News Extras – 2012 Democratic Convention

September 9, 2012

Government, Politics

National

2012 Democratic Convention Speeches .. The Voices of America … Moving Forward 

CHAROLETTE, NC — in his remarks to the Democratic National Convention, President Obama asked the country to rally around a set of concrete goals to move the country forward toward an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down. This roadmap — a real, achievable plan that will create jobs, expand opportunity, and strengthen the middle class — will deliver concrete results in the key areas of manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit. Read more about the President’s roadmap HERE.

Michelle, I love you. The other night, I think the entire country saw just how lucky I am. Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud…but don’t get any ideas, you’re still going to class tomorrow.  And Joe Biden, thank you for being the best Vice President I could ever hope for.

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope – not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested – by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly.  Trivial things become big distractions.  Serious issues become sound bites.  And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising.  If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I.

But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.  Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.

On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties.

It will be a choice between two different paths for America.

A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future..

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger – a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office to the factory floor.  My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story:  the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away.  I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas.  And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table.  And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right.  They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan.  And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”

“Deficit too high? Try another.”

“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses.  But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit.  I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China.  After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.  We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back.   We’re moving forward.

I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy.  I never have.  You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear.  You elected me to tell you the truth.  And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.  It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.  And by the way – those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America:  Our problems can be solved.  Our challenges can be met.  The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.  I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.   That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:

We’re making things again.

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car.  Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America – not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products.

Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else, I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers – goods that are stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.

After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.  And now you have a choice:  we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America.  We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  You can make that happen.  You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy.  After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.   We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history.  And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it.  We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more.  But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new bio-fuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax.  More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke.  They’re a threat to our children’s future.  And in this election, you can do something about it.

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have.  Education was the gateway to opportunity for me.  It was the gateway for Michelle.  And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading.  Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

And now you have a choice – we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school.  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.  No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home.

Government has a role in this.  But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work.  And together, I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth.  Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education.  Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job.  Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years.  We can meet that goal together.  You can choose that future for America.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq.  We did.  I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11.  We have.  We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over.  A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way.  We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected.  We will never forget you.  And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers.  From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.

But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain.  Terrorist plots must be disrupted.  Europe’s crisis must be contained.  Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace.  The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.  The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.

So now we face a choice.  My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp.  You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally.  My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan.  I have, and I will.  And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways.  After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class.  Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion.  Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission.  No party has a monopoly on wisdom.  No democracy works without compromise.  But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do the math.  I refuse to go along with that.  And as long as I’m President, I never will.

I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.  No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned.  Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.  And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.

This is the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick.  If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”

You know what?  That’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country’s about.  As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man or government can take away.  We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative.  We’re not entitled to success.  We have to earn it.  We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system – the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.

We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.

We believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the next Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States – and it’s in our power to give her that chance.

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone.  We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules.  We don’t think government can solve all our problems.  But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because we understand that this democracy is ours.

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us.  It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.

So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me.  It was about you.  My fellow citizens – you were the change.

You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage.  You did that.

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance.  You made that possible.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.”

If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen.  Only you have the power to move us forward.

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention.  The times have changed – and so have I.

I’m no longer just a candidate.  I’m the President.  I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return.  I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs.  If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them.  And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America.  Not because I think I have all the answers.  Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.

I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter – she gives me hope.

The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife – he gives me hope.

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn’t lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay – because they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that business – they give me hope.

And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee.  Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg.  And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled.

He gives me hope.

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to.  I don’t know if they’ll vote for me.  But I know that their spirit defines us.  They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.”

And if you share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote.

If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.

If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now.  Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place.  Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together.  We don’t turn back.  We leave no one behind.  We pull each other up.  We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.

 

President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012:

We’re here to nominate a President, and I’ve got one in mind.

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside.  A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama..

I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.

In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don’t believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made.  One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.

We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity.  We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”

Who’s right?  Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24.  In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs.  What’s the jobs score?  Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!

It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.  After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.

Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.

When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better.  After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day.  All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes.  Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way.  They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.

One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation.  He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation.  He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act.  And Joe Biden did a great job with both.  He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries.  Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.

President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.

He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn’t work out so well.  Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work.

Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job!

In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.

In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years.  You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids.  As another President once said – there they go again.

I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.

Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month.  The answer is YES.

I understand the challenge we face.  I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy.  Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.

I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995.  Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet.  By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did.  No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years.  But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.

I believe that with all my heart.

President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.

So back to the story.  In 2010, as the President’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.

The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs.  But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.

Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.

The auto industry restructuring worked.  It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country.  That’s why even automakers that weren’t part of the deal supported it.  They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.

Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured.  Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.

The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.

President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high.  Renewable energy production has also doubled.

We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don’t have the required skills.  We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology.  That’s why investments in our people are more important than ever. The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years.  That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can’t repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn’t pay enough to make the debt payments.  This will change the future for young Americans.

I know we’re better off because President Obama made these decisions.

That brings me to health care.

The Republicans call it Obama-care and say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal.  Are they right? Let’s look at what’s happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion.  Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement.  More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies.  Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems.  Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions.  And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.

So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.

There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.  It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.

When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s “biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.

At least on this one, Governor Romney’s been consistent.  He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016.  If that happens, you won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.

But it gets worse.  They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade.  Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all.  Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism.  I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. We can’t let it happen

Now let’s look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.

Here’s what happened.  When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%.  You hear that? More work.  So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.

Let’s talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us.  President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.

I think the President’s plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up.

It’s supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out.  They say they’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code.  When you ask “which loopholes and how much?,” they say “See me after the election on that.”

People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets.  What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.  If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy.  Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left.  We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.

President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.

My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in.  If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket.  If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama.  If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama.  If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.

I love our country – and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in.  And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.

If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.

God Bless You – God Bless America.

 

Vice President Joe Biden’s Full Remarks to the Democratic National Convention 

My fellow Democrats, and my favorite Democrat.

Jilly, I want you to know that Beau, Hunt, Ashley, and I are so proud of you. We admire the way you treat every single student who walks into your classroom. You not only teach them.  You give them confidence. And the passion you bring to easing the burden on the families of our warriors.   They know you understand what they’re going through.   It makes a difference.  And I’m grateful.  So grateful that you said Yes on that fifth try.

And Beau, thank you for placing my name in nomination to be Vice President of the United States.  I accept.

My fellow Americans, four years ago, a battered nation turned away from the failed policies of the past—and turned to a leader—who they knew, could lift our nation out of crisis.  Our journey isn’t finished.  We still have more to do.  But today, I say to you, my fellow citizens:  In the face of the deepest economic crisis in our lifetimes– this nation proved itself.  We’re as worthy as any generation that has gone before us.  The same grit, the same determination, the same courage, that has always defined what it’s meant to be an American—is in you.

We’re on a mission to move this nation forward—from doubt and downturn, to promise and prosperity.  A mission we will continue and a mission we will complete.

Folks, tonight, I want to tell you about Barack Obama.  The Barack Obama I’ve come to know. I want to show you the character of a leader—who had what it took, when the American people stood at the brink of a new Depression.   A leader who has what it takes to lead us over the next four years–to a future as great as our people.

I want to take you inside the White House to see the President, as I see him every day. Because I don’t see him in sound bites.  I walk down the hall, 30 steps to the Oval Office, and I see him in action.

Four years ago, middle class incomes were already falling. Then the bottom fell out. The financial crisis hit. You remember the headlines: “Markets Plummet Worldwide”, “Highest Job Losses in 60 Years”, and “Economy on the Brink”

From the moment President Obama sat behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, he knew he had to restore the confidence not only of the nation– but the whole world.  He knew, that one false move could bring a run on the banks, or a credit collapse, that could throw millions out of work.  America and the world needed a strong president with a steady hand, with the judgment and vision to see us through.

Day after day, night after night, I sat beside him, as he made one gutsy decision after another–to stop the slide and reverse it.  I watched him stand up to intense pressure  and stare down choices of enormous consequence. Most of all, I saw what drove him: His profound concern for the American people.

He knew, that no matter how tough the decisions he had to make in the Oval Office were, families all over America had to make decisions every bit as tough for them—as they sat around their kitchen tables.  Barack and I have been through a lot together.  And we’ve learned a lot about each other. I learned of the enormity of his heart.  And he learned of the depth of my loyalty. And there was another thing that bound us.  We both had a pretty good idea what these families were going through–in part because our own families had gone through similar struggles.

Barack had to sit at the end of his mom’s hospital bed and watch her fight cancer and fight her insurance companies at the same time.  I was a kid, but I can remember the day that my dad sat at the end of my bed, and said, things are going to be tough for a while.   I have to go to Delaware to get a new job.   But it’s going to be better for us.  The rest of my life, my dad never failed to remind me–that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about dignity.  It’s about respect.  It’s about being able to look your children in the eye—and say honey, it’s going to be okay, and believe it was going to be okay.  When Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding.  If you took responsibility, you’d get a fair shot at a better deal.  The values behind that deal–were the values that shaped us both. And today, they are Barack’s guiding star.

Folks, I’ve watched him. He never wavers.  He steps up. He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them? And because of the decisions he’s made, and the strength the American people have demonstrated every day, America has turned the corner.  After the worst job loss since the Great Depression, we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 29 months.

President Obama and Governor Romney are both loving husbands and devoted fathers. But they bring vastly different values and visions to the job.  Tonight I’d like to focus on two crises–that show the character of the leadership each man will bring to the job.  The first is the rescue of the automobile industry.

Let me tell you about how Barack saved more than 1 million American jobs. In our first days in office, General Motors and Chrysler were on the verge of liquidation. If the President didn’t act immediately, there wouldn’t be an industry left to save.

We listened to Senators, Congressmen, outside advisors, even some of our own advisors say–we shouldn’t step in, the risks were too high, the outcome   too uncertain.  The President patiently listened.   But he didn’t see it their way. He understood something they didn’t. He understood that this wasn’t just about cars.   It was about the Americans who built those cars and the America they built.

In those meetings, I often thought about my dad.  My dad was an automobile man. He would have been one of those guys—all the way down the line—not in the factory—not along the supply chain—but one of those guys selling American cars to the American people.  I thought about what this crisis would have meant for the mechanics, the secretaries, the sales people who he managed.  And I know for certain, that if my dad were here today, he would be fighting for this President, who fought to save all those jobs, his job, and the jobs of all the people he cared about.  He would respect Barack Obama for having the guts to stand up for the automobile industry, when others walked away.

When I look back now on the President’s decision, I also think of another son of an automobile man–Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney grew up in Detroit.  His father ran American Motors.  Yet he was willing to let Detroit go bankrupt.  It’s not that he’s a bad guy. I’m sure he grew up loving cars as much as I did.  I just don’t think he understood—I just don’t think he understood what saving the automobile industry meant-to all of America.  I think he saw it the Bain way. Balance sheets. Write-offs.

Folks, the Bain way may bring your firm the highest profit. But it’s not the way to lead your country from its highest office.

When things hung in the balance, the President understood it was about a lot more than the automobile industry.  It was about restoring America’s pride.   He knew what it would mean to leave 1 million people without hope or work if we didn’t act. He knew the message it would have sent to the rest of the world if the United States of America gave up on the industry that helped put America on the map. Conviction.  Resolve.

Barack Obama.  This President has shown that same resolve, that same steady hand, in his role as Commander in Chief. Which brings me to the second crisis.

In 2008, Barack Obama made a promise to the American people. He said,  “If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights, we will take him out. That has to be our biggest national security priority.”  Barack understood that the search for bin Laden was about a lot more than taking a monstrous leader off the battlefield.  It was about righting an unspeakable wrong, healing a nearly unbearable wound in America’s heart.  He also knew the message we had to send to terrorists around the world—if you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the ends of the earth. Most of all, the President had faith in our special forces–the finest warriors the world has ever known.

We sat for days in the Situation Room.  He listened to the risks and reservations about the raid. And he asked the tough questions. But when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said– “Sir, we can get this done,” I knew at that moment Barack had made his decision.  His response was decisive. He said do it.  And justice was done.  But Governor Romney didn’t see things that way.  When he was asked about bin Laden in 2007, he said, and I quote, “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth, and spending billions of dollars, just trying to catch one person.”

He was wrong. If you understood that America’s heart had to be healed, you would have done exactly what the President did. And you too would have moved heaven and earth–to hunt down bin Laden, and bring him to justice.

Four years ago, when my mom was still with us, sitting in the stadium in Denver, I quoted one of her favorite expressions. She used to say, Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and the time will    come, when it must be summoned.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m here to tell you, bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama.  And time and time again, I witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and steel in his spine. And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made–and because of the grit and determination of American workers–and the unparalled bravery of our special forces—we can now proudly say—Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.

Folks, we know we have more work to do. We know we’re not there yet. But not a day has gone by, in the last four years when I haven’t been grateful that Barack Obama is our President.  Because he has always had the courage to make the tough calls.

Speaking of tough calls, last week at their convention, our opponents pledged that they too had the courage to make tough calls.  But in case you didn’t notice, they didn’t have the courage to tell you what calls they would make.  They talked about how much they cared about Medicare. How much they wanted to preserve it. That’s what they told you.

But what they didn’t tell you, is that their plan would immediately cut benefits to more than 30 million seniors already on Medicare.  What they didn’t tell you is what they’re proposing would cause Medicare to go bankrupt by 2016.  And what they really didn’t tell you is, they’re not for preserving Medicare. They’re for a whole new plan. They’re for Voucher care.  That’s not courage.  That’s not even truthful.

In Tampa, they talked with great urgency about the national debt. The need to act, to act now. But not once, not once, did they tell you they’ve rejected every plan put forward by us–by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission—by other respected outside groups—to reduce our national debt if it contained even one dollar—one cent—in new taxes for millionaires. That’s not courage.   And that’s not fair.

Let’s just say it straight: The two men seeking to lead this country over the next four years have fundamentally different visions, and a completely different value set.

Governor Romney believes that in the global economy, it doesn’t much matter where American companies put their money or where they create jobs. As a matter of fact, he has a new tax proposal — the territorial tax — that experts say will create 800,000 jobs, all of them overseas.

I found it fascinating last week–when Governor Romney said, that as President, he’d take a jobs tour.  Well with all his support for outsourcing, it’s going to have to be a foreign trip.  Look, President Obama knows that creating jobs in America–keeping jobs in America–and bringing jobs back to America–is what being President is all about.  That’s the President’s job.

Governor Romney believes that it’s okay to raise taxes on the middle class by $2,000 in order to pay for over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for the very wealthy.  President Obama knows that there is nothing decent or fair about asking more of those with less–and less–of those with more.

Governor Romney believes that kids-the kids we call DREAMers—those immigrant children who were brought to America at a very young age, through no fault of their own—he thinks they’re a drag on America.

President Obama believes that even though these DREAMERs—these kids—didn’t choose to come to America-they’ve chosen to do right by America and we should do right by them.  Governor Romney looks at the notion of equal pay for equal work in terms of a company’s bottom line.

President Obama knows–that making sure our daughters are paid the same as our sons for the same job must be every father’s bottom line.  But I must tell you–one thing that perplexed me the most at their convention was this idea of a culture of dependency.  They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, qualified child from a working family a loan to get to college, or when you provide job training in a new industry, for a dad who lost his job, because it was outsourced.

Folks, that’s not how we look at it.  Americans have never looked at it that way.  These men and women aren’t looking for a handout.   They’re just looking for a chance to acquire the tools and the skills to provide for their families—so they can hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity.  I told you the choice is stark.  Two different visions.  Two different value sets.  And at its core, the difference is, we have incredible faith in the decency, and the hard work of the American people. And we know what has made this country great–its people.

As I mentioned at the outset folks–four years ago, Americans we were hit hard.  You saw your retirement accounts drained, the equity in your homes vanish, and your jobs lost or on the line.  But you did what Americans have always done.  You didn’t lose faith.  You fought back.  You didn’t give up.   You got up.  You’re the ones bringing America back. You’re the reason why we’re still better positioned– than any country in the world–to lead the 21st century.

You never quit on America. And you deserve a President who will never quit on you. And one more thing that our opponents are dead wrong about: America is NOT in decline.

I’ve got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, it has never, never, ever, been a good bet to bet against the American people.

My fellow Americans, America is coming back and we’re not going back!  And we have no intention of downsizing the American Dream.

In a moment you’re going to hear from a man, whose whole life is a testament to the power of that dream.  And whose Presidency is the best hope to secure that dream, for our children.

We see a future where everyone rich or poor does their part and has a part.

A future where we depend more on clean energy from home and less on oil from abroad.

A future where we’re #1 in the world again in college graduation.

A future where we promote the private sector, not the privileged sector.

And a future where women control their own choices, health, and destiny.

A future where no one—no one—is forced to live in the shadows of intolerance.

We see a future where America leads not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.  Where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan, just as we brought them home from Iraq.

And a future where we fulfill the only truly, sacred obligation we have as a nation–to equip those we send to war and care for them when they come home from war.

Where we acknowledge the incredible debt we owe to the families of the 6,473 fallen angels and the 49,746 wounded. Thousands, critically wounded.

We must never forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and our prayers.

My fellow Americans, we now find ourselves at the hinge of history.  And the direction we turn is in your hands.  It has been an honor to serve you, and to serve with a President who has always stood up for you.

As I’ve said, I’ve seen him tested.  I know his strength, his command, his faith.

I also know, the incredible confidence he has in all of you.  I know this man.  Yes, the work of recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way.

The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way.  The cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way.  So I say to you tonight, with absolute confidence, America’s best days are ahead of us, and, yes, we are on our way.

In the light of that horizon, for the values that define us, for the ideas that inspire us, there is only one choice.

The choice is to move forward, boldly forward. Finish the job we started and re-elect President Barack Obama.

God bless you and may God protect our troops.

Dr. Jill Biden’s Full Remarks to the Democratic National Convention 

What a night! What a crowd! Thank you, Angie—I’m so proud of you and how far you’ve come. I’m so proud to stand before you tonight not only as the wife of our vice president, but as a full-time teacher and a military mom. I’m here for our son, Beau, and for all of our troops, veterans and military families.

Four years ago, Beau stood on this stage to introduce his father, and soon afterward, he deployed to Iraq for a year with the Delaware Army National Guard. Tonight, thanks to the leadership of President Obama and my husband Joe, the war in Iraq is over.

I’m also here tonight for my students—students like Angie—who work so hard to create a better life for themselves and their families. I’ve been a teacher for more than 30 years, and to this day, I continue to teach full time at a community college in northern Virginia.

Not long after Joe was elected vice president, people started questioning whether I could keep teaching. Not Joe. He was there, standing by my side, saying, “Of course you should. It’s who you are, Jill.” For me, being a teacher isn’t just what I do—it’s who I am. These issues are personal to me. And for the more than 37 years I’ve known Joe, I’ve seen firsthand just how personal they are to him, too.

Joe often tells people that I didn’t agree to marry him until the fifth time he asked me. The truth is that I loved him from the start. I saw in him then the same character that I see in him today. I’ve seen Joe’s character in his optimism. For families who have lost a loved one, kids struggling to find their way, workers out of a job, Joe always works to give people a sense of hope.

I’ve also seen Joe’s character in his determination. Two decades ago, when Joe started working on the Violence Against Women Act, domestic violence was often treated as a private family matter rather than the crime it is. But Joe knew that he had to bring this issue out into the open. And in the years since that bill passed, I’ve had women tell me that their sisters or their friends wouldn’t be alive today—if it weren’t for Joe.

Finally, I’ve seen Joe’s character in his heart. When I first met him, Joe had already seen just how fragile life could be. When he was 29 years old, Joe lost his first wife and baby daughter in a tragic car accident while they were out getting their Christmas tree, and the boys were critically injured. Joe’s life was shattered. But through his strong Catholic faith and his fierce love for our boys, Joe found the strength to get back up.

That’s Joe—that optimism, that determination, that big, strong heart that drives him forward every day. It’s what he learned as a young boy growing up with two hard-working parents in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It’s what makes him such a loving and supportive father of our three children: Beau, Hunter and Ashley. And it’s what drives him today as he and President Obama fight to strengthen the middle class they grew up in.

For as long as I’ve known him, Joe has never given up, never failed to see the possibilities and never had any doubt about who he’s fighting for. And as long as he has the privilege of serving this nation, I know, from the bottom of my heart, that he will continue to fight for you every day.

Thank you. God bless our troops, and God bless our military families.

2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks by Angie Flores 

My name is Angie Flores, and I’m a student at Miami Dade College. When you grow up in a family where getting by is a struggle, college can seem like a dream for someone else; even if, like me, you love learning. Out of 3.2 million young people ages 16 to 24, 2.2 million do not go to college. More than a million don’t even graduate from high school. The statistics say that I shouldn’t be here, that the most someone like me should hope for is to get by, not get ahead. But I’m not a statistic. I’m a young woman with a bright future.

President Obama and Vice President Biden know this. They don’t want any American student to accept that education is only a luxury or that opportunity is simply for someone else. They ask us to work hard and dream big, and they work alongside us to make sure that those dreams come true. We all aspire to live that ideal middle-class lifestyle with the picket fence and lemonade on the porch. President Obama and Vice President Biden are helping kids like me to build that dream. We all celebrate success. President Obama and Vice President Biden help us achieve it!

We all know that education leads to opportunity, and that education begins with a great teacher in every classroom. Tonight, I have the honor of introducing an extraordinary educator. A lot of people know Dr. Jill Biden as our nation’s second lady. But she has an even more important title: teacher. Even when her husband got a pretty big promotion, she continued to educate. That’s how strong her commitment is to her students: this amazing woman grades papers in the White House.

Last year I had the distinct pleasure to meet Dr. Biden. I am fortunate to have teachers like her at Miami Dade College. She is full of warmth, compassion and dedication, and that’s how she makes a difference for students like me. A teacher like Dr. Biden can make the difference between being a statistic and being a success, the difference between getting by and getting ahead. That’s why I’m studying to work with children. When I look at Jill Biden, I see someone making the kind of impact I want to make. Please join me in welcoming my role model, Dr. Jill Biden.

2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks by The Honorable Charlie Crist 

Thank you! What an incredible night. Optimism is in the air. And what an honor to be here with you, to stand with our president, Barack Obama. Half a century ago, Ronald Reagan, the man whose relentless optimism inspired me to enter politics, famously said that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the party left him. I can certainly relate. I didn’t leave the Republican Party; it left me. Then again, as my friend Jeb Bush recently noted, Reagan himself would have been too moderate and too reasonable for today’s GOP.

We face serious challenges in this country. We must create good middle-class jobs so we can have an economy built to last. We must rebuild our roads and bridges, and improve our public schools. And particularly important to me and my state is the challenge of saving Medicare and Social Security so we can keep our promise to seniors. But there are common sense solutions within our reach if we have leaders who are willing and enthusiastic to find common ground.

No political party has a monopoly on that kind of leadership. But as a former lifelong Republican, it pains me to tell you that today’s Republicans—and their standard-bearers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan—just aren’t up to the task. They’re beholden to “my way or the highway” bullies, indebted to billionaires who bankroll ads and allergic to the very idea of compromise. Ronald Reagan would not have stood for that. Barack Obama does not stand for that. You and I won’t stand for that.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t agree with President Obama about everything. But I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve worked with him, and the choice is crystal clear.  When he took office, the economic crisis had already put my state of Florida on the edge of disaster. The foreclosure crisis was consuming homeowners, the tourists we depend on couldn’t afford to visit and our vital construction industry had come to a standstill. President Obama saw what I saw: a catastrophe in the making. And he took action.

One of his first trips in office brought him to Fort Myers, where I was proud to embrace him and his plan to keep our teachers, police and firefighters on the job. Well, that hug caused me more grief from my former party than you can ever imagine. But even as the Republican Party fought tooth and nail to stop him, this president showed his courage, invested in America—and saved Florida. Two years later, Florida and the Gulf Coast faced the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history, this time when a ruptured well spilled nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama came to our rescue again, leading a massive cleanup effort and demanding accountability from those responsible. He didn’t see a red state or a blue state. He simply saw Americans who needed help.  And I once again saw the leader our country needs.

You know, I used to play quarterback just down the road from here at Wake Forest. My dad always told me, “Charlie, it takes a cool head to win a hot game.” Our country is in the middle of a hot game. We face serious challenges, both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, our politics are defined by discord and discontent. Never has it been harder for a president to keep a cool head. And never has it been more important. I look around Florida, and I see a state bursting with diversity and opportunity, a state that looks like America’s future.

When I look at the Republican ticket today, I see two candidates who would break the fundamental promise of Medicare and Social Security, and cut investments in our middle class which are so important to our economic recovery. And when I look at President Obama, I see a leader with a cool head, a caring heart and an open mind, a president who has demonstrated through his demeanor and through his deeds that he is uniquely qualified to heal our divisions, rebuild our nation and lead us to a brighter future together.

That’s the leader Florida needs. That’s the leader America needs. And that’s the reason I’m here tonight, not as a Republican, not as a Democrat, but as an optimistic American who understands that we must come together behind the one man who can lead the way forward in these challenging times: my president, our president, Barack Obama! And if you see the president before I do, give him a hug for Charlie!

2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks by Admiral John B. Nathman, United States Navy, Retired 

Today and every day, our military men and women serve our country with their actions and deeds. The veterans standing with me, all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, are part of a proud legacy—from those who defended us in the earliest days of our country to the “greatest generation” in World War II to those who served and sacrificed in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the Balkans; anywhere they’ve been needed. Today’s servicemen and women have been called the “next great generation,” and they live up to their calling in everything they do. They’ve gone beyond the call of duty in every way one can imagine.

I served in the United States Navy for thirty-seven years. As a fighter pilot, as commander of the Naval Air Forces, and as vice chief of the Navy—I’ve heard plenty of folks praise the military and thank us for our service. We appreciate the gratitude.

And since the day he took office, the president has demonstrated that he respects and understands the challenges for those who wear a uniform. For every branch of the service, for those in civilian clothes or the uniform, President Obama gives us a foreign policy worthy of the men and women on this stage, to ensure that wherever they serve, their uniform and dedication is respected, and that their service makes a difference for America.

For every veteran who comes home wounded, the president invested in the VA and expanded care to more than a half million returning troops who deserve that care. For every family waiting at home, anxious every time the phone rings, the president, the first lady, and Dr. Jill Biden are engaging whole communities to support those families. And for every man and woman coming back to an uncertain future, the president strives to help veterans apply their talents, expand their skills and get good jobs. Last year, he challenged American businesses to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses. He and the first lady got businesses across the private sector to sign on, supported by tax credits for hiring our veterans and wounded warriors. Last month, these same participating businesses reported that they’ve exceeded the goal by 25 percent— ahead of schedule—and now they’re committing to bring on a quarter million more new veteran jobs.

And it’s not just about finding jobs today; it’s about giving these men and women the chance to learn the skills for the jobs of tomorrow. That’s why I’m proud that the president is offering veterans the best education benefits since the original GI Bill. This education is something that can and will change their lives, and it guarantees American progress, vitality and growth.

My parents were members of the “greatest generation.”  My dad joined the Army Air Corps in 1940 as an enlisted man fixing bombers in World War II. He served a career in the Strategic Air Command. My mother was a volunteer for the USO. Later, as a widow, she raised five children. In the years since, I’ve been privileged to lead and serve with members of this “next great generation.”  I see in them tough, bright, courageous, inspiring men and women. I see this country’s future leaders. These service members have been to some of the bleakest corners of the globe. They know how good this country is.

They know firsthand what America means to the world and they are going to bring us to the next great moment in our nation’s history, because president Obama is standing with them.

Tonight, we are standing here with you. We are standing with our president. The men and women on this stage are only a small sample of this amazing generation. Americans from Texas, Virginia, Florida, Oregon, New York, Nevada, Hawaii, North Carolina and all across this great country. So for them and everyone they represent, please stand with me in saying thank you.

2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks by The Honorable John Kerry, Member of the U.S. Senate, Massachusetts

In this campaign, we have a fundamental choice. Will we protect our country and our allies, advance our interests and ideals, do battle where we must and make peace where we can? Or will we entrust our place in the world to someone who just hasn’t learned the lessons of the last decade?

We’ve all learned Mitt Romney doesn’t know much about foreign policy.  But he has all these “neocon advisors” who know all the wrong things about foreign policy. He would rely on them—after all, he’s the great outsourcer.

But I say to you: This is not the time to outsource the job of commander in chief. Our opponents like to talk about “American exceptionalism,” but all they do is talk. They forget that we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things. We break out of the Great Depression, win two world wars, save lives fighting AIDS, pull people out of poverty, defend freedom, go to the moon—and produce exceptional people who even give their lives for civil rights and human rights.

Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet. That is a responsibility from the Scriptures—and that too is a responsibility of the leader of the free world. The only thing exceptional about today’s Republicans is that—almost without exception—they oppose everything that has made America exceptional in the first place. An exceptional nation demands the leadership of an exceptional president. And, my fellow Americans, that president is Barack Obama.

Just measure the disarray and disaster he inherited. A war of choice in Iraq had become a war without end, and a war of necessity in Afghanistan had become a war of neglect. Our alliances were shredded. Our moral authority was in tatters. America was isolated in the world. Our military was stretched to the breaking point. Iran was marching unchecked towards a nuclear weapon. And Osama bin Laden was still plotting.

It took President Obama to make America lead like America again. It took President Obama to restore our moral authority—and to ban torture. This president understands that our values do not limit our power—they magnify it. He showed that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries.

And President Obama kept his promises. He promised to end the war in Iraq—and he has—and our heroes have come home. He promised to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly—and he is—and our heroes there are coming home. He promised to focus like a laser on al-Qaeda—and he has—our forces have eliminated more of its leadership in the last three years than in all the eight years that came before. And after more than ten years without justice for thousands of Americans murdered on 9/11, after Mitt Romney said it would be “naive” to go into Pakistan to pursue the terrorists, it took President Obama, against the advice of many, to give that order to finally rid this earth of Osama bin Laden. Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.

Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel to tighten sanctions on Iran—and take nothing off the table.

Again and again, the other side has lied about where this president stands and what this president has done. But Prime Minister Netanyahu set the record straight—he said, our two countries have “exactly the same policy…”—”our security cooperation is unprecedented…” When it comes to Israel, I’ll take the word of Israel’s prime minister over Mitt Romney any day.

President Obama promised to work with Russia to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and signed an historic treaty that does just that. He promised to lock down nuclear materials around the world, and he has done just that. He refused to accept the false choice between force without diplomacy or diplomacy without force. When a brutal dictator promised to kill his own people “like rats,” President Obama enlisted our allies, built the coalition and shared the burden, so that today—without a single American casualty—Moammar Gadhafi is gone and the people of Libya are free.

So on one side of this campaign, we have a president who has made America lead like America again. What is there on the other side?

An extreme and expedient candidate, who lacks the judgment and vision so vital in the Oval Office. The most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades.

It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position. He was against setting a date for withdrawal—then he said it was right—and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was “tragic” to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should’ve intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters’ questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a “better place” because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it!

Mr. Romney—here’s a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!

“President Mitt Romney”—three hypothetical words that mystified and alienated our allies this summer. For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas. It wasn’t a goodwill mission—it was a blooper reel.

But a Romney-Ryan foreign policy would be anything but funny. Every president of both parties for 60 years has worked for nuclear arms control—but not Mitt Romney. Republican secretaries of state from Kissinger to Baker, Powell to Rice, President Bush, and 71 United States senators all supported President Obama’s New Start treaty. But not Mitt Romney. He’s even blurted out the preposterous notion that Russia is our “number one geopolitical foe.” Folks: Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.

So here’s the choice in 2012. Mitt Romney: out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad and out of the mainstream. Or Barack Obama: a president who is giving new life and truth to America’s indispensable role in the world; a commander-in-chief who gives our troops the tools and training they need in war, the honor and help they’ve earned when they come home; a man who will never ask other men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

And let me say something else. No nominee for president should ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in his acceptance speech. Mitt Romney was talking about America. They are on the front lines every day defending America, and they deserve our thanks.

Some of us from a prior war remember coming home was not always easy. President Obama has made it his mission that we welcome our troops home with care, and concern, and the respect they deserve. That is how an exceptional nation says “thank you” to its most exceptional men and women.  Mitt Romney says he “believes in America” and he’ll restore “American exceptionalism.” I have news for him: We already have an exceptional American as president—and we believe in Barack Obama!

God bless you, and God bless America!

2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks by Eva Longoria 

Hello, Charlotte! I am honored to be here as co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign, and so proud of my friend and fellow Texan, Julian Castro. Didn’t he do a great job?

I feel fortunate to be standing on this stage tonight. I never could’ve imagined it growing up. I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the youngest of four girls, including my oldest sister, Lisa, who has special needs. My mom was a special education teacher, and my dad worked on the Army base. We weren’t wealthy, but we were determined to succeed.

In my family, there was one cardinal priority—education. College was not an option; it was mandatory. So even though we didn’t have a lot of money, we made it work. I signed up for financial aid, Pell Grants, work study, anything I could. Just like our president and first lady, I took out loans to pay for school. Then I changed oil in a mechanic shop, flipped burgers at Wendy’s, taught aerobics and worked on campus to pay them back.

Like a lot of you, I did whatever it took and, four years later, I got my degree. More importantly, I got a key to American opportunity. That’s who we are—a nation that rewards ambition with opportunity. Where hard work can lead to success, no matter where you start. Traveling the country for the president, I see young Americans of every background fighting to succeed. They’re optimistic, ambitious, hardworking. But they also want to know that their hard work will pay off.

We’re lucky our president understands the value of American opportunity, because he’s lived it! And he’s fighting to help others achieve it. He’s fighting to make college more affordable! He’s cut taxes for every working American. He’s helping small businesses get loans and has cut their taxes eighteen times. Eighteen times!

That’s important—small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America. It’s the suburban dad who realizes his neighborhood needs a dry cleaner. It’s the Latina nurse whose block needs a health clinic—and she knows she’s the one to open it! It’s the high school sophomore who is building Facebook’s competitor. They are the entrepreneurs driving the American economy, not Mitt Romney’s outsourcing pioneers. He would raise taxes on middle-class families to cut his own—and mine. That’s not who we are as a nation, and here’s why: The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers—she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.

We face a choice this election. President Obama is fighting for changes that grow the economy from the middle out and help all Americans succeed—jobs, education, health reform, the DREAM Act, equal pay for women. He is moving us forward with opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow. Mitt Romney wants to take us back to yesterday.

But America was built by optimists. Optimists like my friend Amanda, who recently started a small business. When she went to buy her website address—her first and last name—she found that someone already owned it, but wasn’t using it. So my friend emailed the owner of the site to ask if she could buy it. The owner wrote back.

She is a 13-year-old girl who shares Amanda’s name, and politely explained that she could not give up the website. Why? Because the younger Amanda plans to be president of the United States, and she’s going to need the website for her campaign.

Here is a girl who at 13 years old firmly believes she can build her American dream. And here’s a president who’s building an America where that dream is possible. Let’s fight for the American dream! Amanda’s, yours, mine, all of ours! We know how to do that.  We know what we need to do. Let’s re-elect President Obama!

2012 Democratic National Convention: Remarks by Kerry Washington 

I’m so grateful to be here with all of you tonight!

I’m here not just as an actress but as a woman, an African-American, a granddaughter of Ellis Island immigrants, a person who could not have afforded college without the help of student loans and as one of millions of volunteers working to re-elect President Obama!

So many struggled so that all of us could have a voice in this great democracy and live up to the first three words of our constitution: We the people. I love that phrase so much. Throughout our country’s history, we’ve expanded the meaning of that phrase to include more and more of us. That’s what it means to move forward. And that’s what this election is all about.

Look, I get it. Whether it’s school, work, family, we’ve all got a lot on our minds. People say to me, “I’m just too busy to think about politics.” But here’s the thing: You may not be thinking about politics, but politics is thinking about you.

Today there are people trying take away rights that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for: our right to vote, our right to choose, affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care. We the people can’t let that happen.

Tonight, even as this convention is coming to a close, a movement is being built across our country. The other side wants to take away our voice and render us invisible. But we are not invisible.

In more than 5,000 homes, friends and neighbors have gathered for online watch parties. They are committed to this campaign. Together we will re-elect President Obama.

None of us can be silent. We need all of you in this network, and we will win this election, because we are the people.

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