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

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Full Text February 7, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at 2012 White House Science Fair

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Hosts the White House Science Fair

Source: WH, 2-7-12

President Obama Speaks to Samantha Garvey

President Barack Obama hosts the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President talked with Samantha Garvey, 18, of Bay Shore, N.Y., about her environmental sciences project examining the effect of physical environment and predators on a specific species of mussel, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama hosted the second-ever White House Science Fair, featuring research and inventions from more than 100 students representing 30 student teams. From robots in the Blue Room to rockets in the Red Room to marshmallow cannons in the State Dining Room, projects showcased the talents of America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors, and innovators.

President Obama Speaks to Taylor Wilson
President Barack Obama hosts the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 7, 2012. Taylor Wilson, 17, of Reno, Nevada conducted research on novel techniques for detecting nuclear threats and developed an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and highly sensitive system capable of detecting small quantities of nuclear material. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After viewing some of the displays and talking with students about their work, the President addressed students, parents, and teachers in the East Room.

“When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” said President Obama. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my Administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects.”

The fact is, not enough students are studying subjects like science, math, and engineering to fill the jobs of tomorrow. A report released yesterday by the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology found that one million additional graduates with so-called STEM degrees (Science, Technology. Engineering and Math) are needed over the next decade to fill the growing number of jobs that require these skills.

The President announced several new initiatives to increase the number of students studying STEM subjects, and to prepare the 100,000 math and science teachers we need to teach our future engineers, inventors, and innovators, including:

  • A priority on undergraduate STEM education reform in the President’s upcoming budget, including a $100 million investment by the National Science Foundation to improve undergraduate STEM education practices.
  • A new K-16 education initiative jointly administered by Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to improve math education
  • Commitments from private sector groups and coalitions to do more to get students excited about STEM-related
  • New policies to recruit, support, retain and reward excellent STEM teachers, along with an $80 million investment in the President’s upcoming budget tohelp prepare effective STEM teachers.
  • A new $22 million investment from the philanthropic and private sector to complement the Administration’s teacher preparation efforts.

For more information:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

White House Science Fair

President Obama invites bright young people from across the country to show off their skills at the 2012 White House Science Fair.

President Barack Obama demos Joey Hudy's Extreme Marshmallow  Cannon

President Barack Obama demos Joey Hudy’s Extreme Marshmallow Cannon, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 2/7/12

Remarks by the President at the White House Science Fair

East Room

11:53 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you, everybody.  Everybody have a seat.

Well, welcome to the White House Science Fair.  (Applause.)  It is — I just spent some time checking out some of the projects that were brought here today, and I’ve got to say, this is fun.  It’s not every day that you have robots running all over your house.  (Laughter.)  I am trying to figure out how you got through the metal detectors.  I also shot a marshmallow through a air gun, which was very exciting.  (Laughter.)

Science is what got several of our guests where they are today, so I just want to make a couple of introductions.  We’ve got a real-life astronaut and the head of NASA, Charles Bolden, in the house.  (Applause.)  We have the Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson is here.  (Applause.)  The Director of the National Science Foundation Subra Suresh is here.  (Applause.)  My science — there’s Subra, over here — my science advisor, John Holdren, is in the house.  (Applause.)  We’ve got a couple of people who’ve dedicated themselves to making science cool for young people.  We’ve got Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  (Applause.)

Now, it is fitting that this year’s fair is happening just two days after the Super Bowl.  I want to congratulate the New York Giants and all their fans.  (Applause.)  I just talked to Coach Coughlin; I’m looking forward to having the Giants here at the White House so we can celebrate their achievements.  But what I’ve also said — I’ve said this many times — is if we are recognizing athletic achievement, then we should also be recognizing academic achievement and science achievement.  If we invite the team that wins the Super Bowl to the White House, then we need to invite some science fair winners to the White House as well.  (Applause.)

Now I’m going to talk about how great all of you are in a second.  But before I do, I want to give the parents a big round of applause because they work hard to help you succeed, and I know this is their day.  They’re really proud of you.  As a parent, I know that seeing your kids do extraordinary things brings the greatest happiness that a parent can have.  So congratulations to all the parents of all these incredible young people.  (Applause.)

But parents aren’t the only ones who helped you get this far.  Every one of you can think of a teacher, or maybe a couple of teachers, without whom you would not be here.  So I want you to promise that the next time you see those teachers, that you give them a big thank you, not just for yourselves but also from me.  Because teachers matter.  They deserve our support.  And I want to make sure that we are constantly lifting up how important teachers are to making sure that not only you succeed, but this country succeeds.  So give teachers a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, as I was walking around the science fair, I was thinking back to when I was your age.  And basically, you guys put me to shame.  (Laughter.)  What impresses me so much is not just how smart you are, but it’s the fact that you recognize you’ve got a responsibility to use your talents in service of something bigger than yourselves.

Some of you, that means developing new products that will change the way we live.  So Hayley Hoverter — where’s Hayley?  There she is, right over here — invented a new type of sugar packet that dissolves in hot water.  It’s flavorless, it’s colorless, and potentially could save up to 2 million pounds of trash each year — and that’s just at Starbucks.  (Laughter.)   So MasterCard has already awarded her $10,000 to help turn her idea into a business.

Some of you are here because you saw a problem in your community and you’re trying to do something to solve it.  Benjamin Hylak — where’s Benjamin?  There’s Benjamin right here — was worried that folks at his grandmother’s senior center were getting lonely.  So he built a robot with a monitor and a video camera, so it’s like a moving Skype.  And it moves around the center, and it allows seniors to talk to their kids and their grandkids, even when they can’t visit in person.  So inventions like Benjamin’s could make life better for millions of families.

For some of you, the journey you took to get here is just as inspiring as the work that you brought with you today.  There’s a rocketry team from Presidio, Texas — where’s my team here?  Where are you?  Stand up, guys.  Stand up.  This is part of the fourth-poorest school district in the state of Texas.  And I was told that teachers cooked food to sell after church, supporters drove 200 miles to pick up donuts for bake sales, they even raffled off a goat — (laughter) — is that right?  Just so they could raise enough money for the rocketry team to compete.  And the majority of the kids at the school are ESL, English as a second language.  And the presentation they made could not make you prouder.  So way to go.  (Applause.)

There’s a group of young engineers from Paul Robeson-Malcolm X Academy.  And nobody needs to tell them the kinds of challenges that Detroit still faces.  Where’s my team from Detroit?  In the house — there they are.  Stand up.  (Applause.)  They believe in their city, and they’re coming up with new ideas to keep Detroit’s comeback going.

And there’s Samantha Garvey — where’s Samantha?  Just saw Samantha.  There she is.  Stand up, Samantha.  (Applause.)  Samantha spent years studying mussel populations in the Long Island Sound.  And when she learned that she was a semifinalist for the Intel Science Talent Search, when she found this out her family was living in a homeless shelter.  So think about what she’s overcome.  She wants to, by the way, work maybe for NOAA or EPA.  So this is Dr. Lubchenco, she’s the head of NOAA.  (Laughter.)  Lisa Jackson, right there, head of EPA.  (Laughter.)  You might just want to hook up with them before you leave.  (Laughter and applause.)

The young people I met today, the young people behind me — you guys inspire me.  It’s young people like you that make me so confident that America’s best days are still to come.  When you work and study and excel at what you’re doing in math and science, when you compete in something like this, you’re not just trying to win a prize today.  You’re getting America in shape to win the future.  You’re making sure we have the best, smartest, most skilled workers in the world, so that the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root right here.  You’re making sure we’ll always be home to the most creative entrepreneurs, the most advanced science labs and universities.  You’re making sure America will win the race to the future.

So as an American, I’m proud of you.  As your President, I think we need to make sure your success stories are happening all across our country.

And that’s why when I took office, I called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, math, technology and engineering.  Let’s train more teachers.  Let’s get more kids studying these subjects.  Let’s make sure these fields get the respect and attention that they deserve.

But it’s not just a government effort.  I’m happy to say that the private sector has answered that call as well.  They understand how important it is to their future.  So today, led by the Carnegie Corporation, a group of businesses and foundations is announcing a $22 million fund to help train 100,000 new science and math teachers.  A coalition of more than 100 CEOs is expanding innovative math and science programs to 130 sites across the country.  And other companies are partnering from — everybody from Will.i.am to Dean Kamen — to make sure we celebrate young scientists and inventors and engineers, not just at the White House, but in every city and every town all across America.

And many of these leaders are here today, and I want to thank them for doing their part.  We’re going to do everything we can to partner to help you succeed in your projects.  And I’m proud to announce that the budget I unveil next week will include programs to help prepare new math and science teachers, and to meet an ambitious goal, which is 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering and math over the next 10 years.  That is a goal we can achieve.  (Applause.)  That’s a goal we can achieve.

Now, in a lot of ways, today is a celebration of the new.  But the belief that we belong on the cutting edge of innovation — that’s an idea as old as America itself.  I mean, we’re a nation of tinkerers and dreamers and believers in a better tomorrow.  You think about our Founding Fathers — they were all out there doing experiments — and folks like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, they were constantly curious about the world around them and trying to figure out how can we help shape that environment so that people’s lives are better.

It’s in our DNA.  We know that innovation has helped each generation pass down that basic American promise, which is no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try.  So there’s nothing more important than keeping that promise alive for the next generation.  There’s no priority I have that’s higher than President — as President than this.

And I can’t think of a better way to spend a morning than with the young people who are here doing their part and creating some unbelievable stuff in the process.  So I’m proud of you.  I want you to keep up your good work.

I’m going to make a special plea to the press — not just the folks who are here, but also your editors — give this some attention.  I mean, this is the kind of stuff, what these young people are doing, that’s going to make a bigger difference in the life of our country over the long term than just about anything.  And it doesn’t belong just on the back pages of a newspaper; we’ve got to lift this up.  We’ve got to emphasize how important this is and recognize these incredible young people who are doing things that I couldn’t even imagine thinking about at 5th grade or 8th grade or in high school.

And so pay attention to this.  This is important.  This is what’s going to make a difference in this country over the long haul.  This is what inspires me and gets me up every day.  This is what we should be focusing on in our public debates.

And as for all the folks who are here, don’t let your robots wander off anywhere.  (Laughter.)   All right?

Thank you, everybody.  Appreciate it.  Congratulations.  (Applause.)

END
12:07 P.M. EST

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