Remarks from President Barack Obama and Former President Bill Clinton at Barack on Broadway Fundraiser

By Andrew Gans
05 Jun 2012

The line outside the New Amsterdam Theatre
THE PRESIDENT: Not going back to a set of policies that say you're on your own. And that’s essentially the theory of the other side. George Romney -- wrong guy. (Laughter.) Governor Romney -- he was a good governor. (Laughter.) Governor Romney is a -- he's a patriotic American. He's had great success in his life, and he's raised a beautiful family. But he has a theory of the economy that basically says, if I'm maximizing returns for my investors, for wealthy individuals like myself, then everybody is going to be better off.

He was in Iowa talking to a woman, and she was describing her financial struggles, and his response was out of an economic textbook. He said, "Productivity equals income." (Laughter.)

Now, I guess in the aggregate, technically -- right -- this is a coherent argument. (Laughter.) But the implication was somehow that this woman, or others who are struggling out there, they're not productive enough.

Well, let me tell you, actually, America has become incredibly productive. People are working harder than ever. We've got some of the most productive workers in the world. The problem is not that we aren't productive enough; the problem is that productivity has not translated for far too many people into higher incomes. (Applause.) The problem is that profits haven't translated into jobs and investment in this country.



We believe in the marketplace. We believe in entrepreneurship and rewarding risk-taking. But what we also understand is that our economy works best, America became an economic superpower, because we created a platform where everybody could succeed. And we set up rules of the road that made the market work for everybody, and gave consumers confidence that they weren't going to be bilked, and gave investors confidence that if you're a small investor, you're not some insider, you still have a chance buying a stock.

And we understood that if we're investing in things like a Hoover Dam or DARPA -- the research and development arm of our military that ended up producing things like the Internet or GPS -- that that, in fact, would be good for everybody.

We understand that when my grandfather's generation came back from fighting in World War II and they had a chance to go to college on the GI Bill, that wasn’t just good for one individual, it wasn’t just good for one group. That was good for everybody. We all became richer together.

And that's the lesson that Mr. Romney and the Republicans in Congress don't seem to understand, they don't seem to get. But look at our history. Ironically, the first Republican President understood it. Abraham Lincoln understood it. That's why in the middle of a Civil War he was still building a Transcontinental Railroad and starting land grant colleges, and starting the National Academy of Sciences -- because he understood that ultimately there are some things we do better on our own -- not every government program works, not everybody can [be] helped who doesn't want to be helping themselves. All of us have responsibilities.

President Obama

And I learned early on that no matter how much money you pour into the schools, nothing replaces the love and attention and occasional scoldings from a parent. (Applause.) I learned as a community organizer that no government program can substitute for the caring and passion of neighbors and communities. But I also understood, and you understand and Americans understand, that when we’ve done great things in this country we’ve done them together. We’ve done them together. And that's what’s at stake in this election.

And we’re not going back to this other theory. I’m not going to go back to a time when if you got sick, you had no recourse and you potentially could go bankrupt. I’m not going to go back to a time when 2.5 million young people can't get health insurance or can't stay on their parent's plan -- (applause) -- or 30 million people who are working maybe two jobs can't afford to buy health insurance and end up in an emergency room just because they can't get sick and aren’t getting preventive care. We're not going to go back to that.

We're not going to go back to a time when -- we’re not going to refight the battles about whether or not we need to make some basic reforms on Wall Street so that taxpayers don’t have to bail out folks after they’ve made irresponsible or reckless bets. (Applause.) That’s not good for our financial markets. We’re not going to refight that battle.

We’re not going to go back to a time when manufacturing is all moving offshore. We want to bring companies onshore. I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing in jobs investment here in the United States -- (applause) -- not shipping jobs overseas. We don’t need to go back to policies like that.

We’re not going to go back to a time when our military could expel somebody because of who they loved. We believe in everybody being treated fairly and equally, and respecting everybody’s rights. We’re not going to go backwards. We’re going forwards. (Applause.)

We don’t need to go back to a foreign policy that thinks the measure of our security is everything we do we do on our own. We’ve been able to restore respect and collaboration, and our alliances have never been stronger -- partly because I’ve got a pretty good Secretary of State. (Applause.)

And that’s how we ended the war in Iraq. And that’s how we’re starting to transition out of Afghanistan. And that’s how we brought Osama bin Laden to justice. (Applause.) And we’re not going to go backwards on policies that make America stronger.

We’re not going to go back to the days when somehow women couldn’t get the preventive care that they need. (Applause.) We don’t need a situation where women aren’t controlling their own health care choices. We don’t need to eliminate Planned Parenthood. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as my sons. That’s part of what America is about. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re not going backwards. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!

 Continued...