Weekly Address: President Obama – Ensuring America Leads the World Into the Next Frontier

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments. BONUS: From now until November 8th, we will be posting links to many of the past week’s political speeches in the comment section.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama highlighted the White House Frontiers Conference, where many of America’s leading innovators came together to discuss how we can empower people through science, technology, and innovation to lead our communities, our country, and our world in the future. The President said the advances we’ve made as a nation demonstrate how investing in science and technology can help develop new jobs and industries, and new discoveries that improve lives – and that innovation is in our nation’s DNA. And that’s why the President made the largest single investment in basic research in history; modernized the government’s approach to innovation for the 21st Century; and spurred a clean energy revolution, among many other accomplishments in science and technology. That’s what the President’s leadership has been about – ensuring America is the nation that leads the world into the next frontier

Transcript: WEEKLY ADDRESS: Ensuring America Leads the World Into the Next Frontier

Remarks of President Barack Obama as Delivered
Weekly Address
The White House
October 15, 2016

Hi everybody. On Thursday, I traveled to Pittsburgh for the White House Frontiers Conference, where some of America’s leading minds came together to talk about how we can empower our people through science to lead our communities, our country, and our world into tomorrow.

Plus, we had some fun. I had a chance to fly a space flight simulator where I docked a capsule on the International Space Station. I met a young man who’d been paralyzed for more than a decade – but thanks to breakthrough brain implants, today, he can not only move a prosthetic arm, but actually feel with the fingers.

It’s awe-inspiring stuff. And it shows how investing in science and technology spurs our country towards new jobs and new industries; new discoveries that improve and save lives. That’s always been our country’s story, from a Founding Father with an idea to fly a kite in a thunderstorm, to the women who solved the equations to take us into space, to the engineers who brought us the internet. Innovation is in our DNA. And today, we need it more than ever to solve the challenges we face. Only through science can we cure diseases, and save the only planet we’ve got, and ensure that America keeps its competitive advantages as the world’s most innovative economy.

That’s why it’s so backward when some folks choose to stick their heads in the sand about basic scientific facts. It’s not just that they’re saying that climate change a hoax or trotting out a snowball on the Senate floor. It’s that they’re also doing everything they can to gut funding for research and development, the kinds of investments that brought us breakthroughs like GPS, and MRIs, and put Siri on our smartphones.

That’s not who we are. Remember, sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t haggle over the facts or shrink our R&D budget. No, we built a space program almost overnight and beat them to the moon. And then we kept going, becoming the first country to take an up-close look at every planet in the solar system, too. That’s who we are.

And that’s why, in my first inaugural address, I vowed to return science to its rightful place. It’s why in our first few months, we made the largest single investment in basic research in our history. And it’s why, over the last eight years, we’ve modernized the government’s approach to innovation for the 21st Century. We’ve jumpstarted a clean energy revolution and unleashed the potential of precision medicine. We’ve partnered with the private sector and academia, and launched moonshots for cancer, brain research, and solar energy. We’ve harnessed big data to foster social innovation and invested in STEM education and computer science so that every young person – no matter where they come from or what they look like – can reach their potential and help us win the future.

That’s what this is about – making sure that America is the nation that leads the world into the next frontier. And that’s why I’ve been so committed to science and innovation – because I’ll always believe that with the right investments, and the brilliance and ingenuity of the American people, there’s nothing we cannot do.

Thanks everybody. Have a great weekend.

Bolding added.




  1. From the White House:
    IMPACT REPORT: 100 Examples of President Obama’s Leadership in Science, Technology, and Innovation

    “We’ll restore science to its rightful place.”
    President Obama’s Inaugural Address, 2009

    On January 20, 2009, President Obama issued a simple and powerful pledge: to restore science to its rightful place. Coming into office, the President was committed to reinvigorating the American scientific enterprise through a strong commitment to basic and applied research, innovation, and education; to restoring integrity to science policy; and most importantly, to making decisions on the basis of evidence, rather than ideology.

  2. President Barack Obama in Cleveland OH on October 14th

    Transcript: Remarks by the President at Hillary for America Campaign Event

    Bonus transcript from Democratic Party fundraiser in Columbus OH, October 13th
    Remarks by the President at Ohio Democratic Party Dinner

    Dealing with a heckler

    I will not be on the ballot, but everything we’ve done is going to be on the ballot. (Audience interruption.) Oh, lord, what’s going on now? Who’s hollering? I can’t even see you. Well, it’s great to see you, but I’ve got all these folks I’ve got to talk to. (Laughter.) Maybe you can get me a note. Write me a letter, all right? (Interruption continues.) Okay, I got you. Okay, thank you. (Laughter.) I can’t hear you that well. I promise you this will go better if you talk to one of my staff up there. I got you, okay. All right. Thank you. (Interruption continues.) Okay, I’ve heard you. Let me now talk to everybody else. Thank you. I love you. All right. Thank you. (Applause.)

    On Rob Portman:

    I understand that Ted’s opponent has finally withdrawn his support from Donald Trump — after looking at the polling, now that it’s politically expedient. But he supported him up until last week. So I guess it was okay when Trump was attacking minorities, and suggesting that Mexicans were rapists and Muslims were unpatriotic, and insulting Gold Star moms, and making fun of disabled Americans. I guess that didn’t quite tip it over the edge. (Laughter.) Why was that okay?

    On Republicans being just plain awful:

    So the problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does. The problem is, is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years — (applause) — primarily for political expedience. So if Trump was running around saying I wasn’t born here, they were okay with that as long as it helped them with votes. If some of these folks on talk radio started talking about how I was the anti-Christ, you know, it’s just politics. (Laughter.) You think I’m joking. (Laughter.)

    If somebody completely denies climate change, or is filled up with all kinds of conspiracy theories about how me and Hillary started ISIL, or that we were plotting to declare martial law and take away everybody’s guns. […]

    This is in the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over and over again. (Applause.) Look, I — and there’s sort of a spectrum, right — it’s a whole kind of ecosystem. And look, if I watched Fox News I wouldn’t vote for me. (Laughter.) I understand. If I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, I’d say, man, that’s terrible. (Laughter.) Fortunately, I have more diverse sources of information. (Applause.) […]

    People like Ted’s opponent — they stood by while this happened. And Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do, he didn’t build the building himself, but he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it. (Applause.) […]

    So don’t act like this started with Donald Trump. He did take it to a whole new level. I got to give him credit. But he didn’t come out of nowhere.

    I encourage you to read it all.

  3. From the campaign trail: Hillary on the Ellen show:

    On her upcoming birthday, Oct. 26, when she turns 69: “If I win, I will be the youngest woman ever elected president!”

    • This is really really REALLY important:

      “I don’t want anyone to think this election is over … it’s been so unpredictable up until now; I’m not taking anything for granted.

      We’ve got to work really hard for the next three and a half weeks because who knows, who knows what can happen? So, everyone who is following this election, please turn out and vote

      Anything can happen. And #PollsArentVotes.

  4. In the News: President Obama eases special limits on Cuban products:

    As of Monday, U.S. citizens who travel to Cuba will no longer be limited to bringing back goods worth up to $400 — including $100 worth of tobacco and alcohol. President Obama ordered the changes, which also clear the way for Cuban-origin pharmaceuticals to gain U.S. regulatory approval.

    Instead of those special quotas, normal limits on Americans’ importation of foreign products for personal use will apply.

    The changes are meant to “open up space for Cubans to improve their livelihood,” said a senior White House official who spoke about the changes on background. It’s the sixth round of amendments to U.S. sanctions on Cuba, in a process that began nearly two years ago.

  5. In the News: Justice Department to start gathering data on police use of force …

    Today, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced several steps by the Department of Justice to enable the nationwide collection of data on law enforcement interactions with civilians, including data related to the use of force by law enforcement officers.

    “Accurate and comprehensive data on the use of force by law enforcement is essential to an informed and productive discussion about community-police relations,” said Attorney General Lynch. “The initiatives we are announcing today are vital efforts toward increasing transparency and building trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve. In the days ahead, the Department of Justice will continue to work alongside our local, state, tribal and federal partners to ensure that we put in place a system to collect data that is comprehensive, useful and responsive to the needs of the communities we serve.”

  6. From the campaign trail, Chelsea Clinton on late night TV:

    On the attacks against her family:

    I don’t remember a time when my family wasn’t being attacked. What feels different about this election, to me, is I just don’t remember a time when so many Americans were being attacked by a major party’s presidential nominee. The attacks against women, against immigrants, against minorities, against our LGBT community, against Americans with disabilities, against a Gold Star family … that feels different, and deeply troubling to me.

  7. In the news: High praise for new U.N. Secretary-General …

    From President Obama:

    We have every confidence that, as a former Prime Minister of Portugal and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Guterres has the character, vision, and skills needed to lead the United Nations at this critical moment and to reform its organizations and operations to better meet these unprecedented challenges.

    From Hillary Clinton

    Throughout his career, Mr. Guterres has proven himself to be an advocate for human rights and a champion for the most vulnerable. As UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he provided help and hope to millions of men, women and children who have been forced to flee from their homes. And he is a consensus-builder who can bring people together to advance common interests and address common challenges.

    Mr. António Guterres statement:

    Mr. President of the General Assembly,
    Mr. Secretary-General,
    Ladies and gentlemen,
    When I heard the Security Council’s decision to recommend me to the General Assembly, my feelings could be described by just two words:
    gratitude and humility.

    It is with the same gratitude and humility that I stand before you today, now joined by a profound sense of responsibility.
    I am grateful, first of all, to the General Assembly and the Security Council for entrusting me with the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    I am also grateful for the transparency and openness of the selection process and to the many competent, thoughtful and dedicated candidates who came forward. I believe this process means that the true winner today is the credibility of the UN. And it also made very clear to me that, as Secretary-General, having been chosen by all Member States, I must be at the service of them all equally and with no agenda but the one enshrined in the UN Charter.

    I am fully aware of the challenges the UN faces and the limitations surrounding the Secretary-General. The dramatic problems of today’s
    complex world can only inspire a humble approach – one in which the Secretary-General alone neither has all the answers, nor seeks to impose his views; one in which the Secretary-General makes his good offices available, working as a convener, a mediator, a bridge-builder and an honest broker to help find solutions that benefit everyone involved.

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    Over the last 10 years, I have witnessed, first hand, the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth. I have visited war zones and refugee camps where one might legitimately ask: what has happened to the “dignity and worth of the human person”?
    What has made us immune to the plight of those most socially and economically underprivileged? All this makes me feel the acute
    responsibility to make human dignity the core of my work- and I trust, the core of our common work.
    This also underscores the importance of gender equality. I have long been aware of the hurdles women face in society, in the family and in the workplace just because of their gender. I have witnessed the violence they are subject to during conflict, or while fleeing it, just because they are women. I have tried to address this through every public office I have ever held. The protection and the empowerment of women and girls will continue to be a priority commitment for me.

    I have faith in the United Nations because I believe in the universal values its stands for: peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity. Based on these values, I believe that diversity in all its forms is a tremendous asset, and not a threat; that in societies that are more and more multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious, diversity can bring us together, not drive us apart.

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