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President Barack Obama

Transportation Nation

Obama Hits Congress on Transpo Bill

Monday, April 30, 2012

President Obama speaking at an auto plant earlier this year. (photo: BarackObama.com)

President Barack Obama is getting pointed on the transportation bill.

Speaking at the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department Conference today, Obama whacked the Republican-led House of Representatives for "refusing to pass a bipartisan bill that could guarantee work for millions of construction workers.  Already passed the Senate.  Ready to go, ready to put folks back to work.  Used to be the most -- the easiest bill to pass in Washington used to be getting roads and bridges built, because it’s not like only Democrats are allowed to use these things.  Everybody is permitted.  (Laughter.)  Everybody needs them.  (Applause.)

"So this makes no sense.  Congress needs to do the right thing.  Pass this bill right away.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  Not everything should be subject to thinking about the next election instead of thinking about the next generation."

While Obama spent a good deal of time this fall criticizing Congress for failing to pass a jobs bill, these are some of his most pointed remarks to date on the transportation bill, and they drew boos (for the Republicans) from the union crowd.

"As a share of the economy, Europe invests more than twice what we do in infrastructure; China about four times as much," the President said. "Are we going to sit back and let other countries build the newest airports and the fastest railroads and the most modern schools?"

The President left the stage to thunderous applause, so we may be hearing more of this.

Here's the full transcript:

THE PRESIDENT:  Hey!  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.

 

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Everybody, please have a seat.  (Applause.)  Thank you, guys.  Everybody, take a seat.  Well, thank you, Sean, for that outstanding introduction. 

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Four more years!  Four more years! 

 

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  I'll take it.  Thank you.  Thank you.

 

Well, it is good to be back among friends.  The last time I was here we -- was Saturday night.  (Laughter.)  And they tell me I did okay.  But I want to not only thank Sean for his extraordinary leadership; I want to acknowledge all the other presidents who are on stage for what they do each and every day on behalf of not just their members, but on behalf of all working people.  I'm proud of that.  (Applause.) 

 

I want to thank my good friend, Tim Kaine, who is here and is a friend of labor -- (applause) -- the next United States senator from the great Commonwealth of Virginia. 

 

And obviously, we come here at a time where -- I just want to repeat my condolences to everybody in the building and construction trades on the passing of Mark Ayers.  Mark was a tremendous leader.  He was a good friend.  His commitment to the labor movement and to working people will leave a mark for years to come.  And my thoughts and prayers are with his family.  But I know that Sean is going to do an outstanding job, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.  So congratulations.  (Applause.)

 

So it's good to be back in front of all of you.  It's always an honor to be with folks who get up every day and work real jobs -- (laughter) -- and every day fight for America's workers.  You represent the latest in a long, proud line of men and women who built this country from the bottom up.  That's who you are.  (Applause.)  It was workers like you who led us westward.  It was workers like you who pushed us skyward.  It was your predecessors who put down the hard hats and helped us defeat fascism.  And when that was done, you kept on building --highways that we drive on, and the houses we live in, and the schools where our children learn.  And you established the foundation of what it means to be a proud American.

 

And along the way, unions like yours made sure that everybody had a fair shake, everybody had a fair shot.  You helped build the greatest middle class that we've ever seen.  You believed that prosperity shouldn’t be reserved just for a privileged few; it should extend all the way from the boardroom all the way down to the factory floor.  That's what you believe.  (Applause.)

 

Time and again, you stood up for the idea that hard work should pay off; responsibility should be rewarded.  When folks do the right thing, they should be able to make it here in America.  And because you did, America became home of the greatest middle class the world has ever known.  You helped make that possible -- not just through your organizing but how you lived; looking after your families, looking out for your communities.  You’re what America is about.

 

And so sometimes when I listen to the political debates, it seems as if people have forgotten American progress has always been driven by American workers.  And that’s especially important to remember today. 

 

The last decade has been tough on everybody.  But the men and women of the building and construction trades have suffered more than most.  Since the housing bubble burst, millions of your brothers and sisters have had to look for work.  Even more have had to struggle to keep the work coming in.  And that makes absolutely no sense at a time when there is so much work to be done.

 

I don’t have to tell you we’ve got bridges and roads all over this country in desperate need of repair.  Our highways are clogged with traffic.  Our railroads are no longer the fastest in the world.  Our skies are congested, our airports are the busiest on the planet.  All of this costs families and businesses billions of dollars a year.  That drags down our entire economy.

 

And the worst part of it is that we could be doing something about it.  I think about what my grandparents’ generation built:  the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Interstate Highway System.  That's what we do.  We build.  There was a time where we would never accept the notion that some other country has better roads than us, and some other country has better airports than us.  I don't know about you, but I’m chauvinistic.  I want America to have the best stuff.  I want us to be doing the building, not somebody else.  (Applause.)  We should be having -- (applause) -- people should be visiting us from all over the world.  They should be visiting us from all over the world and marveling at what at what we’ve done. 

 

That kind of unbridled, can-do spirit -- that’s what made America an economic superpower.  And now, it’s up to us to continue that tradition, to give our businesses access to the best roads and airports and high-speed rail and Internet networks.  It’s up to us to make sure our kids are learning in state-of-the-art schools.  It’s our turn to do big things.  It is our turn to do big things.

 

     But here’s the thing -- as a share of the economy, Europe invests more than twice what we do in infrastructure; China about four times as much.  Are we going to sit back and let other countries build the newest airports and the fastest railroads and the most modern schools, at a time when we’ve got private construction companies all over the world -- or all over the country -- and millions of workers who are ready and willing to do that work right here in the United States of America?

 

American workers built this country, and now we need American workers to rebuild this country.  That’s what we need.  (Applause.)  It is time we take some of the money that we spend on wars, use half of it to pay down our debt, and then use the rest of it to do some nation-building right here at home.  (Applause.)  There is work to be done.  There are workers ready to do it, and you guys can help lead the way.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We can do it!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  We can do it.  We’ve done it before.  And the truth is, the only way we can do it on a scale that’s needed is with some bold action from Congress.  They’re the ones with the purse strings.  That’s why, over the last year, I’ve sent Congress a whole series of jobs bills to put people to work, to put your members back to work.  (Applause.)  Again and again, I’ve said now is the time do this; interest rates are low, construction workers are out of work.  Contractors are begging for work, and the work needs to be done.  Let’s do it.  And time after time, the Republicans have gotten together and they’ve said no. 

 

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

 

THE PRESIDENT:  I sent them a jobs bill that would have put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work repairing our roads, our bridges, schools, transit systems, along with saving the jobs of cops and teachers and firefighters, creating a new tax cut for businesses.  They said no. 

 

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

 

THE PRESIDENT:  I went to the Speaker’s hometown, stood under a bridge that was crumbling.  Everybody acknowledges it needs to be rebuilt.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Let him drive on it! (Laughter.)

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Maybe he doesn’t drive anymore.  (Laughter.)  Maybe he doesn’t notice how messed up it was.  (Laughter.)  They still said no. 

 

There are bridges between Kentucky and Ohio where some of the key Republican leadership come from, where folks are having to do detours an extra hour, hour and a half drive every day on their commute because these bridges don’t work.  They still said no.  So then I said, well, maybe they couldn’t handle the whole bill in one big piece.  Let’s break it up.  Maybe it’s just too much for them.

 

So I sent them just the part of the bill that would have created these construction jobs.  They said no.

 

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

 

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re seeing it again right now.  As we speak, the House Republicans are refusing to pass a bipartisan bill that could guarantee work for millions of construction workers.  Already passed the Senate.  Ready to go, ready to put folks back to work.  Used to be the most -- the easiest bill to pass in Washington used to be getting roads and bridges built, because it’s not like only Democrats are allowed to use these things.  Everybody is permitted.  (Laughter.)  Everybody needs them.  (Applause.) 

 

So this makes no sense.  Congress needs to do the right thing.  Pass this bill right away.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  Not everything should be subject to thinking about the next election instead of thinking about the next generation.  (Applause.)  Not everything should be subject to politics instead of thinking about all those families out there and all your membership that need work -- that don’t just support their own families, but support entire communities.

 

So we’re still waiting for Congress.  But we can’t afford to just wait for Congress.  You can’t afford to wait.  So where Congress won’t act, I will.  That’s why I’ve taken steps on my own.  (Applause.)  That's why I’ve taken steps on my own and speeded up loans and speeded up competitive grants for projects across the country that will support thousands of jobs.  That’s why we’re cutting through the red tape and launching a lot of existing projects faster and more efficiently.

 

Because the truth is, government can be smarter.  A whole bunch of projects at the state level sometimes are ready to go, but they get tangled up in all kinds of bureaucracy and red tape.  So what we’ve said is if there’s red tape that's stopping a project and stopping folks from getting to work right now, let’s put that aside.  

 

Because the point is, infrastructure shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  Investments in better roads and safer bridges -- these have never been made by just one party or another because they benefit all of us.  They lead to a strong, durable economy.  Ronald Reagan once said that rebuilding our infrastructure is “common sense” -- “an investment in tomorrow that we need to make today.”  Ronald Reagan said that, that great socialist -- Ronald Reagan.  (Laughter.)  Couldn’t get through a Republican primary these days. 

 

The folks up on Capitol Hill right now, they seem to have exactly the opposite view.  They voted to cut spending on transportation infrastructure by almost 30 percent.  That means instead of putting more construction workers back on the job, they want to lay more off.  Instead of breaking ground on new projects, they want to let existing projects grind to a halt.  Instead of making the investments we need to get ahead, they’re willing to let us all fall further behind.

 

Now, when you ask them, well, why are you doing this -- other than the fact that I’m proposing it?  (Laughter.)  They’ll say it’s because we need to pay down our deficit.  And you know what, the deficit is a real problem.  All of us recognize in our own lives and our own families, we try to live within our means.  So we got to deal with the debt and we got to deal with the deficit.

 

And their argument might actually fly if they didn’t just vote to spend $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates -– that’s with a T, trillion -– on top of the $1 trillion they’d spend on tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year.  So they're willing to spend over $5 trillion to give tax breaks to folks like me who don't need them and weren’t even asking for them at a time when this country needs to be rebuilt.  That gives you a sense of their priorities.

 

Think about that.  Republicans in Congress would rather put fewer of you to work rebuilding America than ask millionaires and billionaires to live without massive new tax cuts on top of the ones they’ve already gotten.

 

Now, what do you think would make the economy stronger?  Giving another tax break to every millionaire and billionaire in the country?  Or rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our broadband networks that will help our businesses sell goods all around the world?  It’s pretty clear.  This choice is not a hard one.  (Applause.)

 

Of course, we need to bring down our deficits in the long term.  But if we’re smart about it, we also will be making and can afford to make the investments that will help our country and the American people in the short term.  Not only will it put people back to work, but if the economy is growing -- look, every time one of your members is on a job, that means they’ve got more money in their pockets.  That means that they’re going to the restaurant, and that restaurant owner suddenly is doing a little bit better.  They’re going to Home Depot to buy some stuff, and suddenly Home Depot is doing a little bit better. 

 

This is a no-brainer.  And, by the way, when everybody is doing better and the economy is growing, lo and behold, that actually helps to bring down the deficit, helps us pay off our debt.  Previous generations understood this.  Apparently, right now, Republicans disagree. 

 

And what makes it worse -- it would be bad enough if they just had these set of bad ideas, but they’ve also set their sights on dismantling unions like yours.  I mean, if you ask them, what’s their big economic plan in addition to tax cuts for rich folks, it’s dismantling your unions.  After all you’ve done to build and protect the middle class, they make the argument you’re responsible for the problems facing the middle class.  Somehow, that makes sense to them.

 

That’s not what I believe.  I believe our economy is stronger when workers are getting paid good wages and good benefits.  That’s what I believe.  (Applause.)  That’s what I believe.  I believe the economy is stronger when collective bargaining rights are protected.  I believe all of us are better off when we’ve got broad-based prosperity that grows outwards from a strong middle class.  I believe when folks try and take collective bargaining rights away by passing so-called “right to work” laws that might also be called “right to work for less,” laws -- (applause) -- that’s not about economics, that’s about politics.  That’s about politics.

 

That’s why we’ve reversed harmful decisions designed to undermine those rights.  That’s why we passed the Fair Pay Act to help stop pay discrimination.  That’s why we’ve supported Davis-Bacon.  That’s why we reversed the ban on Project Labor Agreements, because we believe in those things as part of a strategy to rebuild America.  (Applause.)  

 

And as long as I’m your President, I’m going to keep it up.  (Applause.)  I am going to keep it up -- because the right to organize and negotiate fair pay for hard work, that’s the right of every American, from the CEO in the corner office all the way to the worker who built that office.

 

And every day, you’re hearing from the other side whether it’s the idea that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than investing for our future, or the notion we should pursue anti-worker policies in the hopes that somehow unions are going to crumble.  It’s all part of that same old philosophy -- tired, worn-out philosophy that says if you’ve already made it, we’ll protect you; if you haven’t made it yet, well, tough luck, you’re on your own.

 

That misreads America.  That's not what America is about.  The American story has never been about what we can do on our own.  It’s about what we do together.  In the construction industry, nobody gets very far by themselves.  I'm the first to admit -- I’ve got to be careful here because I just barely can hammer a -- (laughter) -- nail into the wall, and my wife is not impressed with my skills when it comes to fixing up the house.  (Laughter.)  Right now, fortunately, I'm in a rental, so -- (laughter) -- I don't end up having to do a lot of work.  (Laughter and applause.) 

 

But here is what I know about the trades:  If you’ve got folks who aren't pulling together, doing their own thing, things don’t work.  But if you've got enough people with the same goal, pulling in the same direction, looking at the same game plan, you can build something that will stand long after you're gone.  That's how a Hoover Dam or a Golden Gate Bridge or a Empire State Building gets built -- folks working together.  We can do more together than we can do on our own.

 

That's why unions were built -- understood workers on their own wouldn't have the same ability to look after themselves and their families as they could together.  And what’s true for you is true for America.  We can’t settle for a country where just a few people do really well and everybody else struggles to get by.  We've got to build an economy where everybody has got a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules.  We can’t just cut our way to prosperity.  We need to fight for an economy that helps everybody -– one built on things like American education, and American energy, and American manufacturing, and a kind of world-class infrastructure that makes it all possible.

 

Now, these have been some tough years we've been in.  I know a lot of your membership can get discouraged, and they can feel like nobody is looking out for them, and they can get frustrated and they -- sure, it's easy to give up on Washington.  I know that.  But we've been through tougher times before.  Your unions have been through tougher times before.  And we’ve always been able to overcome it, because we don't quit. 

 

I know we can get there, because here in America we don't give up.  We’ve been through tougher times before, and we’ve made it through because we didn't quit, and we didn't throw in the towel.  We rolled up our sleeves.  We fired up our engines, and we remembered a fundamental truth about our country:  Here in America, we rise or fall together as one nation, as one people.

 

     It doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, what your last name is.  It doesn't matter whether your folks came from Poland, or came from Italy or came from Mexico.  One people -- strong, united, firing all cylinders.  That's the America I know.  That's the America I believe in.  That's the America we can rebuild together.  (Applause.)

 

     So if you’re willing to join us in this project of rebuilding America, I want you to know -- when I was running for this office, I told people I’m not perfect.  I’m not a perfect man.  Michelle can tell you that.  (Laughter.)  I’m not a perfect President.  But I made a promise I’d always tell you where I stood.  I’d always tell you what I thought, what I believed in, and most importantly I would wake up every single day working as hard as I know how to make your lives a little bit better.

 

     And for all that we’ve gone through over the last three and a half, four years, I have kept that promise.  I have kept that promise.  (Applause.)  And I’m still thinking about you.  I’m still thinking about you, and I still believe in you.  And if you join me, we’ll remind the world just why it is that America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

 

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

 

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Transportation Nation

President Obama: Fuel Efficient Trucks Save $15K a Year

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

President Obama at Daimler Trucks in Mt. Holly, North Carolina (photo: John Adkisson/Getty Images News)

Continuing to push his energy agenda in the key swing state of North Carolina, President Obama Wednesday said more fuel efficient trucks will be able to save $15,000 a year -- and reduce oil consumption by more than 12 billion barrels.

Tell congress "we’re tired of hearing phony election-year promises that never come about," the President told a rowdy crowd. " What we need is a serious, sustained, all-of-the-above strategy for American-made energy, American-made efficiency, American innovation, American fuel-efficient trucks, American fuel-efficient cars.  We may not get there in one term --" President Obama said, before being interrupted with chants of  "Four more years!" -- "It's going to take us a whole to wean ourselves off the old and grab the new.  But we're going to meet this challenge because we are Americans!"

Here's the full transcript:

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

ON ENERGY

Daimler Truck Manufacturing Plant

Mount Holly, North Carolina

12:50 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, North Carolina! (Applause.) Hello, Mount Holly! (Applause.) Thank you, Juan, for that introduction. I did not know he was a preacher. (Laughter.) He must be at least a deacon. (Laughter.) I was hearing -- "Welll" -- (Laughter.) He was starting to get the spirit up here. I'm going to take Juan on the road to introduce me everywhere. (Laughter.) Can I hear an "amen"?

AUDIENCE: Amen!

THE PRESIDENT: Amen.

I want to thank Mark Hernandez, Ricky McDowell -- (applause) -- and Martin Daum for hosting us and being such great tour guides. Thank you so much, everybody. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

We've got a few outstanding North Carolinians in the house. You've got your Governor, Bev Perdue, is here. (Applause.) Your mayors, Bryan Hough and Anthony Foxx are here. (Applause.) Two outstanding Congressmen, Mel Watt and Heath Shuler are here. (Applause.) Thank you all for being here.

It is good to be in North Carolina. Anthony Foxx pointed out that I decided to wear a tie that could be a Tar Heel -- (applause) -- but it's got a little Duke color in there, too.

AUDIENCE: Booo --

THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t want to get in trouble with anybody, so I was hedging my bets. (Laughter.)

I always tell people I am one of the best advertisers for North Carolina. I love this state. (Applause.) Love this state. Everybody here is so nice, so welcoming. Even the folks who don't vote for me, they're nice to me. They usually wave five fingers. (Laughter.) So it's just a great pleasure.

And I just had a chance to see some of the folks who are doing the work here today. I couldn't be more impressed. Some people have been here -- like Juan -- 32 years, 25 years. Some folks have been here for four months, or six months, have just gotten hired. But everybody had such pride in their work.

And the Freighterline trucks that you’re making here at this plant run on natural gas, and that makes them quieter, it makes them better for the environment, it makes them cheaper to fill up than they would be with diesel. I hear you sold your 1,000th natural gas truck last November -– (applause) -- the first company to reach that milestone. And it was made right here in Mount Holly. (Applause.) And last year, this plant added more than 1,000 workers, hiring back a lot of folks who were laid off during the recession. (Applause.) That is something to be proud of.

Now, here at Daimler, you're not just building trucks. You're building better trucks.

AUDIENCE: That’s right.

THE PRESIDENT: You're building trucks that use less oil. And you know that’s especially important right now because most of you have probably filled up your gas tank a time or two in the last week, and you've seen how quickly the price of gas is going up. A lot of you may have to drive a distance to work. Higher gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.

And for companies that operate a whole fleet of trucks, the higher costs can make a big difference in terms of the profitability of the company.

Now, here's the thing, though -- this is not the first time we've seen gas prices spike. It's been happening for years. Every year, about this time, gas starts spiking up, and everybody starts wondering, how high is it going to go? And every year, politicians start talking when gas prices go up. They get out on the campaign trail -- and you and I both know there are no quick fixes to this problem -- but listening to them, you'd think there were.

As a country that has 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, but uses 20 percent of the world's oil -- I'm going to repeat that -- we've got 2 percent of the world oil reserves; we use 20 percent. What that means is, as much as we're doing to increase oil production, we're not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices. Anybody who tells you otherwise either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or they aren’t telling you the truth.

Here is the truth. If we are going to control our energy future, then we’ve got to have an all-of-the-above strategy. We’ve got to develop every source of American energy -- not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels. We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories. That’s the only solution to the challenge. Because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down. It's pretty straightforward. That’s the only solution to this challenge.

And that’s the strategy that we’ve now been pursuing for the last three years. And I’m proud to say we’ve made progress.

Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year. In fact, in 2010, it went under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.

You wouldn’t know it from listening to some of these folks out here -- (laughter) -- some of these folks -- (laughter) -- but a key part of our energy strategy has been to increase safe, responsible oil production here at home. Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than any time in the last eight years. Under my administration, we’ve quadrupled the number of operating oilrigs to a record high. We’ve got more oilrigs operating now than we’ve ever seen. We’ve opened up millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration. We’ve approved more than 400 drilling permits that follow new safety standards after we had that mess down in the Gulf.

We’re approving dozens of new pipelines. We just announced that we’ll do whatever we can to speed up construction of a pipeline in Oklahoma that’s going to relieve a bottleneck and get more oil to the Gulf -- to the refineries down there -- and that’s going to help create jobs, encourage more production.

So these are the facts on oil production. If somebody tells you we’re not producing enough oil, they just don’t know the facts.

But how much oil we produce here at home, because we only have 2 percent and we use 20, that’s not going to set the price of gas worldwide, or here in the United States. Oil is bought and sold on the world market. And the biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to rise right now is instability in the Middle East. You guys have been hearing about what’s happening with Iran; there are other oil producers that are having problems. And so people have gotten uncertain. And when uncertainty increases, then sometimes you see speculation on Wall Street that drives up gas prices even more.

But here's the thing. Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will go up is there's just growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil. There are a lot of people there. In 2010 alone, China added nearly 10 million cars on its roads. Think about that -- 2010, 10 million new cars. People in China, folks in India, folks in Brazil -- they're going to want cars, too, as their standard of living goes up, and that means more demand for oil, and that's going to kick up the price of oil worldwide. Those numbers are only going to get bigger over time.

So what does that mean for us? It means we can't just keep on relying on the old ways of doing business. We can't just rely on fossil fuels from the last century. We've got to continually develop new sources of energy.

And that’s why we've made investments that have nearly doubled the use of clean, renewable energies in this country. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it. It also means we’ve got to develop the resources that we have that are untapped, like natural gas. We're developing a near hundred-year supply of natural gas -– and that's something that we expect could support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.

And that’s why we've worked with the private sector to develop a high-tech car battery that costs half as much as other batteries and can go up to 300 miles on a single charge. Think about that. That will save you some money at the pump. And that is why we are helping companies like this one right here and plants like this one right here to make more cars and trucks that use less oil.

When I ran for office, I went to Detroit and I gave a speech to automakers where I promised that I was going to raise fuel standards on our cars, so that they’d go further on a gallon of gas. I said we should do the same thing on trucks. I have to tell you, when I said it, I didn't get a lot of applause in the room, because there was a time when automakers were resisting higher fuel standards -- because change isn't easy. But you know what, after three decades of not doing anything, we got together with the oil companies, we got together with the unions, we got together with folks who usually do not see eye to eye, and we negotiated new fuel economy standards that are going to make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade. That's nearly double what they get today -- nearly double. (Applause.)

Now, because of these new standards for cars and trucks, they're going to -- all going to be able to go further and use less fuel every year. And that means pretty soon you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We like that.

THE PRESIDENT: You like that, don't you?

AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Eight thousand dollars -- that's no joke. We can reduce our oil consumption by more than 12 billion barrels. And thanks to the SuperTruck program that we’ve started with companies like this one, trucks will be able to save more than $15,000 in fuel costs every year. Think about that, $15,000.

It looks like somebody might have fainted up here. Have we got some of the EMS, somebody. Don’t worry about -- folks do this all the time in my meetings. (Laughter.) You’ve always got to eat before you stand for a long time. That’s a little tip. But they'll be okay. Just make sure that -- give them a little room. All right, everybody all right? Okay.

So these trucks can save $15,000 every year. I want people to think about what that means for businesses, what it means for consumers. It is real progress. And it's happening because of American workers and American know-how. It's happening because of you. It's happening because of you.

We’re also making it easier for big companies -- some of your customers, like UPS and FedEx -- to make the shift to fuel-efficient cars and trucks. We call it the National Clean Fleets Partnership. And since we announced it last year, the number of companies that are taking part in it has tripled. And that means more customers for your trucks. (Applause.) We're creating more customers for your trucks.

And I am proud to say that the federal government is leading by example. One thing the federal government has a lot of is cars and trucks. We got a lot of cars and we got a lot of trucks. And so what I did was I directed every department, every agency in the federal government, to make sure that by 2015, 100 percent of the vehicles we buy run on alternative fuels -- 100 percent. (Applause.)

So we’re one of the biggest customers in the world for cars and trucks and we want to set that bar high. We want to set a standard that says by 2015, 100 percent of cars, alternative fuels.

So we’re making progress, Mount Holly. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much natural gas, or flex-fuel or electric vehicles you have if there’s no place to charge them up or fill them up. So that’s why I’m announcing today a program that will put our communities on the cutting edge of what clean energy can do.

To cities and towns all across the country, what we’re going to say is, if you make a commitment to buy more advanced vehicles for your community -- whether they run on electricity or biofuels or natural gas -- we’ll help you cut through the red tape and build fueling stations nearby. (Applause.) And we’ll offer tax breaks to families that buy these cars, companies that buy alternative fuel trucks like the ones that are made right here at Mount Holly. (Applause.) So we’re going to give communities across the country more of an incentive to make the shift to more energy-efficient cars.

In fact, when I was up in New Hampshire, in Nashua, they had already converted all their dump trucks -- they were in a process because of this program -- they were converting it to natural gas-driven trucks.

This is something that we did in education -- we called it Race to the Top. We said we’ll put in more money but we want you to reform. We’re going to give you an incentive to do things in a different way. And if we do the same thing with clean energy, we can save consumers money and we can make sure the economy is more secure. So we’ve got to keep investing in American-made energy and we’ve got to keep investing in the vehicles that run on it. That’s where our future is.

And in order to continue this progress, we’re going to have to make a choice. We’ve got to decide where our priorities are as a country. And that’s up to all of you. And I’ll give you an example. Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars goes straight to the oil industry every year -- $4 billion in subsidies that other companies don’t get. Now, keep in mind, these are some of the same companies that are making record profits every time you fill up your gas tank. We’re giving them extra billions of dollars on top of near-record profits that they’re already making. Anybody think that’s a good idea?

AUDIENCE No!

THE PRESIDENT: Me, neither. (Laughter.) It doesn’t make any sense. The American people have subsidized the oil industry long enough -- they don’t need the subsidies. It’s time to end that taxpayer giveaway to an industry that's never been more profitable, invest in clean energy that's never been more promising. (Applause.)

So I called on Congress, eliminate these subsidies right away. There’s no excuse to wait any longer.

AUDIENCE: That's right!

THE PRESIDENT: And we should put every member of Congress on record: They can stand up for the oil companies or they can stand up for the American people and this new energy future. (Applause.) We can place our bets on the fuel of the past, or we can place our bets on American know-how and American ingenuity and American workers like the ones here at Daimler. (Applause.) That’s the choice we face. That’s what’s at stake right now.

So, in between shifts, get on the phone or email or send a letter or tweet -- (laughter) -- your member of Congress; ask them where they stand on this -- because it will make a difference. And you’ll know where I stand on this. Let’s make sure our voices are heard. The next time you hear some politician trotting out some 3-point plan for $2 gas -- (laughter) -- you let them know, we know better.

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: Tell them we’re tired of hearing phony election-year promises that never come about. What we need is a serious, sustained, all-of-the-above strategy for American-made energy, American-made efficiency, American innovation, American fuel-efficient trucks, American fuel-efficient cars. We may not get there in one term --

AUDIENCE: Four more years! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: It's going to take us a while to wean ourselves off of the old and grab the new. But we're going to meet this challenge because we are Americans. Our destiny is not written for us; it is written by us. We decide what that next chapter is going to be.

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: And I'm confident, working with folks like you, the outstanding working people of Mount Holly, of this plant, of North Carolina, of states all across the country, we can pull together, and remind everybody around the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

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Transportation Nation

As GOP Struggles in Michigan, Obama Chortles -- Says Fuel Efficient Cars Will Save $8000

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

President Obama (White House photo)

President Barack Obama all but danced on his opponents graves today, choosing the day the GOP battles it out in Michigan to address American autoworkers.  Those opponents -- both of whom opposed the auto bailout -- haven't made things better for themselves by citing the number cars they own (Romney--four, including two Cadillacs), his friends among Nascar owners (Romney) and how gas prices caused the recession (Santorum)

President Obama was particularly gleeful about all the money his new mileage standards will save -- $8000 "over time," he says.

After three decades of inaction, we’re gradually putting in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickups.  That means the cars you build will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade -- almost double what they get today.  (Applause.)  That means folks, every time they fill up, they're going to be saving money.  They'll have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  That saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time. That means we’ll cut our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That means we have to import less oil while we're selling more cars all around the world.

Here's the full transcript.

THE PRESIDENT:  How's it going, UAW?  (Applause.)  It is good to be with some autoworkers today!  (Applause.)  All right. Everybody have a seat, get comfortable.  Go ahead and get comfortable.  I'm going to talk for a little bit.  (Applause.) 

First of all, I want to say thank you to one of the finest leaders that we have in labor -- Bob King.  Give it up for Bob.  (Applause.)  I want to thank the International Executive Board and all of you for having me here today.  It is a great honor.  I brought along somebody who is proving to be one of the finest Secretaries of Transportation in our history -- Ray LaHood is in the house.  Give Ray a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  

 

It is always an honor to spend time with folks who represent the working men and women of America.  (Applause.)  It’s unions like yours that fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers.  It’s unions like yours that helped build the arsenal of democracy that defeated fascism and won World War II.  It's unions like yours that forged the American middle class -- that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known.

 

So you guys helped to write the American story.  And today, you’re busy writing a proud new chapter.  You are reminding us that no matter how tough times get, Americans are tougher.  (Applause.)  No matter how many punches we take, we don’t give up.  We get up.  We fight back.  We move forward.  We come out the other side stronger than before.  That's what you've shown us.  (Applause.)  You're showing us what’s possible in America.  So I’m here to tell you one thing today:  You make me proud.  (Applause.)  You make me proud.

 

Take a minute and think about what you and the workers and the families that you represent have fought through.  A few years ago, nearly one in five autoworkers were handed a pink slip -- one in five.  Four hundred thousand jobs across this industry vanished the year before I took office.  And then as the financial crisis hit with its full force, America faced a hard and once unimaginable reality, that two of the Big 3 automakers  -- GM and Chrysler -- were on the brink of liquidation.

 

     The heartbeat of American manufacturing was flat-lining and we had to make a choice.  With the economy in complete free fall there were no private investors or companies out there willing to take a chance on the auto industry.  Nobody was lining up to give you guys loans.  Anyone in the financial sector can tell you that.

 

     So we could have kept giving billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to automakers without demanding the real changes or accountability in return that were needed -- that was one option. But that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long term.  Sooner or later we would have run out of money.  We could have just kicked the problem down the road.  The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these companies fail.  And you will recall there were some politicians who said we should do that.

 

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Some even said we should "let Detroit go bankrupt."

 

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

 

THE PRESIDENT:  You remember that?  (Applause.)  You know.  (Laughter.)  Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under.  The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.  Then even Ford could have gone down as well.  Production shut down.  Factories shuttered.  Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps.  And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

 

     More than one million Americans across the country would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  In communities across the Midwest, it would have been another Great Depression.  And then think about all the people who depend on you.  Not just your families, but the schoolteachers, the small business owners, the server in the diner who knows your order, the bartender who’s waiting for you to get off.  (Laughter.)  That’s right.  (Applause.)  Their livelihoods were at stake as well. 

 

And you know what was else at stake?  How many of you who’ve worked the assembly line had a father or a grandfather or a mother who worked on that same line?  (Applause.)  How many of you have sons and daughters who said, you know, Mom, Dad, I'd like to work at the plant, too?  (Applause.) 

 

These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck.  They’re a source of pride.  They’re a ticket to a middle-class life that make it possible for you to own a home and raise kids and maybe send them -- yes -- to college.  (Applause.)  Give you a chance to retire with some dignity and some respect.  These companies are worth more than just the cars they build.  They’re a symbol of American innovation and know-how.  They're the source of our manufacturing might.  If that’s not worth fighting for, what's worth fighting for?  (Applause.)

 

So, no, we were not going to take a knee and do nothing.  We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.  So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We said to the auto industry, you're going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you're changing.  And thanks to outstanding leadership like Bob King, we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences.  (Applause.) 

 

We got the industry to retool and restructure, and everybody involved made sacrifices.  Everybody had some skin in the game.  And it wasn’t popular.  And it wasn’t what I ran for President to do.  That wasn’t originally what I thought I was going to be doing as President.  (Laughter.)  But you know what, I did run to make the tough calls and do the right things -- no matter what the politics were.  (Applause.)

 

And I want you to know, you know why I knew this rescue would succeed? 

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  How did you do it?  (Laughter.) 

 

THE PRESIDENT:  You want to know?  It wasn’t because of anything the government did.  It wasn’t just because of anything management did.  It was because I believed in you.  I placed my bet on the American worker.  (Applause.)  And I’ll make that bet any day of the week.  (Applause.) 

 

And now, three years later -- three years later, that bet is paying off -- not just paying off for you, it’s paying off for America.  Three years later, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.)  GM is back on top as the number-one automaker in the world  -- (applause) -- highest profits in its 100-year history. Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company. (Applause.)  Ford is investing billions in American plants, American factories -- plans to bring thousands of jobs back to America.  (Applause.) 

 

All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years -- 200,000 new jobs. And here’s the best part -- you’re not just building cars again; you’re building better cars.  (Applause.) 

 

After three decades of inaction, we’re gradually putting in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickups.  That means the cars you build will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade -- almost double what they get today.  (Applause.)  That means folks, every time they fill up, they're going to be saving money.  They'll have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  That saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time. That means we’ll cut our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That means we have to import less oil while we're selling more cars all around the world.  (Applause.) 

 

Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement I signed into law  -- with you in mind, working with you -- there will soon be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago.  (Applause.) 

 

And today -- I talked about this at the State of the Union, we are doing it today -- I am creating a Trade Enforcement Unit that will bring the full resources of the federal government to bear on investigations, and we're going to counter any unfair trading practices around the world, including by countries like China.  (Applause.)  America has the best workers in the world.  When the playing field is level, nobody will beat us.  And we're going to make sure that playing field is level.  (Applause.)

 

Because America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built -- not in Europe, not in Asia -- right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

 

I’ve seen it myself.  I’ve seen it myself.  I've seen it at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit, where a new shift of more than 1,000 workers came on two years ago, another 1,000 slated to come on next year.  I’ve seen it in my hometown at Ford’s Chicago Assembly -- (applause) -- where workers are building a new Explorer and selling it to dozens of countries around the world. 

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I'm buying one, too.

 

THE PRESIDENT:  There you go.  (Laughter.) 

 

I’ve seen it at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio -- (applause)  -- where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit -- (applause) -- where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line -- even though Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it.  (Laughter.) But I liked sitting in it.  (Laughter.)  It was nice.  I'll bet it drives real good.  (Laughter.)  And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself.  (Applause.)  Yes, that's right.

 

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  I know our bet was a good one because I had seen it pay off firsthand.  But here’s the thing.  You don't have to take my word for it.  Ask the Chrysler workers near Kokomo -- (applause) -- who were brought on to make sure the newest high-tech transmissions and fuel-efficient engines are made in America.  Or ask the GM workers in Spring Hill, Tennessee, whose jobs were saved from being sent abroad.  (Applause.)  Ask the Ford workers in Kansas City coming on to make the F-150 -- America’s best-selling truck, a more fuel-efficient truck.  (Applause.)  And you ask all the suppliers who are expanding and hiring, and the communities that rely on them, if America’s investment in you was a good bet.  They’ll tell you the right answer.  

 

And who knows, maybe the naysayers would finally come around and say that standing by America's workers was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  Because, I've got to admit, it's been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you're back on your feet.  (Applause.)  The same folks who said, if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."  Now they're saying, we were right all along.  (Laughter.) 

 

Or you've got folks saying, well, the real problem is -- what we really disagreed with was the workers, they all made out like bandits -- that saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions.  Really?  (Laughter.)  I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you know what.  (Laughter.) 

 

About 700,000 retirees had to make sacrifices on their health care benefits that they had earned.  A lot of you saw hours reduced, or pay or wages scaled back.  You gave up some of your rights as workers.  Promises were made to you over the years that you gave up for the sake and survival of this industry -- its workers, their families.  You want to talk about sacrifice?  You made sacrifices.  (Applause.)  This wasn't an easy thing to do. 

 

Let me tell you, I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time.  You want to talk about values?  Hard work -- that’s a value.  (Applause.)  Looking out for one another -- that’s a value.  The idea that we're all in it together, and I'm my brother's keeper and sister's keeper -- that’s a value.  (Applause.) 

 

They're out there talking about you like you're some special interest that needs to be beaten down.  Since when are hardworking men and women who are putting in a hard day's work every day -- since when are they special interests?  Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing? 

 

I remember my old friend, Ted Kennedy -- he used to say, what is it about working men and women they find so offensive?  (Laughter.)  This notion that we should have let the auto industry die, that we should pursue anti-worker policies in the hopes that unions like yours will buckle and unravel -– that’s part of that same old "you are on your own" philosophy that says we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves; let the most powerful do whatever they please.  They think the best way to boost the economy is to roll back the reforms we put into place to prevent another crisis, to let Wall Street write the rules again. 

 

They think the best way to help families afford health care is to roll back the reforms we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans.  (Applause.)  They want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased. They think we should keep cutting taxes for those at the very top, for people like me, even though we don’t need it, just so they can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries. 

 

Well, let me tell you something.  Not to put too fine a point on it -- they’re wrong.  (Laughter.)  They are wrong.  (Applause.)  That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess.  We can’t afford to go back to it.  Not now. 

 

We’ve got a lot of work to do.  We’ve got a long way to go before everybody who wants a good job can get a good job.  We’ve got a long way to go before middle-class Americans fully regain that sense of security that’s been slipping away since long before this recession hit.  But you know what, we’ve got something to show -- all of you show what’s possible when we pull together.

 

Over the last two years, our businesses have added about 3.7 million new jobs.  Manufacturing is coming back for the first time since the 1990s.  Companies are bringing jobs back from overseas.  (Applause.)  The economy is getting stronger.  The recovery is speeding up.  Now is the time to keep our foot on the gas, not put on the brakes.  And I’m not going to settle

for a country where just a few do really well and everybody else is struggling to get by.  (Applause.) 

 

We’re fighting for an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, where everybody does their fair share, where everybody plays by the same set of rules.  We’re not going to go back to an economy that’s all about outsourcing and bad debt and phony profits.  We’re fighting for an economy that’s built to last, that’s built on things like education and energy and manufacturing.  Making things, not just buying things -- making things that the rest of the world wants to buy.  And restoring the values that made this country great:  hard work and fair play, the chance to make it if you really try, the responsibility to reach back and help somebody else make it, too -- not just you.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we believe in.   (Applause.)

 

     I was telling you I visited Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit about a year and a half ago.  Now, the day I visited, some of the employees had won the lottery.  Not kidding.  They had won the lottery.  Now, you might think that after that they’d all be kicking back and retiring.  (Laughter.)  And no one would fault them for that.  Building cars is tough work.  But that’s not what they did.  The guy who bought --

 

     AUDIENCE MEMBER:  What did they do?

 

     THE PRESIDENT:  Funny you ask.  (Laughter.)  The guy who bought the winning ticket, he was a proud UAW member who worked on the line.  So he used some of his winnings to buy his wife the car that he builds because he’s really proud of his work.  (Applause.)  Then he bought brand new American flags for his hometown because he’s proud of his country.  (Applause.)  And he and the other winners are still clocking in at that plant today, because they’re proud of the part they and their coworkers play in America’s comeback.

 

See, that’s what America is about.  America is not just looking out for yourself.  It’s not just about greed.  It’s not just about trying to climb to the very top and keep everybody else down.  When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together and we get them going again.  When somebody else falters, we try to give them a hand up, because we know we’re all in it together.

 

I got my start standing with working folks who’d lost their jobs, folks who had lost their hope because the steel plants had closed down.  I didn’t like the idea that they didn’t have anybody fighting for them.  The same reason I got into this business is the same reason I’m here today.  I’m driven by that same belief that everybody -- everybody -- should deserve a chance.  (Applause.) 

 

So I promise you this:  As long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me.  (Applause.)  We’re going to keep on fighting to make our economy stronger; to put our friends and neighbors back to work faster; to give our children even more opportunity; to make sure that the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth.   (Applause.)

 

Thank you, UAW.  I love you.  God bless you.  God bless the work you do.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

 

                                                                         END          

 

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Transportation Nation

Mitt and Ann Romney Drive Four Cars

Friday, February 24, 2012

Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club Friday, Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney waxed about how happy he was to see Detroit-made cars. "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. I used to have a dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered."

The only car President Barack Obama has driven recently was a Chevy Volt. As a Senator, he owned a Chrysler -- which a second-owner placed on eBay for $1 million --  then a Ford Escape Hybrid.

Hat tip to Buzzfeed.com for catching the clip.

 

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Transportation Nation

Obama Campaign Jumps into Fray on Auto Bailout

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seemingly enjoying the fact that neither Rick Santorum nor Mitt Romney supported the bailout of the auto industry, the Obama campaign is out with an ad rubbing it in. "When a million jobs were on the line...every Republican candidate turned their back," the ad says.

An NBC/Marist poll today shows a healthy  majority of Democrats and Independents support the bailout -- and a not insignificant number of Republicans do.

Michigan Republicans select a candidate next Tuesday -- but the real battleground for Obama is November, where Michigan will be a key swing state.

Michigan voted for Obama in 2008, but in 2010 elections went heavily Republican.

 

 

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The Takeaway

The Future of US-China Relations

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

President Obama had some harsh words for Chinese authorities during his state of the union address last January: "I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules," he said. "We've brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last Administration, and it’s made a difference." The tough talk continued while President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping yesterday. 

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Transportation Nation

President's Budget: High Speed Rail, Fixing Roads & Bridges, Complete Streets, TIGER Grants

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ok, let's remember that this is not a budget -- or that it's not a budget, only.  It's a political document, in a campaign year, that is designed to press forward President Obama's case that he is on the side hard-working Americans, not the 1 %

Having said that, the transportation portion (pdf)  is remarkable in its consistency -- you'd never know the drubbing President Obama took last year on high speed rail and the jobs act.

*Like last year, the President wants a half-trillion dollar, six-year transportation bill. (It's broken out slightly differently, but with $476 for a transportation bill and $50 billion in immediate investments -- a.k.a the jobs bill -- its almost the same as last years $550 billion proposal.)

*Like last year, the President wants to spend about $50 billion on high speed rail, despite a drubbing in Congress in 2011.

*There's no backing down on TIGER grants and "streets that accommodate pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access."

More soon, after Transpo Secretary Ray LaHood's conference call.

 

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Can Santorum Beat Romney? The Answer is in Moneyball

Friday, February 10, 2012

In Michael Lewis' Moneyball, The Oakland A's spent the least money per victory of any team, just as Rick Santorum has spent far less per vote and per delegate than Mitt Romney. But the A's also lose in the end.

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Schoolbook

Obama Calls for More 'Tinkerers and Dreamers'

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

President Obama announced new federal and private-sector education initiatives to encourage “a nation of tinkerers and dreamers” during a science fair at the White House on Tuesday.

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Schoolbook

Should States Raise the Age of Mandatory Attendance?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Listeners to the Brian Lehrer Show weigh in on the president's proposal to raise the compulsory schooling age to 18, with strong opinions for and against. An economist says the data supports the idea that the longer students stay in school the more likely they are to graduate, and to fare better in the workplace.

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The Takeaway

Is President Obama's Former Chrysler Worth $1 Million?

Monday, January 30, 2012

How much would you pay for a 2005 Chrysler? Well, an anonymous seller on eBay is asking for a million dollars, but it's no ordinary car. The Chrysler once belonged to none other than President Barack Obama, who used it when on trips home to Chicago when he was just a Senator from Illinois. So is a President's former sedan really worth one million dollars?

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The Takeaway

Navy Seal Team Six and the Future of the American Military

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On Tuesday night, the Navy's SEAL Team Six rescued a Dutch and an American aid worker who had been held by Somali pirates since October. The pirates had held the aid workers hostage in a desert hide-out since October. SEAL Team Six first came into the general public's awareness last May after leading the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden. Along with an increasing reliance on unmanned drone strikes in combat zones, the future of the U.S. military might be a smaller, more covert venture.

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The Takeaway

The State of the Union's Foreign Policy Message

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A number of political analysts have noted that President Obama has been far more successful in the foreign policy arena than domestically. But the President who managed to find Osama Bin Laden still faces a tough re-election battle this year. David Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent for our partner The New York Times, and contributor to WQXR's The Washington Report gives his thoughts on the foreign policy points made during last night's state of the union address.

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The Takeaway

Voters Across the Spectrum React to the State of the Union

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Politicians from both sides of the aisle took to the airwaves to attack or defend president Obama's remarks last night, setting the tone for the rest of his first term in office. But perhaps more importantly, the State of the Union informally kicked off the president's reelection campaign. This morning, The Takeaway takes a look at how his words resonated with three voters from across the country.

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