Winston Churchill used to say that we, Americans, try every other option before we finally do the right thing. After everything else is exhausted we eventually do the right thing and I think that's true for Congress as well. And it's important for Americans to remember that politics has always been messy.
You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
The president is eager to get to work and looks forward to working with the new Congress on policies that will make sure middle-class Americans are sharing in the economic recovery, but the president is clear that he will not let this Congress undo important protections gained -- particularly in areas of health care, Wall Street reform and the environment.
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I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program. While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.
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But what I would say to my successor is that it is important not just to shoot but to aim. And it is important, in this seat, to make sure that you're making your best judgments based on data, intelligence, the information that's coming from your commanders and folks on the ground and you're not being swayed by politics.
Later, I would realize that the position of most black students in predominantly white colleges was already too tenuous, our identities too scrambled, to admit to ourselves that our black pride remained incomplete. And to admit our doubt and confusion to whites, to open up our psyches to general examination by those who had caused so much of the damage in the first place, seemed ludicrous, itself an expression of self-hatred - for there seemed no reason to expect that whites would look at our private struggles as a mirror into their own souls, rather than yet more evidence of black pathology.
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I hoped for something else. It's a simple dream, but it speaks to us so powerfully because it is our dream - one that exists at the very center of the American experience. One that says if you're willing to work hard and take responsibility, then you'll have the chance to reach for something else; for something better.
[The] United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and greatest friend. I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations, to restate America's unwavering commitment to Israel's security, and to speak directly to Israel and to your neighbors.
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From the first moment a woman dared to speak that hope - dared to believe that the American Dream was meant for her too - ordinary women have taken on extraordinary odds to give their daughters the chance for something else; for a life more equal, more free, and filled with more opportunity than they ever had. In so many ways we have succeeded, but in so many areas we have much work left to do.
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When we don't pay close attention to the decisions made by our leaders, when we fail to educate ourselves about the major issues of the day, when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that's when democracy breaks down. That's when power is abused. That's when the most extreme voices in our society fill the void that we leave. That's when powerful interests and their lobbyists are most able to buy access and influence in the corridors of power - because none of us are there to speak up and stop them.
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During the course of my presidency, it feels as if a couple times a year I end up having to speak to the country, and to speak to a particular community about a devastating loss, and the grieving that the country feels is real, the sympathy, obviously the prioritizing, comforting the families, all of that's important, but I think a part of the point I wanted to make was that it's not enough just to feel bad.
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The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world and not follow it. Other nations have been more outspoken. So, I hope that we'll hear more of this because young men and women taking to the streets in Tehran need our support. The signs are in English. They're basically asking for us to speak up on their behalf.
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Muslim leaders around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote. To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.
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Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance.
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Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek's optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity's future.I loved Spock.
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My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
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And so our goal on health care is, if we can get, instead of health care costs going up 6 percent a year, it's going up at the level of inflation, maybe just slightly above inflation, we've made huge progress. And by the way, that is the single most important thing we could do in terms of reducing our deficit. That's why we did it.
This is something that I'm sure I'd have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell.
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What we also have to recognize is that the deficit levels that I'm inheriting, over a trillion dollars, coming out of last year, that that is unsustainable. At a certain point, other countries stop buying our debt, at a certain point, we'd end up having to raise interest rates, and it would end up creating more economic chaos and potentially inflation.
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The government has to treat all citizens equally. I am a strong supporter not of a weak version of civil unions, but of a strong version, in which the rights that are conferred at the federal level to persons who are part of the same-sex union are compatible. When it comes to federal rights, the over 1,100 rights that right now are not being given to same-sex couples, I think that's unacceptable.
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It is very important for I think those of us who desperately want peace, who see war as, at some level, a break-down, a manifestation of human weakness, to understand that sometimes it's also necessary - and you know, to be able to balance two ideas at the same time; that we are constantly striving for peace, we are doubling up on our diplomacy, we are going to actively engage, we are going to try to see the world through other people's eyes and not just our own.
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This kind of inequality - a level we haven't seen since the Great Depression - hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity - that's why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars they made. It's also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.
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We are not going to have a situation where our education spending goes back to its lowest level since the year 2000 despite a larger population and more kids to educate. We know that the single most important thing in terms of how well we can compete around the world is the quality of our workforce. We can't do that to our kids.
If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas... Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy... Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's... Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.
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At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitment may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.
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There are certain things we can only do together. There are certain things only a union can do. Only a union could harness the courage of our pioneers to settle the American west, which is why (President Abraham Lincoln) passed a Homestead Act giving a tract of land to anyone seeking a stake in our growing economy.
I think that one of the things that we all agree to is that the touchstone for economic policy is, does it allow the average American to find good employment and see their incomes rise; that we can't just look at things in the aggregate, we do want to grow the pie, but we want to make sure that prosperity is spread across the spectrum of regions and occupations and genders and races; and that economic policy should focus on growing the pie, but it also has to make sure that everybody has got opportunity in that system.
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We are going through historic times, and my vision is a world, first of all, in which America continues to be that one indispensable nation. Because we're taking care of our own people, because our economy is strong and our middle class is growing, and people feel like hard work is rewarded, and we are continuing to expand opportunity and diversity and tolerance and respect.
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And I've said this all across the country when I talk to parents about education, government has to fulfill its obligations to fund education, but parents have to do their job too. We've got to turn off the TV set, we've got to put away the video game, and we have to tell our children that education is not a passive activity, you have to be actively engaged in it. If we encourage that attitude and our community is enforcing it, I have no doubt we can compete with anybody in the world.
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Mothers are the rocks of our families and a foundation in our communities. In gratitude for their generous love, patient counsel, and lifelong support, let us pay respect to the women who carry out the hard work of motherhood with skill and grace, and let us remember those mothers who, though no longer with us, inspire us still.
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It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I'm talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery.
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You got into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
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The true test of the American ideal is whether we're able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life's big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams.
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