Barack Obama – Your Interview With The President – 2012
The Accurate Source To Find Quotes To Barack Obama – Weekly Address – Putting The American People First.”
[Barack Obama – Weekly Address – Putting The American People First]
[Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961)] Source: LYBIO.net
The President: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans —
Speaker: Hello, President Obama. Why are we sending billions of dollars in aid to foreign countries when we can’t get our own country working?
Speaker: Why do we vote on Tuesday?
Speaker: I was wondering if minimum wage would go up in 2012?
Speaker: How do plan on getting anything done in this election year with this Congress?
Students: How do you plan to help students pay off student loans?
Steve Grove: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the first ever presidential Google+ hangout live on YouTube. I’m Steve Grove coming to you from our Google headquarters here in Mountain View, California. And I’m pleased to welcome President Obama live from the West Wing of the White House. Mr. President, welcome to Google+.
The President: Great to talk to you, Steve.
Steve Grove: We’re excited to get started today, Mr. President. Over a quarter of a million people visited the White House YouTube channel and submitted their questions for you. And as you can see, Mr. President, it’s not just me and you here in this hangout.We’re joined by five of those people right here, ready to put you in the hot seat. Let’s meet them all now. We have first, Jennifer Weddel in Fort Worth, Texas.
Jennifer Weddel: Hi, Mr. President.
The President: Hey, Jennifer.
Jennifer Weddel: It’s an honor to meet you. I’m from Fort Worth, Texas, and I have two beautiful girls. Nice to meet you.
The President: You can’t beat daughters.
Steve Grove: Next we have Paras Patel, and he is from Detroit, Michigan.
Paras Patel: Hi, Mr. President. I’m from Michigan, and I went to college in Detroit and now I’m a first year med student at the University of Chicago.
The President: Great to talk to you. Hope Hyde Park is treating you well.
Paras Patel: It’s great.
Steve Grove: We’re also joined by Adam Clark and his classmates in Fremont, California.
Adam Clark: Hi, Mr. President. I’m a senior from John F. Kennedy High School inFremont, California. My teacher, Ms. Santillan and all my classmates would just like to thank you for giving up a little bit of your time to let us all be a part of this Google interview. So thank you.
The President: Great to talk to you. And thanks for wearing a tie today. (laughter)
Steve Grove: You got to dress up — it’s an interview with the President. We’re also joined by Christine Wolf, and she is in Evanston, Illinois, Mr. President.
Christine Wolf: Hello, Mr. President. It’s an honor to meet you. I’m a mother of three children and I’m a children’s book writer in Evanston, Illinois.
The President: Great to talk to you, Christine. Tell everybody in Evanston I said hi.
Christine Wolf: I sure will.
The President: Thanks.
Steve Grove: And finally, we have Ramon Ray and he is in Montclair, New Jersey.
Ramon Ray: Hi, Mr. President. I’m Ramon. I love small businesses. I love technology. I play piano and I also love doing puppet shows for poor children. Thanks for being here.
The President: Great to talk to you, Ramon.
Steve Grove: All right, Mr. President. Well, some of our participants here voted for you in the last
election, and some of them did not. But everyone here submitted a question for you on YouTube. And to kick off our conversation today we’re going to start with a YouTube question on our first topic of discussion, the economy. And it comes to us from Anthony in Greenville, South Carolina. Let’s watch.
Anthony: Mr. President, thank you for your time. My name is Anthony and I’m currently residing in Greenville, South Carolina. I’m a student. I’m taking 15 credits in order to get an accounting degree. I also work a 40-hour-a-week job. There’s one problem — I barely make ends meet. The question I want to ask you today is this: Will you promote a living wage for people like me who are responsible, work, go to school, and take charge of their lives? Thank you.
The President: Well, first of all, I just want to commend you for working hard at school and at work. And I think this is representative of the spirit that’s out there in this country. Nobody expects anybody to do anything for them; everybody, I think, is working hard, trying to make ends meet and trying to get ahead in what’s been a very difficult economy over the last three years. But we are starting to see some signs that the economy is picking up. We’ve created 22 million jobs over the last — or 3 million jobs over the last 22 months. And we saw the largest boost in manufacturing jobs that we’ve seen since the ’90s, best job growth that we’ve seen since 2005. But we’ve still got a lot more to do. And for young people who are going to school and about to go into the workplace, a couple things I have to do. Number one, is I have to keep this recovery going. That’s why it’s so important for us to continue to make sure that, for example, we extend the payroll tax cut so that you don’t have $40 coming out of your paycheck this year at a time when things are already tight for you. For students, we’re going to have to make sure that we continue to build on some of the steps we’ve taken to make college more affordable. And that includes extending the tax credits that we’ve passed that are saving some families up to $10,000 a year, also expanding the Pell Grant program. That, obviously, is helpful to young people like yourselves. And then, what we have to do is to make sure that as businesses grow, as we’re promoting new industries like manufacturing in this country, that we’re also making sure that workers have a chance to benefit. And that means — I’m a strong believer in the minimum wage, but it also means that we are making sure that people like you who are working hard aren’t being disadvantaged by the tax code the way it is right now. And that’s part of the reason why, as we’re reducing the deficit or taking other steps to balance the budget, that we don’t put the burden on you as much as we put it on people like me who can afford it.
Steve Grove: I want to get our hangout involved here.
Let’s go to Jennifer.
She also submitted a question on the economy.
Jennifer Weddel: Hi, Mr. President.
My husband has an engineering degree with over 10 years of
experience, and he was laid off three years ago and has yet to
find a permanent job in his field.
My question to you is why does the government continue to issue
and extend H-1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like
my husband with no job?
The President: Well, Jennifer, I don’t know your husband’s specialty,
but I can tell you that there’s a huge demand around the country
Now, obviously, there are different kinds of engineers.
So a civil engineer, for example,
right now may not be getting as much work because we’re not
building our infrastructure as much as we should,
which is part of the reason why in the State of the Union I said
let’s put folks to work — not just construction workers,
but also engineers and architects —
rebuilding our schools and our roads and our bridges and so on.
Where you’re seeing a lot of specialized demand is in
engineering that’s related to the high-tech industries.
And now, what industry tells me is that they don’t have enough
highly skilled engineers.
If your husband is in that field,
then we should get his resume and I’ll forward it to some of
these companies that are telling me they can’t find enough
engineers in this field.
So it’s going to vary, but as a basic matter,
there’s a huge demand for engineers around the
country right now.
Jennifer Weddel: I understand that.
But how — I mean, given the list that you’re getting —
I mean, we’re not getting that.
I mean, you said in the State of the Union address for business
leaders to ask themselves what can they do to bring jobs back
But why do you think that the H-1B program is so popular with
The President: Jennifer, can I ask you what kind of engineer your
Jennifer Weddel: He is a semiconductor engineer.
The President: See, it is interesting to me — and I meant what I said,
if you send me your husband’s resume,
I’d be interested in finding out exactly what’s happening right
there, because the word we’re getting is that somebody in that
kind of high-tech field, that kind of engineer should be able
to find something right away.
And the H-1B should be reserved only for those companies who say
they cannot find somebody in that particular field.
So that wouldn’t necessarily apply if, in fact,
there are a lot of highly skilled American engineers in
So I’d be interested — I will follow up on this,
because I’m interested in finding out —
and maybe we can get some information as to why your
husband has been having trouble getting placed.
We want to encourage more American engineers to be placed,
and that’s part of the reason why it’s so important for us to
boost American manufacturing.
Jennifer Weddel: Well, I was going to say I appreciate your response,
Mr. President, and I’ll have to take you up on that.
The President: Thank you.
Steve Grove: Great.
Paras Patel from Detroit also submitted a question on
Paras Patel: I did.
So, Mr. President, I really appreciate how you saved the
I’m from Michigan and my dad works for GM.
So to see that — that was just great.
I think it was the right thing to do.
But what I’m really curious about now is how do we make sure
that the auto industry is competitive long term and not
just for the next couple of years?
Because we face competition from all these global competitors and
I’m just wondering what is our national strategy to make sure
that America is the best place to build, manufacture, engineer,
and sell a car?
The President: Well, the point about Detroit applies to all kinds of
And I tried to highlight this in the State of the Union.
I want us to be a country that is building and selling our
products all around the world, not just building our economy
based on debt and financial transactions.
And the auto industry is a good example of what’s possible.
We’ve started a restructuring where workers and management got
together and said how are we going to make sure that we’ve
got the most efficient operation possible,
started designing better products.
And one of the things that the U.S. auto industry has started
to do is to look at what are going to be the trends of
And one of the biggest trends is making sure that we’re creating
So we doubled fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks
for the first time in 30 years.
And Detroit is responding by building cars that are getting
better fuel efficiency.
But now the key is for us to make sure that we’re catching
that next wave of innovation.
So one of the reasons that we’ve made an investment in clean
energy, including the batteries, the high-tech batteries that go
into electric cars, is because our expectation is that that’s
going to be one of the places where there’s going to be a huge
surge in demand.
And I want to make sure those advanced batteries are made in
the United States and they go into cars made in the
So we’ve got to continually anticipate what is going to be
the demand not just here in the United States,
but also in other countries, at a time when we expect that oil
prices are going to continue to go up over the long term.
Steve Grove: Let’s go to another YouTube question, Mr. President.
This one is from Linda and she is in Portland, Oregon.
She has been part of the Occupy protests in Portland.
Linda: Mr. President, I voted for you.
I’m paying my taxes.
I’m unemployed five years now and I need help.
What am I going to do?
How will I recover from this?
Do you have a plan for me?
The President: Well, the most important thing I can do for folks who are out of
work right now is to grow the economy.
And the steps that we laid out in the State of the Union,
making sure that we’re providing strong incentives for companies
to invest here in the United States instead of building
plants overseas, which means that we change our tax code so
that we’re rewarding companies who are insourcing as opposed to
outsourcing — that’s key.
Making sure that we’re improving skills for all Americans by,
for example, matching up community colleges with
businesses, and designing programs that actually lead to a
job right here and right now.
There are models out there that work;
we’ve got to get more of those models spread out across
Making sure that we’ve got a American energy strategy that is
opening up expansion of oil and gas resources,
but also is focused on clean energy like solar and wind
And making sure that we’ve got a —
rules of the road that are working for everybody so that
our tax code is fair, everybody is doing their fair share,
that people aren’t exploiting loopholes,
that consumers aren’t being taken advantage of.
That’s the foundation for an economy that’s going to last
into the long term.
Obviously, for someone who’s been laid off and they’re 50 or
older, it’s a lot tougher.
But one of the folks that I highlighted at the State of the
Union was somebody who, in their 50s, had retrained,
going through this community college program,
and are now in a job that’s giving them a living wage and
the kind of benefits that give them some sense of security.
So it is possible.
But we’ve got to create more of those ladders of opportunity
Steve Grove: Let’s bring Ramon into this conversation, Mr. President.
He’s a small business owner in Montclair.
Ramon, let’s hear from you.
Ramon Ray: Thank you, Steven.
Again, thank you Mr. President.
It’s really a delight to talk to you today.
Mr. President, a few weeks ago, you took steps to consolidate
the various agencies and departments that were focused on
the business sector.
I work with a lot of small businesses, and I’m curious,
do you think that instead of helping —
which I’m sure it will do in part —
that this may dilute or diminish the government’s focus on small
businesses, especially if the SBA is no longer independent,
it’s consolidated with other organizations?
Will that diminish the focus that we, small businesses,
have to the federal government?
The President: The answer is no, Ramon, and here is why.
First of all, I elevated the SBA Administrator to a Cabinet-level
position so that they’re talking directly to me.
There’s nobody in between me and the SBA when they’re advocating
on behalf of small businesses.
Secondly, the big problem we have right now when it comes to
our various business programs is it’s really hard to navigate for
They may have to go to four different agencies,
or five different agencies, to figure out,
where do I get a loan, how do I export,
what kind of assistance and technical training can I obtain?
And our whole goal here is to set up a one-stop process for a
So a business goes on a website; instead of navigating 15
different agencies and 30 different programs,
I want them to be able to go to one place and be able to answer
all their questions.
That’s going to be especially important for small businesses
because they can’t afford to hire a bunch of accountants and
lobbyists and lawyers to try to work through a big bureaucracy.
They just want some simple answers.
If they need financing, how does the program work?
What do they do to apply?
Who do they talk to?
And that’s the kind of streamline process that we want
to set up, not just in the business sector,
but for all our various government programs.
Because right now, I’m a strong believer that SBA is a huge help
to small businesses all across the country.
But we’re also living in a time when our government has to be
more efficient, more lean, because we’ve got a lot of need
and we don’t have as many resources as we used to have in
terms of being able to advocate on behalf of small businesses.
So the leaner it is, the more efficient it is,
the better it’s going to be for those small businesses.
And I’ll still have a SBA Administrator in my Cabinet who
is advocating directly just for small businesses.
Ramon Ray: Great.
And can I just add to that, Mr. President,
that just my two cents to highlight that,
just to make sure the big businesses, you know,
who already have the resources, that they don’t crowd us out in
this — combined.
That we small businesses still have that kind of direct line as
you go forward.
That’s all I wanted to add.
The President: That’s a priority for us, because small businesses create
most of the new jobs.
And I don’t know if you noticed in the State of the Union,
we also talked about the importance of startups
And one of the things that we’re trying to get Congress to do is
to pass legislation — and there’s some bipartisan support
for this — that just makes it easier for startup companies to
obtain financing or to use R&D that’s already out there.
And that’s something that we’re going to continue to focus on
because if we can get more startups,
more entrepreneurs getting their ideas to market faster,
that’s going to help contribute to overall economic growth
and job growth.
Ramon Ray: Thank you.
Steve Grove: Let’s get Christine Wolf into the conversation here
Christine Wolf: Mr. President, prior to your taking office I was never
politically active, but since then it’s been obvious to me
that there is no dialogue out there to help our nation’s
children understand the economic situation that we
are faced with.
Children see and hear everything,
and they see and hear far more than we even realize.
They’re also exposed to words and phrases,
like “foreclosure” and “cutting back” and “crisis.”
I was raised in a generation in which discussions about
financial matters were either taboo or the messages
Oftentimes, wealth equaled success.
And I think we all know in this day and age that that’s just
simply not true.
What I’m asking is what you will do help create a new narrative
for the children of our nation to help them to understand,
and look ahead to life beyond this economic crisis
that we’re in.
The President: Well, first of all, obviously I’ve got two girls at home,
so I’m having to have conversations with them all the
time about what’s going on with the economy,
and over the dinner table I try to explain to them
I think that one of the most important things I can do as
President is just to remind this generation that previous
generations have had tougher times —
whether it’s my grandparents going through the Great Depression,
or some of the tough recessions that we went through in
We’ve always come out on top, as long as we work together to
solve some of these problems.
And I think it’s very important for all of us to remember that
whatever the challenges that are out there,
we can work through this.
We still have the best universities on Earth;
we still have the best entrepreneurial spirit;
some of the best businesspeople on Earth;
the best workers on Earth, the most productive.
And so we’re going to do fine if we make some good decisions.
And what I’m trying to do for kids and everybody else is to
remain hopeful about where we’re going.
This economy went through a real body blow, but it’s improved.
Now, more personally, one of the things that we want to do is to
actually increase financial literacy among kids so that they
have a better sense of making good choices.
And actually we have a whole panel that’s working with the
Department of Education and school districts so that some of
the concepts that we’re talking about don’t seem so foreign.
Because part of what’s important is empowering our kids to be
smart consumers of financial information,
so that when they’re going out and taking a student loan,
they have a sense — we call it “know before you owe.”
If they’re going out there to buy their first home,
we want them to be well equipped to make good decisions.
And not just judge themselves on, how much am I purchasing,
but judging themselves on, am I making good decisions that will
empower me so that I don’t get into a debt trap,
so that I’m not just being judged by how much I’m
consuming, but rather how much I’m producing and how much I’m
contributing to the overall society?
So that’s a conversation that, on the one hand,
we can have as a country as a whole, but each of us,
as parents, are also going to have to make sure that we’re
trying to instill those kinds of old-fashioned American values
into our kids.
Steve Grove: Mr. President, we’re going to move on to the topic of foreign
And to get us started, we’re going to go to a YouTube
question from Boston.
Let’s take a look.
Robert: My name is Robert Hairwald [phonetic].
I’m a homeless veteran, downtown Boston.
And my question for Mr. Obama is:
Why are we sending money to places like Pakistan and other
places that are known to give money to terrorism?
And I don’t understand that.
Why are we sending money to all that when we got guys out here,
hundreds are homeless?
Especially in D.C.
That’s, like, the biggest city with the most homeless,
I’m just wondering why we’re sending money over there.
The President: Well, first of all, my goal is to have no homeless veterans.
And part of what I want to see happen —
part of the reason why we’ve increased our VA budget every
year ever since I came into office —
one of our key goals is eliminate veterans homelessness.
And the other thing is making sure that when our guys come
back and our gals come back, that they’re getting the kind of
support and the training that they need to find a job in
They’re handling million-dollar pieces of equipment and leading
their colleagues into incredibly dangerous situations;
they can make a huge contribution in terms of
And we’ve got to make sure that we’re putting in place
programs for them.
With respect to the general question of foreign aid —
because even in your teaser there was a young woman who
asked about that — it’s important for folks to
understand, we only spend about 1% of our budget on foreign aid.
But it pays off in a lot of ways,
because if we are contributing to an improving economy in a
country, if we’re giving people more opportunity,
if we’re preventing a famine that results in huge numbers of
refugees, that potentially saves us from having to deal with some
military crisis somewhere down the road that could be even
So aside from it being the right thing to do,
as a very wealthy country, us trying to help develop other
countries, it’s also important to make sure that people
understand this is part of our overall security strategy.
I do agree that a country like Pakistan is one where our
relations have gotten more strained because there are a lot
of extremists inside that country and,
either for lack of capacity or political will,
they haven’t taken them all on.
In some cases, they’ve been very cooperative with us;
in other cases, not as much as we want.
So we’re always trying to find the right balance,
making sure that if we’re providing them with aid,
they’re also providing us with assistance in terms of making
our people safer.
And there are times where they disappoint us in terms of
But we’re going to keep on trying to engage as many
countries as possible, mainly because it’s good for our
Steve Grove: Let’s hear from hangout for a second.
I’d be curious if anyone here in the hangout —
raise your hand if you think we still spend too much money on
Jennifer, let’s hear from you.
What did you think of the President’s response to
Jennifer Weddel: I mean, I understand what you’re trying to do.
And I agree — I don’t think we should not help.
But I guess when you see the number of people who don’t have
jobs, and you have a college-educated husband,
I mean, how are you supposed to tell your children — I just —
when you see the hurting and you see the homeless,
it’s just I guess hard for Americans in the middle class to
grasp why we do give as much as we do.
The President: Yes.
I understand sort of the source of frustration.
But I think it’s important to remember, Jennifer,
like I said — we spend 1 percent of our total budget on
Some folks think it’s like 25 percent.
I mean, it’s a very small portion.
And most of the foreign aid we provide is to countries that are
also helping us with our national security.
And so oftentimes, when we’re providing that aid for a
country, we may be saving a larger amount in terms of what
we would have to deal with if they weren’t
cooperating with us.
So that’s part of the reason why I always emphasize our defense
budget and our foreign aid budget should be seen as an
overall package, an overall strategy to keep America safe.
Because what we don’t want to do is have a situation where
certain countries completely collapse,
and then the next thing you know,
we’re having to send our guys in there at huge potential risk and
huge cost to taxpayers instead.
But it also means when we’re providing aid that these
countries need to help themselves.
And instead of just giving charity,
one of the things we’re trying to do is to help them develop so
hopefully at some point they become consumers of our goods
and services, and we can sell stuff into those countries,
and it helps grow the overall pie and helps create a situation
where American businesses are doing better as well.
Steve Grove: Let’s go back to YouTube, Mr. President,
on an issue that’s been on the front page of The New York
The question comes from Evan in Brooklyn, New York.
Evan: Mr. President, since you took office,
you’ve ordered more drone attacks in your first year than
your predecessor did in his entire term.
These drone attacks cause a lot of civilian casualties.
I’m curious to know how you feel they help the nation and whether
you think they’re worth it.
The President: Steve, I can’t hear you right now.
Steve Grove: Oh, I’m sorry.
The President: There you go.
Steve Grove: I wanted to explain the reference to The New York Times,
just because the story today focused on the use of drones in
The President: Well, that story I think was a little overwritten.
The truth of the matter is we’re not engaging in a bunch of drone
attacks inside of Iraq.
There’s some surveillance to make sure that our embassy
compound is protected.
As a general proposition, the question that was posed,
I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have
not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.
For the most part, they have been very precise precision
strikes against al Qaeda and their affiliates.
And we are very careful in terms of how it’s been applied.
So I think that there’s this perception somehow that we’re
just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly.
This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a
list of active terrorists who are trying to go in and harm
Americans, hit American facilities, American bases,
and so on.
It is important for everybody to understand that this thing is
kept on a very tight leash.
It’s not a bunch of folks in a room somewhere just
And it is also part and parcel of our overall authority when it
comes to battling al Qaeda.
It is not something that’s being used beyond that.
Steve Grove: Got it.
Paras Patel: Mr. President, do you think that possibly these drone strikes,
do they send the message that the U.S. is interfering in other
Because I feel like regardless of how much we do,
people in other countries might perceive that we’re interfering,
and that might not be good for us.
Is there a way that we’re combating that?
The President: Well, I think that we have to be judicious in how we use drones.
But understand that probably our ability to respect the
sovereignty of other countries and to limit our incursions into
somebody else’s territory is enhanced by the fact that we are
able to pinpoint-strike an al Qaeda operative in a place where
the capacities of that military in that country may not be able
to get them.
So obviously a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA,
and going after al Qaeda suspects who are up in very
tough terrain along the border between Afghanistan
For us to be able to get them in another way would involve
probably a lot more intrusive military actions than the one
that we’re already engaging in.
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be careful about how
we proceed on this.
And obviously I’m looking forward to a time where al Qaeda
is no longer an operative network and we can refocus a lot
of our assets and attention on other issues.
But this is something that we’re still having to deal with.
There are still active plots that are directed against the
And I think we are on the offense now;
al Qaeda has been really weakened.
But we’ve still got a little more work to do,
and we’ve got to make sure that we’re using all our capacities
in order to deal with it.
Steve Grove: Mr. President, I want to change gears for a second and move on
to the topic of education.
And I think there’s no better place to start this conversation
than with Adam and his classmates out in Fremont.
Adam, let’s hear it from you.
Adam Clark: Hi, Mr. President.
Once again, this is an honor to be a part of this,
so thank you for taking time out.
My question is: At a time when Americans are struggling to pay
for daily necessities, you’ve continued to push higher
education for all Americans.
But what is your plan to help students pay off all their
The President: Well, first of all, when I say “a college education,”
I think what people should be clear about is I’m really
talking about higher education — education beyond high school.
It doesn’t mean that everybody needs a four-year
It may be that somebody has incredible aptitude with
computer graphics, and they want to be a computer designer,
and they may just need a couple of years at a community college
to get those skills before they’re immediately on the job.
It may be somebody has mechanical aptitude,
and they want to become a skilled toolmaker,
and they can get a training program in a year or two that
allows them to work with high-tech equipment in
But the point is that it’s very hard for somebody who just has a
high school education to be able to get a well-paying job that
allows you to support a family.
And I want to encourage everybody to have access to that
higher education, whether it’s at a community college or a
four-year college or beyond.
Now, what we’ve tried to do is to make college more affordable
without putting more of a burden on taxpayers.
One of the biggest things we did last year was to sign into law a
bill that took away $60 billion in subsidies that were going to
banks, because they were the middleman on the student
We said, let’s give the loans directly to students;
we can take that — those billions of dollars and we can
provide more assistance to students directly.
And that’s helped a lot of students.
We’ve also got, coming up, a concern of mine —
if Congress doesn’t act, then the interest rates on student
loans are going to go up this summer.
And so I’ve urged Congress at the State of the Union to do
something about that right away, as well as extend existing tax
credits that help families.
But the final thing that I’ve been trying to encourage is for
colleges and universities to think more about how to make
higher education affordable.
Some of this is not the faults of colleges and universities.
When it comes to state college and universities,
they’ve been getting less support from the states,
and so I urged state legislatures to do their job and
prioritize higher education more in their budgets.
But every college and university can also think about are there
additional ways that they can hold down costs.
And what we’re going to start doing is incentivizing,
providing additional dollars to those schools that have come up
with creative ways to keep costs down.
Some schools, for example, are saying you can get a degree
in three years.
Well, that saves you’re a year’s worth of tuition,
but you get the same skills base that allows you to go out
there and work.
There may be better ways to use technology.
I mean, you look at what we’re doing today —
this is something where potentially a lot of folks can
take classes without ever actually being in a classroom
and having all the cost of room and board.
So there may be ways that we can reduce costs.
I want to encourage those.
But I want all of you guys to understand,
you can’t stop at high school.
First of all, you’ve got to graduate and then you guys are
going to have to do some more stuff because we’re going
to need you.
Steve Grove: Adam, what did you think of —
Adam Clark: Well, I would just like to know what advice would you give to a
person like me that does come from a middle-class family and
we would struggle to make ends meet and possibly not being to
find a job after receiving this higher education —
what advice would you have as far as wanting to still pursue a
higher education with the fear of not being able to pay off
those student loans?
The President: Well, first of all, you’re going to be able to afford college.
You will probably take on some debt.
Michelle and I took on debt when we graduated from college
and law school.
We were able to pay it off.
It is important, though — and I wish that it wasn’t the case
where you could just go to college and have fun for four
years, and then after that kind of make up your mind what you
want to do.
I think young people probably have a little more
responsibility now to think ahead to make sure that when you
make that investment it’s actually in pursuing a career
where you can have some confidence that you’re going to
be able to find a job down the road.
And I think that sometimes young people going to school,
and it’s four years of having fun,
and then sort of their senior year that start thinking, oh,
I better start thinking about what I’m going to do for the
rest of my life.
College is a big enough investment now where you’ve got
to kind of think ahead, and your counselors and other adults can
potentially help you to identify what are going to be some of the
growth areas of the future so that you make a good investment.
Adam Clark: Mr. President, I agree with you.
I’m sure there are some kinds that do go to school three
years, and the fourth year they’re like, oh my goodness,
what am I going to do?
But really, I don’t believe that’s a lot of kids.
A lot of high school kids, college kids have seen their
parents get laid off and no money.
And because of the downturn of the economy,
a lot of kids — high school kids, college kids, or even,
mainly, high school kids like we’re talking today —
they worry about even entering college because they don’t want
to have that debt.
They don’t — they see their father not even able to
have a job.
I mean, I can understand that valid fear.
I’m sure, though, there are kids that do go to school and they
kind of goof off, and then they’re like, oh, my goodness,
what am I going to do?
But for the most part, I believe that our kids are just seeing
what is happening with the economy and it’s affecting them.
The President: Well, Jennifer, you’re absolutely right that obviously
the last three years has been tough,
especially for young people getting out of college and
starting their careers.
On the other hand, here’s what’s really important to know —
and we as parents have to communicate this to our kids —
the unemployment rate for folks who only have a high school
diploma is multiple times higher than for folks who’ve got a
So even in this economic downturn,
even as tough as things have been,
the odds that you are going to do much,
much better over your lifetime, over your career,
in terms of lifetime earnings, being able to find a job,
not being at as high a risk of unemployment,
is much better if you’ve gotten a higher education degree.
So you’re right that when times are tough,
obviously people are a lot more concerned about taking on debt.
And I think it’s good that a lot of young people are trying to
stay focused and saying, all right,
before I make this investment, what is it that I’m going to get
out of it.
But it’s important to remember that that investment is still
the best thing that young people can do —
although not everybody needs a four-year degree.
And one of the things we’ve got to do more of is to try to link
up high school students who may have, as I said,
the capacity to become a really skilled worker but they don’t
necessarily need a B.A. in order to do it,
and they may end up saving money going and getting a two-year
degree as opposed to a four-year degree.
So it’s going to vary by people.
Steve Grove: Mr. President, I want to take some time — sorry,
short follow — I want to make sure we have some time for a few
more Internet questions.
But a quick follow?
Ramon Ray: Yes, I was just going to share with you my story,
Personally, just I think that the thing is that parents can
also plan far more in advance.
I know in my case my son just got a full scholarship to a
college on the East Coast, but we worked hard for that.
We planned, we saved years in advance;
we tried to encourage him to be smart enough to get that
We’re also middle class.
I don’t have a lot of money.
However, we’ve worked hard as a family to help nurture that
soil, as it were, so when he’s 17, when he graduates,
thankfully, he’s in play now that we don’t have to
have any debt.
So everybody can’t do that, but I just wanted to share that
personal story of advanced preparation for families as
well, if that helps someone.
The President: Well, the point is it’s still a good investment, Jennifer,
but you’re absolutely right that —
any time that we go through the kind of economic crisis we went
through in 2008-2009, that’s going to affect the psyches of a
lot of young people.
And that’s why we have to make sure that they’re thinking not
just what’s happening over the next year or two,
but as the economy grows stronger,
reminding them that when those jobs come back — for example,
when I talked to a group of CEOs who are bringing manufacturing
jobs back here to the United States —
I want all those young people to be ready and able to start
hiring — or getting hired right away,
because they’ve got the skill sets that are going to be needed
for them to be able to succeed.
Steve Grove: Mr. President, I want to make sure we make some time for
questions that you actually didn’t address in your State of
the Union speech but that a lot of the Internet community
The first one is on the topic of the Stop Online Piracy Act,
A lot of Internet companies, including Google,
have spoken out against this, but a lot of activity on YouTube
on this question.
And let’s watch this video from Benjamin Yager [phonetic],
in Jacksonville, Florida.
Benjamin: Hello, Mr. President.
My name is Benjamin Yager.
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen some bills come up
regarding Internet piracy, most notably SOPA and PIPA.
My question for you is, how do you intend to combat Internet
piracy while at the same time maintaining the flow of free
speech on the Internet?
And where do you draw the line between legitimate attempts to
combat Internet piracy and putting too much censorship on
The President: Well, I think Benjamin framed the question right.
And one of the things that we’re doing is using the laws we have
to enforce and make sure that intellectual property
So we just had — the Justice Department just announced one of
the biggest indictments, in cooperation with a range of
other countries, around Internet piracy internationally.
But I think that it’s going to be possible for us to make sure
that we’re protecting intellectual property that
creates a lot of jobs in this country —
it’s one of the United States’ biggest exports,
is all our knowledge-based products —
but also do it in a way where it’s not affecting the
fundamental integrity of the Internet as an open,
And what I’ve suggested is that both sides — the content side,
the server side — they need to come together and work with us
to create a system in which we’ve got strong protections in
place, but the basic architecture that’s made the
Internet so powerful and such a open system ends up being
preserved, and I think we can do that.
Steve Grove: Mr. President, a lot of people are probably wondering what was the number-one-voted question of all the 135,000 or so questions that were submitted — what was number one? And it was actually a text question — I’m going to read it to you now. It comes from Michael Mozart in Connecticut, and he writes: “Why are you personally supporting the extradition of British citizen Richard O’Dwyer for solely linking to copyright-infringing works, using an extradition treaty designed to combat terrorism and bring terrorists to judgment in the U.S.?” And for those of you who don’t know who Richard O’Dwyer is, he’s a British student. The Justice Department is apparently seeking to extradite him to the U.S. for copyright infringement.
The President: First of all, Steve, I’m not personally doing anything because —
Steve Grove: I’m reading exactly what he wrote.
The President: No, but I want to make sure everybody understands, one of the ways our system works is that the President doesn’t get involved with prosecution decisions or extradition decisions. And this has been a decision by the Justice Department. What I can say broadly is that we want to make sure that intellectual property is protected. We want to make sure that the creative works of people in this country aren’t expropriated, but we want to do it in a way that’s consistent with Internet freedom. And we’re just going to keep on working on it. When SOPA came up on the Hill, we expressed some concerns about the way that the legislation had been written, told folks let’s go back to the table and let’s try to figure something out that works for everybody.
Steve Grove: Mr. President, our final YouTube question today comes from a YouTube celebrity, actually, and I think he’s someone that you’re going to recognize. Let’s take a look.
Iman Crosson: Dear Mr. President, it’s me, your premier President Barack Obama impressionist of the United States of America. And let me be clear: Do you believe that comedy, such as my videos, or SNL, et cetera, can influence the outcome of an election? Thank you. God bless you. I’m not actually you. However, I do endorse this question. (phone rings) Oh, I got to get that. See you later. (laughter)
The President: Well, first of all, the only problem with that guy is he doesn’t have any gray hair. (laughter) And so he needs to update his act a little bit. But one of the great things — it’s interesting, I was with some ambassadors from some other countries today. We host a reception here at the White House for all the ambassadors. And they remarked that one of the things that makes America special is, in most countries you don’t have the sort of comedy and satire about people in power that we do here. And so I don’t know if any of this stuff affects an election, but I know that it makes our country stronger that you can make fun of the President or anybody, and everybody can get a laugh. And that also makes sure to remind me that I work for you guys. And that’s part also of the kinds of interactions that we’re having today. That makes our country stronger. It gives me ideas. It allows me to come away and say, you know what, let’s follow up on this or let’s follow up on that issue, whether it’s coming from a high school class, or whether it’s coming from the spouse of somebody who’s unemployed. It really, I think, speaks to the strength of our democracy. And that kind of participation is something that I want to just keep on encouraging.
Steve Grove: We’re almost out of time, Mr. President.
Jennifer Weddel: Mr. President —
Steve Grove: Actually, Jennifer, we’re almost out of time. I know the President’s time is precious. I do want to make sure that everyone gets a chance, though, to ask a quick personal question before we leave. And, Jennifer, let’s start with you.
Jennifer Weddel: Okay, you just spoke of laughs. I was wondering if you could stand up and give us a little jig real quick.
The President: Oh, no dancing. (laughter) I sing once in a while, but Michelle —
Jennifer Weddel: Oh, could you sing for us?
The President: — Michelle always makes fun of my dancing.
Jennifer Weddel: Okay, well, then sing for us.
The President: And she teases me relentlessly because she’s sure she’s the superior dancer. So what can I do? But in some future Google+, I may sing another tune.
Jennifer Weddel: Thank you.
Steve Grove: Let’s go to Paras. Source: LYBIO.net
Paras Patel: So, Mr. President, in 10 years when I finish all of my medical school residency training and everything, can I be your doctor? Would that be cool? (laughter)
The President: Well, I tell you what, I’ve got a terrific doctor. He’s in the military, though, so you’re going to have to sign up to serve to be the President’s doctor. But presumably, by that time, I won’t be President anymore. So I’ll see. If we’re living in the same city, you look like you might know what you’re doing.
Steve Grove: Okay. (laughter) Ramon?
Ramon Ray: Hey, Mr. President. Before I get to my question, if you’re ever looking for a technology expert in small business, please feel free to ask for me. I’d love to stop by the White House and help you. My question, Mr. President — if you ever want Doritos or Snickers or Coke late at night, you can’t walk outside and get it. How do you feel about that, that you can’t just walk out the White House door on your own? How do you feel?
The President: You know, it’s actually the toughest thing about being President. Look, this is the greatest job on Earth and it’s such an honor to serve. But it is true, sometimes you get a little stir crazy because, if I decide I just want to go to the corner store, I’ve got to alert Secret Service, and the ambulance has to get in place, and if we’re crossing a bridge suddenly there’s got to be some boats in the water, and — (laughter) — so at a certain point, you just say, you know what, forget it. So one of the things I look forward to after I’ve had this extraordinary honor of serving is just going out and taking a walk, or waking up on Saturday morning, not shaving, and just going to the local Starbucks and not having to worry about it.
Ramon Ray: Thank you.
Steve Grove: Adam, let’s hear from you in Fremont.
Adam Clark: So my school, Mr. President, is the smallest school in our area, and we’re often forgotten about and talked down upon — upon the public eye. What would you say about possibly coming to visit my school, playing a little bit of tennis with me?
The President: Well, I tell you what, I know you can beat me at tennis. So if you wanted to just humiliate me on the court, I’d give you the opportunity if I’m in town. But you may be the smallest school. I don’t know how many other schools have the President talking to their student body, though. So we — I think you’ve got a little claim to fame now. You can go ahead and pump your chest out there after we sign off. (laughter)
Adam Clark: All right; thank you, Mr. President.
The President: You bet.
Steve Grove: Christine, let’s hear from you.
Christine Wolf: Mr. President, I hear that you and the First Lady, just like my husband and I, are celebrating your 20th wedding anniversary sometime —
The President: This year.
Christine Wolf: This year? Congratulations.
The President: Thank you.
Christine Wolf: I am just wondering if you can talk about what you’re doing to celebrate, or what you intend to do, or if you’ve already — have you already had the anniversary?
The President: No. You know, the anniversary — our anniversary is on October 3. Sadly, it’s a month before the election. (laughter) So I don’t know how romantic a weekend we’re actually going to get. We may have to defer the full celebration until later in November.
Christine Wolf: That’s understandable.
The President: But I tell you what, without being corny — I’m sure your husband feels the same way — the fact that you guys put up with us for 20 years is pretty remarkable and I’m grateful for it every day.
Christine Wolf: I hope my husband is watching right now. (laughter) Mr. President, if it’s all right with you, may I just introduce you to my children who are sitting just off camera?
The President: Yes, let me see them.
Christine Wolf: Come on over, guys, just put your faces right over here. Quickl, quickly. Just come on over.
The President: Hey guys! (laughter) Hey!
Christine Wolf: Say hi.
The President: How’s it going?
Christine Wolf: What do you say?
The President: You doing all right?
Christine Wolf: I think they’re speechless.
The President: Make sure to study hard in school and do what your mom tells you. (laughter)
Christine Wolf: Study hard in school and do what I tell you, is what he said. (laughter) Thank you.
The President: You bet.
Steve Grove: All right, Mr. President. We want to thank you again, on behalf of the quarter of a million people on YouTube and all of us here in the hangout, of course. We really, really appreciate you taking the time for us and we look forward to seeing you again on Google+ real soon.
The President: Steve, this was great. I really enjoyed it. Thanks everybody.
Speakers: Thank you.
The President: Jennifer, remember to send me that information.
Jennifer Weddel: I sure will.
The President: Okay.
Jennifer Weddel: Thank you — I wrote a book!
The President: Thanks. Send me a copy.
Jennifer Weddel: Okay!
The President: See you guys.
Barack Obama – Your Interview With The President – 2012. Steve Grove: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the first ever presidential Google+ hangout live on YouTube. Complete Full Script, Dialogue, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.