Opinion: What Obama’s telling Democratic fundraiser crowds these days

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We publish many transcripts and speech texts here so that Ticket readers can get both our take and the actual words in proper context. This speech by President Obama is 8 days old. But it’s of interest because he is now going out on the road as Fundraiser in Chief of his Democratic Party and its numerous candidates.

Tomorrow Obama takes his personal 747 all the way out to naughty Las Vegas, where he said bankers shouldn’t go and party on taxpayer funds. And there the president will speak at a big fundraiser for the re-election campaign of Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid. The next day Obama visits Los Angeles to do a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. (Do you suppose bankers are allowed to excursion there?)


You’d think Reid would be in good shape politically after four terms. There’s no clear Republican opponent. And HR already has about $3.3 million in the bank before tomorrow’s rake-in at Caesars Palace (see photo above) with Bette and Sheryl and the crowd, as The Ticket reported here previously.

But polls show way more Nevadans dislike Reid than like him. Which is a problem at election time. Which is still 17 months off.

And no one wants to be Daschled like the last Senate Democratic Majority Leader was in 2004 when voters back home saw him being all partisan on TV and suspected maybe their old pal wasn’t investing full time in Dakota doings. You know, getting a little too big for his britches back East.

So we thought we’d share the full text of one of the president’s most recent fundraising speeches, to give you a little feel for what the glitz-crowd will have to pay big bucks to hear on The Strip.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Remarks by President Obama at a Keep Indiana Blue Fundraiser, Indianapolis, May 17, 2009

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Indiana! (Applause.) It’s good to see you guys. It’s good to see you. Hello, hello, hello! (Applause.) It is good to be here. (Applause.) And it’s a pleasure to be with your outstanding representatives in Congress -- Andre Carson, Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth, Baron Hill -- give it up for these outstanding members of Congress. (Applause.) We’re here to make sure they can stay right where they belong: in the United States Congress, representing your hopes, representing your dreams, carrying your voices to Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

It’s good to be back in Indiana. (Applause.) We spent a little time in Indiana. It reminds me of why I like getting out of Washington so much. People are friendly. (Laughter.) It brings back a lot of memories from all those days out here on the campaign trail.


So I want to start out tonight by saying thank you -- thank you to all of you here in Indiana. (Applause.) I know that I’m here tonight because of you, and folks like you across this country who made ...

... the phone calls, and knocked on the doors, and registered voters, and dug deep and gave whatever you could, because you were hungry for new ideas and new leadership and a new kind of politics. And that’s what we are trying to deliver right now in Washington. (Applause.)

You believed that after an era of selfishness and greed, we could reclaim a sense of responsibility from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington. You believed that instead of huge inequalities and bubbles that bust, we could restore a sense of fairness and stability to our economy, and build a new foundation for lasting growth and prosperity.

You believed that at a time of war and turmoil, we could stand strong against our enemies, stand strong for our ideals, and show a new face of American leadership around the world. (Applause.) That’s the change you believed in; that’s the trust you placed in me; that’s something that I will never forget.

But we know that winning that election was just the beginning of our work. It wasn’t the end, it was just the start -- it was the end of the beginning. That victory alone was not the change that we sought -- it was just the opportunity to make the change. And I don’t know about you, but I think it’s fair to say that over these past four months, we have seized this opportunity.

To jump-start job creation and get our economy moving again, we passed the most ambitious economic recovery package in our nation’s history. We gave tax cuts to 95% of working Americans and put back people to work modernizing our healthcare system; and rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges and transit systems; and investing in renewable energy that could help boost our economy and preserve our planet.


We launched plans to stabilize our housing market and unfreeze our credit markets, and to ensure the survival of our auto industry in this new century. We passed a budget that will cut our deficit in half while making investments to spur long-term growth. (Applause.)

We lifted the ban on federal funding for stem cell research. We expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program to cover 11 million children in need. (Applause.) We passed a national service bill to create hundreds of thousands of opportunities to serve. We passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- the first bill I signed into law, because we believe in equal pay for equal work. (Applause.)

So we’re making progress. And I’m pleased with how far we’ve come -- but....

... I’m not satisfied. I’m confident in the future, but I am not content. Not when there’s still workers who are out of a job, and families who can’t pay the bills. Not when too many Americans can’t afford healthcare, and so many of our kids are being left behind. Not when our nation has failed to lead the world in developing 21st century energy. We’ve come a long way, we can see some light on the horizon, but we’ve got a much longer journey ahead.

That’s why all of you are here tonight. That’s why you’re digging deep again, even when times are a little tight -- why I know you’re going to make those calls and knock on those doors and get to the polls again next November -- (applause) -- because we’ve got to make sure these four leaders continue their devoted service to Indiana and to America. (Applause.)

And that’s why I’m here tonight. That’s why I’m here, because I can’t bring the change I promised all by myself. I can’t rebuild our economy, and reform our healthcare system and our education system, and preserve our environment, and keep our nation safe if I’m all alone in the Oval Office. That’s not how our democracy works.

I need partners in Congress -- people who are going to work hard every day to move this country forward. That’s why I’m supporting these gentlemen. That’s why I believe in Andre Carson and Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill. (Applause.) They serve their constituents and this nation with dedication and intelligence and compassion and pride. They’re determined to make a difference for the people they represent.


More than ever before, we need their help -- America needs their help. We need their help to build schools that meet high standards, and close achievement gaps, and prepare our children for the 21st century challenges that they’ll confront; where we reward teachers for performance and give them new pathways for advancement.

And we need their help to reach the goal that I’ve set for higher education in this country: that by the year 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. We used to have that distinction; we don’t anymore. We are going to get it back with the help of these four gentlemen right here. (Applause.)

We need their help to pass a comprehensive energy plan and climate bill that will finally reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cap carbon pollution that threatens our health and our climate -- (applause) -- a plan that will create millions of new jobs producing wind turbines and solar panels and the alternative fuels that will power the future. Because we know that the nation that leads on energy, on clean energy in the 21st century, that’s the nation that will lead economically -- and America can and must be that nation.

I need these gentlemen’s help to create a 21st century healthcare system that’s cutting costs for families and businesses. (Applause.) I’ve already met with representatives from the insurance and drug companies, from doctors and hospitals and labor unions.

These groups, some of them used to be fierce critics of healthcare reform back in 1993. But today, they’ve pledged to do their part to reduce the annual healthcare spending growth rate by 1.5%. And coupled with comprehensive reform, that could save us up to $2 trillion -- $2,500 per family every year. And working with these congressmen, we’re going to do everything we can to achieve comprehensive health care reform by the end of this year. (Applause.)

Are we going to get it done, gentlemen? (Applause.) This is the year to get it done.

And we need these gentlemen to help give working people in this country a fair shake again. (Applause.) To make sure our workers can be paid fairly and treated fairly for the work that they do. I’ve got to say a few words about where we’re gathered tonight.


It’s a fine establishment. But there are workers here from Indianapolis hotels who are seeking to unionize -- (applause) -- including some right here at the Westin. And I want to recognize these workers and offer my support for their efforts. Where are they? Raise your hands, guys. Right here. (Applause.) We appreciate you.

In these difficult times, our country will be stronger if management and workers come together to resolve disputes and work together to provide quality service. And workers should never be punished for demanding the right to collectively bargain -- (applause). That’s not right; we won’t stand for it. (Applause.)

And finally, we need these four leaders to help us restore fiscal discipline in Washington so we don’t leave our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt. These are some of the leaders in trying to get Washington to take those responsibilities seriously. Already, my administration has identified more than 100 government programs that we can reduce or eliminate, save $17 billion next year alone. We’re going line by line through the budget, page by page, looking for even more cuts.

I’ve personally asked the leadership in Congress to reinstate the pay-as-you-go rule that we followed during the 1990s, a rule that will help start -- (applause) -- a rule that helped us start this new century with a $236 billion surplus. You remember that? The idea is very simple: You don’t spend what you don’t have. If you want to spend, you need to find someplace else to cut. That’s the rule that families across this country follow every single day -- and there’s no reason why their government shouldn’t do the same.

So, look, Indiana, we’re living through some extraordinary times. We didn’t ask for the challenges we face, but we’re determined to answer the call to meet them; to cast aside the old arguments, overcome the stubborn divisions, to move forward as one people.

It won’t be easy, and there’s going to be setbacks. It’s going to take time. This is going to be a hard year -- and next year is not going to be so easy either. But I promise you that we will get through this. I’ll always tell you the truth about the challenges we face and the steps that we’re taking, and I’ll continue to measure my progress by the progress the American people are seeing in their own everyday lives. (Applause.)


And if you stand with me, if you stand with Andre Carson and Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill -- (applause) -- then I know we will look back on this moment, at the time that we came together to reclaim America’s future, to write the next great chapter in the American story. (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.) ####

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Photo credits: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas; Associated Press.