In a news conference at the White House today, President Obama called for urgent action to address gun violence in the United States:
The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence.
That’s why I’ve asked the Vice President to lead an effort that includes members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January—proposals that I then intend to push without delay. This is not some Washington commission. This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now. I asked Joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country. That plan—that bill also included the assault weapons ban that was publicly supported at the time by former Presidents including Ronald Reagan.
I'm not going to be able to do it by myself. Ultimately, if this effort is to succeed, it’s going to require the help of the American people—it’s going to require all of you. If we're going to change things, it’s going to take a wave of Americans—mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals—and, yes, gun owners—standing up and saying “enough” on behalf of our kids.
From passing the Affordable Care Act to saving the American auto industry, President Obama has fought hard for the American people over the past four years. Check out images from some of the key moments of the President’s first term, then share them with your friends.
As part of the final push two days out from Election Day, President Obama made a three-state swing, speaking to thousands of supporters in New Hampshire, Florida, and Ohio.
The day began this morning with the largest campaign event in New Hampshire state history. On the Capital Square in Concord, the President emphasized how far we’ve come, and how much work is left to be done in the next four years:
“We’ve made real progress these past four years. But New Hampshire, we’re here because we know we’ve got more work to do. As long as there is a single American who wants a job but can’t find one, our work is not yet done. As long as there are families who are working harder and harder but still falling behind, our work is not yet done. As long as there is a child anywhere in New Hampshire, anywhere in this country, who is languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, our fight has to go on. Our fight has to go on.
“Our fight goes on because we know this nation can’t succeed without a growing, thriving middle class. Our fight goes on because America has always done best when everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules. That’s what we believe. That’s why you elected Bill Clinton in ’92. That’s why you elected me in 2008. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.”
From there it was on to Hollywood—Florida, that is. At the McArthur High School football stadium, President Obama talked about how Americans know who he is and what he stands for:
“Here’s the thing. When you make this choice, part of what you're choosing is who do you trust.
“Because you don't know what crisis the next president is going to confront. You don't know what challenge we may have to meet that was unexpected. So part of what you’re focused on is how does somebody operate. And, Florida, after four years as President, you know me by now. You may not agree with every decision I’ve made. You know, Michelle doesn’t agree with every decision I've made. You may be frustrated sometimes at the pace of change. I'm frustrated by the pace of change sometimes. But here’s the thing, is you know I say what I mean and I mean what I say.
“I said I'd end the war in Iraq—I ended it. I said I'd pass health care reform—I passed it. I said I'd repeal "Don't ask, Don't tell"—we repealed it. I said we’d make sure the auto industry came back strong—it’s come back strong.
“You know what I believe. You know where I stand. And you know that no matter what happens, I’ll fight for you and your family every single day, as hard as I know how.
“So when you're trying to compare the two candidates’ agendas and we're talking about change, you know I know what real change looks like, because I’ve fought for it. Because I've brought it. Because I've got the scars to prove it. Because I've gotten gray hair doing it. And after all we’ve been through together to bring about change, we can’t give up on it now.”
The trip ended tonight in Cincinnati, Ohio, where the President asked the crowd for their vote.
“The folks at the very top in this country, they don't need another champion in Washington. They will always have a seat at the table. They will always have access and influence. The people who need a champion are the Americans whose letters I read late at night when I get up from the Oval Office; the men and women I meet on the campaign trail every day.
“The laid-off worker who has to go back at the age of 55 to retrain at a community college—she needs a champion. The restaurant owner who has some really good food but not a lot of money, and needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down—he needs a champion.
“The cooks and the waiters and the cleaning staff working overtime at a Cincinnati hotel, trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kid to college—they need a champion. The autoworker back on a job, feeling proud because he’s building a great car—he needs a champion. That teacher in a classroom, overcrowded classroom, digging into her own pocket to buy school supplies, not getting the support she needs, but knowing maybe this day that one child will learn something, and that makes it all worthwhile—she needs a champion.
“All those kids in inner cities and small farm town, in the valleys of Ohio, the rolling Virginia hills—kids dreaming of becoming scientists or doctors or engineers or entrepreneurs, businessmen, diplomats, maybe even a President—they need a champion in Washington. They don't have a lobbyist. The future doesn't have the same kind of lobbyists as the status quo, but it’s the dreams of those children that will be our saving grace.
“And that’s why I need you, Ohio—to make sure their voices are heard, to make sure your voices are heard. We’ve come too far to turn back now. We’ve come too far to let our hearts grow faint. We’ve got to keep pushing forward to educate all our kids, and train all our workers, to create new jobs, to bring our troops home, to care for our veterans, to broaden opportunity, to grow a middle class, to restore our democracy—to make sure that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what you look like, you can make it in America. You can make it if you try.
“And, Ohio, that’s why I’m asking you for your vote.”
From the final presidential debate on Monday through a 48-hour swing through eight states followed by one last stop in New Hampshire yesterday, it's been a busy week on the campaign trail. Take a look at the photos and share them with your friends.
President Obama brought his 48-hour, cross-country trip to a close in Cleveland, Ohio, where thousands of supporters greeted his arrival on Air Force One.
"We don't look backwards, we look forward. We look at that distant horizon, we look at that new frontier. We are not afraid of the future. Our destiny is not written for us, it's written by us. And we can write that next chapter together."