Obama Addresses the National Governors Association

CQ Transcripts Wire
Monday, February 23, 2009; 11:41 AM

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: First of all, thanks for not breaking anything last night. (LAUGHTER)

Thank you also for waiting until I had left before you started the conga line.


I don't know whether Rendell was responsible for that or -- but I hear it was quite a spectacle.


But Michelle and I just had a wonderful time last night, and I hope all of you enjoyed it. And it was a great kickoff of what we hope will be an atmosphere here in the White House that is welcoming and that reminds everybody that this is the people's house. You know, we are just temporary occupants. This is a place that belongs to the American people. And we want to make sure that everybody understands it's open.

Almost three months ago we came together in Philadelphia to listen to one another, to share ideas, and to try to push some of our ideological rigidity aside to formulate a recovery plan that would bring some relief to your states and to the American people.

And I want to thank so many of you who were active throughout this process to get the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act done. I don't want to single out too many folks, but Governor Rendell, Governor Douglas worked tirelessly. We had people like Governor Patrick and Governor Schweitzer, Schwarzenegger, Crist, who were, you know, out there consistently promoting the plan.

And as a consequence, we got this passed through Congress in record time.

And because of what we did together, this plan will save or create at least 3.5 million jobs in every state across the country. It'll keep your police officers on the beat, your firefighters on the job, your teachers in the classroom. It will provide expanded unemployment insurance and protect health care for your residents who've been laid off.

OBAMA: And beginning April 1st, it will put more money back into the pockets of 95 percent of your working families.

So this plan will ensure that you don't have to make cuts to essential services that Americans rely on now more than ever.

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