The guy is good. Really good.
President Barack Obama gave a commanding speech last night to a joint session of Congress, but his target audience was sitting at home watching on teevee. Here's the transcript.
"I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."
What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.
Referring to the decades-old problems of education, health care and energy reform, which we have put off solving....Obama explains how we got here...
"And though all of these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before.
In other words, we have lived through an era where too often short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity, where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election."
Describing the negligence and procrastination that got us where we're at.....
"A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day."
The guy is good.
The President's new plan for restructuring failed banks....
"I will not spend a single penny for the purpose of rewarding a single Wall Street executive, but I will do whatever it takes to help the small business that can't pay its workers or the family that has saved and still can't get a mortgage.
That's what this is about. It's not about helping banks; it's about helping people."
"And to ensure that a crisis of this magnitude never happens again, I ask Congress to move quickly on legislation that will finally reform our outdated regulatory system.
It is time. It is time."
Obama explained the budget he will submit to Congress soon. It will call for sacifices at the same time that it will focus on long term challenges. He schools the "government shouldn't do anything group" of critics with this....
"I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves, that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity, for history tells a different story."
From railroad track laying during the Civil War, to public high school buildings and the G.I. Bill, to our nation of highways, and an American on the moon.....
"In each case, government didn't supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive."
Obama defines those long term challenges as energy, health care and education. On harnessing renewable energy...
"Well, I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders, and I know you don't, either. It is time for America to lead again.
"To truly transform our economy, to protect our security and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.
So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. That's what we need."
About health care...
"It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas. And it is one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget. Given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold. We can't afford to do it."
"In a global economy, where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity. It is a pre-requisite."
"And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself; it's quitting on your country. And this country needs and values the talents of every American."
The deceptive off-budget war spending by the last administration...
"This budget looks ahead 10 years and accounts for spending that was left out under the old rules and, for the first time, that includes the full cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For seven years, we've been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price."
While concluding his speech, the President referred to a letter he received from a student in South Carolina. The girl's school is decrepit sitting next to an active railroad track, leaky ceiling, peeling paint.
"The letter asks us for help and says, "We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself, and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina, but also the world. We are not quitters."
That's what she said: "We are not quitters."
And neither is America.
Like I said.....this guy is good....really good.
UPDATE at 10am...seems like the American people saw it like I did....
According to the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey of Americans who watched the address, 68 percent said their reaction to his address was extremely positive and another 24 percent somewhat positive.
Also, 85 percent said his speech made them feel more optimistic about the country's path in the next few years.
Asked whether Obama's policies would move the country in the right direction or now, 88 percent answered the right direction, up from 71 percent in a pre-speech poll, and 82 percent said they generally supported the economic plan he outlined.
And 82 percent said they believed Obama's plan would save or create millions of jobs, 80 percent said they believed Obama's plan would improve the economy, 75 percent said it would improve the healthcare system, and 68 percent said it would cut the federal deficit.
The poll as conducted tonight and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Link
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