Remarks at a Campaign Rally in Boone, Iowa
The President. Hello, everybody! Thank you. It's good to be back. Thank you so much. It is good to be back in Iowa, and it's good to be back in Boone County!
A couple of folks I want to acknowledge: first of all, your outstanding former Governor and now, I think, the best Secretary of Agriculture we've ever had, Tom Vilsack. A great friend of mine, my cochair for my campaign when I was just getting started in 2007, 2008—he took a risk on me when nobody could pronounce my name—Tom Miller is in the house, attorney general of the great State of Iowa. And please give Dave a big round of applause for the great introduction.
Dave may have mentioned he is a music teacher. And I told him that Malia and Sasha have been practicing their piano. [Laughter] And Malia plays a little flute. But he mentioned that he thought—he had heard me sing, and he thought that I had really good pitch. So I'm—so Dave says he's got a band, and maybe after I'm finished with the Presidency, he said maybe I could be front man for the band. He said I might be—maybe I could be lead singer. That would be all right.
But listen, it is wonderful to be back in Iowa. It is wonderful to see some familiar faces and some good friends on a beautiful summer day. It was on your front porches and in some of your backyards where our movement for change started. We spent a lot of time in Iowa, and I felt like an adopted son of Iowa. We were on—we took bus tours all throughout the State, although I've got to admit the bus wasn't as nice as the one I've got now. [Laughter] And we went to school gyms and family farms and small businesses all across the State.
But here's the thing: Our journey is not over. It's not done. So I'm going to spend the next 3 days driving all the way across the State, just like we did in 2007—from Council Bluffs all the way to the Quad Cities—and I'm going to work just as hard, maybe harder, in this campaign as I did in the last one, because the choice that you face in November couldn't be bigger.
It is not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties. But more than any election in recent memory, this is a choice between two fundamentally different visions about how we move this country forward. And the direction that we choose—the direction that you choose when you walk into that voting booth in November—is going to have an impact not just on your lives, but on the lives of these young people here, the lives of your children, lives of your grandchildren for decades to come.
Think about it. When we came together 4 years ago—and it wasn't just Democrats; we had Independents and some Republicans get involved—the idea was to restore the basic bargain that made this country great, the basic idea that says if you work hard in this country, then you can get ahead; that if you put in the effort and you are responsible, then you can find a job that pays the bills. You can have a home that you call your own. You won't go bankrupt when you get sick. You can retire with some dignity and some respect. And maybe most importantly, you know that your kids can get a great education and they can dream bigger and do even better than you did.
That is the core of the American Dream. That's the American promise. Now, the problem is, is that we had gone through a decade where that promise wasn't being met, it wasn't being kept. So we had gone through a decade where jobs were being shipped overseas, where you were working harder, but you were bringing in less. Costs of college, costs of health care were all going up; cost of food, cost of gas all were going up. We ran two wars on a credit card. Tax cuts we didn't need and that didn't create jobs. And it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
So we knew that meeting these challenges that had been building up for over a decade, that it wasn't going to be easy. We knew it was going to take more than one year or one term or even one President. But what we also knew was that Americans are tougher than tough times. And so, even though this crisis that hit us in 2008 and 2009 was bad—even though a lot of folks lost their jobs and a lot of folks lost homes and a lot of folks lost savings, so that the middle class felt even more under the gun than they were before—what we knew was that the American people are resilient and we are tough.
And so, for the last 3 1/2 years, we've rolled up our sleeves, and we've worked hard. And small businesses have kept their doors open. And folks, even if they got laid off, they've retrained to find new jobs. And we created 4 1/2 million new jobs, half a million more in manufacturing. The auto industry is back on top.
And so we've made progress but we've got a lot more work to do. We've got a lot more work to do. Now——
Audience member. We can do it!
The President. We can do it. I agree. We can.
Now, here's the thing. Some people, they're naysayers, and they say, oh, America is on decline. And they try to paint things as dark as possible, especially during election time. But here's what I want everybody to know: We've got so many things going for us compared to the rest of the world. We've still got the best workers in the world. We've got the best entrepreneurs in the world. We've got the best scientists and the best researchers in the world. We've got the best colleges and the best universities in the world. We know how to work hard. And we're a young country, and we're a country that draws on the diversity of folks who want to come here from all around the world to be part of this American Dream. And most importantly, the crisis has not changed our character. It hasn't changed who we are. It hasn't changed our sense of determination and our sense of neighborliness and our understanding that we're in this thing together.
And so we've come together, just like we did in 2008, because our mission is not yet finished. We are here to build an economy where hard work pays off. And so no matter who you are or what you look like or where you come from, you can make it if you try here in America.
That's what this campaign is about and that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States of America.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. Now, just like——
Audience member. Forty more beers!
The President. [Laughter] Just as I said that we've got a lot of things going for us, there aren't any quick fixes or easy solutions to some of our challenges. We're going to have to keep working. We're going to meet these challenges. But the main problem we've got is not a lack of good ideas. It's not that we don't have good solutions to our problems. The big problem we've got right now is politics in Washington. The big problem we've got is one party just thinks that compromise is a dirty word. And they've got an economic theory that basically wants to go back to the old top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.
Now, look, over the weekend my opponent chose as his running mate the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress. And I've gotten to know Congressman Ryan. He's a good man. He's a family man. He's a very articulate spokesperson for Governor Romney's vision. The problem is, it's the wrong vision for America. It's a vision that I fundamentally disagree with.
Their main recipe for solving America's problems is getting rid of regulations on big corporations and big banks and then giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. And their theory is that somehow that's going to lead to jobs and prosperity for everybody. In fact, the centerpiece of Governor Romney's entire economic plan—you heard this from Dave—is a new $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans.
Now, keep in mind, these are the folks who say the deficit and the debt are the biggest problem we've got. And yet they now want to give a $5 trillion tax cut. I know these numbers get so big, but I just want you to get a sense: Our entire defense budget annually is $500 billion. So what this means is, a $5 trillion tax break over 10 years, that's the equivalent of the entire defense budget going out as a tax cut every single year.
Now, keep in mind that this is going disproportionately to the wealthiest Americans. Last week, we found out that Governor Romney expects you, middle class families, to pick up the tab for this big tax cut.
Audience members. No!
The President. And please don't take my word for it. You can go to their websites and look at their plan. And then independent economists have looked at this thing, and they said that Governor Romney's tax plan would actually raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of $2,000.
Audience members. Boo!
The President. Now, keep in mind, this is not $2,000 to reduce the deficit or to grow jobs or to invest in education or make college more affordable or to rebuild our roads. This is $2,000 to give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year.
Audience members. Boo!
The President. Now, let me just see a show of hands. How many folks are making more than $3 million a year? [Laughter] Okay, this guy back here. [Laughter] I'm looking for a campaign contribution. [Laughter] Let me tell you something: They have tried to sell us this trickle-down fairy dust before. And it did not work then; it won't work now. It's not a plan to create jobs. It's not a plan to cut the deficit. And it's not a plan to move our economy forward.
We don't need more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. We don't need a tax cut for Mr. Romney; we don't need a tax cut for me. We need tax relief for middle class families who are out there working to make sure that their kids are healthy and their kids can go to college.
That's the choice in this election. That's why I'm running for President because I've got a different idea. I've got a different idea than Mr. Romney.
When I came into office, I promised that I would cut middle class taxes. And you know what, I've kept that promise.
Audience member. You did!
The President. When you hear these Republicans saying that, "Oh, Obama is all about spending and raising taxes," let me tell you, the typical family is paying $3,600 less in taxes than when I came into office. That's the truth. That's a fact.
So now I want to keep taxes right where they are on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. So if your family makes $250,000 a year or less—like 98 percent of Americans—you won't see your income taxes increase by a single dime next year under my plan. Not one dime.
Now, if you're fortunate enough to be in the other 2 percent, you'll still get a tax cut for your first $250,000 worth of income. But after that, we're asking you to contribute a little bit more so we can pay down our deficit and invest in things like education that help our economy grow.
I'll make sure the Government does its part by cutting away spending we don't need. We've already cut a trillion dollars of spending we didn't need, and we can do more. I want to do another trillion, trillion and a half of cuts.
But we've also got to match that with folks like me and Governor Romney doing our fair share. And all we're asking is that we go back to the same rates that we paid under Bill Clinton. And you know what, that was a time when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and millionaires did pretty good too.
See, what happens is that when a teacher or a construction worker or a family farmer or a receptionist or a nurse, when they've got a little extra money, what do you do? You end up spending it on things you need. So maybe you haven't got a new car in 10, 15 years; you go out and buy a car. Or maybe the washing machine is broke, and you decide to buy a new washing machine. Maybe you go out to a restaurant on a special occasion. Maybe you take a vacation once in a while. That money goes into the economy. Businesses have more customers, they hire more workers, and everybody is better off from top to bottom.
I don't believe in top-down economics. I believe in middle-class-out economics. I believe in bottom-up economics. That's how you grow an economy. That's the choice in this election. And that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States.
There's a difference between me and Mr. Romney on almost every issue. When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs were on the line, Governor Romney said, let's "let Detroit go bankrupt." I said, let's bet on the American worker. And 3 years later, the American auto industry is back on top. GM is number one again.
Now, so I want to make sure that high-tech manufacturing jobs are taking root right here in Boone, not in China, not in Germany.
Governor Romney, he likes to tout his private sector experience. But a lot of that experience is investing in companies that were called "pioneers" of outsourcing. We don't need more outsourcing, we need some insourcing.
I want to take away tax breaks—[applause]—let's stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. Let's give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Iowa, right here in the United States of America. That's the choice in this election.
My opponent and I disagree when it comes to homegrown energy like wind. Wind power is creating new jobs all across Iowa. But Governor Romney says he wants to end the tax credit for wind energy producers. Now, America generates more than twice as much electricity from wind than when I took office. And the wind industry—[applause]—that's right. The wind industry supports about 7,000 jobs right here in Iowa. Without these wind energy tax credits, those jobs are at risk; 37,000 jobs across the country would be at risk.
So my attitude is, let's stop giving taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that don't need them and let's invest in clean energy that will put people back to work right here in Iowa. That's a choice in this election.
I'm running because in 2008, I promised to end the war in Iraq, and I did. I promised to go after Al Qaida and bin Laden, and we did. We're putting a timeline to get our troops out of Afghanistan and put Afghans in charge of their own security. So all of this is possible only because of the extraordinary sacrifice and service of our men and women in uniform. And we are so proud of them.
Now, we've got to do right by them. We've got to make sure that we're serving our veterans as well as they've served us. That's why we've put more money into the VA, making sure that folks are getting the benefits that they have earned, whether it's the wounds that are seen or the wounds that are unseen.
But it also means that after a decade of war, we need to do some nation-building here at home so that all our men and women in uniform are coming home to good-paying jobs.
That's why I've said let's take half the money that we were spending on war, and let's put folks back to work right here in the United States of America. Let's put them back to work rebuilding schools and rebuilding roads and rebuilding bridges. And let's create a veterans jobs corps to help hire veterans to become cops and firefighters in communities that need them the most.
That's the America we want to build. That's the choice in this election. That's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States.
I'm running because I want to make sure that once again America has the best education system in the world. So I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science. I want to give 2 million more Americans a chance to go to community colleges to get trained for the jobs that businesses are hiring for right now.
And we have a plan to push colleges and universities to bring down their cost of tuition, because young people, they can't be burdened with tens of thousands of dollars' worth of debt when they go to school. A higher education isn't a luxury anymore; it is an economic necessity in the 21st century. And we are going to help them get the education that they need.
Across the board, Governor Romney and I just see the world differently. When it comes to housing, I want to make sure that everybody who hasn't yet taken advantage of these historically low interest rates has a chance to refinance their homes. It can save folks up to $3,000. Governor Romney's plan, he said just let the housing market bottom out. That's not a solution, that's part of the problem.
He has got a different view than I do in terms of how we move this country forward. When it comes to health care, I guess he used to agree with me because he had the same health care plan that I did in Massachusetts. And by the way, that plan is working pretty good.
Now, he says he wants to kill Obamacare. Well, first of all, I don't mind it being called Obamacare because, it's true, I do care. That's why I passed the bill. I do care. I care about folks who have preexisting conditions and couldn't get insurance. That's why we passed the bill. I care about the 6 1/2 million young people who can now stay on their parent's plan because of this bill. I care about the seniors who were paying too much for their prescription drugs. We're closing the doughnut hole because of this bill and lowering their prescription drug costs.
So I don't believe that you should go broke when you get sick in this country. And I'll work with anybody who wants to continue to improve our health care system. But the Supreme Court has spoken; the law is here to stay. We're not spending the next 4 years refighting that battle. We're moving forward. We're not going backwards. That's a choice in this election.
So, Boone, all these things—whether it's bringing manufacturing jobs back, putting folks back to work in construction, protecting your health care, making sure our kids are getting the best education possible and they can afford to go to college—all these things that make up that American Dream, that make up a middle class life, they all tie together. They're central to that idea that made this country great, the promise that if you work hard, you get ahead; that everybody has a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.
It's the promise that our parents and our grandparents passed down to us. That's the promise that allowed me, the child of a single mom, to become President of the United States. It's the promise that allowed Michelle, whose dad was a blue-collar worker and her mom was a secretary, to become the First Lady. It's the promise that all of you have seen in your own lives. And now it's time for us to pass that down to our kids and our grandkids.
So, over the next 3 months, the other side will spend more money than you have ever seen running the same ad over and over again, basically, which says, the economy is not where it should be and it's Obama's fault. They just repeat it over and over again. They've got different variations, but it's all the same theme.
Audience member. They're not right!
The President. And—well, they're not constrained by the facts, in terms of these ads that they run. They'll just make stuff up. And that may be a plan to win the election, but the reason they've got to do that is because they know 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 revive the middle class. What they're selling, you're not buying. That's why they don't talk about it.
I've got that plan. And we can make it work, but I'm going to need your help. I've got to make sure everybody here is registered to vote. I've got to make sure everybody is getting their friends and their neighbors, their family members to register to vote. You can get a voter registration form online. You go to gottaregister.com. That's "gotta"—g-o-t-t-a, gottaregister.com.
But if you guys get involved, we can't lose. I've been outspent before and I've been counted out before. But the reason I love this State is because all of you gave me a chance. I had a chance to talk to you and meet you and share stories with you.
And I used to say back in 2008 that I'm not a perfect man and I won't be a perfect President. But I told you I'd always tell you what I thought, always tell you where I stood, and I'd fight every single day as hard as I knew how for you. And the reason is because I see myself in you. When I see your grandparents, I see my grandparents. And when I see your kids, I see Malia and Sasha.
And we know what it's like to work and to fight hard to get ahead. And I want everybody in America to have that same chance that I had. Because we have come too far to turn back now, Iowa. We've got too many good jobs to create. We've got too many great teachers to hire. We've got too many schools to rebuild. We've got too many students who need to get a college education. We've got too many wind farms to build. We've got more troops we've got to bring back home. We've got to open up more doors to opportunity.
And if you'll stand with me and work with me and organize with me and knock on doors with me, Boone, I promise you, we will win Iowa and we will win this election. And we'll remind the world why this is the greatest nation on Earth.
God bless you, and God bless America.
Note: The President spoke at 6:10 p.m. at Herman Park. In his remarks, he referred to David L. Swenson, orchestra teacher, Boone High School in Boone, IA; and Republican Presidential candidate former Gov. W. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
Barack Obama, Remarks at a Campaign Rally in Boone, Iowa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/302209