The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton in Bristow, VA

Jiffy Lube Live
Bristow, Virginia

10:25 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Hello, Bristow! (Applause.)  Hello.  (Applause.)  I'm glad to be back in Virginia.  I want to thank Congressman Gerry Connolly.  I want to ask you to make sure Tim Kaine wins this election on Tuesday.  (Applause.)  And it was great to hear the Dave Matthews Band again.  (Applause.)

But, as you can see, I have given my voice in the service of my President.  (Applause.)  But I have the honor of introducing the President tonight and sort of setting up his speech.  And I want to tell you that four years ago, when he ran, both Hillary and I worked very hard -- we did, together, over a hundred appearances.  But I am much more enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s election tonight than I was even four years ago.  (Applause.)

There are five simple reasons.  First of all, in a time torn by ideological warfare and contentious partisanship, he has the right philosophy.  (Applause.)  The President knows that “we're all in this together” works a lot better than “you're on your own.”  (Applause.)  He knows that an economy that builds the middle class and gives poor people an honorable way to work their way into it is a lot better than four more years of trickle-down. We've been there, we've done that.  (Applause.)

He knows that a budget based on arithmetic is a lot better than one based on illusion.  (Applause.)  And he knows that practical cooperation is better than all this constant ideological conflict.  And we saw it, didn’t we?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  We saw it in the way the President got off the campaign trail and responded to Sandy.  (Applause.)  And all over America, people were thrilled to see him working with the Republican Governor of New Jersey and the Mayor of New York City, who is an independent -- and who endorsed President Obama, in part because of this -- (applause) -- and the Democratic governors of New York and Connecticut. 

There is no Republican or Democratic way to rebuild after a flood, to save lives, to start again, to turn the electricity on, to clean the debris.  But what I want to tell you is cooperation works better when there is no disaster, and if you don't have cooperation, you have the makings of a disaster.  Barack Obama is a proven cooperator. (Applause.) 

He even offered the Republicans, unilaterally, in an attempt to get a budget deal, a trillion dollars in spending cuts.  They said, thank you very much; no deal.  We will not see one penny raised on the wealthiest Americans, even if it will get rid of $4 trillion in debt. 

But he kept going, and the door is still open. And when you reelect him, the door will be open and they will walk through that door.  (Applause.)

The second reason that I'm for President Obama is that he has done a good job with a bad hand.  Keep in mind, all through 2007 and 2008, then-Senator Obama crossed America with Senator Clinton and Senator Biden and other good Democrats, all talking about how bad the economy already was.  Medium family income after inflation was lower than it was the day I left office.  Poverty was up.  All these things Mr. Romney talks about now were true before the crash -- because of the policies he now advocates.

Then came the crash, just six weeks before the election.  And he took office when the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month.  Now, the economy lost jobs for about 15 months.  But when it started again, and President Obama’s jobs program started kicking in, in just 33 months we've had 5.5 million jobs, as of yesterday.  (Applause.)

Now, when someone criticizes an officeholder, you have a right to ask them, compared to what?  (Laughter.)  So let’s look at our most recent comparison.  If you don't count the losses in the crash against President Bush, and you just look at the seven years after the brief slowdown we had when the .com stocks crashed a little bit and the onset of the crash in September 2008 -- just that seven-year period, there were 2.6 million private sector jobs.  In 33 months, less than half that time, twice as many jobs -- 5.5 million.  Barack Obama has done a good job with a bad hand.  (Applause.)

The third reason I'm for him is that he has fulfilled his solemn responsibility to be a good Commander-in-Chief.  (Applause.)  He has advanced the nation’s security by ending the war in Iraq, by bringing our troops home from Afghanistan -- (applause) -- by fighting terror, modernizing the military, and aggressively pursuing diplomacy to make a world with more friends and fewer adversaries.  (Applause.)

And he’s got a heck of a Secretary of State.  (Applause.)

But more important -- most important of all to me, he has shown a consistent, unbreakable commitment to take care of the men and women in uniform when they come home.  (Applause.)  

For all these reasons, he was endorsed by a self-described moderate Republican, and one of the most distinguished military leaders since World War II, General Colin Powell -- (applause) -- who also pointed out that his opponent’s main advisors are the same neo-cons that took us into war in Iraq on bad intelligence. 
Barack Obama is your choice for Commander-in-Chief.  (Applause.) 

The fourth reason I’m for him can best be described in a phrase once used by the second President Bush -- believe it or not, he said something I really agree with.  (Laughter.)  And he often got made fun of, but it’s true.  He said, the President is the “decider-in-chief.”  (Laughter.)   Okay?  So let’s look at how these deciders stack up. 

Barack Obama decided to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  (Applause.)   And that is not just a women’s issue.  Anybody who, like me, was a kid in a family where both the mother and the father worked, know that every father with any sense wants his wife to be paid an equal amount for equal work so they can raise the kids.  (Applause.) 

Now, this law has been on the books for a couple of years now.  And when Mitt Romney, who wants to be the “decider-in-chief,” was asked, well --

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Wait, wait, wait.  He was asked, well, Governor, would you have signed the bill?  (Laughter.)  I mean, folks, he’s going to have a lot harder decisions than this.  (Laughter and applause.)  I mean, there's a law; it’s been there; there's an answer to this question.  You can answer yes, or you can answer no.  But when you are the “decider-in-chief,” you don't need to just shuffle along.  You can’t do that.  (Laughter.) 

Barack Obama wants to keep funding Planned Parenthood, and Mitt Romney doesn’t.  (Applause.) 

Barack Obama decided that America could not afford to let the automobile industry die, and he saved it.  (Applause.)  And Mitt Romney opposed what he did.  And now he keeps trying to -- he’s tied himself in so many knots over this automobile deal, he could be hired as the chief contortionist for the Cirque du Soleil.  (Laughter.)  But he was against it. 

And I know something about this.  I grew up in this business.  And it wasn’t just General Motors and Chrysler.  There's a reason that all the German and Japanese companies that make cars in America -- who didn’t get a penny out of this deal  -- were for the automobile restructuring, because they knew if General Motors quit buying parts, the parts manufacturers would go down, and they were toast. 

It’s another example of “we’re all in this together” works better than “you’re on your own.”  Barack Obama made the right decision, and his opponent was wrong.  (Applause.) 

And in an unbelievable attempt to distract the voters of Ohio, where one in eight jobs depends on the car business, he accused the President of allowing Jeep to move jobs to China.

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Now, I have to tell you, I took that personally, because the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio was open when I was President, and I remember how hard it was for us to get it there, and the work we did in the White House to get it there.  I know that they are expanding that plant, hiring more people, taking on new production lines.  (Applause.) 

And first Jeep said it wasn’t so; then Chrysler said Governor Romney was wrong; then even General Motors rebuked him. Now, you know, when I was a kid, and I got my hand caught in the cookie jar -- (laughter) -- well, my face sort of turned red and I took my hand out of the cookie jar.  (Laughter.)   Not Governor Romney.  He’s just digging for more cookies.  (Laughter.) 

When General Motors and Chrysler and Jeep all said this is bull, what did he do?  He then said, because Fiat owns the controlling interest in Chrysler, that the President had worked with the Italians to move jobs to China.  (Laughter.)  You know, first he took after Latinos on the immigration deal, and then a lot of other people in ways I won’t take your time up with.  Now, he’s going after the Italians?  If the Irish are next, I’m toast. (Laughter.) 

Far worse -- after every single reputable authority said this is a false charge, he put it on television and then doubled down and put more money behind the ad -- because he believes that middle-class people are so scared about their jobs and so uninformed that they will buy any line of bull they see on television.  I think they and you are smarter, and Barack Obama will be elected President again.  (Applause.) 

Finally and most important, I’m for President Obama because his plans for the future are better.  That's what really matters. (Applause.)  And in sum -- he’s going to talk about this -- but I’ll just give you a brief outline.  He wants us to begin to invest even more in the new jobs of the 21st century -- in infrastructure, in information technology, in clean energy, in manufacturing, in modern agriculture.  And he wants to educate and empower people to do those jobs.  (Applause.) 

He wants to help middle-aged, non-college-educated, long-time unemployed workers get back in the mix by going to community colleges and getting skills that will get them good jobs.  (Applause.) 

And he has literally revolutionized the student loan law.  (Applause.)  From now on, beginning next year -- listen to this  -- every person in America who has a college loan, beginning next year, will, first of all, get it at a lower cost, and will have the absolute right to pay that loan back as a low fixed percent of their income for 20 years.  (Applause.)  And since, in this last decade, we have fallen to 15th or so in the percentage of our young people with four-year college degrees, this is great.  It means nobody ever has to drop out of college again -- ever -- because of the cost.  (Applause.) 

One of the reasons middle-class people didn’t get a pay raise in the last decade is that health care costs went up so much.  The health care law has not only allowed 3 million young people to be on their parent’s insurance policy for the first time -- (applause) -- has not only made it possible, beginning next year, if he wins, for more than 30 million Americans, many with preexisting conditions, to be insured -- (applause) -- not only has made it illegal for women to be charged more than men for the same health care -- (applause) -- but for the last two years, we’ve got the lowest inflation in health care costs in 50 years.  (Applause.)  If this keeps going, the ideologues will lose every argument they have to voucherize Medicare and privatize Social Security. 

Barack Obama is doing it the right way -- bring health care costs down; bring health care coverage and quality up.  (Applause.)

Finally, he’s got a budget based on arithmetic -- cuts of $4 trillion -- $2 in spending cuts for every one dollar in revenue increases.  And he only asks people like me -- I love saying this; I never had a nickel before I left the White House -- he only asks those of us in high-income groups to pay a little more so we can balance the budget, get rid of the debt, and manage our future.

Now, how does that compare with Governor Romney’s plan?  You remember they told us at their convention that the debt was the biggest problem in the world -- remember that?  They forgot to tell us that we never had permanent debt in peacetime until they convinced everybody that government would mess up a two-car parade and that there was no such thing as a bad tax cut -- about 30 years ago.  Then they tripled and quadrupled the debt -- before I took office -- in 12 years.  Then I gave you four years of declining deficits and four years of surpluses.  (Applause.)

Then -- wait.  Then they got back in with the same old theory that Governor Romney is advancing and they doubled the debt again.  So this should explain something to you.  Obama’s plan brings the debt down and it’s based on arithmetic. 

What is Romney’s plan?  Another big tax cut for upper-income people -- you have the highest of us -- highest income people, 60 percent of the tax cut.  And then cut education and cut the investment in all these areas that are going to create 21st century jobs -- cut them a lot.  Repeal the student loan law, making the loans more expensive and harder to repay, and keeping us down there in the rankings of college graduates.  And don't produce a budget.

You say, well, Governor, you want to spend $2.5 trillion more than the President wants to spend.  You want to cut taxes $5 trillion more than he wants to cut taxes.  And you’ve only identified about a trillion dollars’ worth of tax deductions on companies that you want to repeal to lower the corporate income tax -- that's President Obama’s idea. 

But that leaves $6.5 trillion.  How are you going to fill that hole?  And even if you fill it, you won't have reduced the deficit a penny; you won't have reduced the long-term debt a penny.  How are you going to do that?  “See me about that after the election.”  (Laughter.) 

He has no budget.  I want to vote for the President who has a budget, who has a plan that will produce broad-based prosperity.  (Applause.)  I want to vote for the President who’s been a good Commander-in-Chief and a good “decider-in-chief.”  (Applause.)  I want to vote for a President who’s been through the fire of these last four years and brought America out on the other side ready to take off.  (Applause.) 

And lastly, just remember this.  You know, Governor Romney has promised us 12 million jobs.  You’ve all heard it, haven’t you?  He says, “by just electing me.”  (Laughter.)  People will be so elated -- (laughter) -- that you're going to get 12 million jobs. 

Now, I'm sure it was just an oversight -- (laughter) -- or as the President has told us, America is in the grip of this huge public health epidemic.  There’s this virus going all over America, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars, spreading a condition known as Romnesia.  (Laughter.)  And it is so prevalent that even his opponent could have picked up a little of it.  But anyway, he forgot to tell you that just days before he promised you that 12 million jobs, a distinguished independent business forecaster, Moody’s Analytics, said, we're going get 12 million jobs in the next four years if we just don't mess up what President Obama has already done.  (Applause.)

So it is my great honor to introduce to you -- (applause) -- the next President, the “decider-in-chief,” the Commander-in-Chief, the man who brought you back and will take us forward -- Barack Obama!  (Applause.)  

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia!  (Applause.)  Are you fired up?  Are you ready to go?  (Applause.) 

You've got to be fired up after Bill Clinton.  (Applause.)  He has been traveling all across the country for this campaign.  He’s been laying out the stakes so well that our team basically calls him the “Secretary of Explainin’ Stuff.”  (Laughter.) 

The only Clinton working harder than him is our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.)  And I am so grateful to both of them.  The only problem is, I was in the back -- I was enjoying listening to President Clinton so much, I had to run up to get my cue.  (Laughter.)  I was sitting there, just soaking it all in. (Laughter.)  He was a great President; he has been a great friend.  So I want everybody to give President Bill Clinton a big round of applause.  (Applause.)   

Speaking of outstanding public servants, your next senator, your former governor, Tim Kaine, is in the house.  (Applause.)   Your outstanding Congressman, Gerry Connolly, is here.  (Applause.)  And I want everybody to please thank Dave Matthews for the outstanding performance.  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  And I'm glad to see all of you. 

For the past several days, obviously, all of us have been focused on the devastation that’s been taking place all along the East Coast.  Virginia got hit but was spared some of the worst brunt of the storm.  But I've been to New Jersey; we've been on the phone every day with folks from Connecticut and New York.  And as a nation, we mourn those who have been lost.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the families who are going through just some unbearable pain.  So many folks have been impacted. 

It's going to be a long, hard road to recovery.  But every time I've spoken to folks in the region, what I've told them is that America will be with them every step of the way.  (Applause.)  America will be there on this hard road ahead.  We will help them rebuild together, because that’s what we do as Americans.  (Applause.)

Which is why, during the course of tragedy, we've also been inspired over these last few days by heroes -- firefighters and National Guardsmen and women, and EMS folks, and police officers running into buildings, wading through water; neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy; leaders of different political parties working together to fix what’s broken, not worrying about who's getting credit, not worrying about the politics of it; a spirit that says no matter how bad a storm is, we bounce back.  No matter how tough times are, we’re all in this together.  We rise or fall as one nation and as one people.  (Applause.)

And that spirit -- that spirit has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries.  It’s what’s carried us through the trials and tribulations of the last four years. 

Remember in 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Today, our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs.  (Applause.) The American auto industry is back on top.  Home values are on the rise.  Housing construction is coming back.  We’re less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last 20 years.  Because of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over.  (Applause.)  The war in Afghanistan is coming to a close.  Al Qaeda has been decimated.  And Osama bin Laden is dead.  We are safer than we were four years ago.  (Applause.)

So we’ve made real progress, Virginia.  We’ve made real progress.  But, Virginia, we’re here tonight not only to listen to Dave Matthews -- (laughter) -- not only to hear “the master,” Bill Clinton, break things down for us -- (applause) -- but we’re also here because we’ve got more work to do.

As long as there’s a single American who wants a job and can’t find one, our work is not yet done.  As long as there are families working harder but still falling behind, our work is not yet done.  As long as there’s a child anywhere in Virginia, anywhere in this country, who is languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, our work is not yet done.  We’ve got more work to do.  (Applause.)

Our fight goes on, Virginia, because we know this nation can’t succeed without a growing, thriving middle class.  Our fight goes on because America has always done best when everybody has a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.  That’s what we believe. 
That’s why you elected Bill Clinton in ‘92.  That’s why you elected me in ‘08.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.    (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, Virginia, in three days, you’ve got a choice to make.  And even if you’ve made the choice, you’ve got to go talk to some folks who haven’t.  (Applause.)  And you’ve got to tell them it’s not just a choice between two candidates or two parties.  It’s a choice between two different visions of America.  It’s a choice between top-down economics that crashed our economy -- or bottom-up, middle-out economics that create a strong and growing middle class.  (Applause.)

As Americans, we honor the strivers and the dreamers, the entrepreneurs, the small business people, the risk-takers, who are the driving force behind our free enterprise system.  And we believe the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.  But we also know, in this country, the market works best, the free enterprise system works best, more businesses are created, more jobs are created, when everybody has a chance to succeed -- (applause) -- when everybody has the chance to get a good education and learn new skills; when we support research into medical breakthroughs or new technologies -- because we know that we can't do that on our own.  We’ve got to pool our resources to discover the future.

We know that America is stronger when everybody can count on affordable health insurance, when everybody can count on Medicare and Social Security to give them a dignified retirement.  We know the market works better when there are rules of the road to protect kids from toxic dumping; to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous credit card companies or mortgage lenders. 

We believe that there’s a role for rules and regulations that are smart, and then we also believe there are some things we should leave to the people.  For example, we don't think politicians in Washington are very smart about controlling health care choices that women are perfectly capable of making themselves.  (Applause.)

Now, for eight years, we had a President who shared these beliefs -- you just heard him.  (Applause.)  President Clinton’s economic plan asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more so we could reduce our deficit and invest in the skills and ideas of our people.  And the interesting thing is, at the time, the Republicans in Congress -- and a certain Senate candidate by the name of Mitt Romney --

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  Don't boo --

AUDIENCE:  Vote!

THE PRESIDENT:  You got to vote.  Don't boo.

But this Senate candidate named Mitt Romney said that Bill Clinton’s plan would hurt the economy and would kill jobs.  Sound familiar? 

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  It turns out his math was just as bad back then as it is today.  (Laughter.)  Because by the end of President Clinton’s second term, America had created 23 million new jobs.  Incomes were up.  Poverty was down.  Our deficit became the biggest surplus in history.   (Applause.)

So, Virginia, we know that our ideas work.  What about their ideas?  We tried those, too.  After Bill Clinton left office, for eight years we tried giving big tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.  We tried to strip away regulations so that Wall Street and insurance companies and oil companies were free to do whatever they pleased.  And what did we get?  Falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century, and an economic crisis that we’ve been cleaning up after ever since.

So we tried one way; it worked.  We tried another way; it didn't work -- which presents a dilemma for Governor Romney, since he wants to go back to the same policies that didn’t work.

Governor Romney is a very talented salesman.  So in this campaign, he has tried as hard as he can to repackage these same ideas, and he's got I think President Clinton called it "the brass" to call it change.  (Laughter.) 

Now, let me tell you, we know what change looks like.  (Applause.)  We know what change looks like, and what Governor Romney is selling ain’t it.  (Applause.)  Giving more power to the biggest banks isn’t change.  Another $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy -- that’s not change.  Refusing to answer questions about the details of your policies until after the election -- that’s definitely not change.  (Applause.)  Ruling out compromise by pledging to rubber-stamp the tea party folks in Congress -- that’s not change.

AUDIENCE:  Booo --

THE PRESIDENT:  Changing the facts when they’re inconvenient to your campaign -- not change.  (Applause.)  I mean, that’s old. That’s the attitude in Washington that needs to change.  (Applause.)

Now, Virginia, after four years as President, you know me.  (Applause.)  You know me.  So when you're trying to sort through this argument about change, part of what you have to ask yourself is, who do you trust? 

AUDIENCE:  You!

THE PRESIDENT:  When you're talking about the economy and policy that’s so critical to our future, you've got to ask yourself, who do you trust? 

AUDIENCE:  You!

THE PRESIDENT:  You may not agree with every decision I’ve made -- Michelle doesn’t agree with every decision I've made.  (Laughter.)  There may be times when you're frustrated at the pace of change -- I'm frustrated sometimes with the pace of change.  But you know I mean what I say and I say what I mean.  (Applause.)  You know what I believe.  You know where I stand.

When I said we would end the war in Iraq, we ended it.  (Applause.)  When I said we would pass health care reform, we passed it.  (Applause.)  When I said we’d repeal "don't ask, don't tell," we repealed it.  (Applause.)  You know I tell the truth.   And most importantly, you know I will fight for you and your families every single day, as hard as I know how.  (Applause.)   

So let me tell you, I know what real change looks like because I’ve fought for it.  I've got the scars to prove it.  And you have, too.  And after all we’ve been through together, we can’t give up on it now.  We've got to keep pushing forward.  That’s why I'm running for a second term.  That’s why I need your vote.  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Virginia, let me describe very briefly -- I know folks are cold -- but let me describe -- (laughter) -- what am I talking about when I'm talking about forward?  What do you I mean by real change?

Change is a country where every American has a shot at a great education.  (Applause.)  Now, government alone can't do that.  Parents, you've got to parent; students, you've got to study.  But don’t tell me that hiring more teachers won’t help our economy grow.  Don’t tell me that students who can’t afford college should just borrow money from their parents.  That wasn’t an option for me; it wasn't an option for Bill Clinton -- I'll bet it’s not an option for a lot of you. 

That’s why I want to cut the growth of tuition in half over the next 10 years.  (Applause.)  That’s why I want to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers so we don’t fall behind the rest of the world.  (Applause.)  That’s why I want to train 2 million Americans at our community colleges to get the skills businesses are hiring for right now. 

That’s real change.  That’s what we're fighting for in this election.  That’s what's at stake. 

I want us to live up to this country’s legacy of innovation. I’m proud I bet on American workers and the American auto industry.  But I'm even prouder we're not just building cars again, we're building better cars -- cars that by the middle of the next decade will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)  That kind of innovation, that kind of forward thinking, we don’t have to restrict it just to the auto industry -- I want to bring manufacturing back on all kinds of things. 

We've got thousands of workers building long-lasting batteries, building wind turbines all across the country.  So instead of subsidizing oil companies' profits when they're making money hand over fist, I want to support energy jobs of tomorrow, which will cut our oil imports in half, which will help our environment, help our national security.  I don’t want a tax code that rewards companies for creating those jobs overseas -- I want to reward companies that are creating those jobs in Virginia.  (Applause.)  That’s the future I see for this country.

Change is turning the page on a decade of war so we can focus on nation-building here at home.  As long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we'll pursue our enemies with the strongest military the world has ever known.  And Virginia carries more than its load when it comes to defending this country, and we are grateful to this state.  But we also understand, to be strong it's time to use some of the savings from winding down two wars to pay down our debt and rebuild America -- fixing roads, putting folks back to work rebuilding our bridges, making sure our schools are state of the art.  (Applause.)

And that’s especially important for our veterans.  We want to put them to work -- because if they have fought for our country and defended our freedom, they shouldn’t have to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)  That’s my commitment to them.  That’s what's at stake in this election. 

And President Clinton talked about it -- we've got to reduce our deficit.  That’s real change.  But we've got to do it in a balanced, responsible way.  I’ve signed a trillion dollars’ worth of spending -- we can do more.  But if we’re serious about deficit reduction, if we're not just using it in TV ads and then once you get into office -- like Dick Cheney -- he said, "it doesn’t matter" -- then we also have to ask the wealthiest Americans to go back to the tax rates that they paid when President Clinton was in office.  (Applause.) 

And the reason is because budgets are about choices, about priorities.  What are we going to invest in?  As long as I'm President, I'm not going to turn Medicare into a voucher just to pay for another millionaire's tax cut.  (Applause.) 

So, Virginia, we know what change is.  We know what the future requires.  We know, also, that it won’t be easy.  Back in 2008, I talked about this.  I warned some of you -- maybe you weren't believing me -- I said, change -- real change -- isn't just about changing presidents or changing parties, it's about changing our politics.  (Applause.)  

I ran because the voices of the American people -- your voices –- had been shut out of our democracy for too long by lobbyists and special interests, and politicians who were willing to say anything and do anything just to keep things the way they are -- the protectors, the guardians of the status quo.  And that status quo in Washington has fought us every step of the way over the last four years. 

They spent millions of dollars trying to prevent us from reforming health care, millions of dollars trying to prevent us from reforming Wall Street.  They engineered a strategy of gridlock in Congress, refusing to compromise on ideas that in the past both Democrats and Republicans had supported. 

And what they’re counting on now is that you're going to be so worn down by all the squabbling, so tired of the dysfunction, so weary of what goes on, on Capitol Hill, that you're just going to give up and walk away --

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  -- and just put them back in power, or let them stay there.  In other words, their bet is on cynicism. 

But, Virginia, my bet is on you.  (Applause.)  My bet is on you and the decency and the good sense of the American people. And it’s not a partisan bet I’m making.  When the other party has been willing to work with me to help the middle class, I’m right there with them.  I’m happy about it.  I would have less gray hair if they're ready to go.  Come on.  (Laughter.) 

When we cut taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, we had some Republican support -- that was great.  We had some courageous Republican senators work with us to repeal “don't ask, don't tell” -- we celebrated them.  (Applause.)  We embraced them. 

I’ll work with anybody of any party to move this country forward.  And, Virginia, if you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders like Tim Kaine who feel the same way, whether they're Democrats, Republicans or independents -- (applause) -- leaders who will put people first and put the election aside for a moment.

But we’re still going to have some fights because there are some values that are at stake.  There are some principles we’ve got to fight for.  If the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals that will kick students off financial aid, or get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood, or let insurance companies discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, or eliminate health care for millions on Medicaid who are poor or elderly or disabled, or kick kids off of Head Start -- I’m not buying that.  That's not a price I’m willing to pay.  (Applause.) That's not bipartisanship.  That's not change.  That's surrender to the same status quo that has hurt middle-class families and everybody who is striving to get into the middle class for way too long.

And, Virginia, I’m here and I’m running for a second term because I’m not ready to give up on that fight.  (Applause.)  I’m not ready to give up on that fight.  And I hope you aren’t either. 

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I hope you aren’t either.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  The folks at the very top in this country don't need another champion in Washington.  They will always have a seat at the table.  They’ll always have access and influence.  Regardless of who is President, they’ll find a way to have their voices heard.  They’ve got money they can spend.  There are lobbyists they can hire. 

The people who need a champion are the Americans whose letters I read late at night after a long day in the office; the men and women I meet on the campaign trail every day.  The laid-off furniture worker who’s having to retrain at the age of 55 for a new career in a new industry -- she needs a champion. 

The restaurant owner who has got great food but needs a loan to expand and the bank turned him down -- he needs a champion.  (Applause.)  The cooks and the wait staff and the cleaning staff working overtime in some Vegas hotel, trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kids to college -- they need a champion.  (Applause.)

The autoworker who got laid off and thought the plant would never reopen, and now he’s back on the job, filled with pride and dignity, not just because he’s building a great car, but he knows he’s building America -- he needs a champion.  (Applause.)

That teacher who is in an overcrowded classroom, digging into her own pocket for school supplies, not always getting the support she needs, but knowing every day, maybe she’s touching that one child and something is going to break through -- she needs a champion.  (Applause.)

All those kids in inner cities and small farm towns, in the valleys of Ohio, in these rolling Virginia hills -- kids dreaming of becoming scientists or doctors or engineers or entrepreneurs or diplomats or businessmen or even a President -- they need a champion in Washington because they don't have lobbyists.  (Applause.)  The future never has lobbyists, but it’s the dreams of those children that will be our saving grace. 

And that's why I need you, Virginia, to make sure their voices are heard, to make sure your voices are heard.  (Applause.)  We have come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.) We’ve come too far to let our hearts grow faint.  Now is the time to keep pushing forward -- educate all our kids, train all our workers, create new jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, discover new sources of energy, broaden opportunity, grow our middle class, restore our democracy -- and make sure that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, you can make it in America if you try.  (Applause.)

And, Virginia, that's why I’m asking for your vote.  (Applause.) 

I was backstage with David Plouffe -- some of you guys know he’s sort of a mastermind of campaign organization.  And we were talking about how, as the campaign goes on, we’ve become less relevant.  I’m sort of a prop in the campaign.  (Laughter.)  He’s just bothering a bunch of folks calling, asking what’s going on. But the power -- the power is not with us anymore.  The planning, everything we do, it doesn't matter -- because now it’s all up to you.  (Applause.) 

It’s up to the volunteers.  It’s up to somebody knocking on a door.  It’s up to somebody making a phone call.  (Applause.)  It’s up to somebody talking to their mom or their dad, or their wife or their husband, or grandma or grandpa.  And that's how democracy is supposed to be.  It’s up to you!  (Applause.)  You’ve got the power.  (Applause.)

And that's why I need you, Virginia.  Don't get tired.  Don't get weary.  (Applause.)  If you’re willing to knock on some doors with me, and make some phone calls for me, grab some friends for me -- (applause) -- turn out to vote for me, we’ll win Virginia.  (Applause.)  We’ll win this election.  (Applause.) We’ll finish what we started.  We’ll move forward.  Together we’ll renew the bonds and reaffirm the spirit that makes the United States of America the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
11:18 P.M. EDT

White House Shareables