“Over the last five years, thanks to the leadership of Nancy (Pelosi) and Harry (Reid) and legislators who are here, we have accomplished as much, if not more, than any time in our history,” Obama said.
The president then listed among the accomplishments of his administration:”saving an economy from a Great Depression; revitalizing an auto industry that is producing better cars and has come roaring back like nobody believed; doubling our exports; drastically reducing our dependence on foreign oil; doubling fuel efficiency standards; doubling our production of clean energy; reducing the pace of our carbon emissions; ending the war in Iraq; about to end the war in Afghanistan; re-centering our fight against terrorism in a way that respects our values and our ideals; expanding access to college for children all across this country; ending “don’t ask, don’t tell”; making sure that we are vindicating the notion that everybody should have a fair shot regardless of their sexual orientation, as well as their race and their gender; pushing for equal pay for women; reinstituting research for stem cells.”
Notice that Obamacare, the president’s signature achievement, was not mentioned at the top of the list. But Obama did get around to it in the next paragraph, as follows, saying he’s “as proud as he’s ever been” of the law that informally bears his name:
“Across the board, we’ve made changes that will be lasting, some of which aren’t noticed, don’t get a lot of headlines, but make a meaningful difference in people’s lives every single day. But I will tell you, of all those things, I am as proud as I’ve ever been by the work we did to make sure that in this country, if you get sick you don’t go bankrupt and that you can get the health care that you need.
“And I think it’s fair to say I’m not happy about the fact that we didn’t have a website that worked on the day it was supposed to work — although it’s actually starting to work pretty well now and it’s going to be working even better in the coming weeks.”
The president said Obamacare is making an “immeasurable” different in people’s lives:
“And the reason I wanted to make that point is that so much of what we do is measured through the prism of politics, and on any given day the notion is that who is up and who is down and what’s on cable television should drive and determine our sense of direction and sometimes even our sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. But when you meet a family who tells you that their kid is alive today because they got an early diagnosis because they could finally go to a doctor where they couldn’t before — I don’t need a poll to tell me that’s the right thing to do. I don’t need a headline to tell me that that vindicates a core value that I believe in and that we, as Americans, should believe in. That’s a fight worth fighting. I’m proud that we fought it. And we’re going to keep on fighting it.”
Obama also touted his foreign policy achievements, saying there was a “lot of bluster” about Iran when he came into office — “but what was needed was a plan.”
He gave himself credit for imposing tough sanctions on Iran: “And as a consequence of the strength of those sanctions and the painstaking diplomacy that we engaged in, Iran ultimately came to the table and said, we are prepared in a serious way to negotiate around our nuclear program — for the first time in over a decade.”
He said the negotiations led to the “first halt in the Iranian nuclear program in a decade,” and he called it “the right thing to do” for the U.S. “It’s good for Israel,” he added, although Israel certainly doesn’t see it that way.
Obama said he will do all in his power to “try to resolve these issue without resorting to military conflict.”