Remarks to the Connecticut Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner

March 23, 2012 As Prepared for Delivery Thank you and Kathy for your leadership of the great state of Connecticut – you have a great mayor, and great governor – in Dan Malloy. Dan, thank you. Once a mayor, always a mayor. I consider that the highest title, second only to “citizen of the Republic.” It is really great to be with all of you. You look so good from up here – what a tremendous, large, enthusiastic crowd you have here in Connecticut for the Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner. It was great to see Barbara Kennelly and her family a little earlier. It’s also great to be with Lieutenant Governor Wyman, Mayor Segarra, Chairwoman DiNardo, and all of you. You have a great congressional delegation, you know that? Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Chris Murphy, Joe Courtney, Jim Himes. And you have such a great tradition of public service and Democratic leadership in our state: Chris Dodd, who represented Connecticut so well for so many years. Kevin Reynolds, congratulations to you on your well-deserved leadership award tonight. I was sitting next to Dan Picket, my godbrother, and his father, Jack Picket, was a great leader in Connecticut, and our families spent some great times together here at Crystal Lake in Middletown, Connecticut. It’s wonderful to be with all of you. If you think about it, Connecticut and Maryland have a lot in common. Both our states have tremendous strengths in this new economy if you look at, for example, the Milken Institute and Kauffman New Economy index rankings. What’s more: You are the Nutmeg State; Maryland is the Old Bay State. You are the Constitution State; we are birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner. You are the home of professional wrestling, … and we are next door to the Republicancontrolled House of Representatives. Speaking of professional wrestling – we’re seeing a lot of that among the GOP presidential candidates lately, aren’t we? Have you watched any of these presidential debates among the Republican candidates? They’re wonderful to watch – they’re a lot like Linda McMahon’s WWE: lots of bombast, lots of bluster, but at the end of the day not really grounded in reality, are they?

Since our nation's Revolutionary founding, the people of Connecticut and the people of Maryland have led these United States forward. And the common thread that has united our work together is the thread of human dignity -- the dignity of work, the dignity of a job, the dignity of every child's home, the dignity of every individual. Tonight, I’m very honored to be here with all of you, and I thank Dan Malloy for the invitation, Governor, to be with you. I want to share with you just a couple of thoughts, if I may, about the questions that we need to answer in Maryland and that we need to answer here in Connecticut, if we are as a nation to move forward and not back. While Governor Malloy, while President Obama, while Democratic governors across our country focus on creating jobs and expanding opportunity to move America forward, there is a new strain of Republican – and they are not like the Lincoln Republicans of old. They are governors, they are legislators, they are candidates – they are better financed than ever before, and they are determined to take America back. And they seek to take us back not only economically to the miserable years of job loss and recession that was the presidency of George W. Bush, but they also seek to take us back culturally, with divisive wedge issues that are designed only to make us fear one another, to make us separate, to make us divide, to drive us apart. Now unlike the longer and better traditions of the Republican Party of Lincoln, this new Tea Party of Romney, of Gingrich, of Santorum and others pledges allegiance to a very small, narrow, exclusive idea of our country. Their idea is of an America that can only create opportunities for the few. An America that can only accommodate the freedoms, the equal rights, the voting rights of some. An America of the one percent, by the one percent and for the one percent. So when they say they want to take America back, all of us together need to ask, “back to what”? Back to the record job losses of the Bush recession? Back to the days of aspirin as birth control? Back to the days before voting rights? Back to the record deficits and wars without end of the Bush Administration? Instead of creating jobs and expanding new opportunities, when this new strain of Republicans gain power – and you’ve seen it in state after state – they put all their energy not into job creation, not into expanding opportunity, but into concentrating wealth, into limiting opportunities, restricting freedoms, and rolling back rights. What am I talking about? I’m talking about rolling back voting rights, rolling back women's rights, rolling back access to healthcare, rolling back worker's rights, rolling back the very promise of shared responsibilities, and expanded opportunities for all. Crafting a future of restricted freedoms, and limiting the highest possibilities to only the few.

And folks, Connecticut – this is not some scary tale of what they might do if they get elected. This is what they are already doing. They are doing it in Florida, they’re doing it in New Jersey, they’re doing it in Wisconsin, they’re doing it in Ohio, and they’re doing it more recently in Virginia. Now, here in Connecticut, when faced with the choice of moving forward or back, you chose to move forward by electing a Democratic governor in Dan Malloy for the first time in twenty years. I’ve never known a governor that works as hard, or a mayor that works as hard, as Governor Malloy. He can’t clean up in twenty years of mess in just two years, but he’s moving Connecticut forward. I don’t have to remind you what he inherited: a deficit that was actually larger on a per capita basis - $3.6 billion – than any state in America. But he’s moving Connecticut forward. Governor Malloy doesn’t make excuses; he brings people together. He makes tough decisions, he makes progress. Progress to create jobs, progress to expand opportunity, the sort of progress that only happens when leaders have the guts to make the tough decisions and the right decisions now. And this is the audience participation part: and I want you to sing it with me when you hear the chorus, are you ready? With 16,300 jobs Connecticut businesses created last year, Team Malloy is moving Connecticut – all together now – forward, not back. By stabilizing Connecticut’s finances in the toughest of fiscal climates, Team Malloy is moving Connecticut forward, not back. By launching "Bioscience Connecticut" to create jobs and opportunities today and the jobs of the future, Team Malloy is moving Connecticut forward, not back. With tough choices to make Connecticut’s pension system sustainable for the long term, Team Malloy is moving Connecticut forward, not back. And by fighting for Connecticut’s working families, by fighting to extend collective bargaining rights for child care and home care providers, Governor Malloy is moving Connecticut forward, not back. Now at the national level, no President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt – let’s be honest – inherited a bigger mess than President Obama inherited. Anyone can lead in easy times; it takes guts, it takes strength, it takes courage to lead in tough times. The sort of guts, the sort of strength, the sort of courage that Dan and I saw in our President the other day when he met with the Democratic governors of the United States of America. We have a lot of work still to do, but my fellow Democrats, let's not take our eyes off of the road we have chosen to travel. Twenty four months in a row of positive job creation. We haven’t done that as a country since 2005, 2006. With more American jobs created over the

last year in the private sector than were created all eight years of George W. Bush, Barack Obama is moving us forward, and not back. By driving unemployment down to it’s lowest levels in three years, President Obama is moving America forward, and not back. By driving home foreclosures down to their lowest levels in four years, Barack Obama is moving America forward, and not back. By saving the 1.4 million jobs in the auto industry, Barack Obama is moving America forward, and not back. UAW. We’ve got an important decision to make this November. And there is no reality outside of the context of story. I don’t think that as Democrats, we have a better story to tell our neighbors about the difference between presidential leadership for jobs of Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch candidacy – we have no better story to tell than the story of the turnaround of the American auto industry. It did not happen by chance, it did not happen because of luck, it happened because of choices. It happened because of presidential leadership. The investment the President asked our country to make in this turnaround was unpopular. Lots of critics. But President Obama knew that the base of American manufacturing jobs is the American auto industry. He knew that if GM collapsed, likely the other American auto industries would collapse with them. The supply chain, which creates another two jobs for every one in the auto industry, would also collapse. And he did what we elected him to do. He made the right decisions, he turned around the auto industry, and millions of Americans are working today because of it. Get this – the story goes on. The good news is GM repaid that loan. GM last year had their most profitable year. GM is now number one in the auto industry, and American manufacturing is now growing and hiring again for the first time since the 1990s, something your governor pointed out the other day on the Front Lawn of the White House: our President has done something nobody thought would happen again – American manufacturing is hiring and putting people back to work again. Now contrast that for your neighbors with Mitt Romney. What was Mitt Romney's approach? Governor Etch-A-Sketch? We don't have to wonder, because he actually wrote it in an editorial at the time. His turnaround plan, his plan for turning around American manufacturing and the auto industry was summed up in four words: "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." That’s what he said. That's not an economic policy, that's not an economic plan. That’s a lack of an economic policy. That's lack of leadership. No wonder after four years of Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, you know where Massachusetts ranked in job creation among the 50 states? 47th. 47th in job creation.

As Americans, we realize that we all do better when everyone does better. Success breeds success. Recovery builds on recovery. Yes, the facts are stubborn things, and the truth must be stated: under President Obama's leadership, GM is alive and hiring, and Osama Bin Laden is not. Barack Obama for President. Progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. Moving forward and not back, this too is a choice. For the last decade, let’s be honest with one another – we have been severely undercapitalizing and under-utilizing the great idea that our parents gave to us of the United States of America. We have been selling our country short, selling our children’s future short. Therefore, today we face a host of deficits – yes, we face a federal deficit in our federal budget – but we also face an understanding deficit, we face a jobs deficit, we face a compassion deficit, we face and understanding deficit – and these, my friends, these are the enemies within. It’s not what other countries are doing to us; it’s what we are not doing for ourselves. To create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments: investments by all of us, for all of us. Educating, Innovating, Rebuilding. That’s not a Democratic or a Republican idea, is it? That’s an American idea. It’s an historic and an economic truth. And so, in this upcoming election, as we search for the good intentions of all of our neighbors, for common ground, and for the way forward, let's ask one another honestly - how much less do we think would be good for our country? How much less education would be best for our children? How much less public safety would be good for our cities? Without anger, meanness or fear -- how many fewer bridges, roads, and tunnels can we do without? How many of our seniors can we no longer afford to care for? How many hungry American children can we no longer afford to feed? The country – this country that Connecticut has always carried in its hearts – this country that we work to build up, it is not a small, or narrow, or limiting place. Not a place of less. Our idea of country is a land that creates opportunities not just for the few; not just good jobs for a couple generations; not health care, homeownership, college education for fewer and fewer; freedom, opportunity, and equal rights only for some. Like our parents and grandparents, our idea of America is something bigger, something always growing better, a place that’s always becoming more inclusive, more extensive. You and I are Democrats because we believe in an America large enough to hold the hopes and dreams of every one of our children. We are Democrats because we believe the way forward is always to be found through greater respect for the human dignity and equal rights of all.

We are Democrats because we believe in an America where, together, we choose to move forward, not back. And so, Connecticut, let’s re-elect Barack Obama President, let’s send a Democrat to the United States Senate from Connecticut, because in the words of Bruce Springsteen, “the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. Thank you all very, very much. Great to be with you all. Goodnight.