Full Text Campaign Buzz September 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the AARP Convention —

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Slams Romney’s Medicare Plan to AARP

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-21-12

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

Appealing to senior voters, President Obama today defended his Medicare and social security policies, while claiming his opponents would slash the popular entitlement programs to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

“There’s a lot of talk about Medicare and Social Security that hasn’t been completely on the level over the last several months,” the president told an AARP convention via satellite. “Here is what you need to know: I have strengthened Medicare as president.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President to AARP Convention via Satellite

Source: WH, 9-21-12 

G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium
Woodbridge, Virginia

11:18 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jane. (Applause.) Thank you, AARP. (Applause.) I want to thank Barry, and the entire AARP, for everything you do on behalf of America’s seniors. (Applause.)

And today is especially poignant for me I think because I can’t help to think about my grandmother, Madelyn Dunham. During World War II, she worked on a bomber assembly line, with a baby at home, while her husband was off serving his country. And in the postwar years, she worked her way from a secretary to vice president at her local bank. And later, she helped raise my mother, and then obviously helped raise me and my sister.

She was a great citizen who lived up to her responsibilities. And after a lifetime of hard work, what she hoped for in return was to be able to live out her golden years with dignity and security, and to see her grandchildren and her great grandchildren have a better life.

And she was fiercely independent, so she didn’t want a lot of help from me or anybody else. She just wanted to make sure that the work she had put in was going to pay off. And I’m thinking a lot about her these days because we lost my grandmother three days before I was elected to this office, back in 2008. But rewarding those hopes that she and so many other Americans shared — restoring the basic bargain that says if you work hard, that work will pay off — is one of the reasons I ran for this office in the first place. The values that she taught me are part of what has driven me over the last four years

Now, we’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet. And that’s why I’m asking you for a second term as President. (Applause.)

There’s been a lot of talk about Medicare and Social Security in this campaign, as there should be. And these are bedrock commitments that America makes to its seniors, and I consider those commitments unshakeable. But given the conversations that have been out there in the political arena lately, I want to emphasize Medicare and Social Security are not handouts. (Applause.) You’ve paid into these programs your whole lives. You’ve earned them. And as President, it’s my job to make sure that Medicare and Social Security remain strong for today’s seniors and for future generations.

It probably won’t surprise you, though, that there’s a lot of talk about Medicare and Social Security that hasn’t been completely on the level over the last several months. So here’s what you need to know:

I have strengthened Medicare as President. (Applause.) We’ve added years to the life of the program by getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies that weren’t making people healthier. And we used those savings to lower prescription drug costs, and to offer seniors on Medicare new preventive services like cancer screenings and wellness services.

In fact, the health reform law we passed has already saved more than 5.5 million seniors and people with disabilities nearly $4.5 billion on their prescription drugs. (Applause.) Seniors who received a discount have saved an average of more than $600 this year alone. And over the next 10 years, we expect the average Medicare beneficiary to save nearly $5,000 as a result of this law.

Now, my opponents have pledged to repeal these savings and benefits in their first day on the job, which means billions in new profits for insurance companies, but also would mean immediately increased costs for seniors and would bankrupt the Medicare trust fund in just four years. And what would they replace it with? Their plan replaces guaranteed Medicare benefits with a voucher that wouldn’t keep up with costs.

And when they tell you that their plan lets you keep your doctor, they’re leaving out one thing — and that’s the facts. A new study says that under their plan, if just 5 percent of seniors switch to private plans, 40 percent of doctors who currently take Medicare would stop accepting it. So think about that. Millions of seniors would be forced to change doctors.

I don’t consider this approach bold or particularly courageous, I just think it’s a bad idea. No American should ever spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned. (Applause.)

Now, we do have to reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’re going to do it by reducing the costs of care — not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more while we’re giving millionaires and billionaires a massive new tax cut. (Applause.)

And when it comes to Social Security, we’ve got to keep the promise of Social Security by taking responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street. (Applause.) The last time the other side was in charge, my opponent’s running mate wrote a bill that would have privatized Social Security. And after what happened on Wall Street just four years ago, does anybody actually think that’s a good idea? (Laughter.)

Most seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income. It keeps 20 million Americans out of poverty each and every year. And while it’s not the cause of today’s deficits, we do need to strengthen the program for the coming decades. And that means folks on both sides need to come together around a balanced plan. (Applause.)

My opponent claims that to pay for a new $5 trillion tax cut skewed towards the very top, he’d just close tax loopholes for the very wealthy. But independent experts say there’s no way to do that without also cutting deductions that the middle class relies on, and that includes taxing things like Social Security benefits. And this could mean higher taxes for seniors on Social Security, including taxing benefits for seniors who make less than $32,000 a year for the first time ever. Nearly 30 million seniors could see their taxes go up by hundreds of dollars.

So I want you all to know at AARP I’m not going to let that happen. (Applause.) My plan calls for both parties to come together and take responsible steps to preserve Social Security for the long run. And we’ll do it in a way that ensures a lifetime of hard work is rewarded with dignity and security for generations to come.

So you guys have a big choice in this election and these are the paths — the two paths our country can take. We can spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts targeted towards the wealthiest Americans, which could result in cuts to benefits that you’ve worked a lifetime to earn. Or we can take a balanced approach to invest in the middle class and strengthen Medicare and Social Security for you and your children and your grandchildren. That’s the choice in this election and that’s why I’m asking for your vote. (Applause.)

So thanks so much, AARP, for having me. And with that, Jane, I’m ready to take some questions. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, Jane Pauley here again. I’m back in the hall with our members, and they do have some questions for you. I’d like to explain here in the hall that — what a satellite delay is. When I ask a question, it goes up there, and then it comes down. There’s about a second and a half delay between my delivering a question and the President hearing it. Just so you know the drill and a little inside stuff on television.

Mr. President, we are so grateful that you can stay with us a few minutes longer.

Mike, from Brier, Washington, asks: “How will you reduce the federal debt and not gut Social Security and Medicare?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s a great question, Mike, and I appreciate it. We have a genuine challenge in bringing our deficit down and reducing our debt, and I think it’s important for folks to know that 90 percent of the debt and deficits that we’re seeing right now are the result of choices that were made over the course of the last decade — two wars that weren’t paid for; tax cuts skewed towards the wealthy that were not paid for. So we made some decisions, and then when the Great Recession hit, that meant more money was going out and not as much money was coming in, and that has blown up our deficit and our debt.

The key to reducing it is to do it in a balanced, responsible way. So I’ve put forward a $4 trillion, deficit-reduction plan which would bring our deficits down to a manageable level and begin the work of bringing our debt down, and it involves making some tough choices. So I’ve already signed a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts, programs that we don’t need, programs that, frankly, are not helping people get more opportunity or creating pathways for success for middle-class families or those who are striving to get into the middle class.

But after those cuts are made and some additional cuts are made, the only way to reach that $4 trillion target to also ask the wealthiest among us to do a little bit more. So what I’ve suggested is that we go back for people whose incomes are above $250,000 to go back to the tax rates that existed when Bill Clinton was President, which, by the way, was a time when we created 23 million new jobs, went from a deficit to a surplus, and created a whole lot of millionaires to boot. (Applause.)

Now, this contrasts with the plan that my opponent is putting forward for deficit reduction. And some of you may have seen President Clinton speak at the convention — (applause) — what’s missing from it is arithmetic, because what they’re proposing is not only to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, but then they want to add another $5 trillion tax cut on top of that, and $2 trillion in additional defense spending that our Joint Chiefs of Staff say doesn’t make sense at a time when we’re winding down two wars.

So before they even start digging us out of the hole that we’re in, they just added to the hole with $7 trillion in additional spending on tax cuts or on defense. Now, they haven’t explained how they would pay for that, but independent analysts who have looked at it have said the only way you pay for this is not only to gut investments in education, in basic research that could help find cures for cancer or Alzheimer’s, to not invest in our infrastructure, but it also means that you’re going to have to impose a higher tax burden on middle-class families — up to $2,000 a year for families with children.

And as I mentioned in my opening remarks, if you’re looking at figuring out how to pay for that $5 trillion tax cut, part of what you would also start looking at is taxing Social Security benefits, or turning Medicare into a voucher program. And that is not the right approach to take.

My attitude is that if we’re going to work together to bring down our deficit, everybody has got to do their fair share, everybody has got to do their part. (Applause.) And for us to have new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires to pay for cuts in Social Security or Medicare or education is just not the right way to go.

Q Mr. President, from Washington D.C, Paulette (ph) asks a question. She says, “If one makes $106 [thousand] a year or less, they pay Social Security taxes on 100 percent of their income; a millionaire pays 10 percent or less. Will you try to get the cap removed for Social Security taxes?”

THE PRESIDENT: I do think that looking at changing the cap is an important aspect of putting Social Security on a more stable footing. (Applause.) And what I’ve said is, is that I’m willing to work with Republicans and examine all their ideas, but what I’m not going to do as a matter of principle is to slash benefits or privatize Social Security and suddenly turn it over to Wall Street. Because we saw what can happen, back in 2008/2009, when the stock market crashed. And we’re still recovering from that.

Q Mr. President, James from Derry, Pennsylvania says, “I haven’t heard you say much about out-of-control prescription drug costs facing those of us retired and living on fixed incomes. What are you plans to bring down these costs?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the good news is, I’m not just talking about it, we’ve actually done something about it. (Applause.) The health care bill that we passed, Obamacare, which, by the way, I don’t mind the term because I do care, that’s why we passed the bill — (applause) — one of the things that we did was to begin closing the notorious doughnut hole that so many seniors suffer from.

So starting this year already, what we’re seeing is a 50 percent discount for seniors who are in the doughnut hole. Each year they’re going to get additional discounts until the doughnut hole is completely closed. That’s already saving millions of seniors around the country an average of $600 to $650 a year. That’s on top, by the way, of the preventive care that is now provided without additional charge, under Medicare, as a consequence of what we did with Obamacare.

And there’s more that we can do on prescription drugs. One of the things that I’ve proposed in my budget is that Medicare recipients should get some of the same deep discounts that Medicaid receives. That would save additional billions of dollars for seniors. (Applause.) And there’s work that we can also do in terms of accelerating the use of generics and making sure that the process for seniors getting access to cheaper prescription drugs is obtained.

But this is critically important because I meet too many families where they tell me a story of their parents having to cut their pills in half because they just can’t afford the prescriptions that have been given to them.

Q Mr. President, a question for you from Hawaii, from Richard: “What would you do to guarantee the future of Medicare?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, again, it turns out that contrary to what you’ve heard and what you may hear from subsequent speakers, Obamacare actually strengthened Medicare. So what we did was extend the Medicare trust fund by eight years. In addition, we dealt with prescription drugs in a way that is helping seniors now and in the future. The preventive care that we’re doing is going to ensure that seniors stay healthier, which reduces costs.

And one thing that I want to point out is, when you hear this notion of — that we somehow took $716 billion, robbed it from Medicare beneficiaries and seniors, I want you to know that is simply not true. (Applause.) What we did was we went after waste and fraud, and overcharging by insurance companies, for example. Those savings do come out to $716 [billion], and those savings are part of what allows us to close the doughnut hole, provide the preventive care, and is actually going to extend the life of Medicare over the long term. It also, by the way, helps to reduce the increase in the premiums that seniors pay under Medicare.

And that points to what we need to do with Medicare generally. What we need to do is to go after the waste, the fraud, and reduce health care costs overall. (Applause.) So part of what we’re doing through this new health care law is using the power of — the purchasing power of Medicare to say to doctors and hospitals and insurance companies, you guys need to work smarter — instead of having five different tests that you’re charging us for, do one test and then email it to everybody. (Applause.) Instead of having all kinds of administrative costs and paperwork, let’s make sure that we’re using health IT — information technologies — to do a better job. Let’s coordinate care better. Let’s engage in more preventive care. (Applause.)

Because this is not just a Medicare problem. Medicare actually is a very efficient program relative to the private insurance programs. The problem is health care costs generally are going up. So we’ve got to bring down health care costs; that’s what we’re focused on. And I just want to point out that the other side’s approach to saving Medicare — and you’ll be hearing about this, I gather, after I speak — is to turn Medicare into a voucher program and essentially transfer those costs onto seniors.

Congressman Ryan’s original plan that was put forward — independent analysis showed that, as a consequence, seniors could expect to pay over $6,000 more for their Medicare once they were under a voucher program. Now, that was his original plan. I want to be fair here. He then modified it — because obviously there was a lot of pushback from seniors on that idea — so he said, well, we’re going to have traditional Medicare stand side by side with the voucher program, and no current beneficiaries will be affected.

The problem is that insurance companies, once they’re getting vouchers, they’re really good at recruiting the healthier, younger Medicare recipients, and weeding out and leaving in traditional Medicare [to] the older, sicker recipients. And over time what happens is that, because there are older, sicker folks in the traditional Medicare plan, premiums start going up, they start going through the roof. And the entire infrastructure of traditional Medicare ends up collapsing, which means that all seniors at some point end up being at the mercy of the insurance companies through a voucher program. That’s what we’re trying to prevent. And the reason that AARP supported Obamacare and does not support this voucher approach is because they have looked at these independent experts and the analysis that they’ve put forward, and they know that a voucher program is not going to be a good deal for Medicare over the long haul. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, from Sandwich, Massachusetts. Kathy (ph) has the following question for you: “What would your administration do to make sure age discrimination laws are enforced so we have an even playing field to get a job?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is a great question, and obviously one of the challenges that we’ve seen as a consequence of this terrible recession we went through was a lot of workers in their 50s and early 60s found themselves suddenly laid off, and it’s very hard for them to get their foot in the door despite all the incredible experience that they have and the skills and training that they’ve got. So there are a couple of things that we need to do.

Number one, we just have to make sure that we’re enforcing nondiscrimination laws effectively. And the Attorney General knows that that’s always a top priority for me. In some cases, part of what we’re trying to do is to see if we legislatively can overturn some bad Supreme Court rulings that have made it harder to prove age discrimination. (Applause.)

Q Using the —

THE PRESIDENT: And that’s something that we’re really focused on.

Q Forgive me for interrupting the President of the United States. Sorry. (Laughter.)

Mr. President, you used the word “legislation” which will ring a bell with Joe from Fort Aktinson, Wisconsin, who asks: “What can you do about this gridlock between both sides of the aisle in Congress?”

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Jane, let me just say this — first of all, before I go to the gridlock issue, I did want to emphasize that in addition to dealing with age discrimination, the work that’s being done between the SBA and the AARP around the Encore Entrepreneur’s Program, helping thousands of seniors across the country start their own small businesses, if in fact they’re not getting hired, to provide them a source of income and use their incredible skills — I just wanted to give a shout out to AARP because that program is really doing great work. (Applause.)

But when it comes to gridlock, look, I came in in 2008 and I said, even though I got 53 percent of the vote and 47 percent of the country voted against me, that I’d be the President for everybody, and I’d listen to everybody’s voices. (Applause.)

And every idea that I put forward and all the work that we have done has been to draw on the best ideas from both parties. In fact, Obamacare now owes a debt to what was done in Massachusetts by my opponent Mr. Romney, even though sometimes he denies it. (Applause.)

So I am always going to be looking to find common ground and solve problems for the American people. The one thing I won’t do, though, is to go along with bad ideas that are not helping the middle class, not helping people who have worked hard all their lives, not helping to provide ladders of opportunity to people who are still looking to succeed in this great country of ours. And so, if I hear that the only way that Republicans in Congress are willing to move forward is to voucherize Medicare, I’ll say no. (Applause.) If the only thing that they’re willing to offer in terms of deficit reduction is to do it on the backs of seniors or our children who need to get a great education, or middle-class families who can’t afford another tax increase, I’m going to say no.

So part of what I think you want from your President is somebody who is working hard to bring people together, but is also willing to stand up to bad ideas that would end up tilting the playing field further in favor of those who have already made it instead of also thinking about folks who are trying to make it who worked hard all their lives, like my grandmother. And that’s exactly why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, on behalf of everyone here in the hall and listening online, we are so grateful that you could spend some time with us this morning. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much, Jane. Take care, everybody.

END
11:46 A.M. EDT

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Full Text Campaign Buzz August 29, 2012: Rep. Paul Ryan’s Speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention — Thrills Republicans, Telling Them ‘Let’s Get This Done’

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: 2012 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

Paul Ryan Thrills Republicans, Telling Them ‘Let’s Get This Done’

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-29-12

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

Entering the Republican National Convention to ebullient cheers, Rep. Paul Ryan stepped confidently into the national spotlight as his party’s vice presidential nominee and promised that he and Mitt Romney would tackle the country’s most difficult problems to fix the economy and create millions of new jobs.

The 42-year-old Ryan, speaking at the end of a long day of speeches and video presentations by the party’s graying old guard, cut a dramatically youthful figure and vowed to heed the “the calling of my generation.”

“Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s see this through all the way. Let’s get this done,” Ryan declared….READ MORE

PAUL RYAN DELIVERS REMARKS TO THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-29-12

Paul Ryan today delivered remarks to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States.

I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity – and I know we can do this.

I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready.

Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment – to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words.  After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression.  I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power.

They’ve run out of ideas.  Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left.

With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that.  You see, some people can’t be dragged down by the usual cheap tactics, because their ability, character, and plain decency are so obvious – and ladies and gentlemen, that is Mitt Romney.

For my part, your nomination is an unexpected turn.  It certainly came as news to my family, and I’d like you to meet them: My wife Janna, our daughter Liza, and our boys Charlie and Sam.

The kids are happy to see their grandma, who lives in Florida.  There she is – my Mom, Betty.

My Dad, a small-town lawyer, was also named Paul.  Until we lost him when I was 16, he was a gentle presence in my life.  I like to think he’d be proud of me and my sister and brothers, because I’m sure proud of him and of where I come from, Janesville, Wisconsin.

I live on the same block where I grew up.  We belong to the same parish where I was baptized.  Janesville is that kind of place.

The people of Wisconsin have been good to me.  I’ve tried to live up to their trust.  And now I ask those hardworking men and women, and millions like them across America, to join our cause and get this country working again.

When Governor Romney asked me to join the ticket, I said, “Let’s get this done” – and that is exactly, what we’re going to do.

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two.  Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account.  My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.”  That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.  It is locked up and empty to this day.  And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work.  Twenty-three million people, unemployed or underemployed.  Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty.  Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life.  Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all.

So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?

The first troubling sign came with the stimulus.  It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule.  It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government.

It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets. The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal.

What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus?  More debt.  That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.

Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent.  You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.

But this president didn’t do that.  Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.

Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.

The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over.  That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.

And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly.

You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money.  They needed more.  They needed hundreds of billions more.  So, they just took it all away from Medicare.  Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.  An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.  The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.

In Congress, when they take out the heavy books and wall charts about Medicare, my thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville.  My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer’s and moved in with Mom and me.  Though she felt lost at times, we did all the little things that made her feel loved.

We had help from Medicare, and it was there, just like it’s there for my Mom today.  Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it.  A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.

So our opponents can consider themselves on notice.  In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the Left isn’t going to work.  Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it.  Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate.  We want this debate.  We will win this debate.

Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a disappointing close.

It began with a financial crisis; it ends with a job crisis.

It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.

It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.

It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new.  Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.

President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made.  He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.”  He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners?

Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House.  What’s missing is leadership in the White House.  And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old.  The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?

In this generation, a defining responsibility of government is to steer our nation clear of a debt crisis while there is still time.  Back in 2008, candidate Obama called a $10 trillion national debt “unpatriotic” – serious talk from what looked to be a serious reformer.

Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.  One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.

He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems.  How did the president respond?  By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.

So here we are, $16 trillion in debt and still he does nothing.  In Europe, massive debts have put entire governments at risk of collapse, and still he does nothing. And all we have heard from this president and his team are attacks on anyone who dares to point out the obvious.

They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.

My Dad used to say to me: “Son.  You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.”  The present administration has made its choices.  And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems.

And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time.  But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this.

After four years of government trying to divide up the wealth, we will get America creating wealth again. With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we’ll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs.

My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my Dad died.  She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison.  She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business.  It wasn’t just a new livelihood.  It was a new life.  And it transformed my Mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past.  Her work gave her hope.  It made our family proud.  And to this day, my Mom is my role model.

Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing.  All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere.  A lot of heart goes into each one.  And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place.  Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning.  Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them.  After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit.  What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.

We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less.  That is enough.  The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms – the great Jack Kemp.  What gave Jack that incredible enthusiasm was his belief in the possibilities of free people, in the power of free enterprise and strong communities to overcome poverty and despair.   We need that same optimism right now.

And in our dealings with other nations, a Romney-Ryan administration will speak with confidence and clarity.  Wherever men and women rise up for their own freedom, they will know that the American president is on their side.  Instead of managing American decline, leaving allies to doubt us and adversaries to test us, we will act in the conviction that the United States is still the greatest force for peace and liberty that this world has ever known.

President Obama is the kind of politician who puts promises on the record, and then calls that the record.  But we are four years into this presidency. The issue is not the economy as Barack Obama inherited it, not the economy as he envisions it, but this economy as we are living it.

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.  Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now.  And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you.

None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

Listen to the way we’re spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

It’s the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio.  When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life.  I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself.  That’s what we do in this country.  That’s the American Dream.  That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.

By themselves, the failures of one administration are not a mandate for a new administration.  A challenger must stand on his own merits.  He must be ready and worthy to serve in the office of president.

We’re a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I.  And, in some ways, we’re a little different.  There are the songs on his iPod, which I’ve heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies.  I said, I hope it’s not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin.

A generation apart. That makes us different, but not in any of the things that matter.  Mitt Romney and I both grew up in the heartland, and we know what places like Wisconsin and Michigan look like when times are good, when people are working, when families are doing more than just getting by.  And we both know it can be that way again.

We’ve had very different careers – mine mainly in public service, his mostly in the private sector. He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones. By the way, being successful in business – that’s a good thing.

Mitt has not only succeeded, but succeeded where others could not.  He turned around the Olympics at a time when a great institution was collapsing under the weight of bad management, overspending, and corruption – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in ten legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded.

Mitt and I also go to different churches.  But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example.  And I’ve been watching that example.  The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed.  We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope.  Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone.  And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak.  The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government – to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society.  They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America’s founding.  They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

The founding generation secured those rights for us, and in every generation since, the best among us have defended our freedoms.  They are protecting us right now.  We honor them and all our veterans, and we thank them.

The right that makes all the difference now, is the right to choose our own leaders.  And you are entitled to the clearest possible choice, because the time for choosing is drawing near.  So here is our pledge.

We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead.

We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility.

We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles.

The work ahead will be hard.  These times demand the best of us – all of us, but we can do this.  Together, we can do this.

We can get this country working again.  We can get this economy growing again.  We can make the safety net safe again.  We can do this.

Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country.  Join Mitt Romney and me.  Let’s give this effort everything we have.  Let’s see this through all the way.  Let’s get this done.

Thank you, and God bless.

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: PAUL RYAN “WOWS CROWD” AT REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-29-12

The Associated Press: “Congressman Paul Ryan Seizes Spotlight, Wows Crowd At Republican National Convention” (The Associated Press, 8/29/12)

The New York Times: “Ryan Calls For A U.S. Turnaround, Led By Romney” (The New York Times, 8/29/12)

ABC News: “Paul Ryan Thrills Republicans Telling Them, ‘Let’s Get This Done’” (ABC News, 8/29/12)

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos: “Energetic Delivery By Paul Ryan. It Was A Broad Indictment Of President Obama’s Economic Policy.” (ABC, 8/29/12)

CNN’s David Gergen: “A Speech About Big Ideas. … Throwing Down The Gauntlet …” GERGEN: “This was a speech about big ideas. And we haven’t had that very much in this campaign. That’s what I thought was helpful about it. Throwing down the gauntlet, he’s inviting major conversation in the debates ahead about very conflicting views of what government should be.” (CNN, 8/29/12)

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl: “As Far As This Crowd Is Concerned, An Absolute Homerun.” (ABC News, 8/29/12)

Fox News’ Brit Hume: “The Speech Was Interesting, It Was Compelling.” (Fox News, 8/29/12)

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny: “A Pitbull With A Smile.” “RYAN: A pitbull with a smile. His upbeat tone raises the question of how challenging it might be for Democrats to brand him as extreme.” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer: “Bold, Very Strong, And Very Large…” KRAUTHAMMER: “I thought the speech by Ryan was bold, very strong, and very large, in the sense that he went way beyond just the attack, which were extremely effective.” (Fox News, 8/29/12)

The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King: “Ryan Is Treating This Like A Teaching Moment, And Doing It Well.” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll: “Ryan Is Killing It.” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

Roll Call’s Steven T. Dennis: “Indictment Of Barack Obama” “Paul Ryan’s speech is a flat-out, blistering indictment of Barack Obama.” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

NBC’s Alex Moe: “Big Applause For Ryan Comes On Medicare…” “Big applause for Ryan comes on Medicare (says often on the trail): nation needs this debate, we want this debate, we will win this debate.” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

Politico’s Glenn Thrush: “Sturdy, Valuable Speech By Ryan…” “Sturdy, valuable speech by Ryan — very lucid articulation of the argument against Obama. Cutting without being mean.” (Twitter.com, 8/26/12)

Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “One Of Best Strokes Of Convention: ‘Fading Obama Posters’” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: “This Speech Is Hitting Basically Every Note And Mark…” “This speech is hitting basically every note and mark it needs to, as is Ryan in his delivery.” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet: “Paul Ryan: A Stem Winder” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Salena Zito: “Ryan Drew The Line In The Sand Tonight…” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 20, 2012: Paul Ryan’s Speech on Medicare Cuts under President Barack Obama in Manchester, New Hampshire

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

PAUL RYAN: CUTTING MEDICARE IS NOT AN “ACHIEVEMENT”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-20-12

“And what President Obama will not tell you is that his signature achievement, Obamacare, raids $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. What’s more, he puts this new board of fifteen unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats that he is about to appoint, who are required to cut Medicare every year in ways that will clearly lead to denied care for current seniors.”–Paul Ryan

Remarks
Manchester, NH
August 20, 2012

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan

PAUL RYAN: “When I think about Medicare, it is not just a program with numbers and words. It’s personal security that has been there for my family when we need it. I had my mom Betty down with me in Florida on Saturday. She has been on Medicare for over 10 years. When my grandma moved in with my mom and me and we were her caregivers, when she was suffering Alzheimer’s, Medicare was there when our family needed it then; it’s there for my mom when she needs it now. And what President Obama will not tell you is that his signature achievement, Obamacare, raids $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. What’s more, he puts this new board of fifteen unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats that he is about to appoint, who are required to cut Medicare every year in ways that will clearly lead to denied care for current seniors. His campaign calls this an achievement. Do you think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare and putting bureaucrats in charge of cutting it is an achievement? I don’t think so, either.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 18, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Rochester, New Hampshire

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Rochester, NH

Source: WH, 8-18-12

Rochester Commons
Rochester, New Hampshire

3:55 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, New Hampshire!  (Applause.)  Thank you!

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  What a beautiful day in New Hampshire.  (Applause.)

A couple people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, thanks to your outstanding young mayor, T.J. Jean — (applause) — and his folks, who are standing right next to him.  They’re pretty proud of him.  He’s doing a great job.

Please give Amy a great big round of applause for the wonderful introduction.  (Applause.)  One of the national co-chairs of our campaign and your outstanding senator, Jeanne Shaheen, is here.  (Applause.)  And congressional candidate Carol Shea-Porter is here.  (Applause.)  And all of you are here — (applause) — on a beautiful Saturday.

Now, first of all, I’ve got to just say thanks to all of you for looking after Malia and Sasha while they were up here.  They were here for a month at camp, and they did a great — they just had a great time, and enjoyed all the water sports, playing basketball and tennis, and arts and crafts.  And, most importantly, there was some ice cream involved in the thing.  (Laughter.)  They were quite pleased about that.  So we missed them, though.  Parents, it’s tough when your kids are away, isn’t it?  (Laughter.)  We’ve missed them so much.  And they promised they’d write — and they did — and they’d just say, “We’re doing fine.  Bye.”  (Laughter.)  It’s tough.

But, anyway, I can see why they enjoyed themselves because New Hampshire is one of the most beautiful states in the country and we are just so pleased to be here.  (Applause.)

Now, they didn’t — Malia and Sasha didn’t get any TV when they were at camp, but —

AUDIENCE:  Awww —

THE PRESIDENT:  — no, there’s nothing wrong with that.  That’s good.  (Laughter.)  But unless you’ve been able to hide your television set, you may be aware that there’s a pretty intense campaign going on right now.

Now, the reason it is so hotly contested is because the choice that we face this November couldn’t be bigger.  It’s not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties.  This is a choice between two fundamentally different visions for our country; two fundamentally different ideas about the direction that we should be going in.  And the direction that we choose, the direction you choose when you walk into that voting booth in November is going to have an impact not just on your lives, it’s going to have an impact on your children, your grandchildren, and generations to come.

Now, four years ago, we came together as Democrats, but also independents and some Republicans, because we knew we had to restore the basic bargain that built America — what made us an economic superpower, what created the greatest middle class we’ve ever seen.  And it’s a pretty simple bargain.  It’s the idea that if you work hard, you should be able to get ahead.  It’s a deal that says if you put in enough effort and you act responsibly, that you can find a job that pays the bills; you can afford a home that you call your own; you can count on health care when you get sick; you can retire with dignity and respect; and, most importantly, you can give your kids the kind of education and opportunity that allows them to dream even bigger and do even better than you ever did.  (Applause.)  That’s the American idea.  That’s what we came together to fight for in 2008.

It’s a simple American promise.  And we knew it wouldn’t be easy restoring that promise.  We knew it would take more than one year or one term, or even one President, because we had gone through a decade in which that promise wasn’t being kept.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you, too, sweetie.  (Applause.)  We had seen a decade, before I came into office, in which jobs were being shipped overseas.  We had run two wars on a credit card, gone from surplus to deficits.  Wages and incomes actually went down during this period, even as the costs of everything from health care and college were going up.  A few folks at the top were doing really, really well, but for a lot of middle-class families, folks were working harder and harder, and seems like if you were lucky you were just treading water.  And that was before the economic crisis, which hammered so many families all across this state and all across this country — people losing their jobs, their homes, their savings — making the American Dream even further out of reach.

So when I ran four years ago, when we talked about how we were going to restore that basic bargain four years ago, I told you there were no quick fixes, there were no simple solutions.  But what I said was, if we were willing to work hard, and we were willing to come together, I had no doubt we could meet every single challenge, because we’ve got so many things going for us.  We’ve got the best workers in the world.  We’ve got the best entrepreneurs and small businesspeople in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists and researchers, the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.)

Compared to other developed countries, we’re a young nation.  And part of it is because we’ve got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity.  People still want to come here from every corner of the globe because they understand what America means.  And so no matter what the naysayers say, no matter how dark the other side tries to paint things around election time, there is not another country on Earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States of America.  (Applause.)

They understand, we understand that here in America, if you’re willing to work hard, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try.  That’s what the last four years has been about — whether it’s been saving the auto industry, or getting health care passed, or creating 4.5 million new jobs, or making sure that young people have an easier time affording college.  It’s all about that idea of making sure hard work is rewarded.  That’s what my presidency has been about.  That is what this campaign is about.  That is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, my opponent and his new running mate, they just have a different view of things.  They’ve got wonderful families, they’re good people, but they believe in a different vision.  They think the best way forward is the kind of top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.  They truly believe that if you roll back regulations that we put in place to control Wall Street, or if you get rid of regulations we put in place to avoid our air getting dirtier and our water getting dirtier, and then if you combine that with more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, then somehow prosperity will come raining down on all of you.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s why we’re in a drought!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not exaggerating here.  You can go on their website, look at Congressman Ryan’s budget.  The centerpiece of Governor Romney’s entire economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to folks like me, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans.  His new running mate, Congressman Ryan, put forward a plan that would let Governor Romney pay less than 1 percent in taxes each year.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a pretty good deal, just paying 1 percent in taxes.  You’re making millions of dollars.

Now, here’s the kicker — they expect you to pick up the tab.  Governor Romney’s tax plan would actually raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000.  Now, this is not my analysis.  This is the analysis of independent economists whose job it is to analyze these plans.  Every media outlet has checked on the numbers here, and their estimate is that it would cost you an extra $2,000 — not to grow the economy, not to reduce the deficit, not to make sure that our schools are working well or we’re building roads or we’re strengthening the middle class.  All this would be just to give another tax cut to folks like Governor Romney.  It would give the average person who is making more than $3 million a year another $250,000 in tax cuts.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan will be here in New Hampshire on Monday, so you can tell them if you think this is fair.  (Laughter.)  And you should ask them, how do you think that’s going to grow the economy again?  How is that going to strengthen the middle class?

Look, we have tried this kind of trickle-down snake oil before.  (Laughter.)  It didn’t work then.  It won’t work now.  It’s not a plan to create jobs.  It’s not a plan to reduce our deficit.  It’s not a plan to strengthen our economy.  It’s not a plan to strengthen the middle class.  (Applause.)

It won’t work.  We’re moving forward.  They want to take us backwards.  That’s the choice in this election.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, the truth is, if you ask them or you ask their consultants, I think they know their economic plan isn’t really popular.  (Laughter.)  And that’s why they’ve got to be dishonest about my plan.  They are just throwing everything they can at the wall to see if it sticks.

Their latest approach is to try to challenge me on Medicare.  Now, let’s just think about this for a second — Governor Romney wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system.  Congressman Ryan wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I, on the other hand, have strengthened Medicare.  (Applause.)  We made reforms that extended the life of the program, saved millions of seniors with Medicare hundreds of dollars on their prescription drugs; we’re closing the doughnut hole.  (Applause.)  The only changes to benefits that we made was to make the benefits better by making sure that Medicare now covers new preventive services like cancer screenings and wellness visits for free.  (Applause.)

Meanwhile, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan want to give seniors a voucher to buy insurance on their own, which — again, somebody did the analysis; not us, somebody else — and they estimate that this could force seniors to pay as much as an extra $6,400 a year for their health care.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  How many people think that’s a good deal?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  That doesn’t strengthen Medicare.  It undoes the very guarantee of Medicare.  But that’s the core of the plan that was written by Congressman Ryan and endorsed by Governor Romney.

And if they want to talk about benefits, they should be straight with you.  Those new cancer screenings and prescription drug discounts, all those things we put into place with the Affordable Care Act, those things would be eliminated if Governor Romney had his way.  So it would take something away from seniors and it wouldn’t replace it with something better.

So here’s the bottom line, New Hampshire — my plan saves money in Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste, and making sure insurance companies aren’t getting unfair subsidies.  (Applause.)  Their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to rich folks who don’t need a tax cut.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  My plan has extended the life of Medicare by nearly a decade.  Their plan would shorten the life of Medicare and end Medicare as we know it, because they’d turn it into a voucher system.

So those are the differences between our plans on Medicare.  But that’s just one example of the choice in this election.  That’s what’s at stake.  That’s why I’m running.  And you can see it on every issue.

When it comes to taxes, four years ago, I came before you and I said middle-class families need relief, especially during this crisis; I’m going to lower taxes on middle-class families.  Guess what?  I kept that promise.  (Applause.)  So if you start getting into an argument with your Republican cousin or friend or what have you — (laughter) — you just tell them, look, the typical family is paying $3,600 less in federal taxes since President Obama came into office.  (Applause.)  And right now, what I want to do is I want to keep taxes right where they are for your first $250,000 of income.  Now, that means — 98 percent of Americans make less than $250,000; 97 percent of small businesses make less than $250,000.  So under my plan, you wouldn’t see your taxes — your income taxes go up a single dime next year.  (Applause.)  That’s a contrast with Governor Romney’s plan.

But in the interest of full disclosure here, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the other 2 percent, you’re still going to get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of income.  You get to keep that.  All we’re asking is that you contribute a little bit more so that we can pay down our deficit in a responsible way and invest in things like education that help us grow.  (Applause.)  And you’ll hear some people say, well, just taxing the top 2 percent, that won’t eliminate the deficit.  It’s true.  Government is still going to have to do its part in cutting away spending we don’t need.  And we’ve already cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending, and we’re slated to do another trillion and a half under my budget plan.

But we’re not going to do it all on the backs of middle-class families, and gutting education, and gutting science and research, and no longer investing in our infrastructure.  All we’re asking is that folks like me go back to the rates we paid under Bill Clinton — which, by the way, worked out pretty good.  (Applause.)  We created 23 million new jobs, we had a surplus instead of a deficit, and we created a whole bunch of new millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

And part of the reason it worked out pretty well — when a teacher or a construction worker or a nurse or a receptionist, when they’ve got a little extra money in their pockets, what do they do?

AUDIENCE:  They spend it!

THE PRESIDENT:  They spend it on basic necessities.  And that means maybe that old beat up car you’ve been hanging on to for the last 12 years, you decide, all right, it’s time to get a new one.  Or maybe you decide, you know what, our kids are going to college, let’s make sure they’ve got a new computer.  And that means, then, business has more customers, which means business gets more profit, which means they then hire more workers, which means those workers then have a little more money in their pockets.  Everybody does better.

That’s how you grow an economy — not from the top down, but from the middle out and the bottom up.  When everybody is doing well, we all prosper.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice in this election.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

On issue after issue, the choice could not be clearer.  When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse, Governor Romney said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”  I said, let’s bet on American workers.  And three and a half years later, the American auto industry is back.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney likes to tout his private sector experience, except a lot of that experience is investing in companies that have been called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  We don’t need more outsourcing, we need some insourcing.  (Applause.)  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, like Governor Romney is promoting.  I want to give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Rochester, right here in New Hampshire, right here in the United States of America, with American workers making American products, selling them around the world, stamped with three proud words: Made in America.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  (Applause.)

My opponent thinks new sources of clean, homegrown energy like wind energy are “imaginary.”  That’s what he called them.  (Laughter.)  Congressman Ryan said they were a “fad.”  Listen, since I took office, America has doubled the use of renewable energy.  (Applause.)  Thousands of good American jobs have been created.  It’s helping us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  That’s not imaginary, that’s real.

We need to stop giving $4 billion of taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that are making money every time you go to the pump.  (Applause.)  Let’s give those tax breaks to producers of clean, renewable energy right here in the United States of America.  That’s a choice in this election.  (Applause.)

I’m running because I made a promise to you in 2008, we’d end the war in Iraq — and we did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d go after al Qaeda and bin Laden — and we did.  (Applause.)  We’re transitioning in Afghanistan so we can begin to bring our troops home.  (Applause.)  All of this was accomplished only because of the incredible service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform — (applause) — which is why we’ve already passed tax breaks for companies that hire veterans, and we’ve made historic investments in the VA — because my attitude is anybody who has fought for our country shouldn’t have to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)

So now, New Hampshire, after a decade of war, I want to take some of those savings and let’s do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)  Let’s take about half the money we’re no longer spending on war and let’s put it to use putting people back to work rebuilding roads and runways and ports, and wireless networks and broadband lines into rural communities, and creating a Veterans Jobs Corps that can help returning heroes get back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them.  That’s the America we want to build.  That’s the choice in this election.  (Applause.)

I want to make sure we’ve got the best education system in the world.  (Applause.)  So I want to help local school districts hire and retain the very best teachers — especially in math and science –- (applause) — create 2 million more slots for Americans to go to community colleges to learn the skills that businesses are looking for right now.  And I want to keep working to reduce the cost of tuition for colleges and universities — (applause) — because a higher education is not a luxury, it’s an economic necessity in the 21st century.  That’s a choice we’ve got to make in this election.  (Applause.)

And yes, New Hampshire, I’m running because I believe in this nation.  I still believe you shouldn’t go bankrupt when you get sick.  (Applause.)  I’m actually kind of fond of the term “Obamacare.”  (Applause.)  I fought for that bill because I cared, because I cared about the 6.5 million young people who can now get insurance by staying on their parent’s plan.  (Applause.)

I care about the millions of seniors who are now getting discounts on their prescription drugs and free preventive care because of what we did.  (Applause.)  I care about all those folks here in New Hampshire and around the country with preexisting conditions who can now get health insurance because of what we did.  (Applause.)  The Supreme Court has spoken.  This law is here to stay.  We don’t need to refight this battle for another three and a half years.  We’re not going backwards, we’re moving forward.  (Applause.)

We’re not going to put — we’re not going to go back to the days when serving the country you love depended on who you love.  We ended “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  It was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward.

I believe women should be in charge of their own health care decisions.  (Applause.)  We’re not going backward, we’re going forward.  (Applause.)

On issue after issue, there is a clear choice.  Now, over the next three months, the other side is going to spend more money than we have ever seen.  I mean, they are writing $10 million checks — individuals — just to run the same ad over and over again.  It’s variations on the same theme, which is, the economy is not where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault.  They’ll just say that over and over again.  (Laughter.)  And the reason they’ve got to say that — that’s their only message — is because they know their economic plan won’t sell.

They may have a plan to win the election, but they don’t have a plan to create jobs.  They don’t have a plan to grow the economy.  They don’t have a plan to help the middle class.  I do.  (Applause.)

But here’s the thing — I’ve been outspent before.  I’ve been counted out before.  But what gives me hope, what gives me confidence is you.  (Applause.)  Because I know when the American people start paying attention after all the ads have been done and they cut through all the nonsense, and they start remembering the story of their families — their parents, their grandparents — all the struggles they went through, what it means to work hard and get ahead, and overcome obstacles — the same kind of story I’ve got in my life as a son of a single mom; the same kind of story that Michelle has in her life — her parents, dad a blue-collar worker, mom a secretary — we know what it’s been like to go through hard times.  But we also know what it’s like to have hope and determination and resilience, and to watch the next generation do better.  And when you guys are focused on that idea, which is the essence of who we are, then all that other money, all that other stuff doesn’t matter.  (Applause.)

So, New Hampshire, I’m going to need your help.  We’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)  We’ve still got more good jobs to create, more good teachers to hire, more students to help to go to college, more troops to bring home, more homegrown energy to generate, more doors of opportunity to open for everybody who is willing to walk through them and work hard and put in the effort.  (Applause.)

And if you’re willing to stand with me one more time — (applause) — if you’re willing to knock on some doors and make some phone calls, talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors — we will finish what we started, we will win New Hampshire, we will win this election.  And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.

END
4:22 P.M. EDT

Campaign Headlines August 16, 2012: Mitt Romney Discusses Medicare Reform Plan at Press Conference in South Carolina

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney Sends Mixed Signals on Medicare Reform Plan

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-16-12

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

Mitt Romney took another crack at resetting the Medicare debate on Thursday, calling an impromptu press conference on the tarmac of a South Carolina airport.

With a black marker in his hand and a whiteboard to his side, the Republican presidential candidate tried to spell out, literally, the differences between his and President Obama’s policies.

“You’re going to have to take me over here,” Romney said, asking the cameras to track along with him as he gestured toward his handy visual aid.  “As you can see, there’s no change in Medicare for seniors.  None, under my plan.”

“My plan stays the same.  No adjustments, no changes, no savings,” Romney said.

“Next generation retirees,” he added, will get “the option of having standard Medicare, a fee for service-type government run Medicare, or private run Medicare.”…READ MORE

Romney: President Obama’s $716 Billion Medicare Cut Is A Mistake

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-16-12

“Under the current projections, Medicare will be insolvent in 12 years, and that’s not acceptable to me. That’s why we have worked very hard to come up with a solution. But, the idea that the President has put forward, cutting $716 billion out of Medicare? I think that’s a real mistake.” – Mitt Romney

Fox 35 Orlando
August 15, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “But I would note that the President has a plan for people who are 55 years and older. If Obamacare is allowed to be installed, Medicare will be raided by $716 billion. The President takes $716 out of the Medicare trust fund to pay for Obamacare. I think this is something which seniors are going to be very concerned about. Paul Ryan and I are talking about what adjustments we should make to Medicare for young people so that when they come along and become seniors, that they have a program that’s solvent. Under the current projections, Medicare will be insolvent in 12 years, and that’s not acceptable to me. That’s why we have worked very hard to come up with a solution. But, the idea that the President has put forward, cutting $716 billion out of Medicare? I think that’s a real mistake.”

Romney: President Obama Cut Medicare To Pay For Obamacare

 Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-15-12 
WTSP-Tampa, FL
August 15, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “What the people are focused on is the issue of Medicare and the fact that under the President’s plan, he cuts Medicare by $716 billion, takes that money out of the Medicare trust fund, and uses it to pay for Obamacare. And I think this is something which people are just now focused on and they find it very, very difficult to understand why he would cut Medicare funding for our current seniors.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 16, 2012: Paul Ryan Goes on Offense on Medicare in Speech at his Alma Mater Miami University in Ohio

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Returning to His Alma Mater, Paul Ryan Goes on Offense on Medicare

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-16-12

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Paul Ryan had a second homecoming Wednesday, returning to his alma mater, Miami University, where he took on the issue of Medicare. The subject is one which Democrats are using to frighten senior voters in hopes to derail Mitt Romney’s campaign now that Ryan, the House budget chairman, has joined the ticket.

But Ryan is playing offense. Mentioning Medicare for the first time on the stump, he repeated a line of attack introduced earlier in the week by the Romney campaign.

“We want this debate, we need this debate and we will win this debate,” Ryan told a crowd of thousands on campus. “What I don’t think he’ll be telling people is that the president took $716 billion from the Medicare program.”…READ MORE

PAUL RYAN: CUTTING MEDICARE TO PAY FOR OBAMACARE IS NOT AN “ACHIEVEMENT”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-16-12

“The President was talking about Medicare yesterday … What he probably did not mention yesterday is that when passed his signature healthcare achievement, Obamacare, he raided $716 billion from Medicare paid for Obamacare. This will lead to fewer services for seniors. President Obama’s campaign calls this an achievement. You think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement? Neither do I.” –Paul Ryan

Remarks
North Canton, OH
August 16, 2012

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan

PAUL RYAN: “And so, President Obama has run out of ideas. That’s why his campaign is based on frustration and anger. That’s why he’s not coming with new ideas. He’s giving us more of the same and he’s going to resort to distortion. He’s going to resort to fear and smear. The President was talking about Medicare yesterday. I’m excited about this. This is a debate we want to have. This is a debate we need to have. And this is a debate we we’re going to win. What he probably did not mention yesterday is that when passed his signature healthcare achievement, Obamacare, he raided $716 billion from Medicare paid for Obamacare. This will lead to fewer services for seniors. President Obama’s campaign calls this an achievement. You think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare is an achievement? Neither do I. Next time you get your pay stub, take a look at the line that says payroll taxes, FICA. Those payroll taxes that come out of our paychecks are designed for two programs and two programs alone: Medicare and Social Security. But now, because of Obamacare, it’s funding Obamacare as well. It’s wrong. The president knows this. He can’t defend this. And that’s the problem. He can’t defend his record. He didn’t change his tune, he didn’t compromise, he didn’t reach across the aisle, and that’s why he’s running this kind of campaign of frustration and anger. This election presents so many clear contrasts. One of those contrasts is this: Mitt Romney and I will protect and strengthen Medicare, leave it intact for our current seniors, and save it for the next generation.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 14, 2012: Paul Ryan on Fox News: President Barack Obama Is Damaging Medicare For Current Seniors

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Paul Ryan: President Obama Is Damaging Medicare For Current Seniors

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-14-12

“President Obama is actually damaging Medicare for current seniors. It’s irrefutable. And that’s why I think this is a debate we want to have and that’s a debate we’re going to win.”  –Paul Ryan

Special Report

FOX News

August 14, 2012

PAUL RYAN: “[W]e’re the ones offering a plan to save Medicare; to protect Medicare; to strengthen Medicare. We are the ones who are not raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare. We’re the ones who are repealing President Obama’s 15 person bureaucratic board that will put price controls on Medicare that will lead to denied care for current seniors. We’re the ones continuing the guarantee of Medicare for people in or near retirement. And you have to reform it for the younger generation, in order to make the commitment stick for the current generation. President Obama is actually damaging Medicare for current seniors. It’s irrefutable. And that’s why I think this is a debate we want to have and that’s a debate we’re going to win.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 19, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on 2 Day Florida Tour at Prime Osborn Convention Center, Jacksonville, Florida — Criticizes Mitt Romney, GOP on Medicare

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

In Florida, Obama Presents Romney as Bad Choice for Seniors

Source: NYT, 7-19-12

President Obama spoke at a campaign event on Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.

Richard Perry/The New York Times

President Obama spoke at a campaign event on Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.

The president assailed Republican plans to repeal his health care law and transform Medicare into a voucher program….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Jacksonville, FL

Source: WH, 7-19-12

Prime Osborn Convention Center
Jacksonville, Florida

2:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Florida!  (Applause.)  Oh, it is good to be back in Jacksonville, Florida!  (Applause.)

A couple people I just want to say thank you to — first of all, please give Don Herrin a big round of applause for the introduction.  (Applause.)  One of our outstanding members of Congress, your own Corrine Brown is here.  (Applause.)  Another great member of the Florida delegation, Ted Deutch is here.  (Applause.) And Congresswoman and Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is in the house.  (Applause.)

And all of you are here.  And I’m happy about that.  (Applause.)

I’m sorry we were a little delayed — had some weather issues.  Even Air Force One has to fly around the thunder.  (Laughter.)  But we are so glad to be back.  And I want to thank all of you for being here —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  That’s why I came.

Now, Jacksonville, this is my last political campaign.

AUDIENCE:  Awww —

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s true.  I’m term limited.  (Laughter.)  And since it’s my last campaign, it got me thinking about my first political campaigns, early on, back when I had no gray hair.  (Laughter.)  And when I was running for the state senate, or I was running for the United States Senate in Illinois — Illinois is a big state like Florida, and we’d have to travel across the state, and I didn’t have Air Force One back then.  (Laughter.)  No Marine One.  So I didn’t even have GPS.  (Laughter.)  So I’d be driving — maybe I’d have one staff person in the car.  And since we didn’t have MapQuest, I had to have a map, and I’d fold it and then I’d try to unfold it and fold it back the way it was, and I’d get it all messed up.  And I’d get lost, and then once I got to an event I’d have to find parking, and sometimes I couldn’t find a parking spot, or I’d get rained on.

But I have such fond memories of those early campaigns because, no matter where I went, no matter what community — inner-city, rural town, meeting with black folks, white folks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans — didn’t matter what background people came from, no matter how much they looked different on the surface, there was a common thread to all the stories that I heard as I traveled around the state.

I’d meet an elderly couple, and they’d remind me of my grandparents.  I’d think about my grandfather who fought in Patton’s Army in World War II, my grandmother working on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.  And when he came back he was rewarded with a chance to go to college on the GI Bill.  They were able to buy their first home with an FHA loan.  And I’d think about the journey that they had traveled and everything that that Greatest Generation had done to build America.

Or I’d meet a middle-class couple and I’d think about Michelle’s parents — especially her dad, who had multiple sclerosis, so by the time I met him he could barely walk, had to use two canes, had to wake up an hour earlier than everybody else to get to work because that’s how long it took to get him dressed, but would not miss a day of work.  I’d think about Michelle’s mom, who ended up working as a secretary for most of her life, and how, despite the fact that they never had a lot, they were able to give Michelle and Michelle’s brother the best education possible, and how remarkable that was — this country that we live in.

And then I’d meet a single mom and I’d think about my own mother, who raised my sister and me, with the help of my grandparents, because my dad left when I was a baby.  And my mom didn’t have a lot of money, but she worked hard and she went to school at the same time, so that she could give her two children the best education possible and they could travel on a path that she couldn’t have even imagined.

So the people I met in that first campaign and every campaign since, they had all kinds of different stories, all kinds of different backgrounds; they were young and old and every race and every faith — gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, independent — but all of them shared the belief in that core American experience, that basic idea, that core bargain that makes us the shining example for the world — the idea that no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, America is a place where you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

As Americans, we don’t expect handouts, but we expect hard work to pay off.  (Applause.)  We understand there will be setbacks, but we also know that responsibility should be rewarded.  We believe that if you put enough effort into it, enough elbow grease into it, you should be able to find a job that pays the bills — (applause) — you should be able the have a home that you call your own, health care that you can count on if you get sick.  (Applause.)  You should be able to retire with dignity and respect.  You should be able to provide your children with an education that gives them an even better shot than you had.  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

Jacksonville, we are here today because we recognize that this basic bargain, this essence of who we are as a people, this simple American Dream is at risk like never before.  For more than a decade, it had been slipping away from too many hardworking people.  Jobs and factories were shipped overseas.  Folks at the top were doing better than ever before, but middle-class families saw their paychecks get smaller even as their bills got bigger.  In Washington, the trillions that were spent on two wars and two tax cuts took us from record surpluses to record deficits.  And on Wall Street, a culture of “anything goes” led to the worst economic crisis and financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Now, ever since I first ran for this office, I’ve said it’s going to take more than one year or one term or maybe even one President to restore the dream that built this country.  (Applause.)  And the financial crisis and economic crisis made our job that much harder.  But I don’t get discouraged — (applause) — because the cynics who say that our best days are behind us, they haven’t witnessed the everyday courage and the essential character of the American people.  (Applause.)

They haven’t met the small business owners in Minnesota who chose to sacrifice some of their own perks, some of their own pay, to avoid laying off a single worker during that recession.  They haven’t been to the auto companies in Michigan and Ohio that were never supposed to build another car again, but now they can’t build them fast enough.  (Applause.)

They haven’t talked to the 55-year-old factory worker from North Carolina who decided that when the furniture industry left town she’d get her degree in biotechnology from the local community college — not just because she hopes it gets her a job, but because she hopes it tells her children, you don’t give up on your dreams.  (Applause.)  That’s the character I’ve seen in the American people.  That’s who we are.

There are no easy fixes, no quick solutions to the challenges we face, but there is no doubt in my mind that we have the capacity to meet them and we will meet them.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the best workers in the world and the best entrepreneurs in the world and the best scientists in the world and the best researchers and the best colleges and the best universities.  (Applause.)  We’re a young nation with the greatest diversity and talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe.  And Florida knows something about that.  No matter what the naysayers tell us, there is not a country on Earth that would not happily trade places with the United States of America. (Applause.)

So the problem — what’s standing in our way is not technical solutions to the problems of housing or education or dealing with the debt.  We know how to deal with it.  What’s standing in our way is our politics.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s what’s going on in Washington.  It’s the notion that compromise is a bad word, the notion that the only path forward is going backwards to the same top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  Our opponent’s entire plan — the same plan of his allies in Congress — is to cut more taxes for the wealthy, cut more regulations for banks and insurance companies, cut more investments in things like education and research.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  — all with the hope that somehow that will create jobs and prosperity everywhere.  That’s what Mitt Romney believes.  That’s what folks in his party in Washington believe. But you know what, Florida, that’s not what you and I believe.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s not what most Americans believe, no matter what party you belong to — because this country was not built on top-down economics.  This country was built from the middle class out.  It was built from the bottom up.  That’s how we became the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. (Applause.)  That’s the path you can choose for America in this election.  And that is why I am running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  I am running because, like you, I believe you cannot reduce the deficit and deal with our debt without asking folks like me, without asking the wealthiest Americans, to give up the tax cuts they’ve been getting for the last decade.  (Applause.)

Now, my opponent doesn’t just want to keep these tax cuts, he wants to cut those taxes by another $5 trillion, including a 25 percent tax cut for every millionaire in the country.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, hold on, it gets better.  (Laughter.)  To pay for this, he plans to gut things like job training and financial aid for college, and potentially raise taxes on the middle class — on you.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  He plans to roll back health care reform, forcing more than 200,000 Floridians to pay more for their prescription drugs.  He plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the health insurance that’s on the market, you’re out of luck.  You’re on your own.  One independent nonpartisan study found that seniors would have to pay nearly $6,400 more for Medicare than they do today.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, Florida, that’s the wrong way to go.  It’s wrong to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare just so millionaires and billionaires can pay less in taxes.  That’s not the way to reduce the deficit.  (Applause.)  We shouldn’t be squeezing more money out of seniors who are just barely getting by right now.

My plan is to squeeze more money out of the health care system by eliminating waste, and going after abuse and fraud in Medicare.  (Applause.)  We can cut back government spending that we can’t afford, but I will also ask anybody who is making over $250,000 a year to just go back to the rates they were paying under Bill Clinton — because, by the way, that worked.  (Applause.)  Nearly 23 million new jobs were created, the largest budget surplus in our history.  And when we were doing it that way, where the burden was shared, actually, millionaires did really well.

That’s the choice we have in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  There is such a contrast in approach, two fundamentally different visions that you’re going to have to choose from in this election.

When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs on the line, Governor Romney said let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I refused to turn my back on a great industry and on American workers.  I bet on American workers.  I bet on American manufacturing.  And three years later the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

So I want to make sure that the high-tech manufacturing jobs of tomorrow — not just in the auto industry but in every industry — that those advanced manufacturing jobs are taking root not in China, not in Germany, but in Jacksonville — (applause) — and in Cleveland and in Raleigh and in Richmond.

Governor Romney’s experience has been owning companies that were called “pioneers” in the business of outsourcing, wants to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States — (applause) — rewarding companies that are investing here and hiring American workers, so we can sell products around the world stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’m running.

I’m running because in 2008, I promised to end the war in Iraq — and thanks to our outstanding men and women in uniform, we kept that promise.  (Applause.)  It’s time to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)  America is safer and more respected because of the selflessness of our troops.  Not only did we end the war in Iraq, we’ve been able to go after al Qaeda and get bin Laden.  (Applause.)  We have set a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan.  And as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us.  (Applause.)  Nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  (Applause.)

So my plan would take about half the money that we’re no longer spending on war and use that to pay down the deficit — use the other half to put people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our runways, our ports, wireless networks.  (Applause.)

I want to create a Veterans Job Corps, so we can put our returning heroes back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them.  (Applause.)  That’s the America we want to build.  That’s the choice in this election.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m running to make sure that America once again leads the world in educating our kids and training our workers.  (Applause.)  I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)
Let’s give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now.  (Applause.)  Let’s work with colleges and universities to bring down the cost of tuition once and for all. (Applause.)

In the 21st century, higher education isn’t a luxury.  It’s a necessity that every American should be able to afford.  (Applause.)

On every measure, there’s a difference in this election.  My opponent has a plan to help responsible homeowners by letting the housing market hit bottom.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That isn’t a solution, that’s a problem.  We’ve already helped more than a million responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages.  And now I want to give everybody the change to refinance and save $3,000 a year.  That’s a plan for housing.  That’s the choice in this election.  (Applause.)

I’m running because I believe nobody in America should go broke just because they get sick.  (Applause.)  And because we passed the health care law, we are going to realize that goal.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  We are moving forward.  We are going to help people who are working hard to make sure that just because they have an illness in their family, they don’t lose everything.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, if you’ve already got health insurance, this just gives you the guarantee and security when you’re dealing with your insurance company that they won’t jerk you around because of the fine print.  (Applause.)  And it lets your young — it lets young people stay on their parent’s plan until they’re 26 years old.  (Applause.)  And it helps our seniors reduce their prescription drug costs.  We’re not going to roll that back.  We’re not going to refight that fight for the next four years.  We need to move forwards, not backwards.  (Applause.)

Just like we’re not going to refight the issue of whether you can serve the country you love just — depending on who you love.  We ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” — it was the right thing to do.  We’re not going back and having that fight.  (Applause.) We need to move forward.

We need to make sure that women have control over their own health care decisions.  (Applause.)  We’re not going backwards.  We’re moving forward.

All these issues connect.  Whether it’s bringing manufacturing and construction jobs back, or protecting your health care, or making sure our kids are getting the best education, making sure our veterans are getting the care that they have earned — all these things make up a middle-class life. They’re all central to the idea that made this country great — that promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead.  (Applause.)

It’s the same promise our parents and grandparents passed down to all of us, the promise we have to pass down to our kids and our grandkids — the idea that we work hard, that everybody has got to take responsibility, that government can’t solve every problem and it certainly can’t solve problems if you don’t want to help yourself — but we also know there are some things we do better together — (applause) — that we rise or fall as one nation and as one people.

Over the course of the next four months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen in our lifetimes on ads that tell you the same thing you’ve been hearing for months.  They know their plan isn’t going to sell, so all they’ll keep doing is saying, the economy is not where it should be and it’s all Obama’s fault.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s basically their message.  Now, I guess that’s a plan to win an election, but they can’t hide the fact that it’s not a plan to create jobs.  (Applause.)  It’s not a plan to grow the economy.  They don’t have a plan to revive the middle class.  Everything they’re proposing we tried for a decade and it didn’t work.

So they don’t have a plan, and I do.  (Applause.)  And, Florida, I’ve been outspent before, and I’ve been counted out before, but through every campaign, what has always given me hope is the American people.  (Applause.)  You have the ability to cut through all that nonsense.  What gives me hope is that you remember the stories of families just like mine, all the struggles of parents and great grandparents; and some folks coming here as immigrants, some brought here in chains; some working on the farm, some working in the mines or on the mills.  They didn’t know what to expect, but they understood that there was something different about this country.  They knew that this was a country where things might not be perfect, but working together, we could perfect our union; where people were free to pursue their own individual dreams, but still come together as neighbors, as friends, as one American family.  (Applause.)

They knew that being middle class wasn’t about how much you had in your bank account — it was about the security of knowing you could take care of your family, and give your kids the chance to pursue the life that they dream of, and the chance to give something back to this country that gave you so much.  (Applause.)

And when we tap into that spirit, when we push aside all the talk and all the politics, and get down to that core of what it means to be American, all that money doesn’t matter.  All those negative ads don’t matter.  When you come together, you cannot be stopped.  (Applause.)  And so you can still make change happen, Florida.  You can still inspire each other, because you inspire me.  (Applause.)

In 2008, I tried to only make promises that I could keep or work on keeping.  And I told you then that I was not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect President, but I also told you I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and, most of all, I would wake up every single day — every single day and spend every waking hour thinking about you, fighting as hard as I knew how for you.

Because I see myself in you.  (Applause.)  Your grandparents remind me of my grandparents.  When I see your kids, I think about my kids.  And so I have kept that promise, Florida.  I’ve been fighting for you, and I keep believing in you.

And now I am asking for your vote — not just for me, but for the country that we believe in, together.  (Applause.)  And if you still believe, and if you’re willing to stand up with me  — (applause) — and knock on doors for me, and make phone calls for me, talk to your neighbors and talk to your friends, talk to your coworkers, talk to your family, we will win Florida and we will win this election.  (Applause.)  We’ll finish what we started in 2008, and we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END
2:43 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines: Senate Rejects House G.O.P. Medicare Plan by 57-40 Vote

The Democratic-led Senate on Wednesday rejected a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare, defeating it by a 57-40 vote, with five Republicans breaking with their party to vote against the proposal.

Political Buzz May 24, 2011: Democrat Kathy Hochul Wins Upstate New York Congressional Race Over Republican Jane Corwin — Medicare Biggest Issue

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.

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS — ELECTIONS

Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Kathy Hochul delivered her victory speech in Amherst on Tuesday evening.

Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat in Closely Watched Upstate New York Race: The Associated Press has declared Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, the winner in a closely watched Congressional race in upstate New York that is being seen as a test of a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare.
On Tuesday, she captured 47 percent of the vote to Ms. Corwin’s 43 percent, according to unofficial results. A Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, had 9 percent

  • Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat; Rebuke Seen to Medicare Plan: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against the Republican, Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on the Republican’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up…. – NYT, 5-25-11
  • Democrat Wins Upstate New York Congressional Race: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
    With 66 percent of the precincts reporting, Ms. Hochul led with 48 percent of the vote, to 43 percent for the Republican candidate, Jane L. Corwin…. – NYT, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Wins G.O.P. Seat; Rebuke Seen to Medicare Plan: Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
    The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.
    Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
    Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare…. – NYT, 5-24-11
  • GOP loss a Medicare message?: Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul won a House special election in western New York on Tuesday, a Democratic triumph in a conservative district that many consider a referendum on House Republicans’ efforts to reform Medicare.
    With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Hochul had 48 percent of the vote. State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, a Republican, had 42 percent, while independent candidate Jack Davis ran a distant third with 9 percent.
    The seat in New York’s 26th District became vacant when Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., resigned after revelations that he had sent shirtless pictures of himself to a woman with whom he had been corresponding on Craigslist. Seattle Times, 5-25-11
  • Democrat Wins U.S. House Race That Focused on Medicare, AP Says: Kathy Hochul was elected to a vacant U.S. House seat in western New York, the Associated Press said, following a campaign that became a referendum on a Republican plan to privatize Medicare.
    With 84 percent of the vote counted in the special election, the AP tally showed Hochul with 48 percent to 42 percent for Republican Jane Corwin and 8 percent for Buffalo- area industrialist Jack Davis, running on the Tea Party ballot line.
    The race was closely watched for its implications on national politics, including the 2012 presidential campaign. The campaign provided the first electoral test on the Medicare issue and, in a sign of its potential importance, national party groups and their independent allies helped finance a barrage of local television ads and automated telephone calls to households…. – Bloomberg, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Kathy Hochul wins upstate New York race: Democrat Kathy Hochul drew on voter discontent over Republican plans to revamp Medicare to score an upset win on Tuesday in a special election to represent a conservative upstate New York congressional district.
    Hochul defeated Republican Jane Corwin in a three-way race that also included self-described Tea Party candidate Jack Davis. The outcome did not affect Republican control of the House of Representatives.
    “Tonight the voters were willing to look beyond the political labels and vote for a person, and vote for message that they believe in,” Hochul told cheering supporters minutes after taking a phone call from Corwin, a state assemblywoman. “We can balance the budget the right way, and not on the backs of our seniors,” said Hochul, the Erie County clerk. “We had the issues on our side.”
    President Barack Obama, who is visiting Britain, issued a statement congratulating Hochul on her victory. “Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future,” Obama said…. – Reuters, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Wins House Seat Third Candidate Roils New York Race in Traditionally GOP Area; Medicare Issue Studied as Factor:A Democrat on Tuesday won election to a congressional seat from a traditionally Republican district in western New York, according to Associated Press tallies, an outcome that will be studied for clues to how voters are viewing the budget battles in Washington.
    Republican candidate Jane Corwin had endorsed a plan passed by House Republicans last month to overhaul Medicare, drawing sharp criticism from her Democratic rival, Kathy Hochul.
    Ms. Hochul was leading Ms. Corwin, 48% to 43%, with 66% of the vote tallied shortly after 10 p.m. eastern time, AP reported.
    The news service declared the winner to be Ms. Hochul. She is currently the Erie County clerk.
    Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, and voters gave former Rep. Chris Lee, a Republican, 68% of the vote in November.
    The district also supported Republicans John McCain for president in 2008 and President George W. Bush in 2004.
    While the outcome was complicated by a third-party candidate, members of Congress are sure to study the results for the role that the Medicare proposal may have played in the race…. – WSJ, 5-24-11
  • Democrat Hochul wins N.Y. special election: Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul won a House special election in western New York on Tuesday night, a Democratic triumph in a conservative district that many consider a referendum on House Republicans’ efforts to reform Medicare.
    With three-quarters of precincts reporting, Hochul had 48 percent of the vote. State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R) had 42 percent, with independent candidate Jack Davis running a distant third with 8 percent.
    Democrats contended that the race in New York’s 26th Congressional District — which the GOP had held since the 1960s — became competitive through their efforts linking Corwin to the House Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
    That plan, spearheaded by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.), has already been the subject of plenty of debate in Washington, where Republicans seek deep cuts and debt-reduction measures…. – WaPo, 5-24-11
  • Kathy Hochul wins NY congressional race: Democrat Kathy Hochul scored an upset and won a special election to represent New York’s 26th congressional district on Tuesday, defeating Republican Jane Corwin.
    Hochul, the Erie County clerk, declared victory in the conservative upstate district with just over 70 percent of the vote tallied.
    The election was held to fill the seat vacated in February by Republican Chris Lee, who resigned after shirtless photos he sent to a woman he met on Craigslist were published on the Internet…. – Reuters, 5-24-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: N.Y. race for House seat a preview of 2012?: Next week voters in New York’s 26th Congressional District will go to the ballot box to replace Rep. Christopher Lee, who resigned after a scandal involving a photo of himself shirtless that he sent to a woman he met online.
    Like other special elections in the last two years, the rumble in the 26th has drawn the attention and resources of both national political parties. What would have ordinarily been a local race is seen as having big implications for 2012.
    Until April, few Democrats thought this race was worth contesting. The 26th is one of the most conservative districts in New York, presumably a safe Republican seat. But then something happened. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin released his budget plan, which included a drastic overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid. Many of his GOP colleagues, fearing trouble on the campaign trail, distanced themselves from the plan as soon as the details were released.
    In New York, Democrats pounced. The party has been able to generate substantial support for its candidate, Kathy Hochul, by connecting the dots between New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. Her ads have hammered away at her Republican opponent, Jane Corwin, for endorsing Ryan’s proposal and supporting “a budget that essentially ends Medicare.” She also supports, they add, reductions in Social Security benefits.
    The National Republican Congressional Committee has responded with a familiar refrain, calling Hochul a champion of the kind of big government liberalism that it says has run rampant in Washington. A recent television spot argued that Hochul, as well as independent Jack Davis, was on the same page as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
    The race is allowing both parties to test their arguments for 2012. Republicans are counting on Americans to share the party’s antipathy to the federal government and support proposals to lower the federal deficit. This anti-government ethos has been a guiding ideal for GOP candidates since Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in 1980….
    The results in the special election may help the parties determine what their strategy should be in the 2012 elections. If Hochul wins, we can expect Democrats to focus on specifics in the upcoming months, telling voters what Democrats’ programs provide them and what Republicans hope to take away.
    If Republicans can hold this seat, they may be emboldened to continue calling for radical cuts in the federal budget and warning of the dangerous road on which Democrats have embarked. Which argument sticks in this special election will give both parties some sense of where voters stand after the heated budget battles of the past few months…. – CNN, 5-23-11
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