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Fort Bliss, Somewhere Near the American-Mexican Border (1:06 P.M. MDT)

The day after the Republican convention, President Obama arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas to speak to service men and women on the Two-Year Anniversary of his withdrawal of the troops from Iraq. He highlighted his promises kept, plans he has to leave Afghanistan "responsibly" and his actions to help veterans of these wars. The President's speech, coming right after Romney's acceptance speech, highlighted a curious omission from the Republican's 45-minute speech, an omission discussed below in an ABC article. Here's the full transcript, an abbreviated transcript is immediately below, followed by the video:

THE PRESIDENT: ... And right at the top, let me say that our hearts are obviously with all the folks who are down in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. Our prayers are with those who've lost loved ones. And I've directed the federal government to keep doing everything that it can to help our partners at the state and local level. As a country, we stand united with our fellow Americans in their hour of need.


I've come back to Bliss for a simple reason. Two years ago, I was here to mark a historic moment in the life of our nation and our military -- the end of major combat operations in Iraq. It was a chance for me to say on behalf of the American people to you and all who served there -- welcome home, and congratulations on a job well done.



And so, two years ago, I was able to come here to Bliss and mark the end of our combat mission. And that night I told the American people that all our troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the following year. At the time, I know some folks didn’t believe me. They were skeptical. Some thought the end of combat was just word games and semantics, but I meant what I said. (Hooah!)


When I was here two years ago I told you something else, though -- that we had more work to do, including taking the fight to al Qaeda. (Hooah!) And there, too, I meant what I said. With allies and partners, we’ve taken out more top al Qaeda terrorists than at any time since 9/11. And thanks to the courage of our forces, al Qaeda is on the road to defeat and bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America. (Applause.)

Two years ago I also told you that we’d keep up the fight in Afghanistan. And I know that some of you recently got back. On behalf of a grateful nation, welcome home.


Because of their sacrifice, because of your service, we pushed the Taliban back. We’re training Afghan forces. The transition to Afghan lead is underway, and as promised, more than 30,000 of our troops will have come home by next month.

Just as in Iraq, we are going to end this war responsibly. Next year, Afghans will take the lead for their own security. In 2014, the transition will be complete. And even as this war ends, we will stay vigilant so Afghanistan is never again a source for attacks against America. Never again. (Hooah!) (Applause.)


Now, when I was here last, I made you a pledge. I said that, as President, I will insist that America serves you and your families as well as you've served us. And there again, I meant what I said. Because part of ending wars responsibly is caring for those who fought in it. That’s why I wanted to come back to Bliss on this anniversary to reaffirm our solemn obligations to you and your families.


And so this brings me to the final pledge I made here at Bliss two years ago. When you take off the uniform, we are going to help you fully participate in our economy. Every single one of you has defended the American Dream for the rest of us, and every single one of you deserves a chance to live the American Dream yourselves. (Hooah!) And that includes jobs worthy of your incredible talents.

And by the way, it’s not just good for you. It’s good for the country -- because after a decade of war, the nation we need to be rebuilding is the United States of America. (Hooah!) (Applause.) And all of you have the skills that America needs.

So with a million more of you rejoining civilian life in the years ahead, we’re upping our game at every stage of your careers. We’ve overhauled the Transition Assistance Program, creating a kind of reverse boot camp as you leave service, to help you find a job, or pursue that degree, or start that business. And hopefully this will be one boot camp you actually like. (Laughter.)

We’ll keep helping you and your families pursue your education under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. (Hooah!) And by the way, we’re cracking down on those schools that have been trying to take your money and then rip you off by not giving you the education that you paid for. That needs to stop. We’re going to bring an end to that. (Hooah!)


And maybe you’ve heard -- last year I challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans or military spouses. Well, last week Michelle was able to announce that patriotic companies across America have actually exceeded that goal ahead of schedule with 125,000 jobs. (Hooah!) (Applause.)

But we’ve still got more work to do. So today I’m again calling on Congress to act. They’ve got some work they need to do. Pass the Veterans Jobs Corps so we can put more vets to work protecting and rebuilding America. Extend tax credits to businesses that hire our veterans. (Applause.) And I say to every company in America: If you want somebody who knows how to get the job done, if you want somebody who is going to make you proud, just like they made America proud -- then hire a vet. (Hooah!) Hire a vet. (Applause.) Because after fighting for America, you shouldn’t have to fight for a job in America. (Hooah!)


That’s the lesson of a soldier I had the honor to meet the last time I was in Afghanistan, visiting some of our wounded warriors in the hospital at Bagram. Sergeant Chase Haag is 22 years old. This past spring he was with his team when their vehicle got hit by an IED the day that I flew in. So when I arrived at his hospital room, he and his buddies were all in pretty bad shape. And he was certainly in bad shape -- his leg was broken, his back was fractured. He was laying there on his bed. He was under a lot of medication, face was swollen, his eyes were shut.

And at first, my attitude was I didn’t want to disturb him because I thought he was sleeping. And the doctor said, no, I think he can understand what you’re saying even if he can’t acknowledge it, and I think he’d appreciate knowing that you’re by his side. So I leaned in and I told Chase how proud I was of him and how proud the country was of him, and how we’d be praying for his recovery.

And I was turning to leave and then something happened. There was a rustling under his blanket. And Chase never opened his eyes, couldn’t make a sound, but suddenly you saw the blanket lift and his arm came out. And he shook my hand -- a firm Army handshake. (Hooah!) And I don’t think there was a dry eye in that room.




Thanks to some prodding from Presidential aides and campaign staff, the news of Mitt Romney's striking military-related acceptance speech omission was highlighted. Here's ABC News spelling that out:

"FORT BLISS – President Obama told several hundred troops with the 1st Armored Division here that he kept his promises as commander in chief during the past three and a half years, ending the war in Iraq, drawing down forces in Afghanistan and redoubling care for returning veterans.

His record, he said, was proof that he can be trusted at the helm for four more years.

'I told the American people that all our troops would be out of Iraq by the end of [2011],' Obama said. 'At the time I know some folks didn’t believe me. They were skeptical. Some thought the end of combat was just word games and semantics. But I meant what I said.'


As Obama spoke, his top aides pointed out that campaign rival Mitt Romney made no mention of war – or the troops – in his prime time convention address on Thursday night.  It was the first time since 1952 that a Republican nominee failed to mention war, even as the U.S. remains engaged in its longest, according to a review of historical transcripts by the Associated Press.

'In an almost 45-minute speech, Romney didn’t find a moment to mention our troops in Afghanistan or how we’re providing for our veterans when they return home,' said senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod. 'So American people last night didn’t get any straight answers from Mitt Romney. They got nothing but evasion, distraction and insults.'

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that he was 'surprised' that Romney failed to 'mention the 70,000 men and women who are serving in Afghanistan, executing a mission that is profoundly important to America’s national security in a conflict that was the direct result of an attack on the United States by al Qaeda.'"


Coincidence or 11th-dimensional chess? You be the judge. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave a press briefing aboard Air Force One on the way to Fort Bliss, Texas. Notice the highlighted question from the reporter:

MR. CARNEY:  ... What the President has always said, what he said then and what he has said since, and what he will say today is that our commitment to our military personnel and their families does not end when they return from war. It must continue. And we must serve our veterans at home as well as they served us abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

As you probably are aware, this morning the President signed an executive order directing key federal departments to expand suicide prevention strategies and to take steps to meet the current and future demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment services for veterans, servicemembers, and their families. This executive order builds on steps this administration has already taken to treat the unseen wounds of war -- PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury -- by increasing access to mental health treatment and to screening for those conditions.


Q Was this trip scheduled for the second anniversary of the announcement of the end of combat in Iraq?

MR. CARNEY: I think it's significant that that anniversary coincides with this visit because it reinforces the point the President will make and has been making about extending our commitment to our military personnel and their families beyond their time in service. The war in Iraq is over. Members of our military have returned home to their families who served in Iraq. But our service to them cannot wane. And that's very important. And the anniversary of the end of the Iraq war is -- coincides with this as a way to reinforce that point.

Q But it's a coincidence? It's not planned?

MR. CARNEY: I think it's meant to reinforce that point, because we can't forget. It is -- obviously this country has been engaged in military conflicts now for more than 10 years abroad, since our first forces went into Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, and a tremendous number of men and women have served in those two countries.

Q Has the President made any mention of the fact that Mitt Romney made no mention of Afghanistan in his acceptance speech last night?

MR. CARNEY: He has not to me.


The President spent time today in his ongoing efforts to respond to Hurricane Isaac. Unlike presidents past, he had FEMA on the ground before the disaster, and he will be visiting on the ground in the next few days. Here is a portion of a White House release earlier today:


This afternoon, the President convened a call with a number of Parish Presidents, Mayors and County Leaders from Louisiana and Mississippi who were impacted by Hurricane Isaac.  On the call, the President asked Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate to provide the officials with an update on the resources and steps FEMA has taken to support their communities and first responders as they continue to confront ongoing flooding and damage caused by the storm. The President noted the extensive damage in areas across the Gulf Coast and told the officials that they – as well as the communities they represent -- were in his thoughts and prayers. The President also made clear that he had directed FEMA to continue to bring all available resources to bear to support response and recovery efforts. FEMA teams have been on the ground in both states since before the storm made landfall and federal responders continue to move  supplies – including water, meals, generators, medical supplies and other resources – into affected areas in both states as conditions allow. Teams from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Energy are supporting power supply and restoration efforts.

At the requests of the Governors, the President approved Emergency Declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi earlier this week, and on Wednesday night the President provided expedited Major Disaster declarations for both states which make additional federal resources available to the state and local governments.


As reported by Cleveland, Ohio's The Plain Dealer -- the newspaper with the largest circulation in Ohio and the best name in America -- Vice-President Joe Biden gave a speech to union workers today that fired them up and trashed Romney and Ryan. Here are some of the scorching excerpts that show the destruction and mayhem that can only be caused when you RELEASE THE BIDEN!™:

Repeating claims in a Rolling Stone magazine article that's online and set to run in print next month, Biden said Romney received a $10 million federal bailout for Bain Capital in 1993. The vice president said that federal boon is hypocritical considering how opposed Romney was to bailouts for GM and Chrysler.

"It was one thing when 1 million middle class jobs were on the line," Biden said, referring to claims that 1 million autoworkers would have lost their jobs without federal bailouts. "It was another when it was his financial interests and his partners' interests."


"Everybody knows exactly what you're going to get from their side because they've already passed it in the House," Biden said. Several of Ryan's proposals for changes to the federal budget cleared the House but died in the Democratically controlled Senate.

Ryan's policies, Biden said, would slash health care for Medicare recipients, raise taxes on middle class families with children and offer big tax breaks to the wealthy, all factors he blamed for hurting the economy under former President George W. Bush.

He added that such policies "end in lost jobs and stagnant wages. It ends in a catastrophe as it did for the middle class."

(Hat tip to aardvark droppings for coming up with the original:  Unleash ... THE BIDEN!™ "Unleash .. THE BIDEN" and "Release the BIDEN" are the sole property of aardvark droppings, Inc., a subsidiary of FunTime Corporations of America, all rights reserved.)



Dkosian ekgrulez1 has become an eloquent and badger-like spokesperson for the need to donate now to the President's campaign and the campaign of other Democrats before the FEC Deadline at midnight tonight. We need to donate now because we now know the Republican strategy: Lie as often as possible, change the facts, and hope low-information voters can't tell the difference. Furthermore, you can assume that Republican SuperPACs will be even less wedded to the truth than the prevaricating GOP ticket.  

Do we want to give a 2-to-1 or a 3-to-1 campaign spending advantage to a pack of rich liars? It's hard to maintain a spending pace set by Republican millionaires and billionaires, but we have to keep the money race close. If you can give a couple dollars tonight, please do so. Thanks!  

Link to Transcripts and Documents.

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Originally posted to ObamaNightlyNews on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by I Vote for Democrats.

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