Full Text February 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Home-Grown Energy at the University of Miami

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Describes an All-of-the-Above Strategy for Energy

Source: WH, 2-23-12

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center (February 23, 2012)

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center in Miami, Florida, Feb. 23, 2012. The IAC is where students learn how to become industrial energy-efficiency experts as they help small to mid-sized manufacturers reduce their energy costs. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama was in Miami today to talk about securing a future for America built on home-grown energy — and his blueprint to help us get there.

Part of the conversation focused on fuel prices — and the fact that they’re increasing. It’s a real problem for people all over the country, which the President said required a real solution, not a slogan from a bumper sticker.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem. You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices. If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more.

As President Obama pointed out, that’s a vision toward which we are making progress:

In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade. We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been. In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years. That’s the good news. And because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -– and thousands of American jobs have been created as a consequence.

But there is still much more that needs to be done. The President is fighting to roll back the $4 billion in tax subsidies that the oil industry receives every year. And in the weeks and months ahead, the President will continue to finding ways to invest in clean energy technologies and innovation.

Want more details about the President’s blueprint? Here’s everything you need to know.

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (222MB) | mp3 (21MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy

University of Miami
Miami, Florida

2:26 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Miami!  (Applause.)  The U!   (Applause.)  It is good to see all of you here today.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Erica for that outstanding introduction.  She said her parents were tweeting.  (Laughter.)  We’re so proud of you, Erica.

I also want to thank your president, this country’s former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala.  (Applause.)  Senator Bill Nelson is here.  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Former astronaut — that’s too cool.  (Laughter.)  And my outstanding friend, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is in the house.  (Applause.)

It is good to be back in sunny Florida.  (Applause.)  I must say I don’t know how you guys go to class.  (Laughter.)  I’m assuming you do go to class.  (Laughter.)  It’s just too nice outside.  But in another life, I would be staying for the Knicks-Heat game tonight — (applause) — then go up to Orlando for NBA All-Star Weekend.  (Applause.)  But these days, I’ve got a few other things on my plate.  (Laughter.)  Just a few.

I just got a fascinating demonstration of the work that some of you are doing at the College of Engineering.  (Applause.)  And let me say at the outset, we need more engineers.  So I could not be prouder of those of you who are studying engineering.

It was fascinating stuff.  I understood about 10 percent of what they told me.  (Laughter.)  But it was very impressive.  (Laughter.)  And the work couldn’t be more important, because what they were doing was figuring out how our buildings, our manufacturers, our businesses can waste less energy.  And that’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to reduce our dependence on oil, and save a lot of money in the process and make our economy stronger.

So some cutting-edge stuff is being done right here at the U.  (Applause.)  Now, that’s what I’m here to talk about today.  In the State of the Union, I laid out three areas where we need to focus if we want to build an economy that lasts and is good for the next generation, all of you.  (Applause.)  We need new American manufacturing.  We’ve got to have new skills and education for America’s workers, and we need new sources of American-made energy.

Now, right now we are experiencing just another painful reminder of why developing new energy is so critical to our future.  Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country.  This time, it’s happening even earlier.  And when gas prices go up, it hurts everybody — everybody who owns a car, everybody who owns a business.  It means you’ve got to stretch a paycheck even further.  It means you’ve got to find even more room in a budget that was already really tight.  And some folks have no choice but to drive a long way to work, and high gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.

I got a letter last night — I get these letters, 10 letters every night that I read out of the 40,000 that are sent to me.  And at least two of them said, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep my job if gas prices keep on going up so high, because it’s just hard to manage the budget and fill up the tank.  A lot of folks are going through tough times as a consequence.

Now, some politicians they see this as a political opportunity.  I know you’re shocked by that.  (Laughter.)  Last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.”  (Laughter.)  That’s a quote.  That was the lead.  “Licking their chops.”  Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically.  You pay more; they’re licking their chops.

You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas.  And I’ll save you the suspense.  Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling.  (Laughter.)  We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President.  We hear the same thing every year.  We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.

Well, the American people aren’t stupid.  They know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling.  That’s a bumper sticker.  It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.  (Applause.)  That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.  You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more. (Applause.)

We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, less energy for our buildings and our plants and our factories — that’s the strategy we’re pursuing.  And that’s the only real solution to this challenge.

Now, it starts with the need for safe, responsible oil production here in America.  We’re not going to transition out of oil anytime soon.  And that’s why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  That’s why we have a record number of oilrigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.

Over the last three years my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada.  And we’ve opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration.  All told we plan to make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, we announced the next steps towards further energy exploration in the Arctic.  Earlier this week, we joined Mexico in an agreement that will make more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf available for exploration and production, which contains an estimated 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

So we’re focused on production.  That’s not the issue.  And we’ll keep on producing more homegrown energy.  But here’s the thing — it’s not enough.  The amount of oil that we drill at home doesn’t set the price of gas by itself.  The oil market is global; oil is bought and sold in a world market.  And just like last year, the single biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to spike right now is instability in the Middle East -– this time around Iran.  When uncertainty increases, speculative trading on Wall Street increases, and that drives prices up even more.

So those are the biggest short-term factors at work here.
Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will probably keep going up is growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil.  I want you to all think about this.  In five years, the number of cars on the road in China more than tripled — just in the last five years.  Nearly 10 million cars were added in China in 2010 alone — 10 million cars in one year in one country.  Think about how much oil that requires.  And as folks in China and India and Brazil, they aspire to buy a car just like Americans do, those numbers are only going to get bigger.

So what does this mean for us?  It means that anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.  (Applause.)

And young people especially understand this, because I think — it’s interesting, when I talk to Malia and Sasha — you guys are so much more aware than I was of conserving our natural resources and thinking about the planet.  The United States consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil — more than 20 percent of the world’s oil — just us.  We only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  We consume 20; we’ve got 2.

And that means we can’t just rely on fossil fuels from the last century.  We can’t just allow ourselves to be held hostage to the ups and downs of the world oil market.  We’ve got to keep developing new sources of energy.  We’ve got to develop new technology that helps us use less energy, and use energy smarter. We’ve got to rely on American know-how and young engineers right here at the U who are focused on energy.  (Applause.)  That is our future.  And that’s exactly the path that my administration has been trying to take these past three years.

And we’re making progress.  That’s the good news.  In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade.  We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been.  In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years.  That’s the good news.  And because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -– and thousands of American jobs have been created as a consequence.

We’re taking every possible action to develop, safely, a near hundred-year supply of natural gas in this country — something that experts believe will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.  Our cooperation with the private sector has positioned this country to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries that will power the next generation of American cars — that use less oil; maybe don’t use any oil at all.

And after three decades of inaction, we put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickup trucks -– and the first standards ever for heavy-duty trucks.  And because we did this, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what they get today.  (Applause.)

Now, I remember what it was like being a student.  You guys probably have one of those old beaters.  Who knows what kind of mileage you guys get.  (Laughter.)  I can tell you some stories about the cars I had.  I bought one for $500.  (Applause.)  But by the middle of the next decade, you guys are going to be buying some new cars — hopefully sooner than that.  And that means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.

And it means this country will reduce our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That’s not only good for your pocketbook, that’s good for the environment.  (Applause.)

All right, but here’s the thing — we’ve got to do more.  We’ve got to act even faster.  We have to keep investing in the development of every available source of American-made energy.  And this is a question of where our priorities are.  This is a choice that we face.

First of all, while there are no silver bullets short term when it comes to gas prices — and anybody who says otherwise isn’t telling the truth — I have directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers in the months ahead, from permitting to delivery bottlenecks to what’s going on in the oil markets.  We’re going to look at every single aspect of gas prices, because we know the burden that it’s putting on consumers.  And we will keep taking as many steps as we can in the coming weeks.

That’s short term.  But over the long term, an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires us having the right priorities.  We’ve got to have the right incentives in place.  I’ll give you an example.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year — $4 billion.  They don’t need a subsidy.  They’re making near-record profits.  These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now.  How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Preach it, Mr. President!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  (Applause.)  And every politician who’s been fighting to keep those subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money — especially at a time like this.  (Applause.)

I said this at the State of the Union — a century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough.  (Applause.)  It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that has never been more profitable; double down on clean energy industries that have never been more promising — that’s what we need to do.  (Applause.)  This Congress needs to renew the clean energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.

The potential of a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy is all around us.  Here in Miami, 2008, Miami became the first major American city to power its city hall entirely with solar and renewable energy.  Right here in Miami.  (Applause.)  The modernization of your power grid so that it wastes less energy is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country. On a typical day, the wind turbine at the Miami-Dade Museum can meet about 10 percent of the energy needs in a South Florida home, and the largest wind producer in the country is over at Juno Beach.  Right here at this university, your work is helping manufacturers save millions of dollars in energy bills by making their facilities more energy efficient.  (Applause.)

So a lot of work is already being done right here, just in this area.  And the role of the federal government isn’t to supplant this work, take over this work, direct this research.  It is to support these discoveries.  Our job is to help outstanding work that’s being done in universities, in labs, and to help businesses get new energy ideas off the ground — because it was public dollars, public research dollars, that over the years helped develop the technologies that companies are right now using to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock.

The payoff on these public investments, they don’t always come right away, and some technologies don’t pan out, and some companies will fail.  But as long as I’m President, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  Your future is too important.  I will not — (applause) — I will not cede, I will not give up, I will not cede the wind or the solar or the battery industry to China or Germany because some politicians in Washington have refused to make the same commitment here in America.

With or without this Congress, I will continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy so our future isn’t controlled by events on the other side of the world. (Applause.)

Today we’re taking a step that will make it easier for companies to save money by investing in energy solutions that have been proven here in the University of Miami — new lighting systems, advanced heating and cooling systems that can lower a company’s energy bills and make them more competitive.

We’re launching a program that will bring together the nation’s best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to figure out how more cars can be powered by natural gas, a fuel that’s cleaner and cheaper and more abundant than oil.  We’ve got more of that.  We don’t have to import it.  We may be exporting it soon.

We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline and diesel and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance — algae.  You’ve got a bunch of algae out here, right? (Laughter.)  If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing all right.

Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in the United States.  And that means greater energy security.  That means lower costs.  It means more jobs.  It means a stronger economy.

Now, none of the steps that I’ve talked about today is going to be a silver bullet.  It’s not going to bring down gas prices tomorrow.  Remember, if anybody says they got a plan for that — what?

AUDIENCE:  They’re lying.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m just saying.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to, overnight, solve the problem of world oil markets.  There is no silver bullet.  There never has been.

And part of the problem is, is when politicians pretend that there is, then we put off making the tough choices to develop new energy sources and become more energy efficient.  We got to stop doing that.  We don’t have the luxury of pretending.  We got to look at the facts, look at the science, figure out what we need to do.

We may not have a silver bullet, but we do have in this country limitless sources of energy, a boundless supply of ingenuity, huge imagination, amazing young people like you — (applause) — all of which can put — all of which we can put to work to develop this new energy source.

Now, it’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.  What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem.  (Applause.)  And it won’t be solved in one year; it won’t be solved in one term; it may not be completely solved in one decade.  But that’s the kind of commitment we need right now.  That’s what this moment requires.

So I need all of you to keep at it.  I need you guys to work hard.  I need you guys to dream big.  I need those of you who are a lot smarter than me to figure out how we’re going to be able to tap into new energy sources.  We’ve got to summon the spirit of optimism and that willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their times -– to power a nation from coast to coast, to send a man to the moon, to connect an entire world with our own science and our own imagination.

That’s what America is capable of.  That’s what this country is about.  And that history teaches us that whatever our challenges -– all of them -– whatever, whatever we face, we always have the power to solve them.

This is going to be one of the major challenges for your generation.  Solving it is going to take time; it’s going to take effort.  It’s going to require our brightest scientists, our most creative companies.  But it’s going to also require all of us as citizens — Democrats, Republicans, everybody in between –- all of us are going to have to do our part.

If we do, the solution is within our reach.  And I know we can do it.  We have done it before.  And when we do, we will remind the world once again just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END
2:49 P.M. EST

Full Text February 4, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Calling on Congress to Pass his Program to Help Responsible Homeowners Refinance their Mortagages as Part of his Blueprint for an Economy Built to Last

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama continues his call for a return to American values, including fairness and equality, as part of his blueprint for an economy built to last.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 2/3/12

Weekly Address: It’s Time for Congress to Act to Help Responsible Homeowners

Source: WH, 2-4-12
President Obama continues his call for a return to American values, including fairness and equality, as part of his blueprint for an economy built to last.
Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: It’s Time for Congress to Act to Help Responsible Homeowners

In this week’s address, President Obama continued his call for a return to American values, including fairness and equality, as part of his blueprint for an economy built to last.  This is why the President is sending Congress his plan to give responsible homeowners the chance to save thousands of dollars on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates without adding a cent to the deficit.  The housing crisis has been the single largest drag on the recovery, and although the Administration’s actions have helped responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages and stay in their homes, Congress must act now to do more to continue assisting homeowners and the economy.  President Obama asks all Americans to tell their elected officials to pass this plan to keep more families in their homes and more neighborhoods thriving and whole.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday, February 4, 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been traveling around the country and talking with folks about my blueprint for an economy built to last.  It’s a blueprint that focuses on restoring the things we’ve always done best.  Our strengths.  American manufacturing.  American energy.  The skills and education of American workers.

And most importantly, American values like fairness and responsibility.

We know what happened when we strayed from those values over the past decade – especially when it comes to our housing market.

Lenders sold loans to families who couldn’t afford them.  Banks packaged those mortgages up and traded them for phony profits.  It drove up prices and created an unsustainable bubble that burst – and left millions of families who did everything right in a world of hurt.

It was wrong.  The housing crisis has been the single biggest drag on our recovery from the recession.  It has kept millions of families in debt and unable to spend, and it has left hundreds of thousands of construction workers out of a job.

But there’s something even more important at stake.  I’ve been saying this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class.  And the housing crisis struck right at the heart of what it means to be middle-class in this country: owning a home.  Raising our kids.  Building our dreams.

Right now, there are more than 10 million homeowners in this country who, because of a decline in home prices that is no fault of their own, owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.  Now, it is wrong for anyone to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom.  I don’t accept that.  None of us should.

That’s why we launched a plan a couple years ago that’s helped nearly one million responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages and save an average of $300 on their payments each month.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit it didn’t help as many folks as we’d hoped.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying.

That’s why I’m sending Congress a plan that will give every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates.  No more red tape.  No more endless forms.  And a small fee on the largest financial institutions will make sure it doesn’t add a dime to the deficit.

I want to be clear: this plan will not help folks who bought a house they couldn’t afford and then walked away from it.  It won’t help folks who bought multiple houses just to turn around and sell them.

What this plan will do is help millions of responsible homeowners who make their payments every month, but who, until now, couldn’t refinance because their home values kept dropping or they got wrapped up in too much red tape.

But here’s the catch.  In order to lower mortgage payments for millions of Americans, we need Congress to act.  They’re the ones who have to pass this plan.  And as anyone who has followed the news in the last six months can tell you, getting Congress to do anything these days is not an easy job.

That’s why I’m going to keep up the pressure on Congress to do the right thing.  But I also need your help.  I need your voice.  I need everyone who agrees with this plan to get on the phone, send an email, tweet, pay a visit, and remind your representatives in Washington who they work for.  Tell them to pass this plan.  Tell them to help more families keep their homes, and more neighborhoods stay vibrant and whole.

The truth is, it will take time for our housing market to recover.  It will take time for our economy to fully bounce back.  But there are steps we can take, right now, to move this country forward.  That’s what I promise to do as your President, and I hope Members of Congress will join me.

Thank you, and have a great weekend.

White House Recap January 28 February 3, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Unveiled Programs for Lowering Tuition & Refinancing Mortgages as Part of the Blueprint for an America Built to Last — Interviewed by Google+ & Spoke at 2012 National Prayer Breakfast

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: JANUARY 28 – February 3, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: Hanging Out with America

Source: WH, 2-3-12

Talking Tuition with the Wolverines: Shortly after delivering his State of the Union address, the President took his Blueprint for making college more affordable straight to the people at the frontlines of the issue—students. Speaking from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the President noted that a college degree “will be the best tool you have to achieve that basic American promise.”

A Georgian Visitor: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met with the President in the Oval Office on Monday, discussing relations between our two countries—including Georgia’s contributions to the military operation in Afghanistan and the potential for a free trade agreement between the United States and Geogia—and marked the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both countries.

Hanging Out on Google+: The President participated in the first-ever virtual interview from the White House on Monday from the Roosevelt Room. After more than 227,000 people submitted questions or voted for their favorites, the President sat down for a discussion with a group of Americans from across the country in a Google+ Hangout. In case you missed it, you can watch the full video here.

The Cabinet Convenes: On Tuesday, the President held a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House to discuss the ideas he laid out in the State of the Union. A top priority mentioned by the President during the State of the Union was the need to promote small business throughout the country, which was echoed in the meeting, where a new Cabinet member and the head of the Small Business Administration, Karen Mills, joined the discussion and ensured that entrepreneurs were represented.

In the Showroom: With Detroit’s newest vehicles on display at the Washington Auto Show, the President took a trip across town to get a glimpse of the outstanding work produced within the U.S. auto industry. He was impressed by what he saw, saying, “Because of folks coming together, we are now back in a place where we can compete with any car company in the world.”

Fairness, Responsibility and Housing: One way the President plans to achieve his Blueprint for an America Built to Last is by taking action to help responsible borrowers and support a housing market recovery. On Wednesday, he expanded on the ideas he presented in the State of the Union—including a proposal for a Homeowners Bill of Rights—at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Virginia, where home values have fallen by about a quarter from their peak.

The National Prayer Breakfast: At the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., the President spoke about how his faith and values guide the difficult decisions he makes as he leads the country.

Full Text January 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Discusses his Economic Plan Blueprint for an America Built to Last Introducd in the 2012 State of Union Address

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama discusses the blueprint he put forward this week in the State of the Union Address for creating an economy built to last

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 1/27/12

Weekly Address: President’s Blueprint Includes Renewal of American Values

Source: WH, 1-28-12
In his weekly address, President Obama discusses the blueprint he put forward this week in the State of the Union Address for creating an economy built to last.  After focusing on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers during each of the last three days, he used his weekly address to highlight his commitment to a renewal of American values. The President is challenging leaders in Washington, DC to follow the model set by our men and women in the military, end the gridlock and start tackling the issues that matter – without regard for personal ambition.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Learn more

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President’s Blueprint Includes Renewal of American Values

In his weekly address, President Obama discusses the blueprint he put forward this week in the State of the Union Address for creating an economy built to last.  After focusing on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers during each of the last three days, he used his weekly address to highlight his commitment to a renewal of American values.  The President is challenging leaders in Washington, DC to follow the model set by our men and women in the military, end the gridlock and start tackling the issues that matter – without regard for personal ambition.

Remarks of President Barack Obama

As Prepared for Delivery

Saturday, January 28, 2011

The White House

On Tuesday, in my State of the Union Address, I laid out a blueprint for an economy built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

This week, I took that blueprint across the country, and what I saw was people who work hard and believe in each other.  They believe in the America that’s within our reach. But they’re not sure that the right thing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or the year after that. And frankly, when you look at some of the things that go on in this town, who could blame them for being a little cynical?

Just two days ago, a senator from Utah promised to obstruct every single American I appoint to a judgeship or public service position – unless I fire the consumer watchdog I put in place to protect the American people from financial schemes or malpractice.

For the most part, it’s not that this senator thinks these nominees are unqualified. In fact, all of the judicial nominees being blocked have bipartisan support. And almost 90 percent have unanimous support from the Judiciary Committee.

Instead, one of his aides told reporters that the senator plans to, and I’m quoting here, “Delay and slow the process in order to get the President’s attention.”

This isn’t about me.  We weren’t sent here to wage perpetual political campaigns against each other.  We were sent here to serve the American people.  And they deserve better than gridlock and games. One senator gumming up the works for the whole country is certainly not what our founding fathers envisioned.

The truth is, neither party has been blameless in tactics like these. But it’s time for both parties to put an end to them. I’m asking Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to stop this kind of behavior by passing a rule that allows all judicial and public service nominations a simple up-or-down vote within 90 days.

We should also stem the corrosive influence of money in politics.  The House and Senate should send me a bill that bans insider trading by Members of Congress, and I will sign it immediately.  They should limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact.  And they should make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa.

During my Address on Tuesday night, I spoke about the incredible example set by the men and women of our armed forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.  They’re not consumed with personal ambition.  They don’t obsess over their differences.  They focus on the mission at hand.  They work together.

If you agree with me that leaders in Washington should follow their example, then make your voice heard. Tell your Member of Congress that it’s time to end the gridlock, and start tackling the issues that really matter – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, American skills and education, and a return to American values.  An economy built to last.

Thank you, God bless you, and have a great weekend.

White House Recap January 21-27, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Delivers 2012 State of the Union Address & Presents the Blueprint for an America Built to Last

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: JANUARY 21-27, 2012

This week, the President prepared for and delivered his State of the Union Address, welcomed the Boston Bruins to the White House, and took his message West to Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado.

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: An America Built to Last

Source: WH, 1-27-12

State of the Union: In his third State of the Union Address on Tuesday, the President outlined his vision for “an America that lasts”—one that will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, and promote homegrown and alternative energy sources—and presented a blueprint to achieve that vision. Check out this video that goes behind the scenes as President Obama prepared the speech.

Blueprint for Manufacturing: During his visit to New Hampshire following Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Vice President Biden highlighted the Administration’s plan to help businesses bring jobs back to America through manufacturing. He echoed the President’s message that we need to commit to train workers with the skills they will need to compete in the growing sectors of our economy.

Talking Energy in Las Vegas: From a UPS facility in Las Vegas, the President spoke about the future of American-made energy. “[Even] with all this oil production, we only have about 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves,” the President said, “So we’ve got to have an all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy—a strategy that is cleaner and cheaper and full of new jobs.”

#WHchat: Throughout the week, more than thirty administration officials have answered questions about President Obama’s State of the Union Address and issues Americans care about through a series of Office Hours on Twitter—addressing queries about everything from the economy to disability policy. Vice President Biden—known in the twitterverse as @VP—answered questions submitted by people across the country in his first-ever Twitter interview from an advanced manufacturing facility in Rochester, New Hampshire.

NHL Champs: On Monday, the President welcomed the Boston Bruins to the White House and congratulated them on their Stanley Cup victory in June—marking the team’s sixth Cup championship, and their first one in nearly forty years. Their triumph, the President said, “proved that teamwork is everything.” After their visit to the White House, the players led a hockey clinic—affirming that being a champion doesn’t end when you hang up your skates.

Full Text January 26, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Blueprint for American-Made Energy in Las Vegas

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Discusses the Blueprint for American-Made Energy

Source: WH, 1-26-12
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy at UPS Las Vegas<br />
 South  

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy, at UPS Las Vegas South in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 26, 2012.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama toured a UPS facility in Las Vegas today to talk about the future of energy in America.

First, he discussed the progress we’ve already made:

For decades, Americans have been talking about how do we decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Well, my administration has actually begun to do something about it.

Over the last three years, we negotiated the toughest new efficiency standards for cars and trucks in history. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration.  Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. Eight years. Last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of last 16 years. That hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but that’s important. We’re moving in the right direction when it comes to oil and gas production.

Then he discussed why a blueprint for American-made energy is so important:

[Even] with all this oil production, we only have about 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  So we got to have an all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy –- a strategy that is cleaner and cheaper and full of new jobs.

Everything you need to know.

 POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

UPS Las Vegas South
Las Vegas, Nevada

10:11 A.M. PST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Nevada!  (Applause.)  It is great to be back in Las Vegas.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Laughter.)  Although I always say, when we stay here for the night, I’ve got to watch my staff to make sure that they get on the plane when we leave.  (Laughter.)  Sometimes they conveniently miss the flight.  (Laughter.)

But everybody please have a seat, have a seat.  It is great to see you.  Joe, thanks for the introduction.  Scott, thank you and the folks at UPS for hosting us today.  I want to thank all of the elected officials and the tribal leaders who took the time to join us.

Before I get into the core of my remarks, I just want to mention something that I said to Scott and I said to Joe, and that is that UPS I think deserves just extraordinary credit for being the best in its space, one of the best businesses we have in the United States.  But the reason is because it’s got such outstanding workers — (applause) — and the relationship between its workforce and management, cooperating, constantly figuring out how to make things better is just an outstanding organization.  And so you guys all need to be congratulated for everything that you do.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m here to talk a little more about what I talked about at the State of the Union on Tuesday night.  And what I want to focus on is how we’re going to restore the basic promise of America, something that folks at UPS understand, which is, if you work hard, if you do the right thing, you should be able to do well enough to raise a family and own a home and send your kids to college and put a little away for retirement.  That’s the American Dream.  That’s what most people are looking for.

They don’t expect a handout.  They don’t expect anything to come easy.  They do expect, if they’re willing to work hard, to try to get ahead.  If they’re doing the right thing, then they can have a sense of security and dignity, and help make sure that their family is moving forward.  That’s what Americans are looking for.  That’s what Americans deserve.

And today, three years after the worst economic storm in three generations, our economy is growing again.  Our businesses have created more than 3 million jobs.  (Applause.)  Last year, businesses created the most jobs since 2005.  American manufacturers are hiring again and creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s.

Now, we’ve got more work to do.  But what we can’t do is go back to the very same policies that got us into a mess in the first place.  We can’t go backwards.  We have to move forward.  I said on Tuesday, and I will repeat today, we will not — we cannot — go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phony financial profits.  So on Tuesday, at the State of the Union, I laid out my vision for how we move forward.  I laid a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last, that has a firm foundation, where we’re making stuff and selling stuff and moving it around and UPS drivers are dropping things off everywhere.  (Applause.)

That’s the economy we want, an economy built on American manufacturing with more good jobs and more products made here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  An economy built on American energy, fueled by homegrown and alternative sources that make us more secure and less dependent on foreign oil.  (Applause.)  An economy built on the skills of American workers, getting people the education and the training they need to prepare for the jobs of today, but also to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.  (Applause.)

And most importantly, I talked about an economy that’s built on a renewal of American values — hard work, responsibility, and the same set of rules for everybody, from Wall Street to Main Street.  (Applause.)  That has to be our future.  That’s how we restore that basic American promise.

Now, part of my blueprint and what I want to focus on a little bit today is for an economy built to last with American energy.  That’s why we’re here.  For decades, Americans have been talking about how do we decrease our dependence on foreign oil.  Well, my administration has actually begun to do something about it.

Over the last three years, we negotiated the toughest new efficiency standards for cars and trucks in history.  We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration.  Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.  Eight years.  Last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of last 16 years.  That hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but that’s important.  (Applause.)  We’re moving in the right direction when it comes to oil and gas production.

And today, I’m announcing that my administration will soon open up around 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for additional exploration and development, which could result in a lot more production of domestic energy.  (Applause.)

But as I said on Tuesday, and as the folks here at UPS understand, even with all this oil production, we only have about 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  So we got to have an all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy –- a strategy that is cleaner and cheaper and full of new jobs.

Now, a great place to start is with natural gas.  Some of you may not have been following this, but because of new technologies, because we can now access natural gas that we couldn’t access before in an economic way, we’ve got a supply of natural gas under our feet that can last America nearly a hundred years.  Nearly a hundred years.  Now, when I say under our feet, I don’t know that there’s actually gas right here.  (Laughter.)  I mean in all the United States.

And developing it could power our cars and our homes and our factories in a cleaner and cheaper way.  The experts believe it could support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  We, it turns out, are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.  (Applause.)  We’ve got a lot of it.  We’ve got a lot of it.

Now, removing that natural gas obviously has to be done carefully.  And I know that there are families that are worried about the impact this could have on our environment and on the health of our communities.  And I share that concern.  So that’s why I’m requiring — for the first time ever — that all companies drilling for gas on public lands disclose the chemicals they use.  We want to make sure that this is done properly and safely.  (Applause.)  America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

But we’ve got to keep at it.  We’ve got to take advantage of this incredible natural resource.  And think about what could happen if we do.  Think about an America where more cars and trucks are running on domestic natural gas than on foreign oil.  Think about an America where our companies are leading the world in developing natural gas technology and creating a generation of new energy jobs; where our natural gas resources are helping make our manufacturers more competitive for decades.  We can do this.  And by the way, natural gas burns cleaner than oil does, so it’s also potentially good for our environment as we make this shift.

So last April, we issued a challenge to shipping companies like UPS.  We said if you upgrade your fleets to run on less oil or no oil at all, we’re going to help you succeed.  We want to help you with that experiment.  So we started out with five companies that accepted the challenge.  And of course, UPS was one of the first.  That’s how they roll.  (Laughter and applause.)

So less than a year later, we’ve got 14 companies on board, and together they represent 1 million vehicles on the road.   That’s a lot of trucks.

We should do more, though.  And that’s why we’re here today.  First, let’s get more of these natural gas vehicles on the road.  Let’s get more of them on the road.  (Applause.)  The federal fleet of cars is leading by example.  Turns out the federal government has a lot of cars.  (Laughter.)  We buy a lot of cars.  So we’ve got to help not only the federal government but also local governments upgrade their fleet.  If more of these brown trucks are going green, more city buses should, too.  There’s no reason why buses can’t go in the same direction.

Second, let’s offer new tax incentives to help companies buy more clean trucks like these.  (Applause.)

Third, let’s make sure all these new trucks that are running on natural gas have places to refuel.  That’s one of the biggest impediments, is the technology.  We know how to make these trucks, but if they don’t have a place to pull in and fill up, they got problems.

So we’re going to keep working with the private sector to develop up to five natural gas corridors along our highways.  These are highways that have natural gas fueling stations between cities, just like the one that folks at UPS, South Coast Air and Clean Energy Fuels are opening today between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.  That’s a great start.  (Applause.)  So now one of these trucks can go from Long Beach all the way to Salt Lake City.  And they’re going to be able to refuel along the way.

And finally, to keep America on the cutting edge of clean energy technology, I want my Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, to launch a new competition that encourages our country’s brightest scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to discover new breakthroughs for natural gas vehicles.

So we’re going to keep moving on American energy.  We’re going to keep boosting American manufacturing.  We’re going to keep training our workers for these new jobs.  But an economy that’s built to last also means a renewal of the values that made us who we are:  hard work, fair play and shared responsibility.

Right now, that means, first of all, stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans at the end of next month.  (Applause.)  People cannot afford right now losing $40 out of each paycheck.  Your voices convinced Congress to extend this middle-class tax cut before.  I need your help to make sure they do it again.  No drama, no delay.  Let’s just get this done for the American people and for our economy as a whole.  (Applause.)

But we’ve got a longer-run issue — Scott and I were talking about this before we came out — and that is how do we get America’s fiscal house in order.  And we’re going to have to make some choices.  The reason that we’ve got these debts and deficit is because we’re not making hard choices.  Right now, we’re supposed to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was intended to be a temporary tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  Supposed to be temporary.  Back in 2001.  (Laughter.)  That’s a long time ago.  (Laughter.)  A quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.  Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.  I know because she was at the State of the Union.  (Laughter.)  She told me.

Now, that’s not fair.  That doesn’t make sense.  And the reason it’s important for us to recognize that is, if we’re going to reduce our deficit, then we’ve got to have a balanced approach that has spending cuts — and we’ve already agreed to $2 trillion worth of spending cuts.  We’ve got to get rid of programs that don’t work.  We’ve got to make government more efficient.  I have asked Congress for authority to consolidate some of these agencies to make them run better.  We’re going to have to be much more effective when it comes to government spending.  We all acknowledge that and we’re making progress on that front.

But that alone doesn’t do it.  So if we want to actually deal with the deficit, we’ve got to look at the other side of the ledger.  Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?  Or do we want to keep investing in everything else — like education, like clean energy — (applause) — like a strong military, like caring for our veterans who are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan?  (Applause.)  We can’t do both.  We can’t do both.

So what I’ve said is let’s follow the Buffett Rule:  If you make more than a million dollars a year, you should pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent — (applause) — which, by the way, is lower than you would have been paying under Ronald Reagan.  Nobody is talking about anything crazy here.  On the other hand, if you make less than $250,000 a year, which 98 percent of all Americans do, then your taxes shouldn’t go up.  (Applause.)  I think that’s a fair approach.

And a lot of folks have been running around saying, well, that’s class warfare.  Asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes, that’s just common sense.  (Laughter.)  And I promise you, if we make this change, Warren Buffett will be doing fine.  (Laughter.)  I will be doing fine.  Scott will be doing fine.  (Applause.)  We don’t need more tax breaks.  You’re the ones who have seen your wages and your incomes stall while the cost of everything from groceries to college to health care have been going up.  You’re the ones who deserve a break.  (Applause.)

And I want to make one last point:  We do not begrudge success in America.  We aspire to it.  We want everybody to succeed.  We want everybody to be rich.  We want everybody to be working hard, making their way, creating new products, creating new services, creating jobs — that’s the American way.  We don’t shy away from financial success.  We don’t apologize for it.

But what we do say is when this nation has done so much for us, shouldn’t we be thinking about the country as a whole?  When Americans talk about folks like me paying their fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich.  Just yesterday, Bill Gates said he agrees with me that Americans who can afford it should pay their fair share.  I promise you, Bill Gates does not envy the rich.  (Laughter.)  He doesn’t envy wealthy people.

This has nothing to do with envy.  It has everything to do with math.  It’s what I talked about earlier.  We’ve got to make choices.  Americans understand if I get a tax break I don’t need and a tax break the country can’t afford, then one of two things are going to happen.  Either it’s going to add to our deficit or somebody else is going to have to make up the difference.

A senior suddenly is going to have to start paying more for their Medicare, or a student is going to have to pay more for their student loan, or a family that’s trying to get by, they’re going to have to do with less.  And that’s not right.  That’s not who we are.  Each of us is only here because somebody somewhere felt a responsibility to each other and to our country and helped to create all this incredible opportunity that we call the United States of America.

Now, it’s our turn to be responsible.  And it’s our turn to leave an America that is built to last for the next generation.  That’s our job and we can do it.  (Applause.)  We can do it.  We can do it.  And I know we can do it, because I’ve seen in states like Nevada and with people like you that I meet all across this country, you understand the history of this country, generations of Americans working together, looking out for each other, living by the idea that we rise or fall together.  Those are the values we have to return to.

I mentioned praise for our military at the State of the Union and the incredible work that they do.  And the reason our military is so good, the reason why they’re so admired is because they — it’s not like everybody in the military agrees on everything.  You got Democrats in the military.  You got Republicans in the military.  You’ve got folks who are conservative or liberal — different races, different religions, different backgrounds — but they figure out how to focus on the mission.  They figure out how to do their job.

And that sense of common purpose is what we’re going to need to build an economy that lasts.  And if we work together in common purpose, we can build that economy and we can meet the challenges of our times.  And we’ll remind the entire world once again just why it is that the United States is the greatest country on Earth.

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

END
10:33 A.M. PST

Full Text President Barack Obama’s “The Blueprint for an America Built to Last” PDF

An America Built to Last

Source: WH, 1-24-12

President Obama delivers the 2012 State of the Union President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

As President Obama spoke tonight, the phrase he returned to again and again was “building an America that lasts.”

We’ve put together a Blueprint that outlines the ideas in tonight’s State of the Union and shows what it will take to achieve that vision. Check it out.

Right now, a group of policy experts and senior White House staff are discussing the speech and answering your questions on WH.gov/live.

And later tonight, we’ll share video of the President’s remarks and a transcript so you can read every line.

Be sure to check back.


Learn more

The Blueprint for an America Built to Last

Source: WH, 1-24-12

Blueprint for an America Built to Last

Tonight, the President outlined a series of ideas to build an economy that works for everyone, one that will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, and promote homegrown and alternative energy sources.

Taken together, those ideas represent a blueprint for the future.

For decades, economic security for the middle class has been unraveling. Jobs that were once the source of stable livelihoods were shipped overseas. Those at the very top watched their incomes skyrocket, while the majority of Americans were stuck with stagnant salaries and rising costs. And all of this was happening before the worst economic crisis in generations.

What’s it going to take to address this crisis?

We need to promote new skills and better education so that all Americans are prepared to compete in a global economy. That’s why, tonight, the President said every state should require all students to stay in high school until they earn a diploma or turn 18. That’s why the President called for a new partnership between community colleges and businesses to help train and place 2 million skilled workers.

We need to put a new emphasis on American manufacturing. That means refocusing our corporate tax structure to reward businesses who work to keep jobs in the United States, and end tax incentives for corporations that outsource. That means getting tough on trade enforcement and rebuilding American infrastructure.

We need to promote homegrown, American energy. That’s why President Obama supports finding ways to develop the extensive natural gas reserves we have in the United States, and is calling for new ways to create clean energy jobs.

And above all, we have to restore a basic sense of fairness to our economic system. We need to revamp our tax system — ending subsidies for millionaires and billionaires and protecting working families from a tax hike. We need to give every responsible homeowner the opportunity to refinance their mortgage at the current historically low interest rates. We need to make sure that Wall Street plays by the same rules as the rest of us.

Today, the economy is growing again. Over the past 22 months, businesses have created 3.2 million jobs. But it’s going to take more to keep moving forward, and that’s the goal of President Obama’s blueprint.

Check it out.

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