From: Sarah Wheaton [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 1:46 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP ; Gabriel, Brian A. Jr. EOP
Subject: In-town pool 2a - speech highlights
President Obama spoke to about 100 people at the BRT gathering, according to a BRT official. IDs of questioners also come from an official, I’d recommend verifying spellings and titles. Also of course check quotes against transcript.
During his remarks, he stood behind the podium and appeared to be reading from notes. HIs tone was low-key and matter-of-fact.
Obama started out be heralding the gains in the economy since the recession.
“You wouldn’t know any of this if you were listening to folks who are seeking this office that I occupy,” he said to chuckles from the crowd.
“Everything is dark and everything is terrible. They don’t seem to offer many solutions… There’s nothing particularly patriotic or American about talking down America, especially when we stand as one of the few sources of economic strength in the world."
On the shutdown:
“Democrats are ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans, right now today as we speak. But it should be over legit qs of spending and rev, not over unrelated ideological issues.”
Before, it was Obamacare, now Planned Parenthood
“That’s not good sense and it’s not good business. The notion that we play chicken with an 18 trillion economy” and global markets that are “already skittish” becausec of “women’s health provider that receives 20 cents out of every thousand dollars” spent by government
First republican president, Lincoln, believed “Through government we should do together those things that we can’t do as well by ourselves” including Infrastructure, education, R&D, setting marketplace rules, creating safety net, “and welcoming rather than disparaging the striving immigrants that have always been the source of continued renewal, economy vibrancy and dynamism in our economy.”
He also urged Congress to undo sequestration, saying the government can afford it.
“We’ve reduced our deficit faster than some of those countries that pursued strict austerity policies and weren’t thinking about growing the economy.”
He repeated that the deficit has been cut by 2/3 over his time in office.
“The good news is we might be moving beyond some of the stale debates we’ve been having over the past several years about spending and revenue.”
“You’ve got two leading candidates on the Republican side who’ve said we should eliminate the carried interest loophole. There’s disagremenet in this room about that.”
Keeping it “is not in any demonstrable way improving our economy” if eliminate could “double the number of workers participating in job training programs.”
“This is an example of how we can maintain fiscal responsibility while at the same time making the investments that we need to grow.”
Obama took nine questions from the audience. Throughout, he’d point out various people in the room, making reference to their families or previous conversations, making it clear he’s spoken with many in the room before.
First from Randall Stevenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO, and BRT Chairman on TPA
Obama: “I am confident that we can get it done, and I believe that we can get it done this year. The tradeministers should be meeting again in the next several weeks”
“Most chapters have been completed at this point, and I’m confident that it will in fact accomplish our central goal” of creating a “level playing field” for American workers.
“We should not assume though that because the authority was done means we are automatically gonna be able to get TPP done.”
Question 2: Maggie Wilderotter of Frontier Communications Corporation on China and cybersecurity
“This will probably be one of the biggest topics that I discuss with Pres. Xi”
Business espionage is something “that we consider an act of aggression that has to stop.” Will be communicated to China that “this is not just a matter of us being mildly upset, but will put significant strains on the bilateral relationship if not resolved.”
Question 3: Ursula Burns of Xerox Corporation asked about tax reform Obama responded that McConnell doesn’t want tax reform, so won’t happen until he’s on board.
Question 4: Thomas A. Fanning of Southern Company asked about energy policy
Obama: “I am much more optimistic about our ability to get a handle around energy that is good for our economy, good for business, good for consumers, good for job creation and maybe saves the planet int the process. I’m much more optimistic about that now than when I started as president.”
Question 5: Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman asked about China and trade
“Our goal is to have them as a partner in helping to maintain a set of international rules and norms that benefit everybody.”
“They were essentially riding on our backs for 30 yrs bc we were underwriting peace, security the free flow of commerce, int’l rules in the financial sector. … As they have matured we’ve said to them with power comes responsibility.” China being told it can’t act as if "you’re a third world country.”
Question 6: Ed Rust, Former CEO of State Farm, asked about Ex-Im bank
Obama: “it is mindboggling that this wasn’t reauthorized a year ago”
“It is this weird reversal in which the principal opponents are the tea party caucus and the Republican party. Somehow ex-im bank has become this cause celebre of what some of the presidential candidates call crony capitalism”
Question 7: Nicholas K. Akins, American Electric Power, asked about EPA standards
Obama said the ozone regulations were mandated by existing law.
“You can legitimately go after me on the clean power plant rule because that was hatched by us and I believe that we need to deal with climate change… On ozone, this is a existing statute, existing mechanism, and we are charged with implementing it based on the science that’s presented to us.”
Question 8: Douglas K. Oberhelman of Caterpillar Inc. asked about Cuba
Obama urged BRT members to talk to both parties in Congress about lifting embargo. Said one area where administration can act without Congress is in the telecomm sector.
Question 9: Virginia Kometty of IBM asked about computer science education OBama talked about the need to start teaching kids how to code in first or second grade, comparing it to foreign language.
“I want to just reiterate as we enter into the silly season of politics that the primary thing that is holding back a lot of potential growth, jobs, improving bottom lines, greater stability, is well within our control right now and things that traditionally enjoy bipartisan support.”
While some areas like climate and financial regulations are legitimate debates, he said, “What I’m looking at is the lowhanging fruit htat are no brainers and that nobody here would argue with.”
Those aren’t getting passed “primarily because a faction of one of our parties has gone off the rails and sees a conspiracy around everything, or opposes everything I propose even if they used to proose it, that’s a problem.”
White House Reporter