Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event -- Boulder, CO

By:  Barack Obama II
Date: Sept. 2, 2012
Location: Boulder, CO

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Colorado! (Applause.) Go Buffs! (Applause.)

Can everybody please give Ryan a huge round of applause for that beautiful introduction? (Applause.) Americans like Ryan are why I ran for this office in the first place and why I am running for it again.

It's great to see your outstanding Governor, John Hickenlooper. (Applause.) One of the finest senators that we've got in the country, Michael Bennet. (Applause.) Outstanding Congressman, Jared Polis. (Applause.) And it is good to be back in Boulder, Colorado! (Applause.)

Now, the last time I was here, I stopped by The Sink for some pizza. I signed my name on the ceiling. I hope it's still there. I hope nobody vandalized it. (Laughter.) And a girl I met there was so surprised that she spilled her frozen yogurt on my pants. (Laughter.) But it was worth it because I've been told that The Sink renamed one of their pizzas after me. (Applause.) I'm deeply moved by this. (Laughter.) So the next time you go there, just ask for "The POTUS." It's got pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, black olives, and onion. We put the olives and the onion on there for Michelle so you can say that you had some vegetables on your pizza. (Laughter.)

Now, I've got to address a sensitive subject. I know you guys are a little bummed out about the game yesterday. I know the "Rocky Mountain Showdown" did not go down the way you wanted. So I'll tell you what, we are going to give you a chance to get even. We are giving the Buffs and the Rams a second chance to go at it this fall. We've set up a "Rocky Mountain Rumble" to see which school can register more voters, CU or Colorado State. (Applause.)

Now, I was at Colorado State last week, and because we had volunteers in the crowd to help, they got a little bit of a head start. So they are up by just 41 votes. But today, we are in Boulder, so let's get it done. There are volunteers throughout the audience; they can help you register today.

When you go home, you can register your classmates, your friends. You go online to something called GottaRegister.com. I apologize in advance to English teachers, but this is not "Got To Register" this is gotta -- G-o-t-t-a-register.com. And this is important because just over two months from now, for the first time in many of your lives, you will get a chance to pick a President. And by doing so, you will get to a chance to choose the path that we take from here.

Now, last week, the other party gave their pitch at their convention down in Florida.

AUDIENCE: Booo --

THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo, vote. (Laughter and applause.)

I will say, though, that it was something to behold. (Laughter.) Despite all the challenges that we face in this new century, what they offered over those three days was an agenda that was better suited for the last century. It was a rerun. It could have been on "Nick at Nite." (Laughter.) We've seen it before. You might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV, with some rabbit ears. (Laughter.)

And if you didn't DVR it, the basic recap goes something like this: The economy is not doing what it should be; it's all Obama's fault -- that was a key theme -- (laughter) -- and Governor Romney knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy.

And then, there was a lot of talk about "hard truths" and "bold choices," but the interesting thing was nobody ever bothered to tell us what they were. And when Governor Romney finally had a chance to reveal the secret sauce, he did not offer a single new idea. It was just retreads of the same old policies we've been hearing for decades, the same policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years.

They talked a lot about me, and they talked a lot about Governor Romney, but they didn't spend a lot of time talking about you. They didn't talk about families like Ryan's, and what it might mean to go back to a time when folks with preexisting conditions couldn't get health care. You didn't hear them spend a lot of time talking about young people and the debt that they're incurring when they go to college.

They spent even less time talking about what plans they had to actually meet these challenges and solve these problems. And you know why they didn't talk about it, it's not just because they know you won't like it -- and you won't like it -- (laughter) -- because you've already seen what happens when we try what they're offering, and you've lived through it, and you know we can't afford to repeat it, but it's also that they are exhausted of ideas.

See, it turns out we know that making the middle class pay for another budget-busting $250,000 tax cut for folks making $3 million a year or more won't magically translate into jobs and prosperity for everybody else. (Applause.)

We know families aren't going to be better off if we undo Wall Street reform that we fought so hard to pass, and that can prevent another financial crisis. We know we're not going to be better off if we strip away regulations that protect our air and our water. (Applause.) We know we're not going to be better off if we strip away protections to make sure you've got health care when you get sick.

Seniors are pretty certain that the best way to strengthen Medicare isn't to give them vouchers that leaves them to pay off any additional costs out of their own pockets.

The point is everything you heard from them -- what little you did hear -- we've heard before. They have tried to sell us this tired, trickle-down, you're-on-your-own snake oil before. (Applause.) Those ideas don't work. They didn't work then, they won't work now. They did not create jobs. They did not cut the deficit. They did not strengthen the middle class. They are not a plan to move this country forward.

And we believe in something better. (Applause.) We believe in an America that says our economic strength has never come from the top down. It comes from the middle out. It comes from the bottom up. It comes from students and workers and small business owners, and a growing, thriving middle class. (Applause.) It comes from teachers and receptionists and firefighters and construction workers who are helping to build this country each and every day. That's the backbone of this country. (Applause.)

We believe in an America that doesn't let how much money you've got determine whether or not you've got good health care, whether or not you can get a good college education.

We believe in an America that doesn't just lead by the force of our amazing military -- and we are so grateful for their service -- but we also know that we've got to combine that with the strength of our ideals and the power of our example. (Applause.)

We believe in an America where no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, you can pursue your own version of happiness, and you can make it here if you try. (Applause.) And that's what we've been working for four years now, Colorado. That's what this campaign is about, and that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)

Now, on Thursday night, I'm going to offer you what I believe is a better path forward -- a path that will grow this economy and create more jobs and strengthen the middle class. And the good news is you get to choose the path we take.

Now, you can go with their plan to give massive new tax cuts to folks who have already made it, or we can go forward with my plan to keep taxes low for every American who is still trying to make it. (Applause.) If you talk to a Republican out there who says, oh, Obama and Democrats, they're all about tax and spend and all this -- remind them I promised four years ago to cut taxes for middle-class families. And the typical middle-class family is paying a total of about $3,600 less in taxes now than when I came into office. (Applause.) I kept my promise. I kept that promise.

And now I'm running to make sure taxes aren't raised a single dime for the first $250,000 of income, which means 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses will see their taxes remain low, because they're the ones who need relief, not folks like me, not folks like Mr. Romney. He needs it even less than I do. (Laughter and applause.)

But this is ultimately going to be your choice. Now, you can choose whether we cede new jobs and new industries to countries like China, or whether we fight for those jobs in states like Colorado. (Applause.) My opponent likes to tout his private-sector experience. And he was incredibly successful, and clearly disciplined and hardworking. But keep in mind that his experience was investing in companies that were called "pioneers" in the business of outsourcing jobs.

When the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, he said, let's "let Detroit go bankrupt." And I've got a different vision for America. I bet on American workers and I bet on American manufacturing. And today, the U.S. auto industry has come roaring back. (Applause.) And, by the way, the cars they're making are better and more fuel efficient than ever. That's how we move forward. That's how we move forward. (Applause.)

I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. I want to give tax breaks to companies that are starting businesses right here in Boulder, creating jobs right here in Colorado, making sure that here in the United States of America we're making stuff again stamped with three proud words: Made In America. That's the path forward that I'm offering in this election. (Applause.)

You can decide whether Governor Romney's advice -- "just borrow more money from your parents" -- is an acceptable answer to young people who are trying to go to college. Or you can take the path that we've already started on, making sure America once again leads the world in educating our kids and training our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. (Applause.)

I want to make sure that we are helping more young people afford the kind of education that you can get right here at CU Boulder. Let's make more people be able to go to community colleges to be trained for the jobs that employers are hiring for right now. Governor Romney wants to end the tax credit that we created to help families save up to $10,000 over four years on their college tuition. I want to extend it, I don't want to end it -- because in America today, a higher education cannot be a luxury, it is an economic necessity that every family should be able to afford.

And you know that in your own lives. That's why you're here. (Applause.) That's why you're making an investment in yourself. And I want to make sure that America is standing by you every step of the way, because if you succeed, then we succeed. (Applause.) If we're producing more engineers, then America is producing more jobs. If we've got great teachers -- (applause) -- then we're going to see the next generation be able to compete all over the world. That's what's at stake in this election.

Now, Colorado, you look out at this amazing vista and you say to yourself, part of what's at stake is energy and how we deal with this planet. You can choose an energy plan written by and for the oil companies. Or you can choose what I've offered, an all-of-the above strategy for American energy.

Governor Romney called renewable energy "imaginary." He said the jobs that -- actually it was Congressman Ryan who said that the jobs they create are "fads." Let me tell you, there are 10,000 good Colorado jobs right now that depend on wind and solar power. (Applause.) These jobs are worth fighting for.

And so I think it's time to stop giving $4 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies that are making money every time you fill up a tank of gas. Let's keep investing in homegrown energy sources that have never been more promising, that are good for our economy, that are good for our national security, that will create jobs and are good for our planet as well. That's the path we're offering. That's the choice we're going to have in this election. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Obama!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you back, but we got to vote. It's up to you whether we go back to a health care system that let insurance companies decide who to cover and when. Or we can keep moving forward with the new health care law that's already cut costs and covered more people and saved more lives. (Applause.)

Governor Romney promised that on his first day of office, he's going to sit right down and grab a pen, and end Obamacare.

AUDIENCE: Booo --

THE PRESIDENT: Now, what that means is right away he'd kick nearly 7 million young people off their parent's plan. He'd take hope away from tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions by repealing reform. He calls it Obamacare and I like the name. I do care. (Applause.)

We fought to pass that law for families like Ryan's. We know the heartbreak of a broken health care system. So I don't mind if folks think I care. I do care. (Applause.) And I don't know exactly what the other side is proposing. I guess you could call it "Romney Doesn't Care." (Laughter.) But this law is here to stay. (Applause.) We're not going to refight the battles of the last four years. We're going to implement this law, make the health care system work for families all across America. It is time to move forward. That's the choice in this election. (Applause.)

Of course, this isn't the only battle that they want to refight. They want to refight some battles we thought were settled in the last century. So in November, you will have some say as to whether women should be trusted to make their own health care decisions. I think they are. (Applause.)

You will have some say as to whether students who were brought here by their parents as infants and have gone to school here, and understand themselves to be Americans and have pledged allegiance, that suddenly they should be kicked out of the only country they've ever known.

AUDIENCE: Booo --

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think so. I've got a different view. (Applause.)

You will have some say as to whether we should rewrite the Constitution the way the other side is proposing, to prevent gay Americans from being able to marry the person they love.

AUDIENCE: Booo --

THE PRESIDENT: You can reaffirm that the strength of our character doesn't come from shoving people to the sidelines. It comes from hearing every voice, harnessing every talent -- realizing that in America, we are greater together than we are on our own. That's who we are. (Applause.) That's who we are and that's what's at stake in this election.

This November, you get to decide the future of the Afghanistan war. Governor Romney had nothing to say about Afghanistan last week. Yes, he hasn't offered a plan for the 33,000 troops who will have come home from this war by the end of this month. (Applause.)

He said that ending the war in Iraq was "tragic." I think it was the right thing to do. And I said I would do it, and we did. (Applause.) I said we'd take out bin Laden, and we did. (Applause.)

We are bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. And I've set a timetable. We will have them all out of there by 2014. Governor Romney doesn't have a timetable. I think he's wrong. That's what's at stake in this election. And as long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will serve our veterans as well as they've served us, because nobody who fights for us should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home. That's the choice in this election. (Applause.)

So, Boulder, on issue after issue, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan want to go backwards. But the story of America is about going forwards. Nobody understands that better than folks in the West, because this is a region that was settled by people who understand we're not looking back, we're going forward. (Applause.) We're going forward to the next frontier, to new horizons. And in two months, you get to choose the path that will lead us to that better future.

But understand, over the next two months the other side is going to spend more money than we've ever seen in our lives, with an avalanche of attack ads and insults and making stuff up, just making stuff up. (Laughter.) And they'll be supported by $10 million checks that are being written by wealthy donors who are trying to protect things just as they are.

And what they're counting on is that you get so discouraged by this, that at a certain point you just say, you know what, I'm going to leave it up to somebody else. I'm going to let big oil write the energy bills, and I'm going to let insurance companies decide when to cover somebody, and we're going to let politicians dictate what a woman can or can't do when it comes to her own health.

AUDIENCE: Booo --

THE PRESIDENT: They're counting on you to accept their version of the things the way they ought to be. And I'm counting on something different. I'm counting on you. (Applause.)

You've always had powerful forces in this country who benefit from the status quo, and they bet against the American people. And I've always bet on you. I don't believe you're cynical. I don't believe in your complacency. Those other guys, they always lose the bet over the long term. And they're going to lose the bet this time as well. (Applause.)

But that's going to depend on you. It's going to depend on you registering to vote. It's going to depend on you showing up to vote. I was over at the The Buff before I came here and the food looked really good. (Laughter.) People were having mimosas and Bloody Mary's. (Laughter.) And I was thinking to myself, I could see folks, like, forgetting to vote. (Laughter.) They're having too much fun.

But that's why you're so important, because you're going to have to set an example for the person next to you in class. You're going to have to remind them, have you voted yet? You're going to have to call up your family or your cousins in the other states. You're going to have to reach up and close that gap between what America is and what it should be -- because you know what, you can't wait on somebody else. It turns out other folks are waiting on you. They're waiting to see if you'll register. They're waiting to see if you'll vote. They're waiting to see if you'll lead.

Colorado, we have come too far to turn back now. We've got more good jobs to create. We've got more homegrown energy to generate. We've got more young people to send to college. We've got more good teachers to hire. (Applause.) We've got more good schools to build. We've got one more war to end. We've got more troops we've got to bring home. We've got more veterans we've got to take care of. (Applause.) We've got more doors of opportunity that we have to open for every single person who's willing to work hard and walk through them. (Applause.) That's why I'm asking you for a second term.

And if you're willing to work with me and knock on some doors with me, make some phone calls with me; if you're willing to vote for me in November, we will win Boulder and we will win Colorado. We will win this election. (Applause.) We will finish what we started. And we will remind the world why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)