Full Text Obama Presidency June 4, 2013: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at DNC Fundraising Event — Confronts Protester Heckler

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Michelle Obama Heckled by Gay Rights Advocate, Threatens to Leave Event

Source: ABC News (blog), 6-5-13

First lady Michelle Obama was heckled by a gay rights advocate at a fundraiser tonight and responded by threatening to leave the event, telling the protester only one of them could speak….READ MORE

Remarks by the First Lady at DNC Event

Private Residence
Washington, D.C.

6:07 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, my goodness!  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

MRS. OBAMA:  Love you too!  And yes, I’m here because I love you.  (Laughter.)  And I’m here because I love my husband — it’s true.  (Applause.)  But I’m also here because I love my country, more importantly.  I do.  (Applause.)

But I want to start by thanking Karen for that very powerful and very important introduction that she just delivered.  I think she made some outstanding points that hopefully I will further emphasize.  And I want to thank both Karen and Nan for generously hosting us here in their beautiful home tonight, and for always having our backs, and always mazing out in so many ways.  I’m proud to have you as supporters, but more importantly, as friends.  So let’s give them another round of applause.  (Applause.)

I also want to thanks Congresswoman Sinema, as well as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for their service and for being here, and for their undying support — encourage, and all that good stuff.  Debbie has been a phenomenal DNC Chairwoman, so let’s give her a round of applause.  (Applause.)  We’re thrilled they could be here, but we’re also glad that they are off voting, like they’re supposed to.

But most of all, I want to thank all of you for being here.  I want to thank you not just for being here tonight, but for being there for my husband not once, but twice.  Thank you.  Thank you for working so hard.  Thanks for making the calls and knocking on doors and writing checks and getting everyone you know to the polls.

And I just want us to understand what we accomplished because of all of you.  We didn’t just win two elections, we made real and meaningful change in this country — we did.  Because of you, we’re now in an economy that continues to strengthen with 38 straight months of job growth.  That’s more than three straight years — that’s happened because of you.

Because of you, we have passed health reform.  We are taking on climate change, gun violence, and fortunately, comprehensive immigration reform because of you.  Because of you, we have a President who stands up for our most fundamental rights –- whether that’s fighting for equal pay for women — amen — ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” — amen — or supporting our right to marry the person we love.  That’s the President we have.

And all of that, and so much more, has happened because of you.  And that’s what elections are all about.

It’s like my Barack said in his 2008 election night speech –- he said, “This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change.”  It was a chance.  That’s what — elections give you the chance.  And that was true back then, and it is even more true today.  Because while we’ve made a lot of important change these past four years, we still have so much more to do.

Although our economy is improving, too many middle-class families are still struggling in this country.  And that fundamental American promise that so many of us hopefully grew up with –- that no matter where you start out, with hard work you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids –- see, that promise is no longer within reach for too many families.  In fact, it probably wouldn’t be in reach for the family I grew up in if we were trying to make it today.

As many of you know my story, neither of my parents had a college degree.  My father’s job at the city water plant paid him a decent wage.  It paid him enough to put food on our table.  And with the help of student loans, he was able to send both me and my brother to an excellent college.

That job, that little job he had also gave him health insurance, it gave us health insurance, and a pension that my mother still lives on today.  We were not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we had stability.  We had peace of mind.  Because when I was growing up, a family of four living on a single blue-collar salary could build a solid life without debt and without relying on any form of public assistance.  That was how I grew up.

But today, for so many families, that’s no longer possible.  Folks are working harder than ever before, doing everything right, and it’s still not enough.  And while there’s so much talk and noise and back and forth going on in Washington, hardly any of it seems about the struggles of these folks.

So yes, it’s easy to get frustrated — and I know there are plenty of people here frustrated — and it’s easy to be cynical — and I know there are plenty of cynical people here.  And now that the excitement that comes with a presidential campaign has faded, it is so tempting to just turn off the TV and wait for another four years to reengage.

But here’s the thing.  As Karen pointed out, make no mistake about it, while we are tuning out with our frustration and our cynicism and our disappointment, others are tuning in, believe me.  Others are doing everything they can to make their voices heard in whatever way they can.  And we are seeing the effects of that kind of imbalance every single day in Washington.

Just a couple of months ago, we saw the failure — do you hear me — the failure of common-sense legislation to protect our children from gun violence — legislation, by the way, that 90 percent of the American people supported failed.

We are seeing a budget stalemate and a sequester, resulting in children across this country being turned away from Head Start.  So many seniors losing their Meals on Wheels.  And now there’s even talk about cutting food stamps, which could mean hundreds of thousands of kids going to bed hungry each night, here in the wealthiest nation on earth.

And that is not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  We are so much better than that.  We are so much more compassionate and fair, so much more decent.  And I know this because I see it and we see it every day — that decency in communities across this country, where people are waking up every day, working hard at their jobs, every day sacrificing for their kids.  I see it.  It is there for us to see — doing everything they can to help their neighbors.

We especially see it in times of tragedy and crisis — in the teachers who rushed children to safety in Newtown, teachers who risked their lives to save students in Oklahoma — teachers.  We saw it in all those folks in Boston who ran toward the explosions and spent hours tending to perfect strangers.

And none of these folks asked the people they were helping whether they were Democrats or Republicans.  They didn’t ask whether they were Christians or Muslims or Jews.  They didn’t care whether they were gay or straight.  It was simply enough that they were fellow Americans who were suffering and needed aid.

And shouldn’t that be enough for all of us?  And that was a question that I was asking myself during a recent visit to my hometown of Chicago when I had the privilege —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Chicago!

MRS. OBAMA:  Chi-town!  (Laughter.)  South Side!  (Laughter.)  So you have to understand, that’s call and response, you say, “South Side.”

AUDIENCE:  South Side!  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Just pardon us for a moment.  (Laughter.)  We are crazy like that on South Side.

But I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with a wonderful group of students at a school called Harper High.  In fact, these kids are coming to spend a day — two days with us — one at the White House; they’re going to be in Washington, these kids.  They’re coming.

Now, Harper is located in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city, Englewood.  You all know Englewood, right?  A community that has been torn apart by poverty and hopelessness; by gangs, drugs, and guns.

And that afternoon, I sat down with these 25 students — and these kids were the best and the brightest at that school.  The valedictorian, the football star, kids in ROTC.  But let me tell you something about the kids at Harper.  Every day, they face impossible odds — jobless parents addicted to drugs; friends and loved ones shot before their very eyes.

In fact, when the school counselor asked these young men and women whether they had ever known any who had been shot, every single one of those students raised their hand.  So she then asked them, “What do you think when the weather forecast says ’85 and sunny?’”  Now, you would assume that nice weather like that, a beautiful day like today, would be a good thing.  Not for these kids.  They replied that a weather report like that puts fear in their hearts, because in their neighborhood, when the weather is nice, that’s when gangs come out and the shootings start.

So, see, for these wonderful kids, instead of reveling in the joys of their youth — college applications and getting ready for prom and getting that driver’s license — these young people are consumed with staying alive.  And there are so many kids in this country just like them -– kids with so much promise, but so few opportunities; good kids who are doing everything they can to break the cycle and beat the odds.  And they are the reason we are here tonight.  We cannot forget that.  I don’t care what we — they, those kids, they are the reason we’re here.

And today, we need to be better for them.  Not for us — for them.  We need to be better for all of our children, our kids in this country.  Because they are counting on us to give them the chances they need for the futures they deserve.  (Applause.)

So here’s the thing — we cannot wait for the next presidential election to get fired up and ready to go.  We cannot wait.  Right now, today, we have an obligation to stand up for those kids.  And I don’t care what you believe in, we don’t —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Wait, wait, wait.  One of the things —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA:  One of the things that I don’t do well is this.  (Applause.)  Do you understand?  (Applause.)  One of the things — now —

(Inaudible audience interruption.)

MRS. OBAMA:  So let me make the point that I was making before:  We are here for our kids.  (Applause.)  So we must recapture that passion, that same urgency and energy that we felt back in 2008 and 2012.  Understand this.  This is what I want you all to understand, this is not about us — no one back here.  It’s not about you or you, or your issue or your thing.  This is about our children.  (Applause.)

And we must keep on working together to build a country worthy of all of our children’s promise.  Let’s ensure that every child has access to quality pre-K — because right now that’s not happening — to excellent schools — every child — to affordable college.  Because we need all of our kids to fulfill their boundless — they are our future.

Let’s finally pass some commonsense gun safety laws — (applause) — because no one in this country should ever worry about dropping their child off at a movie or a mall or at school.  Not in America.  And then, when these precious little young people, they grow up, let’s make sure they have some jobs that pay a decent wage.  Because we know that it is wrong for anyone in this country to work 40 or 50 hours a week and still be stuck in poverty.

And let us make sure that they have the health care they need, because no one in this country should get their primary care from an emergency room.  We know better than that.  And when it comes to women’s health, let’s keep fighting for our most fundamental, personal rights, because we as women, we know we are more than capable of making our own decisions about our bodies and our health care.  (Applause.)

Now, I know we can do this.  It’s all within our reach.  But make no mistake about it — and this is the key point I want to make here — Barack Obama cannot do this alone.  And he cannot do this with a fractured party.  Do you understand me?  We need folks in Congress to help him every step of the way, like Karen said.

That is why it is simply not enough to just elect a President every four years.  We need you to be engaged in every election — every election — because special elections matter.  Midterm elections really matter.  It matters who we send to Congress.  It matters.  And if you don’t believe me, just look at the record.  Look at the difference just a few votes in Congress can make when it comes to the issues that we say we care about.

For example, legislation on equal pay for women failed by two votes in the Senate — two votes in the Senate.  The DREAM Act, the act that gives immigrant kids in this country a fair shot?  That act failed twice, once by just five votes and once by four.  So what did the President have to do?  He had to sign an executive order to finally get it done.  That’s the only reason it got done.  And that common-sense bill I talked about earlier, that gun bill?  That bill failed by how many votes?  Six.  Six votes.

So like I said, it matters who we send to Congress.  This other stuff, between us, doesn’t matter.  We need all of you engaged in every special election and in every mid-term election all across this country.  We need you to keep on writing those checks.  And here’s another part — if you’re not maxed out, max out.  That’s what being maxed out is all about.  Max out in every way, shape or form with a check, with engagement.  You got friends?  Get them to max out.  Maxing out is a big term.  It’s not just about a check, it’s about passion.  It’s about feeling.  It’s about commitment.

And while raising money is important, as I said, money alone is not enough.  We need you all out there, working, making phone calls, getting everyone you know to the polls just like we did before.  And I know it won’t be easy.  It never is.  And I know that plenty of special interests will be pouring all sorts of resources into these elections.  They always do.  So we need you to be engaged and bring everyone you know with you.

And if anyone tries to tell you that they’re too busy, that it’s too much of a hassle, or that special elections just don’t matter, I’m going to share a story that I shared in New York that I’m sharing everywhere I go that Barack actually talked about at his State of the Union speech.

I want you to tell them about a woman named Desiline Victor.  (Applause.)  Some of you heard about Desiline.  Well, Desiline lives down in Florida, and she waited for hours in line to cast her vote last November.  Now, you might think, well, that’s not so unusual because a lot of people had to wait in long lines this past election, right?

But see here’s the thing:  Desiline is 102 years old.  (Applause.)  She was born before women had the right to vote, and she’s been a citizen of this country for less than 10 years.  And even though she was tired — I’m sure she was — even though her feet probably ached — and I’m sure they did — she was determined to cast her vote and make her voice heard in the country she loves.

So here’s what we have to tell ourselves when we get frustrated, or you’re tired, or we’re disappointed.  (Laughter.)  If Desiline Victor can summon that kind of passion and energy, then we don’t have any excuse.  If Desiline Victor can summon that kind of patriotism and determination, then so must we.

So if we keep on working, and organizing, and engaging, I know that we can keep on making that change we all believe in, and together we can build a future worthy of all our children.

Can we do this?  (Applause.)  Are we a little more fired up?  (Applause.)  Are we a little less frustrated right now?  (Applause.)  We ready to roll up our sleeves, figure out how to get engaged, how we’re going to max out in our own individual ways?  Can we do this?  (Applause.)  Because we need you.  Barack Obama needs you and I need you, quite frankly.  So let’s get it done.

Thank you all.  God bless.

END
6:27 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines May 13, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Democratic National Committee Event in New York — Blame Game: During Fundraiser, Says “Other Party” Behind Political Gridlock

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Blame Game: During Fundraiser, Obama Says “Other Party” Behind Political Gridlock

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-13-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama blamed part of the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., on “hyper-partisanship” while speaking at a fundraiser attended by Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in New York City Monday afternoon.

“What’s blocking us right now is sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington that, frankly, I was hoping to overcome in 2008.  And in the midst of crisis, I think the other party reacted, rather than saying now is the time for us all to join together, decided to take a different path,” Obama said at the Democratic National Committee fundraiser. “My thinking was after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever, and it’s not quite broken yet.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a DNC Event — New York, NY

Source: WH, 5-13-13

Private Residence
New York, New York

4:24 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Well, first of all, I have to thank Harvey and Georgina for once again extending incredible hospitality to us.  We are so grateful for their friendship and support, and for the amazing movies that they’ve made.  And it is wonderful to see all of you.  I see old friends, new friends and people who when I have time to watch movies or TV, I very much appreciate.  So thank you for the great work that you guys do.

I’m going to spend most of this time in a conversation with everybody, so I’m not going to give a long speech at the front end.  Over the last three weeks, month, the country has gone through some tough times.  Obviously, we had the Boston bombing and the incredible tragedy that marred what is one of the greatest sporting events in the world, and an iconic event here in America.  We went out to West, Texas to a tiny town that had been devastated by an explosion there.

And I remember, I was with Deval Patrick, a wonderful governor — the Governor of Massachusetts — as we were driving to a memorial in Boston shortly after the attack.  And we talked about that in the midst of tragedy, the incredible strength and courage and resolve of the American people just comes out, and the neighborliness, and the sense of willing to support strangers and neighbors and friends during tough times.  And that same spirit, which I would later see when I visited West, Texas — you can’t get two places more different than Boston and West, Texas.  So it’s a pretty good representative sampling of America.

And part of what Deval and I talked about was what do we need to do to make sure that that same spirit is reflected in our politics and our government — because it’s there every day for people to see.  It doesn’t matter whether people are Democrats or Republicans or independents.  If you go into schools, you go to Little League games, you talk to people at the workplace — everybody has the same sense that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we’ve gone through some tough times, but we’re resilient and we can overcome whatever challenges are thrown at us.  And there’s a desire to get outside of the constant squabbling and bickering and positioning and gamesmanship, and get to the business of figuring out how do we make sure that the next generation does better than this generation.

And as I think about my second term, and people have asked me, what’s different about your second term — well, other than me being grayer — (laughter) — and my girls being taller, the main thing about a second term is, A, I don’t have to run for office again; but, B, you also start just thinking about history, and you start thinking about — in longer sweeps of time, and you start saying to yourself that the three and a half years that I’ve got is not a lot, and so I’ve got to make sure that I use everything I’ve got to make as much of a difference as I can.

And more than anything, what I will be striving for over the next three and a half years is to see if that spirit that I saw in Boston and West, Texas, if we can institutionalize that, if we can create a framework where everybody is working together and moving this country forward.

Now, the good news is that if we do that, we’ve got the best cards of any country on Earth — and that’s the truth.  Look, there’s no American politician, much less American President, who’s not going to say that we’re not the greatest country on Earth.  So that’s a cliché.  On the other hand, objectively, when you look at where we are right now, we are poised for a 21st century that is as much the American century as the 20th century was.

We have recovered from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and yet, the economy is growing; millions of jobs have been created; the stock market has hit record highs; the housing market has begun to recover.  When you look at our companies, innovation, dynamism, inventiveness still take root here in the United States more than anyplace else on Earth.

When it comes to energy, not only have we been able to double our production of clean energy, but even in terms of traditional energy, we will probably be a net exporter of natural gas in somewhere between five and ten years.  And so the idea of the United States being energy independent — which seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago — now is actually a possibility.

When you travel around the world, people still look to the United States for leadership.  I went down to Mexico and then Costa Rica and I met with Central American leaders down there, and each and every one of them, including Daniel Ortega, who was at one of the meetings — and some of you are too young to remember I guess Daniel Ortega, and I’m not — (laughter) — all of them talked about how can we trade, how can we work more effectively together.  And so the possibilities for us to shape a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous, more innovative, more environmentally conscious, more tolerant, more open — that opportunity exists, but there are just a few things that we’re going to have to do to make sure that we realize those opportunities, that potential.

We’ve got to continue to revamp our education system so it’s meeting the demands of the 21st century.  We’ve got to rebuild our infrastructure so we don’t have the worst airports in the world.  We’ve got to make sure — and ports and roads and bridges and broadband lines.  We’ve got to make sure that we continue to focus on putting people back to work, because jobs are not just a matter of income, they’re a matter of dignity and stitching the fabric of a community together.

We’ve got to deal with climate change in an honest, realistic way.  We’re not going to reverse the trends overnight, but we have to start now for the sake of our kids and, in fact, the tools are available to us to make huge strides in the coming years if we make the smart investments.  We’ve got to keep on investing in research and development.  And we’ve got to get our fiscal house in order in a way that is sensible so that everybody is paying their fair share; everybody understands that we have to — if we want a first-class education system, for example, then we’ve got to pay for it.  If we want first-class infrastructure, we’ve got to pay for it.  But we also want a government that is lean and effective and efficient, and not bloated.

And these are all things that we can accomplish.  What’s blocking us right now is sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington that, frankly, I was hoping to overcome in 2008.  And in the midst of crisis, I think the other party reacted; rather than saying now is the time for us all to join together, decided to take a different path.

My thinking was after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever — (laughter) — and it’s not quite broken yet.  (Laughter.)  But I am persistent.  And I am staying at it.  And I genuinely believe that there are actually Republicans out there who would like to work with us but they’re fearful of their base and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them, and as a consequence, we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government and inhibits our progress.

So the bottom line is this — everybody is here to support the DNC, and I very much appreciate that.  But I want everybody to understand that my intentions over the next three and a half years are to govern, because I don’t have another race left.  If we’ve got folks on the other side who are prepared to cooperate, that is great and we are ready to go.  On the other hand, if there are folks who are more interested in winning elections than they are thinking about the next generation, then I want to make sure that there are consequences to that.

And what you all are here today to facilitate is our ability to make sure that the values and concerns that we all have for Dash and all the other babies that are out there — Steve has got a new one, and I’m starting to feel like the old man around here because mine are this tall and everybody else has these little babies.  But I want to make sure that that generation is getting everything and more that we can give them.  And that’s going to require us to work hard.  It’s going to require persistence.  There are going to be ups and downs in this whole process.

But one of the benefits of a second term is you start taking the long view.  And what I know is, is that as long as we are pointing towards that true North, that eventually we’ll get there.  That’s what this country has always done.  That’s what I expect will happen this time as well.

So with that, I’m going to stop and I’m just going to open it up for questions.  (Applause.)

END
4:35 P.M. EDT

%d bloggers like this: