I've noticed a lot of people have interpreted Obama's remarks on Jon Stewart's rally to restore sanity through their own filter--left and right--but here is the context:
And there are folks on the left who do the same thing, trying to be purposely provocative, saying the meanest, nastiest things you can say about the other side. They get rewarded in the way our media is set up right now.
So part of the challenge is figuring out how to create a space for people saying we’re all Americans and we’re just going to try to solve our problems, and we’re going to have some differences, because some of these issues are hard -- is there a way where those voices get heard, because right now they’re not really getting heard.
I was amused -- Jon Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show,” apparently he is going to host a rally called something like Americans in Favor of a Return to Sanity or something like that. And his point was, you know, 70 percent of the people, it doesn’t matter what their political affiliation are, 70 percent of the folks are just like you, which is they’re going about their business, they’re working hard every day, they’re looking after their families. They don’t go around calling people names. They don’t make stuff up. They may not be following every single issue, because they just don’t have time. But they are just expecting some common sense and some courtesy in how people interact. And having those voices lifted up is really important. So hopefully, since they’ve got a whole bunch of cameras here, somebody was just listening to you.
Here's the full transcript:
Remarks by the President in a Discussion on the Economy in Richmond, Virginia
Southampton Recreation Association, Richmond, Virginia
4:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, everybody have a seat, have a seat. I just want to -- first of all, I want to thank Matt and Stephanie for making their backyard available until it got really wet, and Matthew and Lucy, who are our official hosts today. And I’m so appreciative of them.
I want to acknowledge our mayor, Dwight Jones. Thank you so much for being here. And of course, I’ve got to say thanks again to Ms. Shelton for being here. We are graced by your presence.
This is really a casual setting, so I hope that we just open it up for a good conversation about where the country is at, where it’s going, how folks are feeling down here in Richmond. I want to hear from you at least as much as you’re hearing from me.
I find this really useful to me because when you’re in Washington all the time and you’re in these battles, sometimes you’re in what’s called the bubble. And I’m always trying to do what I can to break out of it and be able to get back with folks and have a conversation.
What I want to do is -- what I want to do is just speak briefly about what’s going on in the economy, and then just open it up.
Obviously we’re going through a tough time. And these last two years have been as tough as any that we’ve seen in most of our lifetimes, except for Ms. Shelton. (Laughter.) Because the truth is, is that the financial crisis that we experienced was the worst since the Great Depression. We lost about 4 million jobs in the six months before I was sworn into office. We lost 750,000 jobs the month I was sworn into office; 600,000 jobs the two months after I was sworn in. So before any of my economic policies were put into place, we had already lost most of the 8 million jobs that we ended up losing in this recession.
And my first job was to make sure that the banking system did not completely collapse, and to make sure that we didn’t dip into a second depression. And we’ve done that. The economy that was contracting is now growing. We’ve had eight straight months of private sector job growth. So we’re making some progress.
But the truth is, is that people were having a tough time even before the crisis hit. We had gone -- from 2001 to 2009, there was a period in which the average middle-class family lost 5 percent of their income -- 5 percent of their wages -- during that period. At the same time, the costs for health care and college tuitions were skyrocketing. It was the slowest period of job growth since World War II, from 2001 to 2000. Read the rest