I’ll let the President speak for himself in this post. If people listen to him without filtering it through their hatred, racism or sore-loser glasses, you can clearly see that President Obama is the exact person who should be leading our country. There is no other politician that even comes close to being as qualified to lead our country. I know I’ll be called an Obot or Obamaton or any number of junior high school names that the haters have for us. I don’t really care, to be honest. Here are the highlights, as I read them…(emphasis mine)
George Stephanopoulos: You said it would lead to a fundamentally different America.
President Obama: Well, and I think that’s absolutely true. If you set revenues at around 16 percent of our gross domestic product, then what flows from it is exactly what Mr. Ryan’s proposing. 70 percent cuts in clean energy. 25 percent cuts in education. We cut transportation spending by a third. And we end Medicare as we know it, fundamentally. I mean, that– that’s just– that– but that’s a fact.
George Stephanopoulos: And you were so forceful on that. And you said, “As long as you’re President, you’re not going to sign any deal where the taxes don’t go up on the wealthy.” Republicans have been just as hard-lined on the other side. How do you reconcile those two visions?
President Obama: …(cut) So, we get to that $4 trillion without having to fundamentally change Medicare. Without having to abandon our commitment to parents who have kids who are autistic or you know, those of us who have parents who– who may end up being in a nursing home and can’t afford the care. Without abandoning our commitment to investments in things like transportation or education that are going to help us create jobs and economic growth over the long term. So– but– the– what I wanted to do yesterday, and I– I think I did successfully is to make very clear to the American people that we have a choice. We can’t get everything the government offers and not pay for it. And I think everybody agrees on that. And so, we have two choices. Either we don’t pay for it. In which case we have a– society that is not caring for our seniors the way it should, is not providing some basic security for people who really need it, and is not investing in the future. Or we can decide to continue on the path that has made us the greatest country on earth. Make those investments. Have a basic social safety net. And we can do it without hurting the middle class–
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George Stephanopoulos: You had a pretty soft launch to your reelection campaign last week. Your– more from your supports than from you yourself. And I was just wondering if you could take the opportunity. Why should Americans reelect you?
President Obama: I think that we have gone through two and a half of the most challenging years that we’ve seen since the Great Depression. And during that time, not only have we been able to yank this economy out of a very, very deep recession. Not only have we been able to stabilize the financial system and get the economy to grow again. Not only have we now produced over 1.8 million jobs just in the last year. But what we’ve also been able to do is to make the society a little fairer, more competitive. We’ve been able to invest in things like clean energy like never before. We’ve been able to make sure that young people are able to go to college in and make it more affordable. We’ve been able to, you know, make changes like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that allow people who want to serve their country as patriots able to do that regardless of sexual orientation. So, we’ve– in addition to managing big crises, we’ve still been able to move a vision of the country forward that is going to give greater opportunity for more people than ever before. And of course, the job’s not done. We’ve got to make—
George Stephanopoulos: I wonder how you size up your potential opponents? I mean all of us have been struck by Donald Trump rising to the top of the Republican field by feeding fantasies about your background. What do you make of that?
President Obama: Well you know, I think that over the last two and a half years there’s been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans. But creates, I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. (LAUGHS) He– he doesn’t have horns. We may disagree with him on some issues and we may wish that you know, the unemployment rate was coming down faster and we want him to know his plan on gas prices. But we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or– or birth certificates. And so– I– I think it presents a problem for them. But, look I right now have such a big day job that I am not yet focused on what’s happening on the other side. There’ll be a time where I’m– I’m very focused on it.
George Stephanopoulos: –you called out your potential opponents a little bit yesterday saying they embraced the Ryan plan?
President Obama: Well, what is true is a couple of them seem to share that vision of where the country goes. And– and I think the 2012 election is going to be important. I said in my speech yesterday that we are– there– there’s clarity that is emerging about where we go as a country. We are at a– at a fork in the road here. And– I think somebody like Paul Ryan is very sincere. I think he fundamentally believes that government should get out of the way in just about all areas of life. And he genuinely believes that you know, the more successful you or I are we should keep as much of that monetary success as we can without giving much back. And I respect his sincerity on that. I respect the fact that that is the vision that the Republicans have– have presented. What we’re now seeing is the fact that it’s not enough just to say, “I’m going to keep your taxes low and make government small.” We’ve got to make real choices. Do we want to maintain Medicare? If we do, we’ve got to pay for it. Do we believe that we should have the best roads and the best airports and the best ports and the best railways in the world ’cause we’re the greatest country on Earth? If we do, we’ve got to have a way of paying for it. If we believe that it’s unacceptable for our seniors not to be able to go into a nursing home when they need care or, you know, children who are poor not to be able to get a good education. If we believe those things, and I think the vast majority of Americans do, then we’ve got to make sure that we’re paying for it. And I think government has to be smart, it has to be lean, it has to be efficient. But ultimately the vision of society that I have is one in which we are rising together. And we are competing with other countries around the world. And in order to do that we can’t just be thinking about ourselves. And that’s particularly true for folks like you and me, George, who have been unbelievably blessed. You know, we– neither of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouths. But we– we were in a society where if you work hard and you’re responsible and sometimes you’re a little bit lucky, you can achieve that American dream.