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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the President in a Tele-Town Hall for Senator Bennet

August 3, 2010
8:25 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.

SENATOR BENNET:  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  How are you?

SENATOR BENNET:  I’m not going to take any of your time.  Thank you for -- I’m doing great.  How are you?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m great.

SENATOR BENNET:  Good, thanks for joining us.  And I’ll turn it over to you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, everybody, it’s great to talk to you.  And by the way, I enjoyed Michael’s answer on education.  He was right on point.  And I want to thank all of you for joining us on this call tonight.

You know, Michael arrived in Washington just as I took office as President.  And this was one of the toughest times in our country’s history.  We’d just gone through nearly a decade of economic policies that weren’t working for ordinary families.  It culminated in the worst recession of our lifetimes.  And so what we needed were leaders who were willing to stand up to the status quo and the special interests and start moving this country in a new direction.

And Michael has been that kind of leader.  He’s been a breath of fresh air in a town with a lot of hot air.  And one of the things that I’ve discovered in Washington is there are basically two kinds of people who go into politics.  There are folks who want to be something, and then there are folks who run because they want to do something, because they care about something bigger than themselves.  And that’s Michael.

He could have lived a comfortable life.  Instead, he’s devoted himself to every assignment he’s undertaken to make a positive difference for his community and for the people of Colorado.

We saw that when he turned around Denver’s public schools, fighting for change and reform, making sure that young people got the opportunity they deserve.  All across this country, people who care about school reform admire and know what Michael did in Denver, so he’s become the go-to guy for reforming America’s public schools in Congress.  And he stood up in the Senate again and again these past 18 months on a whole host of issues related to opening up opportunity. 

So he stood up to the insurance lobbies to help pass reforms that finally make health insurance affordable and stop people from getting insurance because of preexisting conditions. 

He stood up against big corporations that are getting tax breaks for offshoring, when we should actually be giving tax breaks to companies that create jobs here in the United States; stood up to credit card companies that were taking advantage of people with hidden fees and unfair rate hikes, and mortgage lenders who tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford; and was one of the key people who I needed to make sure we passed Wall Street reform to prevent another financial crisis.

So Michael has been as good of a senator as I expected him to be when I first met him and he was still head of the public schools out in Denver.  And I know there have been a lot of negative ads running against Michael in the last few weeks, which is sort of politics as usual.  But when he came to Washington, he came to get things done and not just play the usual political games. 

And he’s running a campaign that we can be proud of.  He’s a public servant that we can be proud of.  We need more folks like Michael in Washington. 

And so the main reason I’m on this call is to make sure that everybody who’s listening is thinking not just about the next election but about the next generation.  That’s how Michael approaches his job.  And if you’re already supporting Michael, we need you to help in these final weeks, this final week, to knock on doors and make phone calls to everyone you know to get out the vote.  And if you’re still trying to figure out what to do, I want you to support him, because Michael is somebody who has stood up on behalf of you, and we need to stand up on his behalf right now.

So I just want to say thank you to all of you for taking the time to join us.  Thanks for staying engaged and interested.  We need people who are involved in this process now more than ever.  We’ve accomplished an incredible amount over the last 18 months, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.  And Michael is the person that I want alongside me when we do it.

So make sure, guys, to go out there and cast your ballots for Michael.  And I know that he’s going to be one of the best senators that Colorado’s ever had.  All right?

SENATOR BENNET:  Thank you, Mr. President.  We deeply appreciate your taking the time to be on the call with everybody, and everything you’re doing.  Let’s see if we can’t get Elena Kagan confirmed this week.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, I think we’re going to get her confirmed.  And after that we’re just going to keep on going to make sure that we create the kind of economy that’s working for all Americans. 

So thanks for everything, Michael.  Bye-bye.

SENATOR BENNET:  All right, thank you.

8:30 P.M. EDT