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Weekly remarks: Marco Rubio says both parties must change; Obama says can't afford to keep all tax cuts

November 6, 2010 |  3:00 am

Capitol Dome

Weekly remarks by Florida Sen.-elect Marco Rubio, as provided by Republican Party leadership 

Hi, I’m Marco Rubio.

With Election Day now behind us, it’s an honor to talk to you about the opportunity before us – an opportunity to put America back on track.

For too long, Washington has taken our country in the wrong direction, bigger government, reckless spending and run-away debt. And though I’m a proud Republican, here is the truth, both parties have been to blame.

This election the American people said enough is enough.That message was loud and clear. We Republicans would be mistaken if we misread these results as simply an embrace of the Republican Party. This Election is a second chance. A second chance for Republicans to be what we said we were going to be.

America is the single greatest nation on earth, a place without equal in the history of....

...all mankind. A place built on free enterprise, where the employee can become the employer. Where small businesses are started every day in a spare bedroom and where someone like me, the son of a bartender and maid, can become a United States Senator.

I know about the unique exceptionalism of our country. Not because I read about it in a book, I’ve seen it through my own eyes. You see, I was raised in a community of exiles, by people who lost their country, people who once had dreams like we do today but had to come to a foreign shore to find them.

For some their dreams were answered here in America, but many others found a new dream. To leave their children with the kinds of opportunities they themselves never had. And that is what we must do as a nation. To fulfill our sacred obligation to leave the next generation of Americans a better America than the one we inherited. And that is what this election was about.

In the past two years, Republicans listened to the American people and what they said is that it was time for a course correction.
Florida's new Republican Senator elect Marco Rubio
The past two years provided a frightening glimpse at what could become of our great nation if we continue down the current path: wasteful spending, a growing debt and a government reaching ever further into our lives, even into our health care decisions.

It is nothing short of a path to ruin, a path that threatens to diminish us as a nation and a people.  One that makes America not exceptional, not unique, but more like the rest of the world.

As Republicans, here is what our commitment should be to you. Our focus must not be simply winning elections. It must be to ensure the next generation inherits a strong, free and prosperous America.

We will govern as public servants who understand that re-election is simply a byproduct of good public service and good ideas. And most importantly, we will stand up and offer an alternative to the policies coming out of Washington for the past two years.

The challenges are too great, too generational in scope for us to be merely opponents of bad policies. Instead, we will put forward bold ideas and have the courage to fight for them. This means preventing a massive tax increase scheduled to hit every American taxpayer at the end of the year. It means repealing and replacing the disastrous health care bill. It means simplifying our tax code, and tackling a debt that is pushing us to the brink of our own Greece-like day of reckoning.

For many of us coming to Washington for the first time and others returning to serve, it’s a long way from home. A long way from the people whose eyes we looked into at town halls, at diners or roundtables, and promised that this time it would be different. That if you elected Republicans to office again, we would not squander the chance you gave us, and we must not.

Because nothing less than the identity of our country and what kind of future we will leave our children is at stake. That is our commitment and from you we ask this. Hold us accountable to the ideas and principles we campaigned on.

This is our second chance to get this right.  To make the right decisions and the tough calls and to leave our children what they deserve – the freest and most exceptional society in all of human history.

Thank you for listening, God bless you and your family, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.    ####

Happy Democrat president Barack Obama relaxes in the Oval Office

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House  

This week, Americans across the country cast their votes and made their voices heard. And your message was clear.

You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery.  So am I.

You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results. I do too.

So I congratulate all of this week’s winners – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. But now, the campaign season is over. And it’s time to focus on our shared responsibilities to work together and deliver those results: speeding up our economic recovery, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class so that the American Dream feels like it’s back within reach.

That’s why I’ve asked to sit down soon with leaders of both parties so that we can have an extended discussion about what we can do together to move this country forward.

And over the next few weeks, we’re going to have a chance to work together in the brief upcoming session of Congress. 

Here’s why this lame duck session is so important.  Early in the last decade, President Bush and Congress enacted a series of tax cuts that were designed to expire at the end of this year.

What that means is, if Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day.

But the last thing we should do is raise taxes on middle-class families. For the past decade, they saw their costs rise, their incomes fall, and too many jobs go overseas. They’re the ones bearing the brunt of the recession. They’re the ones having trouble making ends meet.  They are the ones who need relief right now.

So something’s got to be done.  And I believe there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together.

Let’s start where we agree.  All of us want certainty for middle-class Americans.  None of us want them to wake up on January 1st with a higher tax bill.  That’s why I believe we should permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for all families making less than $250,000 a year.  That’s 98 percent of the American people. 

We also agree on the need to start cutting spending and bringing down our deficit. That’s going to require everyone to make some tough choices. In fact, if Congress were to implement my proposal to freeze non-security discretionary spending for three years, it would bring this spending down to its lowest level as share of the economy in 50 years.

But at a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.

I recognize that both parties are going to have to work together and compromise to get something done here.  But I want to make my priorities clear from the start.  One: middle class families need permanent tax relief.  And two: I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

There are new public servants in Washington, but we still face the same challenges. And you made it clear that it’s time for results. This a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love. Thanks.    ####

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Photos: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press (lone worker vents hot air from the Capitol); Gary Rothstein / EPA; Pete Souza / White House.

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