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President Obama spoke today at the beautiful Lake Harriet Band Shell in Minneapolis, Minnesota, taking a few bare knuckled swipes at the obstructionist GOP Congress. Building everything on the story of Rebekah and Ben, struggling young middle-class parents, and inspired by a letter written to him by Rebekah, the President laid the blame for the pressures on such Americans squarely at the feet of obstructionist Republicans in Congress.
If we do some basic things, if we make some basic changes, we can create more jobs and lift more incomes and strengthen the middle class.  And that’s what we should be doing.  And I know it drives you nuts that Washington isn’t doing it.  And it drives me nuts.  (Applause.)  And the reason it’s not getting done is, today, even basic commonsense ideas can’t get through this Congress.
Go out into the tall grass for more.

As the crowd quickly warmed to this theme, the President continued:

Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every single serious idea to strengthen the middle class.  You may think I’m exaggerating, but let me go through the list.  They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage.  They’ve said no to fair pay.  Some of them have denied that there’s even a problem, despite the fact that women are getting paid 77 cents for every dollar a man is getting paid.

They’ve said no to extending unemployment insurance for more than three million Americans who are out there looking every single day for a new job, despite the fact that we know it would be good not just for those families who are working hard to try to get back on their feet, but for the economy as a whole.  Rather than invest in working families getting ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.

Continuing to rouse the crowd, the President graciously conceded that only some of his opponents are bad people. Others are simply well enough intentioned, but craven and cowed into inaction by the tea party. He then went on:
They think we should give more tax breaks to those at the top.  They think we should invest less in things like education.  They think we should let big banks, and credit card companies, and polluters, and insurers do only whatever is best for their bottom line without any responsibility to anybody else.  They want to drastically reduce or get rid of the safety net for people trying to work their way into the middle class.
And if we did all these things, they think the economy will thrive and jobs will prosper, and everything will trickle down.

And just because they believe it, it doesn’t mean the rest of us should be believing it -- because we’ve tried what they’re peddling, and it doesn’t work.  We know from our history that our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle out.  We do better when the middle class does better.  We do better when workers are getting a decent salary.  We do better when they’ve got decent benefits.  (Applause.)  

The President concluded his attack on Congress:
We do better when if somebody is stuck in a job that is not paying well enough, they know they can go get retrained without taking on huge mountains of debt.  That’s when things hum.  And with just a few changes in priorities, we could get a lot of that done right now if Congress would actually just think about you and not about getting reelected, not about the next election, not about some media sound bite, but just focus on you.  (Applause.)
At this point, the President's speech segued to the steps he had taken under Executive authority to improve policy despite Congressional Republicans, deftly circling back to his attack on Congress with a riposte (highlighted in Jed Lewison's diary)  to Speaker Boehner's threats of a lawsuit.
And, now, some of you may have read -- so we take these actions and then now Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions.  They’re not doing anything, and then they’re mad that I’m doing something.  I’m not sure which of the things I’ve done they find most offensive, but they’ve decided they’re going to sue me for doing my job.  I mean, I might have said in the heat of the moment during one of these debates, “I want to raise the minimum wage, so sue me when I do.”  (Laughter.)  But I didn’t think they were going to take it literally.
I hope President Obama goes all over the country and makes speeches like this, a lot, between now and November. Defeat Congressional Republicans.

h/t to Transcripts Editor for the complete transcript of the President's remarks.

Here is a Town Hall appearance in Minneapolis yesterday where the President sounded some of the same themes.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

    by LeftOfYou on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 12:35:53 PM PDT

  •  Stupidity rules the GOP (14+ / 0-)

    One of the most ignorant blockages of common sense legislation by the GOP involves refusing to improve our dangerously crumbling infrastructure. This would provide so many jobs - the major concern of the American people

  •  Obama calling out Republicans on their obstruction (8+ / 0-)
    After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back," Obama said of the GOP. "No! You can't drive. We don't want to have to go back into the ditch. We just got the car out."
    We got our mops and our brooms out here and were cleaning stuff out and they're sitting there saying, 'Hold the broom better, that's not how you mop, don't tell me how to mop,'" Obama said, continuing to rib Republicans. "Pick up a mop! Do some work on behalf of the American people to solve some of these problems."
    They've done their best to gum up the works to make it look broken. To say no to every single thing,
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 12:55:30 PM PDT

    •  Those Remarks Were Very Different. (5+ / 0-)

      The quotes in your link are from May, 2010, when Democrats still controlled the Congress. The ACA had just passed and GOP opposition had been bitter. Senate Republicans were using the filibuster and blue slips to prevent the President from seating appointees to big administration jobs and the courts.

      I believe the President's remarks today, made in the context of Republican obstruction since 2011, rank among the very sharpest attacks he has made specifically on the GOP Congress. I only hope this marks a sustained campaign by the President to defeat Congressional Republicans.

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:53:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If only he and the other Dems had started this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, alypsee1, OooSillyMe, old mark

    5 1/2 years ago, when Sen. Turtle made it a priority to do nothing.  Why wasn't HE impeached for malfeasance?  As a matter of fact, it's still not too late. He & his minions (not the cute ones) swore to uphold the constitution (the one wrote by Jebus hisself) yet they refuse to do it.  Sounds like treason to me.

    You all laugh because I'm different; I laugh because you're all the same

    by sajiocity on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:09:45 PM PDT

    •  Appreciate the Sentiment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      But impeachment isn't actually an option for Members of Congress and Senators. They may be unseated under rules and by vote of their respective houses, but not otherwise. Nor can states allow recall for these offices, the exclusive qualifications for which are set by the Constitution with, as aforesaid, the sole judge's of qualification being the respective houses.

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:29:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  sajiocity - we need to send you back (0+ / 0-)

      to civics class. Maybe there is a good one available online.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:28:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree that the GOPers in congress should (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sajiocity

      be tried for treason. They are not " loyal opposition", nor "conservatives", nor even misguided patriots. They have actively worked to ruin our economic gains, to eliminate rights hard won over a hundred years, and to ruin the reputations of a sitting president and every former Democratic president, simply out of hatred.

      The GOP/Teabag/Libertarians are no longer politicians - they are terrorist enemies, and they should be tried as such. They have advocated and worked toward the ending or the US Government in time of war, by violence if "necessary", and continue to do so today.

      "The tides go out, the tides come in...Nobody knows why." Glenn Beck, 2014.

      by old mark on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 04:28:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ten Thumbs Up!! (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, holier-than-thous,  I am aware that most of us only have two.  You needn't chastise me again.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. (Will that work for you?)

        You all laugh because I'm different; I laugh because you're all the same

        by sajiocity on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:48:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  hope (0+ / 0-)

    I hope the Dem's and the President understand there is now (well, it really never stopped) a complete assualt against them and the entire government to destroy and upend and totally de-legitimize his Presidency and try to make the USA a fascist theocrat contriolled 1 party state of the GOP.. they will not stop or give up.. they are piling on now.. we have to stop them at the ballot box or else they will take the whole enchlidada very quickly (they already have the House most of the Senate and the Judicial branch.. )  :(

  •  I would like to retire the phrase (0+ / 0-)

    "common sense".  It no longer has meaning.  Both sides use it ad infinitum.  It no longer resonates.   It just turns people off.

    How about

    Say what you mean, mean what you say?

    Just a thought.

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:07:01 PM PDT

  •  I certainly agree, but I would have said (0+ / 0-)

    "especially" rather than "even"...

    There is not a bit of sense in the entire GOP at this point...and voters seem to actually be noticing that.

    "The tides go out, the tides come in...Nobody knows why." Glenn Beck, 2014.

    by old mark on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 04:22:15 AM PDT

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