Full Text Political Transcripts August 15, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Press Conference on Infrastructure & Chalottesville, Virginia

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

President Donald Trump’s Press Conference on Infrastructure & Chalottesville, Virginia

Source: Politico, 8-15-17

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Hello, everybody. Great to be back in New York with all of our friends, and some great friends outside the building, I must tell you.

I want to thank all of our distinguished guests who are with us today, including members of our cabinet, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, and of course our Transportation Secretary, who’s doing a fabulous job, Elaine Chao.
Thank you all for doing a — a really incredible and creative job on what we’re going to be discussing today, which is infrastructure.
We just had a great set of briefings upstairs on our infrastructure agenda. My administration is working every day to deliver the world-class infrastructure that our people deserve, and frankly, that our country deserves. That’s why I just signed a new executive order to dramatically reform the nation’s badly broken infrastructure permitting process.
TRUMP: Just blocks away is the Empire State Building. It took 11 months to build the Empire State Building. But today, it can take as long as a decade and much more than that. Many, many stories where it takes 20 and 25 years just to get approvals to start construction of a fairly routine highway. Highway builders must get up to 16 different approvals involving 9 different federal agencies governed by 29 different statutes. One agency alone can stall a project for many, many years and even decades.
Not only does this cost our economy billions of dollars but it also denies our citizens the safe and modern infrastructure they deserve. This overregulated permitting process is a massive, self- inflicted wound on our country. It’s disgraceful. Denying our people much-needed investments in their community and I just want to show you this because it was just shown me and I think I’m going to show it to the media.
Both real and fake media, by the way. This is what it takes to get something approved today.
Elaine, you see that?
So this is what it takes. Permitting process flow chart, that’s a flow chart. So that can go out to 20 years, this shows about 10. But that can go out to about 20 years to get something approved. This is for a highway. I’ve seen a highway recently in a certain state, I won’t mention its name, it’s 17 years.
I could have built it for $4 million or $5 million without the permitting process. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars but it took 17 years to get it approved and many, many — many, many pages of environmental impact studies. This is what we will bring it down to. This is less than two years. This is going to happen quickly, that’s what I’m signing today.
This will be less than two years for a highway. So it’s going to be quick, it’s going to be a very streamlined process. And by the way, if it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we’re not going to approve it. Very simple. We’re not going to approve it. So this is — maybe this one, we’ll say “let’s throw the other one away.” Would anybody like it from the media? Would anybody like that long, beautiful chart? You can have it.
So my executive order also requires agencies to work together efficiently by requiring one lead agency for each major infrastructure project. It also holds agencies accountable if they fail to streamline their review process. So each agency is accountable. We’re going to get infrastructure built quickly; inexpensively, relatively speaking; and the permitting process will go very, very quickly.
No longer will we tolerate one job-killing delay after another. No longer will we accept a broken system that benefits consultants and lobbyists at the expense of hardworking Americans. Now, I knew the process very well, probably better than anybody. I had to get permits for this building and many of the buildings I built — all of the buildings I built in Manhattan and many other places.
And I will tell you that the consultants are rich people. They go around making it very difficult, they lobby Congress, they lobby state governments, city governments to make it very difficult so that you have to hire consultants and that you have to take years and pay them a fortune. So we’re streamlining the process and we won’t be having so much of that any more.
No longer will we allow the infrastructure of our magnificent country to crumble and decay. While protecting the environment, we will build gleaming new roads, bridges, railways, waterways, tunnels and highways. We will rebuild our country with American workers, American iron, American aluminum, American steel. We will create millions of new jobs and make millions of American dreams come true.
Our infrastructure will again be the best in the world. We used to have the greatest infrastructure anywhere in the world. And today we’re like a third world country. We’re literally like a third world country. Our infrastructure will again be the best and we will restore the pride in our communities, our nation and all over the United States, we’ll be proud again.
So I want to thank everybody for being here. God bless you, God bless the United States. And if you have any questions, we have — Mick, you could come up here, please. Come on up. Mick Mulvaney. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
QUESTION: Why do you think that CEOs are leaving your manufacturing council?
TRUMP: Because they’re not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. We want jobs, manufacturing in this country. If you look at some of those people that you’re talking about, they’re outside of the country. They’re having a lot of their product made outside. If you look at Merck, as an example, take a look where — excuse me — excuse me — take a look at where their product is made. It’s made outside of our country. We want products made in the country.
Now, I have to tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment because they make they’re products outside. And I’ve been lecturing them, including the gentleman that you’re referring to, about you have to bring it back to this country. You can’t do it necessarily in Ireland and all of these other places. You have to bring this work back to this country.
That’s what I want. I want manufacturing to be back into the United States so that American workers can benefit.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: … wait so long (inaudible)?
TRUMP: I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long.
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very, very important process to me. And it’s a very important statement.
So, I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to my…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: I brought it. I brought it. I brought it.
QUESTION: What did you (inaudible)?
TRUMP: As I said on — remember this — Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America. And when I went on from there.
Now, here’s the thing. As to — excuse me — excuse me — take it nice and easy.
Here’s the thing. When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. In fact, a lot of the event didn’t even happen yet, as we were speaking. This event just happened. Before I make a statement, I need the facts.
So I don’t want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent. In fact, the young woman who I hear is a fantastic young women, and it was on NBC, her mother wrote me and said through, I guess, Twitter, social media, the nicest things and I very much appreciate that.
I hear she was a fine, a really — actually, an incredible young woman. But her mother on Twitter thanked me for what I said. And honestly, if the press were not fake and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you and unlike — excuse me — unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: They don’t. They don’t.
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: How about a couple of…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: How about a couple of infrastructure questions?
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Mr. Trump, was it terrorism, that event? Was that terrorism?
TRUMP: Say, what?
QUESTION: The CEO of Walmart said you missed a (inaudible) opportunity to help bring the country together. Did you?
TRUMP: Not at all. I think the country — look, you take a look. I’ve created over a million jobs since I’m president. The country is booming. The stock market is setting records. We have the highest employment numbers we’ve ever had in the history of our country.
We’re doing record business. We have the highest levels of enthusiasm. So the head of Walmart, who I know is a very nice guy, was making a political statement. I mean…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: … it the same way. And you know why? Because I want to make sure when I make a statement that the statement is correct. And there was no way — there was no way of making a correct statement that early.
I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters — unlike a lot of reporters…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts as they started coming out were very well stated. In fact, everybody said his statement was beautiful; if he would have made it sooner, that would have been good. I couldn’t have made it sooner because I didn’t know all of the facts.
Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts. It was very important that — excuse me, excuse me — it was very important to me to get the facts out and correctly. Because if I would have made a fast statement, and the first statement was made without knowing much other than what we were seeing.
The second statement was made after — with knowledge, with great knowledge. There are still things — excuse me — there are still things that people don’t know.
TRUMP: I want to make a statement with knowledge. I wanted to know the facts.
OK…
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Was it — two questions. Was it terrorism? And can you tell us what you’re feeling about your…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Well, I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and his country. And that is — you can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict. That’s what I’d call it. Because there is a question. Is it murder? Is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics.
The driver of the car is a murderer. And what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.
QUESTION: Can you tell us how you’re feeling about your chief strategist, Mr. Bannon? Can you talk about that?
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: I would echo Maggie’s (ph) question. Steve Bannon…
TRUMP: I never spoke to Mr. Bannon about it.
QUESTION: But can you tell us broadly what you’re — do you still have confidence in Steve (ph)?
TRUMP: Well, we see (ph) — and look, look. I like Mr. Bannon. He’s a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late, you know that. I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that, and I like him. He’s a good man. He is not a racist, I can tell you that. He’s a good person. He actually gets a very unfair press in that regard.
But we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon, but he’s a good person, and I think the press treats him, frankly, very unfairly.
QUESTION: Do you have confidence in him? Because he has called on you to defend your national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, against…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: I’ve already done it. I did it the last time.
QUESTION: And he called on it again (ph) linking this (ph)…
TRUMP: Senator McCain?
QUESTION: …the alt-right and…
TRUMP: Senator McCain, you mean the one who voted against Obamacare? Who is — you mean Senator McCain who voted against us getting good healthcare?
QUESTION: Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those who perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.
TRUMP: Well, I don’t know — I can’t tell you. I’m sure Senator McCain must know what he’s talking about. But when you say the “alt- right,” define “alt-right” to me. You define it, go ahead.
QUESTION: Well, I think that (ph)…
TRUMP: No, define it for me, come on. Let’s go. Define it for me.
QUESTION: Senator McCain defined them as the same group…
TRUMP: OK, what about the alt-left that came charging them (ph)? Excuse me. What about the alt-left that came charging at the — as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?
QUESTION: Mr. Trump…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Let me ask you this. What about the fact they came charging — that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.
QUESTION: Sir…
TRUMP: As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.
Wait a minute, I’m not finished.
(CROSSTALK)
I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day…
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)
TRUMP: I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you have — you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Do you think that the — what you call the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?
TRUMP: Those people — all of those people — excuse me. I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were White Supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.
So — excuse me. And you take a look at some of the groups and you see — and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not, but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.
So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?
You know, you all — you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? But they were there to protest — excuse me. You take a look, the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.
Infrastructure question, go ahead.
QUESTION: Should the statue of Robert E. Lee stay up?
TRUMP: I would say that’s up to a local town, community, or the federal government, depending on where it is located.
QUESTION: Are you against the Confederacy?
QUESTION: How concerned are you about race relations in America? And do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office?
TRUMP: I think they’ve gotten better or the same — look, they’ve been frayed for a long time. And you can ask President Obama about that, because he’d make speeches about it.
But I believe that the fact that I brought in — it will be soon, millions of jobs, you see where companies are moving back into our country, I think that’s going to have a tremendous positive impact on race relations. We have companies coming back into our country. We have two car companies that just announced. We have Foxconn in Wisconsin just announce. We have many companies I say pouring back into the country.
I think that’s going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It’s jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay. And when they have that, you watch how race relations will be.
And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities. We’re going to fix — we’re fixing the inner cities. We’re doing far more than anybody’s done with respect to the inner cities. It’s a priority for me. And it’s very important.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?
TRUMP: I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this. You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.
But there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: … on both sides, sir?
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Well, I do think there’s blame — yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. You look at — you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: And — and — and if you reported it accurately, you would say (inaudible).
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: (inaudible) started this (inaudible) Charlottesville. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest…
(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. (inaudible) themselves (inaudible) and you have some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group — excuse me, excuse me — I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same (inaudible)…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: George Washington was a slave-owner. Was George Washington a slave-owner? So, will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down — excuse me — are we going to take down — are we going to take down statues to George Washington?
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him?
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: OK. Good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave-owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue? So you know what? It’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
OK? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You’ve got — you had a lot of bad — you had a lot of bad people in the other group…
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: … treated unfairly (inaudible) you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly? (inaudible) understand what you’re saying.
TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them.
But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know — I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit.
So, I only tell you this, there are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country (sic).
Does anybody have a final — doesn’t anybody have a — you have an infrastructure…
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: What makes you think you can get an infrastructure bill? You didn’t get health care. You…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Well, you know, I’ll tell you. We came very close with health care. Unfortunately, John McCain decided to vote against it at the last minute. You’ll have to ask John McCain why he did that. But we came very close to health care. We will end up getting health care, but we’ll get the infrastructure. And actually, infrastructure is something that I think we’ll have bipartisan support on. I actually think — I actually think Democrats will go along with the infrastructure.
(CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Mr. President, have you spoken to the family — have you spoken to the family of the victim of the car…
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: … I’ll be reaching out. I’ll be reaching out.
QUESTION: When will you be reaching out?
TRUMP: I was very — I thought that the statement put out — the mother’s statement I thought was a beautiful statement. I must tell you, I was — it was something that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific. And really, under the — under the kind of stress that she’s under and the heartache that she’s under, I thought putting out that statement to me was really something I won’t forget.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.

Full Text Political Transcripts August 14, 2017: President Donald Trump Delivers a Statement Condemning Charlottesville Violence

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

Statement by President Trump

Source: WH, 8-14-17

Diplomatic Room

12:38 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  I’m in Washington today to meet with my economic team about trade policy and major tax cuts and reform.  We are renegotiating trade deals and making them good for the American worker.  And it’s about time.

Our economy is now strong.  The stock market continues to hit record highs, unemployment is at a 16-year low, and businesses are more optimistic than ever before.  Companies are moving back to the United States and bringing many thousands of jobs with them.  We have already created over one million jobs since I took office.

We will be discussing economic issues in greater detail later this afternoon, but, based on the events that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, I would like to provide the nation with an update on the ongoing federal response to the horrific attack and violence that was witnessed by everyone.

I just met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others.  To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable.  Justice will be delivered.

As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence.  It has no place in America.

And as I have said many times before:  No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.  We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence.  We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.

Racism is evil.  And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal.  We are equal in the eyes of our Creator.  We are equal under the law.  And we are equal under our Constitution.  Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.

Two days ago, a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed.  Her death fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers, and our love.

We also mourn the two Virginia state troopers who died in service to their community, their commonwealth, and their country.  Troopers Jay Cullen and Burke Bates exemplify the very best of America, and our hearts go out to their families, their friends, and every member of American law enforcement.

These three fallen Americans embody the goodness and decency of our nation.  In times such as these, America has always shown its true character:  responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice.

As a candidate, I promised to restore law and order to our country, and our federal law enforcement agencies are following through on that pledge.  We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear.  We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans, and we will work together so that every citizen in this blessed land is free to follow their dreams in their hearts, and to express the love and joy in their souls.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless America.  Thank you very much.

END
12:43 P.M. EDT

Political Musings June 18, 2014: Cantor’s last words on primary loss as House leadership campaign in full steam

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Cantor’s last words on primary loss as House leadership campaign in full steam

By Bonnie K. Goodman

With all that was going on politically in the world, Washington could not stop discussing House of Representative Majority Leader and Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s stunning primary loss almost a week earlier on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 on…Continue

 

History Buzz April 14, 2014: Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War

University of Virginia historian Alan Taylor, one of the nation’s premier experts in Colonial America and the early U.S. republic, has received a Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.”….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 26, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Impact of the Sequester & Defense Spending Cuts in Newport News, Virginia

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Calls for a Responsible Approach to Deficit Reduction

Source: WH, 2-26-13

President Barack Obama at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., Feb. 26, 2013President Barack Obama delivers remarks to highlight the devastating impact the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families, at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., Feb. 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Remarks by the President on the Impact of the Sequester – Newport News, VA

Source: WH, 2-26-13 

Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia

1:23 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Newport News!  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to see all of you here today.

I want to thank your CEO, Mike Petters, for showing me around.  I usually don’t get a chance to hang out with nuclear submarines, especially submarines that my wife has sponsored.  (Applause.)  So right there, that was worth the trip.

But most importantly, it’s a great chance to see the incredible men and women who, every single day, are helping to keep America safe and are just the bedrock of this country’s manufacturing base.  Thank you to all of you.  (Applause.)

I want to thank our outstanding Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who’s here.  (Applause.)  There he is right there — the good-looking guy over at the end.  (Laughter.)  I want to thank your Mayor, McKinley Price, who served this nation bravely in the U.S. Army.  (Applause.)  I want to thank two outstanding Congressmen who care about this facility, care about Virginia and care about the country — Congressman Bobby Scott is here — (applause) — and Congressman Scott Rigell is here as well.  (Applause.)

Now, the reason I came here today, in addition to seeing just some incredible stuff — it’s true, every time I come to these places, I don’t know how you all do it.  It is just amazing work.  But the main reason I’m here is to call attention to the important work that you’re doing on behalf of the nation’s defense, and to let the American people know that this work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington.

In a few days, Congress might allow a series of immediate, painful, arbitrary budget cuts to take place — known in Washington as the sequester.  Now, that’s a pretty bad name — sequester.  But the effects are even worse than the name.  Instead of cutting out the government spending we don’t need — wasteful programs that don’t work, special interest tax loopholes and tax breaks — what the sequester does is it uses a meat cleaver approach to gut critical investments in things like education and national security and lifesaving medical research.

And the impact of this policy won’t be felt overnight, but it will be real.  The sequester will weaken America’s economic recovery.  It will weaken our military readiness.  And it will weaken the basic services that the American people depend on every single day.

Already, the uncertainty around these cuts is having an effect.  Companies are starting to prepare for layoff notices.  Families are preparing to cut back on expenses.  And the longer these cuts are in place, the greater the damage.

So here at Newport News Shipbuilding, you guys have made an enormous investment, because we’ve said in order to maintain the finest Navy that the world has ever known we’ve got to make sure that there is an orderly process whereby we are continually upgrading our ships, building new ships, maintaining our ships properly.  And these are some big ships.  So it’s expensive, and it’s complicated.  And you’ve got 5,000 suppliers all across the country, and you’ve got to have some certainty and some knowledge about how things are going to proceed over the long term for Mike and others to plan properly.

So you’re rightly concerned.  Mike is properly concerned about the impact that these cuts will have on not just this company, but companies and small businesses from all 50 states that supply you with parts and equipment.

Mike was telling me that you guys have already made a billion dollars’ worth of capital investment.  You’ve got half a billion dollars in training costs as you recruit and hire new people.  Well, those aren’t commitments that you make lightly.  You’ve got to have the capacity to plan and have some certainty in terms of what it is that we’re going to be doing.  And you know that if Congress can’t get together and plan our nation’s finances for the long term, that over time some of your jobs and businesses could be at risk.

Over at the Norfolk Naval Station, the threat of these cuts has already forced the Navy to cancel the deployment, or delay the repair of certain aircraft carriers.  One that’s currently being built might not get finished.  Another carrier might not get started at all.  And that hurts your bottom line.  That hurts this community.

Because of these automatic cuts, about 90,000 Virginians who work for the Department of Defense would be forced to take unpaid leave from their jobs.  So that’s money out of their pockets, money out of their paychecks.  And then that means there’s going to be a ripple effect on thousands of other jobs and businesses and services throughout the Commonwealth, because if they don’t have money in their pockets or less money in their pockets, that means they’re less able to afford to buy goods and services from other businesses.  So it’s not just restricted to the defense industry.

All told, the sequester could cost tens of thousands of jobs right here in Virginia.  But it doesn’t just stop there.  If the sequester goes into effect, more than 2,000 college students would lose their financial aid.  Early education like Head Start and Early Start would be eliminated for nearly 1,000 children, and around 18,000 fewer Virginians would get the skills and training they need to find a job.

Across the country, these cuts will force federal prosecutors to close cases and potentially let criminals go.  Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, and that could cause delays at airports across the country.  Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings, including more than 3,500 children right here in Virginia.

So these cuts are wrong.  They’re not smart.  They’re not fair.  They’re a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.

Now, the reason that we’re even thinking about the sequester is because people are rightly concerned about the deficit and the debt.  But there is a sensible way of doing things and there is a dumb way of doing things.  I mean, think about your own family.  Let’s say that suddenly you’ve got a little less money coming in. Are you going to say, well, we’ll cut out college tuition for the kid, we’ll stop feeding the little guy over here, we won’t pay our car note even though that means we can’t get to work — that’s not what you do, right?

You step back and you say, what is it that’s important — our child’s education, making sure they’re healthy, making sure we can get to the job, keeping our house repaired?  And then you say, here are the things that aren’t so important and you cut those out.  You prioritize, and you make smart decisions.  Well, we should be doing the same thing.

Now, I’ve laid out a plan that details how we can pay down our deficit in a way that’s balanced and responsible.  We have the plan right on a website, the White House website.  Everybody can go see it.  It details exactly how we can cut programs that don’t work, how we can raise money by closing loopholes that are only serving a few, as opposed to the average American.

We detailed $930 billion in sensible spending cuts that we’re willing to make and $580 billion in wasteful tax loopholes and deductions that we’re willing to eliminate through tax reform.

And what I’ve said is if the Republicans in Congress don’t like every detail of my proposal, which I don’t expect them to, I’ve told them my door is open.  I am more than willing to negotiate.  I want to compromise.  There’s no reason why we can’t come together and find a sensible way to reduce the deficit over the long term without affecting vital services, without hurting families, without impacting outstanding facilities like this one and our national defense.  There’s a way of doing this.

And the fact is there are leaders in both parties throughout this country who want to do the same.  I’ve got to give Scott Rigell credit.  He is one of your Republican congressmen who’s with us here today — and that’s not always healthy for a Republican, being with me.  But the reason he’s doing it is because he knows it’s important to you.  And he’s asked his colleagues in the House to consider closing tax loopholes instead of letting these automatic cuts go through.  He’s concerned about the deficit, and he’s more than prepared to make some really tough cuts, but he wants to do it in a smart way.

Bobby Scott — same thing.  Some of the cuts we’ve proposed, Bobby might not think are perfect, but he knows that we’ve got to make some tough decisions.  He just wants to make sure that you aren’t the ones who are adversely impacted and that we’re sharing the sacrifice in bringing down our deficit; we’re not just dumping it on a few people and we’re not doing it in a dumb way.

Senators like John McCain have made similar statements to what Scott said.  Your Republican Governor along with other governors around the country have said they want Congress to stop the sequester, to stop these cuts.

But I just have to be honest with you.  There are too many Republicans in Congress right now who refuse to compromise even an inch when it comes to closing tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks.  And that’s what’s holding things up right now.

Keep in mind, nobody is asking them to raise income tax rates.  All we’re asking is to consider closing tax loopholes and deductions that the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said he was willing to do just a few months ago.  He said there were a bunch of loopholes and deductions you could close.  He said you could raise $800 billion, a trillion dollars by closing loopholes.

Well, we’re not even asking for that much.  All we’re asking is that they close loopholes for the well-off and the well-connected — for hedge fund managers, or oil companies, or corporate jet owners who are all doing very well and don’t need these tax loopholes — so we can avoid laying off workers, or kicking kids off Head Start, or reducing financial aid for college students.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  I do not think that is partisan.  (Applause.)  The majority of the American people agree with me.  The majority of Newport News agrees with me.  We need to get this done.  (Applause.)

But the choice is up to Congress.  Only Congress has the power to pass a law that stops these damaging cuts and replaces them with smart savings and tax reform.  And the second I get that bill on my desk, I will sign it into law.  But I’ve got to get Congress to pass it.

None of us will get 100 percent of what we want.  Democrats, they’ve got to make some tough choices too. Democrats like me, we’ve said we’re prepared to make some tough cuts and reforms, including to programs like Medicare.  But if we’re willing to compromise, then Republicans in the House have to compromise as well.  That’s what democracy is about.  That’s what this country needs right now.  (Applause.)

So let me just make one last point, by the way, for those of you who are following this.  Now, lately, some people have been saying, well, maybe we’ll just give the President some flexibility.  He could make the cuts the way he wants and that way it won’t be as damaging.  The problem is when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10-percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there’s no smart way to do that.  There’s no smart way to do that.  You don’t want to have to choose between, let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid, or the poor kid?  Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?  When you’re doing things in a way that’s not smart, you can’t gloss over the pain and the impact it’s going to have on the economy.

And the broader point is, Virginia, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.  We can’t just cut our way to prosperity.  We can’t ask seniors and working families like yours to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful.  We’re not going to grow the middle class just by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or forcing communities to lay off more teachers or cops or firefighters or shipbuilders, and then folks who are doing really well don’t have to do anything more.  That’s not fair, and it’s not good for the economy.

And the other thing we’ve got to do is to stop having these crises manufactured every month.  It seems like — I know you guys must get tired of it.  (Applause.)  Didn’t we just solve this thing?  Now we’ve got another thing coming up?  (Applause.) I mean, think about if Mike Petters ran his business this way — once every month or two there would be some crisis, and you wouldn’t be sure whether or not you were working or not.  Even if it got solved eventually or ultimately, it would be pretty discouraging on people.  You would be less productive.  Ships wouldn’t get built as fast.  You would waste money because you don’t know exactly what to expect.  Folks aren’t sure, am I showing up to work today, or not?

If it’s not a good way to run a business, it’s sure not a good way to run a country.  (Applause.)

Now, all of you, the American people, you’ve worked too hard for too long rebuilding and digging our way out of the financial crisis back in 2007 and 2008 just to see Congress cause another one.  The greatest nation on Earth can’t keep on conducting its business drifting from one crisis to the next.

We’ve got to have a plan.  We’ve got to invest in our common future.  Our true north is a growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs; a country that provides its people with the skills they need to get those jobs and make sure that you’re getting paid a decent wage for working hard so you can support your families.  That’s what we should be focused on right now.  Not weakening the economy.  Not laying people off.  (Applause.)

That’s what we should be talking about in Washington.  And if you agree with me, I need you to make sure your voices are heard.  Let your leaders know what you expect of them.  Let them know what you believe.  Let them know that what this country was built on was a sense of obligation to not just each other but to future generations; that we’ve got to shoulder those obligations as one nation, and as one people.

I was in a conversation with some of the governors from across the country yesterday and I told them, I said, I’ve run my last election.  Michelle is very happy about that.  (Laughter.)  I’m not interested in spin; I’m not interested in playing a blame game.  At this point, all I’m interested in is just solving problems.  (Applause.)  All I’m interested in is making sure that when you get up early in the morning, and get to this ship at 5:30 in the morning, that you know if you do a good job and if you work hard and if you’re making sure that all the parts to this incredible ship that you’re building are where they need to be — if you’re doing what you do, then you can go home feeling satisfied, I did my job, I did my part, I can support my family, I can take pride in what I’ve done for this country.

That’s all I want.  I want us to be able to look back five years from now, 10 years from now, and say we took care of our business and we put an end to some of these games that maybe, I guess, are entertaining for some but are hurting too many people.

But in order for us to make that happen I’m going to need you.  The one thing about being President is, after four years you get pretty humble.  (Laughter.)  You’d think maybe you wouldn’t, but actually you become more humble.  You realize what you don’t know.  You realize all the mistakes you’ve made.  But you also realize you can’t do things by yourself.  That’s not how our system works.  You’ve got to have the help and the goodwill of Congress, and what that means is you’ve got to make sure that constituents of members of Congress are putting some pressure on them, making sure they’re doing the right thing, putting an end to some of these political games.

So I need you, Virginia, to keep up the pressure.  I need you to keep up the effort.  I need you to keep up the fight.  (Applause.)  If you do, Congress will listen.  If you stand up and speak out, Congress will listen.  And together, we will unleash our true potential, and we’ll remind the world just why it is the United States builds the greatest ships on Earth and is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END
1:44 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency February 7, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the House Democrats Annual Retreat in Leesburg, Virginia — House Democratic Issues Conference

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at House Democratic Issues Conference

Source: WH, 2-7-13 

Lansdowne Resort
Leesburg, Virginia
12:49 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. Please have a seat. Xavier, thank you for that very gracious introduction and your outstanding leadership.

Let me begin by saying that I could not be happier that one of my most important friends and partners is still leading our Democrats in the House of Representatives. I love Nancy Pelosi. Give her a big round of applause. (Applause.) Love Nancy Pelosi. (Applause.) Also, she just generates good-looking grandbabies. (Laughter.) They’re all so handsome and sharp and beautiful.

To Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn, as well as Xavier and Joe Crowley, thank you so much for the great work that you guys are doing each and every day. And to Steve Israel, who worked tirelessly to bring on 49 new outstanding members of this caucus. (Applause.) I am looking forward to spending time with all 49 of you. And hopefully we’ll be seeing you over at the White House and at various events, but obviously I know that you came here to get something done. And I am looking forward to working with you every single day to make sure that we’re doing right by the people who sent us here.

Now, I actually just changed the format here. I called an audible — because originally the way this was scheduled was I was just going to talk and then I was going to shake some hands, and I thought, since this is not a shy bunch, it might make sense for me to take some questions and some advice I’m sure you guys have for me. (Laughter.) So what I’m going to do is I’m just going to make s few points at the top, and then what I’d like is maybe Xavier or Steve or somebody can come up here, you can call on folks, and we’ll spend a little time with Q&A before I get a chance to say hello to everybody.

And part of the reason I want to keep my remarks short is because I just made a pretty long speech a couple of weeks ago, and I’m about to make another next week, and I don’t want you guys tired of me. (Laughter.)

But, obviously, I’m deeply grateful to have been reelected, and I’m humbled by the support that I received from all across the country. (Applause.) And I said at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning — and I was telling the truth — I genuinely am humbled. The fascinating thing about this job is the longer you’re in it, the more humble you get, and the more you recognize your own imperfections. And you try to make up with effort and hard work those gaps in your personality or your intelligence that become so apparent to everybody on the daily news every day. (Laughter.)

But even as I think it’s important to be humbled by the privilege of this office and the privilege of serving in the United States Congress, even as it’s important not to read too much into any particular political victory — because this country is big, it is diverse, it is contentious, and we don’t have a monopoly on wisdom, and we need to remember that — despite all those things, I think it’s also important for us to feel confident and bold about the values we care about and what we stand for.

And I tried to do that in my inauguration speech, and I’m hoping that we all do that over the next four years. Because when I think about what it means to be a Democrat in this day and age, I start with the basic proposition that we are all created equal, that we’re all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. And my governing philosophy and my interest in public service grows out of how we make that union more perfect for more people, day in, day out.

And that starts with an economy that works for everybody. Throughout my campaign, and throughout many of your campaigns, we talked about this bedrock notion that our economy succeeds and our economy grows when everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is getting a fair shake and everybody is playing by the same rules. That we have an economy in which we’re growing a vibrant middle class — that it grows from the middle out and the bottom up, not from the top down.

And over the next four years as I work with this caucus and every caucus, the question I will ask myself on every item, every issue is, is this helping to make sure that everybody has got a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules. Because I believe that is a growth agenda — not just an equity agenda, not just a fairness agenda — that is a growth agenda. That is when we have grown fastest.
And that means that what you’ll hear from me next week, I’m going to be talking about making sure that we’re focused on job creation here in the United States of America. (Applause.) It means that we’re focused on education and that every young person is equipped with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century. (Applause.) It means that we’ve got an energy agenda that can make us less dependent on foreign oil, but also that we’re cultivating the kind of clean energy strategy that will maintain our leadership well into the future.

It means that we’re going to talk about, yes, deficits and taxes and sequesters and potential government shutdowns and debt ceiling — we’ll talk about that stuff, but all from the perspective of how are we making sure that somebody who works hard in this country — a cop, or a teacher, or a construction worker, or a receptionist — that they can make it if they work hard, and that their kids can make it and dream even bigger dreams than they have achieved.

And obviously a lot of what we’ll be working on initially over the next few weeks is going to be on how do we deal with the sequester issue. And I just want to make this quick point. I had a press conference this week in which I reiterated I am prepared, eager, and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this “governance by crisis” — (applause) — where every two weeks or every two months or every six months, we are threatening this hard-won recovery — where finally housing is starting to pick up, and commercial real estate is starting to do better, and the unemployment numbers are still too high, but we’re seeing some job growth, and businesses are investing and manufacturing is doing well — and we continue to have these self-inflicted crises here in Washington that suddenly leads everybody to tap the brakes.

And so what I said this week was I want to do something big to provide certainty and steadiness for the economy and for American families. And that means a balanced package that will reduce our long-term deficit and debt, but that still allows us to invest in those things that we need to grow right now — (applause) — because that’s also a deficit reduction agenda, us growing faster.

And in order to have a balanced package, that means that — we’ve already done a lot of cuts. We’ve done some revenue now. And so the rest of the way moving forward, we can do some additional reforms, and make our health care programs work better and make them more efficient, and we can cut our programs that we don’t need. But it also means that we’ve got to be able to close some tax loopholes and deductions that the average American cannot take advantage of, to raise the revenue to actually do the job in a way that allows us to continue to grow. (Applause.)

Now, the reason this is relevant is because I gather — and I haven’t gotten this from firsthand sources, but from secondhand sources in the press — that our friends on the other side of the aisle, their position is: We’re concerned about the sequester. We recognize that just cutting the federal spending with a meat ax, as opposed to scalpel is probably damaging — it will damage our national security; it will damage our educational system. We’ll have kids getting kicked off of Head Start. It will mean people who have disabled kids suddenly having less help.

They recognize that the sequester is a bad idea, but what they’ve suggested is that the only way to replace it now is for us to cut Social Security, cut Medicare, and not close a single loophole, not raise any additional revenue from the wealthiest Americans or corporations who have a lot of lawyers and accountants who are able to maneuver and manage and work and game the system.

And I have to tell you, if that’s an argument that they want to have before the court of public opinion, that is an argument I’m more than willing to engage in. (Applause.) Because I believe the American people understand that, yes, we need to reduce the deficit, but it shouldn’t just be on the backs of seniors; it shouldn’t just be on the backs of young people who are trying to get a college education; it should not just be on the backs of parents who are trying to give their kids a better start in life; that all of us have to participate — and that if, in fact, it’s important for us to make sure we’ve got a strong national defense and that we reduce our spending in a smart way, we sure as heck should be willing to ask those of us who are luckiest in this society to close a few loopholes and deductions that the average American doesn’t get.

And if that’s the choice that we’ve got, I promise you we can win that debate because we’re on the right side of this argument. And I expect that you guys will be with me on that. (Applause.)

Last point I’ll make — obviously economic growth is a priority. But making sure that we’re opening up opportunity for everybody is also important. And that’s why immigration reform is so critical. (Applause.) I said this is going to be a top priority and an early priority of my administration. I am heartened to see Republicans and Democrats starting to be in a serious conversation about getting this done. Now is the time.

I recognize that the politics aren’t always easy. There are regional variations. I understand that in some places this may end up being a tough issue. But what I also know is that part of our strength is our youth and our dynamism, and our history for attracting talent from all around the globe. And I’ve seen that talent in some of the young DREAMers that I’ve met who want to serve in our military, want to get an engineering degree, want to help build this country, want to start a business. And I want to make sure that that American future is secured.

So we need to get immigration reform done. And I’m going to be pushing hard to get it done early. (Applause.)

And we’re also going to have to make sure that we keep the American people safe, which means that we’re going to continue to work, even as we draw down our troops in Afghanistan, to go after those who would attack America.

And we’ve got to be mindful about steps we can take to end the cycle of gun violence in this country. And we should do so — (applause) — recognizing that, again, there are regional differences here and we should respect those, and guns mean something different for somebody who grew up on a farm in a rural community than somebody who grew up in an inner city and they’re different realities and we have to respect them. But what we know is the majority of responsible gun owners recognize we cannot have a situation in which 20 more of our children, or a 100 more of our children, or a 1,000 more of our children are shot and killed in a senseless fashion, and that there are some common-sense steps that we can take and build a consensus around. And we cannot shy away from taking those steps.

So the bottom line is this, people — we’ve got a lot of work to do. What we’ve learned over the last four years — at least what I’ve learned over the last four years — is that it won’t be smooth; it won’t be simple. There will be frustrations. There will be times when you guys are mad at me — (laughter) — and I’ll occasionally read about it. But as long as we keep in mind why we came here in the first place; as long as we think back to whatever inspired each of us to say, maybe I can give something back, maybe I can make a difference, maybe my purpose here on Earth is not just thinking about what’s in it for me, but thinking about what’s in it for the broader community — for my neighborhood, for my state, for my country — if we keep that in mind every single day, I have no doubt that we will continue the extraordinary progress that we’ve made already.

And as a byproduct of doing that good work and keeping that focus, I would expect that Nancy Pelosi is going to be Speaker again pretty soon. (Applause.)

All right? So thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)
END
1:12 P.M. EST

Political Headlines November 11, 2012: President Barack Obama Marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama Marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-11-12

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Honoring the nation’s military “heroes over the generations, who have served this country of ours with distinction,” President Barack Obama today participated in Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

After laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the president spoke on the grounds’ memorial amphitheater to tell assembled military and their families that Nov. 11 would forever belong to them and, “every service member who has ever worn our nation’s uniform.”

“On behalf of the American people, I say to you that the memory of your loved one carries on not just in your hearts, but in ours as well.  And I assure you that their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” he said. “For it is in that sacrifice that we see the enduring spirit of America.  Since even before our founding, we have been blessed with an unbroken chain of patriots who have always come forward to serve.”…READ MORE

Election 2012 November 6, 2012: Election Day: Mitt Romney Still Campaigning, Barack Obama to Play Basketball

ELECTION 2012

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Election Day: Romney Still Campaigning, Obama to Play Basketball

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-6-12

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The costliest election in United States history is also one of the closest, as polls open Tuesday and the country finally picks its president after a long and divisive campaign.

After spending nearly $1 billion apiece, President Obama and Mitt Romney are today in much the same place they were months ago at the campaign’s outset — the president leads his Republican challenger by so small a margin it is statistically insignificant in most places.

The tightness of the race was expressed at midnight, when the first town to open and close its polls — the tiny hamlet of Dixville Notch, N.H. — evenly split its vote five to five.

On Tuesday, Romney will campaign up to the last minute, holding rallies in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and doing interviews with radio stations in Ohio and Virginia.

Obama, meanwhile, will remain in his home state of Illinois on Tuesday, doing some satellite television interviews and playing a game of basketball — an Election Day ritual….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz November 1, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Roanoke, Virginia — We Don’t Need A Secretary Of Business, We Need A President Who Understands Business

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney: We Don’t Need A Secretary Of Business, We Need A President Who Understands Business

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 11-1-12

“We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business; we need a president who understands business, and I do. That’s why I will be able to get this economy going. This isn’t the time for small measures. This is a time for greatness. This is a time for big change, for real change.” – Mitt Romney
Remarks
Roanoke, Virginia
November 1, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Now, I know the president’s been trying to figure out some way to suggest he’s got some new ideas, because with all these people out of work, with 3 million more women in poverty today than when he took office, with 15 more million people on food stamps than when he took office, he’s got to find something to suggest it’s going to be better over the next four years. And so he came up with an idea last week, which is he’s going to create the department of business. I don’t think adding a new chair in his Cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street. I mean, unfortunately, what you’ve seen before your very eyes is a campaign that keeps on shrinking and shrinking and shrinking to smaller things. I mean, he’s been out talking about how he’s going to save Big Bird and then playing silly word games with my last name and then — or first, and then attacking me day-in and day-out. Attacking me doesn’t make an agenda, doesn’t get people back to work. We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business; we need a president who understands business, and I do. That’s why I will be able to get this economy going. This isn’t the time for small measures. This is a time for greatness. This is a time for big change, for real change. And that’s why, just as your next senator said, this is a time where from day one he’s going to make changes, I’m going to make real changes, I’m going to get this economy going. From day one, we’re making changes.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 19, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia — Accuses Opponent Mitt Romney of Contracting ‘Romnesia’

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Accuses Opponent of Contracting ‘Romnesia’

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-19-12

Standing in front of a bleacher consisting entirely of women at George Mason University on Friday, President Obama introduced a new line of attack designed to paint his GOP opponent’s pivot to the center as insincere and deceptive.

“Now that we’re 18 days out from the election, Mr. ‘Severely Conservative’ wants you to think he was severely kidding about everything he said over the last year,” the president said. “He told folks he was the ideal candidate for the Tea Party, now he’s telling folks, ‘What? Who me?’ He’s forgetting what his own positions are. And he’s betting that you will too.”

Continued the president, “he’s changing up so much and backtracking and side stepping we’ve got to name this condition he’s going through.”

“I think it’s called… ‘Romnesia,’” the president said to cheers and laughter….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Fairfax, VA

Source: WH, 10-19-12 

George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia

11:55 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia!  (Applause.)  Are you fired up?  (Applause.)  Are you ready to go?  (Applause.)  I can’t hear you!  (Applause.)  Well, it’s good to be back.  Thank you.

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Can everybody please give Cecile a big round of applause for the great introduction and the work she does.  (Applause.)  We’ve got your Congressman here — Gerry Connolly in the house.  (Applause.)

Eighteen days.  Eighteen days, Virginia.  Eighteen days and you’re going to step into a voting booth.  And you’re going to have a very big choice to make — not just a choice between two candidates or two parties, but between two fundamentally different visions for this country that we love.

Governor Romney has got his sales pitch.  We heard it the other night at the debate.  He’s been running around talking about his five-point plan for the economy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo — vote.  Vote!  (Applause.)

He wants you to believe that somehow he’ll create 12 million jobs, cut taxes by $5 trillion, even though it favors the wealthiest Americans.  None of this will add to the deficit.

When folks who don’t actually work for Governor Romney start crunching the numbers, it turns out the tax plan doesn’t add up, jobs plan doesn’t create jobs, deficit plan doesn’t reduce the deficit.  An economist at the New York Times put it this morning, “There’s no jobs plan — there’s just a snow job on the American people.”  (Applause.)  A snow job.

Virginia, you’ve heard of the New Deal, you’ve heard of the Square Deal, the Fair Deal.  Mitt Romney is trying to give you a Sketchy Deal.  (Laughter.)  A sketchy deal.

And it’s really just a one-point plan, not a five-point plan.  One point — folks at the very top play by a different set of rules than all of you.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Listen, don’t boo — vote.  (Laughter.)

If he offered you that deal when he was in corporate finance, you wouldn’t give him a dime.  So why would you give him his vote?

This same philosophy that’s been squeezing the middle-class family for more than a decade — the same philosophy that got us into this mess.  We can’t go back to that.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve met too many good Americans who work so hard, show so much resilience, so much resolve — we have been fighting our way back from some of the same policies he’s advocating.  We have been there.  We have tried it.  We can’t go back.  (Applause.)  We are moving forward.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I believe that the biggest issue in this election is how do we rebuild a strong middle class and provide ladders for opportunity — all those who want to get into the middle class, who are willing to work hard, willing to take responsibility.  Are we going to make sure that we’re a country where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules?  (Applause.)

So the economy is the dominant issue.  But I want everybody to understand that that’s not the only place where Governor Romney is offering you a sketchy deal.  It’s bad enough that my opponent wants to take us back to the failed economic policies of the past.  But when it comes to issues critical to women — the right to make your own decision about your health — (applause) — the right to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace.  (Applause.)  Governor Romney wants to take us to policies more suited to the 1950s.  Even his own running mate said he’s “kind of a throwback to the ‘50s.”  That’s one thing we agree on.  (Laughter.)

He may not have noticed, we’re in the 21st century.  (Applause.)  And in the 21st century, a woman deserves equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  This should be a no-brainer.  But no matter how many times Governor Romney is asked whether or not he supports a law upholding that idea, he refuses to say.  Why should this be hard?  Are you for equal pay for equal work?  Are you for making sure that laws enforce that basic principle?

He can’t tell you.  I can.  (Applause.)  I support that law.  In fact, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first law that I signed into office.  (Applause.)  And this isn’t just a women’s issue.  No man should want his wife, or his daughters paid less than a man for doing the same job.  (Applause.)  This is a family issue.  This is an economic issue.  It’s one that we’ve got to fight for.

When Governor Romney says he’s going to get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo —

AUDIENCE:  Vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  — vote.

What he apparently doesn’t understand is that there are millions of women all across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood not just for contraceptive care, but for preventive care.  That’s not just a health issue, it’s an economic issue.

When Governor Romney said he’d have supported an extreme measure in Massachusetts that could have outlawed some forms of contraception, when he joined the far right of his party to support a bill that would have allowed any employer to deny contraceptive care to their employees —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo —

AUDIENCE:  Vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  — vote.  (Laughter.)

What he didn’t get is that making sure your insurance policy covers contraceptive care is an economic issue also.  I don’t think your boss should decide what’s best for your health and safety.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t think your insurance company gets to decide what care you should get.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I sure don’t think any politician should decide.  (Applause.)  The only person who should decide about your health care is you.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, that’s why we fought so hard to pass health care reform, a.k.a. Obamacare.  That’s why we pushed for it.  (Applause.)

This law has secured new access to preventive care like mammograms and other cancer screenings for more than 20 million women, with no co-pay, no deductible, no out-of-pocket cost, because I do not believe a working mother should have to put off a mammogram just because money is tight.  (Applause.)

This law means that most health plans are now beginning to cover the cost of contraceptive care because I don’t think a college student in Charlottesville or Blacksburg or Fairfax should have to choose between textbooks or the preventive care that she needs.  (Applause.)

And, by the way for all the young people out here, Obamacare has already allowed nearly 7 million young adults under the age of 26 to sign up to stay on their parent’s plans.  (Applause.)

For all those who are young at heart but not young in years, it’s already saved millions of seniors on Medicare hundreds of dollars on their prescription medicine.  (Applause.)

Insurance companies can no longer put lifetime limits on your care or discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.  (Applause.)  And soon, they’ll no longer be able to charge women more for the same care just because they’re women.  That’s what change looks like.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Now, anybody who thinks that this election doesn’t matter, know this:  My opponent has promised to repeal all of the things we just talked about as soon as he takes office, says he’d do it on day one.  We know full well that if he gets the chance, he’ll rubber-stamp the agenda of this Republican Congress the second he takes office.  Virginia, we can’t give him that chance.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I know he’s called him severely — he’s called himself “severely conservative,” but there’s nothing conservative about a government that prevents a woman from making her own health care decisions.

He talks about freedom, but freedom is the ability to choose the care you need when you need it.  Freedom is the ability to change jobs or start your own business without the fear of losing your health insurance.  Freedom is the knowledge that you’ll no longer be charged more than men for the same health care, or denied affordable coverage just because you beat cancer.

When the next President and Congress could tip the balance of the highest court in the land in a way that turns back the clock for women and families for decades to come, you don’t want someone who needs to ask for binders of women.  (Applause.)  You don’t want that guy.  You want a President who has already appointed two unbelievable women to the Supreme Court of the United States.  (Applause.)

So, Virginia, the choice —

AUDIENCE:  Obama!  Obama!  Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  The choice between going backward and moving forward has never been so clear.  But now that we’re 18 days out from the election, Mr. “Severely Conservative” — (laughter) — wants you to think he was severely kidding about everything he said over the last year.  (Laughter.)  He told folks he was “the ideal candidate” for the Tea Party.  Now suddenly he’s saying, “what, who, me?”  (Laughter.)  He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will, too.

I mean, he’s changing up so much and backtracking and sidestepping — (laughter) — we’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through.  I think it’s called “Romnesia.”  (Laughter and applause.)  That’s what it’s called.  I think that’s what he’s going through.

Now, I’m not a medical doctor, but I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you — because I want to make sure nobody else catches it.  (Laughter and applause.)  If you say you’re for equal pay for equal work, but you keep refusing to say whether or not you’d sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work — you might have Romnesia.  (Laughter and applause.)

If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let your employer deny you contraceptive care –- you might have a case of Romnesia.  (Applause.)

If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be delighted to sign a law outlying — outlawing that right to choose in all cases -– man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia.  (Applause.)

Now, this extends to other issues.  If you say earlier in the year, I’m going to give a tax cut to the top 1 percent and then in a debate you say, I don’t know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks — you need to get a thermometer, take your temperature, because you’ve probably got Romnesia.  (Applause.)

If you say that you’re a champion of the coal industry when, while you were governor you stood in front of a coal plant and said, this plant will kill you — (laughter) —

AUDIENCE:  Romnesia!

THE PRESIDENT:  — that’s some Romnesia.  (Applause.)

So I think you’re being able — you’re beginning to be able to identify these symptoms.  And if you come down with a case of Romnesia, and you can’t seem to remember the policies that are still on your website — (laughter) — or the promises you’ve made over the six years you’ve been running for President,  here’s the good news:  Obamacare covers preexisting conditions.  (Laughter and applause.)  We can fix you up.  We’ve got a cure.  We can make you well, Virginia.  (Applause.)  This is a curable disease.  (Laughter.)

Women, men — all of you — these are family issues.  These are economic issues.  I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as anybody’s sons.  I believe America does better — the economy grows more, we create more jobs — when everybody participates, when everyone is getting a fair shot, everybody is getting a fair shake, everybody is playing by the same rules, everybody is doing their fair share.  That’s why I’m running for a second term for President of the United States.  (Applause.)  I need you to help me finish the job.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Four years ago, I told you we’d end the war in Iraq, and we did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d end the war in Afghanistan — we are.  I said we’d refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and we have.  (Applause.)  Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families, and I have.  (Applause.)  I promised to cut taxes for small business owners — we have, 18 times.  (Applause.)

We got every dime back from the banks that we used to rescue those banks.  We passed laws to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts for good.

We repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to make sure that nobody who wants to serve our country gets kicked out because of who they love.  (Applause.)

When Governor Romney said we’d let — he’d let Detroit go bankrupt, we said, we’re not going to take your advice.  We reinvented a dying auto industry that’s come roaring back to the top of the world.  (Applause.)

Four years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetime, we’re moving.  After losing 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, businesses have now added over 5 million new jobs.  Unemployment has fallen from 10 percent to 7.8 percent.  Home values are back on the rise.  (Applause.)  The stock market has nearly doubled — 401(k)s are starting to recover.  Manufacturing is coming home.  Assembly lines are humming again.  We’ve got to keep moving forward.  We’ve got to keep moving forward.  (Applause.)

We’ve got more work to do.  I’ve got a plan — and it’s a real plan, not a sales pitch — to grow the economy and create jobs and build more security for the middle class.

I want to send fewer jobs overseas and sell more products overseas.  (Applause.)  I want to invest in manufacturers and small businesses that create jobs right here in Virginia, right here in America.

I want us to control more of our own energy, cut oil imports in half, create thousands of clean energy jobs.

I want every child to have the same chance at a great education that Michelle and I received.  (Applause.)  I want to hire more teachers in math and science, train 2 million workers at community colleges, bring down the cost of college tuition.  (Applause.)

I want to use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay down our deficit, put our people back to work right here, doing some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

That’s the agenda you need.  That’s the agenda we need.  That’s how we strengthen the middle class.  That’s how we’ll keep moving forward.  And in 18 days, you’re going to have a chance to say whether we keep moving forward.

In 18 days, you can choose between top-down economic policies that got us into this mess, or the middle class-out policies that are getting us out of this mess.  (Applause.)

In 18 days, you can choose a foreign policy that gets us into wars with no plan to get out, or you can say let’s end the Afghan war responsibly; let’s bring our troops home.  (Applause.)  Let’s focus on making sure that we’re building America.

In 18 days, you can let them turn back the clock 50 years for immigrants, and gays, and women, or we can stand up and say we are a country in which everybody has a place.  (Applause.)  A country where no matter where you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from — black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, gay, straight, abled, disabled — we have a place for everybody.  (Applause.)  Everybody has got a chance to make it if you try.

That’s what’s at stake, Virginia.  That’s why I’m asking for your vote.  I believe in you.  I need you to keep believing in me.  I want to finish the job.  And if you’re willing to stand with me, and make some phone calls with me, and knock on some doors with, get your friends to vote for me — we will win Fairfax County again.  We will win Virginia again.  (Applause.)  We’ll finish what we started.  And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END
12:18 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 17, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Chesapeake, Virginia — President Obama Can’t Defend His Failed Record

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney: President Obama Has Failed America’s Women

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-17-12

Mitt Romney offered his own summary of Tuesday’s fiery presidential debate to voters in Virginia on Wednesday, saying President Obama has failed to present a plan for the next four years and has “failed America’s women.”

“Now, I have to be honest with you: I love these debates. You know, these things are great. And I think it’s interesting that the president still doesn’t have an agenda for a second term,” said Romney. “Don’t you think that it’s time for him to finally put together a vision of what he’d do in the next four years if he were elected? I mean, he’s gotta come up with that over this weekend because there’s only one debate left, on Monday.”…READ MORE

Mitt Romney: President Obama Can’t Defend His Failed Record

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 10-17-12

“I just think the American people had expected that the President of the United States would be able to describe what he’s going to do in the next four years, but he can’t. He can’t even explain what he’s done in the last four years.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks
Chesapeake, Virginia

October 17, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Now, I have to be honest with you. I love these debates. You know, these things are great and I think it’s interesting that the President still doesn’t have an agenda for a second term. Don’t you think that it’s time for him to finally put together a vision of what he’d do in the next four years if he were elected? I mean, he’s got to come up with that over this weekend because there’s only one debate left on Monday. And I just think the American people had expected that the President of the United States would be able to describe what he’s going to do in the next four years, but he can’t. He can’t even explain what he’s done in the last four years. I mean, he’s spends most of his time trying to talk about how my plan won’t work. Well, what about his plan? We know his plan has not worked. And last night there were a lot of people asking questions, and I think they deserve some answers on a number of fronts.”

Campaign Headlines October 17, 2012: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Campaign in Swing States After Second Presidential Debate

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama and Romney Hit Swing States After Debate

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-17-12

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama, Mitt Romney, and their surrogates are back on the road Wednesday, fanning out across battleground states, following Tuesday night’s debate in New York.

Obama is in Iowa for an afternoon rally before flying into the Buckeye state to speak with supporters at Ohio University in Athens.

Romney will spend the day in Virginia, making stops in Chesapeake and Leesburg….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 12, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Richmond, Virginia — “Vice President Biden Doubled Down On Denial”

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: “Vice President Biden Doubled Down On Denial”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 10-12-12
“When the Vice President of the United States directly contradicts the testimony—sworn testimony—of State Department officials, American citizens have a right to know just what’s going on.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks

Richmond, VA

October 12, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “Now, by the way, yesterday I raised some questions about Benghazi and the tragedy that occurred there. And there were more questions that came out of last night because the Vice President directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials. He’s doubling down on denial. And we need to understand exactly what happened as opposed to just have people brush this aside. When the Vice President of the United States directly contradicts the testimony—sworn testimony—of State Department officials, American citizens have a right to know just what’s going on. And we’re going to find out. And this is a time for us to make sure we do find out.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 8, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech on Foreign Policy at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington Virginia Transcript — Says It’s ‘Time to Change Course’ in Mideast

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney Says It’s ‘Time to Change Course’ in Mideast


Charles Dharapak/Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered a foreign policy speech at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., on Monday.

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-8-12

Mitt Romney Monday painted a dismal picture of President Obama’s foreign policy during his years in the White House as the Republican candidate toughened his criticism of the administration’s handling of the terrorist attack in Libya.

Romney said that as president he would ensure the Syrian rebels got the weapons they need and that he would take a firmer hand with Egypt and in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“It is time to change course in the Middle East,” said Romney….READ MORE

[READ the transcript of Romney’s speech on foreign policy.]

Transcript: Mitt Romney Remarks at Virginia Military Institute

Source: NYT, 10-8-12

The following is the full text of Mitt Romney’s speech on foreign policy as delivered on Monday at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. (Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service)

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so very much for that warm welcome. And I particularly appreciate the introduction by my good friend and tireless campaign companion, Governor Bob McDonnell. We have traveled the state together time and time again, and he goes all over the country helping me. He is also showing here in Virginia what conservative leadership can do to build a stronger economy.

And thank you also to Congressman Goodlatte for joining us today. I appreciate his service and leadership. And particular thanks to General Peay. I appreciate his invitation to be with you today at the Virginia Military Institute. It’s a — a privilege to be here at an institution like this that has done so much for our nation, both in times of war and in times of peace.

For more than 170 years VMI has done more than educate students. It has guided their transformation into citizens, warriors and leaders. VMI graduates have served with honor in our nation’s defense, just as many are doing today in Afghanistan and in other lands. And Since the September 11th attacks, many of VMI’s sons and daughters have defended America, and I mourn with you the 15 brave souls who have been lost. I join you in praying for the many VMI graduates who are right now serving in harm’s way. May God bless all who serve and all who have served.

Of all the VMI graduates, none is more distinguished, perhaps, than General George Marshall, the chief of staff of the Army who became secretary of state and secretary of defense, who helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe’s rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of war. General Marshall once said, quote, “the only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.”

Those words were true in his time, and they are true in our time.

Last month our nation was attacked again. A U.S. Ambassador and three of our fellow Americans are dead, murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Among the dead were three veterans. All of them were fine men on a mission of peace and friendship to a nation that clearly longs for both. President Obama has said that Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues represented the best of America, and he’s right. We all mourn their loss.

The attacks against us in Libya were not an isolated incident. They were accompanied by anti-American riots in nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia. Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned. Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs shouting “Death to America.” These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of 9/11.

As the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, Americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown worse and what this calls on America to do. These are the right questions, and I’ve come here today to offer a larger perspective on these tragic recent events and to share with you and to share with all Americans my vision for a freer, more prosperous and more peaceful world.

The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They’re expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East, a region that’s now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.

The attack on our consulate there on September 11th, 2012, was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001.

This latest assault can’t be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long. No, as the administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially on women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.

We saw all of this in Benghazi last month, but we also saw something else, something hopeful. After the attack on our consulate, tens of thousands of Libyans, most of them young people, held a massive protest in Benghazi against the very extremists who had murdered our people. They waved signs that read, “The ambassador was Libya’s friend” and “Libya is sorry.” They chanted “No to militias, no to militias.” They marched, unarmed, to the terrorist compound and then they burned it to the ground. As one Libyan woman said, “We are not going to go from darkness to darkness.”

This is the struggle that’s now shaken the entire Middle East. It’s the struggle of millions and millions of people — men and women, young and old, Muslims, Christians and nonbelievers — all of whom have had enough of the darkness. It’s a struggle for the dignity that comes with freedom and opportunity and the right to live under laws of our own making. It’s a struggle that’s been unfolded under green banners in the streets of Iran, in the public squares of Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen, and in the fights for liberty in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, and now in Syria.

In short, it’s a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair.

We’ve seen this struggle before. It would be familiar to General George Marshall. In his time, the ashes of world war, another critical part of the world was torn between democracy and despotism. Fortunately, we had leaders of courage and vision, both Republicans and Democrats, who knew that America had to support friends who shared our values and prevent today’s crises from becoming tomorrow’s conflicts.

Statesmen like Marshall rallied our nation to rise to its responsibilities as the leader of the free world. We helped our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets. We defended our friends and ourselves from our common enemies. We led. We led. And though the path was long and uncertain, the thought of war in Europe is as inconceivable today as it seemed inevitable in the last century.

This is what makes America exceptional: It is not only the character of our country; it is also the record of our accomplishments. America has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership — a history that’s been written by patriots of both parties. That is America at its best and is the standard by which we measure every president as well as anyone who wishes to be president.

Unfortunately, this president’s policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership. And nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East.

I want to be very clear: The blame for the murder of our people in Libya, and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries, lies solely with those who carried them out — no one else. But it is our responsibility and the responsibility of the President to use America’s great power to shape history, not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama.

The relationship between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel, for example, our closest ally in the region, has suffered great strains. The president explicitly stated that his goal was to put daylight between the United States and Israel, and he’s succeeded. This is a dangerous situation that has set back the hope of peace in the Middle East and emboldened our mutual adversaries, especially Iran.

Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability. It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies and to us. And it has never acted less deterred by America, as was made clear last year, when Iranian agents plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in our nation’s capital. And yet when millions of Iranians took to the streets in June of 2009; when they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that threatens the world; when they cried out, are you with us or are you with them, the American president was silent.

Across the greater Middle East, as the joy born from the downfall of dictators has given way to the painstaking work of building capable security forces and growing economies and developing effective democratic institutions, the president has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need.

In Iraq the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent al-Qaida, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad and the rising influence of Iran. And yet America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence.

The president’s tried, he tried, but he also failed to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains.

The president has also failed to lead in Syria, where more than — more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months. Violent extremists are flowing into the fight. Our ally Turkey has been attacked. And the conflict threatens stability in the region.

America can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. These are real achievements won at a high cost. Al-Qaida remains a strong force, however, in Yemen and Somalia, in Libya and other parts of North Africa, in Iraq and now in Syria. And other extremists have gained ground across the region. Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the Middle East.

The president is fond of saying that “the tide of war is receding.” And I want to believe him as much as anyone else. But when we look at the Middle East today, with Iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in Syria threatening to destabilize the region and with violent extremists on the march, and with an American ambassador and three others dead — likely at the hands of al-Qaida affiliates — it’s clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office.

I know the president hopes for a safer, freer and more prosperous Middle East allied with us. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy. We can’t support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds, when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity.

The greater tragedy of it all is that we are missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the Middle East — friends who are fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists and evil tyrants and angry mobs who seek to harm us. Unfortunately, so many of these people who could be our friends feel that our president is indifferent to their quest for freedom and dignity. As one Syrian woman put it, “We will not forget that you forgot about us.”

It is time to change course in the Middle East. That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them. No enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them. And no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America’s capability to back up our words.

I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran and will — and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf. And I’ll work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions, not just words, that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.

I’ll reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security. The world must never see any daylight between our two nations.

I’ll deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf, and I’ll roll back President Obama’s deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military. I’ll make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure.

The decisions we make today will determine our ability to protect America tomorrow. The first purpose of a strong military is to prevent war.

The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I’ll restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines. I’ll implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin. And I will call on our NATO allies to keep the greatest military alliance in history strong by honoring their commitment to each devote 2 percent of their GDP to security spending. Today only three of the 28 NATO nations meet this benchmark.

I’ll make further reforms to our foreign assistance to create incentives for good governance, for free enterprise and for greater trade in the Middle East and beyond. I’ll organize all assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official with responsibility and accountability to prioritize efforts and to produce results.

I’ll rally our friends and our allies to match our generosity with theirs. And I’ll make it clear to the recipients of our aid that in return for our material support, they must meet the responsibilities of every decent, modern government: to respect the rights of all of their citizens, including women and minorities; to ensure space for civil society, a free media, political parties and an independent judiciary; and to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats and our property.

I’ll champion free trade and restore it as a critical element of our strategy, both in the Middle East and across the world. The president has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years. I’ll reverse that failure. I’ll work with nations around the world that are committed to the principles of free enterprise, expanding existing relationships and establishing new ones.

I’ll support friends across the Middle East who share our values but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies.

In Libya I’ll support the Libyan people’s efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them, and I’ll vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed our fellow Americans.

In Egypt I’ll use our influence, including clear conditions on our aid, to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. And we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulations on their aid.

In Syria I’ll work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and then ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks helicopters and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously through our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran, rather than sitting on the sidelines. It’s essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.

In Afghanistan I’ll pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.

President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to war and to potential attacks here at home is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. I’ll evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to protect my political prospects but to protect the security of the nation.

Finally, I’ll recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the president has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new president will bring the chance to begin anew.

There’s a longing for American leadership in the Middle East — and it’s not unique to that region. It’s broadly felt by America’s friends and allies in other parts of the world as well: in Europe, where Putin’s Russia casts a long shadow over young democracies and where our oldest allies have been told we are “pivoting” away from them; in Asia and across the Pacific, where China’s recent assertiveness is sending chills throughout that region; and here in our own hemisphere, where our neighbors in Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers and deepen ties with the United States on trade and energy and security. But in all of these places, just as in the Middle East, the question is asked: Where does America stand?

I know many Americans are asking a different question: Why us? I know many Americans are asking whether our country today, with our ailing economy and our massive debt and after 11 years at war, is still capable of leading.

I believe that if America doesn’t lead, others will — others who don’t share our interests and our values — and the world would grow darker, for our friends and for us. America’s security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. I’m running for president because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty, to our citizens and to our friends everywhere, to use America’s great influence, wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively, to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict and make the world better — not perfect but better.

Our friends and allies across the globe don’t want less American leadership. They want more — more of our moral support, more of our security cooperation, more of our trade, more of our assistance in building free societies and thriving economies. So many people across the world still look to America as the best hope of humankind. So many people still have faith in America. We must show them that we still have faith in ourselves; that we have the will and the wisdom to revive our stagnant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense, to renew the sources of our great power and to lead the course of human events.

Sir Winston Churchill once said of George Marshall: “He always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement and disillusion.”

That’s the role our friends want America to play again, and it’s the role we must play.

The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror and war and economic calamity. It’s our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom and peace and prosperity. The torch America carries is one of decency and hope. It’s not America’s torch alone, but it is America’s duty and honor to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.

Thank you so much for your participation in this great charge. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Campaign Headlines October 4, 2012: Obama Heads to Wisconsin, Romney Looks to Build on Momentum

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Heads to Wisconsin, Romney Looks to Build on Momentum

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-4-12

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Following last night’s first presidential debate of the 2012 voting season, President Obama headlines a rally Thursday in Madison, Wis., while Republican candidate Mitt Romney heads to Virginia.

This morning, the Republican National Committee seized on the president’s body language during the first showdown between the two candidates, releasing a web video called, “Smirk,” a compendium of the president’s facial contortions during the debate….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Woodbridge, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Woodbridge, VA

Source: WH, 9-21-12

G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium
Woodbridge, Virginia

12:14 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia!  (Applause.)  Well, it is great to be here in Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals.  I want to congratulate the Washington Nationals for bringing playoff baseball to D.C.  (Applause.)  You guys are looking good.  I am looking forward to a White Sox Nationals World Series.  (Applause.)  It’s going to happen.  White Sox are still in first place.  But I got to admit, you guys are looking a little better right now.  You guys are looking very good.

A couple of people I want to acknowledge.  I want to thank, first of all, your former outstanding governor and your current outstanding Senator, Mark Warner, for his leadership.  (Applause.)  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  I also want to thank your Congressman, Gerry Connolly, for being here with us today.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank all of you for being here, although I got to admit on a day like today, this is not a bad place to be, out on the ballpark.  (Laughter and applause.)  Got a nice little breeze going.  It feels good.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I do.  (Applause.)  Now, unless your cable has been broken for a while, you may be aware there’s an election going on.  (Laughter.)  I was told a story by my campaign manager.  He was meeting with some folks, and there was a young couple there with a young son, maybe three or four years old, and the parents were really proud that he knew who I was.  And they explained to my campaign manager — they said, listen, he loves Barack Obama.  And they turned to the little boy and they said, what does Barack Obama do?  And the little boy says, Barack Obama approves this message.  (Laughter.)  So you know it’s election season.  That’s what I do.  I approve this message.  (Laughter.)  And that’s because in the coming weeks, you’ve got a very big choice to make.  This is not a choice between two candidates or two parties. This is a choice between two different paths for America, two fundamentally different visions of our future.

My opponents are big believers in top-down economics.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, vote!  (Applause.)  Mr. Romney thinks that if we just spend another $5 trillion dollars on tax cuts that favor the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, all our problems are going to solved.  Jobs and prosperity will rain down from the sky.  Deficits will magically disappear.  We will all live happily ever after.  The end.

There’s only one problem.  We tried that scheme during the last decade.  It didn’t work.  Top-down economics don’t work.  This country doesn’t succeed when only the rich are getting richer.  We succeed when folks at the top are doing well, but also when the middle class is doing well, and folks who are fighting to get into the middle are doing well; when more people have a chance to get ahead and live up to their God-given potential.

I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims — (applause) — who think that they’re not interested in taking responsibility for their own lives.  I don’t see a lot of victims in this crowd today.  (Applause.)   I see hard-working Virginians.  (Applause.)

Some of you may be students trying to work your way through college.  (Applause.)  Some of you may be single moms like my mom — (applause) — putting in overtime to see if you can provide a better life for your kids.  Some of you may be senior citizens who have been saving your whole life for your retirement.  Some of you may be veterans who have served this country bravely — (applause) — soldiers who defend our freedom today.  (Applause.)

Nobody believes that anyone is entitled to success in this country.  We don’t believe that government should be helping people who refuse to help themselves.  But we do believe in something called opportunity.  (Applause.)  We believe in a country where hard work pays off; where responsibility is rewarded; where everyone gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules.  That’s the country we believe in.  That’s what I believe in.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, I told you before and I will tell you again, the path I’m offering is not necessarily going to be quick or easy, because the truth is it’s going to take more than a few years to solve challenges that built up over decades. But I can tell you this, Virginia, this is America.  Our problems can be solved and our challenges can be met.  We’ve got the best workers in the world.  We’ve got the best businesspeople and entrepreneurs in the world.  We’ve got the best scientists and researchers in the world.  We’ve got the best colleges and universities in the world.  (Applause.)  There’s not a country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.

So the path I’m offering may be harder, but it leads to a better place.  I’m offering a practical, five-point plan to create jobs, and grow the middle-class, and rebuild the economy on a stronger foundation.

So let me break it down in case you guys missed the convention — (applause) — just in case.  Or just in case you only saw Michelle.  (Laughter and applause.)

Number one, I want to export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  (Applause.)  When my opponent said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt,” we came together to reinvent a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  (Applause.)  In the last two and a half years, we’ve created more than half a million new manufacturing jobs in this country.  (Applause.)

So now you have a choice.  We can build on that progress, or we can do what the other folks want to do and give more tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We can continue to see outsourcing, or we can do some insourcing and reward companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  I want to help big factories and small businesses double their exports.  We can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  We can make that happen.  But I’m going to need your help.

Number two, I want us 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.)  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar.  Thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines 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.  You can do what Mr. Romney wants to do and reverse all that progress —

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  — or we can build on it.  I’m not going to let oil companies write this country’s energy plan.  I don’t want them to keep collecting another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  (Applause.)

We’ve got a better plan where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal technology, and farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and our trucks; where we’re putting more construction workers back to work retrofitting homes and factories so they waste less energy.  We can develop nearly a 100-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  And my plan would cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.  (Applause.)  But I’m going to need your help to make it happen.

Number three, I want to give more Americans the chance to learn the skills they need to compete.  Governor Warner — Senator Warner said it well:  We’ve got to invest in our workforce.  And education was the gateway of opportunity for me; it was the gateway of opportunity for Michelle.  It’s the gateway of opportunity for many of you.  It’s the gateway to a middle-class life.  (Applause.)  And we’ve already been working on this, so millions of students are right now paying less for college because we took on a system that was wasting billions of dollars in taxpayer money to banks and lenders.  We said, let’s give it directly to students.  (Applause.)

But now you’ve got a choice.  The other side, they want to gut education to pay for more tax breaks for the wealthy.  I think that’s the wrong way to go.  I think we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dream deferred because of a overcrowded classroom.  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they didn’t have the money.  (Applause.)  No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find ones with the right skills right here in Virginia.  (Applause.)

So I’m asking you to help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next 10 years, and improve early childhood education.  (Applause.)  Let’s give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at community colleges for jobs that are hiring right now.  (Applause.)  And let’s work with colleges and universities to cut the growth of tuition costs, because we don’t want our young people loaded up with debt.  We want them to be able to get the education they need to compete in the 21st century.  That’s the path we have to choose together.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  (Applause.)

Fourth, we’ve got to reduce our deficit.  And I put forward a plan that independent experts have looked at the numbers; it cuts the deficit by $4 trillion — without sticking it to the middle class.  Now, I’ve already worked with Republicans to cut a trillion dollars in spending, and I’m willing to do more.  I want to reform our tax code so it’s simpler and fairer, but the only way we’re going to reduce the deficit is also to ask the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 — (applause) — to go back to the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President, our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, we went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

And understand the reason why I want to do this, it’s because that’s how an economy grows.  If we keep taxes low for middle-class families, if you’ve got a little more money in your pocket, what do you do?  You spend it.  Maybe you buy that new computer for your kid.  Maybe you finally trade in that 10-year-old car you’ve got.  And that means that business now has more customers, and they’re making more profits, which means they hire more workers.  Everybody does better when we’re growing together.

Now, my opponent, he’s got a plan, too.  But as President Clinton pointed out, there’s no math in it.  (Laughter.)  It’s missing arithmetic.  (Applause.)

They say the biggest priority — we’ve got to reduce our debt, reduce our deficit.  You see their ads:  Oh, we’ve got to reduce our deficit.  And then the first thing they want to do is spend trillions of dollars on new tax breaks for the wealthy.  And when you ask them, well, how does that work, they can’t explain it.  They won’t say how they’d pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts without raising taxes on middle-class families.  They want to spend another $2 trillion on new military spending that our military says we don’t need.  The reason they can’t explain it is because the math doesn’t work.

And I tell you what, I want you to be clear, Virginia, I want to work with Republicans to reduce our deficit.  (Applause.)  I don’t want continued gridlock on Capitol Hill, but I’m not ashamed to say I will refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising kids just so millionaires get another tax cut.  (Applause.)  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college — (applause) — or kick children off of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans, including the poor and the elderly and the disabled –- just to pay for more tax cuts that we can’t afford.

And I promise you, I will refuse to turn Medicare into a voucher.  (Applause.)  Americans who have worked hard shouldn’t have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the care and the dignity they have earned.  So we’ll reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care –- not by dumping those costs onto seniors.  Just like we’ll keep the promise of Social Security, but we will not be slashing benefits or turning it over to Wall Street, like some have proposed.  That’s the wrong way to go.  (Applause.)

Now, Virginia, I’ve talked about what we need to do here at home, but it’s connected to what we do abroad.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq, and I did.  (Applause.)  I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan, and we are.  Thirty-three thousand more troops have now left Afghanistan.  (Applause.)  Meanwhile, a new tower is rising above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

But as we saw last week, we still face serious threats in the world.  We have to make sure that not only our military, but also our diplomats overseas are protected.  We’ve got to go after anybody who harms Americans overseas.  (Applause.)  And as long as I am 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 -– (applause) — because nobody who has fought for us should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  (Applause.)

Now, my opponent has got a different idea.  He says it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq; still won’t tell us how he’d end the war in Afghanistan.  I have, and I will.  And I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more folks to work back here in the United States rebuilding roads and bridges, runways, broadband lines, schools.  (Applause.)  After a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)

So that’s the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we’ve been told by the other side, the opponent, that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way to go; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  Their basic attitude is, you’re on your own.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope you don’t get sick.  If some plant is releasing pollution into the air that your children breathe, well, that’s the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to go to college, just borrow some money from your parents.  (Laughter.)

I’ve got a different vision.  I don’t think that’s who we are.  I don’t think that’s what this country is about. (Applause.)  We don’t think government can solve all our problems.  But we don’t think government is the source of all our problems either.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We don’t think anybody is the source of all our problems — not welfare recipients, not corporations, not unions, not immigrants, not gays.  (Applause.)  Not all the other groups that we’re told to blame for our troubles, because we believe that here in America we’re all in it together.  (Applause.)

We believe America only works when we accept responsibility for ourselves, but also certain responsibilities for each other and for our country — (applause) — to create a country that’s filled with more opportunity and possibility than any other nation on Earth.  We understand that America is not what can be done for us, but what can be done by us together, as one nation, as one people.  (Applause.)

And that’s what the campaign was about four years ago.  I’ll say it again, it was not about me.  It was about you.  (Applause.)  You were the change.  You were the reason a mother from Leesburg doesn’t have to worry about her son being denied medical coverage due to his heart condition.  You made that happen.  You’re the reason a veteran in Virginia Beach can go to college on the new GI Bill.  You did that.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason a middle-class family here in Virginia got a tax cut, money they’re using to buy groceries and put gas in the car, maybe pay off some hospital bills when their daughter was born.  That’s because of you.  You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and pledged allegiance to our flag is no longer going to be deported from the only country she’s ever known.  (Applause.)

You’re the reason why an outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of our military just because of who he loves.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason why families all across this country can welcome home loved ones who served us so bravely, give them that hug, know they’re back and safe.  (Applause.)  You’re the reason.  That’s how change happened.

Now, yesterday, I made this same point at a town hall in Florida.  I said, one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington just from the inside.  You change it from the outside.  You change it because people are mobilized.  You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard because of the decency and the goodness and the common sense of Americans.  That’s what moves the country forward.  (Applause.)

Now, for some reason my opponent got really excited.  He rewrote his speech real quick.  (Laughter.)  He stood up at a rally, proudly declared, “I’ll get the job done from the inside.”  (Laughter.)  What kind of inside job is he talking about?  (Applause.)  Is it the job of rubberstamping the top-down, you’re-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress?  Because if it is, we don’t want it.  (Applause.)  If it’s the job of letting oil companies run our energy policy, we don’t want it.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  If it’s the job of outsources writing our tax code, we don’t want it.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  If it’s the job of letting politicians decide who you can marry, or control the health care choices that women should be able to make for themselves, we’ll take a pass.  (Applause.)

We don’t want an inside job in Washington.  We want change in Washington.  (Applause.)  And from the day we began this campaign, we’ve always said that change takes more than one term or even one President, and it certainly takes more than one party.  It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.  (Applause.)

In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me.  But on the night of the election, I said to all those Americans, “I may not have won your vote but I hear you voices, I need your help, and I will be your President.”  (Applause.)  And for everybody who is watching, or anybody here who is still undecided, I don’t know how many people are going to vote for me this time around, but — (applause) — hold on — but I’m telling the American people I will be fighting for you no matter what.  (Applause.)  I will be your President no matter what.  (Applause.)  I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republicans jobs, I’m fighting to create American jobs.  (Applause.)

I’m not fighting to improve red state schools or blue state schools, I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  The values we believe in don’t just belong to workers or businesses, the 53 percent or the 47 percent, the rich or the poor, the 1 percent, the 99 percent — these are American values.  They belong to all of us.  (Applause.)

Virginia, I still believe we’re not as divided as our politics suggest.  I still believe we’ve got more in common than the pundits tell us.  I believe in you.  I still believe in your capacity to help me bring about change.  And I’m asking you to keep believing in me.   (Applause.)

I’m asking for your vote.  And if you’re willing to stand with me and work with me, we’ll win Prince William County.  We will win Virginia.  We’ll finish what we’ve started, and we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States.

END
12:40 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 13, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event at University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the First Lady at a Campaign Event

Source:  WH, 9-13-12

University of Mary Washington
Fredericksburg, Virginia

4:48 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Wow!  (Applause.)  Thank you all so much.  Wow!  (Applause.)  Oh, my goodness.  Thank you all so much.

Look, this is a big thrill for me.  But before I get started I do want to take a moment — I did this at my last to stop — to say, truly, how heartbroken Barack and I are about the horrific tragedy that occurred earlier this week in Libya.  I’m not sure if everyone is aware, but our hearts and prayers are with the families of those who gave their lives serving our country.

I mean, the thing to remember, that these brave Americans and so many men and women just like them, they are the face of American diplomacy.  They are public servants who represent our country in other countries around the world, and oftentimes they do it in harm’s way.  And they do it with the same kind of courage and grace that we see every day in this country, and we just wanted to take the time to say that we are so proud of them and their families, and we’re grateful for their service and sacrifice.  (Applause.)

Now, I have to start by thanking Erin, who is awesome.  (Applause.)  I mean, first of all she’s tall, which — she’s got me right there.  I love that.  (Laughter.)  But we’re so proud, not only for her kind introduction, but the sacrifice that she and her family are making and have made for this country.  Let’s give Erin a round of applause.  (Applause.)

A few other thank-yous.  I want to say thank you to Mayor Greenlaw, who is here today, for her leadership and service.  (Applause.)  And I want to recognize Adam Cook, who is running for Congress, who I know is going to make an outstanding member of Congress.  (Applause.)

And most of all, I want to thank all of you.  Wow, what a great crowd.  Thank you all for joining us.  Thanks for being here.  (Applause.)  And I think anyone can see that you all are pretty fired up.  (Applause.)  Pretty ready to go!  (Applause.)  Well, that’s good, because after the convention down in Charlotte last week, I’m feeling pretty fired up and ready to go myself.  (Applause.)

Last week, we had the pleasure of hearing from folks like President Clinton, Vice President Biden.  (Applause.)  And they did a phenomenal job reminding us how much we’ve accomplished, how much is at stake, and why we need to reelect my husband for four more years.  (Applause.)

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

MRS. OBAMA:  With your help.  With your help, we will get it done.  (Applause.)

But my job in Charlotte I consider was pretty simple.  I had the pleasure and the honor of talking about the man I have loved and admired for 23 years, and why I decided to marry him.  (Applause.)  That was good for me.  (Laughter.)

Now, let me just explain, ladies:  When I first met Barack, he had everything going for him.  He really did.  He was handsome.  (Applause.)  Still is.  (Applause.)  He was charming, talented, and oh-so smart.  (Applause.)  But that is not why I married him.  What truly made me fall in love with Barack really was his character.  Understand this — it was his decency, his honesty, his compassion, his conviction.  (Applause.)  See, I loved that Barack was so committed to serving others that he turned down high-paying jobs and instead started his career working to get folks back to work in communities where a steel plant had shut down and jobs had dried up.

I loved that Barack was devoted to his family, especially the women in his life.  (Applause.)  Yes.  That made a difference.  I see a lot of young men out there — this is what we pay attention to.  (Laughter and applause.)  I saw the respect that he had for his own mother, how proud he was that she put herself through school while supporting him and his sister as a single mom.  (Applause.)  I saw the tenderness that he felt for his grandmother.  I saw how grateful he was that long after she should have retired, she was still waking up every morning and catching a bus to her job at a community bank to help support his family.  And he watched as she was passed over for promotions simply because she was a woman.  But he saw how she kept on doing that same job, year after year, without complaint or regret.

And with Barack, I found a real connection, because in his life, I saw so much of my own.  Growing up on the South Side of Chicago — (applause) — South Side — I watched my father make that same uncomplaining journey every day to his job at the city water plant.  I saw how he carried himself with that same dignity, that same pride in being able to provide for his family, that same hope that his kids would one day have opportunities he never dreamed of.

And like so many families in this country, see, our families simply weren’t asking for much.  They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success.  No, they didn’t mind if others had much more than they did.  In fact, they admired it.  They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.  (Applause.)

And they believed that when you’ve worked hard and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind you.  No, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.  (Applause.)

That’s how Barack and I and so many of you were raised.  Those are the values we were taught.  We learned that how hard you work matters more than how much you make.  (Applause.)  We learned that the truth matters, so you don’t take shortcuts, you don’t game the system, you don’t play by your own set of rules.  And we learned that no one gets where they are on their own; that each of us has a community of people who are lifting us up — from the teachers who inspire us to the janitors who keep our schools clean.  (Applause.)

And we were taught to treat everyone with value, and everyone with respect.  We learned about citizenship and service, that we’re all part of something bigger than ourselves; that with our freedoms come obligations, and with our blessings come a duty to give back to others who have less.  See, these are the values that make Barack such an extraordinary husband and partner to me, but more importantly, such a phenomenal father to our girls.  (Applause.)

But I talked about Barack’s values last week not just as a wife and a mother, but also as a First Lady who has seen up close and personal what being President really looks like and just how critical those values are for leading this country.  (Applause.)  See, over the past three and a half years, I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones — the decisions that aren’t just about the bottom line, but about laying a foundation for the next generation.

I’ve seen how important it is to have a President who doesn’t just tell us what we want to hear, but who tells us the truth even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard.  (Applause.)  I’ve seen that when it comes time to make those tough calls, when everyone’s urging you to do what’s easy or what polls best or what gets good headlines, as President you need to truly be driven by the struggles, hopes and dreams of all of the people you serve.  (Applause.)  As President, you need a strong inner compass and a core commitment to your fellow citizens.  That’s how you make the right decisions for this country.  That’s what it takes to be a leader.  (Applause.)

And since the day he took office — on issue after issue, crisis after crisis — that’s what we’ve seen in my husband.  We’ve seen his values at work.  We’ve seen his vision unfold.  We’ve seen the depths of his character, courage and conviction.  I mean, think back to when Barack first took office and this economy was on the brink of collapse.  Newspapers were using words like “meltdown,” “calamity” — declaring “Wall Street Implodes,” “Economy in Shock.”

For years, folks had been lured into buying homes they couldn’t afford.  Their mortgages were underwater.  Banks weren’t lending, companies weren’t hiring.  The auto industry was in crisis.  The economy was losing 800,000 jobs every month and a lot of folks wondered whether we were headed for another Great Depression.

See now, that’s what Barack faced on day one as President.  (Applause.)  But instead of pointing fingers or placing blame, Barack got to work, because he was thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.  And that’s why he cracked down on lending abuses, so that today when you apply for a mortgage or a credit card, you know exactly what you’re getting into.  (Applause.)

That’s why he cut taxes for small businesses and working families — because he believes teachers and firefighters shouldn’t pay higher tax rates than millionaires and billionaires.  (Applause.)  Not in America.  (Applause.)

He got the auto industry back on its feet.  And, today, new cars are rolling off the line at proud American companies like GM.  (Applause.)  And, yes, while we still have a long way to go to rebuild our economy, we have had 30 straight months of private sector job growth — a total of 4.6 million new jobs, good jobs right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

When it comes to the health of our families, Barack didn’t care whether health reform was the easy thing to do politically — that’s not who he is — he cared that it was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  And, today, because of health reform, our parents and grandparents on Medicare are paying hundreds less for their prescription drugs.  (Applause.)  Our kids can stay on our insurance until they’re 26 years old.  (Applause.)  Insurance companies now have to cover basic preventative care like contraception, cancer screenings with no out of pocket cost.  (Applause.)  They won’t be able to discriminate against you because you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or asthma.  (Applause.)

And let’s say you have a serious illness like breast cancer.  That’s when you need expensive treatment.  They can no longer tell you, sorry, you’ve hit your lifetime limit and we’re not paying a penny more.  No longer can they do that.  (Applause.)

And understand that Barack fought for these reforms because he believes that here in America, no one should ever go broke just because of an accident or an illness.  That’s what he stands for.  (Applause.)

When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserve, Barack knows that like me and like so many of you, he never could’ve attended college without financial aid — never.  In fact, as I shared in my convention speech, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.  So when it comes to student debt, believe me, Barack and I, we have been there.

And that’s why Barack doubled funding for Pell Grants and fought so hard to keep interest rates down — (applause) — because he wants every young person in this country — every one of them — to get an education without a mountain of debt.  He wants all of our young people to have the skills they need for the jobs of the future, jobs you can raise a family on — good jobs right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And finally, when it comes to understanding the values of women, when it comes to standing up for our rights and our opportunities — (applause) — yes, indeed — we know that my husband will always have our backs, because Barack knows from personal experience what it means for a family when women aren’t treated fairly in the workplace.

He knows what it means when women struggle to meet the demands of their jobs and the needs of their families.  And believe me, today, as a father, he knows what it means to want our daughters to have the same freedoms and opportunities as our sons.  (Applause.)

And that’s why the very first bill he signed as President was to help women get equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  That’s why he’s worked so hard to support women-owned small businesses.  And that’s why he will always, always fight to ensure that women can make our own decisions about our bodies and our health care.  (Applause.)  That’s what my husband stands for.

So when people out there ask you what this President has done for our country, when they’re deciding who will keep moving America forward for four more years, here’s what I want you to tell them: I want you to tell them about the millions of jobs Barack has created.  Tell them about the health reform he’s passed.  Tell them about all those kids who can finally afford college.

Tell them how Barack ended the war in Iraq — (applause) — how we took out Osama bin Laden.  Tell them how we fought to get veterans and military families the benefits they’ve earned.  (Applause.)  Yes, indeed.

Tell them about all those young immigrants brought to America through no fault of their own, and how they will no longer be deported from the only country they’ve ever known.  (Applause.)

Tell them how our brave men and women in uniform will never again have to lie about who they are to serve the country they love.  (Applause.)  And please, please make sure they understand that their President, that Barack Obama knows the American Dream because he’s lived it, and he is fighting every day so that everyone in this country can have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.  (Applause.)

And let’s be clear — while my husband is proud of what we have all achieved together, believe me, her is nowhere near satisfied.  Barack knows that too many people are still hurting.  Believe me, he knows that there’s plenty of work left to be done.  And as President Clinton said last week, it’s going to take a lot longer than four years to rebuild an economy from the brink of collapse.  (Applause.)

But what I know for sure, what I can tell you that your President is doing since the day he took office, Barack has been fighting for us.  He has been struggling with us.  And together, slowly but surely, we have been pulling ourselves out of the hole that we started in.  For three and a half years, we’ve been moving forward and making progress, and we’re beginning to see that change we all can believe in.  (Applause.)  That I know for sure.

So we have to ask ourselves this — here’s the question: Are we going to turn around and go back to the same policies that got us into the hole in the first place?

AUDIENCE:  No!

MRS. OBAMA:  Are we going to just sit back and watch everything we’ve worked for just slip away?

AUDIENCE:  No!

MRS. OBAMA:  Or are we going to finish what we started and keep moving this country forward?  (Applause.)  Forward!

But in the end, here’s the thing — the answers to these questions is up to us — because all our work, all the progress that we’ve made, believe me, it is all on the line, it’s all at stake this November.  And as my husband has said, this election will be even closer than the last one — that’s the only guarantee.  And it could all come down to what happens in just a few battleground states like Virginia.  (Applause.)

And let me help put it in perspective.  When you think back to what happened in this state in 2008, back then we won Virginia by 235,000 votes.  (Applause.)  And that may sound like a lot, but when you break it down, that’s just 100 votes per precinct.  Think about that — 100 votes.  That could mean just a couple of votes in your neighborhood, right?  That could be just 1 extra vote in your own apartment building, right?

So for anyone here or anyone that you know who might be thinking that their vote doesn’t matter; if you’re thinking that your involvement doesn’t count, that in the complex political process, ordinary folks can’t possibly make a difference — if anyone is thinking like that, I just want to you to think about those 100 votes.

I want you to think about how, with just a few evenings on a phone bank, with just a few weekends knocking on some doors, just a few of you here today –- shoot, look at this room.  (Applause.)  This room alone could swing an entire precinct for Barack Obama.  (Applause.)  And if we win enough precincts, we will win this state.  And if we win Virginia, we’ll be well on our way to putting Barack back in the White House for four more years.  (Applause.)

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

MRS. OBAMA:  Four more years!  Four more years!

So here’s the charge — direct charge coming from your First Lady — (applause) — from now until November, we need every single one of you to work like you’ve never worked before.  We need you to talk to everyone you know — your friends, your neighbors, that nephew you haven’t seen in a while, that high school classmate you stopped speaking to — find them.  (Applause.)  Tell them what’s at stake.  Bring them to events like these.  More importantly, make sure they’re registered, especially our young people.  (Applause.)   Yes, indeed, make sure you’re registered to vote.  (Applause.)

And think about it — if you’re a student that’s moved away, you might have to figure out — you might have to reregister.  If you just moved, you might have to reregister.  If you’ve never voted before, you may need to register.  (Laughter.)  And then, once folks are registered, make sure they get to the polls and cast their ballots on Election Day.  (Applause.)

And we’ve got tools to help.  You can send them to our websites — GottaRegister.com, GottaVote.com.  There, you can find everything you need right online.  I know young people, you guys are online anyway.  (Laughter.)  Clicking and texting and all that stuff — help the older people out.  (Laughter.)  Find someone; help them get to the site.  But that’s the best place to start to make their voices heard on November the 6th.

And I’m going to be honest with you all — because I always try to be honest — this journey is going to be long.  Count on that.  And it is going to be hard.  But when you start to get tired — and you will — when you start to think about taking a day off — and some of you might need to take a day off — I want you to remember that what we do for the next 54 days will absolutely make the difference between waking up the day after Election Day and asking ourselves, could we have done more, or feeling the promise of four more years.  (Applause.)  That is the difference.

So we need you to keep working and struggling and pushing forward.  (Applause.)  We need you to do everything between now and November 6th.  Because we have to remember, that’s how change always happens in this country.  But if we keep showing up — that’s the trick — if we keep fighting that good fight, then eventually we get there.  We always do.  But maybe not in our lifetimes — maybe in our children’s lifetimes.  Maybe in our grandchildren’s lifetimes.  (Applause.)

Because in the end, that’s what this is all about.   That’s why we’re here.  That’s what elections are always about.  Don’t let anybody tell you differently — elections are always about hope.  The hope that I saw in my dad’s beaming face as I crossed the stage to get my college diploma.  The hope Barack’s grandmother felt as she cast her ballot for the grandson she loved and raised.  The hope of all those men and women in our lives who worked that extra shift, who saved and sacrificed and prayed so that we could have something more.  The hope that so many of us have when we look into the eyes of our kids and our grandkids.

That’s why we’re here — because we want to give all of our kids in this country that foundation for their dreams.  All of our kids deserve opportunities worthy of their promise.  We want to give our children in this country that sense of limitless possibility; that belief that here in America — the greatest country on the planet — there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it — always.  (Applause.)  That’s who we are.

So no, no, we cannot turn back now.  Not — no way.  We have come so far, but we have so much more to do.

So let me ask you this: Are you fired up?  (Applause.)  Are you ready to go?  (Applause.)  All right, then.  Let’s get to work.

I love you all.  God bless.

END
5:22 P.M. EDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 13, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Fairfax, Virginia — The World Needs American Leadership

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: The World Needs American Leadership

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-13-12

“We’re going to make sure that we have the jobs that we need. America is going to remain strong. And we’re going to make sure that we remain the hope of the earth. Now, a strong America is essential to the world. It’s essential to us and to our future but also to the world.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks

Fairfax, Virginia

September 13, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney

MITT ROMNEY: “So these are tough times for American families that have work, and then you have 23 million people who are out of work or stopped looking for work or underemployed. These are tough times. But you know what? Your optimism is my optimism. America is coming back. We’re going to make sure that we have the jobs that we need. America is going to remain strong. And we’re going to make sure that we remain the hope of the earth. Now, a strong America is essential to the world. It’s essential to us and to our future but also to the world. I was in Poland a few weeks ago, and I met with Lech Walesa, a world hero, and he saw me come in, and through an interpreter, he said, you must be tired, you’ve come from across the ocean. He said, you sit, I talk, you listen. Abrupt and to the point. And he said this time and time again, he said, the world needs American leadership. Where is American leadership? We need a strong America. Where is American leadership? And I intend to lead and to have an America that’s strong, that helps lead the world.”

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

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 13, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech During 2 Day Virginia Tour at Roanoke Fire Station #1, Roanoke, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

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

Source: WH, 7-13-12

Roanoke Fire Station #1, Roanoke, Virginia

7:51 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Roanoke!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Roanoke!  Good to be back in Virginia.  (Applause.)  Back in the Star City.

There are a couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, you’ve got one of the finest senators and public servants in the country in Mark Warner.  Give it up for Mark Warner.  (Applause.)  Now, Mark was a great governor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and now he’s a great senator.  I just want to point out we’ve got another great governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia who is going to be a great senator in Tim Kaine.  (Applause.)  We are thrilled to have them both with us today.

I want to thank Mayor David Bowers who’s here.  (Applause.) City Manager, Christopher Morrill.  (Applause.)  Fire Chief, David Hoback.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got former Majority Leader of the House of Delegates, Dick Cranwell is here.  (Applause.)

And all of you are here.  (Applause.)  Couldn’t ask for a nicer setting.  It is beautiful flying in to Roanoke.

Now, let me just say, unless you have managed to break your television set — (laughter) — you’re probably aware that it is campaign season.  And I know it’s not always pretty to watch.  We’re seeing more money flooding into the system than ever before, more negative ads, more cynicism.  A lot of the reporting is just about who’s up and who’s down in the polls instead of talking about the things that matter in your day-to-day life.

So I know all this kind of makes it tempting to just turn off the TV set, and turn away from politics.  And there are some people who are betting that you lose interest.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  But the fact that you are here tells me that you’re still ready to work to make this a better country.  (Applause.)  You’re still betting on hope and you’re still betting on change — and I am still betting on you.  (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Mr. President!

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

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me just say this — if I win Virginia, I’m going to get four more years.  (Applause.)  That I can say with some confidence.

And the reason you’re here tonight is because no matter how petty and small politics seems sometimes, you recognize that the stakes could not be bigger.  In some ways, the stakes are even bigger now than they were in 2008, because what’s at stake is not just two people or two political parties.  What’s at stake is a decision between two fundamentally different views about where we take the country right now.  And the choice is up to you.

Now, this is my last political campaign.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Awww —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, it’s true.  There is a term limit for Presidents.  You get two.  (Laughter.)  So no matter what happens, this will be my last campaign.  And it makes you nostalgic sometimes, and I started thinking about some of my first campaigns.

When I was traveling across Illinois — and Illinois is a big state.  And it’s got big cities like Chicago and it’s got small towns, and it’s got rural areas and suburban areas, and you meet people from every walk of life — black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.  You stop in VFW halls, you stop in diners, you go to churches, you go to synagogues.  Wherever you go, you’re going to have a chance to meet people from different walks of life.  And when I think about that first campaign, what strikes me is no matter where I went, no matter who I was talking to, I could see my own life in the life of the people whose vote I was asking for.

So I would meet an elderly vet and I’d think about my grandfather who fought in World War II, and my grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line during the war.  And I’d think about how, when my grandfather came back home, because of this country he was able to get an education on the GI Bill and they were able to buy their first home using an FHA loan.

And then I’d meet a single mom somewhere and I’d think about my mom.  I never knew my dad.  He left when I was just barely a baby, and so — and my mother didn’t have a lot of money and she was struggling, and she had to go back to school raising a kid, later raising my sister, and she had to work while she was in school.  But despite all that, because she was in America, she was able to get grants and scholarships and her kids were able to get grants and scholarships.  (Applause.)  And they could go as far as their dreams could take them.

And then I’d talk to some working folks, and I’d think about Michelle’s family — her dad who was a blue-collar worker, worked at a water filtration plant in Chicago, and her mom was a secretary.  And yet, despite never having a lot, there was so much love and so much passion — and her dad had MS, so he had to wake up an hour earlier than everybody else just to get to work because it took him that long to get dressed, and he could barely walk.  But he never missed a day’s work — because he took pride in the idea that, you know what, I’m going to earn my way and look after my family.  (Applause.)  And I’d see that same pride in the people I was talking to.

And what this reminded me of was that, at the heart of this country, its central idea is the idea that in this country, if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)  That you can find a job that supports a family and find a home you can make your own; that you won’t go bankrupt when you get sick.  That maybe you can take a little vacation with your family once in a while — nothing fancy, but just time to spend with those you love.  Maybe see the country a little bit, maybe come down to Roanoke.  (Applause.)  That your kids can get a great education, and if they’re willing to work hard, then they can achieve things that you wouldn’t have even imagined achieving.  And then you can maybe retire with some dignity and some respect, and be part of a community and give something back.  (Applause.)

That’s the idea of America.  It doesn’t matter what you look like.  It doesn’t matter where you come from.  It doesn’t matter what your last name is.  You can live out the American Dream.  That’s what binds us all together.  (Applause.)

Now, the reason that I think so many of us came together in 2008 was because we saw that for a decade that dream was fraying, that it was slipping away; that there were too many people who were working hard but not seeing their incomes or wages go up; that we had taken a surplus and turned it into a deficit — we were running two wars on a credit card; that job growth was the most sluggish it had been in 50 years.  There was a sense that those who were in charge didn’t feel responsible.

And so we came together to say we are going to bring about the kinds of changes that allow us to get back to those basics, allow us to restore and live out those values.  What we didn’t realize was that some of that recklessness, some of that irresponsibility would lead to the worst financial crisis we’ve seen since the Great Depression.  And I don’t need to tell you what we’ve been through over the last three and a half years because you’ve lived it.  Too many folks lost jobs.  Too many people saw their homes lose value.  Too many folks saw their savings take a hit.

But you know what’s given me confidence and faith is that fact that as I’ve traveled around the country now, just like I used to travel around Illinois, that same decency, those same values — they’re still alive, at least outside Washington.  (Applause.)  Times have been tough, but America’s character hasn’t changed.  The core decency of the American people is undiminished.  (Applause.)  Our willingness to fight through and work through the tough times and come together, that’s still there.

And so, just as we came together in the last campaign — not just Democrats, by the way, but Republicans and independents, because we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, we’re Americans first.  (Applause.)  Just like we came together in 2008, we know that we’ve got to keep working, we got to keep moving forward in 2012.  And we knew back then that it wasn’t going to be easy.  These problems we’re facing, they didn’t happen overnight, and they’re not going to be solved overnight.  We understood it might take more than one year or one term or even one President.  But what we also understood was that we weren’t going to stop until we had restored that basic American bargain that makes us the greatest country on Earth.  (Applause.)

Our goal isn’t just to put people back to work — although that’s priority number one — it is to build an economy where that work pays off.  An economy where everyone, whether you are starting a business or punching a clock, can see your hard work and responsibility rewarded.  That’s what this campaign’s about, Roanoke.  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!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, let me say this.  It’s fashionable among some pundits — and this happens every time America hits a rough patch — it’s fashionable to be saying, well, this time it’s different, this time we really are in the soup; it’s going to be hard to solve our problems.  Let me tell you something.  What’s missing is not big ideas.  What’s missing is not that we’ve got an absence of technical solutions to deal with issues like education or energy or our deficit.  The problem we’ve got right now is we’ve just got a stalemate in Washington.

And the outcome of this debate that we’re having is going to set the stage not just for the next year or five years, but for the next twenty.  On the one side you’ve got my opponent in this presidential race and his Republican allies who —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, look — I mean, we’re having a good, healthy, democratic debate.  That’s how this works.  And on their side, they’ve got a basic theory about how you grow the economy.  And the theory is very simple:  They think that the economy grows from the top down.  So their basic theory is, if wealthy investors are doing well then everybody does well.  So if we spend trillions of dollars on more tax cuts mostly for the wealthy, that that’s somehow going to create jobs, even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and gutting job-training programs and gutting transportation projects, and maybe even seeing middle-class folks have a higher tax burden.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So that’s part number one, right.  More tax cuts for those at the top.

Part number two is they believe if you tear down all the regulations that we’ve put in place — for example, on Wall Street banks or on insurance companies or on credit card companies or on polluters — that somehow the economy is going to do much, much better.  So those are their two theories.  They’ve got the tax cuts for the high end, and they’ve got rollback regulation.

Now, here’s the problem.  You may have guessed — we tried this.  We tried this in the last decade and it did not work.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, before I finish, can I say, by the way, that some of you have been standing for a while and I see a couple folks slumping down a little bit.  Make sure you’re drinking water.  Bend your knees.  Don’t stand up too straight.  The paralegals will be — the paralegals?  (Laughter.)  You don’t need lawyers.  (Laughter.)  The paramedics will be coming by, so just give folks a little bit of room, they’ll be fine.  This happens at every event.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  But I just want to point out that we tried their theory for almost 10 years, and here’s what it got us:  We got the slowest job growth in decades.  We got deficits as far as the eye can see.  Your incomes and your wages didn’t go up.  And it culminated in a crisis because there weren’t enough regulations on Wall Street and they could make reckless bets with other people’s money that resulted in this financial crisis, and you had to foot the bill.  So that’s where their theory turned out.

Now, we don’t need more top-down economics.  I’ve got a different view.  I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out.  (Applause.)  I believe that you grow the economy from the bottom up.  I believe that when working people are doing well, the country does well.  (Applause.)

I believe in fighting for the middle class because if they’re prospering, all of us will prosper.  (Applause.)  That’s what I’m fighting for, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, this is what I’ve been focused on since I’ve been in office.  In 2008, I promised to make sure that middle-class taxes didn’t go up.  And in fact, because of the recession, you needed some help, so we cut the typical family’s income taxes by $3,600.  (Applause.)  So if you hear somebody say that I’m a big tax guy, just remember $3,600 for the typical family.  That’s the tax break you’ve gotten since I’ve been in office.  (Applause.)

Four years later, I’m running to keep middle-class taxes low.  So this week, I called on Congress to immediately extend income tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income.  Now, what that means is 98 percent of Americans make less than $250,000, so 98 percent of folks would have the certainty and security that your taxes, your income taxes would not go up a dime.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, this is not a hypothetical.  This wasn’t some campaign promise.  The reason I called on Congress to act now is because if they don’t do anything, on January 1st, almost everybody here, your taxes will go up an average of $1,600.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  So we need to stop that tax hike from happening.

So you would think that this makes sense, right, because the Republicans say they’re the party of no new taxes, right?  That’s what they always say.  Except so far, they’ve refused to act.  And this might confuse you.  You might say, why would they not want to give 98 percent of Americans the certainty of this income tax cut?

Well, it turns out they don’t want you to get your tax break unless the other 2 percent, the top 2 percent, they get their tax break as well.

Now, understand, the top 2 percent, folks like me, we’re the ones who most benefited over the last decade from not only tax breaks, but also a lot of the money from increased profits and productivity went up to that top 2 percent.  So the bottom line is, the top 2 percent doesn’t need help.  They’re doing just fine.

And I understand why they wouldn’t want to pay more in taxes.  Nobody likes to pay more in taxes.  Here’s the problem:  If you continue their tax breaks, that costs a trillion dollars.  And since we’re trying to bring down our deficit and our debt, if we spend a trillion dollars on tax cuts for them, we’re going to have to find that trillion dollars someplace else.  That means we’re going to have to maybe make student loans more expensive for students.  Or we might have to cut back on the services we’re providing our brave veterans when they come home.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Or we might have to stop investing in basic science and research that keeps us as a leading-edge economy.  Or, as they suggested, maybe you would have to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t think those are good ideas.  So what I’ve said to the Republicans is, look, all right, let’s have this debate about the tax cuts for the wealthiest folks.  I don’t mind having that debate.  But in the meantime, let’s go ahead and do what we agree on, which is give 98 percent of Americans some certainty and some security.  (Applause.)  So far, they haven’t taken me up on my offer.

Now, this gives you a sense of how Congress works these days — you’ve got the possibility of your taxes going up in four months, five months, and instead of working on that, guess what they worked on this week?  They worked —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Nothing!

THE PRESIDENT:  — they voted for the 33rd time to try to repeal a health care bill we passed two years ago, after the Supreme Court said it’s constitutional and we are going to go ahead and implement that law.  (Applause.)  I don’t know about you, Virginia, but I think they’ve got a better way to use their time.  I think helping you make sure your taxes don’t go up, that would be a good use of congressional time.  (Applause.)

Now, this is just a small example of the difference between myself and Mr. Romney, between myself and some of the Republicans who are running Congress.  And look, Virginia, I want to repeat — this is a choice.  If you think their way of doing things is a recipe for economic growth and helping the middle class, then you should vote for them.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  You can send those folks to Washington.  I promise you they will carry out what they promise to do.

But that’s not why I went to Washington.  I went to Washington to fight for the middle class.  (Applause.)  I went to Washington to fight for working people who are trying to get into the middle class, and have some sense of security in their lives.  (Applause.)  People like me and Mr. Romney don’t need another tax cut.  You need some help right now to make sure your kids are living the kind of life you want for them.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

On almost every issue, you’ve got the same kind of choice.  When the auto industry was about to go under, a million jobs lost, and my opponent said, “let’s let Detroit go bankrupt,” what did I say?  I said —

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I said I’m betting on America’s workers.  (Applause.)  I’m betting on American industry.  And guess what?  Three years later, GM is number one again and the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

So I believe in American manufacturing.  I believe in making stuff here in America.  (Applause.)  My opponent, he invested in companies who are called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  I don’t believe in outsourcing — I believe in insourcing.  (Applause.)  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas; let’s give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Roanoke, right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Let’s invest in American workers so they can make products and ship them around the world with those three proud words: Made in America.  (Applause.)

I’m running because our men and women in uniform have sacrificed so much.  We could not be prouder of them and we could not be prouder of our veterans.  And because of their efforts, I was able to keep my promise and end the war in Iraq.  (Applause.)
And I now intend to transition out of Afghanistan and bring our troops home.  (Applause.)  And what I said is, because of their outstanding work, we’ve been able to decimate al Qaeda and take out bin Laden.  (Applause.)  And so now it’s time for us to take half of the money we were saving on war and pay down our deficit, and use the other half to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

Roanoke knows something about transportation — this was a railroad hub for a long time.  So you know how important that is to growing an economy.  Let’s take some of that money and rebuild our roads and our bridges and our rail systems, and let’s build wireless networks into rural communities so everybody can tap into world markets.  Let’s put construction workers back to work doing what they do best and that is rebuilding America.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  That’s the choice you face.  (Applause.)

I’m running to make sure that our kids are getting the best education in the world.  When I came into office, we passed a tuition tax credit that has saved millions of families thousands of dollars, and now I want to extend it.  But I don’t want to stop there.  We just won a fight thanks to some of the folks who are here, including students from VT that — we just won a fight to make sure that student loan interest rates would not double.

But that’s not enough.  I want to lower tuition to make it more affordable for all young people.  (Applause.)  I want to help our elementary schools and our middle schools and our high schools hire more teachers, especially in math and science.  I want 2 million more people to be able to go to community colleges to get trained in the jobs that businesses are hiring for right now — because a higher education, a good education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity.  That’s how we’re going to win the race for the future.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President — to finish the job we started in 2008.  (Applause.)

We’ve got to deal with homeownership, and the fact of the matter is that my opponent’s philosophy when it comes to dealing with homeowners is, let the market bottom out and let as many foreclosures happen as it takes.  I don’t think that’s part of a solution — that’s part of the problem.

So what I want to do is, I want to let every single person refinance their homes and save about $3,000 a year because you’ll spend that $3,000 on some of these stores right here in downtown.  You’ll help small businesses and large businesses grow because they’ll have more customers.  It will be good for you and it will be good for the economy.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President — because I want to help America’s homeowners.  (Applause.)

I am running because I still believe that you shouldn’t go bankrupt when you get sick.  We passed that health care law because it was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  And because we did, 30 million people who don’t have health insurance are going to get help getting health insurance.  (Applause.)  Six million young people who didn’t have health insurance can now stay on their parent’s plan and get health insurance.

Seniors are seeing their prescription drug costs go down.  And, by the way, if you’ve got health insurance, you’re not getting hit by a tax.  The only thing that’s happening to you is that you now have more security because insurance companies can’t drop you when you get sick.  (Applause.)  And they can’t mess around with you because of some fine print in your policy.  If you’re paying your policy, you will get the deal that you paid for.  That’s why we passed health care reform.  (Applause.)

Now, one last thing — one of the biggest differences is how we pay down our debt and our deficit.  My opponent, Mr. Romney’s plan is he wants to cut taxes another $5 trillion on top of the Bush tax cuts.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, like I said, the only way you can pay for that — if you’re actually saying you’re bringing down the deficit — is to cut transportation, cut education, cut basic research, voucherize Medicare, and you’re still going to end up having to raise taxes on middle-class families to pay for this $5 trillion tax cut.  That’s not a deficit reduction plan.  That’s a deficit expansion plan.

I’ve got a different idea.  I do believe we can cut — we’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently.  (Applause.)  Not every government program works the way it’s supposed to.  And frankly, government can’t solve every problem.  If somebody doesn’t want to be helped, government can’t always help them.  Parents — we can put more money into schools, but if your kids don’t want to learn it’s hard to teach them.  (Applause.)

But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them.  So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way.  We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, we’ve tried that before — a guy named Bill Clinton did it.  We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine.  We created a lot of millionaires.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together.  That’s how we funded the GI Bill.  That’s how we created the middle class.  That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.  That’s how we invented the Internet.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea.  You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.  (Applause.)

So all these issues go back to that first campaign that I talked about, because everything has to do with how do we help middle-class families, working people, strivers, doers — how do we help them succeed?  How do we make sure that their hard work pays off?  That’s what I’ve been thinking about the entire time I’ve been President.

Now, over the next four months, the other side is going to spend more money than we’ve even seen in history.  And they don’t really have a good argument for how they would do better, but they’re thinking they can win the election if they just remind people that a lot of people are still out of work, and the economy is not growing as fast as it needs to, and it’s all Obama’s fault.  That’s basically their pitch.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, I mean, I’m just telling you.  You’ve seen the ads, and they’re going to run more of them, and there will be all kinds of variations on the same theme.  But it will be the same basic message over and over and over and over and over again.

Now, their ads 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 strengthen the middle class.  And the reason it doesn’t worry me is because we’ve been outspent before.  We’ve been counted out before.  The pundits, they didn’t think I could win Virginia the last time.  (Applause.)  The last time I came to this part of Virginia, all the political writers, they’re all like, well, he’s not serious, he’s just making a tactical move.  No, I’m serious — I’m going to get some votes down here.  (Applause.)

And so the reason that I continue to have confidence is because when I look at you, I see my grandparents.  When I see your kids, I see my kids.  And I think about all those previous generations — our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents.  Some of them came here as immigrants, some were brought here against their will.  Some of them worked on farms, and some worked in mills, and some worked in mines, and some worked on the railroad.

But no matter where they worked, no matter how times were tough, they always had faith that there was something different about this country; that in this country, you have some God-given rights:  a life in liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and a belief that all of us are equal — (applause) — and that we’re not guaranteed success, but we’re guaranteed the right to work hard for success.  (Applause.)

They understood that, and they understood that succeeding in America wasn’t about how much money was in your bank account, but it was about whether you were doing right by your people, doing right by your family, doing right by your neighborhood, doing right by your community, doing right by your country, living out our values, living out our dreams, living out our hopes.  That’s what America was about.  (Applause.)

And so when I look out at this crowd, you inspire me.  (Applause.)  And I have to tell you that the privilege of being your President is something that I thank God for every single day.  (Applause.)

I said to you back in 2008 when I was running, I’m not a perfect man — you can ask Michelle about that.  (Laughter.)  And I told you I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But what I did say to you was that I’d always tell you what I thought and I’d always tell you where I stood, and that I would wake up every single morning thinking about you and fighting as hard as I knew how to make your life a little bit better.  (Applause.)

And over these last three and a half years, I know times have been tough, and I know change hasn’t always come as fast as you’d like.  But you know what, I’ve kept that promise.  (Applause.)  I thought about you.  I fought for you.  I believe in you.  And if you still believe in me, if you’re willing to stand up with me, and campaign with me, and make phone calls for me, and knock on doors with me, I promise you we will finish what we started — (applause) — and we will restore that basic bargain that built this country, and we’ll remind the world just why it is that America is the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

END                  8:33 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

Full Text Campaign Buzz July 13, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Virginia Campaign Trip Speech Criticizes Mitt Romney on Deficit, Taxes

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event in Virginia Beach, VA

Green Run High School
Virginia Beach, Virginia

1:05 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia Beach!  (Applause.)  Thank you!  It is good to be back in Virginia!  (Applause.)

A couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, please give Ricki a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We are so proud of her, not just for introducing me — that’s not that big a deal — (laughter) — but her serving her country, first in uniform herself and then as a military spouse.  She is an example of what is best about America, and we could not be prouder of her. (Applause.)

A couple other people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, your outstanding former governor and soon to be United States senator, Tim Kaine.  (Applause.)  Your outstanding former governor and already senator, Mark Warner.  (Applause.)  We’ve got your Second Congressional District candidate, Paul Hirschbiel is here.  (Applause.)

And I want to give a special acknowledgement to somebody who’s not here but who we will always remember.  She was a true trailblazer, not just here in Virginia but across the country, and did so much for so many.  So we are truly blessed to have known and we profoundly miss State Senator Yvonne Miller —  (applause) — who is now in a better place.  (Applause.)  And our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.  Her two brothers were here — I had a chance to meet them — and we’re so proud of them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

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

Now, some of you may have noticed that we are in campaign season.  (Applause.)  I know that’s surprising to many of you.  (Laughter.)  I don’t suppose you’ve seen any advertising on TV.  (Laughter.)  You know, we are seeing more money spent than any time in American history — a lot of it undisclosed, coming from folks who can write $10 million checks.  Most of the ads are negative — in fact, almost all of the ads are negative.  And it’s understandable that as you watch these TV ads that you start thinking that politics just doesn’t seem to get what’s going on in your lives, that there’s so much negativity and so much cynicism.  And it’s understandable if at a certain point people just say, you know what, there’s a disconnect here, this is not speaking to me, it’s not speaking to what’s going on in my neighborhood, my community.

But I just want to remind everybody that in 2008, there were a lot of folks who didn’t believe either in the possibilities of change.  There were folks that counted us out, people who were sure that a guy named Barack Obama could not be elected President.  (Laughter.)  And so the reason we came together was not because we thought it was a sure thing; it was because we shared a set of values.  (Applause.)  We believed in the basic bargain that has been the bedrock of this nation for well over 200 years.

And I was thinking as I was about to come out about this, which will be my last campaign —

AUDIENCE:  Nooo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, I mean, there’s a term-limit thing in the presidency.  This isn’t like Congress — I can’t just keep on running.  (Laughter and applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  But it made me think about my first campaigns, my earliest campaigns, and the reason I got into politics in the first place.  Some of you know my grandparents were part of that World War II, Great Depression generation.  And my grandfather fought in Patton’s Army and my grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line.  And when my grandfather came back — at that point my mom had been born — he was able to go to college because of the GI Bill.  And they were able to buy their first home with some help from the FHA.

And then my mother — she was a single mom — my dad left before I even remembered him.  But she was still able to give me and my sister this unbelievable education — (applause) — because of scholarships and grants, and the fact that she was willing to work hard so that she could work and go to school at the same time and raise two kids.

And then I think about Michelle’s family.  Her dad, he was a blue-collar worker, worked at the water filtration plant in Chicago.  And even though he had MS — by the time I met him, he couldn’t really walk.  He had to use two canes.  And he’d have to wake up an hour early, earlier than everybody else, to get to work — just to put on his clothes and get ready for work. But he never missed a day’s work.

And Michelle’s mom, she stayed at home and looked after Michelle and her brother until they got older, and then worked as a secretary most of her life.  And yet, despite these modest beginnings, Michelle and her brother Craig could go to the best schools on Earth, and rise up to do extraordinary things.

So in my first campaign, when I thought about why am I getting into politics, the reason was because we — my family, Michelle’s family — we had benefited from this basic American bargain.  (Applause.)  This idea, at the heart of this nation, that if you’re willing to work hard, if you are willing to take responsibility, then you are not constrained by the circumstances of your birth.  You can go as far as your dreams can take you.  (Applause.)  If you’re willing to work hard, then you can find a job that supports a family — (applause) — and you can have a home to call your own.  And you won’t be bankrupt when you get sick.  (Applause.)  And even if you weren’t born into wealth, you can make sure your kids get a great education and go on to college.  (Applause.)  Maybe you can take a vacation once in a while.

I was up in Ohio talking about my favorite vacation.  When I was 11 years old, my grandmother, my mother, my sister and me, we traveled the country — but we didn’t go on jets.  (Laughter.) We took Greyhound and the train, and I think twice we rented a car.  And we’d stay at Howard Johnsons.  And if there was a pool somewhere, no matter — it could look like a puddle it could be so small — (laughter) — I was so excited.  And you’d go to the ice machine and the vending machine — I was 11 years old; that was a big deal filling up that bucket of ice and getting that soda.  (Laughter.)

And the point was that your vacation didn’t have to be fancy.  It just gave you a sense of how you could spend time with each other.  That was part of that American Dream.  And then the notion that you could retire with dignity and respect after a lifetime of work.  (Applause.)

That’s the idea that got me into politics — because my feeling was, given how much this country had given me and given Michelle, I wanted to make sure that that same bargain held for the next generation — (applause) — that it wasn’t just about me, it was about making sure that every American had those same opportunities.

And the interesting thing is, when I first started running for the U.S. Senate, let’s say, in Illinois, and I’d be driving around and we’d go to downstate Illinois and small farm towns, or sometimes we’d be in the big cities like Chicago — no matter who you met, they had those same stories in their background.  Black, white, Latino, Asian — it didn’t matter — they remembered their parents or their grandparents or great-grandparents — some of them immigrants, some of them brought here not by choice, but each successive generation believing that this union could be perfected, and that if they really worked hard and were able to overcome whatever barriers in their way, that they could succeed.

So I ran in 2008 because I felt that that bargain wasn’t reaching enough people.  And the reason so many of you supported me in 2008 was because you understood that that dream was slipping away for too many people.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  That we had gone through a decade in which wages and incomes weren’t going up no matter how hard you worked, while the costs of everything from college to health care to groceries to gas kept on going up; and people worrying that maybe their kids might not do as well as they did, when the idea was always that your kids do better than you do.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  And so that’s what brought us together.  The campaign in 2008 was not about a single candidate.  It wasn’t about me.  It was about us —  (applause) — and our desire to make sure that the American Dream continues for the next generation and the generation after that and the generation after that.   (Applause.)

Now, what we didn’t realize at the time was we were about to confront the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression — millions of people thrown out of work, folks losing the value of their homes.  And so in some ways that dream seemed even further away.  But, you know, we’ve worked hard over the last three and a half years to try to restore that belief that in this country you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

And that’s how we were able to save an auto industry when some said let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”  (Applause.)  We said we’re going to be on American workers and American industry.  And now GM is back on top, and Ford and Chrysler are selling cars — because we believe in that American promise.  (Applause.)  Business started getting back to basics and we’ve now created more than 4.4 million new jobs, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs created during this time.  (Applause.)

We’ve seen all across the country folks who got laid off retrained, go back to a community college and be able to find a new job in a new industry; small businesses struggling, sometimes keeping their doors open even though they’re not taking a salary, because they know their employees depend on them, and their families depend on them.

It’s turned out that America is tougher than any tough times.  (Applause.)  But what we also understand is we’ve still got more work to do — because, Virginia, the reason I ran and the reason you supported me wasn’t just to get back to where we were in 2007; the reason we came together was to restore that promise for middle-class families and all who are striving to get into the middle class.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re fighting for.  And we’ve got a lot more work to do on that front.

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, I’ve got to tell you — this election in some ways is going to be more important than 2008, because after three and a half years of not getting much help from the other side —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  — I think what’s fair to say is, is that we now have a stalemate in Washington.  Solving our problems, making sure that good jobs are created here in the United States, making sure that those good jobs pay and have basic benefits, making sure that we’re bringing down our deficit in a responsible way, making sure that we maintain cutting-edge industries here in the United States, making sure we’ve got the best education system possible — we know how to do those things.  What’s holding us back is not an absence of new ideas; it’s not a lack of solutions.  It’s the fact that there are two fundamentally different visions about how we move this country forward.

And so this election is about more than just two candidates or two political parties, Virginia.  This is about which direction we take this nation.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, the other side — Mr. Romney and his allies in Congress — they’ve got a very particular idea about how we move this country forward.  And it basically involves taking the country back.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Their economic idea, you can summarize it really easily.  They basically want to give $5 trillion in new tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, on top of the Bush tax cuts even if it means gutting investments in education, even if it means gutting investments in basic research, even if it means that we’re not rebuilding America’s infrastructure, even if it starts cutting into benefits that we’re providing to our veterans.  The basic idea is that if you help folks at the top, at the very top, and if you eliminate regulations that we’ve put in place to make sure banks can’t just do whatever they want, or consumers aren’t cheated by their credit card companies, or insurance companies can’t take advantage of their customers — eliminate those regulations, cut taxes at the very top, that somehow, all those benefits are going to trickle down on you —

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  — that the economy is going to improve and you are going to benefit.

Now, I have to tell you, I think they’re wrong.  (Applause.) And the reason I think they’re wrong, Virginia, is because we tried it.  We tried it for most of the last decade.  And what were the results?  We ended up turning record surpluses into record deficits.  Wages, incomes stagnated.  Job growth sluggish. And it culminated in the worst financial crisis that we’ve seen since the 1930s.

Now, if you try something and it doesn’t work, why would you try it again?  (Applause.)  Why would we want to go back to that? (Applause.)

I’ve got a different idea.  I don’t think top-down economics works.  I believe that we grow this economy from the middle out. (Applause.)  From the bottom up.  I believe the heart and soul of this country is making sure that working people can feel some security in the middle class and we’re growing our middle class, and we’re going back to that basic American bargain that says everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  That’s what I believe, 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!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, if you want a specific example of the differences between my approach, my vision — our vision — and the other side’s version, let’s look at the debate we’re having about taxes right now.

I have cut taxes for middle-class families by an average of $3,900 since I’ve been in office.  (Applause.)  Because my attitude was working people were the ones who were hurt most severely by the crisis and, by the way, if they got a tax break, they were most likely to spend that money for necessities and put it back into circulation, and that would do the most for the economy.

So just in case some of your friends or neighbors, or Uncle Jim, who’s a little stubborn and been watching FOX News — (laughter) — and he thinks that somehow I raised taxes — let’s just be clear:  We’ve lowered taxes for middle-class families since I came into office.  (Applause.)

Now, what I’ve said is that the way the law is set up right now, if we do nothing, on January 1st, everybody’s taxes go up.  Everybody’s income taxes go up on January 1st if Congress does nothing.  So what I’ve said is now is not the time to raise taxes on the middle class.  The economy is still fragile.  We’re still digging ourselves out of this hole.  So let’s provide certainty to 98 percent of Americans:  98 percent of Americans make $250,000 a year or less; let’s say to that 98 percent, your taxes will not go up.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, this is the first $250,000 of income — which means that even millionaires would get a little tax break because for their first $250,000 their taxes wouldn’t go up.

The Republicans say they agree that middle-class taxes should not go up.  That’s my belief.  So what I’ve said is we both agree that middle-class taxes shouldn’t go up, let’s go ahead and get this done tomorrow.  (Applause.)  Let’s get this done next week.  What’s the holdup?  (Applause.)

Well, it turns out that the holdup is we’ve got a disagreement on the top 2 percent.  The top 2 percent, folks like me, we don’t need a tax break.  And it turns out if you give us a tax break along with the 98 percent, that costs about a trillion dollars.  We already benefitted from most of the tax cuts over the last decade, so we don’t need it, we’re least likely to spend it.  It’s least likely to give a boost to the economy.  We can’t afford it because we’re trying to bring down our deficit and trying to control our debt.

Now, the Republicans disagree with me on this.  Mr. Romney disagrees with me on this.  And my attitude is, well, that’s fine, but let’s not hold middle-class folks hostage.  (Applause.) The top 2 percent, those tax cuts, that will be settled in the next election.  And I’m looking forward to having a debate, because if you say you want to bring down the deficit but you’re not willing to let tax cuts lapse for the top 2 percent, it tells me you’re not serious about deficit reduction.  (Applause.)

But we can have that debate.  But in the meantime, let’s go ahead and help middle-class families right now.  And so far I have not gotten an okay from the other side on that.  And that tells me I guess they’re not that serious about deficit reduction.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Those folks let him down.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now — but this is just an example of their broader theory.  They think that if you just help wealthy investors, it helps everybody.  I think the opposite.

Let’s take small businesses.  I’ve cut small business taxes 18 times since I’ve been in office.  (Applause.)  And by the way, 97 percent of small businesses make $250,000 a year or less.  So for 97 percent of small businesses, they’d also benefit if we went ahead and got that done right now.  (Applause.)

So far they haven’t taken me up on this offer.  But what this shows is the difference in philosophy, because I believe that if you’re doing well, then the country does well.  (Applause.)  I believe if the small business person and the teacher — (applause) — and the construction worker, and the firefighter, and all those folks who put in a hard day’s work every day — if they’re doing well, then everybody does well.  (Applause.)

That’s my vision for America, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I’m running because I want to make sure that every young person in America has a great education.  (Applause.)  I’ve got a plan to hire new teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  We’ve already expanded the Pell Grant program to help make college more affordable, provide tax credits to middle-class families to help make college more affordable.  (Applause.) I want to keep on going and make sure that 2 million more people can go to community colleges to get trained in the jobs that exist right now, and lower college tuition costs.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

I’m running because I believe we should have manufacturing jobs created here in the United States.  (Applause.)  I don’t think the auto industry is unique; I think there are a whole bunch of companies who we can attract back to the United States. But we’re going to have to change our tax code and stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  Give those tax breaks to companies that are moving back here to the United States of America, hiring American workers, making products stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.  (Applause.)

I am running for President because there are a lot of folks in Virginia who have served us in uniform with such bravery and dedication and patriotism — (applause) — and I want us to keep faith with our troops, and make sure that our veterans get the benefits that they have earned, and that military families like Ricki’s are getting the help that they need when their loved ones are fighting on our behalf.  (Applause.)

But part of keeping faith is also making sure that we’ve got a smart national security strategy.  And it also means making sure that we’ve got a strong economy to support a strong military.  In 2008, I promised we would end the war in Iraq, and we’ve ended it.  (Applause.)  We are transitioning in Afghanistan and beginning to bring our troops home from that theater.  We have gone after al Qaeda, decimated their leadership ranks, taken out Osama bin Laden.  (Applause.)  So now I think it’s a good time for us to take half of those savings that we’ve gotten from winding down these wars, use half of it to pay for the deficit, use the other half to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

Let’s put Americans back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges, building broadband lines into rural areas, making sure that we’ve got the best airports and the best rail lines in the world.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States — because I want to rebuild America and put people back to work.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  U.S.A.!  U.S.A!  U.S.A!

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m running because I want to build not just the best energy policy in the world here in the United States, I also want us to take the lead in clean energy.  We’ve seen oil production go up.  We’re seeing natural gas production go up.  And we’ve doubled our investment and production in solar and wind and biodiesel.  (Applause.)  I don’t want us to be dependent on what happens in the Middle East for our energy.  I want us to develop homegrown energy.  (Applause.)

I want us to stop giving tax subsidies to oil companies that are already incredibly profitable.  I want to double down on our investment in clean energy that’s never been more promising — in solar and wind and biodiesel — and put people back to work so that we can free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, and build up America.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

And I’m running so that we bring down our deficit and our debt in a balanced, responsible way.  We’ve already made a lot of tough cuts to the federal government, and I’m prepared to do more.  I don’t believe that every government program works.  I don’t believe that government is the answer for every problem.  We’re not going to improve our schools unless our parents are focused on education.  (Applause.)  Americans can’t be looking for handouts.  There are some folks you can’t help if they’re not willing to help themselves.  But what I also believe is, is that there are some investments like in education, or in basic research, or in transportation — there are basic investments we need to make to grow our economy.

And so if we’re going to bring down our deficit in a sensible way that grows the economy and grows our middle class, it can’t be based simply on cuts to basic programs and asking nothing from those who have been the most fortunate in this society.  (Applause.)  So what I’ve said is we’ll make cuts, but we’re also going to ask the wealthiest Americans like me to do a little bit more.  And I promise you, we can afford it.  (Applause.)

And by the way, the last time we did that, it worked.  Bill Clinton did it, and we ended up having 23 million new jobs.  We went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole bunch of millionaires to boot.  So don’t tell me that that’s going to destroy jobs.  That’s going to create jobs — because we’re doing it in a way that focuses on building the middle class.  (Applause.)  And there are a whole bunch of wealthy Americans who understand that and are willing to do the right thing if they’re asked.  And I’m prepared to ask them.  That’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So we’ve got a lot of work to do.  We’ve got a lot of work to do.  And the way we’re going to get it done is by you making a decision.  There may be some — there are people who agree with Mr. Romney and his allies in Congress.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, that’s how our democracy works.  Even though the theory that they are promoting they’ve tried —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Don’t believe it!

THE PRESIDENT:  — and it didn’t work, they want to try it again.  That’s the way our democracy works.

But you know what, I’m betting that the American people, they don’t want to go backwards.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  You don’t want to refight the fight we had in health care.  Let me tell you health care was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  If you already have health care, the only thing this bill does is make sure that it’s even more secure and insurance companies can’t jerk you around.  (Applause.)  It allows young people to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan — 6 million young people have already benefited from that program.  (Applause.)

It lowers prescription drug costs for seniors.  It guarantees preventive care for everybody, including women.  (Applause.)  Thirty million people are going to be able to get health insurance that didn’t have it before, and that means — and we’ll help them get it.  And the only thing that we have said is if you can afford to get health insurance and you don’t, you can’t pass those costs on to somebody else.  (Applause.)  You’ve got to take responsibility — that’s part of the American way.  So we’re not going to refight that battle.

I noticed the House of Representatives — the Republicans in the House of Representatives, they voted to repeal it again.  That was the 33rd time they’ve done that.  (Laughter.)  Thirty-three votes to repeal the health care bill; all it would take is one vote to make sure that all of you don’t see your taxes go up next year.  (Applause.)  You tell me what would be a better use of time.  (Applause.)

Mr. Romney doesn’t think we should have a timetable for getting out of Afghanistan.  I disagree.  I don’t want to go backwards, I want to go forwards.  (Applause.)  The other side says they want to go back to the days when you could not serve the country you love because of who you love.  I disagree.  I don’t want to go backwards, I want to go forwards.  (Applause.)

Mr. Romney says that undocumented workers in this country should “self-deport.”  My belief is that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and I want to make sure that we get comprehensive immigration reform that gives young people who’ve been raised here a chance to live out their own American Dream.  (Applause.)  I don’t want to go backwards, I want to go forward. (Applause.)

All these things that I’m talking about, it all goes back to that first campaign I ran.  It all goes back to my family and your family, and this basic idea of how we make sure that the middle class is strong and growing in this country; how do we make sure that folks who aren’t quite there yet, if they work hard enough, can get into that sense of security and take care of their families.  And you know what, we have learned from our history that that’s done together.  (Applause.)

When previous generations funded the GI Bill, or built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge, or sent a man to the moon, or invested in the basic research that created the Internet, they didn’t do that because it was going to benefit one person or a handful of people or one group.  They did it because they understood we rise or fall together, as one people.  (Applause.) And that’s how I want to move this country forward — together, as one people.  And that’s why I’m running again as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

But if I’m going to get there I’m going to need you.  (Applause.)  The way this democracy works, the choice is going to be up to you.  And over the next four months, you are going to see more negative ads than you’ve ever seen in your life.  You’re going to start getting out that DVR to block them out and fast-forward and all that stuff.  (Laughter.)

And the other side, they basically just have one argument — which is the economy is not where it should be and it’s Obama’s fault.  And they’ll just keep on repeating that over and over again because they know they don’t have new ideas.  They know the American people wouldn’t just buy what they’re selling on its own.  So they don’t want to talk about what they’re going to do; they just want to talk about what hasn’t gotten done.

And that may be a way to try to win an election, but it’s not a plan to create jobs.  It’s not a plan to strengthen the middle class.  And I don’t care how much money they spend.  What you taught me in 2008 is that when regular folk, when working people, when all of you tap into that basic decency and goodness of the American people, when you focus on what’s true and what’s right, and you cut through all the nonsense and all the noise and all the spin, and you remember your families and your parents and your grandparents and everything they did to give you the opportunities that you had, then you can’t be stopped.  (Applause.)

When you decide change is going to happen, change happens.  (Applause.)  When you decide we’re moving forward, we move forward.  (Applause.)

That’s what you taught me in 2008.  And some of you will remember, in that campaign I told you I’m not a perfect man — Michelle told you that, too — (laughter) — and I told you I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But what I told you was I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and I would spend every single day that I have the privilege of having this office thinking about you and fighting as hard as I knew how to make your lives a little bit better.  (Applause.)

I made that promise because I saw myself in you, and I saw Michelle in you.  And when I look at your kids, I see my kids.  (Applause.)  And when I look at your grandparents, I see my grandparents.  And because of the values we share, I believe in you.  And I hope you still believe in me.  (Applause.)  Because I’ve kept that promise, and I fought for you, and I’m going to keep on fighting for you as long as I have the chance to be your President.  (Applause.)

And if you’re willing to stand up with me, and knock on doors with me, and make phone calls, and get out and organize, then we’ll finish what we started in 2008, and we’ll remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

END
1:47 P.M. EDT

Campaign Headlines May 24, 2012: NBC News/Marist Poll: Obama has Close Lead over Romney in Key Battleground States Ohio, Florida & Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Polls: Obama leads in key states of Ohio, Fla. and Va.

AP

President Obama and Mitt Romney

Source: USA Today 5-24-12

New polls give President Obama narrow leads in three states that may well decide the 2012 election: Ohio, Florida and Virginia.

Obama leads Mitt Romney in Ohio by 48%-42%, according to the NBC News/Marist Poll; no Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio.

In Florida, Obama has a 48%-44% lead over Romney, says the Marist poll. Florida is another classic swing state, and decided the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

(Remember, polls are polls, however: A recent survey by Quinnipiac University gave Romney a six-point lead in Florida; the Republican/Democratic makeup of the polling sample accounts for many of the differences.)…READ MORE

NBC/Marist polls: Obama leads close swing-state races

Source: Politico, 5-24-12
New battleground polling out this morning from NBC News and Marist College:

President Barack Obama holds a narrow advantage over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in three of the most pivotal presidential battleground states — Florida, Ohio and Virginia — according to new NBC-Marist polls.

But in each of these states, Obama’s share of the vote is below the 50 percent threshold usually considered safe haven for an incumbent president, and Romney has narrowed the margin in these three battlegrounds since earlier this year.

In Florida and Virginia, Obama leads Romney by identical 4-point margins, 48 percent to 44 percent … In Ohio, the president is ahead by 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz May 5, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Second Term Campaign Launch in Richmond, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

President Obama’s speech kicking off his reelection campaign

Obama

President Obama speaks during a campaign rally Saturday in Richmond, Va. (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated Press / May 5, 2012)

Source: WaPo, 5-5-12

On Saturday, President Obama officially kicked off his reelection campaign with speeches in Richmond, Virginia and Columbus, Ohio. This is the White House’s official transcript of the Virginia address, though I’ve removed the 60-some times where the text notes that the audience broke into appaluse. Here’s Dan Balz’s take. Here’s Ezra Klein’s article on what Obama is likely to do if he wins a second term. Here’s Romney’s speech kicking off his general-election effort. Here’s Obama:

Virginia, four years ago, you and I began a journey together. I didn’t run, and you did not work your hearts out, just to win an election. We came together to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth.We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth. If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business, give your kids the chance to do even better — no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is.

We believe the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history; that businesses are the engine of growth, and that risk-takers and innovators should be rewarded. But we also believe that at its best, the free market has never been a license to take whatever you want, however you can get it. We’ve understood that alongside our entrepreneurial spirit, our rugged individualism, America only prospers when we meet our obligations to one another and to future generations.

We came together in 2008 because our country had strayed from these basic American values. A record surplus was squandered on tax cuts for people who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. Two wars were being waged on a credit card. Wall Street speculators reaped huge profits by making bets with other people’s money. Manufacturing left our shores. A shrinking number of Americans did fantastically well, while most people struggled with falling incomes and rising costs, and the slowest job growth in half a century.

And in 2008, that house of cards collapsed in the most destructive crisis since the Great Depression. In the last six months of that year, even as we campaigned, nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs. Over 800,000 more were lost in the month I took the oath of office. And it was tough. It was tough here in Virginia. It was tough all across the country.

But the American people are tougher. All across America, people like you dug in. Folks like you fought back. Some of you retrained. Some of you went back to school. Small business owners cut back on expenses, but did everything they could to keep their employees. And sure, there were setbacks. There have been disappointments. But we didn’t quit. We don’t quit. Together, we are fighting our way back. Together, we’re fighting our way back.

When some wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, we made a bet on American workers, on the ingenuity of American companies. And today, our auto industry is back on top of the world. Manufacturers started investing in America again, adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. Businesses got back to basics, exports surged. And over 4 million jobs were created in the last two years — more than 1 million of those in the last six months alone. Now, does this make us satisfied?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Of course not. Too many of our friends and family are still looking for work. The housing market is still weak, deficits are still too high. States are still laying off teachers and first responders. This crisis took years to develop, and the economy is still facing a bunch of headwinds. So it’s going to take sustained, persistent effort — yours and mine — for America to fully recover, for us to be where we need to be. That’s the truth. We all know it.

But Virginia, I’m here to tell you we are making progress. And now we face a choice. For the last few years, the Republicans who run this Congress have insisted that we go right back to the policies that created this mess in the first place.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: But it gets worse, because to borrow a line from our friend Bill Clinton, now their agenda is on steroids. This time, they want even bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This time, they want even deeper cuts to things like education and Medicare and research and technology. This time, they want to give banks and insurance companies even more power to do as they please.

AUDIENCE: Booo–

And now, after a long and spirited primary, Republicans in Congress have found a champion. They have found a nominee for President who has promised to rubber-stamp this agenda if he gets a chance.

AUDIENCE: Booo–

THE PRESIDENT: But Virginia, I tell you what, we can’t give him the chance.

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Not now. Not with so much at stake. This isn’t just another election. This is a make-or-break moment for America’s middle class. We’ve been through much to turn back now. We’ve come too far to abandon the change we fought for these past few years. Virginia, we’ve got to move forward, to the future that we imagined in 2008. We’ve got to move forward to that future where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

That’s the choice in this election. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: Now, Governor Romney is a patriotic American. He’s raised a wonderful family, and he has much to be proud of. He’s run a large financial firm, and he’s run a state. But I think he’s drawn the wrong lessons from these experiences. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors like him make money, the rest of us will automatically prosper as well.

When a woman in Iowa shared the story of her financial struggles, he responded with economic theory. He told her “our productivity equals our income.”

Well, let me tell you something, Virginia. The problem with our economy is not that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve never been working harder in your lives. You’re working harder than ever. The challenge we face right now — the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade — is that harder work hasn’t led to higher incomes. It’s that bigger profits haven’t led to better jobs.

And Governor Romney doesn’t seem to get that. He doesn’t seem to understand that maximizing profits by whatever means necessary — whether through layoffs or outsourcing or tax avoidance or union-busting — might not always be good for the average American or for our economy.

Why else would he want to spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Why else would he propose cutting his own taxes while raising them on 18 million working families?

AUDIENCE: Booo–

THE PRESIDENT: Why else would he want to slash the investments that have always helped the economy grow, while at the same time stopping regulations of the reckless behavior on Wall Street that helped make the economy crash?

Somehow, he and his friends in Congress think that the same bad ideas will lead to a different result. Or they’re just hoping that you won’t remember what happened the last time we tried it their way.

Virginia, I’m here to say that we were there, we remember, and we’re not going back. We’re moving this country forward. We remember.

Look, we want businesses to succeed. We want entrepreneurs and investors rewarded when they take risks, when they create jobs and grow our economy. But the true measure of our prosperity is more than just a running tally of every balance sheet and quarterly profit report. I don’t care how many ways you try to explain it: Corporations aren’t people. People are people.

We measure prosperity not just by our total GDP; not just by how many billionaires we produce, but by how well the typical family is doing, whether they can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them.

We understand that in this country, people succeed when they have the chance to get a decent education and learn new skills. And, by the way, so do the businesses that hire those people or the companies that those people start.

We know that our economy grows when we support research into medical breakthroughs and new technologies that lead to the next Internet app or life-saving drug.

We know that our country is stronger when we can count on affordable health care and Medicare and Social Security. When we protect our kids from toxic dumping and mercury pollution. When there are rules to make sure we aren’t taken advantage of by credit card companies or mortgage lenders or financial institutions. These rules aren’t just good for seniors, or kids, or consumers — they’re good for business. They’re good for the marketplace. They’re good for America.

Look, we don’t expect government to solve all our problems, and it shouldn’t try. I learned from my mom that no education policy can take the place of a parent’s love and attention. And sometimes, getting in your face and telling you what you need to do. As a young man, I worked with a group of Catholic churches who taught me that no poverty program can make as much difference as the kindness and commitment of a caring soul. Not every regulation is smart. Not every tax dollar is spent wisely. Not every person can be helped who refuses to help themselves.

That’s what we believe. People have to make an effort. People have to try hard. But that’s not an excuse to tell the vast majority of responsible, hardworking Americans, “You’re on your own.” That unless you’re lucky enough to have parents who can lend you the money, you may not be able to go to college. That even if you pay your premiums every month, you’re out of luck if an insurance company decides to drop your coverage when you need it most.

That’s not how we built America. That’s not who we are. We built this country together. We built railroads and highways; the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge — together. We sent my grandfather’s generation to college on the GI Bill — together. We instituted a minimum wage and worker safety laws — together. Together, we touched the surface of the moon, unlocked the mystery of the atom, connected the world through our own science and our own imaginations. We did these things not because they benefited any particular group or individual, but because they made us all richer. Because they gave us all opportunity. Because they moved us forward together — as one nation, as one people.

That’s the lesson of our past. That’s the right vision for our future. And that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: I’m running to make sure that by the end of this decade, more of our citizens hold college degrees than any other nation on Earth. I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science. I want to give two million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now. Because in the 21st century, a higher education can’t be a luxury — it’s an economic imperative that every American should be able to afford. And that’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President.

I’m running to make sure the next generation of high-tech manufacturing takes root in places like Richmond and Columbus, and Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I want to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs and profits overseas. I want us to reward companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America. That’s the choice in this election.

I’m running so that we keep moving towards a future where we control our own energy. Our dependence on foreign oil is at its lowest point in 16 years. By the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon. That will save you money. Thousands of Americans have jobs because the production of renewal energy in this country — solar, wind, biofuels — that’s nearly doubled in just three years.

So now is not the time to cut these investments to pay for another $4 billion giveaway to the oil companies. Now is the time to end the subsidies for an industry that has rarely been more profitable. Let’s double down on a clean energy future that’s never been more promising — for our economy, and our security, and for the safety of our planet. That’s why I’m running, Virginia. That’s the choice in this election.

For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country. Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat. And by 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over.

America is safer and more respected because of the courage and selflessness of the United States Armed Forces. A lot of them from Virginia. A lot of folks right here in Virginia, putting on that uniform, serving on our behalf. And as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us — because nobody who serves, nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come back home.

My opponent has different ideas. My opponent has a different view. He said it was — and I quote — “tragic” to end the war in Iraq.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: He said he won’t set a timeline for ending the war in Afghanistan.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have, and I intend to keep to that timeline. After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is right here, right here at home. So we’re going to use half of what we’re no longer spending on war to pay down the deficit, and we will use the other half to repair our roads and our bridges and our airports and our wireless networks. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President.

I am running to pay down our debt in a way that’s balanced and responsible. We inherited a trillion-dollar deficit. The other side doesn’t like to be reminded of this. But that’s okay. I signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law. And now I want to finish the job by streamlining government, and cutting more waste, and reforming our tax code so that it’s simpler, and that it’s fairer, and that it asks the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more.

Now, my opponent has a different view. He won’t tell us how he’d pay for his new, $5 trillion tax cut — $5 trillion — a tax cut that gives an average of $250,000 to every millionaire in the country.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: But even if he won’t disclose the details of how he’s going to pay for it, we know the bill for that tax cut will either be passed on to our children, or it will be paid for by a whole lot of you, a whole lot of ordinary Americans.

And Virginia, I refuse to let that happen again. I refuse to let that happen again. I refuse to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut by eliminating medical research projects on things like cancer and Alzheimer’s. I refuse to pay for another tax cut by kicking children off of the Head Start program; or asking students to pay more for college; or eliminating health insurance for millions of poor, and elderly, and disabled Americans on Medicaid. We’re not going to do that.

As long as I’m President of the United States, I will never allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it. We’re not going to go back to the days when our citizens spent their golden years at the mercy of private insurance companies. We will reform Medicare — not by shifting the cost of care to seniors, but by reducing the spending that isn’t making people healthier. That’s the right way to do it. And that’s what’s at stake, Virginia. On issue after issue, we just can’t afford to spend the next four years going backwards.

America doesn’t need to refight the battles we just had over Wall Street reform and health care reform. And, by the way, on health care reform, here’s what I know: Allowing 2.5 million young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance — that was the right thing to do. Cutting prescription drug costs for seniors — that was the right thing to do. We’re not going back to the days when insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, or deny you coverage, or charge women differently than men. We’re not going back to that.

We certainly don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood, or taking away access to affordable birth control. I want women to control their own health choices — — just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your son. We’re not turning back the clock.

We’re not returning to the days when you could be kicked out of the United States military just because of who you are and who you love. We’re not going back to that. That would be wrong for our national security. It would be a betrayal of our values. It’s not going to happen on my watch.

This should be the last election where multimillion-dollar donations speak louder than the voices of ordinary citizens. We need more checks on special interests and lobbyists, not fewer checks on them.

We’re not going to eliminate the EPA. We’re not going to roll back the bargaining rights of generations of workers. And it’s time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they’re the children of undocumented workers. This country is at its best when we harness the God-given talents of every individual, when we hear every voice, when we come together as one American family, striving for that same dream.

That’s what we’re fighting for. A bold America. A competitive America. A forward-looking America, where everybody has the chance to make of their life what they will. That’s what made us the envy of the world. That’s what makes us great. That’s why I’m running again for President of the United States.

And, Virginia, that’s why I need your help. This election will be even closer than the last. Too many of our friends and neighbors are still hurting because of this crisis. I’ve heard from too many people wondering why they haven’t been able to get one of the jobs that have been created, why their home is still underwater, why their family hasn’t yet been touched by the recovery.

The other side won’t be offering these Americans any real answers to those questions. They won’t be offering a better vision. They won’t be offering new ideas. But what they will do is spend more money than we’ve ever seen before, all on negative ads on TV and radio, in the mail, on the Internet — probably Tweeting a few negative ads out there somewhere — ads that exploit people’s frustration for my opponent’s political gain. And over and over again, they will tell you that America is down and out, and they’ll tell you who to blame.

And they’ll ask if you’re better off than you were before the worst crisis of our lifetime. We’ve seen the play before. We know what to expect. But you know what, the real question — the question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children — is not just about how we’re doing today. It’s about how we’ll be doing tomorrow.

Will we be better off if more Americans get a better education? Will we better off if we depend less on foreign oil and more on our own ingenuity? Will we be better off if we start doing some nation-building at home? Will we be better off if we bring down our deficits in a balanced, responsible way without gutting the very things that we need to grow? When we look back four years from now, or ten years from now, or twenty years from now, won’t we be better off if we have the courage to keep moving forward?

That’s the question in this election. And that outcome is entirely up to you. We’re going to have to contend with even more negative ads, with even more cynicism, more nastiness — sometimes, just plain foolishness. It will be worse than we saw in the last campaign. We know, because we’ve seen some of the foolishness over the last three and a half years.

But if there’s one thing we learned in 2008, it’s that nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. When enough of you knock on doors and enough of you pick up the phone, when enough of you are talking to your friends and your coworkers, when you decide that it’s time for change to happen, guess what? Change happens. Change comes to America.

Virginia, that’s the spirit we need again. If people ask you what’s this campaign about, you tell them it’s still about hope. You tell them it’s still about change. You tell them it’s still about ordinary people who believe in the face of great odds that we can make a difference in the life of this country. You tell them.

Because I still believe, Virginia. I still believe that we’re not as divided as our politics suggest. I still believe we still have more in common than the pundits tell us; that we’re not Democrats or Republicans first, but we are Americans first and foremost.

I still believe in you, and I’m asking you to keep believing in me. I told you in 2008 that I wasn’t a perfect man, and I will never be a perfect President. But I promised you then that I would always tell you what I thought. I would always tell you where I stood. And I would wake up every single day fighting for you as hard as I know how.

And I have kept that promise. I have kept that promise. And I will keep it so long as I have the honor to be your President. So if you’re willing to stick with me, and fight with me, and press on with me; if you’re willing to work even harder in this election than in the last election, I guarantee you, we will move this country forward. We will finish what we started. We’re still fired up. We’re still ready to go. And we’re going to remind the world once more why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Campaign Buzz May 5, 2012: President Barack Obama Launches Campaign for Second Term with Rallies in Columbus, Ohio & Richmond, Virginia

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally at The Ohio State University. | AP Photo

Obama’s team is localizing its message in too-close-to-call states like Ohio and Virginia. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR SECOND TERM WITH RALLIES IN COLUMBUS, OHIO & RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

Obama Formally Kicks Off Campaign in Ohio and Virginia: President Obama sought to rekindle the passion of his 2008 victory on Saturday with a pair of huge rallies in battleground states that signaled a sharpened critique of Mitt Romney…. – NYT, 5-5-12

Obama launches 2nd term bid at boisterous Va. rally; calls Romney ‘rubber stamp of House GOP’: President Barack Obama wrapped up Saturday’s inaugural re-election campaign foray blasting his likely Republican foe at a packed-house rally of 8000 people, some of them drenched from waiting outside in a thunderstorm…. – WaPo, 5-5-12

First Lady Michelle Obama:

“We’re here because of the values we believe in. We’re here because of the vision for this country that we all share.”

“Barack cannot do this alone … and fortunately, he never has. We have always moved this country forward together.”

President Barack Obama:

“Yes, there were setbacks. But we didn’t quit. We don’t quit. Together, we’re fighting our way back.”

“After a decade of war that’s cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars … the nation we need to rebuild is our own.”

“On issue after issue, we can’t afford to spend the next four years going backwards.”

“We are not returning to the days when you could be kicked out of the U.S. military because of who you are or who you love.”

“That’s what we’re fighting for … a bold America, a competitive America, a generous America, a forward-looking America, where everybody has chance to make of their life what they will.”

“If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope. It’s still about change. It’s about ordinary people who believe that in the face of the greatest odds, we can make a difference in this country.”

“We will finish what we started. We’re still fired up. We’re still ready to go.”

  • Read President Obama’s full campaign kickoff speech: President Obama officially launched his re-election campaign with public rallies in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday.With that launch came a re-tooled stump speech which both defended his record in office and laid out the contrast…. – LAT, 5-5-12
  • Obama revs up campaign at Ohio, Va. rallies: President Obama on Saturday made his most expansive case yet for why he should be elected to a second term, arguing at rallies in Ohio and Virginia that his work is unfinished and that his presumptive opponent, Republican Mitt Romney…. – WaPo, 5-5-12
  • President launches bid for encore term in Virginia: President Barack Obama is wrapping up his inaugural campaign foray to secure an encore term with a packed-house rally of 8000 people in a Virginia basketball arena. Hundreds of them were soaked in a torrential thunderstorm on … AP, 5-5-12
  • Obama kicks off campaign in Ohio: President Obama launched his re-election campaign in the battleground states of Virginia and Ohio on Saturday, highlighting progress the US has made toward pulling itself out of an economic malaise under his … USA Today, 5-5-12
  • Obama kickoff: Hope, change and Mitt: President Barack Obama has been in campaign mode for months, but he made it official Saturday in front of enthusiastic young supporters at two events that illustrated some old strengths and significant new hurdles for the incumbent.
    In a sharp shift from his mostly positive 2008 message, Obama directly attacked opponent Mitt Romney, praising him as a “patriotic American” but ridiculing Romney’s infamous claim that “corporations are people,” a legal truism that has proven to be a favorite Democratic attack line…. – Politico, 5-5-12
  • Obama launches campaign against Romney, but his real opponent is the economy: President Obama formally launched his reelection campaign here Saturday with some old favorites, from “fired up, ready to go” to a closing bow to “hope and change.” But almost everything else about the day spoke to the differences…. – WaPo, 5-5-12
  • Obama ramps up campaign, knocks Romney’s CEO past: US President Barack Obama used his first rallies of the 2012 campaign on Saturday to attack Republican Mitt Romney for learning the “wrong lessons” as a business executive, and promised to move the economy forward if he wins…. – Reuters, 5-5-12
  • Obama plunges into campaign, tears into Romney: Plunging into his campaign for a new term, President Barack Obama tore into Mitt Romney on Saturday as a willing and eager “rubber stamp” for conservative Republicans in Congress and an agenda to cut taxes for the rich, reduce spending…. – Boston.com, 5-5-12
  • Modern elections decided by a few states: For President Barack Obama, today it’s visits to Ohio and Virginia. And it’s no coincidence that likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney just visited those two states, and is returning to Ohio … Dispatch Politics, Chicago Tribune, 5-5-12
  • Obama Confirms Second Term Run: President Obama stopped in Columbus Saturday to make the announcement official that he is running for a second term. Thousands attended the campaign rally at Ohio State University Saturday afternoon. The President spoke about the state of the economy…. – WYTV, 5-5-12
  • Virginia: The state both parties want in November: The verdict is in: Barack Obama’s 2008 victory in Virginia was not a fluke. For the once reliably Republican state, competitive presidential elections are the new normal. Just look at the candidates’ schedules…. – The Virginian-Pilot, 5-5-12
  • Obama kicks off campaign with rallies in Ohio and Virginia: President Barack Obama sought to rekindle the passion of his 2008 victory Saturday with a pair of huge rallies in battleground states that signaled a new, more politically aggressive phase of the campaign and a … San Jose Mercury News, 5-5-12
%d bloggers like this: