THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Well, it is great to see all of you. And I am thrilled that all of you here in the White House and everybody who is viewing this online is participating in this experiment that we’re trying out. When I was running for President, I promised to open up the White House to the American people. And this event, which is being streamed live over the Internet, marks an important step towards achieving that goal. And I’m looking forward to taking your questions and hearing your thoughts and concerns — because what matters to you and your families, and what people here in Washington are focused on, aren’t always one and the same thing.
Here in Washington, politics all too often is treated like a game. There’s a lot of point scoring, a lot of talk about who’s up and who’s down, a lot of time and energy spent on whether the President is winning or losing on this particular day or this particular hour. But this isn’t about me. It’s about you. It’s about the folks whose letters I read every single day. And for the American people, what’s going on is not a game. What matters to you is how you’re going to find a new job when nobody seems to be hiring or how to pay medical bills after you get out of the hospital or how to put your children through college when the money you’d put away for their tuition is no longer there.
That’s what matters to you. That’s what you expect your leaders to be focused on. And that’s why I’ve been working to deliver the changes you sent me here to make; to ensure that we’re not only making it through this crisis, but come out on the other side stronger and more prosperous as a nation over the long term. That’s the future that I believe is within our reach.
But that future will not come about on its own. It will come because we all, every single one of us, from Main Street to the halls of Congress, do what generations of Americans have done in times of trial; because we remember that at heart we are one nation, and one people, and united by a bond that no division of party or ideology can break; because we come together as Americans to choose that better day.
And that’s what we’ve already begun to do. We, as a nation, have already begun the critical work that will lead to our economic recovery. It’s a recovery that will be measured by whether jobs are being created and families have more money to pay their bills at the end of each month. That’s why we’re preventing teachers and police officers from being laid off, and putting Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges and dams, creating or saving 3.5 million jobs in the coming years.