Full Text Obama Presidency February 4, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Education and ConnectED Wireless Internet Access Initiative

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Visits a Middle School Classroom

Source: WH, 2-4-14

Watch on YouTube

President Barack Obama records video on an iPad

President Barack Obama records video on an iPad using an app from NASA during a classroom visit at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md., February 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Earlier today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on his ConnectED initiative. Before his remarks, however, he stopped by one of the school’s math classes to chat with students – and have some fun with their technology….READ MORE

Remarks by the President on ConnectED

Source: WH, 2-4-14

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks on ConnectED
February 04, 2014 5:14 PM

President Obama Speaks on ConnectED

Buck Lodge Middle School
Adelphi, Maryland

11:37 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Well, can everybody please give Nelson a big round of applause for the outstanding job that he did?  (Applause.)  So Nelson just told me backstage he plans on being a Navy SEAL.  So I was really nice to him now so he doesn’t mess with me later.  (Laughter.)  We are very proud of him, proud of all the students who are here today.

I want to thank Principal Richardson for the great job that he’s doing.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all the wonderful teachers who are here at Buck Lodge Middle School.  Go, Vikings!  (Applause.)

I brought along some people who very much care about the future of these young people.  We’ve got America’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, in the house.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and two of his fellow commissioners who are here, doing great work.  (Applause.)  Congressman Steny Hoyer is in the house.  (Applause.)  County Executive Rushern Baker is here.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got some business leaders who’ve made some very big commitments today — because they know that your education is the very best investment that all of us can make in America.

Now, last week, in my State of the Union address, I spent some time talking about opportunity for everybody, which is at the heart of this country — the idea that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like — if you have a chair feel free to sit down.  (Laughter.)  That wasn’t actually my line, but I thought — (laughter.)  But at the core of America, the essence of it, what makes us exceptional is this idea, no matter what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is, if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to live up to your responsibilities, you can make it here in America.

But each generation has to work hard to make sure that dream of opportunity stays alive for the next generation.  And the opportunity agenda that I laid out last week will help us do that.  It’s focused on four areas:  Number one, more new jobs; number two, training folks with the skills to fill those jobs;  number three, making sure our economy rewards hard work with decent wages and economic security; and number four, the piece I’m here to talk about today — guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.  Every child.  Not just some, but everybody.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m only standing here today because my education gave me a chance.  I’m not so different than a lot of these young people.  I was raised by a single mom, with the help of my grandma and my grandpa.  We didn’t have a lot of money, and for a while my mother was working and going to school at the same time as she was raising a couple of kids.  And there were times where times were tight.  But with a family who loved me, and with some hard work on my part — although it wasn’t always consistent — as my mother and my grandparents would point out.  And then, ultimately, with the help of scholarships and student loans, I was able to go to college.  I was able to go to law school.  And entire worlds of opportunity opened up to me that might not otherwise have been available.

So the country invested in me.  My parents invested in me, my grandparents invested in me, but my country invested in me.  And I want America to now invest in you — because in the faces of these students, these are future doctors and lawyers and engineers, scientists, business leaders.  We don’t know what kinds of products, services, good work that any of these students may do.  But I’m betting on them, and all of us have to bet on them.

So five years ago, we set out to change the odds on all of our kids.  Our Race to the Top challenge has helped raise expectations and performance in states all across the country.  Our high school graduation rate is the highest that it’s been in more than 30 years.  (Applause.)  That’s an achievement.  The dropout rate among Latino students has been cut in half since 2000 — a really big deal.  (Applause.)  We reformed our student loan programs, so that more young people are able to afford to go to college, and now we’ve got more young people earning a college degree than ever before.

Teachers and principals across the country are working hard to prepare students like you with the skills you need for a new economy — not just the basics of reading and writing and arithmetic, but skills like science and technology, engineering, critical thinking, creativity — asking, what do you think about that idea, and how would you do things differently.

Now, we still have more work to do to reach more kids and reach them faster.  And some of the ideas that I’ve presented will require Congress to act.  But while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I said at the State of the Union — and I want to repeat here today — I will act on my own.  Wherever I have the opportunity to expand opportunity for more young people, wherever I have a chance to make a difference in their lives, I’m going to act.  I’m going to act.  (Applause.)

So in this Year of Action, we’re going to work with states and communities to help them make high-quality pre-K available to more young children.  We know it’s a good investment.  (Applause.)  We want to keep working to partner high schools with colleges and employers to offer real-world education experiences that can lead directly to jobs and careers.  And we want to do more to make sure no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education and, obviously, no poor kid is priced out of a college education.  That’s got to be a priority for us.  (Applause.)

But today, we’re here to announce some big strides that we’re making to put the world and outer space at every child’s fingertips — whether they live in a big city or a quiet suburb or in rural America.

Last year, I launched something called ConnectED — a new initiative to close the technology gap in our schools and connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband Internet within five years.  Now, this is something we can do without waiting for Congress.  We do need some help, though.  So we picked up the phone and we started asking some outstanding business leaders to help bring our schools and libraries into the 21st century.  Today, thanks to the leadership of some of these companies, we’ve got some big announcements to make.

But first, I want you to know why it matters that we make sure technology is available to every child.  Technology is not the entire answer, by the way, when it comes to educational excellence.  We’ve got to make sure we’ve got outstanding teachers.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to make sure that parents are doing what they need to do.  (Applause.)  We need young people to make the effort and to have high expectations for themselves.  (Applause.)  But technology can help; t’s a tool, it’s just one more tool.

So today, the average American school has about the same Internet bandwidth as the average American home, but it serves 200 times as many people.  Think about it.  So you’ve got the same bandwidth, but it’s a school — it’s not your house.  Only around 30 percent of our students have true high-speed Internet in the classroom.  In countries like South Korea, that’s 100 percent.  We shouldn’t give that kind of competitive advantage over to other countries.  We want to make sure our young people have the same advantages that some child in South Korea has right now.  In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, we should definitely demand it in our schools.  (Applause.)

Now, here at Buck Lodge, you are showing how we can use technology to teach our young people in innovative ways.  And by the way, the principal told me that part of how this got started was some of the stimulus dollars that we put in place almost five years ago now.  But every student here has access to their own iPad.  And you don’t just write papers or take tests; they’re animating movies, they’re designing blogs, they’re collaborating on multimedia projects.  In the word of an 8th grader, Annie Gomez, she says, “You can learn even more, you can take in more, and then you know more about the world.”

And new technologies are helping teachers.  So in Mr. Jeter’s science class, students take quizzes on their tablets; he then can check the answers in real time and he can figure out who needs extra help. In Ms. Galinat’s language arts class, students learn vocabulary not just with flashcards, but with online video. In Ms. Stover’s math class — I was just over with Ms. Stover — students bring their tablets home to watch lectures about concepts like ratios and rational numbers, and then use the next day’s classroom time applying those concepts to the real world.  So technology allows teachers here to spend more time being creative, less time teaching to the test, giving continual feedback, being able to pinpoint where a young person is having trouble because they’re able to see their work right away in a pretty efficient way.

And I will say, I was just in a classroom — there was a lesson plan that was organized around the Curiosity Rover on Mars.  And the young people there were doing some amazing stuff  — making their own iBooks with video and multimedia.  And as I was walking out, I was talking to Steny Hoyer about how I remember using gluesticks — (laughter) — and scissors to cut stuff out and it didn’t look very good.  (Laughter.)  These guys were making books you could publish.  (Laughter.)

But it makes learning exciting, it makes it interesting.  If you’re studying science and you are actually seeing the engineers who built Rover talk about what it is — or the Curiosity Rover  — talking about what they’re doing and how they did it, and being able to see the Rover on the Martian landscape, it makes vivid and real math and science in a way that is more interesting to students, which means that they’re more likely to be engaged and can potentially do better.

And this is how it should be for every student and every teacher at every school and library in the country.  That’s how it should be for everbody, not just some.  (Applause.)

Today, almost eight months after we launched ConnectED, we can announce some very big commitments that are going to go a long way towards realizing that vision where every child has the access to the technology that they can use to help them learn.  So, under Tom Wheeler’s leadership, the FCC is announcing a down payment of $2 billion to connect more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students to high-speed broadband over the next two years — (applause) — 15,000 schools, 20 million students.  (Applause.)  It won’t require a single piece of legislation from Congress.  It won’t add a single dime to the deficit.

And even better, some of America’s biggest tech companies have decided to join this effort, with commitments worth more than three-quarters of a billion dollars.  So let me just give you some examples.

Apple will donate $100 million worth of iPads, MacBooks, and other products to schools across the country.  (Applause.)  That’s an enormous commitment.
Sprint will provide free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, so their 21st century education isn’t confined to the classroom.  (Applause.)

AT&T will donate over $100 million worth of wireless service to middle-school students, so that they can continue to do homework when they get home.  (Applause.)

Autodesk will make its 3D-design software available for free to every high school in the country.  (Applause.)

Microsoft will offer products like Windows to students and teachers at a deep discount, and provide 12 million free copies of Office to our schools.  (Applause.)

O’Reilly Media and Safari Books Online will donate more than $100 million worth of eBooks that will help students learn technology skills like coding and web design.  (Applause.)

And finally, because no technology will ever be as important as a great teacher, Verizon will expand a program to help train educators to use all these new tools in all 50 states.  (Applause.)

So I want to thank all the business leaders who are here today for stepping up.  Why don’t you stand up?  Let’s give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We’re very proud of them. Thank you.  (Applause.)

Now, this is an extraordinary commitment by these business leaders, but they’re business leaders, so they’re not just doing it out of the goodness of their heart.  They want the country to do well, but they also understand that they want educated customers.  They want customers who are able to get good jobs, who are going to be using these tools in the future.  They want that next young architect coming out of here to be familiar with using that iPad so that they’re designing buildings and using their products.

They know that the entire economy will be lifted if more of our young people are doing better.  So they’re doing good, but it will also help them succeed from a bottom-line perspective by this kind of participation.  They are united in their support of young people like you, even though sometimes they compete against each other — because all of us have a stake in your education and in your future.

And that’s why we have to build on this progress together.  Later this year, I’m going to ask Congress to do its part and give teachers using cutting-edge technologies the training they deserve.  (Applause.)  Because it’s important — as I said before, technology is not a silver bullet.  It’s only as good as the teachers who are there using it as one more tool to help inspire and teach and work through problems.

And although I’ve noticed that these days when I visit schools, most teachers are much younger than I am — (laughter)  — I’m getting on in years, obviously, which means that I’m not always as familiar with iPads and technology as I need to be.  We want every teacher in every school to understand from soup to nuts how you can potentially use this technology.  And that oftentimes requires a training component that makes sure that the technology is not just sitting there, but is actually used and incorporated in the best way possible.

So I’m going to ask every business leader across America to join us in this effort.  Ask yourself what you can do to help us connect our students to the 21st century.  Ask yourselves what you can do to support our teachers and our parents and give every young people every shot at success.

And we can make this happen.  And just imagine what it will mean for our country when we do.  Imagine what it could mean for a girl growing up on a farm to be able to take AP Biology or AP Physics even if her school is too small to offer it, because she’s got the access to technology that allows her to take those classes online.  Imagine what it means for a boy with an illness that confines him sometimes to home where he can join his classmates for every lesson with FaceTime or Skype.  Imagine what it means for educators to spend less time grading tests and papers, more time helping young people learn.  Imagine more businesses starting here and hiring here, because they know for a fact that the young people here are going to be equipped with the skills that are better than anybody else on Earth.

That’s the future we’re building.  That’s what these companies are investing in.  And if America pulls together now — if we do our part to make sure every young person can go as far as their passion and their hard work will take them, whether it’s to Mars or to the bottom of the ocean or to anywhere on this planet where you’ve got an Internet connection — if we commit ourselves to restoring opportunity for everybody, then we can keep the American Dream alive for generations to come.

That’s our main project.  That’s our main obligation.  That’s why I ran for President.  That’s what I’m going to be working on for the next three years.  (Applause.)

Thank you for all the work that you’re doing here at this outstanding school.  God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
12:04 P.M. EST

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Full Text Obama Presidency October 3, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Economic Impact of the Government Shutdown in Rockville, Maryland

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Government Shutdown

Source: WH, 10-3-13 

President Obama Speaks on the Economic Impact of the Government Shutdown

President Obama Speaks on the Economic Impact of the Government Shutdown

M. Luis Construction Company, Rockville, Maryland

10:49 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Good to see all of you.  Please, please have a seat.  Well, hello, Rockville!

Let me start by recognizing three public servants who fight hard every day for Maryland families and businesses.  First of all, Congressman Chris Van Hollen is here.  (Applause.)  Yay, Chris!  Congressman John Delaney is here.  (Applause.)  And we have the acting head of the Small Business Administration — Jeanne Hulit is here.  (Applause.)

And I also want to give a big thanks to your bosses, Cidalia and Natalia, for being such gracious hosts.  I had a chance to meet them at the White House.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Now I know where they got their good looks from, because I had a chance to meet mom and dad, and their beautiful families.  So I’m so glad to be here.  And I had a chance to learn a little bit about their story.  So when their parents brought them from Portugal to America almost 40 years ago, no one in the family spoke a word of English.  But that didn’t stop their father, Manuel, and their mother, Albertina, from having a big dream — believing that if they worked hard, they could get ahead, and that even though they’d never had any schooling, maybe their daughters could go to college; maybe in America you could make it if you tried.  That’s what they believed.

So they started their own construction company with a pickup truck and a wheelbarrow.  And when Cidalia and Natalia turned 14, they began to help — cleaning tools, translating documents.  And they became the first in their family to go to college.  After graduation, they started their own business, and later they bought the family business from their parents.  So today, M. Luis Construction is a $60 million company with about 250 employees.  (Applause.)  And I understand you’re opening your fourth office at the end of this month.  So this story is what America is all about.  You start off — maybe you don’t have a lot — but you’re willing to work hard, you put in the time, opportunities out there, and you’re able to pass on an even better life to your family, your children, your grandchildren.

And it’s good news that after how hard the construction industry got hit during the recession, things are starting to get a little better.  Remember, it was just five years ago that our economy was in free fall.  Businesses were shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs every single month, and the recession ultimately cost millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, their savings — everything they had worked hard to build.

Today, over the last three and a half years, our businesses have added 7.5 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  Our deficits are falling.  Our housing market is healing, which means construction is improving; manufacturing is growing; the auto industry is back.  America is on pace to become the number one energy producer in the world this year.  (Applause.)  More small businesses have gotten loans so they can grow and they can hire — just like M. Luis did with the help of the Small Business Jobs Act that I signed three years ago.  So that’s part of what allowed this company to grow.  (Applause.)

So we still have a long way to go.  We’ve still got a lot of work to do, especially to rebuild the middle class.  But we’re making steady progress.  And the reason I’m here is, we can’t afford to threaten that progress right now.  Right now, hundreds of thousands of Americans, hardworking Americans, suddenly aren’t receiving their paycheck.  Right now, they’re worrying about missing the rent, or their mortgage, or even making ends meet.  We can all relate to that.  Imagine if suddenly you weren’t sure whether you were going to get your next paycheck, with all the bills that might be mounting up.  Well, that’s what’s happening right now to hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country.

Companies like this one worried that their businesses are going to be disrupted, because obviously, particularly in an area like Maryland, Virginia, where there are a lot of federal workers, you don’t know how that’s going to impact the economy.  Veterans, seniors, women — they’re all worrying that the services they depend on will be disrupted too.

And the worst part is, this time it’s not because of a once-in-a-lifetime recession.  This isn’t happening because of some financial crisis.  It’s happening because of a reckless Republican shutdown in Washington.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s right!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, we’ve all seen the offices locked down, the monuments closed.  We’ve heard about services denied, we’ve heard about benefits that are delayed.  But the impacts of a shutdown go way beyond those things that you’re seeing on television.  Those hundreds of thousands of Americans — a lot of whom live around here — don’t know when they’re going to get their next paycheck, and that means stores and restaurants around here don’t know if they’ll have as many customers.

Across the country you’ve got farmers in rural areas and small business owners who deserve a loan, but they’re being left in the lurch right now.  They might have an application pending as we speak, but there’s nobody in the office to process the loan.  The SBA gives a billion dollars of loans a month to small businesses — a billion dollars a month goes to small businesses all across the country.  Right now those can’t be processed because there’s nobody there to process them.

Veterans who deserve our support are getting less help.  Little kids who deserve a Head Start have been sent home from the safe places where they learn and grow every single day.  And of course, their families then have to scramble to figure out what to do.  And the longer this goes on, the worse it will be.  And it makes no sense.

The American people elected their representatives to make their lives easier, not harder.  And there is one way out of this reckless and damaging Republican shutdown:  Congress has to pass a budget that funds our government with no partisan strings attached.  (Applause.)

Now, I want everybody to understand what’s happened, because sometimes when this gets reported on everybody kind of thinks, well, you know, both sides are just squabbling; Democrats and Republicans, they’re always arguing, so neither side is behaving properly.  I want everybody to understand what’s happened here.  The Republicans passed a temporary budget for two months at a funding level that we, as Democrats, actually think is way too low because we’re not providing help for more small businesses, doing more for early childhood education, doing more to rebuild our infrastructure.  But we said, okay, while we’re still trying to figure out this budget, we’re prepared to go ahead and take the Republican budget levels that they proposed.

So the Senate passed that with no strings attached — not because it had everything the Democrats wanted.  In fact, it had very little that the Democrats wanted.  But we said, let’s go ahead and just make sure that other people aren’t hurt while negotiations are still taking place.

So that’s already passed the Senate.  And we know there are enough Republicans and Democrats to vote in the House of Representatives for the same thing.  So I want everybody to understand this:  There are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives today that, if the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, simply let the bill get on the floor for an up-or-down vote, every congressman could vote their conscience  — the shutdown would end today.

The only thing that is keeping the government shut down; the only thing preventing people from going back to work and basic research starting back up, and farmers and small business owners getting their loan — the only thing that’s preventing all that from happening, right now, today, in the next five minutes, is that Speaker John Boehner won’t even let the bill get a yes-or-no vote, because he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party.  That’s all.  That’s what this whole thing is about.

We’ve heard a lot from congressional Republicans in the past couple of days saying they don’t want this shutdown.  Well, there’s a simple way to prove it.  Send the bill to the floor, let everybody vote — it will pass.  Send me the bill; I will sign it.  The shutdown will be over and we can get back to the business of governing and helping the American people.  (Applause.)

It could happen in the next half hour.  National parks, monuments, offices would all reopen immediately.  Benefits and services would resume again.  Hundreds of thousands of dedicated public servants who are worrying about whether they’re going to be able to pay the mortgage or pay the car note, they’d start going back to work right away.  So my simple message today is:  Call a vote.  Call a vote.

AUDIENCE:  Call a vote!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Put it on the floor and let every individual member of Congress make up their own minds.  And they can show the American people, are you for a shutdown or not?  If you’re not for a shutdown, you’ll vote for the bill; if you’re for a shutdown, you won’t vote for a bill.  We don’t have to twist anybody’s arms.  But that way, the American people will be clear about who is responsible for the shutdown.  Or, alternatively, more hopefully, they’d be clear that this is something that doesn’t make sense and we should go ahead and make sure that we’re looking out for the American people.  It should be that simple.

But as I said, the problem we’ve got is that there’s one faction of one party, in one half of one branch of government that so far has refused to allow that yes-or-no vote unless they get some massive partisan concessions in exchange for doing what they’re supposed to be doing anyway, in exchange for doing what everybody else agrees is necessary.  And they won’t agree to end the shutdown until they get their way.  And you may think I’m exaggerating, but just the other day, one tea party Republican called the idea of a shutdown “wonderful.”  Another said that a shutdown is “exactly what we wanted.”  Well, they got exactly what they wanted.  Now they’re trying to figure out how to get out of it.

Just yesterday, one House Republican said — I’m quoting here, because I want to make sure people understand I didn’t make this up.  One House Republican said, “We’re not going to be disrespected.  We have to get something out of this.  And I don’t know what that even is.”  That was a quote.  “We’re not going to be disrespected.  We have got to get something out of this.  And I don’t know what that even is.”  Think about that.

You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people.  There is no higher honor than that.  (Applause.)  You’ve already gotten the opportunity to help businesses like this one, workers like these.  So the American people aren’t in the mood to give you a goodie bag to go with it.  What you get is our intelligence professionals being back on the job.  What you get is our medical researchers back on the job.  (Applause.)  What you get are little kids back into Head Start.  (Applause.)  What you get are our national parks and monuments open again.  What you get is the economy not stalling, but continuing to grow.  (Applause.)  What you get are workers continuing to be hired.  That’s what you get.  That’s what you should be asking for.  Take a vote, stop this farce, and end this shutdown right now.  (Applause.)

If you’re being disrespected, it’s because of that attitude you got that you deserve to get something for doing your job.  Everybody here just does their job, right?  If you’re working here and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said, you know what, I want to get something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get.  (Laughter.)  But I’m just going to stop working until I get something.  I’m going to shut down the whole plant until I get something.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You’d get fired.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’d get fired.  (Applause.)  Right?  Because the deal is you’ve already gotten hired.  You’ve got a job.  You’re getting a paycheck.  And so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job and contributing to a business and looking out for your fellow workers.  That’s what you’re getting.  Well, it shouldn’t be any different for a member of Congress.

Now, unlike past shutdowns — I want to make sure everybody understands this because, again, sometimes the tendency is to say, well, both sides are at fault.  This one has nothing to do with deficits or spending or budgets.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 60 years.  We’ve cut the deficits in half since I took office.  (Applause.)  And some of the things that the Republicans are asking for right now would actually add to our deficits, seriously.

So this is not about spending.  And this isn’t about fiscal responsibility.  This whole thing is about one thing:  the Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act and denying affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.  (Applause.)  That’s all this has become about.  That seems to be the only thing that unites the Republican Party these days.

Through this whole fight, they’ve said the American people don’t want Obamacare, so we should shut down the government to repeal it or delay it.  But here’s the problem:  The government is now shut down, but the Affordable Care Act is still open for business.  (Applause.)  So they’re not even accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish.  And, by the way, in the first two days since the new marketplaces — basically big group plans that we’ve set up — the first two days that they opened, websites where you can compare and purchase new affordable insurance plans and maybe get tax credits to reduce your costs, millions of Americans have made it clear they do want health insurance.  (Applause.)

More than 6 million people visited the website HealthCare.gov the day it opened.  Nearly 200,000 people picked up the phone and called the call center.  In Kentucky alone — this is a state where — I didn’t win Kentucky.  (Laughter.)  So I know they weren’t doing it for me.  In Kentucky, nearly 11,000 people applied for new insurance plans in the first two days — just in one state, Kentucky.  And many Americans are finding out when they go on the website that they’ll save a lot of money or get health insurance for the first time.

So I would think that if, in fact, this was going to be such a disaster that the Republicans say it’s going to be, that it was going to be so unpopular, they wouldn’t have to shut down the government.  They could wait, nobody would show any interest, there would be, like, two people on the website — (laughter) — and everybody would then vote for candidates who want to repeal it.

It’s not as if Republicans haven’t had a chance to debate the health care law.  It passed the House of Representatives.  It passed the Senate.  The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — you remember all this.  Last November, voters rejected the presidential candidate that ran on a platform to repeal it.  (Applause.)  So the Affordable Care Act has gone through every single democratic process, all three branches of government.  It’s the law of the land.  It’s here to stay.

I’ve said to Republicans, if there are specific things you think can improve the law to make it even better for people as opposed to just gutting it and leaving 25 million people without health insurance, I’m happy to talk to you about that.  But a Republican shutdown won’t change the fact that millions of people need health insurance, and that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented.  The shutdown does not change that.  All the shutdown is doing is making it harder for ordinary Americans to get by, and harder for businesses to create jobs at a time when our economy is just starting to gain traction again.

You’ve heard Republicans say that Obamacare will hurt the economy, but the economy has been growing and creating jobs.  The single-greatest threat to our economy and to our businesses like this one is not the Affordable Care Act, it’s the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to stop refighting a settled election, or making the demands that have nothing to do with the budget.  They need to move on to the actual business of governing.  That’s what will help the economy.  That’s what will grow the economy.  That’s what will put people back to work.  (Applause.)

And more than that, House Republicans need to stop careening from one crisis to another in everything they do.  Have you noticed that?  Since they’ve taken over the House of Representatives, we have one of these crises every three months.  Have you noticed?  And you keep on thinking, all right, well, this is going to be the last one; they’re not going to do this again.  And then they do it again.

I know you’re tired of it.  I’m tired of it.  It doesn’t mean that they’re wrong on every single issue.  I’ve said I’m happy to negotiate with you on anything.  I don’t think any one party has a monopoly on wisdom.  But you don’t negotiate by putting a gun to the other person’s head — or, worse yet, by putting a gun to the American people’s head by threatening a shutdown.

And, by the way, even after Congress reopens your government, it’s going to have to turn around very quickly and do something else — and that’s pay America’s bills.  I want to spend a little time on this.  It’s something called raising the debt ceiling.  And it’s got a lousy name, so a lot of people end up thinking, I don’t know, I don’t think we should raise our debt ceiling, because it sounds like we’re raising our debt.  But that’s not what this is about.

It doesn’t cost taxpayers a single dime.  It doesn’t grow our deficits by a single dime.  It doesn’t allow anybody to spend any new money whatsoever.  So it’s not something that raises our debt.  What it does is allow the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. government to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.  I want you to think about this.

If you go to a restaurant, you order a meal, you eat it.  Maybe you have some wine.  Maybe you have two glasses of wine — great meal.  And then you look at the tab — it’s pretty expensive — and you decide I’m not going to pay the bill.  But you’re not saving money.  You’re not being frugal.  You’re just a deadbeat, right?  (Laughter.)  If you buy a house and you decide, this month I’d rather go on vacation somewhere so I’m not going to pay my mortgage, you didn’t just save yourself some money.  You’re just going to get foreclosed on.

So you don’t save money by not paying your bills.  You don’t reduce your debt by not paying your bills.  All you’re doing is making yourself unreliable and hurting your credit rating.  And you’ll start getting those phone calls and those notices in the mail.  And the next time you try to borrow, somebody is going to say, uh-uh, because you don’t pay your bills, you’re a deadbeat.  Well, the same is true for countries.

The only thing that the debt ceiling does is to let the U.S. Treasury pay for what Congress has already bought.  That’s why it’s something that has been routine.  Traditionally, it’s not a big deal.  Congress has raised it 45 times since Ronald Reagan took office.  This is just kind of a routine part of keeping the government running.  The last time the House Republicans flirted with not raising the debt ceiling, back in 2011 — some of you remember this — our economy took a bad hit.  Our country’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time, just like you’d be downgraded if you didn’t pay your mortgage.

This time, they are threatening to actually force the United States to default on its obligations for the very first time in history.  Now, you’ll hear John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and these other Republicans say, we don’t want to default.  But everybody knows — it’s written about in all the papers — that their basic theory is, okay, if the shutdown doesn’t work, then we are going to try to get some extra concessions out of the President.  We’ll put like a long laundry list, all the things that we want that we can’t get passed on our own.  And if we don’t get it, we’ll tell them we don’t — we won’t vote to pay the country’s bills.  We’ll let the country default.

I’m not just making this up.  I mean, it’s common knowledge.  Every reporter here knows it.  And I want you to understand the consequences of this.  As reckless as a government shutdown is, as many people as are being hurt by a government shutdown, an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse.  In a government shutdown, Social Security checks still go out on time.  In an economic shutdown, if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, they don’t go out on time.

In a government shutdown, disability benefits still arrive on time.  In an economic shutdown, they don’t.  In a government shutdown, millions of Americans — not just federal workers — everybody faces real economic hardship.  In an economic shutdown, falling pensions and home values and rising interest rates on things like mortgages and student loans — all those things risk putting us back into a bad recession, which will affect this company and those workers and all of you.  That’s not my analysis.  That’s — every economist out there is saying the same thing.  We’ve never done it before.

And the United States is the center of the world economy.  So if we screw up, everybody gets screwed up.  The whole world will have problems, which is why generally nobody has ever thought to actually threaten not to pay our bills.  It would be the height of irresponsibility.  And that’s why I’ve said this before — I’m going to repeat it:  There will be no negotiations over this.  (Applause.)  The American people are not pawns in some political game.  You don’t get to demand some ransom in exchange for keeping the government running.  You don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for keeping the economy running.  You don’t get to demand ransom for doing your most basic job.

And the sooner that the Republicans in Congress heed the warnings not just of me or Democrats like Chris and John, but heed the warnings of the Chamber of Commerce, and CEOs, and economists, and a whole lot of Republicans outside of Congress  — they’re all saying, do not do this.  They’re all saying to Congress, do your job; and the sooner you do your job, the less damage you’ll do to our economy and to businesses like this one.

So pass a budget, end the government shutdown.  Pay our bills.  Prevent an economic shutdown.  Just vote and end this shutdown.  And you should do it today so we can get back to growing this economy, creating jobs and strengthening our middle class.  (Applause.)

Let me close just by sharing a story I heard as I was getting ready to come here today.  Many of you already know it.  Two years ago, a mulch factory next to M. Luis’s main equipment storage facility caught fire, and most of the company’s equipment was destroyed, causing millions of dollars in damage.  But even while the fire was still burning, dozens of employees rushed over to the facility and tried to save as much as they could — some of you were probably there.  And when they finished cutting fire lines and spraying down the perimeter of their own property, they went over to help their neighbors.

And afterwards, even though all the employees here at M. Luis are on salary, even though the company had just taken a big financial hit, Cidalia and Natalia paid everyone overtime, and along with each check they included a personalized note saying just how much they had appreciated the efforts of the workers.  And Cidalia said, everybody says the biggest asset to a business is employees.  Some people mean it, some people don’t — we actually do.

So this company right here is full of folks who do right by each other.  They don’t try to see if they can work every angle.  They don’t lie about each other.  They don’t try to undermine each other.  They understand they’re supposed to be on the same team.  You pitch in, you look out for one another.  When somebody gets knocked down, you help them back up.  You don’t ask what can you get out of this, because you know that success doesn’t depend on one of you, it depends on all of you working together.

Well, America is no different.  I see that same spirit in so many cities and towns that I visit all across the country.  It is alive and well all across the country.  It’s alive and well in this community where restaurants and businesses are rallying around their regulars, and they’re looking out for all the dedicated public servants who have been furloughed.  You’ve been reading stories about restaurants who are saying, you know what, while you’re on furlough, come on, we’ll give you a burger, we’ll give you a meal, we’ll help you out.

That’s the American ideal.  It says, we’re working together, looking out for one another, meeting our responsibilities, doing our jobs, thinking about future generations.  And that’s why I believe, ultimately, reason and common sense will prevail.  That spirit at some point will infiltrate Washington as well.  Because I think the American people are so good and so decent, they’re going to get better behavior from their government than this.  And we’ll once again make sure this is a country where you can make it if you try.

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

END                11:21 A.M. EDT

Political Headlines May 24, 2013: President Barack Obama Nods to Drones in Naval Academy Commencement Address

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Nods to Drones in Naval Academy Speech

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-13
President Obama gave a nod to his newly articulated drone policy as he addressed the graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday.

“We still face threats from al Qaeda affiliates and individuals caught up in its ideology,” Obama said, addressing the academy’s graduation ceremony in Annapolis, Md. “Will still need to conduct targeted strikes against terrorists before they kill our citizens.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines May 24, 2013: President Barack Obama Talks Sexual Assault in Military at Naval Academy Commencement

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

At Naval Academy Commencement, Obama Talks Sexual Assault in Military

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-13

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

As a cold rain poured down on the commencement ceremony, President Obama addressed the graduating class of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Friday and used the recent scandal of sexual assaults in the military as a call for the graduates to restore trust and honor in America’s institutions….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 24, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Address at the United States Naval Academy Commencement — Discusses Sexual Assault Problem in the Military

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Delivers the Commencement Address at the U.S. Naval Academy

Source: WH, 5-24-13

Graduates toss hats in the air at conclusion of U.S. Naval Academy commencementGraduates toss hats in the air at conclusion of U.S. Naval Academy commencement at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, May 24, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Today, President Obama delivered the commencement address to the U.S. Naval Academy class of 2013.

President Barack Obama participates in the U.S. Naval Academy commencementPresident Barack Obama participates in the U.S. Naval Academy commencement at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, May 24, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

“And you’ve proven yourself physically,” President Obama said. “Last month I welcomed Coach Ken and the team back to the White House because you beat Air Force, you beat Army, and you brought the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy back to Annapolis.”

President Barack Obama greets graduates during the U.S. Naval Academy commencementPresident Barack Obama greets graduates during the U.S. Naval Academy commencement at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, May 24, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama Speaks to Naval Graduates About Sexual Assault Issue

Source: NYT, 5-24-13

In his commencement speech at the Naval Academy on Friday, the president praised the military as the nation’s “most trusted institution,” but took note of the recent cases in which service members have been charged with sexual assault.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

In his commencement speech at the Naval Academy on Friday, the president praised the military as the nation’s “most trusted institution,” but took note of the recent cases in which service members have been charged with sexual assault.

President Obama urged them to follow an “inner compass” and to “do what’s right, even when it’s unpopular.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at the United States Naval Academy Commencement

Source: WH, 5-24-13

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland

10:29 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Midshipmen!  (Applause.)  Well, thank you, Governor O’Malley, for your kind introduction and the great support that Maryland gives this Academy.  To Secretary Mabus, Admiral Greenert, General Paxton — thank you all for your incredible leadership of our extraordinary Navy and Marine Corps teams.

To Vice Admiral Miller, thank you for the outstanding work that you do.  To Captain Clark and all the faculty and staff; to the moms and dads who raised your sons and daughters to seek this life of service; to the local sponsor families who cared for them far from home; the members of the Class of 1963 — veterans who’ve guided these midshipmen along the way — today is also a tribute to your support and your patriotism.  And I know that the Class of 2013 joins me in saluting your service as well.  (Applause.)

To the entire Brigade of Midshipmen — you embody the highest virtues of this venerable institution.  And yet, I know that some of you at times have enjoyed yourselves at other local institutions like McGarvey’s and Armadillo’s.  (Applause.) But today is a day of celebration — and also forgiveness.  And so, in keeping with tradition, I declare all midshipmen on restriction for minor conduct offenses are hereby absolved.  (Laughter and applause.)  As always, Admiral Miller gets to decide what’s “minor.”  (Laughter.)  Some of these guys are laughing a little nervously about that.  (Laughter.)

Now, obviously, most of all, it is wonderful to be able to celebrate this incredible Class of 2013.  This has special meaning for me as well, because the United States Naval Academy was the very first service academy that I had the privilege to address as President.  On that spring day four years ago, most of you were still in high school, finishing your senior year, or at NAPS, finishing up prep school.  You were a little younger — and I was, too.  You had your entire Naval Academy experience ahead of you; I was already getting chest bumps from the graduates of 2009.  (Laughter.)

Soon after, you came to the Yard — and you got quite a welcome.  The joy of I-Day.  Wonderful haircuts.  Stylish eyeglasses.  And all that Plebe Year, if you got something wrong, your upperclassmen kindly corrected you — at high volume, at very close range.  (Laughter.)  When Michelle brought our daughter Sasha here for a visit, she got a somewhat different reception.  She was just in elementary school, but it seemed like the Navy was already doing some recruiting — because as she went through Bancroft Hall she came to one room and saw the name on the door — “Sasha Obama, Class of 2023.”  (Laughter.)  So you never know.

Today, each of you can take enormous pride, for you’ve met the mission of this Academy.  You’ve proven yourselves morally, living a concept of honor and integrity — and this includes treating one another with respect and recognizing the strength of every member of your team.  You’re the most diverse class to graduate in Naval Academy history.  And among the many proud young women graduating today, 13 will serve on submarines.  (Applause.)

You’ve proven yourselves mentally.  Now, I know that some think of this as just a small engineering school on the Severn.  You’ve not only met its rigorous standards, you’ve helped this Academy earn a new distinction — the number-one public liberal arts school in America.  (Applause.)

And you’ve proven yourselves physically — a Herndon Climb of two minutes, five seconds.  (Applause.)  Now that they put the grease back on, no one will ever match your time.  (Laughter.)  More importantly, last month I welcomed Coach Ken and the team back to the White House because you beat Air Force, you beat Army, and you brought the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy back to Annapolis.  (Applause.)

So, Class of 2013, in your four years by the Bay, you’ve met every test before you.  And today is the day that you’ve been counting down to for so long.  You will take your oath.  Those boards and gold bars will be placed on your shoulders.  And as your Commander-in-Chief, I congratulate each of you on becoming our newest officers — ensigns in the United States Navy, second lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps.

And soon you will join the fleet.  You’ll lead Marines.  And just as you’ve changed over the past four years, so, too, have the challenges facing our military.  Before you arrived here, our nation was engaged in two wars, al Qaeda’s leadership was entrenched in their safe havens, many of our alliances were strained, and our nation’s standing in the world had suffered.  And over the past four years, we’ve strengthened our alliances and restored America’s image in the world.

The war in Iraq is over and we welcomed our troops home.  Thanks to our brave personnel — including our incredible Navy SEALs — we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.  (Applause.)  In Afghanistan, the transition is underway, our troops are coming home, and by the end of next year our war in Afghanistan will come to an end.  (Applause.)

And today, we salute all the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in these wars, including 18 graduates of this Academy. We honor them all, now and forever.

Yesterday, I spoke about the way forward in the fight to keep our country secure — for even as we’ve decimated the al Qaeda leadership, we still face threats from al Qaeda affiliates and from individuals caught up in its ideology.  Even as we move beyond deploying large ground armies abroad, we still need to conduct precise, targeted strikes against terrorists before they kill our citizens.  And even as we stay vigilant in the face of terrorism and stay true to our Constitution and our values, we need to stay ready for the full range of threats — from nations seeking weapons of mass destruction to cyber criminals seeking to unleash weapons of mass destruction.

In these tough fiscal times, we also have to make hard choices at home, including in our Armed Forces.  But I want you all to know as you enter in what I know will be extraordinary years of service, let me say as clearly as I can — the United States of America will always maintain our military superiority. And as your Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to keep fighting to give you the equipment and support required to meet the missions we ask of you, and also to make sure that you are getting the pay and the benefits and the support that you deserve.  (Applause.)

I’ll keep fighting for the capabilities and technologies you need to prevail, and a shipbuilding plan that puts us on track to achieve a 300-ship fleet, with capabilities that exceed the power of the next dozen navies combined.  (Applause.)

And I’ll keep fighting to end those foolish across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester, which is threatening our readiness.  With deficits falling at the fastest rate in decades, it’s time for Congress to budget in a smarter way that protects middle-class priorities, preserves investments in our future, and keeps our military strong — because we have the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history, and I am determined to keep it that way, and Congress should be, too.  (Applause.)

We need you to project power across the oceans, from the Pacific to the Persian Gulf — 100 percent on watch.  We need you to partner with other navies and militaries, from Africa to the Americas.  We need you to respond with compassion in times of disaster, as when you helped respond to Hurricane Sandy.  And in all your work — in your lifetime of service — we need you to uphold the highest standards of integrity and character.

With the time I have left — and I know it’s a little wet, but the Superintendent told me that Marines and folks in the Navy don’t mind a little water.  (Laughter.)

With the time I have left, that’s what I want to discuss today.  It’s no secret that in recent decades many Americans have lost confidence in many of the institutions that help shape our society and our democracy.  But I suggest to you today that institutions do not fail in a vacuum.  Institutions are made up of people, individuals.  And we’ve seen how the actions of a few can undermine the integrity of those institutions.

Every day, men and women of talent and skill work in the financial institutions that fund new businesses, and put new families — put families in new homes and help students go to college.  But we’ve also seen how the misdeeds of some — wild risk-taking or putting profits before people — sparked a financial crisis and deepened the recession that cost millions of Americans their jobs.

Every day, elected officials like those on this stage, but also all across the nation, devote themselves to improving our communities and our country.  But all too often we’ve seen a politics where compromise is rejected as a dirty word, and policies are driven by special interests rather than the national interest.  And that breeds a cynicism that threatens our democracy.

Every day, our civil servants do their jobs with professionalism — protecting our national security and delivering the services that so many Americans expect.  But as we’ve seen again in recent days, it only takes the misconduct of a few to further erode the people’s trust in their government.  That’s unacceptable to me, and I know it’s unacceptable to you.

And against this backdrop, what I said here four years ago remains true today:  Our military remains the most trusted institution in America.  When others have shirked their responsibilities, our Armed Forces have met every mission we’ve given them.  When others have been distracted by petty arguments, our men and women in uniform come together as one American team.

And yet, we must acknowledge that even here, even in our military, we’ve seen how the misconduct of some can have effects that ripple far and wide.  In our digital age, a single image from the battlefield of troops falling short of their standards can go viral and endanger our forces and undermine our efforts to achieve security and peace.  Likewise, those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong.  That’s why we have to be determined to stop these crimes, because they’ve got no place in the greatest military on Earth.

So, Class of 2013, I say all this because you’re about to assume the burden of leadership.  As officers, you will be trusted with the most awesome of responsibilities — the lives of the men and women under your command.  And when your service is complete, many of you will go on to help lead your communities, America’s companies.  You will lead this country.  And if we want to restore the trust that the American people deserve to have in their institutions, all of us have to do our part.  And those of us in leadership — myself included — have to constantly strive to remain worthy of the public trust.

As you go forward in your careers, we need you to carry forth the values that you’ve learned at this institution, because our nation needs them now more than ever.

We need your Honor — that inner compass that guides you, not when the path is easy and obvious, but when it’s hard and uncertain; that tells you the difference between that which is right and that which is wrong.  Perhaps it will be a moment when you think nobody is watching.  But never forget that honor, like character, is what you do when nobody is looking.  More likely it will be when you’re in the spotlight, leading others –the men and women who are looking up to you to set an example.  Never ask them to do what you don’t ask of yourself.  Live with integrity and speak with honesty and take responsibility and demand accountability.

We need your Honor and we need your Courage — yes, the daring that tells you to move toward danger when every fiber of your being says to turn the other way.  But even more than physical courage, we need your moral courage — the strength to do what’s right, especially when it’s unpopular.  Because at the end of the day and at the end of your career, you want to look in the mirror and say with confidence and with pride, I fulfilled my oath; I did my duty; I stayed true to my values.

We need your Honor and Courage, and we need your Commitment — that sense of purpose that says I will try even harder, I will do even better in what I expect of myself, in the way I interact with others, including those of different backgrounds.  It’s no accident that our military is the most respected institution in America — and one of the most diverse institutions in America.  So recognize the dignity in every human being.  Treat one another with respect.  Remember that when we harness the talents of every man and every woman from every race and every religion and every creed, no nation can ever match us.

And, finally, we need your Resolve — the same spirit reflected in your class motto:  “Surrender to Nothing.”  If you seek an example, you don’t need to look far, because not long ago, two midshipmen sat where you sat — from the Class of 2006  — and they inspire us today.

Here at the Academy, Brad Snyder was the captain of the swim team.  He deployed to Afghanistan, and while rushing to the aid of his teammates, he stepped on an IED and lost both his eyes. With the support of family and friends, Brad learned to feel his way and move again.  And before long, he was back in the swimming pool, where he said “I’m free.”  Then, just one year later, Brad competed at the London Paralympics and won three medals, including two golds.

And when Michelle and I welcomed our U.S. Olympians to the White House, Brad joined us — standing tall, right in front.  And, he said, “Overcoming adversity is a decision.  You can let that beat you, or you can make the decision to move forward.”

Here at the Academy, Matt Lampert was on the rowing team.  He deployed to Afghanistan with his Marine special ops team.  And as they entered a compound, an IED exploded and Matt lost both his legs.  He endured a long and painful recovery.  But with his new legs, he learned to walk again.  He practiced, he trained, and then he passed his physical tests and deployed to Afghanistan again — a double amputee, back in the fight.

And Matt recently completed his tour.  He is back home and is looking ahead to many years of service.  Reflecting on his journey — his mission to return to his unit — he said he was determined, “however long it was going to take.”

So Class of 2013, I cannot promise you a life of comfort and ease, for you have chosen an ancient path — the profession of arms — which carries all the perils of our modern world.  And just as classes before you could not know that they would find themselves at Coral Sea or Midway or Fallujah or Helmand, we cannot know sitting here today where your service will carry you.

But I do know this.  As you say farewell to Bancroft Hall, as you make your way down Stribling Walk one last time, you’re becoming the newest link in a storied chain.  As I look into your eyes today, I see the same confidence and the same professionalism, the same fidelity to our values of those who’ve served before you — the Jones and Nimitz and Lejeune and Burke, and, yes, the Snyder and the Lampert — Americans who surrendered to nothing.

And I’m absolutely confident that you will uphold the highest of standards, and that your courage and honor and your commitment will see us through, and that you will always prove yourselves worthy of the trust our nation is placing in you today.

So, congratulations, Class of 2013.  (Applause.)  God bless our Navy, and God bless our Marine Corps.  (Applause.)  God bless our Armed Services.  God bless these United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
10:52 A.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz April 4, 2012: Rick Santorum’s Speech in Pennsylvania After Losing all 3 Primaries in Maryland, Washington DC & Wisconsin

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Rick Santorum: Wisconsin Primary speech (Transcript, video)

Source: WaPo, 4-3-12

Rick Santorum delivered his election-night speech from Mars, Penn., on Tuesday night as the results from the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin primaries were coming in. Unfortunately for Santorum, he was defeated in all three primaries by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

SANTORUM: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. It is great to be home. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I’m here with Karen and the kids and the people behind us, that’s just — that’s not all of Karen’s family but most of it. Karen is — Karen and her — Karen’s parents had 11 children and umpteen nieces and nephews that we have and it’s — it’s just great to be here with — with friends and family. And we have now reached the point where it’s halftime. Half the delegates in this process have been — have been selected. And who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?

(APPLAUSE)

It is — it is great to be here in Southwestern Pennsylvania where — where I grew up in a — in a steel town about 20 miles north — northeast of here in this same county, Butler, Pennsylvania. How about a shout out for Butler?

(APPLAUSE)

And this area — this area like that town and like the people in it, forged steel to build this country, to help win world wars and not just have we built the country and forged steel to win wars, we’ve forged people with strong values and a strong commitment to what made America great. OK you can applaud that too.

(APPLAUSE)

I can always be interrupted for applause, don’t worry about that. This is — this why we came here. This is why we wanted to come back to west — Southwestern Pennsylvania to — to kick off the second half. This is a — a part of the country, Pennsylvania that well, it’s where America started. Not only did we forge steel in this state, we forged liberty in this state.

(APPLAUSE)

The symbol of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, where that document that those who have been following me about on the campaign trail have been seeing, this document both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence forged right here in Pennsylvania. And there’s no place where those values are more instilled than in this great commonwealth. Ladies and gentleman…

(APPLAUSE)

This great commonwealth has given a tremendous amount to our country. If you look at just the history of our — of our great state, not only the Declaration and the Constitution created here, but we won key battles. Washington’s crossing — Washington crossing the Delaware to save the revolution. That plan was hatched up here in Pennsylvania. Some in the other camps in this race have said that all of the significant people have spoken in this race so far. See, General Washington knew that in fact not all the significant are those elites in society. Those who are the generals and the ranked officers, but in fact what General Washington understood, some of the best ideas, some of the best plans, in fact what has made this country great is that we have listened to real significant voices of every day Americans. And he did. And that’s why he crossed the Delaware, surprised the Hessian’s and turned the tide of the revolution. Ladies and gentleman, Pennsylvania and half the other people in this country have yet to be heard and we’re going to to out and campaign here and across this nation to make sure that their voices are heard in the next few months.

(APPLAUSE)

We know who we are here in Pennsylvania. We know who we are. We know the stock that we are made of. We’ve contributed a lot. Great deeds have occurred here. Great Pennsylvanians have contributed. I know, I had the privilege of representing this state in the Senate for 12 years and this community here in Southwestern Pennsylvania for four.

(APPLAUSE)

I went to every one of those counties every year, all 67 and I understand the greatness of the people of this state. And I understand how important this race is here in Pennsylvania. This is called the Keystone State for a reason. We are in fact the keystone. We’re the — we’re the place upon which our country was built and great things continue to happen here. Great things like in manufacturing and oil and gas production here in Pennsylvania that is turning our economy around and creating opportunities for us to grow our economy. Not just here in Pennsylvania, but because of lower natural gas prices we’re seeing manufacturing and other businesses come back in spite of the crushing burden that Barack Obama and his administration has put on our economy.

SANTORUM: We need someone who understands what liberty is all about. Someone who’s going to go out and fight to make sure that the biggest and most crushing burden that this administration has put on us, one that was debated just last week in the United States Supreme Court about government taking control of your health and of course as a result, of your very life. And dictating to you – dictating to you what you will do, how much you will pay, what insurance you will get. And even what the practice of your faith will be dictated by the federal government.

We need someone in this race who can go out and make the clarion call for liberty. Someone who has stood tall and opposed government run health care at any level, state or federal. Who can go out and make the case of what Barack Obama is doing, which even Justice Stevens, which is what ObamaCare does and what his agenda of government control of health care and his attempt to get Cap and Trade, where he’s going dictate how you — energy — how much energy, not just health care, but how much energy you’re going to use.

That this is a fundamental change in the relationship between the people and their government. Ladies and gentleman if we’re going to win this race, we can’t have little differences between our nominee and President Obama. We have to have clear contrasting colors. In the last 120 years…

(APPLAUSE)

In the last 120 years, we’ve had one time where the Republican Party has defeated an incumbent Democrat for president. One time. Time and time again the Republican establishment and aristocracy have shoved down the throats of the Republican Party and people across this country, moderate Republicans. Because of course we have to win by getting people in the middle. There’s one person who understood, we don’t win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the middle to move to us and move this country forward.

(APPLAUSE)

Not only do we know who we are here in Pennsylvania and what we stand for, but you know who I am. You’re going to hear a lot of things being thrown as has happened in all the other states where we’ve seen a whole bunch of negative campaigning. We’ve gone out across this country. And with the most improbable of odds, and with limited resources except one in which we’ve had incredible resources, and that’s human resources. The people of this country have stood up and followed because they’ve seen someone who has a clear positive vision. Someone whose convictions are also forged in steel, not on an Etch-A-Sketch.

(APPLAUSE)

So you’ll be seeing the negative ads and you’ll be here getting the robo-calls and all the other things thrown at us. But you know me. You know how hard I work. You know how strongly I believe the things that — the values of Southwestern Pennsylvania have instilled in me. You know that I come from a steel town from immigrant parents. Grandfather worked in the mines. Someone who lived in government housing on a V.A. grounds and saw the great sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, serving them as they served our country. You know me. They’ll say all the things, that I’m someone who doesn’t stand up for what I believe in. You know me.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I ask you over the next three weeks, this isn’t halftime, no marching bands. We’re hitting the field. The clock starts tonight. We’ve got three weeks to go out here in Pennsylvania and win this state and after winning this state, the field looks a little different in May. I remind everybody the one time that we did win in the last 120 years, the Republican Party had the courage to go out and nominate someone who all the experts and all the pundits and all the media — all the Republican establishment said couldn’t win. He was too conservative.

He lost almost every early primary. He only won one until May. One primary till May. Everybody told him to get out of the race. This was back in 1976. They said, get out of the race, we need a moderate. In 1976, Ronald Reagan didn’t get out of the race. He was able to stand tall in May, win the state of Texas, which we have every intention of doing.

(APPLAUSE)

He took that race the entire way to the convention and he fell short. And in the fall Republicans fell short because we nominated another moderate who couldn’t galvanize our party and bring those votes to our side to get the kind of change that we needed in America. And then four years later, they fought him again. We need another moderate. We have to defeat this Democratic incumbent. And this time the Republican establishment lost. Let’s not make the mistake of 1976 again. Let’s bypass that error and move straight to 1980. And let’s defeat a Democratic incumbent. And you can help me here in Pennsylvania. Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.

Full Text Campaign Buzz April 3, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech After Winning Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington DC Primary Trio — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks in Wisconsin

Source: Mitt Romney, 4-3-12

romney-2012-blog-photo-mitt-speech-wisconsin-election.jpg

Thank you, Wisconsin! And Maryland! And Washington, DC!

We have won a great victory tonight in our campaign to restore the promise of America.

You won’t find Americans with bigger hearts than those here in our heartland.  But as I’ve travelled across this beautiful state, I’ve visited with far too many whose hearts are filled with anxiety about the future. So many good and decent people seem to be running harder just to stay in place and, for many, no matter how hard they run, every day puts them just a little bit further behind.

It’s that way across so much of America.

Under this President’s watch, more Americans have lost their jobs than during any other period since the Depression. Millions have lost their homes, and a record number of Americans are living in poverty. And the most vulnerable have been hurt the most – over 30% of single moms are struggling in poverty. New business startups are at the lowest level in 30 years, and our national debt is at a record high. And when you drive home tonight and stop at a gas station, just take a look at the prices and ask yourself, “Four more years?”

And that’s why it is important to understand one astonishing fact about this election: President Obama thinks he’s doing a good job. No, I’m not kidding. He actually thinks he’s doing a great job. An historically great job. According to the President, only Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon Johnson have accomplished more. And no, he didn’t say that on Saturday Night Live.

It’s enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of True Believers telling you what a great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little out of touch.

This campaign will deal with many complicated issues but there is a basic choice before us:

The President has pledged to “transform America,” and he has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new Government-Centered Society.

I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of our Opportunity Society, led by free people and free enterprises.

Our different visions for America are the product of our values and our life experiences.

Barack Obama once said that his work as a community organizer motivated him to help “communities that had been ravaged by plant closings.”  His desire to help others could not be more admirable but it’s clear that he saw free enterprise as the villain and not the solution.

He never seemed to grasp the basic point that a plant closes when a business loses money. So today when the President attacks business and when his policies make it more difficult for businesses to grow and prosper, he is also attacking the very communities he wanted to help. That’s how it works in America. Or at least that’s how it works when America is working.

But under Barack Obama, America hasn’t been working. The ironic tragedy is that the community organizer who wanted to help those hurt by a plant closing became the President on whose watch more jobs have been lost than any time since the Great Depression.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, the government must do more because the economy is doomed to do less. When you attack business and vilify success, you will have less business and less success. And then, of course, the debate becomes about how much to extend unemployment insurance because you have guaranteed there will be millions more unemployed.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, tax increases become not only a necessity, but also a desired tool for social justice. In that world of shrinking means, there’s a finite amount of money, and as someone once famously said, you need taxes to spread the wealth around.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, government spending will always increase because…there’s no reason to stop it. There’s always someone who is entitled to something more, and who will vote for anyone who will give them something more.

We know where that transformation leads. There are other nations that have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages. Sound familiar?

I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom and opportunity and limited government that have made this nation the leader it is.

It is opportunity that has always driven America and defined us as Americans!

I’m not naïve enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution to all of our problems – nor am I naïve enough to doubt that it is one of the greatest forces of good this world has ever known.

Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, and to make our lives better, than all of the government programs put together.

If we become one of those societies that attack success, one outcome is certain – there will be a lot less success.

That’s not who we are. The promise of America has always been that if you worked hard, and took some risks, that there was the opportunity to build a better life for your family and for the next generation.

This means that government must be smaller and have strict limits placed on its power.  Obamacare violates both principles. I will repeal it.

Taxes should be as low as possible, in line with those of competing nations, and designed to foster innovation and growth. That’s why I will cut marginal tax rates across the board.

Regulations are necessary, but they must be continuously updated, streamlined, and modernized. Regulators should see part of their job as protecting economic freedom, promoting enterprise, and fostering job creation.

Workers should have the right to form unions, but unions should not be forced upon them. And unions should not have the power to take money out of their members’ paychecks to buy the support of politicians favored by the union bosses.

Out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but they really don’t like businesses very much.  But the economy is simply the product of all the nation’s businesses added together.  So it’s like saying you love omelets but don’t like eggs.

To build a strong economy that provides good jobs and rising wages and that reduces poverty, we need to build successful businesses of every kind imaginable.  And President Obama has been attacking successful businesses of every kind imaginable.

We have always been the country where dreamers build dreams and where one dream helps launch another. And if those dreamers are rewarded with prosperity, we view that as a reason others would be encouraged to dream big as well.

These last few years have been difficult, made worse by mistakes and failures of leadership.

But if the hill before us is a little steeper we have always been a nation of big steppers.

In this last year, I have been all over this country, from student union cafeterias to kitchen tables, from factory break rooms to boardrooms, and I’ve heard frustration and anger but rarely hopelessness. Many Americans have given up on this President but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.

We have a sacred duty to restore the promise of America. And we will do it.  We will do it because we believe in America.

Tonight, I’m asking the good people of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to join me.  Join me in the next step toward that destination of November 6th, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the Promise of America has been kept. The dreamers can dream a little bigger, the help wanted signs can be dusted off, and we can start again.

And this time we’ll get it right. We’ll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad. Together we’ll build the greatest America we have ever known, where prosperity is grown and shared, not limited and divided, an America that guarantees that ours is the door that innovation and greatness always knocks on first.

There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us, but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.

Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny. Join me.  And take another step every day until November 6th.

We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Campaign Buzz April 3, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Clean Sweep Wins all 3 Primaries — Deciscive Victories in Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington DC Primaries

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

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY’S CLEAN SWEEP WINS ALL 3 PRIMARIES — DECISIVE VICTORIES IN WISCONSIN, MARYLAND & WASHINGTON DC PRIMARIES

Live Coverage of the Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington Primaries: Mitt Romney won the Maryland and Washington primaries on Tuesday night, with a comfortable lead in Wisconsin, steadily adding to a comfortable delegate lead that he hopes will soon be formidable enough to drive his lagging rivals from the race for the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 4-3-12

  • Mitt Romney wins Republican primary in Wisconsin: Mitt Romney has won the Wisconsin primary, AP reports, adding to his commanding lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The former Massachusetts governor also captured Tuesday’s GOP primaries in Maryland and the District of Columbia…. – WaPo, 4-3-12Mitt Romney wins District of Columbia GOP primary: Mitt Romney has won the District of Columbia Republican primary, AP reports. Romney’s leading opponent, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, wasn’t on the D.C. ballot.
    Romney also captured Maryland earlier Tuesday, and polls have closed in Wisconsin, the day’s most contested primary race…. – WaPo, 4-3-12
    Mitt Romney wins Republican primary in Maryland: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cruised to victory in the Maryland Republican presidential primary Tuesday night, easily defeating former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum…. – WaPo, 4-3-12
  • Romney Scores Decisive Victories in Maryland and Wisconsin: Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican nomination on Tuesday, and found himself in his first direct engagement with President Obama…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Romney wins Wisconsin GOP primary, CBS News projects: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scored a high-profile victory Tuesday night in the politically-charged state of Wisconsin, CBS News projects…. – CBS News, 4-3-12
  • In blow to Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney wins Wisconsin GOP primary: Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential primary in Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press, delivering what could be a final blow to the sputtering candidacy of Rick Santorum. As voters in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District…. – LAT, 4-3-12
  • Romney Wins Maryland and Spars With Obama: Mitt Romney was poised to tighten his grip on the Republican nomination, and found himself in his first direct engagement with President Obama…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Romney picks up two wins in Republican race: Mitt Romney won contests in Maryland and Washington, DC on Tuesday to tighten his grip on the race for the Republican presidential nomination and looked to land a big blow on rival Rick Santorum with an expected…. – Reuters, 4-3-12
  • In Wisconsin Exit Polls, Hints at the Leanings of November Voters: More than 8 in 10 Wisconsin voters said they thought Mr. Romney would be the party’s standard-bearer, according to preliminary exit poll results…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Romney wins rare conservative majority in Maryland; Wisconsin voters see him: Mitt Romney won the Maryland Republican presidential primary broadly and deeply, besting chief rival Rick Santorum among conservatives as well as moderates and emerging as the runaway favorite of those who care most about beating President…. – WaPo, 4-3-12

Campaign Buzz April 3, 2012: Live Coverage of Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington DC Primaries — Mitt Romney Set to Win All 3

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

IN FOCUS: LIVE COVERAGE OF WISCONSIN, MARYLAND & WASHINGTON DC PRIMARIES — MITT ROMNEY SET TO WIN ALL THREE

Live Coverage of the Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington Primaries: Follow along for live updates, analysis, exit polls and results from The New York Times political unit…. – NYT, 4-3-12

Wisconsin primary looms large for Romney, larger for Santorum: Forty-two delegates are up for grabs when Wisconsin holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday. But for Rick Santorum, much more appears to be at stake…. – CNN, 4-3-12

  • Can Mitt Romney settle doubts once and for all in tonight’s primaries?: With Republican primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, DC today, front-runner Mitt Romney is poised to win a hat-trick and cement recent gains, but can he change the script – and the doubts over his candidacy – for good this time?… – Globe and Mail, 4-3-12
  • Primary voting begins in Washington, turnout light as expected: Mitt Romney is expected to coast to victory Tuesday in the lightly contested Republican presidential primary in the District of Columbia, which offers GOP voters in the nation’s capital a rare opportunity to have their voices heard in … – WaPo, 4-3-12
  • Wisconsin Votes After Fiercely Fought Battle: As Wisconsin voters went to the polls on Tuesday in the first hard-fought Republican presidential primary in the state since 1980, many echoed the arguments made by the two main rivals on the campaign trail…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Wisconsin, Maryland, DC primaries could move Romney closer to nomination: Polls are open in Maryland, the District and Wisconsin, where Tuesday’s Republican primaries could move Mitt Romney closer to a nomination that has hovered just out of his reach.
    Romney is favored to win in all three jurisdictions: the closest race appears to be in Wisconsin, where recent polls have shown him with a single-digit lead over former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.)…. – WaPo, 4-3-12
  • Santorum’s county victories show rural strength: Rick Santorum spent a lot of time campaigning recently in more rural areas of Wisconsin and Maryland, hoping to boost his vote totals today in the states’ primaries. A new analysis shows Santorum is doing better than Mitt Romney… – USA Today, 4-3-12
  • Primary voters in Wisconsin, DC and Maryland head to polls: Primary voters here will either help solidify Mitt Romney’s grip on the Republican presidential nomination or give Rick Santorum another reason to continue his campaign…. – USA Today, 4-3-12

White House Recap March 10-16, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron for Basketball, State Dinner & Press Conference

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: MARCH 10-16, 2012

West Wing Week: 3/16/12 or “Leveling the Playing Field”

Source: WH, 3-16-12

This week, the President pressed for support of advanced manufacturing, held a series of “Live from the White House” Interviews, made a major announcement on trade rights, hosted Prime Minster Cameron for an Official State Visit and a trip to an NCAA game, and spoke on energy and job creation in Maryland.

Weekly Wrap Up: Standing Together and Working Together

Source: WH, 3-16-12

No Quick Fix: Speaking from Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland on Thursday, the President explained his all-of-the-above strategy to develop every available source of American-made energy. “We need an energy strategy for the future,” the President explained. “Yes, develop as much oil and gas as we can, but also develop wind power and solar power and biofuels.”

Rock-Solid Alliance: On Wednesday morning, President Obama – together with the First Lady, the Vice President and Dr. Biden – welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron and Samantha Cameron to the White House during the Official Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn. Later that evening, the Prime Minister and his wife were honored with a State Dinner, where they were joined by dignitaries from both countries. “In war and I peace, in times of plenty and times of hardship,” President Obama remarked, “we stand tall and proud and strong, together.”

Announcing a New Trade Case: After forming the Trade Enforcement Unit two weeks ago, President Obama announced on Wednesday that, “we’re bringing a new trade case against China – and we’re being joined by Japan and some of our European allies.” The effort is focused on expanding American manufacturers’ access to rare earth materials, which China currently supplies and, due to their policies, prevents the United States from obtaining.

Bracketology: Before the madness began, the President took time to fill out his brackets for the 2012 NCAA men and women’s basketball tournaments. While Kentucky, Ohio State and Mizzou made his Final Four, it’s the North Carolina Tar Heels who he selected as his national champion. On Monday night, the President headed to Dayton, Ohio with Prime Minister Cameron to catch some early round action in person.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Policy at Prince George’s Community College

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back at Presidential Candidates


Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Obama giving a speech on his energy policies at the Prince Georges Community College in Largo, Md.

Source: NYT, 3-15-12

In what has become a weekly ritual, President Obama on Thursday defended his administration’s energy policy, in the face of relentlessly rising gasoline prices, to an American public that believes he can do more to ease the pain at the pump.

Mr. Obama cycled through now-familiar themes, promoting his record of increased domestic oil and gas production; stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks; and investments in alternative sources of energy, like biofuels, wind and solar power. The administration’s energy policy has been the focus of many speeches the president has given in recent weeks.

But on Thursday he delivered a notably sarcastic rebuttal to his Republican presidential challengers, particularly Newt Gingrich, who has promised, if elected, to bring down gas prices to $2.50 a gallon, and has ridiculed the president’s talk of making fuel from algaeREAD MORE

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy

Prince George’s Community College
Largo, Maryland

11:05 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Well, I am so — what a wonderful reception.  (Applause.)  That is so nice.  Thank you.  You’re all just cheering because I know Michelle.  (Laughter.)  Well, it is wonderful to be here.  Folks who have a seat, feel free to take a seat.

I want to thank Roy for that introduction.  He talks pretty smooth, right?  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s great to be back in Maryland.  It’s great to be here at Prince George’s Community College.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  Now, but before I start, I want to thank your other president, Dr. Charlene Dukes.  (Applause.)  Your Governor, Martin O’Malley, is in the house.  (Applause.)  Lieutenant Governor Brown is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got one of the finest members of the United States Senate that you could hope to have in Ben Cardin.  (Applause.)  Congresswoman Donna Edwards is here.  (Applause.) And County Executive Rushern Baker is here.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of you for coming out here today.  (Applause.)

Now, I just finished learning about some of the work that you’re doing here at this community college to make sure that homes are using less energy, and helping folks save money on their heating and their air-conditioning bills.  And I was very impressed.  I’m even more impressed because I know this program is giving a lot of people a chance to make a decent living — everyone from veterans to folks with disabilities to folks who’ve just been down on their luck but want to work.  So I want you to know how proud I am of this program, of this institution, of all of you.  (Applause.)

The skills that you gain here at this community college will be the surest path to success in this economy.  Because if there’s one thing that we’re thinking about a lot these days, is, first of all, how do we make sure that American workers have the skills and education they need to be able to succeed in this competitive global economy?  And community colleges all across the country and all across Maryland are doing an outstanding job providing young people that first opportunity after high school but also helping older workers retrain for the jobs of the future because the economy is constantly adapting.  (Applause.)

So community colleges are big.  Community colleges are critical to our long-term success.  What’s also critical to our long-term success is the question of energy:  How do we use less energy?  How do we produce more energy right here in the United States of America?

And I know this is an especially important topic for everybody right now because you guys have to fill up at the gas station.

AUDIENCE:  Yeah!

THE PRESIDENT:  And it’s rough.  Gas prices and the world oil markets right now are putting a lot of pressure on families right now.  And one of the things that is important to remember is for a lot of folks, just doing what you have to do to get your kids to school, to get to the job, to do grocery shopping
— you don’t have an option.  You’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank.  And when prices spike on the world market, it’s like a tax, it’s like somebody is going into your pocket.

We passed the payroll tax at the beginning of this year to make sure that everybody had an extra $40 in their paycheck, on average — (applause) — in part because we anticipated that gas prices might be going up like they did last year, given tight world oil supplies.

But that doesn’t make it easier for a lot of families out there that are just struggling to get by.  This is tough.  Now, the question is, how do we meet this challenge?  Because right now we’re starting to see a lot of politicians talking a lot but not doing much.  (Applause.)  And we’ve seen this movie before.  (Applause.)  Gas prices went up around this time last year.  Gas prices shot up in the spring and summer of 2008 — I remember, I was running for President at the time.  This has been going on for years now.

And every time prices start to go up — especially in an election year — politicians dust off their 3-point plans for $2.00 gas.  (Laughter.)  I guess this year they decided, we’re going to make it $2.50.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know where — why not $2.40?  (Laughter.)  Why not $2.10?  (Laughter.)  But they tell the same story.  They head down to the gas station; they make sure a few cameras are following them — (laughter) — and then they start acting like we’ve got a magic wand and we will give you cheap gas forever if you just elect us.  (Laughter.)  Every time.  Been the same script for 30 years.  It’s like a bad rerun.  (Laughter.)

Now, here’s the thing — because we’ve seen it all before, we know better.  You know better.  There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to high gas prices.  There’s no silver bullet.  Anybody who tells you otherwise isn’t really looking for a solution — they’re trying to ride the political wave of the moment.

Usually, the most common thing, when you actually ask them — all right, how is it that you’re going to get back to $2.00 a gallon gas, how are you going to do it, specifically, what is your plan — then typically what you’ll hear from them is, well, if we just drilled more for oil then gas prices would immediately come down and all our problems would go away.  That’s usually the response.

Now, Maryland, there are two problems with that answer.  First of all, we are drilling.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  Any time.  That’s a fact.  That’s a fact.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  I want everybody to listen to that — we have more oil rigs operating now than ever.  That’s a fact.  We’ve approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil across the country.  We announced our support for a new one in Oklahoma that will help get more oil down to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Over the last three years, my administration has opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration.  (Applause.)  Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources.  That includes an area in the Gulf of Mexico we opened up a few months ago that could produce more than 400 million barrels of oil.

So do not tell me that we’re not drilling.  (Applause.)  We’re drilling all over this country.  (Applause.)  I guess there are a few spots where we’re not drilling.  We’re not drilling in the National Mall.  (Laughter.)  We’re not drilling at your house.  (Laughter.)  I guess we could try to have, like, 200 oil rigs in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s the question.  We are drilling at a record pace but we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety and the natural resources of the American people.  (Applause.)

So that’s point number one.  If you start hearing this “drill, baby, drill; drill, drill, drill” — if you start hearing that again, just remember you’ve got the facts — we’re doing that.  Tell me something new.  (Applause.)  That’s problem number one.

Here’s the second problem with what some of these politicians are talking about.  There’s a problem with a strategy that only relies on drilling and that is, America uses more than 20 percent of the world’s oil.  If we drilled every square inch of this country — so we went to your house and we went to the National Mall and we put up those rigs everywhere — we’d still have only 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  Let’s say we miss something — maybe it’s 3 percent instead of 2.  We’re using 20; we have 2.

Now, you don’t need to be getting an excellent education at Prince George’s Community College to know that we’ve got a math problem here.  (Laughter and applause.)  I help out Sasha occasionally with her math homework and I know that if you’ve got 2 and you’ve got 20, there’s a gap.  (Laughter.)  There’s a gap, right?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  Do we have anybody who’s good at math here?  Am I right?  (Applause.)  Okay.

So if we don’t develop other sources of energy, if we don’t develop the technology to use less energy to make our economy more energy-efficient, then we will always be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs.  (Applause.)

And that means every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main thing that’s driving oil prices up right now — it’s the same thing that was driving oil prices up last year — every time that happens, every time that there’s unrest, any time that there’s concern about a conflict, suddenly, oil futures shoot up, you’re going to feel it at the pump.  It will happen every single time.

We will not fully be in control of our energy future if our strategy is only to drill for the 2 percent but we still have to buy the 20 percent.  And there’s another wrinkle to this — other countries use oil, too.  We’re not the only ones.  So you’ve got rapidly-growing nations like China and India, and they’re all starting to buy cars.  They’re getting wealthier.  They want cars, too.  And that means the price of gas will rise.

Just to give you an example — in 2010, China alone added 10 million new cars.  That’s just in one year.  And there are about a billion Chinese.  So they’ve got a lot more people who are going to want cars in the future, which means they are going to want to get some of that oil and that will drive prices up.  So we can’t just drill our way out of the problem.  We are drilling, but it’s not going to solve our problem.

That’s not the future I want for the United States of America.  We can’t allow ourselves to be held hostage to events on the other side of the globe.  That’s not who we are.  (Applause.)  America controls its own destiny.  We’re not dependent on somebody else.  (Applause.)

So we can’t have an energy strategy for the last century that traps us in the past.  We need an energy strategy for the future — an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy.  Yes, develop as much oil and gas as we can, but also develop wind power and solar power and biofuels.  (Applause.)  Make our buildings more fuel-efficient.  Make our homes more fuel-efficient.  Make our cars and trucks more fuel-efficient so they get more miles for the gallon.  (Applause.)  That’s where I want to take this country.  (Applause.)

And here’s — the best part of it is thousands of Americans have jobs right now because we’ve doubled the use of clean energy in this country since I came into office.  And I want to keep on making those investments.  (Applause.)  I don’t want to see wind turbines and solar panels and high-tech batteries made in other countries by other workers.  I want to make them here.  (Applause.)  I want to make them here in Maryland.  I want to make them here in the United States of America, with American workers.  That’s what I want.  (Applause.)

So when I came into office, we said, all right, how are we going to start moving America in that direction?  It’s not a thing you get done in one year, but how do we start moving in that direction?  So after 30 years of not doing anything, we raised fuel economy standards on cars and trucks so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon — that’s double what we get today — 55 miles per gallon.  (Applause.)  Fifty-five miles a gallon.

So the young people here who were driving those beaters that — (laughter) — getting 5 miles per gallon — (laughter) — we’re going to get you to 55.  And that will save the average family more than $8,000 over the life of a car — $8,000.  (Applause.)  That will help pay some bills.  That means you’ll be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  (Applause.)  And those are the cars we need to keep building here in the United States.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we can do that.  (Applause.)

All right, so now, to fuel these cars and trucks, obviously if they’re using less gas, that’s great.  That saves us; we’re using less oil.  But we also want to invest in clean advanced biofuels that can replace some of the oil that we’re currently using.  That’s important.  (Applause.)

Already, we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks to Navy ships.  I want to see more of these fuels in American cars — homegrown fuels — because that means we’re buying less oil from foreign countries and we’re creating jobs here in the United States — (applause) — including big parts of rural America, big parts of rural Maryland, where the economy oftentimes is struggling and you have a real opportunity to create entire new industries and put people to work.  And it’s happening all across the country.

So all of these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence.  Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember next time you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  (Laughter.)  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  (Applause.)  In 2010, our oil dependence, the amount that we’re bringing in, the percentage we’re bringing in, was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to do better than that, and we can do better than that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  But in order to do better than that, we’ve got to tell the folks who are stuck in the past that our future depends on this all-of-the-above energy strategy.  That’s our job.  That it can’t just be — it can’t just be drilling for more oil.  We’re drilling for more oil, but that can’t be all the solution; that’s just part of the solution.

Now, here’s the sad thing.  Lately, we’ve heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who are running for a certain office — (laughter) — who shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they’ve been talking down new sources of energy.  They dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas-guzzlers.  They think that’s good for our future.  We’re trying to move towards the future; they want to be stuck in the past.

We’ve heard this kind of thinking before.  Let me tell you something.  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail — (laughter) — they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter.)  They would not have believed that the world was round.  (Applause.)  We’ve heard these folks in the past.  They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said, “Television won’t last.  It’s a flash in the pan.”  (Laughter.)  One of Henry Ford’s advisors was quoted as saying, “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a fad.”  (Laughter.)

There have always been folks like that.  There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don’t believe in the future, and don’t believe in trying to do things differently.  One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, “It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?”  (Laughter.)  That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore — (laughter and applause) — because he’s looking backwards.  He’s not looking forwards.  (Applause.)  He’s explaining why we can’t do something, instead of why we can do something.

The point is, there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing things the same way that we’ve always done them.  They want to double down on the same ideas that got us into some of the mess that we’ve been in.  But that’s not who we are as Americans.  See, America has always succeeded because we refuse to stand still.  We put faith in the future.  We are inventors.  We are builders.  We are makers of things.  We are Thomas Edison.  We are the Wright Brothers.  We are Bill Gates.  We are Steve Jobs.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

That’s who we need to be right now.  That’s who we need to be right now.  I don’t understand when I hear folks who are in elected office, or aspiring to elected office, who ignore the facts and seem to just want to get a cute bumper sticker line, instead of actually trying to solve our problems.  (Applause.)

What I just said about energy, by the way, is not disputed by any energy expert.  Everybody agrees with this.  So why is it that somebody who wants to help lead the country would be ignoring the facts?  (Applause.)

If you want an example of what I’m talking about, consider an important issue that’s before Congress right now.

I think somebody may have fainted.  All right.  Remember next time if you’re going to stand for a long time, you got to eat.  (Laughter.)  I’m — no, no, it’s true.  You got to get something to eat.  You got to get some juice.  I’m just saying.  It’s true.  They’ll be okay, just make sure to give them space.

The question — there’s a question before Congress I want everybody to know about.  The question is whether or not we should keep giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  The oil industry has been subsidized by you, the taxpayer, for about a hundred years — 100 years.  One hundred years, a century.  So some of the same folks who are complaining about biofuels getting subsidies, or wind or solar energy getting subsidies, or electric cars and advanced batteries getting subsidies to help get them off the ground, these same folks — when you say, why are we still giving subsidies to the oil industry –- “well, no, we need those.”

Oil companies are making more money right now than they’ve ever made.  On top of the money they’re getting from you at the gas station every time you fill up, they want some of your tax dollars as well.

That doesn’t make any sense.  Does it make sense?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s inexcusable.  It is time for this oil industry giveaway to end.  (Applause.)  So in the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies.  And when they do, they’ll put every single member of Congress on record.  I guess you can stand up for the oil companies who really don’t need much help, or they can stand up for the American people, because we can take that $4 billion — we could be investing it in clean energy in a good energy future, in fuel efficiency.  (Applause.)  We could actually be trying to solve a vital problem.

They can bet — they can place their bets on the energy of the past, or they can place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American ingenuity, American technology, American science, American-made energy, American efficiency, American productivity.  (Applause.)  We can bet on America and our own capacity to solve this problem.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

Maryland, we know what direction we have to go in.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  And every American out there, as frustrated as they are about gas prices right now, when you actually ask people, they’ll tell you, yes, we’ve got to find new sources of energy.  We got to find new ways of doing things.  People understand that.  We just got to get Washington to understand it.  We got to get politicians to understand it.

We’ve got to invest in a serious, sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy that develops every resource available for the 21st century.  We’ve got to choose between the past and the future.  And that’s a choice we shouldn’t be afraid to make because we’ve always bet on the future, and we’re good at it.  America is good at the future.  We are good at being ahead of the curve.  We’re good at being on the cutting edge.  (Applause.)

Ending these subsidies won’t bring down gas prices tomorrow.  Even if we drilled every inch of America, that won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow.  But if we’re tired of watching gas prices spike every single year, and being caught in this position, where what happens in the Middle East ends up taking money out of your pocket, if we want to stabilize energy prices for the long term and the medium term, if we want America to grow, we’re going to have look past what we’ve been doing and put ourselves on the path to a real, sustainable energy future.

That’s the future you deserve.  So I need all of you to make your voices heard.  (Applause.)  Get on the phone, write an email, send a letter, let your member of Congress know where you stand.  Tell them to do the right thing.  Tell them we can win this fight.  Tell them we’re going to combine our creativity and our optimism, our brainpower, our manpower, our womanpower.  Tell them:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)

Tell them we are going to build an economy that lasts.  Tell them we’re going to make this the American century just like the last century.

Thank you, Prince George’s County.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Prince George’s Community College.  Thank you, Maryland.  (Applause.)  Let’s get to work.  God bless you.  God bless America.

END
11:37 A.M. EDT

Political Buzz August 27, 2011: Day 1 Hurricane Irene Hits the East Coast — President Obama Visits FEMA, Tracking Storm

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

https://i0.wp.com/www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/0827-did-media-overblow-hurricane-irene.jpg/10652534-1-eng-US/0827-did-media-overblow-hurricane-irene.jpg_full_600.jpg

IN FOCUS: HURRICANE IRENE HITS The East Coast — PARALYZING REGION

PHOTO: Waves crash under Jeannette's Pier as the effects of Hurricane Irene are felt in Nags Head, N.C., Aug. 27, 2011.

Edge of Hurricane Irene reaches New York City: In a press conference late Saturday night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was no longer safe for New York City residents to remain outside or to evacuate. Hurricane Irene, which has drenched the mid-Atlantic states as it has moved north, caused New York City to order about 370,000 residents of low-lying areas to leave. It was the first evacuation order for the city. The city also shuttered its transit system and closed its airports.

Hurricane Irene bears down on Virginia Beach: After slowly making its way up the East Coast, Hurricane Irene is now bearing down on Virginia Beach and other parts of eastern Virginia.
Conditions: The region is encountering the windiest period of the storm from now into the overnight hours, with National Airport reporting sustained winds of 29 mph and gusts of 40 mph. As the onslaught of rain continues, the National Hurricane Center reports water levels rising in the Virginia tidewater region.
Power outages: More than 6,500 homes and businesses in D.C. are without power, 15,000 in Prince George’s County, 10,000 in Anne Arundel and 5,000 around Baltimore. Expect these numbers to rise as gusts whip through the area overnight.
Transportation: The Bay Bridge was ordered closed at 7:35 p.m. Saturday due to severe winds and unsafe driving conditions, the Maryland Transportation Authority said.

As Hurricane Irene slams East Coast, travel woes mount: Nationwide: There were an estimated 9,000 flight cancellations nationwide, with United, Continental and Delta Air Lines canceling thousands of their flights. Air France, British Airways and other international carriers also canceled flights.
Washington: The three airports serving the Washington area remained open Saturday evening, but most flights had been canceled. D.C. Metro is not planning to close early.
Virginia: Mandatory evacuations were ordered for at least 11 localities, among them the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach, a barrier island dotted with rentals, Accomack on the Eastern Shore, and for low-lying areas of Norfolk, Hampton and Portsmouth.
Maryland: Mandatory evacuations ordered for Ocean City, coastal Worcester County, homes near cliffs in Calvert County. Maryland Transit Administration announced service suspension beginning Saturday evening.
New York: All three of the major airports serving New York City — Newark International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia International Airport — shut down for the duration of the storm on Saturday afternoon. Subways have also been halted.
New Jersey: New Jersey Transit trains and buses to shut down.
Pennsylvania: Mass transit serving Philadelphia and its suburbs to halt at 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Hurricane Irene makes landfall; rains start in the Washington area: Hurricane Irene made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 7:05 a.m. Saturday near Cape Hatteras, N.C. The storm leading edge arrived in the Washington area early Saturday with rain starting in the lower parts of the Chesapeake Bay and the beaches of Delaware after wind and rain battered the North Carolina coast. The East Coast of the United States continued to prepare for the storm late Friday, ordering more than a million people to evacuate the affected areas.

For more information, please visit the National Hurricane Center website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/, the AccuWeather Hurricane Center website at: http://hurricane.accuweather.com/hurricane/index.asp and the Storm Central graphics page at: http://centralstorm.wordpress.com/.

PHOTOS: In the path of Hurricane Irene — LAT, 8-27-11

The Preparations for Hurricane Irene and Reports of Damage: Hurricane Irene made landfall Saturday morning. The storm was expected to cause flooding in a dozen states this weekend. – NYT

“All indications point to this being a historic hurricane. I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay.” — President Barack Obama

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay. We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst.

GOV. BEVERLY PERDUE, D-N.C.: As governor of the state, I want to remind you once again that this hurricane is real. It is headed our way. We are ready. We’re prepared for the worst. And we continue to pray for the best. I urge every citizen along the coastal plains to evacuate. It is so much better to be safe than sorry.

SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY JANET NAPOLITANO: Given the amount of rain associated with this storm and the likelihood of flooding, however, I would encourage you not to focus too much on whether it’s a Category 2 or a 3. If you are in the storm path, you won’t be able to tell much difference.

MICHAEL NUTTER, (D) mayor of Philadelphia: Be prepared. Stay safe. Be smart. Evacuate, if necessary. Otherwise, please stay inside.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: So, if for some reason you were thinking about going to dinner in Atlantic City tonight, forget it. Go someplace else.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) mayor of New York: Now, we have never done a mandatory evacuation before. And we wouldn’t be doing it now if we didn’t think this storm had the potential to be very serious. The best outcome would be if the storm veers off to the east and doesn’t hit us, or doesn’t hit us hard. But we can’t depend on Mother Nature being so kind.

GOV. LINCOLN D. CHAFEE (RI): I have been monitoring the path and movement of the storm closely, and there is no doubt that Rhode Island will be hit with high winds, a storm surge, and rain generated by Hurricane Irene.
This declaration of emergency is a proactive step in our hurricane plan to ensure that we as a state are doing all we can to get Rhode Island through this storm safely and securely.
I want to stress that this is a major storm. Individual preparation is essential. Please take the necessary steps to secure your family and property and prepare to evacuate if your municipality issues an evacuation order. I am in close contact with mayors and town managers to ensure that cities and towns have the state support they need to make the best decision for their residents.

Statement by President Obama on Preparations for Hurricane Irene — WH, 8-26-11

President Obama Signs Maryland Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs Rhode Island Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs New Hampshire Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs New Jersey Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs Connecticut Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

President Obama Signs Massachusetts Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-27-11

      President Obama Signs Virginia Emergency Declaration —

WH, 8-27-11

    • Obama says Hurricane Irene “extremely dangerous”: President Barack Obama on Friday warned Americans to take Hurricane Irene seriously and urged them to obey orders to evacuate from the path of what is likely to be an “extremely dangerous and costly” storm…. – Reuters, 8-26-11
    • Obama kept up-to-date on Irene: President Barack Obama is tracking the progress of Hurricane Irene at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s command center. The center helps coordinate the government’s response to natural disasters. The White House says the government stands ready to aid states and communities in the storm’s path…. – AP, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Pushes North With Deadly Force: Weakened but unbowed, Hurricane Irene mowed across coastal North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday as it churned up the Atlantic Seaboard toward a battened-down New York City, where officials had taken what were called the unprecedented steps of evacuating low-lying areas and shutting down the mass transit system in advance of the storm’s expected midmorning arrival on Sunday.
      Announcing itself with howling winds and hammering rains, the hurricane made landfall at Cape Lookout, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, around 7:30 a.m., ending several days of anxious anticipation and beginning who knows how many more days of response and clean-up. Downed and denuded trees. Impassable roadways. Damaged municipal buildings. Widespread flooding. The partial loss of a modest civic center’s roof, forcing the relocation of dozens of people who had found shelter there…. – NYT, 8-27-11
    • With Storm Near, 370,000 in New York City Get Evacuation Order: New York City officials issued what they called an unprecedented order on Friday for the evacuation of about 370,000 residents of low-lying areas at the city’s edges — from the expensive apartments in Battery Park City to the roller coaster in Coney Island to the dilapidated boardwalk in the Rockaways — warning that Hurricane Irene was such a threat that people living there simply had to get out.
      Officials made what they said was another first-of-its-kind decision, announcing plans to shut down the city’s entire transit system Saturday — all 468 subway stations and 840 miles of tracks, and the rest of the nation’s largest mass transit network: thousands of buses in the city, as well as the buses and commuter trains that reach from Midtown Manhattan to the suburbs…. – NYT, 8-27-11

“You guys are doing a great job, obviously. This is obviously going to be touch and go.” — President Barack Obama at FEMA Headquarters

    • With Katrina in Mind, Administration Says It’s Ready for Irene: Determined to avoid any comparisons with the federal government’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina, the Obama administration made a public display Saturday of the range of its efforts to make sure officials in the storm-drenched states had whatever help they needed from Washington.
      President Obama, who returned to Washington a day early from his summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency shortly after noon. While there, he checked in on the National Response Coordination Center, a 24-hour command center based at FEMA, where dozens of federal employees from a range of agencies were assembled around the clock to help orchestrate the response to Hurricane Irene…. – NYT, 8-27-11
    • Obama visits FEMA, predicts a ‘long 72 hours’ ahead: President Obama made an unannounced visit to the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Saturday afternoon, where he praised the federal government’s response to Hurricane Irene after receiving briefings from governors and emergency managers.
      “So what have we got here?” Obama asked as he entered the room where FEMA has been holding daily video conferences since Monday with state and local officials, the National Hurricane Center and other federal agencies…. – LAT, 8-27-11
    • Obama steps up response as Hurricane Irene threatens floods, outages: Politicians were taking no chances as more than one-fifth of the United States braced for the possibility of metal-bending winds, severe flooding and days without electricity due to Hurricane Irene’s race up the east coast…. – Globe and Mail
    • Hurricane Irene: What You Need to Know in New York: As New York City prepares for Hurricane Irene to reach the five boroughs, most of the city’s agencies have shut down service…. – NYT, 8-27-11
    • Connecticut, Rhode Island join Hurricane Irene evacuation list: Though Hurricane Irene was still hundreds of miles south, residents of low-lying areas of Connecticut and Rhode Island were evacuated Saturday as officials warned of widespread flooding from the powerful storm that is expected to strike at high tide…. – LAT, 8-27-11

“Over one million people have left the Jersey shore in the past 24 hours. The best way to preserve human life on the Jersey shore is for there to be no human beings on the Jersey shore.” — Governor Chris Christie said at a news conference

    • One million flee Jersey shore as surfers hit waves: More than a million people fled resort towns along the New Jersey shore ahead of powerful Hurricane Irene, whose arrival on Saturday was just hours away.
      Mandatory evacuations covered all of the state’s barrier island beach resorts, including such well-known and popular spots as Atlantic City, Cape May and Long Beach Island.
      Irene was expected to hit the state with at least 75 miles per hour winds and 6 to 12 inches of rain starting on Saturday night…. – Reuters, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene churns its way north; 8 dead: Hurricane Irene, a ferocious and slow-moving storm, smashed into North Carolina on Saturday morning, then slowly swirled its way up the Eastern Seaboard, flooding low-lying areas, knocking out power to as many as 1 million customers…. – LAT, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Pictures: Storm Lashes US East Coast: Beachfront houses in North Carolina stand amid rising waves during the full force of Hurricane Irene, which made landfall Saturday morning as a Category 1 storm near Cape Lookout. The tempest brought winds of 85 miles (137 kilometers) an hour…. – National Geographic, 8-27-11
    • McDonnell urges residents to be cautious even though Irene has weakened: Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) urged residents not to let their guard down just because Hurricane Irene has weakened, saying it is still a serious storm that will likely cause major damage in the state. … – WaPo, 8-27-11
    • Tens of thousands lose power as hurricane batters Maryland: Hurricane Irene moved across Maryland overnight with high winds, heavy rains and dangerous tides. The storm cut power to tens of thousands of residents and turned the state’s biggest summer resort of Ocean … – Scremento Bee, 8-27-11
    • Irene makes landfall in N.C.; 4 deaths reported: Hurricane Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina about 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday morning, losing some power but still whipping up sustained winds of 85 mph, as it continued its run up the Eastern Seaboard.
      The National Hurricane Center said the eye of the enormous Category 1 storm passed over Cape Lookout, with winds slipping a bit from 100 mph overnight, but warned Irene would remain a hurricane as it moves up the mid-Atlantic coast.
      At 2 p.m. ET Irene was about 45 miles west northwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and about 95 miles south of Norfolk, Va. The storm was moving north-northeastward at 15 mph…. – CBS News, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Path: Atlantic Beach & Cape Fear Take First Hit in North Carolina: Hurricane Irene has made landfall near Cape Fear as a Category 1 with winds at 85 miles per hour, down 15 miles per hour from the 11 p.m. ET advisory.
      “Incredibly strong gusts, pretty surprising to those of us who thought we were nearly done with Irene, after 18 hours,” said ABC News’ Steven Portnoy, reporting from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina…. – ABC News, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall; Moves North, Gathering Strength: By noon, about 438,000 residents were without power in North Carolina and Virginia, and winds and rain were picking up in the Washington, D.C. area, and in beaches stretching from Virginia to Delaware. Two deaths, both in North Carolina, have been blamed on the storm, CNN reports.
      The storm has delivered maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. And hurricane-force wind gusts and a damaging storm surge will continue for the next several hours, weather forecasters predict…. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Now Category 1 but major impact still ahead: Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm. But as it makes landfall in North Carolina and heads north, it’s still expected to pack a wallop with the greatest danger from flooding due to heavy rainfall and coastal storm surges…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Now Category 1 but major impact still ahead: Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm. But as it makes landfall in North Carolina and heads north, it’s still expected to pack a wallop with the greatest danger from flooding due to heavy rainfall and coastal storm surges…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: After initial landfall, storm heads north: Hurricane Irene ‘remains a large and dangerous storm’ Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Saturday. She advises residents in its path to ‘hunker down.’… – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
    • Hurricane Irene churns up East Coast; Virginia boy, 11, is killed by fallen tree: The howling Hurricane Irene churned up the East Coast on Saturday afternoon, battering buildings, knocking out power lines and toppling trees. An 11-year-old Virginia boy was killed after a tree fell on his family’s apartment.
      Packing strong gusts and lashing rain, the brunt of the storm was expected to pass through the Washington area overnight and into Sunday morning. It reached land as a Category 1 hurricane, downgraded a notch from the greater force it gathered over the open Atlantic…. – WaPo, 8-27-11

“This is a storm where, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, it could be fatal.” — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press conference Saturday afternoon.

  • Hurricane Irene update: Storm claims its first lives: Hurricane Irene has caused a reported four deaths so far. Officials warn that storm surges and flooding could be greater because of the new moon arriving Sunday night…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
  • New York Subways Are Shut Down as Hurricane Irene Nears: New York became a city without one of its trademarks — the nation’s largest subway system — on Saturday as Hurricane Irene charged northward and the city prepared to face powerhouse winds that could drive a wall of water over the beaches in the Rockaways and between the skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan.
    The city worked to complete its evacuation of about 370,000 residents in low-lying areas where officials expected flooding to follow the storm, and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said that more than a million people had been evacuated, mainly from four counties in the southern part of the state.
    Officials warned that a big problem could be flooding at high tide, around 8 a.m. Sunday morning — before the storm has moved on and the wind has slacked off in and around the city, assuming the storm more or less follows the path where forecasters expect it to follow…. – NYT, 8-27-11
  • New York shuts down ahead of Hurricane Irene: Times Square emptied out and evacuation shelters filled up as New York City shut down on Saturday ahead of Hurricane Irene, which charged up the East Coast on a direct path toward the world financial capital.
    New Yorkers deserted the streets and took cover from a rare hurricane headed their way — only five have tracked within 75 miles of the city since records have been kept. The full impact of heavy rain, powerful winds and a surging sea was expected through Sunday morning…. – Reuters, 8-27-11
  • Nearly 75 percent without power in central Virginia: Downed trees, dangling power lines, darkened street lights, damaging winds and a deluge defined Hurricane Irene’s brush with the Richmond area…. – Richmond Times Dispatch, 8-27-11
  • Hurricane Irene: Why hurricane hyperbole never goes out of style:
    Where should the media draw the line between reasonable warnings and fear-mongering? A few mistakes and a partially missed prognosis aren’t necessarily proof that the media blew the story.
    On one 24-hour news channel, a correspondent described the calm before hurricane Irene as the calm before a B-movie zombie attack. One anchor proclaimed the storm to be “as big as Europe.” Elsewhere, the hurricane was touted as the storm of a lifetime.
    Storm hype is of course nothing new, neither is saying overwrought things when trying to fill up hours of airtime.
    But as the hurricane approached, the fever pitch of the Irene coverage took on a life of its own, with government officials leading a chorus of caution even as closer watchers of the weather, especially on the ground in North Carolina, grew increasingly convinced that Irene would not strengthen, but steadily weaken instead into something closer to a massive tropical storm…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
  • Twitter and Facebook buzzing about Hurricane Irene: You could track Hurricane Irene’s path up the East Coast on Saturday by following comments on Facebook and Twitter from people in the eye of the storm to those still waiting for its arrival…. – USA Today, 8-27-11
  • Irene expected to hit Canada with heavy rain and winds: The path of hurricane Irene remained unchanged Saturday, meaning the massive storm would likely bring heavy rain and the potential for hurricane force wind gusts when it reached eastern Canada later in the weekend forecasters said.
    The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax said the Category 1 hurricane was centred off North Carolina early Saturday and was expected to move up the eastern seaboard of the United States and through Long Island and into Maine late Sunday, before entering eastern Canada as a tropical storm.
    Bowyer said as a result the heaviest rains were expected in northwestern New Brunswick and in the eastern townships of Quebec into early Monday, while areas to the east of the storm’s centre would see the heaviest winds…. – Canadian Press, 8-27-11
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