The crowd estimate comes from USC officials. President Obama's remarks at the public rally, as released by the White House, are after the jump. He spoke for about 30 minutes, starting just after 2 p.m. He got to USC a little after noon and spoke at a more exclusive fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer. Those remarks are also after the jump.
At the rally:
2:06 P.M. PDT THE PRESIDENT: Hello, L.A.! (Applause.) Oh, this is a Trojan kind of welcome right here. (Applause.) Fight on! (Applause.) I am fired up! (Applause.) You know, Jamie Foxx is pretty good at this. We might have to recruit him. We’d have to make him shave his goatee, though. (Laughter.) It is wonderful to see all of you. Let me just say how proud I am to be here with some of the finest elected officials that I know: The next governor of the great state of California, Jerry Brown. (Applause.) Your outstanding mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. (Applause.) Speaker of the California Assembly, John Perez. (Applause.) L.A. City Council president, Eric Garcetti. (Applause.) A dear, dear friend of mine, so I want everybody to do right by her -- San Francisco district attorney, Kamala Harris. (Applause.) An outstanding congressional delegation, Diane Watson, Judy Chu, Adam Schiff, Grace Napolitano, Xavier Becerra. (Applause.) An unbelievable Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. (Applause.) And somebody who has been fighting on your behalf for many, many years, and needs to be -- keep on fighting for us for the next six years -- Senator Barbara Boxer. (Applause.) It is great to be with all of you on this beautiful day. You know, we are going to need -- AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you! THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) We need all of you to fight on. We need all of you fired up -- (applause.) We need all of you ready to go -- because in just 11 days, in just 11 days, you have the chance to set the direction of this state and of this country not just for the next two years, but for the next five years, the next 10 years, the next 20 years. (Applause.) And just like you did in 2008, you can defy the conventional wisdom –- the conventional wisdom that says young people are apathetic; the conventional wisdom that says you can’t beat the cynicism in politics; that you can’t overcome the special interests; that all that matters is all the big money and the negative TV ads. You have the chance to say, “Yes, we can.” (Applause.) AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Si, se puede. (Applause.) Look, now, I don't want to fool anybody. Even though this is an incredible crowd, a magnificent crowd -- but let me be clear. This is going to be a difficult election -- because we’ve been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation. For most of the last decade, the middle class has been hurting. Families saw their incomes, between 2001 and 2009 -- by about 5 percent. That's not my statistics. That's the Wall Street Journal talking. Job growth was more sluggish during that period than any time since World War II. Jobs were being shipped overseas. Parents couldn’t afford to send their kids to college. Families couldn’t afford to send somebody in their family to a doctor. Americans were working two, three jobs just to try to make ends meet. And all this culminated in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Understand we lost 4 million jobs in the six months before I took office; 750,000 the month that I was sworn in; 600,000 the month after that; 600,000 the month after that. We haven’t seen anything like this since the 1930s. We lost 8 million jobs before any of my economic policies had a chance to be put into place. Now, my hope was that in this moment of crisis, we could come together and both parties would put politics aside; that we would come together to meet this once-in-a-generation challenge -- because although we are proud Democrats, we are prouder to be Americans. (Applause.) And you know, there are plenty of Republicans who feel the same way out there. But the Republican leaders in Washington, they made a different calculation. They looked around at the mess that they had made, at the mess that they had left me, and they said, boy, this is a really big mess. And they said it’s going to take a long time to fix. Unemployment is probably going to be high for a while, and in the meantime, people are going to get angry and frustrated. So maybe if we just sit on the sidelines, say no to everything, and then point our fingers at Obama and say he’s to blame, they figured that maybe you all would forget that they caused the mess in the first place, and they’d be able to ride anger all the way to election time. AUDIENCE: Noooo -- THE PRESIDENT: But, Los Angeles, as I look out on this crowd, this tells me you haven’t forgotten. (Applause.) Their whole campaign strategy is amnesia. And so you need to remember that this election is a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are leading out of this mess; a choice between the past and the future; a choice between hope and fear; a choice between moving forward or going backwards. And I don't know about you, but I want to move forward, Trojans. I want to go forward. (Applause.) Now, look, understand it would be one thing if the Republicans, having made this mess, they went off into the desert or into some retreat somewhere and they meditated on, boy, we really screwed up, and now let’s come up with some new ideas because we recognize the error of our ways. But that's not what’s going on. The Republican Campaign Committee chairman promised the “exact same agenda” if they win back the House and if they win back the Senate -- the same agenda of cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires -- AUDIENCE: Booo -- THE PRESIDENT: -- of cutting rules for the special interests, from cutting middle-class families loose to fend for themselves. Their basic philosophy is, you’re on your own. If you're sick, you don't have health care, too bad, you’re on your own. You don't have a job, them’s the breaks, you’re on your own. You’re a young person wants to go to USC, wants to get his education but can’t afford it, tough luck, you’re on your own. It’s the same agenda that turned a record surplus into a record deficit; the same agenda that allowed Wall Street to run wild; the same agenda that nearly destroyed our economy. And I bring all this up not because I want to re-argue the past. I bring it up because I don't want to relive the past. We can’t afford it. (Applause.) I bring it up because it’s not as if we haven’t tried what they're selling. We tried it. We didn’t like it and we’re not going back to it. (Applause.) I want you to think about it this way. Imagine that these folks drove a car into the ditch. And it was a really deep ditch. And somehow they were able to walk away from the accident, but they did nothing to get the car out of the ditch. And so, me and Barbara and Jerry and Antonio, we all put on our boots and we climbed down into the ditch. And it’s hot down there. Flies are down there -- (laughter) -- and we’re sweating. But we’re pushing, we’re pushing to get the car out of the ditch. And even though Barbara Boxer is small, she is pushing, too. And we’re all pushing. (Applause.) And as we’re pushing, we look up and the Republicans are all standing there at the top of the ditch. They’re all looking down. And we say, why don’t you come down and help? And they say, no, that’s all right. And then they kick some dirt down into the ditch. (Laughter.) They’re sipping on a Slurpee. They’re fanning themselves. You’re not pushing hard enough, they say. You’re not pushing the right way. And, yet, despite all that, we still get the car out of the ditch. And it’s finally on level ground. (Applause.) And I admit, the car is a little banged up. I mean, the fender is bent and it’s going to have to go to the body shop, and it needs a tune up. But it’s on level ground and it’s pointing in the right direction. We’re ready to move forward. And, suddenly, suddenly, we get this tap on our shoulder and we look back, and who is it? It’s the Republicans. And they say, we want the keys back. AUDIENCE: Nooo -- THE PRESIDENT: And we’ve got to tell them, you can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive. (Applause.) You can ride with us, but you got to be in the backseat -- because we got middle-class America in the front seat. We’re looking out for them. (Applause.) You ever notice when you want to go forward, what do you do? You put your car in “D.” You want to go backwards, what do you do? You put it in “R.” (Applause.) That’s not a coincidence. We want to go forward. We don’t want to go backwards. (Applause.) AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we can. Look, because of the steps that we’ve taken, we no longer face the possibility of a second depression. The economy is growing again. The private sector has seen job growth nine months in a row. But we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. There are a lot of people out there still hurting. I know there are a lot of families still hanging on by a thread. That’s what keeps me up at night. That’s what keeps me fighting. That’s why all of you are here, because you know we’ve got more work to do. But understand, we’ve got a different idea about what the future holds. It’s an idea rooted in our belief about how this country was built. We know that the government doesn’t have the answers to all our problems. We believe government should be lean and efficient. But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln -- who, by the way, couldn’t get a nomination in today’s Republican Party -- (laughter) -- we also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves. (Applause.) We believe in an America that rewards hard work and responsibility and individual initiative, but that also puts a hand up to help people live out their dreams. (Applause.) We believe in an America that invests in its people, in its future, the education of our children, the skills of our workers. We believe in a country where we look after one another, where I am my brother’s keeper, where I am my sister’s keeper. (Applause.) That’s the America that I know. And that is the choice in this election. (Applause.) This election is a choice. And if we give them the keys -- which will happen if you don’t vote -- they’ll keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship our jobs overseas. We want to give tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States -- (applause) -- to small businesses and American manufacturers and clean energy companies. (Applause.) Because I don’t want wind panels and -- wind turbines and solar panels and electric cars made in Europe or Asia. I want them built right here in the United States -- (applause) -- by American workers here in the United States of America. That's the choice in this election. If we give them the keys back -- and we will if you don't vote -- the other side has said they are going to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, costing us $700 billion, and to help pay for it, they’re going to cut education spending by 20 percent. AUDIENCE: Booo -- THE PRESIDENT: Now, think about this. This is at a time when the question of whether a country competes almost entirely depends on how well we educate our children. Do you think that China wants to cut education by 20 percent? AUDIENCE: Nooo -- THE PRESIDENT: Is South Korea cutting education by 20 percent? AUDIENCE: Nooo -- THE PRESIDENT: Those countries aren't playing for second place. America doesn’t play for second place. We play for first place. (Applause.) AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA! USA! THE PRESIDENT: We play for first. And that's why, instead of giving unwarranted subsidies to the banks, we've taken tens of billions of dollars and we’re now putting them where they should go -- to students like you -- (applause) -- to make sure that you can afford a college education, and a $10,000 tuition tax credit for every young person in America so you can get the education you deserve. That's the choice in this election. (Applause.) We want tax cuts to middle-class families. We don't want special interests back in shotgun. You know, the other side has already promised to roll back Wall Street reform, roll back health insurance reform. We refuse to make that happen. We want to make sure that insurance companies can’t deny you coverage when you get sick. We want to make sure that the law we passed to make sure that you can stay on your parents’ health insurance till you’re 26 years old, that that remains the law of the land. (Applause.) We want to make sure that credit card companies can’t hit you with hidden fees or jack up your rates without notice. We want to make sure that taxpayers aren’t stuck with a Wall Street bailout because somebody else took unwarranted risks. We’re going to fight the effort to privatize Social Security, because as long as I’m President, nobody is going to take a generation’s worth of retirement savings and hand them over to Wall Street. Not on my watch. (Applause.) We are going to make sure we continue to invest in clean energy and we enforce our clean air and clean water laws. You’ve seen what they're trying to do here in California, trying to roll back laws that will keep California at the cutting-edge. And now that we’ve got special interests spending millions of dollars out there to gut these clean air standards and clean energy standards, and they're doing the same thing all across the country -- millions of dollars in special interest money, using phony front groups. You don't know their names. They call themselves “Americans for Prosperity,” or “Mothers for Motherhood.” I made that last one up, but -- (laughter) -- but it might as well be. And you don't know who’s behind it. You don't know, is it an insurance company? Is it a bank? Who is financing all these negative ads against Jerry Brown? Who’s financing all these negative ads against Barbara Boxer? And you know how they're able to do this without disclosing their donors is because of a Supreme Court ruling called Citizens United -- AUDIENCE: Boooo -- THE PRESIDENT: -- which shows you how important it is who’s making appointments on the Supreme Court. I’m proud I appointed Sonia Sotomayor. (Applause.) I appointed Elena Kagan. (Applause.) All this money pouring into these elections by these phony front groups -- this isn’t just a threat to Democrats; it’s a threat to our democracy. And the only way to fight it is all of you -- all these voices matching those millions of dollars, all of you being committed to finish what we started in 2008. That's why it’s so important all of you get out -- all of you have got to vote, because if everybody who fought for change in 2008 turns out this time, we will win this election. (Applause.) And so I want to remind you why you got involved. You didn't just get involved to elect a President. You got involved because you believed we were at a defining moment. You believed that this was a time when the decisions we make, the challenges we face, are going to shape the lives of our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren for decades to come. That's why you knocked on doors. That's why you made phone calls. That's why some of you cast your vote for the very first time. (Applause.) And, look, I understand the last two years haven’t been easy. I know that a lot of you -- you're thinking back to Election Night or Inauguration Day, and how much fun that was -- and Beyoncé was singing, and Bono. (Laughter.) And Jamie was there. And it felt like a big party. But I want everybody to understand, I told you this was going to be hard. I told you power concedes nothing without a fight. Inch by inch, day by day, week by week, we’ve been grinding it out, because that’s the nature of change in a big, complex democracy. And I recognize some of you may feel now that, gosh, it seems so distance from those wonderful memories and change is harder than I expected, we haven’t gotten everything done that we hoped for yet. And maybe you know somebody in your family who’s out of a job, or maybe somebody in your neighborhood has put up a foreclosure sign, and you think, boy, we’re not moving as quick as we want. I understand that. But don’t let anybody tell you that our fight hasn’t been worth it. Don’t let them tell you that we’re not making a difference. Because of you, there are people right here in California who don’t have to choose between getting treatment for their cancer or going bankrupt. (Applause.) Because of you, there are parents who are able to look their children in the eye and say, yes, you will go to college. We can afford it, we’re getting some help. (Applause.) Because of you, there are small businesses who are able to keep their doors open, even in the midst of recession. Because of you, we have brought home nearly 100,000 brave men and women from Iraq. (Applause.) Because of you, we are going to continue to fight to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Because of you, we are going to make sure that we’ve got an energy policy for the future of America. (Applause.) Because of you. So don’t tell -- don’t let them tell you that change isn’t possible. Because here’s what I know. Change is always hard. And if our parents, if our grandparents, if our great-grandparents, if they have listened to the cynics 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 200 years ago, we wouldn’t be here today. Think about it. This country was founded on 13 colonies coming together to do what had never been done before -- declaring a revolution, throwing off the yoke of tyranny, battling the biggest, baddest empire on Earth. And then, they decided, you know, we’re going to try to form a new type of government. And they wrote on paper, they said in their declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal” -- (applause) -- “that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Applause.) The cynics didn’t believe it. And then, when we had to perfect that union and fight a civil war, the cynics didn’t believe it. They didn’t think we could free the slaves. If our ancestors had given up, if they had given up to the cynics, we couldn’t have gotten through war; we couldn’t have gotten through depression; we would not have been able to battle and finally achieve civil rights and women’s rights and workers’ rights. (Applause.) That is the spirit we have to summon today. The journey we began together was not just about putting a President in the White House. It was about building a movement for change. (Applause.) It was about realizing the promise of the United States of America, and understanding that if we’re willing to work for it, there’s nothing we cannot achieve. (Applause.) So I need you to keep on believing. I need you to keep hoping. And if you knock on some doors and make some phone calls, and keep marching and keep organizing, we won’t just win this election; we are going to restore the American Dream for not just some, but for every -- every -- everybody in this great land. (Applause.) Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.) END 2:32 P.M. PDT
At the Boxer fundraiser:
12:38 P.M. PDT THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Thank you, Los Angeles! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Everybody please have a seat. Thank you. Thank you so much. It is good to be back in L.A. It is good to be back in L.A. It is good to see such wonderful friends. I just want to make mention of a few of them. Congresswoman Jane Harman is here. (Applause.) Congresswoman Laura Richardson is here. (Applause.) Congressman Adam Schiff is in the house. (Applause.) Soon-to-be Congresswoman Karen Bass is here. (Applause.) State Controller John Chiang is here. (Applause.) I know Stevie Wonder was in the house. (Applause.) And Sim Farar, thank you so much for doing an extraordinary job, and to all the other co-chairs who helped put this together. Thank you. (Applause.) It is good to be back in L.A. And it is an honor to be standing here with one of my all-time favorite senators, Barbara Boxer. (Applause.) It was one of my great privileges to work with Barbara in the United States Senate. And during that time, we became good colleagues and even better friends. And I had a chance to see her at work, day in and day out. And I came to learn that while Barbara is somewhat vertically challenged -- (laughter) -- you should see the box I had to push out of the way here -- (laughter) -- Barbara is somebody who’s got more fight in her than anybody I know. And she’s always fighting for the right reason, fighting for the right cause. And today Barbara is in a tough election, even though the choice should be easy, because there’s only one candidate in this race who has spent her career fighting for California’s families, and that is Barbara Boxer. There’s just one candidate who’s done that. (Applause.) There’s one candidate who fought for and helped pass the most progressive and largest middle-class tax cut in history. There’s only one candidate who is fighting to create thousands of construction jobs all throughout California, rebuilding its roads and its bridges and its highways so that this great state has the best infrastructure in the world. There’s only one candidate who stood up to insurance companies so that every Californian can have accessible and affordable health care, making sure that insurance companies aren’t dropping you when you get sick, making sure young people can stay on their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26 years old. (Applause.) There is only one candidate who has consistently fought to protect our children’s education, and will protect a woman’s right to choose. (Applause.) There is only one candidate who’s fighting to make California the clean energy hub of America. (Applause.) Only one candidate who’s championed clean air and clean water, and the most beautiful coastline in the world. And that candidate is your senator, Barbara Boxer. (Applause.) So, she’s fought for you for a long time. Now she’s got to see you fight for her over these last couple of weeks. We have to have Barbara back in the Senate. We have to have her back in the Senate. (Applause.) And in 11 days, your decision will set the direction not just of this state but of this country for the next five years, the next 10 years, the next 20 years, for generations to come. Some of you brought your kids here, and I love when I have a chance to see young people here, because it reminds us of why we do what we do. And just like you did in 2008, you’ve got an opportunity here to defy the conventional wisdom and defy the pundits, defy all those talking heads who say you can’t overcome cynicism in politics; you can’t overcome special interests; that millions of dollars in negative ads are what determine the outcome of races. In 11 days, you’ve got a chance once again to say, “Yes, we can.” (Applause.) “Yes, we can.” Now, look, let’s not fool ourselves. This is a tough election. This is a difficult election because this country has gone through one of the most difficult periods in our nation’s history. And it didn’t just start with the financial crisis. Over the last decade, between 2001 and 2009, middle-class families had seen their incomes actually decline by 5 percent. Think about that. During that eight-year period, middle-class families had less money at the time -- at the same time that their health care costs were shooting up, sending your kids to college was becoming more and more expensive. Job growth between 2001 and 2009 was the most sluggish since World War II, more sluggish than it’s been over the last year. And so you had folks who were out there working two jobs, three jobs just to make ends meet. You had parents who had to say to their kids, I’m not sure I can afford to send you to college, and families who had to make a decision, maybe we don’t go to the doctor even though we’re feeling sick. All that was happening before the crisis hit. And then it culminated in the worst economy since the Great Depression. We lost 4 million jobs in the six months before I was sworn in, 750,000 the month I was sworn in; 600,000 after that; 600,000 after that. So we had lost almost 8 million jobs before any of the economic policies that Barbara and I helped to put into place had any chance to take an effect. Now, when I got to Washington, my hope was that we were going to be able to bring the parties together to address this crisis, because although we are proud Democrats, we are prouder to be American. And every once in a while you’d think that folks would stand up and say, enough of the politics, enough of the game-playing, let’s get to work. (Applause.) That’s my hope. That was my hope. But we know what actually happened. The Republicans made a tactical decision. I mean, they bragged about this, so this is not something I’m making up. They basically said to themselves, you know what, we created such a big mess, we have dug such a big hole, the economy is going to take so long to recover that we’re better off not trying to solve the problems. We’re better off standing on the sidelines and hoping people forget that we caused the problems -- (laughter) -- and then pointing our fingers and trying to place the blame on Barack Obama or Barbara Boxer. That was their strategy. Their strategy was premised on amnesia. (Laughter and applause.) That was their approach. Now, we made a different decision. We decided we can’t afford to play politics. We understood that some of the decisions that had to be made might be unpopular. But what we said to ourselves was that we go to Washington not to have a fancy office and not to have a fancy title; we go there to do what’s right. You did not elect me to do what was easy. You elected me to do what was right. And that’s the same reason that you elected Barbara Boxer -- to do what was right. (Applause.) Now, it is now up to you to let the Republicans know that we haven’t forgotten how we got here, that we don’t have amnesia. It’s up to you to be clear that this isn’t a referendum on Barbara. This is a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are going to lead us out of this mess. (Applause.) This is a choice between the past and the future, between fear and hope, between moving backwards and moving forwards. And I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward. (Applause.) The chair of the Republican campaign committee was quoted in the newspaper a while back, Barbara. He was asked, well, what would you do if you took power in the House? He said, well, we’re going to pursue the exact same agenda that we pursued before Obama took office. Now think about this: This resulted in the worst economy in our lifetimes. So you could have imagined the Republicans going off into the desert and doing some reflection -- (laughter) -- and saying to themselves, boy, we really screwed up. We need some new ideas. (Laughter.) And then they might have come back and said, you know what, we got some great new ideas that we think can get the economy moving -- that’s not what happened. They are clinging to the same worn-out, tired, snake-oil ideas that they were peddling before. (Laughter and applause.) I’m not -- you know what they are. They do have the benefit of being simple. (Laughter.) You cut taxes, mostly for millionaires and billionaires, regardless of the impact on the deficit. You cut rules for all manner of special interests. And you cut middle-class families to fend for themselves. So if you’re somebody who just lost your job, tough luck. You’re on your own. You might not even get unemployment insurance, according to this philosophy. You’re a young person who can’t afford to go to college? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Tough luck, you’re on your own. You don’t have health insurance? Too bad, you’re on your own. This agenda that poses as conservatism is not conservative. It resulted in a radical shift from record surpluses to record deficits, allowed Wall Street to run wild. Nearly destroyed our economy. Now, I bring this up not to re-argue the past. I bring it up because I don’t want to re-live the past. We have been there. We tried what they are trying to sell and we’re not buying this time. (Applause.) I’ve been using an analogy that Barbara likes quite a bit, so I’ve got to make sure to use it here. (Laughter.) Otherwise, she’ll scold me. Imagine the Republicans driving our economy into the ditch. And it’s a deep ditch. (Laughter.) And they and their buddies somehow walk away from the accident, but the car is still down there. So Barbara and I, we put on our boots and we rappel down into the ditch. (Laughter.) And it’s muddy and hot. And there are bugs there. And we’re pushing on this car, trying to get it out of the ditch -- pushing and pushing. And even though Barbara is small, she’s tough. So she’s pushing. (Laughter.) And every once in a while we look up, and there are the Republicans, they’re up there, you know, slipping on a Slurpee and fanning themselves. (Laughter.) And we’ll ask them, “Why don’t you come down here?” And they say, “No, no. But you guys aren’t pushing hard enough. You’re not pushing the right way.” Finally, we get the car up on level ground. We’re ready to move forward. The car is banged up. It needs some bodywork. It needs a tune up. But it’s ready to move in the right direction. And we get this tap on our shoulders. We look back. Lo and behold, it’s the Republicans. And what are they saying? They’re saying, “We want the keys back.” (Laughter.) You cannot have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how to drive. (Applause.) No, no. You can ride with us. (Laughter.) But you’ll have to be in the backseat. We’re going to put middle-class families in the front seat. We’re driving for them. You notice, when you want to go forward, you put your car in what? “D.” When you want to go backwards, what happens? You put it in “R.” (Laughter.) We don’t want to go back into that ditch. (Applause.) Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Because of the steps we’ve taken, because Barbara was there in the Senate, this country is no longer facing a second depression. Our economy is growing again. The private sector has created jobs nine months in a row. But, look, we still have a long way to go. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. There are still families out there that are hurting badly, some hanging on by a thread. That’s what keeps me up at night. That’s what keeps Barbara up at night. And that’s why this election is so important. That’s why the choice we make is so important. Look, Barbara and I, we’ve got a different idea, a different vision about what our future should look like -- and it’s an idea rooted in our own experience, living out the American Dream, because we didn’t come from plenty. We know government doesn’t have all the answers to our problems. We want a government that is lean and efficient. But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln -- who, by the way, could not win a Republican nomination these days -- (laughter and applause) -- no, seriously, can you imagine him trying to run with these folks? (Laughter.) Lincoln said government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves. So we believe in an America that rewards hard work and responsibility and individual initiative. But we also believe in an America that invests in its future, that invests in its people –- in the education of our children, in the skills of our workers. We believe in a country that looks after one another; where we say I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper. That is the America that I know. That is the America that Barbara knows. That is the choice in this election. (Applause.) So if we give them the keys back, they’ll keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. I want to give tax breaks. Barbara wants to give tax breaks. We already have -- to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, to small businesses and American manufacturers and clean energy companies that are building solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars right here in the United States of America with American workers. That’s the choice in this election. That’s what we’re about. (Applause.) You give the keys to the other side, they want to have a $700 billion tax break that would only go to the top 2 percent -- wealthiest 2 percent of Americans -- and they’d cut education by 20 percent in the process. Now, think about this -- let me tell you, China is not cutting education spending by 20 percent. South Korea is not cutting education by 20 percent. Germany is not cutting education by 20 percent. They understand that whoever out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow. They are not playing for second place. And the United States of America doesn’t play for second place. We play for first place. (Applause.) And that’s why Barbara and I, working together, took away unwarranted subsidies to banks and have now provided tens of billions of dollars in additional aid to students so they can go to colleges. We’re creating tax credits worth $10,000 in tuition relief for every student. (Applause.) That is the choice in this election. That’s the choice in this election. Yes, we want tax cuts going to middle-class families -- make those permanent. Yes, we believe in clean air and clean water. And we think that those laws should be enforced. You give the keys to the other side, they’re going to put those special interests right back sitting shotgun. They’ve already promised to roll back Wall Street reform, roll back health insurance reform. And we refuse to let that happen because we think that if you’re paying an insurance premium, they shouldn’t be able to drop you when you get sick. The whole point of having health insurance is to have it there when you need it. (Applause.) We don’t think credit card companies should be able to jack up your rates without any notice and without any reason. We want to make sure that taxpayers never again have to pay for bailouts because of reckless risks taken by a few. We don’t believe in privatization of Social Security -- because as long as I’m President we’re not going to have our retirement savings handed over to Wall Street. (Applause.) Those are all choices that we’ve got to make in this election. That’s what we’re fighting for. We believe in making investments in infrastructure. We shouldn’t be the country that is lagging behind when it comes to high-speed rail, when it comes to a smart electric grid. We should have the best airports in the world, the best roads in the world, the best bridges in the world, the best broadband access in the world. That is our legacy. That is our history. But you know what -- right now the same special interests that fought us every inch of the way, they are fighting just as hard in this election. They want to roll back the clock. Here in California, oil companies and the other special interests are spending millions on a campaign to gut clean air standards and clean energy standards, jeopardizing the health and prosperity of this state. All across America, special interests have poured millions of dollars into phony front groups -- you’ve seen them. They’re called “Americans for Prosperity,” or “Moms for Motherhood.” (Laughter.) I made that last one up. (Laughter.) They don’t have the guts to say, we’re funding this. So they hide behind these front groups. You don’t know who these groups are. You don’t know who’s funding it -- although we have a pretty good idea. Smearing Democratic candidates. This is thanks to a gigantic loophole. They can spend without limit, keep their contributions secret. It could be oil companies, Wall Street speculators, insurance companies. You don’t know. They won’t tell you. They won’t say. And by the way, those of you who don’t think that the Supreme Court is important, this is a direct result of a ruling called Citizens United, which is why when Barbara and I make sure that we’ve got people like Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the bench -- (applause) -- the only way we’re going to do that is if we’ve got a Senate majority that is serious. These rulings are not just a threat to Democrats. They’re a threat to our democracy. And the only way to fight, the only way to match their millions of dollars is your millions of voices -- to finish what we started in 2008. That’s why it’s wonderful that you’re at this lunch, but I’ve got to ask more of you. You’ve got to go out there and talk to your friends and your neighbors and your coworkers, to your cousins and nephews and uncles and whoever is out there. You’ve got to talk to them. We’ve got to fight for this. You fought in 2008 because you believed we were at a unique moment in our history, where the decisions we made now would have an impact for generations. But we just started. This is just the first quarter. We’ve got a lot more work to do. And I know that there are times over the course of the last two years where some of you may have thought back to Election Night, or the campaign, or the inauguration and Beyoncé was singing -- (laughter) -- and Bono. And it all seemed so wonderful and fun. And then suddenly the actual work of change, not just talking about change, but the actual work of change began. And we had to grind it out. And suddenly we’ve got filibusters. And we’ve got distortions in the media. And suddenly everybody starts feeling like, boy, this is harder than we expected. Well, we knew it was going to be hard. I told you it was going to be hard. And yet -- and yet, we’ve made a difference. Don’t let anybody tell you that that work we’ve put in has not made a difference. (Applause.) Because of you -- because of the work that you did, because of the hope that you showed, there’s a woman here -- somewhere in California who is going to be able to get treatment for her cancer instead of having to mortgage her house. Because of you, somewhere here in California, there’s going to be a young person who says, you know what, I can afford to go to college. Because of you, there’s some small business owner who was able to keep their doors open despite the worst possible recession. Because of you, there’s a clean energy company that has some magnificent idea that could end up leading to unbelievable innovation sometime in the future. That happened all because of you. Because of you, there are 100,000 young men and women who have come home from Iraq and are no longer at war. That’s because of you. (Applause.) Don’t let them tell you that what you did didn’t make a difference. (Applause.) Don’t let them tell you that what you did didn’t make a difference. Change is hard, but it’s always been hard. That’s been the history of this country, from its founding. And if our grandparents, our great grandparents, our great-great grandparents, if they had said to themselves, well, I can’t do this because it’s too hard, success is uncertain, there are people saying mean things about me -- (laughter) -- we would have never gotten through a war, we would have never gotten through depression, we wouldn’t have gotten civil rights or women’s rights or workers rights. We got through those things and helped to perfect our union because in the face of uncertainty, in the face of adversity, in the face of difficulty, people stood up. They said, “Yes, we can.” They had the courage of their convictions. And we had leaders like Barbara Boxer. What was true then is just as true now. And so if everybody here keeps that spirit alive, and is out there knocking on doors, and making phone calls, and calling their friends, and calling their neighbors, and reminding everybody of the same hope, the same possibility that we did two years ago, we’re not just going to reelect Barbara Boxer, we are going to make sure that the American Dream is alive and well for future generations. Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.) END 1:05 P.M. PDT