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Obama Goes Big

Memo Pad Politics

Obama Goes Big


WASHINGTON — Presidents are judged not only by the things they do but also by how successful they are in influencing the actions of the presidents who follow.

Leaders who want their achievements to endure know their task includes changing the terms of the national debate and leaving behind an intellectual legacy that shapes how future generations see the country and its possibilities.

Franklin D. Roosevelt accomplished this. So did Ronald Reagan. President Obama traveled Wednesday to Knox College in Illinois to give the speech that launched his effort to join them. It was where, in 2005, he originally laid out his philosophy of government.

Obama is making this bid in the face of a political culture that is far more cynical than it was in the days of FDR or the Gipper. He confronts adversaries determined to move the country in exactly the opposite direction from the one he would have it choose. And up to now, the president has been foiled or distracted whenever he has tried to focus the public conversation on reversing rising inequality and restoring social mobility.

So why should his latest effort be any different? Here are three reasons.

First, Obama and his advisors have learned from past failures. Earlier speeches along these lines came and went, barely causing a ripple in the public’s consciousness. This time, the president is embarking on an eight-week campaign to keep his themes at the center of the debate. He wants to bend the news cycle rather than bow to it.

By giving a series of addresses that include specific proposals — some old, some new — he hopes to grab the public’s attention, and the media’s. His grassroots operation will mobilize supporters to talk up these themes with their neighbors. Whatever else it is, this campaign is not a one-off.

Second, he will be speaking to a country that’s fed up with the mean, narrow and pessimistic tone emanating from a capital locked in what Obama called “short-term thinking and stale debates.” The president’s critics have said over and over that he needs to “go big” and push the system beyond itself. Even his friends have been frustrated at his difficulty in seizing the initiative and confronting obstructionist opponents. He appears to have listened.

But the most important reason this offensive has a chance is that it goes to the heart of why Obama got elected in the first place and then won re-election. A substantial American majority just doesn’t buy the ideas that Obama forcefully rejected: that “inequality is both inevitable and just” and that “an unfettered free market without any restraints inevitably produces the best outcomes, regardless of the pain and uncertainty imposed on ordinary families.”

E. J. Dionne

Besides contributing to The National Memo, E.J. Dionne, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and a university professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.

His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (2013).

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  1. Dominick Vila July 25, 2013

    I support President Obama’s decision to take his agenda to the American public. After months of trying to negotiate issues such as immigration reform with a Congress that remains as intransigent as ever he concluded, correctly, that the only ones who influence the decision making process of our elected officials are the voters.
    His speech yesterday highlighted an agenda focused on economic growth, investment, equality for all members of our society…and the benefits of Obamacare. The part of his speech that I enjoyed the most was challenging the opponents of ACA to come up with a better alternative.
    The only contribution we have seen from this Congress is limited to saying NO. Unfortunately for us, saying NO is not the answer or the solution we need to resolve our socio-economic problems and move forward, if that happens to be our long term goal. Congress, regardless of political affiliation, must change its obsession on short term goals and focus instead on where we want to be ten or twenty years from now. They must focus on what is best for our children, rather than what would allow us to buy the latest cell phone Made in China because we are tired of the one we bough six months ago, which was also made overseas.

    1. gvette July 25, 2013

      Hi Dominick. I guess you wnat to see the country look like Detroit. I know you believe everything that comes out of his mouth, but don’t forget, he has never run a business, or had to make a payrole. To him, as long as you have money he can take, he’s happy.

      1. judi July 25, 2013

        This country is NOT A BUSINESS!!!! That is the problem now…the Right thinks PEOPLE don’t matter, that they are a hinderance to profits. PEOPLE PRODUCE THE GOODS TO MAKE PROFITS, AS WELL AS BUY THEM SO THAT THERE ARE PROFITS.

        1. gvette July 25, 2013

          Obama doesn’t know that. He never ran one. do you not have a budget at your house, Judi? Do you just spend money like there’s no tomorrow? I’ll bring it to you again. Dems ran Detroit into the ground. I know you don’t see it. That’s to bad.

          1. judi July 25, 2013

            Try this: banks ran their ghetto loan scheme and could not be repaid. Auto companies, and others, were given tax abatements and credits to move to Detroit, and there was a great loss of tax revenue. Detroit was an auto maker haven for decades. Jobs left….were sent overseas so that companies could make more profits. Then there were NO jobs…housing market fell. People that could, left in droves. Education system was underfunded and destroyed. BOTH parties had a hand in this.
            Then the Repubs and the Kochs and ALEC stepped in: they saw a city and a state ripe for the picking. Using their denigrate, deny, defund, and destroy tactics that have worked for decades…..they went after it. Yep, the Free Market and their version of the constitution, screw the people, will win the day!

          2. gvette July 25, 2013

            No Judi, both partys didn’t have a hand in it. Detroit was Dem run for over 50 years. Unions, and government workers contracts ruined things.
            I have a funny feeling you think everyone should work for the government.

          3. judi July 25, 2013

            I have a funny feeling you think the the Republican Big Corporation Machine ..and money for them only is the answer.
            EVerything in this country is NOT a DEM or GOP problem!!!! This is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! We are all in this together. When did we become a “me, mine only” society???? Better wages and benefits, better schools. Better environment, better healthcare, treating ALL people the same benefits the country as a whole. The GOP, the Party of NO Government, seems to think that THEIR views and THEIR religious interpretation of contsttutional law is the way EVERYBODY should be governed…..them running the show (actually the KOCHS) and everybody else being told what to do (even in personal aspects of their lives which is NOBODY’S business) and should be THRILLED to receive the crumbs thrown down from the Highly Connected. BS

          4. gvette July 25, 2013

            You’re right. It is about us. You seem to hate business. You didn’t answer my question from before. Poor people don’t own businesses. You either work for one, or you own one. Except for those that work for government, who think they are owed everything. I’ll ask my question from a different angle. Where does true wealth begin?

          5. jmprint July 25, 2013

            You are wrong again gvette, poor people do own businesses. That’s what makes this world turn. True wealth began with the folks that stole the land from the poor.

          6. gvette July 25, 2013

            LOL…no, poor don’t own business. It still takes a certain amout of money to start one. True wealth begins in private sector.

          7. jmprint July 25, 2013

            I like that your always laughing out loud, good for the soul.

            What about hard labor? I know a lot of mom and pop businesses that are not quite in the middle class, but guess what they employ people. And don’t depend on the government.

          8. gvette July 25, 2013

            It’s kinda funny. As i’m in small business, I’m not sure I fit middle class anymore. I get nothing from the government, except paying into it.
            Yes, I do try to keep my sesnse of humor. I think we have to!!

          9. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            No wonder you are happy. You get roads from the government, for autos to drive up to your door. You have money printed ready to exchange so you don’t have to barter. You probably have street lights. Is there a local police force or fire department to call in an emergency? Do you cross a bridge or viaduct on your way to work? Government built that. Use any software? Government patents probably were the basis of its creation. Were any of the autos, which your business services, produced as a result of the auto bale-out? You get lots of help from the government; you just don’t appreciate it.

          10. gvette July 25, 2013

            That’s a small part of it. I think you use the roads too. It’s the waste, I don’t like.

          11. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            How are these magnificent environmental settings “a small part of it”? Of course, we both use roads–we’ve both probably paid taxes that allowed local governments to build them. I too worry about waste.

            I have a non-political idea about waste, however. In nature, waste is the means of the strongest surviving: look at all of the helicopter seeds twirling down from the maple trees in your neighborhood, or imagine the sixty-foot chestnut tree hovering over our deck, loaded down with chestnuts. Open a tomato or a squash, seeds galore.

            Certain natural resources have limits, however. The air, once polluted, is all we have. Even the Koch brothers who try to defeat legislation to regulate fossil fuels would suffocate without it. Other fossil fuel producers promoting fracking want to limit regulations, but still need fresh water to survive. Fresh water in the earth’s aquifers are a limited resource–but one we all need.

          12. idamag July 27, 2013

            I do, too.

          13. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            An economics major at the University of Chicago returned to India where he started a micro-loan business, maybe $100 lent to start a fruit stand, that sort of thing. In the developing world, these loans have been very influential. Even in the U.S., you can still start a business with less than $1,000. By definition, if your income is lower than poverty level, you might still have $1,000 to spend on a business start-up: desktop publishing, for example.

          14. geoelb July 26, 2013

            Rich and poor are relative terms of comparison. the above debate has little meaning unless better defined

          15. jmprint July 26, 2013

            Not really sure which above debate you mean. There are rich and then there are richer, as well as here are poor and then there a re poorer.

          16. middleclasstaxpayer July 27, 2013

            Those folks would be the First Settlers from the Mayflower who really DID steal the land from the First Americans, the American Indians!

          17. idamag July 27, 2013

            Some of those people employed by the government might be your customers. If they are, tell them to go elsewhere.

          18. idamag July 27, 2013

            GOP, not exactly the party of no government. The party of government where they want it, only.

          19. awakenaustin July 25, 2013

            What is with you guys? Every time someone disagrees with you, you presume the following they must work for the government, they love government, they must want everyone to work for the government, they must want the government to tell them everything, they must be poor and want to live off the government, they never worked for a living, they never made a payroll (as if making a payroll somehow makes you wise beyond your years and a candidate for sainthood – and before you counter with it – yes I have made a payroll and so what), they just want a hand out, and on and on until you get to calling them socialists or communists or some such other crap. All the while doing this with smarmy, know it all, condescending smugness.

            Her first point is the most important point – a government is not a business. We don’t run any level of government like a business. If we did, there would be no public library, no public roads (including interstate highways which were an incredible boon to business in this nation), no public hospitals, no community police force, no community fire department, no public water supply, no public sewage systems, no community garbage pick up and disposal and no anything which serves the community as a whole. A business is not altruistic, it does not seek the common good, it does not seek to serve the interests of all, it is not even open to the idea of it. It serves its own bottom line and that is its only concern. Everything else it does is designed to serve that primary interest. Even its gifts to charity, its humane image, its environmental friendly face are public relations gimmicks designed to further its long and short term goals of increasing its income and its competitive advantage. You really think Exxon gives a flying f**k about the environment. Only to the extend it burnishes their public image and makes people have favorable associations with the name. I am fine with that. I don’t care if they make money. I think business is great. At least mine is.

            Government, however, has a very important role in society. An one of its roles, for all of you business intellectuals out there, is to provide sufficient stability to our society by mitigating the dislocations and damaging effects of our economic system so the poor and desperate don’t rise up and burn your damn house down. You can’t buy enough damn guns to get the job done. Even those working class goofs who support you now, cause they believe your crap about the women and the blacks being to blame for their problems, will awaken some day.

            The idea is if you share the pie a little and you make others believe they have a real opportunity to prosper and you fulfill that promise often enough, then everyone will have enough of a stake in how things are done to support the system in general. That in essence was the New Deal. FDR was bright enough to know you had to save capitalism from itself. Left to its own devices and the greed of its economic elites it would ultimately sow the seeds of its own destruction.

            The Founding Fathers founded a Government – not a business. They founded a national government, they had a crap confederation (a government run by the States) and they got rid of it.
            There is ultimately no reason, excepting greed, why this nation can not take care of both its haves and its have nots.

          20. gvette July 25, 2013

            I hate to simplify, but government should be run like a business. In business, we know you can’t spend more then you take in. This government has got to the point of 43 cents of every dollar it spends, is borrowed. I guess in your eyes, that ok.

          21. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            Yet most businesses take out loans regularly and pay them regularly (farms, for example). On your taxes, if you amortize the cost of your purchases to reduce your business’s income taxes, the government has made you a little loan. Credit card usage is, in essence, a personal loan you take out for a bit and then repay. In fact, if you say you will do a job for someone, say a car repair, you won’t get paid until it is done. Presto! You have made a loan. You have, for that time, spent more than you have taken in. When the customer pays for the repair, only THEN are you even. On a much larger scale, that is what the government does. Schools run on tax dollars, cities sell municipal bonds, and even businesses that sell stocks are really taking a long-term loan from their stockholders. Stockholders pay out more, initially than they take in; then things even up, or they make or lose money. If you are in a business of any kind, at one time or another, in your own words, “you . . . spend more than you take in.”

          22. gvette July 25, 2013

            As i am in business,I understand how it works. doing work for someone isn’t a loan. That money spent to do something is cost of doing business.

          23. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            In ESSENCE what you call the cost of doing business is really a loan. We can have different opinions but we cannot have different facts. Why not call that a loan, of sorts?

          24. idamag July 27, 2013

            And perhaps you have tunnel vision. You do need customers don’t you?

          25. middleclasstaxpayer July 28, 2013

            You thoughts appear logical until you realize that NO business can exist when Liabilities EXCEED assets or income for the foreseeable future. In the case of our present government, they currently OWE 17 BILLION dollars, and are ADDING 1 BILLION per year to this deficit, NOT reducing the deficit by even one dollar. NO BANK would ever consider allowing a creditor business to go that far into the red (IE: INTO DEBT )without calling in their outstanding loans.

          26. sigrid28 July 28, 2013

            One of the reasons for an infrastructure initiative at this time is that the money needed to finance that can be borrowed at record low rates. What income will that road bring in? Yet, it is the role of government to construct it, repair it, and perhaps replace it in the future.

            Businesses count on their liabilities exceeding assets all the time, and you know it. Huge loans fund building new factories or new Walmarts, loans that will be repaid in the future.

            Even your point about the deficit is just wrong: the deficit under Obama has declined more than it has under any other president in decades. The only problem the U.S. credit worthiness has is the House dominated by Republicans who want to hold paying debts IT AUTHORIZED hostage unless the government forces greater austerity on the country than any sensible economist recommends.

            So let’s leave the economy of the United States to the experts. You found your calling in paying your taxes.

          27. middleclasstaxpayer July 28, 2013

            I challenge you to cite proof that “the deficit under Obama has declined more than it has under any other president since WWII?” At present there is no theoretical way that the 16 Trillion deficit can be recovered in the next 10 years.

          28. sigrid28 July 29, 2013

            I believe it was Jack Lew, the Secretary of the Treasury, who cited this statistic just this morning on one of the Sunday talk shows. His facts beat your Fox News talking points.

          29. middleclasstaxpayer July 29, 2013

            Sorry, but you have misstated the Sunday discussion….here is what was really said:
            Host David Gregory cited a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll which reveals that the vast majority of Americans – 61 percent – feel the nation is headed in the wrong direction. Lew, WITHOUT citing examples, said the government has economic data which shows that confidence is improving.
            When confronted with the facts that most Americans finding employment these days are finding temporary – NOT EVEN part-time employment and DEFINITELY NOT full-time employment – and other economic domestic issues, Lew – like so many other members of Obama’s inner circle – had to go on the defensive again. Again, without citing data, Lew said that the nation’s job creation is more impressive than host Gregory described.
            Here are the cold facts: Obama’s claim of “reducing spending” really translates into him reducing HIS OWN INCREASED SPENDING, from 1 Trillion this year, “down to” 700 Billion. At this rate of yearly democrat increase, our 17 Trillion deficit will balloon to over 30 Trillion in less than 10 years. Why do you think the US credit rating was downgraded on Obama’s watch? This has NEVER happened before in our history!

          30. sigrid28 July 29, 2013

            John Lew:

            “We’ve seen several pieces of legislation enacted that have reduced the deficit very substantially. We are seeing the most rapid reduction of the deficit since the end of World War II when we demobilized. We’re actually outperforming expectations in terms of how quickly we’re reducing the deficit, and we’re controlling health-care costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”

            John Lew gets to be taken on his word in these matters, especially when all you can do is cite Republican talking points, stale ones at that. Lew summarized ample data available to support his claim if you want to research that.

          31. middleclasstaxpayer July 29, 2013

            Per David Gregory, the liberal host, Jack Lew offered NO data to substantiate his claims. The “reductions” cited were merely “reductions” to the proposed 1 TRILLION increase for 2013, which has now been “reduced” to a mere 700 BILLION INCREASE for 2013….at the current rate of yearly democrat increases of at least 5%, the federal 16 Trillion deficit will balloon to over 30 Trillion in less than 10 years because of interest payments, an IMPOSSIBLE situation to reverse in our lifetimes.

          32. sigrid28 July 29, 2013

            Now you are just being silly. You never hear guests on television programs citing their sources, and certainly not on Fox News. You are no authority on the level of John Lew, or you would sign your posts and be writing articles, instead of typing meaningless Republican talking points on comment threads, on the National Memo website. Believe whatever you like. It’s doubtful we will ever agree.

          33. middleclasstaxpayer July 29, 2013

            You are correct….the only actual “facts” we have are the deficit numbers, which do not lie. At the CURRENT US deficit of 16 TRILLION, with al least a projected Obama deficit in 2013 of 700 BILLION more, even with the low current interest rates, and normal 5-8% democrat increases every year, it is easy to calculate that, over the next 10 years our current deficit will balloon to over 30 Trillion dollars. An impossible sum to repay, especially when most “job growth” over last few years under Obama has been Part-time or worse, only temporary positions.

          34. sigrid28 July 29, 2013

            You have no idea how the deficit is computed, as far as I can tell. Why not leave that to the experts or just say to yourself, “OK. I believe in Fox News.”?

          35. middleclasstaxpayer July 29, 2013

            You are correct…I do not know HOW the deficit is computed, only HOW MUCH the deficit is. This is no different than you paying only the interest on your credit card debt. There comes a time when, no matter how long you extend the payments out, you will never catch up….IE: more debt piling up than can be repaid because of the continuance of interest balances & charges. It’s math, not conjecture!

          36. 788eddie July 25, 2013

            We used to be much better at balancing a national budget. However, during the Reagan years, we started giving too much away in tax breaks. The scales became out of balance. The Bush tax breaks were another step in the wrong direction (the surplus from the Clinton years could have been used to pay down some of the national debt). Having TWO wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) without raising taxes to help pay for them was also not wise. These examples were Republican mistakes. Democratic administrations are not faultless, either.

            The point I am trying to make (and direction in which I am trying to suggest we head) is that we need to consider making the tax code fairer (as I suggested earlier with my comment about going back to the EIsenhower years).

          37. gvette July 25, 2013

            Trust me, i’m all for a fair tax code. I’d like nothing more, then to see the IRS gone. Truth be known, they take in enough money, they just don’t seem to spend wisely. You know that, as well as I do.

            I’ll give you a link to go to. I think you’ll find it interesting.


          38. 4sanity4all July 28, 2013

            You are aware, aren’t you, that the IRS collects tax money. They turn it over to the government. Congress makes the budget, and appropriations. The IRS does not. They only collect the money, and they do not spend it. Appropriations are made (by congress) to the IRS, so they can run their agency, but that is all they can spend.

          39. idamag July 27, 2013

            Did you know the present tax rate is the same as the 1950’s? Did you know present costs to both the populace and the government are much more than 1950 rates?

          40. jmprint July 25, 2013


          41. 4sanity4all July 28, 2013

            Amazing summary. Thank you.

          42. idamag July 27, 2013

            It wasn’t the first time banks have brought this country to its knees. The real sin, here, is greed.

          43. disqus_fsqeoY3FsG July 25, 2013

            Gvette, what is the name of the business you have run?

          44. gvette July 25, 2013

            K&S Auto, for 32 years.

          45. disqus_fsqeoY3FsG July 25, 2013

            Thank you for responding.

          46. gvette July 25, 2013

            You’re welcome. enjoy your day.

          47. dellmartin July 25, 2013

            Poor silly gvette. Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better. I’d say I agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.

          48. gvette July 25, 2013

            I guess you being rich, you don’t need a budget. Lucky you.

          49. 788eddie July 25, 2013

            Romney ran businesses, but it seems he ran them in other countries. Not a good choice, either.

          50. gvette July 25, 2013

            Most wealthy people do. As Barry saved GM, the CEO of GM is now working with China, and Asia to move more plants there.

          51. idamag July 27, 2013

            And he ran other businesses into the ground.

          52. 788eddie July 25, 2013

            Can we consider putting the tax rates back to the way they were during the Eisenhower years (with a top marginal tax rate of 90%)?
            And the discount we have been giving those who are already well off for their capital gains (done during the Reagan years) has been hurting us ever since.
            Spending money on worthy causes is not a bad thing; not bringing in enough money to pay for them is.

          53. GreginPottsville July 26, 2013

            Hey, I agree. I wonder why Obama isn’t giving an economic speech in Detroit.

          54. gvette July 26, 2013

            LOL…It’s already run by democrats. Nothing to gain there.

        2. idamag July 27, 2013

          For a country and businesses to be successful, there has to be consumers. If the middle class has no money or unemployment is high, there is less tax base and less consumerism. I remember an article a long time ago where every part of the human body was arguing that they were the most important part of the body. Gvette needs to get real and realize that it is the whole that is the body, not just the farmers, the businesses or the workers. She also should study where questionable banking has nearly destroyed the economy more than once in history.

      2. Dominick Vila July 25, 2013

        The problems afflicting Detroit go well beyond financial mismanagement and the alleged evils of social programs. A horrendous high school dropout rate, high crime, and lousy urban development contribute to their demise. The main problem afflicting cities and town dependent on manufacturing jobs, however, go well beyond administrative and social matters. The advent of robotics replaced thousands of assembly line jobs with predictable results of the revenues of local governments and the ability of local businesses to survive. The tendency of many American entrepreneurs to invest abroad to reduce operating expenses, maximize profits, and seek opportunities in expanding economies are the nailed in the coffin of tens of thousands of Americans that were able to support their families and achieve their modest goals a few decades ago.
        Using facile excuses to explain a complex and serious matter that is likely to affect Americans for many years to come may bring comfort to ideological zealots, it does little to remedy the situation we are facing.

        1. gvette July 25, 2013

          Dominick. I try to have a normal conversation with you, and you always talk down to me. I do understand the side you’re on. How many businesses have you owned?

          1. jmprint July 25, 2013

            gvette, I own a business and I totally understand what Dominick is saying. Yes it is hard to meet payroll, but the reason it has gotten harder for us is because of the extreme rich running our country. ie; Wallstreet, oil industry. While they enjoy ALL the tax breaks, we have to cover the shortage. THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE. THEY CAN’T KEEP TRYING TO DUMMY US DOWN TO THE POINT THAT WE WON’T HAVE A MIDDLE CLASS AT ALL.

          2. gvette July 25, 2013

            Then you understand why we need smaller government. I agree with you. Big business gets a lot of things we don’t get, or ever will. You, and i know small business is the backbone. Government regulations are killing us!

          3. jmprint July 25, 2013

            No we don’t need smaller government, you must have me confused the the Kock brothers and Andy Kessler. The reason the rich want smaller government is so that they can away with ruining our environment (everybody gets cancer with no insurance). And use government funds too line their pocket, like Cheney did with Haliburton.

          4. gvette July 25, 2013

            Now you see. You want big. I’m tired of supporting all those people. The bigger it gets, the less I, and others have.

            If you think government cares about your health, and the environment, do a little reading on Hanford washington.

          5. Dominick Vila July 25, 2013

            Which government programs or services do you believe should be eliminated? Here are a few samples for you to select from and achieve your goal of a smaller government, at a time when President Obama has already reduced the civil servant workforce:
            Armed Forces
            Intelligence Agencies
            Diplomatic service
            The Treasury Department
            Immigration and Naturalization
            Border patrol
            Air traffic control
            Social Security
            This is just a short sample right off the top of my head. The last three and the military account for most of the Federal government outlays. Which ones do you want to get rid of?

          6. gvette July 25, 2013

            Hi Dominick. Here’s a link. Check it out, then you’ll understand a little of what I’m talking about.


          7. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            Oh dear. The Heritage group you cite just manufactures Fox News talking points, and prefers to not be limited by fact checkers. You can probably decide for yourself, Gvette. Which of the government programs do you think we should do without?

          8. gvette July 25, 2013

            It’s not what i want to see stay, or go. I’m just tired of the waste, in all of them. As I’d think you would also.

          9. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            You would be right.

          10. plc97477 July 25, 2013

            Obama has cut waste and fraud more than any president in history.

          11. gvette July 25, 2013

            To put that into perspective, when President George W. Bush took office, our national debt was $5.768 trillion. By the time Bush left office, it had nearly doubled, to $10.626 trillion. So Bush’s record on deficit spending was not good at all: During his presidency, the national debt rose by an average of $607 billion a year. How does that compare to Obama? During Obama’s presidency to date, the national debt has risen by an average of $1.723 trillion a year — or by a jaw-dropping $1.116 trillion more, per year, than it rose even under Bush.

          12. 4sanity4all July 28, 2013

            can you cite a reliable source for this, because it is at odds with what I know to be true.

          13. Dominick Vila July 25, 2013

            gvette, most Democrats are intimately familiar with what The Heritage Foundation supports or advocates. Suggesting that an additional $2.3b could be saved by introducing efficiencies in some Federal government departments is fine, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to our deficits.
            Well, at least we know that what you support are minor adjustments or savings rather than the slash and burn approach proposed by the Tea Party. Believe it not, most Democrats don’t have a problem with eliminating inefficiencies, eliminating waste and fraud, and finding more efficient and effective ways of doing things. What most of us oppose is destroying our “safety net” and compromising our future by doing things like privatizing SS, dismantling MEDICARE, and repealing ACA. Making our social programs more efficient is fine, destroying them is unacceptable. Like President Obama said yesterday, if the GOP has viable alternatives, let’s hear them.

          14. gvette July 25, 2013

            Hi Dominick. When we talk back, and fourth, I don’t always view things as dem, or rep. I would just like those that are there, to do the right thing. That, seems to be the hard part.

          15. idamag July 27, 2013

            I have read that website, they are certainly well researched and unbiased, aren’t they?

          16. lana ward July 25, 2013

            You won’t get through to the “obamabrains on this site, they believe everything that comes out of his lying mouth. The whole country could blow up, if OHitler says it didn’t, they’d believe it!!!

          17. idamag July 27, 2013

            If everyone was honest we would not need government regulations.

          18. Dominick Vila July 25, 2013

            What difference does it make whether a person owned or runs a business with the need to care for other people and being valuable members of society?
            If I ever talked down to you or anyone else, I apologize for it because that was not my intent, but accepting blame for things I didn’t do does not require an apology. You brought up the topic of chaos in 20 Islamic countries, I responded to your comment, my response did not constitute diverting attention from the topic at hand, although I agree that I should have ignored your effort to divert attention from it.

          19. gvette July 25, 2013

            Hi Dominick. You threw me off here a little. I wasn’t talking about chaos in 20 Islamic countrys.
            That’s ok. i do hope you have a great day, Dominick!

          20. elw July 25, 2013

            gvette, Dominick is not talking down to you. You are just so closed minded that you take his opinions as personal insults. It is your problem not Dominick’s.

          21. gvette July 25, 2013

            I know. he sent a reply. He’s a nice man. I enjoy this, with him.

        2. lana ward July 25, 2013

          60 years of Dems and Unions running Detroit is what did it in

      3. disqus_fsqeoY3FsG July 25, 2013

        Republican Economics got us into this mess and Republican Obstructionists have kept us from recovering faster and stronger. The Republicans hate this Country, they hate Democracy and want they want is a Republican Regime. They do not respect or honor the Constitution.

        1. gvette July 25, 2013

          LOL..you have got to stop listening to MSNBC. I’ll draw your attention to Detroit. Over 50 years of your demonrat leadership. Not a pretty sight. that’s the path we, as a country are on now!

          1. disqus_fsqeoY3FsG July 25, 2013

            Unlike you who apparently only listens to Faux News, I listen and read other media outlets. I must admit I do not listen to Limbaugh or Beck nor do I watch Faux News. That is the path this country will be on if we go back to Republican Economics. Trickle Trickle Trickle.

          2. gvette July 25, 2013

            LOL..actually I don’t listen to Fox. The one thing I can do is…see what’s going on.

          3. disqus_fsqeoY3FsG July 25, 2013

            Well at least we have something in common we do not listen or watch Faux News.

          4. dellmartin July 25, 2013

            Don’t kid yourself disqus… gvette is parroting the Fox Noise talking points. Nothing more, nothing less.

          5. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

            But you refer to information put out by the Heritage Foundation, which is a Fox News provider, which is known for spreading often unsubstantiated and even false reports to support a right-wing agenda.

          6. gvette July 25, 2013

            You can go the GAO, and get the same numbers.

      4. Patricia McCullough July 25, 2013

        yep.running a business is helpful Look at GWB. oh wait…he ran his businesses, then the COUNTRY into the ditch! And Clinton NEVER ran a business and left office with a HUGE SURPLUS! so, gvette, you are an idiot!

        1. gvette July 25, 2013

          LOL..nice try. Surplus. When there is outstanding debt, there is no surplus. That’s a littleclike you not paying all your monthly bills, and you have money left over. That one doesn’t fly,

          1. dellmartin July 25, 2013


          2. gvette July 25, 2013

            I don’t watch Fox. I can do math.

      5. dellmartin July 25, 2013

        Your attempt to compare the problems of Detroit with our country are feeble at best and more than disingenuous, gvette. Make no mistake about it, the reasons for the obstruction by the repubs in congress have nothing to do with what’s best for our country, and everything to do with “we’ll do what we have to do to make this president fail.” Americans who insist on getting their information from Fox Noise are misguided and ill-informed. It’s very sad for our country that there are still so many haters out there. VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE and let our president do what we elected him to do… get this country back on track.

        1. gvette July 25, 2013

          first off, Obama can’t fix anything. he doesn’t know how. period.
          As for me, i don’t like most of the people that represent us. You, and I didn’t creat the problems. They did.

      6. neeceoooo July 25, 2013

        Detroit’s problems started when the President was still in college so don’t try to put the blame on him.

        1. gvette July 25, 2013

          LOL…I’m not blamming Barry for that one.

      7. charleo1 July 25, 2013

        You comment is typical of the Right’s faulty memory, and proclivity
        to use any crisis happening on the watch of a Democratic Administration, as an excuse to debunk their economic policies, while touting the virtues of Corporate Capitalism, Plutocratic elitism, and top down wealth redistribution. But, make no mistake. It is pap for the partisan simpleton, and nothing more. What we see in Detroit today, is reminiscent of the crisis experienced in New York City in the late 60’s, and early 70s, for example. Who’s underlying cause then, was a stagnant National economy, that exacerbated problems that had been brewing in city management for years. A lack of modernization of the port, mass transit, and a severe slow down on Wall Street,
        were all contributors. Remember when then President Ford famously said to NY, drop dead? Then signed a bailout for 2,3 billion. Then,
        as now, in the current financial situation of Detroit, economic factors far beyond the borders of this city, or the boarders of it’s State, spelled serious trouble, long before President Obama. These posters are too nice to tell you. But, I’m not. What you’re trying to claim, is claptrap. Otherwise, name the small, or large businesses Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, or Bush 43 ever ran, or met a payroll for, prior to becoming President. Disclaimer. Naming the various businesses 43 used his Father’s money, or Father’s friend’s money to buy, then ran into the ground, doesn’t count for obvious reasons. Bush’s one success in business, prior to becoming Governor of TX. and the President of the U.S. Where in the eighth year of his eight year tenure, presided over the greatest financial collapse of the economy since The Great Depression. His single business success consisted of making a ground floor investment of $650,000, again borrowed from Daddy, in a Major League baseball team. HIs duties as President of the organization included backslapping, using his Daddy’s connections to promote the team, attending games, and rooting for the Rangers. All duties, his background as a cheerleader at Yale, prepared him well. But meeting payroll was not on his job description of duties as President of the team. Now, to further set the record straight. Another truth, is the total failure of the top down down economic theories of Reganomics followed by the Country for more than 30 years prior to the collapse. Clearly revealing the contrivance of trickle down, to be more of a grand corporate con, than anything based on the logic of modern economics. A knife should be put through the heart of it immediately! Before the destruction is complete. So, to go a bit further. The, “thinking,” on Detroit goes. The unions made the companies in Detroit, uncompetitive with foreign cos. that set up shop in non-union States. And by that same logic, the foreign labor overseas will eventually beat the domestic non union labor here. So the key is cheap labor. So we may conclude then, the cheaper the better. Remove such things as minimum wage. overtime pay, unemployment compensation, employer provided healthcare. All things bargained for, and won by unions for American labor.
        The call is to Import labor if necessary, to make domestic labor
        more pliable to work for the lower wages, and longer hours this
        all would require. Then find an economy somewhere, with the expendable income to buy the products we manufacture here under the Right Wing conception of the way in which a true, unfettered, free market, Capitalists economy is supposed to work.

        1. gvette July 25, 2013

          That’s funny. Everything in government, as in business, has to be paid for. Proper planning is need to make sure there’s money enough.

          1. charleo1 July 25, 2013

            I actually agree. Corporate created the the necessity for the
            welfare. And the tax policies, trade policies, and subsidies, that created the unemployment and debt. And I believe they should
            receive the bills. No joke.

          2. 4sanity4all July 28, 2013

            which is why I find it odd that the Republicans do not ever want to raise taxes on the top 1% of money hoarders in this country. They keep insisting that if we reinstate the Bush tax cuts and slash the safety net, everything will be fine. That’s what they call ‘shrinking the government’. But it is what I call ‘lack of planning and not thinking through the logical consequence of the Republican’s smooth sounding, but stupid ideas.’

    2. idamag July 27, 2013

      I, too, am happy to see him taking it to the American public.

  2. Catskinner July 25, 2013

    Obama doesn’t care about the economy, all he’s doing is attempting to get all of the scandal stories off the front pages of the newspapers.

    1. judi July 25, 2013

      TotalmRW crap

    2. jmprint July 25, 2013

      How are the investigation going?

      1. Catskinner July 25, 2013

        Great! The president managed to bury Fast & Furious under an order of executive privilege, but the others are steaming right along.

        1. jmprint July 25, 2013

          Really, still going on with fast and furious. And what’s holding up the others the republicans were working fast and furious on.

          1. plc97477 July 25, 2013

            As horrible as the repugs are acting it is probably better to keep them busy with crap than have them do something really stupid, cus I believe they could do a lot of harm.

          2. BDC_57 July 25, 2013

            Like they already have.

          3. idamag July 27, 2013

            They spend their time with a magnifying glass looking for doo-doo and saying no.

        2. latebloomingrandma July 26, 2013

          Wasn’t that a program started under Bush?

          1. Catskinner July 26, 2013

            No! That’s what’s so fascinating about the entire thing. The Bush administration started a program called “Operation Wide Receiver,” which was about a tenth the size of “Fast and Furious,” and they quickly decided it wasn’t working and shut it down.

            The Obama administration came along later and started Fast and Furious on a much larger scale, in spite of the experiences of the Bush administration. Why that was done is one of the great unknowns.

          2. idamag July 27, 2013

            Yes, it was. If it was a failure, it was a failure. It is not a scandal. When I was a teen, we had a neighbor who looked through binoculars at the girls when their dates brought them home. She would have made a fantastic tea partier.

    3. old_blu July 25, 2013

      What scandals would that be? The one where he’s a gay man? The one where he’s a murderer? The one where he’s from Kenya? The one where he’s a coke head? His birth certificate one? etc…..etc…..etc.. You regurgitaters have been throwing crap at the wall since President Obama got in office and you haven’t made any of it stick yet. What makes you think you’re getting any better at it? No wonder Bobby Jindal calls you the “stupid party”.

    4. charleo1 July 26, 2013

      And the GOP cares about the economy? Are you so totally mesmerized
      by Issa, you failed to notice these so called, “scandals,” are nothing but
      a political maneuver to deflect the political capital a newly reelected
      President always gains? Tell you what. I’m betting you’re smarter, if
      you try. For example, did you know, “fast and furious,” was instigated
      while Bush was President to use the guns being purchased at border
      gun shows, as bait to locate higher ups in the Mexican drug cartels?
      Or, that all Issa had to do to get to the truth, was call in the head of the
      Tucson ATF office, and ask him to tell the committee, under oath,
      why he didn’t report to his boss that the guns had been accidently lost?
      Or, that Issa put a gag order on the case, preventing the guy in Tucson
      from stepping forward, and clearing up the mess? While he called every
      justice department official, including AG Holder, who was completely
      unaware of the operation, before the information was revealed up the
      chain after the fact? Do you know how long, if he was trying, it would
      have taken Darrell Issa to get to the truth? About one phone call, after
      the agent’s shooting. It’s dog, and pony, for the propa-GOP-gandized.
      You don’t want any part of that, do you? I didn’t think so.

      1. Catskinner July 26, 2013

        “Fast and Furious” was not instigated by the Bush administration. “Operation Wide Receiver,” was tried by the Bush administration and dropped because they discovered it was impossible to follow the guns.

        I know Holder originally said he didn’t know anything about F&F, but when they found a letter he’d written about it months earlier, he had to revise his testimony, And when the committee asked for additional information, Obama had it sealed under an order of “Executive Privilege,” just like Nixon.

  3. latebloomingrandma July 25, 2013

    Personally, I don’t find the President’s agenda a “liberal” one. I think it’s an American agenda. Jobs with a livable wage, infrastructure and modernizing energy sources, education, health care—-an opportunity to work hard and achieve the American dream. Putting people back to work in jobs that need done will reduce the deficit by turning tax users into tax payers. What in the name of all that is holy is wrong with that? The republicans offer nothing but austerity, which is a recipe or increasing the income disparity. Billionaires and serfs. On Morning Joe this morning, Nicole Wallace (Repub.) stated the president acts like a “victim”. She put the blame on him. How do you deal with a legislative body when so many hate his guts, for Lord know what reason? With the breadth of this country’s problems, can you imagine what could get done in the spirit of cooperation? And the congress could claim it as their own victory. Small minded people and loonies can’t do this, and apparently are unembarrassable. 12% approval rating for Congress? Some are actually proud of this.

    1. plc97477 July 25, 2013

      I just wonder why it is that high.

  4. middleclasstaxpayer July 25, 2013

    Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. Psychologists tell us that it is very difficult to see ourselves the way others see us. Maybe the president should take a look at himself thru the eyes of the former Premier of the Czech Republic:
    “The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”

    >>> Vaclav Klaus, former Premier of the Czech Republic

    1. Allan Richardson July 25, 2013

      I just did a Google search and a Snopes.com search on the above quote, and could not find it. The only quote by Havel about Obama was about his not meeting the Dalai Lama before visiting China:

      I believe that when the new Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize
      postpones receiving the Dalai Lama until after he has accomplished his
      visit to China, he makes a small compromise, a compromise which
      actually has some logic to it. However, there arises a question as to
      whether those large, serious compromises do not have their origin and
      roots in precisely these tiny and very often more or less logical

      He went on to say, “This is actually the first time I really do mind something Obama did.” You have obviously been fooled by someone who attributed this quote falsely to a man who, like Obama (the REAL one, not the FANTASY version), is not a fool but a many trying (with some success, but not enough) to talk sense to fools, or at least to those who are fooled BY the fools.

      1. charleo1 July 26, 2013

        Okay, now you’ve given him a headache.

      2. idamag July 27, 2013

        I wouldn’t be surprised if middleclasstaxpayer is obozo. He was fond of using quotes from the Czech Republic that were not true.

    2. jmprint July 25, 2013

      And do you see through the eyes of the devil?

      1. middleclasstaxpayer July 25, 2013

        No I definitely do NOT see thru Obama’s eyes!

      2. BDC_57 July 25, 2013

        He is the devil.

    3. charleo1 July 26, 2013

      I think the psychologists are wasting their time, if they don’t investigate
      why the Republican Party finds it so difficult to see Obama as the Country
      does. The man they elected as President. What your debunked quote
      essentially says is, democracy is the problem, when the politico elite,
      don’t agree with people. So we need to knock out all that voting crap.
      Which, in their opinion, only reflects the opinions of a, “depraved
      electorate.” Which I’m sure every tin pot despot that ever lived, would
      certainly agree with you, and your phony quote. One question for you
      freedom, and liberty loving, loudmouths. Who do you think the GOP
      more afraid of, Communists, or Obama, and the American people?

      1. middleclasstaxpayer July 26, 2013

        How can we have a democracy when the president of our country interferes in every aspect of our lives….1) forcing people to purchase a product they may not want or may not be able to afford (Obamacare). 2) Forcing employers to pay for services THEY cannot afford (Obamacare) or 3) forcing these same employers to hire ONLY part-time workers to avoid additional exorbitant expenses (Obamacare). 4) Interfering in and denigrating an official US court verdict by siding with the losing side (Travon Martin case). 5) pitting half our nation against a Hispanic family because he disagrees with a binding US court verdict (Martin case). If he’s committed to being the president to ALL of us, as he said in his campaigns over and over, why focus his attention continually on only 11% of the US population???

        1. charleo1 July 26, 2013

          I’ll get to democracy in a second. But first, tell me why it
          is when you Right Wingers are called out, for being either inconsistent, or hypocrites. Instead of going back, and
          rereading the quote you obviously either didn’t understand,
          or you agree with, in direct contradiction to the constant harping we hear from the Right, that politicians don’t listen
          to them. “Them,” according to the author is the, “depraved electorate.” You ask how can we have a democracy? The
          answer is first of all, respecting the will of the people, as expressed by the results of an election. And this is the hard
          part. But it is the difference between a sham democracy,
          and a real one. The results of the election must be accepted
          by all. Even those who disagree with the outcome. No one
          gets to delegitimize the election, or refuse to recognize the
          authority of those elected to govern, by impugning the common sense, judgement, or assumed motives of their fellow citizen’s decision. Democracy is a system of laws,
          and not of men. That means as citizens, we are obligated
          to follow the law. Irrespective of whether we consider the
          law unfair, unConstitutional, interfering, or just don’t like it.
          As long as it’s the law, we abide by it, or suffer the proscribed
          penalty for violation. That is not, by the way, an abridgment
          of your Rights, tyranny, Communism, or totalitarianism.
          So says that official, “binding,” U.S. Court ruling on ACA.
          The one you don’t like, and I do. Or, the same binding Court ruling on George Zimmerman you do like, and I don’t. Both the same. Both our opinions equally superfluous, and moot.
          That’s democracy. Love it, or leave it, as they say.

          1. middleclasstaxpayer July 27, 2013

            You’ve made some good points, and I will quote one:
            “Democracy is a system of laws, and not of men. That means as citizens, we are obligated to follow the law. Irrespective of whether we consider the law unfair, un-Constitutional, interfering, or just don’t like it. As long as it’s the law, we abide by it”
            QUESTION: Why can’t Obama abide by a legal & binding court ruling in the Martin case instead of undermining the ruling, and therefore pitting blacks against whites & Hispanics?? Obama is creating an atmosphere where the entire Zimmerman family, even the elderly mom & dad, are now subject to death threats. Obama has no business condemning legal court rulings or the people involved.

          2. charleo1 July 27, 2013

            Here’s the deal. I believe we sometimes listen with our opinions and not our ears. We all do it. We hear, or read into someone’s remarks, what we assume they are going to say.
            I invite you to re-listen to Obama’s remarks on the case. And set aside any contentions he as President had no Right to speak to the Country. He from the perspective of most of the people that voted for him, at very least, had an obligation to speak on the subject. And of course, being President doesn’t prevent a Barack Obama the citizen, from exercising his First Amendment Rights. But I want you to listen to how Obama
            did not speak as President. But as the person. Not as the
            Nation’s premier law enforcement official. But as a Father.
            And his experience as a Black boy in America. But far from condemning the verdict, he said the jury had spoken, and we should respect that. He said he was aware of the crime, and dysfunction within the inner cities. He also said, this most likely contributed to the suspicion that lead to the incident. Far from targeting Hispanics, which is something I heard repeated several times on a Conservative radio show the other day. Obama spoke of the pain of losing a child being something all parents could understand. But to ask why are Democrats targeting Hispanics, is not race baiting, for political purpose? Really? This kind of talk is not attempting to be divisive? Is not frankly stupid? Hispanics don’t feel feel threaten or disrespected by the opinions that the law in Zimmerman’s case was flawed, and responsible for the verdict. I think whether we agree or not, we need to respect that 90% of the African Americans see as incorrect. Look, Casey Anthony had death threats. This was created by who? O.J. had death threats. But Obama caused the Zimmerman’s troubles? Re-listen to the speech. And be fair.

          3. middleclasstaxpayer July 27, 2013

            I am not saying Obama caused Zimmerman’s problems. What I am suggesting is that, when someone with that many left-wing followers offers an opinion, or makes a definitive statement, that the jury verdict was incorrect, it gives left-wing nuts the “permission” to advance, and JUSTIFY, their hatred of the defendant, and even his elderly mom & dad. Why do you think more death treats have been forthcoming….”even the president agrees with us,” they surmise!

    4. 4sanity4all July 28, 2013

      Are you referring to Vaclav Havel? I do not believe this quote, because Europeans love the respect that President Obama has extended to them and they respect him greatly. When I was in the Czech Republic last year, people had great things to say about Pres. Obama, I was proud to be an American.

      1. middleclasstaxpayer July 28, 2013

        Britain hasn’t forgotten that Obama refused to bow to the Queen of England but did so for the King of Saudi Arabia.

  5. Allan Richardson July 25, 2013

    Conservatives constantly say that the “private sector job creators” have the power to make everyone else prosperous, but when they CHOOSE to withhold that prosperity (by outsourcing, colluding to raise prices of necessities, etc), their evil results are somehow the result of GOVERNMENT, not themselves.

    In a world where a newborn infant needs so much medical care to go home with his or her parents that he or she can NEVER be covered by insurance for life; in a world where working TWO jobs at minimum wage cannot support ONE person at a level above poverty, much less allow that person to INVEST in education to become qualified for a better job; in a world where geography condemns all but a few fortunate souls to living in poverty AMONG poverty (especially since the people most likely to try to help the poor are the slightly LESS poor); government was NEEDED to rein in excesses like the unsanitary slaughterhouses described in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” (read it and become a vegan), the Triangle Shirtwaist fire which burned over a hundred young women to death because they were locked in to prevent theft, children working long hours in dusty factories and even coal mines to help their parents get by, a judicial system that imprisoned black men for trivial offenses to create “Slavery 2.0” in some states, and many other offenses; and although we tend to think that “those problems are in the past” since we all think them horrendous, the fact is that they CAN come back, and WILL come back if the laws against them are repealed as “no longer necessary.”

    Income inequality not only makes the economy unstable, it also reduces the QUALITY of goods and services. Since the vast majority can afford only the cheapest necessities, and only the cheapest “mini-luxuries” as well, the manufacturing system pumps out mostly low-quality disposable JUNK for the masses, and a small quantity of HIGH END items that work reliably and last a long time, which only the wealthy can afford to purchase or to maintain properly.

    This is the result of the one percenters (not all of them, just the evil ones) seeing “those people” (i.e. the rest of us) as interchangeable, disposable parts in their vast business machinery, and a dumping ground for the low quality junk made by even lower paid people in other countries.

    1. sigrid28 July 25, 2013

      Great post.

  6. elw July 25, 2013

    I would love to see the President take a strong and loud stand against the “Destroyers’ in Congress. Those “Destroyers” are slowly but surely taking away the any chances for growth and the future 98% of American have historical had. The President needs to make his case in clear and simple language with no fear of the crazy responses he will get from the Radical Right. No one is listening to anymore. Most American just want The President to stand up and push back. They will not compromise and neither should we let that keep us fighting for the policies that will help the Middle Class start growing again. We need to join our voices with his in support by writing to local, state and Federal elected representative telling them what you want and that your vote will go the person who fights for it. He can pressure the “Destroyer” to move his way but only if he has our backing. We have done before when public support help then President Roosevelt enacted Social Security and again when President Johnson enacted Medicare and when President Obama enacted the Affordable Care Act. We can do it again – there are more of us than them.

  7. neeceoooo July 25, 2013

    I do like the comment that the President made during the speech from yesterday:
    “The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009 and the average American earns less today than he or she did in 1999”. WAKE UP PEOPLE, this has got to change. We do not have a middle class anymore because of these policies. What about the young families that cannot make it on one salary and barely make it on two salaries.

  8. tax payer August 5, 2013

    He made the decision on his own to allow the children of the illegals to stay here for two years, so I hope he doesn’t allow the parents to stay here a Lifetime.


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