THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Thank you. Everybody have a seat, if you’ve got a chair. (Laughter.) Well, thank you so much. Thank you, everybody. It’s great to see you. (Applause.) It’s good to be back in Racine! (Applause.) It is great to be back in this hall -- because I don't know if there was anybody here who, when I was running for President came -- (applause) -- we did a rally in this hall. That's like -- is that three years ago? (Laughter.) I did not have as much gray hair back then. (Laughter.) That I'm certain of. Jim Doyle still had hair on his head. (Laughter.) That's true.
I want to make some acknowledgements. First of all, you’ve got one of the best governors in the country and one of the most wonderful first ladies -- (applause) -- Jim Doyle and Jessica Doyle are here. (Applause.)
I want to acknowledge your outstanding and dynamic young mayor -- John Dickert is here. (Applause.) You know, I try not to meddle in local politics, but you’ve got a Milwaukee mayor who might make a really good governor -- Tom Barrett is here. (Applause.) State Treasury Dawn Marie Sass is here. (Applause.) And State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers is here. (Applause.)
I also want to thank Bishop Darrell Hines for doing the invocation -- (applause) -- Justine Boerger for doing the Pledge -- (applause) -- and Staff Sergeant Emily Russell, who is with the Wisconsin National Guard and sang our National Anthem. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you.
So it is great to be back in the Midwest -- even if it’s just for a day -- especially on a day like today. I was trying to tell somebody that weather in the Midwest is always like this. (Laughter.) You know, lakes all calm and blue -- they didn’t believe me. But it’s wonderful to be here, and it’s just nice to get out of Washington. I love Washington, but I have to tell you, it’s good to escape the heat and hot air. (Laughter and applause.)
So I stopped off on the way here to get a Kringle. (Applause.) Which was nice. Maybe on the way back I'll look for a brat and some cheese curds. (Laughter.) But don’t tell Michelle. (Laughter.)
What I really wanted to do was have a chance to talk to all of you and listen to you about what’s on your minds. So this is going to be a town hall meeting. But I want to make some remarks at the top, if you don’t mind.
I know that towns like Racine are still hurting from this recession. This city has the second-highest unemployment rate in the state, and I can only imagine how much pain that’s caused and how many lives have been upended. And you got, as I said, a dynamic young mayor who’s thinking day in, day out, about how to put people back to work, and the city has been cooperating with the state and federal programs to figure out how we can start incubating a bunch of growth here, but it’s still tough.
And some of you may be out of work, and you’re tired of sending out resumes and not getting a response. Maybe you’ve got a job, but the bills seem to be stacking up faster than your pay is. Maybe you’ve looked through the family budget and you’ve got no idea how you’re going to save for your retirement or send your kid to college. Or maybe you’re a young person who’s just about to get out of school and you’re wondering what your job prospects are going to be. Read the rest