Obama on the Record: Costa Mesa Town Hall

the road for another four years or eight years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. And I did not run for President to pass on our problems to the next generation – I ran for President to solve them.

So I know some folks in Washington and on Wall Street are saying we should focus on only one problem at a time. And I understand the thinking behind that. It’d be nice if we could pick and choose what problems to face and when to face them. But that’s just not the way it works. You don’t get to choose between paying your mortgage bills or your medical bills. You don’t get to choose between paying your kids’ tuition and saving enough for retirement. You need to take on all of these problems. And you need a government that will do the same. That’s what leadership is all about.

And that’s what this debate on the budget is all about – it’s about whether we are willing to do what needs to be done not only to get our economy moving right now, but to put it on the road to lasting, shared prosperity. It can be easy to lose sight of this. It’s easy for pundits to get on TV, put their ratings ahead of their own sense of responsibility, and oversimplify what’s at stake. It can be difficult to break free from the partisanship that’s held sway in Washington for so many years.

But that is what we have to do. That is what this moment requires. For what all of you know deep down – and what folks in Washington sometimes forget – is that in the end, a budget is not merely numbers on a page or a laundry list of programs. It is about your lives, your families, and your dreams for the future. And you didn’t send us to Washington to stand in the way of your aspirations. You didn’t send us there to say no to change – you sent us there to get things done.

And that is exactly what I intend to do. But I cannot do it without you, the American people. As I’ve said many times, change in this country comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up. That’s why I’m here today – because it will take all of us talking with one another and all of us working together to see our nation through this difficult time and bring about a brighter day. So, thank you for this opportunity to speak with you, and now I’d like to open it up for questions.

(Source: White House)

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