Barack Obama

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January’s Employment Situation: 11 Straight Months of Growth

Barack Obama - Sat, 02/05/2011 - 02:26

The American economy created 50,000 private-sector jobs in January, representing 11 straight months of growth. Seeing more people go back to work is always encouraging, but as the President has said, we must do more to accelerate the pace of growth. Democrats will continue to fight until there are jobs available for every American who wants one. 

In addition to news of January’s employment figures, the Labor Department today also raised its November and December estimates. That means the total number of jobs created during 2010 is now more than 1.1 million -- the strongest private- sector job growth in four years. 

In December, President Obama negotiated bipartisan efforts to extend middle-class tax cuts, cut payroll taxes for small businesses, and enact measures to accelerate job creation. Now, the President is building upon that effort with new initiatives designed to drive innovation and enhance America’s competitiveness around the globe.

As President Obama said in his State of the Union address

We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.  We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. 

The President is working to meet that commitment. This week, his administration launched Startup America, a nationwide program to boost entrepreneurship – and today, released its report on a national innovation strategy.  

Our country has a long way to go before it reaches a full recovery, but President Obama is fighting tirelessly to make us more competitive, to fuel job creation, and to win America’s future.

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Stories of Health Reform: Michigan

Barack Obama - Fri, 02/04/2011 - 04:16

Organizing for America supporters stood up to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act yesterday, making hundreds of calls to the Senate. Late yesterday afternoon, Democratic senators voted to protect health reform, and to protect the benefits that millions of Americans are already experiencing thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

From Michigan, Jody Money shares the stories of just some of those whose health care has been improved.

Dave, of Lansing, told the story of how health reform will impact his software business. Like most small business owners, Dave has to purchase insurance on the individual market. Recently, he was informed that his premiums would go up more than two-fold, something he can't afford, and which increases his risk of becoming uninsured. Dave and the 451,000 Michiganders like him who purchase their own insurance will benefit from Health Insurance Exchanges.

"If small business is the engine of the economy and economic growth, why would you not support giving them more power to get quality affordable care?"

The exchanges will operate as market places for people like David to purchase insurance. Not only will David benefit from subsidies to make insurance more affordable, the exchange will give individuals and small businesses group bargaining power which also makes coverage more affordable.

Heidi, of Eaton Rapids, told her story of being one of thousands of kids in her district who, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, can be covered by their parents' health insurance until the age of 26. These extra years of coverage for Heidi and 950,000 other young people in Michigan will reduce the number of people that are uninsured.

OFA State Field Director, Ryan Irvin shared the story of James, a small business owner who will benefit from the Affordable Care act. Because of small business tax credits, James will be able to cover the costs of insuring all of his 23 employees. Currently, he can only cover 66% of the premiums and only two of his 23 employees can afford to pay the rest. James' small business is one of 123,697 in Michigan and 3.6 million nationwide that would qualify for tax credits that would help insure their employees.

As of January 1st, retiree Kate O'Neill of East Lansing and 1.6 million seniors across the state of Michigan now qualify for free preventative screenings under the Affordable Care Act:

"I figure this is going to save me several hundred dollars a year. Especially because now I can get a mammogram which I couldn't afford before. It's one of many reasons I support the Affordable Care Act."

Stories like those of Dave, Heidi, James, Kate, and the millions of people like them are the reason why OFA supporters are working to defend health reform.

Share your story of health reform—write a letter to your local paper and let them know how health care is helping you and millions of other Americans.

Find out how health reform is helping people in your state here.

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Expose Repeal

Barack Obama - Fri, 02/04/2011 - 03:04

Democrats in the Senate successfully blocked the repeal of health reform yesterday, by a vote 51–47.

But Republicans in Congress aren’t finished with their political games. Instead of focusing on creating jobs and growing the economy, they are insisting on re-fighting the battles of the last two years. They've vowed to do whatever it takes to tear apart the Affordable Care Act.

These opponents of reform are in full campaign mode–ignoring the facts, and ignoring the millions of Americans who already benefit from reform.

OFA supporters are writing letters to their local papers, one place lawmakers and folks in your community are sure to look, to make sure everyone understands the costs of repeal.

The Affordable Care Act is helping millions of people around the country, like you, your friends and your neighbors:

  • Folks who used to worry about losing their coverage when someone on their plan got sick;
  • Young adults who can now stay on their parents' health plan until they turn 26;
  • Seniors who used to pay thousands out of pocket because they fell in the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage; and
  • People the insurance companies can no longer discriminate against, like children who have a pre-existing condition.

OFA supporters fought hard for health reform, and are now fighting hard to protect the progress from those who would undo it.

You can write a letter to the editor of your local paper, exposing repeal—and highlighting how the Affordable Care Act is improving lives in your community here.

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“Really Good Stuff Happening in Charlotte”

Barack Obama - Thu, 02/03/2011 - 05:11

Twenty-four hours after the announcement that the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, enthusiasm is running high in the Queen City.

The hard work, and dedication of supporters who worked to elect President Obama three years ago played a key role in bringing the Convention to Charlotte. David Parker, North Carolina Democratic Party chair, described the volunteers as “tremendous.”

Greg Jackson, state field director, added:

"This is a true testament to the hard work of thousands of volunteers that turned N.C blue in 2008 and have since continued to move North Carolina forward!"

Inside and outside the state, folks are signing Charlotte’s praises, notably its vibrant business community, strong, diverse population, and great venue. Billy Rinehart, OFA's regional field director in Wilmington, N.C., said of the decision:

"This shows how confident the President is in the ability of North Carolina...where jobs grow, education triumphs and renewable energy surges."

After visiting the downtown arena this morning, David Parker describes it as a space that “feels good.”  The 20,000 capacity venue feels much more “intimate” than the seating number suggests, making it a great location for the re-nomination of President Obama and Vice President Biden.

With so many things going for Charlotte and North Carolina, David Parker summed it up best when he said there’s “really good stuff happening in Charlotte.”

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Breaking News: Senate Rejects GOP Vote To Repeal The Affordable Care Act

Barack Obama - Thu, 02/03/2011 - 04:29

Moments ago, the Senate rejected Republicans’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In an effort to fulfill a campaign promise, Republicans chose blind partisanship at the expense of prescription drug costs for seniors; health coverage for small businesses, young adults, and individuals with pre-existing conditions; and affordable and quality coverage for millions more.

Democrats chose to stand with millions of Americans who are already experiencing the benefits of reform — and voting to defeat this effort. 

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the Affordable Care Act would add $230 billion to the deficit over 10 years, and $1 trillion over 20 years. Additionally, the economy has created jobs for 12 consecutive months since the Affordable Care Act passed, dispelling Republican claims that it “kills jobs.”

The vote failed by a count of 47 to 51. Add your name and stand up to protect our progress.

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The Stakes of Republican Efforts to Repeal Health Care

Barack Obama - Thu, 02/03/2011 - 01:47

Later today, Senate Republicans will force a vote on an amendment that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. It’s clear they’re guided by misplaced ideology: Instead of focusing on creating jobs and spurring economic growth, Republicans are trying to pass a measure that would add a trillion dollars to the deficit and hurt the economy

Even more alarming is the harm repeal would have on the millions of Americans who are already experiencing improvements from reform.

If Republicans successfully repealed the Affordable Care Act:

  • Over 1.2 million young adults will lose their insurance coverage through their parents’ health plans.  
  • Up to 4 million small businesses that would have been eligible for health care tax credits will pay higher taxes.  
  • 44 million Americans on Medicare will be denied free preventive care and seniors who hit the donut hole will pay more for their prescription drugs.  
  • Insurance companies will have free rein to once again deny coverage to people, including children, with pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage when people get sick, and limit the amount of care people get, even when they need it.    
  • Insurance companies will be free to once again raise premiums by double digits with no recourse or accountability.   
  • As many as 32 million Americans who would have gained insurance under the new law will go without coverage.  
  • Families will pay higher premiums. For example, compared to what they would have paid without the law, the Affordable Care Act could save a family of four with an income of $33,525 as much as $14,900 per year.

Right now, supporters across the country are taking action – join them, and call Republican senators today and tell them you support the Affordable Care Act.

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Protect Health Reform: Call the Senate

Barack Obama - Wed, 02/02/2011 - 19:31

Senate Republicans are forcing a vote today on their attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Millions of Americans are already enjoying the benefits of health reform—from seniors who are receiving free preventative care, to young adults who can now stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26—and a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a vote to take away these benefits.

The independent Congressional Budget Office says that repeal would add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

The cost of repeal is just too high.

Call Republican senators right now and let them now how important health reform is to you, to millions of Americans, and to our economy.

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President Obama Speaks About The Situation in Egypt

Barack Obama - Wed, 02/02/2011 - 05:56

This evening, President Obama delivered the following remarks regarding the current situation in Egypt.

Good evening, everybody.  Over the past few days, the American people have watched the situation unfolding in Egypt.  We’ve seen enormous demonstrations by the Egyptian people.  We’ve borne witness to the beginning of a new chapter in the history of a great country, and a long-time partner of the United States.

And my administration has been in close contact with our Egyptian counterparts and a broad range of the Egyptian people, as well as others across the region and across the globe.  And throughout this period, we’ve stood for a set of core principles. 

First, we oppose violence.  And I want to commend the Egyptian military for the professionalism and patriotism that it has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people.  We’ve seen tanks covered with banners, and soldiers and protesters embracing in the streets.  And going forward, I urge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure that this time of change is peaceful.

Second, we stand for universal values, including the rights of the Egyptian people to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and the freedom to access information.  Once more, we’ve seen the incredible potential for technology to empower citizens and the dignity of those who stand up for a better future.  And going forward, the United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve, in Egypt and around the world.

Third, we have spoken out on behalf of the need for change.  After his speech tonight, I spoke directly to President Mubarak.  He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place.  Indeed, all of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people.  Through thousands of years, Egypt has known many moments of transformation.  The voices of the Egyptian people tell us that this is one of those moments; this is one of those times.

Now, it is not the role of any other country to determine Egypt’s leaders.  Only the Egyptian people can do that.  What is clear -- and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak -- is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.

Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties.  It should lead to elections that are free and fair.  And it should result in a government that’s not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

Throughout this process, the United States will continue to extend the hand of partnership and friendship to Egypt.  And we stand ready to provide any assistance that is necessary to help the Egyptian people as they manage the aftermath of these protests.

Over the last few days, the passion and the dignity that has been demonstrated by the people of Egypt has been an inspiration to people around the world, including here in the United States, and to all those who believe in the inevitability of human freedom. 

To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear:  We hear your voices.  I have an unyielding belief that you will determine your own destiny and seize the promise of a better future for your children and your grandchildren.  And I say that as someone who is committed to a partnership between the United States and Egypt.

There will be difficult days ahead.  Many questions about Egypt’s future remain unanswered.  But I am confident that the people of Egypt will find those answers.  That truth can be seen in the sense of community in the streets.  It can be seen in the mothers and fathers embracing soldiers.  And it can be seen in the Egyptians who linked arms to protect the national museum -- a new generation protecting the treasures of antiquity; a human chain connecting a great and ancient civilization to the promise of a new day.

Thank you very much.

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Shari’s Story of Progress

Barack Obama - Wed, 02/02/2011 - 04:59

The ruling by a judge in Florida that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional puts at risk the benefits that health reform is already delivering to millions of Americans, like Shari from Charlevoix, Michigan.

Melissa Bernardi, regional field director, tells Shari’s story:

The Affordable Care Act offers many benefits to middle-class Michigan families. One of many important benefits is that parents are now able to cover their children until the age of 26.

Shari, of Charlevoix, MI, has a daughter and a son, ages 23 and 24, who now have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Shari's daughter has a child of her own and was unable to afford health insurance by herself. Shari's son works at a restaurant that does not provide health insurance to its employees. He too was uninsured.

In November, Shari went to re-enroll in her company’s insurance plan. The facilitator asked her how old her children were and if they had their own health insurance. When she said they did not, he told her they were eligible for coverage under her plan thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and because it was a family plan, there was no additional cost to her to add her son and daughter on to her plan.

“This is not a matter of providing unnecessary things for my children. This is a basic human need that will ease the worries of my kids. That’s why it’s my pleasure to share my story. How often does one person have to make an impact on the life of someone else? I hope this is not my only chance.”

Shari and thousands of families across the state of Michigan and millions across the nation can now help their children stay insured longer. Shari’s story highlights one of many benefits that the Affordable Care Act offers to Michiganders. Organizing for America in Michigan is committed to protecting our progress.

Show your support for Shari and the millions of Americans who are already benefiting from health reform–sign up to Protect our Progress.

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Judicial Activism and the Affordable Care Act

Barack Obama - Wed, 02/02/2011 - 03:18

Yesterday, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, a decision that deviates from the judicial mainstream and rejects precedent. In fact, 12 federal judges have already dismissed challenges to the law, and two have heard the case and upheld the law. While administration officials are confident that the law will be upheld, overturning reform would burden seniors with higher prescription drug costs, small businesses with higher taxes, sick individuals with continued discrimination, and our federal checkbook with greater debt.

A blog post by Stephanie Cutter, assistant to the president and deputy senior advisor, highlighted the “individual responsibility” provision in health reform and its importance as a cost-savings mandate:

And the judge declared that the entire law is null and void even though the only provision he found unconstitutional was the “individual responsibility” provision. This decision is at odds with decades of established Supreme Court law, which has consistently found that courts have a constitutional obligation to preserve as a much of a statute as can be preserved. As a result, the judge’s decision puts all of the new benefits, cost savings and patient protections that were included in the law at risk.

However, this tactic to re-fight legislative battles in the courts in nothing new. Similar legal challenges to historic legislation – such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act – were overruled, and the law prevailed.

Opponents of this law have waged claims that the Affordable Care Act violates the Necessary and Proper Clause, under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. But the “individual responsibility” provision in the law protects all of us from having to pay health costs for those without insurance. If these individuals can’t afford insurance or choose not to purchase it, they are still part of the health care market and receive care from doctors and hospitals required by law to provide treatment.

The cost of uncompensated health care, billions of dollars every year, is then shifted to those with coverage – a reality that directly affects interstate commerce – so Congress acted to protect all of us.

Stephanie Cutter continued:

The Affordable Care Act, through the individual responsibility requirement, will require everyone, if they can afford it, to carry some form of health insurance since everyone at some point in time participates in the health care system, and incur costs that must be paid for. For the 83% of Americans who have coverage and who are already taking responsibility for their health care, their insurance premiums will decrease over time. Many of those who are currently struggling to pay for insurance will get a new tax credit. Only those who are able to pay for health insurance will be responsible for obtaining it. Because most people would voluntarily purchase coverage as it becomes more affordable and the policy exempts those for whom purchase would cause a financial hardship, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that only 1 percent of all Americans would pay a penalty for not having health insurance in 2016.

Click here to learn more about the Affordable Care Act.

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"Thrilled"

Barack Obama - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 21:30

The First Lady has written to supporters to announce that the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I am thrilled to make sure you are the first to hear some very exciting news. Charlotte, North Carolina will host the 46th Democratic National Convention in 2012.

Charlotte is a city marked by its southern charm, warm hospitality, and an "up by the bootstraps" mentality that has propelled the city forward as one of the fastest-growing in the South. Vibrant, diverse, and full of opportunity, the Queen City is home to innovative, hardworking folks with big hearts and open minds. And of course, great barbecue.

Barack and I spent a lot of time in North Carolina during the campaign—from the Atlantic Coast to the Research Triangle to the Smoky Mountains and everywhere in between. Barack enjoyed Asheville so much when he spent several days preparing for the second Presidential debate that our family vacationed there in 2009.

And my very first trip outside of Washington as First Lady was to Fort Bragg, where I started my effort to do all we can to help our heroic military families.

All the contending cities were places that Barack and I have grown to know and love, so it was a hard choice. But we are thrilled to be bringing the convention to Charlotte.

We hope many of you can join us in Charlotte the week of September 3rd, 2012. But if you can't, we intend to bring the spirit of the convention—as well as actual, related events to your community and even your own backyard.

More than anything else, we want this to be a grassroots convention for the people. We will finance this convention differently than it's been done in the past, and we will make sure everyone feels closely tied in to what is happening in Charlotte. This will be a different convention, for a different time.

To help us make sure this is a grassroots convention—The People's Convention—we need to hear from you. We want to know what you'd like to see at next year's convention, how and where you plan on watching it—and the very best way we can engage your friends and neighbors.

Please share your input with us right now—how can we make The People's Convention belong to you and your community?

I can't believe it has been more than two years since my brother Craig introduced me at the 2008 Convention in Denver. It truly feels like it was yesterday.

As I looked out at a sea of thousands of supporters that night, I spoke about my husband—the man whom this country would go on to elect as the 44th President of the United States. I spoke about his fundamental belief—a conviction at the very core of his life's work—that each of us has something to contribute to the spirit of our nation.

That's also the belief at the core of The People's Convention. That the table we sit at together ought to be big enough for everyone. That the thread that binds us—a belief in the promise of this country—is strong enough to sustain us through good times and bad.

Barack talked at the State of the Union of his vision for how America can win the future. That must be the focus now, and I know so many of you will help talk about our plans with your neighbors—that through innovation, education, reform, and responsibility we can make sure America realizes this vision.

But, conventions take time to plan, so please help us make sure that your thoughts and your ideas will ring all the way to Charlotte. Get started now.

Looking forward to sharing this together,

Michelle

Share your ideas for making sure everyone can be involved in the 2012 Convention, wherever they live.

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Stories of Progress: Health Care for Kayla

Barack Obama - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 02:57

When Kayla Holmstrom was just 9 years old, she was in a motorcycle accident. While her insurance plan covered her medical expenses, she contracted chronic osteomyelitis, a chronic bone infection. Since contracting the disease she has had over 25 surgeries on her leg and her infection could flare up at any time.

Kayla is now studying to become a nurse at South Dakota State University and would have lost her coverage under her parent’s plan when she turned 24. But thanks to the Patient’s Bill of Rights that was a part of the Affordable Care Act, Kayla can stay on her parent’s health insurance plan until her 26th birthday.

The Affordable Care Act will help millions more young adults, 26 and younger, stay on their parents’ health insurance plan. It also ensures that insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions, giving folks access to the health coverage they need.

You can visit PROGRESS to read more “stories of progress” and learn more about ways in which the Affordable Care Act benefits your community.

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Startup America

Barack Obama - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 01:59

In the State of the Union, President Obama set out his plans for America to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.

Key to achieving this ambition is today’s launch of Startup America, a national campaign to promote entrepreneurship across the country.

Announcing the initiative, President Obama said:

“Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the belief that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs. That’s why we're launching Startup America, a national campaign to help win the future by knocking down barriers in the path of men and women in every corner of this country hoping to take a chance, follow a dream, and start a business

“Startup America also represents a historic partnership with business leaders, investors, universities, foundations, and non-profits, and we're urging others to join them in this effort. For entrepreneurs speak to what's best about America, and in their drive and innovative spirit—in their willingness to take a risk on a bold idea—we can see the future. We can see how America will compete and win in the 21st century global economy.”

There are a number of new initiatives being announced as part of Startup America including:

  • Proposing a permanent end to the capital gains tax on key investments made by small businesses;
  • Supporting startups and small firms in lower-income communities with new tax credits and acting as guarantor for private sector investment;
  • Working with veterans who want to start their own business;
  • Promoting clean-technology startups through high-quality mentorships and reducing the time it takes to secure patents, helping new ideas reach the market place sooner; and
  • Expanding existing programs that provide seed funding and mentorship to women entrepreneurs, college students, and startups in key cities, regions, and states.

These measures will support entrepreneurs in turning their great ideas into reality, spurring job-creation as startups and small businesses thrive and become successful, bigger businesses.

You can find out more about the Startup America campaign, including how to be involved, here.

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Weekly Address: Out-Innovating, Out-Educating & Out-Building Our Competitors

Barack Obama - Sun, 01/30/2011 - 02:16

President Obama discusses his visit to a company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and how it exemplifies his vision for America to “win the future” detailed in the State of the Union address.

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Tornadoes are No Match for Floridians Who Turned Out to Watch the President's State of the Union Address

Barack Obama - Sat, 01/29/2011 - 04:14

By Ashley Bauman, OFA Florida

Tuesday, Floridians braved threats of severe weather, from flooding to tornadoes, to show their support for President Obama and to listen to his State of the Union address. From Tallahassee down to Fort Lauderdale, folks gathered from all walks of life to listen to what President Obama had to say about the state of our nation.

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In Gainesville, multiple watch parties took place. University of Florida interns gathered together with friends to see the President lay out their future.

The Alachua County Democratic Headquarters was abuzz with cheers and new excitement for the President’s remarks.

Down in Fort Lauderdale (the only sunny spot on the radar) folks gathered with a new found sense of urgency. “We have to continue our organizing efforts,” said one watch partygoer.

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Tallassee Democrats received a special surprise at their watch party, where over 50 people gathered, when newly elected Florida Democratic Chairman Rod Smith popped his head in.

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St. Petersburg, Florida volunteers watched over wine and snacks as the President spoke of “winning the future.”

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In Tampa, amongst the flooding and lightening, OFA volunteers were joined by Drinking Liberally and applause filled the room.

Take a look at other events that happened across the United States.

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President Obama: “I am absolutely convinced that our best days still lie ahead”

Barack Obama - Sat, 01/29/2011 - 02:09

President Obama spoke today at a conference sponsored by health care advocacy group Families USA, and expanded upon his vision for America’s future laid out earlier this week in the State of the Union address. The President spoke of “an America that’s more determined, more competitive, better positioned for the future -- an America where we out-innovate, we out-educate, we out-build the rest of the world; where we take responsibility for our deficits; where we reform our government to meet the demands of a new age.” He also spoke about the Affordable Care Act and the sweeping benefits it provides for America’s health care system and our economy.  

As the President noted, since signing the Affordable Care Act, Americans are beginning to experience greater power, freedom, and control over their health coverage.

This law will lower premiums.  It is limiting costs.  It is reining in the worst abuses of the insurance industry with some of the toughest consumer protections this country has ever known.  This is making a real difference for families across this country as we speak.

Small businesses receive enormous benefit from the passage of health reform, and people with pre-existing conditions no longer have to worry about discrimination based on their illness. President Obama noted:

We've got small business owners like Janine Vaughn of Spokane, Washington.  Janine always tried to do the right thing and cover her workers.  But she explained, “We’re a small business.  We care about everybody who works here.”  But over the last 12 years, her premiums have tripled, so that was eating away at her profit margin.
 
But today, that new tax credit that was part of the Affordable Care Act is helping her cover her workers.  And in 2014, she’s going to be able to pool together with other small business owners to shop for a better deal for her staff and for herself, just like large companies can do.

As we speak, Americans are enrolling in new programs that provide affordable coverage for folks who had been shut out of the insurance market because of preexisting conditions.  People like Gail O’Brien of Keene, New Hampshire, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma while working full-time as a preschool teacher at a school that couldn't afford to offer insurance to its employees.
 
Because she was sick, no insurer would cover her.  As she put it, she was scared to death -– not of cancer, but how she’d pay her bills with each round of chemo that cost $16,000.  And she thought that she and her husband, Matt, would have to spend everything they saved to pay for their two sons’ college education in order to afford treatment.

Additionally, the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare, businesses, and reduces health costs for families.

Now, as important as what is happening right now is what isn’t happening right now.  You may have heard once or twice that this is a job-crushing -- granny-threatening -- budget-busting monstrosity.  That's about how it’s been portrayed by opponents.  And that just doesn’t match up to the reality.  I mean this thing has been in place now for 10 months, all right?
 
So let’s look at what’s happened over the last 10 months.  Not only has the economy grown and added jobs since the Affordable Care Act became law, but small businesses across the country have already chosen to offer health care to hundreds of thousands of their employees, many for the first time.  That’s something that regardless of politics, we should all celebrate. 
 
Estimates from the Business Roundtable -- now this isn’t some left-wing organization -- the Business Roundtable, the organization of all the country’s largest corporations, and other experts indicate that health insurance reform could save large employers anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 per family, per year, that they cover in health care costs by 2019.  And that’s money that businesses can use to grow and invest and to hire.  That’s money that workers won’t have to see vanish from their paychecks or bonuses in the form of higher deductibles or bigger co-payments.  That’s good for all of us.
 
And I can report that granny is safe.  In fact, grandma’s Medicare is stronger than ever.  And if she was one of the millions of seniors who fell into the doughnut hole last year, she received a $250 check, or soon will, to help her afford her medications, and a new 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs, as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

The President Obama also spoke about how the Affordable Care Act will reduce the federal deficit as well as burdensome health costs currently shouldered by America’s workers.

Health reform is part of deficit reform.  We know that health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, are the biggest contributors to our long-term deficit.  Nobody disputes this.  And this law will slow these costs.  That’s part of the reason why nonpartisan economists, why the Congressional Budget Office, have said that repealing this law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit over the next decade, and another trillion dollars to our deficit in the decade after that.  They’re not just making this up.  And what’s more, repeal would send middle-class premiums up, would force large employers to pay that extra $2,000-$3,000 per worker, and shift control of your health care right back to the insurance companies.

Click here to read President Obama’s full remarks.

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“Your Interview with the President”

Barack Obama - Sat, 01/29/2011 - 01:09

President Obama answered voters’ questions in a live YouTube interview yesterday.  More than 140,000 people submitted questions on a range of topics including the President’s favorite class at college, support for veterans, education reform and the cost of prescription drugs.

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State of the Union Brings Californians Together

Barack Obama - Fri, 01/28/2011 - 21:57

By Emily Dulcan, OFA California Communications Director

On Tuesday night Californians from all walks of life gathered in homes and restaurants, at schools and in community centers to watch President Obama deliver his second State of the Union address. At Organizing for America California, we used the evening to celebrate our President's unprecedented achievements during the first two years of his administration and to amplify the message that he can't do it alone.

We need people in communities across California to help realize the shared vision for our nation that was outlined so eloquently by our President on Tuesday night. You can join us by finding an event near you here.

"People were fired up!" said OFA-CA Field Director Stacy Cohen of the watch party with more than 50 people in Culver City. "They were clapping and shouting and standing and laughing."

At just 14 years old, Nick S. in the Bay Area is one of OFA-CA's youngest organizers. He helped put together the Watch Party in San Rafael. "Our State of the Union event was fantastic!" said Nick. "Lots of laughs during the speech, and we had many potential volunteers sign up for more info!" 

Below are a couple of highlights from just a few of our dozens of California events. 

250 people packed a room at Dominican University in San Rafael.

Regional Field Director Lilla Weinberger invites the crowd to get involved in San Rafael.

About 40 people gathered to watch the speech in Livermore.

Supporters of the President are all eyes and ears in Los Angeles during the speech.

Categories: Barack Obama, celebrities

"Great Job, Mr. President"

Barack Obama - Fri, 01/28/2011 - 06:48

Organizing for America supporters have been sharing their views of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and talking about how much they enjoyed Tuesday night’s Watch Parties.

In New Hampshire Jennifer from Lyndeboro said:

“I found the address to be very inspirational and forward-looking. President Obama is his own best advocate.”

Jack from Bedford added:

“I am so glad Obama is talking about high-speed rail. We need it for our infrastructure, our economy and our ability to grow domestic business.”

OFA supporters in New York state liked what they heard too:

State of the Union Watch Party in Syracuse

“Having the President say teachers are important was brilliant. It was very affirming to watch with OFA members,” said Mary Eileen from Syracuse.

Teresa from Staten Island, added:

“His message was that things are getting better, it’s time to stop the negative and move forward to the positive together.”

Liz, in Brooklyn summed it up best: “Great job, Mr. President!”

State of the Union Watch Party at the Mason Jar in Manhattan

Volunteers in Virginia enjoyed the chance to watch the speech with new and old friends.

“It was great to see new faces, and faces that had volunteered with us in 2010.”

Jamie, a watch party host in Arlington, said:

“Hosting a State of the Union watch party with OFA was a great opportunity to watch the President’s address surrounded by a group of people who are equally committed to moving this country forward.”

Louthisha, a host in Petersberg, added:

“It’s so great to have my neighbors over to share this with.”

From Richmond, VA, Vashandra was grateful for the opportunity the watch parties presented:

“It felt like the Super Bowl. We have a lot to do, but we have a lot to celebrate. I love OFA bringing us into the political loop.”

After the speech, Watch Party hosts held strategy sessions with their guests to plan what they could do to make the President’s vision a reality.  In the coming weeks and months, OFA supporters will be getting together in their communities to train together and take action to make a difference in their community.

To be part of the movement, add your name to those standing with the President.

Categories: Barack Obama, celebrities

Editorial Boards Continue to Praise President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Barack Obama - Fri, 01/28/2011 - 04:11

Editorial boards from newspapers across the country continue to praise President Obama’s State of the Union address this week. Calling it “[t]he right tone for a hard time” and an “optimistic, pragmatic vision,” these editorials attest that President Obama’s speech laid out a vision for our country’s future that resonates with the American public.  Here’s what they’re saying.

Portland Press Herald: President's address a call to action on jobs.”“But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs."LINK

Wilmington News Journal: “Obama sets civil tone for 'shared responsibility.'”“President Obama took advantage of a brief "thaw" between Republicans and Democrats and presented a State of the Union address last night that frequently hit on issues that affect all Americans. We hope that his invitation to talk about the issues he put on the table are taken up by all sides in the same open, civil tone.” LINK

Time: “Obama's SOTU Success: Making Democrats the Party of Optimism.”“Barack Obama's 2011 State of the Union was …the beginning of a new era, a return to business as usual. LINK

San Jose Mercury News: Obama lays out optimistic, pragmatic vision.”“President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday presented a stirring but pragmatic vision for the nation, giving Americans something to rally around: The notion that the United States can still do "big things" even while confronting its massive deficit.” LINK

Courier Journal:  “Winning the future.”“The President’s tone was measured, undoubtedly so as not to seem opportunistically partisan, and Republicans seemed careful to appear respectful. …His call to invest in scientific research, new energy sources, infrastructure replacement and education were on the mark.” LINK

The Day: “President Obama: “Future is ours to win.”“In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama spoke of contradictory challenges facing the nation.  To compete globally and to achieve a strong economic rebound from the recent recession, the United States needs to rebuild its transportation infrastructure, expand high-speed Internet nationwide, diminish its dependence on foreign oil by investing in new energy technologies and reinvigorate an education system that lags behind other nations in student performance.” LINK

Minnesota Daily: “We can “win the future.” “But Obama’s basic point was right: We can “win the future” by reinvesting in American innovation and education.” LINK

Here are some additional headlines from editorials around the country.

Albany Times Union: For America, another Sputnik.”LINK

Boston Globe: “Obama’s stark, bold challenge: rise to this ‘Sputnik moment.”LINK

Roanoke Times: “Obama presented ideas that Republicans should be able to embrace.” LINK

Fayetteville Observer: “An inspirational speech that drew a strongly positive response in post-speech polling.”LINK

Raleigh News and Observer: “Call to reason.”LINK

Waterloo Record: “Inspiring words from a president.”LINK

Tulsa World: “President set goals for next year.”LINK

Tampa Bay Tribune: “The future of the union.”LINK

Arizona Daily Star: “Obama also highlighted the need for Democrats and Republicans to work together.”LINK

Categories: Barack Obama, celebrities

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