Full Text Political Transcripts December 6, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Proclamation on Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel



President Donald J. Trump’s Proclamation on Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel

Source: WH, 12-6-17

“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” – President Donald J. Trump

RECOGNIZING JERUSALEM: President Donald J. Trump is following through on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and has instructed the State Department to begin to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

  • Today, December 6, 2017, President Trump recognized Jerusalem, the ancient capital of the Jewish people, as the capital of the State of Israel.
    • In taking this action, President Trump fulfilled a major campaign promise of his and many previous Presidential candidates.
  • The Trump Administration is fully coordinated in supporting this historic action by the President, and has engaged broadly with both our Congressional and international partners on this issue.
    • President Trump’s action enjoys broad, bipartisan support in Congress, including as expressed in the Jerusalem Recognition Act of 1995.  This Act was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
  • President Trump has instructed the State Department to develop a plan to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  • Departments and Agencies have implemented a robust security plan to ensure the safety of our citizens and assets in the region.

STATUS OF JERUSALEM: President Trump recognizes that specific boundaries of sovereignty in Jerusalem is highly sensitive and subject to final status negotiations. 

  • President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly-sensitive issue, but he does not think the peace process is aided by ignoring the simple truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, supreme court, President, and Prime Minister.
  • President Trump recognizes that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.
  • President Trump reaffirms United States support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif.

COMMITTED TO THE PEACE PROCESS: President Trump is committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

  • President Trump remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, and he is optimistic that peace can be achieved.
  • Delaying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has not helped achieve peace over the past two decades.
  • President Trump is prepared to support a two-state solution to the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians, if agreed to by the parties.

Full Text Political Transcripts December 6, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Statement recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital



Statement by President Trump on Jerusalem

Source: WH, 12-6-17

Diplomatic Reception Room

1:07 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches.

My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.

I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

It was 70 years ago that the United States, under President Truman, recognized the State of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem — the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the Prime Minister and the President. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.

For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of state, and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.

In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.

Above all, our greatest hope is for peace, the universal yearning in every human soul. With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region.

There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation.

This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity, lifting our sights to what it is possible; not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach.

So today, we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts.

I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud, and diverse, vibrant and strong. But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance, and terror.

Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.

It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilized nations, and people, to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate –- not violence.

And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities. And finally, I ask the leaders of the region — political and religious; Israeli and Palestinian; Jewish and Christian and Muslim — to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians. And God bless the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(The proclamation is signed.)


1:19 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency July 1, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Re-Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Cuba and Reopening Embassies Transcript



Statement by the President on the Re-Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Cuba

Source: WH, 7-1-15

Rose Garden

11:08 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.

More than 54 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, the United States closed its embassy in Havana.  Today, I can announce that the United States has agreed to formally re-establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba, and re-open embassies in our respective countries.  This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people, and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas.

When the United States shuttered our embassy in 1961, I don’t think anyone expected that it would be more than half a century before it re-opened.  After all, our nations are separated by only 90 miles, and there are deep bonds of family and friendship between our people.  But there have been very real, profound differences between our governments, and sometimes we allow ourselves to be trapped by a certain way of doing things.

For the United States, that meant clinging to a policy that was not working.  Instead of supporting democracy and opportunity for the Cuban people, our efforts to isolate Cuba despite good intentions increasingly had the opposite effect -– cementing the status quo and isolating the United States from our neighbors in this hemisphere.  The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can -– and will –- change.

Last December, I announced that the United States and Cuba had decided to take steps to normalize our relationship.  As part of that effort, President Raul Castro and I directed our teams to negotiate the re-establishment of embassies.  Since then, our State Department has worked hard with their Cuban counterparts to achieve that goal.  And later this summer, Secretary Kerry will travel to Havana formally to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more.

This is not merely symbolic.  With this change, we will be able to substantially increase our contacts with the Cuban people.  We’ll have more personnel at our embassy.  And our diplomats will have the ability to engage more broadly across the island.  That will include the Cuban government, civil society, and ordinary Cubans who are reaching for a better life.

On issues of common interest –- like counterterrorism, disaster response, and development -– we will find new ways to cooperate with Cuba.  And I’ve been clear that we will also continue to have some very serious differences.  That will include America’s enduring support for universal values, like freedom of speech and assembly, and the ability to access information.  And we will not hesitate to speak out when we see actions that contradict those values.

However, I strongly believe that the best way for America to support our values is through engagement.  That’s why we’ve already taken steps to allow for greater travel, people-to-people and commercial ties between the United States and Cuba.  And we will continue to do so going forward.

Since December, we’ve already seen enormous enthusiasm for this new approach. Leaders across the Americas have expressed support for our change in policy; you heard that expressed by President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil yesterday.  Public opinion surveys in both our countries show broad support for this engagement.  One Cuban said, “I have prepared for this all my life.”  Another said that that, “this is like a shot of oxygen.”  One Cuban teacher put it simply:  “We are neighbors.  Now we can be friends.”

Here in the United States, we’ve seen that same enthusiasm.  There are Americans who want to travel to Cuba and American businesses who want to invest in Cuba.  American colleges and universities that want to partner with Cuba.  Above all, Americans who want to get to know their neighbors to the south. And through that engagement, we can also help the Cuban people improve their own lives.  One Cuban American looked forward to “reuniting families and opening lines of communications.”  Another put it bluntly:  “You can’t hold the future of Cuba hostage to what happened in the past.”

And that’s what this is about:  a choice between the future and the past.

Americans and Cubans alike are ready to move forward.  I believe it’s time for Congress to do the same.  I’ve called on Congress to take steps to lift the embargo that prevents Americans from travelling or doing business in Cuba.  We’ve already seen members from both parties begin that work.  After all, why should Washington stand in the way of our own people?

Yes, there are those who want to turn back the clock and double down on a policy of isolation.  But it’s long past time for us to realize that this approach doesn’t work.  It hasn’t worked for 50 years.  It shuts America out of Cuba’s future, and it only makes life worse for the Cuban people.

So I’d ask Congress to listen to the Cuban people.  Listen to the American people.  Listen to the words of a proud Cuban American, Carlos Gutierrez, who recently came out against the policy of the past, saying, “I wonder if the Cubans who have to stand in line for the most basic necessities for hours in the hot Havana sun feel that this approach is helpful to them.”

Of course, nobody expects Cuba to be transformed overnight. But I believe that American engagement — through our embassy, our businesses, and most of all, through our people — is the best way to advance our interests and support for democracy and human rights.  Time and again, America has demonstrated that part of our leadership in the world is our capacity to change.  It’s what inspires the world to reach for something better.

A year ago, it might have seemed impossible that the United States would once again be raising our flag, the stars and stripes, over an embassy in Havana.  This is what change looks like.

In January of 1961, the year I was born, when President Eisenhower announced the termination of our relations with Cuba, he said:  It is my hope and my conviction that it is “in the not-too-distant future it will be possible for the historic friendship between us once again to find its reflection in normal relations of every sort.”  Well, it took a while, but I believe that time has come.  And a better future lies ahead.

Thank you very much.  And I want to thank some of my team who worked diligently to make this happen.  They’re here.  They don’t always get acknowledged.  We’re really proud of them.  Good work.

11:15 A.M. EDT

Political Headlines February 1, 2013: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: Bombing at US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey a ‘Terrorist Attack’





White House: Bombing at US Embassy in Turkey a ‘Terrorist Attack’

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-1-13


White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday strongly condemned the attack on the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, saying “a suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror.”….READ MORE

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 2/1/13

Q    Thanks, Jay.  Does the President consider the attack on our embassy in Turkey to be a terrorist attack?  And does he have any information about who may have perpetrated it?

MR. CARNEY:  That’s an excellent question.  A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror.  It is a terrorist attack.  However, we  not know at this point who is responsible or the motivations behind the attack.  The attack itself is clearly an act of terror.

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 12, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Las Vegas, Nevada — Says Libya Attack a Reminder of US as ‘Indispensable Power’




President Obama Says Libya Attack a Reminder of US as ‘Indispensable Power’

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-13-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama reflected Wednesday night at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on what he said has been a “tough day” for the country, mourning the loss of four Americans killed in Libya, vowing justice for their killers and pledging that U.S. diplomacy would be unwavering “because the world needs us.”

Obama, who opted to push ahead with his battleground-state swing less than 24 hours after the deadly attack, used a somber tone to address his boisterous supporters, waving off cheers from members of the crowd at the top of his remarks….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Las Vegas, NV

Source: WH, 9-13-12 

The Cashman Center
Las Vegas, Nevada

6:03 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Can everybody please give Adriana a great round of applause for the wonderful introduction?  (Applause.)

I also want to say it’s good to see your once and next Congresswoman, Dina Titus.  (Applause.)  And it is so good to see all of you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I do.  I wanted to begin —

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

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  So I wanted to begin tonight by just saying a few words about a tough day that we had today.  We lost four Americans last night, who were killed when they were attacked at a diplomatic post in Libya.  And they were serving overseas on our behalf, despite the dangers, despite the risks, to help one of the world’s youngest democracies get on its feet.  They were working to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans.  And as Americans, we stand united -– all of us -– in gratitude for their service, and we are mindful of their sacrifice, and we want to send out heartfelt prayers to their loved ones who grieve today.  (Applause.)

It’s a reminder that the freedoms we enjoy -– sometimes even the freedoms we take for granted -– they’re only sustained because there are people like those who were killed, who are willing to stand up for those freedoms; who are willing to fight for those freedoms; in some cases, to lay down their lives for those freedoms.  So tonight, let’s think of them and thank them.

As for the ones we lost last night:  I want to assure you, we will bring their killers to justice.  (Applause.)  And we want to send a message all around the world — anybody who would do us harm:  No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

We will not be deterred.  We will keep going.  We will keep going because the world needs us.  We are the one indispensable power in the world.  And if we are going to see peace and security for our children and our grandchildren, then that means that this generation of Americans has to lead.  We’re going to have to keep doing the work — no matter how hard it seems sometimes.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about here today.  We’ve got work to do overseas; we’ve also got to do some work here at home.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got to do some work right here in the great state of Nevada.  (Applause.)

Now, because Nevada is a battleground state, you are aware that we’ve got an election going on.  (Applause.)  Unless you’ve accidentally stumbled in here looking for a convention of podiatrists — (laughter) — then you’ve been paying some attention to the election.  Both parties just came out with their conventions.  Each side made its case.  And now your choice — facing a very big choice.

See, our vision, what we’re fighting for, the reason all of you are here today, is because we believe in the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  It’s a bargain that says hard work will pay off; that if you act responsibly, you’ll be rewarded; that everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share, everybody plays by the same rules -– from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C.; that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or what you look like, or what your last name is — here in America, you can make it if you try.  That’s what we believe in.  (Applause.)

And that basic bargain is why I ran for President in the first place -– and why so many of you worked hard to get me elected President.  (Applause.)  We had seen for a decade too many jobs disappearing overseas.  We had seen too many families struggling while costs were going up, but paychecks weren’t going up; people racking up more debt just to pay the mortgage or pay tuition, or put gas in the car or food on the table.  And these misguided policies led to the biggest recession we’ve seen since the Great Depression — millions of innocent Americans, especially here in Nevada, lost their homes, their jobs, their savings.  And we are still fighting to recover from that.  Nevada got hit harder than most.

But here’s the thing:  I don’t think the best answers for today’s new challenges are old sales pitches.  (Applause.)  And that’s what my opponent and the other side have been selling.  You guys heard it.  I mean, you may not have watched their convention, but if you didn’t let me summarize.  What they said was, we want to give you more tax cuts, especially tilted towards the wealthy, and everything will be okay.


THE PRESIDENT:  And this is their prescription for everything — tax cuts in good times, tax cuts in bad times; tax cuts when we’re at peace, tax cuts when we’re at war; tax cuts to help you lose those few extra pounds — (laughter) — tax cuts to give your love life that extra kick.  (Laughter.)

Now, listen, I’ve cut taxes — but I cut them for folks who needed them.  (Applause.)  We cut taxes for middle-class families.  We cut taxes for small business owners.  (Applause.)  But I sure do not believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs back to our shores.  I don’t believe that it will bring down our deficit.  I don’t think that firing teachers or kicking students off of financial aid will grow our economy.  (Applause.)  I don’t think that will help us compete when China is churning out more engineers and scientists.

After all we’ve been through, does anybody actually believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street is somehow going to help small businesswomen here in Las Vegas or the laid-off construction worker here in Las Vegas get back to work?  Let me tell you something, we tried that.  We tried it for a long time.  We tried it for eight years.  And what happened?  It didn’t work.

We are not going to try something that we know didn’t work, that got us into the mess in the first place.  We are not going back.  We are going forward.  (Applause.)  We are going forward.  We are going forward, Nevada, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  We don’t believe that the answer to our challenges is to tell folks, you’re on your own.  If you’re sick, I hope you don’t get sick.  If you lose your home, tough luck, you’re on your own.  If you can’t afford college, see if you can borrow money from your parents.  We don’t believe in that.  We believe we’re all in this together.  (Applause.)

We don’t believe in an economy that grows from the top down.  We believe in an economy that grows from the middle out, from the bottom up, giving everybody a chance, giving everybody a ladder for opportunity, opening up doors for people so that they can work hard and do right by their families and do right by themselves.  That’s what we believe.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President, because we’re moving forward together, not on our own.  (Applause.)

Now, I won’t pretend — some of you heard me at the convention.  I won’t pretend that what I’m offering is the easiest path.  I’ve never said that.  In 2008, I didn’t say it was going to be easy.  And as President Clinton reminded us last week, it’s going to take more than a few years to solve challenges that have been building up over decades.  (Applause.)

But we’ve made progress.  Every time I meet a child whose parents tell me, you know what — she was sick, but you helped her get insurance — (applause) — every time I meet somebody who said, you know what, we were able to refinance our home and we’ve been able to save some money; every time I meet a spouse who says, you know what, you promised to bring my husband or my wife back from Iraq, and they’re back now — (applause) — every time I see that happen, I’m reminded of the progress that we’ve made.  (Applause.)

And we’ve got a long way to go.  But let me tell you something — when we hear folks say that somehow this nation is in decline, they are dead wrong.  We’ve got the best workers in the world, some of them right here in Las Vegas.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the best entrepreneurs in the world, some of them right here in Las Vegas.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the best scientists and the best researchers, the best colleges, the best universities.  We’ve got this incredible diversity that you see in this audience and you see all across the country — (applause) — people from every background, but all bound together by this creed, this faith that we have in this nation.  There is not another country on Earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States.  (Applause.)

So our problems can be solved and our challenges can be met.  And the path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  And I am asking you to choose that future.  I’m asking you to rally around the goals I laid out at the convention — to create new manufacturing jobs and new energy sources and improve our education system and bring down our deficit and turn the page on a decade of war.  We can do that in the next four years.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, just in case there are a few of you who aren’t convinced yet, or I need you to go out and do some convincing of some folks that may not be convinced yet, let me break down exactly what I’m talking about when I say a set of goals for this country.

I’ve got a plan, first of all, to export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  (Applause.)  After a decade of decline, this country has created over half a million new manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.  We reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  (Applause.)

Now you’ve got a choice.  We can keep giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, hiring American workers to create good-paying jobs right here.  That’s what we can do.  (Applause.)

We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports.  We can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  We can continue the progress we’ve made expanding tourism that has a huge impact here in Vegas.  You can make that happen.  We will make it happen if we move forward.  (Applause.)  But it’s up to you.

Second, I’ve got a plan to control more of our own energy.  After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  That will save you money.  It will be good for our economy, good for our environment.

We have doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate, including right here in Nevada — solar panels all across this state.  (Applause.)  So not only are we generating energy that we need to grow, but we can also employ thousands of Americans.  Thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and solar panels and long-lasting batteries.  Today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice — we can reverse that progress or we can build on it.  We can keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal.  And our farmers and scientists can harness new biofuels.  Our construction workers can build homes and factories that waste less energy and retrofit old buildings — put them back to work in a way that helps free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil.  (Applause.)  We can 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 we could support more than 600,000 jobs in natural gas alone.  (Applause.)  But you can also choose the alternative, which is to let the oil companies write our energy plans.


THE PRESIDENT:  But that’s moving backwards.  And what do we want to do?

AUDIENCE:  Forward!

THE PRESIDENT:  We want to move forward.  That’s what this campaign is about.  (Applause.)

Third, I’ve got a plan to give more Americans the chance to get the skills they need to compete.  Education was the gateway of opportunity for me.  It was the gateway of opportunity for Michelle.  It was the gateway of opportunity for many of you.  It is the gateway to a middle-class life.  (Applause.)

Because of the work we already did, millions of students right here in Nevada and all across the country are paying less for college today.  (Applause.)  We took on a system that was wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.  We cut out the middle man.  Let’s give the money directly to the students, and we helped millions of young people all across this country.  (Applause.)

So now you’ve got a choice.  We could take my opponent’s advice, which results in gutting education.


THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, now, vote.  Don’t boo, vote.  (Applause.)

Or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have their dream deferred because of an overcrowded classroom.  Last time I was here in Vegas, we were hearing about classes that had 42 kids in them; kids sitting on the floor; old, worn-out textbooks.  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 in China because they couldn’t find the right skilled workers here at home.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not how we move forward.  (Applause.)

So, Nevada, I’m asking you to help recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next 10 years, improve early childhood education, help give 2 million workers a chance to study at community colleges to get the skills they need for the jobs that are hiring right now, help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs.  We can meet that goal.  You can choose that future for America, not just for yourself, but for your kids and your grandkids.  That’s what we mean when we say we’ve got to move forward.  (Applause.)

And, Nevada, we’ve got to reduce our deficit.  It’s important, but we’ve got to do it in a way that doesn’t stick it to the middle class.  Independent analysis shows my plan for reducing the deficit would cut it by $4 trillion.  I’ve already worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I want to reform the tax code so that it’s fair and so that it’s simple.  (Applause.)

But I also want to ask the wealthiest households, including my own, to pay a little bit more on incomes over $250,000, the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, the same rate we had when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus, created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  That’s the way we have to move forward.  (Applause.)

Now, just to be fair, the other side, they’ve got a plan too.  The problem is, as President Clinton pointed out, they don’t have any arithmetic in it.  (Laughter.)  The math doesn’t add up because if you think we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy, when you try to pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts without raising taxes on middle-class families or add $2 trillion in new military spending that our Joint Chiefs don’t say is going to make us safer without increasing the deficit, well, you’ve got — you get that error message on your calculator.  (Laughter.)  No amount of extra credit is going to make that math work.

I refuse to ask middle-class families like yours to pay more so that millionaires and billionaires can pay less.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college so I can pay less.  I refuse to kick children out of Head Start programs or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor or elderly or disabled just for those — just so those with the most can pay less.  I don’t believe in that.  That’s not who we are.  That’s now how we’re going to grow our economy.

I don’t think the answer for hard-working folks here in Nevada whose homes are underwater is to do nothing, let it bottom out.  My administration has already helped more a million responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages, and I’m running to give more like them the chance to refinance and save $3,000 a year and maybe start building up some equity back.  That will strengthen the housing market across the board in this state.

And by the way, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher because no American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  (Applause.)  You should retire after a lifetime of labor with some dignity and some respect.  You have earned it.  We’ll reform Medicare for the long haul the right way by bringing down costs, not by dumping those costs onto seniors.  (Applause.)

And we’ll keep the promise of Social Security by taking responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street like a stack of poker chips.  That’s the choice that you face this fall.  That’s what we mean when we talk about moving forward.

Now, rebuilding our economy is essential, but as we were reminded today, our prosperity at home is linked to our policies abroad.  Four years ago I promised to end the war in Iraq and we did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan, and we are.  (Applause.)

A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

We still face threats in this world, and we’ve got to remain vigilant.  And that’s why we will be relentless in our pursuit of those who attacked us yesterday.  (Applause.)

But that’s also why so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  (Applause.)   And when our troops come home and take off their uniform, we will serve them as well as they’ve served us because nobody who has fought for America should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  That is a solemn commitment that we make.  (Applause.)

And as we’re winding down these wars, we can use some of the money that we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and to put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and runways and schools because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building right here in the United States — right here at home.  (Applause.)

So let me say this — let me say this, Nevada.  We can get all this done.  I have no doubt in my mind we can get it done.  (Applause.)

The power to do it, though, is in your hands.  I told you at the convention — the election four years ago was not about me, it was about you and the change that you imagined for this country.  You are the reason seniors across Nevada saved an average of nearly 600,000 — $600 last year on their medicines because of health care reform.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason thousands of students at UNLV have more help paying for college this year.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason two grandparents in Reno could refinance their mortgage and keep their piece of the American Dream.  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 known.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason why we ended “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why those who fought so bravely for us can come back and hear those two amazing words, welcome home.  You are the reason that happened.  (Applause.)

And that’s why we can’t turn back now.  If you buy into all the cynicism that’s being fed to you through these negative ads, well, you know what, change won’t happen if you stop fighting for it.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then you know who is going to fill the void: the lobbyists, the special interests, the folks who are writing these $10 million checks to run all those negative ads, the people who are trying to make it harder for you to vote, the politicians in Washington who want to decide who you can marry, who want to decide for women what their health care choices should be when women are perfectly capable of making those decisions themselves.  (Applause.)

We cannot let that happen, Nevada.  We’ve got the power to make sure it doesn’t happen, but I need your help.  We’ve come too far to turn back now.  We got more good jobs to create and we’ve got too much homegrown energy to generate.  (Applause.)

We’ve got more young people to send to college and more good schools to build and more good teachers to hire.  We’ve got more troops to bring home and more veterans to take care of.  And we’ve got more doors of opportunity to open to everybody — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, disabled, not disabled, gay, straight — anybody who is willing to work hard and believes in America, we’ve got to open those doors of opportunity for them.  That’s why I’m asking for a second term.

And if you’re willing to work with me and fight for me and knock on some doors with me and make some phone calls with me, if you vote in November, we will win here in Clark County.  (Applause.)   We will win Nevada.  We will win this election.  We will finish what we started, and you and I together will remind the world why we are the greatest nation on Earth.

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

6:33 P.M. PDT

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