President Obama Held Town Hall in Missouri on Day 100
Earlier, today, Apr. 29, the President traveled to Arnold, Missouri for a town hall meeting to report, so to speak, to the American public.
President Obama marked the 100th day of his young presidency with an event here in the bluest of 2008's red states, taking stock of his accomplishments and the challenges ahead and fielding questions from a jam-packed high school gym.
He spoke with the audience to review his 100 days. Bear in mind that these excerpts have been edited by this writer for brevity as information are distilled for readers.
Readers can read the full length of the Town Hall text here.
Now, back in November, some folks were surprised that we showed up in Springfield at the end of our campaign. But then again, some folks were surprised that we even started our campaign in the first place. They didn't give us much of a chance. They didn't know if this country was ready to move in a new direction.
But here's the thing -- my campaign wasn't born in Washington. My campaign was rooted in neighborhoods just like this one, in towns and cities all across America; rooted in folks who work hard and look after their families and seek a brighter future for their children and for their communities and for their country.
I ran for President because I wanted to carry those voices -- your voices -- with me to Washington. I just want everybody to understand: You're who I'm working for every single day in the White House. I've heard your stories; I know you sent me to Washington because you believed in the promise of a better day. And I don't want to let you down.
Now, after 100 days, I'm pleased with the progress we've made, but I'm not satisfied. I'm confident in the future, but I'm not content with the present -- not when there are workers who are still out of jobs, families who still can't pay their bills; not when there are too many Americans who can't afford their health care, our children are being left behind and our nation is not leading the world in developing 21st century energy. I'm not satisfied. And I know you aren't either. The crisis that we're confronting was many years in the making; it will take us time to overcome it."
He spoke at length of progress he believed he had made in this short time, from the Recovery Act to the Budget Resolution, from education to sustainable energy, as he urged the public to be patient.
The Q&A session covered a wide range of topics from auto industry to education, from environment to Sudan. Bear in mind that these excerpts have been edited by this writer for brevity as information are distilled for readers.
On the auto industry, and Chrysler in particular, President Obama emphasized that he strongly believes in sustaining a vibrant American auto industry:
We don't know yet whether the deal is going to get done. I will tell you that the workers at Chrysler have made enormous sacrifices to try to keep the company going. One of the key questions now is, are the money people willing to make sacrifices, as well? We don't know yet, but there's still a series of negotiations that are taking place.
Q: It's an honor to meet you, President Obama.
The President: Thank you so much. What is your name?
Q: I'm a fourth grader. I was curious, how is your administration planning to be more environmentally friendly?
The President: "Well, that is just a great question. You're a very poised and articulate fourth grader. Yes, isn't she impressive? Yes, absolutely. We might have to run you for President some day.
Well, there are some short-term things we can do, and there are some long-term things we can do. On the short-term list, we already, for example, passed a historic public lands bill that creates many more acres of public space that is environmentally protected --- from logging and from other -- from mining and from other uses. I think this is going to be very important.
Now, in some cases what we do is we balance the need for economic growth, but we do it in a sustainable way. There doesn't have to be a contradiction between jobs and the environment, we just have to be thinking a little smarter. So, for example, when it comes to forestry, there's nothing wrong with us cutting down some trees for timber, as long as you make sure that it's done in a sequence and is spaced properly so that the forest itself is sustained.
Sometimes these debates become this all-or-nothing thing: either commercial interests can do anything they want -- dump stuff in the oceans and tear down all the forests, and that's the only way we can get economic growth; or alternatively, everybody is hugging trees and you can't cut a tree. You know, the key principle is sustainability. Are what we are doing -- will ensure that you have this incredible treasure we call America when you grow up, for your kids, so you can take them into a park, so sportsmen or fishermen can enjoy it. That's the key.
Now, there is a long-term problem that we've got to deal with, and that is this issue of climate change. I want to tell you the truth here because this is going to be a debate that we're going to be having over the course of the next year. Now, the question, again, is how do you do it in an intelligent way? There are some people who would say this is such a big problem that you just got to shut everything down. Well, I'm sorry, that's not going to happen. People have got to go to work, and we've got to drive, we've got to fly places. Our economy has to grow.
I think one of the best ways to do it is to say, in a gradual way, let's set a cap, a ceiling, on the carbon pollution that comes out of all sorts of places: our utilities, our cars, our industries. Let's take a look at all the carbon that's being sent into the atmosphere that's causing climate change, and let's say that each year we're going to reduce the allowable amount in total that is released.
Here is the great opportunity for everyone to participate in this effort. The country that gets there fastest, the country that's the first one to figure out really good battery technology for a plug-in hybrid car, the first country that perfects wind power and solar power and knows how to get it from one place to another in an efficient way, that country will dominate the economy of the 21st century the same way that America dominated the 20th century. I want that to be America. That's what we're fighting for."
NP invites its readers to participate in its poll.
Source: The White House Press Office
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