In the second phase, we’re now investing in projects to repair and upgrade roads and bridges, ports and water systems — and in schools and clean energy initiatives throughout Ohio and all across the country. These are projects that are creating good jobs and bring lasting improvements to our communities and our country.
There’s no doubt that the steps we’ve taken have helped stave off a much deeper disaster and even greater job loss. They’ve saved and helped create jobs and have begun to put the brakes on this devastating recession. But I know that for the millions of Americans who are looking for work, and for those who are struggling in this economy, full recovery can’t come soon enough.
I hear from you at town hall meetings like this. I read your letters. The stories I hear are the first thing that I think about in the morning; they’re the last thing I think about at night. They’re the focus of my attention every waking minute of every day. The simple truth is that it took years to get into this mess, and it will take more than a few months to dig our way out of it. (Applause.) But I want to promise you this, Ohio, we will get there — (applause) — and we are doing everything in our power to get our people back to work. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Barack!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Laughter and applause.)
We also have to do more than just rescue this economy from recession; we need to address the fundamental problems that allowed this crisis to happen in the first place. Otherwise, we’d be guilty of the same short-term thinking that got us into this mess. That’s what Washington has done for decades. We put things off. And that’s what we have to change.
Now is the time to rebuild this economy stronger than before. Strong enough to compete in the 21st century. Strong enough to avoid the waves of boom and bust that have time and time again unleashed a torrent of misfortune on middle-class families across the country. That’s why we’re building a new energy economy that will unleash the innovative potential of America’s entrepreneurs — and create millions of new jobs — helping to end our dependence on foreign oil. (Applause.) We are — we’re transforming our education system, from cradle to college, so that this nation once again has the best-educated workforce on the planet. (Applause.) We are pursuing health insurance reform so that every American has access to quality, affordable health coverage. (Applause.)