of knowing where this brave new technology called the Internet would take us. Since then it has connected people in unimaginable ways, joining lost siblings, saving lives, launching revolutions.

But the darkness, cyber-bullying and slut-shaming that I experienced had mushroomed. Every day online people, especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this, are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day. And some, tragically, don’t. And there is nothing virtually about that.

ChildLine, a UK-based service that is focussed on helping young people on various issue, released a staggering statistic late last year. From 2012 to 2013, there was an 87 per cent increase in calls and emails related to cyber-bullying. A meta analysis done out of the Netherlands showed that for the first time, cyber-bullying was leading to suicidal ideations more significantly than offline bullying.

And you know what shocked me, although it shouldn’t have, was other research that determined that humiliation was a more intensely felt emotion that either happiness or even anger.

Cruelty to others is nothing new. But online, technologically-enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained and permanently accessible.

The echo of embarrassment used to extend only as far as your family, village, school or community. But now it is the online community too. Millions of people can stab you anonymously with their words, and that is a lot of pain. And there are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade.

There is a very personal price to public humiliation. And the growth of the internet has jacked up that price. For nearly two decades now we have slowly been sowing the seeds of humiliation and shame in our cultural soil, both on and offline.

Gossip websites, paparazzi, reality programming, politics, news outlets and sometimes hackers all traffic in shame. It has led to desensitization and a permissive environment online which lends itself to  trolls, trolling, cyber-bullying and invasion of privacy. This shift has created what Professor Nicolas Vilas calls a culture of humiliation.

Consider a few common examples just from the past six months alone.

Snapchat, the service which is mainly used by the younger generations and claims that its messages only have the life span of a few seconds. You can imagine the range of content that gets. A third-party app that SnapChatters used to preserve the life span of the messages was hacked, and 100,000 personal conversations, photos and videos were leaked online to now have a lifetime of forever.

Jennifer Lawrence and several other actors had their iCloud accounts hacked and private, intimate nude photos were plastered across the internet without their permission.

One gossip website had over one million hits for this one story.

And what about the Sony Pictures cyber-hacking? The documents that which received the most attention were private emails that had maximum public embarrassment value.

But in this culture of humiliation, there is another kind of price tag attached to public shaming. The price does not measure the cost to the victim, which Tyler and many others, notably women and minorities and members of the LGBTQ community have paid, but the price measures the profit of those who prey on them.

This invasion of others is a raw material efficiently and ruthlessly mined, packaged and sold at a profit. A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry.

How is the money made? Clicks. The more shame, the more clicks. The more clicks, the more advertising dollars. We are in a dangerous cycle. The more we click on this kind of gossip, the more numb we become to the human lives behind it. And the more numb we get, the more we click.

All the while, somebody is making money off of the back of someone else’s suffering. With every click we make a choice. The more we saturate our culture with public shaming, the more accepted it is, the more we will see behaviour like trolling, cyber-bullying, some forms of hacking and online harassment.

Why? Because they all have humiliation at their cores. This behaviour is a symptom of the culture we’ve created. Just think about it.

Changing behaviour begins with evolving beliefs. We’ve seen that to be true with racism, homophobia and plenty of other biases today and in the past. As we have changed beliefs about same-sex marriage, more people have been offered equal freedoms. When we began valuing sustainability, more people began to recycle.

So as far as our culture of humiliation goes, what we need is a cultural revolution. Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop. And it is time for an intervention on the internet and in our culture.

The shift begins with something simple, but it is not easy. We need to return to a long-held value of compassion. Compassion and empathy. Online we have a compassion deficit and an empathy crisis.

Researcher Berne Brown said, and I quote, “shame can’t survive empathy. Shame cannot survive empathy.”

I have seen some very dark days in my life. It was the compassion and empathy from my family, my friends, professionals, and even strangers, that saved me.

Even empathy from one person can make a difference. The theory of minority influence proposed by social psychologist Serge Muscovici says that even in small numbers, when there is consistency over time, change can happen.

In the online world we can foster minority influence by becoming “up standers”. To become an upstander means instead of bystander apathy, we can post a positive comment for someone or report a bullying situation.

Trust me, compassionate comments help abate the negativity. We can also counteract the culture by supporting organizations that deal with these kinds of issues, like the Tyler Clementi Foundation in the US. In the UK there is anti-bullying Pro, and in Australia there is Project Rocket.

We talk a lot about our right to freedom of expression. But we need to talk more about our responsibility to freedom of expression. We all want to be heard. But let’s acknowledge the difference between speaking up with intention and speaking up for attention.

The internet is the superhighway for the Id. But online, showing empathy for others benefits us all

and helps create a safer and better world.

We need to communicate online with compassion, consume news with compassion and click with compassion. Just imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline.

I’d like to end on a personal note. In the past nine months the question I have asked most is why.

Why now, why now was I sticking my head above the parapet. You can read between the lines in those questions, and the answer has nothing to do with politics. The top note answer answer was, and is, because it is time. Time to stop tip-toeing around my past, time to stop living a life of oppoprium, and time to take back my narrative.

It is also not just about saving myself. Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know on thing. You can survive it.

I know it is hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy. But you can insist on a different ending to your story. Have compassion for yourself.

We all deserve compassion. And to live both online and off in a more compassionate world.

Thank you for listening.

Political Musings January 12, 2015: Monica Lewinsky at Golden Globes after party, as new Clinton sex scandal emerges

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Monica Lewinsky at Golden Globes after party, as new Clinton sex scandal emerges

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Monica Lewinsky is back in the limelight in a big way attending the Golden Globes after party at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 with her long-time BFF Alan Cumming, who had been nominated…READ MORE

Political Musings January 9, 2015: Sex scandal Bill Clinton’s Jeffrey Epstein friendship upsetting Hillary 2016 run

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Sex scandal Bill Clinton’s Jeffrey Epstein friendship upsetting Hillary 2016 run

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Where there is a sex scandal Former President Bill Clinton is never too far behind, now it has been revealed Clinton was another of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s buddies. On Jan. 5, 2015, the news media reported…READ MORE

Political Musings June 16, 2014: Obama is now just as loved or not as Bush as favorable ratings hit new lows

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Political Musings June 9, 2014: New poll finds Obama less competent than both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Recent polls are giving President Barack Obama a stream of bad news, now a new Fox News poll released on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 finds that Americans consider Obama less competent than his recent predecessors. The new Fox News poll…Continue

Political Musings May 7, 2014: Monica Lewinsky returns with Vanity Fair tell all as Hillary Clinton tops polls

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Monica Lewinsky returns with Vanity Fair tell all as Hillary Clinton tops polls

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Political Musings March 22, 2014: Gallup says Hillary Clinton set for history making first woman president in 2016

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Americans are looking to make history again in 2016, at least according to a new Gallup survey released on Friday, March 21, 2014, this time by electing the first female president. According to the new survey part of what excites…READ MORE

History Headlines February 28, 2014: Thousands of Bill Clinton White House Papers Released

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY HEADLINE NEWS

History Buzz

HISTORY MAKING HEADLINES

Thousands of Bill Clinton White House Papers Released

Source: NYT, 2-28-14

Newly released papers underscored what a pivotal force Hillary Rodham Clinton was in her husband’s White House, intimately involved in the policy and politics that shaped Washington in the 1990s….READ MORE

Political Musings February 17, 2014: Romney talks Bill and Hillary Clinton, 2016, Olympics on NBC’s Meet the Press

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Romney talks Bill and Hillary Clinton, 2016, Olympics on NBC’s Meet the Press

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As part of former 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent increase in public appearances, he sat down for a short interview that lasted 11 minutes and recorded from a studio in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday…READ MORE

Political Musings January 1, 2014: Obamas, Clinton send hospitalized former First Lady Barbara Bush recovery wishes

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obamas, Clinton send hospitalized former First Lady Barbara Bush recovery wishes

By Bonnie K. Goodman

A Bush family statement released on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday Dec. 31, 2013 made public that beloved former First Lady Barbara Bush was hospitalized on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas Medical Center. She…READ MORE

Political Musings November 21, 2013: Obama honors John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Political Musings November 13, 2013: Former President Bill Clinton joins circle critical of Obamacare

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Former President Bill Clinton joins circle critical of Obamacare

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama’s circle of critics regarding his health care law, the Affordable Care Act is widening. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 former President Bill Clinton called on Obama to change a key element of his law to…READ MORE

Political Headlines August 28, 2013: Former President Bill Clinton praises Martin Luther King, implores people to ‘push open those stubborn gates holding America back”

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Clinton praises King, implores people to ‘push open those stubborn gates holding America back”

Source: Washington Post, 8-28-13

For President Bill Clinton, this day 50 years ago in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial, marks “one of the most important days in American history.” Clinton joined President Barack Obama and the family of Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday….READ MORE

Political Headlines August 9, 2013: White House Announces 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Announcing the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

Source: WH, 8-8-13

President Barack Obama talks with former President Bill Clinton before an event in McLean, Va.President Barack Obama talks with former President Bill Clinton before an event in McLean, Va., Sunday, April 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

What do baseball player Ernie Banks, former President Bill Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey all have in common? Later this year, they will be honored by President Obama as three of the sixteen recipients of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy signed an Executive Order establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the Nation’s highest civilian honor. President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”

President Obama greets former astronaut Sally Ride at the launch of the "Educate to Innovate"Nov. 23, 2009President Obama greets former astronaut Sally Ride prior to the launch of the “Educate to Innovate” Campaign for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (Stem) Education, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, Nov. 23, 2009. (Official White House Photo)

This year, the Presidential Medal of Freedom will be awarded to:

  • Ernie Banks
  • Ben Bradlee
  • Bill Clinton
  • Daniel Inouye
  • Daniel Kahneman
  • Richard Lugar
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Mario Molina
  • Sally Ride
  • Bayard Rustin
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Dean Smith
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian
  • Patricia Wald
  • Oprah Winfrey

Learn more about each of the 2013 Medal of Freedom recipients here.

Political Headlines April 9, 2013: Stephen Colbert introduces Bill Clinton to Twitter as @PrezBillyJeff

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Stephen Colbert introduces Bill Clinton to Twitter as @PrezBillyJeff

Source: New York Daily News, 4-9-13

Stephen Colbert has signed former President Bill Clinton up for Twitter with a not-so-presidential handle: @PrezBillyJeff. Clinton joked that he had been reluctant to jump on the Twitter bandwagon during the interview that aired on “The Colbert Report”….READ MORE

History Buzz January 16, 2013: Martha Joynt Kumar: Historian Says President Barack Obama Held Less Press Conferences in First Term than Most of Previous Presidents

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Press Conferences Not Obama’s Cup of Tea

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar, Obama has given 79 pressers during his first term in office.  Obama said that his press conference on Jan. 14 was the last one he’ll do until after his second inauguration on Monday.

How does the president stack up against the three previous commanders in chief?  He certainly wasn’t as anxious to meet the press in Term One as George W. Bush, who appeared 89 times, Bill Clinton, who held 133 pressers and the all-time winner, George H.W. Bush, with 142 press conferences….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines November 4, 2012: Obama on Final Campaign Swing, Jokes He’s Just a ‘Prop’ for Voters

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama on Final Campaign Swing, Jokes He’s Just a ‘Prop’ for Voters

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama kicked off his final 48-hour push to the finish line Sunday morning in New Hampshire, telling a crowd of 14,000 that at this stage in the campaign he’s just “sort of a prop in the campaign.”

“It’s now up to you,” he said at his last rally in the Granite State, where he was once again joined by former President Bill Clinton.  “That’s how a democracy works, right?  That ultimately, it’s up to you.  You have the power.  You are shaping the decisions for this country for decades to come.  Right now.  In the next two days.”

The president departed the White House for the last time before Election Day Sunday morning and spent close to 11 hours in the air Sunday as he flew from New Hampshire to rallies in Florida, Ohio and Colorado….READ MORE

 

Campaign Headlines November 3, 2012: President Barack Obama Closes Out Campaign with Star-Studded Blitz

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Closes Out Campaign with Star-Studded Blitz

Source:
ABC News Radio, 11-3-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After thousands of ads, hundreds of stump speeches and a record war chest of campaign cash, President Obama is banking on a final burst of star power to boost his get-out-the-vote effort in the final 72 hours of the 2012 presidential campaign.

As Obama and his top surrogates – Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and former President Clinton – barnstorm the battlegrounds this weekend, they will have a cast of Hollywood stars and music icons at their sides.

The pairings are aimed at driving turnout, particularly among young and minority voters, while bolstering enthusiasm in a handful of key states where polls show the presidential race very close….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 18, 2012: Bruce Springsteen Joins Bill Clinton, Rallies Ohio Voters for President Barack Obama

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Bruce Springsteen Joins Bill Clinton, Rallies Ohio Voters for Obama

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-18-12

Debra L Rothenberg/WireImage

Bruce Springsteen stepped out of the shadows on the edge of the campaign to join former president Bill Clinton at a rally for President Obama Thursday in Ohio, telling supporters America needs a leader “who has a vision that includes all our citizens, not just some.”

“The forces of our opposition have been tireless,” Springsteen said, before thanking Obama for health care reform, “a more regulated Wall Street,” and the fact that “GM is still making cars.”

“Without them, what would I write about?” he asked with a smile. “I’d have no job.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency September 25, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the Clinton Global Initiative

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President to the Clinton Global Initiative

Source: WH, 9-25-12

Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers
New York, New York

12:34 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Appreciate it.  Please, please, everybody have a seat.

Well, good afternoon, everybody.  And, President Clinton, thank you for your very kind introduction.  Although I have to admit, I really did like the speech a few weeks ago a little bit better.  (Laughter.)  Afterwards, somebody tweeted that somebody needs to make him “Secretary of Explaining Things.”  (Laughter.) Although they didn’t use the word, “things.”  (Laughter.)

President Clinton, you are a tireless, passionate advocate on behalf of what’s best in our country.  You have helped to improve and save the lives of millions of people around the world.  I am grateful for your friendship and your extraordinary leadership.  And I think I speak for the entire country when we say that you continue to be a great treasure for all of us.  (Applause.)

As always, I also have to thank President Clinton for being so understanding with the record-breaking number of countries visited by our Secretary of State.  (Laughter and applause.)  As we’ve seen again in recent days, Hillary Clinton is a leader of grace and grit — and I believe she will go down as one of the finest Secretaries of State in American history.  So we are grateful to her.  (Applause.)

To the dedicated CGI staff and every organization that’s made commitments and touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people, thank you for being an example of what we need more of in the world, especially in Washington — working together to actually solve problems.

And that’s why I’m here.  As Bill mentioned, I’ve come to CGI every year that I’ve been President, and I’ve talked with you about how we need to sustain the economic recovery, how we need to create more jobs.  I’ve talked about the importance of development — from global health to our fight against HIV/AIDS to the growth that lifts nations to prosperity.  We’ve talked about development and how it has to include women and girls — because by every benchmark, nations that educate their women and girls end up being more successful.  (Applause.)

And today, I want to discuss an issue that relates to each of these challenges.  It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity.  It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric.  It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets.  It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.  I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.  (Applause.)

Now, I do not use that word, “slavery” lightly.  It evokes obviously one of the most painful chapters in our nation’s history.  But around the world, there’s no denying the awful reality.  When a man, desperate for work, finds himself in a factory or on a fishing boat or in a field, working, toiling, for little or no pay, and beaten if he tries to escape — that is slavery.  When a woman is locked in a sweatshop, or trapped in a home as a domestic servant, alone and abused and incapable of leaving — that’s slavery.

When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery.  When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family — girls my daughters’ age — runs away from home, or is lured by the false promises of a better life, and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists — that’s slavery.  It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.  (Applause.)

Now, as a nation, we’ve long rejected such cruelty.  Just a few days ago, we marked the 150th anniversary of a document that I have hanging in the Oval Office — the Emancipation Proclamation.  With the advance of Union forces, it brought a new day — that “all persons held as slaves” would thenceforth be forever free.  We wrote that promise into our Constitution.  We spent decades struggling to make it real.  We joined with other nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that “slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

A global movement was sparked, with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act — signed by President Clinton and carried on by President Bush.

And here at CGI, you’ve made impressive commitments in this fight.  We are especially honored to be joined today by advocates who dedicate their lives — and, at times, risk their lives — to liberate victims and help them recover.  This includes men and women of faith, who, like the great abolitionists before them, are truly doing the Lord’s work — evangelicals, the Catholic Church, International Justice Mission and World Relief, even individual congregations, like Passion City Church in Atlanta, and so many young people of faith who’ve decided that their conscience compels them to act in the face of injustice.  Groups like these are answering the Bible’s call — to “seek justice” and “rescue the oppressed.”  Some of them join us today, and we are grateful for your leadership.

Now, as President, I’ve made it clear that the United States will continue to be a leader in this global movement.  We’ve got a comprehensive strategy.  We’re shining a spotlight on the dark corners where it persists.  Under Hillary’s leadership, we’re doing more than ever — with our annual trafficking report, with new outreach and partnerships — to give countries incentives to meet their responsibilities and calling them out when they don’t.

I recently renewed sanctions on some of the worst abusers, including North Korea and Eritrea.  We’re partnering with groups that help women and children escape from the grip of their abusers.  We’re helping other countries step up their own efforts.  And we’re seeing results.  More nations have passed and more are enforcing modern anti-trafficking laws.

Last week I was proud to welcome to the Oval Office not only a great champion of democracy but a fierce advocate against the use of forced labor and child soldiers — Aung San Suu Kyi.  (Applause.)  And as part of our engagement, we’ll encourage Burma to keep taking steps to reform — because nations must speak with one voice:  Our people and our children are not for sale.

But for all the progress that we’ve made, the bitter truth is that trafficking also goes on right here, in the United States.  It’s the migrant worker unable to pay off the debt to his trafficker.  The man, lured here with the promise of a job, his documents then taken, and forced to work endless hours in a kitchen.  The teenage girl, beaten, forced to walk the streets.  This should not be happening in the United States of America.

As President, I directed my administration to step up our efforts — and we have.  For the first time, at Hillary’s direction, our annual trafficking report now includes the United States, because we can’t ask other nations to do what we are not doing ourselves.  (Applause.)  We’ve expanded our interagency task force to include more federal partners, including the FBI.  The intelligence community is devoting more resources to identifying trafficking networks.  We’ve strengthened protections so that foreign-born workers know their rights.

And most of all, we’re going after the traffickers.  New anti-trafficking teams are dismantling their networks.  Last year, we charged a record number of these predators with human trafficking.  We’re putting them where they belong — behind bars.  (Applause.)

But with more than 20 million victims of human trafficking around the world — think about that, more than 20 million — they’ve got a lot more to do.  And that’s why, earlier this year, I directed my administration to increase our efforts.  And today, I can announce a series of additional steps that we’re going to take.

First, we’re going to do more to spot it and stop it.  We’ll prepare a new assessment of human trafficking in the United States so we better understand the scope and scale of the problem.  We’ll strengthen training, so investigators and law enforcement are even better equipped to take action — and treat victims as victims, not as criminals.  (Applause.)  We’re going to work with Amtrak, and bus and truck inspectors, so that they’re on the lookout.  We’ll help teachers and educators spot the signs as well, and better serve those who are vulnerable, especially our young people.

Second, we’re turning the tables on the traffickers.  Just as they are now using technology and the Internet to exploit their victims, we’re going to harness technology to stop them.  We’re encouraging tech companies and advocates and law enforcement — and we’re also challenging college students — to develop tools that our young people can use to stay safe online and on their smart phones.

Third, we’ll do even more to help victims recover and rebuild their lives.  We’ll develop a new action plan to improve coordination across the federal government.  We’re increasing access to services to help survivors become self-sufficient.  We’re working to simplify visa procedures for “T” visas so that innocent victims from other countries can stay here as they help us prosecute their traffickers.

This coming year, my Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships will make the fight against human trafficking a focus of its work.  (Applause.)  They’re doing great work.  And I’m also proud to announce a new partnership with Humanity United, which is a leader in anti-trafficking — a multi-million dollar challenge to local communities to find new ways to care for trafficking victims.  And I want to thank Johns Hopkins University, which will be focusing on how to best care for child victims.  (Applause.)

Now, finally, as one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the world, the United States government will lead by example.  We’ve already taken steps to make sure our contractors do not engage in forced labor.  And today we’re going to go  further.  I’ve signed a new executive order that raises the bar. It’s specific about the prohibitions.  It does more to protect workers.  It ensures stronger compliance.   In short, we’re making clear that American tax dollars must never, ever be used to support the trafficking of human beings.  We will have zero tolerance.  We mean what we say.  We will enforce it.  (Applause.)

Of course, no government, no nation, can meet this challenge alone.  Everybody has a responsibility.  Every nation can take action.  Modern anti-trafficking laws must be passed and enforced and justice systems must be strengthened.  Victims must be cared for.  So here in the United States, Congress should renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, this is a no-brainer.  This is something we should all agree on.  We need to get that done.

And more broadly, as nations, let’s recommit to addressing the underlying forces that push so many into bondage in the first place.  With development and economic growth that creates legitimate jobs, there’s less likelihood of indentured servitude around the globe.  A sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, that has to be burned into the cultures of every country.  A commitment to equality — as in the Equal Futures Partnership that we launched with other nations yesterday so societies empower our sisters and our daughters just as much as our brothers and sons.  (Applause.)

And every business can take action.  All the business leaders who are here and our global economy companies have a responsibility to make sure that their supply chains, stretching into the far corners of the globe, are free of forced labor.  (Applause.)  The good news is more and more responsible companies are holding themselves to higher standards.  And today, I want to salute the new commitments that are being made.  That includes the new Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking — companies that are sending a message:  Human trafficking is not a business model, it is a crime, and we are going to stop it.  We’re proud of them.  (Applause.)

Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed.  And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent.  We’ve got to be moved by compassion.  We’ve got to bind up the wounds.  Let’s come together around a simple truth — that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers.

And finally, every citizen can take action:  by learning more; by going to the website that we helped create — SlaveryFootprint.org; by speaking up and insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the products we buy are made free of forced labor; by standing up against the degradation and abuse of women.

That’s how real change happens — from the bottom up.  And if you doubt that, ask Marie Godet Niyonyota, from the Congo.  Think about Marie’s story.  She was kidnapped by rebels, turned into a slave.  She was abused — physically and sexually.  They got her pregnant five times.  In one awful battle, her children were killed — all five of them.  Miraculously, she survived and escaped.  And with care and support, she began to heal.  And she learned to read and write and sew, and today Marie is back home, working toward a new future.

Or ask Ima Matul.  She grew up in Indonesia, and at 17 was given the opportunity to work as a nanny here in the United States.  But when she arrived, it turned out to be a nightmare.  Cooking, cleaning — 18-hour days, seven days a week.  One beating was so bad it sent her to the emergency room.  And finally, she escaped.  And with the help from a group that cared, today Ima has a stable job.  She’s an advocate — she’s even testified before Congress.

Or ask Sheila White, who grew up in the Bronx.  Fleeing an abusive home, she fell in with a guy who said he’d protect her.  Instead, he sold her — just 15 years old — 15 — to men who raped her and beat her, and burned her with irons.  And finally, after years — with the help of a non-profit led by other survivors — she found the courage to break free and get the services she needed.  Sheila earned her GED.  Today she is a powerful, fierce advocate who helped to pass a new anti-trafficking law right here in New York.  (Applause.)

These women endured unspeakable horror.  But in their unbreakable will, in their courage, in their resilience, they remind us that this cycle can be broken; victims can become not only survivors, they can become leaders and advocates, and bring about change.

And I just met Ima and Sheila and several of their fellow advocates, and I have to tell you they are an incredible inspiration.  They are here — they’ve chosen to tell their stories.  I want them to stand and be recognized because they are inspiring all of us.  Please — Sheila, Ima.  (Applause.)

To Ima and Sheila, and each of you — in the darkest hours of your lives, you may have felt utterly alone, and it seemed like nobody cared.  And the important thing for us to understand is there are millions around the world who are feeling that same way at this very moment.

Right now, there is a man on a boat, casting the net with his bleeding hands, knowing he deserves a better life, a life of dignity, but doesn’t know if anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there’s a woman, hunched over a sewing machine, glancing beyond the bars on the window, knowing if just given the chance, she might some day sell her own wares, but she doesn’t think anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there’s a young boy, in a brick factory, covered in dust, hauling his heavy load under a blazing sun, thinking if he could just go to school, he might know a different future, but he doesn’t think anybody is paying attention.  Right now, there is a girl, somewhere trapped in a brothel, crying herself to sleep again, and maybe daring to imagine that some day, just maybe, she might be treated not like a piece of property, but as a human being.

And so our message today, to them, is — to the millions around the world — we see you.  We hear you.  We insist on your dignity.  And we share your belief that if just given the chance, you will forge a life equal to your talents and worthy of your dreams.  (Applause.)

Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it — in partnership with you.  The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past.  For we know that every life saved — in the words of that great Proclamation — is “an act of justice,” worthy of “the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

That’s what we believe.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  And I’m so proud to be in partnership with CGI to make this happen.

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

END
12:57 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 25, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech to the Clinton Global Initiative

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney Jokes He’s Waiting for His Clinton ‘Bounce’

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-25-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Speaking just hours before President Obama takes the same stage, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outlined his vision for foreign aid Tuesday at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

The governor and former President Bill Clinton took the stage together, after which Clinton delivered complimentary remarks praising Romney’s support for the City Year service group when he was governor….READ MORE

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks To The Clinton Global Initiative

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-25-12

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, New York. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. President.  I appreciate the kind words and your invitation here today.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good.  After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.

Since serving as President here in America, President Clinton has devoted himself to lifting the downtrodden around the world.  One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate.  That is how needy and neglected causes have become global initiatives. It is that work that invites us here today.

As I have watched the astounding impact of this Initiative from afar, I have been impressed by the extraordinary power you have derived by harnessing together different people of different backgrounds, and different institutions of different persuasions. You have fashioned partnerships across traditional boundaries — public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, charitable and commercial.

On a smaller scale, I have seen partnerships like this work before. In Massachusetts, two social pioneers brought corporations and government and volunteers together to form City Year, the model for Americorps. I sat with then-candidate for President Bill Clinton as he investigated the life-changing successes which occurred when young people came together for a year of service, linked in teams with corporate sponsors.  Then, as the head of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, I saw again the stunning success that comes when the disparate elements of a community join together in unity, to overcome challenges that had seemed insurmountable before.

The Clinton Global Initiative has also demonstrated the effectiveness of entrepreneurship and social enterprise.  You endeavor to not only comfort the afflicted, but to also change lives thorough freedom, free enterprise, and the incomparable dignity of work.

Free enterprise has done more to bless humanity than any other economic system not only because it is the only system that creates a prosperous middle class, but also because it is the only system where the individual enjoys the freedom to guide and build his or her own life. Free enterprise cannot only make us better off financially, it can make us better people.

Ours is a compassionate nation. We look around us and see withering suffering. Our hearts break.  While we make up just 4.5 percent of the world’s population, we donate nearly a quarter of all global foreign aid—more than twice as much as any other country.  And Americans give more than money.  Pastors like Rick Warren lead mission trips that send thousands of Americans around the world, bringing aid and comfort to the poorest places on the planet.  American troops are first on the scene of natural disasters.  An earthquake strikes Haiti and care packages from America are among the first to arrive – and not far behind are former Presidents Clinton and Bush.

But too often our passion for charity is tempered by our sense that our aid is not always effective. We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments. We wonder why years of aid and relief seem never to extinguish the hardship, why the suffering persists decade after decade.

Perhaps some of our disappointments are due to our failure to recognize just how much the developing world has changed.  Many of our foreign aid efforts were designed at a time when government development assistance accounted for roughly 70 percent of all resources flowing to developing nations.  Today, 82 percent of the resources flowing into the developing world come from the private sector. If foreign aid can leverage this massive investment by private enterprise, it may exponentially expand the ability to not only care for those who suffer, but also to change lives.

Private enterprise is having a greater and greater positive impact in the developing world. The John Deere Company embarked upon a pilot project in Africa where it developed a suite of farm tools that could be attached to a very small tractor.  John Deere has also worked to expand the availability of capital to farmers so they can maintain and develop their businesses.  The result has been a good investment for John Deere and greater opportunity for African farmers, who are now able to grow more crops, and to provide for more plentiful lives.

For American foreign aid to become more effective, it must embrace the power of partnerships, access the transformative nature of free enterprise, and leverage the abundant resources that can come from the private sector.

There are three, quite legitimate, objects of our foreign aid.

First, to address humanitarian need.  Such is the case with the PEPFAR initiative, which has given medical treatment to millions suffering from HIV and AIDS.

Second, to foster a substantial United States strategic interest, be it military, diplomatic, or economic.

And there is a third purpose, one that will receive more attention and a much higher priority in a Romney Administration. And that is aid that elevates people and brings about lasting change in communities and in nations.

Many Americans are troubled by the developments in the Middle East. Syria has witnessed the killing of tens of thousands of people. The president of Egypt is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in a terrorist attack.  And Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability. We feel that we are at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events.

I am often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate.

Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem.  But that’s not the whole story.

The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic.  In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators.  They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.

In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

He was just 26 years old.  He had provided for his family since he was a young boy.  He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, “Why are you doing this to me?  I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.”

I just want to work.

Work.  That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.

To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate “Prosperity Pacts.”  Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.

We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small- and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.

The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America’s own economy–free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.

When I was in business, I traveled to many other countries.  I was often struck by the vast difference in wealth among nations.  True, some of that was due to geography.  Rich countries often had natural resources like mineral deposits or ample waterways.  But in some cases, all that separated a rich country from a poor one was a faint line on a map.  Countries that were physically right next to each other were economically worlds apart.  Just think of North and South Korea.

I became convinced that the crucial difference between these countries wasn’t geography.  I noticed the most successful countries shared something in common.  They were the freest.  They protected the rights of the individual.  They enforced the rule of law.  And they encouraged free enterprise.  They understood that economic freedom is the only force in history that has consistently lifted people out of poverty – and kept people out of poverty.

A temporary aid package can jolt an economy.  It can fund some projects.  It can pay some bills.  It can employ some people some of the time.  But it can’t sustain an economy—not for long.  It can’t pull the whole cart—because at some point, the money runs out.

But an assistance program that helps unleash free enterprise creates enduring prosperity.  Free enterprise is based on mutual exchange—or, rather, millions of exchanges—millions of people trading, buying, selling, building, investing.  Yes, it has its ups and downs.  It isn’t perfect.  But it’s more durable.  It’s more reliable.  And ultimately, as history shows, it’s more successful.

The best example of the good free enterprise can do for the developing world is the example of the developed world itself.  My friend Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out that before the year 1800, living standards in the West were appalling.  A person born in the eighteenth century lived essentially as his great-great-grandfather had.  Life was filled with disease and danger.

But starting in 1800, the West began two centuries of free enterprise and trade.  Living standards rose.  Literacy spread.  Health improved.  In our own country, between 1820 and 1998, real per capita GDP increased twenty-two-fold.

As the most prosperous nation in history, it is our duty to keep the engine of prosperity running—to open markets across the globe and to spread prosperity to all corners of the earth.  We should do it because it’s the right moral course to help others.

But it is also economically the smart thing to do. In our export industries, the typical job pays above what comparable workers make in other industries, and more than one-third of manufacturing jobs are tied to exports.  Sadly, we have lost over half a million manufacturing jobs over the last three and a half years.

As president, I will reverse this trend by ensuring we have trade that works for America.  I will negotiate new trade agreements, ask Congress to reinstate Trade Promotion Authority, complete negotiations to expand the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and create what I call a “Reagan Economic Zone,” where any nation willing to play by the rules can participate in a new community committed to fair and free trade.

I’ve laid out a new approach for a new era.  We’ll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs.

Today, we face a world with unprecedented challenges and complexities.  We should not forget—and cannot forget—that not far from here, a voice of unspeakable evil and hatred has spoken out, threatening Israel and the civilized world.  But we come together knowing that the bitterness of hate is no match for the strength of love.

In the weeks ahead, I will continue to speak to these challenges and the opportunities that this moment presents us.   I will go beyond foreign assistance and describe what I believe America’s strategy should be to secure our interests and ideals during this uncertain time.

A year from now, I hope to return to this meeting as president, having made substantial progress toward achieving the reforms I’ve outlined.  But I also hope to remind the world of the goodness and the bigness of the American heart.  I will never apologize for America.  I believe that America has been one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever known.  We can hold that knowledge in our hearts with humility and unwavering conviction.

Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you all very much.

Campaign Headlines September 7, 2012: Best lines of Democratic convention – from Jennifer Granholm to John Kerry

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Best lines of Democratic convention – from Jennifer Granholm to John Kerry

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. John Kerry got in some good zingers. Bill Clinton was, well, Bill Clinton, and Malia and Sasha Obama still had to go to school today.

Source: CS Monitor, 9-7-12

Former governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm addresses delegates during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday.

Jason Reed/REUTERS

Enlarge

Who knew that John Kerry was a stand-up comedian?

In Pictures: The Democratic National Convention 2012

When the Democratic senator from Massachusetts ran for president in 2004, he was panned as stiff and pompous. But in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday night at the Democratic convention, the man who may be the next secretary of State reeled off a string of one-liners that had the delegates roaring and reporters wide-eyed.

Other Democrats, including President Obama, also got off some good lines. Here’s a selection:

Are you more (or less) liberal than President Obama? Take our quiz!

• “Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was four years ago,” Senator Kerry said. The line was a three-fer: It mocked the now-deceased head of Al Qaeda. It reminded the audience that bin Laden is dead, a national security coup no one can take away from Mr. Obama. And it made light of the Republican charge that Americans are not better off than they were four years ago.

• “Talk about being for it before you were against it,” Kerry also said. This one’s a two-fer: He was making fun of Mitt Romney’s shifting positions on Iraq and Libya, and then mocking himself for his infamous comment from the 2004 race when he was tagged (like Mr. Romney) as a flip-flopper.

• “For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas. It wasn’t a goodwill mission – it was a blooper reel.” More Kerry, referring to Romney’s gaffe-marred foreign trip in July, when, for example, he undiplomatically told the British he was worried about security during the forthcoming Olympics.

• “Yes, you do have to go to school in the morning,” Obama said of his two girls, who were seated before him on the convention floor. Obama mentions Malia (14) and Sasha (11) regularly, an effective way to address his tendency to seem aloof.

• “If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I,” Obama said. He was referring to the line candidates are required to cite in campaign ads they pay for. It was also a dig at the Supreme Court ruling Citizens United that has opened the floodgates on campaign spending and ads.

• “As another president once said, ‘There they go again,’ ” former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday night. Paraphrasing the late Ronald Reagan, he was mocking Republican proposals to cut spending on social programs but increase spending on defense.

• “People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth.” More Clinton.

• “He loves our cars so much, they even have their own elevator,” said Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Romney’s native state of Michigan, in an arm-waving, cheerleading tour de force.

• “In Romney’s world, the cars get the elevator, and the workers get the shaft,” more ex-Governor Granholm, who spoke Thursday night. She was referring to the car elevator once proposed for Romney’s home in California. Now, safe to say, that elevator will never be built.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 6, 2012: Former President Bill Clinton’s Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — Rousing Nomination of Barack Obama

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Embraces Bill Clinton After Rousing Nomination

Source: NYT, 9-5-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama emerged from offstage to bear hug Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night moments after Clinton, giving a rousing speech nominating Obama for re-election, called the president a man who is “cool on the outside” but “burns for America on the inside.”
Once a political adversary, Bill Clinton went to bat for the president, playing the dual parts of professor and preacher, firing up the crowd and explaining just how Obama has succeeded in working to fix a flailing economy.

Clinton strode to the podium to the strains of his old presidential campaign theme song “Don’t Stop,” and a roar of applause from Democrats who remember the boom times of his two administrations.

“I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside….I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party,” Clinton told the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C….READ MORE

 Bill Clinton DNC speech transcript (text, video)

Source: Politico, 9-5-12

As delivered Sept. 5 and provided by Federal News Service with permission to re-publish:

(Also on POLITICO: Clinton’s remarks as prepared for delivery)

(Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ve got one in mind. (Cheers, applause.)

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression; a man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs that he saved or created, there’d still be millions more waiting, worried about feeding their own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside — (cheers, applause) — but who burns for America on the inside. (Cheers, applause.)

I want — I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and — yes — by cooperation. (Cheers.)

And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

You know — (cheers, applause). I — (cheers, applause).

I want — I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) And I proudly nominate him to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party.

Now, folks, in Tampa a few days ago, we heard a lot of talk — (laughter) — all about how the president and the Democrats don’t really believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everybody to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

This Republican narrative — this alternative universe — (laughter, applause) — says that every one of us in this room who amounts to anything, we’re all completely self-made. One of the greatest chairmen the Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss — (cheers, applause) — used to say that ever politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself. (Laughter, applause.) But, as Strauss then admitted, it ain’t so. (Laughter.)

We Democrats — we think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it — (cheers, applause) — with a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly share prosperity. You see, we believe that “we’re all in this together” is a far better philosophy than “you’re on your own.” (Cheers, applause.) It is.

So who’s right? (Cheers.) Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats, 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs.

So what’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 (million). (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s — (cheers, applause) — there’s a reason for this. It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. (Cheers, applause.) Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. (Cheers, applause.) When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all. (Cheers, applause.) We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s something I’ve noticed lately. You probably have too. And it’s this. Maybe just because I grew up in a different time, but though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president and a lot of other Democrats. I — (cheers, applause) — that would be impossible for me because President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High School. (Cheers, applause.) President Eisenhower built the interstate highway system.

When I was a governor, I worked with President Reagan and his White House on the first round of welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals.

(Cheers, applause.) I’m actually very grateful to — if you saw from the film what I do today, I have to be grateful, and you should be, too — that President George W. Bush supported PEPFAR. It saved the lives of millions of people in poor countries. (Cheers, applause.)

And I have been honored to work with both Presidents Bush on natural disasters in the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the horrible earthquake in Haiti. Through my foundation, both in America and around the world, I’m working all the time with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Sometimes I couldn’t tell you for the life who I’m working with because we focus on solving problems and seizing opportunities and not fighting all the time. (Cheers, applause.)

And so here’s what I want to say to you, and here’s what I want the people at home to think about. When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation. (Cheers, applause.) What works in the real world is cooperation, business and government, foundations and universities.

Ask the mayors who are here. (Cheers, applause.) Los Angeles is getting green and Chicago is getting an infrastructure bank because Republicans and Democrats are working together to get it. (Cheers, applause.) They didn’t check their brains at the door. They didn’t stop disagreeing, but their purpose was to get something done.

Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict?

Because nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. (Cheers, applause.)

And every one of us — every one of us and every one of them, we’re compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes, knowing we’re never going to be right all the time and hoping we’re right more than twice a day. (Laughter.)

Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is always the enemy, they’re always right, and compromise is weakness. (Boos.) Just in the last couple of elections, they defeated two distinguished Republican senators because they dared to cooperate with Democrats on issues important to the future of the country, even national security. (Applause.)

They beat a Republican congressman with almost a hundred percent voting record on every conservative score, because he said he realized he did not have to hate the president to disagree with him. Boy, that was a nonstarter, and they threw him out. (Laughter, applause.)

One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. Look at his record. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. He appointed Republican secretaries of defense, the Army and transportation. He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008. (Laughter, applause.) And he trusted that vice president to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. (Cheers, applause.)

And Joe Biden — Joe Biden did a great job with both. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

He — (sustained cheers, applause) — President Obama — President Obama appointed several members of his Cabinet even though they supported Hillary in the primary. (Applause.) Heck, he even appointed Hillary. (Cheers, applause.)

Wait a minute. I am — (sustained cheers, applause) — I am very proud of her. I am proud of the job she and the national security team have done for America. (Cheers, applause.) I am grateful that they have worked together to make us safer and stronger, to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have enjoyed and the signal that sends to the rest of the world, that democracy does not have a blood — have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest. (Cheers, applause.)

Now — (sustained cheers, applause) — besides the national security team, I am very grateful to the men and women who’ve served our country in uniform through these perilous times. (Cheers, applause.) And I am especially grateful to Michelle Obama and to Joe Biden for supporting those military families while their loved ones were overseas — (cheers, applause) — and for supporting our veterans when they came home, when they came home bearing the wounds of war or needing help to find education or jobs or housing.

President Obama’s whole record on national security is a tribute to his strength, to his judgment and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship. We need more if it in Washington, D.C. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, we all know that he also tried to work with congressional Republicans on health care, debt reduction and new jobs. And that didn’t work out so well. (Laughter.) But it could have been because, as the Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment of candor two full years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work; it was to put the president out of work. (Mixed cheers and boos, applause.) (Chuckles.) Well, wait a minute. Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, are you ready for that? (Cheers, applause.) Are you willing to work for it. Oh, wait a minute.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: In Tampa —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: In Tampa — in Tampa — did y’all watch their convention?

I did. (Laughter.) In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple — pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in. (Laughter, applause.)

Now — (cheers, applause) — but they did it well. They looked good; the sounded good. They convinced me that — (laughter) — they all love their families and their children and were grateful they’d been born in America and all that — (laughter, applause) — really, I’m not being — they did. (Laughter, applause.)

And this is important, they convinced me they were honorable people who believed what they said and they’re going to keep every commitment they’ve made. We just got to make sure the American people know what those commitments are — (cheers, applause) — because in order to look like an acceptable, reasonable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they just didn’t say very much about the ideas they’ve offered over the last two years.

They couldn’t because they want to the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place. They want to cut taxes for high- income Americans, even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts. They want to actually increase defense spending over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend it on. And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor children.

As another president once said, there they go again.

(Laughter, cheers, applause.)

Now, I like — I like — I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. Here it is. He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well- balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for innovators. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, are we where we want to be today? No.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Is the president satisfied? Of course not.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: But are we better off than we were when he took office? (Cheers, applause.)

And listen to this. Listen to this. Everybody — (inaudible) — when President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month.

Are we doing better than that today?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes! (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: The answer is yes.

Now, look. Here’s the challenge he faces and the challenge all of you who support him face. I get it. I know it. I’ve been there. A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated about this economy. If you look at the numbers, you know employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend again. And in a lot of places, housing prices are even beginning to pick up.

But too many people do not feel it yet.

I had the same thing happen in 1994 and early ’95. We could see that the policies were working, that the economy was growing. But most people didn’t feel it yet. Thankfully, by 1996 the economy was roaring, everybody felt it, and we were halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in the history of the United States. But — (cheers, applause) — wait, wait. The difference this time is purely in the circumstances. President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. Listen to me, now. No president — no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years. (Cheers, applause.)

Now — but — (cheers, applause) — he has — he has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it. (Cheers, applause.)

Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, why do I believe it?

I’m fixing to tell you why. I believe it because President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas and the direction America has to take to build the 21st-century version of the American Dream: a nation of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared prosperity, a shared sense of community.

So let’s get back to the story. In 2010, as the president’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around. The recovery act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes — let me say this again — cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. (Cheers, applause.) And, in the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4 1/2 million private sector jobs. (Cheers, applause.)

We could have done better, but last year the Republicans blocked the president’s job plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs.

So here’s another job score. President Obama: plus 4 1/2 million. Congressional Republicans: zero. (Cheers, applause.)

During this period — (cheers, applause) — during this period, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. That’s the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ll tell you something else. The auto industry restructuring worked. (Cheers, applause.) It saved — it saved more than a million jobs, and not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country.

That’s why even the automakers who weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save those parts suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together. (Applause.)

So what’s happened? There are now 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than on the day the companies were restructured. (Cheers, applause.)

So — now, we all know that Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. (Boos.) So here’s another job score. (Laughter.) Are you listening in Michigan and Ohio and across the country? (Cheers.) Here — (cheers, applause) — here’s another job score: Obama, 250,000; Romney, zero.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (With speaker.) Zero. (Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Now, the agreement the administration made with the management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage, that was a good deal too. It will cut your gas prices in half, your gas bill. No matter what the price is, if you double the mileage of your car, your bill will be half what it would have been. It will make us more energy independent. It will cut greenhouse gas emissions. And according to several analyses, over the next 20 years, it’ll bring us another half a million good new jobs into the American economy. (Cheers, applause.)

The president’s energy strategy, which he calls “all of the above,” is helping too. The boom in oil and gas production, combined with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near-20- year low and natural gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled.

(Cheers, applause.)

Of course, we need a lot more new jobs. But there are already more than 3 million jobs open and unfilled in America, mostly because the people who apply for them don’t yet have the required skills to do them. So even as we get Americans more jobs, we have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are actually going to be created. The old economy is not coming back. We’ve got to build a new one and educate people to do those jobs. (Cheers, applause.)

The president — the president and his education secretary have supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for jobs that are actually open in their communities — and even more important after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the dropout rate so much that the percentage of our young people with four-year college degrees has gone down so much that we have dropped to 16th in the world in the percentage of young people with college degrees.

So the president’s student loan is more important than ever. Here’s what it does — (cheers, applause) — here’s what it does. You need to tell every voter where you live about this. It lowers the cost of federal student loans. And even more important, it give students the right to repay those loans as a clear, fixed, low percentage of their income for up to 20 years. (Cheers, applause.)

Now what does this mean? What does this mean? Think of it. It means no one will ever have to drop out of college again for fear they can’t repay their debt.

And it means — (cheers, applause) — it means that if someone wants to take a job with a modest income, a teacher, a police officer, if they want to be a small-town doctor in a little rural area, they won’t have to turn those jobs down because they don’t pay enough to repay they debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary. This will change the future for young America. (Cheers, applause.)

I don’t know about you — (cheers, applause) — but on all these issues, I know we’re better off because President Obama made the decisions he did.

Now, that brings me to health care. (Cheers, applause.) And the Republicans call it, derisively, “Obamacare.” They say it’s a government takeover, a disaster, and that if we’ll just elect them, they’ll repeal it. Well, are they right?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let’s take a look at what’s actually happened so far.

First, individuals and businesses have already gotten more than a billion dollars in refunds from insurance companies because the new law requires 80 (percent) to 85 percent of your premium to go to your health care, not profits or promotion. (Cheers, applause.) And the gains are even greater than that because a bunch of insurance companies have applied to lower their rates to comply with the requirement.

Second, more than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents’ policies can cover them.

(Cheers, applause.)

Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care, all the way from breast cancer screenings to tests for heart problems and scores of other things. And younger people are getting them, too.

Fourth, soon the insurance companies — not the government, the insurance companies — will have millions of new customers, many of them middle-class people with pre-existing conditions who never could get insurance before. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, finally, listen to this. For the last two years — after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years health care costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time in 50 years. (Cheers, applause.)

So let me ask you something. Are we better off because President Obama fought for health care reform? (Cheers, applause.) You bet we are.

Now, there were two other attacks on the president in Tampa I think deserve an answer. First, both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion. That’s the same attack they leveled against the Congress in 2010, and they got a lot of votes on it. But it’s not true. (Applause.)

Look, here’s what really happened. You be the judge. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None. What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals to cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that were not making people healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide the service.

And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the savings to close the doughnut hole in the Medicare drug program — (cheers, applause) — and — you all got to listen carefully to this; this is really important — and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare trust fund so it is solvent till 2024. (Cheers, applause.)

So — (chuckles) — so President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare; they strengthened Medicare. Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as, quote, the biggest, coldest power play, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry — (laughter) — because that $716 billion is exactly, to the dollar, the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget. (Cheers, applause.) You got to get one thing — it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did. (Laughter, cheers, applause.)

So — (inaudible) — (sustained cheers, applause) — now, you’re having a good time, but this is getting serious, and I want you to listen.

(Laughter.) It’s important, because a lot of people believe this stuff.

Now, at least on this issue, on this one issue, Governor Romney has been consistent. (Laughter.) He attacked President Obama too, but he actually wants to repeal those savings and give the money back to the insurance company. (Laughter, boos.)

He wants to go back to the old system, which means we’ll reopen the doughnut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and we’ll reduce the life of the Medicare trust fund by eight full years. (Boos.)

So if he’s elected, and if he does what he promised to do, Medicare will now grow (sic/go) broke in 2016. (Boos.) Think about that. That means, after all, we won’t have to wait until their voucher program kicks in 2023 — (laughter) — to see the end of Medicare as we know it. (Applause.) They’re going to do it to us sooner than we thought. (Applause.)

Now, folks, this is serious, because it gets worse. (Laughter.) And you won’t be laughing when I finish telling you this. They also want to block-grant Medicaid, and cut it by a third over the coming 10 years.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Of course, that’s going to really hurt a lot of poor kids. But that’s not all. Lot of folks don’t know it, but nearly two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for Medicare seniors — (applause) — who are eligible for Medicaid.

(Cheers, applause.) It’s going to end Medicare as we know it. And a lot of that money is also spent to help people with disabilities, including — (cheers, applause) — a lot of middle-class families whose kids have Down’s syndrome or autism or other severe conditions. (Applause.) And honestly, let’s think about it, if that happens, I don’t know what those families are going to do.

So I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to do everything I can to see that it doesn’t happen. We can’t let it happen. (Cheers, applause.) We can’t. (Cheers, applause.) Now — wait a minute. (Cheers, applause.) Let’s look —

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

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let’s look at the other big charge the Republicans made. It’s a real doozy. (Laughter.) They actually have charged and run ads saying that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work. (Jeers.) Wait, you need to know, here’s what happened. (Laughter.) Nobody ever tells you what really happened — here’s what happened.

When some Republican governors asked if they could have waivers to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration listened because we all know it’s hard for even people with good work histories to get jobs today. So moving folks from welfare to work is a real challenge.

And the administration agreed to give waivers to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent, and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment. Now, did I make myself clear? The requirement was for more work, not less. (Cheers, applause.)

So this is personal to me. We moved millions of people off welfare. It was one of the reasons that in the eight years I was president, we had a hundred times as many people move out of poverty into the middle class than happened under the previous 12 years, a hundred times as many. (Cheers, applause.) It’s a big deal. But I am telling you the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. (Applause.)

But they keep on running the ads claiming it. You want to know why? Their campaign pollster said, we are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers. (Jeers, applause.) Now, finally I can say, that is true. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) I — (chuckles) — I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Laughter.)

And I hope you and every American within the sound of my voice remembers it every time they see one of those ads, and it turns into an ad to re-elect Barack Obama and keep the fundamental principles of personal empowerment and moving everybody who can get a job into work as soon as we can. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, let’s talk about the debt. Today, interest rates are low, lower than the rate of inflation. People are practically paying us to borrow money, to hold their money for them.

But it will become a big problem when the economy grows and interest rates start to rise. We’ve got to deal with this big long- term debt problem or it will deal with us. It will gobble up a bigger and bigger percentage of the federal budget we’d rather spend on education and health care and science and technology. It — we’ve got to deal with it.

Now, what has the president done? He has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, with 2 1/2 trillion (dollars) coming from — for every $2 1/2 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues — 2 1/2-to-1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, a bipartisan commission.

Now, I think this plan is way better than Governor Romney’s plan. First, the Romney plan failed the first test of fiscal responsibility. The numbers just don’t add up. (Laughter, applause.)

I mean, consider this. What would you do if you had this problem? Somebody says, oh, we’ve got a big debt problem. We’ve got to reduce the debt. So what’s the first thing you say we’re going to do? Well, to reduce the debt, we’re going to have another $5 trillion in tax cuts heavily weighted to upper-income people. So we’ll make the debt hole bigger before we start to get out of it.

Now, when you say, what are you going to do about this $5 trillion you just added on? They say, oh, we’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code.

So then you ask, well, which loopholes, and how much?

You know what they say? See me about that after the election. (Laughter.)

I’m not making it up. That’s their position. See me about that after the election.

Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

If — arithmetic! If — (applause) — if they stay with their $5 trillion tax cut plan — in a debt reduction plan? — the arithmetic tells us, no matter what they say, one of three things is about to happen. One, assuming they try to do what they say they’ll do, get rid of — pay — cover it by deductions, cutting those deductions, one, they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions, like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving, that middle-class families will see their tax bills go up an average of $2,000 while anybody who makes $3 million or more will see their tax bill go down $250,000. (Boos.)

Or, two, they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for the national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel. They’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education, child nutrition programs, all the programs that help to empower middle-class families and help poor kids. Oh, they’ll cut back on investments in roads and bridges and science and technology and biomedical research.

That’s what they’ll do. They’ll hurt the middle class and the poor and put the future on hold to give tax cuts to upper-income people who’ve been getting it all along.

Or three, in spite of all the rhetoric, they’ll just do what they’ve been doing for more than 30 years. They’ll go in and cut the taxes way more than they cut spending, especially with that big defense increase, and they’ll just explode the debt and weaken the economy. And they’ll destroy the federal government’s ability to help you by letting interest gobble up all your tax payments.

Don’t you ever forget when you hear them talking about this that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office — (applause) — and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic. (Laughter, applause.) It was a highly inconvenient thing for them in our debates that I was just a country boy from Arkansas, and I came from a place where people still thought two and two was four. (Laughter, applause.) It’s arithmetic.

We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down. (Cheers, applause.) Really. Think about this: President Obama — President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of our children, our families and our nation. It’s a heck of a lot better.

It passes the arithmetic test, and far more important, it passes the values test. (Cheers, applause.)

My fellow Americans, all of us in this grand hall and everybody watching at home, when we vote in this election, we’ll be deciding what kind of country we want to live in. If you want a winner-take- all, you’re-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket. But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we’re-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. (Cheers, applause.) If you — if you want —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: If you want America — if you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures — (jeers) — just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters — (jeers) — you should support Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

And if you think — if you think the president was right to open the doors of American opportunity to all those young immigrants brought here when they were young so they can serve in the military or go to college, you must vote for Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American dream is really alive and well again and where the United States maintains its leadership as a force for peace and justice and prosperity in this highly competitive world, you have to vote for Barack Obama.

(Cheers, applause.)

Look, I love our country so much. And I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come back. (Cheers.) People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth. (Laughter.) And so far, every single person that’s bet against America has lost money because we always come back. (Cheers, applause.) We come through ever fire a little stronger and a little better.

And we do it because in the end we decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — the cause of forming a more perfect union. (Cheers, applause.) My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) God bless you and God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)

History Buzz August 20, 2012: Julian Zelizer: In convention speeches, history is made

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

In convention speeches, history is made

Source: CNN, 8-20-12

After losing the nomination to Gerald Ford, left, Ronald Reagan delivered an impromptu speech at the 1976 GOP convention.

After losing the nomination to Gerald Ford, left, Ronald Reagan delivered an impromptu speech at the 1976 GOP convention.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Speeches are the highlight of each party’s political convention, says Julian Zelizer
    • Some speeches put forth ideas that shape the next generation of candidates, he says
    • Others eviscerate the opposition, permanently defining candidates and parties, he says
    • Zelizer: Some speeches inspire, others make instant stars, and others flop resoundingly

 

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of “Jimmy Carter” and of the new book “Governing America.”

Now the party is really starting. Democrats and Republicans are preparing to gather to hold their conventions, each using this precious time to tell the nation what its presidential candidate is all about….

Without any more deal-making in smoke-filled rooms, speeches are the highlight of the convention. Even when speeches are made at conventions whose candidate winds up losing, they can offer ideas and rhetoric that become integral to the party for decades to come. A look back at history reveals that there are different types of speeches that we might see in the coming weeks, each with very different purposes and effect….READ MORE

%d bloggers like this: