Remarks by the President to Overflow Crowd at University of Washington

October 21, 2010

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by the President to Overflow Crowd at University of Washington

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington

11:42 A.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Huskies!  It is great to see all of you.  Look, I’m not going to give a long speech now because then you’ll be listening to two long speeches.  I just wanted to — the main reason I wanted to come out, because I thought it would be cool to run through the tunnel. (Laughter.)  I liked doing that.

But I also wanted to come out and just say thank you to all of you, because there are a lot of you who worked on our campaign, there are a lot of you who voted, some for the very first time, because you realized that we’re at a crossroads in history right now. America is the greatest country on Earth, but we didn’t get here because it was preordained.  We got here because our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents, they were all willing to roll up their sleeves and work — to work on behalf of freedom, to work on behalf of opportunity.

A lot of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents came here from other countries to start a new life because they realized that if they worked hard here in America then there was nothing that could stop them, and that there was a unique legacy in this nation of being able to live out your dreams.

And over the last decade, some of those dreams felt like they were slipping away.  People felt as if the economy was only for those at the very top and that no matter how hard you worked you were treading water, and people were having trouble making ends meet and paying for health care and paying for college educations.  And I think a lot of young people started feeling that maybe the 21st century wouldn’t be the American Century like the 20th century was.

And what our campaign was about in 2008 was reminding everybody that there is nothing we can’t do when we join together as citizens from every walk of life; that there is nothing we can’t accomplish when we dream big dreams and are willing to work for them.

And over the last two years, as difficult as things have been, as big as the problems that we inherited were, I have been so inspired because I’ve had the opportunity to work with people like Patty Murray — (applause) — to make sure that every American has decent health care; to make sure that an economy that was shrinking is growing again; to start putting people back to work; to make sure we’ve got equal pay for equal work; to make sure that we’ve got a couple of wonderful women on the Supreme Court; — (applause) — to make sure that young people can afford a college education; — (applause) — to make sure that we brought back 100,000 troops from Iraq; — (applause) — to make sure that we’re respected around the world once again; to start investing in research and development so that our economy can thrive; to make sure that we’re investing in clean energy — (applause) — so that we’re at the forefront not only of growing our economy but of saving the planet.

And I’ve been inspired by you because, wherever I go, traveling across this country, especially when I meet young people, I am reminded of your energy and your drive and your imagination. And for all the problems we’re going through right now, we still have the best workers on Earth, we’ve got the finest universities on Earth, we’ve got the best entrepreneurs on Earth.  We’ve got the freest, most vibrant economy on Earth —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  — best President on Earth!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I won’t say that — (applause) — but we’ve got a pretty good President. (Applause.)

But here’s what I need from you now, and this is the point that Patty was making.  Look, Patty has worked so hard on behalf of Washington, worked so hard on behalf of this institution, worked so hard on behalf of you — I’ve got to have Patty as a partner in Washington.  (Applause.)

So I am here to deliver one simple message:  If you have not voted yet, you’ve got to get that ballot and put it in the mail. Don’t delay.  Do it right after this rally. You’ve got to then talk to your friends.  You’ve got to talk to your neighbors.  You’ve got to make phone calls.  You’ve got to knock on doors.  You have to make sure that you are as fired up and as excited now as you were two years ago — because the work is not yet done.  And I have to have Patty Murray back in the United States Senate.

Can I get that promise from you guys?  (Applause.)  Are you going to vote?  (Applause.)  I need Patty Murray back in the United States Senate.  And you need to send her there.  If you do, I guarantee we’re going to continue to work to make sure the American Dream is not just here for this generation but for generations to come.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)  Thank you.  (Applause.)

11:47 A.M. PDT