good evening, everybody. i just want to make a fewbrief comments about the attacks across paristonight. once again, we've seen an outrageousattempt to terrorize innocent civilians. this is anattack not just on paris, it's an attack not just on thepeople of france, but this is an attack on all ofhumanity and the universal values that we share.
we stand prepared and ready to provide whateverassistance that the government and the people offrance need to respond. france is our oldest ally.the french people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the united states time and again.and we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorismand extremism.
paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. those who think that they canterrorize the people of france or the values that they stand for are wrong. the american peopledraw strength from the french people's commitment to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness.we are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté and égalité and fraternité arenot only values that the french people care so deeply about, but they are values that we share.and those values are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision ofthose who perpetrated the crimes this evening.
we're going to do whatever it takes to work with the french people and with nations around theworld to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after ourpeople.
we don't yet know all the details of what has happened. we have been in contact with frenchofficials to communicate our deepest condolences to the families of those who have beenkilled, to offer our prayers and thoughts to those who have been wounded. we have offered ourfull support to them. the situation is still unfolding. i've chosen not to call president hollande atthis time, because my expectation is that he's very busy at the moment. i actually, bycoincidence, was talking to him earlier today in preparation for the g20 meeting. but i amconfident that i'll be in direct communications with him in the next few days, and we'll becoordinating in any ways that they think are helpful in the investigation of what's happened.
this is a heartbreaking situation. and obviously those of us here in the united states know whatit's like. we've gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves. and whenever these kinds ofattacks happened, we've always been able to count on the french people to stand with us. theyhave been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner, and we intend to be there with themin that same fashion.
i'm sure that in the days ahead we'll learn more about exactly what happened, and my teamswill make sure that we are in communication with the press to provide you accurateinformation. i don't want to speculate at this point in terms of who was responsible for this. itappears that there may still be live activity and dangers that are taking place as we speak. andso until we know from french officials that the situation is under control, and we have for moreinformation about it, i don't want to speculate.
thank you very much.
hi, everybody. about a year ago, i promised that XX would be a breakthrough year for america. and this week, we got more evidence to back that up.
in december, our businesses created 240,000 new jobs. the unemployment rate fell to 5.6%. that means that XX was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. in XX, unemployment fell faster than it has in three decades.
over a 58-month streak, our businesses have created 11.2 million new jobs. after a decade of decline, american manufacturing is in its best stretch of job growth since the „90s. america is now the world‟s number one producer of oil and gas, helping to save drivers about a buck-ten a gallon at the pump over this time last year. thanks to the affordable care act, about 10 million americans have gained health insurance in the past year alone. we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds. and after 13 long years, our war in afghanistan has come to a responsible end, and more of our brave troops have come home.
it has been six years since the crisis. those years have demanded hard work and sacrifice on everybody‟s part. so as a country, we have every right to be proud of what we‟ve got to show for it. america‟s resurgence is real. and now that we‟ve got some calmer waters, if we all do our part, if we all pitch in, we can make sure that tide starts lifting all boats again. we can make sure that the middle class is the engine that powers america‟s prosperity for decades to come.
that‟ll be the focus of my state of the union address in a couple weeks – building on the progress we‟ve made. but i figured, why wait – let‟s get started right now.
on wednesday, i visited a ford plant outside of detroit – because the american auto industry and its home state are redefining the word “comeback.” on thursday, i traveled to arizona, a state that was hit among the hardest by the housing crisis, to announce a new plan that will put hundreds of dollars in new homeowners‟ pockets, and help more new families buy their first home. and, i‟m speaking with you today from pellissippi state community college in tennessee, a state making big strides in education, to unveil my new plan to make two years of community college free for every responsible student. i‟m also here to establish a new hub that will attract more good-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs to our shores.
making homeownership easier. bringing a higher education within reach. creating more good jobs that pay good wages. these are just some of the ways we can help every american get ahead in the new economy. and there‟s more to come. because america is coming back. and i want to go full speed ahead.
thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.
presidentbarack obama remarks on the death of nelson mandela
at his trialin 1964, nelson mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, "i havefought against white domination, and i have fought against black domination. ihave cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all personslive together in harmony and with equal opportunities. it is an ideal which ihope to live for and to achieve. but if needs be, it is an ideal for which i amprepared to die."
and nelsonmandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. he achieved more than couldbe expected of any man. today, he has gone home. and we have lost one of themost influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of uswill share time with on this earth. he no longer belongs to us -- he belongs tothe ages.
through hisfierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedomof others, madiba transformedsouth africa-- and moved all of us. his journeyfrom a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings -- andcountries -- can change for the better. his commitment to transfer power andreconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity shouldaspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. and thefact that he did it all with grace and good humor, and an ability toacknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much moreremarkable. as he once said, "i am not a saint, unless you think of asaint as a sinner who keeps on trying."
i am one ofthe countless millions who drew inspiration from nelson mandela's life. my veryfirst political action, the first thing i ever did that involved an issue or apolicy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. i studied his words andhis writings. the day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of whathuman beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears.and like so many around the globe, i cannot fully imagine my own life without theexample that nelson mandela set, and so long as i live i will do what i can tolearn from him.
to graçamachel and his family, michelle and i extend our deepest sympathy and gratitudefor sharing this extraordinary man with us. his life’s work meant long daysaway from those who loved him the most. and i only hope that the time spentwith him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.
to thepeople ofsouth africa,we draw strength from the example of renewal, andreconciliation, and resiliencethat you made real. a freesouth africaat peace with itself -- that’s anexample to the world, and that’s madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.
we will notlikely see the likes of nelson mandela again. so it falls to us as best we canto forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, butby love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strivefor a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.
for now, letus pause and give thanks for the fact that nelson mandela lived -- a man whotook history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe towardjustice. may god bless his memory and keep him in peace.
thank you, everybody. (applause.) all right. well, thanks to myfriend, lilly ledbetter, notonly for that introduction but for fighting for asimple principle: equal pay for equalwork. it’snot that complicated. and, lilly, i assure you, you remain the faceof fair pay. (laughter.)people don’t want my mug on there. (laughter.) they want your face.
as lilly mentioned, she did notset out to be a trailblazer. she was just somebody who waswaking up every day,going to work, doing her job the best that she could. and then one day,she finds out, after years,that she earned less than her male colleagues for doing the same job.i want to make that point again. (laughter.) doing the same job. sometimeswhen you -- whenwe discuss this issue of fair pay, equal pay for equal work,and the pay gap between men andwomen, you’ll hear all sorts of excuses about,well, they’re child-bearing, and they’re choosing todo this, and they’re thisand they’re that and the other. she wasdoing the same job -- probablydoing better. (laughter and applause.) samejob. working just as hard, probablyputting inmore hours. but she wasgetting systematically paid less.
and so she set out to make surethis country lived up to its founding, the idea that all of usare createdequal. and when the courts didn’t answerher call, congress did.
the first time lilly and i stoodtogether in this room was my tenth day in office, and that’swhen we signed thelilly ledbetter fair pay act. (applause.) first bill i signedinto law. and someof the leaders whohelped make that happen are here today, including leader pelosi andsenatormikulski and congresswoman delauro. (applause.) i want to thank allthe members ofcongress and all the state legislators who are here and all the advocates who are here,becauseyou all contributed to that effort. andi want to give a special thanks to the members ofthe national equal pay taskforce, who’ve done outstanding work to make workplaces acrossamerica morefair.
we’re here because today is equalpay day. (applause.) equal pay day. and it’s nice to havea day, but it’s evenbetter to have equal pay. (applause.) and our job is notfinished yet. equalpay day means that a woman has to work about this far intoXX to earn what a man earned inXX. think about that. a woman has gotto work about three more months in order to get whata man got because she’spaid less. that’s not fair. that’s like adding an extra six miles toamarathon. (laughter.) it’s not right.
audience member: ain’t right.
the president: ain’t right. (laughter.) it’s not right and itain’t right. (laughter.)
america should be a level playingfield, a fair race for everybody -- a place where anybodywho’s willing to workhard has a chance to get ahead. andrestoring that opportunity for everyamerican -- men and women -- has to be adriving focus for our country.
now, the good news is today oureconomy is growing; businesses have created almost 9million new jobs over thepast four years. more than 7 millionamericans have signed up forhealth care coverage under the affordable careact. (applause.)
that’s a good thing, too. i know it’s equal pay day and not obamacareday -- (laughter) --but i do want to point out that the affordable care actguarantees free preventive care, likemammograms and contraceptive care, fortens of millions of women, and ends the days whenyou could be charged morejust for being a woman when it comes to your health insurance. (applause.) and that’s true for everybody. (applause.) that’s just one moreplace where thingswere not fair.
we’ll talk about drycleanersnext, right -- (laughter) -- because i know that -- i don’t knowwhy it costsmore for michelle’s blouse than my shirt. (laughter.)
but we’ve got to make sure thatamerica works for everybody. anybody who is willing towork hard, they shouldbe able to get ahead. and we’ve got tobuild an economy that works foreverybody, not just those at the top. restoring opportunity for all has to be ourpriority. that’swhat america isabout. it doesn’t matter where youstarted off, what you look like -- you workhard, you take responsibility, youmake the effort, you should be able to get ahead.
and we’ve got to fight for anopportunity agenda, which means more good jobs that paygood wages, andtraining americans to make sure that they can fill those jobs, andguaranteeingevery child a world-class education, and making sure the economy rewardshardwork for every single american.
and part of that is fighting forfair pay for women -- because when women succeed, americasucceeds. (applause.) when women succeed, america succeeds. it’s true. i believe that. (applause.) it’s true. it’s true. it’s true.
now, here’s the challenge: today, the average full-time working womanearns just 77 centsfor every dollar a man earns; for african american women,latinas, it’s even less. and inXX,that’s an embarrassment. it iswrong. and this is not just an issue offairness. it’s also afamily issue andan economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce andthey’reincreasingly the breadwinners for a whole lot of families out there. so when they makeless money, it means lessmoney for gas, less money for groceries, less money for child care, lessmoneyfor college tuition, less money is going into retirement savings.
and it’s all bad for business,because our economy depends on customers out there, andwhen customers haveless money, when hardworking women don’t have the resources, that’saproblem. when businesses lose terrificwomen talent because they’re fed up with unfairpolicies, that’s bad forbusiness. they lose out on thecontributions that those women could bemaking. when any of our citizens can’t fulfill their potential for reasons thathave nothing to dowith their talent or their character or their work ethic, we’renot living up to our founding values.wedon’t have second-class citizens in this country -- and certainly not in theworkplace.
so, tomorrow, the senate has thechance to start making this right by passing a bill thatlilly already alludedto -- the paycheck fairness act. (applause.) they’ve got a chanceto do theright thing. and it would putsensible rules into place, like making sure employees who discusstheirsalaries don’t face retaliation by their employers.
and here’s why this isimportant. there are women here todaywho worked in offices where itwas against the rules for employees to discusssalaries with one another. and becauseof that,they didn’t know they were being paid less than men -- just like lillydidn’t know -- for doing theexact same work. for some, it was years before they found out. and even then, it onlyhappened because amanager accidentally let it slip or, as in lilly’s case, a sympatheticco-workerquietly passed a note. sheonly found out she earned less than her male colleagues for doing thesame workbecause somebody left an anonymous note.
we can’t leave that tochance. and over the course of lilly’scareer, she lost more than$200,000 in salary, even more in pension and socialsecurity benefits -- both of which arepegged to salary -- simply because shewas a woman.
and lilly, and some of the otherwomen here, decided it was wrong, set out to fix it. theywent to their bosses; they asked for araise. that didn’t work. they turned to the law; they filedsuit. and for some, for years after waiting andpersisting they finally got some justice.
well, tomorrow, the senate couldpay tribute to their courage by voting yes for paycheckfairness. (applause.) this should not be a hard proposition. this should not be thatcomplicated. (applause.)
and so far, republicans incongress have been gumming up the works. they’ve beenblocking progress on this issue, and of course other issuesthat would help with the economicrecovery and help us grow faster. but we don’t have to accept that. america, you don’t have tosit still. you can make sure that you’re putting somepressure on members of congress aboutthis issue. and i don’t care whether you’re a democrat ora republican. if you’re a voter --ifyou’ve got a daughter, you got a sister, you got a mom -- i know you got a mom-- (laughter) -- this is something you should care about.
and i’m not going to stand stilleither. so in this year of action i’veused my executiveauthority whenever i could to create opportunity for moreamericans. and today, i’m going totakeaction -- executive action -- to make it easier for working women to earn fairpay. so first,i’m going to sign anexecutive order to create more pay transparency by prohibitingfederalcontractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with eachother. (applause.) pay secrecy fosters discrimination and weshould not tolerate it -- not in federalcontracting or anywhere else.
second, i’m signing apresidential memorandum directing the department of labor and ouroutstandingsecretary of labor, tom perez, to require federal contractors to provide dataabouttheir employee compensation so pay discrimination can be spotted moreeasily.
now, i want to be clear: there are great employers out there who dothe right thing. thereare plenty ofemployers out there who are absolutely certain that there’s no paydiscriminationhappening in their offices. but then sometimes when the data is laid out, it paints adifferentpicture. many times they then doeverything they can to fix the problem, and so wewant to encourage them to fixthese problems if they exist by making sure that the data is outthere.
so everybody who cares about thisshould pay attention to how the senate votes tomorrowon this paycheck fairnessact, because the majority of senators support this bill, but two yearsago, aminority of senate republicans blocked it from getting a vote. even worse, somecommentators are out theresaying that the pay gap doesn’t even exist. they say it’s a myth.but it’snot a myth; it’s math. (laughter andapplause.) you can look at thepaychecks. you canlook at thestubs. (applause.)
i mean, lilly ledbetter didn’tjust make this up. (laughter.) the court, when it looked atthe documents,said, yep, you’ve been getting paid less for doing the same job. it’s just thecourt then said, you know, it’sbeen -- as lilly said -- it’s been happening so long, you can’t doanythingabout it anymore -- which made no sense and that’s why we had to sign anotherbill.it’s basic math that adds up toreal money. it makes a real differencefor a lot of americans whoare working hard to support their families.
and of course, the fact that we’vegot some resistance from some folks on this issue up oncapitol hill just fitswith this larger problem, this vision that the congressional republicansseemto be continually embracing -- this notion that, you know what, you’re just onyour own, nomatter how unfair things are. you see it in their budget. thebudget the republicans incongress just put forward last week, it’s like a badrerun. it would give massive tax cutstohouseholds making more than a million dollars a year, force deep cuts to thingsthat actuallyhelp working families like early education and college grants andjob training.
and, of course, it includes thatnovel idea of repealing the affordable care act. (laughter.)fiftieth time they’ve tried that -- which would mean the more than 7million americans who’vedone the responsible thing and signed up to buy healthinsurance, they’d lose their healthinsurance; and the 3 million young adultswho’ve stayed on their parents’ plan, they’d nolonger have that available;take us back to the days when insurers could charge women morejust for being awoman.
on minimum wage, three out of fouramericans support raising the minimum wage. usuallywhen three out of four americans support something, members ofcongress are right there. (laughter.) and yet here, republicans in congress aredead set against it, blocking a pay raisefor tens of millions of americans --a majority of them women. this isn’tjust about treatingwomen fairly. thisis about republicans seemingly opposing any efforts to even the playingfieldfor working families.
and i was up in michigan lastweek and i just asked -- i don’t understand fully the theorybehind this. i don’t know why you would resist the ideathat women should be paid the same asmen, and then deny that that’s not alwayshappening out there. if republicans incongress wantto prove me wrong, if they want to show that they, in fact, docare about women being paid thesame as men, then show me. they can start tomorrow. they can join us in this, the 21stcentury,and vote yes on the paycheck fairness act. (applause.) vote yes.
and if anybody is watching orlistening, if you care about this issue, then let your senatorsknow where youstand -- because america deserves equal pay for equal work.
this is not something we’re goingto achieve in a day. there’s going to bea lot of stuff thatwe’ve got to do to close the pay gap. we got to make it possible for more women toenter high-paying fields that up until now have been dominated by men, likeengineering and computerscience. womenhold less than 6 percent of our country’s commercial patents -- that’s notgoodenough. we need more parents and highschool teachers and college professors encouraginggirls and women to studymath and science. we need morebusinesses to make gender diversitya priority when they hire and when theypromote. fewer than five percent offortune 500companies have women at the helm.
i think we’d all agree that weneed more women in congress. (applause.) fewer than 20percent of congressional seats are held by women. clearly, congress would get more done iftheratio was -- (laughter) -- evened out a little bit. so we’ve got to work on that.
and we’ve all got to do more tomake our workplaces more welcoming to women. becausethe numbers show that even when men and women are in the sameprofession and have thesame education, there’s still a wage gap, and it widensover time. so we’re going to keepmakingthe case for why these policies are the right ones for working families andbusinesses.and this is all going tolead up to this first-ever white house summit on working families onjune 23rd.
so, ultimately, equal pay is notjust an economic issue for millions of americans and theirfamilies. it’s also about whether we’re willing tobuild an economy that works for everybody,and whether we’re going to do ourpart to make sure that our daughters have the same chancesto pursue theirdreams as our sons, and whether or not we’re willing to restore to the heartofthis country that basic idea -- you can make it, no matter who you are, if youtry.
and that’s personal for me. i’ve said this before -- i’ve got twodaughters and i expect themto be treated just like anybody’s sons. and i think about my single mom working hard,going toschool, trying to raise two kids all at the same time. and i think about my grandmother tryingtowork her way up through her career and then hitting the glass ceiling. and i’ve seen howhard they’ve worked, and i’veseen how they’ve sucked it up. and theyput up with stuff andthey don’t say anything, and they just take care of theirfamily and they take care ofthemselves, and they don’t complain a lot. but at a certain point, we have the power todosomething about it for the next generation. and this is a good place to start.
so, for everybody out there who’slistening, ask your senator where you stand on paycheckfairness. (applause.) if they tell you that there’s not a pay gap out there, you tell them tolookat the data, because there is. it’stime to get this done. and i’m going todo my small part rightnow by signing this executive order and presidentialmemoranda. (applause.)