In this week’s address, President Obama highlighted the actions his administration is taking to spur competition in the airline industry, protect consumers and arm them with the information they need to make informed decisions, following the President’s call to action in April. Building on the progress we’ve made so far, this week’s actions include a proposed requirement for airlines to reimburse luggage fees when bags are delayed; requiring airlines to report on the probability that your luggage could be lost; providing protections for travelers with disabilities; and requiring additional transparency and fairness in online ticket platforms. The President highlighted these steps as another example of how government can be a force for good – ensuring that everyday Americans get a fair shake in our economy and have a voice in the conversation. That’s what these actions are about – taking steps, big and small, to better the lives of everyday Americans.
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.
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
Yesterday, President Obama spoke at a rally in Greensboro, North Carolina to encourage people to get out and vote for Democratic Party presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He also had a few choice words for her opponent, reality TV star Donald Trump:
President Obama after describing the progress of the past 8 years:
I am telling you, Greensboro, all that progress goes out the window if we don’t make the right choice just four weeks from today. The closer we get, the clearer the choice becomes.
We’ve got a choice right now between somebody who is as qualified as has ever run for the office of President and somebody who, over and over again, has proven himself unfit to represent this country. […]
The current Republican Party nominee doesn’t have the temperament, or the judgment, or the knowledge, — or, apparently, the desire to obtain the knowledge — or the basic honesty that a President needs to have.
And that was true even before we heard about his attitudes towards women. Now, of course, it was true when we heard what he thought about minorities, and what he thought about people of the Muslim faith, and when he made fun of disabled persons, or when he insulted Gold Star families.
But you don’t have to be a husband or a father to hear what we heard just a few days ago and say, that’s not right. You just have to be a decent human being to say, that’s not right. And if it makes you mad, if you say that’s not somebody I want representing the United States of America, you can do something about it, North Carolina. Go to IWillVote.com. Register to vote right away, and make your voice be heard.
On Hillary Clinton’s fitness:
She’s got real plans to address the real concerns that she has heard on the campaign trail. You watch these debates, and everybody is all like, well — the commentators afterwards, they are all like, well, she was really maybe explaining some stuff in great detail in contrast to the other candidate. That’s because she actually knows what she’s talking about. Which is helpful, when you’re President of the United States, to know what you’re talking about.
Come on, people. Come on. This isn’t an audition for like some show. This ain’t a show. She’s got specific ideas to invest in jobs, to help workers share in their company’s profits, to put more young people and children and toddlers in preschool, to make sure that students get through college without taking on a ton of debt. She actually is sweating the details. She cares about this stuff.
He pointed out that he is not on the ballot but that the last 8 years are:
So when [Trump] asks you, what do you have to lose, the answer is, you’ve got everything to lose. All the progress we’ve made these last eight years is on the ballot. Civility is on the ballot. Respect for women is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Equality is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. If you want to send a message in this election, make it a resounding message.
Turn back the forces of racism and misogyny, and send a message for progress. Send a message for facts. Send a message for reason. Send a message for hope. Send a message by voting for Hillary Clinton. Send a message for Deborah Ross. Send a message about who we are as the American people and make our kids proud.
In this week’s address, President Obama highlighted wage growth over the course of his presidency. Since 2012, real wages have grown about 20 times faster than they did for almost three decades between 1980 and 2007. Last year, typical household income rose by $2,800 – the single largest increase on record. Across every race and age group in America, incomes rose and poverty rates fell; and 3.5 million people were lifted out of poverty – the largest one-year drop in the poverty rate since 1968. Thanks in part to states and communities that have raised the minimum wage, lower- and middle-income families saw the biggest boost in incomes. Although we’ve made significant progress, the President said more work needs to be done to strengthen the middle class – and this starts with a Congress that will put politics aside and act on commonsense ideas.
From the White House, yesterday:
“President Obama announced that enough countries have acted to bring the Paris Agreement into force — a historic step forward in saving the one planet we’ve got.”
Ten months ago, in Paris, I said before the world that we needed a strong global agreement to reduce carbon pollution and to set the world on a low-carbon course. The result was the Paris Agreement. Last month, the United States and China — the world’s two largest economies and largest emitters — formally joined that agreement together. And today, the world has officially crossed the threshold for the Paris Agreement to take effect.
Today, the world meets the moment. And if we follow through on the commitments that this agreement embodies, history may well judge it as a turning point for our planet.[…]
I also want to thank the people of every nation that has moved quickly to bring the Paris Agreement into force. I encourage folks who have not yet submitted their documentation to enter into this agreement to do so as soon as possible. And in the coming days, let’s help finish additional agreements to limit aviation emissions, to phase down dangerous use of hydrofluorocarbons — all of which will help build a world that is safer, and more prosperous, and more secure, and more free than the one that was left for us.
That’s our most important mission, to make sure our kids and our grandkids have at least as beautiful a planet, and hopefully more beautiful, than the one that we have. And today, I’m a little more confident that we can get the job done.
President Barack Obama delivers a statement regarding the Paris Agreement on climate change, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Oct. 5, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Full transcript of President Obama’s remarks and a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry are below.
In this week’s address, President Obama discussed the importance of ensuring that American families have access to paid leave. Today, millions of Americans do not have access to paid sick leave and have to face tough choices when their families face illness – choices that could risk their jobs or their health. The President has repeatedly called on Republicans in Congress to pass a law guaranteeing most workers the chance to earn seven days of paid sick leave each year. To this day, no action has been taken in the Republican Congress. But, that hasn’t stopped the President from taking action where he can to help more Americans access paid sick time, and starting January 1st, federal contractors will be required to give their employees working on new federal contracts up to seven paid sick days each year. That’s because paid leave isn’t something that just nice to have – it’s a must have.
In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The President recognized the museum for celebrating the many accomplishments of the African American community – and for telling the fuller story of America by facing the uncomfortable truths of our Nation’s history all while embracing the knowledge that America is a constant work in progress. The National Museum of African American History and Culture not only tells the African American story – it tells the American story. By telling the fuller account of the American story, the President said, the museum will give all of us a chance to reflect and set the course for generations to come.
On Tuesday, President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly – his last address to that body before his term expires next January.
President Obama spoke of our shared progress and shared responsibilities:
We are all stakeholders in this international system, and it calls upon all of us to invest in the success of institutions to which we belong. And the good news is, is that many nations have shown what kind of progress is possible when we make those commitments. […]
Time and again, human beings have believed that they finally arrived at a period of enlightenment only to repeat, then, cycles of conflict and suffering. Perhaps that’s our fate. We have to remember that the choices of individual human beings led to repeated world war. But we also have to remember that the choices of individual human beings created a United Nations, so that a war like that would never happen again. Each of us as leaders, each nation can choose to reject those who appeal to our worst impulses and embrace those who appeal to our best. For we have shown that we can choose a better history.[…]
My own family is a made up of the flesh and blood and traditions and cultures and faiths from a lot of different parts of the world — just as America has been built by immigrants from every shore. And in my own life, in this country, and as President, I have learned that our identities do not have to be defined by putting someone else down, but can be enhanced by lifting somebody else up. They don’t have to be defined in opposition to others, but rather by a belief in liberty and equality and justice and fairness.
Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to a crowd at George Mason University in Fairfax VA about the upcoming election.
She reminded people of what is at stake and how important it is to vote. But she also reminded us that this is not about winning gotcha points, high-fiving over some insult that landed a blow on our opponent – it is about focusing on policies, Democratic Party policies, like the ones President Obama championed over the past 7+ years and which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will champion when she is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017.
We live in a country where a girl like me, from the South Side of Chicago, whose great great grandfather was a slave, can go to some of the finest universities on Earth. We live in a country where a biracial kid from Hawaii named Barack Obama — the son of a single mother — can become president. A country that has always been a beacon for people who have come to our shores and poured their hopes and their prayers, and their backbreaking hard work into making this country what it is today. That is what makes America great. Don’t ever forget it.
And here’s the thing. I know in my heart that we deserve a president who can see those truths in us, a president who believes that each of us is part of the American story and we’re always stronger together. We deserve a president who can bring out what is best in us — our kindness and decency, our courage and determination, so we can keep perfecting our union and passing down those blessings of liberty to our children.
Let me tell you this. I have never been more confident that Hillary Clinton will be that president.
It’s time to go #PositivelyHillary.
Full transcript of Michelle Obama’s speech is below.
In this week’s address, President Obama called on Republicans in Congress to do their jobs. With Congress back in session there is a lot of business that needs to get done, including funding the fight against Zika, providing resources to help the flood victims in Louisiana, and giving Supreme Court nominee Chief Judge Merrick Garland the courtesy of a fair hearing and a vote. The President said addressing these problems is all within our reach – and we need Congress to work as hard as the American people do. We should expect Republicans in Congress to do their jobs – to protect us from disease, help us recover from disaster, and keep the Supreme Court above politics.