SPEECH LIVEBLOGGING…. President Obama will be heading into the House chamber in about 10 minutes, and I’ll be sharing some reactions along the way. Here it goes….
8:55: Attorney General Eric Holder is the cabinet official who’ll be at an undisclosed location tonight. FYI.
9:00: Capt. Sully and the crew of 1549 get a hearty round of applause.
9:03: Justice Ginsburg gets some deserved love from lawmakers on her way into the chamber. (Justice Thomas rushed past her like he had somewhere to go.)
9:06: I don’t see Bachmann along the aisle this year. Just as well; she was always a rather odd presence there.
9:13: Did Shelby just say something about the weekend’s controversy?
9:17: The speech is bound to begin eventually.
9:19: “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.” (It’s not “state of the union is strong,” but it’s in that spirit.)
9:20: “What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.”
9:21: “It is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.” Good idea.
9:22: “Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.” I think that was an applause line.
9:24: Hmm, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is only drawing applause from one half of the chamber.
9:26: “Because nobody messes with Joe.” Cute.
9:28: That’s a good explanation of why the the credit crisis matters.
9:29: Santelli pre-emption: “We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and re-finance their mortgages. It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford….”
9:31: “I intend to hold these banks fully accountable for the assistance they receive, and this time, they will have to clearly demonstrate how taxpayer dollars result in more lending for the American taxpayer. This time, CEOs won’t be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over.” I hope he means it.
9:33: “I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions. I promise you — I get it.” Keep repeating that.
9:34: “It’s not about helping banks — it’s about helping people.” It was worth saying twice, because it’s what people need to hear.
9:38: Making the case for government intervention. It’s an important case to make: “Government didn’t supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive.”
9:39: “I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders — and I know you don’t either. It is time for America to lead again.”
9:41: Cap and trade? “I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.”
9:42: Recommitting to the auto industry: “We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices. But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.”
9:43: Sobering healthcare numbers: “This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds. By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes. In the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages. And in each of these years, one million more Americans have lost their health insurance.”
9:44: “Scary but true: Already, we have done more to advance the cause of health care reform in the last thirty days than we have in the last decade.”
9:45: Healthcare reform is “a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come…. The cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough.” Expect to hear this a lot in the coming months.
9:46: “Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.” That should resolve some lingering doubts about the president’s commitment to the issue.
9:49: “Dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country — and this country needs and values the talents of every American.” Good stuff.
9:50: That sounds pretty ambitious: “By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”
9:52: Republicans, $5 trillion in eight years later, love talk about debt reduction.
9:54: Sorry, Halliburton: “We’ll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq.”
9:55: The benefit of the Bully Pulpit becomes clear: “If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.”
9:56: Tax-free universal savings accounts? Is that new?
9:57: “For seven years, we have been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price.”
9:59: Message to the troops: “We honor your service, we are inspired by your sacrifice, and you have our unyielding support.”
10:00: It’s easy to say you support the troops, follow-through matters: “To keep our sacred trust with those who serve, we will raise their pay, and give our veterans the expanded health care and benefits that they have earned.”
10:01: We’ve been waiting a long while to hear talk like this: “Living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger. And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.”
10:04: Leonard Abess gave away how much?
10:06: “We are not quitters.” Four simple words, one great message.
10:08: “Every American who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed. That must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming months, and where we return after those debates are done.”
10:09: Big wrap-up: “If we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, ‘something worthy to be remembered.’”