Remarks by the President at Rally for Terry McAuliffe for Governor
Washington-Lee High School
2:28 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Washington-Lee! (Applause.) Hello, Virginia! (Applause.) How are you doing? (Applause.) Are you fired up? (Applause.) Are you ready to vote on Tuesday? (Applause.)
Well, it is good to be back in Virginia -- (applause) -- with the next governor of the great Commonwealth of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe. (Applause.)
Now, let me just say before I start saying nice things about Terry -- (laughter) -- that, like me, he married up. (Laughter.) Those of you who have had a chance to meet Dorothy know that Terry clearly was very persistent, but whatever he did, it worked. And as a consequence, they’ve got unbelievable children who are doing outstanding things on their own and are also on the campaign trail. So please give it up for the family because they make some big sacrifices. (Applause.) And Dorothy is going to be a great first lady of the commonwealth. (Applause.)
I want to thank Terry for the introduction. Over the last few weeks, a lot of people have been coming out and campaigning for Terry and I was tired of having other people have all the fun –- (laughter) -- Bill Clinton and Kerry Washington and all these folks. (Applause.) And I thought, I want to get in on the action. And so did Joe Biden, who I understand is going to be out here tomorrow doing some campaigning. (Applause.)
But we’ve also got some folks here who are doing outstanding work in their own right and I want to acknowledge them. They’re fighting every single day for you. First of all, your wonderful Senator and former governor, Mark Warner. (Applause.) Three outstanding members of Congress who are fighting for you every single day -- Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran, Bobby Scott. (Applause.) Your next lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam. (Applause.) And your next attorney general, Mark Herring in the house. (Applause.)
So you’ve got an all-star team here. There are no weak links. Everybody is ready to work on behalf of Virginia. But obviously at the top of the ticket is this man. (Applause.) And so let me just say a few things about Terry.
First of all, I think it’s clear that he’s not shy. (Laughter.) This is a man who knows how to work and he knows how to push through obstacles, and he cares deeply about the opportunities that this country has given him, and he wants to make sure that those opportunities are there for everybody -- not just for a few. He knows what it’s like to work hard and struggle to get ahead.
You may know that Terry started his own business when he was 14. He started 42 all together [He’s been in business 42 years all together], but the first one was when he was 14, paving driveways to help pay for college. And he’s brought that same grit and that same determination to everything he’s done, from public service to business, to being a husband and a father to the extraordinary children of the McAuliffe family.
So he knows what it’s like to work hard. And when it comes to creating good jobs, when it comes to investing in education, when it comes to giving more Virginians the opportunities that they deserve, Terry understands what folks are going through. He knows how to get things done. And that’s why I hope you guys are fired up on Tuesday, because we cannot have people stay at home when so much is at stake. (Applause.) I hope you’re ready to fight for Terry, because he’s ready to fight for you for the next four years. (Applause.)
And this election is going to say a lot about Virginia’s future and about the country’s future. It’s only been a few years since we went through a punishing recession. Jobs were lost. Too many people lost their homes, their security, their savings, including a lot of folks here in Virginia. Now, thanks to some tough decisions that we made, we’re in a much different place. Over the past three and a half years, we’ve created more than 7.5 million new jobs. (Applause.) Our deficits have been cut by more than half since I came into office. (Applause.) Health care costs are slowing. The housing market is rebounding. The American auto industry is back on the move. (Applause.)
So we've made progress, but what Terry understands, what everybody on this ticket understands, is that there’s still too many folks out there who are hurting, too many families who are struggling, too many people who are in the middle class that worry that maybe the life chances of their children won't be as good as theirs, and too many folks not yet in the middle class who no matter how hard they work don’t feel like those ladders of opportunity are still there for them.
And that’s what this election is about. That’s what the great political contest in this country is all about. Are we going to put in place policies that make sure that anybody in this country, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, that people can make it if they try here in the United States of America -- and are we going to give each other the support that people need to succeed? (Applause.) That’s what's at stake.
So that’s been my priority as President -- to grow the economy, to create good jobs, to have broad-based prosperity. Because America has always succeeded when everybody succeeds. That’s good for folks at the top and good for folks at the bottom. When everybody has the opportunity to get a good job if they're willing to work hard, that’s good for businesses because now they've got more customers. Everybody does well when our growth is from the middle out and from the bottom up, not just from the top down. (Applause.)
And Terry understands that. That’s what I focus on every day. That’s what Terry will focus on when he's governor. (Applause.)
Now, as has been pointed out, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the focus of too many folks on the other side of the aisle. You know, no party has a monopoly on wisdom. And I'm a Democrat and I'm proud to be a Democrat -- (applause) -- but, historically, in our two-party system, there's always been the capacity for folks on both sides of the aisle to work and find compromise on issues like the environment, or issues like building roads, and educating our workforce, and funding basic research. There's been a broad consensus that these are things that are important for America to do.
But lately, instead of rolling up their sleeves and working on the things that we can agree on together, you've seen an extreme faction of the Republican Party that has shown again and again and again that they're willing to highjack the entire party -- and the country and the economy -- and grind progress to an absolute halt if they don’t get 100 percent of what they want.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Now, this isn't just speculation. We just saw it last month. Here in Virginia, you felt the pain of the first government shutdown in 17 years. And there aren't a lot of states that felt more of the pain than folks right here in Virginia. Paychecks were delayed. Families were forced to go without the services that they depended on. Business owners took it on the chin when customers cut back on their own spending.
And, as Terry mentioned, his opponent says he's perfectly happy with it. Now he says it's in the rearview mirror. Well, it can't be in the rearview mirror if this is your operative theory of politics. If you embrace the very politics that led to this shutdown, then I guarantee it's not in the rearview mirror of voters in Virginia. They remember. They understand that that is not how you govern and that is not how you move America forward. (Applause.)
This isn't a game. And there are very real consequences when you operate ideologically, the way some of these folks do. There are practical consequences when you operate this way. And Terry understands that. During the shutdown, he called on Speaker Boehner to stand up to the tea party, reopen the government so Virginians could go back to work. He stood up for you. Instead of joining him, Terry's opponent sided with the people who would rather hurt folks to make a point. Rather than back down, Terry's opponent doubled down.
Well, Virginia, look, I know sometimes folks in Congress can get away with acting irresponsibly; acting like compromise is a bad word. Maybe it's good for their political prospects; maybe it's good for their political district. But you cannot afford to have a governor who's thinking the same way. (Applause.) The governor is -- that’s a practical job. That’s about making sure schools are funded. That’s about making sure that roads are built. That’s about making sure that research is funded, that universities are operating at full capacity. That’s what a governor does. (Applause.) They can't afford to be ideologues. They've got to be able to work with everybody and compromise and get the job done. And that’s who Terry McAuliffe is, and that’s why you've got to vote for him on Tuesday. (Applause.)
When hardworking families come looking for some support, when communities come looking for a way to create new jobs in their area, when folks are looking for some job training that can actually get them into that new industry that is growing here in Virginia, they're looking to the governor. And the governor can't be waving around a whole bunch of theories that have nothing to do with people's ordinary lives. It's got to be somebody who is there and understands them, is willing to work for them.
That’s what Mark Warner did. (Applause.) That’s what Tim Kaine did. (Applause.) And that’s what Terry McAuliffe will do. He is part of that legacy. (Applause.)
And, by the way, that’s why you've got so many Republican businessmen and women, Republican mayors and state legislators, many of whom never supported a Democrat before, who are stepping up in this race and saying, Terry McAuliffe is the right man for the job. (Applause.) They understand that the job of governor is not tearing stuff down; it is building folks up, building communities up, moving forward, bringing people together. And they know that Terry can do that. (Applause.)
So this is all about moving forward. It's not about going backwards. It's about building, not destroying. And, Virginia, I'm asking you to choose progress. Because the truth is what's holding us back right now is not a lack of good ideas. I've got to tell you, I spend a lot of time on policy and I'm in a lot of meetings, and there are some very tough problems that the world faces and that the country faces, but so much of what needs to be done for us to make progress is right there. Everybody knows what it is. Everybody understands what we need.
For example, here in Virginia, if we invest in our roads and our bridges, if all across the country we invest in our ports and our infrastructure, we can put more people back to work right now. We can strengthen our economy in the long term. That is not a Republican or a Democratic idea; that’s just common sense. (Applause.) We've done it in the past and we can do it again. And Terry has got a plan to make it happen right here in Virginia. (Applause.)
We know -- the research has been done -- if we invest in early childhood education, and every young person, when they go to school, they are already ready to learn and they're getting the support that they need, that you see drastic improvement and that those young people become productive citizens. We know that. (Applause.) Terry understands it. That’s not Democrat or Republican -- that’s common sense. Let's make those investments. (Applause.)
We know that if we make sure that college is affordable for young people, most states that educate their workforce, they're going to attract more companies, more businesses. We know that. It's not a Democratic or Republican idea -- that’s common sense. Terry understands that.
We know that there's no contradiction between a smart energy policy that makes sure that we're not only investing in energy sources of the past, but also energy sources of the future; that we're caring for our environment and we're thinking about what kind of legacy we're leaving to our children, and we can still grow and be at the cutting edge of those changes here in Virginia and all across the country. Terry understands that. (Applause.)
We know that investing in basic research -- science -- makes sense for America. It always has. And, Virginia, part of the reason why Virginia has grown so much during your lifetimes is because this has been a centerpiece of research and development, particularly up here in Northern Virginia. We've seen it.
So that makes our economy work better and makes our businesses thrive, and allows them to compete all across the world. It makes our military outstanding. That innovative drive -- that’s part of what makes America special.
Now, Terry's opponent, I guess he's got other ideas in mind. But I can tell you, we will not create jobs when you focus on things like attacking Social Security. That doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t create jobs when you go after scientists, and you try to offer your own alternative theories of how things work -- (laughter) -- and engage in litigation around stuff that isn't political. It has to do with what's true. It has to do with facts. You don’t argue with facts. (Applause.)
You don’t create jobs and help the people of Virginia by trying to restrict the health care choices that women make. (Applause.) Women are capable of making those choices by themselves. That's not going to create jobs. (Applause.) Trying to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood -- that’s not something that will grow our economy. That's not going to help middle-class families get ahead. It doesn’t even help -- it sure doesn’t help making sure that our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons. (Applause.)
So, look, here’s the bottom line. You deserve a governor who wants to move this commonwealth forward, not backwards. A governor who believes that we’re better than the kind of ideological politics that we see all too often. Somebody who understands that even if we don’t agree on everything there’s no reason we can’t make progress on the issues that we do agree on -- and, by the way, that we can disagree without being disagreeable.
Now, Terry McAuliffe will be that governor. And you know that. Otherwise you wouldn't be at this rally. Right? (Applause.) You know that Terry is the right man for the job. That’s why you’ve devoted so much time and energy and effort to get him elected -- (applause) -- because you want somebody in the statehouse who is going to be waking up every single day thinking about you.
But here’s the thing -- you’ve got to finish the job. You are just a few hours away from when the polls open here in the commonwealth. And -- I know Terry feels this -- nothing makes me more nervous than when my supporters start feeling too confident, so I want to put the fear of God in all of you. (Laughter.) All right? Virginia, historically, has always been a swing state. And this race will be close, because past races in Virginia have always been close. And the question is going to be whether or not you are willing to out-work the other side.
In these closing hours, are you willing to knock on some more doors?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you willing to make some more phone calls?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you willing to talk to your friends and your neighbors and your coworkers?
THE PRESIDENT: Are you willing to make sure that those family members who don't always vote during off-year elections are getting to the polls. (Applause.) Are you willing to make your case every single hour, every single minute, every single second? Are you going to be willing to out-work and out-hustle the other folks? Because I guarantee you Terry McAuliffe is going to be out-working and out-hustling the other guy over the next few hours. (Applause.)
You can bring this home. You can make this happen. But you’ve got to make sure that everybody goes out on Tuesday and chooses a better future for Virginia, and chooses a better future for America, and chooses Terry McAuliffe to be the next governor of the great Commonwealth of Virginia! (Applause.)
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) God bless America. (Applause.)
2:50 P.M. EST