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Weekly speech texts: Gov. Pawlenty for the GOP and Obama for Obama

April 11, 2009 |  3:00 am

To help the nation celebrate the week that 2008 income taxes are due, representatives of both major political parties are still giving their weekly addresses. 

Gov. Tim Pawlentyof Minnesota for the Republicans and President Barack Obama forhimself. The governor talks about taxes and how we've all been working from Jan. 1 until this Monday just to cover our annual tax bill.

And Obama talks about his recent trip abroad and the religiousness of this weekend. He does not address the imminent arrival of his family's new dog and how happy he is not to have to walk it himself at night on Chicago's South Side.

First this week, the GOP:

Hi, I'm Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota.

This weekend, my wife, Mary, and I are finishing up our tax returns – just like I'm sure many of you are.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and his wife Mary watch a volleyball game involving their daughter

It's a time when a lot of us look at our family's finances and ask some pretty tough questions, like are we saving enough for our kids' college? Will we be able to retire at a normal age? 

And what might happen if the recession gets worse, like it has over the last 2 months, when over 1 million Americans lost their jobs?

I know for a lot of folks, the answer to these questions are pretty grim these days. Nationwide, unemployment is at a 25-year high as companies lay off employees or go out of business altogether.

It's at times like this when families - and businesses - feel a need to hold on to every dollar they can.

But think about this: according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, the average American has to work from January 1st until this Monday, April 13th, just to earn enough money to pay all their taxes for the year - that's just two days before taxes are actually due, on April 15th.

And then consider this: If the Democrat majority in Washington gets its way, most family's tax burdens will be even higher.

Now this isn't a Republican-versus-Democrat debate. I thought President Obama's proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses was a pretty good idea. And his pledge to lower taxes for middle class Americans was something Republicans whole-heartedly supported.

But the budget that Congress is considering doesn't provide that tax relief. And rather than....

...eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses immediately so they can create jobs right now, their budget keeps those taxes high until after President Obama's term in office. And most concerning, this budget creates mountains of new debt that will ultimately will require higher taxes on all of us and our children.

I think that's wrong. Families are hurting now and small businesses can't create new jobs soon enough.

Isn't it time we stopped working for the government and that government started working for us?

“Here's a novel idea for the federal government: instead of collecting more taxes and then redistributing them through more federal programs, why don't you just let us keep more of our money in the first place?

The federal government should keep a lid on taxes, control government spending, and borrow less -- rather than increase the size and scope of the federal government so much that Washington is guaranteeing future tax increases.  And while they're at it, they should also focus on making government work better, not making it bigger.

“It's time to prioritize spending, cut taxes to help families pay their bills and stimulate job creation. And let's get control of our national debt, so future generations aren't burdened with unbearable taxes.

I urge President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress to let hard-working American families keep more of what they earn by cutting taxes and reining in spending.  It's just common sense.

I'm sure you will agree, especially on April 15th when your taxes are due.

Thank you for listening, and have a blessed Passover and Easter.”

An audio version of the Republican address is available here.

Remarks by President Obama, April 11, 2009:

I speak to you today during a time that is holy and filled with meaning for believers around the world. Earlier this week, Jewish people gathered with family and friends to recite the stories of their ancestors’ struggle and ultimate liberation. Tomorrow, Christians of all denominations will come together to rejoice and remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

These are two very different holidays with their own very different traditions. But it seems fitting that we mark them both during the same week. For in a larger sense, they are both moments of reflection and renewal. They are both occasions to think more deeply about the obligations we have to ourselves and the obligations we have to one another, no matter who we are, where we come from, or what faith we practice.

This idea – that we are all bound up, as Martin Luther King once said, in “a single garment of destiny”– is a lesson of all the world’s great religions. And never has it been more important for us to reaffirm that lesson than it is today – at a time when we face tests and trials unlike any we have seen in our time. An economic crisis that recognizes no borders.

Violent extremism that’s claimed the lives of innocent men, women and children from Manhattan to Mumbai. An unsustainable dependence on foreign oil and other sources of energy that pollute our air and water and threaten our planet. The proliferation of the world’s most dangerous weapons, the persistence of deadly disease, and the recurrence of age-old conflicts.

These are challenges that no single nation, no matter how powerful, can confront alone. The United States must lead the way. But our best chance to solve these unprecedented problems comes from acting in concert with other nations.

Democratic president Barack Obama and wife Michelle greet a crowd in Strasbourg france

That is why I met with leaders of the G-20 nations to ensure that the world’s largest economies take strong and unified action in the face of the global economic crisis. Together, we’ve taken steps to stimulate growth, restore the flow of credit, open markets, and dramatically reform our financial regulatory system to prevent such crises from occurring again – steps that will lead to job creation at home.

It is only by working together that we will finally defeat 21st century security threats like Al Qaeda. So it was heartening that our NATO allies united in Strasbourg behind our strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and contributed important resources to support our effort there. 

It is only by coordinating with countries around the world that we will stop the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. That is why I laid out a strategy in Prague for us to work with Russia and other nations to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons; to secure nuclear materials from terrorists; and, ultimately, to free the world from the menace of a nuclear nightmare.

And it is only by building a new foundation of mutual trust that we will tackle some of our most entrenched problems. That is why, in Turkey, I spoke to members of Parliament and university students about rising above the barriers of race, region, and religion that too often divide us.

With all that is at stake today, we cannot afford to talk past one another. We can’t afford to allow old differences to prevent us from making progress in areas of common concern. We can’t afford to let walls of mistrust stand.

Instead, we have to find – and build on – our mutual interests. For it is only when people come together, and seek common ground, that some of that mistrust can begin to fade. And that is where progress begins.

Make no mistake: we live in a dangerous world, and we must be strong and vigilant in the face of these threats. But let us not allow whatever differences we have with other nations to stop us from coming together around those solutions that are essential to our survival and success.

As we celebrate Passover, Easter and this time of renewal, let’s find strength in our shared resolve and purpose in our common aspirations. And if we can do that, then not only will we fulfill the sacred meaning of these holy days, but we will fulfill the promise of our country as a leader around the world.  ###

Audio of the president's remarks is available by clicking here.

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Photo: Jime Mone / Associated Press (Gov. Pawlenty and wife Mary watch their daughter's volleyball game); Saul Loeb / AFP Getty (Obama and wife Michelle greet a crowd in Strasbourg, France).