Barack Obama photo

The President's Weekly Address

August 20, 2011

Hello from the Country Corner Farm in Alpha, Illinois. For the past few days, I've been traveling to small towns and farm towns here in the heartland of this country. I sat down with small-business owners in Gutenberg, Iowa, and ranchers and farmers in Peosta. I had lunch with veterans in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and talked to plant workers at a seed distributor in Atkinson, Illinois. And to the girls volleyball team in Maquoketa High School, let me just say one thing: Go Cardinals!

Now, I'm out here for one reason: I think Washington, DC, can learn something from the folks in Atkinson and Peosta and Cannon Falls. I think our country would be a whole lot better off if our elected leaders showed the same kind of discipline and integrity and responsibility that most Americans demonstrate in their lives every single day.

Because the fact is, we're going through a tough time right now. We're coming through a terrible recession. A lot of folks are still looking for work. A lot of people are getting by with smaller paychecks or less money in the cash register. So we need folks in Washington--the people whose job it is to deal with the country's problems, the people who you elected to serve--we need them to put aside their differences to get things done.

There are things we can do right now that will mean more customers for businesses and more jobs across the country. We can cut payroll taxes again so families have an extra $1,000 to spend. We can pass a road construction bill so construction crews who are now sitting idle can head back to the worksite, rebuilding roads, bridges, and airports. We've got brave, skilled Americans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Let's connect them with businesses that could use their skills. And let's pass trade deals to level the playing field for our businesses. We have Americans driving Hyundais and Kias. Well, I want to see folks in Korea driving Fords, Chevys, and Chryslers. I want more products sold around the globe stamped with three words: Made in America.

These are commonsense ideas, ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The only thing holding them back is politics. The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That's the problem we have right now. That's what's holding this country back. That's what we have to change.

Because, for all the knocks we've taken, despite all the challenges we face, this is still the greatest country on Earth. We still have the best workers and farmers, entrepreneurs and businesses, students and scientists. And you can see that here in Alpha. You can see it along the country roads that connect these small towns and farmlands.

These past few days, I've been seeing little kids with American flags and grandparents in lawn chairs. I've shaken hands with folks outside machine shops and churches, corner stores and farms. It reminds me of why I got into public service in the first place. Getting out of Washington and spending time with the people of this country, seeing how hard you're working, how creative you are, how resourceful you are, how determined you are, that only makes me more determined to serve you as best I can as President. And it only makes me more confident in our future.

That's why it's so important that folks in Washington put country before party. That's why it's so important that our elected leaders get past their differences to help grow the economy and put this Nation back to work. Because here in Alpha, it couldn't be more clear: If we can come together, there is no stopping the United States of America. There's no doubt that our future is bright.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Note: The address was recorded at approximately 5:35 p.m. on August 17 at the Country Corner Farm Market in Alpha, IL, for broadcast on August 20. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 19, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on August 20.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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