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

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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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.

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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

Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Bill Clinton Differs with Obama on Bush-Era Tax Cuts Extension then After Backlash Backtracks Position & Apologizes

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: BILL CLINTON DIFFERS WITH OBAMA ON BUSH-ERA TAX CUTS EXTENSION THEN AFTER BACKLASH BACKTRACKS POSITION

MARIA BARTIROMO: So what about this upcoming fiscal cliff? Because a lot of people are worried and the markets certainly have been reacting to the– to the idea that these Bush tax cuts will expire at year end along with the spending programs that will expire. Should those programs and those tax cuts be extended?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: What I think they should do is find a way to keep the expansion going. And I think the– as weak as it is here, you know, unemployment in the euro zone I think is 11%. And– Germany’s doing well but the– and a lot of the smaller countries are doing extremely well, many of which are not in the euro.
But they’re trying to figure out a way to promote growth. And what I think we need to do is to– find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election.

MARIA BARTIROMO: So does that mean extending the tax cuts?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: Well, I think what it means is they will have extend– they will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people.
And I don’t think the president should do that. That’s going to– that’s what they’re fighting about. I don’t have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level. They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession. So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth. And the spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people are Medicaid.
But– the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few months. The real issue is whether the price the Republican House will put on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which I think is an error.

  • In Clinton, a Surrogate From the World of Romneys: Bill Clinton is trying to help President Obama, by raising money for his reelection and giving interviews about him — even if those interviews sometimes contradict Obama’s message…. – ABC News, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton ‘very sorry’ about tax remarks, agrees with Obama: Bill Clinton said Thursday that he’s “very sorry” for comments he made days earlier that appeared to undermine President Obama’s position on extending certain tax rates, chalking it up to a misunderstanding over when lawmakers needed to…. – LAT, 6-7-12
  • Democrats’ Comments Spark Tax Cut Debate: Congressional Republicans pounced Wednesday on disputed comments from Bill Clinton and a former senior Obama economic adviser as support for the push to extend Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Summers Comment Adds to Confusion on Tax Cuts: Confusing economic comments – first by Bill Clinton, then by Lawrence Summers – have emboldened Republicans to say they have bipartisan backing for the extension of Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • GOP once tried to bury Clinton, now it praises him: Republicans who tried to strip Bill Clinton of his presidency have eagerly embraced the Democrat, taking his words on taxes and decisions on Bosnia and using them to pound another Democratic president, Barack Obama…. – Boston.com, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton becomes Romney’s favorite surrogate for Obama: One of the top unanswered questions of the 2008 presidential campaign has come roaring back: What’s Bill Clinton thinking? The former president has increased his profile in recent days, speaking out on behalf of…. – Reuters, 6-7-12
  • Barack Obama needs Bill Clinton, even if he can’t control him: The current president is learning that there is both an upside and a downside to having a former one — particularly one with whom he has tangled in the past — as the most prominent surrogate for his reelection bid. On the one hand, Bill Clinton brings…. – WaPo, 6-6-12
  • Clinton Remarks Test Uneasy AllianceWSJ, 6-6-12
  • Obama still opposes extending Bush-era tax cuts for rich: President Barack Obama continues to oppose extending Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans, the White House said on Wednesday, shrugging off calls for a temporary extension to allow more time for a deal on….. – Reuters, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • Obama and Bill Clinton: On same team but not always reading same playbook: How things change. In 2008, after a bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton, then-Sen. Barack Obama was on the outs with former President Bill Clinton. This election cycle, Clinton is one of Obama’s most visible surrogates…. – CNN, 6-4-12
  • Clinton’s Tax-Cut Position Undercuts Obama Stance: Former Democratic President Bill Clinton suggested Tuesday that Congress temporarily extend all the Bush-era tax cuts, undercutting President Barack Obama’s position that the rates on upper-income Americans should rise at year’s end…. – WSJ, 6-5-12
  • US Is Already in ‘Recession,’ Extend Tax Cuts: Bill Clinton: Former President Bill Clinton told CNBC Tuesday that the US economy already is in a recession and urged Congress to extend all the tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year. In a taped interview aired on “Closing Bell”… CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC’S MARIA BARTIROMO SITS DOWN WITH FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: WHEN: TODAY, TUESDAY, JUNE 5TH AT 4PM ET WHERE: CNBC’S “CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO” Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with former President Bill Clinton today on CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo.”… – CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • Bill Clinton says renew all expiring tax cuts temporarily, long-term cuts: Former President Bill Clinton says broad tax cuts that expire in January should be temporarily extended, including for the wealthiest Americans, to give lawmakers time to reach a deal on long-term tax reductions that he says should exclude…. – WaPo, 6-5-12

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 4-5, 2012: President Barack Obama Enlists Former President Bill Clinton for 3 New York Fundraisers — Speeches Transcripts

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: OBAMA ENLISTS BILL CLINTON’S HELP IN THREE NEW YORK FUNDRAISERS

      JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

Obama, Bill Clinton Stump on ‘Growth’ vs. ‘Austerity’ Agenda:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-5-12

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton pitched a coordinated message on jobs and the economy Monday night that appeared designed to confront an electoral landscape unsettled by Friday’s dismal jobs report and an expected Republican victory in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall.
Sharing the stage at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, the two offered a robust defense of Obama’s handling of the economy and vision for the future, asserting more forcefully than they’ve done elsewhere in recent weeks that more short-term government spending is needed to boost hiring while insisting Republicans have been blockading the effort all along.
“If you do not have economic growth, no amount of austerity will balance the budget because you will always have revenues go down more than you can possibly cut spending,” Clinton told the crowd of Republican budget plans.
“So what [Obama] did was to say growth today, restraint in a big way tomorrow. … Growth and jobs today, build the economy, then take the burden of the debt off our children’s future and avoid the exploding interest rates and declining living standards that it would impose on their future,” the former president said…. READ MORE

  • Clinton: Romney Would Be ‘Calamitous for Our Country’: Lending his fundraising prowess to President Obama’s re-election campaign, Bill Clinton warned top donors in New York on Monday that Mitt Romney would be “calamitous for our country and the world.”
    “The politics is wrong on the Republican side, the economics are crazy,” Clinton said at a fundraiser at the Upper East Side home of billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry.
    Just one week after praising Mitt Romney’s “sterling business career,” Clinton argued that Republicans’ “economics are wrong-headed and their politics are worse.”… – ABC News Radio, 6-5-12
  • Obama, Bill Clinton team up to court New York elite: President Barack Obama enlisted Bill Clinton to campaign alongside him in New York on Monday, tapping the popular ex-president’s star power to rake in re-election funds from wealthy Wall Street investors…. – Reuters, 6-4-12
  • Clinton Supports Obama at New York Fund-Raisers: Days after lauding Mitt Romney for a “sterling business career” as a private investor, former President Bill Clinton said on Monday that as president, Mr. Romney “would be in my opinion calamitous for our country and the world.”
    And with that blunt denunciation, delivered at President Obama’s side during a fund-raiser in Manhattan at the home of a billionaire hedge-fund executive, Mr. Clinton sought to quash the chatter in the news media and from the Romney campaign that his earlier remarks amounted to an off-message endorsement of Mr. Romney’s qualifications to take Mr. Obama’s job.
    Their joint appearance at three fund-raisers in New York City on Monday night was the second of three such get-togethers they plan. Separately, Mr. Clinton will in coming months be what one campaign official called “an active surrogate” in Mr. Obama’s fight for re-election…. – NYT, 6-4-12
  • Obama, Clinton back together to attack Romney: President Obama and predecessor Bill Clinton are back on the same page when it comes to attacking Mitt Romney.
    Less than a week after praising Romney’s “sterling” business career, Clinton told Obama backers last night in New York City that the Republican candidate’s economic policies would be “calamitous for our country and the world.”
    At a trio of fundraisers in the Big Apple, Clinton said Romney and the Republicans have adopted a “European” approach to the economy…. – USA Today, 6-4-12

Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event

Private Residence
New York, New York

6-4-12

5:24 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  (In progress) — and secondly, the alternative would be, in my opinion, calamitous for our country and the world.  I think that he’s got the right economic policies and the right political approach, and I think their economics are wrongheaded and their politics are worse.

And if you just look at — the month he took the oath of office, we lost 800,000 jobs.  In the last three and a half years, the economy has produced 4.3 million — 27 months, really, — 4.3 million private sector — for the last three-and-a-half years.  It is 60 percent more jobs — listen to this — 60 percent more private sector jobs than were created in the seven years and eight months of President Bush’s administration, before the meltdown — before the meltdown.  And he did it with the so-called stimulus bill, with the automobile restructuring — which I think is an amazing achievement — and with a number of other things, including a serious commitment to an independent energy future and a commitment to bringing manufacturing back to this country.

And things have slowed up a little now for two reasons — one is Europe, which is beyond our control, although he and his national security team are working hard on it.  That is, the economic team is now our national security team in Europe.  (Laughter.)  And the other is that the Republican Congress and their nominee for President, Governor Romney, have adopted Europe’s economic policy.  Who would have ever thought that the Republicans who made a living for decades deriding “old Europe” would embrace their economic policy?  (Laughter.)  But that’s what they’ve done.

Their economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that will explode the debt when the economy recovers so that interest rates will be so high nobody will be able to do anything.  His economic policy is job growth now, and long-term budget restraint.

If you look at the budgets, their budgets, every one of them, all the congressional budgets and Governor Romney’s add $1 or $2 trillion to the trajectory of the debt that we’re on right now.  His budget takes it down.

And if you look at their politics, it’s constant conflict.  And the only thing in the world that’s working is cooperation.  When he has a free hand, he cooperates.  He got labor and management together in the auto restructuring, and we’ve got 80,000 more people working making American cars, and saved 1.5 million jobs.

I know a lot about this — I grew up in a car dealership.  (Laughter.)  I know a lot about this.  We would never have heard the end of it if those two companies had failed and all those auto parts manufacturers had failed and all those dealerships had closed.  It would have been a nightmare.

He got labor, management, the environmental groups and the government together on the auto-mileage standards — you got 150,000 new jobs out of it.

Cooperation is what works.  Constant conflict is a dead-bang loser.  You can see it all over the world.

So the politics is wrong on the Republican side; the economics are crazy.  He’s got good policies.  He’s got a good record.  He’s made the best of a very challenging situation.  He deserves to be reelected.  And I know I don’t have to say that I think he’s done an extraordinary job with the national security responsibilities of the country, both making it safer and building a world with more partners.  And he had a pretty good Secretary of State, too.  (Laughter and applause.)

So I thank you for being here, and I hope you will try to find simple, direct ways to say these things to your friends and neighbors.  This is what’s important.  What happens and whether we can bring back the American Dream or not is riding on whether he wins this election in a clear and unambiguous way, and we make it clear that we want a politics of cooperation and an economics of growth and broadly shared prosperity.

President Obama.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you everybody.  No need to — thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Please, please.

Well, first of all, to the Lasry family, to Marc and Cathy, all the kids — particularly Alex, who had been working with Valerie Jarrett for a while and now is off to business school — I just want to thank them for their extraordinary friendship.  They have been great supporters and great friends for a really, really long time.  And so to open up their beautiful home to us and offer such great hospitality, I can’t be more grateful.

To President Bill Clinton — as usual, he pretty much summed it up.  (Laughter.)  So I don’t have to add too much — don’t want to guild the lily here.

Nobody has a better grasp and understanding of the issues than this man.  He spent eight years guiding this country through, initially, some difficult times, and then ushered in one of the greatest booms that we’ve seen — a recipe of stable, steady growth in which everybody participated, growth that started from the bottom up and from the middle class out.

And everybody did well, including those at the top, because — in part, because of President Clinton’s background.  He understood what it takes to grow this economy, that there’s just extraordinary talent all across the country.  In little places in Arkansas and little apartment buildings in Hawaii and — (laughter) — there are folks out there who are eager to live out that American Dream and create new businesses and new opportunities.  And just about everybody here, somewhere in their lives they’ve known that when we work together we can’t be stopped.  And that’s what’s at stake in this election, as Bill said.

I want to spend most of my time answering questions, but part of what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks is just clarifying for people the choice involved — because we have a fundamental choice.  And the truth is it’s an argument that dates back to Bill Clinton’s presidency.  As you will recall, you didn’t get a lot of cooperation out of those Republicans in Congress either.  (Laughter.)

And the basic issue is after World War II, we arrived at a basic consensus in this country; it was a rough consensus between Republicans and Democrats, and there was a spectrum there, but everybody understood that the market was the best generator of wealth and opportunity that we had ever seen.  It was understood that America’s business was business, that government is not the ultimate source of our wealth and our freedom.  But what we also understood was that there were certain investments we had to make to create a platform for opportunity for everybody.

And so among Democrats and Republicans there was a belief in a basic social safety net.  And there was a belief that regulations wouldn’t inhibit necessarily economic growth, they could actually advance them.  Because the reason we had the best capital markets in the world was people trusted our capital markets, and they believed in disclosure, and they believed in transparency and openness and accountability.  And so small investors and large investors said, you know what, let’s put our money in America.

And people from Richard Nixon to George H.W. Bush understood that if we have smart environmental regulations that can actually create opportunity.  And if we have good consumer regulations, that actually helps America’s brand because people can trust our products and trust our services.

And there was an understanding we’re going to make an investment in education, whether the GI Bill or opening up more and more opportunity for a college education, and making sure that we’re investing in our — the crown jewel of America’s economy, our colleges and our universities — because we understood that that’s where innovation comes from and ultimately that’s going to create opportunity.

And we understood whether we were going to make investments in the Interstate Highway System or in DARPA that ultimately that would inure to the benefit of the marketplace.

And we understood that we had to pay for it.  The notion was this stuff wasn’t going to be free.  It used to be the argument between Democrats and Republicans was what’s the best way to pay for it, but we understood that ultimately these were investments worth making.  And there were times where Democrats got a little excessive.  We had a little too much faith in government, a little too much faith in regulation, and there was a corrective mechanism.  And Bill Clinton helped to correct some of our excesses.

And we understood not every government program is going to work, and we understood that not every regulation should be command-and-control, top down; that a lot of times the market might provide — if we provide the proper incentives, the market might come up with better solutions for how we were going to solve some of these vexing problems.

But over the last 15 years, the last 20 years, that consensus has broken down.  If you look at what the Republican Party today represents — we haven’t moved that much.  If you’ve compared — there’s a reason why Jack Lew was the OMB Director under Bill Clinton and he was my OMB Director and now my Chief of Staff.  Jack hasn’t changed that much.  (Laughter.)  He’s gotten a little grayer.  (Laughter.)  Our basic policies haven’t shifted.  We’ve responded to new information and new circumstances.

What’s changed is the Republican Party.  They have gone from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism when it comes to the marketplace; a belief that all regulations are bad; that government has no role to play; that we shouldn’t simply be making sure that we balance the budget, we have to drastically shrink government, and eliminate those commitments that have ensured a middle class had a chance to succeed and to thrive for several generation.

And so if you look at Paul Ryan’s budget or you look at Governor Romney’s proposals, what they’re talking about is something that is fundamentally different from our experience in growing this economy and creating jobs.  And so that’s going to be the central issue in this campaign.  And we’re going to do everything we can to clarify that choice.

The good news is the American people I think agree with us. The challenge is that things have been very tough for people for the last three, four, five, 10 years.  And when things are tough, you’re willing to try just about anything even if you’ve seen it before.  And so what we have to do is to make sure that we’re constantly getting a clear message out about how we intend to grow the middle class, how we’re going to create jobs, and how our positions are squarely in the center of America’s traditions.

We’re not the ones who changed.  And the track record that Bill Clinton mentioned is one that I’m extraordinarily proud of, but as important as the work that we’ve done over the last three and a half years has been, this is actually an election that’s going to set the stage for what we do over the next 20 or the next 30.  And I want the American people to understand that.

But I think precisely because we’re right on these issues, I think we’re going to win this election.  We’re just going to make — we’re going to have to just make sure that we get our message out effectively.  And that means help from all of you.

So I’m grateful for all of you being here and I’m looking forward to hitting the campaign trail hard.  And luckily I’ll have some pretty good companions along the way.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
5:38 P.M. EDT

Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

6-4-12

8:40 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  I am the warm-up act for the President.  (Laughter.)  And I will attempt to bring him on while you’re still warm.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank Eric Schneiderman for his lucid statement of the case of what’s at stake in this election, and for his exceptional service to the state of New York.  Thank you, Assemblyman Keith Wright, and thank you, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, for co-chairing this dinner.  And, Representative Carolyn Maloney, thank you very much for your friendship and everything you’ve done.  (Applause.)  And I believe on his last day as chairman of the New York State Democratic Party — thank you, Jay Jacobs, for being one of the best Democratic chairmen in the entire nation.  (Applause.)

I want to thank my longtime friend, Jon Bon Jovi, for performing and for always being there for us.  (Applause.)

Now, here’s what I want to say to you.  Most of my life now has nothing to do with politics.  You know that.  I work on my foundation; I work around the world; I work in America.  I work with Democrats and Republicans and independents, and half the time I don’t know who I’m working with, politically.  But I do spend two hours a day still studying the economic trends around the world and studying what is going on in America.  And I care about the long-term debt of the country a lot.  Remember me?  I’m the only guy that gave you four surplus budgets out of the eight I sent.  (Applause.)  So I hope what I say to you will have some weight, because I want you to say it to everybody you see between now and November.

I don’t think it’s important to reelect the President; I think it is essential to reelect the President — (applause) — if we want this country to have the kind of future that our children and grandchildren deserve.  And here’s why.

When I left office, we returned to the trickle-down policies — big tax cuts, mostly for people of my income group — I love saying this because I never had any money until I got out of the White House.  (Laughter.)  Maybe that’s why I don’t mind paying those taxes — since I never had it before I don’t know what it was like.  (Laughter.)

And we doubled our debt of the country again.  And then, after totally anemic growth for seven years and eight months, on the day before the financial collapse, median family income was $2,000 lower than it was the day I left office, while the cost of health care had gone up three times the rate of inflation, college twice the rate of inflation.

Then all of a sudden, September 15th comes and goes and poof!  The good news was for President Obama is that he was elected President on September 15, 2008.  He’s the only person in the history of the country ever to be elected President before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  (Laughter.)

The bad news is he was elected President on September 15, 2008 — (laughter) — in the teeth of the worst recession since the Great Depression, a financial collapse of enormous proportion.  In the last 500 years, such financial collapses have taken on average five to 10 years to get over — and when they’re deep and big and accompanied by mortgage collapse, almost always 10 years.

He set about to try to keep his original dream, to return broad-based prosperity, to return the reality of the American Dream to our country, and to do it in a way that made a world with more partners and fewer adversaries.  And he did it under unimaginably difficult circumstances — 800,000 jobs were lost the month he was sworn in as President.  And it is my opinion that he has performed extremely well under very, very difficult circumstances.  (Applause.)  And I want to tell you why.  (Applause.)

So he set about to do what was necessary to prevent a financial collapse again, to put a floor under the recession and to begin to create jobs again, to save a million or more state and local jobs of teachers and health care workers and people who work for fire and police departments.  He set about to bring American manufacturing back, to make America a leading nation in the green energy revolution — which is sweeping the globe and which only the American Republican Party seems to deny is necessary.

And he set about to reform health care, knowing it was a moral, a health, and an economic issue because we are now spending almost 18 percent of our income on health care.  None of our major competitors is over 11.8 percent.  That’s $1 trillion a year that could be going to pay-raises for the middle class.  It could be going for small businesses to hire new people.

And he did it while trying to make college more affordable, because we had dropped from first to 15th in the world in the last decade in the percentage of our young adults graduating with degrees.  And while doing that, he presented a plan to deal with the long-term debt of the country, understanding that when you have a total financial collapse — interest rates are zero, no private demand, no private investment — you can’t have austerity now.

You remember those surplus budgets?  They came about for three reasons — spending control, adequate revenues and economic growth.  If you do not have economic growth, no amount of austerity will balance the budget, because you will always have revenues go down more than you can possibly cut spending.  (Applause.)

And so what he did was to say growth today, restraint in a big way tomorrow; here’s my 10-year budget.  So growth in jobs today, build the economy, then take the burden of the debt off our children’s future, and avoid the exploding interest rates and the declining living standards that it would impose on their future.

So where are we?  Oh, and by the way, he offered a politics of cooperation.  He said, you Republicans start off with that individual mandate.  We’ll do health care reform that way.  All of a sudden, they weren’t for it anymore.  He said, let’s have a bipartisan deficit reduction commission.  And when it came to a vote in the Senate, all the Republicans who co-sponsored the bill were forced to vote against it by their party.  It’s the first I ever saw somebody sponsor a bill and vote against it.

And I could give you lots and lots of other — he said, let’s have an infrastructure bank so we can have private and public capital like other countries do.  It’s a great return on investment.  It’s always been a bipartisan area.  Once he was for it, they were all against it.  Besides, it might put somebody to work and help him get reelected.  (Laughter.)

So where are we in spite of that?  In the last 27 months, this economy has produced 4.3 million private sector jobs.  (Applause.)  That is about what it produced on a monthly basis during my two terms, coming back.  Why did the numbers show 3.7 million?  Because the Congress refused to pass his bill to send money to states and localities to keep the teachers on the job, to keep the firefighters and the police officers on the job.  I was in Wisconsin a couple of days ago — 73 percent of the school districts have laid teachers off.

That’s the austerity policy.  It isn’t good economics.  The Obama policy is.  That 4.3 million private sector jobs is — listen to this — 60 percent more private jobs than came into this economy in the seven years and eight months of the previous administration before the financial meltdown.  And you need to tell people that.  (Applause.)

And what happened with manufacturing?  It’s growing again for the first time since the ’90s.  There was an article in the paper today that said, oh, we’re going to have 2 or 3 million manufacturing jobs within three more years.  In seven or eight or nine areas, jobs flooding back into this country.

What happened in clean energy?  Governor Romney goes out to a company that had a loan that didn’t work out and says, oh, this is a whole bust.  Here’s what I know.  We ranked first or second in the world in every major scientific survey in the capacity to generate electricity from the sun and the wind.  During the worst of the meltdown, clean-energy jobs grew twice as fast as the rest of the economy, paid 35 percent more.

This weekend, Germany became the first country in history to generate 22 gigawatts of electricity from the sun.  That doesn’t mean much to you, so I’ll tell you in plain language what it means.  That’s as much as 20 big nuclear power plants.  (Applause.)  And they have generated over 300,000 new jobs out of it.  They’re a fourth our size, and only half as capable to generate solar energy.  If we did what they did, that’s a million jobs alone.  Now, that’s what President Obama has done on the jobs front.  (Applause.)

And where he could cooperate with people — the automakers, management and labor — they restructured the auto industry and what happened?  We have 80,000 more people working making cars today than we did the day he took office, and we saved 1.5 million jobs that would have gone right down the tubes if those two companies had failed.  (Applause.)  America is back in the car business.  (Applause.)

And then labor, management, the environmental groups and the government got together and agreed on a schedule to raise the car mileage standards, to double them, and guess what — it will create 150,000 new high-tech jobs.

In health care — just before you roll over and play dead on this issue, let me just give you two or three issues — facts here.  For the last few years, for the first time in 50 years, health care inflation has been at 4 percent.  Hasn’t been that low in 50 years.  It’s been killing people, economically.  (Applause.)  Americans got $1.3 billion in refunds on their insurance policy — because you’ve got to spend 85 percent of your premium on your health care now — and that’s not counting California, they’re not reported in yet — 2.6 million young people 26 years of age or younger are on their parent’s policy now, all because of the health care bill the President signed.  (Applause.)

I spend a lot of time with people in the health care business — with doctors and people who manage medical practices, with people who manage hospitals, and people who manage insurance plans.  I don’t know anybody that wants to repeal Obamacare.  Not anybody.  I don’t know anybody who doesn’t believe that we shouldn’t start paying for performance, not for procedure in health care, and improve our quality and bring our costs in line with our competitors.  And that’s what people in the health care business are doing today because that law passed.  (Applause.)

And finally, never a day goes by I don’t see some article about the burden of student loans.  But when President Obama’s student loan reform is fully implemented, the cost of the loans will go down and no one will ever have to drop out of college again because of the cost.  Because now everybody will be able to pay their loans back as a small, fixed percentage of their income for up to 20 years.  Do you understand what that means?  That one bill can take us back to number one in the world in college graduates again because nobody — nobody — will ever have to drop out again.  (Applause.)

And his plan to reduce the debt has extraordinary spending restraint — including in Medicare — has modest tax increases, and is phased in as we grow the economy.

Now, his opponent, who says that he’s got a better idea, was the governor of the state that was 47th in the country in job growth.  He promised that if elected he would grow the economy and reduce the debt, and when he left office the debt of the state was going up.  And his plan — his plan is to go back to the Bush program, except on steroids.  (Laughter.)  Cut out everything that helps middle-class people, cut out everything that helps poor people work their way to the middle class.

And all of the objective analyses, the non-partisan analyses, say that every Republican plan, including the nominee for the President’s plan, would add $1 trillion to $2 trillion to what the debt is going to be over the next 10 years if we don’t do anything.  And all of the objective plans say that if the President’s plan were implemented, it would reduce the debt by several trillion dollars over what it’s going to be if we don’t do anything.

But he’s got the order right, President Obama does.  Growth now; restraint later.  The Romney/Republican plan is austerity and more unemployment now, and blow the lid off later, just at the time when we’ll be worried about high interest rates.

What’s the difference here?  Shared prosperity versus continued austerity and high unemployment.  A politics of cooperation versus constant conflict and divide and conquer.

Listen, this is a big, clear election.  Also, for me, it’s important to say, in my opinion, he’s done an amazing job making our country more secure, more safe, more peaceful, and building a world with more partners and fewer adversaries.  And that is very, very important.  (Applause.)

And he’s had to get all this done while people as recently as last week were still saying he wasn’t born in America.  (Laughter.)  He’s had to get all this done with a House of Representatives that had one of the tea party members claim that 78 to 81 members of the Democratic caucus were members of the Communist Party.  And neither the presidential nominee, nor any of the leaders rebuked him for saying that.  This is not the 1950s.  At least Joe McCarthy could skate on the fact that there was one or two living Communists walking around.  (Laughter.)  Nobody has seen a Communist in over a decade.  (Laughter and applause.)

No criticism is too vicious and too fact-free.  You have to take the facts out there — take the facts on the economy, the facts on health care, the facts on energy, the facts on education.  And the fact is we’ve got an economic policy that has a real chance to bring America back.  Why do you think long-term interest rates — remember the Republicans said, oh, that Obama, he’s such a big spender, we’re going to have a weak dollar and interest rates are going to go through the roof.  You know what the 10-year Treasury note interest rate was today?  One-quarter of 1 percent.  We ought to all go buy one.  They’re giving away the money.  (Laughter.)

Now, you’re laughing.  But why are they doing that?  Because people believe America has a solid economic strategy for the long run.  And who would have ever thought that the Republicans would embrace the austerity and jobless policies of what they used to derisively call “old Europe.”  I never thought I’d live to breathe and see, here they are saying, let’s do the eurozone’s economic policy — they got 11 percent unemployment; we can get up there if we work at it.  (Laughter.)

We’re laughing, folks, this is serious.  Too much of politics is fact-free.  Just think about the world you want your children and your grandchildren to live in.  Think about what the 21st century can be.  Remember there is nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed, and our inherent advantages including our diversity, our relative youth, the strength of our system are there.  But you got to have the right captain of the ship.  And I am depending on you to take care of future generations by making sure that that captain is President Barack Obama.

Bring him on.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I love New York!  (Applause.)  Thank you! Well, thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Everybody have a seat.

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  I plan on getting four more years — because of you.  (Applause.)

Let me just say some thank-yous at the front here.  First of all, you’ve got an outstanding Attorney General — please give Eric Schneiderman a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  He is doing the right thing on behalf of consumers and working people all across this great state and having an influence all across the country.

I want to thank my dear friend, Jon Bon Jovi, who has — (applause) — been a great supporter for a long, long time.  I have to say that the only thing worse than following Jon is following Jon and Bill Clinton.  (Laughter.)

I want to acknowledge — Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is here.  Where is Carolyn?  (Applause.)  Thank you, Carolyn.  Party Chair Jacobs, thanks for the great work you’ve done.  I want to thank all of you who helped to make this event possible tonight.

And most of all, I want to thank the guy behind me here.
President Clinton and I had a chance to talk over dinner before we came out, and we talk about a lot of things.  We talk about basketball.  (Laughter.)  We talk about our daughters, and agree that you can’t beat daughters.  (Applause.)  Sons who are out there, we love you, too — (laughter) — but I’m just saying, we bond on that front.  We both agree that we have improved our gene pool because we married outstanding women.  (Applause.)

But whatever the topic, whatever the subject, what I was reminded of as I was talking to President Clinton is just how incredibly passionate he is about this country and the people in it.  You don’t talk to Bill without hearing at least 30 stories about extraordinary Americans who are involved in clean energy, or starting a whole new project to teach kids math, or figuring out how to build some new energy-efficient building, or you name it.  And it’s that passion and connection that he has to the American people that is infectious.  And it’s a curiosity and a love for people that is now transforming the world.

And so I could not be prouder to have called him President.  I could not be prouded to know him as a friend.  And I could not be more grateful for him taking the time to be here tonight.  (Applause.)  And I thank him for putting up with a very busy Secretary of State.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, the reason I’m here tonight is not just because I need your help.  It’s because the country needs your help.  If you think about why we came together back in 2008, it wasn’t about me.  It wasn’t even necessarily just about the Democratic Party. It was about a common set of values that we held dear; a set of beliefs that we had about America — a belief that if you’re willing to work hard, in this country you should be able to make it.  You should be able to find a job that pays a living wage.  You should be able to own a home, send your kids to college, retire with dignity and respect, not go bankrupt when you get sick; that everybody in this country — regardless of what you look like, where you come from, whether you’re black, white, gay, straight, Hispanic, disabled, not — doesn’t matter, if you’re willing to put in the effort this is a place where you make dreams happen.  And by you putting in that effort, not only do you do well for yourself but you build the country in the process.

And we had seen that those values were eroding, a sense that that bedrock compact that we make with each other was starting to diminish.  We had seen a surplus, a historic surplus, wasted away on tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  Suddenly surpluses turned to deficits.  We had seen two wars fought on a credit card.  We had seen a recklessness of a few almost bring the entire system to collapse.
And there was a sense that, although a few of us were doing really, really well, that you had a growing number of folks who were struggling just to get by no matter how hard they worked.

So what we set out to do in 2008 was reclaim that basic American promise.  And it wasn’t easy, and many of you who supported me certainly — you guys didn’t do it because it was easy.  When you support a guy named Barack Hussein Obama for the presidency you know that’s not a sure thing.  (Laughter.)  But you did it because you sensed that the country was ready for change.

Now, we didn’t know at the time — we knew that there had been a decade of problems, that since this man had left office we had been going in the wrong direction.  We didn’t realize how this would culminate in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  As Bill said, the month I was sworn in, 800,000 jobs lost.  We had lost 3 million before the election had even taken place.

But we didn’t give up.  We didn’t quit, because that’s not what the American people do.  And so all across this country, you had folks who just dug in.  They focused on what was necessary.  And I do believe we implemented the right policies.  When folks said that we should let Detroit go bankrupt, we said, no, we’re not going to let over a million jobs go.  We’re not going to let an iconic industry waste away.  (Applause.)

And so we brought workers together and management, and now GM is back on top, and we’ve seen more growth in the U.S. auto industry and more market share than we’ve seen in a very, very long time.  And manufacturing is coming back.  (Applause.)  Even though that decision wasn’t popular, we made the right decision.
We made the right decision in starting to free up credit again so that companies could borrow and small businesses could keep their doors open.  We made the right decision when it came to ensuring that all across this country states got help to keep teachers and firefighters and police officers on the job.  We made the right decision in making sure that we used this opportunity to rebuild big chunks of America — our roads and our bridges and our rail lines.

So we made a lot of good policy decisions.  But the reason we came back is ultimately because of the American people, because of their resilience and their strength.  They made it happen.  They decided, you know what, maybe I’ll retrain for school.  A small business decided, I’m going to keep my doors open even though it’s very hard to make payroll right now.

One of the great privileges of being President is you go to every corner of the country and you see people from every walk of life, and it makes you optimistic about the American people.  Even over these last three and a half years, as tough as things have been, it made me more optimistic about the American people, that we have all the ingredients for success.

It’s because of them that we’ve seen more than 4 million jobs created, more than 800,000 jobs just this year alone.  It’s because of them that we’re seeing more manufacturing jobs coming back than any time since the 1990s.

But — and this is where you come in — all that work that we’ve done, all that effort, that stands to be reversed because we’ve had an opposition that has had a fundamentally different vision of where we should take America.  They had it from the day I was sworn in.  They made a determination that politics would trump what was needed to move this country forward.  And they have tried to put sand in the gears in Congress ever since.

And now they’ve got a nominee who is expressing support for an agenda that would reverse the progress we’ve made and take us back to the exact same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.  And the reason we’re here today is because we’re not going back.  We’re going forward.  (Applause.)  We have worked too hard and too long to right the ship and move us in the right direction.  We’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re doing, New York.  And we’re going to do it with your help!  (Applause.)

Now, the reason that they think they may be able to pull this off is because things are still tough.  There are a lot of folks still hurting out there; too may folks still looking for work, too many people whose homes are still underwater.  So we know we’ve got more to do.  That’s why I’m running again, because our job isn’t finished yet.  And this election in some ways is going to be even more consequential than 2008, because the choices are going to be starker this time.

Keep in mind, when I ran in 2008, I was running against a Republican who believed in climate change, believed in immigration reform, believed in campaign finance reform, had some history of working across the aisle.  We had profound disagreements, but even during the midst of the financial crisis there was an agreement of the need for action — to create jobs and create growth early.

We don’t have that this time.  My opponent, Governor Romney, is a patriotic American.  He has seen enormous financial success, and God bless him for that.  He has got a beautiful family.  But his vision of how you move this country forward is what Bill Clinton said — the same agenda as the previous administration, except on steroids.  So it’s not enough just to maintain tax cuts for the wealthy, we’re going to double tax cuts.  We’re going to do even more of the same.  It’s not enough just to roll back the regulations that we put in place to make sure that, for example, the financial system is transparent and working effectively so we don’t have taxpayer bailouts anymore, we’re going to do even more to eliminate regulations that have kept our air clean and our water clean and protected our kids for 20, 30 years.

When you look at the budget that they’ve put forward, they’re not just talking about rolling back Obamacare; they’re talking about rolling back the New Deal.  (Laughter.)  And that’s not an exaggeration.

And so there’s an enormous amount at stake.  And we’re going to have to make sure that in this election, we are describing clearly what’s at stake.  And we shouldn’t be afraid of this debate, because we’ve got the better argument.  We have got the better argument.

It’s not just a matter of being able to say the change that we brought about in lifting the auto industry back, that’s something we’re proud of.  It’s not just the 4.3 million jobs.  It’s not just the fact that 2.5 million young people have health insurance that didn’t have it before.  It’s not just the fact that, as a consequence of our policies, millions of young people are getting Pell grants and have the capacity to go to college who didn’t have it before.  It’s not just the track record I’ve amassed over the last three-and-a-half years that I am proud of. But it’s also the fact that when you look at our history, America has not grown, it has not prospered, it has not succeeded with a philosophy that says, “you’re all on your own.”

That’s not how we built this country.  The reason we became an economic superpower is because for all our individual initiative, all our entrepreneurship, all our belief in personal responsibility, despite all those things, what we’ve also understood is there’s certain things we do better together.  Creating a public school system that works so that everybody gets educated — we understand that.  (Applause.)

The first Republican President understanding we built a Transcontinental Railroad to stitch this country together — he understood that there’s certain things we do better together.  Investments in the National Academy of Sciences, investment in land grant colleges.  Eisenhower building the Interstate Highway System.  My grandfather and his generation going to college on the GI Bill.  Building the Hoover Dam, building the Golden Gate Bridge — these things we did together.  And it created a platform where everybody had a chance, everybody got a fair shot, everybody did their fair share, everybody played by the same rules.

If you look at our history, the reason why we have the best capital markets in the world, the reason why Wall Street is the center of finance — because we had rules in place that made us the most transparent, where investors could trust if they put their money there they weren’t going to be cheated.  You had a strong SEC.  You had FDIC.  You had an entire infrastructure that allowed our capital markets to thrive.  That’s been a strength; not a weakness.

Throughout our history, there have been certain things that we have to do together.  And what was true in the past is true now as well.  So that’s what’s at stake in this election.  I’m not going to go back to the days when suddenly our young people can’t afford to go to college just to pay for tax cuts for me and Bill Clinton.

We’re not going to go back to the day where 30 million people can’t get health insurance despite working two jobs; where young people can’t stay on their parent’s policies, or seniors suddenly find prescription drugs more expensive again.  We’re not going to go back to the days when suddenly women don’t have preventive care, or we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. We’re not going back to those days.  I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as our sons.  And I want our women to have the same ability to control their health care decisions as anybody else.  We’re not going backwards.  (Applause.)

We’re not going to go back to the days when you couldn’t serve in our military and at the same time admit who it is that you loved.  (Applause.)  We’re moving forward with an agenda of dignity and respect for everybody.

We’re not going to go back to the days when folks thought somehow there was a conflict between economic growth and looking after our environment and good stewardship for the next generation.  We’re not going back to those days.  (Applause.)

But we’re going to have to fight for it.  This is not going to be an easy race.  Because of the Citizens United decision we’re seeing hundreds of millions of dollars spent, unprecedented numbers.  We haven’t seen this kind of spending.  There’s never been this amount of negative spending before.  There was a brief — a newspaper just printed somebody had evaluated negative ads  — 70 percent of our ads have been positive; 70 percent of their ads have been negative.  And I suspect that ratio could become even more pronounced as the weeks go by.

And as I said, folks out there are still anxious and they’re still scared about the future.  And so what the other side is counting on is fear and frustration, that hat in and of itself is going to be good enough — because they’re sure not offering any new ideas.  All they’re offering is the same old ideas that didn’t work then and won’t work now.

Even when it comes to their big issue of deficits and debt, as President Clinton just mentioned, the truth is, is that the two Presidents over the last 30 years, 40 years, who’ve had the lowest increases in government spending, you’re looking at them right here.  (Applause.)  They’re on this stage.  They are on this stage.  (Applause.)

And the agenda that we’ve put forward — which says let’s put people to work right now rebuilding our roads and our bridges and putting teachers back in the classroom to accelerate growth now at the same time as we couple it with long-term spending restraint — that’s a recipe that works.  We’ve seen it work before.  We saw it work in the ‘90s.  There’s no reason why it wouldn’t work now.  And that will allow us to make sure that we can still invest in our future.

As I travel around the world — and I know President Clinton does, as well — you talk to people; nothing gets me more frustrated when I hear sometimes reports in the press about America’s decline, because around the world there’s nobody who wouldn’t trade places with us.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the best universities, the most productive workers, the best entrepreneurs, the best scientists.  We’ve got all the ingredients we need to make it work.  Now we just need the best politics.  Now we just need the best politics.  (Applause.)  And that’s what this election is going to be all about.

So the bottom line is this:  All of you, you’re going to have to work not just as hard as we did in 2008, we’re going to need you to work harder.  One of the things we learned in 2008 is for all the negative ads, for all the rough-and-tumble of politics, for all the distortions and just plain nonsense that you sometimes hear, when folks come together, when citizens come together and insist that it’s time for a change, guess what — change happens.

And what was true then is just as true now.  And I want you guys to know that it is true that my hair is grayer — I haven’t quite caught up to Bill yet — (laughter) — but I’m getting there.  Those of us who have this awesome privilege of holding this office, we end up showing a few dings and dents along the way.  That’s inevitable.  But I am more determined now than I was in 2008.  (Applause.)  I am more inspired by America now than I even was then, because I’ve seen more of this country, and I’ve seen its strength and I’ve seen its passion.  I’ve seen what’s possible.

I’ve seen the changes we’ve already brought.  And it shouldn’t make us complacent, but it should make us confident about the changes that we can bring about in the future.  (Applause.)  It means that we’re going to be able to do even more to double clean energy.  It means we’re going to be able to do even more to bring back manufacturing.  We’re going to be able to do more to put people back to work.  We’re going to be able to make sure that we’re a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
All those things on our checklist that we haven’t yet gotten done we will get done.  But we’re only going to get it done because of you.  I’m only going to get it done because of you.  (Applause.)

You know, I used to say that I’m not a perfect man — Michelle will tell you — and I’ll never be a perfect President. No President is.  But I promised you I would always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and I’d wake up every single day just thinking about how I can make the lives of the American people a little bit better, and I’d work as hard as I knew how to make that happen.  And I have kept that promise.  I have kept that promise because I still believe in you.  And I hope you still believe in me.  (Applause.)

Because if you’re willing to join me this time out, and knock on doors, and make phone calls, and get out there and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors, I promise you we will finish what we started in 2008.  (Applause.)  We will not go backward.  We will go forward.  And we will remind the entire world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, New York.  I love you.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
9:28 P.M. EDT

Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event

New Amsterdam Theatre
New York, New York

6-5-12

9:54 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here to ensure the reelection of President Obama and Vice President Biden. I thank you very much. (Applause.)

You know, I was worried about getting half a step slow doing this because my whole life is my foundation now. I’m a little rusty at politics. (Laughter.) But this is my — wait, wait, wait. This is my third event tonight where I am the warm-up act for the President. (Applause.) So I am about to get my steps down and my rhythm going, you know?

Here’s what I want to say. Your presence here tonight is important. Your support is important. And perhaps, most important of all, your willingness to leave here and talk to people about this election not just in New York but all across this country is profoundly important. (Applause.) Because I’ve found there’s a lot of murkiness out there. So let me just be as simple as I can. I don’t think it’s important to reelect the President; I think it’s essential to reelect the President — if we want this country to go in the right direction. (Applause.)

And I want to explain why.

I know things are not perfect now. I know they’re a little slow now. But let me just remind you that when the President took office a little over three years ago, in the month he took the oath of office we lost 800,000 jobs. Starting on September the 15th, we entered the deepest crash since the Great Depression. If you look at history, those things take five or 10 years to get over, and if there’s a housing collapse along with it, closer to 10 years. He’s on schedule to beat that record.

And so we have to go out to people who are still hurting, who are still uncertain, and who hear the airways full of contradictory assertions, and basically give them the facts. And here they are: In the last 27 months, this economy has created 4.3 million private sector jobs. (Applause.) That is — to give you some perspective on how many that is, that’s 60 percent more private sector jobs that were created in the seven years and eight months of the previous administration before the financial meltdown — (applause) — and about the same number per month as were created during the time I had the honor of serving.

Now, second thing — they tell you how terrible his health care bill is. It’s hard for them since Governor Romney’s finest act as governor was to sign a bill with the individual mandate in it, which he has now renounced. But let me tell you a couple things about it. Number one, for the first time in 50 years we have had two years in a row where health care costs have only gone up 4 percent — first time in 50 years.

Number two, the American people this year got $1.3 billion in refunds on their health care premiums — because you’ve got to spend 85 percent of that premium on health care today, not profits or promotion. (Applause.) Number three, there are 2.6 million young people, 26 and under, who are insured today for the first time because they’re on their parent’s policy. (Applause.)

So — and look, this is a huge deal. I talk to people in this business all over America. They would be mortified if this bill were repealed because they say we’re finally making progress. We’re going to stop paying for procedures, start paying for performance. We’re going to have plans that will bring our cost down in line with our competitor and improve the quality of care. People in health care — the President and I just came from an event and there were two woman doctors who said, we are doctors for health care reform and we are here because we can see it working already, that it’s coming. (Applause.)

Now, manufacturing is coming back for the first time since the 1990s. Green tech jobs, in spite of the attacks from Governor Romney and the Republicans, grew at twice the rate of other jobs after the economic downturn, and paid 35 percent more.

The automobile industry was headed for a calamity, and two of the great auto companies in America were saved by a financial agreement that had management, labor and government restructuring the company. There are 80,000 more people making cars today than there were when Barack Obama became President. (Applause.) And 1.5 million people had their jobs saved. (Applause.)

Car mileage standards are going to be doubled because of an agreement between management and labor, and the environmental groups and government. And as we double those car mileage standards, 150,000 high-paying jobs will be created, creating the new technologies to make it possible.

And I could give you 50 more things, but you get the idea. Why aren’t things roaring along now? Because Europe is in trouble and because the Republican Congress has adopted the European economic policy. Who would have thought, after years and years, even decades, in which the Republican right attacked “old Europe,” that they would embrace the economic policies of the eurozone — austerity and unemployment now at all costs. (Laughter.) I mean after all, their unemployment rate is 11 percent, and ours is 8 — we can get right up there if we just adopt their policies. (Laughter and applause.)

You’re laughing, but you need to tell people this. That’s what they’re being asked to vote for. They’re being asked to reject a President who has tried to give us a 21st century economic policy, and said, no, no, growth and jobs now — broad-based growth, fair growth that includes all Americans. Then we’ll put the hammer down on the spending to avoid the debt exploding at the time when economic growth occurs so that we won’t have high interest rates and we won’t kill off the recovery.

The Republican policy is the reverse. Governor Romney says, no, austerity and unemployment now, and then when we — if we ever get out of this thing, then we’re going to cut taxes so much, we’ll explode the debt then and see just how high we can drive interest rates, and how we can make the economy — that is their economic policy. It was their economic policy, and it is. And it doesn’t work.

So we’re laughing, we’re having a good time tonight. The night belongs to the President and to you. But I’m telling you, I spent a lifetime in public service and now with my foundation, desperately trying to figure out how to give people a better chance — desperately trying to figure out how to create jobs. (Applause.) And he analyzed this situation properly. He did the best he could with a lousy hand. And he will do better if the American people said, no, we don’t want to go back to what got us in trouble in the first place. Give us a 21st century economy we can all be a part of. (Applause.)

That’s what President Obama will do. Let’s bring him on with a big hand! Stand up for the President! (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) It is good to be back on Broadway! (Applause.) But before I get to this unbelievable opening act — (laughter) — let me thank my producer. That’s usually what you do when you’re on Broadway. (Laughter.) Margo Lion has been such a great friend of mine for so long. (Applause.) Bill, during the campaign, Margo set up I think a couple of these.

And for all those who performed tonight, I could not be more grateful and more appreciative. Many of you have put in a lot of time and effort, not just this time out but last time out. And it is just a great joy to be with all of you. But Margo especially — I just want to give her a public acknowledgment because she has been a great friend. (Applause.)

Before we get to the some of the more serious items, I do want to just share a quick story about Margo. Shortly after I had been elected — Bill can relate to this — the Secret Service bubble shrinks and it starts really clamping down. (Laughter.) And the thing that you miss most when you’re President — extraordinary privilege, and really nice plane and all kinds of stuff — (laughter) — but suddenly, not only have you lost your anonymity, but your capacity to just wander around and go into a bookstore, or go to a coffee shop, or walk through Central Park.

So I was saying — it was a beautiful day and I had just been driving through Manhattan, and I saw Margo. And I said, you know, I just desperately want to take a walk through Central Park again, and just remember what that feels like. But the problem is, obviously, it’s hard to do now. And so my idea has been to see if I was — if I got a disguise — (laughter) — could I pull this off. (Laughter.)

And so Margo thought about it, and about a week later I got this fake moustache — (laughter) — that I guess she got from one of the makeup artists on Broadway. And I tried it on and I thought it looked pretty good. (Laughter.) But when I tested this scheme with the Secret Service, they said it didn’t look good enough. (Laughter.)

But I kept it. I have kept this moustache just in case in the second term I — (laughter and applause.) So if you — so if a couple years from now you see a guy with big ears and a moustache — (laughter) — just pretend you don’t know who it is. Just look away. (Laughter.) Eating a hotdog, you know. (Laughter.) Going through the — you know.

I want to thank Bill Clinton – (applause) — not only for the extraordinary support that he’s shown tonight and the support he’s showing throughout this campaign, not only for the fact that he is as good at breaking down what’s at stake at any given moment in our history, his inexhaustible energy and knowledge, the work that he’s doing around the world on behalf of folks in need — but I also want to thank him for his legacy. (Applause.) Because in many ways Bill Clinton helped to guide the Democratic Party out of the wilderness –- (applause) — and to lay the groundwork for a sensible, thoughtful, common-sense, progressive agenda that is important to remember at this moment.

When many of us came together in 2008, we came together not just because of me. In fact, folks weren’t sure whether I was going to win. When you support a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, the odds are always — (laughter) — a little long. But we came together because of a shared commitment we made to each other as American citizens, a basic compact that defines this country — that says if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, then there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, whether you’re black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, able, disabled — it doesn’t matter — that you’ve got a stake in this country. You’ve got a claim on this country. (Applause.) And if you’re willing to work hard, you can make it if you try in the United States of America. (Applause.)

And in 2008, we understood that that compact seemed like it was eroded. A few people were doing very well, but more and more people seemed to be struggling to get by. We had squandered a surplus on tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. (Applause.) We had paid for two wars on a credit card. Because we hadn’t enforced basic rules of the marketplace, we saw more and more of our economy built on speculation and financial schemes that were inherently unstable. And it all came crashing down in the worst crisis that we’ve seen in our lifetimes.

But part of the reason why we understood both what was possible and what had been lost was because of our memories of Bill Clinton’s tenure as President — (applause) — and our recognition that there’s no contradiction between growing an economy and making sure that everybody is taking part — in fact, that’s how you grow an economy, is because you’re giving everybody a shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.

We understood there’s no contradiction between economic growth and caring for our environment; that, in fact, if we make smart investments in clean energy, that’s an entire industry of the future that can put people back to work.

We understood that there wasn’t a contradiction between being fiscally responsible, but also making sure that kids got Head Start, kids could go to college, and we were investing in basic science and basic research. This wasn’t some fantasy of ours. This wasn’t some pie in the sky, wild imaginings. We’d seen it. We knew it was possible. And that’s what we fought for.

Of course, we didn’t know at the time that we were going to see this incredible crisis — 3 million jobs lost in the six months before the election, and 800,000 lost the month I was sworn into office.

But here’s one thing we understood. The campaign taught us this — the incredible resilience and the incredible strength of the American people. (Applause.) And so part of what allowed us to fight our way out of this hole was some tough decisions that we made — to save the auto industry even when some people said, let’s let Detroit go bankrupt — (applause) — and getting management and workers together to save over a million jobs. And now GM is back on top. The American auto industry is making better cars than ever. (Applause.)

We made tough decisions to make sure that credit was flowing again to businesses large and small, and they could keep their doors open and start hiring again and make investments again in the future. And we’ve seen over 4 million jobs created. We’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created at any time since the 1990s.

And so, in part, the reason that we have been weathering this storm was because of some tough policies, but the right policies. But a lot of it just had to do with the resilience of the American people. They don’t give up. They don’t quit. So some 55-year-old gets laid off and they decide, you know what, I’m going to back to school. I’m going to get myself retrained to find the job of the future. I’m not giving up. A small business owner, they patch together whatever money they can to keep their doors open and to make sure that they can keep their employees on, even if it means maybe they don’t get paid for a while, even if it means that the owner of that business is having to scrimp. That’s how much they care about their employees.

Folks decided, you know what, we were going to retire at 65, but maybe we’re going to have to work an extra five years because I’m going to make sure my child or my grandchild gets to go to college. All kinds of decisions like that made all across America.

And so after this incredible crisis, America is moving in the right direction. We’re not there yet; we’re not where we need to be. There are still too many people out there who are looking for work, too many homes that are still underwater, too many kids in poverty who still don’t see prospects for the future. But we started to right the ship and we’ve moving in the direction that we imagined in 2008.

And that is why this election in a lot of ways is even more important than the last one, because as hard as we’ve worked over the last four years, as much as we’ve done to start rebuilding a country that’s not built on how much we consume or some sort of Ponzi schemes, but built on what we’re producing and what we’re making, and the skills of our people, and the ingenuity of our scientists, and the risk-taking of our entrepreneurs — after all that work that we’ve done, the last thing we’re going to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. We’re not going backwards. (Applause.) We’re not going backwards, New York! We intend to go forwards! nd that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.) We’re not going back.

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

THE PRESIDENT: Not going back to a set of policies that say you’re on your own. And that’s essentially the theory of the other side. George Romney — wrong guy. (Laughter.) Governor Romney — he was a good governor. (Laughter.) Governor Romney is a — he’s a patriotic American. He’s had great success in his life, and he’s raised a beautiful family. But he has a theory of the economy that basically says, if I’m maximizing returns for my investors, for wealthy individuals like myself, then everybody is going to be better off.

He was in Iowa talking to a woman, and she was describing her financial struggles, and his response was out of an economic textbook. He said, “Productivity equals income.” (Laughter.)

Now, I guess in the aggregate, technically — right — this is a coherent argument. (Laughter.) But the implication was somehow that this woman, or others who are struggling out there, they’re not productive enough.

Well, let me tell you, actually, America has become incredibly productive. People are working harder than ever. We’ve got some of the most productive workers in the world. The problem is not that we aren’t productive enough; the problem is that productivity has not translated for far too many people into higher incomes. (Applause.) The problem is that profits haven’t translated into jobs and investment in this country.

We believe in the marketplace. We believe in entrepreneurship and rewarding risk-taking. But what we also understand is that our economy works best, America became an economic superpower, because we created a platform where everybody could succeed. And we set up rules of the road that made the market work for everybody, and gave consumers confidence that they weren’t going to be bilked, and gave investors confidence that if you’re a small investor, you’re not some insider, you still have a chance buying a stock.

And we understood that if we’re investing in things like a Hoover Dam or DARPA — the research and development arm of our military that ended up producing things like the Internet or GPS — that that, in fact, would be good for everybody.

We understand that when my grandfather’s generation came back from fighting in World War II and they had a chance to go to college on the GI Bill, that wasn’t just good for one individual, it wasn’t just good for one group. That was good for everybody. We all became richer together.

And that’s the lesson that Mr. Romney and the Republicans in Congress don’t seem to understand, they don’t seem to get. But look at our history. Ironically, the first Republican President understood it. Abraham Lincoln understood it. That’s why in the middle of a Civil War he was still building a Transcontinental Railroad and starting land grant colleges, and starting the National Academy of Sciences — because he understood that ultimately there are some things we do better on our own — not every government program works, not everybody can [be] helped who doesn’t want to be helping themselves. All of us have responsibilities.

And I learned early on that no matter how much money you pour into the schools, nothing replaces the love and attention and occasional scoldings from a parent. (Applause.) I learned as a community organizer that no government program can substitute for the caring and passion of neighbors and communities. But I also understood, and you understand and Americans understand, that when we’ve done great things in this country we’ve done them together. We’ve done them together. And that’s what’s at stake in this election.

And we’re not going back to this other theory. I’m not going to go back to a time when if you got sick, you had no recourse and you potentially could go bankrupt. I’m not going to go back to a time when 2.5 million young people can’t get health insurance or can’t stay on their parent’s plan — (applause) — or 30 million people who are working maybe two jobs can’t afford to buy health insurance and end up in an emergency room just because they can’t get sick and aren’t getting preventive care. We’re not going to go back to that.

We’re not going to go back to a time when — we’re not going to refight the battles about whether or not we need to make some basic reforms on Wall Street so that taxpayers don’t have to bail out folks after they’ve made irresponsible or reckless bets. (Applause.) That’s not good for our financial markets. We’re not going to refight that battle.

We’re not going to go back to a time when manufacturing is all moving offshore. We want to bring companies onshore. I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing in jobs investment here in the United States — (applause) — not shipping jobs overseas. We don’t need to go back to policies like that.

We’re not going to go back to a time when our military could expel somebody because of who they loved. We believe in everybody being treated fairly and equally, and respecting everybody’s rights. We’re not going to go backwards. We’re going forwards. (Applause.)

We don’t need to go back to a foreign policy that thinks the measure of our security is everything we do we do on our own. We’ve been able to restore respect and collaboration, and our alliances have never been stronger — partly because I’ve got a pretty good Secretary of State. (Applause.)

And that’s how we ended the war in Iraq. And that’s how we’re starting to transition out of Afghanistan. And that’s how we brought Osama bin Laden to justice. (Applause.) And we’re not going to go backwards on policies that make America stronger.

We’re not going to go back to the days when somehow women couldn’t get the preventive care that they need. (Applause.) We don’t need a situation where women aren’t controlling their own health care choices. We don’t need to eliminate Planned Parenthood. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as my sons. That’s part of what America is about. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re not going backwards. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And we can afford the investments we need to grow. We can afford to make sure that every kid has a chance to go to college, and they’re going to a decent school, and they’re graduating. (Applause.)

We can afford to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our airports and our broadband lines and high-speed rail, and putting people back to work. We can afford — in fact, we can’t afford not to invest in the science and research that’s going to keep us at the cutting-edge. (Applause.)

We’re not going to throw millions of people off the Medicaid rolls, folks who are disabled or poor, seniors who are relying on it. We’re not going to voucherize Medicare. We’re going to responsibly reduce this deficit. You know — two Presidents over the last 30 years that have actually reduced the pace of the growth in government spending happen to be on this stage right here. They happen to be the two Democrats. (Applause.)

So we have to get our deficit and debt under control. We’ve got to do it in a responsible way, cut out programs we don’t need. I’ve already signed a trillion dollars in cuts that have already been made, another trillion that are slated to be made. But we’re also going to ask folks who can afford it like the two of us to pay a little bit more — and some of you, too, so don’t chuckle — (laughter and applause) — to pay a little bit more so that we can afford the things that will help us grow. That’s the right recipe. That’s what made us an economic superpower. And that’s the policy that we’re going to pursue.

Now, here’s the good news. The American people, on the issues, when presented with the facts, they actually agree with us. Now, it’s hard sometimes getting the facts out. There’s a lot of bugs on the windshield. (Laughter.) Sometimes you’ve got to — (laughter) — so you got to get those wipers going pretty hard sometimes. It’s not always clear. (Laughter.)

But when folks know the facts, when they’re given a choice — and that’s what this election is about, every election is about a choice — when given a choice between a vision that says we’re going to have a balanced approach to deficit reduction, and we’re going to continue to make investments in things like clean energy and fuel efficiency and science and innovation and education and rebuilding our infrastructure, versus another $5 trillion worth of tax cuts that would give the average millionaire and billionaire an additional $250,000 a year in tax breaks — people agree with us.

On issue after issue, if you give them a fair presentation, no spin on the ball, the majority of the country — not just Manhattan — (laughter) — the majority of the country agrees with us. Which is why the other side isn’t — they’re not presenting anything new. As Bill said the other day, this is the same old stuff, just on steroids. (Laughter.) Just more of. More tax cuts for the wealthy. We’re not just going to reduce regulation, we’re going to cripple EPA. And people aren’t buying that. They don’t really think that that’s going to work.

The only reason that this is going to be a close election is because people are still hurting. The situation in Europe is slowing things down. We’ve been prevented from, for example, the plans that I’ve put forward repeatedly to Congress to say, let’s give states more help so they don’t have to lay off more teachers. Now interest rates have never been lower. Literally, the government can — basically people will pay us to lend us money — (laughter) — and there would never be a better time for us to start making investments that could put construction workers back to work all across the country. (Applause.)

But that’s not something Congress, so far, has been willing to do. Though we’re going to keep on putting pressure on them over these next few months because we don’t have time just to wait for an election to do something. (Applause.)

But folks are still hurting. And this has been a long slog for people. And sometimes when things are tough you just say, well, you know what, I’ll just keep on trying something until something works. And that’s compounded by $500 million in super PAC negative ads that are going to be run over the course of the next five months that will try to feed on those fears and those anxieties and that frustration.

That’s basically the argument the other side is making. They’re not offering anything new, they’re just saying, things are tough right now and it’s Obama’s fault. You can pretty much sum up their argument. (Laughter.) There’s no vision for the future there. There’s no imagination. I mean, somebody is going to have to explain to me how repealing Obamacare and throwing 30 million people back to a situation where they don’t have health care, somehow that’s an economic development agenda. (Laughter.) Nobody has really explained that to me.

So it’s going to be — it’s going to be a tough election. But 2008 was tough, too. And what you all taught me was that when Americans are willing to come together and make a commitment to each other, when they have a vision about what’s possible and they commit to it, and they join together and they work for it, when they decide — when you decide — that change is going to happen, guess what. Change happens. (Applause.) Change happens.

And so I may be a little grayer than I was the last time I was on Broadway. (Laughter.) Going to need to get Margo to send me something to do something — do something about that. As President Clinton will tell you, you go through some dings and dents in this job. But I tell you what. I’m more determined than I’ve ever been. (Applause.) I’m more determined than I’ve ever been to finish what we started.

I used to say back in 2008, I’m not a perfect man, and haven’t been and won’t be a perfect President. Nobody is. But what I told you was I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and I’d wake up every single morning fighting as hard as I knew how to make life better for the American people. And I have kept that promise. I have kept that promise, Broadway. (Applause.) I have kept that promise.

I still believe in you. I hope you still believe in me. I hope you still believe! If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope and it’s still about change. And if you’re willing to knock on some doors and make some phone calls, and talk to your friends and neighbors, and work just as hard as you did in 2008, we will finish what we started and remind the world why it is America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless America.

END
10:32 P.M. EDT

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Quiz: How well do you know our chief executives?

 

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Presidents’ Day: How well do you know our chief executives?

Source: LAT, Chicago Tribune, 2-20-12

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan,  Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford.

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Happy Presidents’ Day. This holiday, which dates to 1971, originally was meant to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) but it’s also meant to honor all presidents. In the spirit, we offer you this quiz. How well do you know our chief executives? You’ll learn lots from visiting the 13 presidential libraries. Forty-four presidents have been installed in office, but there are only 43 people who have been president. Why? Take the quiz below and find out:

1. Barack Obama was the first sitting senator to win election to the presidency since what man?

2. Who was the first president to be impeached?

3. To what party did John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, belong?  Extra credit: Who was his father and when was he president?

4. Name another father-son presidential pair.

5. Who were the vice presidents of that father-son presidential pair in Question 4?

6. Who was the first president to die in office?

7. Who was the last president born under British rule?8. Whose grandson became president of the United States four dozen years after he was president?

9. What president was born in Iowa but orphaned at age 9 and sent to live in Oregon?

10. What president and his wife were Stanford graduates?

11. Which president graduated in 1809 from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania?

12. What president refused renomination in 1880 and thus served only one term?

13. Who was elected president after Rutherford Hayes?

14. How long did James Garfield remain in office?

15. Who served as James Garfield’s secretary of War?

16. Who succeeded James Garfield and how many terms did he serve?

17. What president suffered what was then called Bright’s disease?

18. Who is the only president to serve two terms that weren’t consecutive?

19. Who was the last Civil War general to serve as president?

20. William McKinley was shot and killed in September 1901. He was succeeded by a man his campaign manager called “that damned cowboy.” Who was that?

21. What president frequently declared, “Politics makes me sick”?

22. What president died in 1923 in San Francisco?

23. What president died 10 months after his wife died of lung cancer? (He was out of office when he died.)

24. This president graduated from West Point in the class that was called “the class the stars fell on” because it produced 59 generals. Who was that and what year?

25. Which former president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002?Answers:

1. John Kennedy

2. Andrew Johnson

3. National Republican. John Q. was the oldest son of the second president, John Adams, 1797-1801.

4. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush

5. Dan Quayle for George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney for George W. Bush.

6. William Henry Harrison, who died just a month after taking office.

7. William Henry Harrison.

8. William Henry Harrison.

9. Herbert Hoover.

10. Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou.

11. James Buchanan

12. Rutherford Hayes

13. James Garfield

14. Four months. He was shot July 2 and died Sept. 19, 1881.

15. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln.

16. Chester Arthur. One term.

17. Chester Arthur. He lost the nomination for a second term, even though he knew he had Bright’s, a kidney disease. He died a year after leaving office.

18. Grover Cleveland

19. Benjamin Harrison

20. Theodore Roosevelt

21. William Howard Taft

22. Warren G. Harding

23. Richard Nixon

24. Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1915.

25. Jimmy Carter

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Gallup Poll: Americans rate Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton best of recent presidents — Richard Nixon & George W. Bush rated worst

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Presidents’ Day Gallup Poll: Americans rate Reagan, Clinton best of recent presidents

Source: LAT, 2-20-12

Reagan & Clinton

Former President Ronald Reagan presents then-President-elect Clinton with a jar of red, white and blue jelly beans in November 1992. (Paul Richards / AFP)

Presidents Day — or Washington’s Birthday, if you prefer — is a time to celebrate all of America’s past commanders in chief. Among the nation’s most recent leaders, two are celebrated far more than others: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

That’s the finding of Gallup, at least, which recently asked Americans to judge how the last eight presidents will go down in history.

Sixty-nine percent said Reagan would go down as “outstanding” or “above average,” compared to just 10% who said “below average” or “poor.” Clinton was rated favorably by 60% of those surveyed, a 10-point improvement from the last time Gallup asked the question in early 2009. Twelve percent rated him negatively, down from 20% three years ago….READ MORE

How do you think each of the following presidents will go down in history -- as an outstanding president, above average, average, below average, or poor?

Americans Judge Reagan, Clinton Best of Recent Presidents

Public split on whether Obama will be judged positively or negatively

Source: Gallup, 2-17-12

Americans believe history will judge Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton as the best among recent U.S. presidents, with at least 6 in 10 saying each will go down in history as an above-average or outstanding president. Only about 1 in 10 say each will be remembered as below average or poor. Three years into Barack Obama’s presidency, Americans are divided in their views of how he will be regarded, with 38% guessing he will be remembered as above average or outstanding and 35% as below average or poor….READ MORE

Gallup: Reagan and Clinton are favorite presidents

Source: USA Today, 2-20-12

Americans say Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton will be judged the best presidents of the past four decades, the Gallup Poll reports.

At least six in 10 respondents say Reagan and Clinton will be considered an above average or outstanding president, Gallup said.

“Three years into Barack Obama’s presidency,” Gallup said. “Americans are divided in their views of how he will be regarded, with 38% guessing he will be remembered as above average or outstanding and 35% as below average or poor.”

The poll said, “Aside from Clinton and Reagan, only George H.W. Bush gets significantly more positive than negative ratings. (Richard) Nixon and George W. Bush are rated as the worst, with roughly half of Americans believing each will be judged negatively.”

The key to the popularity of Reagan and Clinton: They governed during good economies and got credit for improving them.

It’s worth nothing that Reagan and Clinton also survived scandals during their tenures: Reagan, the Iran-Contra imbroglio; Clinton, impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky matter.

Presidential ratings change over time, the pollsters noted…..READ MORE

Presidential Report Card: How Will Recent Presidents Go Down in History?—PICTURES

Source: National Journal, 2-17-12

Asked in a recent Presidents Day Gallup poll to rank eight modern presidents, respondents said Ronald Reagan and then Bill Clinton will go down in history as outstanding or above-average presidents. We take a look at how the rankings panned out….READ MORE

History Buzz February 17, 2012: George Washington still tops as most favorable President in Presidents’ Day Public Policy Polling survey

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Poll: George Washington still tops

This undated file photo of a 1796 Gilbert Stuart oil on canvas painting portrays George Washington, founding father and first president of the United States. | AP Photo

Eighty-nine percent of Americans say they see George Washington favorably. | AP Photo

Source: Politico, 2-17-12

George Washington still ranks as Americans’ number one president, according to a new poll out Friday.

A whopping 89 percent of Americans say they see the United States’ first president favorably, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. The nation’s most other popular presidents offer few surprises, with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, John Adams, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, John Quincy Adams and Franklin D. Roosevelt rounding out the top ten.

Lincoln, with 85 percent favorability, just missed taking the top stop from Washington. Only two other presidents have a favorability rating over 70 percent — Jefferson at 74 percent and Kennedy at 70 percent.

Richard Nixon is by far the least popular, with 59 percent saying they have an unfavorable opinion of the scandal-ridden former commander in chief. Just 27 percent say they see Nixon positively. Ten other former presidents hit negative numbers in the poll: Lyndon B. Johnson, Warren Harding, Millard Fillmore, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Barack Obama, Chester Arthur, Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan and George W. Bush.

Obama comes in with 46 percent saying they see him favorably and 49 percent unfavorably. His predecessor, George W. Bush, gets similar support, with 45 percent positive and 46 percent negative ratings. Americans see other recent presidents in a more positive light — Ronald Reagan is the 14th most popular president, Gerald Ford the 16th and Bill Clinton ranks 17th….READ MORE

History Buzz February 17, 2012: American Experience’s ‘Clinton’ on PBS: That was then …

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

PBS’s ‘Clinton’: That was then …

Source: WaPo, 2-17-12

Clinton on PBS’s American Experience

Premiering February 20th and 21st, a biography of a president who rose from a broken childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history, and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage.
clinton

As we get more into the nitty-gritty of the 21st century, the 1990s die of neglect.

The goodbye process takes about 15 years, but once you notice that a decade is gone, you really, really notice it: Whitney Houston departs the earthly realm from a Beverly Hills hotel room bathtub. Your new hire lets it casually slip that he was born in 1991. The IT guys finally haul off the last of the humpbacked Dell monitors from the Cubicles of the Doomed. Whoomp, there it is. (Or, whoomp, there it was.)

“Clinton,” a four-hour PBS “American Experience” documentary airing Monday and Tuesday, is an honest but sometimes tediously predictable exercise in the further Wikipedia-ing and storage-packing of those years.

Whether intentional or subliminal, the film conveys the obvious and completely mortal recognition of time’s inevitable passage, but not much else. There is no anniversary to note (besides this November’s being 20 years since his election) nor any round-number birthday ahead (65 came and went in August), so it’s puzzling why so much effort has been put into a film about this particular president, now.

Part of the problem is that the Clintons are still very much with us; legacies are still jelling. As Secretary of State, Hillary is engaged in the most important work of her career, while Bill prefers a superhero’s schedule, in constant transit to a crisis or a speaking engagement. We needn’t wonder where his thoughts are at — on any subject — because he keeps telling us. To the right’s everlasting horror, Clinton could show up anywhere, anytime.

And they are still baffled by his resilience, especially the fast rehab of his reputation after the House impeached him in 1998. They’ve watched in vain as he has ascended to elder statesman. They’ve watched people love him in spite of his sins. “That’s one of the things I’ve never figured out,” remarks former senator Trent Lott, the Mississippi Republican and majority whip whose career was derailed by a single, ill-chosen toast at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party.

* * *

With observations and reflections of that sort, it would be tempting to report that “Clinton” lacks fresh news, except that I consider the death of the ’90s to be fresh — even fascinating — news. For the first time, the ’90s appear to be as old as the hills, stripped of any remaining “I Love the ’90s” fizz.

“Clinton” makes the decade look bleak and practically sepia-toned. It asks us to imagine a world that was only on the verge of having a 24-hour news cycle, a more quaint society. Newsweek got nervous about publishing reporter Michael Isikoff’s explosive discovery of the Lewinsky affair, so Lucianne Goldberg sent the news to a fairly obscure Internet gossip named Matthew Drudge. You can almost hear the crackle and hiss of an AOL dial-up — and if I’d been directing this film, you would. The people who feasted on Clinton scandal, Clinton dirt, Clinton pitfalls, Clinton defeats — they were miners panning for a new gold. The hyperwired frenzy we now live with is surely as much a legacy of the Clinton era as welfare reform and “don’t ask, don’t tell.”….

White House Recap November 26-December 2, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama, Michelle Obama & Family Bring Holiday Spirit to the White House, Lighting the National Christmas Tree & Unveiling a Very “Bo” Decoration Theme, “Shine, Give, Share”

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: NOVEMBER 26-DECEMBER 2, 2011

West Wing Week: 12/2/11 or “Bo Meets Bo.”

This week, the President hosted the EU Summit and the Dutch Prime Minister, announced a new commitment to fighting AIDS, and lit the National Christmas Tree. That’s November 25th to December 1st, or “Bo Meets Bo.”

West Wing Week

Source: WH, 12-1-11

This week, as the President urged Republicans to join a Democratic effort to prevent a thousand dollar tax increase on the typical American family, the White House got spruced up for the holidays. The President also hosted the EU Summit, the Dutch Prime Minister, and announced a new commitment to fighting AIDS in America and around the world. He also lit the National Christmas Tree. That’s November 25th to December 1st, or “Bo Meets Bo.”

Download Video: mp4(128MB)

Holiday Decorations

Weekly Wrap Up: Ringing in the Holiday Season

Source: WH, 12-2-11

Download Video: mp4 (128MB)

What happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:

Payroll Tax Cut On Wednesday President Obama spoke in Scranton, Pennsylvania urging Congress to extend a tax break for middle class families. Yesterday Congress rejected an extension of this payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the month. Because of this failed attempt to extend tax cuts, the typical middle-class family is going to see their taxes go up by $1,000 in 2012. The President released a statement calling the vote “unacceptable” — and urging Congress to stop playing politics.

White House Holidays  The trees are lit and the ornaments are out. The First Lady welcomed military families to the White House Wednesday for a preview of this year’s holiday decorations. This year’s White House Holiday theme “Shine.Give.Share” celebrates the countless way we can lift up those around us and share our blessings with all.  Mrs. Obama’s guests saw the 18-foot  official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room that honors our military, the Gold Star tree in the  East Landing plus a series of topiaries built in the image of  the First Dog, Bo. On Thursday, the First Family welcomed hundreds to the National Tree Lighting Ceremony to bring in holiday cheer with guest performances including a reading of “the Night Before Christmas” by the First Lady and Kermit the Frog.

Green Building Initiative President Obama was joined by former President Bill Clinton on Friday as he announced the next piece of his “We Can’t Wait” initiative—a $4 billion investment in improving energy efficiency in buildings across the country. The President has also directed all Federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two months.

World AIDS Day To mark World Aids Day on Thursday, the President spoke about the progress made in the fight against the disease worldwide. He was joined via satellite by former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, while Bono, Alicia Keys and others were on hand to make a new commitment to help extend the progress made in the fight against this global pandemic. The commitment plans to help 6 million people get treatment by the end of 2013, 2 million more than the original goal.

EU Summit President Obama met with a group of senior officials from the European Union Wednesday to help find a solution to the Eurozone Crisis. The leaders issued a joint statement describing their shared commitment to create jobs and ensure financial stability. Later in the week, he met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to discuss his government’s commitment to keeping the euro intact.

Full Text December 2, 2011: President Barack Obama & Former President Bill Clinton Announce $4 Billion Investment Better Buildings Initiative — Making Buildings More Energy Efficient

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Announces $4 Billion Investment to Make Buildings More Energy Efficient

Source: WH, 12-2-11
President Obama and President Clinton tour Transwestern BuildingPresident Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton take a tour of the upgrades of the Transwestern Building in Washington, Dec. 2, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

This morning, President Obama met with former President Bill Clinton to announce the next piece of the “We Can’t Wait” campaign — a $4 billion effort to improve energy efficiency in buildings across the country.

The two were joined by Tom Donohue — the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — and Randi Weingarten — the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The group toured a building in northwest Washington that’s currently seeing an efficiency upgrade. That improvement employs around 250 full-time workers and will save the building $200,000 a year on its energy bills.

Making our buildings more energy efficient is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways for us to create jobs, save money, and cut down on harmful pollution, President Obama said:

It is a trifecta, which is why you’ve got labor and business behind it.  It could save our businesses up to $40 billion a year on their energy bills – money better spent growing and hiring new workers.  It would boost manufacturing of energy-efficient materials.  And when millions of construction workers have found themselves out of work since the housing bubble burst, it will put them back to work doing the work that America needs done.  So this is an idea whose time has come.

As part of today’s announcement, President Obama directed all Federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two months. Additionally, 60 private companies, hospitals, cities, states, colleges, and universities, among others, have collectively committed another $2 billion in energy efficiency retrofits to 1.6 billion square feet of property—roughly the equivalent of 500 Empire State Buildings.

The investments announced today are part of President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative, which set a goal of improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. The initiative will reduce energy bills for businesses by $40 billion per year, and one report found it could create up to 114,000 jobs.

More information:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama and Former President Clinton on We Can’t Wait: Better Buildings Initiative

Transwestern Building
Washington, D.C.
11:28 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, I never got to open for The Rolling Stones, so I’ll try to do my best for the President.

Thank you all for being here, and I want to thank all the people involved in the tour that we just received for their commitment to energy efficiency and all the people they put to work.

Mr. President, I want to thank you and Secretary Chu and Gene Sperling and your whole team.  Tom Donohue and Randi Weingarten, thank you for joining together today for what you are doing.

When the President asked me to work with his Jobs Council on improving energy efficiency in buildings, I think he did it because the Clinton Global Initiative and my own climate change project have been working on these kinds of things for several years now, and I believe as strongly as I can say that this is good business, creates jobs, makes us more energy independent and helps to fight climate change.  It’s the nearest thing we’ve got to a free lunch in a tough economy, because all of the savings can be paid back within a reasonable amount of time — I mean, all the costs of the construction — through lower utility bills.

So we’ve been working on that.  And the President has an announcement to make about that today.

I just want to say how grateful I am to Rich Trumka and the AFL-CIO and to Randi Weingarten for the work that labor has done in putting up some of the pension funds from California and some other funds they have to actually invest their own money gambling that they can get a reasonable return and putting people to work.  And I appreciate the support that Tom has given to this, because there are a lot of construction firms that are going to lose really skilled, gifted workers if they can’t find something to do, because there’s not a big demand for new buildings today and therefore the best opportunity to preserve and rebuild this sector is through greater energy efficiency.

I want to thank all the people who have been involved in this.  And Mr. President, I just want to say how grateful I am for the meeting we just attended.  The President’s Jobs Council and economic team put together a meeting that we were just present at — there were nearly 50 people there.  And he’ll tell you what they said they would do.  But — I hate to sound like a broken record — we could create an almost unlimited number of jobs out of this, even in this lousy economy, even with all this embedded mortgage crisis, if we can work out the financing.

And I am grateful to be able to support this, to offer the continued effort of our climate change project and the Clinton Global Initiative to help the partners we have that are involved in this and anybody else that wants it.  But I’m especially grateful that the President didn’t let this fall through the cracks.

You know that I haven’t been in that job for a long time, and I’m getting older, but I have some memory left.  And a thousand people ask you to do a thousand things.  And one of the tests of whether things work out or not, since you can’t do all thousand, is whether you can actually set up a process to do things and follow up.  And I am full of gratitude and praise, Mr. President, for you and your whole team, not just for your commitment to green energy, but for your commitment to energy efficiency, which gives you — on buildings like this, averages 7,000 jobs for every billion dollars invested — by far the greatest bang for the buck of any available investment I know.

So, thank you, Tom.  Thank you, Ricky — Randi.  And Mr. President, thanks for giving me a chance to work on this.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, good morning, everybody.  I want to first of all thank Randi and Tom for their participation.  And I am thrilled that President Clinton has been willing to take this on.  As he pointed out, partly thanks to me, he’s home alone too often.  And this has been a passion for him for quite some time.  So I am very grateful for his involvement.

I thank everybody at Transwestern and all the folks who are participating here for giving us this remarkable tour.

There are the equivalent of 250 full-time workers as a consequence of the project that’s taking place here.  It is a win for the business owners; it is a win for the tenants of this building; it is a win for the construction workers who are participating and for the property manager that’s doing such a great job.  So this is a great example of what’s possible.

As President, my most pressing challenge is doing everything I can every single day to get this economy growing faster and create more jobs.  This morning we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November.  The unemployment rate went down.  And despite some strong headwinds this year, the American economy has now created in the private sector jobs for the past 21 months in a row; that’s nearly 3 million new jobs in all, and more than half a million over the last four months.

So we need to keep that growth going.  Right now, that means Congress needs to extend the payroll tax cut for working Americans for another year.  Congress needs to renew unemployment insurance for Americans who are still out there pounding the pavement and looking for work.  Failure to take either of these steps would be a significant blow to our economy.  It would take money out of the pocket of Americans who are most likely to spend it, and it would harm small businesses that depend on the spending.  It would be a bad idea.

I think it’s worth noting, by the way, I noticed that some folks on the other side have been quoting President Clinton about it’s a bad idea to raise taxes during tough economic times.  That’s precisely why I’ve sought to extend the payroll tax this year and next year.  It doesn’t mean that we lock in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans — I don’t think President Clinton has been on board for that — for perpetuity.  But just thought that might be worth mentioning.

That’s why it’s so disappointing last night, by the way, that Senate Republicans voted to block that payroll tax cut.  That effectively would raise taxes on nearly 160 million hardworking Americans because they didn’t want to ask a few hundred thousand of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and get the economy growing faster than everybody.  And I think that’s unacceptable.

We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen.  Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery.  Right now, it’s time to step on the gas.  We need to get this done.  And I expect that it’s going to get done before Congress leaves.  Otherwise, Congress may not be leaving, and we can all spend Christmas here together.

Now, our longer-term challenge is rebuilding an economy where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded, and the middle class and folks who are trying to get into the middle class regain some security — an economy that’s built to compete with the rest of the world, and an economy that’s built to last.

And that’s why we are here today, in a place where, clearly, there is some building going on.  President Clinton, leaders of business, leaders of labor, we’re all here to announce some new steps that are going to create good jobs rebuilding America.

This building is in the middle of a retrofitting project to make it more energy efficient.  Already, this retrofit is saving this building $200,000 a year on its energy bills.  And as I mentioned earlier, by the time it’s finished, it will have created more than 250 full-time jobs in construction here in this building.  Consider President Clinton is coming down from the New York, the fact that the owners of the Empire State Building did the same thing; they are retrofitting that iconic landmark from top to bottom.  It’s a big investment, but it will pay for itself by saving them $4.4 million a year in energy costs.  And it’s estimated that all the retrofitting that they’re doing will pay for itself in about four and a half years.

Making our buildings more energy efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways for us to create jobs, save money, and cut down on harmful pollution.  It is a trifecta, which is why you’ve got labor and business behind it.  It could save our businesses up to $40 billion a year on their energy bills -– money better spent growing and hiring new workers.  It would boost manufacturing of energy-efficient materials.  And when millions of construction workers have found themselves out of work since the housing bubble burst, it will put them back to work doing the work that America needs done.  So this is an idea whose time has come.

And that’s why, in February, I announced the Better Buildings Initiative.  It’s an ambitious plan to improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial buildings 20 percent by the year 2020.  And I asked President Clinton and my Jobs Council to challenge the private sector, as part of the initiative, to step up, make these cost-saving investments, and prove that it works, so that other companies follow their lead.

Now, I believe that if you’re willing to put people to work making your buildings more efficient, America should provide you some incentives to do so.  That’s something that would require congressional action.  And we have asked Congress to work with us to move on providing more effective incentives for commercial building owners all across the country to move forward on these energy-efficient steps.  But we can’t wait for Congress to act.  And if they won’t act, I will.

Which is why, today, I’m directing all federal agencies — all federal agencies — to make at least $2 billion worth of energy-efficiency upgrades over the next two years.  None of these upgrades will require taxpayer money to get them going.  We’re going to use performance-based contracts that use savings on energy and utility bills to pay the contractors that do the work.  And it should keep construction workers pretty busy.  In fact, this is something that the Chamber of Commerce has said is critical to private sector job creation.

The private sector and community leaders are also stepping up to the plate alongside the federal government.  President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative have been tremendous partners in rallying them to join this effort.  So in June, at CGI America, we announced initial commitments of $500 million to upgrade 300 million square feet of building space; some of these projects are already underway.

The good news is, today, we can announce that we’re going even bigger.  We’ve received larger commitments.  We now have 60 major companies, universities, labor unions, hospitals, cities and states, and they are stepping up with nearly $2 billion in financing to upgrade an additional 1.6 billion square feet of commercial industrial space by our target year of 2020.  That’s more than 500 Empire State Buildings.

I just had the chance, along with President Clinton, to meet with representatives of these 60 institutions that are involved and hear firsthand how they can put Americans back to work but also improve their bottom lines.

So you’ve got companies like Best Buy and Walgreens that are going to upgrade store lighting, which is going to save them money.  You’ve got manufacturers like Alcoa that are going to make their manufacturing plants more efficient, dramatically reducing their operating costs which means they can compete more effectively all around the world.

You’ve got property management companies that are upgrading their buildings to make their real estate portfolios more attractive to businesses, and one is already upgrading 40,000 units of military housing all across the country, which will give our military families lower utility bills and a higher quality of life.  And all of this will create jobs.

So over the past decade we’ve seen what happens if we don’t make investments like these.  We’ve seen what happens when we don’t come together for a common purpose — wages flatline, incomes fall, employment stalls, and we lose our competitive edge.  But we’ve also seen what happens when we do what’s right.  When Bill Clinton was President we didn’t shortchange investment.  We didn’t say, we’re going to cut back on the things that we know are going to help us grow in the future.  We didn’t make decisions that put the burden on the middle class or the poor.  We lived within our means.  We invested in our future.  We asked everybody to pay their fair share.  And you know what happened?  The private sector thrived, jobs were created, the middle class grew — its income grew — millions rose out of poverty, we ran a surplus.  We were actually on track to be able to pay off all of our debt.  We were firing on all cylinders.

We can be that nation again.  That’s our goal.  We will be that nation again.  But we’re going to have to fight for it.  So there’s work to be done.  There are workers, like these guys, who are ready to do it.  There are businesses that are ready to step up.  We’ve just got to get organized, get mobilized, and move.

And so I just want to thank everybody who’s participating here for stepping up to the plate and showing extraordinary leadership.  I am confident that this is going to be one important piece of the puzzle to get the economy moving again.

Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you, guys.

Q    President Clinton, any advice to your friend — President Clinton, do you have any advice to President Obama about the economy?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Oh, he gives me advice all the time.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  I just want to — I’ll say again, this announcement today — the reason you should be encouraged by this, you can run the numbers and see how many jobs he announced.  But this meeting we just came from, as Dick Parsons said, represented trillions of dollars in potential investment.  And if the President, by doing this, can trigger pools of investment so that you have more buildings like this, keep in mind it can also change what goes on in every rural place and small town in America.

Upstate New York, which is in trouble — every little county has got one bonded contractor.  That bonded contractor can guarantee to every public school, every state, county, and local building, every little office building in Chappaqua, New York, where Hillary and I live, what the savings are going to be.  They’ve got software.  We have to have breakthroughs on financing.  That’s really the long-term potential significance of what the President announced today; and the fact that he did something that only a President can do — he got all these people together, and then to have the AFL-CIO and the AFT and others sort of lead the way, and saying we will put our members’ pensions into this because we can get a good return, it’s a stable return, we’ll put our current members to work and other working people to work, and get a return on the pension.

This is a big deal.  That’s the significance to this.  This announcement the President made today is the jobs that you can multiply 7,000 times a billion, but it’s potentially, literally 50, 70, 80 times that because of who’s involved.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thanks, guys.

END
11:45 A.M. EST

White House Recap September 17-24, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Addresses 66th Session United Nations General Assembly — Selling the American Jobs Act and Revising America’s Education System

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: SEPTEMBER 17-24, 2011

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: Rebuilding America

Source: WH, 9-23-11

We the People: President Obama released the U.S.’s Open Government National Action Plan, and a highlight of that plan is We the People, a new platform that gives all Americans a way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. In the first days following the launch, numerous Americans have created petitions and are currently collecting signatures.

Promoting World Peace: The President spent two days in New York City for the 66th session of United Nations General Assembly. While there, he held numerous meetings with world leaders and addressed the General Assembly speaking about the remarkable year we have had around the world and also the many challenges that stand in the way of a lasting peace. He also attended the Clinton Global Initiative, where he talked about the positive impact the American Jobs Act will have on the global economy.

Rebuilding America: President Obama visited the Ohio River’s Brent Spence Bridge, a functionally obsolete crossing on one of North America’s busiest trucking routes that connects Cincinnati, Ohio with Kentucky. The President spoke about the pressing need to improve our national infrastructure, and detailed the provisions in the American Jobs Act that will rebuild our country and put ironworkers, construction workers and carpenters back to work.

Creating a Fair Tax System: The President laid out a balanced plan to get our fiscal house in order, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.  The President is calling on Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform to simplify the system, make it more fair and efficient, and lay a stronger foundation for economic growth.  The plan details how to pay for the American Jobs Act, while also paying down our debt over time.

Improving our Education System: President Obama and representatives from the education community gathered at the White House to announce that it’s time to take action and build a world class education system. In exchange for a real commitment to undertake education reform, the Administration will enable states to request flexibility from specific mandates under No Child Left Behind.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The country marked an important milestone this week when the era of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” officially came to an end. The law that was signed in December 2010 by President Obama allows people of the LGBT community to serve openly in the military.

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Obama’s Speeches with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron & France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy & Japan’s PM Yoshihiko Noda

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Luncheon Toasts

U.N. Secretary General's Luncheon
September 21, 2011 8:18 PM

U.N. Secretary General’s Luncheon

United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

1:54 P.M. EDT

SECRETARY GENERAL BAN:  President Obama, Excellencies, distinguished heads of state and government, Your Highnesses, Your Majesties, distinguished ministers, ladies and gentlemen: Welcome to the United Nations. Welcome to our common house.

We are off to a flying start today, I must say. Thank you, President Obama, for your inspiring oratory, and more, for its vital importance.

As ever, we thank the United States and its generous people for hosting United Nations during last 66 years. This is the 66th session. Let me offer a special word of thanks to New Yorkers. In the last month, they have faced an earthquake, then a hurricane, now a perfect storm of the world’s leaders, creating a lot of traffic jams. And we are very much grateful for their patience.

Let me say straight off, this is my fifth lunch with the distinguished leaders of the world, and I’m very much grateful for your strong support.  In that regard, I am very glad that it is not my last lunch, and we will have five more lunches in the coming five years. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Taking this opportunity, I would like to really sincerely express my appreciation and thanks to all of the heads of state and government for your strong support. You can count on me. And it’s a great and extraordinary honor to serve this great organization.

Mr. President, 50 years ago this week, your predecessor, President John F. Kennedy, addressed the General Assembly. He came, he said to join with other world leaders — and I quote, “to look across this world of threats to a world of peace.” Looking out upon the world we see no shortages of threats.  And closer to home, wherever we might live, we see the familiar struggles of political life — left versus right, rich versus poor, and up versus down.  Seldom, however, has the debate been more emotional or strident; yet, seldom has the need for unity been greater.

We know the challenges. I won’t reprise my speech except to say that we do, indeed, have a rare and generational opportunity to make a lasting difference in people’s lives. If there is a theme in all that has been said today by the leaders, it would be the imperative of unity, solidarity, in realizing that opportunity. We must act together. There is no opt-out clause for global problem-solving.  Every country has something to give in and to gain.

Excellencies, let me close with a question. By any chance, do you ever feel that you have become a slave, you have become a slave to this machine?  (Laughter.) Somehow, I sense that I’m not alone.  I have seen so many leaders having, and speaking over the phone, even while at the summit meetings. Thanks to device like this, the world has been more connected. But let us not misunderstand that with being united and being connected depends on technology. Being united depends on us — on leaders, on institutions, and on the decisions you make.

We have come a long way since last year. Outside this building, the new flags of Southern Sudan and Libya proudly wave in the September breeze. And today I am very pleased to recognize the President of Southern Sudan — his Excellency Salva Kiir — who came to New York for the first time after their independence; and President of National Transitional Council of Libya, his Excellency Abdul Jalil — who received very strong support yesterday.  And they will continue to receive such support. Let us give them a big applause.  (Applause.)

We can be proud of the firm stand we took for freedom and democracy in Côte d’Ivoire, North Africa, and elsewhere. We can be proud of the many lives we saved, the hungry people we fed, the children we helped to grow up healthy and strong. And we can do more to make the Arab Spring a season of hope for all, to put the sustainable back into development, to prevent the crises before they explode.

And so, distinguished heads of state and government, Excellencies, Your Majesties, let us raise a glass to clarity of vision, to unity of purpose, to a common resolve for action, to the United Nations, and to continued success of each and every heads of state and government present here.

Thank you very much. Cheers. (Applause.) Cheers. Thank you. Cheers. (Applause.)

(A toast is offered.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone. These lunches come right after my remarks to the General Assembly, so I’ve already spoken too long.  (Laughter.)  As the host of the United Nations, I want to welcome all of you. In particular, though, I want to cite Secretary General Ban for his extraordinary leadership. As you begin your second term, I want to take this opportunity to thank you — not just for your leadership, but also for your lessons in life.

As we all know, the Secretary General is a very modest man, but he’s led a remarkable life. Born into World War II, as a young boy in the middle of the Korean War, having to flee the fighting with his family — just as his home country has risen, so he has risen to leadership on the world stage.

A lot of us are envious of him, because, in running for a second term, he ran unopposed — (laughter) — and he won, unanimously. (Laughter.) I’m still trying to learn what his trick is.  (Laughter.)

But, Secretary General, that fact reflects the high esteem with which all of us hold you and your leadership.  And I want to quote something that you said when you began your new term: “We live in a new era where no country can solve all challenges and where every country could be part of the solution.”  I could not agree more. Today, we see the difference you’ve made in Cote d’Ivoire, in Sudan, in Libya, in confronting climate change and nuclear safety, in peacekeeping missions that save lives every single day.

So we want to salute you. We want to salute those who serve in U.N. missions around the world, at times at great risk to themselves.  We give them their mandate, but it is they who risk their lives — and give their lives — so people can live in peace and dignity.

So I want to propose a toast. To the leader who, every day, has to work hard to try to unite nations, and to all the men and women who sustain it, especially those brave humanitarians in blue helmets. In an era of great tumult and great change, let all of us be part of the solution. Cheers. (Applause.)

(A toast is offered.)

END                                                 2:03 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at Clinton Global Initiative

President Obama at Clinton Global Initiative
September 22, 2011 9:02 AM

President Obama at Clinton Global Initiative

Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers

New York, New York

2:43 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  For three years, now, and every year he has been in the White House, President Obama has come to CGI.  He believes in what we’re trying to do.  In his former life, he was a walking NGO.  (Laughter.)  He also is one of those Americans who believes climate change is real and deserves a real response. (Applause.)

And he recently proposed to Congress a plan that even the Republican analysts who looked at the evidence, as opposed to the rhetoric, say will add between 1.5 and 2 percent to our GDP and help us to get out of this mess we’re in and enable America to help the world again.

So I’m gratified that he found the time to come here.  I appreciate the work that he’s involved with at the United Nations.  I think he has a brilliant Secretary of State.  (Laughter and applause.)  And I am profoundly gratified that he is here with us today.

Ladies and gentlemen, President Obama.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.) It is wonderful to be here today.  It is wonderful to see so many do-gooders all in one room.  (Laughter.)  And our do-gooder-in-chief, Bill Clinton, thank you for not only the gracious introduction, but the extraordinary work that he has been doing each and every day.  You are tireless, and we are proud of what you’ve been doing.  (Applause.)

I want to thank the outstanding team here at CGI:  CEO Bob Harrison, Deputy Director Ed Hughes, all the dedicated staff.  And although she is not part of CGI, she’s certainly part of what makes Bill so successful — someone who he does not get to see enough because of me — (laughter) — but I’m grateful that he’s not bitter about it.  (Laughter.)  She’s one of the best Secretaries of State that we’ve ever had — Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.)

Now, this is the third time that I’ve been here.  Last year, I was the warm-up act for Michelle.  (Laughter.)  I just gave a big speech at the U.N. this morning, and so I will not subject you to another one.  I wanted to stop by for two reasons.

First, I want to express my appreciation for the extraordinary work that has been done by CGI.  It’s been said that “no power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come.” And as you know, when Bill Clinton sees an idea out there, there’s no stopping him.  CGI was an idea whose time had come.  And thanks to his relentless determination — but also, I think he’d agree, thanks to, most importantly, your commitments — you’ve created new hope and opportunity for hundreds of millions of people in nearly 200 countries.  Think about that — hundreds of millions of people have been touched by what you’ve done.  That doesn’t happen very often.

That’s the other thing I want to talk about.  Around the world, people are still reeling from the financial crisis that unfolded three years ago and the economic pain that followed.  And this morning at the United Nations, I talked about the concerted action that the world needs to take right now to right our economic ship.

But we have to remember America is still the biggest economy in the world.  So the single most important thing we could do for the global economy is to get our own economy moving again.  When America is growing the world is more likely to grow.  And obviously that’s the number-one issue on the minds of every American that I meet.  If they haven’t been out of work since the recession began, odds are they know somebody who has.  They feel as if the decks have been stacked against them.  They don’t feel as if hard work and responsibility pay off anymore, and they don’t see that hard work and responsibility reflected either in Washington or, all too often, on Wall Street.  They just want to know that their leaders are willing to step up and do something about it.

So, as President Clinton mentioned, that’s why I put forward the American Jobs Act.  Not as a silver bullet that will solve all our problems, but it will put more people back to work.  It will put more money into the pockets of working people.  And that’s what our economy needs right now.

It hires teachers, and puts them back in the classroom.  It hires construction workers, puts them out rebuilding an infrastructure that has deteriorated, and we know that that’s part of our economic success historically.  It puts our veterans back to work — after having served overseas, then coming home and not being able to find a job, when they sacrificed immeasurably on behalf of our security?

That’s what we need right now — we need more good teachers in front of our kids.  I was just having lunch over at the General Assembly with the President of South Korea.  And I still remember the first time I met him, in South Korea, and I asked him, “Well, what are your biggest challenges right now?”  He says, “Education — it’s a big challenge.”  I said, “Well, I understand.  We’ve got a big challenge in the United States, as well.”  He said, “No, you have to understand, my big challenge is, the parents are too demanding.”  (Laughter.)  “They’re coming into my office, they’re saying, our children have to learn English in first grade.  So we’re having to import teachers from other countries and pay them a premium to meet the educational demands that parents are placing on us, because they know that if their children are to succeed in the 21st century economy, they’d better know some foreign languages.”  Well, think about that.  That’s what’s happening in South Korea.  Here, we’re laying off teachers in droves?

Now is the time to upgrade our roads and our bridges and our schools.  We used to have the best airports, the best roads, the best bridges, the best ports.  I’ve been asking people recently  — I’ve taken a poll in New York — how do you find LaGuardia compared to the Beijing airport?  (Laughter.)  We laugh, but that says something.  That’s not inevitable; that’s a choice that we’re making.

We talk about climate change — something that, obviously, people here are deeply concerned about.  Talking to the CEO of Southwest Airlines, they estimate that if we put in the new generation of GPS air traffic control, we would save 15 percent in fuel costs.  “Reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent, Mr. President.”  And think about what that would do, not only to potentially lower the cost of a ticket — maybe they could start giving out peanuts again.  (Laughter .)  But think what it would do in terms of taking those pollutants out of our air.

So we know what to do.  We know that an American should — who puts his life on the line, her life on the line, should never have to fight for a job when they come home.  We know that.  We know what our values are.

So this jobs bill addresses the terrible toll that unemployment inflicts on people.  It helps long-term unemployed keep their skills sharp.  It says to young people who are underprivileged, we’re going to give you a chance at a summer job that helps to establish the kind of work habits that carry on for generations.  Because part of what happens in this kind of recession environment — the disadvantage of this generation coming in and not being able to get fully employed, that lingers for a lifetime.  It affects their lifetime earnings.  That’s contrary to our values.

This jobs bill cuts taxes for every working family and every small business owner in America to boost demand and to boost hiring.  And if you’re a small business owner who hires a new worker or raises workers’ wages, you get an extra tax cut.

So this bill answers the urgent need to create jobs right away.  And I appreciate President Clinton’s strong support of this plan over the weekend.  And the reason that that’s important is because he knows a good jobs plan when he sees it.  He created more jobs in his tenure than just about anybody.  And I’m fighting hard to make sure that we get this bill passed through Congress.

As President Clinton said, every idea in there has been supported in the past by both parties, and everything is paid for.  There’s no reason why we shouldn’t pass it right away.  And for those of you who are concerned about the international economy and development, keep this in mind:  If the economy is not growing, if Americans aren’t getting back to work, it becomes that much harder for us to sustain the critical development assistance and the partnerships that help to undergird development strategies that you care dearly about all across the world.

So this is important, again, not just to the United States; this is important to the world.  It will help determine how well we can support what you are doing in the non-for-profit sector.  I’m going to be doing everything I can, everything in my power, to get this economy moving again that requires congressional support but also those things that don’t require congressional support.

Consider one of the ideas that we’re working on together.  Earlier this year, I announced a Better Buildings Initiative to rehire construction workers to make our buildings more energy-efficient.  And I asked President Clinton and my Jobs Council to challenge private companies to join us.  In June, at CGI America, we announced a commitment to upgrade 300 million square feet of space, from military housing to college campuses.  Some of these projects are breaking ground this month, putting people to work right now.  Later this year, we’ll announce more commitments that will create jobs, while saving billions for businesses on energy bills and cutting down on our pollution.

And it’s a good example of what CGI is all about:  Everybody working together — government, business, the non-for-profit sector — to create opportunities today, while ensuring those opportunities for the future.  We just need that kind of cooperation in Washington.

I have to say that I do envy President Clinton because when you’re out of Washington, it turns out that you’re just dealing with people who are reasonable all the time.  (Laughter and applause.)  Nobody is looking to score points.  Nobody is looking at the polls on any particular issue.  You’re just trying to solve problems.  And that’s the ethic that people are looking for in Washington.

We’ve got enough challenges.  It is technically difficult to figure out how we are going to deal with climate change — not impossible, but difficult.  There are technical challenges to making sure that we’re providing enough safe drinking water around the world, or making sure that preventable diseases are eradicated in countries that don’t yet have a public health infrastructure.  These things are all tough stuff.  But they’re solvable, if everybody’s attitude is that we’re working together, as opposed to trying to work at odds with each other.

And our future depends on fighting this downturn with everything that we’ve got right now.  And it demands that we invest in ourselves, even as we’re making commitments in investments around the world.  It demands we invest in research and technology, so the great ideas of tomorrow are born in our labs and our classrooms.  It demands we invest in faster transportation and communications networks, so that our businesses can compete.  It demands that we give every child the skills and education they need to succeed.

And I thank you for the commitment that you’ve made to recruit and train tens of thousands of new science, technology, engineering and math teachers.  Nothing could be more important.

We can do all this.  We can create jobs now and invest in our future, and still tackle our long-term debt problems.  Don’t tell Bill Clinton it can’t be done.  He did it.  When he was President, he did not cut our way out of prosperity; he grew our way to prosperity.  We didn’t shortchange essential investments, or balance the budget on the backs of the middle class or the poor.  We were able to live within our means, invest in our future, and ask everyone to pay their fair share.

And what happened?  The private sector thrived.  The rich got richer.  The middle class grew.  Millions rose out of poverty.  America ran a surplus that was on track to be debt-free by next year.  We were a nation firing on all cylinders.

That’s the kind of nation that we’ve got to work to build again.  It will take time after the kind of crisis that we’ve endured.  And this is a once-in-a-generation crisis.  But we can get through it.  But our politics right now is not doing us any favors.

Nevertheless, I believe we can and we will get there, by remembering what made us great — by building an economy where innovation is encouraged, education is a national mission, new jobs and businesses choose to take root right here in the United States.  And that’s what CGI reflects.  It reflects the American spirit, which is big and bold and generous, and doesn’t shy away from challenges, and says that we’re all in it together.

And when I think about the contributions that all of you have made, that makes me confident.  Those of us who have been most blessed by this nation, we are ready to give back.  But we’ve got to be asked.  And that’s what I’m hoping members of Congress recognize.  I don’t want a small, cramped vision of what America can be.  We want a big and generous vision of what America can be.  And the world is inspired when we have that vision.

And, by the way, that vision is not a Democratic vision or a Republican idea.  These are not ideas that belong to one political party or another.  They are the things a rising nation does, and the thing that retreating nations don’t do.  And we are not a retreating nation.

So despite the many challenges we face right now, I believe America must continue to be a rising nation, with rising fortunes.  And that makes — that means making sure that everybody is participating and everybody is getting a shot, because when all of our people do well, America does well.  And when America does well, that’s good for the rest of the world.  That’s what President Clinton has always understood.

So, Mr. President, thank you for all the opportunities that you help to create every day.  Thank you to all of you who are participating in CGI.  You are doing the Lord’s work.  And I can assure you that you will continue to have a partner in the Obama administration for what I expect to be years to come.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
2:57 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom
September 21, 2011 8:45 PM

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York
3:55 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Let me welcome Prime Minister Cameron to the United States and New York.  Obviously, there is an extraordinary special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, and I am very fortunate that over the last year or two, David and I have been able to, I think, establish an excellent friendship as well.

And that’s part of what makes the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom so important, is that it’s grounded not only in shared values and broad-based agreement on policy, but it’s also based on the individual relationships that we have and the friendships and joint traditions that we have.

We’ve got a lot to talk about.  We have worked closely together to help bring about freedom and peace in Libya.  We are coordinating closely in managing a very difficult time for the global economy.  We are keenly interested in finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  On all these issues, I’ve always found Prime Minister Cameron to be an outstanding partner.

And so I’m very grateful for his friendship, his hard work, and his dedication and his leadership on the global stage, and I look forward to a very productive discussion today.

Welcome.

PRIME MINISTER CAMERON:  Thank you.  If I may say thank you, Barack, for that warm welcome.  It’s great to be back — great to be back in New York, and particularly on this, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a reminder of how our countries always work together in defeating terror and trying to make our world a safer place.

As you say, we worked very closely together on Libya, and I think we’re getting to a good conclusion there, with a real chance of freedom and democracy for those people.  We’re working closely together on Afghanistan; also the Middle East peace process, where we’re desperate to get that moving again.  And I’m looking forward to discussions on the world economy, which we will follow up in Cannes at the G20, where we’ve got to get the world economy moving.

So these are very important times.  I think the relationship is as strong as it’s ever been, and it’s been a pleasure working with you these last 16 months.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Excellent.  Thank you very much, everybody.

Q: Can you give us your reaction to the hikers being released?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We are thrilled that the hikers were released, and we are thrilled for the families.  It was the right thing to do.  They shouldn’t have been held in the first place, but we’re glad they’re now home.

END
3:58 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by President Obama and President Sarkozy of France

 

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with President Sarkozy of France
September 21, 2011 9:07 PM

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Sarkozy of France

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

4:53 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  On the anniversary of September 11th, President Sarkozy gave a speech at our embassy in Paris, and he reminded the people of France, but also the world, of the extraordinary friendship that had developed, in part, because of the great sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made over the decades to preserve freedom and democracy.  And so, not only am I grateful for the expression of deep friendship that President Sarkozy expressed, but I want to affirm the mutuality of feeling that we have towards the French people.

That partnership has been evidenced by the extraordinary work that we’ve done together in Libya.  And I want to thank President Sarkozy for his leadership, as a coalition helped the Libyan people achieve the kind of freedom and opportunity that they’re looking for.  That partnership is evidenced in the work we did together in Côte d’Ivoire to ensure that the rightfully elected leader of that country was put in place.  And our partnership and our mutual leadership will be required to deal with a range of international issues that have been discussed here at the United Nations and are going to be critical in the months and years to come, including trying to find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also trying to find a coordinated world strategy, global strategy, to deal with a economy that is still far too fragile.

And, of course, we still have the joint project to bring stability and transition to Afghan governance.  And we are extraordinarily grateful for the sacrifices that the men and women in uniform from France have made in that effort.

On a personal note, I consider Nicolas a friend as well as a colleague.  Thank you for your leadership.  Welcome.  And I look forward to a very productive discussion.

PRESIDENT SARKOZY:  (As translated.)  I should like to say just how delighted we are to be here in the United States, in New York, alongside Barack Obama.

Now, for we, the people of France, I must say, it’s actually easy to work with Barack Obama.  Whatever the crises we’ve had to face together, whatever the initiatives we have taken jointly, on every single occasion we have found a listening, open-minded attitude on the part of our friend, Barack Obama.  In particular, when tackling the crisis, which is still upon us today, the leadership that President Obama has shown, and showed at the time, have been of a special value to us all.

There is still much to do, in particular in paving the way to the G20 summit in Cannes.  This is our priority; our number-one priority — let me make this very clear — is to find the path to growth worldwide.

Lastly, I wish to say to what extent I am sensitive to the boldness, the courage, the intelligence, and the sensitivity of President Obama, my friend.  I liked him before his election; I liked him once he was elected; and I especially appreciate him now, when the tough times are upon us.

And there’s one thing I want to say, perhaps on a more personal note, and that I really mean from the bottom of my heart.  When things are as tough as they are right now, when the going gets as tough as it is right now, it is especially precious and important to be able to speak to what is the world’s number-one power — to someone who listens; someone who is sensitive to others; someone who is respectful and aware of other people’s redlines and prepared to take them into account, especially at a time when, as I said, we are facing fresh difficulties, and we really need, together, to go forward.

(Speaking in English.)  She speaks like me.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much.

END
5:02 P.M. EDT

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Noda of Japan before Bilateral Meeting

United Nations
New York, New York

12:20 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I want to welcome Prime Minister Noda and his delegation to New York City and to the United States.  As all of you are aware, we have an extraordinary alliance with Japan.  They are one of our closest friends, our closest allies.  We have worked cooperatively on a range of issues related to security, related to economics, and the bonds of friendship between our peoples is equally strong.

Prime Minister Noda and I have had the opportunity to speak by phone, although this is the first time that we’ve had a meeting face to face.  I know that he, like all of us, has some extraordinary challenges that we have to address.  And I know that at the top of his list is rebuilding Japan in the aftermath of the horrific tsunami that occurred.  I’ve repeatedly stressed that America will do everything that we can to make sure that that rebuilding is a success.

At the same time, obviously, we have other important work to do together.  As the two largest economies in the world, we have to continue to promote growth that can help put our people to work and improve standards of living.  We have to modernize our alliance to meet the needs of the 21st century.  And so I’m looking forward to a very productive discussion, and what I’m sure will be an excellent working relationship with the Prime Minister, as well as his team.

PRIME MINISTER NODA:  (As translated.)  The biggest priority and the immediate challenge for the Japan government is the recovery from the great East Japan earthquake and the situation with the economy.  But, at the same time, even from before the earthquake took place, we had a lot of challenges both domestically and in foreign policy areas.  And those must be dealt with one by one, thereby creating a stable (inaudible.)  That’s the challenge for my government.

Our top priority is the reconstruction from the disaster of the earthquake in Japan, the great East Japan earthquake.  The United States has provided enormous amount of support, including Operation Tomodachi and a lot of efforts made by Ambassador Roos. And on behalf of all Japanese nationals, I thank you.  And thank you for your support.

I have a firm belief that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the key pillar of our foreign policy.  Through the assistance that we received after the earthquake this has become an even more unwavering one.  And the Japanese public also were assured, and we recognize the significance and importance of our alliance.

It was reported that the meeting between our Foreign Minister Gemba and Secretary of State Clinton was a very fruitful one, and we would like to further deepen and enhance the bilateral alliance between our two countries in the three major fields of security, economy, and also the cultural and the people-to–people exchange.

One worry that I’ve have is that there is a emerging concern that once recovering the economy we might be drawn back into another recession, and Japan and the United States must work on the economic growth and the fiscal situation at the same time.  And you have the presence of Secretary Geithner here, and we have to work together at the forums — the G20 and other market forum — to coordinate with each other.  And I’m looking forward to having such discussions with you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

END
12:29 P.M. EDT

Full Text September 21, 2011: President Barack Obama Meets with World Leaders on Day Two at the (UN) United Nations General Assembly

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Meets with World Leaders on Day Two at the U.N General Assembly

Source: WH, 9-21-11
UNGA: potus shakes hands with Clinton at Global Initiative

President Barack Obama shakes hands with former President Bill Clinton after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York, N.Y., Sept. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton) September 21, 2011.

President Obama marked the 19th anniversary of the International Day of Peace with a series of meetings and events as he participated in the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The President began his day with an address to the General Assembly, where he spoke about the remarkable changes that have occurred throughout the world since the last gathering of this group:

This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.

Following the address, President Obama met with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and pledged America’s commitment to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. The Prime Minister agreed with President Obama’s assertion that direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine are the only way to achieve that goal:

I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state through the international community, but they’re not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return.  And my hope is that there will be other leaders in the world, responsible leaders, who will heed your call, Mr. President, and oppose this effort to shortcut peace negotiations — in fact, to avoid them. Because I think that avoiding these negotiations is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians, and bad for peace.

The President had his first face to face meeting with Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda. The two leaders discussed the ongoing recovery from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated that country earlier this year, and the importance of the strong Japan-U.S. relationship. The Prime Minister echoed the President’s desire to maintain this vital partnership:

I have a firm belief that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the key pillar of our foreign policy. Through the assistance that we received after the earthquake this has become an even more unwavering one.  And the Japanese public also were assured, and we recognize the significance and importance of our alliance.

The President also spoke at the annual luncheon hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for world leaders, where he saluted the work of those who served in U.N. missions all over the world,  “who risk their lives– and give their lives — so people can live in peace and dignity.”

UNGA: potus toasts with Ban Ki-Moon

President Barack Obama delivers a toast during the luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations Building in New York, N.Y., Sept. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton) September 21, 2011.

During a stop at the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama discussed the the international implications of our onging economic woes. “The single most important thing we could do for the global economy is to get our own economy moving again. When America is growing the world is more likely to grow.”

Late in the day, the President and his senior foreign policy advisors met with some of our closest European allies. In a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, both men stressed the importance of the U.S.-U.K. relationship. The two countries have  worked closely together on the fight for freedom in Libya, the war in Afghanistan and the ongoing Middle East peace process.

In his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Obama said he would be relying on France to help deal with numerous pressing international issues, ” including trying to find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also trying to find a coordinated world strategy, global strategy, to deal with a economy that is still far too fragile.”

President Barack Obama greets President Nicolas Sarkozy of France

President Barack Obama greets President Nicolas Sarkozy of France during a bilateral meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y., Sept. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

On This Day in History… September 11, 2001: President Barack Obama & Former President George W. Bush Observe the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terror Attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers, Pentagon & United Flight 93 with Memorials

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

Day in History

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: 10th ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11 TERROR ATTACKS

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

From left: Laura Bush, George W. Bush, Michelle Obama and President Obama observe a moment of silence at the National September 11 Memorial. | AP Photo

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY….

On this day in history… September 11, 2001… Terrorists hijack two passenger planes crashing them into New York’s World Trade Towers causing the collapse of the 110-story twin towers& death of 2,752 people.
Terrorists hijack a passenger plane and crash it into the Pentagon causing the death of 125 people.
Attempt by passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 to retake control of their hijacked plane from terrorists causes plane to crash in Pennsylvania field killing all 64 people onboard.

What was 9/11?: On September 11, 2001, 19 members of a terrorist group called al-Qaeda hijacked four U.S. airplanes and used them to strike various targets on the East Coast. The carefully planned attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, making it the worst attack on the United States in history…. – WaPo, 9-10-11

QUOTES

Archives: President George W. Bush’s Address to the Nation after Terror Attacks (Full Text) — Globe & Mail, 8-26-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the 9-11 “A Concert for Hope” — Kennedy Center in Washington, DC WH, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s 9-11 Message to the Families — Remarks at National September 11 Memorial in New York & United Flight 93 Memorial WH, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon, Washington DC WH, 9-11-11

9/11 anniversary: President Obama’s reading at World Trade Center LAT, 9-11-11

Bush Reads From Lincoln Letter at Ground Zero: Former President George W. Bush read a letter President Abraham Lincoln wrote to a widow who lost five sons in the Civil War during commemorations for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at Ground Zero in New York. (Sept. 11)… – AP, 9-11-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: President George W. Bush’s Speech at the Unveiling of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania Fox News, 9-10-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden, President George W. Bush & President Bill Clinton at the Unveiling of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania WH, 9-10-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Marks the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, the September 11th Terror Attacks & Pays Tribute to the First Responders WH, 9-10-11

“”It will be said that we kept the faith. That we took a painful blow, and we emerged stronger than ever before.
It is worth remembering what has not changed — our character as a nation has not changed.
These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear.
The rescue workers who rushed to the scene; the firefighters who charged up the stairs; the passengers who stormed the cockpit — these patriots defined the very nature of courage.
Our people still work in skyscrapers. Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball…..
Too many will never come home. Those that do carry dark memories from distant places, and the legacy of fallen friends.”
Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places; it comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace.
Debates — about war and peace; about security and civil liberties — have often been fierce these last ten years. But it is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values and our democracy, that is the measure of our strength.
After 9/11, to his great credit, President Bush made clear what we reaffirm today: the United States will never wage war against Islam or any other religion. Immigrants come here from all parts of the globe.
They will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy — reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man — also gives us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor on days of national commemoration — those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.” — President Obama at “A Concert for Hope” at the Kennedy Center in Washington

    • Obama’s remarks at Sept. 11 observance in NY: Text of President Barack Obama’s remarks at New York City’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as provided by the White House. He read from Psalm 46…. – AP, 9-11-11

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.” — — President Obama, Psalm 46

“President Lincoln not only understood the heartbreak of his country, he also understood the cost to sacrifice and reached out to console those in sorrow.” — Fromer President George W. Bush

“Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.
But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
‘A. Lincoln'” —
ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S LETTER TO MRS BIXBY, 1864, Washington, November 21, 1864 read by Former President George W. Bush at the 9/11 Memorial

“Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then, we’ve lived in sunshine and in shadows. And although we can never ‘unsee’ what happened here … we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born, and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.” — New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in opening the ceremony

“They were our neighbors, our friends, our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents. They were the ones who rushed in to help, 2,983 innocent men, women and children. We have asked their families to come here to speak the names out loud to remind each of us of a person we lost in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania.” — New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in opening the ceremony

“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere.” — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

“Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.” — former New York Governor George Pataki read the last verse of “No words cried out so fully from the broken heart of our nation as those of a poem called “The Names,” written a year after the attacks, by the United States’ Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

“Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.” — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay

“If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone,
who keep long vigil by the silent dust.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand
to do something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I perchance may therein comfort you.”
— New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also turned to a poet, Mary Lee Hall, who wrote “Turn Again To Life”

“I know these memorials — and you’ve been through many — are bittersweet moments for you, because as you sit here right now, unlike a month ago, everything’s come back in stark relief. It’s not a thought, it’s precise. You remember that God-awful empty feeling, you remember being sucked into your own chest and that feeling of hollowness. But I want you to know something else. Your physical presence here today gives hope to thousands of Americans who under different circumstances are trying to come to grips with the losses that you had.” — Vice President Joe Biden attended the Pentagon ceremony

Ten years ago today, ordinary Americans went to work or boarded a plane and found themselves fighting on the frontlines of a battle they did not choose. They acquitted themselves with grace and courage, just as the thousands of men and women who enlisted to fight in our armed forces— many on the anniversaries of this day—in order to exact justice for their fellow Americans. We will never forget those who died ten years ago today, we will never forget those who died in the war that started on that day, and we ask God to comfort and bless their families. From across this great nation, grateful Americans honor those who defend our homeland. God bless America. — Sarah Palin

“What happened above this Pennsylvania field was among the most courageous acts in American history. For as long as this memorial stands, we’ll remember … the sacrifice they made and the lives they spared. The United States will never forget…. Americans are alive today because the passengers and crew of Flight 93 chose to act, and our nation will be forever grateful.” — Former President George W. Bush at United Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

“There has always been a special place in the common memory for people who deliberately, knowingly, certainly lay down their lives for other people to live.” — Former President Bill Clinton at United Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

“Ten years later, I’d say America came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character. Some things haven’t happened as quickly as they needed to. But overall, we took the fight to al- Qaeda, we preserved our values, we preserved our character.” — President Barack Obama in an interview with NBC News

Bush After 9/11 Says He Has No Regrets: “The work that was done by intelligence communities during my presidency was part of putting together the puzzle that enabled us to see the full picture of how bin Laden was communicating and eventually where he was hiding. It began the day after 9/11.

I, of course, remember (White House Chief of Staff Andy Card) whispering in my ear. I remember the faces of the children. … It was a moment of clarity because people were going to watch how I reacted, and I had enough experience with crises to understand that if you’re head of an organization, it’s important to project calm in the initial stages of a crisis.

The key thing that I tried to do was to say let’s gather facts so we know what’s happening. The problem that I faced — and the truth of the matter is, many in my administration faced — was during certain moments during the day, there was a fog of war, and the information flow was just really inaccurate. … We needed to take steps to make sure that the attack was a four- plane attack, not a 10-plane attack. We just didn’t know. … My mind eventually became focused on finding out who did it and seeking justice, but initially it was respond and prevent.

There were moments when I said I’d like to be alone and just thinking through the ramifications and making sure that my thoughts were clear. I prayed for the victims. I prayed for our country. I would see people jump off buildings, and it just was horrific, but I was also determined to lead the country.

The first two statements were on the fly. I didn’t realize I had missed the mark. … I just did the best I could do given the circumstances, but obviously it wasn’t the best setting for a president to try to calm the nerves of the country. I wanted to speak from the Oval Office. I wasn’t going to address our nation from a bunker. It would have been a huge psychological victory for the people who attacked.

The job of the president was to say here are the facts, here’s what we’re dealing with, and deal with them. Not to feel sorry for yourself, or not to say why did it happen under my watch? That’s not a leadership trait that is admirable. … I felt like I had the capacity to deal with the crisis, and you don’t know until it happens. When I look back on it, I don’t feel a sense of being overwhelmed.
Not that I can think of. I mean, I think the response, laying out tools so that future presidents can have a better chance to protect the country, it’s a legacy that I hope historians will say, ‘It’s a good legacy: He used tools that he thought were necessary and then he helped work with the Congress to codify them, so future presidents, if they so choose, can use those tools.’

My mind was just churning over the events, the response, the information that had been given through a variety of National Security Council meetings. … And then just as I was kind of dozing off, (a Secret Service agent said) ‘Mr. President,’ and off we go. I had the T-shirt on and the running shorts and grabbed Laura, who didn’t have her contacts on, grabbed (dog) Barney. We must have been looking like a motley crew as we headed down. … It was almost surreal, these big pneumatic doors as you’re heading into the bowels of the White House, guys in black uniforms and guns.
I didn’t want to sleep down there because I knew I needed to be rested for the next day, and the bed looked horrible. Harry Truman must have bought the bed. It was one of those pullouts with a metal bar in the middle. I was envisioning Laura and I kind of fighting for the soft space.” — ABC News, 9-11-11

HEADLINES

    • 9/11 Remembered 9/11: The 25 Most Powerful Photos: One decade after 9/11, an unsettling number of images from Ground Zero and its environs remain seared in our collective memory — unsurprising, perhaps, given the scope and scale of the destruction. But the fact that the deadliest, most visually arresting attacks occurred in New York City also meant that many of the world’s best photographers were, in effect, already on the scene when the terrorists struck. Here, to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and in hopes of lending coherence to our shared, turbulent recollections, LIFE.com presents the 25 most stirring, visceral photographs from that day, featuring pictures from the likes of James Nachtwey, Joe Raedle, Spencer Platt, Mario Tama, and other celebrated photojournalists (and one intrepid amateur). These are the pictures we remember: wrenching, indelible photographs that tell the tale of a still- resonant late summer day that changed everything…. – Yahoo News

9/11 LIVE: Scenes from the 9/11 anniversary: As the nation and the world mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Associated Press journalists are tracking down the most salient details of the day, and capturing the mood, from ground zero to Afghanistan and everywhere in between…. – AO, 9-11-11

    • Once More, an Outpouring of Grief on 9/11 A Day That Stands Alone in History: Thousands gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that dramatically changed a city and a nation…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Obama’s day, from mourning to hope: It was a day to mourn the memory of things past while hoping that resilience will create a brighter future as President Obama visited all three sites scarred the deadliest act of terrorism in the nation’s history on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. … – LAT, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Obama closes day with “Concert for Hope”: Closing a day of 9/11 remembrances at a “Concert for Hope” in Washington, D.C., President Obama reminded Americans Sunday evening of their resilience as he paid tribute to the losses suffered a decade ago while recalling the country’s enduring values.
      “Ten years ago, America confronted one of our darkest nights,” the president said from the stage of the Kennedy Center along the banks of the Potomac River. “Yet today, it is worth remembering what has not changed.”
      “These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear,’ the president said, citing the rescue workers who rushed to help on Sept. 11, 2001, and the passengers who stormed the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93.
      Obama hailed the services of the more than 2 million Americans who have served in the volunteer military over the last decade, even as he warned of the price of war…. – LAT, 9-11-11
    • Obama Concludes 9/11 Anniversary at the Kennedy Center: After stops in New York City, Shanksville, PA, and at the Pentagon, the president finished his day of 9/11 tributes with the “Concert for Hope” at Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center. Following performances by the Marine Chamber Orchestra, Washington National Cathedral Choir, Alan Jackson, Denyce Graves, and Patti LaBelle, Obama gave a speech in which he called the United States “stronger than before” the terrorist attacks ten years ago. Opening with a passage from the bible (“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”), he focused on themes of resilience and sacrifice. Obama also touched on some of the less inspiring byproducts of the tragedy, including the country’s ongoing wars in the Middle East, debates over civil liberties, and racial and religious tensions, making sure to reaffirm that, “The United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion.” Mostly, though, he struck an optimistic tone, telling listeners that future generations would visit 9/11 memorials for a reminder that, “Nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America.”… – New York Magazine, 9-11-11
    • Obama: America does not give in to fear: Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, America has emerged stronger and its character remains unchanged, President Obama said Sunday.
      “These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear,” the president said at a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, the last in a series of events Mr. Obama attended to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks. ” Our people still work in skyscrapers. Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball.”
      The president spoke of young girls who lost their father in the attack on the Twin Towers and said their hopeful future is the “ultimate rebuke” to the terrorists who took their father’s life…. – CBS News, 9-11-11
    • Obama: U.S. Stronger After 9/11: It was a long, solemn Sunday for President Obama, who marked the 9/11 anniversary by saying that the past decade has been “a story of American resilience.” In his final speech of the day in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening, Obama said that despite the problems of the past 10 years, America is stronger. He said, “It will be said that we kept that faith. That we took a painful blow, and emerged stronger than ever before.” He also reminded Americans that it’s worth remembering what has not changed since the attacks: the nation’s character. He also referred to some of the debates over policy that many have found frustrating in recent months, saying, “It is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values, that is a measure of our strength.”… – The Daily Beast, 9-11-11 USA Today, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Ceremony at World Trade Center 10 years after September 11: Ten years after the darkest day in American history, the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and officials including President Obama and former President Bush gathered to honor those lost. Ten years after the darkest day in American history…. – New York Daily News, 9-11-11
    • Obamas ‘particularly moved’ at 911 site: President Obama was impressed by the memorial at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, and he and the first lady were “particularly moved” by the readings during Sunday’s service there, spokesman Josh Earnest said…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • Why Obama picked Psalm 46 to read at New York 9-11 anniversary: President Obama read Psalm 46 at the New York ceremony Sunday marking the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
      Principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest explained why Obama selected that psalm. “The President chose a scripture which he believed was most appropriate — he believed it was particularly appropriate to use — to read scripture this morning. And he chose a passage that talks of persevering through very difficult challenges and emerging from those challenges stronger,” Earnest said…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 9-11-11
    • Obama and Bush lead 9/11 observance: Under a sky as clear as the one that filled with flames, smoke and ash the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, tens of thousands of people gathered at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan Sunday morning to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks that day and to reflect on the tumultuous decade that followed.
      Ten years after two airplanes flying low over New York struck the twin towers, killing 2,753 people, President Barack Obama was joined by his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, in paying tribute to the victims, their loved ones and a nation changed by force, and by will. Counting the casualties from a third plane that crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed by hijackers into a field in Shanksville, Pa., 2,977 people died on 9/11.
      It was the first time Obama and Bush have appeared together at Ground Zero, site of the most deadly of the attacks that defined Bush’s presidency while greatly shaping Obama’s – and it was their first meeting since January, 2010…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • America marks 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 terror attacks: A moment of silence at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The reading of names in a grassy western Pennsylvania field. A visit, by President Obama, to the Arlington National Cemetery graves of 60 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
      With these solemn gestures, Americans across the world began marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Pentagon in Virginia and World Trade Center in New York.
      Under sunny skies, reminiscent of the clear blue morning 10 years ago when hijackers crashed four jetliners, killing nearly 3,000 people, ceremonies began Sunday morning at Ground Zero. Obama and former president George W. Bush, along with their wives, walked slowly along the North Memorial Pool, where the north Trade Center tower fell…. – WaPo, 9-11-11
    • America Remembers Terror Victims, Honors ‘9/11 Generation of Warriors’: AP President Obama lays a wreath as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks are observed at the Pentagon Sept. 11. Americans told stories of loved ones, read from Scripture and waved the flag Sunday as they honored the memories of those who died…. – Fox News, 9-11-11
    • N.Y.C.: Moments of silence at ground zero: Moments of silence were observed in New York City Sunday on the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed nearly 3,000 people….
      Sixty bagpipe players and drummers led the World Trade flag through the memorial, where the flag was unfolded and held aloft by the Honor Guard…. – CBS News, 9-11-11
    • George W Bush addresses mourning families with Abraham Lincoln letter as he commemorates lives lost on 9/11: Former U.S. President George W Bush read a letter today written by Abraham Lincoln as he addressed the families of thousands of victims killed on 9/11 this morning.
      Commemorating the sacrifices of those lost in the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush cited Lincoln’s letter to Mrs Lydia Bixby, penned in 1864.
      The text, regarded highly among Lincoln’s finest works of writing, addresses a bereaved mother of five sons who were thought to have died while fighting for the Union in the Civil War…. – Daily Mail UK, 9-11-11
    • Bush and Obama: Side by Side: At ground zero, the president defined by his response to Sept. 11 and the one who has tried to take America beyond the lingering, complicated legacy of that day…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Bush and Obama: Side by Side at Ground Zero: For the first time on Sunday, President Obama and former President George W. Bush stood together at the site of the Sept. 11 attacks, listening as family members read the names of lost love ones and bowing their heads…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • At Pentagon, No Words Will Fill Void: Families of the 184 people who died in the attack remember the moment…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • In Shanksville, a Silent Field: At 10:03 a.m., instead of an explosion, there was quiet remembrance…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • In Pennsylvania, a Wall of Names: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, placed a large wreath at the memorial…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Obama, Bush see raw emotions at 9/11 events: * Obama continues war on militants begun by Bush
      * Two appear together for first time in 18 months
      * Obama: U.S. overcomes slavery, fascism, terrorism (Updates with Obama remarks)
      President Barack Obama picked up where his predecessor George W. Bush left off in the war against Islamic militants after the Sept. 11 attacks, and on Sunday both saw the raw emotions that linger 10 years later.
      The 10th anniversary of the attacks marked the first time the Democratic and Republican presidents have appeared together publicly since January 2010. But, joined by their wives, the two men made a show of solidarity at Ground Zero in New York, walking in tandem along a memorial pool at the site of the north tower of the World Trade Center. [ID:nS1E78A00A]
      They nodded their heads during a moment of silence, the only sound the roaring of the waterfall in the pool.
      Afterward, they appeared together behind bullet-proof glass near where the names of those killed on Sept. 11 were read aloud…. – Reuters, 9-11-11
    • U.S. marks 10 years since 9/11 with solemnity, prayer: With simple and solemn ceremony, the United States marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Sunday with prayer and remembrances at the sites where thousands of Americans died.
      President Barack Obama was joined by former President George W. Bush at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, a moment of bipartisan unity to honor the dead reminiscent of the way the country came together in the wake of the attacks.
      Hand in hand with their wives, they walked to the site as the ceremony opened at 8:46 am, the precise moment the first hijacked plane smashed into the first tower. A church bell rang twice…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 9-11-11
    • Families, dignitaries mourn at World Trade Center in N.Y.: Beneath a cloudless sky eerily reminiscent of the fateful day 10 years ago, officials, families of those killed and other mourners gathered on Sunday in a national day of commemoration at the site of the World Trade Center to recall the terror attack in New York City.
      In a show of unity that crossed party lines, President Obama and former President George W. Bush led dignitaries at the site. They and their wives toured the North Memorial Pool, the scene of the fallen north tower that collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
      Each president held his spouse’s hand and the quartet made its way around a wall that is etched with the names of the nearly 3,000 who died in the collapse of the towers.
      Then Obama and Bush hugged some family members of those killed and went over to pay respects to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who rose to national prominence for his handling of the crisis. Also attending were present and former governors…. – LAT, 9-11-11
    • President Obama Honors 9/11 Victims at WTC Site: President Obama and his wife Michelle Obama today paid respect to 9/11 victims by visiting the North Memorial Pool in the footprint of the spot where the north tower of the World Trade Center stood on this 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack…. – ABC News, 9-11-11
    • Remembering those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks: With solemn gestures, Americans across the country mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Pentagon in Virginia and the World Trade Center in New York…. – WaPo, 9-11-11
    • Americans mark 9/11 anniversary: The United States is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, with the country in a sombre mood and on high security alert. President Barack Obama attended a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero … – Financial Times, 9-11-11
    • America Remembers the September 11 Attacks: With solemn tributes, the United States is marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3000 people and launched the country into a decade of war. Events were held at the sites of each attack a decade ago…. – Voice of America, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 Remembered as Officials Monitor Threat: U.S. President Barack Obama joined former President George W. Bush at the World Trade Center in Manhattan to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, reading a passage from the Bible at a ceremony attended by the families of the victims.
      Obama was later greeted with cheers and applause at a memorial in Pennsylvania, where he laid a wreath at the site near Shanksville where one of four hijacked airliners crashed. The New York ceremony, in the shadow of a new skyscraper that will be the tallest building in the U.S., took place while thousands of police officers worked overtime under a terror alert stemming from what Mayor Michael Bloomberg called a “credible but not corroborated” threat.
      The president was joined at Ground Zero by Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Christopher Christie of New Jersey. The men read letters, poems and religious passages as surviving family members recited the names of the victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Also honored were the six killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center…. – Bloomberg, 9-11-11
    • Ground Zero ceremony honours 9/11 victims: The names of the September 11 dead, some called out by children barely old enough to remember their fallen mothers and fathers, have echoed across Ground Zero in a haunting but hopeful tribute on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks. … – Sydney Morning Herald, 9-11-11
    • In Shanksville, Thousands Gather to Honor Flight 93 Victims: The dedication of a memorial here on Saturday to the 40 passengers and crew members who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, provided an opportunity for two former presidents to appeal for unity.
      Ten years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a special report on the decade’s costs and consequences, measured in thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and countless challenges to the human spirit.
      Neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton specifically mentioned the fractured state of relations in Washington. But their sharing of a stage and their comments here in a field where Flight 93 slammed into the ground stood in sharp contrast to the current discord…. – NYT, 9-10-11
    • United 93 families dedicate Sept. 11 memorial: Vice President Joe Biden joins Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush in Pennsylvania to honor the passengers and crew who fought back that day…. – LAT, 9-10-11
    • Bush, Clinton speak at memorial for Flight 93: Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton spoke solemnly Saturday at the unveiling of the memorial for victims of United Airlines Flight 93.
      “With their brave decision, they launched the first counteroffensive in the war on terror,” said Bush, who appeared emotional as he spoke near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to families and friends of those who died in the crash.
      All 40 passengers and crew members were killed after confronting hijackers aboard the Boeing 757 on the morning of September 11, 2001.
      The hijacked plane, widely believed to be targeting the White House or the U.S. Capitol, crashed in a field outside Shanksville…. – CNN, 9-10-11
    • Flight 93 Honored in Pennsylvania: The 40 passengers and crew who fought back against their hijackers aboard Flight 93, which crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11 and never reached its target, were honored Saturday for their heroism in a ceremony dedicating the first phase of a memorial at the newest U.S. national park.
      “They never made it because of the determination and valor of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, that plane crashed in this field, less than 20 minutes by air” from Washington, D.C., where it appeared to be headed, said Jon Jarvis, director of the … – WSJ, 9-10-11
    • Obama, Bush, Clinton Remember Sept. 11: Former US presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for a ceremony dedicating a memorial to the victims of United Flight 93, which crashed into a field during the September 11th, 2001 attacks. … – Voice of America, 9-10-11
    • Obama tells NBC country is safer than it was 10 years ago: Reflecting on the 9/11 anniversary, President Obama told NBC News this morning that there is no doubt the United States is safer now that it was 10 years ago. He said this is a consequence of more effective homeland security and the US taking the fight…. – ABC News, 9-11-11
    • For 9/11 anniversary, Obama honors war dead at Arlington: President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama have visited Arlington National Cemetery where they paid tribute to members of the military killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
      One day before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Obamas made a pilgrimage to Section 60 of the cemetery. The White House says that’s the burial ground for military personnel killed in those two wars. Those conflicts have claimed 6,213 military personnel…. – The Virginian-Pilot, 9-10-11
    • George W. Bush lays wreath at Pentagon: Former President George W. Bush has paid silent tribute to Sept. 11 victims in a wreath-laying at the Pentagon.
      Bush was joined by his wife, Laura, as he placed a wreath of white flowers by the 9/11 memorial stone embedded in the wall outside Corridor 4. That’s near where hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building, killing 184 people.
      Also at Saturday’s brief ceremony were Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen…. – Politico, 9-10-11
    • September 11 commemorated by Obama in address: President Barack Obama commemorated Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in his weekly address Saturday, urging the nation to come together and remember those who lost their lives. “We’re remembering the lives we lost—nearly 3000…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • Obama pays tribute to 9/11 victims, vows America will be vigilant in weekly address: President Obama will take part in the memorial ceremony at the World Trade Center site Sunday. How concerned are you about a terrorist plot? President Obama used his weekly address to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept 11…. – New York Daily News, 9-10-11
    • President Marks 9/11 Anniversary in Weekly Address: President Barack Obama used his weekly address today to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and pay tribute to the first responders, the nation’s military members, and those who lost their lives…. – Department of Defense, 9-10-11
    • Remembering the audacity of the twin towers: The soaring twin towers of the World Trade Center became an affirmation of the American value of dreaming big. To the engineer who designed them, their loss on 9/11 remains heartbreaking, but he’s found the resilience to keep dreaming…. – CS Monitor, 9-10-11
    • How 9/11 looked from the air-traffic control center that saw it coming: The air-traffic controllers in ‘Boston Center’ – the facility that oversaw Flight 11 – speak of what happened on 9/11, from the confusion of the first moments to the frustration that military jets could not get to New York City faster…. – CS Monitor, 9-10-11
    • Witness: With President Bush after the planes hit on Sept 11: Two Reuters reporters traveled with George W. Bush on September 11, 2001 on what began as a feel-good trip to Florida to promote education.
      Here are some of their memories of that day, and those that followed, as they watched Bush’s evolution from the leader of a country enjoying peace and prosperity to a wartime president…. – Reuters, 9-11-11

Obama’s 9/11 speech: national unity, personal loss: Searching for unity long vanished since the day terrorists astonished America, President Barack Obama will hail national resilience and remember hurting families when he gives the main speech of his Sept. 11 commemorations.
Obama will honor victims at each of the sites where nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 2001 attacks — first at ground zero in lower Manhattan, then in Shanksville, Pa. and at the Pentagon. Yet his only address to the nation will come at night, lasting about 15 minutes during an event at the Kennedy Center in Washington…. – AP, 9-9-11

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

    • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss: Historians Discuss What’s Changed, What Hasn’t After 9/11: From Americans’ collective outrage and response right following the 9/11 attacks to today’s political divisions, Jeffrey Brown speaks with historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith about what has changed — and what hasn’t — in the United States since the 9/11 attacks…. – PBS Newshour, 9-121-11

RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. We’ve been obsessed understandably with all that’s changed. A great deal has changed. We should begin by acknowledging that the greatest change obviously is for those who lost a loved one 10 years ago today or in the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Life will never be the same for them.
To the rest of us, there’s a certain amount of trauma. I think geography is a factor. I think if you live in New York, it’s much more real than if you’re in Terre Haute. Much of what has changed, like the proverbial iceberg, is beneath the surface. Government, we’re all thinking about this, the age of cutting back on government, the fact is government has been transformed, expanded by, I saw one estimate $600 billion has been spent over the last ten years on domestic security. New agencies have been created. Old agendas have been torn up.
On the other hand, think of what hasn’t changed. We had a brief moment of unity, of coming together, of common purpose, of collective outrage and a collective response. And that seems very much to be in the rear-view mirror….

Something I think we can take great pride in, and that is if you look back at earlier wars, World War I, World War II, along with the fervor, the patriotic ardor can come fear and civil liberties can be endangered. Famously, German-Americans came under attack during World War I. Sauerkraut was renamed liberty cabbage. Beethoven records were smashed in the streets of Cincinnati. There may be a direct connection between liberty cabbage and freedom fries, but I think there has been an enormous… um, we saw Ray’s piece earlier.

The danger, and I understand her concern, the fact is there will undoubtedly people who say, we’ve built the memorial. You know, we’ve dedicated this shrine, and as you said, there are other problems that are crowding for our attention. History is not static. And certainly not in as dynamic a society as this.
On the other hand, the issues surrounding 9/11, the questions arising out of 9/11, whether it’s civil liberties, for example, or the role of government in protecting us or projecting force around the world American foreign policy, all of those that have been filtered through 9/11 will be at the heart of this election, and so in that sense the conversation goes on.

Come back in 30 or 40 years and ask whether 9/11, in fact, was as some fear the beginning of a longer period of American decline or, in fact, a springboard to a new era of American greatness.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, presidential historian: That’s right, you know. And right after 9/11, people said and, you know, you sure wish it had come true, that we would never have the same kind of partisan antagonism we had before because 9/11 brought us all together as Americans. And this would be not only a different country and a different politics. Go back a couple months and take a look at that congressional fight over the debt crisis and you will see that 9/11 sadly did not change our politics in that way.

Well, I think to look at a positive one, it’s you know another thing we all talked about was living in America would never be the same again. That we would be afraid to go to shopping malls, to airports or to train stations or there would be a permanent sadness in some way. Those things have not turned out to be true. So anyone who thinks that there is something in our DNA that really does make this society a group of Americans I think has been proven right.

I think for instance we were talking earlier about our own memories on 9/11. I had just been to my younger son’s kindergarten. He was just about five years old, got in the car to go home and heard the first reports of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. He was almost five. Changed our lives. He doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t quite get it.

Well, I think one way of looking at it is you know what Churchill said about there is nothing more exhilarating than being shot at without result? We were hit on 9/11. It sure was not without result, but this country really has come back. And so, if you remember where we were ten years ago and compare that to now, I think really we should, while being very sad about what happened and those that lost their lives and their families, there’s an element of this about which we should feel exhilarated.

That is going to depend on how secure the world we live in is during the next couple of decades. If this turned out to be essentially one event, we conquered it then it will be almost a singular event in American history. But if we are living, and I’m afraid this may be true, with the scourge of terrorism through the rest of our lifetimes and beyond, this will be something that essentially opened our eyes to a reality that is going to always be there.

“The people who died on 9/11 weren’t members of the armed forces. They were civilians. They were normal people. That places this in a category all its own as a terrible, terrible day in American history. We’ve had a lot of terrible days in our history, but people never signed up for that…. It’s very visceral for a lot of people. We feel it with our guts, not our heads.” — Jonathan Earle, an associate professor of history at Kansas University

9/11 Left Permanent Scars on the American Psyche A moment in history unlike any other, experts say: “I’m a historian, not a psychologist, but I can tell you that 9/11 has affected the American mentality significantly on several fronts. Of course there’s been a loss of our sense of overall security. And there’s been a loss of our sense of preeminence in the world.
But I think 9/11 has collectively thrown us back, psychologically and politically, into a Cold War mentality. It’s the national belief, not seen since the early to mid-1980s, that we are now, again, in an intractable global struggle with no end in sight. And with that perception of increased vulnerability, there has also been a rise, which many Americans wouldn’t even necessarily realize has taken place, in our willingness to trade off civil liberties and privacy for measures that we believe will make us safer.
It’s very hard to make forecasts about how all this will all play out long-term. But you could argue that, looking back in 50 years, we’ll actually see 9/11 as a major turning point: A permanent change in the American sense of self.” — Ethan Katz, an assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati — MSN, 9-11-11

  • Teaching 9/11: How educators are responding 10 years later: Attempts to teach 9/11 has forced educators largely to abandon textbooks in favor of more flexible and vibrant resources – from online art to in-class presentations by witnesses…. – CS Monitor, 9-9-11
  • Teachers tackle lessons of 9/11: The question of when an event becomes history depends on who you ask, said John Johnson, a history professor at the University of Northern Iowa.
    “The sort of old-fashioned view is you need a great deal of perspective, and you probably should give a significant event like 9/11 quite a few years.”
    “I feel different. I believe the more modern view is the morning newspaper or the latest tweet is history.”
    “I would rather have professional historians weighing in on recent events along with everybody else, rather than saying, ‘As a historian, I can’t say anything for 10 years.'”
    “Revisionism is a reality of history, and it is one of the beauties of history because every event will mean different things to different generations and be looked at from different angles.” WCF Courier, 9-11-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: President George W. Bush’s Speech at the Unveiling of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

President George W. Bush’s Flight 93 Memorial Dedication Speech

GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much. Mr. Vice President, Dr. Biden, President Clinton, Mr. Speaker, members of Congress, my friends Tommy Franks and Tom Ridge, thank you for helping raise the money for this memorial. Members of the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, all of those who supported this memorial, but most importantly, the families of Flight 93. Laura and I are honored to join you in dedicating this memorial to the heroes of Flight 93.

When the sun rose in the Pennsylvania sky ten years ago tomorrow, it was a peaceful September morning. By the time it set nearly 3,000 people were gone. The most lives lost on American soil in a single day since the battle of Antietam.

With the distance of a decade, 9/11 can feel like a part of a different era. But for the families of the men and women stolen, some of whom join us today, that day will never feel like history. The memory of that morning is fresh and so is the pain. America shares your grief. We pray for your comfort and we honor your loved ones.

September 11th, 2001, innocent men and women went to work at the World Trade Center. They reported for duty at the Pentagon. They boarded American Flights 11 and 77, United 93 and 175. They did nothing to provoke or deserve the deliberate act of murder that al Qaeda carried out.

One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real, and so is courage. When the planes struck the World Trade Center, firefighters and police officers charged up the stairs into the flames. As the towers neared collapse, they continued the rescue efforts.

Ultimately, more than 400 police officers and firefighters gave their lives. Among them was the chief of the New York City Fire Department Peter Gancy. As a colleague put it, he would never ask anyone to do something he didn’t do himself.

The Pentagon service members and civilians pulled friends and strangers from burning rubble. One special forces soldier recalls reaching through a cloud of smoke in search of the wounded. As he entered one room, he prayed to find someone alive. He discovered a severely burned woman and carried her to safety. Later, in the hospital, where she explained she’s been praying for rescue. She called him her guardian angel.

And then there’s the extraordinary story we commemorate here. Aboard United Airlines Flight 93 were college students from California, an iron worker from New Jersey, veterans of the Korean War and World War II, citizens of Germany and Japan, a pilot who had rearranged his schedule so that he could take his wife on a vacation to celebrate their anniversary.

When the passengers and crew realized the plane had been hijacked, they reported the news calmly. When they learned that the terrorists had crashed other planes into targets on the ground, they accepted greater responsibilities. In the back of the cabin, the passengers gathered to devise a strategy.

At the moment America’s democracy was under attack, our citizens defied their captors by holding a vote. The choice they made would cost them their lives, and they knew it. Many passengers called their loved ones to say good-bye, then

Many passengers called their loved ones to say goodbye then hung up to perform their final act. One said, “They’re getting ready to break into the cockpit. I have to go. I love you.” Another said, “It’s up to us. I think we can do it.”

In one of the most stirring accounts, Todd Beamer, a father of two with a pregnant wife with a home in New Jersey, asked the air operator to join him in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Then he helped lead the charge with the words “Let’s roll.”

With their selfless act, the men and women who stormed the cockpit lived out the words, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And with their brave decision, they launched the first counter offensive of the war on terror. The most likely target of the hijacked plane was the United States Capitol. We’ll never know how many innocent people might have been lost, but we do know this, Americans are alive today because the passengers and crew of Flight 93 chose to act, and our nation will be forever grateful.

The 40 souls who perished on the plane left a great deal behind. They left spouses and children and grandchildren who miss them dearly. They left successful businesses and promising careers and a lifetime of dreams they will never have the chance to fulfill. They left something else — a legacy of bravery and selflessness that will always inspire America.

For generations people will study the flight, the story of Flight 93. They will learn that individual choices make a difference, that love and sacrifice can triumph over evil and hate, and that what happened above this Pennsylvania field ranks among the most courageous acts in American history.

At the memorial we dedicate today will ensure our nation always remembers those lost here on 9/11. But we have a duty beyond memory. We have a duty beyond honoring. We have a duty to live our lives in a way that upholds the ideals for which the men and women gave their lives, to build a living memorial to their courage and sacrifice. We have a duty to find common purpose as a nation.

In the days after 9/11, the response came like a single hand over a single heart. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle gathered on the steps of the capitol to sing “God bless America.” neighbors reached out to neighbors of all backgrounds and beliefs.

The past decade, our country has been tested by natural disaster, economic turmoil, anxieties and challenges here at home and abroad. There have been spirited debates along the way. It’s the essence of democracy. But Americans have never been defined by our disagreements. Whatever challenges we face today and in the future, we must never lose faith in our ability to meet them together. We must never allow our differences to harden into divisions.

Secondly, we have a duty to remain engaged in the world as 9/11 proved that the conditions in the country on the other side of the world can have an impact on our own streets. It may be tempting to think it doesn’t matter what happens to a villager in Afghanistan or a child in Africa, but the temptation of isolation is deadly wrong.

World repression, anger and resentment will be a never ending source of violence and threats. A world of dignity and liberty and hope will be safer and better for all. The surest way to move toward that vision is for the United States of America to lead the cause of freedom.

Finally, we each have a duty to serve a cause larger than ourselves. The passengers aboard Flight 93 set an example that inspires us all. Many have followed their path of service by donating blood or mentoring a child or volunteering in desperate corners of the earth. Some have devoted their careers to analyzing intelligence or protecting our borders and securing our skies. Others have made the noble choice to defend our nation in battle.

For 10 years, our troops have risked and given their lives to prevent our enemies from attacking America again. They’ve kept us safe, they have made us proud, and they have upheld the spirit of service shown by the passengers on Flight 93.

Many years ago, in 1863, another president came to dedicate a memorial site in this state. He told his audience that, “In a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. For the brave souls who struggled there, it consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.”

He added “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

So it is with Flight 93. For as long as this memorial stands, we will remember what the men and women aboard the plane did here. We’ll pay tribute to the courage they showed, the sacrifice they made, and the lives they spared. The United States will never forget.

May God bless you all.

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