Tuesday, January 25, 2011
What I just told the nation
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Tonight I addressed the American people on the future we face together.
Though at times it may seem uncertain, it is a future that is ours to decide, ours to define, and ours to win.
I know we will.
Because, after the worst recession in decades, we see an economy growing again.
Because, after two years of job losses, we've added private-sector jobs for 12 straight months -- more than 1 million in all.
Because, time after time, when our resolve has been tested, we, as a nation, have always prevailed.
Overcoming the challenges we face today requires a new vision for tomorrow. We will move forward together, or not at all -- for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.
Yet the story of America is this: We do big things.
Just as the progress of the past two years would not have been possible without your hard work, we will not realize the agenda I described tonight without you.
So as we continue this great mission together, and we set out the plans for how far we can go, I need to know that you are ready to work side by side with me once more.
Will you stand with me as we strive to win the future?
The last two years have been marked by unprecedented reforms and historic progress.
But there is much more work to do.
Moving forward, America's economic growth at home is inextricably connected to our competitiveness in the global community. The more products American companies can export, the more jobs we can create at home.
This vision for the future starts with innovation, tapping into the creativity and imagination of our people to create the jobs and industries of the future. Instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's. It's why I challenged Congress to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources.
It means leading the world in educating our kids, giving each of our children the best opportunity to succeed and preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow.
We must build a 21st century infrastructure for our country, putting millions of Americans to work rebuilding roads and bridges and expanding high-speed Internet and high-speed rail.
We must reform government, making it leaner, smarter, and more transparent.
And we must take responsibility for our shared debt, reining in our long-term deficit so we can afford the investments we need to move our country forward.
That is the vision I laid out tonight. That is how we win the future.
It is going to take a lot of work -- but I have no doubt we are up to the task.
Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we'd beat them to the moon. The science wasn't there yet. NASA didn't even exist.
But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets. We unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
This is our generation's Sputnik moment.
Please stand together with me:
It is because of each of you, who define the will of a people, that the state of our union is strong in the face of tough challenges. You are the reason our future is still bright in the face of deep uncertainty.
And you are the reason I believe that future is ours to win.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
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It was two years ago today that Barack and I were sworn in, and I remember what he said like it was this morning:
"The challenges we face are real, they are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."
Even then, we knew it would take time. We knew it would be hard. And we knew we would sometimes make mistakes.
But we did not lose sight of what we came to do.
Together, we took on difficult issues that had been put off for decades. And some say we have accomplished more in two years than any administration since Roosevelt's.
Take it from me, that's something you should take to heart -- because none of it would have been possible without your hard work.
But the job's not done.
I am reminded of that every time I travel to the small towns in Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico -- all over -- and on the weekends I get home to Delaware. I meet folks who are still struggling, who want to know when the recovery will start to turn things around for their family.
These people are why we can't quit.
And moving forward with this new Congress, we will need to defend what we've achieved together as aggressively as we pursue the goals that remain.
I believe in the power of public service because I've seen what it has done throughout our country's history to combat social and economic injustice. And I am proud to say it's a story that continues in the remarkable progress we've made in the past two years. To tell it, there's a new report: Promises Kept.
Take a look at the Promises Kept report of all the work we've done in two years -- you can download a copy or have a few sent to you to share with friends.
There's a whole lot to be proud of.
Of course, the big ones come to mind first: historic health insurance reform, which is reining in the insurance companies and helping control the cost of care for millions of Americans; Wall Street reform, which put in place the toughest consumer protections ever; and the end of combat operations in Iraq, which brought more than 100,000 troops home.
And there is so much more you've helped achieve that is right now improving lives across the country:
-- We passed the Recovery Act, which saved and created more than 3 million jobs, provided the largest middle-class tax cut in a generation, and made landmark investments in clean energy, infrastructure, and education.
-- We made critical investments in General Motors and Chrysler, saving tens of thousands of jobs -- and perhaps the companies -- and spurring a rebirth of the American car industry.
-- We wrote into law student loan reform and credit card reform, which ended the worst abuses of the banking industries and are making lending fair for American families.
-- We put two new Supreme Court justices on the bench -- Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who bring rich and diverse experience to the Court.
-- We have begun to reset America's relationship with the international community, from the ratification of a new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia to tough new sanctions on Iran to strengthening our long-term partnership with a unified Iraq.
-- And we finally repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which was the right thing to do -- not only because it makes our military stronger at a time when it needs to be the strongest, but because we are seeking that military might with an abiding sense of justice.
Telling the story of the past two years will be critical to the fights ahead. And it's not just the story of this president or this White House -- it's your story.
And it is literally proof that the organizing you do on the ground -- the conversations you have with your friends and neighbors -- is working.
Now, I'm not going to say the last two years were easy -- and I won't tell you the fights ahead are going to get any easier.
But I didn't sign up for a cake walk. And I'm pretty sure you didn't either.
We're here to move our country forward. We're here to lay a new foundation for this country -- for our economy, for our politics, and for our children's and grandchildren's futures.
And, as Barack says, what we will be able to accomplish together is in your hands.
It's how hard we all work, and how well we all tell this story.
Take a few minutes to read Promises Kept -- and let's keep moving:
Thanks for everything,
Friday, January 14, 2011
Standing together in service
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The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is usually remembered for his heroic leadership of the civil rights movement -- he led the successful Montgomery bus boycott, delivered the "I Have A Dream" speech at a time when such words were still controversial, and ultimately gave his own life to the cause of equality.
But Dr. King was much more than a civil rights champion -- he was a man who lived his entire life in service to others, speaking out against poverty, economic injustice, and violence. Wherever he saw suffering, he did what he could to help, no matter who it was that needed him or why they were in pain. Through his leadership, he showed us what we can accomplish when we stand together.
Each January, we remember Dr. King on his own holiday -- and one of the best ways to preserve his legacy is to engage in service ourselves. As Dr. King told us, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"
That's why this Monday, January 17th, supporters will be participating in service projects all across the country in Dr. King's honor. There will be food drives, neighborhood clean-ups, education projects, blood drives, and more.
Will you find and sign up for an event in your area, and help make this country an even better place?
Our work is about so much more than politics -- it is about coming together through progress, change, and community. Lifting each other up in dedication and service is one of the best ways not only to honor Dr. King, but to honor each other. By giving service a new role in this country, we can establish a new foundation for our economy and a brighter future for our children.
That is why service is key to achieving our national priorities, and why Barack recently helped out at a Boys and Girls Club service event. Since moving to Washington, D.C. two years ago, he and I have gotten to know the community through similar service projects, including past Martin Luther King Day events. I treasure those opportunities, and I look forward to another one next week. Every time we pitch in, we get so much back, and always learn amazing things from our neighbors.
All of us have something to contribute, and all of us can make a meaningful difference in someone's life. It's a great way to remind others that they are not forgotten, and to remind ourselves that there are always things we can do.
Please help Barack and me honor the legacy of Dr. King, and join us in service to our country once again this year: