From: Thomma, Steve [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2015 11:04 PM
To: Hankins, Hannah R.
Subject: Travel Pool 5
Travel Pool report 5
President Obama spoke for 26 minutes to the audience of DNC contributors seated in an ornate hotel ballroom, sitting in rows of chairs auditorium style.
He sounded nostalgic at the outset, perhaps mindful of his visit on Friday to South Dakota, which will be his his 50th and last state as president. Check quotes against transcript.
"I just have fond memories of this place," he said of Oregon. "Maybe my favorite event of the entire 2008 campaign was the rally we had here in the park along the waterfront, a lot of you were there. It was a perfect day. It was the only rally I had in which you had kayakers. This guy is like, ‘Yeah I was out there in the kayak.’ It was spectacular. And I’ve had a soft spot for Portland and Oregon ever since."
He joked about his gray hair, and noted: "Michelle has not changed at all. She has this special mirror in our house -- she wont’ let me look at. So there’s some sort of pact that she’s made."
"So I’m a little older. Got some dings and dents here and there. But when we came to that rally as beautiful as it was, as extraordinary a day as it was, those were scary times. we were entering into what proved to be the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes. And we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. The prospects not only of Wall street collapsing but more importantly Main Street collapsing were very, very real. And 6.5 years later, because of the incredible resilience and strength and tenacity of the American people, and because so many of you worked so hard to give me the opportunity to put into place some smart policies, we were able to reverse those trends."
He made a passing reference to trade, which he will highlight during a visit Friday morning to the headquarters of Nike.
"Now one of the things that we need to do to put people back to work is make sure that we are accessing the markets of the future," he said.
"So part of what I’m going to be doing tomorrow at Nike is talking about how important it is -- 95% of the world’s markets are outside our borders. We’ve got the best workers in the world, the best universities in the world, the most innovative companies in the world. The best science and research in the world. So we are not afraid of competition. We are concerned if the playing field is not level. And that’s why we’ve got to have the kinds of enforceable, tough, fair trade deals that are going to make sure that American workers and American businesses aren’t locked out of these markets. That’s part of a middle class economic agenda and it is a priority for us."
He also joked about how people tell him he looks older and ask how he still keeps up what he's doing. He went on a riff about the stories of people who continue to motivate him and keep him from getting tired. One of them was a mother who'd written him with her two sons on Presidents Day, who he surprised with a phone call in advance of Mother's Day. "I can't afford to be tired because I want to make sure that she's getting the kind of wages and benefits she deserves."
"Democrats I can’t do it alone," he concluded. "I’ve run my election. Michelle’s very happy about that. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped fighting. I think it was Brandeis that said the most important office in a democracy is not the president, it’s not a senator or governor or mayor. It’s the office of citizen. And what was represented at that park back in 2008 here in Portland, that was people holding office. That was people holding the office of citizen and saying that we are joining together to make sure that America is living up to the ideals that we care about so deeply."
"Pretty soon I'm going to be a citizen myself, not just a president. . I’ll be alongside you. And we’re going to have to make sure that we keep people like Earl, Suzanne, make sure that we’ve got a Democratic president, a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate. We've got to make sure that we are fighting for the things that we believe in so that when we look back 10 years from now or 20 years from now or 30 years from now, or when our children and grandchildren look back, they can say that we were part of that incredible race that has been run. And we took the baton, we carried it forward to make this a more just, more prosperous more secure, more tolerant, more generous, more loving nation. That’s what we’re fighting for. I'm going to need you Democrats. Not just today, not just next week or next year, but as long as you hold that incredible office of citizen."
-Mike Memoli and Steve Thomma
Government and Politics Editor
Senior White House Correspondent
700 12th St. NW
Washington DC 20005
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