April 2, 2010

Text of President Obama's speech at Portland Expo

The White House provided this transcript of President Barack Obama's remarks Thursday at the Portland Expo.


3:17 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Portland!  (Applause.)  Thank you.  (Applause.) Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Portland.

AUDIENCE:  Yes we can!  Yes we can!  Yes we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you. (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody.

Well, what a wonderful -- I guess when the sun comes out around here, everybody gets pretty excited.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)

Now, I have to say, the last time I was in Maine was before the caucuses.  (Applause.)  It was a little cooler here -- (laughter) -- as
I recall.  But it is wonderful to be back.  There are some people I want to say a few nice things about.

First of all, we could not have a better Small Business Administrator than your own neighbor, Karen Mills.  And so please give her a huge round of applause.  (Applause.)  She’s doing a great job.  I think she has more than a few folks from Maine on her staff.  She’s kind of stocked them all over the place.  And everybody is doing a great job over at the SBA.  I want to thank --

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  I want to thank one of the finest governors in the country, John Baldacci, who is here.
(Applause.)  Thank you, John.  Where is he?  There he is right there. Thank you.  (Applause.)

Your outstanding mayor Nick Mavodones is here.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got two great champions from Maine whose tireless efforts have helped working families all across this state and all across this country -- Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Mike Michaud.  (Applause.)

All right, it is good to be back in Maine.  (Applause.)  And I want everybody to remember, when I came here during the campaign, I made a promise.  And it wasn’t a promise about any particular issue.  It was a promise that our government would once again be responsive to the needs and aspirations of working families, of America’s middle class.  It was a promise that Washington would concern itself not just with the next election, but with the next generation of Americans.  (Applause.)

Now, keeping that promise is even more critical now, at a time when so many families and so many small business owners are still struggling here in Maine and all across the country.  Every time I visit with workers in a factory, or families in a diner; every time I sit down and read letters from Americans across the country, I see and hear the same questions.  Folks are asking, “How am I going to find a job when I’ve only known one skill my entire lifetime and I just got laid off and I'm in my fifties?  How am I going to retire when I keep spending my savings just to get by, or trying to make sure that my kid can go to college and tuition keeps on going up?  How am I going to make it when I'm stretched to the limits on my mortgage and on my bills?”  Those are the questions that I hear.

And I want you to know we are working every single day to spur job creation and to turn this economy around.  That’s why we worked so hard over the last year to lift one of the biggest burdens facing middle-class families and small business owners, and that is the
crushing cost of health care right here in America.  (Applause.)

(Continued on page 2)

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