Obama on the Record: Healthcare Reform Town Hall

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank, please, everybody have a seat. Thank you. Hello! (Applause.) Hello, Shaker Heights! Hello, Ohio! It is great to be here. There are a couple of quick acknowledgments I want to make. First of all, please give Rick a big round of applause for his introduction. (Applause.)

Some special guests that we’ve got. First of all, the governor of the great state of Ohio, Ted Strickland, is in the house. (Applause.) There he is right there. Your State Treasurer Kevin Boyce is here. (Applause.) Your Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is here. (Applause.) The mayor of the great city of Cleveland, Frank Jackson, is here. (Applause.) Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken is here. (Applause.) The Shaker Heights school superintendent Mark Freeman is here. (Applause.)

Not here, but a couple of my favorite people: Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Sherrod Brown couldn’t be here today. They’ve got work to do in Washington. (Applause.)

It is good to be back in the great state of Ohio. (Applause.) Now, I know there are those who like to report on the back-and-forth in Washington. But my only concern is the people who sent us to Washington — the families feeling the pain of this recession; the folks I’ve met across this country who have lost jobs and savings and health insurance but haven’t lost hope; the citizens who defied the cynics and the skeptics — who went to the polls to demand real and lasting change. Change was the cause of my campaign; it is the cause of my presidency.

And when my administration came into office, we were facing the worst economy since the Great Depression. We were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month. Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have felt that pain firsthand. Our financial system was on the verge of collapse, meaning families and small businesses couldn’t get the credit they need. And experts were warning that there was a serious chance that our economy could slip into a depression. But because of the action we took in those first weeks, we’ve been able to pull our economy back from the brink.

Now that the most immediate danger has passed, there are some who question those steps. So let me report to you exactly what we’ve done.

We passed a two-year Recovery Act that meant an immediate tax cut for 95 percent of Americans and small businesses — 95 percent. (Applause.) It extended unemployment insurance and health coverage for those who lost their jobs in this recession. (Applause.) It provided emergency assistance to states like Ohio to prevent even deeper layoffs of police officers and firefighters and teachers and other essential personnel. (Applause.) At the same time, we took needed steps to keep the banking system from collapsing, to get credit flowing again, and to help responsible homeowners — hurt by falling home prices — to stay in their homes.

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