Obama Inagural Congress Speech February 24, 2009

by

www.cnn.com

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, Obama said it’s time to act boldly not just to revive the economy, but “to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.”

“While the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater,” he said.

The president struck an optimistic tone, asserting that “we will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

Obama focused on the three priorities of the budget he will present to Congress later this week: energy, health care and education.

The president said he sees his budget as a “vision for America — as a blueprint for our future,” but not something that will solve every problem or address every issue.

“It reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited — a trillion dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession,” he said.

Obama said his administration already has identified $2 trillion in government spending cuts that can be made over the next decade.

Obama also pledged a “historic commitment” to health care and said the recovery plan could lead to a cure for cancer. He also promised the “largest investment ever” in preventive care.

On education, Obama set a goal of having the highest college graduation rate in the world by 2020.

He pointed to the billions for education — from early childhood education expansion to college-loan programs — in the economic stimulus package to ensure that every child has access to education “from the day they are born to the day they begin a career.”

Obama also said his budget will pay for more soldiers and Marines, increase their pay and expand veterans health care and benefits.

Obama said the recovery plans already in the works are immediate steps to revive the economy in the short-term, “but the only way to fully restore America’s economic strength is to make the long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world.”

“Slowly, but surely, confidence will return, and our economy will recover,” he said, asking Congress to join him in “doing whatever proves necessary because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession.”

Obama promised to reform the regulatory system to “ensure that a crisis of this magnitude never happens again.”

The president also signaled that he was willing to take on entitlements, saying that Congress must take on the growing costs of Medicare and Social Security.

Obama described the nation’s financial woes as a “reckoning” for poor decisions made by both government and individuals.

“A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future,” Obama said.

“Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.”

Noting that is easy to “become cynical and doubtful,” Obama said he has learned that “hope is found in unlikely places.”

Obama avoided lofty rhetoric and instead used examples of specific people to personalize his points.

He mentioned Leonard Abess and Ty’Sheoma Bethea — two of the Obamas’ invited guests.

While the economy was the focus of the speech, Obama also touched on foreign policy.

The president said he’ll soon be laying out specifics on how to win the war in Afghanistan and end the one in Iraq.

“We are now carefully reviewing our policies in both wars, and I will soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said, both Afghanistan and its border with Pakistan will remain a key focus.

PART I

PART II

PART III

PART IV

PART V

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4 Responses to “Obama Inagural Congress Speech February 24, 2009”

  1. gotkindle Says:

    The speech was great.
    I wish they didn’t clap so many times and for so long.
    —-
    got kindle?

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