Barack Obama photo

Remarks at a Campaign Rally in Dayton, Ohio

October 23, 2012

The President. Hello, Ohio! Are you fired up? Are you ready to go? I just want to make sure. Are you fired up?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Are you ready to go?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Before we get started, I want everybody to give a big round of applause to Joe Biden!

Now, first of all, you need to know Joe Biden is a man who is literally in love with a teacher. He doesn't just say, I love teachers, he's married to a teacher. But more importantly—I want everybody to understand this—I could not ask for a better partner than my Vice President Joe Biden. There's nobody who knows more about foreign policy than my Vice President. There's nobody who gives me better advice than my Vice President. There's nobody who you'd rather have in a foxhole with you when it matters most than my Vice President. There's nobody who cares more about the middle class and fights harder for America than my Vice President.

I could not do what I do without him having my back every single day. So I want you to give him another big round of applause.

Audience members. Joe! Joe! Joe!

The President. Joe! Joe! Joe!

Audience members. Joe! Joe! Joe!

The President. We've also got a great candidate for Congress; Sharen Neuhardt is here. Give her a big round of applause.

Now, 2 weeks, Ohio. Two weeks. Two weeks from today, Americans all across the country will step into the voting booth. But here in Ohio, you can vote early. Here in Ohio, you can vote right after this event. If you want to know where to vote, you go to

Audience member. Is Biden going to be there?

The President. He already voted, and he's proud of it. Anybody who is here who has not yet voted, I want you to go vote. Because you've got a very big choice to make. Not just a choice between two candidates or two parties, but two different visions for this country that we love.

Now, last night we had our third debate. And I hope I made clear that there's a big difference between me and Mitt Romney. And it's not just that he's got better hair. [Laughter] Because the greatest responsibility I have as President is to keep the American people safe. That's why I ended the war in Iraq, so we could go after the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. That's why, working with Joe Biden and our national security team, we've been able to decimate Al Qaida. That's why we were able to bring Usama bin Laden to justice. That's why we're now ending the war in Iraq, because after a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building right here in Ohio, do some nation-building here in the United States of America.

In a world of new threats and challenges, America needs leadership that is strong and steady. Unfortunately, Governor Romney's foreign policy has been wrong and reckless. You heard him last night; he was all over the map.

During the debate, he said he didn't want more troops in Iraq. But he was caught on a video just a few months ago saying it was "unthinkable" not to leave 20,000 troops in Iraq. Those troops would still be there today instead of back home.

Last night he claimed to support my plan to end the war in Afghanistan, but he opposed a timeline that would actually bring the rest of our troops home. Last night he said taking out bin Laden was the right thing to do. Back in 2007, he said it wasn't worth "moving heaven and Earth" to catch one man.

Now, I recognize that—we must have some doctors in the house, because I've already heard people identify this condition. It's called Romnesia. [Laughter] And we had a severe case breaking out last night. [Laughter] So I want to go over the symptoms with you because, Dayton, I sure don't want anybody to catch it here in Ohio.

If you talk about how much you love teachers during a debate, but just a few weeks ago you said we shouldn't hire any more because it won't grow our economy, you might have Romnesia.

If you say you won't give a big tax cut to the wealthy, but you're on a video promising your tax cut would include the top 1 percent, that sounds like a classic case of Romnesia.

If you say that you love American cars during a debate, you're a car guy, but you wrote an article titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," you definitely have a case of Romnesia.

Last night Governor Romney looked you right in the eye—looked me in the eye—and tried to pretend that he never said "let Detroit go bankrupt." Tried to pretend he meant the same thing I did when we intervened and worked to make sure that management and workers got together to save the U.S. auto industry, pretended like somehow I had taken his advice.

The people don't forget. The people of Dayton don't forget.

Audience members. No!

The President. The people of Ohio don't forget.

Audience members. No!

The President. If Mitt Romney had been President when the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, we might not have an American auto industry today. We'd be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China.

Audience members. No!

The President. And you know how important that is to Ohio. The auto industry supports one in eight Ohio jobs. It's a source of pride to this State. It is a source of pride to our country. It's a source of pride to generations of workers. I refused to walk away from those workers. I bet on those workers. I refused to walk away from those jobs. I understood that Americans can compete. I wasn't about to let Detroit go bankrupt or Toledo go bankrupt or Lordstown go bankrupt. I bet on American workers. I bet on American manufacturing. I would do it again because that bet has paid off for Ohio and for America in a big way.

So here's the good news, Ohio. If you've come down with a case of Romnesia—[Laughter]—if you can't seem to remember the positions that you've taken not just 4 years ago, but 4 days ago, if you don't remember the positions that are on your website, if you don't remember the promises you've been making during the 6 years you've been running for President, you don't have to worry, because Obamacare covers preexisting conditions. We can fix you up! There's a cure! There's a cure! There's a cure, but you've got to vote to make sure that the medicine is there for Romnesia.

Now, we joke about Governor Romney being all over the map, but it speaks to something important: It speaks of trust. There's no more serious issue in a Presidential campaign than trust. Trust matters. You want to know that the person who's applying to be your President and Commander in Chief is trustworthy, that he means what he says, that he's not just making stuff up depending on whether it's convenient or not.

So smart people who—they don't have a dog in this fight—they've crunched the numbers, and we know that Governor Romney's jobs plan doesn't really create jobs. We know his deficit plan doesn't really reduce the deficit. His foreign policy is from the 1980s, before the cold war was over. His social policy is from the 1950s, and his economic policies are from the 1920s.

He knows he can't sell that even though those are his positions, so in the closing weeks of the campaign, he's doing everything he can to hide his true positions and tell us what he thinks you want to hear and then spend most of his time telling you what he thinks is wrong with America. Joe Biden just talked about that, talking about America is in decline. He is terrific at making presentations about stuff he thinks is wrong with America. But he sure can't give you an answer about what will make it right. And that's not leadership that you can trust.

You know, Ohio, you know me. You know I mean what I say. You know that I do what I say I'm going to do. You know that I'll make the tough decisions even when they're not popular. Folks don't remember: What we did with the auto industry, it wasn't popular when we did it. It wasn't even popular in Michigan and Ohio. But it was necessary. And because I had folks like Joe Biden with me who can support me when I make tough decisions, we went in and did what we thought was right. And I know people may not agree with every decision we make, but you know that I'm doing it because I am fighting for the American people. I'm doing what I believe.

That's what you need from a President. Yes, we've been through tough times, but there's no quit in America. Our businesses have added more than 5 million new jobs over the past 2 1/2 years. Manufacturing is growing faster than any time since the 1990s. Our unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level since I took office. Home values are rising. The stock market has rebounded. Our assembly lines are humming again. Our heroes are coming home. We are moving forward.

Four years ago, I promised to cut taxes for middle class families, and I kept that promise. I promised to cut taxes for small businesses. We have 18 times. We got back every dime we used to rescue the banks, with interest. And then we passed a law to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts for good. We repealed "don't ask, don't tell," because anybody who wants to serve in our military, if they're a great soldier or marine or airman or coastguardsman, then they should be able to serve regardless of who they love.

We saved an American auto industry. It's engines are roaring at full throttle with nearly 250,000 new jobs. That's not just something that the Midwest can be proud of, that's something America can be proud of.

Now, we know we're not where we need to be—not here, not anywhere—but we've made real progress. We've got to build on that progress. We can't go back to what got us into this mess. We need to move forward with what's getting us out of this mess, and that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States.

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

The President. Now, last night and throughout this campaign I've laid out a plan for jobs and middle class security. Unlike Mitt Romney, I'm proud to talk about what's in my plan, because, first of all, the math actually adds up. My plan will actually move America forward. It's not just a sales job. It's not a sketchy deal. It's not the okeydoke. [Laughter] If you want to take a look, check it out at Share it with your friends. Share it with your neighbors. Share it with your coworkers.

There are still some people out there trying to make up their minds. Some of you here may still be trying to make up your mind.

Audience members. No!

The President. I'm just saying somebody might have just been taking a nice walk on a beautiful day—[Laughter]—and suddenly found themselves in the middle of an Obama rally. And if that's what happened to you, I want you to look at our plan. Compare it to Governor Romney's plan. See which plan you think is better for you and for America's future.

Well, he says he's got a plan. He's got a one-point plan.

But I want to talk about what's in my plan just so everybody knows exactly what I intend to do over the next 4 years, because I do what I say I'm going to do. First, my plan builds on our manufacturing base by extending—by making sure that we're ending tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to give those tax breaks to small business and manufacturers that create jobs right here in Dayton, right here in the United States of America. That's what I want to do.

Number two, my plan cuts our oil imports in half by 2020, so we control more of our own energy. You may have heard me say this: Today, we're less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last two decades. And one of the reasons is because we've increased fuel standards on cars and trucks, so you go twice as far on a gallon of gas. And I want to build on that progress. I don't want fuel-efficient cars and long-lasting batteries and wind turbines all made in China. I want them manufactured right here in the United States of America. And we can do that.

Number three, my plan is going to make it a national mission to educate our kids and train our workers so that we can compete with anybody in the world. I want to recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers over the next decade, train 2 million workers at community colleges with the skills that businesses are looking for right now. There are jobs to be had right now, but the workers have to be able to get the training for them. I want to make sure colleges and universities keep tuition low so our young people can get a college education without being loaded up with debt. We can do that.

Number four, my plan will cut our deficit by $4 trillion; it actually adds up. We can do the math on the website. In the plan, we'll do it in a balanced way over the next 10 years. I'll cut spending we don't need, but we're also going to have to ask the wealthiest among us to do a little bit more. Because that will allow us to invest in research and technology to keep new jobs coming, to keep new businesses coming here to America.

And I'll never balance the deficit by turning Medicare into a voucher. No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of an insurance company.

And finally, my plan says let's take the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and let's put some people back to work right here at home, doing some nation-building: repairing roads, fixing bridges, remodeling schools, laying down broadband lines, making our economy more competitive.

And when our veterans come home, let's put them back to work in some of these jobs. Let's make sure we're serving them as well as they've served us. Governor Romney did not even mention our veterans last night.

Audience members. No!

The President. Not a word. Not a word. He may have already written off half the country behind closed doors, but the men and women and their families who have served our country so bravely, that Joe and I talk to almost every day and we see the sacrifices they're making, they deserve better from somebody who's applying to be Commander in Chief. We're fighting for them every single day.

So, Ohio, that's the plan we need. That's what will create jobs. That's how you build a strong, sustainable economy that good, middle class jobs have to offer. That's how you encourage businesses to start here in America. That's how you increase take-home pay, not just by talking about it. That's how you build an economy where everybody who works hard has a chance to get ahead. We don't build the economy from the top down. We build it from the middle up.

And now it's up to you, right here, right now. You've got to decide which path we're going to take. You can choose the top-down policies that got us into this mess, or you can choose the policies that we are promoting that will get us out of this mess. You can choose a foreign policy that's reckless and wrong, or you can choose the foreign policy that Joe and I have been applying that's steady and strong.

You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years for women and immigrants and gays, or you can say, in this election, we believe that everybody has got a place in America. We want to make sure everybody has got opportunity. No matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, here in America, you can make it if you try.

So I'm asking for your vote. I'm asking you to help me finish the job. I believe in you, and I need you to keep believing in me. And if you stand with me and knock on some doors with me, make some phone calls for me, we'll win Montgomery County again. We'll win Ohio again. We'll win this election again. We'll finish what we started. We'll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you, Ohio. God bless the United States of America.

Note: The President spoke at 3:58 p.m. at Triangle Park. In his remarks, he referred to Jill T. Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden; Sharen Swartz Neuhardt, partner, Thompson Hine, LLP; and Republican Presidential nominee W. Mitt Romney. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Vice President Biden.

Barack Obama, Remarks at a Campaign Rally in Dayton, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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