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

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05 Jun 2012

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Barack on Broadway, an evening at the theatre with President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, was offered June 4 at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre. The sold-out event, which boasted performances from a host of Broadway favorites, also featured speeches from both Presidents. Their speeches, according to the official White House website, follow.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here to ensure the reelection of President Obama and Vice President Biden. I thank you very much. (Applause.)

You know, I was worried about getting half a step slow doing this because my whole life is my foundation now. I’m a little rusty at politics. (Laughter.) But this is my -- wait, wait, wait. This is my third event tonight where I am the warm-up act for the President. (Applause.) So I am about to get my steps down and my rhythm going, you know?

Here’s what I want to say. Your presence here tonight is important. Your support is important. And perhaps, most important of all, your willingness to leave here and talk to people about this election not just in New York but all across this country is profoundly important. (Applause.) Because I’ve found there’s a lot of murkiness out there. So let me just be as simple as I can. I don't think it’s important to reelect the President; I think it’s essential to reelect the President -- if we want this country to go in the right direction. (Applause.)

And I want to explain why.



I know things are not perfect now. I know they're a little slow now. But let me just remind you that when the President took office a little over three years ago, in the month he took the oath of office we lost 800,000 jobs. Starting on September the 15th, we entered the deepest crash since the Great Depression. If you look at history, those things take five or 10 years to get over, and if there’s a housing collapse along with it, closer to 10 years. He’s on schedule to beat that record.

And so we have to go out to people who are still hurting, who are still uncertain, and who hear the airways full of contradictory assertions, and basically give them the facts. And here they are: In the last 27 months, this economy has created 4.3 million private sector jobs. (Applause.) That is -- to give you some perspective on how many that is, that's 60 percent more private sector jobs that were created in the seven years and eight months of the previous administration before the financial meltdown -- (applause) -- and about the same number per month as were created during the time I had the honor of serving.

Bill Clinton onstage at the New Amsterdam

Now, second thing -- they tell you how terrible his health care bill is. It’s hard for them since Governor Romney’s finest act as governor was to sign a bill with the individual mandate in it, which he has now renounced. But let me tell you a couple things about it. Number one, for the first time in 50 years we have had two years in a row where health care costs have only gone up 4 percent -- first time in 50 years.

Number two, the American people this year got $1.3 billion in refunds on their health care premiums -- because you’ve got to spend 85 percent of that premium on health care today, not profits or promotion. (Applause.) Number three, there are 2.6 million young people, 26 and under, who are insured today for the first time because they’re on their parent’s policy. (Applause.)

So -- and look, this is a huge deal. I talk to people in this business all over America. They would be mortified if this bill were repealed because they say we’re finally making progress. We’re going to stop paying for procedures, start paying for performance. We’re going to have plans that will bring our cost down in line with our competitor and improve the quality of care. People in health care -- the President and I just came from an event and there were two woman doctors who said, we are doctors for health care reform and we are here because we can see it working already, that it’s coming. (Applause.)

Now, manufacturing is coming back for the first time since the 1990s. Green tech jobs, in spite of the attacks from Governor Romney and the Republicans, grew at twice the rate of other jobs after the economic downturn, and paid 35 percent more.

The automobile industry was headed for a calamity, and two of the great auto companies in America were saved by a financial agreement that had management, labor and government restructuring the company. There are 80,000 more people making cars today than there were when Barack Obama became President. (Applause.) And 1.5 million people had their jobs saved. (Applause.)

Car mileage standards are going to be doubled because of an agreement between management and labor, and the environmental groups and government. And as we double those car mileage standards, 150,000 high-paying jobs will be created, creating the new technologies to make it possible.

And I could give you 50 more things, but you get the idea. Why aren’t things roaring along now? Because Europe is in trouble and because the Republican Congress has adopted the European economic policy. Who would have thought, after years and years, even decades, in which the Republican right attacked "old Europe," that they would embrace the economic policies of the eurozone -- austerity and unemployment now at all costs. (Laughter.) I mean after all, their unemployment rate is 11 percent, and ours is 8 -- we can get right up there if we just adopt their policies. (Laughter and applause.)

You’re laughing, but you need to tell people this. That's what they're being asked to vote for. They're being asked to reject a President who has tried to give us a 21st century economic policy, and said, no, no, growth and jobs now -- broad-based growth, fair growth that includes all Americans. Then we’ll put the hammer down on the spending to avoid the debt exploding at the time when economic growth occurs so that we won’t have high interest rates and we won’t kill off the recovery.

The Republican policy is the reverse. Governor Romney says, no, austerity and unemployment now, and then when we -- if we ever get out of this thing, then we’re going to cut taxes so much, we’ll explode the debt then and see just how high we can drive interest rates, and how we can make the economy -- that is their economic policy. It was their economic policy, and it is. And it doesn't work.

So we’re laughing, we’re having a good time tonight. The night belongs to the President and to you. But I’m telling you, I spent a lifetime in public service and now with my foundation, desperately trying to figure out how to give people a better chance -- desperately trying to figure out how to create jobs. (Applause.) And he analyzed this situation properly. He did the best he could with a lousy hand. And he will do better if the American people said, no, we don't want to go back to what got us in trouble in the first place. Give us a 21st century economy we can all be a part of. (Applause.)

That's what President Obama will do. Let’s bring him on with a big hand! Stand up for the President! (Applause.)

Continued...

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