The President:
It is wonderful
to be back at GW. I want you to know that one of
the reasons that I worked so hard with Democrats and
Republicans to keep the government open was so that
I could show up here today. I wanted to make sure that all of
you had one more excuse to skip class. (laughter) You’re welcome. (laughter) I want to give a special
thanks to Steven Knapp, the president of GW. I just saw him — where is he? There he is right there. (applause) We’ve got a lot of
distinguished guests here — a couple of people I
want to acknowledge. First of all, my outstanding
Vice President, Joe Biden, is here. (applause) Our Secretary of the Treasury,
Tim Geithner, is in the house. (applause) Jack Lew, the Director of the
Office of Management and Budget. (applause) Gene Sperling, Chair of the
National Economic Council, is here. (applause) Members of our bipartisan
Fiscal Commission are here, including the two
outstanding chairs — Erskine Bowles and Alan
Simpson — are here. (applause) And we have a number of members
of Congress here today. I’m grateful for all of you
taking the time to attend. What we’ve been debating here
in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of
the students here and families all across America in
potentially profound ways. This debate over budgets and
deficits is about more than just numbers on a page; it’s about
more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of
future that we want. It’s about the kind of
country that we believe in. And that’s what I want to spend
some time talking about today. From our first days as a nation,
we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as
the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity. More than citizens
of any other country, we are rugged individualists,
a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of
too much government. But there’s always been another
thread running through our history — a belief that
we’re all connected, and that there are some things
we can only do together, as a nation. We believe, in the words of the
first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, that
through government, we should do together what we
cannot do as well for ourselves. And so we’ve built a strong
military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities
to educate our citizens. We’ve laid down railroads and
highways to facilitate travel and commerce. We’ve supported the work of
scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives,
unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to
countless new jobs and entire new industries. Each of us has benefited
from these investments, and we’re a more prosperous
country as a result. Now, part of this American
belief that we’re all connected also expresses itself in a
conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure
of security and dignity. We recognize that no matter how
responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a
crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God
go I,” we say to ourselves. And so we contribute to programs
like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us
health care and a measure of basic income after a
lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which
protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which
provides care for millions of seniors in nursing
homes, poor children, those with disabilities. We’re a better country
because of these commitments. I’ll go further. We would not be a great country
without those commitments. Now, for much of
the last century, our nation found a way to afford
these investments and priorities with the taxes paid
by its citizens. As a country that
values fairness, wealthier individuals have
traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the
middle class or those less fortunate. Everybody pays, but the wealthier
have borne a little more. This is not because we begrudge
those who’ve done well — we rightly celebrate
their success. Instead, it’s a basic reflection
of our belief that those who’ve benefited most from our way of
life can afford to give back a little bit more. Moreover, this belief hasn’t
hindered the success of those at the top of the income scale. They continue to do better and
better with each passing year. Now, at certain times —
particularly during war or recession — our nation has had
to borrow money to pay for some of our priorities. And as most families understand,
a little credit card debt isn’t going to hurt if it’s temporary. But as far back as the 1980s,
America started amassing debt at more alarming levels, and our
leaders began to realize that a larger challenge
was on the horizon. They knew that eventually, the
Baby Boom generation would retire, which meant a much
bigger portion of our citizens would be relying on programs
like Medicare, Social Security, and possibly Medicaid. Like parents with young children
who know they have to start saving for the college years,
America had to start borrowing less and saving more to prepare for
the retirement of an entire generation. To meet this challenge, our
leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce
our nation’s deficit — three times. They forged historic agreements
that required tough decisions made by the first
President Bush, then made by President Clinton,
by Democratic Congresses and by a Republican Congress. All three agreements asked for shared
responsibility and shared sacrifice. But they largely protected
the middle class; they largely protected our
commitment to seniors; they protected our key
investments in our future. As a result of these
bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in
great shape by the year 2000. We went from deficit to surplus. America was actually on track to
becoming completely debt free, and we were prepared for the
retirement of the Baby Boomers. But after Democrats and
Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost
our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending
dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription
drug program — but we didn’t pay for
any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem
worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts —
tax cuts that went to every millionaire and
billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force
us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year
over the next decade. To give you an idea of how
much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider
this: In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to
pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our
deficit would currently be at low historical levels
in the coming years. But that’s not what happened. And so, by the
time I took office, we once again found ourselves
deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that
is now starting to take place. When I took office, our
projected deficit, annual, was more than $1 trillion. On top of that, we faced a
terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like
most recessions, led us to temporarily
borrow even more. In this case, we took a series
of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs,
kept credit flowing, and provided working families
extra money in their pocket. It was absolutely the
right thing to do, but these steps were expensive, and
added to our deficits in the short term. So that’s how our fiscal
challenge was created. That’s how we got here. And now that our economic
recovery is gaining strength, Democrats and Republicans must
come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that
served us so well in the 1990s. We have to live
within our means. We have to reduce our deficit,
and we have to get back on a path that will allow us
to pay down our debt. And we have to do it in a way
that protects the recovery, protects the investments we
need to grow, creates jobs, and helps us win the future. Now, before I get into how
we can achieve this goal, some of you, particularly
the younger people here — you don’t qualify, Joe. (laughter) Some of you might be wondering,
“Why is this so important? Why does this matter to me?” Well, here’s why. Even after our economy recovers,
our government will still be on track to spend more money than
it takes in throughout this decade and beyond. That means we’ll have to keep
borrowing more from countries like China. That means more of your tax
dollars each year will go towards paying off the interest
on all the loans that we keep taking out. By the end of this decade, the
interest that we owe on our debt could rise to
nearly $1 trillion. Think about that. That’s the interest —
just the interest payments. Then, as the Baby Boomers start
to retire in greater numbers and health care costs
continue to rise, the situation will
get even worse. By 2025, the amount of taxes
we currently pay will only be enough to finance our
health care programs — Medicare and Medicaid
— Social Security, and the interest
we owe on our debt. That’s it. Every other national priority
— education, transportation, even our national security —
will have to be paid for with borrowed money. Now, ultimately, all this rising
debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making
the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford
good schools, new research, or the repair of roads — all
the things that create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely
to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or
unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start
worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that
could drive up interest rates for everybody who
borrows money — making it harder for
businesses to expand and hire, or families to take
out a mortgage. Here’s the good news: That
doesn’t have to be our future. That doesn’t have to be the
country that we leave our children. We can solve this problem. We came together as Democrats
and Republicans to meet this challenge before;
we can do it again. But that starts by being honest
about what’s causing our deficit. You see, most Americans tend to
dislike government spending in the abstract, but like
the stuff that it buys. Most of us, regardless
of party affiliation, believe that we should have a
strong military and a strong defense. Most Americans believe we should
invest in education and medical research. Most Americans think we should
protect commitments like Social Security and Medicare. And without even
looking at a poll, my finely honed political
instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should
be paying higher taxes. (laughter) So because all this spending is
popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because
nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often
eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just
a matter of eliminating waste and abuse. You’ll hear that phrase a lot. “We just need to eliminate
waste and abuse.” The implication is that tackling
the deficit issue won’t require tough choices. Or politicians suggest that we
can somehow close our entire deficit by eliminating
things like foreign aid, even though foreign aid makes up
about 1% of our entire federal budget. So here’s the truth. Around two-thirds of our
budget — two-thirds — is spent on Medicare,
Medicaid, Social Security, and national security. Two-thirds. Programs like unemployment
insurance, student loans, veterans’ benefits, and tax
credits for working families take up another 20%. What’s left, after
interest on the debt, is just 12% for everything else. That’s 12% for all of our
national priorities — education, clean energy, medical
research, transportation, our national parks, food safety,
keeping our air and water clean — you name it — all of that
accounts for 12% of our budget. Now, up till now, the
debate here in Washington, the cuts proposed by a lot
of folks in Washington, have focused
exclusively on that 12%. But cuts to that 12% alone
won’t solve the problem. So any serious plan to tackle
our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and
take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget. A serious plan doesn’t require
us to balance our budget overnight — in fact, economists
think that with the economy just starting to grow again, we
need a phased-in approach — but it does require tough
decisions and support from our leaders in both parties now. Above all, it will require us to
choose a vision of the America we want to see 5 years, 10
years, 20 years down the road. Now, to their credit, one
vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the
House of Representatives and embraced by several of their
party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce
our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that
addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid
in the years after that. These are both worthy goals. They’re worthy goals
for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves
those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America
than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be
fundamentally different than what we’ve known
throughout our history. A 70% cut in clean energy. A 25% cut in education. A 30% cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants
that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s the proposal. These aren’t the kind of cuts
you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find
extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kinds of cuts
that the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kinds of cuts that
tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in
and I think you believe in. I believe it paints a vision of
our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our
roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t
afford to fix them. If there are bright young
Americans who have the drive and the will but not the
money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them. Go to China and you’ll see
businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing
our kids in math and science. They’re scrambling to figure out how
they put more money into education. Brazil is investing billions in
new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on
high-priced gasoline, but on biofuels. And yet, we are presented with
a vision that says the American people, the United
States of America — the greatest nation on Earth
— can’t afford any of this. It’s a vision that says America
can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care
for our seniors. It says that 10 years from now,
if you’re a 65-year-old who’s eligible for Medicare, you
should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of
guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth
enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open
marketplace, well, tough luck — you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends
Medicare as we know it. It’s a vision that says up to 50
million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order
for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50
million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents
— may be one of yours — who wouldn’t be able to afford
nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families
who have children with autism or Down syndrome. Some of these kids with
disabilities are — the disabilities are so severe
that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be
telling to fend for themselves. And worst of all, this is a
vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest
in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we
can’t afford to maintain our commitment on
Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than
$1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about that. In the last decade, the average
income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans
actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1% saw their
income rise by an average of more than a quarter of
a million dollars each. That’s who needs
to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me
a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to
pay $6,000 more in health costs. That’s not right. And it’s not going to happen
as long as I’m President. (applause) This vision is less about
reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic
social compact in America. Ronald Reagan’s own
budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or
“courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a
plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion
dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s
anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can
least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. That’s not a vision
of the America I know. The America I know is
generous and compassionate. It’s a land of
opportunity and optimism. Yes, we take responsibility
for ourselves, but we also take
responsibility for each other; for the country we want and
the future that we share. We’re a nation that built a
railroad across a continent and brought light to communities
shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college
on the GI Bill and we saved millions of seniors from poverty
with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in
scientific research and technological breakthroughs that
have transformed millions of lives. That’s who we are. This is the America that I know. We don’t have to choose between
a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment
in our people and our country. To meet our fiscal challenge,
we will need to make reforms. We will all need
to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice
the America we believe in. And as long as I’m
President, we won’t. So today, I’m proposing a more
balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit
reduction over 12 years. It’s an approach that borrows
from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission
that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1
trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed
in my 2012 budget. It’s an approach that puts every
kind of spending on the table — but one that protects the middle
class, our promise to seniors, and our investments
in the future. The first step in our approach
is to keep annual domestic spending low by building on the
savings that both parties agreed to last week. That step alone will save us
about $750 billion over 12 years. We will make the tough cuts
necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs
that I care deeply about, but I will not sacrifice the
core investments that we need to grow and create jobs. We will invest in
medical research. We will invest in clean
energy technology. We will invest in new roads and
airports and broadband access. We will invest in education. We will invest in job training. We will do what we
need to do to compete, and we will win the future. The second step in our approach
is to find additional savings in our defense budget. Now, as Commander-in-Chief, I
have no greater responsibility than protecting our
national security, and I will never accept cuts
that compromise our ability to defend our homeland or America’s
interests around the world. But as the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has said, the greatest long-term
threat to America’s national security is America’s debt. So just as we must find more
savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. And we can do that while
still keeping ourselves safe. Over the last two years,
Secretary Bob Gates has courageously taken
on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in
current and future spending. I believe we can do that again. We need to not only eliminate
waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but we’re going
to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s
missions, capabilities, and our role in
a changing world. I intend to work with Secretary
Gates and the Joint Chiefs on this review, and I will make
specific decisions about spending after it’s complete. The third step in our approach
is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. Now, here, the difference with
the House Republican plan could not be clearer. Their plan essentially lowers
the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor
families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the
government’s health care bills by reducing the cost
of health care itself. Already, the reforms we passed
in the health care law will reduce our deficit
by $1 trillion. My approach would
build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful
subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on
prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to
drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of
medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of
both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability
from Medicaid. We will change the way
we pay for health care — not by the procedure or the
number of days spent in a hospital, but with new
incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries
and improve results. And we will slow the growth of
Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission
of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers
who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best
ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access
to the services that seniors need. Now, we believe the reforms
we’ve proposed to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid will
enable us to keep these commitments to our citizens
while saving us $500 billion by 2023, and an additional $1
trillion in the decade after that. But if we’re wrong, and Medicare
costs rise faster than we expect, then this approach will
give the independent commission the authority to make additional
savings by further improving Medicare. But let me be absolutely clear:
I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make
to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to
become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy
of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit
to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with
children who have disabilities that they have to
fend for themselves. We will reform these programs,
but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this
country has kept for generations. That includes, by the way, our
commitment to Social Security. While Social Security is not
the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term
challenges in a country that’s growing older. As I said in the
State of the Union, both parties should work
together now to strengthen Social Security for
future generations. But we have to do it without
putting at risk current retirees, or the
most vulnerable, or people with disabilities;
without slashing benefits for future generations; and without
subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the
whims of the stock market. And it can be done. The fourth step in our approach
is to reduce spending in the tax code, so-called
tax expenditures. In December, I agreed to extend
the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the
only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion
worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and
billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to
renew them again. Beyond that, the tax code is
also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals
of many of these deductions, from home ownership
to charitable giving, we can’t ignore the fact that
they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000
but do nothing for the typical middle-class family
that doesn’t itemize. So my budget calls for limiting
itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2% of Americans —
a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320
billion over 10 years. But to reduce the deficit, I
believe we should go further. And that’s why I’m calling
on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that
it is fair and simple — so that the amount of taxes you
pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant
you can afford. I believe reform should
protect the middle class, promote economic growth, and
build on the fiscal commission’s model of reducing tax
expenditures so that there is enough savings to both lower
rates and lower the deficit. And as I called for in
the State of the Union, we should reform our
corporate tax code as well, to make our businesses and
our economy more competitive. So this is my approach to reduce
the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. It’s an approach that achieves
about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments
on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to
cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures —
spending in the tax code. And it achieves these goals
while protecting the middle class, protecting our
commitment to seniors, and protecting our
investments in the future. Now, in the coming years, if
the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than
our current projections, we can make even greater
progress than I’ve pledged here. But just to hold Washington
— and to hold me — accountable and make sure that
the debt burden continues to decline, my plan
includes a debt failsafe. If, by 2014, our debt is not
projected to fall as a share of the economy — if we
haven’t hit our targets, if Congress has failed to act —
then my plan will require us to come together and make up the
additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending
reductions in the tax code. That should be an incentive
for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems
further down the road. So this is our
vision for America — this is my vision for America —
a vision where we live within our means while still
investing in our future; where everyone makes sacrifices
but no one bears all the burden; where we provide a basic measure
of security for our citizens and we provide rising
opportunity for our children. There will be those who vigorously
disagree with my approach. I can guarantee that as well. (laughter) Some will argue we should not
even consider ever — ever — raising taxes, even if only
on the wealthiest Americans. It’s just an article
of faith to them. I say that at a time when the
tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level
in half a century, the most fortunate among us can
afford to pay a little more. I don’t need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn’t
need another tax cut. Not if we have to pay for it by
making seniors pay more for Medicare. Or by cutting kids
from Head Start. Or by taking away college
scholarships that I wouldn’t be here without and that some of
you would not be here without. And here’s the thing: I believe
that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give
back to their country, a country that’s done
so much for them. It’s just Washington
hasn’t asked them to. Others will say that we
shouldn’t even talk about cutting spending until the
economy is fully recovered. These are mostly
folks in my party. I’m sympathetic to this view —
which is one of the reasons I supported the payroll tax
cuts we passed in December. It’s also why we have to use
a scalpel and not a machete to reduce the deficit, so that we
can keep making the investments that create jobs. But doing nothing on the
deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that
we could do real damage to the economy if we don’t begin a
process now to get our fiscal house in order. Finally, there are those who
believe we shouldn’t make any reforms to Medicare,
Medicaid, or Social Security, out of fear that any talk of
change to these programs will immediately usher in the sort of
steps that the House Republicans have proposed. And I understand those fears. But I guarantee that if we
don’t make any changes at all, we won’t be able to keep our
commitment to a retiring generation that will live longer
and will face higher health care costs than those
who came before. Indeed, to those
in my own party, I say that if we truly believe
in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to
prove that we can afford our commitments. If we believe the government can
make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation
to prove that it works — by making government smarter,
and leaner and more effective. Of course, there are those who
simply say there’s no way we can come together at all and agree
on a solution to this challenge. They’ll say the politics of
this city are just too broken; the choices are just too hard;
the parties are just too far apart. And after a few
years on this job, I have some sympathy
for this view. (laughter) But I also know that we’ve come
together before and met big challenges. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill
came together to save Social Security for future generations. The first President Bush and
a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit. President Clinton and a
Republican Congress battled each other ferociously, disagreed
on just about everything, but they still found a
way to balance the budget. And in the last few months, both
parties have come together to pass historic tax relief
and spending cuts. And I know there are Republicans
and Democrats in Congress who want to see a balanced
approach to deficit reduction. And even those Republicans I
disagree with most strongly I believe are sincere about wanting
to do right by their country. We may disagree on our visions,
but I truly believe they want to do the right thing. So I believe we can, and
must, come together again. This morning, I met with
Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to discuss the
approach that I laid out today. And in early May, the Vice
President will begin regular meetings with leaders in both
parties with the aim of reaching a final agreement on a plan to
reduce the deficit and get it done by the end of June. I don’t expect the details in
any final agreement to look exactly like the approach
I laid out today. This a democracy; that’s
not how things work. I’m eager to hear other ideas from
all ends of the political spectrum. And though I’m sure the
criticism of what I’ve said here today will be fierce
in some quarters, and my critique of the House
Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and
will demand that we all make an effort to bridge our differences
and find common ground. This larger debate
that we’re having — this larger debate about the
size and the role of government — it has been with us
since our founding days. And during moments of great
challenge and change, like the one that we’re
living through now, the debate gets sharper
and it gets more vigorous. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. As a country that prizes both
our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this
is one of the most important debates that we can have. But no matter what we argue,
no matter where we stand, we’ve always held certain
beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to
preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we
can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the
country that made these liberties possible. We have to think about our
fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about
what’s required to preserve the American Dream for
future generations. This sense of responsibility —
to each other and to our country — this isn’t a
partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic
or a Republican idea. It’s patriotism. The other day I received a
letter from a man in Florida. He started off by telling me he
didn’t vote for me and he hasn’t always agreed with me. But even though he’s worried
about our economy and the state of our politics —
here’s what he said — he said, “I still believe. I believe in that great country
that my grandfather told me about. I believe that somewhere lost in
this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station, the
‘American Dream’ is still alive…We need to use our
dollars here rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all
that our ancestors struggled to create and maintain…We as a
people must do this together, no matter the color of the state
one comes from or the side of the aisle one might sit on.” “I still believe.” I still believe as well. And I know that if we can
come together and uphold our responsibilities to one another
and to this larger enterprise that is America, we will keep
the dream of our founding alive — in our time; and we will
pass it on to our children. We will pass on to our children
a country that we believe in. Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless
the United States of America. (applause)