Thank you, everybody. Everybody, please have a seat. Well, it is wonderful to be with all of you. Let me begin by thanking our hosts, Josh and Genine. Thank you so much for opening up this extraordinary home--and their gorgeous daughters who are doing all wonderful things. I was telling Josh, you cannot beat daughters. No offense, sons, but--[laughter]--I'm just saying, when you've got wonderful daughters, it puts a smile on your face. But thank you so much for your hospitality.
You guys benefit from having one of the best Governors in the country. Please give Martin O'Malley a big round of applause. Absolutely. An outstanding Lieutenant Governor, classmate of mine at Harvard, although he was a little younger than me, Anthony Brown. Two wonderful allies, great friends, great champions on behalf of working people not just here in Maryland, but all across the country: Barbara Mikulski is here, the senior Senator, and Ben Cardin in the house. We've got the wonderful Congressman--I loved his dad; he's doing just a great job following in his footsteps--John Sarbanes is here. And the outstanding mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is in the house.
And of course, all of you are here, and we're very pleased with that. I'm going to be very brief, because usually what I want to do in a setting like this is to take questions and provide comments or get advice.
But let me just say briefly, building on what Martin said, we've gone through the toughest economy and the toughest financial crisis in our lifetimes. What we've seen not just here in the United States, but worldwide, is something that we haven't seen since the thirties. And we've still got a long way to go. There are a lot of folks out there who are hurting--a lot of folks who are looking for work or are underemployed, a lot of folks whose homes are underwater--and we've been reading over the last several days about, because of the plunge in housing prices, the loss of that wealth that a lot of families are experiencing. It's put enormous strains on people all across the country, including here in Maryland.
But what we have been able to do over the last 3 1/2 years, after a decade in which we had been moving in the wrong direction, is to begin to point towards a trajectory where here in this country, everybody is getting a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same set of rules; trying to restore those core values here in America where if you work hard, you can make it, regardless of where you come from, what you look like, you have a chance if you act responsibly and you're willing to put in some sweat equity to make it here in America.
That's what the rescue of the auto industry was all about, recognizing that if you place a bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and people start cooperating, that we could once again be number one. And we're seeing GM now the number-one automaker in the work and the U.S. auto industry not only back on its feet, but producing cars that people want to buy all around the world.
It's what we're seeing in clean energy, where we've now doubled clean energy production since I came into office. The progress that we've been able to make with respect to making sure that businesses have markets all around the world so that we're not just known as a country that buys things, but we're also a country that's selling stuff. And we're well on track to double our exports since I came into office, because I want once again for products made in the United States to be known around the world as the best products that are available.
So we've been able to right the ship a little bit. We're moving in the right direction, but this election in many ways is going to be more consequential than 2008, because for all the changes that we've been able to achieve--equal pay for equal work legislation, reversing "don't ask, don't tell," health care legislation that gives 2.5 million young people the ability to stay on their parents' health care plans and gives 30 million people the opportunity to get affordable insurance for the first time, Wall Street reforms that are able to make sure that we don't go through another taxpayer bailout of our banking system like we did that last time. Despite all that work, we're going to need another term to make sure that we consolidate these gains and we lock in the kind of progress that we need to ensure that America's middle class is growing again.
And the reason this election is so important is because you'll never see a sharper contrast between the two parties in the vision that they have for where this country needs to go.
You've got a party that, at this point, its only recipe for success is another $5 trillion worth of tax cuts on top of the Bush tax cuts that--by every independent analyst who's looked at it--would actually make a our debt and our deficits much worse, or alternatively, would lead to us slashing the kinds of investments that are required for us to grow over the long term: investments in basic science and research and development that have been made us an economic superpower; investments in education, because we know that in the 21st century, those countries that have the best trained workers are going to be the most successful; investments we make in our basic infrastructure--our roads, our bridges, broadband lines, wireless networks; investments we make in ensuring that people who've worked all their lives can retire with dignity and respect, things like Medicare and Social Security.
And so there's going to be a very stark choice in terms of how we deal with our debt and our deficits, how we grow an economy, how we invest in our people to make sure that the next generations succeeds.
And the good news is, is that the American people generally agree with our vision. I mean, if you just put in front of them issue after issue and you present the Democratic approach and the Republican approach, we win. The challenge is, because folks are still hurting right now, the other side feels that it's enough for them to just sit back and say things aren't as good as they should be, and it's Obama's fault. I mean, you can pretty much put their campaign on a tweet and have some characters to spare. [Laughter]
And that's why your involvement, your contributions, your investment in this election, your willingness to talk to your friends and your neighbors and your coworkers and to help mobilize the same kind of energy on the ground that we had last time is going to be so important. And it's going to be important not just for this Presidential election, but it's going to be important to make sure that we retain control of the Senate. It's going to be important for us to be able to take the House.
But the one last thought I want to leave you with is a sense of optimism about how solvable our problems are. It's become fashionable to talk about how America can't recover from these kinds of challenges. You know what, that's what they've said throughout our history. They've always underestimated the resilience and the strength of the American people. And we've been through tougher times before.
And I, as you might imagine, spend a lot of time traveling all around the world. There's not a country that wouldn't trade places with us. If you look at, as tough as things have been, the pace at which we've grown, the accessibility of solutions to our fiscal problems relative to what's happening in Europe, for example, what's required is not out of reach.
It will require some tough choices. Most of all, it requires those on Capitol Hill to work across party lines to achieve some basic solutions. But we are poised to make sure that the 21st century is the American century, just like the 20th century was. It's going to require some work though, and this election is going to help determine it.
So I hope you guys are ready to go. I hope you are still fired up. I am just as determined as I've ever been, and I'm looking forward to this campaign.
So thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.