Full Text Campaign Buzz July 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech During 2 Day Virginia Tour at Centreville High School, Clifton, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event

Source: WH, 7-14-12

Centreville High School, Clifton, Virginia

4:17 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia!  (Applause.)  All right!  Hello, Wildcats!  (Applause.)

A couple people I want to just acknowledge — first of all, didn’t Stratton do a great job on the introduction?  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  You’ve got one of the finest members of Congress that we’ve got — Gerry Connolly in the house.  (Applause.)  And our candidate for the 10th Congressional District — Kristin Cabral is here.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank Martin Grimm, the principal of Centreville High.  (Applause.)

I just talked to Martin and I asked him, how long you been principal?  He said, five days.  (Laughter.)  So I said, good luck.  (Laughter.)  I’m sure he is going to do a great job.

And I had a chance to meet some of the Student Body Council here at Centreville, and they could not be more impressive.  So, parents, you should know your kids are turning out outstanding.  We are proud of them.  (Applause.)

Now, I have to say this is my last political campaign.

AUDIENCE:  Awww —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, it’s a good thing.  Michelle at least thinks it’s a good thing.  (Laughter.)  I’m term-limited.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  There she is.

So this is my last political campaign, and it got me a little nostalgic.  So I started thinking about some of my early campaigns — when I was running as a state senator, when I was running for U.S. senator back in my home state of Illinois.  (Applause.)  Some Illinoisans in the house.  (Applause.)

And Illinois is a lot like Virginia because it’s incredibly diverse.  You’ve got big cities, you’ve got small towns.  There are farming communities, there are suburban communities.  Folks from every walk of life — black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, you name it.  And as I was traveling around in those first campaigns — now, back then I was doing my own driving and there was no MapQuest, so you had to get the old maps — (laughter) — that you couldn’t figure out how to fold back, and I’d get lost all the time.  (Laughter.)  And sometimes I’d get to an event and I’d have to find a parking spot, and that would take a while and I’d be coming in late.

But what inspired me so much in that first race was the fact that no matter where I went, there was a certain common thread, a certain common theme, a certain set of stories that were consistent in every community.  And those stories reminded me of my own family story.  So I’d meet an elderly veteran, and I think back to my grandparents.  My grandfather fought in World War II, and while he was away, my grandmother, in addition to looking after my mom who had just been born, also worked on a bomber assembly line.  And when my grandfather came back, he was able to go to college because of the GI Bill — (applause) — and they were able to afford their first home through an FHA loan.

And sometimes I’d travel and I’d meet a single mom and that would remind me of my mother, who had to raise me and my sister pretty much on her own, with the help of my grandparents, because my father had left.  She didn’t have a lot of money, but she was able to work and go to school at the same time, and help other people through her work, and then ultimately give me and my sister the best education this world has to offer.  (Applause.)

And then sometimes I’d be talking to some working folks and I’d think about Michelle’s family.  Her dad was a blue-collar worker — he worked at the water filtration plant in Chicago.  And he had MS, so by the time I met him, he could barely walk.  He had to use two canes.  And he had to wake up an hour earlier than everybody else to get to the job.  It took him that long to get dressed and get ready.  But he never missed a day of work.  And Michelle’s mom, after staying at home for a while, she worked as a secretary.  And they lived in a small apartment above a house that somebody else owned.  But somehow they were able to give Michelle and her brother this incredible education so they could achieve dreams that they wouldn’t have even imagined.

And so the point is that during this campaign, during all the campaigns I’ve run, what I’ve always been moved by, what’s always inspired me is that at the center of our stories is this basic American idea, this core American Dream, that says, in this country, like no other, if you are willing to work hard, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)  If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities to not only yourself and your family, but to your community and your country, you can enjoy the security of a middle-class life.

And that’s not a matter of how much is in your bank account. It means that you can find a job that supports a family.  It means that you can get a home to call your own.  It means you’re not bankrupt when you get sick.  It means maybe you can take a vacation once in a while — nothing fancy, but you have the chance to spend time with your family and enjoy their company.  It means that you can send your kids to a good school, and if they’re willing to work hard, they can get a great education and go on as far as their dreams take them.  (Applause.)  And it means that you can retire with some dignity and some respect.  (Applause.)

It’s that basic bargain that makes this country great.  It’s that basic bargain that built the economic superpower that we are today.  It’s that basic bargain that made us the envy of the world.  And what I think we all understood back in 2008 was that for almost a decade that dream felt like it was slipping away.  For too many people, harder work didn’t result in higher incomes or higher wages.  For too many people, they saw their costs of health care or college or gas or groceries going up and up and up, while basically what they were bringing in stayed stagnant or even went down.

And so we came together — not just Democrats, but Republicans and independents, too — because we’re not Democrats of Republicans first, we’re Americans first.  (Applause.)  So we came together to fight for that American idea.  We understood that we had to bring about a change, because we understood that the economy works in this country when it works for everybody, not just for the few.  (Applause.)  But, look, we knew that turning this thing around wasn’t going to be easy.  The challenges we faced, the roadblocks, the barriers for middle-class families, they hadn’t arisen overnight, they weren’t going to be solved overnight.  We knew that it was going to take probably more than one year or one term, or maybe even one President.  But we were willing to try.  We wanted to get started.

And so what we didn’t understand, though, was some of the problems had been building up so much that we’d end up seeing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  And that crisis has resulted in millions of people losing their jobs and home values declining and folks having a tough time.  And for the last three and a half years we have fought back — to create 4.4 million new jobs, and 500,000 new manufacturing jobs.  (Applause.)  To start righting the ship so we can start moving in the right direction.

But we’ve got so much more work to do.  Here’s the good news:  For all these tough times, the American people are tougher.  People may have gotten knocked down, but they’ve gotten back up.  What has not changed since 2008 is the character of this country, the character of its people.  (Applause.)

And so our mission now is the same mission that we had in 2008.  Yes, it’s to get people back to work right away and to solve some of these housing problems right away, but it’s also, how do we build an economy that lasts and works for everybody?  How do we build an economy where hard work pays off — whether you’re starting a business or punching a clock, you know that if you put in the effort, you’ll get ahead?  (Applause.)

That’s what this campaign is about.  That’s what my presidency has been about.  We’ve got more work to do.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, let me say this.  It’s popular sometimes among some pundits to say — or commentators to say, well, maybe America’s best days are behind us.  I don’t believe that.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We remain the most powerful country on Earth by far.  We’ve got all the ingredients to make the 21st century the American Century just like the 20th century.  The problem we have is not a lack of solutions, it’s not good ideas.  The problem we have right now is we’ve got a stalemate in Washington. (Applause.)  And this stalemate is not just a difference between two candidates, or even two political parties; it is a — it represents two fundamentally different ideas about how we move this country forward.

My opponent and his congressional allies, they believe in what I call top-down economics.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Their basic view is that if we cut taxes trillions of dollars, mostly for those at the very top — even if it means cutting education funding, even if it means cutting basic research, even if it means underfunding our infrastructure, and even if it means making Medicare a voucher system — that somehow that’s going to be good for everybody.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  So that’s one big part of their idea, is you cut taxes for folks at the top.  Their second big idea is if you eliminate regulations on oil companies or insurance companies or credit card companies or polluters, that somehow that will free up the engine of growth.  So those are basically their two — those are the only two ideas they have.  Don’t take my word for it.  Go on their websites.  (Laughter.)  Look at the Republican budget in the House of Representatives.  That’s their basic approach.  They believe that somehow all these benefits are going to trickle down if we just implement their plan.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with having an idea, a theory, and testing it out.  Here’s the thing:  We tested it out for almost a decade.  We’ve tried this before.  (Applause.)  And guess what, Virginia, it did not work.  (Applause.)  We tried almost exactly what they are proposing, and here are the results: We went from surpluses to deficits.  We had the most sluggish job growth in decades.  The average income of middle-class families actually went down.  And it culminated in this mess that we are still digging ourselves out from under.

Now, normally, in your own lives, if you do something over and over again and it doesn’t work — (laughter) — at some point you decide, let’s try something new.  (Applause.)  So we don’t need more top-down economics.  I believe in a middle-out economics, a bottom-up economics.  I believe that when hardworking Americans are doing well, everybody does well.  (Applause.)  That’s been our history.  That’s been the evidence. That’s why I ran for President — to fight on behalf of the middle class and those who are striving to get in to the middle class.  And that’s why I’m running again for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  So let’s just take a few examples of the contrast between their approach and what I’m proposing.  When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse, my opponent said, let’s let Detroit go bankrupt.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  I said, let’s bet on American workers and American ingenuity.  (Applause.)  And you know what, GM is number one again.  Chrysler is selling cars again.  Ford is on the move. The U.S. auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

And what happened in the auto industry I want to see happen in manufacturing all across this country — right here in Virginia.  (Applause.)  We’ve invested in advanced manufacturing because we want to beat out countries like Germany and China.  I want the great inventions to be done here, and I want great new products created here — which is why — and this is another contrast — whereas my opponent, in his private business, was investing in companies that The Washington Post calls “pioneers” of outsourcing, I believe in insourcing.  (Applause.)  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.  Let’s give those tax breaks that are investing right here in Virginia — (applause) — right here in the United States of America, hiring American workers to make American products to sell around the world.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I’m running because, after a decade of war, I said we were going to end the war in Iraq — and we did.  (Applause.)  Thanks to the incredible efforts of our brave men and women in uniform, thanks to our veterans and their sacrifices — (applause) — we’ve been able to decimate al Qaeda’s leadership; bin Laden is no more.  (Applause.)  We’re transitioning out of Afghanistan.  And so, after a decade of war, I think it’s a good time for us to take half the money that we save, that used to be spent on war, to pay down our deficit, and let’s take the other half and rebuild America — do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

Let’s rebuild our infrastructure.  Let’s rebuild our roads and our bridges — Northern Virginia knows a little bit about traffic.  (Laughter.)  Let’s build broadband lines and high speed rail.  (Applause.)  Let’s expand our ports and improve our airports.  That’s what’s going to keep us at the cutting-edge of a 21st century economy.  And we’ve got tens of thousands of construction workers ready to be put back to work.  Why wouldn’t we do some nation-building here at home?  Now, this is a disagreement I’ve got with the guy who’s leading the other party.  That’s the choice that we’ve got to make.

I’m running to make sure that the United States has the best education system in the world.  (Applause.)  I want to hire new, outstanding teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  We’ve already done work to make college more affordable by making sure that your student loan rates didn’t double — those students who are here — (applause) — by providing tuition tax credits that have saved millions of families thousands of dollars, by expanding the Pell Grant.  But now I want to actually reduce the cost of college so young people aren’t coming out with thousands of dollars worth of debt.  (Applause.)

I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to attend community colleges and get the technical training they need to get the jobs that are being created right now here in Virginia and around America.  (Applause.)  Because in the 21st century, a higher education — I don’t care whether it’s a two-year, or a four-year, or a post-doc, or whatever it is, an advanced degree beyond high school, that’s not a luxury, that’s an economic necessity.  That’s what our young people deserve.  That’s what I intend to give them.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I’m running to continue to strengthen our housing market, which has been one of the biggest drags on our economy.  So I told Congress let’s create an opportunity where every American can refinance their homes and take advantage of historically low rates.  It would save the average family $3,000 a year.  (Applause.)  My opponent’s plan is to let the foreclosures play themselves out and let the market hit bottom.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s not a plan.  That’s not a solution.  That’s a problem.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  But that’s a difference in our approaches.  Mr. Romney thinks that I made a bad decision by repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  I think you should be able to fight for your country regardless of whom you love.  (Applause.)

My opponent wants to restrict the health care options for women.  I believe women should make their own health care choices.  (Applause.)

My opponent believes that we should have our immigrants in this country — if they were kids and were brought here through no fault of their own, and are Americans in every respect except a piece of paper — that somehow we shouldn’t show them the kind of compassion that we would show our own kids.  I disagree.  I think we should have comprehensive immigration reform — (applause) — because we’re a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, and we can have tough border security and improve our immigration system, but when I look out at what’s happening in Virginia, our immigration is a strength not a weakness.  (Applause.)  That’s a difference.

Mr. Romney wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me just say that I passed this bill because it was the right thing to do.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  (Applause.)  We are implementing this law.  If you’ve got health insurance the only thing that happens for you is that you’ve got more security because insurance companies can’t jerk you around and use fine print to somehow restrict your care.

If you’re a young person, you can stay on your parent’s plan up until you’re 26 years old.  (Applause.)  Seniors are seeing lower costs for their prescription drugs.  Women are getting free preventive care for things like cervical cancer.  (Applause.)

If you don’t have health insurance, we’re going to help you get it.  (Applause.)  And if you can afford health insurance and you don’t buy it, we’re not going to let you pass those costs on to other people.  (Applause.)

So the Affordable Care Act was the right thing to do.  Health care was the right thing to do.  We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward.  That’s a difference in this election.  (Applause.)

Now, let me talk about one more big contrast in this election, and that is how do we deal with our deficit and our debt.  The other side says this is our most important problem; we’ve got to look out for future generations.  Well, let’s look at what they’ve actually proposed.  They’re proposing, on top of continuing all the Bush tax cuts even for the wealthiest Americans, to also then have another $5 trillion in tax cuts, 80 percent of which would go to the wealthiest Americans.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I mean, this is on their website.  Their proposal is in Congress right now.  And the only way to pay for this would be to gut our investments in transportation, education, basic research in things like Alzheimer’s and cancer, voucherize the Medicare system.  And they will not ask for a single dime of additional revenue from those who can afford to pay it.  I think that’s — that’s not a recipe for economic growth.

So what I’ve said is, look, middle-class families, folks who are making $250,000 or less, 98 percent of Americans, you shouldn’t see your taxes go up one dime.  (Applause.)  You don’t need to.  Your income taxes should stay constant.  And I’ve said to Congress let’s go ahead and get that done now.  Let’s give 98 percent of folks certainty right now.  By the way, 97 percent of small businesses earn less than $250,000, so the vast majority of people would get immediate relief.

Let’s cut programs that don’t work.  I’ve already made a trillion dollars worth of cuts.  Not every government program works.  Government can’t always solve every problem.  Government can’t help folks who don’t want to help themselves.  Our education system won’t improve just because of more money.  It also involves parents instilling a love of learning in their children.  (Applause.)  But there’s no reason why we can’t make the investments — we probably had somebody who fainted.  That happens sometimes when — you guys got to stay hydrated.  We’ll get a paramedic in there.  They’ll be all right.  Just give them space.  They’ll be okay.  They’ll be okay.  Yes, they’ll be fine.

So the thing that we’ve got to make sure of, though, is that we continue to make the investments we need to grow the economy, and we can bring down our deficit, get control of our debt by asking folks like me to do a little bit more.

Now, let me just say this.  Just like we’ve tried their plan, we’ve tried what I’m talking about, too.  A guy named Bill Clinton did it.  (Applause.)  And we ended up having record surpluses, 23 million new jobs, and the folks at the top did really well also — because when the middle class and working people are doing well, everybody does well.  Small businesses do well.  Big businesses do well.  Millionaires do well.  Billionaires do well.  (Applause.)  Everybody does well when the economy is growing in a way where everybody prospers.

And so we’ve got this fundamental choice in this election, and the question is how bad are we going to work for our vision. Because this is going to be a close election, Virginia.  I want everybody to understand this.  Look, it was close the last time; it will be even closer this time.  It will be even closer this time.  And we are seeing more money spent on negative ads than ever before, folks just writing $10 million checks because of this Citizens United opinion — undisclosed donations.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  And so you are going to be inundated every single day.  You’re already seeing it.  And they’re all going to have a scary voice.  (Laughter.)  And the ads, they’ve got a very simple message, which is, you know what, the economy is not where it needs to be, and it’s Obama’s fault.  That’s their only message.  They’ll have variations on the theme, but it’s the same theme.

Now, I might be worried about that if it wasn’t for the fact that you taught me something in 2008.  What you taught me was that the American people when they get together, when they are determined, when they cut through all the nonsense, and they say, this is what matters, this is what’s right, this is what’s true
— when you tap into those stories of our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents, folks who may have come here as immigrants, maybe were brought here on slave ships, folks who came here but understood that there was something about this country where we don’t have to settle for what is today, we can dream of what might be — (applause) — we’re going to fight.  We’re going to struggle.  We’re going to push together to build the kind of perfect union that the founders talked about.  (Applause.)  When you decide that we’re going to move forward, we move forward.  (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT:  So, Virginia, if you believe, as I do, in an economy where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share and everybody has the same set — playing by the same set of rules, if you believe, as I believe, that we’re in this together, that for all our individual initiative and all our self-reliance, there are some things we do best together, that that’s how we educated a generation on the GI Bill, that’s how we built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge, that’s how we sent a man to the moon, that’s how we invented the Internet — if you believe that we rise or fall together as one people, then I’m confident we’re going to win.  (Applause.)  I’m confident we will be successful.

And I want to remind you, back in 2008 I tried to keep my promises to ones that I could keep.  I said I’d end the war in Iraq — I ended the war in Iraq.  (Applause.)  I said that I’d make sure middle-class families weren’t getting hit by higher taxes — your taxes have gone down an average of $3,600.  (Applause.)  But my most important promise was telling you that I wasn’t a perfect man — Michelle could have told you that — (laughter)  — that I wasn’t a perfect President, but that I’d always tell you where I stood, I’d always tell you what I thought, and I would spend every single waking moment as President fighting as hard as I knew how for you.  (Applause.)

Because I saw myself in you — (applause) — because when I see your grandparents, I see my grandparents.  (Applause.)  When I see your children, I see my children.   (Applause.)  Because I have faith and confidence in you, the American people.

I have kept that promise.  (Applause.)  I believe in you.  And if you still believe me, and you’re willing to stand up and fight for it, we’ll finish what we started in 2008, and remind the world by the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END                4:55 P.M. EDT

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Full Text Campaign Buzz July 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech During 2 Day Virginia Tour at Walkerton Tavern and Gardens Glen Allen, Virginia — Continues Attacks on Mitt Romney & Pushes for Middle-Class Tax Cuts in the Rain

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Drenched Obama Rallies Supporters in Rainy Virginia

Source: ABC News, 7-14-12

ABC News

Undeterred by the pouring rain, hundreds of enthusiastic, and soaked, supporters braved a storm on Saturday to hear President Obama make his case for a second term in the state he carried four years ago.

“I know these are some die-hard political folks here,” the president said as he took to the outdoor stage shortly after the skies opened up. “We’re not letting a little rain chase us away.”

The president, tie-less with his sleeves rolled up, was quickly drenched, resembling the soggy crowd of 900 assembled in front of the historic Walkerton Tavern….READ MORE

No Apologies: Obama Campaign Continues Attacks on Romney

Source: NYT, 7-14-12

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the rain at a campaign event at Walkerton Tavern & Gardens in Glen Allen, Va., on Saturday.

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the rain at a campaign event at Walkerton Tavern & Gardens in Glen Allen, Va., on Saturday.

President Obama and his campaign barnstormed through Virginia on Saturday, relentlessly hammering away at Mitt Romney’s business record and releasing a mocking new ad….READ MORE

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

Source: WH, 7-14-12

Walkerton Tavern and Gardens
Glen Allen, Virginia

12:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: How’s it going, Virginia? (Applause.) You know, this feels kind of good. (Applause.) Don’t you think?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: I need to cool off a little bit. It’s a little warm. (Applause.) Well, I know these are some die-hard political folks here — (applause) — not letting a little rain chase us away.

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Although I know this from Michelle. Ladies, I do apologize for your hairdos getting messed up. (Applause.)

We’re going to have to treat everybody to a little salon visit after this. (Applause.)

So a couple of acknowledgements I want to make real quick. First of all, an outstanding member of Congress who’s looking out for working people every day, Bobby Scott is in the house. (Applause.) State Senator Donald McEachin is here. (Applause.) State Delegate Jennifer McClellan is here. (Applause.) And John Montgomery is here. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Now, I’m going to just cut straight to business. We don’t have time for small talk here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Four more years! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: This is my last political campaign. We’re term-limited as President. And it got me thinking about my first political campaigns. I think about the places I used to travel as a state senator when I was running for the United States Senate, all across Illinois, which is a lot like Virginia. You got big cities, but you also have small towns. You got rural, suburban, urban areas. You’d stop in VFW halls or diners. You go to churches or synagogues, and you’d meet folks black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, you name it. And wherever I went, even if on the surface folks looked different, there was a common thread that ran through their stories. And in those stories I saw my own.

So I’d meet an elderly veteran, and I think about my grandfather who fought in World War II, and my grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line while he was away, even though they’d already had my mother. And I’d think about how when my grandfather came back from Europe, he was able to get a college education on the GI Bill, and how they’d buy their first home with the help of an FHA loan.

And then I’d meet a single mom somewhere who was working hard, raising kids, and I’d think about my mom — because my dad left when I was young. And so my mother had to work and go to school at the same time, and yet, despite not having a lot of money, was still able to provide me and my sister with the best education possible, and instilled in us a sense that if we worked hard, we could go as far as our dreams would take us. (Applause.)

And then I’d think about Michelle’s parents whenever I’d meet a working family because Michelle’s dad was a blue-collar worker. He had multiple sclerosis. By the time I met him, he could barely walk, in fact, really couldn’t walk without two canes.

And he’d have to wake up an hour early — earlier than everybody else — just to get dressed. But he never missed a day on the job. (Applause.) And Michelle’s mom, she stayed at home when the kids were young and then found a job as a secretary, and that’s the work they did all their lives. They had a little second-floor apartment that Michelle and Craig lived in, and yet, despite those modest beginnings, Michelle and her brother were able to get the best possible education.

And so in these travels that I had in that first campaign, what I was reminded of was that core idea that is central to this country — what makes us exceptional, what makes us great. It’s not just how many skyscrapers we have; it’s not how powerful our military is — what makes us special is this idea that in this country, if you are willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility for your own life, then you can make it if you try. (Applause.) No matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is, no matter how modest your beginnings, you can make it in this country if you work hard. (Applause.) Because America has never been a country of handouts. We’re a nation of workers, and doers, and dreamers, and risk-takers. We work for what we get. And all we ask for, as Americans, is that our hard work pays off. All we ask is that our responsibility is rewarded — so that if we put in enough effort, we can find a job that pays the bills; we can afford a home to call our own; we won’t go bankrupt when we get sick; maybe we can take a vacation.

When I think about my favorite vacations when I was a kid, when I was 11 years old my mom, sister, and my grandmom, we traveled across the country. But we didn’t fly on jets, we took Greyhound buses. (Applause.) Took the train sometimes. I think we were in the car twice. Stayed at Howard Johnsons. And the exciting thing for me was if there was any kind of swimming pool — it didn’t matter how big it was. (Laughter.) And then after you spend the whole day swimming, then you’d go to the vending machine, get a soda and a bucket of ice. (Laughter.)

But the point was to spend time with folks you loved, and enjoy their company. So that was part of it, and then people expect, I think, that they can retire with dignity and respect after a lifetime of work. (Applause.) That’s the essence of America. That is within everybody’s grasp. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to have some ups and downs. It doesn’t mean at some point you’re not going to experience tough times. But it does mean that the trajectory of people’s lives in this country — if you work hard, you can make it. And that’s what made us special. That’s what made us the greatest nation on Earth. That’s what made us an economic superpower. (Applause.)

Now, when I ran in 2008, a lot of people, we came together — not just Democrats, but Republicans and independents — because we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, we’re Americans first. (Applause.) And we came together because we felt like that idea had been slipping away for too long. For almost a decade, people had been working harder but getting less. And then the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes hit, the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes hit, millions of people lost their jobs or lost their homes or lost their savings, and that made the dream that much harder to reach for.

But what I’ve learned over these last three and a half years is that even though the crisis put us through some very tough times, the American people are tougher. (Applause.) Folks may have gotten knocked down some, but they got back up. (Applause.) The crisis didn’t change who we are. It did not change our fundamental character as a people. It hasn’t changed our sense of purpose from 2008. Our mission right now, yes, is to put people back to work and, yes, to strengthen the housing market; but our purpose is also to rebuild our economy so that it lasts — (applause) — so that work pays off. An economy in which everybody, whether you are starting a business or punching a clock, you can have confidence that if you work hard you can get ahead. That’s our goal. That’s our central purpose. That’s what this campaign is about. That’s what I’ve been working on for the last three and a half years. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I want to say this —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Mr. President! (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Because we’ve gone through tough times, I think there’s a tendency sometimes for some of the commentators to say, well, this time it’s really different, we’re losing our number-one status, and all this stuff. I don’t buy any of that. We’re still, by far, the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.) And what’s holding us back from meeting our challenges —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Congress. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: What’s holding us back from meeting our challenges is not a lack of big ideas, it’s not technical solutions. You name it, whatever it is — education, housing, the deficit — we have the solutions in front of us. What’s holding us back is we’ve got a stalemate in Washington that has more to do with — than just two candidates for President or two political parties. It’s two fundamentally different visions about how we move this country forward.

This election is about breaking that stalemate. The outcome of this election will determine not just what happens next year or the year after that, but what happens for the next 20 years.

See, my opponent and his allies in Congress, they believe in a top-down economics. They believe that if we spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts — mostly for the wealthy — even if we have to pay for it by gutting education, or gutting job training programs, or gutting investments in basic research, or turning Medicare into a voucher system, or increasing middle-class taxes — that if we do that, somehow all of you are going to benefit. That’s their idea. They also believe that if we roll back regulations on banks and insurance companies and credit card companies — regulations that are meant to protect people and our economy — that somehow everybody is going to be more secure. That’s their basic argument. They’ll spend a lot of time talking, but if you cut through all the stuff — (laughter) — what they’re really saying is tax cuts for the wealthy, roll back regulations. That’s essentially their plan.

Now, it is a plan. It’s a theory. It fits easily on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: We tried it. We tried it for a decade before I took office. It did not work. (Applause.) We tried it, and we turned a surplus into a deficit. We tried it, and we had the most sluggish job growth in decades. We tried it, and your income and wages on average went down — went down, even while the cost of health care and education and gas were all going up. And then it culminated in the worst financial crisis that we’re still cleaning up after.

So it’s not as if we haven’t tried their theory. It would be one thing if we hadn’t tried it. Then they could say, well, let’s try this. And maybe everybody would say, all right, that’s worth trying. But we did this, and it didn’t work.

We can’t afford to go back to top-down economics. (Applause.) We need somebody who believes in a middle-out economics, a bottom-up economics, somebody who will fight for you and working people all across Virginia and all across America. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)

You know, when the American auto industry was about to go under, and my opponent was saying, “let Detroit go bankrupt,” I made a bet on American workers, on American ingenuity, and we got management and workers to sit down and work things out. And right now, GM is number one again — (applause) — and the U.S. auto industry is back on top. (Applause.)

Well, let me tell you something. What can happen in the auto industry in Detroit, that can happen in manufacturing all across this country. (Applause.) In Richmond and in Raleigh, and in Pittsburgh and in Cleveland. Which is why I’ve said let’s stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, let’s give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, and investing in American workers, so we can make American products stamped with those three proud words: Made In America. (Applause.) That’s how we build an economy that lasts. (Applause.) And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President. (Applause.)

Mr. Romney has got a different idea. He invested in companies that have been called “pioneers” of outsourcing. (Laughter.) I don’t want a pioneer in outsourcing. (Laughter.) I want some insourcing. (Applause.) I want to bring companies back. (Applause.) And part of that is making sure we change our tax code. Part of it is investing in basic science and research. We’ve always been at the cutting-edge of technology. We’ve got to keep that. We’ve got to maintain that.

And you know, four years ago I said I would end the war in Iraq. (Applause.) Because of our veterans, because of our outstanding men and women in uniform, we’ve been able to keep that promise. (Applause.) We’re transitioning out of Afghanistan and starting to bring our troops home. (Applause.) So now my attitude is, after a decade of war, let’s take half of those savings on war and let’s use that to reduce our deficit. Let’s use the other half to do some nation-building here at home. (Applause.) Let’s put folks back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our railroads and our schools, and putting broadband lines into rural communities all across America. (Applause.) That’s how we build an economy that lasts. (Applause.)

That’s also, by the way, how we take care of our veterans. Now that they’re coming home they shouldn’t have to fight for a job after they fought for us. (Applause.) And they should get the benefits that they’ve earned. So we’ll be fighting any kind of cutbacks on veteran services. We’ve got to take care of folks who took care of us. (Applause.)

I’m running to make sure that our kids get the best education in the world. (Applause.) I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially math and science. I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and get trained for the jobs that folks are hiring for right now. (Applause.) I want colleges and universities to bring down tuition so young people aren’t burdened with debt. (Applause.) Higher education isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity in this 21st century. (Applause.)

I want to make sure that middle-class families can refinance their homes, save $3,000 a year. (Applause.) That’s good for you, but it’s also good for businesses, because you’ll spend that money.

I’m running because I believe we’ve got to keep going on the Affordable Care Act. It was the right thing to do to make sure that everybody has health care. (Applause.) The Supreme Court has spoken. It is the law of the land. We are going to implement it. (Applause.) And because we’re implementing it, young people can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until they’re 26 years old. (Applause.) And if you’ve got health insurance, the only thing that’s going to happen is you’ve got more security and insurance companies can’t jerk you around. (Applause.) And 30 million people, including those with preexisting conditions, can finally get health insurance. It was the right thing to do. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards. (Applause.)

I’m wrapping up. (Laughter.) Everybody is wet anyway, so it doesn’t matter. (Laughter.) It’s too late — those hairdos are all gone. (Laughter.)

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

THE PRESIDENT: Let me talk about one last thing, and that is the deficit and the debt. Because the other side, they’ll say, well, you know, this is the most important issue. And what I’ve said is, you know what, along with putting people back to work, we do need to bring down our deficit and our debt. After a decade of irresponsibility, where I inherited a trillion-dollar deficit, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. (Applause.) We’ve already cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending that we don’t need.

I’m willing to do more, because not every program works. Government can’t solve every problem. Government can’t help somebody if they don’t want to help themselves. It doesn’t matter how much money we put into schools if parents, you’re not telling your kids they need to work hard in school. (Applause.) But I’m not willing to do is what my opponent proposes, which is pretend like you’re lowering the deficit and then cut taxes for folks like me by $5 trillion on top of the Bush tax cuts, because we can’t afford it.

What I’ve said to Congress is let’s make sure that everybody who’s making $250,000 a year or less, that your taxes don’t go up. (Applause.) That’s 98 percent of Americans. But let’s ask folks like me who can afford it, the top 2 percent, to do a little bit more — (applause) — so that we can still help young people go to college, so that we don’t turn Medicare into a voucher system, so that we’re still investing in basic research, so that we can still build roads and help folks with the housing situation. (Applause.)

And by the way, we’ve tried that, too. A guy named Bill Clinton tried it, and we created 23 million new jobs. (Applause.) And we had surpluses instead of deficits. And by the way, rich people did just fine back then. (Laughter.)

Here’s the thing I think the other side doesn’t understand. When working people do well everybody does well. (Applause.) That means businesses have more customers. That is how we grow an economy — not by everybody just looking out for themselves, but by all of us coming together and working hard. (Applause.)

All these things, whether it’s bringing manufacturing back, putting construction workers back to work, protecting health care, making sure our kids get the best education, caring for our veterans — all these things that make up a middle-class life, they all tie together. They’re all central to that idea that if you work hard you can get ahead. That’s the promise that our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents made to future generations.

Some of them came here as immigrants; some came here not wanting to come. But when they got here, all of us — whether they were working on farms or whether they were working in mines or working in a factory — that idea that if I work hard now things will be better for my kids, that’s what built this country.

And over the next four months, the other side is going to spend more money than we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes on a bunch of negative ads. And they’re going to try to peddle this economic theory that everybody knows we tried and didn’t work. And since they know that’s probably not going to sell, really what these ads are going to do is just say, the economy isn’t where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault. That’s their message. They’ll use all those scary voices in the ads and — (laughter) — but that’s basically their message.

And that’s a plan for maybe winning an election, but it’s not a plan for creating jobs or helping the middle class. (Applause.) It’s not an plan for rebuilding our economy.

And so I don’t worry about the kind of money they’re spending because what you taught me in 2008 — same thing I learned in my first campaign — was that when ordinary folks come together — (applause) — when they cut through all the nonsense, and they remember what makes this country great, they tap into those core American values, and they remember what’s true about our lives — when you come together, nothing can stop you. (Applause.) When you come together, change happens. (Applause.) When you come together, people get a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules — when you decide.

And that’s the choice you have now in this election. So I have to tell you, when I ran in 2008, I tried to make sure that any promise I made I could keep. So I said I’d end the war in Iraq — we ended the war. (Applause.) I said I’d keep your taxes down — and I’ve lowered taxes for middle-class families, $3,600 on average. (Applause.) If somebody tells you I’ve raised their taxes, tell them that ain’t right. (Laughter.) It’s just not true.

But the main promise I made to you, I said I wasn’t a perfect man and I — you can ask Michelle that — (laughter) — and I told you I wouldn’t be a perfect President. But I told you that I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood — sometimes it wasn’t popular, but I’d tell you what I thought, what I believed. And I’d also wake up every single day fighting as hard as I knew how for you. (Applause.) To make your lives a little bit better. (Applause.)

And you know what, I’ve kept that promise. (Applause.) I’ve kept that promise. Because I see myself in you. When I see your grandparents, I see my grandparents. (Applause.) When I see my children, I see your children. We are in this together. We rise and fall as one nation. (Applause.) I still believe in you. And if you still believe in me, and you stand up with me, and make phone calls and knock on doors and get out there and organize with me — (applause) — we’re going to finish what we started in 2008. (Applause.) We’re going to win this election. We’re going to win Virginia. (Applause.) We’re going to put this country on the right track. And we’ll remind the world just why it is that the American way is what is the envy of the world and we are the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

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

END
12:44 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 13, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech During 2 Day Virginia Tour at Phoebus High School, Hampton, Virginia — Stresses Middle-Class Tax Cuts Extension

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event in Hampton, Virginia

Source: WH, 7-13-12

Phoebus High School, Hampton, Virginia

4:48 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Hampton!  (Applause.)  Oh, it’s good to be back!  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Obama!  Obama!  Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.  It is good to be back, Hampton.  Hello, Phantoms.  How are the Phantoms doing here?  (Applause.)  Oh, it looks like we got some rivalry here with the Phantoms.  (Applause.)

A couple of people I want to say thank you to.  First of all, some people may not remember that when I announced for President, the very first endorsement I received outside of my home state of Illinois was — (applause) — didn’t say it was you.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t know about your endorsement.  But what I do know is being in Richmond and being introduced by then-Governor Tim Kaine.  (Applause.)  He has been a great friend ever since.  He was a great governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is going to be a great United States senator with your help.  (Applause.)

You guys also have an outstanding ex-governor who is making his mark and making a difference already in the United States Senate — give it up for Mark Warner.  (Applause.)

I believe that your fine Congressman who is always fighting on your behalf is around — Bobby Scott is in the house.  (Applause.)  And one of my favorite mayors in the country, we love her and she is doing an outstanding job.  Mayor Molly Ward is in the house.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

I also want to acknowledge, we recently lost an outstanding trailblazer who made such a difference in the lives of so many, so we miss her.  We pray for her family.  She is in a better place — State Senator Yvonne Miller.  (Applause.)

Now, it’s a little hot, everybody, so if you’ve got a seat, go ahead and take a seat.  If you’ve got a seat.  If you don’t have a seat, hang in there.  (Applause.)  And I’ll try not to be too long-winded.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Take your time!

THE PRESIDENT:  See, I know these are some churchgoing folks when they say take your time.  (Applause.)  I know we’ve got some outstanding preachers here, as well, so I’m not going to try to compete with them.  (Laughter.)

Now, unless you’ve been managing to hide your television set somewhere under a rock — (laughter) — you may be aware that we’re in the middle of campaign season.  And let’s face it, it’s not always pretty to watch.  There’s more money flooding into the system than ever before, more negative ads, more cynicism.  What you read in the newspapers, it’s all about polls and who’s up and who’s down, instead of what actually would make a difference in your lives.  And I know sometimes it’s tempting to turn away from participating, and it’s tempting sometimes to get cynical about the process and the possibilities of bringing about change in this country.

But the reason you’re here and the reason I’m here is because we still believe.  (Applause.)  We still believe in America.  We still believe in hope.  And we still believe in change.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We got your back, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I’ve got yours.  (Applause.)  Because as small and as petty as politics can sometimes seem, the stakes this year could not be bigger.  In a lot of ways, the stakes are bigger than they were back in 2008, because we’re facing a choice between two very different visions for this country.  And the choice between these two paths for our country ultimately is going to be up to you.

Now, this is my last political campaign.

AUDIENCE:  Aww —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, Michelle is very happy about that.  (Laughter.)  Let me tell you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love Michelle!

THE PRESIDENT:  I know you all love Michelle.  I know that.  (Applause.)

But since this is my last campaign, it got me a little nostalgic about my first campaigns.  I think about the places I used to travel in Illinois — VFW halls and diners, and we’d go to small towns and we’d go to big cities, and you’d meet folks from every walk of life — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled, not disabled — you name it.  And everywhere I went, what was interesting was that for all the differences there was something everybody had in common, and in people’s lives I’d see my own life.

I would meet an older vet and I’d think about my grandfather and my grandmother, part of that World War II generation — my grandfather fighting in World War II, then coming home, and my grandmother who had been working on a bomber assembly line — they were able to go to college on the GI Bill, and how they were able to buy their first home with an FHA mortgage.  And I thought about my mom, because if I’d see a single mom I’d think about how challenging it was for her to raise me without a dad, and raise my sister without a dad — how she was able to put herself through school and work at the same time — (applause) –and give her child the best education this country had to offer.

And I’d think about Michelle’s family.  I’d meet a family, and it didn’t matter whether it was some rural area or small town — you’d meet folks who remind me of Michelle’s dad who had Multiple Sclerosis, could barely walk by the time I met him, but never missed a day of work — worked a blue-collar job.  And Michelle’s mom stayed at home until the kids got old enough and then became a secretary at a bank, and she worked as a secretary all her life.  And they never had a lot.  But they had a lot of love.  (Applause.)  And they had strong values.  And they had discipline.  And that’s why Michelle and her brother could go on and achieve things that their parents couldn’t even imagine.

And what I’d realized during that first campaign and all the campaigns after that was that our lives all were a testament to that fundamental American idea, the idea that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

This country has never been full of folks looking for handouts.  We’re a nation of workers and doers and dreamers.  We work hard for what we get.  And all we ask for is that our hard work pays off, that our responsibility is rewarded, that if we’re willing to put in the effort, we can find a job that supports a family, and be able to get a home we can call our own, we won’t go bankrupt when we get sick, take a little vacation once in a while, send our kids to college and let them do things so much bigger than what we did, and then retire with some dignity and some respect, and be part of a community and a neighborhood and a nation that looks after its own.  (Applause.)

That basic bargain is what built the biggest middle class we’ve ever seen.  That basic bargain is what made us an economic superpower.  That basic bargain is what made us the envy of the world.  (Applause.)

And in 2008 we came together — not just Democrats, we had independents, we had Republicans — all who recognized that that basic bargain was starting to fray, that it was getting weaker.  We’ve gone through a decade that had seen wages and incomes not go up, job growth sluggish, surpluses turning into deficits.  That middle-class dream seemed like it was slipping away for too many people.

And then just as the campaign was being completed and just as we were making some history, what we realized was we’re going through the worst financial crisis and economic crisis since the Great Depression.  We knew that turning this thing around would not be easy.  We knew it was going to take more than one year or one term or maybe even one President.

And this crisis has been tough on a lot of folks and a lot of families.  It robbed millions of hardworking Americans their livelihoods, their homes, their savings.  It pushed the American Dream, that basic bargain even further out of reach for too many people.  But you know what, that crisis didn’t change who we are or what we believed in.  It didn’t change our character as a country.  It hasn’t changed why we came together in 2008.

Our mission right now is to put people back to work and recover from this recession.  But it’s more than that.  It is also about how we restore that basic bargain that every American believes in, that if you work hard you can get ahead.  (Applause.)  Our goal is an economy where hard work pays off; an economy where everybody — whether you’re starting a business or you’re punching a clock — everybody can have confidence that they can make it.  That’s what the campaign in 2008 was about.  That’s what this campaign is about.  That is the reason I am running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, let me just say this.  For all the work that we’ve done — as Tim Kaine talked about, creating more than 4.5 million jobs, making sure that we’re bringing manufacturing back to our shores, restoring our auto industry so it’s number one again, getting health care passed — (applause) — for all the work that we’ve done we’ve got a lot more work to do.  And what’s holding us back from meeting these big challenges is not the lack of technical solutions, it’s not the lack of big ideas. The problem is we’ve got a stalemate in this country — at least we’ve got a stalemate in Washington.  Actually, when you talk to ordinary people, they seek common sense, but apparently it’s harder to recognize in Washington.

So we’ve got a choice.  The outcome will determine not just how things go a year from now or five years from now or 10 years from, but maybe 20 or 30 or 40 years from now.  My opponent and his allies in Congress, they believe that prosperity comes from the top down.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, look, I mean, this is what democracy is about.  We’re going to have a debate about how to grow this economy and help build a strong middle class.  And they believe that happens from the top down.  They believe that if we spend trillions of dollars more on tax cuts for the wealthy, if we eliminate regulations that protect consumers — make sure insurance companies can’t take advantage of you, that we eliminate regulations that protect our air and our water and make sure our children are healthy — if we do those things, then somehow even if we have to pay for it by gutting education or maybe raising taxes on middle-class families or eliminating training programs, that somehow we’re going to be better off.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s their theory.  Now, here’s the problem.  They tried it.  This country tried that for the decade before I took office, and it didn’t work.  (Applause.)  We are still paying trillions of dollars in tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them, and it didn’t lead to better jobs or better wages for the middle class.

The lack of regulation and rules on Wall Street was exactly what allowed people to take reckless shortcuts that resulted in the crisis we’re still dealing with.  So we don’t need more top-down economics.  That’s my belief.  That’s my view.  We need somebody who is going to fight for the middle class.  (Applause.)

I believe that’s how you grow the economy, from the middle out, from the bottom up — (applause) — looking after working people and making sure they’ve got opportunity.

That’s what I’ve been fighting for since I got into this office.  That’s what I’ll be fighting for as long as I have the privilege of being your President.  (Applause.)

On the last campaign, I promised to cut taxes for the middle class, and I kept that promise.  (Applause.)  We’ve cut taxes by about $3,600 for the typical family.  Four years later, I’m running to keep middle-class taxes low.  This week, I called on Congress to immediately extend these tax cuts on everybody who is making $250,000 a year or less.  (Applause.)  Now that, by the way, includes 98 percent of Americans.  (Applause.)  If you’re one of the 98 percent whose incomes are less than $250,000 a year, you would not see a dime of tax increases on your income tax.  (Applause.)

Now, if Congress doesn’t act, nearly 3 million families right here in Virginia — and I suspect most of you — will see your taxes go up by an average of $1,600 on January 1.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  You don’t like that.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So we need to keep this tax hike from happening.  But the Republicans in Congress are refusing to act. They refuse to let you keep your tax cut — 98 percent of Americans keep their tax cut — unless we also spend an additional trillion dollars on tax cuts for the top 2 percent.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, keep in mind, this is the same House of Representatives that have now voted 33 times to repeal health care — 33 times.  Seems like once a week they vote — even though they know they can’t pass it, they vote to repeal health care.  Even though they know it won’t pass.  They could take one vote to make sure your taxes don’t go up, and they haven’t done that yet.  (Applause.)

All because they want to keep tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and folks like me who don’t need it.  Our lives will not — Michelle and I, our lives will not be better.  The average — Warren Buffett’s life is not going to be better if he gets that additional tax cut.  (Laughter.)  And, by the way, here’s the important thing — the way this is organized, the truth is, those top 2 percent, they’d still get a tax break, just only up to $250,000.  The money they made after that, that’s when they would have to start paying slightly more.

Now, let me say this.  If you believe that the recipe for economic growth is to give the top 2 percent additional tax breaks, then by all means you should send those folks to Washington.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Because that’s not what I believe.  That’s not why I’m in Washington.  I’m there to fight for you.  I’m there to fight for the middle class.  I’m there to fight for families who are working hard every single day.  (Applause.)

People like me and Governor Romney, we do not need a tax cut.  And that’s part of what this election is about, because it represents these two different views, these two different theories about how you grow the economy.

On almost every issue in this race, the choice couldn’t be more stark.  When America was seeing its auto industry on the brink of collapse, my opponent said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”  That would have cost about a million jobs.  I said I’m betting on American workers.  I’m betting on American ingenuity.  And you know what, GM is the number-one automaker again because we made that bet.  (Applause.)

So now I’m running to make sure what happened in the auto industry is happening in other sections of manufacturing.  It doesn’t just need to happen in Detroit; it needs to happen in Cleveland and Raleigh and Richmond and Hampton.  (Applause.)

Governor Romney, his main claim to fame, the reason he says he can fix the economy is because of his business record.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  It turns out that that his business record was starting a company that’s been investing in what were called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  He wants to keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  I want to end those tax breaks.  I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing here in Virginia, investing in American workers, investing in advanced American manufacturing so we can sell our goods around the world stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  That’s why I’m running.  (Applause.)

I’m running because in the 2008, I promised to end the war in Iraq and I have.  (Applause.)  I promised to go after al Qaeda’s leadership and we have, and Osama bin Laden is no longer threatening America.  (Applause.)  Our brave men and women in uniform — and Virginia has as many veterans and folks serving in our Armed Forces as any state in the country — and we could not be prouder of them.  (Applause.)  But we’re starting to bring our troops home.  And our national security is, in part, going to depend on what kind of economy do they come back to.  Can they find jobs?  Can they start small businesses?  And that’s why, after a decade of war, I want to take half the money we’re saving because we’re no longer fighting in Iraq and we’re winding down in Afghanistan — take half of that, use it to pay down our deficit; take the other half to do some nation-building here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Let’s rebuild our roads and our bridges, our ports, our airports.  Let’s lay broadband lines that can reach into rural communities that are isolated, high-speed rail that can make sure that we’re on the forefront of the 21st century economy.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  That’s what I believe in.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  we love Barack Obama!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m running again because we’ve done a lot of work in education.  but we’ve got more to do.  And I want to make sure we are providing every single child — not just some kids, not even just most kids, but all kids — the best education possible.  (Applause.)

Our tuition tax credits save millions of families thousands of dollars.  Now I want to extend it.  We just won a fight with Congress.  Those of you who are over at Hampton, other colleges and universities in the state — well, we just won a fight to make sure that your loan rates would not double.  (Applause.)  Now I want to make sure that we’re actually bringing down tuition and costs for college for every young person who’s willing to work hard to get an education.  (Applause.)

I want to make sure our schools can hire the best teachers, especially in math and science.  I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and get trained for the jobs that businesses are hiring right now.  (Applause.)  In the 21st century, higher education can’t be a luxury.  It is a vital necessity.  That’s why I’m running.  I want to fight to make sure that everybody has the chance to get ahead.

My opponent’s plan to help responsible homeowners is to let foreclosures hit bottom.  That’s not a plan.  That’s not a solution.  That’s a problem.

My administration has already helped a million responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages.  I’m running to give everybody a chance to refinance.  You could save $3,000 a year that you could then spend on going to a restaurant and helping a business get more business, and fixing the basement, and rebuilding the equity in your home.  And that’s good for everybody.  That’s good for the entire economy.  That’s an example of the kinds of things we could be doing if we break this stalemate.

I’m running because I continue to believe that in America nobody should go broke just because they got sick.  (Applause.)  I’ll work with anybody who wants to continue to improve our health care system.  But the Supreme Court has spoken — this health care law is here to stay.  We’re not going backwards.  (Applause.)

If you’ve got health insurance, nothing is changing for you. You’re not being charged a tax.  The only thing that’s happened to you is your insurance is more secure because insurance companies can’t drop you because of some fine print, or not cover your illnesses because you’ve hit a lifetime limit.  Insurance companies now have to cover young people until they’re 26 on their parent’s plan, which is helping young people all across the country.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to let Medicare get turned into a voucher system.  We’re not going to spend the next four years refighting the battles of the last four years.  We need to move forward.  (Applause.)

And I am running to make sure that we pay down our debts and reduce our deficits but do so in a responsible, balanced way.  And that means, yes, cutting out programs we can’t afford.  I don’t believe every government program works, and government shouldn’t try to help everybody.  If you don’t want to get help, we can’t help you.  (Applause.)  If you’re not willing to work hard, there’s only so much that can be done.  But you know what, we’re not going to sacrifice education, and training, and basic research into things like cancer and Alzheimer’s.  That would be shortsighted.

So if we’re going to reduce our deficit and debt we have to do it smartly — get rid of programs that aren’t helping the economy grow, but also ask the wealthiest to do a little bit more.  (Applause.)  And that includes folks like me.  That includes people like Mr. Romney.

And, by the way, just like we tried their way and it didn’t work, we tried what I’m proposing and it did work.  Bill Clinton did it and we got 23 million new jobs, and a surplus instead of a deficit, and a whole bunch of folks got rich in the process.  Because in America, when the middle class is doing well and folks who are poor and trying to get into the middle class have a chance, everybody does well.  Folks at the top do well because now they’ve got customers.  It’s good for everybody.  That how we grow the economy together.  (Applause.)

All these things, whether it’s bringing back manufacturing or construction jobs back, protecting health care, making sure kids get the best education, making sure veterans are getting the training they need when they come home — all this stuff ties together.  They’re all part of that central idea, that promise that if you work hard you can get ahead, and the belief that we do that together.

When my grandfather got that GI Bill, when this generation is getting the Post-9/11 GI Bill, that’s not just for them — it’s for all of us, because if they’re doing well, we’ll all do well.  (Applause.)  When we built the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam, that wasn’t just good for the folks in those states, that’s good for the whole country, because it means we’re moving goods and services and people faster around the world, and we’re move competitive.  We rise or fall together.  And now we’ve got an obligation to pass on that tradition to our children and our grandchildren.

Now, over the next four months, you are going to see all these negative ads with those voices of doom talking about how bad the economy is and how much it’s Obama’s fault.  And you’ll hear — I mean, they’ll say it every which way, but it’s always the same argument, because they know their economic theory doesn’t sell because the facts are it didn’t work.  That’s their only message.  So all they can say is, you know what, it’s Obama’s fault, and if we get rid of him, somehow Mr. Romney’s going to put it all back together — although he won’t tell you how.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, that may be a plan to win an election, but it’s not a plan to put people back to work.  It’s not a plan to reduce our deficit.  It’s not a plan to grow the middle class. It’s not a plan to revive the American Dream.

And the thing is, you know what, we’ve been outspent before. We’ve been counted out before.  When I announced in 2008, there was a whole bunch of folks who didn’t believe.  Well, everybody now says they believe, but there were a whole bunch of folks back then who didn’t believe.  (Applause.)  You know that’s right.

But you know what, through all the campaigns, what’s always given me hope is the American people.  There is a core decency, there’s an honesty, there’s a common sense that cuts through all the noise and all the distractions and all the nonsense.

What gives me hope is remembering the story of your families because they’re just like the story of my family — all the struggles of parents and grandparents and great-grandparents who went through struggles we can’t even imagine, but somehow came out on the other end; who understand that even in the darkest of night there’s a brighter day dawning.  Some of them came here as immigrants.  Some folks came not of their own accord.  Some came to work in mines, some came to work in mills, some worked the farms.

And they didn’t always know what was around the corner, but what they did understand was there was something different about America.  They knew that in a land where people are free to pursue their individual dreams they can still come together as one American family.  They knew that being middle class wasn’t about how much was in your bank account, but it was about an attitude that said if we work hard we can have enough.  (Applause.)

We don’t envy folks who succeed; we think it’s great if they get rich.  But the main thing is family and values, and being self-reliant and looking out for one another, and helping your neighbor, and faith — that’s what’s important.  (Applause.)  It’s about the security of knowing that you can take care of your family, and that your kids can do better than you did.  And here’s the thing, Virginia — when people come together and tap into that basic, honest core of America, when ordinary folks start working together and pointing us in that direction, we can’t be stopped.  (Applause.)  All the money, all the special interests, all the negative ads — it can’t stop you.  (Applause.)  It can’t stop you.

In 2008, I said I wasn’t a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But what I said was I’d always tell you where I stood, I’d always tell you what I thought, and I’d wake up every single day fighting as hard as I knew how for you — (applause) — to make sure your lives are a little bit better.  (Applause.)

And so, as much as we got done, I know sometimes change doesn’t feel like it’s come fast enough.  And I know there are still a lot of folks out there hurting.  But you know what, I’ve kept that promise.  (Applause.)  I kept that promise — because when I see your kids I see my kids.  (Applause.)  When I see your grandparents I remember my grandparents.  I see myself in you.  I still believe in you.  And if you still believe in me and you’re willing to stand up — (applause) — and knock on doors and make phone calls and get organized, I promise you we will finish what we started.  We will win this election.  And we will remind that world why it is that America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END                5:25 P.M. EDT

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