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President Barack Obama

Transportation Nation

State of the Union -- A Nod to the Auto Industry, and Cutting Construction Red Tape

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two nods to transportation in the State of the Union; to the auto industry, and cutting red tape.

Nothing like last year's SOTU, where the president promised to connect 80 percent of Americans to high speed rail by 2036 and to put a million electric vehicles on the roads.

For an analysis of all of Obama's speeches on infrastructure and transpo, click here.

Here are the relevant passages:

"On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse.  Some even said we should let it die.  With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.  In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.  We got the industry to retool and restructure.  Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number one automaker.  Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.  Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories.  And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.   

"We bet on American workers.  We bet on American ingenuity.  And tonight, the American auto industry is back."

And this:

"Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy. An incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.

"During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. After World War II, we connected our States with a system of highways. Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.

"In the next few weeks, I will sign an Executive Order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home."

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: State of the Union, State of the Economy

Monday, January 23, 2012

This week, President Obama delivers the State of the Union, then travels to five states that promise to be key battlegrounds for this year's election: Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan. As the President begins his swing state tour, Republican candidates will be setting up camp in Florida, preparing for two debates in the next primary state.

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It's A Free Country ®

Obama Introduces New Head of Consumer Watchdog Agency

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

President Obama gave a speech today in Cleveland, Ohio, where he introduced Richard Cordray as the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and scolded congressional Republicans for failing to confirm the former Attorney General sooner.

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Transportation Nation

White House Declines to Call for Babbitt Resignation

Monday, December 05, 2011

(Washington, DC) White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to call for the resignation of the head of the FAA Monday, just hours after news of the officials weekend drunk driving arrest became known.

"What we have at this point is a matter that just came to light in the last hour or so," Carney said when asked whether President Obama would call for the resignation of FAA Administrator Randolph Babbitt. Babbitt was arrested Saturday night in Virginia and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Carney noted that Babbitt had asked to be placed on administrative leave. "For further dispensation of this matter I would refer you to the Department of Transportation," he said.

Carney said the president was informed of Babbitt's arrest on Monday afternoon and  "didn't have a particular reaction."

"He reacted as you might expect," Carney added.

Follow Todd Zwillich on Twitter @toddzwillich

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It's A Free Country ®

Is There an Obama Doctrine on Foreign Policy?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Libya was the test case for the un-Iraq. This was an effort to make the commitment at the beginning that there would be no American ground troops.

David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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It's A Free Country ®

Why We're Withdrawing From Iraq

Monday, October 24, 2011

About 95 percent of American troops there are waiting to leave. They're twiddling their thumbs; there isn't much to do. Right now we have the lowest number of U.S. and Iraqi civilian fatalities and of armed attacks in Iraq—all three of those statistics—since the war began.

Fred Kaplan, writer of the War Stories column for Slate and author of 1959: the Year Everything Changed, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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It's A Free Country ®

What do Iraq and Wall St. Mean for 2012?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Republicans just sort of rolled [the Iraq withdrawal] into the way they've been talking about Obama: That he's been campaigning rather than governing, suggesting that this was political as opposed to on the advice of military leaders.

—It's A Free Country political peporter Anna Sale on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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The Takeaway

Obama and GOP Hopefuls Set Their Sights on Swing States

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 2012 Election is more than a year away, but the president and Republican presidential hopefuls are already campaigning, and setting their sights on potential swing states. Tuesday night, the Republican presidential candidates will debate once again, this time in the swing state of Nevada. Meanwhile, President Obama is traveling through the swing state of North Carolina, hoping to rally support for his jobs bill.

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Transportation Nation

President Heads for Michigan To Argue Auto Industry Bailout Saved State

Friday, October 14, 2011

President Barack Obama Drives a Volt During a Michigan Visit in July 2011 (White House Photo)

UPDATED WITH UAW PRESIDENT  COMMENTS ON TRADE AGREEMENT:

President Barack Obama is on his way to Michigan with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, where the two will tour the GM Assembly plant that produces the new Chevy Sonic subcompact.   The argument that the auto bailout early in his presidency was good for Michigan, the auto industry, and the U.S. is not an argument the president is willing to lose.

"At the beginning of his administration, President Obama made the very tough and unpopular decision to restructure GM and Chrysler – a decision that saved over a million American jobs and revitalized an entire American industry,"  according to materials on the visit released by the White House.  "In the year before GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, the auto industry shed over 400,000 jobs.  Since these companies emerged from their restructurings, the American auto industry has created 128,000 jobs."

The President has to thread a narrow needle here -- arguing both for the political wisdom bailout and for the recently-passed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and other nations.  The White House argues the agreements will create jobs, though free trade agreements have not exactly thrilled labor unions, as a whole.

To counter that, the White House released an op-ed penned by UAW Chief Bob King.

" The UAW fully supports this trade agreement because the automotive provisions, which are very different from those negotiated by President George W. Bush in 2007, will create significantly greater market access for American auto exports and include strong, auto-specific safeguards to protect our domestic markets from potentially harmful surges of Korean automotive imports," King wrote.

"Unlike the 2007 negotiations with South Korea, the labor movement, and particularly the UAW, had an opportunity to be part of the 2010 discussions on strengthening the trade deal. Working with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and other members of the Obama administration, then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Levin and top management from the auto companies, the UAW believes the new agreement will help protect current American auto jobs, contains meaningful trade law enforcement and makes stronger labor and environmental commitments."

As we've reported before from Michigan, the politics of the auto bailout are tricky -- people do see it creating jobs, but, as with the bank bailout, it's hard to swallow big corporations getting handouts when you're totally broke yourself.   Two years after the bailout, Democrats lost key Michigan races in a rout.

Nevertheless, the President and his team have argued again and again that the bailout was wise, and he'll do so again today.

We'll have more on his remarks later.

 

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Transportation Nation

LaHood: I'm a One-Term Secretary

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ray LaHood speaking earlier this year. Photo: Bossi via flickr

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood won't serve in the post beyond the end of President Obama's current term, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

LaHood told the paper he will serve only one term in Obama's cabinet and that he won't follow through on speculation that he might run for governor of Illinois. "I'm not running for public office anymore," he's quoted as saying.

The comments came in an interview following a Washington speech in which LaHood, a former Republican congressman, urged GOP lawmakers to compromise with Democrats and pass new infrastructure programs as part of the president's jobs plan.

It's common for cabinet secretaries to serve for only one term. Notable exceptions included Donna Shalala, who served as Health and Human Services Secretary for all 8 years of Bill Clinton's presidency, and Madeline Albright, who served all eight years as Secretary of State under Clinton.

In his remarks at the National Press Club, which came before his interview  the L.A. Times,  LaHood expressed disgust with the partisan gridlock in Washington. "A lot has changed in this town since I arrived more than 35 years ago," he said, "but nothing changed more than the evolution of a culture in which elected officials are rewarded for intransigence." He continued: "For too many, compromise has become a dirty word -- for many, compromise isn't even in their dictionary."

LaHood lamented House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica's comments at a Wednesday  House committee hearing.

"Given what Chairman Mica said about the infrastructure bank yesterday, probably that's not going very far."  [Update:  at a Washington Post forum on Friday, LaHood said: "The President is not going to give up on the infrastructure bank.  Other countries have done it, a lot of states have done it, they've leveraged a lot of private money doing that." ]

He said on Thursday: "I believe that we are going to get an infrastructure program, and I believe it will happen before the end of the calendar year, because I think there's an enormous amount of pressure on Congress. When they go back home, and they go to their churches, and they go to their barbecues, and they go to their political events, the one thing they're hearing is: 'what are you going to do about jobs, and what are you going to do about the economy?' We know how to fix that. They know how to fix it. Reaching that kind of consensus, I think, is possible."

With reporting from Kate Hinds.

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Transportation Nation

Obama on Infrastructure Repair: "Why Would You Vote Against That?"

Thursday, October 06, 2011

 President Barack Obama during a news conference in the East Room of the White House (photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Obama, who's trying to line up support for his jobs bill, used his press conference today to once again invoke crumbling infrastructure and unemployed construction workers.

His remarks were in the same vein as the speech he delivered last month in front of an "obsolete" bridge. Here are some highlights:

"In Maine, there is a bridge that is in such bad shape that pieces of it were literally falling off the other day.  And, meanwhile, we’ve got millions of laid-off construction workers who could right now be busy rebuilding roads, rebuilding bridges, rebluiding schools.  This jobs bill gives them a chance to get back to work rebuilding America.  Why wouldn’t we want that to happen?  Why would you vote against that?"

He went on to chastise Republicans: "My understanding is that for the last decade, they’ve been saying we need to lower taxes for folks.  Well, why wouldn’t we want to do that through this jobs bill?  We know that we’ve got roads and bridges and schools that need to be rebuilt.  And historically, Republicans haven’t been opposed to rebuilding roads and bridges.  Why would you be opposed now?"

But he admitted that the challenges facing the country and its aging infrastructure won't be solved overnight, even if the Senate passes the American Jobs Act.

"I mean, what’s contained in the American jobs bill doesn’t cover all the roads and bridges and infrastructure that needs to be improved around the country.

You can read the full transcript of the president's remarks here.

 

 

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Schoolbook

Students and Teachers Protest Limits on Web Access

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Students and teachers at Junior High School 127 in the Bronx sent more than 60 e-mails to the Department of Education on Wednesday to protest a block on personal blogs and social media sites. Some students and educators argue that they are being kept from sites that are important to their education, but some education advocates said the Internet can be a distraction in the classroom. The protest was related to the first Banned Websites Awareness Day.

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It's A Free Country ®

Sister Citizen: Black Women and Politics

Monday, September 26, 2011

There's tremendous pragmatism on the part of African-Americans who will not see their suffering suddenly used against a Democratic president. It's not just because he's black...The recognition on the part of pragmatic African-Americans is that there's no great racial progressive savior about to show up. The alternative is President Perry, President Bachmann, or President Romney.

Melissa Harris-Perry, contributor to MSNBC and author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

Comments [28]

It's A Free Country ®

Poll: NYers Split on Re-Electing Obama, Still Prefer President to Republicans

Monday, September 26, 2011

In a new Siena Research Institute poll, 47 percent of registered voters in the state would re-elect Obama, and 47 percent would prefer to vote for 'someone else'. When that challenger is Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, however, the President has a double-digit lead.

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Transportation Nation

President Delivers Impassioned Pro-Infrastructure Address at "Obsolete" Ohio Bridge

Thursday, September 22, 2011

UPDATED WITH TRANSCRIPT In a speech heavy with both passion and symbolism, President Barack Obama made an impassioned pitch for infrastructure spending, arguing both immediate jobs and the nation's future depend on it.  The President traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, home of the Brent Spence bridge, connecting Speaker John Boehner's district in Ohio to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's district in Kentucky.

The President was in full campaign mode as he dropped the final "g"s in his words (as in, I'm askin' you), veered off script, and even let his audience boo his political opponents without shushing them.

"The thing is there are bridges and roads and highways like [the Brent Spence Bridge] throughout the region" the President said. "A major bridge that connects Kentucky and Indiana just closed down for safety reasons.  Another aging bridge that crosses over the Ohio River in Ironton could be replaced right now.  There are rail stations in Cleveland and Toledo in desperate need of repair.  And the same is true in cities and towns all across America.  It makes your commute longer.  It costs our businesses billions of dollars -- they could be moving products faster if they had better transportation routes.  And in some cases, it’s not safe.

Now, we used to have the best infrastructure in the world here in America.  We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the Interstate Highway System.  (Applause.)  We built the Hoover Dam.  We built the Grand Central Station.  (Applause.)  So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads?  And let Europe build the best highways?  And have Singapore build a nicer airport?  At a time when we've got millions of unemployed construction workers out there just ready to get on the job, ready to do the work to rebuilding America.  (Applause.)"

The full text follows:

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Cincinnati!  (Applause.)

Well, it is good to see all of you.  It is good to be back in Cincinnati.  (Applause.)  I have to say I drove by the Bengals’ practice -- (laughter.)  And I was scouting out some plays in case they play the Bears -- (laughter.)  Did I hear somebody boo the Bears?

AUDIENCE:  Booo!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  We've got some folks I just want to make sure are acknowledged here today.  First of all, the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, is in the house.  Give him a round of applause.  (Applause.)  We've got the mayor of the great city of Cincinnati -- Mark Mallory is here.  (Applause.)  We've got the mayor of Covington, Mayor Denny Bowman.  (Applause.)  Senator Rand Paul is here.

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  Rand is going to be supporting bridges, so we've got to -- (applause.)  And we've got Congressman John Yarmuth in the house.  (Applause.)

Now, it is good to be back.  I was just in Columbus a little while ago, and I figured I couldn't get away with not giving     Cincinnati a little bit of love.  (Applause.)

I want to thank the good folks at Hilltop Concrete for having us here today.  I especially want to thank Ron for his introduction.

Companies like Hilltop, construction companies, have been hit harder by this economic crisis than almost any other industry in America.  And there are millions of construction workers who are still out there looking for a job.  They're ready to work, but things have been a little tough.  That doesn’t mean that there is not plenty of construction waiting to get done in this country.

Behind us stands the Brent Spence Bridge.  It’s located on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.  It sees about 150,000 vehicles every single day.  And it’s in such poor condition that it's been labeled "functionally obsolete."  Think about that -- functionally obsolete.  That doesn’t sound good, does it?

AUDIENCE:  Nooo!

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s safe to --

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Kind of like John Boehner.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It's safe to drive on, but it was not designed to accommodate today’s traffic, which can stretch out for a mile.  Shipping companies try to have their trucks avoid the bridge.  Of course, that only ends up costing them more money as well.

The thing is there are bridges and roads and highways like that throughout the region.  A major bridge that connects Kentucky and Indiana just closed down for safety reasons.  Another aging bridge that crosses over the Ohio River in Ironton could be replaced right now.  There are rail stations in Cleveland and Toledo in desperate need of repair.  And the same is true in cities and towns all across America.  It makes your commute longer.  It costs our businesses billions of dollars -- they could be moving products faster if they had better transportation routes.  And in some cases, it’s not safe.

Now, we used to have the best infrastructure in the world here in America.  We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the Interstate Highway System.  (Applause.)  We built the Hoover Dam.  We built the Grand Central Station.  (Applause.)  So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads?  And let Europe build the best highways?  And have Singapore build a nicer airport?  At a time when we've got millions of unemployed construction workers out there just ready to get on the job, ready to do the work to rebuilding America.  (Applause.)

So, Cincinnati, we are better than that.  We're smarter than that.  And that’s why I sent Congress the American Jobs Act 10 days ago.  (Applause.)  This bill is not that complicated.  It's a bill that would put people back to work rebuilding America -- repairing our roads, repairing our bridges, repairing our schools.  It would lead to jobs for concrete workers like the ones here at Hilltop; jobs for construction workers and masons, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, architects, engineers, ironworkers -- put folks back to work.  (Applause.)

There is work to be done, and there are workers ready to do it.  So let’s tell Congress to pass this jobs bill right away.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  Pass this bill!  (Laughter.)  Pass the bill!

Tell them to pass the jobs bill, and not only will we start rebuilding America, but we can also put thousands of teachers back to work.  (Applause.)

I was with the President of South Korea -- I was up at the United Nations.  We were doing a bunch of stuff.  And he's told me in the past -- I've asked him, I said, what's your biggest challenge?  He says, oh, education.  I said, well, what are you dealing with?  He said, well, you know what, we're hiring so many teachers we can barely keep up, because we know that if we're going to compete in the future we've got to have the best teachers.  (Applause.)  And we've got to have our kids in school longer.  And we've got to make sure that they're learning math and science.

Well, while they're hiring teachers in droves, what are we doing?  We're laying off teachers.  It makes no sense in this new global economy where our young people's success is going to depend on the kind of education that they get.  So for us to be laying off teachers doesn’t make sense for our kids, it doesn’t make sense for us, it doesn’t make sense for our economy.

Pass this jobs bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  They need to go and pass it.

Tell Congress to pass this jobs bill, and companies will get tax credit for hiring America’s veterans.  (Applause.)  We've been through a decade of war now.  Almost 2 million people have served.  And think about it.  They're suspending their careers; they're leaving their families; they're putting themselves in harm way -- all to protect us.  The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)  And if we pass this jobs bill it makes it easier for employers to hire those veterans.  That’s why we need to tell Congress to do what?  To pass the bill.

AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  The American Jobs Act will cut taxes for the typical working family by $1,500 next year.  It will cut taxes for every small business in America.  It will give an extra tax cut to every small business owner who either hires more workers or raises those workers’ wages.  How many people here would like a raise?  (Applause.)

And we know that most small businesses are the creators of new jobs.  We’ve got a lot of folks in Congress who love to say how they’re behind America’s job creators.  Well, if that’s the case, then you should be passing this bill, because that’s what this bill is all about, is helping small businesses all across America.

Everything in this jobs bill has been supported in the past by Republicans and Democrats.  Everything in this jobs bill is paid for.  The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by the AFL-CIO, but it’s also supported by the Chamber of Commerce.  Those two don't get along on much, but they agree we should rebuild America.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, thanks to the reforms that we’ve put into place, when we start rebuilding America we’re going to change how business is done.  No more earmarks.  No more boondoggles.  No more bridges to nowhere.  We’re going to cut the red tape that prevents some of these construction projects from getting started as quickly as possible.  And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria:  how badly is a construction project needed, and how much good will it do for the community.  Those are the only things we should be thinking about.  Not politics.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, that’s an idea that’s supported by a Massachusetts Democrat and a Texas Republican.  It’s a good idea.

So my question is, what's Congress waiting for?  Why is it taking so long?  Now, the bridge behind us just happens to connect the state that’s home to the Speaker of the House --

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  -- with the home state of the Republican leader in the Senate.

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, that’s just a coincidence.  (Laughter.) Purely accidental that that happened.  (Laughter.)  But part of the reason I came here is because Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, those are the two most powerful Republicans in government.  They can either kill this jobs bill, or they can help pass this jobs bill.  (Applause.)  And I know these men care about their states. They care about businesses; they care about workers here.  I can’t imagine that the Speaker wants to represent a state where nearly one in four bridges are classified as substandard -- one in four.  I know that when Senator McConnell visited the closed bridge in Kentucky, he said that, “Roads and bridges are not partisan in Washington.”  That’s great.  I know that Paul Ryan, the Republican in charge of the budget process, recently said that "you can’t deny that infrastructure does creates jobs."  That's what he said.

Well, if that’s the case, there’s no reason for Republicans in Congress to stand in the way of more construction projects.  There’s no reason to stand in the way of more jobs.

Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge.  (Applause.)  Help us rebuild America.  Help us put construction workers back to work.  (Applause.)  Pass this bill.

AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s pass the bill.

AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, some folks in Congress, they say, well, we don’t like how it’s paid for.  Well, it’s paid for as part of my larger plan to pay down our debt.  And that's why I make some additional cuts in spending.  We already cut a trillion dollars in spending.  This makes an additional hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in spending, but it also asks the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.  (Applause.)

Now, that should not be too much to ask.  And by the way, it wouldn’t kick in until 2013.  So when you hear folks say, oh, we shouldn’t be raising taxes right now -- nobody is talking about raising taxes right now.  We’re talking about cutting taxes right now.  But it does mean that there’s a long-term plan, and part of it involves everybody doing their fair share.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, this isn’t to punish success.  What’s great about this country is our belief that anybody can make it. If you’re willing to put in the sweat, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, if you’re willing to work hard, you’ve got a good idea, you’re out there taking a risk -- God bless you.  You can make millions, you can make billions of dollars in America.  This is the land of opportunity.  (Applause.)  That’s great.  All I’m saying is, if you’ve done well -- I’ve done well -- then you should do a little something to give something back.  (Applause.) You should want to see the country that provided you with this opportunity to be successful, and be able to provide opportunity for the young people who are going to be coming up behind you.  (Applause.)

And all I’m saying is that everything should be fair.  You know, you learn the idea of fairness when you’re two, three years old.  Right?  You’re in the sandbox and you don’t want to let somebody play with your truck -- (laughter) -- and your mom or your daddy go up and they say, “No, hon, that’s not fair, you’ve got to share.”  Isn’t that what they say?  Things have to be fair.  So all I’m saying is that Warren Buffett’s secretary should not be paying a lower [sic] tax rate on her income than Warren Buffett.  (Applause.)  That doesn’t make any sense.  A construction worker who’s making 50 or 60 grand a year shouldn’t be paying higher tax rates than the guy who’s making $50 million a year.  (Applause.)  And that’s how it’s working right now.  Because they get all these loopholes and tax breaks that you don’t get.

So for me to say, let’s close those loopholes, let’s eliminate those tax breaks, and let’s make sure that everybody is paying their fair share -- there’s nothing wrong with that.  (Applause.)

Now, this is about priorities.  It’s about making choices.  If we just had all kinds of money and everybody was working, and we hadn’t gone through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, then maybe we wouldn’t have to make choices.  But right now we’ve got to make some choices.  We’ve got to decide what our priorities are.  If we want to pay for this jobs plan, and close the deficit, and invest in our infrastructure, and make sure we’ve got the best education system in the world, the money has got to come from some place.  Would you rather that the oil companies get to keep their tax loopholes?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Or would you rather make sure that we’re hiring thousands of construction workers to rebuild America?  (Applause.)  Would you rather keep in place special tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Or would you say, let’s get teachers back in the classroom so our children can learn?  (Applause.)

Now, the Republicans, when I talked about this earlier in the week, they said, well, this is class warfare.  You know what, if asking a billionaire to pay their fair share of taxes, to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare, then you know what, I’m a warrior for the middle class.  (Applause.)  I’m happy to fight for the middle class.  I’m happy to fight for working people.  (Applause.)  Because the only warfare I've seen is the battle against the middle class over the last 10, 15 years.

It’s time to build an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs in this country.  It’s time to build an economy that honors the values of hard work and responsibility.  It’s time to build an economy that lasts.  And, Cincinnati, that starts right now.  That starts with your help.  (Applause.)  Maybe some of the people in Congress would rather settle their differences at the ballot box than work together right now.  In fact, a while back, Senator McConnell said that his “top priority” -- number-one priority -- was “to defeat the President.”  That was his top priority.

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  Not jobs, not putting people back to work, not rebuilding America.  Beating me.  Well, I’ve got news for him, and every other member of Congress who feels the same way.  The next election is 14 months away, and I’ll be happy to tangle sometime down the road.  But the American people right now don’t have the luxury of waiting to solve our problems for another 14 months.  (Applause.)  A lot of folks are living paycheck to paycheck.  A lot of folks are just barely getting by.  They need us to get to work right now.  They need us to pass this bill.  (Applause.)

So I’m asking all of you -- I need everybody here to lift your voices -- not just in Cincinnati, but anybody who's watching TV, or anybody who's within the range of my voice -- I want everybody to lift up their voices.  I want you to call.  I want you to email.  I want you to tweet.  I want you to fax.  I want you to visit.  If you want, write a letter -- it’s been a while. (Laughter.)  I want you to tell your congressperson that the time for gridlock and games-playing is over.  Tell them you want to create jobs, so pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want construction workers rebuilding America -- pass this bill.  (Applause.)  If you want teachers back in the classrooms -- pass this bill.

AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  If you want to cut taxes for middle-class families -- pass this bill.

AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  If you want to help small businesses, what do you do?

THE AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  If you want veterans to share in the opportunities of this country, what should you do?

THE AUDIENCE:  Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now is the time to act.  Because we are not a people that just sit back and wait for things to happen.  We go ahead and make things happen.  We’re tougher than the times we live in.  We are bigger than the politics that we’ve been seeing these last few months.  Let’s meet this moment.  Let’s get back to work.  Let’s show the world once again why America is the greatest nation on Earth.

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

END                                                         3:12 P.M. EDT

We'll post the text of the speech soon (the President veered off script a number of times, getting all folksy, dropping the final "g's off words), and have more details on the President's trip in a bit.  Meantime, you can listen to the live stream here.

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It's A Free Country ®

Solyndra a Scandal? What it Means for Obama and Green Energy

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

For me, a scandal would mean that you do it for your own personal self-interest, and although there's a lot of smoke out there, no one has proven yet that this was done for political purposes.

Joe Stephens of the Washington Post on The Brian Lehrer Show

Comments [23]

The Takeaway

The Nuts and Bolts of President Obama's Deficit Reduction Plan

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Republican critics like Mitch McConnell are calling it "class warfare" and a "massive tax hike" with "phantom savings." The president calls it simply a matter of shared sacrifice. Is Obama's new deficit reduction plan, which he unveiled in a speech Monday morning, a piece of legislation with a legitimate shot of being voted into law or simply a campaign move ahead of the 2012 election? And does the president's math add up when he says the bill is paid for?

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: How Much Time Have We Wasted Waiting for Obama?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The President is infamous for giving speeches behind schedule, much to the chagrin of the Washington press corps, television producers, and internet streamers across the country. Which begs the question: Just how much time have we wasted since Obama took office?

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It's A Free Country ®

New Rep. Bob Turner Talks Capital Gains, Obama Plan

Monday, September 19, 2011

People weren’t prepared to lose their jobs. They weren’t prepared to go without income for as long as they have. Even for families higher up the economic ladder, people had too much debt and not enough savings, so this recession has hit everyone hard.

—Newly-elected congressman Bob Turner (NY-9) on The Brian Lehrer Show

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