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楼主:健步助手 时间:2019年10月14日 22:03:37 点击:0 回复:0
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After many months of debate and deliberation, dozens of hearings, the dissemination and debunking of hundreds of myths and falsehoods, and testimonials from thousands and thousands of ordinary Americans asking for change, reform took yet another step forward. With the emergence of a reform bill from the final committee in Congress with jurisdiction over the the issue, this issue that has seemed utterly intractable for most of a century is now closer to a resolution than it has ever been.The President took a few minutes this afternoon to express his approval:演讲文本:THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today we reached a critical milestone in our effort to reform our health care system. After many months of thoughtful deliberation, the fifth and final committee responsible for health care reform has passed a proposal that has both Democratic and Republican support. This effort was made possible by the tireless efforts of Chairman Max Baucus and the other members of the Senate Finance Committee. It's a product of vigorous debate and difficult negotiations.After the consideration of hundreds of amendments, it includes ideas from both Democrats and Republicans, which is why it enjoys the support of people from both parties. And I want to particularly thank Senator Olympia Snowe for both the political courage and the seriousness of purpose that she's demonstrated throughout this process.Now, this bill is not perfect and we have a lot of difficult work ahead of us. There are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out over the next several weeks as the five separate bills from the Senate and the House are merged into one proposal. But I do believe the work of the Senate Finance Committee has brought us significantly closer to achieving the core objectives I laid out early in September.Most importantly, this bill goes a long way towards offering security to those who have insurance, and affordable options for those who don't. It reins in some of the worst practices of the insurance industry, like the denial of coverage due to preexisting conditions. It also sets up an insurance exchange that will make coverage affordable for those who don't currently have it. And as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has certified, it will slow the growth of health care costs in the long term and it will not add a penny to our deficit.The committee's progress over the past several weeks is the culmination of work by all five committees and numerous members of Congress over the better part of this year. We've reached out to stakeholders across the spectrum -- doctors and nurses, businesses and workers, hospitals and even drug companies. And we've considered a wide variety of ideas and proposals in an effort to find common ground.As a result of these efforts, we are now closer than ever before to passing health reform. But we're not there yet. Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. Now is not the time to offer ourselves congratulations. Now is the time to dig in and work even harder to get this done. And in this final phase, I hope that we will continue to engage each other with the spirit of civility and seriousness that has brought us this far and that this subject deserves.I commend the Chairman and the committee's members for their achievement and the example that they've set, and I look forward to continue to work with Congress in the weeks ahead. We are going to get this done.Thank you very much, everybody.END 5:15 P.M. EDT 10/86632Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for DeliveryResponsibly Ending the War in IraqCamp Lejeune, North CarolinaFriday, February 27, Good morning Marines. Good morning Camp Lejeune. Good morning Jacksonville. Thank you for that outstanding welcome. I want to thank Lieutenant General Hejlik for hosting me here today.I also want to acknowledge all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That includes the Camp Lejeune Marines now serving with – or soon joining – the Second Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq; those with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force in Afghanistan; and those among the 8,000 Marines who are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. We have you in our prayers. We pay tribute to your service. We thank you and your families for all that you do for America. And I want all of you to know that there is no higher honor or greater responsibility than serving as your Commander-in-Chief.I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Ryan Crocker, who recently completed his service as our Ambassador to Iraq. Throughout his career, Ryan always took on the toughest assignments. He is an example of the very best that this nation has to offer, and we owe him a great debt of gratitude. He carried on his work with an extraordinary degree of cooperation with two of our finest Generals – General David Petraeus, and General Ray Odierno – who will be critical in carrying forward the strategy that I will outline today.Next month will mark the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq. By any measure, this has aly been a long war. For the men and women of America’s armed forces – and for your families – this war has been one of the most extraordinary chapters of service in the history of our nation. You have endured tour after tour after tour of duty. You have known the dangers of combat and the lonely distance of loved ones. You have fought against tyranny and disorder. You have bled for your best friends and for unknown Iraqis. And you have borne an enormous burden for your fellow citizens, while extending a precious opportunity to the people of Iraq. Under tough circumstances, the men and women of the ed States military have served with honor, and succeeded beyond any expectation. Today, I have come to speak to you about how the war in Iraq will end.To understand where we need to go in Iraq, it is important for the American people to understand where we now stand. Thanks in great measure to your service, the situation in Iraq has improved. Violence has been reduced substantially from the horrific sectarian killing of 2006 and 2007. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been dealt a serious blow by our troops and Iraq’s Security Forces, and through our partnership with Sunni Arabs. The capacity of Iraq’s Security Forces has improved, and Iraq’s leaders have taken steps toward political accommodation. The relative peace and strong participation in January’s provincial elections sent a powerful message to the world about how far Iraqis have come in pursuing their aspirations through a peaceful political process. But let there be no doubt: Iraq is not yet secure, and there will be difficult days ahead. Violence will continue to be a part of life in Iraq. Too many fundamental political questions about Iraq’s future remain unresolved. Too many Iraqis are still displaced or destitute. Declining oil revenues will put an added strain on a government that has had difficulty delivering basic services. Not all of Iraq’s neighbors are contributing to its security. Some are working at times to undermine it. And even as Iraq’s government is on a surer footing, it is not yet a full partner – politically and economically – in the region, or with the international communityIn short, today there is a renewed cause for hope in Iraq, but that hope rests upon an emerging foundation.On my first full day in office, I directed my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of our strategy in Iraq to determine the best way to strengthen that foundation, while strengthening American national security. I have listened to my Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and commanders on the ground. We have acted with careful consideration of events on the ground; with respect for the security agreements between the ed States and Iraq; and with a critical recognition that the long-term solution in Iraq must be political – not military. Because the most important decisions that have to be made about Iraq’s future must now be made by Iraqis.We have also taken into account the simple reality that America can no longer afford to see Iraq in isolation from other priorities: we face the challenge of refocusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan; of relieving the burden on our military; and of rebuilding our struggling economy – and these are challenges that we will meet.Today, I can announce that our review is complete, and that the ed States will pursue a new strategy to end the war in Iraq through a transition to full Iraqi responsibility.This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant. To achieve that goal, we will work to promote an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe-haven to terrorists. We will help Iraq build new ties of trade and commerce with the world. And we will forge a partnership with the people and government of Iraq that contributes to the peace and security of the region.What we will not do is let the pursuit of the perfect stand in the way of achievable goals. We cannot rid Iraq of all who oppose America or sympathize with our adversaries. We cannot police Iraq’s streets until they are completely safe, nor stay until Iraq’s union is perfected. We cannot sustain indefinitely a commitment that has put a strain on our military, and will cost the American people nearly a trillion dollars. America’s men and women in uniform have fought block by block, province by province, year after year, to give the Iraqis this chance to choose a better future. Now, we must ask the Iraqi people to seize it. The first part of this strategy is therefore the responsible removal of our combat brigades from Iraq.02/63411THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week Congress will return to Washington after its Memorial Day recess. I hope Members of Congress return rested, because they have a lot of work left on important issues and limited time to get it done.Congress needs to pass a responsible war funding bill that puts the needs of our troops first, without loading it up with unrelated domestic spending. Our troops in Afghanistan are performing with courage and honor, delivering blows to the Taliban and al Qaida. Our troops in Iraq have driven al Qaida and other extremists from sanctuaries they once held across the country and are chasing them from their last remaining strongholds. Our men and women in uniform are risking their lives every day, and they deserve the resources and flexibility they need to complete their mission.Congress needs to support our military families by passing an expansion of the GI Bill that makes it easier for our troops to transfer unused education benefits to their spouses and children. It is critical for this legislation to support the all-volunteer force and help us recruit and retain the best military in the world. Congress needs to ensure that our intelligence professionals have the tools to monitor terrorist communications quickly and effectively. Last year, Congress passed temporary legislation that provided these tools. Unfortunately, the law expired more than three months ago. Congress needs to pass long-term legislation that will help our intelligence professionals learn our enemies' plans before they can attack and put an end to abusive lawsuits filed against companies believed to have assisted the government after the attacks of September the 11th. And Congress needs to act soon so we can maintain a vital flow of intelligence.Congress needs to approve the Colombia free trade agreement so we can open a growing market for American goods, services, and crops. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives is blocking a vote on this vital agreement. Unless this agreement is brought up for a vote, it will die. This will hurt American workers, farmers, and business owners. And it will hurt our Nation's strategic interests in a vital region of the world.Congress needs to confirm the good men and women who have been nominated to important government positions. There are now more than 350 nominations pending before the Senate. These include highly qualified people I have nominated to fill vacancies on the Federal bench. And they include talented nominees who are needed to help guide our economy during a time of uncertainty. For example, three nominees to the Federal Reserve have been waiting for confirmation for more than a year. And because of Senate inaction, the Council of Economic Advisers is now down to a single member. This confirmation backlog makes it harder for government to meet its responsibilities - and the ed States Senate needs to give every nominee an up-or-down vote as soon as possible.One nominee who needs to be confirmed right away is Steve Preston. A month has passed since I nominated Steve to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Unfortunately, Senators have stalled this nomination over an issue that has nothing to do with Steve or his qualifications for the job. With all the turbulence in the housing market, this is no time to play politics with such a critical appointment. So I call on the Senate to give Steve Preston a prompt vote and confirm this good man without further delay.At a time when many Americans are concerned about keeping their homes, Congress needs to pass legislation to modernize the Federal Housing Administration, reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure they focus on their housing mission, and allow State housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to refinance subprime loans. And at a time when Americans are concerned about rising gas prices, Congress needs to pass legislation to expand domestic energy production.In all these areas, Congress has failed to act. The American people deserve better from their elected leaders. Congress needs to show the American people that Republicans and Democrats can compete for votes and cooperate for results at the same time. You sent your representatives to Washington to do the people's business, and you have a right to expect them to do it - even in an election year.Thank you for listening.200806/41823My fellow citizens:我的同胞们:I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.今天我站在这里,看到眼前面临的重大任务,深感卑微。我感谢你们对我的信任,也知道先辈们为了这个国家所作的牺牲。我要感谢布什总统为国家做出的贡献,以及感谢他在两届政府过渡期间给与的慷慨协作。Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.迄今为止,已经有44个美国总统宣誓就职。总统的宣誓有时面对的是国家的和平繁荣,但通常面临的是乌云密布的紧张形势。在紧张的形势中,持美国前进的不仅仅是领导人的能力和远见,也在于美国人民对国家先驱者理想的信仰,以及对美国立国文件的忠诚。So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.前辈们如此,我们这一代美国人也要如此。That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our healthcare is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.现在我们都深知,我们身处危机之中。我们的国家在战斗,对手是影响深远的暴力和憎恨;国家的经济也受到严重的削弱,原因虽有一些人的贪婪和不负责任,但更为重要的是我们作为一个整体在一些重大问题上决策失误,同时也未能做好应对新时代的准备。我们的人民正在失去家园,失去工作,很多企业倒闭。社会的医疗过于昂贵、学校教育让许多人失望,而且每天都会有新的据显示,我们利用能源的方式助长了我们的敌对势力,同时也威胁着我们的星球。These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.统计数据的指标传达着危机的消息。危机难以测量,但更难以测量的是其对美国人国家自信的侵蚀--现在一种认为美国衰落不可避免,我们的下一代必须低调的言论正在吞噬着人们的自信。Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.今天我要说,我们的确面临着很多严峻的挑战,而且在短期内不大可能轻易解决。但是我们要相信,我们一定会度过难关。On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.今天,我们在这里齐聚一堂,因为我们战胜恐惧选择了希望,摒弃了冲突和矛盾而选择了团结。On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.今天,我们宣布要为无谓的擦、不实的承诺和指责画上句号,我们要打破牵制美国政治发展的若干陈旧教条。We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.美国仍是一个年轻的国家,借用《圣经》的话说,放弃幼稚的时代已经到来了。重拾坚韧精神的时代已经到来,我们要为历史作出更好的选择,我们要秉承历史赋予的宝贵权利,秉承那种代代相传的高贵理念:上帝赋予我们每个人以平等和自由,以及每个人尽全力去追求幸福的机会。In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.在重申我们国家伟大之处的同时,我们深知伟大从来不是上天赐予的,伟大需要努力赢得。(我们的民族一路走来),这旅途之中从未有过捷径或者妥协,这旅途也不适合胆怯之人、或者爱安逸胜过爱工作之人、或者单单追求名利之人。这条路是勇于承担风险者之路,是实干家、创造者之路。这其中有一些人名留青史,但是更多的人却在默默无闻地工作着。正是这些人带领我们走过了漫长崎岖的旅行,带领我们走向富强和自由。For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the west; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.为了我们,先辈们带着微薄的细软,横渡大洋,寻找新生活;为了我们,先辈们忍辱负重,用血汗浇铸工厂;为了我们,先辈们在荒芜的西部大地辛勤耕作,定居他乡;为了我们,先辈们奔赴(独立战争中的)康科德城和葛底斯堡、(二战中的)诺曼底、(越战中的)Khe Sahn,他们征战、死去。Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.一次又一次,我们的先辈们战斗着、牺牲着、操劳着,只为了我们可以生活得更好。在他们看来,美国的强盛与伟大超越了个人雄心,也超越了个人的出身、贫富和派别差异。This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.今天我们继续先辈们的旅途。美国依然是地球上最富裕、最强大的国家。同危机初露端倪之时相比,美国人民的生产力依然旺盛;与上周、上个月或者去年相比,我们的头脑依然富于创造力,我们的商品和务依然很有市场,我们的实力不曾削弱。但是,可以肯定的是,轻歌曼舞的时代、保护狭隘利益的时代以及对艰难决定犹豫不决的时代已经过去了。从今天开始,我们必须跌倒后爬起来,拍拍身上的泥土,重新开始工作,重塑美国。For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise healthcare's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.我目之所及,都有工作有待完成。国家的经济情况要求我们采取大胆且快速的行动,我们的确是要行动,不仅是要创造就业,更要为(下一轮经济)增长打下新的基础。我们将造桥铺路,为企业铺设电网和数字线路,将我们联系在一起。我们将回归科学,运用科技的奇迹提高医疗质量,降低医疗费用。我们将利用风能、太阳能和土壤驱动车辆,为工厂提供能源。我们将改革中小学以及大专院校,以适应新时代的要求。这一切,我们都能做到,而且我们都将会做到。Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has aly done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.现在,有一些人开始质疑我们的野心是不是太大了,他们认为我们的体制承载不了太多的宏伟计划。他们是健忘了。他们已经忘了这个国家已经取得的成就;他们已经忘了当创造力与共同目标以及必要的勇气结合起来时,自由的美国人民所能发挥的能量。What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.这些怀疑论者的错误在于,他们没有意识到政治现实已经发生了变化,长期以来耗掉我们太多精力的陈腐政治论争已经不再适用。今天,我们的问题不在于政府的大小,而在于政府能否起作用,政府能否帮助家庭找到薪水合适的工作、给他们可以负担得起的医疗保障并让他们体面地退休。哪个方案能给与肯定的,我们就推进哪个方案。哪个方案的是否定的,我们就选择终止。而掌管纳税人税金的人应当承担起责任,合理出,摒弃陋习,磊落做事,这样才能在政府和人民之间重建至关重要的相互信任。Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach f; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.我们面临的问题也不是市场好坏的问题。市场创造财富、拓展自由的能力无可匹敌,但是这场危机提醒我们,如果没有监管,市场很可能就会失去控制,而且偏袒富人国家的繁荣无法持久。国家经济的成败不仅仅取决于国内生产总值的大小,而且取决于繁荣的覆盖面,取决于我们是否有能力让所有有意愿的人都有机会走向富裕。我们这样做不是慈善,而是因为这是确保实现共同利益的途径。As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are y to lead once more.就共同防御而言,我们认为国家安全与国家理想的只能选其一的排他选择是错的。面对我们几乎无法想像的危险,我们的先辈们起草了确保法治和个人权利的宪章。一代代人民的鲜血夯实了这一宪章。宪章中的理想依然照亮着世界,我们不能以经验之谈放弃这些理想。因此我想对正在观看这一仪式的其他国家的人民和政府说,不论他们现在各国伟大的首府还是在如同我父亲出生地一般的小村落,我想让他们知道:对于每个追求和平和自尊的国家和个人而言,美国都是朋友,我们愿意再次领导大家踏上追寻之旅。01/61319

In recent months, American and Iraqi forces have struck powerful blows against al Qaeda terrorists and violent extremists in Anbar and other provinces. In recent days, our troops and Iraqi allies launched a new offensive called Phantom Strike. In this offensive, we are carrying out targeted operations against terrorists and extremists fleeing Baghdad and other key cities -- to prevent them from returning or setting up new bases of operation. The terrorists remain dangerous and brutal, as we saw this week when they massacred more than 200 innocent Yezidis, a small religious minority in northwestern Iraq. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed, and our troops are going to go after the murderers behind this horrific attack. As we surge combat operations to capture and kill the enemy, we are also surging Provincial Reconstruction Teams to promote political and economic progress. Since January, we have doubled the number of these teams, known as PRTs. They bring together military, civilian, and diplomatic personnel to help Iraqi communities rebuild infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage reconciliation from the ground up. These teams are now deployed throughout the country, and they are helping Iraqis make political gains, especially at the local level. In Anbar province, at this time last year, the terrorists were in control of many areas and brutalizing the local population. Then local sheikhs joined with American forces to drive the terrorists out of Ramadi and other cities. Residents began to provide critical intelligence, and tribesmen joined the Iraqi police and security forces. Today, the provincial council in Ramadi is back, and last month provincial officials re-opened parts of the war-damaged government center with the help of one of our PRTs. Thirty-five local council members were present as the chairman called the body to order for its inaugural session. Similar scenes are taking place in other parts of Anbar. Virtually every city and town in the province now has a mayor and a functioning municipal council. The rule of law is being restored. And last month, some 40 judges held a conference in Anbar to restart major criminal trials. In the far west town of al Qaim, tribal leaders turned against the terrorists. Today, those tribal leaders head the regional mayor's office and the local police force. Our PRT leader on the ground reports that al Qaim is seeing new construction, growing commercial activity, and an increasing number of young men volunteering for the Iraqi army and police. In other provinces, there are also signs of progress from the bottom up. In Muthanna, an overwhelmingly Shia province, the local council held a public meeting to hear from citizens on how to spend their budget and rebuild their neighborhoods. In Diyala province, the city of Baqubah re-opened six of its banks, providing residents with much-needed capital for the local economy. And in Ninewa province, local officials have established a commission to investigate corruption, with a local judge empowered to pursue charges of fraud and racketeering. Unfortunately, political progress at the national level has not matched the pace of progress at the local level. The Iraqi government in Baghdad has many important measures left to address, such as reforming the de-Baathification laws, organizing provincial elections, and passing a law to formalize the sharing of oil revenues. Yet, the Iraqi parliament has passed about 60 pieces of legislation. And despite the lack of oil revenue law on the books, oil revenue sharing is taking place. The Iraqi parliament has allocated more than billion in oil revenue for the provinces. And the Shia-led government in Baghdad is sharing a significant portion of these oil revenues with Sunni provincial leaders in places like Anbar. America will continue to urge Iraq's leaders to meet the benchmarks they have set. Yet Americans can be encouraged by the progress and reconciliation that are taking place at the local level. An American politician once observed that "all politics is local." In a democracy, over time national politics reflects local realities. And as reconciliation occurs in local communities across Iraq, it will help create the conditions for reconciliation in Baghdad as well. Thank you for listening. 200801/23807

President Bush Welcomes 2008 National and State Teachers of the Year to the White House   THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the White House. Welcome to the Rose Garden. We're walking out of the Oval Office, Mike turns to me and says, "I like what you've done with the place." (Laughter.) All I did was mow the lawn. (Laughter.) Glad you're here.   I'm really glad to be taking a part of an event that honors America's teachers. It's a tradition that started with Harry Truman. It's a tradition that Laura and I have really enjoyed carrying on. She's not here unfortunately. She sends her best. You know, I like to tell people that -- you know, one of the interesting questions you get in my line of work is "Can you name a teacher who had influenced you?" I said, "Yes, my wife." (Laughter.)   But she and Jenna are out promoting a new book that they wrote called "Read All About It." I'm not suggesting that people buy it, of course -- that would be unseemly here in the Rose Garden. (Laughter.) But it is a book where they're attempting to promote literacy. She sends her love. She understands what it means to be a teacher. We were so honored that our little girl chose to be a teacher, as well -- made her dad feel really well, I'm sure. I just hope you know the influence you have on children -- I suspect you do, that's why you're such a good teacher.   Good teachers hear a call. Good teachers are empathetic souls. And really the best teachers have a special intuition -- and I suspect a little potential -- the ability to see potential and the ability to have the patience necessary to watch it grow. I want to thank you for nurturing young minds. I thank you for providing such wonderful examples. And I thank you for inspiring the imaginations and unleashing the talents of our nation's young.   I'm up here with not only the Teacher of the Year, but with Margaret Spellings, the Secretary of Education. I do want to welcome Senator Gordon Smith and Senator Greg Walden. Turns out they're both from the state of Oregon. (Laughter.) I wonder why you're here. But anyway, I'm glad you're here. Thank you for being strong supporters of the teachers in your state.   I welcome the State Teachers of the Year. I really enjoyed seeing you in the Oval Office. It's fun for me to be able to greet you and say thank you. And I can't thank you enough for serving as such great role models for other teachers in your states, and we're sure glad you're here.   I do want to thank the National Teacher of the Year finalist, Lewis Chappalear, who is with us -- thank you Lewis, from California; June Teisan, from Michigan; as well as Tommy Smigiel, from Virginia -- that would be Norfolk, Virginia.   I am obviously up here with the Teacher of the Year. I'll spend a little time talking about Michael in a minute, but I am so proud that his mom and dad have joined us, as has he. Thank you for coming. I know it brings you great pride to have raised a son who is dedicated to helping others. His wife is with us, for whom I'll say something else a little later; son and daughter are with us, as well as brother. Thanks for coming.   Finally, we got Ken James, President-elect, Council of the Chief State School Officers, who administers the Teacher of the Year Program. Thanks for coming. And the rest of you are welcome here, too. (Laughter.)   One of the things that Margaret and I have tried to do is help teachers be able to set high standards and achieve accountability, and that was the spirit behind passing No Child Left Behind Act. It basically -- if you really think about the Act, it, one, refuses to, what I used to call -- still call -- refuses to accept the soft bigotry of low expectations. I firmly believe that if you have low expectations, you'll achieve them. I believe that when you say to people, we want you to achieve high expectations, you really have got this great faith in the human potential. I also believe that if you're a teacher that you ought to welcome a law that says we trust you in your ability to set high expectations.   And secondly, behind that law is a notion that we'd like at least to know whether or not people can , write, and add and subtract. Good teachers understand that. As a matter of fact, the Teacher of the Year understands that, and I suspect you all do, as well. I'm often told that the accountability system is meant to punish. I don't think so. I think it's meant to diagnose and correct and reward. And you're Teachers of the Year because you've got kids in your classroom who are excelling. And the reason we know is because we measure.   And so I want to thank you for being people willing to set high standards. Curiously enough, because we do measure we have learned this fall that 4th-graders and 8th [graders] earned the highest math and ing scores in the history of our nation's report card. That's a positive sign. Eighth-graders set a record in math scores. In other words, because we are people who believe in accountability, we're beginning to get a sense for whether or not the achievement gap in America is closing. And it must close in order for this country to realize its full potential.   We understand that there's been some tough, tough neighborhoods, but that should not be an excuse for mediocrity, and I know our Teachers of the Year understand that, and are willing to challenge the status quo and expect the best. So we appreciate very much your work, and we hope Congress would reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, and we're committed to working with members of Congress to do it. The good news is the Act doesn't go away without reauthorization; it still exists.   And so what -- last week what Secretary Spellings did, because the Act hasn't been reauthorized, is that she announced a package of reforms that the Department of Education is now implementing to improve the No Child Left Behind Act -- reforms that support our teachers and provide help to struggling students.   One thing about No Child is that when you find somebody struggling, it's important to get extra resources to help that child get up to speed now, before it's too late. The reforms are going to deal with -- help schools deal with dropouts, increase accountability, and ensure that more students get the tutoring we want.   And so I want to thank you, Margaret, for being a leader, realizing the situation needs to be constantly improved, and improving it. And I think you'll find these additional tools and these measures will help you, not hurt you, and make it easier to do your job.   And I hope senators in Congress don't give up on reauthorization. I understand it's an election year and sometimes things don't get done, but this is a brilliant, important piece of legislation, and I thank you all for supporting us the first round, and I hope we can work together on this round as well.   One person who believes very strongly in the potential of each child is our Teacher of the Year, Michael Geisen, who happens to be from Prineville, Oregon. Before he entered teaching, interesting enough, if you're from Prineville, one of the options for you is to be a forester. And he loves nature, he's an outdoors guy, and yet he really longed to be with his fellow citizens. There's no better way to do so than teaching. And so seven years ago, after being a forester, he got in the classroom at Crook County Middle School. 200806/41458

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