Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event in Davenport, Iowa
10:01 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Iowa! (Applause.) Hello Quads! It's good to be back. This is about as close as I get to home these days, so it is good to be back. Are you fired up? (Applause.) Are you ready to go? (Applause.)
At the outset, let's give Cassandra a huge round of applause for her service to our country and a great introduction. (Applause.) We've got your congressman here, Dave Loebsack; your mayor, Bill Gluba. (Applause.) And we've got all of you, and I'm really excited to see you. (Applause.)
Now, this is the first stop on our 48-hour fly-around-campaign marathon extravaganza. (Applause.) We're going to pull an all-nighter. No sleep. We're starting here in Iowa, we're going to Colorado, then we're going to go to Nevada, then we're going to Florida, Virginia, Ohio. (Applause.) I am going to stop in Chicago to vote. (Applause.) We've got early vote in Illinois just like we've got early vote here in Iowa.
But I had to start in Iowa to ask you for your vote, to ask you for your support so we can finish what we started. (Applause.) Because this is where it all began 4 years ago -- on your front porches, in your backyards. This is where the movement for change began. And Iowa, you will once again choose the path that we take from here.
I know at this point -- because you guys have seen a lot of TV commercials -- you've heard Governor Romney's sales pitch.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, don’t boo -- vote. (Applause.) He has been running around saying he's got a five-point plan for the economy. Let me tell you, it turns out it's only a one-point plan. (Laughter.) Folks at the very top get to play by a very different set of rules than you do. They can keep paying lower tax rates than you do, keep their money in off-shore accounts. They can buy up a company, load it up with debt, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions, send the jobs overseas -- and they still make a big profit while the middle class gets stuck with the bill.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t boo -- vote. That was his philosophy in the private sector, that was his philosophy as governor, that’s his philosophy now. It's not a very inspiring vision for our country.
So two weeks from the election -- because he knows that if he actually told everybody what he wants to do he probably wouldn’t get any votes, so he's doing everything he can to make sure that you don’t notice what he's been saying. And we've come up with a name for this condition -- it's called Romnesia. (Laughter.) Romnesia. I want to go over the symptoms with you, then, for it, because I don’t want you to catch it. I don’t want it to spread.
If you say you won’t give a big tax cut to the wealthy, but you’re caught on video promising your tax cut would include the top 1 percent, then you might have Romnesia. (Laughter.)
If you talk about how much you love teachers during a debate, but just a few weeks ago you said we shouldn’t hire any more teachers because they won’t grow the economy, you probably have Romnesia. (Laughter.)
If you sit on stage in a nationally televised debate saying how much you love cars -- you’re a car guy -- except you wrote an article titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” then you almost certainly have Romnesia.
If you can’t seem to remember the policies on your own website, or the promises you made over the last six years that you’ve been running for President, or the promises you made six days ago, you probably have Romnesia -- but don’t worry, Obamacare covers preexisting conditions. We can pick you up. There’s a cure. We can make you well. (Applause.) As long as you vote, Iowa, we can cure folks of this malady, of this disease. (Applause.)
Listen, smart people who don’t have a dog in this fight -- independent analysts, economists -- they took out their pencils, they had their green eyeshades, they crunched the numbers. Turns out Governor Romney’s economic plan is a sketchy deal. The results are not what you’d want to write home about. The Washington Post calls his jobs plan a “bait and switch.” The bait is the promise that his plan creates 12 million jobs; the switch is the fact that his plan doesn’t create 12 million jobs. (Laughter.) That’s the bait and the switch. In fact, it won’t even create jobs right now.
And then Governor Romney wants to spend $5 trillion on tax cuts that favor the wealthy, $2 trillion on defense spending that our military isn’t asking for, and he wants you to believe that he can do that without adding to the deficit or raising middle-class taxes. The problem is you’d need to invent a new kind of math to actually make this true.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Arithmetic!
THE PRESIDENT: The arithmetic does not work.
So we know Governor Romney’s jobs plan doesn’t create jobs. His deficit plan doesn’t reduce the deficit. And we joke about Romnesia, but all of this speaks to something that’s really important, and that is the issue of trust. There’s no more serious issue on a presidential campaign than trust. Trust matters. (Applause.)
And here’s the thing: Iowa, you know me. You know that I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. There are some folks in this crowd who have probably been following me since I was running for the United States Senate. (Applause.) And you know what? You can -- like this guy right here, who I served with in the United States Senate [sic], George Shadid. And you could take a videotape of things I said 10 years ago, 12 years ago, and you’d say, man, this is the same guy -- has the same values, cares about the same people, doesn’t forget where he came from, knows who he’s fighting for. (Applause.)
And you know what? I haven’t finished all the work that we set out to do in 2008, but I have fought for you every single day that I’ve held this office. (Applause.) And with your help, I’ve kept the commitments that I’ve made.
I told you we’d end the war in Iraq -- we did. (Applause.) I said we’d begin the process of ending the war in Afghanistan -- we are. (Applause.) I said we’d refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 -- and we have. And a new tower rises over the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead. I kept that promise. (Applause.) I kept that promise.
I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families and small businesses -- and we’ve done that. I promised to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts for good -- and we have. (Applause.) I promised to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” -- and today you can’t be kicked out of the military because of who you are or who you love. (Applause.)
I said I’d bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and while the other guy was saying “let Detroit go bankrupt,” I went in there and worked with the workers and the management, and we’ve saved a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world. (Applause.)
On issue after issue, we are moving forward. After losing 9 million jobs in the Great Recession, our businesses have now added more than 5 million new jobs over the past two and a half years. Manufacturing is at its highest level since the ‘90s. Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since I took office. Home values and home sales are rising. Our assembly lines are humming again. We’ve got a long way to go, Iowa, but we’ve come too far to turn back now. We can’t afford to go back to what got us into this mess. We’ve got to stick with policies that are getting out of this mess. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, the good news is I’ve got a plan that will actually create jobs, that will actually reduce the deficit, that will actually create middle-class security. And unlike Mitt Romney, I’m proud to talk about what’s actually in my plan -- (applause) -- because my math actually adds up.
If you want to take a look at it, check it out at barackobama.com/plans. I want you to share it with your friends, share it with your neighbors, share it with your co-workers. There are still people out there who may be trying to make up their minds. Maybe somebody here thought they were visiting the haunted house over there and just kind of wandered over, trying to figure out what’s going on -- (laughter) -- and they haven’t made up their mind yet. I want them to know.
I want everybody out there to compare my plans to Governor Romney’s, have the information you need, see which plan is better for you and for America’s future.
First of all, I want to end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. (Applause.) I want to reward small businesses and manufacturers who are creating jobs right here in the United States of America. That’s what I want to do. (Applause.)
Second, I want to cut our oil imports in half by 2020 so we control more of our own energy. Some of you may know we are today less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades because of the steps we’ve taken -- because we increased fuel standards on cars and trucks, so they’re going to go twice as far on a gallon of gas; because we’ve been producing clean energy, including right here in Iowa.
Today, there are factories in Iowa where once laid-off workers are back on the job building wind towers, building wind blades. I want to build on that progress. I don’t want fuel-efficient cars and long-lasting batteries and wind turbines manufactured in China -- I want them manufactured here in Iowa. I want them made in the United States of America, and we can do that. (Applause.)
Number three, we are going to make it a national mission to educate our kids and train our workers better than anybody else in the world. (Applause.) I want to recruit a hundred thousand new math and science teachers, train 2 million workers at community colleges with the skills that businesses are looking for right now. I want to work with colleges and universities to cut the growth of tuition so our young people can afford a higher education without getting loaded up with debt. (Applause.) We can do that.
Number four, my plan will cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, but we’re going to do it in a balanced way. We’re going to cut out spending we don’t need, but we’re also going to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more. And we’re going to do that so we can invest in research and technology that keeps new jobs and businesses coming to America. And I’ll never turn Medicare into a voucher. (Applause.) No American should spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.
And finally, I’m going to use the savings from ending the war in Iraq and ending the war in Afghanistan to put our people back to work right here at home, do some nation-building here repairing roads, bridges, schools all across America. (Applause.) And when our veterans like Cassandra come home, we’re going to serve them as well as they’ve served us. We’re going to make sure that they’ve got the support that they need -- (applause) -- because nobody who has fought for America should have to fight for a job when they come home. (Applause.)
So, Iowa, that’s the plan that we need. That’s how you build a strong, sustainable economy that creates good middle-class jobs; that makes sure that folks have the sense that not only are they doing well now but their future prospects are going to be bright. That’s how you’re going to encourage new businesses to start here and stay here. That’s how you actually increase take-home pay -- not by talking about it and then wanting to cut taxes for folks at the very top. This is how you build an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That’s what America is about. That’s the basic bargain that we believe in.
And now it’s up to you, Iowa -- right here, right now, today. You’ve got a chance to choose the path that we’re going to take from here. It’s up to the young people who are here today to choose the future that you want to see. (Applause.) You can choose the top-down policies that got us into this mess, or you can choose the policies that are helping us to get out of this mess. You can choose a foreign policy that is reckless and wrong, or you can choose the kind of leadership that I’ve shown that’s steady and strong and clear -- sends clear messages to our allies and to our enemies. You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years on women and immigrants and gays.
THE PRESIDENT: Or in this election, you can stand up for the kind of America that says, we embrace everybody. We believe in giving everybody a fair shot, and everybody doing their fair share, everybody playing by the same rules. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American; whether you’re young or old, able, disabled, gay straight -- it doesn’t matter. (Applause.) No matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you are -- you can make it here if you try. That’s the America we believe in. (Applause.)
So listen, Iowa, we’ve been through tough times over these last four years, but we’ve been through tougher times before. The good news is we always bounce back. We always come out on top. Because the American people are tougher than any tough times because we pull together, because we look after one another, because we leave nobody behind, because we don’t turn back, because we're always look at the horizon in front of us, because we're always moving forward -- and that’s why I'm asking for your vote today. (Applause.) That’s why I'm asking for your vote in this election.
And if you give me that vote, I promise you I will always listen to your voices, I will always fight for your families, I'll spend every waking day continuing to make sure that your lives are a little bit better. (Applause.) This is where it got started, Iowa. I believe in you, and I'm asking you to keep believing in me.
And if you'll roll up your sleeves, and if you'll work with me and knock on some doors with me and make some calls with me, we'll win Scott County again. We'll win Iowa again. We'll win this election again. And we'll finish what we started and remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.
God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
10:20 A.M. CDT