2012-08-04 Celebrating the Summer Olympics and Paralympics Hi, everybody. Today, I want to take a break from the back-and-forth of campaign season, and talk about something that’s brought us all together this week – the Summer Olympics.
These games remind us that for all our differences, we’re Americans first. And we could not be prouder of the men and women representing our country in London, in both the Olympics and in the Paralympics. Last weekend, Michelle led the American delegation to London and reaffirmed the special relationship we share with our strongest ally, Great Britain. She met with the Queen, and with Prime Minister Cameron’s wife, Samantha. She spent some time thanking our brave service members and military families. And, of course, she took in as many events as she could to cheer on our athletes.
I’ve got to admit I was a little jealous she got to go. But like many
of you, I caught as many events as I could, jumping off the couch for a close race, or a perfect vault. I watched the wonderful young women of our gymnastics team recapture the team gold for America, and I was filled with pride watching Gabby Douglas win the all-around gold with incredible poise and grace. I watched our swimmers win a haul of medals, and Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. I saw our women’s soccer team power through the competition.
And I’m just as proud of all our athletes in sports that don’t always get as much attention. The U.S. women’s eight continued its rowing
dominance with another gold medal. Kayla Harrison won America’s
first-ever gold medal in Judo, and Marti Malloy won a bronze. Kim Rhode became the first American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics with her gold in skeet shooting; and her teammate, Army Sergeant Vincent Hancock, won his second skeet gold.
I also thought of the truly difficult journeys that many of our athletes have made. Some have faced personal loss, or beaten cancer. Some have worked long shifts at multiple jobs to feed their Olympic dream. And some have done the impossible. Less than four years ago, Bryshon Nellum was shot three times in his legs. But this week, he’ll run the 400
meters. And as a boy, Lopez Lomong fled war and persecution and life as a refugee – one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan. Today’s he’s an American
– and representing his country at the Olympics for the second time. So it’s no surprise America is vying for the top of the medal count. But
it’s not the medal count alone that inspires us – most of our athletes
won’t claim a medal at all. It’s the character of the men and women
who compete for those medals. It’s their hard work and sacrifice – the
countless hours in the gym, in the pool, on the track. It’s their dogged
perseverance and unyielding determination, through disappointment and triumph alike.
It’s that unconquerable spirit – that American spirit – that says even
though we may have very different stories to tell; even though we may not look alike or talk alike or be dealt the same hand in life – if we work
hard, we can achieve our dreams. We can make it if we try. We are one people, with common values and ideals; we celebrate individual excellence, but recognize that only together can we accomplish great and important things we cannot accomplish alone.
That’s why we cheer. That’s why we come together, That’s why we watch.
for two weeks in summer, and swell with pride at the incredible things our fellow citizens can do.
So to all our Olympic and Paralympic athletes – whether you’ve already
competed or have yet to compete – your country could not be prouder of
you. Thank you for presenting the best of America to the rest of the world. And, thank you for becoming new role models to our children –
mine included – and inspiring them to believe that if they work hard and do their best, they can achieve great things, too.
Go get ‘em this week, Team USA. We can’t wait to welcome you home.
God bless you, and God bless America.
This week, the Senate passed a plan that I proposed a few weeks ago to protect middle class Americans and virtually every small business owner
a tax hike of $2,200 from getting hit with a big tax hike next year –
for the typical family.
Now it comes down to this: If 218 Members of the House vote the right way, 98% of American families and 97% of small business owners will have the certainty of knowing that that their income taxes will not go up next year. That certainty means something to a middle class family who’s already stretched the budget as far as it can go. It means something to a small
business owner who’s trying to plan ahead. That’s security at a time
when folks could use some.
And here’s the thing: everyone in Washington says they agree on this. Everyone says they agree that we should extend the tax cuts for the middle class. When Democrats and Republicans agree on something, it should be pretty easy to get it done.
But right now, that’s not the case. Instead of doing what’s right for
middle class families and small business owners, Republicans in Congress are holding these tax cuts hostage until we extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
You see, Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President believe that the best way to create prosperity in America is to let it trickle down from the top. They believe that if our country spends trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, we’ll somehow create jobs – even if we have
to pay for it by gutting things like education and training and by raising middle-class taxes.
They’re wrong. And I know they’re wrong because we already tried it that way for most of the last decade. It didn’t work. We’re still
paying for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that benefitted the wealthiest Americans more than anyone else; tax cuts that didn’t lead to the middle
class jobs or higher wages we were promised and that helped take us from record surpluses to record deficits.
We can’t afford more top-down economics. What we need are policies that will grow and strengthen the middle class; that will help create jobs, make education and training more affordable, and encourage businesses to start up and stay right here in the United States.
That’s why I’ve cut middle-class taxes every year that I’ve been
President – by $3,600 for the typical family. That’s why I’ve cut
taxes for small businesses eighteen times. And that’s why I’m calling
on 218 Members of the House to do their job and not raise taxes on the middle class.
As soon as they pass that bill, I’ll sign it right away. And in the
meantime, I’m going to keep fighting for an economy where we’re not just putting folks back to work, but making sure that work pays off – an economy
where every American, no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from, can have the confidence that if you work hard, you can get ahead.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
As many of you know, early on Friday, at least twelve people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Dozens more are being treated for injuries at local hospitals. Some of the victims are being treated at a children’s hospital.
We are still gathering all the facts about what happened, but we do know that the police have one suspect in custody. And the federal government stands ready to do everything necessary to bring whoever’s responsible
for this heinous crime to justice. We will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all our people. And we will stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time.
Even as we come to learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings. Such evil is senseless – beyond reason. But while we will never
know fully what causes someone to take the life of another, we do know what makes that life worth living.
The people we lost in Aurora loved, and were loved. They were mothers and fathers; husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters; friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and dreams that were not yet fulfilled. And if there’s anything to take away from this
Our time here is limited tragedy, it’s a reminder that life is fragile.
and it is precious. And what matters in the end are not the small and trivial things which often consume our lives. It’s how we choose to
treat one another, and love one another. It’s what we do on a daily basis
to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That’s what
matters. That’s why we’re here.
I’m sure many of you who are parents had the same reaction I did when
you first heard this news: what if it had been my daughters at the theater, doing what young children enjoy doing every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter this weekend, as I’m sure you will do with your children. But for those parents who may not be so fortunate, we need to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation.
This weekend I hope everyone takes some time for prayer and reflection – for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover, and for all the victims of the less publicized acts of violence that plague our
communities on a daily basis. Let us keep all these Americans in our prayers. And to the people of Aurora, may the Lord bring you comfort and healing in the hard days to come.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve been talking with folks across the country about how we’re going to rebuild an economy where if you work hard, you
and your family can get ahead.
And right now, there’s a big debate going on in Washington over two fundamentally different paths we can take as a country to do that.
One path – pushed by Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President – says that the best way to create prosperity is to let it trickle down from the top. They believe that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, it’ll somehow create jobs – even if we have
to pay for it by gutting education and training and by raising middle-class taxes.
I think they’re wrong. We already tried it that way for most of the last
We’re still paying for trillions of dollars decade, and it didn’t work.
in tax cuts that benefitted the wealthiest Americans more than anyone else; tax cuts that didn’t lead to the rise in wages and middle class jobs that we were promised; and that helped take us from record surpluses to record deficits.
The last thing we need right now is more top-down economics. What we need are policies that will grow and strengthen the middle class; that will help create jobs, make education and training more affordable, and encourage businesses to start up and stay right here in the United States.
Soon, we’ll face a choice between these two different approaches. On
January 1st, taxes are set to go up for tens of millions of Americans. I think that would be a huge financial hit for middle-class
families. That’s why I’ve cut middle-class taxes every year that I’ve
been President – by $3,600 for the typical family. And that’s why, this
week, I called on Congress to immediately stop the January 1st tax hike from hitting any American on the first $250,000 of their income.
Under my plan, 98% of American families won’t see their income taxes go up at all. But the other 2% of Americans will have to pay a little more in taxes on anything they make over $250,000. In other words, the wealthiest few Americans will go back to the income tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton. And if you remember, that was when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and millionaires were doing pretty well.
The folks in Congress and on the campaign trail who oppose this plan warn that it would somehow hurt small businesses and job creators. Well, they’re completely ignoring the facts.
Under my plan, 97% of small business owners would avoid getting hit with any income tax hike whatsoever. In fact, I’ve cut taxes for small
businesses eighteen times since I’ve been President. And just this week,
I ordered a series of new steps to help our small businesses grow and hire.
The only place we disagree is whether we keep giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Republicans in Washington want more of those tax cuts. With the deficit we have, I don’t think we can afford them.
But even if we disagree on the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we all agree that no American should pay more taxes on the first $250,000 of their income. So let’s at least agree to do what we all agree
on. That’s what compromise is all about. Let’s not hold the vast
majority of Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy. Let’s skip the unnecessary
drama, the needless delays and all the partisan posturing and let’s just do the right thing for the people who sent us here to serve.
And I’m going to keep fighting to make sure we rebuild an economy that rewards work, grows the middle class, and gives new opportunity to those trying to earn their way into the middle class.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
Hi, everybody. I’m here in Ohio, where W’ve spent the past couple days talking with folks about our central challenge as a country – not
just reclaiming all the jobs lost to the recession, but reclaiming the economic security that so many Americans have lost over the last decade.
Our mission isn’t just to put people back to work – it’s to rebuild an
economy where that work pays; an economy in which everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead.
For months, I’ve been pushing Congress to pass several common-sense ideas that will help us do that. And on Friday, I signed into law a bill that will do two things for the American people.
First, it will keep thousands of construction workers on the job rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure.
Second, it will keep interest rates on federal student loans from doubling this year – which would have hit more than seven million students with about a thousand dollars more on their loan payments.
Those steps will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans. But make no mistake: we’ve got more to do.
The construction industry was hit brutally hard when the housing bubble burst. So it’s not enough to just keep construction workers on
the job doing projects that were already underway.
For months, I’ve been calling on Congress to take half the money we’re no longer spending on war and use it to do some nation-building
here at home. There’s work to be done building roads and bridges
and wireless networks. And there are hundreds of thousands of construction workers ready to do it.
The same thing is true for our students. The bill I’m about to sign is
vital for millions of students and their families. But it’s not enough to
just keep their student loan rates from doubling.
For months, I’ve been calling on Congress to reform and expand the financial aid that’s offered to students. I’ve been asking them to help
us give two million Americans the opportunity to learn the skills that businesses in their area are looking for – right now – through
partnerships between community colleges and employers. In America, a higher education cannot be a luxury reserved for just a few
privileged people. It’s an economic necessity that every American
family should be able to afford.
Finally, I want to thank every American who took the time to sit down and write a letter, or type an e-mail, make a phone call or send a tweet hoping your voice would make a difference. I promise you –
your voice made all the difference. And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, your voice will be heard in the White House.
Thanks and have a great weekend.