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

By Andrew Gans
05 Jun 2012

Former President Clinton and President Obama
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And we can afford the investments we need to grow. We can afford to make sure that every kid has a chance to go to college, and they're going to a decent school, and they're graduating. (Applause.)

We can afford to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our airports and our broadband lines and high-speed rail, and putting people back to work. We can afford -- in fact, we can't afford not to invest in the science and research that's going to keep us at the cutting-edge. (Applause.)

We’re not going to throw millions of people off the Medicaid rolls, folks who are disabled or poor, seniors who are relying on it. We’re not going to voucherize Medicare. We’re going to responsibly reduce this deficit. You know -- two Presidents over the last 30 years that have actually reduced the pace of the growth in government spending happen to be on this stage right here. They happen to be the two Democrats. (Applause.)

So we have to get our deficit and debt under control. We’ve got to do it in a responsible way, cut out programs we don't need. I’ve already signed a trillion dollars in cuts that have already been made, another trillion that are slated to be made. But we’re also going to ask folks who can afford it like the two of us to pay a little bit more -- and some of you, too, so don't chuckle -- (laughter and applause) -- to pay a little bit more so that we can afford the things that will help us grow. That's the right recipe. That's what made us an economic superpower. And that's the policy that we’re going to pursue.



Now, here’s the good news. The American people, on the issues, when presented with the facts, they actually agree with us. Now, it's hard sometimes getting the facts out. There's a lot of bugs on the windshield. (Laughter.) Sometimes you've got to -- (laughter) -- so you got to get those wipers going pretty hard sometimes. It's not always clear. (Laughter.)
But when folks know the facts, when they're given a choice -- and that’s what this election is about, every election is about a choice -- when given a choice between a vision that says we're going to have a balanced approach to deficit reduction, and we're going to continue to make investments in things like clean energy and fuel efficiency and science and innovation and education and rebuilding our infrastructure, versus another $5 trillion worth of tax cuts that would give the average millionaire and billionaire an additional $250,000 a year in tax breaks -- people agree with us.

On issue after issue, if you give them a fair presentation, no spin on the ball, the majority of the country -- not just Manhattan -- (laughter) -- the majority of the country agrees with us. Which is why the other side isn't -- they're not presenting anything new. As Bill said the other day, this is the same old stuff, just on steroids. (Laughter.) Just more of. More tax cuts for the wealthy. We're not just going to reduce regulation, we're going to cripple EPA. And people aren't buying that. They don’t really think that that’s going to work.

The only reason that this is going to be a close election is because people are still hurting. The situation in Europe is slowing things down. We've been prevented from, for example, the plans that I've put forward repeatedly to Congress to say, let's give states more help so they don’t have to lay off more teachers. Now interest rates have never been lower. Literally, the government can -- basically people will pay us to lend us money -- (laughter) -- and there would never be a better time for us to start making investments that could put construction workers back to work all across the country. (Applause.)

But that's not something Congress, so far, has been willing to do. Though we’re going to keep on putting pressure on them over these next few months because we don't have time just to wait for an election to do something. (Applause.)

But folks are still hurting. And this has been a long slog for people. And sometimes when things are tough you just say, well, you know what, I’ll just keep on trying something until something works. And that's compounded by $500 million in super PAC negative ads that are going to be run over the course of the next five months that will try to feed on those fears and those anxieties and that frustration.

That's basically the argument the other side is making. They're not offering anything new, they're just saying, things are tough right now and it’s Obama’s fault. You can pretty much sum up their argument. (Laughter.) There’s no vision for the future there. There’s no imagination. I mean, somebody is going to have to explain to me how repealing Obamacare and throwing 30 million people back to a situation where they don't have health care, somehow that's an economic development agenda. (Laughter.) Nobody has really explained that to me.

So it’s going to be -- it’s going to be a tough election. But 2008 was tough, too. And what you all taught me was that when Americans are willing to come together and make a commitment to each other, when they have a vision about what’s possible and they commit to it, and they join together and they work for it, when they decide -- when you decide -- that change is going to happen, guess what. Change happens. (Applause.) Change happens.

And so I may be a little grayer than I was the last time I was on Broadway. (Laughter.) Going to need to get Margo to send me something to do something -- do something about that. As President Clinton will tell you, you go through some dings and dents in this job. But I tell you what. I’m more determined than I’ve ever been. (Applause.) I’m more determined than I’ve ever been to finish what we started.

I used to say back in 2008, I’m not a perfect man, and haven’t been and won't be a perfect President. Nobody is. But what I told you was I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and I’d wake up every single morning fighting as hard as I knew how to make life better for the American people. And I have kept that promise. I have kept that promise, Broadway. (Applause.) I have kept that promise.

I still believe in you. I hope you still believe in me. I hope you still believe! If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them it’s still about hope and it’s still about change. And if you’re willing to knock on some doors and make some phone calls, and talk to your friends and neighbors, and work just as hard as you did in 2008, we will finish what we started and remind the world why it is America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless America.

*

The evening benefited the Obama Victory Fund 2012 and was hosted by Thomas Schumacher (Disney Theatrical Productions president) and producers Margo Lion (Catch Me If You Can), Michael David (Into the Woods), Lauren Mitchell (Jesus Christ Superstar), Roger Berlind (Nice Work If You Can Get It) and Paul Boskind (The Best Man).

Directed by George C. Wolfe (The Normal Heart), Barack on Broadway   was scheduled to feature performances from Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur), Kerry Butler (The Best Man), Norbert Leo Butz (Catch Me If You Can), Bobby Cannavale (The Motherf**ker With the Hat), Stockard Channing (Other Desert Cities), Hilty (Wicked, "Smash"), Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu), James Earl Jones (The Best Man), Tony Kushner (Angels in America), Angela Lansbury (The Best Man), LuPone (Evita, Gypsy), Audra McDonald (Porgy and Bess), Mandy Patinkin (Evita) and Jeffrey Wright (A Free Man of Color).