President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 25, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 25, 2010
THE PRESIDENT:  Merry Christmas, everybody.  Michelle and I just wanted to take a moment today to send greetings from our family to yours.
THE FIRST LADY:  This is one of our favorite times of year.  And we’re so fortunate to be able to celebrate it together in this wonderful home.
This is the “People’s House.”  So Barack and I try to open it to as many people as we can, especially during the holiday season.
This month, more than 100,000 Americans have passed through these halls.  And the idea behind this year’s theme, “Simple Gifts,” is that the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing – the comfort of spending time with loved ones…the freedoms we enjoy as Americans… and the joy we feel upon giving something of ourselves.
So in this time of family, friends, and good cheer; let’s also be sure to look out for those who are less fortunate, who’ve hit a run of bad luck, or who are hungry and alone this holiday season.
THE PRESIDENT:  Because this is the season when we celebrate the simplest yet most profound gift of all: the birth of a child who devoted his life to a message of peace, love, and redemption.  A message that says no matter who we are, we are called to love one another – we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, our separate stories in this big and busy world are really one.
Today, we’re also thinking of those who can’t be home for the holidays – especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas.
That’s the message I delivered when I visited our troops in Afghanistan a few weeks ago – that while you may be serving far from home, every American supports you and your families.  We’re with you.  And I have no greater honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.
Today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen make up the finest fighting force in the history of the world.  Just like their predecessors, they do extraordinary things in service to their country.  What makes that all the more remarkable is that today’s military is an all-volunteer force – a force of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
THE FIRST LADY:  That’s right.  As First Lady, I’ve had the honor to meet members of our military and their families on bases and in communities all across the country.  I’ve gotten to know husbands and wives doing the parenting of two while their spouse is on another deployment…children trying their best in school but always wondering when mom or dad is coming home…patriots putting their lives on hold to help with a loved one’s recovery…or carry on the memory of a fallen hero.
When our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve, too.  And they’re proud and glad to do it.  But as long as that service keeps the rest of us safe, their sacrifice should also be our own.  Even heroes can use a hand, especially during the holidays.
THE PRESIDENT:  So we’re encouraging Americans to ask what you can do to support our troops and their families in this holiday season.  For some ideas on how to get started, just visit
THE FIRST LADY:  You’ll see that you don’t need to be an expert in military life to give back to those who give so much to us.  There are countless ways to contribute by harnessing your unique talents.
If you live near a base, you can reach out through your local school or church.  If you don’t, you can volunteer with organizations that support military families.  And anybody can send a care package or pre-paid calling card to the front lines, or give what’s sometimes the most important gift of all: simply saying “thank you.”
THE PRESIDENT:   America’s brave servicemen and women represent a small fraction of our population.  But they and the families who await their safe return carry far more than their fair share of the burden.  They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do.  They’ve been everything we’ve asked them to be.  And even as we speak, many are fighting halfway around the globe – in hopes that someday, our children and grandchildren won’t have to.
So let’s all remind them this holiday season that we’re thinking of them – and that America will forever be here for them, just as they’ve been there for us.
And on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha…
THE PRESIDENT:  and Bo…have a very Merry Christmas.
THE FIRST LADY:  and an even happier New Year.


President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 18, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address
The White House
December 18, 2010
This week, Congress passed – and I signed into law – an essential economic package that will help grow our economy, spur businesses, and jumpstart job creation.

Instead of a New Years Day tax hike on the vast majority of Americans, two million Americans who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own will now know with certainty that they won’t lose their emergency unemployment insurance at the end of the month. Eight million college students who’d otherwise face a tuition hike next semester will continue having access to the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Twelve million families with twenty-four million children will benefit from extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. And millions of entrepreneurs who’ve been waiting to invest in their businesses will receive new tax incentives to help them expand, buy new equipment, or make upgrades, freeing up money to hire new workers.

This package, which is so important for our economy at this pivotal time, was the product of hard negotiations. Like any negotiations, there was give and take on both sides. But I’m heartened by our ability to come together to do what’s best for middle class families across this country, and our economy as a whole.

Before going away for the holiday break, I’m hopeful we can also come together on another urgent national priority – and that is, the new START treaty that will reduce the world’s nuclear arsenals and make America more secure. Twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union and United States each had about 25,000 nuclear weapons. In the decades since, that number has been reduced by over 70 percent, and we have had on-site inspections of Russian nuclear facilities. That progress would not have been possible without strategic arms control treaties.

During the past year, however, our old treaty with Russia expired, and without a new one, we won’t be able to verify Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which would undercut President Reagan’s call to trust, but verify, when it comes to nuclear weapons. Without a new treaty, we’ll risk turning back the progress we’ve made in our relationship with Russia, which is essential to enforce strong sanctions against Iran, secure vulnerable nuclear materials from terrorists, and resupply our troops in Afghanistan. And we’ll risk undermining American leadership not only on nuclear proliferation, but a host of other challenges around the world.

Ratifying a treaty like START isn’t about winning a victory for an administration or a political party. It’s about the safety and security of the United States of America. That’s why this treaty is supported by both Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. That’s why it’s supported by every living Republican Secretary of State, our NATO allies, and the leadership of the United States military. Indeed, the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hoss Cartwright, said this week that the military needs this treaty, and they need it badly. And that’s why every President since Ronald Reagan has pursued a treaty like START, and every one that has been reviewed by the Senate has passed with strong bipartisan support.

We have taken the time to get this right. The START treaty has now been under review by the Senate for over seven months.  It’s gone through 18 hearings.  Nearly 1,000 questions have been asked – and answered. Several Republican Senators have come out in support of ratification. Meanwhile, further delay comes at a cost. Every minute we drag our feet is a minute that we have no inspectors on the ground at those Russian nuclear sites.

It’s time to get this done. It’s time to show the same spirit of common purpose on our security that we showed this week on our economy. It’s time to remember the old saying that politics stops at the water’s edge. That saying was coined by a Republican Senator, Arthur Vandenberg, who partnered with a Democratic President, Harry Truman, to pass landmark national security measures at the dawn of the Cold War. Today, over sixty years later, when we’re threatened not only by nuclear weapons, but an array of other dangers, that’s a principle we must continue to uphold. Thank you, and have a nice weekend.


President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 11, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 11, 2010
Right now, there’s a big debate taking place in Washington that will affect how much you pay in taxes next year.  If Congress doesn’t act, tax rates will automatically go up for just about everyone in our country.  Typical middle class families would end up paying an extra $3,000.

That’s unacceptable to me.  Not when we know that it’s the middle class that was hit the hardest by the recession.  And not when we know that taking this money out of the pockets of working people is exactly the wrong thing to do to get our economy growing faster.  Economists tell us that this tax hike on working families could actually cost us well over a million jobs.

That’s why I’ve been fighting so hard to cut middle class taxes.  And that’s why I brought both Democrats and Republicans to the table – to put together a compromise, and work through our differences, so we could get this done.

Now, the Republicans in Congress strongly favored permanent tax breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers and the wealthiest estates, most of which would go to millionaires and even billionaires.  But I didn’t believe that these tax cuts were worth the cost.  They’d add to our deficits without really boosting the economy.

I believed that the best way to help the economy, and working families, was to keep middle class tax rates low, and cut taxes for working parents, college students, and small businesses.  And I believed that with millions of people looking for jobs, it would be a terrible mistake to end unemployment insurance – not only for people who are out of work, but for our entire economy.

So we hammered out a deal that reflects ideas from both sides.  It wasn’t easy, and it’s by no means perfect.  And as with any compromise, everybody had to live with elements they didn’t like.  But this is a good deal for the American people.  The vast majority of the tax cuts in this plan will help the middle class, including a new cut in payroll taxes that will save the average family about $1,000.  And as this plan is debated in Congress, what I want to make clear is the real difference it will make in people’s lives.

It’s going to make a difference for a single mom with two kids in Ohio working as a cashier.  With this plan, she’d get a new payroll tax cut and a bigger child tax credit together worth more than $2,300.

It’s going to make a difference for a couple in Florida earning about $50,000 and trying to put one of their two kids through college.  They’d save more than $4,000 because of the middle class tax cuts – including a $2,500 tax credit to go toward college tuition.

And it’s going to make an enormous difference for people looking for jobs.  For many of these families, emergency unemployment insurance is the last line of defense between hardship and catastrophe.  And I’d point out, if these folks stop spending money, it will also hurt businesses, which will hurt hiring, which will damage our recovery.

So this plan is going to help millions of families to make ends meet, through tax cuts and unemployment insurance for people who’ve lost their jobs by no fault of their own.  And we included tax relief for businesses, too – making it easier for them to invest and expand.  All told, this will not only directly help families and businesses.  By putting more money in people’s pockets, and helping companies grow, we’re going to see people being able to spend a little more, we’re going to spur hiring – we’re going to strengthen our entire economy.

Now, I recognize that many of my friends in my own party are uncomfortable with some of what’s in this agreement, in particular the temporary tax cuts for the wealthy.  And I share their concerns.  It’s clear that over the long run, if we’re serious about balancing the budget, we cannot afford to continue these tax breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers – especially when we know that cutting the deficit is going to demand sacrifice from everyone.  That’s the reality.

But at the same time, we cannot allow the middle class in this country to be caught in the political crossfire of Washington.  People want us to find solutions, not score points. And I will not allow middle class families to be treated like pawns on a chessboard.

The opportunity for families to send their kids to college hinges on this debate.  The ability of parents to put food on the table while looking for a job depends on this debate.  And our recovery will be strengthened or weakened based on the choice that now rests with Congress.

So I strongly urge members of both parties to pass this plan.  And I’m confident that they will do the right thing, strengthening the middle class and our economic recovery.

Thank you.

Democrats have no backbone

On Saturday, Dec. 04, 2010, the Times reported that the "Senate Republicans blocked legislation Saturday to let upper-income tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, a showdown scripted by Democrats eager to showcase GOP lawmakers as defenders of millionaires."

Does this mean that the Democrats  are going to give in or even compromise (again) with the Republicans ?

Over the last two years I watched the Democrats whining about all kinds of problems but then playing to the benefit if the Republicans?

What do Democrats stand fore? 
 What makes Democrats different from Republican?

As long as  Democrats continue to show no backbone, people will not vote for them again. People want to be sure that their interests are represented in the U.S. government. We can't afford to let Republicans call the Democrats fiscally irresponsible when in fact they are the ones who are giving away our tax-money to the millionaires and billionaire.

If  Democrats want to survive, they have to show the American people that they are on their side and not just going along with the Republicans!

Are the independents careful thinkers?

ZAKARIA: But the big shift if you look 1996 when the Democrats sweep into power, 57 percent of independents voted Democrat. In this election, 57 percent of independents voted Republican. What does that tell you?

MAHER: That tells me independents don't pay that much attention. Independents are people who just throw out the party that's in power because Obama got elected and it didn't immediately start rating 20s. So throw the bums out. By the way, the same bums that they just, you know, threw out two years ago they wanted to put back in. No wonder we can't get anything done in this country.

So, you know, this idea that the independents are these -- these careful thinkers who assess what's going -- I don't think that's who the independent voter is. I just they're -- they're cranky people who want change. They voted for change in '06. They voted for change in '08. They voted -- I don't blame them for being impatient with Obama. He did promise us change and he's delivered some of it. I mean there has been change.

In other ways, he looks too much like what we had before. I could name a whole list of issues where the Democrats and the Republicans really are the same party. When people say, you know, there's not enough bipartisanship, I very often think, no, there's actually too much. On Afghanistan, too much. We have two parties, we have one policy. Gun control, two parties, one policy. Marijuana, two parties, one policy. Lot -- there's a lot of that in this country.


Tax cuts for the wealthies or not?

An income tax is a tax imposed on the income of individuals or businesses (corporations or other legal entities). 

However, most of us don’t want to pay taxes. This is understandable because we think that if we didn’t have to pay taxes we would have more money to spend for ourselves. But then who would pay for things like schools, roads, hospitals, the military, government employees, national parks, and so forth? Imagine how much you would have to pay if you had to pay for these things by yourselves. So having a system in which everyone pays for the things we all benefit from makes sense, right.

Nonetheless, we have to ask the question, are our taxes used wisely?
Here I can only answer with a NO!

I think one of the reasons why our taxes are not used wisely is that our professional politicians often do not have our well-being in mind but merely their own.  

Consequently, our politicians have adopted an attitude to please the ones who help them to stay in power.

Now, to have a chance to be reelected you need a lot of money.
This money can only come form people who have a lot of money.
Therefore our professional politicians do everything in their power to please the wealthy by giving them tax-breaks.

And here is the dilemma:
The Republicans now want to extent the tax gift (implemented during the George W. Bush-era) to the wealthiest because they need their support to be reelected in 2012.
Does this make sense?
Many American believe the Republican politicians who claim that this is good for the country, not just good for Republican politicians.

However, the fact is that most leading academic economists agree that this would not have any benefits for the U.S economy as claimed by the Republicans. To the contrary, almost all leading academic economists agree that it would, as President Obama had said, only increase governmental debt. Moreover, it would put the greatest tax burden on the low- and middle-class-income as well as decrease competitiveness.

Well, who should we trust?
Should we trust professional politicians (Republican politicians) or independent academic economists?

Vice President Joe Biden for President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 4, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden
As Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address
December 4, 2010
Hi, this is Joe Biden.  I’m filling in for President Obama this weekend because he’s on his way back from Afghanistan, where he was spending some time with the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.

It’s tough to be far from home during the holidays, especially in a warzone, so he wanted to be there in person to thank them on behalf of all Americans for their service and the sacrifice each one of them are making.  And here at home, the First Lady and my wife Jill have made supporting military families a priority.  These families are also making difficult sacrifices for our country, and they deserve our admiration and gratitude as well.

Our service members and their families are always on our mind, even as the President and I are working on other issues that all American families are deeply concerned about: accelerating our recovery, growing our economy, strengthening our middle class, and getting our friends and neighbors back to work.

In recent months, we’ve seen encouraging signs on that front.  After shrinking for four straight quarters, our economy has now grown five straight quarters.  After nearly two years of job loss, our economy has created more than one million private sector jobs just this year.

And after teetering on the brink of liquidation last year, our auto industry is posting healthy gains, assembly lines are running again, and American manufacturing is getting up off the mat and fighting its way back.

Still, Friday’s jobs report was a sobering reminder of that. While we saw another month of job growth in November, it just wasn’t enough.

That underscores why it’s so important to get going without delay on two things that will have the most impact in growing the economy.

One: we’ve got to extend the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire at the end of the month.  If we don’t, millions of middle-class families will see a big bite out of their paychecks starting January 1.  And that’s the last thing we should let happen.  After a decade in which they lost ground, middle class families can ill-afford a tax hike – and our economy can’t afford the hit it will take if middle class families have less money to spend.

And the second thing we’ve got to do is extend unemployment insurance for Americans who have lost their jobs in a tough economy.  Without unemployment benefits, families can’t spend on basic necessities that are grown, made, and sold by other Americans.

Together, the economic hit caused by raising taxes on the middle class, and denying two million Americans unemployment insurance, will wind up costing us hundreds of thousands of more jobs.  It just isn’t smart.

And, cutting unemployment insurance is not only not smart, it’s not right either.  It would mean telling millions of our neighbors who are out of work today through no fault of their own, that they’re on their own.

That’s no message to send in the season of hope.  We all know someone who’s hit a rough patch.  When that happens in America, we help him get back up on his feet.  That’s who we are.  That’s the American way.

So I just don’t agree with the folks who’ve said we can’t afford a lifeline for Americans who lost their jobs during the worst recession in generations, but we can afford to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.  That’s bad economic policy, and it’s also just simply wrong.

Congress must extend these needed unemployment benefits before it goes home for the year.  And it must bolster economic growth by preserving tax cuts for our middle class.  I’m glad that the House of Representatives voted to do that this week, and I call on the United States Senate to do the same.

Look, there’s no doubt these are tough times.  But we are slowly but surely fighting our way back, moving forward.  And we’re going to keep fighting – to grow this economy, to strengthen our middle class, and to restore the American Dream.  That’s my pledge to you.

And hey, one last thing – since the President will be back to record this message next week, let me take this chance to say from my family to yours: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, have a great Holiday season and an even better New Year.

Thanks, and enjoy the weekend.

President Barack Obama Weekly Address November 27, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Weekly Address: President Obama Delivers Thanksgiving Greeting

WASHINGTON – During this holiday season, President Obama used his weekly address to give thanks for the blessings of America, in particular that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves and do what is required to make tomorrow better than today.  With that sense of determination and sacrifice, America has built a powerful economy, stood against tyranny, fought for equality, and connected the globe with our own science and imagination.  And by working together as one people – as Americans -- we can overcome the challenges currently facing our nation.

Today, like millions of other families across America, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will sit down to share a Thanksgiving filled with family and friends – and a few helpings of food and football, too.  And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we’ll spend some time taking stock of what we’re thankful for: the God-given bounty of America, and the blessings of one another.
This is also a holiday that captures that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves.  Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries; contributing to their communities; and standing guard around the world.
And in a larger sense, that’s emblematic of what Americans have always done.  We come together and do what’s required to make tomorrow better than today.  That’s who we are.
Consider our journey since that first Thanksgiving.  We are among the world’s youngest of peoples, but time and again, we have boldly and resiliently led the way forward.  Against tough odds, we are a people who endure – who explored and settled a vast and untamed continent; who built a powerful economy and stood against tyranny in all its forms; who marched and fought for equality, and connected a globe with our own science and imagination.
None of that progress was predestined.  None of it came easily.  Instead, the blessings for which we give thanks today are the product of choices made by our parents, and grandparents, and generations before – whose determination and sacrifice ensured a better future for us.
This holiday season, we must resolve once more to do the same.
This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced.  But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another.  As long as many of our sons and daughters and husbands and wives are at war, we’ve got to support their mission and honor their service.  And as long as many of our friends and neighbors are looking for work, we’ve got to do everything we can to accelerate this recovery and keep our economy moving forward.
And we will.  But we won’t do it as any one political party.  We’ve got to do it as one people.  And in the coming weeks and months, I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues.
That’s why, next week, I’ve invited the leadership of both parties to the White House for a real and honest discussion – because I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done.
For what we are called to do again today isn’t about Democrats or Republicans.  It’s not about left or right.  It’s about us.  It’s about what we know this country is capable of.  It’s about what we want America to be in this new century.
A vibrant nation that makes sure its children are the best-educated in the world.  A healthy, growing economy that runs on clean energy and creates the jobs of tomorrow.  A responsible government that reduces its deficits.  An America where every citizen is able to go as far as he or she desires.
We can do all this, because we’ve done it before.  We’re made of the same sturdy stuff as the travelers who sat down to the first Thanksgiving, and all who came after – who worked, and sacrificed, and invested, because they believed that their efforts would make the difference for us.
That’s who we are.  We shape our own destiny with conviction, compassion, and clear and common purpose.  We honor our past and press forward with the knowledge that tomorrow will be better than today.  We are Americans.  That’s the vision we won’t lose sight of.  That’s the legacy that falls to our generation.  That’s the challenge that together, we are going to meet.
To every American, I am thankful for the privilege of being your President.  To all our service members stationed around the world, I am honored to be your Commander-in-Chief.  And from the Obama family to yours, have a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Thank you.

President Barack Obama Weekly Address November 20, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
November 20, 2010
Today, I’d like to speak with you about an issue that is fundamental to America’s national security: the need for the Senate to approve the New START Treaty this year.
This Treaty is rooted in a practice that dates back to Ronald Reagan. The idea is simple – as the two nations with over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, the United States and Russia have a responsibility to work together to reduce our arsenals. And to ensure that our national security is protected, the United States has an interest in tracking Russia’s nuclear arsenal through a verification effort that puts U.S. inspectors on the ground. As President Reagan said when he signed a nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union in 1987, “Trust, but verify.”
That is precisely what the New START Treaty does. After nearly a full year of negotiations, we completed an agreement earlier this year that cuts by a third the number of long-range nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles that the United States and Russia can deploy, while ensuring that America retains a strong nuclear deterrent, and can put inspectors back on the ground in Russia.
The Treaty also helped us reset our relations with Russia, which led to concrete benefits. For instance, Russia has been indispensable to our efforts to enforce strong sanctions on Iran, to secure loose nuclear material from terrorists, and to equip our troops in Afghanistan.
All of this will be put to risk if the Senate does not pass the New START Treaty.
Without ratification this year, the United States will have no inspectors on the ground, and no ability to verify Russian nuclear activities. So those who would block this treaty are breaking President Reagan’s rule – they want to trust, but not verify.
Without ratification, we put at risk the coalition that we have built to put pressure on Iran, and the transit route through Russia that we use to equip our troops in Afghanistan. And without ratification, we risk undoing decades of American leadership on nuclear security, and decades of bipartisanship on this issue. Our security and our position in the world are at stake.
Indeed, since the Reagan years, every President has pursued a negotiated, verified, arms reduction treaty. And every time that these treaties have been reviewed by the Senate, they have passed with over 85 votes. Bipartisan support for New START could not be stronger. It has been endorsed by Republicans from the Reagan Administration and both Bush Administrations – including Colin Powell, George Shultz, Jim Baker, and Henry Kissinger. And it was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a strong bipartisan vote of 14-4.
Over the last several months, several questions have been asked about New START, and we have answered every single one. Some have asked whether it will limit our missile defense – it will not. Some, including Senator Jon Kyl, have asked that we modernize our nuclear infrastructure for the 21st century – we are doing so, and plan to invest at least $85 billion in that effort over the next ten years – a significant increase from the Bush Administration.
Finally, some make no argument against the Treaty – they just ask for more time. But remember this: it has already been 11 months since we’ve had inspectors in Russia, and every day that goes by without ratification is a day that we lose confidence in our understanding of Russia’s nuclear weapons. If the Senate doesn’t act this year – after six months, 18 hearings, and nearly a thousand questions answered – it would have to start over from scratch in January.
The choice is clear: a failure to ratify New START would be a dangerous gamble with America’s national security, setting back our understanding of Russia’s nuclear weapons, as well as our leadership in the world. That is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do.
There is enough gridlock, enough bickering. If there is one issue that should unite us – as Republicans and Democrats – it should be our national security.
Some things are bigger than politics. As Republican Dick Lugar said the other day, “Every Senator has an obligation in the national security interest to take a stand, to do his or her duty.”
Senator Lugar is right. And if the Senate passes this treaty, it will not be an achievement for Democrats or Republicans – it will be a win for America.


President Barack Obama Weekly Address November 13, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
November 13, 2010
This weekend, I’m concluding a trip to Asia whose purpose was to open new markets for American products in this fast-growing part of the world. The economic battle for these markets is fierce, and we’re up against strong competitors. But as I’ve said many times, America doesn’t play for second place. The future we’re fighting for isn’t as the world’s largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world’s largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world.

Opening new markets will not only help America’s businesses create new jobs for American workers. It will also help us reduce our deficits – because the single greatest tool for getting our fiscal house in order is robust economic growth. That kind of growth will require ensuring that our students are getting the best education possible; that we’re on the cutting edge of research and development; and that we’re rebuilding our roads and railways, runways and ports – so our infrastructure is up to the challenges of the 21st century.

Given the deficits that have mounted up over the past decade, we can’t afford to make these investments unless we’re also willing to cut what we don’t need. That’s why I’ve submitted to Congress a plan for a three-year budget freeze, and I’m prepared to offer additional savings.  But as we work to reform our budget, Congress should also put some skin in the game. I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who’ve recently said that in these challenging days, we can’t afford what are called earmarks. These are items inserted into spending bills by members of Congress without adequate review.

Now, some of these earmarks support worthy projects in our local communities. But many others do not. We can’t afford Bridges to Nowhere like the one that was planned a few years back in Alaska. Earmarks like these represent a relatively small part of overall federal spending. But when it comes to signaling our commitment to fiscal responsibility, addressing them would have an important impact.

As a Senator, I helped eliminate anonymous earmarks and created new measures of transparency so Americans can better follow how their tax dollars are being spent. As President, time and again, I’ve called for new limitations on earmarks. We’ve reduced the cost of earmarks by over $3 billion. And we’ve put in place higher standards of transparency by putting as much information as possible on In fact, this week, we updated the site with more information about where last year’s earmarks were actually spent, and made it easier to look up Members of Congress and the earmarks they fought for.

Today, we have a chance to go further. We have a chance to not only shine a light on a bad Washington habit that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, but take a step towards restoring public trust. We have a chance to advance the interests not of Republicans or Democrats, but of the American people; to put our country on the path of fiscal discipline and responsibility that will lead to a brighter economic future for all. And that’s a future I hope we can reach across party lines to build together.

Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.


Divided We Fail

Op-Ed Columnist 
Divided We Fail
Found in The New York Times 
No, we can’t. This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness.
Start with the politics. 

In the late-1990s, Republicans and Democrats were able to work together on some issues. President Obama seems to believe that the same thing can happen again today. In a recent interview with National Journal, he sounded a conciliatory note, saying that Democrats need to have an “appropriate sense of humility,” and that he would “spend more time building consensus.” Good luck with that.
After all, that era of partial cooperation in the 1990s came only after Republicans had tried all-out confrontation, actually shutting down the federal government in an effort to force President Bill Clinton to give in to their demands for big cuts in Medicare.

Now, the government shutdown ended up hurting Republicans politically, and some observers seem to assume that memories of that experience will deter the G.O.P. from being too confrontational this time around. But the lesson current Republicans seem to have drawn from 1995 isn’t that they were too confrontational, it’s that they weren’t confrontational enough.
Another recent interview by National Journal, this one with Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, has received a lot of attention thanks to a headline-grabbing quote: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” 

If you read the full interview, what Mr. McConnell was saying was that, in 1995, Republicans erred by focusing too much on their policy agenda and not enough on destroying the president: “We suffered from some degree of hubris and acted as if the president was irrelevant and we would roll over him. By the summer of 1995, he was already on the way to being re-elected, and we were hanging on for our lives.” So this time around, he implied, they’ll stay focused on bringing down Mr. Obama.
True, Mr. McConnell did say that he might be willing to work with Mr. Obama in certain circumstances — namely, if he’s willing to do a “Clintonian back flip,” taking positions that would find more support among Republicans than in his own party. Of course, this would actually hurt Mr. Obama’s chances of re-election — but that’s the point. 

We might add that should any Republicans in Congress find themselves considering the possibility of acting in a statesmanlike, bipartisan manner, they’ll surely reconsider after looking over their shoulder at the Tea Party-types, who will jump on them if they show any signs of being reasonable. The role of the Tea Party is one reason smart observers expect another government shutdown, probably as early as next spring.
Beyond the politics, the crucial difference between the 1990s and now is the state of the economy.
When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, the U.S. economy had strong fundamentals. Household debt was much lower than it is today. Business investment was surging, in large part thanks to the new opportunities created by information technology — opportunities that were much broader than the follies of the dot-com bubble. 

In this favorable environment, economic management was mainly a matter of putting the brakes on the boom, so as to keep the economy from overheating and head off potential inflation. And this was a job the Federal Reserve could do on its own by raising interest rates, without any help from Congress.
Today’s situation is completely different. The economy, weighed down by the debt that households ran up during the Bush-era bubble, is in dire straits; deflation, not inflation, is the clear and present danger. And it’s not at all clear that the Fed has the tools to head off this danger. Right now we very much need active policies on the part of the federal government to get us out of our economic trap. 

But we won’t get those policies if Republicans control the House. In fact, if they get their way, we’ll get the worst of both worlds: They’ll refuse to do anything to boost the economy now, claiming to be worried about the deficit, while simultaneously increasing long-run deficits with irresponsible tax cuts — cuts they have already announced won’t have to be offset with spending cuts. 

So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

President Barack Obama Weekly Address November 6, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
November 6, 2010
This week, Americans across the country cast their votes and made their voices heard.  And your message was clear.

You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery.  So am I.

You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results.  I do too.

So I congratulate all of this week’s winners – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  But now, the campaign season is over.  And it’s time to focus on our shared responsibilities to work together and deliver those results: speeding up our economic recovery, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class so that the American Dream feels like it’s back within reach.

That’s why I’ve asked to sit down soon with leaders of both parties so that we can have an extended discussion about what we can do together to move this country forward.

And over the next few weeks, we’re going to have a chance to work together in the brief upcoming session of Congress.

Here’s why this lame duck session is so important.  Early in the last decade, President Bush and Congress enacted a series of tax cuts that were designed to expire at the end of this year.

What that means is, if Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day.

But the last thing we should do is raise taxes on middle-class families.  For the past decade, they saw their costs rise, their incomes fall, and too many jobs go overseas.  They’re the ones bearing the brunt of the recession.  They’re the ones having trouble making ends meet. They are the ones who need relief right now.

So something’s got to be done.  And I believe there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together.

Let’s start where we agree.  All of us want certainty for middle-class Americans.  None of us want them to wake up on January 1st with a higher tax bill.  That’s why I believe we should permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for all families making less than $250,000 a year.  That’s 98 percent of the American people.

We also agree on the need to start cutting spending and bringing down our deficit.  That’s going to require everyone to make some tough choices.  In fact, if Congress were to implement my proposal to freeze non-security discretionary spending for three years, it would bring this spending down to its lowest level as share of the economy in 50 years.

But at a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.

I recognize that both parties are going to have to work together and compromise to get something done here.  But I want to make my priorities clear from the start.  One: middle class families need permanent tax relief. And two: I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

There are new public servants in Washington, but we still face the same challenges.  And you made it clear that it’s time for results. This a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love.



President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 30, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
October 30, 2010
Tuesday is Election Day, and here in Washington, the talk is all about who will win and who will lose – about parties and politics.
But around kitchen tables, I’m pretty sure you’re talking about other things: about your family finances, or maybe the state of the economy in your hometown; about your kids, and what their futures will bring.  And your hope is that once this election is over, the folks you choose to represent you will put the politics aside for a while, and work together to solve problems.
That’s my hope, too.
Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, we need to come together to help put people who are still looking for jobs back to work.  And there are some practical steps we can take right away to promote growth and encourage businesses to hire and expand.  These are steps we all should be able to agree on – not Democratic or Republican ideas, but proposals that have traditionally been supported by both parties.
We ought to provide continued tax relief for middle class families who have borne the brunt of the recession.  We ought to allow businesses to defer taxes on the equipment they buy next year.  And we ought to make the research and experimentation tax credit bigger and permanent – to spur innovation and foster new products and technologies.
Beyond these near-term steps, we should work together to tackle the broader challenges facing our country – so that we remain competitive and prosperous in a global economy.  That means ensuring that our young people have the skills and education to fill the jobs of a new age.  That means building new infrastructure – from high-speed trains to high-speed internet – so that our economy has room to grow.  And that means fostering a climate of innovation and entrepreneurship that will allow American businesses and American workers to lead in growth industries like clean energy.
On these issues – issues that will determine our success or failure in this new century – I believe it’s the fundamental responsibility of all who hold elective office to seek out common ground.  It may not always be easy to find agreement; at times we’ll have legitimate philosophical differences.  And it may not always be the best politics.  But it is the right thing to do for our country.
That’s why I found the recent comments by the top two Republican in Congress so troubling.  The Republican leader of the House actually said that “this is not the time for compromise.”  And the Republican leader of the Senate said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one.
I know that we’re in the final days of a campaign.  So it’s not surprising that we’re seeing this heated rhetoric.  That’s politics.  But when the ballots are cast and the voting is done, we need to put this kind of partisanship aside – win, lose, or draw.
In the end, it comes down to a simple choice.  We can spend the next two years arguing with one another, trapped in stale debates, mired in gridlock, unable to make progress in solving the serious problems facing our country.  We can stand still while our competitors – like China and others around the world – try to pass us by, making the critical decisions that will allow them to gain an edge in new industries.
Or we can do what the American people are demanding that we do.  We can move forward.  We can promote new jobs and businesses by harnessing the talents and ingenuity of our people.  We can take the necessary steps to help the next generation – instead of just worrying about the next election. We can live up to an allegiance far stronger than our membership in any political party.  And that’s the allegiance we hold to our country.
Thank you.


President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 23, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Weekly Address
Washington, DC
Over the past two years, we’ve won a number of battles to defend the interests of the middle class.  One of the most important victories we achieved was the passage of Wall Street Reform.

This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system.  It set new rules so that taxpayers would never again be on the hook for a bailout if a big financial company went under.  And reform included the strongest consumer protections in history – to put an end to a lot of the hidden fees, deceptive mortgages, and other abusive practices used to tilt the tables against ordinary people in their financial dealings.

It was a tough fight.  The special interests poured millions into a lobbying campaign to prevent us from reforming the system – a system that worked a lot better for them than for middle class families.  Some in the financial industry were eager to protect a status quo that basically allowed them to play by their own rules.  And these interests held common cause with Republican leaders in Washington who were looking to score a political victory in an election year.

But their efforts failed.  And we succeeded in passing reform in the hopes of ensuring that we never again face a crisis like the one we’ve been through – a crisis that unleashed an economic downturn as deep as any since the Great Depression.  Even today, we are still digging out of the damage it unleashed on the economy.  Millions of people are still out of work.  Millions of families are still hurting.

We’re also seeing the reverberations of this crisis with the rise in foreclosures.  And recently, we’ve seen problems in foreclosure proceedings – mistakes that have led to disruptions in the housing markets.  This is only one more piece of evidence as to why Wall Street Reform is so necessary.  In fact, as part of reform, a new consumer watchdog is now standing up.  It will have just one job: looking out for ordinary consumers in the financial system.  And this watchdog will have the authority to guard against unfair practices in mortgage transactions and foreclosures.

Yet despite the importance of this law – and despite the terrible economic dislocation caused by the failures in our financial system under the old rules – top Republicans in Congress are now beating the drum to repeal all of these reforms and consumer protections.  Recently, one of the Republican leaders in the Senate said that if Republicans take charge of Congress, repeal would be one of the first orders of business.  And he joins the top Republican in the House who actually called for the law to be repealed even before it passed.

I think that would be a terrible mistake.  Our economy depends on a financial system in which everyone competes on a level playing field, and everyone is held to the same rules – whether you’re a big bank, a small business owner, or a family looking to buy a house or open a credit card. And as we saw, without sound oversight and common-sense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy.  That doesn’t serve Main Street.  That doesn’t serve Wall Street.  That doesn’t serve anyone.  And that’s why I think it’s so important that we not take this country backward – that we don’t go back to the broken system we had before.  We’ve got to keep moving forward.



President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 16, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As prepared for delivery
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Washington, DC
After a decade of hardship for middle class families, and a recession that wiped away millions of jobs, we are in the middle of a tough fight to rebuild this economy and put folks back to work.

Winning this fight will not depend on government alone.  It will depend on the innovation of American entrepreneurs; on the drive of American small business owners; on the skills and talents of American workers.  These are the people who will help us grow our economy and create jobs.

But government still has an important responsibility.  And that’s to create an environment in which someone can raise capital to start a new company; where a business can get a loan to expand; where ingenuity is prized and folks are rewarded for their hard work.

That’s why I fought so hard to pass a jobs bill to cut taxes and make more loans available for entrepreneurs.  It eliminated the capital gains taxes for key investments in small businesses.  It increased the deduction to defray the costs of starting a company.  And it’s freeing up credit for folks who need it.  In fact, in just the first two weeks since I signed the bill, thousands of business owners have been able to get new loans through the SBA.

But we need to do more.  So I’ve proposed additional steps to grow the economy and spur hiring by businesses across America.  Now, one of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the United States.  But for years, our tax code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks that encourage companies to create jobs and profits in other countries.

I want to close these tax loopholes.  Instead, I want to give every business in America a tax break so they can write off the cost of all new equipment they buy next year.  That’s going to make it easier for folks to expand and hire new people.  I want to make the research and experimentation tax credit permanent.  Because promoting new ideas and technologies is how we’ll create jobs and retain our edge as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation. And I want to provide a tax cut for clean energy manufacturing right here in America.  Because that’s how we’ll lead the world in this growing industry.

These are commonsense ideas.  When more things are made in America, more families make it in America; more jobs are created in America; more businesses thrive in America.  But Republicans in Washington have consistently fought to keep these corporate loopholes open.  Over the last four years alone, Republicans in the House voted 11 times to continue rewarding corporations that create jobs and profits overseas – a policy that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year.

That doesn’t make a lot sense.  It doesn’t make sense for American workers, American businesses, or America’s economy.  A lot of companies that do business internationally make an important contribution to our economy here at home.  That’s a good thing.  But there is no reason why our tax code should actively reward them for creating jobs overseas.  Instead, we should be using our tax dollars to reward companies that create jobs and businesses within our borders.

We should give tax breaks to American small businesses and manufacturers.  We should reward the people who are helping us lead in the industries of the future, like clean energy.  That’s how we’ll ensure that American innovation and ingenuity are what drive the next century. That’s how we’ll put our people back to work and lead the global economy.  And that’s what I’ll be fighting for in the coming months.

Thank you.

A Reluctant Power in a New World by ROGER COHEN

I found this remarkable column in the The New York Times

(printed in The New York Times on Tuesday, October 5, 2010)

     One of the characteristics of the uncertain global economic recovery is that it has been accentuating inequality within nations even as it is cutting inequality between them. Wall Street has done better than the American middle class. At the same time, the United States as a whole has seen emergent powers race ahead as it struggles.
     Neither of these developments bodes well for America but it could navigate the troubles better if it showed greater receptiveness to a changed world.
     Take Latin America. The economies grouped under the BRIC acronym — Brazil, Russian, India and China—have all used the crisis to demonstrate their new resilience as well as their reduced dependency on the American economy. But Brazil has been a standout. Its 11 percent growth rate in the year to March 2010 may not be sustainable but is a reminder of the Lula miracle.
     Perhaps any power that has enjoyed a spell of near hegemony and finds itself at war will, ostrich-like, refuse to accept the emergence of another behemoth in its hemisphere. Still, the United States would do well to look south for political as well as economic inspiration. It has failed to do so.
     One small example: at a recent meeting of the Washington based Inter-American Development Bank, Brazil and other South American nations sent ministers to attend. China, with a close eye on the mineral wealth of Latin America, sent the president of its Central Bank. All the United States could muster was an assistant secretary.
     “To tell you the truth we’re not that unhappy about U.S. distraction,” one senior South American banker told me. “We’re looking instead to China and Asia whose interest in the region is huge. There’s still a U.S. tendency to say, ‘This is what you should do.’ Today nobody listens.”
     The fact that United States free-trade deals with Colombia and Panama still stand unratified sends a clear message of American indifference.
     On the political front, I thought the contemptuous American dismissal of a Brazilian-Turkish deal with Iran to get low-enriched uranium out the country and so provide a breathing space for dialogue was another mistake. The accord was not perfect but nor was it different in its essence from one the United States proposed earlier, though the Americans complained that Iran had doubled the amount of uranium it enriched and altered the terms of the original deal.
     Here was a historic opportunity for America to say it sees the power shifts in the world and appreciates the efforts and emergent sense of responsibility of the developing powers. Instead Big Brother’s curt message was: don’t think for a second you can tackle the big issues. And here we are, locked into another sterile cycle of sanctions on Iran.
     I said the “Lula miracle.” President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, who steps down at the end of December after eight extraordinary years, has demonstrated precisely the popular touch that President Barack Obama has been unable to communicate. Lula is right to declare that “Brazil, Russia, India and China have a fundamental role in creating a new international order.”
     America and Obama would do much better to foster that process and so shape it than to be blind to it or dismissive. This will involve a fundamental reorientation of United States foreign policy.
     The Lula-Obama contrast is puzzling in some ways. Both are outsiders. Both break the mold. Both were seen as change agents. So why has Lula proved so much more effective?
     There was some luck of course: the Brazilian leader rode the commodities boom of the past decade. But perhaps it’s above all because a popular touch has to be rooted in experience. Lula, one of eight children, from the impoverished far north of Brazil, a former steelworker who left school very early, has struggled every step of the way. Obama incarnated hope in a divided America, but in the end he is a man framed by elite schools and institutions as much as by his experience as an African American or community worker. Finding the right tone for a nation trying to dig out from difficulty has eluded him.
     The verdict is in. Brazil, long the most divided of societies, has gone some way toward easing inequality as the United States has moved in the opposite direction.
     It has also closed the gap on developed-world economies and could well be the world’s fifth largest economy by 2025.

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MADDOW: you get into an argument or a confrontation with somebody, you can`t help afterwards thinking of all the things you wish you`d said. You run it over and over in your mind, imaging the perfect comeback or the perfect way to have made your point.
Well, last night after the president`s big Oval Office speech on the BP oil disaster, I had a version of that experience. I hadn`t, of course, been in an argument with the president or anything, I just couldn`t stop running tape in my head of what I wish that speech had been like, what I wish he`d said. An Oval Office address is a priceless chance to get the nation to stop what it`s doing, to stop every other TV show in the country, to get us all to pay attention, all at once, to this crisis and to what the president has to say about it.

What if he had started off by saying, "Good evening"? OK, actually, he did start off by saying, "Good evening." But what if right after he said, "Good evening," he said, I`m here to announce three major developments in the response to the BP oil disaster that continues right now to ravage the beloved gulf coast of the United States of America. I wish I could tell you that the first development is that BP has capped the well, stopped the leak. They haven`t. They can`t. They don`t know how. And no one else does either. Their best hope is a relief well, which poses its own risks and challenges and which, even in a best-case scenario, affords no relief until August. All this, the might of this, the mightiest nation on earth and the combined expertise of the richest, most technologically ambitious corporations the world has ever seen cannot, it turns out, cannot cap an oil well when it breaks 5,000 deep in the ocean. It`s something that mankind does not yet have the technological capability to fix.
And that brings us to the first development in this disaster that I am announcing tonight. Never again will any company, anyone be allowed to drill in a location where they are incapable of dealing with the potential consequences of that drilling. When the benefits of drilling accrue to a private company, but the risks of that drilling accrue to we, the American people, whose waters and shoreline are savaged when things go wrong, I, as fake president, stand on the side of the American people and say to the industry, "From this day forward, if you cannot handle the risk, you no longer will take chances with our fate to reap your rewards." Our nation`s regulatory oversight of the oil industry has been a joke in many ways for decades, from the revolving door of industry apparatchiks taking supposed oversight jobs in the government in which they just rubber stamp the desires of the industry to which they were loyal, to energy industry lobbyists themselves being allowed in secret meetings to write our nation`s policies.
In light of the state of the gulf right now, my fellow Americans, the details of how industry has infiltrated and infected the government that was supposed to be a watchdog, protecting the American public from them, those details are enough to turn your stomach. But no detail tells you more about the corroding power of the industry against the interests of the American people than the simple fact that they have been allowed to drill in American waters without being forced to first prove that that drilling is safe. That will never happen again, as long as I am fake president.
When I announced in March that my administration`s energy policy would include expanded offshore drilling, that policy change was predicated on our acceptance of the oil industry`s assurances, our acceptance of their assurances that they knew how to do that kind of drilling safely. They were lying. It cannot be done safely, not when no technology exists to cap a blowout on the sea floor. Offshore drilling will not be expanded in American waters. The moratorium will be held firm and in place, unless and until this industry conclusively demonstrates major advances in safety. Oil industry jobs are important and I will work with industry to mitigate the impact on American families who survive on oil company paychecks. But in the 21st century and in the name of the 11 oil workers who were killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig blew out, we will not play Russian roulette with workers` lives and we will not play Russian roulette irreversible national environmental disaster for the sake of some short-term income. The second major development I`m announcing tonight, my fellow Americans, concerns another oil industry assurance we can no longer believe. The industry has long assured us that they were capable of handling spilled oil. In BP`s own disaster response plan for the Gulf of Mexico, they claimed they were perfectly capable of containing and cleaning up to 250,000 barrels of oil a day, that no significant of amount of oil spill of even that size would get to shore, would foul beaches, would kill wildlife or destroy wetlands. They were lying when they gave that assurance. And the industry is lying when it says it takes seriously its responsibilities to contain and cleanup disasters that they cause. The same low-tech ineffective equipment and techniques are being used to respond to this oil disaster today that were used in the 1960s and `70s to respond to spills back then. That`s because the industry has not invested in any new containment and cleanup technology in all of these decades, because they haven`t cared too much about it as an issue and it shows. It shows both in the inept technology that we have to deploy, to contain, to clean up a spill like this. And it also shows in the lackadaisical, uncoordinated, unprofessional way this inept technology has been deployed by BP. Beaches have been fouled. Wetlands have been destroyed. Wildlife has been killed that should have been saved. Pensacola Bay in Florida, if properly boomed, should never have been breached by oil. Perdido Pass of Orange Beach, Alabama should never have been breached by oil. Queen Bess Island, the pelican nesting ground and Barataria Bay in Louisiana Barataria Bay itself none of these areas should have been breached by oil even given the sad state of existing technology to stop it. But the fact that those areas were breached is BP`s human error. And tonight, as fake president, I`m announcing a new federal command specifically for containment and cleanup of oil that has already entered the Gulf of Mexico with priority of protecting shoreline that can still be saved, shoreline that is vulnerable to all that has not yet been hit.
I`ve asked the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to assist me in the diplomatic side of this, in soliciting, green lighting and expediting all international offers of help, from experts in booming and skimming all over the world. We will bring in the best experts and the best equipment from anywhere on earth to dramatically increase our efforts to get the oil out of the water and off the coast. Oil industry workers are often trained in booming and skimming. I`m hereby directing BP to fund booming and skimming crash academies for all available oil industry personnel anywhere in the world to radically overhaul what has been a haphazard, halfhearted, totally unacceptable protection effort starting immediately. No expense will be spared and no excuses will be brooked. Even if the oil leak is capped today, the oil in the water will continue to surge towards shore for weeks if not months. As fake president, I will personally issue a public update on cleanup and containment efforts every single day until this disaster is under control. And finally, the third development I have to announce to you tonight in the response to this oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is about how we got here and how that will change.
Every president in the modern era has complained that America must get off oil. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now, I, fake President Obama we have all intoned solemnly that we must get off oil. Now that we have, at the hands of the oil industry, experienced the worst environmental disaster in American history, the time for talk is over. The world is different now. Our country is different now. The scales have fallen from our eyes. People say we`re not ready. They`re right. We`re not ready. We also weren`t ready to fight in World War II before Pearl Harbor happened. But events forced that upon us and events have forced this fight upon us now. I no longer say that we must get off oil like every president before has said, too. I no longer say we must get off oil. We will get of oil and here is how. The United States Senate will pass an energy bill this year. The Senate version of the year will not expand offshore drilling. The earlier targets in that bill for energy efficiency and for renewable energy sources will be doubled or tripled. If senators use the filibuster to stop the bill, we will pass it by reconciliation which still ensures a majority vote. If there are elements of a bill that cannot procedurally be passed by reconciliation, if those elements can be instituted by executive order, I will institute them by executive order.
The political cowardice that has kept politicians from doing right by this country, finally, on energy finally, standing up to the oil industry that cowardice has been drowned in oil on Queen Bess Island. There is a new reality in this country that has been forced on us by this disaster. As president, I pledge to you that the land and sea and livelihood and lives of American people will be put first as with the other thing that is humanly possible to stop this disaster. We will never again let the oil industry put America at this kind of risk. We will save what can still be saved that is directly at risk in the gulf and we will free ourselves as a nation, once and for all, from the grip of this industry that has lied to us as much as it has exploited us, as much as it has befouled us with its toxic affluent.
The oil age, America, is over. If you are with me, let your senator know it. I will next speak to you about the BP oil disaster tomorrow with my first public update and the cleanup effort in the gulf. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. Oh, and one more thing. I`ve also decided I`m not a White Sox fan anymore. I`m a Red Sox fan and I`m closing Guantanamo. Thank you. Bye. So in my mind, last night, that`s what the president said which is why I will never run for anything because I say stuff like "toxic affluent" and I get all weepy when I`m mad. Also, when I`m mad, I get blotchy and nobody likes a blotchy president.


President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 9, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Washington, DC

The other day, I was talking about education with some folks in the backyard of an Albuquerque home, and someone asked a question that’s stayed with me. He asked, if we don’t have homes to go to, what good is an education? It was a heartfelt question, one that could be asked by anyone who’s lost a home or a job in this recession.
Because if you’re out of work or facing foreclosure, all that really matters is a new job. All that really matters is a roof over your head. All that really matters is getting back on your feet. That’s why I’m fighting each and every day to jumpstart job-creation in the private sector; to help our small business owners grow and hire; to rebuild our economy so it lifts up a middle class that’s been battered for so long.
But even as we focus on doing all that; even as we focus on speeding up our economic recovery; we also know that when it comes to jobs, opportunity, and prosperity in the 21st century, nothing is more important than the quality of your education. At a time when most of the new jobs being created will require some kind of higher education; when countries that out-educate us today will outcompete us tomorrow, giving our kids the best education possible is an economic imperative.
That’s why, from the start of my administration, we’ve been fighting to offer every child in this country a world-class education – from the cradle to the classroom, from college through a career. Earlier this week, I announced a new Skills for America’s Future initiative that will help community colleges and employers match what’s taught in the classroom with what’s needed in the private sector, so we can connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking to hire.
We’re eliminating tens of billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies for banks to administer student loans, and using that money to make college more affordable for millions of students. And we’ve launched a Race to the Top in our states to make sure our students, all of them, are graduating from high school ready for college – so we can meet our goal of graduating a higher proportion of students from college than any other country in the world by 2020.
And yet, if Republicans in Congress had their way, we’d have a harder time meeting that goal. We’d have a harder time offering our kids the best education possible. Because they’d have us cut education by 20 percent – cuts that would reduce financial aid for eight million students; cuts that would leave our great and undervalued community colleges without the resources they need to prepare our graduates for the jobs of the future.
Now, it is true that when it comes to our budget, we have real challenges to meet. And if we’re serious about getting our fiscal house in order, we’ll need to make some tough choices. I’m prepared to make those choices. But what I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education. What I’m not prepared to do is undercut their economic future, your economic future, or the economic future of the United States of America.
Nothing would be more detrimental to our prospects for success than cutting back on education. It would consign America to second place in our fiercely competitive global economy. But China and India aren’t playing for second. South Korea and Germany aren’t playing for second. They’re playing for first – and so should America.
Instead of being shortsighted and shortchanging our kids, we should be doubling down on them. We should be giving every child in America a chance to make the most of their lives; to fulfill their God-given potential. We should be fighting to lead the global economy in this century, just like we did in the last. And that’s what I’ll continue fighting to do in the months and years ahead. Thanks, everybody, and have a nice weekend.