Post Politics
New home.
Still the best political coverage.
Transcript

Obama Delivers Remarks In Sarasota, Fla.

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
CQ Transcripts Wire
Thursday, October 30, 2008; 1:53 PM

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) OBAMA: ... greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street. If five days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class and create new jobs and grow this economy so that everybody has a chance to succeed, not just the CEO, but the secretary and the janitor.

(APPLAUSE)

Not just the owner of the factory, but the men and women on the factory floor.

In five days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election, that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat, that asks us to fear at a time when what we really need is hope.

In five days, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.

(APPLAUSE)

You can do it, Sarasota. You can do it, Florida.

(APPLAUSE)

We can decide it right here in five day's time.

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: We began this journey in depths of winter. You wouldn't know much about it, but it was really cold. Nearly two years ago on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. And back then, we didn't have much money. We didn't have any endorsements. The polls and the pundits didn't give us much of a chance. We knew how steep the climb would be.

But I also knew this. I knew that the size of our challenges had outgrown the smallness of our politics. I believed that Democrats and Republicans and Americans of every political stripe were hungry for new ideas and new leadership, a new kind of politics, one that favors common sense over ideology.

One focuses on those values and ideals we hold in common as Americans. But most of all, I knew the American people were decent and generous and hardworking, willing to sacrifice for future generations. And I was convinced that when we come together, when we come together like we're together here today, our voices are more powerful than the most entrenched lobbyist, the most vicious political attacks, the full force of the status quo in Washington...

(APPLAUSE)

... that want to keep things just the way they are.

(APPLAUSE)

Those were my convictions, Sarasota, and 21 months later, my faith in the American people has been vindicated. That's how we've come so far and how we've come so close because of you.

That's how we'll change this country with your help. (APPLAUSE)

And Sarasota, that's why we can't afford to slow down or sit back or let up for one day, for one minute, or one second in this last week.

(APPLAUSE)

Not now. Not now.

(APPLAUSE)

We've got to keep going. We've got to work hard these last five days.

We're in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. 760,000 workers have lost their jobs just since the beginning of this year. Business -- I'm going to tell you what we are going to do.

(APPLAUSE)

Businesses and families can't get credit. Home values are plummeting. Here in Florida, you know what's happening in terms of foreclosures. Pensions are disappearing. It's gotten harder and harder to make the mortgage or fill up your gas tank or even keep electricity on at the end of the month.

Just today, we learned that the gross domestic product, a key indicator economists use to measure the health of our economy, has actually fallen for the first time this year. That mean we're producing less, we're selling less. Our economy is actually shrinking.

Florida is in its first recession in 16 years. Across the country, we saw the largest decline in consumer spending in 28 years because wages failed to keep up with rising cost of living. Folks have to watch every penny, tighten their belts.

Now, all this didn't happen by accident. Our failing GDP is a direct result of a failed economic theory of eight years of trickle- down, Wall Street first, Main Street last, policies that have driven our economy into a ditch.

(APPLAUSE)

And the central question in this election is what will our next president do differently. How will the next president take us in a different direction? Now, Florida, if you want to know where John McCain will drive this economy...

AUDIENCE: Boo!

OBAMA: You don't need to boo, you just need to vote.

(APPLAUSE) If you want to know where John McCain will drive this economy, just look in the rear view mirror because when it comes to our economic policies, John McCain has been right next to George Bush. He's been sitting there in the passenger seat ready to take over every step of the way.

Voting for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that he once said he opposed. Voting for the Bush budgets that sent us reeling into huge deficits and huge debt. Calling for less and less regulation. 21 times just this year, John McCain has said we need to deregulate the financial industries right as a time when we know that it's because of deregulation that Wall Street was able to engage in the kind of irresponsible actions that have caused this financial crisis.

(APPLAUSE)

In fact, after 21 months and three debates, John McCain has still not been able to tell the American people a single major thing that he would do differently fro George Bush when it comes to the economy. Think about it. Think about it.

You know, his attacks on me, but you have no idea how he would do anything differently from George Bush because he doesn't have any ideas that are different that George Bush when it comes to the economy.

(APPLAUSE)

So you've got to ask yourself. After nine straight months of job loss, the largest drop in home values on record, wages lower than they've been a decade, why would we keep drive down this dead-end street? Folks who can't pay their medical bills or send their kids to college or save for retirement, they can't afford to take a back seat to the CEOs and Wall Street banks for another four more years.

(APPLAUSE)

At a moment like this, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the tired, old, economic theory that says we should give more and more to billionaires and corporations and open that prosperity trickles down on everybody else.

The last thing we can afford is four more years where no one in Washington is paying attention to what's going on on Wall Street and lobbyists kill common sense regulations. Those are the theories that got us into this mess.

OBAMA: They haven't worked. It is time to change drivers. It is time to have somebody else at the wheel. That's why I'm running for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

OBAMA: Look, the biggest gamble that we can take is embracing the same old Bush-McCain policies that have failed us. It's not change when John McCain wants to give a $700,000 tax cut to the average fortune 500 CEO. That's not change.

It's not change when he wants to give $200 billion to the biggest corporations, $4 billion to oil companies, $300 billion to the same Wall Street banks that got us into this mess.

It's not change when he comes up with a tax plan that doesn't give a penny of tax relief to more than 100 million middle-class Americans or when he says that we can't give help to young people to go to college because we don't have the money to give to interest groups. That's what his campaign called young people that needed to go to college -- interest groups.

I don't think they're an interest group. I think they're our future.

(APPLAUSE)

The average working family -- the average working family is $2,000 poorer now than when George Bush took office. Now, when Bill Clinton was president, Bill was with us last night...

(APPLAUSE)

Bill and I were in Orlando last night. When Bill Clinton was president, the average wage and income went up $7,500.

So I've got an economic plan that's similar to Bill Clinton's.

(APPLAUSE)

John McCain's got an economic plan that's similar to George Bush's. So all you have to do is just look and see what works and what doesn't. This is not complicated.

We've done the experiment. You got eight years of Bush economics and eight years of Clinton economics. It's pretty straightforward.

(APPLAUSE)

We've tried it John McCain's way. We've tried it George Bush's way. It hasn't worked. And deep down, John McCain knows that which is why his campaign said that if we keep on talking about the economy, we're going to lose.

(APPLAUSE)

And that's why Joe Biden and I, we're talking about the economy a lot.

(APPLAUSE)

Because you deserve to hear what we plan to do. That's not what John McCain wants to talk about. So he's spending these last -- he's spending these last weeks talking about me. Calling me every name in the book.

You know, but that's how they play the game in Washington. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as somebody people should be afraid of. They make big elections about small things.

Well, Florida, we are here to say not this time. Not this year. Not with so much at stake.

(APPLAUSE)

John McCain might be worried about losing an election. I'm worried about you losing your job and losing your house and losing your health care.

(APPLAUSE)

Losing your pension.

(APPLAUSE)

I can take one more week of John McCain's attacks, but this country can't take for your years of the same failed policies.

(APPLAUSE)

We need something new. We need -- the question in this election is not are you better off than you were four years ago. We know the answer to that.

The real question is will this country be better off four-year from now?

(APPLAUSE)

I know these are difficult times for America, but I also know that we've faced difficult times before. The American story has never been about things coming easy. It's been about rising to the moment when the moment was hard. It's about rejecting fear and division for unity and purpose. That's how we overcame war and oppression, how we won the great struggles for civil rights and women's rights and worker's rights.

(APPLAUSE)

That's how we'll emerge from this crisis stronger and more prosperous than we were before, as one nation and one people. We just need a new direction. We need a new politics. And we need a new president.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: See...

AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

OBAMA: Sarasota, if we want to get through this crisis, we've got to get beyond the old ideological things. We don't need a bigger government or a smaller government. We need a better government.

(APPLAUSE)

A smarter government. A more competent government. A government that upholds the values we hold in common as Americans.

We don't have to choose between letting our financial system run wild and stifling growth and innovation. As president, I'll ensure that the financial rescue plan that Congress passed helps stop foreclosures here in Florida and we protect tax payer money instead of enriching CEOs.

I want to put common sense regulations back in place. Regulations I've been calling for throughout this campaign so that Wall Street can never cause a crisis like this again. That's the kind of change we'll need.

(APPLAUSE)

The choice in this election isn't between tax cuts and no tax cuts. It's about whether you believe we should only reward wealth or whether we should also reward work and the worker who create wealth.

Now, there's been a lot of misinformation about my tax policy. So let's just -- let's spell it out. I will give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week.

(APPLAUSE)

I will eliminate -- I will eliminate income taxes on social security for seniors making under $50,000.

(APPLAUSE)

We're going to give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks. And I'll help pay for this by asking folks who are make more than a quarter million dollars a year to go back to the tax rate they were paying in the 1990's before the Bush tax cuts.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, let me point out -- let me point out that rich folks were doing fine in the '90's. They were still rich. Let me see a show of hands. How many people make less than a quarter million dollars a year? Raise your hands.

All right. That would appear to be the majority of you.

Now, no matter what Senator McCain may claim, here are the facts. If you make under $250,000, you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime. Not your income tax. Not your payroll taxes. Not your capital gains tax. No tax.

The last thing we should do in this economy is raise taxes on the middle class. But that's the last thing we should do. So don't be confused by these ads. 98 percent of small businesses make less than a quarter million dollars a year.

And 99.9 percent of plumbers make less than a quarter million dollars a year.

(APPLAUSE)

And, by the way, the reason that we want to do this, change our tax code, is not because I have anything against the rich. I love rich people. I want all of to be rich. Go for it. That's the American dream. That's the American way. That's terrific.

The point is, though, that -- and it's not just charity. It's not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to the into the middle class, it's that when we actually make sure that everybody's got a shot, when young people can all go to college, when everybody's got decent health care...

(APPLAUSE)

When everybody's got a little more money at the end of the month, then guess what. Everybody starts spending that money. They decide maybe I can afford a new car. Maybe I can afford a computer for my child. They can buy the products and services that businesses are selling, and everybody is better off. All folks rise. That's what happened in the 1990's. That's what we need to restore. And that's what I'm going to do as president of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

John McCain -- John McCain and Sarah Palin, they call this socialistic. You know, I don't know when -- when -- when they decided that they wanted to make I virtue of the selfishness.

You know, the next thing I know they're going to -- you know, kind evidence of my communistic tendencies because I shared my toys when I was in kindergarten.

(APPLAUSE)

Because I -- I split my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with my friend in 6th grade.

(APPLAUSE)

John McCain confessed he didn't understand the economy that well. That's OK. Now, look, when it comes to jobs, the choice in this election is not between putting up a wall around America or allowing every job to disappear overseas. The truth is we won't be able to bring back every job that we've lost because technology has changed, industries have changed.

We live in a global economy. We've got to compete. But that done mean we should follow John McCain's plan to keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas or promote trade agreements that aren't fair to American businesses and American workers.

We are going to end those tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

(APPLAUSE)

We're going to give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

We will eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country. We will create 2 million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges and schools.

(APPLAUSE)

By laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country. And I'll invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade.

(APPLAUSE)

Those are jobs that pay well, jobs that can't be outsourced. We will reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels and wind turbines.

(APPLAUSE)

A new electricity grid.

(APPLAUSE)

We are going to build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow, not in Japan, not in South Korea, but right here in the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

OBAMA: And that's how we will eliminate -- that's how we can eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in ten years and help save the planet in the bargain. That's how America can lead again.

(APPLAUSE)

When it comes to health care, we don't have to choose between a government-run health care system and the unaffordable one we have now. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change under my plan is that we will lower premiums.

(APPLAUSE)

If you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

And as somebody who watched his own mother lying on a hospital bed at the end of her life because they had cancer. The insurance companies were saying this was a pre-existing condition, maybe we don't have to pay for your treatment, I know what it's like to see a loved one suffer not just because they're sick but because of a broken health care system.

It is wrong, and when I am president, we will end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most.

(APPLAUSE)

That will stop.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

OBAMA: When it comes to giving every child a world-class education, we will not rest until our children are equipped to compete in this global economy.

(APPLAUSE)

And the choice is not between more money and more reform. Our schools need both. We are going to invest in early childhood education.

(APPLAUSE)

We'll recruit an army of new teachers. We'll pay our teachers higher salaries.

(APPLAUSE) Give them more support.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And we'll also demand higher standards and more accountability. And we'll make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America.

If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veteran's hospital or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college, no ifs, ands, or buts.

(APPLAUSE)

That's a commitment I'm making to the young kids of America.

(APPLAUSE)

If you invest in America, America will invest in you.

(APPLAUSE)

Together, we'll move this country forward.

And when it comes to keeping this country safe, we don't have to choose between retreating from the world and fighting a war without end in Iraq. It's time to stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq while the Iraqis have a huge surplus.

(APPLAUSE)

I will end this war in Iraq.

(APPLAUSE)

End it.

(APPLAUSE)

And we will finally finish the fight and snuff out Al Qaeda and bin Laden, those who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

(APPLAUSE)

I will never hesitate to do what it takes to defend this nation. From day one of this campaign, I've made clear that we will increase our ground troops and our investment in the finest fighting force in the world. But watching our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines fight in Iraq and Afghanistan has only deepened my commitment to invest in 21-century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and care and benefits they've earned when they come home.

(APPLAUSE)

No more homeless veterans. No more begging for disability payments.

(APPLAUSE)

We will treat our veterans with honor and respect.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, Sarasota, I won't stand here and pretend that any of this will be easy especially now. George Bush as dug a deep hole for us. And he's -- he wants to hand the shovel to John McCain.

AUDIENCE: No!

OBAMA: The cost of this economic crisis -- the cost of the war in Iraq means that Washington is going to have to tighten its belt. It's going to have to put off spending on things we don't need.

As president, I'm going to go through the federal budget line by line, and we're going to end programs that we don't need. We're going to have make the ones that we do need work better and cost less.

But as I said from the day this campaign began, the change we need isn't just about new programs and new policies. It's about a new attitude. It's about a new politics.

A politics that calls on our better angels instead of encouraging our worst instincts and reminds us of the obligations we have to ourselves but also to one another.

What we've lost in these last eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or a larger trade deficit. What's also been lost is the idea that in this American story, each of us have a role to play. Each of us have responsibilities to work hard and look after ourselves and our family.

And each of us has a responsibility to our nation and our fellow citizens.

(APPLAUSE)

That's what we need to restore right now -- our sense of common purpose, a higher purpose of service and sacrifice and duty.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, government has to lead on energy independence, but each of us has to do our part to make our homes and our businesses more efficient. Yes, we need to put more money into our schools, but government can't be the parent that turns off the television set and puts away the video games and makes sure your child does their homework. That's the parent's job.

(APPLAUSE)

Everybody's got to step up. We can argue and debate passionately about our positions, but all of us have an obligation to summon the strength and grace to unite in common effort, to bring our differences, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Democrat, Republican, young, old, gay, straight, disabled, not disabled.

(APPLAUSE)

Whoever it is, all of us have to come together.

(APPLAUSE)

We can't afford the same political games, the same tactics that are used to pits us against one another, make us afraid of one another. Because despite what our opponents may claim, there are no real or fake parts of America. There's no city or town that's more pro-American than anywhere else. We're all one nation. All of us proud, all of us patriots. There are patriots who supported the war in Iraq, patriots who opposed it.

(APPLAUSE)

Patriots who support Democratic policies. Those who believe in a Republican policy. The men and women who serve in our battlefields, some are Democrats, some are Republicans, some are independents, but they fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag.

(APPLAUSE)

They have not served a blue America or a red America. They've served the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

So it won't be easy -- it won't be easy. It won't be quick. But you and I know that it's time to come together. You know it's time to change this country. Some of you may be cynical. Some of you may be fed up with politics. A lot of you may be disappointed with your leaders for good reason.

But despite all of this, I ask of you what's been asked of the American people at every critical juncture in our history. I ask you to believe not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. I know this change is possible. I have seen it over the last 21 months

I have seen -- I have seen it everywhere I go. This campaign has given me the privilege of witnessing what's best in America. I have seen voters that lined around blocks, young people who cast their ballots for the very first time.

(APPLAUSE)

Not so young people. Not so young people who got involved after a very along time. I've seen it in workers who'd rather cut back their hours than see their friends lose their jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

In neighbors who take a stranger in when the floodwaters rise. In soldiers who reenlist after they've lost a limb. I've seen it in the faces of the men and women who come to countless rally is and town hall meetings across the country.

Men and women who speak of their struggles but also their hopes and their dreams.

You know, we had a rally down in Fort Lauderdale. And I remember an e-mail that I woman named Robin sent me after rally. I had a chance to see her again yesterday.

Sometime after our rally, her son nearly went into cardiac arrest and was diagnosed with a heart condition that could only be treated with a procedure that cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is a young man. He's still in high school.

And her insurance company refused to pay. Her family didn't have that kind of money. And in her e-mail, Robin wrote I ask only this of you. On the days where you feel so tired you can't think about uttering another word to the people, think of us. When those who oppose you have you down, reach deep and fight back harder.

Florida, that's what hope is.

(APPLAUSE)

That thing inside us that insists that despite all evidence to the contrary, there are better days ahead if we're willing to work for it, if we're willing to shed our fears, if we're willing to reach deep down inside ourselves even when we're tired, even when we're depressed, even when we're not sure whether we're going to succeed. And we come back and we fight back harder.

That's what's kept us going throughout this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

That's what's kept some of our parents and grandparents going when times were tough. If you think about our parents and grandparents, some of them said maybe I can't go to college, but I'll -- if I save a little bit each week, maybe my child can go to college.

Maybe I can't have a business of my own, but if I work ready hard, maybe my child can open one of her own.

That's what led immigrants to come from distant lands to come to these shores against great odds and carve out a new life for their families. What led those who couldn't vote to march and to organization and to stand for freedom. That led them to cry out it may look dark tonight, but if I hold on to hope, there's going to be a brighter day tomorrow.

(APPLAUSE)

That's what this election is about. That's the choice we face right now. Now, don't believe this -- don't believe this election is over. Don't believe it for a second. Don't think for a minute that power will concede. We have to work like our future depends on this in these last five days, because our future does depend on it.

America, the time for change has come. In five days, we can choose to invest in health care for our families and education for our kids, and renewable energy for our future. In five days, we can choose hope over fear and unity over division.

The promise of change over the power the status quo. In five days, we can come together as one nation and one people and choose a better history.

(APPLAUSE)

That's what's at stake. That's what we're fighting for.

(APPLAUSE)

And if you will stand with me, if you will work with me, if you will vote early, if you will talk to your friends and neighbors and co-workers, if we don't let up, then I promise you, we will win Florida and we will win this general election.

(APPLAUSE)

And you and I together will change this country.

(APPLAUSE)

And change the world. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

God bless you.

(APPLAUSE)

God bless the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

END


More in the Politics Section

Campaign Finance -- Presidential Race

2008 Fundraising

See who is giving to the '08 presidential candidates.

Latest Politics Blog Updates

© 2008 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity