TRANSCRIPT: In Ohio Address, Obama Calls RNC Agenda "Out of the Last Century"
Earlier today, President Barack Obama made remarks at a Labor Day campaign event in Toledo, Ohio. Below is the transcript of those remarks, as prepared for delivery:
It is good to be in Toledo, Ohio! Thank you. [audience chanting Obama]
[INTRODUCTION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS]
For those of you have got a seat, feel free to take a seat. I have some things to say. I've got some things to say here. For those of you who don't have a seat, make sure to bend your knees a little bit, we don't want you fainting.
Now, we're on our way to our convention in Charlotte this week. [applause] But I wanted to stop here in Toledo to spend this day here with you. A day that belongs to the working men and women of America; teachers and factory workers and construction workers and students and families and small business owners.
And I know we've got some proud auto-workers in
the house helping to bring Toledo back. After all, it's working folks like you who fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers. It's working people like you who helped to lay the cornerstones of middle class security; things that people now sometimes take for granted.
But weren't always there; the 40-hour work week, weekends, paid leave, pensions, the minimum wage, healthcare, social security, medicare. Those things happened because working people organized and mobilized.
It is unions like yours that helped to forge the basic bargain of this country. The bargain that built the greatest middle class and the most prosperous country and the most prosperous economy that the world has ever known.
And you know what that bargain is because it's a simple one. It's a bargain that says if you work hard, if you're responsible, then your work should be rewarded. That if you put in enough effort, you should be able to find a job that pays the bills. You should afford a home to call your own. That you'll have healthcare you can count on if you get sick. That you can put away enough to retire.
Maybe take a vacation once in a while; nothing fancy. But you can enjoy your friends and your family. And most importantly that you can provide your children that they do even better than you did. [applause]
It's an American promise that says no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, you can make it here if you try. That's what we're fighting for, Toledo. That's what's at stake here in this election. That's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States of America. [applause]
Now last week, the other party gave their sales pitch at their convention down in Florida. [audience boos] Don't boo, vote. [applause] Vote. I have to say, it was something to see. [laughter] Despite all the challenges that we face in this new century, we saw three straight days of an agenda out of the last century.
It was a re-run. You might as well have watched it in black and white TV with some rabbit ears on there. [laughter and applause] Should have been on Nick at Night. [laughter] If you didn't DVR it, let me give you a re-cap of what they said. The economy is bad, it's all Obama's fault. And Governor Romney has the secret to growing jobs and the economy.
That's a basic summary. They spent the most time on me. [laughter] They were talking about me. And there were a lot of hard truths and bold choices they said, but nobody ever bothered to tell you what they really were.
And when Governor Romney had his chance to let you in on the secret sauce of job creation, he did not offer you a single new idea. It was just a re-tread of the same old policies that have stickin it to the middle class for years.
And then after the convention, Governor Romney came here to Ohio and he said he's going to be the coach that leads America to winning season. The problem is everybody's already seen his economic playbook, we know what's in it.
On first down, he hikes taxes by nearly 2-thousand dollars on the average family with kids in order to pay for a massive tax cut for multi-millionaires. [audience boos] That's on first down. Sounds like unnecessary roughness to me. [applause]
On second down, he calls an audible and undoes reforms that are there to prevent another financial crisis and bank bail-out. He wants to get rid of rules that are there to protect our air and our water and workers rights and protections to make sure healthcare is there for you when you get sick.
And then on third down, he calls for a hail mary. [laugher] Ending medicare as we know it by giving seniors a voucher to pay any additional cost out of their pocket. [audience boos] There's a flag on the play. [applause] Loss of up to an additional 64-hundred dollars a year for the same benefits you get now. That's their playbook.
That's their economic plan. I've got one piece of advice for you about the Romney-Ryan gameplan, Ohio. Punt it away. It won't work. It won't win the game. You don't need that coach. That's a losing season.
Now, there was one person at Governor Romney's convention last week who wasn't entirely on-script. Because while they were busy telling folks how bad everything is, your Governor John Kasich [audience boos] - don't boo. [audience: vote] John Kasich stood up there and told everyone that Ohio is number one in the Midwest in job creation.
4th best in America - which got folks kind of confused because if it's all Obama's fault and nothing is going right - what's going on in Ohio?
I guess the theory was its all the Governor's doing. But I think we need to refresh his memory. Because a lot of those jobs are autoworker jobs like yours. [APPLAUSE] The American auto industry supports 1 in 8 jobs in this state. And just a few years ago when the auto industry was flat lining, what was in his and Governor Romney's playbook? Let Detroit go bankrupt. Do you remember that? [YEAH]
Now think about what that would have meant, not just for Ohio, but for America. If we had turned our backs on you. If America had thrown in the towel like that, GM and Chrysler wouldn't exist today. The suppliers and the distributors that get their business from these companies would have died too. Then even Ford could have gone down as well.
Production shut down. Factories shuttered. Once proud companies chopped up and sold off in scraps. And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, you would've been benched for good. That's not a good play. We didn't run that play.
More than one million Americans across the country would've lost their jobs in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In communities across the Midwest, it would've been another Great Depression. And it's not just the workers themselves, think of everyone who depends on you; school teachers, small business owners, the server in the diner who knows your order before you walk in, the bartender who knows your order before you walk in. [APPLAUSE] Their livelihoods were at stake as well.
And so was something else. How many autoworkers here worked the assembly line but your dads and your granddads, maybe your moms, grandma's, how many people are second or third or fourth generation? [APPLAUSE] How many of you have sons or daughters that hope to work on those same assembly lines? [APPLAUSE]
You know, these jobs are worth more than just a paycheck. They're a source of pride. They're a ticket into a middle class life. These companies are worth more than just the cars that they built. They're a symbol of America's innovation. They're a source of our manufacturing might. If that is not worth fighting for than what is? [APPLAUSE]
Ohio, we're not about to take a knee and do nothing. We weren't going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities. We weren't going to let Detroit go bankrupt or Lordstown go bankrupt or Toledo go bankrupt. I stood with American workers. I stood with American manufacturing. I believed in you. I bet on you. I'll make that bet any day of the week. And because of that bet three years later, that bet is paying off for America. [APPLAUSE]
Three years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back. Nearly 250,000 new jobs. So it's a little funny watching Governor Romney and Governor Casey, others just try to rewrite history now that you're back on your feet. These are the folks who said that if we went forward with our plan, and I'm quoting here "you can kiss the automotive industry goodbye."
Now they're saying it was their idea all along. [LAUGHTER] Seriously. Or what they're saying is, well what the problem is that you, the workers, made out like bandits in this whole thing. That we did what we did because it was all about paying back unions. Really? I mean, even by the standards of political campaigns, that's a lot of you-know-what.
Workers made some of the biggest sacrifices. About 700,000 retirees saw a reduction in the health benefits that they had earned. Hours were reduced. Pay and wages scaled back. You gave up promises made to you over the years for the sake and survival of your fellow workers and their families and the company. [APPLAUSE] You made sacrifices.
Which is why I don't understand why these folks have the nerve to talk about you like you're some greedy special interest that needs to be beaten down. After all that unions have done to build and protect the middle class. They were standing up there in their convention saying you're responsible for the problems we face.
Their plans says the best way to help workers is to roll back worker's rights. To overturn laws that make sure that construction workers get a fair wage. To blame teachers and firefighters and police officers and other public servants for our economic challenges. Instead of what happened on Wall Street and the historic financial collapse.
So Toledo, what you need to know is this; when they're trying to take your collective bargaining rights away, when they're trying to pass so called right to work laws which really mean right to work for less and less. You should know that this isn't about economics. This is about politics. This notion that we should've let the auto industry die and that we should pursue anti worker policies in the hopes that unions like yours would unravel. It's part of the same old your own your own top-down philosophy that we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves.
Now on Thursday night, I'm going to offer you what I believe is a better path forward. [APPLAUSE] A path that's going to grow this economy and create more good jobs and strengthen the middle class. And the good news is starting on October 2nd, Ohio gets a say because you get to vote early. [APPLAUSE]
You can choose which path we take. You could choose their plan. [BOO] Don't boo. You could choose to give massive tax cuts to folks who've already made it. Or you can choose my plan. To keep taxes low for every American who's in the middle class and for every American who's striving to get into that middle class. [APPLAUSE]
Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for middle class families, and I have cut taxes by a total of $3600 for the typical family. [APPLAUSE] And now I'm running to make sure that taxes aren't raised a single dime on the first $250,000 of any family's income. Now, that's 98% of Americans. It may be %99.9 percent of this auditorium. Your taxes won't go up because my belief is you need relief. I don't need relief. Mitt Romney doesn't need relief. He needs it less than me.
But that's a choice in this election. You can choose whether we give up new jobs and new industries to countries like China. Or whether we fight to keep those jobs in states like Ohio. [APPLAUSE] You know, unlike my opponent, I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Toledo, right here in the United States. All across Ohio. All across the Midwest. [APPLAUSE]
You can decide whether borrowing money from your parents is an answer when a young person asks how they're going to go to college. You heard about that, right? This young college student says how can I get some help going to college and he says 'well you need to borrow money from your parents.'
I guess that's one path. That's one approach. I've got a different approach that says let's make sure that America once again lead the world in educating our kids and training our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. [APPLAUSE] And that means let's hire more great teachers especially in math and science. [APPLAUSE] Let's help more folks go to community colleges to train in skills that employers are hiring right now. [APPLAUSE]
Because the truth is, some sort of higher education, whether it's 4-year, 2-year, technical school, some form of higher education, that's not a luxury anymore. That is an economic necessity that every family should be able to afford. And that's what I'm going to be fighting for. [APPLAUSE]
Now Ohio, you could use an energy plan that the other guy is offering that is written by and for the oil companies. Or you can choose an all of the above strategy for American energy. Which means we drill for more oil, we mine for more coal, but it also means that we're going after the new energy sources of the future.
Now my opponent says renewable energy sources are imaginary. Now the folks here in Toledo manufacturing solar panels might agree with that. [APPLAUSE] These jobs aren't a fad. They're not imaginary. They're our future. And unlike my opponent, I want to stop giving a $4 billion a year tax payer subsidy to big oil companies that are making money every time you're go to the pump. And I want to use that money to invest in homegrown energy sources that have never been more promising and are creating jobs right here in Ohio. [APPLAUSE]
It's up to you whether we go back to the old health care system that lets insurance companies to decide when to cover you and when to cover you and drop you when you needed it most. But I think we should keep moving forward with the new healthcare law that's already cutting costs and covering more people and saving lives. You know, they call it Obamacare. It's true, I care. It's true. [APPLAUSE]
Y'know, I guess the other side's plan is the "Romney-Doesn't-Care-Plan." But now's not the time to refight the battles of the last 4 years. We need to move forward. You get to decide what the future of the war in Afghanistan is.
Y'know last week did you notice Governor Romney did not say a word about our troops who are in harm's way over there? And because of my plan, 33,000 of them will have come home by the end of this month [APPLAUSE]
He said ending the war in Iraq was tragedy. I think it was the right thing to do. I said we'd end that war and we did. I said we'd go after Al Qaeda; we did. I said we'd take out Bin Laden; we did. [APPLAUSE]
Our troops are out of Iraq, we're bringing them home from Afghanistan, and as long as I'm commander-in-chief we will serve our veterans as well as they've served us because nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or roof over their heads when they come home. That's why I'm running for a second term [APPLAUSE].
So we've got some big choices we gotta make. And the other side is gonna spend the next two months fighting back with everything they've got. They're gonna give you an avalanche of attack ads and insults and distraction and they may massage the truth a little bit.
And they'll be supported with ten million dollar checks from wealthy donors. And they know even if you don't buy into their plan, even if you don't vote for them, they're thinking "well maybe we'll discourage people, maybe they'll get so disillusioned with all this negativity you'll just decide to sit this one out."
But you know what I'm counting on something different. I'm counting on you. I'm counting on you. I'm counting on you. If you're not registered to vote, then you've gotta go to Gottaregister.com. That's not "Got to register.com," That's "Gotta."
If you wanna find out how to vote early starting Oct. 2, go to Gottavote.com. Gotta register, Gotta vote. Because we gotta whole lot of more work to do. [APPLAUSE].
We've got more good jobs to create. We've got more good cars to build. We've got more schools to upgrade and more great teachers to hire. And more young people to send to college. And we've got more troops we gotta bring home.
And more veterans we gotta take care of. And more doors of opportunity we gotta open up for everybody who's willing to walk through them. That's what's at stake in this election. That's why I'm asking for your vote. That's why I need you to knock on doors.
That's why I need you to get on the phone. I need you to talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors. I need you to stand with me, Ohio. And if we win Toledo, we will win Ohio. And if we win Ohio, we'll win this election. And if we win this election, we will finish what we started.
And we will remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you god bless you and God bless America.