Political Headlines June 7, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Goes Missing from Teleprompter in Embarrassing Moment of the Day

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama’s Remarks Go Missing in Embarrassing Moment of the Day

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-13

Win McNamee/Getty Images

When President Obama stepped up to the podium Friday morning, the cameras were rolling, the stage was perfectly set and reporters were eagerly awaiting his remarks on health care. But something was missing.

“There’s only one problem, and that is that my remarks are not sitting here,” Obama said, as he looked at the barren podium. “People!

“By Friday afternoon, things can get a little challenged,” he quipped….READ MORE

Election 2012 November 9, 2012: Tearful President Barack Obama Thanks Staff for History-Making Campaign During Chicago speech

ELECTION 2012

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Tearful Obama Credits Staff for History-Making Campaign

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-9-12

Associated Press – In this still image from a BarackObama.com campaign video, President Barack Obama wipes away tears as he thanks members of his campaign staff and volunteers in Chicago, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. The short speech came a day after he won re-election. The president talks about his work as a community organizer in Chicago and tells staffers and volunteers that they will do “amazing things” in their lives

The morning after he won re-election, an emotional President Barack Obama credited his youthful staff of several hundred with running a campaign that will “go on in the annals of history.”

“What you guys have accomplished will go on in the annals of history and they will read about it and they’ll marvel about it,” Obama told his team Wednesday morning inside the Chicago campaign headquarters, tears streaming down his face.

“The most important thing you need to know is that your journey’s just beginning. You’re just starting. And whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to whatever you guys end up accomplishing in the years and years to come,” he said….READ MORE

Full Text October 4, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the American Jobs Act Impact on Teachers in Mesquite, Texas

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama: American Jobs Act Will Prevent Up to 280,000 Teachers from Losing their Jobs

Source: WH, 10-4-11
President Barack Obama at the Lab School in Mesquite, Texas

President Barack Obama tours the Lab School at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas, Oct. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House today released a report that outlines the devastating impact the recession has had on schools and students across the country. Teacher Jobs at Risk highlights the significant cuts in education spending that have resulted from state budget shortfalls since 2008, including the loss of nearly 300,000 teaching jobs across the country (see chart below).

And in the coming school year, without additional support, many school districts will have to make another round of difficult decisions. As a result of state and local funding cuts, as many as 280,000 teacher jobs could be at risk. Unless they receive federal assistance, many school districts will be forced to reduce the number of teachers in their classrooms, or turn to other measures such as shortening the school year or cutting spending on schoolbooks and supplies.

President Obama, speaking today in Texas, compared the situation here with South Korea, where their President said they can’t hire teachers fast enough:

“They call them “nation builders” — that’s what they call teachers in Korea, “nation builders,” because they know that educating their children is the best way to make sure their economy is growing, make sure that good jobs are locating there, making sure they’ve got the scientists and the engineers and the technicians who can build things and ship them all around the world. That’s what he understands. And the whole country supports him. Here in America, we’re laying off teachers in droves. It makes no sense. It has to stop. It has to stop.”

The President was at Eastfield Community College, in Mesquite, Texas where he toured a pre-school before talking about the impact the American Jobs Act will have on schools, and on teachers, across the country. He told the crowd there that the stakes for addressing this situation are high, with “nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy” at risk.

This is why one of the central components of the American Jobs Act, which the President introduced last month at a Joint Session of Congress, is funding to avoid and reverse teacher layoffs now, and to provide support for the re-hiring and hiring of educators.

Specifically, the American Jobs Act will invest $30 billion to support state and local efforts to retain, rehire, and hire early childhood, elementary, and secondary educators. If enacted, these teacher stabilization funds would help prevent layoffs and support the hiring or re-hiring of nearly 400,000 educators, includ¬ing teachers, guidance counselors, classroom assistants, afterschool personnel, tutors, and literacy and math coaches. These funds will ensure that schools are able to keep teachers in the classroom, preserve or extend the regular school day and school year, and maintain important afterschool activities.

The impact of this funding is clear:

  • In the states with the largest numbers of students, the American Jobs Act will support tens of thousands of educator jobs—California (37,300), Florida (25,900), Illinois (14,500), New York (18,000) and Texas (39,500).
  • Funding is targeted to the school districts most in need of support across the country, especially those with a high share of students living in poverty. The Department of Education projects that New York City will receive around $950 million, Los Angeles Unified School District will receive around $570 million, Dade County School District will receive around $250 million, and Houston and Dallas Independent School Districts will each receive more than $100 million.
  • Even in states with smaller student enrollments, the American Jobs Act will have a significant impact—supporting over a thousand educator jobs in states like Montana (1,400), Arkansas (4,100), Nevada (3,600), and Iowa (4,100). Medium-size school districts like those in Wake County, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee will receive funding ranging from $50 million to $75 million.

As the President said today in Texas, Americans cannot afford to wait for things to get better, it is time to act:

We are not people who sit back in tough times. We step up in tough times. We make things happen in tough times. We’ve been through tougher times before, and we got through them. We’re going to get through these to a brighter day, but we’re going to have to act. God helps those who help themselves. We need to help ourselves right now.

Let’s get together. Let’s get to work. Let’s get busy. Let’s pass this bill. Let’s make sure that we are shaping a destiny for our children that we are proud of, and let’s remind the entire world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on the planet.

Year-Over-Year Change, Local Government Employment in Educational Services

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama on the American Jobs Act
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 10/4/11

Remarks by the President on the American Jobs Act

Eastfield College
Mesquite, Texas

2:47 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Dallas!  Thank you so much.  Thank you, everybody.  Please have a seat, have a seat.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

It’s good to be back in Texas.  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Texas.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be with all of you.

I want to thank a couple of people.  First of all, the mayor of Mesquite, John Monaco is here.  (Applause.)  And the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings is in the house.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank the former mayor of Dallas, who I stole from you to be one of the best trade representatives this country has ever had — my dear friend Ron Kirk is in the house.  (Applause.)

I also want to thank — I want to thank the folks over at the Children’s Lab School, who gave me a tour, and I want to especially thank Kim Russell for sharing her story.  Thank you, Kim.  (Applause.)

Now, teachers like Kim are why I came here today.  Teachers like Kim and her former students.  That’s why I’ve been traveling all across this country for the last few weeks.  These are the toughest times we’ve been through since the Great Depression.  And because the problems that led to the recession weren’t caused overnight, they won’t be solved overnight.  That’s the hard truth.  It took us a decade to see the culmination of some of the bad ideas that had been put into place — the lack of regulation on Wall Street, middle-class folks struggling.

So we’re not going to solve all those problems overnight.  But that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and do nothing about this economy.  There are steps we can take right now to put people back to work.  There are steps we can take right now to put money in the pockets of working Americans.  There are things we can do right now to restore some of the security and fairness that has always defined this great country of ours.  And that’s what will happen if this Congress will finally get its act together and pass the American Jobs Act.  (Applause.)

It has now been three weeks since I sent this bill to Congress.  It’s a detailed plan to get this economy moving.  It’s the kind of proposals that, in the past, Democrats and Republicans have supported.  There’s nothing radical in this proposal.  These are the kinds of things that in the past we’ve had bipartisan support for.  It’s fully paid for.  And that’s why I need you to help me convince the people you sent to Washington that it’s time to pass this jobs bill and get America working again.  (Applause.)

Now, you just heard Kim’s story.  There are teachers and educators like Kim all over the country.  I met a first-grade teacher from Minnesota at the White House who was laid off after having been named the Teacher of the Year in her school district.  Her peers, students, determined she was the best teacher in her school district — she got laid off.  There’s a teacher over in Grand Prairie, Texas, who actually chose to resign in order to protect the job of a single mom who also taught at the school.  Think about that.  Here in Dallas, all across the state of Texas, you’ve seen too many teachers lose their jobs because of budget cuts.  And thousands more could be at risk in the coming year.

Now, understand, this doesn’t just hurt these teachers.  It doesn’t just hurt them and their families.  It hurts our children.  It undermines our future as a nation.  If you’ve got Kim, an AP teacher, not in the classroom, those kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities.  And I want everybody to understand that what is at stake is nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy.

I told the story — a while back I was visiting South Korea and had lunch with the President there.  And I asked the President, I said, what’s your biggest challenge right now?  He said, well, my biggest challenge is our parents are way too demanding.  He said, they want their kid to learn English when they’re in first grade.  So in addition to all the science and all the math classes, I’m now having to ship in teachers from outside the country just to teach our kids English, starting in elementary school.  This is what the President of South Korea said.

They can’t hire teachers fast enough.  They call them “nation builders” — that’s what they call teachers in Korea, “nation builders,” because they know that educating their children is the best way to make sure their economy is growing, make sure that good jobs are locating there, making sure they’ve got the scientists and the engineers and the technicians who can build things and ship them all around the world.  That’s what he understands.  And the whole country supports him.  Here in America, we’re laying off teachers in droves.  It makes no sense.  It has to stop.  It has to stop.  (Applause.)

Now, this bill will prevent up to 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs.  (Applause.)  This bill will support almost 40,000 jobs right here in the great state of Texas.  (Applause.)  So here’s what I need you to do:  Tell Congress to pass this bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong.  (Applause.)

It’s not just teachers.  Tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, and there also will be funding to save the jobs of firefighters and police officers and first responders who risk their lives to keep us safe.  That’s what happens if they pass this bill.  (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and hundreds of thousands of unemployed construction workers will get back on the job rebuilding our schools, rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, rebuilding our ports, rebuilding our airports.  The other day I visited a busy bridge in Ohio — actually it’s between Ohio and Kentucky.  Speaker Boehner, he’s from Ohio; Republican Leader McConnell is from Kentucky.  I thought it would be a good place to have an event.  (Laughter.)  This bridge is classified as functionally obsolete.  That’s a fancy way of saying it’s old and needs to be fixed.  (Laughter.)

There’s a public transit project in Houston that would help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country.  There are schools all over this country that are literally falling apart — roof crumbling, rain dripping in, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, science labs all worn out, got a couple of beakers and that’s it, built back in the ‘50s before the Internet was invented.  (Laughter.)

That’s an outrage.  Understand, America became an economic superpower in part because we had the best infrastructure.  We built the transcontinental railroad, the Interstate Highway System, the Hoover Dam, Grand Central Station.  How can we sit back and now we’re seeing China build better airports than us, Europe build better railroads than us, Korea more broadband access than us — at a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could be building all that stuff right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

My question to Congress is, what are you waiting for?  The work is there to be done.  There are workers ready to do it.  Contractors, they’re begging for work.  They’ll come in on time, under budget.  Interest rates have never been lower.  It is time for us to put those folks back to work.  It’s time for them to pass the American Jobs Act.  Pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If Congress passes this jobs bill, new companies will get new tax credits for hiring America’s veterans.  Think about it.  We ask these men and women to leave their families, disrupt their careers, risk their lives for our nation.  The last thing they should have to do is to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)

Tell Congress pass this bill so we can help the people who create most of the new jobs in this country:  America’s small businesses.  Folks in the other party, they like to talk a good game about helping America’s job creators.  “Let’s help America’s job creators.”  Okay, let’s do that.  This jobs bill provides tax cuts for nearly every small business in America.  If you hire new employees, or raise your workers’ wages, you get an extra tax cut.  (Applause.)  So my message to Congress is, don’t just talk about helping job creators; actually help some job creators by passing this bill.  (Applause.)

Here’s another reason why they need to pass this bill.  On January 1st, if nothing is done, everybody here is going to get a tax hike.

AUDIENCE:  Booo!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  See, back in December, I got an agreement with the Republicans to lower the payroll tax so that there would be more money in folks’ pockets and we could protect ourselves against recession.  Now, since that time, we’ve had a tsunami in Japan; we’ve had the Arab Spring, which shot up gas prices.  We’ve had problems in Europe.  And so the economy has gotten weaker.

That tax cut is scheduled to expire by the end of this year.  But if the American Jobs Act passes, the typical working family in Texas will have an extra $1,400 in their pockets.  (Applause.)  Now, if the bill doesn’t pass, virtually every worker in America will see their taxes go up — at the worst possible time.

So I’m not about to let that happen, Texas.  (Applause.)  Look, Republicans say they’re the party of tax cuts.  Tell them to prove it.  Tell them to fight just as hard for tax cuts for working Americans as they do for the wealthiest Americans.  (Applause.)  Pass this bill.

Now, what you’ll hear from some of these folks is, well, we’re not going to support any new spending that’s not paid for.  All right, I agree with that.  I think that’s important.  So I laid out a plan to pay for the American Jobs Act, and then some — a plan that not only pays for the bill to put folks back to work to raise our growth rate, but to also pay down more of our debt over time.  It builds on the $1 trillion in spending cuts that I already signed this summer, making it one of the biggest spending cuts in history.

So, look, I believe we’ve got to make cuts in programs that don’t work and things that aren’t helping the economy grow so we can pay for the things that are.  Right?  (Applause.)  We all believe that a government needs to live within its means.  We all agree with that.  But we also believe that how you bring down the deficit is important.  If we want to actually close the deficit — not just talk about closing the deficit, not just using it for a campaign slogan, not just playing politics — if we want to actually close the deficit, then you’ve got to combine the tough cuts with a strategy to ask the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations to do their part, to pay their fair share.  (Applause.)

Look, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.  Do you really think the tax code is written for you?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  You think the tax code — maybe you’ve got a bunch of lobbyists in Washington.  Maybe you’ve got a bunch of special interests in there in the back rooms trying to carve something out — I don’t know.  But most folks don’t.  So the tax code, the way it’s structured, is not fair.  And so what we’ve said is, let’s reform our tax code based on a very simple principle, and it will raise more money without hurting working families.  Here’s the principle:  Middle-class families, working families, should not pay higher tax rates than millionaires or billionaires.  (Applause.)  I don’t know how you argue against that; seems pretty straightforward to me.  Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett.  (Applause.)

Now, when I point this out — it seems very logical to me, but when I point this out, some of the Republicans in Congress, they say, oh, you’re engaging in class warfare.  Class warfare?  Let me tell you something.  Years ago, a great American had a different view.  All right?  I’m going to get the quote just so you know I’m not making this up.  (Laughter.)  Great American, said that he thought it was “crazy” that certain tax loopholes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary.  All right?

You know who this guy was?  Wasn’t a Democrat.  Wasn’t some crazy socialist.  It was Ronald Reagan.  (Applause.)  It was Ronald Reagan.  Last time I checked, Republicans all thought Reagan made some sense.  (Laughter.)  So the next time you hear one of those Republicans in Congress accusing you of class warfare, you just tell them, I’m with Ronald Reagan.  (Laughter.)  I agree with Ronald Reagan that it’s crazy that a bus driver pays a higher tax rate than a millionaire because of some loophole in the tax code.  (Applause.)

And by the way, I don’t mind being called a warrior for the working class.  You guys need somebody fighting for you.  (Applause.)  The only warfare I’ve been seeing is the war against middle-class families and their ability to get ahead in this economy.

And let me make one last point, because you’ll hear this argument made:  This is not about trying to punish success.  This is the land of opportunity.  And what’s great about our country is our belief that anybody can succeed.  You’ve got a good idea?  Go out there and start a new business.  You’ve got a great product?  You invented something?  I hope you make millions of dollars.  We want to see more Steve Jobs and more Bill Gates — creating value, creating jobs.  That’s great.

Your current mayor did great work in the private sector creating jobs, creating value.  That’s important.  But remember, nobody got there on their own.  I’m standing here today, Michelle is standing here today — or Michelle’s not standing here today — (laughter) — but I know you wish she was.  I’m standing here today, Michelle — we always remind ourselves, the reason we’ve had this extraordinary opportunity is because somewhere along the line, some teacher helped us.  Somewhere along the line, we got a student loan.  We lived in a country that could move products and services everywhere.  We lived in a country where if there’s a fire, somebody comes and puts out the fire.  If you’re burglarized, somebody is coming to try to solve the crime.  I’m sure the mayor of Dallas feels the same way.  We’re here because somebody laid the foundation for success.  So the question is, are we going to maintain that foundation and strengthen that foundation for the next generation?

And this is all about priorities.  This is about choices.  If we want to actually lower the deficit and put people back to work — if we want to invest in our future, if we want to have the best science, the best technology, the best research, we want to continue to be inventing new drugs to solve cancer and making sure that the new cars of the future that are running on electricity are made here in America — if we want to do all those things, then the money has got to come from somewhere.  I wish I could do it all for free.  I wish I could say to all of you, you don’t have to pay any taxes and companies can keep all their stuff and rich people don’t have to do anything, and somehow it all works out.

But you know what, we tried it and it didn’t work.  So now you’ve got a choice.  Would you rather keep tax loopholes for big corporations that don’t need it?  Or would you rather put construction workers back to work rebuilding our schools and our roads and our bridges?  (Applause.)  Would you rather I keep a tax break that I don’t need and wasn’t looking for, didn’t ask for and if I don’t have it, I won’t miss it?  Or do you want to put teachers like Kim back to work and help small businesses and cut taxes for middle-class families?  (Applause.)  This is a choice that we’ve got to make.

And I believe, and I think you believe, it’s time we build an economy that creates good, solid, middle-class jobs in this country.  It’s time to build an economy that values the — that honors the values of hard work and responsibility.  It’s time for us to build an economy that lasts, that’s not just based on speculation and financial shenanigans, but rather is based on us making stuff and selling things to other people around the world instead of just importing from all around the world.  (Applause.)  That’s the America I believe in.  That’s the America you believe in.

And, Dallas, that starts now.  That starts with your help.  Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives.

AUDIENCE:  Booo!

THE PRESIDENT:  This is what he said.  Won’t even let it be debated.  Won’t even give it a chance to be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives.  Think about that.  I mean, what’s the problem?  Do they not have the time?  (Laughter.)  They just had a week off.  (Laughter.)  Is it inconvenient?

Look, I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in.  What exactly is he opposed to?

Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges?  Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help our veterans?

Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas and look Kim Russell in the eye and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to be back in the classroom doing what she loves, helping our kids.  Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.

Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting idle instead of out there on the job.

Tell small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for folks who don’t need them — for millionaires — rather than tax cuts for middle-class families.

And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where members of Congress stand.  (Applause.)
Put your cards on the table.  I realize that some Republicans in Washington are resistant, partly because I proposed it.  (Laughter and applause.)  I mean, they — if I took their party platform and proposed it, they’d suddenly be against it.  (Laughter.)

We’ve had folks in Congress who have said they shouldn’t pass this bill because it would give me a win.  So they’re thinking about the next election.  They’re not thinking about folks who are hurting right now.  They’re thinking, well, how is that going to play in the next election?

Give me a win?  Give me a break!  (Laughter.)  That’s why folks are fed up with Washington.  (Applause.)  This isn’t about giving me a win.  This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win.  This is about giving people who are hurting a win.  (Applause.)  This is about giving small business owners a win, and entrepreneurs a win, and students a win, and working families a win.  This is about giving America a win.  (Applause.)

Dallas, the next election is 13 months away.  The American people don’t have the luxury of waiting 13 months.  A lot of folks are living week to week; some are living paycheck to paycheck; some folks are living day to day.  (Applause.)  They need action on jobs, and they need it now.  They want Congress to do what they were elected to do.  They want Congress to do their job.  Do your job, Congress!  (Applause.)

I need you all to lift your voice — (applause)  –-  not just here in Dallas, but anyone watching, anyone listening, everybody following online.  I need you to call and tweet and fax and visit and email your congressperson and tell them the time for gridlock and games is over.  The time for action is now.  (Applause.)

Tell them that if you want to create jobs — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want to put teachers back in the classroom — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want construction workers back on the job — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want tax cuts for the middle class and small business owners — pass this bill.

You want to help some veterans?  Pass this bill.  (Applause.)

Now is the time to act.  We are not people who sit back in tough times.  We step up in tough times.  We make things happen in tough times.  (Applause.)  We’ve been through tougher times before, and we got through them.  We’re going to get through these to a brighter day, but we’re going to have to act.  God helps those who help themselves.  We need to help ourselves right now.

Let’s get together.  Let’s get to work.  Let’s get busy.  Let’s pass this bill.  Let’s make sure that we are shaping a destiny for our children that we are proud of, and let’s remind the entire world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on the planet.  (Applause.)

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

END                 3:18 P.M. CDT

On This Day in History… January 20, 1961 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

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.

IN FOCUS: 5OTH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY’S INAUGURATION

https://i1.wp.com/i.usatoday.net/communitymanager/_photos/the-oval/2011/01/20/Kennedyx-large.jpg

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY….

On this day in history… January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated the 35th president of the United States.

  • 50 years later, JFK’s words resonate: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country . . .”
    It’s been 50 years since the phrase from President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address first resonated from Capitol Hill and challenged Americans to take pride and be willing to sacrifice in making the world a better place. The fourth-shortest inaugural address delivered by a U.S. president, Kennedy’s 14-minute speech promoted public service and was a catalyst to programs such as the Peace Corps and NASA’s push to send astronauts to the moon… –  Boston Herald, 1-20-11

QUOTES

  • 50 Years Later, JFK’s Inaugural Address Continues to Resonate: On the 50th anniversary of his inauguration, watch an excerpt of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech on the steps of the Capitol that began his presidency on Jan. 20, 1961.:
    U.S. PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: To those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge, but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace. Remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof, let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.
    (APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: Let both sides explore what problems unite us, instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.
    (APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
    Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
    Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need, not as a call to battle, though embattled we are, but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
    And, so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what, together, we can do for the freedom of man.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
    JOHN F. KENNEDY: Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.
    With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that, here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.
    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)….
    Mp3 Download
  • President Barack Obama: “Because of his vision, more people prospered; more people served; our union was made more perfect. Because of that vision, I can stand here tonight as President of the United States.”
President Obama delivered remarks on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

HEADLINES

  • Kennedy’s Inauguration Still Captivates, 50 Years Later PBS Newshour, 1-20-11
  • Why Is JFK’s Legacy So Enduring? PBS Newshour, 1-20-11
  • 50 Years Later, Why Is America Still In Love With JFK?: On a frigid day, exactly 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy took office with the words, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” The world had high hopes for this dashing fellow from Boston — at just 43, the youngest president elected to office, and the only Catholic. While other presidents’ anniversaries come and go without fanfare, Kennedy will be honored this week with celebrations worthy of a king…. – MSNBC, 1-19-11
  • Robert Frost and J.F.K., Fifty Years Later: It was a bright and blustery day in Washington fifty years ago today for the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. An old newsreel reporting the day’s events notes that the city was recovering from a blizzard and that “battalions of snow fighters kept Pennsylvania Avenue clear for the swearing-in ceremony.” That earnest footage also communicates the enthusiasm that accompanied the event for many in the country. It was “the smoothest transition of power in history” from Eisenhower to Kennedy, the newsreader informs us. Nixon, recently defeated, even manages to smile brightly. Yet it was a new day, a new age: Kennedy was, at forty-three, then the youngest President and the first born in the twentieth century. (The past, though, had not been completely thrown off, judging by the top hats that Eisenhower and Kennedy wore to some of the festivities.)
    The anniversary marks Kennedy’s brief but era-defining inauguration address, but it also marks another coming together of custom and modernity, of the past and the future: the eighty-six-year-old Robert Frost reciting “The Gift Outright,” which ends with the lines: 

    Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
    (The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
    To the land vaguely realizing westward,
    But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
    Such as she was, such as she would become.

    New Yorker, 1-20-11

  • JFK: Great man, great liberal, great American, great goals, great nation: Today America celebrates the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy assuming the presidency with Kennedy remaining the most popular president of the last 50 years. Let’s end the mythology that America is moving to the right. In a Gallup poll released in December, Americans gave John F. Kennedy an approval rating of 85 percent, the highest of any of the nine presidents who have served in the last 50 years…. – The Hill, 1-20-11
  • 50 Years After the New Frontier Dawned, a Toast to Kennedy: On Thursday in the nation’s capital, the guest of honor was in effect President John F. Kennedy, who had been inaugurated 50 years earlier. And 15 members of Kennedy’s White House staff gathered for lunch at a restaurant with a view of the Capitol where he gave his famous speech, to celebrate the anniversary and reminisce…. – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Biden, others celebrate 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration: Vice President Biden led the celebration on Capitol Hill today for the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1961. The celebration included remarks from Caroline Kennedy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Rep. John Lewis, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, former secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and House Speaker John Boehner…. – USA Today, 1-20-11
Caroline Kennedy on Jan. 13, 2011, in Washington.
  • Congress pays tribute to 50th anniversary of JFK’s inaugural address: Congressional leaders today paused to pay tribute to President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address that motivated a nation 50 years ago. In the rotunda of the US Capitol, congressional officials, aides, and Kennedy family members listened in silence to the 14-minute, 1,355-word speech that Kennedy delivered on a blustery day in 1961. Top congressional leaders – including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – attended the event.
    “Sadly, this is the first congress to convene without a Kennedy since the Truman administration,” Boehner said, before looking over at the president’s daughter. “Caroline, there’s still time.”
    Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, both delivered remarks. “It took President Kennedy just 1,355 words to summon a new generation and set in motion generations of service and sacrifice – to reignite the fires of idealism and patriotism in millions of Americans,” Kerry said…. – Boston Globe, 1-20-11
  • Obama celebrates JFK’s ‘unfinished life’: President Barack Obama on Thursday paid tribute to the “unfinished life” of John F. Kennedy and said his inauguration 50 years ago and his accompanying call for Americans to serve their country still “inspires us and lights our way.” “We are the heirs of this president, who showed us what is possible,” Obama said. “Because of his vision, more people prospered, more people served, our union was made more perfect. Because of that vision I can stand here tonight as president of the United States”.
    Obama confessed that “I don’t have my own memories of that day.” But, Obama said, “even now, one half-century later, there is something about that day, Jan. 20, 1961, that feels immediate, feels new and urgent and exciting, despite the graininess of the 16-millimeter news reels that recorded it for posterity.” He said Kennedy could have a chosen a different life, one of luxury, but that he opted instead for one of leadership and idealism, “soaring but sober that inspired the country and the world” five decades ago….
    “I can only imagine how he must have felt entering the Oval Office in turbulent times,” Obama said, as the audience applauded and laughed. He said Kennedy led a “volatile America, in this tinderbox of a world,” with a steady hand, “defusing the most perilous crisis since the Cold War without firing a single shot.” “He knew that we, as a people, can do big things. We can reach great heights. We can rise to any challenge, so long as we’re willing to ask what we can do for our country,” Obama said, recreating one of the more memorable lines from Kennedy’s inaugural address. – AP, 1-20-11
  • At the Kennedy Center, Gratitude to a President Fond of the Arts: President Obama and performing arts luminaries gathered at the Kennedy Center Thursday night to pay tribute to President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his inauguration, with many paying homage to the inspiration they drew from the slain president. In his brief remarks, Mr. Obama characterized Mr. Kennedy as a visionary leader who made ardent strides in nuclear disarmament, civil rights, and space exploration in a “tinderbox of a land.”
    “Because of his vision, more people prospered; more people served; our union was made more perfect,” Mr. Obama said “Because of that vision, I can stand here tonight as President of the United States.”… – NYT, 1-20-11
  • Sen. Harry Reid: Honoring JFK’s legacy: The whole world watched with excitement and expectation in 1961 when Senator John and Jacqueline Kennedy moved into the White House with their young family. No one noticed when I first came to Washington the same year. I was a law student, a new father and to make ends meet, a Capitol Police Officer.
    At the end of those long days, I would often pass the White House on my way home. I can still vividly remember seeing Caroline’s pony, Macaroni, on the South Lawn.
    Fifty years later, it is a great privilege to be with Caroline – as well as the Vice President, Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Secretary Chao, and all of you – to remember the history and the hope of Caroline’s father’s presidency.
    We also remember and honor President Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who led an exemplary life of public service, and who did so much for so many who had so little. We extend our condolences to his loved ones…. – The Hill, 1-20-11

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

  • Thurston Clarke: Passing the Torch to a New Generation 50 Years Ago a Young John F. Kennedy Took the Oath of Office, Changing the Presidency – and a Nation – Forever: “Not just the youngest elected but also the first Catholic,” notes historian Thurston Clarke. “And also elected by the slimmest vote, majority in the popular vote. And so that’s another reason that he had to give a speech for the ages. A speech that would unite the country.”…
    “You had all of the celebrities in Washington,” said Clarke. “You had a feeling that this was a gathering of the best and the brightest in the country.”…
    “I think you would find that John Kennedy contributed most of the passages and the famous words that we remember: ‘The torch has been passed to a new generation.’ The “Ask not’ line. ‘Bear any burden.’ All of those were Kennedy. He had a Sorenson draft in front of him. On January 10th he flew to Palm Beach, he looked at the draft, and he dictated his changes and his additions to the draft.”…
    “People remember this as a kind of Cold War speech because of ‘We’ll pay any price, bear any burden,'” said Clarke. “But most of the rest of the speech was about peace and about negotiations and about the threat of nuclear war.”…
    “When Kennedy said, ‘Ask not,’ people knew that this was a man who’d been decorated in World War II,” said Clarke. “Who’d almost lost his life trying to save the surviving crew members of PT-109. So it wasn’t Where does he get off saying ‘Ask not’? He had the credentials to make this claim on people.”…
    “I think what we do – what John Kennedy did – is we compartmentalize things,” said Clarke. “There was so much that was accomplished, that was on its way to being accomplished. We put this in one compartment. And then we have the other compartment, is this terribly reckless sexual life.”…
    “I think it’s what we thought could have happened,” said Clarke, “because in the last 100 days of his life he was suddenly beginning to have the courage to do the things that were going to make him a great president. And one was the civil rights bill and the other was the test ban treaty.
    “But the beginning of his presidency – and what turned out to be the end of his presidency – were both times when the American people hoped that … this president was going to solve their problems, and was going to become what he hoped to be, which was a great president.”… – CBS News, 1-16-11
  • E.J. DIONNE JR.: JFK’s words: The torch still burns: It’s remembered as a day chilled by “a Siberian wind knifing down Pennsylvania Avenue” and illuminated by “the dazzling combination of bright sunshine and deep snow.” On Jan. 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy began his presidency with a speech at once soaring and solemn. Fifty years on, we have not heard an inaugural address like it. Tethered to its time and place, it still challenges with its ambition to harness realism to idealism, patriotism to service, national interest to universal aspiration…. – WaPo, 1-20-11
  • John F. Kennedy inaugural address: How good was it?: The John F. Kennedy inaugural address was 50 years ago to the day – on Jan. 20, 1961. It remains an iconic American speech and is the subject of Google’s Thursday home-page doodle. Google’s logo is drawn using words that Mr. Kennedy used on that historic day.
    How good was Kennedy’s inaugural address? Very. Historians generally rank it as one of the four best US presidential inaugural speeches of all time. William Safire, former New York Times columnist and Nixon speechwriter, included it in a volume he compiled of the greatest speeches delivered in history, writing that it “set the standard by which presidential inaugurals have been judged in the modern era.”… – CS Monitor, 1-20-11
  • JFK and Obama: Their Similarities and Differences: History shows that despite their differences in ideology, most U.S. presidents have qualities in common with their predecessors. On this fiftieth anniversary of the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy, President Obama is marking the midpoint of his four-year term in office. The comparisons are inevitable as Mr. Obama begins the third year of his presidency, a year in office that Kennedy left unfinished… – CBS News, 1-20-11
%d bloggers like this: