Remarks by the President at DNC Fundraising Reception, 10/15/09
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 16, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT DNC FUNDRAISING RECEPTION
October 15, 2009
Westin St. Francis Hotel
San Francisco, California
8:00 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Nancy Pelosi! Hello, San Francisco! (Applause.) Hey! How are you? Hello. It’s good to see all of you. Thank you. Thank you. Just a couple of quick special thank yous. I love all of you. (Applause.) But there are a couple people I want to make sure to acknowledge.
First of all, thank you Tracy Chapman for performing tonight. (Applause.) Love Tracy Chapman. Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, who is running for the California 10 upcoming election –- everybody has got to go out there and work for John. (Applause.) There he is right –- stand up, John, so everybody can see you. (Applause.) Fantastic.
Let me tell you about Nancy Pelosi. Somebody in an introduction was saying everybody has a kind word to say about Nancy Pelosi, her generosity, her intelligence. All that's true. Let me talk to you –- Nancy Pelosi is tough. (Laughter.) I want everybody to know that. I mean, every day –- every day –- she is subjected to constant criticism and griping. And then there’s the other party. (Laughter.)
But with style and grace, but most importantly, with steely determination, she does not back down, she is there doing battle each and every day on behalf of not only her constituency here in California, but people all across America who are looking for a fair shake, who are looking for a decent job, who are looking for quality health care, who want a good education for their kids, who want a planet that they can pass on to their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. That's what Nancy Pelosi is all about. We could not have done any of the stuff that we’ve done this year without one of the best Speakers imaginable. So, please, everybody, I know sometimes you're not a prophet in your own land but I want everybody to understand how special Nancy Pelosi is and give her a big round of applause. (Applause.)
It’s good to be back in California. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. (Applause.) I appreciate the warm welcome –- especially the weather. (Laughter.) It just got cold in D.C., so I was happy flying in over the Bay and it’s sunny; it’s nice. (Laughter.) This is a pretty place you guys live. (Applause.) But obviously what I appreciate even more is the opportunity that you’ve given me and my administration to serve on your behalf. And I’m here to tell you that we are keeping faith with your support. We are working every single day to fulfill your hopes. Every day we’re asking ourselves how can we realize the dreams that led so many people to join our cause when it seemed so improbable.
But I’ve got to say, looking out at a room full of so many supporters, I am reminded of what President Lincoln once said to one of his own supporters who claimed that it was his efforts that made the difference in the election. The guy had come in, he met Lincoln, he said, it’s because of you –- “It’s because of me that you’re sitting here.” “So you think you made me President?” Lincoln said. “Yes,” the man replied, “under Providence, I think I did.” “Well,” said Lincoln, “it’s a pretty mess you’ve got me into. But I forgive you.” (Laughter and applause.) That's how I feel about you. (Laughter.) You're all forgiven. (Applause.)
It’s been about 10 months since the Obama family packed up and moved to Washington. And I want to report to you that Malia and Sasha are doing great. (Applause.) Michelle has been extraordinary as First Lady. (Applause.) We have Bo, which has lowered my seniority to fifth at the dinner table. (Laughter.)
But I do think it’s important for all of us to remember, even though it’s been almost a year, what was happening in this country when we walked through that front door –- because, you know, people seem to have a sort of selective memory. (Laughter.) People seem to forget, they seem to think that suddenly I was sworn in and there was this big financial crisis. (Laughter.) So let’s just do a little walk down memory lane. (Laughter.)
We were facing an economic crisis unlike any that we’ve seen in our times. We were losing 700,000 jobs a month. Our financial system was on the brink of collapse. Economists of every political stripe we’re saying we might be slipping into the next Great Depression.
And that’s why working with Nancy Pelosi and working with Harry Reid we passed boldly and swiftly a Recovery Act that’s made a difference in the lives of families and communities in every corner of the country. And California has been particularly hard hit. And I know families here are struggling more than folks in a lot of other parts of the country. And leaders are having to make tough choices about how to navigate through this economic storm. But I also know that if it hadn’t been for that Recovery Act here in California and all across America, if it weren’t for the Recovery Act we’d be in a much deeper hole. And that is a fact. (Applause.)
We put a tax cut in the pockets of small business owners and 95 percent of working Americans -– just as I promised on the campaign trail. That tax cut has benefited more than 12 million families here in California at a time when they were losing income, and in some cases losing jobs. Increased unemployment insurance for 12 million Americans to help them get through tough times. (Applause.) That's helped nearly 2 million Californians. We made COBRA 65 percent cheaper –- (applause) -- to make sure that when you are out there looking for a job you could still have your health insurance. We provided relief to states like California so they wouldn’t have to lay off teachers and firefighters and police officers. (Applause.) Gave 30,000 loans to small businesses all across America -– including nearly 4,000 right here in California -– that have helped to create and save tens of thousands of private sector jobs.
But the Recovery Act wasn’t just about tax cuts -– the most progressive, by the way, tax cuts in American history. It wasn’t emergency relief for middle class families and working families who’ve borne the brunt of the recession. It also was the largest investment in education in American history. (Applause.) It was also the largest investment in clean energy in American history. (Applause.) It was also the largest investment in the nation’s infrastructure since Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System back in the 1950s –- (applause) –- putting people back to work all across the country, rebuilding roads and bridges and waterways.
That’s not all we did in those first few months. Nancy –- Nancy mentioned a few other things. We decided maybe it makes sense to pay women the same as men for the same work. (Applause.) And that's why we signed the Lilly Ledbetter –- the first bill I had the honor to sign into law. Lifted the ban on stem cell research –- (applause) -- began to restore science to its rightful place here in America. Extended health insurance to 11 million children across the country who had been left out, under the Children’s Health Insurance bill. (Applause.) Passed legislation to protect consumers from unfair rate hikes and abusive fees charged by credit card companies. (Applause.) Passed laws to protect our children from being targeted by big tobacco companies. (Applause.) Made sure that housing fraud was prevented. (Applause.) Placed a new national policy for the first time in our history aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. (Applause.)
That’s what we did here at home. Abroad, we began a new era of engagement. (Applause.) Working with partners to stop the spread of nuclear weapons –- (applause) -- and seek the long-term goal of a safer, more secure world free of nuclear weapons. (Applause.) Working in concert with other nations on just about every continent to stem the global economic downturn and to confront climate change. We banned torture. (Applause.) We’re closing Guantanamo. (Applause.) We’re rebuilding our military. We’re reaffirming our alliances. We are drawing down responsibly and ending the war in Iraq. (Applause.) We made good progress in taking the fight to al Qaeda –- from Pakistan to Somalia to Indonesia. I went to Cairo on behalf of America to start a new dialogue with the Muslim world. (Applause.)
So just in case you're wondering what we’ve been doing over the last nine months –- (laughter) –- thought it might be useful to check in with you. (Laughter.) You wouldn’t always know it watching cable. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Don’t watch it!