San Diego, California
(November 3, 2022)
7:55 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Well, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now, I have to start off — my mother would be very upset if I had my — you never have your back to someone when you speak. I apologize. My back is going to be to you. I apologize. But thank you.
Now, you can take care of all this, right, you guys? You’re going to take care of it all? All right.
Well, folks, I tell you what — (applause) — it’s great to see such a wonderful crowd. Hello, Oceanside! (Applause.) Hello, hello, hello.
Well — (laughs) — it’s great to be with Congressman Levin. And, you know, they told me there were something like four or five hundred who couldn’t get in.
(Sees audience member with IBEW t-shirt.) IBEW, yeah. (Applause.)
They couldn’t get in, and they had to go home. And now I understand why there wasn’t any room. (Laughter.)
Well, thank you very much. You know — you know, the fact of the matter is that —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: It’s great to be with Congressman Mike. You know, this guy delivers. He delivers. He lowers costs for families, caring for our veterans, protecting the environment. These are big deals. Rebuilding our infrastructure, protecting Social Security and Medicare. (Applause.) And — and he’s fighting to protect democracy. (Applause.)
Look, we need to reelect Mike, and we need to reelect all the Democrats who were mentioned for statehouse —
A Philly girl huh? She has her sign saying, “Philly Girl.” (Applause.)
And — but all kidding aside, you know, all the state legislative races, all the local races, they are critically, critically, critically important. Not a joke. They’re going to determine whether our democracy is sustained. The other team is looking to do some things that don’t allow for the way in which we count our votes. They — things are different these days. And —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Bring Brittney Griner home!
THE PRESIDENT: I’m trying to bring her home. And I’ve been talking to — (applause) — by the way, I’ve been talking with Brittney’s wife, and we’re in constant contact. We — we’re not giving up. I think Mr. Putin — well, it’s a long story. But I — (laughter) —
Well, look — look — by the way, our friends in Los Angeles, we need to elect Karen Bass, by the way, mayor. (Applause.)
Five days! Five days until one of the most important elections in our lifetime. It’s going to shape our country for decades to come. And that’s not hyperbole. The fact of the matter — we always say, “This is the most important election,” but the truth of the matter is: This election — this off-year election is going to matter a great deal. It’s going to determine not what happens just next year and the next couple years; it’s going to determine the direction of the country for at least a decade or more. Not a joke.
So much is changing, from technology to politics — across the board — the environment, everything. It’s all at stake.
And folks, look, this is a choice between — you know, they say — everybody talks about a referendum. It’s not a referendum. This is a choice. A choice between two fundamentally different versions of America.
I said from the beginning of my campaign, my objective when I ran was to build — build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. And the fundamental shift — it’s working to compare this — you know, compared to the MAGA trickle-down economics.
You saw what we got when that happened last, under my predecessor. No, I — no, I really mean it. It’s important to remind ourselves of the detail. The fact of the matter is we were at 6.4 percent unemployment when I came to office. Our country was in a pandemic with no plan to get us out of it. Two million people had been vaccinated, period.
So we moved. And with Mike’s help, we signed the American Rescue Plan. (Applause.) We delivered immediate — we did deliver immediate — immediate relief for folks who need it to get those vaccination shots in their arms. We got over 655 million of those shots so far. (Applause.)
And, folks — and, you know, one of the reasons why the governor here — and the governor of all the states — was able to have — keep police on the force, keep firefighters on the force, keep teachers in the classroom is because of the legislation we passed without one single Republican vote. It was all federal money that came to the states to allow that to happen. And Mike helped make that happen. (Applause.)
He also helped — he also helped when I signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the most significant investment in our nation’s infrastructure. (Applause.) The most significant since the Interstate Highway System that Eisenhower came up with.
And I’ll caution you for just a minute. Look, folks, we used to have — we used to be number one in the world in infrastructure. We’ve moved all the way to number 28 in the world. No, I’m serious. Think about it. It’s the means by which everything works, everything moves: our economy, our health, our services, across the board.
You know, how many states do you know where there’s no water to drink that’s — that you can — states — cities and places where you have lead pipes? How many kids are drinking out of fountains? Four hundred thousand of them — places. And so, look, this is what it did; it did more than just build roads and highways and bridges.
You know, I was with the Indian Nations earlier today in — in the state of New Mexico. They came up to me and said, “Look, thank you very much. We are going to have broadband for the first time ever.” (Applause.)
And, look, it also is going to fundamentally improve the environment. One of the things Mike has really, really worked on is the environment. And one of the things we did — (applause) — we came up with $66 billion to deal with rail.
Here’s the deal: You know, if people can move from one spot to another on rail faster or as fast as they can do in their automobile, they stop using their automobile. It’s going to save literally tens of millions of tons — tens of millions of tons of pollution that aren’t going to go up in the air because we’re going to build — and, by the way, I know a thing or two about rail. I traveled 250 miles — -58 miles a day. (Applause.) You think I’m crazy. No, I’m not nuts.
But, you know, what happened was I got elected to the United States Senate when I was 29 years old. I was down in Washington. I couldn’t be sworn in yet, but I was down in Washington hiring a staff when I got a phone call saying that a tractor-trailer broadsided my wife and three kids Christmas shopping, and killed my wife and killed my daughter.
And I didn’t want to go to Washington, D.C. I didn’t want any part of it. And we had a Democratic governor. And I thought we could find — I asked my brother, who ran my campaign with my sister, to find somebody who would be a progressive Democrat, because we were a pretty conservative state at the time in Delaware.
And — and what happened was I got talked into — I remember Teddy Kennedy and a few others came to me and said, “Look, Joe, just come and stay six months. We need your help.” We had 58 Democrats. They didn’t need me for anything. (Laughter.) And we had a Democratic governor.
So I started to take Amtrak back and forth to Washington. And over a million miles later, I was still taking Amtrak. So I know a few things — (applause) — I know a few things about rail and high-speed rail.
The second busiest carridor [sic] in Amer- — cor- — corridor in America after the Northeast rail system is out here from San Diego to L.A. (Applause.) And because — because of the billions of dollars for rail and the law, and because of Mike’s leadership, we’re going to make sure that the second busiest corridor in America connecting those two cities is going to be open and running for the long term — for the long term. (Applause.)
The law also includes $60 million that Mike got for the district to replace a 100-year-old bridge, invest in water projects, address droughts, improve water supplies in the area. There’s so much in this. This was a bill that has a billion — excuse me, “a billion.” Yeah, it does.
Poor lady is blocking her ears. Am I too loud? (Laughter.)
And — but, you know, what we’re — what we’re talking about is we have, literally, a great deal of money to make ours a more modern infrastructure.
Tomorrow, Mike and I are going to be talking about how the groundbreaking CHIPS and Science Act is going to help build industries of the future. (Applause.)
You know, America invented semiconductors. They’re now part of everything from automobiles to quantum computing. That law has already attracted literally several hundred billion dollars here in America. Already, tens of thousands of people to build these chips here in America. As I said, we invented them, and then we walked away. We used to be — we used to have a — you know, we are — we were the ones that did all the advanced studies on it.
In fact, Mike worked to get a million dollars for training for technical jobs, including at this college for these jobs. (Applause.)
I just came down from Syracuse, New York, where I went to graduate school and where my first wife — my deceased wife — lived. And Micron is investing $100 billion — the biggest investment of its kind ever in America. Because you’re going to create tens of thousands — and you know — (applause) — you know what the average job is going to be in these factories? The average job — $122,000 a year. And you don’t need a college degree to do it. (Applause.)
Just outside of Columbus, Ohio, we have — went and announced the $20 billion to build a semiconductor factory on a thousand acres in a field of dreams. The vast majority of these jobs, as I said, pay between 120- and 130,000 dollars.
With Mike’s help, I signed the Inflation Reduction Act to bring down the cost of everything you talk about around the kitchen table — (applause) — without a single, solitary Republican vote in the House or the Senate. Not one single Republican supported it.
In Congress, we took on Big Pharma, and we beat them. We beat them. (Applause.) They spent millions of dollars to try to lobby us. I’m not joking. I’ve been in this fight for over 30 years trying to take them on.
Folks, look, the fact of the matter is we’re capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, beginning January 1st, at $2,000 a year. Even if it costs them $20,000 a year, they’re not going to have to pay more than $2,000 a year. (Applause.) And some of these cancer drugs are 10-, 12-, $14,000.
If Big Pharma continues to raise drug prices faster than inflation, guess what? They’re going to have to write a check for — to Medicare for the difference. (Applause.) No, not a joke. They raised the price of 1,200 drugs last year — 1,200 without a single change in the makeup of the drug.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Folks, look, we spend more money on prescription drug — the same prescription drug, made by the same company sold in San Diego; Washington, D.C.; Paris; or in Berlin — they pay significantly less in Paris and Berlin for the same exact drug, same company. And, folks, look, we’re going to put a stop to that.
We’re also capping — (applause) — I bet an awful lot of you know people who need insulin for — for diabetes. Well, guess what? You’re — you’re paying, depending on where you live, somewhere between 400 bucks a month and $1,000 a month. Well, guess what? They’re not going to be able to charge you more than $35 a month. (Applause.)
And you know why? It costs them $10 to make that drug. Ten! They make a significant profit.
And, by the way, you know, we’re in a situation where we’re making the biggest investment ever to deal with climate crisis.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I know that’s right! (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. You got it, man. And this is one of the leaders right — where — where the hell is he? Ah- — (laughter) — he was right there. Anyway.
But all kidding aside, $398 billion. And, hey, guess what? It’s going to make a big difference — a gigantic difference.
Look, it includes tax credits to help families buy energy-efficient appliances, put solar panels on your home, help you buy — (applause) — help you buy electric vehicles, weatherize your home. Things that will save, the experts say, an average of $500 a year, according to experts.
By the way, I — my dad used to run an ag- — an automobile agency. He never owned it. We were — I got the dubious distinction — I — we — I grew up in a nice neighborhood. And — but it was, you know, a three-bedroom house, split-level home, for kids and a grandpop living with us and very thin walls. God bless my parents. (Laughter.)
But all kidding aside, my dad ran an automobile agency. He was the general manager for a long time. And you know what? The idea I —
So I asked all the CEOs of the major American aut- — major American automobile companies come to the White House. And this is the time that, you may remember, the Chairman of the Board of General Motors, Mary Barra, was suing the state of California for having a standard higher for emissions than the rest of the country, and saying it was not — we had a long talk. And a week later she called me, and she said, “I’m — we’re dropping the suit. And guess what? We’re going to go all electric, and we’re going to give 50 — all electric.” (Applause.)
And, by the way, I could go on. There’s so many things that Mike helped me get done, help us get done. I’m not just being solicitous. It’s a fact. He did.
We’re doing all this while we’re doing — you know, the Republicans talk about “big spendin’ Democrats”? Well, give me a break. (Laughter.) We’re spending a lot of money on good things. But guess what? We brought down the deficit this year — (applause) — 1 trillion 400 billion dollars. We cut it in half. (Applause.) We cut it in half. And, by the way, the first year in office, I cut it $350 billion. (Applause.)
And these are the guys, if you recall, that passed the $2 trillion tax cut. They didn’t pay a penny of it for anything. And guess what? It went to 2 percent of the public.
Folks, look, I’m tired — I’ve had it up to here with hearing them. (Applause.)
And we’re going to further reduce the deficit by over — in the next decade — over $250 billion more. A big part of that is because we’re making the biggest corporations begin to pay a little bit. (Applause.)
You know, I love this. I love it. You know, in the year 2000, there were 55 of the Fortune 500 companies that made $40 billion. You know how much they paid in tax? Zero. Zero.
So I imposed they had to — I passed a law that said they had to pay 15 percent. If you’re a schoolteacher, you pay more than 15 percent. Just 15 percent. Just 15 percent. And they’re whining. They’re squealing like you know what. Give me a break.
Folks, and because of this deficit reduction, we were able to ease the burden on student debt. (Applause.) I promised when I ran, I’d help student debt — hardworking folks. Well, guess what? We’ve re- — you get $10,000 relief and another $10,000 if you went to college on a Pell Grant for folks — (applause) — for folks making under 125 grand a year.
And on top of all that, I’m going to be — with — gone away with unfair — doing away with unfair hidden fees. All of a sudden, you’re finding out — you’re — we call them “junk fees.” Okay? Well, guess what? You know, you got a — you bounce a check, you get a $35 cost. You’re not told that ahead of time. You were late on your credit card payment — 50 bucks penalty.
You go — you’re going to fly to meet your parents back east or wherever they may live, and you have to get in a plane and you take along your kid. You’re going to find out you got a hell of a charge to have your child sit next to you. Not a joke. Your baggage cost is going to be significant. And, by the way, if the plane is late and you have to get a new ticket, you’re not going to get paid for it.
So these are all — these are all hidden fees. No more. (Applause.) No more.
And, by the way, you know, in the process — in the process of all —
(Addresses an audience member.) I can’t read what you’re saying, kid; I’ll look at you later. Okay? (Laughter.) I have no idea what it says. He’s holding up a paper that has small print on it. I’m pretty good, but I —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Thank you for having a stutter.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “Thank you for having a stutter.”
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, God love you. (Applause.)
Well, let me tell you: You know, one of the things that — that I found: When I was a kid up until, quite frankly, I was in college, I used to stutter. And stutter is a really debilitating thing because people make — it’s the only — if I told you I grew up and I had a cleft palate and it was fixed, no one would laugh. If I told you that I grew up and I had a clubfoot and was fixed, no one would laugh. But when I say, which is true, I used to ta- ta- ta- talk — talk like that wh- wh- wh- when I w- wa- was a kid. It’s awful hard to ask the girl, “Will you go to the p- pr- pr- prom with me?”
AUDIENCE: Awww —
THE PRESIDENT: And it sounds funny, but guess what? It makes you feel like an idiot. And it’s —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Mr. President!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You’re not, Joe!
THE PRESIDENT: And, by the way — by the way — (applause) — I say to any stutter: It cannot define you. It will not define you. Period. (Applause.)
There’s 35 kids that I keep in contact with. Remember the young man at my — who nominated me? What courage it took for him. He’s a serious stutterer. You know, did you ever see the movie, “The King’s Speech”?
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yeah!
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the guy who actually managed that, he got a copy of the speech that the King used when he made that famous speech about World War Two — about the Germans. And he showed me. And he did exactly what I do. If you look at my speeches, there’s hashmarks along.
You learn — if you notice, people who can sing, they — some of them are terrible stutterers, because you got to get something down before you can begin to work on it.
And so they sent me a copy of the speech after it was all over — that.
And so, look, folks, I don’t want to get off on this, but the truth of the matter is there’s a lot of people — a lot of people in America — not just stutter — who need some confidence-building measures, need to be able to — across the board. And what’s that? That’s even more important, in my view now, as a consequence of what happened during the entire COVID crisis.
There’s more need for — how can I say it? — for mental assistance than any time in American history. (Applause.)
But, look, here’s the deal: Economic growth is up. Price inflation is down. Real incomes are up. Gas prices are down. We got to get them down further here in California.
And experts are all — exports are also up. The reason why exports are up is — guess what? — we made 700,000 manufacturing jobs here in America just since I’ve been President. (Applause.)
And guess what? Instead of us — instead of us sending overseas workers to get paid less — sending jobs overseas, so they’d pay less, we’re sending product overseas. (Applause.) No, I’m serious. It’s that basic. It’s that basic.
Where is it written that we can’t be the manufacturing capital of the world again? Where is that written? (Applause.)
And, folks, one more thing: I know folks here understand, as a nation, we have many obligations, but I’ve been saying this since I decided to run for President — excuse me, decided to run for the Senate when I was 29 — we only have one truly sacred obligation: to prepare those we send into harm’s way and care for them and their families when they come home. (Applause.)
Well, up till now, we have been meeting that obligation. Up until now, families — you — we used to pick up the phone. More people — more military, retired and/or active-duty military, dying of suicide than any other reason. More. More, more.
Well, if they pick up the phone and call the VA and say, “I need help. I need help.” And they say, “Well, in about four days, you can come on in.” Guess what? We, in fact, decided to fix that. We are fully funding the VA now. (Applause.)
And look — look, you know, we have an obligation to those mothers, fathers, children of the veterans out there.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Oorah!
THE PRESIDENT: They’re — no, I mean it. You’re the very backbone and sinew of this nation. One percent of America defends the other 99 percent of us. (Applause.) One percent. And we owe them. (Applause.)
And so, you know, we found out that a lot of — a lot of our soldiers — more people are coming back from Iraq, Afghanistan with serious brain injuries and tumors than any other war in American history. Other than the Civil War, ma- — more amputees are coming back than in any wars in American history.
And those burn pits — those burn pits —
(Audience members hold up cellphones with “Free Iran” on the screens.)
Don’t worry, we’re going to free Iran. They’re going to free themselves pretty soon — (applause) — I see that.
But here’s the deal — (applause) — here’s the deal: A burn pit is larger than the size of a football field, a big rectangle, between 8 to 10 feet deep. And everything is poured in that, from jet fuel to waste to everything else, and it’s burned. It’s burned.
And just like all those folks in 9/11 that were in that — putting out those fires, so many died — so many because of what they inhaled.
Well, we finally came up with a — you know, a — and Mike knows this well; he chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee. (Applause.) Mike helped — Mike helped me pass — and I signed the — it’s called the PACT Act, the most significant law in our nation’s history, to help millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances, like these burn pits that incinerate wastes of war, poisonous chemicals, jet fuel. (Applause.)
But let me tell you something: I’ve been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 38 times as a senator and as a Vice President. My son was the attorney general of the state of Delaware. My son was National Guard. My son had to give up his job as attorney general because you could either work for the state or the federal government to go with his unit to Iraq. He spent a year in Iraq. But his hooch was only about 300 yards from a burn pit. He came home with Stage 4 glioblastoma. He made it about nine months longer than (inaudible), but there was no cure and he died.
Well, guess what? Up until this law passed, for my son’s family and for those who come home who need help still physically or no help at all, finally — finally, finally, finally they’re entitled to have full medical care — (applause) — and the children of those veterans who died are going to get help to go to school; going to get help for life insurance to be able to be taken care of.
And that — and Mike did so much to get that passed. We got very little help from other places. But he stood up with me, and he got it done. This guy — this guy knows what he’s doing. (Applause.)
Because that PACT Act empowers the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine more quickly if a veteran’s illness is related to toxic exposure. And for families of veterans who died from that exposure, it means monthly stipends, life insurance, tuition benefits.
And, by the way, the American Rescue Plan invested $17 billion in veterans’ healthcare and mental care, suicide prevention — (applause) — to deal with the fact that more veterans die by suicide than in battle.
And, folks, one more thing we did together — we passed the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years. (Applause.)
When I was a senator, I wrote and got passed the assault weapons ban. I’m going to do it again. I’m going to do it again.
Look, the bottom line is this: We made a lot of progress over the last 20 months, but it wouldn’t have been made without Mike’s leadership.
The vast majority of progress made without a single vote from a single Republican. Some bipartisan. We got some help on the —
Look, by the way, there’s a great article that was printed back east, and it was that — and it said all those guys who voted against the — the infrastructure bill, standing there with a shovel saying, “We’ve got this bridge being built here,” they voted against it. (Laughter.) No, I’m serious. Not a joke. Not a joke.
But, you know — but I said when I ran and I got elected President, I’d be the senator — excuse me — the — go from being a senator to a President for all the people. And so just because they got a horse’s tail for a congressman, I’m not going to deny them the ability to get the help. (Applause.)
Look, there’s more to do and more we can get done. But ask yourself, “What is the Republican platform?” Not a joke.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Nothing!
THE PRESIDENT: Well, guess what? The truth is you don’t have to — you don’t have to ask. They’re saying it out loud.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Mr. President!
THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) No, well — I want to say — (laughter) — they’re not bad.
The House Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy, in the House is —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: — and his fellow MAGA Republicans said his number-one priority is to give the power back to Big Pharma.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: No, he wants to do away with all things we did. Over. He wants to make sure that they continue to rip us off. Everything we just talked about. The $2,000 cap, the $35 cap on insulin, tax credits for lower energy bills, 15 percent corporate tax — all gone. They’re saying it up front.
Instead of helping millions of working- and middle-class people with —
And with student debt, by the way, they’re suing me, trying to block relief. (Laughter.) No, not a joke. Who the hell do they think they are? (Applause.)
Look, by the way, an article published — the very people who are saying things like — and I won’t go into all the — I’m keeping you too long because you’re standing. I apologize.
But look, you have — you have a whole lot of folks out there who are talking about how this is a waste of money. And you have Ted Cruz saying, “This is an outrage.” All this stuff. Well, guess what? They said they’re — we’re giving it to people who don’t deserve it, et cetera — in the student relief. But guess what? They have a number of these members of the Congress that got significant payment from the PPP program — the program that said when they lost their business in the — you know.
One of them — one of them got back 2,100,000 bucks. The same guy that’s beaten the hell out of me because I’m trying to help people with their student debt.
Another one — you know, what’s that woman’s name?
AUDIENCE: Marjorie Taylor Greene!
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, Marjorie Taylor Greene.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Her husband got 170,000 bucks back.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: No, I’m serious. And they have the gall and audacity. Ugh, anyway. (Laughter.)
Look, I just want to — yesterday, or I guess it’s — yeah — today, the 3rd: GO- — the front page in New York Times: “GOP Signals Plans to Shrink Social Security.”
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: This is real stuff now. Not a joke. It says, “Risk to the safety net energizes Democrats.” Well, we sure are energized. And it’s by Jim Tankersley. He says Congress — “Congressional Republicans eyeing the midterm election victory that could hand them control of the House and Senate have embraced plans to reduce federal spending on Social Security and Medicare, including cutting benefits for some of the retirees and raising retirement age” for the nets for both programs. And it goes on.
And then you have the guy who heads up the campaign committee for — reelect Republican senators, a guy named Tim Scott, of Florida.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, Rick Scott. Excuse me. Rick Scott.
I blew up — it says — this is their program. One of the programs says: All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.
So, every five years, if they win — not a joke; they’re saying it out loud — every five years, if they win, every one of these so-called entitlement programs — and, by the way, you paid for your Social Security, okay? Okay? (Applause.) If you don’t vote it into law again, it goes away. No, not a joke. Every five years it will completely eliminate the system if they don’t vote for it, if they have the votes not to vote for it. In other words, if it goes out of existence, if Congress doesn’t vote to keep it. Isn’t that wonderful?
And then along came a senator from Wisconsin named Ron Johnson.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. (Laughter.)
He thinks — not a joke — he thinks five years is too long. He thinks Social Security and Medicare should be on the chopping block every single year, which means — I’m not making this up — if Congress doesn’t vote to keep it, it goes away.
But he doesn’t want just Social Security and Medicare on, he wants to put veterans’ benefits and everything else in the federal budget at risk. So you have to vote for it again, every program, or the program is gone. It’s amazing.
Now Republicans are saying if we won’t cooperate, if I won’t vote, if I won’t help them cut Social Security and Medicare between the time we go back in session after the election and the end of the year, guess what? They’re threatening to renege on the national debt. No, I’m not joking. That’s what they’ve said.
As my youngest granddaughter would say, “Google it.” (Laughter.)
You may remember, when I was Vice President, I was asked to settle this same thing that was going on with Mitch McConnell at the time. So, I spent the entire day and evening, New Year’s Eve day. We finally reached an agreement, and they backed off and didn’t do it. But guess what? The credit rating of the United States was diminished, being — though we didn’t do it, because we just talked about it.
Folks, look, there’s nothing — nothing that will create more chaos and more damage to the American economy than this.
Look, folks, it’s not just the economy. The Republicans in Congress, led by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: — already introduced legislation for a national ban on the right of a woman to choose.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: States are already considering bans — have already voted for some of them. Notwithstanding, it’s a consequence of rape, incest, or the life of the mother is at stake. Not a joke. You know what’s happening. Seventeen states, I think, so far.
And if they gain control of the Congress, they plan on passing a national — nationwide ban on abortion across the board, because now the Supreme Court says there’s no right to privacy in the Constitution; it’s up to the states — which means it’s up to the Congress and affect all the states.
But guess what? If they do it, I’m going to veto the sucker. (Applause.)
But — but if we elect — if we elect more Democrats to the Senate and keep control of the House, we’re going to codify Roe v. Wade as the law. (Applause.) Make it the law of the land.
Folks, look, last night — I spoke last night on national television about democracy. I said democracy is on the ballot. A lot of the press asked the legitimate question, “Why am I talking about democracy?” No, I’m — not a joke. “Why is that an issue?”
Well, the reason I’m talking about it is it’s 70 percent of the American people in one poll think democracy is at risk right now. There’s too much political violence. There’s too much intimidation. There are more than 300 election deniers on the Republican tickets this year for state, federal, and local government.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: No, no. I mean — I mean, this is really serious stuff.
If a Republican nominee for — in Cong- — for governor in the state of Wisconsin wins, here’s what he said. He said, “If I win, my party will never lose another election in Wisconsin.” Now, he’s either a prophet or he plans on doing something about election law.
No, they’re trying to suppress the right to vote and subvert entire elections. We can’t let that happen. (Applause.)
Look, folks, it’s real simple. You can’t call yourself a democracy or supporting democratic principles if you say, “The only election that is fair is the one I win.” No, I’m serious. That’s what’s being said. You can’t do that.
And how can you call yourself a democracy when you have a group of a thousand people storm the United States Capitol, break the windows and doors down, two policemen die as a consequence of it, break through the House and Senate doors and chambers, have people cowering on the floor threatening to kill people?
You saw what happened to Paul Pelosi and the effort to get to — get to Nancy. Well, guess what? What do they call these guys? What does Trump and all his Trumpies call it? No, he — he said they’re “patriots.”
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, no, no. Not a joke. These are patriots.
You know, my whole career I’ve worked in foreign policy, and I’ve known every major head of state for the last 25 years. When I was Vice President, the President and asked me to do an awful lot of the foreign policy and travel around the world.
And when I became President and I went to the first, what they call, G7 meeting — the seven largest democracies in the world — economies — and I sat down and I said, “America is back,” and one of the presidents — (applause) — well, by the way, one of the presidents said to me, I think it was Macron, looked at me and he said, “For how long?”
And then I got — I think it was Scholz — I’m not positive who the second one — says, “Imagine, Joe, if in fact you went to bed tonight here in England, woke up in the morning and found out that the British Parliament was attacked and killed two cops, broke down the doors of the Parliament, went into the House of Representatives, and stopped the House and to stop an election outcome. What would you think? What would you think?”
What do you think we’d think? We’d think, “Oh my God, what’s going on?” And then, if those folks were called “patriots,” what does that say? I’m not joking. This is deadly earnest.
The reason I made that speech last night is we’re going into an election. And you have all these people saying they don’t accept the outcome of the last one, and they’re not guaranteeing they’ll accept the outcome of this one. How does that — how does that represent anything remotely approaching a democracy?
Well, look, folks, let me close with this. I said this election is not a referendum; it’s a choice — a basic choice.
So, I call on Democrats, when everything is at stake, and mainstream Republicans and independents to come together to meet this moment. I truly believe — (applause) — I really mean it. I think, because of the fundamental changes that have taken place in technology, communications —
I mean, think of it: When Gutenberg invented the printing press, it changed politics internationally, in Europe — going all the way through the telephone, the telegraph, television, radio — how it changed things. Well, look what’s happened. Look what’s happened now. Where are the editors? Where are the editors of anything that’s on what you get — and where do most people get their news these days? They get it on the Internet.
And so, folks, look, we got to work it out. We got to work it out. And the fact of the matter is that we’re just getting started, but we can do so much — so much good thing that we can do. We can make this nation a better place than it’s been. We can make sure it’s guaranteed for the next two, three, four generations.
But if we don’t — if we don’t, ask yourself the rhetorical question: What happens if, figuratively speaking, there’s another event like what happened in the Capitol in response to an election? What does that do?
But I’m optimistic, because we’re on the verge of so much significant change. And, by the way, I believe the vast majority — (applause) — I’m not talking about all Republicans. There’s some really —
Look, I — for the longest time — remember, I got criticized when I was running for the President, because I said I was running for three reasons: One, to restore the soul of this country and decency, honor. (Applause.) Two, to rebuild the backbone of this country, which is the middle class and hardworking folks. (Applause.) And three, to unite the country.
Well, the press legitimately pointed out that the days when Biden was known as the guy who was a bigger uniter in the United States Congress, they’re gone. He doesn’t understand. They’re gone. They’re over. You can’t do it anymore.
Well, folks, if we can’t unite this country, we got a gigantic problem. No democracy can be sustained without the informed consent of the people and everybody joining. Not a joke.
And we used to — in the old days, when I was a United States senator, we’d argue like hell with one another, disagree fundamentally, and go down to the Senate dining room and have lunch together. Because we disagreed on the issues, but we agreed on the notion that the institutions matter.
Well, the institutions are under full-blown attack from the — I’m already being told, if they win back the House and Senate, they’re going to impeach me. I don’t know what the hell they’ll impeach me for. (Laughter.)
No, I — I’m not joking.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: And then — no, no — and then, recently they said, “We should stop talking about that until we win.” (Laughter.)
Well, all kidding aside, think about it. So much is at stake, but there’s so — I’ve never been more optimistic in my life about the prospects of this country. Never, never, never, never. (Applause.) I mean it.
I promised — I promised I would never mention their names, and I’ll keep my word. I never will. But six different Republican senators who I used to serve with came to me — this is now five months ago almost — to tell me they agreed with me but they’re afraid to vote with me because they knew they’d lose a primary, and the Trumpies would go after them.
Well, by the way, you know, it’s — it’s a reality. And, by the way, there’s some Democrats like that too. Don’t get — there’s a lot of Democrats who wouldn’t ca- — who would cave if, in fact, they thought they’re going to lose their job. So, let’s not — you know, let’s be honest with one another.
But the point is, I still believe the vast majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents still believe in these institutions. I really do. (Applause.)
One of the reasons I do is because all those voters between the ages of 18 and 30 years of age, they’re the best educated, they’re the most informed — not a joke — they’re the most informed, they’re the most generous, and they’re the most engaged. And I’m counting on them showing up and voting. (Applause.)
We’ve got to remember who in God’s name we are. We are the United States of America, for God’s sake. (Applause.) There’s nothing — not a single thing in the world we can’t do if we do it together. Not one single thing.
Folks, I spent a lot of time — more time with Xi Jinping than any other head of state. Over 68 hours with him, either in person or on the telephone — excuse me, 78 hours; 68 of them in person — over the last 10 years. I’ve traveled 17,000 miles with him.
We’re on the Tibetan Plateau and he turned to me, and he said, “Can you define America for me?” And I said, “Yes, one word: possibilities. Possibilities.” (Applause.)
We believe anything is possible. We really do.
So, folks, let’s make sure we win this election. Get out the vote! We got to win. Vote, vote, vote! (Applause.)
May God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Applause.)
8:41 P.M. PDT