Didn't have the $1,000 ticket to get into last night's presidential fundraiser? Here's what you missed, the president's full remarks, courtesy of the White House:
THE PRESIDENT: "Well, it is wonderful to be here. I want to thank a few people at the outset. First of all, I want to thank the Mourning family, who are opening up this beautiful home and arranged this fantastic weather. We're so grateful to them. Yes, you can give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
"Chris Van Hollen -- this is the only guy who puts in more miles than me. (Laughter.) He has been working so hard as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He is a great congressman in his own right, a great leader inside the House, but he’s also just been doing a bang-up job in what is one of the more difficult posts in politics.
"Debbie Wasserman Schultz is here -- where’s Debbie? She was here. She was here. Well, we love her, so give her a round of applause. (Applause.) Ron Klain --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Klein --
THE PRESIDENT: No, I've got a -- Biden’s chief of staff is Ron Klain, and I just talked to him on the phone so I slipped up. Ron Klein is here, and one of the main reasons that we're here -- if he’s not here, I know -- is he? Where is he? He’s inside. All right, we love him. (Applause.) Kathy Castor is here. (Applause.) Ted Deutch is here and his family. (Applause.) Anybody I miss? You all are here. (Applause.) And we love you.
"He fought to bring down the skyrocketing cost of homeowner’s insurance. He’s fighting to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security. He helped write tough new sanctions to crack down on Iran as they try to develop nuclear weapons -- something I know that everybody here cares deeply about, and my administration has made one of our top priorities. He has made the security of our ally, Israel, a constant theme in his work. He knows the people of south Florida because he’s spent so much time listening to your concerns, and he’s one of you.
"And so this election I think is representative of what’s happening all across the country. We've got wonderful candidates like Ron who are working so hard and have, over the last 20 months, done more to get this country back on track than any Congress in my lifetime -- any Congress at least since 1965.
"You know, two years ago, a lot of you worked your hearts out for Ron’s campaign and for my campaign. And we knew at that point that the country was on the wrong track. What we didn’t realize was how bad it was going to be by the time we took office. We have gone through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We have made sure that as a consequence of a bunch of actions that we took we didn’t slip into the second Great Depression.
"As Chris was just saying, we now have an economy that is stabilized. An economy that was shrinking by 6 percent when I came into office is now growing. (Applause.) We have seen nine consecutive months of private sector job growth. Businesses are profitable again and investing again. And all of that is because members of Congress like Ron and Chris and Ted and Kathy were willing to take tough votes, even in the face of enormous criticism, because they knew it was the right thing to do.
"And so at a certain point, the reason you send folks to represent you in Washington is not just to put their fingers up to the wind; it’s not just to figure out what’s going to help keep them in office. You send them there to do what’s right, and to make sure that they are thinking about you and your families each and every day.
"And that's what Ron has done, and that's what Chris has done, and that's what I intend to do as long as I have the great honor of being your President. That's is our number one priority. (Applause.)
"Now, of course, things aren’t where we want them to be. We’ve got a lot more work to do. The question in this election is not whether or not things are where we want them to be; the question is who is going to help us get to where we want to be. And on that choice, the answer is absolutely clear.
"Look at what the Republicans have been offering out here. I mean, they have now been out of power for two years, and they had a chance over the last two years to try to work with us to figure out how we could move the country forward. And instead, their basic philosophy was, we are just going to say no to everything. We’re going to say no to help to small businesses. We’re going to say no to putting people back to work. We’re going to say no to helping young people get student loans. We’re going to say no to making sure that folks aren’t thrown off their health care when they get sick or because they have a preexisting condition. They said no each and every time.
"And now they come before you and they say, we want to lead again. And yet the ideas they're offering are the exact same ideas that got us into this mess in the first place. It’s not as if they’ve gone off and meditated and decided, you know what, we really screwed up, here’s a whole bunch of new ideas. (Laughter.) They don't have new ideas.
"The same philosophy that got us into this mess -- that you basically give tax cuts mostly to millionaires and billionaires, and you cut regulations in the banking industry and in the health care industry and in the oil industry, that you basically leave everybody else to fend for themselves -- that philosophy is the same philosophy that produced the most sluggish job growth since World War II; that saw the wages of middle-class families decline by 5 percent when they were in power; that resulted in the worst crisis that we’ve seen in the financial markets that has an impact far beyond Wall Street; and that took a record surplus left by Bill Clinton and got us into record deficits that I inherited when I walked into the White House.
"Now, that same philosophy is what they're peddling right now. They put a new name on it. What did they’d call it? “Pledge to America.” And when you actually take the time to read it, it turns out that they are peddling the same snake oil they were before. They put some different names on it, but it’s the same concepts.
"Their big idea for putting people back to work, their main economic proposal is to provide $700 billion in tax cuts to the top 2 percent of the income bracket. The other 98 percent of American people won’t get a dime of it. And it’s not money that we’ve got. We’d have to borrow that $700 billion from China or the Saudis. And they don't pay for it, but the proposals that they’ve talked about to start paying for it include cutting education by 20 percent.
"Think about that. Here we are trying to compete with China and South Korea and Germany, countries that are investing and as a consequence have created a higher proportion of college graduates than we have -- and we’re going to cut education? We’re going to create a situation where 8 million young people across the country are getting fewer student loans, less help because we want to give tax cuts to folks who don't need them, weren’t even asking for them, and won’t spend them, so they won’t have any impact in terms of boosting demand in our economy -- that does not make sense. But that's an example of the lack of ideas that we’re seeing from the other side.
"Now, Ron, myself, others -- we’ve got a different idea of how we need to move this country forward. We envision a situation in which instead of giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, we give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
"We have a vision where we’re rebuilding our infrastructure -- I talked about this -- so that we’re not just rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our rail systems, but we’re laying broadband lines and we’re making sure that we have the best Internet service in the world.
"We want to invest in our young people to make sure that we have the highest proportion of college graduates of any country. We used to be number one; we’re now number nine. I want us to get back to number one by the year 2012. (Applause.)
"I want to invest in clean energy so that solar panels and wind panels -- wind turbines and the electric cars and advanced batteries of the future, that those are made not in Asia, not in Europe, but they're made right here in the United States of America with American workers. (Applause.) And by the way, that means we’re also saving our environment in the bargain.
"And, yes, I want to get our budget under control, but I don't want to do it on the backs of folks who need it most. I want to make sure that we do it in a responsible way. And, again, when you look at the hypocrisy of the other side -- we set up a bipartisan fiscal commission that originated as a bipartisan idea, Democrats and Republicans. And when I decided this was a good idea and I endorsed it, and I said, let’s vote for it, you know what happened? The Republicans voted against it.
"So there’s a fundamental lack of seriousness in terms of how they want to move this country forward. And these are serious times. And we’ve got to have people in Congress who are not thinking about the next election but are thinking about the next generation.
"The analogy I’ve been using as I’ve traveled across the country -- the other folks, they drove this economy into a ditch. And we decided, even though we hadn’t driven it in the ditch, it was our responsibility to get us out of the ditch. So Ron and myself and Chris and Debbie and others, we all went down into the ditch. We put on our boots. It’s muddy down there. It’s hot. We’re sweating. (Laughter.) We’re pushing -- pushing and pulling to get that car out of the ditch. And every once in a while we’d look up, and the Republicans would be standing there, waving at us. (Laughter.)
"And we’d say, why don't you come on down and help? And they’d say, no, thanks, but you’re not pushing hard enough. You're not pushing the right way. But despite the lack of help, we kept on pushing, until finally we’ve got that car on level ground. Finally it’s just sitting there ready to go forward. It’s a little banged up. It’s got to go to the body shop. It needs a tune-up. But we’re pointing in the right direction. And we get a tap on our shoulders, and we look, and lo and behold, it’s the Republicans. And they want the keys back. (Laughter.)
"We’ve got to tell them, in this election, you can’t have the keys back. You don't know how to drive. (Applause.) You don't know how to drive. You can get in the car, but you got to ride in the backseat. (Laughter.)
"AUDIENCE MEMBER: In the trunk!
THE PRESIDENT: In the trunk. (Laughter.) No, we wouldn’t do that. We got room in the back. But we don't want their hands on the wheel. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE: That's right.
THE PRESIDENT: And that's why all of you are so important. Look, when I won, when Ron won, we didn't win because of us. We won because of you. We won because you guys believed in something. You decided that you didn't have to have big money, you didn't have to be connected to special interests, you didn't have to be well connected in order to win. You just had to believe in the American Dream, and want to align our government on the side of people who wake up every day, work hard, and just want that piece of that dream for themselves and their family -- want to make sure they can have a job that pays a living wage; make sure that they're not bankrupt when they get sick; make sure they can send their kids to college and aspire to things that they didn't dream of; retire with dignity and respect.
That's the essence of what Ron’s campaign was about, the essence of what my campaign was about. That's why you worked so hard. We’re not finished. That day that we got elected on Election Night, and then the inauguration, that was a lot of fun, but that wasn’t the end of the journey. That was just the beginning of the journey. We’ve got a long ways to go. And we can’t get there without you.
So I’m grateful for you all being here today, but I’m going to be even more grateful if over the next three weeks, you're out there talking to your friends, you’re talking to your neighbors, you’re talking to your coworkers, you’re talking to family members, and you remind them that as frustrating as things are right now, we have come so far in the last 20 months. And if you remind them, we’ve got so much more to do -- if you do that, I’m convinced Ron is going to win. I’m convinced that the American people are going to win.
God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
And his remarks at a dinner:
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Please have a seat, have a seat. It is good to be back, Miami. This is quite a view, Alonzo. (Laughter.)
To the entire Mourning family, Tracy and Alonzo, Trey, Myka, Alijah, thank you so much for your hospitality and this spectacular setting. We are grateful to you.
To Representative Chris Van Hollen, who is here, the chairman of the DCCC -- everybody give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is here. Applause.) Representative Ron Klein is here. (Applause.) And we're going to get him back in Congress. Representative Kathy Castor -- is Kathy here? Give her a round of applause anyway, even if she’s not here. (Applause.) And I know Representative Ted Deutch is here, and his beautiful family. (Applause.)
In addition, I want to say that Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, I wish you the best of luck when you're not playing the Bulls.(Laughter.) I just want to be clear about that. I like you.(Laughter.) But when you're playing the Bulls I'm rooting against you. (Laughter.)
I am stunned that Alonzo let a Laker in here. (Laughter.) But he said that Magic transcends party lines -- (applause) -- and so we're glad to have Magic in the house.
Now, I want to just say a little bit about Ron, because so much of the reason we're here is to make sure that he continues to do the outstanding work that he’s doing on behalf of south Florida. They have lived here for 25 years. This is where they raised their family. This is where Ron helped run a small business. That's who he’s been fighting for since he got to Washington -- families and small business owners -- because he’s part of them, he understands them. He’s fought to bring skyrocketing costs of homeowner’s insurance down. He’s fighting to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security. He was one of the leaders in helping to make sure that we impose sanctions on Iran -- to provide more security for us, but also to provide more security for our ally, Israel.
He knows the people of south Florida, has been listening to them, has been working with them, is fighting for them. And he’s an example of the kinds of unbelievable public servants that we've got all across the country who have been doing heroic work under the most difficult circumstances.
So I just want to spend a little bit of time talking about what those circumstances are and why this election is so important. When people think about elections they tend to think back to 2008 and they remember the Inauguration Day, and Beyoncé was singing, and everybody was looking nice -- or they think about Election Day, and everybody with the signs, and 'Yes, We Can.' They don't remember when we were walking around in the snow in Iowa, knocking on doors and nobody knew who we were. And it was tough.
And what I said to people at that time was that the reason I was running for President was because I felt that the country had gone off-track, that it wasn’t working on behalf of the ordinary families where so many of us started -- families in Lansing, or families in Chicago, or families in south Florida -- families that didn’t have a lot, but they had a lot of love; they had a work ethic; they wanted to make sure their kids got ahead. And they figured if they lived up to their responsibilities, then they would be able to get a good job that pays a living wage. They could buy a house. They could send their kids to school, so they could aspire to things they never hoped for themselves.
They believed that they shouldn’t get bankrupt if they get sick. They should be able to retire with some dignity and some respect. They believed in the American Dream. It didn’t’ matter what color you were, what race you were, what religion you were, there was a notion that we could all make it if we did the right thing by ourselves, our families, our communities. And people had lost that belief, and that's why I decided to run.
But I also said that the problems we were experiencing had been going on for a decade. The years between 2001 and 2009 had seen the slowest job growth since World War II. The years between 2001 and 2009, middle-class families on average lost 5 percent of their wages. Their incomes actually went down during those years. And so what I said was the election will not be the end of the journey; that will be the beginning, because then we're going to have to work hard to try to make sure that we rebuild this economy on a solid foundation.
Now, what we didn’t know when I started running, and what we discovered only in the few months before I won, was that we were about to enter into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We lost 4 million jobs in the six months before I took office; lost almost 800,000 jobs the month I was sworn in, 600,000 the month after that, 600,000 the month after that. Businesses couldn't get credit. The banking system locked up. And people were talking seriously that we were about to go into a second Great Depression.
And so my first job coming into office was to make sure that we stabilized the economy. And we have done that. An economy that was shrinking by 6 percent is now growing. An economy that was shredding jobs, we've had nine months straight of private sector job growth. Businesses can now get loans again. Corporations are now profitable again. We have the opportunity to move the country forward.
But we are still digging ourselves out of a enormous hole. When you lose 8 million jobs, even if you’ve created 800,000 this year, and even if we save 3 million, we’ve still got a deep hole to climb out of. And so, understandably, people are frustrated and they are angry. And what the other side is trying to do is to ride that anger and that frustration all the way to the ballot box.
They’re not counting on the need to offer good ideas. They’re just counting on people being angry and figuring that is sufficient for them to get elected. And when I came in, and Ron and Chris and Debbie and others who work in Washington -- when we came in, our hope was that in the midst of crisis we could bring everybody together to work on the challenges that confronted us -- because we may be proud Democrats, but we're prouder Americans. And our attitude was we are happy to work across the aisle to solve problems.
That was not the attitude that we confronted. Basically they said no to everything. If I said that the ocean was blue, they’d say no. If I said there were fish in the sea, they’d say no. Their attitude was, if Obama fails then we win.
Now, I couldn't play that game because my responsibility was to make sure that even when the decisions were tough we took the decisions that were required to get us on the right track. And we have now done that. But moving forward, I can only succeed if I've got help. Now, I know this is a little too obvious, but I've got to use the basketball metaphor for you. (Laughter.)
There’s a reason why Dwyane is really excited to have Chris Bosh and LeBron James -- because he remembers the last time he won the championship, he had a guy named Shaq running around. Now Shaq is going to try to stop you this time. But he remembers what it was like to have teammates. As great as Magic was, he couldn't do it without Worthy and Jabbar and all those tremendous stars from Showtime.
Well, the same is true in politics. I'm pretty good -- (laughter) -- I'm a pretty good point guard, but I can't do it on my own. (Applause.) If I don't have Ron there, if I don't have a Debbie there, doing the hard work each and every day to move this country’s agenda forward, we are not going to succeed.
I mean, there are folks right now in Washington, some of the pundits who actually say, you know, Obama might be better off with what happened with Clinton -- you lose the House, you lose the Senate -- or you lose some seats, and then you can pivot because the Republicans finally have to take responsibility. That may be short-term political thinking in the minds of pundits; that's not how I think because I'm thinking about how do I move the country forward.
I've got to make sure that we have an energy policy where we're investing in clean energy here in the United States of America -- (applause) -- so that we're building wind turbines and solar panels and electric cars right here in the United States. (Applause.) So I’ve got to have partners to do that with. I can’t do it alone.
I’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the best education system in the world right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) And that requires continuing to make investments in our young people. And I can’t do that by myself. If we’re going to help small businesses succeed, then we’ve got to make sure that we are providing them the loans and the tax cuts that are going to help them, because those start-ups, that's what creates the vibrancy and the dynamism that helps this economy grow. I can’t do that by myself.
On every important issue out there, I am going to need help. And the members of Congress who are here today, they’ve shown the courage of their convictions. They're willing to take tough votes because they're the right thing to do.
If we’re going to protect Medicare and Social Security at the same time as we’re reducing our deficit, then we’re going to have some very difficult budget choices. And we’ve got to make sure that the folks who are there have the kind of values that say, we’re going to make sure that our seniors are always protected. And we’re not going to go back to the days where the poverty rate was higher for people in their golden years. That's not acceptable. So we’re going to need some help.
Now, I hope that we can get help from the other side. But I’m not optimistic right now. I’ve seen what they call the 'Pledge to America.' And it would have been one thing if after the disaster of their economic policies, they had gone off and gone to a think tank, or gone into the desert to meditate and come back and said, you know what, we really screwed up, we’ve got a whole new set of answers here. But that's not what happened.
They have said they will do the exact same thing. The centerpiece of their economic agenda, their big plan for jobs is to borrow $700 billion that we don't have to give an average $100,000 tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. Ninety-eight percent of the country would not get these tax breaks, and, as a consequence, they wouldn’t spend them. So it would do nothing to boost the economy in any significant way. And we’d be borrowing the money to do it.
And you know how they’ve proposed paying for it? They haven't -- with the exception of a few suggestions like cutting education spending by 20 percent. Think about that. And think about the folks back in your old neighborhood, Magic -- all those kids who are working hard, thinking, maybe I can go to go college if I can get a scholarship, if I can get a Pell Grant. And we’re going to cut support for them at a time when we know that the single most important thing to determine whether we are winners or loser in the global economy is how well our workforce is educated?
Imagine that. You think China is cutting back on their education investments? You think South Korea or Germany are saying, let’s invest less in our young people right now? Of course not. They're not playing for second. And the United States does not play for second, either. We play for first place. That's what we’re about and that's what this election is about. (Applause.)
I should point out, by the way, that a whole lot of people in this room would get a tax cut under that plan. But the question is -- and that includes me, by the way -- is that really what’s most important to us right now? Or is it more important that we get this country back on track so that it’s there for future generations? Are we going to reach back and make sure that somebody else is getting a helping hand?
So as I’ve traveled the country I’ve been using this analogy -- essentially the other side drove the car into the ditch. And me and Ron and the rest of the outstanding Democrats here, we all climbed down into that ditch. It was muddy down there, and hot. We had to put on boots. There were bugs. But we started pushing -- pushing that car out of the ditch. Every once in a while, we’d look up and the Republicans would be standing there fanning themselves, sipping on Slurpees, looking all comfortable. (Laughter.)
We’d say, why don't you come down and help? No, that's all right, but you all aren’t pushing fast enough. You’re not pushing the right way.
And even though we did not get any help, we kept on pushing, until finally we got that car up on level ground. Now, it’s a little banged up, needs some body work, needs a tune-up, but we are pointing in the right direction and we are ready to move forward again.
And suddenly we get this tap on our shoulders. We look back, and it’s the Republicans. And they're saying, we want the keys back. You can’t have the keys back. You don't know how to drive. (Laughter and applause.) Now, if you want to ride, you can ride in the backseat. (Applause.)But we’re not going to give you -- (laughter) -- give you the wheel. (Laughter.)
That's what this election is about. It is a fundamental choice about the direction of our future. We cannot do it alone. And in the same way that I need a team, Ron needs a team, members of the Democratic delegation here need a team -- you are that team. And I need you guys to be as excited as you were in 2008.
You know, this is just the first quarter. And we’ve put up a lot of points, under very adverse circumstances. But we’ve got three more quarters to play. And if suddenly everybody is acting like, well, that's it, I’m tired, we’ll lose. And when I say 'we,' I mean the country will lose. One of the marks of a champion is not just talent, it’s not just skill -- it’s heart. It’s perseverance. Are you willing to stick with something until it’s finished.
The project of bringing about change so that this country is more just and more prosperous, and we are growing faster, and we can compete in the global stage, and our young people are prepared for the 21st century -- that project is not done. And it is hard. But we need heart. We need character. And I believe that's what we’ve got. I believe in this team. I hope you believe in it, too. If you do, then I promise you that not only are we going to win this election, we are going to restore the American Dream for every American. (Applause.)
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)