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Barack Obama Will Make History

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Guest Obama For America

Remarks of Senator Obama in Berlin, Germany

 

 

 

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

 

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

 

I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

 

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

 

That is why I’m here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

 

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

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Guest LAW_*

After several days in Europe, Barack Obama has found his lead in the polls have increased by 2 percent over John McCain. This comes from a polling average that is produced on a daily basis from the polls conducted in the past week. On the 21st of July the polling average had Obama with a 1.5% lead over McCain, 45.8% to 44.3%. As of July 25, Obama is coming at 46.4% and John McCain at 42.9%. Obama has increased by 0.6% of voters, and John McCain has lost 1.4% of voters. The margin of error for the polling average is 0.87%, which means even if the error is added to McCain's column, Obama has a statistical lead. Because almost 11 percent of the population are undecided, and several months remain before the general election, it is too early to call a winner.

 

The Day to Day Politics Poll Average for the past week used the Gallup Tracking poll, the Rasmussen Tracking poll, the Fox News poll, and the NBC/WSJ poll.

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Guest ALWAYS RED

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican

 

What a way to upset the "coronation" of the Democratic Party's "messianic" presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama. Arrogant is the word for Obama, a far left-winger, who is attempting to assume the mantle of Dr. King by giving his political acceptance speech on the anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" inspirational civil rights speech. History shows that Dr. King was a minister who embraced the traditional values that made our country great. Obama has the most liberal voting record in the US Senate. Obama is no MLK.

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Like millions of Americans, tonight I watched a historic moment happen at Mile High Stadium tonight. Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. I thought about my father who lost his carpentry job, because 45 years ago he marched with Dr. King and listed to a prolific dream. I know my father is smiling down from heaven tonight knowing the spirit of slavery is dying.

 

There were many good lines in Senator Obama's speech. Some will say it was "I'm not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change," because he voted for Bush 90% of the time. Some will say it was the moment that he stated this country is not Red America or a Blue America it is the United States of America. Some will say it was "It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it." There were many great lines, but the one that sticks with me the most was Senator Obama explanation of why some people don't get how an ordinary guy from a broken family could be nominated for the highest office in the land. "this election has never been about me. It's about you."

 

Lincoln must be smiling, because his sacrifice was not in vain. Barack Obama is a new chapter in American History. Here is a transcript of his speech

 

Barack Obama: To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation.

 

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.

 

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest -- a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

 

To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Malia and Sasha -- I love you so much, and I'm so proud of you.

 

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story -- of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

 

It is that promise that has always set this country apart -- that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

 

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women -- students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

 

We meet at one of those defining moments -- a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

 

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

 

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

 

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

 

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

 

We're a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for 20 years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

 

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

 

Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land -- enough! This moment -- this election -- is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

 

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

 

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Sen. McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.

 

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives -- on health care and education and the economy -- Sen. McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers -- the man who wrote his economic plan -- was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

 

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud autoworkers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and they give back and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

 

Now, I don't believe that Sen. McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

 

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

 

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy -- give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is that you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. You're on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You're on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps -- even if you don't have boots. You are on your own.

 

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America. And that's why I'm running for president of the United States.

 

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

 

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president -- when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

 

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job -- an economy that honors the dignity of work.

 

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great -- a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

 

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

 

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

 

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

 

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

 

Now, I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

 

What is that American promise?

 

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

 

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

 

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves -- protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and science and technology.

 

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

 

That's the promise of America -- the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

 

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

 

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

 

You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

 

I'll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

 

I will, listen now, cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

 

And for the sake of our economy, our security and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. We will do this.

 

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and by the way John McCain's been there for 26 of them. And in that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil that we had as the day that Sen. McCain took office.

 

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

 

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.

 

America, now is not the time for small plans.

 

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American -- if you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

 

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

 

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

 

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

 

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.

 

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime -- by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less -- because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.

 

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children.

 

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility -- that's the essence of America's promise.

 

And just as we keepour promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

 

For while Sen. McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. You know, John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell -- but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

 

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

 

That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

 

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice -- but that is not the change that America needs.

 

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans -- have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

 

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

 

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

 

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

 

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism.

 

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America -- they have served the United States of America.

 

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

 

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose. That's what we have to restore.

 

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America's promise -- the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

 

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

 

You make a big election about small things.

 

And you know what -- it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

 

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

 

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's about you. It's about you.

 

For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us -- that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it -- because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

 

America, this is one of those moments.

 

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. Because I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorist.

 

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day even though they can't afford it than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

 

You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

 

Instead, it is that American spirit -- that American promise -- that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

 

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours -- a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

 

And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

 

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

 

But what the people heard instead -- people of every creed and color, from every walk of life -- is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

 

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

 

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise -- that American promise -- and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

 

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Edited by Luke_Wilbur

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Guest Fed Up

I thought it was a deeply substantive speech, full of policy detail and centered on domestic economic anxiety.

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I thought it was a deeply substantive speech, full of policy detail and centered on domestic economic anxiety.

 

The speech was very good, I just hope he pays attention to some of what Hilary wanted to do for the American people. If Obama does that with helping the low and middle class with tax cuts, getting a better health care system in place, as well as doing away with outsourcing to improve our ecomony then we well be in a better place then we are now.

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Guest Eddie_*

Barack Obama's lead in the polls has increased by 3.6% over John McCain since the Democratic National Convention. Last week, the two candidates were statistically tied. Now, Barack Obama is polling at 49.0% and John McCain is polling at 44.1%, a 4.9% lead, according to the latest Day to Day Politics Poll Average. The margin of error for the poll average is at 0.93%.

 

The Gallup Poll and the Rasmussen three day tracking polls have held steady for Barack Obama at 49% for the last 6 days. The largest lead Barack Obama has had in the past two months since this lead has been 4.8% on July 27, 2008.

 

McCain has recently added Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin to his nomination ticket. A poll shows that among white women, McCain has a slight advantage, 46% to 42%. When the public is asked about the selection of Sarah Palin, 52% rate the selection as excellent or good. On whether she is qualified for the White House if she needed to fulfill the role of presidency, only 45% say she is qualified, whereas 50% say she is unqualified.

 

The Day to Day Politics Poll Average for the past week used the Gallup Tracking poll, the Rasmussen Tracking poll, and the CNN poll.

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Barack spent the morning at Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia today where he hosted a town hall event before popping in on a class to talk to the students. Joined by former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, Barack opened up the classroom for questions from the intellectually-curious freshmen. The topics ranged from interest in Barack's academic background to how he plans to bring politics back to the people. Obama spoke about his college choices, his years as a community organizer, and the moment he first realized he was not going to make it to the NBA.

 

He went on to encourage the students to pursue something in life that excites them and to work hard in order to be successful. Barack left time to speak to the class one on one about their current academic projects, sign some autographs and shake hands on the way out.

 

One student asked Barack if he had any advice to offer young folks on how to "get where he is at." This is what Barack had to say:

 

 

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If you mean by Democrat vs Republican, then Barack is doing an out standing job in keeping us apart.

 

And as hard it may be for you to figure out? Some of us Don't do You tube, or face book. The media does, kids do, but for the rest of working, we don't run to You Tube to look at the latest vid out there.

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to how he plans to bring politics back to the people

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Guest SUN60

My buddy sent me this memo. Hillary has a charisma to really energize a crowd. I think she will be the key player that turns the tide on McCain.

 

Campaigning for Barack Obama in battleground Ohio, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton targeted Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Sunday by using a slightly revised applause-line delivered at last month's Democratic convention.

 

Clinton told a crowd of 1,200 supporters — many wearing "Hillary for President" T-shirts leftover from her bitter primary fight with Obama — that Palin and Republican presidential nominee John McCain would only continue the failed policies of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

 

"No way, no how, no McCain and no Palin," she said as the audience erupted in cheers.

 

Clinton campaigned heavily in the state in the weeks leading up to her March 4 Democratic primary win, and she returned to economically troubled northeast Ohio on Sunday to urge her supporters to work just as hard for Obama and Joe Biden, the Democratic nominees for president and vice president.

 

"This election is going to be a game-changer," Clinton said at Lorain County Community College, about 30 miles east of Cleveland. "We have the opportunity to go beyond the failed policies of the last eight years."

 

Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron, a Clinton supporter during the April and May primaries, introduced a recently laid-off Ohio auto plant worker, who then introduced Clinton.

 

Keeping her remarks to just 20 minutes, Clinton spoke about the economy, a topic she was expected to address again at a rally in Akron later Sunday.

 

Clinton recently campaigned for Obama in Florida, another swing state, and was one of several high-profile Democratic women who vouched for Obama in Ohio over the weekend. They included Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.

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Guest Obama For America

Senator Obama responded to Senator McCain's remarks this morning that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," while campaigning in Jacksonville, Florida.

 

It’s not that I think John McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of most Americans. I just think doesn’t know. He doesn’t get what’s happening between the mountain in Sedona where he lives and the corridors of Washington where he works. Why else would he say that we’ve made great progress economically under George Bush? Why else would he say that the economy isn’t something he understands as well as he should? Why else would he say, today, of all days – just a few hours ago – that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong?

 

Senator – what economy are you talking about?

 

What’s more fundamental than the ability to find a job that pays the bills and can raise a family? What’s more fundamental than knowing that your life savings is secure, and that you can retire with dignity? What’s more fundamental than knowing that you’ll have a roof over your head at the end of the day? What’s more fundamental than that?

 

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – that promise that America is the place where you can make it if you try – a promise that is the only reason that we are standing here today.

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Guest Al Gore

Perhaps the single greatest gift that our democracy affords us is the opportunity to change course when things have gotten off-track.

 

Eight years ago, many were saying that elections didn't matter and that there was very little difference between our major political parties. However, after eight years of failed policies from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, showing contempt for our Constitution, and most disturbingly of all, denying the climate crisis that now threatens the very future of human civilization, I think almost everyone agrees that elections matter a great deal.

 

With the election less than 42 days away and all eyes watching Democrats to see if we will unite and act together to create that change, each of us has a personal responsibility to help advance Democratic campaigns that do justice to the unbelievably high stakes in this election.

 

On so many critical issues that will define the century, from solving the climate crisis, and defending our nation, to safeguarding our constitutional liberties, and building a modern, strong economy, over the next 42 days, you and I must seize the chance to boldly move America in a New Direction.

 

The choice in front of us is truly profound. John McCain, Sarah Palin, and their would-be Republican allies in Congress are openly endorsing the very same policies followed for eight years by the Bush-Cheney White House – and actually promising more of the same. On the other hand, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and more Democrats in Congress offer a much different choice.

 

As clear as the choice is to us, the hard truth is that neither electing Obama-Biden nor expanding our Democratic Majority in Congress is a foregone conclusion. With perhaps the most consequential election in all of our lifetimes now just 42 days away, please stand with the DCCC to give America the kind of White House and the kind of Congress that reflects the values, priorities, and the most American of ideas that our best days are still in front of us.

 

All the Best,

 

Al Gore

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Guest Brian Wolff

As we face a financial crisis, it could not be more clear that we cannot afford a "third term of George W. Bush" in the name of McCain-Palin.

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Guest ALWAYS RED

Smoke and Mirrors People. They say the truth hurts. In Barack Obama's case, it is simply devastating.

 

Not surprisingly the Big Media have kept the American public blind to the truth about Obama, including...

 

 

The fact that a corrupt Chicago Machine politician "made a U.S. senator" out of Barack Obama

 

 

How Barack Obama won his first election by having his lawyers knock all his opponents off the ballot on technicalities

 

 

Obama's support for a grotesque "infanticide" law that was too extreme even for Nancy Pelosi

 

 

The Tony Rezko connection: "I've never done any favors for him," says Obama about convicted developer Tony Rezko. Oh, but he has...

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Guest GOP

A new ABC News/Washington Post survey of 916 likely voters taken from September 27-29 shows Obama leading McCain 50%-46%. A week ago, Sen. Obama lead in the ABC/Wash Post poll by nine points.

 

As for the three daily tracking polls, The Gallup daily presidential tracking poll of 2,729 registered voters taken September 27-29 shows Obama leading McCain 49%-43%. The Rasmussen Reports automated daily presidential tracking poll for September 30 shows Obama leading McCain 51%-45%. The bipartisan George Washington University Battleground daily tracking poll of 1,000 likely voters shows Obama leading McCain 48%-46%.

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Guest GOP

Latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking report shows Barack Obama holds an 11-point lead over John McCain, 52% to 41%. This is the Obama’s highest level of support to date, and also represents his largest lead of the campaign.

 

According to Gallup poll finally there are two wild cards: race and turnout. While 6 percent of voters said that Barack Obama’s race made them less likely to vote for him (with a like number saying the same of John McCain, by the way), 9 percent said that Obama’s race made them more likely to vote for him (7 percent for McCain). As for turnout, Obama has built a more thorough, more impressive ground organization than has McCain and figures to be on the winning side of the enthusiasm gap.

 

Voters are most likely to cite Barack Obama’s economic plans and his opposition to the Iraq war as factors that make them more likely to vote for him. John McCain’s biggest plus is his support for the 2007 Iraq troop surge. Relatively few voters say the candidates’ races will be a factor in their vote.

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Guest ALWAYS RED_*

"You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn't care anything about. That's a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking." -Louis Farrakhan

 

Check out this video of Louis Farrakhan calling Obama "The Messiah"

 

 

View the video at YouTube.

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Guest elmers000

Websters defines Messiah as: "any expected any expected deliverer". Jer 16 declares that God would send "many deliverers". Deliverer is "one who rescues". Therefore the Messiah doesn't directly point 2 Jesus, but 2 "anyone" that God sends to "deliver" during a specific time period. Ghandi was one, Marcus Garvey, Dr. MLK, etc.

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I'm terrified of the TYPE of history he will make in the foreign policy arena. All of his lawyerly talk aint going to help him when he runs into the REALITY of international politics.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn't care anything about. That's a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking." -Louis Farrakhan

 

Check out this video of Louis Farrakhan calling Obama "The Messiah"

 

 

View the video at YouTube.

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Guest fat burning furnace

Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is just excellent and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

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Guest HUMAN

Yeah!!! He has already made History. FIRST CREDIT downgrade in United States History. But it is ALL the Republicans fault, and nothing has been his fault.

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I also like this blog. President Obama has done some wonderful things for us. Here is a web site that shows all his accomplishments. Have a nice day!

 

http://obamaachievements.org

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Guest Dad of Marine

Yeah!!! He has already made History. FIRST CREDIT downgrade in United States History. But it is ALL the Republicans fault, and nothing has been his fault.

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

You both are right. Republicans did not want to negotiate and were using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip. As the Senate minority leader, McConnell noted on his favorite tv talk channel, this can be called by some a hostage situation. They should be ashamed of themselves, but they have no conscience to understand how bad their actions have been.

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Guest LAW

It is time to put public service over party. Political compromise is needed between parties.

 

Remarks by the President in a Town Hall Meeting in Alpha, Illinois

 

Country Corner Farm

Alpha, Illinois

 

4:51 P.M. CDT

 

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Oh, it is good to be back home. (Applause.) Everybody have a seat, relax, take a load off there.

 

This is a town hall meeting. Some of you remember I used to do these when I was your senator instead of your President. I don’t want to do a lot of talking at the front, but I just want to talk to you a little bit about what I’ve been seeing over the last couple of days and what’s been going on in Washington.

 

Obviously we’ve been going through as tough of a time as we’ve seen in my lifetime and in most people’s lifetimes these last two and a half years. We went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. When I took office we had already lost 4 million jobs and we lost another 4 million just in the few months right after I took office. And we’ve been fighting our way back over the last two and half months -- or last two and a half years.

 

We were on the verge of going into a Great Depression, and we were able to yank ourselves out. The economy is now growing again. Over the last 17 months we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the private sector. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink. (Applause.) We have -- we’ve made investments in clean energy, in rebuilding our roads and our bridges.

 

And thanks to the great work of Secretary LaHood, we’ve been getting started on the process of making sure we’ve got the best infrastructure around. Thanks to the great work of our Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, we’ve tried to strengthen rural communities and farming communities all across the country and all across the Midwest.

 

And so despite the fact that we’ve gone through tough times, I want everybody to remember we still have the best universities on Earth, the best workers on Earth, the best entrepreneurs on Earth, the best system on Earth. There’s not a country in the world that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America. (Applause.)

 

Now, the fact is, though, times are still tough. And some of the reasons times are still tough we don’t have complete control over. The economy was predicted to be growing at about 3.5 percent at the beginning of this year, partly because we had worked a bipartisan package of tax cuts and investment credits to encourage businesses to invest. But then you had the Arab Spring, and that shot gas prices and fuel prices up. And I know a lot of farmers here experienced that spike. And then we had the tsunami in Japan, and that disrupted supply lines and that affected American manufacturing. And then we had the situation in Europe and the debt crisis there, and that started lapping up onto our shores.

 

And so there are some things we don’t have control over, and the question is, how do we meet these challenges? But there are things that we do have control over. And the biggest challenge we have is in Washington. There’s nothing wrong with our country, but there’s a lot wrong with our politics right now. (Applause.) And that’s what I aim to fix. That’s what we have to fix.

 

When you look at this recent debt ceiling debacle and the downgrade, that was a self-inflicted wound, completely unnecessary. The truth of the matter is we’ve got a real challenge with debt and deficits. We had a balanced budget in 2000, then we fought two wars without paying for them. We ended up creating a prescription drug plan for seniors, which is the right thing to do, but we didn’t pay for it. Tax cuts we didn’t pay for.

 

And then the recession hit, and so a lot of money was going out to help local communities keep their firefighters and police officers and teachers on staff -- and Pat Quinn knows how important that was to prevent massive layoffs at the state level. Unemployment insurance to help folks get back on their feet, but that all meant a lot of money was going out, less tax revenue was going in because businesses weren’t doing as well. So combined we’ve got a big debt and deficit challenge that we’ve got to meet.

 

But what’s frustrating is that two months ago, three months ago, six months ago we could have met that challenge. We could have decided we’re going to come together with a balanced package where we’re closing corporate loopholes and we’re closing tax breaks for the very wealthy, and we’re cutting spending on things we don’t need.

 

And if we had come together on a bipartisan basis, we could have avoided all this drama over the last two and half months. But that’s not what we did, because what’s happened in Washington these days is there is a group of folks who think that, I’d rather see my opponent lose than see America win. (Applause.) There are folks who are willing to engage in political brinksmanship even if it costs the country.

 

And I know you’re frustrated. And I want you to know I’m frustrated. And you should be frustrated. The last two and a half days I’ve been traveling all across the Midwest through Iowa and Minnesota and now back home in Illinois. And everywhere I go, what I see are people who are working hard. They’re looking after their families. They’re farming and feeding people not just here in America, but all around the world. They’re going to church. They’re helping out at the food pantry. They’re coaching Little League.

 

We just came to visit the football team over at Galesburg. They’ve got their new coach. (Applause.) And I think to myself, you know what, if folks in Washington were carrying out their responsibilities the way you’re carrying out your responsibilities, we’d be just fine. We would be just fine. (Applause.)

 

So the question is, what do we do going forward? Look, even though private sector job growth is good, we’ve still got a long way to go before we put everybody back to work. We need to go ahead and act right now on some proposals that are before Congress, ready to be voted on. We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket -- we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now.

 

There’s no reason why, as Ray LaHood knows, we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget -- this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.)

 

Right now, we could pass trade deals that we negotiated that not only have the support of business, but have the support of the UAW. That doesn’t happen very often. And the reason is, is because folks know that not only is that good for agricultural America -- opening up markets, because we’ve got the best farmers in the world -- but it’s also good for manufacturing. There are a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais being driven around here; that’s great. But I want some Fords and Chevys being driven in Korea. (Applause.) We should pass that bill right now.

 

We’ve got legislation right now that we call the American Invents Act -- basically, make patents easier so when people come up with a new product or a new service or a new invention, they’re able to turn it around without a lot of red tape and bureaucracy and start businesses that could be hiring. There’s no reason to wait. It should be passed right now.

The fact is this: All these things I just mentioned, historically they’ve had bipartisan support. I mean, if Ray LaHood was still in there -- Ray was a Republican -- he’d vote for every single one of these; he’d be sponsoring them all. (Laughter.) You’ve got a Democratic President who supports these things. There’s no reason for us not to act right now.

 

And over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be putting out more proposals to put people to work right now. And some of them -- yes, some of them cost money. And the way we pay for it is by doing more on deficit reduction than the plan that we had to come up with right at the last minute in order to avoid default. We didn’t do as much as we could have.

 

When folks tell you that we’ve got a choice between jobs now or dealing with our debt crisis, they’re wrong. They’re wrong. We can’t afford to just do one or the other. We’ve got to do both. And the way to do it is to make some -- reform the tax code, close loopholes, make some modest modifications in programs like Medicare and Social Security so they’re there for the next generation, stabilize those systems. And you could actually save so much money that you could actually pay for some of the things like additional infrastructure right now.

 

We can close the deficit and put people to work, but what’s required is that folks work together. That’s the big challenge. That’s the big challenge. (Applause.)

 

So the main thing is I’m here to enlist you in this fight for America’s future. I need you to send a message to your members of Congress, to your representatives that we’re tired of the games. We’re tired of the posturing. We don’t want more press releases. We want action. We want everybody to work together and stop drawing lines in the sand and saying, we’re so rigid, we’re not going to do this or we’re not going to do that, no matter what. Think about country ahead of party. Think about the next generation instead of the next election. (Applause.)

 

I had some interviews with some reporters, and they said, why don’t you call Congress back right now? And I said, you know what, I hope Congress goes back to their districts. And I want them to listen to how frustrated people are, how angry they are with our politics at a time when we’ve got so much work to do.

 

Because the last thing we need is Congress to show up back in Congress and do the exact same thing they’ve been doing. They’ve got to think differently about how we’re approaching problems. So I want them to be doing the same thing I’m doing, just talking to ordinary folks and try to remember why they got into public service in the first place. It’s not supposed to be to get attention. It’s not supposed to be so you get interviewed on cable TV. It’s not supposed to be so you have a fancy title.

 

You’re supposed to be in public service to serve the public. And that means that, yes, you don’t get your way 100 percent of the time. It means that you compromise. It means you apply common sense. And that’s what I’m hoping that everybody takes from visiting their district again and getting out of Washington for a while.

 

I can tell you nothing is more inspiring to me than the kind of trip that I’ve been taking over the last few days. We’re driving on this big bus and it’s all -- you can’t see out except when you’re standing in front, so I’m out in front. And having breakfast in a diner and going to a football practice; you’re passing rows of kids with flags and grandparents in their lawn chairs and mechanics out in front of their shops and farmers waving from their fields. And it inspires you, because it reminds you about what makes this country so great, why I love this country so much, and why we’ve got to be doing every single thing we can every minute of every day to make sure that you can continue to achieve your American Dream and pass it on to your kids and your grandchildren.

 

That’s why I ran for President. That’s why a whole bunch of you voted for me to be a U.S. senator and then to be President. (Applause.)

 

So I need your help, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

 

All right, let’s see if this mic is working. It is. All right, what I’m going to do is I’m just going to call on folks as they raise their hands. The only rule is we’re going to go girl, boy, girl, boy -- (laughter) -- so everybody gets a chance. And there are folks in the audience with microphones. So please stand up and introduce yourself before you ask your question. And I’ll start with this young lady right here in the front.

 

Here we go. You’ve got a gentleman coming up with a mic.

 

Q Thank you, Mr. President, for being here today in Henry County. My name is Karen Urich (ph). I’m a multigenerational farmer, member of the Henry County Board and Henry County Farm Bureau. My question that I have today is I have a concern over estate taxes.

 

In 2013, if the Senate and the Congress fails to act, we will have our estate taxes go back to the 2001 level. We have family farms that are experiencing having to sell their land in order to pay the property taxes. And I was wondering what you see for the future of the estate tax. Thank you.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, there’s no reason why we have to go all the way back to the 2001 level. There is a compromise that has been discussed where you’d essentially have a $7 million exemption per family. There are some folks who just want to eliminate the estate tax all together. There are others who want to hike it up back to 2001.

 

There’s a mid-level proposal that would exempt most -- almost all family farms and nevertheless would still hit folks like Warren Buffett and make sure that he is able to pay what he wants to pay in terms of passing on something not only to his family, but also to the country that has blessed him so much.

 

So this is going to be part of the larger debate we have about the tax code. And the one thing I want to emphasize, a lot of folks don’t realize this, but there are only 3 percent of the population that has an annual income of more than $200,000 a year. Think about that, 97 percent of folks, their annual income is less than $200,000. And there are only less than 1 percent who are making millions of dollars. And then there’s less than one one-hundredth of 1 percent who are in the Warren Buffett category. That top 1 percent -- in fact, that top one-tenth of 1 percent, those are the main folks who have seen their incomes skyrocket over the last 10, 15 years. Ordinary families, including family farmers, basically your incomes and your wages have flatlined over the last decade.

 

And so when we think about tax reform we should be thinking about fairness. What’s fair? Nobody likes paying taxes. I promise you, I don’t like paying taxes. But I do believe in paying what I use -- paying for what I use. And if I want good roads, and if I want good schools for kids, and if I want the best universities in the world and I want to make sure that we’re continuing to invest in agricultural research at places like University of Illinois that have helped to make us the most productive farmers in the world, then I think I should have to pay for it. And if I’m better able to pay for it than a waitress who is making $25,000 a year, I don’t mind paying a slightly higher rate. There’s nothing socialist about that. That’s just basic fairness.

 

And, by the way, when you hear folks saying, well, you know what, that’s job killing -- that’s not job killing. When Bill Clinton was President we created 22 million jobs with a tax rate that was much higher across the board than it is now. We don’t have to go all the way back up there on the estate tax or any other taxes for us to close our deficit and our debt, but we should ask oil and gas companies that are making record profits that they don’t benefit from a special tax loophole that the mom-and-pop store in Alpha doesn’t get. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking me to pay a little more so our senior citizens don’t have to pay an extra $5,000, $6,000 a year for their Medicare. (Applause.) That’s what we’re looking for, is balance in terms of our tax policy. (Applause.)

 

All right. Who’s next? This is an old friend of mine right here. Introduce yourself for everybody.

 

Q Phillip Nelson (ph). Welcome back to Illinois, Mr. President.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Good to see you, Phil.

 

Q And I just want to say on behalf of Illinois agriculture, we’re glad that you’re in the heartland. And as you know, Illinois agriculture is the major economic driver in this state that employs close to a million people. And my concern is this: As a fourth-generation farmer, we’re very concerned with some of the regulatory challenges that are coming our way as it relates to the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. We’re concerned with what’s going in the Chesapeake Bay, and the fears that that might come to the Mississippi River Basin. And I guess my challenge, Mr. President, is that you work with the EPA Administrator to put some common sense back into some of these regulatory discussions so we don’t regulate farmers out of business.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me say this about -- (applause) -- because I got this question when I was in Atkinson. Some of these regulatory concerns that people have, frankly, are unfounded in the sense that if somebody even has an idea or a thought about some regulation, then right away the message is sent out, they’re coming and they’re going to make it impossible for you to farm and this and that and the other. And this thing may still be completely in a theoretical stage, where folks are trying to figure out how do we make sure that our streams and our rivers aren’t messed up. And there may not even be a regulation in place before people are already getting worried about what’s coming down the pipe.

There is not a rule or regulation that we don’t do a complete cost-benefit analysis at this point, and that we don’t have intensive discussions with those who would potentially be affected. Now, what I do think is true is that, in the past -- I’ll say not under my administration, but I think in the past historically -- there have been times where the EPA or other regulatory agencies don’t listen to farmers and figure out how can we provide them flexibility in meeting some of their goals.

 

So I was talking to Tom Vilsack yesterday, and he was using as an example that, in the state of Washington -- maybe it was Oregon; it was in the Pacific Northwest -- there was concern about some of the runoff was making it harder for salmon in those regions, which is also a big industry in Washington. And the problem was -- it wasn’t pollution, it was actually heating. Some of the runoff from some of the plants in the area were getting too hot, and that was inhibiting salmon. So instead of just coming up with a regulation that prohibited these industries, what they came up with was, working with farmers and conservationists, planting trees along the rivers that cooled the waters so that the salmon were unaffected.

 

Well, that’s the kind of creative approach where, if you’re listening to folks on the ground and you say, here, we’ve got a problem that we do need to solve, but is there a smarter way to doing it that ends up being a win-win instead of end up being a lose-lose? Let’s work together. And that’s the kind of approach that we need to take.

 

Don’t be fooled. I think if somebody goes out and says, we can’t afford clean air and clean water, that’s wrong. I don’t believe that. And I don’t think most farmers would agree with that, because, ultimately, nobody is better stewards of the land. And the reason we’ve got these incredible farms all around us is because we’ve got incredibly rich soil. We’ve got to make sure that we’re conserving that soil. We’ve got to make sure that our air and water continues to be healthy for our kids. And I think farmers care about that more than anybody.

So we’ve got the same goal. The question is, are we able to work together to figure out a smart way to achieve these goals? And that’s what my administration is going to be committed to doing, all right?

Right there. Yes.

 

Q Thank you, President Obama, and welcome to this area. My name is Judy Gunzeth (ph), and I’m director of tourism for Galesburg and Knox County. So thank you for coming for --

 

THE PRESIDENT: This is a great tourist location right here, County Corner.

 

Q Exactly.

 

THE PRESDIENT: Bring your families. (Applause.)

 

Q I also want to congratulate you on recently turning 50. I passed that milestone recently, and it’s not as bad as what people think.

 

THE PRESIDENT: How come you look so much better than me? (Laughter.)

 

Q I live in Galesburg. (Laughter.)

 

THE PRESIDENT: That’s why. Okay. All right. That makes sense, that makes sense.

 

Q I also want to commend your wife, our First Lady, on her efforts to encourage healthy eating.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

 

Q I believe that people who eat healthy are healthy, and a healthy nation is a productive nation. And I think a lot about our children, our school children, and people who are on food stamps -- and just the entire nation needs to live healthy. But it also, in the long term, it reduces health care costs, and we’re thinking about short-term health care costs, but we’re also thinking in long-term health care costs.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

 

Q So what I’d like to hear is maybe just your philosophy from your administration -- ways to expound upon what your wife is doing and encouraging -- and positive incentives to encourage people to eat healthy, to live healthy, especially for our schoolchildren.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s a great question. And first of all, thank you for what you’re doing to promote tourism here in Galesburg. I want to point out that America as a whole needs to do a better job of promoting tourism, because -- it used to be we just took for granted everybody wanting to come here. Now countries all around the world are promoting their countries, and we want tourism dollars to come here. And so I’ve set up a tourism council to make sure that they visit not just San Francisco and Manhattan, but they also understand what an incredible travel opportunity there is here in the Midwest and in small towns all across America.

 

Michelle has done a great job with a combination of nutrition facts, but also exercise. And you’re right, the reason she thought it was so important is she’s a mom with two kids. And she knows that Malia and Sasha, if they start off with healthy habits now, they’re going to be healthier when they get older. And it turns out -- we were just talking about the budget -- about a third of our increase in health care cost is directly attributable to obesity and illnesses like diabetes that are entirely preventable and curable if folks got back into the same habits that our parents and our grandparents had.

 

Now, a lot of it is just movement and exercise and getting kids off the couch. And that’s why you see Michelle, she goes to these events, and I will tell you, she is in very good shape. And she was running routes with the -- running routes with NFL players and throwing in first pitches and doing double-dutch and -- I can’t keep up with her.

 

But food is an important component of it, and this is something that actually can benefit farmers, particularly family farmers. We want more produce -- more vegetables and more fruit -- consumed all across the country. And a lot of times, farmers are not making all the money from their products because it goes through this chain of shipping and processing and distribution, and there are a lot of middlemen between the farmer and the end user. And so there’s an economic component as well as a health component, where if we can get farmers more directly linked to consumers, they’re selling their products more directly, they’re getting more fresh vegetables, more fresh fruit, then everybody can benefit.

 

And the way we’re trying to do it -- Michelle is doing it not by regulation, not by telling folks they have to do something, but by just information. And they’ve been able to get a lot of agreements with companies. You had Wal-Mart, for example, realizing that more and more people were asking for healthier products in their stores. Voluntarily, they and a whole bunch of other big retailers have said, we’re going to start linking up with family farmers; we’re going to start setting up better grocery stores in underserved communities, like in Danny’s district where you can go for miles without seeing a fresh vegetable; and linking up -- setting up farmers markets in urban areas where people can sell produce. And a lot of this stuff we’ve been able to do voluntarily without legislation.

 

Now, there are still some legislative elements to this thing. So, for example, we passed the Child Nutrition Act just to make sure that our meals in schools are a little bit healthier, so that kids are getting not just processed food, but they’re also getting fresh produce as well. And some of the time that’s a little bit more expensive in the schools. So the question is, are there some things we can cut out in order to pay to make sure that our kids are healthier? But they’ll learn more, they’ll be healthier in the long term, and in the long term we will save money, and it’s good for farmers as well.

 

Thanks for the great question. All right. The gentleman right here. You just stood up. There you go.

 

Q Thank you, Mr. President. My name is Alfred Ramirez. I’m president of the Hispanic Chamber in the Quad Cities area, and an employee of Group O in Moline. I’m going to -- this is one of the most painful places I think our country has been in decades or centuries, where we have those in power and influence who are literally tearing our country apart between the haves and the have-nots. We are willing to dismantle programs that they call entitlement programs, and those recipients or beneficiaries of those programs don’t have a mind of their own and are merely asking for a handout. And as we look for our adjustments to the budget and our cuts, could you please speak to some of those very programs that are not necessarily sacred but must stay in place to even have a ripple effect for those who benefit from them?

 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, let me separate out some of these programs. And I’m going to start with Social Security. People pay into Social Security. It’s a social insurance program. They’re not getting it for free. It’s not a handout. It’s taken out of your check. It’s been taken out of your check for a lifetime. And it provides you a floor when you retire.

 

Now, hopefully, people have other savings that help supplement their incomes in their golden years. But we’ve got to make sure Social Security is there not just for this generation but for the next generation. (Applause.) Now, Social Security is not posing a huge problem with respect to our debt and our deficit. There is a problem that if we don’t make any modifications at all, then in a few years what will start happening is, is that the amount of money going out is more than the amount coming -- amount of money going in. And people debate how soon, but in a couple of decades you’d start having a situation where you’d only get 75 cents on the dollar that you expected on Social Security.

If we make some modest changes now, the kind of changes that Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill agreed to back in 1983, we can preserve Social Security, make sure it’s there for the future 75 years out. So Social Security is something that we can solve relatively easily. It doesn’t mean that we don’t make any changes at all, because there may be some tweaks that we can make to the program, but we can assure that Social Security is there for future generations.

 

The bigger problem is Medicare and Medicaid. And the reason that’s a problem is because health care costs keep on going up faster than inflation, people’s wages, people’s incomes at the same as folks are getting older, so we’ve got more people into the system. And if we didn’t do anything, then Medicare and Medicaid would gobble up basically the entire federal budget -- and we couldn’t pay for our schools, we couldn’t pay for fixing our airports, we couldn’t pay for basic research. All the things that we expect out of our federal government we couldn’t do. All we’d be doing is just paying doctors and hospitals and nursing home facilities. That would take up the whole budget. That’s no way to run a country.

 

The health care bill that I passed begins the process of trying to reduce the cost of health care, reforming the cost of health care by, for example, telling providers instead of having five tests that you charge for each one, have one test and email to the five specialists who may need the test. (Applause.) Start using electronic medical records. Instead of reimbursing you for how many procedures you do, we’re going to reimburse you for how well you help the patient get well overall. We’re going to say to hospitals, how good are you at reducing infection rates in your hospital so that people aren’t being readmitted getting sick all the time.

So there are a whole bunch of things we can do to make the health care system more efficient. But even if we do all those things, we’re still going to have a problem with Medicare and Medicaid. And my basic principle is, let’s make sure that we keep this program intact, both programs -- Medicare and Medicaid -- for people in need: for our seniors, for disabled kids, for folks who’ve got a parent who’s severely ill and they’ve only got a certain capacity to support them and help them. But let’s also make sure that we’re making some common-sense changes that allows the program to be there in the future. This is in contrast to the approach that’s been taken, I’ve got to admit, by the House of Representatives when they passed their budget.

They passed a budget that basically called for voucherizing the Medicare system. This is the Republicans in the House of Representatives. And basically what they say is, here’s a flat rate that you get for Medicare, and you know what, if it turns out that it doesn’t buy you enough insurance, that’s your problem; that’s not our problem.

 

Now, this will cut the deficit. It will save the government money, but it does so by shifting the costs from the government to individual seniors. It doesn’t solve the problem by actually reducing health care costs. So I think that’s the wrong approach to take. I think that’s the wrong approach to take. (Applause.)

 

But I want to be honest with folks: We are going to have to make some modifications to Medicare and Medicaid. They don’t have to be radical, but we’re going to have to make some modifications to them in order for them to be there for the next generation. That’s part of our obligation, because we can’t just be not thinking about our kids and our grandkids as we move forward.

 

But we can do it in a way where the average senior is still protected, is still getting all the help that they need. It’s not a voucher program. It is guaranteed health care, because I think that’s a core principle that we’ve got to preserve. All right? (Applause.)

 

All right. It’s getting a little warm out here, huh? You guys doing all right? You guys hanging in there? All right. It’s a young woman’s turn. Right over there in the striped shirt. You. Yes.

 

Q Our family does a lot of --

 

THE PRESIDENT: What’s your name?

 

Q Allie Hand (ph).

 

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Allie.

 

Q Our family does a lot of farming and stuff. And we’ve noticed the county fairs are shrinking. Is there anything you’re going to do about that?

 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, one thing I’m going to do -- I went to a county fair today and they were showing some cows. And I didn’t judge them. (Laughter.) They all looked pretty good to me. (Laughter.)

 

But I think the county fair tradition is so important, not only because it’s an economic attraction for the community, but also because it brings the community together. It’s a focal point for a county and it reminds people of what holds America together and the heartland together.

 

And so, working with the state of Illinois, working with tourism bureaus, we want to continue to promote county fairs all across Illinois. One of the things I’d like to see is -- and Danny may agree with this, coming from Chicago. There are kids in Danny’s district -- in fact, the overwhelming majority of kids in Danny’s district, they’ve never seen a cornfield like this. They’ve never seen a cow. If you asked them what does a tomato plant look like, they’d have no idea.

 

So part of what I’d like to see is actually more tourism maybe organized through school trips and others for people from outside of rural areas to appreciate what’s happening in rural areas. Where are they getting their food from? It doesn’t just show up in cellophane in a supermarket. Somebody is growing that. And part of the challenge is America has become so productive agriculturally that you now only have a couple percent of the people who are actively involved in farming. Ninety-eight percent of people, they just eat. (Laughter.) And I think a county fair can be a powerful education tool, and I’d like to see more kids just coming out here and be able to appreciate all the hard work that goes into the food on their table. And so maybe that’s something that your outstanding governor might want to work on. All right? (Applause.)

 

I got time for two more questions. Two more questions. Young man in the green, right there. Well, there are two young men in green, but I was calling on this guy right here. Yes.

 

Q Hello. My name is Eric Palmer (ph) and I go to Augustana College.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Great school.

 

Q Yes, it is. First of all, I just want to let you know of one thing: I am not disappointed in you like Michele Bachmann wants everyone to believe. (Applause.)

 

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I appreciate that.

 

Q My question is about Social Security. I know that one of your ideas to fix the solvency of it is to reevaluate the equation that determines the COLA, the cost-of-living adjustment. But as the law stands right now, we are only taxed on the first $107,000 that we make.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

 

Q That means every dime that I make is taxed for Social Security.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

 

Q I don’t make $107,000. (Laughter.) But that means that --

 

THE PRESIDENT: Somebody said you will --

 

Q Someday, I hope.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you sound pretty smart. It sounds like you’re going to do just great.

 

Q Thanks. But that means that people like Mitt Romney only pay into Social Security on the first one-tenth of 1 percent of what they make.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

 

Q Can we look forward to you telling the Republicans that it’s time that the wealthy pay their fair share? (Applause.)

 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first -- this is a very well-informed young man here. (Laughter.) You’re exactly right that the way the Social Security system works, there’s what’s called -- there’s basically a cap on your Social Security, which there isn’t, by the way, on Medicare. But Social Security, it only goes up to the first $107,000; and you’re right, somebody who makes -- who has net assets of $250 million and are making maybe $5 million a year just on interest or capital gains or something, just a fraction of it’s going to Social Security. I think there’s a way for us to make adjustments on the Social Security tax that would be fairer than the system that we use right now.

 

I do think, in terms of how we calculate inflation, that’s important as well. By the way, seniors -- a bunch of them were upset over the last couple years because some of -- because seniors didn’t get a cost-of-living adjustment. I got a lot of letters -- “Mr. President, how come I didn’t get a COLA this year for my Social Security?” And I answered this question at the previous town hall; I figured I’d clear something up now. The way the system works is you automatically get a cost-of-living adjustment based on the inflation rate. The President doesn’t make that decision; it’s based on a formula.

 

And when the economy was really in the drink in 2009 and 2010, there was basically no inflation -- prices were actually going down. That’s why seniors did not get the cost-of-living adjustment. That doesn’t mean that they weren’t still having a hard time because food prices or gas prices or what have you might have been going up, or the cost of medicine. So as a consequence, we actually proposed -- and I’m sure Danny was one of the co-sponsors of this -- legislation that would have given an extra $250 to seniors just to help make ends meet. We couldn’t get Republican support for it. But seniors who are still upset about not getting your COLA -- or if they’re not here, but when you go back and you’re talking to your grandma and they’re still mad at me about it, I just want you guys to set the record straight, okay?

 

All right, I’ve got one last question, and I’m going -- I’ve got to ask this young lady right here, the next generation -- she gets the last word.

 

Q Mr. President, my name is Jordan Vinolcavak (ph), and my stepdad is the sheriff of Henry County. This year could set a record on the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Does your administration have any plans that would include better equipping, training, or anything else that would help keep all officers safe?

 

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s a great question. How old are you, Jordan?

 

Q Thirteen.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Thirteen -- you’re Malia’s age. So you’re going into 8th grade?

 

Q Yes.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Did you already start?

 

Q Yes.

 

THE PRESIDENT: Yes? How’s school going so far?

 

Q Good. Today was my first day. (Laughter.)

 

THE PRESIDENT: Yes? No wonder you look so cheerful. (Laughter.) Well, thank you for the question, Jordan, and tell your stepdad we’re proud of him for his service. This is an example of what we have to pay for. You’re right, we’ve seen -- even though the crime rate overall and the violent crime rate has been going down, fatalities among law enforcement have actually been going up. And part of it is because criminals are getting more powerful weapons than they ever have before.

 

And so we’ve got to help our law enforcement -- provide them with better protection, provide them with better crime-fighting strategies. That’s true in big cities; it’s also true in rural communities. We’ve got to do a better job of tracing weapons that are going to criminals.

 

I’m a big believer in the Second Amendment. And I’m a big believer in hunting and sportsmen. But I also think that making sure that we’re keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is something all of us should be able to agree on. (Applause.)

 

But, Jordan, let me tell you something. We actually have been doing a lot. We’ve been giving a lot of money to local law enforcement, partly to prevent layoffs, partly to ensure they’ve got better equipment, things like interoperable radios so that when something happens -- let’s say you’ve got all power out, one of these tornadoes hit like hit in Joplin -- that they’re able to come together and still communicate effectively.

 

We’ve got things called Burn Grants that are very important to local law enforcement in dealing with, for example, methamphetamine production here in the Midwest. But all that costs money. And that’s why I want everybody to remember you’re going to hear a lot of stuff over the next year and a half, just like you have for the last two and half years, people attacking government and saying government is the problem.

 

And I think Jordan just reminded us government are our police officers and our firefighters. Government is all those young men and women who have been serving, protecting us in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Applause.) Government are the folks who work for FEMA, who when there’s a flood come in and help communities get back on their feet. Government is our astronauts. Government are the folks who are helping make sure that our food is properly inspected.

So don’t buy into this notion that somehow all our problems would be solved if we eliminate government. Part of the reason we had this financial crisis was because we didn’t have government doing a good enough job looking over the shoulders of the banks to make sure that they weren’t taking crazy risks. (Applause.)

 

And part of what happens is that people get so frustrated with politics that they just get fed up and they kind of lump government together with politics. Well, no, government needs to improve. It needs to get more efficient. We’ve got to be smarter about how we regulate issues. We’ve got to make sure that we’re not wasting taxpayer money.

 

But there’s a difference between politics and government. And what’s really broken is a politics that doesn’t reflect the core values and the decency and the neighborliness of the American people. (Applause.)

 

And that’s what I’m fighting for, and that’s what I need you fighting for. Thank you very much, Alpha. Love you. Appreciate you. (Applause.)

 

END

5:40 P.M. CDT

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