Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event in Concord, NH
Concord, New Hampshire
10:40 A.M. EST
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you. (Applause.) Whoa! (Applause.) Hello, Concord! (Applause.)
Governor Lynch, Susan, thank you both so much for being here, for your service to New Hampshire, your support of the President. Senator Shaheen, thank you. And I'd like to thank our nominees for Congress -- Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter -- thank you. And I'd like to ask you to vote for them. (Applause.) And I want you to elect Maggie Hassan governor on Tuesday. I hope you will. (Applause.)
Folks, the hour is late and the time is short, but on this beautiful day, we can still make a difference in this election. The polls say it’s close and it could come down to what you decide.
Twenty years and nine months ago, New Hampshire began the chance for me to become President. (Applause.) It’s no secret that I never tire of coming here, that I never forget anything that happened here, that I'm still looking for someplace I haven't yet been. (Laughter.) And it is a very good thing that in the closing days of this campaign, you have a chance to send the President back where he belongs, to four more years in the White House. (Applause.)
The people of New Hampshire were good to me because I just sort of talked to them. I like to talk to people -- I like to be in a place that's small enough where people want to look you in the eye and size you up and know what you think. I have worked very hard in this campaign. (Applause.) But I worked hard in the last one, too -- I did 40 events for the President; Hillary did 70. But I want you to know something. I'm much more enthusiastic now than I was then. (Applause.)
And maybe because I have done this work; maybe because I know how hard it is; maybe because I know how important words are, but deeds are more important, harder to come by. And I respect a President that goes to work every day, fights through, lives through disappointments, keeps looking for things that work. And these are the reasons that I want you to tell your friends and neighbors who are not here that they should support the President.
These are the reasons that I support him. Number one, he has been a faithful Commander-in-Chief for our national security. (Applause.) He has taken good care of our men and women in uniform. He has ended the war in Iraq. He is drawing down the war in Afghanistan. (Applause.) He has fought the terrorists with vigor, and he has pursued diplomacy with vigor, knowing we live in a complicated world where things change beyond our control, and we need to build more networks of friends and have fewer adversaries. (Applause.) And he’s got a very good Secretary of State. (Applause.)
And most important to me, he is fully committed to taking care of our men and women in uniform when they come home. (Applause.)
Number two, he has done a good job with a difficult hand. The whole election may come down to this. If you listen to what Governor Romney says, it basically is: Be very, very disappointed, because not every problem has been solved; not everyone who wants a job has one; not everyone’s income is rising. Be disappointed. Forget what caused it. (Laughter.) Don't pay too much attention to what our solutions are. Just be disappointed -- and look at me, I look like a president. (Laughter and applause.) And I talk like one. And I'm telling you it’s all going to be all right if you elect me. (Laughter.)
But the whole election may come down to this. I am telling you -- I have spent years studying the economy, and I hope I have some credibility with you on what creates jobs, raises incomes and reduces poverty. (Applause.) I hope I have some credibility with you on balanced budgets. (Applause.) I am telling you, no one who ever served as President of the United States, and no one living within the borders of the United States of America could have fixed all the damage that was done from the financial crisis in just four years. It’s not possible. It could not have been done. (Applause.)
So the test should be: What did the President do? What are the results, and compared to what?
When he became President, don't forget -- remember all through 2007 and 2008 -- you get all the presidential candidates coming here -- you had Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, Senator Biden, and several other distinguished Democrats hauling through New Hampshire at a time when incomes were flat, poverty was up, the economy was in trouble. It was bad before the meltdown.
Then just six weeks before the election, we have this terrible crash. And the first thing they had to do was to stop it from becoming a depression. To give him credit, President Bush and his administration, John McCain and Barack Obama, both running for President, didn’t take the politically easy way out. They saved the financial system from total collapse. And then President Obama continued that work, and he made sure you got paid back -- you got all of that bank bailout money back, plus interest. You made a profit on that. (Applause.)
Then we started the long road back. We lost jobs for 15 months after that crash, including the first year and one month of the President’s term. But in the last 33 months, as we learned yesterday, with 172,000 more jobs -- (applause) -- we have had 5.5 million private sector jobs. (Applause.)
Now, in the seven years of the previous administration, when they followed the same policies that Governor Romney is recommending, in the seven years before the crash and after the brief .com slowdown, they had 2.6 million jobs. So you got 2.5 years, 5.5 million jobs; seven years, 2.6 million jobs. The same policies. I’m telling you, compared to what could have happened, Barack Obama has done a good job. (Applause.) Our unemployment rate is three points lower than the Eurozone, whose polices have been embraced by the tea party Congress and the Republican nominee. With a tough hand, he’s done a good job. (Applause.)
But you just remember this when you talk to people in the next two days. They can say it all they want to; the question should be, are we moving in the right direction, not whether we could have been fully healed. Are we better off than we were four years ago, when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month? (Applause.) Are we moving in the right direction? (Applause.)
So I’m for President Obama because he’s been a good Commander-in-Chief and he’s done a good job.
The third reason I’m for him is he has the right philosophy about how to fix the mess we’re in. You know, he proved, the way he handled this terrible storm, Sandy, in the Northeast -- getting off the campaign trail, putting aside politics, working with the Republican Governor of New Jersey, the independent Mayor of New York City, and the Democratic Governors of New York and Connecticut -- there is no Republican or Democratic way to deal with the aftermath of a flood, of a storm, of houses burning down, of people losing their livelihoods, and of loved ones losing their lives. You have to begin again, and we have to work together. It was a stunning example of how “we’re all in this together” is a way better philosophy than “you’re on your own.” (Applause.)
Now, he proved it in budget negotiations with the Republicans when he offered them right off the bat a trillion dollars in budget cuts over the next decade, and he said, now, can we make a deal more or less like the Simpson-Bowles deal? And they said, no, because we won’t put up with one penny of taxes being raised on the wealthiest Americans who got the benefit of the tax cuts in the previous decade and almost all the economic growth.
But he tried, and the door is still open. And cooperation works better than conflict. Practical problem-solving is better than ideological extremism. And when you keep the door open by reelecting him Tuesday, they will walk through it, and we will begin to have cooperation again. (Applause.)
The fourth reason I’m for the President is because of something that President Bush put in a pithy phrase. Now, he got made fun of for it, but he told the truth. He said the President is the “decider-in-chief.” (Laughter.) Remember when he said that? But that's true. (Laughter.) So let’s just check some of the decisions of the two people who wish to be for the next four years the “decider-in-chief.”
Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- (applause) -- a bill that is not just for women. As anybody who ever lived in a house with two working parents knows, every working husband and father wants the wife and the mother to be of equal pay for equal work, for the welfare of the children and the family. (Applause.)
When asked in the second debate whether he would have signed it, the President’s opponent, who spent all these years telling us how decisive he is, said, “Well --“ (laughter.) I thought we were being asked to dance. (Laughter.) I mean, how hard is it? He’s going to have a lot harder decisions than that to make if he gets to be President. It’s just a yes or no answer. It’s been on the books for two years. How hard is it? Zero answer. Why? Because it might make one of his extremists mad.
And so Barack Obama made a decision; his opponent took a dive. I like Barack Obama as the “decider-in-chief.” (Applause.)
Barack Obama decided to fight for funding Planned Parenthood, and his opponent wants to de-fund it. I agree with Barack Obama. (Applause.)
Barack Obama decided that America could not stop making automobiles. And so it was not a bailout. It was a restructuring plan that required give-ups some management, give-ups some labor. The United States loaned money to Chrysler and General Motors. The loans have been paid back with interest. And we invested in their stock, and we’ll get that back, too.
And interestingly enough, all the German and Japanese companies that make cars in America, they were all for that restructuring deal. Why? Because they know we’re all in this together. And if General Motors stopped buying our auto parts, then all those auto parts manufacturers would go under, and there would be nothing to keep the German and the Japanese companies going. They were all there.
What happened? We saved a million jobs, and now there are 250,000 more people making cars today than there were the day the President pushed that bill through. (Applause.)
His opponent decided to oppose it. And now he’s trying to figure out how to get out of that in Ohio, where one in eight jobs is tied to the auto industry. I said last night -- we were in Virginia -- he’s tied himself in so many knots trying to say he didn’t oppose what he clearly opposed that I expected today he’ll be offered a job as a chief contortionist at Cirque de Soleil. (Laughter.) But he did. He was against it.
Then the administration of the President did another great thing. They reached an agreement with labor, with management, with the environmental groups, to double car mileage in the next few years. Double it. (Applause.) Now, put another way, that would cut your gas bill in half. You just figure out how much that's worth.
Governor Romney wants to undo it. I couldn’t believe this. He wants to undo it. He says, yes, but putting all this new technology, which will create 150,000 new jobs -- good jobs, paying above average -- putting all this technology in place will make the cars more expensive. It will. Maybe they’ll cost $1,000 more, maybe $1,500 more. But on average, every car will save $8,000 in lower gasoline costs. You come out way ahead. (Applause.) He’d rather you burn the gasoline than create 150,000 jobs.
You save the money, and we can save the planet together. I think Barack Obama made the right decision. (Applause.)
Now, let’s look at the decision Mr. Romney made. When he couldn’t get out of the fact that he actually did oppose the automobile plan, he starts saying that President Obama is allowing Jeep to move American jobs to China. Did you see that? I take it personally because I helped Jeep locate that -- well, I helped the state of Ohio get Jeep to locate a plant in Toledo, and I know they’re expanding it. They’ve put $500 million in it. They’re going to produce new lines there. I know they’re expanding in Michigan. And it’s just not true.
They made a lot of money so they can reopen a plant they closed down in China to sell Jeeps there -- because Jeeps are heavy, you can't afford to ship them from here to China. But they’re expanding in America.
So when Jeep said it wasn’t so, they kept making the charge. When Chrysler said it wasn’t so, they kept making the charge. Even General Motors said, this is not true. They doubled down on the charge, and then they pointed out that Jeep is owned by Chrysler, is owned by Fiat. So then the charge became, the President is working with the Italians -- (laughter) -- to move jobs to China. (Laughter.) In a few days they’re going to come after the Irish and I'm toast. (Laughter.)
Now, we're laughing, but it’s absurd. Is that the kind of “decider-in-chief” you want? I don't think so.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: The guy got caught red-handed, saying something that wasn’t accurate. But we all make mistakes. And it’s not a lie unless you know it’s not true when you say it. Now, when I was a kid and I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar, I sort of turned red, shrugged my shoulders and take my hand out of the cookie jar. He’s grabbing for more cookies! (Laughter.)
I like Barack Obama as “decider-in-chief” better. (Applause.)
But, look, far more important, and what the President will talk about today, is that his plan for the future is better. And his budget to pay for it and to pay our debt down is better. His plan for the future essentially is to invest in 21st century jobs -- in modern infrastructure, in information technology, in clean energy, in manufacturing, in the kind of agriculture that will enable us to feed America, sustain the environment, and feed a growing world -- and to educate and empower people to do those jobs, including maintaining and improving the Affordable Care Act, which will give 30 million people, many of them with preexisting conditions, insurance for the first time next year -- (applause) -- and which, much to the chagrin of its opponents, has just given us two years with health inflation at 4 percent or less for the first time in 51 years. We are liberating America. (Applause.)
His student loan program will allow students for the first time ever to borrow money at low cost from the federal government and pay it back as a low fixed percentage of income for up to 20 years. This means nobody will ever have to drop out of college again because they’re afraid to borrow money or they’re afraid they can't pay it back. (Applause.)
And he’s offered us a budget, based on arithmetic, that has $2 of spending cuts for every dollar of revenue increases, all the money to come from people like me -- I love saying this. I never had a nickel before I left the White House. (Laughter.)
Don't forget, in the decade before the crash, 90 percent of the gains went to the top 10 percent, 43 percent to the top 1 percent, and we also paid -- got most of the tax cuts. All we're being asked to do is to kick back in a little money by paying what we paid when I was President, and upper-income people did just fine, but it was the only time in the last 30 years that every quintile -- that is the bottom 20 percent, the 40 percent, the 60 percent, the 80 percent -- in percentage terms, your income went up just as much as the top 20 percent and we were all growing together. (Applause.) That's what President Obama wants to do.
Now, if you look at his opponent, he says, no, no, no, we need to do what we did under President Bush. We need to have a big tax cut for high-income people, and we need to cut all these investments and cut all this education and repeal the student loan law, make college loans more expensive and increase the dropout rate. That's their proposal. And we need to cut the Medicaid program by a third -- this helps poor kids, most of them in working families. Oh, and it does help Medicare seniors who are living in nursing homes, and it does help middle-class families with children with disabilities -- with autistic conditions and cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities -- whose parents could not even work if they were not helped to meet their children’s exceptional costs. He wants to cut all that to give me another tax cut?
And you say, well, we don't think the numbers add up, because even if you make up for this $5 trillion that you want to cut in taxes, or the $2.5 trillion you want to spend and President Obama doesn’t -- even if you could do that, you still haven't reduced the deficit one red cent.
So give us a budget. You know, you're the finance guy. And he says, see me about that after the election. (Laughter.) See me about that. It’s always, see me about that after the election. When I was a kid growing up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, we had a great guy who had a bar, and at noon he quit serving beer on a school day so the kids could come in and have sandwiches. But otherwise, he had a little sign on the bar and it said: Wendy’s Free Beer Tomorrow. And he had a deal with the electric company that they never turned the sign off. So I was in there one day and this guy came in and he said, “Hi, Wendy. I came in yesterday and had a beer. I'd like my free beer now.” He said, “Go out and read the sign.” Tomorrow never came. (Laughter.)
So when a politician tells me, see me about that after the election, it makes me know there’s something ugly in there he doesn’t want me to see. (Laughter.)
My President is not afraid for you to see his budget, or his plans, or his commitments, and they are better. We should elect Barack Obama. (Applause.)
And I just want to tell you one other thing. This will tell you all you need to know about this election. Governor Romney says, if he is elected people will be so elated -- I'm being serious now -- that the economy will produce 12 million jobs in the next four years. Now, I am sure it’s just a coincidence -- or maybe he forgot -- because as President Obama has told us, there’s this great public health epidemic, this virus sweeping across America, causing a condition known as Romnesia. (Laughter.) And the virus is so rampant that anybody is vulnerable to getting a little of it. (Laughter.) So maybe he just caught a little piece of Romnesia.
But what he forgot to tell you is this -- just a few days before that 12 million jobs promise was made, an independent business forecaster, Moody’s Analytics, said to all of us that we will get 12 million jobs in the next four years if we just don't mess up what the President has already done. (Applause.)
Now, because I want us to grow together, not apart; because he’s been a good Commander-in-Chief, a good “decider-in-chief,” a proven cooperator; because he’s got better plans for the future; because you and your children and our country will be better off -- I strongly recommend that we reelect the next President of the United States -- (applause) -- the current President of the United States, our President -- Barack Obama! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, New Hampshire! (Applause.) Are you fired up? (Applause.) Are you ready to go? (Applause.) You’ve got to be fired up after Bill Clinton. (Applause.)
Let me just say, President Clinton has been traveling all across the country for this campaign. He has been breaking it down so well that people tell me I should ask him to be “Secretary of Explainin’ Stuff.” (Laughter.) The only Clinton working harder than him is our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. (Applause.) And I’m so grateful to both of them.
I also want you to give it up for your outstanding Governor, John Lynch -- (applause) -- and one of the best Senators in Washington, our friend, Jean Shaheen. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back! (Applause.)
Now, this is an unbelievable crowd. I am so grateful to all of you. I know that some of you came here pretty early and it’s getting a little cold, but folks from New Hampshire are tough. (Applause.) They are tough.
Now, for the past several days, obviously, all of us have been focused on one of the worst storms of our lifetimes. And New Hampshire knows about storms, but obviously what we’ve seen happen in New Jersey and New York and Connecticut just breaks our heart. We can only imagine what families are going through who have lost loved ones in the storm. Our hearts and prayers go out to them.
And I had a chance to visit New Jersey, and every day I’m on the phone with our FEMA Director, and the governors and the mayors, and making sure that we’re doing everything we can. And I think I speak for the entire country when I say we will not stop until those folks whose lives have been upended, that their lives have been rebuilt. We will be with them every step of the way. (Applause.) I don't speak just as the President; I speak for every single American. (Applause.) We’re going to help them rebuild. We will help them rebuild. That’s what we do as Americans. (Applause.)
And that’s the interesting thing, is despite the heartbreak, we’ve also been inspired these past few days. And we see our first responders, our police officers, our firefighters, EMS folks running into buildings, wading through water, helping their fellow citizens. We see neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy; leaders of different parties working to fix what’s broken. A spirit that says no matter how bad a storm is, no matter how tough the times are, we’re all in this together. We rise and fall as one nation and as one people. (Applause.)
And that spirit, New Hampshire, has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries. It’s that spirit that carried us through the trials and tribulations of these last four years.
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. We’re less dependent on foreign oil than any time in 20 years.
Because of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform -- a whole lot of them from here in New Hampshire -- the war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is coming to a close. Al Qaeda is on the run. Osama bin Laden is dead.
We’ve made real progress. (Applause.) We’ve made real progress these past four years, but, New Hampshire, we’re here because we know we’ve got more work to do. As long as there is a single American who wants a job but can’t find one, our work is not yet done. As long as there are families who are working harder and harder but still falling behind, our work is not yet done. As long as there is a child anywhere in New Hampshire, anywhere in this country, who is languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, our fight has to go on. (Applause.) Our fight has to go on.
Our fight goes on 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 gets 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 2008. And 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, New Hampshire, in two days, you’re all going to have a choice to make. And it’s not just a choice between two candidates or two parties. It’s a choice between two different visions for America; between a return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy, and an economy that’s built from the middle out and the bottom up and creates a strong, growing middle class.
As Americans, we honor the strivers, the dreamers, the small businesspeople, the entrepreneurs, the risk-takers. They’ve always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, and that system has been the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known. But we also know that in this country, that system, our free enterprise system, works when everybody has got a shot, when everybody is participating, when everybody has got a chance to get a good education and learn new skills, when we support research into medical breakthroughs and new technologies that will create new businesses.
We believe America is stronger when everybody can count on affordable health care -- (applause) -- when everybody can count on Medicare and Social Security for a dignified retirement. (Applause.) We think the market works better when there are rules -- when there are rules in place to protect our kids from toxic dumping, rules in place to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous credit card companies or mortgage lenders. (Applause.)
And you know, folks in New Hampshire, just like folks all across the country, they don't want to do -- they don't want to see government do everything. They want to make sure government is giving people tools to succeed. And there are some things they don't want government meddling in -- for example, they certainly don't want politicians in Washington -- most of whom are male -- trying to control health care choices that women should be making for 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 at the time, the Republican Congress -- and a certain Senate candidate by the name of Mitt Romney -- said Bill Clinton’s plan would hurt the economy and kill jobs. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Turns out, his math was just as bad back then as it is now. (Laughter.) Because by the end of President Clinton’s second term, America created 23 million new jobs, and incomes were up and poverty was down, and the deficit had become the biggest surplus in history.
So, New Hampshire, we know our ideas work. (Applause.) We’ve tried them, and they worked. They worked for middle-class families. They created strong and sturdy ladders into the middle class for everybody who was willing to carry out their responsibilities.
Now, just like we’ve tried our ideas, the other side, they’ve tried their ideas. We gave those a shot. After Bill Clinton left, we had eight years to test their ideas, to test Governor Romney’s ideas. For most of the last decade, we tried giving big tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. We tried letting insurance companies and oil companies, Wall Street do whatever they pleased, giving them free license. 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 let me get this straight -- we tried our ideas, they worked: Middle class grew, America prospered, deficits became surpluses. We tried their ideas -- incomes went down, deficit blew up, massive financial crisis we’re still cleaning up.
Now, this poses a dilemma for Governor Romney. But he’s a very talented salesman, and in this campaign he has tried as hard as he can to repackage the same old ideas and pretend they’re new -- in fact, he’s offering them up as change; says he’s the candidate of change.
Now, let me just say this: We know what change looks like, and what he’s selling ain’t it. (Applause.) It ain’t it. Giving more power back to the biggest banks -- that’s not change. Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy -- not change.
THE PRESIDENT: Refusing to answer questions about the details of your policies until after the election is over -- that’s definitely not change. (Laughter.) That’s the oldest trick in the book. Ruling out compromise, pledging to rubber-stamp the tea party’s agenda in Congress -- not change. Changing the facts when they’re inconvenient to your campaign -- that’s not change. At least not the kind of change you want out of your President. (Laughter.)
New Hampshire, after four years as President, you know me. Part of this election is not just about policy. It’s also about -- it’s also about who do you trust? (Applause.) The fact is what you know about me is I mean what I say and I say what I mean. (Applause.) I said I’d end the war in Iraq -- I ended it. I said I’d pass health care reform -- I passed it. (Applause.) I said I’d repeal “don't ask, don't tell” -- we repealed it. (Applause.) I said I’d expand opportunity for young people to go to college -- that's exactly what we did. (Applause.)
You may not agree with every policy I’ve put forward. There have been times where -- by the way, Michelle doesn't agree with everything I do. (Laughter.) You may be frustrated sometimes with the pace of change. I’m frustrated, too, sometimes. But you know where I stand. You know what I believe. You know I tell the truth. And you know that I will fight for you and your families every single day as hard as I know how, as long as I’ve got the privilege to be your President. (Applause.)
So when you ask yourself the question, who is going to fight for me and bring about real change, you know that I know what real change looks like, because I fought for it alongside you. I’ve got the scars to prove it. I’ve got the gray hair to show for it. (Applause.)
After all we’ve been through together, we can't give up now.
THE PRESIDENT: So let me tell you the change we need for the next four years. Change is a country where every American has a shot at a good education. (Applause.) Government can't do it alone. Parents have to parent; students, you have to study. But don't tell me hiring more quality teachers won’t help this economy grow. (Applause.) 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, or Bill Clinton, or Michelle, or a whole bunch 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 new math and science teachers so our country doesn't fall behind. I want to train 2 million Americans in our community colleges with the skills that businesses are hiring for right now.
That's what change is. That's what we’re fighting for in this election. That's how we’ll grow our economy. (Applause.)
Change comes when we live up to this country’s legacy of innovation. I couldn’t be prouder that I bet on American workers and American ingenuity and the American auto industry. But what makes me really proud is 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.)
But we don't have to just stop with cars. We -- America has always been about innovation, advanced manufacturing, making stuff. There are thousands of workers around the country right now building long-lasting batteries and wind turbines. I want to make sure that we’re supporting the industries and manufacturing of the future. I don't want a tax code that subsidizes oil company profits when they're making money hand over fist. I want to support the energy jobs of tomorrow. I want to support the new technologies that will help us cut our oil imports in half. I don't want a tax code rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to reward companies that will create the next generation of manufacturing right here in Concord, right here in New Hampshire, right here in the United States. (Applause.)
That's change. That's the future I see for this country. Change is turning the page on a decade of war so we can do some nation-building here at home. Now, as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will pursue our enemies relentlessly with the strongest military the world has ever known. But it’s time to use some of the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and winding down the war in Afghanistan to pay down our debt, rebuild America. (Applause.)
We could, right now, put workers back to work repairing roads and bridges, making sure our schools are state of the art, laying broadband lines into rural communities. And we can hire our veterans when they come home -- because if you fought for freedom, if you fought for this country, you shouldn’t have to fight for a job or a roof over your heads when you come home. (Applause.) That's how we keep America strong. That's what's at stake in this election.
Change is reducing our deficit in a balanced, responsible way. You know, a lot of folks talk about deficit reduction as a political tool, but when it when it comes down to it, we’ve got to make choices. We’ve got to make choices. These priorities reflect our values. I’ve got a trillion dollars’ worth of spending that we didn’t need, and I’m willing to do more. But just as we did when Bill Clinton was President, we’ve got to ask the wealthiest to pay a little bit more so we can reduce the deficit and still invest in the things we need to grow. (Applause.)
I will not turn Medicare into a voucher -- (applause) -- just to give millionaires another tax cut. I’m not going to make college more expensive for young people just to give me a tax cut. (Applause.) I don't need it. I don’t want it. Because I believe America will be stronger if we’re helping the next generation succeed. (Applause.)
So, New Hampshire, that's what change is. We know what the future requires, and we know it won’t be easy. You know, back in 2008, I spent a lot of time here in New Hampshire. I know you guys -- you saw a lot of me. (Laughter.) And back then, we talked about change we can believe in. But I said to people, you know, I’m not just talking about changing parties or changing presidents. I’m talking about changing how our politics works.
I ran because the voices of the American people -- your voices -- all of you, folks way in the back -- (applause) -- and folks here in the front -- (applause) -- your voices have been shut out of our democracy for way 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 of the status quo.
And for the last four years, those protectors of the status quo, they have fought us fiercely every step of the way. They spent millions to try to stop us from reforming the health care system; spent millions trying to stop us from reforming Wall Street. They engineered a strategy of gridlock in Congress, refusing to compromise on ideas that traditionally both Democrats and Republicans had supported.
And what they’re counting on now is that you’re going to be so worn down by the squabbling and the dysfunction and the arguing and the bickering that you’re just going to give up, walk away and --
THE PRESIDENT: -- and leave things the way they are.
THE PRESIDENT: -- leave folks who have the power right where they are. In other words, their bet is on cynicism. But, New Hampshire, my bet is on you. (Applause.) My bet is on you.
And by the way, when I talk about fighting for what we care about, this isn’t a partisan fight. When the other party has been willing to work with me to help middle-class families, I am right there with them. I love that. When we cut taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, we got Republican help. When we came together to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” we had some courageous Republican senators who supported it.
As long as I’m President, I will work with anybody of any party to move this country forward. And if you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders who feel the same way, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans or independents -- (applause) -- folks like John Lynch, folks like Jeanne Shaheen. You’ll vote for candidates like Annie Kuster, Carol Shea-Porter. (Applause.) You’ll make Maggie Hassan the next governor of New Hampshire. (Applause.) Because they’re focused on you, not on politics in the next election. And your Governor sets a great example of that.
But you’ve also got to have principles. You got to have something you stand for. And if the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals to kick students off of financial aid, or get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood, or let insurance companies go back to discriminating against people with preexisting conditions, or eliminate millions of people on Medicaid who rely on it for their health care -- the poor, the disabled, the elderly -- that's not a deal I’m willing to take. That's not a price I’m willing to pay. That's not bipartisanship, and it’s certainly not change. That is surrender to the same status quo that has squeezed middle-class families for way too long.
And, New Hampshire, I’m here today because I’m not ready to give up on the fight. (Applause.) I know I look a little older, but I got a lot of fight left in me. (Applause.) I am not ready to give up on the fight, and I hope you aren’t either, New Hampshire. (Applause.) I hope you aren’t, either. (Applause.)
You know, the folks at the very top of this country, they don't need a champion in Washington. They’ll always have a seat at the table. They’ll always have access and influence. That's the way things work. We understand that. The people who really need a champion are the Americans whose letters I read late at night after I come up from the Oval Office, the men and women that I meet on the campaign trail.
The laid-off paper mill worker who’s retraining at the age of 55 for a new career in a new industry -- she needs a champion. The restaurant owner who’s got great food, but needs a loan to expand and the bank has turned him down -- he needs a champion. (Applause.)
The cooks and the waiters and the cleaning staff working overtime at a Vegas hotel, trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kid to college -- they need a champion. (Applause.) The autoworker who got laid off, thought the plant was going to close and then got called back, and now is filled with pride and dignity, building a great car -- he needs a champion. (Applause.)
That teacher in an overcrowded classroom with outdated textbooks, digging into her own pocket to buy school supplies, and not always getting the support that she needs, but knowing every day she might reach that one child and make all the difference in that child’s life -- she needs a champion. (Applause.)
All those kids in inner cities and small farm towns, in the valleys of Ohio, the rolling Virginia hills, the streets of Concord -- kids dreaming of becoming scientists or doctors or engineers or entrepreneurs or buisnesspeople or teachers or diplomats or even a President -- they need a champion in Washington.
They don't have lobbyists. The future never has as many lobbyists as the vested interests in the status quo. But it’s the dreams of those children that will be our saving grace. It’s their dreams that will be the foundation of America.
And that’s why I need you, New Hampshire -- to make sure their voices are heard. To make sure your voices are heard. We have come too far to turn back now. (Applause.) We’ve come too far to let our hearts grow faint. It’s time to keep pushing forward, to educate all our kids and all our workers, create new jobs and rebuild our roads and our bridges, and discover new sources of energy, to broaden opportunity, to grow our middle class, to restore our democracy -- and to make sure that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or how you started out, you can make it here in America. (Applause.)
And, New Hampshire, that’s why I’m asking you for your vote. Last night I was down in Virginia -- we had a huge rally. And we were talking to our staff -- and our field organizers, they’re all 25 or 22 -- (laughter) -- and we were talking to them. And I said, well, how are things looking? And they seemed pretty confident. And I looked at David Plouffe -- some of you know he’s my big campaign pooh-bah, smart guy -- but Plouffe and I looked at each other and we said, you know what, we’re no longer relevant now. We’re props. Because what’s happened is now the campaign falls on these 25-year-old kids who are out there knocking on doors, and making phone calls. (Applause.)
And then we realized, pretty soon, after they do their jobs, then they’re not relevant either, because it’s now up to you. That’s how our democracy works, right -- that ultimately, it’s up to you. You have the power. You will be shaping the decisions for this country for decades to come right now, in the next two days.
And if you’re willing to work with me, if you’re willing to stand with me, if you’re willing to knock on some doors with me, if you’re willing to make some phone calls with me -- (applause) -- if you’re willing to turn out for me, we’ll win New Hampshire. (Applause.) We’ll win this election. (Applause.) We’ll finish what we started. We’ll renew those bonds that do not break, and reaffirm the spirit that makes the United States of America the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
Let’s go get it, New Hampshire. (Applause.) Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
11:31 A.M. EST