Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sully O’Sullivan: Obama

Why all people should fear the re-election of a black president.

Source: YouTube

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West Wing Week: 6/29/121 or “The Right Thing to Do”

This week, the President spoke at the annual NALEO conference, hosted the Congressional Picnic and addressed the nation on the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act, while his administration announced grants for cities hiring veterans as police officers, and spoke with students about college affordability.

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FACT SHEET: The Affordable Care Act: Secure Health Coverage for the Middle Class

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensures hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve and protects every American from the worst insurance company abuses.  This law was also specifically designed to give States the resources and flexibility they need to tailor their approach to their unique needs.  With the uncertainty about the Court’s decision behind us, it’s now time to focus on implementing this law in a smart and non-bureaucratic way that works for the middle class.
 
Benefits and Protections for the Middle Class: The Affordable Care Act includes numerous provisions to keep health care costs low, promote prevention, and hold insurance companies accountable.  If you’re one of the 250 million Americans who already have health care – whether through private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid – the Affordable Care Act is already making your coverage more secure.

  • Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your child coverage due to a pre-existing condition, or charge women more than men.
  • Over 86 million Americans have gained from coverage of preventive care free of charge, like mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
  • Nearly 13 million Americans will receive a rebate this summer because their insurance company spent too much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
  • The law has already helped 5.3 million seniors and people with disabilities save an average of over $600 on prescription drugs in the “donut hole” in Medicare coverage.
  • The law’s provisions to strengthen and protect Medicare by fighting fraud will continue.
  • The law has helped 6.6 million young adults who have been able to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, including 3.1 million young people who are newly insured.

If you are one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.  If you need care, you will finally have the same opportunity to get quality, affordable coverage as everyone else.
 
Coverage for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions: A major impact of the Court's decision is that 129 million people with pre-existing conditions will have the security of affordable health coverage.  Starting in 2014, insurance companies can no longer charge you more, carve out benefits, or deny you coverage altogether because you have cancer or diabetes or simply because you are a woman.  To make these protections affordable, people with and without pre-existing conditions should be insured, since everyone at some time needs health care.
 
Tax Credits for Middle Class Families and Small Businesses: Millions of Americans will soon be eligible for tax credits to ensure that their health insurance is affordable. Under today’s ruling, having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice.  If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable.  But starting in 2014, if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free.  The Court’s ruling today allows Congress to hold the projected 1% of Americans who will be able to afford health insurance but will choose not to buy it responsible for that choice.  Many small businesses are already receiving tax credits so they can afford to offer quality health care to their employees.  To date, 360,000 businesses that employ 2 million workers have already benefitted from the small business tax cuts in the law.  And once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, about 18 million individuals and families will get tax credits for health insurance coverage averaging about $4,000 apiece.
 
Support for State Implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges: With the uncertainty of the Court decision behind us, we will step up our work with States to implement Affordable Insurance Exchanges.  Exchanges are new marketplaces, starting in 2014, that will allow individuals and small businesses to compare and choose private health plans.   Each State will take the lead in designing its own menu of options.  Already, 34 States including the District of Columbia have received 100 percent Federally funded grants to build Exchanges.  The use of Exchange grants includes support for activities related to running Exchanges in their start-up year.
 
States can also implement their own brand of reform through Innovation Waivers starting in 2017.  If States can come up with even better ways of covering people at the same quality and low cost, this law allows them to do so.  The Administration supports bipartisan legislation to allow States to start such Waivers in 2014.
 
Moving Forward, Not Back: No political party has a monopoly on good ideas, and the President will work with anyone to provide basic security for middle class families and end the worst insurance company abuses.  But rather than refight old partisan battles by starting over on health care and repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class, Congress needs to work together to focus on the economy and creating jobs.  Right now, Congress should act on the President’s concrete plans to create an economy built to last by reducing the deficit in a balanced way and investing in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation.

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Natoma Canfield’s Letter to President Obama

This letter in my office is a reminder of how health reform benefits Americans. Today's victory is 1 for all of us. -bo twitter.com/whitehouse/sta…

— The White House (@whitehouse) June 28, 2012

In his remarks on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, President Obama spoke about a letter from a woman named Natoma Canfield. The letter, sent to the President during the health care debate, still hangs in his office as a reminder of what the Affordable Care Act means for Americans around the country.

Today, the President told Natoma's story and explained why he carried it with him every day of the fight to pass this law:

For years and years, Natoma did everything right.  She bought health insurance.  She paid her premiums on time.  But 18 years ago, Natoma was diagnosed with cancer.  And even though she’d been cancer-free for more than a decade, her insurance company kept jacking up her rates, year after year.  And despite her desire to keep her coverage — despite her fears that she would get sick again — she had to surrender her health insurance, and was forced to hang her fortunes on chance.
 
I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law.  It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well.
 
Natoma is well today.  And because of this law, there are other Americans — other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers — who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance.  These are the Americans for whom we passed this law.

And here is the full text of Natoma's letter:

Dear President Obama

I am 50 years old.  I was diagnosed with carcinoma in-situ 16 years ago and following my divorce 12 years ago I became self-employed.  After my Cobra ran out I was able to find costly, but affordable health insurance. As a responsible individual, I have struggled to maintain my individual coverage and have increased my deductible and out of pocket-limits in an attempt to control my cost and keep my health insurance.

Last year (2009) my insurance premium was increased over 25% even though I increased my deductible and out of pocket to the highest limits available.  I paid out $6075.24 in premiums, $2415.26 for medical care, $225 in co-pays and $1500 for prescriptions.  I never reached my deductible of $2500 so the insurance company only paid out a total of $953.32 to my providers.

I must repeat, in 2009 my insurance company received $6075.24 in premiums and paid out only $953.32!  Incredibly I have just been notified that my premium for next year 2010 has been increased over 40% to $8496.24 ($708.02 per month)!!!!  This is the same insurance company I have been with for over 11 cancer free years!!!

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White House Office Hours: The Affordable Care Act

Today, the Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensuring that hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve and protecting every American from the worst insurance company abuses.

The fact of the matter is the Affordable Care Act is already helping millions of Americans just like you, by ensuring that insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men, that no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, and allowing for 6.6 million young adults to stay on their family’s plan until they’re 26.

These are just a few of the ways the Affordable Care Act means a more secure future for millions of Americans. For a comprehensive overview of the Affordable Care Act, visit WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform and HealthCare.gov.

Have questions about what the Affordable Care Act means for you and your family?  Today, Thursday, June 28th at 4:30 p.m. EDT, we're holding a special session of White House Office Hours on Twitter with Jeanne Lambrew, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy who will answer your questions.

Here's how it work:

  • Ask your questions now and during the live event on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat
  • Follow the Q&A live through the @WHLive Twitter account
  • If you miss the live session, the full session will be posted on WhiteHouse.gov and Storify.com/Whitehouse

To learn more about what the Affordable Care Act means for you visit Whitehouse.gov/HealthReform, then join us for Office Hours today at 4:30 p.m. EDT with Jeanne Lambrew.

Be sure to follow @WhiteHouse for the latest updates and more opportunities to engage.

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Supreme Court Upholds President Obama’s Health Care Reform

Today, the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensures hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve and protects every American from the worst insurance company abuses. The Court has issued a clear and final ruling on this law.

For a comprehensive overview of the Affordable Care Act, visit WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform and HealthCare.gov.

Let’s take a look at what today’s ruling means for the middle class:

  • Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men. 
  • Soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma.
  • Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies–including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors. 
  • By August, millions of Americans will receive a rebate because their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses. 
  • 5.3 million seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs. 
  • Efforts to strengthen and protect Medicare by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse will remain in place.
  • 6.6 million young adults will still be able to stay on their family's plan until they're 26.

A major impact of the Court's decision is the 129 million people with pre-existing conditions and millions of middle class families who will have the security of affordable health coverage. 

We should also remember that under today’s ruling, having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice. If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable. But if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free.

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Remarks by the First Lady at the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference

Gaylord Opryland Resort
Nashville, Tennessee

11:05 A.M. CDT
 
MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, my, my, my.  (Applause.)  Please, you all rest yourselves.  Thank you so much.  Let me tell you, it is such a pleasure and an honor to join you today in Nashville for your 2012 General Conference.
 
I want to start by thanking Bishop McKenzie for her introduction.  And I want to honor her for the history she’s made –
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Amen!
 
MRS. OBAMA:  Absolutely.  (Applause.)  For the example she has set and for her inspired leadership in this church.
 
I also want to thank Mayor Dean for his service to this city and for taking the time to join us here today. 
 
And finally, I want to thank all of the bishops, pastors, and lay leaders in AME churches here in America and around the world.  (Applause.) 
 
You all are part of a proud tradition, one that dates back to the founding of that first AME Church and the founding of this nation and has shaped its history every day since.  You all know the story — how back in the late 1700s, a man named Richard Allen bought his freedom from slavery — (applause) — became a minister, and eventually founded a Methodist church called Bethel Church – or “Mother Bethel” as we know it today.  That first AME church was located in a blacksmith’s shop, and that first congregation had just a few dozen members. 
 
But there’s a reason why one pastor called Bethel’s founding “a Liberty bell for black folks.”  (Applause.)  There’s a reason why W.E.B. Dubois said that Bethel Church “belongs to the history of the nation rather than to any one city.” 
 
You see, before long, that little church had grown to 1,000 members, and soon, AME Churches were cropping up all across this country.  Over the years, these churches served as stops on the Underground Railroad.  (Applause.)  They founded universities that educated generations of black leaders.  They hosted civil rights marches, meetings and rallies, even under the threat of being vandalized, bombed or burned to the ground.  Icons like Frederick Douglas and Rosa Parks, leaders like Jim Clyburn, trailblazers like Oliver Brown of Brown v. Board of Education, Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine — they all worshipped at AME churches.  (Applause.) 
 
So did many of the quiet heroes who never made the headlines –- the maids walking home in Montgomery, the young people riding those buses in Jackson, the men and women who stood up and sat-in because they wanted something better for their children. 
 
I know that I am here today because of those heroes.  (Applause.)  My husband is in the White House today because of them.  (Applause.)  Because of those heroes, today my daughters and all our children and grandchildren can grow up dreaming of being doctors and lawyers, CEOs and senators, and yes, maybe even the President of the United States of America.  (Applause.) 
 
That is the legacy of the AME church –- and of African American churches and denominations across the country.  But let’s be clear, a legacy is not an end unto itself.  (Applause.)  As another pioneering AME woman, Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams, once said — (applause) — she said, “You do the best you can and try to leave a legacy, but somebody has to carry it on.”  (Applause.) 
 
And that’s what I want to talk with you about today.  I want to talk about how we carry on the legacy that is our inheritance as Americans, as African Americans, and as members of the AME church.  I want to talk about what we can learn from our history about the power of being an active, engaged citizen in our democracy. 
 
Now, back when Frederick Douglas was still working on a plantation, back when Rosa Parks was still riding that segregated bus, the injustices we faced were written in big, bold letters on the face of our laws.  And while we may have had our differences over strategy, the battles we needed to fight were very clear.  We knew that to end slavery, we needed a proclamation from our President, an amendment to our Constitution.  To end segregation, we needed the Supreme Court to overturn the lie of “separate but equal”.  To reach the ballot box, we needed Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. 
 
So yes, we moved forward and we won those battles, and we made progress that our parents and grandparents could never have imagined.  But today, while there are no more “whites only” signs keeping us out, no one barring our children from the schoolhouse door, we know our journey is far from finished.  (Applause.) 
 
But in many ways, the path forward for this next generation is far less clear.  I mean, what exactly do you do about children who are languishing in crumbling schools, graduating from high school unprepared for college or a job?  And what about the 40 percent of black children who are overweight or obese, or the nearly one in two who are on track to develop diabetes in their lifetimes?  What about all those kids growing up in neighborhoods where they don’t feel safe; kids who never have opportunities worthy of their promise?  What court case do we bring on their behalf?  What laws do we pass for them?
 
You see, today, the connection between our laws and our lives isn’t always as clear as it was 50 years or 150 years ago.  And as a result, it’s sometimes easy to assume that the battles in our courts and legislatures have all been won.  It’s tempting to turn our focus to what’s going on in our own lives and with our own families, and just leave it at that. 

And make no mistake about it, change absolutely starts at home.  (Applause.)  Change absolutely starts with each of us, as individuals, taking responsibility for ourselves and our families because we know that our kids won’t grow up healthy until our families start eating right and exercising more.  That’s on us.  (Applause.)  We know that we won’t close that education gap until we turn off the TV, and supervise homework, attend those parent-teacher conferences, and serve as good role models for our own children.  That’s on us. 
 
But while we certainly need to start at home, we all know that we cannot stop there because the fact is that our laws still matter.  Much like they did 50 years ago, or 150 years ago, our laws still shape so many aspects of our lives:  Whether folks are paying their fair [share of]* taxes, or not; whether we invest in roads and schools, and the jobs that come with them, or not; whether our sons and our daughters who wear our country’s uniform get the support and benefits they’ve earned, or not.  You see, those decisions are made by the folks sitting in Congress and in our White House.  They’re made by the folks in our state legislatures and city halls.  And we all know who’s supposed to select those folks, don't we?  We know who’s supposed to tell those folks what to do, right?  We are.  That’s our job.  That is our most fundamental right and our most solemn obligation –- to cast our ballots and have our say in the laws that shape our lives.
 
Dr. King knew that.  That’s why back in 1965, he came to Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma and declared — (applause) — he said, “When we get the right to vote, we will send to the statehouse not just men who will stand in the doorways of our universities…but men who will uphold the cause of justice.”
 
John Lewis understood the importance of that right.  That’s why, just months after Dr. King’s speech, he faced down a row of billy clubs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, risking his life so that we could one day cast our ballots.  (Applause.) 
 
But today, how many folks do we know who act like that right doesn’t even matter?  How many of us have asked someone whether they’re going to vote, and tell us, “No, I voted last time,” or “Is there really an election going on?  Really?”, or “Nah, nah, it’s not like my vote’s gonna make a difference.”  How many times have we heard that?  After so many folks sacrificed so much so that we could make our voices heard, so many of us just can’t be bothered.
 
But let’s be very clear, while we’re tuning out and staying home on Election Day, other folks are tuning in.  (Applause.)  Other folks are taking politics very seriously.  And they’re engaged on every level.  They’re raising money.  They’re making their voices heard –- and their issues known –- from City Hall to Washington, DC.  And I know that in the face of all of that money and influence, it can start to feel like ordinary citizens just can’t get a seat at the table.  And that can make you feel helpless and hopeless.  It can make you feel or think that you’re powerless.
 
But I’m here today because that’s simply not true.  We are not helpless or hopeless.  (Applause.)  Time and again, history has shown us that there is nothing –- nothing -– more powerful than ordinary citizens coming together for a just cause.  (Applause.)  And that is particularly true of folks in the AME church.  And I’m not just talking about the big speeches and protests that we all remember.  I’m talking about everything that happens between the marches, when the speeches are over and the cameras were off.  I’m talking about the thousands of hours that folks like Roy Wilkins and Daisy Bates spent strategizing in cramped offices late at night.  I’m talking about the folks in Montgomery who organized carpools and gave thousands of rides to perfect strangers.  I’m talking about the volunteers who set up drinking fountains and first aid stations on the Washington Mall and made 80,000 bags of lunches for folks who marched on that August day.  I’m talking about the tireless, the thankless, relentless work of making change –- (applause) — you know, the phone-calling, letter-writing, door-knocking, meeting-planning kind of work.  (Applause.)  That is the real work of democracy –- what happens during those quiet moments between the marches. 
 
It’s kind of like church.  Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon and good music and a good meal.  It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well — (applause) — especially in those quiet moments, when the spotlight’s not on us, and we’re making those daily choices about how to live our lives.
 
We see that in the life of Jesus Christ.  Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church.  We know that.  He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day.  He was out there spreading a message of grace and redemption to the least, the last, and the lost.  And our charge is to find Him everywhere, every day by how we live our lives. 
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes.
 
MRS. OBAMA:  That is how we practice our faith. 
 
You see, living out our eternal salvation is not a once-a-week kind of deal.  (Applause.)  And in a more literal sense, neither is citizenship.  Democracy is also an everyday activity.  And being an engaged citizen should once again be a daily part of our lives.  That is how we carry on that precious legacy we've inherited — by recommitting ourselves to that day-to-day, vitally important work that has always paved the way for change in this country.
 
What does that mean?  That means being informed.  It means following the news, and learning about who's representing us, and how our governments work.  It means showing up to vote — and not just every four years, but every year in every election.  (Applause.)  It means engaging with the folks we elect, following how they vote and how they spend our hard-earned tax dollars.  And if you don’t like what you see, then let them know, or better yet, run for a seat at the table yourself.  (Applause.)
 
And I know I am preaching to the choir here.  I know that many of you have been active and engaged for decades.  And I'm here today to urge you to continue that work and bring others along with you.  Because we know that the only way to be heard above all the noise is to lift our voices up together. 
 
So I want you to talk to your friends and your family, your neighbors.  Talk to them.  Talk to folks in the beauty salons, the barbershops, the parking lot at church.  Tell them what's happening on the city council and out in Washington.  Let them know.  Find that nephew who has never voted — get him registered.  (Applause.)  Start an email list or a Facebook group.  Send people articles about issues you care about, and then call them to make sure they've read them.
 
And to anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better — no place better.  (Applause.)  Because ultimately, these are not just political issues — they are moral issues.  They're issues that have to do with human dignity and human potential, and the future we want for our kids and our grandkids.  And the work of inspiring and empowering folks, the work of lifting up families and communities — that has always been the work of the AME Church.  (Applause.)  That’s what you all do best.
 
Think about it for a minute.  Folks just don’t turn to all of you in times of spiritual crises.  They come to you with financial crises and health crises and family crises of all kinds.  That’s why AME churches are taking on issues from HIV/AIDS to childhood obesity to financial literacy.  Every day, you all are giving folks the tools they need to take control of their lives and get back on their feet.
 
And if you're not already doing this, I'm here to ask you to take that work to the next level.  So the next time you organize that food drive, pair it with a meeting at city hall and ask what they're doing to fight hunger in your community.  If you've got an exercise ministry or a health ministry, maybe they can work with your town council to clear out a walk-in trailer, clean up a local park.  Keep on doing that great work with your youth groups, but start showing up at those school board meetings and make sure those kids are getting the education they deserve.  (Applause.)  Take it to the next level.
 
In the end, I think that Bishop McKenzie put it best when she said — and this is her quote — she says, "It's a tragedy when you fail to climb the mountain of opportunity after your season of preparation."  She says, "It's a tragedy when you fail to try to exercise the gifts that God has given you, even in the face of difficulty.  It's a tragedy."  And God has given us so many blessings and gifts, and such a long season of preparation.  And after so many years of toil and struggle, it is time to climb that mountain of opportunity.  It's time.  (Applause.)  It is time. 
 
And I know that mountain may seem high.  I know there are days when you just want to come home and put up your feet, kick back with the kids.  I know that sometimes the problems we face seem so entrenched, so overwhelming that solving them seems nearly impossible.  But during those dark moments, I want you to remember that doing the impossible is the root of our faith.  It is the history of our people, and the lifeblood of this nation.  (Applause.) 
 
Because if a young shepherd could defeat a giant — (applause) — if a man could lead a band of former slaves against the most powerful city in the land until its walls tumbled down, if a simple fisherman could become the rock upon which Christ built his church — (applause) — then surely, we can do our part to be more active citizens.
 
If Ernest Green could face down an angry mob to get an education, if Rosa Parks could sit unmoved on that bus, if Richard Allen could transform a blacksmith's shop into a church that changed history, then surely — surely — we can get our communities more engaged in our democracy.  If so many people could sacrifice so much for so long to leave this magnificent legacy for us, then surely we can find a way to carry it forward for our children and our grandchildren.
 
And when you grow weary in this work — and you will — when you think about giving up — and you will — I want you to think about a photo that hangs today in the West Wing of the White House. 
 
It is a picture of a young black family visiting the President in the Oval Office.  The father was a member of the White House staff, and he brought his wife and two young sons to meet my husband.  In the photo, Barack is bent over at the waist — way over.  And one of the sons, a little boy just 5 years old, is reaching out his tiny hand to touch my husband's head.  And it turns out that upon meeting Barack, this little boy gazed up at him longingly and said, "I want to know if my hair is like yours."  (Applause.)  And my husband replied, "Well, why don’t you touch it and see for yourself."  So he bent way over so the little boy could feel his hair, and after touching my husband's head, the boy exclaimed, he said, "Yeah, it does feel the same."  (Applause.) 
 
And every couple of weeks, the White House photographers change out all the photos that hang in the West Wing — except for that one.  See, that one, and that one alone, has hung on that wall for more than three years. 
 
So if you ever wonder whether change is possible in this country, I want you to think about that little black boy in the Oval Office of the White House touching the head of the first black President.  (Applause.)  And I want you to think about how children who see that photo today think nothing of it because that is all they've ever known, because they have grown up taking for granted that an African American can be President of the United States.  (Applause.) 
 
And I want you to think of the stories in the Bible about folks like Abel and Noah; folks like Abraham and Sarah, and the verse in Hebrews that says, "All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised.  They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance."  (Applause.)  Through so many heartbreaks and trials, those who came before us kept the faith.  They could only see that promised land from a distance, but they never let it out of their sight. 
 
And today, if we're once again willing to work for it, if we're once again willing to sacrifice for it, then I know — I know — we can carry that legacy forward.  I know we can meet our obligations to continue that struggle.  I know we can continue the work of those heroes whose shoulders we all stand on.  And I know we can finish the journey they started and finally fulfill the promise of our democracy for all our children.
 
Thank you, and God bless.  (Applause.)

END
11:32 A.M. CDT

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Remarks by the President at a Picnic for Members of Congress

South Lawn

7:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody! 

AUDIENCE:  Hello!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, you don’t have to worry, I will not be singing.  We have professionals for that.  (Laughter.)  But on behalf of Michelle and myself, I just want to say welcome.  We have a perfect day for a picnic.  It is spectacular. 

We want to thank, as usual, our outstanding Marine Band.  (Applause.)  They can play anything at any time.  And we’re so grateful for their service to our country.  Obviously, that goes to all our men and women in uniform, and today is a great day for us to acknowledge everything they do to provide our liberty and way of life.

I want to say a special welcome not only to the members of Congress, but most importantly to their families — (applause) — because Michelle reminds me every day how difficult it is to be married to a politician.  (Laughter.)  And the sacrifices that all of you make — the birthday parties that get missed, or the soccer games that you’re late to, the travel that keeps you away from your loved ones — all of that obviously is in service of our country, and you guys are serving alongside those of us who hold elective office.  So we’re thrilled that you have at least one day where you got a chance to be together in Washington and nobody is arguing. 

So that also just reminds me that for all the political differences that are sometimes expressed in this town, we are first and foremost Americans — not Democrats or Republicans.  (Applause.)  And I think all of us want to make sure that during extraordinarily challenging times for this country that we constantly keep that in mind.  That’s what the people who sent us here are expecting.  And I know that each of us in our own way are hopeful that because of the work that we do here we pass on something a little better and a little brighter to our kids and our grandkids. 

And so, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you.  I’m glad I see some folks here in shorts — (laughter) — and some Hawaiian shirts.  And so everybody is dressed appropriately for a picnic.  If you still have your tie on, take it off.  (Laughter.)  Make sure to enjoy the barbecue, enjoy the music. 

MRS. OBAMA:  Go see the garden.

THE PRESIDENT:  Go see the garden if you want.  And we are going to be coming down on this rope line and I want to be able to shake everybody’s hands.  I warn you in advance that because the line is long, it’s going to be hard for us to pose for individual pictures for everybody.  The exceptions that we make are kids who are 12 and under.  How about that?  That’s going to be our cutoff.  (Applause.)  So little kids, if you want a picture, I don’t mind.  I can’t say no to little kids.  You bigger folks, you’re just going to get a handshake and maybe a kiss if — (laughter) — unless you haven’t shaved, in which case — anyway, everybody have a wonderful time. 

God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.) 

END
7:16 P.M. EDT

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USA Apocalyptic FIRES Ravage.. COLORADO & NATIONWIDE ..8000 Fighters; 550 Trucks 79 Copters 6.28.12

- – SUBSCRIBE FOR PREDICTIONS THAT MAY AFFECT YOU – - June 28, 2012 Deadly Apocalyptic Fires are raging across the USA with unbelievable statistics. Officials report that there are currently 8400 FireFighters, 578 Fire Trucks, 79 Helicopters fighting fires. After unbelievable fires in New Mexico and other states, Colorado is now overwhelmed with such record breaking fires that it is using up more than 50 percent of nationwide federal resources. After already evacuating thousands of homes, in one night the fire doubled in size sending firefighters and more than 35000 residents fleeing for their lives at once. This situation is so dire that it has drawn a special presidential visit." June 30, 2012: PRESIDENT OBAMA TO VISIT June 28, 2012 – 8400 Fire Fighters; 578 Fire Trucks; 79 Helicopters fighting fires nationally – More than 50% of Federal resources are now in Colorado – "Never seen anything like this before" says everyone June 27, 2012 – Dramatically Worsening Fires – Double in size overnight – 35000 FLEE HOMES – 2000 Resident Evacuated from Air For Academy – 105 Degrees of Searing Heat (Record tie with 1989) – 65 mph Winds – Utah: Woman Found Dead – 257 Houses Burnt; Record for Colorado June 26, 2012 – 7000 More Residents Evacuated – Only 3% Humidity; 98 Degrees; – Dry Thunderstorms June 25, 2012 EL PASO FIRE – 4000 Homes Evacuated form El Paso County – "This is a day we’ve long dreaded woul dcome’ says Mayor – Zero(0) Containment June 24, 2012 NEW COLORADO FIRE <b>…</b>

Source: YouTube

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Honesty on Fieger – Presidential Election 2012

"Can we speak honestly about Geoffrey Fieger?" — RAMZPAUL Geoffrey Fieger creates a commercial that claims that White people who question President Obama origin of birth are "racists". Fieger claims that Mitt Romney’s dad never faced such questions. RAMZPAUL debunks this lie. Fieger’s video: www.youtube.com Article that debunks Fieger’s lie. www.reuters.com

Source: YouTube

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