The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Barack Obama
Remarks at a Campaign Rally in Rochester, New Hampshire
August 18, 2012
The President. Hello, New Hampshire! Thank you!

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you! Thank you so much. What a beautiful day in New Hampshire.

A couple people I want to acknowledge. First of all, thanks to your outstanding young mayor, T.J. Jean, and his folks, who are standing right next to him. They're pretty proud of him. He's doing a great job.

Please give Amy a great big round of applause for the wonderful introduction. One of the national cochairs of our campaign and your outstanding Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, is here. And congressional candidate Carol Shea-Porter is here. And all of you are here on a beautiful Saturday.

Now, first of all, I've got to just say thanks to all of you for looking after Malia and Sasha while they were up here. They were here for a month at camp, and they did a great—they just had a great time and enjoyed all the water sports, playing basketball and tennis, and arts and crafts. And, most importantly, there was some ice cream involved in the thing. [Laughter] They were quite pleased about that. So we missed them, though. Parents, it's tough when your kids are away, isn't it? We've missed them so much. And they promised they'd write, and they did, and they'd just say, "We're doing fine. Bye." [Laughter] It's tough.

But, anyway, I can see why they enjoyed themselves because New Hampshire is one of the most beautiful states in the country, and we are just so pleased to be here. Now, they didn't—Malia and Sasha didn't get any TV when they were at camp, but——

Audience members. Aww.

The President. No, there's nothing wrong with that. That's good. [Laughter] But, unless you've been able to hide your television set, you may be aware that there's a pretty intense campaign going on right now.

Now, the reason it is so hotly contested is because the choice that we face this November couldn't be bigger. It's not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties. This is a choice between two fundamentally different visions for our country, two fundamentally different ideas about the direction that we should be going in. And the direction that we choose—the direction you choose when you walk into that voting booth in November—is going to have an impact not just on your lives; it's going to have an impact on your children, your grandchildren, and generations to come.

Now, 4 years ago, we came together as Democrats, but also Independents and some Republicans, because we knew we had to restore the basic bargain that built America, what made us an economic superpower, what created the greatest middle class we've ever seen. And it's a pretty simple bargain. It's the idea that if you work hard, you should be able to get ahead. It's a deal that says, if you put in enough effort and you act responsibly that you can find a job that pays the bills; you can afford a home that you call your own; you can count on health care when you get sick; you can retire with dignity and respect; and, most importantly, you can give your kids the kind of education and opportunity that allows them to dream even bigger and do even better than you ever did. That's the American idea. That's what we came together to fight for in 2008.

It's a simple American promise. And we knew it wouldn't be easy restoring that promise. We knew it would take more than one year or one term or even one President because we had gone through a decade in which that promise wasn't being kept.

Audience member. I love you, Mr. President!

The President. I love you too, sweetie. [Laughter]

We had seen a decade, before I came into office, in which jobs were being shipped overseas. We had run two wars on a credit card, gone from surplus to deficits. Wages and incomes actually went down during this period, even as the costs of everything from health care and college were going up. A few folks at the top were doing really, really well, but for a lot of middle class families, folks were working harder and harder—and seems like if you were lucky, you were just treading water. And that was before the economic crisis, which hammered so many families all across this State and all across this country—people losing their jobs, their homes, their savings, making the American Dream even further out of reach.

So when I ran 4 years ago, when we talked about how we were going to restore that basic bargain 4 years ago, I told you there were no quick fixes, there were no simple solutions. But what I said was if we were willing to work hard and we were willing to come together, I had no doubt we could meet every single challenge because we've got so many things going for us. We've got the best workers in the world. We've got the best entrepreneurs and small businesspeople in the world. We've got the best scientists and researchers, the best colleges and universities in the world.

Compared to other developed countries, we're a young nation. And part of it is because we've got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity. People still want to come here from every corner of the globe because they understand what America means. And so no matter what the naysayers say, no matter how dark the other side tries to paint things around election time, there is not another country on Earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States of America.

They understand, we understand, that here in America, if you're willing to work hard, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try. That's what the last 4 years has been about, whether it's been saving the auto industry or getting health care passed or creating 4½ million new jobs or making sure that young people have an easier time affording college. It's all about that idea of making sure hard work is rewarded. That's what my Presidency has been about; that is what this campaign is about; that is why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States.

Now, my opponent and his new running mate, they just have a different view of things. They've got wonderful families, they're good people, but they believe in a different vision. They think the best way forward is the kind of top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place. They truly believe that if you roll back regulations that we put in place to control Wall Street or if you get rid of regulations we put in place to avoid our air getting dirtier and our water getting dirtier and then if you combine that with more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, then somehow prosperity will come raining down on all of you. [Laughter]

Audience member. That's why we're in a drought! [Laughter]

The President. I'm not exaggerating here. You can go on their web site. Look at Congressman Ryan's budget. The centerpiece of Governor Romney's entire economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to folks like me, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans. His new running mate, Congressman Ryan, put forward a plan that would let Governor Romney pay less than 1 percent in taxes each year.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. That's a pretty good deal: Just paying 1 percent in taxes, you're making millions of dollars.

Now, here's the kicker: They expect you to pick up the tab. Governor Romney's tax plan would actually raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of $2,000. Now, this is not my analysis. This is the analysis of independent economists whose job it is to analyze these plans. Every media outlet checked on the numbers here, and their estimate is that it would cost you an extra $2,000, Not to grow the economy, not to reduce the deficit, not to make sure that our schools are working well or we're building roads or we're strengthening the middle class, all this would be just to give another tax cut to folks like Governor Romney. It would give the average person who is making more than $3 million a year another $250,000 in tax cuts.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. Now, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan will be here in New Hampshire on Monday, so you can tell them if you think this is fair. [Laughter] And you should ask them, how do you think that's going to grow the economy again? How is that going to strengthen the middle class?

Look, we have tried this kind of trickle-down snake oil before. [Laughter] It didn't work then. It won't work now. It's not a plan to create jobs; it's not a plan to reduce our deficit; it's not a plan to strengthen our economy; it's not a plan to strengthen the middle class—it won't work. We're moving forward. They want to take us backwards. That's the choice in this election. And that's why I'm running for a second term.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Now, the truth is, if you ask them or you ask their consultants, I think, they know their economic plan isn't really popular. [Laughter] And that's why they've got to be dishonest about my plan. They are just throwing everything they can at the wall to see if it sticks.

Their latest approach is to try to challenge me on Medicare. Now, let's just think about this for a second: Governor Romney wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system; Congressman Ryan wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

Audience members. No!

The President. I, on the other hand, have strengthened Medicare. We made reforms that extended the life of the program, saved millions of seniors with Medicare hundreds of dollars on their prescription drugs. We're closing the doughnut hole. The only changes to benefits that we made was to make the benefits better by making sure that Medicare now covers new preventive services like cancer screenings and wellness visits for free.

Meanwhile, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan want to give seniors a voucher to buy insurance on their own—which, again, somebody did the analysis, not us, somebody else. And they estimate that this could force seniors to pay as much as an extra $6,400 a year for their health care.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. How many people think that's a good deal?

Audience members. Nobody!

The President. That doesn't strengthen Medicare. It undoes the very guarantee of Medicare. But that's the core of the plan that was written by Congressman Ryan and endorsed by Governor Romney.

And if they want to talk about benefits, they should be straight with you. Those new cancer screenings and prescription drug discounts, all those things we put into place with the Affordable Care Act, those things would be eliminated if Governor Romney has his way. So it would take something away from seniors, and it wouldn't replace it with something better.

So here's the bottom line, New Hampshire. My plan saves money in Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and making sure insurance companies aren't getting unfair subsidies. Their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to rich folks who don't need a tax cut.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. My plan has extended the life of Medicare by nearly a decade. Their plan would shorten the life of Medicare and end Medicare as we know it because they turned it into a voucher system.

So those are the differences between our plans on Medicare. But that's just one example of the choice in this election. That's what's at stake. That's why I'm running. And you can see it on every issue.

When it comes to taxes, 4 years ago, I came before you and I said: Middle class families need relief, especially during this crisis; I'm going to lower taxes on middle class families. Guess what? I kept that promise. So if you start getting into an argument with your Republican cousin or friend or what have you—[laughter]—you just tell them: Look, the typical family is paying $3,600 less in Federal taxes since President Obama came into office. And right now, what I want to do is—I want to keep taxes right where they are for your first $250,000 of income. Now, that means—98 percent of Americans make less than $250,000; 97 percent of small businesses make less than $250,000. So under my plan, you wouldn't see your taxes, your income taxes, go up a single dime next year. That's a contrast with Governor Romney's plan.

But in the interest of full disclosure here, if you're fortunate enough to be in the other 2 percent, you're still going to get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of income. You get to keep that. All we're asking is that you contribute a little bit more so that we can pay down our deficit in a responsible way and invest in things like education that helped us grow. And you'll hear some people say, well, just taxing the top 2 percent, that won't eliminate the deficit. It's true. Government is still going to have to do its part in cutting away spending we don't need. And we've already cut a trillion dollars' worth of spending, and we're slated to do another trillion and a half under my budget plan.

But we're not going to do it all on the backs of middle class families and gutting education and gutting science and research and no longer investing in our infrastructure. All we're asking is that folks like me go back to the rates we paid under Bill Clinton, which, by the way, worked out pretty good. We created 23 million new jobs; we had a surplus instead of a deficit; and we created a whole bunch of new millionaires to boot.

And part of the reason it worked out pretty well, when a teacher or a construction worker or a nurse or a receptionist, when they've got a little extra money in their pockets, what do they do?

Audience members. They spend it!

The President. They spend it on basic necessities. And that means, maybe that old beat up car you've been hanging on to for the last 12 years, you decide, all right, it's time to get a new one. Or maybe you decide, you know what, our kids are going to college, let's make sure they've got a new computer. And that means, then, business has more customers, which means business gets more profit, which means they then hire more workers, which means those workers then have a little more money in their pockets. Everybody does better.

That's how you grow an economy, not from the top down, but from the middle out and the bottom up. When everybody is doing well, we all prosper. That's the choice in this election. And that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States.

On issue after issue, the choice could not be clearer. When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse, Governor Romney said, let's let Detroit go bankrupt. I said, let's bet on American workers. And 3½ years later, the American auto industry is back.

Governor Romney likes to tout his private sector experience, except a lot of that experience is investing in companies that have been called "pioneers" of outsourcing. We don't need more outsourcing; we need some insourcing. I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, like Governor Romney is promoting. I want to give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Rochester, right here in New Hampshire, right here in the United States of America, with American workers making American products, selling them around the world, stamped with three proud words: Made in America. That's what I'm fighting for.

My opponent thinks new sources of clean homegrown energy like wind energy are "imaginary." That's what he called them. [Laughter] Congressman Ryan said they were a "fad." Listen, since I took office, America has doubled the use of renewable energy. Thousands of good American jobs have been created. It's helping us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. That's not imaginary, that's real.

We need to stop giving $4 billion of taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that are making money every time you go to the pump. Let's give those tax breaks to producers of clean, renewable energy right here in the United States of America. That's a choice in this election.

I'm running because I made a promise to you in 2008: We'd end the war in Iraq, and we did. I said we'd go after Al Qaida and bin Laden, and we did. We're transitioning in Afghanistan so we can begin to bring our troops home. All of this was accomplished only because of the incredible service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, which is why we've already passed tax breaks for companies that hire veterans and we've made historic investments in the VA, because my attitude is anybody who has fought for our country shouldn't have to fight for a job when they come home.

So now, New Hampshire, after a decade of war, I want to take some of those savings. And let's do some nation-building here at home. Let's take about half the money we're no longer spending on war, and let's put it to use putting people back to work rebuilding roads and runways and ports and wireless networks and broadband lines into rural communities, and creating a veterans jobs corps that can help returning heroes get back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them. That's the America we want to build. That's the choice in this election.

I want to make sure we've got the best education system in the world. So I want to help local school districts hire and retain the very best teachers, especially in math and science; create 2 million more slots for Americans to go to community colleges to learn the skills that businesses are looking for right now. And I want to keep working to reduce the cost of tuition for colleges and universities because a higher education is not a luxury. It's an economic necessity in the 21st century. That's a choice we've got to make in this election.

And yes, New Hampshire, I'm running because I believe in this Nation. I still believe you shouldn't go bankrupt when you get sick. I'm actually kind of fond of the term Obamacare. I fought for that bill because I cared, because I cared about the 6 ½ million young people who can now get insurance by staying on their parent's plan.

I care about the millions of seniors who are now getting discounts on their prescription drugs and free preventive care because of what we did. I care about all those folks here in New Hampshire and around the country with preexisting conditions who can now get health insurance because of what we did. The Supreme Court has spoken. This law is here to stay. We don't need to refight this battle for another 3½ . We're not going backwards, we're moving forward.

We're not going to put—we're not going to go back to the days when serving the country you love depended on who you love. We ended "don't ask, don't tell." It was the right thing to do. We're not going backwards, we're going forward.

I believe women should be in charge of their own health care decisions. We're not going backward, we're going forward.

On issue after issue, there is a clear choice. Now, over the next 3 months, the other side is going to spend more money than we have ever seen. I mean, they are writing $10 million checks—individuals—just to run the same ad over and over again. It's variations on the same theme, which is, the economy is not where it needs to be and it's Obama's fault. They'll just say that over and over again. [Laughter] And the reason they've got to say that—that's their only message—is because they know their economic plan won't sell.

They may have a plan to win the election, but they don't have a plan to create jobs. They don't have a plan to grow the economy. They don't have a plan to help the middle class. I do.

But here's the thing. I've been outspent before. I've been counted out before. But what gives me hope, what gives me confidence, is you. Because I know when the American people start paying attention after all the ads have been done and they cut through all the nonsense and they start remembering the story of their families: their parents, their grandparents, all the struggles they went through, what it means to work hard and get ahead and overcome obstacles—the same kinds of story I've got in my life as a son of a single mom; the same kinds of story that Michelle has in her life, her parents, dad a blue-collar worker, mom a secretary. We know what it's been like to go through hard times. But we also know what it's like to have hope and determination and resilience and to watch the next generation do better. And when you guys are focused on that idea, which is the essence of who we are, then all that other money, all that other stuff, doesn't matter.

So, New Hampshire, I'm going to need your help. We've come too far to turn back now. We've still got more good jobs to create, more good teachers to hire, more students to help to go to college, more troops to bring home, more homegrown energy to generate, more doors of opportunity to open for everybody who is willing to walk through them and work hard and put in the effort.

And if you're willing to stand with me one more time—if you're willing to knock on some doors and make some phone calls, talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors—we will finish what we started. We will win New Hampshire. We will win this election. And we'll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

Citation: Barack Obama: "Remarks at a Campaign Rally in Rochester, New Hampshire", August 18, 2012. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=101938.
 
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