Motorcade departed Piedmont residence at 6:21 p.m. en route to the Fox Theater on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland’s “Uptown” district; arrived there 6:37 p.m.; among supporters nearby was someone with a Ron Paul banner. Visible in a window on Telegraph Avenue was a “Free Beer for Obama” sign.
Press was placed in holding room while POTUS did photo reception; tickets to that cost $7,500, plus $2,500 per additional person in the photo. Other tickets for Fox event cost $100, $250 and $1,000. About 2,000 people attended.
Press was brought into theater at 7:40 p.m. PT in time to hear Obama campaign California political director Peggy Moore introduce Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. “What a difference three and a half years makes,” Lee said, during her seven minutes of remarks. The nation has seen 28 consecutive months of private-sector job growth on the president’s watch, she noted: “America prospers when we’re all in it together.”
POTUS took the stage at 7:56 p.m. to a deafening, standing ovation. Though he’d worn a jacket at the Piedmont dinner, he appeared here in a white shirt, sleeves rolled to just below the elbow, and dark tie. After two minutes of cheering from the crowd, POTUS joked, “Alright, thank you!” and took a few steps away from the podium as if to leave.
MUCH more, after the jump…
After shout-outs to the city Oakland; Lee; Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif.; Oakland Mayor Jean Quan; and others, POTUS explained that this is his last political campaign and so he’s grown nostalgic thinking of earliest campaigns. He went on talking about his own family’s and the First Lady’s families hard-working backgrounds.
These stories and other people’s tales support the idea that “America is a place where you can make it if you try,” he said. “We expect responsibility to be rewarded, we expect that if you put in enough effort you should be able to find a job that pays the bills,” and that we can give our children an education to guarantee a better life than we had.
That American dream is at risk like never before, he said. People are suffering while the nation fought two wars, enacted tax cuts for the rich and let Wall Street run amok, he said.
It takes more than one term to restore that dream, he said. “To those cynics who say our best days are behind us, they haven’t witnessed the courage of the American people” as evidenced by small business owners, auto workers, factory laborers and millions of others who’ve fought to come back strong.
“There are no quick fixes, there are no easy solutions to some of the problems we face,” but there’s no doubt we can address them by tapping the nation’s ingenuity and courage, he said. “There’s not a country on this earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.”
“This country was not built from the top down, it was built from the middle class up,” POTUS said. “That’s how we became the most prosperous nation in the history of this world. That’s the path you can choose in this election. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as president.”
“Frankly the other side knows they can’t sell their ideas, so what they’re going to try to do is distort my vision,” POTUS said, saying Mitt Romney was at it again recently trying to twist POTUS’ words on support for small businesses.
Those who are willing to work hard, put sweat into their efforts, must be able to succeed in America, he said. “I believe the free market is the greatest source of prosperity in our history,” but any business owner will also tell you they need workers with the right skills and education, POTUS said. They also need a strong middle class that can buy the products and services they provide, he added.
“Mr. Romney’s plan is to gut these investments just so he can give more tax breaks to millionaires and those who are shipping jobs overseas,” he said. “I’ve got to tell you, Oakland, he is dead wrong.”
“There’s only one way to grow our economy for the long run. That’s what I’m fighting for,” POTUS said. “I’m running because I believe you can’t reduce the deficit … without asking folks like me who’ve been incredibly blessed to give up the tax breaks we’ve enjoyed for a decade.”
“I’m running because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building here at home,” he said, citing “the courage and selflessness of our men and women in uniform” in bringing the Iraq war to a close. Next, we’ll draw down our forces and eventually leave Afghanistan, and U.S. veterans must be taken care of as they return home, he said.
He said he would take about half the money we’re no longer spending at war on putting people back to work building infrastructure in U.S. communities. “That’s the America we want to build, that’s the choice in this election.”
America once again should lead the world in education, with schools hiring and retaining the best teachers and more people able to afford community colleges.
“I continue to believe that nobody in America should go broke just because they get sick,” he said, vowing to fight to protect the Affordable Care Act. He said those already insured will enjoy more security and flexibility, such as young adults permitted to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26; free preventative care; and so on. “And if you don’t have that insurance, we’re going to help you get it. It’s the right thing to do.”
“Now’s not the same time to refight the same political battles we’ve had over the past four years,” POTUS said, noting Wall Street reform was necessary. “The other side wants to roll it back. There’s no going back, we’re going forward.”
POTUS also noted that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was “the right thing to do.”
The same promise our parents passed down to us is what we must now pass on to our children and grandchildren, he said.
The next four months will see a flurry of attack ads, he warned. “They know their economic theory is not going to sell,” he said, noting the opposition’s ads will boil down to “the economy is not where it should be and it’s Obama’s fault. But they have no plan of their own, he said.
America can express both its tradition of self-reliance and rugged individualism, as well as its unity of purpose, all at the same time, he said.
“When we tap that spirit, when we tap into that idea, that it is not a matter of bloodlines …but of a creed that binds us together, then all this other money doesn’t matter, all these ads – what matters is you,” he said. “When you come together, you inspire me.”
“I told you in 2008 that I wasn’t a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect president … but that I would wake up every single day fighting as hard as I can to make your lives a little bit better, because I saw myself in you,” he said. “And Oakland, I have kept that promise every day… I have been thinking about you and fighting as hard as I know how.”
Now he wants them to knock on doors, work the phones, and win a second term. “I promise you we will finish what we started… and remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth.”
POTUS remarks concluded at 8:34 p.m. He left the stage to another ovation and the opening strains of Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.” He’s headed back into San Francisco to overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel before leaving the Bay Area on Tuesday bound for Oregon and Washington state.
This concludes your local print pooler’s work for this evening.