Full Text Political Transcripts December 6, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Full Text Obama Presidency June 7, 2014: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Remarks at Memorial Service for Dr. Maya Angelou

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the First Lady at Memorial Service for Dr. Maya Angelou

Source: WH, 6-7-14

Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

11:42 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you so much. (Applause.) My heart is so full. My heart is so full. Bebe — Oprah, why did you do that? Just why did you put me after this? (Laughter.)

To the family, Guy, to all of you; to the friends; President Clinton; Oprah; my mother, Cicely Tyson; Ambassador Young — let me just share something with you. My mother, Marian Robinson, never cares about anything I do. (Laughter.) But when Dr. Maya Angelou passed, she said, you’re going, aren’t you? I said, well, Mom, I’m not really sure, I have to check with my schedule. She said, you are going, right? (Laughter.) I said, well, I’m going to get back to you but I have to check with the people, figure it out. I came back up to her room when I found out that I was scheduled to go, and she said, that’s good, now I’m happy. (Laughter.)

It is such a profound honor, truly, a profound honor, to be here today on behalf of myself and my husband as we celebrate one of the greatest spirits our world has ever known, our dear friend, Dr. Maya Angelou.

In the Book of Psalms it reads: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the Earth.” What a perfect description of Maya Angelou, and the gift she gave to her family and to all who loved her.

She taught us that we are each wonderfully made, intricately woven, and put on this Earth for a purpose far greater than we could ever imagine. And when I think about Maya Angelou, I think about the affirming power of her words.

The first time I read “Phenomenal Woman”, I was struck by how she celebrated black women’s beauty like no one had ever dared to before. (Applause.) Our curves, our stride, our strength, our grace. Her words were clever and sassy; they were powerful and sexual and boastful. And in that one singular poem, Maya Angelou spoke to the essence of black women, but she also graced us with an anthem for all women –- a call for all of us to embrace our God-given beauty.

And, oh, how desperately black girls needed that message. As a young woman, I needed that message. As a child, my first doll was Malibu Barbie. (Laughter.) That was the standard for perfection. That was what the world told me to aspire to. But then I discovered Maya Angelou, and her words lifted me right out of my own little head.

Her message was very simple. She told us that our worth has nothing to do with what the world might say. Instead, she said, “Each of us comes from the creator trailing wisps of glory.” She reminded us that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.

Dr. Angelou’s words sustained me on every step of my journey –- through lonely moments in ivy-covered classrooms and colorless skyscrapers; through blissful moments mothering two splendid baby girls; through long years on the campaign trail where, at times, my very womanhood was dissected and questioned. For me, that was the power of Maya Angelou’s words –- words so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House. (Applause.)

And today, as First Lady, whenever the term “authentic” is used to describe me, I take it as a tremendous compliment, because I know that I am following in the footsteps of great women like Maya Angelou. But really, I’m just a beginner — I am baby-authentic. (Laughter.) Maya Angelou, now she was the original, she was the master. For at a time when there were such stifling constraints on how black women could exist in the world, she serenely disregarded all the rules with fiercely passionate, unapologetic self. She was comfortable in every last inch of her glorious brown skin.

But for Dr. Angelou, her own transition was never enough. You see, she didn’t just want to be phenomenal herself, she wanted all of us to be phenomenal right alongside her. (Applause.) So that’s what she did throughout her lifetime -– she gathered so many of us under her wing. I wish I was a daughter, but I was right under that wing sharing her wisdom, her genius, and her boundless love.

I first came into her presence in 2008, when she spoke at a campaign rally here in North Carolina. At that point, she was in a wheelchair, hooked up to an oxygen tank to help her breathe. But let me tell you, she rolled up like she owned the place. (Laughter.) She took the stage, as she always did, like she’d been born there. And I was so completely awed and overwhelmed by her presence I could barely concentrate on what she was saying to me.

But while I don’t remember her exact words, I do remember exactly how she made me feel. (Applause.) She made me feel like I owned the place, too. She made me feel like I had been born on that stage right next to her. And I remember thinking to myself, “Maya Angelou knows who I am, and she’s rooting for me. So, now I’m good. I can do this. I can do this.” (Applause.)

And that’s really true for us all, because in so many ways, Maya Angelou knew us. She knew our hope, our pain, our ambition, our fear, our anger, our shame. And she assured us that despite it all –- in fact, because of it all -– we were good. And in doing so, she paved the way for me and Oprah and so many others just to be our good, old, black-woman selves. (Applause.)

She showed us that eventually, if we stayed true to who we are, then the world would embrace us. (Applause.) And she did this not just for black women, but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us all that it is okay to be your regular old self, whatever that is –- your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self.

That was Maya Angelou’s reach. She touched me. She touched all of you. She touched people all across the globe, including a young white woman from Kansas who named her daughter after Maya, and raised her son to be the first black President of the United States. (Applause.)

So when I heard that Dr. Angelou had passed, while I felt a deep sense of loss, I also felt a profound sense of peace. Because there is no question that Maya Angelou will always be with us, because there was something truly divine about Maya. I know that now, as always, she is right where she belongs.

May her memory be a blessing to us all. Thank you. God bless. (Applause.)

END
11:53 A.M. EDT

Political Musings January 19, 2014: Obama revisits North Carolina economy and jobs speech in weekly address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama revisits North Carolina economy and jobs speech in weekly address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This past week President Barack Obama message on the economy focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, as he again pushed Congress to pass the unemployment benefits extension for the long term jobless and introduced manufacturing institutes that will train Americans for…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency January 15, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Economy, Unemployment Benefits Extension and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation in North Carolina

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

North Carolina Is Home to America’s Newest High-Tech Manufacturing Hub

Remarks by the President on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Source: WH, 1-15-14

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation
January 15, 2014 6:02 PM

President Obama Speaks on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on manufacturinPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks on manufacturing at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina

1:14 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Raleigh!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to be back in North Carolina.  (Applause.)  If you have a seat, go ahead and have a seat.  Now, if you don’t have a seat, don’t.  (Laughter.)

It is good to be here at the home of the Wolfpack.  (Applause.)  I want to thank your chancellor, Randy Woodson, for the introduction and the great work that he’s doing on behalf of students all across the system.  I want to recognize my Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz, who is here.  Give him a big round of applause — he’s doing good work.  (Applause.)  Your Governor, Pat McCrory, is here.  (Applause.)  The Mayor of Raleigh, Nancy McFarlane.  (Applause.)  The Mayor of Chapel Hill, Mark Kleinschmidt.  (Applause.)  The Mayor of Durham, Bill Bell.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got Congressman Mike McIntyre doing great work.  (Applause.)  Your Senator, Kay Hagan, couldn’t be here, but I wanted to thank her publicly for the great work she’s doing.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank all the students for coming out.  We’re doing this event nice and early so it doesn’t run up against the Wake game.  (Applause.)  I’ve learned a few things as President, and one of them is not to compete with college basketball down here on Tobacco Road.  You don’t do that.  (Applause.)

Now, this is actually my second stop in Raleigh-Durham.  I just took a tour of a company called Vacon, where workers design the drives that power everything from elevators to the giant fans that help cool buildings like this one — although I think we’re kind of saving money on this — (laughter) — which is the smart thing to do.

So this company is making these engines and these systems more efficient, saving businesses big bucks on energy costs, improving the environment.  Those savings get passed on to customers, puts money in people’s pockets.  And growing companies that need the products that Vacon makes, they’re benefitting enormously.  So it’s a good-news story.  But in a global economy, that company, just like every company in America, has to keep inventing and innovating in order to stay on the cutting edge.  And that’s where all of you come in.

Here at NC State, you know something about innovation.  You’ve got one of the largest undergraduate engineering programs in the country.  That’s worth cheering for.  (Applause.)  I’m a lawyer by training, and that is nice.  But we need more engineers.  (Applause.)

Companies like Cisco and IBM, they come to this school when they’re looking to hire because of the quality of the engineering program.  And over at Centennial Campus — (applause) — some very smart people experiment in state-of-the-art facilities to figure out everything from how to design better fireproof fabrics to how to better protect our computer systems.

So the reason I came here today is because we’ve got to do more to connect universities like NC State with companies like Vacon to make America the number-one place in the world to open new businesses and create new jobs.  We want to do that here in North Carolina, and we want to do this all across America.  (Applause.)

Now, it’s been more than five years since a devastating recession cost this country millions of jobs, and it hurt North Carolina pretty tough.  But everyone here knows that even before the recession hit, the middle class had been hitting — getting hit on the chin for years before that.  Here in North Carolina, factories were shutting their doors, jobs were getting shipped overseas.  Wages and incomes were flat-lining, so even if you had a job you didn’t see your standard of living going up very much. Meanwhile the cost of everything from college tuition to groceries did go up.

So when I took office, we decided to focus on the hard work of rebuilding our economy on a new foundation for growth and prosperity, and to make sure that everybody had a chance to get ahead.  And thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, the good news is the economy is growing stronger.  (Applause.)  Our businesses have now created more than 8 million new jobs since we hit bottom.  Because of an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, for the first time in nearly two decades we produce more oil here in the United States than we buy from the rest of the world.  That hasn’t happened in a very long time.  (Applause.)  We now generate more renewable energy than ever before, more natural gas than anybody on the planet.  (Applause.)  We’re lowering energy costs, reducing pollution.

Health care costs are growing at their slowest rate in 50 years.  For the first time since the 1990s, health care costs eat up a smaller chunk of our economy, and part of that, yes, has to do with the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)  And so over time, that means bigger paychecks for middle-class families, bigger savings for companies that are looking to hire.  And along with all this, since I took office we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.  (Applause.)

So we’ve made progress.  And that’s what I mean when I say this can be a breakthrough year for America.  The pieces are all there to start bringing back more of the jobs that we’ve lost over the past decade.  A lot of companies around the world are starting to talk about bringing jobs back to the United States, bringing jobs back to places like North Carolina — partly because we got cheap energy costs, we’ve got the best workers in the world, we’ve got the best university systems in the world — (applause) — and we’ve got the largest market in the world.

So the pieces are there to restore some of the ground that the middle class has lost in recent decades, start raising wages for American families.  But it requires us to take action.  This has to be a year of action.

And here in North Carolina, you’re doing your part to create good jobs that pay good wages.  Congress has to do its part, too — because restoring the American Dream of opportunity for everyone who’s willing to work for it is something that should unite the country.  That shouldn’t divide the country.  That’s what we should be aspiring to — that everybody has a shot if they’re willing to work hard and take responsibility.  (Applause.)

So in the short term, one thing Congress could do is listen to the majority of the American people and restore the unemployment insurance for Americans who need it.   (Applause.)  And let me just make an aside here.  North Carolina still has a higher-than-average unemployment rate, so this is important to this state.  Folks aren’t looking for a handout.  They’re not looking for special treatment.  There are a lot of people who are sending our resumes every single day, but the market — the job market is still tough in pockets around the country, and people need support, a little help, so they can look after their families while they’re looking for a new job.  (Applause.)  So Congress should do the right thing and extend this vital lifeline for millions of Americans.

Of course, that’s just short term.  Long term, the challenge of making sure everybody who works hard can get ahead in today’s economy is so important that we can’t wait for Congress to solve it.  Where I can act on my own without Congress, I’m going to do so.

And today, I’m here to act — to help make Raleigh-Durham, and America, a magnet for the good, high-tech manufacturing jobs that a growing middle class requires and that are going to continue to keep this country on the cutting edge.  (Applause.)

So we’ve already got some success to build on.  Manufacturing is a bright spot in this economy.  For decades we’d been losing manufacturing jobs.  But now our manufacturers have added over the last four years more than 550,000 new jobs, including almost 80,000 manufacturing jobs in the last five months alone.  So we want to keep that trend going.  We want to build on the kind of work that’s being done in places like NC State to develop technology that leads to new jobs and entire new industries.

So a little over a year ago, we launched America’s first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio.  And what it was is a partnership; it includes companies and colleges.  They came up with a joint plan.  They were focusing on developing 3D printing technology and training workers with the skills required to master that technology.

Now, that was a great start.  We got one going and some of the folks from Youngstown are here today, and we congratulate them on the great work they’re doing.  But here’s the problem:  We created one; in Germany, they’ve already got about 60 of these manufacturing innovation hubs.  So we’ve got some catching up to do.  I don’t want the next big job-creating discovery, the research and technology to be in Germany or China or Japan.  I want it to be right here in the United States of America.  I want it to be right here in North Carolina.  (Applause.)

So what I said was in my State of the Union address last year, I said to Congress, let’s set up a network of at least 15 of these manufacturing hubs all across America, focusing on different opportunities where we can get manufacturing innovation going, create jobs, make sure that the research is tied to businesses that are actually hiring, and those synergies are going to grow the economy regionally and ultimately across the whole country.

And last summer, as part of our push to create middle-class jobs, I said, you know what, let’s not settle on 15, let’s just go ahead and do 45.  Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate introduced bills that would get this going — that’s good.  But they haven’t passed the bills yet.  So I want to encourage them to continue to pass the bills that would create 45 of these manufacturing hubs.  In the meantime, I’m directing my administration to move forward where we can on our own.

So today, after almost a year of competition, I’m pleased to announce America’s newest high-tech manufacturing hub — which is going to be focused on the next generation of power electronics  — is going to be based right here in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Applause.)  That’s good news.  That’s good news.  (Applause.)   That’s good news.  It’s great.  (Applause.)

So just like the hub in Youngstown, what we’re calling the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute is bringing together leading companies, universities, and federal research all together under one roof.  Folks at this hub are going to develop what are called “wide bandgap semiconductors.”

Now, I was just schooled on all this.  (Laughter.)  I’m not sure that I’m fully qualified to describe the technical elements of this.  Raise your hand if you know what that is.  (Laughter.) See, we’ve got some.  (Laughter.)  For all you non-engineers out there, here’s what it means in the simplest terms.  Semiconductors, obviously, are at the heart of every piece of the electronics that we use every day — your smartphone, your television set, these days everything.  Public research helped develop them decades ago, and then that research allowed commercialization, new products, new services, and obviously not only improved the economy, but greatly enhanced our lives.  So we want companies to run with the ball also, but first we’ve got to make sure that we’re also doing the research and linking it up to those companies.

Wide bandgap semiconductors, they’re special because they lose up to 90 percent less power; they can operate at higher temperatures than normal semiconductors.  So that means they can make everything from cell phones to industrial motors to electric cars smaller, faster, cheaper.  There are going to be still applications for the traditional semiconductors, but these can be focused on certain areas that will vastly improve energy efficiency, vastly improve the quality of our lives.  And the country that figures out how to do this first, and the companies that figure how to do this best, they’re the ones that are going to attract the jobs that come with it.

So this manufacturing hub, right here, focused in North Carolina —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  GoPack!

THE PRESIDENT:  GoPack!  (Laughter and applause.)  This hub is going to make it easier for these wide bandgap semiconductors to go from the drawing board to the factory floor to the store shelves — or not necessarily the store shelves, because what I just saw, for example, were these really big pieces of equipment that are attached to utility companies or help windmills translate the power they’re generating actually get transmitted to where they’re going to be finally used.  It’s going to bring together chip designers and manufacturers with companies like Vacon and Delphi that stand to benefit from these new technologies.  And this will help big companies, but it’s also going to help small companies, because they’re going to be able to use equipment they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to test and prototype new products.  And of course, American workers will be able to come right here, to North Carolina, to learn the skills that companies are looking for.  And the next generation of manufacturing will be an American revolution.

So in the coming weeks, we’re going to be launching two more of these innovation hubs; we’ve already got them all planned out. One is going to focus on digital design and manufacturing; another is going to be developing lightweight metals that could transform everything from wind turbines to military vehicles.  And together, they’re going to help build new partnerships in areas that show potential.  They’ll help to lift up our communities.  They’ll help spark the technology and research that will create the new industries, the good jobs required for folks to punch their ticket into the middle class.

And that’s what America is all about.  We have always been about research, innovation, and then commercializing that research and innovation so that everybody can benefit.  And then we start selling our stuff all around the world, we start exporting it.  And we create good jobs, and middle-class families then are able to buy the products that result from this innovation.  And you get a virtuous cycle where everybody is doing better, and nobody is left behind.  And that’s what we can do if we pull together the way those companies and universities have pulled together as part of this bid.

Now, this is going to be a long haul.  We’re not going to turn things around overnight.  A lot of jobs were lost in the textile industry and furniture-making.  But the great news is, is that ultimately, because our people are good and smart and hardworking and willing to take risks, we are going to be able to start bringing those jobs back to America.  And that’s what we do.  (Applause.)  When times get tough, we don’t give up.  We get up.  We innovate.  We adapt.  We keep going.  We look to the future.  (Applause.)

And I want all of you to know, North Carolina, that as long as we keep working together and fighting together and doing what it takes to widen the circle of opportunity for more Americans so nobody is left behind — if you work hard, if you are responsible, then you can go out there, get a skill, train yourself, find a job, support a family.  If we work together, and that’s our focus, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.  (Applause.) There’s no limit to how far we can go.

So congratulations, North Carolina State.  Congratulations, Raleigh.  Let’s get to work.  God bless you.  God bless America. (Applause.)

END
1:31 P.M. EST

Political Musings January 14, 2014: Obama to push economy, unemployment benefits extension in North Carolina speech

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama to push economy, unemployment benefits extension in North Carolina speech

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama is set to deliver a speech about the economy at North Carolina State University on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The President plans again to push Republicans in Congress to pass an unemployment benefits…READ MORE

Political Headlines June 6, 2013: President Barack Obama Announces Broadband-for-Schools Project at North Carolina Middle School

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Announces Broadband-for-Schools Project at NC Middle School

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-6-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama on Thursday called for wider access to high-speed Internet in schools, prodding the Federal Communications Commission to work toward an aggressive goal that he first proposed in 2008.

“In a country where we expect free WiFi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?” Obama asked during a visit to Mooresville Middle School outside of Charlotte, N.C….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 6, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Mooresville Middle School, Mooresville, North Carolina About Bringing America’s Students into the Digital Age & Technology

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Bringing America’s Students into the Digital Age

Source: WH, 6-6-13

President Barack Obama views student projects created on laptops during a tour at Mooresville Middle SchoolPresident Barack Obama views student projects created on laptops during a tour at Mooresville Middle School in Mooresville, N.C., June 6, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Update: Read President Obama’s remarks in Mooresville here

Today, in Mooresville, North Carolina the President is announcing a bold and transformative education initiative to breathe life into the classroom of the 21st century. The goal of the President’s ConnectED initiative is to bring high-speed Internet connections to 99 percent of America’s students – which he is calling on the FCC to do within five years….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Mooresville Middle School — Mooresville, NC

Source: WH, 6-6-13

Mooresville, North Carolina

3:03 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  (Applause.)  Hello, Mooresville!  (Applause.)  Hello, Mooresville.  It is good to be back in North Carolina.  (Applause.)  Now, first of all, I want to thank my staff for being smart enough to schedule a visit right before school lets out.  (Laughter.)  Because that means everybody is in a good mood.  (Laughter.)  However, Principal Tulbert told me that if I wanted to visit, I had to follow school rules.  And since we just recited the Pledge of Allegiance, let me say that, “It’s always a great day to be a Red Imp.”  (Applause.)  I gather some of you are going to be Blue Devils next year.  (Applause.)  Being an Imp is okay, but I guess being a Devil — (laughter.)

I want to thank Maureen for the wonderful introduction, but more importantly, for the great work that she and all the staff at this school are doing.  I could not be more impressed with the teachers and the administrators.  So give it up for them.  Students, clap for your teachers.  (Applause.)  You may not realize how lucky you are to have great, dedicated teachers, but as a parent, I realize how important that is.  And so we can’t thank them enough.

I want to make sure everybody knows that we’ve got one of the finest Secretaries of Education we’ve ever had in Arne Duncan, who’s here.  (Applause.)  Your Mayor, Miles Atkins, is in the house.  (Applause.)  And Superintendent Edwards is here, who’s doing such great work.  So give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  So I want to thank you for inviting me here today.  I know it’s a little warm in here, as it always is in a school gym.  But I was spending a lot of time talking to the students, and they were showing me such incredible work that I got kind of carried away.

I’ve come here to Mooresville to announce an important step that we’re taking to grow our economy and to reignite the engine that powers our economy — and that’s a rising and thriving middle class where everybody has opportunity.

Over the past four and a half years, we have been fighting back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, which cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes and the sense of security that they’ve worked so hard to build.  And North Carolina got hit worse than a lot of states.

But thanks to the grit and the determination of the American people, folks are starting to come back.  Our businesses have created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 38 months; 530 [thousand] of those jobs are new manufacturing jobs that help us sell goods made in America all around the world.  We’re producing more of our own energy.  We’re consuming less energy from other countries.  The housing market and the stock markets are rebounding.  Our deficit is shrinking.  People’s retirement savings are growing.  The American auto industry has come roaring back.

So we’re getting traction.  The gears to the economy are turning.  We’re starting to make progress.  But we’ve got to build on that progress.  Because while the economy is growing, there’s still a lot of families out there who feel like they’re working harder and harder but can’t get ahead.  And the middle class has to be prospering — not just folks at the very top.  That’s got to be our focus:  a growing economy — (applause) — we’ve got to have a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs.  That’s got to be the North Star that guides all of our efforts.

Now, what that means — I said this in my State of the Union address — every day, we’ve got to ask ourselves three questions as a nation.  Number one, how do we make America a magnet for good jobs?  Number two, how do we make sure our workers, our people, have the skills and education they need to do those jobs?  And then, number three, how do we make sure that those jobs pay well so that hard work leads to a decent living?

But the reason I’m here today is because you are helping to answer that second question:  How do we make sure Americans have the chance to earn the best skills and education possible?  That’s why I came to Mooresville.  Because at a moment when the rest of the world is trying to out-educate us, we’ve got to make sure that our young people — all you guys — have every tool that you need to go as far as your talents and your dreams and your ambitions and your hard work will take you.  (Applause.)

So that’s the spirit that’s reflected in the motto of your school district — “every child, every day.”  It’s that fundamental belief that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, every child can learn.  Every child can succeed.  Every child, every day, deserves that chance.  We’ve got an obligation to give every young person that chance.  (Applause.)

And that means making sure we’ve got the best teachers and giving those teachers support and paying them what they deserve.  (Applause.)  Yes.  All the teachers say, amen.

AUDIENCE:  Amen!

THE PRESIDENT:  It requires parents who are more active and involved.  Parents, school is not a passive thing where you just dump off your kids, they come back and somehow automatically they learn.  You’ve got to be involved in the education process.  It requires smarter schools that are safer places to learn.  And in an age when the world’s information is a just click away, it demands that we bring our schools and libraries into the 21st century.  We can’t be stuck in the 19th century when we’re living in a 21st century economy.

And that’s why, today, we’re going to take a new step to make sure that virtually every child in America’s classrooms has access to the fastest Internet and the most cutting-edge learning tools.  And that step will better prepare our children for the jobs and challenges of the future and it will provide them a surer path into the middle class.  And, as a consequence, it will mean a stronger, more secure economy for all of us.

Specifically, today, I am directing the Federal Communications Commission, which is the FCC, to begin a process that will connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband Internet within five years.  Within five years we’re going to get it done.  (Applause.)

Now, those of you here at Mooresville understand why this is important, but I’m speaking to a larger audience, so I want to explain why this is important.  Today, the average American school has about the same bandwidth as the average American home, even though obviously there are 200 times as many people at school as there are at home.  Only around 20 percent of our students have access to true high-speed Internet in their classroom.  By comparison, South Korea has 100 percent of its kids with high-speed Internet.  We’ve got 20 percent; South Korea 100 percent.  In countries where — in a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?  Right?  (Applause.)  Why wouldn’t we have it available for our children’s education?

So the good news is, here in Mooresville, you’ve committed yourself to this cause.  Starting in the third grade, as all of you know because you’ve lived through it, every student in the district gets a laptop and high-speed, wireless Internet in the classroom.

And I just saw the ways that it’s changing how you learn.  You don’t just write papers and take tests.  You’re working together on videos and presentations and movies and poetry.  Your high school Spanish class might Skype with students in Barcelona or Buenos Aires.  One student proudly said, “We’re able to work on more projects and homework outside of class.”  Now that’s not normally something teenagers brag about.  (Laughter.)  But that’s exactly the attitude that’s going to help you succeed and help your country succeed.

And as I was learning in talking to some of the teachers here, it’s helping the teachers, too.  Because if a student is falling behind, a teacher is seeing it in real time.

Did somebody fall down?  One thing you guys got to do, by the way — bend your knees a little bit when you’re standing.  If you stand up straight — I’m just giving you a tip so you don’t faint — (laughter) — which happens all the time, and it’s really embarrassing.  (Laughter.)  But if you already did, you should sit down.

But it gives teachers the ability to see in real time what students need help, who is falling behind, and then offer extra help.  If you’ve already mastered a lesson, you can move on to the next one.  So as one teacher said, “The thing I’m most proud of is not the technology, it’s the relationships I can build with the students that I teach.”

Now, here at this school, this has only been going on for a few years.  But so far, the results have been remarkable.  Graduation rates are up.  Last year, out of 115 school districts in North Carolina, you ranked in the bottom 10 in the amount of money you spend per student, but you ranked number two in student achievement.  Number two.  (Applause.)  So you’re spending less money getting better outcomes.  And around the country, educators have started to take notice.  So many people want to see this school for themselves that there’s a waiting list for tours all the way into 2014.

But here’s the thing:  As special as what you’ve done is, I don’t want this success to be restricted to one school or one school district.  There is no reason why we can’t replicate the success you’ve found here.  And imagine what that will mean for our country.

Imagine a young girl growing up on a farm in a rural area who can now take an AP biology or AP physics class, even if her school is too small to offer it.  Imagine a young boy with a chronic illness that means he can’t go to school, but now he can join his classmates via Skype or FaceTime and fully participate in what’s going on.

Imagine educators spending fewer hours teaching to a test, more time helping kids learn in new and innovative ways.  Imagine more businesses starting here and hiring here in this area, in North Carolina, because they know for a fact that we’ve committed ourselves to equipping all of our kids with better skills and education than any place else on Earth.  That’s what we need.  (Applause.)

So over the next five years, we’re going to partner with private companies to put people to work laying fiber optic cables to our schools and setting up wireless connections in our schools with speeds 10 to 100 times faster than what most schools have today.  We’re going to work with states to give teachers who want to use these technologies in the classroom the professional development that they need, because I was talking to Ms. Tulbert and she said, for all the teachers here, it took some adaptation to get used to these new technologies.

Once all these classrooms are wired for superfast Internet, that means a big new market for private innovation — America’s companies who created the computers and smartphones and tablets that we all use —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s okay.  This happens.  They’ll be all right.  Just give them a little space.  That’s why we’ve got the medics here.  They’ll be okay.

Oh, teachers give me some tips here.  I’ve lost their attention.  (Laughter.)  All right, everybody.  Right over here.

So what we’re going to be able to do is to get companies to compete to create affordable digital devices designed specifically to these new connected classrooms.  I want to see a tablet that’s the same price as a textbook.  (Applause.)  I want to see more apps that can be instantly updated with academic content the day it’s available, so you don’t have old, outdated textbooks with student names still in them from years ago.  These are the tools that our children deserve.

And there’s no reason we can’t do all this.  If you think about the history of America, we united a continent by rail.  We stretched a network of highways from sea to shining sea.  We brought light to dark and remote areas.  We connected the world through the Internet, through our imagination.  All these projects created jobs.  All these projects grew our economy.  They also unified the country and they are unifying the world.  And this project we’re talking about today can do the same thing.  I am determined to see it through on behalf of our kids.  (Applause.)

And for those of you who follow politics in Washington, here’s the best news — none of this requires an act of Congress.  (Applause.)  We can and we will get started right away.  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  Look, there are all kinds of things I do need Congress to do, and I want to work with them everywhere I can.  But where we’ve got an opportunity to just go ahead and do something that’s going to help our young people, help our teachers, help our education system, help this economy, help our middle class, help to create jobs, we’ve just got to go ahead and do it.  (Applause.)  This is something we have to do for the sake of our kids and our future.

But there are other things that I’m going to be working with Congress to do that will improve our education system on behalf of our kids and our future.  Because if we can bring our kids and our schools into the digital age, you can’t tell me we can’t start improving our early-childhood education system and making high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  (Applause.)

You can’t tell me that we can’t find the wherewithal to hire even more good teachers in science and math and technology and engineering.

You can’t tell me that we can’t rethink and redesign our high schools, or partner with colleges and businesses to put our young people on the path of jobs — not just today’s jobs, but tomorrow’s jobs.

We can make sure that middle-class families aren’t priced out of a college education.  We can make sure that interest rates on federal student loans don’t double for students and parents at the end of this month.  (Applause.)  I want to work with Democrats and Republicans to keep those rates low.

How many students here expect to go to college?  I expect all of them to raise their hand.  (Applause.)  So we’ve got to make sure that college is affordable for every young person, and that’s going to require some help from Congress.

But we have to give every child, every day, the shot at success that they deserve.  Every day.  (Applause.)  FDR once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”  And as long as I’m President, I’m going to keep fighting with everything I’ve got to build a better future for our young people and to give them a chance to build their own future.  That’s how we’re going to strengthen our middle class.  That’s how we’ll secure America’s future for generations to come.  That’s what I’m going to fight for as President of the United States.  That’s why I’m so proud of all of you here at Mooresville.

Congratulations, everybody.  Have a great summer.  God bless you.  God bless America.

END
3:22 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines April 29, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx for Transportation Secretary

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Taps Charlotte Mayor for Transportation Secretary

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-30-13

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

President Obama announced his nomination for Transportation Secretary on Monday, calling Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx a “friend” and an “impressive leader.”

“I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary.  He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country.  And as a consequence, I think that he’s going to be extraordinarily effective,” the president said a White House ceremony….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 13, 2013: Extending on a State of the Union Theme, President Barack Obama Promotes Resurgence in US Manufacturing in North Carolina

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Extending a Theme, Obama Promotes Resurgence in U.S. Manufacturing

Source: NYT, 2-13-13

President Obama on Wednesday visited the Linamar Corporation, which makes parts for heavy-duty engines, in Asheville, N.C.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Obama on Wednesday visited the Linamar Corporation, which makes parts for heavy-duty engines, in Asheville, N.C.

President Obama traveled to North Carolina on Wednesday to promote the resurgence of American manufacturing, a core message from his State of the Union address….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 13, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Manufacturing at Linamar Corporation in Asheville, North Carolina

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Manufacturing — Asheville, NC

Source: WH, 2-13-13

Linamar Corporation
Asheville, North Carolina

12:10 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Hello, North Carolina!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back.  I love coming to Asheville.  (Applause.)  Love coming to Asheville.  Michelle and I always talk about how after this whole presidency thing, we’re looking for a little spot to — (applause) —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Come on down.

THE PRESIDENT:  Come on down?  (Applause.)  Play a little golf, do a little hiking, fishing, barbecue.  There are two things that keep bringing me back here.  Number one is I really like the people.  And number two is 12 Bones, which I will be stopping on the way back to the airport.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, I want to start off by thanking Stratton for the wonderful introduction.  And what made it wonderful was not only did he do a great job, but it was really brief.  (Laughter.)  And I also want to thank Frank and Jim and everybody at Linamar for hosting us and giving me this terrific tour of the plant.

I want to point out two elected officials who are with us here today –- first of all, your Mayor, Terry Bellamy.  (Applause.)  Where is Mayor Bellamy?  There she is.  Good to see you.  Plus, you got a wonderful mayor.  I like that in you, too. And also, Congressman Mel Watt is here.  So give Congressman Watt a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

So last night, I delivered the State of the Union Address.  (Applause.)  And I talked about steps we can take right now to strengthen our recovery, but also to build up our middle class.  And I said that while we’re seeing some signs of solid progress — car sales are up, housing is starting to recover — we’re still a ways away from where we need to be.  There are still too many Americans who are out there every day.  They’re pounding the pavement.  They’re looking for work.  You guys probably know friends or family members who are still pretty strapped, having a difficult time.  And while it’s true that corporate profits have rocketed to an all-time high, it’s also true that for more than a decade now, wages and incomes haven’t gone up at all just about.
So we’ve got a lot of work to do.  And our job — and this is a job for everybody; it’s not a Democratic thing or a Republican thing.  Our job as Americans is to restore that basic bargain that says if you work hard, if you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead.  You can get ahead.  (Applause.)  It doesn’t matter what you look like.  It doesn’t matter where you come from.  That’s what we should be focused on: How do we make sure that people who are willing to work hard can make a decent living and look after their family?

Because the true engine of America’s economic growth has always been our middle class.  Now, there are a lot of countries that have folks at the top who are doing real well, and a bunch of folks at the bottom, but part of what set America apart was ordinary folks, if they worked hard, they could do well.  Our middle class when it’s growing, when it’s thriving, when there are ladders of opportunity for people to do a little bit better each year and then make sure that their kids are doing even better than them — that’s the American Dream.  That’s what we got to fight for.  That has to be the North Star that guides everything we do.

And as I said last night, we should be asking ourselves three questions every single day.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re in North Carolina or Texas or California or Oregon.  It doesn’t matter.  Wherever we are, three things we should be asking.  Number one — how do we bring more jobs to America?  Number two — how do we equip people with the skills they need to do those jobs?  And number three — how do we make sure that once they have a job, it leads to a decent living?

I believe we reward effort and determination with wages that allow working families to raise their kids and get ahead.  (Applause.)  And that’s part of the reason why I said last night that it’s time for an increase in the minimum wage, because if you work full-time, you shouldn’t be in poverty.  (Applause.)

I also believe we provide our people skills and training by investing in education, and that has to start early.  It has to start early.  So I talked about making sure that kids are getting an early childhood education, making sure that our high schools are preparing our children for a high-tech economy, and making sure that colleges are affordable and accessible to every single American.  (Applause.)

And I believe we attract new jobs to America by investing in new sources of energy and new infrastructure and the next generation of high-wage, high-tech American manufacturing.  I believe in manufacturing.  I think it makes our country stronger.  (Applause.)

So that’s what we can do together.  And that’s why I wanted to come down here to Asheville, because there’s a good story to tell here.  I know that a few years ago, manufacturing comebacks in North Carolina, a manufacturing comeback in Asheville may not have seemed real likely, because Volvo had just left town.  This plant had gone dark — 228 jobs had vanished.  And that was a big blow for this area, because part of what happens is when those manufacturing jobs go away, then suddenly the restaurant has fewer customers, and suppliers for the plant start withering.  And it’s hard for everybody.  It has a ripple effect.

But then local officials started reaching out to companies, offering new incentives to take over this plant.  Some of the workers who got laid off, like Stratton, went back to school and they learned new skills.  And then, a year later, Linamar showed up.  They were looking for a place to build some big parts.  And these parts are big, I got to say — (laughter) — hubs and wheels and anchors for 400-ton mining trucks.  And while they could have gone any place in the world, they saw this incredible potential right here in Asheville.  They saw the most promise in this workforce, so they chose to invest in Asheville, in North Carolina, in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So to date, Linamar has hired 160 workers.  It will be 200 by the end of the year, and it’s just going to keep on going after that.  (Applause.)  So the folks at Linamar said, they came to Asheville to grow their business.  They came here to stay and put down some roots.

And the good news is what’s happening here is happening all around the country.  Because just as it’s becoming more and more expensive to do business in places like China, America is getting more competitive and more productive.

After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have now added about 500,000 jobs over the past three years.  (Applause.)  And I mentioned this last night — Caterpillar, which I know you guys supply, they’re bringing jobs back from Japan.  Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico.  After placing plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant here in the United States.  Apple is starting to make Macs in America again.  (Applause.)

So we’re seeing this trend of what we call insourcing, not just outsourcing.  And the reason is because America has got outstanding workers.  We’re starting to produce more homegrown energy, which is driving down our energy costs.  And, obviously, we’ve still got the biggest market in the world.  And if we try to improve our infrastructure a little bit more, then we’re going to be even that much more competitive.

Now, I want to be honest with you.  We’re not going to bring back every job that’s been lost to outsourcing and automation over the last decade.  I was talking to some of the guys who were showing me their facilities who had been in manufacturing for 20 years, and they explained how things had changed.  It used to be you had to — you wanted to do the kind of stuff you guys are doing here — everything was done manually.  Now you’ve got a computer and you’re punching in stuff.  So it’s changed, and that means that you can just produce a lot more with fewer people.

But there are things we can do right now to accelerate the resurgence of American manufacturing.

Number one — we can create more centers for high-tech manufacturing in America.  Last year, my administration created our first manufacturing innovation institute.  We put it in Youngstown, Ohio, which had been really hard-hit when manufacturing started going overseas.  And so you have a once-shuttered warehouse — it’s now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering what’s called 3-D printing, which has the potential to revolutionize the way we make everything.  That’s the future.  And there’s no reason that those same kinds of projects can’t take root in other cities and towns.

So last night, I announced the launch of three more institutes.  And I’m calling on Congress to help us set up 15 institutes –- global centers of high-tech jobs and advanced manufacturing around the country.  (Applause.)

The second thing we need to do is make our tax code more competitive.  Right now, companies get all kinds of tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas, but companies that stay here get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  That doesn’t make any sense.  So what I’m proposing is that we reform our tax code, stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, reward companies that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America.  That makes sense.  (Applause.)

Number three — if you’re a manufacturing town, especially one that’s taken a hit — that’s seen a company close up shop or a plant shut down — I want to partner with local leaders to help you attract new investment.  Because once that investment starts coming in, things can start turning around.  And that means infrastructure gets modernized and research facilities get built, and suddenly a community that was knocked down is getting back up, and they’re attracting new manufacturers who want to come and expand and hire.

So I want us to focus on — if a place like — when Asheville lost the Volvo plant, we’ve got to come in here real quick and help them figure out, all right, what is it that we need to attract a new employer.

Number four — we’ve got to help our workers get the training to compete for the industries of tomorrow.  At least a couple of the guys that I had a chance to meet as we were taking the tour told me they were out of work for a year — in one case, two years — in part because we kept unemployment insurance in place so folks could get back on their feet, they were able to go back to school, and now are gainfully employed.  No job in America should go unfilled because somebody doesn’t have the right skills to get that job — nobody.  (Applause.)

So if there is a job open, we should train those folks right away, so that they can do the job.  And that’s why I’m proposing a national goal of training 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.  And we know this works.  After Linamar came to town, they started working with AB-Tech, one of the community colleges here in Asheville.  (Applause.)  And AB-Tech and Linamar worked together to do something that is really smart.  Rather than have kids just — or in some cases not kids, older workers — show up and they’re taking a bunch of classes but they don’t know how this is directly going to lead to a job, what you do is you customize the class to train people so they can come and work at the plant and they’re getting experience that’s directly applicable to what’s being done here at the job.  (Applause.)

That’s good for the community.  It’s good for Linamar, because they’re getting workers who they know can do the job.  It’s good for the folks who are going to the community college, because they know if they work hard and they do well in the class there’s a job waiting for them.  It’s good for the economy as a whole.

So those are four common-sense steps that we can take right now to strengthen manufacturing in America.  There’s no magic bullet here.  It’s just some common-sense stuff.  People still have to work hard.  Companies like Linamar still have to make good products.  But the point is, is that if we can just do a few things, then over time what happens is we start rebuilding our manufacturing base in a way that strengthens our economy as a whole.

Now, I’m doing what I can just through administrative action, but I need Congress to help.  I need Congress to do their part.  (Applause.)  I need Congress to take up these initiatives, because we’ve come too far and we’ve worked too hard to turn back now.

And you think about all that this city and all of you have been through over the last few years.  Think about folks like Jeff Brower.  Now, Jeff was in the trucking industry for over a decade.  Two years ago, he got laid off.  He lost his job as a diesel mechanic.  That’s a tough thing to go through, even though Jeff is a pretty tough guy.  But he bounced back.  He decided it was time for him to change careers.  He decided it was time to get some new skills.  He went to AB-Technology, took a class in automated machining.  A few months ago, Jeff got his diploma.  He graduated on a Wednesday, interviewed at this plant on Thursday. By Friday, he was working as a machine operator.  (Applause.)

Where’s Jeff?  There he is, right here.  (Applause.)  Now, obviously, Jeff is pretty good at interviews — (laughter) — because he just got hired like that.  I hope he can give me some advice.  (Laughter.)

But here’s the thing.  The reason Jeff did all that — obviously, a lot of it was to support himself and his family — but it wasn’t just to punch a clock at a new plant or pick up a paycheck from a new company.  It was to make sure he could have a better future for his family and for his community and his country.  Jeff said, “Getting my foot in the door has opened my eyes to bigger horizons.  And I want to keep on going.”  I want to keep on going.  (Applause.)

So that’s our story.  That’s the American story.  We don’t give up.  We get up.  We innovate.  We adapt.  We learn new skills.  We keep going.  And I just want everybody here to know at this plant, but everybody in Asheville, everybody in North Carolina and everybody all across the country — I want you to know as long as you’re out here fighting every day to better your lives and to better the lives of your children, then I’ll be back in Washington fighting for you.  (Applause.)  I will be back there fighting for you — because there’s nothing we can’t do and no possibilities we can’t reach when we’re working together.  We just have to work together.

And we’ve got to stop with some of the politics that we see in Washington, sometimes that’s focused on who’s up and who’s down.  Let’s just focus on the same kind of common sense and cooperation that we’re seeing at this plant and we see all across the country.

So thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you.

END
12:30 P.M. EST

Election 2012 November 6, 2012: North Carolina Elects First Republican Governor in Two Decades

ELECTION 2012

http://politicsbuzz.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/election2012.jpg

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

North Carolina Elects First Republican Governor in Two Decades

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-6-12 

North Carolina elected a Republican governor for the first time in more than two decades Tuesday night.

GOP candidate Pat McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who had been leading in local polls in the final days leading up to the election, defeated Democratic candidate Walter Dalton, the state’s lieutenant governor. It’s the first time North Carolina has elected a Republican governor since 1988.

Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, who narrowly beat McCrory in 2008, served one term but was not seeking re-election….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 6, 2012: Transcript: Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — Accepts Nomination, Says His Plan Leads to a ‘Better Place’

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Accepts Nomination, Says His Plan Leads to a ‘Better Place’

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-6-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama, greeted by tumultuous cheers of Democratic Party stalwarts, promised to lead America to a “better place” Thursday night if voters agree to follow the “harder” and “longer” path he has mapped to restore the country’s economy and the sense of hope and opportunity.

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now,” he told his party’s convention. “Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at the Democratic National Convention

Source: WH, 9-6-12

Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, North Carolina

September 6, 2012

10:24 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  I am so thrilled and so honored and so proud to introduce the love of my life, the father of our two girls, and the President of the United States of America — Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.

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

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.

Michelle, I love you so much.  A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am.  (Applause.)  Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you.  And, yes, you do have to go to school in the morning.  (Laughter.)

And, Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best Vice President I could have ever hoped for, and being a strong and loyal friend.  (Applause.)

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, the first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man, a Senate candidate from Illinois, who spoke about hope — not blind optimism, not wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great, even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested by the cost of war, by one of the worst economic crises in history, and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still even possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know campaigns can seem small, even silly sometimes.  Trivial things become big distractions.  Serious issues become sound bites.  The truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising.  If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me, so am I.  (Laughter and applause.)

But when all is said and done — when you pick up that ballot to vote — you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.  Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington on jobs, the economy, taxes and deficits, energy, education, war and peace — decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and on our children’s lives for decades to come.

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties.  It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known  — (applause) — the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger — a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products. And everyone shared in that pride and success, from the corner office to the factory floor.

My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their own home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story — the promise that hard work will pay off, that responsibility will be rewarded, that everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C.  (Applause.)

And I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away.  I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas.  And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’the; folks racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition, put gas in the car or food on the table.  And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings — a tragedy from which we’re still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican Convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America.  But they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right.  (Applause.)  They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan.  And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last 30 years — Have a surplus?  Try a tax cut.  Deficit too high?  Try another.  Feel a cold coming on?  Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it — middle-class families, small businesses.  But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit.  I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China.  (Applause.)

After all we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.

We have been there.  We’ve tried that and we’re not going back.  We are moving forward, America.  (Applause.)

Now, I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have.  You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear.  You elected me to tell you the truth.  (Applause.)

And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.  It will require common effort and shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America — our problems can be solved.  (Applause.)  Our challenges can be met.  The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  And I’m asking you to choose that future.  (Applause.)

I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country — goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit — real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.   That’s what we can do in the next four years — and that is why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:  We are making things again.  (Applause.)

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo — (applause) — who feared they’d never build another American car.  And today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on the top of the world.  (Applause.)

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America — not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products.  Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.  (Applause.)

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers — goods that are stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U.S.A!  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT:  And after a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.

And now you have a choice:  We can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  You can make that happen.  You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day — more than any administration in recent history.  And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.  (Applause.)

So now you have a choice — between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it.  We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more.  But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  We’re offering a better path.  (Applause.)
We’re offering a better path, where we — a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.  (Applause.)

And, yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet — because climate change is not a hoax.  More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke.  They are a threat to our children’s future.  And in this election, you can do something about it.  (Applause.)

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have.  Education was the gateway to opportunity for me.  It was the gateway for Michelle.  It was the gateway for most of you.  And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading.  Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.  (Applause.)

And now you have a choice — we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school.  (Applause.)  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.  No company should have to look for workers overseas because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home.  That’s not our future.  That is not our future.  (Applause.)

And government has a role in this.  But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning.  And, students, you’ve got to do the work.  (Applause.) And together, I promise you, we can out-educate and out-compete any nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

So help me.  Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early-childhood education.  Help give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.) Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years.  We can meet that goal together.  You can choose that future for America.  (Applause.)  That’s our future.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq.  We did.  (Applause.)  I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11.  And we have.  (Applause.)  We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over.  (Applause.)

A new tower rises above the New York skyline; al Qaeda is on the path to defeat; and Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

THE PRESIDENT:  Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way.  We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected.  We will never forget you.  And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us — because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads, or the care that they need when they come home.  (Applause.)

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers.  From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings — men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.  (Applause.)

But for all the progress that we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted.  Europe’s crisis must be contained.  Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace.  (Applause.)  The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.  The historic change sweeping across the Arab world must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate here today.  (Applause.)

So now we have a choice.  My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy — (laughter and applause) — but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.
After all, you don’t call Russia our number-one enemy — not al Qaeda — Russia — unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War mind warp.  (Applause.)  You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally.  (Applause.)

My opponent said that it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.  And he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. Well, I have — and I will.  (Applause.)

And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I will use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and runways.  Because after two wars that have cost us thousands of live and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class.  Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion.  And last summer I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a billion [trillion] dollars in spending — because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so that it’s leaner and more efficient and more responsive to the American people.  (Applause.)

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 — the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President; the same rate when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission.  No party has a monopoly on wisdom.  No democracy works without compromise.  I want to get this done, and we can get it done.  But when Governor Romney and his friends in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficits by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy, well, what did Bill Clinton call it — you do the arithmetic.  (Applause.)  You do the math.  (Applause.)

I refuse to go along with that and as long as I’m President, I never will.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  (Applause.)
I refuse to ask students to pay more for college, or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor and elderly or disabled — all so those with the most can pay less.  I’m not going along with that.  (Applause.)

And I will never — I will never — turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the care and the dignity that they have earned.  Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care — not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.  (Applause.)

And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street.  (Applause.)

This is the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we’ve been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way — that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick.  If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and borrow money from your parents.  (Laughter and applause.)

You know what, that’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country’s about.  As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain, inalienable rights — rights that no man or government can take away.  We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative.  We’re not entitled to success — we have to earn it.  We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity that the world’s ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship.  (Applause.)  Citizenship:  a word at the very heart of our founding; a word at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.  (Applause.)  We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes and so is the entire economy.  (Applause.)  We believe the little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs or the scientist who cures cancer or the President of the United States, and it is in our power to give her that chance.  (Applause.)

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone.  We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves and we certainly don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules.  (Applause.)  We don’t think that government can solve all of our problems, but we don’t think that government is the source of all of our problems — any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.  (Applause.)

Because, America, we understand that this democracy is ours. We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only “what’s in it for me,” a freedom without commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.  (Applause.)

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government.  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

So, you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me.  It was about you.  (Applause.)  My fellow citizens, you were the change.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who will get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance.  You made that possible.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home
— (applause) — why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.”  “Welcome home.”  You did that.  You did that.  You did that.  (Applause.)

If you turn away now — if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well, change will not happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void — the lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should be making for themselves.  (Applause.)

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen.  Only you have the power to move us forward.  (Applause.)

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention.  The times have changed, and so have I.  I’m no longer just a candidate.  I’m the President.  (Applause.)

And that means I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return.  I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs.

If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them.  (Laughter.)  And while I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”  (Applause.)

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America.  Not because I think I have all the answers.  Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.  I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter — she gives me hope.  (Applause.)

The autoworker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town, and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife — he gives me hope.  (Applause.)

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota, that didn’t lay off a single one of their 4,000 employees when the recession hit, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owner gave up some perks and some pay because they understood that their biggest asset was the community and the workers who had helped build that business — they give me hope. (Applause.)

I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee.  Six months ago, we would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and 20 pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face, sturdy on his new leg.  And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled — he gives me hope.  He gives me hope.  (Applause.)

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to.  I don’t know if they’ll vote for me.  But I know that their spirit defines us.  They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.”

And if you share that faith with me — if you share that hope with me — I ask you tonight for your vote.  (Applause.)  If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.  If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.  (Applause.)

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape, that new energy can power our future, that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules — then I need you to vote this November.  (Applause.)

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now.  Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place.  Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together.  We don’t turn back.  We leave no one behind.  We pull each other up.  We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.  God bless you.  (Applause.)  And God bless these United States.  (Applause.)

END
11:04 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 6, 2012: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Biden Emphasizes Loyalty to Obama, Reaches Out to Middle Class

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-6-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden passionately pushed out his now-famous, bumper-sticker catchphrase at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive!”

In a speech that had Democrats on the edge of their seats, wondering if the gaffe-prone vice president would make another embarrassing blunder, Biden stayed relatively close to his prepared remarks.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you what I think you already know, that, I watch it up close, bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama and, time and time again, I witnessed him summon it,” Biden said. “This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel, and because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the determination of American workers and the unparalleled bravery of our special forces, we can now proudly say what you’ve heard me say the past six months.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the Vice President at the Democratic National Convention

Source: WH, 9-6-12

Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, North Carolina

9:29 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hey, Delaware!  (Applause.)  Hello, my fellow Democrats — (applause) — and my favorite Democrat.

Jilly, I want you to know that Beau and Hunt and Ashley and I, we’re so incredibly proud of you.  We admire the way when every single, solitary young person — and they’re not all young — walks into your classroom, you not only teach them, you give them confidence.  You give me confidence.  And the passion she brings to trying to ease the burden on the families of our warriors — Jilly, they know you understand them, and that makes a gigantic difference.  (Applause.)

And, folks, I tell you what, it was worth the trip — (laughter) — to hear my wife say what I’ve never heard her say before — she’s always loved me.  (Laughter and applause.)  If that’s the case, why in the heck did it take five times of asking you?  And that’s true.  Five times.  I don’t know what I would have done, kiddo, had you, on that fifth time, said no.  (Laughter.)  I love you.  You’re the love of my life and the life of my love.  (Applause.)

We’ve got three incredible kids.  And, Beau, I want to thank you for putting my name in nomination to be Vice President of the United States.  I accept.  I accept.  (Applause.)  With great honor and pleasure, I accept.  Thank you.  Thank you, my fellow Democrats.  (Applause.)

And I say to my fellow Americans — my fellow Americans, four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the past, and turned to a leader who they knew would lift our nation out of the crisis.  A journey we haven’t finished yet.  We know we still have more to do, but today, I say to my fellow citizens, in the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetime, this generation of Americans have proven itself as worthy as any generation before us.  (Applause.)  For we possess that same grit, that same determination, that same courage that has always defined what it means to be an American, has always defined all of you.

Together, we’re on a mission.  We’re on a mission to move this nation forward from doubt and downturn, to promise and prosperity.  A mission I guarantee you we will complete — a mission we will complete.  (Applause.)

Folks, tonight what I really want to do is tell you about my friend, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)  No one could tell it as well or as eloquently as Michelle — as you did last night, Michelle
— on Monday night.  (Applause.)  But I know him, to state the obvious, from a different perspective.  I know him, and I want to show you — I want to show you the character of a leader who had what it took when the American people literally stood on the brink of a new depression.  A leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years to a future as great as our people.

I want to take you inside the White House to see the President as I see him every day — because I don’t see him in sound bites.  I walk 30 paces down the hall into the Oval Office, and I see him, I watch him in action.

Four years ago, the middle class was already losing ground. And then the bottom fell out.  The financial crisis hit like a sledgehammer on all the people I grew up with.  You remember the headlines.  You saw some of them in the previews — highlights:  “Highest Job Losses in 60 Years.”  Headlines — “Economy on the Brink.”  “Markets Plummet Worldwide.”

From the very moment President Obama sat behind the desk Resolute in the Oval Office, he knew — he knew he had not only to restore the confidence of the nation, but he had to restore the confidence of the whole world.  (Applause.)  And he also knew that one false move could bring a run on the banks, or a credit collapse, to put another several million people out of work.  America and the world needed a strong President with a steady hand and with the judgment and vision to see us through.

Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him as he made one gutsy decision after the other — to stop the slide and reverse it.  I watched him.  (Applause.)  I watched him stand up to intense pressure and stare down enormous challenges, the consequences of which were awesome.  But most of all, I got to see firsthand what drove this man — his profound concern for the average American.

He knew that no matter how tough the decisions he had to make were in that Oval Office, he knew that families all over America sitting at their kitchen tables were literally making decisions for their family that were equally as consequential.

Barack and I, we’ve been through a lot together in these four years.  And we learned about one another — a lot about one another.  And one of the things I learned about Barack is the enormity of his heart, and I think he learned about me the depth of my loyalty to him.  (Applause.)  And there’s another thing that has bound us together these past four years.  We had a pretty good idea what all those families, all you Americans in trouble, were going through — in part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.

Barack, as a young man, had to sit at the end of his mother’s hospital bed and watch her fight with her insurance company at the very same time she was fighting for her life.  When I was a young kid, in third grade, I remember my dad coming up the stairs in my Grandpop’s house where we were living, sitting at the end of my bed and saying, Joey, I’m going to have to leave for a while, go down to Wilmington, Delaware, with Uncle Frank.  There are good jobs down there, honey.  In a little while I’ll be able to send for you and mom and Jimmy and Val, and everything is going to be fine.

For the rest of our lives — my sister and my brothers — for the rest of our life, my dad never failed to remind us that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about your dignity.  (Applause.)  It’s about respect.  It’s about your place in the community.  (Applause.)  It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, honey, it’s going to be okay, and mean it and know it’s true.  (Applause.)

When Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding in America that if you took responsibility, you’d get a fair shot at a better life.  And the values, the values behind that bargain were the values that had shaped both of us and many, many of you.  And today, those same values are Barack’s guiding star.  Folks, I’ve watched him.  He has never wavered — he never, never backs down.  (Applause.)

He always steps up and he always asks in every one of those critical meetings the same fundamental question:  How is this going to affect the average American?  How is this going to affect people’s lives?  (Applause.)  That’s what’s inside this man.  That’s what makes him tick.  That’s who he is.  (Applause.)

And, folks, because of the decisions he’s made and the incredible strength of the American people, America has turned the corner.  The worst job loss since the Great Depression — we’ve since created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 29 months.  (Applause.)

Look, folks, President Obama and Governor Romney — they are both loving husbands, they’re both devoted fathers.  But let’s be straight — they bring a vastly different vision and a vastly different value set to the job.  (Applause.)  And tonight, although you’ve heard people talk about it, I want to talk about two things from a slightly different perspective, from my perspective.

I’d like to focus on two crises and show you the character of the leadership that each man would bring to this job, because as I’ve said, I’ve had a ringside seat.  The first of these, a lot has been talked about — and God love Jennifer Granholm, wasn’t she great?  (Applause.)  Wasn’t she great?  I love Jennifer.  (Applause.)  But the first story I want to talk to you about is the rescue of the automobile industry.

And let me tell you — from this man’s ringside seat, let me tell you about how Barack Obama saved more than a million American jobs.  In the first days, literally the first days that we took office, General Motors and Chrysler were literally on the verge of liquidation.  If the President didn’t act — if he didn’t act immediately, there wouldn’t be any industry left to save.

So we sat hour after hour in the Oval Office.  Michelle remembers how — what he must have thought when he came back upstairs.  We sat.  We sat hour after hour.  We listened to senators, congressmen, outside advisors, even some of our own advisors.  We listened to them say some of the following things. They said, well, we shouldn’t step up.  The risks were too high. The outcome was too uncertain.

And the President, he patiently sat there and he listened.  But he didn’t see it the way they did.  He understood something they didn’t get.  And one of the reasons I love him — he understood that this wasn’t just about cars.  It was about the people who built and made those cars and about the America those people built.  (Applause.)

In those meetings, I often thought about my dad.  My dad was an automobile man.  He would have been one of those guys all the way down the line — not on the factory floor, not alongside the supply chain, but one of those guys who were selling American cars to American people.  I thought what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics and the secretaries and the salespeople who my dad managed for over 35 years.  And I know for certain that my dad, were he here today, he’d be fighting like heck for the President, because the President fought to save the jobs of those people my dad cared so much about.  (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, my dad respected Barack Obama — would have respected Barack Obama had he been around for having had the guts to stand up for the automobile industry when so many others just were prepared to walk away.

When I look back now, when I look back on the President’s decision, I think of another son of another automobile man — Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit.  My dad managed; his dad owned — well, his dad ran an entire automobile company, American Motors.  Yes, but I don’t understand that in spite of that, he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt.  Look, no, I don’t think he is a bad guy.  No, no — I don’t think he is a bad guy.  I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did.  What I don’t understand — what I don’t think he understood, I don’t think he understood that saving the automobile worker, saving the industry, what it meant to all of America, not just autoworkers.
I think he saw it the Bain way.  I mean it sincerely — I think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write-offs.  Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profits, but it’s not the way to lead our country from the highest office.  (Applause.)

When things hung in the balance — I mean, literally hung in the balance — the President understood this was about a lot more than the automobile industry.  This was about restoring America’s pride.  He understood — he understood in his gut what it would mean to leave a million people without hope or work if he didn’t act.  And he also knew — he also knew, he intuitively understood the message it would have sent around the world if the United States gave up on an industry that helped put America on the map in the first place.  (Applause.)

Conviction, resolve, Barack Obama — that’s what saved the automobile industry.  (Applause.)  Conviction, resolve, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

Look, you heard my friend, John Kerry — this President — this President has shown the same resolve, the same steady hand in his role as Commander-in-Chief.  Look — which brings me to the next illustration I want to tell you about, the next crisis he had to face.

In 2008 — 2008, before he was President, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people.  He said, if I have — if we have bin Laden in our sights, we will — we will take him out.  (Applause.)  He went on to say, that has to be our biggest national security priority.

Look, Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield.  It was about so much more than that.  It was about righting an unspeakable wrong.  It was about — literally, it was about healing an unbearable wound — a nearly unbearable wound in America’s heart.  And he also knew the message we had to send around the world:  If you attack innocent Americans we will follow you to the end of the Earth.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Most of all, President Obama had an unyielding faith in the capacity and the capability of our Special Forces — literally the finest warriors in the history of the world — the finest warriors in the history of the world.  (Applause.)

So we sat — we sat, originally, only five of us — we sat in the Situation Room, beginning in the fall of the year before. We listened.  We talked.  We heard.  And he listened to the risks and reservations about the raid.  He asked, again, the tough questions.  He listened to the doubts that were expressed.  But when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said, sir, we can get this job done, I was sitting next to him — I looked at your husband, and I knew at that moment he had made his decision.  And his response was decisive.  He said, do it — and justice was done.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

Folks, Governor Romney didn’t see things that way.  When he was asked about bin Laden in 2007, here’s what he said — he said, it’s not worth moving heaven and Earth, and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  But he was wrong — he was wrong.  Because if you understood that America’s heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the President did, and you would move heaven and Earth to hunt him down and to bring him to justice.  (Applause.)

Look, four years ago — the only thing missing at this convention this year is my mom — four years ago my mom was still with us, sitting up in the stadium in Denver.  I quoted her — (applause) — I quoted her, one of her favorite expressions.  She used to say to all her children, she said, Joey, bravery resides in every heart and the time will come when it must be summoned.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you what I think you already know, but I watch it up close.  Bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama, and time and time again I witnessed him summon it.  This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and a spine of steel.  (Applause.)

And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made, because of the determination of American workers and the unparalleled bravery of our Special Forces, we can now proudly say what you’ve heard me say the last six months:  Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.  (Applause.)  That’s right.  One man.  (Applause.)

Folks, we know we have more work to do.  We know we’re not there yet.  But not a day has gone by in the last four years when I haven’t been grateful as an American that Barack Obama is our President, because he always has the courage to make the tough decision.  (Applause.)

Speaking of tough decisions, speaking of tough calls, last week we heard at the Republican Convention, we heard our opponents — we heard them pledge that they, too — they, too had the courage to make the tough calls.  That’s what they said.  (Laughter.)  But, folks, in case you didn’t notice — and I say to my fellow Americans, in case you didn’t notice, they didn’t have the courage to tell you what calls they’d make.  They never mentioned any of that.  (Laughter and applause.)

Mrs. Robinson, you watched from home, I guess, from the White House, you heard them talk so much about how they cared so much about Medicare, how much they wanted to preserve it.  That’s what they told you.  But let’s look at what they didn’t tell you.

What they didn’t tell you is that the plan they have already put down on paper would immediately cut benefits for more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare.  What they didn’t tell you is the plan they’re proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016.  And what they really didn’t tell you is they — if you want to know, if you want to know — they’re not for preserving Medicare at all.

They’re for a new plan.  It’s called Vouchercare.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Look, folks, that’s not courage.  That’s not even truthful.  That’s not even truthful.

In Tampa, they talked with great urgency about the nation’s debt and the need to act, to act now.  But not once, not one single time, did they tell you that they rejected every plan put forward by us, by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission they referenced, or by any other respected group — to reduce the  national debt.  They were not for any of them.  Why?  Because they’re not prepared to do anything about the debt if it contained even one dollar — I’m not exaggerating — even one dollar, or one cent in new taxes for millionaires.

Folks, that’s not courage.  And that’s not fair.  (Applause.)

Look, in a sense, this can be reduced to a single notion.  The two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years, as I said at the outset, have fundamentally different visions and a completely different value set.

Governor Romney believes in this global economy, it doesn’t much matter where American companies invest and put their money, or where they create jobs.  As a matter of fact, in his budget proposal — in his tax proposal, he calls for a new tax — it’s called a territorial tax — which the experts have looked at and they acknowledge it will create 800,000 new jobs — all of them overseas.  All of them.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And what I found fascinating, the most fascinating I found last week was when Governor Romney said that, as President, he would take a jobs tour.  Well, with his support for outsourcing, it’s going to have to be a foreign trip.  (Laughter and applause.)  It will.

Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America, keeping jobs in America, bringing jobs back to America is what the President’s job is all about.  That’s what Presidents do — or at least supposed to do.  (Applause.)

Folks, Governor Romney believes it’s okay to raise taxes on the middle class by $2,000 in order to pay for another — literally another trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.

President Obama knows that there’s nothing decent or fair about asking people with more to do less and with less to do more.

Governor Romney believes — he believes that kids — kids like our DREAMers, those immigrant children who were brought to America’s shores through no fault of their own — he thinks they’re a drag on the American economy.  President Obama believes that even though these DREAMERs, those kids didn’t choose to come here, they have chosen to do right by America, and it’s time for us to do right by them.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay in terms of a company’s bottom line.  President Obama, he knows that making sure our daughters get the same pay for the same jobs as our son is every father’s bottom line.  (Applause.)

Look, I kind of expected all that from them, but one thing truly perplexed me at their convention — the thing that perplexed me most was this idea they kept talking about, about the culture of dependency.  They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, young, qualified kid from a working-class family a loan to get to college, or when you provide a job-training program in a new industry for a dad who lost his job because it was outsourced.

Folks, folks, that’s not how we look at it.  That’s not how America has ever looked at it.  What he doesn’t understand is all these men and women are looking for is a chance, just a chance to acquire the skills to be able to provide for their families so they can once again hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity.  That’s all they’re looking for.  (Applause.)

Look — and it literally amazes me they don’t understand that.  I told you at the outset, the choice is stark:  Two different visions, two different value sets.  But at its core, the difference is able to be reduced to a fundamental difference. You see — you, me, most Americans, have incredible faith in the decency and hard work of the American people, and we know what has made this country.  It’s the American people.  (Applause.)

As I mentioned at the outset, four years ago, we were hit hard.  You saw — you saw your retirement accounts drained, the equity in your homes vanish, jobs lost or on the line.  But what did you do as Americans?  What you’ve always done — you didn’t lose faith; you fought back.  You didn’t give up; you got up.  (Applause.)  You’re the ones, the American people.  You’re the ones!  You’re the reason why we are still better positioned than any country in the world to lead the 21st century.  (Applause.)  You never quit on America, and you deserve a President who will never quit on you!  (Applause.)

And, folks, there’s one more thing — one more thing our Republican opponents are just dead wrong about:  America is not in decline.  America is not in decline.  (Applause.)

I’ve got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan: Gentlemen, never, ever — it never makes sense, it’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people.  (Applause.)  Never.
My fellow Americans, America is coming back, and we’re not going back.  And we have no intention of downsizing the American Dream.  (Applause.)  It’s never — never a good bet.

Ladies and gentlemen, in a moment — in a moment, we’re going to hear from a man whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream, and whose presidency is the best hope to secure that dream for our children.

For, you see — you see, we see a future — we really, honest to God do — we see a future where everyone, rich and poor, does their part and has a part; a future where we depend more on clean energy from home and less on oil from abroad; a future where we’re number-one in the world again in college graduation; a future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged sector — (applause) — and a future where women once again control their own choices, their destiny, and their own health care.  (Applause.)

And, ladies and gentlemen, Barack and I see a future — it’s in our DNA — where no one — no one is forced to live in the shadows of intolerance.  (Applause.)

Folks, we see a future where America leads not only by the power — the example of power, but by the power of our example; where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan just as we proudly did from Iraq — (applause) — a future where we fulfill the only truly sacred obligation we have as a nation, the only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare those who we send to war and care for them when they come home from war.  (Applause.)

And tonight — tonight, I want to acknowledge — I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels, and those 49,746 wounded — thousands critically — thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.  Folks, we never — we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.  (Applause.)

My fellow Americans, we now find ourselves at the hinge of history.  And the direction we turn is not figuratively — is literally in your hands.  It has been a truly great honor to serve you and to serve with Barack, who has always stood up with you for the past four years.  I’ve seen him tested.  I know his strength, his command, his faith, and I also know the incredible confidence he has in all of you.  I know this man.

Yes, the work of recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way.  The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way.  And the cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way.  So I say to you tonight with absolute confidence, America’s best days are ahead, and, yes, we are on our way.  (Applause.)

And in light — in light of that horizon, for the values that define us, for the ideals that inspire us, there is only one choice.  That choice is to move forward — boldly forward — and finish the job — and reelect President Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

God bless you all and may God protect our troops.  God bless you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

END
10:10 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 14, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Commencement Address to North Carolina A&T University Class of 2012 — “We Need You”

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

First Lady Michelle Obama Tells North Carolina A&T University Class of 2012 “We Need You”

Source: WH, 5-14-12

First Lady Michele Obama at the North Carolina Agriculture & Technology Commencement Ceremony

Interim Provost Winser Alexander presents First Lady Michelle Obama with a hood signifying her honorary degree following her commencement address during the North Carolina Agriculture & Technology commencement ceremony in Greensboro, N.C., May 12, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama invoked the example of the “Greensboro Four” in her commencement address to North Carolina A&T University’s class of 2012. More than half a century ago, four A&T students started the movement that led to desegregation at lunch counters across the country, and Mrs Obama said this shows what can happen when someone decides to “wake up and change the situation.” The First Lady challenged the students to follow their lead:

As graduates of this proud university, as young people like those who always stoked the fires of progress, our country is counting on all of you to step forward and help us with the work that remains.  We need you.

Mrs Obama also challeged each member of the graduating class to think about what’s important, and ask themselves three questions:

  • Who are you going to be?
  • What’s going on in the world around me? and
  • How can I help?

The answers, she said, would help the graduated keep their bearings as they advanced in their careers and in their lives as citizens:

You’ve got to figure out what matters to you and stay true to those values. You’ve got to keep your eyes open as you make your way in the world….

The fact is, we simply cannot move forward unless all of us are engaged. And being engaged means not simply recognizing what’s wrong, not simply complaining about and talking about our problems, but acting. It means waking up and changing the situation.  And that’s a lesson that so many of you have already begun to learn during your time here at A&T…

And with that kind of action and that kind of commitment, all of you have begun to carry on that proud legacy of the Greensboro Four.

North Carolina A&T Students React as First Lady Michele Obama Delivers the Commencement Address

Students react as First Lady Michele Obama delivers the commencement address at the North Carolina Agriculture & Technology commencement ceremony in Greensboro, N.C., May 12, 2012 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
This was Mrs. Obama’s second commencement address of 2012.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the First Lady at North Carolina A&T University Commencement

Greensboro Coliseum
Greensboro, North Carolina

10:44 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Good morning, everyone.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Good morning.

MRS. OBAMA:  You all, rest yourselves.  (Laughter.)  First of all, let me thank Chancellor Martin for that very kind introduction.  I also want to thank Davonta and everyone from the Board of Governors, the Board of Trustees, the faculty, and all of the staff here who have worked so hard on this event and on making you the men and women that you are.

I also have to thank the University Choir.  You all are amazing.  (Applause.)  As the Chancellor said, you all are becoming regulars at the White House, and that’s a good thing, singing at our Black History Month events for the last two years.  It’s just amazing to hear those voices pouring through the White House.  It’s very powerful, and it is obviously such a pleasure to hear your beautiful music here today.

And of course, I want to join in on thanking all the folks who have made this day possible, the people who have been with you all every step of the way –- yes, your families, including all those watching on campus or at home.

These folks have given you that shoulder to lean on, and that hug when you’ve done well, and maybe that kick in the butt when you need to do a little bit better, right?  (Laughter.)  And none of you would be where you are today without their love and support.  So, again, let’s give them all another round of applause, because today is their day too.  (Applause.)

And most of all, I want to thank this fine-looking group right in front of me –- (applause) — the graduates of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Class of 2012!  (Applause.)  Congratulations!  You all have worked so hard and I know you have grown so much, and you’ve come to truly represent a little something called Aggie Pride!

AUDIENCE:  Aggie Pride!  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  All right!  I like that.  (Laughter.)

Let me tell you, it is an honor to be here at North Carolina A&T, a true honor.  You all have such a proud tradition here in Greensboro.  For years, you have produced more African American engineers –- and more African American female engineers –- than just about anywhere else in America.  (Applause.)

You have produced some of our nation’s finest leaders in business, government, and our military.  (Applause.)  The first African American Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court was an Aggie.  (Applause.)  So was the second African American astronaut.  (Applause.)  And so were those four young men who sat down at a lunch counter 52 years ago and will stand forever in bronze in front of the Dudley building.  (Applause.)

Now, I know that all of you know the story of the Greensboro Four and how they changed the course of our history.  But since we have the nation watching, let’s talk a little bit.  (Laughter and applause.)

It’s easy to forget that before they were known as heroes, they were young people just like all of you — even younger.  They were freshmen here at A&T.  Three of them grew up right here in North Carolina; they all lived on the same floor in Scott Hall.  They weren’t trailblazers or legends back then.  So we have to ask ourselves, how did these young men get from where they were to the history books?  And believe it or not, the spark might have come on a bus ride.

One of the four, Joseph McNeil, had spent Christmas in New York, and he took a bus from there back to school here in Greensboro.  When the bus stopped in Philadelphia, he could eat wherever he chose.  But when he got off the station in Greensboro, the food counter here wouldn’t serve him.

Now, this wasn’t exactly new.  Joseph had lived with these boundaries for years.  But this time, it really hit him.  And although he was the exact same person in Greensboro that he’d been just a few hours earlier in Philly, he was made to feel like a fraction of the man he had become.

Here in the state where he was born and raised, in the city where he was working so hard to get an education and grow into a responsible, self-respecting man, he was treated like he didn’t even matter; like he wasn’t even welcome in the place he called home.  Imagine the humiliation he must have felt.  Imagine his pain and his outrage.

So when Joseph got back to his dorm room that night, his mind was probably already racing.  He started talking to his roommates; they pulled in two friends from down the hall, and together over the next couple of weeks they decided to do more than just talk.  They decided to act.  And on a Monday afternoon, the four of them met up after class and headed downtown.

And I’m sure their hearts were racing.  I’m sure they’d barely slept the night before.  Remember, everything was on the line for these young men.  They were considered the lucky ones.  They were some of the very few African American young people at the time who had the chance to attend college.  They were on the path to achieve something that most black folks could only dream of.  And here they were, risking all of that for what they believed in.

This was something that a lot of people — black folks back then — didn’t do because the stakes were so high.  Because remember, this was 1960, and if you used the wrong water fountain, or sat on the wrong seat on the bus, or stepped your foot in the wrong part of the theater you might get heckled or spat on or beaten — or even worse.

So as they were walking downtown, one of the four was actually wondering to himself whether he’d wind up coming back to campus in a pine box.  But when they got downtown and saw that Woolworth’s sign, there was no turning back.  They sat down on those four stools at the lunch counter and ordered coffee.  They were refused, but they didn’t get up.

And that first day, they were there for just an hour or so.  Then they went back to campus and told other students what they’d done — and some didn’t even believe them.  But the next day, about 20 more students showed up.  And within a week, it was more than a thousand.

In the coming weeks and months, the demonstrations spread from Greensboro to places like Richmond, and Nashville, and Jackson and more than 50 other cities all across the country.  (Applause.)  And by end of July, Woolworth’s — one of the biggest chain stores in the world — was forced to end their policy of discrimination.  And the Civil Rights movement was growing stronger every day.  (Applause.)

And all of this started because of a bus ride and some dorm room conversations.  It all started because a small group of young people had their eyes open to the injustices around them.  It all started because they decided, as one of the four told the newspaper on the first day of the protests, that it was “time for someone to wake up and change the situation.”  And that, more than anything else, is the story of our nation’s progress right from the very beginning.

It’s the story of the farmers and cobblers and blacksmiths who took on an empire; the abolitionists who ran that Underground Railroad; the women who mobilized; the workers who organized; the individuals of every background, color, creed and orientation who worked in ways large and small to give us the country that we have today.  Every single one of them decided that at some point, it was time to wake up and change the situation.

And that is what I want to talk with all of you about today –- how all of the work and the sweat and the passion that so many people poured into this country must be met with work and sweat and passion of our own.  (Applause.)  And as graduates of this proud university, as young people like those who always stoked the fires of progress, our country is counting on all of you to step forward and help us with the work that remains.  We need you.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it can be easy to lose sight of that responsibility — especially when you first graduate from college.  You’re struggling to pay off your student loans, and you’re putting in extra hours to make a name for yourself at work.  You’re trying to figure out who you want to spend the rest of your life with.  Oh yeah, and I remember that like it was yesterday.  (Laughter.)

Like all of you, I worked hard all through school.  I earned my BA, my JD — and I had the student loans to show for it.  So I did what I thought I should do — I got a great job at one of the biggest law firms in Chicago, and before long, I was checking all the boxes you were supposed to check.  Fat paycheck — got it.  Nice car — got it.  Big, fancy office — got it.

But then, when I was 26 years old, one of my best friends from college died of cancer.  Like that, she was gone.  Less than a year after that, my father died after battling multiple sclerosis for years.  Just like that, I’d lost two of the people I loved most in the world.

So there I was, not much older than all of you, and I felt like my whole world was caving in.  And I began to do a little bit of soul searching.  I began to ask myself some hard questions.  Questions like:  If I die tomorrow, what did I really do with my life?  What kind of a mark would I leave?  How would I be remembered?  And none of my answers satisfied me.

I had everything I was told I should want, but it still wasn’t enough.  And I realized that no matter how long I stayed on that job, no matter how many years I pursued someone else’s definition of success, I was never going to have a life that felt like my own.

And so, to the surprise of my family and friends, I quit that high-paying job and I took a job in the mayor’s office.  That hurt.  (Laughter.)  Then, as the Chancellor said, I became the executive director of Public Allies, a nonprofit organization that trained young people to pursue careers in public service.

Oh, I was earning a fraction of my law firm salary, and I added years to my student loan repayment process.  But let me tell you, I woke up every morning feeling engaged and inspired in ways that I had never felt before.  (Applause.)  I spent every day feeling like I was doing something that truly made a difference in people’s lives.  And twenty years later, looking back on my journey, I see that all of that started with those questions I asked myself in that law office.

So today, as you all are looking ahead toward your own journeys, I would like to pose three of those questions to all of you.

The first question I asked myself was, “Who do I want to be?”  Not what do I want to be, but who.

And it’s so easy to think about your future as a series of lines on a resume.  In many ways, that’s how our society is wired.  And as an adult, when you meet somebody new, they often ask you — the first question — they say, what do you do?  And you quickly give the simplest answer — I’m a nurse, I’m an engineer, I’m a teacher, I’m a lawyer, whatever it is — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  A meaningful, fulfilling career that — can be the cornerstone of a happy life.

But I also want to stress that your job title and responsibilities, those things are merely what you do, and they will always be.  They are not who you are.  (Applause.)

So as you all are thinking about your careers, I want you to think about what’s important to you.  How does your job fit into a full life — a complete life?  How are you going to give back?

Are you going to be an engineer, or are you going to be an engineer who volunteers in a science class at a local school twice a week?  (Applause.)  Are you going to go into business, or are you going to be the CEO who sponsors community theater productions, and those 5K runs, and the local little league team?

Who are you going to be?

Are you going to be the nurse who serves in the National Guard every other weekend, and writes the weekly bulletin for church?  Are you going to be the award-winning journalist who raises a beautiful family, who serves on the PTA, who drives the carpool, who was in every single way — voted in every election, every year, every single year?

It is critical that you start thinking about these things now, and keep coming back to them.  Because I’m going to warn you –- those daily to-do lists that will creep up on you, those deadlines at work, the pressure to keep climbing and achieving and acquiring –- trust me, all of that adds up.  It forms a powerful current.  And if you’re not focused on who you want to be and how you want to live your life, trust me, it will sweep you away.

So you have got to keep your bearings.  You’ve got to figure out what matters to you and stay true to those values.  You’ve got to keep your eyes open as you make your way in the world.

And that leads me to my second question.  I want you to ask yourselves, “What’s going on in the world around me?”

It’s true that the world is different today than it was for the Greensboro Four and others who came before them.  You won’t see any “whites only” water fountains.  You won’t see women turned away at the polls.  You may not hear the words of hatred and discrimination every day.  And all of that, those are signs of how much progress that we’ve made.  But we all know that there are still plenty of serious injustices crying out for our attention.  (Applause.)  We know this.

Yes, we outlawed segregation in our public schools nearly sixty years ago, but we all know that every child is not getting the same quality of education today.  (Applause.)  That we know.

Yes, women gained the right to vote nearly a century ago, and women now make up nearly half of our work force — yet they still earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, and for African American women, it’s just 64 cents.  (Applause.)

Yes, we passed a federal hate crimes law, but we all know that prejudice of all kinds exists — all kinds — for all kinds of people.  Too often that still remains.

So take a look around, and I guarantee you that you will see that there is plenty of work left to be done.

Maybe it’s the school on the other side of town with crumbling classrooms and a couple of old computers, and teachers who are as outnumbered as they are overworked.  Or maybe it’s the cash-strapped homeless shelter that keeps dozens of people warm every night, but their grant money ran out.  Maybe it’s the city hall in dire need of fresh ideas.  Maybe it’s a river lined with trash.

Everywhere we look, there are wrongs just waiting to be made right.  But again, I warn you –- those wrongs won’t go away.  And they will entrench themselves deeper and deeper unless we act.

And that leads me to the third and final question.  We need you to ask yourselves:  “How can I help?”  It’s a simple question.  “How can I help?”  And the answers are often obvious.

That failing school?  Volunteer there before work.  Donate your old laptop.  Organize a group to paint a mural on the playground.  The homeless shelter in danger of shutting its doors?  Start a fundraising drive.  That filthy river bed?  Put on some gloves and pick up a bucket.  Those nationwide inequalities?  That stagnant city hall?  Immerse yourselves in information.  Become familiar with your elected representatives.  Vote –- not just once in a while, but every year, in every election.  (Applause.)  And even better, run for a seat at the table yourself.

The fact is, we simply cannot move forward unless all of us are engaged.  And being engaged means not simply recognizing what’s wrong, not simply complaining about and talking about our problems, but acting.  It means waking up and changing the situation.  And that’s a lesson that so many of you have already begun to learn during your time here at A&T.

This year alone, students at this university have volunteered nearly 35,000 hours of service.  (Applause.)  You’ve mentored your peers and helped young people, students, transition to college.  You’ve marched and walked for causes you believe in.  You’ve cleaned up streets.  You’ve served at the YMCA, Habitat for Humanity and so many other organizations.  And some of you have committed yourselves to serving our country — including 11 of you who will be commissioned as officers in the Army and the Air Force later this afternoon.  (Applause.)

And with that kind of action and that kind of commitment, all of you have begun to carry on that proud legacy of the Greensboro Four.  And today, I’m reminded of a quote from one of those young men.

Years after he’d made history at that lunch counter, Franklin McCain said these words.  He said:  “This is my country.  I fought for the chance to make it right.  No one’s going to deny me the opportunity.  I am going to be a full participant in every aspect of this community, as well as my kids.”

That’s what they were fighting for.  That’s why they sat down on those stools — so that they could be full participants in their communities, and that so could you.  They were fighting so that all of you — and me — could have opportunities they couldn’t even imagine.  And look around.  Just look around.  That’s exactly what we’ve got.

We’re not weighed down by the kind of baggage that folks had back then.  We do live in a country that’s more supportive, more open, more inclusive than ever before.  We’ve got rights and freedoms and possibilities that they would have given anything to have for themselves.  But with all of those advantages comes a set of responsibilities.

We’ve got a responsibility to protect the ground that’s already been won, because it can just as easily be lost.  (Applause.)  It can be gone.  We’ve got a responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who came before us by doing all that we can to help those who come after us.  That’s how we’ve always made progress — each generation doing its part to lift up the next.

Each generation does its part to perfect our union.  Each generation looks at the world around them and decides that it’s time to wake up and change the situation.  And we’ve always looked to our young people to lead the way.  We always have.

So graduates, now it’s your turn.  It’s time for you to take that baton.  Take it.  It’s time for you to carry the banner forward.  It’s time for you to wake the rest of us up and show us everything you’ve got.

That’s what Aggies like you have always done.  (Applause.)  And that is your history, and that is your legacy.  That is who you are.  Never forget that.

And let me tell you something — that is why me and my husband and the folks all across this country, man, we are so proud of you all.  We are so proud.  And because of you, we are so hopeful about our future.  Yes we are.  Know that.  (Applause.)

So graduates, I love you all.

AUDIENCE:  We love you too!

MRS. OBAMA:  I cannot wait to see that all you will achieve and all that you will contribute in the years ahead.  You have everything before you.

God bless you all, and good luck.

END
11:08 A.M. EDT

Campaign Buzz May 8, 2012: Primary Night Results: Mitt Romney Wins 3 Primaries — GOP Sen. Richard Lugar Loses Indiana Primary to Tea Party Candidate Richard Mourdock — Wisconsin Democrats Choose Tom Barrett to Run Against Scott Walker for Governor in Recall Race — North Carolina Voters Pass Same-Sex Marriage Ban

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Mayor Tom Barrett, a man and woman wedding cake topper and Sen. Dick Lugar are shown.  | AP Photos
Voters said yes to Wisconsin’s Tom Barrett, no to gay marriage and Sen. Dick Lugar. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: PRIMARY NIGHT RESULTS

Primary results: 5 takeaways: Conservatives claimed two major victories, and Scott Walker’s main event finally arrived Tuesday night after a tandem set of state-based elections that will have a ripple effect in the fall.
Votes in the Indiana Republican Senate primary, Wisconsin’s Democratic gubernatorial primary for the June recall election and North Carolina’s vote on an amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions are now over, but they’re leaving an indelible mark on the shape of the 2012 contests…. – Politico, 5-8-12

3 Big Elections: Indiana, North Carolina, and Wisconsin: A titan of the Senate faces defeat, a gay-marriage ban looks set to pass, and Democrats nominate a candidate for the recall of Scott Walker. The presidential primaries are finally over, but across the country, the real political … The Atlantic, 5-8-12

  • Five things to watch in Tuesdays contests: The long presidential primary slog continues Tuesday, with three more states going to the polls: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.
    Not all the action is presidential — there are competitive congressional and gubernatorial primaries, as well. Indiana features a closely watched Senate GOP primary where longtime Sen. Dick Lugar is in jeopardy of losing his seat.
    Wisconsin voters will also cast ballots: They’ll continue their ongoing recall civil war, with recall primaries for governor, lieutenant governor and four state Senate seats…. – Politico, 5-8-12
  • Primary Day: What to Watch: Congress, not the White House, is the major focus of primary elections today…. – Bloomberg, 5-8-12Lugar Loses Primary Challenge in Indiana: Richard G. Lugar, one of the Senate’s longest-serving members, lost a hard-fought Republican primary to Richard E. Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • Veteran Republican Senator Lugar soundly defeated: Senator Richard Lugar, a 35-year Senate veteran and leading foreign policy voice, was soundly defeated in the Indiana Republican primary by a Tea Party-backed rival on Tuesday…. – Reuters, 5-8-12
  • Longtime GOP Sen. Richard Lugar loses Indiana primary to challenger Richard Mourdock: Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., lost a primary battle Tuesday to tea party challenger and Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock … Fox News, 5-8-12
  • Mourdock Wins Ind. GOP Race for Senate: Tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock won Indiana’s Republican nomination for Senate, defeating longtime Senator Richard Lugar. Mourdock will face Democratic US Rep. Joe Donnelly in November…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Indiana’s Lugar loses primary challenge, Romney wins trio, NC bans gay marriage: Six-term Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar was routed by the right flank of his own Republican Party on Tuesday, and North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state’s gay marriage ban. It was a double-barreled show…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Lugar Loses Indiana GOP Primary to Tea Party Foe: US Sen. Richard Lugar was ousted Tuesday by a tea party-backed challenger in Indiana’s Republican primary, abruptly ending his nearly four-decade career as one of Indiana’s best-known and popular politicians…. – WaPO, 5-8-12
  • Lugar loss will mean new approach for Indiana in Congress: In addition to Lugar’s Tea Party-backed opponent Richard Mourdock, three other Indiana races will see new faces…. – CS Monitor, 5-8-12
  • Lugar’s parting words: Part defense, part warning: As soon as 36-year Senate veteran Richard Lugar finished his concession speech Tuesday, he walked off the stage, out the back door and into his car. But he left behind something … CNN, 5-9-12
  • Mourdock ends Lugar era: Republican voters handed Sen. Richard Lugar his retirement Tuesday, rejecting his bid for a seventh term and instead nominating State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. It might have been considered one of the biggest upsets in Indiana…. – Journal and Courier, 5-8-12
  • Mourdock supporters say their candidate can change direction of party, nation: Many of the hundreds who attended the victory party for GOP US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock Tuesday night said they were there because they wanted change in the direction of the party and nation…. – Evansville Courier & Press, 5-8-12
  • US to lose respected foreign policy voice in Lugar: Senator Richard Lugar, defeated in the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday, was a quiet and respected voice on foreign policy during more than three decades of service that focused on stemming the worldwide spread of nuclear … Reuters, 5-9-12Wisconsin Democrats Choose Challenger to Run Against Governor in Recall Race: Democrats in Wisconsin have a month to persuade voters to unseat the governor, Scott Walker, in a recall election with Tom Barrett as Mr. Walker’s opponent…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • Milwaukee mayor to face Walker in Wis. Recall: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary Tuesday in Wisconsin’s historic recall election, leaving him with a short four weeks to make the closing argument that Republican Gov. Scott Walker should be booted from office after 16…. – AP, 5-8-12
  • Tom Barrett wins Wisconsin recall primary: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election Tuesday, dealing a blow to organized labor and setting up the June 5 race against Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Barrett defeated former Dane County…. – Politico, 5-8-12
  • Wisconsin Democrats Choose Challenger to Run Against Governor in Recall Race: Wisconsin Democrats will get a do-over election between Gov. Scott Walker and Tom Barrett when the two face off in a rare recall vote next month. Mr. Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, got the nod from his party after a statewide primary on…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • Milwaukee mayor wins Democratic primary to face Wis. Gov. Scott Walker in recall election: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary Tuesday in Wisconsin’s historic recall election, leaving him with a short four weeks to make the closing argument that Republican Gov. Scott Walker should be booted from office … WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Milwaukee mayor wins Wisconsin recall primary: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary to face Gov. Scott Walker(R) in a recall election next month, setting up a rematch of their 2010 race. Barrett, who has been under fire from unions for using Walker’s reforms to cut benefits and…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Wis. Gov. Scott Walker easily wins Republican primary in recall election: Wis. Gov. Scott Walker easily wins Republican primary in recall election over union rights…. – WaPo, 5-8-12North Carolina Voters Pass Same-Sex Marriage Ban: North Carolina’s voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage, joining 29 other states and the rest of the South…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • NC approves amendment on gay marriage: North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, becoming the latest state to effectively slam the door shut on same-sex marriages…. – AP, 5-8-12
  • North Carolina voters approve same-sex marriage ban: North Carolina voters on Tuesday approved a state constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions, dealing a blow to efforts across the United States to expand gay marriage rights.
    The amendment, which says marriage between a man and a woman is the only legally recognized domestic union in the state, passed by a wide margin. With 95 of 100 counties’ results reported, about 61 percent of votes backed the amendment.
    North Carolina law already blocks gay and lesbian couples from marrying, but the state now joins the rest of the Southeast states in adding the prohibition to its constitution.
    Many voters simply viewed the amendment as a vote on same-sex marriage despite efforts by the measure’s opponents to broaden the discussion, said Tom Jensen of the Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling firm.
    Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia allow gay and lesbian nuptials.
    Maryland, New Jersey and Washington state have passed laws this year approving same-sex marriage, but Governor Chris Christie vetoed New Jersey’s law and opponents in Maryland and Washington are threatening ballot initiatives to overturn those laws…. – Reuters, 5-8-12
  • NC voters OK ban on gay marriage: North Carolina voters approved a state constitutional amendment Tuesday declaring marriage is solely between a man and a woman, dealing a setback to gay-rights advocates…. – USA Today, 5-8-12
  • NC approves constitutional ban on same-sex marriage: North Carolina voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, dealing a setback to a gay rights movement that has enjoyed significant momentum in recent years. With less than a third of the returns tallied, the measure had enough…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Gay marriage: North Carolina voters approve constitutional ban: North Carolina voters on Tuesday appeared to easily pass Amendment One, an amendment to the state constitution that not only bans gay marriage but also outlaws civil unions and domestic partnerships…. – LAT, 5-8-12
  • Obama’s campaign says he is ‘disappointed’ with NC amendment banning gay marriage: President Barack Obama’s campaign says he’s “disappointed” with North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Obama campaign spokesman Cameron French said in a Tuesday statement that the ban on same-sex unions is…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • NC passes Marriage Amendment: A majority of North Carolinians voted Tuesday in favor of a Constitutional amendment that recognizes the marriage of a man and woman as the only valid domestic union in North Carolina, with a 61 percent to 38 … – Durham Herald Sun, 5-8-12
  • Marriage amendment passes by large margin: With a more than 20-point lead with more than 90 percent of precincts reported, North Carolina’s marriage amendment has passed…. – WXII The Triad, 5-8-12

Campaign Buzz April 18, 2012: Mitt Romney Battles President Barack Obama on the Economy in North Carolina Pre-buttal Speech New NYT CBS News Poll Finds Economy Helping Romney

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Doubts on Economy May Give Romney Opening, Poll Finds

Source: NYT, 4-18-12

Mitt Romney spoke to supporters on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.

John Adkisson for The New York Times

Mitt Romney spoke to supporters on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.

Americans see improvement in the economy, but wariness about their own financial circumstances may help Mitt Romney’s campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Mitt Romney: President Obama “Has Failed By the measurements He Set”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 4-18-12

Boston, MA, United States

“Virtually nothing the President has done, including his stimulus, which protected government but did not encourage the private sector, virtually nothing he has done has made it more likely for people to get jobs. And so, for three-and-a-half years, we’ve had unemployment above 8 percent. He set the measure; he has failed by the measurements he set. You won’t hear that at this convention, but you’re going to hear it at ours, I’ll tell you that.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks
Charlotte, North Carolina
April 18, 2012

Click Here To Watch To Mitt Romney Discuss President Obama’s Failures

MITT ROMNEY: “Virtually nothing the President has done, including his stimulus, which protected government but did not encourage the private sector, virtually nothing he has done has made it more likely for people to get jobs. And so, for three-and-a-half years, we’ve had unemployment above 8 percent. He set the measure; he has failed by the measurements he set. You won’t hear that at this convention, but you’re going to hear it at ours, I’ll tell you that. Now, you’re also not going to hear, at his convention, that he is on track to add almost as much public debt to this country as all the prior presidents combined. Even having been critical of President George W. Bush for the debt he added, which of course was far less than that which is being added by this president. You won’t hear that even though he’s been president for three-and-a-half years, he has yet to propose solutions to save Medicare and Social Security. You won’t hear that he’s the first president in modern history, in any history, to cut Medicare by $500 billion to pay for his vaunted Obamacare. You won’t hear him repeat an accurate statement. I have one… I actually have one in mind in particular, which was from his speech four years ago. I mean listen to this, this is what he said four years ago, and I wish he’d repeat this, and I’m going to change one name at the end. He says ‘Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home’s value plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can’t afford to pay and tuition that’s beyond your reach. These challenges are not all of the government’s making, but the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of…’ Yeah, Barack Obama. I changed what word he had in there and put down Barack Obama. Those things he said about the prior administration are absolutely accurate about his administration and that’s why even if you like Barack Obama, we can’t afford Barack Obama. It’s time to get someone that’ll get this economy going and put the American people back to work with good jobs and rising incomes.”

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY’S PRE-BUTTAL TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN NORTH CAROLINA — NEW POLL FAVORS ROMNEY ON THE ECONOMY

Scorching talk: Romney, Obama battle over economy: Their battle joined, challenger Mitt Romney savaged President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy on Wednesday while the commander in chief commiserated up close with victims of the recession and warned that Republicans would only make matters worse…. – AP, 4-18-12

  • Doubts on Economy Lending Appeal to Romney, Poll Finds: A rising number of Americans see improvement in the economy, but a persistent wariness about their own financial circumstances is allowing Mitt Romney to persuade voters that he could improve their economic prospects more than President Obama…. – NYT, 4-18-12
  • Romney ‘pre-buttal’ savages Obama on economy, Obama fights back: Romney delivered his scathing denunciation of the president’s policies. Aides dubbed his remarks a pre-buttal to the president’s own, and early-arriving partisans heard a recorded medley of rock music that included ‘It’s Still the Same…. – CS Monitor, 4-18-12
  • Romney hits Obama on economy; president says Republicans would make improving situation worse: Their battle joined, challenger Mitt Romney savaged President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy on Wednesday while the commander-in-chief commiserated up close with victims of the recession and warned that Republicans would only…. – WaPo, 4-18-12
  • Romney offers his pre-buttal to Obama: Stepping up his efforts to directly engage President Obama, Mitt Romney took his campaign to a rooftop in Charlotte on Wednesday overlooking the stadium where Obama will deliver his convention speech this summer…. – LAT, 4-18-12
  • Romney says Obama is ‘in over his head’: Mitt Romney slammed President Obama’s handling of the economy in remarks from Charlotte, where Democrats will formally nominate Obama for a second term. Obama is “in over his head, and he’s swimming in the wrong direction”…. – USA Today, 4-18-12

White House Recap December 10-16, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Welcomes Home Troops at Fort Bragg — Marks the End of the War in Iraq

White House Recap October 15-21, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama’s Bus Tour to NC & VA Supporting the American Jobs Act — Obama Addresses Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication & Announces End of Iraq War & Return of All Troops

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: OCTOBER 15-21, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Bringing Home the Troops

Source: WH, 10-21-11

This week, the President traveled to Detroit with the President of South Korea, dedicated the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, embarked on a three day American Jobs Act bus tour, bestowed the Presidential Citizens Medal.

West Wing Week
Download Video: mp4 (202MB)

Home for the Holidays Friday afternoon the President announced that the remaining  troops in Iraq will be officially coming back home, thus ending the war in Iraq. “Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.”

Road Trip President Obama embarked on a three day bus tour to spread the word about the American Jobs Act. Starting the journey in Asheville, NC and ending in North Chesterfield, VA, he also made stops in Millers Creek, NC, Jamestown, NC, Emporia, VA and Hampton, VA.The President visited schools, an airport, a military base, and a fire station along the way all of which will benefit from the American Jobs Act. On the last day of the tour, the First Lady joined the President at Joint Base Langley-Eustis announcing a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses. The jobs bill would put Americans back to work, upgrade our country’s infrastructure, and keep teachers and emergency responders on the job.

Citizens Award Tuesday in the East Room, the President honored 13 Americans with the Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. The award is given to Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” The recipients chosen to receive this year’s medal were nominated by the public, and then carefully selected by the White House. Click here to learn more about the recipients and to watch a video showing their reactions to the news that they’d been chosen.

“We Will Overcome” Tens of thousands came to the National Mall Sunday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication. President Obama, joined by the First Family, toured the memorial and then spoke at the dedication ceremony in honor of Dr. King’s work. During his speech, President Obama reminded us that the progress towards Dr. King’s vision has not come easily and there is still more to do to expand opportunity and make our nation more just:“We can’t be discouraged by what is.  We’ve got to keep pushing for what ought to be, the America we ought to leave to our children, mindful that the hardships we face are nothing compared to those Dr. King and his fellow marchers faced 50 years ago, and that if we maintain our faith, in ourselves and in the possibilities of this nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount.”

MLB support U.S. Veterans As a part of their Joining Forces Initiative, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, for Game One of the World Series to meet with military families and to recognize Major League Baseball’s support of those who serve and their families. Earlier that day, the First Lady announced at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses.

Cutting Waste As a part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, the White House recently updated the Excess Property map that uses new data to pinpoint the location and status of federal properties that agencies have targeted for closure and consolidation. Ending this waste and improving the management of the government’s real estate will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Full Text October 17-19, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Bus Tour in North Carolina & Virginia in Support of The American Jobs Act

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visit Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia and announce a commitment from the private sector to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses.

President Obama on the American Jobs Act at Joint Base Langley-Eustis
President Obama on the American Jobs Act at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/19/11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

The American Jobs Act Bus Tour

Source: WH, 10-17-19-11

The American Jobs Act Bus Tour

The American Jobs Act Bus Tour map

The American Jobs Act Bus Tour

The American Jobs Act Bus Tour took President Obama from the mountains of North Carolina to the Tidewater of Virginia — a road trip spanning more than 500 miles. The President talked infrastructure in Asheville, sat down with teachers in Jamestown, met with veterans in Hampton, and visited a fire station in Chesterfield.

Throughout the trip, President Obama pressed Congress to take action and create jobs immediately by passing the American Jobs Act. In community after community, he challenged lawmakers get to work and pass every element of the American Jobs Act, piece-by-piece — starting with the proposal to prevent teacher layoffs, keep police officers on the beat, and keep firefighters on the job.

Schedule




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

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      President Obama Signs Virginia Emergency Declaration —

WH, 8-27-11

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hurricane Irene update: Storm claims its first lives: Hurricane Irene has caused a reported four deaths so far. Officials warn that storm surges and flooding could be greater because of the new moon arriving Sunday night…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
  • New York Subways Are Shut Down as Hurricane Irene Nears: New York became a city without one of its trademarks — the nation’s largest subway system — on Saturday as Hurricane Irene charged northward and the city prepared to face powerhouse winds that could drive a wall of water over the beaches in the Rockaways and between the skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan.
    The city worked to complete its evacuation of about 370,000 residents in low-lying areas where officials expected flooding to follow the storm, and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said that more than a million people had been evacuated, mainly from four counties in the southern part of the state.
    Officials warned that a big problem could be flooding at high tide, around 8 a.m. Sunday morning — before the storm has moved on and the wind has slacked off in and around the city, assuming the storm more or less follows the path where forecasters expect it to follow…. – NYT, 8-27-11
  • New York shuts down ahead of Hurricane Irene: Times Square emptied out and evacuation shelters filled up as New York City shut down on Saturday ahead of Hurricane Irene, which charged up the East Coast on a direct path toward the world financial capital.
    New Yorkers deserted the streets and took cover from a rare hurricane headed their way — only five have tracked within 75 miles of the city since records have been kept. The full impact of heavy rain, powerful winds and a surging sea was expected through Sunday morning…. – Reuters, 8-27-11
  • Nearly 75 percent without power in central Virginia: Downed trees, dangling power lines, darkened street lights, damaging winds and a deluge defined Hurricane Irene’s brush with the Richmond area…. – Richmond Times Dispatch, 8-27-11
  • Hurricane Irene: Why hurricane hyperbole never goes out of style:
    Where should the media draw the line between reasonable warnings and fear-mongering? A few mistakes and a partially missed prognosis aren’t necessarily proof that the media blew the story.
    On one 24-hour news channel, a correspondent described the calm before hurricane Irene as the calm before a B-movie zombie attack. One anchor proclaimed the storm to be “as big as Europe.” Elsewhere, the hurricane was touted as the storm of a lifetime.
    Storm hype is of course nothing new, neither is saying overwrought things when trying to fill up hours of airtime.
    But as the hurricane approached, the fever pitch of the Irene coverage took on a life of its own, with government officials leading a chorus of caution even as closer watchers of the weather, especially on the ground in North Carolina, grew increasingly convinced that Irene would not strengthen, but steadily weaken instead into something closer to a massive tropical storm…. – CS Monitor, 8-27-11
  • Twitter and Facebook buzzing about Hurricane Irene: You could track Hurricane Irene’s path up the East Coast on Saturday by following comments on Facebook and Twitter from people in the eye of the storm to those still waiting for its arrival…. – USA Today, 8-27-11
  • Irene expected to hit Canada with heavy rain and winds: The path of hurricane Irene remained unchanged Saturday, meaning the massive storm would likely bring heavy rain and the potential for hurricane force wind gusts when it reached eastern Canada later in the weekend forecasters said.
    The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax said the Category 1 hurricane was centred off North Carolina early Saturday and was expected to move up the eastern seaboard of the United States and through Long Island and into Maine late Sunday, before entering eastern Canada as a tropical storm.
    Bowyer said as a result the heaviest rains were expected in northwestern New Brunswick and in the eastern townships of Quebec into early Monday, while areas to the east of the storm’s centre would see the heaviest winds…. – Canadian Press, 8-27-11
https://i2.wp.com/graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/newsgraphics/2011/0827-irene-damage-reports/storm-map.png

Political Buzz August 23, 2011: 5.9 Earthquake Shakes Washington & East Coast — Worst Quake Since 1944

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.

THE HEADLINES: 5.9 EARTHQUAKE SHAKES WASHINGTON & EAST COAST WORST SINCE 1944

Quake mapping

A map as displayed on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website after the quake. The red square, indicating earthquake activity in the preceding hour, shows the earthquake’s epicenter in Virginia. The blue symbol indicates a quake activity in the preceding 24 hours. (U.S. Geological Survey / August 23, 2011)

Earthquake Strikes East Coast; Epicenter Near Richmond, Va., U.S. Geological Survey Says: An earthquake sent tremors from the nation’s capital to New York City Tuesday afternoon, the result of what officials said was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake based in Virginia. There were no immediate reports of damage.
It is not clear how far the earthquake spread, but tremors were felt throughout New York City office buildings and as far north as Concord, N.H.

Strongest quake since ’44 jars East Coast: Tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada were jolted Tuesday by the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Three weeks before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, office workers poured out of New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon, relieved it was nothing more sinister than an act of nature….. – AP, 8-23-11

“For many people this was a stressful afternoon, but so far we’ve been lucky to avoid any major harm.” — Mayor Bloomberg

Magnitude-5.8 Earthquake Strikes National Capital Area:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the National Capital Area on Tuesday, August 23, at 1:51p.m. (EDT), causing moderate shaking and potentially significant damage, and was felt throughout Northern Virginia and neighboring areas. No casualties are expected.
The earthquake occurred near Louisa and Mineral, Va., approximately 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC. It was a shallow earthquake, and shaking was recorded all along the Appalachians, from Georgia to New England. There have been several aftershocks.
The earthquake occurred in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone, which has produced earthquakes in the past. The most notable was an earthquake that occurred in 1875 that scientists believe was about a magnitude 4.5.
This earthquake is almost as strong as the strongest recorded earthquake in Virginia, a magnitude 5.9, which occurred in May 1897 in Giles County, Va. The strongest recorded earthquake to strike the East Coast was the 1886 Charleston, S.C., earthquake, which was about a magnitude 7.3.
Those who felt the earthquake can go online and report their observations on the USGS Did You Feel It? website. Over 10,000 reports of felt shaking have already been received from more than 3400 zip codes all over the eastern United States.
The earthquake was felt so widely because it was a shallow earthquake, and geologic conditions in the eastern U.S. allow the effects of earthquakes to propagate and spread much more efficiently than in the western United States.
Western rock is relatively young, which means it absorbs a lot of the shaking caused by earthquakes. Thus, western earthquakes result in intense shaking close to the epicenter, but fade more quickly the farther the earthquakes travel.
In the eastern United States, on the other hand, the rock is far older, and so earthquakes can have a much larger and more widespread impact. Earthquake energy can therefore spread farther and have a greater impact…..

  • Quake rocks Washington area, felt on East Coast: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, DC, and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing. … – AP, 8-23-11
  • 5.9-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes East Coast: An earthquake sent tremors from the nation’s capital to New York City and New England Tuesday afternoon, the result of what officials said was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake based in Virginia. … NYT, 8-23-11
  • D.C. earthquake shakes White House, Capitol: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia shook Washington Tuesday. The White House and Capitol were among the Washington buildings that were evacuated…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 quake hits Va.; Felt along US east coast: One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded on the East Coast shook buildings and rattled nerves from South Carolina to New England on Tuesday and forced the evacuations of parts of the Capitol, White House and Pentagon.
    There were no immediate reports of deaths, but fire officials in Washington said there were at least some injuries. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8 and was centered 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va…. – CBS News, 8-23-11
  • Rare quake rattles eastern US seaboard: One of the strongest earthquakes to strike the US east coast in decades rattled offices Tuesday in downtown Washington and caused panicked evacuations from skyscrapers as far away as New York. The Pentagon, the US Capitol and Union Station … – AFP, 8-23-11
  • City Seen as Vulnerable to Quake: In the last 300 years, there have been three earthquakes centered in and around the New York City area about the size of Tuesday’s quake: in 1737, 1783 and 1884. The 1884 quake was a magnitude 5.5 and was centered in Coney Island. … – WSJ, 8-23-11
  • Biggest Virginia Earthquake in Century Rattles Washington, Harms Cathedral: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake, the biggest recorded in Virginia in more than a century, rattled Washington, D.C., and prompted the evacuation of the White House. It shook stones loose from the National Cathedral, shuttered Washington monuments and forced the shutdown of nuclear reactors in Virginia.
    The temblor struck just before 2 p.m. yesterday in Virginia, almost 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of the U.S. capital and 3.7 miles below the earth’s surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. With many buildings evacuated, no serious injuries were reported in Washington…. – Bloomberg, 8-23-11
  • Quake felt in New York City office buildings: Tremors shook New York City office buildings on Tuesday, prompting evacuations of courthouses, City Hall and halting work at the World Trade Center construction site, officials and witnesses said. … – Reuters, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 earthquake rattles Washington, New York City, felt in eastern Canada: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing.
    The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries…. – AP, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Virginia, shaking felt in New York City: The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake had a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter was half a mile deep and centered near Louisa, Va., about 40 miles from Richmond.
    The quake, which hit at 1:51 p.m. and lasted only a few seconds, was felt up and down the Eastern Seaboard – from the Carolinas to Toronto.
    The tips of three spires on the National Cathedral in Washington fell off, part of a building collapsed in Baltimore and a brick chimney crumbled atop a housing project in Red Hook.
    That was the worst of it – except for the panic. More than 12 million people may have felt the quake’s sickening swaying, the USGS said. – New York Daily News, 8-23-11
  • Washington Monument top cracked by earthquake: The National Park Service says engineers have found a crack near the top of the Washington Monument presumably caused by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the East Coast. Park service spokesman Bill Line said Tuesday night that…. – AP, 8-23-11
  • The Washington Monument Is Almost Certainly Not Leaning: Amid reports of spotty cellphone service and “localized casualties,” Tuesday’s earthquake gave rise to a completely fantastic rumor that slowly seems to be gaining merit — or at least earnest investigation: That the Washington Monument was tilting…. – The Atlantic Wire, 8-23-11
  • Washington Monument To Remain Closed “Indefinitely” After Quake Causes Cracks: Engineers inspecting the Washington Monument on Tuesday found cracks at the top of the 555-foot obelisk which will keep it closed to visitors indefinitely, the Associated Press reports. The damage, likely caused by the 5.8 earthquake that struck…. – Business Insider, 8-23-11
  • D.C. monuments and museums closed; no major structural damage reported: With the Washington Monument in the background people walk nearby after it was closed to visitors as a security precaution following an earthquake in the Washington area. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered…. – Daily Caller, 8-23-11
  • Earthquake Is Felt in New York: The vibrations of an earthquake centered in Virginia were felt in New York City on Tuesday afternoon. Some buildings have been evacuated, including City Hall, the Department of Education headquarters and World Trade Center 7…. – NYT, 8-23-11
  • Quake, centered near Washington, felt along East Coast: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck Tuesday near the nation’s capital and sent shock waves up and down the East Coast. “It’s one of the largest that we’ve had there,” said US Geological Survey…. – CNN, 8-23-11
  • Major quake hits DC area: A significant earthquake struck central Virginia Tuesday afternoon, shaking homes and buildings up and down the East Coast and forcing evacuations of major DC-area government buildings, including the White House, Pentagon and Capitol. … – Politico, 8-23-11
  • 5.9-magnitude quake jolts eastern U.S. : 2011-08-23: Office workers gather on the sidewalk in downtown Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, moments after a 5.9-magnitude tremor shook the nation’s capital. The quake, centered northwest of Richmond, was felt as far north as Rhode Island and New York. … – Washington Times, 8-23-11
  • Earthquake shakes Boston: An earthquake centered in Virginia shook the Eastern Seaboard just before 2 pm, and was felt as a rumble lasting several seconds in the Boston area. Some buildings in the city were evacuated, while officials inspected them, but there were no immediate damage…. – Boston Globe, 8-23-11
  • US Capitol, Pentagon, State Department Evacuated After 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake: The US Capitol, Pentagon, State Department and surrounding buildings all emptied today following a 5.9 earthquake that sent government workers scrambling. Sirens sounded outside US House office buildings on the south side of Capitol Hill…. – ABC News, 8-23-11
  • Quake Listed at 5.9 Rattles East Coast From North Carolina to New York: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted the East Coast … – ABC News, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 earthquake hits Virginia, jolts NY and Carolinas: A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck Virginia at about 1:50 pm (EDT), the US Geological Survey reported Tuesday. Tremors were felt in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee and the Carolinas. In New York City, some buildings were evacuated…. – LAT, 8-23-11
  • Virginia 5.9 earthquake felt across eastern Canada; no reports of damage: A moderate earthquake centred in Virginia was felt hundreds of kilometres north in eastern Canada. People from Ottawa to Toronto and across into New Brunswick reported feeling the tremor. Toronto police said via Twitter that they had received … – Winnipeg Free Press, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 earthquake shakes Ontario, eastern US: Beginning of Story Content An earthquake centred in Virginia with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 shook a broad swath of the US and Central Canada on Tuesday. The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred near Mineral, Va., about 134 kilometres … – CBC.ca, 8-23-11
  • East-coast earthquake felt in Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York, Washington: The US Capitol building, the Pentagon and other buildings were evacuated, witnesses said. Buildings were also briefly evacuated in New York and Toronto. Emergency services in DC have reported many calls for no injuries. Cellular service was disrupted … – Montreal Gazette, 8-23-11
  • Quake shakes up Eastern Canada, US: Tuesday’s earthquake that was centred in Virginia also shook up a significant part of Eastern Canada. The 5.9-magnitude quake was felt by residents of Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Windsor, Ont…. – Vancouver Sun, 8-23-11
  • What?! An earthquake? East Coast reacts with shock: The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck Virginia on Tuesday gives new meaning to the word “aftershock.” Residents up and down the East Coast had trouble believing what they were feeling — that the earth was literally trembling beneath their feet. … – LAT, 8-23-11
  • Virginia quake: What was the damage on the East Coast?: Virginia quake caused the evacuation of many buildings and triggered the shutdown of two nuclear reactors. Cellphone call volume spiked as people rushed to call loved ones after the Virginia quake…. – CS Monitor, 8-23-11
  • Virginia 5.8 Quake Shakes Buildings From D.C. to Boston: A 5.8 magnitude earthquake, the biggest to strike Virginia in more than a century, hit about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Richmond, rocking buildings from Washington to Boston and causing office workers in New York City … San Francisco Chronicle, 8-23-11
  • NY, DC briefly shaken by 9/11 memories during earthquake: Workers dashed out of buildings, many of them worried that the tremors from a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast was a bomb or terrorist attack…. – CNN, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 magnitude quake hits northeastern US and Canada: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake originating in Virginia rocked Washington, DC on Tuesday shortly before 2 pm EST, and seems to have been felt as far north as Quebec City. … – Macleans.ca, 8-23-11
  • Tremors hit Toronto after 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocks Virginia: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centred in Virginia shook much of Washington, DC, and was felt through much of the northeast. (Aug. 23) A major earthquake in Virginia left little more than shaking bobblehead dolls, swaying blinds and vibrating chairs in … – Toronto Star, 8-23-11
  • Earthquake Rattles New York and Washington DC: Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from buildings in cities from New York to Washington DC. Air and train traffic has been disrupted and two nuclear reactors have been taken offline…. – The Province, 8-23-11
  • White House, Capitol, Pentagon evacuated in wake of earthquake: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled Washington on Tuesday afternoon — causing the evacuation of government buildings, cellphone service outages, traffic gridlock and delays in public transportation. … – The Hill, 8-23-11
  • Rare earthquake shakes and shocks Eastern Seaboard: There were no major injuries reported nor severe damage, but the 45-second earthquake that hit the East Coast Tuesday afternoon gave millions of people a thorough and efficient education in what Westerners already know…. – USA Today, 8-23-11
  • Facebook, Twitter report record earthquake messages: Facebook and Twitter proved on Tuesday to be a key source of information on Tuesday’s East Coast earthquake, as cellphone networks struggled with congestion from an overwhelming number of callers. The earthquake hit at 1:51 pm…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • DC Earthquake Dominates Social Media Sites: 5 Must-See Stats: News about the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Washington, DC on Tuesday and was felt in cities throughout the East coast exploded online, spreading rapidly via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. … – Huffington Post, 8-23-11
  • Virginia quake: Top five political jokes on Twitter: The Virginia earthquake prompted evacuations of the Pentagon, White House, and Congress. And the quake triggered an outpouring of political jokes on Twitter…. – CS Monitor, 8-23-11
  • For central Virginia’s seismic zone, quake is an event of rare magnitude: The state hasn’t suffered a quake of this size since the slightly larger one that rattled Giles County in 1897. “That’s the biggest earthquake in human history in Virginia,” said David Applegate, associate director for natural hazards at the U.S. Geological Survey. And the 5.8 quake Tuesday was as big as anything experts expect in the so-called Central Virginia Seismic Zone…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
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