September 4, 2012
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Greetings from Maryland; home to the #1 public schools in America for four years in a row1!
Since the first days of the American Revolution, Maryland has been called “The Old Line State,” because of this true story of a group of soldiers called the Maryland Line – immigrants and native born, black and white2 – volunteers all.
It is August 27th, 1776 – two months since our Declaration of Independence. Outnumbered and surrounded, Washington’s Army is about to be crushed forever at Brooklyn Heights. The British are closing in.
With America’s future hanging in the balance, word is passed up and down the Maryland Line, “fix bayonets, we’re moving forward.”
And they do. Into the breach.
They hold off the British just long enough for Washington’s Army to escape and fight another day.
Today, there is a plaque over the mass graves of those citizen soldiers. It reads, “In honor of the Maryland 400, who on this battlefield, saved the American Army3.”
In times of adversity – for the country we love – Maryland always chooses to move forward.
Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Whether we move forward or back, this too is a choice.
That is what this election is all about!
Democratic governors, with the support of our President, are leading their states forward – putting job creation first , balancing budgets, protecting priorities, making the tough decisions right now, to create jobs and expand opportunity.
Together, with President Obama, we are moving America forward, not back.
- With 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth5, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!
- By adding American manufacturing jobs annually for the first time since the 1990’s6, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!
- By making college more affordable for millions of middle class families7, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!
- With the slowest annual spending growth of any president since Eisenhower8, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!
- And by securing the guarantee of Medicare for our seniors, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!
Facts are facts: No President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression inherited a worse economy9,bigger job losses, or deeper problems from his predecessor.
But President Obama is moving America forward not back.
And now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say they want to take America back, and so we ask, back to what?
Back to the failed policies that drove us into a deep recession?
Back to the days of record job losses10?
Back to the days when insurance companies called being a woman a “pre-existing condition”11?
No thank you.
I don’t want to go back, do you?
Instead of improving public safety and public education like President Obama, Mitt Romney says we need fewer police officers, firefighters, and teachers12.
Instead of safe-guarding our seniors, Romney and Ryan would end the guaranteed Medicare benefit and replace it with a voucher system13 in order to give away bigger tax breaks to billionaires.
Instead of a concrete, balanced, achievable plan to create more jobs and reduce the deficit, Mitt Romney says he will cut taxes for millionaires and raise them on the middle class14.
Instead of investing in America, they hide their money in Swiss bank accounts15, and ship our jobs to China16!
Swiss bank accounts never built an American bridge. Swiss bank accounts don’t put cops on the beat or teachers in our classrooms. Swiss bank accounts never created American jobs!
Governor Romney, just because you bank against the United States of America doesn’t mean the rest of us are willing to sell her out!
We are Americans. We must act like Americans. We must move forward, not back.
My parents, Tom and Barbara O’Malley, like so many of yours, were part of that great generation that won the Second World War. Dad flew 33 missions over Japan in a B-24 Liberator. He was able to go to college only because of the GI Bill.
Our parents taught us to love God, love our family, and love our country.
Their own grandparents were immigrants. Their first language may not have been English, but the hopes and dreams they had for their children were purely American.
You see, there is a powerful truth at the heart of the American Dream – the stronger we make our country, the more she gives back to us – to our children and grandchildren.
Our parents and grandparents understood this truth deeply.
They believed, as we do, that to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments – educating, innovating, and rebuilding for our children’s future. Building an economy to last, from the middle class up – not from the billionaires down.
Yes, we live in changing times.
The question is, what type of change will we make of it?
As we search for common ground and the way forward together, let’s ask one another – let’s ask the leaders in the Republican Party, without any anger, meanness, or fear, “How much less do you really think would be good for our country?”
How much less education would be good for our children?
How many hungry American kids can we no longer afford to feed?
Governor Romney, how many fewer college degrees would make us more competitive as a nation?
The future we seek is not a future of less opportunity – it is a future of more opportunity for all Americans.
See the faces of your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents.
They did not cross an ocean, settle a continent, do hard, back-breaking work so their children and grandchildren could live in a country of less.
They came here because the United States of America is still the greatest job-generating, opportunity-expanding country ever created by a free people in the history of civilization!
And she still is.
Let us not be the first generation of Americans to give our children a country of less!
Let us return to the urgent work of creating more jobs, more security, and more opportunity for our people.
Together, let’s move forward, not back – by re-electing Barack Obama, President of the United States!
1 Education Week. “State Report Cards 2009-2012.” Maryland’s public schools have received the highest score in the nation from Education Week for the past four years in a row.
2 According to Maryland archives, there were seven soldiers of African descent enlisted (for which names are known) at the time of the battle: William Appleby, Nace Buttler, Charles Fenton, Francis Freeman, Francis Herd, Malcom McFee and Gim (last name unknown). Most of these are known to have survived. Gim (a drummer) may have died in the battle or fled, as the inspection a week before the battle is the only notice of him (Arch. MD 18:38). Francis Herd and William Appleby almost certainly saw action, as they were enlisted in the “Flying Camp” battalion, which was involved in the New York campaign (Steuart – Maryland Line, 5). Fenton and McFee enlisted on 7/20/76 and 7/17/76, respectively, and may have been taken directly to New York.
3 Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. “Maryland 400 Monument Brooklyn, New York.”
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the past 12 months, Democratic Governors created more jobs in their states, on average, than Republican Governors- 41,500 jobs on average versus 32,800 jobs.
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationwide, the private sector has added jobs every month since March 2010 for 29 months of consecutive job growth.
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics. The American manufacturing industry lost jobs every year from 1998 to 2009. In 2010, the manufacturing industry created 109,000 jobs- the first year of positive manufacturing job growth since the Clinton Administration. In 2011, the industry created 233,000 jobs. So far this year, the industry has created 182,000 manufacturing jobs.
7 Since taking office, President Obama has doubled funding for Pell Grants increasing the number of recipients from 6 million to 9 million. He created and extended the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth as much as $10,000 over four years of school, helping an estimated 9.4 million students and families in 2011. The President recently signed a new law making it easier for students to pay back their college loans- starting in 2014 new borrowers will pay no more than 10% of their disposable income and any remaining debt will be forgiven after 20 years.
8 Congressional Budget Office/Office of Management and Budget. Under President Obama, federal spending has grown only 1.4% annually- the smallest average annual growth since President Eisenhower. By comparison, under George W. Bush federal spending grew 7.7% annually. President Clinton averaged 3.5% annual growth, President George H.W. Bush averaged 5.4%, and President Reagan averaged 6.8%.
9 Willis, Bob. “US Recession Worst since Great Depression, Revised Data Show.” Bloomberg, August 1, 2009. The Bush recession, also known as the ‘Great Recession’, saw the largest decline in GDP (3.9% in the first 12 months of the recession) than in any slump since the Great Depression.
10 Bureau of Labor Statistics. When President George W. Bush left office in January 2009, the country had experienced 12 consecutive months of job losses. In November 2008, the country lost 803,000 jobs – the most jobs lost in a single month since 1949. In January 2009, President Bush broke his own record when the country lost 818,000 jobs. To date, January 2009 remains the single greatest month of job loss the country has experienced since 1949.
11 National Women’s Law Center. “Turning to Fairness: Insurance Discrimination Against Women Today and the Affordable Care Act.” The National Women’s Law Center found that insurance carriers routinely charge men and women different premiums for individually-purchased insurance – known as gender rating. As a result of gender rating, women who purchase health insurance in the individual market spend approximately $1 billion more a year on health insurance than if they were men. Gender rating is not an individual market phenomenon – businesses with predominately female workforces also pay significantly more for coverage. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, specifically eliminates gender rating and other discriminatory practices.
12 Shepherd, Shawna. “Romney on Obama: ‘Is He Really That out of Touch?” CNN, June 8, 2012. In his June criticism of President Obama, Governor Romney said, “He wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
13 Wyler, Grace. “This is What Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney Would Do to Medicare.” Business Insider, August 13, 2012. Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” plan promises to reduce Medicare spending by giving eligible individuals the option of enrolling in a new voucher system or in the traditional “fee-for-service” system. In the voucher system, enrollees will receive vouchers to purchase private insurance policies; any payments that exceed the voucher amount will be paid out-of-pocket. The CBO estimates the new program will reduce government spending on Medicare 35-45% by 2050 compared to the current program. This dramatic reduction will be felt by the American people though higher out-of-pocket costs, reduced access to care, lower quality of care and less investment in new technologies. Politifact agrees that calling the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan a “voucher system” is a legitimate critique.
14 Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “On the Distributional Effects of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform.” August 1, 2012. The Tax Policy Center conducted an independent analysis of a tax plan featuring the tax policies proposed by Governor Romney. The Center found that, “Taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent (an average tax cut of about $175,000) . . . while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9 percent (an average tax increase of about $130) due to the expiration of the temporary tax cuts enacted in 2009 and extended at the end of 2010.” They conclude that, “any . . . income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or- lower-income tax payers.”
15 Shaxson, Nicholas. “Where the Money Lives.” Vanity Fair, August 2012.
16 Hamburger, Tom. “Romney’s Bain Capital Invested in Companies that Moved Jobs Overseas.” The Washington Post, June 21, 2012.