• My name is Tammy Duckworth. I’m running to serve Illinois’ 8th Congressional District. My father served in the Army and the Marine Corps. A Vietnam vet, his family has worn our nation’s uniform since the American Revolution. My husband is an Army officer. My brother saved lives in the Coast Guard. My mom is Thai and Chinese. She proudly became a citizen in her fifties.

    Dad’s work took us all over the world until he lost his job. It was a tough time. We used up our savings, moved into a studio apartment. But our family did the responsible thing and rolled up our sleeves. Mom took in sewing.

    My 55-year-old dad tried to find work. But at 15, I was the only one with a job-after school, for minimum wage. Thank God for the food stamps, public education and Pell grants that helped me finish high school and college.

    In time, we pulled through. With this start, I was able to earn my own commission as an Army officer. I became an assault helicopter pilot, working my way up to command a Blackhawk helicopter company. In 2003, my National Guard unit was mobilized, and I became one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in Iraq.

    Almost a year into my tour I was wounded, and recovered at Walter Reed with other wounded warriors. Some of us had obvious injuries. Others had scars on the inside that were less visible, but no less real. At the hospital, I realized my new responsibility: to honor the buddies who saved me by serving our military men and women. I became director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. We led the nation in screening for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, and we created a tax credit for Illinois businesses that hire veterans.

    Then President Obama asked me to help keep our sacred trust with veterans of all eras at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We worked to end the outrage of vets having to sleep on the same streets they once defended. We improved services for female veterans. I reached out to young vets by creating the Office for Online Communications.

    Barack Obama has also lived up to his responsibilities as commander-in-chief, ending the war in Iraq, refocusing on Afghanistan and eradicating terrorist leaders including bin Laden. President Obama pushed for fairness in the military, listening to commanders as we ended “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and on how to allow women to officially serve in more combat jobs-because America’s daughters are just as capable of defending liberty as her sons.

    When it comes to our men and women in harm’s way, we have a clear choice on November 6th. Last week, Mitt Romney had a chance to show his support for the brave men and women he is seeking to command. But he chose to criticize President Obama instead of even uttering the word “Afghanistan.”

    Barack Obama will never ignore our troops. He will fight for them. That’s why he is my choice on November 6th. My choice is to do what my family did when times were hard: roll up our sleeves and get to work. My choice is to do what my crew did for me in a dusty field in Iraq.

    On November 12th, 2004, I was co-piloting my Blackhawk north of Baghdad when we started taking enemy fire. A rocket-propelled grenade hit our helicopter, exploding in my lap, ripping off one leg, crushing the other and tearing my right arm apart. But I kept trying to fly until I passed out. In that moment, my survival and the survival of my entire crew depended on all of us pulling together. And even though they were wounded themselves and insurgents were nearby, they refused to leave a fallen comrade behind. Their heroism is why I’m alive today.

    Ultimately, that’s what this election is about. Yes, it’s about the issues that matter to us: building an economy that will create jobs here at home and out-compete countries around the world. But it’s also about something else. It’s about whether we will do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me; whether we’ll look out for the hardest hit and the disabled; whether we’ll pull together in a time of need; whether we’ll refuse to give up until the job is done.

    So let’s finish what we started. Let’s keep moving forward with Barack Obama. Let’s do what this country has always done: look adversity in the eye and work together to overcome it. God bless our military and their families, and God bless America.

  • On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America-and our one million member activists-I am honored to be here to talk to you about what’s at stake for women in 2012. I am proud to say that the Democratic Party believes that women have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion with dignity and privacy.

    We believe in funding family planning because it helps to prevent unintended pregnancy. We believe that a woman considering an abortion should not be forced to have an ultrasound against her will. We believe that rape is rape. We believe that a woman should make health care decisions with her family, her doctor, and her God. And we believe that there’s no place in that room for politicians-especially politicians who don’t know how women’s bodies work.

    We are proud to have a president who stands with women; a president who signed into law one of the greatest advancements for women’s health in a generation; a president who believes in a woman’s right to make her own decisions. I know this president. And I can tell you that he cares deeply about the next generation of young women in this country-his daughters, and everyone’s daughters. President Obama had the courage to stand with Sandra Fluke. Without hesitation, he defended her right to tell her story. Mitt Romney did not.

    That moment illustrates what is at stake in this election. Put simply, women in America cannot trust Mitt Romney. We cannot trust Mitt Romney to protect our health. He would repeal Obamacare, taking away our access to better maternity and prenatal care, and the law’s near universal coverage of birth control. And we cannot trust Mitt Romney to respect our rights.

    He would overturn Roe v. Wade and sign into law a wave of outrageous restrictions on a woman’s ability to make decisions about her pregnancy. Mitt Romney would take away our power to make decisions about our lives and our futures. But there’s one decision he cannot take away-and that’s the one women will make on November 6.

    I want to leave you with a story tonight-one that serves as my inspiration. I grew up in Anaconda, Montana-a town in the heart of the state’s mining country. My dad worked at the copper smelter, a tough and dangerous place where copper would boil at 1,200 degrees. He had a brass tag, and on it was his number: 720. Workers like my dad would throw their number in a bucket as they arrived for their shift, and at the end of the day, they’d hang them on a pegboard so their buddies would know they’d made it out safely.

    Every day, my dad threw his number in that bucket-and he did it for his family, for his co-workers, for his community, and for his country. He passed away when I was in my early 20s, before I had decided to run for public office. And I carried this brass tag with me during all of my campaigns in Montana. To me, that number symbolizes the value of hard work and opportunity-and the importance of sticking together.

    We are ready to work hard, work together to re-elect President Barack Obama. We must do it because women deserve to make their own choices and determine the course of their lives. Don’t assume that every voter knows what Barack Obama has done for the women in this country-and don’t assume they know the truth about Mitt Romney. Tonight, I’m asking you to talk with your friends, neighbors, and relatives-even the ones you’ve never talked to about reproductive rights. That’s how you can throw your number in the bucket, and stand with a president who has stood with us. Conversation by conversation, vote by vote, we will re-elect President Barack Obama!

    I’ll see you on the campaign trail.

  • My name is Harry Reid, the majority leader of the United States Senate and the senator from Searchlight, Nevada. It has been my honor to support and work with President Barack Obama, a man who has brought courage and character to the presidency. President Obama’s strength of character leads him to do the right thing, even when it isn’t the easy thing.

    Some said he shouldn’t save Detroit. But President Obama made the tough and right call to save more than a million American jobs in an important, iconic industry.

    Some said he shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get bin Laden. But President Obama made the tough and right call to bring the world’s worst terrorist to justice.

    Some said he couldn’t take on the big banks that brought our economy to its knees. But President Obama made the tough and right call so taxpayers will never again be on the hook for Wall Street’s risky bets.

    Some said he couldn’t take on the insurance companies that were ripping us off. But President Obama made the tough and right call to save lives, save Medicare and ensure no one goes broke just because they get sick.

    His whole life, there have been so many who told him what he shouldn’t or couldn’t do. But America has a president who knows what we must do.

    President Obama has also faced down another group of naysayers. In addition to the crowd of “couldn’ts” and “shouldn’ts,” the Republican Party has become the party of the “wouldn’ts” and the “won’ts.” They pledged on day one they wouldn’t lift a finger to help. And they haven’t.

    In the depth of the Great Recession, as millions of Americans were struggling to find work, the Republican leader of the senate, Mitch McConnell, said Republicans’ number one goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. They wouldn’t cooperate to create jobs. They wouldn’t try to turn around the economy. They wouldn’t do anything but stand in President Obama’s way.

    I’ve had a front-row seat to watch the Tea Party take over the Republican Party. For three and a half years, they wouldn’t govern. They couldn’t lead. And we shouldn’t let them take over the Senate and the White House.

    We must stop the Tea Party before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason or compromise, who don’t recognize common ground even when they’re standing on it.

    And if they won’t stand up to Rush Limbaugh or Grover Norquist, what would make anyone think they would stand up for you?

    Today’s Republican Party believes in two sets of rules: one for millionaires and billionaires, and another for the middle class. And this year, they’ve nominated the strongest proponent-and clearest beneficiary-of this rigged game: Mitt Romney.

    Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve. When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one.

    We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families. We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.

    Mitt Romney says we should take his word that he paid his fair share. His word? His word? Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both. This is about more than just a piece of paper. This isn’t personal. This is about leveling with the American people and creating a level playing field for them.

    If we don’t know how Mitt Romney would benefit from the policies he proposes, how can we know if he’s looking out for us or just himself? The American people are still asking, “Who is Mitt Romney?” But the American people know Barack Obama. He is the leader who says we should, we can, we will. He is the leader who doesn’t search for the easy path for himself, but takes the right one for us.

    This nation has been through hard times. But those hard times have hardened our resolve. I’m ready to do the difficult work ahead. But I want to do that work with Barack Obama, and not a Tea Party ideologue. We can move America forward, but we can only do it together.

    We can move America forward with a strong middle class. We can move America forward with a strong Democratic majority in the Senate. And together we can move America forward with Barack Obama in the White House.

  • Good evening, I’m Lilly Ledbetter and I’m here tonight to say: What a difference four years make!

    Some of you may know my story: How for nineteen years, I worked as a manager for a tire plant in Alabama. And some of you may have lived a similar story: After nearly two decades of hard, proud work, I found out that I was making significantly less money than the men who were doing the same work as me. I went home, talked to my husband, and we decided to fight.

    We decided to fight for our family and to fight for your family too. We sought justice because equal pay for equal work is an American value. That fight took me ten years. It took me all the way to the Supreme Court. And, in a 5-4 decision, they stood on the side of those who shortchanged my pay, my overtime, and my retirement just because I am a woman.

    The Supreme Court told me that I should have filed a complaint within six months of the company’s first decision to pay me less even though I didn’t know about it for nearly two decades. And if we hadn’t elected President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court’s wrongheaded interpretation would have been the law of the land.

    And that would have been the end of the story. But with President Obama on our side, even though I lost before the Supreme Court, we won. The first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I think it says something about his priorities that the first bill he put his name on has my name on it too.

    As he said that day with me by his side, “Making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone.”

    The president signed the bill for his grandmother, whose dreams hit the glass ceiling, And for his daughters, so that theirs never will. Because of his leadership, women who faced pay discrimination like I did will now get their day in court.

    That was the first step but it can’t be the last. Because women still earn just 77 cents for every dollar men make. Those pennies add up to real money. It’s real money for the little things like being able to take your kids to the movies and for the big things like sending them to college. It’s paying your rent this month and paying the mortgage in the future. It’s having savings for the bill you didn’t expect and savings for the dignified retirement you’ve earned.

    Maybe 23 cents doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island Investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour, every day, every paycheck, every job, over our entire lives, what we lose can’t just be measured in dollars.

    Three years ago, the house passed the paycheck Fairness Act to level the playing field for America’s women. Senate Republicans blocked it. Mitt Romney won’t even say if he supports it. President Obama does. In the end, I didn’t get a dime of the money I was shortchanged.

    But this fight became bigger than Lilly Ledbetter. Today, it’s about my daughter. It’s about my granddaughter. It’s about women and men. It’s about families. It’s about equality and justice.

    This cause, which bears my name, is bigger than me. It’s as big as all of you. This fight, which began as my own, is now our fight-a fight for the fundamental American values that make our country great. And with President Barack Obama, we’re going to win. Thank you very much. God bless America.

  • KathyinBlacksburg

    Will come in handy. 🙂

  • KathyinBlacksburg

    Pitch perfect.  

  • Great stuff. Notice how wildly popular this woman’s message of faith, in the service of our fellow human beings, resonated with Democrats – myself included?  Notice how the Nuns on the Bus represent what Jesus really taught, if you actually read the Gospels? Notice how the right wing wants to distract everyone from noticing all of this, including how their economics – such as the Romney-Ryan budget – is the POLAR OPPOSITE of everything Christianity (and Judaism, by the way) is supposed to stand for? Anyway, great job by Sister Simone Campbell, please bring your bus back to Virginia anytime! 🙂

    The following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director, Roman Catholic Social Justice Organization, NETWORK, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.

    Good evening, I’m Sister Simone Campbell, and I’m one of the “nuns on the bus.” So, yes, we have nuns on the bus. And a nun on the podium!

    Let me explain why I’m here. In June, I joined other Catholic sisters on a 2,700-mile bus journey through nine states to tell Americans about the budget Congressman Paul Ryan wrote and Governor Romney endorsed.

    Paul Ryan claims his budget reflects the principles of our shared Catholic faith. But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the Ryan budget failed a basic moral test, because it would harm families living in poverty.

    We agree with our bishops, and that’s why we went on the road: to stand with struggling families and to lift up our Catholic sisters who serve them. Their work to alleviate suffering would be seriously harmed by the Romney-Ryan budget, and that is wrong.

    During our journey, I rediscovered a few truths. First, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are correct when they say that each individual should be responsible. But their budget goes astray in not acknowledging that we are responsible not only for ourselves and our immediate families. Rather, our faith strongly affirms that we are all responsible for one another.

    I am my sister’s keeper. I am my brother’s keeper. While we were in Toledo, I met 10-year-old twins Matt and Mark, who had gotten into trouble at school for fighting. Sister Virginia and the staff at the Padua Center took them in when they were suspended and discovered on a home visit that these 10-year-olds were trying to care for their bedridden mother who has MS and diabetes.

    They were her only caregivers. The sisters got her medical help and are giving the boys some stability. Now the boys are free to claim much of the childhood they were losing. Clearly, we all share responsibility for the Matts and Marks in our nation.

    In Milwaukee, I met Billy and his wife and two boys at St. Benedict’s dining room. Billy’s work hours were cut back in the recession. Billy is taking responsibility for himself and his family, but right now without food stamps, he and his wife could not put food on their family table.

    We all share responsibility for creating an economy where parents with jobs earn enough to take care of their families. In order to cut taxes for the very wealthy, the Romney-Ryan budget would make it even tougher for hard-working Americans like Billy to feed their families. Paul Ryan says this budget is in keeping with the values of our shared faith. I simply disagree.

    In Cincinnati, I met Jini, who had just come from her sister’s memorial service. When Jini’s sister Margaret lost her job, she lost her health insurance. She developed cancer and had no access to diagnosis or treatment. She died unnecessarily. That is tragic. And it is wrong.

    The Affordable Care Act will cover people like Margaret. We all share responsibility to ensure that this vital health care reform law is properly implemented and that all governors expand Medicaid coverage so no more Margarets die from lack of care. This is part of my pro-life stance and the right thing to do.

    I have so many other stories but will only tell one more. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, a woman in her late thirties approached us. She asked for the names of some people she could talk to, because she felt alone and isolated. Her neighbors have been polarized by politics masquerading as values. She cares about the well-being of the people in her community.

    She wishes they, and the rest of the nation, would listen to one another with kindness and compassion. Listen to one another rather than yell at each other. I told her then, and I tell her now, that she is not alone.

    Looking out at you tonight, I feel your presence combined with that of the thousands of caring people we met on our journey. Together, we understand that an immoral budget that hurts already struggling families does not reflect our nation’s values. We are better than that.

    So I urge you to join us on the bus. Join us as together we stand with Matt and Mark, Billy and his family, the woman in Hershey and the Margarets of our nation.

    This is what we nuns on the bus are all about: We care for the 100 percent, and that will secure the blessings of liberty for our nation. So join us as we nuns and all of us drive for faith, family and fairness.

  • I loved this speech, si se puede! 🙂  Also, as Markos Moulitsas notes, “It’s impossible to overstate just how beloved Christina is in the Latino community. She’s our Oprah.”

    The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Cristina Saralegui, Journalist, Actress, and Talk Show Host, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.



    Hello, Charlotte.

    Hola mi gente!

    Like most Latinas, I’m not afraid to speak my mind. I’ve asked tough people tough questions and tackled big issues on live TV. But one thing I never did until now was get involved in politics. This year is different. 2008 was an important election, but it was nothing compared to 2012.

    Like Benita, I know what it’s like to come to this country at a young age. I was 12 years old when, like so many cubanos, my parents fled the Castro regime. For us, America meant freedom. America was the place that said it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter what your last name is, it doesn’t matter if you drink cortaditos, or lattes, or coffee with milk. Here, if you work hard, anything is possible. That’s what I did.

    Even though I couldn’t afford to finish college, I got an internship with Vanidades magazine. I turned that internship into a job, and that job into a business and a television show, el show de Cristina, that reached 100 million viewers in 40 countries.

    For me, the American promise isn’t just an idea or a theory-it’s my life story. I want to pass that promise on to my grandchildren, Domenic and Cristina Maria. I want them to grow up in the kind of country I did. That’s what this election is about.

    Mi gente, for the first time in my life, the promise of America is in danger. Nearly every part of Governor Romney’s plan would put the American dream further out of reach. In order to cut taxes for those at the very top, he would raise taxes for middle class families, slash education, and cut student aid. Governor Romney would turn Medicare from a guarantee into una libreta de cupones-a book of coupons. He would repeal health care reform, forcing millions of Hispanics to lose insurance. Governor Romney’s plan is really just one word: pa’trás-backward.

    We need to move forward-pa’lante! We need to re-elect our President Obama. Our president fights for us every day. He helped prevent a second Great Depression. He cut taxes for middle-class families and small businesses. He fought for health care reform, which is already helping millions of Americans afford insurance. His education policies mean Hispanics will receive an estimated 150,000 more college scholarships. He is on our side. And he knows we still have work to do.

    President Obama has a detailed plan-you can find it right on his website. It’s a plan to grow our economy from the middle class out and the bottom up, not from the top down; a plan to invest in education and manufacturing; and a plan to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

    On immigration, Governor Romney’s views could not be more extreme. He says we should make life so unbearable for eleven million people that they simply “self-deport.” He said that Arizona’s immigration law should be a “model” for our country. He even made the architect of that terrible law an immigration advisor for his campaign. No protesten-voten! And he has promised to veto the Dream Act.

    This election is about many things, but if you want to understand the values of the two candidates, all you have do is think about Benita, the lady who introduced me. Governor Romney calls young people like her “illegal aliens.” President Obama calls them “dreamers.” That is the difference in this election.

    So I’m asking toda mi gente-all of my people-to join me. Many of us come from countries where votes aren’t counted properly or are not counted at all. Here, we Latinos have a powerful voice, but only if we use it. That begins with making sure you’re registered to vote. So I want you to go to gottavote.com-in Spanish, that’s votemostodos.com. They have everything you need to get registered. Make sure your friends and family are registered, too.

    Charlotte, let me ask you: estas con nosotros? Are you in? Will you register voters? Will you talk to your family and friends? Will you fight for the dream we all believe in? Will you keep the promise of this country alive? Estamos unidos-let’s do this together. Pa’lante, pa’lante, pa’trás ni pa’ coger impulso. Thank you!

  • Good stuff from a courageous woman, standing up to bullies like Rush Limbaugh. Go Sandra Fluke!

    The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Sandra Fluke, Attorney and Women’s Rights Activist, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Some of you may remember that earlier this year, Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception. In fact, on that panel, they didn’t hear from a single woman, even though they were debating an issue that affects nearly every woman. Because it happened in Congress, people noticed. But it happens all the time. Many women are shut out and silenced. So while I’m honored to be standing at this podium, it easily could have been any one of you. I’m here because I spoke out, and this November, each of us must do the same.

    During this campaign, we’ve heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women-and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past. Warnings of that future are not distractions. They’re not imagined. That future could be real.

    In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds we don’t want and our doctors say we don’t need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it; in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again; in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve help, and which don’t. We know what this America would look like. In a few short months, it’s the America we could be. But it’s not the America we should be. It’s not who we are.

    We’ve also seen another future we could choose. First of all, we’d have the right to choose. It’s an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance; in which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives; in which we decide when to start our families. An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters-not his delegates or donors-and stands with all women. And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here-and give me a microphone-to amplify our voice. That’s the difference.

    Over the last six months, I’ve seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we’ll all be living in one, or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices.

    We talk often about choice. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to choose.

  • Let me guess, Republicans are going to call one of the most successful businesspeople in America…what, a commie? LOL

    The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Jim Sinegal, Co-Founder and Former CEO of Costco, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.

    Good evening, everyone. I’m Jim Sinegal, and I’m here tonight to share my story. I was born in Pittsburgh, where my father worked the steel mills. I graduated from a public high school, attended a community college and a state university. My first job was at a retail warehouse. And then, three decades ago, a friend and I had a big idea for a small business: a wholesale store that would provide our members with great products at low prices while treating our employees fairly. Today, our small company has been blessed with success-in bulk. Costco is the fifth-largest retailer in the U.S., the seventh-largest in the world.

    In Tampa last week, we heard all about job creators. But at our company, we recognize that job creation requires time and investment and commitment to the long term. It requires companies that plant and grow, not executives who reap and run. That’s how we do our part to build an economy that lasts. At Costco, we’ve created over 116,000 American jobs. During the next 12 months, we expect to add 7,000 more. And we’re proud that Costco pays the highest wages among our peers, that we provide benefit and health care plans that are second to none, that we’ve grown our business by promoting from within. So we’re not just giving Costco people jobs, we’re empowering them to build careers and support middle-class families.

    At Costco, we know a thing or two about what it takes for businesses to succeed, for a company to do well by its shareholders and to do right by its employees at the same time. We don’t want one set of rules for ourselves and another for our employees. We remember what it was like to be employees. And that’s why we want to be part of an economy built to last. Some of my friends in corporate America say that all they need is a government that gets off the backs of businesses, and that’s why many of them are supporting the opposition, with donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    But I think they get it all wrong. Business needs a president who has covered businesses’ backs. A president who understands what the private sector needs to succeed. A president who takes the long view and makes the tough decisions. And that’s why I am here tonight supporting President Obama, a president making an economy built to last. See, in order for companies like Costco to invest, grow, hire and flourish, the conditions have to be right. That requires something from all of us.

    And if you ask the innovative growth companies across the country, they’ll tell you exactly what that something is. They’ll tell you America needs to be a nation with the best education system so workers can get the training they need to join or stay in the middle class. America needs to be a nation that spurs research and innovation so our products and industries of tomorrow are invented right here at home. America needs to be a nation with affordable energy of all kinds so companies can keep their costs down, their production lines humming and their products moving. America needs to be a nation with the safest, most efficient transportation systems so people and goods can connect with opportunities and markets. America needs to be a nation that pays down its debt in a balanced way so businesses have a predictable environment in which to plan, invest, hire and trade. America needs to be a nation with sensible immigration laws, laws that are humane and practical, laws that help businesses retain qualified employees who, today, are forced to leave our country after completing their education. And America needs to be a nation where everyone follows the same rules of the road so that small businesses can compete with the big, so that small businesses can become big, so that breakthrough ideas and hard work are rewarded more than speculation, so that more start-ups succeed and fewer bubbles burst. These are the investments that businesses want. These are the building blocks of President Obama’s plan for the future. And that’s why I’m proud to stand with him.

    Three decades ago, my business partner and I started a company. We sacrificed. We struggled. We risked our own money. We relied on ourselves. Our initiative, our enterprise-this, in part, is why our company succeeded. But here’s the thing about the Costco story: we did not build our company in a vacuum, we built it in the greatest country on earth. We built our company in a place where anyone can make it with hard work, a little luck and a little help from their neighbors and their country. I’m here tonight because Costco’s story is the American story. Because it’s a story that President Obama is helping millions of dreamers and doers to write anew for themselves. And I’m here tonight because I believe he deserves four more years to help us write the next chapter. Thank you all very much.

  • The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Elizabeth Warren, Candidate for U.S. Senate, Massachusetts, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.

    Thank you! I’m Elizabeth Warren, and this is my first Democratic Convention. Never thought I’d run for senate. And I sure never dreamed that I’d get to be the warm-up act for President Bill Clinton-an amazing man, who had the good sense to marry one of the coolest women on the planet. I want to give a special shout out to the Massachusetts delegation. I’m counting on you to help me win and to help President Obama win.

    I’m here tonight to talk about hard-working people: people who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with homework; people who can be counted on to help their kids, their parents, their neighbors, and the lady down the street whose car broke down; people who work their hearts out but are up against a hard truth-the game is rigged against them.

    It wasn’t always this way. Like a lot of you, I grew up in a family on the ragged edge of the middle class. My daddy sold carpeting and ended up as a maintenance man. After he had a heart attack, my mom worked the phones at Sears so we could hang on to our house. My three brothers all served in the military. One was career. The second worked a good union job in construction. The third started a small business.

    Me, I was waiting tables at 13 and married at 19. I graduated from public schools and taught elementary school. I have a wonderful husband, two great children, and three beautiful grandchildren. And I’m grateful, down to my toes, for every opportunity that America gave me. This is a great country. I grew up in an America that invested in its kids and built a strong middle class; that allowed millions of children to rise from poverty and establish secure lives. An America that created Social Security and Medicare so that seniors could live with dignity; an America in which each generation built something solid so that the next generation could build something better.

    But for many years now, our middle class has been chipped, squeezed, and hammered. Talk to the construction worker I met from Malden, Massachusetts, who went nine months without finding work. Talk to the head of a manufacturing company in Franklin trying to protect jobs but worried about rising costs. Talk to the student in Worcester who worked hard to finish his college degree, and now he’s drowning in debt. Their fight is my fight, and it’s Barack Obama’s fight too.

    People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: they’re right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs-the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs-still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.

    Anyone here have a problem with that? Well I do. I talk to small business owners all across Massachusetts.

    Not one of them-not one-made big bucks from the risky Wall Street bets that brought down our economy. I talk to nurses and programmers, salespeople and firefighters-people who bust their tails every day. Not one of them-not one-stashes their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

    These folks don’t resent that someone else makes more money. We’re Americans. We celebrate success. We just don’t want the game to be rigged. We’ve fought to level the playing field before. About a century ago, when corrosive greed threatened our economy and our way of life, the American people came together under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt and other progressives, to bring our nation back from the brink.

    We started to take children out of factories and put them in schools. We began to give meaning to the words “consumer protection” by making our food and medicine safe. And we gave the little guys a better chance to compete by preventing the big guys from rigging the markets. We turned adversity into progress because that’s what we do.

    Americans are fighters. We are tough, resourceful and creative. If we have the chance to fight on a level playing field-where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot-then no one can stop us. President Obama gets it because he’s spent his life fighting for the middle class. And now he’s fighting to level that playing field-because we know that the economy doesn’t grow from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up. That’s how we create jobs and reduce the debt.

    And Mitt Romney? He wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. But for middle-class families who are hanging on by their fingernails? His plans will hammer them with a new tax hike of up to 2,000 dollars. Mitt Romney wants to give billions in breaks to big corporations-but he and Paul Ryan would pulverize financial reform, voucher-ize Medicare, and vaporize Obamacare.

    The Republican vision is clear: “I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.” Republicans say they don’t believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people.

    No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama.

    After the financial crisis, President Obama knew that we had to clean up Wall Street. For years, families had been tricked by credit cards, fooled by student loans and cheated on mortgages. I had an idea for a consumer financial protection agency to stop the rip-offs. The big banks sure didn’t like it, and they marshaled one of the biggest lobbying forces on earth to destroy the agency before it ever saw the light of day. American families didn’t have an army of lobbyists on our side, but what we had was a president-President Obama leading the way. And when the lobbyists were closing in for the kill, Barack Obama squared his shoulders, planted his feet, and stood firm. And that’s how we won.

    By the way, just a few weeks ago, that little agency caught one of the biggest credit card companies cheating its customers and made it give people back every penny it took, plus millions of dollars in fines. That’s what happens when you have a president on the side of the middle class.

    President Obama believes in a level playing field. He believes in a country where nobody gets a free ride or a golden parachute. A country where anyone who has a great idea and rolls up their sleeves has a chance to build a business, and anyone who works hard can build some security and raise a family. President Obama believes in a country where billionaires pay their taxes just like their secretaries do, and-I can’t believe I have to say this in 2012-a country where women get equal pay for equal work.

    He believes in a country where everyone is held accountable. Where no one can steal your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street. President Obama believes in a country where we invest in education, in roads and bridges, in science, and in the future, so we can create new opportunities, so the next kid can make it big, and the kid after that, and the kid after that. That’s what president Obama believes. And that’s how we build the economy of the future. An economy with more jobs and less debt. We root it in fairness. We grow it with opportunity. And we build it together.

    I grew up in the Methodist Church and taught Sunday school. One of my favorite passages of scripture is: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40. The passage teaches about God in each of us, that we are bound to each other and called to act. Not to sit, not to wait, but to act-all of us together.

    Senator Kennedy understood that call. Four years ago, he addressed our convention for the last time. He said, “We have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world.” Generation after generation, Americans have answered that call. And now we are called again. We are called to restore opportunity for every American. We are called to give America’s working families a fighting chance. We are called to build something solid so the next generation can build something better.

    So let me ask you-let me ask you, America: are you ready to answer this call? Are you ready to fight for good jobs and a strong middle class? Are you ready to work for a level playing field? Are you ready to prove to another generation of Americans that we can build a better country and a newer world?

    Joe Biden is ready. Barack Obama is ready. I’m ready. You’re ready. America’s ready. Thank you! And God bless America!

  • Wow, is this guy GOOD or WHAT?!?!?

    The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.

    We’re here to nominate a President, and I’ve got one in mind.

    I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.

    I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside.  A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.

    I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.

    In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don’t believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

    The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made.  One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.

    We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity.  We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”

    Who’s right?  Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24.  In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs.  What’s the jobs score?  Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!

    It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

    Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.  After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.

    Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.

    When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better.  After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day.  All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes.  Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way.  They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.

    One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation.  He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation.  He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act.  And Joe Biden did a great job with both.  He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries.  Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.

    President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.

    He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn’t work out so well.  Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work.

    Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job!

    In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.

    In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years.  You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids.  As another President once said – there they go again.

    I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.

    Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month.  The answer is YES.

    I understand the challenge we face.  I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy.  Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.

    I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995.  Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet.  By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.

    President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did.  No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years.  But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.

    I believe that with all my heart.

    President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.

    So back to the story.  In 2010, as the President’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.

    The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs.  But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.

    Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.

    The auto industry restructuring worked.  It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country.  That’s why even auto-makers that weren’t part of the deal supported it.  They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.

    Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured.  Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.

    The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.

    President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high.  Renewable energy production has also doubled.

    We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don’t have the required skills.  We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology.  That’s why investments in our people are more important than ever. The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years.  That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can’t repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn’t pay enough to make the debt payments.  This will change the future for young Americans.

    I know we’re better off because President Obama made these decisions.

    That brings me to health care.

    The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal.  Are they right? Let’s look at what’s happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion.  Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement.  More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies.  Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems.  Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions.  And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.

    So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.

    There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.  It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.

    When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s “biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.

    At least on this one, Governor Romney’s been consistent.  He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016.  If that happens, you won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.

    But it gets worse.  They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade.  Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all.  Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism.  I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. We can’t let it happen

    Now let’s look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.

    Here’s what happened.  When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%.  You hear that? More work.  So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.

    Let’s talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us.  President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.

    I think the President’s plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up.

    It’s supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out.  They say they’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code.  When you ask “which loopholes and how much?,” they say “See me after the election on that.”

    People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets.  What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.  If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy.  Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left.  We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.

    President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.

    My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in.  If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket.  If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama.  If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama.  If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.

    I love our country – and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in.  And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.

    If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.

    God Bless You – God Bless America.

  • So awesome, go Gabby! 🙂

  • Michelle, I love you. The other night, I think the entire country saw just how lucky I am. Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud…but don’t get any ideas, you’re still going to class tomorrow.  And Joe Biden, thank you for being the best Vice President I could ever hope for.

    Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

    The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope – not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.

    Eight years later, that hope has been tested – by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.  

    I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly.  Trivial things become big distractions.  Serious issues become sound bites.  And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising.  If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I.

    But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.  Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.    

    On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties.

    It will be a choice between two different paths for America.

    A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

    Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.  

    They knew they were part of something larger – a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office to the factory floor.  My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story:  the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

    I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away.  I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas.  And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table.  And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.  

    Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right.  They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan.  And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

    “Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”

    “Deficit too high? Try another.”

    “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

    Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses.  But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit.  I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China.  After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home.  We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back.   We’re moving forward.

    I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy.  I never have.  You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear.  You elected me to tell you the truth.  And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.  It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.  And by the way – those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

    But know this, America:  Our problems can be solved.  Our challenges can be met.  The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future.  I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.   That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

    We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs.  After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:

    We’re making things again.

    I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car.  Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.  

    I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America – not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products.  Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.  

    I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers – goods that are stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.

    After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years.  And now you have a choice:  we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America.  We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years.  You can make that happen.  You can choose that future.

    You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy.  After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.   We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries.  In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history.  And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

    Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it.  We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more.  But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.  

    We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet.  If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

    And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax.  More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke.  They’re a threat to our children’s future.  And in this election, you can do something about it.

    You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have.  Education was the gateway to opportunity for me.  It was the gateway for Michelle.  And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

    For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning.  Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading.  Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

    And now you have a choice – we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school.  No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money.  No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home.

    Government has a role in this.  But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work.  And together, I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth.  Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education.  Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job.  Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years.  We can meet that goal together.  You can choose that future for America.

    In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven.  Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq.  We did.  I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11.  We have.  We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over.  A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

    Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way.  We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected.  We will never forget you.  And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.  When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.

    Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers.  From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.      

    But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain.  Terrorist plots must be disrupted.  Europe’s crisis must be contained.  Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace.  The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.  The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.

    So now we face a choice.  My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

    After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp.  You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally.  My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan.  I have, and I will.  And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways.  After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.

    You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class.  Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion.  Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.

    I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.

    Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission.  No party has a monopoly on wisdom.  No democracy works without compromise.  But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do the math.  I refuse to go along with that.  And as long as I’m President, I never will.

    I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less.

    And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.  No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.  They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned.  Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.  And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.  

    This is the choice we now face.  This is what the election comes down to.  Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.  If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick.  If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress.  If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”

    You know what?  That’s not who we are.  That’s not what this country’s about.  As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man or government can take away.  We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative.  We’re not entitled to success.  We have to earn it.  We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system – the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

    But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

    We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.

    We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.

    We believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the next Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States – and it’s in our power to give her that chance.

    We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone.  We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules.  We don’t think government can solve all our problems.  But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.

    Because we understand that this democracy is ours.

    We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

    As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us.  It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.

    So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me.  It was about you.  My fellow citizens – you were the change.

    You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage.  You did that.

    You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance.  You made that possible.

    You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.”

    If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.

    Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen.  Only you have the power to move us forward.

    I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention.  The times have changed – and so have I.

    I’m no longer just a candidate.  I’m the President.  I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return.  I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs.  If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them.  And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”  

    But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America.  Not because I think I have all the answers.  Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.

    I’m hopeful because of you.

    The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter – she gives me hope.

    The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife – he gives me hope.

    The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn’t lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay – because they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that business – they give me hope.

    And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee.  Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg.  And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled.

    He gives me hope.

    I don’t know what party these men and women belong to.  I don’t know if they’ll vote for me.  But I know that their spirit defines us.  They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.”

    And if you share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote.

    If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.

    If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

    If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

    America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now.  Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place.  Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together.  We don’t turn back.  We leave no one behind.  We pull each other up.  We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

    Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.

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