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Obama Labor Day Speech (Video and Transcript)

Posted on Sep 5, 2011
White House / Pete Souza

(Page 4)

That’s why we chose Detroit as one of the cities that we’re helping revitalize in our “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” initiative.  (Applause.)  We’re teaming up with everybody—mayors, local officials, you name it—boosting economic development, rebuilding your communities the best way, which is a way that involves you.  Because despite all that’s changed here, and all the work that lies ahead, this is still a city where men clocked into factories.  This is the city that built the greatest middle class the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  This is the city where women rolled up their sleeves and helped build an arsenal for democracy to free the world.  (Applause.)  This is a city where the great American industry has come back to life and the industries of tomorrow are taking root.  This is a city where people, brave and bold, courageous and clever, are dreaming up ways to prove the skeptics wrong and write the next proud chapter in our history.  (Applause.)

That’s why I wanted to be here with you today.  Because for every cynic and every naysayer running around talking about how our best days are behind us—for everybody who keeps going around saying, “No, we can’t”—

AUDIENCE:  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT: —for everybody who can always find a reason why we can’t rebuild America, I meet Americans every day who, in the face of impossible odds they’ve got a different belief.  They believe we can.  You believe we can.  (Applause.)


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Yes, times are tough.  But we’ve been through tough times before. I don’t know about you, but I’m not scared of tough times.  (Applause.)  I’m not scared of tough times because I know we’re going to be all marching together and walking together and working together and rebuilding together.  And I know we don’t quit.  (Applause.)  I know we don’t give up our dreams and settle for something less.  We roll up our sleeves—and we remember a fundamental truth of our history:  We are strong when we are united.  (Applause.)  We’re firing all cylinders.

The union movement is going to be at the center of it.  And if all of you are committed to making sure that the person standing next to you, and their kids and their grandkids—that everybody in this city and everybody in this country can unleash his or her potential, if you work hard and play by the rules, you will get a fair shake and get a fair shot.  That’s the country I want for my kids.  (Applause.)  That’s the country you want for your kids.  That’s the country we’re going to build together.  (Applause.)

Thank you very much, Detroit.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

1:57 P.M. CDT

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By berniem, September 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

“We The People” no longer control our(?) government because we’ve allowed the SYSTEM to be privatized. FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!

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By prisnersdilema, September 6, 2011 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

President Obama, I think it would be a good idea for you to change your party affiliation
to Republican. Then people would understand who they were voting for, what they were
getting and why.

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By EmileZ, September 6, 2011 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

When unions agree to pay freezes and pay cuts, it is because they have been undermined by our trade policies and our economic policies.

They have no leverage.

Stop privatizing public education President Obama.

Rebuild, reinvent and redefine how???

Your “sputnik moment” is worthless if the specialized class (which is the new middle class on a far smaller scale) will not create jobs for Americans. Their competitve innovations will be manufactured overseas by whatever country has the least environmental protections and the most draconian labor laws.

I am not a cynic President Obama. You are a cynic.

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By AngeredLiberal, September 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ok, Wait a second! 17 minutes in the President makes the claim that if he’s in office he will fight for collective bargaining rights, unlike the oppositional party who is trying maintain or further consolidate power in the corporate/finance elite. The crowd erupts into applause and shouts 4 more years. To be honest what has he done in the last two years to show he has stood with labor? He is politicking just like the republicans. He doesn’t care. He didn’t do anything for EFCA. He didn’t stand with Wisconsinites. He hasn’t called for a increase in mimiumn wage. Single payer anyone? I just have a hard time understanding the why anyone could be proud of him and want to support him. Unless he makes a complete overall of his philosophy, governance, and choice of appointees we are getting much more of the same failed policies of Clinton, Bush I & II, and Regan. Most of which has led this country off a cliff.

Also for the soul fact that he said we need to go forward and not backwards in regard to the actions of his predecessor, isn’t he complicit?

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