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TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S BROADCAST ON 10 MARCH 2000 I make no apologies for returning to the subject of drugs so soon. As I said three weeks ago, the threat drugs pose to our children is something which terrifies all parents. Some of you may have seen the TV programme on Wednesday night about the death of Leah Betts after taking ecstasy. Not long ago, I sat down - with Mo Mowlam and Keith Hellawell, whos the UKs anti-drugs co-ordinator and I listened to Leahs parents talk about their grief and their anger and most of all their crusade for the future against drugs. Their tragedy was every parents nightmare. And what was chilling as you listened to them was that you realised it could happen to anyones daughter, to anyones son. Its why Im determined that, as a country, we will do everything we can to tackle the menace of drugs. But theres no point pretending we can do it alone. Those behind this evil trade dont recognise national borders. The drugs that cause the most damage to our young people and to our society are not grown here. Theyre often not refined here. And the main supply routes, as you know, are usually controlled by criminal gangs based a long way from our shores. Hard drugs sold on the streets of London or Glasgow can be grown in Afghanistan or Columbia and make a fortune for criminals based anywhere in the world. So if we are serious about stopping the drugs trade we have to think and act internationally. Because unless we do, we will simply fail. Of course, its up to us as countries to draw up our own policies and plans to tackle drugs. And the weapons we use wont always be the same in the fight against drugs. Keith Hellawell is driving forward new policies and new approaches to tackling drugs here. Policies which are aly making a difference. And I was in Scotland yesterday to look at the Drug Enforcement Agency - set up as one of the first priorities of the new Scottish Parliament. Its an exciting initiative intended to co-ordinate action against drugs north of the border and one we will be watching closely. But whether we do things slightly differently in Scotland to England, or in the UK to the rest of the Europe, or indeed in Europe to the rest of the world, the real lesson for all of us is that we can only win this war against drugs together. There is a great deal of good work aly going on internationally particularly in Europe - between Governments, police forces and other anti-drug agencies such as customs. But if we needed any reminder that more must be done, we only have to look at the amount of drugs still being peddled on our streets, the number of addicts and the amount of crime fuelled by drugs. So we want to press European Union leaders to give an even higher priority to this battle. There must be rapid progress, for instance, on agreeing minimum penalties throughout the European Union for those caught trafficking in drugs like cocaine and heroin. Dealers must know they will face severe penalties wherever they are caught. I also want us to work harder in Europe to learn from each other. We all share drug problems. We must also share the successful methods we have found to counter them. And I want to see common targets so we can measure the success of our anti-drug action plans. By enabling us to compare our performance nationally, it will highlight the weaknesses so that we can put them right. But we have also got to reach out beyond the existing European Union members to countries like Poland and Hungary - helping those countries that want to join us. We are aly helping them economically to prepare for European Union membership. But we must also help them in the fight against international crime and drugs. Not just for their own sakes now but for the future of an enlarged European Union. Britain will be setting a lead by expanding our own anti-drugs programmes with these countries. Increasing the assistance, for instance, we aly give in training police and customs officers. Providing the extra resources they need from sniffer dogs to computer software to spot money laundering. So we are going to set a lead internationally. Keith Hellawell is doing this with INTERPOL and the ed Nations. But we are also going to do more at home. In the next few days, we will be unveiling the new Criminal Justice Bill. This will give police new powers to help break the link between drugs and crime. For the first time, they will be able to test for drugs suspects they have arrested for a whole range of offences. Its a controversial move but one that I am convinced is right. Because I know you expect us to do all we can to combat the threat drugs pose to our families, our communities and our country. And thats what we will continue to do, whether at home or abroad. 200705/13282President Bush Meets with President Talabani of IraqPRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, welcome. First of all, I am so pleased to see that you're looking good. The President's health is strong, and that's going to be very important for the people of Iraq. After all, there's been no stronger defender of a free Iraq than President Talabani. I've known him for a long time. He cares deeply about the Iraqi people, and he has been a strong defender of human liberty.Mr. President, thanks for the good conversation we had about the election laws, about the need to get a strategic framework agreement signed. And thank you very much for bringing me up to date on your perspective about life inside of Iraq. It's -- things have changed a lot since we've known each other.PRESIDENT TALABANI: Of course.PRESIDENT BUSH: And attitudes are completely different now that people realize the security situation has changed and mothers can raise their children in a more normal life. It's still difficult, but there's no doubt that the surge has been effective, which has enabled us to take out troops. Iraqis want there to be fewer U.S. troops, the ed States wants there to be fewer U.S. troops, but both of us want to realize that vision based upon success.And so, Mr. President, welcome back. I'm glad you're feeling good. And thank you for the visit.PRESIDENT TALABANI: Well, Mr. President, thank you very much for giving me the honor of meeting you again. I think it's clear that we are in Iraq looking to you as a hero of liberation of Iraq from worst kind of dictatorship. And now we are working with your -- with you, Mr. President, for finalizing the strategic framework agreement between ed States and Iraq.And also, we are always getting benefit from your views about how to secure Iraq. I think you know very well that you and we in Iraq achieved very good successes on terrorism. Now I can say all parts of Iraq liberated from terrorist control and activities. It's true that some groups remain hiding themselves from here or there, but there's no place, no inch of Iraqi land under the control of terrorist activities. There are some terrorist -- still groups working -- hiding themself, and thanks to you and sacrifice of your brave army and to Iraqi people, now we can live in peace and security.And Iraq government started to spend the money which we have for serving the Iraqi people and rebuilding the country, reconstructing the country. Not only we liberated our country from terrorist activities, but also from militias, outlawed militias who are also making troubles and danger for Iraqi people.And as you have heard, the Basra city, Sadr City, (inaudible), Ninawa, Baqubah -- all these cities are now liberated. So we are thankful to you and to your people, your army. We hope that the agreement about this strategy formation will be signed soon.And as usual, we are working, our parliament is working now for finalizing the draft of a new law for election provinces, and I hope that, as I heard the news yesterday, I hope that today it will be finalized, because the groups -- head of groups of parliament are now gathering in parliament to reach -- to finalize this.In our country, we are now busy to reconstruct our country and to rebuild our country. And I am glad to tell you, Mr. President, that our position with our neighbors is improved very well -- with Turkey, with Syria, with Iran, with the Arab countries. The relation is notable now and we have no problem with any of these countries. In contrary, many, many new ambassadors are coming --PRESIDENT BUSH: That's right.PRESIDENT TALABANI: -- to our country from Arab countries. And our visit of Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Tayyip Recep Erdogan, and of the -- His Majesty, the King of Jordan, to Baghdad were very successful, and was encouraging to Iraqi people to understand that they have friends outside Iraq.So I hope that friendship and relation between your great people and the Iraqi people will continue and will be strengthened. And we will never forget what you have done for our people.PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, President.200809/48170

点击此处看视频201109/152489On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes, our sense of patriotism is particularly strong. Because while we gather here under open skies, we know that far beyond the Organ Mountains – in the streets of Baghdad, and the outskirts of Kabul – America's sons and daughters are sacrificing on our behalf. And our thoughts and prayers are with them.I speak to you today with deep humility. My grandfather marched in Patton's Army, but I cannot know what it is to walk into battle like so many of you. My grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line, but I cannot know what it is for a family to sacrifice like so many of yours have.I am the father of two young girls, and I cannot imagine what it is to lose a child. My heart breaks for the families who've lost a loved one.These are things I cannot know. But there are also some things I do know.I know that our sadness today is mixed with pride; that those we've lost will be remembered by a grateful nation; and that our presence here today is only possible because your loved ones, America's patriots, were willing to give their lives to defend our nation.I know that while we may come from different places, cherish different traditions, and have different political beliefs, we all – every one of us – hold in reverence those who've given this country the full measure of their devotion.And I know that children in New Mexico and across this country look to your children, to your brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and friends–to those we honor today–as a shining example of what's best about America.Their lives are a model for us all.What led these men and women to wear their country's uniform? What is it that leads anyone to put aside their own pursuit of life's comforts; to subordinate their own sense of survival, for something bigger – something greater?Many of those we honor today were so young when they were killed. They had a whole life ahead of them–birthdays and weddings, holidays with children and grandchildren, homes and jobs and happiness of their own. And yet, at one moment or another, they felt the tug, just as generations of Americans did before them. Maybe it was a massacre in a Boston square; or a President's call to save the Union and free the slaves. Maybe it was the day of infamy that awakened a nation to a storm in the Pacific and a madman's death march across Europe. Or maybe it was the morning they woke up to see our walls of security crumble along with our two largest towers.Whatever the moment was, when it came and they felt that tug, perhaps it was simply the thought of a mom or a dad, a husband or a wife, or a child not yet born that made this young American think that it was time to go;that made them think "I must serve so that the people I love can live–in happiness, and safety, and freedom."This sense of service is what America is all about. It is what leads Americans to enter the military. It is what sustains them in the most difficult hours. And it is the safeguard of our security.You see, America has the greatest military in the history of the world. We have the best training, the most advanced technology, the most sophisticated planning, and the most powerful weapons. And yet, in the end, though each of these things is absolutely critical, the true strength of our military lies someplace else.It lies in the spirit of America's servicemen and women. No matter whether they faced down fascism or fought for freedom in Korea and Vietnam; liberated Kuwait or stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans or serve brilliantly and bravely under our flag today; no matter whether they are black, white, Latino, Asian, or Native American; whether they come from old military families, or are recent immigrants – their stories tell the same truth.It is not simply their bravery, their insistence on doing their part – whatever the cost – to make America more secure and our world more free. It's not simply an unflinching belief in our highest ideals. It's that in the thick of battle, when their very survival is threatened, America's sons and daughters aren't thinking about themselves, they're thinking about one another; they're risking everything to save not their own lives, but the lives of their fellow soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines. And when we lose them – in a final act of selflessness and service – we know that they died so that their brothers and sisters, so that our nation, might live.What makes America's servicemen and women heroes is not just their sense of duty, honor, and country; it's the bigness of their hearts and the bth of their compassion.That is what we honor today.Oliver Wendell Holmes once remarked that "To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might." The Americans we honor today believed. Sergeant Ryan Jopek believed. Ryan was just weeks away from coming home when he volunteered for a mission to Mosul from which he would never return. His friends remember his easy smile; I remember Ryan because of the bracelet his mother gave me that I wear every day. Next to his name, it s: "All gave some–he gave all."It is a living reminder of our obligation as Americans to serve Ryan as well as he served us; as well as the wounded warriors I've had the honor of meeting at Walter Reed have served us; as well as the soldiers at Fort Bliss and the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world are serving us. That means giving the same priority to building a 21st century VA as to building a 21st century military. It means having zero tolerance for veterans sleeping on our streets. It means bringing home our POWs and MIAs. And it means treating the graves of veterans like the hallowed ground it is and banning protests near funerals.But it also means something more. It means understanding that what Ryan and so many Americans fought and died for is not a place on a map or a certain kind of people. What they sacrificed for –what they gave all for–is a larger idea–the idea that a nation can be governed by laws, not men; that we can be equal in the eyes of those laws;that we can be free to say what we want, write what we want, and worship as we please; that we can have the right to pursue our own dreams, but the obligation to help our fellow Americans pursue theirs.So on this day, of all days, let's memorialize our fallen heroes by honoring all who wear our country's uniform; and by completing their work to make America more secure and our world more free. But let's also do our part – service-member and civilian alike – to live up to the idea that so many of our fellow citizens have consecrated–the idea of America. That is the essence of patriotism. That is the lesson of this solemn day. And that is the task that lies ahead. May God bless you, and may God bless the ed States of America.01/60909With the impending resignation of Ambassador Jon Huntsman, President Obama today named current Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke his new ambassador to the People's Republic of China.Download Video: mp4 (70MB) | mp3 (7MB) 201103/127936

President Bush Addresses ed Nations General Assembly THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary General, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen: I'm pleased to be here to address the General Assembly.Sixty-three years ago, representatives from around the world gathered in San Francisco to complete the founding of the Charter of the ed Nations. They met in the shadow of a devastating war, with grave new dangers on the horizon. They agreed on a historic pledge: "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and unite their strength to maintain international peace and security."This noble pledge has endured trying hours in the ed Nations' history, and it still guides our work today. Yet the ideals of the Charter are now facing a challenge as serious as any since the U.N.'s founding -- a global movement of violent extremists. By deliberately murdering the innocent to advance their aims, these extremists defy the fundamental principles of international order. They show contempt for all who respect life and value human dignity. They reject the words of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or any standard of conscience or morality. They imperil the values of justice and human rights that gave birth to the ed Nations -- values that have fueled an unprecedented expansion of freedom across the world.To uphold the words of the Charter in the face of this challenge, every nation in this chamber has responsibilities. As sovereign states, we have an obligation to govern responsibly, and solve problems before they spill across borders. We have an obligation to prevent our territory from being used as a sanctuary for terrorism and proliferation and human trafficking and organized crime. We have an obligation to respect the rights and respond to the needs of our people.Multilateral organizations have responsibilities. For eight years, the nations in this assembly have worked together to confront the extremist threat. We witnessed successes and setbacks, and through it all a clear lesson has emerged: The ed Nations and other multilateral organizations are needed more urgently than ever. To be successful, we must be focused and resolute and effective. Instead of only passing resolutions decrying terrorist attacks after they occur, we must cooperate more closely to keep terrorist attacks from happening in the first place. Instead of treating all forms of government as equally tolerable, we must actively challenge the conditions of tyranny and despair that allow terror and extremism to thrive. By acting together to meet the fundamental challenge of our time, we can lead toward a world that is more secure, and more prosperous, and more hopeful.In the decades ahead, the ed Nations and other multilateral organizations must continually confront terror. This mission requires clarity of vision. We must see the terrorists for what they are: ruthless extremists who exploit the desperate, subvert the tenets of a great religion, and seek to impose their will on as many people as possible. Some suggest that these men would pose less of a threat if we'd only leave them alone. Yet their leaders make clear that no concession could ever satisfy their ambitions. Bringing the terrorists to justice does not create terrorism -- it's the best way to protect our people.Multilateral organizations must respond by taking an unequivocal moral stand against terrorism. No cause can justify the deliberate taking of innocent human life -- and the international community is nearing universal agreement on this truth. The vast majority of nations in this assembly now agree that tactics like suicide bombing, hostage-taking and hijacking are never legitimate. The Security Council has passed resolutions declaring terror unlawful and requiring all nations to crack down on terrorist financing. And earlier this month, the Secretary General held a conference to highlight victims of terror, where he stated that terrorism can never be justified.Other multilateral organizations have spoken clearly, as well. The G8 has declared that all terrorist acts are criminal and must be universally condemned. And the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference recently spoke out against a suicide bombing, which he said runs counter to the teachings of Islam. The message behind these statements is resolutely clear: Like slavery and piracy, terrorism has no place in the modern world.Around the globe, nations are turning these words into action. Members of the ed Nations are sharing intelligence with one another, conducting joint operations, and freezing terrorist finances. While terrorists continue to carry out attacks like the terrible bombing in Islamabad last week, our joint actions have spared our citizens from many devastating blows.With the brutal nature of the extremists increasingly clear, the coalition of nations confronting terror is growing stronger. Over the past seven years, Afghanistan and Iraq have been transformed from regimes that actively sponsor terror to democracies that fight terror. Libya has renounced its support for terror and its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are actively pursuing the terrorists. A few nations -- regimes like Syria and Iran -- continue to sponsor terror. Yet their numbers are growing fewer, and they're growing more isolated from the world.As the 21st century unfolds, some may be tempted to assume that the threat has receded. This would be comforting; it would be wrong. The terrorists believe time is on their side, so they made waiting out civilized nations part of their strategy. We must not allow them to succeed. The nations of this body must stand united in the fight against terror. We must continue working to deny the terrorists refuge anywhere in the world, including ungoverned spaces. We must remain vigilant against proliferation -- by fully implementing the terms of Security Council Resolution 1540, and enforcing sanctions against North Korea and Iran. We must not relent until our people are safe from this threat to civilization.200809/5013721世纪·希望之星全国英语演讲比赛开场白 美国经典英文演讲100篇总统演讲布莱尔首相演讲美国总统布什演讲快报 200808/46039

President Bush Honors Colombian Independence DayTHE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Siéntese. Gracias. Buenos dias. Bienvenidos a la Casa Blanca. (Applause.) I am pleased to welcome you to the gathering of the 198th anniversary of Colombias independence, which was celebrated last Sunday in grand style. Colombia and the ed States have a long history of close ties. As many of you may know, Colombia supports [sic] Americas primary source of energy -- a resource that many Americans use, and we thank you for your coffee. (Laughter.) Im proud that the Secretary of Agriculture is with us, Eddie Schafer, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Chief of Staff Bolten, Director John Walters, the Office of Drug -- of National Drug Control Policy; other members of my administration who are concerned about making sure our relationship with Colombia is strong and vibrant.I appreciate very much the members of the Congress who have come today: Dreier, Herger, Diaz-Balart. Thank you all for coming. Thank you for showing your solidarity with the people of Colombia.I appreciate very much the Embajadora de Colombia. Ambassador Barco, thanks for coming. Carolina Rentería is with us, of the cabinet, the Presidents cabinet. Welcome. Hector Morales, the Ambassador of the ed States to the Organization of American States. Camilo Ospina, Ambassador of Colombia to the Organization of American States. Luis Moreno, proud Colombian citizen, President of the Inter-Amercian Development Bank -- hola, Luis. Representatives of LULAC, I am so proud of the resolution you recently passed, thank you for your -- (applause.)And after this brief discurso, Ill be welcoming Jorge Celedón y Jimmy Zambrano to entertain us with some songs.Before we do, though, I want to -- got some comments Id like to make.The anniversary of Colombias independence falls only a couple weeks after Americas Independence Day celebration. And thats appropriate, because our two nations have much in common. Like the ed States, Colombia gained its independence when a band of patriots rallied together against a distant monarchy. Like the ed States, Colombia was unified in its earliest days by a daring general who became the countrys first President. And like the ed States, Colombia built a new government around the rule of law and the notion that liberty was an unalienable right.Our countries have shared a strong bond from the very beginning. In 1822, President James Monroe was one of the first heads of state to recognize Colombias independence. And that same year, America became one of the first countries to establish a new diplomatic mission with that republic. From those strong foundations we built a lasting friendship on a mutual respect for liberty and a commitment to a more peaceful world.This friendship has endured through good times and bad. Less than a decade ago, it looked as if peace and freedom were on retreat in Colombia. The country was in the grip of drug cartels and kidnappers. The Marxist terrorist network known as the FARC threatened to overthrow the democratically elected government. These were tough times for our friend. Our two nations launched an ambitious program that helped rescue Colombia from the brink of becoming a failed state. Plan Colombia, which started under my predecessor, made it clear that the ed States would support the Colombian governments efforts to modernize its military, to fight terrorists and drug kingpins, to expand educational opportunities, and provide Colombians with alternatives to a life of terror and narco-trafficking. The Colombian government has taken the lead on this bold plan, and the ed States has been proud to help. And today, Plan Colombia is working. (Applause.)One of the main reasons for Plan Colombias success is the courage of Colombias President, President Uribe. (Applause.) President Uribe has taken bold stands to defend our shared democratic values. He has been a strong and capable partner in fighting drugs and crime and terror. Hes demonstrated that he is deeply committed to providing a better future for the people of his country.Since President Uribe took office, the Colombian government reports that homicides have dropped by 40 percent, kidnappings have dropped by more than 80 percent, terrorist attacks have dropped by more than 70 percent. Reforms to Colombias criminal justice system have dramatically increased conviction rates. And last year, Colombias economy saw its largest growth in nearly three decades. These are impressive achievements -- and theyre a testament to the determination of the Colombian people and their outstanding President.Earlier this month, President Uribes administration scored another impressive triumph. In a daring covert operation, members of the Colombian military infiltrated the FARC, and convinced the terrorists to transfer 15 hostages -- including three Americans -- to a new location. Disguised Colombian agents arrived in a helicopter to carry out the transfer. And when the hostages lifted off, they were astonished to hear an army officer say nine words they thought they would never hear: "We are the Colombia Army, and you are free." (Applause.)Today, three Americans are back with their families because of the heroism of the Colombian allies. On behalf of our entire nation, I welcome home Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell -- and I thank the brave members of the Colombian military who rescued them. The success of this rescue mission underscores the progress the Colombian government has made. This progress is also evident in the hearts and minds of the Colombian people. On Sunday, more than a million Colombians marched in their nations streets, and called on FARC to release its remaining hostages and to stop practicing terror. They chanted a simple, but powerful message -- "Libertad" -- that means freedom. (Laughter.) America should support this noble stand by the Colombian people. And the single most important step we can do so is for the ed States Congress to approve the Colombia free trade agreement that our countries signed more than a year and a half ago. (Applause.)Approving this agreement would strengthen our nations economy. Because of legislation that the Congress has passed -- particularly the Andean Trade Preference Act -- today, almost all Colombian exports enter the ed States duty free. The Congress made that decision. Yet our products exported to Colombia face tariffs of up to 35 percent, with rates even higher for some agricultural products. In other words, the current situation is one-sided. And the failure to approve the free trade agreement is hurting our businesses who want to sell their products into Colombia.Tariffs imposed on U.S. exports to Colombia are estimated to have exceeded .1 billion while the trade agreement has awaited congressional approval. Every day that passes without the agreements approval, that number only gets bigger. Congress has aly voted to allow duty free access to American markets for Colombian products. Now Congress should create a level playing field -- they ought to give American workers and farmers the same access to Colombias markets. And the way for them to do that is to approve the free trade agreement. (Applause.)Opening markets is especially important during this time of economic uncertainty. Last year, exports accounted for more than 40 percent of Americas total economic growth. Doesnt it make sense to continue that kind of growth during these economic uncertain times? I think it does. We ought to be working to open up new opportunities and new markets. More than 8,000 small and mid-sized American businesses export to Colombia. Approving this agreement will help these small businesses and middle-sized businesses grow their businesses and create high-paying jobs.Approving this agreement is also an urgent national security priority. It makes good economic sense, but its important for our national security that the Congress approve this agreement. While the FARC has seen its power reduced, the terrorists are still actively plotting against the Colombian government. Colombia also faces a hostile and anti-American neighbor in Venezuela, where the regime has forged an alliance with Cuba, collaborated with FARC terrorist leaders, and provided sanctuary to FARC units. It is in Americas interests to stand by Colombia in the face of this threat -- and the best way to do so is for Congress to allow a vote on the Colombia free trade agreement.President Uribe has stood strong against tyranny and terror. Hes done everything we have asked him to do and more. Hes told members of Congress that approving this agreement is one of the most important steps that America can take to show its support for Colombia. Now the Colombian people are waiting to see what our Congress will do. To demonstrate Americas good faith, to stand by our strong friend, to send a clear signal that we appreciate our ally, the ed States Congress must approve this free trade agreement. (Applause.)And once they do so, Congress should quickly approve our free trade agreements with Panama and South Korea. By doing so, they can reassure these countries that America will stand by its word -- and that we will not abandon our friends.Its been nearly two centuries since the ed States of America and the nation of Colombia forged a friendship in the earliest days of our independence. In the years since, both of our nations have learned that the cost of maintaining a free society is remaining vigilant against the enemies of freedom. We believe that freedom is the birthright of all. We believe that it is the responsibility of free nations to support one another against those who would undermine our freedom.The ed States is committed to the security of Colombia -- were committed to defeating the forces of terror. Our countries can meet this challenge together. And through our partnership we can usher in a new era of enhanced prosperity and peace in our neighborhood.I want to thank you for coming. Que Dios le bendiga. (Applause.)200807/44595REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENTIN RIO RANCHO TOWN HALLON CREDIT CARD REFORMRio Rancho High SchoolRio Rancho, New Mexico10:30 A.M. MDT THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. What a wonderful welcome. It's good to be back in New Mexico. (Applause.) It's always nice to get out of Washington for a while -- (applause) -- and come to places like Rio Rancho. (Applause.) The climate is nice, the conversation is nice, people are nice. It is just wonderful to be here.We've got a few special guests that I want to acknowledge here. First of all, a great friend, one of the finest governors in the country -- please give it up for Bill Richardson. (Applause.) Lieutenant Governor, Diane Denish. (Applause.) Secretary of State, Mary Herrera. (Applause.) State Treasurer, James Lewis. (Applause.) State Auditor Hector Balderas. (Applause.) We've also got Joe Garcia, President of the National Congress of American Indians. (Applause.) Got Rio Rancho Mayor, Tom Swisstack. (Applause.) We've got some members of Congress who couldn't be here today, but I just want to acknowledge them because they're doing a great job. Senator Tom Udall -- (applause) -- Senator Jeff Bingaman -- (applause) -- and Representative Ben Luján. (Applause.) And I want to thank Chris for the wonderful introduction and for her wonderful family who are here. Please give her a big round of applause. (Applause.)Now, the last time I came here was 10 days before the election. (Applause.) We were over at the University of New Mexico. (Applause.) Tens of thousands of you showed up, it was a gorgeous night, stars were out. And I told you then that if we wanted to steer ourselves out of our economic crisis, if we wanted to bring about the change we needed, then I needed your help. I needed you to show up one more time.And, New Mexico, you delivered. (Applause.) Q We love you!THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) You delivered because you believed that after an era of selfishness and greed, we could reclaim a sense of responsibility from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street. You believed that in a time of great inequality, we could restore a sense of fairness to our economy. You believed that rather than go back to the pursuit of short-term profits and a bubble-and-bust economy that led us to this point, we could build an economy based on sound ideas and solid investments, hard work, in order to secure a long-term prosperity.So, New Mexico, I've come back today to tell you that's exactly what we've begun to do. (Applause.) Since the very first day that I took office, we have acted boldly and swiftly across all fronts to clear away the wreckage of this painful recession and to start laying a new foundation for prosperity.We passed the most ambitious economic recovery plan in our nation's history to jumpstart job creation -- (applause) -- and get our economy moving again -- a plan that has kept teachers in the classroom and class sizes from increasing; a plan that will save or create 22,000 jobs just in New Mexico, mostly in the private sector; a plan that made good on the middle-class tax cut that we promised -- (applause) -- a tax cut that's aly begun to appear in paychecks for 700,000 working families across New Mexico. (Applause.)We made historic investments in the kind of clean energy that's led to an influx of cutting-edge companies creating new jobs and new opportunities right here in this state.We've made productive strides towards fixing the health care crisis that I know has hit especially hard here -– strides towards reform that brings down costs; that give Americans the freedom to keep their doctor or plan that they aly have, and choose a new doctor and a new plan if they want to; that finally gives every American access to quality, affordable health care. (Applause.)And aly we've got millions of children across the country that have health care right now under the children's health care bill that we signed since I've taken office. (Applause.) So I believe we're moving in the right direction. Step by step, we're making progress. Now, we've got a long way to go before we can put this recession behind us. And New Mexico is doing better than many states. But it's tough out there. But we do know that the gears of our economy, the economic engine, are slowly beginning to turn.In the meantime, though, I know that there are so many Americans who are hurting right now. You got hundreds of thousands who've lost their jobs just last month. Millions are working jobs that don't pay enough to cover the bills. Millions more see increasing portions of their income going towards paying down debt. They're Americans struggling to cope with the rising cost of putting things like their mortgage, their tuition, their medical bills -- even their food and gas bills -- on their credit cards, because they feel like they're going underwater. But they're quickly finding out that they can't dig their way out of debt because of unfair practices. And that's what I want to talk about today briefly.We're talking about folks like Chris Lardner. She and her husband work hard; they're doing well. They have a wonderful small business. But she wrote to me last week and you just heard her story. Her husband's business is in Albuquerque; two of their children are in college. When one tuition payment that was mistakenly charged to a credit card put her over the limit, her credit card company more than tripled her rate to nearly 30 percent. And she made a simple point in the letter that she wrote to me. She said: "If we conducted business this way, we'd have no business," she wrote. "And if this is happening to us, I can only imagine what's going on in homes less fortunate than ours."You all know what Chris is talking about. I know. I remember. It hasn't been that long since I had my credit card, sometimes working that a little bit. (Laughter.) We're lured in by ads and mailings that hook us with the promise of low rates while keeping the right to raise those rates at any time for any reason -- even on old purchases; even when you make a late payment on a different card. Right now credit card companies charge more than billion a year in penalty fees. One in five Americans carry a balance that has been charged interest rates above 20 percent. Sometimes they even raise rates on outstanding balances even when you've paid your bills on time.Now, I understand that many Americans are defaulting on their debt, and that's why these companies claim the need to raise rates. One of the causes of this economic crisis was that too many people were living beyond their means with mortgages they couldn't afford, buying things they couldn't pay for, maxing out on credit cards that they couldn't pay down. And in the last decade, Americans' credit card debt has increased by 25 percent. Nearly half of all Americans carry a balance on their cards, and those who do have an average balance over ,000.So we have been complicit in these problems. We've contributed to our own problems. We've got to change how we operate. But these practices, they've only grown worse in the midst of this recession, when hardworking Americans can afford them least. Now fees silently appear. Payment deadlines suddenly move. Millions of cardholders have seen their interest rates jump in the past six months.You should not have to worry that when you sign up for a credit card, you're signing away all your rights. You shouldn't need a magnifying glass or a law degree to the fine print that sometimes don't even appear to be written in English -- or Spanish. (Applause.) And frankly, when you're trying to navigate your way through this economy, you shouldn't feel like you're getting ripped off by "any time, any reason" rate hikes, and payment deadlines that seem to move around every month. That happen to anybody? You think you're supposed to pay it this day, and suddenly -- and it's never on the end of the month where you're paying all the rest of your bills, right? It's like on the 19th. (Laughter.) All kinds of harsh penalties and fees that you never knew about.Enough is enough. It's time for strong, reliable protections for our consumers. It's time for reform -- (applause) -- it's time for reform that's built on transparency and accountability and mutual responsibility -- values fundamental to the new foundation we seek to build for our economy.Now, this is not an issue I just discovered recently. For years, I've been a proponent of strengthening consumer protections when it came to credit cards. As a senator, I fought predatory lending and credit card abuse. And I called for what I called a Credit Card Bill of Rights. Last month, I met with the leaders of the major credit card companies to discuss these and other reforms that I believe will better protect the nearly 80 percent of American households that use credit cards.And we didn't agree on anything -- everything as you might expect. (Laughter.) That was a slip of the tongue here. (Laughter.) We didn't agree on everything -- (laughter) -- but we did agree that any reforms we can shouldn't diminish consumers' access to credit. I also think there's no doubt that people need to accept, as I said before, responsibility that comes with holding a credit card. This is not free money. It's debt. And you shouldn't take on more than you can handle. We expect consumers to make sound choices and live within their means and pay what they owe in a timely manner. Banks are a business, too, and so they have a right to insist that timely payments are made. But what we also expect is that our institutions act with the same sense of responsibility that the American people aspire to in their own lives. We expect that when we enter into an agreement, that agreement is reasonable and transparent. We expect to pay what's fair, not just what fattens growing profits for some credit card company. This is America, and we don't begrudge a company's success when that success is based on honest dealings with consumers. But some of these dealings are not honest. (Applause.) That's why we need reform.05/69880

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