The U.S. Intelligence Community
Rancho Santa Fe, California
6:47 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you for the comment about the book, Allan. I — I appreciate it. And tell your wife I said, “Thank you for all the preparation.” It’s never easy. Everybody says, “No problem.” You have to work like the devil to get it done. (Laughter.)
And I want to thank all of you for not just the help, but for taking the time. Your time is more valuable than anything else. And thank you for doing this. I really mean it.
You know, I heard you had read the book. The book is “Promise Me, Dad.” It’s about my son. And my son — my number-one son who should be the one standing here as President, not me. He was the attorney general in the state of Delaware.
And he volunteered to go with his unit to Iraq for a year. And he was — he came back. He was near one of those burn pits. I was in and out of Iraq over 26 times, and those — you know the burn pits I’m talking about? Those — they’re 8 to 10 feet deep and the size of football fields that burn everything in it from combustible — anyway. And an awful lot — just like those firefighters, you know, on 9/11. Well, he came back. He went one of the fittest men in his unit, came back with stage four glioblastoma.
And I know a lot of you have — as you came through the line — talked to me about cancer and how important it was to deal with it. And — and there’s nothing like — you lose someone to cancer, it’s like losing a piece of your soul, losing a part of you.
And — but I hope you found — anyone who’s had a loss — the thing that I found, which is that, you know, they never — it never goes away. It becomes part of you. And I find myself asking — for real, Mom — I find myself asking myself, in important decisions I have to make, “What would Beau do? What would Beau do?”
And so, thank you for acknowledging you read the book.
And I want to thank — you know, and I’m not sure I rescued you from — from Sacramento, but thank you for being here, Senator. (Laughter.)
And — and I also want to thank Scott Peters for being here. You know, I’ve served with an awful lot of members of Congress. I served in the United States Senate for longer than I’d like to admit. I was proud to be in there for 36 years. And you can make distinctions among the people you serve with.
And the highest compliment I can give any member of the — that stands for public office is they have absolute integrity. Absolute integrity. This man has integrity from the tip of his shoes to the top of his brow. And it matters. It matters. You know — (applause) —
I mean this sincerely: You only have — when you’re — when you’re in public life, you only have one thing for certain that you can offer, and that is: Are you a person of your word? Can people count on what you say? And will they stand there?
I was 29 years old when I got elected to the United States Senate. And I came from a — not a poor background, but a modest background. My dad never had a chance to go to college. We lived in a three-bedroom home, a split-level home with a — with four kids and a grandpop. And — but we — we were fine. It was when we were developing suburban areas and they’re building 60 homes alike. That kind of thing.
And — and the interesting thing was that — well, for my dad, it was always about —
At any rate, I ended up running for office against a man in 1972 — when I was 29 years old — who was a decent man. Matter of fact, he — he endorsed me the second time I ran. He was a — this ain’t your father’s Republican Party. This is when there were other Republicans. And he was — he was very much involved in the environmental movement and a lot. Anyway, a good man.
And Nixon won my state by 65 percent of the vote. And I won by a whopping 3,100-vote majority — a plurality. And that’s because I have — you guys are only missing one thing. You got three brothers together like I did, but we had a sister who was smarter and better looking than all of us. And she managed — (laughter) — she managed all my campaigns.
And so, when I ran and I won, everybody would say, “Well, you’re 29 and you meet a guy who was — you beat a guy who was very popular. What’s your secret?” Every time anyone was going to run for office — and I mean this is certainly; my word as a Biden — they’d say, “What’s — what’s the secret? There must be something special. Because how the hell did you win?” And I’d say — you know, I’d just look at them.
And finally, I figured out what — and this is what I like about Scott — is — you know, I said, “The secret you have to communicate to people is what is worth — what are you worth — what is worth to you to lose? What’s worth losing over?” Because if you don’t know what you’re willing to lose over, then you should be in another business. It doesn’t mean you’re bad or good. Just, you can make a lot more money doing other things. You can do a lot of things without a lot of grief. But what’s worth losing over?
And, folks, there’s another — and that’s what you are, pal.
REPRESENTATIVE PETERS: Appreciate it.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I really — no, I really mean it. I really genuinely mean it.
And we have different politics these days, as you’ve all observed. You know, you may remember this. In the tw- — after the 2020 election, which, finally, even Fox News is admitting I won. (Laughter.)
But — (laughs) — you think I’m kidding. (Laughter.)
But, you know, it was — after that election, I predicted we were going to do well in the off-year election. We were supposed to get clobbered. We were supposed to lose in 2022 overwhelmingly, and I was sure we weren’t going to lose. And — because I think the American public has moved to a place where they’re genuinely worried about our democracy. Not a joke. That’s not hyperbole.
And I made a speech at Independence Hall saying, “Democracy is at stake.” And I was very, very graphic about what was at stake. And we only lost by five votes, and we shouldn’t have lost that. They were in New York State. And we actually picked up governor seats.
My point is this: The American public, I think, knows what they want. And — but we have allowed, because of the nature of how — and I know the press is here and there’s good folks in the press. The — I think if you’ve got — pull them aside, like I get pulled aside and ask them honestly, you know, “What’s it like being in the press these days?” Not a joke. “What’s it like being in the press these days?” And it gets kind of hard. It gets kind of hard.
And so — you know, and people tune in to what they want to hear. Everybody, if you’re — if you’re a moderate to liberal, you want to look at MSNBC. That’s the only thing you’ll watch on cable. If you’re conservative, you’ll turn to Fox. And it’s just getting too narrow what we’re doing.
And I think the American public is a lot more united on critical things than we give them credit for, but it’s awful hard these days to — to overcome, understandably, the cynicism and the like.
You know, I just think that — you know, we’ve made some historic progress in the last two years. No matter whether I were President or not, it happened. We made historic progress. We’ve created 12 million new jobs, more than — (applause) — no — that’s more jobs in two years than any President has created in four years. We’ve created 800,000 new manufacturing jobs. Eight hundred thousand.
Where is it written that we won’t be the manufacturing capital of the world again? Where — where does it say that?
But we acted like that wasn’t the case because we allowed certain things to happen. It was really easy in the past for — and I hope I don’t offend anybody, but I am going to just say what I believe — it was really easy before, because what would happen is: Corporate America, beginning — and I come from the corporate state of the world; more corporations in my state than every other state in the Union combined. Okay? And I won 36 years in a row. So I’m not — I’m a capitalist; I’m not anti-corporation.
But what happened about — it started about 20 years ago. It started to find — chase labor costs. And so a lot of corporations decided it was better to go find jobs overseas, which are cheaper — cheaper labor — and import the products.
Well, I decided we should change that dynamic. We should be importing things — we should be importing jobs from overseas and sending product overseas. And that’s begun to happen, because we’re no longer looking for the — that formula.
When I announced for the presidency of the United States in 2020, I said I was running for three reasons. One was to restore the soul of this country. And I — that was not, again — to use the word twice — hyperbole. That was — the — the — the dialogue had degraded so much — the way we talked to one another, the way we — we described one another in politics.
You know, I remember I — my — after my son had died, I decided I was never going to run for public office again. And so I got a — I became a full professor at the University of Pennsylvania. And they set up the Biden Institute, and I could hire people that I brought from my — the former administration. And I was able to do that. And I enjoyed it.
But when I saw those folks coming out of the woods, literally, down in Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying torches — carrying torches, and singing the same antisemitic vile that was sung in the ‘30s in Germany, with swastikas, and accompanied by the white supremacist — the Ku Klux Klan, the leader. And a young woman was killed. I talked to her mom. A young woman was killed.
And the last guy who had this job, they asked, “Well, can you describe what happened?” He said, “Well, there were two groups of very good people. There were two very good groups of people.” And that’s when I decided that I had to do something.
And what happened was — then I concluded that I just wasn’t going to do it, because I knew how mean and ugly the race would be, because things have gotten meaner and uglier. And I have — I have — I had two children left and four grand- — five grandchildren. And what happened was that I decided I just couldn’t do it.
We have a tradition in our family. Not a joke. Any child can ask for a family meeting. It only has occurred about 10 times from the time of my fathers, but I really mean it. If there was something serious on their mind, they’re taken seriously.
So I got a phone call from my eldest granddaughter, named after my deceased daughter. And Naomi called. And she was, at that time, a senior at Columbia Law School. She said, “We’d like to have a family meeting, Pop.” And then I had one who was a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, one who was a soph- — a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. And the one is with me tonight, who is my — the love of my life, Natalie — my deceased son’s oldest. She’s going to be a freshman at Penn next year. And my son — my grandson, little Hunter Biden.
And so, we had the meeting in the library with just Jill, me, and my — my — at that time — I have six now, I had four grandchildren — or, excuse me, five grandchildren — three granddaughters and — four granddaughters and a grandson. And they started to tell me why they thought I should run.
And my granddaughter said, “Well, you know, Daddy would want you to run, Pop. Daddy would want you to run.” I said, “It’s going to be too mean, honey.”
And I ended up — without taking you through it all — my youngest — Hunter, who is now just — just was at — just last night his 18th birthday — 17th birthday. He took out his cellphone, and he said, “Pop we know it’s going to be mean,” and showed me a photograph on the cellphone of me walking out of the memorial mass for my son Beau where there are 2,000 people who showed up — with my hand on a straight — hand on a — on a flag-draped coffin. He won the — he won the Bronze Star, the Conspicuous Service Medal. He was a hell of a guy. And I had my arm around my son — the way I put my arm — I had my arm around my grandson like this — (puts hand on shoulder of audience member) — when we’re walking. And my other hand was on the coffin. And the caption in the — in the — on the — I got to know which unit it was on — said, “Biden molests another child.” He said, “We know it’s going to be ugly, Pop.”
And that’s when I decided to go ahead and run. Because, look, folks, that’s not who we are. That is not who we are as a people. I don’t believe that for a second. It’s a distinct minority and it’s been given too much license, but that’s not who we are. And so I decided to run.
And when I did, I decided the best thing — there are certain things that are — you know, as I said, back when I told you why ran in the first place — there are certain things worth losing over. There are certain things worth losing over. It’s not worth the job if you have to support things you really don’t think are correct.
If it’s a toss-up, I go with what the public opinion is. But if it’s anything else, I go with what I think.
And so, what happened was we were told we couldn’t do anything in a bipartisan way. But guess what? We passed more major bipartisan legislation than anybody has in the recent past. We, first of all, passed the first piece of — major piece of legislation, which bailed out every state, county, and city in America; it was almost $2 trillion, without a single Republican vote. But it brought — it kept us from emptying our nurses and hospitals and making sure we had first responders and — because the cities and counties didn’t have the money from tax reser- — from tax revenue to pay to keep them on — on the job.
And then, what we did was we sat down and, you know, made sure that we began to focus on the Inflation Reduction Act, which we put in, for example, a $369 billion investment in climate, because it is the existential threat to humanity.
Our grandchildren and great grandchildren are either going to live lives that are decent and honorable and good, or they’re going to be in real trouble. If we let the — if we go to about 1.5 centigrade [sic] above — degrees above where we are now, we’re done; there’s no way to turn it around, according to the scientists that tell us.
And so, we passed that. And then we — what we did was we decided to focus on inflation because it was bad. And we brought down inflation 30 percent since the summer. Gas prices are down more than $1.50 from their peak.
And NATO united in Europe is — under Ukraine — to do with Ukraine. Remember, when the war started, I was unfortunately — because I had access that I made sure that I was going to not reveal what the intelligence people call “sources and methods” — who said it or did it. But I got — I got clearance from the intelligence community. And remember, I said that those 158,000 people along the border, those Russians on the Ukrainian border — I said they’re going to invade. Because I wanted everybody to know we knew what was happening. And they invaded. The largest invasion since World War Two. Over 185,000 Russian troops invaded.
And so, because he counted on the fact that NATO was not going to hold, NATO would split, we wouldn’t all agree. Well, I’ve spent literally over 1,800 hours dealing with all those NATO leaders — as recently as today, by the way, with one of them, from Great Britain — holding us together, not because of me, but just working it. Because I’m convinced that if we stay together, they cannot succeed.
And so, the end result of all that is that Putin was of the of the mind that he was going to be able to break NATO and split the Alliance and that’s when everything would begin to fall apart.
Well, folks, you see what’s happening to those Ukrainians. They’re a brave people. God love them, as my mother would say. God love them. They’re doing a remarkable job. And now you have 144 members of the United States — of — excuse me, of the United Nations — saying that the Russians are dead wrong, they’re engaged in — in serious genocide that’s going on in that country. They don’t say “genocide” — war crimes.
But the point I’m making is that there was a miscalculation. And so, we’ve all stayed together. And the end result has been that NATO is — they’re still hanging on. Who knows what exactly is going to happen from here on in. That’s another issue.
But the point is that we held democracies that — we held the democracies together, all of us.
And so, in addition, we passed the most significant bipartisan gun safety law in 30 years — ghost guns and other things. But, you know, you may remember, I got in a lot of trouble because, 15 or 20 years earlier, I’m the guy that passed the — I was the guy that wrote the assault weapons ban and limited the number of bullets that can be in a clip. Who in God’s name needs a 100-bullet magazine on a gun for any reason other than to kill people?
And so, it passed. And violent and mass murderers went down significantly in that 10 years, from the early ‘90s, when we passed it, until the first Republican administration came along and they couldn’t get the votes to keep it.
But the point is, we got — for 30 years, we got nothing done on guns. Well, now we got the gun law passed, and it’s helping. But I’m not going to rest until we pass the assault weapons ban and a mag- — and a limitation on the magazines that are existing.
And so, you know, it used to be that we were the ones who were — we spent 2 percent of our GDP on research and development as a nation. We used to be number one in the world. Now we’re number nine in the world. China used to be number eight in the world. Now they’re number one in the world — number two in the world.
We are the nation of innovation, research and development. But we stopped investing in both of those things, not only — I’m going to get to it in a second — not only in terms of medicine, but in terms of everything.
And so, when we passed that bill, we passed — I — we wrote a bill that was called the CHIPS and Science Act. The CHIPS and Science Act has attracted a commitment of $300 billion in investment from around the world and here in the United States. The first major initiative to build these computer chips, which are the size — little size of the tip of your little finger and are extremely — needed for everything, from automobiles to your new refrigerators and every major initiative we have going on.
Well, guess what? We weren’t able to get them during the pandemic because we were importing them from Asia, South Asia; we were importing them from other places, and we couldn’t get them.
And that’s why — for example, the reason why inflation spiked two years ago is we couldn’t buy any automobiles. The cost of automobiles went up so high because they didn’t have the computer chips to make our automobiles. And so, the end result was we got this passed.
And — for example, the first major initiative is a $20 billion investment by Intel, just about 20 miles, not even that far, west of Cleveland, in a thousand acres of what I call the “field of dreams.” They’re going to build two “fabs,” they call them.
It’s going to take a total of 12,000 workers to do it; 7,000 construction workers making a union wage. I make no apologies for that. And number two, 5,000 people are going to work in these fabs. You know what the average salary of these fabs are going to be? A hundred and thirty thousand dollars a year. And you don’t need a college degree.
And that’s — now, we have commitments for $300 billion for that investment. We just announced the same thing up in Syracuse, New York; Poughkeepsie, New York; out in — and Arizona and New Mexico. It’s going to be all over the country.
And we’re going to put people to work, and we’re going to be the beginning of the supply chain, not the end. And we’re going to make it available everybody, to other countries as well. But you’re just not going to be on the short end of that supply chain any longer. And it’s beginning to have a real impact. It’s going to create thousands of good-paying jobs.
In addition to that, what we did was we passed the — the infrastructure law. You know, how can you be — you all know, if you ever get involved — and I can tell anybody who works at the state legislature or anywhere else — you want to attract a business, what do you have to do? First question they ask you: “How close is the nearest port? Where’s — what’s the access to highway or rail? What’s the…” And it goes on. Because they want to make a product they can get to market as quick as possible.
How can you be the leading country in the world with a second-rate infrastructure? We used to rank number one. Now we ranked number 15 in the world. How did that happen? What do we do?
So, guess what? We’re creating thousands upon thousands of good-paying jobs. And we’re investing in everything — not just roads and ports and bridges, which we’re doing — but also high- speed Internet that’s available and safe and cheap for everyone in America, making sure that you don’t have to — if you have to — if you have another shutdown on the schools for whatever reason, you don’t have to pull in front of the McDonald’s parking lot to connect to the Internet so your kid can do their homework. Not a joke.
A gentleman told me he is both a doc and a cattle rancher. Well, if you want to be able to know when to sell your cattle, man, you got to do it — you have to have Internet to be able to be — to know when the best time is. There’s a whole range of things.
My generic point is simple: We have to have the best infrastructure in the world if we’re going to have the best economy in the world. And, again, it creates thousands of new jobs, good jobs.
And, by the way, we’re investing one- — and it’s bipartisan — $1 trillion 200 billion over 10 years. Remember last guy around, we talked about “Infrastructure Week” and it never occurred? We got “Infrastructure Decade” — Infrastructure Decade” to modernize this country in a way that used to be back when we led the world.
And so, the point I’m making is there’s so much within our power that we can do. And we’re in a situation where, you know, the — as I — I won’t even get into the Inflation Reduction Act again, but there’s so many things. And we’re doing all this — at the same time in the last two years, I cut the deb- — we cut the deficit by a larger number than any President has ever in history: $1.7 trillion. That year, we spent $1.7 trillion less than we spent — I mean, and for all these programs.
And one of the ways we did it is we started to ask people to pay their fair share, just their fair share. And, for example, there were — in 2020, there were 54 — 55 Fortune 500 companies. Good folks. I’m a capitalist, as I said. But, you know, capitalism without competition is — is not capitalism. And just pay your fair share.
So there were 55 companies that made $40 billion and didn’t pay a single penny in tax. And I did a horrible thing. I se- — I suggested they should have to pay a minimum of 15 percent. That’s less than the people putting on this meal for you pay in taxes. And guess what? It paid for it all.
And so, my point is this: My dad used to have an expression. He’d say that, “Don’t tell me what your value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what your value.” “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value.”
Well, I introduced my budget last week, and it reflects what I value. And “everyone deserves a fair shot” is my basic value.
And I said, you know, one of — the second reason I ran was to rebuild the backbone of the country, the middle class — build it from the middle class out, and the poor have a way up, and the wealthy still do very well. Still do very well.
And so, you know, our tax code should be fair. And we should build an economy, as I said, from the middle out and the bottom up, and that’s what I would think would be fiscally responsible.
So we just have very different views this — this new MAGA Republican group. And I said — I used the phrase twice — it’s not your father’s Republican Party. This a different deal. I know Republican senators who served here, and they’re — and a they’re — a lot of them are friends I’ve had now. Nine Republican senators I used to serve with come in and say, “I agree with you, Joe. But if I say anything, I’ll lose in a primary. I’ll lose my seat.” Not what you call a “profile in courage,” but at least in honesty.
And so, what’s happening? For example, the House Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, they just introduc- — introduced — their budget. It cuts veterans benefits. It won’t cut subsidies for Big Pharma.
For example, when we passed the Inflation Reduction, we said for the first time — you know, as you all know, because a lot of docs and people are concerned about cancer in here — one of the things that is at stake is we pay the highest drug prices of any major nation in the world, the highest by a long shot — by a longshot. And the only thing the law says that — that Medicare and the government can’t negotiate for prices for is in Medicare. The only one.
And so, we finally said, “No, no, no, you’re going to be able to negotiate with Medicare.” Because like the Germans and other comp- — other countries have, there’s a limitation on how much you can spend.
And by the way — so, for example, I’ll bet every one of you know someone who has stage one or stage two diabetes. Raise your hand if you know anybody who has that. You need insulin. It’s been around for 100 years. It costs $10 to manufacture it. And it costs, if you package it and the whole deal, you can argue as much as $13. So, guess what? We passed a law and set the price at $35 instead of $4- to $600 a month. It saves people’s lives. It saves people’s lives.
And every year for the next five years, we’re going to be able to take 10 more drugs and put them on the market that, in fact, Medicare is going to say we’re going to pay no more than A, B, C, or D.
Well, guess what? Eli Lilly decided they’re going to only charge $35 now, and they’re one of the largest producers of insulin. Well, the likelihood that anybody is going to be able to continue to charge four, five, six hundred bucks is not likely. And so we’re beginning to make some progress.
But the point of it is that if, in fact, you — now, you not only cut prices for — for the patient. Guess what? This year, you’re going to save — Medicare, the government is going to reduce the deficit by $160 billion. Hear me? And not only is it the right thing to do for people, it cuts the deficit by $160 billion. (Applause.) $160 billion. Because Medicare doesn’t have to pay out that $160 billion to pay for the higher prices.
So — but, folks, there’s a — there’s an awful lot. There’s an awful lot that — that we can do.
And here’s the deal. You know, if you look at what the MAGA Republicans do, I also think it’s long past time we should stop subsidizing Big Oil. We’re not going to out- — why subsidize Big Oil?
And the second thing is that we also have — you know, corporate America. You remember when — Ronald Reagan, your former governor here? Well, guess what? He wanted to reduce, and he did reduce, the tax rate from 36 percent for corporations to 28 percent. If we did even 21 percent, which is supposedly now, we’d raise billions and billions of dollars to pay for all the research I want to talk about.
But look, the new Republican budget in House includes zero deficit reduction. Matter of fact, it will — we — when folks talk about, we have no intention of letting the extremes of one party — and they are the extremes. They’re not the majority, but they will be able to — I think, in House — be able to be successful in terms of what they’re going to do.
But the point is that what we’re going to do is make sure that they have to make their case. They say that we’re the big spenders. Well, if we just implement what we already passed, we — we’re going to win — just what we’ve passed, nothing else. If we didn’t pass another thing. It continued to reduce the deficit and the impact on so many other things.
Look, the stakes are too high for our economy, for our democracy, for our standing in the world. And I intend to build on the progress and finish the job we set out to do.
And let me conclude by talking about something I care a lot about. When I was Vice President, the President allowed me to set up a Cancer Moonshot to begin to make real focus. Because, for example, certain childhood cancers — the major companies don’t want to invest anything in it, because there’s not that much to make. If you only have 200,000 people dying of that cancer, it’s not going — they’re not going to put a lot of money into it, and so on.
A lot of you, I’ve — referenced your concerns to me about cancer when you came in as I met you. Well, you know, the idea is — this Cancer Moonshot, I’ve revived as — as your President. I brought it back.
And what we’re doing here is, I — you know, there’s a thing called DARPA in the defense budget. It’s the thing that gave us geopositioning. It’s the thing that gave us all those things that we need that are the cutting-edge elements of the Defense Department. And I’ve been very involved in foreign policy and defense for a long time.
And I thought to myself, why don’t we have an ARPA — ARPA-H — the Department of Health and Human Services? Why don’t we invest the same kind of money to deal with cancer?
So, so far, I committed we’re going to spend $5 billion. We have — we’ve committed $250- — $2.5 billion so far, and another $2.5 billion next year. Well, that’s a hell of a start.
And again, without being critical of any drug company, who’s going to — going to want to invest all the money they need to invest in if the return is not can be significantly higher than their investment? Can’t blame them.
So I think we should be funding this ARPA-H, the Department of — at Health and Human Services. And I think we can — we’ve significantly reduced — you — many of you in this room have significantly reduced cancer deaths now. We’re turning some cancers into chronic diseases and be able to be maintained. And there are a number of cures that are on their — on the edge.
Look at — look at what happened with Jimmy Carter. Now, he — I — he asked me to do his eulogy. I’m — excuse me, I shouldn’t say that. I’ve spent time with Jimmy Carter. And it’s finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than he was anticipated to go because they found a breakthrough. Immunotherapy is incredibly important. And, you know, whether it’s for brain cancer or anything else, I am a — I’ve been the recipient of the good work of many of you here. I have two cranial aneurysms, one major embolism. Took the top of my head off the second time, Mom, because they said they couldn’t find a brain the first time. (Laughter.)
But all kidding aside, it’s amazing what our neurosurgeons are able to do and neurologists are able to do. Amazing. And I believe we can — my goal is that we cut cancer by 50 percent in the next 25 years at the — at the maximum. And I think we can do it, and we can turn a lot of cancers — (applause) —
But here’s the deal, you know, and I’ll end with this. I’m sorry to go on too long, but I’m fairly passionate about this issue.
You know, I just think we have to remember it’s never been a good bet to bet against America. It’s never been a good bet to bet against America. And I think it’s time we finish the job. The stakes are too high for our economy, for our democracy, for our standing in the world. And I intend to build on the progress and finish the job we started.
I’ve long said that there’s nothing beyond our capacity. I’ve never been more optimistic in my whole career, and I mean this sincerely. Everybody said, “Why the hell would you be with the way things are?” And I’ve never been so optimistic of what we can do. I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
We’re at an inflection point in human history.
I had a professor who used to say “an inflection point is you’re going down the highway at 60 miles an hour, and you take a hard right 20 degrees. You can never get back on the course you’re on.” That’s where we are on climate, on healthcare, on international relations, on so many things.
We can determine where we go from here, but we got to remember who the hell we are. We’re the United States of America. There is nothing — I mean nothing — beyond our capacity when we do it together — when we do it together. And I’m determined — I’m determined to see that done no matter what happens.
And, folks, the fact is that I think if you take a look at the data. The vast majority of the American people agree. There’s none — of the substance of things I’ve raised is there any opposition to. But the opposition is going to make my case a little easier — I can say with the press here, before they leave — because they’re going to present an alternative. Their budget is going to — and, so far, what they’ve introduced is going to increase the deficit by about $3.7 trillion. So you know, I mean, what are they going to cut?
Any — any of you watch the State of the Union? I wouldn’t blame if you hadn’t. (Applause.) Well, you were there.
Well, I’ll conclude with this story. I was standing in the State of the Union and I — and I must tell you, I’ve been a — in the Congress for so long, I feel comfortable standing before, just like I ma- — I made many speeches before the Congress.
And I was laying out what I was going to — doing. I said, “And there’s a desire to cut Social Security and Medicare.” And the distinguished lady from — (laughter) — from Georgia — the mountains of Georgia — started yelling, “Liar! Liar! Liar!” And that generated — by the way, the last time anybody did that, they got censured for doing it. Okay? And then five or six others started, “Liar! Liar! Liar!”
And I said, “You don’t want to cut Social Security and Medicare?” “No, we don’t.” I said, “Everybody who doesn’t” — and I never thought I’d negotiate with the whole Congress. (Laughter.) I said, “Anybody in this — in the Congress here who doesn’t want to cut Social Security and Medicare, stand up and holler.” And they all stood up hollering, “We won’t cut it.” And then I polled them. They were all on camera. (Laughter.) So I hope they keep their commitment and not cut it.
But my generic point is: There is a lot we can do. There’s a lot we can do. We can do it fairly without overtaxing people, without making it — with just being fair. Just giving people an even shot. That’s all this is about. And I think the public is going to be there.
With your help, you’re going to allow me to be in the game and the DNC to be in the game. So, thank you, thank you, thank you. (Applause.)
7:25 P.M. PDT
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