Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event -- Richmond VA
The Carillon at Byrd Park
1:11 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Virginia! (Applause.) Are you fired up?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you ready to go?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm sorry -- are you fired up?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you ready to go?
THE PRESIDENT: Let's begin by giving it up for your outstanding United States Senator, Mark Warner. (Applause.) And the man who's going to join him in the United States Senate,
Tim Kaine. (Applause.) These guys are great friends of mine. They were great governors of this great commonwealth, and they will be an extraordinary team fighting for you in Washington. (Applause.)
You also have a great Congressman coming out of Virginia, Bobby Scott, in the house. (Applause.) Your Mayor, Dwight Jones, is here. (Applause.) And all of you are here. (Applause.) Can I just say this is a nice-looking crowd here. (Applause.)
Now, you may have noticed that my voice sounds just a little hoarse. (Laughter.) We are right in the middle of our 48-hour fly-around campaign extravaganza. (Applause.) We pulled an all-nighter last night. We just came from Florida. We were in Iowa and Colorado and Nevada before that. We're heading up to Ohio later today. And I'm going to stop in my hometown of Chicago to vote. (Applause.)
I can't tell you who I'm voting for because it's a secret ballot. (Laughter.) But the good news is Michelle said she voted for me. (Applause.) She did. And I've come to Virginia today to ask you for your vote just 12 days from now. (Applause.) I need your vote! (Applause.) I've come to ask for your help in keeping America moving forward. (Applause.)
You've now seen three debates, months of campaign events, and way too many TV commercials.
THE PRESIDENT: So you've heard what the argument is about here. You understand what the choice is. You've heard Governor Romney's sales pitch. He's been running around --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, don't boo -- vote! (Applause.)
He's been running around saying he's got a five-point plan for the economy -- turns out it's a one-point plan. (Laughter.) 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. They get to outsource jobs. They want to roll back Wall Street reforms that we put in place to make sure we don't have taxpayer-funded bailouts.
That was his philosophy in the boardroom; that was his philosophy as governor. And if it sounds familiar, it's because that's exactly what we tried in the last decade, before I came into office. It led to falling incomes and record deficits and the slowest job growth in half a century, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
We have now been working for four years to clean up the mess those policies left behind. (Applause.) And now Governor Romney wants to take us back to those policies, but he knows that they're probably not very popular. He knows his plan isn’t any different than the policies that got us into trouble. So in the final weeks of this election, he’s counting on you forgetting. He’s hoping that you come down with a case of what we call Romnesia. (Applause.)
He’s hoping you won’t remember that his economic plan is more likely to create jobs in China than it is in America -- because it actually rewards companies that ship jobs and profits overseas. He’s hoping you won’t remember that he wants to give millionaires and billionaires a $250,000 tax cut -- because the only way he can pay for that tax cut is by raising your taxes or blowing a hole in the deficit.
He’s hoping that you’ll come down with a severe case of --
THE PRESIDENT: -- Romnesia before you cast your ballot. But, Richmond, I want you all to know this. This is a curable disease. If you feel any symptoms coming on, if you’re starting to get a little woozy -- (laughter) -- your eyes are getting a little blurry, some ringing in your ears, if you can’t remember what you said just a week ago -- (applause) -- if you can’t remember the plans on your own website, and you’re worried you might be coming down with a case of Romnesia, I want you to know -- Obamacare covers preexisting conditions. (Applause.) We can make you well. We can fix you up. All you’ve got to do is vote. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Richmond, I want to explain something. We joke about this, but this goes to a pretty serious issue, the most serious issue of any presidential contest, and that is the issue of trust. Trust matters. You want to know that whoever is in the Oval Office is going to fight for you. You want to know that they’re not just going to take the politically expedient path, that they’re guided by a compass in terms of how are we going to make sure the American people have a chance to succeed if they’re working hard, and more importantly, that the next generation is going to have the kind of America we want them to have. (Applause.) And you know what, you know me.
THE PRESIDENT: You know I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. (Applause.) We haven’t finished all the work we set out to do in 2008 just yet, but every single day I set foot in the Oval Office, you know I’m thinking about you. I’m fighting for your families. (Applause.) And with your help, we have met major commitments that I made four years ago.
I told you we’d end the war in Iraq -- we did. (Applause.) I said we’d end the war in Afghanistan -- we are. I said we’d refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 -- al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead. (Applause.) There’s a new tower rising above the New York skyline. Our heroes are coming home. I’ve kept those promises. (Applause.)
I was proud and humbled to learn that we have Colin Powell’s support in this campaign. (Applause.) I’m grateful to him for his lifetime of service to his country, both as a soldier and as a diplomat. And every brave American who wears this uniform of this country should know that as long as I’m your Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) We will be relentless in pursuit of our enemies.
Those are promises I’ve kept. Four years ago, I promised to cut middle-class taxes for families and small businesses -- and we have. I promised not only to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts, but I said we’d get every dime of money that was used to rescue the financial system -- we have, with interest. (Applause.)
I promised we’d repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” (Applause.) Today, you can’t be kicked out of our military because of who you love.
I said I’d make sure that Americans don’t go bankrupt when they get sick -- and we passed Obamacare, and it was the right thing to do. (Applause.)
I promised that we’d get help to young people so they could afford college -- and we have. (Applause.) I bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and 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 in the last two and a half years. The unemployment rate is falling. Manufacturing is coming back. Our assembly lines are humming. Housing prices are beginning to rise.
We’ve got a long way to go, Virginia, but we’ve come too far to come back now. (Applause.) We can’t afford to go backwards to the same policies that got us into this mess; we’ve got to go forward with the policies that are getting us out of this mess. And that’s why I’m running for a second term. And that’s why I need your help. (Applause.)
I’ve got a plan that will actually create jobs, not just talk about creating jobs; a plan that will actually create middle-class security, not just use the words but not deliver on the promise. Unlike my opponent, I’m actually proud to talk about what’s in my plan, because the arithmetic works. (Applause.)
If you want to take a careful look at it, go to BarackObama.com/plans. I want you to share it with your friends and your neighbors and your co-workers. There’s still people out there who are undecided, trying to make up their minds. Maybe somebody in this crowd got dragged by your girlfriend or your boyfriend. Your grandma said you got to go to the Obama rally and you said, all right, grandma. (Laughter.) But you’re not yet convinced. Take a look at this plan. Compare it to what Governor Romney’s plans are. See which plan you think is better for you. I want you to have the information you need to make an educated choice about this issue, about America’s future and your own. (Applause.)
The first thing in my plan -- I want to end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to give those tax breaks to companies that are investing in Richmond, investing in Virginia, helping small businesses and manufacturers create jobs right here at home. That’s a priority. (Applause.)
Number two, I want to cut our oil imports in half by 2020, so we control more of our own energy. (Applause.) Because of what we’ve done to increase oil production and natural gas production, to invest in clean coal technology, to make sure that we’re also investing in the clean energy source of the future like wind and solar and biofuels -- (applause) -- we today are less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades. (Applause.)
We passed regulations to make sure that fuel standards on cars and trucks are doubled, so that you’ll go twice as far on a gallon of gas. And that will save you money. That’s good for our national security. It’s good for our environment. I want to build on that progress. I don’t want the cars of the future, long-lasting batteries, wind turbines, solar panels -- I don’t want them made in China. I want them made right here in Virginia. (Applause.) I want to put people back to work here in the United States. (Applause.) We can do that.
Number three, I want to make it a national mission to educate our young people, to train our workers. (Applause.) I want to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers. (Applause.) We’ve got to step it up when it comes to math and science and technology. I want to train 2 million workers in our outstanding community colleges so they’ve got the skills to get the jobs that are out there right now. (Applause.) And I want to work with colleges and universities to cut the growth of tuition in half. (Applause.) I want to make sure that young people are not burdened with debt when they’re pursuing the education they need to compete. We can do that.
Number four, my plan will cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years in a balanced way. Yes, we’re going to cut spending we don’t need -- we’ve already cut a trillion dollars. But I’m going to ask the wealthiest to pay a little bit more so we can invest in the research and technology that will keep new jobs and businesses coming to America. (Applause.) And in the process of making sure that we’re reducing our deficit, I’m not going to turn Medicare into a voucher program. No American should spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. (Applause.)
And you know what -- I think we’ve seen again this week -- I don’t think any male politician should be making health care decisions for women. (Applause.) I don’t think your boss or your insurance company should be making those decisions for you either. I believe women are capable and should make their own health care decisions for themselves. (Applause.)
That’s why the health care law we passed puts those choices in your hands, where they belong. That’s where they are to stay as long as I’m President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
Finally, I’ll use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to put our people back to work to do some nation-building here at home -- fixing our roads and our bridges, repairing our schools, laying out broadband lines into rural communities so they can compete in the global economy. And when our veterans come home, we are going to make sure we’ve got the resources to serve them as well as they’ve served us -- because nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads, or the care they need when they come home. (Applause.)
This is the plan we need, Virginia. This is how you build a strong, sustainable economy. This is how you create good, middle-class jobs. This is how you encourage new businesses to start here and to stay here. This is how you increase take-home pay. This is how you build an economy where everybody who works hard has a chance to get ahead. That’s what we can do together. (Applause.)
But it’s up to you, Virginia. You’re going to have to make a choice. It’s up to the young people here to decide what kind of future you want for yourselves. It’s up to the not-so-young people, like me -- and some of you -- (laughter) -- to make sure we make the right choice for future generations.
Sure, we can choose the top-down policies that got us into this mess -- but I think we have to choose the policies that are getting us out of this mess. (Applause.) You can choose a foreign policy that’s wrong and reckless -– or you can choose one that’s 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 we’re all created equal. (Applause.) That everybody has a voice in America. That it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or who you love -- (applause) -- black or white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, abled or disabled -- (applause) -- it doesn’t matter, you have a place in America. You can make it if you try. That’s what’s best in our country. That’s what we’re fighting for. (Applause.)
Virginia, we’ve been through some tough times, but we always bounce back -- because the American people are always tougher than any tough times. We always come out on top because we pull together, because we look after one another, because we don’t leave people behind. We don’t close the door behind us if we’re successful -- we open it up a little wider so folks can walk through. We don’t turn back. We look forward at that distant horizon, at the next destination. (Applause.) Our destiny is not written for us, it’s written by us -- and we’re going to write that next chapter together. (Applause.)
That’s why I’m asking for your vote in this election. (Applause.) That’s why I’m asking for your vote. And I promise you, if you give me four more years, you’ll have a President who always hear your voice; a President who will always fight for you and your family; a President who spends every waking hour trying to make your lives just a little bit better. (Applause.)
Virginia, I believe in you. I’m asking you to keep believing in me. (Applause.) And if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves with me, and work with me, knock on some doors with me, make some phone calls with me, we’ll win Richmond. (Applause.) We’ll win the Commonwealth of Virginia again. We’ll win this election. (Applause.) We’ll finish what we started. And we’ll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
God bless you. Thank you, Virginia. God bless America. (Applause.)
1:30 P.M. EDT