Political Musings December 26, 2014: Obamas celebrate Christmas marking the end of the War in Afghanistan

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obamas celebrate Christmas marking the end of the War in Afghanistan

By Bonnie K. Goodman

There was a definite theme and message President Barack Obama was trying to get across this Christmas, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, that after 13 years the combat war in Afghanistan will officially be over on Dec. 31. The president and…READ MORE

Political Musings December 21, 2014: Obamas celebrating Christmas and New Year’s holidays with 16-day Hawaii vacation

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obamas celebrating Christmas and New Year’s holidays with 16-day Hawaii vacation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This year as every year of his presidency President Barack Obama and the first family are spending their Christmas and New Year’s holiday in Kailua neighborhood of Oahu in Hawaii. The first family including the President, First Lady…READ MORE

Political Musings December 26, 2013: Obamas honors US troops during low-key Christmas in Hawaii

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

During a quiet family vacation in Hawaii, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated an annual Christmas tradition honoring American troops and military families. The President called members of the military on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013…READ MORE

Political Headlines January 7, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Hawaii Vacation by the Numbers, Returns to Washington

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama’s Hawaii Vacation by the Numbers

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-7-13

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama departed Hawaii on Sunday morning for Washington, after spending nine days vacationing with family and friends in his native state.  Here’s a quick look at how he spent his vacation….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 3, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Father-Daughter Day in Hawaii

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama’s Father-Daughter Day in Hawaii

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-3-13

Kent Nishimura-Pool/Getty Images

Over the past two weeks, President Obama has passed his days in Hawaii hitting the gym, golfing with friends and relaxing on the beach with his family.

On Thursday, he enjoyed some father-daughter time, bowling with Malia and Sasha and going out for Hawaiian shaved ice, an annual tradition.

After spending the afternoon at the bowling alley at the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay, Obama and his daughters stopped at Island Snow Shave Ice, a small eatery in a shopping center near their Kailua vacation house….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 24, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama Tracks Santa from Hawaii

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

First Lady Tracks Santa from Hawaii

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-24-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

While President Obama is spending this Christmas Eve afternoon golfing in Kaneohe Bay, the First Lady Michelle Obama has been hard at work helping children from across the country track Santa’s every move.

The First Lady spent roughly 30 minutes answering calls from children asking where Santa was located as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, according to a White House official….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 23, 2012: Presidet Barack Obama Golfing on Hawaii Vacation with Pal Arrested in Prostitution Sting

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Golfing in Hawaii with Pal Arrested in Prostitution Sting

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-23-12

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Taking a break from the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama spent the first day of his holiday vacation golfing with friends and aides, including longtime pal Bobby Titcomb, who was arrested last year on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.

After arriving in Hawaii late Friday night, the president spent Saturday morning at his family’s vacation residence along the shores of Kailua, a quiet town on a stretch of beach on the east end of Oahu.

Shortly before noon, the president made the trip to the Kailua Marine Corps Base, where he hit the links at the Kaneohe Clipper course….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency December 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Funeral Service for Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye at Washington’s National Cathedral

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Pays Tribute to Senator Daniel Inouye

Source: WH, 12-21-12

President Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel InouyePresident Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This afternoon, President Obama spoke at the funeral service for Daniel Inouye, the late senator from Hawaii.

President Obama explained that he first took notice of Senator Inouye as an 11-year-old boy, watching the Watergate hearings on TV.

Now, here I was, a young boy with a white mom, a black father, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.  And I was beginning to sense how fitting into the world might not be as simple as it might seem.  And so to see this man, this senator, this powerful, accomplished person who wasn’t out of central casting when it came to what you’d think a senator might look like at the time, and the way he commanded the respect of an entire nation I think it hinted to me what might be possible in my own life.

This was a man who as a teenager stepped up to serve his country even after his fellow Japanese Americans were declared enemy aliens. A man who believed in America even when its government didn’t necessarily believe in him. That meant something to me. It gave me a powerful sense — one that I couldn’t put into words — a powerful sense of hope.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attend the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel InouyePresident Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attend the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. Senator Inouye’s family is at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration,” President Obama said.

And as I watched those hearings, listening to Danny ask all those piercing questions night after night, I learned something else. I learned how our democracy was supposed to work, our government of and by and for the people; that we had a system of government where nobody is above the law, where we have an obligation to hold each other accountable, from the average citizen to the most powerful of leaders, because these things that we stand for, these ideals that we hold dear are bigger than any one person or party or politician.

And, somehow, nobody communicated that more effectively than Danny Inouye.

Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton also spoke at the service.

Remarks by the President at the Funeral Service for Senator Daniel Ken Inouye

Source: WH, 12-21-12

National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.

11:50 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  To Irene, Ken, Jennifer, Danny’s friends and former colleagues, it is an extraordinary honor to be here with you in this magnificent place to pay tribute to a man who would probably we wondering what all the fuss is about.

This Tuesday was in many ways a day like any other.  The sun rose; the sun set; the great work of our democracy carried on.  But in a fundamental sense it was different.  It was the first day in many of our lives — certainly my own — that the halls of the United States Congress were not graced by the presence of Daniel Ken Inouye.

Danny was elected to the U.S. Senate when I was two years old.  He had been elected to Congress a couple of years before I was born.  He would remain my senator until I left Hawaii for college.

Now, even though my mother and grandparents took great pride that they had voted for him, I confess that I wasn’t paying much attention to the United States Senate at the age of four or five or six.  It wasn’t until I was 11 years old that I recall even learning what a U.S. senator was, or it registering, at least.  It was during my summer vacation with my family — my first trip to what those of us in Hawaii call the Mainland.

So we flew over the ocean, and with my mother and my grandmother and my sister, who at the time was two, we traveled around the country.  It was a big trip.  We went to Seattle, and we went to Disneyland — which was most important.  We traveled to Kansas where my grandmother’s family was from, and went to Chicago, and went to Yellowstone.  And we took Greyhound buses most of the time, and we rented cars, and we would stay at local motels or Howard Johnson’s.  And if there was a pool at one of these motels, even if it was just tiny, I would be very excited. And the ice machine was exciting — and the vending machine, I was really excited about that.

But this is at a time when you didn’t have 600 stations and 24 hours’ worth of cartoons.  And so at night, if the TV was on, it was what your parents decided to watch.  And my mother that summer would turn on the TV every night during this vacation and watch the Watergate hearings.  And I can’t say that I understood everything that was being discussed, but I knew the issues were important.  I knew they spoke to some basic way about who we were and who we might be as Americans.

And so, slowly, during the course of this trip, which lasted about a month, some of this seeped into my head.  And the person who fascinated me most was this man of Japanese descent with one arm, speaking in this courtly baritone, full of dignity and grace.  And maybe he captivated my attention because my mom explained that this was our senator and that he was upholding what our government was all about.  Maybe it was a boyhood fascination with the story of how he had lost his arm in a war.  But I think it was more than that.

Now, here I was, a young boy with a white mom, a black father, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.  And I was beginning to sense how fitting into the world might not be as simple as it might seem.  And so to see this man, this senator, this powerful, accomplished person who wasn’t out of central casting when it came to what you’d think a senator might look like at the time, and the way he commanded the respect of an entire nation I think it hinted to me what might be possible in my own life.

This was a man who as a teenager stepped up to serve his country even after his fellow Japanese Americans were declared enemy aliens; a man who believed in America even when its government didn’t necessarily believe in him.  That meant something to me.  It gave me a powerful sense — one that I couldn’t put into words — a powerful sense of hope.

And as I watched those hearings, listening to Danny ask all those piercing questions night after night, I learned something else.  I learned how our democracy was supposed to work, our government of and by and for the people; that we had a system of government where nobody is above the law, where we have an obligation to hold each other accountable, from the average citizen to the most powerful of leaders, because these things that we stand for, these ideals that we hold dear are bigger than any one person or party or politician.

And, somehow, nobody communicated that more effectively than Danny Inouye.  You got a sense, as Joe mentioned, of just a fundamental integrity; that he was a proud Democrat, but most importantly, he was a proud American.  And were it not for those two insights planted in my head at the age of 11, in between Disneyland and a trip to Yellowstone, I might never have considered a career in public service.  I might not be standing here today.

I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration.  And then, for me to have the privilege of serving with him, to be elected to the United States Senate and arrive, and one of my first visits is to go to his office, and for him to greet me as a colleague, and treat me with the same respect that he treated everybody he met, and to sit me down and give me advice about how the Senate worked and then regale me with some stories about wartime and his recovery — stories full of humor, never bitterness, never boastfulness,  just matter-of-fact — some of them I must admit a little off-color.  I couldn’t probably repeat them in the cathedral.  (Laughter.)  There’s a side of Danny that — well.

Danny once told his son his service to this country had been for the children, or all the sons and daughters who deserved to grow up in a nation that never questioned their patriotism.  This is my country, he said.  Many of us have fought hard for the right to say that.  And, obviously, Rick Shinseki described what it meant for Japanese Americans, but my point is, is that when he referred to our sons and daughters he wasn’t just talking about Japanese Americans.  He was talking about all of us.  He was talking about those who serve today who might have been excluded in the past.  He’s talking about me.

And that’s who Danny was.  For him, freedom and dignity were not abstractions.  They were values that he had bled for, ideas he had sacrificed for, rights he understood as only someone can who has had them threatened, had them taken away.

The valor that earned him our nation’s highest military decoration — a story so incredible that when you actually read the accounts, you think this — you couldn’t make this up.  It’s like out of an action movie.  That valor was so rooted in a deep and abiding love of this country.  And he believed, as we say in Hawaii that we’re a single ‘ohana — that we’re one family.  And he devoted his life to making that family strong.

After experiencing the horror of war himself, Danny also felt a profound connection to those who followed.  It wasn’t unusual for him to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down with a veteran or a fellow amputee, trading stories, telling jokes — two heroes, generations apart, sharing an unspoken bond that was forged in battle and tempered in peace.  In no small measure because of Danny’s service, our military is, and will always remain, the best in the world, and we recognize our sacred obligation to give our veterans the care they deserve.

Of course, Danny didn’t always take credit for the difference he made.  Ever humble, one of the only landmarks that bear his name is a Marine Corps mess hall in Hawaii.  And when someone asked him how he wanted to be remembered, Danny said, “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability.  I think I did okay.”

Danny, you were more than okay.  You were extraordinary.

It’s been mentioned that Danny ended his convention speech in Chicago in 1968 with the word, “aloha.”  “To some of you who visited us, it may have meant hello,” he said, but “To others, it may have meant goodbye.  Those of us who’ve been privileged to live in Hawaii understand aloha means I love you.”

And as someone who has been privileged to live in Hawaii, I know that he embodied the very best of that spirit, the very best of “aloha.”  It’s fitting it was the last word that Danny spoke on this Earth.  He may have been saying goodbye to us.  Maybe he was saying hello to someone waiting on the other side.  But it was a final expression most of all of his love for the family and friends that he cared so much about, for the men and women he was honored to serve with, for the country that held such a special place in his heart.

And so we remember a man who inspired all of us with his courage, and moved us with his compassion, that inspired us with his integrity, and who taught so many of us — including a young kid growing up in Hawaii –– that America has a place for everyone.

May God bless Daniel Inouye.  And may God grant us more souls like his.

END
11:58 A.M. EST

Campaign Buzz March 13, 2012: Rick Santorum’s Double-Header Win in Alabama & Mississippi Primaries — Sweeps South, Newt Gingrich Places Second, Mitt Romney Third — Blow to Romney Campaign — Romney Wins American Samoa Caucuses

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Mike Stone/Reuters
Rick Santorum prepared to address supporters at his Alabama and Mississippi primary election night rally in Lafayette, La., on Tuesday night. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: RICK SANTORUM WINS ALABAMA & MISSISSIPPI PRIMARIES, NEWT GINGRICH PLACES SECOND, MITT ROMNEY THIRD — ROMNEY WINS AMERICAN SAMOA CAUCUSES

Rick Santorum wins GOP primary in Mississippi: Rick Santorum has won the Republican primary in Mississippi, his second victory of the night after winning in Alabama.
Results in Hawaii and the American Samoa, which also voted today, are expected early Wednesday morning…. – WaPo, 3-13-12

Rick Santorum wins Republican primary in Alabama: Rick Santorum has won the Republican primary in Alabama, beating Mitt Romney and dealing a blow to Newt Gingrich’s hopes of keeping his candidacy alive with victories in the South. WaPo, 3-13-12

AP: Mitt Romney wins GOP caucus in American Samoa: Former Mass. governor Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential caucus in American Samoa, picking up all nine delegates, the Associated Press reported…. – WaPo, 3-13-12

Santorum Wins Mississippi and Alabama Primaries: Rick Santorum captured both Republican primaries in Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday, dealing a forceful rebuke to Mitt Romney’s hopes of demonstrating political strength in the South as he grinds toward his party’s nomination.
The failure by Mr. Romney to emerge as a victor in the three-way battle with Mr. Santorum and Newt Gingrich was underscored by his weakness with the Republican party’s traditional constituencies. Mr. Romney lost among very conservative voters and evangelical Christians, according to exit polls.
Mr. Gingrich appeared poised to come in second in both states Tuesday night, ahead of Mr. Romney but having failed to deliver any first-place victories in southern states outside of his home state of Georgia.
The immediate question for Mr. Gingrich will be whether pressure mounts for him to exit the race to allow conservatives to coalesce behind someone other than Mr. Romney…. – NYT, 3-13-12

“We did it again. This is a grassroots campaign for president. Who would have ever thought in the age of media that we have in this country today that ordinary folks from across this country can defy the odds day in, day out?
For someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he’s spending a whole lot of money against me.
The time is now for conservatives to pull together. The time is now to make sure — to make sure that we have the best chance to win this election, and the best chance to win this election is to nominate a conservative to go up against Barack Obama who can take him on, on every issue.” — Rick Santorum

“Because this is proportional representation, we are going to leave Mississippi and Alabama with a substantial number of delegates.
One of the things tonight proved is that the elite media’s effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed. If you’re the frontrunner and you keep coming in third, you’re not much of a frontrunner.” — Newt Gingrich

“With the delegates won tonight, we are even closer to the nomination. Ann and I would like to thank the people of Alabama and Mississippi. Because of their support, our campaign is on the move and ready to take on President Obama in the fall.” — Mitt Romney Statement

Live Coverage of the Alabama, Mississippi and Hawaii Primaries: Follow along for live updates, analysis, results and more from The New York Times political unit…. – NYT, 3-13-12

Live blog: Three-way GOP tossup in Deep South: We’re live blogging the results from tonight’s GOP presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.
The few statewide polls available show a tight race in both states among Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Ron Paul lags well behind and hasn’t really been competing in the two states…. – USA Today, 3-13-12

  • Santorum sweeps Mississippi, Alabama primaries: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has won Tuesday night’s primary contests in Alabama and Mississippi.
    With almost all of the precincts reporting in Alabama, Santorum earned 35 percent support, with Newt Gingrich barely edging Mitt Romney out for second as each won about 29 percent of the vote.
    Meanwhile, in Mississippi, with nearly all of the votes in, Santorum led his rivals with 33 percent support, while Gingrich followed him with 31 percent. Romney came in third with 30 percent.
    The Associated Press reported that Romney picked up all nine delegates in the Republican caucus in American Samoa. There are also caucuses going on in Hawaii, although results have not yet been announced…. – CBS News, 3-13-12
  • Santorum wins big in South, grabs conservative banner: Republican Rick Santorum won a pair of crucial Deep South primaries on Tuesday, taking control of the party’s conservative wing in the presidential race and dealing a severe setback to rival Newt Gingrich.
    Santorum narrowly defeated Gingrich and front-runner Mitt Romney in three-way battles that shook up a volatile Republican presidential race that has already seen a series of shifts and stumbles.
    The losses were a huge blow to Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress and desperately needed a win in one of the Deep South states to validate his southern-based comeback strategy and keep his struggling campaign afloat…. – Reuters, 3-14-12
  • Santorum wins GOP primaries in Mississippi, Alabama: Rick Santorum won Republican presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi tonight, propelling his candidacy and wrecking Mitt Romney’s hopes for a game-changing Southern breakthrough.
    While the returns were incomplete, Newt Gingrich was running second ahead of Romney in both states.
    Santorum, speaking in Louisiana, took a rhetorical swipe at Romney, the front-runner who has depicted himself as the inevitable GOP nominee. The former Pennsylvania senator predicted he would win the nomination.
    “He spent a whole lot of money against me, for being inevitable,” Santorum said of Romney. He added that “all the establishment” of the Republican Party was “on the other side of this race.”
    “We are going to win this nomination,” Santorum said. “If we nominate a conservative, we will defeat Barack Obama and set this country back on the right track.”
    With most precincts counted in Alabama, Santorum had nearly 35% of the vote.
    In Mississippi, Santorum had a small lead and 33% of the vote with nearly all precincts counted…. – USA Today, 3-13-12
  • Wins in South For Santorum: Rick Santorum won the Republican presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday, solidifying his claim to be the favored candidate of the party’s conservative base and the main challenger to front-runner Mitt Romney.
    Mr. Santorum’s victories will bring new clarity to a race so far marked primarily by the inability of Mr. Romney to overcome resistance from the party’s most conservative voters. A nominating contest that has lasted longer than most expected may enter a new chapter in which Messrs. Romney and Santorum go head-to-head.
    Mr. Romney was hoping that he could prove his ability to consolidate the party behind him by scoring an upset win in the Deep South. His campaign argued Tuesday night that the losses wouldn’t diminish Mr. Romney’s lead in the delegate count or ease Mr. Santorum’s path to winning the 1,144 delegates needed to claim the nomination…. – WSJ, 3-13-12
  • Rick Santorum sweeps to victories in Alabama and Mississippi Republican Primaries: A resurgent Rick Santorum swept primaries in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday night, upending the race for the Republican presidential nomination yet again and nudging Newt Gingrich toward the sidelines. Mitt Romney was running third in … – WaPo, 3-13-12
  • Santorum wins Alabama, Mississippi: Rick Santorum delivered another sharp shock to Mitt Romney’s campaign Tuesday night…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • Santorum: Voters want ‘one-on-one’: Rick Santorum told Fox News on Tuesday night that conservative voters want him in a “one-on-one” contest with Mitt Romney, but noted that he “can’t control” whether Newt Gingrich drops out of the race…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • Santorum: Time to ‘pull together’: Rick Santorum solidified his status as the conservative candidate in the GOP nomination fight after capturing double wins Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi. The pair of scores robbed rival Mitt Romney of the opportunity to claim credibility in the South, thereby putting a quick end to the protracted GOP nominating fight…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • After wins, Santorum says it’s time ‘for conservatives to pull together’: Rick Santorum scored two major victories in his insurgent campaign for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, winning the Alabama and Mississippi primaries and dealing a potentially…. – LAT, 3-13-12
  • GOP rivals look to Louisiana as next red state to woo: With victories in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, Rick Santorum was already looking ahead to Louisiana’s presidential primary in 10 days, gathering here with supporters to press for another win in the Deep South…. – USA Today, 3-13-12
  • Gingrich vows fight, says Romney ‘not much of a front-runner’: Newt Gingrich fell short in his bid Tuesday to reignite his presidential campaign with wins in two Southern primaries but did not budge from his pledge to go all the way to the Republican convention, arguing that the … – LAT, 3-13-12
  • Newt Gingrich second in Alabama, Mississippi primaries: Newt Gingrich has said he plans to continue on in the Republican presidential race no matter the outcome of the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. But Tuesday’s losses in both of these Deep South states — territory that should have set up favorably…. – WaPo, 3-14-12
  • Gingrich: I’m not leaving: Newt Gingrich said Tuesday night he feels “no pressure” to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. After delivering his primary-night speech in Birmingham, Ala., Gingrich told Fox News’s Bret Baier that he will stay in the race after losing both Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • Mitt points to the scoreboard: Reacting to this evening’s primaries in a statement, rather than live remarks, Mitt Romney emphasizes that the delegate-level fundamentals of the race haven’t changed…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • Mitt fails to clinch Southern wins: Mitt Romney placed third in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday, but his campaign argues that’s irrelevant. With Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich bunched within five percentage points of each other, the trio is poised to effectively split the 90 delegates at stake in the two Southern states…. – Politico, 3-13-12
  • Exit polls show Santorum wins in AL with voters considering candidate’s….: Santorum had a huge lead among voters in both states seeking a candidate who is a real conservative, winning just over half of their votes. He also captured more than 6 in 10 of those in each state preferring a candidate with strong moral … – WaPo, 3-13-12
  • Early exit polls show deeply conservative Ala., Miss. voters strongly back: Voters going to the polls for the tightly fought GOP primaries in Mississippi and Alabama expressed strong support for their chosen candidates, compared with voters in earlier primaries, according to Tuesday’s exit polls. And those polls suggested the … – WaPo, 3-13-12
  • Voting in Alabama, Mississippi could clarify race: Mitt Romney hoped to seal his status as the Republican presidential front-runner with a thus-far-elusive victory in the Deep South, a region that has been slow to embrace the former Massachusetts governor…. – AP, USA Today, 3-13-12
  • In Alabama and Mississippi primaries, expect the unexpected: Just one week after an indecisive Super Tuesday, voters in two Deep South states could rewrite the story line of the 2012 presidential race. The outcomes in Alabama and Mississippi are expected to be close, with any of three Republican…. – LAT, 3-13-12

Full Text November 11-19, 2011: President Obama’s Asia Pacfic Tour — Trip to Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President’s 2011 Asia Pacific Trip

Source: WH, 11-11

  • November 11th: President Obama attends the Carrier Classic in honor of Veterans Day.
  • November 12th: President Obama speaks before the first session of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
  • November 13th: President Obama makes remarks and takes questions about progress made at the APEC summit.
  • November 16th: President Obama meets with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
  • November 17th: President Obama gives an address before the Australian Parliament.
  • November 17th: President Obama speaks to Australian troops and U.S. Marines.
  • November 18th: President Obama attends the East Asia Summit in Indonesia.
  • November 19th: President Obama returns to the United States.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

  • November 19, 2011 at 5:30 AM EST

    Weekly Address: Creating an Economy Built to Last

    From Indonesia, President Obama talks about his administration’s work opening up markets to support thousands of American jobs and keep us on track to double American exports by 2014.

  • November 18, 2011 at 6:33 PM EST

    President Obama at the East Asia Summit

    In Indonesia, President Obama was able to announce business deals with countries in the Pacific that will help support 127,000 American jobs.

  • November 18, 2011 at 5:39 PM EST

    By the Numbers: 150 Percent

    Trade with nations in the Asia Pacific region has grown by 150 percent since 1994.

  • November 18, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST

    On the Road with the President

    We’ll be back next week with a special edition of West Wing Week, but for now, check out a few clips from the road.

  • November 17, 2011 at 1:05 PM EST

    President Obama Addresses the Australian Parliament

    The President discussed America’s future and what that means for the Pacific.

  • November 16, 2011 at 3:01 PM EST

    Expanded Military Ties in Australia

    When President Obama met with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday, they announced plans for the first sustained American military presence in Australia.

  • November 15, 2011 at 7:15 PM EST

    Renewing Ties in the Pacific

    When President Obama touches down in Australia, he’ll arrive with two major goals: strengthening our relationships and promoting security in the Pacific.

  • November 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM EST

    The First Lady in Hawaii for APEC

    This weekend, First Lady Michelle Obama joined the President in Hawaii to help host the conference of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders.

Full Text November 19, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address on Creating Jobs by Opening Foreign Markets & Doubling American Exports

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Weekly Address: Creating an Economy Built to Last

Source: WH, 11-19-11
From Indonesia, President Obama talks about his administration’s work opening up markets to support thousands of American jobs and keep us on track to double American exports by 2014.

President Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 11/18/11

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Creating an Economy Built to Last

In this week’s address, President Obama spoke from Indonesia and told the American people that during his trip to the Asia Pacific, he has made progress opening up markets to support thousands of American jobs and keep us on track to double American exports by 2014.  The President’s trip underscores his belief that our businesses will always be successful competing around the world and that he will continue to do everything possible to create jobs for the American people.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Bali, Indonesia
Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today, I’m speaking to you from Indonesia as I finish up my trip to the Asia Pacific – the region where we do most of our trade and sell most of our exports.  And over the past week, the progress we’ve made in opening markets and boosting exports here will help create more jobs and more growth in the United States.

Here in Indonesia, I was proud to join leaders from some of our nation’s top companies as they announced trade deals that will support nearly 130,000 American jobs and potentially increase U.S. exports by up to $39 billion.  Boeing, for example, will sell more than 200 planes to Indonesia that are built with parts from suppliers in more than 40 states.  And a deal to export GE engines will support jobs at plants in Ohio and North Carolina.

These agreements will help us reach my goal of doubling American exports by 2014 – a goal we’re on pace to meet.  And they’re powerful examples of how we can rebuild an economy that’s focused on what our country has always done best – making and selling products all over the world that are stamped with three proud words:  “Made In America.”

This is important, because over the last decade, we became a country that relied too much on what we bought and consumed.  We racked up a lot of debt, but we didn’t create many jobs at all.

If we want an economy that’s built to last and built to compete, we have to change that.  We have to restore America’s manufacturing might, which is what helped us build the largest middle-class in history.  That’s why we chose to pull the auto industry back from the brink, saving hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.  And that’s why we’re investing in the next generation of high-tech, American manufacturing.

But building an economy that lasts isn’t just about making things – it’s about opening new markets for people to buy them.  After all, 95% of the world’s consumers live outside our borders.  And as the fastest-growing region in the world, no market is more important to our economic future than the Asia Pacific – a region where our exports already support five million American jobs.

This is why we recently signed a landmark trade agreement with South Korea that will support tens of thousands of American jobs.  And it’s why I traveled here this week.  In Hawaii, I hosted leaders from across the Asia Pacific, and we agreed to make it easier for American companies to do business overseas.  I also worked with President Medvedev of Russia to pursue trade that would increase exports and jobs for American manufacturers and farmers.  And working with other leaders, we made progress toward our most ambitious trade agreement yet – a partnership with Pacific nations that holds the potential for more exports and more jobs in a region of nearly three billion consumers.

We may be going through tough times, but as I’ve said time and time again, the United States still has the world’s most dynamic economy, the finest universities, the most innovative companies, and the hardest-working people on Earth.  We can compete against anybody – and we can win.  As President, I intend to make sure that happens by doing everything I can to give American workers and businesses the chance to succeed.

White House Recap November 12-18, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Embarks on 9 Day Asia Pacific Tour to Hawaii, Australia & Indonesia

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: NOVEMBER 12-18, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Strengthening Relationships Abroad

Source: WH, 11-18-11
President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks

President Barack Obama delivers remarks honoring 60 years of the U.S. and Australian Alliance to a crowd of some 2000 soldiers and guests at the Royal Army Air Force Base in Darwin, Australia, Nov.17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President in the Pacific: President Obama embarked on a nine day Asia Pacific tour  focused on strengthening economic ties and renewing strategic relationships in the region. From November 11th  through November 19th, the President visited Hawaii, Australia, and Indonesia. While on the road, he spoke at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperationmet with Australian Prime Minister, addressed Australian Parliament, spoke with Australian troops and U.S. Marines, and attended the East Asia Summit.

Cleaner Air: The Obama Administration announced a joint proposal to save American families money at the pump, reduce our country’s dependence on oil, and boost domestic manufacturing. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the next steps toward setting stronger fuel economy and greenhouse gas pollution standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and light-duty trucks.

Cancer Awareness: President Obama congratulated those who participated in American Cancer Society’s 36th annual  Great American Smokeout, a challenge to smokers to kick their tobacco habit.  An estimated 443,000 people in the United States die each year due to cigarettes and tobacco use is still considered one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.  President Obama–a former smoker himself–and his Administration continue to make progress in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.

Carrier Classic: Over Veterans Day weekend, President Obama and the First Lady attended the first-ever Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson where they watched University of North Carolina men’s basketball team defeat Michigan State. The game had more than 8,000 people in the stands – most of whom were servicemembers.

Full Text November 13, 2011: President Barack Obama Holds Press Conference on the APEC Summit’s progress in Hawaii

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Holds a Press Conference at the APEC Summit

 

President Obama makes remarks and takes questions about progress made at the 19th annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leader’s summit.

Download mp4 (404MB) | mp3 (39MB)

Read the Transcript

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

News Conference by President Obama

JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa
Kapolei, Hawaii

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Aloha.  I want to begin by thanking the people of Hawaii for their extraordinary hospitality.  Usually when Michelle and I and our daughters come back to visit, it’s just one President, and this time we brought 21.  So thank you so much for the incredible graciousness of the people of Hawaii — and their patience, because I know that traffic got tied up a little bit.

Now, the single greatest challenge for the United States right now, and my highest priority as President, is creating jobs and putting Americans back to work.  And one of the best ways to do that is to increase our trade and exports with other nations. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers are beyond our borders.  I want them to be buying goods with three words stamped on them:  Made in America.  So I’ve been doing everything I can to make sure that the United States is competing aggressively for the jobs and the markets of the future.

No region will do more to shape our long-term economic future than the Asia Pacific region.  As I’ve said, the United States is, and always will be, a Pacific nation.  Many of our top trading partners are in this region.  This is where we sell most of our exports, supporting some 5 million American jobs.  And since this is the world’s fastest growing region, the Asia Pacific is key to achieving my goal of doubling U.S. exports — a goal, by the way, which we are on track right now to meet.

And that’s why I’ve been proud to host APEC this year.  It’s been a chance to help lead the way towards a more seamless regional economy with more trade, more exports, and more jobs for our people.  And I’m pleased that we’ve made progress in three very important areas.

First, we agreed to a series of steps that will increase trade and bring our economies even closer.  We agreed to a new set of principles on innovation to encourage the entrepreneurship that creates new businesses and new industries.  With simplified customs and exemptions from certain tariffs we’ll encourage more businesses to engage in more trade.  And that includes our small businesses, which account for the vast majority of the companies in our economies.

We agreed to a new initiative that will make it easier and faster for people to travel and conduct business across the region.  And yesterday, I was pleased to sign legislation, a new travel card that will help our American businessmen and women travel more easily and get deals done in this region.

I’d note that we also made a lot of progress increasing trade on the sidelines of APEC.  As I announced yesterday, the United States and our eight partners reached the broad outlines of an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  And today I’m pleased that Japan, Canada and Mexico have now expressed an interest in this effort.

This comes on the heels of our landmark trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, which will support tens of thousands of American jobs.

And in my meeting with President Medvedev, we discussed how to move ahead with Russia’s accession to the WTO, which will also mean more exports for American manufacturers and American farmers and ranchers.

Second, APEC agreed on ways to promote the green growth we need for our energy security.  We agreed to reduce tariffs on environmental goods and make it easier to export clean energy technologies that create green jobs.  We raised the bar on ourselves and we’ll aim for even higher energy efficiencies.  And we’re moving ahead with the effort to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.  This would be a huge step toward creating clean energy economies and fighting climate change, which is a threat to both the beauty and the prosperity of the region.

Third, we’re redoubling our efforts to make sure that regulations are encouraging trade and job creation, not discouraging trade and job creation.  And this builds on the work that we’re doing in the United States to get rid of rules and regulations that are unjustified and that are overly burdensome. Our APEC partners are joining us in streamlining and coordinating regulations so that we’re sparking innovation and growth even as we protect public health and our environment.

And finally, since many of the leaders here were also at the recent G20 summit, we continued our efforts to get the global economy to grow faster.  APEC makes up more than half the global economy, and it will continue to play a key role in achieving the strong and balanced growth that we need.

As I’ve said, as the world’s largest economy, the best thing that the United States can do for the global economy is to grow our own economy faster.  And so I will continue to fight for the American Jobs Act so that we can put our people back to work.

I was glad to see that Congress moved forward on one aspect of the jobs bill — tax credits for companies that are hiring veterans.  But we’ve got to do a lot more than that.

So, again, I want to thank the people of Hawaii for their extraordinary hospitality and for all that they’ve done to help make this summit such a success.  I want to thank my fellow leaders for the seriousness and sense of common purpose that they brought to our work.  And I believe that the progress we’ve made here will help create jobs and keep America competitive in a region that is absolutely vital not only for our economy but also for our national security.

So, with that, I’m going to take a few questions.  I’ll start with Ben Feller of AP.

Q    Thank you very much, Mr. President.  I’d like to ask you about Iran.  Did you get any specific commitments from Russia or China on tightening sanctions?  Did you move them at all?  And do you fear the world is running out of options short of military intervention to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  One of the striking things over the last three years since I came into office is the degree of unity that we’ve been able to forge in the international community with respect to Iran.  When I came into office, the world was divided and Iran was unified around its nuclear program.  We now have a situation where the world is united and Iran is isolated.  And because of our diplomacy and our efforts, we have, by far, the strongest sanctions on Iran that we’ve ever seen.  And China and Russia were critical to making that happen.  Had they not been willing to support those efforts in the United Nations, we would not be able to see the kind of progress that we’ve made.

And they’re having an impact.  All our intelligence indicates that Iran’s economy is suffering as a consequence of this.  And we’re also seeing that Iran’s influence in the region has ebbed, in part because their approach to repression inside of Iran is contrary to the Arab Spring that has been sweeping the Middle East.

So we are in a much stronger position now than we were two or three years ago with respect to Iran.  Having said that, the recent IAEA report indicates what we already knew, which is, although Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon and is technically still allowing IAEA observers into their country, that they are engaging in a series of practices that are contrary to their international obligations and their IAEA obligations.  And that’s what the IAEA report indicated.

So what I did was to speak with President Medvedev, as well as President Hu, and all three of us entirely agree on the objective, which is making sure that Iran does not weaponize nuclear power and that we don’t trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.  That’s in the interests of all of us.

In terms of how we move forward, we will be consulting with them carefully over the next several weeks to look at what other options we have available to us.  The sanctions have enormous bite and enormous scope, and we’re building off the platform that has already been established.  The question is, are there additional measures that we can take.  And we’re going to explore every avenue to see if we can solve this issue diplomatically.

I have said repeatedly and I will say it today, we are not taking any options off the table, because it’s my firm belief that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would pose a security threat not only to the region but also to the United States.  But our strong preference is to have Iran meet its international obligations, negotiate diplomatically, to allow them to have peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with international law, but at the same time, forswear the weaponization of nuclear power.

And so we’re going to keep on pushing on that.  And China and Russia have the same aims, the same objectives, and I believe that we’ll continue to cooperate and collaborate closely on that issue.

Dan Lothian.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Last night at the Republican debate, some of the hopefuls — they hope to get your job — they defended the practice of waterboarding, which is a practice that you banned in 2009.  Herman Cain said, “I don’t see that as torture.”  Michelle Bachmann said that it’s “very effective.”  So I’m wondering if you think that they’re uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s a multiple-choice question, isn’t it?  (Laughter.)  Let me just say this:  They’re wrong.  Waterboarding is torture.  It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not how we operate.  We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism.  And we did the right thing by ending that practice.

If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example.  And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture.  And that’s not something we do — period.

Norah O’Donnell.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  If I could continue on that, the Republicans did have a debate on CBS last night.  A lot of it was about foreign policy, and they were very critical of your record —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s shocking.  (Laughter.)

Q    So if I could get you to respond to something that Mitt Romney said.  He said your biggest foreign policy failure is Iran.  He said that if you are reelected Iran will have a nuclear weapon.  Is Mitt Romney wrong?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I am going to make a practice of not commenting on whatever is said in Republican debates until they’ve got an actual nominee.  But as I indicated to Ben in the earlier question, you take a look at what we’ve been able to accomplish in mobilizing the world community against Iran over the last three years and it shows steady, determined, firm progress in isolating the Iranian regime, and sending a clear message that the world believes it would be dangerous for them to have a nuclear weapon.

Now, is this an easy issue?  No.  Anybody who claims it is, is either politicking or doesn’t know what they’re talking about. But I think not only the world, but the Iranian regime understands very clearly how determined we are to prevent not only a nuclear Iran but also a nuclear arms race in the region, and a violation of nonproliferation norms that would have implications around the world, including in the Asia Pacific region where we have similar problems with North Korea.

David Nakamura.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Yesterday in a speech before business leaders, you said that you want China to play by the rules.  And then your staff later said that, in a bilateral meeting with President Hu, that you expressed that American business leaders are growing frustrated with the pace of change in China’s economy.  What rules is China not playing by?  What specific steps do you need to see from China?  And what punitive actions is your administration willing to take, as you said it would yesterday, if China does not play by the rules?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, first of all, I also said yesterday that we welcome the peaceful rise of China.  It is in America’s interests to see China succeed in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.  China can be a source of stability and help to underwrite international norms and codes of conduct.

And so what we’ve done over the last two years is to try to develop a frank, consistent, open relationship and dialogue with China, and it’s yielded considerable benefits — for example, support for issues like Iran.  But what I’ve also said to Chinese leadership since I came into office is that when it comes to their economic practices, there are a range of things that they have done that disadvantage not just the United States but a whole host of their trading partners and countries in the region.

The most famous example is the issue of China’s currency.  Most economists estimate that the RMB is devalued by 20 to 25 percent.  That means our exports to China are that much more expensive, and their imports into the United States are that much cheaper.  Now, there’s been slight improvement over the last year, partly because of U.S. pressure, but it hasn’t been enough. And it’s time for them to go ahead and move towards a market-based system for their currency.

We recognize they may not be able to do it overnight, but they can do it much more quickly than they’ve done it so far.  And, by the way, that would not necessarily be a bad thing for the Chinese economy, because they’ve been so focused on export-driven growth that they’ve neglected domestic consumption, building up domestic markets.  It makes them much more vulnerable to shocks in the global economy.  It throws the whole world economy out of balance because they’re not buying as much as they could be from other countries.

And this is not something that’s inconsistent with where Chinese leadership say they want to go.  The problem is, is that you’ve got a bunch of export producers in China who like the system as it is, and making changes are difficult for them politically.  I get it.  But the United States and other countries, I think understandably, feel that enough is enough.

That’s not the only concern we have.  Intellectual property rights and protections — companies that do business in China consistently report problems in terms of intellectual property not being protected.  Now, that’s particularly important for an advanced economy like ours, where that’s one of our competitive advantages, is we’ve got great engineers, great entrepreneurs, we’re designing extraordinary new products.  And if they get no protection and the next thing you know China is operating as a low-cost producer and not paying any fees or revenues to folks who invented these products, that’s a problem.

So those are two examples, but there are a number of others. These practices aren’t secret.  I think everybody understands that they’ve been going on for quite some time.  Sometimes, American companies are wary about bringing them up because they don’t want to be punished in terms of their ability to do business in China.  But I don’t have that same concern, so I bring it up.

And in terms of enforcement, the other thing that we’ve been doing is actually trying to enforce the trade laws that are in place.  We’ve brought a number of cases — one that the U.S. press may be familiar with are the cases involving U.S. tires, where we brought very aggressive actions against China and won.  And as a consequence, U.S. producers are in a better position, and that means more U.S. jobs.

So I think we can benefit from trade with China.  And I want certainly to continue cultivating a constructive relationship with the Chinese government, but we’re going to continue to be firm in insisting that they operate by the same rules that everybody else operates under.  We don’t want them taking advantage of the United States or U.S. businesses.

Jake Tapper.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  The other day you told ESPN that the scandal at Penn State — which you said was heartbreaking — should prompt some soul-searching throughout the nation.  I’m wondering if you could elaborate on that, what exactly you meant and — I know you’re a big fan of college sports — if this something you think that is an indictment not just of what happened at Penn State, allegedly, but how athletics are revered in universities.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I think that’s the kind of soul-searching that I was referring to, Jake.  You’re right, I’m a big college sports fan.  I think that when it’s kept in perspective, college athletics not only provides a great outlet for competition for our young people, but helps to bring a sense of community and can help to brand a university in a way that is fun and important.  But what happened at Penn State indicates that at a certain point, folks start thinking about systems and institutions and don’t think about individuals.  And when you think about how vulnerable kids are, for the alleged facts of that case to have taken place and for folks not to immediately say, nothing else matters except making sure those kids are protected, that’s a problem.

It’s not unique to a college sports environment.  I mean, we’ve seen problems in other institutions that are equally heartbreaking.  Not all of them involve children, by the way.  There have been problems, obviously, with respect to sexual abuse or assault directed against women, where institutions sort of closed ranks instead of getting on top of it right away.  And that’s why I said I think all institutions, not just universities or sports programs, have to step back and take stock, and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect people who may be vulnerable in these circumstances, but also just keep in mind what’s important — making sure that our excitement about a college sports program doesn’t get in the way of our basic human response when somebody is being hurt.

And it’s been said that evil can thrive in the world just by good people standing by and doing nothing.  And all of us I think have occasion where we see something that’s wrong, we’ve got to make sure that we step up.  That’s true in college athletics.  That’s true in our government.  That’s true everywhere.

Julianna Goldman.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  In conversations that you’ve had over the past couple of days with Asia Pacific leaders, have any of them brought up the rhetoric that we’re seeing from Republican presidential candidates when it comes to China?  And does that kind of rhetoric or posturing jeopardize the progress that your administration has made with China and the Asia Pacific region as a whole?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think most leaders here understand that politics is not always measured or on the level, and so most of our discussions have to do with substance:  How do we put our people back to work right now?  How do we expand trade?  How do we expand exports?

I’ve been very frank with Chinese leaders, though, in saying that the American people across the board — left, right and center — believe in trade, believe in competition.  We think we’ve got the best workers in the world.  We think we’ve got the best universities, the best entrepreneurs, the best free market. We’re ready to go out there and compete with anybody.  But there is a concern across the political spectrum that the playing field is not level right now.

And so, in conversations with President Hu and others, what I’ve tried to say is we have the opportunity to move in a direction in which this is a win-win:  China is benefiting from trade with the United States; the United States is benefiting as well.  Jobs are being created in the United States and not just in China.  But right now things are out of kilter.  And that is something that is shared across the board, as we saw with the recent vote on the Chinese currency issue in the Senate.

And I think leaders in the region understand that as China grows, as its economic influence expands, that the expectation is, is that they will be a responsible leader in the world economy — which is what the United States has tried to do.  I mean, we try to set up rules that are universal, that everybody can follow, and then we play by those rules.  And then we compete fiercely.  But we don’t try to game the system.  That’s part of what leadership is about.

China has the opportunity to be that same type of leader.  And as the world’s second-largest economy, I think that’s going to be important not just for this region, but for the world.  But that requires them to take responsibility, to understand that their role is different now than it might have been 20 years ago or 30 years ago, where if they were breaking some rules, it didn’t really matter, it did not have a significant impact.  You weren’t seeing huge trade imbalances that had consequences for the world financial system.

Now they’ve grown up, and so they’re going to have to help manage this process in a responsible way.

Laura Meckler.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Why did you get rid of the aloha shirts and the grass skirts?  (Laughter.)  Are you at all concerned that it not appear that you’re having a party over here while so many people are living with such a tough economy?  And I’m wondering if those perceptions were at all on your mind as you were making plans for this trip, which, by necessity, takes you to some pretty exotic and fun locations.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I got rid of the Hawaiian shirts because I had looked at pictures of some of the previous APEC meetings and some of the garb that had appeared previously, and I thought this may be a tradition that we might want to break.  I suggested to the leaders — we gave them a shirt, and if they wanted to wear the shirt, I promise you it would have been fine.  But I didn’t hear a lot of complaints about us breaking precedent on that one.

With respect to this trip, look, this is a pretty nice piece of scenery here and I take enormous pride in having been raised in the state of Hawaii, but we’re here for business.  We’re here to create jobs.  We’re here to promote exports.  And we’ve got a set of tangible, concrete steps that have been taken that are going to make our economy stronger, and that’s part of what our leadership has been about.

When I went to Europe last week, our job was to help shape a solution for the European crisis.  And a lot of folks back home might have wondered, well, that’s Europe’s problem; why are we worrying about it?  Well, if Europe has a major recession, and the financial system in Europe starts spinning out of control, that will have a direct impact on U.S. growth and our ability to create jobs and people raising their living standards.

The same is true out here.  If we’re not playing out here in the world’s largest regional economy and the world’s fastest regional economy, if we’ve abandoned the field and we’re not engaged, American businesses will lose out and those jobs won’t be in the United States of America.

So part of my job is to make sure that the rules of the road are set up so that our folks can compete effectively.  Part of my job is to sell America and our products and our services around the world, and I think we’ve done so very effectively.

And as I said, just to take the example of exports, we’re on track to double our exports since I came into office.  That was a goal I set, and we’re on track to meet it.  That’s actually been one of the stronger parts of our economic growth over the last couple of years.  And I want to make sure that we keep on driving that.

Chuck Todd.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  The Republican co-chair of the super committee, Jeb Hensarling, went on TV today and said if the sequester happens — this idea of the automatic cuts in Medicare and defense — that there was plenty of motivation and plenty of votes to change the makeup of these automatic cuts.

I know you had a conversation with him about this and said that changing it in any way was off the table, that means you’re going to veto this bill, if that’s the case, if it ends up they can’t get a deal in the next 10 days.

And then, can you clarify your end of the “hot mic” conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as it involved Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Could I just say that Chuck is the only guy who asked two questions — so far.  So just — when I cut off here, whoever was next in the queue — I’m messing with you, Chuck.

With respect to the super committee, in August we negotiated to initiate a trillion dollars in cuts over the next 10 years — primarily out of discretionary spending — but we also said that in order for us to move towards a more stable fiscal condition that we’re going to have to get an additional $1.2 trillion — minimum.  I actually argued that we needed more than that.  And the whole idea of the sequester was to make sure that both sides felt obligated to move off rigid positions and do what was required to help the country.

And since that time, they’ve had a lot of conversations, but it feels as if people continue to try to stick with their rigid positions rather than solve the problem.

Now, I’ve put forward a very detailed approach that would achieve $3 trillion-plus in savings.  And it’s the sort of balanced approach that the American people prefer.  It says everything is on the table.  We’ve got to have discretionary spending cuts of the sort we’ve already put in place.  We’ve got to have non-defense cuts.  We’ve got to have defense cuts.  We’re going to have to look at entitlement programs.  We’ve got to reduce our health care costs.  And we’re going to need additional revenue.

And when we’re talking about revenue, if we’ve got to raise money, it makes sense for us to start by asking the wealthiest among us to pay a little bit more before we start asking seniors, for example, to pay a lot more for their Medicare.

Now, this is the same presentation that I made to Speaker Boehner back in August.  It’s the same kind of balanced approach that every single independent committee that’s looked at this has said needs to be done.  And it just feels as if people keep on wanting to jigger the math so that they get a different outcome.

Well, the equation, no matter how you do it, is going to be the same.  If you want a balanced approach that doesn’t gut Medicare and Medicaid, doesn’t prevent us from making investments in education and basic science and research — all the things we’ve been talking about here at APEC, that every world leader understands is the key for long-term economic success — then prudent cuts have to be matched up with revenue.

My hope is that over the next several days, the congressional leadership on the super committee go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done — because the math won’t change.  There’s no magic formula.  There are no magic beans that you can toss on the ground and suddenly a bunch of money grows on trees.  We got to just go ahead and do the responsible thing.  And I’m prepared to sign legislation that is balanced, that solves this problem.

One other thing that I want to say about this:  When I meet with world leaders, what’s striking — whether it’s in Europe or here in Asia — the kinds of fundamental reforms and changes both on the revenue side and the public pension side that other countries are having to make are so much more significant than what we need to do in order to get our books in order.

This doesn’t require radical changes to America or its way of life.  It just means that we spread out the sacrifice across every sector so that it’s fair; so that people don’t feel as if once again people who are well connected, people who have lobbyists, special interests get off easy, and the burden is placed on middle-class families that are already struggling.  So if other countries can do it, we can do it — and we can do it in a responsible way.

I’m not going to comment on whether I’d veto a particular bill until I actually see a bill, because I still hold out the prospect that there’s going to be a light-bulb moment where everybody says “Ah-ha! Here’s what we’ve got to do.”

With respect to the “hot mic” in France, I’m not going to comment on conversations that I have with individual leaders, but what I will say is this:  The primary conversation I had with President Sarkozy in that meeting revolved around my significant disappointment that France had voted in favor of the Palestinians joining UNESCO, knowing full well that under our laws, that would require the United States cutting off funding to UNESCO, and after I had consistently made the argument that the only way we’re going to solve the Middle East situation is if Palestinians and Israelis sit down at the table and negotiate; that it is not going to work to try to do an end run through the United Nations.

So I had a very frank and firm conversation with President Sarkozy about that issue.  And that is consistent with both private and public statements that I’ve been making to everybody over the last several months.

Ed Henry.

Q    Mr. President, I have three questions — (laughter) — starting with Mitt Romney.  Just one question, I promise.  (Laughter.)

You started with a $447-billion jobs bill.  Two months later, many speeches later, you’ve got virtually nothing from that.  You’ve got the veterans jobs bill — which is important, obviously — and a lot of executive orders.  Are you coming to the realization that you may just get nothing here and go to the American people in 2012 without another jobs bill, 9 percent unemployment, and then wondering about your leadership, sir?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I think — I think, first of all, the American people, at this point, are wondering about congressional leadership in failing to pass the jobs bill, the components of which the majority of Americans, including many Republicans, think are a good idea.

And that’s part of the reason why the American people right now aren’t feeling real good about Congress.  Normally, by the way, the way politics works is if the overwhelming majority of the American people aren’t happy with what you’re doing you start doing something different.  So far that hasn’t happened in Congress — and the Republicans in Congress, in particular.  They don’t seem to have that same sense of urgency about needing to put people back to work.

I’m going to keep on pushing.  My expectation is, is that we will get some of it done now, and I’ll keep on pushing until we get all of it done.  And that may take me all the way to November to get it all done.  And it may take a new Congress to get it all done.  But the component parts — cutting taxes for middle-class families, cutting taxes for small businesses that are hiring our veterans and hiring the long-term unemployed, putting teachers back in the classroom — here in the state of Hawaii, you have a bunch of kids who are going to school four days a week because of budget problems.  How are we going to win the competition in the 21st century with our kids going to school basically halftime?
The jobs bill would help alleviate those budget pressures at the state level.

Rebuilding our infrastructure.  Every world leader that you talk to, they’re saying to themselves, how can we make sure we’ve got a first-class infrastructure?  And as you travel through the Asia Pacific region, you see China having better airports than us, Singapore having superior ports to ours.  Well, that’s going to impact our capacity to do business here, our capacity to trade, our capacity to get U.S. products made by U.S. workers into the fastest-growing market in the world.  And by the way, we could put a lot of people back to work at the same time.

So I’m going to keep on pushing.  And my expectation is, is that we will just keep on chipping away at this.  If you’re asking me do I anticipate that the Republican leadership in the House or the Senate suddenly decide that I was right all along and they will adopt a hundred percent of my proposals, the answer is, no, I don’t expect that.  Do I anticipate that at some point they recognize that doing nothing is not an option?  That’s my hope.  And that should be their hope, too, because if they don’t, I think we’ll have a different set of leaders in Congress.

All right?  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.

END
5:50 P.M. HAST

Full Text November 12-13, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC Summit in Hawaii

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Source: WH, 11-13-11
President Barack Obama meets with the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the APEC

President Barack Obama attends a meeting with the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the APEC summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. At left is Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, and right is U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Yesterday, President Obama kicked off the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers and Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.  In the morning, the President met with Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) leaders, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

President Obama announced in November 2009 the United States’ intention to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to conclude an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. priorities and values.  This agreement will boost U.S. economic growth and support the creation and retention of high-quality jobs at home by increasing American exports to a region that includes some of the world’s most robust economies and that represents more than 40 percent of global trade.

As the President noted yesterday:

We just had an excellent meeting, and I’m very pleased to announce that our nine nations have reached the broad outlines of an agreement.  There are still plenty of details to work out, but we are confident that we can do so.  So we’ve directed our teams to finalize this agreement in the coming year.  It is an ambitious goal, but we are optimistic that we can get it done.

The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports, and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority.  Along with our trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, the TPP will also help achieve my goal of doubling U.S. exports, which support millions of American jobs.

Later in the day, President Obama participated in an APEC CEO Business summit, including a question and answer session with Boeing CEO, Jim McNerney.

President Barack Obama answers a question at the APEC CEO business summit

President Barack Obama, with Boeing CEO James McHenry, Jr., answers a question at the APEC CEO business summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the afternoon, President Obama hosted bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Noda of Japan, President Medvedev of Russia and President Hu of China.

Prime Minster Noda expressed Japan’s interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, with President Obama welcoming and encouraging Japan’s interest in the TPP agreement, noting that eliminating the barriers to trade between our two countries could provide an historic opportunity to deepen our economic relationship, as well as strengthen Japan’s ties with some of its closest partners in the region.

President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan at the APEC summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Next, President Obama met with President Medvedev of Russia, where they had a wide-ranging discussion, in particular focusing on a number of security issues where the U.S. and Russia had significant interested.  This included Afghanistan, and the importance of all regional parties assisting the Afghan government in stabilizing the country for the benefit of the Afghan people as well as Iran and its nuclear program.  President Obama also made an important announcement:

Although it’s not official yet, the invitation has been extended to Russia to join the WTO, as a testament to the hard work of President Medvedev and his team.  We believe this is going to be good for the United States, for the world, as well as for Russia, because it will provide increased opportunities for markets in which we can sell goods and products and services, as well as purchase good, products and services without some of the traditional barriers.

Finally, President Obama met with President Hu of China.  He noted that cooperation between the world’s two of the largest countries and largest economies was vital not only to the security and prosperity of our own people, but also vital to the world.

President Obama continued:

Such cooperation is particularly important to the Asia Pacific region, where both China and the United States are extraordinarily active.  We are both Pacific powers.  And I think many countries in the region look to a constructive relationship between the United States and China as a basis for continued growth and prosperity.

Lastly, in the evening the President and the First Lady welcomed APEC leaders and their spouses for a dinner and reception followed by a cultural performance at the Hale Koa Hotel in Hawaii.

Leaders and their spouses watch cultural performance at the APEC summit

Leaders and their spouses watch a hula performance at the APEC summit at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES










%d bloggers like this: