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Obama Takes on his GOP Critics in Labor Day Speech

5 years ago
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In a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee that sounded more like a campaign stump speech than a holiday greeting, President Barack Obama delivered a message that was the political equivalent of "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."

Kicking off what has traditionally been considered the official fall campaign season, Obama said: "Some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time, they're not always happy with me. They talk about me like a dog. That's not in my prepared remarks, but it's true."

From a stage at the Summerfest grounds in Maier Festival Park, Obama spoke animatedly as he described the GOP as the party of "No We Can't," contrasting that with his campaign slogan from 2008, "Yes We Can." He said Republicans disagree with everything he says. "If I said the sky is blue, they'd say no," Obama said. "If I said fish live in the sea, they'd say no."

In the midst of the speech, the president said he was proposing a $50-billion program to jump-start job creation and to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure of the United States. The plan includes the rebuilding of 150,000 miles of road, 4,000 miles of railroad tracks and 150 miles of runways.

"I want America to have the best infrastructure in the world," Obama said. "We used to have the best infrastructure. We can make it happen again."

He also announced he was proposing an "infrastructure bank," which a statement from the White House said "would leverage private and state and local capital to invest in projects that are most critical to our economic progress."

"This marks an important departure from the federal government's traditional way of spending on infrastructure through earmarks and formula-based grants that are allocated more by geography and politics than demonstrated value," the statement said. "Instead, the bank will base its investment decisions on clear analytical measures of performance, competing projects against each other to determine which will produce the greatest return for American taxpayers."

The House Republican leader, John Boehner of Ohio, lost no time in responding to the infrastructure proposal. He released a statement saying: "As the American people, facing near double-digit unemployment, mark Labor Day by asking, where are the jobs, the White House has chosen to double-down on more of the same failed 'stimulus' spending. Eighteen months ago, the administration promised that if we passed their trillion-dollar 'stimulus' it would create jobs 'immediately' and keep unemployment below 8 percent. Instead, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and unemployment is approaching 10 percent. If we've learned anything from the past 18 months, it's that we can't spend our way to prosperity."

The president directed some criticism directly at Boehner without mentioning his name. Calling the House minority leader "the man who thinks he will be speaker," Obama said that when a bill was passed this summer to help states save the jobs of teachers, nurses and firefighters, Boehner dismissed the effort as being for "'government jobs' that weren't worth saving." Obama added: "I think those jobs are worth saving."

The bulk of Obama's speech was focused on taking on Republicans and their criticism of the Obama administration. He mentioned Wall Street reform, health care reform and the overhaul of the student loan programs, adding this about the GOP: "They're not happy with it, but it was the right thing to do."

And he vowed that he would fight efforts to privatize Social Security. "To those who may still run for office planning to privatize Social Security," he said, "let me be clear: It will not happen on my watch. Not while I'm president of the United States of America."

Obama described the U.S. economy as a car that had been driven into a ditch by Republicans during the administration of George W. Bush. The president said working people had struggled to pull the car out of the ditch, only to have the Republicans ask for the keys back. "I don't want to give them the keys back," Obama said. "They don't know how to drive."

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Why are Republicans talking about jobs now ?? They are the CEO's and Walmart scale pay that got us in this mess,, Yes I'm Blaming Bush and crew for spending trillions in the Middle East, Bashing Unions, and trashing trade policy[CAFTA]. Go Obama Fix the roads, Fix the Grid, and get people working in recycling and energy,, Thats the only way. People in good-paying jobs will turn this all around,, Not tax cuts or stimulus checks.

September 13 2010 at 2:47 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to redraptor228's comment

As much as I hate it when people blame past administrations for the current mess... I truly believe, after doing much homework, that you are 100% correct. The Bush administration seriously wrecked us. From out of control spending on the wars to the first bail out.

September 13 2010 at 3:33 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

redraptor2282:47 AM Sep 13, 2010 rhino454113:33 PM Sep 13, 2010 As much as I hate it when people blame past administrations for the current mess... I truly believe, after doing much homework, that you are 100% correct. The Bush administration seriously wrecked us. From out of control spending on the wars to the first bail out. ------------------------ REply to redraptor and rhino: Thank you for for posting the truth and taking the time to do the research to find out the information you needed. It was good to hear that you'al saw the truth befor the 2010 election. Don't know if they will post the reply? I have tried to make a point that just because the Democrats and especially President Obama were pointing out how bad the conditions were and in what ways the the country was a "mess," it was only to inform the people of the reasons of what he needed to do to prevent the Nation out of another "great depression." It was either repeat the 1929 great depression or do what was necessary as quickly as possible to keep the 207 deep recession from deeping into a depression. Remember it was four years into the 1929 great depression before FDR took over the Presidency, while the depression was getting worse during thos four years.

September 13 2010 at 9:00 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

I,m tire of people confusing about Bill Clinton balancing the budget. How do you balance a minus. You,d think he,d paided off the america debt.Well he didn,t.Now i,ll grant you we were about 3.5trillion in the hole when Bush left.But now with Obama were heading towards 14trillion.Ah; seems to me wrong direction.Simply put when your check book say,s 0 your broke,minus you got deficit and when you have a plus you got surplus.Oh I balance my budget 10'oclock this morning.Go tea party.

September 12 2010 at 9:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

For those who think Obama's Jobs plan hasn't worked, I suggest you look at this 3 year graph showing job losses and job gains. It's called the Bikini Graph because it's V shaped. The early part of the graph shows ever increasing job losses under Bush, and the later part of the graph shows job losses diminishing and now on the positive side under Obama.

September 11 2010 at 11:17 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jbivens544's comment

So easy for you to forget the democrats controlled the house and senate from the beginning of the decline..and since its very probable you have no idea what that means I will will be happy to inform you...the democrats controlled the purse strings, they could have at any time introduced and passed legislation, cut spending and the bail outs...truth is they were blindsided just like bush was, the only difference it was the community reinvestment act that started with Carter, made stronger by clinton..and then manipulated by ACORN, Dodd, Franks, Waters, the Black democrat caucaus who claimed the republican investigatiopn against fammie mae was racist...really both parties screwed us all, and its easier for them to blame each other than it is for them to take responsibility for their fraud, incompetence, and greed....A history note. the republican party was introduced as a third party...the whig party became defunct..I dont know which party may loose its standing now, but the "people" are really tired of both dems and repubs, thats why the tea party and other parties are getting traction, along with the dramatic rise of registered independents...time to shake things up!

September 12 2010 at 1:30 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

I disagree with the first part of Bill's reply. Our economic decline began in 2001, and was noticably affecting the middle class by the end of 2003. The Republican majorities didn't hesitate to spend our way to homeland defense that did not create many jobs and did not circulating money back into the economy. This doesn't even count the money pits of Afghanistan or Iraq. Bush also signed off on multiple bailouts after 9/11. I agree with the second part of Bill's reply, which is that we need to consider independents and third parties.

September 12 2010 at 7:48 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

The U.S. Senate and the Florida Mail Order Pastor have 1 thing in common. They prove it only takes one of them to mess up everything. 100's of bills are stalled in the Senate. There is only one GOP agenda. Inflict as much pain on ordinary Americans and count on A.D.D. and Amnesia. Funny how they are selling the Bush Tax cuts for millionaires under the " it will hurt small business". That would be movie stars, sport figures etc... What idiot would open a "small business" and not protect himself and his family by incorporating? It's nonsense but the GOP is hoping that by slinging this bull at the wall the other 97 percent will be frightened enough to add 700,000,000 dollars to the debt over the next ten years to pay for it. Bill Gates needs the money. At the GOP an uneducated consumer is their best customer.

September 11 2010 at 10:01 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

That all sounds great as a stimulas until you look out on to the construction site and all you see are illegal aliens with the the jobs, not American Labor!

September 10 2010 at 1:29 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply

The CBO in August said the stimulus bill raised the GDP between 1.7% and 4.5%. It lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7% and 1.8%. It increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million. That was a Democrats only bill since all the Republicans in the House and Senate opposed it. And what did the Republicans offer? Vote NO NO NO on everything.

September 09 2010 at 10:37 AM Report abuse -13 rate up rate down Reply

when is Obama going to stop blaming Bush for what he has done. Let see Stumilus Bale out for big busines did not work Obama the took bonus an screw there employess some with the bank they took there bonus Morgage company had to high rates for house loans Everyone was buying Then the stock market hit bottom. The unemployment rate hit a all time high. Maybe you should have gave every working American part of the MEGA bail out but no you did noy Lot of people lost there job,house,and living hand to mouth.They don't buy expensive clothes,house and they can not and do not want to use chage card so they only get what needed to live bye. You been in office little over 18 month an our ecomony has gone down the tubes an you now want people that make over 250 thousand a year more money seems like you backing the wrong people. The working class peo[ple

September 08 2010 at 9:37 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shirle44's comment

As I said before, Bush took eight years to take us to disaster, from largest budget surplus ever to largest deficit to that date. You can't repair 8 years of very bad decisions in only two. I don't agree with everything Obama has done, but his intentions are good, whereas Bush cares ONLY about big business and especially big oil.

September 11 2010 at 10:42 AM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply
Bob and JoAnn

What does ths president know about America? So far he manages to tear her/us down. Talk about not working together to get us out of this recession, primarily dues to his term,he blames what happened during President Bush a Democrat congress the last few years!!!!!!! No more blame game...enough is enough. The governemtn can't get us out of this mess, the business leaders can!!!!!!

September 08 2010 at 7:53 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Bob and JoAnn's comment

Apparrently Obama knows more about this Country than you'al. Knowledge is a great mind opener. So why are you denying yourselves the knowledge of the truth? There isn't any blame occurring from President Obama or anyone associated with Obama. Explaining what the conditions were at the end of the last administration for informing the people who need to know the truth and for them to understand why corrective actions had to taken. We could discuss the effects of the 2007 deep recession and the little sum of $700 billion dollar TARP package for the last administration in September 2008, and why it was needed.

September 09 2010 at 10:38 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply

The business leaders are republicans. They can help the unemployment rates go down if they wanted to, but wait....that would make President Obama look good! They can't have that happen.

September 11 2010 at 2:02 PM Report abuse -13 rate up rate down Reply

I have to respond to the person who is saying "Where is Bush". It is important to understand that Bush and his father both feel that it is important to let the new President govern. They feel it is wrong to politic against the President, being former Presidents. You don't like it that's your right. But that is their ethical decision. I must say I respect it. When they can lend their names to support for a non political event, that is a good thing. But America wanted Obama These are the Obama years. And Bush is enough of a gentleman to respect that.

September 08 2010 at 6:09 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

Hey let's get real. You control the Senate and the House of Representatives. Do something. Act. Quit blaming GOP. Be President. You won. Quit campaigning.

September 08 2010 at 6:05 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply

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