Full Text Obama Presidency March 5, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Urging Congress to Raise the Minimum Wage with New England Governors in Connecticut

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama: It’s Time to Give America a Raise

Source: WH, 3-5-14
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the minimum wage, at Central Connecticut State UniversityPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks on the minimum wage, at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, March 5, 2014. The President is joined by Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama travelled to Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut to speak about the importance of raising the minimum wage….READ MORE

Remarks by the President on Opportunity For All: Making Work Pay and the Minimum Wage

Source: WH, 3-5-14

Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, Connecticut

2:20 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Connecticut!  (Applause.)  Go Blue Devils!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Connecticut.  (Applause.)  I want to thank your wonderful Governor, Dan Malloy, for that introduction.  (Applause.)  I want to thank your President, Jack Miller, for inviting me here today.  (Applause.)

We’ve got members of your student government behind me.  (Applause.)  I couldn’t help but notice your Student Government Association logo, which has a gavel –- and a pitchfork, which is pretty intense.  (Laughter.)  And I wish some folks in Congress used the gavel more.  (Laughter.)  Less pitchfork.  (Laughter.)

We also have some members of your non-student government.  One of our finest members of our Cabinet, who just cares so much about working families and is working tirelessly every single day, Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez, is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got all five of Connecticut’s representatives in Congress — including CCSU alum John Larson, in the house.  (Applause.)  Another proud CCSU alum, Erin Stewart, your mayor, is here.  (Applause.)  Along with Mayor Segarra and the other mayors and legislators from all across Connecticut.

And today, we’re doing something a little different than usual.  Usually, when I hit the road and talk with folks like all of you, I’ve got a governor with me.  But you are special.  (Applause.)  So we decided one governor wasn’t enough.  (Laughter.)  So in addition to Governor Malloy, we’ve got Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Peter Shumlin of Vermont.  (Applause.)  This is like a governor supergroup.  (Laughter.)  It’s like the Justice League of governors.  (Laughter.)  I’d call them the New England Patriots, but that name is already taken.  (Laughter.)

STUDENT:  We love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back!  I love you.  (Applause.)  But we can’t just spend the whole day talking about how we love each other.  (Laughter.)  That’s not why I came.  We are here today — we’re here today because each of us cares deeply about creating new jobs and new opportunities for all Americans.  And we’re at this interesting moment in our economy — our economy has been growing, our businesses have created about eight and a half million new jobs over the past four years.  The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in over five years.  (Applause.)  Those are all things that we should be proud of.

But there are some trends out there that have been battering the middle class for a long, long time — well before this Great Recession hit.  And in some ways, some of those trends have gotten worse, not better.  The nature of today’s economy with technology and globalization means that there are folks at the top who are doing better than ever, but average wages have barely budged.  Average incomes have not gone up.  Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to keep up.

So as I said at my State of the Union address, we’ve got to reverse those trends.  It is a central task for all of us to build an economy that works for everybody, not just for some.  (Applause.)  That’s what every one of these governors and Tom Perez believes in — that’s what we got into public service for.  I hope Dan and Peter don’t mind me sharing this — while we were driving over here, they were talking about the fact that when they were growing up, both of them had dyslexia.  And because of the incredible fierce love of their parents but also because there were some folks there to help them, they achieved — made these extraordinary achievements.  Now, I wasn’t in the car with Deval, but Deval is a close friend of mine.  He’s got a similar story — grew up on the South Side of Chicago.  (Audience member cheers.) South Side! (Laughter and applause.)  And came from a very modest background.  But somebody gave him a chance.  (Applause.)  Me, Tom Perez — so many of us understand that at the heart of America, the central premise of this country is the chance to achieve your dreams if you work hard, if you take responsibility; that it doesn’t matter where you start — it’s where you finish.  (Applause.)

And in America, we believe in opportunity for all.  We believe that our success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of our birth.  It’s determined by each of us.  But also by a society that’s committed to everybody succeeding.  So that it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is, who you love — what matters is the strength of your work ethic; and the power of your dreams; and your willingness to take responsibility for yourself but also for the larger society.  That’s what makes America the place that it is, why it continues to be a beacon, attracting people from all around the world, the idea that you can make it here if you try.

Now, there’s been a lot of news about foreign affairs around the world over the last several days, but also for the last couple years.  And one of the things that you see, a trend you see — it doesn’t matter whether it’s in Central Europe or in the Middle East or Africa — individuals want a chance to make it if they try.  And what makes us special is we already do that when we’re at our best.  But we’ve got some work to do to match up our ideals with the reality that’s happening on the ground right now.

And the opportunity agenda that I’ve laid out is designed to help us restore that idea of opportunity for everybody for this generation, the generation of young people who are studying here and are about to enter the workforce.  And it’s got four parts.  Part one is something that I know the seniors here are very interested in, which is more good jobs that pay good wages.  (Applause.)

We can’t be satisfied with just recovering the jobs that were lost during the recession.  We’ve got to rebuild our economy so it’s creating a steady supply of good jobs today and well into the future -– jobs in high-tech manufacturing, and in energy, and in exports, and in American innovation.  So that’s job number one.

Job number two is training more Americans with the skills they need to fill those good jobs, so that our workforce is prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

Part three:  guaranteeing every young person in this country access to a world-class education -– from pre-K all the way to a college education like the one you’re getting here.  (Applause.)

And that’s why over the past five years, working with the outstanding congressional delegation from Connecticut, we’ve been able to make sure that grant dollars are going farther than before.  We took on a student loan system that gave billions of taxpayer dollars to the big banks, and we said let’s use those to give more students directly the help they need to afford to go to college.  (Applause.)

That’s why — that’s why we’re offering millions of young people the chance to cap their monthly student loan payments at 10 percent of their income.  So you need to check that out.  (Laughter.)  Go to the website of the Department of Education and find out how you may be eligible for that.

And today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.  (Applause.)  Of course — and I know your president won’t disagree with this — we’ve also got to do more to rein in the soaring cost of college and help more Americans who are trapped by student loan debt.  (Applause.)

The bottom line though is whether it’s technical training, community college, or four-year university, no young person should be priced out of a higher education.  Shouldn’t happen. (Applause.)

Now, there is a fourth part of this agenda.  By the way, I just noticed, if you’ve got chairs, feel free to sit down.  (Laughter.)  I know the folks here don’t have chairs, but I don’t want you — and if you’re standing up, make sure to bend your knees so you don’t faint.  (Laughter.)  All right, I just wanted to check on you.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, point number four, the fourth component of this opportunity agenda is making sure that if you are working hard — if you’re working hard, then you get ahead.  And that means making sure women receive equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  When women succeed, America succeeds.  (Applause.)  I believe that.  You happy with that, Rosa?  Rosa agrees with that.  (Laughter.)

It means making sure that you can save and retire with dignity.  It means health insurance that’s there when you’re sick and you need it most.  (Applause.)  And you guys are doing a great job implementing the Affordable Care Act here in Connecticut.  If any of you know a young person who is uninsured, help them get covered at healthcare.gov.  The website works just fine now.  (Laughter.)  They’ve got until March 31st to sign up, and in some cases it’s going to cost less than your cellphone bill.  So check it out, healthcare.gov.

And making work pay means wages and paychecks that let you support a family.  (Applause.)  A wage, a paycheck that lets you support a family.  (Applause.)

Now, I want to be clear about this because sometimes in our debates with our friends on the other side of the political spectrum, this may not be clear, so let me just repeat it once again, as Americans, we understand that some folks are going to earn more than others.  We don’t resent success; we are thrilled with the opportunities that America affords.  Somebody goes out there, starts a business, invents a new product, provides a new service, that’s what drives our economy.  That’s why this free-market economy is the most dynamic on Earth.  We’re thrilled with that.  Everybody agrees on that.  But what we also believe is that nobody who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.  (Applause.)  That violates a basic sense of who we are.  And that’s why it’s time to give America a raise.   (Applause.)  It is time to give America a raise.  Now is the time.  Now is the time.  (Applause.)

A year ago I asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, the federal minimum wage.  Since that time six states have passed laws to raise theirs, including right here in Connecticut.  (Applause.)

On January 1st, tens of thousands of folks across this state got a raise –- and Governor Malloy is working to lift their wages even higher.  (Applause.)  Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington State, other states, counties, cities across the country are working to raise their minimum wage as we speak.

The governors here today –- Governor Chafee of Rhode Island;, Governor Malloy; Governor Patrick of Massachusetts; Governor Shumlin of Vermont; and a Governor who couldn’t be here today, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire –- all are fighting to give hardworking folks in these great New England states a raise of their own.  And they’ve formed a regional coalition to raise the minimum wage.  If they succeed in their efforts, New England will have some of the highest minimum wages in the country.  (Applause.)

And they’re not stopping there -– these four governors are here in support of raising America’s minimum wage, the federal minimum wage, to $10.10 an hour — $10.10 an hour.  (Applause.)

Now, raising wages is not just a job for elected officials.  In my State of the Union address, I asked more business leaders to do what they can to raise their workers’ wages -– because profitable companies like Costco have long seen higher wages as good business.  It’s a smart way to boost productivity, to reduce turnover, to instill loyalty in your employees.  And, by the way, they do great.  Their stocks do great.  They are highly profitable.  It’s not bad business to do right by your workers, it’s good business.  (Applause.)  It’s good business.  (Applause.)

Two weeks ago, the Gap decided to raise its base wages, and that’s going to boost wages for 65,000 workers in the United States.  (Applause.)  Last week, I read about Jaxson’s, it’s an ice cream parlor in Florida that’s been in business since 1956.  They just announced they would lift workers’ wages to at least $10.10 an hour, without cutting back on hiring.  (Applause.)  Two weeks ago, an Atlanta small business owner named Darien Southerland wrote me to share a lesson his Granny taught him:  If you treat your employees right, they’ll treat you right.  (Applause.)  Vice President Biden paid Darien’s business a visit just yesterday.  You got to listen to your grandmother.  (Laughter.)  That is some wise advice.

And I agree with these business leaders as well.  So what I did as President, I issued an executive order requiring federal contractors — if you’re doing business with the federal government — pay your employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour, which will be good for America’s bottom line.  (Applause.)

And let me tell you who was affected.  When I was signing the bill, or the executive order, we had some of the workers who were going to be affected.  You’ve got folks who are cooking the meals of our troops, or washing their dishes, or cleaning their clothes.  This country should pay those folks a wage you can live on.  (Applause.)

So this is good for business, it is good for America.  Because even though we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States, creating more good jobs in education and health care and business services, there will always be airport workers, there are always going to be fast-food workers, there are always going to be hospital workers, there are going to be retail salespeople, hospitality workers — people who work their tails off every day.  (Applause.)  People working in nursing homes, looking after your grandparents or your parents.  (Applause.)  Folks who are doing all the hard jobs that make our society work every single day.  They don’t have anything flashy out there.  And you know what, they’re not expecting to get rich, but they do feel like if they’re putting in back-breaking work every day, then at least at the end of the month they can pay their bills.  (Applause.)  They deserve an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.

Working Americans have struggled through stagnant wages for too long, so my goal is — and the goal of everybody on this stage — is to help lift wages, help lift take-home pay in any way I can.  And that’s why I’ve done everything I can to lift wages for hardworking federal contractors, it’s why I’ve asked business owners to raise their wages, it’s why I’m supporting elected officials at the local level, governors.  What every American wants is a paycheck that lets them support their families, know a little economic security, pass down some hope and optimism to their kids.  And that’s worth fighting for.  (Applause.)

But I want to make one last point.  If we’re going to finish the job, Congress has to get on board.  (Applause.)  Congress has to get on board.  And this is interesting — this should not be that hard, you’d think.  (Laughter.)  Because nearly three in four Americans, about half of all Republicans, support raising the minimum wage.  The problem is, Republicans in Congress oppose raising the minimum wage — now I don’t know if that’s just because I proposed it.  (Laughter.)  Maybe I should say I oppose raising the minimum wage and they’d be for it, that’s possible.  (Laughter.)

But right now, there’s a bill in front of both the House and the Senate that would boost America’s minimum wage to $10.10.  It’s easy to remember — $10.10 — ten dollars, ten cents an hour.  Just passing this bill would help not only minimum wage workers; it would lift wages for about 200,000 people just right here in Connecticut.  (Applause.)  It would lift wages for about one million New Englanders.  (Applause.)  It would lift wages for nearly 28 million Americans across this country.  (Applause.)  It would immediately raise millions of people out of poverty.  It would help millions more work their way out of poverty, and it doesn’t require new taxes, doesn’t require new spending, doesn’t require some new bureaucracy.  And here’s one last point.  It turns out — what happens if workers got a little more money in their pockets?

AUDIENCE:  They spend it!

THE PRESIDENT:  They spend a little more money, which means that suddenly businesses have more customers, which means they make more profits, which means they can hire more workers, which means you get a virtuous cycle —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  It’s common sense!

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s common sense — that’s what I’m trying to say.  (Laughter and applause.)  Common sense, exactly.  It’s just common sense — that’s all it is.  It’s common sense.  (Applause.)  Common sense.  It’s just common sense.  (Applause.)  That’s all I’m saying.  (Laughter.)

Now, right now, Republicans in Congress don’t want to vote on raising the minimum wage.  Some have actually said they just want to scrap the minimum wage.  One of them said, “I think it’s outlived its usefulness…I’d vote to repeal the minimum wage.”  One of them said it’s never worked.  Some even said it only helps young people, as if that’s a bad thing.  I think we should want to help young people.  (Laughter and applause.)  I’d like to see them try putting themselves through college on a low wage work-study job.  (Applause.)  But actually — or I’d like to see them supporting a family, making less than $15,000 a year.

But here’s the truth about who it would help.  Most people who would get a raise if we raise the minimum wage are not teenagers on their first job — their average age is 35.  A majority of lower-wage jobs are held by women.  These Americans are workiong full-time, often supporting families, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our economy’s productivity, they’d already be earning well over $10 an hour today.  Instead, it’s stuck at $7.25.  Every time Congress refuses to raise it, it loses value because the cost of living goes higher, minimum wage stays the same.  Right now, it’s worth 20 percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan took office.  And over the last year, since I asked Congress to do something and they didn’t do it, that was an equivalent of a $200 pay cut for the average minimum wage worker, because it didn’t keep pace with inflation.  That’s a month of groceries for the average minimum wage worker.  That’s two months’ worth of electricity.  This is not a small thing, this is a big deal.  It makes a big difference in the lives of a lot of families.  (Applause.)

So members of Congress have a choice to make, it is a clear choice:  Raise workers’ wages, grow our economy — or let wages stagnate further, give workers what amounts to another pay cut.

Fortunately, folks in Connecticut have really good delegations, so your senators and representatives are already on board.  (Applause.)  They’re all on board.  They’re fighting the good fight.  (Applause.)  But anybody who is watching at home, you deserve to know where your elected official stands.  So just ask them, “Do you support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?”  If they say yes, say, “thanks.”  (Laughter.)  “Great job.”  We need encouragement too, elected officials.  (Laughter.)  If they say no, you should be polite — (laughter) — but you should say, “why not?”  Ask them to reconsider.  Ask them to side with the majority of Americans.  Instead of saying no, for once, say yes.  It’s time for $10.10.  It’s time to give America a raise.  (Applause.)

I want to close by sharing a story of a guy named Doug Wade, who is here today.  Where’s Doug?  I’m going to embarrass Doug.  Stand up.  This is Doug, right here.  (Applause.)

Doug had a chance to meet Secretary Perez in Hartford last week.  Doug is the president of Wade’s Dairy down in Bridgeport.  (Applause.)  His great-grandfather, Frank — is that right?  Frank? — started the family business in 1893 — 1893.  One of the secrets to their success is that they treat their employees like part of the family.  So Doug pays his own workers fairly.

But he goes a step further than that — he writes editorials, he talks to fellow business leaders, he meets with elected officials to make the case for a higher minimum wage for everybody.  And keep in mind, Doug spent most of his life as a registered Republican.  This is not about politics.  This is about common sense.  (Applause.)  It’s about business sense.  (Applause.)  And Doug, we were talking backstage, Doug showed me a paystub because it describes his own story.  When he was flipping burgers back in 1970, his employer paid him the minimum wage — but it went 25 percent farther than it does today.   So Doug speaks from experience when he says that, “Things like the minimum wage raise the bar for everybody.”  And he’s still got that paycheck.  And it looks like the paycheck I got when I was working at Baskin-Robbins.  (Laughter and applause.)

The point that Doug and his family, and his business represents is we believe in hard work, we believe in responsibility, we believe in individual initiative, but we also come together to raise the bar for everybody; to make sure our fellow citizens can pursue their own dreams as well; that they can look after their kids and lift them up.  We look out for each other.  That’s who we are.  That is our story.  (Applause.)

There are millions of Americans like Doug, and like all of you, who are tired of old political arguments, ready to raise the bar a little higher.  Let’s move this country forward.  Let’s move it up.  Let’s go further.  That’s what I’m going to do as President as long as I have the honor of serving in this office, and I need your help.  Let’s go out there and give America a raise.

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
2:50 P.M. EST

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Political Musings December 15, 2013: Obama honors Newtown victims a year later, renews gun control push

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama honors Newtown victims a year later, renews gun control push

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On the one year anniversary of the mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 President Barack Obama and the nation remembered the 26 victims of the second worse mass school shooting….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 9, 2013: Clock Ticking on Gun Control Debate Amid Threat of Filibuster

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Clock Ticking on Gun Control Debate Amid Threat of Filibuster

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-9-13

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

With a filibuster threat in the air, the gun control debate takes a personal turn Tuesday on Capitol Hill as the families of the Newtown, Conn., shooting implore members of Congress to revive legislation that has stalled nearly four months after the slaying at Sandy Hook Elementary School….

“Find out where your member of Congress stands on this,” Obama said.  “If they’re not part of the 90 percent of Americans who agree on background checks, then ask them why not.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines April 8, 2013: President Barack Obama in Speech at the University of Hartford Demands Gun Control Vote

Obama, with Newtown Families, Demands Gun Control Vote

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-8-13

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking before families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama made an impassioned and urgent plea for stricter gun laws, as he accused Republicans of threatening to use “political stunts” to block reforms.

“This is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence,” the president told a packed crowd at the University of Hartford, just 50 miles from the site of the December shooting in Newtown, Conn. “It’s about them, and all the families going forward so we can prevent this from happening again. That’s what it’s about.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 8, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Reducing Gun Violence at the University of Hartford, Connecticut — Pushes for Gun Control Bill

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Asks Americans to Stand Up and Call for Action to Reduce Gun Violence

Source: WH, 4-8-13

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on gun violencePresident Barack Obama delivers remarks on gun violence, at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn., April 8, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today President Obama traveled to Connecticut, where he told families of the children and teachers who died at Sandy Hook Elementary that we have not forgotten our promise to help prevent future tragedies and reduce gun violence in our country….READ MORE

Remarks by the President on Reducing Gun Violence — Hartford, CT

Source: WH, 4-8-13

University of Hartford
Hartford, Connecticut

5:45 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Connecticut.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Well, thank you so much, everybody.  Let me begin by thanking Nicole, and Ian, for your brave words.  (Applause.)  I want to thank them and all the Newtown families who have come here today, including your First Selectman, Pat Llodra.  (Applause.)  Nobody could be more eloquent than Nicole and the other families on this issue.  And we are so grateful for their courage and willingness to share their stories again and again, understanding that nothing is going to be more important in making sure the Congress moves forward this week than hearing from them.

I want to thank all the educators from Sandy Hook Elementary who have come here as well — (applause) — the survivors —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  We love you, Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  I do.  (Applause.)

— the survivors who still mourn and grieve, but are still going to work every day to love and raise those precious children in their care as fiercely as ever.

I want to thank Governor Malloy for his leadership.  (Applause.)  Very proud of him.  I want to thank the University of Hartford for hosting us this afternoon.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Hawks.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank the people of Connecticut for everything you’ve done to honor the memories of the victims — (applause) — because you’re part of their family as well.

One of your recent alumni, Rachel D’Avino, was a behavioral therapist at Sandy Hook.  Two alumni of your performing arts school, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene, lost their daughter, Ana — an incredible, vibrant young girl who looked up to them, and learned from them, and inherited their talents by singing before she could talk.

So every family in this state was shaken by the tragedy of that morning.  Every family in this country was shaken.  We hugged our kids more tightly.  We asked what could we do, as a society, to help prevent a tragedy like that from happening again.

And as a society, we decided that we have to change.  We must.  We must change.  (Applause.)

I noticed that Nicole and others refer to that day as “12/14.”  For these families, it was a day that changed everything.  And I know many of you in Newtown wondered if the rest of us would live up to the promise we made in those dark days — if we’d change, too; or if once the television trucks left, once the candles flickered out, once the teddy bears were carefully gathered up, that the country would somehow move on to other things.

Over the weekend, I heard Francine Wheeler, who lost her son Ben that day, say that the four months since the tragedy might feel like a brief moment for some, but for her, it feels like it’s been years since she saw Ben.  And she’s determined not to let what happened that day just fade away.  “We’re not going anywhere,” she said.  “We are here.  And we are going to be here.”  And I know that she speaks for everybody in Newtown, everybody who was impacted.

And, Newtown, we want you to know that we’re here with you.  We will not walk away from the promises we’ve made.  (Applause.)  We are as determined as ever to do what must be done.  In fact, I’m here to ask you to help me show that we can get it done.  We’re not forgetting.  (Applause.)

We can’t forget.  Your families still grieve in ways most of us can’t comprehend.  But so many of you have used that grief to make a difference — not just to honor your own children, but to protect the lives of all of our children.  So many of you have mobilized, and organized, and petitioned your elected officials “with love and logic,” as Nicole put it — as citizens determined to right something gone wrong.

And last week, here in Connecticut, your elected leaders responded.  The Connecticut legislature, led by many of the legislators here today, passed new measures to protect more of our children and our communities from gun violence.  And Governor Malloy signed that legislation into law.  (Applause.)

So I want to be clear.  You, the families of Newtown, people across Connecticut, you helped make that happen.  Your voices, your determination made that happen.  Obviously, the elected leaders did an extraordinary job moving it forward, but it couldn’t have happened if they weren’t hearing from people in their respective districts, people all across the state.  That’s the power of your voice.

And, by the way, Connecticut is not alone.  In the past few months, New York, Colorado, Maryland have all passed new, common-sense gun safety reforms as well.  (Applause.)

These are all states that share an awful familiarity with gun violence, whether it’s the horror of mass killings, or the street crime that’s too common in too many neighborhoods.  All of these states also share a strong tradition of hunting, and sport shooting, and gun ownership.  It’s been a part of the fabric of people’s lives for generations.  And every single one of those states — including here in Connecticut — decided that, yes, we can protect more of our citizens from gun violence while still protecting our Second Amendment rights.  Those two things don’t contradict each other.  (Applause.)  We can pass common-sense laws that protect our kids and protect our rights.

So Connecticut has shown the way.  And now is the time for Congress to do the same.  (Applause.)  Now is the time for Congress to do the same.  This week is the time for Congress to do the same.  (Applause.)

Now, back in January, just a few months after the tragedy in Newtown, I announced a series of executive actions to reduce gun violence and keep our kids safe.  And I put forward common-sense proposals — much like those that passed here in Connecticut — for Congress to consider.  And you’ll remember in my State of the Union address, I urged Congress to give those proposals a vote.  And that moment is now.

As soon as this week, Congress will begin debating these common-sense proposals to reduce gun violence.  Your senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy — they’re here — (applause) — your Representatives, John Larson, Rosa DeLauro, Elizabeth Esty, Jim Hines, Joe Courtney, they are all pushing to pass this legislation.  (Applause.)  But much of Congress is going to only act if they hear from you, the American people.  So here’s what we have to do.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  I appreciate that.  (Laughter.)  Here’s what we’ve got to do.  We have to tell Congress it’s time to require a background check for anyone who wants to buy a gun so that people who are dangerous to themselves and others cannot get their hands on a gun.  Let’s make that happen.  (Applause.)

We have to tell Congress it’s time to crack down on gun trafficking so that folks will think twice before buying a gun as part of a scheme to arm someone who won’t pass a background check.  Let’s get that done.  (Applause.)

We have to tell Congress it’s time to restore the ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines, to make it harder for a gunman to fire 154 bullets into his victims in less than five minutes.  Let’s put that to a vote.  (Applause.)

We have to tell Congress it’s time to strengthen school safety and help people struggling with mental health problems get the treatment they need before it’s too late.  Let’s do that for our kids and for our communities.  (Applause.)

Now, I know that some of these proposals inspire more debate than others, but each of them has the support of the majority of the American people.  All of them are common sense.  All of them deserve a vote.  All of them deserve a vote.  (Applause.)

Consider background checks.  Over the past 20 years, background checks have kept more than 2 million dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun.  A group of police officers in Colorado told me last week that, thanks to background checks, they’ve been able to stop convicted murderers, folks under restraining orders for committing violent domestic abuse from buying a gun.  In some cases, they’ve actually arrested the person as they were coming to purchase the gun.

So we know that background checks can work.  But the problem is loopholes in the current law let so many people avoid background checks altogether.  That’s not safe.  It doesn’t make sense.  If you’re a law-abiding citizen and you go through a background check to buy a gun, wouldn’t you expect other people to play by the same rules?  (Applause.)

If you’re a law-abiding gun seller, wouldn’t you want to know you’re not selling your gun to someone who’s likely to commit a crime?  (Applause.)  Shouldn’t we make it harder, not easier for somebody who is convicted of domestic abuse to get his hands on a gun?  (Applause.)

It turns out 90 percent of Americans think so.  Ninety percent of Americans support universal background checks.  Think about that.  How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything?  (Laughter.)  And yet, 90 percent agree on this — Republicans, Democrats, folks who own guns, folks who don’t own guns; 80 percent of Republicans, more than 80 percent of gun owners, more than 70 percent of NRA households.  It is common sense.

And yet, there is only one thing that can stand in the way of change that just about everybody agrees on, and that’s politics in Washington.  You would think that with those numbers Congress would rush to make this happen.  That’s what you would think.  (Applause.)  If our democracy is working the way it’s supposed to, and 90 percent of the American people agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy you’d think this would not be a heavy lift.

And yet, some folks back in Washington are already floating the idea that they may use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms.  Think about that.  They’re not just saying they’ll vote “no” on ideas that almost all Americans support.  They’re saying they’ll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions.  They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter.  And that’s not right.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That is not right.

AUDIENCE:  We want a vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  We need a vote.

AUDIENCE:  We want a vote!  We want a vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  We need a vote.

AUDIENCE:  We want a vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’ve also heard some in the Washington press suggest that what happens to gun violence legislation in Congress this week will either be a political victory or defeat for me.  Connecticut, this is not about me.  This is not about politics.  This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence.  (Applause.)  It’s about them and all the families going forward, so we can prevent this from happening again.  That’s what it’s about.  It’s about the law enforcement officials putting their lives at risk.  That’s what this is about.  This is not about politics.  (Applause.)  This is not about politics.

This is about these families and families all across the country who are saying let’s make it a little harder for our kids to get gunned down.

When I said in my State of the Union address that these proposals deserve a vote — that families of Newtown, and Aurora, and Tucson, and a former member of Congress, Gabby Giffords, that they all deserved a vote -– virtually every member of that chamber stood up and applauded.  And now they’re going to start denying your families a vote when the cameras are off and when the lobbyists have worked what they do?  You deserve better than that.  You deserve a vote.

Now, look, we knew from the beginning of this debate that change would not be easy.  We knew that there would be powerful interests that are very good at confusing the subject, that are good at amplifying conflict and extremes, that are good at drowning out rational debate, good at ginning up irrational fears, all of which stands in the way of progress.

But if our history teaches us anything, then it’s up to us –- the people -– to stand up to those who say we can’t, or we won’t; stand up for the change that we need.  And I believe that that’s what the American people are looking for.

When I first ran for this office, I said that I did not believe the country was as divided as our politics would suggest, and I still believe that.  (Applause.)  I know sometimes, when you watch cable news or talk radio, or you browse the Internet, you’d think, man, everybody just hates each other, everybody is just at each other’s throats.  But that’s not how most Americans think about these issues.  There are good people on both sides of every issue.

So if we’re going to move forward, we can’t just talk past one another.  We’ve got to listen to one another.  That’s what Governor Malloy and all these legislative leaders did.  That’s why they were able to pass bipartisan legislation.  (Applause.)

I’ve got stacks of letters from gun owners who want me to know that they care passionately about their right to bear arms, don’t want them infringed upon, and I appreciate every one of those letters.  I’ve learned from them.  But a lot of those letters, what they’ve also said is they’re not just gun owners; they’re also parents or police officers or veterans, and they agree that we can’t stand by and keep letting these tragedies happen; that with our rights come some responsibilities and obligations to our communities and ourselves, and most of all to our children.  We can’t just think about “us” –- we’ve got to think about “we, the people.”

I was in Colorado.  I told a story about Michelle.  She came back from a trip to rural Iowa; we were out there campaigning.  Sometimes it would be miles between farms, let alone towns.  And she said, you know, coming back, I can understand why somebody would want a gun for protection.  If somebody drove up into the driveway and, Barack, you weren’t home, the sheriff lived miles away, I might want that security.  So she can understand what it might be like in terms of somebody wanting that kind of security.

On the other hand, I also talked to a hunter last week who said, all my experiences with guns have been positive, but I also realize that for others, all their experiences with guns have been negative.

And when he said that, I thought about the mom I met from suburban Chicago whose son was killed in a random shooting.  And this mom told me, I hate it when people tell me that my son was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was on his way to school.  He was exactly where he was supposed to be.  He was in the right place at the right time, and he still got shot.  (Applause.)

The kids at Sandy Hook were where they were supposed to be.  So were those moviegoers in Aurora.  So were those worshippers in Oak Creek.  So was Gabby Giffords.  She was at a supermarket, listening to the concerns of her constituents.  (Applause.)  They were exactly where they were supposed to be.  They were also exercising their rights — to assemble peaceably; to worship freely and safely.  They were exercising the rights of life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  So surely, we can reconcile those two things.  Surely, America doesn’t have to be divided between rural and urban, and Democrat and Republican when it comes to something like this.

If you’re an American who wants to do something to prevent more families from knowing the immeasurable anguish that these families here have known, then we have to act.  Now is the time to get engaged.  Now is the time to get involved.  Now is the time to push back on fear, and frustration, and misinformation.  Now is the time for everybody to make their voices heard from every state house to the corridors of Congress.

And I’m asking everyone listening today, find out where your member of Congress stands on this.  If they’re not part of the 90 percent of Americans who agree on background checks, then ask them, why not?  Why wouldn’t you want to make it easier for law enforcement to do their job?  Why wouldn’t you want to make it harder for a dangerous person to get his or her hands on a gun?  What’s more important to you:  our children, or an A-grade from the gun lobby?  (Applause.)

I’ve heard Nicole talk about what her life has been like since Dylan was taken from her in December.  And one thing she said struck me.  She said, “Every night, I beg for him to come to me in my dreams so that I can see him again.  And during the day, I just focus on what I need to do to honor him and make change.”  Now, if Nicole can summon the courage to do that, how can the rest of us do any less?  (Applause.)  How can we do any less?

If there is even one thing we can do to protect our kids, don’t we have an obligation to try?  If there is even one step we can take to keep somebody from murdering dozens of innocents in the span of minutes, shouldn’t we be taking that step?  (Applause.)  If there is just one thing we can do to keep one father from having to bury his child, isn’t that worth fighting for?

I’ve got to tell you, I’ve had tough days in the presidency — I’ve said this before.  The day Newtown happened was the toughest day of my presidency.  But I’ve got to tell you, if we don’t respond to this, that will be a tough day for me, too.  (Applause.)  Because we’ve got to expect more from ourselves, and we’ve got to expect more from Congress.  We’ve got to believe that every once in a while, we set politics aside and we just do what’s right.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to believe that.

And if you believe that, I’m asking you to stand up.  (Applause.)  If you believe in the right to bears arms, like I do, but think we should prevent an irresponsible few from inflicting harm — stand up.  Stand up.  (Applause.)

If you believe that the families of Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Virginia Tech and the thousands of Americans who have been gunned down in the last four months deserve a vote, we all have to stand up.  (Applause.)

If you want the people you send to Washington to have just an iota of the courage that the educators at Sandy Hook showed when danger arrived on their doorstep, then we’re all going to have to stand up.

And if we do, if we come together and raise our voices together and demand this change together, I’m convinced cooperation and common sense will prevail.  We will find sensible, intelligent ways to make this country stronger and safer for our children.  (Applause.)

So let’s do the right thing.  Let’s do right by our kids.  Let’s do right by these families.  Let’s get this done.  Connecticut, thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END                6:13 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines February 21, 2013: VP Joe Biden Speech on Gun Violence in Connecticut ‘Moral Price to Be Paid for Inaction’ on Guns

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Biden: ‘Moral Price to Be Paid for Inaction’ on Guns

Source: ABC News Radio,  2-21-13

Speaking just over 10 miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden warned Congress that there is a “moral price” that will be paid if action is not taken to prevent gun violence.

“I say to my colleagues who will watch this and listen to this, I say to you, if you’re concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children, and guess what? I believe the price to be paid politically will go to those who refuse to act, who refuse to step forward because America’s changed on this issue.  You should all know the American people are with us,” Biden said at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. “There’s a moral price to be paid for inaction.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines January 4, 2013: PHOTO: President Barack Obama Hears of Sandy Hook Shooting

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

PHOTO: Obama Hears of Sandy Hook Shooting

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-6-13

Pete Souza/White House

A new collection of White House photos includes an image of the moment on Dec. 14 when President Obama heard about details of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

A grim-looking Obama leans on a couch as his Homeland Security adviser tells him of the shooting.

“The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.,” according to the caption provided by White House photographer Pete Souza.  “The President later said during a TV interview that this was the worst day of his Presidency.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines December 30, 2012: President Barack Obama on NBC’s Meet the Press Newtown School Shooting ‘Worst Day’ of Presidency

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama: Newtown Shooting ‘Worst Day’ of Presidency

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-30-12

The White House

President Obama said the Newton, Conn., shootings on December 14 were the “worst day” of his time in office.

Recollecting the tragic shooting deaths of 20 first graders and six adults at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the president had been asked how his administration planned to move forward on gun control measures he had suggested in recent weeks. Ultimately, the president said, any coming legislation would be dependent on public approval.

“The question then becomes whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away,” he said. “It certainly won’t feel like that to me. This is something that – you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it’s not something that I want to see repeated.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines December 19, 2012: President Barack Obama Unveils Plan to Tackle Gun Control at Press Conference

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Unveils Plan to Tackle Gun Control

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-19-12

File photo. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Five days after deadliest elementary school shooting in U.S. history, President Obama said his administration plans immediate action early next year on proposals to curb an “epidemic of gun violence.”

At a morning news conference, Obama announced the formation of a task force to be headed by Vice President Joe Biden that will formulate a package of policy recommendations by January.

“The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,” Obama said. “The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean that we can’t steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence.” …READ MORE

Political Headlines December 18, 2012: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on the Gun Control Measures President Barack Obama Might Back

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Jay Carney on the Gun Control Measures Obama Might Back

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-18-12

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The White House on Tuesday indicated President Obama would support legislation that would reinstate the ban on certain types of semi-automatic rifles — known as “the assault weapons ban” — and may support other efforts, such as a proposal to ban high-capacity magazines, in the wake of the deadly massacre in Newtown, Conn.

“He is actively supportive of, for example, Senator Feinstein’s stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, publicly backing for the first time legislation Feinstein plans to introduce. The White House had previously been reluctant to publicly named any specific action it might support in an effort to prevent future massacres….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 17, 2012: Pro-Gun Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin Suggests New Gun Laws

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Pro-Gun Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin Suggests New Gun Laws

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-17-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., has been as pro-gun, pro-NRA as anybody in Congress.  During his 2010 re-election campaign, he famously demonstrated his opposition to the cap-and-trade bill by shooting the bill (literally) with a rifle.

Now, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, Manchin says it is time to re-think gun control.  As he said Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting…”

On Twitter, Manchin endorsed a proposal by Sen. Joe Lieberman to create a national commission on gun violence.  But he said there must be action as an end result….READ MORE

Featured Historians December 17, 2012 Beverly Gage: Things Can Change on the Sandy Hook School Shooting

FEATURED HISTORIANS

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HISTORY OP-EDS

Things Can Change

A century ago, there were forms of brutal violence considered so thoroughly American that they could never be banished. Today, they no longer exist.

Source: Beverly Gage, Slate, 12-17-12 

Beverly Gage, a Yale history professor, is the author of The Day Wall Street Exploded.

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People gather at a memorial for victims near the school on the first Sunday following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 16, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

In 1985, when I was 13 years old, a woman suffering from schizophrenia brought a semiautomatic rifle to our local mall and began shooting. This was the mall where I picked out clothes from the Gap, where I sat for photos with Santa Claus as a toddler, where kids my age were just starting to hang out and flaunt their independence. The woman, 25-year-old Sylvia Seegrist, killed three people, including a 2-year-old child, and shot several others before being subdued by a man who thought she was shooting blanks. When asked why she had done it, Seegrist said, bizarrely, that “my family makes me nervous.” In other words, there was no reason at all.

As a middle-schooler, I registered the event only in the haziest terms: I knew something terrible had happened, I was glad it hadn’t happened to me, and I figured the adults would take care of the rest. Now, as an adult, what seems shocking is just how little was done. There were calls for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, for better treatment and commitment laws, for more restrictive gun control, for greater community vigilance to identify people prone to violence. But none of it, apparently, mattered quite enough. Fourteen years after the Springfield Mall shooting came Columbine, then Virginia Tech, and now Sandy Hook Elementary.

Like millions of other heartsick people, I am inclined to despair at this list, to think that though all of this must change, it never will. But as a historian I am reminded that change often comes slowly, and with great pain and effort. A century ago, there were forms of graphic, brutal violence considered so thoroughly American that they could never be banished from the national landscape. Today they no longer exist. In the story of how these changes happened, there may be a model—or a least a bit of hope—for the present….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 17, 2012: President Barack Obama in Speech at Sandy Hook Interfaith Prayer Vigil: Nation Faces ‘Hard Questions’ After Connecticut Shooting

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama: Nation Faces ‘Hard Questions’ After Connecticut Shooting

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-16-12

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama said at an interfaith prayer service in the grieving community of Newtown, Conn., Sunday evening that the country is “left with some hard questions” if it is to curb a rising trend in gun violence, such as the shooting spree last Friday at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

After consoling victims’ families in classrooms at Newtown High School, the president said he would do everything in his power to “engage” a dialogue with Americans, including law enforcement and mental health professionals, because “we can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them we must change.”…READ MORE

 

Remarks by the President at Sandy Hook Interfaith Prayer Vigil

Newtown High School

Newtown, Connecticut

8:37 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Governor.  To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests — Scripture tells us:  “…do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away…inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

We gather here in memory of twenty beautiful children and six remarkable adults.  They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school; in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation.  I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.  I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight.  And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it.  Newtown — you are not alone.

As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice.  We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate.  Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy — they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they’re coming”; “show me your smile.”

And we know that good guys came.  The first responders who raced to the scene, helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety, and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and trauma because they had a job to do, and others needed them more.

And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren, helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do; one child even trying to encourage a grown-up by saying, “I know karate.  So it’s okay.  I’ll lead the way out.”  (Laughter.)

As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown.  In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other, and you’ve cared for one another, and you’ve loved one another.  This is how Newtown will be remembered.  And with time, and God’s grace, that love will see you through.

But we, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions.  Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.  With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice.  And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm.  And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.  They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments.  And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.

And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.  It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself.  That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation.  And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.

This is our first task — caring for our children.  It’s our first job.  If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.  That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations?  Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?  Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return?  Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.  We’re not doing enough.  And we will have to change.

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting.  The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors.  The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.  And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change.  We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.  Surely, we can do better than this.  If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.

In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.  Because what choice do we have?  We can’t accept events like this as routine.  Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?  Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

All the world’s religions — so many of them represented here today — start with a simple question:  Why are we here?  What gives our life meaning?  What gives our acts purpose?  We know our time on this Earth is fleeting.  We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped.  We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way.  We will make mistakes, we will experience hardships.  And even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have — for our children, for our families, for each other.  The warmth of a small child’s embrace — that is true.  The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger — we know that’s what matters.  We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness.  We don’t go wrong when we do that.

That’s what we can be sure of.  And that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us.  That’s how you’ve inspired us.  You remind us what matters.  And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do, for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.

“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them — for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Charlotte.  Daniel.  Olivia.  Josephine.  Ana.  Dylan.  Madeleine.  Catherine.  Chase.  Jesse.  James.  Grace.  Emilie.  Jack.  Noah.  Caroline.  Jessica.  Benjamin.  Avielle.  Allison.

God has called them all home.  For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.

May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place.  May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort.  And may He bless and watch over this community, and the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END                 8:55 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency December 16, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Memorial for Sandy Hook School Shooting Victims in Newtown, Connecticut Transcript — Obama’s Message at Prayer Vigil ‘We will have to change’

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama at Prayer Vigil for Connecticut Shooting Victims: “Newtown, You Are Not Alone”

Source: WH, 12-16-12

Today, President Obama traveled to Newtown, CT to meet with the families of those who were lost in Friday’s tragic shooting, and to thank first responders for their work.

This evening the President spoke at an interfaith vigil for families of the victims, and all families from Sandy Hook Elementary School. He offered the love and prayers of a nation grieving alongside Newtown:

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation.  I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.  I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight.  And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it.

Newtown — you are not alone.

As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice.  We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate.  Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy — they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they’re coming”; “show me your smile.”

And we know that good guys came.  The first responders who raced to the scene, helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety, and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and trauma because they had a job to do, and others needed them more.

And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren, helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do; one child even trying to encourage a grown-up by saying, “I know karate.  So it’s okay.  I’ll lead the way out.”

As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown.  In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other, and you’ve cared for one another, and you’ve loved one another.  This is how Newtown will be remembered.  And with time, and God’s grace, that love will see you through.

 

President Barack Obama attends the Sandy Hook interfaith vigil (December 16, 2012) President Barack Obama attends the Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama also spoke about the need to engage Americans in efforts to prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown, reiterating that America’s first job is caring for our children:

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations?  Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?  Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return?  Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.  We’re not doing enough.  And we will have to change.

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting.  The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors.  The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.  And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end.  And to end them, we must change.  We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.  Surely, we can do better than this.  If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.

Read President Obama’s full remarks from the vigil.

Watch President Obama’s Friday statement from the Briefing Room.

President Obama’s speech at prayer vigil for Newtown shooting victims (Full transcript)

Source: Washington Post, 12-16-12

View Photo Gallery — Community bands together in Newtown, Conn.: President Obama addressed the country from Newtown, Conn., on Sunday and met family members of those killed in Friday’s shooting rampage, carrying out the awful rituals tied to mass death and national grief for his fourth time in just four years as president.

Full transcript of President Obama’s remarks at a Dec. 16 prayer vigil for victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
OBAMA: Thank you.Thank you, Governor. To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests, scripture tells us, “Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.“For light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands.”

We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.

I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.

And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.

As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch. They did not hesitate.

Dawn Hocksprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Russeau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy, they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances, with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms and kept steady through it all and reassured their students by saying, “Wait for the good guys, they are coming. Show me your smile.”

And we know that good guys came, the first responders who raced to the scene helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and their own trauma, because they had a job to do and others needed them more.

And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do, one child even trying to encourage a grownup by saying, “I know karate, so it’s OK; I’ll lead the way out.”

As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other. You’ve cared for one another. And you’ve loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered, and with time and God’s grace, that love will see you through.

But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.

With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.

They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.

It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.

And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.

This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?

Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?

Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?

Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.

And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose — much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.

In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.

Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?

Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

You know, all the world’s religions, so many of them represented here today, start with a simple question.

Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?

We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that, no matter how good our intentions, we’ll all stumble sometimes in some way.

We’ll make mistakes, we’ll experience hardships and even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace, that is true.

The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that’s what matters.

We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.

That’s what we can be sure of, and that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That’s how you’ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.

“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home.

For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort, and may He bless and watch over this community and the United States of America.

Political Headlines December 16, 2012: Connecticut School Shooting: President Barack Obama Offers Newtown ‘Love and Prayers of a Nation’ in Speech at Memorial for School Shooting Victims

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Connecticut School Shooting: Obama Offers Newtown ‘Love and Prayers of a Nation’

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-16-12

President Obama told the grieving community of Newtown, Conn., that the nation has wept with them for the loss of 20 children and six teachers and school staff members killed in a senseless massacre.

Grim-faced, Obama took the stage at Newtown High School auditorium Sunday night to speak at a memorial service for the first graders, teachers, principal and other school staff members killed Friday by 20-year-old Adam Lanza at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation,” the president said. “I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps to know you are not alone … and that all across this land we have wept with you.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines December 16, 2012: President Barack Obama Travels to Connecticut for a Vigil for the Victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting — As Nation Struggles Over Next Moves on Gun Control

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Travels to Connecticut as Nation Struggles Over Next Moves on Gun Control

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-16-12

The White House

President Obama is expected to travel to a mourning Newtown, Conn., this evening for memorial services, as the nation pieces together the circumstances that led to a gunman taking the lives of 20 young children and six adults Friday at the community’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Assuming a consoling role that has become all too familiar for this presidency, Obama will also privately meet with some of the families affected by the tragic shooting, as well as local first responders….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency December 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Vows ‘Meaningful Action’ After Connecticut School Shooting — Nation Grieves for Those Killed in Tragic Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Weekly Address: President Obama Vows ‘Meaningful Action’ After Connecticut Shooting

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-15-12

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages

Mourning the victims of the deadly shooting rampage at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, President Obama says it’s time to “take meaningful action” to prevent future tragedies like this from occurring.

“Most of those who died were just young children with their whole lives ahead of them.  And every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt,” the President says in his weekly address. “Among the fallen were also teachers – men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.”

Twenty children and six adults were killed when a gunman opened fire Friday morning in Sandy Hook Elementary School….READ MORE

Weekly Address: Nation Grieves for Those Killed in Tragic Shooting in Newtown, CT

Source: WH, 12-15-12

The President says the nation’s thoughts and prayers are with those who lost a loved one during Friday’s tragic shooting in Newtown, CT.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Weekly Address: Nation Grieves for Those Killed in Tragic Shooting in Newtown, CT

On Friday, we learned that more than two dozen people were killed when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Most of those who died were just young children with their whole lives ahead of them. And every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt.

Among the fallen were also teachers – men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today. We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived.  Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child’s innocence has been torn away far too early.

As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown. A shopping mall in Oregon. A house of worship in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. Countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.

Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.

This weekend, Michelle and I are doing what I know every parent is doing – holding our children as close as we can and reminding them how much we love them.

There are families in Connecticut who can’t do that today. And they need all of us now. Because while nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need – to remind them that we are there for them; that we are praying for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country.

Thank you.

Political Headlines December 14, 2012: ‘Our Hearts Are Broken Today,’ President Barack Obama Says in Emotional & Tearful Speech on the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

‘Our Hearts Are Broken Today,’ President Obama Says

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-14-12

The White House

[TRANSCRIPT: President Obama Reacts to the Newtown, Conn. Shooting]

Wiping away tears for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, President Obama came to the White House briefing room Friday afternoon to mourn the victims of this morning’s carnage.

“The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,” the president said, pausing to collect himself as tears began to stream from his eyes. “They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”…

The president’s public reaction was not only more emotional than after any previous shooting during his presidency — many of which he recited in a grim list — but more political. While the president has avoided any serious discussions of gun control, on Friday he hinted about the subject….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency December 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Emotional & Tearful Speech on the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut — Transcript

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks on the Shooting in Connecticut

Source: WH, 12-14-12

President Obama delivers a statement on the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2012.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House regarding the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama delivers a statement on the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2012.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House regarding the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Watch the video

This afternoon, President Obama made a statement from the Briefing Room on the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.  And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent.  And that was especially true today.  I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.  They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.  Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.  Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times.  Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.  And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another.  But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight.  And they need all of us right now.  In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans.  And I will do everything in my power as President to help.

Read the full remarks here.

The President also issued a proclamation honoring the victims of the tragedy, ordering U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on December 18.

School shooting: President Obama’s remarks on the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (Transcript)


Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

President Obama in Washington after the shootings.

Video: President Barack Obama teared up Friday as he addressed the nation after a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. left 27 people dead, including 18 children.

Source: The Washington Post, 12-14-12

Here is a complete transcript of President Obama’s remarks about the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.

Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

END

President Obama speaks on Newtown, Connecticut school shooting

President Obama speaks on Newtown, Connecticut school shooting President Obama spoke at the White House shortly after 3:15 p.m., wiping tears from his eyes as he addressed the mass shooting in Newtown. 

LIVE BLOG: Updates from Conn.

Ryan Lanza: Newtown shooter identified; AP: Source says suspect had ties to school; Officials recover 2 guns, bulletproof vest …

LIVE: On the ground at Sandy Hook

LIVE: On the ground at Sandy Hook VIDEO | Local station NBC Connecticut is at the scene in Newton, Connecticut.

‘I am ashamed to be an American’

‘I am ashamed to be an American’

Washington Post Staff LIVE BLOG | Today’s shooting has elicited a flood of emotional tweets. Here are a few that stuck out.

Full Text Political Headlines December 14, 2012: Governors & Congress Reactions to Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut — Call Shooting ‘Senseless,’ Some Urge Gun Restrictions

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Politicians Call Connecticut Shooting ‘Senseless,’ Some Urge Gun Restrictions

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-14-12

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Politicians on Twitter and in written statements reacted with horror to the school shooting that left 27 people dead, including 18 children, in Newtown, Conn., Friday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: 

During times of such unthinkable tragedy, all New Yorkers stand together with the people of our neighboring state to grieve the loss of life and help bear the pain and anguish that will be felt by so many in the weeks, months, and years to come. While we don’t have all the facts and our focus must be on the victims, this is yet another senseless and horrific act of violence involving guns. We as a society must unify and once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans. Let this terrible tragedy finally be the wake-up call for aggressive action and I pledge my full support in that effort.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.:

Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children.  We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. 

If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is.  How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through?  I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: 

‘There is, I’m sure — will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don’t think today is that day. 

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell: 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted by the events transpiring today, and to the teachers, emergency responders, and all others touched by this tragedy. Unfortunately, Virginia has our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Those memories will never fade, and we continue to grieve for all those lost on that April day. We are all too aware of the impact that events like this can have on a community. If there is anything Virginia can do to assist Governor Malloy and the citizens of Connecticut, we stand ready to do so.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, of Colorado: 

The shooting in Connecticut is absolutely horrific and heartbreaking. We know too well what impact this kind of violence has on a community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are immediately with the families of those killed. We can offer comfort, but we all know the pain will stay forever.

Rep. Joe Courtney, R-Ct.: 

@RepJoeCourtney: #Newtown shooting is an horrific, senseless tragedy. Thoughts and prayers for victims, families, and the Sandy Hook Elementary community.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: 

@NancyPelosi: No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook. We share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events.

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 8, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speeches at Campaign Events in Stamford & Westport Connecticut Calls Mitt Romney Is ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama: Romney Is ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’; Romney Says Obama Will Raise Your Taxes

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Unveiling a new zinger against his opponent, President Obama Monday night said Mitt Romney’s tax plan amounts to “Robin Hood in reverse” because it would take money from the poor to help the rich.

“It’s Romney Hood,” the president said to uproarious laughter and applause from supporters in Stamford, Conn.

The president pointed to a recent study by the Tax Policy Center that found Romney’s economic plan would raise taxes on the majority of Americans to give tax breaks to the super wealthy….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Westport, CT

Source: WH, 8-6-12
Private Residence
Westport, Connecticut

8:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Well, it is wonderful to be here.  And there are just a couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, obviously Harvey and Georgina have just been great friends and have done so much for us — not just in this election, but in the previous one.  A couple of other people who I want to mention — your Governor, Dan Malloy, is here, who’s doing outstanding work here in Connecticut.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Anne Hathaway for taking the time to host us.  She’s spectacular.  (Laughter.)   And I did get a chance to see Batman.  (Laughter.)  And she was the best thing in it.  (Laughter.)  That’s just my personal opinion.  Aaron Sorkin, who writes the way every Democrat in Washington wished they spoke.  (Laughter and applause.)  Aaron, thank you.

And Joanne Woodward — what a treat this is.  Joanne and Paul were not only I think what was best about American film, but also just embodied the American spirit in so many ways.  And their love story and the way they took so many people under their wing and helped so many people I think made them something more important than just folks in film.  And for her to be here, what a great treat that is.  So thank you so much for taking the time.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

Now, you know, in these kind of intimate settings, I usually don’t make a long speech because what I want to do is have a conversation.  And so let me just say a few things at the top.

I’ll give you a sense of the kind of season we’re in.  Jim Messina, my campaign manager, tells this story.  He was at an event like this, and there was a young couple; they had a four-year-old boy, cute as can be.  And during this campaign event, there was a picture of me there.  And so the parents, very proudly, prompt the son, “Who is that?”  And he says, “That’s Barack Obama.”  And they say, “Well, and what does Barack Obama do?”  And he thinks for a second, and he says, “Barack Obama approves this message.”  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, that speaks to the state of affairs in politics today.  (Laughter.)  Unless you have — you don’t have a TV set or your cable is busted, you’re seeing an awful lot of stuff about politics.  And the reason I think there’s so much intensity is because we’ve got a choice that is as stark and as critical as any that we’ve seen in my lifetime — in some ways, more important than 2008.

In 2008, we came together — and it wasn’t just Democrats, it was independents and some Republicans — because we recognized that for over a decade the core idea at the heart of this country was at risk — the idea that if you work hard, that hard work is rewarded; that you can make it here if you try, regardless of what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is.

And for a decade, we had seen job growth slow and we had seen jobs moving overseas, and we had seen people working harder and harder but coming up with less because the costs were going up a lot faster than their wages and their incomes.  And this all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

We have spent three and a half years, a little over three and a half years now, trying to make sure that this country gets back on its feet.  And because of the extraordinary resilience of the American people, we have seen signs of recovery — 4.5 million new jobs, half a million new manufacturing jobs, an auto industry that is reinvigorated.

But we didn’t work this hard in 2008 just to get back to where we were in 2007.  Our notion was that we needed to rebuild a country where the foundations for people who were willing to act responsibly were there for them either to feel security in the middle class or to climb into the middle class — and maybe do even better.  And that means making sure that we have an education system that works — which is why we’ve initiated more aggressive education reform across the country than any President in a very long time; and the reason that we put so much emphasis on making college more affordable for young people.

It meant health care, because in a country this wealthy, we shouldn’t go bankrupt when we get sick.  And the Affordable Care Act means that 30 million people will have health insurance, but it also means that people who already have health insurance have a little more security.

We did an event just before we came here, and there was a woman who clearly is doing fine and is well-insured, but she personally thanked me for the health care bill because she said, my husband just got cancer and we weren’t sure whether we were going to hit that $1 million limit on our insurance policy.  Well, that limit is no longer allowed under the Affordable Care Act — which means they may not lose their house because of an illness.  (Applause.)

It means making investments in science and research that are what made us an economic superpower.  It means having a tax code that’s fair so that we bring down our deficit not on the backs of folks who are struggling, but we ask those of us who are — who’ve been incredibly blessed by this country to do a little bit more, understanding that when folks in the middle and the bottom are doing well, everybody does well and the economy grows.

It means a foreign policy that recognizes the force of our example and our ideals and our capacity to engage with countries diplomatically is a complement to our incredible military power.  And it’s not a sign of weakness to say that we are going to reach out around the world and engage people.

So we’ve had a lot of work to do over the last three and a half years, and we’re not done.  We’re just — we’ve gotten on track, but these gains are reversible.  And you’ve got the other party and the other candidate who don’t just want to reverse the gains that we’ve made over the last three and a half years, but in many ways want to reverse gains we’ve made over the last 40, 0r 50, or 60 years.

When you look at their budget, and they say that they want to initiate a $5 trillion tax cut on top of the Bush tax cut, what that functionally means is that either you blow up the deficit by another $5 trillion — which they say is irresponsible — or you’re going to have to eliminate funding for education, for infrastructure, for basic science and research.  Medicare is going to be a voucher system, which means that seniors may end up paying thousands of dollars more for care that they were counting on.

When Mitt Romney says he wants to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood I think he means it.  When he says that Arizona is a model for how we should deal with immigration, I think that fundamentally misunderstands that we’re a nation of laws but also a nation of immigrants.

So on a whole host of issues, you’ve got very stark differences.  And the good news is that you guys are the tie-breaker.  You and the American people.  And when you walk into that ballot box — or don’t walk into the ballot box.  That’s the second time I’ve said this today.  (Laughter.)  When you walk into the voting booth — it’s illegal, I’m sure, to walk into a ballot box.  (Laughter.)  When you cast your ballot, you will have the opportunity to determine the course of this country’s direction not just tomorrow, or next year, or five years from now, but probably for decades to come.

And the great privilege of being President is you interact with people from every walk of life, from every corner of the country.  And what you discover is the faith that I brought into this office in the American people — their core decency and their values and their resilience and their fundamental fairness — they have never disappointed me.  And I’m confident that they won’t this time either, despite the fact that we’ve got all these negative ads raining down on our heads, and super PACs running around with folks writing $10 million checks — because when the American people focus and are paying attention, their instincts are sound and they know what makes this country great.

That’s what we’re going to be fighting for, and we’ve got 90 days to do it.  So I hope you guys are onboard.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
8:10 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Stamford, CT

Source: WH, 8-6-12
Stamford Marriott Hotel
Stamford, Connecticut

6:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Well, it is wonderful to be back in Connecticut.  A couple of people I want to give a shout-out to — first of all, your outstanding Governor, Dan Malloy, is here.  (Applause.)  Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman is here.  (Applause.)  Senator Dick Blumenthal is here.  (Applause.)  A outstanding trio of Congressmen — Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, Chris Murphy.  (Applause.)  And please give it up for Ben Harper.  (Applause.)  We are so grateful to him.

It was my birthday this weekend.  (Applause.)  I was 51 years old.  Michelle says I don’t look a day over 50.  (Laughter.)  She was pointing out, I think in the last week you’ve gotten more gray hair.  (Laughter.)  But that’s okay.

Obviously I know that all of you have been spending most of this week rooting for our unbelievable athletes in London.  (Applause.)  On the flight over here, I’ve got to admit I was spending most of my time watching U.S. women’s soccer.  They won, by the way, 4 to 3 — (applause.)  It was a tight game.  And it’s just an extraordinary reminder of the fact that even when we’ve got political differences, when it comes to our love of this country and the incredible people who represent us, we are unified.  And it’s a very gratifying feeling during the course of a political season, where sometimes the fact that we are unified around so many important things gets hidden.

But unless you’ve been able to hide from your television, or your cable is broke — (laughter) — you are aware that there is a pretty intense campaign going on right now.  And it’s a healthy thing because that’s what our democracy is about.  Sometimes it’s messy and folks get excited.  But in this election in particular, the reason that there is such an intensity is because the choice that we face in November could not be bigger.  Could not be bigger.

It’s not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties.  More than any election in recent memory, it is a choice about two fundamentally different paths for our country.  And the direction that we choose — the direction that you choose when you step into that ballot box in November — in that voting booth — I guess you shouldn’t step into the ballot box.  (Laughter.)  Step into the voting booth.  That’s probably illegal.  (Laughter.)  The impact that you’ll have not just on our lives, but on our kids and our grandkids for decades to come is remarkable.

Now, four years ago, we came together — and it wasn’t just Democrats, we had independents and Republicans coming together to restore that basic bargain that made America an economic superpower, made us the most prosperous economy in the world.  And it’s a bargain that says if you work hard in this country, then your work should be rewarded.  It’s an idea that says if you put in enough effort, if you act responsibly, then you can find a job that pays the bills, and you can afford a home that you can call our own, and you can count on health care if you get sick, and put away a little bit for retirement, and most importantly, give your kids the kind of education that allows them to dream even bigger and do even better than you did.

That’s at the core of what America is about.  That’s the American promise.  And we understood that restoring it wouldn’t be easy.  We had gone through a decade in which jobs were being shipped overseas and job growth was sluggish and incomes were falling even as the costs of health care and college and gas and groceries were going up.  So we understood that it was going to take more than one year, or one term, or even one President to meet these challenges.

And that was before the middle class was hammered by the worst economic crisis in most of our lifetimes — a crisis that robbed many of our friends and neighbors of the security of a job, or their homes, or their savings.  That crisis pushed the American Dream even further out of reach for too many working people.

But one of the great privileges of being President is you get to see Americans from every walk of life, and one consistent theme is we don’t buckle, we don’t break, we’re tougher than tough times.  And so over the last three and a half years, we have devoted ourselves to bringing this country back to where it needs to be.

And we’re not there yet, but we created 4.5 million new jobs and 500,000 in manufacturing.  (Applause.)  An auto industry that was on its knees has come roaring back.  We’ve said that we’ve got to make college more accessible, and been able to provide millions of more young people access to higher education.  We made sure that in a country as remarkable as ours that nobody is going to go bankrupt when they get sick.  (Applause.)

And through all these battles, through all these struggles, understanding that we’re not where we need to be, what we’ve constantly been able to affirm is that this economic crisis didn’t change our character.  It didn’t change who we are.  It didn’t change what made us great.  It didn’t change our determination and our resilience.

And what also hasn’t changed is what we came together for in 2008.  It’s just made our mission that much more urgent.  We are here to build an economy where work pays off so that no matter what you look like or where you come from, you can make it here if you try.  That’s what this campaign is about.  (Applause.)  That’s what this campaign is about, Connecticut, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

And we understand there are no quick fixes or easy solutions to these challenges, but we know that we have the capacity to meet them.  We’ve got the best workers in the world. We’ve got the best entrepreneurs in the world.  We have the best scientists and the best researchers in the world.  We have the best universities and the best colleges in the world.  We are a young nation, and we’ve got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe.  (Applause.)  So, no matter what the naysayers may say, no matter how dark the picture they try to paint, there’s not another country on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So what’s standing in our way right now is not the lack of technical solutions to the deficit or to education or to energy.  What’s standing in our way is our politics — the uncompromising view that says we should be going back to the old, top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.  (Applause.)

And I don’t exaggerate when it comes to how my opponent and his allies in Congress view this economy.  They believe — and this is the sum total of their economic package — that if we give more tax breaks to some of the wealthiest Americans, and we get rid of regulations that keep our air clean and our water clean and make sure consumers aren’t getting cheated and make sure insurance companies aren’t taking advantage of you, that somehow prosperity will rain down on everybody.  That’s their theory.  That’s the path they’re proposing.  That’s where they will take us if we [sic] win.  It is on Mr. Romney’s website.  It is in the form of a bill that passed through the House of Representatives by this Republican Congress.

In fact, the entire centerpiece of Mitt Romney’s economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut.  And we’ve known for a while that a lot of this tax cut would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of all households.  But just last week, an independent, non-partisan organization crunched the numbers.  They went through what would it mean to add a $5 trillion tax cut.  Just to give you a sense of perspective here — our entire defense budget is about — it’s over $500 billion a year, but it’s less than $600 billion.

So you’re talking about each year, a tax cut that’s equivalent of our defense budget for the next 10 years.  And what this policy center did was — it just ran the numbers — if you wanted to actually pay for that, what would that mean.  And they determined that Governor Romney’s plan would effectively raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000 — to pay for this tax cut.  Not to reduce the deficit.  Not to invest in things that grow our economy, like education or roads or basic research.  He’d ask the middle class to pay more in taxes so that he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s like Robin Hood in reverse.  (Laughter.)  It’s Romney Hood.  (Applause.)

And if this sounds like an idea that’s difficult to explain or sell to the American people, you’d be right.  (Laughter.)  So there were all kinds of different gymnastics being performed by the Romney campaign last week.  They have tried to sell us this trickle-down, tax cut fairy dust before.  And guess what — it does not work.  It didn’t work then; it won’t work now.  It’s not a plan to create jobs.  It’s not a plan to reduce our deficit.  And it is not a plan to move our economy forward.

We do not need — I do not need a tax cut.  We need tax cuts for working Americans.  We need tax cuts for families who are trying to raise kids, and keep them healthy, and send them to college, and keep a roof over their heads.

So that’s the choice in this election.  That’s what this is about.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

See, I’ve got a different plan for America.  Four years ago, I promised to cut middle-class taxes — that’s exactly what I’ve done, by a total of about $3,600 for the typical family.  (Applause.)  So I want to keep taxes exactly where they are for the first $250,000 of everybody’s income.  If your family makes under $250,000 — like 98 percent of Americans do — you will not see your income taxes increase by a single dime next year.

And if you’re fortunate enough — as many of you are, as I am — to be in the other 2 percent, you still keep the tax cut on the first $250,000 of your income.  All we’re asking is that, after that, you contribute a little bit more so we can pay down our deficit and invest in things like education that will help us grow.  (Applause.)

And by the way, we’re going to make sure that government does its part.  Government is going to have to cut away the spending that we don’t need.  We’ve already cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending that wasn’t necessary, and we can find more.  Members of Congress here are committed to doing that.  We can’t waste taxpayer dollars.  But we’re not going to pay for a massive new tax cut for folks who don’t need it by gutting investments that have always kept the middle class strong.

We’re going to have to make sure that college is affordable.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re rebuilding our infrastructure.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re investing in science and technology in this competitive 21st century economy.  We’ve got to make sure that Medicare is there for our seniors after they’ve worked hard all their lives.  And we can do all that simply by having folks like me go back to the rates that we paid under Bill Clinton.  And if you remember, that was when the economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

The interesting thing when you look at our economic history is, when a construction worker has got some money in his pocket, he goes out and buys a new car.  When a teacher is getting paid a decent wage, that means they can maybe take their family to a restaurant once in a while.  And when the middle class is doing well, then business is doing well, and those at the top do well.  Everybody does well.  That’s what we believe in — an economy that grows from the middle class out and the bottom up.  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

But, look, we’re going to have — that’s just on tax policy and fiscal issues.  There are going to be contrasts throughout this election.  When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs on the line, Governor Romney said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”  I refused to turn back on a great American industry and its workers.  We bet on America’s workers.  Three years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

So I want to make sure that this happens not just in the auto industry; let’s replicate that.  There are manufacturing opportunities — advanced manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing opportunities all across America, because I want those jobs here — not in China, not in Germany.  I want them in Connecticut.  I want them in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And so Governor Romney extolls his experience in the private sector, investing in companies that have been called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  I believe in insourcing.  I want to give — I want to take away tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas.  Let’s give them to companies that are investing right here in Connecticut, investing in American workers.  (Applause.)

I said in 2008 I wanted to end the war in Iraq — we ended it.  (Applause.)  I said we’d go after bin Laden — we got him.  (Applause.)  I said that we would blunt the Taliban’s momentum, and now we can begin transitioning our troops home.  And so, after a decade of war, I think it’s time to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

Our freedom was secured because of the courage and selflessness of our men and women in the United States armed forces.  I want to make sure that they don’t have to scramble for a job when they come home.  I want to make sure that we’re investing in a Veterans Job Corps that can give them a chance to go back to work.  I want to make sure that they’re getting the services that they need.  We can take half the savings that we spent on war, and let’s use it to do some nation-building here in the United States of America.  Let’s rebuild America — rebuilding schools, rebuilding roads, hiring our veterans, making sure they get the care that they have earned.  That’s the choice in this election.  (Applause.)

Because Mr. Romney has got a different idea — he said me ending the war in Iraq was “tragic.”  (Laughter.)  I disagree.  (Laughter.)  That’s the choice in this election.

Connecticut, I’m running to make sure that America once again is a leader in educating our kids and training our workers.  I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  Let’s give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and get the skills that local businesses are looking for right now.  We’ve already done a lot to make millions of young people in a better place to be able to go to college, but I want to also work to help colleges and universities bring the cost of tuition down once and for all.  Higher education cannot be a luxury; it is a economic necessity that every American should be able to afford.  (Applause.)

When it comes to the housing market, Mr. Romney says just let foreclosures bottom out.  I don’t think that’s a solution — I think that’s the problem.  I want to give every American homeowner the opportunity to take advantage of historically low rates and refinance their homes, save $3,000, use that money to recirculate in the economy.  (Applause.)  That will help the entire economy grow and improve the housing market.

I’m running because I continue to believe that no American should go broke because they get sick.  Health care was the right thing to do.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  We are implementing it now.  (Applause.)  That’s a choice in this election.

I believe it was the right thing to do to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  You shouldn’t have to hide who you love to serve the country that you love.  (Applause.)  That’s a choice in this election.

I don’t believe that it is Congress’s job to take away the decisions around women’s health.  I think women should be in charge of their own health care.  That’s a choice in this election.  (Applause.)

So all these things, Connecticut — whether it’s bringing manufacturing and construction jobs back, or protecting your health care, or making sure our children get the best education they deserve, or making sure that veterans get the care that they have earned — all these things that help make up a middle-class life, they all tie together.  They’re all central to the idea that made this country great — the promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead.  The same promise our parents and our grandparents passed down to us.  And now it’s our responsibility to make sure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy that same American Dream.

And over the course of the next three months, the other side is going to spend more money than we have ever seen on ads that basically say the same thing you’ve been hearing for months.  They know their economics theory won’t sell, so their ads are going to say the same thing over and over again, which is:  The economy is not where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault.  I mean, there will be variations on the theme, but it’s basically — (laughter) — that’s basically their message.

And I’m not exaggerating.  Their strategists admit it.  They say, you know, we’re not going to put out any plans.  We’re just going to see if this works.  (Laughter.)  Now, that may be a plan to win the election, but that’s not a plan to create jobs.  That’s not a plan to grow the economy or revive the middle class.

They don’t have that plan.  I do.  (Applause.)  So, Connecticut, let me say this.  When you’re talking to your friends and your neighbors, and they’re saying, well, I don’t know, I’m not sure — you just tell them, look, if you believe that a plan to just cut taxes and eliminate regulations is going to make our economy stronger, even if it means gutting investments in education or infrastructure or science, if you want an America that essentially sets our sights lower, then by all means send these folks to Washington for the next few years.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  But you need to ask your friends and your neighbors, you need to ask them wouldn’t you be better off if we kept fighting for the things that always made us strong — (applause) — if we fight to make sure more of our students can afford to go to college?  Won’t we be better off if we kept developing new sources of American energy?  Won’t we be better off if we invest in manufacturing and we’re selling goods around the world stamped with three proud words:  Made in America?  Five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, won’t we be better off if we had the courage to keep working and to keep fighting and moving forward — understanding that it’s not easy — change has never been easy.  I told you in 2008, it wasn’t easy.  And I told you I’m not a perfect man.  I told you I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But I always said that I’d tell you what I thought and where I stood.  And, most of all, I told you I would wake up every single day, fighting as hard as I knew how to make your lives a little bit better.  (Applause.)

And, Connecticut, I have kept that promise.  I’ve kept that promise, because I still believe in you.  And if you still believe in me, and you’re willing to stand with me, and knock on some doors for me, make some phone calls with me, work hard and organize and mobilize with me for the next three months, we will finish what we started in 2008, and we will show the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END
6:58 P.M EDT

 

Campaign Buzz April 24, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech After Sweeping all 5 Northeast Primaries — Moves on to General Election Assails Barack Obama in Manchester, New Hampshire

CAMPAIGN 2012

 

 

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

 

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks in Manchester, NH

 


Source: Mitt Romney, 4-24-12

Location

 

Boston, MA

United States

 

Mitt Romney tonight delivered remarks in Manchester, New Hampshire. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

 

Thank you Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York!  And tonight I can say thank you, America.  After 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and more than a few long nights, I can say with confidence – and gratitude – that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility.  And, together, we will win on November 6th!

 

We launched this campaign not far from here on a beautiful June day. It has been an extraordinarily journey.

 

Americans have always been eternal optimists.  But over the last three and a half years, we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership. Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.

 

For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for grandparents who can’t afford the gas to visit their grandchildren … for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month – to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer.  A better America begins tonight.

 

Tonight is the start of a new campaign to unite every American who knows in their heart that we can do better! The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do, but it’s not the best America can do!

 

Tonight is the beginning of the end of the disappointments of the Obama years and the start of a new and better chapter that we will write together.

 

This has already been a long campaign, but many Americans are just now beginning to focus on the choice before the country. In the days ahead, I look forward to spending time with many of you personally. I want to hear what’s on your mind, hear about your concerns, and learn about your families. I want to know what you think we can do to make this country better…and what you expect from your next President.

 

And I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’ll probably start out talking about my wonderful wife Ann – I usually do – and I’ll probably bore you with stories about our kids and grandkids. I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company.  Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car.

 

I’d say that you might have heard that I was successful in business.  And that rumor is true.  But you might not have heard that I became successful by helping start a business that grew from 10 people to hundreds of people.  You might not have heard that our business helped start other businesses, like Staples and Sports Authority and a new steel mill and a learning center called Bright Horizons. And I’d tell you that not every business made it and there were good days and bad days, but every day was a lesson.  And after 25 years, I know how to lead us out of this stagnant Obama economy and into a job-creating recovery!

 

Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change.  But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?

 

Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one?  Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job?  Do you have a better chance to get a better job?  Do you pay less at the pump?

 

If the answer were “yes” to those questions, then President Obama would be running for re-election based on his achievements…and rightly so.  But because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions.  That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time.  But not here and not now.  It’s still about the economy …and we’re not stupid.

 

People are hurting in America. And we know that something is wrong, terribly wrong with the direction of the country.

 

We know that this election is about the kind of America we will live in and the kind of America we will leave to future generations.  When it comes to the character of America, President Obama and I have very different visions.

 

Government is at the center of his vision. It dispenses the benefits, borrows what it cannot take, and consumes a greater and greater share of the economy. With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.

 

This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars.  He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all.

 

We’ve already seen where this path leads.  It erodes freedom.  It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit.  And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help.  Those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty.  Other nations have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.

 

I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. Because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated and skilled employees is intense, and so wages and salaries rise.

 

I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.

 

This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.

 

In the America I see, character and choices matter.  And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded.  And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.

 

This is the America that was won for us by the nation’s Founders, and earned for us by the Greatest Generation.  It is the America that has produced the most innovative, most productive, and the most powerful economy in the world.

 

As I look around at the millions of Americans without work, the graduates who can’t get a job, the soldiers who return home to an unemployment line, it breaks my heart. This does not have to be. It is the result of failed leadership and of a faulty vision. We will restore the promise of America only if we restore the principles of freedom and opportunity that made America the greatest nation on earth.

 

Today, the hill before us is a little steep but we have always been a nation of big steppers.  Many Americans have given up on this President but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.

 

In the days ahead, join me in the next step toward that destination of November 6th, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the Promise of America has been kept. The dreamers can dream a little bigger, the help wanted signs can be dusted off, and we can start again.

 

And this time we’ll get it right. We’ll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad.

 

There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.

 

Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny.

 

We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!

 

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

 

Campaign Buzz April 24, 2012: Mitt Romney Sweeps Northeast Primarie, Wins all 5 — Moves on to General Election Assails Barack Obama in Manchester, New Hampshire Speech

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

Cheryl Senter for The New York Times

As Republicans in five other states voted Tuesday, Mitt Romney addressed general election themes in Manchester, N.H. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY SWEEPS NORTHEAST PRIMARIES, WINS ALL 5 — MOVES ON TO GENERAL ELECTION ASSAILING OBAMA IN MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE SPEECH

Romney goes five for five with New York primary victory: In an energetic speech in New Hampshire after winning Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania, Romney stakes his claim as the Republican nominee…. – WaPo, 4-24-12

After 5 More Contests, Romney Solidifies Lead: As Republicans in five other states voted Tuesday, Mitt Romney addressed general election themes in Manchester, N.H.
Mitt Romney effectively took the Republican Party helm on Tuesday after five primary victories in the Northeast solidified his status as presidential nominee-in-waiting…. – NYT, 4-24-12

  • Tuesday night wins make it official: Romney is the nominee: Romney swept Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Pennsylvania, and is expected to win New York shortly.
    Mitt Romney laid claim to a fiercely contested Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night with a fistful of primary triumphs, then urged all who struggle in a shaky U.S. economy to “hold on a little longer, a better America begins tonight.”
    Eager to turn the political page to the general election, Romney accused President Barack Obama of “false promises and weak leadership.” He said, “Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.”
    The former Massachusetts governor spoke as he pocketed primary victories in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Pennsylvania in the first contests since Rick Santorum conceded the nomination. New York was expected to follow. He delivered his remarks to a national television audience from New Hampshire, the state where he won his first primary of the campaign and one of about a dozen states expected to be battlegrounds in the summer and fall campaign for the White House…. – CS Monitor, 4-24-12
  • Romney Delivers Big Primary Wins, Assails Obama in Speech: Mitt Romney declared that he had accomplished a sweep of five states on Tuesday night and laid claim to the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 4-24-12
  • New York gives Romney clean sweep of Tuesday primaries: By David Meeks Mitt Romney won all five Republican presidential primaries Tuesday, effectively ending the GOP nomination battle. The Associated Press called New York for the former Massachusetts governor not long after the polls closed at 9 pm EDT…. – LAT, 4-24-12
  • Mitt Romney sweeps primaries in five states: Mitt Romney won all five Republican presidential primaries Tuesday night, completing a sweep of contests in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
    Romney boasted more than 50 percent of the vote in all five states.
    In Connecticut, with 90 percent of the expected votes in, Romney led Ron Paul 67 percent to 13 percent. In Rhode Island, with most of the expected votes counted, Romney led Paul 63 percent to 24 percent.
    In Pennsylvania, with nearly all of the votes in, Romney had 56 percent. Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the Republican presidential contest earlier this month, followed with 20 percent of the vote.
    In Delaware, with most of the votes counted, Romney led Newt Gingrich 56 percent to 27 percent. And in New York, with 51 percent of the expected votes in, Romney led Paul 60 percent to 17 percent…. – CBS News, 4-24-12
  • Romney to claim GOP nomination after primary victories: With victories expected in five Northeastern primaries, Mitt Romney prepared to claim the mantle of Republican presidential nominee — though he has not officially clinched the race — and turn his focus to a general election…. – LAT, 4-24-12
  • Romney: ‘It’s still about the economy, and we’re not stupid’: As votes continued to roll in for Mitt Romney after five Northeastern states weighed in on the Republican presidential campaign, Romney declared Tuesday “the start of a new campaign” in a victory speech focused exclusively…. – LAT, 4-24-12
  • Once a fierce rival, Rick Santorum hints at Mitt Romney endorsement in Presidential race: Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he expects to endorse Mitt Romney. Santorum says that he believes Romney is “the right guy” to challenge President Barack Obama. Still, he’s stopping short of an official…. – WaPo, 4-24-12
  • Gingrich plans to ‘realistically’ review campaign: Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday that over the next few days he and his wife, Callista, would look “realistically” at the state of his beleaguered presidential campaign, but stopped short of dropping out…. – USA Today, 4-24-12
  • Gingrich says he’ll decide next move in campaign after finishing week of stops: Newt Gingrich says he plans to finish a week of campaigning in North Carolina but acknowledges that he needs to look realistically at where it stands. Gingrich spoke Tuesday night to about 100 supporters in Concord, NC, as he learned that…. – WaPo, 4-24-12

Political Buzz August 28, 2011: Day 2 Hurricane Irene Tears Through New York, Northeast Heading North to Canada — Downgraded to Tropical Storm — President Obama Addresses Nation — Irene Aftermath

POLITICAL BUZZ

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: HURRICANE IRENE HITS EAST COAST– DOWNGRADED TO TROPICAL STORM

Waves generated by Tropical Storm Irene pummel the coast in Westbrook, Conn., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Irene downgraded to tropical storm: The National Weather Service downgraded Irene to a tropical storm as the system made landfall over Coney Island in New York. The storm is maintaining winds up to 65 mph.

More than 1 million without power in Mid-Atlantic region: More than a million homes and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region were still out of power or phone service early Sunday as heavy wind and rain from Hurricane Irene battered the Washington area.
In Virginia and North Carolina, Dominion Resources reported more than 1 million outages, including about 124,000 in northern Virginia as of 4:30 a.m. Power companies reported more than 600,000 outages in Maryland and more than 25,000 in D.C.
The number of outages in Virginia “exceeded our expectations,” a Dominion Power official said.

“We’re not out of the woods yet. Irene remains a large and potentially dangerous storm.” — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

“I think it’s safe to say that the worst of the storm…has passed.” — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

“First, let me say that this is a storm that has claimed lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who’ve lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storm. You need to know that America will be with you in your hour of need.
While the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. One of our chief concerns before Irene made landfall was the possibility of significant flooding and widespread power outages. And we’ve been getting reports of just that from our state and local partners. Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks.
So I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation, and I urge Americans in affected areas to continue to listen for the guidance and direction of their state and local officials.” — President Barack Obama

Irene Lashes New York Area — NYT

Hurricane Irene rolls up East Coast: From North Carolina to New Jersey, Hurricane Irene’s winds and storm surge fell short of the doomsday predictions. But the storm left several dead before reaching New England in its wake, lashed North Carolina with ferocious winds and triggering emergency steps including unprecedented evacuations and transit shutdowns in New York. — Boston Globe, 8-28-11

In Pictures: Hurricane Irene — CS Monitor

Hurricane Irene: live: Follow live coverage as Irene hits the US mainland after being downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm…. – Telegraph UK

Hurricane Irene: August 27 as it happened: Follow coverage as America’s east coast braced for the impact of Hurricane Irene…. – Telegraph UK

    • After Irene, Focus Shifts to Cleanup and Recovery: Tropical Storm Irene left swaths of New York City, New Jersey, Vermont and other parts of the region flooded in its wake, and millions were still without power Sunday night. President Obama said Sunday evening that despite the impact being less than was originally feared, “I want people to understand that this is not over.”… – PBS Newshour, 8-28-11
    • A Weakened Irene Sweeps Northward: Having cut a path of destruction from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the eastern tip of Long Island that killed at least 16 people in six states and caused an unprecedented shutdown of the transit systems in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, Hurricane Irene quickly lost her ferocity as she moved into New England on Sunday, leaving blue skies and an army of clean-up crews in her wake.
      Though downgraded to a tropical storm at around 9 a.m., Irene still wreaked havoc along the Eastern Seaboard: rail and airline service in the Northeast remained paralyzed, and hundreds of thousands of people were without power. But the storm ended up falling far short of the historic disaster that many people had feared.
      However, President Obama, in a televised address from the Rose Garden at around 5 p.m, cautioned “This is not over.” Irene, he said, remains a “dangerous” storm, even in its weakened state, and many communities would see flooding in the days ahead.
      Also at the news conference was Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary, who pledged that the federal government will assist states responding to or recovering from Hurricane Irene. “I urge all Americans to take prudent steps to stay safe,” she said…. – NYT_8-28-11

President Barack Obama’s Statement to the Nation on Hurricane Irene & Statements by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate — AP, 8-28-11

President Obama Signs Delaware Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-28-11

President Obama Signs District of Columbia Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-28-11

President Obama Signs Puerto Rico Disaster Declaration — WH, 8-28-11

    • State-by-state look at dangers and damage caused by Irene: Irene, the hurricane that weakened to a tropical storm, thrashed the East Coast, knocking out power to millions of homes and businesses, destroying piers and killing more than a dozen people. Here’s a state-by-state glance on how it’s affected … – AP, 8-28-11
    • Obama warns Hurricane Irene flooding could worsen: US President Barack Obama on Sunday warned that flooding from Hurricane Irene could worsen as rivers flood their banks and said federal recovery efforts would last a few weeks…. – Reuters, 8-28-11
    • Obama on Irene: ‘This is not over’: Despite Tropical Storm Irene’s weakened punch, President Barack Obama urged those in its path to stay vigilant and warned that the storm’s impact would continue to be felt for some time. “This is not over,” Obama said in a Sunday afternoon statement from the Rose Garden.
      With Irene having unleashed furious wind and rain as it carved its way along the East Coast, the president said emergency officials were most concerned about lengthy power outages and flooding as swollen rivers begin to crest. He urged the public to heed the warnings of local officials in the coming days, and said his administration would continue working with cities and states to ensure they were prepared to respond…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • Irene Remains Dangerous, Obama Warns: As a weakened but still dangerous Tropical Strom Irene pushes up the East Coast, President Obama urged Americans to remain vigilant. “I want people to understand that this is not over,” Obama said in a statement delivered Sunday afternoon in the Rose Garden…. – ABC News, 8-28-11
    • Obama to make statement on Irene: White House: US President Barack Obama will deliver a statement on Irene, the deadly storm that has slammed into the US east coast, on Sunday at 5:00 pm (2200 GMT), the White House said. “This evening, the president will deliver a statement on Hurricane Irene…. – AFP, 8-28-11
    • Obama to make Irene statement Sunday: President Barack Obama will make a statement on Hurricane Irene at 5 pm ET Sunday, the White House announced. The president is expected to thank emergency responders for their work during the storm and provide an update on conditions…. – CNN, 8-28-11
    • Obama Engaged in FEMA Response to Irene: President Obama has received regular briefings about Hurricane Irene’s impact. During the wet and windy weekend in Washington, senior advisors and cabinet officials have updated the president on the response and recovery effort taking place along the east coast…. – ABC News, 8-28-11
    • Obama to meet with top administration members: President Barack Obama is planning to meet again this morning with top members of his administration to discuss Hurricane Irene. He told them yesterday to keep him up to date through the night. Obama held an evening conference call … – AP, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene leads to at least 19 deaths: Hurricane Irene had led to the deaths of at least 19 people in eight states as of Sunday evening…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • In Irene’s wake: Relief despite damage and deaths: As Hurricane Irene approached, spectacular satellite images encouraged some to fear the worst. But now, as the weakened storm moseys from New York into New England, you can’t see a sigh of relief from outer space…. – LAT, 8-28-11
    • FEMA chief urges people to remain at home in Irene’s wake, not sightsee amid potential dangers: The head of the nation’s emergency response agency says people shouldn’t underestimate the danger once Hurricane Irene passes. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate says flooding, weakened trees and downed power…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Sunday morning sees storm’s fury move north: Sunday morning saw a slightly diminished hurricane Irene continuing its move up the East Coast with wind, rain, and coastal storm surges hitting New York and New Jersey…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Irene downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm: Hurricane Irene has now become tropical storm Irene with winds of 65 miles per hour. But officials still predict heavy rains and flooding as Irene works its way north to New England…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Irene update: Did New York dodge a bullet?: The worst of tropical storm Irene has passed New York, and the impact wasn’t as bad as it might have been. But officials say hazards still exist, including heavy flooding…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Irene update: New York Mayor Bloomberg lifts evacuation order: With tropical storm Irene past New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lifted his evacuation order. But with public transit still shut down, there’s likely to be a tough commute on Monday…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Irene Moves On: Millions Without Power, 14 Dead: Irene, downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, swept through the Northeast today, leaving at least 14 dead in its wake, millions without power and an estimated $7 billion to $13 billion in damages.
      Irene made landfall in Coney Island, N.Y., at 8:45 a.m. this morning as a tropical storm with 65 mph winds, but by 10 a.m. patches of blue sky and sunshine began peeking through in lower Manhattan.
      Philadelphia experienced significant local flooding in several areas, but subways, elevated trains and bus service in the city were beginning to return to activity.
      More than 4.5 million East Coast homes and businesses are without power and thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, according to The Associated Press…. – ABC News, 8-28-11
    • 4M without power as Hurricane Irene heads north: More than 4 million homes and businesses were without power Sunday morning as Hurricane Irene continued to roar up the East Coast and took aim at the New York City area and New England.
      Winds of up to 115 miles per hour whipped across the Eastern Seaboard, ripping power lines from poles and snapping trees in half. Hospitals, emergency call centers and other crucial facilities were holding up, but officials said it could get much worse as Irene churns north.
      More than 1.3 million of the homes and businesses without power were in Virginia and North Carolina, which bore the brunt of Irene’s initial march. Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. had about three-quarters of a million outages combined.
      New Jersey and Pennsylvania each had about three-quarters of a million without power, and hundreds of thousands of other customers were in the dark in New York and Connecticut…. – Boston Globe, 8-28-11
    • Irene Shifts Toward Northeast, Millions Without Power: 3:10 p.m. ET | At least 300,000 in Massachusetts are without power as a weaker Irene moves over the Northeast. Irene is being blamed for 15 deaths in six different storm-affected states.
      Flooding plagued New York City and parts of New Jersey after the height of the storm, but the evacuation order in low-lying parts of New York was lifted at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon…. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-11
    • Of the Big Cities, Philadelphia Is Hard Hit: Having cut a path of destruction from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the eastern tip of Long Island that killed at least 10 people in six states and caused an unprecedented shutdown of the transit systems in Washington, Philadelphia and New York, a weakened but still ferocious Hurricane Irene, now downgraded to a tropical storm, set its sights on a battened-down New England late Sunday morning.
      In Philadelphia, which lies between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, residents in low-lying areas woke up to rising water. Mark McDonald, spokesman for the Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, said water levels were 15 feet above normal in some areas, and were not expected to stop rising until 2 p.m. Sunday. The waters were approaching the highest level ever recorded — 17 feet in 1869, he said. “There are many streams and creeks, and they are all above flood stage now,” Mr. McDonald said by telephone. The storm, which dumped at least six inches of rain on the city, caused the collapse of seven buildings there, he said…. – NYT, 8-28-11
    • Irene’s Damage: Deaths, Flooding, Power Losses State-by-State Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Americans recover, Canadians dig in as Irene crawls toward border: As US cities clear away fallen trees and drain flooded boulevards, Canada’s East Coast is digging in as Irene crawls north. … – National Post, 8-28-11
    • Quebec, Maritimes in path of Irene’s heavy winds, rain: Nova Scotians should prepare for heavy winds while Quebec is on track for serious downpours when Hurricane Irene is scheduled to hit Canada Sunday as a post-tropical storm.
      Eastern Quebec – including Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and the Eastern Townships – and northwestern New Brunswick will receive the worst of Irene’s rainfall, with 50 to 100 mm of rain expected.
      Western Nova Scotia and areas around the Bay of Fundy, meanwhile, have a tropical storm warning and will see wind gusts of up to 120 km/h.
      Wind warnings are in effect for mainland Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, all of New Brunswick except the province’s northwestern corner and for parts of Quebec’s St. Lawrence River valley…. – Globe and Mail, 8-28-11
    • Millions without electricity, billions in damages after Irene hits New York: Tropical Storm Irene unleashed furious wind and rain on New York on Sunday and sent seawater surging into the Manhattan streets. But the city appeared to escape the worst fears of urban disaster — vast power outages, hurricane-shattered skyscraper windows and severe flooding.
      Still, millions of people were without electricity and early damage estimates were in the billions of dollars. At least 18 people had died in the storm…. – Globe and Mail, 8-28-11
    • Bloomberg: ‘We Made Exactly the Right Call’ on Storm Preparations: As New York City lifted evacuation orders Sunday afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg residents to exercise caution as they return home, watching out for fallen trees and downed power lines…. – WSJ, 8-28-11
    • Flight Cancellations in U.S. Resulting From Hurricane Irene Exceed 10300: Irene weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it swept through Long Island and Manhattan with winds of 65 miles an hour (105 kilometers), according to the National Weather Service…. – Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene Kills 15 and Leaves 4 Million Without Power: Hurricane Irene killed at least 15 people from Puerto Rico to New York, caused an estimated $3 billion in damage and cut electric power to more than 4 million homes and businesses across the eastern US The deaths were concentrated…. – Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Millions wait for power to come back after Irene: It could take several days to restore power to millions of people left in the dark by Hurricane Irene. The lights went out for more than four million people and businesses, from Folly Beach, S.C., to Portland, Maine. The race to restore power now will hinge on thousands of utility workers…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene: No one ‘dodged a bullet’: That was Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate on Sunday after Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm and apparently produced less destruction than many had feared…. – LAT, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene 2011: FEMA Praised By Governors For Storm Response: Governors of both parties are praising the federal response to Hurricane Irene, giving a much-needed vote of confidence to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has been struggling to regain its good name…. – Huff Post, 8-28-11
    • Federal Government Begins Damage Assessments in Irene’s Wake: US government officials said damage assessments and recovery efforts are under way as Hurricane Irene continues…. – Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Key House Republicans Express Concern Over FEMA Funding Amid Irene: House Republican leaders are calling on the Obama administration to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn’t run out of money as it responds to Hurricane Irene…. – Fox News, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene: NYC Evacuations Lifted as Mayor Says ‘Worst Is Over’ ABC News, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene evacuation defended by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg: The threat of Hurricane Irene failed to stop tourists visiting Manhattan’s Times Square, despite warnings from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg…. – The Guardian, UK, 8-28-11

“My hope is that … we will have less damage than we might have. Let’s all just hope for that.” — Governor Deval Patrick said this morning in an interview with WCVB-TV.

    • Irene arrives as tropical storm; 300k lose power: No longer a hurricane but still packing a powerful punch, Tropical Storm Irene arrived in Massachusetts this afternoon, dumping torrential rains and sending streams over their banks, pounding the shoreline with relentless waves, and toppling tree limbs and power lines, leaving more than 300,000 people without power.
      By about 2 p.m., with the center of the weakened storm moving through Western Massachusetts, the worst of the rains were over in the state, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson. But he cautioned that winds could still gust to 55 miles per hour late this afternoon. Boston Globe, 8-28-11
    • Goodnight Irene: Hurricane Irene pummeled New York City Saturday night and Sunday with nearly twenty-four hours of torrential rains and high winds. The storm left behind severe local flooding, falling trees, and some power outages as surging seas overran beaches…. – Huffington Post, 8-28-11
    • New York mass transit still halted, unclear when will resume: New York City’s mass transit system remained shut down on Sunday afternoon even after Hurricane Irene had roared through, and there was no immediate word on when services would resume…. – Reuters, 8-28-11
    • NYC survives Irene, thinks everyone overreacted CBS News, 8-28-11
    • Irene trudges through New England with 60 mph wind: MIAMI—Tropical Storm Irene is trudging through southern New England with maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph. The storm was centered about 15 miles south of Pittsfield, Mass., on Sunday afternoon and was moving to the north-northeast at about 26 … – Boston Globe, 8-28-11
    • Irate Irene still packs a punch, officials warn: Tropical Storm Irene was running out of steam after battering the Big Apple this morning — flooding parts of Queens and lower Manhattan — but the former hurricane still packed sustained gales of 60 mph…. – Boston Herald, 8-28-11
    • New York’s Long Island feels Irene’s punch: Irene’s New York landfall Sunday morning coincided with high tide to bring the Atlantic Ocean pouring into the streets and houses of coastal Long Island…. – LAT, 8-28-11
    • Christie: Irene damage in the billions: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday damage from Hurricane Irene could be very extensive, “I’ve got to imagine that the damage estimates are going to be in the billions of dollars, if not the tens of billions of dollars,” Christie said on NBC’s “meet the Press”…. – Politico, 8-28-11
    • New Jersey told to brace for flooding in wake of Irene: Gov. Chris Christie warned New Jersey residents Sunday to prepare for record flooding the next two days in the wake of Hurricane Irene. USA Today, 8-28-11
    • Flooding threatens New Jersey after Hurricane Irene: A good news-bad news scenario emerged in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, with an orderly evacuation preventing possible catastrophe along the coast but torrential rains setting up record inland flooding…. – CNN, 8-28-11
    • Irene slams New Jersey, damage widespread: Hurricane Irene swept along the New Jersey shore early on Sunday, knocking down trees, leaving thousands of people without electrical power and causing flooding….. – Reuters, 8-28-11

“We’re saddened to report four fatalities in Virginia. Our hearts go out to all of those who have lost loved ones.” — Gov.McDonnell at a news conference in Richmond

  • Fallen trees from Hurricane Irene kill four in Virginia: Hurricane Irene killed four people in Virginia on a destructive path that affected half the state’s land mass and two-thirds of the population, Governor Bob McDonnell said on Sunday.
    All four deaths were connected with falling trees in the powerful storm, including an 11-year-old boy who died after being pinned under a tree that fell on his apartment home in Newport News. Reuters, 8-28-11
  • Virginia governor: Dangers from Irene remain: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says that while Hurricane Irene wasn’t as bad as expected, dangers remain. The storm caused four deaths, widespread power outages and flooding before leaving the state early Sunday. … – USA Today, 8-28-11
  • O’Malley, McDonnell talk about Irene on ‘Meet the Press’: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) both appeared on national television Sunday morning to talk about Hurricane Irene, with both showing up on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”… – WaPo, 8-28-11
  • Hurricane Irene leaves power out around D.C. region: By Washington Post Staff More than 1 million homes and businesses were without power or phone service early Sunday after heavy wind and rain from Hurricane Irene battered the Washington area…. – WaPo, 8-28-11
  • Irene leaves slight damage, Washington residents without power: As Hurricane Irene moved on to flood the streets of New York City Sunday, people in the Washington region were dealing with an aftermath of power outages, flooding and trees that continued to fall … – WaPo, 8-28-11
  • Dominion Assessing Damage, Beginning Recovery From Hurricane Irene’s Impact: 1.2 million customers affected; second-largest restoration effort after Isabel Dominion crews in Virginia and North Carolina are assessing damage and working with local emergency personnel today … – MarketWatch, 8-28-11
  • Irene Sweeps Through New York: Tropical Storm Irene swept through the New York City area on Sunday morning lacking anywhere near the force that had been feared, but still causing some deaths, cutting power to more than a million people, toppling trees and flooding some parts of the city and its suburbs.
    Though the storm packed strong winds and heavy rain, it never dealt the kind of punch that prompted area officials to order unprecedented evacuations. In much of New York City, people awoke anxious that they would see destruction out their windows, only to find a scene more typical after a major summer storm.
    But while the city escaped without too much damage, its suburbs appeared not to have fared nearly as well. Wide swaths of Long Island, Westchester County, New Jersey and Connecticut faced blackouts on Sunday, plus blocked roadways and the prospect of further flooding.
    At least three people in the area died in connection to the storm. In New Jersey, a 20-year-old woman was found dead on Sunday morning in her submerged car on a flooded rural road in Salem County, eight hours after she called the police to say she was trapped in her vehicle with water up to her neck. In Spring Valley, N.Y., in Rockland County, a man was electrocuted after coming in contact with a downed power line. And in Prospect, Conn., one person was killed in a fire that investigators believe was sparked by fallen wires…. – NYT, 8-28-11
  • Rains Slow, But Floods Rise in Wake of Hurricane Irene: The heavy rains and high winds of Hurricane Irene have subsided from Delaware to Philadelphia, but dangerous flooding and storm damage led government officials Sunday morning to tell people to stay off the roads…. – NBC Philadelphia, 8-28-11

Political Buzz August 27, 2011: Day 1 Hurricane Irene Hits the East Coast — President Obama Visits FEMA, Tracking Storm

POLITICAL BUZZ

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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IN FOCUS: HURRICANE IRENE HITS The East Coast — PARALYZING REGION

PHOTO: Waves crash under Jeannette's Pier as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Aug. 27, 2011.

Edge of Hurricane Irene reaches New York City: In a press conference late Saturday night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was no longer safe for New York City residents to remain outside or to evacuate. Hurricane Irene, which has drenched the mid-Atlantic states as it has moved north, caused New York City to order about 370,000 residents of low-lying areas to leave. It was the first evacuation order for the city. The city also shuttered its transit system and closed its airports.

Hurricane Irene bears down on Virginia Beach: After slowly making its way up the East Coast, Hurricane Irene is now bearing down on Virginia Beach and other parts of eastern Virginia.
Conditions: The region is encountering the windiest period of the storm from now into the overnight hours, with National Airport reporting sustained winds of 29 mph and gusts of 40 mph. As the onslaught of rain continues, the National Hurricane Center reports water levels rising in the Virginia tidewater region.
Power outages: More than 6,500 homes and businesses in D.C. are without power, 15,000 in Prince George’s County, 10,000 in Anne Arundel and 5,000 around Baltimore. Expect these numbers to rise as gusts whip through the area overnight.
Transportation: The Bay Bridge was ordered closed at 7:35 p.m. Saturday due to severe winds and unsafe driving conditions, the Maryland Transportation Authority said.

As Hurricane Irene slams East Coast, travel woes mount: Nationwide: There were an estimated 9,000 flight cancellations nationwide, with United, Continental and Delta Air Lines canceling thousands of their flights. Air France, British Airways and other international carriers also canceled flights.
Washington: The three airports serving the Washington area remained open Saturday evening, but most flights had been canceled. D.C. Metro is not planning to close early.
Virginia: Mandatory evacuations were ordered for at least 11 localities, among them the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach, a barrier island dotted with rentals, Accomack on the Eastern Shore, and for low-lying areas of Norfolk, Hampton and Portsmouth.
Maryland: Mandatory evacuations ordered for Ocean City, coastal Worcester County, homes near cliffs in Calvert County. Maryland Transit Administration announced service suspension beginning Saturday evening.
New York: All three of the major airports serving New York City — Newark International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia International Airport — shut down for the duration of the storm on Saturday afternoon. Subways have also been halted.
New Jersey: New Jersey Transit trains and buses to shut down.
Pennsylvania: Mass transit serving Philadelphia and its suburbs to halt at 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Hurricane Irene makes landfall; rains start in the Washington area: Hurricane Irene made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 7:05 a.m. Saturday near Cape Hatteras, N.C. The storm leading edge arrived in the Washington area early Saturday with rain starting in the lower parts of the Chesapeake Bay and the beaches of Delaware after wind and rain battered the North Carolina coast. The East Coast of the United States continued to prepare for the storm late Friday, ordering more than a million people to evacuate the affected areas.

For more information, please visit the National Hurricane Center website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/, the AccuWeather Hurricane Center website at: http://hurricane.accuweather.com/hurricane/index.asp and the Storm Central graphics page at: http://centralstorm.wordpress.com/.

PHOTOS: In the path of Hurricane Irene — LAT, 8-27-11

The Preparations for Hurricane Irene and Reports of Damage: Hurricane Irene made landfall Saturday morning. The storm was expected to cause flooding in a dozen states this weekend. – NYT

“All indications point to this being a historic hurricane. I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay.” — President Barack Obama

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay. We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst.

GOV. BEVERLY PERDUE, D-N.C.: As governor of the state, I want to remind you once again that this hurricane is real. It is headed our way. We are ready. We’re prepared for the worst. And we continue to pray for the best. I urge every citizen along the coastal plains to evacuate. It is so much better to be safe than sorry.

SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY JANET NAPOLITANO: Given the amount of rain associated with this storm and the likelihood of flooding, however, I would encourage you not to focus too much on whether it’s a Category 2 or a 3. If you are in the storm path, you won’t be able to tell much difference.

MICHAEL NUTTER, (D) mayor of Philadelphia: Be prepared. Stay safe. Be smart. Evacuate, if necessary. Otherwise, please stay inside.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: So, if for some reason you were thinking about going to dinner in Atlantic City tonight, forget it. Go someplace else.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) mayor of New York: Now, we have never done a mandatory evacuation before. And we wouldn’t be doing it now if we didn’t think this storm had the potential to be very serious. The best outcome would be if the storm veers off to the east and doesn’t hit us, or doesn’t hit us hard. But we can’t depend on Mother Nature being so kind.

GOV. LINCOLN D. CHAFEE (RI): I have been monitoring the path and movement of the storm closely, and there is no doubt that Rhode Island will be hit with high winds, a storm surge, and rain generated by Hurricane Irene.
This declaration of emergency is a proactive step in our hurricane plan to ensure that we as a state are doing all we can to get Rhode Island through this storm safely and securely.
I want to stress that this is a major storm. Individual preparation is essential. Please take the necessary steps to secure your family and property and prepare to evacuate if your municipality issues an evacuation order. I am in close contact with mayors and town managers to ensure that cities and towns have the state support they need to make the best decision for their residents.

Statement by President Obama on Preparations for Hurricane Irene — WH, 8-26-11

President Obama Signs Maryland Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs Rhode Island Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs New Hampshire Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs New Jersey Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs Connecticut Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs Massachusetts Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

      President Obama Signs Virginia Emergency Declaration —

WH, 8-27-11

    • Obama says Hurricane Irene “extremely dangerous”: President Barack Obama on Friday warned Americans to take Hurricane Irene seriously and urged them to obey orders to evacuate from the path of what is likely to be an “extremely dangerous and costly” storm…. – Reuters, 8-26-11
    • Obama kept up-to-date on Irene: President Barack Obama is tracking the progress of Hurricane Irene at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s command center. The center helps coordinate the government’s response to natural disasters. The White House says the government stands ready to aid states and communities in the storm’s path…. – AP, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Pushes North With Deadly Force: Weakened but unbowed, Hurricane Irene mowed across coastal North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday as it churned up the Atlantic Seaboard toward a battened-down New York City, where officials had taken what were called the unprecedented steps of evacuating low-lying areas and shutting down the mass transit system in advance of the storm’s expected midmorning arrival on Sunday.
      Announcing itself with howling winds and hammering rains, the hurricane made landfall at Cape Lookout, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, around 7:30 a.m., ending several days of anxious anticipation and beginning who knows how many more days of response and clean-up. Downed and denuded trees. Impassable roadways. Damaged municipal buildings. Widespread flooding. The partial loss of a modest civic center’s roof, forcing the relocation of dozens of people who had found shelter there…. – NYT, 8-27-11
    • With Storm Near, 370,000 in New York City Get Evacuation Order: New York City officials issued what they called an unprecedented order on Friday for the evacuation of about 370,000 residents of low-lying areas at the city’s edges — from the expensive apartments in Battery Park City to the roller coaster in Coney Island to the dilapidated boardwalk in the Rockaways — warning that Hurricane Irene was such a threat that people living there simply had to get out.
      Officials made what they said was another first-of-its-kind decision, announcing plans to shut down the city’s entire transit system Saturday — all 468 subway stations and 840 miles of tracks, and the rest of the nation’s largest mass transit network: thousands of buses in the city, as well as the buses and commuter trains that reach from Midtown Manhattan to the suburbs…. – NYT, 8-27-11

“You guys are doing a great job, obviously. This is obviously going to be touch and go.” — President Barack Obama at FEMA Headquarters

    • With Katrina in Mind, Administration Says It’s Ready for Irene: Determined to avoid any comparisons with the federal government’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina, the Obama administration made a public display Saturday of the range of its efforts to make sure officials in the storm-drenched states had whatever help they needed from Washington.
      President Obama, who returned to Washington a day early from his summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency shortly after noon. While there, he checked in on the National Response Coordination Center, a 24-hour command center based at FEMA, where dozens of federal employees from a range of agencies were assembled around the clock to help orchestrate the response to Hurricane Irene…. – NYT, 8-27-11
    • Obama visits FEMA, predicts a ‘long 72 hours’ ahead: President Obama made an unannounced visit to the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Saturday afternoon, where he praised the federal government’s response to Hurricane Irene after receiving briefings from governors and emergency managers.
      “So what have we got here?” Obama asked as he entered the room where FEMA has been holding daily video conferences since Monday with state and local officials, the National Hurricane Center and other federal agencies…. – LAT, 8-27-11
    • Obama steps up response as Hurricane Irene threatens floods, outages: Politicians were taking no chances as more than one-fifth of the United States braced for the possibility of metal-bending winds, severe flooding and days without electricity due to Hurricane Irene’s race up the east coast…. – Globe and Mail
    • Hurricane Irene: What You Need to Know in New York: As New York City prepares for Hurricane Irene to reach the five boroughs, most of the city’s agencies have shut down service…. – NYT, 8-27-11
    • Connecticut, Rhode Island join Hurricane Irene evacuation list: Though Hurricane Irene was still hundreds of miles south, residents of low-lying areas of Connecticut and Rhode Island were evacuated Saturday as officials warned of widespread flooding from the powerful storm that is expected to strike at high tide…. – LAT, 8-27-11

“Over one million people have left the Jersey shore in the past 24 hours. The best way to preserve human life on the Jersey shore is for there to be no human beings on the Jersey shore.” — Governor Chris Christie said at a news conference

    • One million flee Jersey shore as surfers hit waves: More than a million people fled resort towns along the New Jersey shore ahead of powerful Hurricane Irene, whose arrival on Saturday was just hours away.
      Mandatory evacuations covered all of the state’s barrier island beach resorts, including such well-known and popular spots as Atlantic City, Cape May and Long Beach Island.
      Irene was expected to hit the state with at least 75 miles per hour winds and 6 to 12 inches of rain starting on Saturday night…. – Reuters, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene churns its way north; 8 dead: Hurricane Irene, a ferocious and slow-moving storm, smashed into North Carolina on Saturday morning, then slowly swirled its way up the Eastern Seaboard, flooding low-lying areas, knocking out power to as many as 1 million customers…. – LAT, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Pictures: Storm Lashes US East Coast: Beachfront houses in North Carolina stand amid rising waves during the full force of Hurricane Irene, which made landfall Saturday morning as a Category 1 storm near Cape Lookout. The tempest brought winds of 85 miles (137 kilometers) an hour…. – National Geographic, 8-27-11
    • McDonnell urges residents to be cautious even though Irene has weakened: Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) urged residents not to let their guard down just because Hurricane Irene has weakened, saying it is still a serious storm that will likely cause major damage in the state. … – WaPo, 8-27-11
    • Tens of thousands lose power as hurricane batters Maryland: Hurricane Irene moved across Maryland overnight with high winds, heavy rains and dangerous tides. The storm cut power to tens of thousands of residents and turned the state’s biggest summer resort of Ocean … – Scremento Bee, 8-27-11
    • Irene makes landfall in N.C.; 4 deaths reported: Hurricane Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina about 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday morning, losing some power but still whipping up sustained winds of 85 mph, as it continued its run up the Eastern Seaboard.
      The National Hurricane Center said the eye of the enormous Category 1 storm passed over Cape Lookout, with winds slipping a bit from 100 mph overnight, but warned Irene would remain a hurricane as it moves up the mid-Atlantic coast.
      At 2 p.m. ET Irene was about 45 miles west northwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and about 95 miles south of Norfolk, Va. The storm was moving north-northeastward at 15 mph…. – CBS News, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Path: Atlantic Beach & Cape Fear Take First Hit in North Carolina: Hurricane Irene has made landfall near Cape Fear as a Category 1 with winds at 85 miles per hour, down 15 miles per hour from the 11 p.m. ET advisory.
      “Incredibly strong gusts, pretty surprising to those of us who thought we were nearly done with Irene, after 18 hours,” said ABC News’ Steven Portnoy, reporting from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina…. – ABC News, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall; Moves North, Gathering Strength: By noon, about 438,000 residents were without power in North Carolina and Virginia, and winds and rain were picking up in the Washington, D.C. area, and in beaches stretching from Virginia to Delaware. Two deaths, both in North Carolina, have been blamed on the storm, CNN reports.
      The storm has delivered maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. And hurricane-force wind gusts and a damaging storm surge will continue for the next several hours, weather forecasters predict…. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Now Category 1 but major impact still ahead: Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm. But as it makes landfall in North Carolina and heads north, it’s still expected to pack a wallop with the greatest danger from flooding due to heavy rainfall and coastal storm surges…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Now Category 1 but major impact still ahead: Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm. But as it makes landfall in North Carolina and heads north, it’s still expected to pack a wallop with the greatest danger from flooding due to heavy rainfall and coastal storm surges…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: After initial landfall, storm heads north: Hurricane Irene ‘remains a large and dangerous storm’ Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Saturday. She advises residents in its path to ‘hunker down.’… – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene churns up East Coast; Virginia boy, 11, is killed by fallen tree: The howling Hurricane Irene churned up the East Coast on Saturday afternoon, battering buildings, knocking out power lines and toppling trees. An 11-year-old Virginia boy was killed after a tree fell on his family’s apartment.
      Packing strong gusts and lashing rain, the brunt of the storm was expected to pass through the Washington area overnight and into Sunday morning. It reached land as a Category 1 hurricane, downgraded a notch from the greater force it gathered over the open Atlantic…. – WaPo, 8-27-11

“This is a storm where, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, it could be fatal.” — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press conference Saturday afternoon.

  • Hurricane Irene update: Storm claims its first lives: Hurricane Irene has caused a reported four deaths so far. Officials warn that storm surges and flooding could be greater because of the new moon arriving Sunday night…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
  • New York Subways Are Shut Down as Hurricane Irene Nears: New York became a city without one of its trademarks — the nation’s largest subway system — on Saturday as Hurricane Irene charged northward and the city prepared to face powerhouse winds that could drive a wall of water over the beaches in the Rockaways and between the skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan.
    The city worked to complete its evacuation of about 370,000 residents in low-lying areas where officials expected flooding to follow the storm, and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said that more than a million people had been evacuated, mainly from four counties in the southern part of the state.
    Officials warned that a big problem could be flooding at high tide, around 8 a.m. Sunday morning — before the storm has moved on and the wind has slacked off in and around the city, assuming the storm more or less follows the path where forecasters expect it to follow…. – NYT, 8-27-11
  • New York shuts down ahead of Hurricane Irene: Times Square emptied out and evacuation shelters filled up as New York City shut down on Saturday ahead of Hurricane Irene, which charged up the East Coast on a direct path toward the world financial capital.
    New Yorkers deserted the streets and took cover from a rare hurricane headed their way — only five have tracked within 75 miles of the city since records have been kept. The full impact of heavy rain, powerful winds and a surging sea was expected through Sunday morning…. – Reuters, 8-27-11
  • Nearly 75 percent without power in central Virginia: Downed trees, dangling power lines, darkened street lights, damaging winds and a deluge defined Hurricane Irene’s brush with the Richmond area…. – Richmond Times Dispatch, 8-27-11
  • Hurricane Irene: Why hurricane hyperbole never goes out of style:
    Where should the media draw the line between reasonable warnings and fear-mongering? A few mistakes and a partially missed prognosis aren’t necessarily proof that the media blew the story.
    On one 24-hour news channel, a correspondent described the calm before hurricane Irene as the calm before a B-movie zombie attack. One anchor proclaimed the storm to be “as big as Europe.” Elsewhere, the hurricane was touted as the storm of a lifetime.
    Storm hype is of course nothing new, neither is saying overwrought things when trying to fill up hours of airtime.
    But as the hurricane approached, the fever pitch of the Irene coverage took on a life of its own, with government officials leading a chorus of caution even as closer watchers of the weather, especially on the ground in North Carolina, grew increasingly convinced that Irene would not strengthen, but steadily weaken instead into something closer to a massive tropical storm…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
  • Twitter and Facebook buzzing about Hurricane Irene: You could track Hurricane Irene’s path up the East Coast on Saturday by following comments on Facebook and Twitter from people in the eye of the storm to those still waiting for its arrival…. – USA Today, 8-27-11
  • Irene expected to hit Canada with heavy rain and winds: The path of hurricane Irene remained unchanged Saturday, meaning the massive storm would likely bring heavy rain and the potential for hurricane force wind gusts when it reached eastern Canada later in the weekend forecasters said.
    The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax said the Category 1 hurricane was centred off North Carolina early Saturday and was expected to move up the eastern seaboard of the United States and through Long Island and into Maine late Sunday, before entering eastern Canada as a tropical storm.
    Bowyer said as a result the heaviest rains were expected in northwestern New Brunswick and in the eastern townships of Quebec into early Monday, while areas to the east of the storm’s centre would see the heaviest winds…. – Canadian Press, 8-27-11
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