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CNN Live Event/Special

Democratic National Convention; Bill Clinton Addresses DNC

Aired September 05, 2012 - 22:00   ET


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Today in North Carolina, the group that's least excited about President Obama are the young people, the least excited.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Does that mean they're excited about Mitt Romney or they're just not excited...



GERGEN: Older voters are more excited about President Obama than younger voters here in this state, so they're trying to get that back.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They're disappointed. They're disappointed voters.

The question to me is, Bill Clinton will speak to a certain segment of disappointed voters. Will he speak to young, disappointed voters, Paul?


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you look at a poll of registered voters, look at the president's numbers. Then look at a poll of likely voters and look at the president's number. The president goes down among likely voters. The problem for the Democrats is bringing those people who have stepped out of the electorate back in.


COOPER: Sandra Fluke is about to take the stage.

Let's watch.

SANDRA FLUKE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Some of you may remember that, earlier this year, Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception. In fact, on that panel, they didn't hear from a single woman, even though they were debating an issue that affects nearly every woman.

Because it happened in Congress, people noticed. But it happens all the time. Too many women are shut out and silenced. So while I'm honored to be standing at this podium, it easily could have been any one of you. I'm here because I spoke out, and this November, each of us must speak out.

During this campaign, we've heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women in this country -- and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past. Warnings of that future are not distractions. They're not imagined. That future could become real.

In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs, a man who won't stand up to those slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms.

An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds that we don't want and our doctors say that we don't need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it, an America in which politicians redefine rape and victims are victimized all over again, in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve access to services and which don't.

We know what this America would look like. And in a few short months, that's the America we could be. But it's not the America that we should be. And it's not who we are.


FLUKE: We've also seen another America that we could choose. In that American, we'd have the right to choose.


FLUKE: It's an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance, in which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives, in which we decide when to start our families.

An America in which our president, when he hears that a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters -- not his delegates or his donors -- and in which our president stands with all women.


FLUKE: And strangers come together, and reach out and lift her up.

And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here -- and you give me this microphone to amplify our voice. That's the difference.


FLUKE: Over the last six months, I have seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we're all going to be living in one or the other. But only one.

A country where our president either has our back or turns his back, a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight battles that they already won, a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn't apply to our bodies and our voices.

We talk often about choice. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's now time to choose.


ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome former CEO and co-founder of Costco, Jim Sinegal.

COOPER: We just heard from Sandra Fluke.

Paul Begala, what do you think?

BEGALA: Wow, big risk, big reward.

Remarkable poise a really, really professional delivery, for a law student. This is a very young woman that has not been doing this all her life. Really powerful framing of the choice, really zeroing in on the young women, the young men we were just talking about who the president has to get enthused. This whole was on its feet.

COOPER: Alex Castellanos, Republican consultant?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think one of the big problems for Republicans is not just the gender gap, but the gender and age gap.

Last week's convention was a moms' convention. This week's convention is those moms' daughters' convention. A younger target for Democrats.

We saw a very effective speech to them here.

COOPER: Again we should point out she was moved -- she was supposed to be about an hour ago -- she was moved up to be at the most important hour, the 10:00 hour.

GERGEN: It came right at the top of 10:00. A big audience tunes in and she gave the best speech of the night so far. It was a powerful speech and electrified this crowd.

But, Anderson, I must say this is a speech that not only will appeal to young women. There are a lot of young guys who hear about these issues and they look at some of these invasive ultrasound procedures, and I believe they're barbaric. There is a reason to be offended by those kinds of things and that's going to appeal to people.


GERGEN: I do not understand why Republicans have not been willing to stand up against some of that.

CASTELLANOS: But I think a lot of Republicans would make the case that they want to protect all women's rights even if they're a month or two from being born. But I don't think Republicans have been very effective advocates of that.

BORGER: We just did a CNN poll. We asked the question who is more in touch with women, and Barack Obama beats Mitt Romney by 20 -- that's 2-0 -- points on that issue.

What they're trying to do here tonight is attract those young women, and as we were talking about earlier, what's so stunning to me is that this is a convention that is going after social issues. I'm not used to Democrats talking about social issues. And the Republican Convention was so muted on social issues because they didn't want to alienate these women even further.

COOPER: We're going to be hearing from Elizabeth Warren also in this hour.

KING: Where these issues hurt the Democrats are states they don't think they win anyway and where they potentially help them are in your battleground states.

David made the point if the youth drops in this state, goodbye. The president won it by 14,000 votes in a perfect storm in 2008. He needs that vote.

You have had African-American appeal, Latino appeal, gay and lesbian rights appeal. That was appeal to women and young women in Northern Virginia suburbs, another place if the turnout of students and younger voters and younger suburban women is down, the president could -- there's a lot of niche marketing. The big overarching strategic arc debate of this race is the economy, but beneath that it's about turnout and finding every last voter. That was done for very smart strategic reasons.

CASTELLANOS: The other way to say niche marketing is divide and conquer.


CASTELLANOS: President Obama moved left of Clinton. That's why he's bringing back your old boss tonight.

How do you get the middle if you have moved so far away from it that they have abandoned you? You shrink the middle until there is no middle left. That's why the Obama strategy has been rich against poor. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Do you really believe he's so far away from the middle?

CASTELLANOS: Voters do. If you ask voters who is the most radical candidate in this election, it's not Mitt Romney, it's Obama.


BEGALA: Every campaign targets voters.

I love Alex, I do, I love him like a demented brother. But that's just unfair. We all are trying to reach additional voters. I think the reason social issues are rising is two. First off, the left is winning the culture wars, the country is more pro-gay rights than they were before. Less pro-choice, actually.

There hasn't been a great movement on abortion, but Republicans have moved further right. Mitt Romney is calling for the abolition of Title X funding, all federal funding for contraception for poor women. Title X was written by George Bush Sr. when he was a congressman, signed into law by Richard Nixon.


BORGER: Another reason they're doing this is because the economic conversation is the one in which Mitt Romney had the benefit and you want to turn this into choice and not into a referendum -- I have heard that before -- on the economy.

If you want to talk about choice, that's exactly what her speech was about this evening.

BEGALA: The Republicans have -- I hate to say helped -- they have helped by taking really extraordinary positions especially on issues like contraception, which earlier tonight Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood Action Fund said I feel like I woke up in a bad episode of "Mad men."

Contraception has not been an issue debated in a me in 40 years and now all of a sudden Republicans want to outlaw federal funding for contraception.

GERGEN: I do think it's fair to say that President Obama has moved left on economic policies. I think he's widely perceived to have done that. On social policies, I think Paul is exactly right. The country is moving left. The Republican Party has got to wake up...


COOPER: On foreign policy, you would say he is more centric?

GERGEN: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COOPER: Absolutely. If we get a look at this convention floor right now, it is shoulder to shoulder, jam-packed. I'm told the fire marshal is not allowing anyone else in. It is standing room only.

Brianna Keilar is down on the floor.

A lot of anticipation, obviously, for President Clinton's speech, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There is a lot of people here and there were a lot of people here last night and I think because of that, you actually saw the security tightened up a little bit because there were so many people packing the aisles.

We understand there are actually multiple fire marshals -- that's what security has told me -- monitoring the situation. The thing is if you're in the aisle, you're told by security you have to keep walking or that you will actually have to leave the floor.

They're being very much sticklers about it because there are so many people here on the floor. And we also understand it's to the point where they have actually closed down some of the entrances so no more people can come in.

They're monitoring this very carefully and making sure that if people leave, maybe people can come in, but at this point it's a packed house, and if last night was any indication, Anderson, we're expecting it to get even more packed leading up to Bill Clinton's speech -- Wolf, back to you.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Candy Crowley is up on the podium.

The former president of the United States, Candy, is going to be where you are very, very soon. Set the scene for our viewers.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you have the visuals, actually, by just looking at this crowd.

It's actually very kind of calm right now. We have had a lot of speeches that have revved them up, but clearly there is anticipation here because, again, this is a man who is well loved by the Democratic Party and again has high approval ratings in his sort of elder statesman mode which he moved into after he got out of office and sort of wanted to be seen as this elder statesman.

He set up the Clinton Foundation, which sort of tries to help people meet the challenges of the global market and global interdependence. And yet when that bell rings, Bill Clinton is a party man. He sees this as part of his legacy. He sees the continuation of the Democratic movement, the continuation of Democrats in the White House and the House and the Senate as part of his legacy.

And this is a man for whom this crowd is adrenaline. I have never seen a politician that draws so much energy from the people around him. With President Obama, it's almost the opposite. It's almost like the crowd gets energy from him in some ways.

I followed him four years ago. He was the one that sort of infused the crowd, whereas with Bill Clinton, he kind of takes it from the crowd. That's what you will see here tonight, Anderson -- or Wolf -- whichever one, sorry.

BLITZER: You know, Candy, Elizabeth Warren is about to speak, the Democratic senatorial candidate in Massachusetts. She is facing Scott Brown. This crowd is going crazy right now. They really want this former Harvard law professor to win. Let's listen.


ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'm Elizabeth Warren. Thank you. Thank you. I'm Elizabeth Warren. And this is my first Democratic.


CROWD: Warren! Warren! Warren! Warren!

WARREN: OK, enough.

I never thought I would run for the Senate, and I sure never dreamed that I would be the warmup act for President Bill Clinton.


WARREN: He's an amazing man who had the good sense to marry one of the coolest women on this planet.


WARREN: I want to give a special shout-out to the Massachusetts delegation. I'm counting on you to help me win and to help President Obama win.

I'm here tonight to talk about hard-working people, people who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with homework, people who can be counted on to help their kids, their parents, their neighbors, and the lady down the street whose car broke down, people who work their hearts out but are up against a hard truth -- the game is rigged against them.

It wasn't always this way. Like a lot of you, I grew up in a family on the ragged edge of the middle class. My daddy sold carpeting and ended up as a maintenance man. After he had a heart attack, my mom worked the phones at Sears so we could hang on to our house. All three of my brothers served in the military. One was career, the second a good union job in construction. And the third started a small business.

Me, I was waiting tables at 13 and married at 19. I graduated from public schools and taught elementary school. I have a wonderful husband, two great children, and three beautiful grandchildren. And I'm grateful, down to my toes, for every opportunity that America gave me. This is a great country. I grew up in an America that invested in its kids and built a strong middle class, that allowed millions of children to rise from poverty and establish secure lives, an America that created Social Security and Medicare so that seniors could live with dignity, an America in which each generation built something solid so that the next generation could build something better.

But now, for many years, our middle class has been chipped, squeezed, and hammered. Talk to the construction worker I met from Malden, Massachusetts, who went nine months without finding work. Talk to the head of a manufacturing company in Franklin trying to protect jobs but worried about rising costs.

Talk to the student in Worcester who worked hard to finish his degree and now he's drowning in debt. Their fight is my fight, and it's Barack Obama's fight too.


WARREN: That's right. Yes.

People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: They're right.

The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in profits. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. And Wall Street CEOs -- the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs -- still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.

Does anyone here have a problem with that? Well, I do too. I do too. I talk to small business owners all across Massachusetts.

And not one of them -- not one -- made big bucks from the risky bets that brought down our economy. I talk to nurses and programmers, salespeople and firefighters -- people who bust their tails every day. And not one of them -- not one -- stashes their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.


WARREN: These folks don't resent that someone else made more money. We're Americans. We celebrate success. We just don't want the game to be rigged.

We've fought to level the playing field before. About a century ago, when corrosive greed threatened our economy and our way of life, the American people came together under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt and other progressives, to bring our nation back from the brink.

We started to take children out of factories and put them in schools. We began to give meaning to the words "consumer protection" by making food and medicine safe. And we gave the little guys a better chance to compete by preventing the big guys from rigging the markets. We turned adversity into progress because that's what we do.


WARREN: Americans are fighters. We are tough, resourceful and creative.

And if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field -- where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot -- then no one, no one can stop us.

President Obama gets it because he's spent his life fighting for the middle class. And now he's fighting to level that playing field -- because we know the economy doesn't grow from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up. That's how we create jobs and reduce the debt.


WARREN: And Mitt Romney? He wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. But for middle-class families who are hanging on by their fingernails? His plans will hammer them with a new tax hike of up to $2,000.

Mitt Romney wants to give billions in breaks to big corporations -- but he and Paul Ryan would pulverize financial reform, voucherize Medicare, and vaporize Obamacare.

The Republican vision is clear: "I have got mine, the rest of you are on your own."

Republicans say they don't believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney's the guy who said corporations are people.

No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die.


WARREN: And that matters. That matters because we don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that's why we need Barack Obama.


WARREN: After the financial crisis, President Obama knew that we had to clean up Wall Street.

For years, families had been tricked by credit cards, fooled by student loans and cheated on mortgages. I had an idea for a consumer financial protection agency to stop the ripoffs.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) WARREN: Now, the big banks sure didn't like it, and they marshaled one of the biggest lobbying forces on earth to destroy the agency before it ever saw the light of day.

American families didn't have an army of lobbyists on our side. What we had was a president -- President Obama leading the way.


WARREN: And when the lobbyists were closing in for the kill, Barack Obama squared his shoulders, planted his feet, and stood firm. And that's how we won.


WARREN: By the way, just a few weeks ago, that little agency caught one of the biggest credit card companies cheating its customers and made it give people back every penny it took, plus millions of dollars in fines. That's what happens when you have a president on the side of the middle class.


WARREN: President Obama believes in a level playing field. He believes in a country where nobody gets a free ride or a golden parachute. A country where anyone who has a great idea and rolls up their sleeves has a chance to build a business, and anyone who works hard can build some security and raise a family.

President Obama believes in a country where billionaires pay their taxes just like their secretaries do -- and I can't believe I have to say this in 2012 -- a country where women get equal pay for equal work.


WARREN: He believes in a country where everyone is held accountable, where no one can steal your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street.


WARREN: President Obama believes in a country where we invest in education, in roads and bridges, in science, and in the future, so we can create new opportunities, so the next kid can make it big, and the kid after that, and the kid after that.

That's what President Obama believes. And that's how we build the economy of the future, an economy with more jobs and less debt. We root it in fairness. We grow it with opportunity. And we build it together.


WARREN: I grew up -- I grew up in the Methodist Church and taught Sunday school. And one of my favorite passages of Scripture is: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," Matthew 25:40.

The passage teaches about God in each of us, that we are bound to each other and called to act, not to sit, not to wait, but to act -- all of us together.

Senator Ted Kennedy understood that call.


WARREN: Four years ago, he addressed our convention for the last time.

He said, "We have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world."

Generation after generation, Americans have answered that call. And now we are called again. We are called to restore opportunity for every American. We are called to give America's working families a fighting chance. We are called to build something solid so the next generation can build something better. So let me ask you -- let me ask you, America, are you ready to answer this call?

Are you ready to apply for good jobs and a strong middle class? Are you ready to work for a level playing field? Are you ready to prove to another generation of Americans that we can build a better country and a newer world? Joe Biden is ready. Barack Obama is ready. I'm ready. You're ready.

Thank you. God bless you.

BLITZER: Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, currently getting a very prominent role here at this Democratic convention in Charlotte, much more prominent than the role of the incumbent Republican senator, Scott Brown, of Massachusetts got in Tampa last week.

The Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is now going to speak very shortly. We're going to get ready for a videotape of the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. In fact, Villaraigosa is speaking right now. Let's listen to him, then the videotape of the former president, and then Bill Clinton will speak.


MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, LOS ANGELES: ... nominee of our party for president of the United States. Our next speaker will place before you that nomination.



TOM BROKAW, FORMER ANCHOR, NBC NEWS: Unemployment in June was the highest since March of 1984.

DAN RATHER, FORMER ANCHOR, CBS NEWS: The U.S. economy has been in a recession.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten million Americans still officially unemployed.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America!

We believe that investing in grow economics is better than trickle-down economics.

We have got to go beyond the brain-dead politics in Washington and give our people the kind of government they deserve, a government that works for them!

After years of hard effort, the longest economic expansion in history, we proved that we could find a way to balance the budget and protect our values.

We have lots of evidence that presidents who focus on the middle class get better results.

I personally believe that if the American people give you the honor of serving, you should keep on doing it when you leave office.

GRAPHIC: Clinton Foundation: Clinton Global Initiative

CLINTON: I set up this foundation so that I could pursue causes that I could still have an impact on as a private citizen. It is a results-oriented foundation committed...

GRAPHIC: 14,000 U.S. schools building healthier learning environments

CLINTON: ... to taking on the world's biggest challenges.

GRAPHIC: 4.5 million people benefiting from lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment

CLINTON: My life has been a balance between fulfilling initiatives that I always wanted and then responding to things that come up.

GRAPHIC: 400 million lives changed.

CLINTON: What should our shared values be? Everybody counts. Everybody deserves a chance. Everybody has got a responsibility to fulfill. We all do better when we work together.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's helped to create a model for individual responsibility and collective actions that all of us are going to be studying for a very long time.


ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome President Bill Clinton.

CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. And I've got one in mind.

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then, just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that, no matter how -- no matter how many jobs that he saved or created, there would still be millions more waiting. Worried about feeding our own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside but who burns for America on the inside. And I want -- I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, by education, and yes, by cooperation. And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.

I -- I want -- I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States, and I proudly nominate him to be the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.

Now, folks, in Tampa a few days ago, we heard a lot of talk, all about how the president and the Democrats don't really believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everybody to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

This Republican narrative, its alternative universe says that every one of us in this room who amounts to anything, we're all completely self-made. One of the greatest chairmen the Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself. But as Strauss then admitted, it ain't so.

We Democrats, we think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it, where the relentless focus on the future with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. You see, we believe that "we're all in this together" is a far better philosophy than "you're on your own"!

So who's right? Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private- sector jobs. So what's the job score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42! There's a reason for this. It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. When you stifle human potential, when you don't invest in new ideas, it doesn't just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all.

We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us.

There's something I've noticed lately. You probably have, too, and it's this. Maybe just because I grew up in a different time, but though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president and a lot of other Democrats.

That -- that would be impossible for me, because President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower built the interstate highway system.

When I was a governor, I worked with President Reagan in his White House on the first round of welfare reform, and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals.

I'm actually very grateful -- if you saw from the film what I do today, I have to be grateful, and you should be, too, that President George W. Bush supported PEPAR. It saved the lives of millions of people in poor countries.

And I have been honored to work with both presidents Bush on natural disasters in the aftermath on the south Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the horrible earthquake in Haiti. Through my foundation both in both America and around the world, I'm working all the time with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Sometimes I couldn't tell you for the life of me who I'm working with, because we focus on solving problems and seizing opportunities and not fighting all the time.

Here's what I want to say to you, and here's what I want the people at home to think about. When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world.

What works in the real world is cooperation. What works in the real world is cooperation. Business and government, foundations and universities.

Ask the mayors who are here. Los Angeles is getting green and Chicago is getting an infrastructure bank because Republicans and Democrats are working together to get it. They didn't check their brains at the door. They didn't stop disagreeing, but their purpose was to get something done. Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict? Because nobody is right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day.

Every one of us -- every one of us and every one of them, we're compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes knowing we're never going to be right all the time, and hopefully, we're right more than twice a day.

Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn't see it that way. They think government is always the enemy, they're always right, and compromise its weakness. Just in the last couple of elections, they defeated two distinguished Republican senators because they dared to cooperate with Democrats on issues important to the future of the country, even national security. They beat a Republican congressman with almost a 100 percent voting record on every conservative score, because he said he realized he did not have to hate the president to disagree with him. Boy, that was a non- starter, and they threw him out.

One of the main reasons we ought to reelect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation. Look at his record. Look at his record. Look at his record. He appointed Republican secretaries of defense, the Army and transportation. He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008. And he trusted that vice president to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the Recovery Act. And Joe Biden -- Joe Biden did a great job with both!

Now, he -- President Obama -- President Obama appointed several members of his cabinet, even though they supported Hillary in the primary. Heck, he even appointed Hillary.

Now, wait a minute. I am -- I am very proud of her. I am proud of the job she and the national security team have done for America. I am grateful that they have worked together to make us safer and stronger to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I'm grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have enjoyed and the signal that sends to the rest of the world that democracy does not have a blood -- have to be a blood sport; it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest.

Now -- but besides the national security team, I am very grateful to the men and women who served our country in uniform through these perilous times. And I am especially grateful to Michelle Obama and to Jill Biden for supporting those military families while their loved ones were overseas. And for supporting our veterans when they came home, when they come home bearing the wounds of war or needing help to find education or jobs or housing.

President Obama's whole record on national security is a tribute to his strength, to his judgment and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship. We need more of it in Washington, D.C. Now, we all know that he also tried to work with congressional Republicans on health care, debt reduction and new jobs. And that didn't work out so well. But it could have been because, as the Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment of candor, two full years before the election, their No. 1 priority was not to put America back to work; it was to put the president out of work.



CLINTON: Wait a minute. Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we're going to keep President Obama on the job!

Now, are you ready for that? Are you ready to work for it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

CLINTON: In Tampa -- in Tampa -- in Tampa, did you all watch the convention? I did. In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president reelection was actually pretty simple, pretty snappy. It went something like this: "We left him a total mess. He hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in."

But they did it well. They looked good, they sounded good, they convinced me that they all love their families and their children, and we're grateful they've been born in America. And all -- really, I'm not being -- they did. And this is important. They convinced me they were honorable people who believe what they said, and they're going to keep every commitment they've made. We just have to make sure the American people know what those commitments are.

Because -- because, in order to look like an acceptable, reasonable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they just didn't say very much about the ideas they've offered over the last two years. They couldn't, because they want to go back to the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place.

They want to cut taxes for high-income Americans even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts. They want to actually increased defense spending over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they'll spend it on. And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle-class and poor children. As another president once said, there they go again.

Now, I like -- all right. I like the argument for President Obama's reelection a lot better. Here it is. He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well- balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for innovators.

Now, are we where we want to be today? No. Is the president satisfied? Of course not. But are we better off than we were when he took office? Listen to this. Listen to this. Everybody sit down. Everybody sit down.

When President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk 9.4 percent of the GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Are we doing better than that today? The answer is yes.

Now, look, here's the challenge he faces and the challenge all of you who support him face. I get it, I know it, I've been there. A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated about this economy. If you look at the numbers, you know employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend again, and in a lot of places, the housing prices are even beginning to pick up. But too many people do not feel it yet.

I had this same thing happen in 1994 and early '95. We could see that the policies were working, that the economy was growing, but most people didn't feel it yet. Thankfully, by 1996, the economy was roaring, everybody felt it, and we were halfway through the longest peace-time expansion in the history of the United States.

But -- wait, wait -- the difference this time is purely in the circumstances. President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. Listen to me now. No president, no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years.

Now -- but he has -- he has the foundations for a new modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president's contract, you will feel it. You will feel it.

Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it.

Now, why do I believe it? I'm fixing to tell you why. I believe it because President Obama's approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America has to take to build a 21st Century version of the American dream, a nation of shared opportunities, shared responsibility, shared prosperity, a shared sense of community.

So let's get back to the story. In 2010, as the president's recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped, and things began to turn around. The Recovery Act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes. Let me say this again. Cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people.

And, in the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4.5 million private-sector jobs. We could have done better, but last year the Republicans blocked the president's job plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs.

So here's another job score. President Obama, plus 4.5 million. Congressional Republicans, zero.

During this period -- during this period, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. And that's the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.

And I'll tell you something else. The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs and not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That's why even the automakers who weren't part of the deal supported it. They needed to save those parts suppliers, too. Like I said, we're all in this together.

So what's happening? There are now 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than on the day the companies were restructured.

So now we all know that Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here's another job score. Are you listening in Michigan and Ohio and across the country? Here -- here's another job score. Obama, 250,000. Romney, zero.

Now, the agreement the administration made with the management labor and environmental groups to double car mileage, that was a good deal, too. It will cut your gas prices in half, your gas bill. No matter what the price is, if you double the mileage of your car, your bill will be half of what it would have been. It will make us more energy independent. It will cut greenhouse gas emission. And according to several analyses, over the next 20 years, it will bring us another half a million good new jobs into the American economy.

The president's energy strategy, which he calls "all of the above," is helping, too. The booming oil and gas production, combined with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near 20- year low and natural gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled.

Of course, we need a lot more new jobs, but there are already more than 3 million jobs open and unfilled in America, mostly because the people who apply for them don't yet have the required skills to do them. So even as we get Americans more jobs, we have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are actually going to be created. The old economy is not coming back. We've got to build a new one and educate people to do those jobs.


The president and his education secretary have supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for jobs that are actually open in their communities. And even more important, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the dropout rate so much that the percentage of our young people with four-year college degrees has gone down so much that we have dropped to 16th in the world in the percentage of young people with college degrees.

So the president's student loan reform is more important than ever. Here's what it does. Here's what it does. Here's what it does.


You need to tell every voter where you live about this. It lowers the cost of federal student loans. And even more important, it gives students the right to repay those loans as a clear, fixed, low percentage of their income for up to 20 years.


Now, what does this mean? What does this mean? Think of it. It means no one will ever have to drop out of college again for fear they can't repay their debt.


And it means -- it means that if someone wants to take a job with a modest income, a teacher, a police officer, if they want to be a small-town doctor in a little rural area, they won't have to turn those jobs down because they don't pay enough to repay the debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary. This will change the future for young Americans. (APPLAUSE)


CLINTON: I don't know about you, but all these issues, I know we're better off because President Obama made the decisions he did.

Now, that brings me to health care.


And the Republicans call it, derisively, "Obamacare." They say it's a government takeover, a disaster, and that if we'll just elect them, they'll repeal it. Well, are they right?


CLINTON: Let's take a look at what's actually happened so far. First, individuals and businesses have already gotten more than $1 billion in refunds from insurance companies because the new law requires 80 percent to 85 percent of your premium to go to your health care, not profits or promotion. And...


The gains are even greater than that, because a bunch of insurance companies have applied to lower their rates to comply with the requirement.

Second, more than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents' policies can cover them.


Third, millions of seniors are receiving preventive care, all the way from breast cancer screenings to test for heart problems and scores of other things, and younger people are getting them, too.

Fourth, soon the insurance companies -- not the government, the insurance companies -- will have millions of new customers, many of them middle-class people with pre-existing conditions who never could get insurance before.


Now, finally, listen to this. For the last two years, after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years, health care costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time in 50 years.



So let me ask you something. Are we better off because President Obama fought for health care reform? You bet we are.


Now, there were two other attacks on the president in Tampa I think deserve an answer. First, both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly "robbing Medicare" of $716 billion. That's the same attack they leveled against the Congress in 2010, and they got a lot of votes on it. But it's not true.

Look, here's what really happened. You be the judge. Here's what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all, none.

What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals to cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that were not making people healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide the service.


And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the savings to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program.


And -- you all got to listen carefully to this. This is really important -- and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare trust fund so it is solvent until 2024. So...


So President Obama and the Democrats didn't weaken Medicare. They strengthened Medicare.


Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama's Medicare savings as, quote, "the biggest, coldest power play," I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...


... because that $716 billion is exactly to the dollar the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget!


You got to give one thing: It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.



Now -- so -- wait a minute.


Now you're having a good time, but this is getting serious, and I want you to listen.


It's important, because a lot of people believe this stuff. Now, at least on this issue, on this one issue, Governor Romney has been consistent. He...


He attacked President Obama, too, but he actually wants to repeal those savings and give the money back to the insurance company.


He wants to go back to the old system, which means we'll reopen the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and we'll reduce the life of the Medicare trust fund by eight full years.


So if he's elected, and if he does what he promised to do, Medicare will now go broke in 2016. Think about that. That means after all we won't have to wait until their voucher program kicks in, in 2023, to see the end of Medicare as we know it. They're going to do it to us sooner than we thought.


Now, folks, this is serious, because it gets worse. And you won't be laughing when I finish telling you this. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming 10 years. Of course, that's going to really hurt a lot of poor kids.

But that's not all. A lot of folks don't know it, but nearly two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for Medicare seniors who are eligible for Medicaid.



It's going to end Medicare as we know it. And a lot of that money is also spent to help people with disabilities, including...


... a lot of middle-class families whose kids have Down's syndrome or autism or other severe conditions.

And, honestly, just think about it. If that happens, I don't know what those families are going to do. So I know what I'm going to do: I'm going to do everything I can to see that it doesn't happen. We can't let it happen. We can't.


Now, wait a minute. Let's look...

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

CLINTON: Let's look at the other big charge the Republicans made. It's a real doozy.


They actually have charged and run ads saying that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work. Wait. You need to know, here's what happened.


Nobody ever tells you what really happened. Here's what happened. When some Republican governors asked if they could have waivers to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration listened, because we all know it's hard for even people with good work histories to get jobs today, so moving folks from welfare to work is a real challenge. And the administration agreed to give waivers to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment.

Now, did -- did I make myself clear? The requirement was for more work, not less.

(APPLAUSE) So this is personal to me. We moved millions of people off welfare. It was one of the reasons that, in the eight years I was president, we had 100 times as many people move out of poverty into the middle class than happened under the previous 12 years, 100 times as many. It's a big deal.


But I am telling you, the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform's work requirement is just not true. But they keep on running ads claiming it.

You want to know why? Their campaign pollster said, "We are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."



Now, finally I can say: That is true.



I -- I -- I couldn't have said it better myself.


And I hope you and every American within the sound of my voice remembers it every time they see one of those ads, and it turns into an ad to re-elect Barack Obama and keep the fundamental principles of personal empowerment and moving everybody who can get a job into work as soon as we can.


Now let's talk about the debt. Today, interest rates are low, lower than the rate of inflation. People are practically paying us to borrow money, to hold their money for them. But it will become a big problem when the economy grows and interest rates start to rise. We've got to deal with this big long-term debt problem or it will deal with us. It'll gobble up a bigger and bigger percentage of the federal budget we'd rather spend on education and health care and science and technology. It -- we've got to deal with it.

Now, what has the president done? He has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, with $2.5 trillion coming from -- for every $2.5 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues, 2.5 to 1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That's the kind of balanced approach proposed by the Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan commission.

Now, I think this plan is way better than Governor Romney's plan. First, the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers just don't add up. (LAUGHTER)

I mean, consider this. What would you do if you had this problem? Somebody says, "Oh, we've got a big debt problem. We've got to reduce the debt." So what's the first thing he says we're going to do? "Well, to reduce the debt, we're going to have another $5 trillion in tax cuts, heavily weighted to upper-income people. So we'll make the debt hole bigger before we start to get out of it."

Now, when you say, "What are you going to do about this $5 trillion you just added on?" They say, "Oh, we'll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code." So then you ask, "Well, which loopholes? And how much?" You know what they say? "See me about that after the election."


I'm not making it up. That's their position. "See me about that after the election."

Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.


If -- arithmetic.


If they stay with this $5 trillion tax cut plan in a debt reduction plan, the arithmetic tells us, no matter what they say, one of three things is about to happen. One, assuming they try to do what they say they'll do -- get rid of -- cover it by deductions, cutting those deductions -- one, they'll have to eliminate so many deductions, like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving, that middle- class families will see their tax bills go up an average of $2,000, while anybody who makes $3 million or more will see their tax bill go down $250,000.

(BOOING) Or, two, they'll have to cut so much spending that they'll obliterate the budget for the national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel. They'll cut way back on Pell grants, college loans, early childhood education, child nutrition programs, all the programs that help to empower middle-class families and help poor kids. Oh, they'll cut back on investments in roads and bridges and science and technology and biomedical research. That's what they'll do. They'll hurt the middle class and the poor and put the future on hold to give tax cuts to upper-income people who've been getting it all along.

Or, three, in spite of all the rhetoric, they'll just do what they've been doing for more than 30 years. They'll go and cut the taxes way more than they cut spending, especially with that big defense increase, and they'll just explode the debt and weaken the economy, and they'll destroy the federal government's ability to help you by letting interest gobble up all your tax payments.

Don't you ever forget, when you hear them talking about this, that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office...


... and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic.


It was a highly inconvenient thing for them in our debates that I was just a country boy from Arkansas and I came from a place where people still thought two and two was four.


It's arithmetic. We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double-down on trickle-down.


Now, think about this. President Obama...


President Obama's plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of our children, our families, and our nation. It's a heck of a lot better. It passes the arithmetic test and, far more important, it passes the values test.


My fellow Americans, all of us in this grand hall and everybody watching at home, when we vote in this election, we'll be deciding what kind of country we want to live in. If you want a winner-take- all, you're-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket. But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we're-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.


If you...


If you want -- if you want America -- if you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures...


... just -- just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority, and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama.


And if you think -- if you think the president was right to open the doors of American opportunity to all those young immigrants brought here when they were young so they can serve in the military or go to college, you must vote for Barack Obama.


If -- if you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty's declining, where the American dream is really alive and well again, and where the United States maintains its leadership as a force for peace and justice and prosperity in this highly competitive world, you have to vote for Barack Obama.


Look, I love our country so much. And I know we're coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we've always come back. People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden, false teeth. And so far every single person that's bet against America has lost money, because we always come back.


We've come through every fire a little stronger and a little better. And we do it because, in the end, we decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, the cause of forming a more perfect union.


My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama.


God bless you. And God bless America.