Full Text Obama Presidency April 3, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Reducing Gun Violence Pushing Congress to Pass a Gun-Control Bill in Denver, Colorado



Remarks by the President on Reducing Gun Violence

Source: WH, 4-3-13

Denver Police Academy
Denver, Colorado

3:19 P.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Thank you.  Well, it is wonderful to be back in Colorado.  It is wonderful to be back in Denver.  I want to thank Chief White for that introduction.  You’ve got some outstanding elected officials who are here today, and I want to acknowledge them.  First of all, a wonderful governor — John Hickenlooper is here.  (Applause.)  He’s here somewhere.  I know, because I just talked to him.  There he is.  Next to him an outstanding lieutenant governor, Joe Garcia.  (Applause.)  One of the finest young senators in the country — Michael Bennet is here.  (Applause.)  Terrific members of the House of Representatives — Ed Perlmutter — (applause) — and Dianna Degette.  (Applause.)  And your own mayor, Michael Hancock, is here.  (Applause.)

I want to say thank you to the Denver Police for having me here, and more importantly, for the outstanding work that all of you do each and every day to serve your communities and protect your citizens.

Before I came out here, I had a chance to sit down with some local law enforcement, Attorney General Holder, and some of the leaders I just mentioned, the wonderful mayor of Aurora who’s here, sportsmen, parents, loved ones of the victims of the shootings in Columbine and Aurora.  And we talked about what we can do to protect more of our citizens from gun violence.

And from the beginning of this effort, we’ve wanted law enforcement front and center in shaping this discussion and the reforms that emerge from it — because law enforcement lives this every day.  Law enforcement are the first to see the terrible consequences of any kind of violence, certainly gun violence — lives lost, families broken, communities that are changed forever.  They’re very often in the line of fire.  The law enforcement knows what works and what doesn’t, and so we wanted that experience and that advice.

And it was also important for us to hear from mayors like Steve Hogan, because he’s been on the front lines having to deal with these issues under incredibly sad circumstances.  And I’ve come to Denver today in particular because Colorado is proving a model of what’s possible.

It’s now been just over 100 days since the murder of 20 innocent children and six brave educators in Newtown, Connecticut — an event that shocked this country and I think galvanized parents all across the country to say, we’ve got to do something more to protect our kids.  But consider this:  Over those 100 days or so, more than 100 times as many Americans have fallen victim to gun violence.  More than 2,000 of our fellow citizens, struck down, often because they were just going about their daily round.  They weren’t doing anything special.  Just doing what folks do every day — shopping, going to school.  Every day that we wait to do something about it, even more of our fellow citizens are stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Now, the good news is Colorado has already chosen to do something about it.  (Applause.)  Look, this is a state that has suffered the tragedy of two of the worst mass shootings in our history — 14 years ago this month in Columbine, and just last year in Aurora.  But this is also a state that treasures its Second Amendment rights — the state of proud hunters and sportsmen.  And, by the way, the Governor wanted me to remind everybody that there is outstanding elk hunting here in Colorado.  (Laughter.)  There’s a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s handed down from generation to generation, and it’s part of the fabric of people’s lives.  And they treat gun ownership with reverence and respect.

And so I’m here because I believe there doesn’t have to be a conflict in reconciling these realities.  There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights.  I’ve got stacks of letters in my office from proud gun owners, whether they’re for sport, or protection, or collection, who tell me how deeply they cherish their rights, don’t want them infringed upon, but they still want us to do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence.  And I appreciate every one of those letters.  And I’ve learned from them.

And I think that Colorado has shown that practical progress is possible thanks to the leadership of Governor Hickenlooper and some of the state legislators who are here today.  When I was talking to Steve, he mentioned that Aurora is very much a purple city.  It’s got a majority Republican city council; a majority of the state legislators are Democrat.  But they came together understanding that out of this tragedy there had to be something that made sense.  And so we’ve seen enacted tougher background checks that won’t infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners, but will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.  (Applause.)

Now, in January, just a few weeks after Newtown, I put forward a series of common-sense proposals along the same lines as what’s passed here in Colorado, to reduce gun violence and keep our kids safe.  In my State of the Union address, I urged Congress to give these proposals a vote.  And, by the way, before we even asked for a vote, I had already signed numerous executive orders doing what we could administratively to make sure that guns don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people.

But what I said then is still true:  If we’re really going to tackle this problem seriously, then we’ve got to get Congress to take the next step.  And as soon as next week, they will be voting.  As soon as next week, every senator will get to vote on whether or not we should require background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a gun.

Now, some say, well, we already have background checks.  And they’re right.  Over the past 20 years, those background checks have kept more than 2 million dangerous people from buying a gun.  But the loopholes that currently exist in the law have allowed way too many criminals and folks who shouldn’t be getting guns — it has allowed them to avoid background checks entirely.  That makes it harder for law enforcement to do its job.  It’s not safe.  It’s not smart.  And, by the way, it’s not fair to responsible gun owners who are playing by the rules.

Now, understand, nobody is talking about creating an entirely new system.  We are simply talking about plugging holes, sealing a porous system that isn’t working as well as it should.  If you want to buy a gun, whether it’s from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you should at least have to pass a background check to show you’re not a criminal or someone legally prohibited from buying on.  And that’s just common sense.  (Applause.)

During our roundtable discussion with Governor Hickenlooper, who I know was in the midst of this passionate debate about the legislation here in Colorado, and some people said, well, background checks aren’t going to stop everybody.  And the Governor was the first one to acknowledge, yes, they won’t stop everybody, but as he pointed out, statistically, there are a whole bunch of folks who have been stopped.

As a consequence of background checks, law enforcement has been able to stop people who have been convicted of murder from getting a gun, people who are under restraining orders for having committed violent domestic abuse from getting a gun.  In a couple of cases the governor mentioned to me, law enforcement has actually been able to arrest people who came to pick up their gun — (laughter) — because they were criminals, wanted.

So this does work.  And, by the way, if you’re selling a gun, wouldn’t you want to know who you’re selling it to?  Wouldn’t you want to know?  Wouldn’t you want in your conscience to know that the person you’re selling to isn’t going to commit a crime?  (Applause.)

So these enhanced background checks won’t stop all gun crimes, but they will certainly help prevent some.  This is common sense.  And, by the way, most gun owners — more than 80 percent — agree this makes sense.  More than 70 percent of NRA members agree.  Ninety percent of the American people agree.  So there’s no reason we can’t do this unless politics is getting in the way.  There’s no reason we can’t do this.

As soon as next week, every senator will get a chance to vote on a proposal to help strengthen school safety and help people struggling with mental health problems get the treatment that they need.

As soon as next week, every senator will get to vote on whether or not we should crack down on folks who buy guns as part of a scheme to arm criminals.  That would keep more guns off the streets and out of the hands of people who are intent on doing harm.  And it would make life a whole lot easier and safer for the people behind me — police officers.

Every senator will get a say on whether or not we should keep weapons of war and high-capacity ammunition magazines that facilitate mass killings off our streets.  The type of assault rifle used in Aurora, for example, when paired with a high-capacity magazine, has one purpose:  to pump out as many bullets as possible, as fast as possible.  It’s what allowed that gunman to shoot 70 people and kill 12 in a matter of a few minutes.  I don’t believe that weapons designed for theaters of war have a place in movie theaters.  Most Americans agree with that.  (Applause.)

Most of these ideas are not controversial.  Right now, 90 percent of Americans — 90 percent — support background checks that will keep criminals and people who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun.  More than 80 percent of Republicans agree.  Most gun owners agree.  Think about it:  How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything?  (Laughter.)

And yet, there are already some senators back in Washington floating the idea that they might use obscure procedural stunts to prevent or delay any of these votes on reform.  Think about that.  They’re not just saying they’ll vote “no” on the proposal that most Americans support.  They’re saying they’ll do everything they can to avoid even allowing a vote on a proposal that the overwhelming majority of the American people support.  They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter.

We knew from the beginning that change wouldn’t be easy.  And we knew that there would be powerful voices that would do everything they could to run out the clock, change the subject, ignore the majority of the American people.  We knew they’d try to make any progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration, or maybe people would just stop paying attention.

The only way this time will be different is if the American people demand that this time it must be different — that this time, we must do something to protect our communities and our kids.  (Applause.)  We need parents, we need teachers, we need police officers, we need pastors, we need hunters and sportsmen, Americans of every background to say, we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue.  We’re not going to just wait for the next Newtown or the next Aurora before we act.  And I genuinely believe that’s what the overwhelming majority of Americans — I don’t care what party they belong to — that’s what they want.  They just want to see some progress.

It was interesting, during the conversation, a number of people talked about the trust issue.  Part of the reason it’s so hard to get this done is because both sides of the debate sometimes don’t listen to each other.  The people who take absolute positions on these issues, on both sides, sometimes aren’t willing to concede even an inch of ground.

And so one of the questions we talked about was, how do you build trust?  How do you rebuild some trust?  And I told the story about two conversations I had.  The first conversation was when Michelle came back from doing some campaigning out in rural Iowa.  And we were sitting at dinner, and she had been to like a big county, a lot of driving out there, a lot of farmland.  And she said, if I was living out in a farm in Iowa, I’d probably want a gun, too.  If somebody just drives up into your driveway and you’re not home — you don’t know who these people are and you don’t know how long it’s going to take for the sheriffs to respond.  I can see why you’d want some guns for protection.  That’s one conversation.

I had another conversation just a couple of months ago with a mom from Chicago — actually, Evanston, Illinois — whose son had been killed in a random shooting.  And she said, you know, I hate it when people tell me that my son was shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was in the right place.  He was on his way to school.  He wasn’t in the wrong place.  He was exactly where he was supposed to be.

Now, both those things are true.  And sometimes we’re so divided between rural and urban, and folks whose hunting is part of their lives and folks whose only experience with guns is street crime.  And the two sides just talk past one another.  And more than anything, what I want to just emphasize is there are good people on both sides of this thing, but we have to be able to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.  If you’re a hunter, if you’re a sportsman — if you have a gun in your house for protection — you’ve got to understand what it feels like for that mom whose son was randomly shot.

And if you live in an urban area and you’re worried about street crime, you’ve got to understand what it might be like if you grew out on a ranch and your dad had been taking you hunting all your life.  And we had a couple of sportsmen in our conversation today, and I thought one of them said something very important.  He said, all my experiences with guns have been positive, but I realize that for others, all their experiences about guns have been negative.  Well, that’s a start, right?  If we start listening to each other, then we should be able to get something done that’s constructive.  We should be able to get that done.  (Applause.)

One last thing I’m going to mention is that during this conversation — I hope you don’t mind me quoting you, Joe.  Joe Garcia, I thought, also made an important point, and that is that the opponents of some of these common-sense laws have ginned up fears among responsible gun owners that have nothing to do with what’s being proposed and nothing to do with the facts, but feeds into this suspicion about government.

You hear some of these quotes:  “I need a gun to protect myself from the government.”  “We can’t do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away.”

Well, the government is us.  These officials are elected by you.  (Applause.)  They are elected by you.  I am elected by you.  I am constrained, as they are constrained, by a system that our Founders put in place.  It’s a government of and by and for the people.

And so, surely, we can have a debate that’s not based on the notion somehow that your elected representatives are trying to do something to you other than potentially prevent another group of families from grieving the way the families of Aurora or Newtown or Columbine have grieved.  We’ve got to get past some of the rhetoric that gets perpetuated that breaks down trust and is so over the top that it just shuts down all discussion.  And it’s important for all of us when we hear that kind of talk to say, hold on a second.  If there are any folks who are out there right now who are gun owners, and you’ve been hearing that somehow somebody is taking away your guns, get the facts.  We’re not proposing a gun registration system, we’re proposing background checks for criminals.  (Applause.)

Don’t just listen to what some advocates or folks who have an interest in this thing are saying.  Look at the actual legislation.  That’s what happened here in Colorado.  And hopefully, if we know the facts and we’re listening to each other, then we can actually move forward.

And that’s what members of Congress need to hear from you.  Right now, members of Congress are at home in their districts.  Many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents.  So I’m asking anyone out there who is listening today, find out where your member of Congress stands on these issues.  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 more difficult for a dangerous criminal to get his or her hands on a gun?  Why wouldn’t you want to close the loophole that allows too many criminals to buy a gun without even the simplest of background checks?  Why on Earth wouldn’t you want to make it easier rather than harder for law enforcement to do their job?

I know that some of the officers here today know what it’s like to look into the eyes of a parent or a grandparent, a brother or a sister, or a spouse who has just lost a loved one to an act of violence.  Some of those families, by the way, are here today.  And as police officers, you know as well as anybody, there is no magic solution to prevent every bad thing from happening in the world.  You still suit up, you put on your badge, put yourself at risk every single day.  Every single day, you go to work and you try to do the best you can to protect the people you’re sworn to protect and serve.  Well, how can the rest of us as citizens do anything less?

If there is just one step we can take to prevent more Americans from knowing the pain that some of the families who are here have known, don’t we have an obligation to try?  Don’t we have an obligation to try?  (Applause.)  If these reforms keep one person from murdering dozens of innocent children or worshippers or moviegoers in a span of minutes, isn’t it worth fighting for?  (Applause.)  I believe it is.  That’s why I’m going to keep on working.  I’m going to keep on giving it my best efforts.  But I’m going to need your help.

This is not easy.  And I’ll be blunt — a lot of members of Congress, this is tough for them.  Because those who are opposed to any form of legislation affecting guns, they’re very well-organized and they’re very well-financed.  But it can be done if enough voices are heard.

So I want to thank all the police officers who are here for giving their best efforts every single day.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Governor Hickenlooper for his outstanding leadership.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all the families who are here for your courage in being willing to take out of this tragedy something positive.  I want to thank the people of Colorado for coming together in sensible ways.  (Applause.)  Let’s see if we can get the whole country to do so.

Thank you, Denver.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END                3:45 P.M. MDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 4, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at Sloan’s Lake Park, Denver, Colorado — Fights Back Day After Debate Defeat




Obama Fights Back Day After Debate Defeat

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-4-12 


Under fire from critics on the left and right for his performance at the first presidential debate, President Obama arrived in Denver for a chilly morning-after rally armed with rejoinders to arguments made by Republican rival Mitt Romney, which were not delivered in the heat of debate last night.

Obama told the crowd of 12,000 huddled along the shoreline at Sloan’s Lake Park that the man he faced was a “very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” but who espoused positions in conflict with what “the real Mitt Romney” has been touting on the campaign trail….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Denver, CO

Source: WH, 10-4-12

Sloan’s Lake Park
Denver, Colorado

10:30 A.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Colorado!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Denver!  (Applause.)  Can everybody please give Lily a big round of applause for the great introduction.  (Applause.)  We’ve got so many dignitaries I can’t name them all.  But we’ve got your outstanding senators in the house.  (Applause.)  Your terrific members of Congress are here.  (Applause.)  Got our campaign co-chairs.  Got Will.I.Am.  (Applause.)  Most importantly, we’ve got all of you.  (Applause.)  Even though you had to get the winter coats out a little quicker than you expected.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Obama!

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

Now, the reason I was in Denver, obviously, is to see all of you, and it’s always pretty.  (Laughter.)  But we also had our first debate last night.  (Applause.)  And when I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney.  (Laughter.)  But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney — because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy.  The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.  (Laughter.)

The real Mitt Romney said we don’t need any more teachers in our classrooms.


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

But the fellow on stage last night, he loves teachers — can’t get enough of them.  (Laughter.)  The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were called “pioneers” of outsourcing jobs to other countries.  But the guy on stage last night, he said that he doesn’t even know that there are such laws that encourage outsourcing — he’s never heard of them.  Never heard of them.  Never heard of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.  He said that if it’s true, he must need a new accountant.  (Laughter.)

Now, we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney, because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant.  (Laughter.)  So you see, the man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney’s decisions and what he’s been saying for the last year.  And that’s because he knows full well that we don’t want what he’s been selling for the last year.  (Applause.)  So Governor Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be President, you owe the American people the truth.  (Applause.)

So here’s the truth:  Governor Romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class.  That’s the math.  We can’t afford to go down that road again.  We can’t afford another round of budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy.  We can’t afford to gut our investments in education or clean energy or research and technology.  We can’t afford to roll back regulations on Wall Street, or on big oil companies or insurance companies.  We cannot afford to double down on the same top-down economic policies that got us into this mess.  That is not a plan to create jobs.  That is not a plan to grow the economy.  That is not change — that is a relapse.  (Applause.)  We don’t want to go back there.  We’ve tried it, it didn’t work.  And we are not going back, we are going forward.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve got a different view about how we create jobs and prosperity.  This country doesn’t succeed when we only see the rich getting richer.  We succeed when the middle class gets bigger.  We grow our economy not from the top down, but from the middle out.

We don’t believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country, but we do believe in something called opportunity.  We believe in a country where hard work pays off and where responsibility is rewarded, and everybody is getting a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules.  (Applause.)  That’s the country we believe in.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s why I’m running for a second term for President of the United States, and that’s why I want your vote.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  What I talked about last night was a new economic patriotism — a patriotism that’s rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class.

That means we export more jobs and we outsource — export more products and we outsource fewer jobs.  Over the last three years, we came together to reinvent a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  (Applause.)  We’ve created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs.

And so now you’ve got a choice.  We can keeping giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that are opening new plants and training new workers, and creating new jobs right here in the United States of America.  That’s what we’re looking for.  (Applause.)

We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and create a million new manufacturing jobs over the next four years.  You can make that happen.

I want to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will be going twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)

We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar.  And thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  (Applause.)  The United States of America today is less dependent on foreign oil than any time in nearly two decades.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice between a plan that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it.  Last night, my opponent says he refuses to close the loophole that gives big oil companies $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies every year.  Now, we’ve got a better plan — where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal, and the good jobs that come with them; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks; where construction workers are retrofitting homes and factories so they waste less energy; and we can develop a 100-year supply of natural gas that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs — and, by the way, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020.  That will be good for our economy.  That will be good for our environment.  That will be good for Colorado.  That will be good for America.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s why I am running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I want to give more Americans the chance to learn the skills they need to compete.  I talked last night about how education was the gateway of opportunity for me and Michelle, for so many of you.  It’s the gateway for a middle-class life.  And today, millions of students are paying less for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on bankers and lenders.  (Applause.)

And so now you’ve got a choice:  We can gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dream deferred because of an overcrowded classroom.  (Applause.)  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.  No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here in the United States.

So we’re going to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers, and we’re going to improve early childhood education, and we’re going to create 2 million more slots in community colleges so that workers can get trained for the jobs that are out there right now.  (Applause.)  And we are going to continue to do everything we need to do to cut the growth of tuition costs, because every young person in America should have the opportunity to go to college without being loaded up with hundreds — with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt.  That’s part of what it means for us to be able to build an economy that lasts.

And finally, I’ve got a balanced plan that independent experts say will cut the deficit by $4 trillion through a mix of spending cuts and higher taxes on wealthiest Americans.  Now, I’ve already worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple and it’s fair, but also so incomes over $250,000 — we go back to the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, we created 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, a lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

Now, last night, Governor Romney ruled out raising a dime of taxes on anybody ever, no matter how much money they make.  He ruled out closing the loophole that gives oil companies $4 billion in corporate welfare.  He refused to even acknowledge the loophole that gives tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas.  And when he was asked what he’d actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending, he said he’d eliminate funding for public television.


THE PRESIDENT:  That was his answer.  I mean, thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s about time.  We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit.  (Laughter.)  But that’s what we heard last night.  How about that?


THE PRESIDENT:  Elmo, too?  (Laughter.)

Look, the fact is Governor Romney’s math just doesn’t add up.  And I had to spend a lot of time last night trying to pin it down.  The only one way to pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts and $2 trillion in new defense spending that the military says it doesn’t need is by asking the middle class to pay more. And I refuse to do that.  (Applause.)

I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, or elderly, or disabled — just to pay for more tax cuts that we cannot afford.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  Governor Romney doubled down on that proposal last night and he is wrong.  No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned.  (Applause.)

So, yes, we’ll reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care — not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.  And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it — not by turning it over to Wall Street.

Now, going forward we’re going to have a chance to talk a little bit about what’s going on overseas, because our prosperity at home is linked to what happens abroad.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq, and I did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan in a responsible way, and we are.  (Applause.)  While a new tower is rising above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

But we still face serious threats around the world.  We saw that just a few weeks ago.  And that’s why, so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  And when our troops take off their uniforms, we will serve them as well as they’ve served us — (applause) — because nobody should have to fight for a job when they come home, or a roof over their heads when they have fought for their country.  They have earned our respect and our honor.  (Applause.)  That’s a commitment I make.

Now, it will be interesting to see what the guy who was playing Mitt Romney yesterday — (laughter) — will say about foreign policy when we meet next, because he said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.  He won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan.  And I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and to put more people back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges, and our schools and our runways and broadband lines — because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building here at home and put some folks to work here at home.  (Applause.)

So this is the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we’ve been told by our opponents that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If a company is releasing toxic pollution into the air that your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress — can’t afford to regulate.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, just borrow money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

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

You understand that.  You understand that, Denver.  You are the reason that there’s a teacher in Pueblo who, with her husband, can buy her first phone with — first home with the help of new tax credits that we helped pass.  We couldn’t have done it without you.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason that a woman outside Durango can get the treatment she needs to beat cancer, now that there are affordable plans to cover preexisting conditions.  You did that.  You made that happen.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason that thousands of students at CU Boulder, and Colorado State, and University of Denver have more help paying for college this year.  That happened because of you.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here, and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason why an outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of the military because of who he loves.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why thousands of families have been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely:  “Welcome home.”  Welcome home.  Welcome home.  (Applause.)

If you turn away now — if you buy into the cynicism that somehow the change we fought for isn’t possible, then of course, change won’t happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other folks fill the void — lobbyists and special interests, and the people who are writing the $10 million checks.  And all the spin will end up dominating the airwaves, and that’s how things go, and ordinary folks get left out.  All the folks who are trying to make it harder for you to vote; the folks in Washington who think somehow that they should control the health care choices that women should be making for themselves.


THE PRESIDENT:  Only you can make change happen.  Only you have the power to move us forward.  (Applause.)

From the day we began this campaign, I always said real change takes time.  It takes more than one term.  It takes more even than one President or one party.  You certainly can’t do it if you’ve got a President who writes off half the nation before he even takes office.  (Applause.)

In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me.  But on the night of the election, I said to all those Americans, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President, too.  (Applause.)

And so I want to say to Denver, I want to say to the entire great state of Colorado:  I don’t know how many of you will be with me this time around — (applause) — but I’ll be with you no matter what.  Because I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs — I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to improve schools in the red states or blue states — I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States.  (Applause.)

The values we care about don’t just belong to workers or businesses, or the rich or the poor, or the 1 percent or the 99 percent — they are American values; they belong to all of us.  And if we reclaim them now, if we rally around a new sense of economic patriotism, a sense of how we build an economy from the middle out and give ladders of opportunity for everybody who is willing to work hard — we will strengthen the middle class, we’ll keep moving forward.

I still believe that our politics is not as divided as it seems sometimes.  I still believe in you.  I’m asking you to keep on believing in me.  (Applause.)  I’m asking for your vote.  And if you’re willing to stand with me and work with me, we’re going to win Denver again.  (Applause.)  We’ll win Colorado again.  We’ll finish what we started.  We will remind the world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

10:52 A.M. MDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 8, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Denver Launches 2 Day Colorado Tour & Pitches Health Law




Obama Joins Sandra Fluke, Pitches Health Law in Colorado

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-8-12

Trailing rival Mitt Romney in a new Colorado poll, President Obama Wednesday kicked off a two-day swing through the state by aggressively courting women voters with his signature health care law.
The vigorous pitch, emphasizing the law’s popular benefits for women — from preventive care services without co-pays to mandated insurance coverage for contraceptive care — underscores just how important Democrats believe women voters will be in the battle for November.

“I don’t think a working mom in Denver should have to wait to get a mammogram just because money is tight. I don’t think a college student in Colorado Springs should have to choose between textbooks or the preventive care that she needs,” Obama said. “That’s why we’ve passed this law. It was the right thing to do.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Denver, CO

Source: WH, 8-8-12

Auraria Events Center
University of Denver
Denver, Colorado

1:06 P.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Denver!  (Applause.)  Oh, it is good to be back in Denver.  (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, I tell you what, we win Colorado, I’ll get four more years.  (Applause.)

A couple of people I just want to acknowledge.  First of all, I just want to say thank you to Sandra for that wonderful introduction.  (Applause.)  She is one tough and poised young lady.  (Applause.)  She was generous to stand up for her friend. She was brave to stand up for herself, and an eloquent advocate for women’s health.  And I suspect she’s going to be doing some even greater things as time goes on.  So give her a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

A couple other people I want to acknowledge — your own Mayor Michael Hancock is in the house.  (Applause.)  One of the best Senators in the country, Michael Bennet is in the house.  (Applause.)  A passionate advocate for working families, Ed Perlmutter is here.  (Applause.)  My dear friend, campaign co-chair, former mayor, former secretary of transportation and energy — I’m getting tired just listing his resumé — Federico Peña is in the house.  (Applause.)  He’s here somewhere.  Where did Federico go?  (Applause.)

And finally, I also want to acknowledge another campaign co-chair, John Register — a veteran and Paralympian.  We are very proud of him — John Register.  (Applause.)

It’s been two and a half weeks since I was last here in Colorado.  And, well, many of you know, I was in Aurora to meet those who lost loved ones during that terrible shooting.  And I just had a chance to see some of the first responders who helped to save lives and comfort families during that terrible, terrible day.  (Applause.)  Unfortunately, since that time, we’ve had another tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where six members of our community were killed as they entered into a house of worship.

And so I think we can all acknowledge, we’ve got to put an end to this kind of senseless violence — (applause) — whether it’s in Aurora, whether it’s in Oak Creek, whether it’s in Tucson, whether it’s in cities all across America where too many lives are cut short because of senseless violence.  This is going to have to stop.  And as an American family — as one American family — we’re going to have to come together and look at all the approaches that we can take to try to bring an end to it.

And I want you to all know that the thoughts and prayers of the entire nation remain with those in Aurora.  And even though the perpetrators of these acts have received a lot of attention, attention on them will fade and what will be replaced are the stories of heroism and hope that we’ve seen here in Colorado, and in Wisconsin, and across the nation.  That’s what we’ll remember. That’s what’s going to matter.  (Applause.)  That’s what we will value — the strength and the resilience and the care and the love of the American people.  (Applause.)

Now, unless you’ve managed to completely avoid your television set — (laughter) — or your cable is broken, you are aware that there is a pretty intense campaign going on right now. (Applause.)  And the reason it’s intense is because the choice that we face in November could not be bigger.  It’s not just a choice between two candidates.  It’s not even just a choice between two parties.  More than any election in recent memory, this is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for our country’s future.

And the direction that you choose — the direction you choose when you walk into that voting booth three months from now will have a direct impact not just on your lives, but on the lives of your children and the lives of your grandchildren.  (Applause.)

And that’s true for everybody.  But it’s especially true for the women in this country — (applause) — from working moms to college students to seniors.  Because when it comes to the economy, it’s bad enough that our opponents want to take us back to the same policies of the last decade, the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place, the same policies that saw jobs going overseas and ended up seeing people’s wages and incomes going down even as the costs of everything from health care to college were going up — policies that culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and that we’ve spent, now, three and a half years trying to recover from.  That’s bad enough.  (Applause.)  But when it comes to a woman’s right to make her own health care choices, they want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.  (Applause.)

And, Colorado, you’ve got to make sure it does not happen. (Applause.)  The decisions that affect a woman’s health, they’re not up to politicians, they’re not up to insurance companies —


THE PRESIDENT:  They’re up to you.  (Applause.)  And you deserve a President who will fight to keep it that way.  (Applause.)  That’s the President I’ve been.  That’s the President I will be if I get a second term as President of the United States, to keep moving this country forward.  (Applause.)

On the issues that matter, you don’t have to take my word for it — you can take me at my record.  Four years ago, I delivered on my promise to pass health reform before the end of my first term.  That’s what we did.  (Applause.)  The Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — (applause) — I actually like the name — (laughter) — because I do care.  (Applause.) That’s why we fought so hard to make it happen.

The Affordable Care Act helps make sure you don’t have to worry about going broke just because one of your loved ones gets sick.  Insurance companies can no longer place lifetime limits on your care.  They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.  They can no longer drop your coverage when you need it most.  They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.  (Applause.)  And pretty soon, they’ll no longer be able to deny you coverage based on a preexisting condition, like breast cancer, or cervical cancer, or charge you more for care just because you’re a woman.  They can’t do that anymore.  Those days are over.  (Applause.)

This is a law that allows young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parent’s health care plans — (applause) — and that’s already helped 6.6 million young Americans.  (Applause.)

If you’re a little bit over 26, it gives seniors a discount on their prescription drugs — a discount that’s already saved millions of seniors on Medicare hundreds of dollars each.  (Applause.)

Right now, nearly 13 million Americans are getting a rebate from insurance companies — that’s right, they’re sending you a check — (applause) — because under the law, we’ve capped the amount of money that they can spend on administrative costs and CEO bonuses instead of your health care.  And when they violate that rule, they’ve got to send you a check.  (Applause.)

Last year, Obamacare secured new access to preventive care like mammograms and cancer screenings — with no co-pay, no deductible, no out-of-pocket cost for more than 20 million women. (Applause.)  Last week, insurance companies began covering even more services.  And now most health plans are going to begin covering the cost of contraceptive care.  (Applause.)

Now, understand this is crucial for women’s health.  Doctors prescribe contraception not just for family planning but as a way to reduce the risk of ovarian and other cancers.  And it’s good for our health care system in general, because we know the overall cost of care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.

And listen, we recognize that many people have strongly held religious views on contraception, which is why we made sure churches and other houses of worship, they don’t have to provide it, they don’t have to pay for it.  We worked with the Catholic hospitals and universities to find a solution that protects both religious liberty and a woman’s health.  (Applause.)

The fact is nearly 99 percent of women have relied on contraception at some point — and more than half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it.


THE PRESIDENT:  And we’re changing that.  (Applause.)  Before health care reform, many health care plans charged high deductibles or co-pays for all these preventive services, or they just didn’t cover them at all.  And according to one study, more than half of all women put off the care they needed because of that.  How many of you have gone without care that you needed or a checkup because you knew that you might not be able to afford the insurance co-pays — and you had to choose between gas, or groceries, or your kid’s new soccer uniform?

I don’t think a working mom in Denver should have to wait to get a mammogram just because money is tight.  (Applause.)  I don’t think a college student in Colorado Springs should have to choose between textbooks or the preventive care that she needs.  That’s why we passed this law.  (Applause.)  It was the right thing to do.

Now, my opponent has a different view.  As Sandra said, he said he would take the Affordable Care Act and “kill it dead” on the first day of his presidency — “kill it dead.”


THE PRESIDENT:  Which — I mean, just understand what this means.  This means 26-year-olds — 6.5 million young people don’t have health insurance.  The preventative care gone.  Seniors paying more for prescription drugs.  Preexisting conditions — you’re out of luck.  Then he said he’d “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.


THE PRESIDENT:  Then he said he would have supported an extreme measure in Mississippi that could have outlawed some forms of contraception.


THE PRESIDENT:  Then he joined the far right of his party to support a bill that would allow any employer to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees.  So it would be up to the employer to decide —


THE PRESIDENt:  — your boss telling you what’s best for your health and your safety.

Now, let me tell you something, Denver — I don’t think your boss should get to control the health care that you get.  (Applause.)  I don’t think insurance companies should control the care that you get.  I don’t think politicians should control the care that you get.  I think there’s one person to make these decisions on health care, and that is you.  You should make that decision.  (Applause.)

Mr. Romney is running as the candidate of conservative values.  There’s nothing conservative about a government that prevents a woman from making her own health care decisions.  He says he’s the candidate of freedom.  But freedom is the chance, the opportunity to determine for yourself the care that you need, when you need it.  (Applause.)  It’s the ability to change jobs or start your own business without fear of losing your health insurance.  (Applause.)

We’re not going back to the days when it was acceptable to charge women more than men for health care.  And we’re not going back to the days when women with preexisting conditions, like being a cancer survivor, were denied affordable care.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to kick more than a million young women off their parent’s plan.  We are not going backwards, Denver.  We’re moving forward.  That’s why I’m running for President again.  (Applause.)

And understand this:  At a time when women make up nearly half the workforce, an increasing share of family breadwinners, these aren’t just health issues and they’re not just women’s issues.  These are economic issues.  They affect every family in America.  (Applause.)  Think about it.  Think about what it means when a woman is the main breadwinner for her family, but she’s taking less pay home, doing the same work as a man, just because she’s a woman.  That’s not right.


THE PRESIDENT:  When my opponent’s campaign was asked if he’d fight to guarantee an equal day’s pay for an equal day’s work, you know what the campaign said?  They said, “We’ll get back to you on that.”


THE PRESIDENT:  That’s not a good answer.  “We’ll get back to you on that”?  He won’t say what he’d do about it.  You’ve got my answer — upholding the principle of equal pay for equal work was the first bill I signed into law.  (Applause.)  The Lilly Ledbetter Act — first bill I signed.  (Applause.)

And one other thing.  Today is the three-year anniversary of Sonia Sotomayor taking her seat on the Supreme Court.  (Applause.)  Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of Elena Kagan taking her seat on the Supreme Court.  (Applause.)  So let’s be very clear — the next President could tip the balance of the Court in a way that turns back the clock for women and families for decades to come.  The choice between going backward and moving forward has never been so clear.  (Applause.)

And let me say this.  When I talk about women’s issues, I’m talking about the experiences that I’ve seen in my own life.  Everybody knows Michelle.  (Applause.)  The fact that we are partners in this process, this journey of life, has been my source of strength.  And I want to make sure that she has control over her health care choices.  I want to make sure that when she’s working, she is getting paid the same as men.  I’ve got to say, First Ladies right now don’t — (laughter) — even though that’s a tough job.

You know, my own mom would have been 70 years old this year. And my sister and I lost her to cancer when she was just 52 years old.  And she got to meet Michelle, but she never got a chance to meet her granddaughters or watch them grow up.  And I often think about what might have happened if a doctor had caught her cancer sooner, or if she had been able to spend less time focusing on how she was going to pay her bills and more time on getting well.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  She is still with us!

THE PRESIDENT:  She is still with us.  She is in a better place.  (Applause.)

I think about Malia and Sasha, and I think to myself, well, we’re not going to have an America where they have fewer opportunities than somebody’s sons.


THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t want them having fewer choices than anybody’s boys do.

And then, four years ago, as I had the privilege to travel all across this country and meet Americans from all walks of life, I heard so many stories like mine.  And I decided nobody else should have to endure the heartbreak of a broken health care system.  No one in the wealthiest nation on Earth should go broke because they get sick.  Nobody should be able to tell their daughters or sons that the decisions they can and cannot make for themselves are constrained because of some politicians in Washington.

And thanks to you, we’ve made a difference in people’s lives.  (Applause.)  Thanks to you, there are folks that I meet today who have gotten care and their cancer has been caught, and they’ve got treatment, and they are living full lives.  And it happened because of you, because of your efforts four years ago. (Applause.)

And, Denver, we’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)  We’ve got too much work to do to implement health care.  We’ve got too much work to do to create good jobs.  (Applause.)  We’ve got too many teachers that we’ve got to hire. We’ve got too many schools we’ve got to rebuild.  We’ve got too many students who still need affordable higher education.  (Applause.)  There’s more homegrown energy to generate.  (Applause.)  There are more troops that we’ve got to bring home. (Applause.)  There are more doors of opportunity that we’ve got to open to anybody who’s willing to work hard and walk through those doors.

We’ve got to keep building an economy where no matter what you look like or where you come from, you can make it here if you try.  (Applause.)  And you can leave something behind for the next generation.  That’s what’s at stake right now, Colorado.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’m asking for your vote.  (Applause.)

I still believe in you.  And if you still believe in me, and if you’re willing to stand with me, and knock on some doors with me, and make some phone calls with me, and talk to your neighbors and friends about what’s at stake, we will win Colorado.  And if we win Colorado, we will win this election.  (Applause.)  We will finish what we started, and we’ll remind the world why America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

1:29 P.M. MDT

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