Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event, Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport Tarmac
8:24 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.) Are you fired up? (Applause.) Are you ready to go? (Applause.) I can't hear you. Are you fired up?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you ready to go?
THE PRESIDENT: I am glad to be back in Cleveland, Ohio! (Applause.) We've got two extraordinary representatives who are here -- Betty Sutton and Marcy Kaptur -- give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
It's great to see all of you who are here.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.)
This is the final stop on our 48-hour fly-around all across America. We've been going for two days straight. (Applause.) We've been from the East Coast to the West Coast, and now we're going back East again. (Applause.) We just made a quick stop in Chicago so I could vote. (Applause.) I can't tell you who I voted for because it's a secret ballot. (Laughter.) But Michelle told me she voted for me. (Applause.)
So, Ohio, I've got to tell you, even though I've been going for about 38 hours straight, even though my voice is getting kind of hoarse, I've still got a spring in my step. (Applause.) Because our cause is right. (Applause.) Because we're fighting for the future. (Applause.) I've come to Ohio today to ask you for your vote. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: And the good news is I'm asking for your vote and I'm asking you to vote early. (Applause.) Here in Ohio, you can vote now. You don't have to vote later. I need you to vote early, and I need your help to keep moving America forward. (Applause.)
Look, we've already now had three debates. We've had a year of campaigning. We have had way too many TV commercials. I feel bad for the state of Ohio -- you've had a lot of commercials. (Laughter.) You've now heard Governor Romney's sales pitch.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, don't boo --
THE PRESIDENT: -- vote. (Applause.)
But Governor Romney has been running around saying he's got a five-point plan to fix the economy. Turns out it's only a one-point plan -- folks at the very top get to play by a different set of rules than you do. They get to pay a lower tax rate, outsource more jobs, let Wall Street run wild again. It was the philosophy he had when he was in the private sector. It was the philosophy he had as a governor in Massachusetts. And if it sounds familiar, it's because we just tried that philosophy in the decade before I took office. And we know what happened. It didn’t work.
Jobs were being shipped overseas at a record pace. Incomes were falling. Record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century. Incomes were not going up -- they were going down. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. That’s what those ideas produced. And we’ve been working for four years now, Ohio, to clean up the mess that those policies left behind.
Now, Governor Romney understands this. He knows his plan is no different than what we tried under the previous President. So in the final weeks of this election, since he knows that it’s probably not going to be real popular, he’s trying to kind of fuzz things up a little bit. He’s counting on you to forget. He’s hoping that you come down with what we call a case of --
AUDIENCE: Romnesia! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: -- Romnesia. (Laughter.) He’s hoping you won’t remember that his economic plan is more likely to create jobs in China than here in Ohio, because it rewards companies that ship jobs overseas instead of companies that are creating jobs right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
He’s hoping you won’t remember that he wants to give millionaires and billionaires a $250,000 tax cut. And the reason he can’t explain it is because the only way to pay for it is either by blowing a hole in the deficit, making it even bigger, or making your taxes higher.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t boo -- vote.
He’s hoping that if he just keeps on saying how much he loves cars over and over again -- (laughter) -- that you won’t remember he wrote an article that was titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, I don’t know how a guy sits on a stage, talking to tens of millions of fellow Americans, and you are saying somehow that you were all for the auto industry when everybody remembers you weren’t. (Applause.) The people of Detroit remember. The people of Ohio remember. (Applause.)
If Mitt Romney had been President when the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, we might not have an American auto industry today. We’d be buying cars from China, instead of selling cars to China.
The auto industry supports one in eight Ohio jobs. It’s a source of pride to this state. It’s a source of pride for generations of workers. I refused to walk away from those workers. I refused to walk away from those jobs. (Applause.) I wasn’t going to let Detroit go bankrupt, or Toledo go bankrupt, or Lordstown go bankrupt. (Applause.) I bet on American workers. I bet on American manufacturing. And I’d do it again, because that bet always pays off. (Applause.)
So now, in the closing moments of the election, Governor Romney is hoping you, too, will come down with a severe case of Romnesia.
THE PRESIDENT: So I’m here to tell you, Cleveland, if you start feeling a temperature, if you’re eyes are getting a little blurry and your hearing is getting a little muffled, if you’re feeling a little weak, you need to know that whatever the symptoms are, don’t worry, Obamacare covers preexisting conditions. (Applause.) We can fix you up. We can make you well. There’s a cure, Ohio, you just have to make sure to vote. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Look, we joke about Romnesia, but it’s not funny because it speaks to something serious. It has to do with trust. There’s no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust. Trust matters. You know what, Ohio, after all these years you now know me. You know that I mean what I say and I say what I mean. (Applause.) You know that I’ve been willing to take some tough positions even when they’re not popular. And, by the way, saving the auto industry wasn’t popular when we were doing it even in Ohio, even in Michigan. But it was the right thing to do.
You know that every single day when I get up in the morning, I’m thinking about you. When I walk into that Oval Office, I’m fighting for your families. And we may not have gotten every single thing done that we need to get done, but I have kept the commitments and the promises that I made. (Applause.)
I told you I’d end the war in Iraq -- and we did. (Applause.) I said we’d transition out of Afghanistan -- and we are. (Applause.) I said we’d refocus on the terrorists who actually carried out the 9/11 attacks -- and al Qaeda is decimated and Osama bin Laden is dead. (Applause.) We kept those promises. (Applause.) A new tower is rising above the New York skyline. Our heroes are starting to come home. I’ve kept those promises.
I was proud and humbled to learn today that we have Colin Powell’s support in this campaign. (Applause.) And I’m grateful to him because of his lifetime of service for his country, as a soldier and as a diplomat. But I’m also grateful to every brave American who serves in uniform. And they should know this: As long as I’m your Commander-in-Chief, I will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) That’s a promise I’ve kept.
Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for families like yours, for middle-class families -- we kept that promise. I promised to cut taxes for small businesses -- we’ve cut taxes for small businesses 18 times. I kept that promise. (Applause.) I promised to end taxpayer-funded bailouts for Wall Street -- I’ve kept that promise, and we got every dime back that we used to rescue the financial system. (Applause.)
I promised that we would make sure that nobody in this great country of ours goes bankrupt if somebody in their family gets sick -- we’ve kept that promise. (Applause.)
I promised to repeal “don't ask, don't tell,” because anybody who is willing to serve our country should be able to with honor and dignity regardless of who they love. I kept that promise. (Applause.)
I said that we would keep the American auto industry going, and today its engines are roaring at full throttle. Nearly 250,000 new jobs -- not just something the Midwest can be proud of, something America can be proud of. (Applause.)
We’re moving forward, Ohio. After losing 9 million jobs in the Great Recession, using the policies that Mitt Romney now wants to bring back that caused all those jobs to be lost, we’ve now added, using my policies, more than 5 million new jobs in the past two and a half years. (Applause.) The unemployment rate has fallen. Manufacturing is coming back to our shores. Assembly lines are humming again. (Applause.)
We’ve got a long way to go, but, Ohio, we’ve come too far to turn back now. (Applause.) We can't go backwards to the policies that caused us so much trouble, that hurt so many families. We’ve got to stick to the policies that are getting out -- getting us out of this mess.
I need you, Ohio. America needs you, Ohio. That's why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, Ohio, I don't want your vote just because of what I have done; I want your vote because of what I’m going to do. (Applause.) I’ve got a plan that will actually create jobs, a plan that will actually create middle-class security. And unlike Mr. Romney, I’m proud to talk about what is actually in my plan because my plan adds up. The math works. If you want to take a look, go to BarackObama.com/plans. I want you to share it with your neighbors. Share it with your friends. Share it with your co-workers. There are still people out there who are trying to make up their minds. Some of you may be still trying to make up your mind.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, no, maybe your girlfriend brought you here and she said, I’m going to convince you tonight you need to vote for Obama -- but you haven’t made up your mind yet. Maybe your Grandma said, you need to vote for Obama. And you said, okay, Grandma, I’ll come. But you’re not yet sure. So I want you to look at this plan. Compare my plan to Governor Romney’s. I’m not scared of the comparison. I want you to know what’s in my plan and what’s in his, and see what’s better for you and your family and for America. (Applause.)
Look, here’s what’s in my plan: I want to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. I want to rewards small businesses and manufacturers who create jobs right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Number two, I want to cut our oil imports in half by 2020 so we control more of our own energy. We’re less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last two decades, and we’re producing jobs doing it. And one reason, by the way, is because we increased fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks made right here in America, so your cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. (Applause.)
I don't want fuel-efficient cars, or long-lasting batteries, or wind turbines, or solar panels built in China. I want them built here. (Applause.) I want them manufactured in Cleveland. I want them made in Ohio. I want them stamped with: Made in America. We can do that. (Applause.)
Now, I also want to make sure that our kids and our workers are better trained than everybody else. We’ve got to make this a national mission. I want to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers to make sure our kids are at the cutting edge. (Applause.) I want to train 2 million workers at community colleges so they have the skills for the jobs that are there right now and the jobs of the future. I want to work to make sure that colleges and universities keep tuition down so our young people aren’t burdened with debt. (Applause.) We can do that.
Number four, my plan will cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years. We need to do that, but we need to do it in a balanced way. We can do it without sticking it to the middle class. I’m going to cut out spending that we don't need
-- we’ve already cut a trillion dollars -- but I’m also going to ask the wealthiest among us to pay a little bit more -- (applause) -- so that we can invest in the research and technology to keep new jobs and businesses coming to America.
And by the way, I’m not going to use deficit reduction as an excuse to turn Medicare into a voucher system. (Applause.) Because Americans should not be spending their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. (Applause.)
And by the way, while we’re on the topic of health care, we saw again this week, you don't want a bunch of politicians in Washington, most of whom are male, making health care decisions for women. Women can make those decisions themselves. (Applause.) That's what I stand for. That's what I’ll continue to stand for as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
Number five, as we are ending the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I want to take some of the money that we save and put it to work doing some nation-building here at home. We’ve got construction workers and folks in the trades who are at home right now. They're dying to get back to work. Let’s put them back to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges, our schools all across America. Let’s train our veterans as they're coming home to get some of those jobs. (Applause.)
Let’s make sure that we’re giving them a chance to be police officers and firefighters and first responders. Let’s make sure our veterans when they come home are being served as well as they’ve served us -- because nobody should have to fight for a job when you’ve fought for your country. You shouldn’t have to fight for a roof over your heads when you’ve fought for your country. (Applause.)
Look, Ohio, that's the plan we need. That's how you build a strong, sustainable economy. That's how you create good middle-class jobs. That's how you encourage new businesses to start here and stay here. That's how you increase take-home pay. That’s how you give workers a chance, if they’re willing to work hard, to build a better life for themselves. (Applause.) That’s how you make sure that everybody has got a chance to get ahead.
That’s what we can do. But we can only do it together. And Ohio, I’m going to need you to do it. It’s now up to you to choose the path that we take. It’s up to the young people who are here -- (applause) -- to choose the future that you want. It’s up to the not-so-young people like me and you -- you know who you are -- (laughter) -- to choose the future you want for the next generation.
We can go back to the top-down policies that we know in our gut won’t work, or you can choose the policies that we know give us the prospect of broad-based prosperity. You can choose a foreign policy like Governor Romney is offering that’s reckless and wrong, or you can choose the kind of policy that I’ve implemented that is steady and strong. (Applause.)
You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years for women and immigrants and gays, or in this election, you can stand up for that basic principle enshrined in our founding documents that all of us are created equal, all of us endowed with certain inalienable rights by our Creator; that it doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young or old, rich or poor, gay or straight, abled or disabled -- we all have a place in America if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to stand up, you can make it here in America if you try. That’s what we’re fighting for. That’s who we are. (Applause.)
Listen, Ohio, I know we’ve been through tough times. Every day I think about everybody out there all across the country who wants to work and is still looking for a job, whose homes may be still underwater or at risk of foreclosure. The folks out there who, at the end of the month, are sitting around the kitchen table, trying to figure out, how am I going to make all these bills.
Michelle and I understand it because we know what it’s been like to have a tough time sometimes. But what I also know and all of you remind me of this every day when I’m talking to the American people -- we’re tougher than tough times. We always bounce back. We always come out on top because we pull together, because we look out for one another, because we leave nobody behind, because we don’t forget where we come from, because if we’re successful then we keep the door open for folks who are coming up from behind, because we don’t look backwards -- we look forward. We look at that distant horizon. We look at that new frontier. We are not afraid of the future. (Applause.)
America, our destiny is not written for us -- it’s written by us. And we can write that next chapter together. And that’s why I’m asking you for your vote in this election. (Applause.) And if you give me your vote, I promise you, you will continue to have a President who hears your voices; a President who fights for your families; a President who spends every waking hour trying to figure out how I can make sure that your lives are a little bit better, and more importantly, that all of our children’s lives are a whole lot brighter.
Ohio, I believe in you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We believe in you!
THE PRESIDENT: And I need you to keep believing in me. And if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work with me, knock on some doors with me, make some phone calls with me, we’re going to win Cuyahoga County. We’re going to win Ohio. We’re going to win this election. We’re going to finish what we started. We’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
8:48 P.M. EDT