Full Text Obama Presidency February 19, 2014: North American Leaders Summit Roundup

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

North American Leaders Summit Roundup

President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside of President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the North American Business, Civil Society and Education leaders during the North American Leaders Summit in Toluca, Mexico.President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to North American business, civil society, and education leaders during the North American Leaders’ Summit in Toluca, Mexico, Feb. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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Full Text Obama Presidency February 19, 2014: President Obama, President Peña Nieto, and Prime Minister Harper’s Press Conference at Three Amigos Summit

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Press Conference by President Obama, President Peña Nieto, and Prime Minister Harper

Source: WH, 2-19-14

President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside of President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the North American Business, Civil Society and Education leaders during the North American Leaders Summit in Toluca, Mexico.President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to North American business, civil society, and education leaders during the North American Leaders’ Summit in Toluca, Mexico, Feb. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Patio Central
Palacio de Gobierno
Toluca, Mexico

7:25 P.M. CST

PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO:  (As interpreted.)  Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.  Members of the media.  Your Excellency, President of the United States of America Barack Obama; Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper.  Once again, I would like to welcome you to our country.

It is a great honor to have hosted you for the North American Leaders Summit here in the State of Mexico, and Toluca, its capital city — a state that I had the great honor of being the governor of before I took office with the greatest honor in the world of politics, and that is to lead the course of my country.

That is why I am very glad that we have had the opportunity of having this meeting.  And I’d like to congratulate myself for creating a space where we have had dialogues, where we have outreach to our countries, and where we have strengthened our friendship.  I can be certain that the warm space where we have met is very different from what the teams of men and women representing Mexico in Sochi are having in Russia.  They are in very cold weather and fighting hard to win a medal.  So be welcome to this very warm weather.

I would like to summarize for the media and for your delegations the scope of our meetings.  I would like to share with you that we have two highlights in our meetings.  First we had a bilateral with President Barack Obama and with his delegation and their counterparts from Mexico to address the following, and I would like to share this with you.

First of all, we assessed the breakthroughs related to the agreements made during President Obama’s past visit in May to our country, and now during his fifth visit — and I must note that Mexico ranks top of the list of the most visited countries by President Obama during his term.  And we were able to identify the level of progress of the agreements made back then; how much we have advanced the exchange between high level officials to precisely boost the trade and commercial relationship that Mexico and the U.S. have.

We have also analyzed the possibility of setting forward new mechanisms to build and fund strategic projects.  We have agreed to work on a proposal that would help us find different mechanisms to fund projects so that we can give a new life to our infrastructure, to have more agile and have safer commercial transactions between our countries.

Specifically, we talked about education.  We have set the task to have more academic exchanges so that more Mexican students can study in the United States and, reciprocally, students from the United States come to Mexico to study.  The number of students so far is somehow low, considering the potential that we have.  And out of the 14,000 students from Mexico that go to the United States to study, we have set a goal and that is to increase year by year this figure and reach 100,000 students a year that visit the United States, and 50,000 students from the U.S. coming to Mexico to study.

We have revised our security agenda and we have agreed to maintain a strategic dialogue, to coordinate efforts so we can face a common issue — security in both of our countries and, specifically, security at the border.

On the other hand, I would like to refer to the outcome of the North American Leaders Summit.  Therefore, I would like to share with you highlights in terms of the agreements reached in this framework.  We have worked on four main topics.  The first one is to foster shared and inclusive prosperity.  We have agreed to work on a plan to boost competitiveness.  We also have agreed to work on a North America transport plan which would give us better infrastructure in our three countries to make the commerce that happens between our three nations thrive.

We also agreed to standardize and expedite all the procedures that take place in our customhouses.  We have also agreed to enable the movement of individuals, and by this have Trusted Travelers Programs.  We have, each one, a program of this nature with a purpose in mind that all the travelers that are part of the Trusted Travelers registers in our countries are considered as a vetted traveler in North America.

Additionally, in terms of the second topic, we have addressed areas of opportunity.  And I must insist, in terms of our binational agenda with the United States, we have added up Canada to work on a program to train professionals by increasing our academic exchanges and ensuring mobility of students between our three countries.

We have also agreed to foster sustainable development, working towards the mitigation of the effects of climate change. And in the area of sustainability, we have also agreed to work on the preservation of the Monarch butterfly.  It is a landmark species in North America.  This is a species present in our three countries, and we have agreed to work a taskforce with a presentation from our three countries to preserve the Monarch butterfly.

Then, another topic is citizen security and regional topics. We have agreed to give privilege to the exchange of information, and we have also privilege to coordinate efforts between law enforcement authorities.  We will reinforce the measures aimed to fight money laundering and illicit financial flows.  And for that purpose we need to integrate our financial systems further.

We have also restated our commitment to support and cooperate with the Central America region as well as the Caribbean because they are partners in this hemisphere.  We have committed to foster development, economic growth and citizen security as well.

Basically, I have summarized the commitments made during the summit.  And fourthly, we have committed, the three of us, to give follow-up to all the agreements made.  Besides making agreements, we have committed to give follow-up to each one of those agreements and we have committed to make them happen.

Finally, I would like to share with you that in order to reach our goals we need to identify that North America is quite valuable.  The Free Trade Agreement executed 20 years ago and the intense dialogue that we have between our three countries in the North American region is very valuable and every exchange is based on trust.  And we share a very good relationship between all of us who lead our countries.

This North America Leaders Summit has been a very good opportunity to specify what our commitments will be and what are the tasks for the future.  And it has also served as a space to restate our friendship, the good relationship that we have and the respect that we pay to each other.  And we have committed to work hard to make a significant contribution, to make North America a more competitive region — I would dare to say the most competitive region in the world.  And this is a region that has a true call for prosperity.  And we will work to provide better well-being to the citizens of our countries.

We have made great strides.  We create plenty of jobs due to the economic relationship that we have managed to achieve, but we want more.  We want more development.  We are aware of the potential that we find in North America.  And I make a pledge so that the seventh summit of leaders of North America serves its purpose.

Once again, we welcome, and I would like to say that I hope you have had a very pleasant stay in Toluca and I hope that this visit has been very fruitful.  And I hope that we have been able to build an even stronger relationship.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Buenas noches to President Peña Nieto.  To the people of Toluca and the people of Mexico, thank you so much for your extraordinary hospitality.  Thank you again, Enrique, for welcoming us to your hometown and home state, which — like the beautiful surroundings tonight — reflects Mexico’s proud history as well as the economic dynamism of today’s Mexico.

I want to thank President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Harper for their partnership in deepening the extraordinary ties between our countries — especially the trade that supports good jobs for our people.  For the United States, Canada and Mexico are two of our largest trading partners with trade that supports millions of American jobs.  Thanks in part to our efforts to boost U.S. exports, American exports to Canada and Mexico continue to grow faster than our exports to the rest of the world.

Together, our countries have strengths that give North America a tremendous competitive advantage — the skills of our workers, manufacturing that’s growing, and new sources of energy. So we have to take advantage of these competitive advantages, and we need to do it together.  All of this positions us to be a powerhouse in the global economy.  And that’s why we’re here, to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to be more competitive and create more jobs in Canada, in Mexico, and in the United States.

First, we’re focused on making it easier to trade.  Earlier today, I signed a new executive order to make it easier for companies that want to export and import.  Instead of dealing with dozens of different federal agencies and long paper forms, we’re going to create a one-stop shop online, so companies can submit all their information in one place and save themselves time and money.  We’re going to keep investing in infrastructure — like roads, bridges, border crossings — so our goods are getting to market faster.  We’ve agreed to keep working to make it easier for our businesspeople and tourists to trade and travel.  And we’re going to step up our efforts to streamline and eliminate regulations or the red tape that can sometimes stifle trade and job creation.

We’ve agreed to keep working to complete negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, including strong protections for our workers and the environment, so that we can compete in the fast-growing markets of the Asia Pacific.  And because it will grow the U.S. economy and make the United States more attractive to investment — and because we have to do right by our families and our values — I’ve reiterated that immigration reform remains one of my highest priorities.

I’m also very pleased that we’ve agreed to keep expanding educational partnerships, as Enrique mentioned, so our young people develop the skills they need to succeed in the global economy.  And this builds on my initiative that we call 100,000 Strong in the Americas.  We want more students from the United States studying throughout the hemisphere, and we want more students from places like Mexico and Canada studying in the United States — so that they’re developing familiarity and partnerships and friendships that will serve them and serve our countries well for decades to come.

Second, we continue to deepen our clean-energy partnerships, which create jobs and combat climate change.  Yesterday, I announced that the United States will develop new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks — standards that reduce carbon pollution.  And today, all three of our nations have agreed to work together to meet high fuel standards for these heavy-duty trucks.

And more broadly, we agreed to join with our Central American and Caribbean partners on a regional energy strategy.   And this builds on the commitment I made in Central America last year to help our partners across the region reduce their energy costs and become more competitive.  On a global level, we agreed to keep standing together as we push for an international agreement to phase down the production and consumption of dangerous hydrofluorocarbons.

Number three, we know that realizing our full potential as individual countries and as a region means confronting the criminals and narcotraffickers who unleashed so much violence on our citizens.  Here in Mexico, the security forces and the Mexican people continue to make enormous sacrifices in that fight, and our three nations are united against this threat.  In the United States, we continue to be committed to reduce the demand for illegal drugs and we’ll continue our unprecedented efforts to combat the southbound flow of illegal guns and cash.

And, finally, given our shared commitment to democratic values and human rights, I want to take this opportunity to address the situation in Venezuela and Ukraine, and the unacceptable violence in those two countries, which the United States strongly condemns.

In Venezuela, rather than trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States, the government ought to focus on addressing the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people.  So, along with the Organization of American States, we call on the Venezuelan government to release protestors that it’s detained and engage in real dialogue.  And all parties have an obligation to work together to restrain violence and restore calm.

With regard to Ukraine, along with our European partners, we will continue to engage all sides.  And we continue to stress to President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government that they have the primary responsibility to prevent the kind of terrible violence that we’ve seen, to withdraw riot police, to work with the opposition to restore security and human dignity and move the country forward.  And this includes progress towards a multiparty technical government that can work with the international community on a support package and adopt reforms necessary for free and fair elections next year.

Ukrainians are a proud and resilient people who’ve overcome extraordinary challenges in their history, and that’s a pride and strength that I hope they draw on now.  Meanwhile, I’ve urged the military in Ukraine to show restraint and to let civilians pursue the dialogue necessary for progress.  We’ve obviously seen reports of a truce between the government and the opposition.  If the truce is implemented, it could provide space for the sides to resolve their disagreements peacefully.

And going forward, we’ll continue to do whatever we can to support Ukrainians as they seek a peaceful resolution and respond to the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for a strong, unified democracy that’s fully integrated into the international community.

So, again, I want to thank Enrique and the people of Mexico, and the people of Toluca, for their wonderful hospitality.  If we stay focused on our shared vision — a North America that’s more integrated and more competitive — then progress in each of our countries will mean more prosperity and opportunity for everyone.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  (As interpreted.)  Allow me to start out by thanking President Peña Nieto for his generous hospitality.  We have had a wonderful stay in this wonderful country, in Mexico, and we are eager to come back soon.

Today, I had fruitful meetings and dialogues with my commercial partners from Mexico in regard to services, information, and also shared and fundamental values and, of course, a democratic and peaceful world.

Today, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of NAFTA.  As time can tell us, this treaty was successful, and it started guaranteeing prosperity from one extreme to the other of the hemisphere.  The volume of exchanges is fourfold now, and is over $30 billion.  And we have now seen exponential growth and can hope for exponential growth in years to go.

We are in agreement to say that we can still grow the success of NAFTA, to implement new ways, for instance, in regard to the Trans-Pacific alliance.  And so these negotiations should be for the best.  We need to create employment.  This is the key to revitalize the economy and to foster prosperity not only for the Canadian populations, but for our populations at large.

That’s why our government will keep on working and expanding the free trade and commerce with our main partners in North America, as well as with Asia Pacific region and worldwide, since we want to have access on the other side of the Atlantic, since we have subscribed to the free exchange agreement with Europe.

Today, President Obama, President Peña Nieto and myself have discussed and have delved into many topics, especially the state of the world economy at a local, regional level, and competiveness — North American competitiveness.  We are truly enthusiastic to collaborate, with this idea of collaborating together.  We shall keep on working together with my homologues [counterparts] and to take a profit of all the occasions for the well-being of our populations.  And we will host the forthcoming population of the summit in Canada.

And I would like to add a word in regard to the situation in Ukraine.  There’s been a truce, but it is essential that we take action.  And at the end of the day, the Ukrainian government has to be held responsible for settling this situation.  The Ukrainian government took actions — actions that were not only unpopular, but actions that put at risk nature and the aspirations of becoming an independent nation.

(In English.)  My sincere thanks to President Peña Nieto and the Mexican people for their generous hospitality.  We’ve had a wonderful time here in beautiful Mexico, and I look forward to returning again soon.

Today we had productive meetings with Canada’s closest friends and trading partners — partners with whom we share goods, services and information, and also fundamental values and a vision for a democratic and peaceful world.

This year we mark the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  And as only time can reveal, the agreement — statistics alone — has been overwhelmingly successful and is responsible for creating prosperity from the bottom to the top of the continent.  There has been a fourfold growth in trilateral trade over the last 20 years that now exceeds a trillion dollars. And it is estimated that the NAFTA marketplace will continue to expand exponentially in the decades to come.

We all agree that there is enormous potential to build on the success of NAFTA in new ways, for example, most notably through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We’re therefore focused on bringing those negotiations to a successful conclusion.

Developing trade is one of the keys to job creation.  It is a key to economic vitality, and it is a key to long-term prosperity not just for the Canadian people, but for all of our peoples.  That’s why our government will continue to work to expand trade with our two core trading partners in North America, in the Asia Pacific region more generally, and around the world  — just as we did last year, when we expanded our access across the Atlantic through the conclusion of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

In our meetings today, Presidents Peña Nieto, Obama and I discussed a range of topics as have already been detailed by my colleagues, including the state of the global economy, international regional security, and North American competitiveness.  We share a genuine enthusiasm for closer collaboration.

The Presidents and I will continue to work together to address the challenges of the 21st century and to seize the many promising opportunities that the future holds for our peoples.  And I do look forward to hosting the next North American Leaders Summit in Canada.

And I’d also just like to conclude with a word on the situation in Ukraine.  We obviously are encouraged to hear the news of a truce.  While this is good news, this kind of news, these kinds of words are only meaningful if they are put into action.  And ultimately, it is the regime that is responsible for resolving the current situation.  It is the regime that created this situation — not by taking decisions that were merely unpopular, but by undertaking decisions that went against the very nature and aspirations of Ukraine as an independent state.  And for that reason, we hold the government responsible and urge them to take all the steps necessary to resolve the situation and to put Ukraine back on the democratic and Euro-Atlantic path that the Ukrainian people desire.  (Applause.)

MODERATOR:  (As interpreted.)  We will have a round of questions.  Jason McDonald will introduce the Canadian journalist asking the question.

MR. MCDONALD:  Omar Sachedina from CTV News.

Q    Mr. President, good evening to you.  Canada has offered to work with the United States on joint rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector.  You’ve said the Keystone XL pipeline won’t be approved if it significantly worsens climate change.  The State Department report has concluded that Keystone will not have a significant effect on climate change.  So my question to you is, what more needs to be done on both sides of the border for this project to go ahead?

And, Prime Minister, I’d love for you to be able to weigh on this as well.  Et en français aussi, s’il vous plaît.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, as I’ve stated previously, there is a process that has been gone through, and I know it’s been extensive, and at times I’m sure Stephen feels a little too laborious.  But these are how we make these decisions about something that could potentially have a significant impact on America’s national economy and our national interests.

So the State Department has gone through its review.  There is now a comment period in which other agencies weigh in.  That will be evaluated by Secretary of State Kerry, and we’ll make a decision at that point.

In the meantime, Stephen and I, during a break after lunch, discussed a shared interest in working together around dealing with greenhouse gas emissions.  And this is something that we have to deal with.  I said previously that how Keystone impacted greenhouse gas emissions would affect our decision, but, frankly, it has to affect all of our decisions at this stage, because the science is irrefutable.  We’re already seeing severe weather patterns increase.  That has consequences for our businesses, for our jobs, for our families, for safety and security.  It has the potential of displacing people in ways that we cannot currently fully anticipate, and will be extraordinarily costly.

So I welcome the work that we can do together with Canada.  One of the wonderful things about North America is we have this amazing bounty of traditional fossil fuels, and we also have extraordinary businesses that are able to extract them in very efficient ways.  And that’s something that we should welcome because it helps to promote economic growth.  But we only have one planet, and so I believe that ultimately we can both promote economic development and growth, recognizing that we’re not going to immediately transition off of fossil fuels, but that we do have to point to the future and show leadership so that other countries who will be the main emitters fairly soon — China, India, other emerging markets — so that they can look at what we’re doing and we have leverage over them in terms of them improving their practices as well.

So this will be a joint effort.  I’m very eager to consult with Stephen around those issues.  And Keystone will proceed along the path that’s already been set forth.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Let me just say a couple of things. First of all, obviously, President Obama and I had an exchange on this.  My views in favor of the project are very well known.  His views on the process are also equally well known.  And we had that discussion and will continue on that discussion.

I would just say two things about the process.  First, on the issue of climate change, which is a shared concern, Canada and the United States have similar targets at the international level.  We already cooperate in several sectors in terms of emissions reductions.  But in terms of climate change, I think the State Department report already was pretty definitive on that particular issue.

The other thing I’d just draw attention to, just because I think it’s useful to point out the benefits to Canada, is the reform that we had done of environmental review and assessments of projects in Canada.  As you know, a couple years ago we moved to reform our system so that we have a single review wherever possible — a single review, a multi-dimensional review that happens over a fixed timeline.  And I think that is a process that is tremendously useful in giving investors greater certainty in terms of the kind of plans they may have in the Canadian economy.

(As interpreted.)  And now I shall repeat my comments in French.  (Speaks in French.)

MODERATOR:  From the traveling U.S. press, goes to Jim Kuhnhenn of the Associated Press.

Q    Señor Presidente, muchas gracias.  Ha sido un placer.  Prime Minister — do you worry that longstanding opposition to trade deals in the U.S. from both the President’s party and some Republicans pose a threat to the Trans-Pacific Partnership?  And do you — in your mind, is it essential that Congress approve it, or at least give the President fast track authority this year, or can it wait until after the U.S. elections in November?

Mr. President, if you’d like to chime in on that as well — you mentioned parochial interest today; I’d be interested in how you intend to bring your Democrats along.  But I had a question for you on something else that you raised.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  How many questions do you got, Jim?

Q    Just one, sir.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Okay.  (Laughter.)  Because you know I’ve got to answer that one, too, right?  That was a pretty slick move.  (Laughter.)

Q    The common denominator in the strife in Ukraine and Syria is the support that those two governments get from Russia, and I’m wondering, sir, if you believe that President Putin bears some responsibility for the intransigence of those two regimes.  And to some degree, has this gone beyond just those two countries, and has it become a tug of war between two world powers?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Let me answer very briefly on the trade issue.  It’s not accurate, Jim, to say that my party opposes this trade deal.  There are elements of my party that oppose this trade deal, there are elements of my party that oppose the South Korea free trade agreement, the Colombia free trade agreement and the Panama free trade agreement — all of which we passed with Democratic votes.

So what I’ve said to President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Harper is we’ll get this passed if it’s a good agreement.  And the key at this point is to make sure that our countries, which hold ourselves up as champions of free trade, resolve our legitimate national interests in these negotiations so that we can present a united front against a number of the other participants in the TPP negotiations who don’t have as much of a tradition of free trade.  And that is to our advantage, precisely because North America has this amazing competitive advantage, and we are already relatively open markets.

And part of our goal here is to make sure that the Asia Pacific region — which is growing faster than anyplace else in the world, has a larger population than anyplace else in the world — that they have a model of trade that is free and fair and open and allows our businesses to compete and allows our workers to make goods and deliver services that those markets are purchasing.  And we can only do that if we raise the bar in terms of what our trade models look like.

And I’ve said this to some of my own constituents who are opposed to trade:  Those who are concerned about losing jobs or outsourcing need to understand some of the old agreements put us at a disadvantage.  That’s exactly why we’ve got to have stronger agreements that protect our intellectual property, that open up markets to our agricultural products; that make sure that when it comes to government procurement or sovereign wealth funds in these other countries, that they’re not taking advantage of our businesses and preventing us from competing there.  That’s exactly why we’ve got to get this done.  And I’m very appreciative of the shared vision and commitment that Prime Minister Harper and President Enrique Peña Nieto have on this issue.

Now, with respect to Syria and the Ukraine, I do think it is worth noting that you have in this situation one country that has clearly been a client state of Russia, another whose government is currently — been supported by Russia; where the people obviously have a very different view and vision for their country.  And we’ve now seen a great deal of turmoil there that arose organically from within those countries.

I don’t think there’s a competition between the United States and Russia.  I think this is an expression of the hopes and aspirations of people inside of Syria and people inside of the Ukraine who recognize that basic freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fair and free elections, the ability to run a business without paying a bribe, to not be discriminated against because of your religion or your beliefs — that those are fundamental rights that everybody wants to enjoy.

Now, Mr. Putin has a different view on many of those issues, and I don’t think that there’s any secret on that.  And our approach as the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia.  Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future, that the people of Syria are able to make decisions without having bombs going off and killing women and children, or chemical weapons, or towns being starved because a despot wants to cling to power.

Those express our values and our national interests, and we will continue to express those national interests.  There are times, I hope, where Russia will recognize that over the long term they should be on board with those values and interests as well.  Right now, there are times where we have strong disagreements.  And when I speak to Mr. Putin, I’m very candid about those disagreements, even as we will continue to pursue cooperation with Russia on areas where we had shared concerns.

But I want to emphasize this:  The situation that happened in Ukraine has to do with whether or not the people of Ukraine can determine their own destiny.  And my government and Vice President Biden, and I personally, have expressed to President Yanukovych the need for him to recognize the spirit of the Ukrainian people and work with that, as opposed to trying to repress it.  And so we’ll continue to stand on the side of the people.

My hope is, at this point, that a truce may hold, but Stephen is exactly right — ultimately, the government is responsible for making sure that we shift towards some sort of unity government, even if it’s temporary, that allows us to move to fair and free elections so that the will of the Ukrainian people can be rightly expressed without the kinds of chaos we’ve seen on the streets and without the bloodshed that all of us I think strongly condemn.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  On the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as I said, we are wanting to see and committed to seeing a good, comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  I think it’s in all of our interest for the reasons that have already been laid out.  That said, the government of Canada’s position is always clear in these matters that we will only come to an agreement when we are convinced the agreement is in the best interest of Canada.  And we will stay at the table as long as it takes to get to that particular situation.

And I think we have the track record to prove it.  Our government, the current government of Canada, has signed more trade agreements than all previous Canadian governments combined. What I would say is this — I’m not going to comment on the process in Congress.  What I would say is this — the reason I said what I said about working until we get an agreement that is in the interest of Canada is we will have to have an agreement that can be sold to the Canadian Parliament and ultimately to the Canadian people.  And that’s what we’re aiming for.

(The Prime Minister repeats his remarks in French.)

PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO:  (As interpreted.)  The Mexican stand has been very clear, and specifically our take on the TPP have always stated it, it is of the interest of Mexico.  We have been part of the negotiation rounds to eventually reach an agreement of this important opportunity that the TPP offers.  We can expand the potential of North America into the Asia Pacific region.  Mexico would do its best for the sake of Mexico to be on the side of the solution.  We will overcome disagreements and eventual roadblocks that the negotiation rounds present.  And we hope that it is this spirit that we reach the agreement.

Mexico has made a commitment and has shown political will to be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We hope that the deal happens.  That is the Mexican stand, and we will work to the best of our ability to reach this goal.

Now, on behalf of Mexico, Miguel Reyes Razo, from the Mexican Editorial Organization, will ask a question.

Q    (As interpreted.)  Good evening, everyone.  By virtue of the fact that we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the efforts made by Mexico, the United States and Canada, we have NAFTA for 20 years.  I would like to ask Enrique Peña Nieto, the President of my country, what is the outlook of the northern part of this continent in terms of development?  And at the same time, Mr. President Peña Nieto, I would like to know, what are the challenges for the development that we have hoped for, that we are expecting?

And I would like to ask the President of the United States of America, Mr. Obama, and Mr. Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada — what is the engagement that we should expect from you? What is your actual commitment to make this region, North America, thrive in economical terms?  Now, we have 13 months and a half of your administration, Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto.  And you, Canada and the United States, partners and neighbors of this country, what is your take?  What is your take on this 13 months and a half of the Mexican President?  Thank you very much for your reply.

PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO:  (As interpreted.)  Mr. Miguel, I believe that we have been very candid in terms of the huge strength that we see in North America after 20 years of the free trade agreement.  Our trade has been able to thrive.  We have more commercial exchanges.  We have more investment in the region.

And today we have integrated added value chains between our three countries.  That means that we are adding value to products that are offered in this great market.  We are fully aware of the economic growth since, so far, we are fully aware of the creation of jobs in North America.  That is why we have committed in this summit to take on actions that would help us strengthen our economic ties even further.  We have committed to enable trade, to have better infrastructure, to have safer exchanges, and to make our trade be easier.  So these are the agreements that we have made today.

And we have also acknowledged the enormous potential.  And the future that we see in the horizon would be based on the strengths that we have built upon over the course of the last 20 years.  And let us acknowledge that we are three countries that we are like-minded in terms of our values.  We are three democratic countries.  We are three countries who believe in free trade.  And our countries have found in this instrument a space to create jobs and to have more development in our nations.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, as we’ve said I think throughout our meetings today, America’s success, Mexico’s success, Canadian success are all bound together.  I think that if you just look at the facts, Mexico has made enormous strides over the last several decades.  And, in part, that is because we’ve seen a greater integration of Mexico in the world economy.  I think the United States and Canada have played constructive roles in that.  Our ability to trade and engage in commerce with Mexico obviously has created jobs and opportunities in our country, as well.  And so it has been a mutually beneficial partnership — based on self-interest, but also as Enrique said, based on common values.

We’ve seen a consolidation of democracy here in Mexico, and I think the kinds of reforms that Enrique has initiated over the last 13 months are ones that will put Mexico in an even stronger competitive footing in the world economy in the years to come.

And I recognize there are still implementation issues that will be involved, and there will be a healthy debate here in Mexico, but I’m confident, given the talent of the Mexican people, given the resources of the Mexican people, given the growing capacity of Mexican businesses, and given the fact that we, as a North American entity, constitutes a huge trading bloc and economic powerhouse around the world, that we should anticipate Mexico’s growth to continue, standards of living to continue, jobs and opportunities to continue.  And that’s what we hope for all our countries.

I’m confident that the partnership that we’ve developed is good for the United States, creates jobs in the United States, helps businesses in the United States.  And if we continue to cooperate and try to reduce some of the barriers that have in the past slowed down our commercial exchanges, as well as educational exchanges and scientific exchanges, then we’re going to be successful.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  (As interpreted.)  Allow me, this is our perspective.  While Canada has seen great success, but the development of Mexico throughout this time period that is 20 years has been unbelievable, socially, economically, politically. And Mexico is becoming a world of power.  And we see this accelerating process with the support of President Peña Nieto.

You have made comments on the challenges to meet.  I think that the greatest one is the need to keep on increasing the flow of goods and services and information across our borders at a time where risks and threats to security are also increased across the borders.  And that will be the greatest challenge to meet.

(In English.)  Look, I think the NAFTA relationship, as I’ve said before, has been tremendously successful for all of us. But I think, looking back 20 years, the development of Mexico on all levels — economic, social, political — over the period has been incredible.  It’s a process that is accelerating under President Peña Nieto’s very bold vision for the future, and Mexico is increasingly becoming a global economic player.

You asked about challenges.  I think the biggest single challenge is in an era where we are seeing and need to see even greater movement of goods, services, people, investments, information flows across our borders, that at the same time, the risks and the threats to security across those borders continue to rise.  So the big challenge will be how we continue to grow that human and trade flow, while at the same time minimizing the risks.

MODERATOR:  (As interpreted) President Peña Nieto, would you like to take the floor so you can officially close this meeting?

PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO:  (As interpreted.)  Yes, I will.  Thank you very much.

Once again, I would like to congratulate myself for this summit.  We have built a climate that is based on trust, respect, and we have worked towards a relationship that it’s very clear in terms of the responsibilities of each one of the heads of state. And I am certain that this relationship will result in a greater integration, a stronger friendship, and whatever we do for the sake of North America will benefit our peoples.

I would like to bear testimony of how grateful I am towards the authorities of the state, the Governor of the State of Mexico, Eruviel Ávila.  I’d like to thank you for enabling the summit to take place here.  I would like to thank the Chief Justice of the State of Mexico.  They provided us with their facilities.

And I would like to thank the inhabitants of the capital city of the State of Mexico, Toluca, for their hospitality.  I thank them.  And I’d like to thank all of them for the inconveniences and all the preparation work and all the security operations needed for the summit.  I’m very grateful towards them.  And I’m very grateful for the hospitality given to the President of the United States, Barack Obama; and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.

Thank you very much and have a safe trip home.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
8:20 P.M. CST

Full Text Obama Presidency February 19, 2014: President Obama, President Peña Nieto, and Prime Minister Harper’s Speech to North American Business, Civil Society and Education Leaders at Three Amigos Summit

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Travels to Mexico for the North American Leaders’ Summit

Source: WH, 2-19-14

President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside of President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the North American Business, Civil Society and Education leaders during the North American Leaders Summit in Toluca, Mexico.President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to North American business, civil society, and education leaders during the North American Leaders’ Summit in Toluca, Mexico, Feb. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Today, the President traveled to Toluca, Mexico for this year’s North American Leaders’ Summit, along with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper….READ MORE

Remarks by President Obama, President Peña Nieto, and Prime Minister Harper to North American Business, Civil Society and Education Leaders

Source: WH, 2-19-14 

Salon del Pueblo
Palacio de Gobierno
Toluca, Mexico

5:03 P.M. CST

PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO:  (As interpreted.)  Your Excellency, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America; Your Excellency, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests:  We are here gathered with representatives from the public, the private, and the social sectors.  All of you have walked along with us in the construction road to a more competitive North America.  And by this, we will have a higher level of development for our peoples.

Members of the media, Mexico welcomes you with open arms to celebrate the North America Leaders Summit, Toluca 2014.  Besides being Toluca, my hometown, this is the place where I was entrusted by the citizens to serve as the governor of this state, the state of Mexico.  The state of Mexico is a clear symbol of the productive integration of North America due to its geographic location and its connectivity.  Here we have seen the settlement of advanced automobile facilities and very important logistic hubs.  Both are a true example of value chains, global value chains that make North America excel.

That is why, from Toluca, the three leaders of North America confirm today our commitment to position our region as one of the most dynamic and competitive of the whole world.

I celebrate the fact that we have gathered here with prominent representatives from the academia, from the private sector, and from the civil society from North America.  Your contribution has been vital to bring Canada, the U.S. and Mexico closer.  With a clear vision in mind, all of you pushed from the onset the great idea that gathers us today — an integrated North America with goals and shared efforts.

(Drop in audio feed.)

Once, the Free Trade Agreement area was the largest free trade area with an unprecedented push of trade exchanges, regional investment, and the creation of millions of jobs.  With the same innovative spirit, two decades after, we are bound to go beyond and enhance all together the progress that each one of our countries has made, because individually all our countries have moved forward as well.

Therefore, the principal topics of this seventh summit are very clear:  First, inclusive and shared prosperity.  Number two, new opportunity areas.  Number three, citizen security.  And fourth, regional and global topics.  It is upon these four topics today we will work together to boost the economic growth of our countries and a generation of quality jobs, and by this, increase the wellbeing of our societies.

Ladies and gentlemen, Canada, the United States and Mexico share strengths that make us move forward.  We are a community of more than 450 million inhabitants where talent and creativity of our peoples excel.  Trade exchanges from the three countries are over $1 trillion; in Spanish we use billions, in English we use trillions.  We have the support and thrive of our entrepreneurs and the capabilities of technological innovation coming from our universities and large companies.

We have principles, we have institutions that make us be solid democracies.  We have natural resources, endless natural resources and new opportunities so we can take advantage of them sustainably.

All of these are factors that lay a solid groundwork for North America’s region, and this is how we will make it a more attractive and competitive region in the world for the upcoming years.  I would like to invite you, respectfully, so that each one of us from the area where you have the responsibility to act, let’s make North America a more competitive and a more prosperous region for the sake of the inhabitants of our countries.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good afternoon.  Buenas tardes.  Bonjour.  I want to thank Enrique for his extraordinary hospitality and for bringing us here to his beautiful home city.  I want to thank the people of Toluca and of Mexico for your great hospitality.

We’re all here on business, which means I’m not here as long as I’d like.  I have not, for example, sampled some of Toluca’s legendary chorizo.  (Laughter.)  And hopefully the next time I stop by, I’m going to be able to have some of that.

All of us — Stephen, Enrique and I — are focused on how we can deepen what are already incredible ties between our three nations.  And I appreciate that all of you are here today, because governments cannot do it alone.  The strength of the relationship between Canada, Mexico and the United States is not just a matter of government policy; it’s not just a matter of legislation.  There is an incredible richness to the relationship that comes from our people, from our businesses, from our commercial ties, from the students who are traveling back and forth, from the cultures that are shared between us.

And that strength is in some ways unique throughout the world.  If you think about North America, to have three borders this long in which we share a common set of values, a common set of principles, a commitment to democracy, a commitment to free markets, a commitment to trade where we are allies and interact peacefully, that is a precious gift.  And it’s one that I think all three of us are committed to building and nurturing for future generations.

And for me this is very personal.  Some of my closest advisors and allies and political friends are the children of Mexican immigrants who have made an extraordinary life and contribution in the United States.  My brother-in-law is Canadian, so you know I have to like Canadians — (laughter) — although I will note that I think we are going to have both the men’s hockey teams and the women’s hockey teams battling it out.  (Laughter.)  So for a very brief period of time, I may not feel as warm towards Canadians as I normally do — at least until those matches are over.

But each of you experiences these connections in very concrete ways.  Enrique already spoke about the volume of trade that takes place, and the interactions between our businesses, and the subsidiaries of companies in each country that are operating in the other.  And so much of the cross-border trade that exists is part of an integrated supply chain that allows us, all three of us as countries, to successfully sell our products and services all around the world.

And so we have every incentive to make this work.  And so a lot of our conversation has focused on how do we reduce any continuing trade frictions; how do we make sure that our borders are more efficient; how do we make sure that the educational exchanges between our young people are expanded so that our young people understand their opportunities will be brighter and expanded if in fact they’ve had the opportunity to study in Canada or to study in Mexico, if they know Spanish, if they know French.

And we use these forums to make concrete progress.  Our staffs work incredibly hard to make them successful.  But, frankly, until our leaders come around, until the three of us meet, sometimes it doesn’t all get done.  And this becomes a forcing mechanism for us to move forward on commercial progress, joint security progress, progress on educational and scientific exchanges.

But — and this is the last point I want to emphasize — there are always going to be parochial interests in each of our countries, so that’s appropriate and that will express itself politically, and we have to be responsive to our own constituencies.  If, in fact, we’re going to continue to build and strengthen the ties between our three countries, then you can’t just leave it to politicians alone.  All of you are going to have to speak out and speak up on the importance of this relationship.

We want to make sure that we’re your partners and allies in this process, but when people understand what this means in terms of job creation in the United States, job creation in Canada, job creation in Mexico, how this relationship enhances our security, how it improves our capacity to heat our homes and grow our food and make sure that young people have opportunities in the future — when they hear that from you, it’s that much more persuasive.

And so I would encourage all of you to continue to make your voices heard.  You’ll have certainly a partner in me, and I’m sure that you’ll have a partner in Stephen and Enrique as well.

I thank you for participating here today.  And once again, Enrique, thank you for the extraordinary hospitality in this beautiful state and this beautiful city.  Muchas gracias.  (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Bon après-midi.  Buenas tardes.  Good afternoon, everybody — wonderful day and we’re delighted to be here in Toluca.  And it’s easy to see why you’re so proud of your hometown.  It’s a wonderful spot here.

And, Barack, it’s always great to see you.  And I like my brothers-in-law, too.  (Laughter.)  And I’ll probably like them no matter who wins the hockey game.  (Laughter.)  Anyway.

I want to also thank all of you being here, in particular, obviously, the delegation that has accompanied me from Canada.

(As interpreted.)  Today we have this opportunity to make this North American market more competitive.  You are entrepreneurs, you are job creators, employment creators all over this continent.

(In English.)  — with so many business people here, as well as academics and others, to discuss how to make North America, which is these three economies combined, which is nearly one-quarter of the world’s economy more prosperous and more competitive.

And it’s particularly fitting that it would be you as civil society and business leaders who would lead such a discussion, for although it was NAFTA and the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement before it that opened up the opportunities, this is a trade alliance that, in fact, consists of very little top-down infrastructure.  It has been businesses, people on the ground, social interactions, academic interactions which have advanced relations, particularly economic relations that go well beyond trade.

Today, Canadian, American and Mexican companies do much more than sell things to each other.  You increasingly make things together through integrated supply chains.  Now, for example, we talk about the fact, in Canada obviously, that the Canadian-American trade relationship is the largest in the world — certainly, the U.S. is our largest export market.  But Canadian exports to the United States contain an average of 25 percent American content.  Likewise, Mexican exports to the United States include an average of 40 percent U.S. content.

(As interpreted.)  So this is why we want to tighten our relationships and increase the competitiveness in the region.  And we call on the entrepreneurs — of course, the Canadian and U.S. companies are grabbing occasions and opportunities in Mexico — throughout the continent to create employment seedbeds.

(In English.)  Jobs include organizations as diverse as TransCanada, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Beef Canada, the Canola Council, Linamar, Scotiabank and many others that I know are represented with us here today.  And they have tremendous growth prospects in fields such as energy, in education, agri-food, information and communications technologies, banking and financial services, and many, many others, particularly when one looks at not just the rapid transformation in this country over the past 20 years, but the very aggressive reforms that are being undertaken by President Peña Nieto’s administration.

(As interpreted.)  And having said this, the world, the entire world is not what it used to be in 1994.

(In English.)  Different realities from 20 years ago are realities we must adapt to today.  They include obviously the ongoing uncertainty, market uncertainty that remains from the global recession and also from a global economy that is much more competitive from many other regions.

(As interpreted.)  We must work together to be able to break barriers and for the benefit of our populations.

(In English.)  And so, as Canadians, Mexicans and Americans, we need to look for ways to work together and to look forward.

Thank you for being here.  (Applause.)

END                5:21 P.M. CST

Full Text Political Headlines June 1, 2013: GOP Weekly Address: Alaska Governor Sean Parnell Talks Energy, Keystone Pipeline

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

GOP Address: Alaska Governor Talks Energy, Keystone Pipeline

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-1-13

Governor’s Office

Hello, I’m Sean Parnell, governor of the great state of Alaska.

If you’ve spent much time watching the dysfunction and gridlock in Washington, D.C., you may have lost faith.

And yet, across the country, Republican governors have another story: We are balancing budgets, reducing regulations, cutting taxes, and growing our economies, all the while working across the aisle.

Chief Executive Magazine recently released its annual survey of the best states for business. The result?  The top ten are all managed by Republican governors.

You see, when states encourage and grow economic opportunity, despite the federal quagmire of damaging regulations, our entire nation benefits.

Today I want to focus on energy. I want to focus on what local, state and federal governments can do to ensure safe, reliable and affordable access to it.

First, we need to address some basic, but critical questions:

Is it better for the U.S. to import energy—or to export it?

Is it a good public policy for Americans to be employed to produce our energy—or simply consume it?

Can and should America be energy independent?

Most Americans agree that energy independence is good for America, for both national security and our balance of trade. But we need our President to allow our nation to grow the energy economy for the benefit of our families.  The Republican House has acted; it’s time for the Democratic controlled Senate to do the same.

Let me give you some examples.

Alaska—one of the world’s great hydrocarbon basins—we’re doing our part to secure America’s energy future.

In our most recent 90-day legislative session, the most productive in a generation, Alaskans worked together across party lines to make Alaska more competitive in a global environment. We reformed our state oil taxes, we modernized our state’s permitting system—all with the goal of creating more opportunities for our people from Alaska’s vast resources.

In our state, the Alaska Energy Comeback has begun, a comeback that will lead to a brighter economic future for the entire U.S. economy, but we didn’t just stop with state lands. We know our nation’s federal lands contain riches that should be unlocked for the benefit of all Americans.

Too often, however, the federal government is less than nimble about permitting projects on its own lands. Permitting delays by the Obama administration means delayed job creation for Americans.

So just last week I offered our state’s expertise and our financial commitment to evaluate the energy and economic potential from oil-rich federal lands.

Alaska is offering to pay a part of exploration of federal lands in Alaska for energy potential. Now, Alaska developed a comprehensive Oil and Gas Exploration Proposal for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, otherwise known as ANWR. It details a seven-year exploration plan to complete studies and exploration on this federal land.

And for this effort, I’m prepared to seek up to $50 million from the Alaska Legislature to help the federal government pay for developing this valuable information from its own land.

Now, we’ve had this ANWR debate—but the federal government does not have current data on its true energy potential. What we propose is a fact-finding mission on federal lands with the State of Alaska covering up to one-third of the cost, so Americans have the facts on ANWR, and can understand what’s at stake for the country.

This is just one example of how Republican governors are trailblazing the path to the future. The President and his allies in Congress have many such examples to emulate.

Recently the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, along with 19 Democrats, passed legislation to approve the Keystone Pipeline, which will create up to 20,000 domestic jobs and transport oil and gas from Canada to the southern U.S. for refining. Now, it’s time for the Democratic-led U.S. Senate to pass this bill—or at least allow it an up or down vote.

This common sense energy infrastructure project is truly shovel-ready, and yet the White House threatened it with a veto. The project could already be well underway, but the State Department has unnecessarily delayed the project for years.

And then there’s offshore energy—and there’s a lot of it out there. Coastal governors have gathered together as a coalition to unite behind responsibly unlocking offshore energy development. Each of the eight governors in our coastal states coalition is frustrated by the lack of coordination, by the endless delays and politically motivated inaction by federal agencies.

While the federal government wastes precious taxpayer dollars on green energy boondoggles that have collapsed in failure and bankruptcy, many with no benefit to America, access to federal lands has been consistently blocked by this administration. Offshore drilling has been stalled. Permitting for energy that can restore jobs across America is delayed. That’s not the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that the President promised.

You may have heard that, under the Obama administration, energy production is up. Well, it’s important to note this is only because it is increasing on private lands, while production on federal lands, which belong to you, the taxpayer, has dropped dramatically.

Alaska and many of the other energy states are focused on responsible and safe oil and gas development.

And as with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, the opportunity is there: If Washington, D.C. would start working with states to unlock access to federal lands, an economic boom would be felt across this nation, lifting wages, and creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and improving our national security through energy independence.

Alaska and many of America’s governors are leading our country’s energy revolution. America’s resources belong to Americans. They should be unlocked for our benefit and not locked up by Washington.

Thanks for listening, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Campaign Headlines August 14, 2012: Paul Ryan Comes Out Swinging at Colorado Rally “We’ve Gone from…’Hope and Change’ to Attack and Blame”

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

“We’ve Gone from…’Hope and Change’ to Attack and Blame” — Paul Ryan Comes Out Swinging at Colorado Rally

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-14-12

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Paul Ryan, on the stump as Mitt Romney‘s running mate Tuesday, aimed his fire directly at President Obama.  He said the Democratic campaign has to “distort, demagogue, to divide,” all to distract from the “real issues” of the campaign.

“He comes to change the tone and culture in Washington,” Ryan said to a boisterous crowd at a high school. “And so here’s where we’ve arrived. He can’t run on his record. He hasn’t changed his tune. So all that he has left is to distort, demagogue, to divide, to try and confuse, to distract you from the real issues of this election.”

Tuesday was Ryan’s second solo day of on the campaign trail.  The enthusiastic crowd at his speech here was in stark contrast to the small but vocal contingent of protesters Ryan saw Monday at the Iowa State Fair.

“We’ve gone from…hope and change to attack and blame,” said Ryan, stumbling a bit on a line sure to be heard in his regular stump speech. “But here’s what’s a little more concerting in my opinion about this. He’s speaking to people as if we’re divided from one another, not unified. He’s speaking to people as if we’re stuck in our station in life. Victims of circumstances beyond our control and that only the government is here to help us cope with it.”…READ MORE

Paul Ryan: We Must Become Energy Independent

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-14-12

“What Mitt Romney and I are offering, the Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class, is designed to get people back to work. It is designed to create jobs. If we get this economy growing like we know we can, we can create 12 million jobs in four years. We’re offering solutions. And among those solutions we’re offering, our number one, make sure that we use our own energy because we have our own energy in this country. All of it.” – Paul Ryan

Remarks
Lakewood, CO
August 14, 2012

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan

PAUL RYAN: “What Mitt Romney and I are offering, the Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class, is designed to get people back to work. It is designed to create jobs. If we get this economy growing like we know we can, we can create 12 million jobs in four years. We’re offering solutions. And among those solutions we’re offering, our number one, make sure that we use our own energy because we have our own energy in this country. All of it. You have it all here in Colorado. You know, last week when I was filling my truck up, which something tells me I’m not going to be putting gas in my truck for any time soon, but last week when I was filling my truck up, it cost $100, and the only reason it cost $100 is because the pump cut me off at $100 because of the gas tank. Enough. We have our own oil and gas. We have nuclear. We have all of the above, winds, solar, coal, let’s use it. Let’s make our energy independence. Let’s create jobs. Let’s stop sending jobs overseas by buying oil overseas.”

Full Text Obama Presidency April 17, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Urges Congress to Increase Pressure on Oil Market Manipulation

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama Calls for Increased Oversight of Oil Markets

Source: NYT, 4-17-12

President Obama announced a plan to crack down on oil market manipulation, calling on Congress to increase federal supervision of oil markets and to provide a way for bigger penalties for those who manipulate markets….READ MORE

Cracking Down on Oil Market Manipulation

Source: WH, 4-17-12

President Barack Obama announces a plan to increase oversight and crack down on manipulation in oil markets (April 17, 2012)

President Barack Obama announces a plan to increase oversight and crack down on manipulation in oil markets (April 17, 2012)

Lately, President Obama has spent a lot of time discussing his all-of-the-above strategy for American energy.

The central idea is this: It’s going to take a range of initiatives, from increased drilling to scientific breakthroughs in the development of renewable fuel sources, to put the United States on solid footing when it comes to our energy future.

But one of the reasons that fuel prices can jump unpredictably has nothing at all to do with production or even consumption. There are those who work to manipulate the energy markets for their own financial gain.

And today, President Obama announced a new series of steps to strengthen oversight over those markets — while asking lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at curbing illegal behavior and holding the people who manipulate markets accountable.

At an event this morning in the Rose Garden, the President outlined the reasons for action:

We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher — only to flip the oil for a quick profit. We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work. And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge profits at everybody else’s expense.

The President’s plan would do five things:

1) Increase funding to increase the number of surveillance and enforcement staff charged with oversight of the oil futures market;

2) Allow the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to upgrade the technology used to monitor the energy markets;

3) Increase the civil and criminal penalties for those convicted of manipulating the oil futures market;

4) Provide the CFTC with additional the authority to limit disruptions in the oil market; and

5) Expand access to CFTC data so that analysts can better understand trading trends in the oil markets.

Read his full remarks here.


Learn More:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Increasing Oversight on Manipulation in Oil Markets

Rose Garden

11:27 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Lately, I’ve been speaking a lot about our need for an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy — a strategy that produces more oil and gas here at home, but also produces more biofuels and fuel-efficient cars, more solar power and wind power and other sources of clean, renewable energy.

This strategy is not just the right thing to do for our long-term economic growth; it’s also the right way for us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil right now. It’s the right way for us to put people to work right now. And ultimately, it’s the right way to stop spikes in gas prices that we’ve put up [with] every single year — the same kind of increase that we’ve seen over the past couple of months.

Obviously rising gas prices means a rough ride for a lot of families. Whether you’re trying to get to school, trying to get to work, do some grocery shopping, you have to be able to fill up that gas tank. And there are families in certain parts of the country that have no choice but to drive 50 or 60 miles to get to the job. So when gas prices go up, it’s like an additional tax that comes right out of your pocket.

That’s one of the reasons we passed a payroll tax cut at the beginning of this year and made sure it extended all the way through this year, so that the average American is getting that extra $40 in every paycheck right now.

But I think everybody understands that there are no quick fixes to this problem. There are politicians who say that if we just drilled more then gas prices would come down right away. What they don’t say is that we have been drilling more. Under my administration, America is producing more oil than at any time in the last eight years. We’ve opened up new areas for exploration. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.

But as I’ve said repeatedly, the problem is we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil and we only have 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’d still have to rely disproportionately on other countries for their oil. That means we pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, or growing demand in countries like China and India.

That’s what’s happening right now. It’s those global trends that are affecting gas prices. So even as we’re tackling issues of supply and demand, even as we’re looking at the long-term in terms of how we can structurally make ourselves less reliant on foreign oil, we still need to work extra hard to protect consumers from factors that should not affect the price of a barrel of oil.

That includes doing everything we can to ensure that an irresponsible few aren’t able to hurt consumers by illegally manipulating or rigging the energy markets for their own gain. We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher — only to flip the oil for a quick profit. We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work. And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge profits at everybody else’s expense.

Now, the good news is my administration has already taken several actions to step up oversight of oil markets and close dangerous loopholes that were allowing some traders to operate in the shadows.

We closed the so-called Enron loophole that let traders evade oversight by using electronic or overseas trading platforms. In the Wall Street reform law, we said for the first time that federal regulators will make sure no single trader can buy such a large position in oil that they could easily manipulate the market on their own. So I’d point out that anybody who’s pledging to roll back Wall Street reform — Dodd-Frank — would also roll back this vital consumer protection along with it.

I’ve asked Attorney General Holder to work with Chairman Leibowitz of the Federal Trade Commission, Chairman Gensler of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and other enforcement agencies to make sure that acts of manipulation, fraud or other illegal activity are not behind increases in the price that consumers pay at the pump.

So today, we’re announcing new steps to strengthen oversight of energy markets. Things that we can do administratively, we are doing. And I call on Congress to pass a package of measures to crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families. And be specific.

First, Congress should provide immediate funding to put more cops on the beat to monitor activity in energy markets. This funding would also upgrade technology so that our surveillance and enforcement officers aren’t hamstrung by older and less sophisticated tools than the ones that traders are using. We should strengthen protections for American consumers, not gut them. And these markets have expanded significantly.

Chairman Gensler actually had a good analogy. He said, imagine if the NFL quadrupled the number of teams but didn’t increase the number of refs. You’d end up having havoc on the field, and it would diminish the game. It wouldn’t be fair. That’s part of what’s going on in a lot of these markets. So we have to properly resource enforcement.

Second, Congress should increase the civil and criminal penalties for illegal energy market manipulation and other illegal activities. So my plan would toughen key financial penalties tenfold, and impose these penalties not just per violation, but for every day a violation occurs.

Third, Congress should give the agency responsible for overseeing oil markets new authority to protect against volatility and excess speculation by making sure that traders can post appropriate margins, which simply means that they actually have the money to make good on their trades.

Congress should do all of this right away. A few weeks ago, Congress had a chance to stand up for families already paying an extra premium at the pump; congressional Republicans voted to keep spending billions of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars on more unnecessary subsidies for big oil companies. So here’s a chance to make amends, a chance to actually do something that will protect consumers by increasing oversight of energy markets. That should be something that everybody, no matter their party, should agree with. And I hope Americans will ask their members of Congress to step up.

In the meantime, my administration will take new executive actions to better analyze and investigate trading activities in energy markets and more quickly implement the tough consumer protections under Wall Street reform.

Let me close by saying none of these steps by themselves will bring gas prices down overnight. But it will prevent market manipulation and make sure we’re looking out for American consumers. And in the meantime we’re going to keep pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy to break the cycle of price spikes year after year. We are going to keep producing more biofuels; we’re going to keep producing more fuel-efficient cars; we are going to keep tapping into every source of American-made energy.

And these steps have already helped put America on a path to greater energy independence. Our foreign — our dependence on foreign oil has actually decreased each year I’ve been in office — even as the economy has grown. America now imports less than half of the oil we use for the first time in more than a decade. So we are less vulnerable than we were, but we’re still too vulnerable.

We’ve got to continue the hard, sustained work on this issue. And as long as I’m President we’re going to keep placing our bets on America’s future — America’s workers, America’s technology, America’s ingenuity, and American-made energy. That’s how we’re going to solve this problem once and for all.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:35 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency April 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at 6th Summit of the Americas Opening Plenary — Discusses Trade, Energy & Drugs, Woos Latin America

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS

President Obama at the Summit of the Americas

Source: WH, 4-14-12

President Barack Obama participates in the CEO Summit of the Americas panel discussion (April 14, 2012)

President Barack Obama participates in the CEO Summit of the Americas panel discussion at the Hilton Hotel, Cartagena, Colombia, April 14, 2012. President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff and President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos took part. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama is in Cartagena, Columbia this weekend for the Summit of the Americas — a gathering of more than 30 leaders from North, South, and Central America.

In a panel discussion with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, President Obama discussed what he called enormous progress in the region:

Trade between the United States and Latin, Central — South America, Central America and the Caribbean has expanded 46 percent since I came into office — 46 percent.

Before I came to Cartagena, I stopped in Tampa, Florida, which is the largest port in Florida. And they are booming and expanding. And the reason is, is because of the enormous expansion of trade and commerce with this region. It’s creating jobs in Florida, and it’s creating jobs in Colombia, and it’s creating jobs in Brazil and throughout the region. Businesses are seeing that if they have an outstanding product or an outstanding service, they don’t have to restrict themselves to one market, they now have a regional market and ultimately a global market in which they can sell their goods and succeed.

Read the full remarks here.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by President Obama at CEO Summit of the Americas

Gran Salon Bolivar

Hilton Hotel

Cartagena, Colombia

10:43 A.M. COT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I want to thank President Santos and the people of Colombia for the extraordinary hospitality in the beautiful city of Cartagena. We’re having a wonderful time. And usually when I take these summit trips, part of my job is to scout out where I may want to bring Michelle back later for vacation. So we’ll make sure to come back sometime in the near future. (Applause.)

I want to acknowledge Luis Moreno of IDB, as well as Luis Villegas of the National Business Association of Colombia, for helping to set this up, and everybody who’s participating.

As President Rousseff indicated, obviously we’ve gone through some very challenging times. These last three years have been as difficult for the world economy as anything that we’ve seen in our lifetimes. And it is both a result of globalization and it is also a result of shifts in technology. The days when we could think of each of our economies in isolation, those days are long gone. What happens in Wall Street has an impact in Rio. What happens in Bogota has an impact in Beijing.

And so I think the challenge for all of our countries, and certainly the challenge for this hemisphere, is how do we make sure that that globalization and that integration is benefiting a broad base of people, that economic growth is sustainable and robust, and that it is also giving opportunity to a growing, wider circle of people, and giving businesses opportunities to thrive and create new products and new services and enjoy this global marketplace.

Now, I think the good news is this hemisphere is very well positioned in this global economy. It is remarkable to see the changes that have been taking place in a relatively short period of time in Latin and Central America and in the Caribbean. When you look at the extraordinary growth that’s taken place in Brazil, first under President Lula and now under President Rousseff, when you think about the enormous progress that’s been made here in Colombia under President Santos and his predecessor, what you see is that a lot of the old arguments on the left and the right no longer apply.

And what people are asking is, what works? How do we think in practical terms about delivering prosperity, training our people so that they can compete in the global economy? How do we create rule of law that allows businesses to invest with some sense of security and transparency? How do we invest in science and technology? How do we make sure that we have open and free trade at the same time as we’re making sure that the benefits of free trade are distributed both between nations but also within nations?

And the good news is I think that, through various international organizations and organizations here within the hemisphere, we’ve seen enormous progress. Trade between the United States and Latin, Central — South America, Central America and the Caribbean has expanded 46 percent since I came into office — 46 percent.

Before I came to Cartagena, I stopped in Tampa, Florida, which is the largest port in Florida. And they are booming and expanding. And the reason is, is because of the enormous expansion of trade and commerce with this region. It’s creating jobs in Florida, and it’s creating jobs in Colombia, and it’s creating jobs in Brazil and throughout the region. Businesses are seeing that if they have an outstanding product or an outstanding service, they don’t have to restrict themselves to one market, they now have a regional market and ultimately a global market in which they can sell their goods and succeed.

A couple of things that I think will help further facilitate this productive integration: Number one, the free trade agreement that we’ve negotiated between Colombia and the United States is an example of a free trade agreement that benefits both sides. It’s a win-win. It has high standards — (applause) — it’s a high-standards agreement. It’s not a race to the bottom, but rather it says each country is abiding by everything from strong rules around labor and the environment to intellectual property protection. And so I have confidence that as we implement this plan, what we’re going to see is extraordinary opportunities for both U.S. and Colombian businesses.

So trade agreements of the sort that we have negotiated, thanks to the leadership of President Santos and his administration, I think point the way to the future.

In addition, I think there is the capacity for us to cooperate on problems that all countries face, and I’ll take just one example — the issue of energy. All of us recognize that if we’re going to continue to grow our economies effectively, then we’re going to have to adapt to the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource and demand is going up much faster than supply. There are also, obviously, significant environmental concerns that we have to deal with. So for us to cooperate on something like joint electrification and electric grid integration, so that a country like Brazil, that is doing outstanding work in biofuels or hydro-energy, has the ability to export that energy but also teach best practices to countries within the region, create new markets for clean energy throughout the region — which benefits those customers who need electricity but also benefit those countries that are top producers of energy — that’s another example of the kind of progress that we can make together.

On the education front, every country in the region recognizes that if we’re going to compete with Asia, if we’re going to compete with Europe, we’ve got to up our game. We have to make sure that we’ve got the best-trained workers in the world, we’ve got the best education system in the world. And so the work that President Rousseff and I are doing together to try to significantly expand educational exchanges and send young people who are studying science and engineering and computer science to the United States to study if they’re Brazilian, down to Brazil to study best practices in clean energy in Brazil — there’s enormous opportunity for us to work together to train our young people so that this hemisphere is filled with outstanding entrepreneurs and workers, and allows us to compete more effectively.

So there are a number of areas where I think cooperation is proceeding. Sometimes it’s not flashy. I think that oftentimes in the press the attention in summits like this ends up focusing on where are the controversies. Sometimes those controversies date back to before I was born. (Laughter.) And sometimes I feel as if in some of these discussions or at least the press reports we’re caught in a time warp, going back to the 1950s and gunboat diplomacy and Yanquis and the Cold War, and this and that and the other. That’s not the world we live in today.

And my hope is, is that we all recognize this enormous opportunity that we’ve got. And I know the business leaders who are here today, they understand it; they understand that we’re in a new world, and we have to think in new ways.

Last point I want to make — I think when you think about the extraordinary success in Brazil, the success in Colombia, a big piece of that is governance. You can’t, I believe, have, over the long term, successful economies if you don’t have some basic principles that are being followed: democracy and rule of law, human rights being observed, freedom of expression. And I think — and also personal security, the capacity for people to feel as if they work hard then they’re able to achieve, and they have motivation to start a business and to know that their own work will pay off.

And I just want to compliment both Brazil and Colombia, coming from different political traditions, but part of the reason why you’ve seen sustained growth is governments have worked effectively in each country. And I think that when we look at how we’re going to integrate further and take advantage of increased opportunity in the future, it’s very important for us not to ignore how important it is to have a clean, transparent, open government that is working on behalf of its people.

And that’s important to business as well. The days when a business feels good working in a place where people are being oppressed — ultimately that’s an unstable environment for you to do business. You do business well when you know that it’s a well-functioning society and that there’s a legitimate government in place that is going to be looking out for its people.

So I just want to thank both of my outstanding partners here. They’re true leaders in the region. And I can speak, I think, for the United States to say that we’ve never been more excited about the prospects of working as equal partners with our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean, because that’s going to be the key to our success. (Applause.)

* * * *

MR. MATTHEWS: President Santos, I guess there are some issues in America — we have a very large Hispanic population. Ten percent of our electorate is going to be Hispanic in background. We are the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico. People have dual languages in the United States, of course, but there is so much Spanish speaking. You have the chance to sit next to President Obama now. Do you want to ask him about the ways you think the United States could help your country in the drug war?

* * * *

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Do you want me to respond?

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, sir.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, this is a conversation that I’ve had with President Santos and others. Just as the world economy is integrated, so, unfortunately, the drug trade is integrated. And we can’t look at the issue of supply in Latin America without also looking at the issue of demand in the United States. (Applause.)

And so whether it’s working with President Santos or supporting the courageous work that President Calderón is doing in Mexico, I, personally, and my administration and I think the American people understand that the toll of narco-trafficking on the societies of Central America, Caribbean, and parts of South America are brutal, and undermining the capacity of those countries to protect their citizens, and eroding institutions and corrupting institutions in ways that are ultimately bad for everybody.

So this is part of the reason why we’ve invested, Chris, about $30 billion in prevention programs, drug treatment programs looking at the drug issue not just from a law enforcement and interdiction issue, but also from a public health perspective. This is why we’ve worked in unprecedented fashion in cooperation with countries like Mexico on not just drugs coming north, but also guns and cash going south.

This is one of the reasons why we have continued to invest in programs like Plan Colombia, but also now are working with Colombia, given their best practices around issues of citizen security, to have not just the United States but Colombia provide technical assistance and training to countries in Central America and the Caribbean in finding ways that they can duplicate some of the success that we’ve seen in Colombia.

So we’re mindful of our responsibilities on this issue. And I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are ones that are doing more harm than good in certain places.

I personally, and my administration’s position, is that legalization is not the answer; that, in fact, if you think about how it would end up operating, that the capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries if they were allowed to operate legally without any constraint could be just as corrupting if not more corrupting then the status quo.

Nevertheless, I’m a big believer in looking at the evidence, having a debate. I think ultimately what we’re going to find is, is that the way to solve this problem is both in the United States, us dealing with demand in a more effective way, but it’s also going to be strengthening institutions at home.

You mentioned earlier, the biggest thing that’s on everybody’s minds — whether it’s the United States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica — is, can I find a job that allows me to support my family and allows my children to advance and feel secure. And in those societies where you’ve got strong institutions, you’ve got strong business investment, you’ve got rule of law, you have a law enforcement infrastructure that is sound, and an economy that’s growing — that country is going to be like a healthy body that is more immune than countries that have weak institutions and high unemployment, in which kids see their only future as participating in the drug trade because nobody has actually trained them to get a job with Google, or Pepsi, or start their own small business.

And so I think that it’s important for us not to think that if somehow we look at the drug issue in isolation, in the absence of dealing with some of these other challenges — institutional challenges and barriers to growth and opportunity and the capacity for people to climb their way out of poverty, that we’re going to be able to solve this problem. The drug issue in this region is, in some ways, a cause, but it’s also, in some ways, an effect of some broader and underlying problems. And we as the United States have an obligation not only to get our own house in order but also to help countries in a partnership to try to see if we can move in a better direction. (Applause.)

* * * *

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. President, do you want to respond? I think the question that seems to be apparent here in the last couple of days is, first of all, tremendous enthusiasm, a zeitgeist here that’s almost unusual in the world for positive optimism about the development in this part of the world. It’s not like it was — just isn’t the way it was we grew up with.

The challenge I think you just heard from the President of Brazil was the notion that Latin America is not interested in being our complementary economy anymore — the agricultural end while we do the industrial end; they do the provision of raw materials and we do the finest and highest-level high-tech work. How do we either respond to Brazil’s demand, really, to be partners and rivals — they want to use our educational resources, they want to come north to learn how to compete with us — right, Madam President? You want to be equals. You want to learn everything we know, and then take it back and shove it at us, right? (Laughter.) Isn’t that it?

Well, anyway, that’s the response — I’d ask you for your response. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Chris, I’m not sure you’re characterizing what President Rousseff said — (laughter) — but this is what happens when you get some of our U.S. political commentators moderating a panel. (Laughter.) They try to stir up things that may not always be there. (Applause.) And Chris is good at it. He’s one of the best. (Laughter.)

But, look, this is already happening. This is already happening. Brazil has changed, Colombia has changed — and we welcome the change. The notion somehow that we see this as a problem is just not the case, because if we’ve got a strong, growing, prosperous middle class in Latin America, those are new customers for our businesses. (Applause.)

Brazil is growing and that opportunity is broad-based, then suddenly they’re interested in buying iPads, and they’re interested in buying Boeing airplanes and — (laughter.)

PRESIDENT ROUSSEFF: Boeing — Embraer. (Laughter and applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I was just trying to see how she’d respond to that. (Laughter.) But the point is, is that that’s a market for us. So we in the United States should welcome not just growth, but broad-based growth, of the sort that President Rousseff described.

I’ll give you just — I said I was in Tampa. All those containers that are coming in, they have, in some cases, commodities coming from Latin America, but they also have finished products that are coming in from Latin America. We have commodities that are going into Latin America that we’re sending back on those containers, as well as finished products. And so this is a two-way street.

When I came into office, one of my first decisions was to say that the G20 was not a temporary thing to respond to the world economic crisis; this should be the permanent forum for determining and coordinating direction in the world economy. And frankly, there were some folks who were members of the G8 who were upset with me about that determination, but realistically you can’t coordinate world economic issues if you don’t have China and Brazil and India and South Africa at the table — and Mexico. That’s not possible.

So the world has changed. I think the United States and U.S. businesses stand to benefit from those changes. But it does mean that we have to adapt to that competitive environment. And all the advantages that President Rousseff mentioned we have as the United States — its flexibility, our scientific edge, our well-educated workforce, our top universities — those are the things that we continue to have to build and get better at. And that’s true for every country here.

Every one of the businesses here are going to be making determinations about where you locate based on the quality of the workforce, how much investment you have to make in training somebody to handle a million-dollar piece of equipment. Do you feel as if your intellectual property is going to be protected? Do you feel as if there’s a good infrastructure to be able to get your products to market? And so I think this is a healthy competition that we should be encouraging.

And what I’ve said at the first summit that I came to, Summit of the Americas that I came to, was we do not believe there are junior partners and senior partners in this situation. We believe there are partners. And Brazil is in many ways ahead of us on something like biofuels; we should learn from them. And if we’re going to be trying to mount a regional initiative, let’s make sure that Brazil is taking the lead. It doesn’t have to be us in every situation.

Now, the flip side is — and I’ll close with this — I think in Latin America, part of the change in mentality is also not always looking to the United States as the reason for everything that happens that goes wrong. (Applause.)

I was in an interview — several interviews yesterday. These were actually with Spanish-speaking television stations that have broadcast back in the United States. And the first interviewer said, why hasn’t the United States done more to promote democracy in the region, because you’ve done a lot in the Arab Spring but it seems as if you’re not dealing with some of the problems here in Latin America. The next questioner said, why are you being so hard on Cuba and promoting democracy all the time? (Laughter and applause.) That’s an example, I think, of some of the challenges we face that are rooted in legitimate historical grievances. But it gets — it becomes a habit.

When it comes to economic integration and exchanges, I am completely sympathetic to the fact that there are challenges around monetary policy in developed and less-developed countries. And Brazil, for example, has seen the Real appreciate in ways that had been hurtful. I would argue a lot of that has to do with the failure of some other countries to engage in rebalancing, not the United States. But having said that, I think there’s not a country in Latin America who doesn’t want to see the United States grow rapidly because we’re your major export market.

And so most of these issues end up being complicated issues. Typically, they involve both actions in the United States as well as actions in the other countries if we’re going to optimize the kind of growth and prosperity and broad-based opportunity that both President Santos and President Rousseff have spoken about.

And the United States comes here and says: We’re ready to do business. We are open to a partnership. We don’t expect to be able to dictate the terms of that partnership, we expect it to be a negotiation based on mutual interest and mutual respect. And I think we’re all going to benefit as a consequence of that. (Applause.)

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, President Rousseff, President Santos, and my President, President Obama. Thank you. It’s been an honor.

END

11:40 A.M. COT

Full Text Obama Presidency April 2, 2012: Three Amigos Summit: President Barack Obama Meets with Canadian PM Stephen Harper & Mexican President Felipe Calderon in One Day North American Leaders’ Summit — Speeches: Joint Statement & Press Conference

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

photo040212_01.jpg

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon meet at the White House. Photo by Paul Chiasson/CP

U.S., Canada and Mexico to Boost Trade

Source: AP, 4-2-12
President Obama, center, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon walked to a joint press conference at the White House on Monday.

President Barack Obama says the U.S., Canada and Mexico are launching a new bid to pare back regulation in hopes of boosting trade and creating more jobs.

At a three-way North American summit on Monday with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón, Mr. Obama said the three will “go through the books” to simplify regulations and eliminate others that aren’t needed.

Three-way trade among the U.S., Canada and Mexico now exceeds $1 trillion, and President Obama says he wants to see that number rise.

The three leaders also discussed immigration and the war on drugs during their one-day summit. Mr. Obama praised Mr. Calderón for “great courage” in standing up to Mexico’s cartels….READ MORE

Boosting Economic Growth Throughout North America

Source: WH, 4-2-12

President Obama today hosted the leaders of Mexico and Canada at the White House for a summit aimed at promoting economic growth and and creating jobs in all three countries.

Last year, U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada exceed $1 trillion for the first time. And finding ways to continue boosting exports was one goal of today’s talks.

At a press conference in the Rose Garden, President Obama was able to point to an initative that will help to accomplish that objective:

I’m pleased to announce that our three nations are launching a new effort to get rid of outdated regulations that stifle job creation. Here in the United States, our efforts to cut red tape and ensure smart regulations will help achieve savings and benefits to businesses, consumers, and our country of more than $100 billion. And we’re already working to streamline and coordinate regulations with Canada and Mexico on a bilateral basis. So now our three nations are going to sit down together, go through the books and simplify and eliminate more regulations that will make our joint economies stronger.

This builds on conversations between the U.S. and Canada that were announced when Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the White House back in December.

In today’s talks, the leaders also discussed security, energy, and efforts to combat drug cartels.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Joint Statement by North American Leaders

Source: WH, 4-2-12

We, the Leaders of North America, met today in Washington, DC to advance the economic well-being, safety, and security of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  Rooted in deep economic, historical, cultural, environmental, and societal ties, North American cooperation enhances our ability to face global challenges, compete in the international economy, and achieve greater prosperity.  We reaffirm our commitment to further develop our thriving political and economic partnership with a consistent and strategic long-term vision, as progress on our common agenda directly benefits the peoples of our region.

Broad-based, sustainable economic growth and job creation remains our top priority.  For the first time, in 2011 our total trilateral merchandise trade surpassed USD 1 trillion.  Our integration helps maximize our capabilities and makes our economies more innovative and competitive globally. Working together, we strive to ensure that North American economic cooperation fosters gains in productivity for all of our citizens, enhancing our respective national and bilateral efforts to achieve that goal.

To that end, we pledge to introduce timely and tangible regulatory measures to enable innovation and growth while ensuring high standards of public health, safety, and environmental protection.  We will continue to reduce transaction costs and improve the existing business environment.  We have launched the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council and the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council during the past two years, pursuing a shared objective that we commit to complement trilaterally in four sectors:  certain vehicle emission standards, railroad safety, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Workplace Chemicals, and aligning principles of our regulatory approaches to nanomaterials.  This is particularly important to small- and medium-sized businesses, which are the engines of growth.  By eliminating unnecessary regulatory differences, smaller businesses are better equipped to participate in an integrated North American economy.  Success in these efforts opens the way to additional North American regulatory cooperation.

Continued North American competitiveness requires secure supply chains and efficient borders.  We remain committed to achieving this through cooperative approaches.  To this end, the United States and Mexico released the Declaration Concerning Twenty-first Century Border Management in May 2010 and the United States and Canada released the Beyond the Border Action Plan:  A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness in December 2011.  We are committed to the mutually-reinforcing goals of these important initiatives and to their full implementation.  By also supporting the work of multilateral organizations to foster improved collaboration, integration, and standards, we better identify and interdict threats before they reach our borders, as well as expedite the legitimate movement of goods and people throughout North America in a more efficient, secure, and resilient manner.  We also have instructed our trade and commerce ministers to identify sectors where we can deepen our regional cooperation through increased trade and investment.

As leading sources of innovation and creativity, our three countries are committed to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR).  We commit to promote sound enforcement practices and an effective legal framework for IPR enforcement in the areas of criminal enforcement, enforcement at the border, civil and administrative actions, and distribution of IPR infringing material on the Internet consistent with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which the United States and Canada have recently signed.  Mexico will continue to work on a comprehensive reform to its legal system to achieve the high standards pursued under ACTA.

Energy cooperation reduces the cost of doing business and enhances economic competitiveness in North America.  We recognize the growing regional and federal cooperation in the area of continental energy, including electricity generation and interconnection and welcome increasing North American energy trade.  We commit our governments to work with all stakeholders to deepen such cooperation to enhance our collective energy security, including the safe and efficient exploration and exploitation of resources.  We support coordinated efforts to facilitate seamless energy flows on the interconnected grid and to promote trade and investment in clean energy technologies.

Enhanced electricity interconnection in the Americas would advance the goals of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas to reduce energy poverty and increase the use of renewable sources of energy.  We recognize Mexico’s leadership in supporting inter-connections in Central America and reaffirm our support to bring affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable power to businesses and homes in Central America and the Caribbean while opening wider markets for clean energy and green technology.

We pledge to continue our efforts to advance a lasting global solution to the challenge of climate change.  We are pleased with the outcome of the climate conference in Durban, with respect to both operationalizing the Cancun agreements and laying the groundwork for a new legal agreement applicable to all Parties from 2020, support the activation of the Green Climate Fund, and underline the importance of climate finance and investment in the context of meaningful mitigation.  We plan to work together, including through the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, to secure a successful outcome at the 18th U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Doha, Qatar.  We continue to advance the transition to a clean energy economy and cooperate to reduce global rates of deforestation and land degradation.   We also intend to deepen our trilateral cooperation and work with other interested partners to accelerate efforts aimed at reducing emissions of “short-lived climate pollutants,” noting the recently launched Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants in which we are all actively engaged.  Reducing our emissions of these substances, which include methane, black carbon, and many hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), offers significant opportunities to reduce the rate of global warming in the near term, in the context of our broader efforts to address climate change, while also yielding many health, agricultural productivity, and energy security benefits.

As our societies and economies become more reliant on networked technology, we recognize the growing importance of an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet.   We reaffirm the importance of multi-stakeholder governance bodies for the Internet and underscore that fighting cybercrime is essential to promoting economic growth and international security.   We recognize the seminal contribution of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, and believe the Convention should be adopted as widely as possible.  To that end, we look forward to Canada’s ratification and Mexico’s completion of the necessary preparations for its signature of the Convention.

At the 2009 North American Leaders’ Summit, we committed to build upon our successful coordinated response to the H1N1 pandemic, which stands as a global example of cooperation, to jointly prepare for future animal and pandemic influenza to enhance the health and safety of our citizens.  Today we announce the culmination of that effort—the North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (NAPAPI)—which provides a collaborative and multi-sectoral framework to strengthen our response to future animal and pandemic influenza events in North America and commit to its implementation.

All of our citizens are adversely affected by transnational organized crime.  We commit to direct our national efforts and deepen our cooperation against all facets of this common challenge based on the principles of shared responsibility, mutual trust, and respect.  We intend to further share expertise and information and to cooperate in key areas such as countering arms trafficking and money laundering consistent with our laws and constitutions.

We are committed to strengthening security in the Americas through capacity building support.  We intend to enhance our cooperation with our partners in Central America.  In 2012, our governments will launch a consolidated Central America Integration System (SICA)-North America Security Dialogue to deepen regional security coordination and cooperation.   We will remain actively engaged in the ongoing SICA-Group of Friends of Central America collaborative process, to align international assistance and programs supporting the implementation of the Central American Regional Security Strategy.  We also welcome the recent High Level Hemispheric Meeting on Transnational Organized Crime, and recognize the relevance of closer collaboration and information sharing among all relevant national agencies.

We reiterate our commitment to Haiti and call upon Haitian political actors to work together and take concrete steps toward strengthening governance and the rule of law, which are fundamental to increased trade, investment, and long-term development and prosperity.  We note the urgency and importance of parliamentary confirmation of a new government, and for that government to confirm the timeline for Senate and local elections.  We also encourage Haiti to continue to pursue the development of the Haitian National Police so it can take full responsibility for Haiti’s security.

To further strengthen nuclear security on the North American continent, we worked together, along with the International Atomic Energy Agency, to convert the fuel in Mexico’s research reactor to low enriched uranium and provide new low enriched uranium fuel in exchange for the highly enriched uranium fuel, as pledged during the Washington Nuclear Security Summit in 2010 and announced at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in March 2012.

Our strengthened dialogue on priority issues in the North American agenda is reflected in the frequent formal and informal ministerial and technical meetings across a wide range of issues among our three countries, including the work of the NAFTA Free Trade Commission and the North American Commissions for Environmental Cooperation and for Labor Cooperation to continue to enhance our region’s prosperity, protect the environment, and improve working conditions in North America.  Taking into account our common security and defense challenges, such as transnational criminal organizations, as well as opportunities to strengthen cooperation in the field of disaster relief, we welcome the recent expansion of our ministerial-level dialogue through the North American Defense Ministers Meeting held March 26-27, 2012 in Ottawa.

As partners in the Americas, we are committed to work together within the Inter-American System and in the framework of the VI Summit of the Americas, to be held April 14-15 in Cartagena, Colombia.  We fully support the Summit’s theme of “Connecting the Americas:  Partners for Prosperity.”  The Summit provides an opportunity to leverage the ties that connect the Americas to advance democratic, transparent, accountable governance that promotes inclusive, sustainable, market-based economic growth in the decade ahead.  Deepening our shared interests and values will benefit the people of the Americas and bolster positive global engagement by countries from across the region.  We pledge to work together to ensure the Summit strengthens a shared commitment to work in equal partnership toward these goals.

In light of the importance of the Americas to our collective economic wellbeing, we are committed to working together to advance the principles approved by the Inter-American Competitiveness Network in Santo Domingo and to support the Pathways to Prosperity initiative which underscores the importance of empowering small businesses; facilitating trade; building a modern work force; and developing stronger labor and environmental practices to encourage inclusive economic growth.

We also recognize the value of our common understandings on the major challenges faced by the world today, and acknowledge the importance of promoting growth and of preserving and deepening trade as keys to the global economic recovery.  Canada and the United States support the efforts of the Mexican Presidency of the G-20 this year, and, together with Mexico, we commit ourselves to deepening our shared dialogue on economic governance therein, especially as we work to enhance North American competitiveness and prosperity.   The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provides an opportunity to further deepen our trade relationship and create jobs.  The United States welcomes Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining the TPP as ambitious partners.

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper welcome President Calderon’s offer for Mexico to host the next North American Leaders’ Summit.

Joint Press Conference by President Obama, President Calderon of Mexico, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada

President Obama hosts the leaders of Mexico and Canada at the White House for a summit aimed at promoting economic growth and and creating jobs throughout North America.

President Obama holds a joint press conference
President Obama holds a joint press conference, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 4/2/12

Rose Garden

1:54 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Please have a seat.  Good afternoon, everybody.  It is my pleasure to welcome two great friends and partners — President Calderón of Mexico and Prime Minister Harper of Canada.

Now, I’ve worked with Stephen and Felipe on many occasions.  We’ve joined our international partners from APEC to the G20.  From our last summit in Guadalajara, we remember Felipe’s hospitality and that of the Mexican people — including some very good mariachi and —

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  Mexican food.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — some tequila, if I’m not mistaken.  (Laughter.)  I can’t reciprocate the music, but, Felipe, Stephen and I are proud to welcome you here today.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  Thank you.

Between us, we represent nearly half-a-billion citizens, from Nunavut in the Canadian north to Chiapas in southern Mexico.  In between, the diversity of our peoples and cultures is extraordinary.  But wherever they live, they wake up every day with similar hopes — to provide for their families, to be safe in their communities, to give their children a better life.  And in each of our countries, the daily lives of our citizens are shaped profoundly by what happens in the other two.  And that’s why we’re here.

Today, we focused on our highest priority — creating jobs and opportunity for our people.  In the United States, our businesses have created nearly four million new jobs; confidence is up and the economy is getting stronger.  But with lots of folks still struggling to find work and pay the bills, we are doing everything we can to speed up the recovery.  And that includes boosting trade with our two largest economic partners.

As President, I’ve made it a priority to increase our exports, and I’m pleased that our exports to Canada and Mexico are growing faster than our exports to the rest of the world.  In fact, last year trade in goods with our two neighbors surpassed $1 trillion — for the first time ever.  This trade supports some 2.5 million American jobs, and I want more trade supporting even more jobs in the future.

So today, Prime Minister Harper led us in a very good discussion about how our three countries can improve our competitiveness.  We agreed to continue making our borders more efficient and more secure so it’s faster and cheaper to travel and trade.  We’re expanding cooperation to create clean energy jobs and combat climate change — an area in which President Calderón and Mexico have been a real leader.

I’m pleased to announce that our three nations are launching a new effort to get rid of outdated regulations that stifle job creation.  Here in the United States, our efforts to cut red tape and ensure smart regulations will help achieve savings and benefits to businesses, consumers, and our country of more than $100 billion.  And we’re already working to streamline and coordinate regulations with Canada and Mexico on a bilateral basis.  So now our three nations are going to sit down together, go through the books and simplify and eliminate more regulations that will make our joint economies stronger.

This is especially important, by the way, for our small and medium-sized businesses, which, when they start exporting, often start with Mexico and Canada.  So this is going to help create jobs, and it’s going to keep us on track to meet my goal of doubling U.S. exports.

More broadly, I reiterated my commitment to comprehensive immigration reform, which would be good for workers and good for business.  I’m pleased that Canada and Mexico have also expressed an interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Consultations with our TPP partners are now underway on how new members can meet the high standards of this trade agreement, which could be a real model for the world.  And I very much appreciated President Calderón updating us on preparations for the next G20 summit, which he will be hosting in June.

Our other major focus today was the security that our citizens deserve.  Criminal gangs and narco-traffickers pose a threat to each of our nations, and each of our nations has a responsibility to meet that threat.  In Mexico, President Calderón has shown great courage in standing up to the traffickers and cartels, and we’ve sped up the delivery of equipment and assistance to support those efforts.

Here in the United States, we’ve increased cooperation on our southern border, and dedicated new resources to reducing the southbound flow of money and guns, and to reduce the demand for drugs in the United States, which helps fuel — helped to fuel this crisis.  And today each of us reaffirmed our commitment to meeting this challenge together — because that’s the only way that we’re going to succeed.

Beyond our borders, these cartels and traffickers pose an extraordinary threat to our Central American neighbors.  So we’re teaming up.  Defense ministers from our three countries met last week as a group — for the first time ever.  And we’re going to be coordinating our efforts more closely than ever, especially when it comes to supporting Central America’s new strategy on citizen security, which will be discussed at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia next week.

So, again, I want to thank Stephen and Felipe for being here.  When I came to office I pledged to seek new partnerships with our friends in the Americas, a relationship of equality and shared responsibility built on mutual interest and mutual respect.  That’s what we’ve done.  And it wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership and sense of purpose that these two outstanding leaders have brought to all our efforts, including our efforts today.  As a result, I believe our nations and our citizens will be more secure, more prosperous and in a better position to give their children the lives that they deserve.

So with that, let me turn it over to President Calderón.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  Thank you, President Obama.  (As interpreted.)  Your Excellency, Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States of America; Right Honorable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, ladies and gentlemen of the press; Mr. Ambassadors; legislators; friends:  First of all, I would like to thank President Barack Obama for his extraordinary hospitality and that of his government in hosting this Summit of the Leaders of North America.

And briefly, I would also like to express on behalf of the government of Mexico, the people of Mexico, my family and my own behalf, my most sincere sympathies to the family and relatives of former President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado for his lamentable death yesterday.  Tomorrow we will be rendering homage to him in Mexico.

The reasons for which we are here today at this Summit of North American Leaders with President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Canada, we’ve come through a work day that has been very fruitful and fluid with an exchange of opinions and progress to the benefit of our respective citizens.

I’m also very thankful to my two colleagues for the openness with which we have broached some very complex items on our working agenda.  I recognize and value their enormous commitment to our common region.

The leaders of North America share a vision of a strong, solidary, safe, competitive region that is able to successfully face head on the challenges of today.  We agree that our common challenges can only be faced together.  And therein lays the importance of having dialogue, strong dialogue, amongst our three countries.

The data that President Obama has just given us is very important, that our trade has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time.  And I think that that is not separate from a reality that has to be underscored.  In this very complex world full of economic problems and severe crises, Canada, the United States and Mexico are three countries that are growing right now and generating jobs today.

And that growth and those millions of jobs, many of them have to do precisely with the greatest trade exchanges that we have ever seen amongst these great nations.  I would say that the potential of North America tied to these three countries is such that within our own nations we have a great deal to do to make the most of these opportunities for greater exchanges amongst our peoples.

As we’ve mentioned today, we have progressed on various fronts.  For instance, we’ve advanced on the deregulation in our countries — in our own countries, as well as amongst our countries.  We have progressed as well in harmonization of certain standards that facilitate trade.  We’ve also progressed, in our case, on the bilateral relationship in border infrastructure.  And all of this has led, of course, to the benefit of Canadian, Mexican and American families.

Another line of ideas, I would also say that the three nations have renewed their decision to strengthen cooperation at the international level, particularly in issues as sensitive as the security of our citizens.  We have reiterated the values upon which our societies were founded:  democracy, liberty, justice, the respect for human rights.  And today the political dialogue amongst us is perhaps stronger than ever.

We have renewed certain principles of our existence and of our challenges:  The principle of shared responsibility, the exchange of information, and especially the strengthening of our institutions that has to be the guide of our cooperation.

Clearly, I expressed to President Obama and to Prime Minister Harper that the fight that Mexico is experiencing for a safer North America also requires a strengthening of national actions, amongst other things, to stop the traffic of weapons, to combat with greater strength money laundering, and, of course, to reduce the demand for drugs that strengthens criminal organizations.  I also expressed to President Obama and to Prime Minister Harper that Mexico recognizes the commitment that they have undertaken to progress along those lines.

It’s also necessary to strengthen the regional security focus, and in order to do this, we need to include our neighbors and Central American partners, who are also facing serious problems and who need our solidarity.  The three countries have agreed to establish a joint dialogue mechanism with the Central American Integration System — SICA — in support of the efforts undertaken by Central American nations to fight organized crime and in favor of regional security that benefits us all.

Of course, in this meeting, we have broached the topic of the regional economy.  The leaders of North America agree that the United States, Canada and Mexico must continue to delve deeper into our successful economic relationship so as to generate more jobs and greater well-being in all three countries.

Our governments recognize that it is absolutely necessary to continue to fully comply with the NAFTA, as well as to explore new means of strengthening regional competitiveness.  And I am convinced that if we work together, we will become much more competitive than many areas of the world that we are competing with today.

Mexico’s position is that the solution to the complex economic situation experienced by the world today is not a return to protectionist practices that only isolate countries, reduce competitiveness of economies, and send investment scurrying, but that part of the problem and part of the investment that we need to see in the world economy is to see a delving deeper into our economies and making the most of our advantages that show our economic complementarity in terms of investment, labor, technologies, natural resources.  And only then will we be able to have success in a world that competes ferociously by regions.

The three countries have renewed our commitment to broaden the productive — the supply chains of the region that will be even more interconnected, supporting especially the small and medium-scale companies.

Mexican exports to the world represent 37 percent of — or have, rather, 37 percent of American content.  In other words, so American exports are American exports, and they generate millions of jobs for the region.  And in that lays the need to work even more in this region on a clear trilateral deregulation, for instance, in nanomaterials and emissions standards for some vehicles.

Today we also agreed to work in a coordinated fashion on actions that we will be adopting to modernize infrastructure and for border management.  After 10 years — the last two years, we’ve seen three new border crossing areas between Mexico and the United States, after 10 years not having seen one new route.  And we continue to work in a coordinated fashion to make our border more dynamic so that it’s a border of opportunities for progress on both sides of that border.

Tomorrow, here in Washington, our ministers of economy and of trade will be meeting within the framework of the Free Trade Commission of the NAFTA so as to continue to work towards achieving these objectives.

Today, we’ve seen that prosperity in the region depends on greater integration with full respect of our sovereignties in all fields.  And in this context, I’d like to reiterate the interest of my country to join forces as soon as possible to the TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and its negotiations.  Because we know that Mexicans can contribute to a quick and successful conclusion of this project.  If we join forces in this region where we see the greatest growth in the world, we will be generating benefits for our families, our workers, and also substantially improving the competitiveness of the three countries in this context.

We are convinced that the experience and participation of Mexico will enrich this free trade project of the latest generation that encompasses countries in Asia, Oceania, and America.  Our country has a clear commitment to economic freedom.  We even have the support of the private sector so as to enter into the TPP.  We are a nation that believes in free trade as a true tool to foster growth and development, and we have acted as a result of this.

I would also like to thank the United States and Canada for renewing their support to Mexico and its presidency of G20.  As you know, in June of this year Mexico will host the summit of the leaders of the G20 in Los Cabos.  We are convinced, over and above the topics that we will be dealing with there, that the complex international environment needs to be an opportunity so that the world can redefine its development models with a firm commitment to the well-being of peoples and the care for the environment.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this summit, the representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico have undertaken an open, constructive dialogue, just as corresponds to countries that share values.  We’ve talked about the enormous challenges facing us so as to work together in a globalized world.  And as a result, we will be working on building a new era that consolidates the right conditions for development in North America on the basis of a successful partnership, as we have seen so far today.

My dear President Obama, thank you for your hospitality.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Mr. Harper.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Well, first of all, I’d like to begin by thanking you, Barack, for so graciously and so warmly  — literally — hosting us here today.  And I’d also like to begin by offering my sincere condolences to you, Felipe, and through you, to the people of Mexico on the passing of former President Miguel de la Madrid, who I gather had much to do with the NAFTA partnership that we enjoy today.

Canada places the highest the value on the friendship and partnership among our three countries.  We form one of the world’s largest free trade zones, which has been of great benefit to all of our nations.  We’re also effective collaborators in the G20, in responding to the challenges of the global recession and instability of these past few years.

As affirmed in our budget last week, our government is focused on creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

I’m especially pleased that the United States has welcomed Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We also had useful discussions on continued cooperation in managing our borders, streamlining regulation, securing global supply chains, and advancing clean energy.

In addition, we’ve announced a broadened plan for North American pandemic preparedness, and a new North America-Central America dialogue on security to fight transnational organized crime.

Finally, we discussed the agenda for the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Colombia.  Canada looks forward to continue to working with the United States and Mexico to promote democratic principles, regional stability, and market-based economic growth with our partners in the Western Hemisphere.

And once again, Barack and Felipe, I look forward to continuing our useful discussions in Cartagena.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Outstanding.

All right, I think that we’re going to take a question from each press delegation.  So I’ll start with Julianna.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  After last week’s arguments at the Supreme Court, many experts believe that there could be a majority, a five-member majority, to strike down the individual mandate.  And if that were to happen, if it were to be ruled unconstitutional, how would you still guarantee health care to the uninsured and those Americans who’ve become insured as a result of the law?

And then a President for President Calderón and Prime Minister Harper.  Over the weekend, Governor Mitt Romney said that the U.S. used to promote free enterprise around the world, and he said, “Our President doesn’t have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do, and I think over the last three or four years, some people around the world have begun to question that.”  My question to the both of you is whether you think that American influence has declined over the last three to four years.

And, President Obama, if you’d like to respond to that, too.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, on the second part of your question, it’s still primary season for the Republican Party.  They’re going to make a decision about who their candidate will be.

It’s worth noting that I first arrived on the national stage with a speech at the Democratic Convention that was entirely about American exceptionalism, and that my entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism.  But I will cut folks some slack for now because they’re still trying to get their nomination.

With respect to health care, I’m actually — continue to be confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the law.  And the reason is because, in accordance with precedent out there, it’s constitutional.  That’s not just my opinion, by the way; that’s the opinion of legal experts across the ideological spectrum, including two very conservative appellate court justices that said this wasn’t even a close case.

I think it’s important — because I watched some of the commentary last week — to remind people that this is not an abstract argument.  People’s lives are affected by the lack of availability of health care, the inaffordability of health care, their inability to get health care because of preexisting conditions.

The law that’s already in place has already given 2.5 million young people health care that wouldn’t otherwise have it.  There are tens of thousands of adults with preexisting conditions who have health care right now because of this law.  Parents don’t have to worry about their children not being able to get health care because they can’t be prevented from getting health care as a consequence of a preexisting condition.  That’s part of this law.

Millions of seniors are paying less for prescription drugs because of this law.  Americans all across the country have greater rights and protections with respect to their insurance companies and are getting preventive care because of this law.

So that’s just the part that’s already been implemented.  That doesn’t even speak to the 30 million people who stand to gain coverage once it’s fully implemented in 2014.

And I think it’s important, and I think the American people understand, and the I think the justices should understand, that in the absence of an individual mandate, you cannot have a mechanism to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can actually get health care.  So there’s not only a economic element to this, and a legal element to this, but there’s a human element to this.  And I hope that’s not forgotten in this political debate.

Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.  And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.  Well, this is a good example.  And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.

Q    You say it’s not an abstract conversation.  Do you have contingency plans?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I’m sorry.  As I said, we are confident that this will be over — that this will be upheld.  I’m confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld.  And, again, that’s not just my opinion; that’s the opinion of a whole lot of constitutional law professors and academics and judges and lawyers who have examined this law, even if they’re not particularly sympathetic to this particular piece of legislation or my presidency.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  (As interpreted.)  Your question was a little local for me, and so I’m glad that the President of the United States answered it.  But I would take advantage of this moment to say that after increasing the budget line for the folk insurance six-fold, and after having built more than 1,000 new clinics in the country, we’re getting close to reaching universal coverage of health care — full, free health care coverage for all people up to 18 years of age, including cancer coverage.  Of the 112 million Mexicans, 106 million will have efficient, effective universal health care coverage.

So I would say that I would hope that one of the greatest economies in the world, such as the United States, could follow our example in achieving this, because it was a great thing.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Well, I don’t think you really expect me to intervene in the U.S. presidential election.  Let me just say this.  For Canada — and this is something that I think transcends governments in Canada or administrations here in the United States — for Canada, the United States is and always will be our closest neighbor, our greatest ally and our best friend.  And I believe that American leadership is at all times great and indispensable for the world.

And I think over the past few years we’ve done great things together in terms of the response both through the G20 and bilaterally on the recession and the recovery.  We had, under your leadership, Barack, that successful intervention in Libya.  Our trade relationship is the biggest in the world and growing.  And so I think it’s been a tremendous partnership.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Somebody from the Mexican press corps.

Q    Good afternoon.  For President Calderón, you were saying — you were referring to weapons.  We’d like to know what President Obama said in terms of what’s going to be done to stop the traffic of weapons.

And, President Obama, I’d like to know what plans your government has in the presidential election process in Mexico.  What was discussed in terms of the interviews with the candidates in Mexico City?  And I’d also like to know, for the government of the United States, there’s a threat for the country in this sense on weapons, Mr. President.  Weapons have come into the country.  Are there military leaks of letting the arms come through?  What’s going to be done?

And for Prime Minister Harper, is the visa requirement going to be removed for Mexicans?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s a lot of questions.  (Laughter.)  Go ahead, go first.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  (As interpreted.)  My position on this subject is very clear, and I would repeat it here.  Let me broach it from another angle.  It’s been shown that when there is an excessive, quick availability of weapons in any given society, there is an increase in violence and the murders that goes on many years afterwards.

This phenomenon took place in many places of Africa after their civil wars.  We’ve see in El Salvador, Guatemala, in Eastern Europe, in Kosovo, in Bosnia.  It’s happened — it’s taken place in many different areas of the world.  And we sustain that the expiry of the assault weapons ban in the year 2004 coincided almost exactly with the beginning of the harshest period of violence we’ve ever seen.

During my government, we have seized over 140,000 weapons in four years.  And I think that the vast majority have been assault weapons — AK-47s, et cetera.  And many, the vast majority of these weapons were sold in gun shops in the United States.  Along the border of the U.S. and Mexico, there are approximately 8,000 weapons shops.  If we do our accounts, that means that there are approximately nine weapons stores for each Walmart that exists in the United States and Mexico.

So a good deal of our discussion did touch upon this.  But I recognize, at the same time, the administrative effort that’s been undertaken, particularly by President Obama and his administration, so that the agencies for control of illegal actions curb this export of guns and weapons to Mexico.  We’ve seen a much more active effort in this sense than in any other time in the past.

I have a great deal of respect for the U.S. legislation, especially the Second Amendment.  But I know that if we don’t stop the traffic of weapons into Mexico, also if we don’t have mechanisms to forbid the sale of weapons, such as we had in the ‘90s, or for registry of guns, at least for assault weapons, then we are never going to be able to stop the violence in Mexico or stop a future turning of those guns upon the U.S.

So if I am against the traffic of weapons in Mexico, I’m against the traffic of weapons anywhere, be that within any circumstance.  The government of Mexico will never be able to accept anything that has to do with opening this.

President Obama has been very clear on the position of his government.  We understand the work being done by the agencies to stop the criminals.  But this cannot be an obstacle to the cooperation that we have to have amongst Mexico and the United States to stop these criminal activities that underlie this issue, which is one of the greatest obstacles and problems for Mexico.

I understand the internal problems from a political point of view in the United States, and I mentioned this publicly in Congress in the United States, and I said things exactly the way I believe them.  I said them outright.  There’s a great deal of discrepancy between points of view.  It’s a very complex political issue.  But it is very important to underscore it.

And I believe that’s the only part of the question that I can answer, and I would say that what President Obama has already answered was very well done.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Just very briefly, with respect to the presidential elections in Mexico, Vice President Biden met with the candidates to express sentiments that are similar to the ones that Stephen just expressed here with respect to U.S. elections.  And that is that the friendship between our three countries, the partnership between our three countries, extends beyond and is more fundamental than any particular party or any particular election.  And that’s the message we have to send with respect to Mexico.

I’ve had a excellent working relationship with Felipe.  I expect to have an excellent working relationship with the next Mexican President, whoever that candidate may be, because the underlying common interests that we have economically, socially, culturally, the people-to-people relationship that we have, is so important that it transcends partisan politics.

And with respect to the issue of guns, I’ve made very clear in every meeting that I’ve had with Felipe — and we’ve actually put into practice efforts to stop illegal gun trafficking North to South.  It is a difficult task, but it’s one that we have taken very seriously and taken some unprecedented steps.  We will continue to coordinate closely with the Mexican government because we recognize the toll that it’s taken with respect to families and innocent individuals inside of Mexico.

And this is part of our broader comprehensive cooperation in weakening the grip of narco-trafficking within Mexico.  And we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce demand for drugs, that we have a responsibility to make sure that not only guns, but also bulk cash isn’t flowing into Mexico.  And I — obviously President Calderón takes very seriously his responsibilities to apply effective law enforcement within Mexico.  And I think he’s taken courageous steps to do that.

So we’re going to keep on partnering together in order to continue to make progress on this very important issue.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  You asked me about the visa requirement.  The visa requirement is the really only effective means we have in Canada today to deal with large-scale bogus refugee claims under our refugee determination system.

Legislation that is being implemented — and in fact, there’s legislation before parliament to enhance those changes  — that legislation will in the future, in years to come, will give us tools other than visa requirement to deal with that particular problem.  But as of today that remains the only tool at our disposal.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Okay.  And finally from —

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Yes.  Mark Kennedy, Postmedia News.

Q    Hello, gentlemen.  I have a couple of questions on two critical issues that you were discussing today — one on trade and one on crime.  On trade, Prime Minister Harper, why is Canada’s position at the negotiating table on the Trans-Pacific Partnership so important to Canada?  And secondly, to get us there, to be a player, are you willing to give up as a precondition our supply management system?

And, President Obama, you said earlier that there needs to be high standards for a country to be there.  I’m wondering whether you think, yet, Canada has met those high standards — whether you want us to drop our traditional supply management system.

And on crime, we in Canada read about the challenges that Mexico has on the drug cartels and the horrible violence that occurs down there.  But perhaps it’s possible that many Canadians, and perhaps even Americans, don’t see it as affecting their lives — perhaps it doesn’t affect their communities.  So on that issue, why do you three gentlemen think that a three-country coordinated approach is necessary to protect our citizens?

And, Prime Minister, I think you being the only person that can speak both English and French, if you can do that, please.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER:  Sure.  First of all, in response to the question on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this is — our desire to be part of that negotiation is part of Canada’s ambitious trade agenda.  As you know, we are currently in negotiations with over 50 countries around the world, including the European Union and Japan and India.  So this was obviously a logical extension of our desire, the desire of our government to dramatically broaden our free trade relationships around the world.

Canada’s position on Trans-Pacific Partnership is the same as our position in any trade negotiation.  We expect to negotiate and debate all manner of issues, and we seek ambitious outcomes to free trade agreements.  In those negotiations, of course, Canada will attempt to promote and to defend Canada’s interest not just across the economy but in individual sectors as well.

On the question of security, look, the security problems are — the security challenge, particularly around the drug trade, is a serious regional problem throughout our hemisphere that has real impacts — not the kind of governance and security impacts we see maybe in Central America and the Caribbean and elsewhere — but has real, serious impacts on the health and safety of communities in our country as well.  And as these criminal networks are transnational, it’s important that our attempts to fight them be equally transnational.  And that’s why we work together on these initiatives.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, with respect to the TPP, as is true of any process of arriving at a trade agreement, every country that’s participating is going to have to make some modifications.  That’s inherent in the process, because each of our countries have their idiosyncrasies; certain industries that have in the past been protected; certain practices that may be unique to that country but end up creating disadvantages for businesses from other countries.  And so it’s a process of everybody making adjustments.

I don’t think Canada would be unique in that.  Are there areas where we’d like to see some changes in terms of Canadian practices?  Of course.  I assure you that Canada will have some complaints directed at us, and every member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership eventually would have to make some modifications in order to accommodate the larger interest of growing the overall economy and expanding trade and ultimately jobs.  So I don’t anticipate that there’s something unique about Canada that wouldn’t be true for any of the other aspirants to forming this Trans-Pacific Partnership.

With respect to the transnational drug trade, first and foremost, I think we should be concerned about what’s happening in Mexico and Central America because when you have innocent families and women and children who are being gunned down on the streets, that should be everybody’s problem, not just our problem — not just their problem.

There’s a sense of neighborly regard and concern that has to be part of our calculus and our foreign policy.  But more practically, the United States shares a border with Mexico.  If you have this kind of violence and the power of the drug trade as a whole expanding in countries that are so closely affiliated with us — in Central American countries — if you start getting a larger and larger space in which they have control over serious chunks of the economy, if they’re undermining institutions in these countries, that will impact our capacity to do business in these countries.  It could have a spillover effect in terms of our nationals who are living in those countries, tourists that are visiting these countries.  It could have a deteriorating effect overall on the nature of our relationship.  And that’s something that we have to pay attention to.

And, as I said, I think the Mexican government has taken this very seriously at great cost to itself.  We have an obligation to take it just as seriously, in part because we are the ultimate destination for a large chunk of this market.

And that — Stephen and I were trading notes — in places like the United States and Canada, this is not just an issue of — that traditionally was very urban.  This is disseminated across our communities.  And you go into rural communities and you’ve got methamphetamine sales that are devastating young and old alike, and some of that is originally sourced in Mexico.  And so even in the remotest, most isolated parts of Canada or the United States, they’re being impacted by this drug trade, and we’ve got to work cooperatively in order to deal with it.

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN:  (As interpreted.)  And I’d like to look at it from another standpoint.  The security of North America is absolutely tied to each of its member states.  There cannot be full security in this country or in Canada or in Mexico if we do not have a system that actually enables the cooperation mechanisms to act in facing threats that have no borders, that are transnational by their very nature.  And these are threats that are not just tied into drug trafficking, which is transnational of course.

And I’ll give you two examples of success stories that I was mentioning this morning.  One, the attempt to take to Mexico one of the children of Qaddafi — one of Qaddafi’s children.  This implied an international and very North American operation because it was headed up by a Canadian businesswoman who hired an American company, which hired, in turn, Mexican pilots and counterfeiters.  And this multinational operation could have been — would not have been avoided without the international security mechanisms that we didn’t have before, but that now we have.

Also, being able to avoid the assassination of the Saudi ambassador here in Washington would not have been possible without the mechanisms and cooperation that we have today.

So thinking that what happens in Mexico doesn’t have anything to do with the security of the citizens of this country or of any other citizen of North America is a mistake.  We have to understand that we are all tied to one another.

Now, security, understood in the regional sense — in order to understand that, we have to understand where the greatest threats to security actually lay.  The United States has a clear idea of its threat, of its security priorities, its threats of terrorism, of international terrorism, terrible attacks on the U.S. people.  Another threat clearly is in the power of transnational organized crime, which I insist is not crime or organizations that are strictly Mexican in nature.  They don’t have a nationality, and they don’t operate in just one country.  They’re probably operating right here in this city.

In Washington, for instance, the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants is higher by 10 — more than 10 or 20 than the largest number in any of the big cities in Mexico.  These are international organizations that have a growing destructive capacity, that act well beyond borders and threaten anyone, anywhere.

It is true, the efforts that we undertake clearly make it possible to contain that threat and to prevent it from acting in society — not just in the United States or Canada, but even in Mexico.  And that explains why, for instance, despite the perception of my country, last year 23 million tourists came to our country by plane, plus another 7 million in cruise ships, plus another 50 million who crossed the border, the land borders.

So that’s also why there are 2 million Mexicans living comfortably in Mexico, and many more living also here who came to visit us here and wanted to see us in the White House.  And that’s also why 1.6 million Canadians come to Mexico every year.  So that’s 5 percent of the Canadian population that travels to Mexico every year.

And that also explains why, despite the fact that a state such as Texas recommends that none of its young people should travel to anywhere in Mexico, that’s why there are hundreds of thousands of young Texans who go to Mexico, enjoy it, and why we haven’t seen one single incident with U.S. spring-breakers in Mexico this past spring, for instance.

Great concern, because these are multinational criminal organizations and the mechanisms, of course, to face them, to defeat them, have to be multinational.  In addition to the solidarity — expressions of solidarity of President Obama, who says that he cannot stand aside from the expressions of threat that is facing a neighbor of his, vulnerability from an institutional point of view in Mexico and Central America is an issue that also impacts and jeopardizes all of the citizens of North America.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everyone.

END
2:44 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Expediting Approval of the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline’s Southern End from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas in Cushing, Oklahoma

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks in Cushing

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard near Cushing, Okla., March 22, 2012. The President highlighted the Administration’s commitment to expanding domestic oil and gas production. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

Obama expediting southern Keystone oil pipeline

Source: USA Today, 3-22-12

President Obama said today he is expediting approval of the southern end of the Keystone XL oil pipeline — from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas — and he criticized Republicans for turning an energy and environmental issue into a political one.

“The southern leg of it, we’re making a priority,” Obama told workers during an 11-minute speech in Cushing, Okla., the terminus of the pipeline project.

House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans called Obama’s permit announcement meaningless because the southern end of the project is due to start construction in June anyway. And they continued to criticize Obama for blocking the northern part of Keystone, connecting the U.S. to oil supplies in Canada.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck compared Obama’s announcement to “the governor holding a press conference to renew my driver’s license — except this announcement still leaves American energy and jobs behind.”…READ MORE

Expanding Our Oil and Gas Pipeline Infrastructure

Source: WH, 3-22-12

Cushing, Oklahoma is an oil town. It’s a major hub for connecting our nation’s crude oil supply with refineries along the Gulf Coast, and the latest stop on President Obama’s cross-country tour to discuss American energy production.

Domestic oil and gas production is the highest it’s been in eight years. We’re actually producing so much that, even though we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipelines to circle the Earth in the last three years, we still don’t have enough pipeline to transport it all around the country quickly enough, particularly to our nation’s refineries.

And, as President Obama explained when he spoke there today, the fact that production is outpacing pipeline capacity is causing bottlenecks in places like Cushing, slowing our ability to further increase oil supplies when gas prices are high and we need it the most.

Modernizing pipeline infrastructure and expanding its ability to deliver oil to refineries and consumers around the country is a vital piece of a strategy to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and expand production of American-made energy. That’s why President Obama directed his Administration to expedite the permitting and construction process of a new pipeline that will help crude oil make its way to Gulf Coast refineries more quickly, and doing so while protecting natural resources and the health of local communities along the pipeline’s proposed path.

Read more about President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

Cushing Pipe Yard
Cushing, Oklahoma

10:22 A.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Oklahoma!  (Applause.)  Well, it’s good to be here.  Everybody, have a seat.  Have a seat.

AUIDENCE MEMBER:  I love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  It’s wonderful to see you.

It is good to be back in Oklahoma.  I haven’t been back here since the campaign, and everybody looks like they’re doing just fine.  (Laughter.)  Thank you so much for your hospitality.  It is wonderful to be here.

Yesterday, I visited Nevada and New Mexico to talk about what we’re calling an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  It’s a strategy that will keep us on track to further reduce our dependence on foreign oil, put more people back to work, and ultimately help to curb the spike in gas prices that we’re seeing year after year after year.

So today, I’ve come to Cushing, an oil town — (applause) — because producing more oil and gas here at home has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  (Applause.)

Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  That’s important to know.  Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states.  We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.

So we are drilling all over the place — right now.  That’s not the challenge.  That’s not the problem.  In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil and gas in places like North Dakota and Colorado that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it to where it needs to go — both to refineries, and then, eventually, all across the country and around the world.  There’s a bottleneck right here because we can’t get enough of the oil to our refineries fast enough.  And if we could, then we would be able to increase our oil supplies at a time when they’re needed as much as possible.

Now, right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast.  And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.  (Applause.)

Now, you wouldn’t know all this from listening to the television set.  (Laughter.)  This whole issue of the Keystone pipeline had generated, obviously, a lot of controversy and a lot of politics.  And that’s because the original route from Canada into the United States was planned through an area in Nebraska that supplies some drinking water for nearly 2 million Americans, and irrigation for a good portion of America’s croplands.  And Nebraskans of all political stripes — including the Republican governor there — raised some concerns about the safety and wisdom of that route.

So to be extra careful that the construction of the pipeline in an area like that wouldn’t put the health and the safety of the American people at risk, our experts said that we needed a certain amount of time to review the project.  Unfortunately, Congress decided they wanted their own timeline — not the company, not the experts, but members of Congress who decided this might be a fun political issue, decided to try to intervene and make it impossible for us to make an informed decision.

So what we’ve said to the company is, we’re happy to review future permits.  And today, we’re making this new pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf a priority.  So the southern leg of it we’re making a priority, and we’re going to go ahead and get that done. The northern portion of it we’re going to have to review properly to make sure that the health and safety of the American people are protected.  That’s common sense.

But the fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years -– including one from Canada.  And as long as I’m President, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people.  We don’t have to choose between one or the other, we can do both.  (Applause.)

So if you guys are talking to your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your aunts or uncles and they’re wondering what’s going on in terms of oil production, you just tell them anybody who suggests that somehow we’re suppressing domestic oil production isn’t paying attention.  They are not paying attention.  (Applause.)

What you also need to tell them is anybody who says that just drilling more gas and more oil by itself will bring down gas prices tomorrow or the next day or even next year, they’re also not paying attention.  They’re not playing it straight.  Because we are drilling more, we are producing more.  But the fact is, producing more oil at home isn’t enough by itself to bring gas prices down.

And the reason is we’ve got an oil market that is global, that is worldwide.  And I’ve been saying for the last few weeks, and I want everybody to understand this, we use 20 percent of the world’s oil; we only produce 2 percent of the world’s oil.  Even if we opened every inch of the country — if I put a oil rig on the South Lawn — (laughter) — if we had one right next to the Washington Monument, even if we drilled every little bit of this great country of ours, we’d still have to buy the rest of our needs from someplace else if we keep on using the same amount of energy, the same amount of oil.

The price of oil will still be set by the global market.  And that means every time there’s tensions that rise in the Middle East — which is what’s happening right now — so will the price of gas.  The main reason the gas prices are high right now is because people are worried about what’s happening with Iran.  It doesn’t have to do with domestic oil production.  It has to do with the oil markets looking and saying, you know what, if something happens there could be trouble and so we’re going to price oil higher just in case.

Now, that’s not the future that we went.  We don’t want to be vulnerable to something that’s happening on the other side of the world somehow affecting our economy, or hurting a lot of folks who have to drive to get to work.  That’s not the future I want for America.  That’s not the future I want for our kids.  I want us to control our own energy destiny.  I want us to determine our own course.

So, yes, we’re going to keep on drilling.  Yes, we’re going to keep on emphasizing production.  Yes, we’re going to make sure that we can get oil to where it’s needed.  But what we’re also going to be doing as part of an all-of-the-above strategy is looking at how we can continually improve the utilization of renewable energy sources, new clean energy sources, and how do we become more efficient in our use of energy.  (Applause.)

That means producing more biofuels, which can be great for our farmers and great for rural economies.  It means more fuel-efficient cars.  It means more solar power.  It means more wind power — which, by the way, nearly tripled here in Oklahoma over the past three years in part because of some of our policies.

We want every source of American-made energy.  I don’t want the energy jobs of tomorrow going to other countries.  I want them here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  And that’s what an all-of-the-above strategy is all about.  That’s how we break our dependence on foreign oil.  (Applause.)

Now, the good news is we’re already seeing progress.  Yesterday, I went, in Nevada, to the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  Hundreds of workers built it.  It’s powering thousands of homes, and they’re expanding to tens of thousands of homes more as they put more capacity online.

After 30 years of not doing anything, we finally increased fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks, and Americans are now designing and building cars that will go nearly twice as far on the same gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade.  And that’s going to save the average family $8,000 over the life of a car.  (Applause.)  And it’s going to save a lot of companies a lot of money because they’re hurt by rising fuel costs, as well.

All of these steps have helped put America on the path to greater energy independence.  Since I took office, our dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  Last year, we imported 1 million fewer barrels per day than the year before.  Think about that.  (Applause.)  America, at a time when we’re growing, is actually importing less oil from overseas because we’re using it smarter and more efficiently.  America is now importing less than half the oil we use for the first time in more than a decade.

So the key is to keep it going, Oklahoma.  We’ve got to make sure that we don’t go backwards, that we keep going forwards.  If we’re going to end our dependence on foreign oil, if we’re going to bring gas prices down once and for all, as opposed to just playing politics with it every single year, then what we’re going to have to do is to develop every single source of energy that we’ve got, every new technology that can help us become more efficient.

We’ve got to use our innovation.  We’ve got to use our brain power.  We’ve got to use our creativity.  We’ve got to have a vision for the future, not just constantly looking backwards at the past.  That’s where we need to go.  That’s the future we can build.

And that’s what America has always been about, is building the future.  We’ve always been at the cutting-edge.  We’re always ahead of the curve.  Whether it’s Thomas Edison or the Wright Brothers or Steve Jobs, we’re always thinking about what’s the next thing.  And that’s how we have to think about energy.  And if we do, not only are we going to see jobs and growth and success here in Cushing, Oklahoma, we’re going to see it all across the country.

All right?  Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
10:32 A.M. CDT

Political Buzz March 15, 2012: President Barack Obama Hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron at Press Conference, NCAA Basketball Game in Ohio & UK State Dinner

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. 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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama, the First Lady, Prime Minister Cameron, and Samantha Cameron pose for an official State Dinner photo (March 14, 2012)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Mrs. Samantha Cameron for an official State Dinner photo in the Grand Foyer of the White House, March 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA HOSTS BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON AT PRESS CONFERENCE, NCCAA BASKETBALL GAME IN OHIO & UK STATE DINNER

When Barack Met David: A Trans-Atlantic Love Story: This is intended as a quick catch-up for American readers who may have inexplicably missed the top news story of the week: you just had a visit from the British prime minister. And, by the way, his name is David Cameron.
Foreign leaders turn up in Washington with the same regularity that pro-consuls and minor princelings once took the road to ancient Rome. So, if you missed it, you’re forgiven. In the British media, however, this particular three-day meet-and-greet was followed as if it were the second coming.
British officials were spinning like nuclear centrifuges to stress the importance of this latest manifestation of the “special relationship” and of the depth and warmth of the personal ties between “Barack” and “David.”… – IHT, NYT, 3-16-12

  • Cameron visits 9/11 memorial in NYC: British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, visited the memorial at the World Trade Center on Thursday after touring businesses in Newark, N.J…. – AP, 3-15-12
  • British state dinner and red carpet arrivals: President Obama and first lady welcome British prime minister David Cameron and wife for a state dinner at the White House. President Barack Obama proposes a toast as he and first lady Michelle Obama host a state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron… – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Obamas host British Prime Minister David Cameron at state dinner: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted the sixth state dinner of their tenure Wednesday evening, honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron in a celebration of spring in a tent on the White House’s South … – LAT, 3-14-12
  • White House state dinner for British PM mixes election-year celebrity power: Wednesday’s giant state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife — the biggest ever thrown by Barack and Michelle Obama — dished up a potent mix of celebrity glam, corporate heft and political money under an enormous … – WaPo, 3-16-12
  • Obama hails ‘indispensable’ US alliance with Britain: A “chuffed to bits” President Barack Obama gushed over British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, but deepening world crises conspired to darken a warm welcome for a special ally.
    Obama went out of his way to hail America’s “indispensable” relationship with Britain, even offering to learn the rules of cricket, gifting his guest a top of the range American grill, and laying on a sumptuous state dinner…. – AFP, 3-14-12
  • President Obama, David Cameron stress trust, admiration: President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron spent Wednesday evening pouring praise on each other in front of a state dinner crowd of celebrities, politicians, business leaders, journalists and major campaign donors of the president.
    “In good times and in bad, he’s just the kind of partner that you want at your side. I trust him. He says what he does and he does what he says,” Obama said at the White House event.
    The president spoke of his admiration of Cameron’s “character,” especially in light of the death of his young son Ivan in 2009. “All of us have seen how you as a parent, along with Samantha, have shown a measure of strength that few of us will ever know,” he said.
    Obama showed a note of familiarity with the prime minister, calling Cameron by his first name throughout his warm words. Cameron reciprocated.
    “There are three things about Barack that really stand out for me: Strength, moral authority and wisdom,” Cameron said, citing the killing of Osama bin Laden and the international action in Libya, among other efforts…. – Politico, 3-14-12
  • The White House state dinner: Sweet nothings across the pond: The British arrived. Brilliant! For the British, we roll out our most glorious specimen. For the British, we bring out The Clooney. The purpose of a state dinner is always to cement relationships, celebrate ties, create photo-ops…. – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Michelle Obama wears Marchesa gown to state dinner _ and designer is on the guest list: Michelle Obama chose an off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown for her duties Wednesday night as hostess at a White House state dinner honoring the British prime minister and his wife, David and Samantha Cameron. It was a deep shade of teal in a … – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Michelle Obama Wears Marchesa to the White House State Dinner: It was a win for Marchesa last night when Michelle Obama chose to wear the label’s draped teal column dress to the White House state dinner. The first lady accessorized with a “Pearls in Peril” necklace by Tom Binns…. – WSJ, 3-15-12
  • Obama, Cameron warn Iran: They warn that new military action might be near…. – Politico, 3-14-12
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom hold a press conference (March 14, 2012)

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Cameron and Obama Show Unity on Afghanistan: Seeking to project a united front on Afghanistan after a spate of bloody setbacks on the battlefield, President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain pledged on Wednesday that their countries would stick to the timetable for … – NYT, 3-14-12
  • Obama, Cameron outline shift to support role in Afghanistan next year: Determined to show momentum in a war marred by setbacks, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minster David Cameron said for the first time Wednesday that NATO forces would hand over the lead combat role to Afghanistan forces next year … – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Obama, Cameron affirm commitment to Afghan mission: Seeking strength and persuasion in numbers, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron together laid out a case for continuing their policy in Afghanistan, an increasingly unstable war-front with fading support in both countries.
    Appearing together Wednesday in the Rose Garden for Cameron’s first official visit to the United States, the leaders sought to project a unified front against calls to speed up the pace of withdrawal of forces in the face growing violence and a weary electorate.
    Cameron declared firmly that “we will not give up on this mission,” while Obama emphasized his commitment to a “steady, responsible transition process.”
    “I don’t anticipate at this stage that we’re going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have,” Obama said…. – LAT, 3-14-12
  • First lady brings Olympics to pupils: Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron lead a group of fifth-graders through a mini-Olympics…. – Politico, 3-14-12
  • President Obama takes British leader to NCAA basketball game in Ohio: The casual start to Prime Minister David Cameron’s state visit showcases the nations’ close relationship at a crucial time for the president.
    British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama headed to Ohio to take in one of the “First Four” games of the NCAA basketball tournament Tuesday, a lighthearted start to a visit that will turn to more difficult subjects Wednesday.
    The leaders left their wives in Washington for the man date in the swing state, an outing billed by the White House as important cross-cultural bonding time…. – LAT, 3-13-12
  • Obama, Cameron take in ‘Heartland’: The president said Cameron would get to see both basketball and “the great state of Ohio.”…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • British prime minister gets a taste of American life: Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife come to the United States for a two-day visit that includes, among other activities, attending the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. US President Barack Obama talks to British Prime Minister David Cameron … – WaPo, 3-13-12

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron watch basketball
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron watch Mississippi Valley State play Western Kentucky in a first-round NCAA tournament game in Dayton, Ohio. (Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press / March 13, 2012)

Political Headlines March 12, 2012: Washington Post-ABC News poll: Gas prices sink Obama’s ratings on economy, bring parity to race for White House

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Gas prices sink Obama’s ratings on economy, bring parity to race for White House

Source: WaPo, 3-12-12

Video: President Obama is hitting back at Republican criticism of his energy policies and his role in controlling gasoline prices.

Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy — and on the federal budget deficit — come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and they highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.

Graphic

Public disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is again on the rise.

Click Here to View Full Graphic Story

Public disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is again on the rise.

 

The potential political con­sequences are clear, with the ­rising public disapproval reversing some of the gains the president had made in hypothetical general-election matchups against possible Republican rivals for the White House. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) now both run about evenly with Obama. The findings come just five weeks after Obama appeared to be getting a boost from the improving economy.

Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high….READ MORE

 

Full Text Obama Presidency March 7, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Announces $1 Billion Fund to Promote Energy Efficient Vehicles

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

America Built to Last

President Obama announces a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to help boost the deployment of clean, advanced vehicles all over America.

President Obama discusses energy
Lawrence Jackson, 3/7/12

President Obama Announces $1 Billion Fund to Promote Energy Efficient Vehicles

Source: WH, 3-7-12

President Barack Obama tours a Daimler Trucks North America plant (March 7, 2012)

President Barack Obama tours Daimler Trucks North America Mt. Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant in Mount Holly, North Carolina, March 7, 2012. On this part of the tour the President saw the Chassis Airing Station where multi-colored nylon air lines are installed for the brake system. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama made a trip to a manufacturing plant for Daimler Trucks North America in Mount Holly, North Carolina. He was in the Tar Heel state to discuss more ways his administration is taking an all-of-the-above approach to American energy.

He talked about how his administration is pursuing new domestic energy sources, expanding oil and gas production, and reducing our overall reliance on oil through development of renewable energy.

But at a place where workers are busy assembling trucks that run on natural gas, the President also announced a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to help boost the deployment of clean, advanced vehicles all over America:

To cities and towns all across the country, what we’re going to say is, if you make a commitment to buy more advanced vehicles for your community — whether they run on electricity or biofuels or natural gas — we’ll help you cut through the red tape and build fueling stations nearby. And we’ll offer tax breaks to families that buy these cars, companies that buy alternative fuel trucks like the ones that are made right here at Mount Holly. So we’re going to give communities across the country more of an incentive to make the shift to more energy-efficient cars.

Have questions about President Obama’s Blueprint for American-Made Energy? Learn more here.

 POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy — Mount Holly, NC

Daimler Truck Manufacturing Plant
Mount Holly, North Carolina

12:50 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, North Carolina!  (Applause.)  Hello, Mount Holly!  (Applause.)  Thank you, Juan, for that introduction.  I did not know he was a preacher.  (Laughter.)  He must be at least a deacon.  (Laughter.)  I was hearing — “Welll” — (Laughter.)  He was starting to get the spirit up here.  I’m going to take Juan on the road to introduce me everywhere.  (Laughter.)  Can I hear an “amen”?

AUDIENCE:  Amen!

THE PRESIDENT:  Amen.

I want to thank Mark Hernandez, Ricky McDowell — (applause) — and Martin Daum for hosting us and being such great tour guides.  Thank you so much, everybody.  Give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

We’ve got a few outstanding North Carolinians in the house.  You’ve got your Governor, Bev Perdue, is here.  (Applause.)  Your mayors, Bryan Hough and Anthony Foxx are here.  (Applause.)  Two outstanding Congressmen, Mel Watt and Heath Shuler are here.  (Applause.)  Thank you all for being here.

It is good to be in North Carolina.  Anthony Foxx pointed out that I decided to wear a tie that could be a Tar Heel — (applause) — but it’s got a little Duke color in there, too.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t want to get in trouble with anybody, so I was hedging my bets.  (Laughter.)

I always tell people I am one of the best advertisers for North Carolina.  I love this state.  (Applause.)  Love this state.  Everybody here is so nice, so welcoming.  Even the folks who don’t vote for me, they’re nice to me.  They usually wave five fingers.  (Laughter.)  So it’s just a great pleasure.

And I just had a chance to see some of the folks who are doing the work here today.  I couldn’t be more impressed.  Some people have been here — like Juan — 32 years, 25 years.  Some folks have been here for four months, or six months, have just gotten hired.  But everybody had such pride in their work.

And the Freighterline trucks that you’re making here at this plant run on natural gas, and that makes them quieter, it makes them better for the environment, it makes them cheaper to fill up than they would be with diesel.  I hear you sold your 1,000th natural gas truck last November -– (applause) — the first company to reach that milestone.  And it was made right here in Mount Holly.  (Applause.)  And last year, this plant added more than 1,000 workers, hiring back a lot of folks who were laid off during the recession.  (Applause.)  That is something to be proud of.

Now, here at Daimler, you’re not just building trucks.  You’re building better trucks.

AUDIENCE:  That’s right.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re building trucks that use less oil.  And you know that’s especially important right now because most of you have probably filled up your gas tank a time or two in the last week, and you’ve seen how quickly the price of gas is going up.  A lot of you may have to drive a distance to work.  Higher gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.
And for companies that operate a whole fleet of trucks, the higher costs can make a big difference in terms of the profitability of the company.

Now, here’s the thing, though — this is not the first time we’ve seen gas prices spike.  It’s been happening for years.  Every year, about this time, gas starts spiking up, and everybody starts wondering, how high is it going to go?  And every year, politicians start talking when gas prices go up.  They get out on the campaign trail — and you and I both know there are no quick fixes to this problem — but listening to them, you’d think there were.

As a country that has 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, but uses 20 percent of the world’s oil — I’m going to repeat that — we’ve got 2 percent of the world oil reserves; we use 20 percent.  What that means is, as much as we’re doing to increase oil production, we’re not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices.  Anybody who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or they aren’t telling you the truth.

Here is the truth.  If we are going to control our energy future, then we’ve got to have an all-of-the-above strategy.  We’ve got to develop every source of American energy — not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels.  We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories.  That’s the only solution to the challenge. Because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down.  It’s pretty straightforward.  That’s the only solution to this challenge.

And that’s the strategy that we’ve now been pursuing for the last three years.  And I’m proud to say we’ve made progress.
Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  In fact, in 2010, it went under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.

You wouldn’t know it from listening to some of these folks out here — (laughter) — some of these folks — (laughter) — but a key part of our energy strategy has been to increase safe, responsible oil production here at home.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than any time in the last eight years.  Under my administration, we’ve quadrupled the number of operating oilrigs to a record high.  We’ve got more oilrigs operating now than we’ve ever seen.  We’ve opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration.  We’ve approved more than 400 drilling permits that follow new safety standards after we had that mess down in the Gulf.

We’re approving dozens of new pipelines.  We just announced that we’ll do whatever we can to speed up construction of a pipeline in Oklahoma that’s going to relieve a bottleneck and get more oil to the Gulf — to the refineries down there — and that’s going to help create jobs, encourage more production.

So these are the facts on oil production.  If somebody tells you we’re not producing enough oil, they just don’t know the facts.

But how much oil we produce here at home, because we only have 2 percent and we use 20, that’s not going to set the price of gas worldwide, or here in the United States.  Oil is bought and sold on the world market.  And the biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to rise right now is instability in the Middle East.  You guys have been hearing about what’s happening with Iran; there are other oil producers that are having problems.  And so people have gotten uncertain.  And when uncertainty increases, then sometimes you see speculation on Wall Street that drives up gas prices even more.

But here’s the thing.  Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will go up is there’s just growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil.  There are a lot of people there.  In 2010 alone, China added nearly 10 million cars on its roads.  Think about that — 2010, 10 million new cars.  People in China, folks in India, folks in Brazil — they’re going to want cars, too, as their standard of living goes up, and that means more demand for oil, and that’s going to kick up the price of oil worldwide.  Those numbers are only going to get bigger over time.

So what does that mean for us?  It means we can’t just keep on relying on the old ways of doing business.  We can’t just rely on fossil fuels from the last century.  We’ve got to continually develop new sources of energy.

And that’s why we’ve made investments that have nearly doubled the use of clean, renewable energies in this country.  And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.  It also means we’ve got to develop the resources that we have that are untapped, like natural gas.  We’re developing a near hundred-year supply of natural gas -– and that’s something that we expect could support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.

And that’s why we’ve worked with the private sector to develop a high-tech car battery that costs half as much as other batteries and can go up to 300 miles on a single charge.  Think about that.  That will save you some money at the pump.  And that is why we are helping companies like this one right here and plants like this one right here to make more cars and trucks that use less oil.

When I ran for office, I went to Detroit and I gave a speech to automakers where I promised that I was going to raise fuel standards on our cars, so that they’d go further on a gallon of gas.  I said we should do the same thing on trucks.  I have to tell you, when I said it, I didn’t get a lot of applause in the room, because there was a time when automakers were resisting higher fuel standards — because change isn’t easy.  But you know what, after three decades of not doing anything, we got together with the oil companies, we got together with the unions, we got together with folks who usually do not see eye to eye, and we negotiated new fuel economy standards that are going to make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what they get today — nearly double.  (Applause.)

Now, because of these new standards for cars and trucks, they’re going to — all going to be able to go further and use less fuel every year.  And that means pretty soon you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We like that.

THE PRESIDENT:  You like that, don’t you?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Eight thousand dollars — that’s no joke.  We can reduce our oil consumption by more than 12 billion barrels.  And thanks to the SuperTruck program that we’ve started with companies like this one, trucks will be able to save more than $15,000 in fuel costs every year.  Think about that, $15,000.

It looks like somebody might have fainted up here.  Have we got some of the EMS, somebody.  Don’t worry about — folks do this all the time in my meetings.  (Laughter.)  You’ve always got to eat before you stand for a long time.  That’s a little tip.  But they’ll be okay.  Just make sure that — give them a little room.  All right, everybody all right?  Okay.

So these trucks can save $15,000 every year.  I want people to think about what that means for businesses, what it means for consumers.  It is real progress.  And it’s happening because of American workers and American know-how.  It’s happening because of you.  It’s happening because of you.

We’re also making it easier for big companies — some of your customers, like UPS and FedEx — to make the shift to fuel-efficient cars and trucks.  We call it the National Clean Fleets Partnership.  And since we announced it last year, the number of companies that are taking part in it has tripled.  And that means more customers for your trucks.  (Applause.)  We’re creating more customers for your trucks.

And I am proud to say that the federal government is leading by example.  One thing the federal government has a lot of is cars and trucks.  We got a lot of cars and we got a lot of trucks.  And so what I did was I directed every department, every agency in the federal government, to make sure that by 2015, 100 percent of the vehicles we buy run on alternative fuels — 100 percent.  (Applause.)

So we’re one of the biggest customers in the world for cars and trucks and we want to set that bar high.  We want to set a standard that says by 2015, 100 percent of cars, alternative fuels.

So we’re making progress, Mount Holly.  But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much natural gas, or flex-fuel or electric vehicles you have if there’s no place to charge them up or fill them up.  So that’s why I’m announcing today a program that will put our communities on the cutting edge of what clean energy can do.

To cities and towns all across the country, what we’re going to say is, if you make a commitment to buy more advanced vehicles for your community — whether they run on electricity or biofuels or natural gas — we’ll help you cut through the red tape and build fueling stations nearby.  (Applause.)  And we’ll offer tax breaks to families that buy these cars, companies that buy alternative fuel trucks like the ones that are made right here at Mount Holly.  (Applause.)  So we’re going to give communities across the country more of an incentive to make the shift to more energy-efficient cars.

In fact, when I was up in New Hampshire, in Nashua, they had already converted all their dump trucks — they were in a process because of this program — they were converting it to natural gas-driven trucks.

This is something that we did in education — we called it Race to the Top.  We said we’ll put in more money but we want you to reform.  We’re going to give you an incentive to do things in a different way.  And if we do the same thing with clean energy, we can save consumers money and we can make sure the economy is more secure.  So we’ve got to keep investing in American-made energy and we’ve got to keep investing in the vehicles that run on it.  That’s where our future is.

And in order to continue this progress, we’re going to have to make a choice.  We’ve got to decide where our priorities are as a country.  And that’s up to all of you.  And I’ll give you an example.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars goes straight to the oil industry every year — $4 billion in subsidies that other companies don’t get.  Now, keep in mind, these are some of the same companies that are making record profits every time you fill up your gas tank.  We’re giving them extra billions of dollars on top of near-record profits that they’re already making.  Anybody think that’s a good idea?

AUDIENCE  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Me, neither.  (Laughter.)  It doesn’t make any sense.  The American people have subsidized the oil industry long enough — they don’t need the subsidies.  It’s time to end that taxpayer giveaway to an industry that’s never been more profitable, invest in clean energy that’s never been more promising.  (Applause.)

So I called on Congress, eliminate these subsidies right away.  There’s no excuse to wait any longer.

AUDIENCE:  That’s right!

THE PRESIDENT:  And we should put every member of Congress on record:  They can stand up for the oil companies or they can stand up for the American people and this new energy future.  (Applause.)  We can place our bets on the fuel of the past, or we can place our bets on American know-how and American ingenuity and American workers like the ones here at Daimler.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

So, in between shifts, get on the phone or email or send a letter or tweet — (laughter) — your member of Congress; ask them where they stand on this — because it will make a difference.  And you’ll know where I stand on this.  Let’s make sure our voices are heard.  The next time you hear some politician trotting out some 3-point plan for $2 gas — (laughter) — you let them know, we know better.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  Tell them we’re tired of hearing phony election-year promises that never come about.  What we need is a serious, sustained, all-of-the-above strategy for American-made energy, American-made efficiency, American innovation, American fuel-efficient trucks, American fuel-efficient cars.  We may not get there in one term —

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s going to take us a while to wean ourselves off of the old and grab the new.  But we’re going to meet this challenge because we are Americans.  Our destiny is not written for us; it is written by us.  We decide what that next chapter is going to be.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I’m confident, working with folks like you, the outstanding working people of Mount Holly, of this plant, of North Carolina, of states all across the country, we can pull together, and remind everybody around the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END
1:11 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency March 1, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Energy, Gas Prices, Oil Subsidies, Dependence on Foreign Oil and the Economy at Nashua Community College, New Hampshire

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama on Gas Prices and Oil Subsidies

Source: WH, 3-1-12

President Obama delivers remarks on energy from Nashua, New Hampshire (March 1, 2012)
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at Nashua Community College in Nashua, N.H., March 1, 2012. The president used a diagram to illustrate the decline in U.S. dependence on foreign oil. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today in New Hampshire, President Obama renewed his call to repeal the $4 billion in subsidies that taxpayers provide the oil industry each year and said there’s only one real path forward for America’s future — an all of the above approach that develops every source of energy available to us.

He also addressed the idea that we’ll be able to drill our way to lower gas prices and energy independence:

So when it comes to oil production, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That is a fact … Under my administration, we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined. Think about that.

The President is directing the federal government to address a range of issues that are having a real impact on what each of us pays at the pump. For starters, he’s working to prevent speculators from taking advantage of uncertainties in the commodities market and trying to reduce bottlenecks in the supply chain.

And the President is making a real push to eliminate the tax breaks that we provide to one of the most profitable industries in the world:

[Oil] companies are making record profits right now — tens of billions of dollars a year. Every time you go to the gas tank or fill up your gas tank, they’re making money.  Every time. Now, does anyone really think that Congress should give them another $4 billion this year? Of course not. It’s outrageous. It’s inexcusable. And I am asking Congress — eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away. I want them to vote on this in the next few weeks.

For more information about America’s decreasing dependence on foreign oil, check out our post from earlier today.

U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil Is Declining

Learn more

Related Topics: Blueprint for an America Built to Last, Economy, Energy and Environment

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American Energy

Nashua Community College
Nashua, New Hampshire

1:28 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Nashua!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in New Hampshire!  (Applause.)

Thank you, Mike, for that wonderful introduction and for your service to our country.  I want to thank the president of Nashua Community College, Lucille Jordan, for hosting us here today.  Give Lucille a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Professor Paul Wunderlich, who gave me a great tour.  Where’s Paul?  Where is he?  He’s got a beard — you can see him.  (Laughter.)  There he is.  And I want to thank your Mayor, Donnalee Lozeau, for joining us here today.  (Applause.)  Where’s Donnalee?  Right over there — there.  Right in there.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  It is good to be back in New Hampshire.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible) 911! 911!  Somebody’s down!

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, we’ll be all right.  They probably were just standing too long.  Just give them a little space.  Where’s our EMS folks?  They’ll be okay.  Just give him a little space.  This happens sometimes.  You guys been here a while after the magging?

AUDIENCE:  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, no, you have to eat ahead of time.  (Laughter.)  Keep your blood sugar high.  We got somebody over there?  Jordan, right in the middle.  There we go.  Here’s our guy.  Make a little room, everybody.  All right, let’s make sure everybody is okay.  You all right?  All good?  Okay.  I think you’re going to be all right.  Okay.  (Applause.)  So remember, eat before you come to a presidential event.  (Laughter.)

Now, I am from Chicago, so you know a little snow was not going to keep me away — (applause) — which is why I can relate to New Hampshireites, because this is just like a dusting.  (Laughter.)  What’s the big deal?  There’s no big deal.  When Air Force One landed there were like 50 people waiting to shake my hand — they got icicles on their eyebrows.  (Laughter.)  I was like, hey, great weather.  (Laughter.)  So I want to thank all of you for making the trek out here. I really appreciate it.

I just had a chance to look at some of the cutting-edge work that’s being done here at the auto shop.  Earlier this week, I gave a speech to American autoworkers where I said that one reason this country has an auto industry today is because we’re not just building cars again — (applause) — we’re building cars that use less oil, cars that go further on a gallon of gas.  And in part, that’s because of what’s happening in places like this community college.  It’s because of so many of you.

I don’t need to tell you why fuel efficiency is so important, especially right now.  Most of you filled up your gas tanks in the last week or two, am I right?

AUDIENCE:  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  It hasn’t been a happy experience.  You’ve see the prices go up almost every day and you’ve already felt the pinch, whether you own a car or maybe you own a small business that uses energy.  Some of you have no choice but to drive a long way to work.  And higher gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.  And in the winter, the rising price of oil is also making it more expensive to heat your homes.

Now, I know this is hard to believe, but some politicians are seeing higher gas prices as a political opportunity.  You’re shocked, I know.  (Laughter.)  But it’s true — right in the middle of an election year.  Who would have thought?  (Laughter.) So recently, the lead in one news story said — and I’m quoting here — “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.”  Licking their chops.  Now, let me tell you, only in politics do people respond to bad news with such enthusiasm.  (Laughter.)  That doesn’t happen anywhere else.

And so, as a consequence, you can anticipate we’re going to be hearing a lot about how people have these magic 3-point plans to make sure that you’re only paying $2-a-gallon gas.  Just like we heard about it in the last election, just like we’ve heard about it for the last 30 years.  And you know what the essence of their plan is going to be, which is:  Step one, drill.  Step two, drill.  Step three, keep drilling.  And by the way, we’ll drill in your backyard.  Wherever it is, we’re just going to put up more rigs.

Now, if there’s one thing I know about New Hampshire, it’s that your political bull detector is pretty keen.  It’s pretty sharp.  (Applause.)  You know that we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  There are no quick fixes or silver bullets.  If somebody tells you there are, they’re not telling you the truth.

If we’re going to take control of our energy future — which we have to do — if we’re going to avoid high gas prices every single year, with a lot of politicians talking every single year but nothing happening — if we’re going to avoid that, then we’ve got to have an all-of-the-above strategy that develops every single source of American energy.  Not just oil and gas, but also wind and solar and biofuels.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, less oil in our buildings and our factories.  And that’s the strategy we’ve been pursuing for the last three years, and it’s the only real solution to this challenge.

Now, here’s the good news.  We’re making progress.  And you can see it in this chart.  There’s a chart behind me right here  — we’re using visual aids today.  (Laughter.)  The bar on the left shows that six years ago, 60 percent of the oil we used was imported.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  Every single year.  (Applause.)  In fact, in 2010, it was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years — for the first time.  (Applause.)

And we gave one of these handy charts to everybody who came today, so you can impress your family and friends with your knowledge.  (Laughter.)  It makes a great conversation piece at parties.  (Laughter.)

Now, one of the reasons our oil — our dependence on foreign oil is down is because of policies put in place by our administration, but also our predecessor’s administration.  And whoever succeeds me is going to have to keep it up.  This is not going to be solved by one party; it’s not going to be solved by one administration; it’s not going to be solved by slogans; it’s not going to be solved by phony rhetoric.  It’s going to be solved by a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy.

And no matter what you hear from some folks in an election year, the key part of this strategy over the last three years has been to increase safe, responsible oil production here at home while also pursuing clean energy for the future.  We don’t have to choose between one or the other, we’ve got to do both.  (Applause.)

So when it comes to oil production, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  That is a fact.  That’s a fact.  (Applause.)    Under my administration, we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.  Think about that.  That’s a fact.  (Applause.)

We’ve opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration where appropriate and where it is done safely, and we’ve approved more than 400 drilling permits since we put in place new safety standards to make sure that we don’t have the same kind of spill that we had down in the Gulf a couple of years ago.  (Applause.)

And we’ve approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil around, including from Canada.  Just this week, we announced that we’ll do whatever we can to help speed the construction of a pipeline in Oklahoma that will relieve a bottleneck for oil that needs to get to the Gulf.  And that’s going to help create jobs and encourage production.

So we’re focused on American oil production.  We are doing all that we can in a safe, responsible way to make sure that American oil production and gas production is high.  But here’s the thing.  The amount of oil that we drill at home doesn’t set the price of gas on its own.  And the reason is, is because oil is bought and sold on the world energy market.  And just like last year, the biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to rise right now is instability in the Middle East.  This time it’s Iran.  But a lot of folks are nervous about what might happen there, and so they’re anticipating there might be a big disruption in terms of flow.  And when uncertainty increases, speculation on Wall Street can drive up prices even more.  Those are the short-term factors at work here.

So when you start hearing a bunch of folks saying somehow that there’s some simple solution, you can turn a nozzle and suddenly we’re going to be getting a lot more oil, that’s not just how it works.  Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will rise is because of growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil.

Just think about this.  In five years, the number of cars on the road in China more than tripled.  Over the last five years, the number of cars tripled.  Nearly 10 million cars were added in China alone in 2010 — 10 million cars just in one country in one year.  So that’s using up a lot of oil.  And those numbers are only going to get bigger over time.  As places like China and India get wealthier, they’re going to want to buy cars like we do, and they’re going to want to fill them up like we do, and that’s going to drive up demand.

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

Here’s another way to think about it.  The United States consumes more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves — 20 percent we use; we only produce 2 percent.  And no matter what we do, it’s not going to get much above 3 percent.  So we’re still going to have this huge shortfall.  That’s why if we really want energy security and energy independence, we’ve got to start looking at how we use less oil, and use other energy sources that we can renew and that we can control, so we are not subject to the whims of what’s happening in other countries.  (Applause.)

We have to keep developing new technology that helps us use less energy.  We’ve got to keep relying on American know-how and ingenuity that comes from places like this one, Nashua Community College.  That’s our future.  (Applause.)  And that’s exactly the path that we’ve been taking these last three years.  Because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled — and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

We’re taking every possible action to develop a near 100-year supply of natural gas, which releases fewer carbons.  Now that’s something that experts believe will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  Our cooperation with the private sector has positioned this country to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries that will power the next generation of American cars.  (Applause.)

And after three decades of doing nothing, we put in place fuel economy standards that will make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what we have today.  (Applause.)  And that, by the way, applies not just to cars — it applies to light trucks, and now it’s going to apply to heavy trucks as well.

So that means that every time you fill up, you can think to yourself, you know what, I won’t have to fill up again for two weeks instead of one week.  That’s worth applauding.  (Applause.) Because what that means is that will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.  And it means that this country will reduce our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day, which means we can continue to see a decline in how much imported oil we need.  (Applause.)  And that’s good for our national security, that’s good for our economy, and it’s good for our environment.  (Applause.)

So that’s the strategy we’ve got to pursue.  But we’ve got to do more, and we’ve got to do more even faster.  We’ve got to keep investing in developing every available type of American-made energy.  And this means that we’ve got to set some priorities.  We’ve got to make some choices.

First, while there are no short-term silver bullets when it comes to gas prices, I’ve directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers — from helping to relieve bottlenecks in the places like the one we’ve got in Oklahoma, to making sure speculators aren’t taking advantage of what’s going on in the oil markets.  And we’re just going to keep on announcing steps in the coming weeks; every time we find something that can provide a little bit of relief right now, we’re going to do it.  (Applause.)

But over the long term, an all-of-the-above strategy requires the right incentives.  And here’s one of the best examples.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars — $4 billion — subsidizes the oil industry every year.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Four billion dollars.  Now, these companies are making record profits right now — tens of billions of dollars a year.  Every time you go to the gas tank or fill up your gas tank, they’re making money.  Every time.  Now, does anyone really think that Congress should give them another $4 billion this year?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Of course not.  It’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  And I am asking Congress — eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away.  I want them to vote on this in the next few weeks.  (Applause.)  Let’s put every single member of Congress on record:  You can stand with the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people.  You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.

So I’m asking everybody here today, anybody who is watching at home, let your member of Congress know where you stand.  Will you do that?  (Applause.)  Because I know where I stand, New Hampshire.  I know where I stand on this.  We want to have successful oil companies that are able to get the oil that we have in our country, but we also understand that our future requires us to make investments in clean, renewable energies.  And that has to start now.  We can’t wait.  We can’t wait until gas has skyrocketed more and people are desperate.  We need to start making those investments now.

And most of you guys agree.  (Applause.)  That’s why you’re putting your time — that’s why folks here at this community college are learning about building cars and repairing cars that use less oil — cars that are powered with alternative fuels, like natural gas.  That’s why the city of Nashua is purchasing a new fleet of trash trucks that run on natural gas.  (Applause.)  They’re going to go cleaner; they’re going to last longer; they’re going to be cheaper to fill up.  (Applause.)

I saw one of them.  It was a good-looking truck.  And it put a smile on the Mayor’s face, because she knows she’s saving money — she’s saving taxpayer money.  Good job, Mayor.  (Applause.)

So that’s part of what that $4 billion is going to the oil companies right now, that’s where it could be going — to help cities like this one convert their fleets to fuel-efficient cars and trucks, to help private sector companies — big companies like UPS or Federal Express — convert their fleets.  That can save us money.  In fact, since we announced the National Clean Fleets Partnership last year, the companies interested in transitioning their fleets have tripled.  And that’s part of why this chart is going down.

And I’m proud to say that the federal government is leading by example.  One thing the federal government has a lot of is cars.  I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but we have a lot of cars.  (Laughter.)  And I’ve directed every department, every agency — every single one — to make sure that by 2015, 100 percent of the vehicles that the federal government buys are fuel-efficient cars and trucks.  (Applause.)  Let’s save us money.

So this is our future.  This is the ultimate solution to our energy challenge.  It’s not going to be a smooth, easy ride.  Some of the clean-energy technologies that are discovered, they won’t pan out.  Some companies will fail.  There’s going to be experiments and research that take time.  But as long as I’m President, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy, because our future depends on it.  (Applause.)  I’m not going to cede the wind or the solar or the battery industry to China or Germany because some politicians in Washington refused to make the same commitment here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

With or without this Congress, I’m going to continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy — to make sure that three years from now our dependence on foreign oil is even lower, to make sure that our future is not controlled by events on the other side of the world.

We may not have a silver bullet to bring down gas prices tomorrow, or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight.  But what we do have in this country are limitless sources of energy, and a boundless supply of ingenuity and imagination and talent that we can put to work to develop the energy of the future.  (Applause.)  We’ve got you. We’ve got you.  (Applause.)

The easiest thing in the world is to make phony election-year promises about lowering gas prices.  But what’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that we’ve been talking about for 30 years and has not been tackled, has not been solved.  It’s not going to be solved in one year or one term — maybe not completely even in one decade.  But that’s the kind of commitment that we need right now.  That’s what this moment requires.

And so when I see all the young people who are here today — or the young at heart — (laughter) — we need you guys to keep at it.  This is your future at stake.  We need you to work hard. We need you to dream big.  We need you to summon the same spirit of unbridled optimism, that bold willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their time — to power a nation from coast to coast, to touch the moon, to connect an entire world with our own science and imagination.  That’s what America is capable of doing.

And it’s that history that teaches us that all of our challenges — all of them — are within our power, within our grasp to solve.  (Applause.)  This one is no different.  This one is no different.  It will require our brightest scientists, our most creative companies, but it’s also going to require all of us — Democrats, Republicans, everybody in between -– to do our part.  That’s what this moment requires.

And I know we can do it.  And when we do, we’ll remind the world once again just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END
1:55 P.M. EST

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

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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

Source: WH, 2-23-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy

University of Miami
Miami, Florida

2:26 P.M. EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUDIENCE:  They’re lying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END
2:49 P.M. EST

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

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

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

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

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

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Learn more

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

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

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

Remarks of President Barack Obama

As Prepared for Delivery

Saturday, January 28, 2011

The White House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: JANUARY 21-27, 2012

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

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: An America Built to Last

Source: WH, 1-27-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Discusses the Blueprint for American-Made Energy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything you need to know.

 POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

UPS Las Vegas South
Las Vegas, Nevada

10:11 A.M. PST

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

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END
10:33 A.M. PST

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 14, 2011: GOP Presidential Candidate Gov. Rick Perry’s Speech on “Energizing American Jobs and Security” Plan

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Gov. Perry’s “Energizing American Jobs and Security” Plan Will Spark 1.2 Million Jobs, Reduce Dependence on Hostile Foreign Oil

Source: RickPerry.org, 10-14-11

As President Obama kills domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, Perry plan adds 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home

Gov. Rick Perry today unveiled his Energizing American Jobs and Security plan to spark 1.2 million American jobs, while reducing our nation’s dependence on energy from nations hostile to the U.S. Most of the plan can be implemented through executive branch action, without Congressional action and free of Washington gridlock. Gov. Perry announced his plan at the United States Steel Mon Valley Irvin Plant.

Gov. Perry’s full plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-html.

“This American jobs plan is based on a simple premise: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world,” said Gov. Perry. “We are standing atop the next American economic boom – energy – and the quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down.”

Gov. Perry’s Energizing American Jobs and Security plan is the first part of a broader package of economic reforms that he will present to the American people in the coming days. It will create jobs in every sector, reduce our nation’s dependence on hostile foreign oil, revitalize manufacturing and help contain the cost of electricity and fuel.

First, Gov. Perry will open several American energy fields for exploration that are currently limited, including those in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the Mountain West region and the Northeast Marcellus Shale. These actions will generate billions of dollars in royalty payments that will help pay down our nation’s skyrocketing deficit. Perry also supports the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that will transport Canadian oil to U.S. coastal refineries.

The governor also noted the importance of having the states more involved in energy exploration, including decisions to not pursue development in certain valuable areas such as the Everglades or Yellowstone National Park. However, such instances should represent the exception, not the rule.

Second, the governor’s plan will eliminate activist regulations that are on the books and under consideration by the Obama Administration, which are estimated to destroy up to 2.4 million American jobs and add $127 billion in costs to electric providers and consumers. President Rick Perry will call for immediate review of such rules and implementation of cost-benefit analyses to determine their impact on American employers and the environment.

“If we face the facts, we know that none of these rules were needed to reduce emissions of the six principal pollutants by 50 percent since 1980,” Gov. Perry said. “And they are not needed now, especially as our economy hangs in a fragile balance between recovery and recession.”

The governor will also specifically remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gases, which was provided under a controversial ruling by a federal court without the approval of Congress.

Third, Gov. Perry pledged to work with Congress to dismantle the EPA in its current state and rebuild a scaled down agency focused on regional and cross-state issues, providing scientific research, environmental analysis and cost-comparison studies to support state environmental organizations. He said, “I reject the notion that Washington is more committed to environmental stewardship than state and local officials who must live with the consequences of their own environmental policies.”

Lastly, Gov. Perry will level the playing field among all energy producers, working with Congress to phase out direct subsidies and tax credits that distort the energy marketplace. He will however preserve tax incentives for research and development. Gov. Perry will also put an end to the Obama Administration’s agenda-driven hostility toward coal and natural gas, which provide roughly two-thirds of American electricity, noting that technologies in place today and currently under development can ensure cleaner development of conventional sources.

“I do not accept the false choice that we must pick between energy and the environment,” the governor said. “It is time for a balanced, pro-American, pro-jobs energy policy.

“The choice in this election is between two very different visions for our country. When it comes to energy, the president would kill domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, while I would create 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home. President Obama would keep us more dependent on hostile sources of foreign energy, while my plan would make us more secure by tapping America’s true energy potential. The president’s energy policies are driven by the concerns of activists in his party, while my policies are driven by the concerns of American workers without jobs.”

Gov. Perry concluded, “It’s time to end the over-regulation, excess litigation, and bureaucratic intimidation. Let’s get back to what works to get America working again: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.”

Gov. Perry has a proven record of upholding responsible energy production while protecting both jobs and the environment. Rick Perry’s Texas is the nation’s number one job creator and number one energy producer, while successfully cleaning the air. Texas has reduced NOX emissions by 58 percent and ozone by 27 percent since 2000, more than any other state.

A summary of Gov. Perry’s “Energizing America: Jobs and Security” plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-and-security-summary and the full plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-html.

To view the governor’s remarks, please visit http://www.rickperry.org/news/pittsburg-gov-rick-perrys-full-remarks-on-energizing-american-jobs/.

 

Pittsburgh: Gov. Rick Perry’s Full Remarks on Energizing American Jobs

October 14, 2011 – U.S. Steel Mon Valley Irvin Plant, Pittsburgh

Thank you for joining me today. I want to say a special thanks to Jim Garraux and the men and women of US Steel for having us here today. It is great to be on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, a city built on the work, hopes and dreams of blue-collar American workers.

The central issue facing Americans is a lack of jobs.

Fourteen million Americans are without work. One in six Americans cannot find a full-time job.  Forty-five million Americans are on food stamps. And 48 percent of American households have at least one resident receiving government benefits.

Though our president has labeled Americans as soft, I believe our people have toughed it out the best they can. But they are looking for leadership and optimism, which are all too rare in Washington today.

What I am proposing today is the first part of an economic growth package that will rebuild the engine of American prosperity.

The plan I present this morning, Energizing American Jobs and Security, will kick-start economic growth and create 1.2 million jobs.

It can be implemented quicker and free of Washington gridlock because it doesn’t require congressional action. Through a series of executive orders, and other executive actions, we will begin the process of creating jobs soon after the inauguration of a new president.

There is, of course, an important role for Congress to play. And in a matter of days I will offer to the American people a broader package of economic reforms that I will take to Congress when I am elected President. My complete economic growth package will tackle tax reform, entitlement reform and real spending reductions in order to address our growing debt crisis.

But today I offer a plan that will create more than a million good, American jobs across every sector of the economy and enhance our national security, and the best news is it can be set in motion in my first 100 days.

My plan is based on this simple premise: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.

We are standing atop the next American economic boom…energy.

The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down.

My plan will break the grip of dependence we have today on foreign oil from hostile nations like Venezuela and unstable nations in the Middle East to grow jobs and our economy at home.

America has proven but untapped supplies of natural gas, oil and coal. America is the Saudi Arabia of coal with 25 percent of the world’s supply. Our country contains up to 134 billion barrels of oil and nearly 1.2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas.

We have the resources we need to fuel our cars, our homes and our power plants. They can be found in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, New Mexico, Alabama, Kentucky throughout the American West and, of course, Alaska.

But President Obama and his over-reaching Environmental Protection Agency won’t allow American businesses and American labor to draw on even a fraction of this domestic energy from reserves on government-owned lands.

On one hand, the Obama Administration opposes fossil fuel development at home, and then on the other hand encourages countries like Brazil to drill offshore and sell it to American consumers, creating foreign jobs and foreign profits

That’s wrong. That’s hypocritical. That’s unfair. America should not be, and when I am president will not be, held hostage by foreign oil and federal bureaucrats.

The American economy should not be beaten into the ground when greater energy independence and lower energy costs lie right under American soil.

My plan will create jobs in every sector, revitalize manufacturing, and contain the cost of electricity and fuel through four concrete actions.

First, we will open several American oil and gas fields for exploration that are currently off limits because of political considerations. The current administration has restricted exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and the mid-Atlantic.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the median time for review of permits for combined deepwater exploration and development has increased 400 percent, while deepwater exploration and development plan approvals have dropped by nearly 80 percent.

The Department of Interior has stopped off-shore exploration off the coast of Virginia over the objections of the Virginia congressional delegation, which has passed a bill in the House to achieve the will of their people. That bill is also supported by their Democratic senators, Webb and Warner.

With a series of executive orders and other executive actions, I will authorize the following:

I will work to open up Alaska’s abundant resources to oil and gas exploration, including the ANWR Coastal Plain and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. In this one instance, we will need congressional authorization. But it is worth it when you consider we will create 120,000 jobs.

We will initiate off-shore exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the northern and western coasts of Alaska. This will create 55,000 jobs.

We will resume pre-Obama levels of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and create another 230,000 jobs.

I will support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to take Canadian Crude to coastal refineries, which would create 20,000 direct jobs for American workers.

We will begin tapping the energy potential of the American West, opening up federal and private lands for exploration in states like Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado and Utah. Collectively, our western states have the potential to produce 1.3 million barrels of oil per day by 2020 and contain 87 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

They can produce more energy than what we import from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Venezuela and Russia combined!

And right here in Pennsylvania, and across the state line in West Virginia and Ohio, we will tap the full potential of the Marcellus Shale and create another 250, 000 jobs by getting the EPA out of the way.  While Marcellus shale is today’s opportunity, the deeper Utica shale formations offer equally vast potential with more jobs over the horizon for Pennsylvania and its neighbors.

The benefits of the boom in American natural gas production are also demonstrated in manufacturing and production. We see that right here at U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works Plant that employs more than three thousand workers, many of whom make the steel products other companies use to develop the Marcellus Shale today.

The face of manufacturing in industrial states has changed rapidly. Natural gas exploration is a game-changer that can bring new opportunities to replace the ones that have been lost. Development of natural gas will create jobs in the supply chain and lead to lower energy costs for manufacturers.

Western Pennsylvania is known for producing great quarterbacks I want Western Pennsylvania to Quarterback a new energy revolution that creates jobs all across America.

Not only will we create jobs by expanding energy exploration, we will use the revenues generated to pay down the deficit.

At the same time, where America has ecological treasures, like the Everglades or Yellowstone National Park, we will not explore for energy.

As we roll back federal control, we seek greater cooperation with the states. And if states oppose energy exploration, we will respect that decision. But these instances represent the exception, not the rule.

It is equally important that we take a second step: eliminate activist regulations already on the books and under consideration by the Obama Administration.

While President Obama has been very public about his newest jobs proposal, behind the scenes the permanent bureaucracy is working to grind the economy to a halt in pursuit of activist regulations. A raft of new rules and foot-dragging by the EPA and Interior Department are killing job creation.

Examples include the Utility Maximum Available Control Technology rule, the Boiler MACT rule, the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, the proposed Coal Combustion Residuals regulation and Section 316 (b) of the Clean Water Act.

These new rules alone could destroy up to 2.4 million American jobs by 2020 and add $127 billion in costs to electric providers and consumers. Under my plan, each of these rules would be subject to an immediate review with a cost-benefit analysis to determine the impact on American employers and the environment.

If we face the facts, we know that none of these rules were needed to reduce emissions of the six principal pollutants by 50 percent since 1980. And they are not needed now, especially as our economy hangs in a fragile balance between recovery and recession.

I will take another step important to economic growth: I will stop the EPA’s draconian measures related to the regulation of greenhouse gases.

When you consider that any carbon reduction will be offset by the increase of carbon emissions by developing nations like China and India, the EPA would tie our economy in knots and advantage our global competitors while realizing no global environmental benefits in the process.

The third part of my plan is to reform the bureaucracy, in particular the EPA, so that it focuses on regional and cross-state issues, providing scientific research, as well as environmental analysis and cost-comparison studies to support state environmental organizations. We will return greater regulatory authority to the states to manage air and water quality rather than imposing one-size-fits-all federal rules.

I reject the notion that Washington is more committed to environmental stewardship than state and local officials who must live with the consequences of their own environmental policies.

The fourth component of my plan is to level the competitive playing field among all energy producers.

As the governor of the nation’s leading producer of wind energy, I clearly believe there is an important role for green sources of energy as a part of our generation mix. The fact is, every energy producer receives incentives and subsidies that cost taxpayers and distort the marketplace.

My plan will stop the practice of Washington writing subsidy checks to any and all sectors of the energy industry. It will also stop industry-specific tax credits, phasing out both over a period of time, allowing the market time to adjust.

We will, however, preserve tax incentives for research and development.

We believe the best way to invest in emerging technology is to allow private industry the freedom to develop it. The shocking reality concerning Obama energy policy is high energy prices are not an accident, but intentional.

From an energy secretary who said he wanted European prices for fuel, to a president who said it was necessary to raise the price of electricity, this Administration has intentionally sought to make conventional generation from coal and natural gas more costly, taking more out of the pockets of American families.

And the reason why is they want to drive consumers to green energy. But we don’t produce enough green energy to fill the void, so the result is greater reliance on foreign sources of energy.

Increasing the use of green energy is a laudable goal. We have done it successfully in my state. But we have used renewable sources to expand the energy supply not replace conventional generation.

Natural gas and coal are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the electricity generated in this country. How can we have stable and affordable electricity when federal agencies target America’s top two fuel generation sources for electricity?

Hostility to coal is not confined to this Administration, it has wrongly been targeted by some members of my own party. I take a different view: I welcome the continued development of coal as an important part of job creation in America. Allowing industry to invest in research and development is the best way to pursue clean coal technology.

I do not accept the false choice that we must pick between energy and the environment. It is time for a balanced, pro-American, pro-jobs energy policy.

Technologies in place today, and under development, can ensure cleaner development of conventional sources.

The EPA’s war on American fossil fuel production comes despite the fact they can’t point to a single incident of unsafe hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. If they have their way in shutting down gas and coal production, the Obama legacy will be more than 2.4 million energy jobs lost in oil, gas and coal.

The choice this election is between two very different visions for our country.

When it comes to energy, the President would kill domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, while I would create 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home.

President Obama would keep us more dependent on hostile sources of foreign energy, while my plan would make us more secure by tapping America’s true energy potential.

His energy policies are driven by the concerns of activists in his party, my policies are driven by the concerns of American workers without jobs.

We must get America working again. A big part of the solution is under our feet and off our coast.

It can be done without being mired in Washington gridlock, because a president has all the authority he needs to rollback intrusive regulations, create energy jobs, and make our nation more secure.

Creating jobs in America is as simple as changing presidents. That is the choice facing Americans.

America needs jobs. America needs energy. America needs a “made in America” energy revolution.

I have the long-time experience and track record of success in this critical area for American jobs and economic growth to create a new wave of American independence – energy independence.

End the over-regulation. End the excess litigation. End the bureaucratic intimidation. Let’s get back to what works to get America working again.

Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.

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