Barack Obama photo

Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraiser in Miami, Florida

June 12, 2013

Thank you, everybody. Everybody, have a seat. Have a seat. Well, Tom, thank you so much for that introduction and the great support that you've given me and the incredible innovation that you and your company represents.

There are a couple of other people I want to thank. In addition to Shasta and Azza, who's back there and is growing like a weed—[laughter]—we've got our outstanding DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida's own. Where's Debbie? She was here. I don't know where she is now.

Our DNC finance chair—don't blame him for the fact that he's from San Antonio—Henry Muñoz is here. Our Florida finance chair, J.P. Austin, is here. And our Florida Democratic Party chair, Allison Tant, is here.

So the story that Tom describes is the story of America. Somebody starts off selling lumber on the back of a pickup truck, and they end up in Florida with some really nice artwork. [Laughter] But in so many ways, Tom has lived out the American Dream, but there are two elements that Tom describes that go to the heart of why I think most of you are here today.

Number one, the idea that anybody can make it if they've got a good idea. That's what America is about. That you don't have to be born into fame and fortune in order to succeed. If you work hard, we have the most open, most innovative, most entrepreneurial society on Earth.

Number two, that we bet on technology. That's what's always driven progress in this country; that we believe in the idea that we can do something better. That we may have figured out how to mass-produce automobiles, but we also can figure out how to mass-produce better automobiles. That we can invent communications systems that ultimately bring the entire world together. And that's always been part of who we are: at the cutting edge.

And then there's a third thing that Tom represents, and that is, a belief that there's no contradiction between doing well and doing good. The idea that those of us who have been blessed in this society—we work hard, we succeed—we've got to give thing back. And that there are broader issues about how we make sure that we're passing on to the next generation the same opportunities that were given to us.

Now those are all American values. But part of the reason we're here is because we believe that the Democratic Party best represents those values right now. I always say this: That hasn't always been the case. I come from Illinois, and we had a pretty good Republican President named Lincoln.

But right now I think that when you look at who's pushing to make sure that we're investing in research and technology, who's serious about discovering the new sources of energy, energy of the future and not just energy of the past; who's serious about making sure that every young person has educational opportunities, so that if they work hard they can succeed, that's us. That's what the Democratic Party is all about.

And most of all, who believes that every single person in this country—not just some of us—but everybody should have a chance at success. No matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name, no matter who you love, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, you can succeed. That's what we stand for.

That's why I ran in 2008. That's why I ran for reelection in 2012. And obviously, we've made enormous progress over the last 4½ years, with the help of folks like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, making sure that every single person in America can get affordable, accessible health care we're implementing right now, making sure that we double fuel efficiency standards on cars and double the production of clean energy.

Hey, Azza. You want to come up and say something? [Laughter] Daddy is right over here. Yes, she's right over there. [Laughter] You can't beat daughters. I mean, sons are okay, but—[applause].

We were able to restore growth to an economy that was crashing: 39 consecutive months of job growth, the stock market exceeding where it was before the financial crisis. Housing beginning to bounce back. So we've made progress. But what we also know is that we've still got an awful lot of work to do. And the only way we're going to get that done is if I stay focused, as President, on those issues that got people to send me to Washington: making sure that we're focused on bringing manufacturing back, making sure that we're focused on making college more affordable, making sure that we're reforming our K-12 system so that our kids get what they need, making sure that we're investing in clean energy, dealing with climate change. But I can't do it by myself. I've got to have partners.

Now, in some cases, we're seeing Republicans willing to work with us and compromise. I'm pleased to see that we got a good vote this week so far on immigration. That immigration bill is on the floor, and I think we have an enormous opportunity to get a bipartisan immigration bill done. And that will be not just an enormous political achievement, but an important economic foundation for us to continue to attract the best and the brightest from all around the world.

But sadly, all too often, we're not getting much cooperation from the other side. They seem more interested in winning the next election than helping the next generation. And so I will spend the next 3½ years doing everything I can to work with anybody—Democrat, Republican, or Independent—to advance the cause of middle class families and everybody who's willing to work hard to get into the middle class. I will be doing that. But I tell you what: It would be a lot easier if I had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate to do it.

So to all of you who have invested in me and invested in our vision for the future, I want to say thank you. But I also want to tell you that we've got a lot more work to do and it's going to be absolutely critical that everybody here feels the same urgency and intensity over the next year and a half leading up to the midterm elections as you did in 2008 and 2012.

If you do, then we can take back the House, we can keep the Senate in Democratic hands. That will allow me to appoint outstanding judges to the Federal bench. That will allow us to make sure that we are advancing issues like climate change that are critically important for the next generation. And it can be done, but it can only be done with you.

And for all that you've done, but also for all that you're going to be doing, I want to just say how much I appreciate it, and I'm looking forward to us partnering together for several more years so that we can get that whole agenda in place and make sure that Azza and all her peers can look back and say, you know what, our parents and our grandparents, they took care of business.

So thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 6:08 p.m. at the residence of Thomas D. Sullivan. In his remarks, he referred to Shasta Montes de Oca, girlfriend, and Azza Sullivan, daughter, of Mr. Sullivan.

Barack Obama, Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraiser in Miami, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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