5:40 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: How's it going, Iowa? (Applause.) It is good to be back in Sioux City! (Applause.)
Please give Rob a big round of applause for that great introduction. (Applause.) It's good to be with my outstanding Secretary of Agriculture, your former governor, Tom Vilsack. (Applause.) It is great to see your Mayor, Bob Scott. (Applause.) And it is great to see all of you. (Applause.)
And the only thing that I'm not going to do, though, is get in the middle of an argument between Hawkeye and Huskers fans. (Laughter.) I'm not going to go there.
Now, Iowa is our first stop this week on the road to our convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Applause.) And it was important for me to begin that journey right here in Iowa because this is where it all began for us four years ago -- right here in Iowa. (Applause.) Because it was you, Iowa, who kept us going when all the pundits had written us off. It was in your living rooms and backyards and VFW halls and diners where our movement for change began. And it will be you, Iowa, who is going to make all the difference in the world in this upcoming election. (Applause.)
Now, last week, the other party, they gave their pitch at the convention in Florida.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Don't boo -- vote. (Applause.)
I've got to say, that convention, it was something. (Laughter.) Despite all the challenges that we face in this new century, what they offered over their three days was an agenda that was probably a little better suited for the last century. (Applause.) They were going so far backwards you might as well have watched it on black-and-white TV. (Laughter and applause.) Put some rabbit ears on the convention hall. (Applause.)
Now, in case you didn’t DVR it, let me give you a simple recap: The economy is not where it needs to be, and it’s Obama’s fault, and only Mitt Romney knows the secret to creating jobs and growing the economy.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: And there was a lot of talk about speaking "hard truths" and making "bold choices," but the interesting thing was nobody ever bothered throughout the three days to tell you what these tough choices were going to be. They didn’t really explain what they were going to do.
When Governor Romney had his chance to let you in on his secret sauce -- (laughter) -- he didn’t offer you a single new idea. It was just a retread of the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years. (Applause.)
So you heard them talk a lot about me. You heard them talk a lot about Mitt. They didn’t talk a lot about you. They didn’t talk about the challenges you face and how we could actually solve some of these challenges. They spent less time talking about their plan than just about anything else. Not just because they know you don’t like it -- now, the truth is if I had their plan I probably wouldn't talk about it a lot either. (Laughter and applause.) And they know you're not going to buy it because we’ve tried it, you saw what happened, you lived through it and you don't want to repeat it. (Applause.)
We know that making the middle class, for example, pay for another budget-busting $250,000 tax cut for folks making $3 million a year or more is not going to translate into jobs and prosperity for working families all across Sioux City. We know that. (Applause.)
We know that families aren’t going to be better off if we roll back financial reform that's there to prevent another financial crisis. We know we're not going to be better off if suddenly we roll back the protections for our air and our water, and protections to make sure that if you get sick there's going to be health care there for you.
We’re sure not going to be better off if suddenly, instead of having Medicare that you can count on, we've got some sort of voucher program that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing that leaves seniors to pay any additional costs out of their own pocket.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: They have been trying to sell us these tired, trickle-down, you’re-on-your-own policies before. They did not work. They didn’t work then, they won't work now. They won’t create jobs. They won't lower our deficit. They're not going to strengthen the middle class. They're not a plan to move our country forward.
We believe in something better. (Applause.) We believe in an America that says our economic strength has never come from the top down; it comes from the middle out and the bottom up. (Applause.) It comes from students and workers and small business people, and a growing, thriving middle class. That's what built this country. (Applause.)
We believe in an America that doesn’t let how much money you’ve got determine whether or not you can afford good health care, or send your kids to get a good higher education. (Applause.)
We believe in an America that maintains the strongest, most disciplined, most effective military in the history of the world, but that we also lead with the strength of our ideas and the power of our example. And we believe in an America where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from or who you love -- you can pursue your own happiness, and you can make it if you try. That's what we believe here in America. (Applause.)
That’s what these last four years have been about. That’s what this campaign is about. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, on Thursday night -- this coming Thursday night -- not last Thursday night -- (laughter) -- this coming Thursday night, I will offer you what I believe is a better path forward -- a path that will grow this economy and create more good jobs, and strengthen our middle class, and create ladders for everybody who is willing to work hard to get into the middle class. And the good news is you're going to get to choose which path we take.
You can go with what you heard last Thursday.
THE PRESIDENT: You can choose their plan to give massive new tax cuts to folks who've already made it. Or you can go with my plan, which is to keep the tax cuts on every American who is still trying to make it. (Applause.)
Back in 2008, I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families. And I've cut taxes by a total of about $3,600 for the typical family. And now I’m running to make sure that taxes aren’t raised a single dime on your family’s first $250,000 of income -- which, by the way, means for 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses, they won't see their income taxes go up. (Applause.) That's my path. That's a different choice than where these other guys want to go.
You can choose whether we give up new jobs and new industries to China and India and Germany and other countries, or whether we fight to keep those jobs here in Iowa. (Applause.) My opponent’s experience -- he likes to talk about his private sector experience -- well, a lot of it was investing in companies that were called "pioneers" in the business of outsourcing jobs. I don't believe in outsourcing. I believe in insourcing. (Applause.)
When the America auto industry was about to go under, he said, "let Detroit go bankrupt."
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: I bet on American workers and American manufacturing, which is why the American auto industry has come roaring back. (Applause.)
I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to start rewarding companies that are creating jobs right here in Sioux City, right here in Iowa, right here in the United States of America. That's the path I want to travel on. (Applause.)
And at a moment when homegrown energy is creating new jobs all across this state and other states across the Midwest, my opponent would put those jobs at risk -- the jobs that Rob was talking about -- he'd put them at risk by ending tax credits for wind energy producers.
Rob told you, he said these new sources of energy are "imaginary." And Mr. Ryan called them a "fad."
You just saw Rob. He looks pretty real to me. (Laughter.) I wasn't imagining him up here talking, was I? (Laughter.) He has been in the wind energy business for nearly 20 years. He and his wife Tara now have 27 employees. Nearly 7,000 jobs in Iowa depend on the wind industry. (Applause.) These jobs aren’t fads; they’re our future. (Applause.)
It's time to stop giving a $4 billion taxpayer subsidy to oil companies that are making money every time you go to the pump. (Applause.) And let's give some tax breaks to wind energy and homegrown energy and biofuels that are creating jobs right here in Iowa. That's the choice in this election. That's what we're fighting for. (Applause.)
We've got a different view when it comes to higher education. We're at a great small college here in Iowa. (Applause.) Well, a young person asked my opponent, hoping to go to college, how he could help. He said, you know what, borrow money from your parents. (Laughter.) That's not an answer. That's not -- I guess it is an answer; it's not a good answer -- (laughter) -- to young people who are hoping to go to college or start a business.
My view is America has to lead once again when it comes to educating our kids and training our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. (Applause.) So let’s help more young people afford the kind of education they can get here at Morningside. (Applause.) Let’s help more young people and some not-so-young people go to community colleges, and get trained in the skills that employers are looking for right now. (Applause.)
We created a tax credit for middle-class families trying to send their kids to college -- up to $10,000 over four years in college tuition -- because I believe that in America, higher education is no longer a luxury. It's a necessity that every family should be able to afford. (Applause.) That's the path we should be following.
And you know what, it is up to you whether we go back to a health care system that lets insurance companies decide who to cover, when to cover it, whether they can drop you of your coverage whenever you need it most, or whether we keep moving forward with a law that is already cutting costs and covering more people and saving lives. (Applause.) They call it Obamacare. I like that name, because I do care. (Applause.) I care about all the people that are being helped, all the folks who are going to be helped.
And maybe they want to run on their "don't care" plan. But because of this law, nearly 7 million young people are able to stay on their parent's plans. Your grandparents are saving money on their medicine. Women have gained access to preventive care like mammograms and contraception. (Applause.) We don't need to refight the battles of the last four years. We need to go forward. (Applause.) We need to go forward.
Now, this November, you get to decide the future of this war in Afghanistan. Governor Romney had nothing to say about Afghanistan last week -- didn't mention it, didn't offer a plan in terms of how he might end the war or if he's not going to end it. He's got to let the American people know -- because by the end of this month, we will have brought 33,000 of our troops home. (Applause.)
When I ended the war in Iraq, he said it was "tragic." But you know what, I promised I was going to end that war -- and we did. (Applause.) I said we’d take out al Qaeda and go after bin Laden -- and we did. (Applause.) I put forward a specific plan to bring our troops home from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. We are in the process of doing that right now. And when I say I'm going to bring them home, you know they're going to come home. (Applause.)
And as long as I am Commander-in-Chief, when they get home, they know that we will serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us, because nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads, or decent health care when they come home. (Applause.) That's a promise we will keep.
On issue after issue, Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, they're going to take us backwards. The story of America is going forward. That's what we do. We go forward. (Applause.)
You will have the opportunity in two months to choose a path that will lead us to a better future. But I have to tell you over the next two months the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen in our lifetimes. And it's basically the same thing they said a few nights ago -- the economy is doing bad, it's Obama's fault. They won't tell you their plan because they know their plan won't work. Go figure that raising taxes on middle-class families to pay for a tax cut for me and Mr. Romney is not going to fly too well.
So what they're counting on is if they can just feed enough negative information out there, you will get so discouraged that at some point you'll decide your vote doesn’t matter, that you can't compete with the $10 million checks from wealthy donors.
But you know what, I'm counting on something different. I'm counting on you. I need your help. (Applause.) I need your help Sioux City. I need your help, Iowa. (Applause.)
First of all, if you're not already registered, I need you to register to vote. Young people who are in the audience -- you know who you are -- you need to go to GottaRegister.com. Now, that is not "got to," it's "gotta" -- g-o-t-t-a register.com. Make sure you register to vote. Then you can go to GottaVote.com -- that's not "got to" vote, "gotta" vote -- to find out how to cast your ballot early. Because in Iowa you don’t have to wait until November 6th to vote. You can be among the first to vote in this election, starting on September 27th. (Applause.) So that’s GottaRegister and that's GottaVote.
And the reason you've got to register and you've got to vote is because we've got more work to do. (Applause.) We've got more good jobs to create. We’ve got more homegrown energy to generate. We’ve got more young people to send to great colleges like this one. We’ve got more great teachers we've got to hire. (Applause.) We’ve got more good schools that we've got to build. We’ve got more troops we've got to bring home. We've got more veterans we got to take care of. (Applause.) We’ve got more doors of opportunity that we have to open to every single American that's willing to work through them. (Applause.) And we have come too far to turn back now. (Applause.)
That’s why I’m asking for your vote. That's why I'm working for a second term. (Applause.) And if you are willing to stand with me and work with me and make phone calls with me and knock on some doors with me -- if you’re willing to vote for me this November, we're going to win Woodbury County. (Applause.) We will win the state of Iowa. We will win this election. We will finish what we started, and we'll remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.
God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
END 6:02 P.M. CDT