Full Text Political Transcripts March 23, 2016: Speaker Paul Ryan’s Speech on the State of American Politics

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

FULL TEXT: Speaker Ryan on the State of American Politics

“I want to thank you all for coming. I want to thank Chairman Brady and the Ways and Means Committee for hosting us here. I had the privilege of joining this committee my second term in Congress. It’s the perfect setting for what I want to talk with you about today. Because it is here, in this committee, that we debate some of the biggest, most consequential issues. Our tax code, health care, trade, entitlement programs, welfare reform. t’s a big deal to be on this committee. And understanding the privilege and the responsibility that came along with it, we took our job seriously.

“And we always held ourselves to a higher standard of decorum. We treated each other with respect. We disagreed—often fiercely so—but we disagreed without being disagreeable. I speak of this in the past tense only because I no longer serve here. But it almost sounds like I’m speaking of another time, doesn’t it? It sounds like a scene unfamiliar to your generation.

“Looking around at what’s taking place in politics today, it is easy to get disheartened. How many of you find yourself just shaking your head at what you see from both sides? You know, I see myself in each of you. I came here as a curious college intern. Trying to get a sense of everything. Trying to figure out where to take my life. I would always ask older, more experienced people: what do you know that you wished you knew when you were my age?

“This is my answer to that. Here is what I know now that I want you to know—that you cannot see yourself today. And that is not just a lesson for young minds, but a message for all Americans. Our political discourse—both the kind we see on TV and the kind we experience among each other—did not use to be this bad and it does not have to be this way. Now, a little skepticism is healthy. But when people distrust politics, they come to distrust institutions. They lose faith in their government, and the future too. We can acknowledge this. But we don’t have to accept it. And we cannot enable it either.

“My dad used to say, if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem. So I have made it a mission of my Speakership to raise our gaze and aim for a brighter horizon. Instead of talking about what politics is today, I want to talk about what politics can be. I want to talk about what our country can be…about what our Founders envisioned it to be. America is the only nation founded an idea—not an identity. That idea is the notion that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. Our rights are natural. They come from God, not government.

“While it was a beautiful idea, it had never been tried before. Early on, as our founders struggled to establish a suitable order, they decided that we would not maintain this idea by force. In the first Federalist paper, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “in politics,” it is “absurd to aim at making” converts “by fire and sword.” Instead, we would govern ourselves, with the people’s consent. Again, there was no manual for how to do this. That’s why they call it the American experiment.

“So they made each other—and those who came after—take an oath to uphold the Constitution. And every generation since has inherited this responsibility. Leaders with different visions and ideas have come and gone; parties have risen and fallen; majorities and White Houses won and lost. But the way we govern endures: through debate, not disorder. This is one thing about our country that makes it the greatest on earth.

“I must admit, I didn’t always find this idea so exciting…As I said, I came to Washington unsure of what I was going to do with my life. And then I ended up working for a guy named Jack Kemp. Jack once played quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He went on to represent the people of Western New York in the House in the 1970s and 80s. He served in the Cabinet under President George H.W. Bush. And, like me, he was once our party’s nominee for vice president.

“But I first met Jack exactly where you’d expect…at Tortilla Coast. It’s true…I was waiting on his table. I didn’t bother him that day, but I told a friend I’d love to have the chance to work for him. And, as luck would have it, such an opening soon arose. The thing about Jack was, he was an optimist all the way. He refused to accept that any part of America–or the American Idea–could be written off. Here was a conservative willing—no, eager—to go to America’s bleakest communities and talk about how free enterprise could lift people out of poverty. These were areas that hadn’t seen a Republican leader come through in years, if ever.

“I had the chance to accompany Jack on some of these visits. I saw how people took to him. I saw how he listened, and took new lessons from each experience. He found common cause with poverty fighters on the ground. Instead of a sense of drift, I began to feel a sense of purpose. Jack inspired me to devote my professional life to public policy. It became a vocation.

“Ideas, passionately promoted and put to the test—that’s what politics can be.That’s what our country can be. It can be a confident America, where we have a basic faith in politics and leaders. It can be a place where we’ve earned that faith. All of us as leaders can hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and decency. Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. Instead of playing the identity politics of “our base” and “their base,” we unite people around ideas and principles. And instead of being timid, we go bold.

“We don’t resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you. We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative. And when we do that, we don’t just win the argument. We don’t just win your support. We win your enthusiasm. We win hearts and minds. We win a mandate to do what needs to be done to protect the American Idea.

“In a confident America, we also have a basic faith in one another. We question each other’s ideas—vigorously—but we don’t question each other’s motives. If someone has a bad idea, we don’t think they’re a bad person. We just think they have a bad idea. People with different ideas are not traitors. They are not our enemies. They are our neighbors, our coworkers, our fellow citizens. Sometimes they’re our friends. Sometimes they’re even our own flesh and blood, right? We all know someone we love who disagrees with us politically, or votes differently.

“But in a confident America, we aren’t afraid to disagree with each other. We don’t lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold. We don’t shut down on people—and we don’t shut people down. If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don’t insult them into agreeing with us. We try to persuade them. We test their assumptions. And while we’re at it, we test our own assumptions too.

“I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you I have always met this standard. There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. “Takers” wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.

“So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong. And of course, there are still going to be times when I say things I wish I hadn’t. There are still going to be times when I follow the wrong impulse.

“Governing ourselves was never meant to be easy. This has always been a tough business. And when passions flair, ugliness is sometimes inevitable. But we shouldn’t accept ugliness as the norm. We should demand better from ourselves and from one another. We should think about the great leaders that have bestowed upon us the opportunity to live the American Idea. We should honor their legacy. We should build that more confident America.

“This, as much as anything, is what makes me an optimist. It is knowing that ideas can inspire a country and help people. Long before I worked for him, Jack Kemp had a tax plan that he was incredibly passionate about. He wasn’t even on the Ways and Means Committee and Republicans were deep in the minority back then. So the odds of it going anywhere seemed awfully low. But he was like a dog with a bone. He took that plan to any audience he could get in front of. He pushed it so hard that he eventually inspired our party’s nominee for president—Ronald Reagan—to adopt it as his own. And in 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work.

“All it took was someone willing to put policy on paper and promote it passionately. This is the basic concept behind the policy agenda that House Republicans are building right now. As leaders, we have an obligation to put our best ideas forward—no matter the consequences. With so much at stake, the American people deserve a clear picture of what we believe. Personalities come and go, but principles endure. Ideas endure, ready to inspire generations yet to be born.

“That’s the thing about politics. We think of it in terms of this vote or that election. But it can be so much more than that. Politics can be a battle of ideas, not insults. It can be about solutions. It can be about making a difference. It can be about always striving to do better. That’s what it can be and what it should be. This is the system our Founders envisioned. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s infuriating at times. And it’s a beautiful thing too. Thank you all for being here today.”
– See more at: http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/full-text-speaker-ryan-state-american-politics#sthash.g3GUP1yX.dpuf

 

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Full Text Political Transcripts September 24, 2015: Speaker John Boehner’s Statement upon meeting Pope Francis before his address to Congress

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS:

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today welcomed Pope Francis to the United States Capitol, where he became the first Pope to ever address a joint meeting of Congress.  After the Pope’s visit, Boehner issued the following statement:

“What a day.  What a moment for our country.  I’m so proud that so many came to greet the Pope here at our Capitol, the world’s greatest symbol of democracy.  The Holy Father’s visit is surely a blessing for all of us.  With great blessings, of course, come great responsibility.  Let us all go forth with gratitude and reflect on how we can better serve one another.  Let us all go forth and live up to the words, God bless America.”

Political Headlines May 16, 2013: House Speaker John Boehner: Scandals Reveal Obama Administration’s ‘Arrogance of Power’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Boehner: Scandals Reveal Obama Administration’s ‘Arrogance of Power’

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-16-13

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

With a three-headed monster of controversy and scandal chasing the president this week — Benghazi, the IRS, The Justice Department’s monitoring AP —  House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that an “arrogance of power” within the Obama administration threatens to unravel the American people’s dithering confidence in government.

“Nothing dissolves the bonds between the people and their government like the arrogance of power here in Washington, and that’s what the American people are seeing today from the Obama administration — remarkable arrogance,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said….READ MORE

Full Text May 15, 2012: Speaker John Boehner Promises Election Year Debt Ceiling Limit Fight Unless there are Spending Cuts & Reforms in a Speech on the Economy at Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit

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. 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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER PROMISES ELECTION YEAR DEBT CEILING FIGHT UNLESS THERE ARE SPENDING CUTS & REFORMS

“When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.” — Speaker John Boehner

“The Ways & Means Committee will work out the details, but the bottom line is: if we do this right, this will be the last time we ever have to confront the uncertainty of expiring tax rates. We’ll have replaced the broken status quo with a tax code that maintains progressivity, taxes income once, and creates a fairer, simpler code.” — Speaker John Boehner

Republicans Pledge New Standoff on Debt Limit: Speaker John A. Boehner set the stage for a bruising election-year showdown on fiscal policy while Mitt Romney hit President Obama hard on his fiscal stewardship in a speech in Des Moines…. – NYT, 5-15-12

  • Boehner: Spending cuts must offset debt limit hike: House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that when Congress raises the nation’s borrowing cap he will again insist on spending cuts and budget reforms to offset the increase. In remarks prepared for a budget address Tuesday afternoo…. – BusinessWeek, 5-15-12
  • Boehner draws line in sand on debt ceiling: The Speaker of the House says any raise in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by steep cuts…. – CS Monitor, 5-15-12
  • Boehner threatens another debt-ceiling fight: Washington braced Tuesday for a replay of last summer’s tense battle over the burgeoning national debt as House Speaker John A. Boehner threatened again to block an increase in the federal debt ceiling without significant new cuts in spending…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • Boehner: No debt ceiling increase without cuts: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will not allow an increase in the debt ceiling to move through the House unless the amount of the increase includes an equal or greater amount of spending cuts…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Speaker Boehner vows showdown on taxes, spending: House Speaker John Boehner set the stage Tuesday for another tense, partisan showdown over tax and spending policy later this year, as he vowed to insist on big spending cuts before he will agree to a new debt ceiling…. – San Francisco Chronicle, 5-15-12
  • John Boehner’s hard line on raising debt cap: Speaker John Boehner is once again promising that any increase in the nation’s borrowing limit will have to be accompanied by a greater amount of spending cuts.
    The Ohio Republican’s position, which will be announced at the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Summit Tuesday in D.C., seems to mirror his stance during last year’s all-consuming debt ceiling standoff….
    Boehner will also announce a plan on taxes. During the fall, the House will vote on a bill to extend the current, lower income tax rates…. – Politico, 5-15-12
  • Democrats return fire after John Boehner’s opening debt-ceiling salvo: Democrats charge that John Boehner’s renewed call for spending cuts as a condition to raise the debt ceiling is ‘dangerous,’ recalling the standoff last summer that drove consumer confidence – and Congress’s approval rating – sharply down…. – CS Monitor, 5-16-12

FULL TEXT: Speaker Boehner’s Address on the Economy, Debt Limit, and American Jobs

Source: Speaker Boehner Press Office, 5-15-12

Following is the full text, as prepared for delivery, of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) address to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit on efforts to put our nation back on a path to prosperity and economic growth by cutting government spending, preventing job-crushing tax hikes, and making long-term changes to entitlement programs.  In the address, Boehner renews his commitment to the principle that any increase in the nation’s debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms larger than the amount of the debt limit hike.  Failing to again meet this standard – dubbed the “Boehner principle” by Stanford economist John B. Taylor – in conjunction with the next debt limit increase means pushing American prosperity and job growth farther away. 

It’s truly an honor to be with you in the historic Mellon Auditorium.  It was here in the spring of 1949 that the United States and our closest allies gathered to sign the North Atlantic Treaty, giving birth to NATO.

On that occasion, President Truman declared that people ‘with courage and vision can still determine their own destiny.  They can choose freedom or slavery.’

In our time, all of these great nations face a grave threat to freedom, one from within, and that is debt.  It is shackling our economies and smothering the opportunities that have blessed us with so much.   

Once again the world looks to the United States for what it always has: an example.  It is the example of a free people whose hard work and sacrifice make up the sum total of thriving towns and a vibrant economy.  It’s a humble government that lives within its means and unleashes the potential of first-rate ideas and world-class products.  It’s a nation never content with the status quo and always on the make. 

I got a glimpse of this example growing up working at my dad’s tavern just outside Cincinnati, and then lived a piece of it running my own small business. 

Instead of this shining example, what does the world now see?

A president on whose watch the United States lost its gold-plated triple-A rating for the first time in our history;

A Senate, controlled by the president’s party, that has not passed a budget in more than three years;

And, earlier this month, another unemployment report showing that the world’s greatest economy remains unable to generate enough jobs to spur strong and lasting growth.

If you should know one thing about me, it’s that I’m an optimist.

Yes, times are tough, but our future doesn’t need to be dark.   We don’t have to accept a new normal where the workplace looks more like a battlefield and families have to endure flat incomes, weak job prospects, and higher prices in their daily lives. 

We have every reason to believe we can come out of this freer and more prosperous than ever.   And we will, if we confront our challenges now while we still have the ability to do so.

For the solution to what ails our economy is not government – it’s the American people.  

The failure of ‘stimulus’ – a word people in Washington won’t even use anymore – has sparked a rebellion against overspending, overtaxation, and overregulation.

Americans, who take pride in living on a budget, recognize we can’t go on spending money we don’t have, and that our economy is stuck in large part because it’s stuck with debt. 

Nationwide, we’re seeing a groundswell of support for bold ideas that reject small politics, cast off big government, and return us to common sense and first principles – the kind of ideas that will restore prosperity and substantially improve the trajectory of our economy.

In March, as part of our Plan for America’s Job Creators, the House passed an honest budget with real spending cuts, pro-growth tax reform, and serious entitlement reform.   It’s a far-reaching effort to control government’s worst habits and capitalize on the American people’s best.  This budget gets our fiscal house in order AND promotes long-term growth.  Far from settling for stability, it offers a true path to prosperity. 

Various bipartisan commissions and coalitions have devised ambitious plans as well.  The math and the mix are different, but the goals are mainly the same. 

And of course, there are summits like these that bring together people who just get it.   Of course, while I’m happy to be here and I’m sure we all enjoy each other’s company, we can also agree that we’ve talked this problem to death. 

It’s about time we roll up our sleeves and get to work.

For all the focus on Election Day, another date looms large for every household and every business, and that’s January 1, 2013.

On that day, without action by Congress, a sudden and massive tax increase will be imposed on every American – by an average of $3,000 per household.  Rates go up, the child tax credit is cut in half, the AMT patches end, the estate tax returns to 2001 levels, and so on.

Now, it gets a little more complicated than that.  What will expire on January 1 is cause for concern – as is what will take effect.   That includes:

Indiscriminate spending cuts of $1.2 trillion – half of which would devastate our men and women in uniform and send a signal of weakness; 

Several tax increases from the health care law that is making it harder to hire new workers;

As well as a slate of energy and banking rules and regulations that will also increase the strain on the private sector.  

But … it gets even more complicated than that.

Sometime after the election, the federal government will near the statutory debt limit.

This end-of-the-year pileup, commonly called the ‘fiscal cliff,’ is a chance for us to bid farewell – permanently – to the era of so-called ‘timely, temporary, and targeted’ short-term government intervention. 

For years, Washington has force-fed our economy with a constant diet of meddling, micromanagement, and manipulation.  None of it has been a substitute for long-term economic investment, private initiative, and freedom

Previous Congresses have encountered lesser precipices with lower stakes, and made a beeline for the closest lame-duck escape hatch. 

Let me put your mind at ease.  This Congress will not follow that path, not if I have anything to do with it. 

Having run a business, I know that failing to plan is planning to fail.  The real pain comes from doing nothing … ‘austerity’ is what will become necessary if we do nothing now.   We’ll wake up one day without a choice in the matter. 

There’s also no salvation to be found in doing anything just to get by, just to get through this year. 

‘Nothing’ is not an option, and ‘anything’ is not a plan.  To get on the path to prosperity, we have to avoid the fiscal cliff, but we need to start today.  

To show my intentions are sincere, I’ll start with the stickiest issue, and that of course is the debt limit.

On several occasions in the past, the debt limit has been the catalyst for budget agreements.  Last year, however, the president requested a quote-unquote ‘clean’ debt limit increase – business as usual.  

Well I’ve run a business, and that’s no way to do it.  It’s certainly no way to run a government either, especially one that has run up a debt bigger than the entire economy.  Business as usual will no longer do. 

So last year around this time, I accepted an invitation to address the Economic Club of New York.   I went up there and said that in my view, the debt limit exists in statute precisely so that government is forced to address its fiscal issues. 

Yes, allowing America to default would be irresponsible. But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.

We shouldn’t dread the debt limit.  We should welcome it.  It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction. 

That night in New York City, I put forth the principle that we should not raise the debt ceiling without real spending cuts and reforms that exceed the amount of the debt limit increase.  

From all the way up in Midtown Manhattan, I could hear a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Over the next couple of months, I was asked again and again if I would yield on my ‘position,’ what it would take, if I would budge…

Each and every time, I said ‘no’ … because it isn’t a ‘position’ – it’s a principle.   Not just that – it’s the right thing to do.

When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase.  This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance.

If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal.  Let’s start solving the problem.  We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.

Just so we’re clear, I’m talking about REAL cuts and reforms – not these tricks and gimmicks that have given Washington a pass on grappling with its spending problem.

Last year, in our negotiations with the White House, the president and his team put a number of gimmicks on the table.  Plenty of thought and creativity went into them – things like counting money that was never going to be spent as savings.

Maybe in another time, with another Speaker, gimmicks like these would be acceptable.

But, as a matter of simple arithmetic, they won’t work. 

They won’t work, and as I told the president, we’re not doing things that way anymore.

What also doesn’t count as ‘cuts and reforms’ are tax increases.  Tax hikes destroy jobs – especially an increase on the magnitude set for January 1st.   Small businesses need to plan.  We shouldn’t wait until New Year’s Eve to give American job creators the confidence that they aren’t going to get hit with a tax hike on New Year’s Day. 

Any sudden tax hike would hurt our economy, so this fall – before the election – the House of Representatives will vote to stop the largest tax increase in American history. 

This will give Congress time to work on broad-based tax reform that lowers rates for individuals and businesses while closing deductions, credits, and special carveouts.  

Eyebrows go up all over town whenever I talk about this, but when I say ‘broad-based’ tax reform, I mean it.  We need to do it all … deal with the whole code, personal and corporate it’s fairer and more productive for everyone.

That’s why our bill to stop the New Year’s Day tax increase will also establish an expedited process by which Congress would enact real tax reform in 2013.  This process would look something like how we handle Trade Promotion Authority, where you put in place a timeline for both houses to act.

The Ways & Means Committee will work out the details, but the bottom line is: if we do this right, we will never again have to deal with the uncertainty of expiring tax rates.

We’ll have replaced the broken status quo with a tax code that maintains progressivity, taxes income once, and creates a fairer, simpler code. 

And if we do THAT right, we will see increased revenue from more economic growth.

Again, change doesn’t need to be sudden or painful. 

Last fall, when I addressed the Economic Club of Washington, I said that making relatively small changes now can lead to huge dividends down the road in terms of debt reduction.  As we approach the issue of the debt limit again, we need to continue to bear this in mind.

As you know, we could eliminate all of the unfunded liabilities in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid tomorrow, and the effect within the Congressional Budget Office 10-year window could be minimal.

That’s because changes to these programs take time and are phased-in slowly. 

For example, when Congress last increased the retirement age for Social Security, the increase – a mere two years – was scheduled to fully take effect 40 years after the law was enacted.

Another example: take the House Budget Resolution and its assumptions for Medicare reform.  Those would not even begin until after 2022.

Smart and modest changes today mean huge dividends down the line.

Now, I can already hear the grumbles … partisans getting all worked up or people saying, eh, let’s wait until after the election.

We can’t wait.  Employers large and small are already bracing for the coming tax hikes and regulations, which freeze their plans.  The markets aren’t going to wait forever; eventually they’re going to start reacting.

We now know that we ignore these warnings at our own peril.

That’s why the House will do its part to ease the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff.  And I hope the president will step up, bring his party’s Senate leaders along, and work with us.

Because if there’s one action-forcing event that trumps all the rest – even the debt limit – it’s presidential leadership. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe President Obama cares about this country and knows what the right thing to do is.  But knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are different things.  

The difference between knowing what’s right and doing what’s right is courage, and the president, I’m sorry to say, lost his.

He was willing to talk about the tough choices needed to preserve and strengthen our entitlement programs, but he wasn’t ready to take action.

As it turned out, he wouldn’t agree to even the most basic entitlement reform unless it was accompanied by tax increases on small business job creators.

We were on the verge of an agreement that would have reduced the deficit by trillions, by strengthening entitlement programs and reforming the tax code with permanently lower rates for all, laying the foundation for lasting growth.

But when the president saw his former colleagues in the Senate getting ready to press for tax hikes, he lost his nerve.  The political temptation was too great.  He moved the goalposts, changed his stance, and demanded tax hikes. 

We ended up enacting a package with cuts and reforms larger than the hike.  But it could have been so much more. 

The letdown was considerable.  And, in turn, our nation’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time.

Well it should also be the last time that happens, which is why I came here today. 

If the president continues to put politics before principle – or party before country, as he often accuses others of doing – our economy will suffer and we may well miss our last chance to solve this crisis on our own terms.

But if we have leaders who will lead … if we have leaders with the courage to make tough choices and the vision to pursue a future paved with growth, then we can heal our economy and again be the example for all to follow.

I’m ready, and I’ve been ready.  I’m not angling for higher office.  This is the last position in government I will hold.  I haven’t come this far to walk away. 

All my life, I’ve operated by a simple code: if you do the right thing for the reasons, good things will happen.  

Well, NOW is the time to do the right thing. 

Let’s do it for the right reasons – we don’t need to be dragged kicking and screaming.   That’s not the American way.  Let’s summon the courage and vision to choose freedom, to choose prosperity, and to determine our destiny.

Then we’ll not only have succeeded in solving this crisis – we’ll be worthy of that success.   

Thank you all.

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