Obama speaks on the Economy – full speech


Barack Obama Economic Speech: President Declares American Middle Class In Jeopardy, Outlines Populist Economic Vision

KEN THOMAS and BEN FELLER   12/ 6/11 11:19 PM ET   AP

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — Declaring the American middle class in jeopardy, President Barack Obama on Tuesday outlined a populist economic vision that will drive his re-election bid, insisting the United States must reclaim its standing as a country in which everyone can prosper if provided “a fair shot and a fair share.”

While never making an overt plea for a second term, Obama’s offered his most comprehensive lines of attack against the candidates seeking to take his job, only a month before Republican voters begin choosing a presidential nominee. He also sought to inject some of the long-overshadowed hope that energized his 2008 campaign, saying: “I believe America is on its way up.”

In small-town Osawatomie, in a high school gym where patriotic bunting lined the bleachers, Obama presented himself as the one fighting for shared sacrifice and success against those who would gut government and let people fend for themselves. He did so knowing the nation is riven over the question of whether economic opportunity for all is evaporating.

“Throughout the country, it’s sparked protests and political movements, from the tea party to the people who’ve been occupying the streets of New York and other cities,” Obama said.

“This is the defining issue of our time,” he said in echoing President Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech here in 1910.

“This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class,” Obama said. “At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement.”

For Obama, saddled with a weak national economic recovery, the speech was a chance to break away from Washington’s incremental battles and his own small-scale executive actions. He offered a sweeping indictment of economic inequality and unleashed his own brand of prairie populism.

He spoke for nearly an hour to a supportive audience, reselling his ideas under the framework of “building a nation where we’re all better off.”

Billed as an important address that would put today’s economic debates in context, Obama’s speech seemed a bit like two packaged into one.

The first was that of the campaigner, full of loft and reclamation of American values. The second was the governing Obama, who recited his familiar jobs agenda, his feud with Congress over extending a Social Security tax cut, even his fight to get his consumer watchdog confirmed.

Obama tied himself to Roosevelt, the president and reformer who came to this town in eastern Kansas and called for a “square deal” for regular Americans. Roosevelt said then the fight for progress was a conflict “between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess.”

It is a theme Obama is embracing in a mounting fight for re-election against Republicans who, regardless of the nominee, will attack his stewardship of the economy.

One of the leading contenders for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, ridiculed Obama for comparing himself to Roosevelt.

Obama “said that he is like Teddy Roosevelt,” Romney said at a campaign event in Paradise Valley, Ariz. “And I thought, `In what way is he like Teddy Roosevelt?’ Teddy Roosevelt of course founded the Bull Moose Party. One of those words applies.”

Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said, “Maybe instead of trying to be like other presidents, Obama should try being president.”

Obama took aim at the Republicans, saying they would only return the same structures that led to America’s economic downturn. “Their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules,” Obama said. “I’m here to say they are wrong.”

The president conceded that the country is in the midst of a consuming re-examination on his watch, prompting national movements against both government spending and an economy that many feel disproportionately favors the elite. Obama went on the offensive about income inequality, saying it distorts democracy and derails the American dream.

Responding to those who want to cut taxes and regulation in the belief success will trickle down, Obama said: “Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It’s never worked.”

Obama noted that Theodore Roosevelt was called a “radical, a socialist, even a communist” for putting forth ideas in his last campaign such as an eight-hour work day, a minimum wage for women, unemployment insurance and a progressive income tax.

Left unsaid: Roosevelt’s Bull Moose campaign in 1912 failed to return him to the White House.

Obama attempted to sum up the pain and peril for a society where the middle class is struggling. But he also called for individual responsibility.

“In the end,” he said, “rebuilding this economy based on fair play, a fair shot and a fair share will require all of us to see the stake we have in each other’s success.”

Obama also challenged the big banks that took bailouts from American taxpayers, pointing to “a deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street.” He said banks that were bailed out had an obligation to work to close that trust deficit and should be doing more to help remedy past mortgage abuses and assist middle-class taxpayers.

Feller contributed from Washington. Associated Press writers Erica Werner and Kasie Hunt contributed to this report.

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20 Responses to Obama speaks on the Economy – full speech

  1. Pingback: In Their Debate Republican Candidates Left the Middle-Class Out of Their Concern Even Though Some Had Humble Beginnings. Hmmm. I Wonder Why? | GoodOleWoody's Blog

  2. Pam says:

    I have always supported President Obama. He was the first politician for president that I thought was different from the rest and I still think that. I and others here have not walked a mile in his shoes to know what he really faces in challenges from those dark hearted souls. I think Occupy has given him the message he needed, that we want the agenda he has been trying to get done.

    • Jean says:

      Pam, there is a lot going on behind the scene. We can see that the EU isn’t putting it together, and we can see how it is affecting the US markets. Obama’s recent speech seems to indicate he feels a bit more free to be himself, as if he is getting out from under the banksters and those who have been tying his hands. I noticed they were trying to make sense of this on the news this evening. How can he have saved Wall Street, they questioned, and be talking against them this way now?

      I have long thought Obama is of the light. I think he will see us through this mess. If you have read NESARA, you understand that the entire government will be reorganized, and i don’t know if he will run again under the new system. I believe our two-party ssytem is done. When we are all equal financially, we will only want to choose the best person for all of us! This is how financial equality will begin to bring about peace and justice. Love and hugs, ~Jean

  3. Pingback: Obama:’make-or-break moment for middle class’ « Occupy The Airwaves

  4. Rev, Joe C says:

    Hi Mike and Jean, I’m ready to dance too !
    Let the Light shine .

    • Jean says:

      Joe, I think I will dance all night when this comes down. In the meantime, we have to get through the stuff that will be thrown at us in the last minutes before the dance starts. The financial markets are really limping along now: they have no way out . . . 🙂 a fact which delights me! Hugs, ~Jean

  5. Mike V. says:

    President Obama is a starseed. He came here to lead us through this tangled mess. Just like Beckow and you, I would never give up on a fellow lightworker. I’m behind him completely.
    There’s gonna be some chaos, yeah, but a nightmare? Nope. Our stelan brothers and sisters will see to that.
    I’m a starseed myself and what I’ve been shown in my meditations is just what we’ve been hoping for: a wonderful end to humanity’s suffering. We’re about to have one huge party! Wanna dance?
    Mike V.

    • Jean says:

      Mike, I pretty much agree with your words, but there are many who do not. I’m likely a little old for you, but who cares! Let’s dance . . . we sure have plenty to celebrate! Hugs, `Jean

  6. Mike V. says:

    This is it. This is the beginning. This speech is the starting point for our awakening. Think about it. President Obama finally came out and spoke about the vast inequalities in our world. Why now? Because the power of the Illuminati has weakened, which allows him to speak freely for the first time. They are no longer a threat to him. This speech is enormous! It’s monumental! The green flag has been dropped and the race can now begin! I believe this speech was the signal to the world’s leaders that the time has come for NESARA and then Disclosure. Read over all of the most recent channeled messages. All of them say the same thing: we are right at the doorstep to our awakening. Dear sister, I don’t know about you, but I’m damn sure ready!
    Mike V.

    • Jean says:

      Mike, I hope you are right. Everybody may have given up on Obama, but I have not. I think he is a safe ‘place-holder’ for all of us, in order that we get through this mess without a nightmare experience occurring. Hugs, ~Jean PS Ready? I’ve been ready for so long . . . I can’t remember back that far~

  7. I Love the way he out Line’s how we all should work together along with bringing up past History of all the good in sights ……… yet when it gets down to the meat and potato’s ??!!! …. like what the over all movement is all about??!!’ ; Obama says nothing at all in that speech; so he better get with the time’s of the here and NOW ?!….he sounded like a preacher as he did before he became the new Leader of the USA?! stating CHANGE, CHANGE,CHANGE and more CHANGE and all the people were cheering full of endless Joy and encouragement ; but after Obama got a feel for power in the White House!!!!!! , and over the Last 4 years people have woke up and have saw how Obama Hood-winked all the voter’s who voted for him to take office and make change.
    I wonder what he will try and pull off this time around to get the needed support to stay in power for another term??!! . The former Bush pulled it off and that’s why the USA is coming apart from with in and No one is going to jail for the crimes of the century!!!!! .
    WAKE up…..you have many wolfs in sheep clothings seeking to blind side you big time??; make the party’s running for office bring true justest to the USA and bring them all to court to face a judge with the guts to put them all in prision for Life.

    • Jean says:

      Again, I don’t think you’ve got this right, Lorne, although I could be wrong. Everybody on this blog already knows how I feel, so I guess I will just stop making that comment . . . Hugs, ~Jean

  8. TruthSeeker says:

    I can’t for the life of me believe that people actually believe anything coming from the WH and CONgress. It’s called that for a reason. And they are ALL actors. People don’t ever seem to get enough of their propoganda and lies, and because the refuse to truly “wake up”, everything that is said to happen will happen. People actually paying and begging for more of the same every year. It just blows my mind.

  9. Ensis says:

    regardless of our current system, the Vision is Definitely there!!! The question is how such a vision can manifest while “certain people” behind the scenes possess such a tight grip (as of now). Interesting speech though. 🙂

  10. john says:

    More of the same old bs. He is probably the best speaker in the world.

  11. pete says:

    got it all turned up, can’t hear him

  12. Rev, Joe C says:

    Great Speech . I hope he stays on this track , through 2012 and beyond . Perhaps he will have help from some special friends !
    Rev. Joe

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