Remarks by the President at DSCC Dinner — Chicago, IL: “I need a Democratic Senate.” Don’t Forget A Democratic House.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Remarks by the President at DSCC Dinner — Chicago, IL

Private Residence
Chicago, Illinois

8:17 P.M. CDT

 

THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, to Fred and Dan, I’m so grateful for you guys hosting us here today.  I’m trying to remember — was it two years ago or three years ago that I was here?

 

Response from audience:  Two years ago.  And you were here in –

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’ve been here a lot, I know.  (Laughter.)  I meant most recently.  I have abused Fred’s hospitality for quite some time.  But it is wonderful to be home now that is has warmed up.  (Laughter.)  And it is wonderful to be with a lot of old friends.

 

There are a couple other people I just want to acknowledge real quickly.  Obviously, our Governor Pat Quinn is in the house.  Please give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Pat is doing a lot of hard stuff, and he’s doing it the right way.  And I’m very appreciative for all the efforts that he’s making down in Springfield.

 

We also have two of our finest public servants in the country.  The first has the thankless job of being the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Reelection Committee, and that is our outstanding senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet.  (Applause.)  And the second guy is the person who, upon my election to the United States Senate, essentially taught me everything that he knew and kept me out of trouble, and supported me every step of the way when I ran for President, and has been a great friend and champion on behalf of working families not just in Illinois, but all across the country.  He is a great friend.  I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with him — Dick Durbin.  (Applause.)

 

So the goal here is not for me to give a long speech, because I want to have a conversation with you, but let me just set the context.  A little over five years since I’ve been elected.  We’ve gone from losing 800,000 jobs a month to creating over 9 million jobs.  The unemployment rate has come down.  The housing value has come up.  The stock market — gone up.  Trillions of dollars of wealth restored for families all across the country.  The deficit — you wouldn’t know it always from reading the newspapers — has been cut by more than half.

 

Clean energy — we’ve doubled.  Greenhouse gases — we’ve lowered.  Exports — we’re on track to double.  College enrollment hitting all-time peaks.  High school dropout rates going down.  Latino dropout rates cut in half since 2000.

 

We’ve ended two wars.  We are — or we’ve ended one war and we’re in the process of ending the second.  We’re producing more energy than we ever have before, and we’re importing less foreign oil than we have in close to two decades.

 

So there are a whole bunch of metrics — a whole bunch of measures by which you’d say, indisputably, that we are better off now than we were when I came into office.  And a lot of that has to do with the incredible resilience and grit and hard work of the American people.  And yet, there’s still anxiety all across America.  And some of it is that people still feel the trauma of seeing their home values drop, or their 401(k)s plunge, or losing their job, or seeing a friend of theirs lose their home.  And you don’t shake those things off right away.  It feels as if the ground is less firm under your feet.

 

But a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve got trends that have continued over the course of decades in which those of us, frankly, in this room continue to do better and better.  Folks at the top have seen their incomes and their wealth soar.  And ordinary Americans have seen their wages and incomes flat-line at the same time as the costs of everything has gone up.  And so they’re less confident that not only they will be able to retire with some dignity and maintain their standard of living; more importantly, they’re concerned that their kids are not going to be able to match their standard of living and the upward trajectory of their lives — the idea that if you work hard, if you take responsibility in this country, you can get ahead.

 

Now, there are a lot of issues that we face in this country, but nothing is more important than restoring, making real that ideal that if you work hard in this country, you can make it.  And everything I think about every single day that I’m President revolves around that issue, along with keeping the American people safe.  And the problem I’ve got right now is not that we’re on the wrong side of issues.  There’s not an issue out there in which we do not enjoy majority support.  Immigration reform — the majority agrees with us.  Minimum wage — the majority agrees with us.  Equal pay for equal work — the majority agrees with us.  Increasing clean energy — the majority agrees with us.  Invest in education, early childhood education, making college more affordable — folks on our side.  That’s not my problem.  That’s not our problem.

 

Our problem is very simple:  We have a Congress that currently is controlled, at least half of it, by an ideological faction that is not representative of the traditions of the Republican Party as I understood them — maybe because I come from the land of Lincoln.  I thought we believed in investing in infrastructure.  I thought we believed in science.  I didn’t think those were partisan issues.  I thought we believed in education.  But this crowd doesn’t believe in science; doesn’t really believe in investing in our kids to make sure that upward mobility exists; doesn’t believe in climate change; doesn’t think that there’s really a problem in terms of the pay gap between men and women; isn’t interested in providing help for families.

 

They operate on a single theory — which is, if government is dismantled and folks at the top can do more and more without restraint, that everybody else is going to benefit from it.  I don’t know if they actually believe it, but that’s what they say.  And this is not a situation of equivalence where the Democrats are this far-left crazy group and we’re not willing to meet in the middle.  And if you need a better example than that, take a look at a health care law that uses the private sector to encourage people to buy insurance and has brought health care inflation down to its lowest rate in 50 years.  And you would think that I had dismantled the entire free-market system — despite the fact that we now have somewhere between 13 and 15 million people who have insurance now that didn’t have it before.

 

So I need a new Congress.  But at a minimum, I’ve got to have a Democratic Senate.  And that’s why you’re here.  Which leads me to my last point:  If, in fact, people agree with us, why is it so hard for us to get a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House?  Well, part of it is demographics.  I was in Brooklyn with de Blasio — this is right before he was about to be elected — and we were coming from this wonderful school that’s training kids in math and science.  And we’re driving down Brooklyn and crowds are cheering, and we go into this place to buy some cheesecake and people are hugging me — and, oh, my uncle just got on Obamacare and it’s terrific.  And a woman yells out, what can I do to help?  And I said, move to Nebraska!  (Laughter.)  I don’t need 80 percent of the vote in New York City — (laughter) — or Chicago.  But Democrats tend to congregate a little more densely, which puts us at a disadvantage in the House.  Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming.  That puts us at a disadvantage.  Gerrymandering in many of these states puts us at a disadvantage.

 

So there are some structural reasons why, despite the fact that Republican ideas are largely rejected by the public, it’s still hard for us to break through.  But the second reason is we have a congenital disease, which is we don’t like voting in midterms.  Our voters are younger, more minorities, more single women, more working-class folks who are busy and trying to get to work, trying to find work.  And oftentimes we opt out during midterms.  If we had the same turnout in 2012 that we had had in 2010, I might have lost.  Instead, of course, we had a very significant and solid victory.

 

So this is pretty straightforward — I need more votes.  I need more people voting to reflect our values and what we care about and our stance on the issues, which, in turn, leads to senators and congressman who then vote on behalf of actually getting stuff done.  A bunch of you, because you’ve known me for a long time, came up and commiserated while we were taking pictures — oh, these folks are so mean and there’s always slinging and hurling stones and arrows at you, and all this.  And I said, you know what, it turns out — maybe I’m from Chicago — I’m a tough guy.  It doesn’t really bother me too much.

 

There is one thing that bothers me, which is when I hear folks saying, oh, you know, if you just play golf with John Boehner more — (laughter) — and we’re just trying harder to be more bipartisan, then we’d get more stuff done.  That’s not the problem.  (Laughter.)  On every issue we are more than happy to sit down in reasonable fashion and compromise.  The problem is not that we’re too mean or we’re too partisan.  The problem is I don’t have enough votes — full stop.

 

The first two years, when we had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, we had the most productive legislature since the 1960s, since Lyndon Johnson — more significant, meaningful domestic legislation than any time since Medicare was passed.  House Republicans take over and we now have — you remember Harry Truman with the do-nothing Congress?  This is a less productive Congress than the do-nothing Congress.  (Laughter.)  This Congress makes the do-nothing Congress look like the New Deal.  (Laughter.)

 

So I need everybody to feel a sense of urgency.  That’s what we’re here tonight to talk about.  And whatever else I say, whatever issues you are concerned about, ultimately it translates into math — are we turning out voters who, in turn, produce majorities that allow us to advance the values that we care about.  Everything else is just talk.  And if we don’t feel that sense of urgency in this election, we’re going to have problems.  And if we do, then in the next two and half years we can make as much progress as we did the first two years I was in office.

 

All right.  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

 

END
8:32 P.M. CDT

 

 

And The Very Next Morning At Breakfast…..

 

Obama Breakfasts At Old Chicago Favorite

It was an old home kind of Friday for President Obama. The president — and former Chicago resident — had breakfast at a favored old stomping ground, Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park. Obama, who dined with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, ordered two eggs over medium with bacon and hash browns, and then plopped down a pair of $20 bills. “I don’t take free food,” Obama said.

It was a familiar place for Obama. A glass cabinet featured Valois coffee mugs adorned with Obama’s face, while assorted Obama clippings and photos hung on a wall. A separate menu board featured “President Obama’s favorites,” including “N.Y. steak and eggs”; two eggs with bacon or sausage; two pancakes; steak omelet; Mediterranean omelet; and an “all-vegi” egg white omelet.

 

 

Obama gives hugs, selfies at Chicago restaurant at Valois Cafeteria in Hyde Park 

 

 

 

 President Obama gets breakfast at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, IL, eggs, bacon & hash browns

President Obama gets breakfast at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, IL, eggs, bacon & hash browns

Barack greets diners during a breakfast stop at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, on the South SIIIIDDDDEEEE.

Barack greets diners during a breakfast stop at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, on the South SIIIIDDDDEEEE.

 

Back home briefly, Obama breakfasts with Illinois governor

 

Published on May 23, 2014

After a quick overnight at his Chicago house for the first time in almost a year, the president patronized one of his favorite local haunts, Valois Restaurant, with Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill.

 

 

 

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Returing Home

 

 

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Barack’s World™: The 411 From 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


 

By Jueseppi B.

barackworld

 

White House Tweets – November 7th, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

White House Schedule – November 7th, 2013

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2013

DAILY GUIDANCE AND PRESS SCHEDULE FOR
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7th, 2013

 

In the morning, the President and the Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

In the afternoon, the President and the Vice President will meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

In the evening, the President will host cast and crew members of the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at the White House. This screening is closed press.

 

Long Walk to Freedom
Long Walk to Freedom.jpg
Author Nelson Mandela
Cover artist Allan Tannenbaum
Country South Africa
Language English
Subject Autobiography
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Macdonald Purnell
Publication date 1995
Media type Print (hardback and paperback)
Pages 630 pp
ISBN 0-316-87496-5
OCLC Number 39296287

 

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) Official Trailer (HD) Idris Elba, Naomie Harris

 

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)

Starring: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto, Robert Hobbs, Grant Swanby, Mark Elderkin, Garth Breytenbach, Theo Landey, Gys De Villiers, Sivuyile Ngesi, Armand Aucamp, Richard Lothian, Nomfusi Gotyana, Rohil Aniruth

 

 

‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ Trailer 2

 

‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ Trailer 2

Director: Justin Chadwick

Starring: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Robert Hobbs

A chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

 

 

 

Thursday, November 7 2013 All Times ET

 

12:15 AM: The President arrives Joint Base Andrews.

 

12:30 AM: The President arrives at the White House.

 

10:30 AM: THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

 

1:30 PM: THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew, Oval Office.

 

6:00 PM: THE PRESIDENT hosts a screening of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at the White House, The Family Theatre/

 

Briefing Schedule

12:30 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, Brady Briefing Room.

 

obamacare-1

 

Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz

November 07, 2013
11:45 AM EST

 

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel back to my home state of Michigan, to Southwest Detroit, where I visited a local Community Health Center and participated in an Affordable Care Act enrollment event put on by State Representative Rashida Tlaib.

 

The event provided an opportunity for Detroiters to ask question about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and for those without insurance, how to get covered.

 

It was a well-attended event that included Detroiters from all walks of life, many of whom use Community Health Centers as their primary course of care.  State Representative Tlaib even shared with me that growing up in Detroit, she came to that very health center for care.

 

These truly critical hubs provide vital health services to their communities.

 

That’s why I’m so excited that today we are announcing new grants provided to communities under the Affordable Care Act. These grants will continue to make a big difference in helping community health centers provide access to primary care services for nearly 1.25 million new patients.

 

These awards will focus on underserved areas and health centers that can provide culturally competent care and primary care.

 

As I saw first-hand in Detroit, the Community Health Centers also serve as centers of education and outreach to people without insurance or without a primary care doctor who are looking for insurance options.  These Centers also have staff who can help you enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace or Medicaid.

 

This is also a big deal for the Latino community – today, 1 out of every 3 patients served by Community Health Centers is Latino. Community Health Centers play a critical role in providing care to all kinds of underserved communities.

 

Since 2009, health centers have served 4 million new patients and they now serve more than 21 million people each year.

 

In the last four years, through the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act, HHS has supported nearly 450 New Access Points, increasing access to care for nearly 2.5 million patients across the country.

 

At a time when we are focused on making sure as many Americans as possible know about the new health care options they can sign up for through the federal and state Marketplaces, it is also critical to make sure we are boosting access to quality health care services.

 

These funds will be vital in helping us achieve that goal, in bolstering the great work already being done by community health centers throughout the country, and most importantly – in making sure patients can get the health care they need, when they need it.

 

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Air Force One waits for President Obama before departing Andrews Air Force Base for a day trip to Dallas, Nov 6

Air Force One waits for President Obama before departing Andrews Air Force Base for a day trip to Dallas, Nov 6

President Barack Obama waves upon arriving at Dallas Love Field in Texas

President Barack Obama waves upon arriving at Dallas Love Field in Texas

President Barack Obama walks as he is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents

President Barack Obama walks as he is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents

President Barack Obama walks as he is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents

President Barack Obama walks as he is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents

President Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters after arriving at Dallas Love Field

President Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters after arriving at Dallas Love Field

President Barack Obama smiles as he is introduced to speak about Affordable Health Care to volunteers at the Temple Emanu-El

President Barack Obama smiles as he is introduced to speak about Affordable Health Care to volunteers at the Temple Emanu-El

President Barack Obama speaks about Affordable Health Care to volunteers at the Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas

President Barack Obama speaks about Affordable Health Care to volunteers at the Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas

 

Lindsay Holst
Lindsay Holst

November 07, 2013
09:48 AM EST

 

On Wednesday, the President traveled to Dallas, Texas, where he joined canvassers and navigators who are part of the community’s most active group of volunteers working to enroll their neighbors in quality, affordable coverage through the Marketplace.

 

The President personally thanked them for their work, calling out the fact that ultimately, “all the politics, all the chatter sometimes leaves out the fact that the system we had — the status quo — just wasn’t working for too many people.”

 

“…Now what we’ve got to do is sign up those folks who don’t have health insurance and improve insurance for those who are under-insured, who don’t have very good insurance, and have been subject to the whims of the insurance company. And that’s what this is all about. And that’s the challenge that we’ve got over the next month, three months, six months, next year. And if we get that done — when we get that done — then we will have created a stable system in which there’s no reason why people shouldn’t be getting health care in this country.”

 

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Affordable Care Act event at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 6, 2013.President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Affordable Care Act event at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

At a time when 24 states — Texas included — have neglected to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion available to working families in their states under the Affordable Care Act, the President acknowledged that 133,000 Texans in Dallas alone would immediately have coverage if Texas decided to expand the program.

 

“So one of the things that sometimes gets me a little frustrated, although I understand it because I’m in politics, is folks who are complaining about how the website is not working, and why isn’t Obama fixing this, and all these people are uninsured, and yet they’re leaving a million people right now without health insurance that they could immediately fix. There’s not a lot of logic to that.

 

But that’s okay, because we’ve gone through barriers before; we have gone through struggles before.  Eventually, though, if you stick with doing the right thing, you get it done. It will happen, all right?”

 

You can read the President’s full remarks here.

 

Jason Furman
Jason Furman

November 07, 2013
09:30 AM EST

 

During the third quarter, the economy grew at its fastest pace in a year, an indication that the recovery was continuing to gain traction in the months before the government shutdown. GDP growth was boosted by a positive contribution from consumer durables purchases, the continued recovery in the housing sector, and net exports. We now have an opportunity to build on this progress by increasing certainty for businesses and investing in jobs and growth, while avoiding the types of self-inflicted wounds that restrained the economy in the early part of the fourth quarter.

 

FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

 

1. Real gross domestic product rose at a solid 2.8 percent annual pace in the third quarter, the fastest quarterly pace in the last year, and the 10th consecutive quarter of growth.The rate of growth picked up slightly from the also-solid 2.5 percent rate observed in the second quarter. The economy has made substantial progress since the end of the recession, with real GDP now 5.3 percent higher than it was at its peak prior to the recession. Nevertheless, more work must be done to increase economic growth and boost job creation.

 

2. In the fourth quarter, GDP growth will be slowed by the government shutdown that lasted from October 1 to October 16 and the brinksmanship over the debt limit that occurred during that period. During the shutdown, hundreds of thousands of Federal workers went temporarily unpaid, families were unable to travel to national parks, oil and gas drilling permits were delayed, Small Business Administration loans were put on hold, and licenses to export high-tech products could not be granted, to name just a few effects. Several forecasting groups have estimated that the shutdown will reduce annualized real GDP growth in the fourth quarter by between 0.2 and 0.6 percentage point. Early indicators of economic activity in October also show that the shutdown weighed on the economy and on consumer sentiment. An index of weekly economic indicators developed by the Council of Economic Advisers dropped sharply in the first half of October, consistent with a 0.25 percentage point reduction in the fourth quarter GDP growth rate. The advance estimate of GDP growth in the fourth quarter will not be available until early 2014.

 

3. The private components of real GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter, accounting for almost the entirety of overall growth. In contrast, federal government spending declined at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, subtracting from growth for the 10th time in the last 12 quarters. But over the past two quarters, the drag from the federal government has moderated considerably. Real State and local government expenditures had also been in decline for much of the past three years, but this category is starting to show signs of turning the corner, posting its first back-to-back quarterly gain since 2009. On net, the government sectors had little impact on GDP growth in the third quarter.

 

4. Exports have picked up as growth has returned in the Eurozone and strengthened elsewhere. Exports rose at an annual rate of 4.5 percent in the third quarter, while imports rose at a more modest 1.9 percent. As a result, net exports accounted for 0.3 percentage point of the quarterly growth rate. Over the course of the recovery, the rate of export growth has varied, reflecting a considerable degree of volatility in the global economy. The crisis in the euro area intensified in the second half of 2011 and continued to impact the global economy into 2012, when China’s growth also began to slow more markedly. During this period, reduced foreign demand weighed on U.S. exports, which slowed to just 2.5 percent annualized growth. U.S. exports have risen at a faster 6.2 percent annual rate in the last two quarters, coinciding with the return of economic expansion in the Eurozone. Continued efforts to promote American exports would further contribute to growth and recovery.

 

5. Residential investment has posted double-digit annualized gains for five consecutive quarters. Housing investment plummeted during the financial crisis and remained weak early in the recovery, but has been growing strongly since the end of 2011. Despite the increase in mortgage rates this year, there is a significant upside potential in this sector, as housing investment remains well below its historic average as a share of the economy, while the pace of new housing starts, at about 900,000 homes annually, remains well below the pace implied by demographics.

 

As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one single report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

 

See The Graphs

 

November 2013: Photo of the Day

 

Bo waits for President Barack Obama to enter the Outer Oval Office, Nov. 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Bo waits for President Barack Obama to enter the Outer Oval Office, Nov. 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Speeches and Remarks

 

Remarks by the President at DSCC Fundraising Reception

 

Remarks by the President At DSCC Event

 

Remarks by the President on the Affordable Care Act

 

 

in-case-you-missed-it

 

 

President Barack Hussein Obama Announces Key Administration Posts

 

ObamaCrat After Dark™: Barack’s Blog Wrap-Up

 

24 States Refuse To Expand Medicaid. Here’s What That Means For Their Residents.

 

Surprise From The President And The First Lady, Mrs. Obama.

 

Michelle LaVaughn Obama: “One Year Ago.”

 

Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America Applauds Virginians: McAuliffe Wins in NRA’s Backyard

 

Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s PBS Documentary ‘The African Americans’

 

Statement By The President On Marriage Equality In Illinois

 

On to 2014!

 

Published on Nov 7, 2013

Congratulations to all our Democratic candidates in 2013. Now on to 2014!

 

 

Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz

November 07, 2013
01:00 PM EST

 

For decades Americans have been trying to reduce their consumption of artificial trans fats. Parents check the food labels when grocery shopping for their families and consumers are making better choices when eating out. Companies like McDonalds and Subway stepped up and made it easier by removing all artificial trans fats from their products. And Wal-Mart has pledged to no longer have artificial trans fat on their store shelves by 2015.

 

But there is still more to be done by government, industry and consumers to make sure that we have the tools we need to keep unsafe foods off our tables.

 

As a mom who cares deeply about nutrition, I too can get confused by what are good fats and bad fats. But independent scientists agree, there is no safe level of artificial trans fat.

 

Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHO), are an artificial substance that is formed by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil during processing to make it more solid. PHOs are the leading source of artificial trans fat; they cause plaque buildup in the arteries, are a contributing factor to heart attacks, and for too many, an early death. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that a further reduction of artificial trans fat in the food supply can prevent up to 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year and as many as 20,000 heart attacks each year.

Read More

 

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Statement By The President On Marriage Equality In Illinois


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Statement by the President on Marriage Equality in Illinois

 

Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality in my home state.

 

As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law.  Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else.  So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.

 

I also commend the members of the General Assembly for approaching this issue in a fair and open way, and for recognizing the importance of our commitment to religious freedom by engaging the religious community in this conversation.  Throughout this debate, they’ve made it clear that this is about civil marriages and civil laws, and made sure that churches and other institutions of faith are still free to make their own decisions that conform to their own teachings.

 

As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.

 

Ms. Lynn Sweet Of The Sun-Times Voices Says:

 

Obama praises Illinois for legalizing gay marriage

 

WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama praised Illinois state lawmakers on Tuesday after passing legislation legalizing gay marriage and sending it to Gov. Pat Quinn to sign.

 

As the gay marriage issue was foundering in Illinois last December, Obama, a former Illinois State Senator, gave a boost, saying through a spokesman, :Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally.”

 

After the state House and Senate votes, Obama said in a statement, “Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality in my home state.

 

As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else. So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.

 

I also commend the members of the General Assembly for approaching this issue in a fair and open way, and for recognizing the importance of our commitment to religious freedom by engaging the religious community in this conversation. Throughout this debate, they’ve made it clear that this is about civil marriages and civil laws, and made sure that churches and other institutions of faith are still free to make their own decisions that conform to their own teachings.

 

“As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.

 

What the White House said about Obama and gay marriage in Illinois last December:

“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times last December.

 

“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” Inouye said.

 

 

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Barack Hussein Obama’s Road Trip Thru Chi-Town


By Jueseppi B.

 

 

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The White House    Office of the Press Secretary

 

For Immediate Release    February 15, 2013
 
 
Remarks by President Barack Obama Introduction by: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D)
 
 
Location: Hyde Park Academy, Chicago, Illinois
 
 
 
 
 

President Obama Speaks on Strengthening the Economy for the Middle Class

 

Published on Feb 15, 2013

President Obama discusses the plan he laid out in the State of the Union to strengthen communities and families, and make sure every American and every community willing to do the work has the opportunity to lift themselves up. February 15, 2013.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: I know — I know how disappointed you are; don’t worry. (Laughter.)

 

(Chuckles.) It’s an honor to welcome President Obama back home to Chicago.

 

Like every major city in the country, Chicago faces two critical challenges: the strength of our schools and the safety of our streets. Our streets will only be as safe as our schools are strong and our families are sound.

 

After decades of debate, our children now have a full school day and a full school year equal to the measure of their potential. We have created five new high schools, partnered with major tech companies, to educate students all the way to a community college degree and focused on science and technology and math and engineering, just like the one the president mentioned in New York in his State of the Union. New York has one, Chicago has five, but who’s counting? (Laughter.)

 

The reforms we have brought to early childhood education and our community colleges and our College to Career program align with the president’s agenda as he laid it out in the State of the Union. For our children to live up to their potential, we have to live up to our obligations to them, with greater investments in after-school programs, job training as well as mentoring programs like Becoming a Man, a program the president just saw with the kids here. It is programs like these that provide our young people with the moral grounding that they too often are not getting at home.

 

But the real measure for us, after all this, is that when the students in this school and schools across the city of Chicago and across this country walk out and they see the promise of downtown, do they see their future as part of that opportunity, or do they see a different future? And that is how we measure success.

 

The two places where we can bridge that gap between where our kids are today and the promise of this city and the promise that this city holds are in the classroom and in the home. President Obama understands that to connect all Americans to that vision of a promising future requires that we create real ladders of opportunity. I am pleased he has come home to expand on that vision. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give the president a Chicago welcome. (Cheers, applause.)

 

 

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(“Hail to the Chief” plays.)

 

(Cheers, applause.)

 

 

 

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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hey, Chicago! (Cheers, applause.) Hello, Chicago! (Cheers, applause.)

 

Hello, everybody. Hello, Hyde Park. (Cheers, applause.) It is good to be home. (Cheers.) It is good to be home. Everybody have a seat, and you all relax. (Laughter.) It’s just me. You all know me. It is good to be back home.

 

 

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Couple people I want to acknowledge. First of all, I want to thank your mayor, my great friend Rahm Emanuel, for his outstanding leadership of the city and his kind introduction. (Cheers, applause.)

 

I want to thank everybody here at Hyde Park Academy for welcoming me here today. (Cheers, applause.) I want to acknowledge your principal and your assistant principal, although they really make me feel old, because when I saw them — (laughter) — where are they? Where are they? Stand up. Stand up. (Cheers, applause.) They — they are doing outstanding work. We’ve very, very proud of them. But you do make me feel old. Sit down. (Laughter, applause.)

 

Couple other people I want to acknowledge. Governor Pat Quinn is here doing great work down in Springfield. (Cheers, applause.) My great friend and senior Senator Dick Durbin is in the house. (Cheers, applause.) Congressman Bobby Rush is here. (Cheers, applause.) We’re in his district. Attorney general and former seatmate of mine when I was in the state Senate: Lisa Madigan.

 

 

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(Cheers, applause.) County Board president — used to be my alderwoman — Toni Preckwinkle in the house. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ve got — I see a lot of reverend clergy here, but I’m not going to mention them because if I miss one, I’m in trouble. (Laughter.) They’re all friends of mine. They’ve been knowing me.

 

You know, some people may not know this, but obviously, this is my old neighborhood. I used to teach right around the corner. This is where Michelle and I met, where we fell in love.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Aww!

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: This is where we raised our daughters, in a house just about a mile away from here, less than a mile. And that’s really what I’ve come here to talk about today, raising our kids.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: We love you!

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I love you too. (Audience members screaming.) I love you too. (Cheers, applause.)

 

I’m here to make sure that we talk about and then work towards giving every child every chance in life, building stronger communities and new ladders of opportunity that they can climb into the middle class and beyond and, most importantly, keeping them safe from harm.

 

You know, Michelle was born and raised here, a proud daughter of the South Side. (Cheers, applause.) Last weekend she came home, but it was to attend the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton. And Hadiya’s parents, by the way, are here, and I want to just acknowledge them. They are just wonderful, wonderful people. (Cheers, applause.)

 

 

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And as you know, this week, in my State of the Union, I talked about Hadiya on Tuesday night and the fact that unfortunately, what happened to Hadiya is not unique. It’s not unique to Chicago. It’s not unique to this country. Too many of our children are being taken away from us.

 

Two months ago America mourned 26 innocent first-graders and their educators in Newtown. And today I had the high honor of giving the highest civilian award I can give to the parent — or the families of the educators who had been killed in Newtown. And — and there was something profound and uniquely heartbreaking and tragic, obviously, about a group of 6-year-olds being killed.

 

 

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But last year there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under. So that’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months.

 

And that’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common-sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun.

 

And as I said on Tuesday night, I recognize not everybody agrees with every issue. There are regional differences. The experience of gun ownership is different in urban areas than it is in rural areas, different from upstate and downstate Illinois.

 

But these proposals deserve a vote in Congress. (Applause.) They deserve a vote. They deserve a vote. And I want to thank those members of Congress who are working together in a serious way to try to address this issue.

 

But I’ve also said, no law or set of laws can prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. When a child opens fire on another child, there is a hole in that child’s heart that government can’t fill. Only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole.

 

In too many neighborhoods today, whether here in Chicago or the farthest reaches of rural America, it can feel like, for a lot of young people, the future only extends to the next street corner or the outskirts of town, that no matter how much you work or how hard you try, your destiny was determined the moment you were born.

 

There are entire neighborhoods where young people — they don’t see an example of somebody succeeding. For a lot of young boys and young men in particular, they don’t seen an example of fathers or grandfathers, uncles, who are in a position to support families and be held up in respect. And so that means that this is not just a gun issue; it’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building.

 

And for that, we all share responsibility as citizens to fix it. We all share a responsibility to move this country closer to our founding vision that no matter who you are or where you come from, here in America you can decide your own destiny. You can succeed if you work hard and fulfill your responsibilities. (Applause.)

 

Now, that means we’ve got to grow our economy and create more good jobs. It means we’ve got to equip every American with the skills and the training to fill those jobs. And it means we’ve got to rebuild ladders of opportunity for everybody willing to climb.

 

Now, that starts at home. There’s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families, which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood. (Applause.)

 

You know, I — don’t get me wrong. As the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me, with the help of my grandparents, you know, I turned out OK.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes you did.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: But — (applause) — no, no, but — but I think it’s — you know, so we got single moms out here, they’re heroic, what they’re doing, and we are so proud of them. (Applause.) But at the same time, I wish I had had a father who was around and involved.

 

Loving, supportive parents — and by the way, that — that’s all kinds of parents. That includes foster parents, and that includes grandparents and extended families. It includes gay or straight parents. (Applause.) Those parents — (sustained applause) — those parents supporting kids, that’s the single most important thing. Unconditional love for your child — that makes a difference.

 

If a child grows up with parents who have work and have some education and can be role models and can teach integrity and responsibility and discipline and delayed gratification, all those things give a child the kind of foundation that allows them to say, you know, my future, I — I can make it what I want. And we’ve got to make sure that every child has that. And in some cases, we may have to fill the — the gap and the void if children don’t have that.

 

So we should encourage marriage by removing the financial disincentives for couples who love one another but may find it financially disadvantageous if they get married. We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children. (Applause.) And my administration will continue to work with the faith — faith community and the private sector this year on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood, because what makes you a man is not the ability to make a child; it’s the courage to raise one. (Applause.)

 

We also know, though, that there’s no surer path to success in the middle class than a good education. And what we now know is that that has to begin in the earliest years. Study after study shows that the earlier a child starts learning, the more likely they are to succeed, the more likely they are to do well at Hyde Park Academy, the more likely they are to graduate, the more likely they are to get a good job, the more they are to form stable families and then be able to raise children themselves who get off to a good start.

 

Now Chicago already has a competition, thanks to what the mayor’s doing, that rewards the best preschools in the city. So Rahm has already prioritized this.

 

But what I’ve also done is say, let’s give every child across America access to high-quality public preschool — every child, not just some. (Applause.)

 

Every dollar we put into early childhood education can save $7 down the road — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing violent crime, reducing the welfare rolls, making sure that folks who have work — now they’re paying taxes — all this stuff pays back huge dividends if we make the investment. So let’s make this happen. Let’s make sure every child has the chance they deserve. (Applause.)

 

As kids go through school, we’ll recruit new math and science teachers to make sure that they’ve got the skills that the future demands. We’ll help more young people in low-income neighborhoods get summer jobs. We’ll redesign our high schools and encourage our kids to stay in high school, so that the diploma they get leads directly to a good job once they graduate.

 

(Applause.) Right here in Chicago, five new high schools have partnered with companies and community colleges to prepare our kids with the skills that businesses are looking for right now, and your College to Careers program helps community college students get access to the same kinds of real-world experience.

 

So we know what works. Let’s just do it in more places. Let’s reach more young people. Let’s give more kids a chance.

 

So we know how important families are. We know how important education is. We recognize that government alone can’t solve these problems of violence and poverty, that everybody has to be involved.

 

But we also have to remember that the broader economic environment of communities is critical as well. For example, we need to make sure that folks who are working now, often in the hardest jobs, see their work rewarded with wages that allow them to raise a family without falling into poverty. (Applause.) Today a family with two kids that works hard and relies on a minimum wage salary still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong, and we should fix it. We should reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. (Applause.) And that’s why we should raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and make it a wage you can live on. (Cheers, applause.)

 

And even though some cities have bounced back pretty quickly from the recession, we know that there are communities and neighborhoods within cities or in small towns that haven’t bounced back.

 

Cities like Chicago are ringed with former factory towns that never came back all the way from plants packing up. There are pockets of poverty where young adults are still looking for their first job. And that’s why on Tuesday I announced — and that’s part of what I want to focus on here in Chicago and across the country — is my intention to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit communities in America to get them back in the game — get them back in the game. (Applause.)

 

First of all, we’ll — we’ll work with local leaders to cut through red tape and improve things like public safety and education and housing. And we’ll — and we’ll all the resources to bear in a coordinated fashion so that we can get that tipping point where suddenly a community starts feeling like things are changing and we can come back.

 

Second of all, if you’re willing to play a role in a child’s education, then we’ll help you reform your schools. We want to see more and more partnerships of the kind that Rahm is trying to set up. Third, we’re going to help bring jobs and growth to hard-hit neighborhoods by giving tax breaks to business owners who invest and hire in those neighborhoods. (Applause.)

 

Fourth, and specific to the issue of violence — because it’s very hard to develop economically if people don’t feel safe. If they don’t feel like they can walk down the street and shop at a store without getting hit over the head or worse, then commerce dries up, businesses don’t want to locate, families move out — you get into the wrong cycle.

 

So we’re going to target neighborhoods struggling to deal with violent crime and help them reduce that violence in ways that have been proven to work. (Applause.) And I know this is a priority of your mayor’s; it’s going to be a priority of mine.

 

And finally, we’re going to keep working in communities all across the country, including here in Chicago, to replace run-down public housing that doesn’t offer much hope or safety with new healthy homes for low- and moderate-income families. (Applause.) And — and here in Woodlawn, you’ve seen some of the progress that we can make when we come together to rebuild our neighborhoods and attract new businesses and improve our schools.

 

Woodlawn’s not all the way where it needs to be, but thanks to wonderful institutions like Apostolic Church, we’ve made great progress. (Applause.) So we want to help more communities follow your example.

 

And let’s go even farther by offering incentives to companies that hire unemployed Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill a job opening, but they may have been out of work so long that nobody’s willing to give them a chance right now. Let’s put our people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in need of repair. Young people can get experience, apprenticeships, learn a trade. And we’re removing blight from our community. (Applause.)

 

You know, if we gather together what works, we can extend more ladders of opportunity for anybody who’s working to build a — a strong middle-class life for themselves because in America, your destiny shouldn’t be determined by where you live, where you were born. It should be determined by how big you’re willing to dream, how much effort and sweat and tears you’re willing to put into realizing that dream.

 

You know, when I first moved to Chicago, before any of the students in this room were born — (laughter) — and a whole lot of people who are in the audience remember me from those days — I lived in a community on the South Side — you know, right up the block — but I also worked further south, where communities had been devastated by some of the steel plants closing. And my job was to work with churches and lay people and local leaders to rebuild neighborhoods and improve schools and help young people who felt like they had nowhere to turn.

 

And those of you who worked with me — Reverend Love (sp), you remember — it wasn’t easy. Progress didn’t come quickly. Sometimes I got so discouraged I thought about just giving up. But what kept me going was the belief that with enough determination and effort and persistence and perseverance, change is always possible; that we may not be able to help everybody, but if we help a few, then that propels progress forward.

 

We may not be able to save every child from gun violence, but if we save a few, that starts changing the atmosphere in our community. (Applause.) We may not be able to get everybody a job right away, but if we get a few folks a job, then everybody starts feeling a little more hopeful and a little more encouraged. Neighborhood by neighborhood. One block by one block. One family at a time.

 

Now, this is what I had a chance to talk about when I met with some young men from Hyde Park Academy who are participating in this band program.

 

Where — where are the guys that I talked to? Where? Stand up, y’all, so we can all see you guys. (Cheers, applause.)

 

So — and these are some — (applause) — these are all some exceptional young men. And I — I couldn’t be prouder of them. And the reason I’m proud of them is because a lot of them have had some issues. That’s part of the reason why you guys are in the program. (Laughter.) But what I explained to them was, I had issues too when I was their age. I just had an environment that was a little more forgiving. So when I screwed up, the consequences weren’t as high as when kids on the South Side screw up. So I had more of a safety net. (Applause.)

 

But you guys are no different than me. And we had that conversation about, what does it take to change? And the same thing that it takes for us individually to change, I said to them — well, that’s what it takes for communities to change. That’s what it takes for countries to change.

 

It’s not easy, but it does require us, first of all, having a vision about where we want to be. It requires us recognizing that it will be hard work getting there. It requires us being able to overcome and persevere in the face of roadblocks and disappointments and failures. It requires us reflecting internally about who we are and what we believe in and, you know, facing up to our own fears and insecurities and admitting when we’re wrong. And that’s the same thing that we have to do in our individual lives that these guys talked about, and that’s what we have to do for our communities.

 

And it will not be easy, but it can be done.

 

When Hadiya Pendleton and her classmates visited Washington three weeks ago, they spent time visiting the monuments, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, just off the National Mall. And that memorial stands as a tribute to everything Dr. King achieved in his lifetime, but it also reminds us of how hard that work was and how many disappointments he experienced.

 

He was here in Chicago fighting poverty and, just like a lot of us, there were times where he felt like he was losing hope. So in some ways, that memorial is a testament not to work that’s completed, but it’s a testament to the work that remains unfinished. His goal was to free us not only from the shackles of discrimination but from the shadow of poverty that haunts too many of our communities, the self-destructive impulse and the mindless violence that claims so many lives of so many innocent young people.

 

These are difficult challenges. No solution we offer will be perfect, but perfection has never been our goal. Our goal has been to try and make whatever difference we can. Our goal has been to engage in the hard but necessary work of bringing America one step closer to the nation we know we can be.

 

And if we do that — if we’re striving with every fiber of our being to strengthen our middle class, to extend ladders of opportunity for everybody who’s trying as hard as they can to create a better life for themselves — if we do everything in our power to keep our children safe from harm, if we’re fulfilling our obligations to one another and to future generations, if we make that effort, then I’m confident — I’m confident that we will write the next great chapter in our American story.

 

I’m not going to be able to do it by myself, though. Nobody can. We’re going to have to do it together. (Applause.)

 

Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.)

 

 

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