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PSC 305: Presidency and Congress | PSC 212: American Policymaking System

Outlines of Some of President Obama's Speeches

By Jeremy Lewis, revised 26 Jan. 2012


President Obama's First Address to Congress, 24 Feb. 2009
notes by Jeremy Lewis
  • State of our economy is a concern that rises above all of us.
  • If not affected, a friend or neighbor.  Our economy is in crisis. The job, the retirement, the college acceptance [lost].
  • that day of reckoning has arrived
  • some skeptical
  • unprecedented oversight, nobody messes with Joe [Biden, VP]
  • Govs will be held accountable, new IG, Recovery.gov
  • money deposited is safe
  • restart lending, flow of credit is lifeblood of economy (or layoffs, homes ...)
  • new lending fund largest ever for consumers and entrepreneurs
  • lend to those who lose jobs, not to those who take mortgages they can't afford
  • hold these banks fully accountable, will have to demonstrate how taxpayers dollars result in more lending.
  • CEOS will not be able to pad ... those days are over.
  • Cost of inaction will be far greater -- economy sputter along for a decade -- I refuse to let that happen
  • our job is to solve the problem, not help the Wall St banker but small town bankers and people who need jobs
  • not about helping banks but about helping people
  • we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession
  • reform our outdated regulatory system
  • new commonsense rules of road
  • long term investments
  • laid railroad tracks from coast to coast
  • GI bill created middle class
  • naiton of highways and a man on the moon
  • government did not replace private enterprise, it catalyzed it.
  • 3 areas of investment: energy, health care, education
  • energy, lead twenty first century,
  • double renewable energy supply in three years
  • biggest ever research funding
  • thousands of miles of electric lines
  • save billions on energy bills
  • clean, renewable energy to be profitable, carbon cap bill needed
  • $15 Bn for new tech
  • auto makers -- will not protect them from their own bad practices, but help them reinvent and retool, cannot walk away
  • we do what's necessary
  • health care premiums have grown four times faster than inflation
  • Congress did more in 30 days than ten years
  • seek cure for cancer in our life times
  • largest investment ever in preventive care
  • efficiencies that are long overdue
  • good education is a pre-requisite, 3/4 of fastest growing professions require more than HS diploma
  • half of students never finish college
  • every child has access to competitive education
  • college affordable for nearly 7 M more students
  • schools need not just resources but reform
  • new teacher rewards, innovative programs, charter schools
  • dropping out of HS is not just quitting on yourself, it is quitting on your country
  • By 2020 US will once again have highest proportion of college grads in world
  • if volunteer to serve community, we will ensure you  can pay tuition
  • send me Hatch-Kennedy bill
  • no substitute for parents
  • must not pass on to children a debt they cannot pay, bring deficit down
  • recovery plan free of earmarks
  • will cut deficit in half by end of first term
  • end education and direct payments to agribusiness that don't work,
  • end no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq, reform our defense budget of cold war weapons we won't use.
  • end tax breaks for wealthiest 2%, no increases for families under $250,000
  • tax cut for 95% of working families, checks are on the way
  • tax free savings accounts for all
  • budget looks ahead ten years, and includes cost of war -- no longer will we hide its price
  • reviewing wars, will responsibly end this war in Iraq.
  • new and comprehensive strategy with allies for Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • will not allow terrorists to plot from safe havens
  • military have our unyielding support
  • increase soldiers and marines, benefits, expand health care
  • close detention center Gitmo,
  • swift and certain justice
  • living our values doesn't make us safer it makes us stronger
  • the USA does not torture
  • new era of engagement has begun
  • cannot shun the neotiating table
  • confidence and candor
  • Secure and lasting peace of Israel
  • working with G20 to restore confidence [in trade]
  • in our hands lies the ability to shape our world
  • [heroes] bank president cashed out bonus and gave to employees and former employers
  • Mayor
  • Pilot who landed plane on Hudson river
  • schoolgirl from SC who wrote letters from dilapidated school, "we are not quitters"
  • decency and determination that perseveres
  • their resolve must be our inspiration
  • something worthy to be remembered
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    President Obama, State of the Union Message 27 Jan 2010
    notes by Jeremy Lewis
    Decency and strength Delivery: Obama relaxed after early applause lines, and delivered this one with humour and renewed vigor, reasoning where he would seek bipartisan support and where he would press forward.  He developed efective pauses and timing later in the speech.  Although the speech lacked sound bites, was over 70 minutes, and there were few gimmicks (except for a couple of thanks to Michelle), it was carefuly crafted as a policy speech.
    Health care was demoted below jobs and the economy, thereby adjusting priorities -- if not resetting -- to adapt to the three recent Dem. losses in VA, NJ and MA.
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    President Obama, State of the Union, 25 Jan. 2011
    Purple tie, lighter suit and members sitting mixed rather than by party.  Stake is whether new jobs take root her or somewhere else.
    “Poised for progress”
    Stock market has come roaring back. Etc
    But project is a better life for children
    December tax cuts leave everyone’s paycheck is a little bigger. Done together.
    That world has changed … shuttered windows of once booming factories … paychecks dwindle … jobs disappeared … rules have changed ... steelworks can do the same job with a hundred …
    Chinese educating their children more, researching … home to the world’s fastest computer.

    Should not discourage but challenge us … America still has the largest and most prosperous economy in the world.  No workers are more productive than ours … more patents … universities … founded for the sake of an idea …
    RFK future is not a gift, it is an achievement
    Compete for jobs … out compete, out educate …
    Take responsibility for our deficit and for our government
    Tonight how we get there:
    First step American innovation … spark the innovation and creativity of our people … how we make our living … free enterprise but govt provides cutting edge researchers with support … jobs come from these breakthroughs
    Sputnik … we had no idea how to compete … after investing in education we surpassed them … this is our generation’s sputnik moment … renewable energy (ex. Of company reinvented itself with solar shingles) clean energy will fund the projects of our time (examples)… first to have a million electric vehicles on the road in 2015.
    Eliminate billions given to oil companies … doing just fine on their own … by 2035 80% of Am energy from clean sources (need them all)
    Second step: Win race to educate our kids, over next 10 years nearly half of all new jobs will require HS graduation … Am has fallen to 9th nation with proportion of college degrees.
    Not just winner of superbowl to be celebrated but winner of science fair.  Race to the top, money for states’ plans to improve.
    Example of 55 yr mom in audience back in college.
    Children of illegal immigrants or foreign students who get educated and go home … must taken on illegal immigration, protect borders
    Third step in winning future … high speed rail to high speed internet … our infrastructure a “D” … we have to do better.  In 20 yrs give 80% of Ams access to high speed rail.  Faster than flying, without the pat down (laughter). Simplify taxes, get rid of loopholes, reduce corp taxes.  Recent trade agreements with China, India and Korea (70K Am jobs), soon Panama and Colombia.
    Review of government regulations that put an undue burden on business … but will enforce commonsense safeguards to protect Am people.  Food, water and air are safe, speed limits, child labor laws, credit rules, prevent fin crisis; health care prevented from exploiting patients.
    Will listen to reforms of health care but not return to days of denial of insurance.
    Make sure not buried under a mountain of debt, built over last decade.  Now worst of recession is over, have to confront … live within means.  Freeze domestic discretionary spending for 5 yrs, to lowest level of economy since Eisenhower.  Have already 2 yr freeze on civil service.  Only 12% of budget.  But not enough.  Bipartisan commission last year, cut excessive spending everywhere, including tax breaks and loopholes, reducing health care costs, single biggest contributor to deficits.
    Willing to look at medical malpractice reform.  Bipartisan strengthen social security.  Protect most vulnerable.  Without whims of stock market.  No tax cuts for wealthiest 2%, millionaires.
    Reorganization: 12 for exports, 5 for housing; Interior handles salmon in freshwater, ag in salt, more complicated when they are smoked.
    Veterans cn download their federal files with click.
    Will merge, consolidate and reorg, submit to congress for vote.
    Know how tax dollars spent, on web site. Government, not just WH.  Will veto earmarks.
    New level of engagement in foreign affairs. No single wall … no one rival superpower … Am’s moral example.  Am leadership has been renewed and Am’s standing has been restored.  Am combat patrols have ended, violence is down, new government is formed … finish the job … Iraq’s war is coming to an end.  Have taken the fight to Al Qaeda … deny AQ safe haven in Afghan.  Tough fighting ahead but strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people.  “This July we will begin to bring our troops home.”  “We will defeat you.”
    Revitalized NATO, reset relations with Russia.  This March south American trip.

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    President Obama, State of the Union message, 24 January 2012
    Notes by Jeremy Lewis, PhD,
    Huntingdon College
    Elements of speech
    Bookends (troops, foreign policy, patriotism)
    Highlighting heroes
    Highlighting values
    Statements of
    Solutions & programs
    Opening: Homage to troops
    “US is safer and more respected around the world”
    Ending: New defense strategy to maintain finest in world while saving
    America is back; opinions about America higher than in years; the one indispensable nation in world affairs
    New Veterans Job Corps
    Flag from Seal Team that went to get Bin Laden
    Both Gates and H. Clinton on WH team
    Members of unit trusted each other … [unlike Wash DC] … we get each other’s back
    [“Good job” to Sec. Def. Panetta, foreshadowed news of Somali hostage rescue raid]
    Opening: “No Americans are fighting in Iraq.”
    “OBL is not a threat to this country.”
    Middle: Easier to export with bipartisan trade agreements. [exports to Seoul, China trade enforcement]
    Middle: Nearly every state has raised education standards
    Vision statements
    Vision of energy economy, of America built to last
    Grandfather a veteran, took GI bill, grandmother worked on assembly line
    Defining issue is how to keep that promise alive
    Problem statements
    2008 house of cards collapsed; irresponsible
    Saddled with debt
    4M initially + 4M later, lost jobs
    auto industry ready to die, 1M jobs at stake
    Recovery statements
    Businesses have created 3M jobs … hiring again
    Together  agreed to cut deficit, place new rules in Wall St
    Getting stronger and have come too far to turn back
    GM today back to biggest in world, Chrysler back … we bet on Am workers and auto industry is back.
    Determination statements
    I will fight obstruction with action and oppose any attempt to return …
    Nation is great because we built it together … we get each other’s back
    Program statements: economy
    1. Outsourced jobs should not get tax deduction, instead encourage bringing jobs home.
    2. NO business avoid paying taxes overseas, every penny should go to companies that stay here …
    3. Am manufacturing tax cut, high tech double that
    C.C.s to be helped for training, one website, turn unemployment system into reemployment system.  Cut through the maze.
    Program statements: Energy
    Entrepreneurs, small businesses, innovation, basic research, “race for future”,
    American made energy, opened millions of acres and now more opening to oil & gas.
    Am oil prod highest in 8 years. Less reliant of foreign oil … supply of natural gas will last 100 yrs, will support 600,000 jobs …
    disclose chemicals used on public lands [fracking].
    Public research dollars found chemicals to use to extract.
    Clean energy …  Payoffs on public investments take years, may not always succeed, will not walk away from promise of clean energy.
    Differences in this chamber may be too wide … but can set conditions for market of clean energy …
    DOD largest consumer of energy in world, will commit to clean … navy will purchase.
    Help manu to reduce energy, incentives.
    Program statements: Public Works
    Crumbling roads and bridges.
    Hoover dam and golden gate bridge, highways … benefitted everyone …
    EO will clear away red tape on construction projects.
    Program statements: business regulations
    Plan to permit homeowners to refinance, small fee on banks to ensure no deficit.
    “No bailout, no handout and no copouts.”
    Smart regs to prevent irresponsible behavior.
    Approved fewer regs in 3 yrs than Rub predecessor.
    Ordered all agencies to remove regs that don’t make sense (examples).
    But will not back down on oil industry spill … mercury poisoning …
    Will not go back to days when health care could … Wall St …
    Richard Cordray, new consumer protection officer
    New financial crimes unit, pass federal financial fraud laws …
    [Mixed messages, difficult to sell in televised speech of varied audience]
    Program statements: unfair taxation
    Return to the Am values of fair play, shared responsibility, pay down debt, invest in future,
    stop tax hike on working Ams while recovery is still fragile.  No drama. Pass payroll tax cut without delay.
    Poised to spend $ Trn more on tax cuts for wealthy … Warren Buffet’s sec (audience) pays more tax than he.
    Change our tax code so we pay fair share of taxes. Buffet rule stop subsidizing millionaires. 98% make less than 250,000 year. Ask a billionaire to pay at least as much as sec in taxes, commonsense.
    Shared resp, reduce deficit, Am built to last.
    Millionnaire should NOT pay less than 30% in taxes.
    Program statements: Education
    Reward best teachers
    grant schools flexibility
    replace teachers who are not helping kids learn
    Every state  to require every student stay in school till graduate or turn 18
    Stop student loans from doubling in July
    Double work-study
    Program statements: Immigration
    More boots on the border than ever before
    need comprehensive immigration reform
    Let young students earn their citizenship
    Women equal pay for equal work
    Working with Congress
    Blow to confidence, debate over whether US would pay debts. You can’t blame people for cynicism.
    Send me a bill that bans insider trading by congress. Bundlers can’t lobby Congress.
    All judicial nominations should receive a vote within 90 days.
    Exec branch also needs to change … grant auth to consolidate bureaucracy.
    Lower the temperature.
    With Lincoln, believe Govt should only do what people cannot do better themselves.  We should all want a smarter Govt.
    Heroes in gallery
    Economic theme
    Brian, worker at wind turbine factory
    Jackie Bray, mechanic laid off, retrained, rehired
    Warren Buffet’s secretary (unfair taxation)
    Widow of Steve Jobs (innovation)
    Also Rep. Gabbie Giffords (on floor)
    Climax: foreign policy achievements
    Decisive blows against our enemies. AQ pockets in (mid east) are scrambling.
    From position of strength, 10,000 already home from Afghan, 23,000 more this summer.
    Wave of change across N Africa.  Ghadafi is gone. Huge stake in outcome.  Stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings.
    A world once divided on Iran now stands as one … crippling sanctions … no options off the table.
    Iron clad commitment to Israel’s security, closest cooperation in history.
    Strategy & homage to troops
    Am a pacific power … America is back.  Anyone who thinks decline doesn’t know what they are talking about. Opinions about America higher than in years.
    The one indispensable nation in world affairs.
    New defense strategy, maintain finest in world while saving.
    Freedom endures because of men and women in uniform.
    Give them the care and benefits they deserve, have increased benefits every year.  New Veterans Job Corps.
    Flag from Seal Team that went to get Bin Laden.  Both Gates and Clinton.  No one thought about politics. Members of unit trusted each other.  Nation is great because we built it together, we get each other’s back.
    Notes taken by Jeremy Lewis from TV coverage (Pool, CNN)
    Photos from AP, Getty and others, via DenverPost.com
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