President Bill Clinton’s Remarks at the 2012 Democratic National Convention – Full Speech
Thank you. Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats,
we are here to nominate a president. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
And I’ve got one in mind. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty.
I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy
and then just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the
Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road
to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how, no matter how, many jobs that
he saved or created, there’d still be millions more waiting, worried about feeding their
own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive. I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the
outside… [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
…but who burns for America on the inside. [SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
I want, I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream
economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and, yes, by cooperation.
And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle
Obama. [SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
You know… [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
I… [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
…I want, I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] And I proudly nominate him to be the standard-bearer
of the Democratic Party. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
Now, folks, in Tampa a few days ago, we heard a lot of talk.
[LAUGHTER] All about how the president and the Democrats
don’t really believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everybody
to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.
This Republican narrative, this alternative universe…
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] …says that every one of us in this room
who amounts to anything, we’re all completely self-made. One of the greatest chairmen the
Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss… [CHEERS]
…used to say that ever politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log
cabin he built himself. [LAUGHTER AND CHEERS]
But, as Strauss then admitted, it ain’t so.
[LAUGHTER] We Democrats, we think the country works better
with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it with
a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to
promote growth and broadly share prosperity. You see, we believe that “we’re all in
this together” is a far better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”
[SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] Now.
[CLEARS THROAT] So who’s right?
[CHEERS] Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans
have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats, 24. In those 52 years, our private economy
has produced 66 million private sector jobs. So what’s the job score? Republicans, 24
million; Democrats, 42. [SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Now, there’s… [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
…there’s a reason for this. It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic
empowerment is both morally right and good economics. Why? Because poverty, discrimination
and ignorance restrict growth. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t
just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] We know that investments in education and
infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good
jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] Now, there’s something I’ve noticed lately.
You probably have too. And it’s this. I, I..maybe just because I grew up in a different
time, but though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the
way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president and a lot
of other Democrats. I… [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
…that would be impossible for me because President Eisenhower sent federal troops to
my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High School.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] President Eisenhower built the interstate
highway system. When I was a governor, I worked with President
Reagan and his White House on the first round of welfare reform and with President George
H.W. Bush on national education goals. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
I’m actually very grateful to…if you saw from the film what I do today, I have to be
grateful, and you should be, too, that President George W. Bush supported PEPFAR. It saved
the lives of millions of people in poor countries. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
And I have been honored to work with both Presidents Bush on natural disasters in the
aftermath of the South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the horrible earthquake in Haiti.
Through my foundation, both in America and around the world, I’m working all the time
with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Sometimes I couldn’t tell you for the life
who I’m working with because we focus on solving problems and seizing opportunities
and not fighting all the time. [SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
And so here’s what I want to say to you, and here’s what I want the people at home
to think about. When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain,
the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily
work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] What works in the real world is cooperation,
business and government, foundations and universities. Ask the mayors who are here.
[ISOLATED CHEERS] Los Angeles is getting green and Chicago is
getting an infrastructure bank because Republicans and Democrats are working together to get
it. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
They didn’t check their brains at the door. They didn’t stop disagreeing, but their
purpose was to get something done. Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation
work better than constant conflict? Because nobody’s right all the time, and
a broken clock is right twice a day. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
And every one of us, every one of us and every one of them, we’re compelled to spend our
fleeting lives between those two extremes, knowing we’re never going to be right all
the time and hoping we’re right more than twice a day.
[LAUGHTER] Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates
the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is always the enemy,
they’re always right, and compromise is weakness.
[JEERS] Just in the last couple of elections, they
defeated two distinguished Republican senators because they dared to cooperate with Democrats
on issues important to the future of the country, even national security.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] They beat a Republican congressman with almost
a hundred percent voting record on every conservative score, because he said he realized he did
not have to hate the president to disagree with him. Boy, that was a nonstarter, and
they threw him out. [LAUGHTER, CHEERS]
One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed
to constructive cooperation. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
Look at his record. Look at his record. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
Look at his record. He appointed Republican secretaries of defense, the Army and transportation.
He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008. And he trusted that vice president
to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery
act. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
And Joe Biden, Joe Biden did a great job with both.
[SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] Now..
[SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] …he…
[SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] President Obama, President Obama appointed
several members of his Cabinet even though they supported Hillary in the primary.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] Heck, he even appointed Hillary.
[SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] Wait a minute. I am…
[SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] …I am very proud of her. I am proud of the
job she and the national security team have done for America.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] I am grateful that they have worked together
to make us safer and stronger, to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies.
I’m grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have
enjoyed and the signal that sends to the rest of the world, that democracy does not have
a blood, have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the
public interest. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Now… [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE GROW]
…besides the national security team, I am very grateful to the men and women who’ve
served our country in uniform through these perilous times.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And I am especially grateful to Michelle Obama
and to Joe Biden for supporting those military families while their loved ones were overseas…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …and for supporting our veterans when they
came home, when they came home bearing the wounds of war or needing help to find education
or jobs or housing. President Obama’s whole record on national
security is a tribute to his strength, to his judgment and to his preference for inclusion
and partnership over partisanship. We need more of it in Washington, D.C.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now, we all know that he also tried to work
with congressional Republicans on health care, debt reduction and new jobs. And that didn’t
work out so well. [LAUGHTER]
But it could have been because, as the Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment
of candor two full years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America
back to work; it was to put the president out of work.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE, BOOS] Well, wait a minute. Senator, I hate to break
it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job.
[SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now, are you ready for that?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Are you willing to work for it. Wait a minute.
[AUDIENCE] Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
[PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON] In Tampa… [AUDIENCE] Four more years! Four more years!
[PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON] …in Tampa, in Tampa, did y’all watch their
convention? I did. [LAUGHTER]
In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually
pretty simple, pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t
cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …but they did it well. They looked good,
they sounded good. They convinced me that… [LAUGHTER]
…they all love their families and their children and were grateful they’d been born
in America and all that.. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
…really, I’m not being, they did! [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
And this is important, they convinced me they were honorable people who believed what they
said and they’re going to keep every commitment they’ve made. We just got to make sure the
American people know what those commitments are…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …because, because in order to look like
an acceptable, reasonable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they just didn’t say
very much about the ideas they’ve offered over the last two years.
They couldn’t. Because they want to the same old policies that got us in trouble in
the first place. They want to cut taxes for high-income Americans, even more than President
Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent
another crash and prohibit future bailouts. They want to actually increase defense spending
over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested. Without saying what they’ll
spend it on. And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially
programs that help the middle class and poor children.
As another president once said, there they go again.
[LAUGHTER, SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now, I like, I like, I like the argument for
President Obama’s re-election a lot better. Here it is. He inherited a deeply damaged
economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and
laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good
new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for innovators.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now, are we where we want to be today? No.
[AUDIENCE] No! [PRESIDENT CLINTON]
Is the president satisfied? Of course not. [AUDIENCE MEMBERS] No!
[PRESIDENT CLINTON] But are we better off than we were when he took office?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And listen to this. Listen to this. Everybody’s
forgot… [SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
…everybody’s forgot when President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free
fall. It had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month.
Are we doing better than that today? [AUDIENCE MEMBERS] Yes!
[PRESIDENT CLINTON] The answer is yes.
[AUDIENCE MEMBER] Yeah, Barack Obama! [PRESIDENT CLINTON]
Now, look. Here’s the challenge he faces and the challenge all of you who support him
face. I get it. I know it. I’ve been there. A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated
about this economy. If you look at the numbers, you know employment is growing, banks are
beginning to lend again. And in a lot of places, housing prices are even beginning to pick
up. But too many people do not feel it yet.
I had the same thing happen in 1994 and early ‘95. We could see that the policies were
working, that the economy was growing. But most people didn’t feel it yet. Thankfully,
by 1996 the economy was roaring, everybody felt it, and we were halfway through the longest
peacetime expansion in the history of the United States. But…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …wait, wait. The difference this time is
purely in the circumstances. President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I
did. Listen to me, now. No president, no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one
could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now, but…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …he has, he has laid the foundations for
a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s
contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Folks, whether the American people believe
what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it.
With all my heart, I believe it. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Now, why do I believe it? I’m fixin’ to tell you why. I believe
it because President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas and the direction America
has to take to build the 21st-century version of the American Dream: a nation of shared
opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared prosperity, a shared sense of community.
So let’s get back to the story. In 2010, as the president’s recovery program kicked
in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around. The recovery act saved or
created millions of jobs and cut taxes. Let me say this again, cut taxes for 95 percent
of the American people. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And, in the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4 1/2 million private sector
jobs. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
We could have done better, but last year the Republicans blocked the president’s job
plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs.
So here’s another job score. President Obama: plus 4 1/2 million. Congressional Republicans:
zero. [LAUGHTER, CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
During this period… [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
…during this period, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama.
That’s the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And I’ll tell you something else. The auto
industry restructuring worked. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
It saved — it saved more than a million jobs, and not just at GM, Chrysler and their
dealerships but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That’s why even the
automakers who weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save those parts
suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] So what’s happened? There are now 250,000
more people working in the auto industry than on the day the companies were restructured.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] So, now, we all know that Governor Romney
opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. [BOOS]
So here’s another job score. [LAUGHTER]
Are you listening in Michigan and Ohio and across the country?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Here, here’s another job score: Obama, 250,000;
Romney [AUDIENCE AND CLINTON TOGETHER] Zero!
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [PRESIDENT CLINTON]
Now, the agreement the administration made with the management, labor and environmental
groups to double car mileage, that was a good deal too. It will cut your gas prices in half,
your gas bill. No matter what the price is, if you double the mileage of your car, your
bill will be half what it would have been. It will make us more energy independent. It
will cut greenhouse gas emissions. And according to several analyses, over the next 20 years,
it’ll bring us another half a million good new jobs into the American economy.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] The president’s energy strategy, which he
calls “all of the above,” is helping too. The boom in oil and gas production, combined
with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near-20-year low and natural
gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Of course, we need a lot more new jobs. But
there are already more than 3 million jobs open and unfilled in America, mostly because
the people who apply for them don’t yet have the required skills to do them. So even
as we get Americans more jobs, we have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that
are actually going to be created. The old economy is not coming back. We’ve got to
build a new one and educate people to do those jobs.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] The president, the president and his education
secretary have supported community colleges and employers in working together to train
people for jobs that are actually open in their communities — and even more important
after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the dropout rate so much
that the percentage of our young people with four-year college degrees has gone down so
much that we have dropped to 16th in the world in the percentage of young people with college
degrees. So the president’s student loan is more
important than ever. Here’s what it does… [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
…here’s what it does. You need to tell every voter where you live about this. It
lowers the cost of federal student loans. And even more important, it give students
the right to repay those loans as a clear, fixed, low percentage of their income for
up to 20 years. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Now what does this mean? What does this mean? Think of it. It means no one will ever have
to drop out of college again for fear they can’t repay their debt.
And it means… [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
…it means that if someone wants to take a job with a modest income, a teacher, a police
officer, if they want to be a small-town doctor in a little rural area, they won’t have
to turn those jobs down because they don’t pay enough to repay they debt. Their debt
obligation will be determined by their salary. This will change the future for young America.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] I don’t know about you…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …but on all these issues, I know we’re
better off because President Obama made the decisions he did.
Now, that brings me to health care. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And the Republicans call it, derisively, “Obamacare.” They say it’s a government takeover, a disaster,
and that if we’ll just elect them, they’ll repeal it. Well, are they right?
[AUDIENCE] No! [PRESIDENT CLINTON]
Let’s take a look at what’s actually happened so far.
First, individuals and businesses have already gotten more than a billion dollars in refunds
from insurance companies because the new law requires 80 to 85 percent of your premium
to go to your health care, not profits or promotion.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] And the gains are even greater than that because
a bunch of insurance companies have applied to lower their rates to comply with the requirement.
Second, more than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because
their parents’ policies can cover them. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Third… [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care, all the way from breast cancer screenings
to tests for heart problems and scores of other things. And younger people are getting
them, too. Fourth, soon the insurance companies — not
the government, the insurance companies — will have millions of new customers, many of them
middle-class people with pre-existing conditions who never could get insurance before.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now, finally, listen to this. For the last
two years, after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last
two years health care costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time
in 50 years. [SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
So, let me ask you something. Are we better off because President Obama fought for health
care reform? [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
You bet we are. Now, there were two other attacks on the president
in Tampa I think deserve an answer. First, both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan
attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion.
[AUDIENCE BOOS] That’s the same attack they leveled against
the Congress in 2010, and they got a lot of votes on it. But it’s not true.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Look, here’s what really happened. You be
the judge. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None.
What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission
of professionals to cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that
were not making people healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide
the service. And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the
savings to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] and — you all got to listen carefully to
this; this is really important — and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare
trust fund so it is solvent till 2024. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
So, so President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare; they strengthened Medicare.
Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s
Medicare savings as, quote, the biggest, coldest power play, I didn’t know whether to laugh
or cry… [LAUGHTER]
…because that $716 billion is exactly, to the dollar, the same amount of Medicare savings
that he has in his own budget. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
You got to get one thing, it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.
[LAUGHTER, CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] So, ok, wait a minute…
[SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …now, you’re having a good time, but this
is getting serious, and I want you to listen. [LAUGHTER]
It’s important, because a lot of people believe this stuff.
Now, at least on this issue, on this one issue, Governor Romney has been consistent.
[LAUGHTER] He attacked President Obama too, but he actually
wants to repeal those savings and give the money back to the insurance company.
[LAUGHTER AND BOOS] He wants to go back to the old system, which
means we’ll reopen the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and we’ll
reduce the life of the Medicare trust fund by eight full years.
[BOOS] So if he’s elected, and if he does what
he promised to do, Medicare will now grow [sic] broke in 2016.
[BOOS] Think about that. That means, after all, we
won’t have to wait until their voucher program kicks in in 2023…
[LAUGHTER] …to see the end of Medicare as we know it.
[APPLAUSE] They’re going to do it to us sooner than
we thought. [APPLAUSE]
Now, folks, this is serious, because it gets worse.
[LAUGHTER] And you won’t be laughing when I finish
telling you this. They also want to block grant Medicaid, and cut it by a third over
the coming 10 years. [AUDIENCE MEMBER] No!
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Of course, that’s going to really hurt a lot of poor kids. But that’s
not all. Lot of folks don’t know it, but nearly two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on
nursing home care for Medicare seniors who are eligible for Medicaid.
[APPLAUSE] It’s going to end Medicare as we know it.
And a lot of that money is also spent to help people with disabilities…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …including a lot of middle-class families
whose kids have Down’s syndrome or autism or other severe conditions. And honestly,
let’s think about it, if that happens, I don’t know what those families are going
to do. So I know what I’m going to do. I’m going
to do everything I can to see that it doesn’t happen. We can’t let it happen.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] We can’t.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] Now….
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …wait a minute. Let’s look…
[AUDIENCE] Four more years! Four more years! Four more
years! [PRESIDENT CLINTON]
Let’s look at the other big charge the Republicans made. It’s a real doozy.
[LAUGHTER] They actually have charged and run ads saying
that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I
signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.
[AUDIENCE MEMBER] Liars! [PRESIDENT CLINTON]
Wait, you need to know, here’s what happened. [LAUGHTER]
Nobody ever tells you what really happened. Here’s what happened.
When some Republican governors asked if they could have waivers to try new ways to put
people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration listened because we all know
it’s hard for even people with good work histories to get jobs today. So moving folks
from welfare to work is a real challenge. And the administration agreed to give waivers
to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment
by 20 percent, and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment. Now,
did, did I make myself clear? The requirement was for more work, not less.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] So, this is personal to me. We moved millions
of people off welfare. It was one of the reasons in, that in the eight years I was president,
we had a hundred times as many people move out of poverty into the middle class than
happened under the previous 12 years, a hundred times as many.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] It’s a big deal. But I am telling you the
claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true.
[APPLAUSE] But they keep on running the ads claiming
it. You want to know why? Their campaign pollster said, we are not going to let our campaign
be dictated by fact-checkers. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
Now, finally I can say, that is true. [LAUGHTER, CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
I, I couldn’t have said it better myself. [LAUGHTER]
And I hope you and every American within the sound of my voice remembers it every time
they see one of those ads, and it turns into an ad to re-elect Barack Obama and keep the
fundamental principles of personal empowerment and moving everybody who can get a job into
work as soon as we can. [SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Now, let’s talk about the debt. Today, interest rates are low, lower than the rate of inflation.
People are practically paying us to borrow money, to hold their money for them.
But it will become a big problem when the economy grows and interest rates start to
rise. We’ve got to deal with this big long- term debt problem or it will deal with us.
It will gobble up a bigger and bigger percentage of the federal budget we’d rather spend
on education and health care and science and technology. It…we’ve got to deal with
it. Now, what has the president done? He has offered
a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, with 2 1/2 trillion coming
from…for every $2 1/2 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues,
2 1/2-to-1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That’s the kind of balanced approach
proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, a bipartisan commission.
Now, I think this plan is way better than Governor Romney’s plan. First, the Romney
plan failed the first test of fiscal responsibility. The numbers just don’t add up.
[LAUGHTER AND CHEERS] I mean, consider this. What would you do if
you had this problem? Somebody says, oh, we’ve got a big debt problem. We’ve got to reduce
the debt. So what’s the first thing you say we’re going to do? Well, to reduce the
debt, we’re going to have another $5 trillion in tax cuts heavily weighted to upper-income
people. So we’ll make the debt hole bigger before we start to get out of it.
Now, when you say, what are you going to do about this $5 trillion you just added on?
They say, oh, we’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code.
So then you ask, well, which loopholes, and how much?
You know what they say? See me about that after the election.
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] I’m not making it up. That’s their position.
See me about that after the election. Now, people ask me all the time how we got
four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give
a one-word answer: Arithmetic. [SUSTAINED APPLAUSE AND CHEERS]
If, arithmetic! If… [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
…if they stay with their $5 trillion tax cut plan — in a debt reduction plan? — the
arithmetic tells us, no matter what they say, one of three things is about to happen. One,
assuming they try to do what they say they’ll do, get rid of, pay, cover it by deductions,
cutting those deductions, one, they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions, like the
ones for home mortgages and charitable giving, that middle-class families will see their
tax bills go up an average of $2,000 while anybody who makes $3 million or more will
see their tax bill go down $250,000. [BOOS]
Or, two, they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for the
national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel. They’ll
cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education, child nutrition
programs, all the programs that help to empower middle-class families and help poor kids.
Oh, they’ll cut back on investments in roads and bridges and science and technology and
biomedical research. That’s what they’ll do.
They’ll hurt the middle class and the poor and put the future on hold to give tax cuts
to upper-income people who’ve been getting it all along.
Or three, in spite of all the rhetoric, they’ll just do what they’ve been doing for more
than 30 years. They’ll go in and cut the taxes way more than they cut spending, especially
with that big defense increase, and they’ll just explode the debt and weaken the economy.
And they’ll destroy the federal government’s ability to help you by letting interest gobble
up all your tax payments. Don’t you ever forget when you hear them
talking about this that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before
I took office, in the 12 years before I took office…
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] …and doubled the debt in the eight years
after I left, because it defied arithmetic. [LAUGHTER]
It was a highly inconvenient thing for them in our debates that I was just a country boy
from Arkansas, and I came from a place where people still thought two and two was four.
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] It’s arithmetic.
We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down
on trickle down. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Really. Think about this: President Obama… [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
…President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of
our children, our families and our nation. It’s a heck of a lot better.
It passes the arithmetic test, and far more important, it passes the values test.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] My fellow Americans, all of us in this grand
hall and everybody watching at home, when we vote in this election, we’ll be deciding
what kind of country we want to live in. If you want a winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own
society, you should support the Republican ticket. But if you want a country of shared
opportunities and shared responsibility, a we’re-all-in-this-together society, you
should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. [SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
If you, if you want… [AUDIENCE MEMBERS] Four more years! Four more
years! [PRESIDENT CLINTON]
If you want America — if you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong
to change voting procedures… [JEERS]
…just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters you should
support Barack Obama. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And if you think, if you think the president was right to open the doors of American opportunity
to all those young immigrants brought here when they were young so they can serve in
the military or go to college, you must vote for Barack Obama.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] If you want a future of shared prosperity,
where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American dream is
really alive and well again and where the United States maintains its leadership as
a force for peace and justice and prosperity in this highly competitive world, you have
to vote for Barack Obama. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Look, I love our country so much. And I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years,
through every crisis, we’ve always come back. People have predicted our demise ever
since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of
wooden false teeth. [LAUGHTER]
And so far, every single person that’s bet against America has lost money because we
always come back. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
We come through ever fire a little stronger and a little better.
And we do it because in the end we decide to champion the cause for which our founders
pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor: the cause of forming a more
[AUDIENCE AND CLINTON TOGETHER] perfect union! [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
[PRESIDENT CLINTON] My fellow Americans, if that is what you want,
if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama.
[SUSTAINED CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] God bless you and God bless America.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [“DON’T STOP THINKING ABOUT AMERICA” BY FLEETWOOD
MAC PLAYS] [“I WON’T BACK DOWN” BY TOM PETTY PLAYS]