Obama Speech at House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

President Obama rallied Democrats in support of the stimulus bill currently before the Senate at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference. To view the entire speech, see C-SPAN Video Player – President Obama Attends Democrat Conference

Here is a video clip highlight from the speech:

Transcript of remarks h/t to Talking Points Memo | Remarks By The President At House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference Highlights:

Now, I just want to say this — I value the constructive criticism and the healthy debate that's taking place around this package, because that's the essence, the foundation of American democracy. That's how the founders set it up. They set it up to make big change hard. It wasn't supposed to be easy. That's part of the reason why we've got such a stable government, is because no one party, no one individual can simply dictate the terms of the debate. I don't think any of us have cornered the market on wisdom, or that do I believe that good ideas are the province of any party. The American people know that our challenges are great. They're not expecting Democratic solutions or Republican solutions — they want American solutions. And I've said that same thing to the public, and I've said that, in a gesture of friendship and goodwill, to those who have disagreed with me on aspects of this plan.

But what I have also said is — don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis. (Applause.) You know, all of us here — imperfect. And everything we do and everything I do is subject to improvement. Michelle reminds me every day how imperfect I am. (Laughter.) So I welcome this debate. But come on, we're not — we are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin. (Applause.)

We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face; that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or falling schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees. I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV — if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction. (Applause.) That's what the American people called for in November, and that's what we intend to deliver. (Applause.)

So the American people are watching. They did not send us here to get bogged down with the same old delay, the same old distractions, the same talking points, the same cable chatter. (Applause.) You know, aren't you all tired of that stuff?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: They did not vote for the false theories of the past, and they didn't vote for phony arguments and petty politics. They didn't vote for the status quo — they sent us here to bring change. We owe it to them to deliver. This is the moment for leadership that matches the great test of our times. And I know you want to work with me to get there. (Applause.)

* * *

I urge all of us not to make the perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary.

Understand the scale and the scope of this plan is right. And when you start hearing arguments on the cable chatter, just understand a couple of things. Number one, when they say, well, why are we spending $800 billion — we've got this huge deficit? First of all, I found this deficit when I showed up. (Applause.) Number one. (Applause.) I found this national debt doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office.

* * *

Point number two: When they start talking about, well, we need more tax cuts — we started this package with a healthy amount of tax cuts in the mix, recognizing that some tax cuts can be very beneficial, particularly if they're going to middle class and working families that will spend that money. (Applause.) That's not me talking; that's the economists talking, who insisted that they're most likely to spend and get that money into circulation and stimulate the economy.

Now, in fact, when we announced the bill, you remember — this is only about, what, two weeks ago? When we announced the framework — and we were complimented by Republicans, saying, boy, this is a balanced package, we're pleasantly surprised. And suddenly, what was a balanced package needs to be put out of balance? Don't buy those arguments.

Then there's the argument, well, this is full of pet projects. When was the last time that we saw a bill of this magnitude move out with no earmarks in it? Not one. (Applause.)

* * *

So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? (Laughter and applause.) That's the whole point. No, seriously. (Laughter.) That's the point. (Applause.)

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