President Obama: "Vote for Me and Democrats Up and Down the Ticket"
"Obama’s plea that he 'can’t change Washington from the inside' isn’t a surrender. It’s a declaration of war." That's now the subtitle for William Saletan's article regarding the controversy Mitt Romney has tried to manufacture regarding President Obama's point "that you can’t change Washington from the inside" during Thursday's Univision town hall. Saletan begins his rebuttal of Romney's self-serving interpretation by quoting President Obama more fully:
Barack Obama: The fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington is disappointing. We know now that as soon as I came into office, you already had meetings among some of our Republican colleagues saying, “How do we figure out how to beat the president?” And I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out.Saletan then points out,
That isn’t a surrender. It’s a rallying cry. It’s a plea for outsiders—voters—to join the fight. Obama is saying his nice-guy approach didn’t work. He’s saying Republicans will cooperate only if voters send them a message. And the next message opportunity is on Election Day.
Until now, Obama hasn’t talked this way. His stump speech has asked voters to “stand with me” but hasn’t called for a partisan mandate. That changed last night.
After highlighting the President's shift from asking voters to support him to asking them to send a sobering message to any Republicans planning to continue obstructing his agenda, Saletan pivots to focus on Obama's final appeal to his audience:
Barack Obama: One thing that I saw in 2008 is that when the American people come together and decide that they are going to fight for the values and ideals that made this country great, we can’t be stopped. … The work that we’ve done on education, on immigration, on housing, on putting people back to work, on making sure that small businesses have access to financing—those are all issues that are representative of what you care about, your values. But you’ve got to get out there, and you’ve got to make sure that you express that with your ballot. So I would urge you to vote, and I would ask you to vote for me and Democrats up and down the ticket.Emphasizing the President's closing call to vote for "Democrats up and down the ticket," Saletan attributes the president's calling for this now to the recent upswing in the polling for generic Democratic candidates for Congress. He then reiterates his belief that Obama is rallying Democratic voters to "purge" Republican obstructionists in the House and the Senate:
An election-day purge of notable Republican congressmen, coupled with defeats in Senate races they had expected to win, would sober the GOP. [...]Such a purge seems to be the only way to get the attention of those Republican obstructionists who have been putting party ideology above all else—as President Obama points out, they will reconsider their strategy only when it's apparent that their own political futures are at stake.
[...] At last night’s forum, he urged Hispanics to make immigration a voting issue. If Republican see “that people who care about this issue have turned out in strong numbers,” he suggested, “they will rethink it, if not because it’s the right thing to do, at least because it’s in their political interest to do so.”
Saletan concludes with a serious warning:
If I were a Republican politician looking at the current generic ballot numbers, Hispanic voting trends, and long-term demographic projections, I wouldn’t be keen to talk right now about whether Washington can be changed from the inside. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of this election debating whether Congress needs a clear message from the people. I wouldn’t be comforted to see Obama feeling confident enough in his lead and in his party’s poll numbers to ask for a Democratic mandate.This. President Obama is indeed rallying voters to send an unmistakable message to Republicans by sweeping them out of office on November 6th, and only an inept candidate like Romney would be drawing attention to that fact. Bless his heart. Saletan's entire piece is worth reading.
President Obama: "We Want Change in Washington"
Yesterday evening, Obama for America posted a video excerpt from President Obama's speech in Woodbridge, Virginia, in which he mocked and dismissed Romney's latest desperate attack, then continued to rally voters to reject the Republicans' agenda:
THE PRESIDENT: Now, yesterday, I made this same point at a town hall in Florida. I said, one thing I've learned is that you can't change Washington just from the inside. You change it from the outside. You change it because people are mobilized. You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard because of the decency and the goodness and the common sense of Americans. That’s what moves the country forward. (Applause.)Somehow, I don't believe that President Obama intends to allow folks to forget what Romney declared to his millionaire donors:
Now, for some reason my opponent got really excited. He rewrote his speech real quick. (Laughter.) He stood up at a rally, proudly declared, "I'll get the job done from the inside." (Laughter.) What kind of inside job is he talking about? (Applause.) Is it the job of rubberstamping the top-down, you're-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress? Because if it is, we don’t want it. (Applause.) If it's the job of letting oil companies run our energy policy, we don’t want it.
THE PRESIDENT: If it's the job of outsources writing our tax code, we don’t want it.
THE PRESIDENT: If it's the job of letting politicians decide who you can marry, or control the health care choices that women should be able to make for themselves, we'll take a pass. (Applause.)
We don’t want an inside job in Washington. We want change in Washington. (Applause.) And from the day we began this campaign, we've always said that change takes more than one term or even one President, and it certainly takes more than one party. It can't happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office. (Applause.)
In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me. But on the night of the election, I said to all those Americans, “I may not have won your vote but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President.” (Applause.) And for everybody who is watching, or anybody here who is still undecided, I don’t know how many people are going to vote for me this time around, but -- (applause) -- hold on -- but I’m telling the American people I will be fighting for you no matter what. (Applause.) I will be your President no matter what. (Applause.) I’m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republicans jobs, I’m fighting to create American jobs. (Applause.)
I’m not fighting to improve red state schools or blue state schools, I’m fighting to improve schools in the United States of America. (Applause.) The values we believe in don’t just belong to workers or businesses, the 53 percent or the 47 percent, the rich or the poor, the 1 percent, the 99 percent -- these are American values. They belong to all of us. (Applause.)
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. [...]President Obama: "Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy"
So my job is is not to worry about those people.
See, when they skipped town, Members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table – actions that would create jobs, boost our economy, and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours.
See Susan Gardner's excellent diary Obama to Congress in weekly address: Get back in town and pass some bills for transcript and discussion.
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7:19 PM PT: Here's the link to the transcript of First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks at Congressional Black Caucus Gala. And here's an excerpt:
And make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time -- marching door to door, registering people to vote. Marching everyone you know to the polls every single election. See, this is the sit-in of our day -- sitting in a phone bank, sitting in your living room, calling everyone you know -- (applause) -- your friends, your neighbors, that nephew you haven’t seen in a while, that classmate you haven’t spoken to in years -- making sure they all know how to register, where to vote -- every year, in every election.
This is the movement of our era -- protecting that fundamental right not just for this election, but for the next generation and generations to come. Because in the end, it’s not just about who wins, or who loses, or who we vote for on Election Day. It’s about who we are as Americans. It’s about the democracy we want to leave for our kids and grandkids. It’s about doing everything we can to carry on the legacy that is our inheritance not just as African Americans, but as Americans -- as citizens of the greatest country on Earth. (Applause.)
7:28 PM PT: Here's the link to the video of President Obama's Campaign Rally in Milwaukee. I will embed as soon as the full video is available. Meanwhile, here's AP's excerpt from the Milwaukee speech:
h/t - Calidad
8:34 PM PT: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's (CBCF) 42nd Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner. September 22, 2012.