Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event -- Windham, NH
Windham High School
Windham, New Hampshire
1:06 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) It's good to be back! (Applause.) It is good to be back in New Hampshire. (Applause.)
Well, first all, thank you guys all for being here. I know it's a little bit warm.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Laughter.) So for those of you, everybody who is standing, I want you to kind of bend your knees a little bit. (Laughter.) We usually see a few folks kind of dropping out a little bit when it's this warm. If you've got a seat, feel free to sit down and relax.
I want everybody to give a big round of applause to Beth Talbot -- (applause) -- not only for the great introduction, but for being an outstanding teacher. I love teachers. (Applause.) Love them.
Two other people I want to acknowledge -- first of all, congressional candidate, Annie Kuster is here. Give Annie a big round of applause. (Applause.) And my national co-chair back in 2008, one of my earliest supporters in New Hampshire, great guy -- Paul Hodes is here. Give Paul a big round of applause. (Applause.) And all of you are here, and I'm very happy about that. (Applause.)
Let me also say, by the way, thank you for returning Malia and Sasha safe and sound. They were up here for camp for a month. They had a wonderful time, but their parents missed them a lot. (Laughter.) So we were glad to get them back. But you guys took good care of them while they were up here, so I appreciate that. (Applause.)
Now, while they were at camp -- there are no TVs at camp -- but unless you've been able to hide your TV set or your cable is broke, you may be aware that there is a campaign going on right now. (Laughter and applause.) And part of the reason the campaign is so intense is because the choice we face in November could not be bigger. It's not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties, it is a choice between two fundamentally different visions about where to take the country; two fundamentally paths for America.
And the decisions that you make, the direction you choose for us to walk in when you walk into that voting booth in November, it's going to have an impact not just on your lives but it's going to have an impact on your kids and your grandkids and generations to come.
Some of you were involved in 2008 when we came together. (Applause.) And it wasn't just Democrats -- we had independents, we had even some Republicans.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!
THE PRESIDENT: There you go. (Laughter.) And the idea was that we needed to restore the basic bargain that made this country great; the basic bargain that created the most prosperous economy that the world has even known.
And it's a simple bargain. It says, if you work hard, that work should be rewarded. It says that if you put in enough effort and you take seriously your responsibilities, you should be able to find a job that pays the bills, you should be able to afford a home you can call your own, you should count on health care if you get sick -- (applause) -- you should be able to retire with some dignity and some respect after a lifetime of labor -- (applause) -- and most important, you should be able to give your kids the kind of education and opportunity that allows them to dream bigger and do better than you ever did. (Applause.)
That’s the American promise. That’s the American Dream. And we knew restoring it wouldn’t be easy; that it would take more than one year or one term or even one President, because we had gone through a decade in which that promise was not being kept. We had seen a decade in which incomes and wages were going down even as the cost of everything from health care to college were going up.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Say it again, Mr. President, so we can hear it again!
THE PRESIDENT: We had seen a decade -- (laughter and applause) -- in which jobs were being shipped overseas, in which we took a surplus and turned it into a deficit, ran two wars on a credit card -- all culminating in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And middle-class families who were already getting hammered lost their jobs, lost their savings, some lost their homes. And the American Dream seemed even further out of reach.
So when I ran for office, I told you there are no quick fixes, there are no easy solutions. But what I also insisted was that if we pull together, we have everything we need to meet our challenges. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, we can!
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we can. We still have the best workers in the world, the best entrepreneurs and small businesspeople in the world, the best scientists, the best researchers, the best universities, the best colleges in the world. (Applause.)
We're still a young nation, and we've got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity. There's a reason why people still want to come here -- because no matter what the naysayers say and no matter how stark the other side tries to paint the situation during election time, there is not another country on Earth that wouldn’t gladly change places with the United States of America. (Applause.)
Most of all, the American character has not changed. In fact, we saw during this crisis how people may have gotten knocked down, but they got right back up. (Applause.) Folks -- people in their 50s, 60s losing their jobs, go back to school, they get retrained and find a new one. Small business people keeping their doors open even if it meant them not taking a salary, because they understood their workers had families that were depending on them.
We may have gone through tough times, but it turns out we’re tougher than tough times. (Applause.) And that’s how we saved an auto industry on the brink of collapse. That’s how we created 4.5 million new jobs, half a million in manufacturing.
We are not there yet. We’ve still got a long way to go, because we’ve got to make sure that here in America, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, here in America, you can make it if you try. That’s what this campaign is about. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, I’ve got to say -- remember, I said this is a choice in this election. We’ve got a particular vision about how to move the country forward. My opponent and his running mate have a very different view. They believe the best way forward is to go right back to the old top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Their ideas are pretty simple; they’re not hard to explain. They think that if we get rid of more regulations on big corporations and big banks -- some of which we put in place to prevent another taxpayer-funded bailout -- and if we do more tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans, then somehow prosperity is going to rain down on all of you. (Laughter.)
That’s their theory. In fact, the centerpiece of my opponent’s entire economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans. His new running mate, Congressman Ryan --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: -- he put forward a plan that would let Governor Romney pay less than 1 percent in taxes each year. And here’s the kicker -- he expects you to pick up the tab.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Governor Romney’s tax plan -- this is not my analysis now; this is the analysis of independent folks who analyze tax plans for a living -- (laughter) -- that’s what they do -- (laughter.) Their analysis showed that Governor Romney’s tax plan would actually raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000 --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: -- not to reduce the deficit, not to grow jobs, not to invest in education, but to give another tax cut to folks like him.
Now, ask Governor Romney and his running mate when they’re here in New Hampshire on Monday -- they’re going to be coming here on Monday -- ask them if that’s fair. Ask them how it will grow the economy. Ask them how it will strengthen the middle class.
They have been trying to sell this trickle-down snake oil before. (Laughter.) It did not work then. It will not work now. It’s not a plan to create jobs. It will not reduce the deficit. It will not move the economy forward. It’s the wrong direction for America. (Applause.)
Now, the truth is I think they know it’s not a very popular idea. You can tell that because now they’re being dishonest about my plans, since they can’t sell their plans. (Laughter.) I mean, they are trying to throw everything at the wall just to see what will stick.
The latest thing they’ve been trying is to talk about Medicare. Now, you would think they would avoid talking about Medicare, given the fact that both of them have proposed to voucherize the Medicare system.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: But I guess they figure the best defense is to try to go on offense. So, New Hampshire, here is what you need to know: Since I have been in office, I have strengthened Medicare. (Applause.) I have made reforms that have extended the life of the program, that have saved millions of seniors with Medicare hundreds of dollars on their prescription drugs. (Applause.) The only changes to your benefits that I’ve made on Medicare is that Medicare now covers new preventive services like cancer screenings and wellness visits for free. (Applause.)
Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan have a very different plan. What they want to do is they want seniors to get a voucher to buy their own insurance, which could force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year for their health care.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Again, this is not my estimate. Remember those guys who analyze these things for a living? That’s their assessment. That doesn’t strengthen Medicare. That undoes the very guarantee of Medicare. That’s the core of the plan written by Congressman Ryan and endorsed by Governor Romney.
So here is the bottom line: My plan saves money in Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and insurance company subsidies. (Applause.) And their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: My plan has already extended the life of Medicare by nearly a decade. (Applause.) Their plan would put Medicare on track to be ended as we know it. It would be an entirely different plan -- a plan in which you could not count on health care because it would have to be coming out of your pocket. That’s the real difference between our plans on Medicare.
That’s the choice in this election. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. And I need your help. (Applause.)
Now, four years ago I promised to cut middle-class taxes. That’s exactly what I’ve done -- by a total of about $3,600 for the typical family. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Mr. President!
THE PRESIDENT: So just like we’ve got a difference on Medicare, we’ve got a difference on taxes. Right now, what I want to do is keep taxes right where they are for the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. So if your family makes under $250,000 -- which -- that includes 98 percent of Americans --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s me!
THE PRESIDENT: -- that’s you -- (laughter) -- 97 percent of small businesses -- you won’t see your income taxes increase by a single dime next year. (Applause.)
Now, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the other 2 percent, you’ll still keep your tax cut on the first $250,000 you make. That’s a pretty good deal. But all we’re asking is for folks like me who make more than $250,000, we’re asking that you contribute a little bit more above $250,000 so we can pay down this deficit and invest in things like making college more affordable -- (applause) -- making sure our teachers aren’t laid off, making sure our firefighters are there to respond to emergencies, making sure our economy grows.
And, keep in mind, asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more, that doesn’t eliminate our deficit. We’re still going to have to make sure that government does its part by cutting away all the spending we don’t need. And I’ve already cut a trillion dollars in spending, and we’ve slated another trillion more.
But we can’t just reduce our deficit and our debt by gutting education, and gutting research and development, and gutting infrastructure. And all we’re asking folks like me to do is go back to the rates we paid under Bill Clinton -- which, by the way, was a time when we created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and a bunch of millionaires to boot. (Applause.)
See, I’m getting all fired up. (Applause.) And I want to explain that this is not just good for middle-class families and working families, it’s good for everybody. Because what happens when a police officer or a firefighter or a teacher or a construction worker or a receptionist -- what happens when they’ve got a little more money in their pocket?
AUDIENCE: Spend it!
THE PRESIDENT: They spend it on basic necessities. So maybe they go out and finally, after 10 years, buy a new car. Or maybe they buy a new computer for their kid who’s going off to college. And that means business suddenly has more customers. And that means businesses are making more profits. And that means businesses are hiring more workers, who in turn have more money to spend, which makes businesses do even better. That’s how you grow an economy -- not from the top down, but from the middle out and from the bottom up. (Applause.) That’s the choice in this election. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President. (Applause.)
On issue after issue, the choice could not be clearer. When the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, Governor Romney said let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.” I said, a million jobs are at stake -- let’s bet on American workers and American manufacturing. (Applause.) And three and a half years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back. That’s the choice in this election. (Applause.)
Governor Romney likes to tout his private sector experience, even though a lot of that experience was investing in companies that were called “pioneers” in the business of outsourcing manufacturing jobs.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: He wants to keep on giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing here in New Hampshire -- (applause) -- here in the United States, hiring American workers to make American products to sell around the world. That’s the difference in this election. (Applause.)
Governor Romney thinks new sources of clean energy are “imaginary.” Since I took office, we have in fact doubled the use of renewable energy like wind and solar. Thousands of Americans have good jobs because of it. It’s not imaginary, it’s real.
New Hampshire, we’ve got to stop giving $4 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies that are making plenty of profits, and use that money to help American homegrown energy that has never been more promising. (Applause.) That’s a choice in this election. (Applause.)
In 2008 I promised I would end the war in Iraq -- we did. (Applause.) I said we’d go after al Qaeda and bin Laden -- we did. (Applause.) We now are transitioning so that Afghans take more responsibility for their security and we can start bringing our troops home from there. (Applause.) All of these things we did only because of the incredible courage and dedication and patriotism of our men and women in uniform. (Applause.) And that’s why we've made historic investments in the VA -- because I believe that anybody who has fought for America in uniform should not have to fight for a job when they come home -- (applause) -- shouldn’t have to fight for the benefits they've earned.
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: So we could not be prouder of them. But we want them to return to a strong economy, which means that after a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home. (Applause.)
Let's create a Veterans Jobs Corps that can help returning heroes get jobs as firefighters and cops in communities that need them the most. (Applause.) Let's take some of the savings from war to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our schools all across America -- (applause) -- to lay broadband lines and wireless networks that can make us more competitive. Let's put some construction workers back to work. That helps everybody, and that will help America be strong for decades to come. That’s the choice in this election. That’s what's at stake. (Applause.)
I want to make sure that we've got the best education in the world. I want to help school districts like this one hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science. (Applause.) I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn the skills that businesses are hiring for right now. And I want college and universities to bring their tuitions down, because in the 21st century, our young people have to be able to get a college education, a higher education. (Applause.) It's not a luxury, it is a necessity. That’s the choice in this election. (Applause.)
And, yes, New Hampshire, I'm running again because I still believe, in America, nobody should go broke because they get sick. (Applause.) I'm kind of fond of the term “Obamacare,” because I do care. That’s why we passed the law. That’s why 6.5 million young people can stay on their parent's plan now. That’s why seniors are seeing discounts on their prescription drugs. (Applause.) That’s why families who have got somebody with a preexisting condition can now get health care. (Applause.) It was the right thing to do. The Supreme Court has spoken. We are not going backwards, we are going forward. (Applause.)
We're not going back to the day when serving the country you love depended on who you love. We ended "don't ask, don't tell." It was the right thing to do. (Applause.) We're not going back. We're not going back to the day when women didn’t have control of their own health care choices. We're going forward, we're not going back. (Applause.)
On issue after issue, there is a choice. And all these issues -- manufacturing and health care and education -- all these things tie together because it's part of what not only makes up a middle-class life, but also creates rungs of opportunity for people to get into the middle class. That’s what we believe in. That’s what we're fighting for. That’s how the economy grows. And that’s what we learned from our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents -- some who came here as immigrants -- folks working hard, overcoming obstacles, understanding that in America, not only could you do better but your future generations could do better. That’s what's at stake in this election, and that’s why I'm running for a second term as President. (Applause.)
Now, let me say this -- let me close up by saying this. Over the next three months, you will see more negative ads than you have ever seen in your life. These folks on the other side, they're writing $10 million checks. And basically, their argument is going to be the same one over and over again: The economy is not where it should be, and it's Obama's fault. They’ll just keep on repeating it because they know their own plans don’t sell.
So all they’ll try to do is just hope that if they can tap into people's frustration and anxiety, that somehow they're going to win, even though what they're selling won’t work. It's not -- what they're selling is not a plan to create jobs, it's not a plan to reduce the deficit, it certainly is not a plan to revive the middle class. But they are counting on just outspending us to win.
But here is the good news. Here is the good news, New Hampshire -- I've been counted out before and I've been outspent before. But what I've learned -- and you guys helped teach this to me -- is that when the American people, when they cut through the nonsense, when you focus on what's important, when you're reminded of what values built this country, when you remember that we are all in this together, and you affirm the basic American notion that everybody in this country gets a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share, and everybody should play by the same set of rules -- when you are focused on the things that make us a great country, we don’t lose. (Applause.) You will help get us there.
We've got too many more jobs we've got to create, too many more teachers we've got to hire, too many young people who need to go to college, too many troops we've got to come home -- (applause) -- more energy we've got to generate, more opportunity that we've got to open up to everybody. (Applause.)
So if you're willing to stand with me and fight with me, and make phone calls with me, and knock on doors with me -- (applause) -- if you're willing to vote for me, we will win New Hampshire. We will win this election. And we will finish what we started and remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
God bless you. God bless the United States of America.
1:36 P.M. EDT