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Second Presidential Debate at Hofstra University, 10/16/12

Author: President Obama, Former Gov. Mitt Romney, Candy Crawley

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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY
PARTICIPATE IN A CANDIDATES DEBATE, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY,
HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK

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OCTOBER 16, 2012

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SPEAKERS: FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.

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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

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CANDY CROWLEY, MODERATOR

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CROWLEY: Good evening from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. I'm Candy Crowley from CNN's "State of the Union." We are here for the second presidential debate, a town hall, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

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CROWLEY: The Gallup organization chose 82 uncommitted voters from the New York area. Their questions will drive the night. My goal is to give the conversation direction and to ensure questions get answered.

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The questions are known to me and my team only. Neither the commission, nor the candidates have seen them. I hope to get to as many questions as possible.

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CROWLEY: And because I am the optimistic sort, I'm sure the candidates will oblige by keeping their answers concise and on point.

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Each candidate has as much as two minutes to respond to a common question, and there will be a two-minute follow-up. The audience here in the hall has agreed to be polite and attentive — no cheering or booing or outbursts of any sort.

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We will set aside that agreement just this once to welcome President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

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(APPLAUSE)

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Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us here tonight. We have a lot of folks who've been waiting all day to talk to you, so I want to get right to it.

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Governor Romney, as you know, you won the coin toss, so the first question will go to you. And I want to turn to a first-time voter, Jeremy Epstein, who has a question for you.

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QUESTION: Mr. President, Governor Romney, as a 20-year-old college student, all I hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?

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ROMNEY: Thank you, Jeremy. I appreciate your — your question, and thank you for being here this evening and to all of those from Nassau County that have come, thank you for your time. Thank you to Hofstra University and to Candy Crowley for organizing and leading this — this event.

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Thank you, Mr. President, also for being part of this — this debate.

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Your question — your question is one that's being asked by college kids all over this country. I was in Pennsylvania with someone who had just graduated — this was in Philadelphia — and she said, "I've got my degree. I can't find a job. I've got three part- time jobs. They're just barely enough to pay for my food and pay for an apartment. I can't begin to pay back my student loans."

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So what we have to do is two things. We have to make sure that we make it easier for kids to afford college.

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ROMNEY: And also make sure that when they get out of college, there's a job. When I was governor of Massachusetts, to get a high school degree, you had to pass an exam. If you graduated in the top quarter of your airlines, we gave you a John and Abigail Adams scholarship, four years tuition free in the college of your choice in Massachusetts, it's a public institution.

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I want to make sure we keep our Pell grant program growing. We're also going to have our loan program, so that people are able to afford school. But the key thing is to make sure you can get a job when you get out of school. And what's happened over the last four years has been very, very hard for America's young people. I want you to be able to get a job.

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I know what it takes to get this economy going. With half of college kids graduating this year without a college — excuse me, without a job. And without a college level job, that's just unacceptable.

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And likewise you've got more and more debt on your back. So more debt and less jobs. I'm going to change that. I know what it takes to create good jobs again. I know what it takes to make sure that you have the kind of opportunity you deserve. And kids across this country are going to recognize, we're bringing back an economy.

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It's not going to be like the last four years. The middle-class has been crushed over the last four years, and jobs have been too scarce. I know what it takes to bring them back, and I'm going to do that, and make sure that when you graduate — when do you graduate?

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QUESTION: 2014.

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ROMNEY: 2014. When you come out in 2014, I presume I'm going to be president. I'm going to make sure you get a job. Thanks Jeremy. Yeah, you bet.

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CROWLEY: Mr. President?

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OBAMA: Jeremy, first of all, your future is bright. And the fact that you're making an investment in higher education is critical. Not just to you, but to the entire nation. Now, the most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are creating jobs in this country. But not just jobs, good paying jobs. Ones that can support a family.

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OBAMA: And what I want to do, is build on the five million jobs that we've created over the last 30 months in the private sector alone. And there are a bunch of things we can do to make sure your future is bright.

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Number one, I want to build manufacturing jobs in this country again. Now when Governor Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt. I said we're going to bet on American workers and the American auto industry and it's come surging back.

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I want to do that in industries, not just in Detroit, but all across the country and that means we change our tax code so we're giving incentives to companies that are investing here in the United States and creating jobs here.

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It also means we're helping them and small businesses to export all around the world to new markets.

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Number two, we've got to make sure that we have the best education system in the world. And the fact that you're going to college is great, but I want everybody to get a great education and we've worked hard to make sure that student loans are available for folks like you, but I also want to make sure that community colleges are offering slots for workers to get retrained for the jobs that are out there right now and the jobs of the future.

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Number three, we've got to control our own energy. Now, not only oil and natural gas, which we've been investing in; but also, we've got to make sure we're building the energy source of the future, not just thinking about next year, but ten years from now, 20 years from now. That's why we've invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy efficient cars.

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We've got to reduce our deficit, but we've got to do it in a balanced way. Asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more along with cuts so that we can invest in education like yours.

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And let's take the money that we've been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild America, roads, bridges schools. We do those things, not only is your future going to be bright but America's future is going to bright as well.

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CROWLEY: Let me ask you for more immediate answer and begin with Mr. Romney just quickly what — what can you do? We're looking at a situation where 40 percent of the unemployed have been unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more. They don't have the two years that Jeremy has.

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What about those long term unemployed who need a job right now?

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ROMNEY: Well what you're seeing in this country is 23 million people struggling to find a job. And a lot of them, as you say, Candy, have been out of work for a long, long, long time. The president's policies have been exercised over the last four years and they haven't put Americans back to work.

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We have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office. If the — the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when he took office, it's 7.8 percent now. But if you calculated that unemployment rate, taking back the people who dropped out of the workforce, it would be 10.7 percent.

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We have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work. That's why I put out a five-point plan that gets America 12 million new jobs in four years and rising take-home pay. It's going to help Jeremy get a job when he comes out of school. It's going to help people across the country that are unemployed right now.

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And one thing that the president said, which I want to make sure that we understand, he said that I said we should take Detroit bankrupt. And that's right. My plan was to have the company go through bankruptcy like 7-Eleven did and Macy's and Condell (ph) Airlines and come out stronger.

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Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

Oct 18
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 18 2012 9:41AM) : For fact checking this and the President's Auto bailout claims, please see paragraph 46.
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And I know he keeps saying, you want to take Detroit bankrupt. Well, the president took Detroit bankrupt. You took General Motors bankrupt. You took Chrysler bankrupt. So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did.

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And I think it's important to know that that was a process that was necessary to get those companies back on their feet, so they could start hiring more people. That was precisely what I recommended and ultimately what happened.

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CROWLEY: Let me give the president a chance.

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Go ahead. OBAMA: Candy, what Governor Romney said just isn't true. He wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open. And we would have lost a million jobs. And that — don't take my word for it, take the executives at GM and Chrysler, some of whom are Republicans, may even support Governor Romney. But they'll tell you his prescription wasn't going to work.

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Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

Oct 18
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 18 2012 9:40AM) : POLITICO: Fact checking both candidates on their claims for the Auto-Industry bailout more

“Both comments are technically true — but it’s not that easy. A 2008 op-ed from Romney titled, ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt’ — a headline that was written by The New York Times, the Romney camp has said — argued that the companies would fail if the government bailed them out. Romney was blunt in his introduction: ‘If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for on Tuesday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.’
Romney is correct that his plan was to have them go into bankruptcy, but the op-ed claims have proven false. While the government is still owed billions, GM stock prices were up 15 percent in the most recent quarter, beating industry expectations.
Obama’s claims also are true. A 2010 study from a U.S. auto industry think tank, the Center for Automotive Research, estimated the bailout saved 1.1 million jobs in 2009 and 314,000 in 2010.
‘These loans and other financial assistance provided to General Motors and Chrysler by the U.S. and foreign governments averted certain economic catastrophe had the companies been allowed to fail,’ the report says.
There was also some broader context that neither candidate talked about. While only GM and Chrysler (and their respective financing arms) got bailout dollars, Ford executives said their company would have faced major problems had the other two gone under, thanks to ripple effects with parts suppliers and other industries.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82505_Page2.html

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And Governor Romney's says he's got a five-point plan? Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That's been his philosophy in the private sector, that's been his philosophy as governor, that's been his philosophy as a presidential candidate.

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You can make a lot of money and pay lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less. You can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it. You can invest in a company, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions, and you still make money.

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That's exactly the philosophy that we've seen in place for the last decade. That's what's been squeezing middle class families.

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And we have fought back for four years to get out of that mess. The last thing we need to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us there.

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CROWLEY: Mr. President, the next question is going to be for you here.

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And, Mr. Romney — Governor Romney — there'll be plenty of chances here to go on, but I want to...

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ROMNEY: That — that Detroit — that Detroit answer...

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CROWLEY: We have all these folks.

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ROMNEY: ... that Detroit answer...

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CROWLEY: I will let you absolutely...

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ROMNEY: ... and the rest of the answer, way off the mark.

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CROWLEY: OK. Will — will — you certainly will have lots of time here coming up.

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Because I want to move you on to something that's sort of connected to cars here, and — and go over. And we want to get a question from Phillip Tricolla.

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QUESTION: Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it's not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?

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OBAMA: The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy. So here's what I've done since I've been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years.

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Natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment. But what I've also said is we can't just produce traditional source of energy. We've also got to look to the future. That's why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you're going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. That's why we doubled clean — clean energy production like wind and solar and biofuels.

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And all these things have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years. Now, I want to build on that. And that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas for drilling. We continue to make it a priority for us to go after natural gas. We've got potentially 600,000 jobs and 100 years worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas.

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And we can do it in an environmentally sound way. But we've also got to continue to figure out how we have efficiency energy, because ultimately that's how we're going to reduce demand and that's what's going to keep gas prices lower.

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Now, Governor Romney will say he's got an all-of-the-above plan, but basically his plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policies. So he's got the oil and gas part, but he doesn't have the clean energy part. And if we are only thinking about tomorrow or the next day and not thinking about 10 years from now, we're not going to control our own economic future. Because China, Germany, they're making these investments. And I'm not going to cede those jobs of the future to those countries. I expect those new energy sources to be built right here in the United States.

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That's going to help Jeremy get a job. It's also going to make sure that you're not paying as much for gas.

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CROWLEY: Governor, on the subject of gas prices?

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ROMNEY: Well, let's look at the president's policies, all right, as opposed to the rhetoric, because we've had four years of policies being played out. And the president's right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.

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Oct 17
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 17 2012 9:49AM) : Chicago Tribune Fact Check's candidates' claims on oil, natural gas more

“Both statements ring true, as far as they go. Obama more correctly describes the bigger picture.

According to an Energy Department study published in the spring, sales of oil from federal areas fell 14 percent between 2010 and 2011 and sales of natural gas production fell 9 percent, supporting Romney’s point. The lower oil production was a result mainly of a moratorium on offshore drilling imposed by the Obama administration after the April 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

According to the same report, though, oil production from federal areas is up 13 percent since Obama took office despite last year’s dip, and analysts say Gulf oil production is expected to soon exceed its pre-spill levels.

Natural gas production from federal areas has been declining for years because drillers have found vast reserves of natural gas in formations under several states that are cheaper to access than most federally controlled areas.”

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So where'd the increase come from? Well a lot of it came from the Bakken Range in North Dakota. What was his participation there? The administration brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. And what was the cost? 20 or 25 birds were killed and brought out a migratory bird act to go after them on a criminal basis.

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Look, I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. I believe very much in our renewable capabilities; ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix.

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But what we don't need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas. This has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal. Talk to the people that are working in those industries. I was in coal country. People grabbed my arms and said, "Please save my job." The head of the EPA said, "You can't build a coal plant. You'll virtually — it's virtually impossible given our regulations." When the president ran for office, he said if you build a coal plant, you can go ahead, but you'll go bankrupt. That's not the right course for America.

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Let's take advantage of the energy resources we have, as well as the energy sources for the future. And if we do that, if we do what I'm planning on doing, which is getting us energy independent, North America energy independence within eight years, you're going to see manufacturing jobs come back. Because our energy is low cost, that are already beginning to come back because of our abundant energy. I'll get America and North America energy independent. I'll do it by more drilling, more permits and licenses.

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We're going to bring that pipeline in from Canada. How in the world the president said no to that pipeline? I will never know.

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This is about bringing good jobs back for the middle class of America, and that's what I'm going to do. CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me just see if I can move you to the gist of this question, which is, are we looking at the new normal? I can tell you that tomorrow morning, a lot of people in Hempstead will wake up and fill up and they will find that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon.

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Is it within the purview of the government to bring those prices down, or are we looking at the new normal?

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OBAMA: Candy, there's no doubt that world demand's gone up, but our production is going up, and we're using oil more efficiently. And very little of what Governor Romney just said is true. We've opened up public lands. We're actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration and my — the previous president was an oil man.

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Oct 17
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 17 2012 9:50AM) : For the fact check on this and Romney's gas claims, please see the comment on paragraph 68.
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And natural gas isn't just appearing magically. We're encouraging it and working with the industry.

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And when I hear Governor Romney say he's a big coal guy, I mean, keep in mind, when — Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, "This plant kills," and took great pride in shutting it down. And now suddenly you're a big champion of coal.

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So what I've tried to do is be consistent. With respect to something like coal, we made the largest investment in clean coal technology, to make sure that even as we're producing more coal, we're producing it cleaner and smarter. Same thing with oil, same thing with natural gas.

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And the proof is our oil imports are down to the lowest levels in 20 years. Oil production is up, natural gas production is up, and, most importantly, we're also starting to build cars that are more efficient.

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And that's creating jobs. That means those cars can be exported, 'cause that's the demand around the world, and it also means that it'll save money in your pocketbook.

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OBAMA: That's the strategy you need, an all-of-the-above strategy, and that's what we're going to do in the next four years.

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ROMNEY: But that's not what you've done in the last four years. That's the problem. In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half.

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OBAMA: Not true, Governor Romney.

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ROMNEY: So how much did you cut (inaudible)?

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OBAMA: Not true.

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ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by, then?

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OBAMA: Governor, we have actually produced more oil —

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ROMNEY: No, no. How much did you cut licenses and permits on federal land and federal waters?

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OBAMA: Governor Romney, here's what we did. There were a whole bunch of oil companies.

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(CROSSTALK)

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ROMNEY: No, no, I had a question and the question was how much did you cut them by?

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OBAMA: You want me to answer a question —

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ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by?

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OBAMA: I'm happy to answer the question.

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ROMNEY: All right. And it is —

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OBAMA: Here's what happened. You had a whole bunch of oil companies who had leases on public lands that they weren't using. So what we said was you can't just sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce, when it's most profitable for you. These are public lands. So if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it.

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ROMNEY: OK, (inaudible) —

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OBAMA: And so what we did was take away those leases. And we are now reletting them so that we can actually make a profit.

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ROMNEY: And production on private — on government land —

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OBAMA: Production is up.

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ROMNEY: — is down.

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OBAMA: No, it isn't.

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ROMNEY: Production on government land of oil is down 14 percent.

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OBAMA: Governor —

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ROMNEY: And production on gas —

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(CROSSTALK)

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OBAMA: It's just not true.

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ROMNEY: It's absolutely true. Look, there's no question but the people recognize that we have not produced more (inaudible) on federal lands and in federal waters. And coal, coal production is not up; coal jobs are not up.

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I was just at a coal facility, where some 1,200 people lost their jobs. The right course for America is to have a true all-of-the-above policy. I don't think anyone really believes that you're a person who's going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal. You'll get your chance in a moment. I'm still speaking.

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OBAMA: Well —

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ROMNEY: And the answer is I don't believe people think that's the case —

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OBAMA: — (inaudible).

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ROMNEY: That wasn't the question.

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OBAMA: OK.

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ROMNEY: That was a statement. I don't think the American people believe that. I will fight for oil, coal and natural gas. And the proof, the proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you're paying at the pump. If you're paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then, the strategy is working. But you're paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about $1.86 a gallon. Now, it's $4.00 a gallon. The price of electricity is up.

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Oct 18
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 18 2012 9:55AM) : Chicago Tribune: Fact Checking the claims of Romney on gas prices/energy costs more

Presidents have almost no effect on energy prices; most are set on financial exchanges around the world. When Obama took office, the world was in the grip of a financial crisis and crude prices — and gasoline prices along with them — had plummeted because world demand had collapsed. Crude oil prices have since risen even as U.S. oil production has soared in recent years because global demand is reaching new heights as the developing economies of Asia use more oil.

Other energy prices have fallen during Obama’s term. Electricity prices, when adjusted for inflation, are down, and homeowners are finding it much cheaper to heat their homes with natural gas. That’s because natural gas production has surged, reducing prices both for homeowners and for utilities that burn gas to generate electricity.

To read more:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-fact-check-second-presidential-debate-20121017

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If the president's energy policies are working, you're going to see the cost of energy come down. I will fight to create more energy in this country, to get America energy secure. And part of that is bringing in a pipeline of oil from Canada, taking advantage of the oil and coal we have here, drilling offshore in Alaska, drilling offshore in Virginia where the people want it. Those things will get us the energy we need.

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CROWLEY: Mr. President, could you address, because we did finally get to gas prices here, could you address what the governor said, which is if your energy policy was working, the price of gasoline would not be $4 a gallon here. Is that true?

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OBAMA: Well, think about what the governor — think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney's now promoting.

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So, it's conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.

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What I want to do is to create an economy that is strong, and at the same time produce energy. And with respect to this pipeline that Governor Romney keeps on talking about, we've — we've built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire earth once.

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So, I'm all for pipelines. I'm all for oil production. What I'm not for is us ignoring the other half of the equation. So, for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says "these are imaginary jobs." When you've got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado, who are working, creating wind power with good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator in that — in Iowa is all for it, providing tax breaks (ph) to help this work and Governor Romney says I'm opposed. I'd get rid of it.

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Oct 17
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 17 2012 10:04AM) : FactCheck.Org : Obama went too far with "imaginary" wind energy jobs claim more

Romney’s March Op-Ed in the Columbus Dispatch said this: ‘In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed.’

“Romney’s point was that wind and solar cannot ‘power the economy,’ and that’s correct. In fact, all renewable energy (including hydro power and biofuels) accounted for 9 percent of the nation’s energy consumption in 2011. And while wind generation has doubled since 2008, it still only accounted for 13 percent of all renewable energy generated in 2011. That’s still a very small fraction of the nation’s overall energy supply.

A Romney campaign white paper on energy lambasted “subsidies for an uncompetitive technology to survive in the market” that would be better served by ‘eliminating any barriers that might prevent the best technologies from succeeding on their own.’ Obama, on the other hand, has been a vocal proponent of tax credits to help the wind and solar industries. In short, there are clear policy differences between Obama and Romney on wind and solar issues, but Obama went too far with his claim that Romney called wind energy jobs ‘imaginary.’”

To read more:
http://factcheck.org/2012/10/factchecking-the-hofstra-debate/

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That's not an energy strategy for the future. And we need to win that future. And I intend to win it as President of the United States.

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CROWLEY: I got to — I got to move you on —

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ROMNEY: He gets the first —

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CROWLEY: — and the next question —

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ROMNEY: He actually got —

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CROWLEY: — for you —

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ROMNEY: He actually got the first question. So I get the last question — last answer —

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CROWLEY: (Inaudible) in the follow up, it doesn't quite work like that. But I'm going to give you a chance here. I promise you, I'm going to.

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And the next question is for you. So if you want to, you know, continue on — but I don't want to leave all —

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ROMNEY: Candy, Candy —

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CROWLEY: — sitting here —

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ROMNEY: Candy, I don't have a policy of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they're not phantom jobs. They're real jobs.

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CROWLEY: OK.

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ROMNEY: I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country. I appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas. I'm going to make sure —

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CROWLEY: OK.

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ROMNEY: — we're taking advantage of our energy resources. We'll bring back manufacturing to America. We're going to get through a very aggressive energy policy, 31/2 million more jobs in this country. It's critical to our future.

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OBAMA: Candy, it's not going to —

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CROWLEY: We're going to move you along —

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OBAMA: Used to being interrupted.

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CROWLEY: We're going to move you both along to taxes over here and all these folks that have been waiting.

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Governor, this question is for you. It comes from Mary Follano — Follano, sorry.

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ROMNEY: Hi, Mary.

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QUESTION: Governor Romney, you have stated that if you're elected president, you would plan to reduce the tax rates for all the tax brackets and that you would work with the Congress to eliminate some deductions in order to make up for the loss in revenue.

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Concerning the — these various deductions, the mortgage deductions, the charitable deductions, the child tax credit and also the — oh, what's that other credit? I forgot.

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OBAMA: You're doing great.

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QUESTION: Oh, I remember.

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The education credits, which are important to me, because I have children in college. What would be your position on those things, which are important to the middle class?

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ROMNEY: Thank you very much. And let me tell you, you're absolutely right about part of that, which is I want to bring the rates down, I want to simplify the tax code, and I want to get middle- income taxpayers to have lower taxes.

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And the reason I want middle-income taxpayers to have lower taxes is because middle-income taxpayers have been buried over the past four years. You've seen, as middle-income people in this country, incomes go down $4,300 a family, even as gasoline prices have gone up $2,000. Health insurance premiums, up $2,500. Food prices up. Utility prices up.

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The middle-income families in America have been crushed over the last four years. So I want to get some relief to middle-income families. That's part — that's part one.

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Now, how about deductions? 'Cause I'm going to bring rates down across the board for everybody, but I'm going to limit deductions and exemptions and credits, particularly for people at the high end, because I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they're paying now.

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The top 5 percent of taxpayers will continue to pay 60 percent of the income tax the nation collects. So that'll stay the same.

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Middle-income people are going to get a tax break.

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And so, in terms of bringing down deductions, one way of doing that would be say everybody gets — I'll pick a number — $25,000 of deductions and credits, and you can decide which ones to use. Your home mortgage interest deduction, charity, child tax credit, and so forth, you can use those as part of filling that bucket, if you will, of deductions.

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But your rate comes down and the burden also comes down on you for one more reason, and that is every middle-income taxpayer no longer will pay any tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. No tax on your savings. That makes life a lot easier.

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If you're getting interest from a bank, if you're getting a statement from a mutual fund or any other kind of investment you have, you don't have to worry about filing taxes on that, because there'll be no taxes for anybody making $200,000.00 per year and less, on your interest, dividends and capital gains. Why am I lowering taxes on the middle-class? Because under the last four years, they've been buried. And I want to help people in the middle-class.

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And I will not — I will not under any circumstances, reduce the share that's being paid by the highest income taxpayers. And I will not, under any circumstances increase taxes on the middle-class. The president's spending, the president's borrowing will cost this nation to have to raise taxes on the American people. Not just at the high end. A recent study has shown the people in the middle-class will see $4,000.00 per year in higher taxes as a result of the spending and borrowing of this administration.

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I will not let that happen. I want to get us on track to a balanced budget, and I'm going to reduce the tax burden on middle income families. And what's that going to do? It's going to help those families, and it's going to create incentives to start growing jobs again in this country.

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CROWLEY: Thanks, Governor.

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OBAMA: My philosophy on taxes has been simple. And that is, I want to give middle-class families and folks who are striving to get into the middle-class some relief. Because they have been hit hard over the last decade. Over the last 15, over the last 20 years.

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So four years ago I stood on a stage just like this one. Actually it was a town hall, and I said I would cut taxes for middle- class families, and that's what I've done, by $3,600.00. I said I would cut taxes for small businesses, who are the drivers and engines of growth. And we've cut them 18 times. And I want to continue those tax cuts for middle-class families, and for small business.

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But what I've also said is, if we're serious about reducing the deficit, if this is genuinely a moral obligation to the next generation, then in addition to some tough spending cuts, we've also got to make sure that the wealthy do a little bit more.

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So what I've said is, your first $250,000.00 worth of income, no change. And that means 98 percent of American families, 97 percent of small businesses, they will not see a tax increase. I'm ready to sign that bill right now. The only reason it's not happening is because Governor Romney's allies in Congress have held the 98 percent hostage because they want tax breaks for the top 2 percent.

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But what I've also says is for above $250,000, we can go back to the tax rates we had when Bill Clinton was president. We created 23 million new jobs. That's part of what took us from deficits to surplus. It will be good for our economy and it will be good for job creation.

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Now, Governor Romney has a different philosophy. He was on 60 Minutes just two weeks ago and he was asked: Is it fair for somebody like you, making $20 million a year, to pay a lower tax rate than a nurse or a bus driver, somebody making $50,000 year? And he said, "Yes, I think that's fair." Not only that, he said, "I think that's what grows the economy."

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Well, I fundamentally disagree with that. I think what grows the economy is when you get that tax credit that we put in place for your kids going to college. I think that grows the economy. I think what grows the economy is when we make sure small businesses are getting a tax credit for hiring veterans who fought for our country. That grows our economy.

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So we just have a different theory. And when Governor Romney stands here, after a year of campaigning, when during a Republican primary he stood on stage and said "I'm going to give tax cuts" — he didn't say tax rate cuts, he said "tax cuts to everybody," including the top 1 percent, you should believe him because that's been his history.

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Oct 18
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 18 2012 9:50AM) : FactCheck.org: Fact Checking the President's claim that Romney will cut taxes to "everybody" including the top one percent more

Romney said that ‘I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they’re paying now’ under his tax plan. But that’s not what he said earlier, as Obama correctly noted.

Romney pushed back, explaining that “I’m not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people.” But his remarks this time were different in tone and substance than what he said before, as the president suggested.

Obama was referring to an exchange during a Republican primary debate, when Rick Santorum charged that Romney ‘suggested raising taxes on the top 1 percent.’ Romney countered: ‘I said today that we’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.’“

To read more:
”http://factcheck.org/2012/10/factchecking-the-hofstra-debate/":http://factcheck.org/2012/10/factchecking-the-hofstra-debate/

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And that's exactly the kind of top-down economics that is not going to work if we want a strong middle class and an economy that's striving for everybody.

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CROWLEY: Governor Romney, I'm sure you've got a reply there.

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(LAUGHTER) ROMNEY: You're absolutely right.

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You heard what I said about my tax plan. The top 5 percent will continue to pay 60 percent, as they do today. I'm not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people. I am looking to cut taxes for middle-income people.

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And why do I want to bring rates down, and at the same time lower exemptions and deductions, particularly for people at the high end? Because if you bring rates down, it makes it easier for small business to keep more of their capital and hire people.

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And for me, this is about jobs. I want to get America's economy going again. Fifty-four percent of America's workers work in businesses that are taxed as individuals. So when you bring those rates down, those small businesses are able to keep more money and hire more people.

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For me, I look at what's happened in the last four years and say this has been a disappointment. We can do better than this. We don't have to settle for, how many months, 43 months with unemployment above 8 percent, 23 million Americans struggling to find a good job right now.

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There are 3.5 million more women living in poverty today than when the president took office.

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We don't have to live like this. We can get this economy going again. My five-point plan does it. Energy independence for North America in five years. Opening up more trade, particularly in Latin America. Cracking down on China when they cheat. Getting us to a balanced budget. Fixing our training programs for our workers. And finally, championing small business.

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I want to make small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go. And they're going now because of the policies of this administration.

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CROWLEY: Governor, let me ask the president something about what you just said.

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The governor says that he is not going to allow the top 5 percent, believe is what he said, to have a tax cut, that it will all even out, that what he wants to do is give that tax cut to the middle class. Settled?

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OBAMA: No, it's not settled.

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Look, the cost of lowering rates for everybody across the board, 20 percent. Along with what he also wants to do in terms of eliminating the estate tax, along what he wants to do in terms of corporates, changes in the tax code, it costs about $5 trillion.

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Governor Romney then also wants to spend $2 trillion on additional military programs even though the military's not asking for them. That's $7 trillion.

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He also wants to continue the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That's another trillion dollars — that's $8 trillion.

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Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

Oct 17
Rebecca Rak

Hi, I’m Becca! I’m currently a Senior journalism major at Oh… (more)

(Oct 17 2012 9:42AM) : POLITICO: Fact Checking Obama's claim on Romney's Tax Plan more

“Obama’s math overshot by about $1 trillion, by most estimates.
The president said Romney’s budget plan would cost $8 trillion — $5 trillion in tax cuts, $2 trillion in additional military spending and $1 trillion from the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Romney’s tax plan is estimated to cost $5 trillion — including the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts.

Romney says that he would offset the cost of those tax cuts, in part by eliminating or scaling back taxpayer’s ability to take credits and deductions. He has not given full details, but again floated the idea of a $25,000 cap on deductions, as he did in the first debate. Before that, he had discussed a $17,000 cap.
The combined cost of Romney’s tax plan and military spending hits only $7 trillion, which is the number Obama’s campaign used in a memo released during the debate highlighting what it called Romney’s ‘sketchy deal.’”


Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82505.html

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Now, what he says is he's going to make sure that this doesn't add to the deficit and he's going to cut middleclass taxes.

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But when he's asked, how are you going to do it, which deductions, which loopholes are you going to close? He can't tell you.

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The — the fact that he only has to pay 14 percent on his taxes when a lot of you are paying much higher. He's already taken that off the board, capital gains are going to continue to be at a low rate so we — we're not going to get money that way.

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We haven't heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that.

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Now, Governor Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we're going to pay for it, but we can't tell you until maybe after the election how we're going to do it, you wouldn't take such a sketchy deal and neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn't add up.

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And — and what's at stake here is one of two things, either Candy — this blows up the deficit because keep in mind, this is just to pay for the additional spending that he's talking about, $7 trillion - $8 trillion before we even get to the deficit we already have. Or, alternatively, it's got to be paid for, not only by closing deductions for wealthy individuals, that — that will pay for about 4 percent reduction in tax rates.

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You're going to be paying for it. You're going to lose some deductions, and you can't buy the sales pitch. Nobody who's looked at it that's serious, actually believes it adds up.

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CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me get — let me get the governor in on this. And Governor, let's — before we get into a...

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ROMNEY: I — I...

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CROWLEY: ...vast array of who says — what study says what, if it shouldn't add up. If somehow when you get in there, there isn't enough tax revenue coming in. If somehow the numbers don't add up, would you be willing to look again at a 20 percent...

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ROMNEY: Well of course they add up. I — I was — I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years, and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget. I ran the — the state of Massachusetts as a governor, to the extent any governor does, and balanced the budget all four years. When we're talking about math that doesn't add up, how about $4 trillion of deficits over the last four years, $5 trillion? That's math that doesn't add up. We have — we have a president talking about someone's plan in a way that's completely foreign to what my real plan is.

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ROMNEY: And then we have his own record, which is we have four consecutive years where he said when he was running for office, he would cut the deficit in half. Instead he's doubled it. We've gone from $10 trillion of national debt, to $16 trillion of national debt. If the president were reelected, we'd go to almost $20 trillion of national debt. This puts us on a road to Greece. I know what it takes to balance budgets. I've done it my entire life. So for instance when he says, "Yours is a $5 trillion cut." Well, no it's not. Because I'm offsetting some of the reductions with holding down some of the deductions.

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And...

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CROWLEY: Governor, I've gotta — gotta — actually, I need to have you both (inaudible).

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(CROSSTALK)

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CROWLEY: I understand the stakes here. I understand both of you. But I — I will get run out of town if I don't...

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(CROSSTALK)

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ROMNEY: And I just described — I just described to you, Mr. President — I just described to you precisely how I'd do it which is with a single number that people can put — and they can put they're — they're deductions and credits...

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(CROSSTALK)

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CROWLEY: Mr. President, we're keeping track, I promise you. And Mr. President, the next question is for you, so stay standing.

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OBAMA: Great. Looking forward to it.

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And it's Katherine Fenton, who has a question for you.

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QUESTION: In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?

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OBAMA: Well, Katherine, that's a great question. And, you know, I was raised by a single mom who had to put herself through school while looking after two kids. And she worked hard every day and made a lot of sacrifices to make sure we got everything we needed. My grandmother, she started off as a secretary in a bank. She never got a college education, even though she was smart as a whip. And she worked her way up to become a vice president of a local bank, but she hit the glass ceiling. She trained people who would end up becoming her bosses during the course of her career.

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She didn't complain. That's not what you did in that generation. And this is one of the reasons why one of the first — the first bill I signed was something called the Lily Ledbetter bill. And it's named after this amazing woman who had been doing the same job as a man for years, found out that she was getting paid less, and the Supreme Court said that she couldn't bring suit because she should have found about it earlier, whereas she had no way of finding out about it. So we fixed that. And that's an example of the kind of advocacy that we need, because women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family. This is not just a women's issue, this is a family issue, this is a middle-class issue, and that's why we've got to fight for it.

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It also means that we've got to make sure that young people like yourself are able to afford a college education. Earlier, Governor Romney talked about he wants to make Pell Grants and other education accessible for young people.

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Well, the truth of the matter is, is that that's exactly what we've done. We've expanded Pell Grants for millions of people, including millions of young women, all across the country.

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We did it by taking $60 billion that was going to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program, and we said, let's just cut out the middleman. Let's give the money directly to students.

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And as a consequence, we've seen millions of young people be able to afford college, and that's going to make sure that young women are going to be able to compete in that marketplace.

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But we've got to enforce the laws, which is what we are doing, and we've also got to make sure that in every walk of life we do not tolerate discrimination.

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That's been one of the hallmarks of my administration. I'm going to continue to push on this issue for the next four years.

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CROWLEY: Governor Romney, pay equity for women?

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ROMNEY: Thank you. And important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

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