Full Text Campaign Buzz October 9, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio — Urges College Kids to Register to Vote

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Urges College Kids to Register to Vote

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-9-12

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama made an urgent push to get out the vote in the key battleground state of Ohio Tuesday, urging 15,000 supporters to register before time ran out.
“Today is the last day you can register. Now, I know it’s easy to procrastinate in college. I procrastinated a lot,” the president jokingly told students at the Ohio State University. “You’ve got until 9 p.m. tonight. No extensions. No excuses. I know you guys are up at 9 p.m. As you get older, you start thinking about sleeping around 9 p.m., but you guys are just getting started.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Source: WH, 10-9-12 

The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

5:08 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Buckeyes!  (Applause.)  O-H!

AUDIENCE:  I-O!

THE PRESIDENT:  O-H!

AUDIENCE:  I-O!

THE PRESIDENT:  O-H!

AUDIENCE:  I-Q!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, can everybody please give Sonia a big round of applause for that great introduction?  (Applause.)  And it is good to see my friend and one of the finest United States senators we’ve got today — your Senator, Sherrod Brown, is in the house.  (Applause.)  Your Mayor, Michael Coleman, is here.  (Applause.)  Your next congresswoman, Joyce Beatty, is here.  (Applause.)

will.i.am is in the house.  (Applause.)  A man who sometimes looks like he’s been to outer space.  (Laughter.)  I am so grateful — he has been such a great friend for a long time.  And we also have a man who has actually been to outer space — John Glenn in the house!  (Applause.)

Now, before I begin, Buckeyes, I’ve got a question for you  — are you registered to vote?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  Because if you’re not, today is the last day you can register.  Now, I know it’s easy to procrastinate in college.  I procrastinated a lot.  But we’ve made it easy.  You go to Vote.BarackObama.com to register yourself.  And you’ve got until 9:00 p.m. tonight.  No extensions.  No excuses.  I know you guys are up at 9:00 p.m.  (Laughter.)  As you get older you start thinking about sleeping around 9:00 p.m., but you guys are just getting started.

If you are registered, you can vote right now, today.  Just go to Vote.BarackObama.com to find out where.  All right?  (Applause.)  All right?

AUDIENCE:  All right!

THE PRESIDENT:  All right.  Now, even better, grab your friends, grab everybody in your dorm, grab your fraternity or sorority — (applause) — join will.i.am right after this event because he’s heading to an early vote location where you can register and vote in the same place right now.  (Applause.)   There are buses around the corner that can get you there and back.  So don’t wait.  Do not delay.  Go vote today.  What do you think?  (Applause.)

All right, Buckeyes, we need you.  (Applause.)  We need you fired up —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back, but I need you voting.  (Applause.)  I need you fired up.  I need you ready to go to vote.  Because we’ve got some work to do.  We’ve got an election to win.  Everything that we fought for in 2008 is on the line in 2012.  And I need your help to finish what we started.

Four years ago, I told you I’d end the war in Iraq — and we did.  (Applause.)  I said I’d end the war in Afghanistan — and we are.  (Applause.)  I said we’d refocus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 — and today, Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for middle class families — and we have, by $3,600.  (Applause.)  I promised to cut taxes for small business owners — and we have, 18 times.  We got back every dime we used to rescue the banks, and we also passed a law to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts permanently.  (Applause.)

We passed health care reform — also known as Obamacare, because I do care — (applause) — I don’t want insurance company jerking you around anymore.  (Applause.)  I don’t want somebody without health care when they’ve got a preexisting condition.

We repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” as I promised we would. (Applause.)  Today no outstanding soldier or Marine or Coast Guardsman, sailor, airman — none of them can be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love.  (Applause.)

And when you think about, Ohio, when Governor Romney said that we should just let the auto industry go bankrupt, we said no, we’re not going to take your advice.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo — vote.  (Applause.)

And we reinvented a dying auto industry that supports 1 in 8 Ohio jobs and has come roaring back to the top of the world.  (Applause.)

Four years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, our businesses have created more than 5 million new jobs.  This past Friday, we found out that the unemployment rate had fallen from a high of 10 percent down to 7.8 percent — the lowest level since I took office.  (Applause.)  Manufacturing is coming back to America.  Home values are back on the rise.

Now, we’re not there yet.  We’ve still got too many Americans who are looking for work and too many families who can’t pay the bills.  There are too many homes that are still underwater and there are too many young people who are burdened by too much debt after they graduate.

But if there’s one thing I know, Ohio, it’s this — we have come too far to turn back now.  The American people have worked too hard.  And the last thing we can afford to do right now is to go back to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.  I cannot allow that to happen.  I will not allow it to happen.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Over the last four years, I’ve seen a lot of folks hurting.  I’ve seen a lot of struggle.  And I am not going to make — I’m not going to have us go back to another round of top-down economics.  But that’s what my opponent is offering.  The centerpiece of Governor Romney’s economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthiest Americans.  He has been pitching that plan for an entire year, stood up onstage in one of his primary debates, proudly promised that his tax cuts would include the “top 1 percent.”

But most of the economists who’ve actually crunched the numbers said that paying for Governor Romney’s tax plan either means blowing up the deficit or raising taxes on middle-class families — one or the other, pick your poison.

Then, last week, Mitt Romney actually said, “There’s no economist who can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.”  So he said if he says it’s not true, then it’s not true.  (Laughter.)  Okay.

So if it’s true that it’s not going to add to the deficit, that leaves only one option — and that’s asking middle-class families to foot the bill by getting rid of the deductions they rely on for owning a home or raising their kids or sending them to college.

And as it turns out, most folks don’t like that idea, either.  So just last week when we were onstage together, Governor Romney decided that instead of changing his plan, he’d just pretend it didn’t exist.  (Laughter.)  What $5 trillion tax cut?  I don’t know anything about a $5 trillion tax cut.  Pay no attention to that tax cut under the carpet, behind the curtain.  (Laughter.)

When he’s asked how he’ll cut the deficit, he says he can make the math work by eliminating local public funding for PBS.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, by the way, this is not new.  This is what he’s been saying every time he’s asked the question — well, we can cut out PBS.  So for all you moms and kids out there, don’t worry — somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.  (Laughter.)  Who knew that he was driving our deficit?  (Laughter.)  So we’re going — he’s decided we’re going after Big Bird and Elmo is making a run for the border and Oscar is hiding out in a trash can.  (Laughter.)  And Governor Romney wants to let Wall Street run wild again, but he’s going to bring down the hammer on Sesame Street.  (Laughter.)

Look, that is not leadership — that’s salesmanship.  We can’t afford it.  We can’t afford to double down on top-down economics.  We can’t afford another round of tax cuts for the wealthy.  We can’t afford to roll back regulations on Wall Street banks or on insurance companies.  We can’t afford to gut our investments in education or clean energy or research or technology.  (Applause.)  That is not a jobs plan.  That is not a plan to grow the economy.  That is not change.  That is a relapse.

We have been there.  We have tried that.  We are not going back.  We are moving forward.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, we’ve got a different view about how you create jobs and prosperity in America.  A strong economy doesn’t trickle down from the top.  It grows from a thriving middle class and folks who are working hard to get into the middle class.

I believe it’s time our tax code stopped rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas.  Let’s reward small businesses and manufacturers who are making products right here in Ohio, products stamped with three proud words:  “Made In America.”  That’s the choice in this election.  (Applause.)

I believe we can create more jobs by controlling more of our own energy.  And after 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in two decades.

So now it’s time to move forward.  My plan would cut our oil imports in half, and invest in the clean energy that’s creating thousands of jobs all across Ohio and America right now — not just oil and natural gas, but solar and wind and clean coal technology and fuel-efficient batteries and fuel-efficient cars. (Applause.)

And I’m not going to let oil companies continue to collect another $4 billion in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare every single year.  I’m not going to let China win the race for clean energy technology.  I want to see that technology developed by students and scientists here in Columbus, by workers and farmers all across Ohio, by patriots here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More draught and floods and wildfires are not a joke.  They’re a threat to your future.  And we’ve got to make sure that we meet the moment.  That’s why I’m running.

I believe that we should have the best education system in the world, bar none.  (Applause.)  I would not be here if it were not for the education I was able to receive.  I didn’t come from wealth or fame, but I got a great education because that’s what this country does.  It was the gateway of opportunity for Michelle.  It’s the gateway of opportunity for so many of you.

And now you’ve got a choice.  We can gut education to pay for Governor Romney’s tax cuts — that’s exactly what his running mate, Paul Ryan, proposes.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo — vote.  (Laughter.)

Or we can do what I’ve proposed — recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers.  (Applause.)  Focus on early childhood education.  Provide job training for 2 million workers at our community colleges.  Cut the growth of tuition costs in half so that you guys are not loaded up with debt when you graduate.  That is something we can do.  (Applause.)

And by the way, I don’t just talk the talk on this; I walk the walk.  We took $60 billion that was going to banks and lenders under the student loan program, and we said let’s cut out the middleman, let’s give the money directly to students.  And as a consequence, millions of young people all across the country are getting better deals on Pell grants.  We’re able to keep our student loan rates low.  We have focused on this, and you need to focus on this in this next election because this is part of the choice that you’re going to face.  (Applause.)

And we can meet these goals together.  You can choose a better future for America.  I want to use the money we’re saving from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I want to use that to pay down our deficit, but also to put people back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our schools all across America.  (Applause.)

And Governor Romney said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.  I disagree.  I think bringing our troops home to their families was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  If he’d gotten his way, those troops would still be there.  In a speech yesterday, he doubled down on that belief.  He said ending that war was a mistake.  After nine years of war, more than $1 trillion in spending, extraordinary sacrifices by our men and women in uniform and their families, he said we should still have troops on the ground in Iraq.

Ohio, you can’t turn a page on the failed policies of the past if you’re promising to repeat them.  We cannot afford to go back to a foreign policy that gets us into wars with no plan to end them.  We’re moving forward, not going back.  (Applause.)

And every brave American who wears the uniform of this country should know as long as I’m your Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  And when our troops take off the uniform, we will serve them as well as they’ve served us because nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  (Applause.)

And finally, I’ll cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.  I’ve already worked with the Republicans and Democrats to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m ready to do more.  But we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.  We’re not going to get this done unless we also ask the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on their incomes over $250,000.  And that rate is the one that was in place when Bill Clinton was President — our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, a whole lot of millionaires to boot.

Governor Romney said it’s fair that he pays a lower tax rate than a teacher or autoworker who makes $50,000.  He is wrong.  I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  (Applause.)

I refuse to pay for that tax cut by asking you, students, to pay more for college, or kicking kids out of Head Start programs, or eliminating health care for millions of Americans who are poor or disabled or elderly.  And that’s the choice that we face in this election.  That’s what the election comes down to.

Over and over, we’ve been told by Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan and their allies in Congress that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If a company releases pollution into the air that your kids breathe, that’s just the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, just borrow money from your parents.

You know what, that’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  Here in America, we believe that we’re all in this together.  We understand that America is not about what can be done for us — it’s about what can be done by us, together, as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)

And that’s what we understood in 2008.  That was an amazing experience for me, obviously, that election.  But I said then and I still believe now that wasn’t about me; it was about you.

You’re the reason a mother in Cincinnati doesn’t have to worry about an insurance company denying her son coverage just because he got sick.  You made that happen.  You’re the reason a factory worker who lost his job in Toledo or Lordstown is back on the assembly line building the best cars in the world.   You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young man in Columbus whose mother worked three jobs to raise him can afford to go to The Ohio State University.  That happened because of you.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here, and went to school here, and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home  –(applause) — why soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love.  (Applause.)  Why thousands of families have finally been able to say to loved ones who served us so bravely:  “Welcome home.”  (Applause.)

You did that.  And so if you buy into the cynicism that says change isn’t possible, that the best we can do is more tax cuts for folks at the top and the rest of folks have to figure it out, if you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices fill the void — the lobbyists and the special interests, the people who write the $10 million checks to try to buy this election, or those who are trying to make it harder for people to vote, the Washington politicians who want to tell women what they’re doing when it comes to health care choices when women are perfectly capable of making those choices themselves.  (Applause.)

That’s what’s at stake.  And only you can make sure that we move forward.  Only you have that power to move us forward.  We’ve always said that change — real change — takes time, more than one year, more than one term, even more than one President. It takes more than one party.

It can’t happen if you’re somebody who writes off half the nation before you even took office.  (Applause.)  And in — you know, it’s interesting, in 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me.  But on the night of the election, I said to those Americans, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices. I need your help.  I’ll be your President, too.

And, Columbus, I don’t know how many folks will be around voting for me this time, but I can tell you I will be there no matter what.  (Applause.)  I’ll be fighting for you no matter what — because I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs, I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to improve schools in red states or blue state, I’m fighting to improve schools it the United States. (Applause.)

The values that we are fighting for don’t belong to one party or one group.  They’re not black or white, or Hispanic or Asian or Native America, or gay or straight, or disabled and not disabled — they are American values.  They belong to all of us.  (Applause.)

And I am absolutely positive that we are not as divided as our politics suggest.  I still believe we’ve got more in common than our pundits tell us.  I still believe in you.  And I’m asking you to keep believing in me.  (Applause.)

Ohio, I’m asking you for your vote.  And if you’re willing to stand with me and work with me, knock on some doors and make some phone calls for me, we’ll win Franklin County again.  We’ll win Ohio again.  We’ll win this election again.  We’ll finish what we started, and we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

Thank you, Ohio.  Let’s go vote.  Let’s go win this election!   (Applause.)

END
5:30 P.M. EDT

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Full Text Campaign Buzz August 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio — Shifts Aim to Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Education Plan

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Shifts Aim to Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan Education Plan

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-21-12

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama kicked off a two-day campaign swing through Ohio and Nevada Tuesday by shifting the focus of his attacks from Medicare and taxes to education, slamming the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan plan to cut student aid.
“Whether it’s a four-year college [or] a two-year program, higher education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity that every family in America should be able to afford. And that’s what’s at stake in this election,” the president told supporters.

Obama’s education pitch, which he is outlining in visits to two colleges and a high school in critical battleground states, is part of a broader effort to show how the Romney-Ryan budget cuts would negatively impact Americans….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Columbus, OH

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

Capital University
Columbus, Ohio

1:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Ohio!  (Applause.)  Hello, Crusaders!  (Applause.)  Oh, it is good to be back in Columbus!  (Applause.)  The sun came out for us.  (Applause.)  It’s a good sign.

It is fun to be back in Ohio, and it is great to be here.  I just want to acknowledge a few people.  First of all, give Steven a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  He was explaining to me what it’s like being a BMX driver — rider.  And he said that — he said, well — I asked him, because I’d seen those guys in the Olympics, and I said, it seems like you guys fall a lot.  (Laughter.)  And he says, “No, no, I learned how to fall on my shoulder.”  I said, well, is that good?  He said, “Well, I broke my shoulder four times.”  (Laughter.)  But he looks okay to me.  He’s doing great.

A couple other people I want to acknowledge — your outstanding Mayor, Michael Coleman is in the house.  (Applause.) There he is.  And we’ve got congressional candidate — Joyce Beatty is here.  (Applause.)  And all of you are here.  (Applause.)

How many students do we have here?  (Applause.)  You guys are excited about school starting up?  (Applause.)  Everybody was saying yes except this one guy over here.  (Laughter.)  He was shaking his head.  Come on, man, it’s going to be great.  (Applause.)

Well, I am glad we’ve got some students here because I came to Columbus today to talk about what most of the students here are doing every day.  Your education is the single most important investment that you can make in your future.  And I’m proud of all the students who are here doing what it takes to make that investment — the long hours in the library — except for this guy.  (Laughter.)  Working in the lab, being in the classroom — even when your classes start a little earlier than you had planned — because your education has never been more important.

The degree that you earn from this university is the surest path that you will have to a good job and to higher earnings.  It’s the best tool you’ll have to achieve what is the core promise of this country — the idea that if you work hard, your work will be rewarded.  The basic bargain that says if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can do well enough to raise a family and have a home that you call your own, have some security, put a little away for retirement, and most importantly, make sure that your children, your grandchildren can do even better and dream even bigger than you did.  (Applause.)  That’s the hope that your parents had for you.  That’s the hope I have for Malia and Sasha.  That’s the hope that you’ll someday have for your own kids.

But here’s the thing.  This is about more than just your own success.  Now, more than ever, your success is America’s success, because when we invest in your future we’re investing in America’s future.  The fact is that countries that out-educate us today, they’ll be able to out-compete us tomorrow.  Businesses are mobile in the 21st century economy; they can locate anywhere. So they’re going to create jobs and they’re going to hire wherever they find the best educated, most highly skilled workers.  And I don’t want them to have to look any further than right here in Columbus, right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And because the economy has changed, over the coming decade more than half of new jobs will require some form of higher education.  It may not be a four-year college degree, but you’re going to need to have gone to a community college or a technical school to get the skills you need to get hired — and this is not breaking news to any of you.  What’s also not breaking news is the fact that higher education has gotten a lot harder to afford; it’s gotten more expensive.  Over the past two years — excuse me, over the past two decades, tuition and fees at America’s colleges have more than doubled.

The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $26,000 worth of student loan debt.  (Laughter.)  What, that sounds low to you?  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  I just said the average.  (Laughter.)  For a lot of young people it’s a lot higher, and that kind of debt means pretty tough choices when you’re first starting out.  It might mean putting off starting a family or buying a home, or putting off chasing that great idea that you’ve got for a small business.  When a big chunk of each paycheck goes towards paying off your loan debt, that’s not just tough for middle-class families that are trying to make it and young people who are trying to get started; it’s also painful for the entire economy because that means that money you might be spending on buying a new home or doing something else with it, it’s going to that check that you’re writing every single month.  It’s not going to the local business.

And I have to say, this is something Michelle and I know firsthand about.  I’m not speculating on this, because we’ve been in your shoes.  Neither of us came from wealthy families.  Both of us graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt.  When we married, we got poor together.  (Laughter.)  We combined our liabilities into one big liability.  (Laughter.)  We paid more for our student loans than we paid on our mortgage each month, and that went on for years.  And then, once we had Malia and Sasha, we needed to start saving for their college educations but we were still paying off our college educations.

Now, keep in mind we were lucky enough to land good jobs, we had steady incomes, but we did not finish paying off our student loans until about eight years ago.  Think about that.  I’m not —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You got an education.

THE PRESIDENT:  I got an education and it worked out pretty good.  (Laughter and applause.)  But the point I’m making is, I’m only standing before you because of the chance that my education gave me.  So I can tell you, with some experience, that making higher education more affordable for our young people — it’s something I’ve got a personal stake in; it’s something that Michelle has a personal stake in.  We believe in it because we’ve been there and we know that unless you provide those rungs on the ladder of opportunity, young people who are more talented than we are may not get a shot.  That’s why I’ve made it a top priority of my presidency.  And, Ohio, that is something that is at stake in this election.  That’s part of the reason why November is so important.  (Applause.)

And I say this because putting a college education within reach for working families just doesn’t seem to be a big priority for my opponent.  A few months ago, just up the road, in Westerville, Governor Romney said, if you want to be successful, if you want to go to college or start a business, you can just — and I’m quoting here — “borrow money if you have to from your parents.”

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  When a high school student in Youngstown asked him what he would do to make college more affordable for families like his, Governor Romney didn’t say anything about grants or loan programs that are critical to millions of students to get a college education.  He said nothing about work-study programs or rising college tuition.  He didn’t say a word about community colleges or how important higher education is to America’s future.  He said, the best thing you can do is shop around.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  The best thing I can do for you is to tell you to shop around.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s it!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s it.  That’s his plan.  That’s his answer to young people who are trying to figure out how to go to college and make sure that they don’t have a mountain of debt — shop around and borrow more money from your parents.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  What are we going to do?  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’ve just got to — I want to make sure everybody understands. Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend.  (Applause.)  That may be news to some folks, but it’s the truth.  (Laughter.)

So what Governor Romney is offering is not an answer.  There’s nothing a parent wants more than to give opportunities to their kids that they never had.  And it’s pretty painful for a lot of parents if they can’t do that.  But as we’re fighting back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, you’ve got a lot of parents who are out there struggling just to make ends meet.  And I don’t accept the notion that we should deny any child the opportunity to get a higher education.  If they’ve been working hard, if they’ve got the grades, if they’ve got the determination to get a better future for themselves, I don’t want them to be prevented just because their families were hit hard by a recession.  (Applause.)

That’s not who we are.  That’s not what America is about.  We give everybody a fair shot.  Think about all the discoveries, all the businesses, all the breakthroughs that we would not have made if we told every young person who has got the drive and the will and the grades to go to college, “tough luck, too bad, you’re on your own.”  We’ve always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of everybody who is willing to work for it.  That’s part of what makes us special.  That’s what keeps us at the forefront of business and science and technology and medicine.

And this dates back for decades.  Some of you know my grandfather fought in World War II.  When he came back, he had a chance to go to college because this country decided every returning veteran of World War II should be able to afford it.  (Applause.)  My mother was able to raise me and my sister because she was able to get grants and work her way through school.  Michelle and I would not be here today without the help of scholarships and student loans.  And I know Steve wouldn’t be here either and neither would a lot of you.  (Applause.)

So in a 21st century economy, a college education should be available for everybody — not just the wealthy few.  Whether it’s a four-year college, a two-year program, higher education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity that every family in America should be able to afford.  And that’s what’s at stake in this election.  It’s one of the reasons I’m running for President of the United States for a second term.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I want you to know that I have not just talked the talk; we have walked the walk.  (Applause.)  Since I took office, we have helped more than 3 million additional students afford a college education with grants that go farther than they did before.  The economic plan my opponent has would cut our investment in education by nearly 20 percent.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  It would cut those grants so deeply that 1 million of those students who we have helped would no longer get a scholarship at all.  It would cut financial aid for nearly 10 million students a year.

And keep in mind they’re not making these cuts to create jobs.  They’re not proposing these cuts to pay down the deficit. Governor Romney is proposing these cuts to pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut that’s weighted towards the wealthiest Americans.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Does that sound like a better plan for America?  Does that sound like a better plan for you?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  A plan that says that we can’t afford to help the next generation earn an education, but we can afford massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires?  A plan that says we can’t afford our young people — to offer our young people student loans because we’ve got to protect corporate loopholes?  It’s a vision that says we can’t help young people who are trying to make it because we’ve got to protect the folks who already have made it.

Michelle and I are going to be able to send Malia and Sasha to college.  We don’t need an extra tax break.  You do.  (Applause.)  Their vision is wrong for moving America forward.  It’s not a vision you’ve got to accept.  That’s why November is important, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney makes his time as an investor in the private sector the basis of his candidacy.  That’s how he says he’s going to fix the economy – “I was in the private sector.”  And his economic plan makes one thing clear:  He does not think investing in your future is worth it.  He doesn’t think that’s a good investment.  I do.  That’s what’s at stake in this election.  That’s the choice in November.  That’s why we fought to make sure the interest rate on federal student loans didn’t go up over the summer.  We won that fight.  (Applause.)

Some of these Republican members of Congress would have allowed those rates to double, costing more than 7 million students an extra thousand dollars a year.  I’ve said I want to extend the college tax credit that my administration created so more families can save up to $10,000 on their tuition over four years.  (Applause.)  They want to end that tax credit.  That’s the choice in this election.

In 2008, I promised we would reform a student loan system that was giving tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to big banks and lobbyists instead of students.  There are plenty of folks in Washington who fought tooth and nail to keep that system as it was.  We kept at it, we won that fight, we used it to double grant aid for students.  (Applause.)

My opponent now wants to go back to the way things were.  He wants to go backwards to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.  We’re moving forward.  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, part of our job is also to make sure you don’t need a Ph.D. to apply for financial aid in the first place. So we’ve put in place this new consumer protection watchdog, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, put in place — and it’s working with the Department of Education to develop a simple new factsheet on student loans and financial aid, so you can have all the information you need to make your own best choices about how to pay for college.  We call it “Know Before You Owe.”  Know before you owe.  (Applause.)  That’s a good idea.  But my opponent wants to get rid of this new consumer protection agency, and let for-profit colleges keep preying on veterans and working families.  That’s one of the choices in this election.

I’m want to make sure that America once again leads the world in educating our kids, training our workers.  I want to make sure more of our students are prepared for college by helping our secondary and elementary schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community college and learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now.

I’ve put colleges and universities on notice — if they can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding they get from taxpayers will go down.  We want to give them some incentive to start lowering tuition.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s what you’re going to be having to think about when you go to that voting booth in November.

Four years ago, I promised that we would end the war in Iraq.  (Applause.)  Thanks to the service and the sacrifice of our incredible men and women in uniform, that’s what we’ve done.  (Applause.)  Today, all our troops are out of Iraq.  We are beginning to bring our troops homes from Afghanistan.  But the key is making sure that they are getting the same good deal that my grandfather got when he came home from the war.  So we’ve made sure to keep the Post-9/11 GI Bill strong so that everybody who has served our country has the chance to earn a degree.

As long as I am Commander-in-Chief, I promise you we will care for our veterans and serve them as well as they’ve served us.  (Applause.)  If you fought for this country, you shouldn’t have to fight for a college education or for a job or for a roof over your heads when you come home.  (Applause.)  So that’s what we’re fighting for, Columbus.  That’s just one example, in the education arena, of what’s at stake.

Now, over the next two and a half months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen — ever.  I mean, they got folks writing $10 million checks, $20 million checks.  They should be contributing that to a scholarship fund to send kids to college.  (Applause.)  But instead, they are going to spend more money than we’ve ever seen on ads.  And the ads all say the same thing, which is, the economy is not where it needs to be and it’s all Obama’s fault.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  See, look — no, no, listen, they know their economic plan isn’t popular.  They know that gutting investments in education and science and infrastructure, and voucherizing Medicare, they know that doesn’t really sell well.  They know that it especially doesn’t sell well when you’re doing all those things not to reduce the deficit but to pay for massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  They know that’s not going to poll well.  So they’re betting on the fact that you get so discouraged that you decide your vote doesn’t matter.

They’re betting every single $10 million check from a wealthy donor drowns out millions of voices at the ballot box.  They’re counting on young people sitting this one out.  They say well, you know what — Obama, he’s grayer now, he’s not as new and as fresh as he was in 2008, so young people aren’t going to turn out the same way.  They’re counting on you sitting on the sidelines and letting others make the choice for you.  See, they don’t have a plan to create jobs or strengthen the middle class, but this is their plan to win the election.

But I’m counting on something different.  I’m counting on you.  (Applause.)  I’m counting on the fact that when the American people focus and push aside all the noise and all the nonsense, and they remember the fact that all of us, whatever success we’ve achieved, we’ve achieved because we worked together, because we made sure everybody has a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  I’m counting on the fact that when the American people focus on what’s at stake, you can’t be stopped.  And all the money the other side is spending doesn’t matter.

So I’m going to need your help — young people especially — I’m going to need your help.  (Applause.)  I need to make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address.  We’ve got staff and volunteers who are here who can help you do that before you leave today.  And when you leave, I’m asking you to grab 10 friends — make sure they’re registered, too.  And if you need more information, you can go visit the website GottaRegister.com.  That’s not Got-To, it’s Gotta.  (Laughter.)  G-o-t-t-a-register.com.

Let’s prove the cynics wrong.  Let’s show them your votes count.  Let’s show them your voice makes a difference.  Let’s show them America better start listening to the voice of the next generation of Americans.  (Applause.)

I need your help to keep this American Dream alive, this incredible experiment we have in democracy; this idea that no matter where you’re born, or who your parents are, or how much money you got, or no matter what you look like or what you believe in, you can go as far as your talents take you.  (Applause.)  That dream that we can still, together, achieve great things; that you can pursue the happiness that you hope for and your parents hope for; that here in America you can make it if you try.

Ohio, we’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)  We’ve got more students who dream to afford college.  We’ve got more good teachers to hire.  We’ve got more schools to rebuild.  We’ve got more good jobs to create.  We’ve got more homegrown energy to generate.  We’ve got more troops we’ve got to come home.  We’ve got more doors of opportunity to open for everybody who is willing to walk through them.  That’s why I’m asking for a second term as President.

And if you’re willing to stand with me, and vote for me, and organize with me, and knock on doors and make phone calls with me, we will finish what we started.  We will win Ohio.  We will win this election.  And we will remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

END
1:27 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz May 5, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Second Term Campaign Launch in Richmond, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

President Obama’s speech kicking off his reelection campaign

Obama

President Obama speaks during a campaign rally Saturday in Richmond, Va. (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated Press / May 5, 2012)

Source: WaPo, 5-5-12

On Saturday, President Obama officially kicked off his reelection campaign with speeches in Richmond, Virginia and Columbus, Ohio. This is the White House’s official transcript of the Virginia address, though I’ve removed the 60-some times where the text notes that the audience broke into appaluse. Here’s Dan Balz’s take. Here’s Ezra Klein’s article on what Obama is likely to do if he wins a second term. Here’s Romney’s speech kicking off his general-election effort. Here’s Obama:

Virginia, four years ago, you and I began a journey together. I didn’t run, and you did not work your hearts out, just to win an election. We came together to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth.We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth. If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business, give your kids the chance to do even better — no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is.

We believe the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history; that businesses are the engine of growth, and that risk-takers and innovators should be rewarded. But we also believe that at its best, the free market has never been a license to take whatever you want, however you can get it. We’ve understood that alongside our entrepreneurial spirit, our rugged individualism, America only prospers when we meet our obligations to one another and to future generations.

We came together in 2008 because our country had strayed from these basic American values. A record surplus was squandered on tax cuts for people who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. Two wars were being waged on a credit card. Wall Street speculators reaped huge profits by making bets with other people’s money. Manufacturing left our shores. A shrinking number of Americans did fantastically well, while most people struggled with falling incomes and rising costs, and the slowest job growth in half a century.

And in 2008, that house of cards collapsed in the most destructive crisis since the Great Depression. In the last six months of that year, even as we campaigned, nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs. Over 800,000 more were lost in the month I took the oath of office. And it was tough. It was tough here in Virginia. It was tough all across the country.

But the American people are tougher. All across America, people like you dug in. Folks like you fought back. Some of you retrained. Some of you went back to school. Small business owners cut back on expenses, but did everything they could to keep their employees. And sure, there were setbacks. There have been disappointments. But we didn’t quit. We don’t quit. Together, we are fighting our way back. Together, we’re fighting our way back.

When some wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, we made a bet on American workers, on the ingenuity of American companies. And today, our auto industry is back on top of the world. Manufacturers started investing in America again, adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. Businesses got back to basics, exports surged. And over 4 million jobs were created in the last two years — more than 1 million of those in the last six months alone. Now, does this make us satisfied?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Of course not. Too many of our friends and family are still looking for work. The housing market is still weak, deficits are still too high. States are still laying off teachers and first responders. This crisis took years to develop, and the economy is still facing a bunch of headwinds. So it’s going to take sustained, persistent effort — yours and mine — for America to fully recover, for us to be where we need to be. That’s the truth. We all know it.

But Virginia, I’m here to tell you we are making progress. And now we face a choice. For the last few years, the Republicans who run this Congress have insisted that we go right back to the policies that created this mess in the first place.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: But it gets worse, because to borrow a line from our friend Bill Clinton, now their agenda is on steroids. This time, they want even bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This time, they want even deeper cuts to things like education and Medicare and research and technology. This time, they want to give banks and insurance companies even more power to do as they please.

AUDIENCE: Booo–

And now, after a long and spirited primary, Republicans in Congress have found a champion. They have found a nominee for President who has promised to rubber-stamp this agenda if he gets a chance.

AUDIENCE: Booo–

THE PRESIDENT: But Virginia, I tell you what, we can’t give him the chance.

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Not now. Not with so much at stake. This isn’t just another election. This is a make-or-break moment for America’s middle class. We’ve been through much to turn back now. We’ve come too far to abandon the change we fought for these past few years. Virginia, we’ve got to move forward, to the future that we imagined in 2008. We’ve got to move forward to that future where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

That’s the choice in this election. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: Now, Governor Romney is a patriotic American. He’s raised a wonderful family, and he has much to be proud of. He’s run a large financial firm, and he’s run a state. But I think he’s drawn the wrong lessons from these experiences. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors like him make money, the rest of us will automatically prosper as well.

When a woman in Iowa shared the story of her financial struggles, he responded with economic theory. He told her “our productivity equals our income.”

Well, let me tell you something, Virginia. The problem with our economy is not that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve never been working harder in your lives. You’re working harder than ever. The challenge we face right now — the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade — is that harder work hasn’t led to higher incomes. It’s that bigger profits haven’t led to better jobs.

And Governor Romney doesn’t seem to get that. He doesn’t seem to understand that maximizing profits by whatever means necessary — whether through layoffs or outsourcing or tax avoidance or union-busting — might not always be good for the average American or for our economy.

Why else would he want to spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Why else would he propose cutting his own taxes while raising them on 18 million working families?

AUDIENCE: Booo–

THE PRESIDENT: Why else would he want to slash the investments that have always helped the economy grow, while at the same time stopping regulations of the reckless behavior on Wall Street that helped make the economy crash?

Somehow, he and his friends in Congress think that the same bad ideas will lead to a different result. Or they’re just hoping that you won’t remember what happened the last time we tried it their way.

Virginia, I’m here to say that we were there, we remember, and we’re not going back. We’re moving this country forward. We remember.

Look, we want businesses to succeed. We want entrepreneurs and investors rewarded when they take risks, when they create jobs and grow our economy. But the true measure of our prosperity is more than just a running tally of every balance sheet and quarterly profit report. I don’t care how many ways you try to explain it: Corporations aren’t people. People are people.

We measure prosperity not just by our total GDP; not just by how many billionaires we produce, but by how well the typical family is doing, whether they can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them.

We understand that in this country, people succeed when they have the chance to get a decent education and learn new skills. And, by the way, so do the businesses that hire those people or the companies that those people start.

We know that our economy grows when we support research into medical breakthroughs and new technologies that lead to the next Internet app or life-saving drug.

We know that our country is stronger when we can count on affordable health care and Medicare and Social Security. When we protect our kids from toxic dumping and mercury pollution. When there are rules to make sure we aren’t taken advantage of by credit card companies or mortgage lenders or financial institutions. These rules aren’t just good for seniors, or kids, or consumers — they’re good for business. They’re good for the marketplace. They’re good for America.

Look, we don’t expect government to solve all our problems, and it shouldn’t try. I learned from my mom that no education policy can take the place of a parent’s love and attention. And sometimes, getting in your face and telling you what you need to do. As a young man, I worked with a group of Catholic churches who taught me that no poverty program can make as much difference as the kindness and commitment of a caring soul. Not every regulation is smart. Not every tax dollar is spent wisely. Not every person can be helped who refuses to help themselves.

That’s what we believe. People have to make an effort. People have to try hard. But that’s not an excuse to tell the vast majority of responsible, hardworking Americans, “You’re on your own.” That unless you’re lucky enough to have parents who can lend you the money, you may not be able to go to college. That even if you pay your premiums every month, you’re out of luck if an insurance company decides to drop your coverage when you need it most.

That’s not how we built America. That’s not who we are. We built this country together. We built railroads and highways; the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge — together. We sent my grandfather’s generation to college on the GI Bill — together. We instituted a minimum wage and worker safety laws — together. Together, we touched the surface of the moon, unlocked the mystery of the atom, connected the world through our own science and our own imaginations. We did these things not because they benefited any particular group or individual, but because they made us all richer. Because they gave us all opportunity. Because they moved us forward together — as one nation, as one people.

That’s the lesson of our past. That’s the right vision for our future. And that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: I’m running to make sure that by the end of this decade, more of our citizens hold college degrees than any other nation on Earth. I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science. I want to give two million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now. Because in the 21st century, a higher education can’t be a luxury — it’s an economic imperative that every American should be able to afford. And that’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President.

I’m running to make sure the next generation of high-tech manufacturing takes root in places like Richmond and Columbus, and Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I want to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs and profits overseas. I want us to reward companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America. That’s the choice in this election.

I’m running so that we keep moving towards a future where we control our own energy. Our dependence on foreign oil is at its lowest point in 16 years. By the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon. That will save you money. Thousands of Americans have jobs because the production of renewal energy in this country — solar, wind, biofuels — that’s nearly doubled in just three years.

So now is not the time to cut these investments to pay for another $4 billion giveaway to the oil companies. Now is the time to end the subsidies for an industry that has rarely been more profitable. Let’s double down on a clean energy future that’s never been more promising — for our economy, and our security, and for the safety of our planet. That’s why I’m running, Virginia. That’s the choice in this election.

For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country. Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat. And by 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over.

America is safer and more respected because of the courage and selflessness of the United States Armed Forces. A lot of them from Virginia. A lot of folks right here in Virginia, putting on that uniform, serving on our behalf. And as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us — because nobody who serves, nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come back home.

My opponent has different ideas. My opponent has a different view. He said it was — and I quote — “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: He said he won’t set a timeline for ending the war in Afghanistan.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have, and I intend to keep to that timeline. After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is right here, right here at home. So we’re going to use half of what we’re no longer spending on war to pay down the deficit, and we will use the other half to repair our roads and our bridges and our airports and our wireless networks. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President.

I am running to pay down our debt in a way that’s balanced and responsible. We inherited a trillion-dollar deficit. The other side doesn’t like to be reminded of this. But that’s okay. I signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law. And now I want to finish the job by streamlining government, and cutting more waste, and reforming our tax code so that it’s simpler, and that it’s fairer, and that it asks the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more.

Now, my opponent has a different view. He won’t tell us how he’d pay for his new, $5 trillion tax cut — $5 trillion — a tax cut that gives an average of $250,000 to every millionaire in the country.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: But even if he won’t disclose the details of how he’s going to pay for it, we know the bill for that tax cut will either be passed on to our children, or it will be paid for by a whole lot of you, a whole lot of ordinary Americans.

And Virginia, I refuse to let that happen again. I refuse to let that happen again. I refuse to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut by eliminating medical research projects on things like cancer and Alzheimer’s. I refuse to pay for another tax cut by kicking children off of the Head Start program; or asking students to pay more for college; or eliminating health insurance for millions of poor, and elderly, and disabled Americans on Medicaid. We’re not going to do that.

As long as I’m President of the United States, I will never allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it. We’re not going to go back to the days when our citizens spent their golden years at the mercy of private insurance companies. We will reform Medicare — not by shifting the cost of care to seniors, but by reducing the spending that isn’t making people healthier. That’s the right way to do it. And that’s what’s at stake, Virginia. On issue after issue, we just can’t afford to spend the next four years going backwards.

America doesn’t need to refight the battles we just had over Wall Street reform and health care reform. And, by the way, on health care reform, here’s what I know: Allowing 2.5 million young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance — that was the right thing to do. Cutting prescription drug costs for seniors — that was the right thing to do. We’re not going back to the days when insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, or deny you coverage, or charge women differently than men. We’re not going back to that.

We certainly don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood, or taking away access to affordable birth control. I want women to control their own health choices — — just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your son. We’re not turning back the clock.

We’re not returning to the days when you could be kicked out of the United States military just because of who you are and who you love. We’re not going back to that. That would be wrong for our national security. It would be a betrayal of our values. It’s not going to happen on my watch.

This should be the last election where multimillion-dollar donations speak louder than the voices of ordinary citizens. We need more checks on special interests and lobbyists, not fewer checks on them.

We’re not going to eliminate the EPA. We’re not going to roll back the bargaining rights of generations of workers. And it’s time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they’re the children of undocumented workers. This country is at its best when we harness the God-given talents of every individual, when we hear every voice, when we come together as one American family, striving for that same dream.

That’s what we’re fighting for. A bold America. A competitive America. A forward-looking America, where everybody has the chance to make of their life what they will. That’s what made us the envy of the world. That’s what makes us great. That’s why I’m running again for President of the United States.

And, Virginia, that’s why I need your help. This election will be even closer than the last. Too many of our friends and neighbors are still hurting because of this crisis. I’ve heard from too many people wondering why they haven’t been able to get one of the jobs that have been created, why their home is still underwater, why their family hasn’t yet been touched by the recovery.

The other side won’t be offering these Americans any real answers to those questions. They won’t be offering a better vision. They won’t be offering new ideas. But what they will do is spend more money than we’ve ever seen before, all on negative ads on TV and radio, in the mail, on the Internet — probably Tweeting a few negative ads out there somewhere — ads that exploit people’s frustration for my opponent’s political gain. And over and over again, they will tell you that America is down and out, and they’ll tell you who to blame.

And they’ll ask if you’re better off than you were before the worst crisis of our lifetime. We’ve seen the play before. We know what to expect. But you know what, the real question — the question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children — is not just about how we’re doing today. It’s about how we’ll be doing tomorrow.

Will we be better off if more Americans get a better education? Will we better off if we depend less on foreign oil and more on our own ingenuity? Will we be better off if we start doing some nation-building at home? Will we be better off if we bring down our deficits in a balanced, responsible way without gutting the very things that we need to grow? When we look back four years from now, or ten years from now, or twenty years from now, won’t we be better off if we have the courage to keep moving forward?

That’s the question in this election. And that outcome is entirely up to you. We’re going to have to contend with even more negative ads, with even more cynicism, more nastiness — sometimes, just plain foolishness. It will be worse than we saw in the last campaign. We know, because we’ve seen some of the foolishness over the last three and a half years.

But if there’s one thing we learned in 2008, it’s that nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. When enough of you knock on doors and enough of you pick up the phone, when enough of you are talking to your friends and your coworkers, when you decide that it’s time for change to happen, guess what? Change happens. Change comes to America.

Virginia, that’s the spirit we need again. If people ask you what’s this campaign about, you tell them it’s still about hope. You tell them it’s still about change. You tell them it’s still about ordinary people who believe in the face of great odds that we can make a difference in the life of this country. You tell them.

Because I still believe, Virginia. I still believe that we’re not as divided as our politics suggest. I still believe we still have more in common than the pundits tell us; that we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, but we are Americans first and foremost.

I still believe in you, and I’m asking you to keep believing in me. I told you in 2008 that I wasn’t a perfect man, and I will never be a perfect President. But I promised you then that I would always tell you what I thought. I would always tell you where I stood. And I would wake up every single day fighting for you as hard as I know how.

And I have kept that promise. I have kept that promise. And I will keep it so long as I have the honor to be your President. So if you’re willing to stick with me, and fight with me, and press on with me; if you’re willing to work even harder in this election than in the last election, I guarantee you, we will move this country forward. We will finish what we started. We’re still fired up. We’re still ready to go. And we’re going to remind the world once more why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Campaign Buzz May 5, 2012: President Barack Obama Launches Campaign for Second Term with Rallies in Columbus, Ohio & Richmond, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

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. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally at The Ohio State University. | AP Photo

Obama’s team is localizing its message in too-close-to-call states like Ohio and Virginia. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR SECOND TERM WITH RALLIES IN COLUMBUS, OHIO & RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

Obama Formally Kicks Off Campaign in Ohio and Virginia: President Obama sought to rekindle the passion of his 2008 victory on Saturday with a pair of huge rallies in battleground states that signaled a sharpened critique of Mitt Romney…. – NYT, 5-5-12

Obama launches 2nd term bid at boisterous Va. rally; calls Romney ‘rubber stamp of House GOP’: President Barack Obama wrapped up Saturday’s inaugural re-election campaign foray blasting his likely Republican foe at a packed-house rally of 8000 people, some of them drenched from waiting outside in a thunderstorm…. – WaPo, 5-5-12

First Lady Michelle Obama:

“We’re here because of the values we believe in. We’re here because of the vision for this country that we all share.”

“Barack cannot do this alone … and fortunately, he never has. We have always moved this country forward together.”

President Barack Obama:

“Yes, there were setbacks. But we didn’t quit. We don’t quit. Together, we’re fighting our way back.”

“After a decade of war that’s cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars … the nation we need to rebuild is our own.”

“On issue after issue, we can’t afford to spend the next four years going backwards.”

“We are not returning to the days when you could be kicked out of the U.S. military because of who you are or who you love.”

“That’s what we’re fighting for … a bold America, a competitive America, a generous America, a forward-looking America, where everybody has chance to make of their life what they will.”

“If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope. It’s still about change. It’s about ordinary people who believe that in the face of the greatest odds, we can make a difference in this country.”

“We will finish what we started. We’re still fired up. We’re still ready to go.”

  • Read President Obama’s full campaign kickoff speech: President Obama officially launched his re-election campaign with public rallies in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday.With that launch came a re-tooled stump speech which both defended his record in office and laid out the contrast…. – LAT, 5-5-12
  • Obama revs up campaign at Ohio, Va. rallies: President Obama on Saturday made his most expansive case yet for why he should be elected to a second term, arguing at rallies in Ohio and Virginia that his work is unfinished and that his presumptive opponent, Republican Mitt Romney…. – WaPo, 5-5-12
  • President launches bid for encore term in Virginia: President Barack Obama is wrapping up his inaugural campaign foray to secure an encore term with a packed-house rally of 8000 people in a Virginia basketball arena. Hundreds of them were soaked in a torrential thunderstorm on … AP, 5-5-12
  • Obama kicks off campaign in Ohio: President Obama launched his re-election campaign in the battleground states of Virginia and Ohio on Saturday, highlighting progress the US has made toward pulling itself out of an economic malaise under his … USA Today, 5-5-12
  • Obama kickoff: Hope, change and Mitt: President Barack Obama has been in campaign mode for months, but he made it official Saturday in front of enthusiastic young supporters at two events that illustrated some old strengths and significant new hurdles for the incumbent.
    In a sharp shift from his mostly positive 2008 message, Obama directly attacked opponent Mitt Romney, praising him as a “patriotic American” but ridiculing Romney’s infamous claim that “corporations are people,” a legal truism that has proven to be a favorite Democratic attack line…. – Politico, 5-5-12
  • Obama launches campaign against Romney, but his real opponent is the economy: President Obama formally launched his reelection campaign here Saturday with some old favorites, from “fired up, ready to go” to a closing bow to “hope and change.” But almost everything else about the day spoke to the differences…. – WaPo, 5-5-12
  • Obama ramps up campaign, knocks Romney’s CEO past: US President Barack Obama used his first rallies of the 2012 campaign on Saturday to attack Republican Mitt Romney for learning the “wrong lessons” as a business executive, and promised to move the economy forward if he wins…. – Reuters, 5-5-12
  • Obama plunges into campaign, tears into Romney: Plunging into his campaign for a new term, President Barack Obama tore into Mitt Romney on Saturday as a willing and eager “rubber stamp” for conservative Republicans in Congress and an agenda to cut taxes for the rich, reduce spending…. – Boston.com, 5-5-12
  • Modern elections decided by a few states: For President Barack Obama, today it’s visits to Ohio and Virginia. And it’s no coincidence that likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney just visited those two states, and is returning to Ohio … Dispatch Politics, Chicago Tribune, 5-5-12
  • Obama Confirms Second Term Run: President Obama stopped in Columbus Saturday to make the announcement official that he is running for a second term. Thousands attended the campaign rally at Ohio State University Saturday afternoon. The President spoke about the state of the economy…. – WYTV, 5-5-12
  • Virginia: The state both parties want in November: The verdict is in: Barack Obama’s 2008 victory in Virginia was not a fluke. For the once reliably Republican state, competitive presidential elections are the new normal. Just look at the candidates’ schedules…. – The Virginian-Pilot, 5-5-12
  • Obama kicks off campaign with rallies in Ohio and Virginia: President Barack Obama sought to rekindle the passion of his 2008 victory Saturday with a pair of huge rallies in battleground states that signaled a new, more politically aggressive phase of the campaign and a … San Jose Mercury News, 5-5-12

Full Text Campaign Buzz May 5, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Second Term Campaign Launch in Columbus, Ohio

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

President Obama’s full campaign kickoff speech

Source: LAT, 5-5-12

Obama

President Obama speaks during a campaign rally Saturday in Richmond, Va. (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated Press / May 5, 2012)

OBAMA: “I want to thank so many of our Neighborhood Team Leaders for being here today.  You guys will be the backbone of this campaign.  And I want the rest of you to join a team or become a leader yourself, because we are going to win this thing the old-fashioned way — door by door, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.

“Ohio, four years ago, you and I began a journey together.

“I didn’t run, and you didn’t work your hearts out, just to win an election.  We came together to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth.

“We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth.  If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job.  If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business, give your children the chance to do even better — no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what your last name is.

“We believe the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history; that businesses are the engine of growth; that risk-takers and innovators should be rewarded.  But we also believe that at its best, the free market has never been a license to take whatever you want, however you can get it; that alongside our entrepreneurial spirit and our rugged individualism, America only prospers when we meet our obligations to one another and to future generations.

“We came together in 2008 because our country had strayed from these basic values.  A record surplus was squandered on tax cuts for people who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  Two wars were being waged on a credit card.  Wall Street speculators reaped huge profits by making bets with other people’s money.  Manufacturing left our shores.  A shrinking number of Americans did fantastically well, while most people struggled with falling incomes, rising costs, the slowest job growth in half a century.

“It was a house of cards that collapsed in the most destructive crisis since the Great Depression.  In the last six months of 2008, even as we were campaigning, nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs.  Over 800,000 more were lost in the month I took office alone.

“It was tough.  But I tell you what, Ohio — the American people are tougher. All across this country, people like you dug in.  Some of you retrained.  Some of you went back to school.  Small business owners cut back on expenses, but did everything they could to keep their employees.  Yes, there were setbacks.  Yes, there were disappointments.  But we didn’t quit.  We don’t quit.  Together, we’re fighting our way back.

“When some wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, we made a bet on American workers, on the ingenuity of American companies.  And today, our auto industry is back on top of the world.  Manufacturers started investing again, adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  Businesses got back to the basics, exports surged.  And over four million jobs were created in the last two years — more than one million of those in the last six months alone.  Are we satisfied?”

AUDIENCE: “No!”

OBAMA: “Of course not.  Too many of our friends and family are still out there looking for work.  The housing market is still weak, deficits are still too high, and states are still laying off teachers, first responders.  This crisis took years to develop, and the economy is still facing headwinds.  And it will take sustained, persistent effort — yours and mine — for America to fully recover.  That’s the truth.  We all know it.

“But we are making progress.  And now we face a choice. Now we face a choice, Ohio.”

CHILD: “We love you, Barack Obama!”

OBAMA: “Thank you.  Now we face a choice.  For the last few years, the Republicans who run this Congress have insisted that we go right back to the policies that created this mess.”

AUDIENCE: “Booo.”

OBAMA: “But to borrow a line from my friend Bill Clinton, now their agenda is on steroids.  This time, they want even bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  This time, they want even deeper cuts to things like education and Medicare, and research and technology.”

AUDIENCE: “Booo.”

OBAMA: “This time, they want to give banks and insurance companies even more power to do as they please.  And now, after a long and spirited primary, Republicans in Congress have found a nominee for President who has promised to rubber-stamp this agenda if he gets the chance.”

AUDIENCE: “Booo.”

OBAMA: “Ohio, I tell you what:  We cannot give him that chance.  Not now.  Not with so much at stake.  This is not just another election.  This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and we’ve been through too much to turn back now.”

AUDIENCE: “Four more years!  Four more years!”

OBAMA: “We have come too far to abandon the change we fought for these past few years.  We have to move forward, to the future we imagined in 2008, where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.  That’s the choice in this election, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

“Governor Romney is a patriotic American who has raised a wonderful family, and he has much to be proud of.  He’s run a large financial firm, and he’s run a state.  But I think he has drawn the wrong lessons from those experiences.  He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors like him make money, the rest of us will automatically prosper as well.”

AUDIENCE: “Booo.”

OBAMA: “When a woman in Iowa shared the story of her financial struggles, he responded with economic theory.  He told her, “our productivity equals our income.”  Well, let me tell you something.  The problem with our economy isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve been working harder than ever.  The challenge we face right now — the challenge we faced for over a decade is that harder work hasn’t led to higher incomes.  It’s that bigger profits haven’t led to better jobs.

“Governor Romney doesn’t seem to get that.  He doesn’t seem to understand that maximizing profits by whatever means necessary — whether through layoffs or outsourcing or tax avoidance or union-busting — might not always be good for the average American or for the American economy.

“Why else would he want to spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?  Why else would he propose cutting his own taxes while raising them on 18 million working families?  Why else would he want to slash the investments that have always helped the economy grow, but at the same time, stop regulating the reckless behavior on Wall Street that helped the economy crash?

“Somehow, he and his friends in Congress think that the same bad ideas will lead to a different result.  Or they’re just hoping you won’t remember what happened the last time we tried it their way.

“Well, Ohio, I’m here to say that we were there, we remember, and we are not going back.  We are moving this country forward.

“Look, we want businesses to succeed.  We want entrepreneurs and investors rewarded when they take risks, when they create jobs and grow our economy.  But the true measure of our prosperity is more than just a running tally of every balance sheet and quarterly profit report.  I don’t care how many ways you try to explain it:  Corporations aren’t people.  People are people.

“We measure prosperity not just by our total GDP; not just by how many billionaires we produce, but how well the typical family is doing — whether they can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them.

“And we understand that in this country, people succeed when they have a chance to get a decent education and learn new skills — and, by the way, so do the businesses that hire them or the companies that they start.

“We know that our economy grows when we support research into medical breakthroughs and new technologies that lead to the next Internet app or life-saving drug.

“We know that our country is stronger when we can count on affordable health insurance and Medicare and Social Security. When we protect our kids from toxic dumping and mercury pollution.  When there are rules to make sure we aren’t taken advantage of by credit card companies and mortgage lenders and financial institutions.  And we know these rules aren’t just good for seniors, or kids, or consumers — they’re good for business, too.  They’re part of what makes the market work.

“Look, we don’t expect government to solve all our problems, and it shouldn’t try.  I learned from my mom that no education policy can take the place of a parent’s love and affection.  As a young man, I worked with a group of Catholic churches who taught me that no poverty program can make as much of a difference as the kindness and commitment of a caring soul.  Not every regulation is smart.  Not every tax dollar is spent wisely.  Not every person can be helped who refuses to help themselves.

“But that’s not an excuse to tell the vast majority of responsible, hardworking Americans, ‘You’re on your own.’  That unless you’re lucky enough to have parents who can lend you money, you may not be able to go to college.  That even if you pay your premiums every month, you’re out of luck if an insurance company decides to drop your coverage when you need it most.

“That’s not how we built America.  That’s not who we are.  We built this country together. We built this country together.

“We built railroads and highways; the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge — together.  We sent my grandfather’s generation to college on the GI Bill — together.  We instituted a minimum wage and worker safety laws — together.  Together, we touched the surface of the moon, unlocked the mystery of the atom, connected the world through our own science and imagination.  We did these things together — not because they benefited any particular individual or group, but because they made us all richer.  Because they gave us all opportunity.  Because they moved us forward together — as one people, as one nation.

“That’s the true lesson of our past, Ohio.  That’s the right vision for our future.  And that’s why I’m running for President.

“I’m running to make sure that by the end of the decade, more of our citizens hold a college degree than any other nation on Earth. I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  I want to give two million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now.  In the 21st century, higher education can’t be a luxury — it is an economic imperative that every American should be able to afford.  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for President.

“I’m running to make sure the next generation of high-tech manufacturing takes root in places like Columbus and Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Richmond.  I want to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs and profits overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America.  That’s the choice in this election.

“I’m running so that we can keep moving towards a future where we control our own energy.  Our dependence on foreign oil is at its lowest point in 16 years.  By the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon.  Thousands of Americans have jobs, right now, because the production of renewal energy in this country has nearly doubled in just three years.

“So now is not the time to cut these investments to pay for another $4 billion giveaway to the oil companies.  Now is the time to end the subsidies for an industry that’s rarely been more profitable.  Let’s double down on a clean energy future that’s never been more promising — for our economy, and for our security, and for the safety of our planet.  That’s why I’m running for President.  That’s the choice in this election, Ohio.”

AUDIENCE: “Four more years!  Four more years!”

OBAMA: “For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.   Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country.  Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.  And by 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over.

“America is safer and more respected because of the courage and selflessness of the United States Armed Forces.  And as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us  because nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.

“My opponent said it was ‘tragic’ to end the war in Iraq.  He said he won’t set a timeline for ending the war in Afghanistan.”

AUDIENCE: “Booo.”

OBAMA: “I have, and I intend to keep it. After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own.   I will use half of what we’re no longer spending on war to pay down the deficit, and the other half to repair our roads and our bridges, our runways and our wireless networks.  That’s the choice in this election — to rebuild America.

“I’m running to pay down our debt in a way that’s balanced and responsible.  After inheriting a $1 trillion deficit, I signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law.  And now I want to finish the job by streamlining government and cutting more waste, and reforming our tax code so that it is simpler and fairer, and asks the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more.

“My opponent won’t tell us how he’d pay for his new, $5 trillion tax cut — a tax cut that gives an average of $250,000 to every millionaire in this country.”

AUDIENCE: “Booo.”

OBAMA: “But we know the bill for that tax cut will either be passed on to our children, or it will be paid for by a whole lot of ordinary Americans. That’s what we know.  And I refuse to let that happen again.

“I refuse to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut by eliminating medical research projects into things like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  I refuse to pay for another tax cut by kicking children off of Head Start programs; or asking students to pay more for college; or eliminating health insurance for millions of poor and elderly and disabled Americans on Medicaid.

“And as long as I’m President of the United States, I will never allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it.  We will not go back to the days when our citizens spent their golden years at the mercy of private insurance companies.  We will reform Medicare — not by shifting the cost of care to seniors, but by reducing the spending that isn’t making people healthier. That’s what’s at stake in this election.  That’s what’s at stake, Ohio.

“On issue after issue, we can’t afford to spend the next four years going backward.  America doesn’t need to refight the battles we just had over Wall Street reform and health care reform.  On health care reform, here is what I know:  Allowing 2.5 million young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan — that was the right thing to do.  Cutting prescription drug costs for seniors — that was the right thing to do. I will not go back to the days when insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, or deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men.  We’re not going back there.  We’re going forward.

“We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood — or taking away access to affordable birth control.  I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons.  We are not turning back the clock.  We are moving forward.

“We’re not returning to the days when you could be kicked out of the United States military just because of who you are or who you love.  That would be wrong for our national security, and it would be a betrayal of our values.

“This should be the last election where multimillion-dollar donations speak louder than the voices of ordinary citizens. We need more checks on lobbyists and special interests, not less.

“We’re not going to eliminate the EPA.  We’re not going to roll back the bargaining rights that generations of workers fought for.  It’s time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they’re the children of undocumented immigrants. This country is at its best when we harness the God-given talents of every individual; when we hear every voice; when we come together as one American family, striving for the same dream.

“That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s what we’re fighting for, Ohio.  A bold America.  A competitive America.  A generous America.  A forward-looking America, where everybody has a chance to make of their life what they will.  That’s what made us the envy of the world.  That’s what makes us great.  That’s why I’m running again for President of the United States.”

AUDIENCE: “Four more years!  Four more years!”

OBAMA: “And that is why I need your help.  Ohio, this election will be even closer than the last.  Too many of our friends, too many of our neighbors are still hurting because of this crisis.  I’ve heard from too many people wondering why they haven’t been able to get one of the jobs that have been created; why their home is still under water; why their family hasn’t yet been touched by the recovery.

“The other side won’t be offering these Americans a real answer to these questions.  They won’t offer a better vision or a new set of ideas.  But they will be spending more money than we’ve ever seen before on negative ads, on TV, on radio, in the mail, on the Internet — ads that exploit people’s frustrations for my opponent’s political gain.  Over and over again, they will tell you that America is down and out, and they’ll tell you who to blame, and ask if you’re better off than you were before the worst crisis in our lifetime.

“We’ve seen that play before.  But you know what?  The real question — the question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children — is not just about how we’re doing today.  It’s about how we’ll be doing tomorrow.

“Will we better off if more Americans get a better education?  That’s the question.  Will we better off if we depend less on foreign oil and more on our own ingenuity?  That’s the question. Will we better off if we start doing some nation-building right here at home?  That’s the question.  Will we be better off if we bring down our deficit without gutting the very things we need to grow?  When we look back four years from now, or ten years from now, or twenty years from now, won’t we be better off if we have the courage to keep moving forward?

“That’s the question in this election.  That’s the question in this election.  And the outcome is entirely up to you.  Now, sure, we’ll have to contend with even more negative ads, with even more cynicism and nastiness, and sometimes just plain foolishness.  There will be more of that than we saw in the last campaign.

“But if there is one thing that we learned in 2008, it’s that nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. When enough of you knock on doors, when you pick up phones, when you talk to your friends, when you decide that it’s time for change to happen, guess what?  Change happens.  Change comes to America.

“And that’s the spirit we need again.  If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope.  You tell them it’s still about change.  You tell them it’s still about ordinary people who believe that in the face of great odds, we can make a difference in the life of this country.

“Because I still believe, Ohio.  I still believe that we are not as divided as our politics suggest.  I still believe that we have more in common than the pundits tell us; that we’re not Democrats or Republicans, but Americans first and foremost. I still believe in you, and I’m asking you to keep believing in me. I told you in 2008 that I wasn’t a perfect man, and I would never be a perfect President.  But I promised that I would always tell you what I thought.  I would always tell you where I stood.  And I would wake up every single day fighting for you as hard as I know how.

“And I have that kept that promise.  I have kept that promise, Ohio.  And I will keep it so long as I have the honor of being your President.  So if you’re willing to stick with me, if you’re willing to fight with me, and press on with me; if you’re willing to work even harder in this election than you did in the last election, I guarantee you — we will move this country forward.

“We will finish what we started.  We are still fired up.  We are still ready to go.  And we are going to remind the world once more just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

“Thank you, God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.”

Full Text September 13, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on the American Jobs Act in Columbus, Ohio

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama on the American Jobs Act in Columbus, Ohio

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to students, faculty and staff at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 13, 2011. The President highlights his American Jobs Act proposal to put workers back on the job by rebuilding and modernizing schools across the country. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama: “Every Child Deserves a Great School”

Source: WH, 9-13-11

It was a hot afternoon in Columbus, Ohio today when President Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of over 3,000 people at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School and laid out how the American Jobs Act will put teachers back in the classroom and get construction workers, carpenters and electricians back on the job modernizing America’s schools.

Even though the September sun still felt like midsummer, students are back in school at Fort Hayes and on days like today they’re glad to have air-conditioning, one of many recent renovations to buildings on campus that were originally built during the Civil War. The American Jobs Act would make it possible to renovate at least 35,000 schools like Fort Hayes across the country. As the President said, putting construction workers back on the job rebuilding schools is just common sense for the economy and for the education of our kids:

When buildings are that old, they start falling apart.  They start leaking, and ceiling tiles start to cave in, and there’s no heat in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer.  Some of the schools the ventilation is so poor it can make students sick.

How do we expect our kids to do their very best in a situation like that?  The answer is we can’t.  Every child deserves a great school, and we can give it to them, but we got to pass this bill.

Modernizing America’s schools is just one of the many ways the American Jobs Act will create jobs in industries like construction hit hard by the recession:

So this bill cuts taxes for small businesses that hire new employees.  It cuts taxes for small businesses that raise salaries for current employees.  It cuts small business payroll taxes in half.  So let’s tell Congress, instead of just talking about helping America’s job creators, let’s actually do something to help America’s job creators.  Let’s pass this bill right away.

The bill that President Obama sent to Congress also cuts taxes for middle-class families. The typical working family will get $1,500 in tax cuts next year if the American Jobs Act is passed. But some are saying that even though they agree with the proposal, they shouldn’t pass it for political reason. The President made it clear that this isn’t the time for Washington game-playing:

They supported this stuff in the past, but they’re thinking maybe they don’t do it this time because Obama is promoting it.  Give me a win?  This isn’t about giving me a win.  This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win.  It’s about giving the American people a win. It’s about giving Ohio a win. It’s about your jobs and your lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win.

President Obama called on Americans that are ready to get our economy moving and create jobs “to lift your voice…tell your congressperson that the time for gridlock and the time for games is over.” He made it clear that the time to act is now:

We’re not a people who just watch things happen.  We’re Americans; we make things happen. We are tougher than the times we live in.  We are   — bigger than the politics that we’ve been putting up with.  We are patriots and pioneers, and innovators and entrepreneurs, who, through individual effort, but also through a commitment to one another, built an economy that’s the engine and the envy of the world.

We write our own destiny.  It’s within our power to write it once more.  So let’s meet this moment.  Let’s get to work.  Let’s show the world once again why the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth.

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (159MB) | mp3 (15MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on the American Jobs Act in Columbus, OH

Fort Hayes High School
Columbus, Ohio

2:33 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Columbus! (Applause.) It is good to be back in the state of Ohio. (Applause.) Just a couple of people I want to make sure you know are here. First of all, my outstanding Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is in the house. (Applause.) Superintendant of Columbus City Schools, Dr. Gene T. Harris, is here. (Applause.) The principal of Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, Milton Ruffin, is here. (Applause.) And the mayor of the great city of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is in the house. (Applause.)

It is a great honor to be here at Fort Hayes –- one of the best high schools in Ohio. (Applause.)

I want to thank Tom for that introduction. He just gave me a quick tour, and let me just say, these buildings look great. He did a good job. I wouldn’t mind taking a few classes here. (Applause.) You’ve got computers in every classroom, got state-of-the-art graphic design and science labs, new media center, music rooms. And when you combine that with outstanding teachers — (applause) — and a challenging curriculum, you’ve got the foundation for what you need to learn and graduate, and compete in this 21st century economy. (Applause.)

So, Fort Hayes, I’m here to talk about exactly that — about the economy. I came to talk about how we can get to a place where we’re creating good, middle-class jobs again -– jobs that pay well; jobs that offer economic security. (Applause.) And the renovation of Fort Hayes is a great example of where those jobs can come from if we can finally get our act together in Washington. (Applause.) If we can get folks in that city to stop worrying so much about their jobs and start worrying about your jobs. (Applause.)

Now, yesterday, I sent Congress the American Jobs Act. This is it right here. It’s pretty thick. This is a plan that does two things: It puts people back to work, and it puts more money in the pockets of working Americans. (Applause.) Everything in the American Jobs Act is the kind of proposal that in the past has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats. Everything in it will be paid for. And every one of you can make it happen by sending a message to Congress that says: Pass this bill. (Applause.)

Ohio, if you pass this bill, then right here in this state, tens of thousands of construction workers will have a job again. (Applause.) This is one of the most common-sense ideas out there. All over the country, there are roads and bridges and schools just like Fort Hayes in need of repair. Some of the buildings here at Fort Hayes were originally built during the Civil War. That’s old. (Laughter.) And when buildings are that old, they start falling apart. They start leaking, and ceiling tiles start to cave in, and there’s no heat in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer. Some of the schools the ventilation is so poor it can make students sick.

How do we expect our kids to do their very best in a situation like that? The answer is we can’t. Every child deserves a great school, and we can give it to them, but we got to pass this bill. (Applause.)

Your outstanding Senator, Sherrod Brown, has been fighting to make this happen. (Applause.) And those of you here at Fort Hayes have been making it happen. See, a few years back, you decided to renovate this school. And you didn’t just repair what was broken; you rebuilt this school for the 21st century -– with faster Internet and cutting-edge technology. And that hasn’t just created a better, safer learning environment for the students; it also created good jobs for construction workers.

You just heard Tom say it’s created over 250 jobs for masons and concrete workers and carpenters and plumbers and electricians -– and many of those jobs are filled by the good people of Columbus, Ohio. (Applause.)

But here’s the thing. There are schools all throughout Ohio that need this kind of renovation. There’s a bridge in Cincinnati that connects Ohio to Kentucky that needs this kind of renovation. (Applause.) There are construction projects like these all across the country just waiting to get started. And there are millions of unemployed construction workers who are looking for a job. So my question to Congress is: What on Earth are we waiting for? (Applause.)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any student to study in broken-down schools. I want our kids to study in great schools. I don’t want the newest airports and the fastest railroads being built in China. I want them being built right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) There is work to be done. There are workers ready to do it. So let’s tell Congress, pass this bill right away. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT: Pass this jobs bill, and there will be funding to save the jobs of up to 14,000 Ohio teachers and cops and firefighters. (Applause.) Think about it. There are places like South Korea that are adding teachers to prepare their kids for the global economy, at the same time as we’re laying off our teachers left and right; where we’ve got school districts that have eliminated all extracurriculars — art, sports, you name it.

You’ve got situations where — I just heard a story from Arne Duncan driving over here. I met this young man yesterday — he’s a music teacher in Philly, and his budget — total budget is $100 for teaching music in a whole bunch of schools. So they’re using buckets to do drums because they can’t afford actual musical instruments.

You’ve seen it here in Ohio. Budget cuts are forcing superintendents here in Columbus and all over the state to make layoffs they don’t want to make. It is unfair to our kids, it undermines our future, and it has to stop. Tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act so we can put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong. (Applause.)

Tell them to pass this bill so we can help the people that create most of the new — we can help the people who create most of the new jobs in this country. That’s America’s small business owners. It’s all well and good that big corporations have seen their profits roaring back — that’s good. We want them to be able to hire people as well. But smaller companies haven’t come back.

So this bill cuts taxes for small businesses that hire new employees. It cuts taxes for small businesses that raise salaries for current employees. It cuts small business payroll taxes in half. So let’s tell Congress, instead of just talking about helping America’s job creators, let’s actually do something to help America’s job creators. Let’s pass this bill right away. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT: If Congress passes this jobs bill, companies will get new tax credits for hiring America’s veterans. (Applause.) We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, risk their lives to make sure that we’re protected. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. That’s why Congress needs to pass this bill. It will help hundreds of thousands of veterans all across the country.

It will help hundreds of thousands of young people find summer jobs next year. (Applause.) It’s also got a $4,000 tax credit for companies that hire anybody who’s spent more than six months looking for a job. The American Jobs Act extends unemployment insurance, but it also says if you’re collecting benefits, you’ll get connected to temporary work as a way to build your skills and enhance your résumé while you’re looking for a permanent job. (Applause.)

And, finally, if we get Congress to pass this bill, the typical working family will get $1,500 in tax cuts next year — (applause) — $1,500 that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right back into your pocket. But if Congress doesn’t act, if Congress refuses to pass this bill, then middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. Now, we can’t let that happen.

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Some folks have been working pretty hard to keep tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Tell them they need to fight just as hard — they need to fight harder — for middle-class families. Tell them to pass this jobs bill. (Applause.)

So the American Jobs Act will lead to new jobs for construction workers, jobs for teachers, jobs for veterans, jobs for young people, jobs the unemployed. It will provide tax relief for every worker and small business in America. And it will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for. (Applause.)

We will pay for this plan, we’ll pay down our debt, and we’ll do it by following the same principle that every family follows: We’ll make sure that government lives within its means. We’ll cut what we can’t afford to pay for what we really need -– including some cuts we wouldn’t make if we hadn’t racked up so much debt over the last decade.

And here’s the other thing, Columbus. We got to make sure that everybody pays their fair share — (applause) — including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. (Applause.) After all, we’ve got to decide what our priorities are. Do you want to keep tax loopholes for oil companies?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Or do you want to renovate more schools like Fort Hayes so that construction workers have jobs again? (Applause.) Do you want to keep tax breaks for multi-millionaires and billionaires?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Or do you want to put teachers back to work, and help small businesses, and cut taxes for middle-class families? (Applause.)

So, Columbus, we know what’s right. We know what to do to create jobs now, and in the future. We know that if we want businesses to start here and stay here and hire here, we’ve got to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every country on Earth. We’ve got to start manufacturing. We’ve got to sell more goods around the world that are stamped with three proud words — “Made in America.” (Applause.)

We need to build an economy that lasts. And, Columbus, that starts now. That starts with your help. Democrats and Republicans have supported every kind of proposal that’s in the American Jobs Act -– and we need to tell them to support those proposals now.

Already, yesterday there were some Republicans quoted in Washington saying that even if they agree with the proposals in the American Jobs Act, they shouldn’t pass it because it would give me a win.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s the kind of games-playing we’ve gotten used to in Washington. Think about that. They supported this stuff in the past, but they’re thinking maybe they don’t do it this time because Obama is promoting it. Give me a win? This isn’t about giving me a win. This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. It’s about giving the American people a win. (Applause.) It’s about giving Ohio a win. (Applause.) It’s about your jobs and your lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win. (Applause.)

Maybe there’s some people in Congress who’d rather settle our differences at the ballot box than work together right now. But I’ve got news for them: The next election is 14 months away. And the American people don’t have the luxury of waiting that long. You’ve got folks who are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck. They need action, and they need it now.

So I’m asking all of you to lift your voice –- not just here in Columbus, but anybody who is watching, anybody who is listening, anybody who is following online. I need you to call and email and tweet and fax and visit, and tell your congressperson that the time for gridlock and the time for games is over. The time for action is now. (Applause.)

Tell them that if you want to create jobs right now –- pass this bill. (Applause.) If you want construction workers renovating schools like this one -– pass this bill. (Applause.) If you want to put teachers back in the classroom –- pass this bill. If you want tax cuts for middle-class families and small business owners, then what to do you do? Pass this bill.

AUDIENCE: Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT: If you want to help our veterans share in the opportunity that they defend -– pass this bill.

Now is the time to act. We’re not a people who just watch things happen. We’re Americans; we make things happen. (Applause.) We are tougher than the times we live in. We are — bigger than the politics that we’ve been putting up with. We are patriots and pioneers, and innovators and entrepreneurs, who, through individual effort, but also through a commitment to one another, built an economy that’s the engine and the envy of the world.

We write our own destiny. It’s within our power to write it once more. So let’s meet this moment. Let’s get to work. Let’s show the world once again why the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth. (Applause.)

Thank you very much, Ohio. Thank you, Columbus. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END
2:50 P.M. EDT

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