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What Obama said in Boise

ridenbaugh Northwest

From the White House transcript of President Barack Obama’s remarks in Boise on Wednesday.

So, last night, I gave my State of the Union address. (Applause.) Today, I’m going to be shorter. I won’t be too short, just a little shorter. (Laughter.) And I focused last night on what we can do, together, to make sure middle-class economics helps more Americans get ahead in the new economy. And I said that I’d take these ideas across the country. And I wanted my first stop to be right here in Boise, Idaho. (Applause.)

Now, there are a couple reasons for this. The first is because, last year, Michelle and I got a very polite letter from a young girl named Bella Williams — who is here today. Where’s Bella? There she is right there. Wave, Bella. (Applause.) Bella is 13 now, but she was 12 at the time. So she wrote me a letter and she said, “I know what you’re thinking — Wow, what’s it like in Boise, Idaho?” (Laughter.) So she invited me to come visit. And she also invited me to learn how to ski or snowboard with her. (Applause.) Now, as somebody who was born in Hawaii, where there’s not a lot of snow — let me put it this way — you do not want to see me ski. (Laughter.) Or at least the Secret Service does not want to see me ski. (Laughter.)

But what I do know about Boise is that it’s beautiful. I know that because I’ve been here before. I campaigned here in 2008. (Applause.) It was really fun. And the truth is, because of the incredible work that was done here in Idaho, it helped us win the primary. And I might not be President if it weren’t for the good people of Idaho. (Applause.) Of course, in the general election I got whupped. (Laughter.) I got whupped twice, in fact. But that’s okay – I’ve got no hard feelings. (Laughter.)

In fact, that’s exactly why I’ve come back. Because I ended my speech last night with something that I talked about in Boston just over a decade ago, and that is there is not a liberal America or a conservative America, but a United States of America. (Applause.)

And today, I know it can seem like our politics are more divided than ever. And in places like Idaho, the only “blue” turf is on your field. (Applause.) And the pundits in Washington hold up these divisions in our existing politics and they show, well, this is proof that any kind of hopeful politics, that’s just naïve. But as I told you last night, I still believe what I said back then. I still believe that, as Americans, we have more in common than not. (Applause.)

I mean, we have an entire industry that’s designed to sort us out. Our media is all segmented now so that instead of just watching three stations, we got 600. And everything is market-segmented, and you got the conservative station and the liberal stations. So everybody is only listening to what they already agree with. And then you’ve got political gerrymandering that sorts things out so that every district is either one thing or the other. And so there are a lot of institutional forces that make it seem like we have nothing in common.

But one of the great things about being President is you travel all across the country and I’ve seen too much of the good and generous and big-hearted optimism of people, young and old — folks like Bella. I’ve seen how deep down there’s just a core decency and desire to make progress together among the American people. (Applause.) That’s what I believe.

So I’ve got two years left and I am not going to stop trying — trying to make our politics work better.

That’s what you deserve. That’s how we move the country forward. (Applause.) And, Idaho, we’ve got big things to do together. I may be in the fourth quarter of my presidency, but here, at the home of the team with the most famous “Statue of Liberty” play in history — (applause) — I don’t need to remind you that big things happen late in the fourth quarter. (Applause.)

So here’s where we’re starting in 2015. Our economy is growing. Our businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our deficits have been cut by two-thirds. Our energy production is booming. Our troops are coming home. (Applause.) We have risen from recession better positioned, freer to write our own future than any other country on Earth.

But as I said last night, now we’ve got to choose what future we want. Are we going to accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?


THE PRESIDENT: Or can we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and opportunities for everybody who’s willing to try hard? (Applause.)

For six years, we’ve been working to rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And what I want people to know is, thanks to your hard work and your resilience, America is coming back. And you’ll recall, when we were in the midst of the recession, right after I came into office, there was some arguments about the steps we were taking. There were questions about whether we were doing the right thing. But we believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs back to America. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs. (Applause.)

We believed that with smart energy policies, we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. Today, America is number one in oil production and gas production and wind production. (Applause.) And every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. (Applause.) And meanwhile, thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the average family this year should save about 750 bucks at the pump. (Applause.)

We believed we could do better when it came to educating our kids for a competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. More young people like folks right here at Boise State are finishing college than ever before. (Applause.)

We figured sensible regulations could encourage fair competition and shield families from ruin, and prevent the kind of crises that we saw in 2007, 2008. And today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts. And in the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage, including right here in Idaho. (Applause.)

Now, sometimes you’d think folks have short memories, because at every step of the way, we were told that these goals were too misguided, or they were too ambitious, or they’d crush jobs, or they’d explode deficits, or they’d destroy the economy. You remember those, right? Every step we took, this is going to be terrible. And instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade. And we’ve seen the deficits, as I said, go down by two-thirds. And people’s 401[k]s are stronger now because the stock market has doubled. And health care inflation is at the lowest rate in 50 years. (Applause.) Lowest rate in 50 years.

Here in Boise, your unemployment rate has fallen below 4 percent — and that’s almost two-thirds from its peak five years ago. (Applause.)

So the verdict is clear. The ruling on the field stands. (Laughter.) Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. These policies will keep on working, as long as politics in Washington doesn’t get in the way of our progress. (Applause.) We can’t suddenly put the security of families back at risk by taking away their health insurance. We can’t risk another meltdown on Wall Street by unraveling the new rules on Wall Street. I’m going to stand between working families and any attempt to roll back that progress. (Applause.)

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