idea — and I am a great fan of President Bill Clinton, I worked very hard with President Clinton. We tried to pass a stimulus package that was infinitesimally less consequential than this one in the face of overwhelming Republican opposition, to our great chagrin. We were able to, within the first month, pass a stimulus package that was bold.
And by the way, as Barack says, look, I didn’t get elected President to want the first time out, after inheriting a $1.2 trillion deficit — I didn’t want to start off by having to turn to the Congress and the American people and ask for over $780 billion in stimulus. I don’t want — I wish I did not have to go out — and some of you are extremely successful businessmen and women — to try to get credit moving again in this country. That’s not something I looked for, to have to invest tens of billion, hundreds of billions of dollars in trying to get credit flowing again.
But this is a guy who didn’t shrink from any of these challenges, and in the process, was able to literally now — we haven’t been there two months — two months we have not — been there. And he also — he made good on his promise to write a tax cut for 95 percent of the American people. (Applause.) It’s not much to a lot of us. But let me tell you something, to get $70 to $80 bucks a month more in your paycheck because it’s not being withheld makes a difference for a lot of people. (Applause.) Extending unemployment benefits is a matter of life and death for a lot of people. Making sure — making sure that people have health care is a big, big deal — and trying like the devil to deal with — deal with home foreclosures.
Folks, you know — you do know tens of millions of people out there are in really tough straights. And tens of millions more are worried. They’re literally — friends of yours, as well as people who work an hourly wage. Barack understands that the longest walk a parent ever has to make is up a short flight of stairs to tell his child: “I’m sorry, honey. I’m sorry, but we got to move. You got to change schools. You can’t stay on the basketball team. You’ll be okay, honey, you’ll be okay, but Daddy lost his job, Mommy lost a job, and they’re going to take our house.”
Folks, this is the real deal. This ain’t politics. This is life and death for a lot of people. And what did he do? He started this administration off by, in one fell swoop, reestablishing around the world respect once again for America, saying boldly and straightforwardly, without any equivocation, we will never engage in torture. We will close Guantanamo Bay. We will — (applause.)
And, folks, I’m telling — I’m telling you, he’s giving me, and I’m flattered — giving me some significant responsibilities at the front end of this job. And as I travel