Not the most extraordinary speech he's ever given, but its a good template for the campaign ahead. If you've been watching him speak, you've heard a lot of this stuff before. The crowd reaction felt a little restrained. The biggest laugh/applause lines seemed to come whenever he talked concrete job numbers (i.e., the people in the next county over, thanks to the G.M. bailout are coming back to work). That's how it should be.
The President read the room. He dispensed with the smiles quickly, and told the people of Youngstown what he did, and how it helped.
Now, we’ve got a long way to go before this recovery is felt in the lives of our neighbors and in all the communities that have lost so much ground in this recession and in years before.
But despite that sobering reality, despite all the naysayers in Washington, who are always looking for the cloud in every silver lining, the fact is our economy is growing again. Last month, we gained 290,000 jobs. (Applause.) So think about this. We gained more jobs last month than any time in four years. And it was the fourth month in a row that we’ve added jobs -- and almost all those jobs are in the private sector. Everybody talks about government was doing this, government was doing that. Now, what we did was we encouraged the private sector, gave them the funding, the financing, the support, the infrastructure support in order to invest and get the economy moving again.
And last month also brought the largest increase in manufacturing employment since 1998 -- (applause) -- 1998, because I believe in manufacturing and I believe in manufacturing right here in the United States of America. We can compete against anybody. Youngstown can compete against anybody. You got the best workers. There’s no reason why we can’t compete with anybody if you guys have the support that you need.
And you know what? I think those critics who have been trying to badmouth these efforts -- they know it’s working. These folks who opposed this every step of the way, predicting nothing but failure, they know it’s working because -- this always puts a smile on my face -- even as they’ve tried to score political points attacking these members of Congress, a lot of them go home and then they claim credit for the very things they voted against. They’ll show up at the -- to cut the ribbons. They’ll put out a press release. They’ll send the mailings touting the very projects that they were opposing in Washington. They’re trying to have it both ways.
I know that’s hard to imagine in politics, that a politician might try to have it both ways, but here’s the fact: If the “just say no” crowd had won out, if we had done things the way they wanted to go, we’d be in a deeper world of hurt than we are right now. Families wouldn’t have seen those tax cuts. Small businesses wouldn’t have gotten those loans or those health care tax credits that they’re now eligible for. Insurance companies would still be deciding who they want to cover and when they want to cover them, and dropping your health care coverage whenever they felt like it.