STATEMENT: Romney Sets a New Record in Desperation

“Once again, Mitt Romney is trying to take the heat off himself by taking the President’s words wildly out of context. That’s twice in just 48 hours, which sets a new record in desperation. What the President said today is no different than what he has been saying for many years – that change comes from outside Washington, not inside. When Americans came together and stood up to special interests, we reformed health care, cut taxes for the middle class and put in new rules for Wall Street. And, that’s why we have elections. Mitt Romney apparently doesn’t believe that change comes from the American people. Maybe that’s because he has written off half the country in this election, and has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s incapable of standing up to the extreme right wing of the Republican Party—even if it’s in our national interest.”—Lis Smith, campaign spokeswoman

Transcript of President Obama’s remarks at today’s Univision forum:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “You know what, obviously the fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington is disappointing. You know we know now that as soon as I came into office, you already had meetings among some of our Republican colleagues saying, you know, ‘how will we figure out how to beat the President?’. You know, I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last 4 years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside, you can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done- was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle class families. So something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward.”

President Obama has repeatedly noted that change comes from outside Washington, not inside:

Obama Said, “This Campaign Can’t Only Be About Me, It Must Be About Us…Few Obstacles Can Withstand The Power Of Millions Of Voices Calling For Change.” I know there are those who don't believe we can do all these things. I understand the skepticism. After all, every four years, candidates from both parties make similar promises, and I expect this year will be no different. All of us running for president will travel around the country offering ten-point plans and making grand speeches; all of us will trumpet those qualities we believe make us uniquely qualified to lead the country. But too many times, after the election is over, and the confetti is swept away, all those promises fade from memory, and the lobbyists and the special interests move in, and people turn away, disappointed as before, left to struggle on their own.   That is why this campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us -- it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice -- to push us forward when we're doing right, and to let us know when we're not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. [Obama campaign announcement speech, 2/11/07]

 

August 2008: Obama Said “Change Comes To Washington. Change Happens Because The American People Demand It.”  You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. [Obama 2008 Democratic National Convention remarks, 8/28/08]

 

October 2010: The President Argued That The Only Way To Fight “What’s Wrong With Washington” Is “With The Millions Of Voices Who Are Ready To Finish What We Started In 2008.” “That's what’s wrong with Washington. That doesn’t make any sense.  That's the kind of cynicism that we’re fighting against.  That's the kind of politics we need to change in this country -- (applause) -- the kind of politics -- you know, this kind of politics that puts scoring points ahead of solving problems. … This is where all -- this is where all of you come in, because the only way to fight that cynicism, the only way to fight the millions of dollars of special interest attack ads that they're running is with the millions of voices who are ready to finish what we started in 2008. See, 2008 was just -- that wasn’t the end goal.  It wasn’t just to put a President in.  It wasn’t just to put Tom in.  It was to keep building a movement for change.” [Remarks by the President at a rally, whitehouse.gov, 10/29/10]

 

April 2011: The President Argued That He Had Cautioned People That The 2008 Campaign Was “A Sense Of Mutual Commitment” And That “If We Showed The Same Fortitude And Persistence … Then We could Bring About The Change.” “We may not even get there in one term.  But if we came together, if we showed the same fortitude and persistence and optimism that had gotten us to Election Night, then we could bring about the change that we had talked about; the change that we had envisioned for our communities, for our kids, for our grandkids; the commitments that we had made to each other.       Because that’s what the campaign was about.  It was a sense of mutual commitment.  The campaign wasn’t about me.  It was about what all of us imagined our country could be.” [Remarks by the President at a DNC Event, whitehouse.gov, 4/21/11]

 

April 2011: The President Argued That All Of The Change That Had Been Seen Over His Term Was “Because Of You” But That “Progress Can’t Make Us Complacent.” “Because of you, we’ve been able to make great progress over these last few years.  But that progress can’t make us complacent.  It can’t make us content.  It should remind us that change, yes, is possible, but we’ve got to finish what we started.  We’ve got to finish what we started.  (Applause.)” [Remarks by the President at a DNC Event, whitehouse.gov, 4/21/11]

 

April 2011: The President Argued That American History Had Always Demonstrated That “We Pulled Through Together. We Were Able To Make The Changes That Were Needed.” “  But here’s what keeps me going:  At every juncture in our history, when our future was on the line, when we were at a crossroads like we are right now, we pulled through, and we pulled through together.  We were able to make the changes that were needed.  And it was hard. It was full of debate and sometimes rancor, and sometimes worse. That’s how this country became more equal.  That’s how the women’s movement started.  That’s how the civil rights movement started.  That’s how the union movement started.” [Remarks by the President at a DNC Event, whitehouse.gov, 4/21/11]

 

May 2011: The President Argued That “We’ve Got To Encourage The Kind Of Change That’s Led Not By Politicians, Not By Washington, D.C., But … By Ordinary People Standing Up And Demanding A Better Future.” “So ever since I became President, my administration has been working hard to make sure that we build on the progress that’s taking place in schools like this.  We’ve got to encourage the kind of change that’s led not by politicians, not by Washington, D.C., but by teachers and principals and parents, and entire communities; by ordinary people standing up and demanding a better future for their children.” [Remarks by the President, whitehouse.gov, 5/16/11]

 

July 2011: President Obama Said, “I Need You To Keep Building A Movement For Change Outside Of Washington, One That They Can’t Stop.”   “So, yes, feel free to keep the heat on me and keep the heat on Democrats.  But here’s the only thing you should know.  The Democrats and your President are with you. Are with you.  Don't get confused about that.  Remember who it is that we need to move in order to actually change the laws.  Now, usually, as soon as I come out in favor of something, about half of Congress is immediately against it even if it was originally their idea.  You noticed how that works?  So I need you to keep building a movement for change outside of Washington, one that they can’t stop.  One that's greater than this community.” [Remarks By President Obama To the National Council Of La Raza, 7/25/11]

 

August 2011: At A Town Hall Meeting, The President Argued That, For America To Emerge From Its Problems Stronger And More Successful, “I’m Going To Need Your Help. I Need Your Voices Out There.” “We have gone through tougher times than this before, and we’ve always come out on top.  As long as we pull together and as long as American know-how and ingenuity is promoted, there’s no reason why we’re not going to get this tough time just like we have before.  And America is going to emerge stronger, more unified, more successful than it was in the past.  In order for that to happen, though, I’m going to need your help.  I need your voices out there, talking to folks from both parties and telling them we expect you to show some cooperation; stop thinking about politics for a little bit; try to make sure that we’re moving our country forward.” [Remarks by the President at a Town Hall Meeting, whitehouse.gov, 8/17/11]

 

September 2011: In Pushing For His American Jobs Act, President Obama Asked “Every American Who Agrees To Lift Your Voice:  Tell The People Who Are Gathered Here Tonight That You Want Action Now.” “Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we will have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now.  You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country. And I ask -- I ask every American who agrees to lift your voice:  Tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now.  Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option.  Remind us that if we act as one nation and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.” [Address by the President to a Joint Session of Congress, 9/8/11]

 

November 2011: President Obama Said “It May Be Tempting To Believe That, Ah, Washington, You Just Can’t Change” And That Change “Takes More Than A Single Term.  It Takes More Than A Single President. It Takes All Of You.  It Takes Ordinary Citizens Who Are Committed To Continuing To Fight And To Push, To Keep Inching Our Country Closer And Closer To Our Ideal.”  “I know it’s been a tough three years, and I know that the change that we fought for in 2008 hasn’t always been easy.  There have been setbacks.  There have been false starts.  And sometimes, it may be tempting to believe that, ah, Washington, you just can’t change.  So remember what I always used to say during the campaign.  Even on inauguration night I said it.  I said real change, big change is hard.  It takes time.  It takes more than a single term.  It takes more than a single President. It takes all of you.  It takes ordinary citizens who are committed to continuing to fight and to push, to keep inching our country closer and closer to our ideals.” [Remarks By President Obama At A Campaign Event, 11/14/11]

 

April 2012: After Listing A Series Of Accomplishments, The President Told Supporters “None Of This Change Would Have Happened If It Weren’t For You,” But That There Was “A Lot More Work To Do.” “THE PRESIDENT:  None of this change would have happened if it weren’t for you.  And now we’ve got more work to do.  We’ve got a lot more work to do.” [Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event, whitehouse.gov, 4/18/12]

 

April 2012: President Obama Argued “It Takes Ordinary Citizens To Bring About Change” And Used The Example Of Rosa Parks, Arguing That It Takes A Commitment To Gradually Move The Country “Closer To Our Highest Ideals.” “As I was walking in here, you’ve got a display of Abraham Lincoln, and then you’ve got the bus that Rosa Parks sat down in. It takes ordinary citizens to bring about change, who are committed to keep fighting and keep pushing, and keep inching this country closer to our highest ideals.” [Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event, whitehouse.gov, 4/18/12]

 

April 2012: President Obama Asked Students To Call, Email, Write On Facebook Pages, And Tweet To Ask Their Congressmen Not To Double Student Loan Rates. “So if you agree with me, I need your help.  I need you to tell your member of Congress, we’re not going to set our sights lower.  We’re not going to settle for something less.  Now, all of you are lucky, you already have three congressmen who are on board.  So don’t -- you don’t need to call them.  (Laughter and applause.)  They’re already doing the right thing.  But I’m asking everyone else who’s watching or following online -- call your member of Congress.  Email them.  Write on their Facebook page.  Tweet them -- we’ve got a hashtag.  (Laughter.)  Here’s the hashtag for you to tweet them:  #dontdoublemyrate.  All right?  I’m going to repeat that -- the hashtag is #dontdoublemyrate.  You tweet -- everybody say it just so everybody remembers it.” [Remarks by the President on College Affordability, 4/24/12]

 

July 2012: In His Weekly Address, President Obama Praised The Passage Of A College Affordability Bill, Thanking “Every American Who Took Time To Sit Down And Write A Letter, Type Out An E-Mail, Make A Phone Call Or Send A Tweet” Saying That “I Promise You – Your Voice Made All The Difference.” “Finally, I want to thank every American who took the time to sit down and write a letter, type out an e-mail, make a phone call or send a tweet hoping your voice would make a difference.  I promise you – your voice made all the difference.  And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, your voice will be heard in the White House.” [WEEKLY ADDRESS: Pushing Congress to Create Jobs, Keep College in Reach for Middle Class, 7/7/12]

 

August 2012: Speaking About Accomplishments Over His Term, President Obama Said “I Helped A Little Bit. But This Change Was Because You Put In The Effort. You Put In The Time. You Had Confidence In America's Future.”  ‘It was young people like you who said we can end this war in Iraq. And today the war is over. More troops are at home with their families. They're earning their education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. They're out there starting new businesses. And nobody will ever again have to hide who they love in order to serve the country that they love, because we ended "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all. (Applause.) You made that change. You made that happen. Your voice made a difference.AUDIENCE MEMBER: You did! AUDIENCE MEMBER: With your help! THE PRESIDENT: I helped a little bit. But this change was because you put in the effort. You put in the time. You had confidence in America's future.” [Remarks By The President At A Campaign Event, 8/28/12]

 

September 2012: Obama Said, “My Fellow Citizens – You Were The Change… Only You Have The Power To Move Us Forward.” So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me.  It was about you.  My fellow citizens – you were the change.   If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen.  If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.   Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen.  Only you have the power to move us forward.” [President Obama remarks to the Democratic National Convention, 9/6/12]