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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

President Obama Gives Campaign Speech in Iowa

Aired September 1, 2012 - 14:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, it is good to be back in Iowa.

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OBAMA: I love you back. That's why I'm back.

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This is a great crowd. It's good to see my outstanding friends Tom Harkin in the house, Leonard Boswell, Tom Miller. And can everybody give Lucas a big round of applause, not just for the introduction but for his service to our country.

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OBAMA: And it is great to see all of you. We've got a spectacular day. College football's in the air.

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OBAMA: We will try to get you home in time to see the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones.

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OBAMA: I know we've got kickoff later. And although you guys got to see the Nationals and Chris Cornell perform before I got here, I just want you to know that I could not appreciate them performing -- I could not appreciate more of them performing for us. So please give them a round of applause, as well.

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OBAMA: Now, Iowa, this is our first stop on the road to our convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. But there was a reason for me to begin the journey right here in Iowa where it first began more than four years ago, because it was you, Iowa, who kept us going when the pundits were writing us off. It was in your living rooms and backyards and VFW halls and diners where our movement for change began, and it will be you, Iowa, who choose the path we will take from here.

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OBAMA: Last week, the other party gave them your pitch at the convention down in Florida. Don't boo -- vote.

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OBAMA: It was something to behold. Despite all of the challenges that we face in this new century, what they offered over those three days were more often than not an agenda that was better suited for the last century. It was a re-run. We've seen it before. You might as well have watched it on a black and white TV.

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OBAMA: If you didn't DVR it, let me recap it for you -- everything's bad, it's Obama's fault, and Governor Romney is the only one who knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy. That was the pitch. There was a lot of talk about hard truths and bold choices, but nobody ever really bothered to tell you what they were.

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OBAMA: And when Governor Romney had his chance to let you in on his secret, he did not offer a single new idea. Just retracted the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years. They talked a lot about me. They talked a lot about him, but they didn't say much about you.

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OBAMA: And they spent even less time talking about what they planned to do, not just because they know you won't like it, but because you've lived through it and you can't afford to repeat it.

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OBAMA: See, it turns out that we don't think making the middle class pay for another budget-busting $250,000 tax cut for folks making $3 million a year or more will magically translate into jobs and prosperity for everybody else. We don't think families will be better off if we undo financial reforms that are there to prevent another financial crisis or rules that are there to protect our air and our water, protections to make sure your health care is there for you for when you get sick.

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OBAMA: We really don't think the best way to strengthen Medicare is to give seniors a voucher that leaves them to pay any additional costs out of their own pockets.

Iowa, they have tried to sell us these tired, trickledown, you're-on- your-own policies before. They did not work. They've never worked. They won't create jobs and they won't cut our deficit. They will not strengthen our middle class. They are not a plan to move our country forward.

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: And we believe in something better. We believe in an America that says our economic strength has never come from the top down. It comes from the bottom up. It comes from the middle out. It comes from students and workers and small business owners and a growing, thriving middle class. That's what we believe.

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OBAMA: We believe in an America that doesn't matter how much money you've got determine whether you can afford good health care or get a higher education.

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OBAMA: We believe in an America that leads not just by the force of our military, but also with the strength of our ideas and the power of our example. We believe in an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, you can pursue your own happiness and you can make it if you try.

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CROWD: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

OBAMA: That's what the last four years have been about, Iowa, and that is what this campaign is about, and that's why I'm running for a second term as president of the United States.

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OBAMA: Now this Thursday night I will offer you what I believe is a better path forward, a path that grows this economy, creates more good jobs, strengthens the middle class. And the good news is you get to choose which path we take. We can take their path or we can take the path that I'm going to present.

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OBAMA: We can choose whether we give massive tax cuts to folks who have already made it or whether we keep the tax cuts for everybody American who is still trying to make it.

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OBAMA: I have cut taxes by a total of $3,600 for the typical family, and I am now running to make sure that taxes aren't raised a dime on your family's first $250,000 of income. That's the path forward.

You're going to have to choose it. It will be up to you. You can choose whether we cede new jobs and new industries to countries like China or India or Germany, or whether we fight for those jobs in states like Iowa.

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: My opponent's experience, he likes to talk about it has been investing in companies that often were called pioneers in the business of outsource jobs. And when his advice was to let Detroit go bankrupt, I said a million jobs are at stake. An iconic American industry is at stake. I'm going to bet on American workers and American manufacturing. And today the American auto industry has come roaring back. That's the choice.

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OBAMA: Unlike my opponent, I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. I want to start rewarding companies that create jobs in Urbandale and Des Moines, right here in Iowa, right here in the United States of America. That's what we're fighting for.

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OBAMA: You can decide whether "borrow money from your parents" is an acceptable answer for a young person hoping to go to college or start a business, or you can say let's make sure America once again leads the world in educating our kids and training our workers. Let's help more young people go to college ready to learn. Let's hire more great teachers, especially in math and science. Let's help more Americans go to community colleges to get the skills for the jobs they need right now.

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OBAMA: Governor Romney wants to end the college tax credit we created that's saving families up to $10,000 over four years for tuition. I want to extend it. In America higher education can't be a luxury. It is an economic necessity and something everybody should be able to afford. That's what we're fighting for.

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OBAMA: Iowa, you can choose an energy plan written for and by the big oil companies. Or you can choose an all of the above better strategy for America. At a time when homegrown energy is creating new jobs right here in Iowa. Where farmers are helping to create more biofuels, when once shuttered factories are turning out new wind turbine, my opponent wants to end tax credit for wind energy producers. He said new sources of energy like these are imaginary. His running mate calls them a fad. Nearly 7,000 jobs in this state depend on the wind industry. Those jobs aren't a fad. They are the future.

And I think it's time to stop giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies each year to big oil companies that are making money every time you go to the pump. Let's get some of that money to homegrown energy sources like wind that have never been more promising. That's the choice in this election. That's what we're fighting for.

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: It's up to you whether we go back to a health care system that let insurance companies decide who to cover and when, or whether we keep moving forward with the new health care law that's already cutting costs and covering more people and saving lives.

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OBAMA: Now is not the time to refight the battles of the past four years. Now is the time to move forward. This November, you get to decide the future of this war in Afghanistan. Governor Romney had nothing to say about Afghanistan last week, let alone offer a plan for the 33,000 troops who will have come home from the war by the end of this month.

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OBAMA: You know, he said ending the war in Iraq was tragic. I said we'd end that war, and we did. I said we'd take out bin Laden and we did.

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CROWD: USA! USA!

OBAMA: Today, all of our troops are out of Iraq. We are bringing them home from Afghanistan. And as long as I am commander in chief we will serve our veterans as well as they've served us, veterans like Lucas, who got his education thanks to the post 9/11 GI Bill, because nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or an education or a roof over their heads when they come home. That's what's at stake in this election.

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OBAMA: On issue after issue, Iowa, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan will take us backward. But the story of America is about moving forward. And soon you'll get a chance to choose a path that will actually lead to a better future. But over the next two months the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen on ads that basically tell you the same thing they told you at the convention -- the economy is not doing good and it's Obama's fault.

They know their economic plan isn't popular. Go figure that raising taxes on middle class families to pay for new tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires doesn't go over that well.

So that's not what they're going to talk about. They're counting on the fact that you get so discouraged by these negative ads, that you decide your vote doesn't matter. You'll decide that you can't compete with $10 million checks from wealthy donors.

I'm counting on something different. I'm counting on you. And I need your help.

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: First and foremost I need you to gottaregister.com to make sure you register to vote. This is Gottaregister.com. I'm sorry, English teachers in the room. It is "got to," it is "gotta," g-o-t-t- a-register.com. And once you registered, you've got to go to gottavote.com. That's g-o-t-t-a vote.com to find out how to cast your ballot early, because in Iowa you don't have to wait until November 6th to vote. You can be among the very first to vote in this election starting September 27th.

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OBAMA: That's gottaregister.com and gottavote.com, because we've got a lot more work to do. We gotta lot more work to do.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: We've got more good jobs to create. We've got more homegrown energy to generate. We've got more young people to send to college. We've got more good teachers to hire, and we've got more good schools to build. We've got more troops we have to bring home. We've got more veterans we have to take care of. We've got more doors of opportunity to open to every single American who is willing to work hard and work walk through them. We've come too far to turn back now.

That's why I'm asking for a second term, Iowa, and if you're willing to stand with me and join with me and knock on some doors with me and make some phone calls with me, and if you're willing to vote for me in November, we will win Polk County again. We will win Iowa again. We will win this election. We will finish what we started. And we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth! God bless you and God bless the United States of America!

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